Sweetening sound

Paul McGowan writes:

We’re all looking for audio truth—getting as close to the live event as technically possible. So, why is it we tend to install equipment and systems that offer an artificially sweetened sound? Do we believe all recordings should be lush, romantic, and easy on our ears? Surely that wouldn’t be honest sound. (We’ve all cringed at a live event).

Yet time and again I read about a cable that removes digital hash, a DAC that sounds sweet, or a cartridge with added bloom.

Several companies—most notably British—have offered vacuum tube sweeteners to be inserted in the signal path of an otherwise cold and overly honest system. They are not alone. Our own BHK products have vacuum tubes in their front ends, though not for artificial reasons.

In the case of our signature products, we weren’t looking to sweeten sound, but rather eliminate added grunge and glare that covers up the audio truth yearning for freedom.

Still, manufacturers tend to add audio sweeteners in the same way sugar might cover up the sins of a bitterly roasted bean.

It is terribly difficult for music lovers to discern if components have been employed to sweeten or cover up harshness, as opposed to uncovering what often gets colored or maimed in the process of amplification.

Sweetening sound is not something that furthers our quest for the audio truth, but it’s an easy fix for a difficult problem.

If you’d like to learn more about my thoughts on sweetening sound WATCH THIS VIDEO

 

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