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Ex-subjectivists on ASR

Are you a former subjectivist? What are you now? (See post for explanations)

  • Yes

    Votes: 84 35.3%
  • No

    Votes: 80 33.6%
  • Subjectivist

    Votes: 5 2.1%
  • Soft / moderate objectivist

    Votes: 84 35.3%
  • Objectivist

    Votes: 116 48.7%

  • Total voters
    238

dogmamann

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Visually I am a Subjectivist.
Audibly and mentally I am Objectivist.

So I buy stuff that measure well and look good. Sometimes I buy stuff that look very good and measure bad because I want it= Vinyl stuff. But I do not claim it sounds better than anything , but it is fun to tweak it for best possible performance.
The power obejectivity gives us is endless. When I was younger I dreamed of owning hi end audio. Many things in my wish list were very expensive and still I cannot afford them. With obejective data, I can see all of them are bad and I dont feel bad about not able to afford them.
 

recycle

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Silver audio gear sound much better then the black one
Change my mind
 

MaxwellsEq

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Rmar

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A possible third category? The Audio- Pragmatist. The audio-pragmatist strongly believes in the value of science and data-driven decision making with respect to his/her audio equipment and choices. He/she puts faith in valid performance data as the most precise and accurate indicator of an audio component’s ability to reproduce the original source. He/she also understands and considers that performance test data is only as good as the methods used to conduct the testing. In the case of loudspeakers, audio-pragmatists abide by ANSI/CTA-2034-A R-2020, Standard Method of Measurement for In-Home Loudspeakers. For example, changing the OEM design or configuration of a speaker system renders the test results invalid and shall not be published. The audio-pragmatist makes the best possible audio selection recommendations and decisions by placing the greatest weight on valid performance tests and findings, followed by non-audio factors which are given significantly lessor weight. Non-audio factors that may influence an equipment decision are usually in the form of constraints including budget, equipment-matching, room environment, lifestyle, aesthetics, special needs, as well as desires and needs of other parties with a legitimate interest in the selection decision (husband/wife). The audio pragmatist can be frequently found reading scientific articles about sound reproduction. The Audio-Pragmatist - aka…. “…you can’t always get what you want…”
 

Ken Tajalli

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Since others have expressed personal attitudes towards the subject, here is mine:
- I personally, won't give the time of day to any device that has not passed an objective test measurement.
Once it has, before I buy, I will physically check it for myself and do listen to it at length.
My ears have the last word. This attitude varies according to device though. I may buy an amplifier purely on objective results.
I suppose that makes me not an objectivist as defined by OP.
 

jooc

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In another thread, @MattHooper mentioned that many in ASR are former subjectivists. I am one of them.

Unfortunately ASR does not allow posting of multiple polls within the same thread, so I had to merge two questions into one. Here is an explanation of the poll options:

The first two options are:

- Yes. You started off as a subjectivist and you are now an objectivist, or you are still transitioning (see second part)
- No. You started off as an objectivist.

- I am a subjectivist. Measurements have no correlation with audibility. You are still buying audiophile cables, fuses, and tweaks.
- I am a soft / moderate objectivist. You pay attention to measurements, you might even do them, but ultimately all your decisions are made on subjective grounds. You might own high end amps and DAC's that you bought because you think they sound nice.
- I am an objectivist. You believe that anything that can not be measured is not audible, and that claims of audibility are due to placebo. You are a purist who believes that fidelity to the recording is all that matters.

I have been in this hobby for 30 years, and have only started looking at the objective side of things in the past 10. I still have my speaker cables and interconnect to prove it. Transitioning has been both difficult and rewarding. Rewarding, because I get much better sound. Difficult, because of the learning curve. I don't mind learning curves, but what was even more difficult were my friends, who thought that I was crazy for (1) selling my turntable, (2) going all digital, and worse still, (3) manipulating the signal with DSP.

I think that former subjectivists think differently to objectivists. I am still a "listen first" guy. If I think I hear something, I try to correlate it with something measurable. This is a useful exercise for confirming what I heard, and also for suggesting a strategy to improve / remove whatever I think I heard or what I think is missing. I know what kind of sound that I want, and it is not necessarily what many on ASR seem to want, which is to hear the recording as the producers intended it.

So my vote: former subjectivist / currently a soft objectivist.

I'm an objectivist who enjoys a very well-written subjective description of a listening experience from someone I trust as a fellow objectivist :)
 
D

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I'm an objectivist who enjoys a very well-written subjective description of a listening experience from someone I trust as a fellow objectivist :)

I don't really care who comes up with a subjective description, well-written or otherwise. I just wish that they would correlate it to tests and measurements. How hard is it to say, "I think what I find most annoying is the reduction in directivity at 2.2 kHz ", or "The lower distortion below 100 Hz in the 8" model versus the 6" model is very audible to me" or even, "I thought the treble was harsh, which probably correlates to that spike in distortion at 3 kHz."

Wouldn't a doctor show you an X-ray and say, "Right here - do you see that small dark spot? - that's what is causing your pain."
Even a race car mechanic might say, "Yeah, we ran it up to 6,000 rpm, and the torque shows the same as before. I think your complaint of bogging is related to the tires."

Tests and measurements are part and parcel of our modern world. Let's use them to speak with definition and clarity. Otherwise, we'll just descend into an endless argument using ambiguous terminology.

Jim
 

CINERAMAX

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What persuaded me of the merits of objectivism was the three-day experience in the Alcons Audio Demo Room at Infocomm. Evaluating the seven different models in the room, along with their spinoramas developed by Pierre, was enlightening. The alignment between the data and the listening experience was striking. If such a direct correlation does not sway your opinion, I am uncertain what will. The comparison between the highest and lowest-rated models, as predicted versus the actual listening experience, was particularly revealing. This experience conclusively affirmed my stance.
 

sonitus mirus

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What persuaded me of the merits of objectivism was the three-day experience in the Alcons Audio Demo Room at Infocomm. Evaluating the seven different models in the room, along with their spinoramas developed by Pierre, was enlightening. The alignment between the data and the listening experience was striking. If such a direct correlation does not sway your opinion, I am uncertain what will. The comparison between the highest and lowest-rated models, as predicted versus the actual listening experience, was particularly revealing. This experience conclusively affirmed my stance.
Were you able to evaluate the models blind, or did you already know what was being listened to along with its objective data? Otherwise, the same can be said about purely subjective evaluations with nothing but price, prestige, and marketing to guide anyone along. It would be one thing to listen and rank the gear and then see the objective measurements to see how closely they aligned.
 

ta240

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There needs to be a fourth choice:


- I am an objectivist with subjective tendencies. You believe that anything that cannot be measured is not audible. Knowing this you still choose some components (knowing how they measure) based upon subjective preference.

Martin
I probably fall on the other side of that slightly, a subjectivist that likes taking the objective information into consideration. Like an auto enthusiast that also reads consumer reports.
I like some things that don't measure well and I don't really care why. I find it humorous when people ask "Have you done a double blind test to make sure you like it?". WHY? I enjoy it, it isn't dialysis, it doesn't have to be scientifically the best, it just has to be enjoyable.
On the subjective side, I don't really believe in short listening comparisons. I put in the new component and listen for a few days, if I enjoy it and want to listen more then it is good; if I listen less and don't enjoy it as much when I do then it isn't. I've had things that I thought sounded great at first and then days or weeks later I realized I wasn't listening to music as much. When I switched back I found I listened a lot more.
 

napfkuchen

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Being an objectivist makes shopping so much easier ... Needed new cables for active speakers, entered the specs (length, cable-beginning/end) in Thomann's "cableguy" and ordered them. 5 minutes and done ...
cable.jpg
 

CINERAMAX

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Were you able to evaluate the models blind, or did you already know what was being listened to along with its objective data? Otherwise, the same can be said about purely subjective evaluations with nothing but price, prestige, and marketing to guide anyone along. It would be one thing to listen and rank the gear and then see the objective measurements to see how closely they aligned.
They were all being demoed in the same room. i ranked them as i heard them on my ipad, then read the spinoramas at the hotel, went back and listened the three days while I found support in the graphs. There was definitely high correlation to the sound quality and the scores. Again imperfect but enough to nudge a lifelong subjectivist ...
 

Vacceo

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I like to know how my sources of enjoyment work. Some years ago I switched from a pair of KEF Cresta bookshelves to a tower IQ also from KEF and I noticed a quite clear change.

I wanted to understand what was going on and discovered this site. It explains the reasons why there are differences. And from there, it was just a matter of reading and asking questions.

So hard to say I was a subjectivist or an objectivist when I was basically a complete ignorant.
 

Haskil

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When I discovered high fidelity as a teenager, I was an objectivist without knowing it because I read the two dominant French magazines of the time which published technical articles and serious measurements for the time... which I learned to understand by comparing them with technical comments published in very serious in-depth articles describing in detail the operation of such a new microphone or such an innovative amplification scheme or not...

We are at the end of the 1960s. And for me, like everyone else at the time; the best amp was the one with the least distortion, the smallest rise time and the least distorted square signals... The best speaker was the one with the most regular response curve and polar curves at different frequencies the most regular... and the best LP turntable, the one whose rumble was the weakest and the one whose arm was the lightest possible...

And when the audiophile bullshit that is the HP cables and the direction of the mains socket arrived, when they started to explain to us that the measurements said nothing about a device, that the Japanese made very bad engineering electronics. ...my Cartesian mind immediately went into resistance...

The fact remains that in the face of the dominant subjectivist discourse, I was sometimes able to waver in my position as an objectivist... but, but, but luckily my job as a journalist brought me into close contact with sound engineers and manufacturers of acoustic speakers (I was a member of a jury which awarded its grand prize each year as part of the Paris International Sound Festival)... And there, I was reinforced in my objectivism at one point where I could have switched... Then the CD arrived and the lies of pro vinyl audiophilia more than exasperated me with the theory of straight wire with gain depriving any device of the adjustments that are nevertheless essential...

PS. At that time, Cabasse speakers held the upper hand in France and Germany for technical reasons; the firm had the largest anechoic room in Europe and worked hard to improve speakers and loudspeakers. She sold amplified models with controlled bass! And at the Sound Festival organized in a very very large room the direct music confrontation played by a jazz band and recorded on A/B tapes... and it was impressive... The boss of Cabasse said that we had to choose n any amp good enough for measurements and powerful enough... an HP cable of sufficient gauge and it provided tables to allow everyone to make the right choice...
 
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French Meloman

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I have always wanted to have a high-performance reproduction system but I quickly realized that the prices of the so-called "high-end" products were too high and beyond my means. I can say that I have had a subjectivist approach in my choices, although I have always thought that any "audible effect" of an audiophile equipment or accessory should be able to be proven by physical measurements of any kind. For a long time, however, I believed that the quality of the cables had a real influence on the sound quality of the audio system and that well-designed tube amplifiers performed better than any transistor amplifier, including those operating in Class A. So much so that I bought an integrated tube amplifier with which I had a lot of fun because of a more flattering "tonal richness" than a transistor amplifier. But I quickly realized that it had obvious limitations when it came to reproducing the busiest and most complex music.
So I wondered if there were any measurements made on "hi-fi" devices to have objective elements on their performance. At the same time, the stupidity and complacency that can be seen in the audiophile press (at least in France) has prompted me to be more and more circumspect and suspicious.
It was while looking for measurements made on a DAC of a French brand with a good reputation that I arrived on the ASR website where I found the elements I was looking for. Based on the tests carried out, I have since dared to take the step of acquiring devices by relying solely on the objective information I could find about them, both in terms of performance and reliability. Good thing I did, because I have since acquired a DAC, a class D amplifier and a preamplifier for a reasonable budget and whose sound performance is much better than what I have ever had.

Today I consider myself an objectivist but I don't consider it ridiculous to like vinyl records or to appreciate tube amps, as long as you admit the technical limitations. There's nothing wrong with wanting to rotate the collection of family LPs or that you've salvaged here and there and wanting to do it with good material.
 
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