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Vinyl is not as bad as I expected.

MattHooper

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And neither does he. And neither do you (about you). Because the science is investigating what people prefer in THE SOUND WAVES. (Small chance that I am wrong

Again: but you don't know that you are right, and can't call his preference out as not being scientific, or "not being aligned with the science," if the science allows for the existence of preferences like his. And...again...he (and I and others) are speaking from personal experience. Unscientific personal experience yes, so caveats attend (as they would to literally every inference we make every day of our lives!). But if you are being a cautious scientifically minded person, you'd also note the limit of what you can extrapolate. Did the conditions, stereo set up, tracks, type of surround etc used by me or Symhpra match exactly those used in the studies? If not, you have to add yet another caveat to the claim that you can confidently extrapolate from the studies TO THE SITUATION Symhpra drew our conclusions.

Perhaps if the exact situations and source material in which we preferred the stereo were played to many people, a majority (or at least a significant proportion) would have agreed the surround was off-putting and gimmicky, or not adding that much, or preferred the stereo too.

This is why you have to be cautious about exactly how much you can extrapolate with confidence to the SPECIFIC claims someone has made, before you go browbeating them for being Against The Science.


and he and you have indeed done such scientific studies on your own preferences, but in general the people wasting everyone’s time with personal anecdotes are referencing their sighted listening, and also, even if they do a controlled self-test, not logging enough data on it to conduct statistical analysis of their own preferences either.)

It's impossible to produce scientific studies for EVERYTHING anyone may want to discuss here (or elsewhere in life). So anecdotal impressions are given, where most of us acknowledge the confidence level is lower vs rigorous bias-controlled testing. Best to make peace with it.
Note that most here have given anecdotal impressions of sound, including the owner of the site (who also uses sighted listening tests as well).

You certainly have the right to not care about any sighted/anecdotal evidence and just ignore it. But most here seem to realize some level of practicality and can exchange subjective reports provisionally, while also availing ourselves of whatever science there is on certain subjects.
If all that is "wasting your time" I'd suggest you will remain frustrated here and may be more comfortable sticking with Hydrogen Audio.



But people anecdotally expressing here where their preferences lie (I don’t do it BTW, and you seem to be assuming that I do) are really talking 99% of the time about their bias,

Again...there's another assumption, not a scientific claim. (That is, if you are claiming that for instance 99% of the time people's subjective descriptions are not accurate or related to reality at all).


and actually don’t know where they would sit on the topic in a controlled test, but the ODDS (your emphasis) are that they would fall in line with the science. (Cue heated, futile debate from several here about how oneself couldn’t possibly be wrong about one’s own preferences.)

Of course one can be wrong about one's own preference. But it has to be carefully stated what one MEANS by such a claim.

If I were a pure subjectivist and I test out two crazy priced "high end" AC cables, a black one and a red one, maybe I would say "I preferred the sound with the red one in the system."

Now, in one sense of "preferred" that person was almost certainly right. He did in fact have the subjective experience of preferring the sound
with the red cable.

But the other question - the one we care more about here - is what EXPLAINS that preference. It's a matter of identifying causation.

If the subjectivist thinks he preferred the sound of the system with the red cable because the red cable actually changes the sound waves of the system, he'd in all probability be wrong. He's misconstrued the cause of his preference.

In all likelihood, the cause of his preference was a bias of some sort. Maybe he likes the color red, or something influenced him, but in any case we know that PERCEPTION of sight and sound can be influenced by biases and expectations. Just like the perception of shades of gray can be influenced in optical illusions, or wine can "seem to taste different" if put in different bottles.

So when we call someones experience or perception "wrong" we have to be nuanced about exactly what we are claiming.

I may prefer a non-neutral speaker in sighted tests. That's a fact. But I may prefer a more neutral speaker in blinded testing. That helps identify what caused my preferences (e.g. sighted bias effects): it doesn't erase them.

As for surround sound: If I participated in the studies cited by Toole, I may well be part of the majority cohort preferring the surround in those situations. But I wouldn't know for sure unless I was one of the subjects to see where I land. Further, we can't be sure that my own experiences with surround vs stereo are close enough to those in the test set up, to confidently extrapolate that I was in error inferring I preferred the stereo sound over the surround.
 
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Inner Space

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... and especially try to avoid jumping to the assumption that he must be “irrationally angry about stereo” ...
I'm not "jumping to the assumption" (usually "jumping to the conclusion" or "making the assumption", but rarely an admixture) ... instead I'm reporting: Toole abandons appropriate standards and language when ranting about how stereo doesn't give him the envelopment he prefers.
 

Bob from Florida

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Newman!

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JP

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Leiker535

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Well, buy the book and rekindle your interest. And just for laughs when you read it, try taking a genuine interest and learning attitude. Try and avoid accusing the author, or those recounting his evidence-based conclusions, of “epistimological discussion”, “dogmatification of research”, and especially try to avoid jumping to the assumption that he must be “irrationally angry about stereo”, the latter being a true ROTFL and perhaps even a projection by someone who is irrationally angry about criticisms of stereo. Try to avoid doing all the above-mentioned mental gymnastics purely because the science contradicts your bias-dominated personal experience in one area or another. And finally, try to avoid getting all worked up about me using the S word.

Dont get too worked up about his discussion man, the problem we're referring to comes exactly from that. Nothing said here invalidates or downplays Tooles research, people are just commenting that the results are ultimately preferential and while most might adhere to some average, there are deviances, and those don't contradict the S word, they are themselves expected.
 

Leiker535

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Big S word aside, I do think the research should be used to set forward the industry and new standards, just like I like to see objective targets like harman becoming more widespread and attainable at very low prices. But with multichannel and its siblings, I actually get a bit nervous about implementation. I fear it becomes a fad and we start to see butcherings in production taking place, like "remastering" albuns recorded in analog to dolby atmos, and imposing that version into streaming as a unique.

I do confess it seems silly, and very improbable to actual multi ch systems (wdym you listen to music on big speakers and not on Echo dot or earbuds?), but with things like loudness and MQA, who knows. I'm all for properly mixed atmos stuff though
 

levimax

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Since this thread has veered toward multi channel one question that comes to mind for me is what would sound "better", nine $1,000 dollar speakers in a Dolby Atmos system or one JBL M2 in mono? I doubt the answer is clear cut and is going to come down to preference.
 

tonycollinet

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This problem arises very often in this forum and I find it quite interesting. Overall the discussion is epistemological and not solely about audio, it pertains to the problem of "dogmafication" of scientific research even though said research was never meant to establish absolutes, especially considering research like that of Harmans.

Aside from the proclivity to extrapolate preference/average findings or descriptions as "should bes" (and this extrapolation is one of the most classical debates in philosophy), I think it also comes to being because relying on and defending non-average preferences, such as a target response with no elevated bass or uppermids (looking at you IEF neutral), can be confused with "everything is subjective, listen with your ears" type of argument that is so recurring in hobbies like vinyl . More puzzling still is that these extreme subjectivists themselves will argue in this line to justify tube amps, fancy cables etc.

I really feels like I''m always walking on eggshells while loving vinyl and still frequenting this forum, because I have to justify being "irrational"; but also when I frequent vinyl related forums/chats, because there I have to justify why I'm not eager to use tube amps, tube phonos, thousand dollar rubber mats etc.
I feel people need to be able to distinguish between the two statements: "I prefer" and "is better". Sadly too many people don't seem to manage it.
 

symphara

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If I were a pure subjectivist and I test out two crazy priced "high end" AC cables, a black one and a red one, maybe I would say "I preferred the sound with the red one in the system."

Now, in one sense of "preferred" that person was almost certainly right. He did in fact have the subjective experience of preferring the sound
with the red cable.
But it's not like preferring cables based on colour. It's like saying that you prefer bourbon to scotch, and then some arrogant know-it-all will reply: well, if you're in a learning mood, you should read McAllister's book on whiskey research where in chapter 12 he points out that bourbon doesn't follow the proper whiskey distillation method, and also, research shows that more people prefer scotch to bourbon, during controlled blind tasting tests. So educate yourself and fix your incorrect, unscientific, ignorant preference!

What can you say to this nonsense? I personally click that sweet ignore button.
 

tonycollinet

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...(Small chance that I am wrong and he and you have indeed done such scientific studies on your own preferences, but in general the people wasting everyone’s time with personal anecdotes are referencing their sighted listening, and also, even if they do a controlled self-test, not logging enough data on it to conduct statistical analysis of their own preferences either.) ...

Oh dear God! :facepalm:

(Hint - you've fundamentally misunderstood the purpose of blind/abx testing)
 
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Frank Dernie

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A bunch of you could make better use of the ignore button...

Just sayin'
Quite so.
I have and it makes some threads harder to follow but showing the ignored content invariably confirms that the ignore function was well chosen in the first place.
 

Frank Dernie

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Many continue to get mixed up between preference and high fidelity.
Whilst lots of people like the sound from an LP system, which is fine, the reality is that its fidelity to the source isn't actually all that high however much money you spend - and that can be an absurdly large sum.

No problem if this is a preference but the only way it is actually "better" is to the profits of the people selling the stuff.
 

Newman

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...and of course, without controls, "any particular case" can include the time of day, or day of week, or, or, or...
 

Galliardist

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Many continue to get mixed up between preference and high fidelity.
Whilst lots of people like the sound from an LP system, which is fine, the reality is that its fidelity to the source isn't actually all that high however much money you spend - and that can be an absurdly large sum.

No problem if this is a preference but the only way it is actually "better" is to the profits of the people selling the stuff.
Switching from science to philosophy... fidelity to what? I own an SACD of Dark Side of the Moon and that's what I play. But at the time those classic 1970s albums were made, the intention was that we would hear them typically on "music centres" that people largely had - so is that really the target we should consider today?

For me, no. But that case has much more merit than the "vinyl is better" one.

(Reads back, and feels certain there will never be a case for an "Audio Philosophy Review" website. Please resume normal service.)
 
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