Making the most of it

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Engineers work with compromise because there are no design projects without limitations. Even the most exotic projects run up against the laws of physics from time to time.

Which is why we often confuse the word compromise with failure. It is not a failing to compromise, it’s what we all do to make things work.

In fact, we can safely suggest that engineering is the art of compromise. If we’re engineering a bridge we have to set limits. One view of those limitations sounds like a failure: the bridge can’t support the weight of an army tank. But, it wasn’t designed to. A more relevant view is to ask whether or not it meets or exceeds spec.

Exceeding our goals doesn’t sound like compromise, and it certainly doesn’t sound like failure. In fact, we’ve made the most out of what we have to work with.

When you’re judging a piece of audio gear it’s perhaps more important to evaluate it on how closely it meets expectations rather than ticking off a list of what it lacks.

No product has everything. The question should be, does it have what you want?