Asking the right questions

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Ever ponder a problem so hard your brain hurts, only to later discover the answer was nothing even close to what you were thinking? That's happened to me a number of times.

Perhaps the first was as a boy of five or six, wondering how doctors figured out the sex of newborns when they arrived naked. I probably stressed over this question for a good week before asking my mother - who surely thought I was daft. I had only considered distinguishing boys from girls by their outward appearance: length of hair and manner of dress. But newborns were naked! What a mystery.

When cell phones first appeared I wondered how a small handheld transmitter/receiver could place calls around the world? What miracle could account for their distance when surely 3 watts wouldn't go very far. I imagined all manner of exotic scheme, and none made sense because I was looking in the wrong places. Doh! Head slapping moment.

The same head scratchers have no doubt happened to each of us in some capacity: magician's tricks, famous puzzles, how single tank gasoline trucks deliver three grades of gas, why countries don't start sinking with billions of people weighing them down. And it reminds me of a recent demo for a customer in Music Room One. This fellow was excited to audition the BHK and wanted a comparison between the stereo BHK and the monos. Easy enough to do and the difference is obvious. But before we made the switch he remarked on the amazingly deep soundstage of the IRSV. What magic created a stage deeper than any he had ever heard? I walked behind the speakers, made a change and played the track again. The soundstage had shortened its depth by half.

"What did you do? It was like magic."

I could have let him dangle on the question, and he likely would have ascribed some manner of magic to what he heard with no better answer. But, I told him that I had done nothing more than turn the two RPG diffusors backwards, facing the wall, rather than the rear of the loudspeakers. Now the rear radiated pattern of the dipole bounced off a hard surface, rather than diffused, and the difference immediately noticeable. Such is the power of a diffusor.

Tomorrow we'll look at why.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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