UNDERSTANDING: Purity vs. minimalism

I can’t think of anyone that isn’t interested in purity. Pure water, pure truth, pure sound.

While it’s comfortable to assume that fewer obstacles in the signal path (simple is better/cleaner) leads to greater purity, it turns out that bit of common wisdom is not always correct.

Take recordings for example. It’s long been assumed that minimalist miking defines the path to purity. One stereo microphone (or 3 in the famous Decca Tree arrangement) recording the group live has to be pure.


Not necessarily. If we define purity of sound by the end result, there are multiple examples of multi-miked performances that outperform minimalist recordings.

In the same way we need greater complexity to purify water—boiling, and distilling vs. a simple filter—it’s often a mistake to assume minimalism is the path to purity.

Purity is defined by the end product, not how it got there.

Paul McGowan / PS AUDIO

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