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dbowker
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Who here is REALLY an engineer

So I notice that often people seem to cop an attitude in order to get their point across that basically says: Hey, I know what I'm talking about because I'm an Engineer! I myself am guilty of occasionally throwing out terms or arguments that are more things I've read or gleaned than from formal training. My degree was industrial design, which gave me a good understanding of manufacturing, but little in the way of circuit design, but I know how to talk the talk to sound like I do. So the question is- who's real, who's a wannabe and who's faking it?

Jan Vigne
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

Your poll suggests only those with certain initials behind their name have any real "cred" and all others who suggest they know (not "no") anything are all fakers. This seems an even more dangerous attitude than actually throwing your intials at someone with whom you disagree.

trevort
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

for me, the real purpose of the poll is to have a bit of fun with those of us who try to explain things from a near-layman's perspective, versus those who have formal training.

Doesn't follow that one necessarily has more credibility than the other, but based on my own career path, I definitely recognize the value in having a solid grounding in fundamentals when discussing higher level concepts.

Yet another non-engineer

jazzfan
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

I voted (I'm an engineer but a mechanical engineer and not in any way involved in audio) but I don't quite understand what being an audio engineer has to do with one's ability and qualifications to judge the sound of a piece of audio equipment. Sure being an audio engineer would give one a leg up on understanding the design and possibly the true value of a piece of audio equipment but it may or may not have any bearing on one's ability to hear that same piece of equipment.

I believe that it is the audio engineering crowd who 1) believe only in double blind testing rather than subjective listening tests 2) believe in the statement that everything in audio can be measured and 3) believe that the quality of one's cables, wires and AC power have little to no effect on the sound of an audio system.

So what's the great thing about being an audio engineer?

rvance
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer


Quote:
So I notice that often people seem to cop an attitude in order to get their point across that basically says: Hey, I know what I'm talking about because I'm an Engineer! I myself am guilty of occasionally throwing out terms or arguments that are more things I've read or gleaned than from formal training. My degree was industrial design, which gave me a good understanding of manufacturing, but little in the way of circuit design, but I know how to talk the talk to sound like I do. So the question is- who's real, who's a wannabe and who's faking it?

db, your poll leaves out my category: "Incredibly erudite, articulate and humble music fan who always defers to the superior expertise of the truly knowledgeable and experienced in the interest of promoting goodwill amongst the like-minded. Sometimes resorts to quoting Devo and Talking Heads songs when discussion thread gets mired down in heated hyperbole."

Jan Vigne
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer


Quote:
for me, the real purpose of the poll is to have a bit of fun with those of us who try to explain things from a near-layman's perspective, versus those who have formal training.

I guess here lately I'm having problems with the difference between "having fun with" and "having fun at the expense of" another.


Quote:
Doesn't follow that one necessarily has more credibility than the other, but based on my own career path, I definitely recognize the value in having a solid grounding in fundamentals when discussing higher level concepts.

You once again seem to place a "solid grounding" at the end of someone's name, as in Double "E". Speaking as someone with an advanced degree and professional experience I find it bothersome to be taken to task by anyone who wishes their BS degree to be proof of their intelligence or believes those initials validate everything they post or say. It reminds me of the co-worker who always left his Mensa bulletin laying on his desk for all to worship. With multiple degrees in a field where "did that" trumps "know that" in virtually every instance, I find your "solid grounding in fundamentals" to be somewhat myopic. I can honestly say I almost always learned more from those with less or equal book learning and more hands on experience. And those with practical knowledge passed on what they knew with less attitude attached.

While I appreciate and learn from JA's measurements and technical explanations, I weigh them with equal value to the subjective comments of a reviewer who has many years of experience and the know how to ask the right questions when conversing with a manufacturer. Do you pay less heed to Sam Tellig because he has never claimed to know more than ayone else? Personally, I found that after years of being the person who knew all the numbers and answered all the questions for the less-inclined-to-want-to-find-the-answer co-workers, when it came time to discuss higher level concepts I didn't have to know all the specs or theories but I did need to know how and where to find the answers and how they were to be applied. In higher level discussions with those in possesion of initials, I found they were often the most resistant to alter their views in light of empirical evidence or new information. That's a very broad generalization but we seem to have developed into a peculiarly partisan society in too many areas.


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Yet another non-engineer

I don't understand that comment.

dbowker
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

My purpose was certainly not to put the final word in the hands of any guy with a degree. I ALWAYS make my final decisions based on what I hear, and not on any one's theory or lack of theory as why I am or am not hearing what I do. I am an artist and designer first, and have been successful all of my adult life by trusting a mixture of information, facts and intuition to guide my work. Those who mistrust listening and direct experience are in my opinion blinded by a faith no different than the voodoo they are against.

But as someone else said- the poll was mostly for fun, which is most of what I hope to get out of a forum dedicated to a hobby.

ChrisNC
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

3) believe that the quality of one's cables, wires and AC power have little to no effect on the sound of an audio system.

So what's the great thing about being an audio engineer?

teh cables dont do nuthin. SNAKE OIL! Gimme teh WATTS!

dbowker
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

OK- I can see a lot of you are taking the question as an endorsement of "Science Rules all and Engineers are the priests that thou shalt listen to."

This could not be further from my position. I only was pointing out that human nature just seems to gravitate towards using credentials, real or implied, to beef up one's argument or ideas, especially in a forum that is after all discussing technology. I was just curious to see how the poll might bring this out. It's not that I think it's good or bad if you are in fact an engineer. It can be equally a benefit or hindrance to a forum like this. I talk to doctors, lawyers and other professionals all the time and never feel like I can't hold my own, even in a discussion in their field, assuming I've done some learning about it on my own. Often they only "know" a very narrow area in their field anyway and occasionally some (not all by any means) can seem like they stopped learning once they got that degree.

I applaud direct experience and the wisdom of personal observation as much or more than someone who only knows what they learned in books. Plus, it's all how you use it.

Obviously John Atkinson knows a lot of technical info and such, but clearly trusts what he hears as much as what he measures. He also owns crazy expensive wires, including upgraded power cords and many other things some around here dispute as impossible, magic or snake oil. So go figure- he may not know how to measure everything he hears but he does use measurements to help explain some of what he and others observe. When those come in to conflict he rightfully brings that out in the open.

So again- this isn't about who has "the right" to be RIGHT. It's more about learning about how we commuciate.

jazzfan
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

Very nicely stated and very readable. I for one am enjoying and having fun with this thread.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

I am not trying to give you a hard time about who knows what, how they communicate that information or who to believe. It merely seems as though several of the most recent polls offered on the forum suffer from an affliction common to polling; a series of questions that taken together lead to a forgone conclusion or allow only the answer the pollster wants to receive. This "push-polling" is meant to exclude rather than include diversity. I understand the attempt at humor here. But certainly when the outcome is of more importance my resistance is to the overt partisanship of such polls. I suspect many of the forum members really have no choice that fits their own situation. Now that there is a better explanation of what you are seeking as a result, please, carry on. Sorry if I ruined your joke.

trevort
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

I don't detect anyone having fun at anyone's expense here.

Regarding the "yet another non-engineer" -- that came from what I THOUGHT I read upon submitting my vote -- it looked like 0 were engineers and everyone else was a non-engineer. In other words, I'm just one of the guys here.

Regarding the value in a solid grounding in fundamentals -- I did not mention anything about degrees, just about grounding. I recognize the value having a grounding in general, whether or not it is from a degree. As a real world example -- I have a very little understanding of what goes on inside an amplifier, and when I hear discussed the fundamental principles at work (I am an engineering drop out so have built amplifiers (!!) in a lab environment, doesn't mean a whole lot) in an amplifier, sometimes a light (aha!) goes on, and I appreciate the value of knowing intimately the workings of the amp.
That's all. Kind of like we can all spew psycho-babble, but a psychiatrist (or an experienced shaman if you like) will have a lot deeper perspective on the discussion.

ethanwiner
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer


Quote:
Sure being an audio engineer would give one a leg up on understanding the design and possibly the true value of a piece of audio equipment but it may or may not have any bearing on one's ability to hear that same piece of equipment.


I agree fully. But to me hearing acuity is not the issue. The issue is that real engineers actually understand this stuff at the circuit level, and so are in a better position to know what really can affect distortion and frequency response etc. Hopefully, they've also been schooled in logic, and are well equipped to understand complex issues.

I'm not a degreed engineer, but I understand a fair amount about this stuff. I have one friend who's degreed and brilliant. I have another who's degreed and knows much less than me. So I'm not sure credentials really tell much. Hey, somebody has to graduate last in the class!

BTW, it's impossible for me to vote in the poll because none of the answers apply: I'm a practicing audio engineer with plenty of practical and theoretical experience and training, but no formal degree.

--Ethan

dbowker
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

Ethan- Point taken. There should have been a entry for those who have learned by experience (many of whom are probably true experts). Sorry, but again it was sort of just to test a theory about how we all communicate and did not take into account all possible permutations.

cyclebrain
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

As normal for multiple choice surveys, I always seem to not exactly fit into any of the choices. I am not a degreed engineer but I am an engineer according to my employer.
Senior Integration and Test Engineer. After promotions from field engineer and Integration and Test Engineer. My employer is the largest defense company and employes quite a few smart people, many that I could refer to as Doctor.
Just because I choose to read a text book on my own instead of having an instructor lecture me about what the book said doesn't make me any less qualified than someone that sat in a classroom and got grade.
I have delt with many degreed engineers that were both much smarter and much dumber than me.

dcstep
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

I'm observing an interesting development at Rochester Institute of Technology. Many degrees at RIT require 3-quarters or more of co-op education, where the kids go work at companies in their field. One company takes in software engineers as juniors and tries to get them to come on full-time a, say $80,000 per year. That's very tempting to a 20-year old, but the employer knows that not getting there degree will not deminish their value as workers, but it will reduce their marketability and lower their pay ceiling. It's pretty devious, but most of the kids see through it.

Dave

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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer


Quote:
So I notice that often people seem to cop an attitude in order to get their point across that basically says: Hey, I know what I'm talking about because I'm an Engineer! I myself am guilty of occasionally throwing out terms or arguments that are more things I've read or gleaned than from formal training. My degree was industrial design, which gave me a good understanding of manufacturing, but little in the way of circuit design, but I know how to talk the talk to sound like I do. So the question is- who's real, who's a wannabe and who's faking it?

Hi all

I would have thought there would be obvious strengths to those with the years of industry experience on their side in comparison with someone who just Wikipedia's a lot .............hmmmmm reminds me of someone .......hmmmmm.

ME! - I hold a MSc in Electronics and have worked for Soundcraft, Klark and AMEC/TAC - studio audio - not high end stereophile stuff. I leaked into IT 10 years ago, when the broadcast service industry went into a nose dive, and now doing an MSc in "Data Security".

Though in fact I dont think the Degree is the be all and end all of any subject.

If you enjoy the science as a layman -- nothing wrong with that -- as long as you're open to new experinces and free your mind to learning.

So many think they have stopped learning because they think they know everything - have a monopoly on the science - which is total Donkey crap.

I quote Prof. Carl Sagan here, "There are NO authorities in science".

Only good and bad scientists

Besides if I may -- there are fantastic designers and excellent electronics engineers in the audio - broadcast industry who dont hold Degrees --- they may have a Diploma and 25 years experience... these guys tend to be the salt of the earth engineers who do it for real and can do near anything.

I have met hobbyists with 20 odd or so years experience and bags of Natural talent who can bounce all over freshman Degree holders.

I'm not going to sit here and promote myself as some sort of Audio Guru" or expert - I'm gonna let you guys make up your own minds on an aging ex-broadcast fat bloke.

I'll tell you what's fake ....anything written in here not based on the scientific bedrocks and basic principles, the wishy washy, flap and flannel of Pseudo-science or Psycho-acoustics.

But it is colourful and fun to read.

Jan Vigne
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

Lest anyone forget, Henry Kloss was an engineer and Edgar Vilchur was his engineering Professor at M.I.T. Amar Bose was also from M.I.T. where he received his degree and was a Professor of Electrical Engineering at the insitute. He thought making a speaker with 90% reflected sound would emulate the 90% reflected sound he measured in a symphony hall. Amar just forgot the room his speakers would play in also had 90% reflections. So much for engineering degrees.

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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer


Quote:

I'll tell you what's fake ....anything written in here not based on the scientific bedrocks and basic principles, the wishy washy, flap and flannel of Pseudo-science or Psycho-acoustics.

But it is colourful and fun to read.

Very nicely done. Good on you.

Except for the point I have quoted. You are straying into that area that seems to feel it has the right to define reality, when no-one can. Ie, a hard and fast line between what is true and what is not.

The only hard fact in existence is that there are no facts of any kind, whatsoever. Only theoretical suppositions that are subject to change. We have textbooks and reference books to explain the current positions of THEORIES, the things that have shown to generally be true in the overtly macroscopic view of the universe. Only a fool would take textbooks and reference books at their entire value.

They are roadmaps to potentially show the potential adventurer to the edge of 'known' things. Then they must take it beyond. If one does not search beyond-into the darkness, then that does not give the scientifically sedentary the right to slam the adventurer. However, it is right to rail against the given persons who are promoting outright obvious lies as truth. But I'm personally not foolish enough to think I have the right to think my views of reality are concrete.. and to push it on others. It's a tough one!

I'm not saying you are doing any of this, either the potential negative aspects -or the positive ones. I'm just saying: Watch out where those ideas on the definition of reality, in the ole' bean -come from. Many times the emotional basis of the idea of 'comfort in knowing' and similar can rule the intellect. Overtly objective thinking people can suffer from this emotionally expressive viewpoint on the subject of 'objective reductionism'.... without ever realizing it.

Once again, no desire to argue or demean. I very much think you've got a relatively balanced view, which is in itself - rare. I'm mentioning such..simply cuz your post was so good..and nearly marred by the little bit at the end.

absolutepitch
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer


Quote:
I'm not a degreed engineer, but I understand a fair amount about this stuff. I have one friend who's degreed and brilliant. I have another who's degreed and knows much less than me. So I'm not sure credentials really tell much. Hey, somebody has to graduate last in the class!

Good for you!

I've met people who lack the degree(s), and get it right, and those who get it wrong. Gotta to know the fundamentals.

I've had professors (Ph.D.'s) who are so knowledgable that I wish I could be more like them, and others who still get it wrong. Still gotta to know the fundamentals.

I have had times when I get it right, and times when I get it wrong. When it's wrong, I forgot or misunderstood the fundamentals. When I go back and check, and do it right, it's the fundamentals. Beyond fundamentals are the experiences and real-worlds that nice book theories do not account for. That's when you need the fundamentals to guide you so you can extend that knowledge to the real situation at hand.

It's fine that the best degreed people really know what they are talking about. It's too bad that, sometimes, it is assumed that someone without that advanced degree is equated with 'they don't know what they're talking about'.

absolutepitch
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

I'm degreed in several areas of engineering, but audio engineering is a hobby, partly because I also play musical instruments and have a fairly good ear.

Lamont Sanford
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer


Quote:
I'm degreed in several areas of engineering, but audio engineering is a hobby, partly because I also play musical instruments and have a fairly good ear.

That's nice. You get a cookie!

absolutepitch
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Re: Who here is REALLY an engineer

Hope the cookie is not a mean one from the internet.

Of the several times I saw/heard Doug Sax (of The Mastering Lab and Sheffield Records), Doug was giving a seminar at an audio store. During the Q&A, one question asked of him was what system does he use at home. He said that he listens and masters records all day long, that when he gets home, he wants that TV on.

So it goes for me too. I work in a different area of engineering than audio, so I can enjoy audio when I get home and not be tired of it. Importantly, I get paid during the day in order to support what really counts to an audiophile - the audio habit in the evening.

It's also a blessing with multiple engineering training. I can apply different aspects of it in audio.

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