James Randi’s attack on high performance audio - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 11:52 AM - Thread Starter
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There are two ways to look at the conversation that's going on here. I see a divide between people who trust their ears, and make an effort to find things out for themselves, and those who are willing to sit and tell those other people that they are wasting their time, because they just know there are no differences to be found.

Mike Lavigne reports on the experiments he actually did, where he heard differences in some instance and not in others, and carried out further experiments. He is demonstrably acting in a scientific way. Scientific exploration involves hypotheses and experiments, both.
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post #182 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 11:57 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evelyn Sinclair View Post

There are two ways to look at the conversation that’s going on here. I see a divide between people who trust their ears, and make an effort to find things out for themselves, and those who are willing to sit and tell those other people that they are wasting their time, because they just know there are no differences to be found.

Mike Lavigne reports on the experiments he actually did, where he heard differences in some instance and not in others, and carried out further experiments. He is demonstrably acting in a scientific way. Scientific exploration involves hypotheses and experiments, both.

Sorry to disappoint Evelyn but many skeptics including myself have conducted countless tests along these lines. My career started in high-end audio and I saw the wizard behind the curtain. I used to work in a store full of golden ears who could hear the difference between every cable in the store. The MOMENT the test was blind they couldn't tell the difference between a $200 CD player and a $20,000 CD player.

The great news is you can now show how close minded we all are and collect 1 million dollars .
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post #183 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 11:59 AM - Thread Starter
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QQQ – could you please describe the experiment(s)?
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post #184 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:00 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

I'm not entirely sure why you think my claims are overstated, but I certainly never meant to claim we understand everything about human hearing. What I'm saying is that if we can hear it we can measure it. Frankly it's a tautological statement, because listening tests are a form of measurement. And like any measurement, their informational quality depends on how the measurements are taken and how well external factors are eliminated.

Well, I do see your point in terms of listening tests, however I was more referring to what we can measure with instruments, and not judge by controlled listening tests which still have a great deal of difficulty in terms of listener training and the like. I guess I simply am not educated about specifically what our measurement capabilities are with instruments, and how they match or differ from what we understand about our hearing capability.

I am under the assumption that we can indeed measure a great deal or all of what we can hear using instruments, but that's from a position of some ignorance on my part. I guess what I'm saying is that I am not informed about what exactly the limits of our hearing are compared with the limits of our instruments.
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post #185 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Evelyn Sinclair View Post

He is demonstrably acting in a scientific way. Scientific exploration involves hypotheses and experiments, both.

Double blind. The only way. Regardless of him hearing some differences and not others, does not constitute scientific proof. This wouldn't pass the least stringent test for 'proof'...not in the scientific community.
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post #186 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:08 PM
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There are two ways to look at the conversation that’s going on here. I see a divide between people who trust their ears, and make an effort to find things out for themselves, and those who are willing to sit and tell those other people that they are wasting their time, because they just know there are no differences to be found.

If we're going to be that cynical then let's make sure to point out that most of the people who you claim are "trusting their ears" are completely ignoring a boatload of science that shows that trust has not been earned: that is, that their brain regularly deceives us about what we actually hear.

At the very least you have to concede that's what's going on here.

I trust my ears as far as they deserve to be trusted. And I trust them when they tell me that some of the folks on this forum who spend way too much money on cables () still put together incredible systems. After all, they still had enough money left over to spend it where it counts.

Michael
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post #187 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:12 PM
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It would be so cool if this forum would delve into some new research topics being explored in a branch of audio science. Instead it is the same old arguments over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again....

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post #188 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:14 PM
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You just figured that out?

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post #189 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Evelyn Sinclair View Post

QQQ – could you please describe the experiment(s)?

Briefly. We used to do tons of comparisons. Cable comparisons. Component comparisons. Tweaks. Etc. You name it, I saw it.

Without exception people would compare products and sit and talk about what they heard. This cable has tighter bass, is more revealing, blah blah blah.

Then I would have them do a few blind tests. The moment it was blind, they couldn't tell the difference. And if you didn't make a switch, but they thought you had, they would still hear a difference.

Anyone who wants to know the truth and has an open mind can't help but come to the conclusion I did. There's only so many tests you can run before you see what is going on. I tested myself as well. Always the same result. Any difference I thought I heard could never be substantiated when I didn't know what was playing.
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post #190 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:21 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

The folks at Steorn were technical types, too. Bold claims do tend to suck people in who should know better.


It's not bold claims. They are very basic claims which are self evident to a certain extent, once the concept clarifies and takes shape in your mind.

I'm not sure the Steorn saga is over yet.

A note to the rest of the folks on this forum, aimed specifically at the small minded idiots. (not you Michael-you gots big brain)

As for people giving me crap on this forum, this is the way it has worked, time and again:

-I allude to something.

-A bunch of doorknobs give me crap.

-I reveal what I have discovered and/or found.

-A few people pipe up and say 'wow!'.

-Silence is the answer from the usual pile of detractors.

-Some company or person tries to make a go of the thing I have revealed, uses it s a business model, it enters the lexicon of known things or ideas.

-Some time passes and the usual cadre of idiots start 'calling me out' on the next thing I allude to.

-Repeat this scenario, on this forum, about 6-8 times over the past 7 years.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The first one, was the modification of CRT projectors, and the whole reasoning behind it.

The second one, was the upscaling of DVD's to 1080P. The whys and resoning pathways, the whole shebang was spelled out in totality. This is now on just about every single progressive scan DVD player that money can buy. Remember who started it, and why.

The third one was grey screens, and the reasons why...

The fourth one..was high-gain Grey screens and the why, etc. That one became the Stewart Firehawk, in pretty damn short order. About 6 months.

There are more than a few others. I'm tired of feeding ideas to the people who pay attention and being slammed by idiots at the same time.

So don't talk to me about your detractive small minded ********.

Ken Hotte

"Never forget that only dead fish swim with the stream." -- Malcolm Muggeridge.
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post #191 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:26 PM
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I'm sure the saga isn't over, because some people are still holding out hope. I will give you credit for one thing: at least by keeping your claims under wraps you aren't saying anything that is easy to refute. Not so with Steorn. They have made specific claims about how their product works that are utter hogwash.

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post #192 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Evelyn Sinclair View Post

What different objectives means:

To belabor an analogy, there are different vehicles on the road because they are used for different things. Trucks do not follow different laws of physics from sports cars, but the vehicles are designed with different objectives in mind.

For those who truly don't know this, the objectives in a PA system, or the big systems you find at rock concerts have a lot to do with sound pressure level (SPL). They have to play very loud. There are other things they need to do, but this is what you find at the top of the list of priorities. That and that the equipment be very sturdy.

Audiophiles may want the ability to turn up the volume on their home systems, but the top of their list of priorities for speakers is generally not Rugged, durable and high-efficiency!

Since people do have to make tradeoffs in real life, audiophiles may decide that they would rather seek out the more subtle, nuanced sound of an inefficient, relatively delicate set of speakers.

And so on from there - they get speakers that are very revealing, so they decide they want the amplifier that they can hear - through their new, more revealing speakers - sounds better than the one that they had before (and which would have sounded about the same through a set of less revealing speakers).

This is the road to Audiophile Perdition.


Are you having a hard time reading my question? How does the physics of the system change the type of cable needed? Stop twisting it to speakers. Again I have a very nice pro tools setup. It runs into some nice Meyer HD1s setup in 5.1 We do not need or use any sort of magic cable.
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post #193 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:47 PM
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Originally Posted by speco2003 View Post

This thread has provided much humor for a entire audio crew here at one of the largest shows on the strip in Las Vegas.


These cable debates always make us laugh. We really think it is a hoot when we see bumpkins falling for all the hype and spending tons of cash on this crap.

Do you also stand at the gates at the airport and warn the bumpkins who come in to gamble that they are going to lose? What a hoot.

Too bad there's not a way to restrict access to this forum to those who actually have 20k gear. Do a lot of malt liquor drinkers yap wildly on wine forums?
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post #194 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:51 PM
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Well, I could afford more high-end gear than I have, except that I just got my recent international roaming charges for my iPhone Ouch!

I would remind you however that this thread is far from an instance of an objectivist "hijacking." James Randi's challenge was the very topic.

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post #195 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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At Absolute Audio, we had to spend a lot of time testing equipment, as we needed to know what sonic characteristics the equipment had. This gets rather burdensome as there was a steady stream of components brought in to the store for us to consider taking on. We didn't just need to know what sounded particularly good within its price range, we also needed to get to know the behavior of equipment in combination with other components. Some combinations were particularly good. We learned to avoid others.

Our experiments were quite repeatable. Things I heard, other people heard, without me telling them what they were going to hear.

This all meant that, aside from all the demonstrations we did for potential customers, we were carrying out tests strictly for ourselves on an ongoing basis. We conducted these test in such as way as to prevent, if at all possible, the person who was being the ears for the experiment, from knowing which component was in circuit at any given time. We closed our eyes while switches were flipped to randomize what we might expect to come next. Volume matching was done very meticulously. We got very good at doing these things. And why would we cheat ourselves? We weren't manufacturing a product, we were figuring out which ones would sound better in a fair competition, so we could make sure we had the right stuff!

So when customers came in who had been to the local chain store (Fedarated) we knew what we had, we knew what they had, and we knew that if someone wanted $2000 worth of stereophonic bliss, we could give it to them in a much more satisfying way than anyone else in the area, because we had sequestered all the best equipment for ourselves. (We could do things like have a line exclusively for a large area, in exchange for our support.)

We used to loan out the no-name $200 tuner we had found, and the extraordinarily plain looking Quad preamp, for people to take with them into other stores, to compare against the components those stores would not loan out. We made converts that way, not only of the people who borrowed the components, but of the salespeople at Federated. (We had a system that sold for about $2000 that we called the Federated system, because that's the one they tended to settle on.)

So first we picked out the right equipment, and then we let it win in a fair fight.

We also let people borrow equipment to try at home. They might want to decide between two preamps, or to decide whether to replace their power amp or not. We certainly offered input and advice, but we didn't go home with them and coach.

The bottom line is that the training to do good tests was pivotal to the success of our store. We were generally ranked in the top 10 of US hi fi retailers. This meant we were desirable to manufacturers, who wanted the prestige of having us represent their equipment, so there was a very nice feedback loop there.

We also helped equipment designers by listening to equipment that was in progress. We did listening evaluations to guide the designers to optimize their products before they went into production. Some Saturday afternoons ours soundroom floor was cluttered with a local speaker enthusiast re-doing the stuffing on his speaker-to-be for the nth time.

Telling me I can't hear is like telling a professional wine taster that they're just imagining things. It's been quite a vivid career I've imagined I had.
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post #196 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:56 PM
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Originally Posted by grellberg View Post

Do you also stand at the gates at the airport and warn the bumpkins who come in to gamble that they are going to lose? What a hoot.

Too bad there's not a way to restrict access to this forum to those who actually have 20k gear. Do a lot of malt liquor drinkers yap wildly on wine forums?

I do own more than 20K in gear. Thanks for asking. Too bad there is not a way to restrict access to those who have something to add.
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post #197 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 12:58 PM
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Telling me I can’t hear is like telling a professional wine taster that they’re just imagining things.

Thank goodness nobody has done that, then. You do seem to have a fertile imagination, however: one for wildly overstating your opponent's argument. You've done it since the very first post on this thread.

Besides, you did make a point of saying that at least some of the listening tests you've done were blind. Why would you bother doing that if you trust your hearing as explicitly as you're claiming? Do you or do you not concede the basic science that demonstrates how suggestion can affect our hearing perception?

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post #198 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 01:00 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

You just figured that out?

If you are referring to me.... Sadly, yes.

I didn't start posting here until I actually bought a component over $20K, and that wasn't until around 10 months ago when I got my Meridian 861. So I didn't get to see things recycle that much until recently. I knew that the other areas are repetitive, but I assumed it was because there are always so many new people posting there, while here there aren't as many newcomers showing up on the scene here. I guess that difference in population just slows the cycling down, but does not completely eliminate it.

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post #199 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:03 PM
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Originally Posted by speco2003 View Post

This thread has provided much humor for a entire audio crew here at one of the largest shows on the strip in Las Vegas.


These cable debates always make us laugh. We really think it is a hoot when we see bumpkins falling for all the hype and spending tons of cash on this crap.

Are you claiming that calling anyone with expensive cables
bumpkins and that they bought crap is your way of adding?

First, the forum is for 20k gear, not systems.

If you qualify, good for you. I tend to value the opinion of someone who has good gear more than someone ranting about it without the benefit or experience of owning it.

If Mike L wants to offer an opinion, I'm in. If you tell me that when you tried cables on your own high end system capable of resolving differences yet you heard no difference, i'm interested and we can discuss.

You live in Vegas, you are likely to be a great resource for show or restaurant recommendations. But if you told me you have never had a steak, that steak eaters are nasty flesh eaters, then I'm not asking for your opinion on that topic anymore.

I've voiced this opinion before and have yet to hear a reasoned response. Do you naysayers also cruise Ferrari forums and tell them they should just buy a Prius?
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post #200 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:06 PM
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Originally Posted by grellberg View Post

Do you naysayers also cruise Ferrari forums and tell them they should just buy a Prius?

No, but that sounds like it would make for a night of good entertainment!

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post #201 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:11 PM
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At least the Ferrari owner can settle the argument at the nearest dynamometer!

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post #202 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

At least the Ferrari owner can settle thr argument at the nearest dynamometer!

Or the Prius owner at the local gas station!

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post #203 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:15 PM
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Then they race to the nearest pub and laugh about it over a beer. Of course the Prius will need a two-beer head start, unless it is being driven by Steve Wozniak.

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post #204 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:16 PM
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Or the Prius owner at the local gas station!

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Originally Posted by KBK View Post

The second one, was the upscaling of DVD's to 1080P. The whys and resoning pathways, the whole shebang was spelled out in totality. This is now on just about every single progressive scan DVD player that money can buy. Remember who started it, and why.

But sometimes you make some pretty outlandish claims, including this one. You started this, all by yourself? Really? I think it's been covered and understood in basic sampling/reconstruction theory for a long time. It's in the textbooks, that's for sure. I'm not sure where you can take credit for "discovering" something that is pretty much basic theory 101. The fact that loads of computer engineers don't understand what a pixel(point-sample) is doesn't mean that it was some grand discovery that upscaling an image, surprise surprise, yields some very significant improvements in the image.
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post #206 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by grellberg View Post

I've voiced this opinion before and have yet to hear a reasoned response. Do you naysayers also cruise Ferrari forums and tell them they should just buy a Prius?

Speaking for myself, no, nor do I cruise high-end watch forums and tell people to buy a Timex. But if someone starts to tell me that the Patek Phillipe watch is more accurate and captures the true essence of time in a way that a Timex cannot, and that science is inadequate to measure it, I'll laugh at them and tell they have been watching to much Dr. Who and that they are full of horse sh*t.

Personally I do not belong to the "laugh at people wasting money" crowd. How people spend money is up to them and if it makes them feel good to spend 20K on a pair of speaker cables good for them. It's the CLAIMS regarding said 20K speaker cable I take issue with.
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post #207 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:36 PM
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Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

At least the Ferrari owner can settle the argument at the nearest dynamometer!

And there are tools that measure differences in cables too. I don't think that's the point Michael. Both a Ferrari and a Prius will get you where you're going. And Both a pair of Monster cables and Transparent Audio cables will get sound from your amp to your speakers. So it all really comes down to one's own personal means, tastes, and desires. But what I simply don't understand is the Prius owners being so self-rightous about the Ferrari owners.

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post #208 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:41 PM
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Originally Posted by Rutgar View Post

And there are tools that measure differences in cables too. I don't think that's the point Michael. Both a Ferrari and a Prius will get you where you're going. And Both a pair of Monster cables and Transparent Audio cables will get sound from your amp to your speakers. So it all really comes down to one's own personal means, tastes, and desires. But what I simply don't understand is the Prius owners being so self-rightous about the Ferrari owners.

Tastes and desire is one thing. False and misleading ads are another and there are a multitude of those in hi end audio. Telling a noob he needs to spend 500 bucks on a cable when a 20 dollar one will do the same job is wrong. And pointing these things out is right.
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post #209 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:43 PM
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And there are tools that measure differences in cables too. I don't think that's the point Michael. Both a Ferrari and a Prius will get you where you're going. And Both a pair of Monster cables and Transparent Audio cables will get sound from your amp to your speakers. So it all really comes down to one's own personal means, tastes, and desires.

NO, that has NOTHING to do with THIS discussion, yet subjectivists continually try to distort the discussion every time it comes up by stating that. It has to do with the CLAIMS made regarding the products you purchase due to your means tastes and desires.
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post #210 of 1770 Old 10-06-2007, 02:47 PM
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Exactly. And Randi's challenge is full of 'Tilts'.

Second request on this for specifics.
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