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Is it audiophoolia to care about SINAD differences which have no correlation in blind listening tests? H2/H3 distortion 'enriches the sound'?

Sokel

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The only real alternative is to give up everything, amps, speakers, players, etc. and go to the event in person.
When you can you go…..but…..Unfortunately, Dire Straits no longer play live with the band we all knew 40 years ago, nor does Dave Brubeck. So we have to settle for something already recorded.
And this essentially becomes our “event”, even if it is only a "false" of it…
Agreed and more so if you're like me with classical which is even harder to reproduce.
Of course we can have both,of course we can mess and tinker with them but I always keep in mind that is just a little better than a child's play and at times and conditions can pass the feeling and makes us happy,sad,etc.

It's ok as long as it's fun.After that...
 

Blumlein 88

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Did not read the whole thread. Maybe it has been brought up, probably. Chasing Sinad while also somewhat daft has the curious property that you often spend less while the regular snake oil chase for perfection typically has you spending more, lots more and much too often more for lesser performance. One is more phoolish than the other by far. One does have defined limits of what is possible, one will do anything other than make you think there are ever limits including expense worth paying.
 
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Mikig

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If you go to a concert with , say a flute and a grand piano and you come home and listen to the same piece of music and it sound almost the same and the timbre of the instruments seems correct as in real life, then the hifi illusion is rather good ?
if this happened I would be very happy!! my foot would probably beat the beat listening to it ;)
 

Mikig

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Agreed and more so if you're like me with classical which is even harder to reproduce.
Of course we can have both,of course we can mess and tinker with them but I always keep in mind that is just a little better than a child's play and at times and conditions can pass the feeling and makes us happy,sad,etc.

It's ok as long as it's fun.After that...

I have almost stopped listening to classical music because my current system in my opinion has deficiencies with such a majestic musical impact. It doesn't do it justice, so nowadays I have to listen to classical music not in "critical mode"... I get sick of the second song!!
 

Mikig

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Maybe it's OT.
I was reading a very interesting table: among classical instruments, the lowest and highest frequencies are obtained respectively from the organ 16.35 Hz and the ottavino 5274 Hz and among the voices they range from 87 Hz of the minimum of the "Bass" to 1174 Hz at the highs of the Soprano.
The highest sound pressure of unamplified instruments would reach 115 db for the bass drum, passing through 110 for the organ and cymbals.
 
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BobbyTimmons

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As has been noted above by @antcollinet, @JohnBooty, and @kemmler3D , it is not at all foolish to care about SINAD differences beyond the limits of blind-test audibility.

There are many reasons why it is not foolish to care about this, but the main one, as noted by all three of these forum members, is that gear is tested in isolation - a DAC, an amp, whatever - but we listen to signal chains with multiple pieces of gear connected to each other. Noise and distortion are generally additive.
The additive sum of very small numbers are still very small numbers. Most home users won't run more than a DAC and an amplifier. Almost none of the modern products tested have measurements which indicate it would add up to audibility for those of us not blessed with the mythical golden ears.
Of course there is a point beyond which "chasing SINAD" is unnecessary, and therefore could be considered silly or foolish. But "the threshold of audibility" is not that point, because you need a buffer for real multi-component setups (and in some cases for performance degradation introduced by DSP and such).

If someone writes, "that 113dB SINAD DAC is garbage considering you can get 122dB SINAD for the same price," sure, you could say that's silly - although I would not specifically call it "audiophoolery" unless the person also wrote that this difference in SINAD was audible, because to me not every silly view in audio counts as "audiophoolery." To be "audiophoolery" it has to be a claim of audibility in a situation when that obviously isn't (and in most cases can't be) true.
A lot of folks seem to. Have a read through the comments about a $500 Denon amplifier with inaudible distortion and noise. It's folks over-interpreting the audibility of the measurements, saying things like 'I guess this could be relegated to casual listening/background duty with a pair of sensibly-priced bookshelf speakers. For that task, not too awfully bad.' That's an amplifier which was measured as transparent.
As for your claim about low order distortion being subjectively preferred, sure, maybe, but that's a different discussion. Because for a lower SINAD piece of gear to possibly sound preferable based on that idea of euphonic distortion, three things have to be true:
  1. The noise component of the SINAD can't be too high, since as others have noted noise is easily audible and at anything but very low levels is annoying to most hi-fi listeners.
  2. The distortion component of the SINAD must be pretty darned high, so as to be loud enough that it might plausibly be audible in a controlled blind test.
  3. The distortion component must be high in the lower orders but not as high in the higher orders.
So a lower-SINAD component will not produce pleasant effects or "enhance the outlines of the picture," as you wrote in another comment, unless its low SINAD is quite low and it is low because of the precise combination of factors outlined here.
The basis on which we can say something as a rule makes the system better is its correlation with preferences in blind listening tests. That's why the speaker preference rating has a basis in academic research. SINAD above the general standard for consumer products doesn't have a basis like that. Some researchers believe H1 and H2 harmonic distortion correlates with preferences. Just as an example of a component that reduces SINAD. The practical importance isn't there in the case of most modern amplifiers and DACs as they usually have inaudible levels of distortion that won't impact on average listener preferences one way or another.
 
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D

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With 2 channel we are talking about good or less good illusions of the real event.

Correct.
And when you go to see a movie, do you believe that Dracula or Godzilla is real? Do you believe that there's a little person walking around inside your TV? What about the phone ... do you think there's someone inside talking with you?

In our contemporary technological society, illusions rule our lives.

One must do their own recordings in concert halls to fully understand this .

Really? Are you saying that people who watch a football game on TV don't fully understand the difference between watching on TV and being there?

Bottom line: All media is a simulacrum of the real event. It matters not whether we're talking about photography, movies, TV, or voice communications. There are undoubtedly a few unfortunate souls who do not "fully understand this", but I'd be willing to bet that they are extremely few and far between. (Most of them are probably Flat Earthers. :D :D)

Jim
 
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Mikig

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And when you go to see a movie, do you believe that Dracula or Godzilla is real? Do you believe that there's a little person walking around inside your TV? What about the phone ... do you think there's someone inside talking with you?
you forgot!! what about the computer….do you think there is really a porn star inside??;)
 

Anton D

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I love this topic and agree with Jim quite strongly, except the "without exception" part.

Many artists create within a medium and have no intention of portraying a real event, their art is the event.

Ansel Adams, Cecil Beaton, etc. never meant to try to fool us into believing we were actually seeing something 'real,' they were interpreting what they envisioned via the medium.

Visual media often intentionally change what might seem real: animation, etc...not a simulacrum but an interpretation of a vision. Yayoi Kusama is one of my favorite artists, absolutely no simulacrum, she invents the environment itself.

I fully agree with your intent and your main point, but there are other ways of looking at some things, as well.

Example for recordings: Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Air, Daft Punk, etc...not really a simulacrum of reality but their own real event that never existed in space/time...the recording and what we hear becomes the actual event.

Thank you for your great post, you are right, I am just chatting.
 

Anton D

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Jim Taylor said:
And when you go to see a movie, do you believe that Dracula or Godzilla is real? Do you believe that there's a little person walking around inside your TV? What about the phone ... do you think there's someone inside talking with you?
you forgot!! what about the computer….do you think there is really a porn star inside??;)

Inside Godzilla?
 

amirm

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Most of the variability found in DACs and amplifiers wouldn't correlate with findings in blind listening tests. Research even shows lower order distortion can be a good thing for some ('Recent studies have clearly shown the human PREFERENCE for THD distortion of low order or at higher amplitudes. These are viewed subjectively as enriching the sound', Earl L. Geddes & Lidia W. Lee, 2008).
Haven't read the thread but your question is wrong. SINAD is NOT THD. SINAD is THD+N. Determining inaudibility of SINAD must include both distortion and noise. Authoritative, peer reviewed papers show that threshold of noise audibility goes down to as much as -115 to -120 dB (SINAD of 115 to 120 dB). As SINAD climbs over 100 dB, it is almost always dominated by noise making the above reference off-topic.
 

amirm

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On the Klippel site a lot of people were having trouble perceiving down to -60db (0.1%).
Careful. I explained when I first brought the test to the Forum, the test is written in a very unforgiving manner. If you make any mistakes, it sends you back to the beginning which causes severe user frustration to achieve best case results. We routinely allow some number of wrong answers in subjective tests (p<0.05).

Also be careful that distortion can be any and all things so no one test, or even a few, will be dispositive.
 
D

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I love this topic and agree with Jim quite strongly, except the "without exception" part.

Many artists create within a medium and have no intention of portraying a real event, their art is the event.

Ansel Adams, Cecil Beaton, etc. never meant to try to fool us into believing we were actually seeing something 'real,' they were interpreting what they envisioned via the medium.

Visual media often intentionally change what might seem real: animation, etc...not a simulacrum but an interpretation of a vision. Yayoi Kusama is one of my favorite artists, absolutely no simulacrum, she invents the environment itself.

I fully agree with your intent and your main point, but there are other ways of looking at some things, as well.

Example for recordings: Pink Floyd, Kraftwerk, Air, Daft Punk, etc...not really a simulacrum of reality but their own real event that never existed in space/time...the recording and what we hear becomes the actual event.

Thank you for your great post, you are right, I am just chatting.

I had not thought of that. You are correct. I take exception to some of your examples, but I don't take exception to the basic premise that you have presented.

I will edit my post to erase the "without exception" part. ;)

Jim "Not A Fan Of Performance Art ... And It Shows" Taylor
 

DanielT

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A tip, what atmasphere writes in another thread because it also touches on what is brought up in this thread. I think it was interesting. It's about SINAD and, among other things, that .. "the human ear uses higher ordered harmonic content to sense how loud a sound is"...Plus tube amp distortion and its effect on the sound, among other things.:)

See page 38, #750

Screenshot_2024-02-17_003758.jpg

 

MAB

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Haven't read the thread but your question is wrong. SINAD is NOT THD. SINAD is THD+N. Determining inaudibility of SINAD must include both distortion and noise.
I pointed this out earlier when it became clear the concepts were misrepresented or confused. Thanks for reinforcing this.:)
I honestly don't think the point of the thread is to start off with a well-specified question. It's a debate thread, for the sake of debate.

Earlier in this thread I demonstrated audible and measurable noise differences between amps using a compression driver, to show there is more to SINAD than 'distortion', and that poor performance mattered and correlated to measurements. Then the goalpost moved.:facepalm:
 
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BobbyTimmons

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Haven't read the thread but your question is wrong. SINAD is NOT THD. SINAD is THD+N. Determining inaudibility of SINAD must include both distortion and noise. Authoritative, peer reviewed papers show that threshold of noise audibility goes down to as much as -115 to -120 dB (SINAD of 115 to 120 dB). As SINAD climbs over 100 dB, it is almost always dominated by noise making the above reference off-topic.
SINAD is THD+N. Part of SINAD is THD. Part of THD are lower order harmonics which are masked and possibly even correlate with listener preferences. So the real number for what could be audible is at least lower than the THD+N as it includes those components. Although as you say not the dominant part so my argument might not that significant.
 
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BobbyTimmons

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Careful. I explained when I first brought the test to the Forum, the test is written in a very unforgiving manner. If you make any mistakes, it sends you back to the beginning which causes severe user frustration to achieve best case results. We routinely allow some number of wrong answers in subjective tests (p<0.05).

Also be careful that distortion can be any and all things so no one test, or even a few, will be dispositive.
I was able to get down to around 54 on the test by listening with headphones at an uncomfortably high volume, concentrating on one drum beat in the intro. My ears were ringing afterwards. We were able to A/B as many times as we wanted knowing the distortion was there. There is no way I would have heard the difference in a normal setting. The two samples were functionally identical for me at that point. It's below my level of audibility for real world cases with headphones at comfortable volumes. The recording itself has a lot more distortion which was easy to hear. Unlike you I'm not a trained listener. I know you are a musically trained listener. I wonder if could give you a more sensitive threshold.
 
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Mnyb

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Mnyb

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The noise disadvantage ( and advantage ) in many active speakers is that the amps are usually directly coupled to the drivers in passive speakers the treble and mid driver can have resistor pads in series to adjust the levels .
For some reasons tweeters seems to have much higher sensitivity than woofers , especially nowadays when the sport is to cram tiny woofers into small boxes .

And frankly they could use better amps in them , also many are used in near field ?

I think Genelec has the rather relaxed POV that amp should be 10dB better than the driver .

I had Adam speakers that hiss .

My Meridian speakers very low level have to push my ear close to the tweeter .

My kef LSXIi very faint have to push ear close to the uni-q

My POV on DAC’s is that they are commodity parts that should be a part of a more interesting device .
But I bought one for my computer headphone listening is it came with USB and I already had an headphone amp , so sometimes a stand alone DAC can be a solution . But I’m not fascinated by them as some people seems to be ? It’s usually the best performing hifi-component you own .

I’ve jumped off the upgrade Merry go round decades ago . So would not change DAC’s more often than underware like the youtubers we like to mock :)
 

Palladium

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The noise disadvantage ( and advantage ) in many active speakers is that the amps are usually directly coupled to the drivers in passive speakers the treble and mid driver can have resistor pads in series to adjust the levels .
For some reasons tweeters seems to have much higher sensitivity than woofers , especially nowadays when the sport is to cram tiny woofers into small boxes .

And frankly they could use better amps in them , also many are used in near field ?

I think Genelec has the rather relaxed POV that amp should be 10dB better than the driver .

I had Adam speakers that hiss .

My Meridian speakers very low level have to push my ear close to the tweeter .

My kef LSXIi very faint have to push ear close to the uni-q

My POV on DAC’s is that they are commodity parts that should be a part of a more interesting device .
But I bought one for my computer headphone listening is it came with USB and I already had an headphone amp , so sometimes a stand alone DAC can be a solution . But I’m not fascinated by them as some people seems to be ? It’s usually the best performing hifi-component you own .

I’ve jumped off the upgrade Merry go round decades ago . So would not change DAC’s more often than underware like the youtubers we like to mock :)

You think the woo market will want to eliminate not just one, but five (DAC, line-out cables, preamp, amp, speaker cables) entire categories out of their woo offerings? Hah.
 
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