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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. GearMe
     
    Steve999 likes this.
  2. castleofargh Contributor
    when in an argument, the one to win is the one who can eat the most boiled eggs.
     
    Steve999 and GearMe like this.
  3. Steve999
    That would be Joey.

     
    Last edited: Jun 9, 2019
    GearMe likes this.
  4. bfreedma
    Waiting on the proof you promised 4 years ago of CD mats improving SQ. Still having trouble posting the data?

    I’m willing to read your posts, but you NEED to start producing the evidence you repeatedly claim to have. Anecdotes are not appropriate as evidence.
     
  5. goatkidbaahcity
    They should replace the "Write your reply..." text with this.
     
  6. TheSonicTruth
    And consequently the one who can clear a room, or an entire row in economy class. :D
     
  7. KeithEmo
    I would personally say that the results of the test were in fact quite conclusive…

    They proved conclusively that a group of test subjects were unable to hear any difference between two different amplifiers…
    - using the group of test subjects they chose
    - using the two specific brands and models of amplifiers they tested
    - using the specific source content they chose
    - using the specific playback equipment they chose
    - using the specific speakers they chose
    - in the specific room and under the specific listening conditions they chose
    - on the day the test was run
    - at that particular time of day, day of the week, and season of the year
    - at the specific temperature, relative humidity, and pollen count present in that venue that day

    Note:
    If you think I’m being too specific, then please present the results of a thorough test demonstrating how each of those factors is NOT relevant.
    Or, if you try, I’ll bet you can think up another dozen factors which MIGHT be different on a different test.
    Personally I’m not convinced that either a vinyl album, or a 1987 vintage CD player, could provide content that would be "perfect" enough not to mask flaws in an amplifier.
    (For starters, both have a noise level far higher than the noise floor of even medium-quality amplifiers by today's standards... and vinyl has FAR more THD.)

     
  8. KeithEmo
    An interesting question.....

    Virtually every authority on the subject agrees that our hearing acuity is best when we are very young - and steadily decreases with age. There are apparently a massive collection of test results to back up that claim... and, in fact, nobody seems to even question its accuracy.

    So, if we wish to test "whether humans can hear the difference between two different things", whether it's two different amplifiers, or two different DACs, or two different types of files, it seems to make obvious sense to choose our test subjects from among the human demographic group that we already know has the best hearing acuity. It hardly makes sense to accept test subjects who we know have less than optimal hearing acuity. Even if we suspect that factors other than raw hearing acuity are at work, and may even turn out to be more important, it seems obvious that, by deliberately excluding the group of humans who are known to have the best hearing acuity, we are seriously skewing the overall results. (I am, of course, taking the somewhat liberal view that children are in fact "human beings" rather than "pets".)

    So, how many of the test results we have are from groups of test subjects that included the humans we already know have the best hearing acuity?
    Did ANY of those so-called "definitive and carefully conducted tests" include any kindergarten children... or even teenagers...?
    Should we suspect that they deliberately AVOIDED choosing the group of humans that we KNOW have the most acute hearing?
    Or should we simply accept that they chose convenience over accuracy when selecting members of their test groups?
    (Or, perhaps, that they chose among "humans who are likely to purchase stereo equipment"?)

     
  9. Sgt. Ear Ache
    haha, you're a funny guy Keith.

    "Sure, that A-Bomb detonated perfectly, but that was just one atom splitting under one specific set of circumstances. Who knows if that will be true of all other atoms. There might be an atom out there somewhere that won't detonate under even the exact same set of circumstances. Soooo....who knows right? Can't really draw any meaningful conclusions from that at all." :dt880smile:
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  10. Steve999
    https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-HiFI-Stereo/80s/HiFi-Stereo-Review-1987-01.pdf
     
  11. KeithEmo
    You seem to have your example backwards...

    The atom bomb works because there are a huge number of atoms involved...
    And, even though we have no way of knowing when a particular atom will split, it is statistically likely that enough of them will split within the required time to create a chain reaction.
    (The way you "detonate an atomic bomb" is to create a situation where this is true.)
    However, if you were to single out one particular atom, nobody can predict whether that particular atom will split at any given time or not.
    In fact, even when an atom bomb is successfully detonated, many atoms will split, but many will not.
    (In other words we are NOT able to predict the actions of ANY individual atom.)

    I would probably agree with you that, if we choose two properly functioning modern amplifiers, most listeners will be unable to hear a difference most of the time...
    (However, you seem to be claiming that, in THAT case, we will be able to predict WHETHER EACH INDIVIDUAL LISTENER CAN OR CANNOT HEAR A DIFFERENCE.)
    (You are going beyond claiming to know the results for one particular listener and claiming to know the results for each and every individual listener.)

    Remember that, if a single listener on the entire planet can actually hear a difference....
    Then the claim that "there is no audible difference" will have been proven to be false....
    (We don't need the bomb to go off... we just need one atom to split to prove that "some atoms sometimes split".)
    This is the risk you take when making broad generalizations.

    All you need to do to avoid falling into this trap is to temper your generalization...
    For example, by saying "most people won't hear a significant difference most of the time".
    Since that claim is statistical in nature it can be "proven to be true" statistically.)

     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
  12. bigshot
    First we get the absolutist statement "we can't know anything because we can't know everything". (Unless we test every human on earth, we can't say anything.) Then we get the demand that we prove a negative. (Tell me how different conditions would NOT be relevant.) Now we'll get four or five completely irrelevant posts talking about A bombs. So predictable. It might as well be a bot.

    Sraw man arguments don't make any point. You can't prove a negative. Demanding that every amplifier be checked under every circumstance is obviously impossible. What you *can* do is look at this article, read the sidebar and find out the absurd lengths they went to in trying to please people who make arguments like "OH! You didn't use a turntable!" or "The amp doesn't matter if the CD player isn't top of the line." or arguing statistics, color of the rug, dress code of the listeners, etc.

    The fact is, a test can be extremely well conducted, and take a great deal into account in advance, and reach a clear conclusion... and it will still have armchair experts in internet forums saying that it might not apply to them. If you REALLY REALLY REALLY don't want to believe something, you can always think of an excuse to keep yourself in the dark. I'm perfectly fine with that. I only object to that when they try to spread their ignorance to others. All opinions are not equal. Some are full of hot air.

    Do more tests. Do tests that are incredibly impractical and expensive "just to be sure". Prove impossible things... Refuse to jump through all my rhetorical hoops? Then my unsupported straw man argument is just as valid as the results of your test backed up with facts.

    sorry... no.

    You have the patience of Job. I think the only person still reading their posts in full is Gregorio. I read until I hit a logical fallacy or unsubstantiated claim, then I stop. I don't generally get more than a sentence or two in. It's unrewarding to go any further.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    StandsOnFeet likes this.
  13. KeithEmo
    But A-bombs are fun....
    And, if nobody can hear the difference between two A-bombs of approximately the same megaton rating, then they must all sound exactly the same.

    I'm sorry, but, while I agree that testing every possible amplifier or CD player would be somewhat impractical.....
    I really don't think testing with exactly one turntable and one CD player constitutes a sufficient sample to generalize your results to "every source, every amplifier, and every music sample, now and forever"....
    And, no, while the two particular sources they chose apparently pleased certain members of their audience, I consider neither to be one of the most perfect signal sources on the planet either.
    And, for that matter, I would hardly consider 1987 vintage Magneplanars to be the most revealing loudspeaker on the planet either.
    And, if you do, then, well, I guess life is very simple for you....
    But I absolutely do not consider test results obtained with that particular selection of equipment to be generally and universally applicable.

    To me, that sounds rather like doing a taste comparison of exactly two flavors of soda, out of the thousands available...
    And, after being unable to notice any difference between those two, declaring that you have proven that "all soda tastes exactly the same"...
    (And suggesting that this is somehow more likely to be true because "you used the two brands of soda that everyone agrees are the best".)

    And, I'm sorry, but the fact that they went to absurd lengths to please the fans of two specific types of audio technology hardly seems relevant.
    (Or, at most, no more relevant than pleasing the folks who are sure that music sounds best when listened to while wearing a silk robe and a fez.)

    The test does appear to be well conducted...
    And may in fact be quite definitive... as long as you use the same source equipment, the same content, and the same speakers as they used to perform the test...
    But... what about the rest of us... who use very different equipment...?

     
  14. castleofargh Contributor
    I tend to agree with that. an experiment, even when statistically significant and repeated by others with similar results each time, is only conclusive within the frame of that experiment. if we start to consider dismissing the potential impact of extra variables so we can draw broader conclusions from an experience, we're not doing better than those who use their sighted impressions to draw conclusions about what they heard.
    drawing conclusions doesn't have to be easy just because audiophiles want a simple black or white answer they can then go spam as truth. if rejecting universal statements about DACs or amps, gives me the legitimacy to reject all the empty anecdotes on the same ground, then I'm very happy with the status quo.



    about humans having better hearing when young, one pretty obvious reason is that we don't regrow damaged hair cells as we grow old(FU birds!)
     
  15. bigshot
    "...the evidence would seem to suggest that distinctive amplifier sounds, if they exist at all, are so minute that they form a poor basis for choosing one amplifier over another. Certainly there are differences between amps, but we are unlikely to hear them." -Stereo Review January 1987 Pg 78 https://www.americanradiohistory.com/Archive-HiFI-Stereo/80s/HiFi-Stereo-Review-1987-01.pdf

    To find out if this test holds true for your own equipment, you get off your butt and do a similar experiment for yourself. I’ve done that. So have a lot of other people around here. We’re the ones who have found out the same thing Stereo Review did and you said it didn’t count because we didn’t do a stringent enough published test. Now you’ve got that and you go back to individual circumstances again. You just don’t want to know.
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
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