Tag Archives: amplifier

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.

Breaking things

We’re raised up to get the right answers to problems and to do whatever it takes not to break things. We’re rewarded for reciting memorized answers and staying out of harm’s way.

I would like to argue that’s backasswards from what matters to our development as humans. We should praise wrong answers and encourage breakage.

I remember years back when I came up with the idea of using an audio transformer to connect the power amplifier’s output to the low level input of a subwoofer. I reasoned that it would be a good idea to pass along the sound quality of the main amplifier to the subwoofer. That despite the lack of purity subwoofers would have a greater tendency to disappear when fed this “preconditioned” signal than if we sent a pure input from the preamplifier.

I was ridiculed for this idea. In fact, it got so bad that I hid my little audio transformers behind the main speakers as a protective measure for my ego.

I was told this idea was all wrong. It broke the regular way people did things and therefore it not only wasn’t the right answer but in fact the wrong answer.

Over the years and unbeknownst to me that wrong answer became the obvious and best way to connect subwoofers. That in order to reach the goal of the subwoofer helping the main speakers and disappearing in the process this was not only one of the best means of achieving the goal but it was “obvious”.

I don’t think I invented this technique. What’s important is that I was willing to break things, to be comfortable with the wrong answer in service of the right goal.

I would sooner encourage people to make mistakes than focus on getting the right answers. We can find the “right” answers with a Google search.

Discoveries come from breaking things.


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.

Ignorance and confidence

When we set our sights far in the future the world looks nice and rosy. Imagine that new pair of speakers gracing your living room, the new amplifier, the rebuilt audio room.

According to Mark Twain imagining the future takes a combination of things.

“Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the blind can see. The secret of getting ahead is getting started. All you need in this life is ignorance and confidence, and then success is sure.”

Ignorance is a sure bet because we cannot know what the future will hold.

I imagine most of us go into future endeavors with a touch of confidence and likely a healthy dose of fear or at least trepidation. That’s alright because we’re just being human.

The trick, as Twain writes, is getting started. Sometimes we get stuck with the fear.

When it comes to imagining the new I get more excited than fearful, and would rather move forward than sit and worry about being wrong, but I know that’s more me: the ever starry-eyed optimist willing to ignore possible perils that might get in the way of my vision. Not everyone’s the same.

But here’s the thing. Regardless of where you find yourself on the scale of ignorance, confidence, and worry, when it comes to imagining the future it’s our dreams of how much better our world might be if only…that enables us to move in a forward direction.

My advice is simple. When dreaming of the future feel free to imagine as big and bold and wonderful as you can envision. Once reality creeps in and your old buddy fear sidles up next to you, go ahead and scale it back to something a bit less outlandish but for heaven’s sake don’t get stuck. It’s all about movement (even in the wrong direction).

Our futures are likely brighter if we start big and dial it back to reality without getting off the bus before it leaves the station.