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NORMS AND STANDARDS FOR DISCOURSE ON ASR

syn08

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Objectively, higher frame rates are 'better' in every way, and objective tests can demonstrate it: people can complete interactive tasks better at higher frame rates; in gaming they can judge time to impact better, etc.
All true, but since when "preference" is (or should) 100% overlap "quality"?

I'm not expecting McDonald's to get bankrupt any time soon due to food quality problems. Or the mp3 industry. Or the YouTube videos. Or... Try to promote the FLAC format to teenagers and see what feedback you'll get (on average, of course).

The fine line is where the industry starts promoting junk*) as the best thing since sliced bread, for pure commercial purposes and using the junk*) as product differentiator. Myself, I have no problem with people living with their favorite junk*) until they try pushing it down my throat.

*) Insert e.g. your preferred audio BS fetish here.
 
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svart-hvitt

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No, he ridicules your inability to understand that the site is specifically about audio science directly and not the wider side epistemological discussion of science in general.

Your inability to deliver any relevant discussion. If there is a specific issue with what ASR does or how it does it from this epistemological aspect then please discuss.

Otherwise it's simply self indulgent nebulous waffle with no purpose or relevance. You are talking endlessly without saying anything at all.
You ask if there is anything of practical value in this thread. I have gone through themes of general, theoretical interest. But I will try and illustrate by a practical example too. Case studies are important!

What have we learned about vox populi in audio?

In Toole (2016), we have seen that by arranging a “market” consisting of 28 consumers who are to reveal their preferences for speakers, the designer of the “market” thinks he can infer a general theory of what constitutes the superior speaker, and what characteristics that make a good or bad speaker.

A closer look at the key word “preference” reveals that the author has a less strict understanding of this important term than experts on rationality and choice. It’s evident that “preferences” in audio change from one group to the next, which is problematic for many reasons, for example meaningful measurements.

So we have a situation where we measure something (“preference”), which is not fully defined and changes from one group to the next, possibly over time too, and we compare these unstable “preferences” to certain speaker characteristics which we cannot fully control for in a statistical sense. We have no possibility of doing ceteris paribus analyses. Do both definitions and measurement methods (i.e. a so called theorization and commensurability problem) deserve to be questioned? If so, it’s like opening a can of worms.

The author expects order, i.e. insight into relevant and irrelevant speaker characteristics to emerge out of what started as chaos based on his single interview with Mr. Market. That is optimistic, but obviously an enticing market story for some.

For comparison: The real masters of factor analyses, academics in financial economics, have access to vast databases of millions of datapoints over decades, sometimes over a century. Yet they’re criticized for creating a factor zoo, seeing patterns that are not there despite fancy p-values. In audio, it seems like one concludes strongly on a much thinner data material than in other sciences.

To me, some of the research in audio science seems to have a commercial end in sight. What is called “science” here is what one often associates with market research and surveys in other fields.

My point is, it doesn’t hurt to read audio science with a dose of skepticism. Some of our beliefs may rest on a foundation that is less robust than many thought.
 

Blumlein 88

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You ask if there is anything of practical value in this thread. I have gone through themes of general, theoretical interest. But I will try and illustrate by a practical example too. Case studies are important!

What have we learned about vox populi in audio?

In Toole (2016), we have seen that by arranging a “market” consisting of 28 consumers who are to reveal their preferences for speakers, the designer of the “market” thinks he can infer a general theory of what constitutes the superior speaker, and what characteristics that make a good or bad speaker.

A closer look at the key word “preference” reveals that the author has a less strict understanding of this important term than experts on rationality and choice. It’s evident that “preferences” in audio change from one group to the next, which is problematic for many reasons, for example meaningful measurements.

So we have a situation where we measure something (“preference”), which is not fully defined and changes from one group to the next, possibly over time too, and we compare these unstable “preferences” to certain speaker characteristics which we cannot fully control for in a statistical sense. We have no possibility of doing ceteris paribus analyses. Do both definitions and measurement methods (i.e. a so called theorization and commensurability problem) deserve to be questioned? If so, it’s like opening a can of worms.

The author expects order, i.e. insight into relevant and irrelevant speaker characteristics to emerge out of what started as chaos based on his single interview with Mr. Market. That is optimistic, but obviously an enticing market story for some.

For comparison: The real masters of factor analyses, academics in financial economics, have access to vast databases of millions of datapoints over decades, sometimes over a century. Yet they’re criticized for creating a factor zoo, seeing patterns that are not there despite fancy p-values. In audio, it seems like one concludes strongly on a much thinner data material than in other sciences.

To me, some of the research in audio science seems to have a commercial end in sight. What is called “science” here is what one often associates with market research and surveys in other fields.

My point is, it doesn’t hurt to read audio science with a dose of skepticism. Some of our beliefs may rest on a foundation that is less robust than many thought.
What are you writing about?

A closer look at the key word “preference” reveals that the author has a less strict understanding of this important term than experts on rationality and choice. It’s evident that “preferences” in audio change from one group to the next, which is problematic for many reasons, for example meaningful measurements.

I seem to recall groups with different backgrounds, groups with different levels of ear training, groups of different ages, and eventually groups from different cultures and native languages all showing the same basic preference.
 

watchnerd

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For comparison: The real masters of factor analyses, academics in financial economics, have access to vast databases of millions of datapoints over decades, sometimes over a century. Yet they’re criticized for creating a factor zoo, seeing patterns that are not there despite fancy p-values. In audio, it seems like one concludes strongly on a much thinner data material than in other sciences.
Are you trying to relate Fama-French equity factor analysis (quant) to speaker preference testing (qual)?
 

amirm

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A closer look at the key word “preference” reveals that the author has a less strict understanding of this important term than experts on rationality and choice. It’s evident that “preferences” in audio change from one group to the next, which is problematic for many reasons, for example meaningful measurements.
If by this insult you mean Dr. Toole, consider this a final warning before I terminate your membership. After all, between a choice of having you here, and one of the top luminaries in the field of sound reproduction, the decision is dead simple. You go and he stays.

Spend less time posting nonsense here and read and understand the countless research papers written by Dr. Toole and Olive, outlining in every which way who was in the test, what preference meant, etc., etc. You can be ignorant about all of this but not to the point of handing out insults to drive our top experts who can teach us a ton about sound reproduction.
 

amirm

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Our host, @amirm , falls into the same category: Educated in electronic engineering and a life’s experience in software and hardware.
This jab came when I was on vacation and couldn't answer. But now here it is.

My degree is in electrical engineering and I do have a career in both hardware and software.

The last decade of my career however heavily expanded in all fields in technology, managing a full division at Microsoft with its own P&L, marketing, PR, Legal/Contract, and business development to engineering. My marketing team alone was 40+ people. It included everything from branding, to advertising. If you think my experience is just "hard sciences," you are very much mistaken.

Just look at the example of this site. You think this level of success comes from someone who just knows hardware and software? You think how this forum is branded is just an accident? Or the culture that it has? Or the style?

Your tactic of underhanded diminishing of my experience and qualifications is quite obvious and easy to see through. Try less to insult, and more to inform and perhaps there would be some appreciation for your posts.
 
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svart-hvitt

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Thread Starter #367
What are you writing about?

A closer look at the key word “preference” reveals that the author has a less strict understanding of this important term than experts on rationality and choice. It’s evident that “preferences” in audio change from one group to the next, which is problematic for many reasons, for example meaningful measurements.

I seem to recall groups with different backgrounds, groups with different levels of ear training, groups of different ages, and eventually groups from different cultures and native languages all showing the same basic preference.
I had this quote from Dr. Toole in mind:

«As I discuss at several points in my book, audio professionals tend to prefer being in a dominant direct sound field. Whether this is fashion, habituated preference, hearing loss consequences, or something else we may never know. Consumers/audiophiles more often prefer to have some amount of reflected sound arriving at the listening position. We know that this is likely to be most pleasant if the direct and reflected sounds have something spectrally in common - hence the need to look at off-axis performance in anechoic measurements».
Source: https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...-for-discourse-on-asr.8212/page-2#post-204484
 

Blumlein 88

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@svart-hvitt Okay you have just been named by the US gov't, to find out how to make the best speakers in the world. We are tired in the USA of the NRC creating a "speaker gap" between the US and Canada. (Hope you are fan of Kubrick). You've got 10 years to achieve this.

So now that you have been given this task, how would you proceed? Assume you have $10 billion at your disposal. Can you give us the outline of your approach?
 

DDF

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I seem to recall groups with different backgrounds, groups with different levels of ear training, groups of different ages, and eventually groups from different cultures and native languages all showing the same basic preference.
They tested across different cultures, ages, sexes, vocations and hearing ability. The only standout differentiator for preference was hearing ability. I'm not sure where the OP obtained the "28 consumers" from. The number of test subjects was significant as demonstrated in Dr. Olive's slides. I posted most of this data to the OP several weeks ago with no related response.

I almost think that this entire thread is a student's psych project. To have such an informed perspective on many aspects of human behavior but to miss such obvious self transgressions must be intentional.

I want to thank the participants for the side discussion of Bayesian statistics. New to me, and I'll use this in my work. I even coded up the Monte Hall problem to gain deeper insight. It also presented a wonderful opportunity to problem solve with my son entering 4th year Applied Math Engineering. A blessing in disguise.
 

Ron Texas

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@svart-hvitt Okay you have just been named by the US gov't, to find out how to make the best speakers in the world. We are tired in the USA of the NRC creating a "speaker gap" between the US and Canada. (Hope you are fan of Kubrick). You've got 10 years to achieve this.

So now that you have been given this task, how would you proceed? Assume you have $10 billion at your disposal. Can you give us the outline of your approach?
I would get the largest advance possible and disappear.
 

watchnerd

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@svart-hvitt Okay you have just been named by the US gov't, to find out how to make the best speakers in the world. We are tired in the USA of the NRC creating a "speaker gap" between the US and Canada. (Hope you are fan of Kubrick). You've got 10 years to achieve this.

So now that you have been given this task, how would you proceed? Assume you have $10 billion at your disposal. Can you give us the outline of your approach?
Hire the research teams of Harman, Genelec, Dolby, Apple, Sonos, Dynaudio, B&O, TAD, Sonos, AKG, and Sennheiser, then do what they advise.
 

Old Listener

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If by this insult you mean Dr. Toole, consider this a final warning before I terminate your membership. After all, between a choice of having you here, and one of the top luminaries in the field of sound reproduction, the decision is dead simple. You go and he stays.
.
Better sooner than later to terminate him.
 

Floyd Toole

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You ask if there is anything of practical value in this thread. I have gone through themes of general, theoretical interest. But I will try and illustrate by a practical example too. Case studies are important!

What have we learned about vox populi in audio?

In Toole (2016), we have seen that by arranging a “market” consisting of 28 consumers who are to reveal their preferences for speakers, the designer of the “market” thinks he can infer a general theory of what constitutes the superior speaker, and what characteristics that make a good or bad speaker.

A closer look at the key word “preference” reveals that the author has a less strict understanding of this important term than experts on rationality and choice. It’s evident that “preferences” in audio change from one group to the next, which is problematic for many reasons, for example meaningful measurements.

So we have a situation where we measure something (“preference”), which is not fully defined and changes from one group to the next, possibly over time too, and we compare these unstable “preferences” to certain speaker characteristics which we cannot fully control for in a statistical sense. We have no possibility of doing ceteris paribus analyses. Do both definitions and measurement methods (i.e. a so called theorization and commensurability problem) deserve to be questioned? If so, it’s like opening a can of worms.

The author expects order, i.e. insight into relevant and irrelevant speaker characteristics to emerge out of what started as chaos based on his single interview with Mr. Market. That is optimistic, but obviously an enticing market story for some.

For comparison: The real masters of factor analyses, academics in financial economics, have access to vast databases of millions of datapoints over decades, sometimes over a century. Yet they’re criticized for creating a factor zoo, seeing patterns that are not there despite fancy p-values. In audio, it seems like one concludes strongly on a much thinner data material than in other sciences.

To me, some of the research in audio science seems to have a commercial end in sight. What is called “science” here is what one often associates with market research and surveys in other fields.

My point is, it doesn’t hurt to read audio science with a dose of skepticism. Some of our beliefs may rest on a foundation that is less robust than many thought.
I'm getting really tired of this tirade.

You obviously have not read and understood what I and my colleagues have written. Indeed one should always read - anything these days - with a dose of skepticism, but one must also read for comprehension. I cannot understand your stubborn focus on "28 consumers" when over the years there have been double-blind tests on hundreds of loudspeakers employing hundreds of listeners, in several very different rooms, continuing today. The reference you stick with (my 1985-86 papers) was only the beginning, not the end. I don't recall publishing anything in 2016, as you state. To my knowledge those papers represented "firsts" in several categories of scientific endeavor. Olive's 2003 paper alone describes a test that, when it ended, had engaged about 350 listeners - all groups agreeing on the ranking of the test loudspeakers.

In the following list of papers you will see a progression of investigation, looking into the underlying causes of the subjective ratings in the loudspeaker itself (resonances) and as it interacts with a listening space (reflections). This was motivated by a desire to identify characteristics of the loudspeakers underlying the ratings. It was not motivated by marketing as you imply because over those years I was employed by the Canadian government as a research scientist. There were no brands to promote or defend. Surely you know this.

The reward has been that listeners in the tests monotonously identify the least flawed, most neutral loudspeakers and award them the highest scores. I fail to see how this can be challenged as exhibiting some kind of corporate/marketing bias. It simply means that the exact same sound quality that is inherent in all electronics, wires, etc. can be recognized in loudspeakers. Even so, "soft" subjectivists find themselves able to write pages of poetry about wires, speaker stands, acoustical trinkets, even power cords. Go find a "Vox populi" marketing trend in that crowd - good luck. Sadly, these people also review loudspeakers - in a "take it home and listen to it" process, open to all possible biases.

As I pointed out several times before, program variations exist in abundance. Only tone controls used in real time can (partially) compensate. No single loudspeaker can do it. However, it is sensible to begin with a neutral reproducer as a basis. You seem to find reason to question the obvious.

I hope that this is my last post to this thread. It clearly is not a discussion of scientific content or merit. That requires contrary evidence, and I have seen none. I sense a "two cultures" kind of conflict here, and it is obvious which one I am in. (From Wikipedia: The Two Cultures is the first part of an influential 1959 Rede Lecture by British scientist and novelist C. P. Snow.[1][2] Its thesis was that "the intellectual life of the whole of western society" was split into two cultures – the sciences and the humanities – which was a major hindrance to solving the world's problems.")

Toole, F. E. (1982). “Listening tests – turning opinion into fact”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 30, pp. 431-445.
Toole, F. E. (1985). “Subjective measurements of loudspeaker sound quality and listener preferences”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 33. pp. 2-31.
Toole, F. E. (1986). “Loudspeaker measurements and their relationship to listener preferences”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 34, pt.1, pp. 227-235, pt. 2, pp. 323-348.
Toole, F. E. and Olive, S.E. (1988). “The modification of timbre by resonances: perception and measurement”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 36, pp. 122-142.
Olive, S. E. and Toole, F. E. (1989). “The Detection of Reflections in Typical Rooms”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 37, pp. 539-553.
Toole, F. E. and Olive, S.E. (1994). “Hearing is believing vs. believing is hearing: blind vs. sighted listening tests and other interesting things”. 97thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint 3894.
Olive, S.E. (1994). “A Method for Training Listeners and Selecting Program Material for Listening Tests”, Audio Eng. Soc. 97thConvention, preprint 3893.
Toole, F. E. and Olive, S.E. (2001). “Subjective Evaluation”, Chapter 13 in “Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook”, Borwick, J. ed., Focal Press, Oxford.
Olive, S.E. (2001). “A New Listener Training Software Application”, 110thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint No. 5384.
Olive, S.E. (2003). “Difference in Performance and Preference of Trained versus Untrained Listeners in Loudspeaker Tests: A Case Study”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 51, pp. 806-825.
Olive, S.E. (2004a). “A multiple regression model for predicting loudspeaker preference using objective measurements: part 1 – listening test results”, 116thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint 6113.
Olive, S.E. (2004b). “A multiple regression model for predicting loudspeaker preference using objective measurements: part 2 – development of the model”, 117thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint 6190.
Toole, F. E. (2006), “Loudspeakers and Rooms for Sound Reproduction – A Scientific Review”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 54, pp. 451− 476.
Olive, S.E. (2011), The Listener Training Program: http://harmanhowtolisten.blogspot.com
Toole, F. E. (2015). “The Measurement and Calibration of Sound Reproducing Systems”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 63, pp.512-541. This is an open-access paper available to non-members at www.aes.org http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17839

A YouTube lecture that summarizes some of the science:
Toole, F. E. (2015), “Art and Science/Opinions and Facts”, CIRMMT Distinguished Lectures in the Science and Technology of Music, McGill University, Montreal. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrpUDuUtxPM

A book that summarizes most of the relevant science over the past 50 years:
Toole, F.E., “Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms”, Third Edition, Focal Press, 2017.
A companion website has additional content, and it is open access: www.routledge.com/cw/toole

Over and out . . . Bye!
 
Last edited:

amirm

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Over and out . . . Bye!
My apologies Dr. Toole. I just banned @svart-hvitt.

I should say though, the only thing that made this thread worthwhile was your thoughtful responses to his challenges! So in some sense he was adding some value. But also much pain and anguish so I had to end it.

I hope we can enjoy and learn from your posts in other context.
 

Blumlein 88

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I'm getting really tired of this tirade.

You obviously have not read and understood what I and my colleagues have written. Indeed one should always read - anything these days - with a dose of skepticism, but one must also read for comprehension. I cannot understand your stubborn focus on "28 consumers" when over the years there have been double-blind tests on hundreds of loudspeakers employing hundreds of listeners, in several very different rooms, continuing today. The reference you stick with (my 1985-86 papers) was only the beginning, not the end. I don't recall publishing anything in 2016, as you state. To my knowledge those papers represented "firsts" in several categories of scientific endeavor. Olive's 2013 paper alone describes a test that, when it ended, had engaged about 350 listeners - all groups agreeing on the ranking of the test loudspeakers.

In the following list of papers you will see a progression of investigation, looking into the underlying causes of the subjective ratings in the loudspeaker itself (resonances) and as it interacts with a listening space (reflections). This was motivated by a desire to identify characteristics of the loudspeakers underlying the ratings. It was not motivated by marketing as you imply because over those years I was employed by the Canadian government as a research scientist. There were no brands to promote or defend. Surely you know this.

The reward has been that listeners in the tests monotonously identify the least flawed, most neutral loudspeakers and award them the highest scores. I fail to see how this can be challenged as exhibiting some kind of corporate/marketing bias. It simply means that the exact same sound quality that is inherent in all electronics, wires, etc. can be recognized in loudspeakers. Even so, "soft" subjectivists find themselves able to write pages of poetry about wires, speaker stands, acoustical trinkets, even power cords. Go find a "Vox populi" marketing trend in that crowd - good luck. Sadly, these people also review loudspeakers - in a "take it home and listen to it" process, open to all possible biases.

As I pointed out several times before, program variations exist in abundance. Only tone controls used in real time can (partially) compensate. No single loudspeaker can do it. However, it is sensible to begin with a neutral reproducer as a basis. You seem to find reason to question the obvious.

I hope that this is my last post to this thread. It clearly is not a discussion of scientific content or merit. That requires contrary evidence, and I have seen none. I sense at "two cultures" kind of conflict here, and it is obvious which one I am in. (From Wikipedia: The Two Cultures is the first part of an influential 1959 Rede Lecture by British scientist and novelist C. P. Snow.[1][2] Its thesis was that "the intellectual life of the whole of western society" was split into two cultures – the sciences and the humanities – which was a major hindrance to solving the world's problems.")

Toole, F. E. (1982). “Listening tests – turning opinion into fact”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 30, pp. 431-445.
Toole, F. E. (1985). “Subjective measurements of loudspeaker sound quality and listener preferences”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 33. pp. 2-31.
Toole, F. E. (1986). “Loudspeaker measurements and their relationship to listener preferences”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 34, pt.1, pp. 227-235, pt. 2, pp. 323-348.
Toole, F. E. and Olive, S.E. (1988). “The modification of timbre by resonances: perception and measurement”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 36, pp. 122-142.
Olive, S. E. and Toole, F. E. (1989). “The Detection of Reflections in Typical Rooms”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 37, pp. 539-553.
Toole, F. E. and Olive, S.E. (1994). “Hearing is believing vs. believing is hearing: blind vs. sighted listening tests and other interesting things”. 97thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint 3894.
Olive, S.E. (1994). “A Method for Training Listeners and Selecting Program Material for Listening Tests”, Audio Eng. Soc. 97thConvention, preprint 3893.
Toole, F. E. and Olive, S.E. (2001). “Subjective Evaluation”, Chapter 13 in “Loudspeaker and Headphone Handbook”, Borwick, J. ed., Focal Press, Oxford.
Olive, S.E. (2001). “A New Listener Training Software Application”, 110thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint No. 5384.
Olive, S.E. (2003). “Difference in Performance and Preference of Trained versus Untrained Listeners in Loudspeaker Tests: A Case Study”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., 51, pp. 806-825.
Olive, S.E. (2004a). “A multiple regression model for predicting loudspeaker preference using objective measurements: part 1 – listening test results”, 116thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint 6113.
Olive, S.E. (2004b). “A multiple regression model for predicting loudspeaker preference using objective measurements: part 2 – development of the model”, 117thConvention, Audio Eng. Soc., Preprint 6190.
Toole, F. E. (2006), “Loudspeakers and Rooms for Sound Reproduction – A Scientific Review”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 54, pp. 451− 476.
Olive, S.E. (2011), The Listener Training Program: http://harmanhowtolisten.blogspot.com
Toole, F. E. (2015). “The Measurement and Calibration of Sound Reproducing Systems”, J. Audio Eng. Soc., vol. 63, pp.512-541. This is an open-access paper available to non-members at www.aes.org http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=17839

A YouTube lecture that summarizes some of the science:
Toole, F. E. (2015), “Art and Science/Opinions and Facts”, CIRMMT Distinguished Lectures in the Science and Technology of Music, McGill University, Montreal. www.youtube.com/watch?v=zrpUDuUtxPM

A book that summarizes most of the relevant science over the past 50 years:
Toole, F.E., “Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms”, Third Edition, Focal Press, 2017.
A companion website has additional content, and it is open access: www.routledge.com/cw/toole

Over and out . . . Bye!
Thank you for this. Obviously it should not have been needed. I can only imagine the tedium of seeing all the questioning of how your research proceeded and the accusations of sorts when they have no legitimacy. When you've given the outlines of how it proceeded and it showed the thoroughness of your approach as evidenced in your post with all the citations in it.
 

digicidal

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Well, I for one learned a great deal from this thread... though, not as much from the OP. However misguided it's origin may or may not have been - the meanderings within did lead to some very interesting discourse. Obviously, in no small part, due to the contributions of @Floyd Toole (and others).

If the tone and presentation were more one of "perhaps there are some still unexplored areas for research" and less of "anything established/complex is relatively unimportant" - maybe it would have been more constructive. It certainly would have been less ironic.
 
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