Tom Hidley

Laws of Nature

laws_of_natureFirst let me say that I cannot claim that this post is my own creation.  I was doing some house cleaning on the site and found what lies below buried in the “drafts” folder.  It was initially set up in a table format; however the table fit poorly on the page; and when I say “poorly,” that is an understatement – which is probably why it never made it out of the “draft” box.  Anyway, I liked the content and sought to clean it up so that it could be published – enjoy.

Grundman’s Law:  Under the most carefully controlled conditions of pressure, temperature, humidity and other variables, the system will perform as it damn well pleases.  (Bernie Grundman; Mastering Engineer & Educator).

Knight’s Law:  A pat on the back is only a few centimeters from a kick in the pants.  (Mickey Knight; Mickey Knight, Diacoustic Lab, purveyor of styli, lacquer blanks, and Gear, and creator of this list).

Hidley’s Law:  Nothing is impossible for a man who doesn’t have to do the work.  (Tom Hidley, Studio designer, Westlake Audio).

Duncan’s Law:  When in doubt, mumble.  (Kent Duncan, Kendun Recorders. Recording and Mastering Facility).

Evan’s Law:  Every man has a scheme that will not work.

Hulko’s Law:  A theory is better than its explanation.  (Lee Hulko, mastering engineer, Sterling Sound, one of the original owners).

Storyk’s Law:  The amount of work done varies inversely with the amount of time spent in the office.  (John Storyk, Studio Designer).

Woram’s Law:  ”Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.”   Propounded by Sci-Fi writer, Arthur C. Clarke, 1962.  (John Woram, Engineer and Author).

Nordahl’s Law:  Everything goes wrong at once.  (Tore Nordahl, Studer & Neve. Now a consultant).

Emmerman’s Law:  In a crisis that forces a choice to be made among alternative courses of action, people tend to choose the worst possible course.  (Mack Emmerman, Criteria Studios, Miami FL).

Tarsia’s 1st Law:  The obvious answer is always overlooked.   (Joe Tarsia, Sigma Sound, Philadelphia)

Tarsia’s 2nd Law:  When booking recording studios, pick any two out of three:  Fast, Cheap, or Good.  (Mike Tarsia, Sigma Sound, Philadelphia - 2009).
- You can get your product fast and cheap … but it isn’t going to sound good.
- You can get it cheap and good … but it won’t be done fast.
- You can get it good and fast … but it won’t be cheap.

Snoddy’s Law:  It works better if you plug it in.  (Glenn Snoddy, recording engineer. Discoverer of Fuzz as an effect. Fuzztone Origin):

Harrison’s Law:  There is always an easy answer to every problem – neat, plausible and wrong.  (Dave Harrison, Harrison consoles, inventor of inline console topology)

Meadow’s Law:  It won’t work.  (Glenn Meadows, Masterfonics)

Westlake’s Law:  The first 90% of the project takes 90% of the time, and the last 10% takes the other 90%.  (Westlake Audio, purveyor of Gear and studio systems).

Harned’s Law:  Once you open a can of worms, the only way to recan them is to use a bigger can.  (Jeep Harned; founder, MCI)

Schnee’s Law:  Anything that begins well will end badly.  It is important to note, the converse of this law is not true.  (Bill Schnee, Engineer and Producer).

Stone’s Law:  Necessity is the mother of strange bedfellows.  (Chris Stone, founder and owner of the Record Plant, aka Farber’s Fourth Law).

Golden’s Law:  A man with one watch knows what time it is.  A man with two watches is never sure.  (John Golden, mastering engineer: Artisan Sound Recorders, Kendun, K-Disc, and John Golden Mastering.aka Segall’s Law – 2009).

Perry’s Law:  If the facts do not conform to the theory, they must be disposed of.  (Ken Perry, Mastering Engineer – 2009).

Garay’s Law:  An object will fall so as to do the most damage.  (Val Garay, Engineer and Producer).

Kelsey’s Law:  Make three correct guesses consecutively and you will establish yourself as an expert.

Lightner’s Law:  If it happens, it must be possible.  (Bill Lightner: mastering engineer @ K-Disc.-2009).

Steele’s Law:  Social innovations tend to the level of minimum well being.

Guy’s Law:  The probabillity of a given event occurring is inversely proportional to its desirability.  (Richard Guy(?)).

Moyssiadis’ Law:  As soon as you mention somethng, if it’s good, it goes away; if it’s bad, it happens.  (Dave Moyssiadis, mastering and recording engineer – 2009(?)).

Capps’ Law:  If it can find a way to wear out faster, it will.  (Capps makes disc recording styli).

Lippell’s Law:  If a research project is not worth doing, it is not worth doing well.

Neumann’s Law:  Whoever has the gold makes the rules.  (Georg Neumann, microphone God.(see also: Temmer’s Law)).

Calbi’s Law:  Nothing is as easy as it looks.  (Greg Calbi, mastering engineer: The Cutting Room @ Record Plant NYC, Sterling Sound, Masterdisc. – 2009).

Marino’s Law:  Everything takes longer than you think it will.  (George Marino, mastering engineer: The Cutting Room @ Record Plant NYC, Sterling Sound.- 2009).

Todrank’s Law:  There are two types of people: those who divide people into two types, and those who do not.  (Bob Todrank, purveyor of Gear).

Brosious’ Law:  The components you have will expand to fill the available space.  (Ham Brosious, then with Audiotechniques, Gear Purveyor. Now with Digibid, Gear Purveyor of the new Millennia).  Ebay ended up eating Digibid’s lunch; they are now toast.

Ingoldsby’s Law:  You cannot determine beforehand which side of the bread to butter.  (Brian Ingoldsby; MCA).

Merten’s Law:  The more time you spend in reporting on what you are doing, the less time you have to do anything.  Stability is achieved when you spend all your time reporting on the nothing you are doing.

Sax’s Law:  All laws are basically false.  (Doug Sax, The Mastering Lab).

Zentz’s Law:  Inside every large problem is a small problem struggling to get out.  (Alan Zentz, Mastering Engineer and studio owner).

Ludwig’s Law:  The other line moves faster.  (Bob Ludwig, Mastering Engineer).

Dozier’s Law:  Negative expectations yield negative results.  Positive expectations yield negative results.  (LaMont Dozier, Producer & Songwriter).

Rettinger’s Law:  Nothing is ever a complete failure.  It can always serve as a bad example.  (Michael Rettinger, Acoustician).

Ricker’s Law:  Experiments should be reproducible – They should all fail the same way.  (Stan Ricker, Mastering Engineer, half-speed mastering God).

Boden’s Law:  If an experiment works, you must be using the wrong experiment.

Hansch’s Law:  Work expands to fill the time available for its completion. (Jo Hansch; Mastering Engineer: Festival Records -Australia, Kendun, Artisan Sound Recorders, K-Disc, Dinkum – 2009)

Eberle’s Laws:  (1) Once a job is fouled up, anything done to improve it makes it worse.  Appears to be part of Murphy’s Laws.  
                           (2) No matter what results are expected, someone is always willing to take it.  
                           (3) No matter what occurs, someone believes it happened according to his pet theory.  
                           (4) No matter what the result, someone is always eager to misinterpret it. 

Fulginiti’s Law:  In a heirarchical organization, the higher the level, the greater the confusion.  (Greg Fulginiti; Mastering Engineer, Sterling Sound, Artisan Sound Recorders, Masterdisk)

Reese’s Law:  There are two sides to every argument, unless a person is personally involved, in which case there is only one.  (Mike Reese; Mastering Engineer: The Mastering Lab-2009)

Leek’s Law:  An experiment may be considered if no more than half your data must be discarded to obtain correspondence with your theory.

Cato’s Law:  The merchandise you need the quickest will be shipped the slowest way.

Gray’s Law:  In any collection of data, the figures that are obviously correct, beyond all need of checking, contain the errors.  (Kevin Gray; Mastering Engineer).  Corrollary 1: No one you ask for help will see the error either.  Corrollary 2: Any nagging intruder who stops by with unsought advice will spot it immediately.

Simpson’s Law:  There is a quantity which, when multiplied by, divided by, added to or subtracted from the answer you get, gives you the answer you should have gotten.

Berra’s Law:  In theory, there’s no difference between theory and practice, but in practice, there is.  (Attributed to Yogi Berra).

Anderson’s Law: Nothing takes 5 minutes.  (Jim Anderson; 2009 AES Past President)

Karl’s Law:  When time is of the essence, all fixes have failed, and the show must go, then: one man’s buzz is another man’s line noise.  (Karl Johnson; Audio Engineer)

Hufker’s Law:  If at first you don’t succeed, you’re using the wrong hammer.  (Eugene Hufker Contributed by his son, Barry Hufker Recording St. Louis, MO)

Stamler’s Law:  80% of the problems in audio are caused by a bad connection someplace. (Contributed by Paul Stamler).

Stuart’s Law:  The worse they are, the more verses they know.  (John Stuart, recordist of more folksingers than you can shake a stick at).

Temmer’s Law:  If I don’t make or sell it, it isn’t any good.  (Stephen Temmer, Gotham Audio, importer of Neumann  Microphones.).

Wilcox’s Law:  In any endeavor, two thirds of the work is done by one-third of the participants.  (Peter Wilcox; Wannabe dobro player (by his own admission)).

Blasingame’s 1st Law:  When operating in the vacuum of a studio, time moves faster than anywhere else in the Universe.  (Joe Blasingame; Blasingame Audio Productions St. Louis, MO)

Blasingame’s 2nd Law:  No matter how fast and effective an audio engineer works, to the paying client it’s like molasses.  (Joe Blasingame).

Simpson’s Law:  When you reach for the knob, the _____ player will stop playing.  (Keith Simpson).

Jaeger’s Law:  The evaluation sample is always in the 99th percentile of the performance range.  (Rene Jaeger; Analog Design Engineer, Loud Technologies)

Welti’s Law:  If you’ve worked through the problem forwards and backwards, checked your math, consulted your intellectual superiors, and made invocations to the Gods, and still your hardware setup is giving the wrong result, you will find that it’s a bad cable.(Todd Welti; Staff Scientist, Harman International).

 

In the spirit of honesty and fairness, upon getting the above all spiffy, I did some searching on the internet to fix some missing info, and found that these laws, as well as more, are already on www.aes.org – I just want to give credit where credit is due.

 Scroll to top