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When we say a new piece of audio kit enhances the performance of the system do we mean it in the literal sense of the word? "An increase or improvement in quality, value, or extent."

Or, do we mean it as something beyond what is there? Something unnatural.

In yesterday's post I wrote about reverb. Properly applied added reverb, if generated live from the microphone feed, enhances the singer or instrument by adding something that is not there. And that kind of makes sense. We expect to hear the room or the environment where the music is played and naturally that environment contains walls that generate a kind of reverb. When we're in the studio, there are (acoustically speaking) no walls. No natural reverb. So we add it in to fill in what our brains tell us should be there to sound natural.

When we're speaking of audio equipment, I think most of us would be horrified to think of enhancing the system's performance by adding in something that does not naturally exist. Like reverb.

So, while this may be more semantic than than definitive, an enhancement in performance of a HiFi system would likely not involve adding something artificial to sweeten the sound. Even EQ, properly applied, does not add that that is not supposed to be there, but rather it should replace something missing.

A fine point, to be sure, but let's be careful about added sweeteners.

They're not good for our audio health.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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