Take only pictures
If you hike a bit you’re bound to see signs about leaving the land as you found it.
“Take only pictures, leave only footprints.”
The origins of this saying aren’t as clear to me as its meaning. Do no harm.
This simple idea might be good advice for more than just hikers—it can easily apply to our sometimes misguided desire to enhance, improve, and modify our stereos.
What would happen if we ran all our urges to make things better through the lens of do no harm? Or, put another way, asking ourselves if we’re fixing a problem or adding sugar to cover bitterness.
When I think of expensive audio cables with control boxes to modify performance or additive/subtractive circuits like tone controls I have to ask myself a basic question. Is this an enhancement or a means of preserving what’s natural?
When we add a Power Plant to our stereo system we’re fixing a basic problem with our home’s AC. That’s an act designed to do less harm.
When my cousin Don added a spring reverb to his car audio system that was an enhancement that veered away from our ideal.
The difference between doing no harm and making things better is a fine one indeed.
It’s worth asking the question.
Paul is talking about power from our wall in this post and I agree that the better quality the AC power, the better our stereos will sound. The better the power from our amplifiers, the better our stereos will sound.
Is bigger better?
It’s tough to have too much power like I discussed in my post about audio clipping.
Which begs the question of why we don’t then install the biggest, heaviest gauge, AC power wiring possible. In this country the biggest practical AC receptacle is 20-amp—the most common is 15-amp. We rarely have the 20-amp variety in our living areas.
Electronics draw what’s needed regardless the size of the attached reservoir. So it would make sense to have unlimited reserves of AC power in the same way we might opt for the biggest hard drive on our computer—just in case, but the fact is, we don’t without calling an electrician in.
Sometimes, however, the bigger power is worth the added expense of running a new circuit. Take our upcoming P20 Power Plant. This beast requires that elusive 20-amp AC receptacle to produce its full 2,000-watt capabilities, yet few will be able to take advantage of all the P-20 can deliver without installing a 20-amp plug. Which is why our engineers figured out a way to have the best of both worlds: a 15-amp and a 20-amp input on the back of the P20. With this innovation, users can immediately enjoy its benefits on their 15-amp circuits while someday opting to add a 20-amp circuit for increased performance.
The reason manufacturers don’t routinely add 20-amp inputs is the power cable connectors are different. (You can’t plug a 15-amp product into a 20-amp circuit for safety reasons).
I’ve put together a video for you on the subject of 20-amp connectors. The video, by the way, is the first with my new shortened intro. Let me know what you think when you watch it here.
And speaking of P20s, one of them just happened to escape our Boulder facility. It’s been located in Toronto at Audio Excellence and will remain there for another week or so. If you’re in the area drop by and ask Adrian to let you pet it.