Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Electrostatic speakers just don’t do cannons very well.!!

What, no cannons?

Reader John Vookles sent me this note:

“Years ago I was selling a pair of Acoustat 3s so I ran an ad in the paper (this was pre-internet).  A gentleman called and wanted to come listen and I recommended that he bring along a favorite recording. He came with a recording of artillery weapons being fired. My electrostat’s flunked the test. I asked the guy if that was really what he liked to listen to. He got pissed and left.  So, that lack of dynamic transients cost me the sale.  Oh well..”

I truly understand the cannon guy who likely wanted to know if the reputation electrostat’s have for a lack of dynamics was correct or not, but I think he missed a valuable opportunity.

The electrostat’s can’t reproduce cannon shots but what can they do? Wouldn’t the listener have been better off starting in with his favorite recording to discover the underlying benefits of an electrostat? By taking the opposite approach and testing the system’s limitations first forever tainted any chance at discovering what magic may be waiting.

The approach that works best for me is to start with easy and work up to hard. That way, we uncover all the delicate nuances and benefits before challenging it with what might be beyond its limitations.

I suppose this is the classic half full argument.

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Setting standards

We all have a personal set of standards. These bar-setting rules determine just about everything in our lives from how we dress, eat, interact, advertise ourselves, choose our friends, and listen to music. Especially listen to music.

The types and quality of music I listen to must meet a specific standard. Shrill, bangy, loud, and trying are not forms of sound I am comfortable with.

Yet, our standards are plastic. What worked for us a few decades ago likely doesn’t resonate as well as today.

Given that our standards are a moving target—a target that changes every time we reach a new level of understanding—can we ever truly say we have our standards and insist what we interact with must live up to them?

Every time I hear a stereo system better than my own a new bar is set. A new standard has been registered in my list. What used to pass as minimum viable has been surpassed and now I seek a higher level.

This describes the seemingly endless cycle of wanting better. Better, not because what we have isn’t good. Better, because our standards have been raised and a new bar from which to judge has been set.

We need standards by which to judge what we interact with.

What we don’t need is the sense that our standards are inviolate.

Let’s be comfortable with change.