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University Paper Help!

post #1 of 14
Thread Starter 

Hello Head-Fiers, I am currently studying Communication Studies in my University and I have a term paper to write that is due on the 20th of November. I have a solid topic, thesis, and experiment. The only thing that I'm missing now is some "references" and "sources" that is applicable for MLA citation styles. I am allowed to reference some points through Head-Fi.org, but I'm going to need some credited work that is recognized by the public. Just to give you all an idea what I'm writing about, this is my Thesis. Due to the subpar quality of Audio Gear in today's market, experienced individuals in Electric Acoustics believe that music is perceived incorrectly by the general public. I would really appreciate it if you guys can link me some great sources/articles/material that will aid me in my term paper!

post #2 of 14
Have you dug through the works of Sean Olive, Floyd Toole, George Augsperger, PW Klipsch, Amar Bose, Florian Koenig, etc? They all have published (I know every single guy there has published and presented at AES, for example) work and are considered credible experts in their field and most, if not all, of them have at some point written papers or done research on the topic you're talking about (at least vaguely). You'll very likely have to use your institution's database access to get some of their papers without paying. I know that Sean Olive also has a blog, and that a lot of PW Klipsch's articles are reprinted in various places online. Don't consider this list to be conclusive, it's just a place to start. There's a huge wealth of information within the published works of AES for example.

Also, because I think MLA is worthless and a waste of your (or anyone's) time to learn (I assume at some point you will get into classes/employment/etc that use a real citation style, and that you will learn that well to publish in your discipline. smily_headphones1.gif) - have a computer do it for you! http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/
Edited by obobskivich - 11/11/12 at 11:39pm
post #3 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

Have you dug through the works of Sean Olive, Floyd Toole, George Augsperger, PW Klipsch, Amar Bose, Florian Koenig, etc? They all have published (I know every single guy there has published and presented at AES, for example) work and are considered credible experts in their field and most, if not all, of them have at some point written papers or done research on the topic you're talking about (at least vaguely). You'll very likely have to use your institution's database access to get some of their papers without paying. I know that Sean Olive also has a blog, and that a lot of PW Klipsch's articles are reprinted in various places online. Don't consider this list to be conclusive, it's just a place to start. There's a huge wealth of information within the published works of AES for example.
Also, because I think MLA is worthless and a waste of your (or anyone's) time to learn (I assume at some point you will get into classes/employment/etc that use a real citation style, and that you will learn that well to publish in your discipline. smily_headphones1.gif) - have a computer do it for you! http://www.calvin.edu/library/knightcite/

 

Thank you so very much, that had insane amount of useful information I can research upon. I will for sure go dig up some of these people's works at my school, but I can't guarantee anything quite yet as I have to wait until tomorrow to find out. Before you mentioning those people, I have no idea who these people are, except PW Klipsch and Amar Bose I think (are the companies named after these people?). Can you clarify what AWS is? I think I have an idea, but I want to be sure.

 

Thanks for the citation machine! This is definitely the best one I've come across so far

post #4 of 14
AES = Audio Engineering Society
http://www.aes.org/

You might also want to talk to some Recording Engineers, or some of the schools that offer Recording Engineer programs. I suspect you might get vastly differing opinions from talking to musicians vs recording engineers vs audiophiles vs music marketing executives. Even among musicians, you are likely to find a wide spectrum from pure artists that know nothing about the technology of audio to technical musicians who know as much (or much more) about the technology than any typical audio engineer.

I often wonder if that pioneering first musical group, "Oog & the Cavemen" complained about the quality of the local rocks & logs when they went on tour to the neighboring caves... tongue.gif

post #5 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by billybob_jcv View Post

AES = Audio Engineering Society
http://www.aes.org/
You might also want to talk to some Recording Engineers, or some of the schools that offer Recording Engineer programs. I suspect you might get vastly differing opinions from talking to musicians vs recording engineers vs audiophiles vs music marketing executives. Even among musicians, you are likely to find a wide spectrum from pure artists that know nothing about the technology of audio to technical musicians who know as much (or much more) about the technology than any typical audio engineer.
I often wonder if that pioneering first musical group, "Oog & the Cavemen" complained about the quality of the local rocks & logs when they went on tour to the neighboring caves... tongue.gif

 

Wow how silly of me not to have known that...

Unfortunately, I don't think I have enough time to gather that much research information as this is due in 8 days. Fortunately however, I managed to conduct a simple experiment where I had a friend (totally unaware of the price of the systems) A/B a few tracks on the Apple earbuds (MP3, unamped, through the iPhone) and the same tracks on my Audeo PFE232, Grado SR225i, and Hifiman HE-400 on a high-end system using my CD player and EF5 amp (for the PFE232, I used the Fiio E11 instead of the Tube amp as IEMs don't match nicely with tubes). I told him to try to eliminate bias to the best of his abilities and wrote down some truthful answers. This is just a mini-experiment showing that an inexperienced member in Electro Acoustics is able to hear sonic differences between the two. I tried to get him to include specific details like emotions felt, fidelity, frequency response, etc and I think it went as expected. He was surprised when I told him that the Grado SR225i is less expensive than both the Beats Pro and Studio.

post #6 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

Thank you so very much, that had insane amount of useful information I can research upon. I will for sure go dig up some of these people's works at my school, but I can't guarantee anything quite yet as I have to wait until tomorrow to find out. Before you mentioning those people, I have no idea who these people are, except PW Klipsch and Amar Bose I think (are the companies named after these people?). Can you clarify what AWS is? I think I have an idea, but I want to be sure.

Thanks for the citation machine! This is definitely the best one I've come across so far

Yes, a lot of audio companies are named for their founders, including those two.

I lol'd at that "Oog and the Caveman!" -

+1 on the rest of billy's post.
post #7 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

Hello Head-Fiers, I am currently studying Communication Studies in my University and I have a term paper to write that is due on the 20th of November. I have a solid topic, thesis, and experiment. The only thing that I'm missing now is some "references" and "sources" that is applicable for MLA citation styles. I am allowed to reference some points through Head-Fi.org, but I'm going to need some credited work that is recognized by the public. Just to give you all an idea what I'm writing about, this is my Thesis. Due to the subpar quality of Audio Gear in today's market, experienced individuals in Electric Acoustics believe that music is perceived incorrectly by the general public. I would really appreciate it if you guys can link me some great sources/articles/material that will aid me in my term paper!

First, you have to establish and define what you mean by "subpar" quality of audio gear in today's market. Is this based on an opinion, electroacoustic measurements, listening tests, etc? What evidence do you have that audio gear in general has gotten worse?

 

 For example, the popularity of mobile/portable audio means more people today are listening to iPod/iphone/internet-sourced  music over earbuds, laptop speakers, ipod docking stations; these playback systems may produce lower quality sound than similar listening experiences in luxury cars equipped with high-end audio systems, and home theatre/listening rooms. So, you need to clearly define what you mean. I would quantitatively define lower quality in electroacoustic terms that are correlated with poorer sound quality. For example, the speakers have less bandwidth (e.g less bass), irregular frequency response, lower SPL output capability, poorer stereo imaging, higher distortion at a given SPL, etc.

 

The popular press has spread the idea (misinformation) that the prevalence of "subpar" quality of audio gear and data compressed audio files has resulted in Generation Y preferring lower quality sound. This theory has never been really proven but I recently did a controlled listening study with 58 high school and college students and some 150+  Japanese college students that showed they prefer higher quality file formats and loudspeakers when given the opportunity to compare them to lower quality options. If kids are buying crappy audio systems/music formats it's not because they prefer their lower sound quality. It's probably due to cost, convenience, portability, or they are simply unaware that there are better options out there. The audio industry has done a poor job of educating and marketing better quality sound to consumers. 


Edited by Tonmeister2008 - 11/14/12 at 11:36am
post #8 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008 View Post

First, you have to establish and define what you mean by "subpar" quality of audio gear in today's market. Is this based on an opinion, electroacoustic measurements, listening tests, etc? What evidence do you have that audio gear in general has gotten worse?

 

 For example, the popularity of mobile/portable audio means more people today are listening to iPod/iphone/internet-sourced  music over earbuds, laptop speakers, ipod docking stations; these playback systems may produce lower quality sound than similar listening experiences in luxury cars equipped with high-end audio systems, and home theatre/listening rooms. So, you need to clearly define what you mean. I would quantitatively define lower quality in electroacoustic terms that are correlated with poorer sound quality. For example, the speakers have less bandwidth (e.g less bass), irregular frequency response, lower SPL output capability, poorer stereo imaging, higher distortion at a given SPL, etc.

 

The popular press has spread the idea (misinformation) that the prevalence of "subpar" quality of audio gear and data compressed audio files has resulted in Generation Y preferring lower quality sound. This theory has never been really proven but I recently did a controlled listening study with 58 high school and college students and some 150+  Japanese college students that showed they prefer higher quality file formats and loudspeakers when given the opportunity to compare them to lower quality options. If kids are buying crappy audio systems/music formats it's not because they prefer their lower sound quality. It's probably due to cost, convenience, portability, or they are simply unaware that there are better options out there. The audio industry has done a poor job of educating and marketing better quality sound to consumers. 

 

As that is my intro and Thesis, of course I'm leading onto the big picture in my body paragraphs/arguments. I'm giving examples of opinions, conducted tests, measurements, and others experiments/papers. One huge evidence is the usage of mass storage, i.e iPods. We all know as a fact that CD players and CDs are better, generally speaking, than compressed MP3 files. And as no average member of society uses a CD walkman as their portable device anymore, we can conclude that the majority of listeners listen to either lower quality MP3 files. But I'm not going to argue about Lossy vs Lossless as most individuals, both experienced and inexperienced, cannot determine which is better and that will just backfire on my paper. I'm talking mostly about the importance of GEAR in my paper and how it affects the listening experience. I will compare the conventional iPod w/ Apple Ear Buds vs Full-size systems AND portable systems.

post #9 of 14
IMHO, I think the basic premise that the general public of today is any better or worse at "perceiving the music" than in the past is silly. Heck, when I was in high school we did most of our music listening off our car AM/FM/Cassette decks and a pair of 6x9 speakers blasting as loud as the Audiovox power amp could go. When we got home, we loaded the cassette tape or album on the stereo system we bought at Sears or Montgomery Ward, and plugged in our Koss headphones so our parents wouldn't yell at us. I just don't understand who this "general public" is that the musicians are talking about??
post #10 of 14
Thread Starter 

General public to me: the ones who fall for the name franchise hype (Beats, Soul, etc... The bunch that is notoriously over-priced) and people who just use the standard iPod+Apple Bud (not earpod as I haven't tried one yet). I never said musicians, I meant users in Hi-Fi Electro Acoustics. So far I've wrote a lot of info already and I can say that I'm ahead of schedule at this rate.

post #11 of 14

I think it will be interesting if you can present the audio engineer's point of view on this matter.

Personally I believe the audio producers and engineers have the capability of mastering good music, but they'll produce what the label wants. They have to earn their livelihood as well.

 

Secondly, music and the arts have never been taken seriously by the majority public, there's no general push from the public towards better audio.

Also, music is not like a car's mpg, I cannot compare mine to yours, so there's no way to tell whats good quality and whats not.

So its the audio companies that set the standards in the first place, by making sub-standard and cheap audio components, emphasizing style over substance, and then its a downward spiral with everyone competing for costs and looks.


Edited by proton007 - 11/14/12 at 5:33pm
post #12 of 14
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

I think it will be interesting if you can present the audio engineer's point of view on this matter.

Personally I believe the audio producers and engineers have the capability of mastering good music, but they'll produce what the label wants. They have to earn their livelihood as well.

 

Secondly, music and the arts have never been taken seriously by the majority public, there's no general push from the public towards better audio.

Also, music is not like a car's mpg, I cannot compare mine to yours, so there's no way to tell whats good quality and whats not.

So its the audio companies that set the standards in the first place, by making sub-standard and cheap audio components, emphasizing style over substance, and then its a downward spiral with everyone competing for costs and looks.

 

I've been looking for some AES worthy articles that engineers wrote, bu no real success as my school doesn't have access to every single paper in the world. However, I did mange to get something Floyd Toole wrote, but it's QUITE the long article... And he talks mostly about speaker sets and I'm mostly focusing on personal audio.

 

Music is a medium, while the gear is what comes out of the medium. Music itself is a touchy subject, but the gear included is easily targeted; exactly what I'm doing. For a $400 dollar Beats whatever you buy, why not spend that money for a perfectly good Denon D2k? They don't buy the D2K as communication explains how Celebrities, Advertisements, and Parental manipulation all contributes in Beats getting very, very rich. Besides, to the majority of Beats users/buyer, it's pretty much a fashion statement with poorly engineered transducers attached onto them.

post #13 of 14
There have been some lively (and tedious) debates in a similar vein in the High-End Audio & Sound Science Forums here on head-fi. Does everyone that buys a $400 headphone *need* a $400 headphone? Of course not. As soon as any consumer product becomes driven by marketing (which means as soon as more than a handful of people decide to buy it), then that product become vulnerable to the Marketing mindset - that the only thing that is important is driving demand. That means that a TON of factors that have nothing to do with results & quality come into play - like style, culture, brand recognition, etc, etc...
post #14 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

For a $400 dollar Beats whatever you buy, why not spend that money for a perfectly good Denon D2k? They don't buy the D2K as communication explains how Celebrities, Advertisements, and Parental manipulation all contributes in Beats getting very, very rich. Besides, to the majority of Beats users/buyer, it's pretty much a fashion statement with poorly engineered transducers attached onto them.

 

Of course, influence plays a role, so does societal approval. Thats human nature. But it also works the other way, once you're in the correct sphere of influence, like this forum.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by planx View Post

Music is a medium, while the gear is what comes out of the medium. Music itself is a touchy subject, but the gear included is easily targeted; exactly what I'm doing.

 

Yes, its pretty scientific. However, its not something very pedestrian, not simple enough to be understood by a layman. The metrics are hard to define.

 

The moment the general public feels they need a deeper understanding, that they don't have the adequate knowledge to make a decision,  they'll stop listening. They'll take a decision on what they know, however flawed it may be.

Thats the unfortunate truth.

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