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post #16 of 170
Be definition no, it is not possible to hear something that can't be measured. The only problem is the sensetivity of measuring devices, and knowing what you're listening/measuring for.
post #17 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by monolith View Post
By definition no, it is not possible to hear something that can't be measured. The only problem is the sensetivity of measuring devices, and knowing what you're listening/measuring for.
True, and beautifully put! And I would add -- we might be far away from knowing what to measure if our theoretical models of the systems (electrical, acoustic, sensory) are way off, incomplete, or totally missing a key idea to be supplied by the next Maxwell or Einstein.
post #18 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
This goes back to the Matrix: If you (or your brain in this case) are in a dream (or belief in this case) that is so real that you can't tell it is a dream or not, how do you know you are not in a dream?
As regards to placebo (someone has to say it, it's what this discussion is really about and it shouldn't be a taboo subject after all) the answer is testing. Example:
I used to listen to only lossless. I ran out of room on my portable and decided to test myself. I was surprised at where transparency was (-V4 or around 160kbs for the most part). I bumped it up to -V1 for peace of mind and have been enjoying my music just as much ever since with the added bonus of more storage and better battery life.
I am happy with this for myself but, and this is key: I do not presume to extrapolate my results to include anyone else.
That would be arrogant.
My hearing seems ok to me but I have no idea if someone else's is better and can resolve differences I cannot. It's certainly possible, but lacking testing I will remain a respectful skeptic based on my own experience.
I also respect anyone's decision to not be tested and believe what they believe. To each their own.

To the question at hand:

Science has far more sensitive instruments than the human ear so no: It is not possible to physically hear something that cannot be measured.

Music, however, is more that a collection of sounds and science does not have a clear enough understanding of the human brain to begin to quantify the emotional experience that is listening to music.
post #19 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by ClieOS View Post
How would a tinnitus patient convince his brain that there is no sound? How would an amputee convince his brain phantom pain shouldn't exist?
Maybe different areas "light up". We may need a lot less brain science than you think. We don't need to map everything -- all we need is to be able distinguish two pleasures: "I want to hear it this way -- pleasure from lack of disappointment" from "I do hear it this way -- pleasure from aural stimulation" (on which there has been a lot of work recently).

Can this be done with Cat Scans so I don't need to learn how to implant electrodes?

Totally out of my depth now -- we need some neuroscientists here. I'm going to hit the books and see if I can move to enlightened layman status from my current idiot status in this field.
post #20 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
I propose that it's not that we can't measure things that some can hear, but we've not yet learned "how" to quantify/measure/isolate everything that we can hear. We're getting closer and closer though. Our understanding of HRTF is pretty complete, for example, but we do not yet have total understanding of how someone's brain processes sound. I think also we can often overlook seemingly inconsequential things that many can hear, such as extremely minor deviations in frequency response, for example. Another thing to keep in mind is that we, as a species, are sometimes pretty good as comparators, but typically very poor in realizing absolutes, due to accommodation.
Also beautifully put IMO ... these recent posts are the foundation for this forum.
post #21 of 170
by "can't" do you mean not currently or not at all?
post #22 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post

Be very afraid if I show up at a meet with a scaple.

Dr. Wavoman I presume?

Very cool posts....

I'm still grappling with the concept that something can be heard that can't be measured. The question that always comes to mind is: What is this thing that can be heard? Is it an attack or decay or echo of some type? Is it a frequency response? Is it some sort of veil that has been lifted? Greater clarity, or resolution, more volume, less volume? More detail? What is it? What is everybody hearing?

-------------------------------------------------------------

The next topic, if it's alright with you, will be to dissect the listening test you did with the silver and copper wires, where differences were heard but the results were not what you expected.

It was a relatively simple test, comparing two cables and because you were the subject, you will be able to provide us with some great insights into both the testing procedures and the analysis of the results.

I'm going to copy this into the next post later tonight, but for the time being, some of the preliminary questions are going to be:

  • what was your source
  • what rig was used
  • what were you listening to
  • what did you hear
  • can you describe the sound of cu an Ag
  • how would you describe the differences
  • can you assign attributes to cu and ag
  • who made the cables and how long were they
  • what kind of cables were they, solid, stranded, shielded etc
  • what end plugs were you using, brand, material, etc
  • what solder was used
  • tweak juice?
  • how long was the AB listening interval
  • how quickly were you able to switch to the other cable
  • was a toggle box like the one Ray brings to meets used
  • if no toggle box, how was the connection managed
  • who conducted the test
  • how was the test conducted

If you'd rather start with something else, let me know and we'll do it.

USG
post #23 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by MoonShine View Post
Science has far more sensitive instruments than the human ear so no: It is not possible to physically hear something that cannot be measured
But, as discussed in the last few posts, you need to add:

"that cannot be measured by some instrument, perhaps an instrument that has never been built, nor conceived of, nor the necessity for even imagined".

You don't want to claim that we know how to measure everything with today's science and instruments, do you? Every such claim in the history of science has come up short later. It is impossible to build a rocket to break the gravitational pull of the earth [common scientific view decades ago]. It is impossible to pack more than n bits on portable media [Polaroid went bankrupt believing there was a fundamental limit on digital storage that would keep instant film developing alive]. There will be no more than a handful of digital computers in the world [common engineering view at one time].

These conclusions are always based on what seems to be air-tight arguments ... until the next breakthru in knowledge.

But that's not my real point -- this is it: if we have finite time, let's measure listeners, and learn how to do that well (it is not easy, I agree). This is a direct, frontal attack on the problem. Engineering bench measurements are a sideways attack on the problem we are trying to solve. They are much easier to do. But it's doing what we can do rather than something harder, which we should do.

The builders of equipment need the test instruments and the bench work of course -- they need to do real engineering. But we are consumers. We are trying to find out what sounds good.

In an earlier post I pointed out that the food industry settled this long ago. Food chemistry is used to design the products, but taste tests are used to determine marketability. And these tests -- with millions of dollars on the line -- are always single-blind (taster blind); ours should be single-blind too (listener blind) run by unbiased supervisors ... no matter what The Absolute Sound says!
post #24 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAnomaly View Post
by "can't" do you mean not currently or not at all?
Perfect. Exactly. Oh my, you reduced my hundreds of words to eleven. I hate you.
post #25 of 170
If a tree fell in the woods and you had no other measuring devices to use except for your ears, would it make a sound? If the answer is yes, then I'll forever be a happy camper with my own two ears.
post #26 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
The next topic, if it's alright with you, will be to dissect the listening test you did with the silver and copper wires, where differences were heard but the results were not what you expected
I have some answers, SACD_MAN has the rest (he ran the test, I was the subject).

But "over and out" until later this weekend for now. I have to work and earn money to buy headphones, and then take my wife to dinner and a movie ... which of late costs as much as decent phones (seriously -- check out Senn PX-100 on Amazon with the rebate!).

(Wmcmanus -- my wife once asked me: "if you were alone in a forest, and you said something, and I wasn't there to hear it, would you be wrong anyway?". And people in head-fi are probably asking -- "yea, and if no one were there in the forest to hear you would you keep talking anyway?". Self-knowledge is good. Hey, idea: if we all stop answering X who thinks the response to every question and post is to suggest the headphone Y, will he keep posting anyway?)
post #27 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
But, as discussed in the last few posts, you need to add:

"that cannot be measured by some instrument, perhaps an instrument that has never been built, nor conceived of, nor the necessity for even imagined".

You don't want to claim that we know how to measure everything with today's science and instruments, do you?
No sir, I would not want to claim anything of the sort.
Albert Einstein: "As our circle of knowledge expands, so does the circumference of darkness surrounding it".
Science will never understand everything.

I do believe that we have a good understanding of the functions, capabilities, and limitations of the human ear (and therefore can measure anything that can be physically perceived) but lack a great deal of understanding regarding what the brain then does with the audio information it receives.
Big difference (indeed, the key difference that is at the root of all this rigmarole).
post #28 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Wmcmanus View Post
If a tree fell in the woods and you had no other measuring devices to use except for your ears, would it make a sound? If the answer is yes, then I'll forever be a happy camper with my own two ears.
I have some high desert lots I would like to sell you.
Only viewable from a distance on certain days.
You trust your eyes, don't you?

I jest.
post #29 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by monolith View Post
Be definition no, it is not possible to hear something that can't be measured. The only problem is the sensetivity of measuring devices, and knowing what you're listening/measuring for.
That's not completely true. I do a bit of dialogue recording and editing in my job, some times you come across words that you can plainly hear but when you zoom into the to edit them you realize that there is no waveform there.

The brain fills in the blanks in this case creating an auditory illusion, another auditory illusion is linked here.

Diana Deutsch - Deutsch's Musical Illusions / Scale illusion
post #30 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEast View Post
That's not completely true. I do a bit of dialogue recording and editing in my job, some times you come across words that you can plainly hear but when you zoom into the to edit them you realize that there is no waveform there.

The brain fills in the blanks in this case creating an auditory illusion, another auditory illusion is linked here.

Diana Deutsch - Deutsch's Musical Illusions / Scale illusion
Interesting phenomenon. The visual equivalent is discussed in this article and this sounds like something similar as well.


We must define what we mean by hearing: are we discussing the actual physical stimulus or what the brain is interpreting and/or filling in?
Perhaps most importantly: when it comes to our perceptions of reality is there a really a difference?
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