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There is nothing you can do to make a $5k DAC w/ 16/44 sound better than $1kDAC w/ 24/96

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by chesebert, Jul 10, 2010.
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  1. anetode
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    Then the real issue may be that some conclusion based on some type of reasoning was simply not welcome at that subforum. Specifically, pointing out what may seem obvious to you may pose a challenge to the moderator. People tasked with monitoring specific behaviors on web forums (speaking from personal experience) tend to fall prey to the fallacy that all disagreeable, possibly inflammatory comments are a form of attention-seeking behavior known as trolling. Of course it could be that the move is simply the result of a more literal reading of your thread, which mirrors the sort of dissection your statements have been exposed to over the past few pages. Then, by all means, sound science forum is a welcome place to try out hypotheses or question the validity of a set of assertions (e.g. 16/44 vs 24/96). If not, well hey, that's the conversation we're having now regardless of the nobility of your intent.
     

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    From I could glean from your comment, you appear to be describing a false dichotomy. How about we introduce a simpler way of looking at things: the most important tool we have is the scientific method, but it's prone to misapplication and misinterpretation.


     
  2. haloxt
    Head Injury and Pio2001, we're talking different things here. I'm talking about what objectivism and subjectivism really are because I don't think many people on this sub-forum should call themselves either, and I'm tired of people abusing language.
     
    Anetode, A common misconception is that subjectivism is about disregarding objective data, that it is inherently flawed. Easy to attack subjectivism like people attack Christians. Actually it is about looking for alternate answers, withholding judgment and refining subjective experiments in the hope that a better answer may become evident. Subjectivism and objectivism are simply two different paths to solve things, both can lay claim to "objectivity" so long as the fieldwork and interpretation is done properly. Proper scientific tests can be cateogirzed as subjectivist or objectivist, and good tests are rare because it often requires much time, money, effort, trial and error. I criticize anti-cablers for admitting our senses are flawed but seldom admitting that it may be causing false negatives, or contributing any advice on how to refine the methods used.
     
  3. Jack C


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    I certainly do not see much of the kind of people you've described in this sub forum. I think it may boil down to perception: you perceive them to hold a position that they do not hold...

     
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    A perception which you've demonstrated here. It seems contradictory to you because that's not what I actually said. I never said we cannot measure certain things that are heard, what I actually said is that we do not measure everything we hear. Do not and can't are very different - the fact that we choose not to, or it is impractical to measure certain things, doesn't mean we can't.  And this doesn't have to be anything exotic - most speaker manufacturers choose not to measure frequency response beyond the accepted thresholds of human hearing. They spec a +/- db rating at the limits and leave it at that. At the same time, it doesn't take a lot of convincing that instruments are better at measuring frequency response beyond 20-20kHz than human ears.
     
    There is a deeper point that we haven't gotten to, and it's the source of disconnect for most of these discussions, which is that subjective tests are "compound" in their very nature while measurements tend to be elemental. It is not a neat translation to say what set of measurements correlate with a certain subjective perception, even less the percentage contribution of each measurement.  Since this is not a easily resolved point, the forums go in circles with each calling the other side's reasoning faulty.
     
    I hope everyone step from beyond their comfort zone and realize the benefits of each approach. There is value to the scientific method - properly executed it is logical, rigorous, reliable, and we can learn a lot from it. It is what allows us to perform tasks with some sense of certainty. On the other hand, we also want to acknowledge that it is often impractical to boil everything down to science, no two subjective preferences are quite alike, and that the fastest path to audio enjoyment isn't through measurements but through a quick listen.
     
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    Yes, very good, but the typical goal of a DBT is to reveal a difference, not to cover it.  These types of tests typically make very generous efforts towards making sure that the test is fair - the procedure for conducting a fair DBT is not trade secret, anyone with the means can follow such a process. The scientific method is very mature for this type of thing. All of the precautions taken in a DBT is to eliminate potential sources of differentiation *EXCEPT* from the pieces of equipment being tested.
     
  4. anetode


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    See that's what I mean by false dichotomy. Subjectivism and objectivism have very specific, very narrow connotations in the way you describe them. I think it's best to tread without redefining philosophical points of view and focus on intellectual honesty and the process of scientific inquiry. Test design isn't some dark art, good experimental design can account for variances in human perception. There are such things as trained listeners and consistent results. It's too bad that audiophilia has more to do with co-opting scientific concepts than advancing scientific understanding.
     
  5. haloxt
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    Proof is in the pudding. Send a pm to Shike and ask her opinion about testing with the ears.
     
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    How many people on this forum do you think argue that we must rely on our hearing instead of using measuring tools because "we choose not to, or it is impractical to measure certain things". A handful of people, and the majority of them are pro-cable, and pro 24/96 and pro $5000 dac. From all perspectives I can see, the "difference" you've described is of little use.
     
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    You can never take enough precautions when testing something as variable as perception. Pioneers on human sensory perception have had to fight tooth and nail to unlock its mysteries, because given all the variables it's really freaking hard to measure. Theories overturn theories all the time in these fields and there are still much dark areas. What disappoints me most by all the people saying science has proven this and proven that is they have little appreciation for the complexity of human perception, not to mention many fundamental mysteries still to be solved, in human perception and many other things.
     
     
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    I'm not redefining everything, what I described is the real definition of objectivism and subjectivism. It's not audiophilia's responsibility to do anything for science, science should be a big boy and live up to its boasts of being scientific. My cynicism regarding the difficulty of testing human perception comes from witnessing particular people with extremely variable visual acuity and functioning. Maybe vision is much more variable than all the other senses, but still, the way many bad DBT tests are done, the duress they put test takers into is ridiculous and if they tried to submit their crap to some scientific journal they would be crucified, and that's bad considering how bad many science journals today are.
     
  6. khaos974
    And the day you'll convince a subjectivist to do a DBT where they fails to differentiate between two pieces of equipment, let's say amps, they'll say that plugging 2 amps into the power line changes perception or that the support of the more expensive amp has bad vibrations, making it sound bad.
     
    Yes, it was a bit sarcastic [​IMG]
     
  7. anetode


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    You're placing a specific interpretation of two philosophical constructs outside of their original context and using them selectively to lambast testing methods.
     
    You mentioned your cynicism, which sounds about right, but you shouldn't mistake it for skepticism. Using fallacious reasoning, like generalizing suspected flaws of (presumably) specific unnamed tests to the whole practice of double-blind testing, makes you sound like nothing more than a cynic. That's a fine and fashionable stance to take online, but when you go off and say things like "science should be a big boy", it crosses the border to pretentious nonsense.
     
  8. Jack C

     
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    This is again a mis-characterization of the position I've outlined. I never said we must rely on our hearing instead of using measuring tools: the two should be used together - a position that I think is shared by most of the people on both sides of the argument, just in varying degrees. Again, there will be some who take extreme positions, but those are in the minority and do not characterize an entire sub forum.
     
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    Come on, because you can't be 100% certain therefore the entire scientific method is without merit and therefore worthless as a tool? If we took this position, how did the human mind ever get past 1+1=2?  We are not discussing some high theology or purely abstract concept here, just what is and isn't audible to a listener - given the magnitude of differences claimed during sighted listening tests, this should be easy right? But no, whenever tests like these are done, the inability to hear any differences are attributed to minutiae of the test that may or may not have caused slight changes in the grand "complexity of human perception". I offer that just as the human perception is complex, the ability of humans to adapt to a surrounding is also considerable. If we were comfortable at 71 degrees and 10 lux light, a change to 72 degrees and 12 lux isn't likely any less comfortable, for example. This ability to adapt greatly decreases the amount of variables you need to account for: what did the listener have for breakfast, is the room color his favorite - most of this is mostly pointless and does not affect his ability to hear a difference.
     
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    Science does not exist out of thin air, science and mathematics is logic and reason. You cannot remove yourself from science just as you can't remove yourself from logic and reason. Logic and reasons calls on the one making the claim to prove it. If you don't feel like providing any proof, don't complain when people doubt your claims.
     
  9. haloxt
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    sub·jec·tiv·ism

    [suh[​IMG]b-jek-tuh-viz-uh[​IMG]m] [​IMG] Show IPA
    –noun
    1. Epistemology . the doctrine that all knowledge is limited to experiences by the self, and that transcendent knowledge is impossible.
     

    ob·jec·tiv·ism

    /əbˈdʒɛk[​IMG]təˌvɪz[​IMG]əm/ [​IMG] Show Spelled[uh[​IMG]b-jek-tuh-viz-uh[​IMG]m] [​IMG] Show IPA
    –noun 1. a tendency to lay stress on the objective or external elements of cognition.
     
    I rest my case.
     
     
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    If a flaw can be suspected, then it is worth pursuing in the name of science. I could complain about certain poorly done subjective hearing DBT's until your ears bleed. I'll spare your poor ears because it seems we're having enough difficulty just getting pass defining our terms.
     
     
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    They are not in the minority. It's like gun control and abortion, you have pro gun, and pro gun control, pro life, and pro death, seldom anyone in between. Your average pro-cabler does not understand the difficulty involved with substantiating their subjective claims. Your average anti-cabler does not understand the difficulty involved with scientifically disproving cable claims.
     
     
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    The value of an experiment is based upon what it can teach you. If an experiment seems it might bring you a millimeter closer to understanding the cure for the common cold which kills about half a million people a year, you should take it regardless of how likely the experiment is to fail.
     
     
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    By not holding onto "truths" too closely, being able to imagine alternate possibilities. Mental flexibility is a great virtue.
     
     
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    What I am referring first and foremost to is the audibility or inaudibility of certain things. Without a doubt audiophiles have to eat their words about "easily heard" differences until the time comes they can even demonstrate scientifically they can hear even a minute difference. But as is, science contains no proof of even minute consciously audible differences for many audiophile claims, so in the name of science, we should prove this first, then consider their claims of just how "easily heard" the differences are. Two different things, hope you can see.
     
     
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    Irrelevant, in an ideal science experiment you should account for as much as you can. You may believe environment is not important, but experiments on testing the extremes of human sensory perception in the past have always proved otherwise. If you don't account for as many variables as you can your data will often be wrong. The simple fact that one is being tested will invariably lead to signs of stress for the vast majority of people.
     
     
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    I'm just here to laugh at you people. I won't support my claims, it'd be like spoonfeeding overgrown babies. If you want proof then show you want it by searching for it, the experiments have indeed been done. Official science appropriates new knowledge, alters and limits it so it becomes as schizophrenic as itself. Many people are as mentally bulimic, they cannot deal with whole truths, don't know how to use their teeth and need to eat it in liquid form, and it's actually more dangerous to them than helpful because knowledge poured into their minds end up as dead log as opposed to integrated knowledge.
     
  10. The Monkey Contributor


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    This.  Thank you for cutting through the blather.
     
  11. Head Injury
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  12. haloxt
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    Interpret it this way, our perceptions are always biased.
     
     
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    It's important to realize objectivism and subjectivism are relative terms. Compared to subjectivists, objectivists disregard subjective data more, and if they think they can use objective measuring tools, they will do so over our faulty senses.
     
     
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    Empty words. Most naysayers are not constructive, they like to criticize endlessly like parrots.
     
     
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    It is nobody's responsibility to prove anything, but if someone is complaining for proof then he should do it himself, not ask others to do it. People who believe in unicorns are not going to give you proof because you demand it, so make do.
     
     
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    No. I'm actually saying many so called DBT's with the intent of disproving cable differences are pointless. What is the end result of such an experiment? Does it convince pro-cablers to stop being pro-cablers? No.
     
     
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    Much of the experiments done in judging what is audible or inaudible can be criticized. There's some good tests, but as I said before, they are rare due to time and money involved to do proper tests. Even these may be criticized (or a better word, improved upon), but no one is fit to criticize well done tests unless they do actual experiments to find out, time and resources I don't have.
     
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    There are actually some very expensive tests done on these topics. People have to understand, all I'm saying is that there's still new venues to look into, the last word on what is audible and what is inaudible has not been spoken. Take your 30-odd years of tests however you wish, it is irrelevant to what I'm saying.
     
     
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    Because I know many of you guys don't know what you're talking about. It is an undeniable fact that data can be skewed a million ways under unideal conditions, and people here too often ignore this fact.
     
     
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    A wise man knows how to separate the wheat from the chaff. Throw out the baby with the bathwater, see how far it gets you.
     
  13. dfkt
     
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    No, that would be a waste of time, trying to "convince" "pro-cablers" of anything. But such tests might help to prevent impressionable newbies falling for such ridiculous nonsense as audible differences in cables. They might start thinking about how ludicrous the whole premise is - or at least they get presented a different point of view and can judge for themselves if they "believe" or not.
     
    As usual for this sub-forum, this thread has gone way, way off-topic... amusing how it always falls back to a discussion about basic principles.
     
  14. Jack C


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    Thanks for confirming my suspicion.
     
    Jack
     
     
  15. khaos974
    Indeed, a wise man knows how to believe its senses, even when they tell him that different cables at different prices with different materials sound the same on a 10k€ setup,
    By the way, I never heard the difference between the stefan audioart cable and the basic one for the HD650. Does it mean the wheat is objective data and the wheat beliefs?
     
    Since my own (sighted) testing fails to differentiate cables and the DBTs conducted by other people also fail to do so, I'll stay way from cables that cost more than 5% of my gear ;}

     
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