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Some thoughts about evidence and subjectivity - Page 2

post #16 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoupRKnowva View Post
This post was incredibly refreshing bangraman, i want to thank you for that, along with the OP though as well, both very well written
Thanks. Measurements aren't everything - but there is balance between controlled objectivity and subjectivity. I've not been that arrogant as to simply run tests on myself: I had a heaven-sent opportunity to conduct audio tests on other people on the tab of of a consumer electronics company a while back, and I took advantage of it to the full. As I put in another thread, you can even have two identical sources and if one veers by 1db, it's enough for a good ear to pick up the difference, and - this is where subjectivity comes in - label it 'better', even though it's just louder.


And it's not even just about getting some sort of figures to discuss. As we've seen here, any idiot can use RMAA for example. The methodology to obtain the result is key: Good methodology is capable of eliminating, or greatly reducing irrelevant factors that might have an effect on your perception: You simply need to create a controlled methodology that has the least impact on an impartial outcome for any given situation.


Audio geekism and the enjoyment of product acquisition blinded me to this for the first couple of years after I got heavily into headphones / portable audio and also got back into the high-end audio in general, but since I apply this to large swathes of my purchasing, work and life it did come back with a vengeance in the end.


What about methodology? Take burn-in: All you have to do in terms of methodology is to buy two new headphones, check they are working the same at the outset, put them out in the same room (but not too close, as you don't want playback noise from one phone to affect the other passively) under dust covers and do an unattended burn-in of just one of them for ~100 hours in an environment that's not subject to large swings in temperature or humidity. If the differences are as profound as some people say they are, then as long as the above is carried out, in theory given the apparent large degree of the changes you shouldn't even need to heavily control the headphone swapping portion of the listening test - the difference should be very readily noticeable. Although obviously it pays to control the headphone-swapping portion of the test as well, i.e. for starters use a fast method of switching, and I don't mean fumbling with jacks, so that your audio memory remains unused as much as possible.


The fact that arguments about burn-in go on for ever in threads without anyone even touching on conducting, or having conducted the above test goes to show how far many people are from any degree of objectivity. I know that the outcome of this hobby of ours is an emotional experience, but to usefully discuss the merits of the devices involved there has to be some sort of quantifiable baseline. That is sorely lacking here oftentimes... and ultimately it can end up becoming a giant peer group(s) that for starters still allows some (even Head-Fi sponsoring) manufacturers to sell mediocre dreck, and do apparently very well out of it.


It's not simply about what you measure. It's about how you approach your opinions.
post #17 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by bangraman View Post
Thanks. Measurements aren't everything - but there is balance between controlled objectivity and subjectivity. I've not been that arrogant as to simply run tests on myself: I had a heaven-sent opportunity to conduct audio tests on other people on the tab of of a consumer electronics company a while back, and I took advantage of it to the full. As I put in another thread, you can even have two identical sources and if one veers by 1db, it's enough for a good ear to pick up the difference, and - this is where subjectivity comes in - label it 'better', even though it's just louder.


And it's not even just about getting some sort of figures to discuss. As we've seen here, any idiot can use RMAA for example. The methodology to obtain the result is key: Good methodology is capable of eliminating, or greatly reducing irrelevant factors that might have an effect on your perception: You simply need to create a controlled methodology that has the least impact on an impartial outcome for any given situation.


Audio geekism and the enjoyment of product acquisition blinded me to this for the first couple of years after I got heavily into headphones / portable audio and also got back into the high-end audio in general, but since I apply this to large swathes of my purchasing, work and life it did come back with a vengeance in the end.


What about methodology? Take burn-in: All you have to do in terms of methodology is to buy two new headphones, check they are working the same at the outset, put them out in the same room (but not too close, as you don't want playback noise from one phone to affect the other passively) under dust covers and do an unattended burn-in of just one of them for ~100 hours in an environment that's not subject to large swings in temperature or humidity. If the differences are as profound as some people say they are, then as long as the above is carried out, in theory given the apparent large degree of the changes you shouldn't even need to heavily control the headphone swapping portion of the listening test - the difference should be very readily noticeable. Although obviously it pays to control the headphone-swapping portion of the test as well (i.e. use a fast method of switching, and I don't mean fumbling with jacks, so that your audio memory remains unused as much as possible).


The fact that arguments about burn-in go on for ever in threads without anyone even touching on conducting, or having conducted the above test goes to show how far many people are from any degree of objectivity. I know that the outcome of this hobby of ours is an emotional experience, but to usefully discuss the merits of the devices involved there has to be some sort of quantifiable baseline. That is sorely lacking here... and ultimately it's basically a giant peer group(s) that for starters still allows some (even Head-Fi sponsoring) manufacturers to sell mediocre dreck, and do very well out of it.
Yeah i saw your other post as well, and really liked it as well. But i thought it would be getting pretty repetitive to write how awesome it was too :P

im just getting into the hobby, so i dont have that much experience, but i really dont believe in cables. Yeah i bought the TWag recable for my JH-13's, but i have no idea if it actually sounds better, i never listened to the stock cable. I mainly bought it cause i liked the way it looked, which i think is perfectly fine, i not deluding myself, i know why i bought it and dont really care.

im happy youve come back, in all the time ive spent on here i dont think ive ever seen you post till last night, keep it up dude
post #18 of 48
This is a great subject. I’m kinda tired of reading the ‘is the HD600 better than the HD650?’ kind of threads. Thanks Zelak. Bangraman, I hope you will reply again also.

I have some questions I’m hoping someone can address.

Let’s assume perfect or even textbook close hearing is not that common. Each of us has a slightly different hearing response curve. A certain head-fier has a love for oboes, but he doesn’t realize that his hearing is down 5dB at that frequency range where one would normally hear oboes. Every pair of headphones he has tried make oboes sound muffled and therefore he finds unsatisfactory. Then he stumbles onto the Sony Model 5B, which unbeknownst to him, has a response curve that has a 5dB shelf in that same ‘oboe range’. Voila! He has found the perfect headphone. (And depending on his fanboy quotient, tells the rest of us these are the best headphones in the world, and we need to get a pair, he knows since he has tried every pair made.) Actually, he has subjectively stumbled onto a hp that ‘equalizes’ the sound for his hearing. Right? Is the result any less valid than if Bangraman or myself did it by having an audiologist check our ears and then we looked for the measurably symmetrical headphone?

Now along comes another head-fier, tries the Model 5B’s and finds them honky in some way, they sound like crap, in fact he measures them and lo and behold the response curve verifies that they are crappy headphones. How can people have such bad taste he thinks.

One step further. What if the Sony Model 5B didn’t exist, and he instead stumbled onto an audiophile quality graphic equalizer? While playing with it, he found that the ‘reference’ headphones which everyone says are the cat’s meow, but sounded as bad as all the rest to him, suddenly sounded incredible when he inadvertently boosted the ‘oboe frequencies’ by 5dB? Has he not effectively accomplished the same thing; frequency matching so to speak? We know that all the music we listen to, with the exception of live music, has been EQ’d to death before we get it, yet EQ’ing by us after the fact is pretty much disparaged by the general masses here. Why is one better than the other? Is not EQ’ing the soundwaves kind of analogous to what my eyeglasses are doing for the lightwaves? (yes, admittedly good vision is easier to quantify than good sound).

Could any of this be actual and even commonplace? Might this type of thing partially explain some of the wildly divergent opinions we read here, or am I chasing the wrong rabbit . . .again?
post #19 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoupRKnowva View Post
Yeah i saw your other post as well, and really liked it as well. But i thought it would be getting pretty repetitive to write how awesome it was too :P

im just getting into the hobby, so i dont have that much experience, but i really dont believe in cables. Yeah i bought the TWag recable for my JH-13's, but i have no idea if it actually sounds better, i never listened to the stock cable. I mainly bought it cause i liked the way it looked, which i think is perfectly fine, i not deluding myself, i know why i bought it and dont really care.

im happy youve come back, in all the time ive spent on here i dont think ive ever seen you post till last night, keep it up dude
A bangraman post is like stew: It needs about 20 minutes to simmer after cooking, being the serial editor that I am


Unfortunately I'm simply back to sell something... now that the current transactions are over and everyone seems happy, I'm off to skulk again in my tower of audio solitude... but I will be back, probably when I need to sell something again
post #20 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Uthadude View Post
This is a great subject. I’m kinda tired of reading the ‘is the HD600 better than the HD650?’ kind of threads. Thanks Zelak. Bangraman, I hope you will reply again also.

I have some questions I’m hoping someone can address.

[snip]
I tend to think that rather than people actually perceiving different frequency response curves, they tend to prefer different frequency response curves. For example, a "basshead" likes bumped up bass, even if it compromises the rest of the FR. This person probably perceives frequencies normally, but because of different psychological or musical preferences likes more bass. The bass may provide a more "involving" "dynamic" "PRAT"-y and so on sound. This also connects to the issue of genres in subjective reviews - certain frequency response variations tend to be preferred for certain genres - say a bass bump for electronic music.

There's also the issue of the shape of peoples' ears influencing sound perception, creating peaks and troughs in the frequency response, although that's not present in the case of IEM's.
post #21 of 48
Objective, subjective or evidence? From a legal aspect both objective (DNA match) and subjective (eyewitness evidence) have equal acceptability and both can be challenged.

There are so many subjective reports that the likes of burn in exists that the objective evidence that burn in does not exist does not square and vice versa. Neither side has been able to construct a totally convincing case and both are wide open to obvious challenges.

The real problem are the spoilers who participate negatively. In effect all they do is disrupt the trial and prevent it from coming to a conclusion. They should be held in contempt.
post #22 of 48
Subjectivity = placebo effect

Case closed.
post #23 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
a strong asset to this theory is that burn-in never worsens things up hah...I used to be amazed by things like the LM4562 opamp for a few days, then always ended up finding them worthless 2 days later...burn-in doesn't always "work"
It is curious that "burn in" always makes an improvement, isn't it?

Before I got into hi-fi (and what led to it) was a passion for old tube gear, mostly radios.

If burn-in is so effective at improvement, why don't my 50-70 year old radios sound sublime? I have an Atwater-Kent neutrodyne that's pushing 90. You would think that 90 years would provide effective burn-in, wouldn't you?

Curiously, time and use never seem to make things better as far as I can tell. When I restore old radios, I usually put yanked parts on the DMM as part of my autopsy and analysis to figure out why the unit was stuck in an attic or garage to sit until I found it.

Strangely, parts seem to go out of spec with time and use. Who could have imagined? Old, well-used parts - for whatever reason - tend to fail and often destroy other parts at the same time. It's hard to believe, but I've seen the evidence.

Even the parts that haven't failed are usually out of spec and degrade the circuit.

So, as far as I can tell, burn-in makes things worse. I mean, highly burned-in sets often don't work at all or are working badly.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just misinterpreting things. A fully burned-in 60 year old capacitor that's partially melted might be a good thing. Likewise, a 100 Ohm resistor that has burned-in to about 170,000 Ohms might just be reaching its sonic best. Who am I to make that judgment?
post #24 of 48
well, I've heard some discrete op-amps changing from ugly to very nice, but that was over a couple of minutes...time for the whole circuit to warm up I guess, and maybe also my brain getting used to it indeed

I've also noticed some changes in headphones over the first couple of hours, even Beyer more or less acknowledged to me that burn-in w/ headphones was very real(being a mechanical part and all).

and CPU's are known to improve overtime, a burned in CPU can fare better overclocking...many old timers would tell you that...so why not IC's too? like opamps for instance.

CPU's would improve overtime thanks to electro-migration(french link sorry, but if I get it through "google translate", the pics don't show up): Overclocking - Le Rodage (page 3: Tension, Température et Electro - Migration) - HardWare.fr

to them "burn in" is a layman's term, what's actually happening in CPU's is: Annealing
post #25 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Justin Uthadude View Post
I think my wife is prettier today than the day I married her. If that makes me a fool, I can live with that. Burn in beats burn out in my book.
.
Great line! And the "wife is prettier today" is exactly the analogy I was going to make ... you beat me to it ... says a lot about subjectivity etc.
post #26 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by Uncle Erik View Post
It is curious that "burn in" always makes an improvement, isn't it?

Before I got into hi-fi (and what led to it) was a passion for old tube gear, mostly radios.

If burn-in is so effective at improvement, why don't my 50-70 year old radios sound sublime? I have an Atwater-Kent neutrodyne that's pushing 90. You would think that 90 years would provide effective burn-in, wouldn't you?

Curiously, time and use never seem to make things better as far as I can tell. When I restore old radios, I usually put yanked parts on the DMM as part of my autopsy and analysis to figure out why the unit was stuck in an attic or garage to sit until I found it.

Strangely, parts seem to go out of spec with time and use. Who could have imagined? Old, well-used parts - for whatever reason - tend to fail and often destroy other parts at the same time. It's hard to believe, but I've seen the evidence.

Even the parts that haven't failed are usually out of spec and degrade the circuit.

So, as far as I can tell, burn-in makes things worse. I mean, highly burned-in sets often don't work at all or are working badly.

On the other hand, maybe I'm just misinterpreting things. A fully burned-in 60 year old capacitor that's partially melted might be a good thing. Likewise, a 100 Ohm resistor that has burned-in to about 170,000 Ohms might just be reaching its sonic best. Who am I to make that judgment?
I have read plenty of reports of hifi purchases which initially the purchaser was happy with, but later on found dissatisfaction with the sound. Could that not be burn in in reverse?

A lot of your post seems to be mixing burning in with wearing out.

I prefer the term bedding in to burning in. An example of bedding in is that many electrical or mechanical products, if they are going to fail, will often do so very quickly, usually down to problems in manufacturing. Once they get over the initial beddiing in the rate of failure declines until components start to wear out.
post #27 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by leeperry View Post
and CPU's are known to improve overtime, a burned in CPU can fare better overclocking...many old timers would tell you that...so why not IC's too? like opamps for instance.
uhm, since when?

nothing on that page you linked to supports CPUs overclocking better with age.
post #28 of 48
Quote:
Originally Posted by googleborg View Post
uhm, since when?

nothing on that page you linked to supports CPUs overclocking better with age.
many mad overclocks tend to think that a CPU that's a few weeks old will o/c better than when it's brand new: burn in cpu - Google Search

I would personnaly not do hardcore o/c on a brand new CPU....maybe it's just the thermal paste(on the inside and on the outside of the IHS) burning in or just the IHS "annealing", but well it's like headphones everyone's got his own opinion
post #29 of 48
I don't think objectivity (as I define the term) exists, so yeah, I'm cool with subjectivity everywhere.
post #30 of 48
Great post man. I would have to agree....I just made a purchase of the Triple Fi 10s and while listening today I heard direct differences from the PFE 112s that I have been using for a while. I love both headphones but coming from a dynamic driver to a 3 driver IEM has noticeable changes.

I would have to admit that some things are better in these headphones BUT like you said a lot of the increased SQ that people hear comes from our brains. Thinking/knowing first hand that what we are about to put in our ears is "better" than what we had before changes how we compare the sound to our old equipment IMO. Before I bought these I read a LOT about them and read about the benefits and faults that these IEMs have and while putting them in and starting them up I could relate to the reviews instantly.

I don't want to get too far off topic but I would have to agree... just giving my 2 cents And again great post
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