Listening vs. hearing

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Reader Patrick Callery sent me a note suggesting the ongoing discussion on voicing really can be summed up simply as Listening vs. Hearing. I think that's a really good description. We all hear everything, but not all of us listen.

I have said many times it doesn't take any skill to tell the differences in audio electronics. All you need is a system good enough to resolve those differences and, interestingly enough, even that isn't too extreme of a challenge. Most people easily discern differences in DACs, preamps, cartridges, all manner of reproduction equipment on even the simplest of systems.

It does, however, require that you listen as opposed to just hearing. And that boils down to paying attention.

If you pay attention to what you're hearing, you'll notice all sorts of things. How many of us can't tell the difference between a live concert and a recording of that concert on a stereo system? Pretty much none of us if we actually listen.

None of us should be afraid to voice our opinions of what we notice, when in fact we are actually listening.

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Paul McGowan

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