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WAV Sounds The Best (To Me)

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by jfaaz, Apr 1, 2015.
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  1. BrianovichIV

    I agree with all that. It's mostly just placebo.
    However, I believe that a placebo effect can still be meaningful to a listener and enhance their enjoyment. If a person believes a cable, or battery, or power supply, or 24bit track is better, and it increases their enjoyment, then it really does. And good for them! It's their money.
    But that person probably shouldn't be discussing this in the sound science forum. Or maybe, definitely shouldn't :wink:
    I think my music sounds better when I listen to FLACs instead of lossy. My brain knows that's not true. But it makes my listening experience better. And it doesn't really hurt anyone.
    But you won't see me trying to convince people that FLACs are better.
  2. bfreedma
    Placebo and it's impact on learned listening skills would be a very interesting study - perhaps one has already been done that I haven't located.  If anyone is aware of this type of research and has a link, I would very much appreciate it.
    I have an (UNPROVEN!) theory that implementing a change that you believe will lead to an audible improvement may actually slowly develop the brain's "listening" skill.  I'm not saying that a new amp/dac/cable creates something in the audio that wasn't there before, but that the belief in the placebo's impact may in essence be making us better listeners, thereby noticing things that were always there but not consciously processed previously.
    Or at minimum, perhaps we concentrate more on listening when we believe there is something "new" to hear.
    Not talking night and day type new audio elements, but small nuances.  Again, I want to be clear that I don't believe the amp/dac/cable is enabling us to hear something "new", just that we become better at acquiring the musical data that was always present.
    Thoughts?  Flames?  Rotten Tomato lobbing?.....
  3. Steve Eddy

    Well, it may be. But those who are claiming it's not are free to step up to the plate and demonstrate that it's not instead of a bunch of hand-waving and empty claims.

    Oh absolutely. I take the very same approach myself, because when it comes to listening to reproduced music, the only thing that matters is my own subjective, hedonistic pleasure.

    Where I separate myself is that I don't come to believe that my subjective experience is entirely due to actual audible differences.

    What, you're saying I should leave? :p

    I see no reason why subjectivity and objectivity can't peacefully coexist. I'm living proof. Just have to heed the advice from Ghostbusters. Don't cross the streams. :D

    And really, that's where all the trouble is. Some people seem to think they can cross the streams. And sadly, many people just can't comprehend that.


    Right. Because you saw Ghostbusters too. :D

  4. anetode
    A scientific truth is preferable to a pseudoscientific halftruth.
    Fools are entitled to their foolishness. Fools are not entitled to no one calling them out on it.
    You could choose to put in the time and effort to learn. Technobabble would become transparent and you would earn an elite members-only badge (which says "Banned" last time I checked).
  5. StanD
    And everyday can bring a new subjective experience.  [​IMG]
  6. anetode
  7. bfreedma

    Thanks for that. Was under no illusion that I had an original thought :)

    I wonder how much of the subjectivist view that cables etc. make an "audible" improvement can be explained by the Pygmallion Effect. Any future PHDs out there looking for a thesis topic?.....
  8. Steve Eddy


  9. Steve Eddy

    False premise.

    That would not be a subjectivist view. A subjectivist would never make such a claim. You can call them pseudo objectivists, or "audiophiles" if you like. But they are decidedly NOT subjectivists.

  10. bfreedma

    Ok. Any thoughts regarding the Pygmallion Effect on Pseudo or Objectionable Audiophiles in terms of listener "brain training" via expectation bias and/or placebo effect enabling the hearing of the preexistent audio cues they ascribe to hardware changes?
  11. Steve Eddy

    I'd rather watch My Fair Lady with Rex Harrison and Audrey Hepburn. :p

    I don't really see any relevance here to expectation bias and/or placebo. But then anetode doesn't say anything. He just lobs a Wikipedia link. Don't think there's really anything to say other than asking what his point is. Tossing out links isn't an argument. They're useful for supporting an argument, but just tossing out a link like that is just laziness. We're not psychics.

  12. anetode
    Kinda obvious, I thought: an audiophile "authority" claims that this sounds like that, mentions something like "careful listeners will notice..." or "my clever readers..." and so primes their audience. Pygmalion effect then works in step with expectation bias: even if the audiophile imagines hearing some differences, their perception is still made more acute by focus, allowing them to pick out minor details they wouldn't have otherwise.  
    For example, say you prepare an ABX test with the protocol including telling the testers that they were specially selected as experienced and capable listeners and that they are more likely to hear the difference than mere mortals. Then regardless of the results of the testing the participants will expend more effort and do better (provided an actual audible difference) than if you were to introduce the test by saying "this test has a foregone conclusion, you're not going to hear a difference".
    That is what the pygmalion hypothesis suggests will happen. Olive's trained listener research offers contradicting evidence, but I wonder if there's any potential for quantifiable improvement in critical listening abilities to be gained by blowing smoke up audiophiles' asses. As did bfreedma, hence the link.
  13. StanD
    Is there something wrong with the moon that's bringing out all the goofiness? What's next, werewolves will be posting their theories on how their DACs bring on their transformation while listening to WAV files of howling?
  14. Steve Eddy

    Sorry, I don't really see that as the Pygmalion effect. I see it as just priming regular expectation bias. The Pygmalion effect is about people rising to meet the expectations that others have of them. I see that as something completely different from someone's subjective perceptions being influenced by their own expectations of what they will hear.

    Again, I see them as two different things. And I would argue that priming one's expectations as to what they may hear would only serve to increase the chances of their subjectively perceiving differences when no audible differences actually exist. The purpose of the test is to provide a control for any existing expectation bias they may have. Not to reinforce those biases.

    I'm sorry, but I just don't see any Pygmalion effect as you're describing it here working to improve the chances of the test subjects of passing a blind test. I see it as quite the opposite.

    I really don't think what you are saying is an apt reading of, or representation of the effect.

    I really don't see how adding to someone's existing expectation biases will result in an improvement in the pe romance of a test whose primary goal is to control for those biases.

  15. bfreedma

    It was a fairly straightforward question (I thought) about the potential for listening skill to develop/improve based on placebo based expectation and its impact on listener focus. Sorry it bothered you, but no need for the insults.

    Based on your post, I assume you discount the possibility. I'm not convinced our listening skill is static and unable to develop based on expectation. I wonder if this isn't one of the sources of many reports of new gear sounding better despite the measurements indicating it technically shouldn't.
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