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Not Just About Cables: Objectivism vs. Subjectivism in Audio - Page 3

post #31 of 89
Whether cables are worth the money you pay for them is a value question that each of us must justify to ourselves - not each other. I very much appreciated the support, advice and guidance I received from one guy in particular at my local high end stereo store some 20 odd years ago - a bit like bigshot is offering here.

He taught me how to listen to music and equipment, and allowed me to listen to some of the best gear on the market at the time. When I asked him about cables he simply said that I would work out whether expensive cables were for me or not, but he personally believed in them. He never told me about 'night and day' differences between Van den Hul cables and radio shack ones. In fact he suggested that the ones that came in the box were poor quality (I think he described them as strips of plastic with a breath of copper inside), and I should go and get some new ones from radio shack.

Some years later I did buy some VdH cables - I couldn't tell the difference. I think they're sitting in a drawer here somewhere.

We need those sort of people to act as a counter-point for the masses of marketing dollars thrown at the uninformed consumer and hype that surrounds this topic.

I recently bought a DVD recorder for my TV. When I asked the sales guy about reasonably priced cables he gave me the whole bit about their fancy cables and that anything less was junk and would make the picture unwatchable on a decent sized TV. I told Him that I had a projector with a 2.5M screen and the cables in my walls carrying the signal cost about $1 per metre (Belden). The picture is fine thanks for asking.

My point is, that it is easy for newbies to get the impression that you must buy expensive kit to get good sound, and it will scare them off. I see in other threads on this board where people comment that if you don't buy the best and most expensive that you will have a lower level of enjoyment, and perhaps by their own subjective assessment it's true.

There is currently a thread running here where many people are raving about a $69 pocket amp - more power to them.

This hobby should be about enjoyment of the music, and access to that simple pleasure by all.
post #32 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Agnostic View Post
I have to admit I'm intolerant. Intolerant of sloppy and magical thinking, sophistry, and grand unfounded claims.
Disagreeing and being intolerant are not the same thing, right? And isn't it logical to explain what it is in your opinion faulty in someones post rather than to bluntly and rudely throw those terms at them without explanation?

BTW, should I express contempt for you for using a technical term from my profession, namely, magical thinking, incorrectly showing you don't know its definition--much as happens with "placebo"? I don't like having to tolerate that sort of thing over and over despite having offered the correct ones and seeing others more recently doing so, too.

Magical thinking is a, usually frightening, form of experience of omnipotence of thought, It loosely means thinking something makes it so or makes it happen, like wishing someone dead kills them in actuality. It is a symptom of psychosis. Wishful thinking or perceptions altered by suggestion or ascribing powers to something for ulterior purposes are not examples of it. Yes, we all at least unconsciously have this form of thinking on the most 'primitive' level but it is covered and controlled by many supervening mental functions such that only someone very damaged or decompensated would manifest it in any apparent way aside from dreaming.
post #33 of 89
Riboge - do you think that we shouldn't discuss the issue passionately?

Isn't passion what separates good from great?

Do you think that some of the great passionate and rousing speeches might come across as pushy, and maybe a bit preachy?
post #34 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riboge View Post
Oh, yes, it was called for! This thread is about the tone of intolerance and ill-will, remember. Bigshot tells us some of his background and reason for his views, taking his time and effort and making himself a bit vulnerable. You respond with wow...all that typing! you'd better go see a doctor you're so old and maybe deaf, too--and you can't see how inappropriate, contemptuous and nasty that is?
The difference in sound is measured by 2 standards: objective and subjective. The question is : 1) Is there an objective difference and 2) can Bitshot hear that difference (subjective standard). If the poster has trouble or is unable to measure (hear) the subjective difference; then to him, no matter what the objective differences are, his personal subjective view is that the objective differences fail to translate into subjective differences. Thus whatever the objective differences are makes no subjective differences.

There is nothing inherently wrong with one's inability to subjectively tell the differences between cables; people are different, some can and some can't. I don't expect to have the same level of hearing as I have now when I get older; and its dangerous to assume your hearing is just as good as from the time you were hot into the stereo in the 60s unless you just had a recent hearing test and did well.
post #35 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
The question is : 1) Is there an objective difference and 2) can you hear that difference (subjective standard).
The question "can you hear that difference" is an objective question. The characterization or description of that difference is subjective.
post #36 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
The question "can you hear that difference" is an objective question. The characterization or description of that difference is subjective.
sorry..I mean 'you' as in Bigshot not any reasonable person. If the question was really to test if a reasonable person can hear the difference then your objection is perfectly valid. So the amended question is - can Bigshot hear the difference.
post #37 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
sorry..I mean 'you' as in Bigshot not any reasonable person. If the question was really to test if a reasonable can hear the difference then your objection is perfectly valid. So the amended question is - can Bigshot hear the difference.
Bigshot has made it pretty clear where he can or cannot hear a difference among components. I think that the question that you are really trying to ask is, "Assuming that there is an objective difference, would be Bigshot be able to hear it?" But this just begs the question of whether such a difference exists in the first place.
post #38 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
Bigshot has made it pretty clear where he can or cannot hear a difference among components.
That's a subjective comment. What you are arguing is that if Bigshot can't hear a difference subjectively, then the question of whether there is an objective difference is called into question. Does that mean if A has lost most of his taste buds and can't tell that a lemon is sour but he can still tell sweet from bitter, then the fact that the lemon is sour is called into question? A better approach is to test whether there is an objective difference first; the objective std can be obtained through empirical data or through a reasonable person test. Therefore I stand by the guidepost I sat down in my previous post.
post #39 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
That's a subjective comment. What you are arguing is that if Bigshot can't hear a difference subjectively, then the question of whether there is an objective difference is called into question. Does that mean if A has lost most of his taste buds and can't tell that a lemon is sour but he can still tell sweet from bitter, then the fact that the lemon is sour is called into question? A better approach is to test whether there is an objective difference first; the objective std can be obtained through empirical data or through a reasonable person test. Therefore I stand by the guidepost I sat down in my previous post.
Please pause a moment and consider this: you appear to NEVER understand what is being written by others but to nonetheless argue back vehemently. You must make the effort to try to understand what others are expressing first and show that you do if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise your input is an interference or worse sometimes.

Febs saying what he did about Bigshot having made himself clear about what differences he hears or doesn't is NOT A SUBJECTIVE STATEMENT. It is a summary of what has been written here and elsewhere. Neither is someone's report of hearing a cable difference subjective in that it is a fact that he heard the difference. That is what Febs pointed out to you that you simply didn't take in. What went into that person hearing it may be subjective but not the fact that he had that listening experience which is objective as is his report of it.

I point out that your manner of commenting on Bigshots background story as inappropriate and you seem to miss all that and appear from your response to have taken it as about the content of cable difference discussion or about the relation of hearing to age rather than expressly about HOW one discusses this not what or who is right about cables. How can that be responsible participation or of worth to anyone else?
post #40 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riboge View Post
Febs saying what he did about Bigshot having made himself clear about what differences he hears or doesn't is NOT A SUBJECTIVE STATEMENT. It is a summary of what has been written here and elsewhere. Neither is someone's report of hearing a cable difference subjective in that it is a fact that he heard the difference. That is what Febs pointed out to you that you simply didn't take in. What went into that person hearing it may be subjective but not the fact that he had that listening experience which is objective as is his report of it.

I point out that your manner of commenting on Bigshots background story as inappropriate and you seem to miss all that and appear from your response to have taken it as about the content of cable difference discussion or about the relation of hearing to age rather than expressly about HOW one discusses this not what or who is right about cables. How can that be responsible participation or of worth to anyone else?
sub·jec·tive (səb-jĕk'tĭv)
adj.

1. Proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world: a subjective decision.
2. Particular to a given person; personal: subjective experience.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Riboge View Post
Please pause a moment and consider this: you appear to NEVER understand what is being written by others but to nonetheless argue back vehemently. You must make the effort to try to understand what others are expressing first and show that you do if you want to be taken seriously. Otherwise your input is an interference or worse sometimes.
I hope you are not referring to yourself Your allegation is patently false no matter how you dissect it.
post #41 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Roam View Post
What the THD meter is missing is the distribution of the harmonics; how much 2nd, 3rd, 4th, etc.
As I understand it, each level of harmonics is an octive higher and less than half the volume. That means that at a normal listening volume of, say 40dB and a frequency in the upper mids, say 3kHz... the first level harmonics would be 20dB at 6kHz and the second would be 10dB at 12kHz. That second level harmonic is going to be barely audible at best. Take it to the third and fourth level and it will be completely inaudible.

The most important harmonics are the first level. Second at most. If those are really good, the sound will fall into place.

See ya
Steve
post #42 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by Riboge View Post
You say you have an open mind--or is it just your audience that's supposed to?--but you state that you learned your basic view from your brother's friends 40 years ago and haven't changed.
Oh no... They just set me off in the right direction. Since then, I've learned a lot from the sound engineers I work with on recording and mixes, and in particular from a buddy of mine who is a speaker designer with an interest in acoustic theory. Interestingly enough, I learned a lot about psycho acoustics from studying the design of antique gramophones... a format that achieved remarkably good sound even with tremendous limitations. There's a lot to learn about sound. I always love to run across someone who can teach me something.

I learn from people I don't agree with too. As long as someone defines their criteria for judging and presents arguments to support it, I can get a lot out of it, even if my criteria are totally different.

See ya
Steve
post #43 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
sorry..I mean 'you' as in Bigshot not any reasonable person. If the question was really to test if a reasonable person can hear the difference then your objection is perfectly valid. So the amended question is - can Bigshot hear the difference.
I'm afraid that if you want any answers from me, you'll have to behave more civilly. If someone has a genuine interest, I'm generous to a fault at sharing with them, but I don't suffer fools gladly.

See ya
Steve
post #44 of 89
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
sub·jec·tive (səb-jĕk'tĭv)
adj.

1. Proceeding from or taking place in a person's mind rather than the external world: a subjective decision.
For the umpteenth time, one's report of what has been heard when written or spoken IS in the external world and is an objective fact...as inadequate and antiquated as this definition is: the brain is something observable by others is in the external world even if the mind is considered not to be.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
2. Particular to a given person; personal: subjective experience.
This meaning is trivial in relation to our topic. It is synonymous with "individual", "personal", and the like. It is in no way the antonym to "objective"


Quote:
Originally Posted by chesebert View Post
I hope you are not referring to yourself Your allegation is patently false no matter how you dissect it.
QED...sigh..not a scintilla of recognition or response to the topic of manner of discourse.
post #45 of 89
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
As I understand it, each level of harmonics is an octive higher and less than half the volume. That means that at a normal listening volume of, say 40dB and a frequency in the upper mids, say 3kHz... the first level harmonics would be 20dB at 6kHz and the second would be 10dB at 12kHz. That second level harmonic is going to be barely audible at best. Take it to the third and fourth level and it will be completely inaudible.

The most important harmonics are the first level. Second at most. If those are really good, the sound will fall into place.
Your understanding of harmonics is flawed. Only the 1st, 2nd, 4th, 8th, 16th, etc. harmonics are octaves of each other. The other overtones are inharmonic, and are just as important to the sound, especially timbre. I'd like to hear about a pitched instrument with a fundamental frequency of 3 kHz.
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