The outside edge

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Reader Tom Richard writes "As a long-time bass player, I've always used cymbals to judge music reproduction. The worst systems give you white noise; the best present so much information. Can you hear the difference between standard wood tip drumsticks and nylon-tipped? The amazing differences between cymbals struck near their edge, in the middle and on the bell? The sound of the metal itself, then the production of depths of overtones? Does the sound retain its character through the decay?" Isn't it interesting that much of what we listen for when judging a system or a new piece of kit is at the periphery of sound? That what we focus on is rarely the main point of interest in a track, when what we're looking for are those small differences. The wood-tip or nylon-tip of the drumstick. But then that makes sense in any number of different ways: test driving a new car we don't focus on it going from point A to point B, we look for the fit and finish, the way it handles corners, how the seats feel. We ignore the apple as a whole to focus on its taste, crispness and small details that make that apple unique. It's the little things that matter.
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Paul McGowan

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