- Jun 4, 2005
there is no final upgrade,thats the good and the badThanks Rob. I think your insights into the critical nature of timing and depth perception, and the psychology of hearing more generally, represent a crucial breakthrough in achieving better sound.
I have listened to hi-fi for 50 years now and what strikes me is the propensity of enthusiasts to upgrade their systems regularly. I do think a contributing factor is that, with each new system, their brains learn to distinguish the reproduced sound from the real thing and the thrill gradually disappears. When they change to a new system, the brain is fooled all over again, it sounds so "realistic", until the brain once more learns to make the distinction. I guess being able to detect the sound of an unexpected presence nearby was (is) critical for survival, so the brain works quite hard to do it. All this is mere supposition of course -- I have no scientific data to support it. But it does explain why we are amazed all over again with each new upgrade. I have heard it said that original listeners to Edison's wax roll recordings were as amazed as we are today with your DACs -- it sounded to them like the person speaking was actually in the room. That must be where the upgrade process began.
Now, if we can eliminate all clues the brain can use to distinguish reproduced sound from the real thing, will we constantly be amazed because the brain cannot do this trick any more? ... will the final upgrade ever arrive?