PS AUDIO: Unintended consequences


Paul McGowan writes:

While enjoying a morning cup of coffee I was reading Art Dudley’s engaging article on his acquisition of an old pair of Altec Lansing loudspeakers in the May issue of Stereophile. In the latter half of the article he tries to tame the Altec horn of its tendency to ring when stimulated – something that is the bane of almost any loudspeaker design challenge – and the unintended consequences of damping that driver.

Using various methods to damp the driver he gets benefits in one direction and losses in another. This really describes the challenge any of us face when we make changes and try different techniques in our systems. In yesterday’s post I described a pretty radical approach to speaker placement; which many of you have written me back confirming just how effective this method is. What I want to caution everyone of my readers about are those unintended consequences of change. When one things moves, something else changes in response; and not always what you expect.

Our complex brains deal with the oceans of information presented to it each second of the day with pattern filters. You’ve no doubt experienced it yourself. Open a cabinet in the kitchen and search for the green bottle of sauce you remember putting there – and if your memory of the bottle’s color was incorrect – chances are good you’ll not see the bottle at all; so focused on the color green that you miss the red one.

I can’t even count the numbers of times I have been in the listening room concentrating hard to hear a difference in one area that I completely miss another; like left and right channels being swapped. It’s an easy mistake to make.

My only point is when you make a major change in your system, do your best to pull back from focusing on the desired improvement and take a 50,000 foot view of the system as a whole first, then narrow your focus down to the specifics.

It’s good practice if you can remember to do this.

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