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why I'm a subjectivist - Page 2  

post #16 of 188

Subjectivity should be wrt to the source performance itself, not the mechanism of reproduction. If the mechanism is altering the audio, its not equivalent to the source, hence you're not judging the source.


You should be subjective with the artist, and you can only do that if the subjectivity of reproduction is removed.

post #17 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

Not all listeners care about accuracy, but let's deal with the situation that we are recording an acoustical concert and judging the result on speakers using experienced listeners. And these experienced listeners care about how closely the reproduction comes to the original.

 

I'm a subjectivist because accuracy is subjective.

 

Let's say we are comparing two speakers, A and B. The measure differently and there is no debate they sound different. There is also no debate that neither is perfect; they both have distortion. The only way to determine which is more accurate is to listen. Plain and simple.

 

And two experienced listeners could reasonably disagree about this. That's because different listeners listen for different things. One may care about rhythm more than timbre, and another the reverse.

 

It's real simple folks. Different listeners care about different things. Everyone who has listened a lot has trained themselves, whether consciously or unconsciously, to listen for particular things.

 

Some objectivists will reply that measurements are useful because they are objective.

 

Look, here's a point that seems to get overlooked constantly. Audio exists to create an experience in the listener. Not to make amplifiers that measure well.

 

Now, if measuring well can be correlated with the particular listening experience, then and only then is the measurement useful. And the only way to determine a correlation is to have people listen.

 

So it goes back to listening.

 

It goes back to people listening and trying to report their experience in some form. Whether it's a musician who "reports" by saying speaker A sounds more like real instruments, or whether it's a test subject who rates speaker preference by ranking two speakers, it's all about listening.


You are a subjectivist because you are irrational. 

post #18 of 188

Accuracy isn't subjective though.

Measure the frequency response. Measure the distortion. You can then see which one is more neutral, and (assuming it was recorded with neutral microphones) more accurate.

post #19 of 188
There is no such thing as subject and object.
post #20 of 188

Calibration is how you anchor measurements to accuracy. If you make sure the signal going to two sets of speakers is identical, and you make sure that the measuring device capturing the output of the two speakers and analyzing it does it the same for both speakers, you can measure the difference between the two. Compare those measured responses to the response of the original signal and you can easily determine which speaker is most accurate. Measure the thresholds of perception of the human ear and compare that to the differences in response and you can quickly find out if the difference is audible. It's simple.


Edited by bigshot - 1/8/14 at 2:13pm
post #21 of 188
Thread Starter 

In this situation, there's no question that both speakers A and B distort the signal to an audible degree (true of most speakers) and that they don't sound identical (again true of most speakers). You can measure them all you like, but those measurements are only useful to the extent they have been correlated with hearing. And if it's perceived accuracy we care about, then correlating them with preference doesn't help. What was Sean Olive's experiment?

post #22 of 188

Thresholds of perception establish perceived accuracy. I already said that.

post #23 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

In this situation, there's no question that both speakers A and B distort the signal to an audible degree (true of most speakers) and that they don't sound identical (again true of most speakers).

 

By the way... Give me two sets of different sounding speakers of roughly the same output ability and bass and treble extension and give me a good equalizer and I will make them sound the same.

post #24 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

 What was Sean Olive's experiment?

The Sean Olive blind test showed most people preferred an accurate  and balanced FR. Yet, Beats dominated the market by a large margin. What does this means? With the aid of sight, Beats is more accurate than all the rest? Do I need to go out and get me a pair of Beats and prove it?

post #25 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post
 

Do I need to go out and get me a pair of Beats and beat someone with it to prove it?

 

If reasoning doesn't work.


Edited by proton007 - 1/8/14 at 8:06pm
post #26 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post
 

The Sean Olive blind test showed most people preferred an accurate  and balanced FR. Yet, Beats dominated the market by a large margin. What does this means? With the aid of sight, Beats is more accurate than all the rest? Do I need to go out and get me a pair of Beats and prove it?

There you go, he tested preference,  not accuracy. I'd like to see some work correlating measurements with accuracy.

post #27 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

By the way... Give me two sets of different sounding speakers of roughly the same output ability and bass and treble extension and give me a good equalizer and I will make them sound the same.

Doesn't help you in the slightest to tell which speaker is more accurate.

post #28 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

There you go, he tested preference,  not accuracy. I'd like to see some work correlating measurements with accuracy.

But we're talking about perceived accuracy here. The conclusion of the study showed most people preferred accurate headphone and the headphone preferred by 50% of the market is Beats. I thought you believed accuracy is subjective. Are you saying the preference of accuracy is not valid or the study is not valid?  I am not trying to contradict you. But you also said not all listeners care about accuracy. I just want to know your take on Sean Olive's study. It used blind test ,showed people preferred accuracy and no audiophile cable was mentioned anywhere in the methodology. What is the subjectivist point of view on this? Is the result valid? BTW, the measurement was done on accuracy with different phones and scenario and correlated with listeners' preference.

post #29 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

There you go, he tested preference,  not accuracy. I'd like to see some work correlating measurements with accuracy.

 

Other tests by the Harmon group and others generally show that the more accurate setups (especially with speakers) are preferred. They're evaluating accuracy primarily on FR, where wild swings are agreed to be bad. Of course, there is more different to speakers and headphones than just the FR differences, so you can't be absolutely convinced (based on just this data, though others seem to corroborate it) that it's the FR that is making the difference. For headphones, it's based on in-ear response, which is different for the same headphone on different people because of different ear and head shapes. The exact most preferred to subjectively accurate response averaged across people is still a matter of ongoing research, but the hypothesis that headphones are perceived to be better when following an in-ear response corresponding to what you get from flat speakers in a room seems very plausible (at least with the test tracks used, though that is probably indicative), and the data seems to support that.

 

I think the results you might be most interested in is this:

the Listener Comments slide

 

It's not quite the word "accurate" but "neutral / low coloration" and then "good spectral balance" comments correlate strongly with preference ratings for the listeners tested on the tracks tested in the conditions tested etc. A lot of the other research seems to indicate that as a whole different groups don't actually have different preferences in sound. You can check the measurements of the headphones and check the author's blog for later presentation slides, particularly with respect to preferred and measured responses (and measured more accurate by FR) when tweaking effective headphone FR by EQ.

post #30 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

Doesn't help you in the slightest to tell which speaker is more accurate.

 

The one that is calibrated to be accurate will be accurate. That's what equalization and room treatment is for.

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