Hearing vs. listening

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We hear with our ears, we listen with our brains.

This sometimes overlooked observation explains much. For example, people with limited frequency response are often good listeners capable of discerning fine variations in harmonics, frequency response, and phase. The brain compensates for that which the ears do not properly register.

This observation also explains why it sometimes takes training to hear minute differences many among us accept as "obvious".

I have, on numerous occasions, walked people through the process of listening by pointing out specific areas to focus on: depth, soundstage, timbre, pacing. Once they get the hang of it, wrapping their brains around the newly acquired listening skills, they become self sufficient listeners.

The same can be said about our other senses. Tongues and noses send taste information, but it is our brains and experience that interpret them in meaningful ways. Just ask any wine taster.

The better we become as listeners, the more we demand quality hifi equipment.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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