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When I travel to visit a dealer or audio club I am often asked to evaluate their system the moment I walk into the room. At that very moment I am still in the travel, rush, rush mode and two things happen: I am disengaged just enough to offer a very pragmatic evaluation of the overall sound, but not engaged enough to give any real quality assessment of the details.

I can only imagine this scenario isn't much different for any of you walking around from room to room at an audio show; or a reviewer. How do they do it?

When I am working in one of our two Music Rooms I am, of course, not only engaged but immersed and this can have the opposite two effects: I am engaged to the point where I hear only the details of the presentation, but not disengaged enough to give any real quality assessment of the overall sound. I've managed to miss a channel swap when so immersed, which is anything but nuanced.

In the first scenario I miss nuances and in the second I miss the big issues.

The only cure for this conundrum for me is to put on an entire CD I haven't heard in a long, long time and sit quietly with my eyes closed and listen. Having no expectations seems to do the trick of helping me hear both the nuanced details and the overall presentation.

Of course if I do this around 2 in the afternoon, I also tend to nap off.

Which isn't all the unpleasant in the middle of the day.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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