Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Started 3 months ago | Discussions
tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 43,500
Re: Single group option

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

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Tom

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ZodiacPhoto
ZodiacPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 2,685
Re: Single group option

Don_Campbell wrote:

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

tbcass wrote:

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

tbcass wrote:

Sounds like a good plan.

Sometimes a single, undivided group is used. Random pattern of switching between two units is used, known only to the test organizers. And while there are only two units compared, participants are told that there are 4 or 5 different units, and asked to rate them from best to worst.

One thing to note is it is best if the people conducting the tests are unaware of that or hidden from view lest they give subtle visual and verbal clues.

I'm all for blind and double blind testing of essential things but at some level it seems of less necessity for testing of basic good audio equipment. If you have to go to that trouble to detect a small difference then you might be overworking the purchase.

If the difference is spending $5,000 vs $30,000 for a piece of high end audio, serious unbiased testing is a must - unless those sums are pocket change for the buyer.

I said in the "testing of basic good audio equipment." Basic good audio equipment doesn't need to mean $5000 vs $30000. And, as soon as you take that marvelously magical $30000 instrument and slightly tweak the equalization to more closely match your musical taste to a more pleasing sound than the recording producer managed to achieve? You've then decided that whatever "accuracy" it had in your neutral blind test wasn't good enough for that CD playback experience.

$5k to $30k is not unusual in high end audio. Competing units should be compared without any tweaking or equalization applied. I don't own anything that expensive because I know how to get the results I like for much less.

Across my collection of old, medium old and new CD's the optimal sound can often be tweaked to be more pleasing than the neutral settings of my amplifiers.

I never accepted the idea that you should listen to music flat. I prefer elevated frequency response above 12 khz to compensate for reduced sensitivity (I am over 50). I also prefer a combination of fast and tight bass and low frequency extension. Therefore I use a good parametric equalizer in my system. Some would consider that a blasphemy.

And it makes whimsical the careful double blind decision of the accuracy of some nominal "neutral setting."

Again, testing should be done without equalization applied.

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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 14,921
Re: Single group option

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Brev00
Brev00 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,712
Re: Brain myths

tbcass wrote:

Brev00 wrote:

I am suggesting balance, incorporating subjective experience with objective agreement.

I certainly would never disagree with that but some in this discussion were putting subjective experience above reason and science.

Actually, the original post was a complete rejection of the subjective experience of a straw man audiophile and others continued this critique of pure experience. My interruptions have been meant to point out the bias informing these posts. Perhaps confirmation bias is what underlies this use and misuse of science.

If anyone can identify the two philosophers whose quotes I mangled above, please do. (Sorry if I appear completely arrogant but that is the price I pay for liking my own writing. I once had a professor who did not like my work and I returned the favor. When I wrote my final paper, I decided to write it just for myself. He gave me an A for the paper and an A for the class though I had a c going in. Decided to continue writing for me going forward. Operant conditioning is a powerful thing.)

I say they are two completely different things and a thinking person can experience both but while keeping the two separate.

While thinking one analyzes, seeks agreement from others about the world outside even if that would outside is one's self. Deductive reasoning. The sentence you wrote above is based entirely in the analytic framework. Inductive reasoning is inclusive and, finds a whole rather than taking things apart. One finds universal truths in the most individual. I am using the analytic framework here, too. Poetry and painting are better media than expository writing for expressing this. Metaphor, analogies, symbols, allusions, associations are better at pointing to what I mean.

Or, I may be full of $$$t.

A prime example is when people say one camera has "better" color than another and takes this as dogmatic truth even though it is impossible to prove. This is usually done in a effort to prove their camera or brand is "better" than another.

Man seeks to avoid cognitive dissonance. What one does and thinks must be right, aka have agreement. I tend to say what's on my mind without links. More fun that way and keeps a dialogue between two people and what they think. Quotes are always out of context. I can suggest that you read Martin Buber's I and Thou as well as any scientific articles you like to peruse. I often refer to Lao Tsu's Tao Te Ching. I also like to read anotherMike's reports of his rigorous analysis of lenses here on DPReview.

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Tom

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,056
Re: Single group option

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

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Brev00
Brev00 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,712
Re: Brain myths

tbcass wrote:

24IS wrote:

tbcass wrote:

Brev00 wrote:

Hard to deny that some people are more analytically oriented while others are more experiential.

That is the same thing! When you analyze something experimentation is necessary to reveal the facts.

No, Tom. Brev00 said experiential. Learning as a gestalt thing. Perceiving something, and then forming an opinion about it. Gaining experience. It's a different slant on what may very well be the same root (I'm not Noam Chomsky, so how can I be sure?). Sort of like how cleave can have rather opposite meanings depending on context.

Maybe he did mean it that way but neither you nor I know for sure.

Yes you do. You have the exact word I wrote but misread it probably because you immediately put it into your way of thinking. You read but did not 'listen'. Saw things not in evidence and now have rationalized that by calling yourself a skeptic. Sort of  contrary to the scientific method you hold so dear.

If he did mean it that way then I think experimental was the wrong word to describe it IMO. To me experimental means something new based on untested ideas so testing and experimentation is necessary to prove the validity of those ideas.

Such a flight of fancy!

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Tom

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ZodiacPhoto
ZodiacPhoto Senior Member • Posts: 2,685
Re: Single group option

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Noises or voices?

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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 14,921
Re: Single group option

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

tbcass
tbcass Forum Pro • Posts: 43,500
Re: Brain myths

Brev00 wrote:

If he did mean it that way then I think experimental was the wrong word to describe it IMO. To me experimental means something new based on untested ideas so testing and experimentation is necessary to prove the validity of those ideas.

Such a flight of fancy!

In your opinion. I disagree.

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Tom

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,056
Re: Single group option

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

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Brev00
Brev00 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,712
Re: Brain myths

tbcass wrote:

Brev00 wrote:

If he did mean it that way then I think experimental was the wrong word to describe it IMO. To me experimental means something new based on untested ideas so testing and experimentation is necessary to prove the validity of those ideas.

Such a flight of fancy!

In your opinion. I disagree.

Logically not. This entire paragraph is an extension of your incorrect reading of my post.  So, just plain wrong. Tried to use more colorful language. But, I forgot to add idioms and alliteration to the list of poetic devices I noted earlier.  My bad!

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Don_Campbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,892
Re: Single group option

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

tbcass wrote:

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

tbcass wrote:

Sounds like a good plan.

Sometimes a single, undivided group is used. Random pattern of switching between two units is used, known only to the test organizers. And while there are only two units compared, participants are told that there are 4 or 5 different units, and asked to rate them from best to worst.

One thing to note is it is best if the people conducting the tests are unaware of that or hidden from view lest they give subtle visual and verbal clues.

I'm all for blind and double blind testing of essential things but at some level it seems of less necessity for testing of basic good audio equipment. If you have to go to that trouble to detect a small difference then you might be overworking the purchase.

If the difference is spending $5,000 vs $30,000 for a piece of high end audio, serious unbiased testing is a must - unless those sums are pocket change for the buyer.

I said in the "testing of basic good audio equipment." Basic good audio equipment doesn't need to mean $5000 vs $30000. And, as soon as you take that marvelously magical $30000 instrument and slightly tweak the equalization to more closely match your musical taste to a more pleasing sound than the recording producer managed to achieve? You've then decided that whatever "accuracy" it had in your neutral blind test wasn't good enough for that CD playback experience.

$5k to $30k is not unusual in high end audio.

Oh, yeah, I know. I said nothing about usual or unusual. I said "testing of basic good audio equipment." You misundertood my point about equalization. I'm assuming a test is done with neutral settings. Also, I'm assuming nothing whacky in the equipment being tested--whacky can be eliminated without blinding. But I very much doubt any self-respecting audiophile listens to different source material, recorded under totally different performance conditions, at different eras, with different producers doing the mixing and so on, and does so with flat, neutral settings. He or she will tweak to make his mix of recordings sound pleasing on playback.

Once you accept that tweaking (during ownership and listening for pleasure) will be done, then all the shades of difference between two middle-end or high-end systems will be altered by that tweaking. That in turn makes the flat neutral settings of the A/B blinded testing likely to be less than overwhelmingly meaningful.

Competing units should be compared without any tweaking or equalization applied.

Which is what I was referring to originally and just now.

I don't own anything that expensive because I know how to get the results I like for much less.

EXACTLY my point. I resemble that. I have great oldish and very robust 3-way speakers that cost me a lot on a post-doc salary far back when i was a post-doc. They still sound great as they have through a succession of solid preamp/amp and receiver combinations over the decades.

Across my collection of old, medium old and new CD's the optimal sound can often be tweaked to be more pleasing than the neutral settings of my amplifiers.

I never accepted the idea that you should listen to music flat. I prefer elevated frequency response above 12 khz to compensate for reduced sensitivity (I am over 50). I also prefer a combination of fast and tight bass and low frequency extension. Therefore I use a good parametric equalizer in my system. Some would consider that a blasphemy.

And it makes whimsical the careful double blind decision of the accuracy of some nominal "neutral setting."

Again, testing should be done without equalization applied.

Again, testing without equalization is assumed, but when you follow that by tweaking during playback/ownership the testing may have less relationship to what you need to pay to achieve a pleasant listening experience.

kiwi2
kiwi2 Veteran Member • Posts: 4,613
Re: Single group option
1

mamallama wrote:

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

Our brain needs to interpret what we hear just as much as it needs to interpret what we see...

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Brev00
Brev00 Veteran Member • Posts: 9,712
Re: Single group option
1

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

True. Music is felt in the body as well as heard. Through the ear is only one way we experience music. The brain also associates sounds to prior experience so one may experience any or all of the sensations memories can include.  Songwriters and performers often consciously seek to touch people and inspire feelings like love and sadness. Some may notice subtle influences from both the music and their inner responses more than others.  Audio is never isolated to the sensory reception of wavelength in the human brain. I think there is something exalted and exalting about man's experience of music. If a person wants to hear it. Crazy, huh?

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mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,056
Re: Single group option
1

Brev00 wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

True. Music is felt in the body as well as heard. Through the ear is only one way we experience music. The brain also associates sounds to prior experience so one may experience any or all of the sensations memories can include. Songwriters and performers often consciously seek to touch people and inspire feelings like love and sadness. Some may notice subtle influences from both the music and their inner responses more than others. Audio is never isolated to the sensory reception of wavelength in the human brain. I think there is something exalted and exalting about man's experience of music. If a person wants to hear it. Crazy, huh?

My college friend, who was a devoted musician and organ player, told me he researched the great organs of the world and try to visit them just to feel the vibrations. I remember him telling me he would regularly drive to San Francisco to attend the services at the Grace Cathedral just to experience the organ.

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MediaArchivist
MediaArchivist Veteran Member • Posts: 5,190
Actually...

Brev00 wrote:

D Cox wrote:

Nobody is denying that some people are more analytical and others more intuitive. What is being denied is the facile myth that this is linked to different behavior of the left and right halves of the brain.

Actually not.

Actually so. It was a refutation of the following:

Brev00 wrote:

There is also the case of biology as biologists have determined that the two hemispheres of the brain have different functions. The left brain involves scientific analysis while the right brain involves appreciation of music.

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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 14,921
Re: Single group option

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

You left out the other alternative, it is not really inaudible.

Of course, we could all live in the Matrix and imagine that we even exist...

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,056
Re: Single group option

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

You left out the other alternative, it is not really inaudible.

I did not leave out anything. I was just using your own words. You said inaudible and I take your word for it. I had no idea you were confused in other ways.

Of course, we could all live in the Matrix and imagine that we even exist...

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J A C S
J A C S Forum Pro • Posts: 14,921
Re: Single group option
1

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

You left out the other alternative, it is not really inaudible.

I did not leave out anything. I was just using your own words. You said inaudible and I take your word for it.

I guess that the sarcasm was too subtle for you?

I had no idea you were confused in other ways.

You have no idea about many other things. You know better than me what I can and what I cannot hear, for starters.

You can be very skeptical about the difference speaker cables make but everybody who claims that you cannot hear differences between amps is deaf.

mamallama
mamallama Forum Pro • Posts: 56,056
Re: Single group option

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

mamallama wrote:

J A C S wrote:

tbcass wrote:

I agree 100%. The distortion produced by even the best speakers combined with room acoustics and the fact that the human ear is far from the most sensitive in the animal kingdom means any minute differences in sound between amplifiers, speaker wire and other components will be overwhelmed and inaudible.

I can hear inaudible things!

Impossible, by definition.

Which implies that...?

It might just be your imagination. Your brain senses more than what come through your ear. But, by definition, you hear audible sound waves (air pressure waves) that are detected through your ear.

When people say they are hearing things, it might be from other than sound waves through the ear.

You left out the other alternative, it is not really inaudible.

I did not leave out anything. I was just using your own words. You said inaudible and I take your word for it.

I guess that the sarcasm was too subtle for you?

I had no idea you were confused in other ways.

You have no idea about many other things. You know better than me what I can and what I cannot hear, for starters.

I know for sure, by definition, you cannot hear the inaudible.

You can be very skeptical about the difference speaker cables make but everybody who claims that you cannot hear differences between amps is deaf.

I know of no one who claim amps cannot make big differences. Cable differences for audio frequency transmission are more dubious.

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