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post #61 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
Is the something I'm trying to identify a sound?

We're not talking about the perception of this sound, just what it is.

So, this thing that your heard is a sound?

USG
What we call "sound" is actually allways our perception of it. We actually think backwards when interpreting sound. We perceive something (as an activity in our auditory brain area) and start looking for the cause: "where does this sound come from?" Because our experience tells us that it usually means something is causing it. Interpreting back: what could it be? What is it that caused this? is what we are good at (survival mechanism since the dawn of mankind).
Our brains are very good at building a convincing, life-like representation (interpretation) of the cause of the sounds we hear.
But remember: our brains make it up, using the clues it gets (in the form of stimuli, vibrations in the air, we call sound)
What we are discussing here when we talk about measuring sound quality is the quality of the stimulus (audio signal, electrical signal, vibrating driver). And how well it matches the original stimulus (symphony orchestra).
While when we talk about listening to music (via our audio equipment) we talk about how well our brains make up the picture (representation) of the original source.
We don't know a lot about the connection (mapping) of the audio signal with the "making up the representation of the source" - mechanism of our brain. We know the latter can even work without an actual signal.
And there our brain introduces a lot of things we cannot measure in the signal.
post #62 of 170
I was pretty much trying to say what Kees is. Ironically, in this view, reality isn't perception. There are some facts (read: a reality) about the stimulus, the sound wave. But it is not the only input into the process which results in our perception of said stimulus. There is versimilitude between the stimulus and our perceptions of it, or so I'd argue, but there's no 1:1 correlation (more rightly, 1.0 correlation). Still, the question is meaningful: In principle, will we be able to measure all there is to measure in capturing a perception? I should be optimistic about this, since I'm in the field. But while I think it's possible in principle, I'm not holding my breath.
post #63 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanjong View Post
.... Ironically, in this view, reality isn't perception. There are some facts (read: a reality) about the stimulus, the sound wave.
I don't think "some facts" make reality. They are only the things we use to build a model (crude estimation of a representation) of reality.
Our reality is still what our mind makes of it....
post #64 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
How can something be both commonly observed and difficult to describe? (I doubt Michio would agree with this.)

And even if it is difficult to describe, could you attempt to describe it so that we might understand what it is?

So let's see what we have:
  • We have something that is transmitted over a wire
  • We have something that can be heard
  • We have something that cannot be measured
  • We have something that is commonly observed
  • We have something that is too hard to describe


I'm sorry KW, I'm at a loss tonight.

The more everyone dances around and the less straight talk there is, the more I'm beginning to think this is a psychoacoustic phenomena.

USG
No need to be sorry, man, you've hit the nail on the head! It's not that it's too hard to describe, it's that many who observe it ("it" in this example, is "soundstaging") lack the experience in how to describe it.

See the previous posts that refer to this particular auricular phenomena.
The nail you hit so well on the head is the fact that this particular phenomenon is, in part psychoacoustic. Everyone perceives it a little differently because everyone's HRTF is unique to some degree.

Does this make sense? Or do I need a cup of coffee before I post?
post #65 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanjong View Post
Erm...let's see. So we have a sound wave, right? And it had physical properties, expressible in terms of frequencies and amplitudes and other such things, right? So...is the question: Can we hear things that are not ultimately expressible in terms of these quantities or interactions thereof? Or, more colloquially, "Can we hear things that are not in the sound itself?"

This might lead to a more fundamental question: What's the relationship between our qualia (e.g., pitch, colour) and the physical properties of sound (e.g., frequency) and light (e.g., frequency)? If two of us listen to the same audio wave or see the same ray of light, do we have the same perceptual experience?

Isn't it the case that we all bring something to the perceptual experience? That it's not a simple case of receiving the information that's "out there" in some unproblematic way? Perception is an interaction between some facts about the world and some facts about us. If so, exhaustively capturing a perceptual experience in a measurement will involve making relevant measurements of the sound wave and of the person involved. In principle, this is possible, of course. But I'm not holding breath.

Have I muddied the waters?
Hey! Welcome aboard and good job! You're on to something!
post #66 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees View Post
Yes.
The error most people are making is in thinking that the stimulus (=sound) is the same (1-on-1 mapping) of the perception of the audio in our brain.
IT IS NOT.
The sound is just a trigger that sets off a lot of very complicated processes in our brains (audio perception).
We can pretty accurately measure a lot of aspects of the trigger, but we cannot accurately predict the response it will have in our brain.
Well put.
post #67 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees View Post
our brain introduces a lot of things we cannot measure in the signal.
And we are all different. Furthermore: perception, not signal, is what we pay our money for.

So the answer is listening tests -- carefully designed and analyzed. You do not aggregate over listeners, since everyone is different, but you can make statistically valid conclusions nonetheless. Very helpful ones.

For example, in a listener-blind test, we learn that people who prefer HP A to HP B also like amp X over amp Y. What a wonderful piece of knowledge for someone who likes A and has no amp yet.

Try reaching that conclusion from engineering measurements!

And it would be interesting to know that most people prefer A to B, although some prefer B to A ... proven with consistent, blinded tests, with well-thought-out bait-and-switch tactics to smoke out people who can't hear or who try to unblind themselves by feeling the weight or clamping of the HPs.

I'll gut a pair of D1001's and put rat shack pillow speakers in them, then tell people we are blind testing Denon D1001's vs AT ES7's for a "moderate priced closed-phone bakeoff". Or tape over the sceens of my Senn 600s after the blindfolds go on. You get the idea. Will this be fun, or what?

We can really make a difference here and put this hobby on a sound scientific footing ... but it will take a lot of people and dedication at the meets ...and manufacturers will listen to the results we post.
post #68 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kees View Post
I don't think "some facts" make reality. They are only the things we use to build a model (crude estimation of a representation) of reality.
Our reality is still what our mind makes of it....
Ah, but this confounds theory and reality. But your reference to "our reality" bleeds colours of either postmodernist relativism or some sort of social constructivist epistemology mast on your sleeve. As a realist, I'm committed to distinguishing facts from models, things in themselves from things as perceived or "known." (I'd have though even relativists and social constructivists would've bought this distinction.) Furthermore, qua realist, I'm committed to holding that our perceptions have versimilitude to facts/reality.

So, where are we? Is there something we can hear, but not measure? Again, the sound wave is not the only something that "goes into" our hearing (or perception) of it. There are physical processes between out ears and our brains to consider. In principle, all these things are measurable. There's no magical property of sound waves that interacts with ome magical property of our ears and brains. At least, that's the claim of a physicalist. If you're a dualist and a Platonist with respect to music, things might be different, but I'm neither and can't tell you much about either.
post #69 of 170
Also, wavoman is spot on. I smell a dissertation in the works...D1001 or ES7: Experimental Audiophilia. Good thing I've not started my PhD., time to consult my supervisor.

Anyway, she's spot on in that the question of measurability or even objectivity is a bit of a red herring for practical purposes. (As I'm sure the OP realizes, from his very early comment that this is a theoretical question.) For headphones, "truth by majority" is a good heuristic. Maybe truth is too strong a word. But by induction, we may rationally infer that if the vast majority of posters prefer D1001 over ES7, then we have a higher probability of onjoying D1001>ES7. Of course, no one here is making independent posts...all our posts, our expressed opinions are coloured by everyone else's. Hence, the need for a double-blind experiment. That reminds me of both the Coke v. Pepsi thread AND an experiment done with Coke v. Pepsi. Look that one up, it's a laugh.
post #70 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post

So the answer is listening tests -- carefully designed and analyzed.
Absolutely correct Wavo...

Probably the only thing we all can agree on right now is that listening tests are fundamental to our hobby.

USG
post #71 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanjong View Post

Ah, but this confounds theory and reality.... As a realist, I'm committed to distinguishing facts from models, things in themselves from things as perceived or "known."....

So, where are we? Is there something we can hear, but not measure? ... In principle, all these things are measurable. There's no magical property of sound waves that interacts with [s]ome magical property of our ears and brains. ...


So where are we? We have to be careful to remember that we are not talking about the perception of hearing. We hear with our entire bodies and that is not what we are discussing. What we are talking about is something that is transmitted over a wire, that can be heard but not measured. KW said that the "it" in this example, is "soundstaging". But soundstaging has been measured, reproduced, and is available as a DSP on foobar.... So again, I am at a loss to understand what we are talking about.



Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanjong View Post

Also, wavoman is spot on

(As I'm sure the OP realizes, from his very early comment that this is a theoretical question.) For headphones, "truth by majority" is a good heuristic. Maybe truth is too strong a word. ...


Yes, this is a theoretical discussion. But the focus is not on how the ear-brain, perceives sound and creates an auditory world for us. The focus of this discussion is, (and I should have been clearer in my original post), on this thing, which can be transmitted over a wire, that cannot be measured, but is never the less reported to be heard by some.

If by "truth by majority" you mean truth by testing, we are all in agreement.

7 pages now, and I'm starting to loose confidence that this thing which cannot be measured exists. No one has been able to describe it. No one has been able to explain in plain English what it is.

Maybe there is an example of something else that exists electrically, that also can't be measured, so we could use it as an example?

I'm going to recall Wavoman's Occam's razor:
  • Sound can be transmitted over a wire and has been measured every which way to Sunday by scientists and engineers.
  • Sound can be transmitted over a wire and has been measured every which way to Sunday by scientists and engineers, but there is a special component to this sound, that some people report hearing, that is difficult to describe and that cannot be measured due to some obscure, theoretical psychoacoustic phenomena or that we have not yet developed a test that measures it.


USG
post #72 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
So where are we? We have to be careful to remember that we are not talking about the perception of hearing. We hear with our entire bodies and that is not what we are discussing. What we are talking about is something that is transmitted over a wire, that can be heard but not measured. KW said that the "it" in this example, is "soundstaging". But soundstaging has been measured, reproduced, and is available as a DSP on foobar.... So again, I am at a loss to understand what we are talking about.....

USG
Let me attempt to clarify further. I suggested that we discuss soundstaging as an example because it is somewhat poorly understood by the general public, yet we do have somewhat of a handle on it.

Soundstaging is fairly well understood by those in the know, so, the measurable electrical attributes upon which it depends are measurable as individual parameters, but there exists no single integrated "measurement" of soundstaging capability.

Further, when we digitally model an average HRTF, the effectiveness of that model is effective perceptually in only a certain percentage of listeners, due to the fact that the actual HRTF is individually unique to every person on the planet.

Some of the attributes, or characteristics that contribute to a believable and stable soundstage image have been modeled via analog filter methods by companies such as Headroom before most of us could spell digital.

However, even though our understanding of soundstage attributes has been a developing body of study since the before inception of stereophonic sound, there still exists no single "measurement" of that characteristic. You cannot stick a pair of meter probes in a circuit to measure the quality or quantity of soundstaging. Yet, all of the attributes that contribute to soundstaging are individually measurable, quantifiable, and qualifiable.

Does this exploration of soundstaging help illustrate and illuminate the dichotomy of being able to hear/perceive something wholly within the normally understood and measurable spectrum of human hearing, and yet there exists to this day, no single means of measuring either the quantity or the quality of soundstaging?
post #73 of 170
Why trying to quantify and measure the soundstage just as one single parameter in audio??? It is closer to reality, IMO, to understand that the soundstage is indeed a combination and a result, of several measurable parameters, all combined into one single word just to define it...
post #74 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller View Post
Why trying to quantify and measure the soundstage just as one single parameter in audio??? It is closer to reality, IMO, to understand that the soundstage is indeed a combination and a result, of several measurable parameters, all combined into one single word just to define it...
Oay! Why not?

I'm trying to illustrate the concept brought up by the OP, USG. See first post. Open your mind, grasshopper!
post #75 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
We have to be careful to remember that we are not talking about the perception of hearing...What we are talking about is something that is transmitted over a wire, that can be heard but not measured.
I have a worry about this. The word hear refers to the perception of an audio signal. It seems like if you don't want to discuss the perceptual experience, then "hearing" is a red herring. Is this closer to your question:

Are there are any unquantifiable or immeasurable qualities in an audio signal?

But I'm not sure you mean this, because you often refer to others' reports of their hearing experiences.
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