The more complex any system is, the more likely it is to manifest problems. Without getting in to scientific postulates or mathematical algorithms (which would bore us and many of our readers as well), here is an example that generally supports this idea.
The Volkswagen Beetle of the 1960s, for example, was a much simpler automobile than the typical car today. Instead of using liquid engine coolant to cool the motor, it used the air that passed around the body instead. No leaky radiators there! No on-board computers controlling every function of the vehicle and no sensors to detect road conditions. This was a mechanical design that allowed to average person to administer virtually any level of basic repairs. Certainly not many of us can fix our own cars today. It is not uncommon to see VW Beetles thirty or forty years old still on the road. Manufactured from 1938 to 2003 in virtually the same configuration, it is the longest production run of any vehicle ever made. Why? Because it was a simple car that just worked.
Much the same can be said for audio equipment. Overall acoustic quality is the sum of its parts. The equipment, the connections and the environment all come together to deliver either a high quality experience or one that is lacking on various levels. High-end audio equipment, whether for the home or the vehicle, often boasts the ‘most direct signal path’ as a virtue. The fewer connections, the fewer circuits that a signal must travel through, the fewer manipulations of the original data, the better the end result will be.
Imagine a standard car audio head unit that does not have RCA line-out jacks; it is connected to a step-down converter which takes the speaker level output and changes it to a line-level signal. That is subsequently connected to an equalizer. Next in line is a amplifier. Of course, we need a crossover to separate frequencies into highs and lows for speakers and subwoofers. This flowchart requires the original signal to pass through a combination of nine connections and components before it gets to the speakers! And for the sake of our discussion, we’re not even going to get into the specifications of the connecting cables or the individual components themselves – just merely the flow of signal.
Now imagine a high quality head unit with built-in signal processing and dedicated line-out terminals connected to an amplifier with an internal crossover, and finally all of your speaker elements. We went from nine to three steps in the path to acoustic excellence. This setup will sound much better than the one before – guaranteed.
At Communications Center, the ‘simpler is better’ barometer allows us to create incredible sounding car audio. ‘Quality over quantity’ goes hand in hand with this approach, and once you head what a properly designed system sounds like, you will become a believer!
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