How do you measure sound stage?
Feb 25, 2024 at 6:32 AM Post #61 of 878
Our hearing deteriorates as we get older, most of the posters who say you can't hear a difference between cables and other gear are generally older, many posters on other threads talking about their audio gear purchases and fine sound differences are generally much younger. Could it be much of it on the science threads is down to people's ears are no longer functioning optimally?
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 7:03 AM Post #62 of 878
Our brains integrate all these cues to create a mental 'map' of our surroundings, allowing us to perceive a 3 dimensional soundstage where we can localize sound sources in space. This capability is crucial for navigating our environment, communicating, and of course enjoying music or cinema by giving us a sense of spatial realism and immersion. Because this ability is fundamental to our survival, our brains are extremely sensitive to these factors. This is why soundstage is a great way to evaluate the quality of an audio system. If these timings, frequencies, etc. involved are distorted in the tiniest ways by faults in the signal path as it flows through gear and thus don’t represent the sounds as they sound in the environment our brain evolved to understand so well, or if they present internal inconsistencies, our auditory system can tell.
Shame, you were doing quite well until you got to this point but then you started missing out facts, making up false facts and arriving at incorrect conclusions. You’re missing the most important of “all these cues” (which is sight) and without that, our “mental map” is not very accurate and is easy to fool. This is blatantly obvious because if it were not easy to fool there would be no stereophonic sound in the first place. Also, the capability to create an accurate “mental map” from our sense of sound is obviously not crucial for navigating, communicating or fundamental to our survival, if it were, then deaf people would never be able to navigate, communicate or survive. Our brains are moderately sensitive to the factors you mentioned but the mental map it creates, the perception of soundstage, is obviously inaccurate and easy to fool, which is why soundstage is NOT “a great way to evaluate the quality of an audio system”!
Measure it? Objectivists say you can measure soundstage by looking at the voltage with an AP555.
What objectivists say that? It seems to be a recurring tactic of yours to make a false assertion about what objectivists say and then argue that strawman.
THE QUESTION IS THIS, CAN WE DEVISE A NON-HUMAN MEASUREMENT SYSTEM (MICROPHONES, ADC, SOFTWARE) TO IDENTIFY IN-ROOM CHANGES IN SOUND LOCALIZATION IN A STEREOPHONIC RECORDING RESULTING FROM A SWAP IN JUST ONE PIECE IN THE ELECTRONIC REPRODUCTION CHAIN AHEAD OF THE SPEAKERS HOLDING ALL OTHER VARIABLES CONSTANT INCLUDING THE ROOM?
But that question is answered and has been for many decades. We can change the location of a sound source in a room relative to two spaced microphones and measure the difference in arrival times, levels and frequencies between them. Likewise, we can maintain the location of the sound source and change just one other factor, say a cable, DAC or speaker for example. If there is an audible difference then we will measure a difference (in frequency, levels or arrival times). If there is no difference or no audible difference then we’ve identified that there is no audible difference in the sound, in its location or any other property/attribute. What we can’t do though is measure the perception of sound localisation by an individual because that’s a perception, it only exists in that individual’s brain and there will never be a “non-human measurement system” using microphones for that, because you can’t put microphones inside someone’s brain and even if you could, microphones measure variations in air pressure, not brain activity/perceptions.

G
 
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Feb 25, 2024 at 7:47 AM Post #63 of 878
I agree, and will happily put lots of money on the line to compare my system to the DAC in say a Wal-Mart dongle.

No you wouldn’t because you’ve never made any effort to do a controlled listening test. I’ve compared a high end DAC to a $40 Walmart DVD player head to head playing the same CD with a blind, level matched, direct A/B switched listening test. I know EXACTLY how they stack up. You can only guess based on your expectation bias, misinformation and ignorance. If you weren’t so intellectually lazy and actually put your beliefs on the line like you say you’ll “happily” do, you would stand a chance of learning from your time here in sound science, instead of just injecting trollish, ill informed, baseless opinions into thread after thread. You can’t happily put your beliefs on the line and be a poster child for Dunning-Kruger at the same time.
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 7:56 AM Post #64 of 878
Our hearing deteriorates as we get older, most of the posters who say you can't hear a difference between cables and other gear are generally older, many posters on other threads talking about their audio gear purchases and fine sound differences are generally much younger. Could it be much of it on the science threads is down to people's ears are no longer functioning optimally?

That would be a possibility for extremely high frequencies if extremely high frequencies existed to an audible degree in commercially recorded music. But they don’t. The frequencies above 15kHz represent about 1/36th part of the audible spectrum, they don’t exist in large amounts in recorded music, and the small amount that does exist is masked by much louder frequencies an octave below. The only way a young person can actually hear those upper frequencies is as loud test tones. It’s buried to the point of being negligible in normal music listening.

Audio fidelity for music listening depends a lot more on achieving a proper balance in the core frequencies than it does ability to hear frequencies at the bleeding edge of human hearing.

Too many audiophiles put all their emphasis on numbers and test tones when the stuff that matters is the sound of music.
 
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Feb 25, 2024 at 7:58 AM Post #65 of 878
No you wouldn’t because you’ve never made any effort to do a controlled listening test. I’ve compared a high end DAC to a $40 Walmart DVD player head to head playing the same CD with a blind, level matched, direct A/B switched listening test. I know EXACTLY how they stack up. You can only guess based on your expectation bias, misinformation and ignorance. If you weren’t so intellectually lazy and actually put your beliefs on the line like you say you’ll “happily” do, you would stand a chance of learning from your time here in sound science,
It's hard to learn from people who are so constantly wrong, like you.
instead of just injecting trollish, ill informed, baseless opinions into thread after thread. You can’t happily put your beliefs on the line and be a poster child for Dunning-Kruger at the same time.
Ah, the personal insult, nice.

There's nothing trollish about making points and showing where you're wrong just because you don't like it.

And yes, as I state, I will happily put my system up against your Wal-Mart $40 player in a controlled test through my headphones. I'll bet any money you want to bet, put it in escrow with an attorney, and do 100 trials. Getting it right 59% of the time would represent a statistically significant result. If I didn't get that, you would keep the money. If I did, I would. You can set the test up with level-matching and whatever else you like. If the bet is over ten thousand dollars, I'll happy to travel, as long as you put my travel expenses into escrow too so that if I win, my travel is covered.
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 8:08 AM Post #66 of 878
And yes, as I state, I will happily put my system up against your Wal-Mart $40 player in a controlled test through my headphones. I'll bet any money you want to bet, put it in escrow with an attorney, and do 100 trials. Getting it right 59% of the time would represent a statistically significant result. If I didn't get that, you would keep the money. If I did, I would. You can set the test up with level-matching and whatever else you like. If the bet is over ten thousand dollars, I'll happy to travel, as long as you put my travel expenses into escrow too so that if I win, my travel is covered.
You’re really good at constructing arguments and claims that you have no intention of backing up. Do you even realize how absurd manufactured realities like the one quoted above make you look? We’re talking about comparing stereo components, not meeting on the field of honor with our seconds and matching single shot pistols. I can see why you never get around to finding anything out for yourself. You’re too busy concocting fantasies in your head.

I appreciate it as humor though. It’s like Barney Fife, a tiny little man with delusions of grandeur.
 
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Feb 25, 2024 at 8:13 AM Post #67 of 878
You’re really good at constructing arguments and claims that you have no intention of backing up. Do you even realize how absurd manufactured realities like the one quoted above make you look? We’re talking about comparing stereo components, not meeting on the field of honor with our seconds and matching single shot pistols. I can see why you never get around to finding anything out for yourself. You’re too busy concocting fantasies in your head.
Now you claim to know my intentions?

In addition to everything you get wrong about audio and sound (like your room acoustics come from speakers howler above), add this, and, why would anyone take you remotely seriously?
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 8:17 AM Post #68 of 878
Stomping around claiming victory while behaving like a clown and avoiding any actual supporting evidence for what you assert... You really aren’t up to participating as a peer in sound science. You have nothing to offer beyond being a contrarian with no particular point except to argue.

No one is required to “take me seriously”. I’m not an authority and I don’t pretend to be one. I’m sharing information and backing it up with things I’ve learned. You can take it or let it be pearls before swine. I really don’t care one way or the other. My self worth isn’t based on what you think.
 
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Feb 25, 2024 at 8:25 AM Post #69 of 878
Stomping around claiming victory while behaving like a clown and avoiding any actual supporting evidence for what you assert... You really aren’t up to participating as a peer in sound science. You have nothing to offer beyond being a contrarian with no particular point except to argue.
You actually need supporting evidence to know that room acoustics come from rooms?

Talk about "not being up to participating as a peer in sound science" !

But ok, here you go:

https://pubs.aip.org/asa/jasa/artic...in-the-room-acoustics?redirectedFrom=fulltext
https://pubs.aip.org/asa/jasa/article/139/4/1548/662531/Concert-hall-acoustics-Recent-findingsa
http://www.aes.org/tutorials/download/file.cfm?ID=128
http://www.aes.org/tutorials/download/file.cfm?ID=119
 
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Feb 25, 2024 at 8:27 AM Post #70 of 878
I’m afraid I don’t follow your digressions.
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 9:00 AM Post #71 of 878
I agree, and will happily put lots of money on the line to compare my system to the DAC in say a Wal-Mart dongle.

However, you'll notice nobody will take me up on that because of the paradox they intentionally set up: they want a "level-matched" test between DACs that "measure transparent", that are "competently designed", and "non-defective", and "performing to spec", and lots of other things.

But they never give you specifics about what any of those terms in quotes means quantitatively.

This allows them to keep saying ridiculous things like bigshot always says like, "if you hear a difference, it's flawed somehow."

It's the equivalent of

"Apple and oranges are the same and no one can tell them apart, unless they are flawed"
"I can; let's do a test and I'll prove it."
"Ok, but if you pass the test, it's because they're flawed."
"What does flawed mean specifically?"
"It means you can pass the test."
Exactly.
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 9:13 AM Post #72 of 878
16/44.1 is designed to be audibly transparent. If a DAC can reproduce 16/44.1 to spec, it’s producing an audibly transparent signal. The only DACs I know of that can’t reproduce 16/44.1 completely transparently are NOS DACs, but those have been obsolete since 1985.

So pick two DACs from Amazon, do a proper controlled listening test and see what you find out. Don’t do it to prove anything to me. I’ve already done this, and I know the results. Do it to prove it to yourself. Be intellectually honest. Drop the bluff and bluster. Don’t argue for argument’s sake. Don’t refuse to be proven wrong. Make a little effort to find out the truth. See what you learn. We’re happy to help you set up a good solid test.

Not expecting you to actually do that though. You’re too deeply invested in your bias to allow controls to eliminate it.
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 9:57 AM Post #73 of 878
@sander99 wow. Here’s the deal and it is not that complicated on the face, while the details of actual measurement may be beyond reach at the moment. Many audio enthusiasts, myself included, claim we hear repeatable changes in the soundstage by changing just one component, a DAC, amplifier, phono cartridge, even cables. To objectivists, this is nonsense because these differences are not revealed in bench testing.

THE QUESTION IS THIS, CAN WE DEVISE A NON-HUMAN MEASUREMENT SYSTEM (MICROPHONES, ADC, SOFTWARE) TO IDENTIFY IN-ROOM CHANGES IN SOUND LOCALIZATION IN A STEREOPHONIC RECORDING RESULTING FROM A SWAP IN JUST ONE PIECE IN THE ELECTRONIC REPRODUCTION CHAIN AHEAD OF THE SPEAKERS HOLDING ALL OTHER VARIABLES CONSTANT INCLUDING THE ROOM?

I think the researchers at MIT are pursuing a course of study that could provide the basis for this kind of measurement. What are others thoughts about this specific question?

kn
I think @sander99's post brought up most of the relevant parameters.
Sound localization is fairly simple in design. It's our ears working as 2 microphones, and then the brain using differences it managed to correlate with seen positions(because sight is what the brain trusts most, even though we think we're seeing one image, not upside down, without gaps where the optical nerves are, or a nose in the picture, so most def, true real reality^_^), to infer that next time those types of cues are in the sound, it will mean sound is coming from over there.
The main audio elements are frequency response, global(for elevation or big distances "losing" high frequencies along the way) and the differences between ear, along with interaural delays.
We can add secondary cues coming from reverb, as that can help place something in a room or even help define the room itself. It's not very accurate, but we can still get a feeling about the general size or if maybe one wall is very close to the sound source. We might want to call that soundstage, or not. It's hard to even agree on what soundstage is on the forum.
Beyond that, it becomes either very minute and not considered relevant in regard to the other cues, like, again, what sander99 suggested, or it simply goes beyond hearing. Vision can affect what we hear, and in ways sneakier than my ultra obvious scenario for defining positions in space. That's why blind tests are a must for listening tests, where listening means sound and only sound.

Then comes the issue of playback. Speakers and headphones do not offer stereo the way we hear during the day from single sound sources around us. And now the problem of measurement or prediction becomes really complex because it's not about how humans locate sound, but how humans will locate sound that is partially incorrect with added or removed cues. While we have some fairly consistent variables leading to fairly consistent subjective results in those scenarios, like panning on a stereo speaker system that works surprisingly well for everybody(I think) even though the time delay is not at all what it should be, other "unnatural" changes from playback systems can affect different people differently. One example would be how for some listeners, there will never exist a perception of a sound source at some distance right in front of them when listening to headphones. To the side, that's possible, and while the perceived distance will change from people to people, it can exist. But for a select group, mono on headphone feels stuck inside the head and that's it.
Then people like myself, lose all sense of distance with headphones the moment they move their head.

Obviously, you cannot expect a machine to set a standard on what is not constant for all listeners. We need a model and whichever model gets selected, it will not match the experience of some people. That's why we tend to say that there is no way to measure soundstage because more than a made up thing inside one's head, it is likely to be more or less significantly different for other listeners for very many reasons.
For sound localization, under the condition that we know the listener and that he only has audio cues to work with(blind listening and no intel about the gear), we can absolutely measure his HRTF and get a model for where he should perceive sound A. And that in practice works amazingly so long as we're ready to spend the time to get all the required custom measurements for the listener and the playback rig. So in that specific way, we do manage to measure sound localization and, depending on definition, soundstage.
The general conclusion from work on exactly that is that to feel right, we "just" have to simulate something that feels right, i.e. copy cues reaching the listener's ears, including the frequency and timing related to the shape and size of his head(and torso).

If you go ask such a programmed model how much the antijitter design of DAC XXX or the apodizing filter of DAC YYY affect soundstage, the model will probably respond that it isn't relevant. Because those stuff should not affect the relevant localization cues in a meaningful way, so they probably won't ever factor in the simulating model. The same way, they won't factor in how the color of your shirt that day will impact your perception of soundstage. It's not to say that it cannot affect you and your impressions, it's just that it's not in the model.
If we wished for an exhaustive model, then we'd need to know how salty were your last meals, how your day went, how hot was the water when you cleaned your ears in the shower, how much you like DAC XXX, how convinced you are that jitter ruins soundstage, what color is your shirt, etc. There is virtually no end to the complexity of such a model because there is nearly no end to what can influence a human brain. IMO that's the real issue here, along with different people simply being different people and getting a different experience from life in general.

Because otherwise, we have extremely impressive models made from recording sound at our ears, and just as impressive simulation of environments made from recording those environments with a "crown" of mics around our head. Very convincing, very realistic and beside avoiding using a crappy playback system, there is no real concern about something like a DAC. I'm sure we can in a sighted listening get experience of differences, and that even in a blind test, we can find a bunch that, even properly volume matched, will have audible differences leading to a change in our overall interpretation of the spatial cues. It not like anybody claimed that all DACs have and will forever sound exactly the same. It's just that the differences between ok DACs used properly, shouldn't create change in interaural delays or frequency response, which are the most important cues for localization. One DAC might have 0,3dB more at 18kHz on both channels than some other DAC, and that can be enough to change our experience of space and "soundstage" I think. But if we go and conclude that one DAC has a better soundstage just because of that different feeling, I would argue that it's a personal opinion and kind of a BS one when objectively defining the DACs. Because to me and my understanding of spatial cues, I get how it can cause a change, but I don't agree that it's an important or even relevant aspect, just like wearing a blue shirt. Just because our brain takes everything in and doesn't know when to keep information separated, it doesn't mean, IMO!!!!, that we should integrate all variables as important for sound localization or soundstage. Less so if we're considering measurements and spatial models. Because an endless list means too many variables to create a useful model, and IDK about you, but a model that's useless, that doesn't impress me much. ^_^
I'd rather stick to the fundamentals and keep in mind that, indeed, just about anything else including a vast array of non audio variables(like moving my head, seeing speakers in the room, watching the artist on TV or closing my eye, being hyped when listening to my new audio toy, have the potential to influence my subjective interpretation of an event. Including maybe some DACs. Without a proper listening test, I wouldn't discount a non audio impact or just one DAC being louder and tricking me into feeling a bigger stage or something. But I also have no evidence to say that some audio difference(outside of plain volume level), can't be audible between 2 specific DACs and alter my experience of the audio stage. I think both options are alive, so long as no controlled listening test demonstrates otherwise.
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Feb 25, 2024 at 10:04 AM Post #74 of 878
All the stuff about room acoustics has nothing to do with how DACs and amps reproduce soundstage.
 
Feb 25, 2024 at 10:11 AM Post #75 of 878
A recent study attempting to mimic human localization capabilities using algorithms.

https://www.nature.com/articles/s41562-021-01244-z
Did anyone read this article? I don't mean quote mine to cherry pick support for your existing firmly held views. I mean read the article.

I might just eventually read it for my own interest. But if someone else has read it (or plans to), I'd be interested in discussing whether/how it informs the discussion in this thread.

Debates about what you guess it says are valueless for me.
 
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