From the heart or the head

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Most of us understand that we can connect to music from multiple angles: emotional, analytical, as a student, as a teacher, as a critic or just just casually. However we are connecting wecan easily tell when we like something or we don't and we don't need any sort of training for that to occur.

Case in point one of my readers, Randy Coleman, sent me this note about his A/B testing of the NuWave DAC.

"As I switched back and forth between the CD inputs, my wife hollered at me from the other room, "Why is the music jumping?" I told her what I was doing and asked her to tell me whether A (DL III) or B (NuWave) sounded better. A self-described tone deaf, tin-eared music tolerator, she said B was dramatically better with every music sample. She used the terms "richer," "more alive," "more depth," "less grainy," and "sounds of individual instruments are clear." Trust me, she's never read a hi-fi magazine."

No, she's never read a hi fi magazine but she knows what she likes. Why? Because she wasn't trying: her analytical mind was switched off and her emotional connection switched on.

Whenever I am put on the spot to evaluate something my immediate reaction is one of anxiety - I become guarded as it feels like I am on trial. It's taken me years to learn how to relax under this stress and turn on the emotional "engine" in me.

As designers, however, we must be able to go in and out of the two states in order to relate what we get emotionally connected with to its root cause.

Tomorrow, learning to design by listening.

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Paul McGowan

Founder & CEO

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