Empty promises, part 2

Q: As a listener of music, I've noticed that you can never raise your volume knob on any stereo past about two-thirds without severe drop in sound quality. Any higher, and the music sounds like a whoopee cushion symphony. Why do manufacturers allow a volume knob to go so loud, when it can't really handle it? This applies to car stereos as well as home stereos and headphones. It's almost like they want me to bust the speakers so I have to buy new ones.

A: Well, yes. No one would be happier than the sound boutiques if you blew out your speakers on a regular basis. But, still, it's a matter of the illusion of plenty. Every volume knob goes to ten (or 1200, or whatever insane numbers they put in the displays now), whether doing so is a good idea or not. Would you buy a stereo setup that went to five? You would feel like you had been robbed.

The other answer, of course, is that running volume knobs up to astronomical heights costs no more than having them set to some safer level for the manufacturer, so why not? I'm stunned that no one has started actually putting a "self-destruct" setting on them. What American could pass that up?

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