Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn
My point before. So much of what the subjectivist claim is dismissing science but accepting the differences noted etc almost on faith.
Art, I hope you are not putting me in this bucket
. I have practiced more of the science of double-blind testing than everyone in this thread or others like it. Indeed, when I ask who has participated in formal double-blind tests time and time again, no one raises their hands. When I suggest tests that people can run on their own to get a feeling for that, they do not jump on that either.
It is after practicing the science that one learns how little we still know about what is going on in audio. I wish we had all the answers. I wish we could measure "fidelity." I wish everyone in the world was a trained listener and knew what to look for when searching for artifacts like jitter. I wish there was a way to perform double-blind tests with zero delay in all cases as to not rely on poor memory of people. And I wish it was free to conduct double-blind tests and didn't take so much time to do them. Sadly, none of these wishes are true today. If there were, trust me, everyone would be thinking alike.
Yes, there are many people who are into hyperbole. Sadly this is true of both sides. People go read a THD spec for a mass market 5.1 amp selling for $400 and think that means the amp is as good as one from a company which cares about audio design and not just the dollar amount and stated wattage. And at the same time, there are subjectivists who buy into stuff that do not have science backing them.
Given the fact that both sides are guilty of some sins, it only makes sense for one to live in both world. Appreciate what each side has to say and use it for what it is worth. 30 years ago my brother who grew up with Tubes challenged me that he could build a tube amp that would sound better than my then monster stereo amp. I laughed at him. Two days later, he has a single tube amp ready for the challenge. He hooks the thing up to one speaker and we use my amp to drive the other speaker. You would not believe the shock in my face of how much more enjoyable his amp was. Of course, turn up the volume and my solid-state amp killed his. But at low volumes, I would much rather listen to his amp than mine. Of course, I did not let him know and for the next 10+ years, was a staunch measurement and objectivist guy. But over time, one goes through more experiences like this, allowing him to leave open the possibility that the other side may also be right in what sounds good to them.
Even if the obective position can show scientifically that most if not all of the subjectivist positions are just built from the "it must be believed to be seen" realm this would never be sufficient to convince them.
This goes both ways Art. Consider that subjectivists have as much or even stronger “science” on their side. I can show you with real measurements that jitter exists, what its spectrum is, and magnitude. I can show you that the equipment that an audiophile likes measures much better than one he doesn’t. I can explain why jitter degrades sound, and through real math and proof, show that its level must be below what exists in mass market gear to reproduce 16-bits at full response. I can also show how jitter gets into the DAC clock. And what is the reaction of the objectivist? Well, none of that matters because jitter is not audible. They may be right but that is not the point. The point is that there is science that guides us in subjective differences. That we can’t conduct the right experiment here when jitter can have infinite variety is more of a problem than dismissing science.
What gets me most is there are guys here who are scientists and they would have no problem applying science rigorously to other subjects but for some reason give this one a pass. Of cousew I personally will do that with my religous beliefs but that simply illustrates my point here.
And that gets us to the best position to be: not having an extreme position on either side or by definition, you are practicing religion. Let the data from the other side to sink in. Then conduct your own experiments. Take what you know to be true, then subject yourself to double-blind tests and see if the results are satisfying. If they are, then you are good to go. But standing on one side of the fence and wondering why the other side is so dogmatic, is not going to be satisfying, as long as you choose to participate in threads like this