Are audio companies all involved in a huge conspiracy? - Page 16 - AVS Forum
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Old 09-30-2012, 01:47 AM
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Originally Posted by kraut View Post

What are you trying to say? Because human aural perception is non flat that justifies non flat speaker response?
This logical fallacy that because human perception follows fletcher munson justifies speakers that have atrocious FR but are costing as much as a small dwelling I encounter often by those who consider themselves audiophiles.
Non flat speaker response to me simply means that the source material is altered more than need be and is avoidable by modern speaker design, including digital correction.
You must have missed the earlier part of the discussion, because your rant makes no sense.

Sean Olive had done blind listening tests at Harman, comparing different loudspeakers and more recently comparing room correction systems. In the speaker tests, the most preferred speakers were the ones with the flattest and smoothest frequency response when measure in an anechoic chamber. When measured in-room, these same speakers had a downward tilt from low to high frequencies. If you took this tilt away and equalized the response so that it measured flat at the listening position, the preference rating of those speakers went down.

When doing the room correction comparison, Olive used a similarly downward tilted response as the target curve for Harman's room correction system, which helped it score above 3 other room correction systems when testing for preference. When listeners were asked to graph the response by ear (using test tones at different frequency bands), the Harman curve was drawn as being flat. That's what the listeners heard, even though it didn't measure flat. The room correction system that used a flat target curve was heard as having too little bass and tilted upward in the treble range. It scored at the bottom, even though it measured flat.

Similar preference testing was done by Jan Pedersen at Lyngdorf, in order to find a default target curve for their RoomPerfect equalization system, based on what listeners reported as sounding "natural". They too found that removing the downward tilt (that naturally occurs when loudspeakers are placed in a room) led to listeners not liking the results. So their default target curve keeps the tilt, removing only peaks and dips that listeners find objectionable, resulting in a smooth (not flat) response.

So flat isn't flat. Why would listeners prefer a downward tilted response AND think that they're hearing a flat response? The answer can be seen in equal loudness curves, which show that our human hearing is less sensitive in the lower frequencies. That's why I mentioned it, not because I was trying to justify "speakers that have atrocious FR but are costing as much as a small dwelling". I don't even know what in this thread gave you that impression.

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Old 09-30-2012, 03:34 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani 
So flat isn't flat. Why would listeners prefer a downward tilted response AND think that they're hearing a flat response? The answer can be seen in equal loudness curves, which show that our human hearing is less sensitive in the lower frequencies.
This explanation only works if recording engineers and end users listen at differing volume levels, or if engineera have been using this downward tilted response in their envuronments for years, or if the engineers have adapted or acclimated to a flat in room response somehow. Otherwise, it would stand to reason that if we prefer the tilted response so would they, and since they control the volume knobs as much bass would be added or treble attenuated on their presumably pretty flat in room system as required to sound good. Played back on a pretty flat in room system should sound equally good at similar volume level. Any more tilt is just adding on top of what was mixed in.

I'm willing to accept any of those possibilities as being responsible, or any others you might come up with, as i accept the validity of the preference testing referenced. I just don't know which is more likely.

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Old 09-30-2012, 10:45 AM
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I recall a graph, Sanjay, that illustrated various tilts done by different researchers (onsets and slopes varied somewhat) and user preferences that support what you're saying. Can't seem to put my hands on it right now unfortunately. I think the preference was speculated to be due to the natural tendency of increased frequencies to be attenuated more strongly due to things like RH and temperature as a function of distance.

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Old 09-30-2012, 11:06 AM
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Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

What do makers of the $1000 power cable claim it does

They claim their power wires improve audio quality with increased clarity and imaging, then go on to say the improvement can't be measured so you have to just trust them. Most offer a money-back guarantee, hoping you'll try them and believe you heard the improvement via placebo effect and expectation. Sadly, that strategy works more often than it should.

BTW, this is exactly the same strategy used by many health "supplement" vendors. I hear ads all the time for pills that "support" heart health and bolster the immune system, and they offer a 30-day money back guarantee. But short of waiting 40 years, how would anyone know if their heart really is more resistant to damage? Same for the ads for LifeLock who offers a free trial. If nobody happens to steal your identity during the trial period, how could you know it was due to their efforts? Sorry for the OT!

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Old 09-30-2012, 11:19 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

Similar preference testing was done by Jan Pedersen at Lyngdorf, in order to find a default target curve for their RoomPerfect equalization system, based on what listeners reported as sounding "natural". They too found that removing the downward tilt (that naturally occurs when loudspeakers are placed in a room) led to listeners not liking the results. So their default target curve keeps the tilt, removing only peaks and dips that listeners find objectionable, resulting in a smooth (not flat) response. So flat isn't flat. Why would listeners prefer a downward tilted response AND think that they're hearing a flat response? The answer can be seen in equal loudness curves, which show that our human hearing is less sensitive in the lower frequencies. That's why I mentioned it, not because I was trying to justify "speakers that have atrocious FR but are costing as much as a small dwelling". I don't even know what in this thread gave you that impression.
Sanjay, first thanks for that superb summary you post to Ethan on the subject of first reflections. What took me weeks to post in another thread, you said in just a few minutes smile.gif. Hopefully the conclusions there coming from someone other than me will have more traction smile.gif.

On this point though, while your conclusion is right, the explanation is not what I have read in research. It actually kind of ties in to the point regarding reflections and that as humans, we spend almost all of our time indoors and therefore we have learned to like what the room does to our sound (for the most part). Here is the appropriate quote from the Pedersen & Thomsen you mention above:

"Reproduction of sound in a room always results in an increased sound pressure level towards lower frequencies. This is partly a consequence of the lower absorption found in typical rooms at low frequencies. However this is natural to the human ear as this provides the sense of being in a room. Consequently a room correction system cannot be allowed to remove this smooth increase in level at low frequencies, also referred to as the room gain."

Similar language (and reference to above) exists in Sean Olive's paper. The obvious question it begs and it already has, is what curve did the recording engineer used? Answer is nobody knows! Audio architecturally is so broken that we have such massive gaping holes like this. Chances are however that the recording engineer probably likes the same boost in bass frequencies as we do. Here is Sean Olive:

"A more pragmatic approach in defining the in-room target function would be to use the same target function in the home as used in the monitoring and mixing of the recordings in the control room. This ensures consumers will hear the recordings as the artist intended. Unfortunately, there are no current recording industry standards that provide quality controls in the rooms and monitors used to make recordings. Surveys of professional control room monitoring chains indicate no evidence of quality control below 200 Hz in the sounds heard by recording engineer [5]. Given that most recordings are optimized over monitors where the room gain is left intact, the recordings will sound most natural when played back through room corrections that leave the room gain alone."

Imagine if I recorded your voice and then played it as if you were standing outside. It simply would not sound the same or "natural" to you when you hear it almost always indoors. Ditto for why people like their voice when signing in a shower smile.gif. This is yet another example of how "distortion" is a useful and likely required part of correct sound reproduction. I still remember the day I powered up my first room EQ, the Tact TCS, a decade (?) back. It came with a tilted curve. I quickly went in there and selected flat. I did not like it. I then read the manual and it stated that one would not like flat response but did not say why. It was a couple of years later that I read the above reasoning and then it made sense. It is a shame that mass market consumer auto EQ systems like Audyssey do not let user select a target curve or there would be more visibility into this non-intuitive aspect of these systems.

Again, superb job at explaining the rest smile.gif.

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Old 09-30-2012, 11:27 AM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

But professional listening environments are different from recreational listening environments, just as professionals hear differently from consumers.

There's no reason these environments have to be different, and my living room system is as flat and reflection-free as a professional 5.1 mixing room. I've used that room to mix 5.1 music several times because my home studio upstairs is only stereo. If more audiophiles had a listening room like mine, they'd be less likely to pursue nonsense "upgrades" like replacement power wires.

We also have to distinguish casual listeners from serious listeners who invest money into a system they hope will be highly accurate and transparent. Audiophiles spend large sums pursuing that elusive "revealing" sound, and the best way to not obscure the music is by controlling room reflections. I mentioned earlier that listeners can learn to appreciate good sound over time, and those are the ones who will benefit most from a well-treated room. Yeah, put a bunch of grandmas in a room and ask which they prefer, and the result will be a crap shoot. Same for the smiley EQ curve I mentioned. Just because many ordinary people prefer something doesn't mean that those with more discriminating tastes also prefer it.
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According to research from Professor Yoichi Ando, industry professionals (musicians, mixing engineers, acousticians, speaker designers) can be up to seven times more sensitive to reflections than typical consumers.

This is exactly my point. Audiophiles claim to be sensitive to all sorts of audible minutiae, which to me should include early reflections.
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when non-professionals were tested, as was done in a series of experiments a couple decades ago by loudspeaker researcher Wolfgang Klippel, results show a preference for early reflections (especially lateral ones) to be left alone, not absorbed. Listeners really craved the spaciousness and broader soundstage.

This again shows their lack of hearing acuity. Unless the room is very large, early reflections make the music sound smaller, not larger. The small-room reflections drown out the larger concert hall (or large-room artificial reverb) in the recording. When a listener's "skill" improves, so does his taste.
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Mathias Johanssen of Dirac Research wrote in his room correction whitepaper: "There seems to be consensus in the field that some early reflections actually help make speech more intelligible ... And that's backed up by research from scientists in fields ranging from hearing-aid manufacturing to conference room designing.

Sure, but speech clarity is totally different from enjoying music. BTW, the reason early reflections can make speech seem clearer is due to the comb filtering nulls. You can do the same with EQ by cutting the mud frequencies around 200 Hz. When I'm having trouble understanding someone on the telephone, I pull the handset away from my head a bit to cut the low end. But I don't listen to music through headphones that way!

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Old 09-30-2012, 11:50 AM
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Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

There's a big difference between "preference" and "difference" you seem to conveniently ignore.
In this context, there is none. You said it yourself. This discussion is about a manufacturer backing their claims. Ethan is a manufacturer and is making claims that are strongly disputed by people who have incredible credentials and have not only written papers explaining the same, but have done something he won't do: run controlled listening tests. Those tests show that our intuition about what happens to sound waves in the room is routinely wrong. Yes, the devices usually make a difference but that difference can just as well be negative, not universally positive as claimed. The mistaken assumption that professionals in the business of recording and mixing music have the same hearing needs and abilities than the rest of us just adds to the cocktail of misinformation here. I have pointed these things out to Ethan in this thread and elsewhere. Sanjay did the same. Yet, like a broken record, the old talking point of “there is a difference so I am off the hook” is stated over and over again. No one looking to upgrade their sound is looking for a difference. They are looking for a positive difference. That is what needs to be demonstrated.

From your vantage point, cables don't make a difference in audio performance. You back that assumption with your understanding of the science. You rightly then ask the cable manufacturer to prove that despite such clear evidence in your mind, cables do sound different. You will take nothing but a listening test. By the same token, in my view and understanding of science and research, what Ethan is saying is just as wrong. Yet you think you are entitled to ask the cable guy to run listening tests and I am not supposed to ask Ethan to prove the same for his products? If we are not consistent in our views and proof points we ask, then this discussion becomes about something other than better understanding of audio.

Ethan spends a ton of time creating blind tests for other people's products. Why doesn't he spend a fraction of that time for his own? The reason? Folks just want to believe the version of audio acoustics he put forward. It "just makes sense to them." Well guess what? It just makes sense to someone buying a garden hose sized audio cable that it would carry more audio information. It just makes sense to them that digital is separate bits of data in time so can't be "analog." The science tells us these things don't hold water. But to them, it is convincing and intuitive. Likewise, those of you so critical of such audiophile claims have accepted certain notions in acoustic that are just as wrong. Again, I am not telling you that but numerous experts. But since they are not here and understanding what they say is non-intuitive, we keep going on.

To add to above point, when I bring up about these common misconceptions in acoustics to top industry experts who have done the research, their reaction word for word is the same as yours with premium cables! They see companies putting forward measurements that don’t show what we hear, and explanations that don’t match published listening tests research across decades, and the only conclusion is that folks are after making money from unsuspecting customers. The situation here is worse than cables in that putting up an acoustic products means potentially uglifying your room and disturbing marital peace should you be so situated smile.gif. Not so with a cable that just goes behind your gear. So between the two domains, we better have even more convincing evidence that such contraptions deserve to go up on our walls and screw up our home décor. Heaven help them if a bare wall was better than doing what they ask!

BTW, you mentioned something about a furnished room sounding better than an empty one. Well, that statement started the mother of all discussions on this topic: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1413173/does-sound-sounds-better-in-a-room-full-of-furniture-and-stuff-or-without. As you see there, folks who sell acoustic products don’t want to hear that furnishing does what you say, again, damn the research that says it can be highly effective in creating a good listening environment. Talking about that thread, see this quote I mentioned from Dr. Toole there:

"Sometimes these (modular bass absorbers) are called "bass traps." The problem with the name is that some of them don't "trap" much of anything except cash from unwitting purchasers."

You can feel the frustration in his tone just as well you all express about $1,000 cables. So no, there is no difference in the overall goal of making sure the right data is out there for people to make an informed decision. Your mission is no more superior to mine in that regard smile.gif. Indeed, since we are all in the market to improve the sound of our room, then getting to the truth of room acoustics is a much more constructive path than arguing about cables anyway. smile.gif

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Old 09-30-2012, 11:58 AM
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Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

It is quite shocking that a self proclaimed expert would so openly demonstrate his ignorance of even basic aspects of audio science.
What you wrote above is ludicrous because it is based on your absurd belief that such things are not easily measurable. What exactly do you think "timbre" is anyway... magic, like your cables?
Wait, let me guess. You're going to define timbre as that elusive audio quality that can only be heard, not measured, right? biggrin.gif

I also shows just how shallow the knowledge of modern technology these garage audiophile vendors posses. They ohh and ahh over some two tube single ended amplifier with 10% distortion at 1 watt yet have no concept of the level of audio processing power in an Iphone.

If all these claims were true about the overwhelming complexity of a music waveform, surely all these compression technologies would hardly be possible.

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:10 PM
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The tilted curve really is an intriguing topic.

When recording live music one would presume the mic has a flat frequency response. The natural assumption then is that delivering the music to the listening position with measured flat response at that position should most closely approximate the sound present at the live venue. We still prefer tilted response in this circumstance? That is, we would have liked the live event even more if the response had been tilted more? I could buy this for orchestral or other non-amplified music, but what about amplified concerts? Shouldn't the engineer have eq'd the system already to sound best?

As for mixing environments, do we accept that it is uncommon for simple eq to be employed for the monitoring system to bring the response somewhat flat? It would be a bit odd if recording engineers intentionally set a tilted response as they also control eq for the project being mixed and can tilt response to taste there. Do we then accept that the tilted response in monitoring systems is secondary to widespread ineptness on the part of those whose job it is to use eq appropriately?

The varying absorption by frequency due to distance and temp and all sounds satisfying, but don't all room correction systems on the market and used in these tests referenced use measurements at the listening position(s) to determine final eq? This should account for any variable attenuation effects which occur between speaker and ear, no? When we say tilted response, we are talking about listening position, not nearfield measurement, right?

None of the explanations offered seem very satisfying, but I don't dispute the research (or observations of my own taste either). I'll have to add this to my list of mini mysteries to track down. smile.gif

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:20 PM
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People in general are prone to suggestion. For example, jimmy kimmel recently had a video clip where his staff filmed people on the street. They were handle an iPhone 4S but told it was the new iPhone 5 (this was done before the iPhone 5 was released). Their comments on the superiority over the iPhone 4S was too funny. Some even had an iPhone 4S in their other hand. "It's faster, it's thinner, it's got a better screen, more responsive, better looking"

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:39 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

On this point though, while your conclusion is right, the explanation is not what I have read in research.

From a couple years ago:
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Originally Posted by Tonmeister2008 View Post

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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

If you look at the controlled double-blind listening tests of different commercial room corrections that Sean linked to, you'll be able to compare graphs showing measured frequency response to a graph showing perceived frequency response. Flat results was heard as tilted up, hence Sean's comment about 'missing bass'. Looking at the room corrections that scored the highest, you'll notice they have a downward tilt (mimicking natural room gain), and were perceived by listeners as flat response.

Well said Sanjay.

To add to that, if you look at the anechoically measured sound power response or the "predicted in-room response" of a typical well-designed loudspeaker, it too has a downward sloping response. I refer you to the anechoic frequency response graphs for Loudspeakers P and I in this link. The curves from top to bottom in each graph are the on-axis response, listening window response, the first reflections and the sound power response. These are among the best scoring loudspeakers we've tested (w/o room correction applied) in controlled double-blind listening tests. The 4th curve down is the sound power response:note its downward slope.

When you do an in-room measurement of those loudspeakers in a typical semi-reflective listening room, above 200-300 Hz you will measure something that looks very close to the sound power response or the predicted in-room response. Below 300 Hz you will see the effect of the room: peaks and dips from room modes, etc.

If you try to "fix" those loudspeakers by equalizing them to a flat in-room target response, you will significantly alter (i.e. screw up) their excellent spectral balance and the excellent technical measurements that engineers and scientists worked hard to achieve. The sound quality ratings after room correction will drop significantly, much like it did for Room Correction 6, which uses a flat in-room target curve.
So I'm aware of the room gain explanation (mentioned it myself previously), but was stepping back a bit to ask why we hear it as flat. What is it about our human hearing that requires boosting lower frequencies to give the impression that they're at the same level as the rest of the frequency range?

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Old 09-30-2012, 12:54 PM
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Originally Posted by sdurani View Post

From a couple years ago: So I'm aware of the room gain explanation (mentioned it myself previously), but was stepping back a bit to ask why we hear it as flat. What is it about our human hearing that requires boosting lower frequencies to give the impression that they're at the same level as the rest of the frequency range?
It may be semantics smile.gif but I don't think we hear it flat. We hear what we think is the norm. That is the goal of audio reproduction: reproduce what we would hear without the electronics. And without the electronics we hear the effect of the room overboosting the lows.

While I have also heard the Fletcher-Munson explanation I can't rationalize why it would work at the other extreme, i.e. high frequencies where we likewise lose our sensitivity:

400px-Lindos4.svg.png

Clearly no one uses a target curve that is like those.

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:12 PM
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Originally Posted by amirm View Post

It may be semantics smile.gif but I don't think we hear it flat.

This is what Olive measured:

viewer?pid=explorer&srcid=0B97zTRsdcJTfY2U4ODhiZmUtNDEyNC00ZDcyLWEzZTAtMGJiODQ1ZTUxMGQ4&docid=6acfbb12ff81eb2c6a886a651d8b41c8%7C365633405897b87dcd7bea289c819844&a=bi&pagenumber=24&w=796

This is what the listeners heard:

viewer?pid=explorer&srcid=0B97zTRsdcJTfY2U4ODhiZmUtNDEyNC00ZDcyLWEzZTAtMGJiODQ1ZTUxMGQ4&docid=6acfbb12ff81eb2c6a886a651d8b41c8%7C365633405897b87dcd7bea289c819844&a=bi&pagenumber=25&w=796

Compare the two traces at the top of the graphs in both slides. Why wasn't the downward tilt heard as such?

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:13 PM
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Ethan is a manufacturer and is making claims that are strongly disputed by people who have incredible credentials

The same and much more could be said about your business and the claims you make, and the credentials of the people who refute your claims. I don't understand why you feel the need to "go there" all the time. Do you really believe deep down that the products I sell are bogus, and the improvement people claim to experience is akin to the perceived improvement from aftermarket power wires? This is a serious question that I hope you'll answer.

The vast majority of audio experts agree with me, and the few you selectively quote don't disagree with the bulk of my claims. A very small minority, such as Dr. Toole who you often selectively quote, believes that early reflections are sometimes better left untreated. But he never questions the basic premise that room treatment is valuable, and he doesn't say that early reflections are always objectionable. But your selective quoting makes it seems like he says that. Not that Toole's opinions are the only valid ones.

The real question for me is why you continue to single me out, and try to cast doubt on my expertise and my company's products. In that sense you are no better than Joe the wire seller. Where are your own blind tests showing the efficacy of the expensive products on your company's web site?
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Originally Posted by Amir's web site 
Home theater design from basic system for a living room to sky-is-the-limit dedicated theater exceeding the performance of many commercial cinemas.

Do you have a double blind test to prove this? Why not?
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Originally Posted by Amir's web site 
Our audio components have been selected with an eye toward superb performance that can be backed by real science and engineering.

So my scientific test data showing improved performance isn't valid because it doesn't include subjective preference, but yours somehow is valid?
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Originally Posted by Amir's web site 
JBL speakers are the industry standard for live music and movie production due to their extremely dynamic reproduction, able to reach incredibly high levels without distorting.

Ah, so data proving low distortion is valid even though many audiophiles prefer the higher distortion from toob amps and vinyl records, but my data is not valid? Why is that?
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Originally Posted by Amir's web site 
Berkeley's Alpha DAC and USB to AES and S/PDIF bridge set the benchmark for superlative performance. Built by the creators of the HDCD process and the legendary ADCs & DACs for professional audio mastering, the Alpha DAC paired up with their USB adapter and a PC/Mac server creates a powerful yet extremely musical package.

Do you have any blind tests to back this up? Why not?

Amir, a lot of people I consider audio experts have criticized your demo room, and explained in detail why your installed treatments are a mish-mosh of poorly placed and seemingly random acoustic products. Yet I haven't jumped in and denigrated you. Why do you feel the need to denigrate me?
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Ethan spends a ton of time creating blind tests for other people's products. Why doesn't he spend a fraction of that time for his own?

Please detail the specific requirements for a test you would consider acceptable. For extra credit, also estimate the cost in time and dollars required to fulfill such a test.

I bolded this because I expect an answer, even if you conveniently ignore everything else I just posted.
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Folks just want to believe the version of audio acoustics he put forward. It "just makes sense to them." Well guess what? It just makes sense to someone buying a garden hose sized audio cable that it would carry more audio information.

So you really are trying to put me in the same camp as wire vendors. I hope you realize this says much more about you than it does about me.

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

It is quite shocking that a self proclaimed expert would so openly demonstrate his ignorance of even basic aspects of audio science.
What you wrote above is ludicrous because it is based on your absurd belief that such things are not easily measurable. What exactly do you think "timbre" is anyway... magic, like your cables?
Wait, let me guess. You're going to define timbre as that elusive audio quality that can only be heard, not measured, right? biggrin.gif


My point was that the appreciation of timbre is a construct within the brain- you cannot measure it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbral_listening

So exactly from what 'easy measurement' could you extract, correlate, and describe timbral differences between say two different guitars, or different types of strings? Different brands of cymbals?


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Originally Posted by Glimmie View Post

I also shows just how shallow the knowledge of modern technology these garage audiophile vendors posses. They ohh and ahh over some two tube single ended amplifier with 10% distortion at 1 watt yet have no concept of the level of audio processing power in an Iphone.
If all these claims were true about the overwhelming complexity of a music waveform, surely all these compression technologies would hardly be possible.


Comparing the tube amps you built and enjoy in your theater to an iPhone Glimmie- No comparison..

An iPhone to the human brain- No comparison..

Your brain listening to a tube amp- Lit up!smile.gif

http://intraspec.ca/s10.pdf

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Old 09-30-2012, 02:45 PM
 
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Ditto for why people like their voice when signing in a shower smile.gif.
I don't. This makes your assumption false, unless you have poll results to back you up.
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Old 09-30-2012, 03:23 PM
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My point was that the appreciation of timbre is a construct within the brain- you cannot measure it.
But timbre itself is not a construct of the brain. Timbre is a function of differences in weight among the various harmonics. That is quite easily measurable. If an audio component is altering that weight, that alteration will be measurable. If the component is not altering that weight, then the component is not altering the timbre of what it is reproducing. And if you perceive a change in timbre from a component that is not altering that weight, then you are imagining it. Good thing for your business that this phenomenon is common.

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

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Old 09-30-2012, 06:57 PM
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In this context, there is none. You said it yourself. This discussion is about a manufacturer backing their claims.

I can't for the life of me follow your logic, it's like the twilight zone... rolleyes.gif
Whether or not Ethan chooses to do DBT's is completely irrelevant to my point.
I basically said take preference out of the equation and prove difference.
I don't care if commercial room treatments are good or bad for the purpose of this discussion. I know they have an audible effect and the same can't be said for a lot of snake oil products like power cords. That's where there's a potential conspiracy, not in the room treatment realm.
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Old 09-30-2012, 07:42 PM
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Originally Posted by diomania View Post

(let me borrow your tactic for a second) Do you have data that shows that what those pros like, is not what consumers like? " biggrin.gif "


Floyd Toole mentions such data in his book. IIRC consumers tend to prefer 'envelopment', pros tend to prefer 'imaging'.
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:47 PM
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People in general are prone to suggestion. For example, jimmy kimmel recently had a video clip where his staff filmed people on the street. They were handle an iPhone 4S but told it was the new iPhone 5 (this was done before the iPhone 5 was released). Their comments on the superiority over the iPhone 4S was too funny. Some even had an iPhone 4S in their other hand. "It's faster, it's thinner, it's got a better screen, more responsive, better looking"

I saw that, very interesting and fascinating. They could even tell that it was lighter by weight. wink.gif Really? From memory and not comparison side by side? Fractions of ounces perhaps? rolleyes.gif
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Old 09-30-2012, 09:50 PM
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Whether or not Ethan chooses to do DBT's is completely irrelevant to my point.
Sorry but I can't follow you if you keep changing your point. This is what you said to me earlier:
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Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

Regardless of how it's built, a "high-end" cable vendor say's "my cable will lift the veil off your system" .....and guess what...... it doesn't.
I am trying to determine why you are only interested in verifying the claims of cable vendors. You are not in the market for such, are you? I assume not. I further assume you are in the market to improve the sound of your room. So why not be interested in claims of Ethan in this regard? Is it OK to say totally incorrect things with respect to science in one area of audio, but not in the other?
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I don't care if commercial room treatments are good or bad for the purpose of this discussion. I know they have an audible effect and the same can't be said for a lot of snake oil products like power cords.
Let's say I make a speaker cable out of 24 gauge wire. I assume you agree that I can show a difference (in the negative direction) using that. Is your position that I can then advertise said cable on my web site as *improving* audio fidelity just because there is a difference?

So no, you haven't settled anything just because there is a difference. When someone asks for our money, we better get a positive difference. If science and listening tests say otherwise, you better complain about that more than you are complaining about companies whose products you have no interest in buying and that their worst case situation is that they don't do anything bad.

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Old 09-30-2012, 10:57 PM
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My point was that the appreciation of timbre is a construct within the brain- you cannot measure it.
Well, your point and underlying assumption are clearly based on inadequate and/or incorrect understanding of such audio basics.
Quote:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbral_listening

So exactly from what 'easy measurement' could you extract, correlate, and describe timbral differences between say two different guitars, or different types of strings? Different brands of cymbals?
Even your posted wiki link clearly links timbral listening to the distribution of overtones and spectral content. Check out the wiki entry for "timbre." There's even a pretty picture there of, gasp, a MEASUREMENT of such spectral content for a single note on a Fender guitar.

What's egregious isn't so much your lack of knowledge of what a concept as basic as timbre means, nor your unwillingness to even read the wiki definition of the term before throwing it around here, but rather the fact that your website is littered with its use as perceptual yardstick you claim verifies the superiority of your wire.

Not only do you sell a lie, but apparently just make up marketing copy out of thin air, period. You are too lazy to even be bothered with learning about the terms you casually toss out. Such disrespect for your customers is appalling.

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Old 09-30-2012, 11:06 PM
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Is it OK to say totally incorrect things with respect to science in one area of audio, but not in the other?
I understand the point you are making wrt Ethan's products and those of cable manufacturers. Ethan could take the high road and offer some form of disclaimer or discussion on his website or in his acoustics primers that there is a variety of opinions and preferences when it comes to room treatment, and not everyone prefers the same treatments. We don't hold any other businesses to that standard though. Can you imagine a McDonald's commercial acknowledging that some people prefer the whopper more?? biggrin.gif

But "totally incorrect things with respect to science" is stretching it more than just a bit, and you know that. We are talking orders of magnitude differences in how these businesses approach science and communicate it to customers, and you know that. And there is a difference between offering differently performing products based on preference, and identically performing products based on imagined preference, and you know that. What you are doing to Ethan is inappropriate and unwarranted, and we all know that.
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:27 AM
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What you are doing to Ethan is inappropriate and unwarranted, and we all know that.
+1....+10dB!
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Old 10-01-2012, 12:44 AM
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There's no reason these environments have to be different, and my living room system is as flat and reflection-free as a professional 5.1 mixing room.
True, there is no reason that professional and recreational listening rooms have to be different, but in reality they are. So rather than start from an a priori notion that it would be optimal for recreational listening spaces to replicate the acoustics of professional recording studios, some researchers instead began testing what consumers actually prefer. Despite people having differing tastes, certain patterns did emerge. Turned out the more absorbent studio sound wasn't preferred as much as leaving early reflections alone.
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We also have to distinguish casual listeners from serious listeners who invest money into a system they hope will be highly accurate and transparent. Audiophiles spend large sums pursuing that elusive "revealing" sound, and the best way to not obscure the music is by controlling room reflections. I mentioned earlier that listeners can learn to appreciate good sound over time, and those are the ones who will benefit most from a well-treated room. Yeah, put a bunch of grandmas in a room and ask which they prefer, and the result will be a crap shoot. Same for the smiley EQ curve I mentioned. Just because many ordinary people prefer something doesn't mean that those with more discriminating tastes also prefer it.

This again shows their lack of hearing acuity. Unless the room is very large, early reflections make the music sound smaller, not larger. The small-room reflections drown out the larger concert hall (or large-room artificial reverb) in the recording. When a listener's "skill" improves, so does his taste.
The problem with that explanation is that it doesn't affect test subjects during blind testing.

Suppose you were blind testing brown mustard vs yellow mustard and found that a majority of tasters preferred the everyday yellow stuff. You could explain to those test subjects that they don't have refined palates, they can't appreciate good food, lack experience with gourmet foods, they're not serious about food, they're not discriminating when it comes to mustard, they lack the skill to tell good food from mediocre, etc. But all that belittling looses its effect when the test subjects are blindfolded and can't tell which mustard is on which hot dog. At that point, they will gravitate towards their own preference.

Likewise, you can insult and belittle listeners who don't have the same tastes as you, imply they are inexperienced at listening, not serious about audio, lacking hearing acuity, not discriminating, unskilled, grandmas, etc. But none of those pejoratives have any effect during the blind test itself, where listeners can't see whether on-wall absorbtion has been roatated in or out, so they end up going with what sounds good to them. It's difficult to explain to someone that they shouldn't be preferring a certain sound when they're clearly enjoying what they're hearing. Researchers want to find out what listeners prefer, not what industry professionals think they should prefer.
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Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Sure, but speech clarity is totally different from enjoying music.
I mentioned speech intelligiblity to point out that some long-believed negatives associated with early reflections turn out not to be true when tested. Same is true for timbral shifts. The decades of research (even going back to Helmut Haas' college thesis) that demonstrates a preference for early reflections wouldn't make sense if the pleasant broadening of the soundstage was accompanied by changes in pitch or inability to understand the vocals. But it does make sense if those things are either unaffected (timbre) or improved (intelligibility).

Put yourself in place of one of these researchers: you take away the absorbtion panels at the side wall first reflection points and the majority of your test subjects tell you that not only do they prefer the bigger/wider soundstage, but they also find it easier to understand the lyrics that the vocalist is singing. It might go against what you believe, but what would you do when confronted with those results test after test?
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Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

BTW, the reason early reflections can make speech seem clearer is due to the comb filtering nulls.
Benade gave an alternate explanation back in the 1980s. Reflections in the first 30 or so milliseconds aren't heard as separate events (unless they're much louder that the source), but they are still heard and accumulated in the brain. We lock in on the location of the first sound we hear (source), and the repititions of that sound (reflections) add to the amplitude, kinda like improving the signal to noise ratio. The noise in this case is the soundtrack that dialogue is mixed with or music that vocals are mixed with. As I mentioned earlier, research from hearing aid companies to conference room designers support Benade's explanation. YMMV.

Sanjay
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What you are doing to Ethan is inappropriate and unwarranted, and we all know that.
As mentioned before, amirm's reaction is a clear indication that someone debunked his deception: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1425262/are-audio-companies-all-involved-in-a-huge-conspiracy/330#post_22427572
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Old 10-01-2012, 05:28 AM
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The real question for me is why you continue to single me out, and try to cast doubt on my expertise and my company's products.
--Ethan

Not that I speak for Amir...methinks he does a good enough job himself:)....and tho I can understand it might feel personal, I think it is a worthwhile question he asks.

It goes back to the 'heart' of 'who we are'...if we proclaim ourselves to be objectivists (and thank god there is a forum where we can be so) well then I'm afraid we have to be, well, objective.

You know, evidence based.

As such, it then becomes a very valid question, 'when tested blind, how do the chips fall regarding room treatment?'

Just so's it's known, I am for and use room treatment. But surely we have to hold ourselves to the same standard as those we disparage? Why do THEY have to do a blind test to prove (to our satisfaction) they can hear cables, whatever insert your own hobby horse here, when WE can just blithely state that 'if you are audio aware, you need to treat your room'?

My own personal situation at least gives me a chance to do a direct comparison (obviously not blinded), I have two identical rooms one treated and one without treatment. Only the treated room has music, the other is a tv room. However, I can simply walk across the hallway and compare the acoustics (albeit without music in both). I ofetn have trouble understanding what is said on tv:), yet again these rooms could not in any way be called your 'normal, furnished living rooms' so my case could be an outlier.

Still, you are absolutely fooling yourself if you believe (just because we are talking room treatment, accepted by the wise (us) and often ignored by the 'fools' (those silly audiophiles we larf at) ) you are not subject to the same types of bias inherent in ALL sighted listening tests.

If you feel no need for a blind test in this situation, maybe stop and take a breath before you hit submit the next post you are about to slam a cable believer with.

Human nature see, we ALL carry into a sighted test some sort of baggage and preconceived ideas. The reason we demand blind tests.

If, as is being argued here, the concept is that 'room treatment is always beneficial', how can that not influence your perception?

kinda a definitional think ya know.

this barmy idea that blind tests are somehow not needed when 'it's obvious a difference in sound exists' is beyond me.


Just remembered, this coming weekend should see, hopefully, a test of the treated room and the untreated room. We *should*, if we have enough time, be able to set up a system easily moved into the treated room and the untreated room. As mentioned, the two are identical in dimensions and layout, a mirror pair. So with a bit of care with placement (ie ensure the same distance from the same walls etc etc) we should be left with the treatment as the only variable. The plan is to record from the LP (someone wants to document it on his audio blog) and post a video of it all.

It would be a good idea to play the two on the video with a pretty picture (salma hayak do?tongue.gif) so you are only presented with 'sound A' and 'sound B'. After that the identity of which room A or B (treated or untreated) can be revealed.

The hope is that even on you tube the/any differences should be readily heard and preferences can then be found.

We might get too pissed tho..but if it happens and there is any interest here then I can link to it next week (or whenever it gets put up).

Brett, if you're on the wagon for now as you say, maybe you can keep us all in line and oversee the project!!biggrin.gif
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Old 10-01-2012, 06:57 AM
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Everything is so basic and easy when you're an unknown internet poster hiding behind a keyboard, isn't it Bigus?smile.gif

You mean this link... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Timbre



The spectrogram is a snapshot of a Strat guitar note. Sure it can be measured, but you and mcnarus are purposely avoiding my point [and childish name calling] in that there is no way to look at the snapshot and tell it's a Gibson, or a Fender, or for that matter a toy organ.

So I'll ask the same simple question once again.. Exactly from what [as you mentioned] 'easy measurement' could you extract, correlate, and describe timbral differences between say two different guitars, or different types of strings? Different brands of cymbals? You're smart guys- of course you already know the answer. There is no way to tell from this measurement what this sounds like. The only way to really know what we perceive as timbre is to listen to it, and any variation in timbre from the original event caused by the recording or playback chain would be detrimental to doing so.

Here's an old research paper done over 20 years ago, with references dating well before...

http://www.aes.org/tmpFiles/elib/20120930/5163.pdf

Note that the ability to hear resonances contributed by one component are masked by similar resonances from others. These masking resonances are both mechanical and electrical in nature. Also note that the detection thresholds can be over 30 db below the average sound level, more so under certain conditions such as when using headphones for playback, approaching 40 db down. Also, detection of such is primarily determined by the initial amplitude (or impulse) of the resonance and not as much as the sustained wave, bringing us squarely into the overall transient response of the entire recording and later playback system as to how accurate an assessment can be made by listening.

Since cables can have as much or more of a detrimental effect on the transient signal response as the electronics, as well as add and/or cause electrical resonances, they need to be considered just as important of a factor if accuracy down to these levels is expected.

Amir brings up the fact that industry professionals shake their heads in disbelief when they hear about the misinformation that continues to be spread after all the research that's been done since. Keep up the good work!smile.gif

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Originally Posted by Bigus View Post

Well, your point and underlying assumption are clearly based on inadequate and/or incorrect understanding of such audio basics.
Even your posted wiki link clearly links timbral listening to the distribution of overtones and spectral content. Check out the wiki entry for "timbre." There's even a pretty picture there of, gasp, a MEASUREMENT of such spectral content for a single note on a Fender guitar.
/quote]

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Old 10-01-2012, 07:37 AM
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The spectrogram is a snapshot of a Strat guitar note. Sure it can be measured, but you and mcnarus are purposely avoiding my point [and childish name calling] in that there is no way to look at the snapshot and tell it's a Gibson, or a Fender,
Sure you can, if you have baseline measurements of both instruments. That's how science is done, Joe. Stop assuming we're as dumb as your customers.

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

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Old 10-01-2012, 07:55 AM
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No one listens to music by looking at a snapshot of a spectrograph one pluck at a time and compares them to a recording. How the measurements relate to actual listening is is what is not being addressed and what you are purposely avoiding [and still name calling].

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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Sure you can, if you have baseline measurements of both instruments. That's how science is done, Joe. Stop assuming we're as dumb as your customers.

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