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My head hurts... - Page 2

post #16 of 39
Not wishing to be controversial but why is ABX banned? Surely it is a useful tool?
Is there controversy as to its validity as a test?
post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownstone View Post
 

 

Ok, without argument, at least I am understanding this correctly: there is a major branch of this hobby made of people who believe humans hear things that can't be measured?

 

 

To a certain degree yes, but take note of a few things:

 

1) Not everyone has, even at the least, a USB mic. Much less a pro-grade one built into a dummy head. A lot of people just measure with a mic between each earcup without taking into account how compression of the earpads and the interaction of soundwaves with them will be affected - in other words, putting a mic between them isn't the same as wearing them. It's the same as putting them over your ears but your hands are keeping the earcups off your head. And even if everyone did have a Mic and a ballistic head at home, chances are each mic will vary slightly from each other anyway.

 

2) Even with standardized measurements, a lot of headphones still sound different despite similar graphs, or vice versa. Just because it isn't interacting with a room doesn't mean there aren't any other problems with the earpads.

 

3) One other thing that can't be measured is soundstage. You can get a similar frequency response but not necessarily put the same sound sources in exactly the same location. For example, an HD600 on brand new earpads is too close to the sound of the HD800 in terms of response, but the latter is more precise in placing each instrument. In speakers, that basically isn't just for a flat(test possible) on-axis response, but also the dispersion angle and reflections in each room. I don't know how that affects headphones, but I personally just don't think that another $900 to $1200 on headphones is worth it to put the drums farther back by a perceived inch or two. Maybe $200 sure, but not $900.

post #18 of 39

4) Everyone's head and ear canals are different.

post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by ProtegeManiac View Post
 

3) One other thing that can't be measured is soundstage. You can get a similar frequency response but not necessarily put the same sound sources in exactly the same location. For example, an HD600 on brand new earpads is too close to the sound of the HD800 in terms of response, but the latter is more precise in placing each instrument. In speakers, that basically isn't just for a flat(test possible) on-axis response, but also the dispersion angle and reflections in each room. I don't know how that affects headphones, but I personally just don't think that another $900 to $1200 on headphones is worth it to put the drums farther back by a perceived inch or two. Maybe $200 sure, but not $900.

 

There is a bit more to the HD800 than better soundstage...

 

post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by nikongod View Post
 

 

There is a bit more to the HD800 than better soundstage...

 

I did say "too close," not identical - and yet one crux in the matter precisely is that what you hear and what the graph shows aren't always the same. Problem with subjectivists is they dismiss data; problem with pure objectivists is they'd dismiss such an abservation as purely psychological. Well it'd be difficult to do a blind test anyway since I'd know if I have thick oval pads or somewhat triangular, thinner earpads and a lighter-feeling (or just looser-fitting) headphone on my head.

post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by krismusic View Post

Not wishing to be controversial but why is ABX banned? Surely it is a useful tool?
Is there controversy as to its validity as a test?

 

Basically the problem comes down to intent when it is brought up. 

 

"I did and ABX [or DBT] between both and this was the result...." = OK and is allowed in impressions and reviews and something I'd encourage.

"Your opinion is invalid because you didn't do an ABX [or DBT]." (or "...because [anything]") = Not OK because the purpose is to force a particular idea as being the only truth and attack anyone who refuses to go along with it.

 

It goes for any topic: Sharing opinions, learning and enjoying is encouraged. Trying to force opinions and attack those that are different is discouraged.

post #22 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

...the only truth...

Of 2 differing positions, only 1 can be true. There is only one truth. If one statement contradicts another, they cannot both be true.

In this day and age, however, the absolute refutation of a point of view is outside the comfort zone of many individuals. People don't like to confront.

The discusion of ABX testing is banned elsewhere not because it is used in some underhand way to stifle discussion, but because when it is admitted, some discussion becomes impossible, because it depends on ignoring the evidence of ABX and other double-blind testing. Blind testing is the only way to eliminate bias and all those who argue against it do so because they wish to perpetuate a biassed or unrealistic viewpoint. Blind testing is espoused by those who wish to judge in the absence of bias, and who wish for issues to be discussed fairly without undue weight being given to assertions made in circumstances known to contribute to inaccurate conclusions.

You might reasonably ask, 'so is 99.999% of everything posted on head-fi and other audio sites and in reviews just a lot of hot air, and not worth the energy required to paint it on a screen?' I would have to answer in all fairness, 'Yes'.

'Can all these participants, as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach, still be in error?'

'Yes.'

No scientific finding exists which cannot be overturned by as-yet undiscovered evidence, but until evidence is discovered we are obliged to proceed on the basis of truth as determined by the current evidence. Not one single thing of worth has yet been discovered by an audiophile (subjectivist), unless it be how to part a fool and his money.

w
Edited by wakibaki - 1/24/14 at 9:08pm
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post

Of 2 differing positions, only 1 can be true. There is only one truth. If one statement contradicts another, they cannot both be true.

In this day and age, however, the absolute refutation of a point of view is outside the comfort zone of many individuals. People don't like to confront.

The discusion of ABX testing is banned elsewhere not because it is used in some underhand way to stifle discussion, but because when it is admitted, some discussion becomes impossible, because it depends on ignoring the evidence of ABX and other double-blind testing. Blind testing is the only way to eliminate bias and all those who argue against it do so because they wish to perpetuate a biassed or unrealistic viewpoint. Blind testing is espoused by those who wish to judge in the absence of bias, and who wish for issues to be discussed fairly without undue weight being given to assertions made in circumstances known to contribute to inaccurate conclusions.

You might reasonably ask, 'so is 99.999% of everything posted on head-fi and other audio sites and in reviews just a lot of hot air, and not worth the energy required to paint it on a screen?' I would have to answer in all fairness, 'Yes'.

'Can all these participants, as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach, still be in error?'

'Yes.'

No scientific finding exists which cannot be overturned by as-yet undiscovered evidence, but until evidence is discovered we are obliged to proceed on the basis of truth as determined by the current evidence. Not one single thing of worth has yet been discovered by an audiophile (subjectivist), unless it be how to part a fool and his money.

w


I mostly agree that audiophiles are full of too much BS, but it's important to remember that ABX and DBT only form good evidence when executed properly -- we need a sufficiently large sample size, and we need a proper experimental design (not really possible for headphones with a different feel on the head, for example). If ABX or DBT is done improperly, it creates an opportunity for the overzealous to place undue authority on evidence that is really inconclusive. 

I also don't think the subjectivist and objectivist positions actually contradict each other, when either view is held with the right amount of nuance. If I bought an expensive cable and heard an improvement, but could not distinguish the expensive cable from a cheapo cable in a blind test, that doesn't mean I didn't in fact hear an improvement. It just means that the improvement was in my head. "I heard an improvement" is still true. Heck, "the cable caused an improvement" is still true, since I had to buy the cable in order to imagine I heard an improvement. We don't have a contradiction until I make a truly objective statement about the cable itself, not merely about my perceptions of the cable. And then, what we really have are two objective statements that contradict each other. An objective statement can't contradict a purely subjective statement. 

That said, I don't buy expensive cables. Just an example. 

 


Edited by manbear - 1/24/14 at 10:41pm
post #24 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post


Of 2 differing positions, only 1 can be true. There is only one truth. If one statement contradicts another, they cannot both be true.

In this day and age, however, the absolute refutation of a point of view is outside the comfort zone of many individuals. People don't like to confront.

The discusion of ABX testing is banned elsewhere not because it is used in some underhand way to stifle discussion, but because when it is admitted, some discussion becomes impossible, because it depends on ignoring the evidence of ABX and other double-blind testing. Blind testing is the only way to eliminate bias and all those who argue against it do so because they wish to perpetuate a biassed or unrealistic viewpoint. Blind testing is espoused by those who wish to judge in the absence of bias, and who wish for issues to be discussed fairly without undue weight being given to assertions made in circumstances known to contribute to inaccurate conclusions.

You might reasonably ask, 'so is 99.999% of everything posted on head-fi and other audio sites and in reviews just a lot of hot air, and not worth the energy required to paint it on a screen?' I would have to answer in all fairness, 'Yes'.

'Can all these participants, as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach, still be in error?'

'Yes.'

No scientific finding exists which cannot be overturned by as-yet undiscovered evidence, but until evidence is discovered we are obliged to proceed on the basis of truth as determined by the current evidence. Not one single thing of worth has yet been discovered by an audiophile (subjectivist), unless it be how to part a fool and his money.

w


Nothing Wacky about that post.  Right on I would say. 

post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by manbear View Post
 

Snippage......


I also don't think the subjectivist and objectivist positions actually contradict each other, when either view is held with the right amount of nuance. If I bought an expensive cable and heard an improvement, but could not distinguish the expensive cable from a cheapo cable in a blind test, that doesn't mean I didn't in fact hear an improvement. It just means that the improvement was in my head. "I heard an improvement" is still true. Heck, "the cable caused an improvement" is still true, since I had to buy the cable in order to imagine I heard an improvement. We don't have a contradiction until I make a truly objective statement about the cable itself, not merely about my perceptions of the cable. And then, what we really have are two objective statements that contradict each other. An objective statement can't contradict a purely subjective statement.

 

I think this gets to one aspect of why DBT's can be so divisive.  In the right circumstances, as you describe, you can hear a difference.  You really heard it, even if nothing changed.  When you hear something that you wanted to hear, you get some reinforcement of that behavior.  If one gets a few dozen actual subjective experiences like this under their belt, then they have trained their brain through positive reinforcement.  Makes it likely you will hear even more in the future.  And you will get a good feeling from it each time.

 

Now someone comes along and says there was nothing to it, and you are doing no good, well heck, you aren't going to feel comfortable with that.  It violates something you have really experienced and trained your brain to experience as a positive experience.  Even if you believe the logic, your well trained brain usually won't simply stop getting that subjective kick.  It is a behaviour which has to die out or be extinguished or replaced with an alternative.  Those are pretty high bars to get over.  Most will simply in time hear more improvements that those pesky scientists types claim aren't real and go merrily on their way with their very personal and real experience.  With space in their mind to remember not be fooled by those goofy objectivist types in the future. Besides they apparently are only being killjoys trying to ruin your happy experience.


Edited by esldude - 1/24/14 at 11:10pm
post #26 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by wakibaki View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

...the only truth...

Of 2 differing positions, only 1 can be true. There is only one truth. If one statement contradicts another, they cannot both be true.

In this day and age, however, the absolute refutation of a point of view is outside the comfort zone of many individuals. People don't like to confront.

The discusion of ABX testing is banned elsewhere not because it is used in some underhand way to stifle discussion, but because when it is admitted, some discussion becomes impossible, because it depends on ignoring the evidence of ABX and other double-blind testing. Blind testing is the only way to eliminate bias and all those who argue against it do so because they wish to perpetuate a biassed or unrealistic viewpoint. Blind testing is espoused by those who wish to judge in the absence of bias, and who wish for issues to be discussed fairly without undue weight being given to assertions made in circumstances known to contribute to inaccurate conclusions.

You might reasonably ask, 'so is 99.999% of everything posted on head-fi and other audio sites and in reviews just a lot of hot air, and not worth the energy required to paint it on a screen?' I would have to answer in all fairness, 'Yes'.

'Can all these participants, as numerous as the grains of sand on a beach, still be in error?'

'Yes.'

No scientific finding exists which cannot be overturned by as-yet undiscovered evidence, but until evidence is discovered we are obliged to proceed on the basis of truth as determined by the current evidence. Not one single thing of worth has yet been discovered by an audiophile (subjectivist), unless it be how to part a fool and his money.

w

 

If you don't value the discussion here, nobody is forcing you to accept it. However, as I'm one of the people who enforces what is banned and what isn't, so the "one truth" (to use your expression) about the reasons is not the reason you give. It's up to any one person to decide how they evaluate equipment, not other people. As I said already, whether they do that via just listening, or attempt a test is up to them. Something to consider though is, for the most part, the discussion here is based around what one might term a "music bias" which affects how that person will enjoy listening with different headphones and other equipment, so of course there is bias -- we are here to enjoy ourselves, so to me, what you describe as ideal would be extremely boring to me unless I wished to describe equipment technicalities all day and never talk about how I enjoy listening. I wouldn't mind it if it were possible for a set of measurements or tests to show me how much I'd like a product before I bought it, but until such time as that is possible, I'm going to have to rely on comments from people who like the same music as I do and have similar opinions.

 

Since you mention eliminating bias though, here is a quote from a friend of mine, chairman of a department board at one of the largest hospitals in the 'states which is worth pondering:

 

Quote:
One must ask, what is science anyway?  "Definitive" conclusions have been disproven time and time again.  I see it even now in my profession.  I've seen blinded randomized controlled trials (the highest level of any available study) with polar opposite results and thought, "What the hell does it all mean?"  So whether you talk about medicine, chemistry, physics, biology, it's all the same, the science is always going to be open to interpretation.  Additionally, you're at the mercy of the integrity of the primary investigator's integrity regardless of the discipline. 
 
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

If you don't value the discussion here, nobody is forcing you to accept it. However, as I'm one of the people who enforces what is banned and what isn't, so the "one truth" (to use your expression) about the reasons is not the reason you give. It's up to any one person to decide how they evaluate equipment, not other people. As I said already, whether they do that via just listening, or attempt a test is up to them. Something to consider though is, for the most part, the discussion here is based around what one might term a "music bias" which affects how that person will enjoy listening with different headphones and other equipment, so of course there is bias -- we are here to enjoy ourselves, so to me, what you describe as ideal would be extremely boring to me unless I wished to describe equipment technicalities all day and never talk about how I enjoy listening. I wouldn't mind it if it were possible for a set of measurements or tests to show me how much I'd like a product before I bought it, but until such time as that is possible, I'm going to have to rely on comments from people who like the same music as I do and have similar opinions.

 

Since you mention eliminating bias though, here is a quote from a friend of mine, chairman of a department board at one of the largest hospitals in the 'states which is worth pondering:

 

I think there's a difference between science and engineering. Engineering is applied science, based upon clearly understood and mature science. IMO your example based upon medicine may not be the best as for the most part medicine is based upon other sciences and for the most part treats symptoms. Generally, cancer treatment either poisons or radiates the patient just enough to kill the cancer but not enough to kill the patient. One day we'll truly understand the genetics, etc and make great strides, only not this moment.

Audio gear, on the other hand is based upon well proven, mature and established EE and acoustic principles that are not so abstract. I think that perception and bias are intermingled by human factors. I feel that if someone perceives something impossible, like a USB cable improving the treble response or soundstage, if they want to enjoy that perception that is fine with me. I just feel bad when they influence the uninitiated into unnecessary expense whereas they might focus their resources into areas that really matter.

Discussion should be a good thing, unfortunately all too often it spirals into a nasty dog fight. IMO, all too often those that hold onto what I think are silly ideas that are clearly as such, turn angry when confronted with facts. Sometimes the angry shoe falls on the other foot. The best outcome is when everyone states their case and treats each other with respect and lets others decide for themselves. Although I usually find mystical claims of cable performance less than amusing, even though I get a giggle out of them.:D

post #28 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post

Sharing opinions, learning and enjoying is encouraged. Trying to force opinions and attack those that are different is discouraged.
A shame that can't be the rule in life!
post #29 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

If you don't value the discussion here, nobody is forcing you to accept it. However, as I'm one of the people who enforces what is banned and what isn't, so the "one truth" (to use your expression) about the reasons is not the reason you give. It's up to any one person to decide how they evaluate equipment, not other people. As I said already, whether they do that via just listening, or attempt a test is up to them. Something to consider though is, for the most part, the discussion here is based around what one might term a "music bias" which affects how that person will enjoy listening with different headphones and other equipment, so of course there is bias -- we are here to enjoy ourselves, so to me, what you describe as ideal would be extremely boring to me unless I wished to describe equipment technicalities all day and never talk about how I enjoy listening. I wouldn't mind it if it were possible for a set of measurements or tests to show me how much I'd like a product before I bought it, but until such time as that is possible, I'm going to have to rely on comments from people who like the same music as I do and have similar opinions.

 

Since you mention eliminating bias though, here is a quote from a friend of mine, chairman of a department board at one of the largest hospitals in the 'states which is worth pondering:

 

I think there's a difference between science and engineering. Engineering is applied science, based upon clearly understood and mature science. IMO your example based upon medicine may not be the best as for the most part medicine is based upon other sciences and for the most part treats symptoms. Generally, cancer treatment either poisons or radiates the patient just enough to kill the cancer but not enough to kill the patient. One day we'll truly understand the genetics, etc and make great strides, only not this moment.

Audio gear, on the other hand is based upon well proven, mature and established EE and acoustic principles that are not so abstract. I think that perception and bias are intermingled by human factors. I feel that if someone perceives something impossible, like a USB cable improving the treble response or soundstage, if they want to enjoy that perception that is fine with me. I just feel bad when they influence the uninitiated into unnecessary expense whereas they might focus their resources into areas that really matter.

Discussion should be a good thing, unfortunately all too often it spirals into a nasty dog fight. IMO, all too often those that hold onto what I think are silly ideas that are clearly as such, turn angry when confronted with facts. Sometimes the angry shoe falls on the other foot. The best outcome is when everyone states their case and treats each other with respect and lets others decide for themselves. Although I usually find mystical claims of cable performance less than amusing, even though I get a giggle out of them.:D

 

Agreed, for the most part. What would be more valuable to me though when someone feels that something has improved their listening experience, such as a cable, that it could be tested on their actual system with their music playing. I'm inclined to think neither that all types of feelings about equipment changes are placebo or are not, but a mixture of both. I think all the common arguments have some validity, from expensive systems being able to deliver fantastic enjoyment to ideas that they are grossly over-priced. Where one's beliefs sit within those extremes is up to the individual, primarily because people have different goals when seeking to buy things. I'm somewhere in between.

post #30 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Currawong View Post
 

 

Agreed, for the most part. What would be more valuable to me though when someone feels that something has improved their listening experience, such as a cable, that it could be tested on their actual system with their music playing. I'm inclined to think neither that all types of feelings about equipment changes are placebo or are not, but a mixture of both. I think all the common arguments have some validity, from expensive systems being able to deliver fantastic enjoyment to ideas that they are grossly over-priced. Where one's beliefs sit within those extremes is up to the individual, primarily because people have different goals when seeking to buy things. I'm somewhere in between.

A wise answer. Considering your role, you are forced into being all things to all people.:D

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