I remember how proud I was upon learning the trick of screwing a stubborn lid onto a jar. Though it feels wrong, my father counseled, you first unscrew the lid until the threads are aligned, then turn the opposite direction and tighten ‘er down.
There’s plenty we do that’s seemingly incorrect to get things right: increasing the length of the audio chain with a preamplifier to improve sound quality. Or adding another speaker cable in parallel with an existing one to get tonality in line. Or powering small speakers with big amplifiers so as not to limit dynamics.
Doing what feels wrong to get things right is the inflection point where experience trumps intuition.
When we know enough to pull ourselves out of the rigors of standard practices and leap into the chaotic, we can confidently say we’ve arrived. And that’s a great feeling in whatever endeavor we hope to succeed at.
The circle of experience and knowledge is actually a spiral that is never in the same place at the same time, yet repeats itself in slightly different form as we each share what knowledge and wisdom we’ve accumulated over the years.
It made me feel good when years later I was able to return my father’s lesson. As I watched his face scrunch up as he tried in vain to open a stuck jar lid, I shared my own experience. I turned the jar upside down and demonstrated how a stuck lid needs only a couple of sharp bangs on the countertop to free itself for the turning.
As audiophiles, we have knowledge about music and its reproduction that not many others do. If we can share that wisdom and experience, we lift up those around us.
Just as music was always intended to be shared, so it is with our knowledge. It might feel wrong to speak up in the presence of bad sound, but I’d lean in the opposite direction.
There are few gifts better shared than properly reproduced music and the knowledge required to achieve it in our homes.