View Full Version : The basics of Ethos

22-01-2008, 12:08
I'll make mine short and sweet, the three categories of Ethos are as follows:

Arete; Virtuosity and goodness.

Eunoia; Goodwill to those you address.

Phronesis; Using wisdom and knowledge in a practical way.

I'll be using the above as guidelines for how I use this forum, I hope you'll agree. :)

Things we really like here:

Friendly people.

Differences of opinion discussed sensibly.

Pictures and lots of them!

Humorous banter.

Liberal use of the smilies. :) :D etc etc

Things we don't like here:

Defamatory comments about any manufacturers or dealers.

Defamatory comments about any other member of this forum or any other hi-fi forum.

'Willy waving' (i.e. boasting about one's system in a monetary value sense).

Swearing excessively. The occasional bit may slip thorough, but nobody wants to hear 'f this' and 'f that' all day long.

And no porn or links to porn please.

That's about it really. :)

Steve Toy
22-01-2008, 16:24
This is also intended to be a worksafe forum throughout. This means that swear words should be used with consideration and sparingly. We won't be censoring any words as yet though, particularly as ****, ****** and certainly +++++ appearing in posts looks rather silly in my view.

The usual requirement of not deliberately causing offence to others apply here, although we certainly don't want to be encouraging witch hunts in the name of excessive political correctness.

We aim for this forum to be relaxed, easy-going backdrop for stimulating and informative discussions to take place. The forum will thus be managed with this objective in mind.

23-01-2008, 19:59
I endorse Rob and Steve’s sentiments wholeheartedly and would add that what we’re trying to create is a platform on which enthusiasts, dealers and manufacturers can talk to each other and, crucially, obtain mutual benefit. The dialogue exchanged must therefore be respectful and constructive.

The atmosphere on the forum has to be right in order to achieve that, and through speaking to some prominent members of the industry recently it has become blatantly obvious that this is precisely what isn’t happening on other forums. Consequently, apart from dealers advertising their products on some of the bigger sites, the industry pretty much shuns the Internet forum world. We believe this is contributing to the current malaise in high-end hi-fi, and a situation we aim to address on The Art of Sound.

Other than that, we would like to provide our members with a place where they feel that they can be themselves and express their views on hi-fi, music, and any other permitted subject, without peer pressure, one-upmanship, and a feeling of having to conform to some accepted ‘norm’. There are no cliques, hidden agendas, nor any preferential treatment given; and not only will our members themselves be treated with respect but also their opinions and observations, particularly those of people who may not have the same level of experience with hi-fi as others. With that in mind, the forum will be strictly but fairly moderated.

We therefore wish all our members a fun and productive time on The Art of Sound!


Steve Toy
20-05-2008, 00:49
We don't exactly need our posters to write each and every post in order that it be fit to be submitted as part of a Masters degree course (Gav is our resident expert on such matters). However, one or two posters (and we all know who they are) present certain views of theirs as absolute facts. This is misleading and unacceptable in our view.

What we would like from posters here, in the spirit of exchanging viewpoints based on either personal experience or what they may have read, heard, measured, or read measurements to support such viewpoints, is that they acknowledge the sources or the bases of their opinions. Personal experiences should be further substantiated by the context of your particular findings.

For example, if cables make no or little difference, this stance may be qualified by a particular experience setting up/experimenting with a particular system where other changes made a more significant change. Where a cable may have had a deleterious effect then the context should also be qualified for it is likely that in another system context the results obtained may have been entirely different.

A case in point: I've heard MIT cabling be a no-brainer in one application and fall flat on its face in my own system...

If your opinion is based solely on what you've been told or have read somewhere then we need to know this, and if possible, tell us the actual source of your information.

CD players/turntables/valves may be a thing of the past for you. This cannot be stated as fact here. You can, however, be honest in admitting that conveniece and access to modern media is more important to you than out-and-out fidelity in reproduction. You can also outline your own experiences of direct comparisons in terms of resolution and listening enjoyability beteween different playback media, no problem. Just be specific where possible.

The above guidelines, if followed, should cut out a lot of bad feeling and silly arguments and this place may be spared of endless circular objectivist/subjectivist nonsense threads as seen elsewhere.

We also have a thread where you can qualify your music listening priorities before you begin to express any (strong/controversial) vewpoints elsewhere:


By posting here, everyone else can get some kind of angle of what exactly you are trying to achieve from your system and the recorded music you play through it.

06-01-2009, 08:57
I'm adding this to our Ethos as I feel that it sums up how we on AOS view the judgement of hi-fi equipment and its associated ancillaries, in reference to the oft raised measurements v. 'using one's ears' debate...

We would gladly use science automatically as the benchmark to judge all things hi-fi, if we felt that it provided all the answers necessary. It would certainly be much easier having an 'undisputable reference' as one's basis for judgement. But it's the grey areas that bother us.

Quite clearly, science can't currently provide all the answers in audio, certainly as far as measuring how equipment and its associated ancillaries treats music signals, and ascertaining how humans process recorded musical information, via our ears and brain. Therefore grey areas exist because we are not robots, and so when listening to music, our brains aren't programmed to respond in a specific way to known audio measurement parameters... The fact is, we do not listen to music in the same way as scientific apparatus measures sound waves.

If such apparatus could measure how we as humans listen to and appreciate music, then measurements would be truly meaningful and embraced wholeheartedly by music enthusiasts and audiophiles alike. That is why audio/music enthusiasts, like those on AOS, will always trust their ears more than any scientific tests or measurements, because what can currently be measured scientifically just doesn't tell the whole story.

Until the day comes when tests and measurements unequivocally provide all the answers, we will happily continue using our discerning ears which for us are infinitely more accurate and reliable in ascertaining what really matters in hi-fi (and subsequently in our enjoyment of music), especially in those all-important grey areas... It's often the small details or 'grey areas' that make the most significant difference, and thus are ultimately of most significance!


Steve Toy
07-01-2009, 15:09
I think many so-called "objectivists" oversimplify the processes involved in reproducing recorded music electrically (although many audio designers are perhaps guilty of over-complicating their designs at times). They ignore the fact that music signals themselves can be quite complex, certainly in conjunction with human perception of them. Psychoacoustics is an area those with inquisitive (i.e. open) scientific minds should like to explore.

I note also that most objectivists believe that speakers make the most difference. This is probably true if you just listen to the noise in the room which I think most of them probably do. When you begin to listen to the recorded music actively and intently it is at this point that you realise, certainly over time, that subtle sonic differences are actually rather significant in terms of how we actually interpret the musical message.

One of the keys to the success and failure of a system to convey this message is in addressing issues of timing and phase - very difficult to measure.

The purpose of the Art of Sound is to explore ways of ensuring the musical message embedded in recordings reaches your brain via your audio system.

18-11-2010, 02:30
The purpose of the Art of Sound is to explore ways of ensuring the musical message embedded in recordings reaches your brain via your audio system.

Yes, that's it in a nutshell :)


22-01-2012, 15:29
Several of my friends over the years have shown the ability to discern perfect pitch just by listening to a note. They could tell if the note was off pitch by small amounts. In the past our survival in the wild was based on a keen sense of sight and hearing. Being able to judge distance and direction accurately could mean the difference between life, or death, at the hands of a predator. The human brain is a very complex organ that is capable of processing sensory input in a way that focuses on important data and ignores unimportant data. Many have reported hearing signal events buried in the noise floor.

There are plenty of examples of audio equipment with exemplary measurements that do not convey music in a comprehensible way. On balance I will take what I hear over measurements every time.

Nail > Head > Hammer... :youtheman: :youtheman:

And so what does that tale tell? Always ultimately have faith in your senses!!


P.S Also think carefully why the word "ultimately" has been emboldened.....

26-11-2015, 10:24
When I was doing research into "Infra bass and perceptions of reality in sound staging", which followed on from something Graham Holiman started. We found that a lot of what we did was indeed measurable, but a lot of what the large group of test subjects perceived was not, both they and us the crew could hear the effect, without going into the full details of something thing that is a large corporations Intellectual property, I will say it took almost three years to work out what was actually going on.

So when someone says they can hear what I can't measure, or I can hear it myself, my approach is to accept that people very probably, can detect the effect, then look for a new way in which this can be measured. That for me is proper exploring science. The closed minded "if I can't measure it, it isn't there" approach is not the attitude that made scientific advances, it's what has held science back.

Hear, hear! :clap: :clap:

On AoS, we most certainly aren't 'against' the use of science or measurements validating our subjective experiences in audio, provided that both are applied in the correct way (as outlined above), and not merely used as a tool to bolster the prejudices of the blinkered and close-minded, posing as members or sympathisers of the scientific fraternity.


24-04-2017, 21:37
On AoS we don't have anything against objective information, as long as those providing it:

1) Don't cherry pick the details of a post that miss the intent of the discussion and thus serve to subjectively crap on the discussion. Participate in the discussion being had, not the discussion you want to derail it into. That is an issue regardless of objective/subjective questions.

2) Don't assume their facts are the only facts relevant and use them as a club against others. Contrary experiences from others may provide additional relevant data. The tone of the presenter should not imply his/her data and his/her grasp of them is the only thing that is important.

3) Don't mix in opinions along with facts, and then claim they are only presenting irrefutable facts.

4) Don't arbitrarily drop into a conversation in a way that effectively disrupts it to "set others straight", but refuse to engage in the terms of the conversation being had, and subsequently refuse to argue on any terms other than theirs.

5) Don't demean others by entering their conversation and then saying you have zero interest in their experience.

6) We need to value people, not just data.


[Above is courtesy of Brucew268].