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why I'm a subjectivist

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by raddle, Jan 4, 2014.
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  1. esldude

    Raddle, please listen.  Accuracy of the signal is not subjective. A subjective person's perception of whether something is accurate is subjective.  The two are not the same.  Moreover when you talk that one person is interested in timbre, and another is in something else, yes that is subjective.  And yes, the perception of those different qualities are subjective.  But you are down to preferences and experiences.  And one can tune a system more toward one than the other.  But that works best if there is a baseline of accuracy for reference.  And preference is never going to be a transferable bottom line measure of overall accuracy.  If you don't get the two separate in your mind, you are never going to make sense to others or even yourself in the end.
  2. higbvuyb
    I'm not interested in your subjective idea of 'rhythm'. I've simply undermined that part of your argument by demonstrating that drummers, (who are good at keeping timing, naturally), are routinely off by several milliseconds every single time, even when they are intending to keep regular timing.
    Other evidence shows that musicians trying to play a note simultaneously, will vary relative to each other with a standard deviation of ~35 ms.
    Timing error of that order is natural in music. If that does not make the music 'inaccurate', why does the comparatively miniscule error of a speaker matter? Bigshot has already tried to teach you this multiple times. 
    Big things are bigger than little things. This is a pretty simple concept.
  3. Mambosenior
    A philosophical pretext in the Science Forum? Has there been a unified theory postulated recently that I am unaware of? About as reasonable as a meat eater posting in a vegetarian forum.
  4. castleofargh Contributor
    you don't get that those 2 words have nothing in common, and we should all be amazed about the confusion between rhythmic timing (that exists) and rhythmic quality (a view of your own mind).
    that's exactly my problem with you. if we can't even agree on the meaning of a word, there is no way we can all communicate efficiently. by refusing measurements as a point of reference, you limit our ways to communicate about sound. all the psychological uniqueness of people that makes you king of your own world is masturbation interfering with the development and shared knowledge.
    I learned some English to get access to the world, I learned some sound science to know more about sound, I learned a bit about measurements because it helps me a lot in picking my next gear. what is your point in trying to convince us to dismiss all that? I know what I can gain from measurements, I fail to see what I will gain from convincing myself that my perception is reality and endlessly confronting it to other people's reality with no way to even clearly explain to them what I hear?
    about the mics, plz go check how people can use microphones in a studio, because obviously once again you try to link consequence to causes that never existed. they often mix the sound of several microphones at different places for just 1 instrument. there is no realism in the positionning. where we hear that instrument in the recording has very few relation to where it was on the recording session.
  5. raddle
    Keep in mind that sound starts as a 3D wavefront and gets changed into one or more signals by a mic setup. Your standard undergrad textbook signals & systems theory doesn't apply until the wavefront becomes a signal. It then gets preserved and moved to a speaker where it becomes a wavefront again.
    Now I've already granted that the signal is perfectly preserved. There is no subjectivity in the SIGNAL. It's perfect, we are assuming. So please revise your comment with that In mind.
  6. raddle
    I'm not a very good or well-trained musician, but as far as I can tell there is a fairly well-understood concept and language about rhythmic quality that musicians use to talk to each other. And I'm interested in audio chains that get rhythmic quality right.
    Are qualities that musicians perceive somehow off-limits for scientific observation?
    Keep in mind that my response to that paper is this: just because two events are perceived as united, doesn't mean that the relative delay has no perceivable quality.
    I was not very clear in my first post on this matter. You are going to accuse me of changing my argument again, and I understand it looks like that. It's just a case of not being clear.
    Again we are talking about two systems A and B which have known audible differences, like mic position, room treatment, etc. There is no doubt in my mind that I can perceive different rhythmic quality, and that the so-called "Pace, Rhythm, and Timing" is a useful concept.
    What causes this? I don't know. Sorry if I implied that I know. I know that the phenomenon exists, and I also believe it's useful to investigate it scientifically. I was suggesting some starting points.
    Now contrast this perspective with BigShot's. I'm saying it's a useful concept to investigate. He's dismissing it.
  7. higbvuyb
    That's not a valid response. Please pay attention.
    You were claiming that the smaller variation allegedly introduced by the speaker would be significant in comparison to the error produced by musicians. You further claimed that pianists are sub-millisecond accurate. Feel free to provide any sort of evidence to support your claim.
    If you're no longer trying to make that claim and willing to concede it, let me know.
  8. raddle
    You keep talking about this "accurate playback system." So tell me, which speaker polar radiation pattern is accurate? Should the carpet on your listening room floor be 1" or 2" thick in order to provide accuracy? Which brand of diffusion panel on your back wall is the accurate one?
  9. L0SLobos
    [rhythmic quality] of sound. I lol'ed. Since when was this a thing? Or did raddie just make this up to fortify his argument?
  10. raddle
    I will concede I have no evidence (I don't have a reference to this pianist study, it was an undergraduate research project), although I think it's wrong to compare musician timing errors to speaker group delay. It's not that one swamps the other. It doesn't matter if one is much larger. It they are both audible, they will almost certainly have different subjective effects which can occur together.
  11. manbear

    The solution is simple. Camera A reproduces shapes with more objective accuracy and Camera B reproduces colors with more objective accuracy. If you leave it at that, accuracy is entirely objective. The problem is not  that the observers disagree about which camera is more accurate -- it's that each observer is using the word accuracy in a sloppy way. More precise language ("accurate color reproduction" or "accurate shape reproduction") resolves the entire problem. 

    I addressed this exact point in my post #95 before:
    It is reasonable to say that setup X might reproduce rhythm more accurately than setup Y, but setup Y might reproduce tone more accurately than setup X. X gets rhythm right and Y gets tone right. A listener who focuses on rhythm might then both prefer X and say that X sounds more accurate. A listener who focuses on tone might say that Y is preferable and more accurate. Do we need to be able to decide who is correct and who is incorrect to say that accuracy is objective? No. We just say that X reproduces rhythm more accurately and Y reproduces tone more accurately and leave it at that. Both determinations are objective. Weighing them against each other to determine an ultimate "winner" brings in subjectivity. 

    So I think it is easier to accept that accuracy is objective if we do away with thinking of accuracy as being a single dimension. Not that you've said accuracy is a single dimension; this is just where the discussion seems to be going when I think about it. 
  12. higbvuyb
    It's because you keep using 'rhythm' to mean not just a timing error, but 'literally any other property of music to make it as vague as possible'. We could replace 'rhythm' with 'music' in your posts and they would make no less 'sense'.
    Group delay can be audible in some circumstances. What point are you trying to make?
  13. dvw
    @raddle Your argument is all over the place. The primary argument you have is accuracy can only be achieved through subjectivity.
    So far you have
    1. Recording condition is not accurate
    2. Stereo is not accurate because the original is 3D
    3. The system some how change the timing. If the error of each beat is delta(n). sum(delta(n))=x The playback time will be increased or reduced by x. Does that even make sense to you. With the change in timing does the pitch change as well? How about drum machines? How do they work, do they change timing? I think this timing change alone should be a separate thread.
    We are discussing the PLAYBack system and the accuracy measurement by subjectivity. Accuracy is defined by how faithful the playback is. If it's a lousy recording, no system will make it better. Please stick to playback accuracy and explain how accuracy can only be measured by subjectivity. Of course you can define rhythm quality and discuss it in another thread. I would love to hear how speakers can change the timing. There are several 3D/soundstage thread you can comment in as well. But please explain your accuracy measurement.
    Here's some questions related to ACCURACY:
    1. Is there a case where there is subjective accuracy and no objective accuracy? Or vice versa
    2. Can something measured the same but sound different? Or measured different and sound the same. What about the Bob Carver experiment? A SS amp that measured the same as a hugely expensive tube amp that sounded the same?
    3. Human hearing's sensitivity to frequency are dependent on volume. What is the best volume to determine accuracy by subjectivity?
    4. The human's audio memory is quite short. Do you need a reference to determine accuracy?
    5. In one of the active fiber cable review done by the Stereophile, the reviewer claimed the cable to be natural. This cable has a 10% distortion. Is your definition of accuracy not include distortion?
  14. bigshot
    Then you'll agree that recording and mixing primarily involve creative subjective decision making, and playing a CD on your stereo primarily involves objective accuracy.
  15. bigshot
    I'm dismissing it because the timing errors that you are pointing to don't even come remotely close to being perceptible as musical rhythm. The delays are so small, if they cause a problem, it's on the scale of individual sound waves. To human ears, this would be perceptible as frequency response errors... certain frequencies getting cancelled out because the delay corresponds with half the length of the waveform. 1/10,000th of a second or less is not big enough to affect a rhythmic beat operating at 1/2 second intervals.
    Do you understand better now? The effect of timing errors in rooms and speakers manifests itself as FREQUENCY RESPONSE problems, not perceptible echo.
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