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Xenophanes
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"Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now available on line

Gee! If I were John Atkinson I would want such drivel to remain buried in the relative obscurity of time.

http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/891awsi/

Here we have an editor of a magazine whose reviewers routinely give subjective reviews of CDPs, receivers, preamps, amplifiers, and even interconnects and speaker wire. JA pontificates on scientific methodology, though his reviewers have not demonstrated they can usually hear the differences between many of these products such as good CDPs, good solid state amps (nobody says most tube amps sound the same as good SS amps--and JA provides the reasons in his measurements for amplifiers), various interconnects and speaker cables. In other words, the typical procedure in many reviews is anything but scientific, and JA's assertion that Stereophile follows true scientific method is wishful thinking at best.

"By contrast, far from rejecting or perverting scientific method, Stereophile practices it in its true form: when experiments give results which contraindicate reality, the experiment is rejected, not the reality."

The trouble is that this takes our perceptions as reliable indicators of how a piece of equipment is performing without any attempt to control for human bias for overdetection of small differences. It simply ignores that our different perceptions may not reflect actual differences in the equipment.

Now, there is a way of getting around biased perception and that is doing a controlled double blind test. Even a good single blind test would be better than sighted auditioning.

To take the most egregious examples, there is no reason whatever to believe Stereophile reviewers or anyone else when they say or imply they can hear the differences between various interconnects and speaker cables, unless they 1) provide measurements showing differences large enough to hear, or 2) do controlled blind tests.

Now, you can criticize blind tests all you want (I don't think JA has valid ones, but valid or not my point is the same here), but if you reject them, that simply means there is no reason whatever to believe the reviewers can hear everything they say they can.

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Re: Don't feed the Troll

Where is that roll-eyes icon when I need it?

bifcake
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Re: Don't feed the Troll

Don't roll your eyes, Moosie. The guy's got a good point.

We've been going on about this for years, so this isn't anything new.

The way I see it like this: Once the audio industry achieves the pinnacle of perfection where every CD player, every amp, every component sounds the same, it will mean the demise of the high end industry and it will be the demise of reviewing magazines. Therefore, there HAVE to be differences whether they're real or imagined. Controversies have to be generated. Analog MUST be better than digital because differences in analog sources are much more readily apparent. Tubes HAVE to be better than solid state. There MUST be differences in cables, power cords, etc. This is what drives this industry. Once you introduce double blind tests and you discover that the king has no clothes, the king will die.

As any and every industry, this one is self serving.

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You cannot propose or state on logic, my friend, when every sentence in your post is founded in emotion and hyperbola- not logic.

Kinda reminds me about things like Planck's constant, for example. Planck posited it as a 'placeholder' unil the correct information was found. Through the passage of time..it has become a 'fact'..when it is merely a placeholder. Max would not be happy.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

Xeno- Thanks for the link-

http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/891awsi/

to a fantastic column, which applies such an intelligent perspective to the old DBT warhorse and its slavish devotees.

Hope you get some good rest.

Lamont Sanford
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Quote:
Don't roll your eyes, Moosie. The guy's got a good point.

We've been going on about this for years, so this isn't anything new.

The way I see it like this: Once the audio industry achieves the pinnacle of perfection where every CD player, every amp, every component sounds the same, it will mean the demise of the high end industry and it will be the demise of reviewing magazines. Therefore, there HAVE to be differences whether they're real or imagined. Controversies have to be generated. Analog MUST be better than digital because differences in analog sources are much more readily apparent. Tubes HAVE to be better than solid state. There MUST be differences in cables, power cords, etc. This is what drives this industry. Once you introduce double blind tests and you discover that the king has no clothes, the king will die.

As any and every industry, this one is self serving.

That's why I call myself Lamont Sanford here. Yep, even TEAC has its place at our table. But audio is not alone. This is the nature of the beast in a free market.

Lamont Sanford
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Quote:
You cannot propose or state on logic, my friend, when every sentence in your post is founded in emotion and hyperbola- not logic.

Kinda reminds me about things like Planck's constant, for example. Planck posited it as a 'placeholder' unil the correct information was found. Through the passage of time..it has become a 'fact'..when it is merely a placeholder. Max would not be happy.

You're doing the same but at least X is thinking rather than complying. You want to debate him than pick his argument apart rather than stealing sentences from Clarence Thomas's autobiography.

bifcake
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Re: Don't feed the Troll

Here's a sentence from Clarence Thomas' autobiography: "Who put pubic hair in my coke?"

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Re: Don't feed the Troll

"Once the audio industry achieves the pinnacle of perfection where every CD player, every amp, every component sounds the same, it will mean the demise of the high end industry..."

Well- I doubt it cause even in the low end, which often sounds "uniformly" lame, there are big differences in each companies approach. Yamaha almost always leans towards bright, NAD a little warm or dark, Denon sort of neutral but not always very dynamic, Onkyo warmish, etc. They all have different ideas about what sounds best, and so do each of us. Hello? Do I hear: Analogue? Digital? Tube? Solid State, amps, Watts and multiple drivers, Electrostatic? The paint industry still has competition, as does just about everything where the consumer has an opinion as what's best, including toilet paper.

A side word for KBK: Name dropping of dead intellectuals (or live ones for that matter)rarely wins arguments and usually gets you ignored. But then again, Satre would say, freedom is your only real choice in a meaningless discussion forum universe (or something along those lines.)

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

What remains to be demonstrated is: does the application of the scientific method through the use of double-blind tests provide relevant data pertaining to the experience of the enjoyment of listening to music on a hifi in our homes over time. That last bit (in our homes over time) seems to be especially important since that

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
Now, you can criticize blind tests all you want (I don't think JA has valid ones, but valid or not my point is the same here), but if you reject them, that simply means there is no reason whatever to believe the reviewers can hear everything they say they can.

Excellent point, sir! Now go find the magazine that reports what you wish to see. There is nothing of value for you in Stereophile if you will not take the time to get to know the reviewer's biases and priorities.

We have been through this DBT stuff so many times even the eye rolling icon has given up and left the building when it comes to this drivel and Stereophile. Your complaint is not unlike going into a five star Japanese restaurant and then complaining about the lack of pizza and bratwurst on the menu.

The point of the magazine is to give subjective reviews with enough technical information to be useful as a road map toward system building. If you are simply too lazy to audition the components yourself - in whatever sort of testing facilties you should choose - then it is you who will suffer. If you purchased a car that Motor Trend found to have the longest wheel base based strictly on that bit of factual information and then found it lacking in handling ability, would you blame Motor Trend? Apparently you would.

I have two suggestions for you. 1) Don't read Stereophile if you want DBT's, there are other magazines that provide such tests and you should be reading them rather than wasting your time trying to make JA conform to your wishes. 2) dup accepts personal messages, you two will get along marvelously and possibly you can keep him occupied and out of our hair.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
What remains to be demonstrated is: does the application of the scientific method through the use of double-blind tests provide relevant data pertaining to the experience of the enjoyment of listening to music on a hifi in our homes over time. That last bit (in our homes over time) seems to be especially important since that
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Re: Don't feed the Troll


Quote:
We've been going on about this for years, so this isn't anything new.


Thus my reaction.

Been there, done that. Don't want the t-shirt.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
How would you know what works in your home over time unless you take it home and audition it over time?

Thanks for clarifying my point regarding DBTs.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

Michael,

How would you make a selection as to what to test in your home to begin with? There's a myriad of components out there, ranging in price and specification. How would you even know what to consider? How would you even select a price point? How would you know if something more expensive is actually better than something less expensive?

Whereas extensive listening in your home over time may be the best indicator of one's level of satisfaction potential, it's not a very practical one for most people shopping for hi-fi components.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

AlexO,

I know how you enjoy playing devil

rvance
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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:

Quote:
How would you know what works in your home over time unless you take it home and audition it over time?

Thanks for clarifying my point regarding DBTs.

I had Stevie Wonder and Andrea Bocelli over to the house for some DBT's. They kept tripping over the speaker cables.

I'm trying to get The Five Blind Boys of Alabama next- to test my surround system.

I'll let you know how that goes.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

I have one reference track I use to evaluate everything - its an older recording of Harry Blackstone pulling a rabbit out of a hat.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

As long as the topic came up...

In the April Recommended Components List, the review of the Legacy Whisper concluded...and I paraphrase..."Class A rating pending JA getting the speaker in for measurement."

If the speaker's sound made it Grade A, and we are subjective listeners, what would that sentence mean?

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Quote:
This is what drives this industry. Once you introduce double blind tests and you discover that the king has no clothes, the king will die.

This is what folk were saying the the 70's and 80's about giant solid state amps...they all sound the same so buy bigger. No one toay would claim the Best Buy Yahmaha sounds anything like a good solid state or tubed amp.

The issue is not about blind tests any more, but about blind tests for cables. The thing is, the diferences in cables are far less than between amps so the ability to tell the difference between them on other folks systems and music is reduced.

That does not mean the differences are not real.

If you can hear a change in your system then there is a change in your system.

I think the difference between todays double blind test claims and yesteryears is time. Folk today are willing to listen for days for small changes, changes that the folk in the 70's would not hear as the test themselves were too short and too complicated to prove much of anything.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

I read that comment as relating to Stereophile's rating system and requirements for recommended components. While I don't feel qualified to comment intelligently on that rating system, I would imagine JAs measurements may help clarify the anomalies between the two sets of in-room measurements found in the review which would also help clarify if that measured performance was room/system-induced or not?

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
Whereas extensive listening in your home over time may be the best indicator of one's level of satisfaction potential, it's not a very practical one for most people shopping for hi-fi components.

Given how you "shop", Alex, LOL!

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
AlexO,

I know how you enjoy playing devil

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

Another issue with in home auditions is that a lot of gear, especially tubed, needs a lot of time to sound right. What companies will let someone audition for a few months if one is not a reviewer?

I rely on reviews and the opinions of folk I trust. When I buy, I assume I am keeping the thing unless it has a mechanical failure in the first few days (as a Jolida amp once did, replaced by Jolida in under a week and then 12 years without problem).

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

This is total beer talk, guys.

We need to convene.

I gotta get to NYC!

Anyways, I like to call all this stuff "Epistemaudiology."

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

I never said "an extended audition in one's own listening environment is the only type of audition that has any merit." That

Lamont Sanford
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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

What about the article? I assume most think it isn't debatable. Nice subterfuge. Like who is the Uncle Tom here? JA or the author of the thread?

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Quote:
"Once the audio industry achieves the pinnacle of perfection where every CD player, every amp, every component sounds the same, it will mean the demise of the high end industry..."

Well- I doubt it cause even in the low end, which often sounds "uniformly" lame, there are big differences in each companies approach. Yamaha almost always leans towards bright, NAD a little warm or dark, Denon sort of neutral but not always very dynamic, Onkyo warmish, etc. They all have different ideas about what sounds best, and so do each of us. Hello? Do I hear: Analogue? Digital? Tube? Solid State, amps, Watts and multiple drivers, Electrostatic? The paint industry still has competition, as does just about everything where the consumer has an opinion as what's best, including toilet paper.

A side word for KBK: Name dropping of dead intellectuals (or live ones for that matter)rarely wins arguments and usually gets you ignored. But then again, Satre would say, freedom is your only real choice in a meaningless discussion forum universe (or something along those lines.)

How would you know? You've probably never heard a low end system in your life.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
I never said "an extended audition in one's own listening environment is the only type of audition that has any merit." That
CECE
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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
As long as the topic came up...

In the April Recommended Components List, the review of the Legacy Whisper concluded...and I paraphrase..."Class A rating pending JA getting the speaker in for measurement."

If the speaker's sound made it Grade A, and we are subjective listeners, what would that sentence mean?


It means I was/AM/will be/usually/ RIGHT!!!!

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
I'd love to get together for some beers and grab Michael Lavorgna in a headlock and give him a noogie while shouting "What do you think about DBT now, huh? Tell me your opinion on DBT!!!"

I have to warn you AlexO, I ran cross country in high school.


Quote:
Do you think you would have been able to do that if you hadn't been a 6moons reviewer?

Yes.


Quote:
Now, tell me that DBTs don't have a place.

OK. DBTs don't have a place.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:


Quote:
Now, tell me that DBTs don't have a place.

OK. DBTs don't have a place.

Dude, I'm getting you in a headlock and giving you a noogie the next time I see you. If you're going to run cross country, I suggest you get a head start.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

The entire article is a hypocritic oath. A blend of science, politics, and religion.

Architect Mies van der Rohe also once said of his craft: "Less is More." JA concluded in his article that Rohe didn't believe in God but he is misunderstanding the quote he used from Rohe. That, "God is in the details". JA's conclusion is a misunderstanding of the man himself and the underlying forces of architecture. JA should have concluded that that Rohe does not believe in "details". The correct quote should be, "God dwells in the details." It does not conclude that Rohe doesn't believe in God. In fact, it concludes that The Absolute inspires architecture. Though most "modernists" were atheists or agnostics one of the exceptions was Mies van der Rohe. Nevertheless, the whole paragraph is just preparation for the final paragraph of the article. That "Quality" is only understood "from a holistic approach". JA unwittingly led himself to the conclusion that, "less is more", with the disclaimer that the more we analyze data the more we are likely to be incorrect in our conclusions. And the kicker is that JA used "experimental evidence" to come to this conclusion. Had he used Rohe's "less is more" quote rather than focus on the irrelevant and misquoted, "God is in the details", he would have ended the article on a logical path. Sorry, JA but I don't understand why you wrote this article at all. What was really going on during 1991? Reaganism? Bushism? The Antioch Baptist Church? Let me guess. You were in Santa Fe when you wrote that article?

So, we should only listen to equipment. Forget the measurements. Since Stereophile has the resources to listen to a variety of equipment we should dispense of everything scientific and subject ourselves to the ranting and Ernest Hemingway style writings of great listeners.

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What happened to just listening to music, blowing tubes during a bias adjustment, realizing you actually hate a recording of something or that you're not wearing pants? I've read so many ad nauseum gear vs gear, cable vs cable threads to make me grow gray hair as I sit in front of the computer. DBT? Who cares.

As mentioned previously, if you buy gear based solely on a review, shame on you but do what you want on your dime. I look for the meat and potatoes of a review and usually skim the lengthy adjective/adverb sentence construction. Those words just make me feel funny and awkward again.

You have to take what you can get from all the resoources available to you and make an informed decision....or not.

I just press play and enjoy what I own.

This isn't a rag on anyone in particular just a random, useless and subjective comment.

Mark

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

Lamont-

I think the article is eminently logical and clear. What JA means by a "holistic" approach is that one can't evaluate art with a reductionist, totally objectivist set of criteria. These tools may be useful to establish a baseline of performance parameters for equipment, but they can't be relied on to communicate the way equipment serves the art of the music it reproduces.

For that we need the subjective evaluations of listeners attuned to the art AND science of music reproduction, hence "holistic."

Look at the failed pseudo-science of the behavioral psychology movement (i.e Skinner), which attempted to co-opt certain aspects of the scientific method (experimentation, observation, "obective" analyses of data) and extend them to making conclusions about human behavior. They believed people were machines and could be deconstructed and analyzed piecemeal. They believed all experimental data extracted from the animal kingdom could be used to make parallel conclusions about humans. They took Pavlovs experiments with digestion in dogs and built a belief system in operant conditioning that they felt applied to more complex human behaviors. They were wrong. It isn't that simple. They forgot to read Freud's last book, "Beyond The Pleasure-Pain Principle."

And DBT's attempt to reduce the experience of music to finite, miniscule elements filtered through the myth of an objective consciousness can not produce meaningful results.

But I like your remarks about architecture. There's a little more going on in the junkyard, after all.

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Quote:
What happened to just listening to music, blowing tubes during a bias adjustment, realizing you actually hate a recording of something or that you're not wearing pants? I've read so many ad nauseum gear vs gear, cable vs cable threads to make me grow gray hair as I sit in front of the computer. DBT? Who cares.

As mentioned previously, if you buy gear based solely on a review, shame on you but do what you want on your dime. I look for the meat and potatoes of a review and usually skim the lengthy adjective/adverb sentence construction. Those words just make me feel funny and awkward again.

You have to take what you can get from all the resoources available to you and make an informed decision....or not.

I just press play and enjoy what I own.

This isn't a rag on anyone in particular just a random, useless and subjective comment.

Mark

Nicely stated.

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Quote:

You have to take what you can get from all the resoources available to you and make an informed decision....or not.

Mark

But the more resources you use to make a decision the greater the chance that you will be just "plain wrong". Read the article.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
Lamont-

But I like your remarks about architecture. There's a little more going on in the junkyard, after all.

"Less is More" Just check out his gravestone. I think the single spot of bird shit is symbolic of JA's interpretation of Rohe's much misquoted comment, "God is in the details".

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
Architect Mies van der Rohe also once said of his craft: "Less is More." JA concluded in his article that Rohe didn't believe in God but he is misunderstanding the quote he used from Rohe. That, "God is in the details". JA's conclusion is a misunderstanding of the man himself and the underlying forces of architecture. JA should have concluded that that Rohe does not believe in "details". The correct quote should be, "God dwells in the details." It does not conclude that Rohe doesn't believe in God.

Sigh...it was a _joke_. You see, if you go and look at any of Mies van der Rohe's buildings, there are _no_ details. No details: no God!

His architecture is like digital audio: the closer you get, the less there is to perceive.

Guess I shall have to give up my fantasy of leaving Stereophile to start a new career in stand-up comedy. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

It's that English humor that gets us every time.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
It's that English humor that gets us every time.

Yes. Dry. Every time.

And Lamont: Fuck me! - Step back into your proper place (that your Aveetar implies) on this forum! Stop having an innellekt. It's disturbing the populace. Yer bustin our balluns uvf our prejudisees.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now

It was a stupid joke. I guess the punch line was in the footnote?

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
And Lamont: Fuck me!

Hey! This isn't Penthouse Forum!

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:

Quote:
And Lamont: Fuck me!

Hey! This isn't Penthouse Forum!

Yeah, I had to read that a couple of times before I realized that is what Mrs. Lamont screams at me when she's pissed off about something.

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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:
What remains to be demonstrated is: does the application of the scientific method through the use of double-blind tests provide relevant data pertaining to the experience of the enjoyment of listening to music on a hifi in our homes over time. That last bit (in our homes over time) seems to be especially important since that
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Re: "Subjective Fact or Objective Fantasy? " from March 1991 now


Quote:

Quote:
Now, you can criticize blind tests all you want (I don't think JA has valid ones, but valid or not my point is the same here), but if you reject them, that simply means there is no reason whatever to believe the reviewers can hear everything they say they can.

Excellent point, sir! Now go find the magazine that reports what you wish to see. There is nothing of value for you in Stereophile if you will not take the time to get to know the reviewer's biases and priorities.

We have been through this DBT stuff so many times even the eye rolling icon has given up and left the building when it comes to this drivel and Stereophile. Your complaint is not unlike going into a five star Japanese restaurant and then complaining about the lack of pizza and bratwurst on the menu.

The point of the magazine is to give subjective reviews with enough technical information to be useful as a road map toward system building. If you are simply too lazy to audition the components yourself - in whatever sort of testing facilties you should choose - then it is you who will suffer. If you purchased a car that Motor Trend found to have the longest wheel base based strictly on that bit of factual information and then found it lacking in handling ability, would you blame Motor Trend? Apparently you would.

I have two suggestions for you. 1) Don't read Stereophile if you want DBT's, there are other magazines that provide such tests and you should be reading them rather than wasting your time trying to make JA conform to your wishes. 2) dup accepts personal messages, you two will get along marvelously and possibly you can keep him occupied and out of our hair.

Perhaps you failed to notice that I did not mention speakers. Speakers really do sound different and one hardly needs further DBTs to establish that. I think JA is an excellent speaker reviewer and he provides a pretty good set of measurements. Some of the others are OK, WP and TJN, but some, Art Dudley, for one, seem to have vastly different tastes than mine. On the other hand, lots of other reviewers can give subjective reports that are just as good, and I also like to see what users think about speakers. So I do read the speaker reviews in Stereophile and other subjective mags.

Reviews can help me set up an audition list. But really, any listening I can do for myself. I have no idea why you suggest that I am too lazy to do so. I don't need the reviewers to make my choices for me.

Xenophanes
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Re: Don't feed the Troll


Quote:

Quote:
This is what drives this industry. Once you introduce double blind tests and you discover that the king has no clothes, the king will die.

This is what folk were saying the the 70's and 80's about giant solid state amps...they all sound the same so buy bigger. No one toay would claim the Best Buy Yahmaha sounds anything like a good solid state or tubed amp.

The issue is not about blind tests any more, but about blind tests for cables. The thing is, the diferences in cables are far less than between amps so the ability to tell the difference between them on other folks systems and music is reduced.

That does not mean the differences are not real.

If you can hear a change in your system then there is a change in your system.

I think the difference between todays double blind test claims and yesteryears is time. Folk today are willing to listen for days for small changes, changes that the folk in the 70's would not hear as the test themselves were too short and too complicated to prove much of anything.

If the folks listen for small changes and after some time are convinced they hear them, then a DBT might confirm that. Or not.

SAS Audio
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DBT testing

Most likely changes will not show up in AB/ABX tests for several reasons, but I will mention two here. I checked out another field, the medical field, and was referred to a highly regarded instructor at one of the premier medical universites.

1) "Habituation to stimuli" rears its ugly head whenever any selection is played over and over, sighted or not. The sonic differences disappear with repeated playing of the same selection. We are talking as few as 3 repeats from material I have read.

So the more ABs (back and forths of the same material) that are performed, the more the sonic differences apparently disappear and X and Y component are perceived to sound the same.

Yet AB/ABX tests require many ABs (back and forths of the same selection) to get any statistical significants.

So we have a problem of the tests requiring many back and forths to obtain "statistical confidence", yet "Habituation to stimuli" causes perceived sonic differences to disappear, skewing the results to no sonic difference. So the results can be quite skewed even though confidence is high.

This may explain the million dollar challenges that one occasionally sees offered.

2) From the professor.

"Hearing Fatigue - as I think of it in physiological terms - is the temporary reduction in function of the outer-hair cells within the cochlea, where the absolute detection threshold is reduced due to metabolically overloading the cells in a given frequency range. This will skew auditory perception until the cells have time to rest and recover."

So repeated repetitions of the same selection causes "temporary reduction in function of the outer-hair cells within the cochlea" which also skews one's perception of sonic differences. Does anyone normally listen by continually repeating the same selection?

So besides seeing and cost, we have at least two more conditions to contend with when performing AB and ABX testing.

Take care and hope this helps.

dcstep
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Re: DBT testing

Hmm, that's very interesting. This may explain why a prefer a quick comparison in a familiar system, without a lot of back and forth. I also like the mode of comparing over a long time, listening to a wide variety and then make a system change and track through much of the same material.

Dave

absolutepitch
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Re: Don't feed the Troll


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If the folks listen for small changes and after some time are convinced they hear them, then a DBT might confirm that. Or not.

Xenophanes,

Here's what I think.

Regarding reviews, if one piece of equipment sounds different than another, and both are available for comparison, typically one can listen to one and then the other in extended listening and discover the difference. If the listener can identify and consistently describe the difference (without any measurements) then there probably is a difference. Musicians do this all the time with different versions of a violin or a piano, or other instruments, taken from the same manufacturer of each respective instrument, and they can identify the difference, often immediately.

Now, a reviewer of a power cable, for example, may have the ease to switch cables and compare one after another. But, if they have the option to switch from one to another quickly, perhaps in an ABX-type capability, then such a setup is relatively easy, and readily amenable to a DBT or SBT, which is an accepted way in the sciences as one way to remove the reviewer's possible personal bias. This might be useful if subtle difference are claimed in the one-after-the-other test, where one is not sure if the differences are real or not.

It's not so easy to verify a claim of improved or different sound after one tweaks an amplifier, because one can only hear it before and only after the modification, but never both at the same time. Here DBT and SBT cannot be used, unless one has two idential units of the same amp and one is modified and the other is not.

Whether one can tell a difference or not in a DBT is a different issue.

On the other hand, if the differences are large enough and repeatably identifiable, then the DBT or SBT should also show differences which IMHO are results that "tell me what I already heard".

I guess it depends on the situation. Both subjective and objective evaluation have their place. Again, IMHO, these domains do overlap, and I tend to use both.

Specifically, I have made claims in this forum of differences I heard in changes to my system. Some of these are "obviously large" changes. Others differences are subtle and is subject to criticism, even from myself, as to whether there was a real difference as I think I heard, because it is not possible to do a DBT for confirmation.

absolutepitch
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Re: DBT testing


Quote:
2) From the professor.

"Hearing Fatigue - as I think of it in physiological terms - is the temporary reduction in function of the outer-hair cells within the cochlea, where the absolute detection threshold is reduced due to metabolically overloading the cells in a given frequency range. This will skew auditory perception until the cells have time to rest and recover."

So repeated repetitions of the same selection causes "temporary reduction in function of the outer-hair cells within the cochlea" which also skews one's perception of sonic differences. Does anyone normally listen by continually repeating the same selection? ...

How does this apply to an orchestra that repeatedly practices the same piece to "get it right" and the conductor eventually gets satisfied that the playing is good enough? If hearing fatigue affects his perception, then there's a real problem here.

I also understand and have heard of point (1) in your post. Would a long stimuli (a long piece of music) qualify as a non-repetitive stimuli if one plays A version and then plays B version? One example is the Stereophile test CD1, tracks 16 vs. 17.

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