Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › How aware are audio engineers of Psychoacoustics and other BS beliefs?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

How aware are audio engineers of Psychoacoustics and other BS beliefs? - Page 3

post #31 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

Ah, so true...but so unrealistic.  It's what we would all like and hope for, but there's one quality that would have to be eliminated to make it possible: greed.  


The way I see it, greed might be impossible to remove, but making s**tloads of money while providing a good product is not something unheard of (take Apple for instance).

 

Talking about audio, you may buy a $500 cable, it may not outperform a $10 cable, but it certainly shouldn't perform worse.  If it does, its greed as well as swindling the customer.

Lip synced concerts, auto tuned voices, and compressed dynamic range. On top of that, getting artists to endorse all the crap thats out there. Not to mention the insane lawsuits and extortion.

Thats no way to do business.


Edited by proton007 - 1/23/13 at 12:16am
post #32 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by Strangelove424 View Post
 But I don’t know where a company like Bose would fit in the analogy… maybe a Ford Escort that sold for the price of a Mercedes?

The folks at Bose are the grand masters of marketing.  They've created products targeted at the uninitiated market, made the easy to understand and adopt, and made them seem like magic.  I run into friends and relatives with Bose systems all the time.  They are expensive, proprietary, and completely mediocre in performance, but their marketing is nothing short of genius. And honestly, some of their engineering is brilliant. The final results, not so much.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Strangelove424 View Post
 I see what you’re saying about exotic materials and exotic R&D, which are both expensive, but auto makers are forced to publish meaningful specs and have those specs verified by reviewers. They must live and die by hard numbers, where manufacturers of high end audio are often protected by a dreamy bubble of superstition and magic.     

Now we're moving to manufacturers responsibilities and accountability to their customer, and that has nothing to do with engineering.  Yes, a lot of it is Blue Smoke, and many hide behind the curtain of myth and legend, but look at some of that stuff.  The industrial design alone is awe inspiring.  Have you seen the Momentum amp on the cover of Stereophile? Like it or not, it's amazing design. And 1200 W into 2 ohms, class A/B ain't nothin to sneeze at, though at 40 or 50K per pair, I'd do more than sneeze.  Still...just look at it:

http://reviews.audioreview.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/03/momentum.jpg

 

How about the MBL speakers:

http://www.mbl-audio.com/en/Produkcija/col2/Speakers/_5.html

Strange, and oddly beautiful in an ugly sort of way.  

 

For the folks that buy this stuff, it doesn't matter than you don't need 1200W into 2 ohms -- EVER.  It doesn't matter that those omnidiretional speakers have absolutely NO palpable imaging (had a client with them...they don't). And it doesn't matter if you could buy a decent house for the price of your stereo system.  That world doesn't care if the specs can only be read through  cross-polarized anamorphic infrared viewers on the second Tuesday of next week if the moon is waxing.  They have different values than earthlings, and its a market we may never understand.  And that's fine.

 

And that's all part of what they're selling: image, prestige, unique design, elitism.  That market loves it, and pays for it, the companies that make that stuff know what they want and give it to them.  I can't begrudge either of them for seeking happiness in their own way, and it's certainly not hurting the rest of us.  In fact, we may even get a laugh out of it.

post #33 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

Cars are a bad analogy IMO. The margin on a car is much lower in terms of the overall %, and performance measurements of cars are well respected, compared to those in audio.

 

More important, expensive cars are almost always excellent, in ways that can be easily assessed. They accelerate faster, are more comfortable and quiet, etc. Versus a lot of expensive hi-fi gear that is objectively worse than even modestly priced consumer level gear. I've seen $10,000 toob amps that have 5-10 percent distortion.

 

--Ethan

post #34 of 64

jaddie, I like your posts beerchug.gif.

 

Thoughtful and balanced, without an axe to grind - the Sound Science forum could do with more of that.

post #35 of 64

I suppose if male-enhancement pills can be advertised in all forms of media, there is nothing wrong with marketing a $10,000 clock upgrade for a $40,000 DAC.  It is what it is.  Besides, I know how to improve the sound quality of my music in a most unscientific and relatively inexpensive way. Just add beer. darthsmile.gif

post #36 of 64

Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

...image, prestige, unique design, elitism...  ...it's certainly not hurting the rest of us.

 

I'm not entirely sure that that's true. Certainly in the UK the gap between rich and poor is increasing, and if it continues to increase, not only will it have a negative effect on social cohesion, but the UK, as a country attempting to compete commercially in a World of countries, will be at a disadvantage, because poor also means poor health, poorly fed, poorly motivated, poorly educated. And rich guys don't fix the toilet.

 

Look at Russia. A century later and it still hasn't recovered from the legacy of the Tzars.

 

That's a bit off topic, but I'm really not sure that all this stuff is as victimless as it's sometimes made out to be. No offence jaddie, I think you're just trying to show a bit of tolerance.

 

I worked in a development lab for 3G basestations. More than one, in fact. We had guys who devised compression algorithms (LD-CELP), guys who designed CDMA radios, guys who designed telephone switches (time-slot interchange), guys who put the kit through EMC, you-name-it.  We used to read the datasheets. That's how we picked the components. We didn't have people who listened to them before we bought them.

 

Not one of these guys would have bought a high-end speaker cable. If you'd suggested it they'd have walked a wide berth round you in the canteen. They'd be looking at you and looking at each other and stirring their fingers towards their temples.

 

Now that doesn't mean that they didn't have an appreciation of audio, because what we were passing from one telephone to another was primarily speech. 16 kilobits and less, intelligible speech. That takes some doing.

 

So there are plenty of engineers with a strong understanding of audio to whom all this high-end stuff is complete anathema. Don't get me wrong, show them some evidence, if not measurements then double blind test results, and the acceptance will be immediate, as long as the evidence is well-founded, but they are critical. These are guys who make the modern world work, and they can't afford to be wasting time on any mumbo-jumbo.

 

Now these guys change jobs from time to time. Some of them even end up working for audio companies. So you'll find any reasonably large electronic engineering company won't have many 'audiophiles' in their engineering departments. But it's not a hard-and-fast rule. Companies select their employees, and you've got to fit in. So if you go for a job at Nordost, then you've got to walk the walk and talk the talk, because otherwise there's the risk that you may open your mouth too wide in the wrong situation, and then the cat would be out of the bag.

 

w

post #37 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

So there are plenty of engineers with a strong understanding of audio to whom all this high-end stuff is complete anathema. Don't get me wrong, show them some evidence, if not measurements then double blind test results, and the acceptance will be immediate, as long as the evidence is well-founded, but they are critical. These are guys who make the modern world work, and they can't afford to be wasting time on any mumbo-jumbo.

 

Now these guys change jobs from time to time. Some of them even end up working for audio companies. So you'll find any reasonably large electronic engineering company won't have many 'audiophiles' in their engineering departments. But it's not a hard-and-fast rule. Companies select their employees, and you've got to fit in. So if you go for a job at Nordost, then you've got to walk the walk and talk the talk, because otherwise there's the risk that you may open your mouth too wide in the wrong situation, and then the cat would be out of the bag.

 

w

I think you've managed to miss the point of high end, as most of us do.  It's not that the final result, the audio we hear in the room, is some wonderful realistic amazing thing, it's the entire experience of selecting, purchasing, owning, looking at, showing off, and listening.  It's the prestige factor, the over-the-top build quality and industrial design.  It's been long proven that high-end  things don't pop out in an ABX test as being even different from the common stuff, and that audiophiles can be fooled easily with very low cost gear. But that's only a fraction of what they are buying, it's the total experience of buying the best of the best (in their view).  Evidence? You won't find somebody with $50,000 per channel amplifiers hiding them away in a closet.  They're always right out in the front of the room.  You win't find the $65,000 speaker behind a scrim, it's in the room, perhaps with a spotlight on it.  The big tube amps are right in the middle of the floor, glowing away.  Why would a couple own a 15,000 sq foot home?  Do that need the space to get away from each other?  It's not about economy, it's about prestige, and the ability to show off.  

 

I'm not sure about your comments re: the economic impact of high end audio, except to say that the extremely wealth pretty much already run everything, even if we don't want to see it that way. Oil and drug companies, country leaders, CEOs... money talks.  I can't see where some guy making a hugely expensive piece of gear and selling it to some other guy who thinks he has to own the best of everything hits the guy fixing the pipes much.  

post #38 of 64

I'm sure a lot of people buying ultra high end gear aren't just doing it for the prestige, but because they genuinely think it sounds better. I wish it was just prestige, but some people (including engineers) are still claiming their audiophile USB cables increase clarity, open up the soundstage etc.

post #39 of 64

I think most of us understand the point you are making about high-end audio equipment, but the comparisons to expensive cars or luxurious houses don't make sense in a Sound Science forum.  There are concrete benefits with more expensive cars or homes. With most audio equipment, it is being suggested that the performance is no different at a certain level of quality, and the lavish high-end equipment is merely a superficial improvement with no real gains in sound quality. It's all show, and more art than science.

 

The people that are purchasing this equipment are more in sync with an art collector showing off their auction conquests.   That is, unless you are suggesting that there is a tiny improvement in sound quality with these outrageously expensive interconnects, DACs or amps.  I'm certain that most buyers of this expensive equipment believe they are getting the best performance money can buy, and that is where the difference lies between owning a mansion or Enzo Ferrari and that of an MSB Diamond DAC IV.

post #40 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

I think you've managed to miss the point of high end, as most of us do.  It's not that the final result, the audio we hear in the room, is some wonderful realistic amazing thing, it's the entire experience of selecting, purchasing, owning, looking at, showing off, and listening.  It's the prestige factor, the over-the-top build quality and industrial design.

 

 

Oh, no, I understand that aspect all too well. I simply don't approve.

 


Quote:
Originally Posted by jaddie View Post

I can't see where some guy making a hugely expensive piece of gear and selling it to some other guy who thinks he has to own the best of everything hits the guy fixing the pipes much.  

 

 

It's not so much the guy selling the piece of gear, it's the guy who's buying it, who, in your words 'thinks he has to own the best of everything' when there are people in the Congo with a yearly income of Int$373. Maybe you think that the guy buying the gear is so much better than the guy in the Congo that he deserves to be in that position, but I think that for the large part it's sheer historical accident.

 

Things don't have to be the way they are. They're in many ways created by the way the way people behave which in turn depends on the way they think. Which is why I bother to try to change the way people think. Perhaps you think, like the Queen of England, that the social order was ordained by God (well, she would, wouldn't she?), but they disabused a few people of ideas like that in France, with a thing they called Madame Guillotine.

 

Maybe you think filmstars and pop idols buying children in Africa is an acceptable use of money, but I don't.

 

You're in part responsible for the world you help to create by the way you spend your money, and even to a degree by how you encourage others to spend their money, which is the point that you fail to appreciate. I don't want to be too pompous about this, the world is complicated, people feel that what they do is insignificant in the grand scheme of things and we all have to rub along together as best we can.

 

I have to live with my own conscience though, so sometimes I feel compelled to point these things out, even if it does create a bit of friction. It's a fair way short of chopping off people's heads, although that did admittedly change the way they thought...

 

w


Edited by wakibaki - 1/24/13 at 9:49am
post #41 of 64

wakibaki, you seem to have strayed a long, long way from the point of this thread...

post #42 of 64
I really don't worry much about people with super high end systems. They have money to burn and want to wipe their butts with 14 karat gold leaf. The people I care about are the normal schlubs looking to put together a kick ass sound system. Too often, they get sales pitch aimed at the "more money than sense" crowd and believe it. If someone is really interested in sound, they should be given useful advice, not encouraged to burn through their kid's college funds.
post #43 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheAttorney View Post

wakibaki, you seem to have strayed a long, long way from the point of this thread...


Nah, I think he's right with his point. Alas, ethics and morals go out of the window when it comes to doing business. Some of the most popular brands have some of the worst ethical/moral records when you really dig deep enough.

If the world was left to these corporations, they'd charge money to make people miserable, and then charge them to make them feel better again.  Idiocracy anyone?

A business exists to make money, and the best business is one that sells something that doesn't exist. 

post #44 of 64
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

 

Maybe you think filmstars and pop idols buying children in Africa is an acceptable use of money, but I don't.

 

Huh? .... I mean...um...Huh?

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

 

 

Oh, no, I understand that aspect all too well. I simply don't approve.

 

Whether or not you or I approve is entirely moot.

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

It's not so much the guy selling the piece of gear, it's the guy who's buying it, who, in your words 'thinks he has to own the best of everything' when there are people in the Congo with a yearly income of Int$373. Maybe you think that the guy buying the gear is so much better than the guy in the Congo that he deserves to be in that position, but I think that for the large part it's sheer historical accident.

 

Things don't have to be the way they are. They're in many ways created by the way the way people behave which in turn depends on the way they think. Which is why I bother to try to change the way people think. Perhaps you think, like the Queen of England, that the social order was ordained by God (well, she would, wouldn't she?), but they disabused a few people of ideas like that in France, with a thing they called Madame Guillotine.

 

Maybe you think filmstars and pop idols buying children in Africa is an acceptable use of money, but I don't.

 

You're in part responsible for the world you help to create by the way you spend your money, and even to a degree by how you encourage others to spend their money, which is the point that you fail to appreciate. I don't want to be too pompous about this, the world is complicated, people feel that what they do is insignificant in the grand scheme of things and we all have to rub along together as best we can.

 

I have to live with my own conscience though, so sometimes I feel compelled to point these things out, even if it does create a bit of friction. It's a fair way short of chopping off people's heads, although that did admittedly change the way they thought...

 

w

I agree the world isn't as it should be.

 

Please be fair to me here.  I'm trying to explain something about the high end market, I'm not passing judgement, not evaluating the buyers or sellers, and certainly not valuing anyone higher than anyone else, especially someone starving anywhere in the world.  

 

The original subject of this thread had to do with questioning the understanding of engineers in a field more permeated with mythology than most.  Just asking the question is really an unfair evaluation of engineers we don't personally know, based on the types of products that are produced.  

 

In this thread, manufacturers at all levels have been accused of profit-taking.  The high-end audio market has been summarily labeled Charlatans. The high-end buyer has been labeled as some form of self centered sociopath, and now you've attempted to include myself in one of those categories.  

 

I'm just trying to be fair here.

 

Hate to break it... but the world isn't that black and white.  There are lots of engineers with solid scientific background working on products that benefit the mass market, and there are a few who work on high-end products.  Not all are swindlers, not all high-end products are total fluff.  Some are of course. And the buyers...I never thought I'd be defending high-end buyers!!!....they have their rights to the pursuit of happiness too, be their happiness be based in global awareness or not, truth or myth, social responsibility or social ignorance, just as does the brick layer who has his fortune read every Tuesday, or the chimney sweep who buys 7 lottery tickets every payday, even though the odds of winning (printed on the back) are only fractionally better than he'd have not bought a ticket at all.  They all have their right to pursue their own dreams, right?   And, sadly, most of them ignore the guy in the Congo.  No, it's not right or fair.  It's the reality of the world we live in.

 

In the Audio field there are more myths, more snake-oil products, more distortions of fact, and more believers in them than most other branches of technology.  Constant amazement.  But that doesn't mean all engineers, designers, manufacturers and (gasp!) high-end companies are swindlers.  And it doesn't mean all high-end buyers are doe-eyed morons. 

 

Frankly, if any buyer of audio gear has the slightest desire for truth, he has only to Google the matter.  The audio Myth Busters do a very fine job, and are very easy to find, like Ethan for example.  And yet, the high end market continues.  Why?  Because it makes those involved with it happy.  That's all I'm saying. 

 

I'm officially giving up on analogies, by the way...cars, homes, farm animals, stove pipes...the whole lot.  Geez, you guys are tough.  

 

By the way, that Momentum amp I cited a few posts back...just in case someone thinks you don't get at least something for $55K besides a pretty face...

300W - 8 ohms

600W - 4 ohms

1200W - 2 ohms

 

Seriously...are you kidding me?  A 300W amp that will also do 1200W into 2 ohms? Very few amps will do that, especially those in the more commonly affordable range (yes, I know...Emotiva will, but it's ugly).

 

I was going to make a car analogy...or a farm animal one... but I guess I'll just let it go.

post #45 of 64
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I really don't worry much about people with super high end systems. They have money to burn and want to wipe their butts with 14 karat gold leaf. The people I care about are the normal schlubs looking to put together a kick ass sound system. Too often, they get sales pitch aimed at the "more money than sense" crowd and believe it. If someone is really interested in sound, they should be given useful advice, not encouraged to burn through their kid's college funds.

 


Here! Here!

 

I spent the past few weeks going hardcore into audio(looking for new job: lots of time)....fixed and restored a ton of vintage equipment.

 

Only thing I learned is....

 

1. Speakers matter

2. Must audiophile BS on the internet goes on forever

3. It's all about the music(mastering and just listening to it)

 

Reading audio advice is like listening to new age practicioners. A bazillion ways to "improve" things by buying _______.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Sound Science
Head-Fi.org › Forums › Equipment Forums › Sound Science › How aware are audio engineers of Psychoacoustics and other BS beliefs?