Being safe

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We do appreciate single mindedness, dedicated purpose over multi-functioness, don't we? We choose an Astell and Kern portable music player over an iPhone or Android multi-purpose phone, although the two have similar functions. We choose separates over integrateds and integrateds over receivers. We choose a purpose-built digital coax cable over a purpose-built audio interconnect, even if the two are identical in specifications. I think we do this because it's safer.

I remember being nervous the first time I used an audio interconnect for a coaxial digital connection and it sounded fine. I questioned the results. Why? Because it wasn't a safe assumption. I was treading on unchartered territory. What I did isn't the accepted thing to do. It might open me for criticism or worse; ridicule. I also remember the shirt I picked out in the department store that I liked, only to be told it couldn't be worn because it was a "lady's shirt". It was explained to me the lady's shirts have buttons on the opposite side than those of a man's. I subsequently saw the exact same shirt in the men's department, only this time the side the buttons were on had been swapped. This then, was safe. Sometimes you just gotta call BS on safe.

Of course some purpose-built products have every reason to be selected if they fit your needs. Take the Astell and Kerns example I brought up. As a music player it supports far more formats, has a better DAC and sounds significantly better than an iPhone. But, that's valuable only if you are willing to accept a dedicated lump like this in your pocket - and that - in addition to your phone. I do no serious listening on a portable device, so it doesn't matter to me, better or not better. The iPhone's just fine, gives me a camera as well as everything else.

That said, I am going to make a point of stepping outside my comfort zone with purpose-built products more often than I now do. Why? Because I think it's healthy to question the assumptions around us and be a bit more open for criticism.

You never know what you might find when you do this.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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