Category Archives: Audio

1990 Infidelity Interview re: NHT

In Politics. In Audio. On the Internet.

There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there always has been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your knowledge.”

– Isaac Asimov, Column in Newsweek (21 January 1980)


Parts is Parts.

No one will believe me, but I have to call it like I see it: I am convinced that how a driver is used, and how it fits the system requirements, has at least as much to do with sonics as the make and model of the parts.  Sure, there are tweeters that I have come to like a lot over the years, but this has mostly to do with consistency, reliability, ease of use, cost-performance and well-thought out specs. Just as with cars and drivers, and chefs and food, average components in the hands of a pro will almost always sound better than expensive, fancy parts in the hands of a someone without training and experience.

I used to judge various amateur speaker building contests, and got to listen to the best efforts of both first-time and well-known amateur designers, year after year. Submissions invariably used very well-regarded drivers, yet it was very rare for any of the judges to find a submission that was of sufficient sonic quality to make it commercially at any price.

I’m not meaning to be snobby. Anyone can learn to be a great speaker designer. But, you have to learn, and you have to try dozens and dozens of different designs, over and over.  Most importantly, you have to hone the skills to listen very quickly, analytically and brutally, and then understand exactly how to correlate the listening to engineering, without philosophical biases.

If you think that the finest drivers make the finest systems, you aren’t paying attention!! Ingredients are only a start.


Like Factoids, but not….



Audio technology is different than any other type of engineering I know of. In normal engineering, we start with a certain problem, and then try to invent a solution to this problem. But, in audio, most of the time, we start with an invention. Then we try to discover what it might be good for. However, just because one has a cool invention does not mean that the invention is useful or any improvement to the art.


Stereo Imaging. (Reply to an AK question.)

Technically speaking, “Stereo Imaging” is generally considered to consist of three components: localization, spaciousness and envelopment.

Localization: The positioning of each sound source in space. (The perceived width of the source itself is called, “localization blur.”)

Spaciousness: The perceived width of the sound field, including all sources.

Envelopment: The sense that the listener is immersed in a 3D sound field.

Each of these components depends on somewhat different factors. Also, the factors can often be somewhat mutually exclusive. For example, it can be difficult for a speaker that creates a sense of envelopment to excel at localization, unless certain very strict conditions are met. Like anything having to do with human perception, it is impossible to give a hard and fast hierarchy of importance to the factors that lead audiophiles to proclaim a certain stereo pair of speakers to be good at, “imaging.” Aside from the recording, (and any post-processing), which obviously has a make it or break it level of importance… how it was made and how it interacts with a given speaker and setup …here is a list off the top of my head:

– symmetrical location of the speakers with respect to the listener.

– the impulse response of the speakers.

– precise frequency response matching between the speakers.

– the angle subtended by the speakers WRT the listener.

– the presence or absence of nearby reflecting objects and boundaries, both to the speaker and the listener, along with their level of absorption at various frequencies.

– the acoustical reflectivity of the floor, and/or the vertical polar response of the speakers.

– the horizontal polar response of the speaker. Anyone who thinks that wires or amps, (etc.), have a significant effect on imaging is factually mistaken. The only component that can have even a tiny influence on imaging besides the speakers is the cartridge.

Oh, Just The Usual Links…en-kantor.html……-a076954032…sts_exclude=16…zt-amplifiers/…n-guitar-muse/…/t-410728.html…ill-dudleston/…bwoofer-page-3


Forget Amp Clipping. It’s Over!!

#57 Today, 02:30 AM
ken kantor
Fowl Humor Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Northern California
Posts: 1,703

Originally Posted by TerryS:

This question has been floating around for a few decades. I didn’t expect it would be answered this week (if at all). But I still enjoy the discussion.


The quesiton was answered decades ago. It’s just that some audio hobbyists don’t want to accept the answer, and go to great lengths to avoid doing so.

This is a pattern that emerges in various topics related to hifi. It would seem that audiophiles are rather stubborn, and also hold their individual perceptiopinions as infallible.

Playing dice with the Universe.

Last edited by ken kantor; Today at 02:33 AM.

I Missed This Review Until Now!!??

Small Differences, V0.0547

A short AudioKarma post from this morning:

So true!

If only this stuff was as easy as, “Just Listen!” Or, “Measurements Never Lie!”

The reality is that firmly establishing or disproving a subtle audible difference can be a bit complicated and time consuming. However, the flip side is that a difference that small is unlikely to seriously compromise the enjoyment of the system.

Also, with speakers at least, I would estimate that 9 times out of 10, neither alternative can be definitively claimed as being, “more correct.”