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Objectivists board room

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by joe bloggs, May 28, 2015.
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  1. castleofargh Contributor
    before we fall into the usual extremism for no reason:

    1/ an audio signal is amplitude over time and nothing more. that's how it is defined as an analog electrical signal, and how it is defined as an acoustic signal at a given position in space. and I'm unaware of anything conflicting with those models. so chances are we're onto something here. it's also how we record sounds, so if there is more to audio, well sucks to be us.
    we double that for stereo and that's the end of it. why would there be anything mysterious within a signal content? people mistake the hard time we have diagnosing the cause of a subjective feeling, with having a hard time knowing what the signal is. or maybe they imagine that because a FR graph doesn't tell them the time of the day, then measurements lack too much information. but the first issue is about the chaos that is a human mind, while the second is simply a matter of using the right measurement to look at the right variable. none are caused by lack of information about the signal itself.

    with my cheap gears I can measure stuff at 96khz and down to -90dB with fairly good confidence, and slightly better so long as I spend some time adjusting the gain correctly and the source is close to the nominal output for the job. that alone is enough to check a good deal of things, and I'm only talking cheap ADC for poor musicians, not Audio Precision kind of gear.
    of course if we start saying that people can notice the change in transient from above 30khz content, or that stuff at -150dB audibly impact the soundstage, then my argument doesn't hold. but as I'm not aware of any test demonstrating those stuff as audible, for the moment I stick to my point.

    2/ when someone suggests some DACs can be audibly different under test, he doesn't claim that all DACs sound night and day different, so let's hold our horses. @Allanmarcus didn't even try to suggest such a thing.
    on the other hand, when someone suggest that all DACs sound the same, he's just wrong. no need to fight that at all. extremism shouldn't be allowed in here or anywhere else.
    I can think of many reasons why a perfectly fine DAC could end up sounding different with the right kind of test and the right circumstances. I'd count most of those as irrelevant for typical audio use, or maybe even faulty use of the gears, but there is not a single doubt in my mind that they exist and can be replicated.
  2. Allanmarcus
    Thanks. I will read the site. I'm not much into you tube.

    BTW, from one of the sites you link to:
    THAT is exactly what I was talking about in reference to hearing variations in DAC implementations. That's all.

    As for cross talk and stereo separation and perceived sound stage (including instrument position identification), there must be something in the signal alone that can affect this. When using headphones with different amps, the stage can vary. Sometimes it's as simple of forward vs laid back, which I attribute to coloration of the FR. Sometimes, however, it a perception that the sounds are coming from further apart, higher or lower, and deeper on the stage. This cannot be room acoustics or speaker placement since I'm talking about headphones. Often this is perception is amplified (pun intended) with tube amps, and often with specific tubes. I assume there is a distortion component and possible a time delay aspect as well. If this happens only at certain frequencies, or only when certain combinations of sound occur, that might be quite difficult to measure.
  3. castleofargh Contributor
    directly associating the subjective idea of "soundstage" with crosstalk is a bad idea IMO. first, crosstalk needs to be real bad to be noticed (vinyls could be in the -20dB crosstalk and even then we could get a pretty vast "image" of the stage, not at all like mono).
    it's very possible to get bad crosstalk, and it is usually much worse than what the specs let you think in amps. just plug a low impedance headphone into the amp and crosstalk will inevitably become much worse. then with the headphone cable we can expect some too. but you can fool around mixing the signal in audacity or whatever to create the desired crosstalk at the level you want to test, you'll notice that the impact is unnoticeable, then fairly subtle, and really changing the panning obviously only when the signal is close to mono.
    it's one of those intuitive correlation we all make, which just isn't all that intuitive in practice.
    in any case it's fair to say that DACs aren't a relevant cause of crosstalk. so IMO that's following a wrong track. just like it's the wrong approach to keep looking for an explanation to a feeling. that's not how we demonstrate audible difference between 2 DACs.
  4. bigshot
    I don't know of any DAC since oversampling was introduced that sounds different than any other DAC. Do you? If you do PLEASE tell me the DAC that sounds different. Please show me its specs showing it is audibly different. I REALLY want to see this DAC that everyone talks about in theory, but no one can name. Show it to me and I'll gladly announce it as the one exception to the rule every time I talk about DACs. You said "I'm not aware of any test demonstrating those stuff as audible, for the moment I stick to my point." I agree with that 100%.
  5. bigshot
    Do you know the highest frequency a human has ever been able to hear? It's 23kHz. The kid that could hear it as a test tone perceived it only as sound pressure, not as a musical note. It added absolutely nothing to the appreciation of music, because that frequency isn't audible in music even if you can hear it. A CD rolls off between 20kHz and 22kHz. The difference between 20kHz and 23kHz is less than one note on a musical scale. Less than the difference between do a deer and ray a drop of golden sun. That is what they're talking about when they same some people's ears can hear better than others. He is saying that trained ears and more sensitive hearing can hear bad sound better. He isn't saying that they can hear good sound better.
  6. U-3C
    Holy carpfish this thread became so active all of a sudden!

  7. colonelkernel8
    Only thing that could make a difference is an analog stage that introduces distortion either from bad design or from intentional “tuning” like adding 3rd harmonic distortion to mimic a “tube” sound which is generally considered pleasant.
  8. Allanmarcus
    You are confusing two different threads in this conversation. One thread was a bout DACs. One thread was about measurements, primarily in amps used for headphones. I was asking what measurement(s) might be associated with sound stage perception.

    The Sony UDA-1 (when used as a DAC) and the Schiit Bibmy do not sound the same. Haven't I said that before? @colonelkernel8 is very possibly correct that the sound difference may be attributed to different implementations. Which, BTW, is what I've been saying all along. Every vendor implements DACs differently (well, not the copycat vendors, but you know what I mean). The DAC chip itself is just one component of the DAC device. The entire implementation must be considered, measured, and tested. As for specs, the manufactures don't publish every spec. You know that. specs are common just averages and can very widely.

    the ability to distinguish bad is just as valuable. A smart person could even listen to something good, realize there was nothing bad, then declare the sound good - that is effectively the ability to hear good or bad. The author of that quotation is still valid, and I was just agreeing with it.

    My hearing has been tested to about 16.5. A person that can hear to, say 18 in itself is relevant as we are going to hear the same audio reproduced differently. He has more data to work with when he attempts to hear variations. What if there is a variation around 17? I would not hear it. He might. I would say the audio sounds the same; he would say it doesn't. My mother's hearing is down to about 12 (she's 85). This is a large variation is hearing.

    Also, some people have heighten sense of touch. Some smell. Some taste. Some hearing. Some vocal. If you are saying that we all are identical in our abilities, and only vary as we age or slightly as a result of genetics, then I think you are mistaken. We are probably getting into neurology here, which a WAY out of my expertise, but I would wager different people process incoming sensory data different, both as a function of experience and genetics, that can result in different perceptions, which can be that one person can identify something and another cannot.
  9. bigshot
    I think you're trying very hard to validate your pre-conceived conclusion. If you didn't level match, your results may be completely bogus. You can insist that there was a difference, but the rest of us are going to chalk it up to not level matching. The louder sound ALWAYS sounds better, even if it is identical.

    Do you have any examples of measurements that show different "implementations" that stray into the range of audibility?

    Do you know of any specific DACs that actually do that? I've never run into one. But I suspect that would be in the territory of audiophoolery which is a neighborhood I don't frequent.

    I think all of this is falls under the category of "things that might exist" not things that actually do.

    So now people who can hear things that other people can't are *smarter*? Can you detect the ego bias in that statement at all?
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  10. colonelkernel8
    Oh it’s definitey audiophoolery :)
  11. bigshot
    I ignore audiophoolery. I let other folks cross that T and dot that I! It's easier to just refer to those as defective.
  12. castleofargh Contributor
    arghhhhhhh, I was about to suggest Lampizator DACs, but then you go and say you don't want audiophoolery. now I don't know what to say.
    the audioGD DACs, I'm fairly confident some of those aren't transparent, even if I never did anything resembling a proper listening test. but those are probably NOS stuff or at least had a NOS setting and often some filter options. it's not like I go check for all that when I randomly listen to gears in a store or at a show. plus non transparent DAC is the sort of stuff I consistently run away from, so like you I'm not a good source of intel.

    but it's not just about the DAC. it's also about the testing conditions, and maybe the subject on occasions when the difference would by luck happen to be right around the threshold of audibility for one of the dudes. mainly it's about the usual case of you looking for your typical usage vs a guy like amirm looking for all the possible situations. both will result in different sets of audible thresholds and while what will be transparent for him will probably always also be for you, the opposite isn't a given and would require actual testing to reach a conclusion.
    we have to consider uses outside of our owns. including less than ideal ones. making blanket statements brings that upon ourselves. no clear conditions to go with a statement, means we consider it to be true no matter what. and that's why I say it's wrong.

    if a DAC has several inputs and some are so bad they sound different, that would be evidence that all DACs aren't transparent. same idea with the DACs offering various filter and oversampling settings. if any of those end up not sounding like the rest, we're done.
    then let's say I get oversample clipping on one DAC, all preoccupied that I am about bit perfect. then I use a Benchmark DAC and it doesn't clip?
    let's say I use one of those portable amps made for super weak sources, and I clip it with a 3V DAC?
    let's say I play a silent track and boost the volume until I get the background noise at audible level, couldn't I use that to tell the DACs apart?

    when I think about DACs, I think that I have properly matched it with the amp, that it's properly powered, but not using magic USB boxes or weird unicorn cable that can hardly fit in the definition of a USB cable. I will volume match the ouptut to the other DAC I want to test(with digital volume, shoot me but that's what I do). I will not do a sighted test. I will use my comfy listening loudness which if the room is real quiet(no fan), would end up around 60dB SPL. TBH I have no idea if that's good practice or not, I just feel like I notice more things like this than when the sound is loud. also that's closer to my usual listening level than stuff peaked at 90dB or above. I usually don't go looking for background hiss because I don't even expect a DAC to cause the background noise I may notice on my system. oh and of course I mean to test random music content, not test signals, not music under manufactured conditions. that is my idea of looking for audible differences.
    and like that, indeed I don't think a DAC is worth worrying about.
    don't even expect others on the forum to stand by those conditions. so I guess we really need to have conditions stuck with our statements for them to mean something.
  13. bigshot
    Are there any measurements on the web on those? I could see from the measurements if it was in the range of audibility or not. I don't see any need to qualify my statements for stuff that's deliberately defective. They are what they are. I am interested in stuff that is designed in a way that makes them out of spec without intending to be. Do you know of DACs that have bad inputs? I've never heard that either. But I only use HDMI. I've never made any effort to match any of my players or DACs with my amps, and I've never found anything that doesn't perform to spec. I'm open to that possibility, but I'd just like a specific and verifiable example of it.

    As for normal listening conditions, I'm willing to let that go to extremes. I listen to music at 80dB sometimes. But I don't ever need anything to go as high as 120dB. That is insane.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  14. bigshot
    According to our pal Amirm, the
    Audio-gd NFB-27.38 DAC and Headphone Amplifier
    gets awfully close to audibility on THD+N, but in practice, it would have to be a pretty specialized circumstance for it to become audible. https://audiosciencereview.com/foru...d-nfb-27-38-dac-and-headphone-amplifier.2486/ He says in the core frequencies, he couldn't detect any difference. Only in the high frequencies and even then it was subtle. So with speakers, it would probably not be an issue and it might be below the threshold of audibility. It might also be deliberate IMD designed to simulate the euphonic distortion of tube amps. If that's the case, it isn't the limitation of the DAC itself, it's designed to sound inferior. I'll check into it deeper when I get a chance. Amirm's specs don't come close to matching the published specs, but that isn't surprising I suppose if they are going for intentional coloration.
    Last edited: Mar 26, 2018
  15. Allanmarcus
    Really! You don't see the inherent irony in that statement? Ug. In case you don't, "pre-conceived conclusion" and "ALWAYS" in the same paragraph.

    That is completely and 100% not what I said. I think I'm done. The level of stupidity and arrogance and meaningless misinterpretation is way too high on this thread.
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