Testing audiophile claims and myths
Oct 23, 2021 at 1:02 AM Post #14,791 of 14,876

bigshot

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I've already given a reasonable response and you're not registering it. I'm not interested in pure science in theory. You can own that. I'm interested in applying basic scientific principles to help make my home audio system sound better- not perfect to the nth degree, just better. That doesn't require stringent tests. I'm not building a lab or a recording studio. I'm not publishing at the AES. I'm listening to music in my living room to enhance my lifestyle, and trying to please myself and my friends and family. If there was a forum here for reasonable people with normal goals and a rational process for working to achieve them, I would be there. But we've been herded into absolutist "us and them" groups, and I'm even worse at being a hoodoo mystic than I am at being a white coated, bespectacled scientist, so here I am. You're stuck with me.

I abide by the standards I ask other people to abide by. I don't ask them to take my word for anything. I offer my opinion and I tell them how I reached my conclusions. Most of all, I offer suggestions to help them apply achievable controls to stick a toe into the world of rational skepticism and science so they can find out for themselves. If they haven't applied any controls at all, I explain why controls are necessary and I tell them that their results will be more accurate if they implement them. I'm not going to tell them that applying controls requires equipment and knowledge beyond their ability, so they should just take the word of a scientist at face value. I would like to instill a little bit of skepticism and experimentation in them so they can understand and solve their own problems. I grew up watching Mr Wizard do simple experiments on TV with basic household items. That kind of science is fine with me.

I don't want to be an expert or an authority. I want to be a facilitator, helping them grow and learn for themselves. I don't care how stringent their controls are as long as they make an honest effort to implement them. If it isn't enough, they can do a little more next time and get a little better results. "Right and wrong" are defined differently by every person on Earth. I prefer to speak in terms of "not so hot and a little better". In the past, I've helped folks set up simple listening tests that helped them realize in which direction the truth lay. That was a lot more useful to them than linking to technically dense AES papers that require a subscription, or plowing through paragraph after paragraph of complicated jargon that focuses more on the exceptions to the rule than the simple truth. I don't want to be a scientist and feel the need to cross every T and dot every I. I just want to help.

Normal people who come here want to know if an SACD really does sound better than a CD, or if spending a lot more money on an amp will make a big difference. They aren't asking for a thesis paper. They just want an explanation of the why and how of things in laymen's terms so they can decide what to spend their money on. There's way too much talking over people's heads in this forum already. I shouldn't be required to add to that. I would rather help people understand the fundamentals of how things work and help them figure out how to come up with a rational strategy for making their stereo sound better. Pretty simple goal. And I'm attempting to do this in an internet discussion forum- just about the most informal mode of communication there is. There is no qualification for typing in words here. Anyone can do it. And people lie to us or make stuff up here all the time. Worry about them first.

Arguing about silly stuff like this is what makes me feel like a king in Gulliver's Travels arguing about which end of an egg to break. I'm not writing at length here because I enjoy it. I'm speaking precisely to try to explain where I'm coming from so folks understand and stop trying to paint me as something I'm not.
 
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Oct 23, 2021 at 7:49 AM Post #14,792 of 14,876

dogrelata

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still not the one I was looking for, but they explain(I don't get all of it...) how they manage to identify brain activity without actually having(or being able) to track each neurons https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/2020.09.30.320176v1.full
Because for now we cannot. We get to see activation of general areas(with way too many neurons), or study small groups of extracted neurons from animal while they still work , by measuring or sending electrical signals. If I gave you a false impression that we could really follow neuron per neuron activity in a living human brain, sorry for being misleading.

There was another work discussing ... I'm not sure I remember that correctly. Something where as we learn a sound sample, and we listen to it, we have some sort of inverted expectation or something. So if we get what we expect, nothing much happens(they cancel out), but when the difference becomes big enough(no idea where the threshold is or how it's characterized), then it causes a reaction and we notice.
Now the bonus question: What happens if we have inaccurate expectations from a flawed memory or biased experiences in the first place? ^_^
Thanks, that was really interesting.

If this technology were ever to reach the point of producing high resolution recordings of our own perceived/imagined version of music it would be fascinating to see if the brain subtley make changes to the original to make it more pleasing to us. If that was the case, the revised version could then be listened to, with the potential for further changes, etc. In theory, after a number of iterations, we'd reach a point where we longer make any more changes and that would be a perfect version of that piece of music.

Obviously by the time this technology matured, it would be possible to project music directly into the brain while we slept, waking up a new master recording, tailored to our own tastes. Pure sci-fi, obviously, but what else are we going to do on a wet Satyrday afternoon in October:relaxed:!
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 1:52 PM Post #14,793 of 14,876

VNandor

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Level matching can be done simply to a degree that can discern if a difference is big enough to worry about. Just run a tone through both sources and switch back and forth and adjust until you can't hear a difference any more. That works fine. If you can't hear a difference with a steady tone, there is no way it's going to make a difference when you play music. And a friend will be patient enough to help you do enough tests to know whether you should worry about it or not. You don't need to calculate pi to the 100th decimal point. There is such a thing as "good enough for government work". If you can't do it in an hour, take two hours.

Test for yourself. Don't throw up your hands and give up because you don't have a degree in engineering. Critical thinking and testing is for EVERYONE, not just people in white lab coats.
Suggesting that volume matching by ears is good enough when testing sources should be a bannable offense on the sacred ground of the almighty Sound Science Sub-Forum of Head-Fi.

On a more serious note, you definitely don't need to have a degree in engineering to get a multimeter and to use it to properly match sources, it's not nearly as inaccessible as you make it out to be. No lab coat needed, just an ounce of interest in proper testing and some common sense. Doing a blind-test while relying on volume matching by ears is effectively the same as doing a sighted test: the test is simply not good enough to draw any meaningful conclusion from it.

I don't think you would accept a positive result from someone who blind-tested two DACs but did the volume matching by ear.
 
Oct 24, 2021 at 2:32 PM Post #14,794 of 14,876

Brahmsian

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https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/31786800/

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Oct 24, 2021 at 6:44 PM Post #14,795 of 14,876

bigshot

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Obviously by the time this technology matured, it would be possible to project music directly into the brain while we slept, waking up a new master recording, tailored to our own tastes.

Sounds like it might be a "just one more thing" at the next Apple event!

Mr Ban Hammer Wrote: I don't think you would accept a positive result from someone who blind-tested two DACs but did the volume matching by ear.

Haven't had one yet. And who said that I care if you would accept it or not? Didn't I explain that my testing is for my own information, not to publish for others? I encourage other people to do their own tests for themselves applying controls to the best of their ability. My advice is to take the word of anyone posing as an expert in an internet forum. Do your own homework. Question and try to discern for yourself.

I think I need some sort of cut and paste. People don't understand what I'm saying.
 
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Oct 25, 2021 at 12:43 PM Post #14,797 of 14,876

bfreedma

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Sounds like it might be a "just one more thing" at the next Apple event!



Haven't had one yet. And who said that I care if you would accept it or not? Didn't I explain that my testing is for my own information, not to publish for others? I encourage other people to do their own tests for themselves applying controls to the best of their ability. My advice is to take the word of anyone posing as an expert in an internet forum. Do your own homework. Question and try to discern for yourself.

I think I need some sort of cut and paste. People don't understand what I'm saying.


I understand what you are saying. I just don't agree that your tests have can be used to draw any conclusion (including for you) without proper controls.

Just applying the same standards to you that we ask others to follow in Sound Science and know that "volume matched by ear then very limited number of tests" would be called out for insufficient controls if someone else were to draw hard conclusions from substandard testing.
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 1:31 PM Post #14,798 of 14,876

bigshot

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You would be surprised how useful my tests have been for me.
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 1:41 PM Post #14,799 of 14,876

bfreedma

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You would be surprised how useful my tests have been for me.

Useful for you? Possibly. Useful in establishing any objective conclusion? No.

For all of the discussion of testing methodology and placebo, I can't understand how you or anyone else can make objective statements derived from the results of uncontrolled testing.

What you've actually got is a subjective personal preference. Same as the people who visit making claims about cables/DACS/Amps. Nothing wrong with that, but it isn't accurate to call what you have objective results in the Sound Science subforum.
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 1:50 PM Post #14,800 of 14,876

bigshot

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I’m only doing tests for myself. I can’t seem to get that across. I test to figure out how things work so I can make a plan of what to do. Im not trying to prove anything to anybody. People should do their own informal tests so they can figure out how things work too.
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 1:56 PM Post #14,801 of 14,876

bfreedma

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I’m only doing tests for myself. I can’t seem to get that across. I test to figure out how things work so I can make a plan of what to do. Im not trying to prove anything to anybody. People should do their own informal tests so they can figure out how things work too.

Again, please follow the norms and quote post you are responding to.

Do you not see the irony of posting conclusions based on improper controls in Sound Science? If it helps you find your subjective preference, great, but suggesting this type of testing has any real value (even to you) in formulating objective results isn't, IMO, appropriate in this subforum.

If we allow ourselves a double standard, how can we ask others to follow correct methodology? If a cable "believer" posted here claiming to hear differences based on insufficient level matching and test trials, would you accept their claim?
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 1:57 PM Post #14,802 of 14,876

bigshot

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This is silly!
 
Oct 25, 2021 at 2:57 PM Post #14,804 of 14,876

bigshot

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Requiring that posts in an internet forum meet rigorous standards is laughable. I don't think anyone should put complete faith in ANYTHING said in an internet forum. There are too many people making up fake personas and lying through their teeth because they think there are no consequences on the internet. Someone can come in here and detail the most rigorous testing standards possible, and they may very well be a 17 year old sociopathic high school dropout living in their mom's basement whose only experimentation has been with a bong. Welcome to the internet!

I present myself honestly. I never claim to be a scientist and I don't claim my tests meet any kind of "official standard". I do tests to experiment for myself and figure out how things work. That's a LOT better than doing nothing and just following what other people in audiophile forums say. I share what I've learned and I offer tips and resources, but I never claim to be any kind of scientific authority myself. People need to do their own experiments and research for themselves and I've helped a few do just that by offering tips. I'm the only one here offering visitors help with setting up their own listening tests. I'm not the one saying, "It's too hard to do tests to academic standards. Just trust me on this. I'm a scientist!"

I'm not Moses with tablets, I'm just a guy who licked his finger and held it up to figure out which direction the wind was blowing. We don't need Moseses around here. We need more people making an effort to figure out for themselves how things work. That should be what Sound Science is about. It's a forum about applying scientific principles to make our home stereo sound better. It's a place for real people, not a private club for official card carrying scientists.
 
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Oct 26, 2021 at 6:53 AM Post #14,805 of 14,876

GearMe

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Ha --- this back and forth discussion vaguely reminds of a book that we probably all had to read in high school about some kids stranded on an island.

Context matters! Head-Fi is an Internet Forum about the Personal Audio Hobby and how we choose to 'implement' that in our own lives. We chat, share some ideas, and hopefully come away from it with some entertainment/knowledge/etc that makes our life more enjoyable through these interactions. Ideally, some of the information members pass on to us we can leverage (if so desired) to increase our enjoyment when we listen to music.

Bigfoot has hit the target as far as any 'value' that the Sound Science sub-Forum could provide (imo). If I were to chose to waste my time doing a (sort-of) 'blind test', I would follow something similar to what Bigfoot does because it would be Good Enough for me.

I say this having an analytics/engineering/business educational and work background --- understanding the methodology, statistics, and potential usefulness behind the process.

So, if other people feel the need to turn up the 'precision' to appeal to their objectivity angst, more power to them...knock yourselves out!

But in the end, imo, the value that this tiny sub-forum provides to the community becomes diminished as this pedantic need for 'precision' fails to reach and influence the vast majority of Head-Fi members (my anecdotal observation...not backed by ANY hard data)! :wink:
 

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