Audio Science Review Review

Discussion in 'Audio Science' started by purr1n, Aug 30, 2020.

  1. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    Only if those measurements can be quickly performed on analytical equipment they already have or are given, if each can be boiled down (appropriately or not) into a single number, and - importantly - if manufacturers start using and promoting their products on the basis of those numbers.

    ASR is not interested in truth, whether expressed numerically or not; they're interested in simplistic answers. At the moment I can't see how a single number could reliably characterize and differentiate between components' renderings of eg soundstage (or many other "mumbo-jumbo," in Amir's words, technicalities) so I don't hold out much hope of progress there.

    After all, people have been talking about how a single THD number doesn't adequately represent the audible character of distortion for almost as long as THD has been around as a measurement, which is almost 100 years - yet what's ASR's most important number?
     
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  2. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    Wait... you're saying they don't even consider those things for transducers?

    If true, that really doesn't make any sense. Of all of the things that have some grounds for debate in the audio world, that's not one of them! The amounts of distortion with different speakers/headphones are about the least trivial things you can measure lol. Like, the *most* indisputably guaranteed thing to correlate with differences in sound.
     
  3. dematted

    dematted Almost "Made"

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    Thought I'd throw in my two cents here. I think that, of course, measurements are helpful tools (as do most of the people at SBAF). The issue comes when we try to take measurements to say something substantive about subjective human experience - and though they very well might say something important about what those experiences are or what experiences one is likely to have, there are few hard and fast rules for converting measurements to expected subjective experiences.

    This should be obvious enough for anyone who has investigated, say, efforts in cognitive psychology and neuroscience to tell us something significant about the nature of conscious experience based purely on quantitative factors. It's not that they can't - they very well might explain -all- of conscious experience - but how they do so is a matter to be treated with great care and delicacy, especially because there have been more than a few thinkers who have famously argued that there can't be any strict laws bridging the psychological and the physical (Donald Davidson comes to mind).

    From what I've seen with ASR, they are all too quick to make various conclusions about what types of auditory experience we might have based purely on measurements. Embedded in their hasty conclusions are assumptions about how scientific measurements of auditory phenomena will automatically convert into neat, precise subjective experiences corresponding to those measurements. The problem is that most of the contemporary sciences of mind have found that the relationship between quantitative information about, say, neural processing and actual conscious experience is complex and vexed, and many of our assumptions about how they might or might not correspond are not quite as accurate as we often suppose.

    There's also, I think, something of a psychological explanation for some of the more pathological elements of ASR. Many of those who want most to explain something as complex as auditory experience in terms of a couple of relatively simple measurements have, I think, a sort of lack of trust in their own senses and aesthetic judgement. They don't want to do the arduous work of carefully delineating between all the vagaries of auditory experience because doing so is something that relies on our own fleeting, uncertain judgement. It is much easier to pretend that there is some clear, concise, objective truth which one can readily access, thereby relieving one of the hard work of judgement and allowing one to flee the realms of the subjective and uncertain to stand on the firm (albeit illusory) foundation of the quantitative and scientific. Of course, this comes at the cost of a pervasive lack of epistemic trust in one's own sensory capacities, which I can't imagine is particularly healthy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  4. Mont789

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    Nope it nothing beyond the "It's 99.9% FR" and them fighting at anyone that hates Harman tuning. God luck even arguing detail without 4 replies of it being "just moar treble".
     
  5. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    Personally, I favor a balance. All you have to do is undergo partial anesthesia, do acid, have a few too many drinks, watch an illusionist work, etc., to see how fallible the senses are.

    But there is something to be said about trying to remove the subject from the subjective. If anything, that's the most relevant part. You're the instrument, so they say. The whole thing is about YOU and what you are experiencing. I think you have to be willing to question what you experience, while also acknowledging that what you experience IS in fact what you're trying to get to the bottom of. I think in all of this hyperfocus on what the gear does, people almost forget that at the end of the day experiencing music is not as neat and clear-cut as we all might like to think it is. If you can experience a difference that can't be accounted for, that's pretty much all that it is. It's just as presumptuous to assume there isn't anything there as it is to assume that it is everything there is.

    The question is simply regarding the nature of it. I find the denial of inquiry stale and disheartening. Really sells the whole deal short for the sake of 'solving' things. We're brushing up against trying to measure conscious experiences, when we still can't reach a conclusion on what consciousness even is. I like neat and tidy rigor myself. But it tends not to produce those big revelations. It's baby steps. So long as you know you're combing over, it's always beneficial. But it's nothing without that big picture sense. Science isn't only about knowing. It's about inquiry, too. Finding one thing is no excuse to not question another. It's easy to lose direction getting lost in study... that risk of hyper-specialization is very real, and affects hard science as much as the softer ones we encounter in the audio realm.

    And god, when you have to actually mix the two, watch out. Can o worms. Neuroscience comes to mind here. It's always kind of been a side interest for me, and I've seen how it at first seemed to be at odds with the softer sciences of the mind, but has over time started to jive more - as more gets found out and both sides continue to grow in their capacity to examine more details, we see proof of things we would previously only look at through external evaluations and comparisons. What were once simply strongly correlated observations have advanced beyond that. Less of that "We don't know the why of it, but it seems to work like that more often than not."

    So they can merge. It just takes a lot of time and patience to cull the fat. A mix of rigor and openness when it comes to how the brain works, and how that correlates to the more nebulous concepts of "the mind."

    Still plenty of room for inquiry on both the concrete and subjective sides. Deny that, and you relinquish many learning opportunities. Sometimes it's a good idea to shut-up and listen. Then maybe come back and assess.

    It really bugs me... the way we do things in the audio world is... I don't think it is entirely right. While I appreciate the effort put in by people in different communities to get to the bottom of more things, there's also a distinct tendency to put on airs about it as these 'movements' grow. They rise and fall all of the time. In 10 years I've already seen a handful of big ones. I'm sure some of the older guys on here can testify more to that whole ebb and flow.

    It just keeps on going. And a big part of that, I think, is a lack of genuine inquiry on the part of the greater scientific community. I'd much prefer to see more of that and less of forum gurus with expensive measurement gear and dedicated followings. You wouldn't have guys like Amir preaching 'science' from his basement if progress was being made by qualified entities. No offense to anyone here, I really appreciate the efforts put in and it's a big part of why I am here. But even with work by @atomicbob I tend not to draw too many hard conclusions. I see it for what it is. Another small, mind you, vital step.

    I'd just rather not be stuck going to one forum or another for the leading edge. Too many other factors mucking up progress... add the community element and people just argue to the point where it is hard to say if it's even about getting answers anymore. And there is no denying how that dynamic influences what gets examined/discussed, and how. It's really something pretty far removed from the main cornerstones of science, I don't care where you go. Everybody favors one or two principles over the others, depending on their presumptions. Looking for whatever suits them.
     
    Last edited: Nov 22, 2020
  6. dematted

    dematted Almost "Made"

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    That's a very good set of points. I do think that it's important to note that we can be wrong about what we're experiencing - decades of research in cognitive psychology as well as more theoretical work in the philosophy of mind have led some to think that we don't necessarily have any privileged epistemic access to the content of our own experiences. The thing with audio, though, is that even if you're wrong about your own experiences, does that truly matter? That is, as long as one derives enjoyment from some auditory experience, does it matter if one persistently fails to properly describe it? I would argue that, for most people at least, it doesn't.

    The problem arises, however, when an individual mistaken about the nature of their own experiences begins to tout them as those that any "tasteful" audiophile will have when listening to some product (most of us have been guilty of this in the audio world). In this case, measurements can potentially serve as a valuable corrective, or at least as countervailing evidence which can disabuse us of a too naive trust in our capacity for self-knowledge.
     
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  7. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    No arguments there. This is why I say I favor a balance. At the end of the day, if it counts for something to your experience, I'd say it counts. There may even be something there that just hasn't been bridged to something tangibly observable. But the inverse that everyone needs to say, buy expensive cables to reach nirvana isn't exactly grounded. Don't get me wrong, if people want to go that route, I think it's fine. I'm not out to take that away from people. But the larger point is that at the core of the fallacies is this deeper sense of absolute irrifutability. And that blade really cuts both ways when you look at the extremes (if we can even call ASR extreme objectivism... it's a bit divorced from traditional objectivist approaches.)

    I guess the ultimate takeaway is "don't get too many big ideas." In audio, it seems like there is always this push to pick a hill to stand on. And it never goes anywhere. You wind up with an echo chamber every time. And at the very least, this takes you further away from enjoyment of the hobby... which I think people tend to forget this is. It's a luxury - eg, not needed. Something you do for fun, to potentially expand your enjoyment of music, perhaps with a side of fascination with electronics. Sometimes it is prudent to let it be whatever it is to ya.

    My own example would be tube amps. Love em. Swear by em. I can't say why, or even if anyone else in particular would feel the same. But to me that's kind of part of the deal. I don't necessarily feel like I need someone to tell me or anyone else why that preference is valid, as much as I'm always interested in learning more about my own preferences and the mechanisms behind them.

    Still, I'd love to see the day when we could start putting more of these questions to bed. I think it IS possible to find real explanations for everything... stuff that would actually advance the hardware along and ultimately improve everyone's experiences, as well as their ability to find sensible paths to them. But for me the sheer existence of places like ASR only shows how far away the whole scene is from that. I mean... worst case scenario, we all get along a lot better, at least. Getting into personal audio is especially intimidating, because of all of the hostility and conflicting information out there. Makes me think maybe it's not all about knowing everything. But I would say that. :p
     
  8. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    Wait until he measures the THD of a Neve 1073 or an 1176. Then he can't explain why the current legit 1176 and API measures cleaner than the old ones yet sounds more offensively distorted than the old ones.
     
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  9. Mont789

    Mont789 Acquaintance

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    He already had to hold back when Fiio E10K could power a HD650 and sound clean despite the much higher THD.
     
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  10. Mont789

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    Sorry for double posting but I just can't hold back, This guy is using the bass = more detail argument. But he shows a ER4SR EQ that asks for 12.7db boost under 79Hz?, The 7.4k area is boosted by +8db that pretty much a V shape. What in what world is that even a neutral sound at that point the bass is muddy with ice pick treble even people at Reddit complained that the ER4 profiles are a joke.




    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...headphone-resolution.17684/page-2#post-574645
     
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  11. Tekker

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    Yeah, at this point I’m only trolling at their site.

    You can’t take them seriously. It’s like they don’t even listen to music, with their believe that the Harman curve is as close to neutral as it’s gonna get.

    A few members were even surprised that their AKG K612 sounded harsh, after they bought it because of the Harman curve. Absolute noobs.
     
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  12. Psalmanazar

    Psalmanazar Most improved member; A+

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    bad bass masks detail. shitty ported bass and resonant cabs kill detail entirely. it's why there is no active monitor beneath teh HS8 with anything close to reasonable low mids and a transition to the mid mids.
     
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  13. Mont789

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    https://www.audiosciencereview.com/.../etymotic-versus-audiophila.7958/#post-193301

    Here is a poster outright telling me that a ER4SR with that HT profile is "Objectively neutral & accurate". Then when i reply with are you joking, He wen't how bass enjoyment is suddenly subjective and users who never tried it bitch about the ER4XR bass THD which is <0.35%. They even admit they listen to genres that wasn't made to have +12db bass with +7db lower treble?.



    Just like why most closed back Headphones sound bad when tuned or EQ'd to sound bassy.
     
    Last edited: Nov 28, 2020
  14. Degru

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    Man, I tried the harman EQ profile once on an ER4S and it transformed from something detailed and neutral to something barely distinguishable from the worst dollar store/bargain bin garbage. You would have to be absolutely delusional to listen to that and think it's any kind of neutral or good by any stretch.

    Who knew that trying to push 1BA to do that kind of FR would end badly? lol

    But these guys will keep pointing to the THD figures as "proof" that it can handle it.
     
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  15. Metro

    Metro Friend

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    Screen Shot 2020-11-27 at 12.25.34 PM.png
    Happy, fun members who love being teased and don't take themselves seriously at all. :p
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
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  16. Mont789

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    Are you saying that Etymotic & 3rd party data are lying about that their ER4 can be <0.5% on many units?. The ER4SR using a different driver that seems stronger than the one they used on the ER4XR. Not to mention 1990 explained to you three times how the ER4S set up works, Why the ER4XR can only push +3db from venting. No idea why you're saying it the BA when it the V shaped tuning masking other areas, It happens on other headphones with EQ like that. Many don't even like the ER2XR's 11db to which they cut by few db that using dynamic drivers.

    Because this is just as cringy as how a EQ'd $12 IEM with <0.1% will sound better than $300 one with tight QC/tuning done to it. FYI the ER2 is 0.5% at 94db in this pic here.

    https://cdn.head-fi.org/a/10332446.png
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  17. robot zombie

    robot zombie Friend

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    I'm betting that's somewhat true for their 'core' userbase. Just not their leader... and it apparently doesn't extend beyond that core base. For all of the shit that gets talked about SBAF, this place is way more chill. It's funny too, because our banner has a similar connotation, but it means something completely different. Theirs almost sounds like a mandate on fun. While ours is more like a warning that other people will be having fun :p At least it actually says something about the character of the place. Much better than a generic "just have fun" catch-all clause.

    But then, it's not meant to be taken seriously and that's super obvious, while theirs looks sincere. So it comes off a bit hypocritical when you actually go there and brush up against a high-tension line. "H-HEY... ...you're not supposed to do it for REAL! Not to ME."

    Just too serious about not seeming too serious, kind of a weird juxtaposition with the whole science thing. It hearkens me over to those super-clean office environments with foosball tables, beanbag chairs, and espresso bars - the sorts of places where everybody always smiles and pretends to care about one another even as they pressure each other into participating in demeaning office games. You're still getting laid off and rehired a month later with a 30% pay reduction and slashed benefits, though. But only if you tell all of your contemporaries about how happy you are with your promotion to "customer" in the interim. What an opportunity! You should be proud. Yes, even though you took the slime cannon like a champ while Bill won the pajama pass again. Votes are votes. Bill was voted most fun. Only fun people get to have things like steady wages and pajamas in the office, here! I mean, who doesn't LOVE fun?!

    "We're the best at what we do here, but above all, we strive to be a fun, happy family!" Just a whole field of 'ugh.'

    It just... it *feels* a little miserable and hackneyed, you know? I'm waiting for the cliche novelty party items to come out and be foisted onto me. Gotta just chiiillll with that! Let people enjoy it in their own way!


    I don't know why it bugs me so much. I am the least fun person l know (maybe that's why,) but even I know that if you have to call yourself fun, or ask people around you to have fun, it's questionable. It's answering a question nobody would think to ask - just awkward. It's like a hotel advertising "clean rooms" for rent. I think "Hey, wait! They'd BETTER be clean!" You'd best believe I'm checking everything before I even unpack.

    "Why is your hand behind your back as you muster an easy smile and tell me how much of a sure fact it is that you would never stab me 17 times across my abdominal cavity?"

    Forums are *supposed* to be fun by default. "Chief Fun Officer" sounds like a title that a Wal-Mart manager I used to passively tolerate murderous notions towards would give himself. He was the type of guy who would pace around making shitty jokes and clapping like a sports coach while the other six of us would scramble exasperatingly to get two semi-trailers of goods unpacked in what would hopefully only be three hours of continuous labor. They used to try and get people to have 'cheer meets'. *shudder*

    I'm sure it's just a total ball, but I'll pass on the fun-tatorship. God, it really has all of the markings of that stereotypical lab environment where everybody is generally normal but the social awkwardness of the head researcher just oozes into everything.

    I'm glad we haven't mandated fun here.
     
    Last edited: Nov 29, 2020
  18. Mont789

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    ASR current mod was a user that when i was there couldn't handle or debate when there THD+N comments were questioned. I doubt that they know when to chill, Since they had thread lashing out at a poster that gave list of reasons why objectivism is just as flawed as subjectivism.
     
  19. Lyander

    Lyander Too sensitive for SBAF

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    Save for the super-clean with loads of nice amenities part, this sounds vaguely familiar and it's rather sad for that reason because it shows that such things have grown widespread over the years.

    What I think happened that's a bit unfortunate is that people in positions of authority took the "happy workers are productive workers" maxim to heart and ended up misconstruing it in the context of hyperproductive, profit-maximising, capitalist turnover cycles. Besides missing the point entirely in that not everyone is inspired or comforted by the selfsame things nor necessarily has similar interests to peers, it's just plain obscene that people think humans are so simple as to immediately respond favourably when presented with pleasing stimuli, as if there weren't a Divine Host's worth of other factors that colour perception of and response to the same.

    There is some evidence suggesting that humans are ultimately slaves to simplicity and that this is a large part of why, despite being mind-numbingly complex systems that legions of greatly talented minds are still trying to map out and fully comprehend, shit gets complicated real fast because of how, by virtue of the many shorthands our cognitive selves develop through habit and happenstance, we easily fall into irrational beliefs and the struggle to dig ourselves out of those same pitfalls is well-nigh Sisyphean without concerted effort, support, but most importantly recognition that there may well be a matter worth addressing.

    Case in point: ASR dogma about Amir-bits and people who think the moon landing was fake or that it's perfectly fine to gun down suspected criminals in the streets without due diligence— you can be a remarkably learned individual and still fall prey to fake news, and I feel comfortable saying this because even though I'm kinda just *shrug, meh* in terms of intellect I test well enough within local standards and yet still sometimes fall for blatant misinformation just because they affirm my own biases.

    There's that saying apocryphally attributed to Albert Einstein that goes "if you can't explain it simply you don't understand it well enough", and despite its popular misattribution I find that I rather like it because it encapsulates that great distinction between true creatives and people who merely regurgitate: most anyone can, with sufficient opportunity and time, learn complex theories by rote and be able to rattle off any number of frighteningly convoluted theorems without batting an eyelid yet cannot decant those same thoughts into their own kenning, implying a reliance on what was gained from the work of others. This is why I have a genuine admiration for those who can truly create, be it in the form of novel philosophical concepts, music, art, or heck, even marketing savvy— genuine creation as distinct from reliance on dogma is so fucking difficult, especially nowadays when it seems people know a little bit of everything essential, and requires the enviable ability to untether oneself from the pedestrian and comprehend things that most simply cannot even begin to parse.

    ~Something, something, quote about genius and insanity etc.~ Went off on a tangent, whoops.

    I'm gonna be ranting about another forum I won't name (I only really hang around two online audio fora so...) but I offhandedly mentioned something in an O/T thread about how forcing people to play nice and get along is disingenuous because it's a lot like sticking a pretty veneer onto rotten wood— it fails to address the same underlying factors that likely inspired problematic behaviours that incited conflict in the first place and adds the stress of having to keep up a convincing façade for the benefit of overseers. It raised some heckles and the entire thread got nuked sans the OP, but I did get to read bits about how one of the downsides of modern internet culture is how much more profane everything is, and how even the worst of schoolyard bullies from days long gone would beg people to "pardon [their] French" when uttering expletives.

    That honestly reads to me as longing for a deeply privileged youth and seeing the world then through heavy sepia filters, but I could be mistaken. It just seems to me laughably unrealistic as to think that there were any such time when "the worst" of people might have a care for unseemly speech or spare a thought for offending delicate sensibilities.

    I still do appreciate the place and sense of community they inspire, but inasmuch as I find observations that SBAF can be a brusque place accurate, it's not as if I made a deliberate decision to hang out here. It's more that I value being able to express dissent while fostering some degree of respect. I shit on many forum members' politics but admire them otherwise, and this is almost guarantedly my biases manifesting again but I just think this sort of discourse ultimately works better than "smile, shake hands, and play nice" authoritarian mandates.

    Right I've been procrastinating writing an article I have absolutely no interest in. Back to more typing, but about things I find less intriguing.
     
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  20. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    I was in a pseudo-American burger place a few years back where having fun was compulsory. Waiters came to check. "Are we having fun?" is not what I want to hear when I'm eating. Whilst acknowledging that the guy has to earn a living, I grunted in disgust.

    That Sarah Cooper (I think is her name?) that does Trump lip-syncs... I was reading something of hers a couple of days back. Paraphrased: "People often ask me if it was fun working for Google. Yes it was! I know that because they kept telling me that it was and if it stopped being fun they'd fire me."
     
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