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.

The taste scale

You’ve been to the supermarket and stared at row upon row of packaged foods. Each announces how good it is and how much you’re going to enjoy it. Kind of like audio equipment, right? No manufacturer makes what they consider to be bad sounding stereo goods just as no food manufacturer makes products they think taste bad.

And yet, there are so many times I’ve bought into the marketing on the front of the package only to find out it was not for me.

The problem is we cannot tell by ingredients alone what something’s going to taste like. If I am in the cookie section and focus only on organic this, and natural that, it doesn’t tell me squat about how it’s actually going to taste.

What would happen if we agreed on a taste scale? You know, a 1-10 great taste scale as determined by an official set of certified tasters? Kind of like reviewers in the audio market.

I would then be able to quickly scan down the plethora of cookies and suss out the few 10s and take them home. Done! No more bad choices.

Only, what do you want to bet my tastes aren’t always going to line up with theirs? That despite the list of ingredients, despite the taste testers, the end product may not match my tastes.

I think this is a good example of a couple of things. First, it helps us understand why audio measurements only tell us a tiny bit of a bigger story. Second, it helps us understand why our experiences often do not match those of others. Our systems, our homes, our personal biases do not always line up with others.

There’s only one way to make a choice. Do what you can to narrow the field by manufacturer, reputation, and review. Then you gotta take it home and give it a taste, or a listen.

The only valid taste or listening scale is your own.


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.

I liked you right up and until…

People are a funny, fickle lot sometimes. We can turn on and off others in our community as if they had a switch.

I had to smile after receiving a terse note from one of our HiFi Family members deriding me for my observations that fuses made a difference in sound.

“I liked you and paid attention to your thoughts right up until you said you heard a difference in fuses. That’s just absurd. You’ve lost all credibility. I am done. Thank you.”

What’s fascinating to me is how all that I have said and written over these many years can be accepted and valued until a violent disagreement occurs. At that point, we hit the erase button. No longer is there any trust for what once worked.

Over on our forums I notice several community members had deleted their Roger Waters music and, though they once liked it, will now never listen again because of his abhorrent political views. Are we making a statement or has suddenly his music become unlikeable? The notes seem the same.

It must have something to do with not wanting whatever it is we don’t like to rub off on us.

What would happen if we figured out a way to cherry pick through what we liked and didn’t like without simply hitting the delete button? Kind of like scraping the mold off of cheese as opposed to throwing out the entire chunk.

Might be a more interesting world.