The Fine Art of Doing Nothing By Roger Skoff

Roger Skoff just posted an article titled, The Fine Art of Doing Nothing." Here's the link:

I pass this along because Mr. Skoff speaks to many points that I, Al (Almarg), Roy Johnson (GMA) and others have been talking about.

For starters, in the controversial area of I/C and speaker cables, Mr. Skoff asserts, with some credibility IMO, that try as hard as one may, making so called perfect cables that "do nothing" is an exercise in futility. Ergo my experiment in testing 10 gauge solid core Romex wire. Been trying to find some cheap wire.

The same goes to speakers and other components. Btw, Mr. Skoff tips his "do nothing" hat to 1st order cross speakers. He implies that they "do less" than highly rigged gizmos.

I suspect that Mr. Skoff would scoff (pun intended) at my interest in the DEQX. As much as I hope it will correct my time incoherent speakers, the device may "do something" else.

Enjoy the read.

I agree that perfect is more elusive than a fast moving doesn't even exist. Even if it did, it would be defined differently by every individual.
That said, many of us experience very audible differences in cables of different designs, for the better or the worse. I have read before of members who use Romex or zip cord with results that really please them, and I don't doubt them. All ears and what those ears perceive are different.
Some don't worry about cable matters much at all, some (seem) to worry far too much. I try a few kinds within my financial means, stick with the wires I like best among those and stop fretting about it.
I find it interesting as many of us do to discuss the matter, but in the end, whether it's gold wire or solid core aluminum, it makes no difference if the listener thinks that it sounds good.
Roxy54 ... of course I agree with you too. But Mr. Skoff also scoffs in general at using various artifacts that purport to only do good, but at no cost or adverse effect. this goes way beyond cables.

If I was in start-over mode, I would like to seriously listen to Roy Johnson's time coherent speakers. Problem is they are stone ugly to me ... look like Praying Mantises. LOL.

Most other tops brands are NOT time coherent. Some brands even reverse the polarity of drivers to achieve a modicum of phase coherency at the cross over points. I can't speak to the math and physics, but intuitively, reversing driver polarity just seems pretty wild to me. I like simple, elegant solutions to problems.



Btw, IMO, Wilson speakers look like Dr. Who Dileks. LOL :)
Nice link Bruce, thank you.
I do agree that everything affects the sound. There is no perfect cable or component, not to mention the differences in how we perceive the sound with our own instruments (ears). That is why making recommendations is an exercise in futility. Not only are there too many electrical variables in each system, but there are variations into how each individual will perceive these electrical variations and interpret them sonically.

Even if we like the sound of the change at first, many times with time we find out that the sound was just different, not better. For every yin there is a yang. Noticeable improvements in one area of sound help us overlook deficiencies in other areas....until we have lived with a component for a while. Then we almost always hear it's faults and start looking for the next change.

Just relax, do nothing but listen to the music.
Indeed quantifying perceived audio pleasure is nearly impossible and unlikely to work a priori actual listening. That is- not checking to see if your mathematics do in fact predict the results intended without heavy tweaking and redesign. .
Mechans wrote,

"Indeed quantifying perceived audio pleasure is nearly impossible and unlikely to work a priori actual listening."

Oh, I dunno. I doubled the performance of my headphone system just last week.
I wish I could find something that does nothing to the sound.Then I could join the "it's all about the music" crowd.
Everything I have done has done something to the sound of music "in my room".

Sometimes just moving the speakers a bit this way or that,adjusting toe-in, or where the listening seat is, can make bigger differences than a change in wires.

This is cheap, some wires aren't,but DIY is almost as cheap.

Yet,I find everything either adds or takes away from some bits of the music.

Sometimes more bass equals less inner detail.

So it's always a win-lose scenario.

You get a very clean sounding pre amp and then realize that there maybe other areas to address that were masked by the old pre-amp.

This is the slippery slope.

We look for ways to cover up deficiencies that we hear from our systems, and while doing so, add more colourations.

Interconnect as tone controls?
It's not something to sneer at, neither are tone controls, or electronic whole room tuning devices.

Room tuning devices have been very productive for me as have efforts made to clean up all electrical contacts in the system, from the panel to the gear.

In fact I would wager that before I ventured down those roads, I was mostly trying to compensate for my rooms deficiencies by an endless parade of wires and amps and speakers, looking for the right match that would bring me sonic bliss.

I came close,but there was always something that I missed or that I still didn't achieve.

I know this is off the mark,but if one does nothing,or simply plugs and plays in an untreated room and sets the speakers up where they look the best,the fine art of doing nothing will be doing something to the sound.
And it won't be good.

Some components actually "enhance" the recorded signal, by emphasizing one quality or another. This is why low power tube amplification (S.E.T.) continues to thrive.

Some cables do nothing better than others. MIT and its network boxes comes to mind.
If I was in start-over mode, I would like to seriously listen to Roy Johnson's time coherent speakers. Problem is they are stone ugly to me ... look like Praying Mantises. LOL.
cool, Bruce! :-) I'm happy to read that the "Sloped Baffle" thread & Roy's posts have had a positive effect on you & your conviction re. time-coherence in speakers is more than it was mid-way thru that thread.
Re. the shape & looks of Green Mtn Audio speakers - it's purely based on form follows function. When you re-read Roy's comments & note how he has to deal with issues to ensure time-coherence, you'll note that the speakers will have to take up a form that will not be a rectangular box with drivers fitted into its front baffle. The receipe has been tried way too many times & people in the know (which now includes you) realize that does not work....

looks like Roger Skoff is also another person in the know. I own some lower-end XLO cables - nice! I like them sonically. Purple & white jackets on one of them!! I don't think anyone else did that in the cable industry.....

thanks for sharing. :-)
Thanks for the comments Bombaywalla.

Although I'm not prepared to sell my speakers quite yet, I am trying to set up a home audition of the DEQX device. Coincidentally, the DEQX national sales rep and a retail dealer are located within 20+ mins from where I live. Waiting on the DEQX guys now. Ball's in their court. The DEQX may get me close to the time coherence bulls-eye ... I hope.

I hear ya about form following function ... but Roy's speakers really look like a giant insect. All they need are antennae and bug eyes. LOLs

Also, I have a WAF issue here. I'm already thinking about a story to explain who the DEQX guys are (when they show up), why they're here, what they're doing ... and how much will it cost.

I'm actually quite curious about what the DEQX will be able to do. If and when the guys show up, I'll be back with a report.

good luck Bifwynne for the DEQX visit! :-) hope you have a solid story cooked up for their visit....

LOL on your comments re. Roy's speakers. You could get one of this stand-mounts + his passive woofer if you don't like his floor-standers. A lot of people do that, just FYI.
Bifwynne, good luck with your DEQX visit. As I mentioned elsewhere, DEQX has been transformative for my system. Please post your thoughts if the audition happens.
Very curious ... I'm waiting, been waiting. Called the national sale rep, who gave my name and cell number to the local dealer. If I don't hear by Monday, next week, I'll reach out again.