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  • 2Bdecided
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Mastering Captured Vinyl For CD
Reply #100
I haven't listened to the mp3 (I was there!), but my report is in chronological order - so it's towards the end-ish.

"ABX" was my heading. I think he started off saying "DBT", but did move on to saying ABX.

The stress on "no gaps" is mine - I noted as such.


IMO some of the excuses raised against ABX are just pure fluff. As you've noticed, some are classic "straw man" argument tactics. Interestingly, the vocal part of the audience didn't seem to need any pushing to accept his opinion. There were plenty of grunts of agreement.


FWIW his own engineers weren't so ardently anti-DBT, they just felt that generally they didn't have time to do them (or it wasn't the best use of their time), and that any listener bias would be removed/averaged by the amount of listening, and number of people listening, that goes on. This would work OK if the listening was truly independent and blind, but as I noted, they "occasionally" do single blind testing. I assume everything else is sighted.

Cheers,
David.

  • Dynamic
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Reply #101
I just downloaded the MP3 that people seem to be talking about from http://www.aes.org/sections/uk/meetings/AE...ecture_0812.mp3

At what MM:SS offset in this file might the comments about ABX be found?


85:13 in MM:SS (or 1:25:13 in H:MM:SS). The whole Q&A session started at about 1:24:00. Before this, Bob had only mentioned in passing the recent paper about the audibility or otherwise of a 44100Hz/16-bit stage inserted in a high-end playback system.
Dynamic – the artist formerly known as DickD

Mastering Captured Vinyl For CD
Reply #102

I just downloaded the MP3 that people seem to be talking about from http://www.aes.org/sections/uk/meetings/AE...ecture_0812.mp3

At what MM:SS offset in this file might the comments about ABX be found?


85:13 in MM:SS (or 1:25:13 in H:MM:SS). The whole Q&A session started at about 1:24:00. Before this, Bob had only mentioned in passing the recent paper about the audibility or otherwise of a 44100Hz/16-bit stage inserted in a high-end playback system.


Thanks for the quick reply.  I found what I was looking for with your help. The active speaker parts of the lecture seemed to be more helpful.

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Reply #103
FWIW his own engineers weren't so ardently anti-DBT, they just felt that generally they didn't have time to do them (or it wasn't the best use of their time),
Quote


I suspect that were Stuart's own engineers to do proper DBTs, any number of projects related to digital coding and decoding would be scrapped. That could unfavorably impact their bottom line.

and that any listener bias would be removed/averaged by the amount of listening, and number of people listening, that goes on. This would work OK if the listening was truly independent and blind, but as I noted, they "occasionally" do single blind testing. I assume everything else is sighted.


Single blind = an intentionally defective DBT, whose failings have been known since the early 1800s and "Clever Hans".

I note that Stuart repeated the long term listening test straw man argument, did in fact as previously said entertain the audioence with this AFAIK newly-minted perception versus cognition straw man, the ABXer's expect speakers to sound the same straw man, the ABX tests fail for any test involving memory straw man, the listener training only affects ABX tests straw man, the straw man about the nonlinearity of the human ear only affecting ABX tests, the there are no such things as long term DBTs straw man,  the straw man arugment that ABX is far more flawed than sighted evaluations, the focussed attention affects only DBTs straw man, and the straw man argument that ABX tests uniquely presume that people listen to the same music the same way every time.

Stuart summarizes all of the above by saying that "it (ABX) is of dubious interest". Pretty strong stuff. :-( 

Not bad, for 8 minutes of work! ;-)

  • krabapple
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Reply #104
85:13 in MM:SS (or 1:25:13 in H:MM:SS). The whole Q&A session started at about 1:24:00. Before this, Bob had only mentioned in passing the recent paper about the audibility or otherwise of a 44100Hz/16-bit stage inserted in a high-end playback system.



...which was sparked by his 2004 JAES paper on Coding for High Resolution Audio Systems.

So there is definitely some history here.

I'm glad Dr. Stuart admits that CD can be practically 'good enough'.  I'm glad he has also (like in that 2004 paper) asserted contra the audiophile reactionaries that CD CAN resolve below the LSB, and that it CAN resolve events in time finer than the sample rate.  But shame on him for that loudspeaker difference strawman.
  • Last Edit: 19 January, 2009, 07:16:11 PM by krabapple

Mastering Captured Vinyl For CD
Reply #105
I'm glad Dr. Stuart admits that CD can be practically 'good enough'.  I'm glad he has also (like in that 2004 paper) asserted contra the audiophile reactionaries that CD CAN resolve below the LSB, and that it CAN resolve events in time finer than the sample rate.  But shame on him for that loudspeaker difference strawman.


I was thinking about the potential profit that Meridian is foregoing by wasting so much effort on digital player tweaks that won't show a difference in the ABX tests Dr. Stuart obviously despises.

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Reply #106
I was thinking about the potential profit that Meridian is foregoing by wasting so much effort on digital player tweaks that won't show a difference in the ABX tests Dr. Stuart obviously despises.
Are you joking? I assumed that all such journeys away from the scientific method (especially by men of science) are profit driven.

FWIW I think the real tragedy is that all the things the tiny audiophile minority has become obsessed with have prevented us from bringing real, comparatively easy, genuine improvements to reproduced audio. One that Bob mentions in the lecture is height information in recordings. I've heard ambisonic recordings (of real live music, not aeroplanes!) decoded with height information (i.e. with two extra, high, channels added at the front) and the change in the perceived sound stage is stunning - both in height and depth.

Maybe if the industry was chasing after real improvements like that - i.e. ones that anyone can hear in any kind of test(!), they'd be doing better?

Of course, that kind of improvement needs the whole industry to join the party and deliver suitable recordings. No sign of that.

So where can money be made? Why, by offering an improvement in the reproduction of the 2-channel 44.1kHz 16-bit audio that's available by the cart load. Maybe an (inaudible?) improvement in this can be more successfully marketed than a genuine improvement which is incompatible with all existing recordings.

Cheers,
David.

Mastering Captured Vinyl For CD
Reply #107
I was thinking about the potential profit that Meridian is foregoing by wasting so much effort on digital player tweaks that won't show a difference in the ABX tests Dr. Stuart obviously despises.


Are you joking?

no

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I assumed that all such journeys away from the scientific method (especially by men of science) are profit driven.


They might be, but actually represent a failure of leadership vision.

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FWIW I think the real tragedy is that all the things the tiny audiophile minority has become obsessed with have prevented us from bringing real, comparatively easy, genuine improvements to reproduced audio.


Don't blame the audiophiles, they are sheep, the victims. They spend money and get nothing for it. IMO, they are educated into this dysfunctional behavior by the Atkinsons and Stuarts of the world.

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One that Bob mentions in the lecture is height information in recordings. I've heard ambisonic recordings (of real live music, not aeroplanes!) decoded with height information (i.e. with two extra, high, channels added at the front) and the change in the perceived sound stage is stunning - both in height and depth.


Yes, but what amibsonics does is demonstrable as at least making an audible difference in an ABX test.

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Maybe if the industry was chasing after real improvements like that - i.e. ones that anyone can hear in any kind of test(!), they'd be doing better?


Exactly.

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Of course, that kind of improvement needs the whole industry to join the party and deliver suitable recordings. No sign of that.


I'm not sure that Ambisonics is sufficiently consumer-oriented to make it in the mainstream.

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So where can money be made? Why, by offering an improvement in the reproduction of the 2-channel 44.1kHz 16-bit audio that's available by the cart load. Maybe an (inaudible?) improvement in this can be more successfully marketed than a genuine improvement which is incompatible with all existing recordings.


Sturat seems to have some good ideas  about active loudspeakers. I'm not sure how innovative they are at this time.

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Reply #108
Maybe if the industry was chasing after real improvements like that - i.e. ones that anyone can hear in any kind of test(!), they'd be doing better? Of course, that kind of improvement needs the whole industry to join the party and deliver suitable recordings. No sign of that. So where can money be made? Why, by offering an improvement in the reproduction of the 2-channel 44.1kHz 16-bit audio that's available by the cart load. Maybe an (inaudible?) improvement in this can be more successfully marketed than a genuine improvement which is incompatible with all existing recordings
Enough people have been burned (or at least nonplussed) at the various multichannel schemes over the last 40 (!) years, that they simply do not trust people when they say that it really is the way forward. I mean, look at how many audiophiles claim perfect, "3D" imaging from two speakers... that said, there is occasionally some controversy that erupts when some magazine or another devotes more attention to multichannel instead of 2 channel, so I dunno.

Certainly, much of the effort exerted by high-end audio manufacturers is based on de-commoditizing what would otherwise be an inexpensive commodity product. Blind testing threatens to explicitly point out that their products are essentially overpriced commodities. And I suppose many people refuse to believe that their audio equipment (and their music!) are, more or less, commodities - they want to be a part of something special. I think that's another underlying emotion keeping this whole machine going.

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Reply #109
If y'all don't mind, I'd like to fork off the multichannel discussion into a separate thread.

  • krabapple
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Reply #110
Enough people have been burned (or at least nonplussed) at the various multichannel schemes over the last 40 (!) years, that they simply do not trust people when they say that it really is the way forward. I mean, look at how many audiophiles claim perfect, "3D" imaging from two speakers...


How many of those people heard properly set up multichannel systems, playing recordings that really were intended to sound like music being playing in a real space, in real time? 

Quote
That said, there is occasionally some controversy that erupts when some magazine or another devotes more attention to multichannel instead of 2 channel, so I dunno.


Taking the luddite proclivites of the 'high end' magazine readers as indicative of audio preferences, is not a safe  bet.  The 'mass market' magazines have pretty much embraced multichannel setups.  It's where the money is too.

  • MLXXX
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Reply #111
This report makes it look like Bob Stuart is clearly on the warpath against ABX, and ruining his own reputation for objectivity and honesty by spewing trashy rhetoric, it would seem.

The reference to different violins sounding different (an idea most people would readily accept) supported the assertion to the effect that loudpeaker systems even though the  same model constructed by the same manufacturer will sound slightly different (something many people might find surprising).  As a variation on this idea, if you attempt to A B compare one loudspeaker system model against a different model, that will give you a test result for the particular units involved, but may not be representative of the difference in quality between the models if more examples (actual manufactured units) were compared of each model.  So the question can be posed: 'What have you achieved?'.  Stuart did not actually explain his reference to loudspeakers not sounding the same; nor did he explicitly pose the question I have just posed.  He was after all in the final stretch of his session (answering questions).  My interpretation was that he was harking back to a theme he put forward in the main part of his talk.  There he made the point that you should approach speaker design from the point of view of fundamental strategies (e.g. using separately amped speakers rather than passive crossovers) and would leave comparative subjective testing till much further down the track.  His theme in the talk seemed to be: get the engineering done and take your measurements and do your homework.  Use listening tests right at the end after you have a solid foundation.  The listening test is the ultimate finessing of the system, e.g. to choose between different filtering that on paper should be equallly effective but which for reasons not yet understood by science do sound different.

No doubt some listening tests would be done along the way, to establish/confirm the new engineering was heading in a direction likely to give tangible benefits.

My take when listening to the mp3 of the talk was that Stuart recognised the value of ABX in some contexts but not others.  Some actual words (if my transcription is accurate):[blockquote]You know those kind of tests are used a lot in psychoacoustics when you're trying to measure the capability of the hearing system in response to certain kinds of stimuli.  ... As soon as you get from perception to cognition, it becomes different. ... Maybe it's after several minutes that you either hear defects or things in the recording.  So ABX testing I think is very very good for what is for but it is seriously flawed for at least that reason and there are other reasons.[/blockquote]
The talk struck me on the whole as open and balanced.  I don't think it was vehemently anti ABX, but it did point out some characteristics of human cognition that could interfere with the brain's ability to perform consistenty and 'accuarately' in an ABX setting, for some kinds of deficiencies.

It is an amazing thing that once having heard something subtle in a musical recording with the help of a very good speaker system, one can thereafter hear it even on an inferior system.  But had one only ever been listening with the inferior system, the subtle thing might always have remained unnoticed.  I would imagine though that despite this, the inferior system would  probably still sound inferior, or at least 'different', for a careful listener, in an ABX test.  But then what is the next logical step for a loudspeaker engineer in improving the design of the inferior speaker system?  How has the ABX test really helped the engineer?
  • Last Edit: 30 January, 2009, 10:32:47 AM by MLXXX

  • krabapple
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Reply #112
in case anyone ever visits here again, the full path to the mp3 of  Bob Stuart's 2009 talk is now

http://www.aes-media.org/sections/uk/meeti...ecture_0812.mp3