Wildcards and curveballs
Sometimes everything goes according to Hoyle. But, more often than not, a wildcard gets slipped in—a fact not listed in Hoyle’s Games—but true none the less. Most people around the country can put their trash in the outdoor receptacle without a second thought but not residents of our neighborhood. Hungry bears.
When we get a new piece of stereo equipment our expectations are high for drop-in-and-work and often that’s exactly the case. But then, there’s that curveball: the need for a better audio cable, different position, realignment, or tube swap.
I used to get frustrated with wildcards and curveballs but over the years I have begun to understand their value. By introducing unexpected variables I am required to step outside my comfort zone and learn something new or look at a situation from another angle.
Learning expands horizons. The farther I can see the greater my wealth of possibilities.
I don’t go looking for unexpected circumstances but wildcards and curveballs are some of the best uninvited teachers I know of.
Right tool, right job
You can make almost anything work. Getting things to work right is a bigger challenge.
Take for example a Power Plant AC regenerator. We’d love to use Class D amplifier technology for the output but have consistently stayed with good old Class A/B. Right tool, right job.
Class D amplifiers can be terrific for the reproduction of music and so too can Class A/B. The reason either can work for music but only one for a regenerator is because the jobs are different: powering loudspeakers isn’t as extreme as powering equipment.
Speakers might demand instantaneous current approaching 10 amps for short periods of time—a workable challenge for both amp topologies. Equipment and AC power routinely demand 50 to 60 amps for a regenerator—at 5 times the voltage presented to a speaker. That’s a job for an amplifier without a heavy output filter.
In the same vein, using a vacuum tube for the input rather than the output, or a DC servo instead of a blocking capacitor, is the essence of using the right tool for the right job.
Hard to know what’s right and what’s wrong if you’re not a designer yourself. Which is why it’s important to find a company or a designer you can trust.
Right tool, right job offers the best performance.