For the Love of Music Stuart On Stuart

Stuart On Stuart

Hearing, the Subjective Mechanism: To me, as an audio engineer, understanding the link between sounds we hear and how we hear them is crucial. You have to start from the principle that sound isn't literally relayed by a mechanical process. It is interpreted. That's the essence of psychoacoustics.

Better than Live: Sometimes you can get closer to music on a recording. As someone once said, "live music is no substitute for the real thing"! Don't get me wrong, I love going to concerts. Actually, the concert hall was an early playback system—a means for projecting sound to a large listening audience.

Analog's Illusion of Reality: "Pure analog" is an oxymoron. Every cable has its sound, every amplifier stage has its sound. Audio is endangered as long as it's in the analog domain. Everything we do [there] introduces uncorrectable error. It's like talking about "pure" 2-channel. I know some people still think like that, but it's sort of a romantic view. Certainly, you could enjoy the sounds [of analog recording], but it's not what I would call real.

Work and Work-as-Play: I have a quite powerful ability to stay working on something. My intellectual pursuits can take as much of the day as I'm willing to let them have. I suppose some people would say my hobbies are also my work. I do spend much of my time doing work-related things. But I make sure that I do divert myself, especially by spending time with my children.

The Stradivarius View: I wake up in the morning trying to make everything better. A loudspeaker is a musical instrument, like a violin or piano. It's hard to make. You can't scale it down and make it cheaper. You wouldn't get the same result.

So, Bob, are you into movie sound? No, not really. It's not why I watch a movie, to listen to the sound. I do enjoy movies, although it's hard to find the time to watch too many. But the children love DVDs, and they're always eager to do testing for me.—LBJ