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post #91 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 05:09 AM
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cowclops,
I agree with some of the things you say, e.g. hearing being affected by the brain, abx testing, etc. However, challenging people to scientifically prove why they think one piece of gear sounds better/different than another is ridiculous. It's like trying to prove why "nails across a blackboard" bothers some people and not others.

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post #92 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 07:30 AM
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Cowclops, what you are saying is not a revelation. Every year I see college kids with a couple of semesters of physics claiming "digital is digital", "home depot lamp cords", "science, not distortion" and those usual mantra. Guess what? They eventually learn to listen to their ear. Science is a powerful tool, but don't let science be the only tool. I know, because I used to be just like you when I was in school.
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post #93 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 07:41 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PooperScooper
cowclops,
I agree with some of the things you say, e.g. hearing being affected by the brain, abx testing, etc. However, challenging people to scientifically prove why they think one piece of gear sounds better/different than another is ridiculous. It's like trying to prove why "nails across a blackboard" bothers some people and not others. larry
I agree completely. It is totally ridiculous. One can't prove I don't hear something and one can't prove that I did. And I have heard differences, granted sometimes they are very subtle, but nonetheless, is the only explanation the psychological aspects? They play a part, but one cannot possibly prove beyond any doubt it's my imagination or due to electrical engineering, circuit design and quality of components used.

It's circular logic, meaningless. And for someone to get so hung up on these things is a waste of time that could be put to use actually enjoying the media. Absolutely useless debate, unless the perpetrators just want to demonstrate they have "superior" debating skills.

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post #94 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 08:57 AM
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The argument has deteriorated into general finger pointing. I myself belong in the "scientific" camp, but unfortunately our camp, as well as the opposing one have "extremists" who tend to ignite the flames so that the smoke clouds the truth. Our "radicals" often make unfounded claims like "all DACs are equal", "there's no reason why A and B should sound different", etc., which turn me off. But when I open a hi-end magazine/forum, and read reviews and discussions about the merits of esoteric speaker cables, power cords and $5,000 CD transports, all credibility of "the other side" goes to hell. Unfortunately, it's difficult to find unbiased and competent point of view, when so much money in hi-end gear sales and ad revenues is at stake.
Forums like this one are the place where everyone can be kind of anonymous and hopefully a little bit more honest, so let's use this opportunity to try to "appease" the extremists and exchange helpful information, rather than reiterate general dogma.
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post #95 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 01:17 PM
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I understand what you're saying, but at least from ground level up to a certain price point there's gonna at least be the difference in the quality of the components, if nothing else you can agree with. After that point, well, if you hear a difference and are willing to pay the price, then more power to you. As long as you're satisfied. To each his own, for crissakes. If you don't agree, well, it's not your GD money being spent. It just sounds like some people are arguing just for the sake of arguing. It's ridiculous. Grow up, already. There are a hell of a lot more things more important we could be debating about than this. I, for one, am through wasting my time reading this thread.
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post #96 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 01:47 PM - Thread Starter
 
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But I also don't find the need for people to insult the side they don't agree with 4 pages into a thread that started with one person (me) trying to explain an often ignored phenomena, namely the fact that what you hear is influenced by both what comes out of your speakers and bounces around the room and reaches your ears, AND subtle factors like how much you paid, what mood you're in, what other people said about what you're listening to, etc etc etc.

I think the only fair way to compare is to keep in mind that what you're "hearing" may likely be influenced by factors outside of the actual audio form reaching your ear.

Sound, after all, is nothing but variations in pressure in the air. I define "sound" to be what you hear based on what reaches your ears, and nothing more. The problem is that lots of people aren't even taking the time to consider an explicit definition of it, and as such they're coming to erroneous conclusions as to whether their new equipment improved the sound or whether their anticipation of the new equipment improved the sound.

All I will concede at this point is that if there is a direct correlation between your spending and your happiness, it is your perogative. Nonetheless, people who get their kicks by dropping wads of cash on extremely expensive and extremely menial crap disappoint me.

I know the natural response would be to think of me as a socialist. I'm not advocating this, however. I still say people should be able to spend their hard earned money on what they want, I just wish they would put more thought into their purchasing decisions.
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post #97 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 07:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
The problem is that lots of people aren't even taking the time to consider an explicit definition of it, and as such they're coming to erroneous conclusions as to whether their new equipment improved the sound or whether their anticipation of the new equipment improved the sound.
First, the cost of the piece of new equipment may be, but is not necessarily, relevant. The placebo effect is not necessarily dependent on the cost of the new piece of equipment. Clearly, one can purchase a lesser cost piece of equipment and subjectively conclude he/she experienced an improvement in performance and/or the quality of the sound (and, of course, to a lesser degree the quality of the image).

Second, the placebo effect does not necessarily mean that the subjective assessment of the new piece of equipment will always be an improvement in performance. The placebo effect is not a one way street and may result in a subjective improvement or degradation of performance.

Having stated these two points, I added emphasis to your statement because, as it reads, what you wrote may be, but is not necessarily, correct.

The fact of the matter is simple. Just because someone did not perform an ABX test does not necessarily mean that person's subjective assessment of an improvement/degradation of the performance is incorrect. That subjective assessment may be 100 percent accurate. [All] it means is that the person cannot prove that subjective assessment by ABX data.
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I still say people should be able to spend their hard earned money on what they want, I just wish they would put more thought into their purchasing decisions.
What you really mean is you wish people would think the way you do in their decision making. Those who adamantly reject the validity of ABX testing in audio easily could state: "I wish Cowclops would put more thought into his/her purchasing decisions."

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post #98 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 09:04 PM - Thread Starter
 
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In the absence of any rationality or objectivity towards determining a cause and effect relationship, snake oil claims run rampant, and the nature of the beast is that people don't even know that they're getting gipped because their understanding of cause and effect is so fuzzy in the first place.

Homer: Ah, not a bear in sight. The Bear Patrol must be working.
Lisa: Thats specious reasoning, Dad.
Homer: Thank you, honey.
Lisa: By your logic, this rock keeps tigers away.
Homer: Oh? How does it work?
Lisa: It doesn't work. Its just a stupid rock.
Homer: Uh huh.
Lisa: But I don't see any tigers around here, do you?
Homer: Lisa, I want to buy your rock!

If you find this exchange funny, then consider how amusing I find all the discussion about high priced knicknacks on here. If you don't find it funny, chances are it is because people like you are the butt of the joke.

If you want to learn something, read:

http://cnx.rice.edu/content/m12072/1.9/

Otherwise, carry on in your non-logical jibberjabber.
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post #99 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 09:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
In the absence of any rationality or objectivity towards determining a cause and effect relationship, snake oil claims run rampant, and the nature of the beast is that people don't even know that they're getting gipped because their understanding of cause and effect is so fuzzy in the first place.
I wholeheartedly agree.

Quote:
consider how amusing I find all the discussion about high priced knicknacks on here. If you don't find it funny, chances are it is because people like you are the butt of the joke.

* * *

Otherwise, carry on in your non-logical jibberjabber.
While the placebo effect certainly may apply to a hypothetical high priced item, it is undeniable it also may apply to a hypothetical low priced item. You have refused to date to acknowledge this as fact and seem fixated on only high priced items. That not only is illogical, it is a sort of reverse elitism or perhaps minimalism.

How many people have said words to the effect of: "This component ("X") is just as good, if not better, than that one over there ("Y"), and Y costs [pick your multiple] times as much as X," yet the proclaimer of this assessment neither conducted an ABX test nor has any generally accepted science to back up the claim.

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post #100 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 10:09 PM - Thread Starter
 
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And I'll also say that your point is true, even if it doesn't address the point I was attempting to make (which you seem to agree with).

One thing I avoid thinking about as it is very tough for me to test is whether my speakers are "good for the money" or "good compared to anything at any price." Its not possible for me to research what the general opinion is on my speakers because I'm probably the only person on the face of the earth to have converted their large advents to a stacked and biamped system with electronics of their own design.

Awesome for the money? Heck yeah. Awesome regardless of price? It is probably impossible to come to any truly logical conclusion on that statement, as the sort of tests I'd have to do to logically conclude that statement would require me to have a massive budget and massive amounts of time devoted to testing some extremely expensive stuff. I have the conflicting assumptions that A) its more expensive because its better or B) just because its expensive doesn't mean its better. I know i'm not capable of coming to a conclusion without resorting to one of these fallacies, so I'm just going to stick with what I have as it sounds good to me and there PROBABLY isn't any affordable solution that would truly bring more joy.

At the end of the day, if you follow my reason it may cure your upgradeitis, but if you don't like what you hear you may be doomed to upgradeitis for the rest of your life. Its your money and its your loss.
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post #101 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 11:17 PM
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It does address it, squarely. Either you have not read my posts carefully or, in the alterenative, I am running into the same brick wall of which you complained in trying to convey your point about ABX testing to the subjectivists earlier on in this thread, to-wit, I'll have to choose different language so you do see it.

Speakers are, of course, a completely different matter from CD players and transports and not properly the subject of this thread. Step into the 20K+ forum and you will find some very heated discussions about objectivism vs. subjectivism in speaker quality and design.

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post #102 of 145 Old 02-07-2006, 11:26 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My point which I thought you agreed with is that in the absence of any understanding of cause and effect, people get shafted and don't even know it. I don't have a problem with people who are "shafted" into spending less money, as that is not the purpose of business.

Its not whether spending money has an improvement or not, its the fact that sometimes stuff that sounds worse has no reason to and stuff that sounds better has no reason to. Without a reason to sound better, it can not be said that it in fact sounds better. Without a reason to sound worse, it can not be said that it in fact sounds worse.
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post #103 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 08:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
Without a reason to sound better, it can not be said that it in fact sounds better. Without a reason to sound worse, it can not be said that it in fact sounds worse.
Agreed. The only problem is that not all reasons may be accounted for, and people could be arguing for the wrong reason. :)
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post #104 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 09:39 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
My point which I thought you agreed with is that in the absence of any understanding of cause and effect, people get shafted and don't even know it.
I would paraphrase it by adding one indispensible word:

"In the absence of any understanding of cause and effect, people SOMETIMES get shafted..."

Undobutedly, the lack of scientific knowledge makes one more susceptible to snake oil. However, just because one may not have the knowledge to resort to cause and effect, scientific analysis to explain why he/she is experiencing a subjective improvement (or degradation), does not necessarily mean there is no such scientific explanation.

It should go without stating that people go about their decision making in many ways, and it is presumptuous and condescending to believe that your or my way is the only correct or best way to go about it. An ounce of humility goes a long way.

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post #105 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Party
What you really mean is you wish people would think the way you do in their decision making.
sums the whole thread up, right there :rolleyes:

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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post #106 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 09:52 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
My point which I thought you agreed with is that in the absence of any understanding of cause and effect, people get shafted and don't even know it.
Cowclops, this has been your tact throughout this thread. Why do you think you are any more enlightened than anyone else? There is nothing profound in ANYTHING you've said. Ron Party is correct, "an ounce of humility goes a long way". Your 15 minutes is up.

"All men are frauds. The only difference between them is that some admit it. I myself deny it."
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post #107 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 01:59 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I wish more people would think like me when purchasing botique equipment because it would allow them to concentrate their money on more likely improvements. In the long term, the amount you save by refraining from spending on potentially (yes, I was wrong to leave this word out earlier) inaudible changes to your system, you might be able to build a dedicated audio room with dimensions that are prime numbers and with a trapezoidal shape and all sorts of room treatement. A dollar you spend on a likely-to-be-snake-oil product is one less dollar you can spend on something everybody agrees makes a difference. Just as you can stubbornly spend your money on something that may be a waste, I can stubbornly try to explain over and over and over and over why that may be self detrimental in the long run.

The bottom line is most humans are not thinkers, they are feelers. The reason why you get annoyed that a thinker like me sees stuff as right and wrong is because an argument rarely exists between two true thinking personalities, as logic isn't a matter of perspective. Feelers have arguments all the time because their manner of feeling IS a point of view kind of thing, and thus they may not know what it feels like to understand that "right" and "wrong" aren't ALWAYS relative concepts.

This is why these sort of threads go on forever.
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post #108 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 02:37 PM
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As long as you're going to keep separating "thinkers" and "feelers" like one can't have any aspects of the other in their personality or way of seeing and approaching things, yeah, you probably won't get anywhere. How about just using some good old common sense? Or won't your ego('s) allow you to do that?
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post #109 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 02:46 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
I wish more people would think like me
SIVADSELIM, yes, sadly, it does sum up the whole thread.

Quote:
The bottom line is most humans are not thinkers, they are feelers. The reason why you get annoyed that a thinker like me sees stuff as right and wrong is because an argument rarely exists between two true thinking personalities, as logic isn't a matter of perspective.
It's not? :eek: There are, of course, plenty of highly intelligent people who would disagree and instead believe logic, or what would more accurately be described as western logic, is an artificial construct. Others believe that the feelers take the ball and run with it where logic ends. As I write this I feel I'm going far beyond what is a proper matter for internet discourse, because I'd be taking this thread into one of the taboo subjects herein, namely, religion. As such, I'll just leave it at that.

Look, I'm not saying I don't necessarily believe in cause and effect but, honestly, you continue to tip your hand and demonstrate bias towards higher priced items. I write bias herein in part because I'm not aware of the ABX testing you personally have done to support your conclusion that the hypothetical higher priced equipment truly offers no improvement whatsoever other than placebo induced euphoria.

Hey, Rammitinski, The Flower Kings just continue to amaze me. I owe squonk one heck of a big thank you.

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post #110 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 03:31 PM
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I read the first 10/15 posts. Supposedly, one must be an engineer of some sort
to discuss ones' interests and deliver a rationale for said interests that supports
the failings of some techno-geek to understand same.
Like we say on the car boards, "on the internet everyone's an expert and everyone has a 10 second car".
I'll come back in a week or so. :)
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post #111 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 05:02 PM - Thread Starter
 
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As I said before, the subject of interest is higher priced equipment because higher priced equipment causes a greater detriment to your bank account than cheap crap.
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post #112 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 06:39 PM
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Some info on ABX testing posted by stereophile a while ago.
http://www.stereophile.com/historical/141/index.html

Cowclops do you have any examples when one would have a dedicated audio room with proper dimensions/acoustical treatment and use a 5 disc dvd changer as a transport or a lamp cord as a speaker cable?
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post #113 of 145 Old 02-08-2006, 06:50 PM
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post #114 of 145 Old 02-09-2006, 12:46 PM
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I have learned one, and only one thing from reading through this thread;
Cowclops = kookoo!


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post #115 of 145 Old 02-09-2006, 01:17 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Two words:

**** ***.
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post #116 of 145 Old 02-09-2006, 03:22 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nuance
I have learned one, and only one thing from reading through this thread;
Cowclops = kookoo!
Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops
Two words:

**** ***.
Highly intelligent debate. I may have disagreed with Cowclops to some degree. However, "kookoo" as a response just ain't gonna cut it. I can just imagine ... I, as an attorney, go into court, at which time the judge says something with which I disgree and I respond "kookoo". Is the judge going to reverse course? Or is the judge going to hold me in contempt?

Now the shoe's on the other foot. The judge calls me kookoo, to which I respond: "**** ***." Any different outcome?

The AVS Forum is, in my view, a wonderful place where we exchange ideas and information and, in the process, (hopefully) learn or take something which we can use in our own lives. Case in point, tpaxadpom's last post in this thread, with very interesting links to subjects directly addressing at least some of Cowclops concerns in this thread. However, what do we learn from the last two posts?

Alan, David, Larry, you know what to do.
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post #117 of 145 Old 02-09-2006, 04:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ron Party
Highly intelligent debate. I may have disagreed with Cowclops to some degree. However, "kookoo" as a response just ain't gonna cut it. I can just imagine ... I, as an attorney, go into court, at which time the judge says something with which I disgree and I respond "kookoo". Is the judge going to reverse course? Or is the judge going to hold me in contempt?

Now the shoe's on the other foot. The judge calls me kookoo, to which I respond: "**** ***." Any different outcome?

The AVS Forum is, in my view, a wonderful place where we exchange ideas and information and, in the process, (hopefully) learn or take something which we can use in our own lives. Case in point, tpaxadpom's last post in this thread, with very interesting links to subjects directly addressing at least some of Cowclops concerns in this thread. However, what do we learn from the last two posts?

Alan, David, Larry, you know what to do.
I am entitled to my opinion, and what I said is FAR less offensive than some of what has been said here. ;)


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post #118 of 145 Old 02-09-2006, 07:19 PM
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Stating opinions or making comments about posters, rather than posters opinions, is bad form here. Please refrain. Thanks.

larry

Opportunity is missed by most people because it is dressed in overalls and looks like work. -- Thomas Alva Edison
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post #119 of 145 Old 02-09-2006, 08:52 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Its just frustrating that I started this thread as a means of possibly starting a discussion on the causes and effects that might lead to one to decide that one device, like a cd transport sounds better than the other. Obviously, my initial premise is that its highly unlikely that there are "real" as opposed to "imagined" differences, but despite repeated calls for reasoning and logic rather than "feelings and anecdotes," I still got pages worth of responses of that sort.

While I will say that I actually typed the asterisks so you may define those asterisks however you want, the point that should be illustrated that after so much I've tried to say, it is extremely frustrating to be in the end called nothing more than kookoo.
Yes, people called Copernicus kookoo and kicked him out of the church when he made such wackjob claims as the earth revolves around the sun (duh! everybody KNOWS the earth is the center of the universe!)

If you are not prepared to present a reasonable argument that considers the points I've made and either adds to them or directly refutes them, you have no reason to respond to what I've said. Start your own "Cowclops is stupid" thread and talk behind my back if you want, but calling me names to my face is just going to get replies that aren't thought out or polite.

Science is the manner of coming up with predictions based on known facts. Knowing that you heard a difference without knowing why or that you even heard it rather than imagined it will not get you anywhere. You may happen to come to the correct conclusions with an irrational thought process, but then even a broken clock is right twice a day. A working clock is right most of the time. My point is that if you totally abandon logic and reasoning and science altogether, the world will devolve to the state it was in in the dark ages. I don't think that is anyone's goal here, but taken to extreme it would become not another witch hunt, but a "scientist hunt" or a logical person hunt or whatever.
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post #120 of 145 Old 02-09-2006, 10:40 PM
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Cowclops,

I'm joining this ahem discussion a bit late and not to stir the pot but rather to suggest a different perspective on the matter of buying seemingly overpriced AV gear...

I'll preface my statements by saying that I am a medical scientist in real life :) and spend a good chunk of the day thinking about medicine or science (controls, experiments, etc.)... Do I expend the same level of energy when evaluating what AV gear to buy - no, because it isn't possible nor worth my time as I have precious few hours to enjoy my system (and less when I post on AVS!). Unlike basic science, the testing methods used in ABX validation are far more primative as we have no real way of determining if the results are valid:

1. We are handicapped from the start as we cannot see the raw data, and the sensor (ear-brain) while a powerful computer, can be easily tricked.

2. Listener variance - I hate the idea of golden ears as audio nuts invariably claim to have "better" ears but what if there is variance in the population? Some have damaged their hearing from their stereo system (many) in addition to the years of wear and tear on the cochlea. Ironically many of these same people are also the ones with the $$$ needed to purchase the more expensive gear. These people MAY not be the best choice as test subjects for ABX testing.

3. Listener training - many people who have done ABX testing I have spoken with suggest there is a training period required to "pass" and ABX test. If true, this suggests that ABX testing may not be as simple as testing the brain-ear response as you might have to train the listener to know what to listen for. This would suggest that differences, if they exist, are not huge. This is a given, otherwise we all would have purchased a boombox and saved a lot of money :)

4. Too many uncontrolled variables and often times poor controls. I have gotten into huge arguments on this forum over these points as I think they are ignored by otherwise very intelligent people here. Are the room acoustics controlled for? Are there positive controls to ensure that people can hear the difference between different sounds? Are some rooms better able to tease out differences due to room acoustics?

5. Data analysis - What defines a positive result? 10/10? 9/10, 8/10... Statistics give us probabilities for rejecting the Null hypothesis at each of these intervals. If ABX testing, on average, gives results that are significantly different than 5/10 over a large sample size I would suggest there is a chance the data are not random. Even 7/10 over a large sample size would be compelling. Even 3/10!!! I just think the ABX testee likes the wrong amp! :) Too often the ABX champions on other forums have offered $$$ for anyone who could pass the "test" but passing meant a near perfect (9/10) score under, IMO, contrived conditions. This suggests to me that the car amp guy does not understand statistics or he really does and knows how to minimize the chances of losing money :). Another point I have not seen dealt with - proving that the test itself is not the cause of the result... In other words the conditions of the test cause the person to default to a "I can't hear a difference" perception... Again we are not observing raw data and so we do not know why a person comes to the conclusion that 2 CD players sound different or identical as the ear-brain is not a simple sensor. I'm unaware of any sighted tests that have effectively misled the testees into thinking two amps are somehow not what they seem... i.e. switching the cases or hiding the amp faceplates. Maybe this has been done as I do not scour newsgroups looking for all of the old ABX tests but the ones I have seen have not done this to my knowledge. This sighted test would be a better way, IMO of determining if it is the amp brand or circuitry that influences the perception of sonic difference.

In the end, I'm a beliver that there is an ideal circuit and that each design choice made (cost savings for example) impacts hwo close the actual product is to the ideal design. There is not perfect piece of gear, but better design choices in CD players can reduce noise floor and bring out details absent due to poor S:N for example. Do I think things like stones, demagnetizers, and 1000.00 cables play any role in sound - no but others do... Do I think this falls into the realm of placebo? Probably, but without a good test we cannot be certain. I'm not running out to buy "quantum" purifiers made by ByBee :) but there is a remote chance they work?

My concern is that the few ABX tests I have seen are not well setup and could be masking results due to poor controls. Often they get the stats right but do not show positive controls, a calibration of the test of any sort, etc. It seems to me that some accept the crappy test results as the only seemingly scientific results and so they side with the conclusion that we are all fooling ourselves. I'm still waiting for better controlled tests before drawing any conclusions. Given more time, I would endeavor to setup my own ABX testing but time demands from work, home and my other hobbies prevent this. Of note, however, is that all of the pro-ABX testers I have seen on AVS have not done their own ABX testing and so we continue to debate the results of others. :)

Just like politics, the extremist on both sides are the cause for the nasty debates - both jump to conclusions without real data. the objectivist who assumes the placebo effect as de facto is as dumb as the subjectivist who assumes that a clean CD must be demagnetized to sound good. IMO of course :)

Bob
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