Uncovering the music

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When we try new software or add a new piece of gear we often discover more in the music. Suddenly, that bit of detail we didn’t know existed pops out of the musical landscape and we’re thrilled.

We’ve uncovered missing information. Or have we? Was it ever really missing?

Some equipment adds a layer of grit to the sound that can deceive us into believing there’s more detail—like over-etching a photograph. No more information has been revealed. All that’s happened is details have been highlighted. But what of the opposite when details have been obscured?

We call that masking.

By whatever names we assign to impacts of electronics, etching or masking, they pale to what speakers can do.

Loudspeakers are the final arbiter in the chain. Information lost in a transducer’s inability to faithfully follow the signal provided by the electronics is gone forever. No amount of enhancement can bring it back.

We might be able to calm over-etched exaggerations or help uncover masked subtleties with differing combinations of signal chain elements, but that’s about the end of our abilities.

I’ve harped for years on the importance of speakers, and this short riff gives you yet another idea why.

Once lost by the speakers there’s nothing that can bring it back.

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