November 21, 2019

Gauging the absurd

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By Paul McGowan From PS Audio

Paul McGowan

I had to laugh. This morning I received an email asking if I get too much SPAM in my inbox and might I be interested in reducing the types of email they are sending. The ad campaign was just cheeky enough to make me laugh but I suspect that wasn’t their intent. Rather, I believe they wanted to show their awesome technical powers. “Hey, we’re savvy enough to get into your inbox just as we are smart enough to keep us out.” This was like coming into our parking lot slashing tires and pitching us on why we should buy a security fence.

We’re faced with the absurd nearly every day. I recently read a marketing piece from a high-end audio company selling a power conditioner that defied the laws of physics. Thank goodness! As a rebel at heart myself I am so happy someone stood up to these arcane laws! It’s about time they were challenged and proved wrong. The nerve!

I believe that as responsible industry people we have a duty to our culture to shy away from the absurd in favor of the truth—even if we don’t understand it.

More than a few times we have been technically unable to explain what we hear. Just yesterday, engineer Darren Myers moved a lowpass pole on the new Stellar Phono moving coil input stage from 400kHz to 100kHz and wiped out the top end. That makes no technical sense. The fact we cannot come close to hearing any difference between those frequencies sends absurdity flags flying at full mast! Yet, audibly, the differences were night and day. (Rest easy, he put the filter back where it sounds right).

All of us have a built-in absurdity meter. It’s hard to know when to pay attention or just ignore it for the moment.

For more on this story go to: https://www.psaudio.com/pauls-posts/gauging-the-absurd/

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