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post #91 of 188
Quote:

Originally Posted by raddle View Post

 


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.







Your anticipation is spot on, but you aren't able to defeat this objection. Let's accept for a moment that accuracy is subjective and relative to what a person is trained to notice. Imagine this notion of accuracy as some kind of processing applied by the listener -- sound goes into the ears, and the specific perceptual qualities and emergent qualities the listener notices enter the listener's mind. Reproductions apply a similar sort of processing -- recorded sound goes into the speakers, and certain qualities are emphasized more than others depending on the speaker setup. 



Here is where you go wrong: you are trying to say that a reproduction is more accurate if the speaker setup's processing emphasizes qualities that the listener is more likely to notice. The listener's processing is applied to the reproduced sound in the exact same manner as it is applied to the original sound -- raw sound from the speaker setup is converted to perceptual properties using the same procedures and rules as raw sound from the original event. Thus, the listener's mental perception of the reproduced sound will be most similar to his mental perception of the original sound when the raw sound, the shapes, lines, etc., of the reproduction, are most similar in an objective, measurable way to the original sound. Perception works in a consistent manner. Perceptual outputs match when the raw inputs match. 



If reproduction emphasizes qualities that a listener is more likely to notice, the listener's perception of the reproduction will be like an oversaturated caricature of the original sound. These qualities will have been emphasized twice. Once by the reproduction, then a second time by the listener. But these qualities were only emphasized once, by the listener, during the original event. The listener may find this exaggerated perception to be preferable, but the listener will not find it to most accurately resemble the original perception. You are confusing preference with accuracy. I think getting a setup that matches your preferences is a better goal than getting an accurate system regardless of preference. But it doesn't mean that accuracy is subjective. It means preference is subjective. It sure is. Accuracy is still objective.  



A simple example: I like bass. I like headphones that emphasize bass. However, I do not think headphones with more bass sound more accurate. They don't. I just like the bass to be exaggerated.

 


Edited by manbear - 1/18/14 at 8:47pm
post #92 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 
Quote:
 
Originally Posted by raddle View Post

 

 

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.

 



Your anticipation is spot on, but you aren't able to defeat this objection. Let's accept for a moment that accuracy is subjective and relative to what a person is trained to notice. Imagine this notion of accuracy as some kind of processing applied by the listener -- sound goes into the ears, and the specific perceptual qualities and emergent qualities the listener notices enter the listener's mind. Reproductions apply a similar sort of processing -- recorded sound goes into the speakers, and certain qualities are emphasized more than others depending on the speaker setup. 



Here is where you go wrong: you are trying to say that a reproduction is more accurate if the speaker setup's processing emphasizes qualities that the listener is more likely to notice. The listener's processing is applied to the reproduced sound in the exact same manner as it is applied to the original sound -- raw sound from the speaker setup is converted to perceptual properties using the same procedures and rules as raw sound from the original event. Thus, the listener's mental perception of the reproduced sound will be most similar to his mental perception of the original sound when the raw sound, the shapes, lines, etc., of the reproduction, are most similar in an objective, measurable way to the original sound. Perception works in a consistent manner. Perceptual outputs match when the raw inputs match. 



If reproduction emphasizes qualities that a listener is more likely to notice, the listener's perception of the reproduction will be like an oversaturated caricature of the original sound. These qualities will have been emphasized twice. Once by the reproduction, then a second time by the listener. But these qualities were only emphasized once, by the listener, during the original event. The listener may find this exaggerated perception to be preferable, but the listener will not find it to most accurately resemble the original perception. You are confusing preference with accuracy. I think getting a setup that matches your preferences is a better goal than getting an accurate system regardless of preference. But it doesn't mean that accuracy is subjective. It means preference is subjective. It sure is. Accuracy is still objective.  



A simple example: I like bass. I like headphones that emphasize bass. However, I do not think headphones with more bass sound more accurate. They don't. I just like the bass to be exaggerated.

 

 

Thanks for the interesting discussion. We seem to be interested in the same sort of analysis.

 

You write "you are trying to say that a reproduction is more accurate if the speaker setup's processing emphasizes qualities that the listener is more likely to notice."

 

No, I didn't say that a reproduction "emphasizes" qualities, but that it gets them right. It gets all the relationships between the details that define the emergent property. An accurate painting of a face, relative to someone who perceives emotion, would get the emotion right, not exaggerate it.

 

You write: "Perception works in a consistent manner. Perceptual outputs match when the raw inputs match. "

 

Sure, but unless we are talking about some very advanced speaker and microphone system (that probably doesn't exist to my knowledge) the raw inputs DO NOT MATCH. The 3D sound field originally surrounds a listener at a certain location in a hall. The reproduced 3D sound field surrounds the listener in a room. They aren't the same, but rather are influenced at the very least by microphone position, speaker polar radiation pattern, and listening room acoustics. At the very least.

 

I think I distinguish between accuracy and preference the same way you do. A musician who focuses primarily on rhythm could find setup A to be more toe-tapping, but ultimately perceive setup B as closer to the rhythmic quality in the original event.

post #93 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by higbvuyb View Post
 

So, do you have any evidence for these claims?

 

Let me be clear that I think all of these are testable claims, and should be tested. If they seem nonintuitive to you, I don't have a good collection of references that could change your mind, simply because I don't write them down when I encounter them. My impressions are formed from the overall reading I've done and from my experience of noticing my perception change over time as I trained in different musical areas.

 

I've seen references in psychology research to the notion that no one perceives every pattern within a perceptual field. There's an experiment as follows. The scientist filmed a few minutes of a basketball game. During the game, the players do all the usual things--pass the ball, shoot baskets, etc. But something strange happens. A guy in a gorilla suit wanders onto the court for most of the duration of the movie clip.

 

Research subjects watch the video. They are divided into two groups. One is told just to watch the video and then answer questions afterward about what they noticed. The second group is told to count the number of times the ball gets passed.

 

Most people in the first group notice the gorilla. Most people in the second group don't.

 

That's just the beginning. I'm sure that psychology is full of research about what emergent patterns are perceivable and how prior experience alters that perception. I just don't ever write them down. I'm primarily interested in developing my skills through first-hand experience and practice.

post #94 of 188

Directionality will never work in any type of sound reproduction. If you are interested in achieving the closest you can to that, get a 5:1 or 7:1 system and carefully balance it to your room. That's what I've done. Have you?

 

Most well mixed 2 channel sound is designed to be a soundstage in front of you. It's possible to do that very accurately with a speaker system, especially with 5:1 or 7:1. Have you done that? I have.

 

Make sure you aren't just arguing in theory and you ground it in practice. Otherwise, nothing will satisfy your argument. It's just talk.


Edited by bigshot - 1/18/14 at 9:49pm
post #95 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post
 

You write "you are trying to say that a reproduction is more accurate if the speaker setup's processing emphasizes qualities that the listener is more likely to notice."

 

No, I didn't say that a reproduction "emphasizes" qualities, but that it gets them right. It gets all the relationships between the details that define the emergent property. An accurate painting of a face, relative to someone who perceives emotion, would get the emotion right, not exaggerate it.

 


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. 
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by raddle View Post

You write: "Perception works in a consistent manner. Perceptual outputs match when the raw inputs match. "

 

Sure, but unless we are talking about some very advanced speaker and microphone system (that probably doesn't exist to my knowledge) the raw inputs DO NOT MATCH. The 3D sound field originally surrounds a listener at a certain location in a hall. The reproduced 3D sound field surrounds the listener in a room. They aren't the same, but rather are influenced at the very least by microphone position, speaker polar radiation pattern, and listening room acoustics. At the very least.

 

I think I distinguish between accuracy and preference the same way you do. A musician who focuses primarily on rhythm could find setup A to be more toe-tapping, but ultimately perceive setup B as closer to the rhythmic quality in the original event.


You are right that the raw inputs don't match. The speaker setup will produce a different sound field than the original event, and different speaker set ups will produce different sound fields. A more precise way to phrase my quoted statement would be perceptual outputs are most similar when the raw inputs are most similar. But I still think accuracy is a matter of objective differences in the raw sound field of the reproduction and the original. However, it gets complicated -- how do we weight objective differences in frequency response, impulse response, phase, etc. to compare the accuracy of two reproductions? Definitively saying that one reproduction is objectively more accurate than the other would require us to subjectively decide on some way to weight objective differences. But there is no need to make such a definitive comparison.

It is reasonable to say that setup X might reproduce rhythm more accurately than setup Y, but setup Y might reproduce tone more accurately than setup X. X gets rhythm right and Y gets tone right. A listener who focuses on rhythm might then both prefer X and say that X sounds more accurate. A listener who focuses on tone might say that Y is preferable and more accurate. Do we need to be able to decide who is correct and who is incorrect to say that accuracy is objective? No. We just say that X reproduces rhythm more accurately and Y reproduces tone more accurately and leave it at that. Both determinations are objective. Weighing them against each other to determine an ultimate "winner" brings in subjectivity. 

So I think it is easier to accept that accuracy is objective if we do away with thinking of accuracy as being a single dimension. Not that you've said accuracy is a single dimension; this is just where the discussion seems to be going when I think about it. 

 

EDIT -- Since some people don't like rhythm as an example, let's say X gets bass right. It doesn't matter. These words are just placeholders for whatever qualities of sound we want to talk about. 


Edited by manbear - 1/18/14 at 10:11pm
post #96 of 188

I think the example that people would throw around is maybe say a bass player being more likely to notice higher bass distortion levels because of paying more attention to lower frequencies or some such. (plausible but maybe needs testing)

 

 

I don't much like rhythm examples for audio reproduction because you've largely got to **** something up real bad to get the rhythm to be perceptibly different. Well, I guess it's more possible on speaker systems.


Edited by mikeaj - 1/18/14 at 10:06pm
post #97 of 188

no it isn't

post #98 of 188

raddle,

 

I would agree with the saying, "music is art, and audio is science".  All those emergent properties you speak of are part of the art.  Knowing the art, being able to bring that out.  But the reproduction of that is science.  To confuse the two is to become.....well.....confused.  To try and meld art upon the music through reproduction is to confuse it.  Reproduce it well, even alter the reproduction from purist accuracy with art, but don't confuse one for the other. 

 

So why exactly did you wish to come into the sound science forum and proclaim why you are a subjectivist?

post #99 of 188
Accuracy is subjective when you know and influence what to look for.
But how do you know what to look for if you don't know what is?

Imagine someone grows up in isolation with a system that couldn't reproduce high frequencies.
Would his accuracy be accurate?

What would be better? Believing his own version of accuracy to be above any other version? Or keep an open mind and strive for a more accurate version of accuracy?
Edited by proton007 - 1/18/14 at 10:43pm
post #100 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by proton007 View Post

Accuracy is subjective when you know and influence what to look for.

 

We live in an accurate world. If someone doesn't recognize "realistic", they haven't being paying attention to being a living sentient being.

 

I swear, "theory" can be so far from reality, it's pitiful.

post #101 of 188
Thread Starter 

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).

 

post #102 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

We live in an accurate world. If someone doesn't recognize "realistic", they haven't being paying attention to being a living sentient being.

I swear, "theory" can be so far from reality, it's pitiful.

We live in a world which is an approximation of the completely abstract and completely accurate. Thats why I say, should we just be content with this approximation? If I say my accuracy is subjective, well of course it is because I say it, but me calling a circle a square doesn't make it so. For someone who's never seen a circle in his life, that is his subjective version. The question is if this is all we should strive for? Be happy in being subjective as the OP says? Stay in the dark? Of course not.
Edited by proton007 - 1/18/14 at 11:11pm
post #103 of 188
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
 

raddle,

 

I would agree with the saying, "music is art, and audio is science".  All those emergent properties you speak of are part of the art.  Knowing the art, being able to bring that out.  But the reproduction of that is science.  To confuse the two is to become.....well.....confused.  To try and meld art upon the music through reproduction is to confuse it.  Reproduce it well, even alter the reproduction from purist accuracy with art, but don't confuse one for the other. 

 

 

 

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?

post #104 of 188
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

no it isn't

 

Like echos / reverb from room interaction that affects some frequencies different than others where you have some rhythmic elements at some frequency and others at another? I guess that's more the room than the speaker... uh, some extraordinarily poor crossover network gives audible group delay?

 

In practice, not so much.

post #105 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?

Your argument is founded on deliberately defining 'accuracy' so vaguely and poorly that every single person has a wildly different interpretation of it. Such a definition is useless for any purpose, for applying to something or for communicating an idea.

 

Yes, your argument is correct for a definition of 'accuracy' which cannot be used.

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