Preconception

December 21, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

What an interesting idea. To preconceive of something. See the future in your mind's eye. Imagine how something is going to sound.

When one of our engineers like, Darren, Bob, Chris, or Chet come to me with their grand vision of how a proposed new product is going to sound or a new design is going to look, they have this amazing preconception of the final result. They share it with me in such a way that I too get excited of the prospects for its end results despite the fact it doesn't actually exist.

And then the long weeks and months of hard work begin. Work needed to turn a vision into a reality.

Rarely does the finished product match exactly the preconception, but more often than not it's at or beyond the level of expectation.

And when we exceed our expectations of a future vision that's when it feels like magic.

Whether you're dreaming of building a system or imagining how much better it will sound by swapping out this product or that, the act of preconception is how we establish the dreams that become our reality.

Imagine that!

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44 comments on “Preconception”

  1. Often I wonder how much fine tuning will be required between a PS Audio DAC, a PS Audio preamp, a PS Audio monobloc & a PS Audio aspen FR30 loudspeaker to create the best possible 'Goldilocks' home audio rig, whilst using an Octave Records CD in the PS Audio transport; resulting in the best possible reproduced music, musical experience.

    **From yesterday**
    Similar to those who don't believe that different cables, or even that different configurations of cables, make a difference to the final sound of a high-end home audio rig.
    I believed, in my twenties & early thirties, that 3D holographic imaging was a lot of audiophile snake-oil crap...until I experienced it for myself on my own 2ch home audio rig, in my own listening room.

    Two things that I learned from the experience:

    i) 3D holographic imaging & pinpoint sound-staging
    is real & it could be achieved for as little as AU$5k, &
    ii) don't think that your opinion is fact.

    We all need to keep an open mind...in my not so humble opinion 😉

    1. I’m going to keep posting this quote until we all think about it and bring it into our lives.

      “Use your mind is if it was a parachute It works a whole lot better when it’s open”.

  2. I think preconception means something else. What Paul is talking about is what is known amongst my fellow creative geniuses as coming up with a bright idea. Then you postulate, prevaricate, plan, prototype, procure, pray and, if all goes well, party. Excuse me while I go and percolate.

      1. I just bought a new French press, so possibly like Steven I’ve got coffee on the mind.

        Brand new, double walled stainless steel press. A good investment considering the glass walled presses break over time. 🙂

        1. I have a couple of different sized coffee presses and love the taste of the coffee that emits from them! Maybe it’s because I have extra effort involved in the process? I don’t think mine are double walled however.

          I also bought this year an espresso machine that keeps a hopper of beans in the top and grinds and brews for each cup. That’s a home run it tastes great as well.

          The coffee machine had a removable cord and I had an AudioQuest power cord laying around I used it on the coffee maker and it opened the taste bloom and the coffee background was much blacker. Lol, a bit of levity there.

        2. My local coffee roaster once had a t-shirt for one of high-test blends known as "A. M. Mayhem" featuring a cartoon of a well caffeinated luchador driving down the plunger of a French press pot with such force that the glass carafe shattered, exploding outward.

          I also have a double walled stainless steel press pot (well the inner wall definitely is, the outer wall is heavily powder coated). My current favorite is from The Mill's coarse ground "Good Life Blend", actually a single source Columbian Supremo, but a proprietary (meaning I don't know the ratio) mix of dark and medium roasted beans. Whatever it is, they found sweet spot. Me gusto.

  3. If you sat me down with all of PS Audio’s flagship equipment for a total system synergy for the FR 30’s my preconceptions are that is wouldn’t suck.

    I’m such a great postulator, huh? 😉

  4. Preconceive, envision, calculate, foresee, imagine, wonder if, postulate, speculate; enough! Go try it out.
    I recently looked at my Rega Planar turntable and wondered and all of the above from what I had learned from owning various turntable exotica in the past: that tiny gap between the spindle and the central hole in the glass platter: does the platter move eccentrically during rotation?

    I placed two slivers of paper opposite each other around the spindle and lowered the platter down again, filling the tiny gap.

    Play a record: result: imagine and wonder if? proved correct: a much improved replay quality.
    So, Paul, preconception based on what if? can yield sonic rewards.

  5. Twice I have sat beside genius creators with a vision
    1). A master chef.
    Me: how do you create a new menu?
    He: at 2 in the morning while listening to The Mission I write it out.
    Me: do you work it over before it goes on the menu?
    He: no

    Ivor Tiefenbrun:
    He: the LP12 was perfect from day1
    Me; your initial LP12 mat was not the thin felt you ended up with

    1. You just ruined my vivid imagination Mike :-). I love my music system but not in that way. I’d rather use the term. tender loving care.

      Love your perverse sense of humor though.

      1. 😎 stimpy2

        The vinyl clean, the system warm-up, the side finger cd handle All foreplay or possibly before play. I think your imagination ran into the gutter. 😉

        1. My imagination lives in the gutter. I thought my reply was sort of harmless.
          I need to reassess my imagination. It certainly was not meant to be taken with that intent.

  6. While the initial conception of a great new idea may originate from a single mind, to bring a complex design to successful reality takes a team and collaboration.

    When developing a new design concept, it is the time spent collaborating to expand, refine and polish the rough pebble of an idea is often what I enjoy the most.

  7. One should have well known references for meaningful preconceptions of audio playback (and no, not, at least not only the live event). Otherwise one’s just guessing and either always unjustly disappointed unjustly notoriously enthusiastic.

  8. Sometimes I tell people I don't need to have a guitar in my hand in order to practice playing. Some of them look at me like I'm nuts, others nod knowingly. What I mean is that I can visualize playing, and the sound that will come out, and if I don't have a guitar with me I can mentally practice playing it anyway.

    1. Frank, your comment reminds me of “The Queens Gambit”. I enjoyed our heroines looking up at the ceiling and Pre-visualizing all of her possible Chess strategy moves unfold before her eyes.

    2. Track day enthusiasts and professional race car drivers can sit in the car with eyes closed and drive a perfect lap in their head and be within a few seconds of their best lap...

  9. "Rarely does the finished product match exactly the preconception, but more often than not it’s at or beyond the level of expectation." This is typically true when talented, capable and adequately funded people like those at PSAudio are behind the endeavor. I don't think "more often than not" is the general norm. Dud products abound and disappear quickly from our memory banks. Over 50% of small businesses fail after five years. In the real world most preconceptions do not turn out well.

  10. So far in a post about preconception we have talked about coffee and sex. How about a true story about preconception. My career in R&D was divided into two parts: the first third of it I worked processes R&D and the final two thirds in product development. In the first third I functioned as a true scientist doing hands on work. A group of six of us had a preconception of a grand scheme to develop thin film structures in parallel with the substrates they would reside on and then join them together. I was assigned as technical leader of the joining process team. I did some modeling, ran some experiments and built the first prototype.

    I sold the idea to executive management and was given a $750K budget ( this was 1990 and that was real money back then ), a team of about 10 people and told I had 18 months to make it happen. Two and half years later we did it and the next month big brother canceled the who damn product line the process was for. Sometimes you party and then you cry.

  11. I had this exact experience at 2 am this morning when I found (online) a product announcement for the reincarnation of the BSA Gold Star motorcycle. With all kinds of tantalizing specs, but no price, no country of origin, or if it would indeed be available in the USA. Something to hope for. Santa, oh Santa, where art thou? 😎

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