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Hydrogenaudio Forum => General Audio => Topic started by: 2tec on 16 April, 2009, 09:55:18 AM

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2tec on 16 April, 2009, 09:55:18 AM
I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile (http://www.stereophile.com), which clearly goes completely against the grain around here. For instance:

"We play my solid 256kbps VBR MP3 of "Heroes" off my iPod; it sounds like shit. Free of pops and crackles, yes, but completely lifeless, flat in every way. This is the detail that matters: Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space. You close your eyes in Fremer's chair, and you can perceive a detailed 3D matrix of sound, with each element occupying its own special space in the air. It's crazy and I've never experienced anything like it." ~ Why we need audiophiles (http://i.gizmodo.com/5213042/why-we-need-audiophiles)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: lvqcl on 16 April, 2009, 10:29:20 AM
Quote
Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs.


Never heard of it. Really?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: nig nig the conqueror on 16 April, 2009, 10:31:20 AM
I just got through reading that and I HAD to come to HA to find out what you guys thought.  I had to stop reading, there was so much BS I couldn't stand it.

Moderation: Removed useless full quotation of the first post.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Fandango on 16 April, 2009, 10:44:06 AM
Hey , nig nig! How can you say that! They use logarithmic scales to measure the awesomeness of Framer's gear, pure science man!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Bodhi on 16 April, 2009, 11:03:13 AM
If I had a $350,000 stereo system I wouldn't probably listen to any lossy codec. Since I'm not that well equiped, my lame 3.98.2 v3 files do the job!

Anyway, what is an audiophile without a $350,000 stereo system? A guy (or a girl) with two ears, that's about it.

...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 16 April, 2009, 11:16:10 AM
Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
   


Nice to see a few skeptics, though.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 16 April, 2009, 11:32:19 AM
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.

To put this into perspective, my 16 year old son died of a brain hemhorrage about 10 years ago. By most accounts I can talk about that pretty calmly. Compared to matters of life and death, there's nothing about ABX or even all of high end audio thaat is as all-fired important as Fremer seems to think that one day back in the early 1990s was.  All the other people I know who were directly involved with it have pretty well forgotten about it. And well they should. That wsa then and this is now.

To say that Fremer is a little tightly wound would be IMO an understatement. :-(

IMO, the only way to understand Fremer is to consider the meaning of the word hyperbole. Fremer seems to live in a world of hyperbole where nothing is anything like what it seems. For example, the Gizmodo article http://i.gizmodo.com/5213042/why-we-need-audiophiles (http://i.gizmodo.com/5213042/why-we-need-audiophiles) mentions Fremer's alleged $350,000 audio system.

My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

I'm sure the truth about Fremer will never be reliably known. Why should we even care?

Pardon me while I go and listen to some music... ;-)

Moderation: Removed useless full quotation of the first post.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: nig nig the conqueror on 16 April, 2009, 11:39:57 AM
Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
   


Nice to see a few skeptics, though.


I couldn't even read through the whole article, much less all the comments.  It's frustrating how much misinformation is out there.  I'm a frequent visitor to Gizmodo, but all this week has been devoted to "audio" and really, you should see some of the atrocious things they've talked about.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: skelly831 on 16 April, 2009, 11:41:35 AM
I've been a Gizmodo reader for a while, but all their recent "articles" (all tagged with 'Gizmodo Listening Test', lol) about expensive audio gear are starting to get bothersome. This one about Fremer made me realize the guys at Gizmodo really have no interest in objective criticism. They just want to put as many dollar signs under as many pictures of turntables and amps as possible. I skimmed a few pages of comments, it's nice to see a few smart people in there trying to call thir BS.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 16 April, 2009, 11:44:29 AM
I don't think it's that bad. If you want to listen to music from decades ago, you will find (much of the time; not all) that a copy of the original vinyl pressing will sound better than a modern remastered CD of the same material.

I know the article was trying to say more than that (i.e. vinyl is better than CD) but anyone who says "256kbps VBR MP3" doesn't actually know what they're talking about, do they?

So it's typical journalistic sloppiness, and probably getting carried away in the moment.

And let's face it - we do need people wanting better quality than can be heard on 99% of pop releases in the 21st century. Does anyone think CDs (as actually sold, rather than as theoretically possible) sound that good in the pop world in 2009?


Where the article is really wrong is in the last paragraph...
Quote
we need someone like Fremer up on that wall, a preservationist of archival recordings and an ombudsman for new recording techniques, because one day you'll want to hear it, and it'll be there because of audiophiles.

These guardians in and outside of the recording industry ensure that, whether it's in a movie theater tomorrow or in your own home listening room on some far off future date, you'll be able always get back to a recording that expresses every frequency, every ounce of warmth and life, of the original performance. Because if you can hear, it, if you ever get to live in that 3D space, you'll be glad Fremer helped defend it.
We won't be able to hear music properly in the future because the "?best?" music will continue to be recorded by small labels who release over compressed CDs, and lose the master recordings. It'll be the 1930s and 1960s over again - lose the masters and leave the future with whatever consumer format was issued at the time. The only hope (and I feel like a traitor saying this!) is that large labels buy small labels and preserve their archive properly.

Plus I've heard lots of this hi-end stuff - not $330k, admittedly, but $100k systems with various sources. Some are great, some are garbage (over blown, mental, noise making rather than music reproducing systems) - but the biggest quality improvement I ever heard was 6.0 surround sound with four speakers at the front. And guess what? It's the audiophiles that hate surround sound the most, and keep this most significant advance from getting a foothold.

So much for helping us to hear things better.

Cheers,
David.

EDIT: Interesting post Arny - didn't see it before writing this. I'd probably need physically restraining if I found someone burning The Beatles master tapes or something, but no, not about this!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: nig nig the conqueror on 16 April, 2009, 11:50:41 AM
So it's typical journalistic sloppiness, and probably getting carried away in the moment.

And let's face it - we do need people wanting better quality than can be heard on 99% of pop releases in the 21st century. Does anyone think CDs (as actually sold, rather than as theoretically possible) sound that good in the pop world in 2009?



Good point.  Fremer's still a douche, though.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 16 April, 2009, 11:54:26 AM
My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

It's not that hard for the manufacturers of "$350,000 worth" of audio equipment to donate it to Fremer, because the actual manufacturing cost was probably only a few thousand, if that.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 16 April, 2009, 12:02:57 PM
IIRC (and I may not) in his 'real life' Fremer was/is a psychiatrist, and in in NYC that can pay pretty well.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 16 April, 2009, 12:04:41 PM
If I had a $350,000 stereo system I wouldn't probably listen to any lossy codec. Since I'm not that well equiped, my lame 3.98.2 v3 files do the job!

I would.

I've come to a very definitive conclusion regarding my ears' abilities to resolve sonic information: there's a finite limit. Investing $350,000 in an ultra-high-end stereo isn't going to suddenly grant my ears the ability to hear atoms bonding or to be able to resolve the sound of a mosquito sucking blood from an elephant in Zimbabwe. To me, it's more about trying damn hard to be realistic about the capabilities of my physical (and mental) self and trying damn hard not to get caught up in a tailspin of perceptions I can't attribute to a known reality.

I have a strict policy of listening to whatever format contains music I enjoy. If that means 128kbps CBR FhG MP3s circa 2001, if that's all I have, then great! If that happens to be 24/96 FLAC, that's better because I know it's better, but it's still just as great as listening to the admittedly less-than-stellar MP3s. To me, there's no major difference in terms of my being able to enjoy listening to music -- even when there are obvious artifacts or other problems that can be attributed to lossy compression. I just do my best to enjoy what I have available.

Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh...After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.

I couldn't say this is all that surprising. There's a certain part of me that sees modern "audiophilism" as some sort of mental disease. Unfortunately, Fremer would probably feel similarly about anyone who subscribes to the notion of audio objectivism: that we are not only wrong but that we're indeed knee-deep in some sort of circle of madness. Thankfully, logic dictates that objective thinking is not only rational but quite comfortably sane, so I can (generally) rest easy
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 16 April, 2009, 01:03:34 PM
I've come to a very definitive conclusion regarding my ears' abilities to resolve sonic information: there's a finite limit. Investing $350,000 in an ultra-high-end stereo isn't going to suddenly grant my ears the ability to hear atoms bonding or to be able to resolve the sound of a mosquito sucking blood from an elephant in Zimbabwe.


Indeed. Fremer's pricey system didn't restore his ability to hear the LP hiss that the reporter heard.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 16 April, 2009, 01:04:40 PM
They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space. You close your eyes in Fremer's chair, and you can perceive a detailed 3D matrix of sound, with each element occupying its own special space in the air.



This made me laugh a lot.  I didn't bother reading the whole article as there is no need to.  However, I didn't realize that audiophiles had a third eye allowing them to actually see sound waves in three dimensions (possibly four?) just pouring out of $350,000 speakers.  Hell, I would go crazy if I actually saw my music rather than listening to it.  All those sound waves going everywhere would drive me insane.  I guess I would hold myself up on a high horse too if I could actually see music.  I guess 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the rest of us will just have to be fine with listening to music instead of trying to pear into the fourth dimension.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: caligae on 16 April, 2009, 01:35:57 PM
This might finally give some insight to their objection to blind listening tests. If they are not allowed to use their third eye during a test, it must be seriously flawed!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 16 April, 2009, 01:41:25 PM
But good systems with excellently matched speakers (with excellent time and frequency domain responses) do "image" spectacularly better than lower quality stuff. The front/back depth of the sound stage is increased, the location of (say) the singer is focussed more tightly etc etc. You can also put the speakers further apart before the sound stage falls apart. It's not what the record producer intended (usually), but it's very impressive. Stereo is supposed to work with 60 degree speaker angle. I've heard it work stunningly well with 110 speaker angle - but only with very good speakers.

The photographs of that particular listening room are not impressive unless they misrepresent the reality - from what it looks like, I'd want the speakers much further away from the walls, and from everything else. The kind of early reflections I'd expect in that room would seriously damage the magical 3-d sound stage that's claimed to exist.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 16 April, 2009, 02:06:28 PM
In the context of synesthesia the 3D metaphor is really amiss (like about 99% of anything audio related in the context of Fremer). But it's not complete bull. About 5 years ago I did extensive ABX tests (128kbit/s ABR AAC) with my brother-in-law, who was studying Jazz back then. Out of 20 random Jazz tracks (modern recordings from the 90's and 00's) he could differentiate 19 (myself 3). And he always explained that he heard differences within the spatial image in his head.

PS: We later repeated the tests with Nero 1.0.7.0 at q .5 (~200kb/s) and stopped after 5 tries, because he said that the differences he had originally heard were completely gone.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: zipr on 16 April, 2009, 02:30:10 PM
Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds 'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source material -- or the creator's intentions?

Do musicians listen to their own stuff on $350,000 equipment?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Nick.C on 16 April, 2009, 02:46:15 PM
They use logarithmic scales to measure the awesomeness of Framer's gear, pure science man!
i.e. Awesomeness = Log10(Cost in USD) + 4
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: timcupery on 16 April, 2009, 03:22:52 PM
synesthesia is a real thing, and the comparison may be valid in some case; thanks to rpp3po for providing the kind of example that I was hypothesizing after I read kornchild's post.
Of course, whether or not a person's senses can actually take in data that their brain can differentiate, is separate from synesthesia. A synesthesiac who can't hear "soundstage" differences like rpp3po's brother-in-law won't be able to visualize those soundstage differences either.

Which is why blind-testing will stay important.

One of the most interesting cases where synesthesia seems related to impressive mental abilities is the case of Daniel Tammet, a British autistic savant who is very high-functioning and can describe how stuff feels and works in his mid. He can do amazing math calculations in his head, like the square root of a prime number to 30 decimal places, or the like. His autobiography is called Born on a Blue Day and there's a fair bit of stuff about him on line if people are interested.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: HotshotGG on 16 April, 2009, 04:17:24 PM
Quote
I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile, which clearly goes completely against the grain around here.


If I had a quarter for every B.S article that Stereophile publishes I would be a rich man. Some of John Atkins articles give me a good laugh. I like it when he tried to compare sound quality with so called "graphs" to make it look like it was half-assed pseudo-scientific. People actually listen to these boneheads though. My friend actually thought monster cables could make a difference in sound quality once. I was appauled and questioned him were that information came from he told me he read it in "some magazine", but couldn't remember the name of it. I just rolled my eyes and told him it was B.S. 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 16 April, 2009, 04:24:30 PM
I'm not really sure Fremer and Mahoney actually doing much damage with this piece, besides priming young iPod people to buy megabuck systems later in life. I'm not sure if I can get much bent out of shape about convincing people to go lossless, buy a decent home system, etc.

But some of the Gizmodo commenters are asking if Fremer could provide a low end recommended system. He is the absolute last person you should ask for that. It's more important than ever to maintain an objective eye with the low end, and Fremer is likely to just run off into the weeds and choose some horifically underperforming system because it provides a better match for his ears alone.

Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
I'm sure it's better journalism as far as Gizmodo is concerned. Maybe someday they'll grow enough to hire people with actual journalism degrees and such.

Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.
That wasn't the infamous "cable" test, was it?

There are a few stories like that about Fremer's attitude. Salvatore's exchange  (http://www.high-endaudio.com/RR-FREMER.html)with him is pretty fun (although Salvatore is easily just as much of a pompous windbag as Fremer is). There's also that long-standing alleged fight between Fremer and the NYT over vinyl coverage...

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My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?
No, only Steve Hoffman does that. *rimshot*

I'm no longer thinking malice on Stereophile's part in the context of loans and reviewers' pricing. I think it's plain to see that the economic status of its editors and reviewers is substantially less than the audience it is actually gearing its reviews too. Long term loans and preferred pricing are more justifiable in such a situation.

IN his 'real life' Fremer was/is a psychiatrist, and in in NYC that can pay pretty well.
Fremer is a psychiatrist? That joke writes itself. Multiple times over actually. Heh.

Indeed. Fremer's pricey system didn't restore his ability to hear the LP hiss that the reporter heard.
Nor does it guarentee that his LPs play back with a speed tolerance of any less than 0.6%, as I observed a few days ago with some needledrops he posted.

Next time you hear an audiophile claim that high-mass turntables do not have speed issues, pour that into their cornflakes and shove it up their ass.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 16 April, 2009, 04:24:33 PM
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.


  I am totally speechless. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 16 April, 2009, 04:49:40 PM
But good systems with excellently matched speakers (with excellent time and frequency domain responses) do "image" spectacularly better than lower quality stuff.


The frequency domain part I'll agee with, but the time domain part - well numerous counter-examples exist. For example, one of the major innovations of the last 20 years in crossover design has been the so-called "Linkwistz-Riley" configuration. However Linkswitz-Riley agressively time domain response for improved frequency-domain response.

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The front/back depth of the sound stage is increased, the location of (say) the singer is focussed more tightly etc etc.


That kind of poetry slides off the lips so gracefully...

Quote
You can also put the speakers further apart before the sound stage falls apart.


Whatever that means. The means by whioh it was verified by means of a DBT seem to be unknown...

Quote
It's not what the record producer intended (usually), but it's very impressive. Stereo is supposed to work with 60 degree speaker angle. I've heard it work stunningly well with 110 speaker angle - but only with very good speakers.


Most home speakers are non-directional enough that +/- 25degrees of toe shouldn't mean that much.

Quote
The photographs of that particular listening room are not impressive unless they misrepresent the reality - from what it looks like, I'd want the speakers much further away from the walls, and from everything else. The kind of early reflections I'd expect in that room would seriously damage the magical 3-d sound stage that's claimed to exist.



Looks like one of those too-small Manhattan apartments...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 16 April, 2009, 04:51:52 PM
Nope. According to Mejias, Fremer's a Jersey man.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: SnTholiday on 16 April, 2009, 05:05:03 PM
Do you think Fremer really gets into the music with his "$350,000 system", or does he dwell on what can be tweaked or repositioned or even replaced/upgraded. You can't really enjoy the music if you are constantly critiqing the equipment it is playing on. It's a hard habit to break.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: DVDdoug on 16 April, 2009, 06:08:47 PM
2tec,
Thanks for that post & link.  Good stuff!!!   

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...on his $350,000 stereo system. It sounds excellent.
I would freekin' hope so!!!!

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I hear the needle drop...  I hear a hiss. And yes, while the record was playing, I heard a pop, a crackle or two.... off my iPod; it sounds like s***. Free of pops and crackles, yes, but completely lifeless, flat in every way.
  I grew-up with vinyl, and I hated the noise.  Most of my friends didn't even notice it, but it used to drive me crazy!  I find it strange that it doesn't bother these "audiophiles"...  Any idiot can tell you that my CDs sound better than my scratchy old records.

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It's like when you go to the symphony, and the old men are coughing—same thing," Fremer says. Necessary impurities. Reminders of being in the real world.
  I disagree!  When the noise comes from the sound system, it's more annoying, at least to me.  I think our directional hearing ability helps us to tune-out and ignore ambient noises.  Even in a movie theater, I can ignore "candy-wrapper noises", etc. (talking is more annoying).  But, if I hear a click or a buzz (or distortion) from the sound system, I'll take notice.

If you've ever made a "live" recording... even a recoding of a meeting, there are usually annoying/distracting noises on the "tape" that you didn't notice during the event.  Sometimes when I see that an event is being recorded,  I start listening-to and noticing ambient noises that I wasn't really aware of before. 

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Do musicians listen to their own stuff on $350,000 equipment?
A lot of musicians and music lovers enjoy the underlying music without regard to audio quality.  I think that's true of most people!  They like a "good song" no matter what it's played on.

Unfortunately, some of us can't appreciate good music on a lousy or mediocre system...  A lot of us are cursed with the desire for a good musical performance and good quality sound reproduction.  I call us true audiophiles (lovers of good audio).    I don't know what the "audiophile community" & the audiophile publications are cursed with! 


  BTW - Most musicians don't listen to their own stuff, except perhaps while practicing, performing, and during the recording & production process, and by that time they are probably sick of it!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 16 April, 2009, 06:31:16 PM
But it's not complete bull. About 5 years ago I did extensive ABX tests (128kbit/s ABR AAC) with my brother-in-law, who was studying Jazz back then. Out of 20 random Jazz tracks (modern recordings from the 90's and 00's) he could differentiate 19 (myself 3). And he always explained that he heard differences within the spatial image in his head.


I was actually making fun of being able to see sound waves coming out of the speakers in the fourth dimension.  I can understand if some people are able to piece together a spatial image in their head.  I have this ability when it comes to pip networks, wells, forces acting on objects, etc.  I can pictures these things in three dimensions in my head.  It is just that the quote kind of came off like he has the ability to actually see sound waves with a third eye or something.  That and the whole 3D aspect is just way too "out there" to ignore.  That is why I made such an obscene comment about using a third eye to see in the fourth dimension and that someone's vision would constantly be clouded with sound waves (since nearly everything makes noise).  Just trying to poke fun at something which is kind of correct but mostly bull crap.

Do you think Fremer really gets into the music with his "$350,000 system", or does he dwell on what can be tweaked or repositioned or even replaced/upgraded. You can't really enjoy the music if you are constantly critiqing the equipment it is playing on. It's a hard habit to break.


That is a good question.  Does he always listen for what can be changed or does he actually sit down and enjoy music?  As previously stated, most people can still enjoy music regardless of what it is played on.  They start listening to the actual song and stop trying to judge it for quality.  I know that many musicians actually burn rough copies of their songs and listen to them in the car and at home on their systems (both of which probably weren't $350,000).  I couldn't stand listening to music always judging its quality rather than actually enjoying what was coming out.  Additionally, if I were extremely anal about these things, I would never be able to fully enjoy music unless I was sitting at home listening to my $350,000 sound system.  I imagine that I would even have a hard time enjoying concerts.  I know I wouldn't be able to enjoy concerts dealing with metal as everyone tries to push the volume up to obscene levels with clarity often taking a backseat.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 16 April, 2009, 06:45:15 PM
I think it's abundantly clear that Fremer is all about emotion rather than audio quality in any meaningful sense (that we are concerned about). That vinyl has such noises doesn't matter, because he asserts it evokes emotion that CDs do not.

More generally, many audiophiles believe that audio quality is intrinsically tied to emotional responses. The two concepts are more or less inseperable to them. That such and such component has a terrible frequency response or high distortion may not matter to them, because quite simply, the "sound quality" is still top class. Just look at the emotions it conveys! And look at Fremer's comments on the first CD listening - "it made me feel horrible!". And Atkinson's comments on the emotions experienced with different amps that ABX'd the same.

There's a really subtle logical fallacy at play here, that, truth be told, I first saw popped by Ayn Rand (!). I forget the exact quote, but it was to the effect that, while happiness is a measure of human success, it cannot be optimized as a parameter. That is, making decisions based on how happy they will make you can lead to short-sighted or counterproductive results, because happiness is simply too complex and inscrutable to be reduced down to mere buying decisions. (Anybody who's actually read her crap knows that "optimized" isn't even in her vocabulary IIRC so I'm probably getting something wrong).

Applied here: there are significant gaps in our knowledge of music and emotion; emotion can feed back upon itself in positive feedback loops; all of this is being ignored by audiophiles. While we listen to music for entirely emotional reasons, concluding that equipment should be evaluated on an emotional basis - that is, the best equipment lets the user experience the "best" emotions - presupposes a kind of simplistic "filter" model of emotion, where flaws in the component prevent the full emotion of the music to be experienced by the listener. That presupposition, and that whole notion of evaluating equipment in such a fashion, is illogical.

I think that us ABXers and skeptics are also arguing fallaciously when we decry all high end audio as placebo, and/or highly corrupted by observer bias due to price/shiny knobs/etc. I think audiophiles can toss those sorts of things aside rather easily and it makes us look bad. Really, we don't have a very good scientific understanding of how sighted testing actually works. If we did, we could predict it. And we can't! We can make educated guesses, based on all sorts of sighted factors like cost etc, but nobody's actually argued these correlations with any degree of accuracy whatsoever. The guesses are plausible to us but laughably hypothetical to others.

Rather, the problem here is that the whole notion of trusting some touchy psychiatrist fourty/fiftysomething's emotions when it comes to your music purchase decisions, or even your audio worldview, is batshit crazy - golden ears or not. And that's even before we get to the problem of trusting one's own emotions on the matter. I mean no offense to Mikey on professional grounds, insofar as his "profession" is concerned - he's not crazy, not evil, and not stupid - but he is elitist. I do believe he is grossly disrespectful to how normal people in this country listen to their music, and how they should be listening to their music. And taking him at his word on a great many topics will not save you money and will not make you a happier or better person. It only lets you perceive yourself as of a higher class for entirely specious reasons.

--

That said, he is a passionate promoter of music as something that is to be studied with interest and full attention. I think that's really important, really positive, and not elitist. If that requires people to junk their CDs and listen to vinyl on f*cking Regas, I'll shed a few tears, but they will be bittersweet.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: benski on 16 April, 2009, 07:40:55 PM
I was actually making fun of being able to see sound waves coming out of the speakers in the fourth dimension.  I can understand if some people are able to piece together a spatial image in their head.  I have this ability when it comes to pip networks, wells, forces acting on objects, etc.  I can pictures these things in three dimensions in my head.  It is just that the quote kind of came off like he has the ability to actually see sound waves with a third eye or something.  That and the whole 3D aspect is just way too "out there" to ignore.  That is why I made such an obscene comment about using a third eye to see in the fourth dimension and that someone's vision would constantly be clouded with sound waves (since nearly everything makes noise).  Just trying to poke fun at something which is kind of correct but mostly bull crap.

It doesn't really work like that.  I have synaesthesia and it can be a bit hard to explain.  The response is automatic and fairly repeatedly - you don't have to "peice together" anything.  The 4D viewpoint makes perfect sense to me
Also, I know you meant it as tongue-in-cheek, but the disorder does help sometimes with ABX testing, although it can be distracting at other times. 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 16 April, 2009, 07:56:39 PM
From what I have read , I have to say I see no problem at all with anything Fremer stands for.

He is a well respected pro in his field , & I feel he fights for what he believes in ,
That Good music deserves the respect of us all by being played back with the highest
fidelity possible.

On the other hand, I would be very suspicious of opinions of anyone spending most of his listening time with lossy music, ( judging by some of the comments posted above ).

Even artifacts are something one can get accustomed to as a reality baseline.

When a classical musician listens to synthetic strings & identifies them from 10 miles away ,
he can do it because they lived with the true sounds for a LONG time.

& No, no skeptics can/will prevail in this case.

Taking their ipod LAME pumped headphones to post their "skeptic" illusions based on zero idea of what true sound is,
the maximum youll get from this classical musician ,
is the pity in his eyes staring at you in his rear view mirror.
No one in insane enough to argue this scenario.

So you see, you will not able to hear what he hears NOW.
Put in time & effort , & .. maybe you will.


I still remember the first time I got a decent system.

It took me a whole 6 months to get used to it.
I did notice the sound was better . Hell yeah.
But I just could not accept how far from acceptable a lot of my music's sound was.

Taking off your shades, can be a painful experience.

& remember: Some of the best known Audiophiles recorded/played/mastered all your Music.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 16 April, 2009, 08:11:33 PM
Calm down B0RK. (B0RK B0RK.) None of us are arguing against good sound or for "bad" sound, either explicitly or implicitly.

What we are saying is that Mikey - like most if not all audio reviewrs - is simply not a good arbiter of audio. In fact, his opinions are even controversial in some audiophile circles, to say nothing of skeptic's circles. That he has a drool-worthy rig, and makes some very good points about a person's relationship to music, is besides the point. He has very specific biases, which in our opinion are not supported by the facts, which can and will lead his readers to make poor buying decisions.

If I may state things boldly, it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, by helping ensure it is most available at lowest cost. That people like you have excellent systems - and put them to good use with excellent lossyWAV testing! - obviously convinces skeptics that differences can exist in audio. But the notion of skeptics with iPod earbuds is a straw man. Most of us have much higher end equipment (and in my case are acutely aware of its flaws).

And that classical musician you so proudly uphold is, I'm sure, listening to classical music 128k AACs on her iPod as we speak. You'd be surprised at how lo-fi classical musicians can be.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: greynol on 16 April, 2009, 08:18:48 PM
Like the suggestion that an expensive hi-fi system automagically blesses it's listeners with golden ears, the notion that musicians have some instant leg-up on distinguishing lossy artifacts is completely absurd.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: /mnt on 16 April, 2009, 09:01:43 PM
So if I upgrade my crappy PC speakers and my cheapo Goodmans CD player that cant even play CDs gaplessly  and ABX a LAME V0 Mp3 for the thousandth time; I might be able to see the music .

And that old MTV vid (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kR7227_ndqQ), at 2:30 sounds like a typical comment from Dave Mustaine  .

There's a really subtle logical fallacy at play here, that, truth be told, I first saw popped by Ayn Rand (!). I forget the exact quote, but it was to the effect that, while happiness is a measure of human success, it cannot be optimized as a parameter. That is, making decisions based on how happy they will make you can lead to short-sighted or counterproductive results, because happiness is simply too complex and inscrutable to be reduced down to mere buying decisions. (Anybody who's actually read her crap knows that "optimized" isn't even in her vocabulary IIRC so I'm probably getting something wrong).


"I hate Ayn Rand" Francis from Left 4 Dead.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 16 April, 2009, 09:38:22 PM
He is a well respected pro in his field , & I feel he fights for what he believes in , That Good music deserves the respect of us all by being played back with the highest fidelity possible.

I might believe that if he didn't shun digital recordings in favor of vinyl. I'm not a vinyl hater by any stretch, but it most certainly isn't the consumer format that ensures the highest-fidelity playback possible. The idea of having a $300,000+ hi-fi playback system that revolves around a record player is, to me, completely counter-intuitive.

On the other hand, I would be very suspicious of opinions of anyone spending most of his listening time with lossy music, ( judging by some of the comments posted above ).

I don't spend most of my time listening to lossily-compressed music, though certainly I do spend a good deal of time doing so. For the most part, lossy exists for my iPhone and for my machine at work, to be played back via the stock Dell-branded Altec Lansing speakers the machine in my office came bundled with. Those speakers don't sound good to me, but they do emit something that passably approximates the original recordings (in other words, I can discern music from, say, pink noise with them). At home, I generally try to stick with lossless, but I certainly don't obsess over the details. If I don't have lossless, for whatever reason, I'll happily listen to lossy (and enjoy it all the same).

To fear the idea of listening to lossy music is quite silly to me.

So you see, you will not able to hear what he hears NOW. Put in time & effort , & .. maybe you will.

Unfortunately, you and I have no idea what he hears. He may perceive a difference from a $2600 power cable to a $4000 cable, but that doesn't mean there's a real difference: that a difference exists that's within the boundaries of the ear's/brain's ability to resolve information. That difference may exist only in the place between his ears by no particular choice of his own. It may even exist entirely in his own crooked imagination: he may very well lie about things that he hears because it makes him seem like a more reputable audio reviewer. We have absolutely no idea.

I can switch one power cable for another and say that the second sounds "warmer" and has "more detail". I can do Fermen's job with astonishing ease. As can anyone.

& remember: Some of the best known Audiophiles recorded/played mastered all your Music.

Then do remind me to give most of them a good punch in the face

If I may state things boldly, it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, by helping ensure it is most available at lowest cost.

Bingo.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 16 April, 2009, 11:13:45 PM
The 4D viewpoint makes perfect sense to me


Yep, that is exactly how I saw it.  I understand how synaesthesia can help in some circumstances.  I know my ability to "view" things in my mind has helped me out a lot over the years.  When I worked as an undergrad intern, I was able to actually spot an error in the system as the engineer wanted a check valve on the influent end of a water system.  There should have been a foot valve instead.  So yeah, I can perfectly understand how some people can see certain things/aspects in their minds while other people can't.

On the other hand, I would be very suspicious of opinions of anyone spending most of his listening time with lossy music, ( judging by some of the comments posted above ).


What is so bad about doing that?  Seriously, I don't see why that is such a big deal.  It just means that the lossy encoder is doing its job.  It doesn't mean that the people listening to these lossy files are deaf, crazy, can't hear anything, shady people who want to take children, or anything else like that.  It just means that they can't hear the artifacts produced by lossy encoding.  Is that really such a big deal that you have to be "very suspicious" of them?  I would be very suspicious of someone who turns down the opinions of these people simply because they listen to lossy music a lot.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 17 April, 2009, 12:12:01 AM
We need audiophools about as much as we need AIDS.

Synesthesiacs isn't just a matter of visualizing sound, it actually thinking that you see sound. The odds of being an actual synesthesiac of any form are very rare. The odds of seeing visual artifacts as a result of an audible stimuli is an especially pretty dubious claim; most synesthesiacs result in stimuli from our more acute senses to our less acute senses (e.g. you can taste a color). But when you've rejected any form of bias control I guess you can pretty much claim whatever you want. I personally ride across rainbows on unicorns when I am listening to grindcore and hitting five-irons at a driving range.

I hope he was just using synesthesiacs as a metaphor, but who honestly knows.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 17 April, 2009, 12:13:12 AM
Well fine thoughts expressed indeed .

But I still think the other side of the coin deserves some thread space ,so there I go:

I Still feel too many people are a bit light on the trigger regarding
Fremer's view , & audiophiles in general .. (Wait a minute .. Arent we some breed of Audiophiles as well ? )

If I may state things boldly, it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, ..

But the notion of skeptics with iPod earbuds is a straw man.


I have nothing but utter respect & gratitude to all the amazing people here & elsewhere that push great audio forward, with Engineers way high in the ranks, but I wouldn't bundle Engineers & innovators with skeptics , if you know what I mean.

So I fear in the global scheme of things ,Skeptics with iPod earbuds (Hey sounds like a good title for a punk band  ) are a tad thicker then a straw ..

Lossy Audio has mutated from it's specialty niche economy playback format into the defacto standard & changed the music world ,& probably MUSIC forever, & not for the better.

I feel that people like Fremer ,try in their own way & methods, to preach this sermon,
I am hopeful it will turn around, maybe the HD trend will help.

it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, by helping ensure it is most available at lowest cost.Bingo.


While you may feel that is true , & we are talking lossy audio here ..
that's a half truth to say the least.

At least regarding lossy audio.
If Lossy audio had an effect on cost (aside from 'Free' Music)
is it made what should have been considered standard, respectable audio gear by (way back) yesterday's standard ,wear a HIGH END PRODUCT sticker, killing the part of the industry we consumers need the most , the mid priced gear , by having shot it's right to exist with a generation of music lovers growing up with a veiled reference of what true sound is, essentially causing the prices for decent gear to go UP, not down.

The idea of having a $300,000+ hi-fi playback system that revolves around a record player is, to me, completely counter-intuitive.


For those who missed this era , here's some background.

Fremer, Like Some of us , has been through the big promise of Digital & the move to CDs.
I have been through it too.
The PROMISE.
The bunch of pure lies that surrounded the CD launch.
The arguments with friends about the first heard cd versions in comparison with the LPs & even tapes of the material still echo in my head.

Oh & Let's not forget the Greatest Audio Marketing Line / Joke Of All Time ,
that never wears off in trigerring my blood pressureon so many of our cds:

"The music on this Compact Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the Compact Disc can reveal limitations of the source tape."

If you have been there , you know what I mean ,& it worked.
Lol at some stage everyone was getting rid of their Records like the plague.

Fremer won't forgive.
Many of us that lost their record collection because of it & rebought their record Collection on CDs, only to find out the jittery truth afterwards, still feel the pain, now more then ever.

When the 'New' Change Came ,& people were told:
"You know , we have done some research, turns out CDs are just not as good as we assumed,  Here's a SACD for ya , now give me your credit card"
they were shown the door instead.

So I sure get it.
for All these people, like Fremer, only NOW, true HD recordings can compete, but maybe too little too late.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 17 April, 2009, 12:29:05 AM
I Still feel too many people are a bit light on the trigger regarding
Fremer's view , & audiophiles in general ..


I am just skeptical about anyone who refuses to back up their claims with blind testing.

(Wait a minute .. Arent we some breed of Audiophiles as well ? )


I know a lot of people who just call themselves "audio lover" to distance themselves from the faith based voodoo common in the audiophile world.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 17 April, 2009, 12:32:52 AM
So I fear in the global scheme of things ,Skeptics with iPod earbuds (Hey sounds like a good title for a punk band  ) are a tad thicker then a straw ..

Lossy Audio has mutated from it's specialty niche economy playback format into the defacto standard & changed the music world ,& probably MUSIC forever, & not for the better.


People with iPods using the stock earbuds represent the majority market here (not here in hydrogenaudio but the general audio community).  It doesn't mean they are right, it just means they are the majority.  Again, I fail to see what is wrong with that.  Additionally, lossy encoding has changed things for the better.  Why?  Because it allows people to carry around their entire libraries on devices with a small amount of storage (4-16GB, yes, I think that is small), it allows people to get the most out of their storage, and it has given music artists a whole new distribution method for their content.  There are many artists that are starting off as nothing but become rather large due to a fanbase that grows on MySpace, last.fm, and other various forms of online communication.  These artists then record their first album and put it up on the iTunes Store.  More money comes in for the artist, they get further recognition, and their fanbase grows even further.  NONE of this would be possible without lossy encoding.

Again, what is wrong with lossy encoding?  There are many people throughout the world (and many respected members here) who cannot properly differentiate between lossy files and lossless ones.  What is so wrong with that?  They are still enjoying the same music at the same quality (at least they perceive it to be the same quality).  I would hate to know what you think of people who actually pay for lossy music.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: greynol on 17 April, 2009, 01:35:16 AM
Oh & Let's not forget the Greatest Audio Marketing Line / Joke Of All Time ,
that never wears off in trigerring my blood pressureon so many of our cds:

It's a shame to see your blood pressure rise over what appears to be a misunderstanding on your part.

We've been through this thousands of times already, 16-bit delivers more than adequate dynamic range; more than the vinyl you seem to hold dear.  The sample rate of a CD delivers a frequency response that is more than adequate as well; certainly more than what you can hear.  I see you mentioned something of jitter.  Are you just regurgitating something you read elsewhere or do you actually know what it is?  Please, indulge us by explaining in your own words what jitter is and how it is responsible for making a typical CD player sound inferior compared to even the most expensive turntable.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 17 April, 2009, 01:40:35 AM
Many of us that lost their record collection because of it & rebought their record Collection on CDs, only to find out the jittery truth afterwards, still feel the pain, now more then ever.

What truth? As I see it, the only "shortcoming" inherent in the Redbook compact disc is that it's capable of containing, and almost encourages on a technical basis (but let's not get into that here), excessively loud recordings. Unlike with the vinyl record, engineers needn't sacrifice playback length to cram in loud, so-called "radio-friendly" masters on a compact disc. In such cases where the LP of a given album isn't as hot as its CD counterpart, the LP can "win out" in that respect -- but that really says nothing of the media itself or the capabilities of that media with respect to maintaining source fidelity.

As a consumer format, Redbook 16-bit, 44.1 kHz audio leaves nothing to be desired. With the wealth of precise digital processing available to us, the obscenely low cost of modern, transparent and practically noise-free converters, and the major advances made with psychoacoustic dithering techniques, the compact disc, and indeed 16/44.1 PCM audio in general, have never been more attractive as a high-end consumer format. The CD itself may not have changed, but the technology responsible for retaining the fidelity of the original recordings prior to them being delivered on CDs has improved considerably.

MP3/AAC/OGG/etc. can be just as attractive to any given person from a sound quality perspective if it's perceptually transparent to that person on their playback equipment. I can certainly understand the hesitancy to adopt and adapt to what is, from every technical basis, inferior to CD audio, but I certainly can't understand the vitriol I sometimes see toward lossy compression. Audiophiles typically cast it aside as being universally "flat" and "lifeless" without any kind of blind testing to verify such perceptions. The more unruly audiophiles attempt to justify their decision to cast lossy compression aside by claiming it causes listening fatigue, or, more hysterically, muscle fatigue, without any real evidence to back up such radical claims.

When the 'New' Change Came ,& people were told: "You know , we have done some research, turns out CDs are just not as good as we assumed,  Here's a SACD for ya , now give me your credit card" they were shown the door instead.

SACD was marketed toward audiophiles -- to a niche market -- as a technologically superior format, but I don't recall any analysts predicting that it would in any way overtake the venerable compact disc. It's only natural that SACD was marketed as being superior to CDs: it's unlikely they could have sold any otherwise!

On the subject of SACD, its supposed superiority to Redbook audio is actually still a subject of debate to this very day. For a myriad of reasons, I myself lean toward the "CD is better" side of the argument, if that surprises you (or doesn't).

So I sure get it. for All these people, like Fremer, only NOW, true HD recordings can compete, but maybe too little too late.

The real competition actually seems to be taking place between CD audio and the so-called "HD" audio. We're struggling to find verifiable cases of audible differences between the two. I know of only a single sample of typical program material that's been ABX'ed to a somewhat-correctly dithered downrezzed version, but not with a desirably strong degree of consistency. I know of no tests undergone which have demonstrated clear data either way. That being said, when you utilize the best sample rate conversion techniques and the best dither available, I truly do not believe any listener, using any playback system on the planet, could discern a difference.

As far as "HD" PCM competing with vinyl, I would say there is no competition. From a purely technical, fidelity-oriented perspective, the former is favored
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 17 April, 2009, 02:18:02 AM
I Still feel too many people are a bit light on the trigger regarding Fremer's view , & audiophiles in general .. (Wait a minute .. Arent we some breed of Audiophiles as well ? )
Quite true. Really, in the grand scheme of things, if you are ever not happy with the sound coming out of a clock radio or car stereo, you are an audiophile.

Quote
it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, by helping ensure it is most available at lowest cost.
While you may feel that is true , & we are talking lossy audio here .. that's a half truth to say the least. At least regarding lossy audio. If Lossy audio had an effect on cost (aside from 'Free' Music) is it made what should have been considered standard, respectable audio gear by (way back) yesterday's standard ,wear a HIGH END PRODUCT sticker, killing the part of the industry we consumers need the most , the mid priced gear , by having shot it's right to exist with a generation of music lovers growing up with a veiled reference of what true sound is, essentially causing the prices for decent gear to go UP, not down.
Another way of looking at it is that the ongoing computer revolution (Moore's Law) eliminated the market for a mid-fi in the first place. Today's "low end" transports and headphone amplifiers - iPods - are now, by almost all accounts, audiophile quality devices. When driven with lossless audio, their noise and distortion levels are scandalously, ludicrously low - compared to how far that kind of money would take you 20 or 30 years ago. Several audiophile demos have used iPods as analog sources! That a mid-fi market largely does not exist for sources largely reflects that the people who disdain the low-end tend to disdain numeric measurements and blind testing in general, and are going to spring for the high end anyway.

Quote
Fremer, Like Some of us , has been through the big promise of Digital & the move to CDs. I have been through it too. The PROMISE. The bunch of pure lies that surrounded the CD launch. The arguments with friends about the first heard cd versions in comparison with the LPs & even tapes of the material still echo in my head.

Oh & Let's not forget the Greatest Audio Marketing Line / Joke Of All Time ,  that never wears off in trigerring my blood pressureon so many of our cds: "The music on this Compact Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the Compact Disc can reveal limitations of the source tape." If you have been there , you know what I mean ,& it worked. Lol at some stage everyone was getting rid of their Records like the plague.
While I can see where you're coming from - they did remaster these releases, the tape hiss was also audible on the vinyl, peoples' dumping of vinyl was remarkably shortsighted and lemminglike, etc - how is that statement actually wrong? CDs really do have lower noise levels than tape, and the existence of newer recordings that did not have any of this tape hiss means that some listeners really do wonder why that hiss is still around. I mean, come on - many casual listeners wonder why their 80s CDs are so much quieter than their modern CDs, and that level of compression on the 80s CDs' remasters is objectionable to you? There is a cottage industry in the audiophile world nowadays (or at least on sh.tv) around hunting down the earlier 80s remasters of many albums because they are considered higher quality than their 90s/00s remasters. The alleged problems with oversampling, reconstruction, jitter, etc in the early 80s equipment, I recall, have not been legitimately tied to any major levels of distortion in the CDs of that era. While mastering processes needed to change for digital (and perhaps did so too late), I think history has smiled on the early 80s CD releases.

That said: Ron's still wrong. If there is any use for a $300,000 2-channel personal sound system, it sure as hell better be for vinyl - a notoriously flaky and expensive format to get absolutely right in all its technical aspects. Actually building a turntable for objective "perfection" is still going to set you back several tens of thousands of dollars.

Quote
Fremer won't forgive. Many of us that lost their record collection because of it & rebought their record Collection on CDs, only to find out the jittery truth afterwards, still feel the pain, now more then ever.

When the 'New' Change Came ,& people were told: "You know , we have done some research, turns out CDs are just not as good as we assumed,  Here's a SACD for ya , now give me your credit card" they were shown the door instead.

So I sure get it. for All these people, like Fremer, only NOW, true HD recordings can compete, but maybe too little too late.
What makes you think HD is anybody's savior, in appearance or reality?

Many people - you and Mikey included - hammer repeatedly on the lossy encoding issue, and on the high res audio issue, with the notion that these are huge issues to audio quality and that the pervasiveness of lossy encoding is a cause of poor sound quality, and a lack of emotion in music, etc, in society. Nobody here is disagreeing that lossless is a good idea, but we strongly disagree with the whole matter being all that important in the first place.

Lossless audio and high res audio are considered intrinsically important to high quality sound to audiophiles, but as many discussions here have illustrated, there are far more important issues out there. Mastering and recording quality, and listening environment quality, being easily the most important. You can fix those things, and get much improved, extremely audiophile-quality sound, even if you're still using MP3s! And yet, most discussions with music stores, formats etc have revolved around lossless this, highres that, high bitrate MP3, etc. With increased costs (and fatter profit margins) to boot.

Quite simply, high res/lossless is not going to solve a damn thing about audio quality, except to make music more expensive, and make a few people sleep better at night. The money and effort being spent to solve that particular issue could be put to far better use by solving other issues. But Fremer stands in opposition to that.

More generally, I am in favor of the commoditization of music, as a force of good. I think Fremer would disagree strongly.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Dracaena on 17 April, 2009, 02:36:40 AM
Hilarious. For $350k you could spend a good few years doing nothing but travelling the world seeing live performances. You know, where even non-synesthesiacs can see the stage, and the musicians to boot!
I'm told the front/back depth of the sound stage, and the location of (say) the singer is focused pretty tightly at a live show. I'm a bit skeptical though, maybe a DBT or two is in order.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: carpman on 17 April, 2009, 03:30:39 AM
Quote
It's like when you go to the symphony, and the old men are coughing—same thing," Fremer says. Necessary impurities. Reminders of being in the real world.

<RANT>

Well this is precisely why they should ban old people who can't control themselves and/or ill people from live performances of classical music which are going to be recorded. Sometimes the coughing is so well timed to coincide with the quiet passages that the cynical part of me wonders if these old farts aren't simply trying to get a part of them immortalised prior to their final exit.

I listened to the Koln Concert by Jarrett (a live recording of jazz solo piano), noticeable for the lack of coughing and spluttering common on many live classical recordings, I assume because the audience was a little younger, and I realised how some of the great Mahler recordings could have been without the audio Chinese water torture of irregular respiratory explosions. Furthermore, if someone's going to have a coughing fit, if they weren't so selfish they could remove themselves from the concert until they've recovered, but no, they mustn't miss the opportunity to be recorded spewing phlegm and/or snot into a hanky.

The thing is Richter's chair, or Glenn Gould's creaky chair and humming along don't bother me in the slightest because it's part of them making music, what bothers me about the Fremer's so-called "Necessary impurities. Reminders of being in the real world" is how necessary are they really?

Likewise, since CD got rid of all of those UNNECESSARY clicks and pops, why romanticise them - it's like romanticising horse flies or mosquitos.

</RANT>

C.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: MichaelW on 17 April, 2009, 04:11:24 AM
@carpman
One day you'll be old, fat, and in the way too--or you may still be young and beautiful, but have a cold on the night of an important concert  At least you can't smell the farts on a recording.

But, as a geezer myself, I can remember starting to love music played on a record player--remember them? Hardboard suitcase, auto-changer and ceramic cartridge and one speaker you wouldn't put in a cheap car these days. But that was what most people really had when rock was young and Klemperer was still gigging. Through various stages since, including quite good vinyl equipment, and now I listen mostly on an iPod, though with Sennheiser earbuds. And now I hear more interplay of lines in instrumental music, and more of the lyrics, than I ever did with any previous equipment, despite the fact that my hearing equipment is old and flabby. But I could tell that the first Joan Baez album was perfect, of its kind, on that horrible old set.

I have no doubt there are quite a lot of people who can tell the difference between moderate bitrate lossy and lossless/PCM, but they're probably mostly youngish women, whilst the people complaining that MP3 has stolen music's soul are mostly middle-aged men. Meanwhile, my friend the musicologist (doctorate from Paris, professional training as a singer) still keeps her old mid-level domestic Pioneer set up, though she's added a CD player to the turntable and double cassette desk.

One probably needs to take an anthropology of religion line on audiophilia. The object of the cult is a mystical presence as though at the actual coming into existence of the music (or even better than the physical actuality--the acoustic sound-stage of some venues ain't all that precise). The equipment is a sort of idol, icon, image, worship before which produces the moment of oneness. And, like all religious images, the worshipper wants to adorn it with interconnects made of precious metals, and precious woods, and pretty pebbles, and constantly tend its needs.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: carpman on 17 April, 2009, 04:57:37 AM
One day you'll be old, fat, and in the way too--or you may still be young and beautiful, but have a cold on the night of an important concert

Well, for all you know I may be a beautiful old lady who can control herself (both in terms of what she eats and when she's too ill to attend even that "important concert").    I didn't respond to the "how old are you survey", it's fun to let others assume  .

C.

ps. Just realised "old people who can't control themselves" is a little ambiguous: I meant the subset of old people who can't control themselves rather than all old people because all old people cannot control themselves. Big difference.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shenzi on 17 April, 2009, 06:47:58 AM
Elsewhere on the site someone posted a link to an entertaining wire coat hanger vs audiophile loudspeaker cable ABX test ...

http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showp...mp;postcount=28 (http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15412&postcount=28)

I wonder of Guru Fremer's ears would pass?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 17 April, 2009, 08:16:54 AM
The frequency domain part I'll agee with, but the time domain part - well numerous counter-examples exist. For example, one of the major innovations of the last 20 years in crossover design has been the so-called "Linkwistz-Riley" configuration. However Linkswitz-Riley agressively time domain response for improved frequency-domain response.
True.

However, in a digital world it's possible to make both excellent. I see no reason to compromise the time domain even if it's 100x less important. You don't need to make any trade off with digital cross overs, i.e. better time domain response doesn't implicitly make the frequency domain response worse. Of course, in both domains, it's what the errors are that matters, not just whether there are any - and in both cases, it is a real skill to correlate measurements with what you can or cannot hear. I don't have that skill - I'd do measurements and double-blind listening tests to try to understand the correlation. I think I've already reported passes and fails of such tests in both domains.

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The front/back depth of the sound stage is increased, the location of (say) the singer is focussed more tightly etc etc.
That kind of poetry slides off the lips so gracefully...
Well, you have to describe what you hear somehow. Spatial width, depth, and source position uncertainty are real repeatable subjective quantities associated with audio. I made a psychoacoustic model that could measure some of them once. I make no claims of accuracy for it, but it was a start.

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You can also put the speakers further apart before the sound stage falls apart.
Whatever that means. The means by which it was verified by means of a DBT seem to be unknown...
I don't have Harman's nice speaker test room to enable genuine double-blind testing of speakers.

However, I've tested many virtual surround sound algorithms, both via headphones and speakers. These tests were by necessity double blind - the listener can't see or know what algorithm they are listening to, and the PC doesn't know the contents of the files it is presenting. The qualities which you described as "poetic" are the exact kinds of details I was interested in, and reliably garnered from listeners. "It's further away" "It's closer" "It's over there" "It's not really anywhere" etc are the kinds of things that people say!


Let me be clear what I meant (though I'm convinced you know all this better than me): the stereo "trick" works when the perception of most listeners is that the singers, instruments etc which are present on both channels, sound like they are in the space between the speakers. The stereo "trick" can be said to be failing when that doesn't happen, and the perception of most listeners is that those same singers, instruments etc are difficult to locate - they're diffuse, or not particularly anywhere, or are clearly coming from the location of the speakers (rather than between them).

If you take a pair of speakers, and move them further and further apart, so increasing the angle at the listener, there comes a point where the stereo trick stops working. I'm not talking about toe-in (to keep a single variable in this test, you've got to keep the speakers pointing directly at the listener).

My experience is that the stereo trick keeps working at a greater angle for some speakers than for others. My guess is that this has something to do with the accuracy of the speakers, and something to do with how closely they approximate a point source, but I never had the chance to investigate further.


No, I have no ABX tests to back this up. Maybe Sean at Harman can do some.

However, there comes a point when is reasonable to assume that someone really does hear a difference, even without an ABX test. I suggest that moving the things that are actually making the sound by several feet is beyond the point where ABX tests are necessary - especially as there is already well-documented psychoacoustic data proving that humans can detect the location of something down to a few cm!


OTOH, I have evidence to prove that what people see affects their perception of sound location - putting an unconnected speaker at the location of a virtual source (whether the virtual source is presented via headphones or speakers!) changes the perception of that virtual source dramatically. However, having speakers visible which are well away from the virtual source has no detectable effect on localisation perception.

You could blindfold people to check this (I did) - but then if there was an interaction, you'd want people to be able to see the speakers, as that's how they usually listen.

Which is hilarious, and you'll hate it, but it's one example of where an audible difference isn't "placebo" in the traditional sense - it's due to a specific way in which our ears and eyes work together. When you see a speaker somewhere, you expect the sound to come from that location. You don't want to remove this effect from the test, so much as quantify it.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: HotshotGG on 17 April, 2009, 08:58:06 AM
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There is a cottage industry in the audiophile world nowadays (or at least on sh.tv) around hunting down the earlier 80s remasters of many albums because they are considered higher quality than their 90s/00s remasters. The alleged problems with oversampling, reconstruction, jitter, etc in the early 80s equipment, I recall, have not been legitimately tied to any major levels of distortion in the CDs of that era. While mastering processes needed to change for digital (and perhaps did so too late), I think history has smiled on the early 80s CD releases.


I have a small collection of original 80's recordings they sound about 10x better then modern masterings with a lot of headroom! I also have K2 24-bit remasters of a few 80's records that were transferred to digital that aren't even butchered as bad as some modern recordings are! I call it the "golden age" that period between 85-90 when they were using ambient miking with natural studio reverberation for recording and mastering CD's extremely well. They sound perfect to me.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 17 April, 2009, 09:38:53 AM
I have a small collection of original 80's recordings they sound about 10x better then modern masterings with a lot of headroom!


Very true. Most CDs these days are casualties of the loudness war. Sigh...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 17 April, 2009, 11:32:49 AM
Elsewhere on the site someone posted a link to an entertaining wire coat hanger vs audiophile loudspeaker cable ABX test ...

http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showp...mp;postcount=28 (http://forums.audioholics.com/forums/showpost.php?p=15412&postcount=28)

I wonder of Guru Fremer's ears would pass?


The chances of Fremer actually doing a proper ABX test are about zero.

Remember that Fremer went to an AES demo of ABX back in the very early 1990s, but the simple thought of it triggered a major public meltdown by him in 2005.

IME Fremer clearly belongs to the same school of scientific crticism as Pope Urban VIII (1568 – 1644):  Any finding that disagrees with closely-held tradition and personal anecdote must be false. ;-)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 17 April, 2009, 11:45:38 AM
Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds 'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source material -- or the creator's intentions?



James Boyk  (http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/) claims to have done one between CD and vinyl, long ago, but never published it in any detail (he says vinyl 'won').  I can't find any links to it, but he did release a 'demonstration' recording of sorts:

http://www.performancerecordings.com/albums.html (http://www.performancerecordings.com/albums.html)

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pr7lp (LP), pr7cd (CD):  Boyk plays Mussorgsky          1991
Mussorgsky: "Pictures at an Exhibition"
Performer / Co-engineer / Producer / Album Notes

World's only comparison of (a) pure digital, (b) digital-from-analog, and © pure analog recordings, made at the same time from the same microphones; (a) and (b) on the CD, © on the LP. The analog master tape was the first tape made on MagnesaurusTM.  From the album notes: "Interested listeners may use this double release of LP and CD to investigate some timely questions: Given an analog master tape, which medium preserves its virtues better, LP or CD? (Compare the LP with the analog half of the CD.) Does a CD sound better made from digital or analog master tape? (Compare the two versions on the CD.) And most important, which preserves the emotional impact of the music better, purely analog or purely digital recording? (Compare the LP with the digital half of the CD.)"





He also records with a modified tubed Ampex deck....

btw could someone translate the following into a dynamic range figure I can understand? It would appear to set an 'audiophile' bound for analog:


http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/rep-int.htm (http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/rep-int.htm)


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REP:  How does the noise measure out?

JB:  Noise measurements are enough to drive anybody nuts. I can't come up with anything meaningful. What I want to do is the CCIR/ARM measurement that Dolby has promulgated, but I don't have the proper filter for that. My guess is that it's 67dB below 250n/W.  (Complete specifications.)  I'll tell you what I've learned, and I've looked into each of these questions elaborately: The most meaningful thing you can say about measuring noise is that with blank tape on the machine and the tape stopped, you read the noise off the playback electronics. Then you run the blank, unmodulated tape. Your tape-stop noise, playback electronics only, should be better than 10dB below the silent tape run noise at every point in the spectrum, looking at it with an FFT analyzer.
      That's the goal. Then you turn on Record with the level pot down all the way. Now you have bias noise on there, and the record electronics, of course, and ideally it should not go up more than 4dB or 5dB above the blank tape playback noise.


REP:  And that's mostly bias and tape modulation?

JB:  Yes. Now that's the ideal. The theoretical is that it goes up 3dB. If you get 4dB or 5dB, you're doing great. But let's talk about dynamic range for a moment. The stock, factory 351 gives you a signal-to-noise of 60dB, very roughly. When you go to 1/2-inch tape, you gain 5dB. You ought to gain only 3dB because you've doubled the tape width. But the relevant thing is not the width of the tape; it's the width of the track. The 1/2-inch, 2-track tape uses the tape very effectively; 1/4inch, 2-track does not. When you compare track width instead of tape width, you see that 5 dB is what you should expect.

REP:  What is the dynamic range of the machine?

JB:  Using a peak meter at the Mastering Lab, we actually measured transients off tape, which are 14.6dB above 250n/W, clean. Absolutely not getting into the tape. Nobody would listen to it and say it was overmodulated, compressed. 14.6 above 250, which means it's 16.6 above 200, or 17.2 above 185n/W. That's almost unbelievable, and frankly a level that I didn't think tape could take. It's hot! With piano transients! I think part of that possibility, that advantage, is tube electronics, much more headroom and much more transient capabilities. It sounds marvelous.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 17 April, 2009, 12:02:33 PM
IN his 'real life' Fremer was/is a psychiatrist, and in in NYC that can pay pretty well.
Fremer is a psychiatrist? That joke writes itself. Multiple times over actually. Heh.


For some reason I thought he was...but looking him up online, I'm not finding any substantiation.  I do see he helped with the sound design of "Tron" in the 80s  ;>

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Kees de Visser on 17 April, 2009, 12:09:27 PM
Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds 'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source material -- or the creator's intentions?
James Boyk  (http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/) claims to have done one between CD and vinyl, long ago, but never published it in any detail (he says vinyl 'won').

Not a study but this message was posted today in a ProAudio mailinglist, FWIW:
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...we recently produced a vinyl disc and a DVD and a CD. All of the same 24/96 master.
The vinyl was closer to the master than the CD regarding the over all impression of depth and detail. Yes it was maybe a little colored, very little. But The CD compared to that couldn´t represent the 24/96 master as goog as vinyl. The DVD-Audio of course was exactly like the master.

Roland Storch
Adebar Acoustics
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 17 April, 2009, 12:14:07 PM
I think it's abundantly clear that Fremer is all about emotion rather than audio quality in any meaningful sense (that we are concerned about). That vinyl has such noises doesn't matter, because he asserts it evokes emotion that CDs do not.

More generally, many audiophiles believe that audio quality is intrinsically tied to emotional responses. The two concepts are more or less inseperable to them. That such and such component has a terrible frequency response or high distortion may not matter to them, because quite simply, the "sound quality" is still top class. Just look at the emotions it conveys! And look at Fremer's comments on the first CD listening - "it made me feel horrible!". And Atkinson's comments on the emotions experienced with different amps that ABX'd the same.



As if these dbags never grooved to a song playing in their cars.

Most of them probably fell in love with music listening to crappy transistor radios.

A great thing about music is that it can evoke strong emotions with little relation to its (re)production quality.



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I think that us ABXers and skeptics are also arguing fallaciously when we decry all high end audio as placebo, and/or highly corrupted by observer bias due to price/shiny knobs/etc. I think audiophiles can toss those sorts of things aside rather easily and it makes us look bad.


I don't.  I see no reason to believe audiophiles are any less suspectible to them , than non-audiophiles. 

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Really, we don't have a very good scientific understanding of how sighted testing actually works. If we did, we could predict it. And we can't! We can make educated guesses, based on all sorts of sighted factors like cost etc, but nobody's actually argued these correlations with any degree of accuracy whatsoever. The guesses are plausible to us but laughably hypothetical to others.


Sure we do --are you suggesting there have been no studies of factors influencing customer choice?  There are whole INDUSTRIES devoted to that.

No, it doesn't mean we have perfect predictors....but science doesn't require that to dub a model 'good'.

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Rather, the problem here is that the whole notion of trusting some touchy psychiatrist fourty/fiftysomething's emotions when it comes to your music purchase decisions, or even your audio worldview, is batshit crazy - golden ears or not. And that's even before we get to the problem of trusting one's own emotions on the matter. I mean no offense to Mikey on professional grounds, insofar as his "profession" is concerned - he's not crazy, not evil, and not stupid - but he is elitist. I do believe he is grossly disrespectful to how normal people in this country listen to their music, and how they should be listening to their music. And taking him at his word on a great many topics will not save you money and will not make you a happier or better person. It only lets you perceive yourself as of a higher class for entirely specious reasons.


IMO he's a ranting, hair-triggered, ignorant (re digital) gasbag, on top of being 'elitist'. 

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 17 April, 2009, 12:16:44 PM
From what I have read , I have to say I see no problem at all with anything Fremer stands for.

He is a well respected pro in his field , & I feel he fights for what he believes in ,


His 'field' is intellectually and scientifically  bogus, so to be 'well respected' there is like being a 'well respected' ghost hunter.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 17 April, 2009, 12:24:51 PM
Oh & Let's not forget the Greatest Audio Marketing Line / Joke Of All Time ,
that never wears off in trigerring my blood pressureon so many of our cds:

"The music on this Compact Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the Compact Disc can reveal limitations of the source tape."

If you have been there , you know what I mean ,& it worked.


Perhaps because it was true.  CD audio *could* and *did* reveal tape hiss that was obscured by LP surface noise.  Not to mention that if LP production tapes were used to make the CD, you'd hear things that would have been appropriate for LP playback, but no so much for more accurate playback.


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Lol at some stage everyone was getting rid of their Records like the plague.

Fremer won't forgive.


So?  Fuck 'im.

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Many of us that lost their record collection because of it & rebought their record Collection on CDs, only to find out the jittery truth afterwards, still feel the pain, now more then ever.


uh, oh *the jittery truth*, I sense a flood of handwaving coming on.  You guys always resort to 'jitter' as the villain eventually.


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When the 'New' Change Came ,& people were told:
"You know , we have done some research, turns out CDs are just not as good as we assumed,  Here's a SACD for ya , now give me your credit card"
they were shown the door instead.


Right, and audiofools like the writing staff of Stereophile fully bought into that....the rest of us bought SACDs in the hopes that 1) the mastering wasn't loudness wars-driven and 2)the  multichannel mixes were cool.


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So I sure get it.


I don't think you do.  Your bitterness is misplaced and perhaps misinformed.


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for All these people, like Fremer, only NOW, true HD recordings can compete, but maybe too little too late.


There is no evidence that HD itself is audibly different from Redbook, at normal listening levels,  so you're just buying into more shuck there.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 17 April, 2009, 12:37:09 PM
Let me be clear what I meant (though I'm convinced you know all this better than me): the stereo "trick" works when the perception of most listeners is that the singers, instruments etc which are present on both channels, sound like they are in the space between the speakers. The stereo "trick" can be said to be failing when that doesn't happen, and the perception of most listeners is that those same singers, instruments etc are difficult to locate - they're diffuse, or not particularly anywhere, or are clearly coming from the location of the speakers (rather than between them).



Following Floyd Toole, I'd say it really works when the soundstage is apparently divorced from the speakers  -- that is, there is wide 'apparent source width' extending *beyond* the speakers, where appropriate (like a symphony orchestra) , as well as 'sound objects ' in between them, as well as a sense of 'listener envelopment'  that replaces the actual listening room with the illusion of another space; finally, there is also front-to back depth in the placement of instruments.

With a *two channel*  system I've only ever experienced something like this in near-field listening...though the soundstage width was compromised.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 17 April, 2009, 03:16:59 PM
The frequency domain part I'll agee with, but the time domain part - well numerous counter-examples exist. For example, one of the major innovations of the last 20 years in crossover design has been the so-called "Linkwistz-Riley" configuration. However Linkswitz-Riley agressively time domain response for improved frequency-domain response.
True.

However, in a digital world it's possible to make both excellent.


Not in any universe that I'm familiar with. Perhaps its my high standards for flat and smooth frequency response - deviations less than a few tenths of a dB from 20-20 KHz.

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I see no reason to compromise the time domain even if it's 100x less important. You don't need to make any trade off with digital cross overs, i.e. better time domain response doesn't implicitly make the frequency domain response worse. Of course, in both domains, it's what the errors are that matters, not just whether there are any - and in both cases, it is a real skill to correlate measurements with what you can or cannot hear. I don't have that skill - I'd do measurements and double-blind listening tests to try to understand the correlation. I think I've already reported passes and fails of such tests in both domains.


In the universe that I inhabit, digital techology is often proudly used to implement Linkwitz-Riley crossovers... 

Take a speaker system and equalize it within a few tenths and then move your measurement location a few inches. There went your claimed precise performance! ;-)


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 17 April, 2009, 04:14:36 PM
First,
@2Bdecided ,Thanks you for bringing some much needed finer angles to this discussion, thanks.


@
Following Floyd Toole, I'd say it really works when the soundstage is apparently divorced from the speakers  -- that is, there is wide 'apparent source width' extending *beyond* the speakers, .... finally, there is also front-to back depth in the placement of instruments.

With a *two channel*  system I've only ever experienced something like this in near-field listening...though the soundstage width was compromised.


That's interesting , I still could not figure what hat you were wearing as some your posts suggested you read some of the studies about analog gear & subscribed to the findings , but then you go & say things like Fuck Fremer.. dbags etc ..

Feel free to ignore that tip, but for those that might read it & try to get the effect happenning  on their system, I find it quite interesting you experienced something like this in near field listening, as the effect does not materialize without some distance from the speakers to your ears, for bass to flesh out & create a good weighty Center.

for all of the 'technical'  posts about vinyl ... right ..
I am far from a vinyl expert, but saying stuff like
.." a $350,000 system is wasted on a Record player as a source".... O-K.

All I can say is : Please do your homework & read some measurements & analysis about what's possible with vinyl & Tape, then reconsider your statements.

People with iPods using the stock earbuds represent the majority market here (not here in hydrogenaudio but the general audio community).  It doesn't mean they are right, it just means they are the majority.

Again, what is wrong with lossy encoding?  There are many people throughout the world (and many respected members here) who cannot properly differentiate between lossy files and lossless ones.  What is so wrong with that? 

I would hate to know what you think of people who actually pay for lossy music.


Hmm looks like I did not did not get my point across as well as I hoped .

Wrong is a big Word.
My view of lossy audio is not in the wrong or right perspective per se.

But, the misuse & promotion of lossy audio as a worthy Product, is indeed wrong.

I have been working with & around musicians all my life.
There's nothing in common with all of them, apart from being musicians of course.

Many musicians I have met , did not give a Rat's ass about their playback system.
But they had some fine excuses.

Some just are busy making it & hearing the real thing all the time,
they can see quite well for their reference use , even through a dirty window,
& some have all their money spent on their music performing gear.

But that changes, when they start recording music.
Even the Most Lo Fi guys I have met ,do  realize that some effort has to be made,
to get the recording right.

I can tell you I have seen many people go from zero interest in it ,
to go all out & move from studio to studio , recording the same song,
to get something else in the sound.

Can you see where Im going with this ?
You see, Now they cared.

How many of you have sat with someone downloading some bad Lame mp3 rip of his own album, remembering the sound he had in the mixing stage, how disappointed he was from the mastering stage, & then seeing the horror in his eyes when he actually dares to play it.

You know what the saddest part is ? Some people will only know his song sounding like That.

Lossy Audio , as a downsized pointer to the real thing , I have no problem with.
I even signed up to help the LossyWav project.

Fm Radio is one great example, it can point you all day long to everything.
for some it was all that was needed, I know.

But it was never the real thing , never something you could own, buy, or god forbid , transcode.

It has served the Real product.
It has served the Real Experience.

Some views expressed here (I am disappointed to say), may lead the inexperienced music lover, that it is OK, if that's all he will ever know.

If Kids (or adults too actually .. )
want to claim something is Indistinguishable from the real thing- they must KNOW the real thing.
it does NOT mean you can claim so without a long & serious affair with the Real thing.

So I Do not have $4000 Power cables, & most of my LPs are scratched to death & never get played anymore.
& Yes ,Id LOVE to have a $350,000 System .. who wouldn't ?

Regardless , I Do believe that Itunes ( or anyone else !) saying buy the Lossy Album - & your'e done ! You Got the album  ! , is an Insult to both their clients , & additional spit in the face of the musicians that make them.

When what should have been a low end marketing tool, becomes the Reference Product,
then Yes, We , Music lovers, at least here at Hydrogen , should have a problem with it.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 17 April, 2009, 04:40:56 PM
This is very disappointing. Year after year the members of HA study the issue of sound reproduction and how to improve it. They do tests and research the literature in the quest for the truth. Then someone like BORK comes along with lots of wild, unsubstantiated claims that I'm sure he will be quite unwilling to back up. 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 17 April, 2009, 04:53:58 PM
A post's length often inversely correlates with the lack of sufficient data to backup ones claims. There is no scientifically valid reason to turn up one's nose at modern lossy encoders (quality wise).

But quality isn't everything. Alone knowing that bits were stolen from your source (in the believe that you cannot hear them anyway) may seriously harm an audiophile's listening experience. After having spent quite some time over the years with some of the very rare problem samples I know this feeling, you can have it without believing that it is justified.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 17 April, 2009, 06:12:20 PM
Some views expressed here (I am disappointed to say), may lead the inexperienced music lover, that it is OK, if that's all he will ever know.


Again, I fail to see anything wrong with that.  Audio is recorded, mastered in the studio, pressed to CD, and then encoded by the end user for personal use (whether the process is lossy or lossless or both).  The lossy encoder is doing its job if people cannot differentiate between it and the source CD.  Who cares what anyone else thinks?  The people listening to the lossy file are getting the full experience of what the artist has to offer.  So yes, it is alright if people will only ever listen to lossy encoded files.  Again, I fail to see what is so "wrong" with this.  Feel free to post your blind ABX tests results (I won't hold my breath) and disagree.  My point is that you have someone who fails numerous blind ABX test results comparing the lossless source material and the lossy version.  These people will have the same listening experience with the lossy files as they sound exactly the same as the source lossless files.

I also don't see why you bring up music artists as you do.  It has been shown here a countless number of times that musicians are just like everyone else except they can play an instrument (or sing).  They can fail blind ABX tests comparing 128kbps lossy material to source lossless files.

I think rpp3po summed it up.  There is absolutely no reason why someone should look down upon lossy encoding when results are different for everyone.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 17 April, 2009, 06:23:00 PM
for all of the 'technical'  posts about vinyl ... right ..
I am far from a vinyl expert, but saying stuff like.." a $350,000 system is wasted on a Record player as a source".... O-K.

All I can say is : Please do your homework & read some measurements & analysis about what's possible with vinyl & Tape, then reconsider your statements.

I'm pretty familiar with the limitations offered by analog tape and familiar enough with vinyl to understand its inferiority to analog tape with respect to its ability to preserve fidelity. I mean, that's just a given. I've also tracked projects to tape: it's kind of neat, kind of interesting, but nothing all that desirable from a technical perspective. I mean, I could sit here and list all of the problems you can encounter in the studio when you track to tape, but it's a fairly exhausting list of issues. I mean, in 2009, I can't even imagine having to actually worry about bleedthrough, print-through and a tape machine's constantly-wavering bias. Then there's the constant degradation and...well, just count me out.

Based on all the information (real technical data) I've come to know and understand, I wouldn't particularly welcome the opportunity to record any source to analog tape -- not even to 1/2". I might choose to utilize tape saturation and/or tape delay as an effect, but my main interest is primarily in high bit depth, high sample rate digital recording as it affords me the greatest possible opportunity to maintain fidelity. I can mimic the effects of tape saturation with DSP if I want to with satisfactory results.

In any case, what specifically does tape offer me as an engineer and as a consumer that LPCM does not? What specifically does the vinyl record offer to consumers that Redbook CD audio does not? Purely from the perspective of technical specifications and the technical limitations with respect to noise, dynamic range, linearity and lack of distortion, what does vinyl offer me that PCM and 1-bit DSM (DSD) do not? Throw some links at me if you have some time and I'll work through them. Tell me what I need to be reading.

want to claim something is Indistinguishable from the real thing- they must KNOW the real thing. it does NOT mean you can claim so without a long & serious affair with the Real thing.

I've never understood the "real thing" angle. When I record something, I'm not at all concerned with its "real thing" score: I just want it to sound good. A mixer is going to intentionally de-"real thing" every track on the mixer. If the heavily-processed sound is what that engineer craves, that's what's going to go into the mix.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 17 April, 2009, 06:47:36 PM
Has there ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds 'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source material -- or the creator's intentions?



James Boyk  (http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/) claims to have done one between CD and vinyl, long ago, but never published it in any detail (he says vinyl 'won').  I can't find any links to it, but he did release a 'demonstration' recording of sorts:

http://www.performancerecordings.com/albums.html (http://www.performancerecordings.com/albums.html)

Quote
pr7lp (LP), pr7cd (CD):  Boyk plays Mussorgsky          1991
Mussorgsky: "Pictures at an Exhibition"
Performer / Co-engineer / Producer / Album Notes

World's only comparison of (a) pure digital, (b) digital-from-analog, and © pure analog recordings, made at the same time from the same microphones; (a) and (b) on the CD, © on the LP. The analog master tape was the first tape made on MagnesaurusTM.  From the album notes: "Interested listeners may use this double release of LP and CD to investigate some timely questions: Given an analog master tape, which medium preserves its virtues better, LP or CD? (Compare the LP with the analog half of the CD.) Does a CD sound better made from digital or analog master tape? (Compare the two versions on the CD.) And most important, which preserves the emotional impact of the music better, purely analog or purely digital recording? (Compare the LP with the digital half of the CD.)"




How uncertain abd overstated can this be? Let me count the ways!

The criteria that Boyk is promoting is "Emotional Impact". It turns out that emotional impact is a combination of sensation, memory, and glandular chemistry. Of the three, only sensation can be directly traced to technical influences like accuracy of reproduced sound. So, where science tries to factor out irrelvant evidence, Boyk is trying to add-in factors that are next to impossible to control.

Recording is neither a reliable, repeatable nor predictable process. I wasn't at any of Boyks recording sessions, so I can only guess at the work flow that was used.

The most important element of recording is the choice of microphones and their deployment. Typically one records a portion of the rehearsal and then plays back the recording to see how the existing choice and deploument of microphones is working out. Microphones are added, removed, or re-deployed, and iterate. The means by which the reocording is auditioned is critical as it colors the perceptions of how the process is proceeding. In the case of Boyk's recording, it would appear that there was one performances or set of performances that was recorded using the same set of microphones. Since analog and digital recording are generally distinguishable from each other, which recording was used to audition becomes a controlling parameter.

IOW, if you make an analog and a digital recording of a musical performance, the whole scene and setup will be inherently biased towards analog or digital depending on which method of recording dominated the audition process.

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He also records with a modified tubed Ampex deck....


I guess we don't have to think for very long to decide which recording format biased his recordings. ;-)


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btw could someone translate the following into a dynamic range figure I can understand? It would appear to set an 'audiophile' bound for analog:


http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/rep-int.htm (http://www.its.caltech.edu/~boyk/rep-int.htm)


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REP:  How does the noise measure out?

JB:  Noise measurements are enough to drive anybody nuts. I can't come up with anything meaningful. What I want to do is the CCIR/ARM measurement that Dolby has promulgated, but I don't have the proper filter for that. My guess is that it's 67dB below 250n/W.  (Complete specifications.)  I'll tell you what I've learned, and I've looked into each of these questions elaborately: The most meaningful thing you can say about measuring noise is that with blank tape on the machine and the tape stopped, you read the noise off the playback electronics. Then you run the blank, unmodulated tape. Your tape-stop noise, playback electronics only, should be better than 10dB below the silent tape run noise at every point in the spectrum, looking at it with an FFT analyzer.
      That's the goal. Then you turn on Record with the level pot down all the way. Now you have bias noise on there, and the record electronics, of course, and ideally it should not go up more than 4dB or 5dB above the blank tape playback noise.

REP:  And that's mostly bias and tape modulation?

JB:  Yes. Now that's the ideal. The theoretical is that it goes up 3dB. If you get 4dB or 5dB, you're doing great. But let's talk about dynamic range for a moment. The stock, factory 351 gives you a signal-to-noise of 60dB, very roughly. When you go to 1/2-inch tape, you gain 5dB. You ought to gain only 3dB because you've doubled the tape width. But the relevant thing is not the width of the tape; it's the width of the track. The 1/2-inch, 2-track tape uses the tape very effectively; 1/4inch, 2-track does not. When you compare track width instead of tape width, you see that 5 dB is what you should expect.

REP:  What is the dynamic range of the machine?

JB:  Using a peak meter at the Mastering Lab, we actually measured transients off tape, which are 14.6dB above 250n/W, clean. Absolutely not getting into the tape. Nobody would listen to it and say it was overmodulated, compressed. 14.6 above 250, which means it's 16.6 above 200, or 17.2 above 185n/W. That's almost unbelievable, and frankly a level that I didn't think tape could take. It's hot! With piano transients! I think part of that possibility, that advantage, is tube electronics, much more headroom and much more transient capabilities. It sounds marvelous.



I get 60 dB for the basic 350 recorder, plus 5 dB for the extra wide tracks, plus as much as 17.2 dB for the alleged dynamic range above 0 dB.  Maybe 82.2 dB @ 3 % THD.  Pretty bad by even 16 bit digital standards, but not bad by standard analog tape standards.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 17 April, 2009, 11:22:34 PM
IME Fremer clearly belongs to the same school of scientific crticism as Pope Urban VIII (1568 – 1644):  Any finding that disagrees with closely-held tradition and personal anecdote must be false. ;-)
Heh... I don't think that is a good comparison to make.

There was very little scientific evidence that strongly advocated the heliocentric worldview specifically. Geo-heliocentrism was equivalent from a mathematical standpoint and was rather widely used. Without Keplerian orbital mechanics, heliocentrism was arguably no "cleaner" than Ptolmaic astronomy, and certainly no more accurate - but note that Galileo never actually acknowledged Kepler's work.

The churches' opposition to heliocentrism revolved entirely around the notion of centrism. (No pun intended.) The irony of this, of course, is that Galileo and the churches were both wrong, and the universe is certainly not centered around either the sun or the earth in any meaningful sense.

Urban VIII actually encouraged Galileo in heliocentric discussions early on (if only as a hypothesis). That Galileo was persecuted as much as he was, was not entirely because of his beliefs: much of it had to do with the (widely documented) fact that he was something of a dick. Writing a book where the theories of your opponents are represented by the character named "Simplicio" is just begging to get your ass kicked, in both the 17th or the 21st centuries.

Urban's role in all of this is almost entirely political in nature. Theologians had no problem with non-traditional theories as long as they were geocentric. None of Galileo's observations were being challenged.

Has there  ever been any studies where vinyl, CD, and file-based formats are  tested against an album master? If someone thinks a vinyl album sounds  'better' than a CD, does that mean that it's closer to the source  material -- or the creator's intentions?


Stockfisch has released a few direct-to-disc LPs with a parallel SACD recording path, bundling the LP and the SACD in the same (80 EUR!!) bundle. I think this is going to be as close of a valid comparison as you are ever likely to get.

http://www.stockfisch-records.de/stckff/sf...sfaceCP_pu.html (http://www.stockfisch-records.de/stckff/sf_popup_wdws/bassfaceCP_pu.html)

For some reason I thought he was...but looking him up online, I'm not finding any substantiation.  I do see he helped with the sound design of "Tron" in the 80s  ;>
Heh. Thanks for the clarification, that might have gotten ugly if I actually trotted that out in a debate.

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I don't.  I see no reason to believe audiophiles are any less suspectible to them , than non-audiophiles.
Me neither - all I'm saying is that the "it's all placebo" argument is extremely easy to dismiss. It can even be dismissed on thoroughly logical and sensible grounds. Therefore, don't argue it in the first place.

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Sure we do --are you suggesting there have been no studies of factors influencing customer choice?  There are whole INDUSTRIES devoted to that. No, it doesn't mean we have perfect predictors....but science doesn't require that to dub a model 'good'.
Customer choice research has never been studied in the audio field with the intensity that exists in other industries.

Science it does require predictors of some sort. I think "science" is only content with indirectly demonstrated predictors for mostly dead or inscrutable fields where more directly proven, accurate prediction is not useful. That these biases are inferred from human psychology or anecdotally related as a result of blind testing does nto make them "demonstrated" in any statistical sense.

And I really think there is a huge use for more accurate prediction. A better knowledge of the mechanics of sighted listening bias - to the point of statistical meaning - could drastically improve the persuasiveness of the blind testing position. It could inform customers on what to look out for when performing sighted evaluations of speakers, when blind testing is for whatever reason unavailable, so that they can adjust their perceptions accordingly.

That's interesting , I still could not figure what hat you were wearing as some your posts suggested you read some of the studies about analog gear & subscribed to the findings , but then you go & say things like Fuck Fremer.. dbags etc .. Feel free to ignore that tip, but for those that might read it & try to get the effect happenning  on their system, I find it quite interesting you experienced something like this in near field listening, as the effect does not materialize without some distance from the speakers to your ears, for bass to flesh out & create a good weighty Center.
Blind testing is all about subjective evaluation. Few of us dispute that such small soundstage differences can and do exist. Krab's problem is that these differences can also be explained by sighted listening biases. Additionally, much of our problem with Fremer is that he simply does not accept negative blind test results as having any valid interpretation, which most of us disagree with. Finally, he's on the whole not as knowledgable as you think about audio engineering, and he does get important facts wrong.

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But it was never the real thing , never something you could own, buy, or god forbid , transcode. It has served the Real product. It has served the Real Experience. Some views expressed here (I am disappointed to say), may lead the inexperienced music lover, that it is OK, if that's all he will ever know.

If Kids (or adults too actually .. ) want to claim something is Indistinguishable from the real thing- they must KNOW the real thing. it does NOT mean you can claim so without a long & serious affair with the Real thing.
So, to agree with Ron here, I am of the opinion that the whole notion of "the Real Thing" is a pernicious idea. Of course lossless exists as a reference against lossy - but what exactly makes lossless any more of a "real" "thing" compared to lossy, besides a) distortions which are rarely or never audible in some cases, and b) warm fuzzies? The distortions present in high bitrate MP3 etc are astonishingly minor compared to any number of effects in mastering, recording, etc. To say that a lossy encode is compromising the ability to "know the real thing" is just as false as saying that listening to a transcribed score compromises the ability to "know the real thing" as the original score of a classical work. Justifying a statement like that requires delving down specifically to what is lost in translation, and by that time, you have no need to refer to "The Real Thing" to begin with.

This is not a pro-MP3 argument. I am in total agreement with you about how a listener should purchase their music, especially in regards to iTunes. What I'm saying is, frankly, the crux of the issue is not based on intrinsic qualities of a recording, like its authenticity etc. And it may have very little to do with audio quality, except for corner cases like transcoding, small risks of encoder failures in iTMS-purchased music, etc. Rather, it has to do with a) the specific, testable qualities of the medium, and b) the larger philosophies surrounding music listening, which often have very little to do with audio quality per se. In other words, I don't like FM becuse it is "not the real thing", I don't like it because of massive amounts of its dynamic range compression and amplitude and phase eq - and also because of non-audio things, like the fact that I don't like the inflexibility of broadcast music, etc.

This is very disappointing. Year after year the members of HA study the issue of sound reproduction and how to improve it. They do tests and research the literature in the quest for the truth. Then someone like BORK comes along with lots of wild, unsubstantiated claims that I'm sure he will be quite unwilling to back up. 
I don't think he's making anything of the sort - I suspect he is trying to articulate an audio philosophy that is more or less the same as ours, combined with a music philosophy that is much different. Both are quite defensible, but I do believe they are using a poor choice of words.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 18 April, 2009, 12:50:01 AM
The distortions present in high bitrate MP3 etc are astonishingly minor compared to any number of effects in mastering, recording, etc.

Yep. Engineers routinely squeeze the fidelity out of everything that gets tracked with obscene amounts of equalization, massive compression, fake reverberation, multiple layers of intentional harmonic distortion (through the use of tube amplifiers and analog tape saturation/saturation emulation) and so on, and so on, and so on. Everything we do after we record something -- everything -- is reducing fidelity by increasing noise and distortion. We can never get any closer to the original instrument's sound, only further away. Each click on a rotary knob is just that much more degradation. Every time a fader's moved from unity, it's pure destruction (at least in the  analog world, anyway)

One engineer I studied under told me a pretty hilarious (and revealing) story about how a mixer he had worked with achieved his "signature verb". The process was fairly straightforward: the mixer would have a prestigious L.A. studio set up a speakerphone in one of the live rooms and mic one of the room's corners. The mixer then set up his own speakerphone in his control room in his own studio. He'd call the phone in the live room miles away, blast the track he wanted wet into his phone's receiver with the control room monitors and have the studio at the receiving end record the speakerphone (with the room mic). He'd then go out to the studio, pick up the tape with the phone recording and drop it into his mix. He didn't use an advanced convolution reverb; he didn't mic his own live room; he recorded a God damn speakerphone. That was his signature sound.

These kinds of practices, nonsensical as they seem to the pursuit of achieving "good sound", aren't likely to change. Engineers are going to utilize wild and sometimes unbelievable techniques to get the sound they want, and that routinely includes processes that utterly decimate the fidelity of the original recording. And here's where audiophiles sit, thinking they're listening to recordings intended to mimic reality!? Hardly
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 18 April, 2009, 01:15:53 AM
@Ron Jones
well ...Now in your post you switched to looking from the Recording chair angle ...

So first let me clarify what I meant with the "Real Thing":
It was from a consumer / end user, playback point of view ,as the real product, I never mentioned anything about an engineer being faithful to the recorded event .. as it's totally off topic (& as you said not that popular nowadays anyway).
If your'e a recording engineer , no further words are needed.

You'd know how hard it can be to squeeze the tracks in the mix , & you'd know that getting a 16 bit 2 track to shine as it did with the full hi res track count played in the studio is no small feat by any mastering guru's standards.

So after all that effort, having companies & people implying that even the (Downscaled CD) is not a mandatory experience cause it's "indistinguishable" & they can prove (lol) they cannot hear the differnece by failing their foobar ABX tests , & make people pay for lossy music claiming that is the product , is just outrageous really.

You know what I mean  ?

This is where we are at now ..:
Every time the word Audiophile is being thrown anywhere nowadays,
you get a bunch of Trolls, waving their Ipods in fury, taking a break from doing spectrals of their transcodes,
& pointing un/ (& sometimes over) educated fingers at analog purists like Fremer.

I am just trying to make a case for why he is a purist.
& How being as close (or even surpassing the experience in a way) to the recorded event and product should be admired & desired by all music lovers, without looking at it only through my angle.


Now about the Recording angle of it:

If I would have taken that seat, Id say the exact words you just used , we are dead on the same page about that.

But Fremer  ..Im sure you noticed,  is on the Playback side of things ....

You mentioned you know the pain of getting a pure analog recording system setup right.

so I figure on 2nd thought ,even though you implied his $350,000 system is wasted on a Record player source, you'd agree getting a setup like his to tick is not easier ... if not harder.

Looking from the recording angle - I agree , I would never make the effort , & I'd never have the patience, to go the pure analog route today (excluding summing).

As for me, & I think I am not totally alone on this, I cannot help but admire the man for perfecting a purist Analog playback system like his nowadays.

sometimes I wish I would see half that devotion to sonics from the studios.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: botface on 18 April, 2009, 07:35:36 AM
Just thought I'd throw in a couple of observations.

We all love music or we wouldn't be here. I can't speak for everyone but I assume that most of us love music because of the emotional response it triggers. So, why are we surprised if some people let their emotions "tell" them things that are probably not true. Isn't it just a difference between individuals of where the emotional stops and the logical takes over?

Do musicians have better ears than the rest of us? Probably not. However, they (and engineers, producers etc) are more habituated to sound as they spend more time exposed to music even when not deliberately listening to it. If they play an acoustic instrument and perhaps play in a band or ensemble of some kind they have a much better idea than the rest of us what their instrument and other "real" instruments sound like before any engineering has been done on them. I'm willing to accept that some professional musicians are more sensitive to deviances from "true" as a result.

There is an inconsistency with the collective HA position (maybe that's just because it is collective). On the one hand we're happy to accept that while most lossy encoders are able produce results that are transparent to most people, most of the time, there are problem samples for every codec that some people can easily identify. This doesn't surprise us as we know a lossy copy is different to the original and some people are more sensitive to these differences than others. On the other hand if somebody claims to be able to hear a difference in two items that we know are measurably different - cables or 24/96 vs 16/44 perhaps - we say that they must be wrong as the differences are too small to detect. Again, I'm willing to accept that some people have better ears than others and maybe they can hear things that I can't. Having said that they should be able to demonstrate their ability reliably and repeatably in a blind test
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 18 April, 2009, 08:40:54 AM
I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile (http://www.stereophile.com), which clearly goes completely against the grain around here.

Fremer is the guy who wrote a glowing review about a recent vinyl reissue of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, but then a few days later was informed that it was cut from a digital tape, and thus surreptitiously took down his old review, and replaced it with one complaining that the album sounds too digital.

This is exactly what I expect from people who push nonsense as if it is an ideological agenda. The less said about him the better.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: [JAZ] on 18 April, 2009, 11:14:21 AM
On the one hand we're happy to accept that while most lossy encoders are able produce results that are transparent to most people, most of the time, there are problem samples for every codec that some people can easily identify.
[...]
On the other hand if somebody claims to be able to hear a difference in two items that we know are measurably different - cables or 24/96 vs 16/44 perhaps - we say that they must be wrong as the differences are too small to detect.


I believe you got that wrong. Let me show you why:

First, what we accept is that lossy encoders, most of the time, do what they are designed to do, which is reproduce an encoded audio signal(*1) which is indistinguishable(*2) from the original, and using much less bits to store that signal compared to the original.

Problem (aka killer) samples define either an error in the implementation, or a deficiency of the format or methods used by that format. Some people are more sensitive to some types of artifacts, but that doesn't mean we accept they to tell us so without an accepted methodology.

Then, you throw in that we don't accept that a measurable (by hardware or software) difference could be heard by someone.

Well, of course, we do not accept that, if it is not proven by accepted methods, just like we would do with one person throwing in a killer sample.

In other words, the importance, for us, is to ensure that when talking about audio, only the audible differences are taken in consideration.

That's the corner stone of it all. 


(*1) audio signal, specifically one in the range of the human perception
(*2) indistinguishable, not able to tell the difference, using accepted methods ( ABX/DBT )
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 18 April, 2009, 12:13:24 PM
I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile (http://www.stereophile.com), which clearly goes completely against the grain around here.

Fremer is the guy who wrote a glowing review about a recent vinyl reissue of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, but then a few days later was informed that it was cut from a digital tape, and thus surreptitiously took down his old review, and replaced it with one complaining that the album sounds too digital.

This is exactly what I expect from people who push nonsense as if it is an ideological agenda. The less said about him the better.


Wow! I didn't hear this story. Have a link?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 18 April, 2009, 12:22:16 PM
What I find ridiculous about this article is the continued and elitist notion that those of us who prefer digital, even in compressed formats, are somehow sacrificing quality on the altar of convenience.  I just went through a crapload of trouble in the last couple of months to make sure that I wasn't sacrificing anything in the quality department by reripping virtually my entire collection.  If I can't reliably distinguish the AAC files on my iPod from the lossless files on my hard drives (and I haven't found any that I can do so with yet) then what, precisely, have I sacrificed?  If anything I would argue that I have made vast improvements in my ability to access and enjoy my music while giving up nothing.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 18 April, 2009, 12:39:56 PM
So after all that effort, having companies & people implying that even the (Downscaled CD) is not a mandatory experience cause it's "indistinguishable" & they can prove (lol) they cannot hear the differnece by failing their foobar ABX tests , & make people pay for lossy music claiming that is the product , is just outrageous really.

You know what I mean  ?

This is where we are at now ..:
Every time the word Audiophile is being thrown anywhere nowadays,
you get a bunch of Trolls, waving their Ipods in fury, taking a break from doing spectrals of their transcodes,
& pointing un/ (& sometimes over) educated fingers at analog purists like Fremer.


You really aren't getting your point across.  Are people who listen to lossy music through an iPod uneducated?  Does conducting a blind ABX test in foobar2000 prove nothing (for that person)?  I have absolutely no idea what you mean.  No one here is a troll.  In fact, someone like Fremer would be perceived as a troll as they often have outrageous ideas without any proof to back them up and their opinion on quality changes based on what they know about the source material (like in ShowsOn's example).  They will then go against what we know by posting a whole bunch of nonsense.  That is a troll.  Someone who listens to lossy music on their iPod and fails a blind ABX test between a lossy and lossless encoder is not a troll.  Someone asking for a true blind test so that someone can backup their claims is not a troll.

Lastly, there are big differences between audiophiles and audiophools.  An audiophile is someone who cares about sound quality.  They are willing to take the time to conduct blind ABX tests to determine what lossy encoder and setting is right for them (or if they should go the lossless route).  Audiophools are people who will change their opinions based on what they know about the source material, they look down on blind testing methods because they know that they probably will fail them, and they preach what they think and aren't willing to even look at the other side of the coin.  No one has problems with audiophiles here.  In fact, nearly everyone here is an audiophile as they care about their music (yes, someone can be an audiophile and listen to lossy music despite what you may think).  We just don't like it when the audiophools come along and post nonsense.

B0RK, you continue to step around my question regarding blind ABX testing (which Frumious B asked again).  What is so wrong/incorrect/punishable by death when someone listens to lossy music on an iPod knowing that they cannot properly ABX the differences between that lossy music and the source lossy files?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Fandango on 18 April, 2009, 12:43:54 PM
Fremer is the guy who wrote a glowing review about a recent vinyl reissue of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, but then a few days later was informed that it was cut from a digital tape, and thus surreptitiously took down his old review, and replaced it with one complaining that the album sounds too digital.

This is exactly what I expect from people who push nonsense as if it is an ideological agenda. The less said about him the better.
Isn't this the center around which the so-called audiophiles rotate? They want to know such details. They want to know that the casing of their speakers is from a special wood that doesn't suck up the livelyness of the sound or that the music was produced and delivered all analog and that their friends all think feel the same about how a human being has to listen to music properly.

Hence the refusal to do blind tests, and the weird 180°-turn of Fremer regarding the Pet Sounds pressing. I believe him when he says that the recording sounds like crap. Once he know it wasn't all analog, he probably got all jittery and sweaty again when listening to it.

For audiophiles it's all about the magical act of listening to music and enjoying it, not about listening to magical music and enjoying it. Actually that's very very sad.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: chelgrian on 18 April, 2009, 12:48:26 PM
B0RK, you continue to step around my question regarding blind ABX testing (which Frumious B asked again).  What is so wrong/incorrect/punishable by death when someone listens to lossy music on an iPod knowing that they cannot properly ABX the differences between that lossy music and the source lossy files?


Or indeed listen to lossy music on an iPhone that you know full well you can ABX...but only on headphones that you couldn't possibly carry around with you.

Or indeed trading quality for space so you can get your entire collection on an iPhone (I'm currently listening to organ music compressed at 96Kbit/s AAC as if I'd encoded everything at 128Kbit/s it wouldn't fit...

Someone should take these people from Stereophile round the recording studios that their music came from, even the highest end places don't engage in the kind of silliness that the audiofools do.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Fandango on 18 April, 2009, 12:50:21 PM
Someone should take these people from Stereophile round the recording studios that their music came from, even the highest end places don't engage in the kind of silliness that the audiofools do.

Do they actually care what happens outside of their music rooms?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 18 April, 2009, 02:07:24 PM
Isn't this the center around which the so-called audiophiles rotate? They want to know such details


Yes.  Many self-proclaimed audiophiles want to know all the information regarding the source music (CD, vinyl, tape, etc.), how it was recorded, and everything about what equipment is being used to play it back.  Their perception will change based on what information they know.  Blind testing "exposes" these type of audiophiles (audiophools) as everyday people especially when they fail blind tests between high end cables and coat hangers, digitally recorded audio and analog recordings, lossless "high resolution" content and lossy files, etc.

It is apparent that Fremer wants to know what happens before the content is sent his way but only for the sake of boosting his ego.  I am sure that many other audiophools are like this as they want to come off like they know what they are talking about.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 18 April, 2009, 03:17:21 PM
You'd know how hard it can be to squeeze the tracks in the mix , & you'd know that getting a 16 bit 2 track to shine as it did with the full hi res track count played in the studio is no small feat by any mastering guru's standards.

I'm not sure I'd really agree with this, to be honest. The mix itself is the complicated bit: getting each track, each instrument, to slide into its own little "spot" in the mix -- ensuring no individual track is easily buried by another. If a mix engineer is working with, say, a 16 track session, he's going to be predominantly monitoring the master buss during mixdown, so he's hearing mostly only the stereo mix. Trying to mix by soloing tracks is, well, pretty tough. So, the engineer's monitoring what is essentially a raw version of what's going to the CD. Once a mix is complete, it's passed off to a mastering engineer for slight tonal refinements and, typically, a whole boatload of compression.

With the right sample rate conversion and appropriate dither, that "raw" mix is completely CD-ready. The mastering process is, especially today, a particularly desirable process to put your mixes through, but certainly not required to produce duplication-ready discs. You can bypass that stage if desired, and the final CD may not necessarily be worse for the wear. The CD itself, and its limitations on paper, certainly isn't the real limiting factor.

So after all that effort, having companies & people implying that even the (Downscaled CD) is not a mandatory experience cause it's "indistinguishable" & they can prove (lol) they cannot hear the differnece by failing their foobar ABX tests , & make people pay for lossy music claiming that is the product , is just outrageous really.

I think you've gotten us, and record companies in general, quite a bit wrong. Few of us desire for lossy to be "it" as far as consumer options go. Personally, I want everything: I want people to be able to buy CDs, vinyl records, 1/2" reels, MP3s, 24/96 FLAC...everything. Any format anyone could ever want or desire. If I ran a label, you'd better believe I'd put out vinyl albums in addition to CDs and digital downloads. I like vinyl, and it's certainly a different experience than listening to a CD even if it doesn't necessarily sound any differently.

Labels are still pumping out CDs and vinyl by the truckload. A few are getting into the so-called "HD" movement as well, and I for one think that's fantastic. I'll buy that stuff if it's relatively affordable even knowing full well I haven't ever been able to discern anything extra out of it. I'm by no means on the side of "I have the MP3 of it so I'm done", but I am on the side that, for most of the music-listening public, a well-encoded MP3 offers more fidelity than strictly necessary.

& pointing un/ (& sometimes over) educated fingers at analog purists like Fremer.

I think some of us likely point fingers because the data out there suggests that the common, ordinary compact disc is as pure if not more pure than the vinyl record. Ergo, his analog-centric pursuit is neither purity nor fidelity but instead a specific coloration he finds more pleasing. His job is, in a nutshell, to take his sighted observations and his biased opinions and review products almost entirely on them under the guise that his reviews are in some way objective: that this product he's reviewing is truly better than a similar product he reviewed before.

I am just trying to make a case for why he is a purist. & How being as close (or even surpassing the experience in a way) to the recorded event and product should be admired & desired by all music lovers

I understand entirely where you're coming from, but, from my perspective, using a record player as a playback source isn't how one achieves the greatest possible fidelity. As such, what he's doing is admiring something that isn't what we call fidelity and resolution but instead admiring noise and distortion. If that's the way he likes his music, I have absolutely no issue with that, but his pursuits are misguided if he believes he's achieving purity by entirely shunning digital. His disgust for digital is patently ridiculous.

As for me, & I think I am not totally alone on this, I cannot help but admire the man for perfecting a purist Analog playback system like his nowadays. sometimes I wish I would see half that devotion to sonics from the studios.

I think that, for the most part, making studios "audiophile grade" is unnecessary. If the money's readily available, well, okay, but that's rarely going to be the case, especially in these times. Would doing so lead to perceptibly better recordings and better mixes? To be entirely honest, I'm not so sure.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Linux Zealot Troll on 18 April, 2009, 05:29:01 PM
They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space. You close your eyes in Fremer's chair, and you can perceive a detailed 3D matrix of sound, with each element occupying its own special space in the air.



This made me laugh a lot.  I didn't bother reading the whole article as there is no need to.  However, I didn't realize that audiophiles had a third eye allowing them to actually see sound waves in three dimensions (possibly four?) just pouring out of $350,000 speakers.  Hell, I would go crazy if I actually saw my music rather than listening to it.  All those sound waves going everywhere would drive me insane.  I guess I would hold myself up on a high horse too if I could actually see music.  I guess 99.999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999999% of the rest of us will just have to be fine with listening to music instead of trying to pear into the fourth dimension.


Well, maybe not that high a percentage. Assuming a global population of 6 billion, if it were Framer vs the rest of the world it would be 99.9999999999% of the rest of us

Sadly I suspect the percentage to be substantially less ...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 18 April, 2009, 06:42:29 PM
I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile (http://www.stereophile.com), which clearly goes completely against the grain around here.

Fremer is the guy who wrote a glowing review about a recent vinyl reissue of The Beach Boys' Pet Sounds, but then a few days later was informed that it was cut from a digital tape, and thus surreptitiously took down his old review, and replaced it with one complaining that the album sounds too digital.

This is exactly what I expect from people who push nonsense as if it is an ideological agenda. The less said about him the better.


Wow! I didn't hear this story. Have a link?


I did a little searching around and found what appears to be two different versions of the same article with two different endings:

http://forum.rollingstone.de/showthread.php?t=33778 (http://forum.rollingstone.de/showthread.php?t=33778)

Post by "atom" dated 09.10.2008, 08:58

This appears to be the *origional* ending of the review:

"Switching to the DCC Compact Classic Edition, you get a superb combination of clarity, spectacular detail, a big sonic space, great reverb “hang time,” depth, visceral instrumental textures and depth-charge bass that’s not overdone and extremely well-controlled but perhaps a bit rounder and fuller than Wilson originally intended but that’s pure speculation.

"So while I’d bet Capitol’s new LP issue was sourced from digital, it does sound very good and better than the CD version. Perhaps it was sourced from high resolution digital or perhaps the LP cutting process adds just the right amount of “coloration” to make it sound richer, fuller and more sonically satisfying.

"If it was cut from digital do I wish it had been cut from analog? Of course. If it was cut from analog and I’m just wanking, well, if I find that out after the fact, I’ll let you know! So since the DCC Compact Classic version is OOP and probably expensive if you can locate a copy and since the Carl and the Passions—So Tough/Pet Sounds twofer and the WB single edition from 1972 is rare, this new Capitol issue is a good choice, particularly since the 180 gram pressing is absolutely perfect. My copy was dead quiet, flat perfection. My source at Capitol says Rainbo in L.A. pressed it. I hope all of their current 180 gram output is this good!

The revised ending is here:

http://www.musicangle.com/album.php?id=703 (http://www.musicangle.com/album.php?id=703)

Review dated: 2009-04-01

"Switching to the DCC Compact Classic Edition, you get a superb combination of clarity, spectacular detail, a big sonic space, great reverb 'hang time,' depth, visceral instrumental textures and depth-charge bass that's not overdone and extremely well-controlled but perhaps a bit rounder and fuller than Wilson originally intended but that's pure speculation.

"So while I'd bet Capitol's new LP issue was sourced from digital, it does sound very good and better than the CD version. Perhaps it was sourced from high resolution digital or perhaps the LP cutting process adds just the right amount of 'coloration' to make it sound richer, fuller and more sonically satisfying, which it is. Still, it's a pale, thin and flat edition compared to the ones that are definitely analog.

"If it was cut from digital do I wish it had been cut from analog? Of course. If it was cut from analog and I'm just wanking, well, if I find that out after the fact, I'll let you know! So since the DCC Compact Classic version is OOP and probably expensive if you can locate a copy and since the Carl and the Passions—So Tough/Pet Sounds twofer and the WB single edition from 1972 is rare, this new Capitol issue is a good choice, particularly since the 180 gram pressing is absolutely perfect. My copy was dead quiet, flat perfection. My source at Capitol says Rainbo in L.A. pressed it. I hope all of their current 180 gram output is this good in terms of pressing quality.

"I just wish Capitol had used an analog master tape because this "clean, pristine" reissue will most likely bore the shit out of you the way CDs usually do.

"Yes, it's better sounding than the CD version but it shares all of CD's worst qualities: flat, dimensionless, tinny, textureless and emotionally stunted.

"Anyone who's bought this and thinks it sounds good can only think so because they haven't heard one of the good reissues.

"Capitol had an opportunity to produce sonic greatness and instead insults one of Brian Wilson's greatest recordings.



Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 18 April, 2009, 08:41:55 PM
Quote
(kornchild2002 @ Apr 18 2009, 10:39)
B0RK, you continue to step around my question regarding blind ABX testing (which Frumious B asked again). What is so wrong/incorrect/punishable by death when someone listens to lossy music on an iPod knowing that they cannot properly ABX the differences between that lossy music and the source lossy files?


What's wrong with it is that I truly find it hard to believe they know what they CAN abx or not at all,
& definitely do not understand that they can get Better at it.

To truly ABX something, anything, in my experience anyway, you'll have to experience it for quite a lengthier time , then these tests usually allow for.
I have been in, & conducted many real life AB tests.
I have even been exposed to & worked with the common standard here, the Foobar ABX,(in the LossyWav development thread if you are interested ).

So to give an analogy to the process, it's like when sometimes you have to walk with a pair of shoes for a while,
before you know that they're not as good for your intended use as you might have hoped for.

Then ,you try to use that experience on your next shoe purchase,
realizing that the next time you are truly testing cowboy boots ,
you'd better make sure you have a horse & a ranch around,
cause cruising the hood just won't give you quite the input you're looking for...


Quote
(kornchild2002 @ Apr 18 2009, 10:39)
You really aren't getting your point across. Are people who listen to lossy music through an iPod uneducated?


Maybe you're right, maybe I am not getting it across as well as I thought I did ...
I am trying, & Id be the first to say that nothing is in pure Black & White.
Not even ABX tests.

What I am saying is, it's GREAT if you love & enjoy your lossy music on your portable !.
(& please Do tell me ,after some serious thought about it, if you find any sense in what I explain)

It sad , if you know nothing else , or even the source product, on a deeper level.

but it Really stinks, when based on practically zero experience with analog gear (This in itself is not an accusation as it's not that accessible nowadays),
& more then likely zero experience with any High end gear at all, you still keep hearing the same Anti-Audiophile BS again & again.

No, they do not have a problem with wine taster's getting paid to sniff around worse then an Ex Hollywood Lifestyle bygone, with his powdery habits still intact ,as that's a real profession, that demands expertise.

Even Diamond Studded luxury water bottles don't rattle their cage too much.

Its Audiophiles, that they have some 'Real' Hard 'No ABX proof' evidence against ..

You see ,the Truth of the matter is ,that people with experience ,
will never make such comments. They remember (sometimes painfully I must say) that some audio systems, can truly change your whole view of things around, & many of those who heard a superb analog setup , will just do their best to forget it if they cannot afford it.

So, when this anti audiophile BS is being expressed by a .. you guessed it, a Lame version Comparing iPod waving Troll, most of us who know how far he is from knowing the half of it, as we know what the damn truth is :

That we'd trade our iPods (or a tiny bit more ..) for Fremer's system anytime.

So we sit on the fence, & say nothing you see, & we have our reasons ....
& who is We exactly ??
Anyone that's been through it, & would like to keep minding his own business & see how it plays out.

Its engineers (were working on a new portable ..hmm)
pro musicians (now that I'm on Itunes , I think I am gonna zip it)
Recording Technicians (If Ill defend it I am facing yet another ABX test ..I think NOT),
audio industry guys (we Finally HAVE a Profitable MODEL - no way I am talking now)
Audio programmers (Well I am working in an audio compression startup),
& your neighbourly plastic surgeon (Hehehe, you're just jealous you can't afford it, Loser)

You can find some of them right here in HA.
We live off it one way or another, so Fence it is for us.

Some though, are not just sitting on the fence with it, they are taking notes.

While watching the kids play ,some douchebag marketing guy, comes out with an idea ..
If the kids like their lossy audio that much , let's gift wrap it & sell it to them.

Another guy thinks: "Hell man , these kids will never buy these damn nice speakers, just for playing these mp3s , they just don't know any better.. "
calls China & changes his order to Earbuds, the same factory make the headphones as well you see.

I can go on & on ,but I won't, If these words are not enough to get the point across, consider thes quick facts:

The STANDARD - is always the IN DEMAND PRODUCT.
The In Demand product quickly gets competitive.
When the standard lowers, anything above it becomes Luxury.
When that happens, eventually, that means a bigger hole in your pocket ,for the same or lower quality.

Now I Hear you ask : "Well surely at least in the Audio Societies, Someone Must have made Some Effort to keep the Audio Standard High right  ??"

well I think You can still find some of them under the pile of portables they were stoned with.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 18 April, 2009, 11:05:27 PM
That we'd trade our iPods (or a tiny bit more ..) for Fremer's system anytime



I actually would trade my iPod for Fremer's system, but it would just be so that I could pull it apart and sell it off bit by bit.  I am skeptical of the $350,000 figure, but I might be able to pocket enough from the sale to pay off my mortgage, throw some money into my savings and buy another iPod.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 18 April, 2009, 11:55:25 PM
To truly ABX something, anything, in my experience anyway, you'll have to experience it for quite a lengthier time , then these tests usually allow for.

It truly amazes me every time someone is unable to back up his/her statments by ABX testing, the excuses they give for why it is the fault of ABX testing and not any kind of disproof of their position.

In case you hadn't heard, there is no time limit in ABX testing. Sometimes people take several days when it is particularly difficult to ABX something.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 18 April, 2009, 11:58:57 PM
What I find ridiculous about this article is the continued and elitist notion that those of us who prefer digital, even in compressed formats, are somehow sacrificing quality on the altar of convenience.

Yes, the entire article is an elaborate 'argument from personal incredulity'. He is effectively saying "I don't believe that any lossy audio file can ever be transparent from its source, therefore no lossy audio file is transparent from its source." There is no evidence, or reasoning to be seen, he has just assumed a belief and 'backed it up' by saying that that is his belief! It really is that vacuous when you get down to it.

This is a classic example of the nonsense perpetuated by parts of the audiophile community, they start from the belief that humans have PERFECT hearing in every regard, which forces them to disregard psycho-acoustics as an entire discipline.
If anything I would argue that I have made vast improvements in my ability to access and enjoy my music while giving up nothing.

See you were willing to put yourself on the line and actually test the quality of your hearing, and the quality of state of the art lossy encoders.

The "it can't be so, therefore it isn't so" crowd simply don't want to challenge the inflated estimation of their own perceptual capabilities.

It isn't just me who claims this, look at what the founder of Stereophile said in 2007 when reflecting on the 45th anniversary of the publication he started but had retired the editorship of in 1986:
Quote
...high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me...

http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi/ (http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi/)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 19 April, 2009, 01:07:05 AM
This is where we are at now ..:
Every time the word Audiophile is being thrown anywhere nowadays,
you get a bunch of Trolls, waving their Ipods in fury, taking a break from doing spectrals of their transcodes,
& pointing un/ (& sometimes over) educated fingers at analog purists like Fremer.


That's not where we are now.  Only the clueless would use a 'spectral' of a lossy transcode to prove that mp3s sound fine. The whole goal of perceptual encodes is to make the measurable differences --including 'spectrals' -- between the source and the encode audibly irrelevant.

On the contrary, I've only ever seen anyone point to spectral evidence when they were cluelessly trying to prove why mp3 *can't* sound as good as source.

Quote
I am just trying to make a case for why he is a purist.

& How being as close (or even surpassing the experience in a way) to the recorded event and product should be admired & desired by all music lovers, without looking at it only through my angle.


His purism is more akin to fundamentalism. Fremer's dogmatic and technically dubious stance on the means by which this experience can and cannot be achieved, makes him a ranting, pretentious audiophool. 

He claims it simply can't be achieved by listening to mp3s,...and if you disagree, you can't be a 'real' audiophile.

So fuck 'im.  I've seen no evidence that he has undergone training to hear mp3 artifacts particularly.  So chances are good that he could not tell a good mp3 from source in a well-controlled listening comparison, even though he writes as if it would be child's play.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 19 April, 2009, 01:22:55 AM
It truly amazes me every time someone is unable to back up his/her statments by ABX testing, the excuses they give for why it is the fault of ABX testing and not any kind of disproof of their position.


I was not discrediting it as another tool to hear differences ,
I WAS discrediting it in regards to many people using it as a way to prove to themselves they cannot hear the any difference, & once they have done that , they take That as the complete & utter truth & act accordingly.

Vice versa applies as well.

In case you hadn't heard, there is no time limit in ABX testing. Sometimes people take several days when it is particularly difficult to ABX something.


No ,you cannot do it for for several days , O-K ? ....
What you CAN do is do many testing sessions.

& they need to be spread over time to keep the results reliable.
That's the nature of these tests , nothing you can do about it.

But We are not talking about me now are we ?
Cause if you are , you could easily have had a taste of my ABXing in the LossyWav thread.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 19 April, 2009, 01:36:03 AM
What's wrong with it is that I truly find it hard to believe they know what they CAN abx or not at all,
& definitely do not understand that they can get Better at it.


It is true that people can train themselves to audibly identify encoding artifacts.  These people often train themselves for a long period of time with songs they are very familiar with.  However, these same people also admit that it is extremely difficult to spot encoding artifacts when casually listening to music.  Most people don't want to train themselves to hear encoding artifacts.  They would rather conduct a few ABX tests and enjoy their music instead of spending months trying to pick out flaws that they may never hear.  They stop enjoying the music and start scrutinizing every little aspect.  I will again ask this question: what is so wrong with this?

To truly ABX something, anything, in my experience anyway, you'll have to experience it for quite a lengthier time , then these tests usually allow for.
I have been in, & conducted many real life AB tests.
I have even been exposed to & worked with the common standard here, the Foobar ABX,(in the LossyWav development thread if you are interested ).


Nonsense.  I have seen people ABX tracks that they are very unfamiliar with.  /mnt will often post samples in which Lame struggles even at 320kbps CBR.  He will use metal, industrial, industrial metal, etc. samples.  People will conduct blind ABX tests with these samples even though they have never previously heard the song.  They can still pick out encoding artifacts.

So to give an analogy to the process, it's like when sometimes you have to walk with a pair of shoes for a while,
before you know that they're not as good for your intended use as you might have hoped for.


Shoes != Audio

What I am saying is, it's GREAT if you love & enjoy your lossy music on your portable !.
(& please Do tell me ,after some serious thought about it, if you find any sense in what I explain)

It sad , if you know nothing else , or even the source product, on a deeper level.


You still haven't explained what is so wrong with knowing nothing but the lossy versions of songs.  What are people missing out on if they can't properly hear the differences between the lossy versions and lossless versions?  Seriously, what are they missing out on?  You keep saying that it is sad and you keep frowning upon lossy encoding (at least anything that isn't lossywav) yet you haven't provided any blind ABX tests to backup your claims and your arguments don't make any sense.

...you still keep hearing the same Anti-Audiophile BS again & again.


No, you hear anti audiophool statements over and over again.  These statements are not BS either.  You should try reading them instead of just falling in line while the audiphools preach their false prophecy.

No, they do not have a problem with wine taster's getting paid to sniff around worse then an Ex Hollywood Lifestyle bygone, with his powdery habits still intact ,as that's a real profession, that demands expertise.

Even Diamond Studded luxury water bottles don't rattle their cage too much.

Its Audiophiles, that they have some 'Real' Hard 'No ABX proof' evidence against ..


Hell, why stop there?  You are complaining about people getting annoyed by these audiophools yet you are using the same amount of energy trying to shoot down facts and claims.  Why not put your energy towards solving world hunger, formulating means to deliver clean water to people while decreasing costs and using less energy (this is what I do for a living), solve the AIDS epidemic in Africa, and so on?  We are not here to discuss issues facing the world today.  hydrogenaudio != solve the world's problems.  It is simply a place where people can gather, try to help each other out, and give insight into the world of audio.

So, when this anti audiophile BS is being expressed by a .. you guessed it, a Lame version Comparing iPod waving Troll, most of us who know how far he is from knowing the half of it, as we know what the damn truth is :

That we'd trade our iPods (or a tiny bit more ..) for Fremer's system anytime.


Sure, I would gladly give up my 120GB iPod classic for Fremer's sytem.  I would then tear it apart and sell it peace by peace to idiots thinking that they need such outrageous equipment.  I would use the money to pay off my college loans, pay off my house, give a little money back to my Mom since she paid my expenses while I was in college, buy a new iPod, buy a new computer, and then save the rest (which would come out to about $100k).  Your "Lame" pun wasn't needed either.  Still waiting for those blind ABX tests...

While watching the kids play ,some douchebag marketing guy, comes out with an idea ..
If the kids like their lossy audio that much , let's gift wrap it & sell it to them.


Yeah, that guy really is a "douchebag."  What a-hole would come along and revolutionize the music industry as we know it?  That dumbass allowed for thousands of bands to get their music out in multiple forms, what an ass!  How dare he come up with an idea to help musicians and change music as we know it!

Another guy thinks: "Hell man , these kids will never buy these damn nice speakers, just for playing these mp3s , they just don't know any better.. "
calls China & changes his order to Earbuds, the same factory make the headphones as well you see.


I didn't realize that you actually worked for Apple, Microsoft, SanDisk, Creative, Archos, and all those other companies offering DAPs.  Thank you for your insightful knowledge that wasn't backed up by anything other than your opinions.

well I think You can still find some of them under the pile of portables they were stoned with.


Again, what is so wrong with portable players?  I feel like a broken record here (oh, I must be teh ultraz clearest soundings!).  You weave around the questions and topics being brought up here only to spew testimony given to you by some audiophools (please go back and read what the differences are between audiophiles and audiophools).  I am done with this topic.  I have stated my opinion and tried to give you information regarding what your misconceptions are.  I have asked for further explanation and have received very little of it.  Others and I have asked for proof backing up your claims yet we haven't seen it.  Feel free to think what you want.  Just to go around preaching it here on hydrogenaudio and audiophool testimony has no place here.  Please don't take my posts as me being negative either.  Just stating my opinion and facts regarding lossy audio encoding.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 19 April, 2009, 01:42:38 AM
But We are not talking about me now are we ?
Cause if you are , you could easily have had a taste of my ABXing in the LossyWav thread.


yeah, I see where you say you don't believe a 14/20 ABX run can be due to luck.

14/20 (p=.058) doesn't even break the 'standard' p<.05 threshold for a Type I error, much less an arguably more appropriate p<0.01 threshold.

Regardless of what you believe, a marginal run like that virtually begs for a re-test to see if indeed it WAS just luck.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: hybris on 19 April, 2009, 05:10:58 AM
I think that us ABXers and skeptics are also arguing fallaciously when we decry all high end audio as placebo, and/or highly corrupted by observer bias due to price/shiny knobs/etc. I think audiophiles can toss those sorts of things aside rather easily and it makes us look bad. Really, we don't have a very good scientific understanding of how sighted testing actually works. If we did, we could predict it. And we can't! We can make educated guesses, based on all sorts of sighted factors like cost etc, but nobody's actually argued these correlations with any degree of accuracy whatsoever. The guesses are plausible to us but laughably hypothetical to others.


If you look at the Harman listening test quoted elsewhere on this forum, there's a graph displaying the differences in loudspeaker grading in a sighted vs blind listening test. They showed mostly the same general rating (the same speakers where the best, I think with one exception) - but in the sighted test the listeners rated the loudspeakers much higher. So there you have it, the guy who're embracing the fact that he is listening to "high end" components actually enjoy higher quality audio (imagined or not).  I think the most dedicated sceptics on this forum (and I know they'll disagree) that scoff at anything resembling high end (as all correctly designed [insert audio component] sound the same anyway) are missing out on some of the listening experience.

I consider myself a sceptic, I know I can't really tell the difference between 192kbps MP3 and FLAC, or between two loudspeaker cables.  Still, I know I enjoy music more on a high end system.

Is this actually negative, as "other people" have the same enjoyment on a low end system? or have I possibly added something(percieved audio quality, pride in ownership, appreciation of high quality craftmanship, etc) to the experience that the regular listener don't have? Music is all about feelings and emotions, and the hobby of being an audiophile is too.

It's like enjoying cognac from an expensive, carefully crafted glass sitting in a large leather chair. Does it make the cognac taste better? Maybe a little bit. Does it add something to the total experience? Most certainly. 

EDIT: To clarify - I don't think it's anything wrong with enjoying music on a lower end system, just wanted to state that high end equipment isn't necessarily totally pointless (and I'm not talking 350,000 dollar stuff)  - it will actually add something to the experience
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 19 April, 2009, 07:01:10 AM
Is this actually negative, as "other people" have the same enjoyment on a low end system? or have I possibly added something(percieved audio quality, pride in ownership, appreciation of high quality craftmanship, etc) to the experience that the regular listener don't have? Music is all about feelings and emotions, and the hobby of being an audiophile is too.

It's like enjoying cognac from an expensive, carefully crafted glass sitting in a large leather chair. Does it make the cognac taste better? Maybe a little bit. Does it add something to the total experience? Most certainly. 


In a previous career path, I managed fine dining rooms (originally Swiss trained) and I am well aware that presentation and price affects the total experience, However, even in the ex-industry that I was in, we are well aware that blind testing is the only way to assess the true quality of food and drinks.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 19 April, 2009, 07:21:49 AM
To truly ABX something, anything, in my experience anyway, you'll have to experience it for quite a lengthier time , then these tests usually allow for.


Straw man, because none of these people are walking cold into the ABX tests.

As a rule, everybody has  experienced the thing being tested for  a far lengthier time , thea just what these tests usually allow for.

You're basically asking us to believe people are doing ABX tests of MP3s, having never heard a MP3 in their life.

Yup, a big straw man. :-(

Quote
I have even been exposed to & worked with the common standard here, the Foobar ABX,(in the LossyWav development thread if you are interested ).


So, are you saying that you did your Foobar tests having never listened to a MP3 in your life?  Can't be true!

Quote
I am trying, & I'd be the first to say that nothing is in pure Black & White.


You're not the first to say that nothing is black and white, you're the last. If you think your are first, your ego is way ahead of your intellect.

Quote
What I am saying is, it's GREAT if you love & enjoy your lossy music on your portable !.


Dismissive attitude noted. :-(

Quote
It sad , if you know nothing else , or even the source product, on a deeper level.


Do you seriously think that people are comparing MP3s to MP3's? That's what you just said. You said that we know nothing of the source product. Boy, do you have your head tucked where the sun shines not!

Just for the record, people are compaing MP3s to .wav files much of the time.  That's the source product, right? Where do you get these wild ideas from? Your buddy Fremer?

Quote
& more then likely zero experience with any High end gear at all,


Dismissive attitude noted, for the zillionth time.

Do you seriously think that none of us ever listen to high end gear?  I';ve been listening to various people's high end gear for decades. I might even have had a little of it myself.

What you don't seem to realize that some of us were held hostige in an analog-only world for many decades of painful love of music. Painful, because all we had to listen to was analog. I had to wait until I was in my l mid-20s berfore there was any good SS to buy. I had to wait until I was in my late 30s before there was any digital to buy. So, I spent about 25 years in a pure analog world. I had nothing but vinyl and tubes to listen to for all of that time. Not good. Not fun.

Quote
you still keep hearing the same Anti-Audiophile BS again & again.


It's not anti=audiophile BS that is going on here at HA. What's going on is anti-BS, pro-science, pro honest experiences and fair evaluations.

Quote
You see , the Truth of the matter is ,that people with experience , will never make such comments. They remember (sometimes painfully I must say) that some audio systems, can truly change your whole view of things around, & many of those who heard a superb analog setup , will just do their best to forget it if they cannot afford it.


You don't know how many times people have tried to spring that BS on me.

You don't get it. People like myself and my good friend Tom Nousaine (and a lot of HA-ers) can spend days at these high end exibitions like the CES and HE200n, and come away with a bad taste in our mouth. We can come away with a profound desire to get back home and listen to our home systems because our home systems sound better. We moved past the water-filled interconnects the size of garden hoses. We've moved past the magic capacitors and glowing bottles. We've been cured of anti-digital hysteria. We've leaned how to do good listening tests.

Quote
So, when this anti audiophile BS is being expressed by a .. you guessed it, a Lame version Comparing iPod waving Troll, most of us who know how far he is from knowing the half of it, as we know what the damn truth is :


Except you obvioiusly don't know the truth. As digital playback devices go, there's nothing wrong with an iPod or somthing like it playing uncompressed or losslessly compressed .wav files. Now the ear buds that come with the iPod are another story but that is easy enough to fix, even though you might feel a little strange paying as much for the earphones as the iPod. As far as lossy-compression goes, get the bitrates up, use a good encoder, and there is no problem.

There's a reason why high enders are so hysterical with their flames at lossy files - that lossy compression works at all shows that they've been spouting BS for decades. They've been saying that good digital recordings don't have enough information in them, and lossy compression shows that you can take 1/2, 3/4, maybe 7/8 or more of the information out of a .wav file and the ear is totally fooled.

Quote
That we'd trade our iPods (or a tiny bit more ..) for Fremer's system anytime.


Not at all. I can pack a good portable music player and some nice earphones out into the woods and sit on a backwoods hillside overlooking a pristene lake that I just paddled across and ate some fish out of and have my good tunes, all at the same time.  Fremer's sytem is about 99.9% BS, cost-wise.  Rememer that for 0.1% of $350,000 you can buy some good headphones and a good digital music player and have sound that is no worse, and probably even better than Fremer's system because you've taken the tubes and vinyl out of the equation.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: hybris on 19 April, 2009, 07:43:36 AM

It's like enjoying cognac from an expensive, carefully crafted glass sitting in a large leather chair. Does it make the cognac taste better? Maybe a little bit. Does it add something to the total experience? Most certainly. 


In a previous career path, I managed fine dining rooms (originally Swiss trained) and I am well aware that presentation and price affects the total experience, However, even in the ex-industry that I was in, we are well aware that blind testing is the only way to assess the true quality of food and drinks.


I agree. But my point was that I would like to enjoy the entire experience. Eating great food blindfolded in a basement isn't as much fun as in a fine dining room.  And at least for me the main part of this hobby is actually listening to and enjoying music, not assessing differences between components.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 19 April, 2009, 08:15:57 AM
It truly amazes me every time someone is unable to back up his/her statments by ABX testing, the excuses they give for why it is the fault of ABX testing and not any kind of disproof of their position.


I was not discrediting it as another tool to hear differences ,
I WAS discrediting it in regards to many people using it as a way to prove to themselves they cannot hear the any difference, & once they have done that , they take That as the complete & utter truth & act accordingly.

Vice versa applies as well.

I would hope that nobody is using this tool as you suggest, to convice anyone that there is no audible difference. On the contrary, the function of this tool is to apply standardized testing when one is convinced that one can hear a difference. The results of ABX testing are then used to show either that there is a high probability that that person is able to hear that difference, or else that there is insufficient evidence that the difference can be heard. These results apply to that one person with that particular material at that particular time, nothing more.

Your implication that ABX testing is being misused in the way that you suggest here at HA is quite absurd. On the other hand, the more people that claim to hear a difference, then fail to prove it by ABX testing, the greater the evidence that the difference is not audible to nearly as many people as had been claimed. In particular, the claim that a difference is so obvious that anybody with half-decent hearing could hear it, then the person making the claim is themselves not able to hear it as they thought, happens so often here that it has become the generally expected outcome.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 19 April, 2009, 08:20:01 AM
Eating great food blindfolded in a basement isn't as much fun as in a fine dining room.  And at least for me the main part of this hobby is actually listening to and enjoying music, not assessing differences between components.


True. However, style and quality should go hand in hand. Bar brandy poured from a Louis XIII decanter into a lead crystal sniffer is still bar brandy.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 19 April, 2009, 09:10:13 AM
Fremer's sytem is about 99.9% BS, cost-wise.  Rememer that for 0.1% of $350,000 you can buy some good headphones and a good digital music player and have sound that is no worse, and probably even better than Fremer's system because you've taken the tubes and vinyl out of the equation.


Fremer's system just seems so woefully inefficient to me.  I bet the thing has to be warmed up for 45 minutes before you can even listen to a scrap of music.  Then you have to get up every fifteen to twenty-five minutes to change the record and you're also limited to listening to one album by one artist at a time.  Of course this is coming from a guy whose relationship with vinyl is roughly equivalent to his relationship with Edison cylinders. 

When I started out buying music in the early eighties I was buying cassette tapes and then moved on to CDs around 1987.  I got into mp3 around 2004, but did a crap job of ripping my music to 128kbps because I didn't know any better.  I loved the ease of the technology, but I also lamented the thought that I was cheating myself in my listening.  I only just got around to rectifying that, hopefully, once and for all.  There would have been some truth to the point of view that I was trading convenience for quality six months ago, but not today. 

It wasn't as bad as I feared because I figured out that mp3 actually hits transparency around 160kbps for me in the overwhelming majority of cases.  I did the whole shebang to lossless and then converted to Nero AAC.  I've lived with the AAC files for a couple of weeks now and I must say that I am uniformly thrilled with the results and my whole library still fits on an iPod 120GB with about 8GB to spare.  All this activity on my part is a direct result of knowledge I've gained by lurking on this forum and then registering to ask a few questions. 

You can learn way more here than sitting at the feet on some supposed audio guru like Fremer or in some audiophile hellhole like the Hoffman forum.  For the way that I and a lot of people live a dedicated listening space where one can lock the door and spend hours and hours isn't an option because we have lives and stuff to do.  Fremer's system wouldn't be a good fit for us even if we had the money to burn.  It's far better to take the thing that you know is the best fit and make it as good as you can possibly make it instead of trying to shoehorn yourself into something that doesn't really suit you out some misplaced sense of rightness that might not even be rooted in anything factual anyway.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: hybris on 19 April, 2009, 01:55:58 PM
Eating great food blindfolded in a basement isn't as much fun as in a fine dining room.  And at least for me the main part of this hobby is actually listening to and enjoying music, not assessing differences between components.


True. However, style and quality should go hand in hand. Bar brandy poured from a Louis XIII decanter into a lead crystal sniffer is still bar brandy.


I completely agree.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 19 April, 2009, 04:21:54 PM
But We are not talking about me now are we ?
Cause if you are , you could easily have had a taste of my ABXing in the LossyWav thread.


yeah, I see where you say you don't believe a 14/20 ABX run can be due to luck.

14/20 (p=.058) doesn't even break the 'standard' p<.05 threshold for a Type I error, much less an arguably more appropriate p<0.01 threshold.

Regardless of what you believe, a marginal run like that virtually begs for a re-test to see if indeed it WAS just luck.


Well there we have it don't we.
This is what people like yourself do all the time.

You are not looking for ABX Tests .. now are you ?

Let's face it What you are Really looking for was FAILED ABX tests.

When The Foobar ABX test result is negative , you just get all rosy & cherish the moment.

But when Foobars own stats system says when you guess 14/20 (%5.8 chance of guessing) that is just not good enough for you , & you dismiss it altogether.

You are so quick to dismiss it , that you didn't even notice I included more then one test result &  got the chance to test a casual listener & posted the results, please do try & have another half a look before you post.

@kornchild2002 - I Have no problem with your poinion, youre entitled to it,
but last time I checked , you were not HA spokesman , so you can drop the WE when you have something to say.

I am stating my opinion like everyone else, not getting all touchy & personal against any other member ,& not shutting anyone up.

If what I had to say doesn't make ANY sense to you , why are you still reading this ?

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 19 April, 2009, 04:41:22 PM
So, are you saying that you did your Foobar tests having never listened to a MP3 in your life?  Can't be true!


Of course I did ,


Quote
It sad , if you know nothing else , or even the source product, on a deeper level.


Do you seriously think that people are comparing MP3s to MP3's? That's what you just said.

Just for the record, people are compaing MP3s to .wav files much of the time.  That's the source product, right? Where do you get these wild ideas from? Your buddy Fremer?

Really ? You PROMISE ? gee I had no idea ..

I';ve been listening to various people's high end gear for decades. I might even have had a little of it myself.

What you don't seem to realize that some of us were held hostige in an analog-only world for many decades of painful love of music. Painful, because all we had to listen to was analog. I had to wait until I was in my l mid-20s berfore there was any good SS to buy. I had to wait until I was in my late 30s before there was any digital to buy. So, I spent about 25 years in a pure analog world. I had nothing but vinyl and tubes to listen to for all of that time. Not good. Not fun.


Ill ignore the other pearls you just threw my way, & Let me ask you a more respectful , serious questions then you offered me ok,

-In your opinion , considering current trends, how many iTunes clients have your experience in audio & know their lossy CD sources & Analog gear sound as well as you do ?

-Knowing what you know, Would you ever give that experience up , going straight to an iPod-iTunes combo ?

-Do you agree that you when choosing that path , that's right for you,  after lengthy experiences with both,
made your decision clearer & more independent & more immune to whatever the new/old fixation might be ?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: [JAZ] on 19 April, 2009, 05:49:11 PM
I agree. But my point was that I would like to enjoy the entire experience. Eating great food blindfolded in a basement isn't as much fun as in a fine dining room.  And at least for me the main part of this hobby is actually listening to and enjoying music, not assessing differences between components.


The problem is when one compares an average meal in a luxury restaurant versus a good meal in a bathroom.
This is why blind is important. It should make sense to anyone that if you want to compare colours, you don't worry about forms, and if you want to compare parfums, you don't worry about the size of the bottle.

Our interest in hydrogenaudio is scientific, not commercial. We don't care if a white laptop with a white apple in it sells better than a grey laptop with two letters in it.  We would care if a task A is better done on laptop 1 or on laptop 2.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 19 April, 2009, 06:48:22 PM

Our interest in hydrogenaudio is scientific, not commercial. We don't care if a white laptop with a white apple in it sells better than a grey laptop with two letters in it.  We would care if a task A is better done on laptop 1 or on laptop 2.


JAZ, Team pride aside, While what you say is indeed true in many parts of HA,
IN THIS CASE, this is inaccurate to say the least.

scientific interest , usually ,is not the opposite of commercial ,they are unrelated terms.

Now in THIS CASE, If you meant purely Scientific VS Subjective .. then that's not true as well I'm afraid.

ABX tests , Are Subjecive tests.

If the debate here was truly conducted from a scientific point of view,
then You don't need HA debates, ABX or any subjective experience at all,
as Scientifically, Any lossy audio , is an inferior , More Corrupted audio version,of the original, where even , The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 19 April, 2009, 07:51:29 PM
Would showing off prototypic traits of personality disorder qualify as scientific contribution to this thread?

....The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).


Congrats! You have just proven your authority to evaluate the scientific nature of audio related questions. I'm really interested to hear more.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 19 April, 2009, 07:58:25 PM
ABX tests , Are Subjecive tests.

Hearing is subjective. ABX is a technique for evaluating hearing objectively.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 19 April, 2009, 09:17:32 PM
Subjective (adjective): taking place within the mind and modified by individual bias
Objective (adjective): undistorted by emotion or personal bias; based on observable phenomena

Hmm...I wonder which one ABX tests are! Certainly not the latter!

The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).

"Corrupted". Interesting word choice. Corrupted in what way?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 19 April, 2009, 09:27:49 PM
-In your opinion , considering current trends, how many iTunes clients have your experience in audio & know their lossy CD sources & Analog gear sound as well as you do ?


Umm problem with the question - in general commerical CDs are not lossy. Therefore the phrase "lossy CD" is an oxymoron. I can't answer questions about things that in general, don't exist.

Quote
-Knowing what you know, Would you ever give that experience up , going straight to an iPod-iTunes combo ?


Irrelevant question - while the number of people who have only ever heard music reproduced via an iPod-iTunes combo must be increasing, at this time it represents a miniscule fraction of all music lovers.

There is no general lack of opportunity for young people to hear live acoustic music - as long as most high schools offer band, orchestra, and chorus.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Emon on 20 April, 2009, 12:03:33 AM
This is the detail that matters: Audiophiles are basically synesthesiacs. They "see" music in three-dimensional visual space.


No they fucking don't. He doesn't even really know what synesthesia is, he just read the Wikipedia article, diagnosed himself and uses it to justify his bullshit hobby.

I should clarify. Certainly there can be audiophiles who are synesthesiacs, but the claim that all or most audiophiles are synesthesiacs and therefore have some heightened sense or perception and need better equipment is a damn lie. As I recall, synesthesia doesn't have anything to do with sensory resolution, just perceptual methods. A synesthesiac who "sees" numbers when doing a calculus problem does not "see the numbers better" on paper, they perceive them differently.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 20 April, 2009, 02:24:03 AM
....The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).


Please enlighten us with your "superior" knowledge of digital audio. 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: bug80 on 20 April, 2009, 04:27:29 AM
as Scientifically, Any lossy audio , is an inferior , More Corrupted audio version,of the original, where even , The Original itself, is an inferior corrupted Audio Format (Digital Audio in this case).

a) Please define "original". Did you know that air "corrupts" sound waves too? You will never hear the "original" unless you put your head in the instrument.
b) In a scientific sense there is no problem with comparing "A" and "B" using an ABX test. As long as you formulate your hypothesis correctly, of course.

[edit]By the way, very funny this BS about audiophiles being synesthesiacs. My girlfriend is a synesthesiac, and she's very happy with her portable player full of 128 kbs MP3s...  [/edit]
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 20 April, 2009, 05:25:25 AM
I would have thought that the number of synesthetes within the audiophile community to be in proportion to the number of synesthetes in the wider population. If anything, I'd even make a wild guess that the number of those with sound->colour synesthesia that own audio equipment would be slightly lower than the wider population, because if I had an in-head visualizer permanently switched on, I'd be more editorial in my listening.

That audiophiles can hear a three-dimensional 'soundstage' would suggest one of three things:

1. They are making stuff up
2. They all have OCD when it comes to setting up their systems, and this is the pay-off
3. They are making stuff up again

I know #1 and #3 are similar, but it's such an important point, it's worth repeating.

I suspect this 3D stuff is smoke and mirrors, especially as whenever I attend an unamplified classical concert, I struggle to identify the point in space where the second violinist sits if I close my eyes. But perhaps what they are describing is their brain over-compensating because supposed distance cues are being artificially rebuilt from something a fraction of that distance away in reality. The fact that the instrument may have been less than a foot from the microphone and the only mechanism for stereo positioning at the engineer's desk is a pan-pot is irrelevant - if you have an instrument that you anticipate being 20 feet away, your brain will attempt to locate it 20 feet away. If the loudspeakers are giving precise HRTF cues to the distance of that instrument, but that places the instrument six feet away instead of 20, your brain might conceivably struggle with the dichotomy and over-compensate by making you think stereo is more three-dimensional. This over-compensation could potentially be more noticeable if the loudspeakers are in very precise placement relative to the listener and the loudspeaker-room interaction was particularly favourable. And if there's one thing most audiophiles have in common, it's precise placement of loudspeakers and listener.

That's a whole lot of 'ifs' and 'maybes', though. Trouble is, we'll never know for sure, 'ifs' and 'maybes' seem to be all part of the audiophile magical mystery tour. If you ask 'why', chances are you'll get a Yoda-like response: Disturbance there is in the dark side of the cables. Phase is what you seek, yesssss.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 20 April, 2009, 05:29:31 AM
The distortions present in high bitrate MP3 etc are astonishingly minor compared to any number of effects in mastering, recording, etc.
I liked the rest of your argument, but that part doesn't hold water. We could debate how you quantify "distortions" - but I think it's more helpful to separate "distortions" from "differences"...

If you move the microphone two feet, the signal may be dramatically different - but you can move your ears two feet too, and get a similar amount of difference. That's not a distortion.

If you EQ something, it's a change from the ideal, and maybe a kind of distortion, but it's similar to what you experience by listening on different speakers, or at a different distance from a real instrument, or listening in a different room etc. It's a change, but it's comparable to changes that you can easily experience in real life. Sometimes!

Dynamic range compression is different - that is a kind of distortion.

The very process of capturing a live sound via a microphone is a terrible distortion of the original sound field. That's probably an order of magnitude worse than anything else we do to it subsequently.


Those last two aside, I think it's simply wrong to equate distortions in the recording and mastering process with those of high bitrate mp3. Measurably, high bitrate mp3 does huge damage to the signal. Any non-psychoacoustic based process doing a similar level of RMS damage to the signal would be completely unacceptable - like bad AM radio!


Of course it doesn't sound bad. It often sounds perfect. But in terms of measurable quantity of distortion, it's not a small factor.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 20 April, 2009, 05:59:43 AM
Can we stop treating BORK like he's the devil please?

Thank you.


Many of the individual ABX test runs in the lossyWAV thread (and also the 16-bit thread) were inconclusive on their own, but if added together and treated as one big run, became more conclusive. I'm not sure how statistically valid this is, but it makes some kind of sense: if you do lots and lots of tests, and you don't cherry pick them, then overall if there's no real effect you should converge on a 50/50 distribution of correct vs incorrect answers. A 55/45 distribution might be meaningless in a few tests, but over lots and lots of tests, the stats tell you that it's very unlikely to happen by chance. The high number of mistakes shows it's very hard to correctly identify the problem, but the fact there are more correct answers than mistakes shows there's something real there.


In that scenario, I think it's worth listening to those listeners, and what they say about their experience of ABX testing.


I think there's a huge tendency developing here to jump in with a knee jerk reaction when ever people perceive that someone might have some sympathy with a subjectivist mindset.

This causes people to over state things:

There's endless praise for lossy audio in this thread, despite there being many successful ABX results of 320kbps mp3 documented right here on HA!

There's complete scorn at the idea that an "expensive" system is any better than in iPod, despite the obvious advantages of hearing music over good speakers driven by capable amplifiers.


You know the kind of subjectivist rant that we all go and have a good laugh at? Well, this thread is turning into an objectivist rant that is straying so far beyond the boundaries of reality that any subjectivist could drop in and have a justifiable laugh at it!

I think some people are getting carried away, and it's not pretty.

IMO!

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cliveb on 20 April, 2009, 06:32:15 AM
That audiophiles can hear a three-dimensional 'soundstage' would suggest one of three things:

1. They are making stuff up
...

What exactly do you mean by "making stuff up"? Are you saying that they are lying, or that there's something going on in the brain that generates the 3D experience? I believe it's the latter.

I've been listening to audio systems for over 40 years, and can recall one time - just ONCE - when I heard an absolutely solid, holographic image of a band playing before me[1]. This was about 20 years ago, playing a vinyl LP through a pair of Linn Isobarik DMS loudspeakers - famous for their *lack* of imaging capability. I have since played the same track on the same system, and the same track from CD through better systems, and never again did I hear that 3D soundstage. I conclude that the perception of 3D soundstages from audio systems must be something to do with the listener's state of mind rather than anything to do with the capabilities of the equipment.

I tell you one thing, though: the experience of hearing that holographic soundstage was simply breathtaking. If I was able to repeat it on a regular basis, I'd be a very happy bunny indeed. Maybe audiophiles who routinely hear a 3D soundstage are somehow able to get themselves into the right frame of mind. I am extremely envious.

[1] If anyone's interested, the track in question was "The Lord is Listenin' To Ya, Hallelujah" from "Carla Bley Live".
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 20 April, 2009, 06:51:27 AM
What exactly do you mean by "making stuff up"? Are you saying that they are lying, or that there's something going on in the brain that generates the 3D experience? I believe it's the latter.


Well, potentially both.

I don't think 'lying' is the right term, though. I suspect audiophiles (make that 'most' audiophiles) are sincere in their belief that they can hear in 3D, but whether that is merely self-delusion or the result of some psychoacoustic processes is unclear. What would be interesting, however, is if you could 'deprogram' an audiophile, would they stop with the 'holographic imagery' too? Some of the less febrile are starting to question the audiophile articles of faith... will 'soundstaging' disappear along with the need to spend crazy cable cash?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 20 April, 2009, 07:10:59 AM
There's complete scorn at the idea that an "expensive" system is any better than in iPod, despite the obvious advantages of hearing music over good speakers driven by capable amplifiers.


No, there isn't. The debate is not cheap vs. expensive but against putting money into the absolutely wrong end of the chain. As horrifying this may sound to people, who conceive audio gear as part of their ego: technology has advanced up to a point where perfect (in terms of a given FR and SNR) reproduction of recorded material has become possible with commodity parts. With one exception: speakers. This is where money still can make a huge difference, this is where the biggest deviations (several db) from a flat FR happen. Compared to that the differences between iPods and high end CD players or Foobar with a vinyl saturation plugin and an actual vinyl records are laughably small if at all existent. And when people like B0RK let off blunt bullshit it must be allowed to react bluntly. He didn't refrain from personally attacking other forum members himself.

I own a DAC that was more expensive than necessary myself, also an amp that could have been cheaper without the 'look'. That doesn't keep me from playing AAC files from my portable computer and and enjoying a mind blowing musical experience. Sometimes I go the extra route and reimport lossless files from my archive. But that's pure fancy. I would never try to convince people that not doing the same would necessarily lead to an inferior experience.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 20 April, 2009, 07:30:43 AM
Now there's a blind test I'd like to see (!) - an iPod vs a Linn CD12.

Both sides of this debate find that idea laughable for opposite reasons. So it's a great test case.

The practicalities of such a DBT are a headache, but not insurmountable.



This "sound stage" thing - do people really not hear instruments spread out between their two speakers? Or do you simply not hear any depth / height? I certainly hear left/right locations, and sometimes some depth. I've only heard height once with 2-channel, and that was a dummy head recording. (unless you mean bass at the bottom, and treble at the top - which is easy with oversized speakers!)

Obviously you can get reliable height, and fantastic depth, with more channels - though you can fake depth with 2-channel stereo somewhat reliably.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 20 April, 2009, 07:54:54 AM

It would be interesting to see how the results were interpreted by the audiophiles, although the CD12 is long gone now. Someone would likely cry foul just because it's out of production. A new Wadia player would be all-round interesting, though... just because the company has that iPod 'transport' thing, too. That would make it 'audiophile approved', and would mean you could run CD and iPod through the same DAC.


As to loudspeakers: I hear instruments spread out between the speakers, and sometimes beyond if the engineer has gone mad with the pan-pots. But I've not experienced a hologram appear in front of me between the loudspeakers. If I did, I'd have a larger collection of bad 70s funk with wah-wah pedals.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: MichaelW on 20 April, 2009, 08:04:24 AM
I'm interested, without any knowledge, in the soundstage phenomenon.

Like Gagg Halfrunt, I often listen to orchestral concerts in rooms that give me very little acoustic sense of the location of performers; sometimes that's just auditory image overwhelmed by visual cues, I guess, but I deliberately tested this during a performance of a Handel Oratorio, and I specifically heard the voices of the quite small choir coming from all around me--very much delocalised. And, of course, in a rock concert we know where the sound is coming from: those banks and banks of speakers (at a Bob Dylan concert I attended in 1978, at Blackbushe Aerodrome, I was lucky enough to get a position just in front of the second row of PA towers: Bob looked very small that far away).

So I suspect that the spatial location thing may be fairly specific to the reproduction of music, rather than being in the audience of a live performance (it's probably interestingly different if you're actually in the middle of the performers).

One of the things on which all flavours of listeners seem to be agreed on is that it is a mark of really, really good, and probably cripplingly expensive, speakers that they give a good soundstage. So much so that I wonder if this is the chief difference between speakers that are merely good, and those that are superb--which would be a consolation, since that kind of precision of placement wouldn't be important to me, even if I could afford it, because it doesn't match my live experience.

Lastly, cliveb's experience of hearing, once only, a full 3D soundstage reminds me of an optical trick that might be comparable. Stereo pictures are made with a pair of photographs, made from slightly different points of view. Normally you use a stereo viewer to feed the appropriate image to each eye, but it is possible to learn to see them without a viewer, and apparently reconnaissance photo interpreters learned to do this routinely. I once set myself to acquire the trick, and I could manage it with some difficulty, but the knack vanished if I didn't practice. This makes me think that it is quite possible that some listeners do construct a soundstage for themselves, but that this is a legitimate construction based on real cues in the signal, and intersubjectively verifiable. It would account for the reported finding that professional listeners are most sensitive to soundstage.

Sorry to ramble on, but it might be good for peace to focus on an area where there might be common ground.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: botface on 20 April, 2009, 09:06:31 AM
I'm finding this discussion of imaging, hearing in 3D etc very interesting. I "see" a 3D image all the time when I actually listen to music; rather than it simply being on the background. It only happens when listening via speakers. Headphones seem to just squeeze the sound into your head. It's completely different - as is live music. Anyway what I'm finding interesting is that I thought everybody heard stereo that way. Otherwise why do engineers bother trying to create a sound stage? Why doesn't everybody listen in mono? Incidentally, it makes no difference whether I am listening to a digital or analogue source.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 20 April, 2009, 09:52:01 AM
I'm interested, without any knowledge, in the soundstage phenomenon.

Like Gagg Halfrunt, I often listen to orchestral concerts in rooms that give me very little acoustic sense of the location of performers; sometimes that's just auditory image overwhelmed by visual cues, I guess, but I deliberately tested this during a performance of a Handel Oratorio, and I specifically heard the voices of the quite small choir coming from all around me--very much delocalised. And, of course, in a rock concert we know where the sound is coming from: those banks and banks of speakers (at a Bob Dylan concert I attended in 1978, at Blackbushe Aerodrome, I was lucky enough to get a position just in front of the second row of PA towers: Bob looked very small that far away).


I think that everybody who goes to live performances and listens carefully notices that the sound field becomes highly diffuse, even when you sit pretty close to the source.

I recall that Bose early on said that the ratio of reverb to driect at a typical set in a concert  hall was 8:1.

If we call the direct sound the desired signal, then when the reverb/direct ratio is 8:1 the signal-to-noise ratio is *negative*.  The ear can reliably perceive signals when the SNR is negative, but under these conditions intelligibilty is highly degraded.

Of interest is the 1:1 region which we call the critcial distance. IME that might be on stage or just a few rows of seats back, depending on the type of room.

I don't begudge audiophiles their favorite recordings with readily-discernable imaging. However, they aren't talking about recreating the concert hall experience. They're talking about a listening experience that has few if any real-world equivalents.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 20 April, 2009, 10:11:52 AM
you could run CD and iPod through the same DAC.
Oh, I wasn't going to go that far - I was going to use the standard analogue outputs of each piece of equipment.

Cheers,
David.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 20 April, 2009, 10:12:17 AM
I'm finding this discussion of imaging, hearing in 3D etc very interesting. I "see" a 3D image all the time when I actually listen to music; rather than it simply being on the background. It only happens when listening via speakers. Headphones seem to just squeeze the sound into your head. It's completely different - as is live music. Anyway what I'm finding interesting is that I thought everybody heard stereo that way. Otherwise why do engineers bother trying to create a sound stage? Why doesn't everybody listen in mono? Incidentally, it makes no difference whether I am listening to a digital or analogue source.


Most (all?) people are able to derive a seamless stereo from two identical - or near identical - loudspeakers. Record producers have a great tool on hand for this - it's called a 'studio engineer'. They in turn have an array of tools they can call upon to simulate the effect of a stage sitting in front of you, in between your loudspeakers. By using panning, phase, reverberation and a stereo ambiance recording (as well as gentle massage of some original sources - adding vibrato to a guitar sound, for example), a producer can effectively build a good simulacrum of a live event. Producers T-Bone Burnett and Ethan Johns are particularly good at this.

This can be extremely effective in creating stereophonic sound, instead of a separate left channel and a right channel as heard on early stereo pop recordings (where the singer is in the right channel, the band is in the left and nothing in between). But, no matter how good, it is a simulacrum. What I question is those who think it's a Holodeck.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 20 April, 2009, 10:18:46 AM
I don't begudge audiophiles their favorite recordings with readily-discernable imaging. However, they aren't talking about recreating the concert hall experience. They're talking about a listening experience that has few if any real-world equivalents.
As someone who gets most of their most from recordings (most of my favourite artists are dead) and broadcasts, I'm always surprised by how quiet and distant classical music sounds from most seats in a typical concert hall.

However, an intimate chamber music venue, or sometimes just sitting very close to the front, actually delivers something very close to the kind of audiophile experience I think you're describing.

And I like it. Being just a few metres away from a singer or acoustic instrument (though not brass - too loud!) is magical. Takes my breath away.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 20 April, 2009, 10:27:06 AM
Oh, I wasn't going to go that far - I was going to use the standard analogue outputs of each piece of equipment.

Cheers,
David.


My thoughts on this were to limit the damage to the delicate sensibilities of that audiophile. If they think the musical magic can go away by introducing anything antagonistic to their ethos, then limit the antagonism, especially as it shouldn't change the end result.

That being said, someone would end up ascribing special powers to the Wadia iPod dock.

A pity none of the magazines have the stones to do this, as they could assemble the products and even the test subjects easier than we could. And for them, it would probably be more than just sport and academic interest. I guess advertisers trump inquiry.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cliveb on 20 April, 2009, 10:49:03 AM
Lastly, cliveb's experience of hearing, once only, a full 3D soundstage reminds me of an optical trick that might be comparable. Stereo pictures are made with a pair of photographs, made from slightly different points of view. Normally you use a stereo viewer to feed the appropriate image to each eye, but it is possible to learn to see them without a viewer, and apparently reconnaissance photo interpreters learned to do this routinely.

The difference though, is that I wasn't trying to hear that holographic sound. I just put on a record that I already knew well, on my normal stereo system, and for some inexplicable reason that particular night I heard a soundstage that was utterly different and more convincing than any I've heard before or since. I'm not talking about width, depth (and to a certain extent height) - which can be discerned on many recordings. The best word I can use is "focus": everything just snapped into place with a solidity that was unnerving - and supremely enjoyable. Not only can I remember it happening all those years ago, I can also remember the times I put the same LP on hoping to hear the effect again, only to be disappointed.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 20 April, 2009, 11:25:38 AM
I have heard that in the US evil hippies sometimes contaminate drinking water with LSD. Now take into account that evil hippies, when they get older and come into money, often turn into subjectivistic audiophiles. I am pretty sure that some audiophile wannabe synesthesiac tried to recruit followers through the local waterworks on that day. Who knows, maybe it was even F. himself.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: MichaelW on 20 April, 2009, 11:57:50 AM
Lastly, cliveb's experience of hearing, once only, a full 3D soundstage reminds me of an optical trick that might be comparable. Stereo pictures <etc. etc.>

The difference though, is that I wasn't trying to hear that holographic sound. <SNIP>


That's interesting. I wasn't pushing a close analogy--apart from sight and hearing being different, there are also physical factors in stereo vision you have to control, especially decoupling focus and convergence. What I was suggesting was that a lot of our perception is in the brain/mind, and that soundstage might be a mind trick, conscious or unconscious.

For me, the virtue of stereo (which I noticed the first time I actually played a stereo record on a stereo set) is that I can hear different lines or voices in the music with greater clarity; spatial location is not a big deal. Though, when I once misconnected my speakers, it was surprisingly disturbing to hear the double basses in my left ear.

cliveb, a pity it only happened once, but at least it happened and made an obviously lasting impression: maybe you should write a sequel to Flanders and Swann's "High Fidelity" about "The Lost Soundstage."

Edit: fixed punctuation.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: hybris on 20 April, 2009, 12:32:10 PM
I think the best experiences of live music I've experienced has always been in churches, both amped an un-amped. You'd probably need a multichannel system to reproduce something like that due to the amount of reverb and feeling of being "in the middle of the sound". I think it sounds great - often enhanced by the  fact that you are listening to talented female voices (solo or chorus) either on their own or with a single instrument, making for a very puristic listening experience.







Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 20 April, 2009, 01:14:42 PM
Now there's a blind test I'd like to see (!) - an iPod vs a Linn CD12.

Both sides of this debate find that idea laughable for opposite reasons. So it's a great test case.


Do you expect them to sound different?

Quote
The practicalities of such a DBT are a headache, but not insurmountable.


It's just another test where time-synching is the hard part.

Quote
This "sound stage" thing - do people really not hear instruments spread out between their two speakers?


To me most audiophiles talk about "sound stage" as if it was a holoistic representation of their overall listening experience. It means nothing in particular to them. It most definately is not limited to imaging or spatial presentaion.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 20 April, 2009, 01:17:59 PM
It means nothing in particular to them. It most definately is not limited to imaging or spatial presentaion.
Par for the course, really. Ignorance feeds on generalization.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 20 April, 2009, 01:26:48 PM
If you EQ something, it's a change from the ideal, and maybe a kind of distortion, but it's similar to what you experience by listening on different speakers, or at a different distance from a real instrument, or listening in a different room etc.

I think the point is that equalization is damaging to the "purity" of the original signal. Running a signal through an analog equalizer, even when not making any boosts or cuts or utilizing any filters, is still going to degrade the signal somewhat by introducing noise. Doing the same thing in the digital realm, if we run a 24-bit recording through a 32-bit float DAW and a 64-bit float EQ plug-in (a common thing for one to do), the plug-in has to dither down to 32-bit to get injected back in the DAW's 32-bit mixer and we then have to dither once again to get the file back down to 24-bit. This again is signal degradation -- even if we don't so much as touch any of the "knobs" on the EQ.

So, it's the from the "departure from purity" standpoint that equalization is distortion: distortion that is, more often than not, relevant to our perceptions. Psychoacoustic lossy encoding is distortion that is specifically designed to be irrelevant to our perceptions.

The very process of capturing a live sound via a microphone is a terrible distortion of the original sound field. That's probably an order of magnitude worse than anything else we do to it subsequently.

There's no question of that. It's hard to describe how abysmal even the best mic is at accurately capturing the sound of an any instrument.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 20 April, 2009, 01:42:57 PM
If you EQ something, it's a change from the ideal, and maybe a kind of distortion, but it's similar to what you experience by listening on different speakers, or at a different distance from a real instrument, or listening in a different room etc.


The original purpose of equalization was to add back in the sonic balance that existed in the original source, but was lost due to non-ideal frequency response of the equipment along the way.

In the original context the most damaging of all the equipment commonly used related to recording and playing back optical sound, which makes the LP and all of its faults look (and sound) pretty good.

So lets do a little mind experiment. A record/playback chain happens to have some component in it that rolls off the bass below 100 Hz, which makes many natural sounds seem thin. All I have is a recording processed using that chain of equipment with no recourse to any orginal. If I whip out a parametric equalizer and tweak back in a reasonable semblance of natural bass response, have I forever damaged the overall sound quality?

Quote
I think the point is that equalization is damaging to the "purity" of the original signal. Running a signal through an analog equalizer, even when not making any boosts or cuts or utilizing any filters, is still going to degrade the signal somewhat by introducing noise.


Counterpoint - the dynamic range of some of the better but not exceptional analog equalizers is in excess of 110 dB. A 24 bit digital equalizer has more than 140 dB dynamic range. Exactly what is the effect of using such a device on even the finest recordings with dynamic range on the order of 80 dB?


Quote
Doing the same thing in the digital realm, if we run a 24-bit recording through a 32-bit float DAW and a 64-bit float EQ plug-in (a common thing for one to do), the plug-in has to dither down to 32-bit to get injected back in the DAW's 32-bit mixer and we then have to dither once again to get the file back down to 24-bit. This again is signal degradation -- even if we don't so much as touch any of the "knobs" on the EQ.


Ever do the math and figure out how much degradation an equalizer like this inflicts on anything recorded in 16 bits?

If memory serves, and if you presume that the noise spectrum of the equalizer and the music source are the same, passing  music with xx dB dynamic range through something that has dynamic range equal to xx+10 dB, hurts the finished product by about 0.1 dB. 


Quote
So, it's the from the "departure from purity" standpoint that equalization is distortion: distortion that is, more often than not, relevant to our perceptions. Psychoacoustic lossy encoding is distortion that is specifically designed to be irrelevant to our perceptions.


Like many such claims, the above claim does not suffer the test of real-world quantification. Sure there is some theoretical loss, but back in the real world... ;-)

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The very process of capturing a live sound via a microphone is a terrible distortion of the original sound field. That's probably an order of magnitude worse than anything else we do to it subsequently.


Any experienced recordist should be able to confirm that.

Quote
There's no question of that. It's hard to describe how abysmal even the best mic is at accurately capturing the sound of an any instrument.


It has to be that way, because mics transform a 3 dimensional sound field into a 2 dimensional signal.  Linear algebra says that there might be an infinite number of 3 dimensional sound fields that a mic would tranform into the same 2 dimensional signal.  Therefore, we are very limited in terms of what we can deduce about the original sound field from the output of a single microphone.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 20 April, 2009, 01:52:47 PM
Now there's a blind test I'd like to see (!) - an iPod vs a Linn CD12.

Both sides of this debate find that idea laughable for opposite reasons. So it's a great test case.


Do you expect them to sound different?


That's immaterial.

I suspect this is the kind of thing that needs to be repeatedly run and re-run to 'demonstrate whether there is - or is not - a difference'. The problem with challenging dogma is that it doesn't crumble at the first challenge. 

If we come on strong with 'been there, seen it, done it' to a bunch of people who not only haven't, haven't and haven't, but think they have... you just run up against the faith. You have to keep challenging this to get the message across. Gradually, you overturn the previous mind-set.

Or we just keep drawing up the same battle lines.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 20 April, 2009, 02:05:23 PM
Now there's a blind test I'd like to see (!) - an iPod vs a Linn CD12.

Both sides of this debate find that idea laughable for opposite reasons. So it's a great test case.
Do you expect them to sound different?
If they don't, then very little does.

Hence it's a good test. Either way.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 20 April, 2009, 03:12:53 PM
Stereophile's own test measurements of the CD12 show that it doesn't add any color, but that it works exactly as expected from any properly designed DAC. Any artifacts are way below 100db. So it should not be ABXable against an iPod unless you can hear a needle drop beside a jet engine at full thrust (literally).

The CD12 has only two extra features:

1. Complete source jitter immunity by employing an asynchronous sample rate converter. So the whole mechanical overkill for its transport is eye candy.

2. Optional dithering.


Part costs to add 1. to a modern DAC are single digit $. 2. really should be done at the studio and probably does more harm than good for most records.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 20 April, 2009, 03:42:37 PM
If I whip out a parametric equalizer and tweak back in a reasonable semblance of natural bass response, have I forever damaged the overall sound quality?

Technically, I feel you have. The sound quality, as I define sound quality, has technically been "damaged". If you used another word, like "desirable tonality" in place of "sound quality", then I would say the subjective quality of the signal has improved, much like how a recording can be subjectively "improved" by adding in even-order harmonic distortion. Not every listener will necessarily prefer the distorted signal, but it may appear more pleasing on some level to a moderate or large percentage of listeners (for whatever reason that may be).

You may feel differently, but I've always hated the idea of using the term "sound quality" to describe anything that could be thought of as subjective. To me, sound quality is a metric of the level of adherence to a recording. A concept that is purely technical and not in any way tied to our particular preferences for what sound should be.

Counterpoint - the dynamic range of some of the better but not exceptional analog equalizers is in excess of 110 dB. A 24 bit digital equalizer has more than 140 dB dynamic range. Exactly what is the effect of using such a device on even the finest recordings with dynamic range on the order of 80 dB?

Nothing in practical terms, but that's not quite what we're discussing.

Ever do the math and figure out how much degradation an equalizer like this inflicts on anything recorded in 16 bits? If memory serves, and if you presume that the noise spectrum of the equalizer and the music source are the same, passing  music with xx dB dynamic range through something that has dynamic range equal to xx+10 dB, hurts the finished product by about 0.1 dB.

I'd say that sounds about right to me. The point, however, is not the severity of degradation but the mere act of degrading. I use the example of a zeroed equalizer only to demonstrate that anything we do to a signal -- even if our intent is to not really do anything "productive" at all, but to merely route it through some device -- is degradation due to the introduction of noise and/or other anomalies (some subjectively desirable to some; others typically not). We are of course talking about barely measurable changes in the original signal when we shoot something through an analog equalizer or a DAW, but that's not really the point.

In the real world, when we're tweaking knobs and moving faders in both the analog and digital realms, we're utilizing what are, in all reality, tools of destruction to shape sound to our liking. We do it because the subjective qualities are for the most part enhanced by doing so.

B0RK gave myself and others the impression that an audiophile like Fremer is someone who utilizes an often expensive playback system to attempt to achieve purity with respect to the originally recorded event; that purity to the originally recorded instrument is, in some way, the goal (and that vinyl is somehow central to achieving that, for some undefined reason). That he and others like him should be admired for that. I said it was ridiculous given the fact that engineers intelligently destroy such purity, even if, as you said, the idea is to approximate the original sound of the instrument due to deficiencies in recording gear or techniques. In that way, their pursuits are nonsensical given what engineers do to recordings.

Quote
So, it's the from the "departure from purity" standpoint that equalization is distortion: distortion that is, more often than not, relevant to our perceptions. Psychoacoustic lossy encoding is distortion that is specifically designed to be irrelevant to our perceptions.


Like many such claims, the above claim does not suffer the test of real-world quantification. Sure there is some theoretical loss, but back in the real world... ;-)

We're talking two different things here. You're seem to be making the case for the intentional manipulation and specific degradation of a recording to achieve subjective desirability, while I'm arguing purely on a scale of black and white: that the post-processing of a recording is, from a purely technical perspective, degrading in almost every scenario even if the effect is barely measurable. If the effects of that on the original are the introduction of broadband noise, harmonic distortion or what have you, they are still distortions. A so-called "departure from purity".

Like I said before, don't get me wrong. I'm all for this stuff. I'm for equalization, low- and high-pass filtering, compression, harmonic excitation, noise reduction...all of that stuff. They're tools we can use to achieve certain results we like -- results we tend to find more pleasing. I use most of these tools daily, though some sparingly. That's not to say that they're beneficial to a given signal on a technical level, however, because they aren't, but I'm not arguing for this concept of so-called purity: the idea that listening to a recording of a cello should always seem like listening to a real cellist. I don't think that should be the pursuit of engineering nor the pursuit of listening.

Linear algebra says that there might be an infinite number of 3 dimensional sound fields that a mic would tranform into the same 2 dimensional signal. Therefore, we are very limited in terms of what we can deduce about the original sound field from the output of a single microphone.

I'm not debating this. A mic is only as effective at recording an event as its technical limitations allow.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 20 April, 2009, 03:58:35 PM
A so-called "departure from purity".


This purity is not achievable when you look at the whole chain. In the end air has to be moved for what mass has to be moved. Mass is at least subject to inertia and resonance. The endpoint of your chain will always act as a filter. For "purity" you have to eliminate these effects by inversion, either physically (e. g. damping), digitally, or analog. All three are not free from the universal tradeoff between phase and frequency accuracy, but the only way to go for maximum "purity".

So neglecting equalizing elements, that have practically no side effects (<0.1db impact), within the signal path for purely theoretical reasons does not make sense in a world were considerable amounts of mass necessarily have to be moved very accurately at some point.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 20 April, 2009, 04:33:31 PM
Linear algebra says that there might be an infinite number of 3 dimensional sound fields that a mic would tranform into the same 2 dimensional signal. Therefore, we are very limited in terms of what we can deduce about the original sound field from the output of a single microphone.

I'm not debating this. A mic is only as effective at recording an event as its technical limitations allow.

That's not a technical limitation, it's a theoretical one.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ExUser on 20 April, 2009, 05:25:40 PM
Hm. My own experiences with the iPod are that it's a touch on the noisy side...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 20 April, 2009, 05:36:46 PM
This purity is not achievable when you look at the whole chain.

I suppose "departure from purity" isn't really a fitting phrase since it would seem to indicate that "purity" is a destination that one could realistically reach. A more appropriate phrase, I guess, would be "deviation from purity". I'm not suggesting what I refer to as "purity" is ever achievable nor would it be particularly desirable.

So neglecting equalizing elements, that have practically no side effects (<0.1db impact), within the signal path for purely theoretical reasons does not make sense in a world were considerable amounts of mass necessarily have to be moved very accurately at some point.

Agreed.

I'm not debating this. A mic is only as effective at recording an event as its technical limitations allow.

That's not a technical limitation, it's a theoretical one.

I'm actually fairly happy with the way I worded that. Technical restrictions often revolve around theoretical ones
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 20 April, 2009, 06:26:53 PM
I agree with Canar, the SNR of an iPod is great, but it is finite, and I can hear the noise with ER-4Ps in a quiet room. One of the most substantial mods I've encoutered at a Head-Fi meet (... and that's not saying much)  is the RWA iMod, which rips out the output buffer on the iPod's DAC, which requires you to use a (presumably lower noise) outboard headphone amp.  (Sighted evaluation, grain of salt, TOS8 etc etc.) There was a pretty substantial noise improvement with the iMod compared to an unmodded iPod of the same vintage, with several different amps in use.

That said, the ambient noise levels in a speaker listening test might not be low enough for that to be an issue...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 20 April, 2009, 06:27:49 PM
Quote
Well there we have it don't we.
This is what people like yourself do all the time.

You are not looking for ABX Tests .. now are you ?


Yes, I am...I'm always on the look out for good ones.

Quote
Let's face it What you are Really looking for was FAILED ABX tests.


No, I looked for the ABX test you reported, and found that your interpretation of it was statistically flawed.


Quote
When The Foobar ABX test result is negative , you just get all rosy & cherish the moment.


No but it has been known to happen when I see a fool prove his mettle, in public.

Quote
But when Foobars own stats system says when you guess 14/20 (%5.8 chance of guessing) that is just not good enough for you , & you dismiss it altogether.


This only means that you don't know how to interpret the Foobar 'stats system'.  If you did, you'd know that that nothing I wrote contradicts the 'Foobar stats system's report... indeed, they both indicate that the
results did not pass the p<0.05  (that's  < 5%) threshold.

Quote
You are so quick to dismiss it , that you didn't even notice I included more then one test result &  got the chance to test a casual listener & posted the results, please do try & have another half a look before you post.



I am quick to dismiss your belief that a '5.8% chance of guessing'  -- that's better than 1 in 20 chance of guessing, btw -- means it couldn't have been due to chance.

2bdecided, please explain again why I should treat this guy  with respect?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 20 April, 2009, 06:34:59 PM
There's a difference between respecting someone and being respectful of a discussion. None of us have to respect anyone here, though we should try to have respectful discussions and generally try to treat people in a respectful manner nonetheless.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 20 April, 2009, 06:44:59 PM
Can we stop treating BORK like he's the devil please?

Thank you.


The devil makes ignorant claims about ABX stats and digital audio?  Who would have thought it?

Quote
Many of the individual ABX test runs in the lossyWAV thread (and also the 16-bit thread) were inconclusive on their own, but if added together and treated as one big run, became more conclusive. I'm not sure how statistically valid this is, but it makes some kind of sense: if you do lots and lots of tests, and you don't cherry pick them, then overall if there's no real effect you should converge on a 50/50 distribution of correct vs incorrect answers. A 55/45 distribution might be meaningless in a few tests, but over lots and lots of tests, the stats tell you that it's very unlikely to happen by chance. The high number of mistakes shows it's very hard to correctly identify the problem, but the fact there are more correct answers than mistakes shows there's something real there.


You're not sure how statistically valid it is...well, that's what statistics are for, eh?  It becomes important at some point to crunch the actual numbers, rather than rely on impressions that 'lots and lots' of tests have supported the difference.  I also made reference to a p<0.1 for good reason...heck, Pio even discusses it in the HA sticky on ABX.


Quote
In that scenario, I think it's worth listening to those listeners, and what they say about their experience of ABX testing.


We were all challenged to get 'a taste' of BORK's ABXing....so I did. 

Quote
I think there's a huge tendency developing here to jump in with a knee jerk reaction when ever people perceive that someone might have some sympathy with a subjectivist mindset.

This causes people to over state things:


OK, you've got us sussed, now what explains BORK?   

Quote
There's endless praise for lossy audio in this thread, despite there being many successful ABX results of 320kbps mp3 documented right here on HA!


Yes, and please put that in context: very few can consistently 'succeed' at that, and very few find it anything like 'easy' in the first place.  And often some training to hear mp3 artifacts specifically is involved. That points to mp3 technology being pretty fucking amazing these days.  But does it point to the self-proclaimed 'audiophile'  being RIGHT when they claim they can always tell any mp3 from source.. as they often do?

Quote
There's complete scorn at the idea that an "expensive" system is any better than in iPod, despite the obvious advantages of hearing music over good speakers driven by capable amplifiers.


Oh, come on, *that's* an overstatement.  The scorn is for those who say an iPod *connected* to the expensive system (including its capable amps), playing good mp3s,  would be obviously inferior to their high-end digital player playing SACDs or HD or whateverthehell flavor of the week 'hi rez' is presenting itself as today.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 20 April, 2009, 06:47:42 PM
Btw, I always thought audio synaesthesia referred to seeing sound as colors, a la the composer Scriabin, who wrote a treatise on the matter.  'Holographic' audio reproduction on the other hand is a matter of things like room acoustics, channel configuration, and recording quality, not some amazing mental quirk.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 20 April, 2009, 06:55:45 PM
Stereophile's own test measurements of the CD12 show that it doesn't add any color, but that it works exactly as expected from any properly designed DAC. Any artifacts are way below 100db. So it should not be ABXable against an iPod unless you can hear a needle drop beside a jet engine at full thrust (literally).

The CD12 has only two extra features:

1. Complete source jitter immunity by employing an asynchronous sample rate converter. So the whole mechanical overkill for its transport is eye candy.

2. Optional dithering.


Part costs to add 1. to a modern DAC are single digit $. 2. really should be done at the studio and probably does more harm than good for most records.



Stereophile also tested the 2003-vintage iPod.  And it performed rather well.

http://www.stereophile.com/mediaservers/934/index5.html (http://www.stereophile.com/mediaservers/934/index5.html)

Quote
The iPod's measured behavior is better than many CD players—ironic, considering that most of the time it will be used to play MP3 and AAC files, which will not immediately benefit from such good performance. But if you're willing to trade off maximum playing time against the ability to play uncompressed AIFF or WAV files, the iPod will do an excellent job of decoding them. Excellent, cost-effective audio engineering from an unexpected source.—John Atkinson
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 20 April, 2009, 07:02:21 PM
There's a difference between respecting someone and being respectful of a discussion. None of us have to respect anyone here, though we should try to have respectful discussions and generally try to treat people in a respectful manner nonetheless.


Hmm, well, I took BORK up on his offer to check out his 'ABXing', and reported a clear misunderstanding on his part, of his own 'ABXing'.  He responded with free psychoanalysis.  !respect!

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ScottM on 20 April, 2009, 07:20:15 PM
Do musicians have better ears than the rest of us? Probably not.


Probably so, some of them.

I sell audio gear as a side line (I won't get into what gear to avoid the whole question of advertising), but it's enough to say that I've had a goodly number of people into my home, listening to music. Because it's an audiophile speaker line, but not atmospheric in price, I get everything from the wealthy looking for shiny toys, to music lovers and musicians, to full-out audiofools who come with their own power cords.

It's the musicians, of all the customers I've had, who I've come to respect. Most of them don't give a soaked clam about graphs, wires and components, but they can pick out a lifeless passage, a loss of clarity or a depressed frequency without effort. Some of them don't care that much, because they listen to recordings from the 30s and 40s when recording techniques were often poor anyway. But by and large it's the musical folk who can listen carefully, and accurately pick out very fine detail.

I have no idea if it's the keen ear'd folk who become musicians, or if it's that a lifetime of music trains the mind to greater perceptiveness and accuracy. I'd guess the latter; I have good ears but I'm no musician.

One of my customers went through absolute misery with a piano he owned. He'd sunk a considerable sum of money into getting a high end piano, and again I'll leave out brand names. It was a good piano, and he liked it. All but one note. That one note sounded harsh to him. It didn't sound harsh to him on other pianos, even of the same type. It wasn't a room effect, because I worked him through tricks like moving the piano around, and adding absorption in the room. It was just a slight harshness on one note, and the chief engineer the company sent out couldn't hear the problem, even though he was risking having the piano returned by being unable to fix it.

I was sent a recording of a scale played on that piano, and I picked the harsh note out on the first listen - not very bothersome to me, but, yeah, noticeable if I paid attention, something wrong with the overtones. For him it was little short of glaring misery. And to that professional piano engineer - completely inaudible.

So, yeah. We don't all have ears that work the same, and some people's really are just plain better than others. I don't know if we "need audiophiles", but there are people out there that can hear things you and I can't, and I can hear things you can't, and most likely vice versa. And there are people who simply aren't very perceptive at all. So when I hear people categorically claim that the difference between an .mp3 and a .wav is inaudible, or that no one can pick out the directionality of a tone under y Hz, any other such claim, I roll my eyes. Some people are simply capable of surprising things, and if you want to find the keen-eared, I'd suggest starting with musicians.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cliveb on 21 April, 2009, 03:34:31 AM
'Holographic' audio reproduction on the other hand is a matter of things like room acoustics, channel configuration, and recording quality, not some amazing mental quirk.

The personal anecdote I posted earlier in this thread was an attempt to demonstrate that hearing a "holographic" soundstage most probably *is* a mental quirk.

Playing the same LP on the same system in the same room, just one time out of many I happened to hear a "holographic" image. The fact that it only happened once, was from an LP (with all that medium's known flaws), using speakers well known for their *lack* of imaging ability, strongly suggests to me that it's nothing to do with the reproduced soundfield, but in the mind.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 21 April, 2009, 05:31:13 AM
Do musicians have better ears than the rest of us? Probably not.


Probably so, some of them.



I'd argue the reverse. A musician is more likely to have suffered work-related hearing damage than, say, a typical office worker. That's not just rock musicians who spend too long next to a Marshall stack - the sound pressure levels coming from a violin (for example) are enough to impair the hearing mechanism of the player long before they get good enough to consider themselves a musician. The same applies right through the orchestra... not forgetting the damage caused by rehearsing and performing with a large orchestra itself.

However, a musician's listening skills should be distinctly better at determining changes in music than most non-musicians, because it's an ongoing part of the training process for any working musician. Even the ones who don't spend hours and hours formally training their ears to spot different musical intervals, chords, rhythms and developing relative pitch learn these things on an ad hoc basis. It's a different training process than might be used to develop good audio listeners (a musician needs to be able to spot the difference between a Maj7 and a 7sus4 chord, where an audio listener needs to learn to be able to spot the prospective artifacts from a poor codec or a badly-designed crossover) but it seems possible that the development of critical listening skills in one musical sector is, at least in part, transferable to others.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Cavaille on 21 April, 2009, 07:03:29 AM
Let´s face it: people buy new techniques when they are cheap & convenient. If they offer good sound quality it is a side-effect, nothing more (there are exceptions). So many people are happy with their original iPod earphones though they sound like crap. Adding to this, they can´t hear any difference between a CD and a MP3 from that CD - but they don´t even bother because they have other things to do (caring for the kids, going to work, painting pictures... I don´t know). They want their music fast and good sounding - MP3 offers exactly that.

Basically the techniques used in modern systems is chosen for the customers, they don´t choose themselves. It´s like fashion. Did you ever see "The Devil wears Prada"? Meryl Streep says some very true (if not cynical) sentences. One of them basically says that the fashion the "normal" people are wearing today was chosen for them by some high-flying designers years before. This fashion used the years to be downgraded to mainstream. I believe that with Audio it is the same, the techniques we are using today were chosen for us by engineers, designers and marketing people - all of them with the desire to make loads and loads of money with us. Audiophiles used some of these techniques years before they were introduced to the mass market. As an example I would like to take Sony. They produced some special CD drive for their High-End-players in the mid 90s´.  A few years later they downgraded this special drive to the mass market.

Another example: MP3. Developed by the Fraunhofer institute it rose to prominence in the late 90s´ - but some people are actually forgetting that lossy formats were introduced in 1992 with MiniDisc & DCC. They didn´t sound like the original but good enough to be transparent to the casual listener. MiniDisc still exists. Why? Because it is fast and convenient. DCC died very soon because it was slow. Eventually even MiniDisc will die simply because MP3 is more convenient and offers the same sound quality.

As for objectivity vs. subjectivity: I myself am a mixture of both. I´m buying expensive cables, I do paint the edges of my CDs, I upsample, I believe in 24/96 being superior and in the Hypersonic effect. I know that MP3 can sound transparent, still I´m using WavPack lossy. I also know that the whole Jitter discussion is overblown, still I do a lot of stuff in order to suppress it. On the other hand I never believed in tubes or vinyl. I´m sure that for some people I´m counting as an Audiophile (or a mad person) though I´m not considering myself actually being one. Anyway, I´m convinced that the techniques used by audiophiles today (not Vinyl) will be used 20 years from now for the mainstream market. I´m sure we will have for example 24/96 on every medium with most of the music. Not because of the reason that it may offer a sound improvement but it just will be as convenient as the techniques used today, it will be the standard (the mainstream won´t hear anything - but they wouldn´t hear the difference between 16/44.1 to 12/32 simply because they are not interested) MP3 will be dead by then, only to be replaced by something else. Also in 20 years from now the audiophile will have something new to promote...

And so the cycle starts again.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 21 April, 2009, 07:06:50 AM
Many of the individual ABX test runs in the lossyWAV thread (and also the 16-bit thread) were inconclusive on their own, but if added together and treated as one big run, became more conclusive. I'm not sure how statistically valid this is... (snip)
You're not sure how statistically valid it is...well, that's what statistics are for, eh?  It becomes important at some point to crunch the actual numbers, rather than rely on impressions that 'lots and lots' of tests have supported the difference.  I also made reference to a p<0.1 for good reason...heck, Pio even discusses it in the HA sticky on ABX.
I've used the statistics. I've downloaded the spread sheet. I've studied the discussions on the difference between ABXing a pre-selected number of trials vs ABXing until the "probability of guessing" indicator goes below 5% (which breaks the stats - the displayed "5%" is wrong in this use case).

My comment, "I'm not sure how statistically valid this is", is raising cautious concern over whether the apparently innocent practice of adding together the results from multiple ABX runs of the same codec with the same settings with (sometimes) different samples is also breaking the statistics. I suspect it is - like the "ABX until you hit 5%" case, I think the "add together all the results from samples that show a problem" case means you haven't actually hit 5% when the stats say you have. Why? Because there's an element of self-selection - if you can ABX a sample, it goes in, while if you can't, it doesn't. That innocent act, unavoidable when testing codecs, breaks the stats if you simply add all the results together. The only way to make it right is to keep the results separate (and remember they weren't statistically significant separately), or to get other users to repeat the results (for some samples, people did - for others, they did not).


Now, you have just proven my earlier point: I was hinting at a rather complex point of ABX statistics, but you assumed I was hand waving, and hadn't even tried the stats.


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There's endless praise for lossy audio in this thread, despite there being many successful ABX results of 320kbps mp3 documented right here on HA!

Yes, and please put that in context: very few can consistently 'succeed' at that, and very few find it anything like 'easy' in the first place.  And often some training to hear mp3 artifacts specifically is involved. That points to mp3 technology being pretty fucking amazing these days.  But does it point to the self-proclaimed 'audiophile'  being RIGHT when they claim they can always tell any mp3 from source.. as they often do?

OK, so here's what I really think: In the audiophile world, just as in the lossy audio world, there are a very few people with good and/or trained ears, who can actually hear subtle problems - and can hear the absence of subtle problems.

However, the vast majority of people in the audiophile world, just as in the lossy audio world, aren't nearly so sensitive. With the vast majority, there's no difference between the Emperor's new clothes, and a genuine, subtle, audible improvement. They cannot differentiate. They can't really hear either of them, but to appear that they know what they're hearing, they pretend to hear both. "The MAD mp3 decoder sounds so much better". "fb2k sounds so much clearer". "the red speakers sound punchier". etc etc etc. A lot of people are reporting that they hear differences where no such difference exists.

But that doesn't mean that no difference exists. 320kbps mp3s can be ABXed. The Emperor has clothes in this case - but very few people can see them!

And, importantly, throughout large swathes of the industry, I suspect many of the really smart people know damn well when the Emperor has clothes and when he's naked - but for various reasons it would do them do good at all to shout out "the kind is in the altogether!" so they keep quiet. But note that: the sensible people keep quiet. The people who can really hear keep very quiet about the things that make no difference. I guess I've seen this more from inside academia, talking quietly to bright people away from commercial pressures - but also talking o people in the commercial world when they've taken their "marketing hat" off. What you see printed in the audiofool press, or spoken at shows sponsored by cable manufacturers, has no bearing on what people who really "get it" think and hear.


What other holy cows can and cannot be ABXed? I don't know. But I've had discussions with Arny on here before, and he's pointed to the results at http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx.htm (http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx.htm) to show something couldn't be ABXed, and I just look in derision at http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_md.htm (http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_md.htm) which shows that first generation minidisc couldn't be ABXed. First generation minidisc!.


It's interesting to me that I point to 320kbps mp3, and you come straight back at me with a reason why that example doesn't really matter. What was the name of this arguing technique - it cropped up in another thread with creationism vs Dawkins - how you can never prove something true/false if the other side keep moving the goal posts.

And then we've had several posts laughing at the idea that an iPod is ABXable from a CD12, and then a sensible member quietly mentions that you can hear the background noise.

The absolutely rabid anti-audiophile attitude growing on this board is terrible.


I'm 100% convinced that any real difference should be reproducible in a DBT given a sufficient time scale. I'm convinced that when people report hearing the difference during a DBT, but the results are actually random, it proves placebo / self delusion.

However, to go from this basic science, to dismissing the audibility of things where an ABX has never been attempted, and concluding that an iPod with high bitrate mp3s is the peak of audio perfection, or at least more than good enough, when there's clear ABX data and objective data disproving this - this is worse than nonsense. Where is the scientific basis for these statements? What on earth are people doing on HA making statements that are completely disproven by ABX results?! The fact that people will happily trot this nonsense out in an argument discredits them and this site.


Cheers,
David.

P.S. I know most people can't hear anything wrong with 128kbps mp3. These people are equally welcome on HA, but their failed ABX tests do not invalidate other people's successful ABX attempts.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 07:33:11 AM
Now there's a blind test I'd like to see (!) - an iPod vs a Linn CD12.

Both sides of this debate find that idea laughable for opposite reasons. So it's a great test case.


Do you expect them to sound different?


That's immaterial.

I suspect this is the kind of thing that needs to be repeatedly run and re-run to 'demonstrate whether there is - or is not - a difference'. The problem with challenging dogma is that it doesn't crumble at the first challenge.


AFAIK the first CD player versus CD player DBT was done by my associates and myself for a feature article in Stereo Review in the late 1980s. We compared the much-maligned CDP 101 to Sony's latest-greatest and other players and found trivial to non-existent audible differences.  Tom Nousaine did a similar test about 14 years later, with similar results.

The recent JAES article comparing so-called hi-rez to CDP audio produced similar results.

For about 8 years I owned and operated a web site known as www.pcabx.com that allowed people to hear or not hear differnces like these.

Sooner or later people have to stop expecting people to re-invent the wheel for them!

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If we come on strong with 'been there, seen it, done it' to a bunch of people who not only haven't, haven't and haven't, but think they have... you just run up against the faith. You have to keep challenging this to get the message across. Gradually, you overturn the previous mind-set.


How many times do we need to open Lincoln's grave before we believe that his body is still in it?

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Or we just keep drawing up the same battle lines.


The ability of greedy and/or poorly-educated  audiophiles, salesmen, and journalists to mislead people again and again seems to be unending.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 21 April, 2009, 07:41:39 AM
2Bdecided. ABX is not the last resort for everything. It is a fantastic tool to evaluate non linear or psycho acoustical processes like lossy compression or the non-impact of audio voodoo. ABXing, although hard to implement, is also a great tool to for speaker evaluation, were still not enough purely objective metrics exist.

But DACs and output stages are different. There only mission is to do their job while staying completely out of the signal path. It is not hard to built them as completely linear, neutral elements until far above (any) humans' hearing capabilities. And this is perfectly measurable for any given pair of frequency range and signal to noise ratio. You can't measure wether a unit's colorization (speaker, tube saturation) is sounding good or bad, but you can measure wether there is any colorization at all.

The only problem is that many people don't have enough background knowledge to interpret the results. The iPod has certainly an acceptable frequency response and signal to noise ratio. But the latter is a ratio and no absolute statement about noise. A sensible enough headphone may pick up noise, wether from the iPod or the best DAC in the world. This does not matter when feeding an external amplifier (where you can turn the iPod's volume up until it can play within it's full range without perceivable noise) and less sensitive headphones.

So you may not get happy with an iPod when you only have very sensible headphones and listen to very low volumes. But this doesn't say anything about it's capabilities to drive a high end system (high impedance, adaptive sensitivity = volume knob) perfectly within its full measured signal to noise ratio.

So it is good to have people prove that units are actually not ABXable, but I have seen enough to completely trust measurements as long as we are speaking about supposedly linear and non colorizing elements, for example DACs and output stages in general. Speakers still do have some not accurately definable color, lossy compression is non-linear and psycho acoustical, so here this does not apply.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 07:54:58 AM
If I whip out a parametric equalizer and tweak back in a reasonable semblance of natural bass response, have I forever damaged the overall sound quality?

Technically, I feel you have.


If you want to worry about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, I've got nothing for you.

You obviously have no compelling clue about the practicalities of doing real world audio, while right now that is very much of my life.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 08:06:41 AM
Hm. My own experiences with the iPod are that it's a touch on the noisy side...


The first question is: "Is your Ipod operating within spec, or is it somehow broken"?

The second question is, "Have you found anything that is actually quieter when doing a comparison that is fully apples-to-apples"?

Seems to me like you are a good candidate for the following simple "Tweak":

Get an in-line attenuator and adjust the effective sensitivity of your earphones to suit your needs for noise-free listening. Or, obtain earphones that are simply less acoustically efficient.

The basic problem that you are worrying about has been around for at least 50 years that I know of. It is very easy to set up a monitoring system that will have an audible noise floor with virtually any piece of equipment.

I think I first experienced with my own equipment  using a pair of Telex headphones and an Eico ST-70 back in 1962 or so. But I worked for an audio store and I had encountered it with the store's equipment before that.

The effective solution that I  found way back then was to build an in-line attenuator and adjust the effective sensitivity of my earphones to suit my needs for relatively noise-free listening.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 08:10:33 AM
Now there's a blind test I'd like to see (!) - an iPod vs a Linn CD12.

Both sides of this debate find that idea laughable for opposite reasons. So it's a great test case.


Do you expect them to sound different?
If they don't, then very little does.


I don't know of any reason why an iPod playing a given audio file would sound different from a CD12 playing the same basic file (obviouisly reformatted), all other things being equal.  Do you?


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: HotshotGG on 21 April, 2009, 08:27:42 AM
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The ability of greedy and/or poorly-educated audiophiles, salesmen, and journalists to mislead people again and again seems to be unending.


I am in complete agreement with you. I would say all three contribute poorly to the lack of understanding in the field. Audiophiles "think" they know what they are talking about and sell a sales pitch to the advertisers and ignorant journalists pick up the stories from these "experts" and report them to the greater public without ever questioning the validity of the story they are writing about! That's we see enough of these stories on the internet.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 21 April, 2009, 08:28:24 AM
Reminds me of Homer Simpson wearing a poncho and riding through Springfield while listening to "Uptown girl" through a bullhorn. When people tell him that he ain't a hippie and that's not hippie music he always responds: "but, but the poncho!".

It's probably about the same with the CD12 sounding the same.

"but, but the separated power supplies"
"but, but the massive enclosure"
"but, but the the lathe shaped tray"
"but, but the optional dither"
"but, but the price tag"
....
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: gerwen on 21 April, 2009, 08:32:25 AM
Do musicians have better ears than the rest of us? Probably not.


Probably so, some of them.



I'd argue the reverse. A musician is more likely to have suffered work-related hearing damage than, say, a typical office worker.
<snip>

However, a musician's listening skills should be distinctly better at determining changes in music than most non-musicians
<snip>

My own anecdotal experience supports this.  My musician/teacher friend and I were discussing how he couldn't hear the mosquito tone the kids sometimes use on their cellphones.  He couldn't hear it.  I whipped out the laptop and we found one online.  He couldn't hear it, but i could... barely.  I'm ~3 years older than him (37).  We then used a signal generator to informally test his hearing threshold.  Turned out he was right around 13KHz.  A tone at ~13K which was very loud to me, was just barely perceptable to him.  He was shocked.  His immediate response:  "I'm wearing earplugs when we jam from now on."

His skills at listening to and picking out subtleties in music are far superior to mine, which supports what's been said previously.

When we have some time, i'll have to see how he is at picking out lossy codec artifacts.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 21 April, 2009, 08:56:35 AM
But DACs and output stages are different. There only mission is to do their job while staying completely out of the signal path. It is not hard to built them as completely linear, neutral elements until far above (any) humans' hearing capabilities. And this is perfectly measurable for any given pair of frequency range and signal to noise ratio. You can't measure wether a unit's colorization (speaker, tube saturation) is sounding good or bad, but you can measure wether there is any colorization at all.
But the history of audio is that we have a measurement, we make it perfect, and then someone invents a new way to wreck the audio which is invisible on that measurement. So we invent a new measurement that catches the new problem, and go round again.

The point of ABX (or similar - e.g. ABC as used in psychoacoustics) is to know where "inaudible" is on a given measurement scale, and/or whether the measurement misses something entirely.


I think we can get all known problems "inaudible" for a relatively modest outlay, but the idea that this happens routinely on most audio equipment is just fiction. Designers are ignorant, or just don't bother - it's not like most people can hear the difference anyway.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 21 April, 2009, 09:02:46 AM
Test of absolute hearing threshold, and tests of the ability to hear one sound in the presence of another (i.e. masking) can give quite different results.

Some people trash their ears but learn (and/or have an innate ability) to listen carefully.
Other people have ears which work very well, but apparently can't listen.

You can train people on various listening tasks (e.g. noise masking tone), but all equally (highly) trained listeners with identical absolute hearing thresholds will have very different masked threshold levels, and quite different spectral shapes to the masking curves.

Psychoacoustic codecs use general models; individual listeners vary greatly.


In my (limited!) experience, musicians and DJs often measure above average for masking thresholds - I don't know if they hear/listen well because they are musicians or DJs - or if they are musicians or DJs because they already hear/listen well.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 09:11:55 AM
My own anecdotal experience supports this.  My musician/teacher friend and I were discussing how he couldn't hear the mosquito tone the kids sometimes use on their cellphones.  He couldn't hear it.  I whipped out the laptop and we found one online.  He couldn't hear it, but i could... barely.  I'm ~3 years older than him (37).  We then used a signal generator to informally test his hearing threshold.  Turned out he was right around 13KHz.  A tone at ~13K which was very loud to me, was just barely perceptable to him.  He was shocked.  His immediate response:  "I'm wearing earplugs when we jam from now on."

His skills at listening to and picking out subtleties in music are far superior to mine, which supports what's been said previously


Exactly my experience. Severe ear damage is rampant and endemic among both classical and rock musicans. 

Most of the musicans I know listen to pimary home audio systems that would be an embarassment to me if they were the system in my car.

Good musicans are about musical values and the better informed audiophiles are about sound quality values. Occasionally you find both in the same place, but that's just the statistics of intersecting sets doing their job.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 21 April, 2009, 09:24:08 AM
AFAIK the first CD player versus CD player DBT was done by my associates and myself for a feature article in Stereo Review in the late 1980s. We compared the much-maligned CDP 101 to Sony's latest-greatest and other players and found trivial to non-existent audible differences.  Tom Nousaine did a similar test about 14 years later, with similar results.

The recent JAES article comparing so-called hi-rez to CDP audio produced similar results.

For about 8 years I owned and operated a web site known as www.pcabx.com that allowed people to hear or not hear differnces like these.


The problem is that Stereo Review is no more, 'real' people don't read the JAES and you talk of your website in the past tense. The Audio Critic struggles to put out more than one review every three months. So the audiophile sites and mags have the upper hand, now. If non-audiophile audio concepts are presented with off-hand belligerence, some of those who seek an alternative to high-priced woo will simply go away dissatisfied. Or, they go to the likes of SoundStage and Stereophile, which both present a thin veneer of objective credibility by publishing measurements alongside their subjective psychobabble.

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The ability of greedy and/or poorly-educated  audiophiles, salesmen, and journalists to mislead people again and again seems to be unending.


'Greedy' - there's nothing you can do about. 'Poorly educated' is a different matter... and that's what you singularly fail to address. You seem to conflate genuine ignorance with with willful ignorance. It's beholden on those who present an objective alternative to the subjective reviews to re-educate and deprogram those who are willing to be re-educated and deprogrammed. That's an ongoing concern... otherwise, step aside and let the subjective types 'win'.

What you present is akin to a high-school science teacher who says 'Why bother teaching this stuff... I did all this in high-school'. You won't teach everyone; you'll be lucky to teach a tiny fraction. But it's the only way to chip away, and make the unending, ending.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 09:25:41 AM
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But the history of audio is that we have a measurement, we make it perfect, and then someone invents a new way to wreck the audio which is invisible on that measurement. So we invent a new measurement that catches the new problem, and go round again.


There have been basically two kinds of basic measurements - frequency response and nonlinear distoriton, and they have remained inviolate for over 75 years.  The techniques for measuring them and characterizing the results of those measurements has been completely evolutionary. The meausrement thresholds have improved dramatically, but we've been able to measure them at or below the audible threaholds for at least 40 years.

For example, TIM was just high frequency nonlinear distortion misidentified as being something new when it wasn't. Jitter is just flutter and wow revisited.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 21 April, 2009, 09:31:48 AM
But the history of audio is that we have a measurement, we make it perfect, and then someone invents a new way to wreck the audio which is invisible on that measurement. So we invent a new measurement that catches the new problem, and go round again.


What would be an example in the last 20-30 years?

Regarding pure reproduction for stereo things are pretty much solved (ex speakers). The only thing remaining is spatial capture/reconstruction, reverbation, etc., but that's neither a question of DACs, nor storage, nor output circuitry, nor amplification.

Edit: ABK was faster.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 09:41:08 AM

The ability of greedy and/or poorly-educated  audiophiles, salesmen, and journalists to mislead people again and again seems to be unending.


'Greedy' - there's nothing you can do about. 'Poorly educated' is a different matter... and that's what you singularly fail to address.

If I fail to properly educate people, if I have failed to do so in the past, then you are not even a blip on the most sensitive radar. Just judge me by the stadards of your own performance.

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You seem to conflate genuine ignorance with with willful ignorance.


How so?

I've been giving relevant and reliable information for decades - possibly since before you were born. ;-)

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It's beholden on those who present an objective alternative to the subjective reviews to re-educate and deprogram those who are willing to be re-educated and deprogrammed.


Which is why I am ever more selective about where I focus my efforts these days.

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That's an ongoing concern... otherwise, step aside and let the subjective types 'win'.


You misundersand me greatly, and this is just another example. I *am* a subjective type - only my subjectivism is tempered with the concept of reliablity.

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What you present is akin to a high-school science teacher who says 'Why bother teaching this stuff... I did all this in high-school'.


And onward steadily for the next 45 years.

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You won't teach everyone; you'll be lucky to teach a tiny fraction. But it's the only way to chip away, and make the unending, ending.


You simply don't know who you are castigating.

Is that ignorance willful? ;-)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 09:53:45 AM
But that doesn't mean that no difference exists. 320kbps mp3s can be ABXed. The Emperor has clothes in this case - but very few people can see them!


Don't count me into that. My digital music players are loaded with .wav files whereever possible.

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And then we've had several posts laughing at the idea that an iPod is ABXable from a CD12, and then a sensible member quietly mentions that you can hear the background noise.


I can put enough amplification downstream of a CD12 so that its background noise can be heard. I'm sure of that as long as I have even one functional mic preamp in my possession! ;-) 

AFAIK, nobody has actually produced evidence that the background noise of a CD12 is any different from that of an iPod, all other things being equal, particualrly when identical recorded media is actually playing.

If people are whining about a slight noise heard under sitautions that are rare in the real world, a faint noise that is completely masked by the noise floor of any real-world recording of music, then there is IMO nothing to talk about. That would be yet another discussion about angels dancing on the head of a pin.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 21 April, 2009, 10:08:20 AM
Quote
But the history of audio is that we have a measurement, we make it perfect, and then someone invents a new way to wreck the audio which is invisible on that measurement. So we invent a new measurement that catches the new problem, and go round again.

There have been basically two kinds of basic measurements - frequency response and nonlinear distoriton, and they have remained inviolate for over 75 years.  The techniques for measuring them and characterizing the results of those measurements has been completely evolutionary. The meausrement thresholds have improved dramatically, but we've been able to measure them at or below the audible threaholds for at least 40 years.

For example, TIM was just high frequency nonlinear distortion misidentified as being something new when it wasn't. Jitter is just flutter and wow revisited.
But you've just defined (or categorised) the world to suit your argument (and FWIW inter-channel cross-talk fits neither of your categories).

Jitter may just be wow and flutter revisited, but I didn't see any wow and flutter measurements catching it early on, did you? From the first CD player onwards, wow and flutter was "unmeasurable" (quote from many a spec sheet!).


And as for "we've been able to measure them at or below the audible threaholds for at least 40 years" - subscribe to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America for a few years (it need not be 40!) and see how many new auditory thresholds are discovered in that time!

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 21 April, 2009, 10:08:20 AM
deleted - I need a delete post button
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 21 April, 2009, 10:21:56 AM
(and FWIW inter-channel cross-talk fits neither of your categories).


Tell me one device in the last 20-30 years where this audibly mattered.

Jitter may just be wow and flutter revisited, but I didn't see any wow and flutter measurements catching it early on, did you? From the first CD player onwards, wow and flutter was "unmeasurable" (quote from many a spec sheet!).


It was measurable from day one by comparing input data to output data after D-A-D conversion, just the cause for differences wasn't known - or justifiably cared about. You don't need to know the cause of every equivalent of a needle drop (100m away) in your sub 100db noise floor.

and see how many new auditory thresholds are discovered in that time!


Thresholds that anywhere matter in the domain of digital to analog conversion and output circuitry? That would be news to me. Who cares about a newly discovered masking threshold when even the masked components of a signal are perfectly captured and reproduced by commodity gear (exclude lossy codecs)?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 21 April, 2009, 10:48:14 AM
If I fail to properly educate people, if I have failed to do so in the past, then you are not even a blip on the most sensitive radar. Just judge me by the stadards of your own performance.


Ok, I was using my new form of pluralis majesticus - the Royal 'You'. Probably should have been 'one'... my bad.

Quote
Quote
You seem to conflate genuine ignorance with with willful ignorance.


How so?

I've been giving relevant and reliable information for decades - possibly since before you were born. ;-)


A proportion of audiophiles are scientific illiterates, these are genuinely ignorant people who simply lack education in the subject. However, a proportion of audiophiles are not scientifically illiterate, but choose to bury their knowledge in pursuit of odd-ball audiophile claims, They I class as willfully ignorant.

If someone says "my cables sound have more microdynamics when they are used in the right direction", can you tell whether that person is genuinely or willfully ignorant? 

The fact that you have been giving reliable information for decades is entirely irrelevant to this. This might be the putative "microdynamics" person's first encounter with anyone involved in audio who didn't take such a claim at face value. The surviving mags and websites certainly make those claims (because they have pages to fill and adverts to sell). The surviving dealers support the idea that cables sound different (they have cables to make money from) and the audiophile forums believe that too (because they are run by the faithful). If they are then treated like a dolt for simply holding a position that they genuinely thought to be a valid one, without any attempt at explaining why their position lacks validity, what would you expect as an outcome?


Quote
You simply don't know who you are castigating.

Is that ignorance willful? ;-)


No, it's a position of genuine ignorance. Or rather it was. I did some looking around. You have 'form' and I can see why trying to win people over might seem like throwing a brick at a curtain. My point is that you should never stop trying.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 21 April, 2009, 11:56:53 AM
If you want to worry about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, I've got nothing for you.

Read the rest of my post, please. I never said anything about "worrying" about any signal undergoing these processes. Anyone who would have actually read the entire post would have known that.

You obviously have no compelling clue about the practicalities of doing real world audio, while right now that is very much of my life.

This feels like a pretty blatant personal attack. This is entirely unwarranted, unnecessary and unappreciated (not to mention completely baseless). I've never even so much as attempted to attack you or anything that you may or may not hold dear, so I don't understand where the animosity is coming from. We don't even seem to have any differing opinions, for Christ's sake!

If you want me to clarify anything that I've said, I'd be happy to do that. I feel I've been clear, but I'm either A) wrong or B) being deliberately misinterpreted. The former I can understand. The latter I most certainly cannot -- especially here of all places.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 21 April, 2009, 12:54:19 PM
(and FWIW inter-channel cross-talk fits neither of your categories).
Tell me one device in the last 20-30 years where this audibly mattered.
Cartridges. FM car radios fighting a weak signal. Intensity stereo in audio codecs.

Anyway, that's irrelevant. Arny put forward a refined argument against my "we invent new measurements to explain audible problems" suggestion, saying there were only two types of measurement. I mentioned a measurement that doesn't fit into either of his types. That's all.

Quote
Jitter may just be wow and flutter revisited, but I didn't see any wow and flutter measurements catching it early on, did you? From the first CD player onwards, wow and flutter was "unmeasurable" (quote from many a spec sheet!).
It was measurable from day one by comparing input data to output data after D-A-D conversion, just the cause for differences wasn't known - or justifiably cared about.
What, there were A>D converters with jitter an order of magnitude less than that found in the best D>A of the day, and systems available for analysing the resulting recordings? In 1983?! I wasn't very old then, but I'm fairly sure this is nonsense.

Even today you'd struggle to make that experiment work - record two different CD players using an analogue input and try syncing the result so you can catch errors 60dB down (or much less). It's not easy.

Quote
and see how many new auditory thresholds are discovered in that time!
Thresholds that anywhere matter in the domain of digital to analog conversion and output circuitry? That would be news to me. Who cares about a newly discovered masking threshold when even the masked components of a signal are perfectly captured and reproduced by commodity gear (exclude lossy codecs)?
That's a fair point. Most of it is irrelevant for precisely that reason. All of it? Not sure.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 01:51:16 PM
Quote
But the history of audio is that we have a measurement, we make it perfect, and then someone invents a new way to wreck the audio which is invisible on that measurement. So we invent a new measurement that catches the new problem, and go round again.


There have been basically two kinds of basic measurements - frequency response and nonlinear distoriton, and they have remained inviolate for over 75 years.  The techniques for measuring them and characterizing the results of those measurements has been completely evolutionary. The meausrement thresholds have improved dramatically, but we've been able to measure them at or below the audible threaholds for at least 40 years.

For example, TIM was just high frequency nonlinear distortion misidentified as being something new when it wasn't. Jitter is just flutter and wow revisited.


But you've just defined (or categorised) the world to suit your argument


No, I'm using categories (actually known to scholars as linear distortion and nonlinear distortion) that have been widely used by knowlegeable people for decades. For example the JAES had an article using exactly that terminology in the middle 1970s. (Pries, JAES, June 1976) That article cites earlier papers on the same topic. The categories come of of the surpporting math which goes back to Fourier in the 18-19th centuries.

Quote
(and FWIW inter-channel cross-talk fits neither of your categories).


Cross talk is the frequency response of a channel that is not receiving a test signal. It is typically measured using identical equipment and procedures as frequency response. It is cusomary to show the frequency response of the driven channel and the undriven channel side-by-side. That's a good cross-talk report.  Clearly, it is a kind of frequency response measurement!


Quote
Jitter may just be wow and flutter revisited, but I didn't see any wow and flutter measurements catching it early on, did you?


You've changed the topic from  invention of new measurements to whether or not they were used in a way that was visible to you.

In fact it was well-known at the time of introduction of the CD (and even much before) that as compared to analog tape and the LP, this kind of distortion was vanishingly small in even the first digital gear on the market.  If you look at the currently established thresholds for FM distortion (the category to which both wow, flutter, and jitter all belong), very few even moderate-priced digital audio gear actually has audible jitter. It has bee well known all along that jitter could be easily removed from a digital data stream. In fact every CD player ever made includes a fairly elaborate and effective means for reducing jitter to any desired low level.


Quote
From the first CD player onwards, wow and flutter was "unmeasurable" (quote from many a spec sheet!).


You've changed the topic from  invention of new measurements to how they were reported.

In fact a CD player's jitter is so low that it could not be measured using traditionalanalog  wow and flutter meters. However, the small amounts of jitter that was actually there was readily measurable with different equipment that existed at the time.

I've tested a number of still-operational exacmples of very early CD players including the CDP-101 and they all had very low jitter, even by modern standards.  Jitter became more of a problem when the golden ears started building CD players and started incompetently implementing the slighly trickier problem of putting the CD transport and DAC in separate boxes.


Quote
And as for "we've been able to measure them at or below the audible threaholds for at least 40 years" - subscribe to the Journal of the Acoustical Society of America for a few years (it need not be 40!) and see how many new auditory thresholds are discovered in that time!


AFAIK, the answer is none. I'll leave the citing and quoting of candidate articles to people who are willing to risk arguing the affirmative.  I have far less interest in proving myself wrong than right than would be appropriate for someone claiming to argue for the affirmative. ;-)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 01:51:38 PM
'Holographic' audio reproduction on the other hand is a matter of things like room acoustics, channel configuration, and recording quality, not some amazing mental quirk.

The personal anecdote I posted earlier in this thread was an attempt to demonstrate that hearing a "holographic" soundstage most probably *is* a mental quirk.

Playing the same LP on the same system in the same room, just one time out of many I happened to hear a "holographic" image. The fact that it only happened once, was from an LP (with all that medium's known flaws), using speakers well known for their *lack* of imaging ability, strongly suggests to me that it's nothing to do with the reproduced soundfield, but in the mind.


It needn't be either/or.  Some 'holographic' experiences may be more purely subjective, while others (like the repeatable, multiple ones I had using a nearfield setup)  are  really due to the configuration.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 02:01:47 PM
I'd argue the reverse. A musician is more likely to have suffered work-related hearing damage than, say, a typical office worker. That's not just rock musicians who spend too long next to a Marshall stack - the sound pressure levels coming from a violin (for example) are enough to impair the hearing mechanism of the player long before they get good enough to consider themselves a musician. The same applies right through the orchestra... not forgetting the damage caused by rehearsing and performing with a large orchestra itself.


Floyd Toole in his 'Sound Reproduction' book reports two broad categories of listener preference for home sound reproduction, from extant research.  The larger group tends to want a wide 'apparent source width' (ASW) and the experience of 'listener envelopment'.  The smaller group tends to include audio engineers, musicians and (perhaps) acousticians,  who look for things like pinpoint imaging.  (He doesn't explicity say that these must be contradictory goals or that a happy medium couldn't be achieved.  I would also expect that different kinds of music might suit different goals....organ music recorded in a church really shouldn't exhibit 'pinpoint imaging' unless the producer is going for a highly unnatural 'reproduction' )
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 02:08:47 PM

Quote

(and FWIW inter-channel cross-talk fits neither of your categories).


Tell me one device in the last 20-30 years where this audibly mattered.


Cartridges. FM car radios fighting a weak signal. Intensity stereo in audio codecs.


I don't know what currently accepted thresholds for the audibility of channel separation are, but I've done null listening tests that involved reducing separation to as little as 6 dB @ 1 Khz.

Quote

Jitter may just be wow and flutter revisited, but I didn't see any wow and flutter measurements catching it early on, did you? From the first CD player onwards, wow and flutter was "unmeasurable" (quote from many a spec sheet!).


It was measurable from day one by comparing input data to output data after D-A-D conversion, just the cause for differences wasn't known - or justifiably cared about.


That's not the only way to measure jitter.

Jitter was a known problem before digital audio was even a twinkle in any audiophile's eye. It was a known problem in ca. ww II pulse-based technologies like RADAR. I measured jitter in computer tape drives as part of my maintenance chores in the late 1960s.  Word clocks were old news by then, and wherever you have a clock, you have the potential for jitter.

Quote
What, there were A>D converters with jitter an order of magnitude less than that found in the best D>A of the day, and systems available for analysing the resulting recordings? In 1983?!


Yes. In 1980 high performance 16 bit 200 KHz ADCs and DACs were products. Unfortunately they were very expensive, but I had one "to play with" as part of my undergraduate courses in hybrid computing.

Quote
Even today you'd struggle to make that experiment work - record two different CD players using an analogue input and try syncing the result so you can catch errors 60dB down (or much less). It's not easy.


Actually, its easy to synch digital recordings of the outputs of two different CD players. Been there, done that. For example, one can upsample both recordings to a  10 MHz sample rate, and synch them within +/- 50 nSec. Been there, done that and it worked!

Jitter  errors aren't 60 dB down in anything but totally junk CD players. 100+ dB down is more like it.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 21 April, 2009, 02:17:01 PM
No, I'm using categories (actually known to scholars as linear distortion and nonlinear distortion) that have been widely used by knowlegeable people for decades.
I know.

I love your debating style. The quietly superior "I actually know everything" tone.

It doesn't wash. Not when you didn't know what the word "linear" meant only three months ago...
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=608041 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=66612&view=findpost&p=608041)


Quote
Cross talk is the frequency response of a channel that is not receiving a test signal. It is typically measured using identical equipment and procedures as frequency response. It is cusomary to show the frequency response of the driven channel and the undriven channel side-by-side. That's a good cross-talk report.  Clearly, it is a kind of frequency response measurement!
All true, though it's a strange argument that something appearing that shouldn't be there at all is a frequency response phenomenon.

There's also an obvious argument as to why gain is also a frequency response phenomenon, and I think that's probably a silly argument too. True, but silly. IMO. YMMV!


Quote
Quote
Jitter may just be wow and flutter revisited, but I didn't see any wow and flutter measurements catching it early on, did you?


You've changed the topic from  invention of new measurements to whether or not they were used in a way that was visible to you.

In fact it was well-known at the time of introduction of the CD (and even much before) that as compared to analog tape and the LP, this kind of distortion was vanishingly small in even the first digital gear on the market.  If you look at the currently established thresholds for FM distortion (the category to which both wow, flutter, and jitter all belong), very few even moderate-priced digital audio gear actually has audible jitter. It has bee well known all along that jitter could be easily removed from a digital data stream. In fact every CD player ever made includes a fairly elaborate and effective means for reducing jitter to any desired low level.


Quote
From the first CD player onwards, wow and flutter was "unmeasurable" (quote from many a spec sheet!).


You've changed the topic from  invention of new measurements to how they were reported.

In fact a CD player's jitter is so low that it could not be measured using traditionalanalog  wow and flutter meters. However, the small amounts of jitter that was actually there was readily measurable with different equipment that existed at the time.
How? And did people? I'm genuinely interested.

Quote
I've tested a number of still-operational exacmples of very early CD players including the CDP-101 and they all had very low jitter, even by modern standards.  Jitter became more of a problem when the golden ears started building CD players and started incompetently implementing the slighly trickier problem of putting the CD transport and DAC in separate boxes.
Using SPDIF. Teaching my Grandmother here though.

So what do you believe the audible threshold for jitter to be?

I don't think it's a single number, but maybe you have one in mind?

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 03:08:26 PM
2bedecided,

You wrote that the lossyWAV cumulative ABX runs 'became more conclusive' but at the same time weren't sure the conclusion was statisically valid.  Me neither.  It did, however, seem to me that you were according the first possibility more weight than the latter, and for that I apologize, because apparently we agree more than not on this.  We also agreed in correcting BORK's assumption that his subject's single '5.8%' run could not have been due to chance (you did it on the lossyWAV thread, I did it here). 


But:

NO ONE here is saying 320 mp3 is the perceptual apex of audio, everywhere and always, just as NO ONE here actually says 'all amps sound the same' or 'all CDPs sound the same' , tout court, without qualification.  NO ONE says that a 'no difference' 128mp3 ABX invalidates others' successful ABX of same.

NO ONE, , including me, is saying that ABXable 320mp3 differences 'doesn't really matter'.  I'm saying it may matter in some contexts, and not others.  (An analogous example would be Meyer and Moran's finding that DSD could be ABXed from Redbooks, under *certain conditions*).  That's not moving the goalposts, that's keeping the perspective 'normal' rather than skewed -- IMHO.

As for iPods and boutique CDPs, Axon was careful to qualify his post...even providing some speculation on what contexts may make the noise level *matter* or not.  Again, the horselaughs tend to come at the expense of those who claim an immediate, obvious difference, based on 'common sense' -- the 'audiophool' stance -- not the careful qualified claims of the Axon, the type of reporter for whom' I'd like to reclaim the term audio *phile*.

Hysterical misrepresentation and overstatement of 'objectivists' stance, is what I've come to expect from the 'audiophools', not you.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 03:13:53 PM
It doesn't wash. Not when you didn't know what the word "linear" meant only three months ago...
http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=608041 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=66612&view=findpost&p=608041)


A single (incorrect) post in Hydrogen Audio falls well far short of proving that I don't know what  linear means.  I let it drop because it wasn't worth the effort to cure the young man of his foolishment.

Actually, proving that I don't know what linear means would require mind reading. If you wish to claim to be able to read my mind, well feel free to discredit yourself that way! ;-)

Quote
Quote

Cross talk is the frequency response of a channel that is not receiving a test signal. It is typically measured using identical equipment and procedures as frequency response. It is cusomary to show the frequency response of the driven channel and the undriven channel side-by-side. That's a good cross-talk report.  Clearly, it is a kind of frequency response measurement!


All true, though it's a strange argument that something appearing that shouldn't be there at all is a frequency response phenomenon.


No stranger than measuring a distortion that shouldn't be there...

Quote
Quote

Jitter may just be wow and flutter revisited, but I didn't see any wow and flutter measurements catching it early on, did you?


You've changed the topic from  invention of new measurements to whether or not they were used in a way that was visible to you.

In fact it was well-known at the time of introduction of the CD (and even much before) that as compared to analog tape and the LP, this kind of distortion was vanishingly small in even the first digital gear on the market.  If you look at the currently established thresholds for FM distortion (the category to which both wow, flutter, and jitter all belong), very few even moderate-priced digital audio gear actually has audible jitter. It has bee well known all along that jitter could be easily removed from a digital data stream. In fact every CD player ever made includes a fairly elaborate and effective means for reducing jitter to any desired low level.


Quote
Quote

From the first CD player onwards, wow and flutter was "unmeasurable" (quote from many a spec sheet!).


In fact a CD player's jitter is so low that it could not be measured using traditional analog  wow and flutter meters. However, the small amounts of jitter that was actually there was readily measurable with different equipment that existed at the time.


Quote
How? And did people? I'm genuinely interested.


Relatively small amounts of jitter can be measured with a good expanded sweep oscillioscpe.

Quote
So what do you believe the audible threshold for jitter to be?


It is generally agreed by most scientific researchers that any artifact or spurious response that is > 100 dB below FS can be safely ignored.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 03:13:55 PM
2Bdecided. ABX is not the last resort for everything. It is a fantastic tool to evaluate non linear or psycho acoustical processes like lossy compression or the non-impact of audio voodoo. ABXing, although hard to implement, is also a great tool to for speaker evaluation, were still not enough purely objective metrics exist.


I'd have to revisit the methods sections to verify, but I don't think NRC/Harman/Olive actuallly used an ABX protocol per se -- though it was double-blind.  ABX isn't well suited for preference ranking, which is what the extant loudspeaker listening literature is about.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 21 April, 2009, 03:24:13 PM
2Bdecided. ABX is not the last resort for everything. It is a fantastic tool to evaluate non linear or psycho acoustical processes like lossy compression or the non-impact of audio voodoo. ABXing, although hard to implement, is also a great tool to for speaker evaluation, were still not enough purely objective metrics exist.


I'd have to revisit the methods sections to verify, but I don't think NRC/Harman/Olive actuallly used an ABX protocol per se -- though it was double-blind.  ABX isn't well suited for preference ranking, which is what the extant loudspeaker listening literature is about.


Correct. Questions involving ranking led to things like ABC/hr
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 21 April, 2009, 05:02:56 PM
ABX tests , Are Subjecive tests.

Hearing is subjective. ABX is a technique for evaluating hearing objectively.


Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this.
You just put the last nail in whatever it was you were trying to say all by yourself.
Don't be all that surprised you did not get some further clarification demands about this , as it is just  too embarassing to even read it posted in this place.
(Oh actually you did by Ron Jones , Thanks)

There's complete scorn at the idea that an "expensive" system is any better than in iPod, despite the obvious advantages of hearing music over good speakers driven by capable amplifiers.

No, there isn't. The debate is not cheap vs. expensive but against putting money into the absolutely wrong end of the chain. As horrifying this may sound to people, who conceive audio gear as part of their ego: technology has advanced up to a point where perfect (in terms of a given FR and SNR) reproduction of recorded material has become possible with commodity parts. With one exception: speakers. This is where money still can make a huge difference, this is where the biggest deviations (several db) from a flat FR happen. Compared to that the differences between iPods and high end CD players or Foobar with a vinyl saturation plugin and an actual vinyl records are laughably small if at all existent.


Ask anyone that upgraded their speakers , & many will tell you that it led to revealing weakness in their source components as well.

Good speakers are not that Selective you see.
They will reveal more from the music yes, but they will also reveal more of the noise , artifacts etc etc.

I own a DAC that was more expensive than necessary myself, also an amp that could have been cheaper without the 'look'. That doesn't keep me from playing AAC files from my portable computer and and enjoying a mind blowing musical experience. Sometimes I go the extra route and reimport lossless files from my archive. But that's pure fancy. I would never try to convince people that not doing the same would necessarily lead to an inferior experience.


But you do not seem to have a problem to try to convince people ,
That Starting with a Purer Source Material ,
& not a non debatable , scientifically proven (!) inferior lossy one,
in their case ,assuming they do not have Your ears (judging by your own definition, obviously cannot tell the difference),
IS scientifically, fact backed, more likely to lead to a Superior one !
Let's hear you say that.

The fact that when it suits you, you do have a problem conforming to the Real currently available Science of it, & ONLY to your own subjective ABX tests results, that is truly disturbing.

The debate is not cheap vs. expensive ...

I have heard that in the US evil hippies sometimes contaminate drinking water with LSD. Now take into account that evil hippies, when they get older and come into money, often turn into subjectivistic audiophiles. I am pretty sure that some audiophile wannabe synesthesiac tried to recruit followers through the local waterworks on that day. Who knows, maybe it was even F. himself.


God alimghty ..
What are you saying now ?

Maybe we should go ahead & hunt down the Hippies now, just in case some of them ,
according to your delusional mind , will get enough money &/or become Audiophiles ?

OK .that does it , I have tried to ignore your misinformed & offending posts , but this is too much .. not this time.

I suggest you stop tagging people with your beloved "Audiophool" insults as well,
just get a mirror to meet one in the flesh.

Your angle of things is most certainly not Audio related , & it verges on Hate Spewing Propaganda.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 21 April, 2009, 05:19:43 PM
Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this. Don't be all that surprised you did not get some further clarification demands about this , as it is just  too embarassing to even read it posted in this place. (Oh actually you did by Ron Jones , Thanks)

My ears are burning. I guess my sarcasm in that post wasn't as obvious as I intended.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 21 April, 2009, 05:34:23 PM
Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this.


Don't worry, many of us feel the exact same way when reading your posts.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 21 April, 2009, 05:37:14 PM
@Ron Jones

Yep , & that's coming from the ABX flag waving, & supposedly Stats expert himself  .

That comment is Only equalled / topped by rpp3po's pathetic anti Hippie/Audiophile, conspiracy theory.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 05:40:08 PM
Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this. Don't be all that surprised you did not get some further clarification demands about this , as it is just  too embarassing to even read it posted in this place. (Oh actually you did by Ron Jones , Thanks)

My ears are burning. I guess my sarcasm in that post wasn't as obvious as I intended.



It was, don't worry.  The problem here is not at the broadcast end. 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 21 April, 2009, 05:40:14 PM
ABX tests , Are Subjecive tests.

Hearing is subjective. ABX is a technique for evaluating hearing objectively.


Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this.
You just put the last nail in whatever it was you were trying to say all by yourself.
Don't be all that surprised you did not get some further clarification demands about this , as it is just  too embarassing to even read it posted in this place.
(Oh actually you did by Ron Jones , Thanks)


Huh, how is this incorrect. This is like blind wine tasting. Taste is subjective, blind wine tasting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_tasting#Blind_tasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_tasting#Blind_tasting)

is a technique for evaluating the nose (smell) and palate (taste) objectively. This is well understood in the F&B industry. It might not be what you want to hear, but it is correct.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 05:47:48 PM
Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this.
You just put the last nail in whatever it was you were trying to say all by yourself.
Don't be all that surprised you did not get some further clarification demands about this , as it is just  too embarassing to even read it posted in this place.
(Oh actually you did by Ron Jones , Thanks)


Huh, how is this incorrect. This is like blind wine tasting. Taste is subjective, blind wine tasting

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_tasting#Blind_tasting (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wine_tasting#Blind_tasting)

is a technique for evaluating the nose (smell) and palate (taste) objectively. This is well understood in the F&B industry. It might not be what you want to hear, but it is correct.



Yup. ABX testing isn''t *just* subjective -- it's the post-trial comparison of the subjective component (the perceived/reported identity of X) to the objective fact (the actual identity of X) that makes it objective.  Oh, and the statistics that tell how likely the matchup between subjective impression and fact was due to chance.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 21 April, 2009, 06:20:15 PM
My ears are burning. I guess my sarcasm in that post wasn't as obvious as I intended.

It was, don't worry.  The problem here is not at the broadcast end.

Excellent. Good to know
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 21 April, 2009, 07:55:44 PM
Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this.


Don't worry, many of us feel the exact same way when reading your posts.


You don't say ..
Again, Let me ask just who exactly is the 'WE' you crowned yourself the spokesman for.
"Many of us" ...yeah right.

What ,youre gonna hunt me down with rpp3po after you kill all the Hippies before they become Audiophiles ? ... right

Not surprisingly, you have zero problems with the pure BS posted by some here,
but you do have a problem with me for some reason.

Assuming you are referring to your AudioPhile Hating / Lossy Forever / If I Can't Hear it -  No One Will / crusader buddies :

If reading any of my personal views causes any of you any discomfort , I truly am sorry , I am only stating my opinion, based on MY Life's experience.

I did not think such narrow minded & hatred infused flaming attitude against Audiophiles,
or any & music lover that makes an effort for better audio, belongs here in HA.


So maybe Slowly , but Surely though ,You'll have to change your mind about what I said.

Cause what you got from me, is nothing in comparison to what you will, one day, get from Your Kids & grandkids.

They will be sitting there , grinning at you with their 'Low End' 100 Terrabyte portables
playing & creating their own rough mixes of their 192 khz 24 bit Multichannel master transfers,
playing them on wireless high bandwidth transducers,
giving you a bored but worried yawn when you tell them about your lossy audio dark ages, how 'they don't need it', & how 'they can't tell the difference anyway', & finally how "you can save them all that space', if only you could find your 'vintage' .XXX encoder ..
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 08:33:06 PM
thunder in April --
audiophile lashes out --
side of barn intact




Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 21 April, 2009, 09:05:10 PM
ABX tests , Are Subjecive tests.

Hearing is subjective. ABX is a technique for evaluating hearing objectively.


Honestly ..I just cannot belive I am reading this.
You just put the last nail in whatever it was you were trying to say all by yourself.
Don't be all that surprised you did not get some further clarification demands about this , as it is just  too embarassing to even read it posted in this place.
So basically you have no idea how science works...

All science begins as subjective observation and through the scientific method and control (in this case, bias control), objective conclusions are made.

B0RK, you are seriously making quite an ass of yourself.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 21 April, 2009, 09:22:17 PM
[
All science begins as subjective observation and through the scientific method and control (in this case, bias control), objective conclusions are made.

B0RK, you are seriously making quite an ass of yourself.



Yet Another contender for dumbass of the year award.

Science , Fool , begins with Questions.

As you seem to know my science background all so well ...
& it is no match for your Scientific prowess ,
Please, Enlighten Me , with your scientific knowledge about the matters at hand Oh Almighty Snake.

Ill give you an easy one , just ask your buddies , Explain why Audiophiles are Evil.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 21 April, 2009, 09:52:18 PM
Man, what a fuckin' nightmare...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 21 April, 2009, 10:19:15 PM
Man, what a fuckin' nightmare...


I wonder if perhaps BORK is really a time traveler from an earlier, simpler time...when the rules of capitalization hadn't stabilized,  and snarky humor (like rppo's riff on hippies, acid, and audiophiles) could only be taken at face value.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 21 April, 2009, 10:45:41 PM
God alimghty ..
What are you saying now ?

Maybe we should go ahead & hunt down the Hippies now, just in case some of them ,
according to your delusional mind , will get enough money &/or become Audiophiles ?

OK .that does it , I have tried to ignore your misinformed & offending posts , but this is too much .. not this time.


God almighty, how could I forget the <irony> tags!

Thanks for the tremendous laugh!

WE ARE THE BORK, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 21 April, 2009, 11:23:57 PM
Not to go off topic (or insult someone who has been dealing out the insults throughout this thread) but I read the "WE ARE THE BORK, RESISTANCE IS FUTILE!" statement in my head using the robot voice that the character J.P. does in the movie Grandma's Boy.

I am not sure this thread is going anywhere since B0RK refuses to acknowledge some points, refuses to acknowledge common sense, and still has yet to show us anything backing up their claims.  Might as well go have this discussion with a brick wall.  At least they won't defend audiophools (yes, I said it!) who go against science and testing.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 21 April, 2009, 11:35:49 PM
Dear brother Bork, I beg your deepest consent, I cannot wait to herald our one and true message to the unknowing:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZEJ4OJTgg8 (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WZEJ4OJTgg8)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: lunkhead on 22 April, 2009, 12:14:15 AM
[
All science begins as subjective observation and through the scientific method and control (in this case, bias control), objective conclusions are made.

B0RK, you are seriously making quite an ass of yourself.



Yet Another contender for dumbass of the year award.

Science , Fool , begins with Questions.

As you seem to know my science background all so well ...
& it is no match for your Scientific prowess ,
Please, Enlighten Me , with your scientific knowledge about the matters at hand Oh Almighty Snake.

Ill give you an easy one , just ask your buddies , Explain why Audiophiles are Evil.

your Punctuation , and Capitalization could use some Work .
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 22 April, 2009, 12:30:32 AM
Science , Fool , begins with Questions.
Please formulate a meaningful question that is not somehow based on observation.


Ill give you an easy one , just ask your buddies , Explain why Audiophiles are Evil.

"Audiophiles" are not evil, rather they are harmless. They are harmless because they are ignorant.
The problem is that when ignorance has enough money, it creates an industry that is apathetic to progressing, because that industry can get rich by simply exploiting ignorance.  Fortunately this situation isn't sustainable, not because the ignorant ever become learned, but because they die off.

[blockquote]e.g. If soccer ever takes off in my country, it won't be because black and white people quit playing football and baseball, it'll be because there's more Latinos.[/blockquote]
Basically, I'm waiting for you and people like you to die  so I can get better, cheaper speakers. That may sound rude, but it's a position you've chosen to put yourself in, not me.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 22 April, 2009, 01:16:31 AM
"Audiophiles" are not evil, rather they are harmless. They are harmless because they are ignorant.
The problem is that when ignorance has enough money, it creates an industry that is apathetic to progressing, because that industry can get rich by simply exploiting ignorance.


Very true. I bet all of these products

http://www.ilikejam.org/blog/audio/audiophile.html (http://www.ilikejam.org/blog/audio/audiophile.html)

are in his cube.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Nick.C on 22 April, 2009, 02:30:25 AM
The blind wine tasting analogy was an excellent one - if you remove the sighted element (price tag) then people's perceptions change. Wait a minute....
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Soap on 22 April, 2009, 04:58:13 AM
Ok, this has gone from discussion to discussion laced with a touch of anger and some occasional logical fallacies on all sides to an out-right ad hominem fest.

Is this really the side of HA.org we want shown?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 22 April, 2009, 05:35:41 AM
Is this really the side of HA.org we want shown?
More to the point, I must compliment the ability of this forum to chase off its own testers. Clap. Clap. Clap.

I must apologize to David and Arny, because they did raise some good replies to my comments, but for some reason, my mind is just completely blown on all of this. After reading pages 3-6 my only coherent response is that you f*ckers owe me 20 minutes of my life back.

Maybe I'll feel better about all of this in a few days, but until then, I'm happily going to listen to some Merzbow. Very, very loudly.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 22 April, 2009, 06:25:35 AM
Science , Fool , begins with Questions.


Questions invite explanations. And scientific method demands that those explanations include reliable and robust empirical data derived from experiments that can be investigated and replicated by others. The words 'reliable and robust' preclude "because I say so" proclamations, no matter how right or trustworthy such statements may appear.

Long-standing scientific theories can be overturned in the light of new hypothesis and experiment, but that's not what's happening in the audiophile world. There's no Michelson-Morley moment. Instead, faced with data that refutes concepts that audiophiles take as self-evident, they have invented a counter world view through logic-chopping.

Unfortunately, the state of understanding in the wider community is woefully poor, so many cannot spot the difference between good scientific method and glib argument, peppered with 'the science bit' to give the argument truthiness. This is no different from the beauty industry inventing new horrors of aging skin and then making up pseudo-scientific names for the beauty cream they use to help.

"Skin loses plumpiocity as we age, and tests show [five women tested, 60% agreed - written in very small letters] our new super Re-Plumpenizing facial balm with Mega-Oxyhydrolipporide 5 [translation - even more fat and sugar in water, then whisked to make it airy. We tried it four times before, but the stuff either looked like sperm or a raspberry pavlova] reverses this key sign of aging [that you never heard of until this advert]"

The audiophile version of this is:

"Skin effect alters the resistance of a cable with frequency [when dealing with frequencies in excess of 1GHz, but we'll skip that little factoid for now]. Our special selection process [page 28 of the cable company catalog] chooses cables less likely to exhibit skin effect problems [the nice looking red one half way down the page] and utilizes six layers of PTFC shielding [that's what the catalog says, at least] to depolarize the outer region of the cable [I think Geordi said that in that episode of Star Trek TNG with the big space manta ray] and reverse the polarity of the neutron flow [I loved Tom Baker as Dr Who, didn't you?]. The result is 'smoother highs, increased inter-transient silence, more pellucidity in the midrange and enhanced temporal accuracy in the upper-lower mid-bass', according to the noted reviewer Grunthos the Flatulent [who had 1,000 words to make up about a cable]."


Quote
Ill give you an easy one , just ask your buddies , Explain why Audiophiles are Evil.


Hmm, let's see. An industry that tries to get gullible people to spend absurd and unnecessary amounts of money on things that they can buy for peanuts, by gift-wrapping the things in psychobabble. A press that keeps the gullible people gullible by refusing to entertain any notion other than FIGJAM. A community so enraptured by that press and that industry that to even whisper that some of its articles of faith are built on shaky foundations is met with demands that you be burned at the stake for such heresy. Yes, I think 'Evil' gets close to summing that all up.

Of course, evil is when they get you to drink the Kool-Aid. Trouble is, I think you'd drink it, if you thought it would lead to those limpid pools of pellucidity.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: botface on 22 April, 2009, 07:07:46 AM
Don't both sides just come down to faith? Objectivists believe they know what to measure, that they can measure it and that they know the effect it has (if any). Subjectivists believe that's not true and there must be other things involved that haven't been identified or measured yet.

One side trying to convince the other appears fruitless to me
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: hybris on 22 April, 2009, 07:26:44 AM
Don't both sides just come down to faith? Objectivists believe they know what to measure, that they can measure it and that they know the effect it has (if any). Subjectivists believe that's not true and there must be other things involved that haven't been identified or measured yet.

One side trying to convince the other appears fruitless to me


You got it all wrong. 

The objective guys know what they hear (or more often than not - don't) as they have proved it through ABX tests.

The subjective guys know what they hear, period.




Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 22 April, 2009, 08:13:40 AM
Don't both sides just come down to faith? Objectivists believe they know what to measure, that they can measure it and that they know the effect it has (if any). Subjectivists believe that's not true and there must be other things involved that haven't been identified or measured yet.

One side trying to convince the other appears fruitless to me

I would hope that objectivists believe that we will never know the final answer, and when we stop looking for it we have become subjectivists.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 22 April, 2009, 08:49:53 AM
Relatively small amounts of jitter can be measured with a good expanded sweep oscillioscpe.
I've seen people do that - but did they back in the early 1980s?

Quote
It is generally agreed by most scientific researchers that any artifact or spurious response that is > 100 dB below FS can be safely ignored.
My back of an envelope calculation suggests that a 227ps timing error gives a -100dB FS artefact (distortion) for a worst case signal. For typical music, the artefact (distortion) will be far lower.

In the standard tests, with a somewhat easier than worse case signal, -100dB artefacts arise from ~ 500ps of jitter.

As you indirectly said, it's SPDIF which added timing errors above this magnitude - normal single box "good" CD players should be fine.


There is a well known warning that correlated distortion can be more audible than uncorrelated noise. You can call it a general myth in audio, but it's also born out by psychoacoustics, e.g. co-modulation masking release. It means that the masking that you might expect to happen, doesn't: things that should be inaudible, become audible. I don't think it reaches down 100dB though  (I know full well that it doesn't!).

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 22 April, 2009, 08:51:32 AM
After reading pages 3-6 my only coherent response is that you f*ckers owe me 20 minutes of my life back.
LOL! You poor chap

Quote
Maybe I'll feel better about all of this in a few days, but until then, I'm happily going to listen to some Merzbow. Very, very loudly.
Oh heck, that bad?  Run it through lossyWAV first at quality --bad - it's specially designed to enhance noise music!  (cheaper than special cables, too).

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 22 April, 2009, 09:43:16 AM
I would hope that objectivists believe that we will never know the final answer, and when we stop looking for it we have become subjectivists.


Depends what you call the final answer.

In the case of things like amplifiers and music players we have already heard the consequences music reproduced electrically, as good as it is going to get.

Today's provisional answer is that the rest of the final answer is someplace else, besides amps and music players.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 22 April, 2009, 10:32:41 AM
The objective guys know what they hear (or more often than not - don't) as they have proved it through ABX tests.

The subjective guys know what they hear, period.


Yow about this: the subjective guys believe they know what they hear, PERIOD!

Soap, you are right about some HA members (including myself) not showing our best faces in this thread.  That is what happens when someone who won't budge and doesn't fully understand reasoning goes against the grain.  Many people (again, including myself) get frustrated by this type of behavior as we have seen it over and over again.  People say that blind ABX tests don't prove anything, sighted tests are needed, frequency plots tell us everything we need to know, a tube amp is far superior to anything digital, vinyl is still the way to go due to the music being "warmer," and so on.  It just gets frustrating having to discuss these topics over and over again with some people being thickheaded and not willing to change their outlook despite common knowledge and detailed explanations.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 22 April, 2009, 11:23:55 AM
Is this really the side of HA.org we want shown?
More to the point, I must compliment the ability of this forum to chase off its own testers. Clap. Clap. Clap.



BORK. BORK. BORK.


Is he really gone? I'm not missing him yet, sorry.    I don't understand the lamentation for him; perhaps you and David might address some of the remarkable posts he's made in the last few days on this thread, explaining why sarcasm is better directed at those of us who 'chased him off' rather than at the BORK himself?  Heck, even translating them into coherent English prose would be a start.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 22 April, 2009, 11:25:15 AM
It just gets frustrating having to discuss these topics over and over again...
With that list at least, you don't have to discuss these topics again - they're in the FAQ.

Cheers,
David.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2tec on 22 April, 2009, 11:26:37 AM
The objective guys know what they hear (or more often than not - don't) as they have proved it through ABX tests. The subjective guys know what they hear, period.

While what you say seems quite sensible, I wonder however, whether or not this translates through to actual common human experience. For instance, don't the people who are listening to an expensive stereo, or drinking an expensive wine, enjoy the experience more, even if scientific testing clearly demonstrates no actual difference? In other words, doesn't the presentation enhance the experience, for some, despite the facts? It seems to me that if the goal is the experience, then often the facts are deliberately diminished or suspended in order to elevate the experience. Therefore, aren't those who garner experience in seeing through to the facts, risking a failure to achieve the experience that others are enjoying?

Please, rest assured, personally, I'm in no way, against double-blind testing. As well, for anyone dismissive of the value of double-blind testing in particular, or the scientific method in general, personally, I would remind them that everything in audio, and technology, has come from science. 

I'd also like to say that it seems a real crime to me that it's so difficult to find meaningful audio product comparison information.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 22 April, 2009, 11:50:51 AM
The objective guys know what they hear (or more often than not - don't) as they have proved it through ABX tests. The subjective guys know what they hear, period.

While what you say seems quite sensible, I wonder however, whether or not this translates through to actual common human experience. For instance, don't the people who are listening to an expensive stereo, or drinking an expensive wine, enjoy the experience more, even if scientific testing clearly demonstrates no actual difference? In other words, doesn't the presentation enhance the experience, for some, despite the facts? It seems to me that if the goal is the experience, then often the facts are deliberately diminished or suspended in order to elevate the experience. Therefore, aren't those who garner experience in seeing through to the facts, risking a failure to achieve the experience that others are enjoying?


Those who 'think' they're drinking an expensive wine enjoy that wine more than those who know it's not expensive.  However, that doesn't necessarily mean the second group doesn't enjoy the wine (though 'cheapness' can work against the perception just as 'priceyness' can work for it) -- just not as much as the first group.  And possibly it works both ways (I know of no studies of this) -- the skeptical audiophile may get more pleasure-center activation from the low-priced gear (and the 'knowledge' that he's getting sound just as good as that pricey stuff), than the 'golden ear' does.  In this case, the golden ear is the one missing out -- both in terms of pleasure and in the wallet.

It all comes down, really, to what you claim afterwards.  If you claim you enjoyed the expensive wine more than the cheap stuff, great -- you're reporting your inner state; if you claim the difference was in the wine, you've made a claim about the object itself.  It's a really easy mistake to make, and people make it all the time; most people would make the natural --but logically flawed -- inference that the enjoyment must have been due to the quality of the wine, which , by inference, must be better if the price is higher.  A recurring theme even on this thread is that people don't want to acknowledge their own biases.  Few people are going to report 'Well, I loved that $10,000 Margaux, but maybe what I was loving most was the price."

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 22 April, 2009, 12:47:56 PM
Let me complete the expensive wine analogy.

Vincent Klink is a famous cook in my country. He holds a Michelin star for over 30 years. His palate is respected world wide. In a recent interview he disclosed that some of his favorite wines cost only 8 Euros a bottle, and that he would prefer them any time over many expensive wines his customers demand.

It is the same with audio. If you are more into actual quality than packaging, you can get very high quality audio gear for a relatively moderate price. But if you are subscribed to Wine Magazine and can't get happy without paying hefty price tags for all kinds of curiosities and blown up brand names, then feel free to go that route. The cook won't stop you.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2tec on 22 April, 2009, 01:09:00 PM
In a recent interview he disclosed that some of his favorite wines cost only 8 Euros a bottle, and that he would prefer them any time over many expensive wines his customers demand.

To extend the analogy even further, clearly, the rest of his favorite wines cost more, maybe much more. Indeed, who knows how expensive his most favored wine would be in terms of cost? Would I, or most others, pay as much? Not bloody likely, but then again most people aren't considered wine aficionados. Furthermore, his favorites might not be the same as his customers' favorites anyways.

Is there really any difference between say a connoisseur (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Connoisseur) and an audiophile (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audiophiles), other than one is interested in the palate and the other the ear? It seems to me that the more you know about something, the more likely you'd be in to spending time and money in that regard. Personally, I see no good reason to criticize how others spend money on audio equipment, if indeed that brings them enjoyment. However, that's not to say that spending money, in any way guarantees good sound. There seems to be no end of those who misrepresent facts for profit.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 22 April, 2009, 01:26:06 PM
I don't think anyone here would deny that there is one element of audio reproduction, the speaker, that makes a major difference to the sound. I hesitate to say sound quality because some people may prefer the coloration of a particular speaker, be it expensive or not so much.

The problem is that some of the claims of audible difference are about the equivalent of saying that it makes a difference what quality of glue was used to apply the label to the wine bottle.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 22 April, 2009, 02:03:46 PM
Is this really the side of HA.org we want shown?
More to the point, I must compliment the ability of this forum to chase off its own testers. Clap. Clap. Clap.


I am first to admit that I went off the kilter a little bit and for that I apologise. I was fine with the thread until Bork went off the deep end with this rant: 

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....mp;#entry628826 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=71245&st=175&p=628826&#entry628826)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 22 April, 2009, 02:10:58 PM
Questions invite explanations. And scientific method demands that those explanations include reliable and robust empirical data derived from experiments that can be investigated and replicated by others. The words 'reliable and robust' preclude "because I say so" proclamations, no matter how right or trustworthy such statements may appear.

Long-standing scientific theories can be overturned in the light of new hypothesis and experiment, but that's not what's happening in the audiophile world. There's no Michelson-Morley moment. Instead, faced with data that refutes concepts that audiophiles take as self-evident, they have invented a counter world view through logic-chopping.


Well said, I totally agree. This is my problem with most audiophiles as well. Of course explanations (answers) will ultimately lead to more questions, but that is besides the point.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: /mnt on 22 April, 2009, 02:32:52 PM
I have heard that in the US evil hippies sometimes contaminate drinking water with LSD. Now take into account that evil hippies, when they get older and come into money, often turn into subjectivistic audiophiles. I am pretty sure that some audiophile wannabe synesthesiac tried to recruit followers through the local waterworks on that day. Who knows, maybe it was even F. himself.


So thats why most audiophiles don't like Heavy Metal music (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Die_hippie_die) .
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 22 April, 2009, 03:34:07 PM
Don't both sides just come down to faith? Objectivists believe they know what to measure, that they can measure it and that they know the effect it has (if any). Subjectivists believe that's not true and there must be other things involved that haven't been identified or measured yet.


No, one is based on faith and the other is based on scepticism.

The Typical Audiophile's View
Sample A is better than sample B (or closer to x) to my ears during a sighted test. I have golden ears and I am too much of an expert to let my preconceptions and bias fool me. Therefore, sample A must be better than sample B.

The Sceptic's View
Sample A is better than sample B (or closer to x) to my ears. Is this really true or is my monkey (the mind) playing tricks on me through my preconceptions and bias? Let me eliminate this possibility by performing some blind testing.

Blind and double blind tests seem to be established practices in all field except for the audiophile world. I wonder why.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 22 April, 2009, 03:39:07 PM
In other words, doesn't the presentation enhance the experience, for some, despite the facts? It seems to me that if the goal is the experience, then often the facts are deliberately diminished or suspended in order to elevate the experience.


True. However presentation can be enhanced by other means, such as:



That being said. I have nothing against expensive wines (some of my favourites are rather expensive), as long as the quality justifying it. What I am against is snake oil and over hyped items.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: greynol on 22 April, 2009, 03:44:01 PM
Just imagine how far the pharmaceutical industry would have come if it weren't for those pesky double-blind tests.

<cue add for Prescott Pharmaceuticals (http://www.wikiality.com/Prescott_Pharmaceuticals)>
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 22 April, 2009, 03:46:34 PM
To extend the analogy even further, clearly, the rest of his favorite wines cost more, maybe much more. Indeed, who knows how expensive his most favored wine would be in terms of cost?


I don't think we are really arguing about price here. There are certainly expensive wines (and audio equipment) that justify the price such as a Chateau Pétrus (Bordeaux)  or a Chateau Y'quem (Sauternes) of a good vintage. However, snaked oil and over hyped/priced items are a different matter.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: DocBeard on 22 April, 2009, 03:50:39 PM
Psst, he's totally a troll.

I mean, I haven't actually run an ABX test to see if I could blindly tell the difference between B0RK's posts and someone who actually cares about the arguments they're putting forth beyond their ability to incite the wrath of others, but I'm pretty sure.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 22 April, 2009, 04:03:36 PM
I realize I am dealing here with some kind of an imaginary team pride phenomena as well as some other fads , not quite as positive,
So to all others,  please excuse me when I talk to them in a way they are more likely to appreciate / understand.

Kornchild I am using some quotes from your posts as reference, but not talking only to you directly, as by now your'e not the only one to repeat the same 'found faults' again & again ..

you are right about some HA members (including myself) not showing our best faces in this thread


I think some indeed showed their true face/s.
& just how fragile this weird micro-cosmos you built around yourselves really is.

It showed you don't even understand your own reasons for being in whatever camp it is you assume you are in , & the fact that you, simply cannot read.


"People say that blind ABX tests don't prove anything"


- I never said blind ABX tests don't prove anything, why are you bringing this up , yet again ?
why would I waste my time with them if I did not find them useful as a tool ?
you are jumping to conclusions without even bothering to READ.

Unlike The Lossy Brotherhood (you know who you are) ,instead of just talking crap, I even went the extra mile with bringing an outsider (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=65499&view=findpost&p=614826), a casual inexperienced as a critical listener (but with perfect hearing), to challenge my own previous belief, that experience is a must, but this test proved to me, it's nowhere near as clear cut as I previously believed .

So, instead of just holding on to what I felt was the honest to god utter truth,
I got down to it, testing if a first timer to ABX tests , can have any success at all in this kind of test & if given some help with what to listen for, can have any effect on the outcome.

(So next time you decide to open your mouth anywhere near my direction & accuse me of nonexistant bs, do your homework beforehand.)


"That's what happens when someone who won't budge"
"Many people (again, including myself) get frustrated by this type of behavior as we have seen it over and over again"


Look, Don't bring your own frustration at other debates you have had with other people,
& attempt to lay it at my feet, or punish me for it, assuming youll get away with it,
just because I am the new guy &/Or your Lossy Brotherhood (youre like a small cult you know ?)
will be able to forcefully budge me, or anyone in their right mind, from Their Scientifically Proven Stance.

Note that you are trying to do it as we speak all over and over again.


"thickheaded and not willing to change their outlook despite common knowledge and detailed explanations."


hmm.. you are clearly not as sharp as you'd like to think.
"Thickheaded" , is really something Id be very careful about saying again if I were you.
Just read your own post - all it amounts to is one frustrated rant, making final gasping efforts to justify your own stupidity ... youre blaming me for your bs bursts .. quite amazing you chose that word ..


"Audiophiles" are not evil, rather they are harmless. They are harmless because they are ignorant.

The problem is that when ignorance has enough money, it creates an industry that is apathetic to progressing, because that industry can get rich by simply exploiting ignorance.  Fortunately this situation isn't sustainable, not because the ignorant ever become learned, but because they die off.

Basically, I'm waiting for you and people like you to die  so I can get better, cheaper speakers.


I See.
Thank you snake,  for your 'scientific' input, & for yet another method for the likes of you to finally get better speakers - just kill me & everyone else that you assume are richer then you.

I really hate to go down that low, but If you were not the moron you are , you'd get it by now ,that accepting inferior products as a standard , is what will keep you from getting those damn nice speakers at a better price , not Audiophiles & most certainly not me.
No one can sell us shit, we, as a collective, REFUSE to buy.

Well At least now we know, & can get some input from the pattern forming here.

That's what this 'Lossy Forever / Audiophile Die' is really all about.

It is not derived from the pursuit of science ..
Lossy Audio , is , by design, inferior - scientifically proven ,period.

The sad truth is that you took your own Failed ABX Tests, & abused a development tool , & mutated it into your own crippled version of %100 non scientific, %100 percent Subjective, 'Truth'.

Yet amazingly enough it's you, of all people , that for some misguided reason, have delusions of carrying The Objectivist Flag !

Remember , & print out for safe keeping what I Told you before:

what you got from me, is nothing in comparison to what you will, one day, get from Your Kids & grandkids.

They will be sitting there , grinning at you with their 'Low End' 100 Terrabyte portables
playing & creating their own rough mixes of their 192 khz 24 bit Multichannel master transfers,
playing them on wireless high bandwidth transducers,
giving you a bored but worried yawn when you tell them about your lossy audio dark ages, how they "don't need it", & how "they can't tell the difference anyway", & finally how "you can save them all that space", if only you could find your 'vintage' .XXX encoder ..



If that is still not getting through your system,
Maybe you will find some food for thought in 2BDecided words
A member You Do Know & respect here in HA (that truly knows a 'thing or two' about science , unlike some here ) I think his words summed it up :

I'm 100% convinced that any real difference should be reproducible in a DBT given a sufficient time scale. I'm convinced that when people report hearing the difference during a DBT, but the results are actually random, it proves placebo / self delusion.

However, to go from this basic science, to dismissing the audibility of things where an ABX has never been attempted, and concluding that an iPod with high bitrate mp3s is the peak of audio perfection, or at least more than good enough, when there's clear ABX data and objective data disproving this - this is worse than nonsense. Where is the scientific basis for these statements? What on earth are people doing on HA making statements that are completely disproven by ABX results?! The fact that people will happily trot this nonsense out in an argument discredits them and this site.


Cheers,
David.


There's endless praise for lossy audio in this thread, despite there being many successful ABX results of 320kbps mp3 documented right here on HA!

There's complete scorn at the idea that an "expensive" system is any better than in iPod, despite the obvious advantages of hearing music over good speakers driven by capable amplifiers.


You know the kind of subjectivist rant that we all go and have a good laugh at? Well, this thread is turning into an objectivist rant that is straying so far beyond the boundaries of reality that any subjectivist could drop in and have a justifiable laugh at it!

I think some people are getting carried away, and it's not pretty.


With that said , All the best to you all.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: greynol on 22 April, 2009, 04:03:42 PM
No question, DocBeard.

You'll noticed he's completely shirked like a coward from any and all challenges to demonstrate that he has any technical prowess let alone show a willingness to demonstrate any sort of honesty (and not just to us, but to himself as well).

Still waiting your explanation on the audibility of jitter from the analog output of a run-of-the-mill CD player, or how vinyl is able to produce a more true facsimile of a live performance, B0RK.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 22 April, 2009, 04:31:24 PM
I don't think he is a troll, rather something in the direction I mentioned in post #105. That it is either one of both should be clear by now even to those who just recently admonished to not chase off our "testers".

The adequate reaction something like this in a public forum is either ignorance or humor. By no later than tab 3 it was clear that this thread would soon get ugly. When you have a very loud and industrious contributor, who doesn't deliver anything (at least in the direction) of scientifically applicable, but barks "science" in every third sentence, there is not much you can do. Ignore him and watch the thread fly off, because other members feel provoked, or flavor it at least with some humor.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 22 April, 2009, 04:45:40 PM
I am done, this is the last time I will reply in this thread as I don't want to be assimilated.

I think some indeed showed their true face/s.
& just how fragile this weird micro-cosmos you built around yourselves really is.

  Maybe you too should take a look in the mirror.

- I never said blind ABX tests don't prove anything, why are you bringing this up , yet again ?
why would I waste my time with them if I did not find them useful as a tool ?
you are jumping to conclusions without even bothering to READ.


Wait, wait, wait, wait.  You said that I am not reading yet you clearly did not read what I said.  I was simply giving arguments that I have previously seen.  I never said "B0RK seems to think that ABX tests prove nothing."  I was giving an example of the type of nonsense I have previously seen.  So please, take your own advice and actually read statements before trying to draw false conclusions from them.


Look, Don't bring your own frustration at other debates you have had with other people,
& attempt to lay it at my feet, or punish me for it, assuming youll get away with it,
just because I am the new guy &/Or your Lossy Brotherhood (youre like a small cult you know ?)
will be able to forcefully budge me, or anyone in their right mind, from Their Scientifically Proven Stance.


It is hard not to bring up past annoyances whenever there are so many and thickheaded people (yes, I said it again!) who preach audiophool nonsense thinking they can get away with it.  greynol has touched up on this in his post prior to this by saying that you haven't proven anything other than your ability to not budge on previous misconceptions from audiophools.

hmm.. you are clearly not as sharp as you'd like to think.
"Thickheaded" , is really something Id be very careful about saying again if I were you.
Just read your own post - all it amounts to is one frustrated rant, making final gasping efforts to justify your own stupidity ... youre blaming me for your bs bursts .. quite amazing you chose that word ..


Wait a minute.  It is OK for you to say throw around terms such as "Lossy Brotherhood" calling them "like a small cult" yet it is not OK for me to call someone thickheaded when they are proving that they fit the definition?  Additionally, you come out and basically call me stupid.  So you can throw all these names out yet my usage of the word thickheaded is wrong and I should be "careful" about using it again?  No, just no.  This is a fine example of hypocrisy.

With that said , All the best to you all.


I guess I have a hard time believing this as my stupid cult brain just can't wrap itself around such a concept.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Tahnru on 22 April, 2009, 04:53:03 PM
PDF Warning - http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf (http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf)

Oldie but goodie.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ojdo on 22 April, 2009, 05:37:28 PM
PDF Warning - The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio (http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf)]
Oldie but goodie.

Thanks for posting, I didn't know it yet. It summarizes well the main audiophile myths and names them what they are: lies.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 22 April, 2009, 05:40:57 PM
PDF Warning - The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio (http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf)]
Oldie but goodie.

Thanks for posting, I didn't know it yet. It summarizes well the main audiophile myths and names them what they are: lies.


Yes, that is a great article. Thanks for the link.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 22 April, 2009, 06:03:33 PM
I'm still curious to read what 2bdecided and Axon actually make of the style and content of BORK's posts. 

Anyway, to try to make lemonade from these sour lemons, I've had 'naive' subjects compare mp3s to source too  -- my method was necessarily roundabout, not rigorous ABX, as this was being done long-distance.  I made a couple of  CDRs containing  a variety of music (rock, classical, jazz)  including both the EAC-ripped wav and mp3 conversion  (using Lame from a circa 2004, using 192 VBR setting, with the mp3s then converted to .wav so that  disc could be burned as 'CD playable').  So each tune was on a disc twice, as a pair, one being a bit-perfect wav copy of the CD track, the other a lossy wav, and the task was to tell for each pair, which was the lossless, and which was the lossy.  The order of lossy/lossless was randomized from pair to pair. People were free to do the test any way they wanted to (but not cheating), over the course of weeks if they needed to, using whatever gear they were comfortable with.  THen report their final identifications back to me by email, and I'd compare their answers to the key I made.

My 'subjects' were 4 people on various forums and one of my personal acquaintance who just couldn't believe that lossy could sound as good as lossless.  Of course it would have been easy to cheat by examining the spectra of the files,  but no one who reported back did, because of the 3 replies I did get, none of them did better than chance (one said he simply 'gave up').  All the respondents reported that it was not nearly as easy as they thought after all, to tell the difference.

Another casual 'conversion' occurred on AVSforum a bit later, where a poster said mp3 always sounded like crap.  I asked him to name some bands or albums he liked; he named one I owned (a King Crimson disc) so encoded a track from it (again, just standard HA-approved LAME at 196kbps VBR) and posted a clip and explained how he could do an ABX using WinABX or F2K.  He reported back that just listening to the clip *sighted*, he was blown away and realize he simply hadn't heard a good mp3 before.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 22 April, 2009, 06:31:01 PM
PDF Warning - http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf (http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf)

Oldie but goodie.


Hmm, while I agree with the sentiments here, it's not really any better than the nonsense published in other hi-fi magazines. All he's saying is "I'm better than the other lot because I have science on my side." I'd like to see him presenting something to support what he says, even if what he says seems sensible.

I also question the motives behind this. He was an uber-subjective reviewer who got discredited by the audiophile magazines - and that takes some doing - for writing a glowing review of a loudspeaker and neglecting to mention that he part-owned the company. He then resurfaced some years later as an objectivist, but one who seemed to take particular pleasure in picking off those 'Black Hats' who called for his removal from the audio business. Perhaps his about-face was through a desire to do right for his former indiscretions (but he never mentions the Fourier speaker brand he was connected to) or maybe his reasons for returning are less altruistic.

There are far less grubby standard-bearers to rally round, IMO.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Tahnru on 22 April, 2009, 06:43:32 PM
Eh.  I'm not really one to rally around him.  I like the logical simplification he presents for explaining ABX testing:

Quote
Ask (the ABX skeptic) if he believes in any kind of A/B testing at all. He will probably say yes. Then ask him what special insights he gains by (1) not matching levels and (2) peeking at the nameplates.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ScottM on 22 April, 2009, 07:59:54 PM
Blind and double blind tests seem to be established practices in all field except for the audiophile world. I wonder why.


I'm a big fan of blinded tests, and it's what I turn to when I want to do a comparison between different audio devices.

But let's not deceive ourselves. There is a difference between testing audio, and testing, for example, a new drug. When you test a drug, you can measure results in a specific fashion. If you're testing a new form of insulin, you can do many blinded trials on many people and you can definitively measure what happens to blood sugar. You can be rigorous because, in the end, you're doing things with numbers, not feelings.

Blinded tests with audio simply don't have any equivalent, because in the end you are asking a person to evaluate what they perceive. It's not quantifiable, unless you stick electrodes in their brain, and probably not even then. And not only are you asking a person for an opinion on something their senses tell them, but you're doing it with, of all things, music, which is known to have a really big emotional component. Emotional reactions color perceptions. We know that tiny variations in loudness and frequency response have a disproportionate effect on how we perceive music. We know that the mind gets tired and inattentive when presented with the same stimuli over and over, so I get especially twitchy when any sort of listening test is repeated - but you need repetition to establish statistical significance. We know that minor changes in the orientation between listener and speakers can cause changes in perceived frequency.

There are too many variables in any listening experiment to make it really rigorous, and most of those variables vary between the ears of the listeners, not outside them.

This isn't to say we shouldn't ABX. It's the fairest thing we have. But my sympathies are with those who have become so fed up with attempting to be rigorous in audio tests, that they throw up their hands and start relying on gut instinct.

In the end, the best system for musical reproduction is the one you like best. Not everyone likes the same things. No two sets of ears have the same sensitivities to frequencies and no two brains respond the same way to music. Careful, blinded, ABX testing may filter out the snake-oil products, so we need it, but it doesn't, in my opinion, do much more. Hoping for more is a false belief system, nearly as bad, but ever so much more respectable, as believing in silver power cords.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 22 April, 2009, 08:12:41 PM
PDF Warning - http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf (http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf)

Oldie but goodie.


Hmm, while I agree with the sentiments here, it's not really any better than the nonsense published in other hi-fi magazines. All he's saying is "I'm better than the other lot because I have science on my side." I'd like to see him presenting something to support what he says, even if what he says seems sensible.

I also question the motives behind this. He was an uber-subjective reviewer who got discredited by the audiophile magazines - and that takes some doing - for writing a glowing review of a loudspeaker and neglecting to mention that he part-owned the company. He then resurfaced some years later as an objectivist, but one who seemed to take particular pleasure in picking off those 'Black Hats' who called for his removal from the audio business. Perhaps his about-face was through a desire to do right for his former indiscretions (but he never mentions the Fourier speaker brand he was connected to) or maybe his reasons for returning are less altruistic.


If the science is on his side ...and it is...it really doesn't matter how 'altruistic' he is, does it?  And there's a lot more substance to TAC than just that one famous summary of '10 lies'.    For awhile PA was giving away a set of back issues with every subscription to the online verison -- one of the better audio bargains I've taken advantage of.

Btw, I hope you didn't lift that version of the Aczel story from a nonobjective source like, say, Audio Asylum....   
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 22 April, 2009, 08:21:10 PM
I'm a big fan of blinded tests, and it's what I turn to when I want to do a comparison between different audio devices.

But let's not deceive ourselves. There is a difference between testing audio, and testing, for example, a new drug. When you test a drug, you can measure results in a specific fashion. If you're testing a new form of insulin, you can do many blinded trials on many people and you can definitively measure what happens to blood sugar. You can be rigorous because, in the end, you're doing things with numbers, not feelings.
 
Blinded tests with audio simply don't have any equivalent,


Actually, you can also test things like acupuncture  and oral analgesics, where you have to rely on subject ratings of their feelings (of pain or relief).  Not so very different from audio DBT.   

And blind tests are also used in evaluating products aimed at taste and smell. 


Quote
This isn't to say we shouldn't ABX. It's the fairest thing we have. But my sympathies are with those who have become so fed up with attempting to be rigorous in audio tests, that they throw up their hands and start relying on gut instinct.


I couldn't care less if people do that, so long as the claims they make are qualified.  The proper reponse to the difficulty of rigorousness , isn't to repeat the mistakes that led you to want the rigor int he first place.
It's to learn to fit your claims to your evidence.  If all you have is sighted evidence, then you should  be willing to admit  that a difference you believe you hear, might be imaginary.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: euphonic on 23 April, 2009, 12:21:46 AM
I'm still curious to read what 2bdecided and Axon actually make of the style and content of BORK's posts.


Length-wise BORK's posts are more rhetorical vitriol than substance and awfully disrespectful to users of any kind of lossy audio, not to mention rambling and punctuationally-challenged. I'm afraid I have to agree that he has scored points (the only ones he's managed to score!) by getting all these annoyed responses, as they make HA look to the outside world like a sort of hornet's nest.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 23 April, 2009, 08:56:22 AM
I'm still curious to read what 2bdecided and Axon actually make of the style and content of BORK's posts.
Obviously BORK is very interested in audio, has just discovered blind testing, and has been willing to do some ABX tests of an audio codec. He's been surprised by the difficulty of passing these tests, but has managed to do so in some cases.

He hasn't yet probed their applicability to the rest of audio, and assumes everything he knows about audio still holds good. He finds the idea that most of the tweaks in the big wide audiophile world are either tiny or inaudible quite baffling - he assumes everyone who thinks this is deaf, or jealous that they can't afford expensive equipment.


Then in the other corner we have Arny who has run and participated in countless ABX tests - and most of these, some with the "best ears" available, proved negative. The vast majority of the big wide audiophile world actually makes no different to the sound quality at all. Much of the tweaks that can ABXed actually make the sound worse. He assumes that anyone who claims otherwise is part of the audiophile con.


It seems obvious to the unbiased observer that there will be at least some things which Arny hasn't seen a positive ABX result for which can be ABXed by someone. It seems equally obvious to the unbiased observer that there will be at least some things which BORK believes sound different / better, which he's never going to pass an ABX test for.


And it seems really obvious to me that, while it's essential to rely on double blind testing, and important to figure out which changes really cause audible improvements, it's actually far more important that we move away from a pre-WWII recording paradigm with the wrong number of channels and the wrong number of speakers!

Even the sighted-with-placebo subjective improvement of most of these tweaks is far smaller than the improvement brought about by extra channels feeding two extra front speakers!


Also Krabapple, I, like you, find that most people who slag off mp3s haven't heard a good one, and actually can't identify artefacts that I would readily ABX. It's like I said earlier - 99% of people who claim to be discerning golden ears can't hear/listen that well at all! There is the 1% who really do hear differences though.


Finally, note what BORK is: an audiophile who has tried and accepted ABX. Look how well we've welcome that(!). No wonder there are so few "converts"!

Of course BORK hasn't applied it to hardware yet. Given the friendly attitude here, do you think he ever will?

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 23 April, 2009, 09:30:27 AM
But let's not deceive ourselves. There is a difference between testing audio, and testing, for example, a new drug. When you test a drug, you can measure results in a specific fashion. If you're testing a new form of insulin, you can do many blinded trials on many people and you can definitively measure what happens to blood sugar.


All of medicine is not that simple, in fact little of it actually is, even the matter of controlling blood sugar. Blood sugar is not just one number - many diabetics monitor it numerous times per day. Lots of things naturally affect blood sugar. There are few simple cause-and-effect relationships, which is one reason why so many diabetics have to monitor it so closely.

The opposite extreme might be trying to figure out if an alleged chlorestrol management chemical will reduce heart attacks. The cause and the effect may be separated by decades.

So, I'm just not buying it when you say:

Quote
You can be rigorous because, in the end, you're doing things with numbers, not feelings.


Quote
Blinded tests with audio simply don't have any equivalent, because in the end you are asking a person to evaluate what they perceive.


Yes, we are trying to measure perceptions. In ABX the perception is about as simple as it can get - are A and B the same or different? We introduce X which is either A or B for the purpose of testing. We correctly guessed back in the 70s that a lot of BS was going down about what sounds good and what doesn't. We suspected that a lot of that would go down in flames on the grounds that if you can't reliably hear a difference, then questions of better or worse are moot. We actually underestimated how much BS there was in audio at that time.

Quote
It's not quantifiable, unless you stick electrodes in their brain, and probably not even then.


Say what?

When a person says something sounds better, that is a consicous act. No electrodes needed, right?

Quote
And not only are you asking a person for an opinion on something their senses tell them, but you're doing it with, of all things, music, which is known to have a really big emotional component.


All true but...

You do realize that the logical conclusion of this grotesquely arugment that you are making is that nobody can tell what they like or what they don't like?

A corolary of the fiction that you are purpounding here is that nobody ever consiously knows anything about their emotional state!

Quote
Emotional reactions color perceptions.


And perceptions color emotional states. All true, but what is the cosmic meaning?

Quote
We know that tiny variations in loudness and frequency response have a disproportionate effect on how we perceive music.


That's simple - we make them go away or at least their dependence on which component that you are listening. Or not, depdending on what we are testing. Don't you understand that the effect of frequency response on how we perceive music is one of the common objects that we are in effect testing?

Quote
We know that the mind gets tired and inattentive when presented with the same stimuli over and over, so I get especially twitchy when any sort of listening test is repeated - but you need repetition to establish statistical significance.


If that's true, then any listening test that you do of your own system, a friends system, in store or at a high fidelity show is similarly flawed. Don't be the umpty-thousandth person to mistakenly claim that somehow blind tests are unique in terms of listener fatique!

Quote
We know that minor changes in the orientation between listener and speakers can cause changes in perceived frequency.


But, we can make those variations independent of which amplifier you are listening to, which is just fine when we are comparing amplfiiers.

Quote
There are too many variables in any listening experiment to make it really rigorous, and most of those variables vary between the ears of the listeners, not outside them.


OK, based on what you just said it is resolved that all listening tests are invalid.

Now what?




Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 23 April, 2009, 09:41:10 AM
Then in the other corner we have Arny who has run and participated in countless ABX tests - and most of these, some with the "best ears" available, proved negative.


Probably not true at this time.  Many examples of ABX tests with positive outcomes could have been found on the now-departed PCABX web site. I think that over 50% of my last year's ABXing had positive outcomes.

Quote
Much of the tweaks that can ABXed actually make the sound worse.


IME, more like merely ineffective.

Quote
He assumes that anyone who claims otherwise is part of the audiophile con.


If by that you mean poorly informed, then yes. If you mean intentionally trying to cheat people, then not so much.

Quote
It seems obvious to the unbiased observer that there will be at least some things which Arny hasn't seen a positive ABX result for which can be ABXed by someone.


No examples come to mind. Got any?

Quote
It seems equally obvious to the unbiased observer that there will be at least
some things which BORK believes sound different / better, which he's never going to pass an ABX test for.


Oh come on, give me the benefit of the doubt. It is very obvious that ther is a monumental gap between what your average newbig-to-the-world-ff-science thinks matters, and what actually does. I was that guy about 30 years ago. I still remember actually thinking that the guys at TAS had something on the ball.

Quote
And it seems really obvious to me that, while it's essential to rely on double blind testing, and important to figure out which changes really cause audible improvements, it's actually far more important that we move away from a pre-WWII recording paradigm with the wrong number of channels and the wrong number of speakers!


What's wrong with modern recordings starts at the microphone(s).  The whole paradigm is wrong from violin body to pinnae.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 23 April, 2009, 09:55:13 AM
Quote
It seems obvious to the unbiased observer that there will be at least some things which Arny hasn't seen a positive ABX result for which can be ABXed by someone.
No examples come to mind. Got any?
Well, until a few weeks ago, filter ringing!

Not the kind of example I meant though. You talked about ABXing small, trivial differences. There may be some more of those lying around which people haven't been trained up to ABX properly yet, or which no one has bothered ABXing yet.

Are you saying that there aren't? Wouldn't such a statement be somewhere between brave and stupid?

Quote
Oh come on, give me the benefit of the doubt. It is very obvious that ther is a monumental gap between what your average newbig-to-the-world-ff-science thinks matters, and what actually does. I was that guy about 30 years ago. I still remember actually thinking that the guys at TAS had something on the ball.
How long did it take you to make that journey?

Quote
What's wrong with modern recordings starts at the microphone(s).  The whole paradigm is wrong from violin body to pinnae.
That sounds like a far more interesting discussion: how would you do it?

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 23 April, 2009, 10:58:54 AM
Obviously BORK is very interested in audio, has just discovered blind testing, and has been willing to do some ABX tests of an audio codec. He's been surprised by the difficulty of passing these tests, but has managed to do so in some cases.

He hasn't yet probed their applicability to the rest of audio, and assumes everything he knows about audio still holds good. He finds the idea that most of the tweaks in the big wide audiophile world are either tiny or inaudible quite baffling - he assumes everyone who thinks this is deaf, or jealous that they can't afford expensive equipment.
.
.
.

Finally, note what BORK is: an audiophile who has tried and accepted ABX. Look how well we've welcome that(!). No wonder there are so few "converts"

Of course BORK hasn't applied it to hardware yet. Given the friendly attitude here, do you think he ever will?


As this represents the sum total of your specific response to my request for your view of the *style and content of BORK's posts*  (and in case it wasn't obvious, I meant  *in this thread*), I must say:

You seem to think all the [sarcasm] friendly attitude [\sarcasm] is on our side, and that BORK has been some innocent , inquisitive, and merely *baffled* ABX convert deserving of all our encouragement and praise;  we've heaped scorn on him for no apparent reason. 

Are we reading the same thread? 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 23 April, 2009, 11:02:19 AM
Then in the other corner we have Arny who has run and participated in countless ABX tests - and most of these, some with the "best ears" available, proved negative.


Probably not true at this time.  Many examples of ABX tests with positive outcomes could have been found on the now-departed PCABX web site. I think that over 50% of my last year's ABXing had positive outcomes.


Actually there's still some 'classics' here:


http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_data.htm (http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_data.htm)

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 23 April, 2009, 11:16:01 AM
Obviously BORK is very interested in audio, has just discovered blind testing, and has been willing to do some ABX tests of an audio codec. He's been surprised by the difficulty of passing these tests, but has managed to do so in some cases.

He hasn't yet probed their applicability to the rest of audio, and assumes everything he knows about audio still holds good. He finds the idea that most of the tweaks in the big wide audiophile world are either tiny or inaudible quite baffling - he assumes everyone who thinks this is deaf, or jealous that they can't afford expensive equipment.


2Bdecided, I understand you are trying to make a point here, & level it out,
but if that means reducing me into something I am not in the process, then I'll pass.

I am not interested in audio , I make a living from audio
I have discovered blind testing before some kids here were born.
You KNOW that from our work in the LossyWav thread - where did u get that ??

(You all assumed I was a true audiophile (not that I'd mind that), because I stood against moronic narrow minded stereotyping that is spread like the plague in this forum, especially when backed by the Lossy Forever kids, & when the pros here shy away from spanking them when needed.)

so once and for all I will set the record straight if that's ok, READ this.

I have tried to avoid from making the focus of this thread about me, my background, or my abilities.

In the LossyWav thread when I tried to help, & after being 'questioned' about it I clarified
if you recall, I even felt the need to apologize (!), about not being clearer on my background :


I will not let anyone tell that standard is not transparent if I am not 100% sure of his ABXing skills.
standard is a very high quality level IMHO so I need to test by myself. For me, it's either a big problem always hearable by golden heared people or a fake.
I am not telling you are lying, but in this forum the only guy telling me that standard is not transparent that I would blindly trust is Guruboolez.
I am just shocked by a guy that don't know how to ABX but ABX everything at first try, even a musician.
That said, your logs are impressive.



Please let me clarify a few things about myself.

I am here because I saw The LossyWav project - & just had to try it, & thank the author for the great work.

....
I am not a naysayer.

Now about me being new to ABXing ...
nothing can be further from the truth ..
what I AM new to is abxing using apps like Foobar.

To make a long boring story short, I have been in music basically all my life & I make
my living from music, in more then one form
.[/b]

so please ,do not mistake me for a beginner  .. I never said I was.
I am sorry I have not been clearer on my background, I can see now how it might have looked ..


So I hope It's clearer now, No experience or knowledge I gained, comes from this forum.
AB/ABX tests are not something this forum taught me, or exposed me to.
Back when I started, I used mechanical switchers, & then moved on to relay based switching systems .

After getting some more testers lined up & working on a test material collection in the studio, I decided I am putting it on hold because of the work load I had, & the uninspiring direction I felt this was taking.

* You would be interested to know that currently, the same guy that questioned the results, sauvage78 ,
is pretty much the only tester controlling the tuning of LossyWav, & the testing has been reduced to 2 or 3 'hot' samples, meaning, samples that generate noticable artifacts when encoded, as opposed to a wide selection of music material.

coincidence ? you do the math.

But for now,with the way things are, I will not put in any more of my &/or my fellow professionals time in it.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 23 April, 2009, 11:35:56 AM
r u Prince?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 23 April, 2009, 11:43:01 AM
    
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 23 April, 2009, 11:49:30 AM
So I hope It's clearer now, No experience or knowledge I gained, comes from this forum.

That has been obvious from the beginning. We are just saying that that deficiency could be fixed if you are willing.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2tec on 23 April, 2009, 11:57:06 AM
Quote
As for the “tube sound,” there are two possibilities: (1) It’s a figment of the deluded audiophile’s imagination, or (2) it’s a deliberate coloration introduced by the manufacturer to appeal to corrupted tastes, in which case a solid-state design could easily mimic the sound if the designer were perverse enough to want it that way.
~ The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio (http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf)

Personally, I wonder if the quoted article is completely true in this regard. Are there any actual published tests demonstrating solid state and tube amps cannot be told apart in a double-blind test? As well, if there is a difference, can a solid state amp actually mimic the sound of a tube amp? Furthermore, would fidelity be preserved best by playing older analog audio, which was recorded and mixed on tube based audio equipment, back through an tube based system?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 23 April, 2009, 12:06:44 PM
@BORK,

Sorry, I'd forgotten that part.

However, if you have true double-blind test results, from whatever decade, which show positive results with different decent amplifiers, DACs etc, then I'm sure this is the place to report them.

Regards,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 23 April, 2009, 12:07:22 PM
If you don't overdrive both and all other circuitry is proper, very sensible measurements don't show any difference. Slight overdrive causes a tube to add saturation  which may sound pleasing to some people (including me but only for a very limited selection of recordings). I have yet to find a digital tube saturation plugin that fits my expectations. Most of the time they just add some even order harmonics and that's it. But there's practically nothing that you cannot do to digital audio but can to analog, so I consider it only a matter of time until I find a suitable implementation.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 23 April, 2009, 12:20:22 PM


Quote
It seems obvious to the unbiased observer that there will be at least some things which Arny hasn't seen a positive ABX result for which can be ABXed by someone.


No examples come to mind.
Got any?


Well, until a few weeks ago, filter ringing!

You talked about ABXing small, trivial differences. There may be some more of those lying around which people haven't been trained up to ABX properly yet, or which no one has bothered ABXing yet.

Are you saying that there aren't? Wouldn't such a statement be somewhere between brave and stupid?



No, I'm saying that no examples come to mind. That seems to me to be violently different from saying they don't exist.


Quote
Oh come on, give me the benefit of the doubt. It is very obvious that ther is a monumental gap between what your average newbig-to-the-world-ff-science thinks matters, and what actually does.

Quote

I was that guy about 30 years ago. I still remember actually thinking that the guys at TAS had something on the ball.


How long did it take you to make that journey?



No more than 5 years.  TAS was founded in 1973, and by 1977 I had developed a working ABX comparator and done both individual and group ABX tests.

Quote
Quote
What's wrong with modern recordings starts at the microphone(s).  The whole paradigm is wrong from violin body to pinnae.


That sounds like a far more interesting discussion: how would you do it?


I don't know how to do it right, I only know how to make recordings that sound good enough, all things considered. I favor the use of coincident microphones with spot mics as needed for large ensembles.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 23 April, 2009, 12:26:39 PM
Are there any actual published tests demonstrating solid state and tube amps cannot be told apart in a double-blind test?


At least one:

Masters, I. G. and Clark, D. L., "Do All Amplifiers Sound the Same?", Stereo Review, pp. 78-84 (January 1987)

Quote
As well, if there is a difference, can a solid state amp actually mimic the sound of a tube amp?


Depends on the tube amp, if you see the above reference.

Remember, really good tubed equipment can pass a straight wire bypass test, just like a lot of SS equipment can.

Quote
Furthermore, would fidelity be preserved best by playing older analog audio, which was recorded and mixed on tube based audio equipment, back through an tube based system?


Depends.  You might get closer to the sound that the people who produced the recording heard during the production process with the tubed amp.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 23 April, 2009, 01:21:18 PM
Remember, really good tubed equipment can pass a straight wire bypass test, just like a lot of SS equipment can.

So, the "better" the tube amp, the more it sounds like a good SS amp? 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2tec on 23 April, 2009, 02:41:27 PM
Are there any actual published tests demonstrating solid state and tube amps cannot be told apart in a double-blind test?

At least one: Masters, I. G. and Clark, D. L., "Do All Amplifiers Sound the Same?", Stereo Review, pp. 78-84 (January 1987)

Can you provide a quote from the source you provided that would clearly summarize the article? As well, do you actually have the article you're quoting or is this simply what you remember? On a related note, are there sources for Stereo Review articles?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: evereux on 23 April, 2009, 02:47:24 PM
I believe this to be the article in question:

http://bruce.coppola.name/audio/Amp_Sound.pdf (http://bruce.coppola.name/audio/Amp_Sound.pdf)

I've saved it, so should it be removed I can host it elsewhere.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 23 April, 2009, 05:55:55 PM
Quote
As for the “tube sound,” there are two possibilities: (1) It’s a figment of the deluded audiophile’s imagination, or (2) it’s a deliberate coloration introduced by the manufacturer to appeal to corrupted tastes, in which case a solid-state design could easily mimic the sound if the designer were perverse enough to want it that way.
~ The Ten Biggest Lies in Audio (http://www.theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf)

Personally, I wonder if the quoted article is completely true in this regard. Are there any actual published tests demonstrating solid state and tube amps cannot be told apart in a double-blind test? As well, if there is a difference, can a solid state amp actually mimic the sound of a tube amp? Furthermore, would fidelity be preserved best by playing older analog audio, which was recorded and mixed on tube based audio equipment, back through an tube based system?


He's not saying tube sound doesn't exist -- he's saying where it does, it's corrupted sound.  Others consider it to be warm, 'euphonic' distortion (and out come the explanations involving even-order harmonic distortion....even order harmonics being, like, more NATURAL, and therefore more BETTER ) 

The Carlstrom ABX site I linked to earlier reports results of a 'positive' ABX of tube vs SS amp

As for SS mimicking tube sound , IIIRC the mischievous Bob Carver demonstrated that to the amazement of Stereophile writers, some years ago.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 23 April, 2009, 06:03:12 PM
I believe this to be the article in question:

http://bruce.coppola.name/audio/Amp_Sound.pdf (http://bruce.coppola.name/audio/Amp_Sound.pdf)

I've saved it, so should it be removed I can host it elsewhere.



The AES Preprint by Clark also cites them  , and puts them in historical context (as of 1991)

Ten years of A/B/X Testing by Clark, David L. (http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5549)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 23 April, 2009, 08:31:35 PM
Remember, really good tubed equipment can pass a straight wire bypass test, just like a lot of SS equipment can.

So, the "better" the tube amp, the more it sounds like a good SS amp? 


That was and is the general impression among well-educated audio professionals since the mid-70s, if not earlier. 

Yes, the first 5 or so years of solid state amps were a little hairy. I did a tube -> ss -> tube -> ss  thing in the late 60s.

Makes, models and dates on request. :-)

It was pretty much everybody's impression until sometime in the 1980s. :-(
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 23 April, 2009, 08:37:10 PM
As for SS mimicking tube sound , IIIRC the mischievous Bob Carver demonstrated that to the amazement of Stereophile writers, some years ago.


AFAIK Bob's *secret sauce" for mimicking tube sound was small-value resistors in series with the speaker jacks.

Point being that the most audible aspect of *tube amp sound* is the random nonflat response you get with most speakers and a too-high source impedance.  The built-in nonlinear distortion, poorly-regulated power supply etc, is often window dressing.

There's a Stereophile aritcle by a tube bigot suggesting that the proper value is 3.3 ohms.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 24 April, 2009, 05:40:31 AM
Don't you also get some microphonics, and (almost the same thing) some internal self resonance in some valves (tubes!)?

I've certainly heard it on my Leak Stereo 20: if you replace the speaker with a 10 ohm resistor, and you can hear the valves themselves playing the music! Also, with no input signal, if you tap the valves with your finger nail, you can hear it through the speakers.

It's not hard to see how these two features combined mean that the valves can act like mini echo chambers, adding subtle short-term reverb to the music.

I don't know if it's usually directly audible, but I'd be surprised if it was universally inaudible.

(It could just be that the valves in my amp are rubbish, of course!)

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 24 April, 2009, 07:15:27 AM
The Carlstrom ABX site I linked to earlier reports results of a 'positive' ABX of tube vs SS amp


If memory serves there was a subsequent retest after the tubed amp had some maintenance done on it, and the results were null.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: botface on 24 April, 2009, 09:06:47 AM
For what it's worth I did some blind tests around 15 years ago. I couldn't tell valves (vintage Rogers RD Junior) from SS (Ion Systems SAM40). But then I'm the guy who can't tell anlogue from digital either
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: botface on 24 April, 2009, 09:25:06 AM
On the subject of whether this thread has show HA in a good light or not, I'm definitely of the opinion that it hasn't. I also believe personal insults lower the quality of debate - assuming members are interested in debate. In fact I'd go further and say they should be outlawed by TOS.

When people are attacked they either fight back or run away. I don't see how either can be seen as constructive. Also when under attack it's dificult to remain focussed on the debate in hand so I think it also dilutes the quality of people's contributions. If we removed the insults and retaliations from this thread it would be smaller, easier to follow and consequently much more helpful to an outsider or neutral. Then, there are no doubt people who are frightened to contribute at all in case they draw ridicule or insults. I think there's a real danger that you end up with what effectively becomes a private club for like-minded people. Of course, if that's what HA members want, that's fine. I'd rather see an atmosphere of openness and moderators tepping in as soon as it gets personal.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Synthetic Soul on 24 April, 2009, 10:13:55 AM
I also believe personal insults lower the quality of debate - assuming members are interested in debate. In fact I'd go further and say they should be outlawed by TOS.
This should be covered under TOS #2 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3974#entry149474).

As far as warning members for abuse, as you can imagine it is a very fine line, especially when there appears to be a lot of sarcasm and mud-slingling going on in general.  We have received at least one report on this thread, but after reading the recent posts I must admit that I just decided to close the door and let you all get on with it... whatever "it" is.  Perhaps not the best course of action, but I have better things to do than try to decide how much mud is being slung and in what directions.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 24 April, 2009, 12:49:07 PM
On the subject of whether this thread has show HA in a good light or not, I'm definitely of the opinion that it hasn't. I also believe personal insults lower the quality of debate - assuming members are interested in debate. In fact I'd go further and say they should be outlawed by TOS.

I'm not going to reread the thread to confirm it, but my impression is that BORK was the one who first started shifting things in that direction. Unfortunately, others soon started to respond in kind.

This is not the first time a thread has gone this way, and I am sure that it will not be the last, but let's hope that these occurrences remain as rare as possible.

I would also like to thank Synthetic Soul and the other mods for doing a great job of keeping things on track when needed.

Edit: typos
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 02:39:55 PM
Arnie Krueger is a liar.

I have never behaved as described below.

I have never had to be forcibly restrained by anyone for anything. In my entire life.

What a shame a sad individual like this would make such assertions in a public forum--along with having the gall to  count my money and make baseless insinuations about my integrity and honesty.

Let me answer Mr. Krueger's fantasies:

There was an AES meeting back in the early '90s and an ABX test of amplifiers. I was involved because I claimed that the idea that all amplifiers sound alike, or pretty much alike (that measure the same) is kind of foolish, since we really don't measure every aspect of performance and I told David Clark to produce an ABX test and I'd be happy to take it.

I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct. The average of all test takers was inconclusive. According to Dr. Stanley Lipschitz, I was a "lucky coin" and my result was tossed.

So much for "science." 

Now, here's the funny part: among the amps were some steely sounding solid state products including a Crown DC 300 and a very warm sounding VTL tube amp. It was quite easy to hear the difference between those. For one thing, they surely won't measure the same!

However, the average test taker, which included many recording engineers, could not, under blind ABX conditions tell the difference! Having been involved in many such tests, I brought more experience to it and so performed better as did John Atkinson.

I am happy to take such tests and usually do very well taking them...I can show you results of speaker identification blind tests I did at Harman's research center. However, I don't believe they are necessarily the best way to audition audio gear for long term satisfaction and I believe, as that test proved, very different sounding amplifiers can be judged to sound "the same" under what can be confusing ABX type tests.

Now, let's clear up the Gizmodo story. A writer for Gizmodo was assigned to write a story about audiophiles. Gizmodo found me. I did not find Gizmodo. I was not looking for publicity for me. I was happy to try and help promote a hobby and an industry I have loved since I heard my first Dynaco/AR-3 system many years ago.

It was the kid who wrote the story, who wrote about shitty sounding MP3s, not me! He came to write the usual negative story about audiophilia. He came to write a story that said it was stupid to spend a lot of money on an audio system. that there's really not much that can be done except drain your bank account if you spend more than a few thousand dollars on it.

What he heard though, absolutely sent him reeling. That's what's in the story. All I did was sit him down and play some tunes. He did the rest. He wanted to hear the high bit rate MP3 version of something I'd played on vinyl and we hooked his iPod player to my system and he heard just how degraded it was by comparison.....

So if you're an audio enthusiast, and you feel such a story was bad for our hobby, I think you have a few screws loose. I made sure that he understood that one can assemble a great system for not that much money. I told him about my system in the 1980s consisting of a Hafler DH-101 preamp and DH-200 amplfiier built from kits by me and a pair of Spica TC-50s and a used Thorens TD-125 turntable with Luster GST-1 tonearm, all of which cost about $1500 or so. I told him that I enjoyed listening to music as much on that system as I do on the one I OWN now.

Now, let's get to Mr. Krueger's disgraceful insinuation that somehow I am either a "trust fund baby" or I am a crook because how else could I own such an expensive audio system of which he's clearly insanely jealous.

First of all, I am an audio reviewer who actually buys the equipment in his system. This is not something that can be said of all audio reviewers but in my case, that is a fact. I own my system. I have always felt obliged to support the industry I cover by  actually buying the stuff. Over many years I have bought and sold and traded up. I did not go out and buy a $300,000 system.

What's more, I don't pay retail. I get an accommodation price on the gear I own. If you have a problem with that, I can't help you. The price I pay is still steep. For instance, I bought a turntable that costs $150,000. Crazy? Maybe. But you haven't heard it. The people who have and the people who have bought it don't think it's crazy. I talk to them. They think it's the best product they've ever bought...and many have Ferraris in the garage.

When I bought the turntable it cost $80,000. My sample was a cosmetic third. It could never be sold to a retail consumer. But it still cost me as much as a nice car. I borrowed money from the bank and paid it off over two years. It's the best thing I ever bought. It gives me the greatest pleasure of anything I've ever bought including some very nice cars.

As for the rest of my system, I have bought all of it, except for cables, which are on loan and tend to change depending upon the system or the gear under review. I own many cartridges, but have a few also on loan for similar reasons.

Oh, I have produced two very successful DVDs on analog. One is about turntable set-up. It has sold 10,000 copies. It wholesales for $15.00. Do the math Arnie. Everyone loves this DVD. It has been translated into German and Italian and Japanese. It continues to sell well and I continue to get thank you emails from people who buy who have been helped with their analog from it. The second DVD was recently released and it too has already sold thousands of copies. It's about record production (shot at two pressing plants in high definition) and covers record care, cleaning, handling and collecting.  People seem to like it too.

And you know what? People who know me through my writing or through meeting me, like me too.

Have a nice weekend.




Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.

To put this into perspective, my 16 year old son died of a brain hemhorrage about 10 years ago. By most accounts I can talk about that pretty calmly. Compared to matters of life and death, there's nothing about ABX or even all of high end audio thaat is as all-fired important as Fremer seems to think that one day back in the early 1990s was.  All the other people I know who were directly involved with it have pretty well forgotten about it. And well they should. That wsa then and this is now.

To say that Fremer is a little tightly wound would be IMO an understatement. :-(

IMO, the only way to understand Fremer is to consider the meaning of the word hyperbole. Fremer seems to live in a world of hyperbole where nothing is anything like what it seems. For example, the Gizmodo article http://i.gizmodo.com/5213042/why-we-need-audiophiles (http://i.gizmodo.com/5213042/why-we-need-audiophiles) mentions Fremer's alleged $350,000 audio system.

My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

I'm sure the truth about Fremer will never be reliably known. Why should we even care?

Pardon me while I go and listen to some music... ;-)

Moderation: Removed useless full quotation of the first post.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 02:45:51 PM
My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

It's not that hard for the manufacturers of "$350,000 worth" of audio equipment to donate it to Fremer, because the actual manufacturing cost was probably only a few thousand, if that.



You are a very foolish person. And irresponsible as well.

-Michael Fremer
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 02:49:01 PM
On the subject of whether this thread has show HA in a good light or not, I'm definitely of the opinion that it hasn't. I also believe personal insults lower the quality of debate - assuming members are interested in debate. In fact I'd go further and say they should be outlawed by TOS.

When people are attacked they either fight back or run away. I don't see how either can be seen as constructive. Also when under attack it's dificult to remain focussed on the debate in hand so I think it also dilutes the quality of people's contributions. If we removed the insults and retaliations from this thread it would be smaller, easier to follow and consequently much more helpful to an outsider or neutral. Then, there are no doubt people who are frightened to contribute at all in case they draw ridicule or insults. I think there's a real danger that you end up with what effectively becomes a private club for like-minded people. Of course, if that's what HA members want, that's fine. I'd rather see an atmosphere of openness and moderators tepping in as soon as it gets personal.


You are quite correct. The things being said about me, all of which are complete fantasy, are abusive and ugly and have nothing whatsoever to do with audio.....

-Michael Fremer
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 02:53:04 PM
Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
   


Nice to see a few skeptics, though.


I couldn't even read through the whole article, much less all the comments.  It's frustrating how much misinformation is out there.  I'm a frequent visitor to Gizmodo, but all this week has been devoted to "audio" and really, you should see some of the atrocious things they've talked about.



Tell me about the "misinformation" in the story.--Michael Fremer
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 02:57:56 PM
So it's typical journalistic sloppiness, and probably getting carried away in the moment.

And let's face it - we do need people wanting better quality than can be heard on 99% of pop releases in the 21st century. Does anyone think CDs (as actually sold, rather than as theoretically possible) sound that good in the pop world in 2009?



Good point.  Fremer's still a douche, though.


How would you know? Have you met me?

I usually find that people who post messages like yours--about someone they don't know--are what they accuse others of being.

Are you jealous that I have built a successful career? Have produced two successful DVDs? Have a well read music review website? www.musicangle.com?


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 03:00:10 PM
IIRC (and I may not) in his 'real life' Fremer was/is a psychiatrist, and in in NYC that can pay pretty well.


I am not a psychiatrist. But people who spend their time counting other people's money can probably use one.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 03:07:37 PM
Do you think Fremer really gets into the music with his "$350,000 system", or does he dwell on what can be tweaked or repositioned or even replaced/upgraded. You can't really enjoy the music if you are constantly critiqing the equipment it is playing on. It's a hard habit to break.


I suggest you visit my music review website www.musicangle.com and judge for yourself. Above all else I love music. Listening to music is what it's all about. The guy who wrote the story was expecting an audio geek with all that gear and a few hundred records and CDs. That's not me...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 03:11:25 PM
I've come to a very definitive conclusion regarding my ears' abilities to resolve sonic information: there's a finite limit. Investing $350,000 in an ultra-high-end stereo isn't going to suddenly grant my ears the ability to hear atoms bonding or to be able to resolve the sound of a mosquito sucking blood from an elephant in Zimbabwe.


Indeed. Fremer's pricey system didn't restore his ability to hear the LP hiss that the reporter heard.


Indeed I heard the hiss. It doesn't bother me. I have subscription to the New York Philharmonic too. When I sit in a room full of the elderly, there's constant coughing, choking and phlegm spitting from them. I ignore that too. I'm there to listen to the music. That's what I do at home too. If there's hiss who cares? Absence of hiss doesn't necessarily equal good sound....
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 03:15:11 PM
If you want to worry about how many angels can dance on the head of a pin, I've got nothing for you.

Read the rest of my post, please. I never said anything about "worrying" about any signal undergoing these processes. Anyone who would have actually read the entire post would have known that.

You obviously have no compelling clue about the practicalities of doing real world audio, while right now that is very much of my life.

This feels like a pretty blatant personal attack. This is entirely unwarranted, unnecessary and unappreciated (not to mention completely baseless). I've never even so much as attempted to attack you or anything that you may or may not hold dear, so I don't understand where the animosity is coming from. We don't even seem to have any differing opinions, for Christ's sake!

If you want me to clarify anything that I've said, I'd be happy to do that. I feel I've been clear, but I'm either A) wrong or B) being deliberately misinterpreted. The former I can understand. The latter I most certainly cannot -- especially here of all places.


Don't you see? Krueger is rational and scientic..until you issue the slighest bit of a challenge to his orthodoxy Then he goes for the personal attack.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 24 April, 2009, 03:33:49 PM
My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

It's not that hard for the manufacturers of "$350,000 worth" of audio equipment to donate it to Fremer, because the actual manufacturing cost was probably only a few thousand, if that.



You are a very foolish person. And irresponsible as well.

-Michael Fremer

You are quite right. I was guilty of using hyperbole.

What I should have said is that in a business where sales volume is very small (and I doubt that $150,000 turntables are sold in the tens of thousands) a high percentage of the sales price of the product goes to support the R&D effort to develop it. The manufacturing cost in this case is a relatively smaller percentage.

The result is that if the manufacturer wanted to, they could sell one or two units at much nearer the actual manufacturing cost, far below the list price. Obviously they don't want to do this generally, but to put it into the hands of someone who has a wide audience and can generate many potential sales, this is a smart thing to do.

So do I believe that they still made money selling you a unit for just over half of the list price? You bet I do.

OTOH I could just be blowing smoke. 

P.S. Thank you for taking the time to add your side to this discussion. Sometimes we forget that we are probably not getting both sides.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 03:35:52 PM
But good systems with excellently matched speakers (with excellent time and frequency domain responses) do "image" spectacularly better than lower quality stuff. The front/back depth of the sound stage is increased, the location of (say) the singer is focussed more tightly etc etc. You can also put the speakers further apart before the sound stage falls apart. It's not what the record producer intended (usually), but it's very impressive. Stereo is supposed to work with 60 degree speaker angle. I've heard it work stunningly well with 110 speaker angle - but only with very good speakers.

The photographs of that particular listening room are not impressive unless they misrepresent the reality - from what it looks like, I'd want the speakers much further away from the walls, and from everything else. The kind of early reflections I'd expect in that room would seriously damage the magical 3-d sound stage that's claimed to exist.

Cheers,
David.


If you're into objective measurements, my room measures quite well thank you. Those photos don't really let you know what's going on. You might want the speakers further from the walls, but the measurements tell a somewhat different story as does the sound. The first reflection is very well taken care of...your "expectations" would be dashed. There's something incredibly condescending about your post...that you'd think that someone with 30 years of doing this wouldn't know how to deal with a first reflection. I mean really....
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: greynol on 24 April, 2009, 03:39:09 PM
Then he goes for the personal attack.

You are a very foolish person. And irresponsible as well.

I am not a psychiatrist. But people who spend their time counting other people's money can probably use one.


...later down the road...
You are beyond crabby but I really enjoy having pushed your buttons so you can throw your little hissy fit and prove that you are incapable of having a discussion without hurling insults and personal attacks. I hope you enjoyed showing that beneath the thin veneer of "objectivity" and "rationality" is a nasty, angry, emotional child.
Pot, meet kettle, black?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 24 April, 2009, 03:46:23 PM
good afternoon to you too, Michael..

I must commend you on your responses; I had certainly underestimated you on them. Hope you stick around (and that we try to keep this significantly civil).

Your word vs Arny's on the fight, eh? I'm willing to trust your two words equally. Can either of you find somebody to vouch?

If Lipshitz did not let you or John do additional testing in the amp test, I think that's highly unfortunate, and I disagree with that decision. You're totally right in asserting that if a few people can do 4/5 or 5/5 in a test like that, it makes a lot of sense to bring them in for 16 trials to more firmly establish audibility for individual people like yourself. That said, I believe those results can support the idea that, at most, few people can hear such amplifier differences - and this has importance in and of itself, insofar as people's buying decisions are concerned, but perhaps not for stating whether an audible difference universally exists. And if a longer trial test with an individual listener yielded a similarly negative result, I think that would have been further interpretable....

I have mostly good words to say about your assertiveness about the role music (and good sound) can play in one's life when it is accorded attention. And that many people, like said Gizmodo writer, simply dismiss it the whole notion of good sound out of hand. Some people will always conform the music to the environment - the continued popularity of XM/Sirius does not say much about how the average listener cares about SQ. But others really don't know what they are missing with better speakers, better formats/encodes, etc.

That said... people can still get good sound with 192k MP3s. A lot of people here have put a lot of time into making that happen, with well-performed ABX tests. And iPods (some of which are spectacularly hi-fi devices). And even 128k iTunes store downloads. Hell, nowadays 64k HE-AAC sounds great! Some of my most cherished listening moments have occurred with headphone listening of 96k MP3 encodes of decaying cassette playback of obscure English punk-prog bands. And while I wholeheartedly agree that the quality of that is sh*tty, I often take your opinions as meaning that such listening is emotionally inferior to if it had been in any higher quality of an environment - which frankly strikes me as unjustified elitism. Extrapolating this line of reasoning to vinyl (which I'm well invested into btw) is similarly unflattering.

Put another way... I agree that it's important to one's listening experience to pay good attention to one's surroundings and equipment, like such attention supports the positive emotions of any hobby - but for the love of god, what does that have to do with sound quality?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 24 April, 2009, 03:55:18 PM
If you're into objective measurements, my room measures quite well thank you. Those photos don't really let you know what's going on. You might want the speakers further from the walls, but the measurements tell a somewhat different story as does the sound. The first reflection is very well taken care of...your "expectations" would be dashed. There's something incredibly condescending about your post...that you'd think that someone with 30 years of doing this wouldn't know how to deal with a first reflection. I mean really....

Eh, what can I say, your reputation precedes you. A lot of engineers here (myself included) believe you are very wrong about several aspects of audio engineering. 30 years experience doesn't matter when you are wrong. So please forgive us when we put the "ass" in "assume", and I at least to be gracious about our misconstructions about what I already agree with you on. (And vice versa!)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 03:57:11 PM
My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?

It's not that hard for the manufacturers of "$350,000 worth" of audio equipment to donate it to Fremer, because the actual manufacturing cost was probably only a few thousand, if that.



You are a very foolish person. And irresponsible as well.

-Michael Fremer

You are quite right. I was guilty of using hyperbole.

What I should have said is that in a business where sales volume is very small (and I doubt that $150,000 turntables are sold in the tens of thousands) a high percentage of the sales price of the product goes to support the R&D effort to develop it. The manufacturing cost in this case is a relatively smaller percentage.

The result is that if the manufacturer wanted to, they could sell one or two units at much nearer the actual manufacturing cost, far below the list price. Obviously they don't want to do this generally, but to put it into the hands of someone who has a wide audience and can generate many potential sales, this is a smart thing to do.

So do I believe that they still made money selling you a unit for just over half of the list price? You bet I do.

OTOH I could just be blowing smoke. 

P.S. Thank you for taking the time to add your side to this discussion. Sometimes we forget that we are probably not getting both sides.



In the case of that turntable, they obviously don't sell tens of thousands, nor does Ferrari every year. However, it is fabricated from cast magnesium alloy, which is both expensive and difficult to do and it was computer-modeled and designed by serious people, not hobbyists. The R&D cost was quite high. It uses components drawn from the American medical industry that are quite expensive. They do sell all they can make and they have sold far more than the expected to in the first few years. The mark up on exotic audio doesn't come close to watches, for example, but the usual distribution chain has a number of components, each of which gets a 40 to 50 point mark up. It's unfortunate but it's the only way it can work right now...value is in the eyes and ears of the beholder. And in the case of that turntable, made in Australia, in America, for example, they have a technician on call for service anywhere it's needed. The tech's full time job is instrumentation repairs for the military. He's a highly qualified tech. That costs money too. I find this site really interesting for its supposed scientific rigor. In reality I find it orthodox and doctrinaire in a disturbing way..there's a great deal of smugness and a willingness to stereotype (no pun intended) people with whom they disagree. The people I deal with in the "observational" side of this are as intelligent, balanced and experienced as any of the smug "objectivists" here. The vinyl vs. digital debate really is telling: for instance Roy Halee, who engineered  many classical music albums for Columbia in the 1960s and is best known for recording all of the great Simon and Garfunkel albums along with Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Lovin' Spoonful and many others certainly knows what a master tape sounds like---better than anyone here I'm sure--and what does he prefer? Vinyl. He's an analog guy. He doesn't like CD sound and he's of course dismissive of compressed audio formats. He's to be taken seriously, I assure you. When I read some of the self-satisfied wise guys here, who purport to be "objective," I have to laugh. They are every bit as narcissistic and self-satisfied as they accuse "audiophiles" of being. I think there's a level of self-loathing going on here that's in need of some study! In every field and/or hobby, there are enthusiasts...for cars, wine, watches, whatever. The greater the enthusiasm, the better in those fields. No one tries to "prove" all cars drive alike or "measure the same," yet when it comes to audio, there's this rear guard, as exemplified on this site, that spends it's time mocking enthusiasts, and reducing everything to a very low common denominator. When I read people here actually mocking the idea of a holographic soundstage, I know they have allowed their orthodoxy to deprive them of a really incredible experience. The kid who came to do the Gizmodo story was all set to write a mocking story....then he sat down and I put on a record. That's all I did....it took him two minutes to realize what he was hearing was amazing! It was sensory overload great and not to be denied....so he wrote about it that way and look at some of the responses here. I'm sorry, but there's something wrong when a site about audio throws out such condescension and ugliness about someone else's enthusiasm. He heard what he heard and someone posts it's "misinformation?"  I don't get it.....
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 04:02:47 PM
If you're into objective measurements, my room measures quite well thank you. Those photos don't really let you know what's going on. You might want the speakers further from the walls, but the measurements tell a somewhat different story as does the sound. The first reflection is very well taken care of...your "expectations" would be dashed. There's something incredibly condescending about your post...that you'd think that someone with 30 years of doing this wouldn't know how to deal with a first reflection. I mean really....

Eh, what can I say, your reputation precedes you. A lot of engineers here (myself included) believe you are very wrong about several aspects of audio engineering. 30 years experience doesn't matter when you are wrong. So please forgive us when we put the "ass" in "assume", and I at least to be gracious about our misconstructions about what I already agree with you on. (And vice versa!)


My "reputation"? My reputation is quite good worldwide. What part of my "reputation" are you talking about? Lies spread about me on the internet and on this site? What does that have to do with my room and how it sounds?  What am I "wrong" about? In much of this there is no right or wrong. Am I "wrong" in preferring analog to digital? I'm in very good company with many, many top recording engineers who prefer to record and listen on analog gear...so please tell me where I'm "wrong" as opposed to having an opinion that differs from yours. About what was I not gracious? About having my room judged on the basis of a photo on a website????
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 24 April, 2009, 04:02:49 PM
Mr. Fremer,

your anger about many of this thread's posts is understandable. I am happy to see that you take the possibility to set things straight. Up to now I knew most of your views at second hand. Despite your ire your posts seem sensible and even contain much I would agree to, much in contrast to some of your school's followers in this thread. Still I would never see any sense in preferring sighted over blind testing except convenience and I think you do follow that path. And the latter is not a matter of opinion, but widely accepted and necessary scientific methodology.

Arnie Krueger is a liar.

I have never behaved as described below.

I have never had to be forcibly restrained by anyone for anything. In my entire life.

I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct. The average of all test takers was inconclusive. According to Dr. Stanley Lipschitz, I was a "lucky coin" and my result was tossed.

So much for "science."


It is your word against his. Although many people might have a clear bias whom to believe, we don't know for sure. Why don't you prove your point and agree to a public blind test together with ABK? If you think his methods aren't scientific enough, feel free to propose enhancements for public discussion.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Tahnru on 24 April, 2009, 04:09:07 PM
Paragraph breaks, please?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 04:26:30 PM
good afternoon to you too, Michael..

I must commend you on your responses; I had certainly underestimated you on them. Hope you stick around (and that we try to keep this significantly civil).

Your word vs Arny's on the fight, eh? I'm willing to trust your two words equally. Can either of you find somebody to vouch?

If Lipshitz did not let you or John do additional testing in the amp test, I think that's highly unfortunate, and I disagree with that decision. You're totally right in asserting that if a few people can do 4/5 or 5/5 in a test like that, it makes a lot of sense to bring them in for 16 trials to more firmly establish audibility for individual people like yourself. That said, I believe those results can support the idea that, at most, few people can hear such amplifier differences - and this has importance in and of itself, insofar as people's buying decisions are concerned, but perhaps not for stating whether an audible difference universally exists. And if a longer trial test with an individual listener yielded a similarly negative result, I think that would have been further interpretable....

I have mostly good words to say about your assertiveness about the role music (and good sound) can play in one's life when it is accorded attention. And that many people, like said Gizmodo writer, simply dismiss it the whole notion of good sound out of hand. Some people will always conform the music to the environment - the continued popularity of XM/Sirius does not say much about how the average listener cares about SQ. But others really don't know what they are missing with better speakers, better formats/encodes, etc.

That said... people can still get good sound with 192k MP3s. A lot of people here have put a lot of time into making that happen, with well-performed ABX tests. And iPods (some of which are spectacularly hi-fi devices). And even 128k iTunes store downloads. Hell, nowadays 64k HE-AAC sounds great! Some of my most cherished listening moments have occurred with headphone listening of 96k MP3 encodes of decaying cassette playback of obscure English punk-prog bands. And while I wholeheartedly agree that the quality of that is sh*tty, I often take your opinions as meaning that such listening is emotionally inferior to if it had been in any higher quality of an environment - which frankly strikes me as unjustified elitism. Extrapolating this line of reasoning to vinyl (which I'm well invested into btw) is similarly unflattering.

Put another way... I agree that it's important to one's listening experience to pay good attention to one's surroundings and equipment, like such attention supports the positive emotions of any hobby - but for the love of god, what does that have to do with sound quality?


There's a certain amount of "stereotyping" going on regarding me. There's the Gizmodo story..so some people assume that's me. Well I have an XM and a Sirius account. I have every iPod Apple has ever made and I love them all. An iPod loaded with lossless can sound great. I have a Sooloos music server and I listen to digital. I prefer analog but if the music's only available that way, that's how I listen.

Sure I have a super expensive, high resolution system. That's what's expected of me after all of these years doing this, and believe me it sounds swell. No one who's visited walks away thinking otherwise. It's a great hi-fi system but I can get in the car and listen to XM on the built in Bose system and enjoy music just the same and I do. And I also review inexpensive gear too.

The Giz writer was shocked (only word to use) by how much degradation the MP3 caused compared to the original vinyl. One of the ironies here is that my understanding of the MP3's development is that it was based on A/B testing and that "useless" data (masked by other information) could be thrown away with no penalty paid until the file was small enough to be easily sent on the Internet or stored on less than huge storage media. So at each A/B, "no difference," but in the end, "huge difference." That's one of the dangers of over-reliance on A/B methodology in my opinion.

My word vs. Arny's? Why bother. I really think his reaction to the Gizmodo story says all that needs to be said. This was not a story about him but he made it about him...it wasn't even a story about me. It was a story about high performance audio. Gizmodo found me. I don't go looking for them. Arny should apologize for his attack (even had I behaved poorly, which I didn't----no one is perfect and everyone has things they wish they could take back and that goes for me but not in that case) and I hope he does.  Life's too short.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: pdq on 24 April, 2009, 04:34:44 PM
My word vs. Arny's? Why bother.

I quite agree. I find the dispute between you and Arny about what did or did not happen the least interesting aspect of this thread. Let's try to focus more on what new insights each of you can bring to these discussions and less on past history.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 24 April, 2009, 04:50:03 PM
Mr. Michael Fremer , thank you very much for taking the time to post here & get some of the people here to realize they cannot learn  anything about anyone from one sided internet claims , & cannot learn about audio by just throwing characters in a forum & cranking mp3s.

Please, disregard any ABX/faceoff invitations you saw posted above.

They are unsanctioned & do not represent all of this forum members, I assure you.
These posts are posted by the same people who brought this discussion to it's current low state, so please ignore them.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 04:52:56 PM
Mr. Fremer,

your anger about many of this thread's posts is understandable. I am happy to see that you take the possibility to set things straight. Up to now I knew most of your views at second hand. Despite your ire your posts seem sensible and even contain much I would agree to, much in contrast to some of your school's followers in this thread. Still I would never see any sense in preferring sighted over blind testing except convenience and I think you do follow that path. And the latter is not a matter of opinion, but widely accepted and necessary scientific methodology.

[
It is your word against his. Although many people might have a clear bias whom to believe, we don't know for sure. Why don't you prove your point and agree to a public blind test together with ABK? If you think his methods aren't scientific enough, feel free to propose enhancements for public discussion.


Look what happened the last time. 1) my 5 of 5 correct were tossed and I was declared a "lucky coin" and very different sounding amps produced results that would seem to have proven my point. Most of the people on my side of the fence have found that there's an agenda at work where no matter what, we lose. The goal post gets moved. My 5 of 5 identifications being thrown out and dismissed as a "lucky coin" was proof. It was outrageous. I was declared statistically insignificant..

My contention is that this kind of back and forth testing is not appropriate to judging audio gear...it's the methodology that was used to develop MP3s, wasn't it? Throw away data do A/B and "prove" nothing audible was lost...but in the end compare the final compressed audio to full resolution and the difference is easily heard....it's a kind of death by tiny slices.  What this "methodology" has led to is the death of good audio in the mainstream and the acceptance of junk as being "just as good."  I see little value to that. It's taken us to a dead end. I predicted the CD would kill listening to music and I think I was correct. Most people don't listen anymore. We used to sit and listen to music as an activity. Now it's background or heard while doing other things. Why is that? I'd rather have that explored.

When I have people over who are skeptical about vinyl, I let them choose the material and if I have it on CD and vinyl we compare. The record always ends up winning--and I have a good digital front end (never mind the ridiculous notion  that  all CD players supposedly sound the same). More importantly, when I put on a record, casually, people sit and listen. They close their eyes and drift into it. When I put on a CD, within a few minutes they fidget or they pick something up and look at it or they get up....why is that?

Music and sound elicit emotional responses not a scientific ones. If people want to be trapped in a world of "objective testing" to determine what they listen to, that's fine with me. I let Julian Hirsch years ago take me down that road and I ended up with an audio system that measured better but that sounded much worse. I was told I needed to get used to the lower distortion. It turned out there were other kinds of distortions not being measured. The same happened with 1/3 octave equalizers. I remember a demo with the great Floyd Toole years ago with 1/3 octave EQ....it ended up with flat response.

It was "perfect" but it sounded awful. The "audiofools" didn't like it. Why? They didn't like flat response was the answer. NOT TRUE THOUGH! It turned out the 1/3 octave equalizers were lopping off useful information along with the amplitude peaks that were worth getting rid of. Today we have much better, more accurate EQ possibilities in the digital domain.... the listening was more useful than the measuring.

There's a doctrinaire slavishness to measurements I don't subscribe to. However, measurements are important. When I review speakers I try to predict how they will measure both in-room and quasi-anechoically...because that's a test of my listening acuity and I'm as interested as anyone in knowing how good I am. I write and turn in a review before I see the measurements. I suggest you go to Stereophile's website and read the review and measurement of the Audio Physic Caldera loudspeaker that I wrote before the measurements. And then check the measurements.

I really don't feel I have to prove anything to anyone about my listening abilities. I am very specific in what I write and the readers can go out and listen for themselves, which they do. I think I have a very good reputation for being a good listener...people who read what I write and go out and listen for themselves tend to find me reliable....and I'm not talking about the opinion part of the review. I'm talking about the observational part. My favorite feedback is when someone writes that I describe the sound exactly as they hear it but that if my reaction is that I don't like how it sounds, that they usually know they will, because we have very different tastes and preferences.

I have to go ship out some turntable set up DVDs now....thanks for reading....

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 24 April, 2009, 05:10:05 PM
I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct.


I am no expert, but I can certainly believe this if one's ears are trained enough to pick up the non-linear clipping and/or higher levels of second-order harmonic distortion of a tube amp.

Edit: Sorry. please disregard this. I misread the original message.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 24 April, 2009, 05:12:47 PM
Still I would never see any sense in preferring sighted over blind testing except convenience and I think you do follow that path. And the latter is not a matter of opinion, but widely accepted and necessary scientific methodology.


This I very much agree with.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 24 April, 2009, 05:48:37 PM
My contention is that this kind of back and forth testing is not appropriate to judging audio gear...it's the methodology that was used to develop MP3s, wasn't it? Throw away data do A/B and "prove" nothing audible was lost...but in the end compare the final compressed audio to full resolution and the difference is easily heard....it's a kind of death by tiny slices.


Well your rhetoric is great. Just the logic is flawed. Even if MP3 was a flawed technology, one tool used to develop it is not inferentially proven to be flawed. The principle of redundancy isn't flawed either, if both a main power source and its backup fail - a bad application does not invalidate a methodology.

ABX is a great opportunity for an interested individual to differentiate those reviewers, who actually really have excellent ears, from those with average ears but great imagination and rhetoric skills (while in reality they cannot even hear a difference between two products compared). If you are a honest reviewer, you should be lucky to accept the challenge for a public ABX test and show your real skills. Of course 5/5 and better results would have to be counted in your favor. There is nothing wrong with ABX testing, they don't take a single piece of sound away from you, everything you should need is there. What could ever be wrong with that?

You would probably answer again, that you don't have to prove anything. Your votaries like B0RK may accept that blindly. But as a judicious man you will surely understand that it seems highly suspicious, when somebody who should review the sound of a product, insists this wouldn't be possible properly if he wasn't allowed to use his eyes.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 06:05:01 PM
Quote
I'm interested in what the HA community thinks about this new Gizmodo article, or blog, about Michael Fremer, an audio reviewer from Stereophile, which clearly goes completely against the grain around here.


If I had a quarter for every B.S article that Stereophile publishes I would be a rich man. Some of John Atkins articles give me a good laugh. I like it when he tried to compare sound quality with so called "graphs" to make it look like it was half-assed pseudo-scientific. People actually listen to these boneheads though. My friend actually thought monster cables could make a difference in sound quality once. I was appauled and questioned him were that information came from he told me he read it in "some magazine", but couldn't remember the name of it. I just rolled my eyes and told him it was B.S. 


HIs name is "Atkinson" not "Atkins."  Stereophile publishes measurements and you find this amusing? You were "appauled?" Your inability to spell is appalling. Stay in school. lol
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 24 April, 2009, 06:05:46 PM
Redundancy ... real intelligent example you chose there .

mp3 does not have any redundancy to fall back on, right or wrong rpp3po ?
what's lost is lost forever.

Btw, Who are you to  challenge anyone,  anyway ?
I heard no one here give you the authority or respect to challenge anyone here to nothing.
Get it into your head kid - No one owes you anything.

Please be so kind & go post some ABX logs you can hear the difference between an mp3 & a Wav file,
then worry about other users capabilities, not to mention challenging professional reviewers ..
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 06:12:00 PM
I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct.


I am no expert, but I can certainly believe this if one's ears are trained enough to pick up the non-linear clipping and/or higher levels of second-order harmonic distortion of a tube amp.

Edit: Sorry. please disregard this. I misread the original message.



A tube amp need not clip if it has sufficient power and is driving an appropriate load. I own solid state gear myself but have heard and reviewed many fine sounding tube amplifiers and preamplifiers. I am not doctrinaire in this regard (or in any). Reproduced music is a combination of science and art. It's about the selling of an illusion. When I interviewed Roy Halee, who recorded Simon and Garfunkel, Dylan, The Byrds and a great deal of classical music, he pointed to a solid state system (Mark Levinson electronics, Wilson WATT Puppys) and said it was what he listened to when he needed to hear what he had recorded. He then pointed to a tube electronic based system (Jadis amps, Infinity IRS speakers, Rockport turntable) and said that when he wanted to listen to music for enjoyment he listened to that.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 06:15:38 PM
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.


  I am totally speechless. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance.


Cry: you're believing a total liar. Krueger lied. No such encounter ever occurred.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 24 April, 2009, 06:22:58 PM
Please be so kind & go post some ABX logs you can hear the difference between an mp3 & a Wav file,


You can start with this (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=67882&view=findpost&p=619558), but I have posted several over time. I'm not a big fan of MP3 myself, but not against lossy encoding in general.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 24 April, 2009, 06:25:13 PM
That's no good.
It shows you can hear a difference.
I bet you can't , must be either fake or beginner's luck ... (according to your theories anyway ..)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 06:30:36 PM
I'm not really sure Fremer and Mahoney actually doing much damage with this piece, besides priming young iPod people to buy megabuck systems later in life. I'm not sure if I can get much bent out of shape about convincing people to go lossless, buy a decent home system, etc.

But some of the Gizmodo commenters are asking if Fremer could provide a low end recommended system. He is the absolute last person you should ask for that. It's more important than ever to maintain an objective eye with the low end, and Fremer is likely to just run off into the weeds and choose some horifically underperforming system because it provides a better match for his ears alone.

Sad to read how many commenters there thought it was a 'great article' and 'real in-depth journalism'.
I'm sure it's better journalism as far as Gizmodo is concerned. Maybe someday they'll grow enough to hire people with actual journalism degrees and such.

Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.
That wasn't the infamous "cable" test, was it?

There are a few stories like that about Fremer's attitude. Salvatore's exchange  (http://www.high-endaudio.com/RR-FREMER.html)with him is pretty fun (although Salvatore is easily just as much of a pompous windbag as Fremer is). There's also that long-standing alleged fight between Fremer and the NYT over vinyl coverage...

Quote
My first question is who paid $350,000 for the equipment Fremer uses?  It is worth that today?  Is he a trust-fund baby? Does he get paid that much by Stereopihile? Or, has Fremer fanned the flames of Fremer-celebrity or possbily Fremer-fear so well that enough high end audio dealers and/or manufacters have been cowed into giving or loaning him most if not all of that equipment?
No, only Steve Hoffman does that. *rimshot*

I'm no longer thinking malice on Stereophile's part in the context of loans and reviewers' pricing. I think it's plain to see that the economic status of its editors and reviewers is substantially less than the audience it is actually gearing its reviews too. Long term loans and preferred pricing are more justifiable in such a situation.

IN his 'real life' Fremer was/is a psychiatrist, and in in NYC that can pay pretty well.
Fremer is a psychiatrist? That joke writes itself. Multiple times over actually. Heh.

Indeed. Fremer's pricey system didn't restore his ability to hear the LP hiss that the reporter heard.
Nor does it guarentee that his LPs play back with a speed tolerance of any less than 0.6%, as I observed a few days ago with some needledrops he posted.

Next time you hear an audiophile claim that high-mass turntables do not have speed issues, pour that into their cornflakes and shove it up their ass.


Thanks for posting a compendium of stupidity. It's reassuring that my suggesting that people buy a nice audio system when they can afford one has not done too much "damage." I am relieved.

Your comments about my abilities to offer suggestions on budget gear indicate that your ignorance exceeds your arrogance. Your characterization of my work indicates you don't read what I write. "Observational" reviewing is not about spouting preferences. It's about attempting to describe how something sounds. How one reacts to that particular sound is an opinion. If you don't believe human being are capable of assessing sound quality and only measurements can do that, fine. That's your opinion. But you are claiming all I do is write 'opinions' of what I personally like. And that, my friend is so wrong, that I know you don't read what I write.


Yes, Mr. Salvatore did provoke me with a series of paranoid rants and attacks and I took the bait and sent him a flaming email which he chose to publish. He then continued a bitter string of attacks based upon his paranoia. So go read it and I'm sure everyone here would like to have 20 years of work judged on one screw up.


The psychiatrist line was funny, I have to admit. However I have many in my family and their behavior leaves plenty to desire. As for shoving anything up one's ass, well you should know.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 24 April, 2009, 06:45:09 PM
The vinyl vs. digital debate really is telling: for instance Roy Halee, who engineered  many classical music albums for Columbia in the 1960s and is best known for recording all of the great Simon and Garfunkel albums along with Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Lovin' Spoonful and many others certainly knows what a master tape sounds like---better than anyone here I'm sure--and what does he prefer? Vinyl. He's an analog guy. He doesn't like CD sound and he's of course dismissive of compressed audio formats. He's to be taken seriously, I assure you.


Of course Mr. Engineer From the 60s gets to prefer vinyl, after all, it *does* usually sound different from CD.  So?  Let's leave aside that the guy may have some emotional ties to the medium (d'ya think?).  In terms of signal in/signal out, it's a less accurate medium in the audible band.  But some people like its particular euphonic distortions.  Some people like the 'warmth' of some tube amps too.  Given that, what gives you the yarbles to diss people don't find the supposed 'sound' of mp3s objectionable?    (let's leave aside too, the choice of vinyl as an alternative to the use of heinous amounts of compression on CDs , which of course you know is a production CHOICE, not an inherent part of anything digital. We can leave that aside because you've and your ilk have been blowing your tiresome 'analog' trumpet since the first CDs were released, long before the loudness wars began)

Mr. Fremer, I realize this is the way you roll, and I'm afraid it doesn't fly. I assure you, I couldn't care less about THIS particular argument from authority: "Mr. Famous Recording Engineer says digital just can't match vinyl".  I've seen too many audio 'engineers' make absurd, scientifically *wrong* claims about digital and about comparison methods, to take them at their word *simply on the basis of their jobs as knob-pushers*.  Now, if they also happen to show technical acumen as regards digital --- like, say, Bob Katz -- then I take them waaay more seriously.  And of course there's the strong probability that you couldn't tell a Redbook recording from an LP, from the LP itself, in a fair comparison.  Which kinda blows the whole 'digital can't match an LP ' argument right out of the water.  (And that's even making sure the LP was properly *demagnetized* first.)

Quote
When I read some of the self-satisfied wise guys here, who purport to be "objective," I have to laugh. They are every bit as narcissistic and self-satisfied as they accuse "audiophiles" of being. I think there's a level of self-loathing going on here that's in need of some study!


Pointing and laughing at you is 'self-loathing'...check.

Quote
In every field and/or hobby, there are enthusiasts...for cars, wine, watches, whatever. The greater the enthusiasm, the better in those fields. No one tries to "prove" all cars drive alike or "measure the same," yet when it comes to audio, there's this rear guard, as exemplified on this site, that spends it's time mocking enthusiasts, and reducing everything to a very low common denominator. When I read people here actually mocking the idea of a holographic soundstage, I know they have allowed their orthodoxy to deprive them of a really incredible experience. The kid who came to do the Gizmodo story was all set to write a mocking story....then he sat down and I put on a record. That's all I did....it took him two minutes to realize what he was hearing was amazing! It was sensory overload great and not to be denied....so he wrote about it that way and look at some of the responses here. I'm sorry, but there's something wrong when a site about audio throws out such condescension and ugliness about someone else's enthusiasm. He heard what he heard and someone posts it's "misinformation?"  I don't get it.....



Oh, look, there's the *car* analogy.    It must be *that time* in the debate.   

You're part of what's wrong with this hobby, not what's right.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 06:57:42 PM
My contention is that this kind of back and forth testing is not appropriate to judging audio gear...it's the methodology that was used to develop MP3s, wasn't it? Throw away data do A/B and "prove" nothing audible was lost...but in the end compare the final compressed audio to full resolution and the difference is easily heard....it's a kind of death by tiny slices.


Well your rhetoric is great. Just the logic is flawed. Even if MP3 was a flawed technology, one tool used to develop it is not inferentially proven to be flawed. The principle of redundancy isn't flawed either, if both a main power source and its backup fail - a bad application does not invalidate a methodology.

ABX is a great opportunity for an interested individual to differentiate those reviewers, who actually really have excellent ears, from those with average ears but great imagination and rhetoric skills (while in reality they cannot even hear a difference between two products compared). If you are a honest reviewer, you should be lucky to accept the challenge for a public ABX test and show your real skills. Of course 5/5 and better results would have to be counted in your favor. There is nothing wrong with ABX testing, they don't take a single piece of sound away from you, everything you should need is there. What could ever be wrong with that?

You would probably answer again, that you don't have to prove anything. Your votaries like B0RK may accept that blindly. But as a judicious man you will surely understand that it seems highly suspicious, when somebody who should review the sound of a product, insists this wouldn't be possible properly if he wasn't allowed to use his eyes.


I was challenged, I took the challenge, I got 5/5 correct and I was dismissed as a "lucky coin."  I have done other blind ID tests at Harman and did very well. But beyond that, I've been reviewing for 20 plus years. I have a track record that speaks for itself. The people here who think reviews in Stereophile are just spouted opinions don't read the magazine and so don't understand it.

When I write a review, I try to describe how something sounds, not whether or not I like it. Whether or not I like something is meaningless. What something sounds like is what's important. I try to describe it using commonly accepted terms: "bright" or "dark," or "muffled" or whatever. And we measure the gear after the review is written. So if I write that a speaker is bright and it's rolled off, or if I write the speaker has clean, extended bass down to 20Hz and it measures lumpy, with a 50Hz boost and a sharp drop below that, well I won't have much credibility for long. So I've been doing this for 20 plus years and for the most part, the sound I describe with great specificity is what the measurements show.

The point of a review is to give people an indication if something might be a product they would be interested in owning. It's not about telling them what to buy. It's about fairly general sonic character plus of course, what it is, how it's made, etc. And more than that, it's about communicating how one listens and what one listens for. It's also about music and it's also about writing in an entertaining way. Yes, it's about entertainment too.

So I'm not planning on spending time "proving" my listening abilities to people who don't believe observational reviewing has any value in the first place. I know they will find ways to discredit the results should I "pass" their test. That's what's happened before and it won't change.

I suspect the majority of the skeptics here (most of whom sound incredibly bitter) have never really heard a high quality audio rig. The guy from Gizmodo certainly hadn't but he had bought into the  general themes  of this site and was fully expecting to sit down in front of a loud, garish, sonic nightmare. Instead he heard music and to a great degree, an absence of "hi-fi."  It wasn't at all what he was expecting and I think that most of the cynics here would be equally pleasantly surprised.

My favorite posts here are bitter ones about how much "misinformation" was in the Gizmodo story because the guy described a great listening experience. How pathetic to call a writer's enthusiastic response to a listening experience "misinformation."
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 24 April, 2009, 06:59:10 PM
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.


  I am totally speechless. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance.


Cry: you're believing a total liar. Krueger lied. No such encounter ever occurred.


Michael is correct. The argument between Arny Krueger and Michael Fremer occurred after the debate I organized at HE2005. It concerned the ABX tests in which Michael and I took part at an early 1990s AES Convention in Los Angeles. Mr. Krueger was not present at those tests. While voices were indeed raised, including Mr. Krueger's, no-one had to be forcibly restrained. To be charitable to Mr. Krueger, his memory must be colored. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 24 April, 2009, 07:06:21 PM
Absence of hiss doesn't necessarily equal good sound....

Yet if all other factors are equal, does a lower noise floor, and, thus, a greater possible dynamic range, equal good sound, in your opinion? Isn't hiss a detractor to achieving good sound? If so, why is vinyl central to any fidelity-oriented pursuit?

Don't you see? Krueger is rational and scientic..until you issue the slighest bit of a challenge to his orthodoxy Then he goes for the personal attack.

I didn't really challenge his beliefs, or at least I don't feel as if I did. He went for the jugular for reasons I don't fully understand, but I'd prefer he explained why (if he ever intends to do so). I don't mean to be too coarse here, but I'm not particularly interested in your thoughts on the matter.

Am I "wrong" in preferring analog to digital?

Not at all. There's no "wrong" in individual preference. You may very well prefer lying on a bed of nails rather than a memory foam mattress, for instance, and nobody should have any particular issue with that (other than having concern for the well-being of your skin, of course).

The issue, however, is the perpetration of the myth that all forms of analog media, such as the vinyl record, are superior to any form of digital media, such as the CD or the SACD. If such a myth had knees, the proper course of action would be to take a sledgehammer to them: I feel the perpetration of this myth is really that dangerous to the pursuit of "sonic excellence".

I mean, as the article says, you drove around with a bumper sticker that read "COMPACT DISCS SUCK". We're to believe that this was intended to be merely an expression of your own opinion?

I'm in very good company with many, many top recording engineers who prefer to record and listen on analog gear...so please tell me where I'm "wrong" as opposed to having an opinion that differs from yours.

And I can assemble a large number of people who believe the United States faked the Apollo moon landings. That's a "fair" belief, and I won't attack those who hold it (unless they invite me to), but it speaks nothing to the actual historical reality of the Apollo missions and what was accomplished during those years.

This is not a matter of one's opinion but another matter entirely.

Cry: you're believing a total liar. Krueger lied. No such encounter ever occurred.

Have you met Krueger, though? Is that much true?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 07:16:01 PM
The vinyl vs. digital debate really is telling: for instance Roy Halee, who engineered  many classical music albums for Columbia in the 1960s and is best known for recording all of the great Simon and Garfunkel albums along with Bob Dylan, The Byrds, The Lovin' Spoonful and many others certainly knows what a master tape sounds like---better than anyone here I'm sure--and what does he prefer? Vinyl. He's an analog guy. He doesn't like CD sound and he's of course dismissive of compressed audio formats. He's to be taken seriously, I assure you.


Of course Mr. Engineer From the 60s gets to prefer vinyl, after all, it *does* usually sound different from CD.  So?  Let's leave aside that the guy may have some emotional ties to the medium (d'ya think?).  In terms of signal in/signal out, it's a less accurate medium in the audible band.  But some people like its particular euphonic distortions.  Some people like the 'warmth' of some tube amps too.  Given that, what gives you the yarbles to diss people don't find the supposed 'sound' of mp3s objectionable?    (let's leave aside too, the choice of vinyl as an alternative to the use of heinous amounts of compression on CDs , which of course you know is a production CHOICE, not an inherent part of anything digital. We can leave that aside because you've and your ilk have been blowing your tiresome 'analog' trumpet since the first CDs were released, long before the loudness wars began)

Mr. Fremer, I realize this is the way you roll, and I'm afraid it doesn't fly. I assure you, I couldn't care less about THIS particular argument from authority: "Mr. Famous Recording Engineer says digital just can't match vinyl".  I've seen too many audio 'engineers' make absurd, scientifically *wrong* claims about digital and about comparison methods, to take them at their word *simply on the basis of their jobs as knob-pushers*.  Now, if they also happen to show technical acumen as regards digital --- like, say, Bob Katz -- then I take them waaay more seriously.  And of course there's the strong probability that you couldn't tell a Redbook recording from an LP, from the LP itself, in a fair comparison.  Which kinda blows the whole 'digital can't match an LP ' argument right out of the water.  (And that's even making sure the LP was properly *demagnetized* first.)

Quote
When I read some of the self-satisfied wise guys here, who purport to be "objective," I have to laugh. They are every bit as narcissistic and self-satisfied as they accuse "audiophiles" of being. I think there's a level of self-loathing going on here that's in need of some study!


Pointing and laughing at you is 'self-loathing'...check.

Quote
In every field and/or hobby, there are enthusiasts...for cars, wine, watches, whatever. The greater the enthusiasm, the better in those fields. No one tries to "prove" all cars drive alike or "measure the same," yet when it comes to audio, there's this rear guard, as exemplified on this site, that spends it's time mocking enthusiasts, and reducing everything to a very low common denominator. When I read people here actually mocking the idea of a holographic soundstage, I know they have allowed their orthodoxy to deprive them of a really incredible experience. The kid who came to do the Gizmodo story was all set to write a mocking story....then he sat down and I put on a record. That's all I did....it took him two minutes to realize what he was hearing was amazing! It was sensory overload great and not to be denied....so he wrote about it that way and look at some of the responses here. I'm sorry, but there's something wrong when a site about audio throws out such condescension and ugliness about someone else's enthusiasm. He heard what he heard and someone posts it's "misinformation?"  I don't get it.....



Oh, look, there's the *car* analogy.    It must be *that time* in the debate.   

You're part of what's wrong with this hobby, not what's right.


You are beyond crabby but I really enjoy having pushed your buttons so you can throw your little hissy fit and prove that you are incapable of having a discussion without hurling insults and personal attacks. I hope you enjoyed showing that beneath the thin veneer of "objectivity" and "rationality" is a nasty, angry, emotional child.

I never said anything about anyone liking or not liking MP3s other than me. I don't like them. I did not cast any 'yarbles' about anyone else's preferences. That's your projection.

I know Bob Katz pretty well and we are more in agreement about many things than not but when we don't agree it never descends into the kind of tiny minded crap that you're spewing.

In Roy's opinion, the record sounds closer to the master tape than does the CD and of course his opinion doesn't count because he's old and especially because it differs from yours. But I can also point you in the direction of younger engineers with the same opinion and again, you'll have another snippy answer, and then top your "rational" response with a nasty personal insult---like many of the posters here have done. 

Yes, some people do like "euphonic" distortions but that has nothing to do with the fact that CDs aren't transparent to the source and have never been and most of the knowledgeable engineer I know don't claim it is (there I go again citing recording engineers). 

You are what's wrong about this site. You are everything you claim not to be. Buh bye




Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 24 April, 2009, 07:38:23 PM
...I have a track record that speaks for itself. The people here who think reviews in Stereophile are just spouted opinions don't read the magazine and so don't understand it...


Well, that all sounds a lot less lunatic than you have been pictured here. Still this simple criticism stays unanswered:

My contention But as a judicious man you will surely understand that it seems highly suspicious, when somebody who should review the sound of a product, insists this wouldn't be possible properly if he wasn't allowed to use his eyes.


There has been so much research about how easily an ear can be fooled by optical anticipation, slight difference of volume, etc. For example, an amp A with 0.6db higher output volume than B will sound richer to most ears (while both can appear to deliver the same volume)... But you will know all that.

The question remains: when it is so easy to apply at least some basic scientific methodology and exclude those influences, why are you still neglecting it?

That is suspicious to any critical observer. Not that I think that there is a great conspiracy or that you intentionally fool your customers - but employing scientific testing approaches would just severely limit your possibilities of "literary expression", and I think that is why you are omitting them.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 07:50:07 PM
Absence of hiss doesn't necessarily equal good sound....

Yet if all other factors are equal, does a lower noise floor, and, thus, a greater possible dynamic range, equal good sound, in your opinion? Isn't hiss a detractor to achieving good sound? If so, why is vinyl central to any fidelity-oriented pursuit?

I have never said vinyl is "central" to any fidelity-oriented pursuit. It's just my preference and that of many others. Hiss is not a good thing but neither does it destroy good sound. If you remember in the early days of CD engineers were so determined to remove hiss from analog recordings, they took way a good deal of the HF information too. Later remasterings left it in and most observers agreed the results sounded better. Hiss is what it is. Recordings are flawed, regardless of the medium. Choose your poison. A lower noise floor does equal wider dynamic range but so does increasing bits from 20 to 24 and higher resolution digital sounds better than 16 bit/44.1K sampled digital. Look, when the first digital rock recording was issued (Ry Cooder's "Bop 'til you Drop") was issued I was at the record store when it opened. I had every reason to love it. I was well prepped for no hiss, no scrape flutter etc. Unfortunately that record sounded terrible in ways I'd never heard before. Ry Cooder himself ended up thinking the same thing--and it wasn't the microphones...so I waited for the CD and the first demo I heard was awful. It was an album I was very familiar with: Roxy Music's "Avalon." This was an AES demo before there was a real CD player. It sounded awful! I figured it was early in the technology and people would say "ugh, that's bad, but it will get better." Instead, they said "Wow, that's great!"  That's when I made my bumper sticker. I'm not anti-digital and CD technology has improved greatly: better filters, lower jitter, etc. as the technology matured but i still think it's second rate compared to good vinyl...that's my opinion.


Am I "wrong" in preferring analog to digital?

Not at all. There's no "wrong" in individual preference. You may very well prefer lying on a bed of nails rather than a memory foam mattress, for instance, and nobody should have any particular issue with that (other than having concern for the well-being of your skin, of course).

The issue, however, is the perpetration of the myth that all forms of analog media, such as the vinyl record, are superior to any form of digital media, such as the CD or the SACD. If such a myth had knees, the proper course of action would be to take a sledgehammer to them: I feel the perpetration of this myth is really that dangerous to the pursuit of "sonic excellence".

I mean, as the article says, you drove around with a bumper sticker that read "COMPACT DISCS SUCK". We're to believe that this was intended to be merely an expression of your own opinion?

That was 1983! The CDs I heard sounded awful. Worse, the reaction to clearly awful sound was positive. There's always a technological learning curve. I was against bad sound being declared good. I have never said all forms of analog media are superior to any form of digital media. Never! I've been an SACD enthusiast from the beginning. Had CDs been 96/24 from the beginning I would have been supportive but to watch the entire history of recorded sound up until 1984 or so being transferred to an inferior, barely adequate digital format was alarming. The great recording engineer Robert Fine addressed the AES in the 1960s I believe and implored his fellow engineers to not accept a digital format unless and until it could sample 100K...I think he was correct.


I'm in very good company with many, many top recording engineers who prefer to record and listen on analog gear...so please tell me where I'm "wrong" as opposed to having an opinion that differs from yours.

And I can assemble a large number of people who believe the United States faked the Apollo moon landings. That's a "fair" belief, and I won't attack those who hold it (unless they invite me to), but it speaks nothing to the actual historical reality of the Apollo missions and what was accomplished during those years.

This is not a matter of one's opinion but another matter entirely.


I never tell anyone they are "wrong" for preferring anything. I think good vinyl playback sounds far more like live music than good CD playback. That's just my opinion. No one who thinks otherwise is right or wrong...these are subjective opinions. That's all.

Cry: you're believing a total liar. Krueger lied. No such encounter ever occurred.

Have you met Krueger, though? Is that much true?


Krueger was at the AES where I got the 5/5 identifications correct. That part is true....that's the only part.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 07:56:18 PM
...I have a track record that speaks for itself. The people here who think reviews in Stereophile are just spouted opinions don't read the magazine and so don't understand it...


Well, that all sounds a lot less lunatic than you have been pictured here. Still this simple criticism stays unanswered:

My contention But as a judicious man you will surely understand that it seems highly suspicious, when somebody who should review the sound of a product, insists this wouldn't be possible properly if he wasn't allowed to use his eyes.


I never said it would be impossible! Nor that it might be preferable. It's just not practical.

There has been so much research about how easily an ear can be fooled by optical anticipation, slight difference of volume, etc. For example, an amp A with 0.6db higher output volume than B will sound richer to most ears (while both can appear to deliver the same volume)... But you will know all that.

The question remains: when it is so easy to apply at least some basic scientific methodology and exclude those influences, why are you still neglecting it?

It is not so easy to apply scientific methodology given what we do. We insert a piece of gear into our system and describe what it sounds like. That's the job. If you don't think there's any value to that, fine. Tens of thousand of people do, especially because when they buy something that's what they do! No doubt there are pitfalls to what I do...but when most engineers can't hear the difference between a tube amp and a solid state amp on a double blind test, when the differences are obvious, clearly there are pitfalls there too!

That is suspicious to any critical observer. Not that I think that there is a great conspiracy or that you intentionally fool your customers - but employing scientific testing approaches would just severely limit your possibilities of "literary expression", and I think that is why you are omitting them.



It would be impossible and impractical to employ scientific testing approaches to this or to do "double blind" automobile tests! You know it's a Farrari when you get in to drive it.... THERE I GO AGAIN WITH THE CAR ANALOGIES...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 24 April, 2009, 08:12:36 PM
It would be impossible and impractical to employ scientific testing approaches to this or to do "double blind" automobile tests! You know it's a Farrari when you get in to drive it.... THERE I GO AGAIN WITH THE CAR ANALOGIES...


Volume matching two amps' outputs with either a decibel or volt meter before each test run: 60 seconds of extra effort, more objective results, no other drawbacks.

Not seeing a device while evaluating it requires either a patient intern to assist or a switching device. Stereophile may be able afford both at your discretion.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 24 April, 2009, 08:13:07 PM
It would be impossible and impractical to employ scientific testing approaches to this or to do "double blind" automobile tests! You know it's a Farrari when you get in to drive it.... THERE I GO AGAIN WITH THE CAR ANALOGIES...


I don't buy this argument- a car's performance can indeed be scientifically measured. Or are you advocating style over substance?

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 24 April, 2009, 08:19:21 PM
Krueger was at the AES where I got the 5/5 identifications correct. That part is true....that's the only part.


I don't believe so, Michael. It was David Clark aided by Tom Nousaine, if I remember correctly. Arny Krueger isn't an AES member and doesn't attend the conventions.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 24 April, 2009, 08:27:31 PM
The argument between Arny Krueger and Michael Fremer occurred after the debate I organized at HE2005.


The report on the debate at http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/ (http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/) includes a link to an MP3 of the debate between Mr. Krueger and myself, complete other than the removal of a couple of passages of "dead air." While the recording concludes before the heated discussion between Arny Krueger and Michael Fremer, unfortunately, you can hear Mr. Krueger start screaming at one point, indicating that he was tightly wound up.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 24 April, 2009, 08:51:13 PM
It would be impossible and impractical to employ scientific testing approaches to this or to do "double blind" automobile tests! You know it's a Farrari when you get in to drive it.... THERE I GO AGAIN WITH THE CAR ANALOGIES...


A Ferrari would be an absolutely HORRIBLE car for most people even if it were given to them for free.  If someone gave me some audio gear and proudly told me that it was the equivalent of a Ferrari then I would run far, far away.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 24 April, 2009, 08:59:14 PM
Oh, man. There will be blood on the dance floor when Krueger returns and they clash... 

Put on some nice music, get some popcorn, sit back and enjoy reading!

I'm so glad, that the mods have resisted to close this thread, when it fell off a little earlier. What a priceless ending act for this story! Fremer & Atkinson show up to fight back and kick up their heels.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 24 April, 2009, 09:05:10 PM
Like your taste in cars has got any relevance to anything in this post ... or interests anyone at all.
not to mention I doubt you had ever driven anything remotely resembling a Ferrari.

But hey ,no worries , I get it, that's the theme song here all along isnt it?
People making self indulgent baseless assumptions, accusations, & rants, about people they never met & gear they have never seen.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: B0RK on 24 April, 2009, 09:22:29 PM
Oh, man. There will be blood on the dance floor when Krueger returns and they clash...

Put on some nice music, get some popcorn, sit back and enjoy reading!

I'm so glad, that the mods have resisted to close this thread, when it fell off a little earlier. What a priceless ending act for this story! Fremer & Atkinson show up to fight back and kick up their heels.


Yeah I bet youre glad.
for you, it's another relentless flaming thread.

The fact that you & the Lossy Forever crue marked HA as a Hateful bunch of degenerate wackos in front of the entire world means little to you.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 24 April, 2009, 09:26:12 PM
I'm so glad, that the mods have resisted to close this thread, when it fell off a little earlier. What a priceless ending act for this story! Fremer & Atkinson show up to fight back and kick up their heels.


Agreed. This thread is getting interesting.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 24 April, 2009, 09:30:01 PM
for you, it's another relentless flaming thread.

The fact that you & the Lossy Forever crue marked HA as a Hateful bunch of degenerate wackos in front of the entire world means little to you.


So speaks one of the most active flamers of this thread. What do you see, when you look into the mirror?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 24 April, 2009, 09:30:28 PM
People making self indulgent baseless assumptions, accusations, & rants, about people they never met & gear they have never seen.


I can smell the irony here...  Again, you might also need to take a look in the mirror.

The fact that you & the Lossy Forever crue marked HA as a Hateful bunch of degenerate wackos in front of the entire world means little to you.


I didn't realize that the "entire world" visits hydrogenaudio on a daily basis.  I also didn't realize that defending lossy audio encoding against someone making claims without proper backup (as agreed upon with the Terms Of Service) was being part of "the Lossy Forever crue."  Then again, us here stupid cult members just don't understand that many big words and get all up and bothered when fancy city folk come in here using fancy vokabularie.

Edit:
rpp3po, you beat me to it by a few seconds.  Damn!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 24 April, 2009, 09:37:25 PM
The fact that you & the Lossy Forever crue marked HA as a Hateful bunch of degenerate wackos in front of the entire world means little to you.


It is you who is calling people this. The members here understand that lossy and lossless both have their uses. We are still waiting for you answer to greynol's questions:

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....mp;#entry629029 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=71245&st=225&p=629029&#entry629029)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: kornchild2002 on 24 April, 2009, 09:49:07 PM
Yeah, I guess users like rpp3po, guruboolez (look here (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=58724&hl=) and here (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=38792&hl=)), and a good majority of other people here on hydrogenaudio are nothing but stupid kids part of some cult.  Great way to make your point after complaining about people slinging mud.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 24 April, 2009, 10:03:27 PM
Like your taste in cars has got any relevance to anything in this post ... or interests anyone at all. not to mention I doubt you had ever driven anything remotely resembling a Ferrari.

And of what relevance to this thread are your doubts?

If you're still keeping an eye on things Michael, I'll have a response for you once I finish my workout. I've learned my lesson about trying to make long-winded posts in between sets, so I won't bother 'til I'm finished
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 24 April, 2009, 10:04:27 PM
I was challenged, I took the challenge, I got 5/5 correct and I was dismissed as a "lucky coin."  I have done other blind ID tests at Harman and did very well. But beyond that, I've been reviewing for 20 plus years. I have a track record that speaks for itself. The people here who think reviews in Stereophile are just spouted opinions don't read the magazine and so don't understand it.


At Hydrogenaudio, people are reporting ABX results practically every week.  It's interesting how you and Atkinson keep recycling the same one or two rather-less-than-robust tests --  5/5 and 4/5? seriously? That's supposed to bowl us over here?  -- involving a tube amp, no less.  You seem to think these prove that ALL your absurd claims of difference are likely to be accurate.  If you'd ever done it consistently, with more robust stats (like, say, 16 trials), and more different solid-state amps, it might have some traction.  As it stands, it hasn't much...except among the flooby faithful you sell your nonsense to.

In short...your performance was *not good enough* for science, or for HA, Mr. Fremer.

Quote
When I write a review, I try to describe how something sounds, not whether or not I like it. Whether or not I like something is meaningless. What something sounds like is what's important. I try to describe it using commonly accepted terms: "bright" or "dark," or "muffled" or whatever. And we measure the gear after the review is written. So if I write that a speaker is bright and it's rolled off, or if I write the speaker has clean, extended bass down to 20Hz and it measures lumpy, with a 50Hz boost and a sharp drop below that, well I won't have much credibility for long. So I've been doing this for 20 plus years and for the most part, the sound I describe with great specificity is what the measurements show.


No one here is saying different loudspeakers don't have 'sound' of their own, for pity's sake.  'Bright'; and 'dark' certainly should have some measurable meaning for loudspeakers.  But have you seriously tested the correlation between your review reports, and the measurements, over a meaningful sample?  Audio reviewers didn't do notably well in Sean Olive's blind speaker evaluations.  Like 'civilians', they tended to be signficantly influenced by non-audible factors  (appearance, price, hype).  Preferences were all over the map, until the tests were done blind...and then the preference tended towards certain common characteristics

Quote
So I'm not planning on spending time "proving" my listening abilities to people who don't believe observational reviewing has any value in the first place. I know they will find ways to discredit the results should I "pass" their test. That's what's happened before and it won't change.


You'll ignore critiques based on good research practice.  Yes, I understand that, that's why I say you're part of the problem, not the solution. 

Quote
I suspect the majority of the skeptics here (most of whom sound incredibly bitter)


Michael 'angry teapot' Fremer calling us bitter...well, the laffs just keep coming.   


Quote
have never really heard a high quality audio rig.



Ah, blow it out your ass, Fremer (but only within the HA Terms of Service, of course).  I've listened in 'high end' audio rooms.  So have other 'skeptics'.  Your problem is you can't deal with the fact that 'high quality audio' is pretty much a commodity at the electronic delivery end (preamps, amps, CDPs) , the main bottlenecks being, as it has been for decades, the quality/number/setup of loudspeakers, the quality of the recordings, and the acoustics of the room.

Quote
The guy from Gizmodo certainly hadn't but he had bought into the  general themes  of this site and was fully expecting to sit down in front of a loud, garish, sonic nightmare. Instead he heard music and to a great degree, an absence of "hi-fi."  It wasn't at all what he was expecting and I think that most of the cynics here would be equally pleasantly surprised.


No one here -- or at least not I -- says your rig couldn't sound great.  Vinyl can sound great; so can CD; so can mp3s.  Since, as I said above , the main determinants of first-rate sound today are the loudspeakers, the room, and the recording itself, why wouldn't they?  I don't covet your room, or your gear, your recordings, or your inability to read, as witnessed by this outburst:


Quote
My favorite posts here are bitter ones about how much "misinformation" was in the Gizmodo story because the guy described a great listening experience. How pathetic to call a writer's enthusiastic response to a listening experience "misinformation."



The misinformation wasn't in that the guy reported hearing good sound.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Woodinville on 24 April, 2009, 10:10:21 PM
One of the ironies here is that my understanding of the MP3's development is that it was based on A/B testing and that "useless" data (masked by other information) could be thrown away with no penalty paid until the file was small enough to be easily sent on the Internet or stored on less than huge storage media. So at each A/B, "no difference," but in the end, "huge difference." That's one of the dangers of over-reliance on A/B methodology in my opinion.



No, Michael, that is not how MP3 or any other perceptual audio coder was designed OR implimented.

Please go to www.aes.org/sections/pnw/ppt.htm and pick up the "perceptual audio coding" tutorial, where you will find 90 or so slides that may help you understand the actual proceed of design of any perceptual coder, MP3, AAC (both of which I had a great part in designing) or otherwise.

What's more, your comment about A/B testing is puzzling, as an A/B test, without it being double-blind or a cognate method, would not be any more useful than any other kind of test. In fact, I'm not even sure of what you mean by 'A/B' test, because the tests used for threshold determination in the 1930's and 1940's, which is what the "psychoacoustic model 2" from MP3 was actually designed from, were done in what is now called "signal detection" testing.  A/B testing, in the rare cases when it is used, is a "same/difference" test.  As any A/B test does not provide a signal anchor, no practitioner would regard it as particularly useless for threshold testing, and in any case, the data that MP3 (and AAC) were designed from was not gathered by that method.

The psychoacoustic models in MP3, etc, are gathered from 100+ years of knowlege on how the human auditory system works, knowlege that has been tested and verified over and over.

Now that does not mean a low-rate MP3 is perfect, of course it is not, BECAUSE A LOW RATE MP3 does not code signals BELOW THE CALCULATED THRESHOLD or anything like that.  In short, the codec knows before it even sends the data that "this is not going to be transparent".  Now, personally, I am very much not fond of using such rates for transmission and storage, but I've lost taht battle long ago, and many people persist in using low rate coding.

For my thoughts on that, read the last few slides in the tutorial I point out above, which say, roughly, "don't use two coders in series" (eww!) and "don't use any coding unless you must".
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 24 April, 2009, 10:26:02 PM
Cry: you're believing a total liar. Krueger lied. No such encounter ever occurred.

Have you met Krueger, though? Is that much true?


As John Atkinson wrote, Arny and MF were both certainly at the HE2005 debate (MF in the audience, Arny onstage).  I might add that the atmosphere was notably anti-DBT.  Mr. Atkinson was typically polite, Arny typically made no attempt to endear himself to the audience.  IIRC mine was the only remotely 'challenging' question to the anti-DBT side (Atkinson) -- possibly the only question to him at all; all of the other questionsI recall  were directed at Arny, with varying degrees of condescension, incredulity, or hostility.

I can't say what happened afterwards between AK and MF from personal witness, as I was mainly talking to Tom Nousaine at the other end of the large-ish room.  I did introduce myself to Arny at some point, and do recall MF being in the vicinity then, and later hearing some audience buzz about 'words' having been exchanged between him and MF, but if a physical brawl almost broke out, it was a pretty local and well-damped one ;>
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 24 April, 2009, 10:27:36 PM
Like your taste in cars has got any relevance to anything in this post ... or interests anyone at all.
not to mention I doubt you had ever driven anything remotely resembling a Ferrari.

But hey ,no worries , I get it, that's the theme song here all along isnt it?
People making self indulgent baseless assumptions, accusations, & rants, about people they never met & gear they have never seen.


I think this is very relevant because as a metaphor it outlines the different mindsets at play fairly effectively.  What are the things that we can all agree on as being true regarding Ferraris?  They look cool (although I would say they do so in kind of a mid-eighties acid-washed, Bon Jovi cranking, poofy hair kinda way).  They go fast.  They are expensive.  However, if my objective is simply to drive in Atlanta traffic from my house to Target, pick up a bag of dog food, some gray crew socks, Thank You notes, Arm&Hammer toothpaste and the new Prince album and then drive back home then would a Ferrari do a better job accomplishing this objective than the 2003 Honda Civic that I currently own?  Even if you take the retail prices of the two cars entirely out of the equation then the cost to drive, maintain and insure the Ferrari so outstrips that of the Civic that there is really no way the Ferrari is a better choice.  It seems to me that most people who either own or covet such expensive novelty vehicles do not do so for their supreme usefulness and real world functionality, but because of their perceived value as status symbols. 

I feel much the same way about the high end audio market that I do about Ferraris:  expensive toys for people with more money than common sense.  Even if I had the means to indulge in such things, I wouldn't bother because I consider them woefully impractical and wasteful.  I would rather expend my resources on that which meets my needs in the cleanest, most efficient and cost effective way possible.  That doesn't mean I'm willing to skimp, compromise, or settle for less than I really want because that wouldn't constitute "meeting my needs". 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 24 April, 2009, 10:48:49 PM
You are beyond crabby but I really enjoy having pushed your buttons so you can throw your little hissy fit and prove that you are incapable of having a discussion without hurling insults and personal attacks. I hope you enjoyed showing that beneath the thin veneer of "objectivity" and "rationality" is a nasty, angry, emotional child.



You seem to have a habit of interpreting amusement and sarcasm at your expense as 'hissy anger'.  And now I recall too why I thought you fancied yourself a psychiatrist   

To the extent I'm mad, it's that the mainstream media --and now some bloggers -- take the likes of you seriously on audio matters, when there are *real*  experts out there who've done the hard work of separating fact from fancy.  It's like what Gordon Holt said about the high-end:  you and your ilk are more noise than signal, and to that extent, you provide a pointless diversion from real progress in consumer audio.  Fortunately, the people making the real advances there tend not to take you seriously either.


Quote
In Roy's opinion, the record sounds closer to the master tape than does the CD and of course his opinion doesn't count because he's old and especially because it differs from yours. But I can also point you in the direction of younger engineers with the same opinion and again, you'll have another snippy answer, and then top your "rational" response with a nasty personal insult---like many of the posters here have done.


I'm perfectly aware that there are young and old 'engineers' who prefer vinyl. My rational response is that I don't care what they like, I only care what claims they make, as public 'authorities' on my hobby, about why the sound is 'better'...claims that are frequently dubious technically, and which they're making from sighted evaluations, a method researchers young, old, and in between will tell you is useless for distinguishing fact from belief.

Quote
Yes, some people do like "euphonic" distortions but that has nothing to do with the fact that CDs aren't transparent to the source and have never been and most of the knowledgeable engineer I know don't claim it is (there I go again citing recording engineers).

You are what's wrong about this site. You are everything you claim not to be. Buh bye


This is like an creationist telling a biologist he's everything that's wrong with science.  In other words, a badge of honor... thanks!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 24 April, 2009, 10:54:42 PM
I'm so glad, that the mods have resisted to close this thread, when it fell off a little earlier. What a priceless ending act for this story! Fremer & Atkinson show up to fight back and kick up their heels.


I suspect we got 'BORKED' 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 24 April, 2009, 11:01:22 PM
The only proper backup you have is from kids like rpp3po dude , wake up from your nightmare.


No, BORK.  This site has been around for awhile.  There's plenty of documentation of both 'postive' and 'negative' ABX results here.

The fact is, DBT methods *work* for improving audio.

In fact one of the creators of MP3 , who can certainly vouch for what I just wrote, has now contributed to this thread.  His screen name's Woodinville.  You could learn a thing or two from him. 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 24 April, 2009, 11:32:22 PM
I have never said vinyl is "central" to any fidelity-oriented pursuit. It's just my preference and that of many others.

Fair enough.

Hiss is not a good thing but neither does it destroy good sound. If you remember in the early days of CD engineers were so determined to remove hiss from analog recordings, they took way a good deal of the HF information too.

I wasn't around in any meaningful capacity during the advent of the CD, though I don't doubt engineers probably sought ways to eradicate noise as best they could to exhibit the CD's (near) total lack of noise. Thankfully, the methods we use for noise reduction today are much more intelligent and far less damaging to high frequency information (when used appropriately), but I digress.

...higher resolution digital sounds better than 16 bit/44.1K sampled digital.

I feel this is skirting TOS #8 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3974#entry149481) (others may feel you're breaking #8 with this statement).

I'm not anti-digital and CD technology has improved greatly...but i still think it's second rate compared to good vinyl...that's my opinion.

A fair opinion. Now, for a slew of questions you're free to ignore, if you wish: To what qualities do you attribute vinyl's superiority? Similarly, how do you define the CD's "second-rateness" in comparison to vinyl? Do you feel a digital recording of a vinyl record can retain these qualities or that there are technical barriers to that? If so, do you feel that's possible at 16/44.1 or only at higher bit depths and/or sample rates or only with delta-sigma modulation?

You also claimed earlier that CDs "aren't transparent to the source and have never been" (implying 16/44.1 can never achieve transparency to the source, correct?). If by transparency you mean perceptual transparency, do you have appreciable evidence to back up such a claim? The "fact" that other unknown "recording engineers" share a similar mindset is not in any way a valid form of evidence here.

The great recording engineer Robert Fine addressed the AES in the 1960s I believe and implored his fellow engineers to not accept a digital format unless and until it could sample 100K...I think he was correct.

Do you mean sample at 100 kHz or be able to retain audio information up 100 kHz? Do you recall what the reasoning was? (and is that still relevant today?)

Krueger was at the AES where I got the 5/5 identifications correct. That part is true....that's the only part.

Well, given the nature of these conflicting stories, I can only assume that neither accounts are truly accurate...not that my "position" has any bearing on anything, of course.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 24 April, 2009, 11:34:21 PM
Well fine thoughts expressed indeed .

But I still think the other side of the coin deserves some thread space ,so there I go:

I Still feel too many people are a bit light on the trigger regarding
Fremer's view , & audiophiles in general .. (Wait a minute .. Arent we some breed of Audiophiles as well ? )

If I may state things boldly, it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, ..

But the notion of skeptics with iPod earbuds is a straw man.


I have nothing but utter respect & gratitude to all the amazing people here & elsewhere that push great audio forward, with Engineers way high in the ranks, but I wouldn't bundle Engineers & innovators with skeptics , if you know what I mean.

So I fear in the global scheme of things ,Skeptics with iPod earbuds (Hey sounds like a good title for a punk band  ) are a tad thicker then a straw ..

Lossy Audio has mutated from it's specialty niche economy playback format into the defacto standard & changed the music world ,& probably MUSIC forever, & not for the better.

I feel that people like Fremer ,try in their own way & methods, to preach this sermon,
I am hopeful it will turn around, maybe the HD trend will help.

it is we - the skeptics, audio engineers, and others on this board and elsewhere - who are becoming the true arbiters of good sound, by helping ensure it is most available at lowest cost.Bingo.


While you may feel that is true , & we are talking lossy audio here ..
that's a half truth to say the least.

At least regarding lossy audio.
If Lossy audio had an effect on cost (aside from 'Free' Music)
is it made what should have been considered standard, respectable audio gear by (way back) yesterday's standard ,wear a HIGH END PRODUCT sticker, killing the part of the industry we consumers need the most , the mid priced gear , by having shot it's right to exist with a generation of music lovers growing up with a veiled reference of what true sound is, essentially causing the prices for decent gear to go UP, not down.

The idea of having a $300,000+ hi-fi playback system that revolves around a record player is, to me, completely counter-intuitive.


For those who missed this era , here's some background.

Fremer, Like Some of us , has been through the big promise of Digital & the move to CDs.
I have been through it too.
The PROMISE.
The bunch of pure lies that surrounded the CD launch.
The arguments with friends about the first heard cd versions in comparison with the LPs & even tapes of the material still echo in my head.

Oh & Let's not forget the Greatest Audio Marketing Line / Joke Of All Time ,
that never wears off in trigerring my blood pressureon so many of our cds:

"The music on this Compact Disc was originally recorded on analog equipment. We have attempted to preserve, as closely as possible, the sound of the original recording. Because of its high resolution, however, the Compact Disc can reveal limitations of the source tape."

If you have been there , you know what I mean ,& it worked.
Lol at some stage everyone was getting rid of their Records like the plague.

Fremer won't forgive.
Many of us that lost their record collection because of it & rebought their record Collection on CDs, only to find out the jittery truth afterwards, still feel the pain, now more then ever.

When the 'New' Change Came ,& people were told:
"You know , we have done some research, turns out CDs are just not as good as we assumed,  Here's a SACD for ya , now give me your credit card"
they were shown the door instead.

So I sure get it.
for All these people, like Fremer, only NOW, true HD recordings can compete, but maybe too little too late.



Many good points made here about my position. I was all for digital recording when it was first introduced. Everything about it seemed to be advantageous. Unfortunately the sound wasn't one of them in those early days and letting the sound quality slip in service of high tech struck me as a poor choice. It was a huge step backwards sonically. In fact, it made listening to music unpleasant for me so I spoke up. At that time all I had done was supervised an Academy Award nominated soundtrack but despite being a nobody, I said something.

High resolution digital is a huge improvement. Why people bother with compressed audio when storage is cheap and broadband is fast, is a mystery. It's some kind of dorky electronic 'conservationist' fetish I guess, like listening to vinyl---which for some reason that I understand quite well, is the only format to show any growth last year, particularly among young people...


However, too many people here simply can't read: I have thousands of CDs that I listen to. I have every iPod ever invented. Yet no matter what I say, I am stereotyped as someone who "hates digital," or who "doesn't listen to digital," or whatever, by people who are happier to attack me for something I am not. Whatever. One of the most hilarious aspects of all of this (aside from the romper room mentality that's pervasive here among so-called rationalists) is that unlike video where there is a standard (the ATSC video standard to which all monitors are supposed to be adjusted), there is no audio standard. Every mixing room uses different speakers. Every engineer has his or her particular favorite speaker used for mixing. Every recording sounds different because just about every recording is mixed on a different system and there is no standard.

So a video producer will be using a monitor that's been calibrated to the ATSC standard and hopefully one that can perform up to that standard. All monitors can be tested against that common standard. There's no such thing in audio. Mixing and mastering rooms use whatever speakers the mixers and mastering guys prefer. Results vary. So really, I'm not sure exactly what "standard" is being applied here except for the straightjacket of A/B/X testing. If spending your time doing A/B/X testing is what you like to do, knock yourself out. 

If you think that's leading audio to become better, well I think you're deluding yourself. It's doing just the opposite. If attacking me gives you a thrill, well knock yourselves out. I really couldn't give a shit. I'm outta here. Nice talking with some of you. However, some of you are really among the bitterest, arrogant, condescending  assholes I've ever encountered online or anywhere else....

I'm having too much fun doing what I do to get bogged down here....and I hear from too many people who have found what I write useful for them in their own quest for better sound and an improved musical experience to worry about what's said here....so buh bye! Now talk amongst yourselves...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Light-Fire on 24 April, 2009, 11:38:15 PM
We all need audiophiles so we can laugh at their absurd comments.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 24 April, 2009, 11:40:33 PM
Quote
If attacking me gives you a thrill, well knock yourselves out. I really couldn't give a shit.

I'm actually still interested in picking your brain a bit, but whatever. This forum does have a feature whereby you can selectively ignore other users if you wish to filter out what you perceive to be "noise", so you might rather just utilize that instead of leaving. You can manage ignored users in your user control panel.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Woodinville on 24 April, 2009, 11:40:35 PM
I'm having too much fun doing what I do to get bogged down here....and I hear from too many people who have found what I write useful for them in their own quest for better sound and an improved musical experience to worry about what's said here....so buh bye! Now talk amongst yourselves...


Well, come back if you actually want to know how DBT tests are actually used, and what they are actually for, ok?

Hint: DBTests are not for determining one's preference. Well, not for most of us.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 24 April, 2009, 11:51:31 PM
So really, I'm not sure exactly what "standard" is being applied here except for the straightjacket of A/B/X testing. If spending your time doing A/B/X testing is what you like to do, knock yourself out.

WELCOME To HydrogenAudio.org! 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: euphonic on 24 April, 2009, 11:54:34 PM
Quote
I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct. The average of all test takers was inconclusive. According to Dr. Stanley Lipschitz, I was a "lucky coin" and my result was tossed.

Now, here's the funny part: among the amps were some steely sounding solid state products including a Crown DC 300 and a very warm sounding VTL tube amp. It was quite easy to hear the difference between those. For one thing, they surely won't measure the same!

So the tube amps coloured (or put less charitably, distorted) the sound, for better or worse depending on taste, and the 5/5 and 4/5 results suggested thus. The question raised earlier on was whether SS amps could be tweaked to simulate tube distortion convincingly enough, but that's a different story.

Quote
What he heard though, absolutely sent him reeling. That's what's in the story. All I did was sit him down and play some tunes. He did the rest. He wanted to hear the high bit rate MP3 version of something I'd played on vinyl and we hooked his iPod player to my system and he heard just how degraded it was by comparison.....

Psychologically, in view of several decades of research into experimenter-induced bias, I'm afraid this doesn't constitute proof at all. Not to mention having to account for different vinyl/CD masterings, MP3 encoders, encoding settings, etc.

Quote
QUOTE (2Bdecided @ Apr 16 2009, 13:41) *
The photographs of that particular listening room are not impressive unless they misrepresent the reality - from what it looks like, I'd want the speakers much further away from the walls, and from everything else. The kind of early reflections I'd expect in that room would seriously damage the magical 3-d sound stage that's claimed to exist.

Cheers,
David.

...There's something incredibly condescending about your post...that you'd think that someone with 30 years of doing this wouldn't know how to deal with a first reflection. I mean really....

"Condescending"? Are we reading the same post, or are you trusting your subjective impressions as usual? (Besides, David R. devised Replaygain and has a doctorate in the field!)

Quote
In the case of that turntable, they obviously don't sell tens of thousands, nor does Ferrari every year. However, it is fabricated from cast magnesium alloy, which is both expensive and difficult to do and it was computer-modeled and designed by serious people, not hobbyists. The R&D cost was quite high. It uses components drawn from the American medical industry that are quite expensive. They do sell all they can make and they have sold far more than the expected to in the first few years. The mark up on exotic audio doesn't come close to watches, for example, but the usual distribution chain has a number of components, each of which gets a 40 to 50 point mark up. It's unfortunate but it's the only way it can work right now...value is in the eyes and ears of the beholder. And in the case of that turntable, made in Australia, in America, for example, they have a technician on call for service anywhere it's needed. The tech's full time job is instrumentation repairs for the military. He's a highly qualified tech. That costs money too. I find this site really

Puffy marketing-speak. See Orwell's "Politics and the English Language" and ask for what "computer-modeled", "designed by serious people, not hobbyists", "uses components drawn from the American medical industry", and "exotic audio" really mean. Just saying the tech works "for the military" (doing what?) doesn't mean anything in itself.

Quote
every field and/or hobby, there are enthusiasts...for cars, wine, watches, whatever. The greater the enthusiasm, the better in those fields. No one tries to "prove" all cars drive alike or "measure the same," yet when it comes to audio, there's this rear guard, as exemplified on this site, that spends it's time mocking enthusiasts, and reducing everything to a very low common denominator.

Apples and oranges. Audio testing is nothing like comparing cars or watches. It relies much more on subjective impressions, which rely on things (emotional state, anticipation, etc) that fluctuate wildly. Speaking of fluctuating wildly, you haven't answered why your review of the Pet Sounds reissue, also one of my favourite albums, changed so much.

Looking at human behaviour and history, we can all agree that humans are profoundly irrational beings who ought not trust our own selves too fully, and should always have some larger frame of reference with which to adjust our bearings. Not all "fields" are equally valid. No less a brain than Isaac Newton spent a few decades later in life exploring alchemy, only to conclude he'd wasted his time.

Quote
being "just as good." I see little value to that. It's taken us to a dead end. I predicted the CD would kill listening to music and I think I was correct. Most people don't listen anymore. We used to sit and listen to music as an activity. Now it's background or heard while doing other things. Why is that? I'd rather have that explored.

So many possible reasons for this. Hypercompression in CD mastering is an obvious one. Also, CDs are less tactile and listeners are less aware of the mechanical nature of playback: no 12" spinning disc, no reminder in the form of pops and clicks. Not to mention being able to play something uninterrupted for far longer than 20-25 min.

Quote
More importantly, when I put on a record, casually, people sit and listen. They close their eyes and drift into it. When I put on a CD, within a few minutes they fidget or they pick something up and look at it or they get up....why is that?

Because of your views, perhaps? They wouldn't want to be on the receiving end of, say, picking one of your many fruity epithets (not bad for a night's work!),
Quote
Thanks for posting a compendium of stupidity.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 25 April, 2009, 12:06:56 AM
Why people bother with compressed audio when storage is cheap


Not when 2-8 GB DAPs are the norm for most people. Both lossy and lossless have their place.

and broadband is fast, is a mystery.


Right , try streaming a lossless file, not everyone have broadband.

I'm having too much fun doing what I do to get bogged down here....and I hear from too many people who have found what I write useful for them in their own quest for better sound and an improved musical experience to worry about what's said here....so buh bye! Now talk amongst yourselves...


I was really looking froward to a civilized debate.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 12:10:29 AM
I wasn't around in any meaningful capacity during the advent of the CD, though I don't doubt engineers probably sought ways to eradicate noise as best they could to exhibit the CD's (near) total lack of noise. Thankfully, the methods we use for noise reduction today are much more intelligent and far less damaging to high frequency information (when used appropriately), but I digress.


As I recall it, in the *early* days of CD, digital NR was virtually nonexistant.  It wasn't until the advent of CEDAR circa 1988 that digital NR began to be widespread -- usually on the first 'remasters' of the original CDs...which ironically were also touted as coming from lower-generation (presumably quieter) source tapes.

Now if, Fremer's saying some cruder means of NR was used from 1983 to the late 80s, it would be interesting to learn what he means, and what releases exemplified the practice.


Quote
...higher resolution digital sounds better than 16 bit/44.1K sampled digital.

I feel this is skirting TOS #8 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=3974#entry149481) (others may feel you're breaking #8 with this statement).


The least of his posts' problems   

Quote
I'm not anti-digital and CD technology has improved greatly...but i still think it's second rate compared to good vinyl...that's my opinion.

A fair opinion.


A 'fair' opinion? Nope, just sincere.  Unless Fremer has good evidence that Redbook *can't* transparently reproduce the output of *vinyl* playback, he's just blowing smoke.


Quote
The great recording engineer Robert Fine addressed the AES in the 1960s I believe and implored his fellow engineers to not accept a digital format unless and until it could sample 100K...I think he was correct.

Do you mean sample at 100 kHz or be able to retain audio information up 100 kHz? Do you recall what the reasoning was? (and is that still relevant today?)


It was forgivable speculation then, unforgivable science fiction now.  You gonna believe recording engineer Robert Fine in 1960, or DAC designer Dan Lavry in 2004? (http://www.lavryengineering.com/documents/Sampling_Theory.pdf)


Quote
Krueger was at the AES where I got the 5/5 identifications correct. That part is true....that's the only part.

Well, given the nature of these conflicting stories, I can only assume that neither accounts are truly accurate...not that my "position" has any bearing on anything, of course.


The truth is that Fremer and Kruger have some history of mutual rancor--mostly online.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 12:33:07 AM
High resolution digital is a huge improvement. Why people bother with compressed audio when storage is cheap and broadband is fast, is a mystery. It's some kind of dorky electronic 'conservationist' fetish I guess, like listening to vinyl---which for some reason that I understand quite well, is the only format to show any growth last year, particularly among young people...


Digital audio downloads --legal and otherwise -- outgrew vinyl by a wide margin.  (Hell, I wonder when downloads of vinyl needledrops will outpace number of LPs actually sold? I can see it happening soon, if it hasn't already) 

Physical formats are becoming a 'boutique' product.  And I have to wonder if today's young vinyl virgins will simply reiterate the cycle of vinyl-to-digital that their (grand)parents went through, as they get older....and vinyl stops being 'new' to them.

Quote
However, too many people here simply can't read: I have thousands of CDs that I listen to. I have every iPod ever invented. Yet no matter what I say, I am stereotyped as someone who "hates digital," or who "doesn't listen to digital," or whatever, by people who are happier to attack me for something I am not. Whatever.


It's fair to say you dismiss CD and lossy encodes and blind testing -- it's also fair to say you don't really understand any of them. At least based on what work I've read of yours over the years.

Quote
One of the most hilarious aspects of all of this (aside from the romper room mentality that's pervasive here among so-called rationalists) is that unlike video where there is a standard (the ATSC video standard to which all monitors are supposed to be adjusted), there is no audio standard. Every mixing room uses different speakers. Every engineer has his or her particular favorite speaker used for mixing. Every recording sounds different because just about every recording is mixed on a different system and there is no standard.


Actually, some of us are well aware of that...it's another problem with the hobby, along with the constant stream of drivel from the high-end.

Quote
So a video producer will be using a monitor that's been calibrated to the ATSC standard and hopefully one that can perform up to that standard. All monitors can be tested against that common standard. There's no such thing in audio. Mixing and mastering rooms use whatever speakers the mixers and mastering guys prefer. Results vary. So really, I'm not sure exactly what "standard" is being applied here except for the straightjacket of A/B/X testing. If spending your time doing A/B/X testing is what you like to do, knock yourself out.


How nice of you to provide more proof that you don't understand what you're talking about!  An ABX test is a test of difference.  The 'standards' in an ABX are A and B; the task is to identify X as either A or B  -- a binary decision, the answer is either 'right' or 'wrong'.  It's not with reference to some outside standard.  There are other tests for quality, not difference, that do employ a reference standard; they've been used here at HA to tune mp3 codecs, for example.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 25 April, 2009, 12:36:30 AM
As I recall it, in the *early* days of CD, digital NR was virtually nonexistant.

That was my thought as well.

A 'fair' opinion? Nope, just sincere.

Well, I might guess that it's "fair" if he's weighing in non-audio factors with his judgments. But doing so would be unfair given this discussion is revolving around audio performance and not non-audio-related preferences (e.g. vinyl tastes more analog). I couldn't quite tell what he was referring to specifically when he said he feels vinyl is a superior format.

Unless Fremer has good evidence that Redbook *can't* transparently reproduce the output of *vinyl* playback, he's just blowing smoke.

I asked him for such evidence mere moments before he had his change of heart about posting here. I asked B0RK for essentially the same evidence pages ago. Got nada. Surprising? Nah
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 12:43:41 AM
Unless Fremer has good evidence that Redbook *can't* transparently reproduce the output of *vinyl* playback, he's just blowing smoke.

I asked him for such evidence mere moments before he had his change of heart about posting here. I asked B0RK for essentially the same evidence pages ago. Got nada. Surprising? Nah


To be honest it'd be tough test to set up.  But I don't even see an argument from principles.

(Wait, come to think of it, maybe I pitched him a whiffle ball with that one...he could have said 'HA! WHAT ABOUT A QUADROPHONIC LP CARRIER SIGNAL NEENER NEENER NEENER!" And that reminds that I'm actually impressed that he muted his usual recourse to ALL CAPS.)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Light-Fire on 25 April, 2009, 01:05:46 AM
...John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile


Hydrogenaudio.org. The place on the web where all audiophiles come to submit themselves to the reality check of ABX.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2E7AH on 25 April, 2009, 01:18:14 AM
[edit] Out of topic in almost private thread, sorry
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 25 April, 2009, 02:18:15 AM
The report on the debate at http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/ (http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/) includes a link to an MP3 of the debate between Mr. Krueger and myself,


Does anyone else find it ironic that for people who are so against lossy codecs that they are offering a mp3 for download on their site? I expected an old fashioned Shorten file. 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 25 April, 2009, 07:00:11 AM
The people here who think reviews in Stereophile are just spouted opinions don't read the magazine and so don't understand it.

I understand the magazine, especially the most important thing ever written about the magazine:
Quote
Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me, because I am associated by so many people with the mess my disciples made of spreading my gospel. - J. Gordon Holt, Founder, Stereophile

http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi/ (http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi/)
When I write a review, I try to describe how something sounds, not whether or not I like it. Whether or not I like something is meaningless.

Whether or not you like the sound colours your opinion of the sound. Prove that it doesn't.
The point of a review is to give people an indication if something might be a product they would be interested in owning.

Why would they like the sound just because you do? Even if you happened to review the product accurately, by your own admission that won't leave a reader any wiser on if they will like the sound. You are essentially arguing that a good hi fi system sounds like whatever a particular person thinks a good hi fi system sounds like. Or as J. Gordon Holt wrote:
Quote
Audio actually used to have a goal: perfect reproduction of the sound of real music performed in a real space. That was found difficult to achieve, and it was abandoned when most music lovers, who almost never heard anything except amplified music anyway, forgot what "the real thing" had sounded like. Today, "good" sound is whatever one likes.

If argument from authority is good enough for you, then I'm sure you'll let me use the same tactic.
Quote
Does anyone else find it ironic that for people who are so against lossy codecs that they are offering a mp3 for download on their site? I expected an old fashioned Shorten file.

But don't worry, I'm sure they have done spectral analysis of these MP3 files to ensure they produce interesting looking graphs. They  are experts at it (http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html) It is interesting how the reliance on graphs is seemingly used to create a quasi-scientific appearance of authority.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 07:38:01 AM
The report on the debate at http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/ (http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/) includes a link to an MP3 of the debate between Mr. Krueger and myself,


Does anyone else find it ironic that for people who are so against lossy codecs that they are offering a mp3 for download on their site? I expected an old fashioned Shorten file. 


If you think that's amusing, you'll find it hilarious that, given that my magazine's name is _Stereo_phile, the recording of the debate is a _mono_ file. :-)

As for Stereophile being against lossy codecs, Colorado-based audiophiles can attend a series of demonstrations I am giving May 5, 6, & 7 comparing hi-rez recordings against Red Book and lossy versions. Details later this weekend on the www.stereophile.com home page.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 25 April, 2009, 08:07:41 AM
Yet no matter what I say, I am stereotyped as someone who "hates digital," or who "doesn't listen to digital," or whatever, by people who are happier to attack me for something I am not.


Unless you are claiming that you actually never had a "Compact Discs Suck" bumper sticker and you are recanting articles like this one: http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=106 (http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=106) then I would argue that you have stereotyped yourself.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 25 April, 2009, 08:29:41 AM
As for Stereophile being against lossy codecs, Colorado-based audiophiles can attend a series of demonstrations I am giving May 5, 6, & 7 comparing hi-rez recordings against Red Book and lossy versions. Details later this weekend on the www.stereophile.com home page.

Will you be judging the lossy files using graphs, or will you be using your ears during controlled tests?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 08:41:50 AM
As for Stereophile being against lossy codecs, Colorado-based audiophiles can attend a series of demonstrations I am giving May 5, 6, & 7 comparing hi-rez recordings against Red Book and lossy versions. Details later this weekend on the www.stereophile.com home page.

Will you be judging the lossy files using graphs, or will you be using your ears during controlled tests?


Those aren' tthe only options. Read more closely - I used the word "demonstrations." I have a  series of files derived from the original hi-rez data, along the lines of Philip Hobbs' test described at http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1007awsi/ (http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1007awsi/) . The downsampled, decimated, lossy compressed versions were all resampled to 24-bit/88.2kHz files, so the only substantive difference will be the coding. Allowing the people who attend my seminars to hear for themselves whether they can hear any differences and if so, what the magnitude of those differences might be, is one of the purposes of my public demonstrations.

I also have files prepared containing just the _differences_ between the lower-rez versions and the original, so listeners can hear what has been discarded by the various codecs. You may feel that use of a lossy codec is justifiable but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of what it is doing, surely?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 08:51:43 AM
There are MP3 codecs I wouldn't even use for my answering machine. What encoder has been used?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: user on 25 April, 2009, 08:57:51 AM
See footnote 1 at  :  http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html (http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html)

Footnote 1: Something I have rarely seen discussed is the fact is that because all compressed file formats, both lossless and lossy, effectively have zero data redundancy, they are much more vulnerable than uncompressed files to bit errors in transmission.


This is the most funny statement I have read recently from audiofools.
Who is the author of that story ?

John Atkinson !

He reveals great technical knowledge of the basics of maths, PC, audio

Unfortunately he is fooling his readers

What makes me sad, is, he recommends wav uncompressed over compression without losses (so called "Lossless") like FLAC etc.

Not only in this footnote, also above in the text:


So to us at Stereophile, the question of which lossy codec is "the best" is moot. We recommend that, for serious listening, our readers use uncompressed audio file formats, such as WAV or AIF—or, if file size is an issue because of limited hard-drive space, use a lossless format such as FLAC or ALC. These will be audibly transparent to all listeners at all times with all kinds of music through all systems.


This is really sad to read.
it really shows null, zero understanding of technics, underlying simple maths or even usability of wav vs. FLAC.


So, Mr. John Atkinson plus Mr. Michael Fremer,
welcome in your world of fooling other people.

At some points, I am really still undecided, if you 2 believe yourself, what you write.
See the examples above


So, to bring some light into technics for Audiophiles (I count myself into this category, coming from the ancient Greek and Latin meanings):

FLAC offers tags, wav doesn't properly.
FLAC saves space, about 30% to 50% of the wav.
FLAC has no technical disadvantages, only advantages to wav.
FLAC stands as synonym for the other Lossles formats, but FLAC is the only one necessary, other Lossless formats are redundant, as Lossless  = Lossless = WAV = FLAC = APE = WAVPACK = ALAC = etc.

As you now see, there is no reason to prefer wav over FLAC.
Audiophiles do the opposite, Audiophiles prefer FLAC over wav for practical reasons.
In a proper system FLAC and wav will play identical sound quality,
in a borked bugged system like with faulty RAM,
both, FLAC and wav, would be bugged.
But that would be similar to vinyl playback at wrong speed, with a ton of dust on the vinyl,
or playback via CD-player with faulty electrics, so that sound gets muted, on and off..



For those listeners with some audio experience it is no question, that vinyl can sound simply great.
But the reason for this was already discussed lentghy here at HA !

Here at HA is the regular publication medium for Dr. David Robinson, inventor of ReplayGain, called 2Bdecided.
Replaygain is a value, which describes the average loudness of a song or an averaged loudness of a complete album.

The reason for modern CDs sounding worse than same new albums released on vinyl is so simple, read here at HA.
You will get to know that already by the replaygain values.
Point to: Loudness race/war.


But this is not the fault of the CD standard at 16 bit stereo, 44,1 kHz sampling.
The technical possibilites as medium to come the live experience of music as close as possible,
these possibilities are owned by the CD.
Depending on the producers....

Nevertheless, vinyl already offers great playback capabilites, but CD offers even more....






my personal footnote 1 to my texts:
Please excuse, if i should have simplified a bit in here,
but I needed to write about technical things that way, that Mr. John Atkinson and maybe even a Michael Fremer, have a little bit of chance, to grasp it.
Also it helps, that people outside of HA, get the points about those Audiofools writing about Lossless or any formats or devices at Stereophile.

2. ABX footnote as additional technical explanation:

A/B/X listening , as test methodoligy , helps to find out, if an individuum can separate between 2 test-setups, be it 2 different formats or 2 different devices like speakers or amps.
ABX can show/prove only, that there is a difference.
ABX might show, that there is no difference in generally, but ABX cannot prove with 100% certainty, that there is no difference at all, eg. for all listeners.
ABX cannot prove the absence of a difference, written more compact.

AB means: sighted comparison.

ABX means:
1. step AB sighted known comparison, to get familiar with (tiny/small) differences between test candidates A + B.
2. step X: hidden/Blinded comparison of X, which is either A or B. X can be tested/listened directly against A or B, to find out, if X is either A or B.
of course, a proper ABX test needs some thinking at beginning, and maybe help by 2nd or 3rd person and/or technical parts like switcher, foobar2000 etc.





footnote 3: the 1.000.000 challenge about audio cables for Michael Fremer

Because Fremer has so many years experience in comparing audio, I suggest, he should take the James Randi challenge to earn the million dollars and to prove finally, that somebody can listen (not see) a difference between different audio cables, as long those are not totally corrupted towards the HiFi setup. (like dust on vinyl).
Unfortunately I recall an ugly conversation between Randi and Fremer, which had shown writing Fremer a lot of in CAPITALS and using some weird words, I did not understand as non-native English speaker.
The capitals did not appear here so many so far, or not so obvious, but I found again some words from Fremer, I wasn't able to grasp.
I cite, give citates:

Fremer:

The psychiatrist line was funny, I have to admit. However I have many in my family and their behavior leaves plenty to desire. As for shoving anything up one's ass, well you should know.

Sorry, I don't understand, shoving ass ?
is it anything audio related ?

THERE I GO AGAIN WITH THE CAR ANALOGIES...

oh, i excuse, there are the capitals. My sensitive ears, they hurt so easily when other shout...



I really couldn't give a shit. I'm outta here. Nice talking with some of you. However, some of you are really among the bitterest, arrogant, condescending assholes I've ever encountered online or anywhere else....

What's the meaning of those 2 words ?
some experts' vocabulary for HiFi or High-End audio ?
I cannot find them in my Oxford Dictionary of 1986.
Probably some new development.



My summary About Stereophile:

Maybe the knowledgeable Mr. Atkinson is the editor, because his ability to remember facts correctly, is better than Mr. Fremer's.

See: http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=629517 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=71245&view=findpost&p=629517)

QUOTE (analogcorner @ Apr 24 2009, 19:50) *
Krueger was at the AES where I got the 5/5 identifications correct. That part is true....that's the only part.


I don't believe so, Michael. It was David Clark aided by Tom Nousaine, if I remember correctly. Arny Krueger isn't an AES member and doesn't attend the conventions.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile


But even the knowledgeable Mr. Atkinson wasn't good enough to describe some simple basic facts about digital audio (Lossless formats and wav) in an adequate way, see above in my post.
Misinformation instead.

I hope, both improve in their ways,
I recommend as start for reading my introduction tutorials into High Quality Audio at http://www.High-Quality.ch.vu (http://www.High-Quality.ch.vu) , preferably the Lossless guides at http://www.angelfire.com/magic2/hq-audio/tut-lossless.htm (http://www.angelfire.com/magic2/hq-audio/tut-lossless.htm)
if then anything is still unclear, read the hydrogenaudio wiki or explanations about special expert terms.
or ask me, or the knowledge group here at HA !



Edit:



I also have files prepared containing just the _differences_ between the lower-rez versions and the original, so listeners can hear what has been discarded by the various codecs. You may feel that use of a lossy codec is justifiable but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of what it is doing, surely?

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile


Please,
Mr. Atkinson,
avoid this mistake of listening to difference of wav minus lossy.
At least from a little bit scientific informed people , you will get a laugh.
Listening the difference signals is a total  overamplifying of the lossy "mistakes" on purpose.
Carrying out such way, is against the construction of lossy compression, and does not make sense, simply.
If it would be used as demonstration for difference  original vs. wav, it would be like comparing oranges against lemons. 1 sweet, 1 extremely sour.
Every school boy knows, that oranges taste well, but lemons are quite sour.
No test or demo needed.

Just compare your 88.2 kHz 24 bit preprared stuff by "blinded" listening.
Comparing lossy by graphs or by difference signals, these methods are lame and out since , hm, more than 10 years ?




Just for the personal record,
in living room, I listen either to CD or to Lossless sourced CD copies, ie. also the original music, bits for bits, be them 16  bit, 24 bit or HDCD, or DVD-Audio, or SACD.
No lossy for my HiFi/living room.
I have 2 tasks for lossy mp3 encoded by Lame V5 (130 - 150 k vbr):
a) earphones listening during sports, running 1 hour in the woods or streets, USB-stick/SD-card with analogue output
b) car listening, source a)
here mp3 is fine enough,
both tasks have too much background noises, as that Lossless / original CD would offer more sound quality compared to good mp3.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: [JAZ] on 25 April, 2009, 09:26:26 AM
The downsampled, decimated, lossy compressed versions were all resampled to 24-bit/88.2kHz files, so the only substantive difference will be the coding.

Sorry... what?  88khz 24bit -> 44Khz 16bit -> mp3 -> 88khz 24bits? And you say "the only difference will be the coding"?

I also have files prepared containing just the _differences_ between the lower-rez versions and the original, so listeners can hear what has been discarded by the various codecs. You may feel that use of a lossy codec is justifiable but that doesn't mean you shouldn't be aware of what it is doing, surely?


Yes. this is the exact reason why it can't be considered serious. It is the equivalent of looking at graphs.
I will not explain you why, because I have already contributed in this thread once, just to be told wrong on a thing i was right.


@ Moderators, I think it is really time to close this thread. There have been too many wrongdoings, for both usual members and newcomers, but in the end, it has not provided any goodness at all, just a lengthly thread of such a quality that doesn't belong to hydrogenaudio.

Not only that, but I fully think that this thread is attacking at the bases of hydrogenaudio.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 25 April, 2009, 09:38:22 AM
As for Stereophile being against lossy codecs, Colorado-based audiophiles can attend a series of demonstrations I am giving May 5, 6, & 7 comparing hi-rez recordings against Red Book and lossy versions. Details later this weekend on the www.stereophile.com home page.

Will you be judging the lossy files using graphs, or will you be using your ears during controlled tests?

Those aren' tthe only options. Read more closely - I used the word "demonstrations."

Oh OK, you'll be doing uncontrolled tests. Whatever floats your boat.
The downsampled, decimated, lossy compressed versions were all resampled to 24-bit/88.2kHz files, so the only substantive difference will be the coding. Allowing the people who attend my seminars to hear for themselves whether they can hear any differences and if so, what the magnitude of those differences might be, is one of the purposes of my public demonstrations.

And the only way you can do this conclusively must be a double blind test - the founder of the magazine you edit says so.
I also have files prepared containing just the _differences_ between the lower-rez versions and the original, so listeners can hear what has been discarded by the various codecs.

This statement is just bizarre, and demonstrates you don't understand how lossy encoders work.  They are designed to take into account what sounds will be masked (and thus not audible) when the entire audio stream is played back. Performing tests that involve cancelling out parts of the audio to 'reveal' sonic artefacts isn't a real world test. It would be the same as a magazine publishing spectral graphs of lossy files, which seems to assume that people listen to the files with their eyes.

A lossy encoder BY DEFINITION removes parts of the audio that humans can't hear WHEN ALL OF THE AUDIO is being played back. That is part of how they achieve transparency, they take advantage of the fact human hearing has certain flaws and limitations that can be exploited. Sort of like how optical illusions exploit limitations in the ways our brains and eyes interact to produce visual perception.

But I accept that this would be a difficult thing to appreciate for people who don't think lossy encoders can ever be transparent BECAUSE they throw away parts of the signal (i.e. when an encoder is working properly, the parts humans can't hear). People of this ilk make unsubstantiated blanket statements such as "So to us at Stereophile, the question of which lossy codec is "the best" is moot."
http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html (http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html)

I think the issue is that most audiophiles spend so much time building systems that will supposedly provide the most complete reproduction of a signal, that they can't fathom that human hearing can be tricked after removing a heap of signal that is never heard.
You may feel that use of a lossy codec is justifiable but that doesns't mean you shouldn't be aware of what it is doing, surely?

Where is Sterophile's complex understanding of how lossy encoders work? I mean something more sophisticated than the biased statement "The MP3 codec, and others that achieve similar reductions in file size, are "lossy"; ie, of necessity they eliminate some of the musical information. The degree of this degradation depends on the data rate. Less bits always equals less music. " (From the same link as above)

Have you published interviews with people who work on developing lossy codecs, or engineers and mathematicians that developed the principles that underpin how they work? Have you provided a mathematical explanation to your readers of what inverse discrete consine transformation does, or Huffman coding (shock horror, a LOSSLESS process!), or the use of sophisticated polyphase filtering, or what features AAC has that make it a technological progression beyond MP3, and how AAC fixes flaws that are common in (improperly encoded) MP3s?

Beyond these omissions, I think the worst thing is you write articles as if all versions of encoders are essentially the same. You think the FORMAT, e.g. MP3 or AAC or just the category "lossy" is more important than actual encoder. This is a tell-tale sign of people who are inherently biased against the capabilities of modern lossy encoders, because it assumes that all encoders of a format will produce the same quality.

So why don't you publish a report on the quality of as many different MP3 encoders as you can find from early implementations to the latest version of LAME (3.98.2)?  Or do you think that there haven't been any improvements to MP3 and other lossy encoders over the last 18+ years?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 25 April, 2009, 09:48:37 AM

The downsampled, decimated, lossy compressed versions were all resampled to 24-bit/88.2kHz files, so the only substantive difference will be the coding.

Sorry... what?  88khz 24bit -> 44Khz 16bit -> mp3 -> 88khz 24bits? And you say "the only difference will be the coding"?

What does it matter? He has already concluded that lossy files are all inherently flawed because "Less bits always equals less music (http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html)." (My emphasis) so why would he even bother applying the same resampling to the lossless source file? I mean that would be kind of J. Gordon Holt principled and scientific like, Stereophile gave up on that in the 1970s.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 09:50:27 AM

Not only that, but I fully think that this thread is attacking at the bases of hydrogenaudio.


Why? Fremer has shown in this thread, for everybody to read, that he cannot answer the simple question, why he requires his eyes for audio testing, with anything else than a childish car analogy. We should not underestimate our readers. They can surely differentiate without the mods' help how telling that is.

Whole cars can't be ABXed for obvious reasons, audio can, if you are just willing to. Fremer isn't and his reasons might be that he needs optical self deception to write the kind prose that he is bought for. His customers also enjoy their equipment with eyes and ears. But letting himself get involved into the latter makes him much more of a style guide than a trustable source about sound quality, even if he would not want to hear that.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: lvqcl on 25 April, 2009, 10:00:32 AM
I wonder how many people can hear differences between original hi-rez version and its downsampled (to 44.1/16) version.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 10:01:08 AM
This statement is just bizarre, and demonstrates you don't understand how lossy encoders work.  They are designed to take into account what sounds will be masked (and thus not audible) when the entire audio stream is played back.


We should not bash everything they say, that makes HA look one sided. I have listened to difference files myself. It is just interesting to hear what's inside them, that should not be prohibited.

The sample rate conversion to 88.2 khz was also an attempt to increase objectivity and we shouldn't bash that just for the cause of it. An upsampling DAC doesn't do much else. 88.2 instead of 96 khz is also a sensible choice to keep SRC conversion artifacts as low as possible. From this side the test setup looks good and we should not bark at those points just because we might not trust the organizer.

There may be flaws (choice of dither, MP3 codec used, etc..) but we don't know that. When we do, we can bark. When they aren't disclosed we can bark, but just don't let us bark at everything.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 25 April, 2009, 10:03:06 AM
But letting into the latter makes him much more of a style guide than a trustable source about sound quality, even if he would not want to hear that.

What you're saying is he should be entitled to his own opinion (like everyone else) but not his own facts.

I think that is the issue here, the constant assertion that opinions (e.g. all MP3s sound bad, and can never be transparent) as if it is a fact is what is killing the audiophile industry, because if all opinions are facts, then why should we care what anyone writes about audio?

There is also the issue that new technologies have made better quality audio available at cheaper prices (e.g. the CD, and the transistor), but instead sections of audiophilia pretend that this inventions have only reduced sound quality. Or to have this point put another way:
Quote
John Atkinson (Stereophile Editor): As you were so committed to surround, do you feel that the commercial failures of DVD-Audio and SACD could have been avoided?

J. Gordon Holt (Stereophile Founder):  I doubt it. No audio product has ever succeeded because it was better, only because it was cheaper, smaller, or easier to use. Your generation of music lovers will probably be the last that even think about fidelity.

http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi/ (http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi/)

The blame for the decline of sound quality should be directed at some idiotic record producers, bands, and sell out mastering 'engineers' who have spent the last decade completely under utilising cutting edge analog, and more importantly, digital technologies. It has nothing to do with technologies themselves, which are as good as, if not far better than what was affordable for the average person 20 or 30 years ago.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 25 April, 2009, 10:05:39 AM
We should not bash everything they say, that makes HA look one sided. I have listened to difference files myself. It is just interesting to hear what's inside them, that should not be prohibited.

It may be interesting, but what can you definitively conclude from it? I propose nothing.
The sample rate conversion to 88.2 khz was also an attempt to increase objectivity and we shouldn't bash that just for the cause of it. An upsampling DAC doesn't do much else. 88.2 instead of 96 khz is also a sensible choice to keep SRC conversion artifacts as low as possible. From this side the test setup looks good and we should not bark at those points just because we might not trust the organizer.

Sure, but the point was if the MP3 is resampled, then the source file should be put through the same resampling routines too, else the experiment would be uncontrolled. (Are any differences attributable to the lossy encoding, or to the resampling, or to both?)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 10:13:15 AM
Unlike most people who post here, I've had the *privilege* of meeting Michael Fremer in the flesh. Well sort of. This was in 2005.  After a few seconds in my presence, he started loudly screaming profanities about an ABX demo that some of my friends did at an AES meeting back in the very early 1990s.  His friends had to forcably restrain him and drag him out of the room.


  I am totally speechless. I don't know whether to laugh or cry at such ignorance.


Cry: you're believing a total liar. Krueger lied. No such encounter ever occurred.


Typical of the usual posturing we see from some people.

If I was a "total liar" then every statement I ever made would be false, and known to be false by me when I posted it.

I'll stand on just my posting record on HA - how many true, verifiable statements have I made here?

At least one, right? ;-)

If I've ever made any true statements at all, then the claim that I am a "total liar" has been falsified.

I suspect that even the person who claimed that I am a "total liar" knows that *everything* I say is not false.

Therefore he made a knowingly made a false statement. Technically he was lying.

Of course he didn't mean to lie - it was all just his usual hyperbole.  ;-)

The real problem with people like him is knowing when its hyperbole, and when it is something that you can "take to the bank".  :-(

If I say it without obvioius intent at humor, I would hope that you can take it to the bank.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 10:16:21 AM
Sure, but the point was if the MP3 is resampled, then the source file should be put through the same resampling routines too, else the experiment would be uncontrolled. (Are any differences attributable to the lossy encoding, or to the resampling, or to both?)


They also upsample the Redbook PCM to 88.2 khz just like the MP3 as I read it, so that's fine. You cannot demand that high rez audio is resampled to Redbook and back first (it wouldn't be high rez anymore) if you want to compare MP3 to high rez.

I don't believe that a difference will be perceivable anyway for their choice of music, if the setup was 100% proper (choice of encoder, no truncation) and blind. Of course, having an admired Stereophile 'star' in your city who asks the audience "did you hear the difference, did you hear it? much more lively, wasn't it", a lot of people would hear a difference - no matter how proper the comparison was setup otherwise.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 10:20:04 AM
I am not a psychiatrist. But people who spend their time counting other people's money can probably use one.


You heard it here. According to this post, *all* people who "who spend their time counting other people's money can probably use (a psychiatrist)"

So who counts other people's money?

Bank tellers
Other cashiers
Accountants
Criminal investigators
People who help blind people manage their personal affairs.
etc. etc.

So does the poster actually believe what he said?

Obviously not.

Obviously, he writes in the *Hyperbole* dialect of the English language! ;-)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ShowsOn on 25 April, 2009, 10:21:05 AM
They also upsample the Redbook PCM to 88.2 khz just like the MP3 as I read it, so that's fine. You cannot demand that high rez audio is resampled to Redbook and back first (it wouldn't be high rez anymore) if you want to compare MP3 to high rez.

So any test won't be able to explain if any differences are a result of the resolution or the lossy compression.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 10:24:02 AM
Yes, else your supposed "high rez" would just be Redbook padded with zeroes.

PS I would have expected some heavier artillery than sophistry from Arnold. He must be tired today.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 10:56:56 AM
There was an AES meeting back in the early '90s and an ABX test of amplifiers. I was involved because I claimed that the idea that all amplifiers sound alike, or pretty much alike (that measure the same) is kind of foolish, since we really don't measure every aspect of performance and I told David Clark to produce an ABX test and I'd be happy to take it.


So far so good.

Let's review for a second exactly what a relevant ABX test is or would be in the context presented above.

(1) An ABX test is an open-ended event where people can compare two different things (A & B) by means of a third unknown thing (X) which is one of the two,  as many times as they want to. They are forced to summarize their judgements as one decision as to the identity of X  which is called a "trial". The comparison process is repeated as required  to obtain a sufficient number of trials.

(2) An ABX test is composed of as many trials as is established before the first trial. The number of trials has to be sufficient that the usual statistical tests do not run afoul of the problems related to a small number of samples. The traditional number of trials is on the order of 16. 5 or 6 trials is always totally inadedequate for a serious test. Nothing of importance or reliability can logically be determined from such a small number of trials.

(3) Obviously, it would take far more than one comparision of just  two amplifiers to provide compelling evidence related to such a large issue as "the idea that all amplifiers sound alike, or pretty much alike (that measure the same) is kind of foolish, since we really don't measure every aspect of performance".

(4) Any such comparison needs to be done under conditions that are far more favorable to the performance of the listener.  5-6 trials done with  stone cold listeners who had no opportuinty for listener familiarization and training, in a conference room at an AES convention is just a demonstration, and not a proper test.


Quote
I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct.


Based on what I know about ABX testing (and I'm merely the inventor of ABX ;-) )  There never was any such ABX test.  Whatever happened, based on the best evidence available to me, was a demonstration of what an ABX test might be like.

End of story.

This is BTW, the information that I tried to convey to Mr. Fremer at HE2005, and it is my best recollection of what I said or partially said that provoked his regrettable outburst. I do not know if he heard me say any or all of the above, due to his outburst.

I presume that his denials of my account of his actions are in their way not lies, because he was obviously way too distressed at the time to have an accurate recollection of what really happened.

My recollection is that I was pretty much alone in the room when this happened, other than Fremer and anybody who might have walked in with him. I think it was well before the debate. I'm pretty sure that the person who posts here as krabapple was not present.

Ordinarily, an important  issue such as  "The idea that all amplifiers sound alike, or pretty much alike (that measure the same) is kind of foolish, since we really don't measure every aspect of performance" would involve more than two amplifiers, more than two listeners, and more than 5 or 6 trials.

Considerable evidence related to the above question are presented quite clearly in the Stereo Review article that has been linked to out of this thread. If others wish to assert that they are actually just as sincere and energetic in their intentions to help resolve this quesiton, one would think that sometime in the past 15 or more years since the SR article, they would have done an equal amount of similar work of their own and published the same. In fact they have spent their time posturing against any kind of reliable subjective testing efforts. They have even questioned the applicability of science as we know it.

Note that there are more ways to scientifically study this question than just ABX. So, I'm not promoting ABX at all.

I would be happy to work as I have the resources to serve, to help anybody who was seriously interested in the above issue, gather such evidence as they would wish to gather in a scientific way. I believe that my behind the scenes support for many persons who have made publications and presenations related to this question, the 8 years of operation of the now-departed www.pcabx.com web site, and my posts on HA are consistent with and demonstrations of the reality of my desires along those lines.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 11:12:01 AM
See footnote 1 at  :  http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html (http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/index.html)

Footnote 1: Something I have rarely seen discussed is the fact is that because all compressed file formats, both lossless and lossy, effectively have zero data redundancy, they are much more vulnerable than uncompressed files to bit errors in transmission.


This is the most funny statement I have read recently from audiofools.
Who is the author of that story ?

John Atkinson !

He reveals great technical knowledge of the basics of maths, PC, audio

Unfortunately he is fooling his readers

What makes me sad, is, he recommends wav uncompressed over compression without losses (so called "Lossless") like FLAC etc.

Not only in this footnote, also above in the text:


So to us at Stereophile, the question of which lossy codec is "the best" is moot. We recommend that, for serious listening, our readers use uncompressed audio file formats, such as WAV or AIF—or, if file size is an issue because of limited hard-drive space, use a lossless format such as FLAC or ALC. These will be audibly transparent to all listeners at all times with all kinds of music through all systems.


This is really sad to read.
it really shows null, zero understanding of technics, underlying simple maths or even usability of wav vs. FLAC.


I would be prone to call the rather grotesque misapprehension embodied above, a simple ignorant mistake.

Of course you are absolutely right that  compressed (lossy or losless) are no more susceptible to transmission errors than uncompressed files.

Let me count the (most obvioius) ways that Atkinson is oh, so wrong.

(1) The compressed file is shorter. Error processes being mostly random, will therefore add fewer errors to less data.

(2) The compressed file is more likely to be noticably degraded by any errors that take place.

(3) The process of expanding the file may do additional validity checking and again be more revealing of any errors that take place.

Of course it is too bad that there is insufficient technical fact checking at Stereophile to keep embarassing stuff like this from getting published.

As many of us know, if there was adequate technical fact checking at Stereophile, he magazine's content would have to undergo a rather significant and potentially financially disasterous change.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 11:22:36 AM
PS I would have expected some heavier artillery than sophistry from Arnold. He must be tired today.


What would constittue "heavy artillery"?

I may have some, I'm just warming up! ;-)

Atrkinson and Fremer are zillions of words ahead of me on this topic, so far...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 25 April, 2009, 11:34:34 AM
Yet no matter what I say, I am stereotyped as someone who "hates digital," or who "doesn't listen to digital," or whatever, by people who are happier to attack me for something I am not.


Unless you are claiming that you actually never had a "Compact Discs Suck" bumper sticker and you are recanting articles like this one: http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=106 (http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=106) then I would argue that you have stereotyped yourself.



That bumper sticker was on my car in the early 1980s when compact discs did suck. They sounded awful. The transfers from analog were uniformly poorly done from questionable sources with overuse of CEDAR and Sonic Solutions. So called DDD discs actually went through multiple D/A A/D conversions since there were no digital mixing boards. Many factors contributed to what was awful sound. Those who called that sound "pristine" and a "big advancement" were wrong. History has proven me correct as virtually the entire catalog of what had been issued back then has been reissued using better sources, better associated gear, especially better converters and fewer attempts at lopping off the top end along with supposedly offensive tape hiss.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 11:54:15 AM
What would constittue "heavy artillery"?


I don't know. I just thought that you might be really pissed after all what they have said about you last night. But it really may be the right strategy to keep the ball low. Just politely tacking them down to central inconsistencies can unveil much more than endless battles about details and personal attacks. It's really an enrichment for HA that they come here to defend themselves instead of us having to argue with zealots as B0RK. I really thought Fremer is a total nut until he showed up here personally!

They don't sell a perspective that many around here would buy, myself included. It's not scientific and it's not suitable to make objectively verifiable statements about the sound (and only sound) of audio gear. But as I understand it now, their world has much more inner consistency than I had thought before. These are sane people. Their subjective approach is so extreme, that I really don't think that they would call anything they do objective even in the slightest sense (they might not admit that in public). Their world is a huge circus to love and celebrate music. It doesn't matter a shit if unit A is really objectively better than unit B, it's a preposterous question in their world. They fill audio gear, even from our point of view idiotic things as cables, with life and story and that alone can make a huge actually perceivable difference for their followers.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 25 April, 2009, 12:01:41 PM
There was an AES meeting back in the early '90s and an ABX test of amplifiers. I was involved because I claimed that the idea that all amplifiers sound alike, or pretty much alike (that measure the same) is kind of foolish, since we really don't measure every aspect of performance and I told David Clark to produce an ABX test and I'd be happy to take it.


So far so good.

Let's review for a second exactly what a relevant ABX test is or would be in the context presented above.

(1) An ABX test is an open-ended event where people can compare two different things (A & B) by means of a third unknown thing (X) which is one of the two,  as many times as they want to. They are forced to summarize their judgements as one decision as to the identity of X  which is called a "trial". The comparison process is repeated as required  to obtain a sufficient number of trials.

(2) An ABX test is composed of as many trials as is established before the first trial. The number of trials has to be sufficient that the usual statistical tests do not run afoul of the problems related to a small number of samples. The traditional number of trials is on the order of 16. 5 or 6 trials is always totally inadedequate for a serious test. Nothing of importance or reliability can logically be determined from such a small number of trials.

(3) Obviously, it would take far more than one comparision of just  two amplifiers to provide compelling evidence related to such a large issue as "the idea that all amplifiers sound alike, or pretty much alike (that measure the same) is kind of foolish, since we really don't measure every aspect of performance".

(4) Any such comparison needs to be done under conditions that are far more favorable to the performance of the listener.  5-6 trials done with  stone cold listeners who had no opportuinty for listener familiarization and training, in a conference room at an AES convention is just a demonstration, and not a proper test.


Quote
I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct.


Based on what I know about ABX testing (and I'm merely the inventor of ABX ;-) )  There never was any such ABX test.  Whatever happened, based on the best evidence available to me, was a demonstration of what an ABX test might be like.

End of story.

This is BTW, the information that I tried to convey to Mr. Fremer at HE2005, and it is my best recollection of what I said or partially said that provoked his regrettable outburst. I do not know if he heard me say any or all of the above, due to his outburst.

I presume that his denials of my account of his actions are in their way not lies, because he was obviously way too distressed at the time to have an accurate recollection of what really happened.

My recollection is that I was pretty much alone in the room when this happened, other than Fremer and anybody who might have walked in with him. I think it was well before the debate. I'm pretty sure that the person who posts here as krabapple was not present.

Ordinarily, an important  issue such as  "The idea that all amplifiers sound alike, or pretty much alike (that measure the same) is kind of foolish, since we really don't measure every aspect of performance" would involve more than two amplifiers, more than two listeners, and more than 5 or 6 trials.

Considerable evidence related to the above question are presented quite clearly in the Stereo Review article that has been linked to out of this thread. If others wish to assert that they are actually just as sincere and energetic in their intentions to help resolve this quesiton, one would think that sometime in the past 15 or more years since the SR article, they would have done an equal amount of similar work of their own and published the same. In fact they have spent their time posturing against any kind of reliable subjective testing efforts. They have even questioned the applicability of science as we know it.

Note that there are more ways to scientifically study this question than just ABX. So, I'm not promoting ABX at all.

I would be happy to work as I have the resources to serve, to help anybody who was seriously interested in the above issue, gather such evidence as they would wish to gather in a scientific way. I believe that my behind the scenes support for many persons who have made publications and presenations related to this question, the 8 years of operation of the now-departed www.pcabx.com web site, and my posts on HA are consistent with and demonstrations of the reality of my desires along those lines.


Oy vay. First of all, this useless blather above is absurd. It's not on subject. It's a smokescreen. As I recall it, I ran into David Clark at a CES. I told him I disagreed with his contention regarding amplifiers sounding alike. He challenged me to a blind test. Whatever the hell you want to call the test I didn't set it up. Others did. As agreed to the challenge, I took the test, along with dozens of other AES attendees. The amplifiers used sounded very different from one another, which is why I got all five identifications correct. I was challenged. I took the test set up by others. I passed it 100%. That's what I know. For my efforts I was declared a "lucky coin" and dismissed. Now that pissed me off. I had been "set up" because had I gotten it all wrong, it would have been used as "proof" against me. I failed. But having succeeded the only thing to do was to A)Dismiss me as a "lucky coin," and B) Declare the test not really valid..never mind that I didn't set it up, though it was, of course a 'set-up.' Of course I was pissed. I'd been conned and set up. Had I failed, we all know what the result would have been. But having passed the test, the results were dismissed! What a con job!

One thing that can be said about that test, whatever you want to call it, is that 5 very different sounding amplifiers could not be reliably identified by a statistically significant percentage of the participants. That tells me, that that particular test, and I'd say this kind of test generally (though that's just my supposition) produced statistically insignificant results, not because "it all sounds the same," but because the test is not necessarily a valid way to to evaluate the sonic performance of audio gear.

At the very least, there was something wrong with that test, since the test takers--mostly recording engineers-- couldn't identify what clearly were 5 very different sounding amplifiers. My conclusion is that these kinds of tests produce confusion and performance anxiety that masks obvious differences for inexperienced test takers.

BTW: one more point: aside from getting that test 100% correct, and doing very well in a series of Floyd Toole designed speaker identification blind tests at Harman's factory, there was an interesting cable blind test run by The Wall Street Journal's Portals columnist Lee Gomes that you can read here: http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1200446920...main_promo_left (http://online.wsj.com/article/SB120044692027492991.html.html?mod=technology_main_promo_left)

Gomes took a room at "The Show" (a parasitic audio show that runs concurrent to CES) where he haphazardly set up two identical, modest systems with only the speakers visible. He put a sign on the window asking for volunteers to take an admittedly non-scientific blind test. I took it along with others. Gomes didn't say what the test was about but he intimated that it was a comparison of either an iPod versus a CD player, or redbook versus MP3.. (in fact he run a number of different tests).in any case, it was obvious to me that the two systems sounded very different and one sounded better than the other, though both sounded pretty poor compared to what I was used to.  When it was over I told him I was puzzled because it didn't sound like an iPod versus CD player test or a redbook versus MP3 test......he then took me around back to show me that in fact, it was a cable test---a comparison of, hardware store cable (14 gauge lamp cord I think) versus Monster cable. I preferred the Monster Cable, which sounded much better....

So now, let the angry, bitter, petty, infantile name calling and sniping begin! The more it's done here, the more entertained I am.






Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 25 April, 2009, 12:18:48 PM
[
footnote 3: the 1.000.000 challenge about audio cables for Michael Fremer

Because Fremer has so many years experience in comparing audio, I suggest, he should take the James Randi challenge to earn the million dollars and to prove finally, that somebody can listen (not see) a difference between different audio cables, as long those are not totally corrupted towards the HiFi setup. (like dust on vinyl).
Unfortunately I recall an ugly conversation between Randi and Fremer, which had shown writing Fremer a lot of in CAPITALS and using some weird words, I did not understand as non-native English speaker.
The capitals did not appear here so many so far, or not so obvious, but I found again some words from Fremer, I wasn't able to grasp.
I cite, give citates:


Randi is a con artist. I agreed to take his challenge and we began setting up the parameters. The whole thing came about because of a review or some Pear cables in, I believe, Positive Feedback, that were described as "danceable"---not a descriptor I would ever use... Pear at first agreed to supply the cables, and then they backed out. However, in the interim I offered him a choice of some other very expensive cables and he said he'd check with his people to see if they were acceptable. Then Pear backed out. They emailed to tell me. I told them to contact Mr. Randi directly and tell him, which they did. The next morning I went to Randi's site where he'd written a nasty post claiming I had backed out and that I was a fraud (etc.), when in fact I had not backed out but was negotiating in good faith to set the test parameters and cables used. So I posted for all to see, the emails between Randi and myself, with the dates. At that point even Randi's most fervent cult followers could see his bad behavior. A few even called him on it and Randi was left to defend himself. Do you know what he did? He actually posted a picture of his hospital band and claimed that he had to go to the emergency room because he was sick and that prevented him from attending to the web site....of course he did manage to lie about our emails and to accuse me of pulling out of the challenge and of being a "fraud" when in fact NONE of that was true. Now, maybe you would continue to associate with someone like this, but not I.

I have not been to Randi's site in some time and have no desire to go there, but I will give "user" the benefit of the doubt and assume that Randi has removed the pertinent parts of the thread wherein I explained all of this, and that he left up the parts that make me look 'bad' because I don't like being accused of being a "fraud" by someone who actually is one---and that is the reason "user" has chosen to post here only about my CAPITAL offense.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: analogcorner on 25 April, 2009, 12:27:29 PM

Not only that, but I fully think that this thread is attacking at the bases of hydrogenaudio.


Why? Fremer has shown in this thread, for everybody to read, that he cannot answer the simple question, why he requires his eyes for audio testing, with anything else than a childish car analogy. We should not underestimate our readers. They can surely differentiate without the mods' help how telling that is.

Whole cars can't be ABXed for obvious reasons, audio can, if you are just willing to. Fremer isn't and his reasons might be that he needs optical self deception to write the kind prose that he is bought for. His customers also enjoy their equipment with eyes and ears. But letting himself get involved into the latter makes him much more of a style guide than a trustable source about sound quality, even if he would not want to hear that.


The car analogy was an obvious joke that was clearly beyond your 'childish' lack of a sense of humor. You may characterize me as a 'style guide' or whatever. I've been doing this for twenty years and have an excellent track record for being a 'trustable source about sound quality' around the world, though of course your answer will be that I've "duped" all of these people. I really couldn't care less what you think.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 25 April, 2009, 12:38:12 PM
They don't sell a perspective that many around here would buy, myself included. It's not scientific and it's not suitable to make objectively verifiable statements about the sound (and only sound) of audio gear. But as I understand it now, their world has much more inner consistency than I had thought before. These are sane people. Their subjective approach is so extreme, that I really don't think that they would call anything they do objective even in the slightest sense (they might not admit that in public). Their world is a huge circus to love and celebrate music. It doesn't matter a shit if unit A is really objectively better than unit B, it's a preposterous question in their world. They fill audio gear, even from our POV idiotic things like cables, with life and story and that alone can be a huge actually perceivable enjoyment for their followers.

How is this sane:
One thing that can be said about that test, whatever you want to call it, is that 5 very different sounding amplifiers could not be reliably identified by a statistically significant percentage of the participants. That tells me, that that particular test, and I'd say this kind of test generally (though that's just my supposition) produced statistically insignificant results, not because "it all sounds the same," but because the test is not necessarily a valid way to to evaluate the sonic performance of audio gear.

At the very least, there was something wrong with that test, since the test takers--mostly recording engineers-- couldn't identify what clearly were 5 very different sounding amplifiers. My conclusion is that these kinds of tests produce confusion and performance anxiety that masks obvious differences for inexperienced test takers.

1) I think there are huge differences.
2) The results of the test conclude there are not huge differences.
3) Therefore the test must be wrong, because I think there are huge differences.


I'm sorry but that is not sane at all. That is the epitome of egotistical, illogical thinking.

[edit] I should mention that he does at least provide a rationale, although according to a study done by Sean Olive (http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2008/12/loudspeaker-preferences-of-trained.html) (done about ABC/HR) it's not a very good one.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 12:47:38 PM
 Well stated point!

However, it is not an insane position to lack a completely consistent world view. Empirical studies show that nearly 100% of us don't. I have also never read a philosophical work that would qualify for that.

It can still be sane and even consistent to tangle up logical reasoning as you have just demonstrated to protect your cause or because your followers' main priority is something else than logical consistency. Peoples' heads don't always work like formal logic. Just look around. The world would else be a totally different one.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 01:23:21 PM
One thing that can be said about that test, whatever you want to call it, is that 5 very different sounding amplifiers could not be reliably identified by a statistically significant percentage of the participants. That tells me, that that particular test, and I'd say this kind of test generally (though that's just my supposition) produced statistically insignificant results, not because "it all sounds the same," but because the test is not necessarily a valid way to to evaluate the sonic performance of audio gear.


How are we to know that the 5 amplifiers you mentioned do indeed sound "very different"?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 02:29:42 PM


Yes. this is the exact reason why it can't be considered serious. It is the equivalent of looking at graphs.
I will not explain you why, because I have already contributed in this thread once, just to be told wrong on a thing i was right.

@ Moderators, I think it is really time to close this thread. There have been too many wrongdoings, for both usual members and newcomers, but in the end, it has not provided any goodness at all, just a lengthly thread of such a quality that doesn't belong to hydrogenaudio.


No, moderators, please don't.  Let the Stereophile folk keep demonstrating their 'expertise' in lossy and lossless codecs, and how to perform valid 'demonstrations'.  It could be a valuable teaching tool for future reference: a case study in officially sanctioned audiophoolery.

Quote
Not only that, but I fully think that this thread is attacking at the bases of hydrogenaudio.



So?  The 'bases' of HA are more than strong enough to handle such 'attacks'.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 25 April, 2009, 02:39:15 PM
The car analogy was an obvious joke that was clearly beyond your 'childish' lack of a sense of humor.


Maybe I got so tired of waiting for an actual answer to a simple question that I missed an obvious joke.

So please, don't duck away from this one. Why is blind testing no standard procedure in your lab? Why do you insist on being allowed to use your eyes to judge sound?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 02:40:59 PM
My recollection is that I was pretty much alone in the room when this happened, other than Fremer and anybody who might have walked in with him. I think it was well before the debate. I'm pretty sure that the person who posts here as krabapple was not present.



If the fracas happened well before the debate, I certainly wasn't there.  I was likely still marveling at exhibition tables offering CD player tweaks ;>

(Not to say the whole convention was flooby...there were some wonderful demos going on too...amidst a few  too many just-OK sounding demos consisting of very expensive, gear in small, hot, acoustically troubled rooms packed with sweaty, paunchy old audiophiles.)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 02:43:39 PM
The truth is that Fremer and Kruger have some history of mutual rancor--mostly online.


My memory is not perfect, but I recall zero instances of directly communicating with Fremer, other than the single HE2005 instance.

Of course aliases and sockpuppets are as opaque to me as anybody else. I have long suspected that some SP employees have posted  things online under various aliases, but I have no relaible evidence to back that up.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 02:46:21 PM
I can't say what happened afterwards between AK and MF from personal witness, as I was mainly talking to Tom Nousaine at the other end of the large-ish room.  I did introduce myself to Arny at some point, and do recall MF being in the vicinity then, and later hearing some audience buzz about 'words' having been exchanged between him and MF, but if a physical brawl almost broke out, it was a pretty local and well-damped one ;>


Fremer was restrained by one or more associates from approaching me closely.  What some might call one-sided assault but no battery.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 02:49:01 PM
That bumper sticker was on my car in the early 1980s when compact discs did suck. They sounded awful. The transfers from analog were uniformly poorly done from questionable sources with overuse of CEDAR and Sonic Solutions.


NoNoise didn't debut until 1987, and CEDAR until 1988.

[movie voiceover] IN A WORLD where 1987 is the 'early 80s',  everything sounds different if you believe it does. [/movie voiceover]

Quote
So called DDD discs actually went through multiple D/A A/D conversions since there were no digital mixing boards.


And amusingly,  at the time, some 'audio engineers' were saying they purposely put their work through analog stages to add some 'warmth'.  Some still do today.

Quote
Many factors contributed to what was awful sound. Those who called that sound "pristine" and a "big advancement" were wrong.


Actually, when done right, it was pristine and a big advancement.  Also *fucking awesome*. Which is perhaps why classical music recording professionals, for whom arguably sound 'matters' most,  pushed for digital , and embraced digital when it arrived, and haven't looked back.

Quote
History has proven me correct as virtually the entire catalog of what had been issued back then has been reissued using better sources, better associated gear, especially better converters and fewer attempts at lopping off the top end along with supposedly offensive tape hiss.


But even by your own testimony, it wasn't "CD' that was the problem, Mr. Fremer.  Would you have sported a bumper sticker saying 'LPs suck' based on, say, fake stereo releases of the Beatles catalog rushed into print in the 1960s?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 03:02:21 PM
Krueger was at the AES where I got the 5/5 identifications correct. That part is true....that's the only part.


I don't believe so, Michael. It was David Clark aided by Tom Nousaine, if I remember correctly.


That agrees with what I remember. Just another example of Fremer's flawed memory. Stress does that to people.

Quote
Arny Krueger isn't an AES member and doesn't attend the conventions.


I am not currently an AES member, and wasn't one in 1995, but that is irrelevant. I was an AES member earlier, but I dropped it when I lost a lot of my interest in audio.  Non-members can attend AES exhibits and presentations.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 25 April, 2009, 03:09:09 PM
That bumper sticker was on my car in the early 1980s when compact discs did suck. They sounded awful. The transfers from analog were uniformly poorly done from questionable sources with overuse of CEDAR and Sonic Solutions. So called DDD discs actually went through multiple D/A A/D conversions since there were no digital mixing boards. Many factors contributed to what was awful sound. Those who called that sound "pristine" and a "big advancement" were wrong. History has proven me correct as virtually the entire catalog of what had been issued back then has been reissued using better sources, better associated gear, especially better converters and fewer attempts at lopping off the top end along with supposedly offensive tape hiss.


You were sitting at the ground floor of a technology that would ultimately bring revolutionary change to the entire popular entertainment business and all you could do was go racing home and slap on a reactionary bumper sticker inciting a crusade against that technology.  You couldn't see the upside or the potential, just the things that you perceived as problems.  I suppose it's a good thing that you weren't hanging out in Thomas Edison's lab or in Steve Jobs' garage.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: knucklehead on 25 April, 2009, 04:18:52 PM
No, moderators, please don't.  Let the Stereophile folk keep demonstrating their 'expertise' in lossy and lossless codecs, and how to perform valid 'demonstrations'.  It could be a valuable teaching tool for future reference: a case study in officially sanctioned audiophoolery.


The strange thing is, they seen to think they're actually scoring points here!?!?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: C.R.Helmrich on 25 April, 2009, 04:55:31 PM
(trying to bring some science into this discussion)

To Mr. Atkinson and all others thinking of doing a comparison test à la "high-res vs. MP3":

I think you should produce the MP3 files from 24-bit, 44-kHz downsampled files. IIRC, it is possible to encode/decode from/to such files with LAME. After all, the QMF and MDCT filterbanks used for MP3 coding/decoding are typically operating in floating-point precision, so it's a reasonable thing to feed the encoder with the highest possible word length, and to get the highest possible word length out of the decoder. Otherwise, you would be comparing to the high-res original not only the effects of down-/upsampling and lossy coding, but also the distortion effects caused by truncation to 16 bit (yes, most PC decoders I know of truncate their output to 16 bit). The latter distortion effects can be audible when the playback volume is high enough. So in short:

- Downsample to 24-bit/44.1-kHz
- Encode, e.g. with Lame
- Decode to 24-bit/44.1-kHz
- Upsample to 24-bit/whatever sampling rate your original high-res file has.

Chris
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 25 April, 2009, 05:00:40 PM
The strange thing is, they seen to think they're actually scoring points here!?!?


Yawn, I am seriously being underwhelmed here. I was really looking forward to a vigourous debate, but all I have seen so far is that ridiculous car analogy and the repetition of the "I am an expert" mantra.

I have to agree with Gag Halfrunt that at least John Atkinson is trying.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 25 April, 2009, 05:09:31 PM
The strange thing is, they seen to think they're actually scoring points here!?!?


That's a little unfair. John Atkinson is at least trying. Realistically, he's doubly damned:

If he mentions double-blind ABX tests in a positive light, his readers start calling for his head on a platter
If he doesn't, HA members do the same

We're not his readership so he doesn't need to be here, especially as this is about as unfriendly a place he can possible post his viewpoint. I don't see him trying to score points, at most he's trying to present and justify something he really doesn't stand a chance of justifying here. I would guess he's smart enough to know that, too. And yet, he's posting.

Even though I don't agree with his methodology and question the results they deliver, I respect him for that.

Of course, if he'd try and apply something more than 'scienciness' to find a way to back up the claims made in his magazine, I'd respect him a whole lot more...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 05:19:13 PM
This statement is just bizarre, and demonstrates you don't understand how lossy encoders work.  They are designed to take into account what sounds will be masked (and thus not audible) when the entire audio stream is played back.


We should not bash everything they say, that makes HA look one sided. I have listened to difference files myself. It is just interesting to hear what's inside them, that should not be prohibited.


Of course. It is interesting with these files, not only to audition the character of what is removed by various codecs but also the level of the difference signal.  I fail to see why my doing so in these demonstrations should be "prohibited."  :-)

Quote
The sample rate conversion to 88.2 khz was also an attempt to increase objectivity and we shouldn't bash that just for the cause of it.


If you don't resample back to the original bit depth and sample rate, you are introducing an additional variable in the performance of the replay DAC and reconstruction filter at different sample rates. If all you wish to examine is the effect of the codec, you _must_ eliminate that variable. Basic application of Scientific Method, I would have thought. Obviously some others disagree.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 05:21:53 PM
No, moderators, please don't.  Let the Stereophile folk keep demonstrating their 'expertise' in lossy and lossless codecs, and how to perform valid 'demonstrations'.  It could be a valuable teaching tool for future reference: a case study in officially sanctioned audiophoolery.


The strange thing is, they seen to think they're actually scoring points here!?!?


Really? I haven't posted anything that is equivalent to my thinking that. I can't help thinking your imagination is running a little wild, however. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 05:27:43 PM
I can't say what happened afterwards between AK and MF from personal witness, as I was mainly talking to Tom Nousaine at the other end of the large-ish room.  I did introduce myself to Arny at some point, and do recall MF being in the vicinity then, and later hearing some audience buzz about 'words' having been exchanged between him and MF, but if a physical brawl almost broke out, it was a pretty local and well-damped one ;>


Fremer was restrained by one or more associates from approaching me closely.  What some might call one-sided assault but no battery.


No, this is not correct, Mr. Krueger. You were on the podium, behind the table as shown in the photographs at http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/ (http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/); Michael was on the floor. Both of you ended up shouting but no-one had to be restrained. Your statement in the original posting that "[Michael's] friends had to forceably restrain him and drag him out of the room" is a false memory on your part.
 
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: knucklehead on 25 April, 2009, 05:33:03 PM
No, moderators, please don't.  Let the Stereophile folk keep demonstrating their 'expertise' in lossy and lossless codecs, and how to perform valid 'demonstrations'.  It could be a valuable teaching tool for future reference: a case study in officially sanctioned audiophoolery.


The strange thing is, they seen to think they're actually scoring points here!?!?


Really? I haven't posted anything that is equivalent to my thinking that. I can't help thinking your imagination is running a little wild, however. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile


Might be guilty of lumping the "audiophile" posts together.

.... you don't drive a Ferrari, do you?

 
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 05:34:13 PM
I think you should produce the MP3 files from 24-bit, 44-kHz downsampled files. IIRC, it is possible to encode/decode from/to such files with LAME.


I did consider that, but decided against it because, to the best of my knowledge commercial MP3 files are almost universally mastered from the 16-bit CD master. I am demonstrating _typical_ differences that might be heard from the lossy codecs under normal circumstances.

I'd be glad to talk in person to any Hydrogen Audio members who turn up to the Colorado dems. And I will also be playing what I think are some excellent-sounding recordings.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 05:37:45 PM
No, moderators, please don't.  Let the Stereophile folk keep demonstrating their 'expertise' in lossy and lossless codecs, and how to perform valid 'demonstrations'.  It could be a valuable teaching tool for future reference: a case study in officially sanctioned audiophoolery.


The strange thing is, they seen to think they're actually scoring points here!?!?


Really? I haven't posted anything that is equivalent to my thinking that. I can't help thinking your imagination is running a little wild, however. :-)


Might be guilty of lumping the "audiophile" posts together.


Might be the case.

Quote
.... you don't drive a Ferrari, do you?



Sadly no, but having once driven a friend's, I do feel any Ferrari is useless for hauling audio components around :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 05:46:32 PM
Of course aliases and sockpuppets are as opaque to me as anybody else. I have long suspected that some SP employees have posted  things online under various aliases, but I have no relaible evidence to back that up.


Not only do you not have any evidence for this specious claim, Mr. Krueger, when you made the same claim on Usenet, you were repeatedly assured that all of Stereophile's writers post to public forums using their own names or, as in this forum, under screen names that reveal their identity. There is one exception, in that the writer Tom Gillett posts under his nom-de-plume "Sam Tellig," which he adopted 25 years ago for professional reasons.

If you have no evidence for your suspicion, Mr. Mr. Krueger, than you should refrain from expressing it on a public forum, partualrlty as it was recenrly revealed that you_ have been posting under sockpuppet aliases to Usenet newsgroups :-).
 
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 25 April, 2009, 05:49:20 PM
If you think that's amusing, you'll find it hilarious that, given that my magazine's name is _Stereo_phile, the recording of the debate is a _mono_ file. :-)




As for Stereophile being against lossy codecs, Colorado-based audiophiles can attend a series of demonstrations I am giving May 5, 6, & 7 comparing hi-rez recordings against Red Book and lossy versions. Details later this weekend on the www.stereophile.com home page.


I was just going by what Mr. Fremer wrote. It is nice to see this. I hope it is not just a sighted test. Also, why limit the lossy versions to mp3 and not include some more modern codecs such as Ogg Vorbis and AAC?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 25 April, 2009, 05:55:52 PM
I fail to see why my doing so in these demonstrations should be "prohibited."

But is there a logical reason for doing so?

In other words, what exactly is the point? Surely we aren't to believe it's going to be done purely for educational purposes, John.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 06:48:11 PM
That bumper sticker was on my car in the early 1980s when compact discs did suck.


Ignores the fact that even in the initial release of CDs, there were many fine-sounding examples. I bought one of the first CD players sold in my area, and I took advantage of many business trips to browse the rather limited collections of CDs that were for sale in he early days. Ironically, I found an amazing collections in Bismark, North Dakota, as well in as more predictable locations like downtown Chicago.

Quote
They sounded awful.


I don't know why anybody would say that. By modern standards, the general run of recordings was hit-or-miss, whether LP or CD. Since the LP format added the well known technical problems of the format, as well as the production and quality control problems in many pressing plants, CDs early on became the more uniformly-enjoyable product. 

The miserable quality of the general run of work in US pressing plants was driven home to me by a late-60's year in Europe, all expenses paid by Uncle Sam. ;-) I actually re-bought a number of favorite LPs on the strength of the improved sonics of European pressing and mastering.

Quote
The transfers from analog were uniformly poorly done


While mistakes were made, there was also a lot of good work done right up front.

Quote
from questionable sources with overuse of CEDAR and Sonic Solutions.


This claim about CEDAR has already been falsified.

Furthermore, many analog tape masters were already subjectively noise-free as-is because Dolby A had been in use for  a decade or more if memory serves.

Quote
So called DDD discs actually went through multiple D/A A/D conversions since there were no digital mixing boards.


This is also false as a generality, and its not the problem that some would make it out to be, since a quality SS analog mixing boards can easily have more than 96 dB dynamic range.

By the late 80s and early 90s, even semi-pro mixing boards (e.g. Mackies) had more than 96 dB dynamic range.

Most DDD discs were minimal-miced, so no mixing board was required.


Quote
Many factors contributed to what was awful sound.


Denies the well-known fact among non-digiphobes that there was a lot of good or better sound on CDs from the outset.

Quote
Those who called that sound "pristine" and a "big advancement" were wrong.


With TOS 8 sitting here before us, how were these people wrong?

Quote
History has proven me correct as virtually the entire catalog of what had been issued back then has been reissued using better sources, better associated gear, especially better converters and fewer attempts at lopping off the top end along with supposedly offensive tape hiss.


What history has shown is that the CD was the most successful introduction of a new audio format in history up until the introduction of the DVD. The CD quickly sent the LP and cassette formats packing.

In fact I know of no early recordings that show evidence of atttempts of lopping off the top end. Titles and catalog numbers please.

Many of us bemoan the sound quality of many  reissues because they were degraded, often by excessive dynamics compression. In some cases resissues have had other added-on sonic defects like reverb.

Those of us who have original CD recordings from the early-mid 80s still treasure them, because they are in fact very clean, uncompressed, and have some of the widest dynamic range and strong upper octaves ever heard. Compared to the gundgy LPs that went before them, they were strong breaths of fresh air.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 08:22:48 PM
Of course aliases and sockpuppets are as opaque to me as anybody else. I have long suspected that some SP employees have posted  things online under various aliases, but I have no relaible evidence to back that up.


Not only do you not have any evidence for this specious claim, Mr. Krueger, when you made the same claim on Usenet, you were repeatedly assured that all of Stereophile's writers post to public forums using their own names or, as in this forum, under screen names that reveal their identity. There is one exception, in that the writer Tom Gillett posts under his nom-de-plume "Sam Tellig," which he adopted 25 years ago for professional reasons.


Just shows how naive you are, John. If one of your employees were posting from his own computer using an alias that was unknown to you, how would you know?

Quote
If you have no evidence for your suspicion, Mr. Mr. Krueger, than you should refrain from expressing it on a public forum, partualrlty as it was recenrly revealed that you_ have been posting under sockpuppet aliases to Usenet newsgroups :-).


I know of no such revelations. If you have any evidence John, then you should meet the standard that you try you hold me to, and provide it forthwith. I have from time to time posted from google instead of my usual newsgroup provider, but there was no effort to conceal that those posts were from me.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 25 April, 2009, 08:35:38 PM
If you have no evidence for your suspicion, Mr. Mr. Krueger, than you should refrain from expressing it on a public forum, partualrlty as it was recenrly revealed that you_ have been posting under sockpuppet aliases to Usenet newsgroups :-).
 
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
With all due respect, his suspicion has a large engaging sort of soundstage and the warm, full midrange that only someone who has many years of examining suspicions could appreciate.  We could never possibly see the entire picture of factors which go into examining such suspicion, and you should therefore withhold your skepticism.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 08:36:49 PM
I can't say what happened afterwards between AK and MF from personal witness, as I was mainly talking to Tom Nousaine at the other end of the large-ish room.  I did introduce myself to Arny at some point, and do recall MF being in the vicinity then, and later hearing some audience buzz about 'words' having been exchanged between him and MF, but if a physical brawl almost broke out, it was a pretty local and well-damped one ;>


Fremer was restrained by one or more associates from approaching me closely.  What some might call one-sided assault but no battery.


No, this is not correct, Mr. Krueger. You were on the podium, behind the table as shown in the photographs at http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/ (http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/); Michael was on the floor.


Of course John you want  everybody to believe that Michael and I were frozen in the locations shown in that photograph from well before the debate until well after.

Just like you want everybody to believe that if one of your writers were posting using an alias that was unknown to you, he would report it to you immediately.

Funny John, I didn't smell fresh cabbage or truck exhaust when I met you at HE2005. ;-)

Let the record show that I really don't recall that much about the Fremer HE2005 incident but what I recently posted, and Michael being hustled away while he was shouting the F-word repeatedly in a very loud voice.  I can't remember the exact way he phrased his usage of the F-word except that it was clear that it somehow was directed towards me. Being a hetrosexual in a long term committed relationship, I was not the least bit pleased by the repeated declarations of his sexual intentions towards me. ;-)

Needless to say I was quite releaved by Michael's recent admission that he is not psychiatrist. He behavior at HE2005 was quite unprofessional by the standards of any number of professions including medicine. Apparently it did not affect his repuation as a writer but of course we all know about writers... ;-)



Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 25 April, 2009, 08:45:23 PM
Yawn, I am seriously being underwhelmed here. I was really looking forward to a vigourous debate, but all I have seen so far is that ridiculous car analogy and the repetition of the "I am an expert" mantra.


What we see before us pretty much follows the behavior of Atkinson on Usenet. I don't recall having seen him post anything opn Usenet that was actually about audio for years. He got his &^%!! kicked by Nousaine and I many times quite a few years back on RAO and RAHE, and apparently learned his lesson.

Fremer has actually posted a little about audio here, but people are quickly figuring out that he's actually posting a treatise about his ignorance of just about any topic in audio he has written about.

This supports my general belief that most golden ears say what they do out of ignorance and inabilty to comprehend relatively simple techical topics in audio, not any a priori desire to be dishonest.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 09:04:42 PM
Of course aliases and sockpuppets are as opaque to me as anybody else. I have long suspected that some SP employees have posted  things online under various aliases, but I have no relaible evidence to back that up.


Not only do you not have any evidence for this specious claim, Mr. Krueger, when you made the same claim on Usenet, you were repeatedly assured that all of Stereophile's writers post to public forums using their own names or, as in this forum, under screen names that reveal their identity. There is one exception, in that the writer Tom Gillett posts under his nom-de-plume "Sam Tellig," which he adopted 25 years ago for professional reasons.


Just shows how naive you are, John. If one of your employees were posting from his own computer using an alias that was unknown to you, how would you know?


Because as the person who pays them, I have asked them outright, Mr. Krueger. They have responded, truthfully I fully believe, that they only post under their own names, not as sockpuppets. If such trust in my employees makes me "naive" by your standards, Mr. Krueger, that is something I am fully content to live with.  As you said, you have no evidence to support your specious claim; you'd be wise to leave the subject alone, surely.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 25 April, 2009, 09:16:19 PM
I can't say what happened afterwards between AK and MF from personal witness, as I was mainly talking to Tom Nousaine at the other end of the large-ish room.  I did introduce myself to Arny at some point, and do recall MF being in the vicinity then, and later hearing some audience buzz about 'words' having been exchanged between him and MF, but if a physical brawl almost broke out, it was a pretty local and well-damped one ;>


Fremer was restrained by one or more associates from approaching me closely.  What some might call one-sided assault but no battery.


No, this is not correct, Mr. Krueger. You were on the podium, behind the table as shown in the photographs at http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/ (http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/); Michael was on the floor.


Of course John you want  everybody to believe that Michael and I were frozen in the locations shown in that photograph from well before the debate until well after.


No-one said anything about "well before" to "well after," Mr. Krueger. The photos merely show where you were when you were shouting at Michael and he was shouting back at you. As you know, I was spooling microphone cables and packing up my recording gear so had a grandstand view of the argument. The point was that, contrary to your assertion, no-one had to "forceably restrain" Michael or even you :-)

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Just like you want everybody to believe that if one of your writers were posting using an alias that was unknown to you, he would report it to you immediately.


If I ask a direct question, it is my experience that I get a truthful response from those I employ. If your experience is different, either as employer or as employeee, than that is unfortunate, of course.

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Let the record show that I really don't recall that much about the Fremer HE2005 incident but what I recently posted...


I do believe that your memory is faulty, Mr. Krueger.

Quote
and Michael being hustled away while he was shouting the F-word repeatedly in a very loud voice.  I can't remember the exact way he phrased his usage of the F-word except that it was clear that it somehow was directed towards me. Being a hetrosexual in a long term committed relationship, I was not the least bit pleased by the repeated declarations of his sexual intentions towards me. ;-)


Perhaps you would have done well to have left well enough alone, Mr. Krueger. :-)

But I am puzzled that the moderating team allow you so much latitude. As it says in Hydrogen Audio's "Terms of Service,"

"2. All members, at the staff's discretion, must converse in an acceptable fashion to be allowed the privilege of continued participation."

I am not sure if the personal comments you direct toward Michael or me qualify as "acceptable," Mr. Krueger. Oh well. First Amendment and all that.
 
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 09:32:33 PM
This statement is just bizarre, and demonstrates you don't understand how lossy encoders work.  They are designed to take into account what sounds will be masked (and thus not audible) when the entire audio stream is played back.


We should not bash everything they say, that makes HA look one sided. I have listened to difference files myself. It is just interesting to hear what's inside them, that should not be prohibited.


Of course. It is interesting with these files, not only to audition the character of what is removed by various codecs but also the level of the difference signal.  I fail to see why my doing so in these demonstrations should be "prohibited."  :-)


But *of course* mp3s aren't bit-identical to their source and *of course* there can be audible content in the difference file.  You could also horrify them by showing waveforms of an mp3 versus lossless.

And then when you've got them gasping and shaking their heads in dismay, you *do* plan to explain what perceptual encoding *means*, right?  Which is to say, why the differences you hear in isolation, and see on graphs, can be perceptually *irrelevant* to what the mp3 sounds like? And why DBT would be *necessary* to determine if a given listener can actually hear the difference?
 
If you don't, you're misleading and misinforming your public...and that would be *shameful*.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 25 April, 2009, 09:42:53 PM
I think you should produce the MP3 files from 24-bit, 44-kHz downsampled files. IIRC, it is possible to encode/decode from/to such files with LAME.


I did consider that, but decided against it because, to the best of my knowledge commercial MP3 files are almost universally mastered from the 16-bit CD master. I am demonstrating _typical_ differences that might be heard from the lossy codecs under normal circumstances.



 

And to what do you plan to ascribe these differences?  If you performed a similar demonstration of 'normal' pop or rock LPs bought circa 1978, at random from your local Sam Goody, would you present that as demonstration the capabilities of the format? 

I doubt it.  So I must assume you also plan to explain what to look for when shopping for commercial MP3s, and how easy it is for audio hobbyists to create their own first-rate mp3s from CDs, demonstrating that deficiencies you may find in the 'commercial MP3 files', aren't necessarily inherent to the format? 

Otherwise....shameful

So, what encoder and settings and source CDs *are * you planning to use in the interests of mimicking 'commercial MP3 files'?  And may I presume that the very idea of having the demonstration be performed with blind and level-matching controls in place,  is *right out*?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 26 April, 2009, 06:22:58 AM
Quote
They have responded, truthfully I fully believe,


Many people tell me that their pastor at church responded truthfully, and they fully believe.

Call me crazy, but I'm more comfortable believing in God than Michael Fremer. Billions of people agree with me. ;-)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 26 April, 2009, 08:20:19 AM
If you don't, you're misleading and misinforming your public...and that would be *shameful*.


You know, my number one beef with Atkinson, Fremer and others like them is not that they have their quirky little hobby or that they spend buckets of money on their gear and an absurd amount of time tracking down obscure issues of music they've all ready been listening to for decades, it is that they give BAD ADVICE to people and send them on unnecessary wild goose chases.  I am not much of a techy.  I don't claim to know very much about sampling rates or how lossy compression actually works and so forth.  I've learned a bit, but a lot of the threads here still sail way over my head.  I consider myself fairly representative of the layperson/end consumer music junkie who mainly just wants things to turn on when I push "on", turn off when I push "off" and to sound decent in between.  If those three objectives are accomplished then I'm pretty happy.  My bottom line is that if I had gone to Atkinson prior to ripping my music and setting up my iPod then I would have gotten this line ( http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/ (http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/) ) "MP3s and their lossy-compressed ilk do not offer sufficient audio quality for serious music listening."  Maybe that's his opinion and he obviously has lots of fancy graphs to back it up, but does it really hold water?  Is it based on sound reasoning? 

I came here for advice and I was told that I should:  1. Strongly consider ripping to lossless so that my music is 100% future-proof, I never have to rip the discs again, and I can always transcode to any lossy or lossless format I want down the line.  2.  Do a series of ABX tests in order to determine the point at which I could no longer distinguish lossy files from lossless files.  3.  Make lossy files from my lossless files at that bitrate, load up my iPod with those and rock out.  If I had been told to just rip everything at 128kbps CBR and toss the CDs then I'd have been wary, but this seemed like a very prudent, sensible and objective approach that was far preferable to someone pontificating from on high "Thou shalt rip thusly." 

I followed the advice I got here as close to the letter as I could, was suitably humbled by the ABX tests, and I am sitting here today beyond thrilled with the results which are nearly 600GBs worth of ALAC and a 120GB Classic stuffed with over 1700 CDs worth of music in AAC at a level of quality that my ears, which are pretty decent, are unable to distinguish from my lossless files and about 7GB left over for new additions.  If I had gone to Atkinson then I'd have ALAC or  (Ack!) Wav in the iPod instead and I'd be stuck spending a fairly large amount of time glued to the computer every week swapping out music and making new playlists instead of simply being able to grab my iPod with my full library on it and just go.  I think it is safe to say that I would not be nearly as satisfied if I had followed Atkinson's approach and I would like to ask Atkinson the following:  If I am unable to distinguish the sound I hear from the lossy files that inhabit my iPod and make up my iTunes library from my lossless files then in what way do these lossy files "...not offer sufficient audio quality for serious music listening."?  I assure you that I take my music and my listening thereof quite seriously.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 26 April, 2009, 08:53:28 AM
I couldn't agree more.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: C.R.Helmrich on 26 April, 2009, 09:56:10 AM
My bottom line is that if I had gone to Atkinson prior to ripping my music and setting up my iPod then I would have gotten this line ( http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/ (http://www.stereophile.com/features/308mp3cd/) ) "MP3s and their lossy-compressed ilk do not offer sufficient audio quality for serious music listening."

*sigh* Time for science again. Mr. Atkinson, this is exactly what I was talking about. From the above URL regarding Figure 2:

Quote
However, a picket fence of very-low-level vertical lines can be seen. These represent spurious tones that result, I suspect, from mathematical limitations in the codec.

No, they are not limitations in the codec. They are are a limitation of the particular decoder used. The spurious tones are the harmonic distortion you get when letting an MP3 decoder output to 16 bit by simply rounding the floating-point data. They would be completely gone when you decode to 16 bits with dither. LAME developers, maybe you should add a decoder option to dither before outputting to 16 bits so that the audiophile community has one less thing to worry about. IIRC, Winamp and foobar can dither MP3 decodes.

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Like the skirts that flank the 1kHz tone, these will not be audible. But they do reveal that the codec is working hard even with this most simple of signals.

From my audio coding engineer's point of view, very tonal sounds belong to the most difficult sounds to code, especially for MP3. The skirts that flank the 1-kHz tone are due to the QMF (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quadrature_mirror_filter) in MP3. There is no QMF in AAC, hence there is much less smearing of the tones at low levels.

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Both MP3 and AAC introduce fairly large changes in the measured spectra, even at the highest rate of 320kbps.

Regarding AAC at 320 kbps, I completely disagree with your conclusion. In the range below 17 kHz, the maximum distortion level is -110 dB. That's on the order of the distortion the best D/A-converter+amplifier+loudspeaker configuration can achieve.

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Given the bigger bit budget at 320kbps, the AAC codec produces a result that may well be indistinguishable from CD for some listeners some of the time with some music.

I have never heard of a person being able to repeatedly distinguish a 320-kbps AAC encoded stationary signal from its original, especially if the signal is like the one shown in Figures 4 - 8. If there is, please let me know. He/she will surely be of help in improving the quality of today's audio coders.

Chris

P.S.: Mr. Atkinson, it's "Fraunhofer", not "Fraunhöfer"
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 10:26:51 AM

It is interesting with these files, not only to audition the character of what is removed by various codecs but also the level of the difference signal.  I fail to see why my doing so in these demonstrations should be "prohibited."  :-)


But *of course* mp3s aren't bit-identical to their source and *of course* there can be audible content in the difference file.


Correct. And I believe people who don't have the facilities to prepare such files for themselves should be able to experience them. Surely an informed listener is a better listener?

Quote
And then when you've got them gasping and shaking their heads in dismay, you *do* plan to explain what perceptual encoding *means*, right?  Which is to say, why the differences you hear in isolation, and see on graphs, can be perceptually *irrelevant* to what the mp3 sounds like? And why DBT would be *necessary* to determine if a given listener can actually hear the difference?
 
If you don't, you're misleading and misinforming your public...and that would be *shameful*.


You seem very ready to argue by projection, "krabapple." Why wouldn't I explain what perceptual coding is and why it can be useful under some circumstances? Why wouldn't I allow people to hear MP3s at various bitrates and the equivalent Red Book and hi-rez versions?  Even if they can't perceive any difference between any of the versions I play them, again, an informed listener is a better listener.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 10:40:33 AM
I think you should produce the MP3 files from 24-bit, 44-kHz downsampled files. IIRC, it is possible to encode/decode from/to such files with LAME.


I did consider that, but decided against it because, to the best of my knowledge commercial MP3 files are almost universally mastered from the 16-bit CD master. I am demonstrating _typical_ differences that might be heard from the lossy codecs under normal circumstances.



 

And to what do you plan to ascribe these differences?  If you performed a similar demonstration of 'normal' pop or rock LPs bought circa 1978, at random from your local Sam Goody, would you present that as demonstration the capabilities of the format? 

I doubt it.


Again you argue by projection, "krabapple."

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So I must assume you also plan to explain what to look for when shopping for commercial MP3s, and how easy it is for audio hobbyists to create their own first-rate mp3s from CDs, demonstrating that deficiencies you may find in the 'commercial MP3 files', aren't necessarily inherent to the format?


Not at all. As I write in an article quoted elsewhere in this thread, I don't regard lossy-compressed files as appropriate for serious listening, particularly when lossless compression is easy and convenient and hard-drive space is ridiculously cheap. My standing advice for use of lossy compression for use on space-limited iPods is to encode at 320kpbs AAC. But even that will not be transparent to all listeners at all times with all kinds of music, which is what I deem necesary for "serious" listening. My opinion. YMMV, of course.

Quote
Otherwise....shameful.


Oh dear. That would be _terrible_ :-)

Quote
So, what encoder and settings and source CDs *are * you planning to use in the interests of mimicking 'commercial MP3 files'?  And may I presume that the very idea of having the demonstration be performed with blind and level-matching controls in place,  is *right out*?


Of course these comparisons will be level-matched. Why wouldn't they be? But given that these demonstrations are open to the public there may by up to 20 people in the listening room, a formal DBT is out of the question. And please note that, as I keep saying, these are demonstrations, not tests. There will be no scoring of listeners' preferences. As I have said, I am only interested in exposing listeners to the the various formats. This is so that they can decide for themselves whether a) hi-rez formats are necessary, b)  whether CD is good enough for serious listening, and c) whether the lossy versions are sonically compromised or not. Who could argue that that would be a bad or, in your emotionally loaded term, a "shameful" thing.

As I have said, Hydrogen Audio members who live in Colorado are welcome to attend one of these sessions and debate this subect in person.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 10:58:57 AM
John Atkinson stated:
Quote
They have responded, truthfully I fully believe...


Many people tell me that their pastor at church responded truthfully, and they fully believe.

Call me crazy, but I'm more comfortable believing in God than Michael Fremer. Billions of people agree with me. ;-)


It looks as if you are confusing the different usages "I believe..." and "I beleve in..." Mr. Krueger. But your raising of your belief in God raises an interesting point.

Hydrogen Audio appears, by its charter, to be a community of logical positivists in that something that cannot be proved through experiment to exist must be assumed not to exist. (Forgive me, moderators, if this paraphrase is not sufficiently nuanced.) Arny Krueger has long adopted this position on Usenet and on this forum, condemning those, like me, who describe our perceptions as being deluded. Yet in the past day on this forum, Arny Krueger has twice declared that he believes in something for which no evidence exists and that cannot be tested by experiment: 1) his belief in something called "God," and 2) his belief that, despite his own admission that there is _no_ evidence for them having done so, he believes that Stereophile's writers disguise their identities when posting to on-line forums/fora.

Surely this behavior is what he so antagonistically accuses others of? Doesn't this make Mr Krueger the subjectivist in this thread, the one who holds on to beliefs despite the lack of evidence?

By contrast, if you examine my postings in this thread, I have kept to facts or made it clear when I am expressing an opinion. And unlike Mr. Krueger, I have not been reduced to hurling personal insults.

As my friend James Johnston once observed in another forum, an unreasonable advocate for a reasonable position harms, not helps that position. I believe JJ's label should pinned on you, Mr. Krueger. :-)

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 11:01:09 AM
Mr. Atkinson, it's "Fraunhofer", not "Fraunhöfer"


Thank you for the correction.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Light-Fire on 26 April, 2009, 11:27:39 AM
...a formal DBT is out of the question...
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile


Do you guys ever perform a double blind test for any reason?

Why do you avoid it?

A double blind test would eliminate the placebo effect from your comparisons and reveal the truth.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 11:50:39 AM
...a formal DBT is out of the question...


Do you guys ever perform a double blind test for any reason?


Of course. I took part in my first blind test in the spring of 1977, and must have been involved in over 100 since then, using all kinds of methodologies including the original ABX box.

Quote
Why do you avoid it?


I haven't overall, but yes, we perform them very infrequently in review listening. If this bothers you, then please do not read my magazine. You won't offend me by not doing so. :-)

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A double blind test would eliminate the placebo effect from your comparisons and reveal the truth.


Not really. I assume you mean by the "truth" you mean null results. But you can't draw a general conclusion from a set of null results, only that under the specific circumstances of that test, no difference could be detected to a predetermined degree of statistical confidence.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 12:01:19 PM
My standing advice for use of lossy compression for use on space-limited iPods is to encode at 320kpbs AAC.


Geez, I wonder how many tracks people with a 2 GB DAP can put on their device at that bitrate. 

But even that will not be transparent to all listeners at all times with all kinds of music, which is what I deem necesary for "serious" listening.


Please backup your claims with some ABX test results that you can actually hear a difference or are you too afraid that your precious ego will be destroyed?

My opinion. YMMV, of course.


Of course this is an opinion not backed by any DBT hard data. This is all hyperbole until I see some ABX results.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 12:17:26 PM
Quote
A double blind test would eliminate the placebo effect from your comparisons and reveal the truth.


Not really. I assume you mean by the "truth" you mean null results. But you can't draw a general conclusion from a set of null results, only that under the specific circumstances of that test, no difference could be detected to a predetermined degree of statistical confidence.


"...Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me, because I am associated by so many people with the mess my disciples made of spreading my gospel "

--- Gordon Holt, founder of Stereophile magazine

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile


cpchan
Field Agent, Bureau of Scientific Investigations 

I feel like I am in a episode of the X-Files, investigating voodoo!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 26 April, 2009, 12:18:50 PM
It looks as if you are confusing the different usages "I believe..." and "I beleve in..." Mr. Krueger. But your raising of your belief in God raises an interesting point.

Hydrogen Audio appears, by its charter, to be a community of logical positivists in that something that cannot be proved through experiment to exist must be assumed not to exist.


As someone working on their Master's of Divinity at a evangelical institution, I assure you that your stereotype is incorrect. You can read my reasons for a lack of personal conflict here (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=70950&view=findpost&p=626501).

That said, it certainly doesn't do anyone wishing to study audio scientifically any favors to compare audio to religion; you're just giving the other side more meaningless cannon fodder.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 12:25:27 PM
Hydrogen Audio appears, by its charter, to be a community of logical positivists in that something that cannot be proved through experiment to exist must be assumed not to exist.


As someone working on their Master's of Divinity at a evangelical institution, I assure you that your stereotype is incorrect.
You can read my reasons for a lack of person conflict here (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=70950&view=findpost&p=626501).


I will certainly check what you wrote.

Quote
That said, it certainly doesn't do anyone wishing to study audio scientifically any favors to compare audio to religion; you're just giving the other side more meaningless cannon fodder.


Perhaps you didn't read my posting carefully enough. I didn't compare audio to religion. I stated that Mr. Krueger is arguing about non-audio-related behavior of others based on beliefs that are not based on physical evidence. I find that strange behavior in someone who subscribes to this group.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: /mnt on 26 April, 2009, 12:31:11 PM
My standing advice for use of lossy compression for use on space-limited iPods is to encode at 320kbps AAC.


320kbps is pretty steep for flash based players such as the iPod Nano, iPod Touch and mobile phones that can play AAC files. Anyway the average person with untrained ears is likely to find that a 175 kbps VBR AAC file to be transparent most of the time.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 26 April, 2009, 12:41:44 PM
Perhaps you didn't read my posting carefully enough.
Ah, I actually misunderstood Arny's stance on the matter.


I didn't compare audio to religion. I stated that Mr. Krueger is arguing about non-audio-related behavior of others based on beliefs that are not based on physical evidence. I find that strange behavior in someone who subscribes to this group.

Ah. You're working the same argument I thought you were only you're coming at it backwards. 

No, just because you believe in God doesn't mean that you necessarily must reject any methodology or conclusion loosely related to science. There's quite a few fundamentalist in this world that would like you to think that, but such an idea is the most obvious kind of non sequitur.

[edit]fixed spelling
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 12:50:41 PM
My standing advice for use of lossy compression for use on space-limited iPods is to encode at 320kpbs AAC.


Geez, I wonder how many tracks people with a 2 GB DAP can put on their device at that bitrate. 


I think to fair to assume that someone who is not prepared to pay for more than 2GB of storage will accept some tradeoff in sound quality. Where each of us decides to balance sound quality against storage requirements is a personal choice. For myself, I choose lossless or no compression for serious listening ie, at home, and either lossless or AAC at 320kbps for portable use, depending on how temporary that music's residence on my iPod will be. Why do I have to answer to someone else for those preferences?

But even that will not be transparent to all listeners at all times with all kinds of music, which is what I deem necessary for "serious" listening.


Quote
Please backup your claims with some ABX test results that you can actually hear a difference...


Why do I have to? I have not said anything that is in dispute. It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al). As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.

From my reading of the literature and my discussions with some of the engineers involved in designing lossy codecs, audible transparency does not appear to be the goal. Instead, it is that a lossy codec be undetectable enough of the time with enough listeners with enough kinds of program that it will be appropriate for use in circumstances where storage space or transmission bandwidth is at a premium.

Quote
or are you too afraid that your precious ego will be destroyed?


I fail to see what you think is achieved by descending to personal remarks. Your opinion and presumably your experiences are different from mine, is all.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 26 April, 2009, 12:51:07 PM
Not at all. As I write in an article quoted elsewhere in this thread, I don't regard lossy-compressed files as appropriate for serious listening, particularly when lossless compression is easy and convenient and hard-drive space is ridiculously cheap. My standing advice for use of lossy compression for use on space-limited iPods is to encode at 320kpbs AAC. But even that will not be transparent to all listeners at all times with all kinds of music, which is what I deem necesary for "serious" listening. My opinion. YMMV, of course.


Why have "standard advice" at all?  Why not, you know, consider the needs of the person doing the asking?  A lot of the time it seems to me that when hardcore audiophile types give "advice" they are really just taking the the opportunity to show off, ramble on about their gear, their collection or their real/imagined knowledge and not making a sincere effort to do right by the questioner.  I had a coworker a couple of weeks ago who had still been listening to portable music on a cassette Walkman which died and she had gotten an 8GB Nano to replace it.  She asked me how to import her music.  I knew she wasn't excessively concerned with sound quality, wasn't a huge music junkie the way I am, wasn't technically inclined or terribly into computers and definitely wouldn't be interested in mucking around with bitrates, ABX and so forth.  An approach like the one I took recently would be a horrible choice for her though it has turned out to be perfect for me.  I just explained to her how to set up iTunes, rip the songs she wanted with checks, make playlists, sync up the iPod and told her that she would most likely be just fine with the default 128kbps AAC settings.  She's happy, not bogged down with jargon and arcane audiophilia and she likes the iPod much better than the Walkman. 

Anyway, I'll ask you one more time:  If I can't tell the difference between an AAC file ripped to my iPod at a bitrate determined by ABX testing and a lossless file then in what way, precisely, is the AAC file not appropriate for serious listening?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 01:05:51 PM
From my reading of the literature and my discussions with some of the engineers involved in designing lossy codecs, audible transparency does not appear to be the goal. Instead, it is that a lossy codec be undetectable enough of the time with enough listeners with enough kinds of program that it will be appropriate for use in circumstances where storage space or transmission bandwidth is at a premium.


True. However it should be perceptionally transparent at a high enough bitrate. If not, then it is failure of the codec- this is why they are constantly tuned for problematic samples. The point is, can you hear the difference? This is what ABX is for.

I fail to see what you think is achieved by descending to personal remarks. Your opinion and presumably your experiences are different from mine, is all.


You posted on this board. You agreed to TOS #8:

8. All members that put forth a statement concerning subjective sound quality, must -- to the best of their ability -- provide objective support for their claims. Acceptable means of support are double blind listening tests (ABX or ABC/HR) demonstrating that the member can discern a difference perceptually, together with a test sample to allow others to reproduce their findings. Graphs, non-blind listening tests, waveform difference comparisons, and so on, are not acceptable means of providing support.

I am not being condescending here. You just refuse to prove to us that you can actually hear a different with ABX testing. The only reason that I can think of for this refusal is that you are afraid that you can't hear a difference.

Anyway, what are your thoughts on  Gordon Holt's remarks?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Dracaena on 26 April, 2009, 02:04:37 PM
It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al). As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.

I am a bit puzzled by this comment. If a given 16bit/44.1KHz LPCM encoding of a particular source material was indeed non-transparent, and an mp3 was made from the 16bit/44KHz LPCM encoding rather than the source, then an assumption that the mp3 would also not be transparent to the source would be correct.
But if the 16bit/44.1KHz LPCM is the source material, as is the case for the vast majority of currently available music, how can it not be totally transparent with itself? If the source was something other than 16bit/44.1KHz LPCM, then any information or test results about 16bit/44.1KHz LPCM are irrelevant to discussions about an mp3 encoding of the source, and one cannot make any assumptions about mp3 based on them.

As far as I can tell:
* you seem content with 16bit/44KHz LPCM for serious listening
* you are not content with mp3 for serious listening, because it is not transparent to all people, all of the time, for all types of material
* you do not feel the need to perform tests to acertain whether or not mp3 is transparent to you personally, based on the limitations of the 16bit/44KHz LPCM source material which you are content with for serious listening!

If I have misinterpreted your comments, or misrepresented your views, perhaps you would like to provide clarification?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: C.R.Helmrich on 26 April, 2009, 02:20:12 PM
I agree with Dracaena.

I think we have different notions of the meaning of "transparency". For me (and most others in this forum, I think), transparency of a lossy audio codec is achieved when the decoded signal is indistinguishable from the signal fed into the encoder. So if a decoded 44-kHz signal "sounds exactly like" the original 44-kHz signal, the codec is transparent, isn't it?

Btw, the AAC standard allows for coding of 24-bit/96-kHz PCM signals. So Mr. Atkinson, even by your stringent requirements: if we assume that 24-bit/96-kHz audio actually is transparent to everyone, a lossy codec can be transparent if you use a sufficient bitrate.

Chris
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: sld on 26 April, 2009, 02:50:02 PM
No, just because you believe in God doesn't mean that you necessarily must reject any methodology or conclusion loosely related to science.

Erm no, "fundamentalists" (cultists) may use it from time to time, but most of the time it's certainly the other camp who purposely uses this as a strawman to attack (and win, obviously).


Isn't transparency completely subjective (i.e. to the individual's capability) and hence needs a universally objective methodology (DBT) to measure with?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 26 April, 2009, 02:58:42 PM
Hydrogen Audio appears, by its charter, to be a community of logical positivists in that something that cannot be proved through experiment to exist must be assumed not to exist. (Forgive me, moderators, if this paraphrase is not sufficiently nuanced.) Arny Krueger has long adopted this position on Usenet and on this forum, condemning those, like me, who describe our perceptions as being deluded.


This is typical of John Atkinson't inability to be communicated with. His problem is his inability to distinguish what he wants to hear from what he's actually hearing.  Like every other human I've got the same problem, but I address them with appropriate tools such as ABX.

Here's a typical statement by me on a public forum that Atkinson is well-known to monitor quite carefully:

"People who perceive (imaginary) subtleties in sighted evaluations aren't
nuts or liars, they are just confusing seeing with hearing. They
aren't deluded, they are just illuded. What they experience isn't a
psychological pathology, it's simply how normal people work."

The most important sentences above are:

"They aren't deluded, they are just illuded. What they experience isn't a
psychological pathology, it's simply how normal people work."

This is from a direct reply to an Atkinson post:

"I figured from the onset that I was
speaking to a group of people who were pretty well set in
their illuded ways..."

I think I also said something similar in the HE2005 debate.

Therefore, the idea that I think that true believers in the perceptions of Atkinson are deluded is yet another one of John's many misapprehensions that I have been unable to disabuse him of, despite years of diligent effort on my part.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 26 April, 2009, 03:03:42 PM
Why do I have to? I have not said anything that is in dispute. It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al). As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.


John, to the best of my knowlege, the various writings of Stuart and Fielder that you have cited do not in fact themselves meet the standards of HA TOS #8. Therefore, they cannot be cited in your obvious efforts to circumvent TOS #8.


Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 26 April, 2009, 03:18:29 PM
I stated that Mr. Krueger is arguing about non-audio-related behavior of others based on beliefs that are not based on physical evidence. I find that strange behavior in someone who subscribes to this group.



What Atkinson finds strange about my belief structure is not the issue at hand. But personally-directed comments like this are typical of his habitual methodologies for avoiding more important issues at hand like his obvious attempts to circumvent HA TOS 8.

Quote
No, just because you believe in God doesn't mean that you necessarily must reject any methodology or conclusion loosely related to science.


I agree with that and raise you 5 trillion. ;-)

I believe that all true and reliable Scientific beliefs and all true and reliable beliefs about God *must* converge. One of the biggest mistakes that religionists make is trying to limit everybody's beliefs about God to their own beliefs, which are necessarily limited and therefore almost certainly in error. This is actually counter to the clear teachings of a book they love to cite, namely the Bible. At this time the most notorious example of this kind of confused thinking is probably what some call Creationism.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ExUser on 26 April, 2009, 03:26:18 PM
Why do I have to? I have not said anything that is in dispute. It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al). As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.
Can I get more of a citation than that? I can't pinpoint a precise article using only those two names and a smattering of relevant keywords. The studies I am familiar with regarding the matter seem to affirm the opposite. (http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 03:57:24 PM
Why do I have to? I have not said anything that is in dispute. It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al). As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.


John, to the best of my knowlege, the various writings of Stuart and Fielder that you have cited do not in fact themselves meet the standards of HA TOS #8. Therefore, they cannot be cited in your obvious efforts to circumvent TOS #8.


Sigh. I had assumed that academic  papers published in the Journal of the AES (in this case by two AES Fellows), could be cited on this forum. If this is not the case, then I apologize to the moderators, of course. But it does seem inappropriate that the research of third parties is not available for reference by posters.

To avoid thread bloat, I am addressing comments made by Arny Krueger in other recent postings here:

Quote
This is typical of John Atkinson't inability to be communicated with. His problem is his inability to distinguish what he wants to hear from what he's actually hearing.


Yet more personal comments. It really doesn't seem possible for you to address the argument, Mr. Krueger rather than the arguer, does it.

Quote
Like every other human I've got the same problem, but I address them with appropriate tools such as ABX.


Actually, for codec testing, ABX is not useful, because of its yes/no response scoring. The literature tends to support using ABC/HR testing using an impairment scale for lossy codecs. I suppose you are now going to claim that that published research also does not meet the requirements of TOS#8, Mr. Krueger. :-)

Quote
(Stereoeditor @ Apr 26 2009, 12:25) *
I stated that Mr. Krueger is arguing about non-audio-related behavior of others based on beliefs that are not based on physical evidence. I find that strange behavior in someone who subscribes to this group.


Quote
What Atkinson finds strange about my belief structure is not the issue at hand. But personally-directed comments like this are typical of his habitual methodologies for avoiding more important issues at hand like his obvious attempts to circumvent HA TOS 8.


I am not trying to circumvent anything in this posting, Mr. Krueger, nor am I making any kind of unsupported personal comment. Instead, I am directly addressing a misstatement that you made earlier in the thread, out of the blue and with no connection to audio, codes, bitrates, etc etc. You even admitted that the statement was not supported by any evidence. If the moderators are willing to allow you the license to wander off-topic in this manner, then surely I should be allowed the same license to correct your misstatement? Ideally, of course, I would prefer the thread stay on-track.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: greynol on 26 April, 2009, 04:12:56 PM
ABX is the appropriate test to demonstrate that you can distinguish a lossy encode from the source from which it was created.

Why you're evading the issue is somewhat a mystery to me.  Perhaps it's not intentional because you simply don't understand the methods and how they apply to this forum.  Based on what you've said so far this appears to be the case.

It also appears that you'd rather engage people on their method of arguing rather than the substance of what they argue.

It is my opinion that Arny is quite right when he suggests that you are completely unwilling to make an attempt to correlate what you actually hear with what you want to hear.  If this is true, then please, just go away.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 04:18:11 PM
I have not said anything that is in dispute. It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al). As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.


Can I get more of a citation than that? I can't pinpoint a precise article using only those two names and a smattering of relevant keywords.


Search the AES paper database for Louis Fielder's paper on dynamic range and J.R. Stuart's on the coding requirements for transparency. (I think Bob Stuart actually published 2 papers on this subject.) If you can't find them, I'll dig out the exact references.

Quote
The studies I am familiar with regarding the matter seem to affirm the opposite. (http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=14195)


Ah, yes. Not one of the JAES's better days when they published the Meyer-Moran paper, not the least because of its lack of experimental detail. YMMV, of course.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Member of the AES since 1981, BTW

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 04:31:59 PM
Why you're evading the issue is somewhat a mystery to me.


I agree. I would also like to see him address Gordon Holt's comment. He seem to be evading that too.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 04:37:34 PM
ABX is the appropriate test to demonstrate that you can distinguish a lossy encode from the source from which it was created.


I disagree. You need to establish the degree of departure from transparency using an impairment scale. As I said, the literature appears mainly to feature ABC/HR testing for codec testing and from what I have observed of tests that use that protocol, it does appear a more fruitful tool for blind testing of small but real differences.

Quote
Why you're evading the issue is somewhat a mystery to me.


I am not avoiding anything. I have been addressed points made by other posters who have referred to comments I have made elsewhere. I really don't see that TOS#8 applies to my writings that have published outside this group. If the moderating team wishes me not to comment, then perhaps they should request those posters not to quote my published work.

Quote
Perhaps it's not intentional because you simply don't understand the methods and how they apply to this forum.  Based on what you've said so far this appears to be the case.


See above. I have been an AES member for 28 years and have been involved in a great deal of blind testing, both as an organizer and as a test subject. There certainly isn't the bandwidth to go into all that work here but you can find my writings on the subject and the descriptions of many of those tests in Stereophile and in Hi-Fi News.

Quote
It also appears that you'd rather engage people on their method of arguing rather than the substance of what they argue.


The only comments I have made on this topic concern personal and insulting comments made about me by certain other posters. I felt it appropriate to point that fact out as it appears to conflict with Hydrogen Audio's TOS#2. All other comments I have made have been factual and have addressed specific point raised by other posters, not the posters themselves.

Quote
It is my opinion that Arny is quite right when he suggests that you are completely unwilling to make an attempt to correlate what you actually hear with what you want to hear.  If this is true, then please, just go away.


It is certainly not true and I have no problem answering specific points made on this forum. I don't see what purpose would be served by my not responding. If you do feel that I have infringed on TOS#2 and TOS#8, then I apologize, of course. But I don't intend to go away.
 
John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 26 April, 2009, 04:43:30 PM
"...Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me, because I am associated by so many people with the mess my disciples made of spreading my gospel "

J Gordon Holt, founder of Stereophile magazine

This needs unpicking, IMO.

"Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand." Pretentious nonsense. It was nothing to do with audio types destroying their own business - other businesses pushed it aside. Audio as a hobby has been dying ever since TV became widely available and relatively cheap to buy and run. By the time it got to the 1980s, we all had a million other things to play with before we got to audio. Now we have got hundreds of things that can play audio before we get to audio. So where audio might be a legitimate hobby to someone in the 1950s, because there really weren't many other things as competition, those days are long gone.

"As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s..." More nonsense. High-end audio only briefly had a moment of credibility when those guys who built things in the 1950s got rich enough during the 1960s to afford to get someone else to build their things for them. Once the 1970s came round, PR created a personality cult around product designers and the die was cast.

"When it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal." Er, I may be wrong on this, but I don't remember Stereophile being a paragon of scientific virtue when it was under J Gordon Holt's wing.

"[This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me, because I am associated by so many people with the mess my disciples made of spreading my gospel." Hmm, would that be the gospel according to St Chocolatey, or the one by St Microdynamics, the patron saint of liquid inner details?

Perhaps we can conclude that old reviewers never die, they just turn objective with age.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 04:51:02 PM
Why you're evading the issue is somewhat a mystery to me.


I agree. I would also like to see him address Gordon Holt's comment. He seem to be evading that too.


I have commented on Gordon's essay elsewhere, but not on Hydrogen Audio. And as the person who interviewed Gordon and published his essay in my magazine, perhaps you might want to give me some credit for that.

While on the face of it, Gordon's statement at http://stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi (http://stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi) is powerful, it must be pointed out that Gordon never performed any blind testing to support his review conclusions when he edited Stereophile nor after I took over from him as  editor in 1986. (Perhaps paradoxically, I have been involved in a considerably greater amount of blind testing than Gordon.)  He did review the ABX Comparator - see http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/121 (http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/121) - but ultimately decided it would not be a useful reviewing tool - see http://www.stereophile.com/thinkpieces/141 (http://www.stereophile.com/thinkpieces/141) - writing "We never purchased an ABX comparator for several reasons. First, we have never felt the need for it. Second, we are finding that, regardless of "controls," an A/B test doesn't reveal small differences between components as well as does prolonged listening."

It is fair, therefore, to point out that Gordon hadn't practiced what he now preaches.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: shakey_snake on 26 April, 2009, 04:56:09 PM
ABX is the appropriate test to demonstrate that you can distinguish a lossy encode from the source from which it was created.


I disagree. You need to establish the degree of departure from transparency using an impairment scale.

There's nothing to disagree about.

ABX determines if something is perceptually transparent or not. This is the first question to answer. If it is satisfied with a statistically significant result, then ABC/HR can be used to rank the degree of non-transparency.

It is my understanding is that you challenge the idea that anything (e.g. a lossy codec, or an amplifier, or an interconnect) can be perceptual transparent to begin with. Yes or no?

Is there an actual reason for that challenge, or is this just a poor assumption?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Ron Jones on 26 April, 2009, 04:56:36 PM
ABX is the appropriate test to demonstrate that you can distinguish a lossy encode from the source from which it was created.
I disagree. You need to establish the degree of departure from transparency using an impairment scale.

Such a test is not suitable when only a difference is to be discerned. Sample rating is typically desirable but not necessary when the only information sought is the answer to the question "can I perceive a difference?".

greynol is correct.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 04:57:46 PM
Your dissection of Gordon Holt's comment is very true (especially the part about "personality cult around product designers") and amusing.

Perhaps we can conclude that old reviewers never die, they just turn objective with age.


Agreed.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ExUser on 26 April, 2009, 05:05:11 PM
Search the AES paper database for Louis Fielder's paper on dynamic range and J.R. Stuart's on the coding requirements for transparency. (I think Bob Stuart actually published 2 papers on this subject.) If you can't find them, I'll dig out the exact references.
Aha! That does it exactly. The way you phrased the citation made me think it was a jointly-authored document. I shall get back to you.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: hlloyge on 26 April, 2009, 05:35:58 PM
I've been reading this thread with great amusement seeing how those three people, Framer, Atkinson and Krueger (I don't know any of them) act and behave like children. I expected discussion, but instead, I read pages of childish fighting, the kind my daughter went through in 4th grade.
People, please, show some dignity. You are not children anymore, and are able to have civilized conversation.

Mr. Framer, Mr. Atkinson, do you even believe that ABX test can be used to show if there are really a difference between two amplifiers, or two codecs?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 26 April, 2009, 05:42:14 PM
I've been reading this thread with great amusement seeing how those three people, Framer, Atkinson and Krueger (I don't know any of them) act and behave like children. I expected discussion, but instead, I read pages of childish fighting, the kind my daughter went through in 4th grade.
People, please, show some dignity. You are not children anymore, and are able to have civilized conversation.

Mr. Framer, Mr. Atkinson, do you even believe that ABX test can be used to show if there are really a difference between two amplifiers, or two codecs?


That's fightin' talk where I come from.

Fortunately, I moved.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 05:55:52 PM
Mr. Atkinson, thank you for your comments. That is all I wanted to see.

It is fair, therefore, to point out that Gordon hadn't practiced what he now preaches.


True. However, he seem to have recognized that he was wrong and that scientific rigour must be applied.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 26 April, 2009, 06:29:13 PM
True. However, he seem to have recognized that he was wrong and that scientific rigour must be applied.


I doubt this. I think if he were still the editor of Stereophile, he'd still be 'on message', even if he thought the magazine was heading in the wrong direction - or already there. Think about it. If John Atkinson (or any of the other audiophile editors) took a hard objective stance while editor, he'd be an ex-editor within three issues. It would be like the Pope suddenly saying "You know what... that Richard Dawkins guy was right all along. I still get to be Pope, though, don't I?"

That's not just because the advertisers would pull out, it would be considered a betrayal by the readership, too. A magazine could potentially argue that its responsibility to its readers includes supporting the belief systems of those readers, even if those belief systems are highly questionable to non-readers. A 'pr0n' magazine, for example, is never going to include features about how its industry objectifies women.

What gets me is just how on message everyone is on magazines like Stereophile. What happens to those voices of dissent in print? I understand why they don't last long on audiophile forums - for the same reason audiophile opinions tend not to have long shelf-lives here - but what about the magazine itself? Is the subject forbidden, or does it simply engender so much animosity in the faithful readership that to publish anything apart from the received audiophile wisdom is fruitless? I really can't imagine that there's not one scientifically-savvy audiophile in the whole pack.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 07:04:43 PM
I doubt this. I think if he were still the editor of Stereophile, he'd still be 'on message', even if he thought the magazine was heading in the wrong direction - or already there.


Agreed. I wonder if this is the true reason why he resigned.

That's not just because the advertisers would pull out, it would be considered a betrayal by the readership, too. A magazine could potentially argue that its responsibility to its readers includes supporting the belief systems of those readers, even if those belief systems are highly questionable to non-readers. A 'pr0n' magazine, for example, is never going to include features about how its industry objectifies women.


No argument here.

What gets me is just how on message everyone is on magazines like Stereophile. What happens to those voices of dissent in print? I understand why they don't last long on audiophile forums - for the same reason audiophile opinions tend not to have long shelf-lives here - but what about the magazine itself? Is the subject forbidden, or does it simply engender so much animosity in the faithful readership that to publish anything apart from the received audiophile wisdom is fruitless? I really can't imagine that there's not one scientifically-savvy audiophile in the whole pack.


This is because it is based on blind faith and in reality, a cult (no offense, Mr. Atkinson, but this is my POV)- bra... bra.... It is a house of cards and cannot stand the slightest scrutiny with the light of science.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 07:12:26 PM
I've been reading this thread with great amusement seeing how those three people, [Fremer], Atkinson and Krueger (I don't know any of them) act and behave like children. I expected discussion, but instead, I read pages of childish fighting, the kind my daughter went through in 4th grade.
People, please, show some dignity. You are not children anymore, and are able to have civilized conversation.


I am sorry if that is how my postings are perceived. I do try to address the argument and not the arguer. If there is a specific example of my behaving childishly in recent postings, could you point it out to me. Thank you.

Quote
Mr. [Fremer], Mr. Atkinson, do you even believe that ABX test can be used to show if there are really a difference between two amplifiers, or two codecs?


Of course. But to organize such a test is not a trivial matter. The problem with the ABX protocol is that unless carefully implemented, it tends to produce false negatives, particularly if the number of trials is small - ie, the results are null even when a real but small difference exists. (See Les Leventhal's mid-1980s AES paper on this problem.)

For example, look at the 1986 Stereo Review test of amplifiers that someone else recently referred to on HA. As published in that magazine, the results were null, ie, the listener as a group could not distinguish the amplifiers by ear to an acceptable degree of statistical significance. Yet the frequency response differences between the amplifiers driving the test loudspeaker were sufficiently large that they _should_ have been detected - ie, they were above the threshold established by other, more carefully implemented blind listening tests.

I admit that the sighted listening practiced by my magazine can produce false positives. But in my view, that is preferable to false negatives. YMMV, of course. But in the end, if I publish a significantly high proportion of false positives, I will go out of business.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 07:20:39 PM
What gets me is just how on message everyone is on magazines like Stereophile. What happens to those voices of dissent in print?


As I thought would have been clear from the discussion of J. Gordon Holt's valedictorian comments, I do publish "voices of dissent" in Stereophile. Over the years I have published comments from such "objectivists" as Stanley Lipshitz (whom I count as a friend and mentor), Tom Nousaine, Arny Krueger, David Clark etc. I have even published reviews where the writer admits he can hear no significant difference between the item under test and his reference.

I think it important to remember that those of us whom you might consider to be on the other side of the fence are a heterogeneous bunch.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 26 April, 2009, 07:28:14 PM
Of course. But to organize such a test is not a trivial matter. The problem with the ABX protocol is that unless carefully implemented, it tends to produce false negatives, particularly if the number of trials is small - ie, the results are null even when a real but small difference exists.


Isn't that a myth, that ABX testing is all so not trivial? Especially in the case of amps. Just give your reviewer an ABX switch box and let him play with it as long and with as many tries as he wants to. He can even listen whole hours and days to A and then switch to B again, switch back and forth, and so on... He just needs to write down what he believes is X, A or B and what he thinks about its respective sound. So much objectivity could be gained. If you get false negatives under these circumstances your tester's ear must be below average.

The question is do you want to lose excellent writers with respectable fan bases just because they can't keep up when tested blindly?

rpp3po
Editor: Emacs
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 07:33:41 PM
Of course. But to organize such a test is not a trivial matter. The problem with the ABX protocol is that unless carefully implemented, it tends to produce false negatives, particularly if the number of trials is small - ie, the results are null even when a real but small difference exists. (See Les Leventhal's mid-1980s AES paper on this problem.)


So run enough trails until it is statistically significant rather than allow the placebo effect to run rampant as in sighted tests.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Stereoeditor on 26 April, 2009, 07:34:15 PM
I doubt this. I think if he were still the editor of Stereophile, he'd still be 'on message', even if he thought the magazine was heading in the wrong direction - or already there.


Agreed. I wonder if this is the true reason why he resigned. .


Not at all. While we did have some of the usual employer/employee disagreements, Gordon resigned from Stereophile in August 1999 primarily because he felt music reproduction in surround was the only valid way forward and he was frustrated by my refusal to abandon the magazine's coverage of 2-channel components and recordings.  I did offer him a monthly column on music in surround, but he felt that resigning would draw attention to what he felt was my turning my back on the future of domestic audio reproduction. He ended up contributing a short-lived column on surround sound to The Absolute Sound, while what would have been his column was eventually taken over by Kalman Rubinson (see http://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround/) (http://www.stereophile.com/musicintheround/)).

Gordon is now retired and, sadly, in poor health.

Quote
This is because it is based on blind faith and in reality, a cult (no offense, Mr. Atkinson...)


None taken.

Quote
...but this is my POV)- bra... bra.... It is a house of cards and cannot stand the slightest scrutiny with the light of science.


Please understand that I don't have a problem with criticisms or with people expressing their opinions of what I do, as you have done here. All I request is that people address what I have actually said or done, not what they think someone, somewhere, for one of _those_ "cult" magazines has done.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile



Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: cpchan on 26 April, 2009, 07:38:32 PM
Editor: Emacs


Ha ha... I curse you with VI VI VI. Seriously, Emacs in my favourite program . Getting into org-mode:

http://orgmode.org/ (http://orgmode.org/)

yet?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 26 April, 2009, 07:55:40 PM
I am not avoiding anything. I have been addressed points made by other posters who have referred to comments I have made elsewhere. I really don't see that TOS#8 applies to my writings that have published outside this group. If the moderating team wishes me not to comment, then perhaps they should request those posters not to quote my published work.


Considering the focus of this forum you surely have to realize that coming here and not fully expecting to be asked myriad questions about your stated positions on lossy compression is kinda like Rush Limbaugh turning up at Daily Kos thinking he can just do his usual routine without being challenged.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 26 April, 2009, 09:51:03 PM
Why do I have to? I have not said anything that is in dispute. It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al). As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.


John, to the best of my knowlege, the various writings of Stuart and Fielder that you have cited do not in fact themselves meet the standards of HA TOS #8. Therefore, they cannot be cited in your obvious efforts to circumvent TOS #8.


Sigh. I had assumed that academic  papers published in the Journal of the AES (in this case by two AES Fellows), could be cited on this forum.


As usual, you're over-reacting, John. You can cite whatever you want to.

But just because you cite something doesn't mean that it is sacrosanct. I guess that you are very inexperienced with academic research and are unaware of the fact that reviewers may actually read cited documents and reach their own conclusions about them.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ExUser on 26 April, 2009, 10:38:29 PM
That being said, Arnold, I would personally hold works by the AES in high regard unless glaring flaws were found in them. AES is respectable if nothing else. Their focus seems to be scientific. I'd hold them to be true until proven otherwise.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 01:25:24 AM

It is interesting with these files, not only to audition the character of what is removed by various codecs but also the level of the difference signal.  I fail to see why my doing so in these demonstrations should be "prohibited."  :-)


But *of course* mp3s aren't bit-identical to their source and *of course* there can be audible content in the difference file.


Correct. And I believe people who don't have the facilities to prepare such files for themselves should be able to experience them. Surely an informed listener is a better listener?



Yes, as long as it's information and not *mis*information.  That's why I believe people should experience a double-blind comparison of a well-encoded mp3s to its lossless source.  Don't you?    Then they'll be all the more amazed when they listen to what is being removed....because after all, removing content that is inaudible *in context* is what perceptual encoders like mp3 are *supposed* to do, as you surely know....right?

If you just present the difference content alone, or coupled with mere sighted comparisons,  as indicators of what mp3 'sounds like' -- shame on you, Mr. Atkinson. 


Quote
And then when you've got them gasping and shaking their heads in dismay, you *do* plan to explain what perceptual encoding *means*, right?  Which is to say, why the differences you hear in isolation, and see on graphs, can be perceptually *irrelevant* to what the mp3 sounds like? And why DBT would be *necessary* to determine if a given listener can actually hear the difference?
 
If you don't, you're misleading and misinforming your public...and that would be *shameful*.


Quote
You seem very ready to argue by projection, "krabapple." Why wouldn't I explain what perceptual coding is and why it can be useful under some circumstances? Why wouldn't I allow people to hear MP3s at various bitrates and the equivalent Red Book and hi-rez versions?  Even if they can't perceive any difference between any of the versions I play them, again, an informed listener is a better listener.


So let's see, you'll present the subjects with the difference file (which content is predicted to be dispensable *in context*, in good mp3s), and then you'll explain that 'under some circumstances'  (unspecified) mp3 can be 'useful' (really?) and you'll play 'MP3' (encoder and input unspecified) at ''various bitrates' (unspecified) .  After such a *fair and balanced* demo,  how could I even *think* that the listener might be misled?

The next time you quote one of my posts, would it be too much for you to address the issues therein directly, rather than in the manner of a seasoned politician?  Thanks.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 01:39:08 AM
Of course these comparisons will be level-matched. Why wouldn't they be? But given that these demonstrations are open to the public there may by up to 20 people in the listening room, a formal DBT is out of the question. And please note that, as I keep saying, these are demonstrations, not tests. There will be no scoring of listeners' preferences. As I have said, I am only interested in exposing listeners to the the various formats. This is so that they can decide for themselves whether a) hi-rez formats are necessary, b)  whether CD is good enough for serious listening, and c) whether the lossy versions are sonically compromised or not. Who could argue that that would be a bad or, in your emotionally loaded term, a "shameful" thing.

As I have said, Hydrogen Audio members who live in Colorado are welcome to attend one of these sessions and debate this subect in person.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile



'Of course these comparisons will be level-matched';  Ah, silly me!  Where ever did I get this idea that a Stereophile representative might not adhere to good experimental practice in listening comparisons? 

You want your demonstration to be 'informative' above all, and to that end you are planning to present difference content out of context,  yet you don't plan employ blind listening comparison.  I bet your friend JJ (who posts here, making him another logical positivist I guess) would be tickled pink by that particular strategy for educating the public about mp3s.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 01:48:08 AM
Why do I have to? I have not said anything that is in dispute. It has been established that 16-bit LPCM at 44.1Hz sampling is not audibly transparent, ie, undetectable by all listeners under all practical circumstances with all kinds of program material (see Stuart, Fielder et al)


No, it most certainly has not, Mr. Atkinson.  Stuart has *never* published actual data in this regard; at best he has made reference to some supposed extant data about higher sample rates, in his paper advocating hi-rez in JAES.  The vagueness of that claim was what induced Meyer and Moran to embark on their DSD vs Redbook tests... and I trust you know how THOSE turned out for your claim.

By Fielder, do you refer to his close-miked dynamic range results, summarized in Alton Everest's book, showing that close-miked orchestral DR can exceed CD's range (which already well exceeds LP's btw)?  If so, is that a 'practical' circumstance? 
 
So yes, you *have to* show us the evidence.

Quote
As the performance of a lossy codec can only asymptotically approach that of the original LPCM file, thus it, too, is not audibly transparent.


To a given user, it certainly can be. I would wage decent money that it would be for you too.

Quote
From my reading of the literature and my discussions with some of the engineers involved in designing lossy codecs, audible transparency does not appear to be the goal. Instead, it is that a lossy codec be undetectable enough of the time with enough listeners with enough kinds of program that it will be appropriate for use in circumstances where storage space or transmission bandwidth is at a premium.


I'm curious, is universal nonasymptotic 'transparency' to be the yardstick that Stereophile measures audio quality by now?  If so, will you be firing your vinyl guys?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 01:52:43 AM
Ah, yes. Not one of the JAES's better days when they published the Meyer-Moran paper, not the least because of its lack of experimental detail. YMMV, of course.


Compared to Stuart's, which you cite as evidence pro hi-rez? Oh, my.  C'est rire.

You''re aware, *of course*, that Meyer and Moran have a supplement to *their* paper up on the Web, yes?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 01:58:51 AM
ABX is the appropriate test to demonstrate that you can distinguish a lossy encode from the source from which it was created.


I disagree. You need to establish the degree of departure from transparency using an impairment scale. As I said, the literature appears mainly to feature ABC/HR testing for codec testing and from what I have observed of tests that use that protocol, it does appear a more fruitful tool for blind testing of small but real differences.


ABC/hr is routinely used in Hydrogenaudio.org codec tests involving quality ratings of codecs at settings that stand a decent chance of NOT being transparent.  ABX , on the other hand, is entirely appropriate for establishing *difference* when *that* is in question.

Quote
It is certainly not true and I have no problem answering specific points made on this forum.


You seem to have a problem addressing them directly, though.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 02:05:09 AM
Why you're evading the issue is somewhat a mystery to me.


I agree. I would also like to see him address Gordon Holt's comment. He seem to be evading that too.


I have commented on Gordon's essay elsewhere, but not on Hydrogen Audio. And as the person who interviewed Gordon and published his essay in my magazine, perhaps you might want to give me some credit for that.

While on the face of it, Gordon's statement at http://stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi (http://stereophile.com/asweseeit/1107awsi) is powerful, it must be pointed out that Gordon never performed any blind testing to support his review conclusions when he edited Stereophile nor after I took over from him as  editor in 1986. (Perhaps paradoxically, I have been involved in a considerably greater amount of blind testing than Gordon.)  He did review the ABX Comparator - see http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/121 (http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/121) - but ultimately decided it would not be a useful reviewing tool - see http://www.stereophile.com/thinkpieces/141 (http://www.stereophile.com/thinkpieces/141) - writing "We never purchased an ABX comparator for several reasons. First, we have never felt the need for it. Second, we are finding that, regardless of "controls," an A/B test doesn't reveal small differences between components as well as does prolonged listening."

It is fair, therefore, to point out that Gordon hadn't practiced what he now preaches.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile



It is a characteristic of religious belief to hold to an untenable position in the face of mounting evidence.  25 years is plenty of time to 'see the light' and let go of the untenable position.  Good for Holt. 

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 02:19:33 AM
Of course. But to organize such a test is not a trivial matter. The problem with the ABX protocol is that unless carefully implemented, it tends to produce false negatives, particularly if the number of trials is small - ie, the results are null even when a real but small difference exists. (See Les Leventhal's mid-1980s AES paper on this problem.)


Mr. Atkinson, this is a smokescreen, and one that Stereophile has been puffing out for far too long.  Yes, it would be an overreach to claim that there is never any difference tout court between A and B based on a small dataset (which is why 'objectivist' claims typically are qualified with words like 'likely').  But one can test *you* and *your* particular claim that you already hear a difference, rather more readily, and discover whether you were really hearing what you claimed to hear five minutes ago.

I propose that the next time you, or one of your writers, pens a digital player or amp or cable review claiming that in your audition A sounds different from B, that you subsequently be tasked with distinguishing them in a level-matched ABX test.  At that point you already believe you hear the difference; now all you have to do is verify that you do, by a scientifically-accepted means -- just as you supply copious objective measurements of the gear you review. 


Quote
I admit that the sighted listening practiced by my magazine can produce false positives. But in my view, that is preferable to false negatives. YMMV, of course. But in the end, if I publish a significantly high proportion of false positives, I will go out of business.


Nonsense.  This presumes that consumers can detect 'false positives' in audio with some native accuracy.  You don't eat audio, it doesn't make you turn green if the $10,000 CDP in truth sounds no different from the $170 Oppo. Meanwhile numerous factors militate to bias the consumer's perception of audio performance.  That's why the means to detect 'false positives' is....blind testing!
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 02:24:14 AM
That being said, Arnold, I would personally hold works by the AES in high regard unless glaring flaws were found in them. AES is respectable if nothing else. Their focus seems to be scientific. I'd hold them to be true until proven otherwise.


Don't be misled.  Look up the papers.  Robert Stuart's papers are not experimental studies of whether humans detect the effects of higher SR.  His evidence  for the 'need' for hi-rez for home delivery formats -- like, say,  DVD-A , which Meridian had a stake in -- was highly circumstantial.  As has been discussed before on this forum, most recently here

http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=626519 (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=11442&view=findpost&p=626519)

(IIRC, 2bedecided studied under Stuart)


The publication of his long JAES article on that subject occasioned a strong objection in a letter published an issue or two later, signed, IIRC by Stanley Lipshitz, E Brad Meyer, and David Moran.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 02:31:28 AM
What gets me is just how on message everyone is on magazines like Stereophile. What happens to those voices of dissent in print?


As I thought would have been clear from the discussion of J. Gordon Holt's valedictorian comments, I do publish "voices of dissent" in Stereophile. Over the years I have published comments from such "objectivists" as Stanley Lipshitz (whom I count as a friend and mentor), Tom Nousaine, Arny Krueger, David Clark etc. I have even published reviews where the writer admits he can hear no significant difference between the item under test and his reference.

I think it important to remember that those of us whom you might consider to be on the other side of the fence are a heterogeneous bunch.



This sound oh so reasonable, but if one were to actually tally the number and placement of the 'heterodox' writings, I'm rather sure one would find that by far most of them appear in the letters column, not the articles and reviews, and that that the rare peep of doubt about the Emperor's couture in a review is dwarfed by the amount of 'orthodox' content.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: krabapple on 27 April, 2009, 02:36:14 AM
I doubt this. I think if he were still the editor of Stereophile, he'd still be 'on message', even if he thought the magazine was heading in the wrong direction - or already there.


Agreed. I wonder if this is the true reason why he resigned. .


Not at all. While we did have some of the usual employer/employee disagreements, Gordon resigned from Stereophile in August 1999 primarily because he felt music reproduction in surround was the only valid way forward and he was frustrated by my refusal to abandon the magazine's coverage of 2-channel components and recordings.


Another canny and prescient stance on Holt's part.  In terms of getting closer to the 'absolute sound', multichannel *is* the only valid way forward.  Unless you want to move entirely to binaural headphone listening.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 27 April, 2009, 03:08:45 AM
I'm coming back to this thread again, and all I can think of is "oh god oh god MY HEAD". For the sake of my sanity, could a mod please break this up into at least a couple separate threads?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: ff123 on 27 April, 2009, 03:30:55 AM
ABX is the appropriate test to demonstrate that you can distinguish a lossy encode from the source from which it was created.


I disagree. You need to establish the degree of departure from transparency using an impairment scale. As I said, the literature appears mainly to feature ABC/HR testing for codec testing and from what I have observed of tests that use that protocol, it does appear a more fruitful tool for blind testing of small but real differences.


ABC/hr is routinely used in Hydrogenaudio.org codec tests involving quality ratings of codecs at settings that stand a decent chance of NOT being transparent.  ABX , on the other hand, is entirely appropriate for establishing *difference* when *that* is in question.


I should point out that it is possible to add an impairment scale to ABX, or to add repeated trials to ABC/hr, and thus make ABX the ratings test and ABC/hr the difference test.  I have wondered whether or not there would be a true sensitivity difference between the two protocols, both set up the same way.  That's mainly an academic question though, since we have codec testing applications which combine both ABC/hr and ABX to get the best of both worlds.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Kees de Visser on 27 April, 2009, 04:44:17 AM
AES is respectable if nothing else. Their focus seems to be scientific. I'd hold them to be true until proven otherwise.

Sigh. I had assumed that academic  papers published in the Journal of the AES (in this case by two AES Fellows), could be cited on this forum. If this is not the case, then I apologize to the moderators, of course. But it does seem inappropriate that the research of third parties is not available for reference by posters.
IMHO AES papers are a great source of information. But different AES authors don't always agree, so don't assume that a paper is the voice of the entire AES. Also it's not always easy to read the whole paper since only few are available free of charge, which could lead to "read my book" type of discussions.
Btw, the AAC standard allows for coding of 24-bit/96-kHz PCM signals. So Mr. Atkinson, even by your stringent requirements: if we assume that 24-bit/96-kHz audio actually is transparent to everyone, a lossy codec can be transparent if you use a sufficient bitrate.
It's interesting to see that according to this (2001) Fraunhofer AES paper (http://www.iis.fraunhofer.de/Images/AES5476_Beyond_CD-Quality_-_24-96_High_Resolution_AAC_tcm97-67557.PDF), hi-res AAC can be transparent at quite low bitrates.
Quote
In order to assess the subjective sound quality of signals encoded and decoded at 24 bit resolution and 96 kHz sampling frequency, listening tests in the style of the ITU test specification BS.1116 have been performed.
.../...
The choice of bitrates has been performed to reach almost transparent quality at these bandwidths.
• Setting 1: 160 kbps for 21 kHz
• Setting 2: 192 kbps for 27 kHz
• Setting 3: 256 kbps for 42 kHz
• Setting 4: 160 kbps for 42 kHz.
Setting 4 has been included as a lower anchor. All these bitrates should be read as total bitrates for stereo.
.../...
As shown in figure 3 and the corresponding tables at the end of this paragraph, no statistically significant difference could be detected for settings 1, 2 and 3. Only at 160 kbps/ 42 kHz, the items ’cymbal’, ’applause’, ’guitar’ and ’triangle’ showed a degradation with a confidence interval not crossing the zero line. All of these results tend to be consistent for both, headphone and loudspeaker reproduction.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Gag Halfrunt on 27 April, 2009, 04:46:55 AM
Another canny and prescient stance on Holt's part.  In terms of getting closer to the 'absolute sound', multichannel *is* the only valid way forward.  Unless you want to move entirely to binaural headphone listening.


Trouble is, multichannel has proved difficult to shift as a concept. Even multichannel movie sound. Sales are not bad in North America, but it has next to no uptake in many parts of Europe and Asia, where room size is a limiting factor. There seems to be nothing that can disabuse people of that concept, even though many people 'get' why it's better, both conceptually and when demonstrated to them.

You also get the audiophiles themselves - a deeply conservative group within an already conservative market - who refuse to buy products from companies that 'dirty' themselves with multichannel products and send excoriating letters and emails to the editors of the magazines who still consider this a going concern. They want the world to be safely back in a time before smallpox was eradicated and when turntables walked the earth. And, because they are the only people actually buying audio magazines these days, that's precisely what they get. However, their sphere of influence is very small and inward-looking and I don't think they get to sway the diktats of the music business or the manufacturers particularly. That being said, launching multichannel SACD to an audience that simply said 'We didn't like quadraphonic, we won't like this either' even before SACD was launched was not a bright idea.

Multichannel is a great idea in theory. In reality it was, is, and remains of deeply limited appeal to most music buyers worldwide.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 27 April, 2009, 05:20:45 AM
Thanks for posting a compendium of stupidity. It's reassuring that my suggesting that people buy a nice audio system when they can afford one has not done too much "damage." I am relieved.
While I'll soak up some punches for my generally rude tone in my post, I have never beat up on you for advocating people buy better systems. That isn't what I meant, and I think the distinction here is important.

Just standing back from all of these fights, a lot of the tone of that post was relating not to how wrong or right we are, but what would be affected if we were wrong. And really - just ignoring the ABX issue - when you take any of a majority of music listeners off the street with their iPods, and the immediate, (relatively) inexpensive things they can do to improve their listening experiences, I think you and we are going to agree on a very great deal. Use better music encodings, or use lossless when reasonable. Use headphones that don't suck. Trust your ears more than brand names on selecting products. Listen to as much live music as you can. And most of all - and I'm probably saying this in a rather hokey fashion, but I really do agree with this notion - venerate your music. Spend time listening to it with undivided attention. Don't treat it as muzak for one's everyday existence. Maybe even take time to be adventurous and listen to music you wouldn't otherwise listen to, and listen to it with a completely open mind. I hope we both more or less agree on those things! And I do see a lot of what you advocate publically as supporting that, and I can only thank you for that.

So, that said... exactly what are we disagreeing with, in terms of what actually impacts people? Past this baseline of generally agreeable upgrades and ideas, I think there exists some sort of upgrade "priority" - in terms of what are the most important things people should be putting their audio dollars into for some particular individual at some particular time. And making upgrade decisions that are not high on this priority list means not making a sound upgrade decision. Even if cables did impart a characteristic sound, it would likely be very unwise to spend a large amount of money on cables with a $50 pair of speakers. That is a bad decision.

To tweak your car analogy a bit... Ferraris may benefit from high octane gas. That doesn't mean my Saturn can benefit from it (and it doesn't).

I see a lot of what "the high end" advocates - for instance, high res and vinyl - as supporting bad decisions. I'm not going to begrudge the high end its formats. But when it trickles down to my friends shelling out 2x-3x the money for a vinyl release, with what is almost certainly the exact same hypercompression as on the CD, and playing them on their $100 Sony turntables... that bugs me. When it means the only way I can get the best master of an album is on some incredibly obscure, out of print SACD release, when a CD release would have contained all the dynamics just fine, at far lower manufacturing cost... that bugs me. When people get confused on the meaning of the words "dynamics" and "microdynamic" because the think a high res recording must have more of it than an MP3, even when the MP3 is an unmastered orchestra recording and the high res recording is chamber music of a distinctly unvarying loudness... that bugs me. It also bugs me that finding useful speaker measurements is astonishingly difficult for a wide range of speakers, because manufacturers do not believe it is important to provide them - because consumers let them get away with it - because such such measurements are largely not considered important in the high-end world.

I think that sort of high-end mindset is entirely justified in a luxury market, where manufacturers and dealers exist largely to please individual customers, and hearing and taste is assumed to be discriminating. This, of course, is Stereophile's bread and butter. But - and this is the crux of my point - that is a bad way to think about mainstream audio. By "mainstream audio" I mean, of course, any component where differences are discernible through ABX testing...

Quote
Your comments about my abilities to offer suggestions on budget gear indicate that your ignorance exceeds your arrogance. Your characterization of my work indicates you don't read what I write. "Observational" reviewing is not about spouting preferences. It's about attempting to describe how something sounds. How one reacts to that particular sound is an opinion. If you don't believe human being are capable of assessing sound quality and only measurements can do that, fine. That's your opinion. But you are claiming all I do is write 'opinions' of what I personally like. And that, my friend is so wrong, that I know you don't read what I write.
Strong words, and truthfully, I have not spent much time going through your reviews on Stereophile and musicangle.net.

But I totally believe one should trust objective measurements over subjective evaluation for budget gear. That doesn't mean any objective measurements are to be trusted - it means that if I don't have a good objective reason backing up a subjective evaluation, I'm trusting the measurements over the evaluation. Sometimes this means that more measurements should be made in order to quantify something, and sometimes this means rejecting the subjective evaluation.

To trust an opinion of subjective listening experience over any measurement, quite frankly, is a luxury that is reserved for the truly well-off. And not for me.

Quote
Yes, Mr. Salvatore did provoke me with a series of paranoid rants and attacks and I took the bait and sent him a flaming email which he chose to publish. He then continued a bitter string of attacks based upon his paranoia. So go read it and I'm sure everyone here would like to have 20 years of work judged on one screw up.
Heh. I'm too bemused by that whole flamefest, and the rest of Salvatore's comments on audio, to not agree with you.

Quote
The psychiatrist line was funny, I have to admit. However I have many in my family and their behavior leaves plenty to desire. As for shoving anything up one's ass, well you should know.
As far as the speed thing goes I agree that was out of line to toss that out, insofar as I didn't challenge you to your face on it in the Stereophile thread. (One of my ongoing goals is to avoid being an asshole behind peoples' backs, and be sure to be an asshole to people directly. Congeniality is a longer term goal.  )

I don't think it's an invalid objection, though. It's really hard for me to just wave away a 0.6% average speed deviation when interpreting the importance of a sighted listening result. Doesn't really matter who the listener is! I'm willing to give a by to a multi-thousand-dollar turntable exhibiting such behavior, because I can recognize that one can value said equipment for many other reasons... but it does make me cherish my SL-1200 slightly more firmly.

It's also possible that this may be largely due to effects somewhat independent of the turntable - say, that the vinyl's coeffecient of friction changes with short-term repeated plays, which would be a really fascinating effect to explore further - it would provide an explanation for sound changes with replays, that goes away after a period of time, but it wouldn't be observed with turntables with active-feedback speed control like direct drives, etc...
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 27 April, 2009, 05:37:49 AM
Indeed I heard the hiss. It doesn't bother me. I have subscription to the New York Philharmonic too. When I sit in a room full of the elderly, there's constant coughing, choking and phlegm spitting from them. I ignore that too. I'm there to listen to the music. That's what I do at home too. If there's hiss who cares? Absence of hiss doesn't necessarily equal good sound....

This point has been traded around a bit, but I believe that few people have really commented what I believe to be the real issue here: that many people are misled into believing that vinyl has no noise. Note, this isn't a criticism of you specifically - I am not sure if you've said stuff like the following or not.

I very commonly hear statements to the effect "if you have good enough vinyl on a good enough rig, there's no noise". Most of the attempts I have made to challenge this argument (particularly one time with SM) have been flipped back around into an attack on why I am so concerned about it in the first place, which I believe to be extremely disingenuous.

I happily listen to vinyl needledrops all the time. I agree that the noise is almost always not a major concern when listening to the music, and that many people are focusing too much on it. Some vinyl is astonishingly quiet. Some even has noise levels that I would say trade pretty well with CDs remastered from tapes of a similar period. But all of them have transient noise, even after extensive cleaning regimens and well-maintained playback environments. And I do not believe that will ever change, nor is it any different for anybody else. To argue that such noise is inaudible is to simply castigate one's own critical listening skills.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 27 April, 2009, 06:01:37 AM
Yet no matter what I say, I am stereotyped as someone who "hates digital," or who "doesn't listen to digital," or whatever, by people who are happier to attack me for something I am not.
Unless you are claiming that you actually never had a "Compact Discs Suck" bumper sticker and you are recanting articles like this one: http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=106 (http://www.musicangle.com/feat.php?id=106) then I would argue that you have stereotyped yourself.
That bumper sticker was on my car in the early 1980s when compact discs did suck. They sounded awful. The transfers from analog were uniformly poorly done from questionable sources with overuse of CEDAR and Sonic Solutions. So called DDD discs actually went through multiple D/A A/D conversions since there were no digital mixing boards. Many factors contributed to what was awful sound. Those who called that sound "pristine" and a "big advancement" were wrong. History has proven me correct as virtually the entire catalog of what had been issued back then has been reissued using better sources, better associated gear, especially better converters and fewer attempts at lopping off the top end along with supposedly offensive tape hiss.

I disagree. From my vantage point, the reputation of early-mid 80s CDs has risen quite substantially in the last few years. Of course digital was used as some sort of snake oil to be applied liberally to bad recordings like any new technology can be abused, and I have seen some 80s CDs of extremely poorly remastered material... but all of my 1980s CDs sound fantastic, and of course the some self-proclaimed audiophiles like the SH.tv crowd very often prefers 1980s masterings over more modern masterings. Specifically, the CDs I own that I think sound good are the 1990 Mozart Requiem on Philips by Schreier (recorded 1983), original pressings of Depeche Mode's "Black Celebration" and "Music for the Masses", a Tchaikovsky 6 by HvK with Vienna Phil, Ride the Lightning by Metallica, Boulez Conducts Zappa...

That said, I totally agree that many remasters were inferior to the original LPs, and people who dumped their vinyl for said CDs were being taken for a ride. But again, that's just marketing hyperbole and it has nothing to do with the CD as a format (or perhaps the digital converters used along with it). I am not convinced that it had anything to do with the sources, as you are saying.

I guess it could help if you could point me to specific CDs from the early-mid 80s period that have deficient sound, and how the sound was not due to recording or mastering mistakes?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 27 April, 2009, 06:18:39 AM
This sound oh so reasonable, but if one were to actually tally the number and placement of the 'heterodox' writings, I'm rather sure one would find that by far most of them appear in the letters column, not the articles and reviews, and that that the rare peep of doubt about the Emperor's couture in a review is dwarfed by the amount of 'orthodox' content.


That said, IIRC, didn't JA reject Beltism?
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Axon on 27 April, 2009, 06:20:31 AM
Your dissection of Gordon Holt's comment is very true (especially the part about "personality cult around product designers") and amusing. 
Perhaps we can conclude that old reviewers never die, they just turn objective with age.
Agreed.


Counterexample: Clark Johnsen.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Frumious B on 27 April, 2009, 06:48:32 AM
Mr. Atkinson, this is a smokescreen, and one that Stereophile has been puffing out for far too long.  Yes, it would be an overreach to claim that there is never any difference tout court between A and B based on a small dataset (which is why 'objectivist' claims typically are qualified with words like 'likely').  But one can test *you* and *your* particular claim that you already hear a difference, rather more readily, and discover whether you were really hearing what you claimed to hear five minutes ago.


If we really want to pin these guys down then I think it would be better to sort of narrow down our challenges, present a unified front and a unified message and force them to either shit or get off the pot.  Otherwise they get to pick and choose which points to which they will respond from which people and generally obfuscate, evade and conflate all they like and then claim victory afterwards.  I'd hate for that to happen.  Here is my proposal:  Atkinson is on record claiming that all lossy compressed music is unsuitable for "serious listening".  He is also now on record in stating that he uses lossless AND also AAC 320kbps on his own iPod.  Presumably this means there are tracks in his collection where he can very access both a lossy and lossless version of the same track without even doing a fresh rip.  That means he can take a few minutes to download Foobar while he is typing his next post and then he can either demonstrate his ability to ABX AAC at the highest quality setting from lossless or he can publicly retract his statement that lossy music is unsuitable for "serious listening".  I think that should be the challenge.  He either takes it or he folds his tents.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 27 April, 2009, 07:24:01 AM
Of course. But to organize such a test is not a trivial matter.


Here we have the usual anti-ABX propaganda - that somehow ABX tests are more difficult to do than any other proper listening test of similar equipment.

Were Atkinson to be accurate and truthful, he would say: "Organizing any amplifier test is not trivial". But that's not what he says - he makes an false negative example of ABX.

Hence, my accurate description of his words - it is Anti-ABX propaganda.  Atkinson *must* do this because of his long history of poorly-designed and poorly-organized amplfier tests that characteristically produce false and misleading results.

Quote from: Stereoeditor link=msg=0 date=
The problem with the ABX protocol is that unless carefully implemented, it tends to produce false negatives, particularly if the number of trials is small - ie, the results are null even when a real but small difference exists.


No the problem with Stereophile and other high-end magazine and consumer sighted evaluations is that *any* listening test protocol, unless carefully designed and implmented, will produce numerous *false* results. Some will be false positives and some will be false negatives.

It doesn't matter to an unbiased investigator  whether the false results are positive or negative. It matters that they are overwhelmingly false!

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 27 April, 2009, 07:27:32 AM
While I doubt that Dibrom (the founder of this forum) ever dreamed that he'd have John Atkinson, James D Johnston, Arnold Krueger, and Michael Fremer posting in the same thread here on HA, I have to say that I think it's been hell.


Now, something constructive:

I'm only aware of a few of successful ABX tests showing that "CD quality audio" is not transparent. In all those tests, either the hardware was suspect or the audio content and/or replay level was extreme.

John Atkinson, you will have the scoop of the century if you can run a double blind test where you demonstrate that CD quality audio is not transparent with normal music. I would suggest getting a source (live performance, analogue master tape, vinyl etc), and splitting the feed: take one direct, and another that goes through an A>D and D>A set at 44.1kHz 16-bits.

All the usual pre-requisites apply: level matched, double blind, good quality equipment, trained listeners.

You can report the results in your publication. For statistical significance, I'd like to see p<0.05. Some people like p<0.01. Far more importantly, if you are going to have many many listeners, and then report that one or more did pass the test, those successful listeners have to re-take the test.

If they pass a second time, you have a truly convincing result.

There's no limit on time scale, and no great need to listen to the same 15 seconds of audio again and again. Kick back and listen to a whole album or two, flicking the ABX switch and submitting an answer whenever you feel like it during playback.

It sounds like a nice way to spend an afternoon to me - listening to some great music through a great system.

You have noting to lose. It'll drive more traffic to your website and more sales for your magazine. If someone passes the test, you'll go down in history while your hardcore readers will just tut and say "we told you so". If no one passes the test, your hardcore readers will continue to disparage ABX and buy your magazine regardless.

Cheers,
David.

P.S. I don't feel there's the same value for you in ABXing lossy audio. There's a few people getting carried away with the hyperbole in this thread, but the truth is that most lossy codecs can be ABXed at their intended bitrate with some signals. A lot of people find it difficult or impossible, but it's hardly a shock that some people manage it. Therefore publishing positive ABX results of mp3 wouldn't be quite such an amazing acheivement.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: rpp3po on 27 April, 2009, 07:30:10 AM
Otherwise they get to pick and choose which points to which they will respond from which people and generally evade and conflate all they like.


I was thinking the same. While what they are saying may be correct, Arnold and krabapple don't seem to notice, that how they are presenting it allows Atkinson to cherry-pick attacks that he can politely reply to while silently ignoring hard to refute objections to his agenda:

1. Isn't Stereophile actually giving bad advice (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=71245&view=findpost&p=629908), if you take it by the word?

2. Atkinson tries to sell that proper ABX testing is terribly hard to do right and can lead to false negatives. Both is nonsense. 1. ABX testing, at least in the case of amps (also cables, DACs, ...), that he brought up, is actually pretty easy (http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index.php?s=&showtopic=71245&view=findpost&p=630061). 2. False negatives can only happen when the number of trials is small or too short. As Stereophile would be conducting the test, those pitfalls could be easily avoided by just giving reviewers as much time as they are getting now for their sighted tests. In that case false negatives would mean nothing else than sub-average ears.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 27 April, 2009, 07:54:44 AM
That being said, Arnold, I would personally hold works by the AES in high regard unless glaring flaws were found in them. AES is respectable if nothing else. Their focus seems to be scientific. I'd hold them to be true until proven otherwise.


AES publications generally fit into two categories - conference papers whose contents have undergone zero reviews, and journal papers that are pretty carefully reviewed. 

In the absense of formal cites (typical Atkinsonian slopiness and name-dropping) I don't know for sure what Atkinson is citing.  He seems to be surprised that *anything* he cites isn't immediately accepted as total proof for what he says. :-(

I'm under the impression that one of the papers Atkinson cited is just a conference paper, and the author is well known for his public rants against ABX. One of these rants was recently discussed on HA. Thus, we can't expect him to be observant of TOS 8.

The other paper could be one of several papers, and here is the one that IMO fits best:

Dynamic Range Requirement for Subjective Noise Free Reproduction of Music by Fielder, Louis D. Paper Number:  1772    AES Convention:  69 (May 1981)  also JAES Volume 30 Issue 7/8 pp. 504-511; August 1982

"A dynamic range of 118 dB is determined necessary for subjective noise-free reproduction of music in a dithered digital audio recorder."

Ironically, Clark's first JAES ABX paper was: High-Resolution Subjective Testing Using a Double-Blind Comparator JAES Volume 30 Issue 7/8 pp. 504-511; August 1982

Clark's paper was published in the same issue of the JAES as Fielder's! 

Thus Fielder's paper was not required meet the standards of TOS 8, since Clark's ABX JAES paper had not yet been published when Fielder's paper was reviewed by the relevant AES review board.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 27 April, 2009, 08:08:03 AM
Mr. Framer, Mr. Atkinson, do you even believe that ABX test can be used to show if there are really a difference between two amplifiers, or two codecs?


The question was asked by me further up the thread, and both Atkinson and Fremer seem to have sloughed it.

By now they know that any answer they give has to be consistent with TOS 8.

Kryptonite!

My question was something like:

"How do we know for sure that two amplifiers sound different?".

Their basic argument is that ABX fails to properly identify amplfiers that sound different, but they can't say how one is to know for sure that any two amplifiers actually sound different.

I would favor using ABC/hr to develop independent evidence about whether or not two amplifiers sound different, but somehow I don't think that Fremer or Atkinson are headed there! ;-)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: gerwen on 27 April, 2009, 08:12:21 AM
I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct. The average of all test takers was inconclusive. According to Dr. Stanley Lipschitz, I was a "lucky coin" and my result was tossed.


Maybe you were ambushed by the ABX'ers, but calling your positive results a 'lucky coin' is valid.

Maybe this has already been explained, but i haven't seen it in this thread.

Toss a coin 5 times, chance of it coming up heads five times is 5/32 or 3.1%, chance of 4 heads is 10/32 or 15.6%
Multiply those chances over 20 trials of 5 coin flips, and you will expect to see a few 4 head outcomes, and there's a good possibility of a 5 head outcome (around 60% i think, i'm no statistics whiz)

So with 20 abx sessions, of 5 trials each, purely by chance you would expect to see a 4/5 or two, and a good chance of a 5/5.  When those popped up, you should have been offered a second run with a larger number of trials, to verify that you weren't a 'lucky coin'.  Whether it wasn't offered, or it was refused by you, i don't know.  I can see how the feeling of being ambushed could lead you to refusing, but really you should have demanded more trials to affirm your results.

Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: 2Bdecided on 27 April, 2009, 08:17:58 AM
But good systems with excellently matched speakers (with excellent time and frequency domain responses) do "image" spectacularly better than lower quality stuff. The front/back depth of the sound stage is increased, the location of (say) the singer is focussed more tightly etc etc. You can also put the speakers further apart before the sound stage falls apart. It's not what the record producer intended (usually), but it's very impressive. Stereo is supposed to work with 60 degree speaker angle. I've heard it work stunningly well with 110 speaker angle - but only with very good speakers.

The photographs of that particular listening room are not impressive unless they misrepresent the reality - from what it looks like, I'd want the speakers much further away from the walls, and from everything else. The kind of early reflections I'd expect in that room would seriously damage the magical 3-d sound stage that's claimed to exist.
If you're into objective measurements, my room measures quite well thank you. Those photos don't really let you know what's going on. You might want the speakers further from the walls, but the measurements tell a somewhat different story as does the sound. The first reflection is very well taken care of...your "expectations" would be dashed. There's something incredibly condescending about your post...that you'd think that someone with 30 years of doing this wouldn't know how to deal with a first reflection. I mean really....
I wasn't intending to be condescending, but that probably only makes it worse. I didn't mean to cause offence.

Maybe I'm being too sensitive, but it seems like you were more upset by my post than by some that were intentionally quite insulting.

My apologies.

Now, while it's no reflection on you, I know several people with many years experience who have systems which sound terrible to me. We all grow accustomed to our own listening rooms and our own speakers, which probably explains some of the inability to come to agreement on what constitutes "good sound".

Sorry you were driven away from HA. I can't say I'd have stayed either, given that reception.

Cheers,
David.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 27 April, 2009, 08:20:39 AM
While I doubt that Dibrom (the founder of this forum) ever dreamed that he'd have John Atkinson, James D Johnston, Arnold Krueger, and Michael Fremer posting in the same thread here on HA, I have to say that I think it's been hell.


The presence of Atkinson and Fremer on HA was pre-ordained as soon as I started posting here with any degree of regularity. My ability to troll Atkinson is legendary in places where I have been practicing that art for over a decade! ;-)

Seriously, by his own admission, Atkinson regularly searches the internet for my posts.

Quote
I'm only aware of a few of successful ABX tests showing that "CD quality audio" is not transparent. In all those tests, either the hardware was suspect or the audio content and/or replay level was extreme.


Right. If we restrict ourselves to audio content that is a commercial recording, and stipluate that listening levels be non-damaging to the listener's ears, the test is going to be a slam-dunk failure.

Quote
John Atkinson, you will have the scoop of the century if you can run a double blind test where you demonstrate that CD quality audio is not transparent with normal music. I would suggest getting a source (live performance, analogue master tape, vinyl etc), and splitting the feed: take one direct, and another that goes through an A>D and D>A set at 44.1kHz 16-bits.


IME, Atkinson lacks the technical ability to do this. He has already tried and failed to reliably show differences between amplifiers that are dissimilar enough that I would be willing bet that I could set up a ABX test with a positive outcome.

My old PCABX web site had downloadable files that allowed people to reliably hear the degradation due to some fairly highly-regarded SS power amplifiers.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 27 April, 2009, 08:25:17 AM
I took the ABX test as devised and produced by the group and I got five of five identifications correct. My editor, John Atkinson got 4 of 5 correct. The average of all test takers was inconclusive. According to Dr. Stanley Lipschitz, I was a "lucky coin" and my result was tossed.


Maybe you were ambushed by the ABX'ers, but calling your positive results a 'lucky coin' is valid.

Maybe this has already been explained, but i haven't seen it in this thread.

Toss a coin 5 times, chance of it coming up heads five times is 5/32 or 3.1%, chance of 4 heads is 10/32 or 15.6%
Multiply those chances over 20 trials of 5 coin flips, and you will expect to see a few 4 head outcomes, and there's a good possibility of a 5 head outcome (around 60% i think, i'm no statistics whiz)


I'm glad you made this post because it really needs to be cleared up. It is obvious that Fremer has taken this issue personally for about 20 years.

This is just another reason why I say that a lot of what people like Fremer and Atkinson say is based on ignorance of some fairly basic stuff.

I can't imagine how Atkinson got his BS in Physics (if memory serves) without learning some basic statistics.  What was he smoking? ;-)
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: hybris on 27 April, 2009, 08:33:23 AM
"Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand." Pretentious nonsense. It was nothing to do with audio types destroying their own business - other businesses pushed it aside. Audio as a hobby has been dying ever since TV became widely available and relatively cheap to buy and run. By the time it got to the 1980s, we all had a million other things to play with before we got to audio. Now we have got hundreds of things that can play audio before we get to audio. So where audio might be a legitimate hobby to someone in the 1950s, because there really weren't many other things as competition, those days are long gone.


What exactly is the assumption that audio as a hobby is dying based on?

I can see no immediate evidence that supports that.
Title: Article: Why We Need Audiophiles
Post by: Arnold B. Krueger on 27 April, 2009, 08:53:01 AM