Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Occam's Razor

I usually see this as "The simplest solution to a problem is usually the best"
Of course we know to keep signal paths as short as possible, but another use of Occam's Razor is the idea that, chances are, the simplest explanation for a phenomenon is usually the most likely.

Often you are sold solutions to problems you don't even have. In order to sell you something, the Marketing Machine will convince you that the fate of earth is dependent on you, yes YOU, lifting your cable off the ground in order to keep "the tone" from leaking through your floor, or some other nonsense. This often ties right into the next potential jacking:

Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.

Do I REALLY need a tube in my preamp or all hell will break loose?

Every few days there's a new thread in the audio forums about how different DAW summing engines sound.
Notice how the claimant disappears or clams up when you ask for evidence?

Will I really lose all my highs if I don't use directional speaker cables?

After nearly a mile of 18ga cables thru the snakes, then the patchbays, then the routers, do I REALLY need to use a Super-Short 3 foot magical 12 ga mic cable between the mic and the snake?

I don't know

Three amazing words.

In many cases, hearing these words creates a lack of confidence about your situation.

Sales Weasel Management knows this and as a consequence, the training for sales weasels at many many retailers requires that those words be stricken from the weasels' vocabularies. In sales courses born from actual automobile dealerships, techniques are pushed to effectively just plain make stuff up instead of using the three magic words.

But when you go into guitar walmart, you'll notice theres always that one guy in the store. He certainly doesnt look as nice as the rest of his fellow weasels. His shirt may be untucked. His hair messier. He may have dirt marks from getting underneath gear, or picking up boxes to look for something. But there's one dead giveaway. He's the one guy in the store that has a line of people waiting to talk to him, while the rest of the weasels are hustling for people to con.

This is the one guy in the store who uses the words "I don't know". Counterintuitively, this guy actually does know far, far more than the rest of the staff. Often embarrasingly so, earning him the ire of his peers. He won't be there long, spending time to actually learn his job, and taking the time required to honestly and accurately evaluate his customers' needs doesn't earn him as many sales as the rest, though a few make up for it in large single sales.

Look for that guy!

Look out for warning signs from guys that have all the answers, but are clearly just making stuff up, telling you whatever you want to hear to get you to buy that thing.