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In the Forum: Playback Listening
In the Thread: About destiny of “High-End Sound”.
Post Subject: Immediate Gratification by Surrogate Sonic EffectsPosted by Romy the Cat on: 1/31/2007

Mighty lights changed that night into morning,
Speakers blew up that orderly silence
With my tunes that the country had learned.
But my voice, gruff and husky, and roaring,
By the latest achievements of science
Into pleasant falsetto was turned.
(Vysotsky, 1973)

In the would of “surrogate sound” the primary objective of audio component is to deliver an immediate gratification to a listener by exposing him/her to various simulated sonic effects.

Those Sonic Effects are evidences of Sound or the manifestation of sound but not THE Sound itself. Where is the difference? Well, Sound it self-justifiable entity where the characteristic of Sound’s expressionism have relevancy to Sound meaning. The Sonic Effects are the sounds that exist themselves without any connectively to own purpose.

Where is a difference between Sonic Effects (I call them the Surrogate Sounds) and Sound? Try to “compare” a play of many of contemporary high-skilled piano players with some “other” greatest players. Many today’s players have stunning techniques and have no mistakes in their notes rendering. However their notes are not “compliable” within a framework of the human idea of the performing peace. From other side of you look at “other” pianists (let take for instance the Vatican Recordings of Arturo Michelangeli) then we see that he made a lot of something that could be called “mistakes”. However, those “mistakes” are very much justifiable and balanced out by the performer’s intentions and therefore those mistakes did not work as ‘shortcomings of performances’ but rather they worked as the features of the interpretations. The very much the same is in Sound reproduction. Sound serves meaning and purpose that has association with humanity of a listener. The Surrogate Sonic Effects have no meaning and no purposeful messages besides informing a listener about the self-serving “Sonic Differences”….

Many of today’s hi-fi manufactures, from sonic-cultural perspective, are very shallow individuals. Many of them juts learned hot to apply bias to tubes or how to screw drivers to polished boxes and they feel that their “skills” enough qualification to become audio solution providers. They produce their audio at the best of their knowledge but their knowledge and their understanding of Sound restricted by their primitive understanding of Sound. In reality they do not know Sound but rather they know only the sequences of Sonic Effects. Therefore they mostly do not recognize own mastership of infliction to Sound – they involved juts in the Sonic Effects rearrangements. They do not create Sound as a super entity but they manufacture Sonic Effects toolkits - the commodity to entertain the pre-sold public.

Here is where we reach a very important point that has a lot of to do with fate of Hi-Fi. There is a silent alliance between primitivism of manufacturer capacity and the areas of consumer frustrations.  This silent alliance the hi-fi industry chose to exploit. The today’s industry propaganda does encourage a consumer to search for more meaningful audio. Rather the industry ignite in a prospective consumer a set of artificial frustrations and then offer to the consumer some kind of audio product that presumably addresses those frustrations. However since this “inspirited frustrations” are purely artificial,  purely contrived and have no relevancy to real live then the “virtues” that today “successful” audio product delivers exist ONLY in context of Sonic Effects not in context of Sound. Since the “inspirited frustrations” and “deliver virtues” have no real meaning the industry dance around the “varieties” and “difference” failing to educate consumers that those “differences” and pointless.  In fact, stressing and creating anxiety around those “meaningful difference” is way how the industry makes living and it is why unfortunate audio people  keep buying PURPOSEFULLY each year a new amplifiers of a new speaker. Why PURPOSEFULLY? Because the industry convinced them that a new model delivers a new set of those “Surrogate Sonic Effects” – and as I said above the Sonic Effects are “not important”. As the result an average audio person in the hand of today industry demonstrate behavior similar to that Pussy from “New Yorker” magazine:

There is a lot of recursion in the processes of pushing of the “Surrogate Sonic Effects” but the biggest problem, as I can see it, is that this recursion has an EXPANDING SPIRAL CHARACTER where each new turn further and further moves listening awareness from any more or less civilized Sound.

Surrogate Sonic Effects slowly become the identifiable characteristics that the Audio-Morons understood as “Good Sound”. Form here the supply-demands progression is logically flows: The producing layer of Morons offer to the market ONLY what the consumer layer of Morons are wiling to get. Between them are running the marketing layer of Morons, putting up new and new sets of easy achievable and easy saleable Surrogate Sonic Effects. They setup their new directions that leads any Morons-consumers to a new turn of ever-expanding spiral of the Sonic Effects bogusness…

The next my pots in this there will outline some specific exemplas how the Surrogate Sonic Effects become the fate of High-End Audio objectives.

Romy the Cat

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