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RMAF 2009 and " a new form of measurement"
zane9
post Sep 29 2009, 03:06
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(Mods, I was not sure in which forum this belongs. Please move if inappropriate here).

From the Stereophile site, news desk, coverage is given to the upcoming RMAF. This caught my eye:

"The three seminars by Nordost's Roy Gregory (former editor of HiFi+) and Vertex AQ's Steve Elford sound especially intriguing. Gregory explained by e-mail that they will present a new form of measurement that promises to remove the stigma of "voodoo science" from cables and other audio products: "The content has serious, far-reaching consequences for both audio measurement techniques (their effectiveness—or current lack thereof) and our understanding of systems as a whole and priorities within them."

I hope that a few people who post to HA will be at RMAF, and will give us their observations of the presentation. Call me skeptical but... a new form of measurement? rolleyes.gif
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ShowsOn
post Sep 29 2009, 03:56
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I think it is hilarious that the subjectivists are constantly trying to find new objective standards for their subjective judgements.

It is as if deep down they realise they are wrong, and know their claims aren't supported by evidence.


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Axon
post Sep 29 2009, 05:33
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Hey, let the men mete out their own rope before you (we) hang him with it. Objective measurements can be measuring the wrong things at times, and improving their meaning is generally a fairly useful goal.

That said, personally, these guys will need to shit solid gold to impress me.

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andy o
post Sep 29 2009, 11:28
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Science by press release. It's what creationists and pseudoscientists do. Most people don't bother to look beyond the hyperbole. After all, if it's from "the press", it must be true!

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Sep 29 2009, 13:54
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QUOTE (zane9 @ Sep 28 2009, 22:06) *
(Mods, I was not sure in which forum this belongs. Please move if inappropriate here).

From the Stereophile site, news desk, coverage is given to the upcoming RMAF. This caught my eye:

"The three seminars by Nordost's Roy Gregory (former editor of HiFi+) and Vertex AQ's Steve Elford sound especially intriguing. Gregory explained by e-mail that they will present a new form of measurement that promises to remove the stigma of "voodoo science" from cables and other audio products: "The content has serious, far-reaching consequences for both audio measurement techniques (their effectiveness—or current lack thereof) and our understanding of systems as a whole and priorities within them."

I hope that a few people who post to HA will be at RMAF, and will give us their observations of the presentation. Call me skeptical but... a new form of measurement? rolleyes.gif


There is already some supposedly technical information online about the Vertex/Nordost/Vertex initiative online:

http://www.vertexaq.com/content/view/36/1/

A quick read suggests that they have, by benefitting from unknown but large amounts of British Government Defense contract money, discovered signal subtraction.

As an aside, in the States we've gone well beyond that and have discoverd transfer characteristic quotients. There has even been software on the market for the better part of a decade for doing it. One example would be Matlab, and a more audio practitioner oriented product would be Smaart.

Here are some relevant links:

Smaart

Foo (seriously, that's the name of the software, folks!)

Coneq

LiveCapture

Virtual Instruments
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Woodinville
post Sep 29 2009, 18:54
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Sep 29 2009, 05:54) *


Some other things to look into:
SciPy
Octave

Both are open source linear algebra packages with lots of signal processing functionality, including FFT's and complex arithmetic.

If you already know the math, either one would help you greatly in doing analysis.

Interestingly, I've been analyzing error signals since the early 1970's. I'm trying to see the new work here.

This post has been edited by Woodinville: Sep 29 2009, 18:56


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Axon
post Sep 29 2009, 18:57
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LabVIEW, too lalala.gif

The key question is whether they've latched onto a difference which is important, or one which merely exists. Detecting the latter is pretty easy (TDR, lumped impedance, characteristic impedance, EMI...) If they really are basing this entirely on output signal differences as discussed in the linked page, they pretty clearly seem to be doing the latter.

And of course, they're playing this to their base at RMAF, rather than run with the big dogs at the AES...

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Ethan Winer
post Sep 29 2009, 19:16
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Sep 29 2009, 08:54) *
There is already some supposedly technical information online about the Vertex/Nordost/Vertex initiative online:

http://www.vertexaq.com/content/view/36/1/

Am I the only person who noticed that the labels on those "scientific looking" graphs are totally illegible? laugh.gif

--Ethan


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Woodinville
post Sep 30 2009, 19:21
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QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Sep 29 2009, 11:16) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Sep 29 2009, 08:54) *
There is already some supposedly technical information online about the Vertex/Nordost/Vertex initiative online:

http://www.vertexaq.com/content/view/36/1/

Am I the only person who noticed that the labels on those "scientific looking" graphs are totally illegible? laugh.gif

--Ethan



Nope. But, I attributed it to the fact that the filename for the photo is tagged "very small".


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ajinfla
post Sep 30 2009, 23:41
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QUOTE (zane9 @ Sep 28 2009, 22:06) *
Call me skeptical but... a new form of measurement? rolleyes.gif

They are going to skip measurements of the soundfield and instead show fMRI's of the audiomorons brains (which resembles a pile of cash and a few LED's) when Vertex widget X is knowingly inserted into the system.
Not exactly new, but new to audio I suppose.

cheers,

AJ


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WernerO
post Oct 1 2009, 08:05
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QUOTE (Ethan Winer @ Sep 29 2009, 20:16) *
Am I the only person who noticed that the labels on those "scientific looking" graphs are totally illegible?


It goes much deeper.

In the previous issue of HiFi+ Roy Gregory (that superbeing capable of combining objective audio journalism
with a position as VP S&M at a manufacturer of BMW-priced cables) had an article on this Quantum/VertexAQ/Acuity
alliance. But guess what: all the measurement graphs were accidentally omitted from print.

Then in the present HiFi+ Vertex have an ad with some new graphs, this time complex-tone spectra
of before/after, but of all the pages in the magazine, this one is grossly pixelated and
virtually impossible to read ...

The promised follow-up article by Gregory, with the promised meat on this issue, is missing.

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Ethan Winer
post Oct 2 2009, 20:26
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QUOTE (WernerO @ Oct 1 2009, 03:05) *
It goes much deeper.




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andy_c
post Oct 3 2009, 02:13
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This sounds similar to a discussion that occurred recently over at diyaudio.com. A poster did some frequency response measurements of some cables, plotting the error (Vin-Vout)/Vin in dB. One cable had the error signal 93 dB below the input, while another cable's error signal was 112 dB below its input. The original post was here, with an attached PDF. Hopefully non-registered readers can see the PDF. If not, I can post it. The poster was emphasizing that the difference between these error signals was almost 20 dB.

This is pretty darned misleading, to say the least. Assuming the error signal is in phase with the input, this means, for the -93 dB error signal, that the insertion loss of the cable was 0.00019 dB. For the -112 dB error signal, the insertion loss works out to 0.000022 dB. That's 20 dB difference, right? smile.gif

This same thing was pointed out by another poster here. As could be imagined, this discussion didn't end well.

I'll be at RMAF tomorrow. I don't know if I'll be able to stomach this guy's presentation though.

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zane9
post Oct 4 2009, 15:42
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QUOTE (andy_c @ Oct 2 2009, 21:13) *
...I'll be at RMAF tomorrow. I don't know if I'll be able to stomach this guy's presentation though.


andy_c, if you decided to go, can you give us any comments on the presentation? I imagine the usual suspects in the audio press will be all over this, very shortly.
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andy_c
post Oct 4 2009, 23:32
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QUOTE (zane9 @ Oct 4 2009, 08:42) *
andy_c, if you decided to go, can you give us any comments on the presentation? I imagine the usual suspects in the audio press will be all over this, very shortly.


I ended up not going to that presentation. I went to the "Physics of Music and Sound" presentation instead.

However, I did speak to someone who attended the cable presentation. This person is very technically knowledgeable about audio, has published AES Journal articles on amplifier design, and is currently involved in reviewing papers submitted to the AES Journal. I told him about this thread, but I don't know if he'll be able to spend any time discussing it here. He wasn't aware of this forum at all until I told him about it. He told me a bit about his observations of the seminar over a couple of beers. What became clear to me was that they didn't describe the specifics of how the measurements were performed in enough detail to allow them to be duplicated. I doubt that was an accident or oversight.

I think he told me he was going to attend that presentation a second time, but I'm not completely sure on this. If so, he may be able to get more specific information from them. When I met him there, he was in the middle of talking to the presenters during Saturday's brief power outage that interrupted the presentation and left everyone milling around outside.

And yes, the usual suspects are already on the case. See, for example, here. Here's a quote:

QUOTE
Maybe I need to write another controversial "Green" “As We See It” or tout the huge benefits of upgrading stock power cables to Nordost Odin. Come to think of it, my forthcoming report on Nordost's RMAF seminar, "New Approach to Audio Measurement... Why Cables Really Matter," should give those letter writers something to live for.


That author, despite possessing zero technical knowledge and having a blind acceptance of the claims of snake oil vendors, is nonetheless extremely skilled at stirring the pot. So I would expect a big brouhaha about it. However, until they provide the necessary information to allow duplicating the experiment, I'd suggest ignoring the whole situation. I seriously doubt they'll provide that information, because if they do, it will open them up to the kind of scrutiny they don't want. I'd be happy to be proved wrong on that though.
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andy_c
post Oct 5 2009, 01:28
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Okay, it looks like that article is out now. It is here.
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Axon
post Oct 5 2009, 04:46
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I'm not sure this is worth spending any part of my brain thinking about unless people try to promote these "results" beyond the all-too-accepting grounds of RMAF. And the less that is to be said about JVS, the better.

The root issues involved here are what constitutes "proof" to people, and as earlier arguments with JA have demonstrated on HA, they are still very much confused.

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andy_c
post Oct 5 2009, 05:23
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Yeah, the whole thing looks to me like a big attention-getting ploy. Without full disclosure of how Nordost performs the measurements, not much can be said.

I was pretty harsh earlier in this thread on the diyaudio.com poster who posted his input-output difference measurements of various expensive cables. Thinking about this some more, I realized that the guy at least had the integrity to completely disclose his measurement technique. That speaks very well for him. At this stage of the game, the same cannot be said for Nordost.

I'm not sure what "proof" has to do with anything at this point. "Proof" is a very strong word - perhaps "evidence" might be better. As I see it, it's a simple issue of disclosure to allow replication of the data. They're walking a tightrope here. If they claim proprietary techniques, people will call BS on them. But if they fully disclose their technique, and it turns out to magnify trivial errors, people will also call BS on them. So it seems the best they can do at this point is attempt to stall and/or obfuscate.
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krabapple
post Oct 5 2009, 05:41
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QUOTE (Axon @ Oct 4 2009, 23:46) *
I'm not sure this is worth spending any part of my brain thinking about unless people try to promote these "results" beyond the all-too-accepting grounds of RMAF. And the less that is to be said about JVS, the better.


sorry, I can't resist. Serinus' New Age crackpottery needs pointing and laughing at at every opportunity (and perhaps worse, if his 'holistic' advice ever actually dissuaded anyone with AIDS from seeking real medical help).

http://www.jasonserinus.com/pages/healing.html

QUOTE
Jason frequently uses his whistling for healing purposes. He regularly performs in pioneer dancer/choreographer Anna Halprin's annual Planetary Healing Dance atop Northern California's Mount Tamalpais. He has also performed in many Peace the 21st Meditations, in Robert and Alyssa Hall's meditation/labyrinth workshop at Spirit Rock Meditation Center, and in the closing ritual of the International Somatics Conference in San Francisco.

Jason has led group guided meditations/visualizations which promote healing via the use of whistled tones. He has co-led these meditations and/or supplied healing tones in workshops led by Louise Hay, Kevin Ryerson, Gabriel Cousens, Marleen Muldaur and Randall Churchill. Jason has also conducted individual healing sessions which have combined bodywork, hypnotherapeutic induction, visualization and whistled healing tones

Jason edited the book Psychoimmunity and the Healing Process: A Holistic Approach to Immunity & AIDS (Celestial Arts, Third Edition 1990, out of print) and led workshops around the country on the subject. He has also authored numerous articles on healing for Bay Area and national publications. He is currently at work on other books. For more information on his writing, click here








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Axon
post Oct 5 2009, 06:44
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Right - but that's par for the course for Serinus. C'mon. He's a professional whistler. And moreover, while he is a longstanding high-end reviewer, I simply don't think he has the kind of clout that, say, JA has on the matter. That is, I just don't think he's going to be any kind of persuasive authority to anybody.

Rather than respond to this directly, I'm more inclined to build a framework describing every previous faulty pro-cable case ever made, and every objection to those cases, and how this new case is just like all the old ones.
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boombaard
post Oct 5 2009, 08:48
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Whenever these things pop up, I just love reading them. (Luckily, I don't find them more often than about once a year, or it would become rather dull rather quickly)..
QUOTE
Odin Supreme Reference Cables use the most advanced cable technology that Nordost has ever developed, and are the culmination of over five years of intensive research. These award-winning cables make possible a new level of performance, vastly superior to any other cable on the market. But don’t take our word for it. The audio reviewing community has been staggered by the massive musical improvements available from Odin, greater and more fundamental than anybody ever suspected could come from a “mere” cable, struggling to come to terms with a new reality. Just read the reviews and you’ll see…

and the "review" is this bit:
QUOTE
"The crazy thing is, that even on a whole system costing less than a single pair of Odin interconnects the benefits are so stunningly obvious!"

and
QUOTE
"This cable has rendered my system significanly [sic] more convincing, more alive, more compelling than any other single change I can recall - simply by allowing the rest of the equipment free rein" Roy Gregory Hifi Plus issue 51
www.hifiplus.com

While I know/understand fairly little of the physics involved, I can recognize weasel words as well as the next person.. Nordstrom has nothing to gain by disclosing their research, looking at the way these marketing blurbs are phrased.

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1audio
post Oct 6 2009, 02:40
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I endured the presentation. It was more hard sales and very little fact. The facts presented didn't support the conclusions and illustrates a lack of understanding of the measurement process and the nature of digital to analog conversion.

There may be something in the differences measured as the accessories were added but it was presented as though the incremental differences were big and they may just be a small reduction in noise. Some of the other measurements presented essentially demonstrate that they don't need to be made since they don't show anything unexpected. Low pass filters have phase delay. 90 degrees of phase shift at 10 KHz is the same time delay as 9 degrees at 1 KHz. So, what is the point?

The hype component was unbearable and I found the sound just as unbearable in the room (too loud, too harsh etc.) At least I was impressed that I could spot the analog tape source on the orchestral recording, the tape hiss was very loud.

When they are ready to publish the details of the measurements and the raw data I'll take it seriously. As long as they hide the details I would be cautious accepting any conclusions.
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andy_c
post Oct 6 2009, 03:00
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So, what's the deal with this Roy Gregory guy? I read in this post in the Stereophile forum that he was stepping down as editor of HiFi+ to become VP of Marketing for Nordost. Yet a post above by Werner implies that he's still writing for them - specifically an article about Nordost? If true, that's a huge conflict of interest.
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ajinfla
post Oct 6 2009, 03:15
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QUOTE (andy_c @ Oct 5 2009, 22:00) *
So, what's the deal with this Roy Gregory guy? I read in this post in the Stereophile forum that he was stepping down as editor of HiFi+ to become VP of Marketing for Nordost. Yet a post above by Werner implies that he's still writing for them - specifically an article about Nordost? If true, that's a huge conflict of interest.

No, not really. You seem to have forgotten that audiophiles are completely unaffected by biases. Remember?


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andy_c
post Oct 6 2009, 03:21
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QUOTE (ajinfla @ Oct 5 2009, 20:15) *
No, not really. You seem to have forgotten that audiophiles are completely unaffected by biases. Remember?


I have heard this, but I haven't reached this higher plane of audiophile existence yet smile.gif.
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