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Advice (as in blunt truths) for confused (ex?)-"audiophile"

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by oedipus rex, Jul 4, 2009.
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  1. PhilS Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by upstateguy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    What I took away from the experience was that I heard what I heard over a two week period, only to find out that in direct comparison the differences I heard did not exist and then to have my initial impressions return when the comparison was over.

    The "why" is what I would like to explore.




    I didn't really get to this part of your question in my previous post. This is part 2, I guess.

    I really don't know how to help you make sense out of your experience. Again, what you heard, or thought you heard, at different times could be based on so many variables, it is hard to form any intelligent conclusion about them

    Furthermore, it's not clear to me what you mean when you say you did a "direct comparison" of the differences, and what you mean when you said you heard differences again "when the comparison was over." Does that mean one of the DAC's was gone, and you were remembering what the other DAC sounded like, or something else?

    Also, I would need a lot of other information. Just as an example, did you listen to the same music at all times in all of the listening sessions, or different music at different times. I find the HD-650 to sound pretty close to the K-701 on certain music, and very different on other music. That could cause some problems in trying to draw conclusions if I were comparing them over a limited time, sometimes together and sometimes separately. Also, when you did the "direct comparison," how was that done?
     
  2. PhilS Contributor
    USG, this may be stating the obvious, but perhaps the two DAC's, when used with your equipment (or regardless of the equipment) do, in fact, sound the same to your ears, and you just imagined they did the times when you heard differences. I'm not saying that's the only reasonable explanation, but maybe that's one.

    The fact that you "deluded" yourself (so to speak) does not mean that others have been deluded always, or that there are no audible differences from components that supposedly measure the same, or that you wouldn't hear differences with other volume-matched components, etc. I am confident that I've been fooled sometimes, both in this arena, and in others. That doesn't mean my judgment is always wrong or suspect.

    For example, if you conclude your judgment was wrong on the DAC's, would you conclude that your judgment is wrong on whether the K-701 and HD-650 sound different (and assume you didn't have the measurements)?
     
  3. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Listener reports are not really hearsay; take it from a lawyer, that's not what hearsay is. And I say this not to play semantic games. It's just that hearsay is somewhat of a loaded term (i.e., your average person generally considers it to be inherently unreliable or suspect from watching legal shows on TV) so I would prefer to avoid that term. Nevertheless, your essential point is correct, that being that these listener reports are statements by people we don't really know, about what they claim to have heard, listening under unknown conditions, etc.

    .




    OK, didn't realize that. Let's get our terms down first.

    What shall we call the listener reports which are statements by people we don't really know, about things they claim to have heard, while listening under unknown conditions, and applying a varied assortment of comparison methodologies ?

    USG
     
  4. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    USG, this may be stating the obvious, but perhaps the two DAC's, when used with your equipment (or regardless of the equipment) do, in fact, sound the same to your ears, and you just imagined they did the times when you heard differences. I'm not saying that's the only reasonable explanation, but maybe that's one.

    The fact that you"deluded" yourself (so to speak) does not mean that others have been deluded always, or that there are no audible differences from components that supposedly measure the same, or that you wouldn't hear differences with other volume-matched components, etc. I am confident that I've been fooled sometimes, both in this arena, and in others. That doesn't mean my judgment is always wrong or suspect.

    For example, if you conclude your judgment was wrong on the DAC's, would you conclude that your judgment is wrong on whether the K-701 and HD-650 sound different (and assume you didn't have the measurements)?





    Phil

    This is a complicated subject and I would like to suggest that you reread the Conundrum thread and the post I sent to Wavoman so we can be on the same page as we go through this.

    To recap: (and this is really the Cliff Notes very abbreviated version) I listened to the Neko Dac exclusively for 2 weeks and formed an impression of it's sound signature. I described it as having a frown EQ signature (with a pronounced mid range). The Stello, which I was very familar with had a smile EQ signature (with a pronounced bass and treble). I then listened to them using my GS-1 amp and again was secure in my evaluation of their sound signatures. Now comes the tough part. I used 2 identical computers, configured exactly the same and ran one Dac optically from each computer into the GS-1, which has 2 inputs. When I started to volume balance the Stello, which was the louder DAC the two sound signatures were a frown and a smile just as before. As I continued to volume balance, the differences melted away until I could no longer tell the DACs apart. It was quite a shock because I definitely was not expecting it. [remember, this is the Cliff Notes version, the full explanation is in the thread]

    This is not an isolated incident. In the post to Wavoman which you should reread, I recounted 4 more similar events. This effect was observed by SiBurning at the last NY meet when we compared his Benchmark to my Stello. A similar effect was when amb demonstrated that I wouldn't be able to tell the difference between the 8610 opamp and the 637/627 opamp in my M^3. Interestingly enough, like the DACs, as long as I knew which one I was listening to, I could identify their respective sound signatures and they didn't sound the same at all.

    Hey, for a guy who is so sensitive to the word "hearsay" how come I'm "deluded" while you're only fooled ??? [​IMG]

    USG
     
  5. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    USG, this may be stating the obvious, but perhaps the two DAC's, when used with your equipment (or regardless of the equipment) do, in fact, sound the same to your ears, and you just imagined they did the times when you heard differences. I'm not saying that's the only reasonable explanation, but maybe that's one.

    The fact that you "deluded" yourself (so to speak) does not mean that others have been deluded always, or that there are no audible differences from components that supposedly measure the same, or that you wouldn't hear differences with other volume-matched components, etc. I am confident that I've been fooled sometimes, both in this arena, and in others. That doesn't mean my judgment is always wrong or suspect.

    For example, if you conclude your judgment was wrong on the DAC's, would you conclude that your judgment is wrong on whether the K-701 and HD-650 sound different (and assume you didn't have the measurements)?




    Now let's talk about being "fooled". It's an embarassing thing to admit but when you are "fooled", by definition, you believe in something which turns out not to be valid. The thing is, that while being "fooled" we actually believe false information to be true. Now, each time we are in the process of being completely "fooled" we have no idea how many times it actually happens because if you're "fooled", you don't realize it.

    USG
     
  6. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    USG, this may be stating the obvious, but perhaps the two DAC's, when used with your equipment (or regardless of the equipment) do, in fact, sound the same to your ears, and you just imagined they did the times when you heard differences. I'm not saying that's the only reasonable explanation, but maybe that's one.

    The fact that you "deluded" yourself (so to speak) does not mean that others have been deluded always, or that there are no audible differences from components that supposedly measure the same, or that you wouldn't hear differences with other volume-matched components, etc. I am confident that I've been fooled sometimes, both in this arena, and in others. That doesn't mean my judgment is always wrong or suspect.

    For example, if you conclude your judgment was wrong on the DAC's, would you conclude that your judgment is wrong on whether the K-701 and HD-650 sound different (and assume you didn't have the measurements)?




    Now let's talk about others being "fooled". If it is possible for others to be "fooled", even sometimes, just as you were, the problem arrises that you or they will not be able to distinguish when you are being fooled and when you are not. This damages the validity of the anecdotal reports we were talking about.

    USG
     
  7. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    I did find this thread. It was on the second page, which is why I didn't see it at first. I didn't read the whole thing, but I think I got the gist of it. I'm not sure one can draw any conclusions one way or the other from your experience. It's one person, reporting a particular experience (or set of experiences) with two specific DAC's, over a limited period time, etc. and the things you say you experienced may be attributable to a whole number of things. It's hard to figure out even where to begin, although I could see different folks arguing that your experience prove that (1) there are no audible differences between the DAC's at issue and it's all placebo, and (2) audible differences exist between the DAC's and it's just that sometimes people don't hear them for various reasons.

    What did you take from the experience(s), and why?




    Now let's talk about my "listener report". NO one will be able to argue either point (1) or point (2) because what I did was not a scientific test.

    To make believers out of you or anyone else, what I did would have to be reproducible and verifiable, don't you think?

    USG
     
  8. PhilS Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by upstateguy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    OK, didn't realize that. Let's get our terms down first.

    What shall we call the listener reports which are statements by people we don't really know, about things they claim to have heard, while listening under unknown conditions, and applying a varied assortment of comparison methodologies ?




    Observations by other people.
     
  9. PhilS Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by upstateguy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Hey, for a guy who is so sensitive to the word "hearsay" how come I'm "deluded" while you're only fooled ???




    They mean the same to me in that context. I'm fine with saying you might have been fooled and I've been deluded in some listening tests. [​IMG]
     
  10. PhilS Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by upstateguy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Now let's talk about others being "fooled". If it is possible for others to be "fooled", even sometimes, just as you were, the problem arises that you or they will not be able to distinguish when you are being fooled and when you are not. This damages the validity of the anecdotal reports we were talking about.




    No, I don't agree with this entirely. Observations in this realm routinely consist of multiple events and experiences (or "trials"), and our experiences inform us and teach us as to what we have learned in the past, how we have been mistaken, in what ways we have made correct judgments, the circumstances or factors for which we need to account, how to listen better, what to look for, etc., etc.

    The fact that I confused the voices of my two daughters one time last year when one of them called me on the phone in no way means that when one of them calls me now, I really can't be sure that I'm not being fooled as to which one I'm talking to. Nor does it mean, IMO, that the claim that I spoke to my oldest daughter on the telephone last night is of doubtful validity.

    Similarly, the fact that I listened to a power cord a few years back, thought it might have impacted the level of bass in my system, but concede that I might have been hearing things, does not establish that I have no reasonable basis now to say that the HD-650 sounds different than the K-701, or that my current DAC sounds different than my previous DAC.

    I do agree with you that reports of other listeners need to be approached with some skepticism -- they should not just be accepted at face value. Again, one has to look at, among other things, what is being said, who is saying it, what have their observations been on similar issues, how do they comport with your experiences, etc. But I don't think one can dismiss observations entirely as a type of evidence on this issue just because they are wrong sometimes, or have reliability issues. Just like the fact that a DBT might yield a result (in this field or any other field) should not be taken to mean that DBT's can never be trusted.
     
  11. PhilS Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by upstateguy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Interestingly enough, like the DACs, as long as I knew which one I was listening to, I could identify their respective sound signatures and they didn't sound the same at all.




    Maybe that should lead you to believe, as some others have suggested on other threads, that sight helps us identify (for some reason) audible differences between components that actually exist. [​IMG]
     
  12. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    Observations by other people.



    If it's alright with you I would like to modify the phrase by calling them Casual Observations by Other People because they are not conducted or collected in a verifiable or reproducible manner.

    USG
     
  13. PhilS Contributor
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by upstateguy /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    If it's alright with you I would like to modify the phrase by calling them Casual Observations by Other People because they are not conducted or collected in a verifiable or reproducible manner.




    You seem to feel the need to characterize things or use loaded or semi-loaded terms for some reason. You really don't need to do this. You can call them "observations," and everyone will know what you're talking about. You can still say the observations suck, or are not persuasive, for whatever reason you want. In return, I won't call the DBT's, "Artificial Conditions DBT's." [​IMG]
     
  14. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    They mean the same to me in that context. I'm fine with saying you might have been fooled and I've been deluded in some listening tests. [​IMG]



    It's OK if you don't mind being deluded, but I'd prefer to be fooled. They don't have the same meaning to me. [​IMG]

    USG
     
  15. upstateguy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by PhilS /img/forum/go_quote.gif
    No, I don't agree with this entirely. Observations in this realm routinely consist of multiple events and experiences (or "trials"), and our experiences inform us and teach us as to what we have learned in the past, how we have been mistaken, in what ways we have made correct judgments, the circumstances or factors for which we need to account, how to listen better, what to look for, etc., etc.

    The fact that I confused the voices of my two daughters one time last year when one of them called me on the phone in no way means that when one of them calls me now, I really can't be sure that I'm not being fooled as to which one I'm talking to. Nor does it mean, IMO, that the claim that I spoke to my oldest daughter on the telephone last night is of doubtful validity.

    Similarly, the fact that I listened to a power cord a few years back, thought it might have impacted the level of bass in my system, but concede that I might have been hearing things, does not establish that I have no reasonable basis now to say that the HD-650 sounds different than the K-701, or that my current DAC sounds different than my previous DAC.

    I do agree with you that reports of other listeners need to be approached with some skepticism -- they should not just be accepted at face value. Again, one has to look at, among other things, what is being said, who is saying it, what have their observations been on similar issues, how do they comport with your experiences, etc. But I don't think one can dismiss observations entirely as a type of evidence on this issue just because they are wrong sometimes, or have reliability issues. Just like the fact that a DBT might yield a result (in this field or any other field) should not be taken to mean that DBT's can never be trusted.




    Can we agree that it is possible for others to be "fooled", and that they will not be able to distinguish the times they are being fooled from the times they are not?

    USG
     
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