The "Official" All CD Players Sound the Same Thread - Page 39 - AVS Forum
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post #1141 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 03:13 PM
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Again broad assumptions, goes nicely with your "its a marketing ploy", I guess CTOs just sit there twiddling their thumbs because in reality it is a big conspiracy and the company is solely run by marketing people.

Talk about assumptions. Who said anything about a conspiracy? I don't see anything wrong with marketing, they need to make a profit to survive.

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So the reality is no company churns out new platforms or designs/architectures due to "marketing reasons", it is bad business practice.
This is the cold truth, whether you like it or not.

Now that's funny.
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post #1142 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 03:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jj_0001 View Post

Now, exactly what is this attack supposed to mean? The existance of a God as established by faith is untestable, and is not related to science. The existance of two properly operating (and properly designed to least mean squares standards) CD players, level and time aligned, etc, that sound different, given the two players in question, is testable. Your attempt to equate science with religion is a classic ploy, and one that has been refuted since the times of Popper and Hume.

jj - This is not an attack - just a question. Some people who believe that there are differences in the sound of CD players have suggested that perhaps there are some significant aspects that are either not being measured or are unmeasurble. Are you suggesting that there may be phenomena that exist that are untestable?
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post #1143 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 03:25 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by rto View Post

I don't think he was equating science with religion, but suggesting that there must be a principled inconsistency in demanding empirical evidence to support one claim, while believing in the existence of some arbitrary grand poombah based on faith......which is a disingenuous conflation of objectivism and absolutism.

I can't imagine why someone would bring religion into any discussion on AVS, unless they simply want to derail a thread, and have it closed.

rto - I am not interested in derailing the thread and closing it, actually, I started it. If discussing religion makes you uncomfortable, there is plenty of other content in this thread to comment on. I asked the question because it seemed to me that the no difference group demanded quantifiable, measurable evidence of the existence of audible differences. The irony is that there are clearly measurable differences in frequency-response curves, but the untestested hypothesis is that these differences are not audible. But you are correct, I wondered about the inconsistency in demanding evidence. Some may see inconsistency here, perhaps others do not.
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post #1144 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 03:37 PM
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Dulcet Tones,

I remember how the Stereo Review letters section exploded after that test, and it wasn't caused by people who believed all CD players sound alike; quite the contrary, in fact. The author's conclusions seem at odds with a clear-cut result of statistical significance, unless those numbers don't tell the whole story:

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"It is difficult to imagine a real-life situation in which audible differences could be reliably detected or in which one player would be consistently preferred to another for its sound alone. In the end, the main conclusion seems to be that audible differences do exist, but they don't matter unless you think they matter.

Have you provided us with all test data that was provided in the article?
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post #1145 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 03:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jj_0001 View Post

This supports the old netnews-reported test of 10 CD players, done in a not-very-good listening room with gobs of people, that reported two players were audibly different in level-aligned, time-aligned playback with an ABX-like comparitor.

I was one of the people who caused a few eyes to pop by doing 3 sets of 10/10 ID's on the 2020SL.

But why is this not news? Research on the two players showed that

1) the portable had a horrid noise floor. you could hear it. end of discussion. And not "proper function"
2) The philips had something like a stuck bit in one channel, and this caused audible imaging shifts. (wierd, but true)

So, I don't doubt somebody found players that sounded different, what I want to know, now, is what was wrong with the two players who sounded different.

Now, I've not succeeded in finding a full copy of the article. Did they detail noise floor, distortion, and frequency response measurements of all the players?

n.b. I've also encountered one prototype player that had a half-sample delay between the two channels. With a CD with guassian pulses, it stood out like a lightbulb in speakers.

jj - I had not heard of the study that you referenced. It sounds like the players would not meet the qualifications for properly functioning etc CD players. I don't think anyone in this thread has suggested that your study applies. Incidentally - the Masters and Clark articled was referenced by one of the leading proponents of the no difference camp. None of you complained about the study until I posted a summary of it and now it is under attack by those who have not even read it. I have heard that people who believe they hear differences in CD players are biased. Is there perhaps a little bias exhibited by those in the no difference crowd as well?
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post #1146 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 03:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

rto - I am not interested in derailing the thread and closing it, actually, I started it. If discussing religion makes you uncomfortable, there is plenty of other content in this thread to comment on. I asked the question because it seemed to me that the no difference group demanded quantifiable, measurable evidence of the existence of audible differences. The irony is that there are clearly measurable differences in frequency-response curves, but the untestested hypothesis is that these differences are not audible. But you are correct, I wondered about the inconsistency in demanding evidence. Some may see inconsistency here, perhaps others do not.


Oh, I love to yammer on about theology, just not here........but we're not robots. No one is capable of being logically consistent 100% of the time.
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post #1147 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 05:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Ah yes I forgot, you support the evidence of ABX, which means you will be going out to buy that very cheap entry model Yamaha on Monday yes?
Because logically it sounds as perfect as a Mark Levinson in a medium room as concluded by an ABX

Unless you come up with evidence that it doesn't in a bias controlled test.
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post #1148 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

jj – I had not heard of the study that you referenced. It sounds like the players would not meet the qualifications for properly functioning etc CD players. I don’t think anyone in this thread has suggested that your study applies.

Why?

It was of 10 commercially available players.

Obviously they don't all function correctly. Why do you think the situation is any different in the present day?

This is why the REAL assertion is "CD players that function correctly will not sound different under controlled conditions, with all of the caveats we know about regarding testing methodology and practice".

Not "all CD players sound the same."

Most any portable has a horrid noise floor. This doesn't matter for most portable applications, but it stands out like a light in a quiet room.

But I think a 70dB peak to noise floor hardly qualifies as "works correctly". Neither is one with a bit stuck, one that has a half-sample shift between channels, oen that has 3dB ripple in-band...

But they surely do exist, which is really inexcusable in the modern day.

James D. (jj) Johnston
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post #1149 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 06:00 PM
 
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The question was, "What do you think about the articles comparing more recent model CDPs?" and your answer is,
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Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Well, I was lucky to get my hands on the Masters and Clark article - it is not easy to do so. However, I am glad that I did, it was interesting. Rather than support the position that all players sound alike it provides evidence that there are audible differences. Had I not gotten ahold of the article and summarized it, many readers of this thread would have assumed, incorrectly that it supports the hypothesis.

Quote:


"Do you believe that all standard CD players made today will sound the same when connected the same way to a receiver or amp?"

Sounds familiar? I thought that's where your focus would be.


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Would you mind explaining what information led you to believe in the hypothesis that "all" Cd players sound alike?

I'll get to that later but I'm hoping to see if you understand my questions.
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post #1150 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 06:05 PM
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Originally Posted by jj_0001 View Post

In the USENET world, this kind of jeering usually comes from the type of person who doesn't know what's up, doesn't care, and is only interested in creating the most upset.

First if you are referring to me as "jeering" you start from a faulty premise.
If that is the case your analysis and conclusions are then grossly inaccurate. This alone would make any conclusions you have draw on the subject matter at hand suspect.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #1151 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 06:07 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

The challenge that you propose - to correctly identify between two players -has been proposed by a member of this forum, RWetmore, who has offered to pay $1000 if he is unable to do so. No one is willing to take the bet.

There were replies to that which were well explained why but for some reason those replies are being ignored by you. Perhaps because they don't fit the agenda you are trying to pursuit.
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post #1152 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 07:41 PM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

This is still an engineering need, not driven by marketing you agree?
So the marketing argument falls flat on its face using this point, unless you have better functionality that usually means a different chip.
Do you really feel you could market smaller chip and lower consumption as a marketing tool to increase the price of a DAC/CD player or to be able to sell it over another
Engineering requirement not marketing, because this is what manufacturers using their chips demand, on top of performance and functionality.

DT

I have no idea what your argument is, or what you are twisting my post into. My only intent was to list additional qualities computer engineers seek to advance when designing new chip architectures, at least in computer engineering, where I have some training...

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post #1153 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 07:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Queke - They didn't actually rank the players - just wanted to find out if they could hear differences. I am sure that you had fun with the Carver!

Of course... I was the only kid I know of in my entire highschool who had a real stereo system. Let alone one in 9th grade. Everyone else had boomboxes and those one piece units with speakers attached. I still have friends who remember and mention the JBL speakers and "sonic holigram."

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post #1154 of 1168 Old 02-07-2009, 08:42 PM
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Since you believe that audible differences could be heard in the players from this period, could you clarify at what point audible differences could no longer be achieved?

Never. There are certainly CD players being made even today which are audibly distinguishable from most others.

Now, does this give you some idea of how you have completely misunderstood the issue?

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

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post #1155 of 1168 Old 02-08-2009, 07:14 AM
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Originally Posted by QueueCumber View Post

I have no idea what your argument is, or what you are twisting my post into. My only intent was to list additional qualities computer engineers seek to advance when designing new chip architectures, at least in computer engineering, where I have some training...

Ah sorry Queue I thought you were supporting Wills comments that every year a related product that is released is due to marketing and convincing the consumer they need it, when in reality the marketing and engineer side of a product are split.
Like you I work in manufacturing and rely on the chip manufacturers and other component manufacturers for the products we sell, the companies I have worked for are high end technology solutions-designs-products.
That aside going to carry on one last time to try to clarify for some here (not directed at you Queue) that their assumptions on marketing is plainly wrong and they really should stop saying that any CD player released over X or comes out next year is all down to marketing requirements and need, or that the jump to FPGA or different improved architecure is just a marketing exercise and nothing to do with engineering needs/demands.

For Will and a few others who keep falling back on the conclusion any new CD player-chipset-dac is pure marketing requirement and not engineering, I was trying to share with them where there is a differentiation between a product design phase and product positioning that is more marketing related in the way they suggest.
This is from my own experience as part of the engineer team designing and implementing a new architecture and product, being fortunate to work closely with real CTOs, also working with senior sales management, and also the side where we discuss and present to the big boy investors, such as Goldman Sachs top clients and analysts, amongst others.
In all of this I have never come across ANY situation where a product is designed from the ground up or has different architecture-functionality because marketing says we need a new product that does the same as before but looks newer.

Staying with the processor-chip side, as this seems an easier discussion to follow without going into technical aspects, and fits with the evolution that we are seeing with FPGA based DACs.
In its simplest form it can be broken down as follows:
1. Design process with the potential of a phased deployment of a new product, meeting engineering requirements of either this manufacturer due to improvements in architecture/functionality/performance, or other manufacturers who will be using this chip/chipset. A clear example using Intel/AMD is a new chip developed to 45nm while existing ones are 65nm. A clear engineering benefit is reduced heat for greater processing power, but this does not reduce costs for the manufacturer.
A consideration here is the cost of R&D-production lines-parts and storage management,etc that will mean this will cost more in the short term than existing products. This in a way is comparable to the FPGA designs we see now, or going back 6-8 years ago when Chord Electronics went for this new design. Also this may also include more noticable revisions to a product that tie in with engineering needs again, such as the DAC64 to consumers is seen consistently as the same product comparable price over the years but by the time it was discontinued its architecture-functionality had gone through four revisions.

2. Fabrication convergence between existing older lines and the newer product, for Intel and AMD this means moving the existing 65nm over to 45nm. Here the benefit to the manufacturer is cost reduction as the production line/process is now aligned, while also responding to other manufacturers engineering needs of reduced heat (and depending upon circumstances reduced watts). This is just one example of production convergence but is a good clear example.

3. Product positioning where minor revisions are done that assist in keeping the chipset wanted and in need, this can be price tiers with some functionality/performance disabled, or what you usually see with Intel/AMD increased clock speeds that come out every 3-6months.
This is to delay any new product design as long as possible (due to the cost), while getting back as much money as possible for the current product/s.
Now this does fit more into the marketing ideas of some here, where they feel a product is churned out again with little or minor differences/improvements. It does not cost a manufacturer too much to do this while benefits of potential sales can be sustained or improved.

Why am I going through this lengthy tale that is also my real work experience with the comparable above example?
Because I was trying to point out that we have seen a jump in terms of advancement of discrete signalling processing and supported architectures of DACs-chipsets in both CD Players and seperate DAC products.
The clear example is that FPGA used to be more niche in high end or was only a few audio manufacturers going this route, the cost for doing this in terms of R&D (think costs of top engineers in this field on top of time and other resource requirements) and then setting up production processing is so much more than staying with existing-traditional architecture and chipsets.
However some it seems like to suggest that this was purely done as an exercise in terms of sales marketing and not engineering requirements that Chord Electronics and others such as dCS felt was necessarily.
Right or wrong they went this path for engineering purposes, and now they are moving on again to a next stage of FPGA we are seeing this architecture and design appearing in cheaper alternatives (trickle down effect) using a lesser version of what they have done but still more advanced than traditional chipset or architecture-functionality-and performance.
Yes I do agree that products are churned out for the purpose of marketing (as point 3 explains), and yes there are plenty of similarly designed products using same functionality and architecture that do sound incredibly similar in DACs and CD Players, however there are also many that do not for good reasons due to engineering and architecture improvements/differences.

For those who are cynics about engineering design and where marketing that they feel drives it all fits in, try chatting to a real CTO sometime and consider those 3 simple points above when you look at a product deployment plan for a technology.

OK well some are going to be happy (again not directed or because of you Queue), because this is the very last post I am going to do in either CD or Amp section of AVSF, in fact I will not bother ever entering those sections ever again.
However if interested in more feel free to send me a PM and I will be happy to discuss any details.

Cheers
DT
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post #1156 of 1168 Old 02-09-2009, 04:22 AM
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this thread will not last long at this rate

If you continue to bicker, you will be asked to leave the thread
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post #1157 of 1168 Old 02-09-2009, 12:42 PM
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Oh darn, looks like I missed the fun part.

Anyway, this thread should have been cut short at birth. in my humble opinion. It was born of disingenuous motives of entities who aren't really interested in understanding or familiar with the long history of the multicbranched 'Great Debate'.

As I see it, the bottom line in AD 2009 is this: when you think you hear a real, nontrivial difference between CDPs in your typical sighted comparisons, chances are you're imagining it, because CDP performance is typically THAT good across the audible spectrum -- the magnitude and kinds of distortion that allow us to routinely distinguish between, say, loudspeakers, simply ain't there in most CDPs. The chance that you're imaging it is high enough, that to verify that your heard difference is real, you must do either level-matched time-synched DBTs, or some serious measurements (ideally both), and chances are you aren't going to do those. So buy CDPs for features, or looks, or price, and be content that unless you went really low-end, or exotic high-end*, you're likely getting basic audio performance good as owners of other CDPs.



*because these are where bad, nontransparent design tend to be found, for different reasons
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post #1158 of 1168 Old 02-09-2009, 04:57 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

Oh darn, looks like I missed the fun part.

Anyway, this thread should have been cut short at birth. in my humble opinion. It was born of disingenuous motives of entities who aren't really interested in understanding or familiar with the long history of the multicbranched 'Great Debate'.

As I see it, the bottom line in AD 2009 is this: when you think you hear a real, nontrivial difference between CDPs in your typical sighted comparisons, chances are you're imagining it, because CDP performance is typically THAT good across the audible spectrum -- the magnitude and kinds of distortion that allow us to routinely distinguish between, say, loudspeakers, simply ain't there in most CDPs. The chance that you're imaging it is high enough, that to verify that your heard difference is real, you must do either level-matched time-synched DBTs, or some serious measurements (ideally both), and chances are you aren't going to do those. So buy CDPs for features, or looks, or price, and be content that unless you went really low-end, or exotic high-end*, you're likely getting basic audio performance good as owners of other CDPs.



*because these are where bad, nontransparent design tend to be found, for different reasons

Good post, however I disagree with key conclusions.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #1159 of 1168 Old 02-09-2009, 05:04 PM
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and the circle of life continues....

do you have any EVIDENCE that would dispute the conclusions, beyond your own non-bias-controlled anecdotal listening experience at home? that would be a nice start.

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post #1160 of 1168 Old 02-09-2009, 08:17 PM
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Originally Posted by jj_0001 View Post

Obviously they don't all function correctly. Why do you think the situation is any different in the present day?

This is why the REAL assertion is "CD players that function correctly will not sound different under controlled conditions, with all of the caveats we know about regarding testing methodology and practice".

What are some of the CD players that do function correctly that you have encountered?
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Originally Posted by MoltenLava View Post

What are some of the CD players that do function correctly that you have encountered?

I thought the sentence was pretty easy to understand.
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unless you went really low-end, or exotic high-end*, you're likely getting basic audio performance good as owners of other CDPs.

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Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Are you suggesting that there may be phenomena that exist that are untestable?

I think there very well may be. How does one measure soundstage depth? How can resolution be tested other than by ear? How do you test for listening fatigue? Somethings are so subjective that I don't believe you can measure them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I also know they can't be proven to exist. Some may not be sensitive to them, others may.
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post #1163 of 1168 Old 02-10-2009, 12:22 PM
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Originally Posted by Easyaspie View Post

I think there very well may be. How does one measure soundstage depth? How can resolution be tested other than by ear? How do you test for listening fatigue?

I don't know the answers to your questions
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Somethings are so subjective that I don't believe you can measure them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

Belief should play no role in this discussion. I don't know either, but rather then ascribe to a belief, I'll remain neutral.
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I also know they can't be proven to exist.

Since you're so positive, can you tell me how you arrived at that conclusion?
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Some may not be sensitive to them, others may.

One could also say, some may not be sensitive to the placebo effect and others may.
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post #1164 of 1168 Old 02-10-2009, 12:41 PM
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How does one measure soundstage depth?

In a sense you can't, because "soundstage depth" doesn't exist in the external physical world. It's strictly something your brain interprets based on the sounds it hears.

Quote:
How can resolution be tested other than by ear?

Resolution is a function of dynamic range and bandwidth, both easily measured.

Quote:
How do you test for listening fatigue?

Well, first you have to define it and prove it exists (other than as an all-purpose excuse for not being able to hear things you think you ought to be able to hear).

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Somethings are so subjective that I don't believe you can measure them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I also know they can't be proven to exist.

But you can measure everything that's going on in audio reproduction, because the only thing that's going on is small, rapid changes in air pressure.

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

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post #1165 of 1168 Old 02-10-2009, 01:44 PM
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Originally Posted by Easyaspie View Post

I think there very well may be. How does one measure soundstage depth?

Soundstage is like tone. If certain other measurable parameters are OK, then it is just fine.

Soundstage is one of those things that seems to mystefy most audiophiles but is usually better-understood by people who do a lot of recording, particularly live recording.

I happen to do a lot of recording and live sound, and know how to control and modify soundstaging so as to meet a variety of goals.

For example, it is very easy to make a recording that has no central image, or has a soundstage that is too wide or too narrow. The means for correcting these situations are fairly well known and I'm reasonably good at using them.

For example, I just had a recording of a vocalist and a piano that sounded like the two musicans were on opposite sides of the room. There are certain techniques involving blending and varying the polarity of the channels that can greatly change and even correct this situation.

If the channel separation, relative phase and polarity, frequency response variations and nonlinear distortion are within certain measurable bounds, then soundstaging will be unaffected. The basic means by which one alters soundstaging in a recording is to introcuce certain channel separation losses, vary relative phase and polarity, introduce frequency response variations and/or add certain kinds of nonlinear distortion,

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How can resolution be tested other than by ear?

Resolution is a scentifically defined property, and is abundantly measurable.

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How do you test for listening fatigue?

Listening fatuque like soundstage, is not a property of just a reproduction system, but is a determined by both the recording and how it is reproduced. Even beyond that, they are ultimately and profoundly affected by the event(s) that make up the source for the recording.

There are live events that many will find give them listening fatique or have poor soundstaging or have other undesirable characteristics. This situation raises the question whether or not the listening fatique of the final reproduced sound is actually a reasonable criteria for judging the reproduction system.

If a live event causes you listening fatique when you were present at it, is it a good or a bad thing if listening to a reproduction of that event? It is likely that any reproduction system that removes fatique from a fatiquing event will remove other perhaps desirable characteristics of other musical events.

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Somethings are so subjective that I don't believe you can measure them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist.

If you can express your subjective impressions in a way that can be characterized or categorized, then those chaacterizations or categorizations can be tabulated and analyzed and in some sense measured.
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post #1166 of 1168 Old 02-10-2009, 02:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Easyaspie View Post

I think there very well may be. How does one measure soundstage depth?

Principle component analysis.
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How can resolution be tested other than by ear?

By simple, direct measurement.
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How do you test for listening fatigue?

By watching listener response to a known-possible test.
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Somethings are so subjective that I don't believe you can measure them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I also know they can't be proven to exist. Some may not be sensitive to them, others may.

Do you have any evidence for your claim that any of the paramaters you are arguing for actually exist?

As to "sensitive" the absolute sensitivity of the human ear is well-documented, the zero-loudness curve from Fletcher, or Stevens (headphones or speakers, take your pick) is well tested and established, for instance. There is a limit to "sensitive", and it's one that is very close to the level of resolution that the physics of air allows.

James D. (jj) Johnston
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post #1167 of 1168 Old 02-10-2009, 03:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Easyaspie View Post

I think there very well may be. How does one measure soundstage depth? How can resolution be tested other than by ear? How do you test for listening fatigue? Somethings are so subjective that I don't believe you can measure them, but that doesn't mean they don't exist. I also know they can't be proven to exist. Some may not be sensitive to them, others may.

So, your fallacy of personal incredulity, is based on your ignorance of what *has* been tested, and how it might relate to whether CDPs are likely to sound different or not. That's not surprising. People like you tend to write as if hearing research and listener and bench testing and experimental design are a vast untrod plain. Meanwhile, there's are decades-old, data-rich trains of audiology, psychoacoustics, product testing, and experimental psychology and statistics relevant to these questions, that keep chugging along the roads you apparently have never seen. (The question about resolution was the best giveaway, btw. )

And then, also typically,people like you come here and basically challenge the reality-based punters to bring you up to speed on every strand of data that has bearing on questions of audible difference, forthwith, and when we don't, or ask first that you understand the words you are using (like 'resolution') you declare that the questions are still really *quite unsettled* because apparently 'we can't measure everything'. Easy as pie!

To me, it's very, very reminiscent of the way 'intelligent design' creationists try to 'question' evolution from a stance of willful ignorance (and I use that word literally -- ignore-ance) of what IS known.
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post #1168 of 1168 Old 02-10-2009, 03:22 PM
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