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Is this what is wrong with this hobby?

M00ndancer

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Clearly measurable isn't always clearly audible. The null result so often obtained shows that.
This is why you also have to learn to read the measurements. You have to ask the question: Is this artifact, noise etc audible? If it's -90dB down, you can't hear it especially if it's in the 15-20KHz range. The best about this forums is the need for proving what you hear (or don't) instead of listening to subjective sales pitches. That said it's always nice to have good equipment to listen to even if you can't hear the difference.
 

andreasmaaan

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Most ABX tests try and neutralize these aspects and literally try and make the signals sound as similar as possible and utterly confuse people in short burst switch situations and then abstract their short term audible memory to X and when a null results happens try and apply that to everything and everyone.
What do you mean by “try”?

It’s well-established that what people really suck at is distinguishing between experiences held in long-term memory. The shorter the delay between stimuli, the better subjects are at reliably picking differences.

This reason and this alone is why (quality) ABX tests use short stimuli and rapid switch times. It’s because subjects’ sensitivity to differences increases, not the opposite as you seem to believe.
 

RayDunzl

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Detecting differences in an ABX scenario has no relevance to detecting differences in normal listening conditions
Hmm...

When switching back and forth between the JBL and MartinLogan here, the difference is "obvious", even with "room correction" and level matching applied.

When I've forgotten to which one I last switched, like right now, with my normal "casual" listening position here at the desk, I can't tell you reliably which is running.
 

Sal1950

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I mean isn't a Hobby supposed to be fun and enjoyable? The criteria you seem to put out would make it a Job/Career
Constantly attaching the term "hobby" to this pursuit may be a mis-direction. Someone with a true interest in advancing the state of the art in reproduction goes beyond having a hobby. Let's get this straight from the beginning, the invention of High Fidelity and it's advancement over the years was a Science, not a Art. The production of music is a art, the reproduction via high fidelity gear is science.
So no, the pursuit of the SOTA may not be fun at all, just the opposite it can be extremely fustrating when what you think you have have heard goes up in a puff of magic dust when you take the time investigate it using scientific principles like blind tested. Blind testing is the gold standard in the production of verifiable evidence. I will immediately discount the statements of anyone who first tries to devalue DBT'ing to support the claims he makes without any evidence beyond "I heard it, so it is so".
 

jsrtheta

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No it tells me people suck at these tests and our short term audio memory doesn't work well in these scenarios and these tests Null out actual real differences that appear in normal longer term listening conditions.

People fail these tests comparing things have have clear measurable differences in the audible spectrum. People just are not good at them and these are very different scenarios than normal listening conditions.
Examples?

Look, ABX is just a method of conducting double-blind testing, which is the gold standard for science. This is how differences are found, or not found, between many, many things. The FDA doesn't approve a new drug based on "Fred found Blissalot really alleviated his depression, while Pete said he didn't feel anything. And oh, Jim died." Audio is science, it is not an art. Also, you don't seem to understand how ABX and DBT works. Get an ABX comparator. Take it home with you. Now take a month to do the testing. Use whatever program material you want. Do ten tests or two every other day. No one's standing over you with a clock. No one's holding a gun to your head. Hell, no one will even know if you cheat. Except you, of course.

The sort of subjectivism you are talking about is what got audio to its current, pathetic state, from which it is still struggling to escape. And there are consequences: When a subjective reviewer, writing in a subjective magazine or on a subjective website, announces the qualities he hears in a [DAC, amp, cable, tweak], qualities he has shown no inclination, let alone ability, to prove, he ain't helping. Even today, people base their purchases on such reviews. So we're talking real money here. Someone who learns that double-blind testing showed people can't distinguish between a $10,000 DAC and a $200 DAC can make an informed decision. He might still buy the $10,000 DAC for the name, the build quality or the pride of ownership. But it will be an informed decision. On the other hand, someone who suffers audio panic because he's been told that he will never hear what's really on the disc unless he spends $10,000 on the DAC du jour may put his perfectly fine $200 DAC on eBay and start calling his bank to arrange a way to get $10,000 so he can get the best he's been told there is. When, in fact, the "best" might not sound any better. (Or it might. One way to tell...)

We're not talking about collecting bottle caps. We are talking about capital outlays. And we're also talking about the value of not getting scammed and the value of ignoring fools (I am most definitely not calling you such). I have better things to do than delude myself that the "advanced cable geometry" of the 6 foot, $5,000 Hahathanksforthebucks Magnum Onan speaker cables "lifts veils" and delivers a "by no means subtle" improvement in sound when a) I know that's bullshit and b) yeah, I do have more important things to do with my $5K than get ripped off.

I'm sorry, but sharing subjective impressions may be slightly entertaining, but it means fuck-all. At my age, I have better things to do with my time.
 
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In my 35 years of this hobby I have found much more value from reading real users subjective experience with equipment and source material then tons of pages of people arguing over the proper way to handle an ABX test ...
The problem with subjective reviews is that they tend to affirm each other on the same forum. So if one guy hears something, all of a sudden everyone hears it. Herd behavior. People parrot their favorite personalities. Same goes for technical "facts". For years the accepted minimum damping factor for headphones was 8:1 This was before internet "experts". Well, one guy sees this, figures lets double this for good measure, and suggests 16:1, and on and on. Its like a rumor spreading. The latest "common knowledge" is you need 100:1

I think that the best policy is to be a polite skeptic. OK, you're making claims about something - back them up. People build up credibility by demonstrating that they have their brain engaged. Conversely, people who are just repeating something that they heard somewhere (without disclosing that fact) are unmasked in short order.

The hardest thing to determine is who has the Golden Ear. Some people are eloquent in their descriptions. This, however, has no bearing on whether they hear clearly.
 

jsrtheta

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The problem with subjective reviews is that they tend to affirm each other on the same forum.
Exactly. Worse, these impressions become embedded. I recall in the '90s that Theta Digital was said to make "detailed, yet harsh" products, while Wadia Digital was claimed to be "warm, though rolled off a bit in the highs". These tropes were adopted by the "audiophile" community almost immediately. The result was that everyone "knew", most especially the critics, that Theta products tended to be "forward", "glaring", and "harsh".

But no one ever proved there was any truth to the whole thing. Everyone just "knew" this was true. Wonder why.
 

RayDunzl

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When I've forgotten to which one I last switched, like right now, with my normal "casual" listening position here at the desk, I can't tell you reliably which is running.
Wow. Posted that about 8 hours ago.

Hadn't changed the settings, nor "noticed" which were playing. TV has been the source, as I did other things... Cook dinner, read this stuff, a little paperwork, watch the TV here and there, no "serious" listening...

Just now, sitting here at the desk, I thought the room seemed a little warm, opened the window next to me, grabbed the remote to turn off the space-heating amps and ...

But nooooo.

The little JBLs had been playing the whole time, the big amps for the big speakers were on standby.
 

Blumlein 88

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Exactly. Worse, these impressions become embedded. I recall in the '90s that Theta Digital was said to make "detailed, yet harsh" products, while Wadia Digital was claimed to be "warm, though rolled off a bit in the highs". These tropes were adopted by the "audiophile" community almost immediately. The result was that everyone "knew", most especially the critics, that Theta products tended to be "forward", "glaring", and "harsh".

But no one ever proved there was any truth to the whole thing. Everyone just "knew" this was true. Wonder why.
Back when, my impression matched the conventional wisdom exactly. I had the chance to hear Theta before it was widely known so there was no conventional wisdom yet at that time.

It is also true that measurements by Stereophile show Theta dead flat to 20 khz and Wadia down 3 db at 20 khz. Also the Wadia slightly depressed the top octave enough it would be an audible difference. Not night or day, but tends in the direction of the description. Wadia used a different non-ringing filter while Theta didn't.

I'd owned a Theta and a friend had several and updated as they released new ones. I didn't care for Theta dumping it almost immediately, but had a Wadia 25 I really loved and kept quite some time.

So your example might not be the best one.

And yes all quite subjective as were my habits at the time years ago. Which isn't to defend the subjective approach. Only to point out there were measurable reasons the two would sound different and in the direction of the conventional wisdom of those days.
 

Blumlein 88

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Wow. Posted that about 8 hours ago.

Hadn't changed the settings, nor "noticed" which were playing. TV has been the source, as I did other things... Cook dinner, read this stuff, a little paperwork, watch the TV here and there, no "serious" listening...

Just now, sitting here at the desk, I thought the room seemed a little warm, opened the window next to me, grabbed the remote to turn off the space-heating amps and ...

But nooooo.

The little JBLs had been playing the whole time, the big amps for the big speakers were on standby.
So does this mean you can sell the big rig and maybe keep the cheese-woofers for the JBLs and pocket a big wad of dough? Harman already tried to show those M-L's are sub-standard Ray. ;)
 

RayDunzl

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So does this mean you can sell the big rig and maybe keep the cheese-woofers for the JBLs and pocket a big wad of dough?
No.

Still like the 700W vs 50W (or so) sometimes, the much lower distortion at volume, the 10 to 20dB advantage in the direct to reflected/diffused/echoed soundfield and related imaging when I'm paying attention.

I'm headed over to @mitchco's place, after lunch, though. Just to see.

Harman already tried to show those M-L's are sub-standard Ray.
Nah, that test was rigged.

"These are different so they might be no good. But don't let that influence your vote. Right, everyone? Remember your training and who some of you work for and who invited you here, and bought the donuts. Right, everyone? I have all your names, here on this paper I'm holding. and a pencil, too. Sharpened, No. 2, Black. Am I right? Everyone? Ready to vote? Decode your answer now! Ding."

1552030968804.png
 
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M00ndancer

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No.

Still like the 700W vs 50W (or so) sometimes, the much lower distortion at volume, the 10 to 20dB advantage in the direct to reflected/diffused/echoed soundfield and related imaging when I'm paying attention.

I'm headed over to @mitchco's place, after lunch, though. Just to see.



Nah, that test was rigged.

"These are different so they might be no good. But don't let that influence your vote. Right, everyone? Remember your training and who some of you work for and who invited you here, and bought the donuts. Right, everyone? I have all your names, here on this paper I'm holding. and a pencil, too. Sharpened, No. 2, Black. Am I right? Everyone? Ready to vote? Decode your answer now! Ding."

View attachment 23231
Can I have the one to the left? It has the highest WAF.
 

Blumlein 88

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No.

Still like the 700W vs 50W (or so) sometimes, the much lower distortion at volume, the 10 to 20dB advantage in the direct to reflected/diffused/echoed soundfield and related imaging when I'm paying attention.

I'm headed over to @mitchco's place, after lunch, though. Just to see.



Nah, that test was rigged.

"These are different so they might be no good. But don't let that influence your vote. Right, everyone? Remember your training and who some of you work for and who invited you here, and bought the donuts. Right, everyone? I have all your names, here on this paper I'm holding. and a pencil, too. Sharpened, No. 2, Black. Am I right? Everyone? Ready to vote? Decode your answer now! Ding."

View attachment 23231
I think it was the blue hold down straps and the speakers close behind it reflecting the back wave oddly. Notice the other speakers have black straps.
 
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[QUOTE=". Only to point out there were measurable reasons the two would sound different and in the direction of the conventional wisdom of those days.[/QUOTE]

I do think that objectivity can also be taken to an extreme- the idea that a measurement doesn't show something, so discard what you think you are hearing. The answer to that would be humility. Maybe the correct thing is not being measured, so lets look at it further. There are very few detailed reviews that test everything.

My favorite example is frequency response graphs on amplifiers. Pretty much everything measures ruler flat up to 20khz, or effectively so. Yet, I hear certain power amps (AVR receivers) to have a warm character, others on the "bright" side. I've always wondered why. I suspect the answer is in the balance of distortion and noise, i.e poor figures in the bass or midbass region, as well as poor damping, might sound warm. Amps with poor high freq distortion might sound like they have more "detail" on the high end. And of course none of these amps even approach 90db Sinad, so anyone who says they hear something, I would tend to believe.
 
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