Weird to wonderful
Bringing new ideas, concepts, and radical change to an established way of doing things requires great effort—moving from weird to wonderful.
Imagine just a few of the major shifts within our lifetimes: vacuum tubes to solid-state amplifiers, vinyl to CD, LP records to audio streaming. Each and every shift began life as the weird and only over time moved into the wonderful.
In my father’s era, change came slowly. I remember him as being amongst a handful of pioneers separating speakers drivers from console HiFi’s and building separate enclosures. This was radical stuff as nearly all music reproduction systems were confined to a single box replete with everything needed to play music. It would be another decade or so that separate box speakers crept into the collective, and multiple decades after that for the electronics to separate into what we think of today as standard fare.
As a modern collective of audio lovers, we’ve had to adjust our acceptance levels with respect to the speed of change. What might have sent my father’s head spinning seems normal to us. In fact, many are impatient for the next big breakthrough to come our way.
The pace of change is increasing. This excites me personally as I have always been impatient to experience (or cause) the next great revolution.
Where do you sit when it comes to change?
Does it feel weird or wonderful?
Part of knowing our HiFi Family so well is understanding what I like to think of as Audiophile Wisdom, the collective agreement of what we believe. For example, audiophiles pretty much agree that vacuum tubes sound one way, solid-state devices quite another. Or, LP’s and vinyl has its sound and digital something different.
Every interest group on Planet Earth has its share of collective wisdom. That’s certainly nothing new, but when it comes to audio I have yet to find any other passion-driven endeavor to be so rich and vocal when it comes to our beliefs.
Some might refer to the common wisdom as myths while others would consider much to be gospel. Whatever your viewpoint on the audiophile’s wisdom, it’s helpful to recognize some of the more popular tropes. Separating the things we believe from facts can be very helpful when attempting to untangle often complicated subjects.
One of the main goals of the Ask Paul video series is unraveling some of the conventional audiophile wisdom and helping people understand the origins of the stories and beliefs. Often, I have to check myself to make sure what I am saying isn’t simply a regurgitation—hard when you’ve been so immersed in the culture for such a long time.
I think it’s always helpful to share our collective wisdom with others. It’s also important to check your sources. Most audiophile wisdom is based in old history that may or may not be true anymore.
Be careful your accumulated wisdom doesn’t send you down the wrong road.