Rosetta Stone

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The Rosetta Stone was discovered in July, 1799 by French soldier Pierre-François Bouchard during the Napoleonic campaign in Egypt. It was the first Ancient Egyptian bilingual text recovered in modern times, and it became key to deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, ending one of the great mysteries of all time. Until its discovery, scholars had no idea what the Egyptians were on about during the great days of Pharos and pyramids.

Universal keys to understanding are about as rare as Rosetta Stones and silver bullets. We almost never get the opportunity to use a list of knowledge to unlock secrets.

The same can be said of specifications. We’d all like a laundry list of specs to help us identify the benefits and shortcomings of products so that we might choose what we next add to our systems. Yet, no such list exists. Not for stereo equipment, not for almost anything you can think of.

Take cameras for example. There are hundreds of cameras to choose from, yet any accomplished photographer will tell you specs alone cannot tell the complete story. How will the unit feel? Does the viewfinder work for your eyes and fit your face? How’s the Bokeh of the lens? What are the end results based on the way you shoot?

If you’re shopping for a new power amplifier there are no sets of specifications to help you know how it will perform in your system. Sure, you can know if there is enough power, gain, and even perhaps damping factor to control your speakers. But, beyond that? What spec tells you its depth or soundstage ability with your speakers and in your room?

It’s why we read reviews, buy from trusted designers, hang out on the forums.

And in the end, only taking a product home and trying it for yourself really matters.