Meeting Review, September 16, 2008
9/16/08 Meeting Highlights
One reason for the persistence of audio myths is the “magical” quality of reproduced sound. For example, two speakers can produce a phantom center image, even though no sound source is present at the apparent location of the image. Audio myths develop and are perpetuated through common bias mechanisms. These include: 1) sensory mechanisms, which can lead to confusion in perceived audio qualities (a tendency to prefer the louder of two otherwise identical systems, for example); 2) psychological mechanisms, which can affect decision-making tendencies (attempting to validate a purchasing decision after the fact, for example); and 3) social bias, which includes expectations and coaching. Some myths persist because they serve a merchandising function. An example of this is the proliferation of specialized, “high-quality” (and over-priced) audio cables which are point-of-sale margin enhancers for many retailers.
Several common myths were discussed, including the audibility of “high-resolution” digital audio, the audio quality differences of various capacitor types, the need for a break-in period on new loudspeakers, and the risk of damaging a tweeter with an under-powered amplifier.