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Tag Archives: LP

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.

A watched pot never boils
Our perception of reality, of the here and now, of past and future, is relative: time crawls when you watch a clock’s secondhand and speeds past when we’re otherwise occupied.

The same can be said for listening to music. We like to imagine that recordings are immutable, that what’s on the CD or LP or even a streamed music file is fixed and no mood or perceptual change can influence that which is. But, we would be wrong. Just as wrong as thinking time is also immutable, or how long it takes to boil a pot of water when you’re watching it.

Intellectually we understand that clocks and water obey strict laws, yet we cannot say the same for our perception of them.

Measured dynamic range, for example, is rarely a good indicator of how dynamic music sounds. Instead, it is the juxtaposition of loud and soft—the contrast between passages—that makes us feel like it is dynamic, not the measured range itself.

I know the scientist lurking in all of us wishes to measure, quantify, and catalog our physical world. Unfortunately, we haven’t any equipment to measure how we interact with it.

And how it makes us feel is a more valuable measurement than numbers on a page.

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Paul McGowan


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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.

Even guys like Paul can be audio flakes. How many times do we get gobsmacked by something in our audio system, like a tweak, to forgetting about it the next day, or figure out that it’s even not as good as before? Has happened to us all, plus he has a phono stage to sell and I don’t begrudge him for that.

The problem with exuberance

As I waxed enthusiastically about my vinyl LP experience shared in yesterday’s post, it never occurred to me I might have been divisive. That readers not included in the event might feel slighted or worried I was now suggesting a major shift in my long held views on DSD and digital audio, that vinyl’s superior to digital (I am not).

And that’s the problem with exuberance. The energy and excitement of the moment are at the exclusion of the bigger picture.

I suppose there will always be a downside to emotional reporting, which is likely why people like the Chairman of the Federal Reserve Board speak in such muted tones using carefully groomed words. One hint of excitement or disappointment in any one direction could send financial markets soaring or plunging.

Ours is an emotion-packed field. We work hard at coaxing out buried nuance and exposing our souls to the joys of home reproduction in the hopes of eliciting excitement—even exuberance.

Putting a damper on the excitement meter is not in the cards for me.

Now, where’s that grain of salt?

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