IPB

Welcome Guest ( Log In | Register )

6 Pages V  « < 2 3 4 5 6 >  
Closed TopicStart new topic
Subjective vs Objective opinions, post your favourite links / experiences
2Bdecided
post Apr 1 2009, 16:53
Post #76


ReplayGain developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 5062
Joined: 5-November 01
From: Yorkshire, UK
Member No.: 409



QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 1 2009, 14:40) *
QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 1 2009, 10:28) *
QUOTE
Differences HEARD that are huge cannot possibly be imaginary and to think that is possible only displays a complete lack of understanding
The placebo effect can genuinely, provably (measurably!) cure people of real illnesses.
usually only temporarily, if it was a 'real' illness (not psychosomatic)
While I'm not one to point to wikipedia for accuracy, it's article on placebo cites real effects in real illnesses. I haven't followed any of the links - medicine really isn't my field!

Cheers,
David.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
krabapple
post Apr 1 2009, 17:06
Post #77





Group: Members
Posts: 2184
Joined: 18-December 03
Member No.: 10538



The placebo effect seems to be most commonly effective for pain relief -- which makes sense if it involves release of opioids.

There's a good article on it at Skeptic's Dictionary

http://skepdic.com/placebo.html

I didn't know that it actually 'cured' warts! laugh.gif

This post has been edited by greynol: Apr 1 2009, 18:27
Reason for edit: Useless quote removed. The one above stays; it begins a new page.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Apr 1 2009, 17:16
Post #78





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



QUOTE (pdq @ Apr 1 2009, 11:46) *
I believe it has been shown, however, that people heal more quickly from a real illness if they are in the right frame of mind.


Laughter is the best medicine!

Think about somebody learning to walk again. Arguably, the person who tries the hardest will recover faster than somebody who has basically given up on ever walking again and is just being forced through physiotherapy.

But that brings in another point. We tend to have subjectively better experiences with products we like. I've got two headphones on my desk. I think they have almost identical sound signatures. Yet the more expensive one seems to sound better...

Let's not mix up actual differences with perceived differences. Two amps might sound the same in a blind test, but that doesn't mean I won't have a subjectively better experience with an amp that I find is more attractive. The point being, I should be able to accept I like an amp better because it looks better (and perhaps cost more) but that the feeling of it being better has nothing to do with sound.

Unfortunately that's where human psychology come in. Even when you know the magician's secrets you still can't help enjoying the magic show.

This post has been edited by odigg: Apr 1 2009, 17:19
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Axon
post Apr 1 2009, 18:10
Post #79





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1984
Joined: 4-January 04
From: Austin, TX
Member No.: 10933



There isn't anything wrong with subjective experiences, emotions etc when valuing audio equipment - the problem is that, well, they're subjective. They only have meaning to other people as they perceive your emotions as important and meaningful to them. And there are a huge number of reasons why I shouldn't care about anybody's emotional experience with their audio - placebo only being the best of them. Quite simply, requiring audio discussions have a rational basis of discussion makes discussion more meaningful, and that necessarily means DBTs.

Think about that the next time you see some argument blow up on AA or SH.tv or AVSForum because two guys think they are absolutely infallible in their perceptions. Then compare with how many times that happens here...
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Ashley James
post Apr 2 2009, 11:38
Post #80





Group: Members
Posts: 7
Joined: 27-February 09
From: Bussage, Glos UK
Member No.: 67453



QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 1 2009, 18:10) *
There isn't anything wrong with subjective experiences, emotions etc when valuing audio equipment - the problem is that, well, they're subjective. They only have meaning to other people as they perceive your emotions as important and meaningful to them. And there are a huge number of reasons why I shouldn't care about anybody's emotional experience with their audio - placebo only being the best of them. Quite simply, requiring audio discussions have a rational basis of discussion makes discussion more meaningful, and that necessarily means DBTs.

Think about that the next time you see some argument blow up on AA or SH.tv or AVSForum because two guys think they are absolutely infallible in their perceptions. Then compare with how many times that happens here...


For me the problem with the whole subjectivism thing is that it leaves us with no proper reference points and renders us prey to charlatans selling expensive USB and mains cables etc. As you say, perception might be good, but I don't think so. Or to objective friend being banned from a totally subjective forum for suggesting that anyone describing sonic differences between ALAC and AIFF might be talking boloney.


Wine price test shows marketing at work in brain


Researchers in California have shown that you can increase a person's enjoyment of wine by just sticking a higher price on it.

In a demonstration of the power of marketing, researchers in California showed you can increase a person's enjoyment of wine by just sticking a higher price on it, according to a study released Monday.

Antonio Rangel, associate professor of economics at the California Institute of Technology, led a team to test how marketing shapes consumers' perceptions and whether it also enhances their enjoyment of a product.

They asked 21 volunteers to sample five different bottles of Cabernet Sauvignon and rate their taste preferences. The taste test was run 15 times, with the wines presented in random order.

The taste test was blind except for information on the price of the wine. Without telling the volunteers, the researchers presented two of the wines twice, once with the true price tag, and again with a fake one.

They also passed off a 90 dollar bottle of Cabernet Sauvignon as a 10 dollar bottle, and presented a five dollar bottle as one worth 45 dollars.

Aside from collecting the test subjects' impressions of the wines, the researchers scanned their brains to monitor the neural activity in the medial orbitofrontal cortex -- an area of the brain believed to encode pleasure related to taste, odors and music.

The study found that inflating the price of a bottle of wine enhanced a person's experience of drinking it, as shown by the neural activity.

The volunteers consistently gave higher ratings to the more "expensive" wines.

Brain scans also showed greater neural activity in the pleasure center when they were sampling those "pricey" wines, indicating that the increased pleasure they reported was a real effect in the brain.

"It's a common belief among scientists and economists that the quality of the experience depends on the properties of the product and the state of the consumer; for example, if a consumer is thirsty or not," said Rangel.

"But what this study shows is that the brain's rewards center takes into account subjective beliefs about the quality of the experience.

"If you believe that the experience is better, even though it's the same wine, the rewards center of the brain encodes it as feeling better."

In other words, "people's beliefs about the quality of a wine affect how well it tastes for the brain," he concluded.

The study appears in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

2008

This post has been edited by Ashley James: Apr 2 2009, 11:41
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Apr 2 2009, 15:10
Post #81





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



QUOTE (Ashley James @ Apr 2 2009, 06:38) *
For me the problem with the whole subjectivism thing is that it leaves us with no proper reference points and renders us prey to charlatans selling expensive USB and mains cables etc. As you say, perception might be good, but I don't think so. Or to objective friend being banned from a totally subjective forum for suggesting that anyone describing sonic differences between ALAC and AIFF might be talking boloney.


I think that's the general point made in this tread. Subjectivity is a great way to talk about the color of an amp, the casing, the spousal approval factor, etc. But it's a terrible way to evaluate the sonic properties of audio equipment. Using DBT as a "base" for our evaluations allows people to have one reference point when they are evaluating equipment. It's much easier to have a grounded conversation when you use DBT as a reference point, even if the conversation is a lot more technical and dry than the fun stuff you see on audiophile forums.

This argument reminds me of the battle between the between the physical sciences and research we see in anthropology, educational research, and the other social scienes. It's impossible to do DBT in those fields so some people simply assume everything outside of the physical sciences is pure subjective rubbish. But even the social sciences have established methodologies and philosophical grounding to the work they do. This allows different people to evaluate qualitative (or even quantitative) research using a reference point, assuming they understand that reference point.

As you said, the problem with audiophile forums is that the ground itself is a relative statement. "Everybody hears differently" is just about as solid a reference point as you're going to get. That and "If it's more expensive it must be better."

This post has been edited by odigg: Apr 2 2009, 15:11
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Dracaena
post Apr 3 2009, 02:32
Post #82





Group: Members
Posts: 35
Joined: 20-November 07
Member No.: 48901



I don't see what all the fuss is about. If people want to spend $20,000 on a CD player, then let them. If people are willing to spend $53k on something that tells them the time of day, why not a CD player?
It is disheartening to hear of people who aren't rolling in money getting suckered into wasting money on placebos that could have been better spent on something else, but at this point, thanks to rabid capitalism, the marketing BS machine has pervaded every aspect of society. I see it not as objective vs subjective split specific to audio enthusiasts, but as a more general aspect of society itself - marketing, misinformation and profits vs. education and common sense. It won't go away unless there's a fundamental change in the way our societies operate.

Ok I went off track a bit there. I guess my point was that if someone *thinks* they can hear a difference where there is none, well that's pretty much as good as actually hearing a real difference. If someone enjoys listening to a $20,000 CD player more than a $300 one, then in their subjective reality it DOES sound better, and they're enjoying themselves. Why harrass people who are just trying to enjoy themselves? Let them buy their hideous $53k watch if they want. They're enjoying themselves, the same way a collector enjoys spending big $$$ on a rare sports card, when they could have had a full size poster and complete biography for a fraction of the price.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
pdq
post Apr 3 2009, 02:55
Post #83





Group: Members
Posts: 3374
Joined: 1-September 05
From: SE Pennsylvania
Member No.: 24233



For the people who spent a fortune and are happy with their purchase I have no problem. But when someone comes here and asks "Do I really have to spend that much to get the best sound reproduction" I think it is important to tell it like it is.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Dracaena
post Apr 3 2009, 03:18
Post #84





Group: Members
Posts: 35
Joined: 20-November 07
Member No.: 48901



Sure, I agree with that 100% pdq
I just don't see the point of going into into "high end" forums and giving them a hard time about it, or mocking them here for that matter.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Axon
post Apr 3 2009, 03:27
Post #85





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1984
Joined: 4-January 04
From: Austin, TX
Member No.: 10933



QUOTE (Dracaena @ Apr 2 2009, 20:32) *
I don't see what all the fuss is about. If people want to spend $20,000 on a CD player, then let them. If people are willing to spend $53k on something that tells them the time of day, why not a CD player?
It is disheartening to hear of people who aren't rolling in money getting suckered into wasting money on placebos that could have been better spent on something else, but at this point, thanks to rabid capitalism, the marketing BS machine has pervaded every aspect of society. I see it not as objective vs subjective split specific to audio enthusiasts, but as a more general aspect of society itself - marketing, misinformation and profits vs. education and common sense. It won't go away unless there's a fundamental change in the way our societies operate.

Ok I went off track a bit there. I guess my point was that if someone *thinks* they can hear a difference where there is none, well that's pretty much as good as actually hearing a real difference. If someone enjoys listening to a $20,000 CD player more than a $300 one, then in their subjective reality it DOES sound better, and they're enjoying themselves. Why harrass people who are just trying to enjoy themselves? Let them buy their hideous $53k watch if they want. They're enjoying themselves, the same way a collector enjoys spending big $ on a rare sports card, when they could have had a full size poster and complete biography for a fraction of the price.

Like pdq said - the problem with the "live and let live" argument is that the people selling the $20,000 CD players have thoroughly draped themselves under the flag of science and rationality rather then simply luxury. Open up a webpage/brochure about virtually every ultra-high-end product and you'll usually find allusions to extremely complicated science involved with the product that is beyond the comprehension of the reader. (Some companies really do break down the measurements well, if you're very lucky.) Look at the defenses of SET amps (really!), or even better, Ultimate Chips (Geoff Kait claims he's designed satellites) and Bybee Quantum Purifiers (Jack Bybee claims he worked on top-secret Nava sub projects).

Quite simply, hifi audio is singularly distinghished from other luxury hobbies - like cars, photography, cooking to a certain extent, golf - in how thoroughly it relies upon the guise of scientific innovation to promote products of, generally, an entirely uninnovative or underperforming character. If you'd prove some kind of scientific attack on performance in those other luxury fields, nobody would give a shit - that's not really what you're looking for when you buy La Creuset or Bugatti. But a similar, successful, attack on the hifi would would be utterly catastrophic, because that's a very big part of why it's justified and sold. After the science, the only thing that's left is sheer craftsmanship and looks, and very few audiophiles care about those alone...

The importance of that, and defending real audio engineering against that, matters only to the degree that it is perceived to be an issue. Certainly many of us are drawn to the fight just because we are pro-science, like people are drawn to pro-evolution camps. But it also makes a big impact on the price and quality of the audio we buy and the music we listen to. Equipment manufacturers desperately want to make their product stand out from the competition (decommoditize), and for many kinds of hardware, it's really hard to find a good value because everything at a given quality range is full of snake oil. You see that a lot in headphone amps, for instance. That has a direct impact on my spending habits and bottom line. Similarly, in the music world, the engineers who obsess over high res and quality differences between different digital mixing consoles are taking time away from issues that actually matter, like dynamic range, noise, distortion, etc. Look at all the hubbub over NIN's The Slip release where the 24-bit FLACs were of the exact same master as the 16-bit ones. Look at all the SACD and DVD-A releases that either made no use of increased dynamic range, or deliberately screwed up the CD layer to make the high res layer sound better.

In those cases like these, the public requests higher quality and is getting pretty much soaked in the process. The acceptance of audiophile snake oil in the public sphere draws money away from real innovation, in all product markets and all price points, and reduces the quality of audio as a whole in the process.

That's why you should complain vigorously about $20,000 CD players.

This post has been edited by Axon: Apr 3 2009, 03:29
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
FasterThanEver
post Apr 3 2009, 07:12
Post #86





Group: Members
Posts: 54
Joined: 2-January 06
Member No.: 26804



QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 2 2009, 19:27) *
Look at the defenses of SET amps (really!), or even better, Ultimate Chips (Geoff Kait claims he's designed satellites) and Bybee Quantum Purifiers (Jack Bybee claims he worked on top-secret Nava sub projects).


Quantum mechanics is the last refuge of high-end audio scoundrels.


QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 2 2009, 19:27) *
That's why you should complain vigorously about $20,000 CD players.


I use the J. River Media Center 12 player because it provides the features I need for classical music. There are few alternatives for me and none as well adapted to my needs. Every few months, a few tweakers types pops up on the J. River forums telling the J. River staff that they have to implement some feature that fits the current tweaker fashion. Recent examples:

- playback from memory since that sounds so much better than reading the music files from a hard drive.

- a Linux version of the J. River player since audio playback sounds so much from Linux better than audio playback from Windows.

- a stripped down version of the J. River player since minimal players produce so much better sound. Even reducing the amount of disk space require to store the program itself is said to improve audio output. (And make it free of course.)

There is an absolutist zealotry in the language of the requests and an urgency about the requests. In most cases, the requestor doesn't have an commitment to the J. River player; he just wants to spread the gospel. He'll be off sampling a dozen other players in a few days.

I try to be one of sane voices urging the J. River staff to exercise caution because I don't want a product I depend on hijacked by the tweaker fringe.

Bill
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
2Bdecided
post Apr 3 2009, 10:31
Post #87


ReplayGain developer


Group: Developer
Posts: 5062
Joined: 5-November 01
From: Yorkshire, UK
Member No.: 409



QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 3 2009, 02:27) *
Quite simply, hifi audio is singularly distinghished from other luxury hobbies - like cars, photography, cooking to a certain extent, golf - in how thoroughly it relies upon the guise of scientific innovation to promote products of, generally, an entirely uninnovative or underperforming character.
That's true - that's why I can buy a Digital SLR camera or an HD camcorder for a few hundreds pounds, and it's genuinely light-years ahead of what was available a decade ago in terms of performance and features. People test the things objectively and scientifically, and you can read sensible reviews based in reality.

Whereas, even as a well informed individual working in this field, I'd struggle to spend a few hundred pounds on an audio system and get any performance advance over what was available several decades ago. I know we've had LP>CD>mp3, with the well known (argued!) implications on quality and convenience - but we've had almost nothing that makes the sound genuinely better in my living room at a given price point.

I know of several technologies that could have been mass produced and mass marketed which would have transformed the sound at home - there must be many more that I haven't heard of because I've not worked in audio for almost a decade! Speaker design techniques combined with DSP that give surprisingly good sound from cheap small speakers - maybe without wires. Surround sound techniques that actually work for music.

Yet the "hi-end" (by which I mean anything above an iPod) is driven by people who want to listen to stereo recordings from the 1960s replayed from vinyl through valve (tube) amplifiers. Is it any wonder normal people aren't interested?

That's why digital cameras, objectively reviewed, improve year-on-year - while hi-end audio, where most reviews are fiction, is stuck in the past.

That Dracaena is why some of us think it's worth aguing against the BS.

FWIW I have no problem with making audio equipment better and better, even if the improvements are inaudible. That's fine. As long as we're honest, that's great. It's making it worse, or holding it back, and still charging for it and reviewing it as if it's wonderful, that's a crime IMO.

Cheers,
David.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Apr 3 2009, 17:57
Post #88





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



QUOTE (Dracaena @ Apr 2 2009, 21:32) *
It is disheartening to hear of people who aren't rolling in money getting suckered into wasting money on placebos that could have been better spent on something else, but at this point, thanks to rabid capitalism, the marketing BS machine has pervaded every aspect of society. I see it not as objective vs subjective split specific to audio enthusiasts, but as a more general aspect of society itself - marketing, misinformation and profits vs. education and common sense. It won't go away unless there's a fundamental change in the way our societies operate.


Everybody is a sucker. Nobody needs a 48 inch TV and many people don't even need a TV. Most of the stuff in people's households in any "Developed" country is probably just unnecessary luxuries. One could argue that people's obsession with listening to music is also far beyond how much we really need music in our lives. But let's not go down that philosophical argument.

Personally, I want dissenting opinions on audiophile claims so I can be more educated about my purchases. Let's say I buy a pair of headphones and I don't like the way they sound. I go onto a forum and say this. If the headphone is loved on that forum it's very likely I'll get the following answers.

1. They require burn in.
2. I need a DAC
3. I need a cable
4. I need an amp.

If I get all these things and still don't like the headphones I'll get these answers.

1. Burn them in more.
2. Get a different DAC
3. Get a different cable.
4. Get a different amp.

Different usually means more expensive.

Of course, the sane answer is that I need a different headphone. But if I got onto a public forum and an army of people tell me the headphone is not the problem, I'm likely to doubt my own hearing and judgment. When people, like the people on this forum, say that maybe I need to change my headphone, at least I can find a few other people who are not saying my hearing is rotten.

People can spend however much they want on a audio equipment. Audio is a hobby and all hobbies are insane from a certain perspective. But it would be nice if people who are not all that interested in audio as a hobby, people who just want a nice system to listen to music, could get advice that doesn't ask them to destroy their wallets for dubious gains.

This post has been edited by odigg: Apr 3 2009, 17:58
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
pdq
post Apr 3 2009, 19:05
Post #89





Group: Members
Posts: 3374
Joined: 1-September 05
From: SE Pennsylvania
Member No.: 24233



There are some good scenes involving Hi-Fi sales in the movie Ruthless People. Well worth watching for other reasons as well.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 3 2009, 20:27
Post #90





Group: Members
Posts: 3649
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 1 2009, 13:10) *
Quite simply, requiring audio discussions have a rational basis of discussion makes discussion more meaningful, and that necessarily means DBTs.

Think about that the next time you see some argument blow up on AA or SH.tv or AVSForum because two guys think they are absolutely infallible in their perceptions. Then compare with how many times that happens here...


The history of audio component ABX tests is that they originated in a regional hi fi club. They were devised to avoid exactly the kinds of blow-ups you describe. They achived that outcome, almost to perfection. The other thing they did is pretty much convert all of our amplifier builders into speaker builders. ;-)
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Axon
post Apr 3 2009, 20:40
Post #91





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1984
Joined: 4-January 04
From: Austin, TX
Member No.: 10933



QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 3 2009, 14:27) *
QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 1 2009, 13:10) *
Quite simply, requiring audio discussions have a rational basis of discussion makes discussion more meaningful, and that necessarily means DBTs.

Think about that the next time you see some argument blow up on AA or SH.tv or AVSForum because two guys think they are absolutely infallible in their perceptions. Then compare with how many times that happens here...


The history of audio component ABX tests is that they originated in a regional hi fi club. They were devised to avoid exactly the kinds of blow-ups you describe. They achived that outcome, almost to perfection. The other thing they did is pretty much convert all of our amplifier builders into speaker builders. ;-)


Really?

That's one of the best examples I've ever heard of for blind testing improving audio fidelity (and its converse, subjectivism holding audio back).
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
pdq
post Apr 3 2009, 20:40
Post #92





Group: Members
Posts: 3374
Joined: 1-September 05
From: SE Pennsylvania
Member No.: 24233



QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 3 2009, 15:27) *
The other thing they did is pretty much convert all of our amplifier builders into speaker builders. ;-)

Now that's what I call a positive outcome! Put the effort into the area where there is still considerable room for improvement.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
shenzi
post Apr 5 2009, 15:35
Post #93





Group: Members
Posts: 14
Joined: 24-March 09
Member No.: 68340



The digital camera comparison is highly valid. Audio systems have got better but the improvements have been in the mid and low end (I'm talking principally about electronics). A micro-system from the 80s will pale against some of the small, all-in-one boxes around today (NAD, Teac, Denon). That's a hugely positive result. A friend of mine bought one and kept saying, "I don't suppose you'll think it's any good as you're into hi-fi". She stopped when I bought one too and put the hi fi in the loft.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 6 2009, 01:26
Post #94





Group: Members
Posts: 3649
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 3 2009, 15:40) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 3 2009, 14:27) *
QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 1 2009, 13:10) *
Quite simply, requiring audio discussions have a rational basis of discussion makes discussion more meaningful, and that necessarily means DBTs.

Think about that the next time you see some argument blow up on AA or SH.tv or AVSForum because two guys think they are absolutely infallible in their perceptions. Then compare with how many times that happens here...


The history of audio component ABX tests is that they originated in a regional hi fi club. They were devised to avoid exactly the kinds of blow-ups you describe. They achived that outcome, almost to perfection. The other thing they did is pretty much convert all of our amplifier builders into speaker builders. ;-)


Really?


Absolutely.

QUOTE
That's one of the best examples I've ever heard of for blind testing improving audio fidelity (and its converse, subjectivism holding audio back).


Then we tried to spread ABX to a somewhat larger hi fi club - the AES! ;-)

ABX didn't take hold quite as well in the AES. There are still quite a few crazies in the AES.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
odigg
post Apr 6 2009, 02:06
Post #95





Group: Members
Posts: 629
Joined: 25-July 08
From: USA
Member No.: 56264



QUOTE (Ashley James @ Mar 25 2009, 07:02) *
I reckon the audio industry is way behind the Consumer or Pro electronics industry because much of it has driven off proper engineers and discredited any rational means of assessing products.

Ash


If only it was so. I know of one rather talented "proper" engineer who works in the industry because he needs a job and has a family to support. He doesn't even care all that much about audio and certainly doesn't make any grand claims about the stuff he designs. He is a really good hardware engineer though.

I think there are some brilliant engineers in the Audio industry. There are also some very experienced and intelligent engineers building all sorts of great DIY stuff, much of which is probably incredibly over engineered for the purposes they are using them for.

In any field that uses scientific methodologies to discover and create knowledge , from theoretical physics to anthropology, there are always a number of assumptions that are seen to be intuitively true, have been passed down through ages, but are actually rubbish. When somebody eventually asks a questions about this assumption the "experts" can either realize there is a flaw in that assumption or they can proceed to build up a universe made up of other assumptions and beliefs and combine this with knowledge (based on evidence and things that have been demonstrated to be true) in the field to support that assumption.

An example is in order. In the audiophile headphone world a dedicated headphone amp is absolutely required. There are a number of sane sounding statements to justify the existence of expensive headphone amps. One is "Without a headphone amp your headphone will sound dull and lifeless." I was very curious about why a headphone sounded dull and lifeless without a dedicated headphone amp, especially because I had tried a number of headphones (ranging from 25 to 300 ohms) plugged into my sound card and only one sounded dull and lifeless.

I went onto at least one audio engineering forum and asked if somebody could tell me why a headphone amp was required. Surely there was a scientific explanation for this. There must be a way to show that if we were to graph the output of my sound card vs a headphone amp there would be a difference. If this difference could be demonstrated, it would be easier to understand what headphone amp would be required for any given headphone. At least some minimal standard could be established.

I did not get anything even approximating a proper answer. Arguably it boiled down to "There is plenty of stuff in audio you can't see on graphs and can't measure." Some rather vague electronics was pulled in to justify the above. With exception of some cases (clipping, coupling capacitor based high pass filter, lack of volume, hiss) I've never found any explanation as to why a dedicated headphone amp is required for any headphone. Simply put, I think the engineers of audiophile headphone amps simply assume an amp is required an continue to build stuff that has enough power to drive speakers.

If you don't do blind testing "proper" engineers can support any of their beliefs as to why a "better" amp, dac, or whatever else, needs to be built.

You might be wondering, what of that headphone I mentioned that sounded dull and lifeless? I heard that headphone powered by a number of amps that are very highly reviewed and respected by audiophiles, connected to a CD player that stereophile goes to bed with. Guess what? The headphone sounded dull and lifeless.

This post has been edited by odigg: Apr 6 2009, 02:11
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Axon
post Apr 6 2009, 02:55
Post #96





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1984
Joined: 4-January 04
From: Austin, TX
Member No.: 10933



QUOTE (shenzi @ Apr 5 2009, 09:35) *
The digital camera comparison is highly valid. Audio systems have got better but the improvements have been in the mid and low end (I'm talking principally about electronics). A micro-system from the 80s will pale against some of the small, all-in-one boxes around today (NAD, Teac, Denon). That's a hugely positive result. A friend of mine bought one and kept saying, "I don't suppose you'll think it's any good as you're into hi-fi". She stopped when I bought one too and put the hi fi in the loft.


I wouldn't take that analogy too far; it's an apples to oranges comparison to a certain degree. Digital cameras are tied very closely in technology to fabrication technology, and thus Moore's Law. DSP electronic has of course improved by the same leaps and bounds, but fewer analog audio chips can take advantage of Moore's Law. There are other limiting factors to the designs.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Axon
post Apr 6 2009, 03:39
Post #97





Group: Members (Donating)
Posts: 1984
Joined: 4-January 04
From: Austin, TX
Member No.: 10933



QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 5 2009, 19:26) *
Then we tried to spread ABX to a somewhat larger hi fi club - the AES! ;-)

ABX didn't take hold quite as well in the AES. There are still quite a few crazies in the AES.
Really? I thought the crazies were thrown out in the with the early 90s cable debate, Meyer/Moran, The Great Debate papers, etc. In fact, a lot of audiophiles seem to have a lot of animosity for the AES. Are the two cozier than I thought?
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
krabapple
post Apr 6 2009, 04:12
Post #98





Group: Members
Posts: 2184
Joined: 18-December 03
Member No.: 10538



QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 5 2009, 21:55) *
QUOTE (shenzi @ Apr 5 2009, 09:35) *
The digital camera comparison is highly valid. Audio systems have got better but the improvements have been in the mid and low end (I'm talking principally about electronics). A micro-system from the 80s will pale against some of the small, all-in-one boxes around today (NAD, Teac, Denon). That's a hugely positive result. A friend of mine bought one and kept saying, "I don't suppose you'll think it's any good as you're into hi-fi". She stopped when I bought one too and put the hi fi in the loft.


I wouldn't take that analogy too far; it's an apples to oranges comparison to a certain degree. Digital cameras are tied very closely in technology to fabrication technology, and thus Moore's Law. DSP electronic has of course improved by the same leaps and bounds, but fewer analog audio chips can take advantage of Moore's Law. There are other limiting factors to the designs.



THe 'room for improvement' in optical media and technologies was so much great than for digital audio since 1984 or so, that comparisons betwene them should be made carefully if at all.

CD audio placed us near if not *at* the limit of established audibility thresholds in the early 80's. Digital video/photo had a lot of catching up to do...and still does.. to get to the equivalent visible limits. (e.g., film is still objectively superior to digital video; analog tape isn't objectively superior than Redbook digital)




Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
Arnold B. Kruege...
post Apr 7 2009, 01:58
Post #99





Group: Members
Posts: 3649
Joined: 29-October 08
From: USA, 48236
Member No.: 61311



QUOTE (Axon @ Apr 5 2009, 22:39) *
QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Apr 5 2009, 19:26) *
Then we tried to spread ABX to a somewhat larger hi fi club - the AES! ;-)

ABX didn't take hold quite as well in the AES. There are still quite a few crazies in the AES.
Really? I thought the crazies were thrown out in the with the early 90s cable debate, Meyer/Moran, The Great Debate papers, etc. In fact, a lot of audiophiles seem to have a lot of animosity for the AES. Are the two cozier than I thought?


It isn't that I think that there are a lot of crazies in the AES, it is just that the absence of crazies in the local club has been nearly total for about 20 years.

OTOH, in the AES there is always this:

http://www.aes.org/sections/uk/meetings/a0812.html

;-)
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post
rpp3po
post Apr 7 2009, 03:09
Post #100





Group: Developer
Posts: 1126
Joined: 11-February 03
From: Germany
Member No.: 4961



Hey, that's with the inventor of MLP - the only lossless codec that sounds better than FLAC.
Go to the top of the page
+Quote Post

6 Pages V  « < 2 3 4 5 6 >
Closed TopicStart new topic
1 User(s) are reading this topic (1 Guests and 0 Anonymous Users)
0 Members:

 



RSS Lo-Fi Version Time is now: 30th July 2014 - 06:31