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how good are our ears exactly? - Page 2

Poll Results: how good are your ears?

 
  • 5% (2)
    i cannot even tell any difference between "better" gears and "lesser" gears
  • 10% (4)
    i can only tell when i a/b them
  • 35% (14)
    i can tell them apart but it requires more than normal concentration
  • 50% (20)
    i can totally tell them apart and its extremely easy to do that and does not really require no effort at all
40 Total Votes  
post #16 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltMusicSnob View Post
 

The OP seems like a simpler question than it is. One could pull a random 18-year-old (one not already over-exposed to loud volumes) out of the population and get "better ears" than mine every time, on clinical measures.

 

But we listen to music with our ears, with our minds, and an even fuzzier notion, with our emotions. Audiophiles **care** what music sounds like. Just paying attention is a huge part of being able to hear a particular difference or not. Your ears may pick it up, but if your mind does not decode it, it doesn't exist in your experience.


So yes, audiophiles have better, ummmmm...listening, than non-audiophiles. Not better ears necessarily, but definitely better listening.

 

i dont know if this is true or not, you are saying someone whos not into audio when listening to music dont pay as much attention to whats going on? or is it simply that they cant tell the difference between how something sounds on one system compares to another?

 

No, I'm saying something more specific. I'm saying someone who's not into audio when listening to music doesn't pay as much attention to how the music sounds in terms of what audiophiles listen for: soundstage, balance, stereo separation, detail, clarity, bass extension, etc.

 

It's quite possible that a non-audiophile is paying a lot of attention---to OTHER things. I would count myself among this group, since I am always listening to the composer's choices: What are the notes and rhythms, what chord was that, what chord comes next, why is there no guitar solo here, this is an unusual melody. I do that because I compose myself, so I'm listening for the same things in the recording that I would be looking at if I had a musical score on paper.

 

I also listen as an audiophile, but only some of the time.

 

All that said, I think most persons listen VERY casually--music is just a background to something else they're doing. With that kind of inattention, they are very unlikely to have the mental "ears" to notice audiophile differences in playback.

 

And the full point was that being able to "tell the difference" depends on good ears, high attention, caring about audiophile characteristics, and experience. These factors cannot be separated out, they all matter.

post #17 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by UltMusicSnob View Post
 

 

i dont know if this is true or not, you are saying someone whos not into audio when listening to music dont pay as much attention to whats going on? or is it simply that they cant tell the difference between how something sounds on one system compares to another?

 

No, I'm saying something more specific. I'm saying someone who's not into audio when listening to music doesn't pay as much attention to how the music sounds in terms of what audiophiles listen for: soundstage, balance, stereo separation, detail, clarity, bass extension, etc.

 

It's quite possible that a non-audiophile is paying a lot of attention---to OTHER things. I would count myself among this group, since I am always listening to the composer's choices: What are the notes and rhythms, what chord was that, what chord comes next, why is there no guitar solo here, this is an unusual melody. I do that because I compose myself, so I'm listening for the same things in the recording that I would be looking at if I had a musical score on paper.

 

I also listen as an audiophile, but only some of the time.

 

All that said, I think most persons listen VERY casually--music is just a background to something else they're doing. With that kind of inattention, they are very unlikely to have the mental "ears" to notice audiophile differences in playback.

 

And the full point was that being able to "tell the difference" depends on good ears, high attention, caring about audiophile characteristics, and experience. These factors cannot be separated out, they all matter.

 

i see what you are trying to say now... you are probably right... and im guilty on the casual listening part... sometimes i turn music on and will continue to do something else like browsing the net... 

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

See Harman's How to Listen program and the blog post I linked above.

 

will do, thanks for the info. 

post #18 of 49

I knew an audiophile once. He was convinced his experience, and finely tuned hearing made his opinions better than mine. One day, over coffee, I said to him, "Are you not going to cancel your alarm?".  He had a cheap digital watch with a piezo electric beep type alarm.   His answer was "What alarm?".

 

I rest my case.

post #19 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookeyhead View Post
 

I knew an audiophile once. He was convinced his experience, and finely tuned hearing made his opinions better than mine. One day, over coffee, I said to him, "Are you not going to cancel your alarm?".  He had a cheap digital watch with a piezo electric beep type alarm.   His answer was "What alarm?".

 

I rest my case.

 

lol. Well to be fair, there is more to hearing than just how good your ears are. Maybe he is so used to the sound of the alarm that he doesn't hear it anymore. It's like how you don't hear the air conditioner running in the background while you're in the office until you purposely listen for it.

post #20 of 49

No..  he genuinely couldn't hear the alarm...  a high pitched beep around 7k.

post #21 of 49

Well, what can I say ... poor fella.

post #22 of 49

My point is...  once your past 40 or so...  your ears are not as good as someone in their 20s.  This decline happens to all of us.. and continues as we get older - it's normal.  Most audiophiles tend to be middle age men, or older from my experience.   Statistically, they're likely to have less than perfect hearing.

 

 

Being an audiophile has nothing to do with your hearing ability despite what they think. 

post #23 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookeyhead View Post
 

No..  he genuinely couldn't hear the alarm...  a high pitched beep around 7k.

 

 

what? only at 7k? i mean i would understand if he cant hear 20k but 7k? really??? or is the volume really low so he cant hear it?

post #24 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddragon View Post
 

 

 

what? only at 7k? i mean i would understand if he cant hear 20k but 7k? really??? or is the volume really low so he cant hear it?

Very few people over 30 years old can hear 20K.  It's given as the upper limit of human hearing with far too much freedom from accuracy if you ask me.  That's 20k upper limit for a young, healthy ear.  I'd be surprised if many people over 30 can actually hear 20K.  I know I can't, and I have perfectly healthy hearing for a 45 year old.   I can hear up to around 17K.   That's considered very good for someone my age.

post #25 of 49

But it's not just a sudden cut-off at 20 kHz. Your sensitivity also degrades gradually with age at higher frequencies.

 

According to Harry F. Olson sensitivity is down 11 dB at only 8 kHz for a man at age 35.

post #26 of 49
Thread Starter 

i see... i wont know as im a 21 years old lol... :p one youtube video goes to 19k but didnt have any higher, i could hear it. i havent tried 20k yet. and if i remember right, my little brother could also hear it (which probably is no surprise because hes even younger than me) but my mom (50-ish years old) could also hear it... 


Edited by reddragon - 10/23/13 at 3:32pm
post #27 of 49

I find it amusing that the foobar2000 EQ and visualizations all start at 50hz and go up to 23khz. Everyone can hear far below 50hz, and very few people if anyone can hear 23khz, so why not start and end lower?

post #28 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by reddragon View Post
 

i see... i wont know as im a 21 years old lol... :p one youtube video goes to 19k but didnt have any higher, i could hear it. i havent tried 20k yet. and if i remember right, my little brother could also hear it (which probably is no surprise because hes even younger than me) but my mom (50-ish years old) could also hear it... 

 

Youtube videos are probably one of the worst choice for that.

 

If you don't have a tool to generate tones try one of: these. Can be extracted with 7zip or Unarchiver.

Contains tones up to 22 kHz.


Edited by xnor - 10/23/13 at 4:29pm
post #29 of 49

My audiologist did mine for free as I went to get an ear impression. I can hear up to 16,900 Hz +/- a few Hz, I'm in my mid late 20s and that is about average he said, certainly no cause for concern yet.

post #30 of 49

This seems like a good place to ask, does anybody have issues hearing when surrounded by loud ambient noise?

 

For example if i am standing in the middle of a noisy pub i cannot make out what the person next to me is saying, it just gets lost in the background noise.  But yet everybody else seems to have no problem communicating.  Its always bugged me, does anybody else have the same issue?    ...and no, more alcohol doesn't seem to help.

 

Not very scientific but by using test tones and a couple of different headphones i found my limits are ~16k -> ~20hz.  Problem is i dont know if the limits are me, the dac, the amp, or the headphones.. :smile:

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