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mosfet50
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Opinions and Science

Opinion and Science
John Atkinson makes the same mistake Art Dudley does, he thinks we should dismiss science for his opinions. Being a writer, critic or even an audio engineer for 45, or 145 years for that matter, has no bearing on the truth, it is not a product of time, background or popularity. The closest we can get to the truth is through the observation and measurement of data. An apple falls from a tree and we make an observation. As more data is observed we refine our hypothesis, or guess, and when we have a hypothesis that holds up to significant data we call it a theory, The Quantum Theory for example. That's the best we can do.

Audio magazine 'experts' are no better than audio 'experts' anywhere else that don't use science to evaluate products. I understand this is dangerous territory for magazines that rate products in neatly recommended categories filled with opinions and statements such as "these are John's favorite….". Audio is big business and advertisers pay handsomely for space but as I've said before many reviews are just another variation of the Kings New Clothes and I've read some statements by audio journalists that simply defy science.

So what is scientific? Human hearing diminishes with age, so the worst thing an audio 'expert' should proclaim is how long he or she has been evaluating equipment! When I was in my twenties my hearing was tested to almost 19Khz, many of my friends back then peaked at 16 and 17Khz. I could go into busy stores and astonish owners by telling them that they forgot to shut off their alarm system. I have some pretty sophisticated equipment and testing my hearing today I found that it peaks at around 13 to 14Khz and I didn't spend my life in rock concerts. Audiophiles should test their own hearing to verify this for themselves, that's science and it's the result of collected data.
Audio critics should publish a graph of their hearing spectrum. It's just common sense that someone expounding the minute nuances of highs between two pieces of equipment should actually be able to hear them!

Double blind tests are science, proclaiming expertise is not. Linus Pauling received a Nobel Prize for his work in genetics. When he ventured away from science proclaiming the extraordinary benefits of vitamin 'C' people started ingesting it in massive amounts. We found out years later that it caused more problems than it cured. If you feel double blind tests are less than perfect don't dismiss them completely improve them scientifically, that's how science works!

There is another sound scientific tool for evaluating two pieces of equipment, it is called the AB subtractive test. The two outputs are subtractively compared and a null indicates that, regardless of human opinion, two capacitors, resistors or pieces of equipment sound exactly the same.
To recap the three things now missing from the audio 'expert':

1. The hearing spectrum.
2. The double blind test.
3. The AB subtractive test.

John Atkinson listened to two pieces of equipment in a blind test and, finding no difference, bought the cheaper one only to pine for the one he didn't buy so he exchanged the two .... then he was happy. What? That's not proof that he's hearing subtle differences, it's proof that his subjectivity is psychologically biasing his hearing! You can't simply dismiss science for your subjective opinion and then reverse build a fragile foundation around it. We listen to a piece of music and love it one day but hate it the next. The recording didn't change, something within us changed. What we have to stop doing is transferring the subjective joy of listening to the science of evaluating. Sure, buy equipment because it looks great or your Aunt Tilly loves it but accept that subjectivity for what it is.

Audio is out of control today. I asked a company that sells stands to keep wires off the floor for the scientific proof for the stands. I got a list of credentials and what the 'expert' could hear. If we want audio to have any credence than it's time to tell these 'experts' to clean up their act or go back to selling snake oil out of horse drawn carts. Listeners owe it to themselves to use science as an evaluating tool, not only will they find products that better fit their listening preferences but they'll probably do it much more economically.
Robert Dee
Delhi, NY
April 2015

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Quantum Theory

I certainly don't wish to engage in personalities and a big argument of who knows what and how much time or even experience is relevant to an argument about audio, but I would simply like to observe that when you say Quantum Theory is the best that we can do I kind of think you might be missing the facts about Quantum Physics. And that important fact is that IT USED TO BE A THEORY. But not anymore. We understand quantum physics rather well, actually, and can actually apply it to build lasers, quantum computers, and we can even quantum teleport things over great distances. We are going to be using quantum dots for medical applications, we already use them for audio applications. And there are other quantum physics-based audio devices, too, have been for many years. So, what I'm trying to say is that one should probably not use Quantum Physics as an example of how little we know or why audiophiles aren't scientific. Any more than one should use some other subject like black holes or Big Bang to express how little we know. Those things are very well understood, too. Before I forget, Good Luck with the double blind testing. That's been shot so full of holes it looks like a spaghetti strainer.

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
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Science is not an absolute but it's the best we have

Geoff,
I think you're missing the point. Would you say we have learned everything there is to know about Quantum Theory? I don't think anyone would because we would have to know absolutely everything there is to know to make that statement as we would have to know everything there is to know to make any absolute statements. Again, the best science can do is approach absolutes and that is the point I'm making.
What's important is that we use science as the yardstick because we've seen the mess audio is in, and it is a mess, when we rely on people's opinions. We get wood structures that hold wires off the floor because someone selling them can hear the difference, except when he's subjected to a double blind test, and a well known audio writer for this magazine who hears the difference between two batteries, not powering an audio circuit but an LED that varies a gain control.
People recommending equipment that costs more than a top of the line luxury car should be accountable for their actions and their statements. These guys get free equipment, wined and dined and then sell advertising space. Someone tell me how that doesn't affect their preferences? Whether anyone likes Consumer Reports or not at least they take advertisers out of the equation.

Double Blind, disproved by whom? You can't simply say that's been "shot full of holes", you have to give scientific proof and what about the other science I mentioned? Again, if you don't like the Double Blind you improve it, you don't dismiss it for someone's opinion.

Robert

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Blind tests are probably just more bad evidence.

I would say we and by "we" I mean myself since I don't read minds and therefore don't know what others may or may not know, understand about 90% of Quantum Mechanics. As far as Blind tests go they are definitely overrated and used primarily by pseudo skeptics as some sort of example of proof that certain expensive cables or other controversial audio devices don't work. I mean, hell, skeptics don't ever actually DO THE BLIND TESTS, they just threaten doing them. Lol. Which is the real problem with blind tests OR ANY TESTS - they do not prove anything one way or the other. They might be evidence but even then it all depends on many factors if it even qualities for good evidence. Most tests, no matter how much someone claims they are PROOF are probably just bad evidence. At best a test is simply a data point.

Geoff Kait
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Anecdotal Fallacy

Geoff,
I went through how science works. What skeptics? Who doesn't do tests? Who claims? "Probably just bad evidence"? What tests don't prove anything? This is called Anecdotal Fallacy. Ultraviolet Catastrophe proved something, You're not giving data, why blind tests don't work or any factual evidence or data. You're giving your OPINION!

Art Dudley and John Atkinson don't like blind tests. Read Art Dudley's article on blind testing. Basically he gets nervous when he does blind testing. Why? He compares two products, one he reviewed several months previously and one he is presently reviewing and he hears minute differences between the two. Yet he can't differentiate them in a double blind test when they are sitting next to each other? But he wants readers to accept his opinion, his subjectivity over a double blind test and an A/B subtractive test? Sure he does, think about what's at stake if he can't prove through scientific methods the difference between a 100k amp and one that costs 2500 dollars or less. I asked Art Dudley to post a graph of his hearing spectrum. He admitted that it has diminished over the years but failed to produce exactly what it is. Sure, he doesn't want readers to know he can't hear 14 or 15Khz if that.

You don't like double bind tests, A/B subtractive tests, a hearing spectrum? What exactly would you like to use as a delineation between two pieces of equipment?

It's the King's New Clothes. "Recommended Components"? Built on what? Their subjectivity? I'm selling bridges all next week, how many do you want!

Robert

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Testing, what does it all mean?

I actually don't have much against blind tests. But it's really the people who use them as some sort of excuse why certain products or cables can't possibly work. Yes, that's my opinion. Just like what you're saying is your opinion. The evidence that a test may or may not bring to the table is not anything more than a data point and should be weighed against other independent tests by other independent testers. There is nothing Earth shaking about that opinion. It's the scientific method beaming down at you. From what I can tell the folks who are big supporters of blind testing fall on the pseudo skeptic side of things and never actually do any testing themselves. They kind of wait for someone else to do the tests. Lol

Geoff Kait
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Who is "they"?

I'm not giving opinions I'm advocating using science and not opinions. "They" is back to Anecdotal Fallacy.

It's a data point? Fine then lets examine the data, if the algorithm has flaws or the control group has flaws you improve the scientific process, you don't dismiss it and substitute hearsay.

Look, you can't simply say the science is no good like Art Dudley does, you have to give alternatives . So he says the science is flawed and what are we left with? His opinion? That's not good enough.
I gave alternatives, I asked for a hearing spectrum an A/B subtractive test along with blind testing.

Let me give you an example. Sam Tellig reviewed an audio gain control that the designer claimed sounded better when the LED driving the photo cell was powered by Lithium batteries as opposed to Cadmium. No one on the planet can hear that difference, sorry it's scientifically impossible. First the batteries are not in the direct audio chain and secondly looking at both DC voltages reveals zero difference. A subtractive A/B test reveals no difference either. So here's someone claiming something virtually impossible but the problem is that he actually thinks his hearing is that acute,that's scary. That he writes this nonsense for a major magazine and no one calling him on it only makes it more troubling.

When I was a tyke in school our Psychology 101 professor did an experiment. In the middle of class an angry student burst into the room, threw a crumpled piece of paper at the professor and told him what he could do with his tests. After he left the professor asked for details about the individual. Out of 25 or 30 kids only very few got it right. Clothes, size weight, hair color, etc.
That's how fragile our senses are.
It's not automatic. Senses send info to the brain and distortion enters in, fear kicks the Amygdala in and that short circuits observation, what we hear etc.

So what do you want to do? Dismiss science? What would you like to use as a yardstick, what's your answer?

Rob

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I believe that's called a preordained conclusion

You seem to know an awful lot about what is and isn't scientifically possible. Even before the test. So, just on that basis alone I'm out of here. My mother always told never argue with a man who's got his mind already made up. Sorry to hear about your fragile senses. Mine are not so fragile, I'm happy to report.

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
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My mind is made up because I

My mind is made up because I want to use science over subjectivity? What's really happening here is that you can't answer the question to what you would propose if you think science is not the best analysis tool. Apparently what your mother forgot to teach you is to be direct and honest.

How do I know your senses aren't fragile, because you say they aren't? Most people would say the same thing and most people would be wrong. The writers for Sterophile want us to believe the same thing, You have the onus of proof just as they do. So far your position, like theirs, doesn't look very favorable. Talk is a cheap commodity, I'll stick with science.

Rob

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Who Does?

Hi Rob,
Who in the entire industry of audio retail does the type of testing that you suggest Stereophile should do? And why just the audio industry? Does anybody else in retail (ie. food, automotive, clothing, etc.), or even any consumer "protection" organizations, do this type of testing?

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Blinded by Science

Mosfet50 wrote,

"Let me give you an example. Sam Tellig reviewed an audio gain control that the designer claimed sounded better when the LED driving the photo cell was powered by Lithium batteries as opposed to Cadmium. No one on the planet can hear that difference, sorry it's scientifically impossible. First the batteries are not in the direct audio chain and secondly looking at both DC voltages reveals zero difference. A subtractive A/B test reveals no difference either. So here's someone claiming something virtually impossible but the problem is that he actually thinks his hearing is that acute,that's scary. That he writes this nonsense for a major magazine and no one calling him on it only makes it more troubling."

Here's the thing, you make a lot of assumptions in your statements regarding the type of batteries and whether you think they make a difference to the sound. The batteries are as much of the system as the power supply or the house AC in a normal system and we all know they can affect the sound, right? So why not batteries. You have preconceived notions of theta is possible that are actually not founded on science. They are your hunches. So, what kind of evidence much less proof is that? Answer at 11. Furthermore, I believe that when someone reports what he heard in listening tests it qualifies as evidence, anecdotal evidence, whereas when you say you feel that batteries can't possibly make a difference it's your gut reaction. Which is not a very scientific way to approach things. Follow? Next up, a tutorial on the difference between proof and evidence.

Geoff Kait
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Lots of testing.
ChrisS wrote:

Hi Rob,
Who in the entire industry of audio retail does the type of testing that you suggest Stereophile should do? And why just the audio industry? Does anybody else in retail (ie. food, automotive, clothing, etc.), or even any consumer "protection" organizations, do this type of testing?

Sure,
Two cars are compared on their time to 60 mph, 1/4 mile, Cx, interior noise, lateral forces, etc. Auto writers compare slalom G forces, speed through the slalom, etc. and give data proving which car actually performs better in an A/B test.

Food is a little different, we get a cooks opinions on how a food tastes but most of us read the package contents to compare two bags of potato chips for example to see which one has less salt. It's a direct comparison. You can't quantify the taste of foods or someone's taste for music so taste is highly opinionated but let's not confuse taste in music or for that matter taste in amplifier types. You might like tube sound over solid state for instance, that's highly subjective just like the music you prefer. Problems arises when I rate two amps of the same type based on my opinion like Stereophile writers do, and worse grade them in "Recommended Components" without giving the reader an A/B subtractive test and a plot of their hearing spectrum. What do advertisers do? They use the opinions of the writers to sell their products, read the ads. Again, it's the Kings New Clothes. We have someone whose hearing falls off well below 15k giving us intricate details about the highs between two pieces of equipment that he isn't even comparing side by side. But he can't do it in a double blind test! What's wrong with this picture.

Because our love for music is personal does not translate to the science of audio. Again, if you like the look of a set of speakers and you purchase them on that criteria, that's fine. Just know what you're getting and why. You may like the way a dish of food is served to you but if you decide that it's health benefit is a product of appearance than you're not using reason and facts in your assessment.

What is your point? Because other industries don't use science to find the best product, neither should audio magazine writers? Lots of companies would like to sell you products on their opinions, that's how snake oil salesmen make their money!

Rob

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geoffkait wrote:
geoffkait wrote:

Mosfet50 wrote,

"Let me give you an example. Sam Tellig reviewed an audio gain control that the designer claimed sounded better when the LED driving the photo cell was powered by Lithium batteries as opposed to Cads. No one on the planet can hear that difference, sorry it's scientifically impossible. First the batteries are not in the direct audio chain and secondly looking at both DC voltages reveals zero difference. A subtractive A/B test reveals no difference either. So here's someone claiming something virtually impossible but the problem is that he actually thinks his hearing is that acute,that's scary. That he writes this nonsense for a major magazine and no one calling him on it only makes it more troubling."

Here's the thing, you make a lot of assumptions in your statements regarding the type of batteries and whether you think they make a difference to the sound. The batteries are as much of the system as the power supply or the house AC in a normal system and we all know they can affect the sound, right? So why not batteries. You have preconceived notions of theta is possible that are actually not founded on science. They are your hunches. So, what kind of evidence much less proof is that? Answer at 11. Furthermore, I believe that when someone reports what he heard in listening tests it qualifies as evidence, anecdotal evidence, whereas when you say you feel that batteries can't possibly make a difference it's your gut reaction. Which is not a very scientific way to approach things. Follow? Next up, a tutorial on the difference between proof and evidence.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynmica

I'm not making assumptions at all. I have thousands of dollars of precision electronic equipment and I've tested and designed lots and lots of power supplies from simple linear supplies to SMPS(switch mode power supplies). I can tell you the charging characteristics of Nano Phosphate Lithium Ion batteries, Cads, Lead/Acid, etc.

What I can't do with all this equipment is find one iota of difference between two pure DC voltage sources which batteries supply.
Here's how the potentiometer works that Sam Tellig is reviewing. An LED's voltage is varied and as that LED's brightness changes the photocell in direct path with it changes its resistance based on the amount of light hitting it. That resistance change is the potentiometer and used to control gain or whatever. So, not only is the battery not in the audio path but it's isolated from it! In fact we use similar configurations to isolate two voltage sources in circuits, that's how remote the source, that I can't differentiate on a several thousand dollar scope, is. To say you can hear that difference is, for lack of a better term - rubbish!

Now, since you don't like double blind tests, what, for the third or forth time, is your opposed answer.

Rob

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Mosfet50 wrote,

Mosfet50 wrote,

For the fourth time, it's not that I don't like blind tests, it's that I think it's a mistake for people to make them out as if they solve all of Audio's ills. I already said ALL TESTS have the same problem - they don't prove anything. If you can't measure a difference that doesn't necessarily mean you won't be able to hear a difference. What is it that you still don't understand by that simple statement? As far as measuring this or that characteristics of power supplies or batterie or resistors or capacitors it proves nothing. That's kind of the whole point in audio, isn't it? That the sound of a thing is not necessarily dictated by measurements - capacitors that measure the same sound different. Cables with identical resistance, capacitance sound different. Amplifiers with very low THD sound subjectively WORSE than some Amps with THD a couple of orders of magnitude greater. What's up with that? Lol. You have your mind made up and nothing can convince you otherwise. So be it. Lol

Alternatives? How about using your ears? Maybe you didn't get the memo. Everything in Audioland is topsy turvy. Nothing makes sense any more.

Geoff Kait
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If I'm The King Of The World...

Lots of cars outperform the Subaru BRZ, but the people who bought this rear-drive sports car, even at the low end sub-$27,000 trim level, say it's the "most fun" to drive!!

Show me a "test" for "fun"...

My point is nobody shops (or tests) the way you might like them to... You might, perhaps a few others. Nobody else does.

That is the whole point.

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Science Done Right?

Do you think that the "science" behind the development, testing, and approval of Oxycodone/ Oxycontin was done "right"?

Objectively? Without bias or opinion?

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You're still giving opinions

You haven't established that blind tests "don't prove anything" - where is the data supporting your premise?
Sound is dictated by measurements. You're confusing what you like with measurements. Second order tube distortion as seen on a Fast Fourier Transform is a measurement that people can see and associate with. because you like a specific type of distortion does not disprove science it only substantiates it - but it's measurable. Where's the proof that caps that measure the same sound different? you keep giving me your opinion as though it is a fact, its not.

You may like what you hear but that doesn't disprove science it only proves what you like. Again, that's fine, it becomes a problem when you claim to hear differences between to pieces of equipment. Then you have the burden of proof that you actually can.

Things make sense.... apparently not to you.

Rob

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You,re mixing apples and oranges

No one is questioning what anyone likes, that is in the realm of individual preferences. A "test" for "fun" is human subjectivity which again is not the premise here.

What people? What other cars have they lived with for a period of time? I have no idea who they are what their lives are like, how they think or what they like in a car. It may be entirely different that what I find "fun" in a car.

" my grandfather lived to be 100 and he smoked and drank everyday."

That's what you're giving me and it's called Anecdotal Fallacy in science.

You too are confusing what you like with the ability to discern the intricate differences between two pieces of equipment. How would you do that? That's the question you're not answering either.

Rob

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Where are you going with this?

That test may have been done poorly so science should be dismissed as platform for testing two pieces of equipment?
What's your point?
Rob

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What if we just want fruit salad?

If others thought there was a need to know the intricate differences between two (just two?) pieces of equipment, why aren't people doing tests the way you would like it to be done?

Like shopping for automobiles, we can test drive these products ourselves, or let others we trust to test drive for us. Of course, the final decision is always ours.

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Tests can't be generalized or extrapolated

The whole blind testing thing is just a big old rabbit hole. Even supporters of blind tests, controlled double blind tests, whatever cannot agree on how to conduct the stupid test. And will argue until their blue in the face about it, I might add. Not like anyone here, I'm careful to note. Besides, so what if a test provides evidence for or against some thing or another or apparently shows that one cable sounds better than another or that two cables sound identical, whatever? It makes no sense at all to say that is A is true then B and C and D are therefore true as well. What I mean by that is you cannot generalize results of a test, any test. All you can do is say for that day under those conditions in that system and with those listeners THAT is what happened. Capish?

Geoff Kait
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What Do You Find Out?

As I've mentioned before, nobody shops and nobody tests this way. If you do not trust what the staff of Stereophile do and say, then stop attending to what you consider "opinion" and test for yourself.

The information derived from the tests you ask for few, except for yourself, would find useful.

We can "test drive" products for ourselves.

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Michael Fremer on Zanden
Michael Fremer wrote:

But the Zanden combo had me pulling out CD after previously dismissible CD and finally hearing a compelling presentation that excited my auditory and visual senses while producing the feel of musical continuity and delicacy that, heretofore, only good analog has provided (for me). For the first time, I actually looked forward to playing CDs.

John Atkinson wrote:

I got a surprise when I repeated these tests using a full-scale low-frequency tone: Even though the test load was now a benign 100k ohms, the FFT spectrum was littered with distortion harmonics (fig.7) and the THD+noise was ridiculously high at 25.4%. This was for the left channel; the right channel was somewhat better, at 21%.

Read the full review to find other proof that Fremer has tin ears:
http://www.stereophile.com/cdplayers/1106zanden/index.html

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Trust?

If you mean by "others" Art Dudley, John Atkinson, Michael Fremer, etc. they do and constantly go great to lengths explaining the finest nuances between equipment.

Now, If an individual claims to hear fine differences between two pieces of equipment, one in the present and one several months in the past, would you expect that with the same two pieces of equipment side by side that individual would easily be able to discern the same differences? I would because it stands to reason, it's logical. What if the individual couldn't discern the differences? Would you "trust" his opinions? I wouldn't. So I'm asking them to prove they can actually do it by the best system we have - science -.
Rob

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What supporters?

"The whole blind testing thing is just a big old rabbit hole."
You can't use your opinion to establish a premise in a debate. Establishing a premise requires factual data, please try to remember that in your responses.
Who said "you can generalize results" in a test? I certainly didn't, you're still giving me your opinion. I went through how science works more than once, giving me the place you work doesn't add credence to your answers, they must stand or fall on reason and logic just like mine must.

Rob

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How Science Works
mosfet50 wrote:

"The whole blind testing thing is just a big old rabbit hole."
You can't use your opinion to establish a premise in a debate. Establishing a premise requires factual data, please try to remember that in your responses.
Who said "you can generalize results" in a test? I certainly didn't, you're still giving me your opinion. I went through how science works more than once, giving me the place you work doesn't add credence to your answers, they must stand or fall on reason and logic just like mine must.

Rob

I never accused you of saying tests cannot be generalized. I made the statement because it is the reason why I think tests in general and blind tests in particular are overrated. If you agree with my statement that tests should not be generalized I fail to see why you're arguing so strenuously. Why all the drama? If YOU do not trust YOUR ears, be my guest, test and measure til the cows come home. We have ears and eyes and fingers for a reason. They allow us to SENSE and OBSERVE the world around us. And OBSERVATION is the first step in the scientific method.

Geoff Kait
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What's your answer??

You don't throw the baby out with the bath water. If a test, any test, has flaws you improve it. Right now we have nothing but these critics subjectivity and that's not good enough for me. I'm expressing my right to question them because audio is in very bad shape and I personally contribute a good portion of that to these writers through what they write and their "Recommended Components" which is just an extension of their subjectivity.
Again and again, what anyone buys after listening is not the issue, however influenced by what they read.
If you feel that I'm wrong in what I have said then there really is not point for you to continue in this debate because you haven't given any real alternative to science just more and more of your own subjectivity.... Oh, and where you work.

Rob

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Where I work?

You kind of lost me with that comment. What does it mean? Listening is pretty much subjective, no? Maybe we are in different hobbies.

Geoff Kait
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Machina Dynamica-

Machina Dynamica-

Listening is subjective, exactly! Regardless whether it is you, me or some magazine 'expert'!

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Where Are We?

I can relate to the people who write for Stereophile as being "expert guides" who know their terrain very, very well from the years of experience doing what they do. Yes, I've read the magazine for years and years, and yet, I have absolutely no "proof" of their honesty and integrity, but if tens of thousands of subscribers (sorry, I don't have the exact number) and those who work directly with these people have no problem with them, I have little reason to doubt that when they write their reviews, those words are as accurate a description of their own personal experience as they can get. Even when there's some question or doubt about the performance of a piece of equipment or even a piece of music, there's almost always a second or third opinion and perhaps some supplementary testing that follows.

If you are ever in the back country with an experienced guide, especially if you're in the habitat of bear (or cougar, where I come from) and you notice the hair on the back of your guide's neck stand up and he says to you in a quiet voice, "I think we're being watched", you don't stop and ask for his credentials, you don't wait for "proof" of testing methods, you don't even ask "How do you know?" You listen to your guide and get the hell out of there!

I have no reason to doubt the experience, honesty, and integrity of the people who write for Stereophile and tell us about the many different aspects of the audio industry.
If you do, that's fine.

There's no compelling reason for the folks at Stereophile to change from what they've been doing well for several decades just because you think so.

Do your own testing.

Get your own "proof".

mosfet50
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You're kidding, right?

I went through a complete analysis of Sam Tellig's belief that could hear the difference between two pure DC sources driving an LED and explained why it is virtually impossible for him to have heard any difference. What's important here is that he "honestly" believes that his hearing is so acute that he can actually discern a difference.
I explained why it utterly fails any form of critical thinking and reason to believe how someone (Art Dudley) could fail to differentiate between two pieces of equipment in a double blind test but could highlight the smallest differences between two pieces of equipment that he heard several months apart. And I asked how the same individual in his 60's, with admittedly limited hearing response, could actually discern high frequencies.

I also asked how individuals getting free equipment along with selling advertising space could possibly give totally unbiased fair assessments of equipment and, in fact, if they could even be aware of their biases.
John Atkinson, goes to a blind test ,doesn't hear any differences between two pieces of equipment, buys the cheaper one only to pine for the one he didn't buy. Worse, he buys the second piece of equipment and Shangri-La! So he uses the event to show how flawed double blind tests are. What?? All he's shown is his own subjective biases!

But you think these guys are leading you through the jungle. Tell me when you're sending the check for the bridges I'm selling.
Rob

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Two paradigm shifts behind the power curve

Rob, I actually suspect you are pretty far behind the power curve here. Do you have any idea how long the cable debate has been going on? Or how long we have known capacitors that measure the same, and have the same specs sound entirely different? Or that coloring CDs improves the sound? Or that demagnetizing CDs improves the sound? Or that one little 1 1/2" Mpingo disc has the potential to transform a system? Or that removing all telephone books from the home has the potential to noticeably improve the sound? Lots of weird unexplainable things happen in audio all the time. Get over it.

Yeah, I know what you're thinking, "I bet he can't prove those statements." ;-)

Geoff Kait
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Home of the Ultra Signature Clever Little Clock

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You read my mind!

And then you wonder why I think audio is in a shambles! Make sure you send out your check for the bridges too!

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This industry is in a shambles
mosfet50 wrote:

And then you wonder why I think audio is in a shambles! Make sure you send out your check for the bridges too!

So, you think audio is in a shambles? Gee, haven't you been paying attention on this forum? Tons of folks think that audio is in a shambles. I guess you haven't been keeping up with my carryings on here. As the old geezer in The movie Chinatown says to Gedes, you might think you know what's going on but you don't.

:-)

Geoff Kait
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Guidelines

I take it, Rob, that no one from Stereophile has actually gotten back to you about your queries. Each of those writers in question will have to speak for themselves.

You have also misrepresented their reviewing policy.

http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/307awsi/index.html

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Right-

From the guy who thinks demagnetizing CD's improves the sound!

CD's aren't ferrous metal they can't be magnetized or demagnetized! The ink? Ridiculous!

And who makes a demagnetizer... Bedini for one, the laughing stock of over unity scams!

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Let's look at the small print

"Other than meals, and travel expenses for factory visits, Stereophile's reviewers and editors do not accept from manufacturers payments or gifts worth more than $100."

So they get wined and dined and gifts.

"Review samples remain the property of the manufacturer, and are promptly returned to the manufacturer following publication of the review, unless a longer-term loan, for reference purposes, is agreed to. Stereophile writers and editors can buy review samples at the usual industry accommodation price (this is usually close to the dealer price), provided they agree not to sell the item within the time period specified by the manufacturer, and that they are willing to abide by whatever other terms the manufacturer might insist on."

" unless a longer-term loan, for reference purposes"

How long term? How many long term products do editors presently have? "Usually" but how about if the dealer gives them a special "accommodation " price? Do you see anywhere that it say it can't be $1.00 or less. The manufacturer "decides" how long before they sell it, one day?

Do we know how much equipment they get for how long or at what price? No.

Do a good majority buy ads? Yes. Do we know what goes on behind the scenes at shows. No. Do we know what agreements editors make with dealers? No.

Lots of loopholes and we're not even to double blind tests, A/B subtractive tests and a hearing spectrum for editors which are the origin of this thread. Remember I'm questioning their abilities.

Rob

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Then Build That MouseTrap!

Do your testing.

Publish your results.

Let's see what happens.

(It's still highly unlikely anyone will. You also have lots of material for "Letters to the Editor"!)

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Oh, I'm quite sure about it
mosfet50 wrote:

From the guy who thinks demagnetizing CD's improves the sound!

CD's aren't ferrous metal they can't be magnetized or demagnetized! The ink? Ridiculous!

And who makes a demagnetizer... Bedini for one, the laughing stock of over unity scams!

I'm quite sure demagnetizing CDs improves the sound. You're just too much of a pseudo skeptic to figure out why. You guys always have the same excuse, the metal is not ferrous. Lol Gosh, how original! I reckon you don't like the idea of demagnetizing vinyl records, either, by golly, right?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Ooops! Disregard

Nt

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It's plastic!!

You can't demagnetize something that not magnetic. How do you demagnetize a record? It's plastic!!!

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Wrong again!
mosfet50 wrote:

You can't demagnetize something that not magnetic. How do you demagnetize a record? It's plastic!!!

I knew you'd like that one. You forgot to mention the ink. Actually, apparently you can demagnetize a record. You must not have got the memo.

Geoff Kait
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I test

Not only do I test, I design and write with several audio designs published and many more on the way.

Rob

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Let's see...

...how you do it.

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Let's see what?

Do you think I site the poor testing done at magazines and then go out and do the same thing? I do A/B comparisons, Blind tests and then tell readers to listen for themselves. If I say an amp has a specific quality I show it electronically and I never go into flowery nonsense about how good something sounds, I let readers find out for themselves.

If audiophiles want to be really honest then they will use the same tests I do. Because if they do they'll find out that there are massive amounts of hype in audio. Go out and read blogs by individuals comparing opamps or worse capacitors, and ask them to prove it in a blind or A/B test. See what goes on. Most times you'll get all the nonsense I got here. "Blind tests are no good, everybody knows that." Rubbish!
If you use the tools I laid out honestly you'll find that you'll be rewarded with excellent equipment that fits your own listening style. Go into an audio salon and before listening blind fold yourself and see what happens. Listen to everything and don't ask for names, just listen. The first thing that will happen is that you'll shut out all the visual noise that's influencing your choice and the second thing will be that your hearing will become more acute. Again, if you're really honest with yourself and just stay calm and listen you'll begin to discover what real audio is about. Not advertising, editor hype – just the music! You might find out you actually like tube sound over solid state or you may not depending on the type of music you like. You may also find out that you really can't hear the difference between the $50k amp and the $2k amp.

Get your hearing spectrum tested, amaze yourself on how quickly your high end falls off. I don't know anyone who can hear to 20K.
Find out for yourself, not me, or some writer because we can't tell you what's best for you, only you can do that.
Rob

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Tell them to prove it in a blind or A/B test

Exactly my point. That's what everyone says who doesn't believe n such things as capacitors sounding different or batteries sounding different or cables sounding different. "Tell them to prove it in blind or A/B test." I don't mind too much repeating what I already said several times. That's that you can't prove anything doing a test. One way or the other. My experience is when the differences are subtle it might take hours or days before I can make my mind up one way or the other. Sometimes longer. Hey, what can I tell you? Say, you're not with the Tweak Police are you?

For two capacitors I would certainly consider letting them burn in for at least several hundred hours before testing them or making any judgements as to their sound.

Geoff Kait
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Well, why didn't you say so in the first place!

Finding out one's own hearing/listening abilities, testing one's own prejudices and perceptions, challenging one's own idea of value, etc. can be fun and extremely informative!

"Find out for yourself, not me, or some writer because we can't tell you what's best for you, only you can do that."

I like that part!

I'm lucky enough to have a local brick-and-mortar stereo shop that I've been frequenting since my university days (Gee, that's decades and decades ago!) and the folks there know me well enough to allow me to borrow stuff (cables, amps, speakers, whatever) to bring home to try out over the weekend. My evaluation process is fairly simple- I choose stuff that I think might improve the sound of my stereo system, stuff that's within my budget, and things that my wife will most likely NOT yell at me to "Get that whatchimacallit out here!"

My family usually leaves me to my own devices ("Dad needs the living room again!...), and and most of my friends, if they want to stay friends, discretely make themselves unavailable at that time, so I can't do any blind testing. So I do what most people do, listen to my favorite selections of music or watch a selection of movie clips (depending on what I'm "testing") and just go back and forth between my present system and then my system with the change. By the end of the weekend (sometimes it takes two weekends), if not by the end of the first hour, I can found out if I've heard a difference and whether I like what I've heard, and whether I can afford another piece of equipment (sometimes the stereo shop gives a pretty good trade-in on the old piece) without depriving my family of too many buckets of take-out food.

I don't mind reading about guys who try out pieces of equipment in systems I can only dream about. It also makes sense that these guys are around my age and I like it even better if they have the same taste in music! But because there's lots of things that I may not be able to experience personally, like driving any kind of Lamborghini (no dealers in my little town), or eating in a Michelin rated restaurant anywhere in the world, I don't mind reading (or watching a youtube clip) about how someone else might experience these things in a normal, "real world" situation, not under "test" or laboratory conditions.

I did research design and statistics in my undergraduate years and I know how test results can be manipulated for a desired outcome. I'm not interested in lab reports. You might be, but I believe (can we test that?) most people aren't. They just don't shop that way.

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Reasons why tests might be invalid

OK, I'm prompted to make a list of common reasons why tests aren't all they're cracked up to be and why skeptics should probably not try to portray blind tests or any tests as being either the final arbiter of sound or the coup de grace of expensive cables or controversial tweaks.

1. The equipment used in the test is not properly burned in.
2. The equipment used for the test is not properly warmed up.
3. The equipment used for the test is not sufficiently resolving to detect the differences that might be there.
4. There is at least one mistake in the test equipment set up. E.g., cables mis-connected.
5. One of the components reverses polarity so that the system is out of absolute polarity.
6. The listener(s) physical hearing is impaired or his skill in listening is not what he assumed it is.
7. The connections of all electronics and all wall outlets have not been thoroughly cleaned.
8. Cables are not broken in.

Geoff Kait
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geoffkait wrote:
geoffkait wrote:

Exactly my point. That's what everyone says who doesn't believe n such things as capacitors sounding different or batteries sounding different or cables sounding different. "Tell them to prove it in blind or A/B test." I don't mind too much repeating what I already said several times. That's that you can't prove anything doing a test. One way or the other. My experience is when the differences are subtle it might take hours or days before I can make my mind up one way or the other. Sometimes longer. Hey, what can I tell you? Say, you're not with the Tweak Police are you?

For two capacitors I would certainly consider letting them burn in for at least several hundred hours before testing them or making any judgements as to their sound.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

"That's that you can't prove anything doing a test."

This statement is just wrong! We test sight, hearing, blood, tubes, water temperature, etc, etc. In fact I could go on for days listing things we test, its' the foundation of science!

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geoffkait wrote:
geoffkait wrote:

OK, I'm prompted to make a list of common reasons why tests aren't all they're cracked up to be and why skeptics should probably not try to portray blind tests or any tests as being either the final arbiter of sound or the coup de grace of expensive cables or controversial tweaks.

1. The equipment used in the test is not properly burned in.
2. The equipment used for the test is not properly warmed up.
3. The equipment used for the test is not sufficiently resolving to detect the differences that might be there.
4. There is at least one mistake in the test equipment set up. E.g., cables mis-connected.
5. One of the components reverses polarity so that the system is out of absolute polarity.
6. The listener(s) physical hearing is impaired or his skill in listening is not what he assumed it is.
7. The connections of all electronics and all wall outlets have not been thoroughly cleaned.
8. Cables are not broken in.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dramatica

Show me one thing you just listed that doesn't equally pertain to anyone simply listening to equipment and making statements about what they think they're hearing.

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Exactly! That's my whole point. Hel- looo!

This is where I suspect we disagree. You believe (at least I am pretty sure you do) that reports by folks on their listening experience are not admissible evidence of anything whereas I believe the reports are admissible evidence. Notice I did not say proof, only evidence. In court you probably remember that judges usually require expert testimony as opposed to testimony from some guy under the bridge, you know, a handwriting expert of expert mechanic or electrician. So it is in audio, we would like to think the person giving the so called expert opinion or testimony is an expert. I suspect most people would actually probably agree that reviewers are normally such experts. I mean, you, know, compared to a PhD in EE biology.

OK, time for me to,ask you a question. What audio blind test(s) do you think you could pass with flying colors?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dramatica

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