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bifcake
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ART system, and the bigger issue

I wanted to start a thread, separate from the current ART system thread to make a point about testing and methodology.

Ted Denney took it on the chin by admitting that he made a gross error in measurements and so the data in his graphs is erroneous. Ok, so he'll go back and correct his data collection procedures and hopefully we'll see a new set of graphs shortly.

Everyone makes an error, even a gross one and I wouldn't want to crucify him for that. However, what I do find objectionable is that Ted and Synergistic Research are scrambling AT THIS POINT to develop testing methodologies, measurement techniques and collect data to prove that their products work.

They should have had all the testing methodology developed and all the data readily available not to prove to others that their products work, but to use as tools to develop their products.

It seems obvious that the ART system was developed out of thin air without any thought given to identifying parameters and problems that the system was to address, without any thought to developing a testing and measuring methodology to ensure that the product would work CONSISTENTLY in different environments and to identify modifications that would be needed (if any) in larger, smaller, unusual venues.

At best, this shows that Synergistic Research is run by amateurs with products that are hit or miss. At worst, it's run by nefarious professionals who knowingly produce substandard products in order to cheat the unsuspecting. Whether it's the former or the latter, the end result is the same: Inconsistent products, no set standards for product design, no proper testing methodologies, no data collection to ensure that products work as stated.

Folks, please understand that it is THIS that makes manufacturers look like charlatans not the fact that the products look like Tibetan bowls. There is no reason why SR should be scrambling right now. No reason at all. All of this data collection should have been done eons ago at the product development stage. The testing methodologies and test data should have been completed during the QA phase. In fact, this tells me there was no QA. It was all done off the cuff.

It is time that high end manufacturers and reviewers recognized and embraced the well established product development principles, testing methodologies and data collection techniques. Otherwise, the high end manufacturers look like charlatans and audiophiles look like gullible fools.

gkc
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

Alex, if you just listen to the products, you don't NEED any testing methodologies.

Your basic assumption seems to be that most people buy test results, not their own ears. I am not so sure that is so, especially with music lovers who are simply seeking the best sound. One is a charlatan or a genius depending on how the product sounds, not how a few thousandths measure. It has to make music.

If it makes music, I'll pay for it. If it doesn't, I won't. Simple. Why is that such a difficult point for the technical wonks to understand?

I have never heard the "ART" system. I don't need to. My 2 systems sound fine, as they are. But, if I ever get the occasion to hear it, listen I will. If it makes better music than what I have, I'll buy it. If it doesn't, I won't.

Happy tunes.

bifcake
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

"...if you just listen to the product...

This is the same tired argument that justifies the dubious products.

When you develop a product, you, as a manufacturer have to ensure that the product works and that it works consistently. In order to do so, you have to quantify the problem you're trying to solve, develop the product to solve the problem and quantify the resolution. Once you've done that, you have test the product to ensure that it works consistently, under various conditions where it's expected to be used and that the sample variance is small enough not to affect the overall product performance.

If this wasn't done, then if you just listen to the product, you may hear a sample that works well and take home a sample that doesn't. If you just listen to the product, it may not work as well in your listening room. If you just listen to the product, it may be demonstrated under circumstances designed to enhance the product performance.

Is it so difficult to understand that manufacturing, testing and measuring methodologies exist for a reason? How do you create precision tools without measuring, without the proper methodologies and without QA? Ah yes, I know, if I were just to listen...

gkc
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

Not a problem, Alex. If the sample you buy sounds different than what you heard in the showroom (or at the show), then take it back.

You are begging the point. Raising a false edifice. "Uniformity" among manufactured samples has NOTHING to do with your ability to hear necessary nuances in YOUR private listening space with YOUR software.

You are still talking down to those of us who actually go to live concerts and listen and revel in live music. You are constructing an imaginary, hypothetical audience of people who will spend tons of money on gear that measures well and sounds crappy, or measures badly and sounds good, or measures badly and sounds badly, or measures well and sounds like real music.

Sounds like real music. That is the basis. You can skew this argument to the blips in the testing labs, even in the name of product consistency. But if it doesn't sound like music, consistency isn't an issue. If it DOES, then get a good dealer. That is what dealers are for.

This is NOT an abstract argument. It is about sitting down and listening to music. The other stuff is about finding the right dealer, making the right deals, and working out how the gear's promise turns into reality into your own listening room.

Measurements do NOT guarantee product consistency. Only LISTENING guarantees that, and you had damn well better have a good dealer.

The internet? Sorry. You are on your own. Some things need personal contact. Music is one of those things.

Of course, it helps to subscribe to expert commentary. Like Stereophile.

Duh. They DO product consistency. And they handle complaints. With necessary support and pressure.

I think you are trying to mix up a war based on false premises. There is NO industry that protects gullible consumers like our industry. There is NO war between measurements and what you hear. There is NOTHING like live music. And the tunes you play in your living room that sound CLOSE to live music are life-transcendent. Period. If you can't hear it, KEEP SHOPPING until you do. You WILL know it when you hear it.

I am SO sick and tired of this made-up, manufactured, pseudo argument. JUST FUCKING LISTEN AND GET A RAIN CHECK FROM YOUR DEALER. Why does everybody need some fucking electronic, VISUAL blip for validation of the musical experience????? If you want a VISUAL turn-on, go to IMAX, for Chrissakes.

What the fuck happened to just listening, comparing, and getting assurances from real people at real dealerships?

What is the deal, Alex O, you who yearn for DUP? Why can't you just LISTEN and evaluate with your own ears and your own brain? Don't you TRUST your own ears and your own brain?

j_j
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


Quote:
You are begging the point. Raising a false edifice. "Uniformity" among manufactured samples has NOTHING to do with your ability to hear necessary nuances in YOUR private listening space with YOUR software.

While this is true, it would be interesting to see how this is in fact germane.

www.aes.org/sections/pnw/ppt/jj/hashighlevel.ppt

Scott Wheeler
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

I think just listening is fine. I can tell you first hand that my room is profoundly affected just by all the decorative crap I have in there. I can do so just by listening. It is serendipitous though. A lot of that crap is expensive collectable crap. I own it as a collector. That it is expensive and that it helps diffuse and absorb unwanted reflections is mere coincidence. I also have some relatively inexpensive stuff in there for the sole purpose of making the room sound better. That stuff works too. But is that really the best approach? Next time around I am planning to do things with a specific plan that is rooted in solid principles of room acoustics. If it works the way I want I can put those same cool decorations in other places in my house. That is what I would rather do anyway. My point being lots of things actually do affect the sound of a room. One can make a plan based on sound acoustic principles or go on an Easter Egg hunt. My collectables absorb and diffuse sound just like cheap junk would.

Buddha
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


Quote:
I think just listening is fine. I can tell you first hand that my room is profoundly affected just by all the decorative crap I have in there. I can do so just by listening. It is serendipitous though. A lot of that crap is expensive collectable crap. I own it as a collector. That it is expensive and that it helps diffuse and absorb unwanted reflections is mere coincidence. I also have some relatively inexpensive stuff in there for the sole purpose of making the room sound better. That stuff works too. But is that really the best approach? Next time around I am planning to do things with a specific plan that is rooted in solid principles of room acoustics. If it works the way I want I can put those same cool decorations in other places in my house. That is what I would rather do anyway. My point being lots of things actually do affect the sound of a room. One can make a plan based on sound acoustic principles or go on an Easter Egg hunt. My collectables absorb and diffuse sound just like cheap junk would.

Star Wars action figures?

Scott Wheeler
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

Nope. Star Wars like The Beatles is the proverbial bottomless pit for collectors. Glad I never stepped into that one. Love the first two movies. among my all time favs.

bifcake
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


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Not a problem, Alex. If the sample you buy sounds different than what you heard in the showroom (or at the show), then take it back.

You are begging the point. Raising a false edifice. "Uniformity" among manufactured samples has NOTHING to do with your ability to hear necessary nuances in YOUR private listening space with YOUR software.

Ridiculous. Of course it does. What if I move? Do I go to the dealer and ask for my money back because my listening space has changed?


Quote:
Measurements do NOT guarantee product consistency. Only LISTENING guarantees that, and you had damn well better have a good dealer.

Jesus, Cliff, what planet are you from??? Measurements do not guarantee product consistency? Shit, if that was the case, we could never get an exact copy of anything! What drugs are you taking, man?


Quote:
I am SO sick and tired of this made-up, manufactured, pseudo argument. JUST FUCKING LISTEN AND GET A RAIN CHECK FROM YOUR DEALER. Why does everybody need some fucking electronic, VISUAL blip for validation of the musical experience????? If you want a VISUAL turn-on, go to IMAX, for Chrissakes.

What the fuck happened to just listening, comparing, and getting assurances from real people at real dealerships?


Quote:
What is the deal, Alex O, you who yearn for DUP? Why can't you just LISTEN and evaluate with your own ears and your own brain? Don't you TRUST your own ears and your own brain?

Dude, who's got time to go and check out every half assed product that's being touted out there? It's time and effort consuming to set an appointment, go to the dealer, make sure he's got the shit available, have it set up, sit there, listen and then if you like and you take another sample home with you and it's not comparable to the sample you heard, then you have to go bring it back to the dealer. You have to do this with every little piece of crap you want to buy. It's a complete off the wall argument you're making.

gkc
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

Alex, if you can't take the time to listen to what you pay for, your argument collapses.

What do you want? Some abstract measurement to do your listening for you? Hey. It's a free country. Go for the read-outs, and eschew what your ears put into your brain. Hell, ask DUP what you should buy.

Oops. We already know the answer to THAT one.

Hint. If you don't have the time to go out and actually listen to "... every half-assed product that's being touted out there... (some music lover YOU are!!! Last time I went into ANY listening room I got excited about hearing some tunes...), then subscribe to Stereophile. That is what they do. That is why they exist. To save you your precious time. Go see Art. Or Sam. Or John. Or Stephen -- HE knows how to listen and report. They'll tell you if things are up to snuff technically and/or mechanically.

Honestly. I don't see the point of this post. You either love music or you don't. If you don't, then what the fuck are you DOING here??? If you do, then get crackin'. Buy yourself some tickets to the real deal, and sit your miserable ass down at your nearest dealer's inner sanctum and search your memory. Trust that memory. It is all you have. If you are neurotic and tend to, er, wander, then just buy another ticket to another live concert. Repeat the above as needed.

Honestly, Alex O. I do NOT understand your problem. Maybe you need a shrink. Apparently you have this love-hate relationship with your left brain/right brain interface. No problem. Hey! This ain't 1950. We got machines that can measure your brain battles. And they are probably covered by your insurance.

Just what IS this "bigger issue"?

Forget the "half assed" products. Just renew your subscription to Stereophile , and let your fingers do the walkin'.

Sheesh. I don't even have a degree in psychometrics, and here I am telling some audioneurotic how to take the cure. Oy.

What IS your fucking problem, Alex???

bifcake
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

Listening and enjoying the music and the pursuit of hi-fi are not the same thing. This is a hi-fi forum and here we deal with all things hi-fi.

My fucking problem, as you so eloquently put it is that I prefer transparency and honesty when it comes to product development and marketing. It's not enough to tell me that "if you don't like it, don't buy it" or "go listen for yourself". No one has the time to weed through all the shit that is being advertised to determine which stuff actually works and which stuff doesn't. Nor do I feel like going through the Herculean efforts to do so.

Reading Stereophile doesn't help because Stereophile tends to gloss over the issues (something that JA and I have discussed at length without any sort of resolution), forcing us to read between the lines.

Please tell me, what's wrong with asking a manufacturer to be familiar with how their product works? What's wrong with asking them to develop consistent products? What's wrong with asking them to embrace widely accepted standards and practices of quality control and assurance? Why does the QA onus have to be on the consumer? We all chide Microsoft for coming out with unfinished, not properly tested software, so why can't we do the same for audio manufacturers?

Scott Wheeler
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


Quote:
Listening and enjoying the music and the pursuit of hi-fi are not the same thing. This is a hi-fi forum and here we deal with all things hi-fi.

Now that is an interesting assertion. I suppose they aren't exactly the *same* thing just as pitching and hitting in baseball isn't the *same* thing but they are both baseball. It seems to me that one persues hifi in order to listen to music and enjoy it more.


Quote:

My fucking problem, as you so eloquently put it is that I prefer transparency and honesty when it comes to product development and marketing.

No problem. We all get to make our own personal rules in persuit of better sound. Those are yours. nothin wrong with that.


Quote:

It's not enough to tell me that "if you don't like it, don't buy it" or "go listen for yourself". No one has the time to weed through all the shit that is being advertised to determine which stuff actually works and which stuff doesn't. Nor do I feel like going through the Herculean efforts to do so.

Boy Life's a bitch. How do you manage?


Quote:

Reading Stereophile doesn't help because Stereophile tends to gloss over the issues (something that JA and I have discussed at length without any sort of resolution), forcing us to read between the lines.

Please tell me, what's wrong with asking a manufacturer to be familiar with how their product works?

Nothing wrong with asking. It's telling them that crosses the line.


Quote:

What's wrong with asking them to develop consistent products?

Depends on how you ask. If you ask by simply supporting companies that meet your rules then nothing wrong wih that. But getting on a soap box and whining about companies that don't do things the way you want...what is wrong with that? It's pathetic, anoying and ineffective. Otherwise it is harmless wasted energy. For someone overburdened as yourself with the current state of audio, I would think such a waste of energy would be considered, well, a waste of energy.


Quote:
What's wrong with asking them to embrace widely accepted standards and practices of quality control and assurance? Why does the QA onus have to be on the consumer? We all chide Microsoft for coming out with unfinished, not properly tested software, so why can't we do the same for audio manufacturers?

You can. I mean heck, it works so well with Microsoft....

bifcake
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

Scott, are you saying that you're perfectly happy with the status quo when it comes to audio tweak products?

Are you happy when products of dubious quality and efficacy are advertised in Stereophile? Are you happy when reviewers give a nod to these products solely based on subjective reviews? Does it not bother you that consumers are prayed upon by the unscrupulous?

If the answer is no, then I have no compelling argument to present to you. There is no way that I would be able to sway your opinion or perception.

Buddha
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

I just want more ads by New York pimps who promise to hook me up with one of their models if I buy their gear.

Now there is some truth in advertizing!

What this hobby needs is a hot female crew who flips Chinese made gear while using nude ads and promising different variations of "upgrades" to buyers.

I mean, we should at least get screwed while we're getting screwed.

I'm surprised Roy Hall hasn't already tried to take us there!

(Kidding only, none of us gets screwed unless we want to.)

bifcake
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


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I mean, we should at least get screwed while we're getting screwed.

I'm surprised Roy Hall hasn't already tried to take us there!

I'm sure he's taken a few there. He and Sam seem a bit too chummy. Not that I'm trying to start rumors or anything...

Scott Wheeler
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


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Scott, are you saying that you're perfectly happy with the status quo when it comes to audio tweak products?

No. Now if someone can offer a vibraplane for 25 bucks I'd be perfectly happy. But really, actually yes, I am pretty happy. I have access to everything I need to isolate the components that need to be isolated and everything I need to make my next listening room ideal. I suppose if we could get a substantial price reduction on one of those Clearaudio record cleaners. Those suckers are awsome but 3K is pretty steep. But once again it comes down to cost as my major bitch.


Quote:

Are you happy when products of dubious quality and efficacy are advertised in Stereophile?

I am indifferent and skeptical about labels such as "dubious."


Quote:

Are you happy when reviewers give a nod to these products solely based on subjective reviews?

Yes. That makes me happy, a little bit.Why should audio be the exception when it comes to subjective reviewing?


Quote:

Does it not bother you that consumers are prayed upon by the unscrupulous?

The unscrupulous? I am all for exposing the unscrupulous. But you don't nail the unscrupulous with rules. The unscrupulous break the rules. That's what makes them unscrupulous. Unscrupulous people are fuckers. Expose them and nail them to the wall.


Quote:

If the answer is no, then I have no compelling argument to present to you. There is no way that I would be able to sway your opinion or perception.

Scott Wheeler
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


Quote:
I just want more ads by New York pimps who promise to hook me up with one of their models if I buy their gear.

Now there is some truth in advertizing!

What this hobby needs is a hot female crew who flips Chinese made gear while using nude ads and promising different variations of "upgrades" to buyers.

I mean, we should at least get screwed while we're getting screwed.

I'm surprised Roy Hall hasn't already tried to take us there!

(Kidding only, none of us gets screwed unless we want to.)

Have you been screwed by an unscrupulous audio manufacturer and feel bad about it?

RGibran
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue


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Have you been screwed by an unscrupulous audio manufacturer and feel bad about it?

No, it's the hooker ...

Scott Wheeler
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

so laws were broken and everybody walked away happy.

ncdrawl
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

so what do you collect, Scott??

Faberge eggs? Hummels? Tiffany Lamps?

I collect guns, WWII memorabilia, and books..oh, and vintage electronics. and basketball cards.

Scott Wheeler
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

Godzilla, Gigantor, Star Trek (couldn't help that, got so much of it for free), records (focus on Yes), Fantasy art (just bought an original painting by Brom), Books on makeup, animation cels (although I have put the breaks on that collection). That sort of stuff.

bifcake
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Re: ART system, and the bigger issue

I collect Humboltz resonators.

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