CONTRAST and COMPARE: Musicality and Engineering

I had once started a discussion with the same name in another forum, since this question has intrigued me from time to time. Since this forum is a hub of aficionados of music, who are into the "art" of sound and not merely into the "science" of it, I would love to know your views on this topic.

It is our love for music which drives us into this audio hobby. We all love listening to music, and we love listening to it in a way that it can dig deep into us and evoke the sense of peace, happiness or for some the sense of raw emotion.. the same raw emotions that drive a musician to compose the music.

Last night listening to my system, immersed in the depths of the music being played, I am sometimes struck by the thought.. how does the designer of an audio equipment put so much life into something so inert. It is basically a pulse of electricity which ultimately is causing a diaphram to vibrate and produce sound waves. But the designer designs everything in such a manner that even this mundane thing is able to produce such beautiful musicality.
My system is very basic, and I have heard systems which are even more beautifully musical.

This made me think, what was it about the designers of these equipments which makes their creations such. Is it only excellence in engineering and design? Or is it that these people loved music more than anything, and their understanding of the science and engineering allowed them to create something which could produce something so musical.

If we look at some of the greatest designers in the field of audio - John Bowers of B&W, Raymond Cook of KEF, Tom Colangelo of Mark Levinson and Cello, Dan D'Agostino of Krell, Sir Nelson Pass, Jeff Rowland, William Johnson of Audio Research, Dave Wilson of Wilson Audio .. all of them were/are either musicians themselves, or real music afficianados. They had real love for music and the passion to get that music in their creations.. who tried to incorporate as much honesty, emotion and musicality in their creations as possible.

So, to be able to create musically engrossing audio equipment, especially speakers, do you think it is more important to be a musician/music connoisseur first, and then an engineer? Or is it engineering which has the upper hand?

P.S: If you got bored with the ramblings.. please allow your greatness to forgive this poor soul


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