Listening biases

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In yesterday's post I defended a stance taken by John Atkinson on demagnetizing CDs. It turns out John's never written about degaussing CDs, but rather, LPs. This is even more of a potentially inflammatory claim. If you would like to read the short article of his experience demagnetizing LPs, click here. I think the first mistake in reporting something like this is the term we're using. Demagnetize. It's probably wrong headed because we cannot suggest that's what's happening–nor did John. In fact, the article is more about paying attention to what we hear–and less about this strange observation. I think it is well worth the read. I have never tried rubbing a bulk tape eraser over an LP. I rarely listen to LPs. But the real point of the article has to do with paying attention to what we hear and trying to quash the little voice in our heads that panics when things don't add up. One of the last lines of John's article is instructive.
All I had were my three hypotheses and an agnostic attitude as to which one of them was correct. To return to Richard Heyser, "I no longer regard as fruitcakes people who say they can hear something and I can't measure it—there may be something there!" I take seriously all tweaks that someone, somewhere has found to result in a sonic improvement. Some will turn out to be bogus, but there are those magic few whose effects are real. The absence of rational explanations for these effects shouldn't prevent audiophiles from appreciating their sonic benefits… what you think you are hearing might by dismissed as being imagination, but as the ghost of Professor Dumbledore says in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, "Of course it's all happening in your head, Harry Potter, but why on earth should that mean that it is not real?
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Paul McGowan

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