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1924 __ « Sound : A matter of personal opinion »
Comment : Before the advent of radio broadcasting, different people selected the sond producers they thought they would like, for example, by patronizing certain types of theatres or buying certain types of phonograph records. Probably there were a million such audiences with from one to a thousand persons in an audience. But in radio broascasting the broadcasters do the selecting of the sound producers and probably two hundred audiences containing from fifty to a million persons in an audience, do the listening. One common idea seems to be that sound is something definite, mathematically exact. People think an expert can combine a number of long and short and big and little sound waves before an audience and that every one in the audience will hear the same sound. That idea is wrong. An expert can produce one set of sound waves, but the audience will hear as many different sounds as there are different people in the audience. Each person may hear a sound, but that sound will be different from what a different person hears. That is one reason why different people choose different types of music.Everyone does not hear the same sound the same.If you have a regenerative radio receiver, you can probably perform some interesting experiments in sound. Tune in some amateur who is sending with a tube transmitter, and vary the pitch of the whistle while different people are listening. You will probably find, especially if you have a vernier condenser, that no two of the listeners will lose the signal at the same high note. And when each one listens alone and adjusts for himself you may find that no two of them leave the dial on the same setting if they are asked to pick the note that sounds best to them. Those experiments are best made on weak signals. By using louder signals you can probably find that certain notes or certain degrees of loudness are painful to certain people and not to others. The greatest differences in hearing will probably be found when comparing high notes. And the quality of sound, particularly from the violin, is said to be due largely to high notes and harmonics. And if a listener does not hear those high notes there is no sound from them so far as that listener is concerned. [...] People may not hear sounds until after they are convinced that other people are hearing them or liking them. Decisions as to what are good and bad sounds vary in so many ways. They vary with time and vary from the ridiculous to the sublime. [...] A dictionary says sound is “the sensation produced through the organs of hearing”. Or in other words, sound is “a mental impression”. From the foregoing and the variety of remarks different people make about the same piece of music, leads to the conclusion that sound is largely a matter of personal opinion. Considering those things cases one to sympathize with the listeners and the broadcasters and the makers and dispensers of radio equipment. [...] Everybody can agree that the broadcaster wants to broadcast what the listener wants to hear. And we can agree that the broadcaster cannot know what the listener likes and dislikes if the listener does not tell hom directly or indirectly. But indirect methods are slow. The direct method is to write letters to the broadcaster. If we tell him face to face or over the telephone he may forget it. And he isn’t a mind reader. Plain, clear, direct communication is his specialty. If the listeners vote for the kind of broadcasts they want by writing to the broadcasters, they probably will, in time, elect international sounds including international speech and international music, which can bring about international understanding. Radio broadcasting is not for communication from one person to one other person or for the communion of a clan; it is for the communion of the human race.”. (R.H. Marriott)
Source : Marriot, R.H. (1924), “Sound : A Matter of Personal Opinion”, In “RADIO BROADCAST”, Vol. IV, NOVEMBER, 1923, to APRIL, 1924, Garden City, N. Y., DOUBLEDAY, PAGE & COMPANY, 1924, pp. 399-400.
Urls : http://www.archive.org/stream/radiobroadcast04gardrich/%23page/400/mode/2up (last visited )

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