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Is Audio Science Review going about it all wrong? Or partly wrong? Or all right?

Soniclife

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As an aside, this isn't exactly universally true.....they're now finding several anti-depressants are equally effective as placebo, i.e. no better than, on an on-going basis.
I've heard of the same thing with pain meds, where even after people reporting success on a placebo, have found out it's a placebo, they still find it works. Again pain perception is partly in the head so it's open to our imaginations changing it.
 

LTig

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I think that's a good point. And I do think that issue is operational to some degree in how some audiophiles switch equipment.

But even so, I have also noticed that it's far from necessarily the case.

I say this because, having been a citizen of many different audio forums over decades, I've seen tons of threads asking about people's speaker history and what they'd settled on as their "keeper/end game" speaker. (I don't pay attention btw to people who are just currently infatuate with their new speaker thinking they have "found the one").

And when those threads/surveys come up the speakers that audiophiles have settled with, expressing long term satisfaction, have been all over the map - from original Quads, to varieties of horn speakers, to omnis, to dipoles, to wide dispersion, narrow dispersion, you name it.

As almost none of these people had the luxury of double-blind testing their speakers, surely some level of sighted (and other) bias may be in play.
But if so, whatever combination of sound/bias was in play, it still worked out to many people's satisfaction in settling on a speaker.
You just adapt to the sound of your speakers until you like them - audiophiles call this the burn in time.
 

MattHooper

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My son took part in a study for a new peanut allergy treatment. It was double-blind, placebo controlled. We didn't know for the first 6 months if he was on the placebo or the active drug.

Once the study doctor could tell us, we talked about what it was like from their end taking part in such a study. He said it's always amazing and counter-intuitive. For instance, they'd been taking bets simply looking to self-reports of subjects in terms of feelings, side effects etc, as to who was on placebo, who was on the real thing. He said they got something like 50 percent of their guesses wrong. Many on the active drug had no symptoms. A whole bunch of people on the placebo reported symptoms one would expect if they were on the active drug.

No wonder they use these types of controls, given how unreliable uncontrolled inferences would seem to be.
 

MattHooper

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BTW, I've had no problem availing myself of other aspects of some gear, e.g. aesthetics that may influence sighted bias. I'm ok with it for some things, if it really seems to enhance my enjoyment. It's sort of like drinking wine or spirits from a bland, crappy glass, vs crystal or some really aesthetically pleasing to hold and look at glass you may get in a fine dining establishment. It influences the whole experience. I really enjoy audiophile eye-candy and prefer my speakers to look really pleasing.
 

Hypnotoad

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I've heard of the same thing with pain meds, where even after people reporting success on a placebo, have found out it's a placebo, they still find it works. Again pain perception is partly in the head so it's open to our imaginations changing it.
It's actually not just your imagination, our brains can release the same chemicals when we think we are getting the real medicine, and when we find out we are not its been trained to still release them.
 

JJB70

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I think it is perfectly valid to value good industrial design, build quality and tactile feel of audio equipment. It is nothing to do do with sound quality but it does affect pleasure of ownership and long-term durability if you want a long life from what you buy. However, you don't need to spend that much for good design and build quality and some high end audio products are really rather shoddy.
 

Soniclife

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It's actually not just your imagination, our brains can release the same chemicals when we think we are getting the real medicine, and when we find out we are not its been trained to still release them.
I've seen tests where someone measured their reaction time, then drank a weird tasting drink with lots of caffeine in it, and retested their reaction time, and kept a chart for a few weeks. Then they made the same weird drink without caffeine, and their reaction times still increased as they had done on caffeine, as the brain had trained itself to respond to the taste.

The brain is a weird machine.
 

JJB70

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I think it has been shown that many addictions and withdrawal symptoms are as much psychological as chemical.
 

M00ndancer

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You just adapt to the sound of your speakers until you like them - audiophiles call this the burn in time.
Unless they are really bad, like the H&K 5.1 center and satellites I used to own. As a movie sound system it was better than nothing. As a music system running in 2.1? Bleargh! The lack of low frequency had the bass playing a lot of mid bass.
Now I have less sucky cheap center and satellites and the immediate improvement was spectacular. (Equipment in signature)
 

andreasmaaan

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I've seen tests where someone measured their reaction time, then drank a weird tasting drink with lots of caffeine in it, and retested their reaction time, and kept a chart for a few weeks. Then they made the same weird drink without caffeine, and their reaction times still increased as they had done on caffeine, as the brain had trained itself to respond to the taste.

The brain is a weird machine.
Pavlovian conditioning.
 

DonH56

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Johnny Fever/WKRP -- my candidate for best sobriety test ever. :)
 
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Multitone is definitely useful. But recently I measured smsl su-8 which the sloping of the multitone will drastically change the distortion level. In rew there is an option to select white or pink.

About audible transparency, I don't care all other people say. The dacs sound different and they measure different. I am still learning the correlation of things. Especially the ess ones.
Also I'm currently designing an amplifier. Different opamps certainly sound different despite that they all achieved 0.00007% thd for at 100mw into 16ohn load, and 0.00017% 1.5W into 4.7ohm. They just do. Fet input (i use parallel design so reduced noise to 0.7uV and below) just has fuller bass and more solid imaging than bjt input say opa1612. I even only have 1kohm input impedance/250ohm source impedance. Also opa2156 and opa1642 sound different. Opa1642 just has better sound stage. I use one opa1642 for each channel so it must not be the separation of the chip itself. I match volume to 0.1db at 1khz. there are difference. They measure a bit differently but no where to correlate to actually explain why.
I chose opa2140 in the end for lower offset version of opa1642.
Things just don't always work as we think they do. We just don't know everything yet. If you can duplicate 100% sure it will sound the same but that's different from having some similar numbers in measurements.
Different OPAmps are built for different scenarios.
So, "blindswapping" OPAmps you mostly get unexpected results.
For example the OPA1642, good input stage, very good for MM-Phono etc..
OPA1622, good output stage, good for driving low-impendance Headphones etc...
For the TI/BurrBrown-Series, you can ask John in diyaudio-forum (TI-Productmanager).
 

anmpr1

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I actually heard exactly nothing in my main system before purchase. I didn't buy stuff and not like it and send it back, either, just for the record.
How many folks are like that? I bought my speakers (La Scala II) without listening to them because I knew the 'type' they were, and that was the 'type' I wanted. I didn't listen to my electronics (Benchmark preamp-dac and amp), because where the hell was I supposed to go to demo them? I didn't demo my turntable (refurbed Garrard Z-100 and NOS Pickering XSV-1200e) because they haven't been made in 45 years.

Like you, I'm not thinking of sending anything back, either, although both Benchmark and Klipsch would have taken them back if I didn't like them. Not sure where I could send the record player.

Really, unless you live in a city with a 'high-end' store you're not going to be able to demo much. And then you are limited to whatever gear the dealer can make a profit selling--not necessarily what it is that you really want.

As far as ASR? It provides info you can't often get anywhere else. Most on-line audio related 'reviews' are worthless.
 
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How does any of this translate into SINAD or THD? I don't see much of a link. I just want the music to sound good, maybe even lifelike, though that's a stretch to achieve without really big bucks.
Those are seriously the most misunderstood when it comes to audiophiles, So many have the attitude that 0.5 - 5% must be bad and <0.2% must be good in the headphone area. Allot of good speakers are way past 1% and allot will have a bad measuring headphone were the "1% THD" suddenly isn't a issue.

It's a the ones who pretend they have a food allergy to fit in, in a sense. There no concrete proof that its audibility and the few it does happen is when is like stupidly high like over 10% with mediocre driver. Your music mastering quality or what codec you use will be a more real issue, Lossy not very good on some complex music or sounds.
 

MRC01

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In the midrange and treble, I've found through experience that 1% distortion is audible. Good speakers and headphones should be below 1% in this range.
In the bass, humans are less sensitive to distortion. But good speakers & headphones should be under 10%, with under 5% as a stretch goal showing good engineering.
 

JohnYang1997

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We care less about thd in headphones because frequency response is way more important. In dacs, there isn't really difference in frequency response so we want something more to care about the distortion. Basically if we get less than 0.01% distortion that is mostly audibly transparent.
 

MRC01

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Perhaps, I just get tired of reading that distortion doesn't matter and speakers are well above 1%. There are speakers and headphones below 1% distortion in the midrange and treble where it matters. I've seen some as low as 0.1% in the treble.
Given a choice between flat FR and 3% distortion, versus uneven FR and 1% distortion, the first might be the less bad pick overall. But this is a false choice, when speakers & headphones having both flat FR and low distortion are available.
 

JohnYang1997

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Perhaps, I just get tired of reading that distortion doesn't matter and speakers are well above 1%. There are speakers and headphones below 1% distortion in the midrange and treble where it matters. I've seen some as low as 0.1% in the treble.
Given a choice between flat FR and 3% distortion, versus uneven FR and 1% distortion, the first might be the less bad pick overall. But this is a false choice, when speakers & headphones having both flat FR and low distortion are available.
However you don't see many have 0.03% and superb accuracy. Best ones I've seen are like moondrop kanas, etymotic er2se that do well in both. Most balanced armature ones have 0.7% distortion which is actually audible. However when talking about most other cases, is there any that give better accuracy than etymotic er4sr? There wasn't any a few years ago. Probably a handful of them now. Hence the same argument, frequency response first. It's not that distortion doesn't matter but finding a good sound is already hard for most people. I personally have modded hd58x snd er2se as main driver (have almost all models of etymotic and multiple of them). Lower distortion is good, but it's more important to just have something to enjoy. I'm still not completely satisfied in frequency response of these products. So distortion still shouldn't be first concern in coming years.
 

MRC01

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... you don't see many have 0.03% and superb accuracy ... is there any that give better accuracy than etymotic er4sr? There wasn't any a few years ago. Probably a handful of them now. ...
I didn't say low distortion came first; my example said FR comes first. But my point is that distortion around 1% is audible and still does matter.
When it comes to headphones, FR linearity is subjective due to individual HRTF differences. The HD800 and LCD-2 come to mind as having decent FR and distortion around .03% at least in the mids & treble where it matters most. They sound very different, yet both measure very well overall. No doubt there are other examples, these are just the first 2 that come to mind.
 

JohnYang1997

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I didn't say low distortion came first; my example said FR comes first. But my point is that distortion around 1% is audible and still does matter.
When it comes to headphones, FR linearity is subjective due to individual HRTF differences. The HD800 and LCD-2 come to mind as having decent FR and distortion around .03% at least in the mids & treble where it matters most. They sound very different, yet both measure very well overall. No doubt there are other examples, these are just the first 2 that come to mind.
I agree most part but hd800 and lcd2 have no business with good fr. There is preference but no they are not neutral by any means.
 
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