Originally Posted by arnyk
The relevant facts are that despite everything that has been done to facilitate people doing good reliable listening tests, almost nobody does them and this includes audiophiles, and salesmen and reviewers and columnists and highly visible industry personalities and writers in just about every audio publication, most industry professionals, and even a goodly number of academics.
No disagreement. Problem becomes that folks are selective in criticizing the test. If the results don't agree with their views about audio, everything is wrong including the phase of the moon
. But if the results agree, then the test is authoritative and to be believed.
Great example is the last argument you and I had on jitter. You said the Dolby test proved that jitter is inaudible in pretty high amounts. Yet I showed you how that was a sighted test and not even blind, let alone be double blind! You liked the results so all was well. The fact that the word blind or double blind was never mentioned or the person having his hand on the amount of jitter being varied was looked over. If however the results were the opposite, as is the case with OP's observation, doubt would have been cast immediately even if far more rigor was provided.
So yes, it is absolutely the case that tests are in general more faulty than not. Doing tests right often is incredibly hard. Let's make sure we have guard up regardless of the outcome.
Of course this is not a case of the listener being wrong, but rather about the listener attributing audible performance characteristics to his equipment when what he hears actually lacks a reliable connection to the equipment. The differences he perceives are most likely due to either non-subtle failings of the technical aspects of the comparison, or his own prejudices or just the random fickle finger of fate.
Or that he did hear a valid difference and we should see if that is the case. One has to be objective in evaluating claims as well as the person running the tests.
The above statement is probably best understood by people who are familiar with the concept of denial. And this is particularly frustrating when the denial comes from people who should have been taught better, either academically or by their personal or professional experiences. If JJ didn't convince you of the utter futility of doing listening tests without level matching and other experimental controls, nobody will.
Well, I am still waiting to see how OP's situation would involve level change. If you told JJ that it was due to some mysterious data error that manifested itself across the whole CD as fidelity difference, he would laugh at you. You hang your hat on such an unusual and extremely rare set of circumstances yet have trouble with him hearing actual distortion that measurably exists?
At the end of the day we are all children of our experiences. About 10 years ago there was a call from the record industry for watermarking algorithms. This is method by which a number is embedded in a song in such a way that it is not audible. The record labels provided a set of 24-bit/96 Khz tracks that you were supposed to insert the marks into to be judged by them later. Microsoft research had developed a watermarking algorithm that they wanted to propose. Having had a reputation of being an "expert" listener inside Microsoft they gave me the files, before and after, to evaluate blind. It was a super challenging comparison because the watermarking algorithm is clever in that it waits to insert its bits at the precise moment where it thinks it will be completely masked/hidden. The insertion may last just a few milliseconds whereas the file itself was minutes long.
I listened a few times and all of a sudden, I noticed something that was different in the two. And the one sounded more right. So I go and tell the researcher. He just about falls off his chair that I identified the files correctly. But thought it was a guess. So he asked me to tell him the insertion point. I give him the exact sub-second position. This time he did fall of his chair.
He looked and found out the issue he had there and fixed it after telling me that he had ran that double blind test by many people and no one had found it. Everyone had thought the files were audibly identical.
Just in case you think I am telling you this story to brag, there was another case where I was helping our codec team enhance the encoder. I was home sick but told them I could help. So they would email me two versions of a dozen files and ask me which set was better. I get a set and think that there is a big step backward and communicate that. The researcher sending me the bits (JJ's boss by the way), becomes very surprised at the results and says it can't be as the change he they had made was very small. I insist that I was right and something had royally gone wrong. He then gives me another set of files (again, with identity hidden). I come back and say the degradation was there and it was quite audible. Annoyed, I asked him why he can't hear the same. His answer? The two sets were identical! I don't believe him of course but a binary test showed that to be the case.
So no, I am under no illusion that we imagine things and that as humans we make pretty poor instruments in this regard. I am not shy about talking about my failings as much as my successes. It is the sum total however that allows me to stay objective and evaluate observations of audibility differences and think through both, what the test faults may be and explanations for differences heard. In the case of OP here, I was quick to point out time sync as being very important. You did the same. So we had common views there. Difference was that in the back of my mind I knew there were measured differences in the way he was testing and wanted to pursue that also.
Except that isn't what happens. All these endless discussions about the audibility of inaudible effects serves to is to fabricate, expand, and deify audiophile myths.
It is not my concern what it does in regards to that. I am not a politician worrying about losing an election to go by your analogies. If something is the truth about audio, it needs to be said. If it helps someone's cause, so be it. The facts should not be censored because of it. Changing transports can make the analog output of the DAC change. People need to know that and not assume impossibilities.
Giving reasons for events that have trivial causes (e.g. level match) or relate to random or imaginary events is a flight from reason.
Level match is not a reasonable reason for differences heard here as I have explained. You mentioned that without paying attention to what OP was saying. At least that is my hope rather than you actually believing in that made up scenario of CD errors.
It makes no more sense than trying to come up with scientific reasons (aside from mass hysteria) why so many bad things happen on Friday the 13th. Its right up there with explaining why dosing people with less than one molecule of medication (AKA Homeopathy) should be the preferred course of treatment for all health problems.
That is the bottom line isn't it? You worry about mass hysteria and I believe in people knowing how these systems work without regard to that fear. Best way I can explain this is to quote this post from a thread that Diomania was kind enough to reference earlier where you and I had our first discussion, from a poster who is firmly in the objectivity camp:
Originally Posted by terry j well, in that case let me thank you [amirm] for your contributions. I KNOW I could not have kept my patience as you have, let alone maintained a sense of humour!
It's funny how hard *we* can go to maintain our rightness, and how quickly that line is crossed where we no longer wish to learn (despite our objections to the contrary) where we fight tooth and nail...usually because we know our position is so tenuous that the slightest 'loss' means the whole game is over.
FFS, Amir has sat here page after page and SHOWN how, and under what possible conditions jitter may be audible.
Hey, if it were a cable debate, and we showed with maths and sims that there could not possibly be a difference, well that would have proved it no?
So why the **** in an 'argument' where the shoe is on the other foot does it suddenly become irrelevant what the science says??
My take on what the fear might be is the worry of what might happen if we concede a point of argument. The 'other side' will drive a frickin lorry thru the door if we do.
I mean, there only has to be ONE person who hears a power cord (for sake of illustration) in what seems to be a proper test and the whole frickin lot of the rest of them will claim it as proof that they too can hear it.
No they can't, 'one in a million' means just that. But we KNOW every single one of them thinks they can hear it, using that person as proof, and even less urge to test the truth properly. After all it has been shown.
So, we had better clamp down HARD on the one ever coming out, if only to keep the lid on the rest.
So, move on to something far less controversial than PCs, but as long as it falls into audiofool territory we had better clamp down on that too. It is just safer that way, keep each and every genie in the bottle.
So the need to put amir in his place, and keep the lid hammered on tight. Because the ramifications of this little argument go waaaay past it's tiny borders.
""Oh, but amir has not given any evidence of audibilty"" (apart from the science you mean? The science that would be perfectly acceptable in a different argument, that the one we are talking about???).
Be totally honest here. If he told you that he had found, to his satisfaction, that turning the front panel on and off on his thingamabob had an audible difference, would you accept that?
What then his findings of jitter?
We know you would not accept his results, the genie is too terrifying to contemplate.
So don't come back at me with 'amir has yet to show audibility' ok? It is a definitional thing you know. Some things, by definition, are inaudible.
Bit like cancer, it cannot be cured hence any cure of cancer is untrue (why we are always then exhorted to donate to cancer research is beyond me).
All of you could be right, it may be completely inaudible.
But you sure as hell have not shown it by your arguments. Unless 'nanah nanah nah' counts as an argument.
I bolded the relative section which goes to your fear here.