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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

radix

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You are missing a big area in how you broke it down. There are other soft factors besides "they sound nice." For example, the UI, the remote functionality, the integration of the system, made-in-X, appearance, reputation of the service department, and so on. There are lots of factors that can influence a purchase beyond the specs.

For me, once equipment is shown to be beyond a certain threshold, they are all roughly the same, audibly. So these other soft factors become dominant.

What would a pure objectivist do? Buy the best measuring gear within their budget (or buy the system with the best overall measurements within budget)? I doubt many, or any, are like that. Everyone will exhibit some amount of personal preference between two roughly matching objective alternatives. People can also be pretty easily manipulated on price, for example having some very expensive options, even if they do not sell, can be good to boost sales of over-priced middle alternatives.
 

pma

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I am both, objectivist, with vast number of tests and measurements performed and subjectivist, with vast number of listening sessions, listening tests performed and classical music concerts visited, and present at number of recordings of classical music. What am I to check in the poll? Measurements are very important to me, but only in case I can do them myself.
 

phoenixdogfan

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Obviously, I'm never going to buy a piece of gear (usually speakers, headphones b/c SS electronics if properly designed have no sound) that sounds bad irrespective of how well it measures. Conversely, I'm never going to waste my time auditioning a speaker/headphone with bad measurements b/c I don't see how it could possibly sound better than its measurements. IDK precisely what that makes me. Though I think it probably makes me a hard objectivist because I believe there is no such thing as an effect without a cause. If something measures well and sounds bad to me, it indicates there was another cause (defect in product, poor room, misfunctioning ancillary gear, or unmeasured performance paramater) that made for the bad sound. So, ultimately I do trust my ears, but I find using objective data as my filter, narrows down my selection process in a way that adds immense value.
 

oldsysop

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I am an objectivist in audio science and a subjectivist in aesthetic matters.
I could never use a class D amplifier or powered speakers, or toy size speakers.
 

kemmler3D

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I am still a "listen first" guy. If I think I hear something, I try to correlate it with something measurable.
I've always considered myself an objectivist, but this has always been my approach too.

Listening is the fastest way to find out how something sounds. Finding out why it sounds that way often requires measurements.

Objectivist or otherwise, what we care about at the end of the day is the subjective experience of listening. It's just that some of us prefer to leave achieving a certain subjective experience to chance, (subjectivists) and some of us prefer a systematic approach (objectivists).
 

symphara

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What would a pure objectivist do? Buy the best measuring gear within their budget (or buy the system with the best overall measurements within budget)? I doubt many, or any, are like that.
There are so many trade-offs. For amplifiers, there’s a wide variety of products and you might run into the trade-off of power vs SINAD. For DAC/streamers, you have such different feature sets.

For speakers, to date I have never heard different type speakers, including of the same brand, that sound the same.
 

kemmler3D

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too many hard objectivists who -- as it seems to me -- refuse to believe that any but gross measurement differences could be audible, and basically consider that questions of audibility are "settled science". (Real scientists, (vs. know-it-all engineers), know that science is never settled.)
Spicy but accurate. I'm not saying they're usually wrong, but I do notice a disappointingly common lack of interest in figuring things out vs. dismissing them even when the outcome isn't obvious.
 

FrankW

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There are so many trade-offs. For amplifiers, there’s a wide variety of products and you might run into the trade-off of power vs SINAD. For DAC/streamers, you have such different feature sets.
For speakers, to date I have never heard different type speakers, including of the same brand, that sound the same.
That's why for electronics its usually an ABX, ABCHR etc, speakers an AB (not 100%, but mostly).
Both are subjective evaluations
 

EJ3

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For me, first it must measure very good. If the sound can meet the curve (more a speaker thing, as many electronics have been proven to be able to have a flat response).
Then can I get it EQed to be flat in my home. From that point, I can adjust a bit here & there to make it sound more like what I hear at live concerts (yep, moving toward the subjective side a bitt here) is aesthetics (& more so with that last word).
Does it fit VISUALLY with what I have & if it doesn't, can I use it in a way that it is hidden?
Living in an 1100 square foot house (a big downsize from more than double that with more tan double the land, also),
caused the spousal acceptance factor to become part of the equation that wasn't a factor before.
So it is a dichotomy. Once measurements are established &that it can be EQ'ed for various room conditions & meets those criteria, then the subjective-ness of function controls & form appearance comes into play. & I have no true use for a remote (but it can be nice) but I do not mind if I do not have it.
 

ahofer

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You can be an objectivist but understand that a suite of measurements may not tell you everything you need to know about how something sounds (let alone non-sonic attributes). This implies that things that don't measure well won't sound good. So it seems like the objectivist approach starts with measurements but should certainly involve listening after that.

The above is mostly about speakers, but could perhaps be expanded to other things.
 

fpitas

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I am an objectivist in audio science and a subjectivist in aesthetic matters.
I could never use a class D amplifier or powered speakers, or toy size speakers.
Class D and powered speakers are aesthetically bad? Interesting.
 

threni

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I'm not sure what to make of a lot of "I'm a subjectivist in this sense" type comments here and on related threads. My assumption is that the key difference between an objectivist and a subjectivist is simply that the former believes it's possible to demonstrate either:
1) a difference in quality (such as vinyl vs CD as a transport mechanism for music, or this vs that pair of speakers in terms of reproducing a frequency spectrum).
2) that there's no audible difference between two very similarly measuring items (DACs or amps with differences in SINAD, bit depth etc which are way off to the right of the decimal place).

You're not a subjectivist if, knowing the above,
1) you prefer the sound of vinyl or valves in some or all cases
2) you prefer devices which trade a few inaudible digits of SINAD for a nice remote
3) spent a little more money on an equally performing DAC because you wanted a heavy/metal/black box/some other cosmetic/design choice
4) have listened to a lot of music or attended many concerts/tests.
 

threni

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You can be an objectivist but understand that a suite of measurements may not tell you everything you need to know about how something sounds (let alone non-sonic attributes). This implies that things that don't measure well won't sound good. So it seems like the objectivist approach starts with measurements but should certainly involve listening after that.

The above is mostly about speakers, but could perhaps be expanded to other things.
I think if one believes there is no existent test to determine everything you need to know (about two pairs of speakers, in your example) nor could such a test ever be constructed, but that nevertheless there's still a difference the ears/brain could detect, that would put one in the subjectivist camp. That, to me, is what makes someone a subjectivist - that there's some "magic" in the speakers/vinyl/cable etc which cannot be detected with a measuring device - in exactly the same way that you can see a vampire, just not their reflection in a mirror.
 

muslhead

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There's some truth to what you're saying. We attract a unique kind of troll that preys on them, too.
Yah, but that is when it gets fun ... at least for me. I get out the popcorn and wish i could be as big of an ass :)
 

fpitas

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Yah, but that is when it gets fun ... at least for me. I get out the popcorn and wish i could be as big of an ass :)
It upsets me to some degree. A troll's purpose is to get everyone angry and disillusioned. Also it simply adds weight to the subjectivists claiming we're narrow-minded boffins who don't listen to music.
 

computer-audiophile

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I believe that regardless of whether someone identifies as an objectivist or a subjectivist, what truly matters is the coherence of their personal framework of explanation. ;)
 

fpitas

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I believe that regardless of whether someone identifies as an objectivist or a subjectivist, what truly matters is the coherence of their personal framework of explanation. ;)
But what if I have no explanation of my stance?
 

computer-audiophile

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To speak of myself: As a fallible human being, I don't believe I can be an objectivist.

The concept of objectivism suggests that there is an absolute truth or reality that can be objectively measured or understood. However, as humans, we are inherently limited in our perceptions and understanding of the world around us. Our subjective experiences and interpretations often influence our perspective on things.
 

AdamG

The effort is the “tell” of honest engagement…
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But what if I have no explanation of my stance?
You don’t need one. Personal preference reigns supreme. As long as you know it’s your personal preference and may not, and probably does not apply to most others.

I love my ML ESL-X’s. To me they are the best sounding speakers I have ever heard that I could afford. Do they measure well. Nope they measure terribly and they are very room dependent and imho you must have separate powered subs. I don’t try to tell anyone that they are the best blah blah blah. I know they have terrible directivity and a very uneven Frequency Response. But I love them still.
 
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