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Turn It Up

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Whenever you get in the car and start the engine, probably the very next thing you do is hurtle your hand toward the radio volume knob and turn it down. This is not always a consequence of aging, or the evidence of a conflict with rebellious teenage drivers. It is proof of listener fatigue, something that you likely deal with in your professional life every single day.

A road trip with a loudspeaker aficionado in Southern California late last summer was the source of my education on this matter. On a journey bookended with two gloriously well-engineered concert sound systems, we were listening to selections played from an iPod. Of course, there was quite a lot of

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unwanted noise in the transmission of digital audio from this device to the car’s analog sound system (plus there was highway noise to contend with). But there was also that fun issue of compression and conversion and the subsequent disaster involving loudness.

Today it seems our ears put forth a heroic effort to tune out unwanted noise in order to focus on the sounds we want to hear. The missing aural information in the tracks we play on our car stereos leaves us starving for more, and we nudge that volume knob ever upward.

Aside from the literal psychoacoustic attributes of this conundrum, we’ve got a figurative “too much information” situation all around us. Keeping track of media outlets these days requires a Hubble telescope to capture the countless and increasingly disparate sources in the universe.

Fortunately an overabundance of media distribution options actually has a positive effect. Today it is possible to find a source that matches your exact needs. This is the “Long Tail” effect so often cited since Wired magazine editor Chris Anderson published the book by that name in 2006.

For all the information we are expected to take in, there are more and more specific filters serving your specific interests. Obviously, SCN hopes to be a filter for business news and analysis related to electronic systems design and integration. We feature columnists and content specific to that industry, but our reach is expanding. Now you can find us on Twitter (SCNmag), and you can follow our blog posts on our website, where we post a lot of up-tothe- minute information gathered from real-world interviews. This isn’t speculation and hype; it’s meant to distill all of that. We’ll do our best to prevent listener fatigue. But don’t be afraid to turn that volume up and rock out on occasion. After all, that’s how we all got here in the first place.

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