• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required. There are many reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Message to golden-eared audiophiles posting at ASR for the first time...

krabapple

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
3,194
Likes
3,759
Yeah, that's a great test. Should work just fine for demonstrating bias. Just like cars. My bad.
 

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,316
Likes
12,265
Could you share with us why do not use these anymore. I was very favorably impressed with their cheapest floor standing model 40.000€. I gave up on omnis a long time ago, but these represent a whole new perspective, they will surely lead to more affordable model the way ESS went down market.

I could never afford MBLs myself, especially the ones I wanted, the 101s. But I happened upon a killer deal of the stand mounted 121 MBLs that had been shipped new to a customer, but damaged along the way. Only cosmetic, but enough to make it a "can't let this go" price.

Anyway, I loooved having the MBLs. Had them for at least 10 years and figured I'd never part with them. But I don't seek "the perfect speaker" because I enjoy the ways speakers sound different. Hence I've often had several speakers on hand, and I'd switch the MBLs in and out of the system. I became besotted with Joseph Audio Perspective speakers which were really expensive and the only way I could afford them was selling the MBLs.

The Josephs came *close enough* in many of the areas I liked in the MBLs, but added more bass extension and were richer and warmer and more impactful.

If I could "fault" the MBLs, it's that they had a different presentation than any box speaker I've owned. Often it was glorious, but sometimes old faithful albums or music sounded somewhat less familiar. Rush for instance seemed to just feel right blasting through my box speakers. Again, this may simply be due to having grown up listening to my favourite music on box speakers. So I was ok finally letting the MBLs go, despite that I was giving up their singular "magic show."

I had a similar experience owning QUAD ESL 63s. They were formative in drawing me in to the audiophile world in the 90's. That electrostat "transparent boxless quality" blew me away because I'd never really heard it before. Though after a while I found the sound a bit wanting in terms of body and "room feel" and impact, so i went to box speakers again. The MBLs were something else though - the boxless quality of stats, but with more body and dynamics like a classic dynamic speaker.

(Ideally I would have been able to keep the MBLs, because I still occasionally miss them... and the 101s still are something of a dream speaker)
 

Killingbeans

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
4,096
Likes
7,571
Location
Bjerringbro, Denmark.
You not think some gear is made to measure, rather than to sound? Topping DACs, well, China is hot on face value marketing.

It's a good question. But it leads to another question: Can gear, that's made to measure good, sound bad?

I've seen a lot of people claiming 'yes', but those claims all seem to be born from an idea that cheap junk with fancy graphs can't possibly sound good, and then expectation bias takes care of the rest. In reality, the vast majority of reports saying that this or that product is "voiced" for whatever reason, are shown to be grabbed out of thin air, when just slightly more rigorous investigation is being applied.

I've got some serious doubts about the longevity and reliability of some of these products, but I have no worries about their "sound". On the contrary, the measurements would rather indicate that they preform as close to the fabled "wire-with-gain" as can practically be achieved. Whether that's something you desire or not is a completely different question.

When moving into the territory of products that are truly "transparent" in any practical sense vs. those that are actually "colored" enough on purpose to be audible, it become a matter of personal taste and idividual goals, IMO. There's a reason why people can't come to an agreement on the definition of "High-Fidelity" :D
 

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,316
Likes
12,265
It's a good question. But it leads to another question: Can gear, that's made to measure good, sound bad?

No.

Because "good measurements" for electronics mean transparent, so they can't be adding anything sonically, "good" or "bad."
"Good measurements" for loudspeakers are (at least by ASR lights) based on research in to what sounds "good" to most people. So the point of
the measurements is that they sound good.

I can't see how accurate equipment, properly set up, can "sound bad" - only the recordings can vary in that way.

Of course there are caveats about the subjective nature of "sounds good/bad," but I would be comfortable generalizing in the above way.

(There's that shibboleth that many measurement-allergic audiophiles bring out - "but as we know from the specs-wars in the 70's/80s, plenty of amplifiers were designed to measure great, but sounded horrible!" Actually, I don't "know" that. Sounds like b.s. Where are the blind tests validating that claim?)


I've seen a lot of people claiming 'yes', but those claims all seem to be born from an idea that cheap junk with fancy graphs can't possibly sound good, and then expectation bias takes care of the rest. In reality, the vast majority of reports saying that this or that product is "voiced" for whatever reason, are shown to be grabbed out of thin air, when just slightly more rigorous investigation is being applied.

I agree. Much of the "voicing" stuff , especially in regard to electronics, are assumed by many audiophiles but my sense it that it's mostly nonsense.
 

Killingbeans

Major Contributor
Joined
Oct 23, 2018
Messages
4,096
Likes
7,571
Location
Bjerringbro, Denmark.
(There's that shibboleth that many measurement-allergic audiophiles bring out - "but as we know from the specs-wars in the 70's/80s, plenty of amplifiers were designed to measure great, but sounded horrible!" Actually, I don't "know" that. Sounds like b.s. Where are the blind tests validating that claim?)

Ahh yes, and then we get the old "Science doesn't know everything. Sometime in the future we'll discover something important that's missing in our current understanding. Then you'll see, that the reason why all of those wonderful impressions disappear in blind tests, is indeed just because the poor test subjects are stressed!" :facepalm:
 

AdamG

Helping stretch the audiophile budget…
Moderator
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 3, 2021
Messages
4,742
Likes
15,691
Location
Reality

killdozzer

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
1,615
Likes
1,632
Location
Zagreb
Is presenting the same wine in two differently labelled bottles somehow saying something erroneous about *wines* to you?

It's not used to 'explain audio'. It's used to illustrate psychological bias.

And if nothing else, 'wines' are far, far better to use than *cars*.
Why do you ask about erroneous?

And no, it's far, far worse to use than auto. At least when it's automobiles and audio, it's technology vs technology.

I'm in favor of using nothing but audio for all examples in audio, since analogy is often rightly considered the weakest method of proving anything.

Wines being by far the worse and least relatable example.
 

killdozzer

Major Contributor
Joined
Aug 2, 2020
Messages
1,615
Likes
1,632
Location
Zagreb
You not think some gear is made to measure, rather than to sound? Topping DACs, well, China is hot on face value marketing.
I also kindly disagree with this. Would you and why would you want a DAC to sound? It has a rather straightforward task, almost mathematical. Besides, we don't have that many (any?) people reporting anything lacking in how it works.
 

JustJones

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Mar 31, 2020
Messages
1,746
Likes
2,466
Hope it's alright to post this link to Audioholics. Nice article on bias, thought this would be a good thread for it.

 

fpitas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
9,885
Likes
14,207
Location
Northern Virginia, USA

fpitas

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jul 7, 2022
Messages
9,885
Likes
14,207
Location
Northern Virginia, USA
Hope it's alright to post this link to Audioholics. Nice article on bias, thought this would be a good thread for it.

This just proves that the color of the LED affects the sound!

/Uh huh
 

krabapple

Major Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
3,194
Likes
3,759
Why do you ask about erroneous?

And no, it's far, far worse to use than auto. At least when it's automobiles and audio, it's technology vs technology.

But hardly analogous technology.

And most importantly , they are manifestly unsuited for doing blind sensory comparisons.

Beverages are well suited to them - as food companies know, because they use such tests in product development.



I'm in favor of using nothing but audio for all examples in audio, since analogy is often rightly considered the weakest method of proving anything.

But your argument here is weak. What is wrong with analogizing blind taste tests to blind listening tests, exactly?


Wines being by far the worse and least relatable example.


Again, stipulated but not demonstrated.
 

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,316
Likes
12,265
But hardly analogous technology.

And most importantly , they are manifestly unsuited for doing blind sensory comparisons.

Beverages are well suited to them - as food companies know, because they use such tests in product development.

Yes, he's missing the point.

And no, it's far, far worse to use than auto. At least when it's automobiles and audio, it's technology vs technology.

You are missing the principle in the analogy - the principle isn't about "technology" it has to do with with the reliability of our perception, the ways
our expectations can influence our perception. The wine analogy is a good one to illustrate this issue.

I'm in favor of using nothing but audio for all examples in audio, since analogy is often rightly considered the weakest method of proving anything.

I think this is a misunderstanding.

Analogical reasoning is one of the fundamental ways we understand the world, in every day reasoning and in science. Lab experiments, for instance,
entail analogical reasoning - acknowledging the dissimilarities between the controlled lab scenario vs the phenomenon happening in nature, but it's the relevant similarities being studied that make the experiments potentially useful (and hopefully predictive outside the lab).

In fact in empirical reasoning, you pretty much don't escape analogical reasoning. For instance in the realm of human perception, no two humans are exactly the same physically or in terms of their causal surroundings. So if you say "We've studied the perception of thousands of subjects, in various tests that have been replicated, showing they could not hear distortion at 120dB below the base signal." Then you have someone claiming to hear differences between amps that have distortion levels that low, you say "No, this has been studied, you can't hear differences between distortion levels that low." Well...that depends on analogical thinking - it ignores all the dissimilarities between the Golden Ear and your experiment subjects to concentrate on the relevant similarity - that this Golden Ear's perceptual system is relevantly similar to all your subjects.

The Golden Ear can just protest "But you studied different people...I can list off a million ways in which my life is disadvantageous to your subjects, so your reasoning doesn't apply to me!" So you are stuck with the fact the person is DIFFERENT from the subjects in all manner of ways, which means you have to argue why the DIFFERENCES he is citing are not relevant, and that the SIMILARITIES of his perceptual system are relevant.

In other words, you can have to end up defending your analogy in any case.

Since analogical reasoning is so fundamental and you actually accept it even if appealing directly to audio science, you can't just dismiss an analogy "because analogies are weak forms of argument or evidence." Instead, you have to actually point out the weakness of any proposed analogy.

In the case of the wine analogy, it establishes the principle of how our expectations can influence our perception. You can try to find what is so dissimilar in the analogy as to render it irrelevant to audio perception. What would that be? Well you could say "But that only establishes such expectations effects for our perception of taste!" But to actually argue that is irrelevant, you should have a good reason why perception in regard to our hearing is different, as if something about perception in regard to hearing suggests it's more reliable. So what reason would you have to justify that what we perceive in hearing would be less susceptible to such error?

One can say the wine analogy is not as tight as one that appeals directly to experiments showing such bias effects in perceiving sound. But that's still analogical reasoning, and the "even tighter" analogy does not obviate the relevance of the less tight analogy, unless you have strong reasons against it.
 
Last edited:

Newman

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 6, 2017
Messages
3,520
Likes
4,358
No wonder your analogies are often so bad, and your arguments from analogy so spurious.
 

Victor Martell

Active Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2018
Messages
191
Likes
228
What about science that backs up some of this subjectivity? I'm sure there must be some science out there backing that up. My cable change on my subwoofer was and still is very audible, volumes the same (on AVR), same songs, same gain on the subwoofer. This new cable is shielded to high frequencies and I have 2mW/m2 1.8ghz signals at the cable from the cell tower near me, that's already billions of times higher than normal natural background microwave levels, I believe QED when they talk about micro timing caused by RFI. It's not just about the cable, it's also how the cable serves the components it's attached to.

Weird, yes, it's like they want to be robots. I really do think ASR has many of them. They can do what they want, but dismissing subjectivity like some religious cult is indeed bonkers in itself.

I'm not extreme, I don't dismiss measurements, I will search hard to find measurements that back up my subjective experiences, if there is no proof after hard searching... it will make me wonder... but maybe there's no measurements for it yet. Of course, I'm against kidding myself as well.

For me, audio science is interesting, when it confirms subjectivity.

There is plenty of research on subjectivity and why people like or dislike anything. Everything we have discussed here, from people's preference for harmonic distortion, biases, logical fallacies and even Dunning-Kruger has been discussed in a scientific context.

To look confirmation for subjectivity, sounds too close to confirmation of bias. Kind of like concluding there is a God because of a shape in a piece of burnt toast. If you believe already... :D

Respectfully, there is no confirmation from a scientifically controlled experiment that will backup claims like the one about your subwoofer cable. It is also not wrong to be happy about your cable. I also buy stuff because I want it - I KNOW that in a scientifically controlled experiment it cannot be proved that there are any audible differences between my $100 Modi and my $800 Bitfrost - and I understand and admit that. I just wanted a Bitfrost. No shame, no judgement, please. Of course, as long as I don't claim they can be easily identified in a controlled experiment (there is no proof) or worse, that the more expensive item sounds better. Again, all things equal, there is no proof.

v
 
Last edited:

Victor Martell

Active Member
Joined
Mar 9, 2018
Messages
191
Likes
228
Come to my house then lol. I don't have the tools to prove it. There's plenty of people who invite others to do the same.
That is not a scientifically controlled experiment - that would be just 2 people expressing an opinion!

That is the thing - the fact that you have an opinion about that you heard, does not makes that opinion (and experience) a universal truth. That is all
 

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,316
Likes
12,265
No wonder your analogies are often so bad, and your arguments from analogy so spurious.

Thank you for showing up to illustrate the difference between a snide comment and responding to an actual argument (like the one I presented).

An intellectually honest approach would be to actually point out errors in the reasoning I presented.

What exactly do you dispute? As someone who continually crows about The Science, do you actually dispute the relevance of Analogical reasoning
as I pointed it out?



Introduction

Analogical reasoning – the ability to perceive and use relational
similarity between two situations or events – is a fundamental
aspect of human cognition. Indeed, some researchers suggest
that it is the crucial cognitive mechanism that most distin-
guishes human cognition from that of other intelligent species.
It is a core process in scientific discovery and problem-solving,
as well as in categorization and decision-making.



In daily life, we encounter metaphors and analogies very frequently (13), but it appears that they are often misunderstood or discounted (6, 16). In contrast, analogies are used in science to develop insights into, hypotheses and questions about, and explanations of phenomena that are usually unobservable: they must be understood. In science, two systems are analogous if they agree in the relations between their respective parts (the meaning of “relations” and “parts” below). It has often been asserted that they are fundamental to the development of new ideas (10, 24). Hofstader (15) argues that analogy is “…the lifeblood…of human thinking.” The important role of analogy has been demonstrated by many examples in the history of science (19).

If you can not dispute such claims, then you are stuck with the implications I gave: you can't just dismiss the relevance of an argument "because reasoning based on analogy is weak" since you will almost inevitably in the empirical realm be appealing to a form of analogy. Therefore you have to point out specifically why any particular analogy is not informative or relevant. And...be my guest as to why the wine example is not at all informative or relevant to the subject of expectation bias, including when we use our perceptual system to make inferences about differences in audio gear.
 
Last edited:

MattHooper

Master Contributor
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
7,316
Likes
12,265
I'm confused. Who are you addressing here? Me, killdozzer, the car guy, or Hooper?

You don't agree that a phantom wine switch is a good analog of a phantom audio switch, for illustrating the operation of bias?

It's known as a "drive by."
 
Top Bottom