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10 Biggest Lies in Audio

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by gurusan, Dec 23, 2009.
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  1. TheBigCW
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slash47 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    This is also why I think psycho acoustics are a very logical and good thing, as long as manufacturers are honest about it.



    So you're saying that it doesn't matter the quality of a cable or if it makes real actual improvement, it only matters how much placebo said cable gives you (likely due to the fact you spent hundreds or thousands of dollars/euros/sterling on it)?
     
  2. Slash47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheBigCW /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    So you're saying that it doesn't matter the quality of a cable or if it makes real actual improvement, it only matters how much placebo said cable gives you (likely due to the fact you spent hundreds or thousands of dollars/euros/sterling on it)?



    No, money should have absolutely nothing to do with it. That's human weakness at it's best if that's the case.

    I'm saying that if you enjoy your system more with over the top quality components and you feel it sounds better because of it, that's fine and I have no valid argument against it other than 'but my measuring stick doesn't agree'.
     
  3. TheBigCW
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Slash47 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    No, money should have absolutely nothing to do with it. That's human weakness at it's best if that's the case.

    I'm saying that if you enjoy your system more with over the top quality components and you feel it sounds better because of it, that's fine and I have no valid argument against it other than 'but my measuring stick doesn't agree'.




    Lying to yourself is never a good thing, neither is the placebo effect because it is a delusion. You're convincing yourself to believe it sounds better when it doesn't. Cable manufacturers profit on making people lie to themselves, and that's completely awful.
     
  4. Slash47
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheBigCW /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Lying to yourself is never a good thing, neither is the placebo effect because it is a delusion. You're convincing yourself to believe it sounds better when it doesn't. Cable manufacturers profit on making people lie to themselves, and that's completely awful.



    I am not lying to myself, this is what I can't seem to get across. I like my cables. They are cool. They match my system. Do they make my system sound better? Probably not. I bought 'm of a craftsman who didn't present me any bs and he said 'maybe' and 'I don't know' a lot, so that's fine with me. I enjoy them. My dad says they sound 'way better' and I shrug.

    Making people lie to themselves so you can make a profit is indeed awful, but it's a separate issue that every self respecting human being would agree with.
     
  5. adrift
    Respectfully, I'm not sure I get these arguments for subjectivity or self delusion. Ultimately they prove no real benefit and are easily manipulated for another's profit. Its one thing to argue the science (or argue against the science even), but its another thing altogether to shrug shoulders and say something like "I know its not real, but I don't mind pretending it is".
     
  6. jax
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheBigCW /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    If you know not of this rigorous experimentation, then you are just plain misinformed.

    ABX Double Blind Tests: Interconnects and Wires
    Secrets Feature Article

    And many more I'm too tired to bring up. Somewhere in here someone posted an ABX test from a french forum where no difference was found between cheap sweaty interconnects and expensive AudioQuest ICs.




    Yes, the concept of double blind testing is not unfamiliar to me after this much time in this hobby. I'm also familiar with various debates around the methodology regarding being tested in a strange environment, with an unfamiliar system and perhaps music you are not familiar with, under pressure of actually being tested.

    Thanks for sharing the links, one of which I'd seen before. I'd hardly consider them earth shattering resources. I have read similar studies before with interest. The power cord results on the Secrets of HT site do not surprise me in the least and don't contradict what I've heard at times myself, but are of course very limited to the one system in that room with those people, many of which walked out and did not complete the test. Nevertheless, the results do not surprise me. On a side note, I've listened to JC-1 amps at length and have never found them very engaging (two different systems) - instead rather cool bordering on cold, and analytical.

    You may also be familiar with a test one of the major rags (either Sterophile or TAS) did on speaker cables a few years ago. In it they tested a bunch of speaker cables of varying prices and construction, as well as a speaker cable made from very inexpensive HomeDepot house brand extension cord (12ga cord). Their results ranked the HomeDepot extension cord right up there with the better of the most expensive of the other options. I went out and tried it myself and it sounded pretty damn good in my system as well, though dealing with 12ga cord is not much fun, and it is butt ugly, unless you like safety orange and black as a color scheme. Again, none of this surprises me and I'd encourage you or anyone else to seek their own answers to these questions (well, it's pretty clear you already have all the answers you require, so I'll put that out there for others). For those curious enough there is The Cable Company lending library. For a 5% non-refundable deposit you can try any interconnects or speaker cable in their extensive lending library. I have no connection to them whatsoever.

    I've known for a very long time that music is important to me and brings great pleasure in my life. It was a very easy and, to use your language, a rational and logical step for me to investigate various options myself to see what works best for me, in my system, in my room, with my music, and to my ears. To accomplish this I choose to actually try these things myself. Why ever would I let a group of strangers in a hotel room with a system that doesn't bear much similarity to my own tell me what is good and what is not? Likewise I take comments by respected friends with a grain of salt, as they would my own, and reviews online and in the popular rags with the larger portion of a 5lb bag of salt.

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by TheBigCW
    Lying to yourself is never a good thing, neither is the placebo effect because it is a delusion. You're convincing yourself to believe it sounds better when it doesn't. Cable manufacturers profit on making people lie to themselves, and that's completely awful.



    Give me a break. So when the "placebo effect" actually works (lets just assume...or I will have to assume, and you can do your usual rigorous denial) that it is a "placebo effect" that cures the cancer in some drug study for instance (undeniably sometimes it works). Is that not a good thing? The mind has tremendous power that is most certainly capable of changing things about your body, your health, how you face the world and where you go in this life. It forms your entire path in life, with your help...it takes you all the places you've been and all those you are going to some degree. My experience has been when I shut it down and narrow my options, I will not get too far and life becomes very predictable and limited to a great degree. Whenever I open it up to possibilities, I get to places I would have never imagined were there. There is far more that we don't know, IMO, than those things we do know...or that we think we know. There is an entire universe out there that boggles the mind. If you can get past the dated music, This short video presents a wonderful illustration of how small we are in relation to what we understand of what is out there (and in there).

    Moreover, back on point, why would you want to deny someone else their own pleasure? What does that get you?

    Quote:

    Originally Posted by adrift
    Respectfully, I'm not sure I get these arguments for subjectivity or self delusion. Ultimately they prove no real benefit and are easily manipulated for another's profit. Its one thing to argue the science (or argue against the science even), but its another thing altogether to shrug shoulders and say something like "I know its not real, but I don't mind pretending it is".



    I am making no profit at having this discussion, nor will the results profit me at all. It is just stretching my mind while I have time during my recovery. I have absolutely nothing to benefit or nothing to loose here.

    What is "real" and how an individual actually perceives it, can be two entirely different things. Isn't someone's personal pleasure "real" to them? Why would you want to spend your energies trying to deny that of anyone?
     
  7. adrift
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by jax /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I am making no profit at having this discussion, nor will the results profit me at all. It is just stretching my mind while I have time during my recovery. I have absolutely nothing to benefit or nothing to loose here.



    I wasn't implying that you would derive some sort of ill gotten profit from unproved assertions, but in a capitalistic society, someone can and usually will gain from making unproven claims.

    Quote:

    What is "real" and how an individual actually perceives it, can be two entirely different things. Isn't someone's personal pleasure "real" to them? Why would you want to spend your energies trying to deny that of anyone?



    Because truth frees people from bondage. We should all desire truth. It doesn't seem ethical to me that we should allow people to remain ignorant or misinformed simply so they can derive pleasure from that lack of knowledge. Eventually this habit of leaving people in contented darkness destroys lives. Maybe not in this case, but someday we're going to want to wish we knew the truth about something and then find out too late.

    But I guess some people are more bugged about these things than others. It irritates me to no end when I see people (especially those I care for) do something like say... watch staged reality tv shows or pro-wrestling, convinced that what they're seeing is spontaneous and not at all fabricated, and then when you prove to them from quotes from those involved with the show that, yes, what you're seeing really is staged and scripted, it makes viewers angry at the messenger rather than the network! My family (specifically my mother) hated it when I used to point out that the bogus chainmail letters she sent me were hoaxes, or when some show like truTV's Operation Repo is scripted. It starts with denial. Then after the proof is proposed, it goes to pretend indifference, and then one of two things happen, either they accept the reality of the situation and change their behavior (my mom now snopes every chainmail that comes across her desk), or they shut off their minds and allow themselves to be deliberately lied to for the fun of it (my mom still watches "reality" shows that are obviously scripted). [Reality shows are a big stickler to me, because, unlike other forms of fiction, reality shows are supposed to be representing reality! Its right there in the name!! Ohwell.]

    The difference between chainmail, scripted reality tv (and I realize not all reality tv is scripted), and audio equipment is that I'm not really out much but some time if I watch Operation Repo. With audio I'm potentially out thousands of dollars and potentially I'm responsible for others being out thousands of dollars due to recommendations and the like.
     
  8. jax
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by adrift /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I wasn't implying that you would derive some sort of ill gotten profit from unproved assertions, but in a capitalistic society, someone can and usually will gain from making unproven claims.



    Capitalism is all about profit which is usually at the expense/burden of others who are willing to do things or provide things at a lesser cost than the profiteer is getting back (as long as there is someone else willing to pay the price being asked). That pretty much describes how it functions on a the most fundamental level. Freedom and restrictions are more the issue I think that you seem to be complaining about, and in some cases, yes even in audio tweaks, they bother me as well. I'd openly share my opinion and make fun of the products in humor, though I'm not willing to go as far as making accusations about people I do not know (not that I've heard you do as much). I also recognize there is some danger in exercising restrictions of those freedoms - who is the judge, and where is the line drawn. If you start at ABC Cables, perhaps it may lead to that the only components are those at Walmart... and the only music that is available are mp3's (seems like things are heading that way anyway). I'd rather keep my options wide open. It's a double edged-sword, for sure.



    Quote:

    Originally Posted by adrift /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Because truth frees people from bondage. We should all desire truth. It doesn't seem ethical to me that we should allow people to remain ignorant or misinformed simply so they can derive pleasure from that lack of knowledge. Eventually this habit of leaving people in contented darkness destroys lives. Maybe not in this case, but someday we're going to want to wish we knew the truth about something and then find out too late.

    But I guess some people are more bugged about these things than others. It irritates me to no end when I see people (especially those I care for) do something like say... watch staged reality tv shows or pro-wrestling, convinced that what they're seeing is spontaneous and not at all fabricated, and then when you prove to them from quotes from those involved with the show that, yes, what you're seeing really is staged and scripted, it makes viewers angry at the messenger rather than the network! My family (specifically my mother) hated it when I used to point out that the bogus chainmail letters she sent me were hoaxes, or when some show like truTV's Operation Repo is scripted. It starts with denial. Then after the proof is proposed, it goes to pretend indifference, and then one of two things happen, either they accept the reality of the situation and change their behavior (my mom now snopes every chainmail that comes across her desk), or they shut off their minds and allow themselves to be deliberately lied to for the fun of it (my mom still watches "reality" shows that are obviously scripted). [Reality shows are a big stickler to me, because, unlike other forms of fiction, reality shows are supposed to be representing reality! Its right there in the name!! Ohwell.]

    The difference between chainmail, scripted reality tv (and I realize not all reality tv is scripted), and audio equipment is that I'm not really out much but some time if I watch Operation Repo. With audio I'm potentially out thousands of dollars and potentially I'm responsible for others being out thousands of dollars due to recommendations and the like.




    I completely get where your coming from based on what you've said here. Very well put. Thank you for that. It really helped me understand where you, and others are coming from (which I really was not getting until then).

    All I can say is, in the same position I think I'd probably feel the same way. After so many years on this planet interacting with others I would observe that it takes a whole constellation of things aligning for one person to really change another. It never ceases to amaze me how hard we try (myself included), in spite of that. At best, people change on their own accord in very small increments over a lifetime. I've come to the conclusion that the very best I can do is to be an example, rather than telling others how to be, or passing judgment on others. I am as flawed an example as any other human, but nonetheless this is the best I can be.

    The cable issues, or any of these issues specifically regarding the gear itself, are pretty innocuous to me. I was drawn to respond to the thread initially by the vehemence of the way the article is written, and by the personal assaults these issues bring forth from some people, the author included.

    The subjective/objective discussion is interesting to me, but like you probably find in discussing the issues you've shared above with our family, it really goes nowhere in terms of changing anyone. Ultimately if you can see your mom is happy watching her reality TV, and it is doing no harm to anyone, why deny her the happiness? Better, IMO, to share those things that bring you happiness with her if she is open to that. I do understand your compulsion to do something more direct to change her behavior/beliefs, but don't think that's very productive or will likely ever happen.

    Bottom line - thank you for that explanation of your motivations, and for taking the effort to explain it better.

    Speaking for myself, regarding the cables and tubes and various aspects of audio I've experimented with over the years (some of which are addressed with disrespect in the OP's article referenced): I've had a blast, and have met some great people along the way, some of which have become lifelong friends. I consider the time and money well invested, and it's brought some really great things into my life that I would have never guessed would have come with it. So the path, complete with cables and pc's and tests and tweaks, has brought me great pleasure and I would certainly do it all again if given the chance. No huge investments were made, no great fortunes lost. I continue to marvel at how real and engaging the presence of music can be made to seem via this gear.
     
  9. Willie2
    The audiocritic is my hero! After reading everything I can find that he wrote and comparing that to my own experience I know I don't have to spend a bazillion dollars for very good sound! So for you poor believers, spend away.
     
  10. TheBigCW
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Willie2 /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    The audiocritic is my hero! After reading everything I can find that he wrote and comparing that to my own experience I know I don't have to spend a bazillion dollars for very good sound! So for you poor believers, spend away.



    I like him a lot too, not that he can't be acerbic...

    I'd like to reiterate a point. To say there is nothing to gain by proving cable believers wrong is not a correct stance. For example, Markl's powercord shootout has inevitably caused dozens of Head-fi members to drown into the pool of subjective BS known as power cables. Then, the Head-fi moderators intervene to make sure no one discusses things reasonably, oh no, that would be unfair! DBT is banned for some stupid reason. This leads more people to think that cables are effective and purchase them. (Huh, weird that so many cable manufactures are Head-fi sponsors!) These people, who don't know otherwise, are fooled by the people who give these amazing stunning superb reviews and the placebo effect.

    It's just plain messed up. J. Gordon Holt would be appalled at the thing the audio world has become.
     
  11. Willie2
    You can fool some of the people all of the time and all of the people some of the time but you can't fool mom! - Captain Penny. That is particularly true when they want to be fooled. Arguing with a believer is like arguing with the wall.

    Uncle Eric- Could you please give us your opinion on the rest of the 10 biggest lies? Your comments on cables have been interesting and I would like your opinions on the rest of the article.
     
  12. haloxt
    Willie2, I like you, unlike other anti-cablers you can voice an opinion without writing so much crap to make my eyes bleed.

    To other whiny anti-cablers, I think you need a new strategy in your epic struggle against the cancer plague known as cables other than calling those you are trying to rescue "stupid". For example, you can advocate the use of industrial/studio grade cables. Although I personally believe cable tests done to date are methodologically suspect (heh, what an euphemism), the lack of evidence from pro-cablers for their beliefs makes aftermarket cable companies stand on very weak foundation. They must prove at least subjectively that their cables sound better than industrial/studio cables that cost sometimes 1/100th the price of boutique cables, are equally well-constructed (or better) and have the same materials minus the 99.9999% purity of conductors. Same gauge, braiding, dielectric, and vibration/emf protection. One might wonder if purity is really all that important to justify such a price increase. And much as you anti-cablers like to complain about how pro-cablers are suffering from placebo after giving aftermarket cable companies all our money, most pro-cablers would be happy suffering from placebo and saving money at the same time.

    Just my friendly advice as you try to cure cancer, deal with the cable companies first and deal with placebo later.
     
  13. Uncle Erik Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by haloxt /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    ...most pro-cablers would be happy suffering from placebo and saving money at the same time.



    Not possible. Cable believers conflate the price tag with sound quality.

    Here's an article where $90 wine tastes better than the same wine at $10. Price is a big part of the reason why you think you're getting better sound.

    Manufacturers know this, too, so they have no second thoughts about pushing prices as high as possible.

    Jax, you're missing the point of placebo. If someone took sugar pills and felt a reduction in pain, then later learns he took sugar pills, that does not mean that sugar pills cure pain. That means that belief in a pill made the guy feel better.

    You're like someone who takes a sugar pill and then spends a lifetime researching the pain curing qualities of various strains of sugarcane. The problem is that you never stopped to consider that maybe sugar has no painkilling properties whatsoever.

    As much as you talk about being open-minded, you are absolutely not open-minded if you don't stop to wonder if it's all in your head. Once you control for that, the answer becomes screamingly obvious.
     
  14. haloxt
    What makes you think Jax never stopped to consider that possibility?

    And using the same analogy, why should sugar pill believers think $100 a pound sugar is superior to $2 a pound sugar when all the specs are about the same?
     
  15. atothex
    What's wrong with buying sugar pills if they make you feel better? I'd do it.
     
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