When you eliminate the impossible

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Saturday afternoon we had about 40 visitors from CAS listening to Music Room One. Chuck Zellig, whom you might remember co-wrote a couple of articles in TAS called Computer Audio Sound Quality, was at the event and pulled me out of the crowd to make a comment about what he heard. "The system sounds incredible but I think the speakers have a lack of upper energy. I hear it when the contrabass is bowed. It's as if the bow had not enough rosin - upper energy that should be coming off the bow. It's missing." This was a really insightful observation, one no one else seemed to notice or bring it to my attention if they did. Chuck nailed it perfectly. Good observation, wrong conclusion. That happens a lot and it's one of the issues we all face tracking down a problem in our systems. It is typically NOT the obvious that is the problem. Fact is there was no way for Chuck to know where the missing upper energy in the system was being lost. It could have easily been at any point along the way and I agree the most obvious would be the loudspeakers. What I know, that Chuck didn't, is the energy never makes it out of the PerfectWave Power Amp (PWA) we used to drive the system. That amp, as many of you know, is under review to figure how to get that energy back with a major design change. The point of this article has nothing really to do with the amp, the observation or the erroneous conclusion. It is a cautionary note about assuming the "obvious". I get requests all the time asking for advice on hum, poor SQ, missing energy bands, or whatever ailment people have and typically they have just guessed at the culprit choosing the most obvious first. They are rarely correct and surprised when we discover the culprit is something one might never consider, as is often the case. Sherlock Holmes said it well "when you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains,however improbable, must be the truth"
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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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