SEE, I TOLD YOU: Wipe the slate clean and see what you get!

Paul McGowan: 

How the sound of clapping can be so hard for an amplifier to properly reproduce when music should be ultimate challenge. And equally hard to imagine how the noise between FM radio stations can help us design better amplifiers and cables; yet I am reminded it can.

This whole notion of designer’s improving musical performance in equipment by listening to something other than music is intriguing and has sparked much debate. Although I am new to the idea it’s apparently been part of the designer’s toolkit for some time now. Thanks to all of you helping send me articles and thoughts about the subject.

The whole thing kind of reminds me of television engineers working at the single pixel level to get a perfect tiny dot. Their ultimate goal is a perfect picture made of thousands of such dots, but by focusing on only one tiny dot, great progress can be made at the microscopic pixel level.

And pulling back to an extraordinarily wide macro view helps as well. Sometimes the best listeners make the most accurate observations by simply walking into a room with the stereo playing, being off axis and noting something an involved and immersed listener totally missed.

Perhaps part of the art of observation has to do with letting go of one’s laser focus and preconceptions. Wipe the slate clean and see what you get.

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