Paul McGowan writes:
I wonder how much it matters to most of us to know and understand what’s going on inside a piece of audio kit. Don’t get me wrong, I certainly enjoy sharing my bits of knowledge with you about design, how things work and why – and frankly am always appreciative of even one person reading what I have to write, let alone several thousand.
But I do ask myself from time to time the value of this info other than just satisfying one’s curiosity.
For example, nerd that I am, I enjoy watching TV programs about how things work, from physics to food making and everything in between. I am sure I’ll never discover a new secret to the universe because of my interest but I enjoy absorbing the info none the less.
I will say that some of this unrelated info has rubbed off in good ways: like the invention of the Noise Harvester. After watching some science program about matter and energy and how we can only morph these into one form or another – but never create or destroy them – the thought occurred to me that instead of rerouting noise energy it would make more sense to convert it to another form. The beauty of conversion as opposed to rerouting is one removes the problem entirely, the other simply shuffling it off elsewhere. In the case of the Harvester we convert noise to light – instead of shunting the noise to ground – but what’s important is that the idea for this came from some science program I watched about something else.
My question really revolves around the choices we make in high-end audio and what works in our systems and why. For example, this series is in the middle of understanding what a SMPS does and why, but I’ll bet most of us never know what kind of power supply is inside our audio equipment and an even greater number probably don’t care.
What most of us care about is performance. It’s like watching a great film – but having to see the behind the scenes making of that film before you decide to watch it or not. For me, and I suspect most of us, I am interested in how something was made only after I was impressed with the end result – and became curious how this was pulled off.