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post #31 of 215

I don't know if you've watched the movie 'Contact'. 

 

Its sad we cannot transfer experiences to each other like we do with things. Its an abstract concept, locked away inside the mind, intangible.

 

But thats the beauty of Science. Its transferable, and that provides a common ground for everyone to see/hear the same thing.

 

Now, Music is expression, its again a feeling, with a physical manifestation (the person himself, his voice, instruments).

 

What science can do is take this physical event, record and transfer it to others.

 

One can argue that the physical effect of an emotion and expression is inherently incomplete. Its diluted because we don't *exactly* know what was going on in the person's mind, what was his emotional state.

So, the moment the boundary between the mind and the physical space is crossed, its in the domain of science (its all about physical things). Yes, its subject to interpretation, but its like lossy compression, you'll never recover the original.

 

However, its the best we've got, and it makes sense to preserve it the best we can. Thats my reasoning behind a transparent setup.

 

Still, our understanding of human brain is increasing, and we might be able to get rid of speakers and headphones, some day, by recreating sound and sight at a neuron level.


Edited by proton007 - 10/23/12 at 8:22pm
post #32 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

I don't know if you've watched the movie 'Contact'. 

 

Its sad we cannot transfer experiences to each other like we do with things. Its an abstract thing, locked away inside the mind, intangible.

 

But thats the beauty of Science. Its transferable, and that provides a common ground for everyone to see/hear the same thing.

 

Now, Music is expression, its again a feeling, with a physical manifestation (the person himself, his voice, instruments).

 

What science can do is take this physical event, record and transfer it to others.

 

One can argue that the physical effect of an emotion and expression is inherently incomplete. Its diluted because we don't *exactly* know what was going on in the person's mind, what was his emotional state.

So, the moment the boundary between the mind and the physical space is crossed, its in the domain of science (its all about physical things). Yes, its subject to interpretation, but its like lossy compression, you'll never recover the original.

 

However, its the best we've got, and it makes sense to preserve it the best we can. Thats my reasoning behind a transparent setup.

Brilliant.

post #33 of 215
I was actually just talking about Contact in another thread, of course in a completely less serious context, but still.
post #34 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by AiDee View Post

The funniest thing about the science forum is most scientists stay away. Science fiction indeed!


I think Head-Fi forums are more about art and engineering than science. Science is the search for truth .. a moving target.

post #35 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

I don't know if you've watched the movie 'Contact'. 

 

Its sad we cannot transfer experiences to each other like we do with things. Its an abstract concept, locked away inside the mind, intangible.

 

But thats the beauty of Science. Its transferable, and that provides a common ground for everyone to see/hear the same thing.

 

Now, Music is expression, its again a feeling, with a physical manifestation (the person himself, his voice, instruments).

 

What science can do is take this physical event, record and transfer it to others.

 

One can argue that the physical effect of an emotion and expression is inherently incomplete. Its diluted because we don't *exactly* know what was going on in the person's mind, what was his emotional state.

So, the moment the boundary between the mind and the physical space is crossed, its in the domain of science (its all about physical things). Yes, its subject to interpretation, but its like lossy compression, you'll never recover the original.

 

However, its the best we've got, and it makes sense to preserve it the best we can. Thats my reasoning behind a transparent setup.

 

Still, our understanding of human brain is increasing, and we might be able to get rid of speakers and headphones, some day, by recreating sound and sight at a neuron level.

 

 

 

That was a very interesting post.   It got me thinking about Schrodinger's Cat and came across this quote which, I think, is analogous to the motivation towards the pursuit of a transparent system.

"There is a difference between a shaky or out-of-focus photograph and a snapshot of clouds and fog banks.

—Erwin Schrödinger, Die gegenwärtige Situation in der Quantenmechanik (The present situation in quantum mechanics),"
 
 
As far as understanding or appreciating the interpretation of music as the performer, that would be like trying to read a book in a language you don't know.  Their years of understanding and work would preclude us from forming the same responses.  That's the beauty of music as relationship.  Perhaps that's why some of the best music is often heard in less than ideal acoustic venues.

 

In reference to the last part, I was always amazed by the stories of people like Rubenstein, who would read a score on a plane and get off and give a performance.  There's some serious hard wiring at the neuron level there.  


Edited by SBranson - 10/24/12 at 2:37am
post #36 of 215

I think there's a certain duality going on with music and science. Obviously, on a physical level, there are perfectly quantifiable things happening. Everything in the physical world and which obeys the laws of physics and entropy can be described by science and mathematics. But there's also a strong emotional component involved, and that's where science, for all its virtue, falls short for many people.

 

There are a lot of things like this. For instance, there is no scientific support for the concept of altruism, and yet the vast majority of people swear up and down that it exists and regard discussion of the contrary as dangerous and cruel (at least in westernized cultures--I can't speak definitively for other cultures). Similarly, the concept of a soul is nebulous and widely disputed. Physically, your brain is nothing more than a dense collection of neurons (a gross oversimplification, of course, but whatever), and yet emotionally people think in terms of a "core" of some sort, that functions separately from the physical reality.

 

Music is no different. It's nothing more, on the surface, than your brain perceiving patterned sound waves whose frequencies fall within the human hearing range. Our ears work such that the most important sounds to us (generally the sounds that other humans or dangerous predators make) are emphasized, and our sensitivity to the frequencies at the extreme limits of our hearing is quite subdued in comparison. Rhythms are a strong component of music because they imitate patterns we perceive in the real world. I imagine things like heartbeats and the simple act of walking were inspirations (incidentally, we generally prefer rhythms that are divisible by two--maybe because we have two legs?). And so on.

 

All this can be discussed in greater detail than somebody like me, who just gets the general gist of it, can scarcely communicate here. But there's that other component, the emotional one, which plays such a strong role in our enjoyment of music and, I believe, our evaluation of and beliefs on sound in general. That part of us doesn't like when things are reduced to mere scientific facts. There's a sense of mystery, of magic, and of subjectivity that are lost when we do that.

 

People love to judge, even when sometimes they're not good at it, and science takes the ability to judge away from people. In science, there's a right answer, a correct tonal balance, and the assurance that a headphone "sound stage" can never project cues forward. People don't like this perspective, and I really don't blame them. I always feel a bit let down when I discover how something that fascinated me as a kid works, and it ends up spoiling the illusion. That, I believe, is how people feel when science gets injected into sound and music. These things are personal and emotional for people, and they cherish that. On some level, all sound reproduction--particularly with headphones--is unnatural, and our ability to enjoy it at all is a function of our brains' marvelous ability to make the best of "impossible" sonic cues. There's a lot involved with headphone listening that's pure illusion, and it's a well-known fact that people don't like having their illusions shattered.

 

And why should we? Ignorance is bliss. I'm not saying there's anything wrong with this. When you're enjoying your favorite jam, are you thinking about all the science behind the sound production (both in the anatomic and electronic reproduction senses), or are you just enjoying the music?

 

I know what I'm doing. dt880smile.png

post #37 of 215
Nice post.

But your picture of science is incomplete, and unnecessarily reductionistic. Science is an activity directed at explaining the world, which means it must attempt to explain all the data we find in it. This includes emotion, and altruism. This is why I find the rampant dogmatism in the 'sound science' forum at odds with science as I experience and teach it. However, fubar3 may well be right to characterize the forum as a different activity.

Strangely enough, there is not yet certainty science's enterprise of trying to explain everything can succeed. How will we know when we get there? The ability to correctly predict seems essential (the experimental as opposed to the purely rational method), but this has problems inasmuch as there can be multiple successful explanations. Occam's razor usually is called upon at this point - but it doesn't work if two or more equally successful and simple explanations are available. And ironically, the closer we come to 'the truth', the less prediction we will be able to do. Our most powerful validating tool will lose its power.

Contemporary science is therefore pictured as a search for truth that may never succeed, but which will be justified as long as we continue to produce increasingly more successful and bigger models. By bigger, I mean science is worthwhile as long as it continues to link 'small' insights into successively larger ones.

As an example, in the case of 'the audiophile experience' a larger model might 'explain' (rather than explain away) the subjective as well as objective dimensions of this experience. That is, as long as much of the data of what people hear is not accounted for - btw, ascribing the data to placebo and expectation bias isn't an explanation until predictions based on these ideas have been tested and validated - it must be concluded a satisfactory theory has not been developed.
post #38 of 215
Some days you just can't stop posting, the other day you think head-fi is boring...
post #39 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by AiDee View Post

Nice post.
But your picture of science is incomplete, and unnecessarily reductionistic. Science is an activity directed at explaining the world, which means it must attempt to explain all the data we find in it. This includes emotion, and altruism. This is why I find the rampant dogmatism in the 'sound science' forum at odds with science as I experience and teach it. However, fubar3 may well be right to characterize the forum as a different activity.
Strangely enough, there is not yet certainty science's enterprise of trying to explain everything can succeed. How will we know when we get there? The ability to correctly predict seems essential (the experimental as opposed to the purely rational method), but this has problems inasmuch as there can be multiple successful explanations. Occam's razor usually is called upon at this point - but it doesn't work if two or more equally successful and simple explanations are available. And ironically, the closer we come to 'the truth', the less prediction we will be able to do. Our most powerful validating tool will lose its power.
Contemporary science is therefore pictured as a search for truth that may never succeed, but which will be justified as long as we continue to produce increasingly more successful and bigger models. By bigger, I mean science is worthwhile as long as it continues to link 'small' insights into successively larger ones.
As an example, in the case of 'the audiophile experience' a larger model might 'explain' (rather than explain away) the subjective as well as objective dimensions of this experience. That is, as long as much of the data of what people hear is not accounted for - btw, ascribing the data to placebo and expectation bias isn't an explanation until predictions based on these ideas have been tested and validated - it must be concluded a satisfactory theory has not been developed.

Many of the Objectivists in the Science Forum seem to have confused scientific rigour with closed minded stubborness and arrogance.
If they don't understand or can't explain something, then neither can you! LOL!
They seem to forget that we don't know what we don't know.

You bring up a good point, the Objectivists seem to do a good job of chasing off Scientists, Engineers and various other designers!
post #40 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Argyris View Post

I've stayed away from the science forum so far. I remember lurking at HA for a little while, and they didn't strike me as the most pleasant lot. Rather confrontational and demanding of "proof" of everything. I'm assuming it's like that in our science forum since of course I've never seen it.

It's sad because I tend to lean more toward the objective side of audio, but when it becomes more about having a confrontational attitude than it is about trying to objectively quantify sound, that's where you lose me. I'll swear up and down that if you can't prove that you can hear it then it doesn't exist, but being "right" about that kind of stuff isn't a priority of mine, and it's not worth getting into endless circular arguments or flame wars over.

If people think their $490,087,920,094 cable makes a difference, whatever. I'll happily save the $490,087,920,093 and buy a diamond-encrusted aircraft carrier. Or 492,550,673.46 LCD-2s.

Yep.
You've pretty much summarized the basic troubles with the Head Fi Science Forum!
Surprisingly accurate considering you've never seen it. Don't worry, that is meant as a compliment!biggrin.gif
post #41 of 215

A few things about the sound science section here. First, the forum was set up as a place to allow the discussion of certain topics that are forbidden  everywhere else on HF. It's function is one of segregation of content, and not one of being a perfect example of science discourse. Second, it's an open and public forum. It is open to anyone who wants to improve the quality of postings. If you want to improve the tone of the conversation, please, go do it. Third, disagreement with others on fundamental issues around perception, scientific methods, consciousness, epistemology, truth, and values aren't likely to be resolved easily- expect friction.  


Edited by JadeEast - 10/24/12 at 9:27am
post #42 of 215

With respect, I think you are missing the point.

A lot of folks are actually turned off by the tone of many of the discussions in the Science Forum. I've heard this again and again and again.

 

But perhaps you are on to something:

It is a good place to segregate the more inflamatory discussions.

post #43 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post

With respect, I think you are missing the point.
A lot of folks are actually turned off by the tone of many of the discussions in the Science Forum. I've heard this again and again and again.

But perhaps you are on to something:
It is a good place to segregate the more inflamatory discussions.

+1. And I think that was the intent in creating that board, to try and contain the flames to one oven.

There's nothing wrong with science, the scientific method, objective data, measurements, etc - the problem is that at least a reasonable number of people basically want to turn this into a religion, and go on an inquisition to root out non-believers. It gets tiring very quickly that the discussions usually degrade from "here's the measurement data from [wherever] about this headphone and I'm curious what this feature means?" to the proselytizing of scientism through a passive aggressive psuedoskeptical tone. Thankfully that's all contained in one place that is easily avoided for the most part.
Edited by obobskivich - 10/24/12 at 10:19am
post #44 of 215

Of course the tone is going to be "off." It's the only place that deeply conflicting viewpoints are allowed to meet and run, for the most part, without constraints to content. The tone of a conversation where people agree on fundamental values and grounding of belief is going to differ greatly from ones where there is conflict.  

post #45 of 215
Quote:
Originally Posted by JadeEast View Post

Of course the tone is going to be "off." It's the only place that deeply conflicting viewpoints are allowed to meet and run, for the most part, without constraints to content. The tone of a conversation where people agree on fundamental values and grounding of belief is going to differ greatly from ones where there is conflict.  

I would disagree - conflicting viewpoints exist all over Head-Fi and remain quite civil. You don't have to ideologically frame disagreement either, unless you're in the Science Fiction board. tongue.gif
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