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Perception of Pace/Rhythm/Timing (PRaT) -- genetic?
hollowman
post Jul 4 2011, 16:24
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A somewhat "controversial" topic in audio gear subjective reviewing is the reproduction of Pace/Rhythm/Timing, sometimes abbreviated PRaT. (Sometimes, PRAT with a cap. 'A' may denote A=acceleration). The topic also includes an interdependent subjective metric, dynamics.

Perhaps the seminal introduction to the phenomenon is the Nov. 1992 article in Stereophile, Pace, Rhythm, & Dynamics by Martin Colloms . I noted that this topic is "controversial" in that it not often reported in gear/equipment reviews -- especially in forum- or message-board-based reviews ... where most folks stick to the common (and, IMO, repetitive) BMTS (bass, mids, treble, soundstage). From there, some may additionally describe, e.g., a headphone's 'dynamic' or 'speed' qualities. But when asked to comment on PRaT, the same reviewer responds with puzzlement, smug ridicule, or ignorance.

Pace/Rhythm/Timing -- or PRaT -- is something I'm particularly sensitive too. It is one of the first attributes that I notice the presence or absence of in audio gear, like headphones, all else held equal. I even notice it in slow music, like adagio or lento movements (the Colloms article above goes into this a bit).

Because of the apparent "underreporting" of the "PRaT" phenomenon as important audiological subjective metrics -- and even some hostility as to its importance or even its existence -- I'm wondering how much its perception is genetic. This may be like genetic sensitivity to perfect pitch:
http://perfectpitch.ucsf.edu/study/
Or, more simply, the PTC genetic bitterness test from high-school biology class?

This post has been edited by hollowman: Jul 4 2011, 16:42
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greynol
post Jul 4 2011, 16:43
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 4 2011, 08:24) *
I'm wondering how much its perception is genetic.

You should be wondering how much it is based on placebo.

QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 4 2011, 08:24) *
Pace/Rhythm/Timing -- or PRaT -- is something I'm particularly sensitive too. It is one of the first attributes that I notice the presence or absence of in audio gear, like headphones, all else held equal. I even notice it in slow music, like adagio or lento movements (the Colloms article above goes into this a bit).

Please make sure you follow TOS #8 regarding your claims about your sensitivity. You're approaching an area where the ice is getting thin. Besides, if you are particularly sensitive maybe you can help in reducing the apparent amount of underreporting. Simply telling us without providing objective evidence isn't going to cut it, though.

BTW, this subject has been touched upon in the past:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=72446

This post has been edited by greynol: Jul 4 2011, 17:52


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jul 4 2011, 19:22
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 4 2011, 11:24) *
A somewhat "controversial" topic in audio gear subjective reviewing is the reproduction of Pace/Rhythm/Timing, sometimes abbreviated PRaT. (Sometimes, PRAT with a cap. 'A' may denote A=acceleration). The topic also includes an interdependent subjective metric, dynamics.

Perhaps the seminal introduction to the phenomenon is the Nov. 1992 article in Stereophile, Pace, Rhythm, & Dynamics by Martin Colloms . I noted that this topic is "controversial" in that it not often reported in gear/equipment reviews -- especially in forum- or message-board-based reviews ... where most folks stick to the common (and, IMO, repetitive) BMTS (bass, mids, treble, soundstage). From there, some may additionally describe, e.g., a headphone's 'dynamic' or 'speed' qualities. But when asked to comment on PRaT, the same reviewer responds with puzzlement, smug ridicule, or ignorance.

Pace/Rhythm/Timing -- or PRaT -- is something I'm particularly sensitive too. It is one of the first attributes that I notice the presence or absence of in audio gear, like headphones, all else held equal. I even notice it in slow music, like adagio or lento movements (the Colloms article above goes into this a bit).

Because of the apparent "underreporting" of the "PRaT" phenomenon as important audiological subjective metrics -- and even some hostility as to its importance or even its existence -- I'm wondering how much its perception is genetic. This may be like genetic sensitivity to perfect pitch:
http://perfectpitch.ucsf.edu/study/
Or, more simply, the PTC genetic bitterness test from high-school biology class?



There are a few small problems with PRaT.

The first problem is that differences in PRaT are attributed to equipment that have no known physical capability for altering the Pace/Rhythm/Timing of the signals passing through them to an audible degree.

The second problem is that differences in PRaT are attributed to equipment that have no known physical capability for altering the Pace/Rhythm/Timing of the signals passing through them to a measurable degree.

The third problem is that differences in PRaT are attributed to equipment that cannot be distinguished from each other in reliable listening tests.

Differences in PRaT appear to be artifacts of sighted listening evaluations.

Now, if you can provide any experiental evidence to the contrary, I would be very happy to try to replicate a reliable, bias controlled listening test that was positive for differences in PRaT. AFAIK no such thing exists to this day.
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RobWansbeck
post Jul 5 2011, 01:28
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Many years after reading the first, 1978, edition of 'High Performance Loudspeakers' by Martin Colloms from which I learnt much, even if some of that was due to wrestling with printing errors, I decided to treat myself to the fifth, 1997, edition.
Although the book still had much useful information, and new printing errors, I was disappointed to see the subjective elements such as base drums failing to 'time properly' or being 'slowed' being brought up.
Much of this was put down to cone hysteresis and cabinet resonances, IIRC, but I would have thought that any effect that would make a bass drum sound audibly out-of-time would be very, very easy to measure objectively.
I have been out of the pro-audio business for some years now so may have missed something but I am still unaware of anyone having demonstrated this objective measurement.
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kraut
post Jul 5 2011, 02:19
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I find that the thread opener follows the usual audiophile (phool) routine to report a phenom that someone of perceived (or real) authority postulates, but as usual without any evidence whatsoever.
This is in this case compounded by the fact that this "real" phenomenon - real only in the posters brain - is then the basis of some biological cum genetic speculation.

That degree of credulity supported by nothing else but the musings of some authority of speaker building leads to incredulity on my part how those almost religiously held assumptions can become the basis of a discussion.
It is nothing short of mental masturbation, one of the reasons I no longer participate (voluntarily and involuntarily) in any forum that uncritically supports the purveyor of such nonsense.

If the phenom of PRAT was in any way correct - how would mastering any recording even be possible?

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greynol
post Jul 5 2011, 02:44
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I truly hope this doesn't end up like it did when Martin Colloms came to the forum to puffily interject his two cents on similar matters and then fail to answer any criticism and/or questions posed.


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krabapple
post Jul 5 2011, 03:20
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 4 2011, 11:24) *
I noted that this topic is "controversial" in that it not often reported in gear/equipment reviews --



PRAT is 'controversial' first and foremost because it hasn't been shown to actually exist as a quality of gear, not because it is 'underreported'


It is, however, perhaps the most delightfully well-named bit of nonsense to be associated with audiophilia.


As for the rest of your post, you might as well ask if ESP is genetic. That's called 'jumping the gun'.

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AndyH-ha
post Jul 5 2011, 07:26
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Perhaps the inclination to believe in such things is genetic.
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Woodinville
post Jul 5 2011, 08:09
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Pace, rhythm and timing are all sensations that come about from stimulii far, far above audible thresholds.

So, I'd have to submit that being unable to hear them would more or less indicate that one is hearing massive distortion of the painful sort, or alternatively dead silence.


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hollowman
post Jul 5 2011, 08:48
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Jul 4 2011, 19:20) *
[...] you might as well ask if ESP is genetic. That's called 'jumping the gun'.
Several of you have responded with valid counter-arguments. But what about the UCSD study of perceived perfect/absolute pitch as a genetic trait? Is that 'jumping the gun', too?

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hollowman
post Jul 5 2011, 08:59
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QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jul 5 2011, 00:09) *
Pace, rhythm and timing are all sensations that come about from stimulii far, far above audible thresholds.
So, I'd have to submit that being unable to hear them would more or less indicate that one is hearing massive distortion of the painful sort, or alternatively dead silence.
Not sure what you mean by "far, far above audible thresholds"???
IMO, more distortion hinders pace an rhythm because it can corrupt micro-dynamic markers (micro-dynamic markers may be thought of as metronome events) .


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hollowman
post Jul 5 2011, 09:11
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QUOTE (greynol @ Jul 4 2011, 08:43) *
QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 4 2011, 08:24) *
Pace/Rhythm/Timing -- or PRaT -- is something I'm particularly sensitive too. It is one of the first attributes that I notice the presence or absence of in audio gear, like headphones, all else held equal. I even notice it in slow music, like adagio or lento movements (the Colloms article above goes into this a bit).

Please make sure you follow TOS #8 regarding your claims about your sensitivity. You're approaching an area where the ice is getting thin. Besides, if you are particularly sensitive maybe you can help in reducing the apparent amount of underreporting. Simply telling us without providing objective evidence isn't going to cut it, though.

BTW, this subject has been touched upon in the past:
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....showtopic=72446

The word 'sensitivity' was not meant to convey emotion in the sense that I'm touchy/angry/etc. about the issue. It meant I, FWIW, can sense it in the terms of "hearing it" (or detecting it, or am aware of it ... FWIW, IMO and YMMV, etc.)
Yes, I searched the archives (and perhaps should have stated I did and that I found that post). I found the archival thread under-informative to my reqs.
Finally ... yes ... I realize there isn't that much "evidence" supporting any of the ideas I put forth. I was hoping that some evidence -- pro or con -- would flourish as a result of bringing the matter to the attn of this forum body-scientific.
IAC, the OP has one relevant link. One can Google 'PRaT' or "pace rhythm timing audio" etc. and come up with some hits. E.g., and FWIW, of course:
http://forums.naimaudio.com/displayForumTo...566878606976414



No one has commented on the validity of UCSD's study/survey of perfect pitch. If that is not a valid comparison, please say do.

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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Jul 5 2011, 09:20
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 5 2011, 02:26) *
Perhaps the inclination to believe in such things is genetic.


Yes, it comes with being human! ;-)

The solution to belief in such things as pace and timing is usually scientific education which Martin Collums clearly has. With regards to his handing of this issue, his scientific education is apparently incomplete. Since much of the study of human hearing and the study of perception evolved after their initial formal schooling, engineers of a certain age are often not up-to-date or failed to obtain proper eduction before they had first formed certain false beliefs.

If Collums applied these beliefs to just speakers, I'd be more patient, but he also applies them to power amplifiers.
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hollowman
post Jul 5 2011, 09:37
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QUOTE (AndyH-ha @ Jul 4 2011, 23:26) *
Perhaps the inclination to believe in such things is genetic.
Or perhaps the genetic inclination to gang-up-attack -- and with quick, frustrated kraut-like diatribes, ad hominum remarks, etc -- new and potentially important issues as opposed to more thought-out remarks (several above --- thx!) or pointing to URL link to, say, peer-reviewed, double-blind-controlled counter-evidence.

Example of a valid counter argument that requires little supporting evidence: PRaT is simply a matter of personal taste .... that one genetically (or via early nurturing or both the complex and interdependent dynamic of nature + nurture) simply LIKES music with "better" or more-pronounced pace/rhythm? This does not address why certain gear has more/less PRaT ... and I posed the orig. query pre-thought-thru many of these counter-arguments.

All digression aside ... the "pet theory" from the OP is most likely off-track. But it has been reported in various audio forums and circles -- as well as the usual, market-serving commercial press -- often enough to deserve some scrutiny.

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Woodinville
post Jul 5 2011, 11:01
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 00:59) *
Not sure what you mean by "far, far above audible thresholds"???


Just what it means, Timing events in music are far, far above either absolute or composite masking threshold. Masking a timing event requires really, really bad reproduction.

As to your arguments about indecipherable plots, well, let's teach you what a threshold of audibility is first, ok? That is, if we are to bother.


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hollowman
post Jul 5 2011, 11:54
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QUOTE (Woodinville @ Jul 5 2011, 03:01) *
QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 00:59) *
Not sure what you mean by "far, far above audible thresholds"???
Just what it means, Timing events in music are far, far above either absolute or composite masking threshold. Masking a timing event requires really, really bad reproduction.
How about a psycho-acoustic system (a human being with brain/ear, etc) that is particularly sensitive to timing events? Kinda like some folks -- albeit a notable minority -- are sensitive to ragweed pollen. Maybe a few kiloyears ago or so, some tribal hunters walk across a field wondering why Sneezy was down for the count?

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Soap
post Jul 5 2011, 12:18
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 06:54) *
How about a psycho-acoustic system (a human being with brain/ear, etc) that is particularly sensitive to timing events?


Possible, but (as you've been told before) stop jumping the gun. I'm not sure how a reproduction system which can accurately and measurably reproduce a 1kHz tone (1000 cycles per second) with near zero distortion is suddenly suspect at reproducing paces / rhythms / timings an order of magnitude slower. You're suggesting an ability to reproduce HF tones but yet "smearing" of VERY low frequency timings? Please.


QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 06:54) *
Kinda like some folks -- albeit a notable minority -- are sensitive to ragweed pollen. Maybe a few kiloyears ago or so, some tribal hunters walk across a field wondering why Sneezy was down for the count?

If you want to be taken seriously cut this unrelated bullshit out of your posts in the future. You're knocking on the door of Argumentum Verbosium.


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hollowman
post Jul 5 2011, 13:17
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 01:37) *
(several above --- thx!) or pointing to URL link to, say, peer-reviewed, double-blind-controlled counter-evidence.

Example of a valid counter argument that requires little supporting evidence: ....
Here's one more bullet for your pea shooter ... Accuse me (hollowman) as Appealing to consequences
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Appeal_to_consequences
Or, hollowman you're "Pigeonholing" ... you're http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pigeonholing

I've dug into the issue a bit further and found reporting of it -- using slightly diff. semantics -- not quite as uncommon as I believed. To wit: this info-graphic equipment review style used in the no-longer-pub'd UK audio mag Sonic Boom:

Fig. 1: Sonic Boom’s circular quality plot. Shown is their finding for the Adcom GFA-555 II power amplifier.
QUOTE
Looking like a microphone’s polar response (see fig.1), the circle is segmented into wedges, with concentric rings indicating levels. Used in conjunction with a lengthy explanatory breakdown of the categories, the graph creates what the magazine calls “Sound Shapes,” with examples to show what’s good and bad. I assume that any product achieving the largest possible perfect circle would be a perfect performer. Among the points on the outer perimeter are “Presence’ “Rhythmic Coherence,” “Tonal Palette,” “Intimacy,” “Spatial Coherence,” and “Resolution” as primaries, with inner markings for categories including “Weight,” “Dynamic Range,” “Staging,” “Decay,” and others. If used with care, it produces a cleverly realized picture of the performance, as fascinating as the overhead drawings of soundstage dimensions David Wilson used to produce when he was reviewing for The Abso!ute Sound. If Gregory can develop this further, he could be onto some thing much more useful when used in con junction with a review than conventional specifications have been in the past.


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DonP
post Jul 5 2011, 13:17
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We do get the occasional golden eared prat in here.
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Soap
post Jul 5 2011, 13:58
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Mods, can you lock this thread already? OP (hollowman) has thus far refused to directly answer the questions posed of him (despite spending vast amounts of time on the board) and instead continues to use this thread as a dump for a verbose amount of unscientific, unsubstantiated, out of context, and dubious material of questionable merit.

The name of this forum is "Scientific Discussion" and this thread is neither.

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hollowman
post Jul 5 2011, 14:05
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QUOTE (Soap @ Jul 5 2011, 04:18) *
QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 06:54) *
How about a psycho-acoustic system (a human being with brain/ear, etc) that is particularly sensitive to timing events?

I'm not sure how a reproduction system which can accurately and measurably reproduce a 1kHz tone (1000 cycles per second) with near zero distortion is suddenly suspect at reproducing paces / rhythms / timings an order of magnitude slower. You're suggesting an ability to reproduce HF tones but yet "smearing" of VERY low frequency timings?
There are two separate (but concurrent) events: psycho-acoustic (possible genetically-enhanced ability to perceive/detect, like 'perfect pitch') AND reproduction (e.g., a headphone with poorly transducer polymer material [or otherwise bad engineering] will sound 'slower', rhythmically incohesive, etc., than a better design).
All else held equal of course.
If science can't (yet explain it), then maybe it has not evolved enough to explain these 'minority' phenomenon ...
May be similar to the "appearance" of the following specs/metrics/techniques that entered (or became sig. more important) the digital-capture/reproduction world well after CD playback was intro'd in 1982 ...
oversampling/digital filtering ( ~ 1984)
linearity ( ~ 1987)
time-domain DF (1989, e.g. Wadia)
jitter (~ 1990)
min. phase/apodizing filters (latest fads)

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Soap
post Jul 5 2011, 14:14
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 09:05) *
QUOTE (Soap @ Jul 5 2011, 04:18) *
QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 06:54) *
How about a psycho-acoustic system (a human being with brain/ear, etc) that is particularly sensitive to timing events?

I'm not sure how a reproduction system which can accurately and measurably reproduce a 1kHz tone (1000 cycles per second) with near zero distortion is suddenly suspect at reproducing paces / rhythms / timings an order of magnitude slower. You're suggesting an ability to reproduce HF tones but yet "smearing" of VERY low frequency timings?
There are two separate (but concurrent) events: psycho-acoustic (possible genetically-enhanced ability to perceive/detect, like 'perfect pitch') AND reproduction (e.g., a headphone with poorly transducer polymer material [or otherwise bad engineering] will sound 'slower', rhythmically incohesive, etc., than a better design).

Yes, there is reproduction and perception of said reproduction. No need to wrap either up in needless verbosity. Your proposition is not nearly so complex as to require so many words.
QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 09:05) *
All else held equal of course.
If science can't (yet explain it), then maybe it has not evolved enough to explain these 'minority' phenomenon ...
May be similar to the "appearance" of the following specs/metrics/techniques that entered (or became sig. more important) the digital-capture/reproduction world well after CD playback was intro'd in 1982 ...
oversampling/digital filtering ( ~ 1984)
linearity ( ~ 1987)
time-domain DF (1989, e.g. Wadia)
jitter (~ 1990)
min. phase/apodizing filters (latest fads)


Worthless blather adding nothing to the discussion. Cut that bullshit out.



What I hear said is "I can not defend with scientific principals my idea that different systems have different abilities to reproduce Pace, Rhythm, and Timing. Maybe the science does not exist."

What I reply is "Pace, Rhythm, and Timing are low frequency events needing very little resolution in the time domain to perfectly reproduce. The idea that problems in their reproduction are immeasurable and outside the understanding of current audio science is laughable on its face."


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krabapple
post Jul 5 2011, 15:25
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 03:48) *
QUOTE (krabapple @ Jul 4 2011, 19:20) *
[...] you might as well ask if ESP is genetic. That's called 'jumping the gun'.
Several of you have responded with valid counter-arguments. But what about the UCSD study of perceived perfect/absolute pitch as a genetic trait? Is that 'jumping the gun', too?



No, because 'perfect pitch' demonstrably exists, and is a quality of the listener. Nor does anyone dispute that frequency differences can be audible. Nor is a relationship between pitch perception and frequency imaginary. Nor is it in dispute that different audio gear could produce different audible frequencies....though there are whole classes of gear that shouldn't.

What is in dispute is that audio gear has intrinsic qualities that produce different stimuli in the listener for 'pace, rhythm, and timing'. Evidence please. Or at least, explain why your question is any different from 'Is ESP genetic?' Your arguments and pseudoscientific charts so far ring hollow.

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kraut
post Jul 5 2011, 15:51
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QUOTE
Extremely refreshing, Kraut


Maybe it is refreshing for you to be called out on posting unsubstantiated bull covered in a cloud of semi scientific fluff. It still smells bad.
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dhromed
post Jul 5 2011, 16:22
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QUOTE (hollowman @ Jul 5 2011, 14:17) *
Fig. 1: Sonic Boom’s circular quality plot. Shown is their finding for the Adcom GFA-555 II power amplifier.


What a fantastically arbitrary arrangement of words and lines!
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