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In my rudimentary understanding of British law, everyone's guilty until proven innocent. The opposite seems to be the case in the US, we're all innocent until proven guilty. That may be a serious oversimplification of the facts but since this post is about audio and not legal mumbo jumbo, it'll do.

These two different mind sets remind me of the arguments we get into. 'Prove it to me, or it doesn't exist', vs. 'I hear it and until you can prove me wrong, it's real'. Sound familiar?

I assume pretty much everything I hear is real, because that just seems so danged obvious. Others are immediately suspicious of any change they hear and start to dig deep to figure out if those differences exist.

A good example is the new amplifier we're working on. It sounds great, has from the beginning, but never had the magic I first heard when Bascom originally brought me the prototype. I keep trying to convince myself what I am hearing isn't real, this slight glare that seems pervasive, yet I can't shake the feeling.

We've put it on the bench numerous times to investigate and it measures beautifully. Yet, there is that glare I can't get away from.

We've also noticed a slight 100kHz oscillation riding on the signal. Now, at first that would seem rather obvious it's the culprit. Guilty as charged. Yet the artifacts are in the 10mv region. 1/100th of a volt, something we'd be concerned with in a preamp but in a power amp, where you're dealing with 10 to 30 volts, a mere 1/100th of a volt ain't much. Except ... now that Bob and Bascom fixed it the magic's back. The amp sounds stunning and the nagging doubts caused by the slight glare are gone.

Am I, is my, system so sensitive I can hear a signal this low? Not a chance in hell. So there's something else going on deep inside the amp that we've fixed.

So this is but one example of how mindset can lead us down an unexpected path giving results we weren't prepared for. It's always a point of fascination to me.

But here's the real question. Do those British guys really wear those wigs still?

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Paul McGowan

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