Originally Posted by smitty
Originally Posted by Jack D Ripper
Do you think it would be useful to have a thread reserved for the people who claim that a stick halfway in water really is bent? If not, why do you think it is better for there to be the equivalent for audio illusions but not visual ones?
That is an extremely poor analogy. It is so poor, it does not merit a response.
That is very funny, given that your reply is a response. A very poor and meritless response, but a response nonetheless.
However, the analogy is perfect. People "see" the stick bent halfway in the water when it is really straight, and people "hear" that one device sounds better than another when they are not properly level matched. And also when they do not listen blind.
It is a well-known fact that people can hear differences in volume, unless they are very, very tiny (e.g., <0.1dB). It is also a well-known fact that differences in volume are perceived by humans as being different in tonal character and not simply different in volume (search online for "Fletcher Munson" for more, but here is a simple start
The importance of this comes up when one considers listening to various different things, like two different CD players. The level of the output of CD players is not precisely standardized, and so the output of one player may be slightly higher than another player. This means that when one listens and compares the two players, it is highly likely that they will be slightly different in volume when used with any given system at any given volume setting. Since a difference in volume involves a difference in tonal perception, this means that one may well prefer the sound of one CD player over another, even if the ONLY difference between them is a difference in volume. And, obviously, one can hear more detail in one that is slightly louder, because sounds that are just barely too soft to be audible in the softer one will be audible in the louder one. And so if one fails to properly match the volume of two CD players, one may well hear tonal differences and differences in detail, even if the ONLY difference is a difference in volume. To avoid the error of imagining that the one player actually has a different tonal character and actually gives more detail, one must precisely level match them so that one will be hearing them both at precisely the same volume.
To deny these well-known facts is very much like denying the well-known fact that straight sticks, when stuck halfway in water, look bent. That has to do with the way people see, and so one must take care to do a proper test before judging that the stick is actually bent (which, of course, one may have a stick that is bent at precisely the water line, but a proper test will reveal if that is the case or not). Likewise with hearing: One must take proper precautions to make a proper test about what one hears, just as one must make a proper test about what one sees, if one wishes to avoid making an erroneous judgement.
Denying that the analogy is a good one does nothing to further your argument. "Is not" is a schoolyard sort of "argument," unworthy of any serious consideration. The simple fact is, without proper testing, one does not know if two things sound alike or not when level matched and properly tested.