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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. Steve999
    GN 99 :unamused:
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  2. Steve999
    I think it’s To Be Continued. :wink:
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  3. bigshot

    Read the article and come back. You are creating your own conclusion.
    Steve999 likes this.
  4. analogsurviver
    To Be Continued
  5. analogsurviver
    I guess the only thing we agree with bigshot is the appreciation of FZ.
  6. gregorio
    1. Here we go again. My first statement IS technically correct while yours is a deliberate LIE!! You've made-up your own (incorrect) statement, falsely attributed it to me and asserted I'm incorrect.

    2. No, I did not miss your point and again, I did not mention "absolute certainty"!

    3. And here we are yet again. Firstly: On what basis would you say that "it's reasonably likely that nobody can run a mile in 2 minutes"? It's certainly NOT any sort of rational or even common sense basis! The world record for the mile in the late 1960's was 3:51 and today it stands at 3:43. Even with all the modern scientific advancements in training that's still only an improvement of just 8 seconds in over 50 years, so a further improvement by another 103 seconds (to 2:00) is NOT "reasonably unlikely" it's incredibly unlikely and almost certainly utterly impossible (without artificial enhancements)! Secondly, what if we say a 10 times improvement over what anyone has ever demonstrated, a mile run in 22.3 seconds, how likely would you say that would be? Would you really not be "certain"? If not, that would put you in a tiny group of cranks/nutters! Many of the differences reported by audiophiles are more than ten times beyond what has ever been demonstrated.

    I understand, you make and sell relatively expensive amps. It's vital that you somehow justify that extra expense and therefore you have no choice but to obfuscate the likelihood that the differences between your amp and a much cheaper one being audible but this is the wrong forum for such marketing tactics, this is the sound science forum, as you well know!!!

    1. You're joking right? On the one side we've got numerous reliable/controlled tests, plus objective measurements indicating differences are below/well below audibility. On the other side we've got a bunch of marketing, plus numerous uncontrolled tests and anecdotal audiophile "impressions", all of which vanish when subject to reliable/controlled testing. So of course I "really believe" they sound the same, I'd need to be an irrational nutter to believe otherwise!

    2. All of which are irrelevant unless those more precise tolerances, better power supplies, etc., collectively make a big enough difference to be audible. Therefore, all you have to do is provide some reliable evidence that they are audible!

    3. The law of diminishing returns (for amps) is dead, it's been dead for several decades! Audiophile amp manufacturers have had to develop strategies to get around this fact, which would otherwise put them out of business. The two most common appear to be: 1. Carry on incrementally improving amp specifications ever further beyond the threshold of audibility and then obfuscate (or outright lie about) what is the threshold of audibility. 2. Deliberately (colour) lower the fidelity of the amp's output by an amount greater than the threshold of audibility and then claim it is better/higher fidelity.
    3a. If it's "simply not true" that they sound the same, then it's "simply" a matter of providing some reliable evidence to support your assertion. However, despite your promises you NEVER provide such evidence and therefore the only rational conclusion is that you're either simply lying or simply deluded.

    No one is saying all amps sound the same without any conditions, such a statement would obviously be ridiculous. For example: A 10w amp will sound very different to a 2000w amp when driving say 1000w speakers at a reasonable level, a deliberately audibly coloured amp should sound different to an amp designed for accurate/high fidelity, a broken/non-functioning amp will obviously sound very different to a fully functioning one. The conditions for the statement that amps sound the same are relatively self-evident; for example: The same appropriate load, functioning well within specifications and designed for accurate amplification/reproduction rather than deliberately coloured.

    Sgt. Ear Ache likes this.
  7. TheSonicTruth
    Thanks. I would have had no problem typing it in full as you did. Facilitates communication for all.
  8. TheSonicTruth
    Thank you.

    (TY for the others!)
  9. Steve999
    Yes, after having read the article, it is obvious to me that it was careful, guarded, and reserved in its analysis and conclusions, and from the context of the article it appears to have been an early attempt at a careful examination of the issue, suggesting further tests were warranted to put its findings to the test. Now we are over thirty years down the road, and it seems a mountain of reliable evidence has accumulated that is consistent with the article’s findings, as typified by post number one in this thread. Still, I think it’s best not to over-generalize, that’s a fair point, because at that point the strength of the argument is diminished.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  10. TheSonicTruth
    I've got one amp that sounds really different - day and night! - It's capacitors contain a rare-earth element...


    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
  11. analogsurviver
    No exotic unobtainium required - but only the best possible that can be obtained and would phisically fit into available volume.

    After SMD became predominant, things started going downhill ; best dialectric materials can not stand temperatures for SMD soldering, particularly not after non lead solder became mandatory according to RoHS https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Restriction_of_Hazardous_Substances_Directive

    So, no present production using SMD is likely to be built with the best materials of the pre SMD trough hole times.
  12. bigshot
    Who's overgeneralizing? All I see is people deliberately obfuscating and utilizing logical fallacies to say that white is black and down is up. The truth doesn't automatically lie halfway between opposing viewpoints. Sometimes people are dead wrong but continue to argue it just to get sympathy and quarter from "broad minded" people who are willing to shove the truth aside to make nice nice.
    StandsOnFeet likes this.
  13. Steve999
    I must admit that yesterday’s debacle was among the worst bunch of nonsense I’ve ever seen in this thread. I wrote my own diatribe toward that effect after reading through everything last night, but whittled it down and later erased it in the middle of the night and just left the Frank Zappa video up. There are people just making up careless and ridiculous arguments that do not deserve any serious discussion, or flying off on comically irrelevant tangents. Some of them do exhibit the thought pattern you pointed out, for at least the year I came back here after an extremely long hiatus, but I do not think it is a tactic so much as their pattern of thinking or argument on this subject, and with the longitudinal view now, I don’t think it’s going to change. You did not overgeneralize yesterday. I read through carefully and in my view you did not. Still I think it’s good to have the don’t overgeneralize police, aka @castleofargh , hanging around, and since he’s human, like all of us, he’ll over-react once in a while, but he does pretty well.

    I have made hanging out here part of my leisure time and I’ll admit sometimes I’m more concerned about the people and relationships than the facts. I really don’t like to hurt people’s feelings, even online and I want this to be fun for me.

    I go off to a photography forum sometimes, littered with professional photographers (I’m far from it), and in response to some of the types of things you will see here either someone will call B.S. and it’s over or the post will languish with no response ever being given. Or sometimes it’s like, you know so much, show me your photos. That puts a dead stop to a lot of things. And if someone takes cool photos well then you want to hear from them, and guess what—you learn that usually it’s the guy behind the lens and not the gear that makes the biggest difference. There are people spending thousands on gear and an excellent pro can quite often do better with an iPhone. We don’t have that kind of reality check in this hobby so there is not the same process of hard lessons and motivation for self improvement and critical thinking or self examination built in. There’s no similar obvious evidence or penalty in this hobby that corresponds to continuing to believe or practice nonsense.
    Last edited: Jun 8, 2019
    StandsOnFeet likes this.
  14. gregorio
    There are many similarities between photography and recordings but also many huge differences. For example, with recordings it's also the guy/s behind the gear rather than the gear that makes the biggest difference. On the other hand; a huge difference is that almost everyone takes photos and serious amateurs know what all the basic tools/techniques do, both the hardware and software tools and for both actually taking a photo and processing it later. The same is not true with audiophiles, they typically have no personal experience whatsoever of creating what they're listening to, no or very limited understanding of even the oldest, most common basic tools/techniques and therefore, no experience and little/no understanding of how each of these tools/techniques individually affect the listener's/viewer's perception, let alone in combination. The result is that mis-attributions (correlation/cause and effect fallacies) are absolutely rife in the audiophile world, a fact which audiophile marketers advance and exploit to the max!

    Even if a pro calls BS, many/most audiophiles are so indoctrinated, so lack knowledge/experience and therefore the ability to think critically, that they're incapable of recognising the truth, even when it should be patently obvious. A pro calling BS is therefore almost certain to be insulted and shouted down, so almost without exception pros no longer engage with the audiophile world, with the result that the fallacious audiophile beliefs and marketing BS is simply ignored (and uncontested) by pros, allowing it to continue (and expand further) unchallenged except for a few tiny corners of the internet like this sub-forum! To the vast majority of pro engineers, the term "audiophile" is a synonym for "delusional nutter", while to many audiophiles, music engineers are cloth-eared, ignorant office workers whose job is to effectively ruin the performances of great musicians.

    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
  15. bigshot
    What is happening here is we have a careful study that has crossed every T and dotted every I and it points clearly to the conclusion that a couple of people don't want to accept. They can't acknowledge it, so every time it's mentioned or a link is posted, they pad out the thread with irrelevant blather to push the test back to an older page. They don't want this thread to be about tests and results. They want it to be about them and their opinions. When they flurry post their incorrect conclusions to a thread about scientific facts, they feel that it validates them. The arguing back and forth gives them attention and feeds their egp. They can't just let the facts speak for themselves. They have to inject themselves into it. That approach rarely arrives at the truth. It's why this thread is packed with lots of abstract unproven theories, harebrained wive's tales and logical fallacies instead of facts and solid practical advice.

    I wish people would let go of their own ego and just talk about sound science and how it applies to putting together a great home audio system. That's the purpose of this forum. But it often gets forgotten.
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