Consistently wrong

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I had pointed out in Yesterday's Post that Keith Johnson of Reference Recording fame told me a story about his custom made loudspeakers. I had asked him what he listened to for monitors–with the thought they might be a perfect reference system for me–and his answer surprised me. He told me I would hate his monitors and even his own recordings played back on them would be a disappointment. Many of you thought that comment odd, as did I. Most studio monitoring systems I have heard would not make good reference loudspeakers for home use and Keith's comment really summed that up. Studio monitors are chosen for their ability to hear minute differences in the recording. Home listening monitors are chosen for best overall reproduction of recorded music. There's a difference between the art of faithfully recording live music and playing it back in your living room. Perhaps this whole topic of differences between studios and homes would be a good subject to explore. Logically what's good for the recording should be good for the playback. But the truth turns out to be entirely different. I listen for what's consistently wrong. Too much of this, too little of that, on every recording, cannot be the fault of the recording. It must be the fault of the reproduction chain. This method is not without its limitations. Let's say my reference system renders a multitude of recordings in a natural way: without consistent additions or subtractions. I then replace one of the elements and things change. Now, I consistently hear too much of something. Like bass. My first inclination is the new DUT (Device Under Test) is to blame. But, what if the new device is right and my system had a weakness in the bass? And that is crux of the problem all reviewers face. We are all reviewers. Some of us review equipment for a living, as authors or manufacturers, while the rest review products to narrow choices of what is added or subtracted in their home setups. But we are all reviewers. So, how does one get around the weakness I just described? We'll start to look at those methods tomorrow.
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Paul McGowan

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