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Peer groups, self selection, the breadth of the audiophile community  

post #1 of 170
Thread Starter 

We all know that people tend to learn things through experience, for better or worse. Many times, that process achieves good results; other times, selective memories or unaccounted factors lead to shaky interpretations and bad "knowledge". However, our views and thinking are also shaped heavily by our peers. Especially in Internet communities like this one, people flock to those of similar mind and viewpoints. Groups are self selecting and maintaining. There, they get a distorted viewpoint of what percentage of people it is that really agree with them. I don't mean to bring up politics, but that's a good example: a lot of times, people think that all their friends and most everybody they know voted _____, so how could _____ win instead? Or some such.

 

 

Of course nobody knows the real answer, but I'm wondering what percentage of people stopping by something like head-fi sees some of the discussions, decides that they're dealing with a bunch of loons (rightly or wrongly), and never bothers posting. Personally, in real life and other forums, I know of people who don't bother posting but just check the headphones / IEMs sections for some opinions whenever they want to buy something and ignore the rest... but those are just anecdotes, not statistics. I would assume that those liable to believe in large effects of *insert audio product or situation here, e.g. demagnetizing strip X* are more likely to sign up and stay. For example, if you wanted to figure out how many sets of headphones the average person has (even among those who own at least one), sampling head-fi is very obviously a biased slice of the population—even more so if you look at posts, as those with more posts are liable to be repeat purchasers or otherwise have been around for a while.

 

This kind of goes with audio manufacturers too. The designers at boutique and audiophile-oriented companies are much more likely to believe certain things themselves, have doubts about tests and thinking that diminish the value of what they work on, and so on. Especially if you ignore those working on audio in the chip designers, pro audio, and low-margin home theater receivers and the like (though many of these would be included), they probably think that what they're doing is important and makes an audible difference—assuming that, without rigorously testing otherwise, because what would that help? Otherwise, it'd be harder to find the motivation and interest to continue.

 

In the thread that Currawong locked:

http://www.head-fi.org/t/666617/is-objectivism-the-truth/165#post_9510352

 

What kind of engineers were we talking about? Certainly not the ones posting in Sound Science. Probably not university profs and so on. How about the scientists? You'll find differing viewpoints if you look at different groups. It's just hard to get a handle on the percentages.


Edited by mikeaj - 6/9/13 at 7:38am
post #2 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post
What kind of engineers were we talking about?

 

The kind who have a vested interest in high end audio gear? Just a guess. biggrin.gif

 

se

post #3 of 170

it will be interesting to see how long this thread survives

 

there seems to be an increasing number of posts here in the Sound Science Ghetto from "naive subjectivists" - the head-fi mainstream

 

at best just honestly ignorant of the reasons for the subforum's creation - but some seem to come here now just to provoke

 

and now the mainstream authorities come in to break up "heated discussion" when the only heat is the incoherent rug chewing of the OP

 

with the added sting of the cop telling the ghetto residents that you people disgust me - and get off the streets


Edited by jcx - 6/9/13 at 9:03am
post #4 of 170
I was gonna say in the locked thread, no engineer in their right mind, that is in business for audio, will always go for objectivism when they can rely on subjectivism and mark their services higher up. It's just bad business to turn an eye over the eager individuals willing to shell out money over their perceptional set of what money can buy.
post #5 of 170

Lets not forget that not so long ago an "objective" was driven off these forums.

 

Looks like he had the last laugh when he came out with his successful creation.
 

post #6 of 170
Quote:

Originally Posted by gikigill View Post

 

Looks like he had the last laugh when he came out with his successful creation.

 

 

Did he? There hasn't been a word out of him on his blog or elsewhere for over a year now.

 

se

post #7 of 170

What's lacking in the audiophile community is skepticism. To me it seems to be a mix of gullibility, ignorance (some intentionally choosing the blue pill over the red pill), and an attitude like "my senses cannot fool me" or "what I hear has to be true" (where 'hear' means everything but hearing only).

 

If someone makes a claim simply reject it until there's sufficient evidence for it.

 

 

When someone posts opposing impressions ("this headphone has audible distortion", "this cable doesn't sound any better") of a component people are quick to dismiss it. Out of sight, out of mind.

But when someone posts impressions that are in line with their own impressions the beer-chug emotes are flying - no matter how ridiculous the claims are. Confirmation bias.

 

That's why you'll be attacked with everything but facts if you post something negative in one of those threads dedicated to a certain component. The response will either be ad hominem or attempts to counter whatever you said with "but I heard X and I know its true".

post #8 of 170
The amplifier/dac are his last laugh.
For all our debate, he put his money where his mouth was.
Even if it isn't perfect, it matches his intentions.
Personally as someone interested in science and the scientific method, I don't hold any sacred cows.

Susskind challenged Hawking and made him revise his paper/theory. I admire him for that and similarly if there is objectivism in audio and that proves my long held beliefs wrong, well science doesn't care if you agree or not with the result.
post #9 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by gikigill View Post

[...] well science doesn't care if you agree or not with the result.

Yeah despite what some people think reality doesn't care if you agree with it or not.

 

 

edit: If I look at groups like the Flat Earth Society and statements like "restore man's confidence in the validity of his own perceptions" I can only shake my head.


Edited by xnor - 6/9/13 at 10:33am
post #10 of 170
Validity of his own perceptions or validity of empirical, testifiable, repeatable and scientific results ?

Well let's say a lot of HiFi design does subscribe to the first notion. We can fool ourselves all we want.
post #11 of 170
They really should teach critical thinking, debate techniques and logic in schools again. People without those skills seem to be eternally angry and frustrated.
post #12 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by gikigill View Post

The amplifier/dac are his last laugh.
For all our debate, he put his money where his mouth was.
Even if it isn't perfect, it matches his intentions.
Personally as someone interested in science and the scientific method, I don't hold any sacred cows.
 

 

Not disagreeing at all. I just found it odd that given all his posting, and the man was nothing but highly prolific, it all of a sudden came to a extremely abrupt end with not a word out of him for over a year. I hope he's ok. To paraphrase Dr. Johnny Fever, the HeadFi cops play hardball. tongue.gif

 

se

post #13 of 170
I guess he felt he didn't have to prove anything else least of all to those who wouldn't know which end of a solder to hold. No personal attack toward anyone or you Steve.

Then again I might be wrong.
post #14 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by gikigill View Post

Validity of his own perceptions or validity of empirical, testifiable, repeatable and scientific results ?

Well let's say a lot of HiFi design does subscribe to the first notion. We can fool ourselves all we want.

Yeah, own perceptions as in looking at the horizon and seeing that the earth must be flat.

post #15 of 170
Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Eddy View Post

 

Not disagreeing at all. I just found it odd that given all his posting, and the man was nothing but highly prolific, it all of a sudden came to a extremely abrupt end with not a word out of him for over a year. I hope he's ok. To paraphrase Dr. Johnny Fever, the HeadFi cops play hardball. tongue.gif

 

se

Perhaps its the difference between a forum and a blog.  Not much back<>forth on a blog, nothing to debate.  

 

I have to say it was a little troubling to hear about all those non-objective engineers, though.  I can't say I've shared the experience.

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