• WANTED: Happy members who like to discuss audio and other topics related to our interest. Desire to learn and share knowledge of science required as is 20 years of participation in forums (not all true). There are daily reviews of audio hardware and expert members to help answer your questions. Click here to have your audio equipment measured for free!

Stereophile's snide editorial on ASR and Amir

Status
Not open for further replies.

kokakolia

Active Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Messages
117
Likes
71
Not my experience.

On the contrary. The objectivist position is in fact that you can like what you want. Just don’t call it better because you like it better.
If you agree most of the time with ASR, your experience will only be positive.

I dare you to post a positive review on a fullrange driver speaker or a tube amplifier on ASR without measurements.
 

krabapple

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
2,179
Likes
2,418
You sound like a priest! A priest would say that a life isn't worth pursuing without religion.

No trial is invalid. Saying that one trial is more valid than another is dogmatic.

If a trial can't actually do what it means to do, it's a bad trial. But it may well be that the user wasn't really interested in running a good one in the first place.

Considering where it's coming from, I think Austin's article is quite temperate. I'm sorry if some folks here at ASR are at once, (a) owning the label, "simple-minded objectivists", while at the same time, (b) are offended by it. Too close to the mark maybe?

I rather like the remark Austin attributes to Putzeys, "We don't so much hear distortion levels as distortion mechanisms. You need to understand the mechanism before you can design a test that will quantify it sensibly." I strongly believe in the usefulness of measurement, (though I'm just listener, not an engineer or scientist). But I'm a good enough supporter of the true scientific method to believe the "science" never has all the answers but should be constantly evolving.

I'm not confident the current science has given audio engineering has all the answers (though it's on the way). Much less am I sure that current science has all the answers in case of psycho-acoustics. In short, are we sufficiently measuring all the right device attributes? Is psycho-acoustic testing really driving out what people actual hear in real-world listening? Do we ultimately know which measurements are most useful for determining what listeners most value in SQ.

This is where blind listening tests cut through much of the hand wavy 'but what if we don't know?" stuff.


It's hubristic to assume we have it all right right now. Unhappily I and the likes of Jim Austin come away feeling that this hubris is too common in some circles.

But heavens no, not Jim Austin or Stereophile itself.
 
Last edited:

mglobe

Active Member
Joined
Mar 18, 2022
Messages
214
Likes
290
I have really been enjoying this forum in the very short time I've been following it. Have learned a lot, and made some very nice purchases with the information I've mined here. However, I find the us-vs-them conversation some are participating in here and in multiple other threads tiring and a distraction from what I'm here for. Yes I can just ignore it, but I think it does more harm than good to ASR. In my humble opinion, we all here should be more thick skinned, rise above the fray, and at the same time be thoughtful about what we might LEARN from the differences of opinion that sets off these type of threads. There are always three sides to an argument.
 

krabapple

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
2,179
Likes
2,418
Again. Dogmatic. You're illustrating the "Righteous Us VS Them" mentality. There is no room for people outside of your viewpoint on the hobby. They're wrong.

I may be a "loopy subjectivist" but I acknowledge that people have different methods for purchasing/recommending products. The objective method is valid for many people on ASR, it's just not the direction for me.

First, the bit you quoted was my defense of Stereophile letting anti-ASR comments on their website.

Second, apart from the fact that I wasn't even thinking of you (yet) when i wrote 'loopy', what are you doing here, on a forum literally called Audio Science Review, if you are so offended by subjectivist 'trials' being considered flawed for their purpose?


The "scientific method" is misused so much in the context of foreign aid, education and health.

:rolleyes: the "worm wars' are 'wars' because there is debate among scientists about the efficacy of 'deworming' a human population to increase life outcomes.
 
Last edited:

watchnerd

Grand Contributor
Joined
Dec 8, 2016
Messages
12,425
Likes
10,312
Location
Seattle Area, USA
It's that too. But hard to see how you could miss the references that 'just happen' to fit ASR . (Certainly one of their commenters 'got' it.)

Maybe you're just a super-nice person? ;)

*shrug*

I've been reading Stereophile since it was paper in the 1980s, far longer than ASR has existed, so I'm accustomed to their writers babbling on about all sorts of inconsequential things that I don't waste brainpower trying to interpret.

Sam Tellig used to write weird stuff about his trips to Russia.
 

Timon VDB

Active Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
134
Likes
187
Location
NL -> AT (Vienna)
Again. Dogmatic. You're illustrating the "Righteous Us VS Them" mentality. There is no room for people outside of your viewpoint on the hobby. They're wrong.

I may be a "loopy subjectivist" but I acknowledge that people have different methods for purchasing/recommending products. The objective method is valid for many people on ASR, it's just not the direction for me.

The "scientific method" is misused so much in the context of foreign aid, education and health. The Maintenance Phase podcast episode on the "Worm Wars" is a perfect example. Some hotshot American Economist traveled to Africa with the goal to improve school attendence. He (forcefully) distributed worm medecine to all students and attendence shot up. But the worm medecine wasn't the direct cause, other causes like increased surveillance due to the program and "free stuff" also came into effect. Scientific papers were published and the damage was done. Millions of dollars were funneled into sending billions of pills to Africa. The effects of that policy weren't as effective as anticipated. Worse, a riot broke out in the school and a teacher got murdered by a parent for forcing medecine on a kid.

So blind trust in "science" is reckless. One must think critically regardless.
Blind trust is the opposite of science. Science is organized distrust.
 

Timon VDB

Active Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
134
Likes
187
Location
NL -> AT (Vienna)
Hmmm... I read the papers, the books, and considered the research behind the preference curves. To me that is rational thought, not dogmatic. If you (anyone) do not trust any authority outside your own, the corollary is that you must know all that is known through your own experience. The extreme interpretation is that all scientific authority must be rejected without questioning the research, with the implication that you (again, any "you", not you specifically) have the time and competence to perform and/or understand the research. I am nowhere near that smart, nor have the time it would require to achieve that level of competence; I must depend upon the expertise of others both in my job and in my daily life.


I would disagree with that in general. Engineers must go through design reviews, do publish papers in peer-reviewed journals (ever hear of the IEEE? AES? IRE?), and are trained almost from the start in the scientific method. Perhaps schools have changed since I was there, but in recent years when I have lectured at the local college it was still very much in evidence. I have participated in several standards that focused on repeatable measurement protocols (various IEEE standards, primarily, plus PCIe and SAS standards more recently). Many people look down upon engineers as not true "scientists", and from the standpoint of performing basic research that is often (probably mostly) true, but I see a continuum from basic to applied research and thence to product design. Perhaps because I spent much of my career in an R&D environment, both for government and commercial projects.

I need a break...
Methods and techniques of engineering as studied and thought in schools may be subject to peer review, as is some R&D work, but not the engineering work itself. Do you know of any audio manufacturer who publishes full designs including all manufacturing details..?
 

mhardy6647

Master Contributor
Joined
Dec 12, 2019
Messages
7,212
Likes
14,998
I'm feeling the need to repost this slide that I added a few years back to the first week's lecture of the grad school biotechnology course I teach.
I get kind of antsy whenever I hear someone, in pretty much any context, seem to use the word science as some sort of talisman. ;)
Not directed at anyone, or any post, in particular. Just one of my nonlinearities (as I like to say).
I also worry that "kids" (ahem, students) these days are taught technology in lieu of science -- which I wouldn't consider a good thing.

1658331503027.png
 

krabapple

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
2,179
Likes
2,418
Intro to Glycobiology? Eek! A sticky subject. :D

(I do have an actual caution though...the most common snide comments about the phrase 'settled science' by far come from anthropogenic climate change deniers. But I suspect Naomi Oreskes of all people would absolutely agree that the factuality of ACC is about as 'settled' as science gets.)
 

Rednaxela

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 30, 2022
Messages
1,279
Likes
1,443
Location
NL
I dare you to post a positive review on a fullrange driver speaker or a tube amplifier on ASR without measurements.
I can freely speak about my affection for Fane TC drivers here. Without providing measurements.

Granted that’s not the same as posting a review. If I would do that, I would review them for what they are (technically quite lacking). I’m rather sure I would get away with not backing that up with measurements. And also that I can safely finish by stating that nevertheless they sound terrific to me in my room in my application to my ears. Without having to fear for my membership.

Do you really think that would be impossible here?
 

JanesJr1

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
445
Likes
369
Location
MA
Some or Many Steve Hoffman Forums users think ASR is a religious cult as well

ASR’s basic premise, better measuring = better sounding is flawed. What follows is a bunch of cultist nonsense.

ASR is a forum for fanatics. as such there is a heavy bias towards a particular dogma. this forum is the polar opposite and generally polite and supportive. ASR is instead a close minded group of fanatics that are obsessed measurements only. its by far the least helpful and least fun audio forum around.

Research done using measurements on test equipment. No test equipment can measure everything humans can hear. And some operators of that test equipment, like ASR, make errant measurements.

Quite, I mean Amir and ASR has built a reputation as a "myth buster" and as such is hardly a neutral scientist approaching testing open-mindedly. Furthermore, if we go by the bible of ASR then we would all just use $200 Chinese DACs (they measure the best according to Amir) and $5 Costco cables (expensive cables are a waste of money according to Amir). In fact the forum threads on ASR are unsurprisingly reminiscent of some of the posts on this thread - Amir reviews and lambasts a product (if it isn't a cheap Chinese DAC), his followers go onto the thread lauding him with god-like praise and laughing at the poor fools who would buy such a product, bathing in their perceived superiority for "seeing the light". Sound familiar? The irony is that when you look at the gear list of posters on this and other threads who adopt the objectivist approach and laud ASR, I don't see them using those same cheap Chinese DACs that ASR bangs on about measuring so well and I often see expensive cables listed in their gear list. Seems they don't always practice what they preach.

Why? ASR knows how to measure everything but knows the value of very little, it seems. Like a kid given a ruler for the first time, running around measuring the world and casting judgement and deciding its worth. Right. Being able to measure something does not make you an engineer. Give him/ASR time. Maybe one day he'll grow up.

ASR doesn't review equipment with human ears. They use machines.
I don't believe that this is true at all.

But if I were to suggest changes to this site to prevent such misconceptions among unexperienced visitors, I would recognize two things and perhaps try to change them:

1. Like any mostly-uncensored forum that deals with controversial topics, we sometimes do congratulate ourselves or denigrate the lack of insight on the part of those who disagree.

2. I think we inadvertently reinforce the untrue stereotype that we elevate products based on inaudible measurements of SINAD, simply by using a ranking graphic as the most visible aspect of our reviews. Amir is more and more careful to mention inaudibility in his narrative discussion, and the color-coding tries to make things less scalar and more categorical .... but the graphic does seem to suggest a tilted value system that rewards one thing based on a single measurement, rather than a balanced multi-factor review.

I can imagine objections to even conceding anything at all to those who promote the stereotype, since it is not true, and we don't want to appear defensive over untruths. It's also true that we are generally striking home with our approach, and those we put at a disadvantage will rant away no matter what we do.

But for those who aren't close enough to ASR to know better, and might be receptive if they engaged with us, I would suggest that a pragmatic step would be to not step into the punches of misguided adversaries, and that two ways to do that are:

1. Speak to one another like the dispassionate scientists we mostly are in our forum conversations. That's a hard one. It is up to all of us to reinforce such decorum in our own posts, and to politely reinforce such values in the posts of others. Walk our talk. (or should it be, talk our walk?)

2. Arrange our reviews so as to reinforce their multi-factor content. For example, perhaps move the ranking graphic to one central location on the website, and arrange headings in the individual reviews into an outline format that identifies the various objective and sometimes subjective factors being considered, with negative scalar measurements broken into categories iike always inaudible, inaudible except under test conditions, and audible to critical listeners. Or whatever makes sense. (We don't have to clone RTINGs, but maybe consider it as at least an example of a clearly-multi-factor approach.)

Fight back by doing what we already do well and promoting it with professionalism. But also, use some PR savvy about breaking the back of stereotypes.
 

Timon VDB

Active Member
Joined
Oct 13, 2020
Messages
134
Likes
187
Location
NL -> AT (Vienna)
1. Speak to one another like the dispassionate scientists we mostly are in our forum conversations.
As anyone who works in science can tell you, scientists are not dispassionate. They hate everyone who doesn't like their pet idea, with a passion. It's a feature of the system that they have to convince their enemies (sometimes called 'peers') to have their ideas accepted.;)
 

JanesJr1

Senior Member
Forum Donor
Joined
Jun 9, 2021
Messages
445
Likes
369
Location
MA
As anyone who works in science can tell you, scientists are not dispassionate. They hate everyone who doesn't like their pet idea, with a passion. It's a feature of the system that they have to convince their enemies (sometimes called 'peers') to have their ideas accepted.;)
That's why scientists have peer review, to sort that all out. New findings win acceptance faster when they are objectively presented as well as reproducibly produced. (I didn't say to avoid disagreement. I just suggest winning hearts and minds along the way.)
 
Last edited:

captainbeefheart

Senior Member
Joined
Apr 18, 2022
Messages
360
Likes
437
I doubt Stereophile online moderates comments to that extent. Maybe they've only got two (three now) comments so far. The article was only posted yesterday. Sheesh.

The article was only posted yesterday yet here we are at ASR 11 pages deep in comments, and the source has two comments, not pages? Really you think they allow anyone to comment like Amir does here?
 

kokakolia

Active Member
Joined
Mar 28, 2022
Messages
117
Likes
71
I can freely speak about my affection for Fane TC drivers here. Without providing measurements.

Granted that’s not the same as posting a review. If I would do that, I would review them for what they are (technically quite lacking).

Do you really think that would be impossible here?
I honestly think that this is impossible on the ASR forums.
 

BDWoody

Chief Cat Herder
Moderator
Forum Donor
Joined
Jan 9, 2019
Messages
5,948
Likes
18,050
Location
Mid-Atlantic, USA. (Maryland)
If they start putting something more than blind faith in subjective evaluation--i.e., implement real blind testing, then they can talk. Until then it is just bluster.

That's really where the blatant avoidance and obfuscation is becoming more and more clear.

Incompetent Amir and his 'cult' could be deemed irrelevant very quickly by any of them if they just backed up the claims.

You're just trusting someone who sounds smart and not questioning the methodology behind the conclusion.

How well do you understand the measurements side?


I honestly think that this is impossible on the ASR forums.

Just shows, once again, how wrong you are.

Not sure why you spend so much energy at a place you seem to despise.
 

Vacceo

Major Contributor
Joined
Mar 9, 2022
Messages
1,971
Likes
2,025
That's really where the blatant avoidance and obfuscation is becoming more and more clear.

Incompetent Amir and his 'cult' could be deemed irrelevant very quickly by any of them if they just just backed up the claims.



How well do you understand the measurements side?




Just shows, once again, how wrong you are.

Not sure why you spend so much energy at a place you seem to despise.
You are offending me. It's written 'kult', just like genuine belonging is written 'trve'.

And yes, I have been part of it since I was 12.
 

MattHooper

Major Contributor
Joined
Jan 27, 2019
Messages
4,470
Likes
7,145
That's really where the blatant avoidance and obfuscation is becoming more and more clear.

Incompetent Amir and his 'cult' could be deemed irrelevant very quickly by any of them if they just backed up the claims.

Yes, so often one hears, from people attempting a technical dismissal, that Amir is clueless "measuring the wrong thing. " And yet, conspicuously, nobody it seems, including the companies that make the products, step up to show "THIS is what you measure...and here are our measurements validating the claims made for the product."

(I think perhaps PS Audio were the only folks who attempted this, and we saw how that went...)
 

krabapple

Major Contributor
Joined
Apr 15, 2016
Messages
2,179
Likes
2,418
I don't believe that this is true at all.

But if I were to suggest changes to this site to prevent such misconceptions among unexperienced visitors, I would recognize two things and perhaps try to change them:

Hoffmanites aren't unexperienced. They just don't believe their 'ears' are wrong.

If you have experience with that forum, you know this.
 
Status
Not open for further replies.
Top Bottom