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A statement I have danced around and implied, but not made outright, and some are certain to disagree...

I believe it is possible for sighted testing to be as effective as blind testing, but it is highly improbable that it is ever achieved by most listeners, even when they think they have. Of course, no one looks at an expensive amp or cable and thinks, "That sounds better," and then thinks, "But I am surely biased by the price and shiny finish and peer pressure, so my preference is suspect." Self-deception generally (always?) finds ways to hide itself, or it would not be so common in the world.
As an observer I most certainly cannot find anything further to discuss about this post. I too believe that many good people may never be able to do this. I also agree in your second premise that those that can afford and listen to more expensive stuff are not likely to browbeat themselves into believing that they are exceedingly biased. I have not been very active in the high dollar range of goods and as such I tend not to worry so much about it other than to agree that yes it does look sharp and yes I've been told that maybe it might sound or perform better than this little dinky RadioShack piece that I have in my left hand that was made in 1969.

I did recently have a listen to acquaintances system that I would guess cost well into the $250,000 range and was completely shocked by the amount of great big fat cabling that was laying about floor behind the speakers and equipment. I don't mean average garden hose type cabling I mean something more akin to radiator hose cabling and I had to ask myself what is the difference. Because that is all that he had in the room I was unable to asked to listen to anything else but in reality I probably would not have had the nerve feeling that I would look rather stupid by asking him to lower the standards of what he felt his system should be. In the end of the day all I could do was shake my head and say that's the best audio system I've ever heard in someone's home by far. Maybe next time I go all bring something a little more down to earth and watch as he gives me the stink eye to go ahead hit the door Jack. :nerd:
 

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A statement I have danced around and implied, but not made outright, and some are certain to disagree...

I believe it is possible for sighted testing to be as effective as blind testing, but it is highly improbable that it is ever achieved by most listeners, even when they think they have. Of course, no one looks at an expensive amp or cable and thinks, "That sounds better," and then thinks, "But I am surely biased by the price and shiny finish and peer pressure, so my preference is suspect." Self-deception generally (always?) finds ways to hide itself, or it would not be so common in the world.
I don't often disagree with you, Wayne, in fact, it is scary how seldom it happens, but I just can't accept much more than the assymtotic possibility that is always present in any probability on this point. The likelihood of ever achieving this in any reliable or useful manner is so remote that it might as well be considered impossible. Now as a goal, it is certainly reasonable to try to get there, and I have never seen anyone so close to being objective as a listener as you are, but still, subjective experience is impossible to parse the variables on, so it becomes impractical to think that one could meaningfully get there.
 

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I don't often disagree with you, Wayne, in fact, it is scary how seldom it happens, but I just can't accept much more than the assymtotic possibility that is always present in any probability on this point. The likelihood of ever achieving this in any reliable or useful manner is so remote that it might as well be considered impossible. Now as a goal, it is certainly reasonable to try to get there, and I have never seen anyone so close to being objective as a listener as you are, but still, subjective experience is impossible to parse the variables on, so it becomes impractical to think that one could meaningfully get there.
Even as I wrote it, I knew it was a pretty silly notion. Consider it a personal goal and nothing more, certainly nothing I would ever try to base any statistical data up on. Is that better?
 

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One of my other hobbies was photography and the technology was/is science-driven.
My other hobby as well Kal and I agree with your point about the hardware being technology driven. The end result of the technology is of course subjective.
 

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My other hobby as well Kal and I agree with your point about the hardware being technology driven. The end result of the technology is of course subjective.
Not in the same way. One can photograph the same scene under the same controlled conditions with the same camera and compare the results, side-by-side, from two lenses at the same time. One cannot do that in audio.
 

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Not in the same way. One can photograph the same scene under the same controlled conditions with the same camera and compare the results, side-by-side, from two lenses at the same time. One cannot do that in audio.
Ok I understand your point now, maybe someday this will be possible.....nahh
 

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NOTE: reversing speaker cables is potentially hazardous and/or not recommended for various reasons.
1. MIT uses an articulated polarity mechanism attached at the speaker end and may not work as effectively if at all when attached to the amplifier
2. when a soft ceramic ferrite magnet is attached optimally to within 6-8" the speaker although this type cable may be safely reversed the EMI RFI reduction effect is minimized
3. in cases where the speaker cable is shielded often the shield is attached to the amplifier ground only leaving the speaker cable shield unattached at the speaker ground terminal of the RCA

In most other simple speaker cable connections, although the manufacturer may recommend a direction for connections these straight wire cable connections may be reversed relatively safely - following the manufacturers safety recommendations for disconnecting and connecting speaker cables.
 

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Gregr wrote:

if quantum physicists are suggesting electric current is not necessarily the movement of electrons thru a medium…, at least not the mass movement of electrons as previously believed. What I’m suggesting here is - what if electric current is equally the mass movement of atomic micro particles such as hadrons etc etc? however what I am actually beginning to accept is electricity is as much simply an energy wave – and electromagnetic wave that perpetuates thru atomic structures within a conductive medium?
Now it's getting deep! They are actually describing the situation where the flow of energy actually transverses the area between electrons without a time lapse. I wish I could wrap my head around that! We are talking interstellar travel at that point.
 

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Gregr wrote:



Now it's getting deep! They are actually describing the situation where the flow of energy actually transverses the area between electrons without a time lapse. I wish I could wrap my head around that! We are talking interstellar travel at that point.
In keeping with this line of thought how did salesmen like those who run these "high end" cable companies ever control such? Doubtfully they even understand such being from the marketing side of the world....
 

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while you all have fun with my last comment, I have another thought. Like Icaillo, Savjac and others I've been wondering about how to setup instant A/B switching (if it is in fact a possibility), well then I found myself wondering - we've been attempting to discover differences in amps, cables/interconnects and how to measure those differences but I wonder..., has anyone setup two identical systems (as practical) and running each identical system with a two second delay (or so) for real time A/B comps. Just a thought.

One more thought: if electricity is as much about the passing of charged particles as it is about an EM energy wave then I suggest comparing a quad shielded power cord with a non shielded etc etc

Peace thru Compassion

Happy listening :wave:
 

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...if/when two identical systems are established as of reasonably equal sound qualities then swap out testing variables.

Happy Listening and Best Regards
 

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Reversing a speaker cable..., a reviewer suggested reversing speaker cables has an readily obvious effect on sound. If this is true, I wonder which meter might best show the variants if any and if this might be useful in determining an initial mode of measurement or maybe simply reveal an electromechanical sound phenomena beyond the scope of electromechanical measurement. Because the audio sound phenomena I think we are seeking to measure is mostly transient and at low volumes in relation to the audio program.
I have another thought. With physicists breaking down the atom and discovering leptons, quarks and neutrinos and breaking these down to find hundreds of differing hadrons, baryons, mesons and now with the Hadrons Collider…, what next? My thought is this – if quantum physicists are suggesting electric current is not necessarily the movement of electrons thru a medium…, at least not the mass movement of electrons as previously believed. What I’m suggesting here is - what if electric current is equally the mass movement of atomic micro particles such as hadrons etc etc? however what I am actually beginning to accept is electricity is as much simply an energy wave – and electromagnetic wave that perpetuates thru atomic structures within a conductive medium? What are the implications for electromechanical sound engineering and reproduction and next measurement.


Sorry if I sound behind the eight ball - I still have reading to do to catch up to where you all are today.



Best Regards and Happy Listening
I do not feel that you sound like you are behind the 8 ball, you just went into things a little deeper than what might be normal daily thoughts.
I have no idea what is going on in the cables but I do actually have several of them that are purported to be directional. There is a mark or tab on each end of the cables suggesting which is the sending end and which is the receiving end. I have read many articles that say once the cable is used in a certain direction it should not be reversed, kind of like tires.

I have them hooked the way they should be oriented, just in case, but when accidentally reversed and while not really listening in depth, I have heard no difference but then again my system or my ears may not be of enough quality to reproduce something like that. So it would appear that your post is not so far off base.
 

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Wayne, I would love it if could reach your goal of sight bias immunity. Unfortunately as males of the species, we are mainly sight driven, and responsive. The same way we respond to the female form, we respond to materials and textures. Much of our response to that is based on past experience and it's how we know what to expect from certain things. Like walking on thin ice, or even what sandpaper feels like. That's why IMO, it's imperative that test subjects are totally unaware. Self deception as you mentioned can not be allowed by us either as we are also ego-centric and must believe for the most part that we are "right". Obviously this goes much deeper.
Here's a link to a site with a great variety of tests and tones. You can test everything from subwoofer pitch definition to stereo imaging. I thought it was relevant here since there is a "blind" test area including 16/8 bit resolution tests, db sensitivity tests and even a polarity test. I used AirPlay, but a 3.5 to RCA and a laptop or phone would work. It's a fun way to test yourself and your gear. If you really want to know how good you are.
http://www.audiocheck.net/soundtestsaudiotesttones_index.php


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This is a fun one too.
https://www.goldenears.philips.com/en/introduction.html
 

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Sound of catching breath as snoring subsides - not from boredom, but from having been asleep like an anchored buoy in a somewhat stormy sea over which supersonic aircraft have just passed. Thread participation of late has "passed me by, don't make me cry, don't make me blue"

And like that Beatles song, "I love only you," the intellectually stimulating contributors to psychoacoustic and scientific discussion. Your passions are evident in the speed at which this thread has moved these past few days, and I'm a bit disappointed in myself for not having noticed; so please forgive my digging so far back into the timeline.

So... how do we go about finding out? Seems to me we need a few things in order to control the experiment:

1) AC power source
2) Array of cables of known origin and parameters
3) Fixed system of reasonable quality

And for #3, the test system can be more-or-less anything, as long as it's decent. It should probably be capable of presenting a fairly significant current draw on the circuit so we can establish whether or not the behavior of the cables is dependent on current draw, and then operate the system at a few pre-determined levels. One of these levels should be near the safe limits of either the AC source or the components.

Start with factory-supplied cables as a baseline, and vary based on availability of subjects. Measure with REW, and live listeners just as in an amp shoot-out or speaker shoot-out, then repeat blind. Seams relatively straightforward... any volunteers?
Your description of "decent" equates to "a reference." I agree that any system can be a reference. But overuse of the term throughout our hobby is openly laughable. Sorry for splitting hairs between "decent" and "reference," but I believe it serves to clarify system capability. Pulling a rabbit out of the hat is the elusive trick the reference system must be able to duplicate. But where do we draw the line in what is "decent" and what is not. Decent for perceiving and/or measuring one particular sonic parameter such as distortion may not be sufficient for another such as spatiality. Some systems can pull off the sonic "magic" that others cannot (system setup issues being equal). I think we all agree speakers make the biggest difference; but after that our opinions diverge. At the extremes we have the all-amps-and-digital-gear-sound-the-same crowd vs. the everything-has-a-night-and-day-difference crowd. Reality lies somewhere in between (where I try to balance my own listening insecurities). What I'm trying to say is that the reference system must be capable of revealing the subtle differences we seek to identify. Not as simple as it appears on the surface.

Tony, it might seem odd coming from the measurement guy, but I think you have to start with the listening tests and try to identify differences. Wayne has it right here. Someone who is sure there are differences between two cables could provide them for others to do blind testing on, as well as measurements. The only intellectually honest way to do it is to assume that there are differences, try to reproduce them, then if that is possible, explain them with measurements.
How refreshing! I've too often heard the opposite: if measurements cannot detect a particular sonic parameter, then it doesn't exist. Seems closed-minded to me. :dontknow:

Yeah, it is one of the psychoacoustical wonders of the human brain that we can detect subtle differences in a stereo listening field that can be very difficult to measure. Not impossible, but difficult. Then if you can hear a difference, that difference might point one in a particular measurement direction to find it there, too.

For instance: noise floor. Take a favorite track with just a few instruments and "empty space" in between them in the mix, and add -60dB pink noise to it. I guarantee you can hear it, given the right circumstances, and it will be difficult to measure it as part of a stronger signal.

To declare that no difference can be heard because a couple of measurements show no difference is like suggesting that because science has not yet shown a phenomenon to be possible, it must be therefore not be possible. Kinda makes us slave to the science, where the science should be serving us. That's the way I see it, anyway.
***crack*** outta the park! Uh, guess I gave away where I stand.

Lets be clear here though that listening tests need to be controlled and blind. The listeners cannot know which cables are being used. If this is not a blind listening test, then the results are merely a subjective opinion, nothing more.

Personally I find it disconcerting that people believe that their hearing is better than what can be measured, yet humans cannot detect changes in amplitude less than 0.5 db.
Hi, 3dbinCanada. It seems that good seldom follows the phrase "with all due respect," so I won't use it (lame haha). :R
I'd just like to point out that amplitude is not the end-all-be-all of parameters to determine sonic quality. Neither is frequency response, or distortion, or any other traditional measurement - together or separately. Why? Because ear-brain interpretation cannot be separated from the equation. Yes, our hearing may be inaccurate compared to measurement gear. And no, our measurement gear can't explain some of the things we hear. The believe-in-measurements-at-all-costs camp often counter with "you can't possibly hear what we couldn't measure, so it's all in your head." Who is right? Science has not always been able to explain physical phenomena (think earth-centered universe), let alone psychoacoustic phenomena (think spatial soundstaging). It takes mental interpretation coupled with measurements to discover flaws in our belief system and advance the state-of-the-art in many disciplines, IMO. Also, see Jack's post immediately below:

Herein lies what I would guess to be the crux of the test. Doubtless the idea behind this type of listening test is to determine any changes that may be made, good, bad or just different while using the speaker cable in any given "System". I do realize that this may raise additional issues in the camp that feels there are no differences, but without testing any given item in this case speaker wires we cannot determine how said wires act in the reference system.

This would be somewhat akin to trying to determine spatiality of a system by attaching various gizmos to either the electronics or the speakers. I am not quite sure that the science of measurements has yet to measure the reproduction of said spaciality in any given room with any given system and/or the components therein.

It is for these reasons that I feel this idea may need to be reviewed a bit.
The task becomes even more of a challenge if you subdivide "spatiality" into "soundstage" (width/depth/height envelope) and "imaging" (width/depth/height specificity). :nerd:
 

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Your description of "decent" equates to "a reference." I agree that any system can be a reference. But overuse of the term throughout our hobby is openly laughable. Sorry for splitting hairs between "decent" and "reference," but I believe it serves to clarify system capability. Pulling a rabbit out of the hat is the elusive trick the reference system must be able to duplicate. But where do we draw the line in what is "decent" and what is not. Decent for perceiving and/or measuring one particular sonic parameter such as distortion may not be sufficient for another such as spatiality. Some systems can pull off the sonic "magic" that others cannot (system setup issues being equal). I think we all agree speakers make the biggest difference; but after that our opinions diverge. At the extremes we have the all-amps-and-digital-gear-sound-the-same crowd vs. the everything-has-a-night-and-day-difference crowd. Reality lies somewhere in between (where I try to balance my own listening insecurities). What I'm trying to say is that the reference system must be capable of revealing the subtle differences we seek to identify. Not as simple as it appears on the surface.


How refreshing! I've too often heard the opposite: if measurements cannot detect a particular sonic parameter, then it doesn't exist. Seems closed-minded to me. :dontknow:


***crack*** outta the park! Uh, guess I gave away where I stand.



The task becomes even more of a challenge if you subdivide "spatiality" into "soundstage" (width/depth/height envelope) and "imaging" (width/depth/height specificity). :nerd:
Thank You and welcome back, just as you try to get out we drag you back in.

I cannot help but agree with you, but you may have guessed that, and I have always wanted to try to dwell into the two things you mentioned above. What constitutes a reference system and expanding the definitions of the sound field a bit.
I consider my system as a reference because it tells me to my present satisfaction, what is going on at different points in the overall grouping of components as well as the individual bits therein. When one thing changes the ultimate expenditure of energy into my listening environment should make itself known. There are some systems that would not be able to present differences into a perceptible way but those would be mainly off the shelf box systems. Then there are those like yours that could reproduce the sound of electrons cussing as they scrape against each other.
So do we put out systems on the block for all to see when we enter into these discussions ?

Further, the refining of terminology when discussing the sound stage or spaciality would be good. I have been referring to these things as a complete soundspace in that they should be able to present the sound on the recording in all its real or fake glory. When the recordings are of live concerts such as classical or unplugged as it were (The music kind and not the Matrix kind), we should be able to hear the venue itself. So does the sound stage we discuss now covering all the aspects in a recording or just the differences of placement, real or faked in the studio that is on the recording ? Do we need to go to surround recordings to meet this criteria or should I shut up about this and do these thought pieces in another thread ?
 

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Lumen wrote:
" Science has not always been able to explain physical phenomena "

The most recent example of that is the difference between the prediction of Einstein's equation of relativity and the acceleration of the expansion of the Universe. In 1929 Einstein himself did not belived in an expanding universe.

The proof of the expansion has been made 70 years, approx, later.

The mass of all visible mater in the Universe is responsible for only 5% of the energy needed for this phenomenum. What are the missing 95% made of? The most accepted scientific hypothese is "black mater" and "dark energy" 2 things that nobody has found yet AND one, black mater, which is bydefinition impossible to see!!!. 2 things that are supposed to explain 95% of the problem!!.
In other word: a problem (as sound differences we IHAD guys think that exists) that the science can not explain for the moment but that it is fun to try to understand.:R So first try: 70 years and one proof to go!:D
 

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Most excellent, we have, in 30 pages gone from the possible scamming of consumers in way of price and presentation scams to the discussion of dark matter and things as yet undiscovered.
Awesome.
 

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Most excellent, we have, in 30 pages gone from the possible scamming of consumers in way of price and presentation scams to the discussion of dark matter and things as yet undiscovered.

Awesome.

Does that make this off topic? Or under topic? Or in a 3rd dimension next to topic? Yes! That's the one right there. Where's my delorean......
Hi Lou! :wave:


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Does that make this off topic? Or under topic? Or in a 3rd dimension next to topic? Yes! That's the one right there. Where's my delorean......
Hi Lou! :wave:


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Yes !!! I guess you are sporting a gigawatt or two ? No wonder you are seeing things on an atomic level.
 
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