Introduction: The author shows that designing for high-quality audio is different because specification and measurement figures do not entirely describe the quality of the sounds we hear. Some suggestions are put forward to account for this situation together with ways in which an audio designer may become more fully prepared. Why Design? The motivation of a designer ranges from inner compulsion (or even addiction!) on the one hand, to an unquestioning obedience to the demands of management. Humans are gifted with a primeval urge to explore, discover, improve, and invent. What to Design? Are we in a position to go out and say, "Let us create better audio?" In the main that is what we might be claiming to do. What is better audio? We need definitions; a point of reference. How to Design: Education, experience, listening, reading, and communication with one's peers stores up a data bank of information as the capital equipment of the designer and establishes "a point of reference." Ways of working are as diverse as people. Satisfaction-even fulfillment-often comes from solving a problem; the process can be more satisfying than the outcome. Designing From a Point of Reference: Is there a perfect design? The author believes that we live in an infinite creation. Day after day new layers of knowledge are uncovered about our environment and about our perceptions and responses. We need open minds to visualize how such knowledge can be used, responsible minds to choose how it should be used, which stems not only from the point of reference we cultivate but also from that beyond ourselves to whom we know we are ultimately answerable.
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