Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › The Objectivist Audio Forum: Post #5 : Is Is Possible To Hear Something That Can't Be Measured?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

The Objectivist Audio Forum: Post #5 : Is Is Possible To Hear Something That Can't Be Measured? - Page 6

post #76 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post

Let me attempt to clarify ...

...the measurable electrical attributes upon which it depends are measurable as individual parameters, but there exists no single integrated "measurement" of soundstaging capability.


I'm very sorry KW.

By your own admission Soundstaging can be measured. It doesn't matter how many measurable parameters contribute to it. They are measurable. It is measurable. And it's not what we are looking for.

What we are trying to identify in this thread is: If something can be transmitted over a wire, that can be heard but cannot be measured.

I would truly like to believe in this, but Occam might be right.

USG
post #77 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
Oay! Why not?

I'm trying to illustrate the concept brought up by the OP, USG. See first post. Open your mind, grasshopper!
In that case, grasshopper, good luck trying to measure the soundstage as a whole parameter in audio...which it is not...

BTW which unit will you suggest to use for that parameter: meters, volts, watts, ohms, angles, maybe a %, ????
post #78 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
I am a scientist, well-trained. Not a nut. But your belief is just that -- a belief. "All" observable parameters that we know of. See my answer to MoonShine.

How can we be so relaxed when in the last 60 years we discovered two new forces of nature? OK OK they operate only at the particle level ... but still.

The fact that we can hear things we can't measure means either: (a) it is about perception after the physical act of hearing, i.e, brain chemistry, or (b) there is a force, or an effect, so short-lived or so strange or so subtle, that we have not discovered it yet.

You can reject the premise, and say we cannot hear what we cannot measure. But let's accept the premise for now. Can't hurt -- we are going to test it. That's what experimentation is all about! Then it's (a), or (b), or both.

You cannot rule out (b). No way. You can hope. But no scientist should rule out (b). And I am talking science, not divine intervention or other things that people believe ... I have no comments on those beliefs. Just science.

Here's the beauty part: it doesn't matter. Occam's razor is my friend here. Listening tests tell the story for us, indifferent to whether the cause is (a) or (b).

We do know that measurements showing poor numbers means most ears will not like the sound of the gear, that's why engineers make the measurements, and I suppose we could take measurements as shortcuts to avoid listening to bad things ... but the wisdom of the community has already told us what the short list is.

So to answer questions where people say they hear a difference and we can't measure it, what else is there to do? Listen!

Listening tests cater to both (a) and (b).
This is my favourite post and pretty well verbatim in concept to what I posted in another (perhaps the original) Objectivist thread. A great book to read for a foundation is Your Brain on Music. Scientists from many fields and their research as the foundation for a very well received book. Seriously a must read by everyone interested in the topic at hand.

I'm a scientist too, well trained and all that. I don't have as much experience as some here but I have enough to feel the same was as wavoman feels, science surprises us OFTEN and enough to never ever declare that we know everything about anything. IF people are claiming they hear differences, smart people, scientists, engineers...people who "ought to know better" then perhaps there is something to this. Testing and retesting using new and improved methods is the key. Either there is something to their conclusions or there isn't. Placebo or not etc. etc. The interesting part if figuring out which is which. The hard part is coming up with the experiments to test the hypotheses.
post #79 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
What we are trying to identify in this thread is: If something can be transmitted over a wire, that can be heard but cannot be measured.
You keep leaving off the word "yet", as in "cannot be measured yet, with today's instruments, and theories behind them".

My guess at the answer is "no". I think we can today measure everything about the transmission from the headphone amp to the headphone, or from the power amp to the speakers ... i.e., what's on and what affects the wire, right at the input to the phones (or speakers).

I also think we can measure everything about the physical movement of the transducers, and the air they push. Pretty hard, but it can be done. Ditto for how the ear works, right to the brain synapses. So is there anything we can't measure in the process, up to but not including perception? IMO, no.

But I cannot prove this "no". It is a leap of faith. I have argued this in many other posts -- we might discover a new force, as we did in 1947 etc. But even though I say we can't prove it, I believe it. Maxwell was a pretty smart guy and I think he nailed it.

Other posters argued with me, but I think they thought I beleive there are things we cannot measure. I don't. But we must always tell ourselves that we are assuming that. Pretty good evidence, but not 100%, never can be.

Honestly I don't think this is an important, or even relevant, question. Sorry. But there must be a reason this thread gets fewer views than "Coke vs Pepsi" by a factor of 3.

The important question is perception, as many here have said better than me.

Two points on perception have been made:

(a) The soundstage debate. Well analyzed by many here. Summary: we can measure all the attributes of the soundwaves in the room that lead to the soundstage illusion, and even understand them well (how the illusion happens) but we can't yet combine and correlate all the measurements to define this perception right. Some DSP units have tried. Part of the problem is we can't even define this perception well, as others have said. It has no units. Just like "red" visual perception can be defined and measured, but "pretty" is harder. Yet we have analyzed the visual attributes of a face photo that lead to the "pretty" perception. However we have not defined units for it yet. Same with soundstage. But all this presents no problem. Just ask people. Miss Universe has judges tell us if people are pretty. See where I'm going -- listening tests.

(b) We might perceive something other than what we hear physically. We fool ourselves -- placebo, fanboy-ism, please-the-crowd, follow-the-tester's- enthusiasm -- all reasons to believe we heard something we didn't.

The only roadblock we face is (b). Nothing else. And I believe that listener-blind tests can be done to eliminate much of this.

I also hope that cat scans can tell us what part of the brain the thought derives from, and maybe maybe we can smoke out placebo or other effects. But I have no idea, I am just starting to research this. Does not seem in the slightest bit practical at the moment, but worth thinking about.

So we are back to carefully designed experiments to eliminate the problems just listed.
post #80 of 170
Why CAT scans? Surely fMRIs would suit our purposes better. And yes, I agree, as most research scientists would: In principle, there's nothing we can't measure. Unless there are immaterial souls and Platonic musical qualities. Then we're stuffed.
post #81 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zanth View Post
This is my favourite post and pretty well verbatim in concept to what I posted in another (perhaps the original) Objectivist thread. A great book to read for a foundation is Your Brain on Music ...
Thanks Zanth for the nice words ... and gee, I hope I didn't plagiarize you subconsciously (it happens).

Just ordered the book from Amazon ... only $10 for the paperback! And took all of their suggestions (great technology!) for related books, 3 more also at about $10 each. Here's the full order:
  • Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
  • This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
  • Music and the Mind
  • Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination
There's an old line: "An expert is a jerk in trouble". The updated version is: "An expert is a jerk with an Amazon One-Click Account".

Will report.

Can I make it to 400 posts tonight? Party time! But I don't look at my post count. It can't be measured. I like it only because of the placebo effect.
post #82 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanjong View Post
Why CAT scans? Surely fMRIs would suit our purposes better...
I'm sure you're right -- I know nothing about this. CAT scans, MRI's ... ??? I just want to see into the brain, that's all. I need to read about this stuff, obviously.
post #83 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post
Just ordered the book from Amazon ... only $10 for the paperback! And took all of their suggestions (great technology!) for related books, 3 more also at about $10 each. Here's the full order:
  • Musicophilia: Tales of Music and the Brain
  • This Is Your Brain on Music: The Science of a Human Obsession
  • Music and the Mind
  • Music, The Brain, And Ecstasy: How Music Captures Our Imagination
I will have to check out the other books. The author of Your brain on music (YourBrainOnMusic.com) has a new book in the works. I hope it is as good as the last.
post #84 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanjong View Post
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.
As usual you bring up another interesting point. I don't really have an answer for you though because the question you ask is incomplete, as you state. It leaves off the part that adds: "that can be detected by the auditory apparatus." (Before being perceived and decoded as perception by the brain.) So is "hear" the right word? Probably not. It's really only 1/2 the right word.

USG
post #85 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by wavoman View Post

Honestly I don't think this is an important, or even relevant, question. .
Gee, I thought it was a good question.....

Maybe not...

Well, it's your turn anyway. Why don't you start the next thread.

USG
post #86 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
...It leaves off the part that adds: "that can be detected by the auditory apparatus." (Before being perceived and decoded as perception by the brain.)
OK...so, by hear you mean "vibrates the tympanic membrane"? That's an odd way to use the word hear. But let's rephrase anyway:

Are there are any unquantifiable or immeasurable qualities in an audio signal that nevertheless cause vibrations of the tympanic membrane?

It's now even easier to answer, "No." Why? Because before, we had the possibility of an immaterial soul and Platonic musical qualities. Now, we've removed all discussion of immaterial souls. The tympanic membrane is a physical object, as far as we know, all physical events have physical causes (with the possible exception of the Big Bang, but that's a topic of discussion disallowed on Head-Fi). That is, the vibrations of the tympanic membrane (physical event) must be caused by some physical properties about the audio signal. And if they're physical, in principle we can measure them. But of course, I'm not saying anything new here, really.
post #87 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jonathanjong View Post
OK...so, by hear you mean "vibrates the tympanic membrane"? That's an odd way to use the word hear. But let's rephrase anyway:

Are there are any unquantifiable or immeasurable qualities in an audio signal that nevertheless cause vibrations of the tympanic membrane?

It's now even easier to answer, "No." Why? Because before, we had the possibility of an immaterial soul and Platonic musical qualities. Now, we've removed all discussion of immaterial souls. The tympanic membrane is a physical object, as far as we know, all physical events have physical causes (with the possible exception of the Big Bang, but that's a topic of discussion disallowed on Head-Fi). That is, the vibrations of the tympanic membrane (physical event) must be caused by some physical properties about the audio signal. And if they're physical, in principle we can measure them. But of course, I'm not saying anything new here, really.

Another gem by jonathanjong.
  1. Can you think of any other parts of the ear that are able to contribute to receiving sound, that we might be leaving out?
  2. Can you think of any other information that can be transmitted over a wire that the ear can receive?
  3. Is it safe to say that without vibration of the tympanic membrane, you would hear (in the full sense of the word) nothing?

You see why we have to do it this way, don't you?

USG
post #88 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by upstateguy View Post
I'm very sorry KW.

By your own admission Soundstaging can be measured. It doesn't matter how many measurable parameters contribute to it. They are measurable. It is measurable. And it's not what we are looking for.

What we are trying to identify in this thread is: If something can be transmitted over a wire, that can be heard but cannot be measured.

I would truly like to believe in this, but Occam might be right.

USG
Ok, If I understand what you're saying now, you're not really looking to make sense of any of this, you just want discussion. Maybe you can help me. Let's go back to the "thing" to which you refer. The "thing" to which I referred, doesn't work for you, so tell me again more about this "thing" that you can hear, but can't measure. Describe it to me as best you can and we'll go from there. Sorry if I was on the wrong track before.
post #89 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller View Post
In that case, grasshopper, good luck trying to measure the soundstage as a whole parameter in audio...which it is not...

BTW which unit will you suggest to use for that parameter: meters, volts, watts, ohms, angles, maybe a %, ????
Hey, great question! What should we call it? Wouldn't it be nice if you could read a spec sheet and know how well an amp, interconnect, etc imaged? You can infer that now from some specs, but you really can't know until you hear the gear for yourself.

Let's see, maybe we could call it imageQ? Maybe stageQ? There would actually have to be two separate parameters. One would describe the capability of the measured piece of electronics to preserve the image contained in the program material, the other parameter would be the capability of a set of cans or headamp to create/model HRTF.
post #90 of 170
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kwkarth View Post
Ok, If I understand what you're saying now, you're not really looking to make sense of any of this, you just want discussion. Maybe you can help me. Let's go back to the "thing"to which you refer. The "thing" to which I referred, doesn't work for you, so tell me again more about this "thing" that you can hear, but can't measure. Describe it to me as best you can and we'll go from there. Sorry if I was on the wrong track before.
Hi KW

I am trying to make sense of this. When this discussion started I was attempting to investigate the possibility of an unmeasurable quantity being being transmitted over a wire, that would account for some of the claims being made in other forums about wire. All the claims eventually fall back on belief, individual perception and opinion and remain completely without scientific evidence.

I have never heard this unmeasurable thing so I cannot describe it to you. I have heard differences in cables but the differences I heard were frequency differences and therefore measurable and not what we are talking about.

If you are a cable believer, or are knowledgeable in what cable believers believe in, is there anything you might be able to offer that could help us understand what this phenomena is in terms of jonathanjongs revised question?

USG
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › The Objectivist Audio Forum: Post #5 : Is Is Possible To Hear Something That Can't Be Measured?