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how good are our ears exactly? - Page 3

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 #31 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... 

You tube videos are terrible for this.  The highly compressed nature of the sound means there's all manner of noise artefacts in the higher tones.   You're probably not hearing the actual 19KHz tone at all.

 

Download this

 

http://www.cool-lab.com/media/HearingTest.zip

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

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:

 

It's very common, and I suffer from this too.   The research I've done would suggest this is not a hearing problem at all, but a problem with the brain.  Some people just find it hard to separate a single speech pattern from others in a noisy environment.  Do some research on The Cocktail Party Syndrome.   Some people can, some people can't.  My hearing is fine, but I also have difficulty in that kind of environment.


Edited by pookeyhead - 10/23/13 at 11:08pm
post #32 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookeyhead View Post
 

It's very common, and I suffer from this too.   The research I've done would suggest this is not a hearing problem at all, but a problem with the brain.  Some people just find it hard to separate a single speech pattern from others in a noisy environment.  Do some research on The Cocktail Party Syndrome.   Some people can, some people can't.  My hearing is fine, but I also have difficulty in that kind of environment.

 

Wow, just wow. I've spent the last 30 odd years thinking it was just me, but from what i've just read it seems as much as 20% of the population suffer from the same condition. It all makes perfect sense to me now, thank you so much for sharing that!

post #33 of 49

Its not only the ears.

Eyes too.

 

Our senses aren't the best on their own, but the fact that they're coupled with a large brain makes them better than the rest.

 

Evaluated purely as a sensor, nature has far better examples in other animals.

post #34 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

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:


That is my hearing range too and I'm only eighteen years old. Same issue with surrounding noise blocking out speech. It's kind of worrying me, but I'm trying to listen to headphones quieter and use my speakers more often. I figure that I'm going to lose my hearing regardless with age, so I should just try my best to take care of it so I can continue to enjoy music. I don't know what I would do without music and don't want to feel sorry when I'm older that I listen excessively loud now.

post #35 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookeyhead View Post
 

You tube videos are terrible for this.  The highly compressed nature of the sound means there's all manner of noise artefacts in the higher tones.   You're probably not hearing the actual 19KHz tone at all.

 

Download this

 

http://www.cool-lab.com/media/HearingTest.zip

 

 

 

It's very common, and I suffer from this too.   The research I've done would suggest this is not a hearing problem at all, but a problem with the brain.  Some people just find it hard to separate a single speech pattern from others in a noisy environment.  Do some research on The Cocktail Party Syndrome.   Some people can, some people can't.  My hearing is fine, but I also have difficulty in that kind of environment.

 

 

 

thanks for the link. i downloaded it, will try using it when i have free time. :)

post #36 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcandmar View Post
 

 

Wow, just wow. I've spent the last 30 odd years thinking it was just me, but from what i've just read it seems as much as 20% of the population suffer from the same condition. It all makes perfect sense to me now, thank you so much for sharing that!


I'm glad it helped.  Your ears are probably fine :) 

post #37 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by pookeyhead View Post
 

You tube videos are terrible for this.  The highly compressed nature of the sound means there's all manner of noise artefacts in the higher tones.   You're probably not hearing the actual 19KHz tone at all.

 

Download this

 

http://www.cool-lab.com/media/HearingTest.zip

 

 

 

It's very common, and I suffer from this too.   The research I've done would suggest this is not a hearing problem at all, but a problem with the brain.  Some people just find it hard to separate a single speech pattern from others in a noisy environment.  Do some research on The Cocktail Party Syndrome.   Some people can, some people can't.  My hearing is fine, but I also have difficulty in that kind of environment.

I'm in the same boat with that one - makes one seem like a bit of an idiot when constantly asking people to repeat themselves, but I agree that it isn't directly attached to one's hearing.

 

I did have my hearing checked a long, long time ago and it would be very interesting to do something like that again.  I have done a self-test using my best equipment and audio test files like the ones listed here, but I haven't done that in a little while either.  The last one I did was about 1.5 years ago and I hit 20KHz without issue.  I'm a few months shy of 31.

 

Getting back to the original question:

 

I immediately notice the difference between equipment, and it's a pleasure and a curse.  I had posted in the 'You Know You're An Audiophile When' thread that: YKYAAW you constantly gift older gear to friends because it's the only way you can stand listening to music at their place.

 

To me, that's about it - it is a matter of focusing on the details.  I can ignore them, but if it's music I typically enjoy and have heard played with great clarity, I find it rather frustrating to listen to poor sounding speakers, and simply refuse to listen to anything through garbage headphones...

 

I find it literally 'hurts' to listen to tinny, blurpy, squawky headphones, so I never leave home without a decent pair on me.

post #38 of 49

For perspective, In trems of multiples of frequency, your ears have a much wider relative band of operation than your eyes don't have the same sort of retention and are acutely sensitive to relative differences in time which is different than pitch sensitivity. 

 

"

Pitch Resolution

The extremely small size of the cochlea and the extremely high resolution of human pitch perception cast doubt on the sufficiency of the place theory to completely account for the human ear's pitch resolution. Some typical data:

Cochlea:
esens5.gif turns,
about 3.2 cm length.
Resolves about 1500 separate pitches
with 16,000-20,000 hair cells.
esens4.gif

This would require a separate detectable pitch for every 0.002 cm, which is physically unreasonable for a simple peaking action on the membrane.

placepair.gif

The normal human ear can detect the difference between 440 Hz and 441 Hz. It is hard to believe it could attain such resolution from selective peaking of the membrane vibrations. Some pitchsharpening mechanism must be operating."

 

To take it a step further, time differences when playing 2 beats together becomes even more acute. One reason I think HiRes may be perceived as better by some with good enough kit to maintain the timing. I used may so we can stay on topic. 

 

I don't think bandwidth is as important to music as time relationships so those wit some high frequency loss shouldn't fret. You may hear important differences almost as well as a young school girl.

post #39 of 49
Quote:

Originally Posted by Gignac View Post

 

The last one I did was about 1.5 years ago and I hit 20KHz without issue.  I'm a few months shy of 31.

 

It either wasn't a clean 20 kHz sine wave or you really cranked the volume into dangerous levels. Sensitivity drops abruptly above ~16 kHz. It's anatomically pretty much impossible to hear a clean 20 kHz sine wave at reasonable levels. In fact, the threshold of hearing and threshold of pain meet approximately at 20 kHz.

 

 

Quote:
 Originally Posted by goodvibes View Post
   

"It is hard to believe it could attain such resolution from selective peaking of the membrane vibrations. Some pitchsharpening mechanism must be operating."

I don't understand why this sounds so mysterious. In digital signal processing it's not unknown that you can calculate the exact frequency even though the frequency bins may be several Hz wide. The final achieved resolution may be great but you won't "see" masked tones, just like our hearing masks a lot of stuff. Lossy codecs made use of this for centuries now and as you can see with latest codecs it works extremely well (you can remove a lot of information that would be masked and it's very hard to impossible to distinguish the lossy file from the original).

 

Quote:
To take it a step further, time differences when playing 2 beats together becomes even more acute. One reason I think HiRes may be perceived as better by some with good enough kit to maintain the timing. I used may so we can stay on topic.

PCM doesn't have a limit on minimal time delays, regardless of sample rate.

The CD format can encode delays of 1 ns (0.000000001 s) or less.

 

Also, the timing relationship between tones may be influenced by your audio components, but this happens consistently, i.e. doesn't change over time (with digital audio anyway).

 

So, I don't think higher res audio yields improvements in that area.


Edited by xnor - 10/25/13 at 3:58pm
post #40 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

 

It either wasn't a clean 20 kHz sine wave or you really cranked the volume into dangerous levels. Sensitivity drops abruptly above ~16 kHz. It's anatomically pretty much impossible to hear a clean 20 kHz sine wave at reasonable levels. In fact, the threshold of hearing and threshold of pain meet approximately at 20 kHz.

 

Wait.

 

I'm not superhuman?  Dang it!

 

Yeah, as I said it was a self-test.  I used as good as a setup as I could.  At the time, however, I patted myself on the back with vigor.

 

It would be interesting to get a proper test done one day...let's see if I can convince my employer to pay for it :)

post #41 of 49

Audiology equipment used to be accurate only up to about 4-8 kHz, nowadays if you're lucky up to 12 maybe 16 kHz.

 

I see no problem with doing a self-test, as long as you have clean sine waves (I host some 32-bit files here) sampled at a rate that your DAC converts cleanly, speakers that extends far enough (headphones would work too but the frequency response will be all over the place, like erratic +/- 10 dB), and you don't cheat (set the volume before you increase the frequency / don't crank the volume when you cannot hear the tone anymore).

 

It would actually make sense to compare the file containing the tone with a file containing digital silence using something like the ABX plugin in foobar2000.


Edited by xnor - 10/25/13 at 4:28pm
post #42 of 49
I don't consider myself to have good ears however, I can discern pretty easily channel imbalance no matter how small is. I find it to be a curse with iems in general even expensive ones. I never heard a completely balanced iem.
post #43 of 49
Quote:
Originally Posted by xnor View Post
 

 

I don't understand why this sounds so mysterious. In digital signal processing it's not unknown that you can calculate the exact frequency even though the frequency bins may be several Hz wide. The final achieved resolution may be great but you won't "see" masked tones, just like our hearing masks a lot of stuff. Lossy codecs made use of this for centuries now and as you can see with latest codecs it works extremely well (you can remove a lot of information that would be masked and it's very hard to impossible to distinguish the lossy file from the original).

 

I thought the same and I'd also think the brain can do this sort of thing quite well. Quote was from the lit, not me.

post #44 of 49

I picked option 4, although I wish there was an option like, "I can easily tell the difference when I am in a quiet room, by myself, with no ambient distractions."

post #45 of 49
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Austin Morrow View Post

I picked option 4, although I wish there was an option like, "I can easily tell the difference when I am in a quiet room, by myself, with no ambient distractions."


 




noise is not the problem here, the scenario already assumes theres no ambient distractions. otherwise, how can you tell the difference between gears anyway? if someone says they can tell gears apart with ambient noise, i can just say well... the ambient noise is like 20 db now, you can tell gears apart. how about at 70 db? his answer will likely vary then, so the scenario already assumes you are by yourself without anyone or anything distracting you
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