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January 6, 2011 / consort3

Warnock’s dilemma

Updated 12 May 2016

Upset by a lack of response to your posting on DIYaudio? It has happened on other internet forums, prompting this response’s_dilemma

So do not feel so bad!

There is proven scientific fact and there is opinion. Beginners may get confused between the two. If we call fact Signal and opinion Noise, then the signal to noise ratio on most forums is quite low. It would be better for the beginner to read a text book than to educate themselves by surfing the forums. For instance I got some of my knowledge on loudspeakers by reading the AES loudspeaker anthologies compiled by Raymond Cooke of KEF. These have classic papers by Thiele etc. Actually Thiele’s 1961 paper  is  a must read and not the highly mathematical “flute music”  that some of them are.

Interesting article on communications by a retiring editor of Electronics design

Just when you think you know all the audio forums you find another one, in this case the Art of Sound. Via that forum I found  a link to a magazine I had not heard of, Ultra High Fidelity. Which had a nice feature on Alan Shaw and Harbeth. Alan is unusual  in that he communicates directly to the public via the internet and goes against the obsession with dead thick walled cabinets, his cabinets have thin walls. There is a discussion on this here:

Interesting blog on how forums can be manipulated for commercial interests here:

Believe none of what you hear and half of what you see!   Some hifi ones here:

Of course some forums are commercial and have been paid for by a concern who wish to sell their wares, but that may not be obvious.

One phenomenon I have noticed on Diyaudio is that posters have prejudged the problem. Rather than say my system sounds crap they say my amplifier sounds crap. There is then a misleading debate.

Another thing about forums, the OP or original poster does not come back and give feedback if the problem has been solved:

While I am rambling on, Ivor Catt who has some interesting electromagnetic theories was a British candidate for the 60’s “brain drain” when loads of engineers and scientists went to the US to work on the space program.  After working for 7 different companies in six different states in six years he came up with a book “The Catt concept” summarised here

I spoke with an ex-pat engineer who worked at Nasa in the early sixties and he said there were a lot of Canadians there. This might explain why:

Talking of brain drains why so many British engineers work abroad:

But it has left centres of design excellence like Bristol  and Cambridge  where products are developed for the world market.

Some journalists have integrity, some do not

Institutional memory, worrying this one:

One of the first things you learn in economics is the multiplier effect which says that an original investment goes around the economy several times benefiting more people than the original investment might suppose. That is why these cuts by our useless politicos are very damaging.  You end up with a negative multiplier effect so the money does not go around the system. When will they ever learn? Look at where the UK is in the 3rd link league table.

Ten ways of knowing you are sitting next to an economist

Cause and effect Dave cause and effect:

Talking of economic lessons you could subsitute the word UK for US in this and it would still be valid

The same industrial decline happened in the US and UK in the seventies

This has ultimately led to Brexit and President Trump, another effect:

Similarity of Brexit vote and Trumps win

The winter of economic discontent also contributed to the Reformation in Germany


Company optimisation for corporate profits above all else – and often at the cost of jobs – is becoming untenable

Comparing Martin Luther with modern management theory

How Thatcher denied the public fibre optic broadband

I am not a fan of “the office” but here is an interesting analysis of the modern office environment

What Rock Star means these days

Keeping it in the family

How America went haywire

Reading the above article I was struck by the resonances with the current hi-fi scene. One legacy of hippy counter-culture has been to ignore or be ignorant of scientific thought. So we have rational versus irrational, objective versus subjective, reality versus fantasy and actual versus fictional. I would say it has got so bad that subjective has become mainstream.
The scientific method

Beware of confirmation bias:

Beware of complexity bias:

🆕Beware of Groupthink:

Why crowdsourced projects fail:

An economist wins Nobel prize for noting that people are irrational!

Archibald Putt had some interesting ideas on technical management:


Free market effect on the world economy:

US economic nomads using RVs

I try to end with  something uplifting so here it is:

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