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Topic: The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests (Read 22104 times) previous topic - next topic
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The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #25
I'm referring to the fact that he's a smug ass.


Are you American?  I ask because IME, the combination of articulate speech plus a middle/upperclass British accent plus being *right* more often than not on a 'controversial' issue, gets interpreted as 'smugness' by some of my countrymen.


Quote
And I say that as an evolutionary theory loving athiest. He gives athiests a bad name just like people who talk about audio listening issues while dismissing ABX.


er..what?  Sorry, I don't see that as a good analogy at all...you're comparing Dawkins to audio 'subjectivists'??

Quote
Just my opinion.



Wait, I thought it was 'fact'?  Make up your mind.   

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #26
Axon,
Just for the record: I'm already old and cranky, at least according to my wife and kids.  When the anti-blind- test flamers come up with some compelling arguments and scientific data to back them up,  then I will start to take them seriously, and respond.


Eh? Trust me, he's already there.

OK, OK - seems like we have enough "golden ears" to establish Sean's age and crankiness. No blind testing necessary. Heh.


Well, I wandered over there and gave you all the support I could muster without suggesting that they were first cousins to creationists.

I was as polite as I could manage given the heights of arrogance and depths of hatred of science that simply floated away from the thread.
Thanks, and I had the same thoughts as you regarding creationism. It took a very substantial amount of self-control to avoid trotting out the jesus horse.

The phrase "audio creationism" seems strangely apt, now that I think about it.

But, I'm sure we could take that farther than even some HA members might be comfortable with, sooooo...

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #27
Dawkins is addressing the dominant cultural paradigms of God-belief -- not the scholastic or Deistic or Einsteinian arguments for a highly abstract God (which he actually *specifically notes* he is not addressing, in his book)  .


Are you American? Naive Creationism is not the dominant paradigm of God-belief in most of the world.

But I must stop now.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #28
Dawkins is addressing the dominant cultural paradigms of God-belief -- not the scholastic or Deistic or Einsteinian arguments for a highly abstract God (which he actually *specifically notes* he is not addressing, in his book)  .


Are you American? Naive Creationism is not the dominant paradigm of God-belief in most of the world.

But I must stop now.
It's more prevalent than one might think. Of course, in the US, it truly is dominant (barely non-majority, but punching far above its weight politically).

I haven't read Dawkins yet, but I was immensely entertained by Hitchens's brilliant and thickly insulting style. Right up your alley, krab. I sorta kept it hidden while reading it over Christmas, but a relative (a liberal Catholic who hates Benedict so much I am halfway expecting her to start celebrating Guy Fawkes Day, effigies and all) chuckled when I told her about it.

Mods: should this be split off into Off Topic?

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #29
OK, I think I can keep it relevant to HA.

I have no problems with Dawkins, Hitchens et al. slagging off stupid beliefs. Nor do I have any problem with atheism (me, Camus's vision is persuasive, if overly hopeful). However, it seems to me just plain wrong to claim you're making an argument for atheism when you're attacking one particular form of belief (however prevalent: US hyper-evangelicalism has got nothing to do with, for instance, the beliefs of Hindus).

The analogy is what actually happens when someone who doesn't yet have a firm grip on the difficulty of hearing straight comes here and asks a question like, for instance, "Where are the ABX tests for FLAC?" The poser of that question got accused of promoting the belief that lossless isn't lossless, when he was 1. asking a question, 2. rather doubtful of the claim, 3. aware that the only way anything could happen was in the playback. And, in fact, long ago with feeble puters and bad soundcards, it seems there could be problems in the playback. But someone who wasn't as firmly grounded as OP in that thread could well have concluded that asking for ABX for FLAC was like suggesting that the Emperor was stark naked.

Of course, it depends whether the idea is to spread an appreciation for sound methodology and rational thought. There's no reason why anyone should have that objective, and jeering at the stupid and ill-informed is maybe fun enough. Truly, I mean that: there is no obligation to stop the ignorant being parted from their money, nor to stop self-appointed arbiters of sound exercising their little czardoms. But good to know what one is actually doing.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #30
It took a very substantial amount of self-control to avoid trotting out the jesus horse.


That's too small to be a Jesus horse.  You must have meant this

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #31
Dawkins is addressing the dominant cultural paradigms of God-belief -- not the scholastic or Deistic or Einsteinian arguments for a highly abstract God (which he actually *specifically notes* he is not addressing, in his book)  .


Are you American? Naive Creationism is not the dominant paradigm of God-belief in most of the world.


You sure about that?  You think most people are more Deist, say, than not?  (I can hardly wait for you to distinguish for me between 'naive' and 'sophisticated' creationism; I'm guess the anthropic principle will make an appearance?)

Anyway, we're talking about two different things.  I was referring to 'The God Delusion', which isn't mainly about evolution vs creationism.

If anything , disdaining Dawkins on the basis of his arguments against creationism (rather than the existence of God), is even more bizarre.




The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #32
OK, I think I can keep it relevant to HA.

I have no problems with Dawkins, Hitchens et al. slagging off stupid beliefs. Nor do I have any problem with atheism (me, Camus's vision is persuasive, if overly hopeful). However, it seems to me just plain wrong to claim you're making an argument for atheism when you're attacking one particular form of belief (however prevalent: US hyper-evangelicalism has got nothing to do with, for instance, the beliefs of Hindus).


LOL.  *Are you sure about that?*

'Fundamentalist'-style religious belief certainly exists among Hindus -- politically powerful ones at that.  Christian-style "evangelicalism' isn't necessary for it to exist.

Have you *read* The God Delusion, or only read *about* it?  The arguments therein are mainly, but not *only* focused on the Judeo-CHristian-Islamic monotheistic triad (and btw do you consider these three together to be ' one particular form of belief'? That makes you more like Dawkins than perhaps you realize. ) .  A discussion of polytheism, including Hinduism, begins on p. 32.  It ends like so:

Quote
I’m not attacking any particular version of God or gods. I’m attacking God, all gods, anything and everything supernatural, wherever and whenever they have been or will be invented.
.



Quote
The analogy is what actually happens when someone who doesn't yet have a firm grip on the difficulty of hearing straight comes here and asks a question like, for instance, "Where are the ABX tests for FLAC?" The poser of that question got accused of promoting the belief that lossless isn't lossless, when he was 1. asking a question, 2. rather doubtful of the claim, 3. aware that the only way anything could happen was in the playback. And, in fact, long ago with feeble puters and bad soundcards, it seems there could be problems in the playback. But someone who wasn't as firmly grounded as OP in that thread could well have concluded that asking for ABX for FLAC was like suggesting that the Emperor was stark naked.


Sorry, you've lost me.  The analogy of Dawkins put forth by gordongekko  was  to an someone who ' talks about audio listening issues while dismissing ABX'.  So, what is 'ABX' analogous to here -- supposedly good arguments for the existence of God?

Dawkins *is* suggesting that the Emperor is naked.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #33
Dawkins appears to hate religion more than he loves science. That's what I gathered when he was given five minutes to say whatever he liked on Radio 4 the other year.

Quite sad really - I was hoping for five minutes of inspirational science - we could do with some of that on the BBC. There's enough religion bashing already (though of course there's some religion too).


I fear we've become a little too quick to jump on people here at HA. I also fear it's becoming a little like a club where people compete to prove that they are "in" it by seeing who can give the most "on message" answer - the result being that one person asks about discrete stereo, and he gets 18 responses telling him why he should use joint stereo. Really, come on, one response is enough!

We shouldn't assume that all the prejudices of stereophile are present in every newbie's first post!


In the world where specialist shops are dying, and people buy most things through the internet, I like the idea of figuring out some useful performance metrics and attaching them to loudspeakers. It's a challenge, but the journey of a thousand miles starts with the first step etc. If it can push companies to solve real problems, so much the better.


The real tragedy with the subjectivist crowd is that if an equivalent amount of energy was put into blind testing, we could have got so much further with audio than we have. However, I don't think it's worth making this point to the people posting to the stereophile forum - and I doubt many lurkers hack it there for long (it's a bit mental, and people don't actually care any more), though I could be wrong.

Cheers,
David.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #34
I fear we've become a little too quick to jump on people here at HA. I also fear it's becoming a little like a club where people compete to prove that they are "in" it by seeing who can give the most "on message" answer - the result being that one person asks about discrete stereo, and he gets 18 responses telling him why he should use joint stereo. Really, come on, one response is enough!

Spot on.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #35
Quote
I fear we've become a little too quick to jump on people here at HA. I also fear it's becoming a little like a club where people compete to prove that they are "in" it by seeing who can give the most "on message" answer - the result being that one person asks about discrete stereo, and he gets 18 responses telling him why he should use joint stereo. Really, come on, one response is enough! We shouldn't assume that all the prejudices of stereophile are present in every newbie's first post!
You won't see a disagreement from me on that!

That said... how does that apply to this thread, specifically?

Quote
The real tragedy with the subjectivist crowd is that if an equivalent amount of energy was put into blind testing, we could have got so much further with audio than we have. However, I don't think it's worth making this point to the people posting to the stereophile forum - and I doubt many lurkers hack it there for long (it's a bit mental, and people don't actually care any more), though I could be wrong.
True, but the lurkers only leave insofar as controversy and/or ignorance is exposed. I suspect the main posters there have a substantial amount of influence on lurkers who otherwise are not aware of the DBT debate.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #36
I'm referring to the fact that he's a smug ass.


Are you American?  I ask because IME, the combination of articulate speech plus a middle/upperclass British accent plus being *right* more often than not on a 'controversial' issue, gets interpreted as 'smugness' by some of my countrymen.


Nope, I'm a Canadian. And a Anglophile at that so I have no problem with upperclass British accents. Hell, my grandmother sounded like Her Majesty.

I just don't like the man. I think he does as much damage to his cause as he does the intelligent designers/creationist.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #37
I fear we've become a little too quick to jump on people here at HA.

Yes indeed, David: that's the point I was trying to raise (though I probably muddied the issue: sorry about that). Having a giggle at directional cables and magic pebbles is good clean fun, but some of the people who come here are either just uninformed (which everyone is about most things) or, more troubling to them, they've got information which is out of date. And things do get out of date very quickly in the digital world.

Anyone who's done any teaching knows that there are some questions which intelligent people tend to ask at particular points in their learning. They've been asked so often that there are either well-understood answers, or it's clear there is no simple answer. It can be tedious to keep on dealing with them, but it's not the questioner's problem that they've been asked before.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #38
Dawkins appears to hate religion more than he loves science. That's what I gathered when he was given five minutes to say whatever he liked on Radio 4 the other year.


Was  the other year, the year The God Delusion was published, by chance?

C'mon, you're taking five minutes of output from someone who's been one of the two best-known public champions of evolutionary biology since the 1970s, authoring a string of science books since then, and on that basis deciding Dawkins 'hates religion more than he loves science'? 


Quote
The real tragedy with the subjectivist crowd is that if an equivalent amount of energy was put into blind testing, we could have got so much further with audio than we have.

However, I don't think it's worth making this point to the people posting to the stereophile forum - and I doubt many lurkers hack it there for long (it's a bit mental, and people don't actually care any more), though I could be wrong.



I was shocked (pleasantly) to see Gordon Holt, of all people (being the founder of Stereophile) express much the same sentiment about the lost opportunity for blind testing, in an Q&A with Stereophile's current editor.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #39
What did I do?  . Next time I will refrain from using Richard Dawkins as an analogy to this on going DBT war it was probably a very bad example. The only reason it came to mind is I took numerous Philosophy classes in college and at one time was majoring in Philosophy before my new job took me into IT. I think this is a kind of topic that would be useful in the off-topic section of the forum rather then in Sean Olive's critique of Sighted Listening Tests. I was trying use the analogy comparing scientific DBT to faith based audiophiles. My attention wasn't to spark any Philosophical or Political debate although it often comes down to that sometimes on here. I too would be happy discuss both just in the off topic section of the forum. 
budding I.T professional

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #40
I was shocked (pleasantly) to see Gordon Holt, of all people (being the founder of Stereophile) express much the same sentiment about the lost opportunity for blind testing, in an Q&A with Stereophile's current editor.

I was also pleasantly shocked to see JA actually publish it

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #41
I was shocked (pleasantly) to see Gordon Holt, of all people (being the founder of Stereophile) express much the same sentiment about the lost opportunity for blind testing, in an Q&A with Stereophile's current editor.

I was also pleasantly shocked to see JA actually publish it



I was further amused by the various vitriolic and bitterly betrayed reactions to it...even today, as on that idiotic forum thread.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #42
I was shocked (pleasantly) to see Gordon Holt, of all people (being the founder of Stereophile) express much the same sentiment about the lost opportunity for blind testing, in an Q&A with Stereophile's current editor.

I was also pleasantly shocked to see JA actually publish it



I was further amused by the various vitriolic and bitterly betrayed reactions to it...even today, as on that idiotic forum thread.


Check out Jan Vigne's latest (as of now) response to me at the stereophile forum. I begin to suspect that the gentleman is disturbed. I urge you NOT to reply there.
-----
J. D. (jj) Johnston

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #43
Are actual blind people useful for listening tests? I thought when you lose one sense, your others become more sensitive. One one hand I can see why they may not be representative of "normal" hearing, but on the other hand they may be helpful for exploring the outermost boundaries of hearing. Perhaps it depends on what is being tested.

Maybe it's too off topic, but I've been curious about it.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #44
Often someone with flawed hearing will be more sensitive to certain kinds of encoding artifacts than someone with so-called normal hearing.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #45
Are actual blind people useful for listening tests? I thought when you lose one sense, your others become more sensitive. One one hand I can see why they may not be representative of "normal" hearing, but on the other hand they may be helpful for exploring the outermost boundaries of hearing. Perhaps it depends on what is being tested.

Maybe it's too off topic, but I've been curious about it.


Some blind people can do some amazing things by clicking their tongues and listening to the echos coming back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uobuBc2GO0o

Maybe their highly developed sense of sound-space could be useful for improving surround-sound systems (passive locating).  It's hard for me to even think of a reproducing system which could hope to fool one of these people.


The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #47
Are actual blind people useful for listening tests? I thought when you lose one sense, your others become more sensitive. One one hand I can see why they may not be representative of "normal" hearing, but on the other hand they may be helpful for exploring the outermost boundaries of hearing. Perhaps it depends on what is being tested.

Maybe it's too off topic, but I've been curious about it.


Some blind people can do some amazing things by clicking their tongues and listening to the echos coming back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uobuBc2GO0o


That's amazing, thanks for the link!

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #48
quote name='solive' date='Apr 12 2009, 03:47' post='627052'

Apologies for the break.

>> If there was a business case for assessing performance in a scientifically valid manner then
>> it would be done. Gearing up to routinely peform scientifically valid experiments is not a
>> significant issue
>
> Contrary to what you claim, the investment in anechoic chambers, listening labs, equipment,
> speaker movers, training listeners, engineering/scientific staff IS a significant issue and
> cost.

This was not the claim. The claim was that if there was a business case it would be done. Around the end of the stereo boom and before the mainstream audiophile got going it was not unusual for acoustic professionals and their facilities to be involved with the assessment of hi-fi equipment at least in the UK. The home audio market was quite different at this time and what made business sense was also different.

> The success of the Canadian loudspeaker industry is in large part due to scientific assessment
> of performance, and they readily acknowledge it in their marketing literature. I would argue
> that is an example of a business case where scientific assessment of performance has paid off.

I am not sure the "large part" would stand up to close scrutiny. People choose to purchase particular loudspeakers for a wide range of reasons and I suspect there might be an element of your seeing what you want to see?

>> A passive consumer is going to get fed nonsense but there is no reason an active one cannot
>> access information in order to put together a good hi-fi for a reasonable price.
>
> Again, are you sure about that? Show me the technical journals (J AES ?) I can go to find out which
> loudspeaker is the best one to purchase? Technical journals like AES or JASA don't publish the names of
> the products. Also, please give some names of professionals where a consumer can get unbiased,
> comprehensive scientific subjective and objective performance data that tells them which is the best
> loudspeaker to purchase for say $2000?

It is a passive consumer that needs the type of information you suggest that tells them what brands to purchase based on paper ratings. If it was in the interests of the industry to provide such information it would have been done long ago. Given that it is clearly not in the interests of the industry, how much taxpayers money should be spent by the state to provide this information and how much damage would it do in terms of jobs, tax revenue and the like?

An active consumer primarily needs access to knowledge about what is important and why. This knowledge is available from non-audiophile sources for those that consider the effort worthwhile.

> His credentials and experience in the high-end industry surely make his opinion as worthy as yours,
> mine or anyone elses'.

It is hard to reply without knowing what you mean by opinion.

You appeared to put him forward as someone whose statements should be given weight. It may be interesting that he has changed his view somewhat in his old age and that it has shifted in the "correct" direction but is the basis on which he forms his judgements the rational one based on reproducible evidence? Do some of his other statements reinforce or counter the view that he is rational?

> In the context of a listening test, "true" means the listener is only responding to acoustical
> changes caused by the variable being manipulated. The marketing department deals with how the
> customer responds to the shininess of the hi-fi -- not me. I only care about the sound quality.

I would suggest this is a rather peculiar use of the word true. Somebody sitting at home listening to their hi-fi has no way to get at your "true". For example, I would argue that the "natural" sighted listening rating of speaker S in the link at the top was the true one and not the "artificial" blind listening result.

If removing the visual cues is important for a true assessment then what about the room?

>> Blind tests allow engineers to sort out what is due to what and this is useful when juggling the
>> compromises>>
>
> And why wouldn't it also be a useful tool for reviewers or consumers for sorting out which products
> make the best compromises?

An audiophile reviewer writes audiophile reviews for audiophile publications. Commercial audiophile publications are primarily vehicles for audiophile advertising. If it was in the interests of the audiophile publications to revert to more traditional/rational means of assessing the performance of hardware then the reviewing would follow.

It would be a useful tool for some consumers but I can see no plausible way it is going to get funded.

> Because it would provide accurate and reliable information that would make it easier for consumers to
> choose the loudspeaker that best matches their taste and application.

Is this a good or bad thing for a luxury products industry?

Is this a good or a bad thing for the consumers of luxury products? How important are the illusions?

> The industry bemoans that consumers don't care about high quality audio anymore.

The industry works with and to an extent modifies what audiophile consumers want. The less audiophiles are interested in (expensive) technical performance and more interested in (cheaper) perceived perfomance the bigger the profit margins. In the UK companies like Linn and Naim have been very successfull doing this over the life of the audiophile sector while most of the more established companies from the hi-fi boom that tried to hang onto to the old ways largely disappeared although a few of the brands are still around. Whole sectors of the audiophile industry like cables and capacitors are completely based on perceived performance.

Non-audiophile consumers have a much wider choice of entertainment sources today and I suspect the silliness of the audiophile sector is going to have limited appeal.

> Part of the problem falls upon us because we have failed to educate them, and give them compelling,
> trustworthy, accessible data that clearly shows them there is a significant difference in sound
> quality between a $200. HTIB and a $3000 home theatre setup.

Why is it the industries job to educate consumers? Surely it is the industries job to make profits for their shareholders, pay tax to the state, keep their workforce happy and persuade consumers to purchase their products. Does educating consumers of luxury products help or hinder this?

Consumers buy what they want. They do not buy what knowledgeable people consider best for them but what what they want.

The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

Reply #49
Consumers buy what they want. They do not buy what knowledgeable people consider best for them but what what they want.


That begs the question:  where does the particular 'want' come from?  Consumer preference doesn't form de novo in a vaccuum.

Consumers DO respond to the recommendations of people they BELIEVE are more knowledgeable than themselves.  That's one
component of marketing, and I'd say it's an especially significant one in audio, a hobby with a strongly technical component.

One problem is that an uninformed consumer -- not to mention the lazy journalist -- has little way of knowing
whether an 'expert' is really an expert, and whether they are being fed science or pseudoscience.  How many would-be audiophiles
who have bought the 'expert' Robert Harley's books,  have been able to  tell which of his claims are absurdities, and which are
well-grounded in fact?

 
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