Sonic conspiracy

July 11, 2021
 by Paul McGowan

When I hear the word conspiracy my mind immediately jumps to a negative pole: nasty people with evil intent conspiring to take over the world like Pinky and the Brain.

But there are probably more good conspiracies than bad. Take for example Terri’s tomato garden.

This year in Boulder we’ve had weather patterns conspiring in a very good way to grow tomatoes. Wet, hot, lots of sun. If the squirrels and bears are busy enjoying the equally bountiful apple crop, leaving the tomatoes unscathed, we might have a bumper crop.

Good conspiracies extend beyond tomatoes and apples. Just think about those exceptional moments when the right track of music played on a perfect system conspire to make sonic magic. Those are the conspiracies we enjoy most, the ones we get excited about and share with our community.

The happy blending of cable and kit, fuse and cord, tube and preamp. All conspiring to help our systems come alive.

I think I’ll conspire to make some music this afternoon.

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37 comments on “Sonic conspiracy”

  1. “…played on a perfect system…”
    Hmm…define ‘perfect’; because there ain’t no such thing.
    (love me some double negatives)
    Again, I believe that the most important link in the ‘exceptional moments’ chain is the recording (the source) & I’m pretty sure that that is exactly why Paul & Terri have created
    ‘Octave Records’.

    Certainly there are times when I multi-task whilst sitting in the sweet-spot & I know when an exceptional moment occurs because I involuntarily look-up from my laptop, directly into the space between my floorstanders with a particular area in my brain expressing…
    Then I think to myself, ‘Well, if my home audio rig can create such a transparent & dynamic soundstage at that moment then why can’t it do it for all moments?’
    And of course the answer is, ‘Because of the imperfection(s) in the rest of the recording.’

    1. **From yesterday**
      To both ‘tonyplachy’ (10:00pm) & ‘Longplayer’ (10:53pm)
      Thanks deeply to both of you for your concern gentlemen.

  2. I’m sorry, but the Latin etymology of conspire is to come together to plot, it only has a negative connotation. The positive would presumably be “aspire”, comes from the word for breathe, as in respiration.

    When I think of manufacturers + reviewers + publishers looking for ad revenue conspiring to flog the next product, it’s not in a positive sense. Some people may look at magazines as aspirational, I suppose it depends on your point of view.

    1. Steven,
      Because of your intellect I learn, or am reminded of, something new,
      or obscured, at least twice a week here on this ‘Paul’s Posts’ site.
      (The difference between ‘Benchmark’ & ‘Watermark’, & their
      correct application, will stay with me for life)
      Thank you!

      1. Wot? Moi?

        To me Latin is like medicine, horrible but annoyingly useful. One regret is that I was never, as Peter Cook remarked, a cunning linguist.

      2. If Paul and Steven would be called to take over a role in a vintage Star Treck movie…have a guess who is Kirk and who Spock? (whatever character or mixture we personally find favorable) 😉

        Within the psychological view on various Star Treck characters, I especially loved this one:

        “dispassionately observes human nature with curiosity, rarely envy”

          1. After some time with Spock, one probably doesn’t feel better, but developed to the better 😉

            Seems a matter of preference. Interesting philosophizing anyway.

    1. … as in “more by luck than design” … which is far more prevalent in human endeavour than people think. Penicillin, etc.

      One of my favourite words is “claque”, a conspiratorial group designed to get positive or negative reviews, originally of French opera, that turned into a protection racket.

      A bit like audio publishing (sardonic emoji).

      1. I’m not familiar with the word ‘claque’. It has an interesting similarity to the word ‘clique’, as in a group of audiophiles.
        Which then poses the ‘obvious’ question, is the claque within the clique or the clique within the claque? 😉

  3. Good morning all, I would say Paul is talking about serendipity and circumstance.
    Not conspiracy anyway that’s my thoughts on the subject it doesn’t happen here on my system.

    1. Serendipity certainly rears its head from time to time, although it it assumes a lack of planning. How many audiophiles buy stuff on the of chance it works out well? Probably most of them.

      Yiddish always has an answer, usually untranslatable. “Beshert” is a divinely inspired perfect match, implying predestination, typically along the lines “your wife is out there somewhere, you just have to find her”.

      This suggests to me that God has little interest in hifi, as audiophiles spend most of their lives failing to believe they’ve got their perfect match.

      1. My wife likes to keep reminding me that we are each other’s destiny.
        The ‘Beshert’ of the Harbeths sitting on their QED Tristands with the Denon monoblocs & Audio Alchemy DAC back in 1993 was more than serendipitous; it was truly divine…just sayin’ 🙂

  4. I think Paul mcGowan is conspiring with some of his employees at least a few times every week to discuss how to make all the electronics, software and speakers even better than they are already.

  5. Maybe the climate forces developed have an evil secret plan to give Paul hope concerning Terri’s tomato plot?

    Maybe the bears are conspiring to rummage for bread scraps and bacon. Then have a BLT fest upon the ripening of said tomatoes.

    If there’s a conspiracy to provide audio system advise and absolute synergy advise, let me know. I’ll provide my contact info for as many dry runs as needed to help get it correct.

    1. An unfortunate misuse of the word conspiracy. I understand that Paul meant no harm by using this word today but I am having a tough time swallowing it as being anything but negative.

      1. I couldn’t find a “positive” definition for conspire either. So while I struggled with the word connotation for a little bit, I understood the over all concept of what I believe Paul was trying to say.

        I think we should all conspire to load his neighbors yards with fruit and berry fauna. That way the bears will be preoccupied elsewhere instead of with Terri’s tomatoes. 😀

        Or we could shame Paul into engineering a motion controlled sound system that played tunes that curbs the bears appetite….

        God! this conspiracy stuff takes too much planning…. 🙂

        1. Paul Anka’s song, You’re Having my Baby, would make me stop in my tracks and do a hasty retreat. Every time. Maybe it would work on bears?
          On the other hand Lyle Lovett loves Bears…

      1. Maybe regenerated from special seed 😀

        On the golf course. A little soggy from all the rain from Elsa. Makes getting out of the rough a little more brutal.
        Plus all new water hazards….

  6. On occasions all the forces conspire to give you the near perfect listening experience. The right clean mains, temperature, humidity, comfort and the choice of music to play. The planets have aligned and you get up after hours of listening and go WoW!
    That doesn’t happen to often but when it does… .

    1. Does Miracle Gro really work? Of course it does… James Whitmore would never lie. It’s too bad he passed away, he would’ve made a great Supreme Court Judge.

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