Tag Archives: audiophiles

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.

Audio lexicon

My upcoming book, 99% True, is working its way through the last of the story editor’s comments. One of his consistent themes is a demand for me to refrain from describing sound with nothing more than descriptive words: dry, wet, rich, thin, fat. In his view, these words bring little meaning to the reader unless they are audiophiles.

In fact, he’s correct. What does thin sound like if you’re new to our endeavor? Instead, he’d rather I use simile, “a figure of speech involving the comparison of one thing with another thing of a different kind, used to make a description more emphatic or vivid (e.g., as brave as a lioncrazy like a fox ).”

Language is a funny thing. We use words to describe words. If you haven’t a deep knowledge of words, then using other words to help with meaning doesn’t work. In order for the process to have meaning, we need to first compare words with physical objects: cat, dog, tree, sky, air. Over time our minds catalog these references to form relationships which we can then use to extrapolate other word images.

It occurs to me that listening skills are the same. We immerse ourselves in live music, often at an early age, and form comparisons between a physical object, like a violin, and the sound it makes. In this way, we learn the lexicon of music.

The lexicon of reproduced music, audio, really only works if we already possess real-life comparisons in our memory.

My task as a writer pales next to the mind’s struggle for meaning.

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 active room

At my core, I am an inventor. I love nothing more than to be given a challenge—a problem—that needs a solution and the freedom to invent a new way to solve that problem. One of the greatest joys I have experienced is being part of a team of engineers that can take an idea and make it a product. My only regret is not having an unlimited sized team that could work on multiple problems at once. I suppose it is the dilemma of all like-minded people.

One idea in search of the resources to make it a reality is the active room where the interior surfaces are not reflective acoustic mirrors, as they are in a normal room. Instead, each surface is acoustically active and can be controlled. We see examples of this idea in modern aircraft, especially those of Boeing.  Their engineers have built active noise cancellation into the plane’s interior walls so that they act like the microphone/headphone contraptions passengers routinely wear to keep noise out.

Interior walls are both benefits and curses. They keep unwanted sounds out while keeping undesirable reflections in. What would happen if we made them a type of loudspeaker fed by in-room microphones? I suspect it would enable us to create amazing spaces and not just for audiophiles wanting better sound. Imagine the environments and moods you could create within your home if the walls reproduced pre-recorded outdoor spaces with streams and birds. And I don’t mean just playing back the sounds of nature, but actually placing you in that acoustic space as if the room were acres big.

It is an interesting concept, one I hope to be able to tackle someday or use if someone else beats me to the punch.

I hope they do.