Turns out that while a servo system can indeed turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse

If I believe something to be correct it’s easy for me to jump to a conclusion that matches that belief.

On the other hand, if an observation doesn’t match my belief, I don’t jump anywhere near as high or quickly.

In fact, it takes a great deal of energy to jump in the opposite direction.

It’s more like swimming upstream.

Let me give you an example. I believed for years in the superiority of servo woofers. The greatest systems I had ever heard had servo-driven bass. And the logic behind a servo control just makes sense: any quality of woofer and enclosure can be made near-perfect by the addition of active feedback.

At the time, every subwoofer I’d ever heard without servo control sounded wimpy and flabby while the opposite was true with those properly controlled.

The first crack in the dam occurred with a Velodyne servo woofer. Ugh. Constrained, tight-assed, uninvolving, amusical.

Turns out it’s possible to design the musical life out of a product if you’re intention is more theater than music.

The final straw was when Darren Myers and Chris Brunhaver cornered me into letting down my guard long enough to hear a very different viewpoint. That servo control limits what’s possible in reproducing the impact and musical dynamics of music.

Turns out that while a servo system can indeed turn a sow’s ear into a silk purse (average performance woofer into a real performer), it cannot compete with a purpose-designed state-of-the-art woofer like the one Chris designed for the aspen FR30.

It’s easy to jump to the conclusions that reinforce our beliefs.

It’s a lot harder to reverse course in the face of being proven wrong.

Paul McGowan / PS AUDIO

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