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View Full Version : And so the next major audiophile engineering challenge is, err, well what?



Neil McCauley
27-09-2008, 07:38
What do the forum feel is the most significant technological / engineering challenge facing audiophile designers currently?

I'm not thinking here of the makers reducing the production cost or similarly ‘mundane’ economic aspects like that. Rather, for example, achieving say bigger performance from smaller boxes, or perhaps generating ribbon clarity for cone drivers. Issues like that really.

I have, based on feedback from visitors here who didn’t buy from me (yes, it does happen), a strong idea of what the most common frustration is – and it isn’t price or value!

However because of the atypical way I run my business and the eccentric way I promote myself, the typical visitor here is not, I feel, a truly representative cross section of the remaining (dwindling?) audio buying public. Hence my request to try and broaden the perspective via the forum members.

What, you may ask, might be the outcome of responding to my request here today?

Well, I'm not entirely sure. However I have a smidgen of influence with some makers, some of whom are suppliers to Stereonow and others for whom I act as a consultant even though I don’t represent them. Thus it might, just might be possible – if there is a consensus view on this forum – for me to act as a conduit of your views to my suppliers. Not, I hasten to add, as a fee generating exercise by me but as an altruistic attempt to improve matters through improved communication between maker and end-user.

My guess is that most of you will agree that in the main, makers are not interested in observations from end-users unless it is unqualified praise, admiration, gratitude and brown-nosing. Maybe with your help I can change that a bit. With your support, I'll give it my best shot. Promise!

Thank you.

Sincerely

Howard.


---//---

bhasi
28-09-2008, 08:34
Well, we're living in an increasingly wireless world (who'd've thought THAT word would make a comeback?!), so for me it's wireless speakers. Like video telephones, they seem to exist somewhere already, but just not in a usable, mass market-friendly form yet. Oh yes, and wireless electricity transmission while they're at it, so that there need be no cables at all in the home!

On a strictly audiophile theme, listening to great reproduction using technology some of which dates back decades, I'm a bit sceptical of the need for progress in actual fidelity. Seems more industry-driven than anything else, like hem-lines and lapel-widths elsewhere. I think it's mainly convenience and domestic acceptability that will have any significant impact on sales in the long term.

Neil McCauley
30-09-2008, 09:10
Well, we're living in an increasingly wireless world (who'd've thought THAT word would make a comeback?!), so for me it's wireless speakers. Like video telephones, they seem to exist somewhere already, but just not in a usable, mass market-friendly form yet. Oh yes, and wireless electricity transmission while they're at it, so that there need be no cables at all in the home!

Very interesting. Thank you. I'd not considered this at all, but I will now.

Peter Stockwell
01-10-2008, 19:00
Not exactly radical, but I think there's a huge market for the dac/preamp with remote control.

tfarney
05-10-2008, 14:59
I think cracking the code on wireless would be pretty simple, actually. It would require active speakers with digital amps or an integrated DAC, but once you get there, it's all zeros and ones in the chain before the transducers. Everything could be wireless, and very simple. The problem is not the technology, but the psychology. Audiophiles would be hard-pressed to give up their tubes and gadgets. The rest of the world doesn't care, period, because they're not seeking the resolution. Give them wireless earbuds and they're good.

Tim

Neil McCauley
05-10-2008, 16:44
Thank you to those who have responded.

The challenge that visitors to Stereonow would like to see solved above all others is a method whereby automatically, as the volume is altered, the bass, mid and treble stays precisely in line. In fact the sort of thing that loudness controls tried to solve and rarely came close to doing.

In my experience, and in line with the experiences of so many others, loudness controls if ever they were ‘right’ were only right at one specific SPL (sound pressure level) and made the sound balance incomparably worse at SPLs either side of that pivotal point.

For me though, it’s something different. I'm hoping for a level of articulation and layer separation from an amp/speaker combination that despite all the equipment over the years I’ve owned and currently own, only STAX headphones have been able to accomplish. Once that’s achieved, I’ll be content.

Meanwhile as I type this, I'm listening to “Cowgirl’s Prayer” (not as I previously thought, Cowgirl Sprayer) and it’s magnificent – through very old STAX SRX Mk3 with SRD-6 energiser. £25 from eBay many years back. Progress has been made over the years? Err no, not really.


---//---

tfarney
06-10-2008, 14:04
For me though, it’s something different. I'm hoping for a level of articulation and layer separation from an amp/speaker combination that despite all the equipment over the years I’ve owned and currently own, only STAX headphones have been able to accomplish. Once that’s achieved, I’ll be content.

Meanwhile as I type this, I'm listening to “Cowgirl’s Prayer” (not as I previously thought, Cowgirl Sprayer) and it’s magnificent – through very old STAX SRX Mk3 with SRD-6 energiser. £25 from eBay many years back. Progress has been made over the years? Err no, not really.


---//---

A great goal, Howard. But even if you could get it in an amp/speaker combination, I'm not sure you could get it in a room. A big part of what makes headphone listening so detailed is the proximity of the drivers to the listener's ears and the complete lack of environmental interference. To get close to that in a speaker system you'd need a near field configuration in a small, perfectly treated room, I suspect. Though I'd love to be wrong.

Tim

Marco
06-10-2008, 14:09
Good to see you back, Tim. I thought you'd deserted us! :smoking:

Marco.

tfarney
07-10-2008, 02:57
I've been pretty busy.

Tim

Marco
07-10-2008, 07:17
Yep, I know what it's like!

Quite often our American members post prolifically when they first join and then disappear. There was a guy here called 'Bajagringo' who was just like that - really good contributor and then all of a sudden he was gone... I know it's the nature of the beast with forums but it's still disappointing when it happens.

Hey, at least you know you're wanted ;)

Marco.

Filterlab
07-10-2008, 09:53
Not exactly radical, but I think there's a huge market for the dac/preamp with remote control.

Seconded. Offboard DACs are really big news at the moment as more folk discover that (almost) any digital source running through a quality DAC can sound amazing.

tfarney
07-10-2008, 15:41
Yep, I know what it's like!

Quite often our American members post prolifically when they first join and then disappear. There was a guy here called 'Bajagringo' who was just like that - really good contributor and then all of a sudden he was gone... I know it's the nature of the beast with forums but it's still disappointing when it happens.

Hey, at least you know you're wanted ;)

Marco.

It has been an interesting few weeks and relevant to the subject matter on AOS. I'm an independent marketing consultant. Most of my big projects have been managing brand transitions, and companies just don't transition brands in an economy like this. After about 2 months worth of work in the first 8 months of this year, it was time to find something steady to supplement the small marketing projects that are still coming in, and get access to group health coverage (something folks from every other first world country in the world don't have to worry about...). I've ended up working for Magnolia, a high-end A/V store within a store, inside of Best Buy, America's most successful consumer electronics chain.

It's not really high-end in the purist sense of the word, but pretty good stuff -- Pioneer Elite, Denon, Vienna Acoustics, Definitive Technology, Martin-Logan, etc. If I'm going to work in retail, this is probably about as much fun as it's going to get. I'm enjoying it a good bit. And learning more about big flat-screen TVs than I ever intended. Sorry for the thread drift. Just wanted to say that I haven't been ignoring my UK friends, I've just been in training for my second career as a hawker of expensive home theater kits!

Tim

Filterlab
07-10-2008, 15:57
It's not really high-end in the purist sense of the word, but pretty good stuff ... Martin-Logan...

I beg to differ, MartinLogan is very high end, even their entry model is well within high end.

tfarney
07-10-2008, 18:28
I beg to differ, MartinLogan is very high end, even their entry model is well within high end.

I stand corrected, but to tell the truth, I greatly prefer the performance of the Vienna Acoustics, and even a couple of the Definitive Technologies. There is something amiss in the mids of the Martin Logans, to the point that I actually prefer their less expensive model with the conventional mids and ribbon tweeter over the electrostatics. And they don't seem to image well. The sweet spot is very narrow. But don't pay too much attention to me at this point. I've spent WAY too much time with WAY too much gear over the last couple of weeks. I'm not sure I even know what I'm hearing at this point.

Tim

dmckean
07-10-2008, 23:30
Yep, I know what it's like!

Quite often our American members post prolifically when they first join and then disappear. There was a guy here called 'Bajagringo' who was just like that - really good contributor and then all of a sudden he was gone... I know it's the nature of the beast with forums but it's still disappointing when it happens.

Hey, at least you know you're wanted ;)

Marco.


We always come back eventually.

Steve Toy
08-10-2008, 01:17
I guess that as a newcomer to the audio forum world we at AOS value sustained input from (almost) all of our regular posters in the absence of any real prolific yet low quality and negative input as seem elsewhere.

Labarum
17-10-2008, 15:56
Not exactly radical, but I think there's a huge market for the dac/preamp with remote control.

Agreed.

How about it Stanley? Not much of step from your DAC.

Next step: DAC/Preamp with integral streaming receiver. A clone Slim/Logitech Transporter, but costing less. As I understand it all the Slim Software is open source, so a bit of reverse engineering ought to be possible. For myself I wouldn't even need a display as that could be on the control device - Laptop, phone, whatever..

How about it, Stanley?

Primalsea
17-10-2008, 19:27
I don't know about the next new thing I would just like existing things to be designed properly.

It seems impossible to buy any electrical items these days that don't have some weird operational quirk.

Even Apple don't seem to get it right much. I've used macs and pc's for many years and it all seems to be backwards steps along with the forwards ones.

Neil McCauley
17-10-2008, 20:07
Even Apple don't seem to get it right much.
Such as?


---//---

jandl100
18-10-2008, 06:28
Not exactly radical, but I think there's a huge market for the dac/preamp with remote control.

Have a look at this eBay auction .... ;)

http://cgi.ebay.co.uk/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&rd=1&item=250310593580&ssPageName=STRK:MESE:IT&ih=015

(Self-serving plug for own item up for sale! :eyebrows:)

jandl100
18-10-2008, 06:37
More on topic .... I find Howard's revelation that most folks want a sophiisticated Loudness function very surprising.

Although now I come to think of it, it does seem a neat idea!

Has anyone actually tried feeding the long-established Fletcher-Munson curves into a digital tone control box and seeing if it actually does the biz? It would need tuneable variables to link SPLs with electrical output level from source/amp, and that should be it ... shouldn't it?

Labarum
18-10-2008, 07:54
Apple gets it wrong:


Such as?



Lots of moaning that Apple has abandoned Firewire when many Video cameras use that port.

Similar dismay at lack of DVI or HDMi on new Macs - some new Media port which needs adaptors has been introduced.

Failure to introduce Blu-ray has not gained them any glory.

Going up rather than down market is a cause for grumbling.

For starters . . .

And for me?

They slag off M$ for closed office file formats and embrace open ones, but they won't do it in music, where they have the ascendancy.

Primalsea
18-10-2008, 07:55
Oddly, I was looking at 31 band equalisers last nigt to see if they could be used for this task along with a bit of minor room correction.

As for Apple I used to rate them over pc's until OSX came out. I must admit most of the agro I've seen with macs has been network related and probably doesn't flag up with a home user. However remeber the dodgy batteries and exploding capacitors??

sastusbulbas
18-10-2008, 13:49
I would like to see the manufacturers and dealers do something to prove or disprove some of all this cables do/do not malarky.

I believe many are starting to get pissed of with the various claims made for and against stuff such as cables, digital audio, etc etc.

Neil McCauley
18-10-2008, 14:57
Apple gets it wrong:

Lots of moaning that Apple has abandoned Firewire when many Video cameras use that port.

Similar dismay at lack of DVI or HDMi on new Macs - some new Media port which needs adaptors has been introduced.

Failure to introduce Blu-ray has not gained them any glory.

Going up rather than down market is a cause for grumbling.

For starters . . .

And for me?

They slag off M$ for closed office file formats and embrace open ones, but they won't do it in music, where they have the ascendancy.

Thank you. Not enough to convince me though to consider alternatives though.


---//---

Labarum
18-10-2008, 15:03
Thank you. Not enough to convince me though to consider alternatives though.


I saw a new Macbook in the flesh today in the shop in Bournemouth. Lovely boxes (bricks?), but I don't need that much computer. Something one third the price will do all I need.

£1000 to run a browser and a word processor is a bit expensive.

Neil McCauley
18-10-2008, 15:23
I would like to see the manufacturers and dealers do something to prove or disprove some of all this cables do/do not malarky.

I believe many are starting to get pissed of with the various claims made for and against stuff such as cables, digital audio, etc etc.

Re interconnects:

Yes, I can accomplish this for anyone who wants to visit here. No problem at all. Bring anything you like. You can compare yours against my own LAT and LFD products. I've no idea of the outcome. I might get to learn something. It happens. However ...

Please note the following 2 issues:

1. For something to be 'better' it MUST be different whereas merely by being different does not axiomatically mean it is better. The point being, are you totally certain you can consistently distinguish between 'better' and merely different. I know I can't - and I've been doing this for more years than I care to remember. And then ...

2. The outcome, or verdict if you like, will be influenced by the two pieces of equipment connected via the chosen interconnect. For example, when using the LAT interconnect between my LFD Linestage3 and UnderDog sub-woofer, the outcome in terms of attack, tautness and weight via the LAT is always preferred to the equivalent LFD interconnect despite the latter being 4 times the price.

If I change the preamp to say a Manley Neo Classic 300B, the verdict is more ambiguous. The differences are less apparent.

Power Cords.

A/B comparisons are meaningless if by this you hope for quick switching back and forth at intervals of say 20 seconds. This is because of the cooling and re-heating cycle. Yes, I am now convinced that you should only swap power cords once an hour so that (a) you get to listen for say 30 mins and (b) then allow the amp, or CD player, DAC or even STAX energiser to get back to it’s proper operating temperature – and that takes say, 30 mins.

Moreover I only, and I do mean only do this when the cords under comparison are powered up through a PS Audio Power Plant premier mains regenerator. Otherwise the results are inconsistent and useless. The PPP is the common denominator and therefore out of the equation while the comparison is going on. Here’s why I use this.

I use a dedicated 30 amp spur into my demo room. Even so, with the PPP calibrated to 240v output +/- 2v, I have sat and watched the incoming THD change from 2.9% down to 2.1% in a matter of minutes and yet the output THD has remained consistent at 0.26%. Now then you sceptics, given this incoming fluctuating THD, how could a sensible comparison be achieved without a device to regulate this?

Anyway, the invitation remains open.

I have no preconceived idea that the interconnect I stock are the best. I'm not always clear as to what ‘best’ really means. But if you want to bring along a couple of pairs of your own and then reach a verdict via my set-up (using the Manley Skipjack cable & component switcher http://www.manleylabs.com/containerpages/skipjack.html ) as to which one you prefer, and then compare against any of mine, then just phone on 0208 447 8485 and I’ll see how I can accommodate you.

I should be able to give you a hard copy report of the changes (if any) that my analysis system can record during the swaps.

---//---

Primalsea
18-10-2008, 18:03
The Apple comment was really just off the cuff. Apple are the people who can get it right but don't always seem to.

Expanding a bit more on my previous post I see genuine hifi and IT blending more and more over the years to come. Its started to happen already with media PC's and ethernet connectable dacs from Linn and the like.

What I saw when I first starting to use computers was everything had rather clunky interfaces and many features of a system were "bolt on". This seemed to almost die out a while ago but it seems to have come back. It seems as things get more features they become less easier to use mainly because, not of the complexity but the user interface.

sastusbulbas
18-10-2008, 21:35
Hi Howard,

Cables are not something I feel the need to change at this moment, and with the current state of the audio scene, something I feel should probably be boycotted until manufacturers start supporting the claims and the customers falling for them.

Most are well aware of "hearing" differences, sadly that does not amount to a whole lot of beans when discussing cables on many forums, and I feel is one area where if manufacturers want to gain credibility, they could bloody well support some of their customers who get castrated and hounded out of forums for proclaiming a difference.

At the moment many manufacturers seem happy enough to spout all manner of enticement regarding performance and measurement of their expensive wares. What they don't do is back this up with hard fact or any sustained proof. Many forums seem to be gaining momentum disclaiming cables as foo and belittling costly cable users.

A classic example is Chord, with Chord Signature practically ripped apart by forum members elsewhere in the past, this cable now has some urban myth attached to its origins. Every cable is now under scrutiny, and if the current trend continues anyone using anything other than wet string will end up labelled as a mentalist on most forums.

Are we now to believe that cable manufacturers are indeed ripping customers off? After all in this day and age and after so many years of debate on forums, what other reason could manufacturers have to not be giving hard fact substantiating their claims of measurable and audible differences.

I personally feel that the audio industry would fare better with such substantiated science instead of pseudo claims. With the increasing popularity of audio forums the "Audiophile" is certainly earning the label "Audiophool" these days. Magazines and manufacturer claims seem to be dragging the industry down with expert "Foo".

Steve

Marco
18-10-2008, 22:03
Most are well aware of "hearing" differences, sadly that does not amount to a whole lot of beans when discussing cables on many forums, and I feel is one area where if manufacturers want to gain credibility, they could bloody well support some of their customers who get castrated and hounded out of forums for proclaiming a difference.

Every cable is now under scrutiny, and if the current trend continues anyone using anything other than wet string will end up labelled as a mentalist on most forums.


Rest assured, Steve, that none of the above will *EVER* happen here!

Choosing the right cables for a system is of absolutely fundamental importance if a system is to accurately reproduce recorded information: end of. But that doesn't necessarily mean that the cables must be expensive.

I have been experimenting recently with a new cable which could be set to explode on the scene as a veritable giant-killer. Listening tests are currently on-going and results so far are quite incredible. However, I will not jump to any immediate conclusions. All will be revealed in due course! ;)

Marco.

Primalsea
19-10-2008, 09:10
What are we getting at here, are cable the next engineering challenge?? Well maybe they are. Not produce even more expensive cables shrouded in mystery but to develop more advanced correlation between what we subjectively prefer and consider better to the test results.

Does anyone remember the Hifi+ attempt to blind score cables?? It all went horribly wrong and they came under quite a bit of flak for it as it seemed they cooked the results. They did raise one point in their defence that what quite valid although not a valid defence for them.

This was that some things seem not particularly grabbing to start with but in the long run they turn out to be preferable. Likewise there is also the other side of this; things that seem initially better turn out to be rather annoying.

For me this is often the case as I find that kit that is well balanced sounds second place to those with a particular character. It often takes a few weeks for me to decide if I like it or not. Although there has been a few things that I have hated from the off.

However you then have to consider personal taste. I have a pair of Martin Logans which certainly have some character but it’s a character I liked and continued to like in the long run.

So I would say the only way to access something is to try it for an extended period and see if you can live with it. Also remember these cliché’s:

The grass is always greener………….
You never know what you had until its gone.
Once the honeymoon period is over……….

niklasthedolphin
19-10-2008, 10:43
In the light of the highest possible quality of music sound reproduction:

I think that it will be the reintroduction of the best sources ever and do it in a form making them more convenient, user-friendly and less money consuming.
Maybe even reinventing magnetic storing of reproduced music into a new format.
I am talking about (reel to reel) tape recording.

Furthermore it will be a challenge to reestablish the reputation in the hifi trade industry and get rid of all those snake-oil products and adjust prices other perifer components to the proportion of influence they have on the sound.

"dolph"

Hozepipe
22-10-2008, 11:12
This was that some things seem not particularly grabbing to start with but in the long run they turn out to be preferable. Likewise there is also the other side of this; things that seem initially better turn out to be rather annoying.

For me this is often the case as I find that kit that is well balanced sounds second place to those with a particular character. It often takes a few weeks for me to decide if I like it or not. Although there has been a few things that I have hated from the off.

However you then have to consider personal taste. I have a pair of Martin Logans which certainly have some character but it’s a character I liked and continued to like in the long run.

So I would say the only way to access something is to try it for an extended period and see if you can live with it.

Thought I'd just chip in, as a new boy and all...

I concur with the above most definitely. It usually takes me a long time to decide on a change - and the best way (for me anyway) is to not sit there and 'evaluate'. I think that's when the character system tends to stand out - but you don't normally listen in evaluate mode so I think it skews judgment. I've made more wrong decisions that way than I care to remember. The biggest variable in my system tends to be me, sometimes I think my system sounds just alright, other times I think it's sublime. I have no way of knowing what causes the variation, whether it's purely psychoacoustic or real, whatever that means. So (statistically speaking) taking many days of listening will tend to average out the variables. Well, that's my theory anyway.:mental:

simon

Marco
22-10-2008, 12:20
I completely agree with that, Simon! Particularly this bit:


It usually takes me a long time to decide on a change - and the best way (for me anyway) is to not sit there and 'evaluate'. I think that's when the character system tends to stand out - but you don't normally listen in evaluate mode so I think it skews judgment.


:clap:

That's why blind tests don't work!

Marco.

Hozepipe
22-10-2008, 12:59
Thanks Marco. I don't often talk any sense so its nice to be appreciated ;)

Didn't want to go too far OT from Howard's OP. I think I read somewhere Howard's list of criteria he uses to judge and compare kit though...? Horses for courses - I'm sure some people are really good at making a concerted effort in evaluating, and being right about it! It just doesn't seem to work for me.

To get back on topic and offer a suggestion to the OP, the next engineering challenge is a social/perceptual one. If someone can 'engineer' a foolproof method for judging the merit of any component change in a single sitting that's consistent across every set of ears then that would be a huge leap IMO. (I am only half serious :smoking:)

s

Ali Tait
22-10-2008, 18:33
Agree with this too.IMHO the only way to really evaluate a change is to live with it for a week or two and then swop back and see which is preferred.

Primalsea
23-10-2008, 08:07
Yep, take your time and don't rush into it.

Of course this is exactly what most dealers don't want you to do.

They would rather tell you thats its better than what you have and try and make it that your the arsehole if you think otherwise. Then they just want your luverly cash in their pocket as soon as possible afterwards.

Marco
23-10-2008, 08:33
Indeed so, Paul. I always laugh when I hear people saying that such-and-such a dealer is "my friend". Utter bollocks - he or she is only 'your friend' because (ultimately) they want your money!

That's not to say though that some dealers aren't perfectly nice (and often helpful) people who will try and do their best to provide you with what you want. But quite simply you're deluded if you're under the impression that your dealer is your best buddy... :mental:

With regards to evaluating equipment and cables, it's like Ali says, the *only* way to do it properly is to install 'X' new component or cable and live with it for a week, then swap back to your old stuff and if it instantly sounds worse then you know you've obtained a genuine improvement, and conversely the reverse applies.

Quick-fire A/B comparisons are next to useless as almost always (unless something is really bad) a different, often more 'impressive' sound, is psychologically considered as better when in reality in the long term in many cases it isn't. Blind testing is just a joke because your head isn't in the right 'zone'.

Marco.

Primalsea
23-10-2008, 12:15
Yep, perception is as much as what goes on in your cortex as what going on outside.

We could all learn from the Barry Boi's here and put go faster stripes on our equipment. It will be the best upgrade ever. I might even lower the supports on the base of my amp so its closer to the ground. Possibly even a spoiler.lol

However this does bring me on to one of my pet hates (Oh god, he's off again) which is case work. It seems that many manufacturers have given up on trying to improve the technology and have instead moved onto just making huge OTT cases. In the begining 6mm alu facias were good. Then it was 10mm, now I've seen some stuff with 15mm alu slabs bolted together to form the case. When you look inside you see nothing special however.

StanleyB
23-10-2008, 12:34
It seems that many manufacturers have given up on trying to improve the technology and have instead moved onto just making huge OTT cases. In the begining 6mm alu facias were good. Then it was 10mm, now I've seen some stuff with 15mm alu slabs bolted together to form the case. When you look inside you see nothing special however.
Funny you mention that...

Labarum
23-10-2008, 13:45
Funny you mention that...

Nothing wrong with your case, Stanley. Less is more . . .

Ali Tait
23-10-2008, 18:17
Spend the money where it counts! -on how the thing sounds.A nice case is a bonus,but not really necessary IMHO.It's the sound quality that really counts.

tfarney
26-10-2008, 01:21
I completely agree with that, Simon! Particularly this bit:



:clap:

That's why blind tests don't work!

Marco.

That wouldn't work because it would be a mis-use of blind testing, which cannot determine whether or not one piece of gear is qualitatively better than the other, but only whether or not a person or group of people making up a statistically significant sample can hear a difference between the two components at all. Scientifically conducted AB/X listening tests do what they're intended to do quite well. But once it is determined that you can hear a difference between a system with and without Tweak A, it is solely up to individual judgment to determine if that difference is a benefit or a curse.

And that, of course, is not the stuff of science.

Tim

Marco
26-10-2008, 08:08
Yep you're right, Tim. But as I would have no interest whatsoever doing blind-testing with anything other than hi-fi equipment or related ancillaries (and even that doesn't interest me much) then any other process than that which determines whether or not one piece of gear is qualitatively better than the other is totally irrelevant.

That's why we (as subjective-minded audio enthusiasts) adopt the assessment process as described earlier, and as I said, why our heads must be in the right 'zone' in order for meaningful conclusions to be reached.

Marco.

tfarney
26-10-2008, 10:16
Yep you're right, Tim. But as I would have no interest whatsoever doing blind-testing with anything other than hi-fi equipment or related ancillaries (and even that doesn't interest me much) then any other process than that which determines whether or not one piece of gear is qualitatively better than the other is totally irrelevant.

That's why we (as subjective-minded audio enthusiasts) adopt the assessment process as described earlier, and as I said, why our heads must be in the right 'zone' in order for meaningful conclusions to be reached.

Marco.

I agree, Marco, that it's not of much use to individuals. The testing, in that case, would seldom exceed the margin for error anyway, and would, therefore, not be scientifically valid anyway. AB/X testing would, IMO, be very useful in professional reviews or kit evaluations, though. Imagine if every publication's review of every piece of kit began with "We first tested the Audiophile Magic Beans by soaking them, according to the manufacturer's instructions, in unpasturized virgin goat's milk for 24 hours and placing them 1/4" in from the corners of the amplifier in our reference system consisting of X, Y & Z. In AB/X listening tests, X% of the responses identified a difference in the system with the beans in place. Is that difference an improvement? We think so..."

With the biggest chunk of psychological bias bi-passed, we could now go on with the subjective stuff, knowing it is subjective, knowing it is, at least, based in reality.

On the other hand, imagine the review that begins with "We first tested the Audiophile Magic Beans by placing them, according to the manufacturer's instructions, 1/4" in from the corners of the amplifier in our reference system consisting of X, Y & Z. In AB/X listening tests, only X% of the responses accurately differentiated the examples. This sample, well below the margin for error, indicates that the beans had no audible effect."

Next review?

Surely such a simple process would avoid a lot of voodoo and hokum, and save audiophiles a lot of time, money and effort. And really, the only reason to not conduct such simple, reliable tests would be a firm belief that there is no voodo or hokum in the audiophile world to be exposed and avoided.

In which case I have a bridge I'd like to sell you...:)

Tim

niklasthedolphin
26-10-2008, 10:23
You're both moving on the old path towards acknowledging that objectivism is non-existing.
If you dig deeper you will also find fate in the same locker.

Now you are introduced to the analytical philosophy as a science.

From now on questions will rise, like:
"What to use data sheets for"?
"Will therapy make my gear sound better"?

Soon you will also figure out that DD-TT is an inferior construction.
:lolsign:

"dolph"

Steve Toy
26-10-2008, 10:34
lol

Labarum
26-10-2008, 10:38
virgin goat's milk

MM

A lactating virgin would be about as rare as hen's teeth! :)

tfarney
26-10-2008, 11:32
MM

A lactating virgin would be about as rare as hen's teeth! :)

Exactly.

Tim

tfarney
26-10-2008, 11:34
You're both moving on the old path towards acknowledging that objectivism is non-existing.

Quite the contrary. I believe that if a statistically significant sample of civilians/audiophiles/recording engineers (take your choice) cannot hear something, it is inaudible, regardless of the subjective opinions of audiophiles who want to believe.

Tim

Primalsea
26-10-2008, 12:31
wasn't the phons curve creative from data obtained from perceived loudness of many hunderds of people??

Marco
26-10-2008, 12:37
LOL!!

No disrespect, Tim, but I couldn't give a monkey's bollocks what "a statistically significant sample of civilians/audiophiles/recording engineers" think. I trust my own ears, and those of people whose opinions I respect, nothing else matters to me - and so it will always be... :)

Oh, and these days I rarely, if ever, use magazines to assess the performance standards of equipment, so I'm pretty unconcerned how they carry out their tests. There are plenty of other things which I find hi-fi magazines useful for, though.

Marco.

StanleyB
26-10-2008, 12:57
I believe that if a statistically significant sample of civilians/audiophiles/recording engineers (take your choice) cannot hear something, it is inaudible, regardless of the subjective opinions of audiophiles who want to believe.

Seems reasonable to me.

Maybe the difference should as clear as day and night, before it should be considered to be present.

Marco
26-10-2008, 14:01
Yes, Stan, but how do you ascertain what judgement criteria is used to determine the differences which are considered "as clear as day and night"? ;)

Your "as clear as day and night" might be my 'slight difference', or vice versa.

It's all subjective... That's why the best thing is always to trust your own ears and forget about what others think, unless it's someone you know who has similar tastes and whose way of assessing hi-fi aligns with yours.

Marco.

StanleyB
26-10-2008, 15:20
That's why the best thing is always to trust your own ears and forget about what others think, unless it's someone you know who has similar tastes and whose way of assessing hi-fi aligns with yours.
I don't trust my own ears... The left and right frequency response are not what they used to be after years of sonic abuse... So before I can say with any sort of certainty that I can hear anything, it has to be clear as night and day to my ears.

Just imagine how many design ideas I might have discarded over the last few years, just because I couldn't hear an improvement:scratch:.

Marco
26-10-2008, 15:25
LOL! Sorry to hear that, Stan. Mine, however, are functioning just fine and dandy :)

I thought you'd suffered more from drug abuse than sonic abuse :eyebrows:

Marco.

StanleyB
26-10-2008, 15:36
LOL! Sorry to hear that, Stan. Mine, however, are functioning just fine and dandy :)

I thought you'd suffered more from drug abuse than sonic abuse :eyebrows:

Marco.
I got rid of the two mistresses, so I am slowly recovering :lolsign:.

Labarum
26-10-2008, 15:38
I didn't think it was mistresses that made you deaf . . . now was that blind?

Primalsea
26-10-2008, 19:36
There are plenty of other things which I find hi-fi magazines useful for, though.
Marco.

Marco, I know we are heading for recession but wiping your arse with yor old Hifi mags must just be painful:lol:.

I tried it once, it was very late and I was tired. I didn't notice that the page had stuck to me. When I woke up in the morning the ink had transfered to my skin and I looked like I had a tatoo of the editor's face on my arse.

Couldn't go to the beach with my thong for over a week!

Primalsea
26-10-2008, 19:37
I didn't think it was mistresses that made you deaf . . . now was that blind?

What, 2 women nagging you, its enough to make anyone deaf.:lol:

tfarney
27-10-2008, 03:49
LOL!!

No disrespect, Tim, but I couldn't give a monkey's bollocks what "a statistically significant sample of civilians/audiophiles/recording engineers" think. I trust my own ears, and those of people whose opinions I respect, nothing else matters to me - and so it will always be... :)

Oh, and these days I rarely, if ever, use magazines to assess the performance standards of equipment, so I'm pretty unconcerned how they carry out their tests. There are plenty of other things which I find hi-fi magazines useful for, though.

Marco.

No disrespect taken and no offense meant, Marco, but the simple truth is that if a given tweak/component/difference cannot be heard often enough by a sufficiently large set of humans with normal hearing to exceed a margin for error (statistical sample), yet you still think you hear it, your ears are not to be trusted. I'm not saying that would happen, but it's really that simple. If you can manage to hear everything for yourself, fine. If not, a bit of AB/X testing might make those audiophile magazines good for something more than toilet paper again.

Tim

tfarney
27-10-2008, 03:54
Seems reasonable to me.

Maybe the difference should as clear as day and night, before it should be considered to be present.

Or perhaps the difference should at least be consistently identifiable. I'm not even looking for as clear as night and day. Audible would be good enough.

Tim

Marco
27-10-2008, 08:39
No disrespect taken and no offense meant, Marco, but the simple truth is that if a given tweak/component/difference cannot be heard often enough by a sufficiently large set of humans with normal hearing to exceed a margin for error (statistical sample), yet you still think you hear it, your ears are not to be trusted.


I would agree, Tim, providing the participants had sufficient hearing acuity to ascertain any real differences. When it comes to testing hi-fi equipment, you'd have to ensure that the "sufficiently large set of humans" was represented by discerning audio enthusiasts (such as the type of people on this forum for example) and not just ordinary members of the public. In many cases with tweaks, etc, you need to know what to listen for and have some reasonable benchmark (in terms of hi-fi system) from which to judge the results :)

Imagine asking your average person on the street to take part in a hi-fi mains cable test or analysing the difference VTA or miniscule changes to cartridge alignment makes when setting up a turntable? He or she would think you were bonkers, when in fact these things cause significant audible differences in a sufficiently revealing system, and to those with appropriately trained ears. The wrong people (no matter how many there were taking part in the test) probably wouldn't hear any differences with these things, but that would by no means automatically mean that no differences actually existed...

I'm sorry, but your model for hi-fi testing is fatally flawed.

Marco.

niklasthedolphin
27-10-2008, 10:46
I would agree, Tim, providing the participants had sufficient hearing acuity to ascertain any real differences. When it comes to testing hi-fi equipment, you'd have to ensure that the "sufficiently large set of humans" was represented by discerning audio enthusiasts (such as the type of people on this forum for example) and not just ordinary members of the public. In many cases with tweaks, etc, you need to know what to listen for and have some reasonable benchmark (in terms of hi-fi system) from which to judge the results :)

Imagine asking your average person on the street to take part in a hi-fi mains cable test or analysing the difference VTA or miniscule changes to cartridge alignment makes when setting up a turntable? He or she would think you were bonkers, when in fact these things cause significant audible differences in a sufficiently revealing system, and to those with appropriately trained ears. The wrong people (no matter how many there were taking part in the test) probably wouldn't hear any differences with these things, but that would by no means automatically mean that no differences actually existed...

I'm sorry, but your model for hi-fi testing is fatally flawed.

Marco.


I would say that even within claimed audio- and hifi nerds or "discerning audio enthusiasts", as you name them, only a very small percentage have the realy good hearing.

And furthermore, now that we have this thing analyzed and naturally concluded that a listening seance is purely subjective by nature, like all other experiences, one person with the ears put on correctly might hear a change while another on doesn't, due to mood, subconsciousness, traumatized childhood or whatever.

Therefor, AB(X) tests only work for one individual at a time.

It's very simple and basic.

Otherwise everybody having the very high-end set-up would have the same gear and no shops would be able to sell "snake oil".

"dolph"

Labarum
27-10-2008, 11:24
Many years ago I was in a HiFi shop, very close to a Quad electrostatic as a CD of cello music was about to be played. I heard the cellist bang the instrument on his knee as he made ready to play. Just the tiniest nudge that set the instrument resonating. "Sounds good" I thought to myself, even before the first note was played. At that time I was spending a lot of time knee to knee with my ten year old son, supervising his cello practice. I knew that sound very well!

And my point? The best persons to make an evaluation of a system's worth are those who play, or who are very familiar with the instruments and the style of music being played on the sound system at the time.

They could be completely ignorant of HiFi matters - probably better if they are - the question is straightforward: is this realistic?

Marco
27-10-2008, 12:11
I would say that even within claimed audio- and hifi nerds or "discerning audio enthusiasts", as you name them, only a very small percentage have the realy good hearing.


I completely agree, Dolph! It's such a pity you have a penchant for fatally flawed turntable technology :lolsign: ;)


The best persons to make an evaluation of a system's worth are those who play, or who are very familiar with the instruments and the style of music being played on the sound system at the time.

They could be completely ignorant of HiFi matters - probably better if they are - the question is straightforward: is this realistic?


Brian, again I totally agree. What you're referring to essentially is a person's available 'benchmark' with audio. We all have one - but the fact is those belonging to some are better (read as more realistic) than others.

Marco.

Labarum
27-10-2008, 13:06
Brian, again I totally agree. What you're referring to essentially is a person's available 'benchmark' with audio. We all have one - but the fact is those belonging to some are better (read as more realistic) than others.



There is, however, a class of very musical people who don't care about the audio quality, for they hear the music in their minds. What their ears receive is just a memory prompt. They might have a similar experience by reading the score: and that they might prefer, because they interpret the music as they wish, rather than have another opinion forced on them.

This is way off topic!

Filterlab
27-10-2008, 13:10
There is, however, a class of very musical people who don't care about the audio quality, for they hear the music in their minds. What their ears receive is just a memory prompt. They might have a similar experience by reading the score: and that they might prefer, because they interpret the music as they wish, rather than have another opinion forced on them.

This is way off topic!

Doesn't matter, keep it coming! I've never thought of playback as a memory prompt, it's a good theory as to why many people are happy listening through their mobiles or whatever - maybe they just need to hear it as a reminder.

Labarum
27-10-2008, 13:22
But have we any musicians who can talk about the memory in their fingers?

When my son was younger (he ended up a graduate engineer, which is another clue) he would play the dining table with his fingers as he listened in his mind to a piano piece; or he would raise his left hand and manipulate an imaginary cello fingerboard.

The memory was in his fingers!

Many less musical people have the same experience with telephone numbers - ask them the number and they cant say it - show them the keypad and they will enter it.

It's probably the same with touch typists.

tfarney
27-10-2008, 13:58
Marco.


I would agree, Tim, providing the participants had sufficient hearing acuity to ascertain any real differences. When it comes to testing hi-fi equipment, you'd have to ensure that the "sufficiently large set of humans" was represented by discerning audio enthusiasts (such as the type of people on this forum for example) and not just ordinary members of the public.

This is why I offered civilians, audiophiles or recording engineers. Your choice. The truth is, given a sufficient number of people and tests, you can statistically reduce the chance for error, or even bad hearing to below the margin for error. So, given a sufficiently large and expensive study, a random group of people, not a hand chosen one, would be best. But I'd be willing to go with audiophiles, or even highly trained and experienced mastering engineers.


Imagine asking your average person on the street to take part in a hi-fi mains cable test or analysing the difference VTA or miniscule changes to cartridge alignment makes when setting up a turntable?

This completely misses the point. If the "average person" or the highly-trained professional knows what they're listening to or what to listen for, the test is inherently flawed. But I'd even be willing to go for that. Give me a roomful of audiophiles or engineers, tell them they're listening for changes in hifi mains cables, run a sufficient number of AB/X listening tests to obtain a sufficiently low margin for error and see what we get.


] In many cases with tweaks, etc, you need to know what to listen for and have some reasonable benchmark (in terms of hi-fi system) from which to judge the results :)

And I suppose that's ok if the testing is truly blind; I'd have to consult some research professionals. But when you're testing hifi on your own, and you are insisting that you must know what is being tested and you must know what to listen for and you're aware of what you're listening to when, that truly is a useless model. You have opened the door to psychological bias so wide that just about any notion could walk through. You may trust your ears under such conditions, but no one else should. You may as well simply say that you like having X component in your signal chain as it makes you feel good whether you can hear it or not.


I'm sorry, but your model for hi-fi testing is fatally flawed.


You've missed the point again. I'm not talking about testing hifi. I'm talking about testing whether or not a change in a system can be heard at all. I'm talking about testing hearing vs. psychological bias. I'm probably also wasting my time. I suspect I could show the dedicated audiophile that his favorite component was, even in his own ears, inaudibly different from the one he replaced with it and he'd simply conclude that my test was flawed. He would always find some cause other than his own bias.

Carry on.

Tim

Marco
27-10-2008, 15:43
Tim,


This completely misses the point. If the "average person" or the highly-trained professional knows what they're listening to or what to listen for, the test is inherently flawed.


Yes I agree, but then so is the whole process of testing what people can hear. Listening for sonic differences in audio and attributing them to what is considered as 'real' in an objective sense is a complex, complicated, and quite frankly, almost impossible business quite simply because as human beings we don't 'listen like a computer' or analyse music signals in the way of test apparatus. I just don't get why people are so hung up on trying to 'prove' things all the time when there is next to no chance of ever being able to do this conclusively with a largely subjective entity such as audio, particularly when differences heard are subtle, as they often are with pretty much anything other than loudspeakers and some analogue equipment. Trust your ears and be happy! I do, and life is just 'peachy-keen' that way ;)


And I suppose that's ok if the testing is truly blind; I'd have to consult some research professionals. But when you're testing hifi on your own, and you are insisting that you must know what is being tested and you must know what to listen for and you're aware of what you're listening to when, that truly is a useless model. You have opened the door to psychological bias so wide that just about any notion could walk through. You may trust your ears under such conditions, but no one else should.


I mostly agree, but that's when the opinions of people you trust come in and also the ability to have faith in your hearing acuity. If, for example, a friend of mine who has what I consider as discerning ears tells me that component X is amazing I would give much more credence to his or his opinion than I would to ten thousand "audiophiles" or recording engineers whom I don't know who think the opposite! And subsequently if my own listening experiences concluded the same as my friend then the opinions of the above 'experts' would be a complete and utter irrelevance. I'm afraid that I don't give much credence to the hi-fi opinions of people I don't know, no matter who they are. As far as I'm concerned that's exactly how it should be.


You've missed the point again. I'm not talking about testing hifi. I'm talking about testing whether or not a change in a system can be heard at all.


You wrote earlier:


the simple truth is that if a given tweak/component/difference cannot be heard often enough by a sufficiently large set of humans with normal hearing to exceed a margin for error (statistical sample), yet you still think you hear it, your ears are not to be trusted.


That's effectively 'testing hi-fi'. If not, what else is being used as the vehicle to determine differences with the tweaks or components you refer to above?

Also, I would refute your claim quite simply because if this "sufficiently large set of humans" doesn't possess the necessary discerning ears and hearing acuity to successfully identify genuine differences with given tweaks or components, and thus concludes that no difference exists, then the results of the test from a discerning audiophile's point of view are worthless. Dolph has already quite correctly pointed out that only a small percentage of audiophiles have the necessary skills.

To give you an example with forums, there are tens of thousands of people currently posting on the main UK audio sites which I've both participated in and observed for years. I can think of no more than maybe 20 people whose opinions I rate sufficiently and would trust with hi-fi - a tiny percentage of the total collective membership - so what would happen if the remainder were those who were doing the judging in your tests and they all concluded the opposite from me? Should I simply dismiss my own judgement based on my thorough listening experiences and conclude that I'm imagining things, or have faith in my own ears and those whose opinions I trust - and offer a two-finger salute to the rest?

I think you know my answer to that one!! :eyebrows:


I suspect I could show the dedicated audiophile that his favorite component was, even in his own ears, inaudibly different from the one he replaced with it and he'd simply conclude that my test was flawed. He would always find some cause other than his own bias.


Possibly, or even probably, as there's every chance what he or she has concluded is right, despite the presence of bias or what scientific testing says to the contrary. Discerning real differences with hi-fi which cannot be measured is not the simple 'black & white' process you seem to be advocating.

Marco.

Steve Toy
27-10-2008, 16:30
There is, however, a class of very musical people who don't care about the audio quality, for they hear the music in their minds. What their ears receive is just a memory prompt. They might have a similar experience by reading the score: and that they might prefer, because they interpret the music as they wish, rather than have another opinion forced on them.


Good post. This explains why many musicians are so dismissive of hi-fi and fall into the objectivist camp despite having excellent hearing. Basically they hear what they want to hear, filling in the gaps along the way mentally.

tfarney
27-10-2008, 16:33
That's effectively 'testing hi-fi'. If not, what else is being used as the vehicle to determine differences with the tweaks or components you refer to above?

Well, this is half right. You can drop the "hi," as all we're testing is whether or not a change is audible at all.

It's not that I don't get your argument, Marco, I do. I've heard it many, many times before. It's just that if a statistical sample of people in blind testing hears nothing, and one guy with an emotional and financial investment in believing in what he is looking at as well as listening to swears he hears an improvement, I'm going with the controlled test. Take that one guy, put him through a blind AB/X with enough repetition to reduce the margin for error to insignificance, and if he can hear the component consistently, I'll seriously reconsider the position.

But that guy never seems to believes in AB/X testing and always refuses to participate in it.

Tim

Labarum
27-10-2008, 16:53
Good post. This explains why many musicians are so dismissive of hi-fi and fall into the objectivist camp despite having excellent hearing. Basically they hear what they want to hear, filling in the gaps along the way mentally.

Or maybe you are hearing an argument you want to hear.

They may be dismissive of HiFi fancies because they know what a violin sounds like, and they know that there is nothing to choose between system A's violin and system B's violin; or they know that A is more accurate than B.

This was the import of these words:


Brian:

The best persons to make an evaluation of a system's worth are those who play, or who are very familiar with the instruments and the style of music being played on the sound system at the time.
They could be completely ignorant of HiFi matters - probably better if they are - the question is straightforward: is this realistic?

Marco:

Brian, again I totally agree. What you're referring to essentially is a person's available 'benchmark' with audio. We all have one - but the fact is those belonging to some are better (read as more realistic) than others.

Although I would prefer Marco to have said "available 'benchmark' with music"

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 16:59
This is jolly exciting isn't it :lol:

I can sympathize with both sides, Marco and Tim you both make good arguments.

I have a question for Tim though. I actually agree with you that most won't hear a difference in a blind test. I doubt I could, certainly not in an unfamiliar system.

What about a test that measured listening behavior - something that's a lot less subjective and can be easily measured without pressurizing the victim, I mean subject, and skewing the data? Lets just use Audiophiles and Audio Engineers as subjects to give the best chance of getting a positive result. Over a period of a few weeks say (a very expensive and improbable test, but also hypothetical so its free) measure how often and for how long each individual listens to the system as a measure of their satisfaction/enjoyment of it, half of the time with and half without the component change. Not forgetting to use a placebo control group where no change is made over the period. This would, in theory give you an objective measure of enjoyment that the system provides.

Do you think that this would be a fairer, more accurate test? It would show more conclusively any statistically significant difference between the component change group and the placebo group.

Marco
27-10-2008, 17:06
Good post. This explains why many musicians are so dismissive of hi-fi and fall into the objectivist camp despite having excellent hearing. Basically they hear what they want to hear, filling in the gaps along the way mentally.

Steve,

I agree (and also with what Gareth wrote). I would contend though that the majority of "very musical people" he describes simply haven't been exposed to how good their music can sound on a truly realistic, musical sounding hi-fi system. Once done, whilst agreeing with Gareth's sentiments and considering that they are highly relevant in most cases, I suspect that quite a few musicians would change their minds!

Again, it's simply a question of one's available benchmark with hi-fi (or music). People make claims about all sorts of stuff until their available benchmark is updated and improved. On a slightly different tact, I've known people who, for example, say that shop-bought pasta is every bit as good as home-made, until they taste the real thing made from scratch by an Italian or someone who knows how to cook proper Italian food! After that they proclaim something entirely different! ;)

Marco.

Labarum
27-10-2008, 17:10
No No No. You cannot form a panel of Audiophiles and Audio Engineers. They are used to listening to what comes out of loudspeakers. They might easily have a very skewed view of what is accurate. Fashion can colour judgement.

Any panel must be of persons who know intimately the voices and instruments the audio system is attempting to mimic.

How you proceed when vocals are always amplified in live performance, and the backing is from electronic instruments that use loudspeakers, I don't know.

The concert goer and the competent performer (amateur or professional) are the only reliable judges. Audiophiles and Recording Engineers must stand aside. They cannot be objective judges.

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 17:17
The concert goer and the competent performer (amateur or professional) are the only reliable judges. Audiophiles and Recording Engineers must stand aside. They cannot be objective judges.

Nah. I don't go with that at all. Hifi isn't real, but it has its benefits. You can't compare the two. There's all kinds of ways in which hifi is superior to live music, as well as being deficient. It's a false start IMO to assume that hifi is always inferior to live music. Sometimes it can be better. And vice verca.

I'm a musician myself so there:ner:

Labarum
27-10-2008, 17:21
Last week my son (now a 23 year old engineering graduate) took me to a couple of HiFi shops to listen to some 5.1 surround kit. He was auditioning B&W 684 (£700) and the centre speaker

http://www.bowers-wilkins.com/displa...fid=2375&sc=ht

at the second shop they did not have the £700 AV amp in stock so I suggested he heard them in stereo mode, having heard a similar setup at another shop.

We listened with a £350 Rotel integrated amp and a CD player by Rotel at about the same price

Simone Dinnerstein Goldberg Variations - opening aria.

His eyes filled up and he almost went into shock at the quality of the sound compared to the AV kit he had listened to an hour previously. While he recovered his composure I asked to up the game, and two £1000 boxes amp and CdP were added. The £700 B&W speakers were as good as my Quart (£5000 bracket by today's prices?).

The sound of my system he knows well, and he has the ears of a pretty competent Cellist. I changed CD to Saint-Saens Piano Concerto No 2 which starts off with gentle piano - and I said to him "These speakers will fail when the orchestra comes in". Well the orchestra does come in with a crash, but short of orchestra flat out those speakers were excellent - and at the price!

Well he has bought his AV amp, but now believes me about the limitations of AV kit.

This is a very personal post, but my lad knows what instruments sound like. I was amazed at his response to the more accurate stereo system. The musician and the techie in him very have an fight with each other.

A few days later he came on MSN - he had got his AV system up and running. He knows it is not as good at the pure stereo system he could have bought, but he wanted the technical gizmos. he then says to me "MP3s are rubbish, aren't they?"

On the cheap system he had as an undergraduate MP3 was good enough. On his present system, he now believes me - it has to be lossless.

Yes, musicians can differentiate.

Marco
27-10-2008, 17:26
Tim,

So you'll concede then that your earlier statement of:


the simple truth is that if a given tweak/component/difference cannot be heard often enough by a sufficiently large set of humans with normal hearing to exceed a margin for error (statistical sample), yet you still think you hear it, your ears are not to be trusted.


is in fact not the "simple truth" but merely your own opinion - the same as my opposite opinion is also merely that and not a fact? ;)


It's not that I don't get your argument, Marco, I do. I've heard it many, many times before. It's just that if a statistical sample of people in blind testing hears nothing, and one guy with an emotional and financial investment in believing in what he is looking at as well as listening to swears he hears an improvement, I'm going with the controlled test.


That is of course your prerogative, but I most certainly wouldn't unless I knew them and rated their hi-fi opinions. That's not to say though that audiophiles never imagine things - we're all human and as such fallible. However, given that the appreciation of hi-fi is such a hugely subjective matter, and that the process thereof is by no means a perfect science, how can objective scientific testing consistently and reliably provide all the answers?


Take that one guy, put him through a blind AB/X with enough repetition to reduce the margin for error to insignificance, and if he can hear the component consistently, I'll seriously reconsider the position.


That simply wouldn't work. Like I said before, you need to be in a relaxed frame of mind when assessing hi-fi equipment or ancillaries to arrive at meaningful conclusions, not under pressure in a test environment. I sometimes wonder if people actually pay proper attention to what I (not to mention others) have written ;)


But that guy never seems to believes in AB/X testing and always refuses to participate in it.


Probably because he thinks it's a fruitless and boring exercise and would rather just trust his ears and enjoy the music (like me!) :lol:

Marco.

Labarum
27-10-2008, 17:29
Nah. I don't go with that at all. Hifi isn't real, but it has its benefits. You can't compare the two. There's all kinds of ways in which hifi is superior to live music, as well as being deficient. It's a false start IMO to assume that hifi is always inferior to live music. Sometimes it can be better. And vice verca.

I'm a musician myself so there:ner:

Well I go with Quad's motto

"The closest approach to the original sound."

Accuracy and fidelity are the aims, but of course you cant fit a whole orchestra into the front room of a Semi! It can only be a picture.

For that reason I don't often listen to orchestral music. I prefer the small ensemble: something that might conceivable be performed in my lounge.

And as I said, the rules for popular music that has no existence apart from the electronics present a different set of issues, for there is no "original sound" to approach.

Labarum
27-10-2008, 17:35
Hozepipe, what instrument(s) do you play, and what sort of music?

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 17:40
"The closest approach to the original sound."

Shouldn't that be:

"The closest approach to the original recording" ;)

As soon as the pressure wave his the mic's diaphragm, it's not 'real' anymore. But an engineer can do quite wonderful things you know.

Marco
27-10-2008, 17:48
Gareth,

I agree with much of what you say but I think there's a danger of you considering that only musicians and concert goers appreciate real music or what's considered as 'real music' through a hi-fi system. I'm afraid that this kind of absolutist thinking is way off the mark. It's far more complex than that.

Marco
(A fairly regular concert goer, hi-fi and music lover and knower of a good sound, who unfortunately doesn't play a musical instrument)

;)

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 18:07
Hozepipe, what instrument(s) do you play, and what sort of music?

The penny whistle. Heavy metal and a bit of Techno...

Marco
27-10-2008, 18:59
:lolsign:

Marco.

Marco
27-10-2008, 22:29
What about a test that measured listening behavior - something that's a lot less subjective and can be easily measured without pressurizing the victim, I mean subject, and skewing the data? Lets just use Audiophiles and Audio Engineers as subjects to give the best chance of getting a positive result. Over a period of a few weeks say (a very expensive and improbable test, but also hypothetical so its free) measure how often and for how long each individual listens to the system as a measure of their satisfaction/enjoyment of it, half of the time with and half without the component change. Not forgetting to use a placebo control group where no change is made over the period. This would, in theory give you an objective measure of enjoyment that the system provides.

Do you think that this would be a fairer, more accurate test? It would show more conclusively any statistically significant difference between the component change group and the placebo group.

Yes!

I like this model for testing and think that it would likely give more meaningful results for audio enthusiasts.

Marco.

P.S Why as a Welshman are you spelling like an American? Tim's got an excuse! :lol:

Labarum
27-10-2008, 22:40
Shouldn't that be:

"The closest approach to the original recording" ;)

As soon as the pressure wave his the mic's diaphragm, it's not 'real' anymore. But an engineer can do quite wonderful things you know.

You have hit the nail right on the head. I stand by what I said

"The closest approach to the original sound"

The purpose of the project is to recreate that original experience, but my approach only holds for music that has an existence apart from electronics; what you say is true for music that begins in the electronic rather than the acoustic domain.

Labarum
27-10-2008, 22:51
Gareth,

I agree with much of what you say but I think there's a danger of you considering that only musicians and concert goers appreciate real music or what's considered as 'real music' through a hi-fi system. I'm afraid that this kind of absolutist thinking is way off the mark. It's far more complex than that.

Marco
(A fairly regular concert goer, hi-fi and music lover and knower of a good sound, who unfortunately doesn't play a musical instrument)

;)

Who is Gareth?


I think there's a danger of you considering that only musicians and concert goers appreciate real music

I neither said nor implied that. I did say that such persons should be selected as those best qualified to form a panel make a judgement of the accuracy of a system's presentation, because they would know more intimately the sounds to be imitated.

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 22:56
P.S Why as a Welshman are you spelling like an American? Tim's got an excuse! :lol:

What's wrong with 'fairer'? 'More fair and accurate' just sounds wrong to me.

You and your pedantism! ;)

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 23:12
You have hit the nail right on the head. I stand by what I said

"The closest approach to the original sound"

The purpose of the project is to recreate that original experience, but my approach only holds for music that has an existence apart from electronics; what you say is true for music that begins in the electronic rather than the acoustic domain.

Brian, do you mean electric or electronic? Just want to clarify.

Marco
27-10-2008, 23:13
LOL. I wasn't referring to that; I was referring to this:


What about a test that measured listening behavior - something that's a lot less subjective and can be easily measured without pressurizing the victim...


Who do you think you are, Barack Obama? :lol:

Marco.

Marco
27-10-2008, 23:18
Who is Gareth?



I neither said nor implied that. I did say that such persons should be selected as those best qualified to form a panel make a judgement of the accuracy of a system's presentation, because they would know more intimately the sounds to be imitated.

Sorry, Brian, I got your name mixed up - as an administrator it's difficult to keep track sometimes of the names of all the new members! ;)

That's fine, I accept that. It's just how some of your posts were coming across.

Marco.

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 23:22
LOL!

(Damn you didn't fall for my trap! :doh:)

I'm just crap at spelling, always have, always will.... be. Actually, I DO have an excuse - OS X spell checking is always in bloody american. It always wants to correct things like 'colour' (like it's telling me now with a red squiggly line). I'm being Americanized without even knowing it!

Marco
27-10-2008, 23:28
Haha... I thought you were using Americanisms on purpose just to be different!

No worries, just be yourself and worry not about the bollocks I write :eyebrows:

Marco.

Hozepipe
27-10-2008, 23:31
Will do.:smoking:

tfarney
28-10-2008, 03:52
This is jolly exciting isn't it :lol:

I can sympathize with both sides, Marco and Tim you both make good arguments.

I have a question for Tim though. I actually agree with you that most won't hear a difference in a blind test. I doubt I could, certainly not in an unfamiliar system.

What about a test that measured listening behavior - something that's a lot less subjective and can be easily measured without pressurizing the victim, I mean subject, and skewing the data? Lets just use Audiophiles and Audio Engineers as subjects to give the best chance of getting a positive result. Over a period of a few weeks say (a very expensive and improbable test, but also hypothetical so its free) measure how often and for how long each individual listens to the system as a measure of their satisfaction/enjoyment of it, half of the time with and half without the component change. Not forgetting to use a placebo control group where no change is made over the period. This would, in theory give you an objective measure of enjoyment that the system provides.

Do you think that this would be a fairer, more accurate test? It would show more conclusively any statistically significant difference between the component change group and the placebo group.

It sounds good to me. Short-term listening. Long-term listening. As long as what is tested is the listening, it is tested blind, and the results indicate what can and cannot be heard, I'm good. I'd not only love to see it happen, I think it is an abdication of responsibility on the part of reviewers and manufacturers to not make it happen.

Tim

Labarum
28-10-2008, 07:59
Brian, do you mean electric or electronic? Just want to clarify.

By "electric" I guess you mean something like an electric guitar - it has no acoustic resonator, but depends on an electromagnetic pickup to pass its vibrations to an electronic amplifier, and thence to loudspeakers; and by "electronic" you mean something like a Clavinona or a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin where there are no mechanical or acoustic vibrations at all and the oscillations begin in the electronic domain.

Why do you ask? It makes no difference. Neither type of instrument has a usable acoustic output that can have a musical use apart from a loudspeaker or a pair of headphones.

Hammond Electric Organs generated their tones by revolving disks close to pickup coils that could be moved closer or further away from the mechanical source of the wave - modern electronic organs can mimic the sound and the control mechanisms of such draw bar organs. But, for the purposes of this discussion it makes no difference - nether instrument makes music without a loudspeaker; and both are, in effect, electronic, because an electronic amplifier is needed.

Modern digital organs are fabulous instruments and can mimic a fine pipe organ with remarkable accuracy - it is always the loudspeakers that let them down -moving air accurately in a large space is incredibly difficult.

Filterlab
28-10-2008, 08:35
LOL!

(Damn you didn't fall for my trap! :doh:)

I'm just crap at spelling, always have, always will.... be. Actually, I DO have an excuse - OS X spell checking is always in bloody american. It always wants to correct things like 'colour' (like it's telling me now with a red squiggly line). I'm being Americanized without even knowing it!

Turn it off then. :lol:

You know you can download the OED and implement it into the OS core dictionary.

Labarum
28-10-2008, 08:47
Sorry, Brian, I got your name mixed up - as an administrator it's difficult to keep track sometimes of the names of all the new members! ;)

Marco.

Accepted, Marco. I was scanning up an down the thread trying to find a contribution from Gareth!

Hozepipe
28-10-2008, 09:01
Turn it off then. :lol:

You know you can download the OED and implement it into the OS core dictionary.

I didn't, :doh: thanks Filterlab. Doing it now...

s

Marco
28-10-2008, 09:22
Hi Tim,

When you get a chance I'd appreciate your thoughts on post #80 of mine here:

http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1122&page=8

- particularly the first question I ask. I think you must have accidentally missed it. Cheers! :)

Marco.

Hozepipe
28-10-2008, 09:32
By "electric" I guess you mean something like an electric guitar - it has no acoustic resonator, but depends on an electromagnetic pickup to pass its vibrations to an electronic amplifier, and thence to loudspeakers; and by "electronic" you mean something like a Clavinona or a http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Theremin where there are no mechanical or acoustic vibrations at all and the oscillations begin in the electronic domain.

Why do you ask? It makes no difference. Neither type of instrument has a usable acoustic output that can have a musical use apart from a loudspeaker or a pair of headphones.

Hammond Electric Organs generated their tones by revolving disks close to pickup coils that could be moved closer or further away from the mechanical source of the wave - modern electronic organs can mimic the sound and the control mechanisms of such draw bar organs. But, for the purposes of this discussion it makes no difference - nether instrument makes music without a loudspeaker; and both are, in effect, electronic, because an electronic amplifier is needed.

Modern digital organs are fabulous instruments and can mimic a fine pipe organ with remarkable accuracy - it is always the loudspeakers that let them down -moving air accurately in a large space is incredibly difficult.

I was worried your were going to say that;)

According to your logic an amplified guitar is some how sonically lesser than a violin. Sorry Brian but its elitist nonsense. Just say you don't like 'electric' music.

But it's just plain wrong to say that an electric guitar (or organ) is not an accoustic instrument. The guitar AND amp constitute, as a whole, an accoustic sound source (unless you DI into a desk). You have to mic the thing to record it! Just like an orchestra.

BTW I often play my electric guitar un-amplified. So you're really talking out of your hat. No musical acoustic output my arse!

Sound is just sound. No matter what makes it. You can like it or dislike it, but there is no intrinsic fundamental difference. A violin is very harmonically rich, but so is a distorted guitar. Moreover when you're recording a sound source AND the reverberation of a natural accoustic environment (such as a drum kit in a live room, or a guitar amp (close micing of an anp is often combined with a distant mic to pickup the ambience)) then you get a very, very complex set of acoustic information.

Most important of all, music is music, no matter what you use to make it. It's the quality of the musician/composer that counts. You might not LIKE the music, but there is no grounds for any kind of objective assertion about the fitness of one sound source over another for creating music.

But lets look at this further. Unless you're recording an orchestra using a dummy head and a single set of stereo mics (binaural recording) just what on earth is this realism you're after? Most orchestral recordings (to my knowledge) are recorded using multiple mics often spaced much MUCH wider than the width of your head.

How 'real' is that?

Just some thoughts
s

Labarum
28-10-2008, 11:03
I pick up some of your points, Hozepipe.


"According to your logic an amplified guitar is some how sonically lesser than a violin. Sorry Brian but its elitist nonsense. Just say you don't like 'electric' music."

You jump to the conclusion. I nether said that nor implied it. They are different.


"But it's just plain wrong to say that an electric guitar (or organ) is not an accoustic instrument. The guitar AND amp constitute, as a whole, an accoustic sound source (unless you DI into a desk). You have to mic the thing to record it! Just like an orchestra."

Precisely. That is my main point. The fact there are two loudspeaker systems when an electric or electronic instrument is finally heard at the end of the project places those instruments in a different class to straightforward acoustic instruments (whether violin or drum kit)



"BTW I often play my electric guitar un-amplified. So you're really talking out of your hat. No musical acoustic output my arse!!

Read what I said: "Neither type of instrument has a usable acoustic output that can have a musical use apart from a loudspeaker or a pair of headphones." I am aware that an electric guitar will make a small sound by itself, but it is not, as I said, usable in any performance situation. Did I really need to use more words to make my meaning clear? ;)


"Most important of all, music is music, no matter what you use to make it. It's the quality of the musician/composer that counts. You might not LIKE the music, but there is no grounds for any kind of objective assertion about the fitness of one sound source over another for creating music."

Show me me what words I used to make that claim. I neither said that nor implied it.


"But lets look at this further. Unless you're recording an orchestra using a dummy head and a single set of stereo mics (binaural recording) just what on earth is this realism you're after? Most orchestral recordings (to my knowledge) are recorded using multiple mics often spaced much MUCH wider than the width of your head."

This touches on the point made earlier: should the aim be to achieve "the closest approach to the original sound" or "the closest approach to the original recording"? I would say the former, but of course that brings in microphone technology and the skill of the recording engineer, as well as the quality of the replay chain.

This is where the discussion needs further development - for example, how does the accuracy of the monitor loudspeakers at the mixing desk affect the project?

And Hozepipe


"Sorry Brian but its elitist nonsense. Just say you don't like 'electric' music."

is an unworthy contribution to what I hope could be an adult conversion. You have guessed where my musical tastes lie, but that is irrelevant to the discussion. I have a Clavinova in the house, and just down the road I am custodian of a incredible electronic instrument

http://www.makinorgans.co.uk/wm.cgi

listen to the downloads. (Mp3, I think) of what these machines will do: they are absolutely amazing. The speakers are not even particularly "HiFi", but the instrument was "voiced" to the building by plugging in a laptop. The whole effect is totally convincing. I don't know if the recordings were made with a microphone (I suspect so), or by direct feed.

I have no problem with the electronic generation of music, I just say it is a different process; and because of that fidelity to the original means something different.

tfarney
28-10-2008, 11:23
Hi Tim,

When you get a chance I'd appreciate your thoughts on post #80 of mine here:

http://theartofsound.net/forum/showthread.php?t=1122&page=8

- particularly the first question I ask. I think you must have accidentally missed it. Cheers! :)

Marco.

I had missed that post, Marco. Thanks. I think in that post, and a few others, we're still having two different conversations. You're continuing need to understand and have a high opinion of the test listeners' hifi expertise, and desire for the time and relaxed environment for proper evaluation makes it clear that you still think I'm talking about subjective quality judgments. I'm not. I'm talking about the simple ability to identify the presence of a change, its mere audibility in the system: "Here's A. Here's B. Here's X. Is X A or B...or neither? Which brings us to this...


Tim,

So you'll concede then that your earlier statement of:

Quote:
the simple truth is that if a given tweak/component/difference cannot be heard often enough by a sufficiently large set of humans with normal hearing to exceed a margin for error (statistical sample), yet you still think you hear it, your ears are not to be trusted.
is in fact not the "simple truth" but merely your own opinion - the same as my opposite opinion is also merely that and not a fact?

Well, I suppose everything can be considered an opinion. There are people who do not believe in evolution in spite of mounds of physical evidence and decades of scientific confirmation. But if a random sample of people large enough to reduce the margin for error to statistically insignificant say the rock is orange and you still see red, the logical conclusion is that the one is color blind, not that the many are unable to properly discern the subtleties of true color.

Yet this is often the kind of conclusion audiophiles reach. It is a very comforting and flattering conclusion, to be sure. But that is the opinion. The scientifically tested and verified conclusion is what we generally refer to, in the modern human endeavor, as fact. Mind you, I'm not talking about holding measurement or stats above listening. I'm talking about nothing but listening: The manufacturer has measured it. Can we hear it? There is a proven methodology for taking the possibility of psychological bias out of the equation and finding out if, indeed, it can be heard. And for some strange reason the audiophile hobby avoids it, discredits it, refuses it and finally simply concludes, against all logic, that their ears, with all psychological bias intact, are superior to it.

It is curious.

Tim

Neil McCauley
28-10-2008, 11:31
Girls GIRLS ! Play nicely - or you'll ......... well I don't know what!

---//---

tfarney
28-10-2008, 11:53
Thanks, Howard. I think Marco and I can disagree without being disagreeable, but we may be very close to that point where it would be best to simply agree to disagree and let it drop. It is, sadly, a moot point anyway. Manufacturers are not going to start doing objective listening tests anytime soon, and neither are audiophile publications. Trust your ears, Marco. They're what you've got.

Tim

Marco
28-10-2008, 13:44
LOL!

Tim,

Howard was referring to the dialogue between Brian and Simon, not ours :)

I'll get to your latest points when I've finished my lunch.

Guys,

We love robust debating here but keep it strictly to the hi-fi issues and don't make it personal in ANY way.

Brian, you need to learn how to use the quote facility! ;)

Marco.

Hozepipe
28-10-2008, 13:58
I pick up some of your points, Hozepipe.

"According to your logic an amplified guitar is some how sonically lesser than a violin. Sorry Brian but its elitist nonsense. Just say you don't like 'electric' music."

You jump to the conclusion. I nether said that nor implied it. They are different.

"But it's just plain wrong to say that an electric guitar (or organ) is not an accoustic instrument. The guitar AND amp constitute, as a whole, an accoustic sound source (unless you DI into a desk). You have to mic the thing to record it! Just like an orchestra."

Precisely. That is my main point. The fact there are two loudspeaker systems when an electric of electronic instrument is finally heard at the end of the project places those instruments in a different class to straightforward acoustic instruments (whether violin or drum kit)

You're going to have to explain what you mean by 'class' now. I'm sure you think you're being obvious and clear, forgive me but that does suggest some kind of an intrinsic 'quality' hierarchy, and maybe a bit of snootiness - sorry if that's not what you mean but it does come across that way to me. If you mean they sound different, I agree with that. Arbitrarily deciding that because an electric instrument contains a loudspeaker that it is taxonomically different is fine, but what is your point, if it is not merely taxonomic? What about the class of female vs male instrumentalists. Does that matter? What about actual distance between mic and Orchestra? Or any other categorization. What does it have to do with 'getting closer to the original sound'? Its nonsense.

Look, as a musician its is your response to your immediate musical environment that matters, not some arbitrary marketing BS about where 'the sound' originates. If I play an amplified guitar the musicianship, the feeling whatever comes, mainly I'd argue, from an interaction between what I hear in my head, and what I hear through my ears. In this case it's the sound coming out of a loudspeaker - that's what's recorded and, if you insist on the phrase (which I don't) then I'd argue that is the 'original sound'. If I play unamplified then it is the sounds of the strings. The 'original sound' is that which the musician is referencing at the time. An amp is just as original as a violin.

But there's plenty of music where this is not the case anyway or where there's no interaction, deliberately. I just wouldn't use that kind of simplistic statement that there's an original sound, it just sounds like marketing nonsense. There's sound and it's recorded. You enjoy it, or you don't. Classification doesn't really help.


"BTW I often play my electric guitar un-amplified. So you're really talking out of your hat. No musical acoustic output my arse!!

Read what I said: "Neither type of instrument has a usable acoustic output that can have a musical use apart from a loudspeaker or a pair of headphones." I am aware that an electric guitar will make a small sound by itself, but it is not, as I said, usable in any performance situation. Did I really need to use more words to make my meaning clear? ;)

I take you're point but it wasn't clear that you were restricting what you said to a narrow set of circumstances. You didn't mention performance, so I took what you meant at its face value.

But I'll take back the crudeness.


"Most important of all, music is music, no matter what you use to make it. It's the quality of the musician/composer that counts. You might not LIKE the music, but there is no grounds for any kind of objective assertion about the fitness of one sound source over another for creating music."

Show me me what words I used to make that claim. I neither said that nor implied it.

OK. Just be clear what you mean so I don't have to guess.


This touches on the point made earlier: should the aim be to achieve "the closest approach to the original sound" or "the closest approach to the original recording"? I would say the former, but of course that brings in microphone technology and the skill of the recording engineer, as well as the quality of the replay chain.

This is where the discussion needs further development - for example, how does the accuracy of the monitor loudspeakers at the mixing desk affect the project?

You can do sod all about it so probably not worth worrying over. :)

simon

Hozepipe
28-10-2008, 14:02
LOL!

Tim,

Howard was referring to the dialogue between Brian and Simon, not ours :)

Nah, it was definitely you two :lol:


I'll get to your latest points when I've finished my lunch.

Guys,

We love robust debating here but keep it strictly to the hi-fi issues and don't make it personal in ANY way.

Will do. Don't want to come across insulting, and I retracted my crudeness, but I can get a little animated in discussion - just the cut and thrust of debate.

No offence Brian I hope??

s

Labarum
28-10-2008, 14:03
Brian, you need to learn how to use the quote facility! ;)


I have, but it's quite tedious with multi quotes! :)

Marco
28-10-2008, 14:08
Believe me, Brian, it not as tedious as having to read through paragraphs of and you said "blah, blah", and also "such and such"... ;)

Please use the quote function as provided - cheers!

Marco.

Labarum
28-10-2008, 14:12
No offence Brian I hope??



None at all.

I didn't tell you that down the road in the church next to the electronic organ is a brand new Clavinova that, unlike mine, will do the most amazing tricks. The young man who plays it (between the disco kit and the laptop) is quite unbelievable; but I will stick to Bach.

Some of my colleagues can be very stuffy. I say to them "What would Mozart have made of a modern synthesiser?" He would have absolutely loved it. Mind you, he would have been just as delighted to have a modern Concert Grand under his fingers - they just couldn't make keyboards like that in his day.

Hozepipe
28-10-2008, 14:23
None at all.

I didn't tell you that down the road in the church next to the electronic organ is a brand new Clavinova that, unlike mine, will do the most amazing tricks. The young man who plays it (between the disco kit and the laptop) is quite unbelievable; but I will stick to Bach..

Ah, now perhaps you can advise me then. I've never warmed to Bach in the past, but heard some recently on Radio 3 and really loved it - it was a canon of some sort. My classical tastes are mainly 19th-20th century (Janacek, Vaughn-Williams, Bartok etc). Can you recommend some Bach for a neophyte?

Labarum
28-10-2008, 14:26
Please use the quote function as provided - cheers!



Done!

Labarum
28-10-2008, 14:58
Ah, now perhaps you can advise me then. I've never warmed to Bach in the past, but heard some recently on Radio 3 and really loved it - it was a canon of some sort. My classical tastes are mainly 19th-20th century (Janacek, Vaughn-Williams, Bartok etc). Can you recommend some Bach for a neophyte?


I was wondering, since you are a Guitarist, whether you would like Bach for Guitar - Julian Breem has quite a bit oyu could easily find in the catalogue.

But then I came upon this

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dW-vhSEaV2E

It's one of Bach's most famous organ pieces - I just didn't think that was possible on an electric guitar!

but listen here

http://www.el-organo.com/download/organ/bach/bwv565/bwv565.htm

This is more gentle

http://www.acoma-co.com/MP3/BachprelludeBVD894.mp3

And look out for John Williams Bach CDs

---

The Brandenburg Concertos have to be high on the list, and there is a free FLAC (and other formats) download here

http://www.rozhlas.cz/d-dur/download_eng

It's very good, for a freebie.

Marco
28-10-2008, 15:53
Tim,


I had missed that post, Marco. Thanks.


No problem. I just hate 'loose ends' in discussions, if you see what I mean :)


I think in that post, and a few others, we're still having two different conversations. You're continuing need to understand and have a high opinion of the test listeners' hifi expertise, and desire for the time and relaxed environment for proper evaluation makes it clear that you still think I'm talking about subjective quality judgments. I'm not. I'm talking about the simple ability to identify the presence of a change, its mere audibility in the system: "Here's A. Here's B. Here's X. Is X A or B...or neither? Which brings us to this...


I completely understand where you're coming from, even if my posts suggest otherwise. However, it's not simply a matter of a group of people conducting a 'scientific' test, coming to a conclusion, and then 'bingo!' - It is an accepted fact. What if these 'specially selected' individuals don't have the necessary listening skills to determine real differences or the test system doesn't have the required resolution to resolve differences that may actually exist but which as a result of the system's deficiencies cannot be heard?

My point is that evaluating the effect of hi-fi equipment and ancillaries is quite often not as simple or as 'black & white' as you seem to think. Like I said, differences are often in a real sense very subtle, particularly with cables and suchlike, so correctly ascertaining what "X, A or B" is, unless their effect is immediately obvious, can be a challenging or complicated process; *that* is where the experience and expertise I've been referring to comes in.

For example, I've been given cables from people to try with which they state they can't hear any difference and yet when I put them into my system their sonic effect is usually easily discernable given sufficient time for me to analyse it, quite simply because a) my system has sufficient resolution to reveal the difference and b) because I have the experience to know what to listen for. People without the right system or experienced ears could quite easily conclude that no difference exists when actually that's not the case.

Can you understand this important distinction?


Well, I suppose everything can be considered an opinion. There are people who do not believe in evolution in spite of mounds of physical evidence and decades of scientific confirmation. But if a random sample of people large enough to reduce the margin for error to statistically insignificant say the rock is orange and you still see red, the logical conclusion is that the one is color blind, not that the many are unable to properly discern the subtleties of true color.


Indeed, but like I've said, hi-fi isn't as 'black & white' [or as red and orange] as that (analysing its effects are far more complex) otherwise we'd all be using the same system and hearing the same things. The fact that we're having this debate now is a case in point!


Yet this is often the kind of conclusion audiophiles reach. It is a very comforting and flattering conclusion, to be sure. But that is the opinion. The scientifically tested and verified conclusion is what we generally refer to, in the modern human endeavor, as fact.


Yes, that's providing of course that everything which needs to be measured and tested to determine an effect is understood and can be measured ;)

Otherwise it isn't a fact and the test is flawed!


Mind you, I'm not talking about holding measurement or stats above listening. I'm talking about nothing but listening: The manufacturer has measured it. Can we hear it?


I've dealt with this already - see above.


There is a proven methodology for taking the possibility of psychological bias out of the equation and finding out if, indeed, it can be heard. And for some strange reason the audiophile hobby avoids it, discredits it, refuses it and finally simply concludes, against all logic, that their ears, with all psychological bias intact, are superior to it.


First of all, a human being's enjoyment of recorded music has got nothing to do with logic or any other form of scientific reasoning, so applying science to an emotional experience like this is pointless and nonsensical. That is why I think science and hi-fi (from a consumer's point of view) make very poor bedfellows, and those who don't accept this and insist on judging everything relating to its use on a scientific basis often have a very difficult time understanding what's going on when differences heard (or claimed to be heard) don't show up on an oscilloscope! It's a bit like a robot that's been programmed in a specific way being made to go against its 'primary directives' and screaming rather distressed: "Cannot compute, cannot compute!" and then blowing up :eyebrows:

Music and a hi-fi system's interpretation of it on recorded formats, and a listener's appreciation of the effect thereof, is a multi-faceted 'organic' thing and not something that particularly lends itself well to being 'measured' or analysed scientifically. I could go on about this in more detail but that can wait for another day.

*However*, as you correctly state, removing a listener's expectation/psychological bias (and I believe this condition exists and is highly relevant) is a different matter altogether and blind AB-X testing is an effective way of doing this.

But that of course doesn't tackle the very thing that most audiophiles are concerned about - how a piece of equipment sounds in a musical sense. It's all very well identifying treble emphasis when blind testing, say, a cable, and being able to identify this effect within a margin for error for it to be statistically insignificant, but identifying what effect the cable has on the listener's ability to enjoy music less or more on his or her system is much more difficult, and ultimately this is what matters far more than simply being able to correctly identify prosaic hi-fi effects.

But then we're into a whole world of subjectivist assessment again, and that's just fine by me because, as I've said Tim, evaluating the sonic effects of a hi-fi system isn't a 'black & white' scientific process - it's far more complex than that and those who don't (or won't) accept this fact will never fully understand what the relationship between hi-fi and music is all about...

Marco.

Filterlab
28-10-2008, 16:15
I have, but it's quite tedious with multi quotes! :)

Then use the multi-quote function. There's a little button next to 'quote' with a '+' sign, click this in as many posts as you wish to quote, on the last post you wish to quote click the 'quote' button and all of them will appear in your reply in order.

tfarney
29-10-2008, 03:39
Can you understand this important distinction?

I can. And I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on whether or not that distinction adds legitimacy or destroys objectivity.

Tim

Hozepipe
29-10-2008, 08:02
The Brandenburg Concertos have to be high on the list, and there is a free FLAC (and other formats) download here

http://www.rozhlas.cz/d-dur/download_eng

It's very good, for a freebie.

Thanks Brian, I'll check those out. Unfortunately it'll have to be via the headphone socket of my pooter until I get a good DAC.

s

Marco
29-10-2008, 08:34
I can. And I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on whether or not that distinction adds legitimacy or destroys objectivity.


Well the simple truth is the difference either exists or it doesn't - *if* the system is able to resolve it, and the test subjects possess the ability to hear it or not.

All the above are relevant and must be considered before a conclusion is reached which could be deemed objectively as fact. If the difference is subtle and not easily identified, which quite often it is with hi-fi, the matter isn't likely to be resolved within a few hours in a science lab :)

Marco.

StanleyB
29-10-2008, 08:54
There are things that can be heard, but not measured for comparison. Take filter networks of different designs but same frequency span. Or digitally oversampled audio versus digitally upsampled audio.

Labarum
29-10-2008, 09:01
"Whereof we cannot speak, thereof we must be silent."
Ludwig Wittgensein

StanleyB
29-10-2008, 09:23
One commonly mentioned comment is that digital is digital, and that a better digital lead makes no difference. How many people believe that the TOSLINK lead on the right sounds the same as the one on the left, and why?
http://www.homehifi.co.uk/images/leads/T2M.jpg

Marco
29-10-2008, 09:29
There are things that can be heard, but not measured for comparison

:clap:

How very, very true Stan. And it's most refreshing to hear it coming from a respected audio designer :)

Here's another: audio tubes from manufacturer to manufacturer and vintage to vintage often (easily) sound different, yet measure exactly the same (I have witnessed this) using known parameters...

Clue: those last two words are very important!

Quite simply, where audio is concerned, science currently can't provide all the answers; that's why we have to use the God-given things attached to the sides of our heads and have faith in them, or forever remain uncertain and disillusioned.

Marco.

StanleyB
29-10-2008, 09:43
Talking about God:
God created man in his liking. But man is fallible and not perfect.
Man created measuring parameters and test instruments. Would you accept as fact any answers provided by an instrument created by an imperfect man?

Marco
29-10-2008, 09:49
Indeed. I like that!

Here's something else to ponder: analysing hi-fi to death takes the beauty out of music...

Marco.

Filterlab
29-10-2008, 10:31
One commonly mentioned comment is that digital is digital, and that a better digital lead makes no difference. How many people believe that the TOSLINK lead on the right sounds the same as the one on the left, and why?
http://www.homehifi.co.uk/images/leads/T2M.jpg

Not I, and I have audible proof that TOSLink cables make a HUGE difference. :)

Marco
29-10-2008, 10:37
Yes but are you absolutely and utterly sure beyond any significant margin of error that some bizarre psychological effect wasn't taking place to skew the results... For example the influence of Ganja?

:eyebrows:

Marco.

Filterlab
29-10-2008, 10:48
Yes but are you absolutely and utterly sure beyond any significant margin of error that some bizarre psychological effect wasn't taking place to skew the results... For example the influence of Ganja?

:eyebrows:

Marco.

Well, if I followed the JC school of thought then there would be no difference because it can't be measured. However I can confirm an audible difference without drugs. ;)

With drugs there's a visible difference too. :lol:

niklasthedolphin
29-10-2008, 11:52
I can. And I think we're just going to have to agree to disagree on whether or not that distinction adds legitimacy or destroys objectivity.

Tim

Objectivity is non-existing.

Not even in real science.
It's many years ago science went from the theory of putting everything into formula and startet including the researchers and the measuring tools' influence on the result instead with the Super Dynamic Hypothesis.
Evolution took it further from there.
But basicaly the scientist and the measuring apparatuses' influence on the results are still within evaluation.

Therefor:
Objectivity will always be approximations.

In particular when we have listening experiences in focus, subjectivity will be influencing perception.
All your physiologocal senses are subjective perception in your brain, as are all experiences you have through life.
Experiences evokes feelings.

Would you ever be objective about your love to your girlfriend or wife?

"dolph"

niklasthedolphin
29-10-2008, 12:02
:clap:

How very, very true Stan. And it's most refreshing to hear it coming from a respected audio designer :)

Here's another: audio tubes from manufacturer to manufacturer and vintage to vintage often (easily) sound different, yet measure exactly the same (I have witnessed this) using known parameters...

Clue: those last two words are very important!

Quite simply, where audio is concerned, science currently can't provide all the answers; that's why we have to use the God-given things attached to the sides of our heads and have faith in them, or forever remain uncertain and disillusioned.

Marco.

In this, I agree with you.

To ad up, there are a lot of parameters we talt about as quality in the reproduction of music but don't have words for, neither units for.

How to meassure e.g. Stereo Perspective, naturalness, texturality, readiness and so forth?

And no units like V for Voltage or Ohm for resistance exists for more than the basic parameters.

(Excuse me if my english is bad - I'm not brought up with the language)

"dolph"

Hozepipe
29-10-2008, 13:42
EDIT (I had managed to chop off the quote I was referring to, it's back now)


Quite simply, where audio is concerned, science currently can't provide all the answers ; that's why we have to use the God-given things attached to the sides of our heads and have faith in them, or forever remain uncertain and disillusioned.

Marco.

Got a crystal ball there have you Marco? :eyebrows:

I think it's more prudent to say "where audio is concerned, science currently can't provide all the answers...yet."

Oh bum. I retract! I retract! - didn't see 'currently'. Serves me right for rushing.

Apolos Marco, carry on :)



Talking about God:
God created man in his liking. But man is fallible and not perfect.
Man created measuring parameters and test instruments. Would you accept as fact any answers provided by an instrument created by an imperfect man?

Oh dear. The 'Magic Man' hypothesis rears its head, I knew it wouldn't be long. There's just so much wrong there. Its a tautology for starters: using your definitions to substantiate your conclusions can get you absolutely anywhere you like.

s

Labarum
29-10-2008, 14:10
O dear. Straying into theology now?

The St Anselm's Motto should be followed. The process should be one of

fides quaerens intellectum

faith seeking understanding

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proslogion

Hozepipe
29-10-2008, 14:45
O dear. Straying into theology now?

The St Anselm's Motto should be followed. The process should be one of

fides quaerens intellectum

faith seeking understanding

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Proslogion

Er, no. But it looks like you are.:ner:

Labarum
29-10-2008, 14:55
Er, no. But it looks like you are.:ner:


I do love your "Ya Boo Sucks" style of argument, Hozepipe. :doh:

Hozepipe
29-10-2008, 15:16
Well you've got to have a laugh haven't you ;)

Primalsea
29-10-2008, 19:38
I think what we're getting at here is that listening is a personal thing. Therefore it really shouldn't matter what everyone in the word thinks. If you think Joy Division is refreshingly uplifting then it is, to you. On the other hand its really not up to you to insist that what you like should be liked by all others.

You could consider that if enough people have the same thoughts of a piece of hifi then it must have that attribute. However you then get into another issue: Loads of people like Naim does that mean that it is any good?? Loads of other people don't.

Labarum
29-10-2008, 19:43
Loads of people like . . .<insert what you choose> . . . does that mean that it is any good?? Loads of other people don't.

But I am always wary of "the Emperors New Clothes" syndrone.

Primalsea
29-10-2008, 19:50
Exactly!! Rely on yourself as its you who has to listen to it. Look at all the fuss over the Leak St20. While a good amp I don't think it to be anything special. If you look now they don't go for anything like the same price they were when the fad was in force.

However another forum member got one and thinks its the best amp he's ever had. Thats good for him as I don't have to listen to it, he does so its a good thing he has what he likes and its not for me to say he's wrong.

Labarum
29-10-2008, 19:55
Thats good for him as I don't have to listen to it, he does so its a good thing he has what he likes and its not for me to say he's wrong.

No objective standards then? Only taste? My father didn't like HiFi - to harsh - he preferred Glen Miller on a 1940 Radiogram - no top at all, and a very limited dynamic range.

Marco
30-10-2008, 09:47
1940s radiogram? Apart from the sound, it would be just my thing. I bet it looked lovely! :)

Marco.

Marco
30-10-2008, 10:02
EDIT (I had managed to chop off the quote I was referring to, it's back now)


Got a crystal ball there have you Marco?

I think it's more prudent to say "where audio is concerned, science currently can't provide all the answers...yet."

Oh bum. I retract! I retract! - didn't see 'currently'. Serves me right for rushing.

Apolos Marco, carry on


LOL. To be honest, I'd love everything 'controversial' we hear with hi-fi (effects of stands, specialist mains cables, etc) to be provable by measurements and so put all the on-going bullshit arguments to bed. So let's hope science can catch up with what our ears already 'know'! :eyebrows:

I'm certain these effects are real because I trust my ears and many years of experience with hi-fi, but it would give the objectivist sceptics the tangible evidence and 'crutch' they need to accept the existence of said effects, and thus save us subjectivists the headache of having to listen to (or read) their endless cynical diatribe on Internet forums ;)

We can then all get along like best buddies and concentrate instead on enjoying music, maybe...

Marco.

Steve Toy
30-10-2008, 10:21
Nah! Some folks just go through their internet usage lives being keyboard wankers. They will seek to troll and wind others up for their own amusement. I know of at least one forum that has effectively been killed off by pseudo-objectivist trolling.

Present company excepted of course.

Filterlab
30-10-2008, 10:27
Nah! Some folks just in through their internet usage lives being keyboard wankers.

What on earth does that mean?! It's not even a sentence!

Labarum
30-10-2008, 10:37
What on earth does that mean?! It's not even a sentence!

No, he needs two hands to type, and an undistracted brain.
One hand was otherwise busy, and the mind was elsewhere. :)

Marco
30-10-2008, 10:47
Steve doesn't usually 'wake up' until at least 4pm ;)

Marco.

Steve Toy
30-10-2008, 12:05
No, he needs two hands to type, and an undistracted brain.
One hand was otherwise busy, and the mind was elsewhere.


Way off line and slightly offensive. Think along the lines of posting from a phone and predictive texting issues...

I've since edited the post from my PC and elaborated a bit more.

Mike
30-10-2008, 12:10
the tangible evidence and 'crotch' they need

I do hope you mean 'crutch' !!! :lolsign:

Labarum
30-10-2008, 12:22
Way off line

Apologies.

Marco
30-10-2008, 12:23
Hahahaha... Yes indeed, Mike - a wee slip of the finger there! Maybe it makes more sense like that, though? :lol:

Marco.

Primalsea
30-10-2008, 12:39
No objective standards then? Only taste? My father didn't like HiFi - to harsh - he preferred Glen Miller on a 1940 Radiogram - no top at all, and a very limited dynamic range.

I used to think that objective standards was the only way to go. After a while I realised that they don't always reflect what I do and don't like.

Personally, its up to me and me alone to decide what I like and don't like. All of the nice tests results don't mean much to me if I don't like the product.

The only things that are of interest in tests and reviews is that there are no serious flaws, poor manufacturing standards, designs that compromise safety and are dangerous etc etc. How it sounds is the personal bit, although it is interesting to read what others think and how it relates to your experience.

Filterlab
30-10-2008, 12:56
Way off line and slightly offensive. Think along the lines of posting from a phone and predictive texting issues...

I've since edited the post from my PC and elaborated a bit more.

You need to get a better phone mate. :)

I now understand what you were saying, cheers for the edit.

Marco
30-10-2008, 19:32
Steve, do you not get to check what you've written before you hit the 'Submit Reply' button, even from a phone?

Marco.

Filterlab
31-10-2008, 09:27
Steve, do you not get to check what you've written before you hit the 'Submit Reply' button, even from a phone?

Marco.

:)

tfarney
31-10-2008, 16:19
Goodness. I know we're not known for topic discipline around here, but I go away for a few days on a business trip and a discussion of blind faith vs. blind listening turns to religion, then...well, never mind. In the meantime, while on my little jaunt to the center of the US, I walked into a little hifi shop in Skokie, Illinois, of all places, and listened to a pair of these:

http://www.vienna-acoustics.com/products/the_music/details/Die-Musik_039.jpg

OMG (speaking of religion) as the children of the web say. I'll have to listen to earbuds for a month to drive them out of my mind and get back to the point where mere hifi sounds acceptable. I was Godsmacked, to continue the religious theme. They are the new flagship of the Vienna Acoustics line and the experience they create in a room is simply stunning. At $27,500 US for the pair, I suppose it should be. There are, of course, more expensive speakers. Can they really be better? I doubt it today. But then, the day before yesterday I would have doubted what these did. The heart of the system is, I suspect, the odd driver on top that looks somewhat like an opened star fruit. It is a single driver, in it's own cabinet (you can and should toe it in while leaving the rest of the array forward-facing), that has a range of 100 to 20,000 hz. So essentially, this speaker, appropriately named The Music, has all the midrange coherence and purity of a single full-range driver, with 3 10" woofers, seamlessly integrated, extending the bass and a super tweeter delivering super-aural information that, I assume, is responsible for their impossibly precise imaging.

Damn. I'm ruined.

Tim

Filterlab
31-10-2008, 16:46
Get saving mate, they're gorgeous lookers and I can almost imagine just how good they sound. :) I have to admit that they remind me of Focal's range of speakers.

Ali Tait
01-11-2008, 17:36
You need to hear a decent pair of DIY full-rangers in say a TQWT enclosure.Total price would be about 300 dollars (depending on choice of driver) and I bet they'd have over 95% of the performance of those.Or perhaps an open-baffle like Nick's(Lurcher) with some nice Fostex full-rangers and Eminence 15 inch bass drivers.Total cost of drivers was 250 pounds,plus the cost of some birch ply to make the baffles.One of the best speakers commercial or otherwise that I've ever come across.

tfarney
03-11-2008, 11:55
You need to hear a decent pair of DIY full-rangers in say a TQWT enclosure.Total price would be about 300 dollars (depending on choice of driver) and I bet they'd have over 95% of the performance of those.Or perhaps an open-baffle like Nick's(Lurcher) with some nice Fostex full-rangers and Eminence 15 inch bass drivers.Total cost of drivers was 250 pounds,plus the cost of some birch ply to make the baffles.One of the best speakers commercial or otherwise that I've ever come across.

TQWT?

Tim

Filterlab
03-11-2008, 13:22
TQWT?

+1

?

Marco
03-11-2008, 13:39
It's this 'D.I.Y' lingo malarkey, Ali forgets he's not on the WD or audio talk forum ;)

Marco.

shane
03-11-2008, 18:27
Description here:

http://www.bonavolta.ch/hobby/en/audio/tqwt.htm

and a lovely variant here built by SteveTheShadow:

http://web.mac.com/scress1958/iWeb/Steves_Tube_Trials/Metronome-Speaker.html

Marco
04-11-2008, 17:00
Lovely looking system (in the last link) but how do you get decent bass out of those tiny little drivers? :scratch:

Marco.

Labarum
04-11-2008, 17:08
I have often hankered after some do it yourself open baffles - my woodworking skills might be up to that.

There must be some plans on-line. And where in UK would I buy suitable drivers? Don't they have to have stiffer suspensions, 'cos there's no confined air to stiffen them up?

Ali Tait
04-11-2008, 22:32
Hi Folks,

Just catching up here,sorry for the jargon,you're right I do forget some may not know what I'm burbling on about! As for Nick's open-baffles,the full-rangers are Fostex Fe 127 (I think?) and the bass drivers are Eminence Beta 15's which can be bought from Maplins.TQWT stands for tapered quarter-wave tube.Lots of good info here on DIY speakers- http://fullrangedriver.com/forum/

Dalek Supreme D L
16-11-2008, 00:30
Hi Guys

The thing I would like to see dealt with is the need for kit to be warmed up, have to be run in for weeks or left on all the time to sound its best. I know some of this is controversial. Heck I was nearly put to death on another forum for suggesting(and only what I have heard ) that some kit needs to be left on for long periods of time. In this case it was Wadia, Marantz, Moon and Amr, but other kit exists which has this issue.

I would like to know why this happens ? I have never come across a sensible explanation. Either you get, its not real and its in your head or it happens and we don't know why. In a world were the cost of power is rising and excessive use is bad for the environment (lets not get into green issues, global warming etc) but good stewardship of our limited resources is something we should all aim for. So making kit which has long warm up is not a good thing.

So I would like to see kit that does not need ridiculous warm up. Also kit that can be upgraded. It makes sense to do this as it keeps resale value high and pride of ownership and keeps customers with your company but its also another good thing for the environment. I am strugling to remember the name of the company(guys who took over Audiolab) they did this, I know they failed but it was not for this reason.

Anyway thats what I would like, consistent performance got with no long warm up.

Surely someone has done research into this ? I have heard this, heck some of the kit I own suffers from this. I wish it didn't. I suppose being out of work now means that you become more conscious of the cost of things like electricity. It also means you don't have some kit left on because of the cost of doing so. Heck I wish this was not real.

Regards D S D L

Mike
16-11-2008, 16:39
It's this 'D.I.Y' lingo malarkey, Ali forgets he's not on the WD or audio talk forum ;)

Marco.

Not so!.... There has been plenty of commercial TQWT loudspeakers produced. Castle for instance.

pure sound
16-11-2008, 22:58
Lovely looking system (in the last link) but how do you get decent bass out of those tiny little drivers? :scratch:

Marco.

He doesn't. It suggests he uses a sub beneath 80 Hz.

The Grand Wazoo
22-11-2008, 11:56
The challenge that visitors to Stereonow would like to see solved above all others is a method whereby automatically, as the volume is altered, the bass, mid and treble stays precisely in line. In fact the sort of thing that loudness controls tried to solve and rarely came close to doing.

In my experience, and in line with the experiences of so many others, loudness controls if ever they were ‘right’ were only right at one specific SPL (sound pressure level) and made the sound balance incomparably worse at SPLs either side of that pivotal point.

Howard,
It's interesting that I stumble across this comment just a week after I bought something on Ebay that purports to do just as you describe.

I've got a bit of a thing for old receivers and bought a Yamaha CR-1020 last week for £52. Someone must have been really proud of this thing when they bought it new in 1977 or so. It's actually a rather lovely bit of kit.

It has a 10 position loudness control with No. 10 being a flat setting for normal listening, where you just use the volume control. Then when you need the loudness function, you dial in the level you want. I've not had a chance to listen carefully for whether it alters the tonal balance yet, but after a brief listen, it seems to do what it says it should.

nat8808
26-11-2008, 18:13
I second that - I often listen at low levels and feel I'm missing some of the frequency range when there's no loudness control.

This could be incorporated into a room correction device (set-up could take a while! unless it was automatic, left playing through a frequency sweep CD whilst in-line and attenuating at different steps from full volume).

Tandberg also made big claims about their loudness controls on the 3002 and 3008 pre-amps. Meridian's 601 had a digital version too (didn't use it much because it kept making the digital level go into clipping which bugged me, even if it didn't make a sonic difference). I wonder how close they got.

The Tandberg one certainly sounded good.

The Grand Wazoo
29-04-2012, 23:10
From The Grave


The original post is ............a-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l-l the way back there, so here's the crux of the biscuit:


What do the forum feel is the most significant technological / engineering challenge facing audiophile designers currently?

I'm not thinking here of the makers reducing the production cost or similarly ‘mundane’ economic aspects like that. Rather, for example, achieving say bigger performance from smaller boxes, or perhaps generating ribbon clarity for cone drivers. Issues like that really.

MartinT
30-04-2012, 05:44
- Displays that can be clearly read from across the room

- Remote controls that are ergonomically designed

- Balanced XLR connections that have the same polarity worldwide

- Finishes that can be properly cleaned

- Warranties and MTBF that reflect the price paid

dave2010
30-04-2012, 06:38
Seconded. Offboard DACs are really big news at the moment as more folk discover that (almost) any digital source running through a quality DAC can sound amazing.For me DACs are good, but the inability to handle analogue sources is sometimes a problem given the amps I currently use. A multi input DAC with a few analogue inputs might be useful.

i don't suppose multi channel is of too much interest, but maybe some form of multi channel DAC could be useful, though debatable whether high quality would be an issue for mass markets.

There are still some who seem to like, for example, multi channel SACD sound, and ways of doing that without having to hook up lots of different kit with many different wires might be a good way forward. It'd probably need wireless distibution to the loudspeakers though to avoid cables, so the wireless DACs to select the channel and then driving the speakers directly could do the trick. There'd not be much point in doing this badly though, as the SQ possible from a SACD deck or similar digital "transport" ought to be high.

Probably add ad least £100 to the cost of each speaker, and maybe a lot more.

Ability to reassign speakers to channels quickly (electronically) would be useful. For example it might be easy to move just one speaker in a multi channel set up to play 3 channel recordings, with a quick reassignment of the centre channel. Depends of course how many speakers are available, but would avoid rather tedious rewiring and connecting to amps just to play a few recordings.

sq225917
30-04-2012, 08:08
The integration of all the potential audio sources into one unit.

jostber
30-04-2012, 08:54
For me DACs are good, but the inability to handle analogue sources is sometimes a problem given the amps I currently use. A multi input DAC with a few analogue inputs might be useful.



The Furutech Esprit might be getting closer to what you need:

http://www.adl-av.com/products/usbdac/esprit/

The Grand Wazoo
01-05-2012, 07:20
A multi input DAC with a few analogue inputs might be useful.

..........so a preamp then? With an integrated DAC?

I started a thread about this a while ago but it never really took off. I see this from the other end of the telescope - it seems to me that many preamps are being marketed as DAC's at the moment but they are limited in that they only cater for digital sources.

StanleyB
01-05-2012, 07:38
I own such an amp. It is called a Ditton DDP 5.1. It has 4 digital inputs several analogue inputs, and even a phono input. Bought it many years ago. I think Richer Sound sold it. Price was about £1500.

dave2010
03-05-2012, 10:37
I own such an amp. It is called a Ditton DDP 5.1. It has 4 digital inputs several analogue inputs, and even a phono input. Bought it many years ago. I think Richer Sound sold it. Price was about £1500.
What kind of digital inputs did it have? Unless you use HDMI or some other input, or compressed digital data most units with SPDIF or TOSLINK inputs - maybe even AES, will only do 2 channel/digital input connection.

It should be possible to use digital connections to feed at least 10 channels down one "wire".

Equipment compatibility, amongst other things, is an issue here. Maybe wireless really is the way to go.

StanleyB
03-05-2012, 10:49
I lost the instructions years ago, but I could connect my DVD player TOSLINK output to it and play back 5.1 audio tracks via the Ditton. It is a 5.1 amp as well after all.
http://img04.taobaocdn.com/bao/uploaded/i4/T1tAdXXcFnXXb1upjX.jpg_310x310.jpg

dave2010
03-05-2012, 17:22
I lost the instructions years ago, but I could connect my DVD player TOSLINK output to it and play back 5.1 audio tracks via the Ditton. It is a 5.1 amp as well after all.
http://img04.taobaocdn.com/bao/uploaded/i4/T1tAdXXcFnXXb1upjX.jpg_310x310.jpgI suspect that was in a compressed digital mode, appropriate for surround sound DVDs e.g films, rather than music.

Reid Malenfant
03-05-2012, 17:30
I suspect that was in a compressed digital mode, appropriate for surround sound DVDs e.g films, rather than music.
Yes, dolby digital & if you are lucky DTS ;)

That's the problem with all these things, as soon as a new format comes out like the modern uncompressed 24 bit audio on blu rays etc, the decoder is as useless as a chocolate teapot :rolleyes: So not only do you need to replace the player, but the decoder/amp as well :doh:

This is why I refuse to buy one & make sure that any player I get does it internally, it then gets squirted out to a multichannel pre amp...

Paul Hynes
03-05-2012, 20:27
Organising the power supplies properly, because without this no equipment will give its best performance.