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02-06-2005 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat

Boston, MA
Posts 9,967
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 637
Reply to: 637
I would like to believe in Santa Claus: designer’s outlook.

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I lately became engaged in a project where I did something in a domain of electronics. I did bult a number of phonocorrectors before but I never considered myself as a DIY enthusiast. I still do not find myself likable in this domain but I kind of forced myself to do a power amp project due to an inflamed necessity. So, since I got involved in this amplifier building ceremony I detected something that I really really do not like. Let me to share.

I kind of considered myself a speaker-type of person and I did experiments with countless versions and revisions. However, no mater how good or bad results with the speakers were or how numerous and long were engagements into the speaker projects it never affected my listening inclinations and habits. With the amplifier project everything turned out to be very different. Since the amp was at the condition that it might already be played I practically stopped to listen music in my normal sense. I mean previously I listened music as a fact that exists “as is”. Conversely, since I begin to audition my amp I started to perceive Music more like a material for the decision-making. Now my amp in the process where numerous critical auditions is taking place and the numerous corrections and assessments are being made, and all of it lead as a result that music, that flow through the amp, perceives as an outcome of MANAGEABLE algorithms. It is a strange feeling, not treasured by me and the solutions do not come form the means that I particularly value.

Initially I though that the abovementioned change of perception is a clear indication the something is very wrong with the new amp. I did analyses on it and concluded that it was not the amp to blame but rather the reflection of “designer attitude” to my own awareness, I did a number of experiments including the switching back to my old playback and semi-long-term observing HOW I listen music. The conclusions that I came across were not really thrilling. By exercising the ability of manage and control sound ELECTRONICALLY I feel that I begin to screw in myself the naturalness and spontaneity of musical perception. I begun to behave not like a visitor of a gallery who impressed by a painting but rather as a painter who is looking at his own work and instead of perceiving the picture as “a whole” he pays attention to the results of minute strokes of brash that he was struggling while he was painted the picture…

I’m not proposing that a designer’s outlook to the listening evaluation would necessary bleach out a musical perception but I do feel that for me personally it would be much more objective if a peace of electronics would be a black box. I really do not want to know while I’m listening that a certain discoloration of tone could be eliminated be dropping the plate current and that specific accents in music could be administer by VitaminQing the specific elements of circuitry. Frankly speaking I feel some kind of cheating when I do all those deceptions. In electronics we get results by using some kind of irrelevant, indirect, barbarian algorisms and I do not really like those techniques. In the acoustic system everything is honest and straightforward: the more stupid decisions you make the more garbage sound you get out of speakers, and therefore the process of designing of a better speaker is a process of clearing your own mind and straightening you own thinking. Reversely, in the electronics everything is as convoluted as in the Scrabin’s preludes. The causality, consequences and compromises are melted into a devilish snake nut and you are forced to walk looking where to put your leg in order do not step on the small but very poison snake…

I do not think that I like what amplifier designer’s go through in order to get a result. I feel that some mental workout should be developed in order to flip a brain form a relaxed views on Musicality when the awareness do not question the existence of the Easter Bunnies to the necessary for a designer-creator critical perception of own work.  I think the ability of brain to operate in both dimensions is a very powerful thing that might provide very precious “dual associative feedback” and eventually mutually enrich each other but I do feel a danger when the designer-creator’s perception become takes over. You see, the Creator-type-perception has more “evidences” and more proof of existence. Contrarily, the EasterBunny-perception more based on “external circumstances”, self-delusion and agreeability. I do not see any conflict in any of the perceptions but I do note that the conflict MIGHT be ignited or stimulated by INTRUSIVE dealing with amplification.

Anyhow, I would like do not make any conclusions in there but juts ‘m passing my observations…

The Cat

"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
02-07-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 272
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 638
Reply to: 637
Listening duality
Hi Romy,

Perhaps what you've been experiencing listening as a designer, is not so different to the way many people involved in this hobby experience while listening to their systems after doing some changes in wires, electronics or speakers' positioning. There's a gap between music perception I mean the way our systems deliver it, and the sound features we can modify by using gear. What's really difficult is correlating the role some "sound properties" play in the final "musical" result, and being able to get better music by tunning the sound of the system.

I can listen both ways, critically to the sound watching its properties and also just focusing on the music and the way I can dive into its content, but I'm not able to make a correlation of the way "sound" alters or influences the music and the way I can enjoy it. I wish I had never learnt to listen to the sounds and had been listening to the music as when I was 14, because for a while I wasn't able to enjoy any recorded music thru my system. The good part of it is that after some time I can listen both ways, but at the price of not being able to enjoy music if the system doesn't do some things right. I'm in the process of learning which things matter, but I still don't know them for sure.


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