The ‘Feedback is Bad’ Fallacy

This is one of the most depressing articles I’ve read in a long time about ‘feedback being bad’; it is filled with inaccuracies and for most part plain wrong at every level. Aimed at people who are not technically literate in the field of audio engineering, it perpetuates a whole bunch of myths, some of which go back 40 years ‘TIM is caused by feedback’, and another that dates from  Martin Colloms infamous Stereophile article ‘feedback goes around and around the loop adding more distortion’ or that old chestnut the anti-feedback crowd love rolling out ‘in a feedback amplifier, there is a delay around the loop during which the amplifier operates open loop’. 

Really? If these things were true, aeroplanes would not fly, rockets would never get into orbit and most of nature (because nature abounds with complex feedback systems!) would collapse.  Yup, there wouldn’t be a beautiful planet Earth full of life, just a barren wasteland like Mars, where feedback was unfortunately not able to correct for its catastrophic shortcomings as a potential home to complex life. Feedback is natural. Humans discovered it and now recognize it around us – we did not invent it.

The cynic in me says the author has to justify bad measured performance, but another part of me says this is just representative of the kind of marketing nonsense and intellectual laziness that pervades the audio industry. Shameful to say the least.

If you want to understand the history of how we got to a situation where there is an alternative reality as far as feedback is concerned, have a look here ‘Feedback: a Short History’

But, don’t take my word for it – you can get to the truth of the whole feedback matter by reading the work of some of the most respected names in audio engineering, namely Douglas Self , Bob Cordell or Bruno Puzeys