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post #136 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

Manbear,

 

I think we are using the word "subjective" differently, and if we account for that, we actually agree.

 

I think that you think I mean accuracy is "mysterious," "unknowable", "unable to be analyzed" that kind of thing.

 

But the word subjective, as I have always used it, essentially means "relative to an observer." It doesn't mean something is unknowable or un-analyzable.

 

Wikipedia defines subjectivity as "a subject's personal perspective, feelings, beliefs, desires or discovery, as opposed to those made from an independent, objective, point of view."

 

Note the use of the words "perspective" and "feelings." I'm simply saying these differ from listener to listener. Objectivists like to say, "Yes, you are talking about preference" but no, I'm clearly talking about perceived accuracy, as I've tried to make clear several times in this thread.

 

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


Ok, fair enough. But I would submit that getting the emotion right is reducible to getting certain aspects of the lines, colors, and shapes (such as around the eyes and mouth) right in an objective sense. 
 

 

I agree! I think there's a disconnect between musicians who spend their lives analyzing and perceiving how those relationships affect the emergent qualities, and sound scientists who seem to think the emergent qualities aren't an important area of research (or even entirely fail to acknowledge the subjectivity of accuracy).

 


I get that you think accuracy is relative to an observer (i.e. using the standard definition of subjective). I also think that we actually agree -- which is why I'm having trouble with your insistence on a distinction between (objective) accuracy and perceived accuracy. In short, a well-trained listener will perceive sound to be accurate if and only if it is objectively accurate. As I said before, there are many dimensions of accuracy: accurate tone, accurate transient response, etc. So different listeners may focus on different dimensions of accuracy and find more accuracy in some dimensions than in others. But this doesn't make accuracy subjective. It only makes preference for one dimension of accuracy over another subjective. 

I think the second part you quoted, about getting the lines, shapes and colors around the eyes and mouth objectively right in order to get emotion right, is all you need to see that accuracy is objective. We don't need an observer who reacts to emotion to say that an image gets the lines, shapes, and colors around the eyes and mouth right -- it's an objective determination. For example, cameras are excellent at conveying the emotion on a face. A medium-format camera will do a better job at conveying emotion than a disposable camera, entirely because the medium-format camera takes objectively more accurate pictures. No perspective or feelings required. 

post #137 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mikeaj View Post
 

A whole lot of posts seem to be dedicated to either clarifying (e.g. not rhythm, talking about a more subjective and vaguely defined rhythmic quality) or completely redefining definitions.

 

For example, I don't think it's clear from the onset that "rhythm" would have to do with things other than timing. Even when a musician says the rhythm is off, that is referring to the timing, not the articulation or something else.

I'm not a particularly experienced musician -- a lot of amateur playing and a couple years in music school - and it's very clear to me, and the musicians who taught me, that timing is only one part of the overall effect of rhythm. Timing can be deliberately even or uneven, but you only get an actual musical effect from that when you include instrument timbre, articulation, and hall reverb. It's also clear from "just listening" (as BigShot seems to be asking me to do) that distortions in audio systems mess with the timbre, articulation, and balance of hall reverb. (Consider mic position for starters.) I'm talking about differences between systems that are audible--that no one disputes are audible. Forget cables, I'm not even sure I'm a cable believer. Maybe I just think they are pretty. But certainly mic position, listening room, etc. are audible.

post #138 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


I get that you think accuracy is relative to an observer (i.e. using the standard definition of subjective). I also think that we actually agree -- which is why I'm having trouble with your insistence on a distinction between (objective) accuracy and perceived accuracy. In short, a well-trained listener will perceive sound to be accurate if and only if it is objectively accurate. As I said before, there are many dimensions of accuracy: accurate tone, accurate transient response, etc. So different listeners may focus on different dimensions of accuracy and find more accuracy in some dimensions than in others. But this doesn't make accuracy subjective. It only makes preference for one dimension of accuracy over another subjective. 

I think the second part you quoted, about getting the lines, shapes and colors around the eyes and mouth objectively right in order to get emotion right, is all you need to see that accuracy is objective. We don't need an observer who reacts to emotion to say that an image gets the lines, shapes, and colors around the eyes and mouth right -- it's an objective determination. For example, cameras are excellent at conveying the emotion on a face. A medium-format camera will do a better job at conveying emotion than a disposable camera, entirely because the medium-format camera takes objectively more accurate pictures. No perspective or feelings required. 

 

It's fairly clear that cameras do a very good job of reproducing a face. Yes, get the lines/colors/shapes right and you have an accurate reproduction. I agree.

 

The problem with this point of view in audio, however, is that it's impractical. It doesn't apply to any actual audio system. There is no audio system that gets the 3D sound field right. When you record an acoustic event and play it back, you have unlimited choices in mic selection (polar sensitivity for one thing), mic position, speaker and listening room configuration, etc. All of these are audibly different.

 

EDIT: it just occurred to me that with visual reproductions, you have some big choices, like lighting, camera position, and focal length. So it's not a matter of saying a high-quality camera gets the emotion right. By your choice of lighting etc. you can obscure or bring out certain qualities.

 

EDIT 2: actually an audio system can distort a lot but still get certain musical qualities "right" (depending on how picky we are). An audio system can change the 3D sound field and the tonal balance, yet still convey the careful differentiations of rhythmic quality that the musician created.


Edited by raddle - 1/19/14 at 1:41pm
post #139 of 188

when a science guy publishes some work, he uses a precise and reproducible modus operandi. the very first thing happening after is that every single scientist working in relation to that work will try to destroy the arguments published and show any possible weakness to the reasoning. we all know that so the scientist will carefully look for flaws by himself before publishing instead of going with his guts, just because he doesn't want to look like fool afterward.

if after that the work is acknowledged as good, it means no scientist had a mean to to shut it down. that is the truth of this science world. it's still not perfect, but it means that nobody knew better at the moment it's been published.

then you guys come with not 1/10th of the scientific knowledge and decide you know better. you might want to consider that the probabilities of your counter reasoning being right is very very low. 

 

now you're at a point where we should be talking interpretation to disprove a work...

rhythmic quality???? really? can you get something even more abstract to make a point? what about talent? that's not measured so measurements are obviously wrong? but then what is talent? being unique, pleasing the majority or pleasing you? we're getting there anyway. we try to bring real stuff, and you bring feelings.

when one point is proven, you just slide to another one with no other purpose than to say "see they don't know everything hence you shouldn't be objectivists".

 

I don't think I am an objectivist TBH, xnor is what I see as a real objectivist, refusing stuff untill proven true. me I still tend to admit a lot of things because I feel like it or have some confidence in the guy telling me. but still I'm very sure that if being a subjectivist is putting what you feel above what's real, then I'm not that.

when I remember my ex, I picture her so nice and pretty that I wish to take her back. but then I meet her and remember what reality is while running away. that's what subjectivity looks like to me, a forever changing view of what actually is, depending on how happy, tired, old or drunk you are at the time. trying to oppose that with what machines can measure with the exact same result 10times out of 10, I'll keep going with machines and rational thinking.

post #140 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

I'm not a particularly experienced musician -- a lot of amateur playing and a couple years in music school - and it's very clear to me, and the musicians who taught me, that timing is only one part of the overall effect of rhythm. Timing can be deliberately even or uneven, but you only get an actual musical effect from that when you include instrument timbre, articulation, and hall reverb. It's also clear from "just listening" (as BigShot seems to be asking me to do) that distortions in audio systems mess with the timbre, articulation, and balance of hall reverb. (Consider mic position for starters.) I'm talking about differences between systems that are audible--that no one disputes are audible. Forget cables, I'm not even sure I'm a cable believer. Maybe I just think they are pretty. But certainly mic position, listening room, etc. are audible.

I am now really confused. You said rhythm is about timing people can detect  even a few millisecond off. This is caused by the distortion of the speaker. Based on the literal translation, are you saying different speakers will have different timing. So a 3' piece can be 2.99' with one speaker and 3.01' with another. Are you also saying all musicians play the same music with the same timing?

Now you're saying timing include timbre. Are saying timbre change the perception of timing or it change timing? How does rhythm works when there is no drum and only a conductor? What if I use a drum machine would the rhythm change if I replace the speaker of the drum machine?

 

You are also trying to define subjectivity and accuracy in a way I can't understand. Are you saying accuracy in your definition is perceived reality or actual reality? In your definition, people can have different accuracy from person to person and time to time. This "accuracy" does not need to be repeatable.

 

Let's say I have a 20 to 20 system and you have a 20 to 16 hearing. How do you measure that subjectively? If you perceived it as accurate, it will be your opinion and it is not a fact. We can have a difference in opinion but not in facts.


Edited by dvw - 1/19/14 at 2:28pm
post #141 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post

 

It's fairly clear that cameras do a very good job of reproducing a face. Yes, get the lines/colors/shapes right and you have an accurate reproduction. I agree.

 

The problem with this point of view in audio, however, is that it's impractical. It doesn't apply to any actual audio system. There is no audio system that gets the 3D sound field right. When you record an acoustic event and play it back, you have unlimited choices in mic selection (polar sensitivity for one thing), mic position, speaker and listening room configuration, etc. All of these are audibly different.

 

EDIT: it just occurred to me that with visual reproductions, you have some big choices, like lighting, camera position, and focal length. So it's not a matter of saying a high-quality camera gets the emotion right. By your choice of lighting etc. you can obscure or bring out certain qualities.

 

EDIT 2: actually an audio system can distort a lot but still get certain musical qualities "right" (depending on how picky we are). An audio system can change the 3D sound field and the tonal balance, yet still convey the careful differentiations of rhythmic quality that the musician created.


Yes, there an unlimited number of ways in which audio systems can differently reproduce the same recording. So what? This has nothing to do with either subjectivity or objectivity. If a system can get rhythmic quality right, for example, then it must be doing so in an objectively accurate way. What's subjective about this?

As for your first edit, if all else (lighting and so on) is equal, the more objectively accurate camera will depict emotion more accurately. We need to hold everything else equal in order to talk about the camera itself in a meaningful way. 

post #142 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

 

Are you entirely rejecting the idea that an artist can judge which reproduction comes closest to the original art? Is this an invalid question, somehow off-limits?


It is an entirely different subject from accurate reproduction.  For that matter, an artist will never know what it sounded like to an audience.  He doesn't hear what they hear.  He can listen to a recording and decide if the result got the art across as he wished.  But again, that is a whole different category from accurate reproduction.  In fact if you have accurate reproduction, then an artist might alter it to achieve what he hoped to achieve.  Something you seem to wish to conflate with actual accuracy.  Something which will lead you on many interesting wild goose chases, but in the end put you no nearer any definable goal. 

post #143 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

 

Your system is not perfect. I've already listed sources of distortion, the major one being that you aren't reproducing the 3D sound field that was present in the hall.

 

I'm not reproducing the hall. I'm reproducing THE RECORDING. If the hall is not represented well, it's the fault of the engineers who made the recording. It isn't a sign of the inaccuracy of my equipment.

 

As for three dimensional sound, when I play a 5:1 surround sound recording it sounds dimensional as it was intended to because my six channels are accurately calibrated. A two channel CD doesn't have the same kind of dimensional sound because it wasn't recorded to, any more than a standard camera's photo of a face is in stereographic 3D.

 

I play a CD. Sound comes out. Hopefully it sounds the way the CD was intended to sound. If it does, my system is presenting the recording on the CD accurately.


Edited by bigshot - 1/19/14 at 3:21pm
post #144 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

An audio system can change the 3D sound field and the tonal balance, yet still convey the careful differentiations of rhythmic quality that the musician created.

 

That's because musical rhythm operates at a much larger scale than a synthetic reverb. A 120 beat a minute musical rhythm isn't going to be affected by a hall ambience. And a slight speaker timing error isn't going to create an audible hall ambience. Each of these things are at least an order of magnitude apart.

 

You gotta read that scale on the side of the chart.

post #145 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 


Yes, there an unlimited number of ways in which audio systems can differently reproduce the same recording. So what? This has nothing to do with either subjectivity or objectivity. If a system can get rhythmic quality right, for example, then it must be doing so in an objectively accurate way. What's subjective about this?

As for your first edit, if all else (lighting and so on) is equal, the more objectively accurate camera will depict emotion more accurately. We need to hold everything else equal in order to talk about the camera itself in a meaningful way. 

 

I think there are a few corrections to your thinking.

 

First of all I didn't say "there an unlimited number of ways in which audio systems can differently reproduce the same recording." What I said, in essence, is that there are many choices in the entire chain, mic to speaker, for reproducing an acoustic event.

 

I think that one way several posters here are going wrong is looking at recording-to-speaker-to-room only. I think that to understand deeply what's going on you have to look at mic to speaker to room.

 

Now, about the visual analogy. It seems to me that you are imaging a camera that is nearly perfect, a camera that is "objectively accurate" to such a high degree that there is no question it will portray emergent qualities accurately.

 

Is there something like that in audio? A nearly perfect reproducer? Let's grant that digital recorders and amplifiers are essentially perfect. Personally, I don't think they are, but that doesn't matter to my point. I'll grant they're perfect.

 

However if you look at the whole chain, hall-mic-speaker-room, you've got a tremendous variety of actual results, none of which sounds very much like being present in the hall.

 

The visual analogy is that every camera distorts something to a high degree, and the things they distort are different. Maybe one camera gets the colors wrong but the shapes right (camera A). Another camera does the reverse (camera B).

 

Here's what's subjective about accuracy. Two observers will disagree which camera is most accurate. An observer who is most attuned to shapes will say camera A is most accurate. An observer who is attuned to colors will say it's camera B. That's subjectivity---an answer which is relative to a personal perspective.

 

I think it's useful to bring in the idea of lighting and camera position, because those things seem analogous to mic position (to me, anyway).

 

Yes, for a camera to be perceived as accurate in the emergent qualities (say the portrayed emotion) it has to be accurate in the details. But no camera is accurate in all the details (in this analogy).

post #146 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
 


It is an entirely different subject from accurate reproduction.  For that matter, an artist will never know what it sounded like to an audience.  He doesn't hear what they hear.  He can listen to a recording and decide if the result got the art across as he wished.  But again, that is a whole different category from accurate reproduction.  In fact if you have accurate reproduction, then an artist might alter it to achieve what he hoped to achieve.  Something you seem to wish to conflate with actual accuracy.  Something which will lead you on many interesting wild goose chases, but in the end put you no nearer any definable goal. 


I didn't say it was the same artist who performed. It's an independent observer. Not only is it a relevant question to accuracy, it's the primary question about accuracy.

 

Well, let me clarify. Not everyone is interested in reproducing an original acoustic event. Not everyone is looking at the whole chain, mic-to-speaker. And not everyone is looking at emergent qualities (maybe they are focused on something more raw, like timbre).

 

But for people who are interested in that stuff, accuracy is subjective and the final arbiter is listening. Measurements are only useful to the extent they've been correlated with listening (and don't tell me about Sean Olive's experiments with preference; those are irrelevant to accuracy)

post #147 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

That's because musical rhythm operates at a much larger scale than a synthetic reverb. A 120 beat a minute musical rhythm isn't going to be affected by a hall ambience. And a slight speaker timing error isn't going to create an audible hall ambience. Each of these things are at least an order of magnitude apart.

 

You gotta read that scale on the side of the chart.


I don't know why you don't understand the difference between rhythmic timing and rhythmic quality. But rhythmic quality is affected by hall ambience, and the mic-to-speaker chain affects the balance of hall ambience to direct sound.

post #148 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

I'm not reproducing the hall. I'm reproducing THE RECORDING. If the hall is not represented well, it's the fault of the engineers who made the recording. It isn't a sign of the inaccuracy of my equipment.

 

.

 

If that's your perspective, then you are not interested in the mic-to-speaker chain and how well it portrays the original event. That's fine, not everyone is interested in that.

post #149 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

 

If that's your perspective, then you are not interested in the mic-to-speaker chain and how well it portrays the original event. That's fine, not everyone is interested in that.

 

I'm interested in recording techniques, but that has absolutely nothing to do with the accuracy of the equipment in my playback system. And as someone who listens to recorded music, it is completely beyond my control.

post #150 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

But rhythmic quality is affected by hall ambience, and the mic-to-speaker chain affects the balance of hall ambience to direct sound.

 

No the miking of the room and the mixing to a 2 channel recording determines that. From there on, with an accurate playback system, nothing will affect that at all.

 

Recording is a creative process. You're translating an experience into a package of 2 channel sound.

 

Playing back a recording is a mechanical process. You're simply presenting the creative choices made by the people who recorded and performed the music.

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