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  • SacRat
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Well, I'm getting to a topic many people here wouldn't like, so before blaming me, read the hole post carefully...
For a time of its existance Hydrogenaudio has got many points of view, which are often taken as axioms. The worse, some of them oftem become a subject of worshiping. I'll try to give you some examples.

1st point: ABXing is the only right way to judge lossy audio codec's quality.
My thought: ABXing is absolutely a must in many cases, but if someone is unable to ABX the difference, that couldn't mean, that there's just no difference at all. How accurate is ABX? IMHO in some cases the difference can be subtle enough for someone not to be able to ABX it (as ABXing mostly includes small fragments ans short time periods). But at the same time the same person could feel it. The feeling I'm talking about has nothing to do ith placebo. Just listening to the lossy music your brain gets (for long enough time) information, which is nearly impossible to get during usual ABX tests. I think, it's even possible to ABX this tiny difference, but such blind tests could take incredible amount of time.
What I'm trying to say is that you can't say, that if person is unable to ABX difference, there can't be any.

2nd point and thoughts: sometimes praising Foobar or Nero or even LAME 3.90.3 comes to worshiping. Isn't worshiping and blind belief a thing HA should be aware of? There seems to be much zealotry from Nero or AAC plus fans lately. The same can be said about some other things. This list can be continued by many people, who visit site regularly.

What I'm trying to say is that HA should keep itself in a good form: listening tests, which were actual a year ago could be wrong with modern encoders; claims should be taken carefully even if their authors are well-known and respected persons... Noone and nothing is perfect. Unfortunately...

  • rjamorim
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #1
Well, what can I say...

I admire your courage, Taras. Good luck.
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • jtclipper
  • [*][*][*][*]
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #2
Quote
Well, what can I say...

I admire your courage, Taras. Good luck.

Why is that
should he be ...afraid of someone  or something ?
Dimitris

  • DAvenger
  • [*][*][*][*]
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #3
That's some news 
Reklama na internete - http://www.consultone.sk

  • sld
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #4
Well, if someone can feel a difference, there's no reason why it isn't ABXable. Even if it takes long to ABX it successfully. IMO I find it irresponsible for people to disregard ABX just because they cannot organise a viable setup immediately, and act as if they want people to go over and do the blind-switching for them.

Edited addition: ABX is usually only targetted at those who claim stuff like 'sweeter, more vibrant highs, deeper, foot-tapping bass, and a paradise of a soundstage' anyway.

As for zealotry, well, I acknowledge it to certain degrees on these forums, but even then most statements were clearly defined as opinions, and over time general consensuses (pardon the wordhack) were created when most shared the same opinions, eg, the versatility of FB2K, the superiority of LAME above 128 kbps, the secure ripping of EAC etc.
If you subscribe to forums that do not promote any sort of objectivity, you'll see firsthand what zealotry really is. Also, most of the zealots here are exposed as trolls after a while.

I hope I do not have to prove anything in the 3 paragraphs above. 
  • Last Edit: 19 January, 2004, 12:09:35 PM by sld

  • Moneo
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #5
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My thought: ABXing is absolutely a must in many cases, but if someone is unable to ABX the difference, that couldn't mean, that there's just no difference at all. How accurate is ABX? IMHO in some cases the difference can be subtle enough for someone not to be able to ABX it (as ABXing mostly includes small fragments ans short time periods). But at the same time the same person could feel it. The feeling I'm talking about has nothing to do ith placebo. Just listening to the lossy music your brain gets (for long enough time) information, which is nearly impossible to get during usual ABX tests. I think, it's even possible to ABX this tiny difference, but such blind tests could take incredible amount of time.
What I'm trying to say is that you can't say, that if person is unable to ABX difference, there can't be any.

ABX'ing is considered to be essential because it's the only known way to differentiate the actually perceived sound difference from the placebo effect.

If you think this can be done differently... I'm sure the community is open to suggestions.

As for the rest... it's an internet forum, you know.

  • Garf
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer (Donating)
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #6
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Why is that should he be ...afraid of someone  or something ?

Flames

Basically, I partly disagree with (1), but you already completely undermined your own point:

Quote
I think, it's even possible to ABX this tiny difference, but such blind tests could take incredible amount of time


So yes, it is possible to ABX the differences. Differences and 'feelings' (!) that 'magically disappear' in a scientific test (not necessarily ABX) don't have to count on my sympathy or belief. Just as much as I don't believe in future tellers or people talking with the dead.

As for (2), just refute the zealotry with arguments. If you have none, maybe they'r even right
  • Last Edit: 19 January, 2004, 12:08:09 PM by Garf

  • SacRat
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #7
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Also, most of the zealots here are exposed as trolls after a while.

Hinting at something? 8)
[just kidding]

  • dev0
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #8
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2nd point and thoughts: sometimes praising Foobar or Nero or even LAME 3.90.3 comes to worshiping. Isn't worshiping and blind belief a thing HA should be aware of? There seems to be much zealotry from Nero or AAC plus fans lately. The same can be said about some other things. This list can be continued by many people, who visit site regularly.

I'm not going to comment on any of your post but this, since somebody more eloquent than me will hopefully do that.

But if you looked at the forums recently, you should have noticed that there were tests done regarding lame 3.95 vs. 3.90.3 and I doubt that we will have any reason to replace the well tested 3.90.3 release before LAME4, but if test results prove differently it might happen before.
"To understand me, you'll have to swallow a world." Or maybe your words.

  • rjamorim
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #9
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Flames

Exactly what I meant
Get up-to-date binaries of Lame, AAC, Vorbis and much more at RareWares:
http://www.rarewares.org

  • sld
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #10
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Quote
Also, most of the zealots here are exposed as trolls after a while.

Hinting at something? 8)
[just kidding]

I see that you have some examples in mind

No, I meant that by personal observations, I see that most zealots are usually HA newbies, and are thrown out after a while. The mods have been efficient in clamping down on insubstantiated claims.
If you're thinking FB2K zealots, well, see the last line in Garf's post.

  • tigre
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #11
Seems like I'm typing too slow, but anyway...

-> 1st point:
You can choose from:

  • No claims (about audible differences) without evidence (e.g. ABX results). That's a forum rule here from the beginning. People who join and participate decide to accept this rule. Everyone who wants to discuss the too-subtle-to-ABX aspects can easily find another place on the net where he can do it.
  • If no reliable evidences were expected, it wouldn't be possible to come to conclusions in discussions. This would lead to everyone talking about his taste/preferences with a very low [useful information]/[bullshit] rate. When people give feedback about HA, the positive point I hear most often is that there's a huge ammount of correct, valuable information and only very few wrong information, which is hard to find on the net. I - and I guess many others - don't want to see this changed.

    -> 2nd point:
    Most zealotry/worshipping is based on a lack of correct information. Therefore statements that belong to the category zealotry/warshipping should violate TOS #8. I don't know if you already noticed this - there's a "Report" button. Feel free to use it if you think there's a TOS violation like this and a moderator's needed to handle it.
  • Last Edit: 19 January, 2004, 01:04:51 PM by tigre
Let's suppose that rain washes out a picnic. Who is feeling negative? The rain? Or YOU? What's causing the negative feeling? The rain or your reaction? - Anthony De Mello

  • ErikS
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #12
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What I'm trying to say is that you can't say, that if person is unable to ABX difference, there can't be any.

You're correct. Though I never heard anyone say that there _can't_ be any difference after failed abx test. And really, in cases like this the burden of evidence is on the person who claims to hear a dfference. Like with the argument about pink elephants...

  • Digga
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #13
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Quote
What I'm trying to say is that you can't say, that if person is unable to ABX difference, there can't be any.

You're correct. Though I never heard anyone say that there _can't_ be any difference after failed abx test. And really, in cases like this the burden of evidence is on the person who claims to hear a dfference.

[(OT) first of all: I realy appreciate that that kind of, well, metadiscussion is possible here (though on a kind of basic level, what doesn't lower it's value nevertheless)].

I think nobody refuses to admit the possibility that there might be a difference. but if it's not provable in blindtests, it's actually not perceiveable by the person(s) doing the test, thus of no importance for their ears and hearingability as it is now (which might improve over time), so it's transparent to them. which is fine.

as for pink elephants, well, that includes a LOT of alcohol anywas   
Nothing but a Heartache - Since I found my Baby ;)

  • JohnV
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #14
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1st point: ABXing is the only right way to judge lossy audio codec's quality.
My thought: ABXing is absolutely a must in many cases, but if someone is unable to ABX the difference, that couldn't mean, that there's just no difference at all. How accurate is ABX? IMHO in some cases the difference can be subtle enough for someone not to be able to ABX it (as ABXing mostly includes small fragments ans short time periods). But at the same time the same person could feel it. The feeling I'm talking about has nothing to do ith placebo. Just listening to the lossy music your brain gets (for long enough time) information, which is nearly impossible to get during usual ABX tests. I think, it's even possible to ABX this tiny difference, but such blind tests could take incredible amount of time.
What I'm trying to say is that you can't say, that if person is unable to ABX difference, there can't be any.

Nobody is saying that ABXing is the only right way to judge lossy audio quality. Infact you can't "judge" the quality with ABX, only thing you can do is to find out wether you hear the difference or not. For quality judging people use ABC/HR or other blind rating method.

What comes to your final sentence in your first point: "What I'm trying to say is that you can't say, that if person is unable to ABX difference, there can't be any," I say that at least once a month also. Nobody is claiming the opposite, I don't know where you got the idea to even mention that. It's almost always explained when someone asks about ABX.

Quote
2nd point and thoughts: sometimes praising Foobar or Nero or even LAME 3.90.3 comes to worshiping. Isn't worshiping and blind belief a thing HA should be aware of? There seems to be much zealotry from Nero or AAC plus fans lately. The same can be said about some other things. This list can be continued by many people, who visit site regularly.
In general there's lots of discussion about Nero and AAC, because MP4 AAC is obviously gaining lots of momentum at the moment, thanks to Apple. If you look at the threads, there's lots of bug reports, complaints, questions. My opinion is that zealotry is clearly very much a minority in these posts.

Anyway, if you see "a zealot post", you can always use the report post -option and complain to management.
  • Last Edit: 19 January, 2004, 12:49:25 PM by JohnV
Juha Laaksonheimo

  • JeanLuc
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #15
Well, ABX is not a means of determining which file sounds better ... ABX's only purpose is to determine whether differences can be spotted/nailed down with a probability that can be regarded as "safe" ...

From that point, ABX is not used to determine which file sounds better ... it's main purpose is to eliminate placebo effects (and maybe open your eyes to be skeptical about any quality-related statement).

ABC/HR could give you a hint at further audio comparison ... it introduces a "which file sounds better to you" button that is thoroughly used in various listening tests (check out roberto's actual test for mp3 around 128 kbps) ...

Lame is the only high-bitrate-optimised MP3 codec that is still undergoing heavy development if I remember correctly - with 3.90.3 being the most tested (anf therefore trusted) compile at this point. No one holds you off from using 3.93.1 or FhG ... if it sounds transparent to your ears (and 3.93.1 definitely should), everything is fine.

Foobar 2000 is an audio player with unmatched versatility (and very good output as proven by guruboolez) ... you might not like it's outfit but you cannot disagree that it's got a large V12 under its skin - if you prefer Winamp, fine (I use them both since Winamp additionally allows me to play video files) buit please stay away from WMP9 since this piece of software is proven to be spyware (not a problem if you have a decent firewall running or no internet connection at all, though).

Just my 0,02€

HA is a community of very knowledgeable people and music enthusiasts ... it therefore is only a natural development that the community is biased towards what is regarded as "the best available at that time" and, at the same time, being very open-minded to discussion of new stuff if it is presented ...
The name was Plex The Ripper, not Jack The Ripper

  • JeanLuc
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #16
Uh, John, you were faster ...
The name was Plex The Ripper, not Jack The Ripper

  • SacRat
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #17
Well, guys. I completely agree, that ABX is a strong weapon against placebo, but I've personally seen some cases, where it was possible to "feel" the difference, but not to ABX it. I bet it was because of some lacks of ABX technique. In this case we might better talk about blind tests in common, not just ABXing. Is that point clearer? I bet many advanced people here could recall examples, when difference was (nearly)impossible to ABX, but appeared after a long periods of listening to long enough (minutes:hours) fragments. And I'd not say, that all these cases was pure placebo. Here I'm taking about subtle difference,w hich has very few with generally known artifacts, which are easy enough to ABX (and in many cases blind test isn't even nedful).

Unfortunately zealotry doesn't automatically break TOS rules. And I personally think, that explaining a person his faults or even sending him to RTFM is a way better, than using "report" button
You might notice, that there were numerous worshiping waves:
at first people were praising Musepack, later Vorbis and Nero... The latest has possibly created the biggest group of zealots here (the worst is possibly that there were too little tests even though some are still judging codecs quality). Some people just don't want to know others' opinions at all... The same at first was about Foobar (thank Peter for stopping it) and before that about alt-presets..
It's really great, that moderators are trying to keep "recommended"/FAQ information up to date and some volunteers (we know their names  conduct their own listening tests, letting people use up-to-date information.

  • Garf
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer (Donating)
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #18
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Well, guys. I completely agree, that ABX is a strong weapon against placebo, but I've personally seen some cases, where it was possible to "feel" the difference, but not to ABX it.


How do you know you were really hearing a difference?

That's the root of the problem.

Don't tell me you just 'knew' or 'felt', please. If you 'feel' a difference, you can ABX it.

I've explained this before and I'll do it again: either you can perceive some difference or you can't. If you can perceive a difference, you'll pass an ABX test. If you don't you won't.

I'm not saying not being able to ABX something doesn't mean there's no difference. But is sure as hell shows that you can't perceive it!
  • Last Edit: 19 January, 2004, 01:18:22 PM by Garf

  • Althalus
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[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #19
My impression is that many of the 'You're/He's a Zealot!' is just BS and do nothing but lower the SNR.

1) Persons asks what/why/how to do 'something' and people answer Nero/Foobar/whatever.

Could it be that Nero is by many regarded as the best burning program?
Could it be that AAC is by many regarded as a excellent codec?
Could it be that Foobar is by many regarded as a one of the best audio players/tools?

Maybe you expect people to answer untruthfully just so specific answers aren't repeated too often. Reality Check: Not all software/products are created equal, thus not all have equal popularity.
Yeah, next time someone asks for recomended tagger I'll reply some no-name BeOS utility, that'll level the unfair score a bit, bleh

/me wonders why he bothered to reply to a obvious troll, deliberate or not.

  • SacRat
  • [*][*][*]
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #20
Quote
Quote
Well, guys. I completely agree, that ABX is a strong weapon against placebo, but I've personally seen some cases, where it was possible to "feel" the difference, but not to ABX it.


How do you know you were really hearing a difference?

That's the root of the problem.

Don't tell me you just 'knew' or 'felt', please. If you 'feel' a difference, you can ABX it.

I've explained this before and I'll do it again: either you can perceive some difference or you can't. If you can perceive a difference, you'll pass an ABX test. If you don't you won't.

I'm not saying not being able to ABX something doesn't mean there's no difference. But is sure as hell shows that you can't perceive it!

I won't tell...
But after about 6 hours of ABXing I managed to get a result, which has shown, that there actually was a difference. Unfortunately I don't have enough time to make such tests all the time  And that was far not th worst case. Unfortunately hman hears get "untuned" very fast, so cunducting long tests is hard
This way I'd better "waste" some space/time and be safe, than feel uncomfortable next time (I'm not talking about loseless .
Besides, such an "annoying" feeling often comes, when listening to music, encoded by someone else (got from unknown sources): you can't tell, that you actually hear artifacts, but feel, that something is wrong. But that kind of difference is not hard to ABX.

  • Garf
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer (Donating)
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #21
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But after about 6 hours of ABXing I managed to get a result, which has shown, that there actually was a difference.

What does that tell you of the 'audibility' of the problem in normal circumstances?

Frankly, if it takes 6 hours to demonstrate a difference, I'm not going to worry about it. Case in point: MAD Challenge.

Nobody here is going to slander you when you say: 'I think I hear a difference, but it seems to be subtle and I certainly couldn't ABX it in a quick test.' If anything, they'll ask you for a sample to give it a shot themselves.
  • Last Edit: 19 January, 2004, 01:32:23 PM by Garf

  • dev0
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #22
Now ask yourself the question how many tries you needed overall to get your 9/9...
"To understand me, you'll have to swallow a world." Or maybe your words.

  • Steve999
  • [*][*]
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #23
I'm pretty new here and this is very interesting.  I had no experience with ABX testing until I tried the ongoing 128whatevers MP3 codec testing.  I do not consider my ears to be that good so I was stunned when I found myself able to reliably ABX some of the samples.  However, as a new person, I don't know what to listen for really, and my ABXs were just based on a sense one "feels" different than the other.  Probably with more time I could pinpoint the artifacts or whatnot, but I agree it can just feel different if you haven't spent a lot of time what specifically to look for on ABXing. 

Also, the ABX software is awesome, I'm deeply impressed.

Then I had 2 1/2 beers.... and I couldn't ABX anything reliably!  FASCINATING.  Maybe then knowing precisely what an artificat sounded like would have helped.  Perhaps the best CODEC is 2 1/2 beers.  Again, though, my ears are not that good.

I found this place as a reprieve from the zealotry of head-fi.  I do agree there is some zealotry in just the underlying dogma here.  In short, people make a big deal out of what are to the average person little tiny differences that, it seems to me, could be largely mitigated by upping the bitrate a little if was such a big deal to a person.  However, this is great insofar as it spurs progress in the CODECS and compression ratios and whatnot and keeps the pressure on to keep the sound quality up.  Whereas the head-fi zealotry is, for the most part, flat-out nonsense and quackery (source cable amp burn-in synergy bla bla bla), the zealotry here is, in a word, nitpicking, IMHO.  But again, it is very useful nitpicking and objectively verifiable nitpicking in the big scheme of things.  I like the attitude here much more.  I do regret I don't have the expertise to play a big part here, though, but it's fun reading. 

And I am super-psyched about seeing the results of the 128 MP3 listening tests.

  • Moneo
  • [*][*][*][*][*]
  • Developer
[USELESS] Zealotry on HA
Reply #24
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But after about 6 hours of ABXing I managed to get a result, which has shown, that there actually was a difference.

Waht was that result and how did you get it?