The ridicule problem

June 27, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

One of the risks of trying new things and moving in different directions is the threat of ridicule.

It’s scary stepping out on the ledge in search of new results.

Safer, I think to stay with what’s accepted. Normal.

But, what is normal?

My friend, Seth coined a  phrase for normal that I really like.

The regular kind.

Most of us are happiest with the regular kind; What we’re used to; What we’ve come to expect; What’s safe, comfortable, and less threatening than being an early adopter.

At Octave Records, we continue to develop recording technologies and techniques that inch us closer and closer to the sound we’re all hoping for.

Live. Musicians in the room.

Watching me experiment with different miking techniques a famous Grammy-winning engineer shook his head and clucked his tongue. The thought of it! Something different.

This kind of behavior not only makes me smile but pushes me forward to do more.

If we ain’t upsetting the applecart and punching forward with all our weight into the unknown then we’re not serving our community.

Without ridicule we’d never be sure we’re breaking new ground.

And new ground is where the magic happens.

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25 comments on “The ridicule problem”

  1. Achieving ‘new ground’ is a hit & miss affair…trial & error.
    Fine for those who have the money to burn.
    Again it comes down to personal finances & whether it’s about the
    enjoyment of the music or about the enjoyment of the home-audio hardware.

    I find it hard to believe that new recording techniques that are being
    experimented with at ‘Octave Records’ are not partly based on
    long-standing recording techniques.

    However, ultimately, ridicule is like water off a duck’s back.

    1. Regarding ‘Seth’s Blog’
      Wa-a-a-ay too many topics to digest in one sitting, however I find
      it interesting that Seth has a piece on ‘Personal Responsibility’.
      Today’s lack of personal responsibility by the majority of the human
      race is the main reason why the world is in the mess that it is in.
      Donald Trump is a prime example of this phenomenon.

      I didn’t do it.
      It wasn’t me.

      1. So this is going to get heavy but Personal Responsibility is not a light subject. The major problem that we have on this planet is not climate change, of burning fossil fuels or about five or six other current problems. The major problem that we have is we all do it too much. In 1919 ( the year my mother was born ) the population of planet Earth was about 1.5 billion people. Today ( approximately a century later ) we have about 7.5 billion people or about five times more people. Scientist ( I know that is a dirty word today ) who have studied the impact of humans on planet Earth estimate that Earth cannot support more than 9.0 billion people! At the current rate of population growth we will hit that number in about 20 years. Will I be dead and gone by then. Probably. But, for those of you who have children and perhaps grandchildren they will not be gone in 20 years. Ask yourself what would happen to most of the problems we have today if there were only 6.0 billion people on the planet and we were behaving in a way that would keep that population count stable? The time to address this problem of Personal Responsibility is now, not twenty year from now.

        1. I disagree Tony.
          I think the time to address personal responsibility was about forty years ago.
          And as far as today’s children go…well…you can’t put them back from where they came from, so they will have to deal with whatever hardships befall them into the next forty years, but at least they will have high-end canned music to sooth them while they figure out what’s more important; milk or eggs?

              1. FR, Mean as in “lean and mean”. It is a good thing. It’s like calling something good “really bad’ as in “that is so bad”. I agree with what you said. 🙂

        2. There are groups of environmental scientsits who agree with my estimate that 2 billion humans is a practical limit for numerous reasons.

          My calculation is based on the reality that we are hitting food production limits while 75% of the human food chain is based on chemical fertilizer. In the 19th Century, agricultural yields were declining because Nitrogen, Potassium and Phosphorus were being depleted by cash cropping. Industrial Agronomics benefitted from guano mining and discoveries of large deposits of phosphate and potash minerals. Then Fritz Haber invented a way to extract Nitrogen from air using Natural Gas, turning a bio-essential element depletion problem into a fossil fuel depletion and climate change problem.

          Known global reserves divided by annual potash and phosphate consumption set an endpoint well within this century; but even more troubling is that pumping the soil with chemical fertilizer over the last 100 years has many adverse side effects. It runs off causing algal bloom in aquatic systems and river outlets to the seas causing mass fish and cetacean die-offs; it poisons the soil for a radical reduction in micro-biome diversity; and depletes trace elements from the soil faster because of increased yields.

          The one-way system of sending crops to towns and cities and then mixing human waste with water to get it out of towns and cities has been draining the soil of vitality and bio-mass due to loss of the three dozen elements that affect crop, livestock, and human health without making a difference in crop tons per acre – the only economic factor measured.

          Nutrient density has plummeted as a result. The concentrations of vitamins, bio-flavenoids, anti-oxidants and immuno-support complexes in cash cropped foods is down 75% to 99%! This can account for the epidemiology of cancer and heart disease, which were rare in the 19th Century but are the largest killers today; decreased resistance to bacterial and viral infections, the need for agricultural poisons of insecticides, fungicides, herbicides, and vermicides, the need for anti-biotics in livestock production, and pretty much everything that ails us.

          The only thing that could potentially save us from radical population collapse is going vegetarian, no more flesh, fowl, no fish. But, this is not the only reason that 8 billion humans are not sustainable.

      2. Fat Rat…You had to bring politics into this…Give me a break…. How about “Putin price hike” while in reality, the inflation started well before Putin invaded… this is due to no longer being USA oil independent and puting up road blocks for the oil industry… how about excess money printing for all the pork …. Personal responsibility ? How about Germany embracing the green movement while relying on Russian oil and shutting down their own energy generating plants… Nuclear and Coal? Personal responsibilty? Pulling out of Afghanistan by pulling out troops FIRST and deserting many who were left behind. Trump policies left us strong, not weak …. Biden policies… look at the mess the world is in….why dont you focus on what has been happening in the last 18 months instead of trashing the PREVIOUS administration

        1. Hello there AIGaudio,
          Ah, no I didn’t “bring politics into this”.
          All I did was make a comment about personal
          responsibility & I mentioned Donald Trump.
          There is no mention of politics by myself.
          I only trash Trump; I don’t know enough
          about Trump’s administration to trash that.
          However, by the looks of your post, it is you
          who has brought “politics into this”.
          In your own words sir…Give me a break.

    1. I never had you down as a car guy!! I’ve been a regular to Goodwood fos as it’s a great weekend.
      The audio connection has eluded me…….?

      1. Well I’ve been to Le Mans and the classic a few times but not so much recently. Despite being in the U.K. I’ve always thought Goodwood was to far to travel. No, I can’t explain it either.
        As to the audio connection, there isn’t one, it’s completely random. Being electric you can’t even say it sounds good. I suppose a link to today’s post could be, looking slightly strange as it does, it’s open to ridicule, until the foot goes down.

        1. Yes me too with Le Mans. Remembered buying loads of books-then discovered they were in French. Oops. Once did Goodwood in day in a z4 nearly 400 miles there – and then back. But worth it.

  2. I was an early adopter and I was ridiculed by some people. In 2001 i was looking for my first DVD player. After a little research I bought a Sony DVP-9000ES. It player DVD’s. CD’s and these things called SACD’s that I had just started to read about. I was blown away by the sound of the SACD’s even on my even on my mid-range audio system that I had then. In 2002 when I bought my first serious tube base audio system I also bout a Sony SCD-1 and never looked back when it came to SACD’s.

    I was ridiculed by some people. “Why do you need SACD’s?” “CD’s sound just fine.” “I don’t hear any difference” ( take the time to listen ). “My CD player won’t play SACD’s.” As FR said, ridicule is water off of a duck’s back.

  3. Clucking Grammy winning engineer 😀
    Any difference from a clucking audio talking head expert? 😀

    Is ridicule going to be construed as ‘constructive criticism’ ?

  4. I get ridiculed all the time for my thesis that “Mixing Is Distortion” (Mastering too!); but the fact remains that combining more than one mic into one speaker is inherently spatial distortion, likewise splitting one mic into more than one speaker (panning, stage monitors, etc.)

    The other knobs in recording studios all generate time/phase distortion – equalization, compression/limiting/gating, and worst of all artificial reverb. In fact, given the overly dead acoustics that don’t match any music performance spaces; and all the acoustic isolation deveices, RECORDING STUDIOS ARE THE WRONG PLACE TO MAKE RECORDINGS.

    Then there is the positive shift in focus and expression that comes from interaction with an audience and playing in real time with no editing, splicing, nor overdubbing.

    Inventing new mic techniques is utile in trying to get around these laws of physics and psychoacoustics, and I have frequently had to do so because no single room acoustics fits all ensembles. The most extreme example was recording a Heavy Metal trio of guitar, drum set and vocalist. The vocalist prowled while vocalizing, so we put him in the overhead quad of conventional PA speakers (which have polar patterns like human voice), two of which were pointed at the guitarist and drummer so they cound hear him. I then recorded with spaced omnidirectional dynamic mics (EV RE55) that were pointed at the diffusive walls, which takes quite a bit of the treble edge off. They loved it, and the audience rocked too.

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