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post #76 of 188

To add to the post above:

 

The way science works is by drawing relations and abstractions which relate the physical with each other (nothing in the world is a perfect circle, or sphere; merely the closest representations of that abstract idea). The beauty of it all is that its a physical to physical mapping, which lends it the quality of being objective. It doesn't influence the cause or result in any way, just binds them together.

Hence, if a phenomenon is physical, then its only fair that scientific principles guide its journey from being recorded to being reproduced. That's the only way to be as close to the real event as possible.


Sound's usefulness lies in it being heard, but its a physical phenomenon in its innate form. If mind is the interpreter of the physical, then the value of mind lies in the interpretation, not in sensing ( It might be possible in future for the blind to see, and the deaf to hear, thanks to technological implants, as long as their brains can process the inputs).

 

What could be more limiting than diminishing the range of inputs to our brain in the first place! By placing these "blinkers", we're no different than a horse whose owner doesn't want it to see sideways or behind.

 

I rest my case.

 

 

PS: The horse has blinkers so that it doesn't get startled by the chaos of the world around it. Then I guess its just a question of how deep we wish to see the rabbit hole goes.


Edited by proton007 - 1/13/14 at 5:50am
post #77 of 188

IMO, the discussion on what science is is a distraction.

 

The issue is quite simple. The argument is what I can hear cannot be measured by science. And the solution is simple too. Just do a blind test to see if you're hearing what you think you're hearing.

 

The resistance to blind test started when blind test reveal negative result. The defense mechanism kick in.

 

1. Your equipment is not good enough

2. Your hearing is not good enough

3. You're too poor and just envious of wealthy people

 

Of course, there is the argument that science is not good enough. And now, are you qualified to submit a scientific comment. Do we need to post our resume, income and equipment to post a scientific comment?

 

The content in our post should be able to tell our capability. As a matter of fact, instead of posting great technical detail, I think we need to dumb down our answers for the general public. After all the discussion on USB cable, does anybody really understand Isochronous transmission, packets and jitter on USB? If people do understand it, there should be no argument on USB cable. Instead, people think propaganda from cable manufacturers as the truth. With so much blame on jitter, yet no one describe the sound of jitter, other than more detail, extended bass and better sound stage which we all know is false.

 

So, I don't think adding qualification will help the argument. People will defend their purchase decision. It's interesting how the same people that defend cable will also bash Beats without owning one because other people preferred Beats over the headphones they used.

post #78 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post
 

Dear headfi,

 

There seems to be some serious misunderstanding here at headfi of what "science" is and "how science works." 

 

Science is the systematic testing of falsifiable hypotheses. The systematic testing procedure is known as the scientific method.

 

 

Lastly, to the many, many defeatists here on headfi who dismiss all scientific principles simply because "we don't know everything about everything,": Please read the wiki article Wronger than wrong.

  

Cheers 

 

Nobody here is 'dismiss[ing] all scientific principles simply because "we don't know everything about everything,"'. That's an ironically false description of what people have been saying (let alone a grossly over-simplified description of science).

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinspace View Post

The time I spend in Head-Fi viewing seems to be focusing more and more on this 'Sound Science' section.

While i understand virtually none of it, at the same time it is fascinating trying to wrap my head around the physics of sound. It gives me a deeper appreciation and respect for the art form and it acts as a sort of lighthouse beam in the thick fog of my ignorance. It has grounding and a noble imperative behind it.

In the past, when I was younger, more foolish and had more disposable income, I never even looked at this part of the site, and instead used to really enjoy reading the equipment forums.

But increasingly, after being burned a number of times and spent a regrettable chunk of my hard-earned money on stuff that wasn't worth it, I have settled on a very cheap pair of earphones and a smartphone for my mobile listening, and a vintage second head pair of speakers and a cheap separates deal for my home. It all sounds really good to my ears and I have no desire to spend more, since funds are finite and I have this business of living life to do.

I have come to the conclusion that these equipment review parts of head-fi - the most popular ones, natch - are actually just an endless stream of confusing personal viewpoints with no real validity beyond an extremely marginal context of subjective experience, surrounded by the bewildering, blinging lights of advertising bait. I mean, for every IEM or headphone that person X proclaims as the new sliced bread, there's someone crying into their wallet about how poor it is. For every post about such and such double flange tip bringing out the highs, or this new DAP having a great UI, there are three others sniggering behind their hands. So it goes.

Essentially, there are so many combinations and so many endless product choices, all aimed at serving infinitely variable and fallible human ears, its impossible to bring any real value to the table. So instead of offering clarity, the forums just come across as a bunch of hobbyists screaming into the void, desparately trying and failing to find a connection with each other. It was easier before the internet. No offence to the blokes who do those threads comparing hundreds of different earphones, but how does that give you any more insight into good sounding gear than anyone else? In fact, doesn't this endless quest for reviewing and commenting on newer and newer things indicate something's gone a bit wrong in your head? That you've lost the woods for the trees? As far as I can tell, you're not being paid for this, so why do it? Why don't you just choose something you are happy with and go off and listen ot shedloads of lovely music through it?

I suppose part of the allure of this Sound Science section for me is a desire to see all this madness shot down in flames. I can't deny there is a certain frisson of pleasure in reading a well written and argued denunciation of the latest rip off snake oil to hit the market. It makes me angry to think how much cash is wasted on these things by people who really should know better. Unfortunately, it is the nature of capitalist free markets that immoral manipulation and dishonesty can take precedence over integrity and truth, Head-fi should be about championing the latter over the former, I feel, so I thank all invoived who keep the sound Science Section going. You're doing the right thing.

What does any of this have to do with subjectivity vs objectivity? Well, I think it boils down to this: science is about standing back from the roar of the ego and establishing as level a platform of understanding as possible, upon which we can all stand and expand our horizons. While nobody disputes that the discovery of an ultimate truth may be impossible, we should not throw the baby out with the bathwater and put all our eggs in the "Well, my ears are the only things I trust." basket (hows that for a mixed metaphor). It is better to keep banging at the door than to give up.

I wonder why the division is made here and there's separate section devoted to audio science? By implication, science has no place elsewhere. Pretty damning really, when you stop to think about it.

 

I understand about spending a lot of money and regretting it (been there, done that) and I agree mostly that "there are so many combinations and so many endless product choices, all aimed at serving infinitely variable and fallible human ears, its impossible to bring any real value to the table.", but I don't agree that "science has no place elsewhere" as there's a lot of discussion of the technical aspects of headphones and other gear on the site. The problem is, IMO, that there isn't enough of that discussion guided by people who are expert in those subjects. For example, I've seen a bread maker and a college student attack companies over supposedly ripping off consumers based on supposed facts (in one case based on measurements) that turned out to be outright false. The people who are most expert in the topics of audio reproduction usually work for companies that make audio products, however, as I've stated before, when those people try and explain the technical side of things, they end up being attacked by people with only a partial knowledge and often zero genuine experience who "... desire to see all this madness shot down in flames." . The result is, in my experience, dishonesty from those attacking (though I'm not saying you're dishonest, just that is what some things lead to). 

 

I know in my case, after a lot of consideration of many things, including many of the points made by objectivists here, I ended up settling on simply enjoying what I choose to enjoy, which includes products that objectivists usually object to (ha!), and enjoying time with other people in the hobby, as ultimately that's what we are here for: To enjoy ourselves.  I've decided I don't want to spend time around negative people who hate everything. If there are things (or people or companies) I don't like, I will just avoid them and have nothing to do with them (or, if a company, their products).

 

I think you got it right when you decided that "... increasingly, after being burned a number of times and spent a regrettable chunk of my hard-earned money on stuff that wasn't worth it, I have settled on a very cheap pair of earphones and a smartphone for my mobile listening, and a vintage second head pair of speakers and a cheap separates deal for my home. It all sounds really good to my ears and I have no desire to spend more, since funds are finite and I have this business of living life to do." 

 

The majority of people out there (not ones that post on forums) do just settle for similar to what you have. The reason everything seems crazy is that you have been reading the interactions of the 1% who are very into the hobby. In every hobby there will always be this crazy 1% who fuss over everything. Nobody is forcing anyone to buy anything, though. Nobody wants to be forced to endure "It's all placebo!" or whatever every time they read the site. If science needs to be more prominent on the site, it needs to be constructive and helpful than it has been in many cases.

post #79 of 188

The forums on Head-Fi are like ultra sweet candy, every single opinion laced with superlatives. There's nothing wrong with that, its a natural reaction. However, the concentration of so much extreme means the newcomers set high expectations, followed by an equally high level of disappointment.

Its just the nature of these forums.

 

Most have already made up their mind to buy a headphone/amp/dac, they just write in forums looking for some positive reinforcement, not to hear whether they need to spend money or not. In all fairness its their choice. People don't like being told what to do; they take a decision based on what they know, and what others think of a product.

 

While most here are happy to help those who ask for help, it takes two hands to clap.

 

I'll just urge everyone who likes to frequent the Sound Science section to exercise some restraint, and not respond to any flamebait threads (such as these). Report them to the mods before the argument crosses the limit.

You cannot force anyone to change their views. It needs effort from both sides.

post #80 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

Nobody here is 'dismiss[ing] all scientific principles simply because "we don't know everything about everything,"'. That's an ironically false description of what people have been saying (let alone a grossly over-simplified description of science).

 I do not think the statement about dismissing science is referring to you. In this thread, the first post is about dismissing science. Unless I misinterpret it. there are many post dismissing scientific principle.

 

I honestly like you to solicit the honest manufacturers you personally know to post. I don't think any honest scientific data will be attacked. In particular, I like to know how do they QC a cable and how do they grade the different cables. What is the design theory behind these cables, etc, etc. I think that it will be very enlightening especially with digital cables. It would be really interesting if you can get Furutech to explain how do they demagnetize LP and how do they get magnetized in the first place. I am not attacking anybody. It just goes against my training and I can't find any scientific evidence supporting them. It is okay to say I experienced it, even though I don't know how it works. But is it okay to buy something nobody knows how it works not even the manufacturer?

 

Nobody need to endure the placebo label. But if it was me I would do a blind test to make sure that I'm not fooled. If it's day and night difference, I would pass 10 out of 10. I can tell the difference between my transistor radio and my stereo in a second. Why is the resistance to blind test? Do you recall there was a company that used home depot cable and put it in a garden hose. It got some great reviews and people defended the hell out of it until someone cut up the cable. 


Edited by dvw - 1/13/14 at 6:25pm
post #81 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post
 

1. Your equipment is not good enough

2. Your hearing is not good enough

3. You're too poor and just envious of wealthy people

 

I'm not against blind test, but still I hit the spot on all 3 points ^_^.

 

 

 

 

 

we all try our best to get information, and when we have it, we go tell others who were looking for it. the doubting part is to understand where that information came from.

when I talk about something impedance related for the main part I got it myself from wikipedia, nwavguy and rin choi.

when I talk about an IEM I didn't try myself, I try to avoid doing it, but when someone asks you and you've seen the answer to the question, you just repeat it to help the guy(I feel like I'm from fox news now). usually I just repeat what clieos, joker and average joe said about it because if I don't have the same tastes as those guys at all, what they said over time was usually reliable.

 

objective or subjective we have to make an educated guess about the pertinence of the statement we saw. because we have no other choice, the sources of information are soooooo limited (or I just don't know where to look?) that we have a hard time double checking any data.

 

 

what I really don't get is when someone comes to tell us we should dismiss measurements because he does and feels right about it.

it blows my mind, it's not like measurements were taking away anything else, worst case scenario it's a bonus, like having the diameter of the driver, you don't give a damn but you're not angry when it's talked about. so why should it bother people so much to have all kind of measurements? I really can't figure that out.

you have a menu at the restaurant, the more the better right? you won't start rampaging on other tables about how you dislike fish, you just take something else and let people enjoy some fish if they like.

 

currawong is very right about the voiced minority. on a several million people forum, we obviously always see the same 100people again and again. and it's even more logic that those 100 would be some kind of extremists. I know I am.

 

 

ps: for xnor being unban, thank you very much! we'll force him to say "headphone soundstage" 50times as a lesson.

post #82 of 188

Not everyone has an engineering degree. Most people on this board has some sort of technical background from what I can tell. Not one individual can pull a technical BS without getting called on. I think for most part the information is reliable. The problem is most answer are dumbed down because majority of the people can't understand it. Before sound science, someone asked a question on difference between glass fiber, plastic and copper. I tried to explain the ISI (inter-symbol interference) and how they differed between the three and thus the performance. I was an expert in these area, but I was practically booed off the forum because it was too technical. Personally, I have seen misinformation but not usually from this crowd.

 

If I claimed I have a way of lubricating the electron so they move faster in my cable. There will be a bunch of people challenging me in this forum. But I might have a bunch of people buying cable from me and cite my work since I have a bunch of alphabet behind my name with a bunch of patents. It doesn't matter if my area of expertise is in cable or not.

post #83 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lostinspace View Post

cut

Generally if you stick to the established proven and true big (audiophile) brands like Sennheiser, AKG, Stax, Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, Audio-technical, etc and don't buy anything from the small audiophile companies that sponsor head-fi (and custom overpriced cables) you'll be safe.

post #84 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by L0SLobos View Post
 

Generally if you stick to the established proven and true big (audiophile) brands like Sennheiser, AKG, Stax, Denon, Onkyo, Marantz, Audio-technical, etc and don't buy anything from the small audiophile companies that sponsor head-fi (and custom overpriced cables) you'll be safe.

 

I'd say it works both ways. Companies tend to charge for good quality stuff, and they'll charge whatever the customers are willing to pay. Its a business after all.

Hence, there are chances you'll spend more than is necessary, but atleast you get the quality.

 

For headphones and transducers, in my opinion, a model below the flagship provides the best value for money. The specs are not that different than the flagship, but the price is.

 

Don't forget that companies also have other logistics to take care of, and after sales support, it all adds up. Not everyone has a soldering iron and a few caps and op-amps lying around at home.

 

An O2 may do the same job as a HDV-600, but whether its built to last and has the same level of support as Sennheiser, only time can tell. At this point in my life, while I have the energy, time, and enthusiasm I'll go with the O2. As I get older I may not wish to fiddle with electronics, so I may end up buying the HDV(or something similar) and be done with it.

 

Setup wise, you can do a lot better than just have a chain of branded products. They'll work well, but the same can be achieved with lesser spending if you know what you're doing, and where and how to change things for maximum effect. For instance, for home speaker setups, a lot of people never pay any attention to the room itself. That probably is the biggest factor in determining the sound!


Edited by proton007 - 1/13/14 at 10:01pm
post #85 of 188

I don't know what you guys are talking about any more. I've had terrible luck buying by brand names or price points. That certainly has nothing to do with science.

post #86 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

I don't know what you guys are talking about any more. I've had terrible luck buying by brand names or price points. That certainly has nothing to do with science.

 

A setup is all systems working together, you can buy expensive individual components, but setting them up together needs science.

post #87 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post
 

 

A setup is all systems working together, you can buy expensive individual components, but setting them up together needs science.

Well said, especially for speaker system. I think a lot of people missed the science part.

post #88 of 188
Thread Starter 

Let me try to make this point in a different way. I will describe why the notion of accuracy is subjective.

 

First, let's make clear we are only talking about the case in which there is an original acoustic event.

 

Second, let's say that we are comparing two different ways of reproducing that event. The following things might be different between the two:

 

  • microphone placement and/or stereo configuration
  • microphone frequency response
  • microphone polar response pattern
  • microphone nonlinearities
  • speaker frequency response
  • speaker polar radiation pattern
  • speaker position within the listening room
  • speaker nonlinearities
  • listening room configuration and treatment

 

For the purposes of this discussion, let's assume electronics are perfect, so that everything from the electrical output of the microphone up to the speaker inputs are exact.

 

Third, let's assume that the listeners were present at the original event and that they noticed certain things about it. Let's say they are noticing fairly sophisticated patterns, like differentiation of rhythmic character between phrases (something a musician with extensive training might notice). This kind of pattern emerges from a complex relationship between many individual events. I.e., there are many note attacks with different articulation and timing, and TAKEN AS A WHOLE this concept of "rhythmic quality" emerges. A musician might spend decades refining both their production and perception of rhythmic quality, and their ability to perceive fine differentiations.

 

Now let's shift to a visual analogy. Let's suppose we have an original visual scene of a person, and we have two photographs of it taken with different lenses, films type (color qualities), perspectives, etc.

 

When looking at a person, there are many details to notice. There are areas of different colors, shapes, brightness values, etc. These are the details. There are also EMERGENT properties like body language, emotion on the face, etc.

 

I find there is a widespread misunderstanding among objectivists, a little point that seems to be better understood by subjectivists.

 

Myth: "when looking at a scene or listening to a sound, you perceive everything."

 

That's not true. There are an infinity of possible emergent patterns within a perceptual field and no one notices them all.

 

One person might look at a photograph and perceive every single shape, line, and color within that photograph, but fail to notice body language or emotion. An autistic person might do that, for instance.

 

Another person might focus primarily on body language and emotion, but not consciously notice the shapes as much.

 

YOU NOTICE WHAT YOU'VE PRACTICED NOTICING.

 

Everyone from an early age has developed an interest in certain patterns and has focused more on those patterns than others. If they undergo artistic or musical training, their emphasis on certain patterns might be reinforced even more at a deep level.

 

So when you ask two people to judge the accuracy of a reproduction, whether visual or acoustic, their answers will be relative to what they've spent their lives focusing on.

 

An instrument builder might respond primarily to timbre, while a percussionist might respond primarily to rhythmic quality.

 

So, perceived accuracy is subjective, is relative.

 

I anticipate that an objectivist is going to respond something analogous to this:

 

"Emergent properties don't matter, because if you get all the shapes, lines and colors right, it won't alter the emergent properties"

 

But we are comparing reproduced sound fields that differ from the original. There is no doubt they differ and that those differences are audible. Many important comparisons will include two devices with audible nonlinearities.

 

It's simple. We are comparing two objectively inaccurate reproductions and determining which one is perceptually most accurate.

post #89 of 188

Yeah, as I've been agreeing with, perceived accuracy is subjective. If you measure accuracy in terms of objective measurable parameters then it's less subjective (which parameters to consider may be something subjective), as most people do here.

 

I don't actually disagree with any of the above when it's stated more precisely like that. If two reproductions are different enough (for example, with different speakers), then yeah, people will actually be able to tell them apart and may have valid preferences or some kind of repeatable (especially with averaged out "noise") sense of different perceived accuracy or anything else. You don't even need any original acoustic event.

 

Anyway, you need to also be careful because one person's assessment of perceived accuracy may easily change from listen to listen even when given the same stimulus.

 

But I do think most of the sound science types are pretty aware that perceptions are influenced by how one listens. That comes up all the time.

 

 

It's just that frequently you could get a good idea of overall subjective scores of perceived accuracy based on just measurements and previous research on psychoacoustics. See previous links, discussion.


Edited by mikeaj - 1/18/14 at 8:22pm
post #90 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

snip

So, do you have any evidence for these claims?

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