Sunday, October 11, 2009
The Spice of Fidelity
It's been said that the higher sound frequencies aren't very important for speech because there isn't much energy there. It's hard to argue the point, because it's true - well, part of it is true. The amount of speech energy that a standard telephone carries is ever so much higher than the amount it cuts off - a hundred times, or more. So yeah, it's not cutting off that much, there's not much up there.
But this argument is like those tricksters we find in politics, where a fallacy is linked to a truth and then presented as two truths. There isn't much energy there? Check. Not important for speech? Sound the alarm. We have to ask: when did we start to assume that the value of those higher frequencies was proportional to their energy? This is one of those assumptions that looks good on the surface, but we actually prove it fallacious all the time.
Let's talk soup. If you make a quart of good chicken soup, you'll be using almost a quart of water. Some noodles, some chicken, and some of this and that: oregano, thyme, marjoram perhaps, a touch of chile, and a nice pinch of salt. This gives you rough a kilogram of soup.
How much do you suppose those seasonings weigh? About three grams, mostly salt. So we can leave them out, right? They're just a tiny part of the total weight, so they can't be important. Who cares about three-tenths of a percent? It's a lot of trouble to get fresh spices anyway, so the economics don't add up. We'll just leave it all out, and our chicken soup will be soup and chicken, and nobody will be the wiser.
Stop looking at me like that, I'm just proving a point.
Yes, you're right. Leave out those herbs and the salt, and you've destroyed the succulence of the dish. And yet they're way less than a hundredth of its weight.
This principle applies everywhere. Oil on bearings? It's milligrams on grams. Perfume? maybe five milligrams, dabbed behind the ear of a 50,000 milligram lady. You've got a microscopic veneer of paint on your house, a hint of pigment that floods that deep color into a beautiful silk scarf, a half-carat diamond (1/300 of an ounce) making something suddenly very romantic out of a plain gold ring. They're all very tiny proportions, but they're what characterizes in the finished product.
The audio that conventional telephones ignore is like that. Not much energy, but it turns "failing" into "sailing" and an exhausted finish into a successful and energized meeting.
Set your own company's gourmet meeting chefs free. Restore those HD Voice spices and seasonings so they can begin serving up tastier, more productive telephone conferences!