Hearing Damage

Hearing Damage - Despite the slightly paranoid opinions of...

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Despite the slightly paranoid opinions of the more reclusive audiophiles I associate with, I believe that home theater has contributed significantly to the advancement of musical reproduction. For instance, THX standards mandated flat frequency response from speakers. Many "audiophile" speakers deliberately avoided a flat frequency response in order to tailor the tonality, often with a familiar smile curve, to enhance what they felt would be the most impressive aspects of reproduction. Accuracy was a nice selling term, but few agreed on how to define it. THX, whether one agreed with the definition or not, at least set a standard, from which we, the consumers, benefited. By knowing that speakers we were listening to met certain standards for on-axis frequency response, we knew what flat really meant. It did not ensure musical satisfaction, but did provide a reference for a world of audio in which factions often eschewed references of foreign standards, and baked up their own to taste, with justifications akin to "It just sounds right," or "It sounds more like music." Those statements hold water when made in the context of personal opinion, but is tantamount to, "We think it sounds good." Many audiophiles cued into loudspeakers with flat frequency response, and some found that they could indeed be musically rewarding, in some cases perhaps even more so than those altered to pander to taste.
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