You are here

Log in or register to post comments
jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
The Demonic Audiophile

After reading over and over again online and in the press about how audiophiles (or more likely, audiophools) are such ridiculous fools I think it is time for us audiophiles to take a closer look at just why this keeps happening. The following is my analysis of the situation, please feel free to comment and/or enhance.

First of all one must look at who is doing all this audiophile bashing. For the most part, at least in the case of the material that appears online, the people doing the bashing tend to be in love with modern technology and thus believe in the technology driven statement that newer equals better.

On the software side we get: Old 78rpm shellac records are not as good as 33-1/3rpm LP records and mono 33-1/3rpm LP records are not as good stereo 33-1/3rpm LP records and stereo 33-1/3rpm LP records are not as good as stereo compact discs and stereo compact discs are no as good as files stored on a hard drive and ....

On the hardware side: an old unamplified record player is not as good as an amplified (electrical) record player and an amplified record player is not as good as a compact disc player and tubes are not as good as solid state and of course, smaller almost always equals better.

These technophiles are also in love with anything that can be scientifically proven and hold scientific provability as the ultimate statement on the worth of an idea, assertion or statement. Thus abx test results and DBT results are much more valid than any subjective test results regardless of the overall validity of the abx test or DBT.

What the two proceeding statements, love of technology and love of scientific testing, result in is the belief that engineers cannot be wrong. So those guys in the white lab coats, especially the ones with electrical engineering degrees, know all there is to know about how "good" a piece of audio equipment can and will sound. And the guys in the white lab coats know this because any given piece of audio equipment can be measured and tested (tested via abx or DBT).

The problems between audiophiles and technophiles stem from the fact that audiophiles, many of whom are also technophiles but to a lesser degree, tend to put less faith in technology and scientific proof and more faith in their own observations. On the other hand, the technophiles seem to have very little faith in their own observations but complete faith in any scientific proof. And yet it is the audiophile who is attacked for being closed minded and for blind belief in things which can not be scientifically proven.

Now add to all this the fact that there are many solid, scientifically proven methods used in the design and manufacturing of high end audio equipment, methods like using higher quality components or tighter build tolerances, and the waters really start to get muddy. Throw in the fact that many individuals within the high end community are well versed in electrical and audio engineering fundamentals and we've really got a very mixed up situation.

Here's an example of what I'm talking about:


Quote:

As a CD plays, the two channels of audio data (not including overhead) are pulled off the disc at a rate of just over 1400 kilobits per second. A typical MP3 plays at less than a tenth that rate, at 128kbps. To achieve that massive reduction in data, the MP3 coder splits the continuous musical waveform into discrete time chunks and, using Transform analysis, examines the spectral content of each chunk. Assumptions are made by the codec's designers, on the basis of psychoacoustic theory, about what information can be safely discarded. Quiet sounds with a similar spectrum to loud sounds in the same time window are discarded, as are quiet sounds that are immediately followed or preceded by loud sounds. And, as I wrote in the February 2008 "As We See It," because the music must be broken into chunks for the codec to do its work, transient information can get smeared across chunk boundaries.

The above quote is taken from John Atkinson's recent post on lossy versus lossless codecs MP3 vs AAC vs FLAC vs CD. The last sentence is of particular importance. I, for one, don't know exactly what it means soundwise but I can still tell that it may indeed make for an audible difference between the original wav file and the resulting mp3 file. Plus it uses good scientific terms and principles.

From what I can tell, there are still plenty of technophiles for whom this type of well reasoned and scientifically backed up article is still not good enough. Please glance at this thread to see what I mean. Slim Devices Forum thread

Now comes the hard part - how does the audiophile community prove to the technophiles that much of what is believed by audiophiles is indeed based on good scientific reasoning? And that we use our own ears, rather that the ears of engineers in white lab coats, to base our judgments of the sound of a given piece of audio equipment or a given piece of audio software.

iondot
iondot's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 9 2008 - 6:17am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

The issue isn't as much about the science of audio, as about the psychology of perception; particularly the ways in which human perception can be fooled. Any one of a dozen optical illusions can show you that we can be easily mislead.

You might think - so if I think it sounds better, then it is better.

But what if you can't tell the difference blindfolded? What does that say?

Because this is really all that science is - a method of testing.

And, as a point, my 1000 demons blog was about an obnoxious attitude sometimes displayed by audiophiles.

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
The issue isn't as much about the science of audio, as about the psychology of perception; particularly the ways in which human perception can be fooled. Any one of a dozen optical illusions can show you that we can be easily mislead.

You might think - so if I think it sounds better, then it is better.

But what if you can't tell the difference blindfolded? What does that say?

Because this is really all that science is - a method of testing.

And, as a point, my 1000 demons blog was about an obnoxious attitude sometimes displayed by audiophiles.

The subject of double blind testing has been discussed, ad nauseam, here and on just about every other forum even remotely related to audio. No matter how many times the people who don't believe in DBTs give completely valid reasons why DBTs can produce useless results, as far as testing for sound quality is concerned, the pro-DBTers never ever change or even slightly alter their own beliefs. So who's the fool?

iondot
iondot's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 9 2008 - 6:17am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
The subject of double blind testing has been discussed, ad nauseam, here and on just about every other forum even remotely related to audio. No matter how many times the people who don't believe in DBTs give completely valid reasons why DBTs can produce useless results, as far as testing for sound quality is concerned, the pro-DBTers never ever change or even slightly alter their own beliefs. So who's the fool?

Um... That would be you.

Sorry.

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
Now comes the hard part - how does the audiophile community prove to the technophiles that much of what is believed by audiophiles is indeed based on good scientific reasoning? And that we use our own ears, rather that the ears of engineers in white lab coats, to base our judgments of the sound of a given piece of audio equipment or a given piece of audio software.

People are who they are, you cannot make them change. Being a minority in any society is tough. Suck it up and go on.

http://www.stereophile.com/thinkpieces/165/index3.html

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
And, as a point, www.1000demons.com was about an obnoxious attitude sometimes displayed by audiophiles.


If this is your point, you need to re-write your entry.

You also need to edit your blog to include every group of passionate hobbyists as well, photographers, football fans, car enthusiasts, foodies, etc.

Then add every profession - there are jerks there also.

Then families, churches, national origin: plenty of obnoxious people in each of these groups.

Don't forget to include bloggers.

Of course, it would be a lot easier - and much more accurate - simply to state that there are arrogant people in every profession and pursuit.

But this would not allow you to demonize any group of people with a broad brush, would it?

As you have expertise in graphic arts, perhaps you can take a shot at my question asked in this thread:
Clicky Here This will give you a chance to use your powers for good.

Editor
Editor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 6 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
But what if you can't tell the difference blindfolded? What does that say?

It means either that there is no difference, or that the blind test does not have the resolving power to detect the difference you are investigating.

For example, you say you are happy with the sound of lossy-compressed music. Have you ever taken part in a blind test comparing such files with the uncompressed originals? Whether or not you have been shown what to listen for? I have, as have many of Stereophile's writers. For example, Stereophile columnist Michael Fremer took part in such a blind test at this year's CES and scored 100% identification. Under blind conditions, the degradation due to lossy compression at 128kbps is large enough to be audible. Period.

At 320kbps, it isn't audible all the time on all kinds of music with all listeners under blind conditions. But it is is still audible some of the time with some music with some blindfolded listeners. So why be "happy" with something that is demonstrably flawed if you don't need to?


Quote:
And, as a point, my 1000 demons blog was about an obnoxious attitude sometimes displayed by audiophiles.

No, it was an uninformed, defensive attempt to poke fun at those who get more joy from their passion for music than he does. Go troll elsewhere.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

smejias
smejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2005 - 10:29am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

Thanks for starting this thread, jazzfan -- an excellent way of taking something negative and trying to turn it into something positive.

iondot:
Most of the people in this forum have no desire to tell others what's right or wrong. I think the beauty of music and the beauty of our hobby is that there doesn't have to be one right way, there doesn't have to be an absolute or an ultimate. We can do things differently to achieve a similar goal.

Blindfold me and ask me what I'm hearing. Sometimes I'll get it right, sometimes I'll get it wrong. What do you expect? I'm blindfolded! What does it matter? I don't want to be right all of the time. I just want to have fun and be happy and share good things with other people. Those things matter.

I get the feeling that, somewhere in there, your goal is to make things -- the world -- better. But I kind of think it's too bad that your blog can't be dedicated to 1000 things that make you happy. It's not my place, though, to tell you how to spend your time. And you're right -- there are arrogant audiophiles in this world. In all areas of life, there are cool people and there are shitty people. I don't know much about you, but, so far -- here -- you've been successful in upsetting a lot of cool people. If you were looking for a bunch of fools, you came to the wrong place. These guys are not fools.

Like I said in the other thread, if you'd like to try to understand our love of music and gear, I can try to help you. But if you're here to insult people, without attempting to understand, then, like JA said, please go troll somewhere else.

smejias
smejias's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 6 months ago
Joined: Aug 25 2005 - 10:29am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:

Quote:
And, as a point, www.1000demons.com was about an obnoxious attitude sometimes displayed by audiophiles.


If this is your point, you need to re-write your entry.

You also need to edit your blog to include every group of passionate hobbyists as well, photographers, football fans, car enthusiasts, foodies, etc.

Then add every profession - there are jerks there also.

Then families, churches, national origin: plenty of obnoxious people in each of these groups.

Don't forget to include bloggers.

Of course, it would be a lot easier - and much more accurate - simply to state that there are arrogant people in every profession and pursuit.

But this would not allow you to demonize any group of people with a broad brush, would it?

As you have expertise in graphic arts, perhaps you can take a shot at my question asked in this thread:
Clicky Here This will give you a chance to use your powers for good.

Oh yeah: What Elk said.
Exactly.

bifcake
bifcake's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 27 2005 - 2:27am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:

Most of the people in this forum have no desire to tell others what's right or wrong.

Can we make Jan a notable exception to that corollary?


Quote:
Blindfold me and ask me what I'm hearing. Sometimes I'll get it right, sometimes I'll get it wrong. What do you expect? I'm blindfolded! What does it matter? I don't want to be right all of the time. I just want to have fun and be happy and share good things with other people. Those things matter.

Iondot, I agree with Stephen on this one. It's like anything else, there is a definite point of diminishing returns and the further you get from that point, the more the little subtleties matter as you try to squeeze that Nth degree of performance. Sometimes it's easier to pick up on those subtleties and sometimes it's hard. Do those subtleties matter? They matter to us. If they don't matter to you, then I will be the first one to tell you not to spend your money on this stuff. You wind up spending a LOT of money for very small, but tangible increases in performance. If these small increments don't matter, stick with what you got. If that means MP3's, then more power to you. Some of us, however, like to indulge and lose ourselves in a musical experience that we find is enhanced by those subtle improvements in musical reproduction. To each his own.


Quote:
These guys are not fools.

That's right, baby. Ma mamma raised no fool!


Quote:
Like I said in the other thread, if you'd like to try to understand our love of music and gear, I can try to help you. But if you're here to insult people, without attempting to understand, then, like JA said, please go troll somewhere else.

Yep, I'm with Stephen on this one as well. We won't pay the toll to the troll. If you'd like to find out more about the stuff we're into, welcome to the forums. Otherwise... it starts with "f" and it ends with "f"

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
Can we make Jan a notable exception to that corollary?

I'll tell you what you can do, lil'buddy, ...


Quote:
it starts with "f" and it ends with "f"

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
People are who they are, you cannot make them change. Being a minority in any society is tough. Suck it up and go on.

http://www.stereophile.com/thinkpieces/165/index3.html

Jan,

Being in a minority is one thing but being in a minority that is constantly being called names or made fun of is quite another. For example I've been a die hard jazz fan (surprise!!) for all of my adult life and I don't mind being in the minority but people do not usually go around calling jazz fans jerks and fools. At worst that say that jazz sounds like noise to them and they don't understand it but they don't call jazz fans idiots. On the other hand, audiophiles and their hobby are both openly called idiots and fools by many people and these people point to things like DBTs and abx tests as absolute proof of how right they are. That is what I take issue with, not with the being in the minority.

Here's a simple but telling analogy. A person prefers to drink Coors Light beer rather than expensive Belgium beer. Were that person to go on the web and write in a blog that "anyone who drinks expensive Belgium beer is a jerk since Coors Light tastes just fine" would that person be given a second thought by any one who has ever drank a Belgium beer? I doubt it. Most likely they would be cast off as being an idiot.

Somehow when it comes to making fun of audiophiles there is this disconnect from reality and any statement levied against an audiophile, no matter how foolish it may be, is given serious consideration especially if that statement is backed up with some pseudoscience. Man, those white lab coats must really have some magical powers to make so many people so slavish and foolish. So when an audiophile tries to tell people that satellite radio is far from CD quality or that iTunes downloads sound like shit are they given a fair chance? No because, unlike beer, many people believe that all digital audio sounds the same and they know this to be true because the guys in those white lab coats, standing at the altar of DBT, said so.

Perhaps I was a little premature in stating that "Jewels & Binoculars" should be the name of proposed digital music server area. Maybe something along the lines of "The White Lab Coat" would be a better title.

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
. . . unlike beer, many people believe that all digital audio sounds the same and they know this to be true because the guys in those white lab coats, standing at the altar of DBT, said so.

Most people can taste that beers are different, regardless of their preferences. However, many do not hear the difference between compressed and full range audio or have not had the chance to compare. Thus they accept that all digital is the same.

Additionally digital is sold as better. At least in my area public service announcements are alerting consumers to digital broadcast TV, stating in part "In fact, digital is so much better that broadcasters are required to switch to digital." People will accept this if there is less snow or multi-path, regardless of the underlying quality. Similarly, most people accept that front wheel drive is better in all respect for cars. In reality, it is better only for the manufactures as front wheel drive is easier and cheaper to manufacture and package.

We also will sacrifice a good deal for convenience. This is true of convenient sound, packaged food, gas "fireplaces" over wood, etc.

Audiophiles may indeed be too thin-skinned however.

BTW, what do you think of The Bad Plus?

bifcake
bifcake's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 27 2005 - 2:27am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

It's exactly this type of uncontrolled behavior that gives audiophiles a bad name.

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:

Quote:
. . . unlike beer, many people believe that all digital audio sounds the same and they know this to be true because the guys in those white lab coats, standing at the altar of DBT, said so.

Most people can taste that beers are different, regardless of their preferences. However, many do not hear the difference between compressed and full range audio or have not had the chance to compare. Thus they accept that all digital is the same.

Additionally digital is sold as better. At least in my area public service announcements are alerting consumers to digital broadcast TV, stating in part "In fact, digital is so much better that broadcasters are required to switch to digital." People will accept this if there is less snow or multi-path, regardless of the underlying quality. Similarly, most people accept that front wheel drive is better in all respect for cars. In reality, it is better only for the manufactures as front wheel drive is easier and cheaper to manufacture and package.

We also will sacrifice a good deal for convenience. This is true of convenient sound, packaged food, gas "fireplaces" over wood, etc.

Audiophiles may indeed be too thin-skinned however.

BTW, what do you think of The Bad Plus?

Nicely stated. One minor point - audiophile bashing is not part of an advertising campaign but done out of some kind of malice.

For my take on The Bad Plus' latest release, see this link: Prog Thread

And thanks for the push, the music sections are starting to get a little stale - let's see some action over there, people.

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

Hey, great little review!

I was unfamiliar with this trio until just a week or so ago. Our copy room guy is a serious music fan (his uncle is Dr. Demento) and he is constantly introducing me to indie rock groups, etc.

As a classically trained musician this kind of exposure and pushing is exactly what I need to learn what else is out there.

There are only two kinds of music, good and bad, regardless of genre.

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

ROTFLMAO

Jan Vigne
Jan Vigne's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Mar 18 2006 - 12:57pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
Being in a minority is one thing but being in a minority that is constantly being called names or made fun of is quite another.

There's a minority that isn't ridiculed?!

Jazzfan, I think you need to find a security blanket. People make fun of people all the time. If you believe what you hear, why worry? Consider it their loss and move on.

tomjtx
tomjtx's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 3 months ago
Joined: Nov 12 2006 - 2:53pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

let's hook up iondot to all of DUP's amps and let him feel what audiophile power is really like

linden518
linden518's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Dec 12 2007 - 5:34am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
There are only two kinds of music, good and bad, regardless of genre.


Amen!

jazzfan: nice write-up of Bad Plus. I really like them. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they take jazz beyond the comfortable borderline. Some of their efforts just don't work, but I liked Prog a lot.

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
jazzfan: nice write-up of Bad Plus. I really like them. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they take jazz beyond the comfortable borderline. Some of their efforts just don't work, but I liked Prog a lot.


Cool. Another vote.

I found them to be a great deal of fun upon initial exposure - and they've got chops.

bifcake
bifcake's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 27 2005 - 2:27am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
let's hook up iondot to all of DUP's amps and let him feel what audiophile power is really like

I second that motion. Damn it, where's DUP when you need him?

Editor
Editor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 6 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
I've been a die hard jazz fan (surprise!!) for all of my adult life and I don't mind being in the minority but people do not usually go around calling jazz fans jerks and fools. At worst that say that jazz sounds like noise to them and they don't understand it but they don't call jazz fans idiots.

Great post, Jazzfan. (And I like the Bad Plus also.)


Quote:
Somehow when it comes to making fun of audiophiles there is this disconnect from reality and any statement levied against an audiophile, no matter how foolish it may be, is given serious consideration especially if that statement is backed up with some pseudoscience. Man, those white lab coats must really have some magical powers to make so many people so slavish and foolish.

Been having a depressing afternoon reading all the threads on Head-Fi, Hydrogen-Audio, Steve Hoffman, Slim Devices forums, etc, in response to my essay on MP3 vs FLAC, etc. Good grief, you might have thought I had flashed a crowd of nuns, to judge by the reaction!

Been thinking about why this should be, and I think it ties in to the point you made in your post. The presentation of of my article makes it look as if I, too, have a white lab coat. (Actually, with my education and training, I am entitled to one.) But if you read the article, I came up with the WRONG ANSWER, one that gives aid and comfort to the Evil High-End Audio Establishment. This is unforgivable, it seems. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 years 7 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:

...Good grief, you might have thought I had flashed a crowd of nuns, to judge by the reaction!

What, they're all pointing and laughing?

Sorry. After the recent threads here, I thought we were due for a little dick humor.

Get it? Little, dick, humor?

Huh? Huh?

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

The various forum responses are quite odd, especially the Hydrogen-Audio people.

Also interesting how so many don't fundamentally understand what the article stated prior to criticizing.

We need to give them a demeaning (demoning?) name so they can be demonized!

Editor
Editor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 6 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
The various forum responses are quite odd, especially the Hydrogen-Audio people.

It seems that my publishing the article was pointless because (and I paraphrase):
a) Everyone knows that MP3s are not of "CD quality"
b) Everyone knows that MP3s are indistinguishable from CD


Quote:
Also interesting how so many don't fundamentally understand what the article stated prior to criticizing.

Not what you would expect from a group of people who pledge allegiance to "Science." But seriously, if the worst criticism is that I used JPEG encoding for the graphs, I can live with that :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Editor
Editor's picture
Offline
Last seen: 11 years 6 months ago
Joined: Sep 1 2005 - 8:56am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
After the recent threads here, I thought we were due for a little dick humor.

Get it? Little, dick, humor?

Your wisdom is of the inscrutable kind, Buddha. I shall study your koan at the next Stereophile retreat.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

rvance
rvance's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2007 - 9:58am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:

Quote:
jazzfan: nice write-up of Bad Plus. I really like them. It might not be everyone's cup of tea, but they take jazz beyond the comfortable borderline. Some of their efforts just don't work, but I liked Prog a lot.


Cool. Another vote.

I found them to be a great deal of fun upon initial exposure - and they've got chops.

Besides The Bad Plus, also check out Medjeski, Martin and Wood and Oranj Symphonette for that quirky, trippy vibe. Only one complaint: not enough cowbell!

wkhanna
wkhanna's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 month 1 week ago
Joined: Jul 13 2007 - 1:46pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

An amalgam of proverbs I have distilled into a personal philosophy over the past 50 years of existence within a world inhabited with many whom have gleaned naut of their conscience existence: Life is short, be kind to all, drink well nurtured spirits, keep your mouth shut, and learn how to listen.

bertdw
bertdw's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 18 2007 - 5:41am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

Those people over at Stereophile said our mp3s aren't perfect. Let's call them names!

John, you have nothing to be depressed about. Some people will never care about nor understand how much high-quality music reproduction can enrich one's life. You have done an admirable job trying to inform and enlighten them. I have enjoyed and benefitted from Stereophile magazine since Volume 7 Number 5. Thank you. Keep up the good work.

Iondot, if you are satisfied with the mp3 format, so be it. Go enjoy your music and be happy..

Audiophiles, when someone asks why we do what we do and spend what we spend, invite them to listen for a while. Try to explain the pleasure we get from the music and the hobby. Tell them what we think makes the experience more rewarding. And let them make up their own minds.

dbowker
dbowker's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 3 months ago
Joined: May 8 2007 - 6:37am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

I've been a Bad Plus since their first CD and have seen them twice so far, the third time will be tonight!

rvance
rvance's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2007 - 9:58am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
I've been a Bad Plus since their first CD and have seen them twice so far, the third time will be tonight!

That's Good Plus! Have fun...

rvance
rvance's picture
Offline
Last seen: 8 years 9 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2007 - 9:58am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
I've been a Bad Plus since their first CD and have seen them twice so far, the third time will be tonight!

BTW- Their cover of The Pixies' "Velouria" is very cool...

Elk
Elk's picture
Offline
Last seen: 1 year 8 months ago
Joined: Dec 26 2006 - 6:32am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
I've been a Bad Plus since their first CD and have seen them twice so far, the third time will be tonight!


I'm glad I brought them up!

I do have this nagging feeling however that everybody was enjoying them before I even knew they existed. So let's get the music side of this board going! If nothing else, this classical music nerd loves learning of other good music.

bertdw
bertdw's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 18 2007 - 5:41am
Re: audiophile koan

Two wires in a cable make a sound. What is the sound of one wire?

linden518
linden518's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Dec 12 2007 - 5:34am
Re: audiophile koan


Quote:
Two wires in a cable make a sound. What is the sound of one wire?


A John Cage composition.

andy19191
andy19191's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 25 2006 - 1:50am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

> Now comes the hard part - how does the audiophile community prove to the
> technophiles that much of what is believed by audiophiles is indeed based on good
> scientific reasoning?

Easy: quote the relevant scientific laws that are being used to predict. The problem, of course, is that not only do many audiophile beliefs not have a scientific basis but they are actually in conflict with established scientific knowledge. A wise audiophile would probably say stuff the scientific method I opt for audiophile beliefs and trusting my ears. End of problem.

> And that we use our own ears, rather that the ears of engineers in white lab
> coats, to base our judgments of the sound of a given piece of audio equipment or
> a given piece of audio software.

Fine but it is almost never a route to information that will be accepted by those men in white lab coats. If you want them to accept your information then you must play by their rules and not yours and follow their scientific method.

> No matter how many times the people who don't believe in DBTs give completely
> valid reasons why DBTs can produce useless results, as far as testing for sound
> quality is concerned, the pro-DBTers never ever change or even slightly alter
> their own beliefs. So who's the fool?

Probably you for not recognising why the conflict arises. The basis for audiophiles not believing in DBTs is not a scientific one and so what you consider to be completely valid for audiophiles will not be accepted by people following scientific rules. Unless the two sides build their arguments upon common agreed knowledge there can be no agreed reasoned progress towards an outcome.

> Somehow when it comes to making fun of audiophiles there is this disconnect from
> reality and any statement levied against an audiophile, no matter how foolish it
> may be, is given serious consideration especially if that statement is backed up
> with some pseudoscience. Man, those white lab coats must really have some magical
> powers to make so many people so slavish and foolish.

Again, I think it is you that is being foolish. In the same way that you have confidence in audiophile beliefs others have confidence in the scientific method at least when it comes matters about the physical world. On their terms, audiophiles often look foolish because they hold beliefs that scientific knowledge would say is wrong in the manner of the earth being flat.

I would suggest being a bit more tolerant and open minded about how other people think and reason. Who knows, you might come to recognise some good in scientific thought and reasoning.

> One minor point - audiophile bashing is not part of an advertising campaign but
> done out of some kind of malice.

Here I think we do have a fair amount of agreement although malice is probably a bit too strong. The audiophile world is inevitably a fairly closed and isolated one because of its conflicting beliefs with the technical/scientific mainstream. So when people with mainstream beliefs rather than audiophile beliefs come over and start peddling them then questioning their motivation is fair. As best I can judge, this rarely seems to be of the purest tending towards taking the p*ss for entertainment.

ROLO46
ROLO46's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 29 2006 - 10:16am
Re: audiophile koan


Quote:

Quote:
Two wires in a cable make a sound. What is the sound of one wire?

Hum........

Roger
imho

jazzfan
jazzfan's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 8:55am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
> Now comes the hard part - how does the audiophile community prove to the
> technophiles that much of what is believed by audiophiles is indeed based on good
> scientific reasoning?

Easy: quote the relevant scientific laws that are being used to predict. The problem, of course, is that not only do many audiophile beliefs not have a scientific basis but they are actually in conflict with established scientific knowledge. A wise audiophile would probably say stuff the scientific method I opt for audiophile beliefs and trusting my ears. End of problem.

> And that we use our own ears, rather that the ears of engineers in white lab
> coats, to base our judgments of the sound of a given piece of audio equipment or
> a given piece of audio software.

Fine but it is almost never a route to information that will be accepted by those men in white lab coats. If you want them to accept your information then you must play by their rules and not yours and follow their scientific method.

> No matter how many times the people who don't believe in DBTs give completely
> valid reasons why DBTs can produce useless results, as far as testing for sound
> quality is concerned, the pro-DBTers never ever change or even slightly alter
> their own beliefs. So who's the fool?

Probably you for not recognising why the conflict arises. The basis for audiophiles not believing in DBTs is not a scientific one and so what you consider to be completely valid for audiophiles will not be accepted by people following scientific rules. Unless the two sides build their arguments upon common agreed knowledge there can be no agreed reasoned progress towards an outcome.

> Somehow when it comes to making fun of audiophiles there is this disconnect from
> reality and any statement levied against an audiophile, no matter how foolish it
> may be, is given serious consideration especially if that statement is backed up
> with some pseudoscience. Man, those white lab coats must really have some magical
> powers to make so many people so slavish and foolish.

Again, I think it is you that is being foolish. In the same way that you have confidence in audiophile beliefs others have confidence in the scientific method at least when it comes matters about the physical world. On their terms, audiophiles often look foolish because they hold beliefs that scientific knowledge would say is wrong in the manner of the earth being flat.

I would suggest being a bit more tolerant and open minded about how other people think and reason. Who knows, you might come to recognise some good in scientific thought and reasoning.

> One minor point - audiophile bashing is not part of an advertising campaign but
> done out of some kind of malice.

Here I think we do have a fair amount of agreement although malice is probably a bit too strong. The audiophile world is inevitably a fairly closed and isolated one because of its conflicting beliefs with the technical/scientific mainstream. So when people with mainstream beliefs rather than audiophile beliefs come over and start peddling them then questioning their motivation is fair. As best I can judge, this rarely seems to be of the purest tending towards taking the p*ss for entertainment.

A very nice rebuttal but somewhat faulty in that you complete blow over my assertion that DBTs are not a scientifically valid means of testing for differences in the sound of audio equipment. That is the major point of my entire argument. If one holds so dearly to scientific testing methods and one is clearly shown that a given scientific testing method is flawed then why the hell does that person still insist that the flawed scientific testing method is valid. That does not seem to be a very scientific and logical way of thinking.

And the basic fact remains that DBTs are at best seriously flawed and at worst completely useless when used as a method for testing the differences in the sound of audio equipment. However, it seems that no matter how many times this simple fact is pointed out to the believers in the "scientific method" they, very unscientifically, refuse to accept it. That's what I mean about many people being closed minded and foolish.

I'm sorry to sound so harsh but quite frankly I'm tired of dealing with such closed minded individuals who so firmly believe in a scientific method that under closer inspection turns out to be only pseudoscience.

bertdw
bertdw's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 18 2007 - 5:41am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

I agree with jazzfan and would like to repost my argument against blind testing:

It is my belief that the use of blind testing to assess audible differences in audio components is a flawed process because human hearing is an adaptive system.

Try this experiment. Get some foam ear plugs at your local drug store, the kind used to protect your hearing from damage by loud noise. Insert only one plug in one ear according to the instructions, and wear it for twenty to thirty minutes while listening to music, television, or any kind of background noise. When you remove the plug, you'll find that everything now sounds louder in that ear than in the other. Your brain has "turned up the volume" on that ear to compensate for the loss caused by the plug. This phenomenon occurs not only with loudness but with tonal balance and other factors as well. Switching too rapidly between components in a blind test does not allow your hearing to fully adjust to or "learn" the characteristics of the sound, thereby masking differences in sound quality.

Has the following ever happened to you? The telephone rings. You answer and the person on the other end of the line begins to speak. It's obvious that they know you, but you don't recognize the voice. Finally you ask "Who is this?" The moment you learn the person's identity the voice snaps into focus and you wonder why you didn't recognize it right away. Your mind was denied the identity of the source of the sound, and could not properly assemble all of the information in that sound to make the identification. Similarly, concealing the identity of the components in a blind test inhibits your ability to distinguish between them.

Thank you for your time. My apologies for repeating myself.

andy19191
andy19191's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 25 2006 - 1:50am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

> A very nice rebuttal but somewhat faulty in that you complete blow over
> my assertion that DBTs are not a scientifically valid means of testing
> for differences in the sound of audio equipment.

No. I addressed this directly by pointing out that your reasoning about DBTs makes sense to you and some other audiophiles because of what you have chosen to believe. It does not make sense to other people that hold a different set of beliefs about how the world works. If you wish to convince such people of the rightness of your view then you must do it on their terms and not yours.

Now the point you wish to make would seem to be: "And the basic fact remains that DBTs are at best seriously flawed and at worst completely useless when used as a method for testing the differences in the sound of audio equipment." Below are a couple of points you would need to address in order to start to communicate with a scientist on their terms.

Blinding is a component of an experiment and it is effectively meaningless outside this context. It is a component intended to remove bias from what the experiment is measuring. In order to show it is failing you must first define the experiment and what is being measured before you can show any kind of failure.

In your statement you would seem to want to measure "the difference in sound of audio equipment". This cannot be measured unless you are clearer about what you mean. In particular, you must define the form of sound perception that is being measured.

One common form of measured sound perception is when knowledge of what is making the sound is removed. For blinding to be at fault in this case the subject would have to gain or partially gain this knowledge. It is a useful form of sound perception because controls are straightforward and one is primarily relying on the sound impinging on the ears changing enough to be perceived.

A more difficult form of sound perception to measure is when all the normal factors that affect sound perception are left in place. Controls in this case are usually difficult though not impossible depending on precisely what one is trying to measure. To show blinding is failing in this case means wrestling with the details of the experiment.

> I'm sorry to sound so harsh but quite frankly I'm tired of dealing with
> such closed minded individuals who so firmly believe in a scientific
> method that under closer inspection turns out to be only pseudoscience.

I can appreciate your frustration but I am afraid it is you that has the closed mind in not making the effort to understand how the opposition reasons differently to you.

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

Just cus' you don't recognize a voice on teh phone instantly, means some voices sound like other voices. Just like audio stuff, a lot sounds like any other. You just made a perfect argument for why blind testing PROVES how similar the stuff is. And how the claims of such drastic differences between this foot and that foot is not real. When you don't see what you are listiening too, you can only judge it by what you hear, not what you see. And advertising has people trained to beleive that certain brands are vastly superior to others. When ya don't see the fancy case and you put the same ckts in a black plain case, you will probably pick the fancy chassis one as sounding better, than the one in the plain box.

Buddha
Buddha's picture
Offline
Last seen: 10 years 7 months ago
Joined: Sep 8 2005 - 10:24am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

Quote from above:

"A very nice rebuttal but somewhat faulty in that you complete blow over my assertion that DBTs are not a scientifically valid means of testing for differences in the sound of audio equipment. That is the major point of my entire argument. If one holds so dearly to scientific testing methods and one is clearly shown that a given scientific testing method is flawed then why the hell does that person still insist that the flawed scientific testing method is valid. That does not seem to be a very scientific and logical way of thinking.

And the basic fact remains that DBTs are at best seriously flawed and at worst completely useless when used as a method for testing the differences in the sound of audio equipment. However, it seems that no matter how many times this simple fact is pointed out to the believers in the "scientific method" they, very unscientifically, refuse to accept it. That's what I mean about many people being closed minded and foolish."

Hola.

As an audiophile, I am amazed by the often magical thinking my hobby promulgates on a regular basis.

Guys, if you think DBT is "seriously flawed" or "completely worthless," that is fine, but bloody hell, at least think about what on earth could possibly be flawed about how our hobby goes about reporting "findings" for a minute or two when giving a big validating hug to un-blinded tests and reviews.

Does it not strike any audiophile who opposes DBT's as even a little odd that there are essentially no audiophiles or reviewers that have ever been able to overcome the masking effect of DBT's?

If this

bertdw
bertdw's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 18 2007 - 5:41am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
Does it not strike any audiophile who opposes DBT's as even a little odd that there are essentially no audiophiles or reviewers that have ever been able to overcome the masking effect of DBT's?

Blind tests are usually organized to determine whether or not a difference exists when its existence is already in question. If casual listening does not reveal a difference, why is it surprising that a test which may contain masking effects won't help? And yes, masking effects do exist. Let's just take stress for one!


Quote:
On the one hand we have the
Monty
Monty's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2005 - 6:55pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

The scientific community arrogantly assumes that they know what it is
that should be measured. The fact that audible differences in cables exist
despite the scientific community saying that it's not possible suggests
that it is the scientists who are failing to measure the right thing or
failing to understand the significance of very tiny differences when it
comes to human hearing.

I've heard profound differences in cables and so I'm not down with the idea
of agreeing that they are small and insignificant in relation to other
pieces of gear.

Rather than try to peak the curiosity of the scientific community to learn
something new or something not yet understood, I'm satisfied to listen
to music and wait for them to catch up. I'm in no hurry and they aren't
engaged in a telemarketing campaign that interrupts my life.

dcstep
dcstep's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2007 - 4:59pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile


Quote:
...

People, let's put things in perspective here. Audible differences in cables, when they do exist, are small in comparison to other components. Some people say they are not significant, others say they are. But can we stop saying "cables make a difference" and replace that with "cables can make a difference?" And you folks on the other side of the argument, can you stop saying "cables make no difference" and replace that with "cables usually don't make a significant difference?" Thank you!

Why would we agree to that?? In a great system it's very easy to hear the difference in cables.

Dave

andy19191
andy19191's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 25 2006 - 1:50am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

> The fact that audible differences in cables exist despite the scientific
> community saying that it's not possible

I think you might need to support this extremely dubious statement with a reference or two. As far as I am aware, nobody with even a cursory knowledge of sound perception disputes that audiophiles perceive differences in the sound of cables. Further, unlike bertdw, I see no reason for them to be necessarily subtle. Although my background hinders an inclination towards perceiving differences in cables, the differences I hear in sound perception tests like the oft-cited McGurk effect are not subtle.

On the other hand, after over 30 years of goading and cash incentives of upto a million dollars audiophiles have little option but to accept the fact that under blind conditions with normal equipment and at least semi-reasonable cables nobody is going to perceive a difference.

Now science has no problems and therefore no active interest in either of these situations. So why do audiophiles? As far as I can see, it would seem to be because they do not want to accept that their sound perception is both variable, unreliable and fairly easy to fool like mine and everybody elses. Is that a reasonable assessment?

bertdw
bertdw's picture
Offline
Last seen: 2 years 10 months ago
Joined: Sep 18 2007 - 5:41am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

Thank you all for your replies. I must admit I expected more resistance from the opposing camp! When I said that the audible differences between cables are small compared to other components, I was attempting a comparison to something like, say, the Paradigm Atom versus the Sonus Faber Elipsa. (Both of which I have not heard; I was searching for an extreme example.)

Speaking for myself, I am perturbed at being called a fool for

andy19191
andy19191's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Nov 25 2006 - 1:50am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

> That is why I enter into debates like this one and attempt to gently
> persuade both sides to find a compromise.

It appears that you do not understand the basis of scientific knowledge which has no room for compromise. Scientific knowledge must predict the outcome of experiments and get it right 100% of the time or else it is discarded or restricted to situations where it does get it right 100% of the time. That may seem a bit harsh but it is why scientific knowledge tends to get trusted a lot more than, say, an audiophile's casual observations of what is going on posted on the internet.

> Speaking for myself, I am perturbed at being called a fool for
>

dcstep
dcstep's picture
Offline
Last seen: Never ago
Joined: Sep 16 2007 - 4:59pm
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

The differences are audible and measureable, see:
http://www.analysis-plus.com/design_whitepaper.html for just one example.

Dave

CECE
CECE's picture
Offline
Last seen: 3 years 4 months ago
Joined: Sep 17 2005 - 8:16am
Re: The Demonic Audiophile

Taht Analysis Plus write uup is filled with nonsene, they take concepts that have nothing to do with audio level LOW voltages, and try to apply it to a low voltage situation. a sharp edge at 3V does not breekdown the insulation. at 50kV it sure will. If this writeup is what you beleive, that's the point of it. You don't understand electrical concepts nore hV or most anything else. This is why cable scammers can sell their crap, to teh gulliable and unknowing. an educated consuerm is a cable makers worst non customer. It's pure BS. Do some study on electrical concepts, and hV versus low voltage ckts and equipment. It's a vast differetn world. these cable scammers love to obsfurcate concepts trying to tie one to the other, liek skin effect which is in teh RF range not aduio. All BS.

Pages

  • X