Sound Science = Thought Jail?
Jul 23, 2022 at 2:29 AM Thread Starter Post #1 of 56

PointyFox

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Whenever I bring up something like amplifiers sounding the same I'm greeted to a variant of "haha ur deaf" or "you shouldn't post here", yet people are allowed to talk as much as they want about them sounding different.

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When I try to refute those claims, I usually bring up science or testing that has been done as evidence for my claim.
If they're nice, they'll tell me that what I'm saying belongs in Sound Science or on ASR.

That leads me to believe that certain ideas can not be discussed in the other subforums, making this subforum essentially a thought jail.

But I haven't seen anywhere saying that science can't be discussed in other forums if relevant.

Thoughts?
 
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Jul 23, 2022 at 3:57 AM Post #2 of 56

miketlse

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The 'Terms of Service' provide a few clues for your question. for example:

  1. If what you want to post includes words/phrases like "placebo," "expectation bias," "ABX," "blind testing," etc., please post it in the Sound Science forum.
  2. Discussion of blind testing is only allowed in the Sound Science forum.
The Terms are quite wide-ranging, however i suspect that most posters have never read them.
 
Jul 23, 2022 at 3:58 AM Post #3 of 56

bigshot

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Back in olden days, science was discussed in all of the Head-Fi forums. However, some folks found that scientific facts interfered with commerce, so a special group was created. We were told that in Sound Science we were free to discuss "expectation bias", "placebo effect" and "blind testing" to our heart's content. It was described as being "a nice place just for us", but it felt a bit like banishment.
 
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Jul 23, 2022 at 5:22 AM Post #4 of 56

71 dB

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I have always been marginalized, misunderstood and ousted in life for being so different. So, being here in the sound science corner with other banished pro-science weirdos feels like home. However, crony capitalism (regulated capitalism is fine) is taking us back to the dark middle ages so bugle up folks...
 
Jul 23, 2022 at 5:39 AM Post #5 of 56

castleofargh

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You usually cannot demonstrate what an audiophile is actually hearing without a controlled test.
And as mentioned, number 5 of "posting etiquette" says:
If what you want to post includes words/phrases like "placebo," "expectation bias," "ABX," "blind testing," etc., please post it in the Sound Science forum.

So... yeah. I think having people challenge empty claims all day long is such a bother to the audio community that it almost always ends up being banned. After all, it's a significant amount of extra work, it forces people to face cognitive dissonance made worse by years or decades of sunk cost fallacy. Controlled testing is the PITA of the audio community.


It’s not a new situation. What makes me agree on our section being Head-Fi’s dumpster for subjective accountability instead of it being sometimes for actual science is how we didn’t even deserve to get Head-Fi’s own measurements. For once we had an objective source of data that didn’t have to create controversy and could be thoroughly discussed and interpreted. But that somehow didn’t fit in a section called sound science. :sob:
 
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Jul 23, 2022 at 5:47 AM Post #6 of 56

sander99

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I read in the Dutch news just now: we will get a "hotline" for threatened scientists here in the Netherlands... ("hotline" is not really the right translation of the Dutch word "meldpunt", but you get the idea.)
 
Jul 23, 2022 at 5:54 AM Post #7 of 56

gregorio

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That leads me to believe that certain ideas can not be discussed in the other subforums, making this subforum essentially a thought jail.
Yes, there are numerous “ideas” that cannot be discussed in other subforums, not just placebo or controlled listening tests. I’ve had posts deleted from other forums because they included some science other than placebo or controlled listening tests, on the grounds that the Sound Science forum is the place for science, not the other forums. However, I’ve also had posts deleted on the basis of “containing science” when they contained no science at all, just other sorts of facts, such as historical facts.

In short, absolutely anything that contradicts marketing claims (or those suckered by it) is effectively against the rules and is liable for deletion if anyone “reports” it.

This leads to the ridiculous situation where it’s perfectly OK to state for example that DACs have little musical pixies inside converting digital data into music but if you respond with something like; “that’s provably incorrect”, it will be deleted if someone reports it but the original nonsense claim won’t be.

G
 
Jul 23, 2022 at 6:05 AM Post #8 of 56

71 dB

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...such as historical facts.

G
Haven't you got the memo? Historical facts don't exist anymore. Nowadays history depends on who you ask. History has been made subjective tool for advancing agendas. It is not only historical facts. We are heading toward a World where we can't agree about ANY facts! This will probably lead to the destruction of all humanity if not all life on this planet unless something drastic happens soon such as artificial super-intelligence taking over and teaching us how to live.
 
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Jul 23, 2022 at 6:27 AM Post #9 of 56

gregorio

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I think having people challenge empty claims all day long is such a bother to the audio community that it almost always ends up being banned.
I think we have to differentiate “audiophile community” from “audio community”.

There are numerous forums for the audio community where they do not ban the challenging of empty claims, even though they get quite a few. The difference is, the empty claims are typically from newbies or amateurs and refuted by a significant number of experts/professionals rather than a “lone voice” that can be mocked and shouted down. Plus, there aren’t as many empty claims to start with, because not just single products but whole classes of audiophile snake oil products just don’t exist in other areas of audio, as snake oil marketing is more commonly recognised as such and is typically very highly counter productive, so it’s a big risk to even try it.

I know you know this already castle, just thought it was worth contributing.

G
 
Jul 25, 2022 at 8:36 AM Post #11 of 56

gregorio

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manipulative marketing vs. intellectual honesty
Don’t get me wrong, other areas of the audio community obviously have marketing and the whole point of marketing is of course to influence/manipulate consumers’ choices. And, even in the professional audio communities you often see some intellectual dishonesty. However, this is typically more along the lines of “celebrity endorsement” and/or slight exaggeration rather that outright lies and ridiculous BS, because most professionals have professional experience/education and aren’t so easily suckered by ridiculous BS. So those audiophile products that rely heavily (or entirely) on ridiculous BS, simply don’t exist in many of those audio communities.

G
 
Jul 26, 2022 at 12:12 PM Post #12 of 56

AudioThief

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Whenever I bring up something like amplifiers sounding the same I'm greeted to a variant of "haha ur deaf" or "you shouldn't post here", yet people are allowed to talk as much as they want about them sounding different.



When I try to refute those claims, I usually bring up science or testing that has been done as evidence for my claim.
If they're nice, they'll tell me that what I'm saying belongs in Sound Science or on ASR.



That leads me to believe that certain ideas can not be discussed in the other subforums, making this subforum essentially a thought jail.

But I haven't seen anywhere saying that science can't be discussed in other forums if relevant.

Thoughts?

The answer is simple: The existence of the hobby hinges on people drinking the kool-aid. It really is that simple. For most people, this hobby is only interesting because it lets them dive into an exciting world filled with a deep and varied selection of gear that fits every taste out there, with items of exceeding rarity and with equally exceeding sound quality. People with low impulse control and numb dopamine receptors can find loads of excitement in finding and buying new gear, comparing it with other gear they have owned or currently own and writing about it to others who are interested in listening. Carefully matching a headphone with their amplifier and source, pad rolling - all to one day achieve the holy grail of sound - a sound so objectively perfect as to make every listening session purely orgasmic.

People on these forums actually believe some sort of version of the world I just described. Hell, some even believe in stuff like burn-in and silver cables. I mean there truly is no end to the madness in some cases. Now imagine if there was a free flow of information on these boards. It would probably take some time, but eventually the science guys would've utterly demolished the ignorant audiophiles, which would result in new people entering the hobby being turned off from the entire thing. Because what is there to talk about when its basically all subjective biases ? I mean sure, we could be discussing things like how practical a headphone is, or how good it is for portable use, reliability etc.. But thats not what makes people interested in the hobby. People are interested because they want to discuss "soundstage", "liquid midrange" and "dark sounding amplifiers". These elements are what makes the hobby exciting and interesting. Of course, its all just pure illusion. But they don't know that, and as far as this website is concerned, its best kept that way.
 
Aug 3, 2022 at 7:26 AM Post #13 of 56

Dynamo5561

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I believe most is already said. This forum is heaviliy commercially oriented and people telling you that cables, amps, dacs etc. make no difference do not provide anything to the business model. If I'd guess, over 70% of the content here is around these topics. Especially in TOTL threads. E.g. go to the Susvara thread, you will only read about amp pairings. Go to some TOTL IEM threads, you will only read about cable pairings. The headphones themselves are not discussed so much.

And if you allow the rationalists discussing with the subjectivists, it will always end up in arguing which also does not contribute to a healthy forum environment.

Rationalists are not the target group of this forum. But hey, be happy. You can save a lot of money and smile about posts here and there :smile:
 
Aug 3, 2022 at 8:43 AM Post #14 of 56

gregorio

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And if you allow the rationalists discussing with the subjectivists, it will always end up in arguing which also does not contribute to a healthy forum environment.
I disagree with this part of your post. It’s entirely possible to be both subjective and rational. There are many situations where scientists mix and discuss with musicians and other artists and it rarely ends up in arguing. Music/Sound engineers and producers often disagree but that’s typically about different subjective preferences and opinions, not rational facts/science.

The problem isn’t between rationalists and subjectivists, it’s between rationalists and those subjectivists who deny or mis-attribute their subjectivity. EG. Those who claim their subjective perceptions are not subjective perceptions but are objective physical properties which audiophiles can detect but others can’t. Arguments will then inevitably happen because audiophiles will try to rationalise/explain these objective physical properties (that don’t actually exist) using pseudoscience or even just utter nonsense that even a child should recognise.

Many/Most subjectivists can be very rational, most audiophiles typically can’t and that’s ultimately down to the pseudoscience or utter nonsense audiophile marketing they’re constantly directly and indirectly exposed to. They’re so rarely exposed to the actual facts/truth they treat those who expound it as ignorant pathological exceptions and never even consider that they are the ignorant pathological exceptions but that’s often the way with extremists, they commonly see themselves as normal (but enlightened) and see normal people as extremists (and unenlightened).

G
 
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Aug 3, 2022 at 11:03 AM Post #15 of 56

AudioThief

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Most people getting into the "audiophile hobby" doesn't know anything about the technical aspects of how headphones, amplifiers, dacs or cables work. Which is understandable - most people in general doesn't know anything about that. The issue is that when they start getting into the hobby, they are immediately exposed to a bunch of marketing claims, and other "more experienced" audiophiles, who already drank the kool-aid. They find this big community on here, on reddit and on other sites where people are having fun comparing their headphones, dacs and amps. People claiming this and that difference going from "entry level" to "mid-fi" to "summit-fi" and so on. Seemingly technical jargon being used, such as "effortless transients" and "resolving treble". I mean honestly, unassuming people trying to get into better sounding equipment has almost no chance because this environment online paired with psychoacoustics makes the "objectivists" look like cheap and jealous lunatics.

Consider that sound science and ASR is like niche level stuff five levels deep. First you hear about good sounding equipment from a friend, then you go read articles on "reputable" newspapers or similar, then on sound-specific ones like what-hifi. Then you go on to reddit and head-fi. Only if you scourge those sites for a long time will you even come across people talking about objectivism, and most likely it will be in a derogatory way. If you decide to follow the bread crumbs, you'll stumble upon sound science or ASR. Then you gotta hope you found it before sinking thousands of dollars into the "hobby", or at least that you're so aware of the power of bias that you can take the truth for what it is, and realize that what people are talking about on different forums are mainly bias and psychoacoustics at work.

I mean consider for a moment when someone, be it a journalist or a forum member, makes a review or "impressions" post on a piece of gear. Lets assume its a pair of headphones. His impression of its sound is almost 100% going to be more impacted by whether or not he got enough sleep that day, is in a good place mentally, if he's hungry or not, if he is in a totally quiet room, or if he has an annoying sun reflection hitting his eyes as he's listening. And whatever impression he got on his first listen will then impact his "opinion" on the equipment going forward. Not to mention what he read online, and what the "groupthink" has decided (Example: "Sennheiser veil"). I saw something really funny on reddit today. A guy had purchased the T2 DIY electrostatic amplifier (probably costing him in excess of 10,000 USD!). I clicked onto his profile, and he made some comments about some electrostatic headphones, and why he had decided against buying the latest and greatest from Stax. He explained that:

"Also I'm a bit on the fence with the X9000 after getting comment from a audiophile who owns the following OG Stax SRM-T2, OG Omegas and KGSSHV and complete set HE90 & HEV90. I notice he sold his X9000 and I ask him why. He told me "I only listen to it for 10 hours because I'm not impressed. I will not comment on this headphone in public and offend anyone but I think this headphone is somehow "boring" and "too-polite": too-tamed treble without sharp edges, a bit out-focus imaging, mediocre dynamic and bass make it unsuitable for rock and orchestral work, and very very hard to drive. I would expect headphones of this price range would be more all-rounded in genres. It is nothing like the omega. Even the 009/009s is more alike to the omega." So yeah after hearing that comment. I'm going to relax and when the chance comes to listen to the X9000 I won't make a rushed purchase."

I just had to laugh - the advice he had been given was likely influenced by 15 layers of bias, from different people reading endless posts online trying to justify their purchase or sale. This is the kind of stuff that sways him towards or away from purchases for 6-10k+USD!
 

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