Speaker guy: Hey, listen to these.
Music lover: Wow, sound great. How'd you do that?
Speaker guy: Basically just paid good attention to the design, used good parts, did weeks of trial and error, listened a lot, stuff like that.
Music lover: Well, they sound a lot better than the usual stuff.
Speaker guy: Good. That's what they're supposed to do. They're not as big-sounding as that other model we make but we think they have more of that authentic musical transparency we like. As you know it's all trade-offs.
Hidebound scientist: What do they measure like?
Speaker guy: They measure fine. Exceptional, even.
Hidebound scientist: What do you mean fine? Do they adhere to all the current dogmas? Can you prove it?
Speaker guy: They measure flat within conventional standards, if that's what you mean - there'd be no reason for them not to. They break no rules - there'd really be no reason for that. They are classic designs, well thought out, well executed, and well tuned. We paid attention to what matters. It's what we do.
Hidebound scientist: Then produce data.
Speaker guy. I could, I suppose. Why, though?
Hidebound scientist: To prove they're a good speaker.
Music lover: But they sound fantastic! I spent three hours the other day getting completely wrapped up in my favorite recordings. Did you know that back when Horowitz was-
Hidebound scientist: -then prove it with data.
Music lover: I already proved they sound fantastic. By using them. As I was saying, you can hear during the '57 Rachmani-
Hidebound scientist: -then prove it! Where's the data?
Music lover: Is he always like this?
Hidebound scientist. -see, they can't sound good without proof. That they sound good. And we have these dogmas that you can subscribe to and get your proofs from.
Speaker guy: Apparently so.
Hidebound scientist: -plus listening to audio is a sure way to introduce bias.
Music lover: Wha?
Music lover: So you mean I can't listen to audio to hear what it sounds like? Or that if I use a system I'll be too biased to use a system? Dude...
Speaker guy: -and remember, we have measurements. Who doesn't. And tens of thousands of simulations and countless design iterations and libraries of theory and racks of CAD acquisition and decades of experience. We just choose not to market our products using them. After all, plenty of sales are made not on the basis if sound but of data.
Speaker guy: ...sometimes, around the edges, we even give sound precedence over what we think theory and the data tell us we should engineer into a product. At least in small ways - we routinely find we can't explain everything we hear, and at the same time we find methods we like we don't see used or talked about elsewhere. No idea why. But as I said, the design is solid. No reason for it not to be.
Hidebound scientist: But if you don't prove good sound using data you're either not making good sound or you've got something to hide.
Speaker guy: I see. And have you correlated all data to listener reaction? Have you established a hierarchy of degrees of merit for every variable in all of the audio arts and sciences?
Speaker guy: And I do mean all of them, not just a narrow classification here and there that appears to correlate some of them to or within a group or market cohort.
Speaker guy: -because that stuff makes for some fine marketing, you'll admit.
Speaker guy: Look, I'm not questioning that science; like I said, we use it too. But like Music Lover, I just find that the finest, most authentic, most natural, and therefore most enjoyable sound isn't just a really easy thing to hear, I think we find it a lot more outside of the commercial mainstream.
Speaker guy: ...so I'm not really trying to grind an axe here. I just get a kick out of folks going out and hearing good stuff.
Music lover: -and like I keep saying, these sound better than that other stuff I've heard all these months, including stuff with more specifications and data. Anyway, during that last movement whe-
Hidebound scientist: -if you don't honor accepted practice you can't prove that what you think sounds good really does sound good! Everybody knows that Model X blows the speaker you're talking about away. It cannot but.
Music lover: I think he just said that if you listen to hifi you can't tell what it sounds like.
Speaker guy: -or that what you hear only exists if he allows it. Beats me.
Music lover: So much for that.
Speaker guy: ...and that as long as I'm around your own ears aren't the only thing misleading you.
Edited by Jon Lane - 11/9/13 at 11:37am