Slaying Dragons #31 – Negative Feedback

John Watkinson considers Negative Feedback…

Negative feedback is all around us and within us. We stay alive because feedback loops stabilise our body temperature and a host of other parameters. Feedback controls the temperature of our hot water. It’s adjusting the fuelling in a car and keeping an airliner at the right altitude.

Despite the protestations of the politically correct, who argue that saying something negative is demoralising, feedback works on the principle of establishing an error between some ideal that is wanted and what has actually been obtained and then doing something about it.

Evolution is about the most brutal example of negative feedback, which is where being unfit for purpose reduces your life expectancy and the number of your offspring. Unfortunately evolution works very slowly, so we may have to put up with political correctness for a while longer yet.

Political correctness is just too easy and it consists of a form of hypersensitivity where it is possible to be offended on behalf of someone else or a member of some group. Instead of learning about how the world is, it is far easier when faced with something you either don’t understand or which contradicts your dogma simply to declare that whoever disagrees with you is a fascist or a racist or both.

Evolution barely affects audio because even the greatest catastrophe in sound quality doesn’t kill anybody. Interestingly enough I discovered over the years that many of the audio people for whom I had the most respect also happened to be pilots, or ocean sailors or mountaineers. They had brought the necessary discipline of those unforgiving activities to their audio.

Let’s take the case of an amplifier,

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