We know that the earth is spherical. But how do we know? Likely that we learnt it at school. And how did our teachers know that the earth was spherical? They likely learnt it at school too. And yet neither we nor our teachers have ever performed our own experiments to confirm that the earth is spherical. Likely that we accepted it because at some point in our history we deferred to the findings of an expert. And expert thinking, over time, becomes accepted knowledge.
The same is true of our understanding of why things fall to the ground when we drop them (gravity) or knowing the distance between the earth and the moon (384,400 km). We didn’t discover gravity or the moon’s distance from first principles. At some point, we trusted an expert.
In hi-fi, we implicitly trust in experts when we power up our amplifier. We that trust that the expert designing the amplifier didn’t make a mistake: that it won’t fry our loudspeakers’ tweeters or, worse, start a fire. Our expert likely had a measurement device on hand during the design process to check for possible mistakes.
What does that same measurement device tell us about how our amplifier will sound? PS Audio CEO Paul McGowan – a hi-fi expert – says ‘not everything’, confirming the thinking of two other hi-fi experts: MBL’s Jürgen Reis and HEDD Audio’s Klaus Heinz. Their expertise comes not from simply owning a measurement tool but the decades spent designing and manufacturing audio hardware and learning, over time, what it can and cannot tell them about that hardware. Expertise that 99.9% of us (myself included) do not possess.
In the following podcast, Paul McGowan also discusses the very real audible differences between USB cables and how everyone responds differently when hearing this for themselves.
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Further information: PaulMcGowan.com