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post #91 of 213 Old 07-15-2008, 04:05 PM
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Practicality is a good thing, geekhd, but I wouldn't let it get in the way of enjoying a bit of magical pixie dust every once in awhile .

Or, in other words, sure, get your facts straight on the basics of an audio system, but if you want to experiment with some of that stuff out there that only has "magic" to back it up, have at it, for that can be kinda fun too.
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post #92 of 213 Old 07-15-2008, 04:05 PM
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mcnarus, you are correct when you state that pointing out facts in the face of blatant nonsense is not validating or justifying anything. Where the invalidation comes in is when you tell someone that they will not hear an improvement with this product, for they very well may.

Correction: They may very well think they hear an improvement. The distinction is important to anyone (and we are legion!) who wants to concentrate his spending on real, as opposed to imagined sonic improvement.

Now, if someone wants to experiment with psychotropic drugsoops, I mean snake-oil audio tweaksin the privacy of his own home, that's his own affair. But if he wants to discuss his experience on a public forum, then he has to accept that others are free to question his interpretation of his experience. The statement, "I heard an improvement after using this product" is a testimonial that the product works (although I'm sure one of our resident sophists will now try to argue otherwise). And it will be challenged as such.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #93 of 213 Old 07-15-2008, 04:19 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Correction: They may very well think they hear an improvement. The distinction is important to anyone (and we are legion!) who wants to concentrate his spending on real, as opposed to imagined sonic improvement.

Now, if someone wants to experiment with psychotropic drugs—oops, I mean snake-oil audio tweaks—in the privacy of his own home, that's his own affair. But if he wants to discuss his experience on a public forum, then he has to accept that others are free to question his interpretation of his experience. The statement, "I heard an improvement after using this product" is a testimonial that the product works (although I'm sure one of our resident sophists will now try to argue otherwise). And it will be challenged as such.

Ok, I'm gonna get kinda Zen here, and I think that is where we part ways, for I think I put more weight behind the saying of "perception is reality", than you do.

"The statement, "I heard an improvement after using this product" is a testimonial that the product works" I don't believe is true. I believe you have to add the words "for him/her" after the word "works".

I just don't put a lot of space between thinking that there is a sonic improvement versus scientifically being able to prove that there is in fact, a sonic improvement. Why? Because the end result is the same for the listener.
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post #94 of 213 Old 07-15-2008, 06:45 PM
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I just don't put a lot of space between thinking that there is a sonic improvement versus scientifically being able to prove that there is in fact, a sonic improvement. Why? Because the end result is the same for the listener.

But I think you're ignoring another crucial distinction. An objective difference will be the same for (almost) everyone. Some people may like it and some not, and they may even describe it very differently, but what they're hearing is the same.

Whereas a "difference" that's really just a placebo effect won't be the same to any two people. It's entirely going on inside your head, and we all have different heads (and I'm not just talking HRTF here!)

So there's an important distinction to be made between sounds I've heard that you might hear, too, and sounds that you won't hear, because my imagination just made them up.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #95 of 213 Old 07-15-2008, 07:07 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

But I think you're ignoring another crucial distinction. An objective difference will be the same for (almost) everyone. Some people may like it and some not, and they may even describe it very differently, but what they're hearing is the same.

Sounds like a contradiction. If they describe it differently, and it may or may not be pleasing to them, how can you prove that what they are hearing is the same? And then on top of that, as we all get older, our hearing changes at different parts of the frequency spectrum.

Just because something is plotted out on a graph does not mean that we all perceive it and hear it the same way. So many variables going on here that I would think it would be impossible to make that assumption: our state of health, how much sleep we've had, the mood that we are in and then add to that, the faith that we have in our equipment to do the job.

I think that the psycho-acoustic affects is going on all the time to a certain extent.

What is coming at our ears from our equipment may be the same, but all bets are off once it enters our heads.

Of course, as always, this is all up for debate.
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post #96 of 213 Old 07-15-2008, 07:48 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

Practicality is a good thing, geekhd, but I wouldn't let it get in the way of enjoying a bit of magical pixie dust every once in awhile .

Or, in other words, sure, get your facts straight on the basics of an audio system, but if you want to experiment with some of that stuff out there that only has "magic" to back it up, have at it, for that can be kinda fun too.

As long as the person has some understanding of the basics, maybe. But that's not what I see so often on internet forums. Many of these tweakers are way out in the la la land and they try to argue. Often they don't have the knowledge to carry on a debate and what do they do, they resort to profanities. Standards and references are necessities. Without it, people can't communicate about their audio experiences. Advising about the facts on forums like this is a good thing.
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post #97 of 213 Old 07-15-2008, 07:49 PM
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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

I just don't put a lot of space between thinking that there is a sonic improvement versus scientifically being able to prove that there is in fact, a sonic improvement. Why? Because the end result is the same for the listener.

No, not even close. One is repeatable day to day with the same listener, repeatable between listeners, and correlates to how we understand equipment, human hearing and the brain to work. The other depends on "our state of health, how much sleep we've had, the mood that we are in and then add to that, the faith that we have in our equipment to do the job."

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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

Sounds like a contradiction. If they describe it differently, and it may or may not be pleasing to them, how can you prove that what they are hearing is the same?

You seem to be confusing "hearing" with "belief". They're different and scientists have ways of independently verifying what we hear and separating it from what we believe. Some of these are clever hidden variable experiments where you first find differences everyone agrees on, and then go back and introduce hidden differences to determine what is reliably reportted as being audible. For example, you test for the difference between adding 10% odd harmonic distortion and telling the listener you added 10% distortion but not really adding it.

Then there's the whole realm of brain measurement; EKGs and fMRI are used to determine what parts of the brain are actually activated in response to stimuli. The important thing here is that these experiments correlate well with the other experiments. What people consistently report as being audible is actually seen as brain activity in the parts of the brain associated with hearing (there are interesting experiments to determine what those are as well). What people sometimes believe is audible, but can't be shown to be audible across things like double blind ABX experiments is either found to not stimulate those parts of the brain associated with hearing or do nothing at all!

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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

Just because something is plotted out on a graph does not mean that we all perceive it and hear it the same way.

There's only one major mechanism for hearing and it is well understood how sound waves activate it. It can be damaged but it outside of that, it works the same way for everyone, at all times, in all circumstances.

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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

So many variables going on here that I would think it would be impossible to make that assumption: our state of health, how much sleep we've had, the mood that we are in and then add to that, the faith that we have in our equipment to do the job.

Those affect psycho acoustics but not hearing. They're pretty easy to control for in properly designed experiments. Among other things, you can simply take a large enough sample size to reduce such effects to the point they don't matter any more.

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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

I think that the psycho-acoustic affects is going on all the time to a certain extent.

What is coming at our ears from our equipment may be the same, but all bets are off once it enters our heads.

Not really. Again, the EKG, and fMRI data shows us that once sound waves enter our heads it all gets processed the same way. What we do with it does differ and that's where the psycho acoustics comes in. For an extreme example, even people who are tone deaf (can't reliably report the differences between tones) have the same areas of the brain activated as people who are not tone deaf. Aha, I hear :-) you say! People do "hear" things differently. Well no, what's happening here is that higher level areas of the brain differ between tone deaf people and non-tone deaf people. The fMRI data shows what happens inside the brain between the time we "hear" the tones and the time we report (or fail to report) the differences. For tone deaf people certain areas don't get activated.

The reason that this matters is because there are things that people believe they can hear that simply don't correlate to the EKG and fMRI data and when you test such supposed capabilities in controlled situations the ability to report such differences go away. This is why the objectivists ask for the double blind ABX tests; it's not that everything sounds the same, rather, it's that not all people reliably report the differences or lack of differences between things that do or do not sound the same. Double blind ABX test aren't the only tool we have for figuring out what matters, but its a relatively easy one for this community to use that gives results that correlate well with the rest of the science at hand.

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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

Of course, as always, this is all up for debate.

Only on the Internets.... The scientific world would consider this discussion pretty pointless.
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post #98 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 04:54 AM
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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

Ok, I'm gonna get kinda Zen here, and I think that is where we part ways, for I think I put more weight behind the saying of "perception is reality", than you do.

"The statement, "I heard an improvement after using this product" is a testimonial that the product works" I don't believe is true. I believe you have to add the words "for him/her" after the word "works".

I just don't put a lot of space between thinking that there is a sonic improvement versus scientifically being able to prove that there is in fact, a sonic improvement. Why? Because the end result is the same for the listener.

Only temporarily. Then they go back to reality. Then the next product comes along and once again the soundstage or whatever changes. Press rewind and play.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #99 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 06:01 AM
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Scientist, is there any links you can provide with regards to the EKG and fMRI data pertaining to human hearing trials?

Sounds interesting and something I would like to read as a food for thought.
Cheers
DT
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post #100 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 06:26 AM
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

There are speaker cables with higher capacitance or inductance that colors the sound. For that, I would say they can make an audible difference but that's adding coloration to sound which I personally am not in favor of.

Yes, I know. We had a pair of interconnect cables with little black boxes on them among the cables in the box we tested. Let me restate that competently made cables and power cords don't have any sonic affects on an audio system.

You need to write like a lawyer on the internet. You can't leave out a single phrase that that you assume people understand, can you?
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post #101 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 06:30 AM
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Placebo effect can go the other way, incidentally. After all the bias controlled listening I've done, I don't expect to hear differences from cables or amplifiers so I don't, even in subjective listening. My biases have been turned 180 degrees from what they were when I was a high end audiophile. Now you would need to put me into a bias controlled situation in order to get me to hear subtle differences that I wouldn't have expected to hear. We all suffer from placebo in one way or another.
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post #102 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 06:50 AM
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Then, you ought to run a control FMW which does result in an audible difference.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #103 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 06:50 AM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Scientist, is there any links you can provide with regards to the EKG and fMRI data pertaining to human hearing trials?

Sounds interesting and something I would like to read as a food for thought.
Cheers
DT

I've posted some in the past here on AVS; an advanced search on "fMRI" should find a pointer to one study that probed, among other things, missing fundamental reconstruction in the human brain. I think I've also pointed at EKG studies in the past that you should be able to find, there's a recent one on tone deafness for example. At the moment I'm swamped but may be able to dig up something specific for you tonight, but they're not that hard to find via Google if you want to see what you can find in the mean time.
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post #104 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 07:11 AM
 
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If somebody imagines hearing an improvement from something that doesn't actually cost them much of anything (green magic markers, for example), and if that makes them happy, that is fine by me.
What I object to is predatory marketing that uses people's gullibility to rob them. There is a reason the old patent medicine shows were outlawed!
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post #105 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 07:14 AM
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Thx Scientist.
Found one so far that was posted in the forums but it is a thesis-dissertation, which I feel need to have an open mind on.
Still will read as it looks interesting.

Thanks
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post #106 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 08:17 AM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Then, you ought to run a control FMW which does result in an audible difference.

I've done it many times. Everything doesn't sound alike. But I no longer expect the things that do not sound alike to sound alike so I no longer hear differences from placebo. I certainly do when I expect a sonic difference.
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post #107 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 09:21 AM
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Nevermind Scientist, I found articles at Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences.
Thanks for highlighting this field of science, has some interesting articles, although it was sending me asleep at times

Their homepage for the Music Dynamics Lab:
http://www.ccs.fau.edu/~large/

They have some very interesting tests and articles on various subjects from testing perception of rythm with timing lock to the one I am showing below:
Quote:


Abstract: We aimed to identify brain areas involved in responding to affect communicated by expressive piano performance. Our subjects listened to two versions of Chopin's Etude in E major, Opus 10, No. 3. The first version was an expressive performance, recorded by a highly trained musician on a computer-monitored piano. Our control was a computer-generated, mechanical performance of the same composition. Data analysis revealed differential brain activation in the two listening conditions. The expressive performance elicited greater activation in anterior cingulate, right temporal pole, right inferior frontal gyri, inferior parietal lobe and superior temporal gyri, areas that have been associated with emotion, attention, speech perception. The mechanical performance elicited greater activation in cerebellum, parahippocampal gyrus, supplementary motor area and dorsolateral prefrontal cortex, areas primarily involved in motor and sequencing tasks. Our results confirm that expressive music performance communicates affect beyond the melody, harmony, tonality, and rhythm of the notated composition. Our observations also suggest that the perception of emotion in music shares neural resources with the perception of emotion in speech, and that these pathways may be different from those recruited during other types of emotional experience.

Complete PDF Perceiving Emotion in Expressive Piano Performance A Functional MRI Study
http://www.ccs.fau.edu/~large/Public...rLarge2002.pdf

While at times some of the tests/articles may cause sudden sleepiness they are worth reading as a food for thought

Cheers
DT
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post #108 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 10:06 AM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Nevermind Scientist, I found articles at Center for Complex Systems and Brain Sciences.

That's an interesting one. Doesn't directly address the issues in this thread, but it does point out that the research has moved on beyond the simple mechanisms of hearing and into areas like cognitive mechanisms for more complex phenomena.

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Thanks for highlighting this field of science, has some interesting articles, although it was sending me asleep at times

What, you don't think it has the makings of a major action movie? I see Keanu Reeves in the role of the young research scientist, doggedly pursuing his thesis of "right brain activation" in spite of his aging advisory committee telling him there is nothing to be found in such pursuits...
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post #109 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 10:18 AM
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Originally Posted by scientest View Post

Not really. Again, the EKG, and fMRI data shows us that once sound waves enter our heads it all gets processed the same way. What we do with it does differ and that's where the psycho acoustics comes in.

What you just said above is what I've been "trying" to say, but obviously failed.

I have no doubt that the EKG and fMRI data shows that we all "process" it the same way, but it's how we perceive that process that differs. I'm not talking about the physical way we perceive that process, but how "we label" that process, how we describe it.........our opinions of it...........that differs.

If we can agree on that, than is it not safe to imply that our perception of the same sound can differ by quite a bit?
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post #110 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 10:31 AM
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Originally Posted by scientest View Post

That's an interesting one. Doesn't directly address the issues in this thread, but it does point out that the research has moved on beyond the simple mechanisms of hearing and into areas like cognitive mechanisms for more complex phenomena.



What, you don't think it has the makings of a major action movie? I see Keanu Reeves in the role of the young research scientist, doggedly pursuing his thesis of "right brain activation" in spite of his aging advisory committee telling him there is nothing to be found in such pursuits...

Good idea, next time I will combine the reading with the Matrix on in the background, surely this will save me from attack of the snores

But in all seriousness, there is some insightful information on their various lab tests/articles.

Cheers
DT
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post #111 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 10:39 AM
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Originally Posted by lwien View Post

If we can agree on that, than is it not safe to imply that our perception of the same sound can differ by quite a bit?

Well yes, but that's not the issue. The problem is, what is our brain doing when we think we hear a difference but there is, in fact, nothing audible happening? There are basically two things going on:

1) Things that everyone agrees are audible are seen to consistently activate certain areas of the brain;

2) Things for which there is no evidence of audibility do not activate the areas of the brain associated with the auditory system at all (there are exceptions, like dreaming of music). When presented with a false cue (eg. suggestion of a difference) some people will report an audible difference but the parts of the brain involved are different from those associated with auditory processing. The important thing is these differences (and the associated brain activity) go away when the false cue is removed!
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post #112 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 10:47 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Ah ha, the word Matrix just reminded me of something. Should one take the red pill or the blue pill? lwien is basically saying that it shouldn't matter. I say it does.
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post #113 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 11:27 AM
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<<scrambling around trying to find a "green" pill>>
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post #114 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 02:53 PM
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Should one take the red pill or the blue pill? lwien is basically saying that it shouldn’t matter.

One pill makes you larger, and one pill makes you small.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #115 of 213 Old 07-16-2008, 08:13 PM
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.....and the ones that mother gives you.......
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post #116 of 213 Old 07-17-2008, 05:11 AM
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will likely cause her to be arrested and have you removed by child protective custody?

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post #117 of 213 Old 07-17-2008, 08:13 AM
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Why? It's just a placebo.

(Had to get this discussion back on topic!)

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #118 of 213 Old 07-17-2008, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

But I think you're ignoring another crucial distinction. An objective difference will be the same for (almost) everyone. Some people may like it and some not, and they may even describe it very differently, but what they're hearing is the same.

I think we're making an assumption here that cannot be ignored, and that is that it's possible that reports of differences/improvements are simply precursors to an actual measurement. The variables from system to system and environment to environment are too great to boil down to a single test that somehow justifies and experience. Lab tests for medical scenarios (for example) are viable, because the execution of those findings would take place in a similar environment.

In other words, there is a vibe around here that simply because something is subjectively reported, that precludes the possibility that it can be objectively measured. I seriously doubt many claims have been tested to your standards, simply because the people believing in those differences don't really care to take part.

http://www.enjoythemusic.com/tas/183/editorial.htm

The First Clarke Law states, 'If an elderly but distinguished scientist says that something is possible he is almost certainly right, but if he says that it is impossible he is very probably wrong.'
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post #119 of 213 Old 07-17-2008, 09:51 AM
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there is a vibe around here that simply because something is subjectively reported, that precludes the possibility that it can be objectively measured.

I have no idea what your post is trying to say, but if this statement refers to me, it is incorrect. Anything that is subjectively reported and can be verified in a blind test can be objectively measured. Anything that is subjectively reported and cannot be verified in a blind test cannot be objectively measured, because it is entirely a product of the listener's imagination.

Anyone who wishes to dispute this should be prepared to offer a counterexample.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #120 of 213 Old 07-17-2008, 11:32 AM - Thread Starter
 
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That signature appears to be Robert Harley's, doesn't it?
You know, the author of this book...
geekhd is offline  
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