Sonic fog

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I had mentioned “sonic fog” in yesterday’s post, referring to the colorations exhibited with high-mass drivers relative to low-mass panels such as an electrostat.

What did I mean by that?

Speakers color sound. All of them. And headphones too. They are the single most imperfect medium within your stereo system. The small irregularities found in the electronic chain pale next to the rich colorations rife in transducers.

It’s easy to understand why. Loudspeaker drivers off all types have mass and movement that must be controlled. To do that, power amplifiers convert one form of energy—the AC from your wall—into another—musical signals—that accelerate and deaccelerate transducer mass in the same way our car’s engine and brakes do.

It is this imperfect process of attempting to move mass that causes colorations. Just as your car doesn’t respond instantly to instructions from your foot upon the gas and brake pedals, loudspeaker transducers don’t fare any better.

Because of this, there’s a fog through which we listen, one we’ve gotten used to.

I don’t know if it’s possible to clear it away without sacrificing other sonic qualities such as frequency response, and dynamics.

But if someone does, sign me up.