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Testing audiophile claims and myths

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by prog rock man, May 3, 2010.
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  1. gregorio
    2. Just so we're clear here: You're saying that "they should have simply packed up and gone home" because the only audible difference between SACD and CD occurs above 22kHz? Is that your claim?

    3. A commercial SACD mastering facility is by definition a reference system and therefore certainly qualifies as "a competent system". In fact, it's doubtful that ANY consumers own systems that are more "competent". The same is broadly true of the other systems used, which in combination makes the likelihood that consumers/audiophiles will have systems more competent/capable and revealing of the differences extremely unlikely. Hence their claim: "There is always the remote possibility that a different system or more finely attuned pair of ears would reveal a difference. But we have gathered enough data, using sufficiently varied and capable systems and listeners, to state that the burden of proof has now shifted. Further claims that careful 16/44.1 encoding audibly degrades high resolution signals must be supported by properly controlled double-blind tests."
    3a. There is no "specific, certified and tested, FR that guarantees a "competent system"", either in the professional recording community or in the scientific community. Therefore, according to you, ALL audibility tests are ALWAYS invalid and can never be scientific. Is this really what you're claiming and if so, why have you cited scientific audibility studies if you knew them to be invalid?
    3b. In a sense that's true but of course all commercial mastering facilities are very carefully constructed, measured and adjusted to meet that consensus of "subjective opinion" as indeed are scientific listening laboratories.
    3c. It's not just "what I believe a SACD mastering facility should be able to do", it's what the industry believes, the industry that creates ALL the SACDs that audiophiles are listening to and audiophile manufacturers are trying to reproduce. Again though, it's a double standard, you "don't especially care" what I, the industry or science believes but we should "especially care" about what you believe!
    3d. Yes of course, your scientific experiments are "real scientific experiments" but no one else's are. Remind me, what "real scientific experiments" have you done in this regard?
    3e. Firstly, we here do not have to make you "happy to agree", the facts do not depend on your personal happiness to agree with them and this is NOT the "What KeithEmo is Happy to Agree With" forum. Secondly, again there is no "certified calibration certificates", neither in the recording industry nor the scientific community. So you've invented a requirement that cannot be met, apparently to justify ignoring the evidence, even though you've already admitted it is "reasonably compelling evidence"? Thirdly, it is clearly an untruth that "until then it's just your [my] opinion", at the very least it's also the opinion of those who own and operate the mastering facility, the university listening lab, the audiophile system used in tests, the authors of the paper and those who peer reviewed it.

    5. Indeed you don't ... but don't let that stop you from making up nonsense about it! In actual fact the university I taught at was a world leader in some scientific fields but this is all typical, childish audiophile nonsense: My ears are better than yours, my gear is better than yours, my university is better than yours and my dad is bigger than yours. If you've done "real scientific experiments" and "we were required to document our procesures and our results in detail", then show them to us, provide that "supported and properly controlled" evidence to counter the claims of Meyer and Moran and give us something (ANYTHING) to balance the BURDEN OF PROOF!!!

    1. And again, that is a self-contradictory, double standard. Why don't/won't you apply that same rationale/logic in this case?

    1. To be honest, that's true of just about all commercial music recordings. "Incredibly difficult" is a relative term though, a simple traditional rock band is comprised ENTIRELY of disparate elements and therefore also requires great technical expertise and artistic judgement. But, with 50 or so years of recording history and experience to draw on and that in practice it's considered relatively routine, this "incredibly difficult" feat is effectively a fairly basic expectation today. However, it comes as a considerable shock to most music engineering students that even after 3 years of full-time study they can only barely meet this fairly basic expectation. This particular sub/cross genre is even more difficult, for several reasons: Firstly, it can/should require cross disciple skills. Most music engineers specialise in either classical OR pop/rock (not commonly both) and often specialise in specific sub genres, so finding the required skill set would be "difficult". Secondly, it's not so much the fact that the elements are disparate which is the problem (as dealing with disparate elements is routine), it's the fact that there are so many of them. Trying to cram so much into a stereo sound-field is just asking for trouble (it would be an ideal candidate for a surround production IMHO though). However, that's less of a problem in this particular cross-genre case because the metal genre is largely defined by heavy compression and extreme amounts of distortion in the first place.

    2. To be honest, it would be quite a poor case study. In practice it's difficult enough to work out "everything that goes into making" even most 70's/80's pop/rock, without significant inside info/knowledge. Even something like "Bohemian Rhapsody" (which could also be described as cross-genre, operatic/rock) is extremely difficult to work out in detail, even though the basic instrumentation is very simple. If you're looking for case studies, I'd advise you start with something other than this sub/cross genre.

    G
     
  2. Steve999
    Well, as long as we are back to our regularly scheduled program, some of the stuff they sell or review on metal-fi seems highly dubious to me. If one likes the music I’d say search that out and enjoy, but some of the equipment like the AC purifier and The iDSD and whatnot this site deals with are not going to get you far, in my opinion. Listen closely to a piece of music that you like several times and I would hope you’d gain a lot more pleasure and appreciate a lot more of the nuances and details than many of the types of products that the site reviews or pedals. And it would be a lot less expensive.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  3. Davesrose
    I always cringe when someone says "just a theory": you know they're referring to vernacular "theory" and not the scientific definition of theory. The definition for scientific theory "is is an explanation of an aspect of the natural world that can be repeatedly tested and verified in accordance with the scientific method, using accepted protocols of observation, measurement, and evaluation of results." Gravity has both accepted laws and a scientific theory attached to it. The theory of evolution also makes the prediction that adaptations occur from current traits: therefore there can't be winged quadrupeds. Animals that have wings are attached to their forelimbs.

    One should always be dubious of a "medicine" that was thought up in the 18th century where all biological mechanisms are thought to have "states" (not much different then humorism). One can poo poo pharmaceutical medicine for being expensive for new drugs that need research. However, affordable medicine (that has been regulated) trickles down. Vaccines are made to be easily accessible to everyone. When it comes to efficacy of homeopathic medicine, I'm not familiar with any studies that have shown an effect. I looked at the abstract you cited. When you look up Dia, you'll see it's not billed as homeopathic medicine. It actually does have active ingredients from cow colostrum. The main country that accepts homeopathy as an option in healthcare is the UK. I watched a video with Richard Dawkins going over homeopathy and he interviewed a doctor that offers homeopathy. One factor he found was that homeopaths tend to spend more time with their patient compared to a family doctor (adding to the placebo of the doctor spending more time with patient).
     
  4. Phronesis
    Agreed that we should use the term "theory" only in its scientific sense around here, unless specified otherwise.

    I don't hold homeopathy being developed in the 18th century against it, there are plenty of herbal things which work that go back many centuries. For example, go on pubmed and do a search on clinical trials for ashwagandha. In the past decade, clinical trials have demonstrated benefits which were known without clinical trials for centuries.

    I encourage you to do some research on homeopathy, if interested. As I said, I have no idea how it could work, but there's empirical evidence that it may sometimes work for some people/animals for some conditions (though it may otherwise be bunk).

    I'd still say that we have a huge problem in the US with the widespread use of pharmaceuticals and their often outrageous costs. It's no coincidence that pharmaceutical companies tend to be very profitable. But the problem isn't just with pharmaceuticals:

    https://www.reuters.com/article/us-...er-countries-with-worse-results-idUSKCN1GP2YN

    https://www.healthsystemtracker.org...he-u-s-compare-to-other-countries/#item-start
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  5. Davesrose
    I haven't seen much in the way of empirical evidence that medication directly billed as homeopathic being effective. At least "folk medicine" with herbs uses real substances (and chemicals modern medicine might find efficacy with). The theories of homeopathy (using "states" and "like cures") are completely irrelevant to modern medicine. It would be one thing if all of alternative medicine was just distilled water or sugar pills. But it's unregulated and some "medicines" being sold are even detrimental to your health (case in point hucksters selling B17 as a cancer cure).

    You can't have a direct link with pharmaceutical costs and life expectancy or standard of life (your links also at least mention there are numerous factors). Besides the debate for universal healthcare vs regulated healtchare, I think one issue with the US system is more money is spent end of life instead of preventative medicine.
     
  6. Phronesis
    Agreed, the homeopathic theoretical framework doesn't seem to make any sense. As far as empirical evidence, there's some for it and a lot against it, and I think it's best not to paint with a broad brush. I suspect that cases where homeopathy works - if it works at all - will be more the exception than the rule. But of course regular medicines don't work for everyone either, and sometimes they can be detrimental to health also due to side effects.

    Regarding pharmaceuticals, you'll see in one of the links that we pay a lot more for some drugs (and medical devices) in the US than other countries. The game is rigged.
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  7. GearMe
    ...
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2018
  8. Davesrose
    Medicines are regulated, though, and have gone through numerous studies. They come with a long list of possible side effects. Alternative medicines aren't subjected to rigorous tests. And when it comes to costs, again, I mentioned debates about universal healthcare/more regulation/having more preventative medicine. IMO, it more has to do with insurance and for profit healthcare systems. My whole family are mainly doctors, and I can assure you that general physicians make less then specialized medicine: and there's now a lot of paperwork with insurance.
     
  9. Phronesis
    Alternative medicines are usually natural compounds which can't be patented, so no one will invest the large expense need to go through the large clinical trials needed for FDA approval. But increasingly, smaller clinical trials are being done for some alternative medicines, which demonstrate that they can generally be effective and safe.

    I know a lot of docs also, and am familiar with the issues with compensation, insurance, etc. (when I contemplated a career change to medicine many years ago, nearly every doc I talked with advised not to do it, that I'd be better off staying where I am in engineering). But my daughter has an interest in going into medicine, and I don't discourage her from doing so.
     
  10. Davesrose
    Now that's being too broad. Alternative medicine includes acupuncture; aromatherapy; chiropractic; homeopathy; massage; meditation and relaxation therapies; naturopathy; osteopathy; reflexology, traditional Chinese medicine; and the use of vitamin supplements (so you can see how many categories also includes "medicines" that are often claimed to be cures). There are way more anecdotes of people getting toxicity desperately trying to find cures with alternative medicine, then any study that has shown conclusive positive outcome from an alternative medicine alone.
     
  11. Phronesis
    Yes, I was referring specifically to supplements and herbs. You would need a comprehensive study to show that they’re net detrimental, and my sense is that they’re net beneficial, but we shouldn’t generalize too much about this stuff.
     
  12. KeithEmo
    2)

    I was being SARCASTIC. You're the one who said "since the students couldn't hear anything above 18 kHz then it didn't matter inf it was there or not. The reality is the opposite. Whether we BELIEVE they can hear above 18 kHz, or whether in fact they can, ARE BOTH IRRELEVANT.

    All that matters is this:
    - IF we want to test whether SACDs sound different then CDs then we must use ACCURATE TEST SAMPLES
    - this means that our test samples MUST INCLUDE EVERYTHING THAT MAKES THEM MEASURABLY DIFFERENT
    - we known that one of the measurable differences is the fact that CDs lack ultrasonic content present in SACDs
    - therefore our test samples MUST contain that ultrasonic content
    - we cannot "trust" it to be there; we MUST confirm and document its presence

    "My claim", and a verifiable fact, is that frequency response above 22 kHz is ONE OF THE MEASURABLE AND VERIFIABLE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN THE SACD AND CD MEDIUM. There may well be other differences as well... but, if you wish to test the audibility of the overall difference, then you cannot omit any pieces.

    3a)

    Correct on point 1 - because "competent system" means precisely nothing in technical terms.
    Neither does "world's greatest" nor "top 100" nor "Grammy Award winning".
    By definition "a commercial SACD recording studio" is "a place that records SACDs as a business".
    Neither your opinion, my opinion, nor "the industry's opinion" of "how good their equipment is" counts for anything.
    Those are simply OPINIONS... and not test results nor facts.

    (I don't recall anyone saying that we wished to limit our results, and any claims arising from them, to "what consumers would be able to hear on a competent consumer audio system".)

    Each test has certain specific technical requirements.
    A major requirement of producing valid results is confirming that the equipment you use meets the requirements.
    Therefore, when we run a test, WE TEST THE EQUIPMENT TO MAKE SURE THAT IT IS ADEQUATE TO OUR NEEDS.
    And, yes, most scientific test equipment can be calibrated - and calibration certificates are OFTEN included.
    (The B&K microphone I recommended earlier comes with factory calibration - and a certificate.
    And, if you want full assured accuracy, you peridoically send it out to be tested and re-calibrated.)
    However, if we want our results to be believed, we should test it ourselves anyway, and document the results.

    If I'm testing whether people can hear content extending to 30 kHz...
    Then my test samples must contain harmonics extending to 30 kHz...
    And my test equipment must be able to deliver those frequencies TO THE EARS of our test subjects...
    If we don't meet those requirements than the test is simply invalid.
    And, if we fail to document that we've NET those requirements, our results will have no credibility.

    As Meyers and Moran noted, apparently many SACDs are in fact mastered rather poorly. From their comments, it's clear that, regardless of "what an SACD recording studio should be able to do", many or most of their SACD samples were in fact poor examples of the medium for purposes of the test. (It should be noted that we are trying to confirm that "inserting a CD quality signal loop" will fail to audibly degrade THE BEST POSSIBLE QUALITY SACD, and not merely that it will fail to degrade the sound quality of a poor quality SACD, or one that was produced from a CD to begin with.)

    Specifically, in any situation where "exactly what you're testing for" is the slightest bit ambiguous...
    It is especially important to provide accurate and detailed data and samples.

    For example:
    PERHAPS, rather than frequency response, there is an audible difference due to interchannel phase shift.
    And we already know that humans can detect those, under some circumstances, as low as 10 microseconds.
    So we'd better make sure we can reproduce those accurately if they exist...
    If those differences are in fact present, and we fail to reproduce them accurately, then our test will "miss" then.
    Even worse... if those differences are there, we reproduce them accurately, and people do hear them....
    But we fail to document them adequately - then we'll never be able to figure out the correlation later during analysis.

    QUOTE="gregorio, post: 14674057, member: 69811"]2. Just so we're clear here: You're saying that "they should have simply packed up and gone home" because the only audible difference between SACD and CD occurs above 22kHz? Is that your claim?

    3. A commercial SACD mastering facility is by definition a reference system and therefore certainly qualifies as "a competent system". In fact, it's doubtful that ANY consumers own systems that are more "competent". The same is broadly true of the other systems used, which in combination makes the likelihood that consumers/audiophiles will have systems more competent/capable and revealing of the differences extremely unlikely. Hence their claim: "There is always the remote possibility that a different system or more finely attuned pair of ears would reveal a difference. But we have gathered enough data, using sufficiently varied and capable systems and listeners, to state that the burden of proof has now shifted. Further claims that careful 16/44.1 encoding audibly degrades high resolution signals must be supported by properly controlled double-blind tests."
    3a. There is no "specific, certified and tested, FR that guarantees a "competent system"", either in the professional recording community or in the scientific community. Therefore, according to you, ALL audibility tests are ALWAYS invalid and can never be scientific. Is this really what you're claiming and if so, why have you cited scientific audibility studies if you knew them to be invalid?
    3b. In a sense that's true but of course all commercial mastering facilities are very carefully constructed, measured and adjusted to meet that consensus of "subjective opinion" as indeed are scientific listening laboratories.
    3c. It's not just "what I believe a SACD mastering facility should be able to do", it's what the industry believes, the industry that creates ALL the SACDs that audiophiles are listening to and audiophile manufacturers are trying to reproduce. Again though, it's a double standard, you "don't especially care" what I, the industry or science believes but we should "especially care" about what you believe!
    3d. Yes of course, your scientific experiments are "real scientific experiments" but no one else's are. Remind me, what "real scientific experiments" have you done in this regard?
    3e. Firstly, we here do not have to make you "happy to agree", the facts do not depend on your personal happiness to agree with them and this is NOT the "What KeithEmo is Happy to Agree With" forum. Secondly, again there is no "certified calibration certificates", neither in the recording industry nor the scientific community. So you've invented a requirement that cannot be met, apparently to justify ignoring the evidence, even though you've already admitted it is "reasonably compelling evidence"? Thirdly, it is clearly an untruth that "until then it's just your [my] opinion", at the very least it's also the opinion of those who own and operate the mastering facility, the university listening lab, the audiophile system used in tests, the authors of the paper and those who peer reviewed it.

    5. Indeed you don't ... but don't let that stop you from making up nonsense about it! In actual fact the university I taught at was a world leader in some scientific fields but this is all typical, childish audiophile nonsense: My ears are better than yours, my gear is better than yours, my university is better than yours and my dad is bigger than yours. If you've done "real scientific experiments" and "we were required to document our procesures and our results in detail", then show them to us, provide that "supported and properly controlled" evidence to counter the claims of Meyer and Moran and give us something (ANYTHING) to balance the BURDEN OF PROOF!!!

    1. And again, that is a self-contradictory, double standard. Why don't/won't you apply that same rationale/logic in this case?



    1. To be honest, that's true of just about all commercial music recordings. "Incredibly difficult" is a relative term though, a simple traditional rock band is comprised ENTIRELY of disparate elements and therefore also requires great technical expertise and artistic judgement. But, with 50 or so years of recording history and experience to draw on and that in practice it's considered relatively routine, this "incredibly difficult" feat is effectively a fairly basic expectation today. However, it comes as a considerable shock to most music engineering students that even after 3 years of full-time study they can only barely meet this fairly basic expectation. This particular sub/cross genre is even more difficult, for several reasons: Firstly, it can/should require cross disciple skills. Most music engineers specialise in either classical OR pop/rock (not commonly both) and often specialise in specific sub genres, so finding the required skill set would be "difficult". Secondly, it's not so much the fact that the elements are disparate which is the problem (as dealing with disparate elements is routine), it's the fact that there are so many of them. Trying to cram so much into a stereo sound-field is just asking for trouble (it would be an ideal candidate for a surround production IMHO though). However, that's less of a problem in this particular cross-genre case because the metal genre is largely defined by heavy compression and extreme amounts of distortion in the first place.

    2. To be honest, it would be quite a poor case study. In practice it's difficult enough to work out "everything that goes into making" even most 70's/80's pop/rock, without significant inside info/knowledge. Even something like "Bohemian Rhapsody" (which could also be described as cross-genre, operatic/rock) is extremely difficult to work out in detail, even though the basic instrumentation is very simple. If you're looking for case studies, I'd advise you start with something other than this sub/cross genre.

    G[/QUOTE]
     
  13. KeithEmo
    It's a complicated subject.

    As far as I know, it has been shown that many herbal remedies do in fact help, and many medicines have been developed from them. However, it has also be proven that many "folk remedies" are totally useless, while some are even harmful or dangerous. I recall reading recently in a medical magazine in my doctor's office about how several popular "natural oils", generally believed to be beneficial or harmless, can actually cause serious medical problems to some individuals, or when used in certain quantities.

    In the case of "homeopathic remedies", the major issue of discussion seems to be of whether the THEORY they claim is valid, and so both explains how some of these remedies work, and suggests that others will... or whether the theory is invalid, and the fact that certain ones work is in fact simply due to random chance, or a combination of chance and placebo effect. For example, there seems to be no support for the their idea about "extreme dilutions", but a few "homeopathic herbal remedies" probably do work.

    It should be noted that there are other traditional ideas which have so far been found to have no merit. For example, in mediaeval times, there was theory about resemblance and similarity.... This was applied to many "magical things", including alchemy, folk medicine, and plain old magic spells. The idea was that "things affect things they resemble"... but interpreted in divers ways.

    So, for example:
    - powdered rhino horn can make you virile because rhinos are big virile animals
    - mandragora root is a powerful medicine because it resembles a human body in shape
    - saffron (which is yellow) can treat jaundice (whcih turns your skin yellow)
    - a VooDoo doll can force you to do things because it looks like you (and may contain parts like your nail cliipings)

     
  14. Davesrose
    It would be hard to isolate any positively effective alternative drug/supplement vs all the negative ones. I already brought up B17: many have been selling it as a cancer cure, when it can contain cyanide. I recently became aware of a complete loon, Jillian Mai Thi Epperly, who preys on the sick by trying to sell a protocol of drinking cabbage juice with heavy doses of sodium (It's called Jilly Juice). She was on Dr Phil, and showed she has no medical background. She claims her protocol cures everything because she's riding the body of Candida fungus (and claims that Candida is the root of all illnesses: she even claims homosexuality is an illness). When Dr Phil asked what study she's done for her claim that Jilly Juice can even regrow limbs, her response was "I have all my limbs". Because her followers are exposing themselves to sodium toxicity, they get severe diarrhea and high blood pressure. Unfortunately, a lot of people who are preyed upon are in desperate situations. I've known a few people who decided to forego traditional medicine and try naturopath for curing their cancer.
     
  15. bigshot
    Wouldn't it be fun to test our equipment and ability to hear and determine where our thresholds of audibility lie?
     
    Glmoneydawg likes this.
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