In an address to an assemblage of physicists at the British Association for the Advancement of Science in 1900, Lord Kelvin stated, “There is nothing new to be discovered in physics now. All that remains is more and more precise measurement.”
The smug hubris of the 1900s led many scientists—including the American physicist Albert Michelson who first measured the speed of light—to declare that everything is already known to us. This seems to be a consistent theme for those convinced we’ve arrived at perfection’s front door.
In yesterday’s post, we wondered where to go now that everything in high-end audio is so near perfection. It’s a great question and the same one asked by hi-fi buffs of the 1950s, and the 60s, and the 70s. And, you get the drift. At each pinnacle of technological perfection, we believe we arrived at journey’s end when in fact we’ve only plateaued on yet another ledge in the steady march towards audio nirvana.
The question then isn’t what are we going to come up with next because everything’s so good, it’s actually more like who will take the next big leap in furthering the art of home music reproduction?
We’ve just finished setting up Arnie Nudell’s personal reference speakers in our room at RMAF. These represent the culmination of one man’s lifetime of work in perfecting the art of reproduced music. They are a wonder to hear, and yet, they are not even close to perfect.
Perfection comes in steps and gulps. With each new arrival the horizon changes.