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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. castleofargh Contributor
    audiophile anecdotes rely on too many assumptions that turn out to come from misunderstanding or ignorance. and the typically weak testing methods involved certainly don't help sorting things out accurately.
    I have experienced various issues, some really cheap RCAs where the plug was barely holding in place. or some with impedance specs way off compared to what was claimed(ironically that also happens with crazy expensive interconnect...). **** happens and I'm sure that on occasion with some gears, those stuff result in audible difference. I don't see the point of rejecting that possibility because it exists, no matter how unlikely.
    what I personally reject is a baseless correlation between money and sound quality offered by a RCA. it's very possible that something is more expensive because it has better quality materials, because someone is paid to check each cable for defects, because they throw away stuff that would get a pass for another brand... all those can be legit reasons why we may overall have more confidence in a more expensive product. although I tend to purchase several cheap ones and throw away those that aren't to spec or have issues, the total cost is still cheaper than any "audiophile" cable. so when the price is 10 or even a hundred times what a perfectly adequate RCA cable costs, they better be selling cables that regrow my hair. because that's the only way I will accept such prices for a RCA cable. but then again, that's just me with my very limited amount of money(and even fewer hairs left ^_^).
    WhatToChoose likes this.
  2. bigshot
    If that is the case, then you could just attribute the results to sloppy controls on the testing. The motive might either be self validation or commercial interest. Both of those are bias capable of skewing the results, especially when it's clear that they didn't address auditory memory or line level.
  3. Glmoneydawg
    Agree 100%....but we are bringing transducers into the equation now with speakers and cartridges.......too bad Acoustat is gone,the 2+2 electrostat was one of the first and best high end listening experiences i can remember....they did voices like few others.
  4. bigshot
    If you charge a grand for a wire, all you have to do is post a bunch of technical mumbo jumbo and charts on your website and offer a 30 day no questions return policy. You sell a few and issue a bunch of polite refunds, and just wait for some poor sap to lose track of time and be stuck with it after the 30 days are up. Then the sap will go to work for you self validating their purchase on online forums to convince themselves that they spent their money wisely. Then you can cruise through the forums and copy paste the testimonials back to your website on the technical mumbo jumbo page. It becomes a self generating money machine.
    Last edited: Feb 25, 2019
    colonelkernel8 and AndySocial like this.
  5. Glmoneydawg
    Saddly that might just work.:frowning2:
  6. KeithEmo
    Of course it works - but I suspect you HUGELY underestimate how well it works.

    You DO NOT have to wait "for someone to lose track of time and go past the return date".
    There are major amounts of both "rationalization" and "self selection" going on.

    First off, someone who is skeptical probably will not buy a $1k cable, even if they know they can return it.
    Therefore, anybody who actually puts up the money alredy has SOME expectation that it will sound different.
    Then, by ordering it, and laying out the money, they create a significant "investment" in being right.
    Most of us would feel somewhat silly if, after expending all that effort, they didn't hear a difference.
    In other words, while some members of THIS forum might expect to confirm that there is no difference....
    MOST people who go to the trouble to try that $1k cable would expect and hope to hear a difference.
    They've probably told their friends they were trying it, waited for it to arrive, and have positive expectations.
    And, when it arries, they'll invite all their friends over to hear it...
    And most of those friends will help validate their expectation...
    Because most of them share those positive expectations...
    (Like believers in conspiracy theories their skeptical friends probably won't be invited.)

    If you doubt how well this works....
    Check out websites and TV advertisements for "dial a psychic"...
    And sales of "magnetic bracelets" and various obviously useless "holistic remedies"...
    You might be amazed how many people consult "psychics" and "astrologers"...
    And their so-called "science" is far less credible...

    People who frequent those websites believe that those fancy cables have some merit...
    They expect to hear a difference, tend to believe positive reviews, and tend NOT to believe negative reviews...
    Certainly the marketing department helps to promote the process...
    But human nature takes care of most of the process quite effectively anyway...
    Last edited: Feb 26, 2019
  7. bigshot
    so says a member of the trade
  8. analogsurviver
    Well, last time I checked, an audio system consists of many components in a chain - leave any of the links out and you are blessed with perfection - silence... A perfect amplifier driving nothing has no purpose nor meaning - yet, it DOES exist . And., believe me, it does have MANY siblings....

    Acustat is stil with (but not) US. Strickland first sold the company to Hafler, which got sold to Rockford, which sold Acustat to Italy - final and current HQ being in China.
    Currently, more than half of worlds' electrostatic speakers are being produced in China. Quad, Acustat ....maybe more.

    Put 2 and 2 together to figure out why I consider King's Audio King 3 full range electrostatic speaker the cream of the crop...in their third version of the King, they actually nailed it - better than anyone else. Here, the only exemption would be Beveridge - but, roughly speaking, the difference in price is about an order of magnitude.
  9. RRod
    Saw this blurb at the end of a booklet today:
    I would have preferred if they started that last sentence with "The theory is that, since dead salmon…"
    colonelkernel8 likes this.
  10. 71 dB
    192/2 = 98? Really? Anyway, 98 % of people who read that will believe it all.
    colonelkernel8 likes this.
  11. old tech
    If the blurb substituted theory with myth, then perhaps it would be closer to the mark.
  12. bigshot
    In audiophile circles a theory is just a myth with an advertising budget.
  13. old tech
    Getting back to the original intent of this thread, I posted this test in another but I think it sits better here.

    A blind test comparison of sound cards.

    The conclusion, the difference between a $2 Realtek ALC889 codec and other more expensive sound cards/DACs, including the $2,000 Benchmark DAC 2 is features, not sound quality.

  14. KeithEmo
    First off, I'll admit that I skimmed the article... although I did so pretty carefully... and I found a few things a bit odd.

    Quite interestingly, listener A posted nearly random results.... except for the results with one particular track... (the Daft Punk track).
    Oddly, on that one, he got 8/8 right on the first pass... (which seemed to surprise him - and which he seemed especially eager to credit to "probably being luck").
    Then, when he repeated the test, he got more or less random results (which seemed to be what he expected).
    (It kind of makes me wonder if he had an expectation bias not to hear any significant difference.)

    There also didn't seem to be any detailed results for Listener B.

    And, obviously, only two test subjects, two pairs of headphones, and a rather limited assortment of tracks, were included.

    I would add it to the list of tests which seem to suggest that, if you expect to hear major obvious differences, you're likely to be disappointed....
    However, at least to me, it falls far short of supporting an authoritative claim that "there are no audible differences"....
    Therefore, their "conclusion" is really a pretty long reach from what the results would support....
    (I should note that Tom's is a discussion forum for computer folks... They never claimed that their results were conclusive - and even suggested that more testing was indicated.)

  15. analogsurviver
    At first, I thought the following ( found today on FB ) is an April Fool's joke - but, no, Devious Machines https://www.deviousmachines.com/ actually exists :
    Devious Machines are proud to present a revolution in audiophile signal processing: the DFA-3000 High End Audio Interconnect Simulator.

    For the very first time, you can reproduce the highly sought after sound of the very highest quality audio interconnects, previously only available to elite audiophiles: right in your DAW!

    Our patented algorithm accurately models every nuance of the most highly sought after components, including quantum effects and electrostatic flux. Using this technique, we were able to accurately model the exact sound of cables costing from $10 right up to the very best products costing $10,000.


    *) Accurate modelling of the highest quality cables and connectors
    *) Adjustable "Detail" and "Depth" controls
    *) Adjustable "Price" slider, to model cables from $10 to $10,000!
    *) Superior detail
    *) Unbelievable depth and focus
    *) Enhanced power and forceful dynamics
    *) Superior digital noise rejection

    For a limited time, we're making this exclusive audiophile technology available to you for the unbelievable introductory price of £499 (RRP £1499)

    " Adjustable Price Slider " - hard one to top for any marketing type ...
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