the sky floor

It All Adds Up – For the Worst or For the Best

May 21, 2021

Raise your hand if having music on a road trip is essential. Okay, good, almost all of you raised your hands. 

Recently on a road trip, I quickly discovered that my audio cable to connect my phone to my car audio was missing! Not good news as my wife and I had already decided to binge John Mayer albums.

No matter, I thought, I have a Bluetooth AUX input as well. So we paired it and fired the music up. And wow, the audio technology from this Bluetooth device was awful. The sound was thin, the snare was missing any crack, and it was impossible to hear clearly over the road noise – even if we made it way too loud. Not the way I like to listen to John. 

When I arrived at the destination, I started researching new cables – I needed to have music for the way home in a week. Grabbing a replacement cable was a no-brainer, but I was so disappointed in the audio quality I decided to go a step further. I ordered a dedicated Digital to Analog converter that works with my iPhone. 

What is a Digital to Analog Converter?

A DAC is a device that takes ones and zeros and turns them into analog audio for playback. The theory is that you get a cleaner, purer sound with a better processing chip and power amplifying elements – I settled on the Dragonfly Black, balancing quality and price.

I was ready for the difference to be nominal, but it was a revelation. I could hear reverb tails I never could before. The snare snapped through the mix. The volume didn’t even have to be loud to hear over the highway. I’m all in. (Also great for listening on wired headphones.)

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It all adds up.

The thing is, I don’t have stock speakers in my car either. 

I had to replace the main speakers. Shortly after I bought the car, the volume was so high on my phone and audio system that I instantly blew out the front speakers on playback. Not good. Since road trip music is essential, I immediately researched speakers and replaced them. The audio got better in this case too. 

I didn’t get the highest-end DAC or speakers, but I would guess there could be increased quality if I upgraded again. (Even if the amount of increase diminishes as it always does. The first 90% is easier to achieve than the last 10.)

Nonetheless, it all adds up. Newer speakers were fantastic when I was using just a cable, but through the Bluetooth, it sounded flat. Then I added the Dragonfly and boom, better sound than the cable or Bluetooth.

You can change each component in a system, and making each piece better improves the whole. The reverse is also true. 

Your business is a sound system.

Your business is a system just like my car audio. Each piece of it, customer service, quality of product, speed, etc., all add up to create your brand. Which components do you need to upgrade to improve the quality of the whole?

How can you make incremental changes that add up to a monumental shift in the way the world hears you?