fundamentals of design
Before you can successfully house anything—a dog, a chicken, a car, or hi-fi system—you must examine it to find out how it operates and what limitations it imposes on the design of its housing. We have already done that for various types of audio equipment. We have also taken a look at the room in which the system is to go.
There is one more factor which must be considered before the specific design ideas for your system can be put into concrete form. That is the question of what is good design.
Elements of good design
A good design is one that functions properly. That is to say, it serves adequately the purpose for which it was built. But what
makes it pleasant or unpleasant to look at, proportionate or disproportionate within itself? This is a question that is difficult to answer, because there is so much of individual taste and judgment involved. However, certain basic principles underlie the whole question and knowing a little about them will help you formulate opinions more clearly.
That you have this book in your hands indicates that you're interested in high fidelity, which in turn shows that you know something about music. Since some useful analogies can be drawn
between music and design, let's start from something you already know and work out from there. In the area of auditory sensations, what distinguishes music from noise? Music has a type of order about it that noise does not. If, for example, you feed into an
oscilloscope a single musical tone without harmonics, you will see regular and orderly repetitions of the same waveform (Fig. 301). Adding a harmonic changes the shape of the wave. You'll have a more complex curve, but the wave will remain regular in that you
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