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Are audio companies all involved in a huge conspiracy? - Page 10

post #271 of 3048
I turn 50 next month.

I need to brush up on my skills learned many many years ago studying Heidegger, Camus, Descartes, and Sartre, etc.
post #272 of 3048
Trying to bring this back to a general discussion of the audio industry, and taking into account what was just discussed about hypothesis vs. that which is strongly supported by evidence, it seems to me that audio has a lot of "gurus". These seem to be mostly of the self-appointed variety. Now, it's one thing to go on and on about what might happen, and bolster that hypothesis with much impressive theory, but it's much harder to actually sort out what actually does happen.

There's a tendency on the part of these "gurus" and their followers to treat a hypothesis as being true by virtue of being plausible. If you try to pin such people down, to see how or if they have determined whether or not the hypothesis is actually true, much hand-waving inevitably ensues. After all, having to give an answer of "I don't know" doesn't really bolster the "guru" status of such people.
post #273 of 3048
From the link provided earlier:
Top 20 Logical Fallacies http://www.theskepticsguide.org/resources/logicalfallacies.aspx

I think rock_bottom is referring to this fallacy.
Quote:
Argument from authority
The basic structure of such arguments is as follows: Professor X believes A, Professor X speaks from authority, therefore A is true. Often this argument is implied by emphasizing the many years of experience, or the formal degrees held by the individual making a specific claim. The converse of this argument is sometimes used, that someone does not possess authority, and therefore their claims must be false. (This may also be considered an ad-hominen logical fallacy – see below.)

In practice this can be a complex logical fallacy to deal with. It is legitimate to consider the training and experience of an individual when examining their assessment of a particular claim. Also, a consensus of scientific opinion does carry some legitimate authority. But it is still possible for highly educated individuals, and a broad consensus to be wrong – speaking from authority does not make a claim true.

This logical fallacy crops up in more subtle ways also. For example, UFO proponents have argued that UFO sightings by airline pilots should be given special weight because pilots are trained observers, are reliable characters, and are trained not to panic in emergencies. In essence, they are arguing that we should trust the pilot’s authority as an eye witness.

There are many subtypes of the argument from authority, essentially referring to the implied source of authority. A common example is the argument ad populum – a belief must be true because it is popular, essentially assuming the authority of the masses. Another example is the argument from antiquity – a belief has been around for a long time and therefore must be true.

Or possibly this fallacy
Quote:
Ad ignorantiam
The argument from ignorance basically states that a specific belief is true because we don’t know that it isn’t true. Defenders of extrasensory perception, for example, will often overemphasize how much we do not know about the human brain. It is therefore possible, they argue, that the brain may be capable of transmitting signals at a distance.

UFO proponents are probably the most frequent violators of this fallacy. Almost all UFO eyewitness evidence is ultimately an argument from ignorance – lights or objects sighted in the sky are unknown, and therefore they are alien spacecraft.

Intelligent design is almost entirely based upon this fallacy. The core argument for intelligent design is that there are biological structures that have not been fully explained by evolution, therefore a powerful intelligent designer must have created them.

In order to make a positive claim, however, positive evidence for the specific claim must be presented. The absence of another explanation only means that we do not know – it doesn’t mean we get to make up a specific explanation.

Disclaimer: I'm missing the incus in my right middle ear in addition to large amounts of scar tissue covering the ear drum. However, while this does effect my hearing, it does not effect my mental reasoning.
post #274 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by rock_bottom View Post

Trying to bring this back to a general discussion of the audio industry, and taking into account what was just discussed about hypothesis vs. that which is strongly supported by evidence, it seems to me that audio has a lot of "gurus". These seem to be mostly of the self-appointed variety. Now, it's one thing to go on and on about what might happen, and bolster that hypothesis with much impressive theory, but it's much harder to actually sort out what actually does happen.
There's a tendency on the part of these "gurus" and their followers to treat a hypothesis as being true by virtue of being plausible. If you try to pin such people down, to see how or if they have determined whether or not the hypothesis is actually true, much hand-waving inevitably ensues. After all, having to give an answer of "I don't know" doesn't really bolster the "guru" status of such people.

I like this quote from Douglas Self's amplfiier book:

"
Few fields of technical endeavour are more plagued with errors, mis-
statements and confusion than audio. In the last 20 years, the rise of
controversial and non-rational audio hypotheses, gathered under the title
Subjectivism has deepened these difficulties. It is commonplace for hi-fi
reviewers to claim that they have perceived subtle audio differences which
cannot be related to electrical performance measurements. These claims
include the alleged production of a ‘three-dimensional sound-stage and
protests that the rhythm of the music has been altered’; these statements
are typically produced in isolation, with no attempt made to correlate
them to objective test results. The latter in particular appears to be a quite
impossible claim.

This volume does not address the implementation of Subjectivist notions,
but confines itself to the measurable, the rational, and the repeatable.
This is not as restrictive as it may appear; there is nothing to prevent
you using the methodology presented here to design an amplifier that is
technically excellent, and then gilding the lily by using whatever brands
of expensive resistor or capacitor are currently fashionable, and doing the
internal wiring with cable that costs more per metre than the rest of the
unit put together. Such nods to Subjectivist convention are unlikely to
damage the real performance; this is however not the case with some of
the more damaging hypotheses, such as the claim that negative feedback
is inherently harmful. Reduce the feedback factor and you will degrade the
real-life operation of almost any design.

Such problems arise because audio electronics is a more technically com-
plex subject than it at first appears. It is easy to cobble together some
sort of power amplifier that works, and this can give people an altogether
exaggerated view of how deeply they understand what they have created.
In contrast, no-one is likely to take a ‘subjective’ approach to the design
of an aeroplane wing or a rocket engine; the margins for error are rather
smaller, and the consequences of malfunction somewhat more serious.
The Subjectivist position is of no help to anyone hoping to design a good
power amplifier. However, it promises to be with us for some further
time yet, and it is appropriate to review it here and show why it need not
be considered at the design stage. The marketing stage is of course another matter
"
post #275 of 3048
Arnyk, what is your position on high-end interconnects and/or speaker cabling? Is the ABX test still the most effective method in eliminating user bias? I remember in one of your debates with Stereophile editor John Wilkinson where he mentioned your ABX box possibly contaminating the results. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.
post #276 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

Arnyk, what is your position on high-end interconnects and/or speaker cabling?

Practical experience and theory says that high-end interconnects and/or speaker cabling are major wheel-spinning.
Quote:
Is the ABX test still the most effective method in eliminating user bias?

That depends on exactly what you are testing for. ABX is still the most sensitive way we know of to test for differences, but I must add some caveats about things like listener training and choice of program material.

There are other ways to do a good DBT than ABX and I am in agreement with several of the way they have been used. If preference, rather than a simple difference is what you want to know about, then ABC/hr is superior to ABX. Thing is that there are no valid preferences if there are no reliably audible differences, and ABX is easier on everybody than ABC/hr. It is all about the right tool for the job at hand and ABX is not the only good tool.

Listener training and choice of program material are absolutely critical to the sensitivity of any listening test. Just because someone is a high end reviewer or even an experienced ABX-er doesn't mean you can walk into a test cold turkey and get the best possible results. Application-specific training is a must. Furthermore, the world is full of equipment faults that will never be heard with some recordings, but might even be pretty obvious if you can come up with the right magic 10 seconds of the right recording.
Quote:
I remember in one of your debates with Stereophile editor John Wilkinson where he mentioned your ABX box possibly contaminating the results.

It is true that the means that are used for switching can reduce the sensitivity of any listening test. We spent several years engineering the ABX RM2 relay switch box:





I have never seen anything that even came close to doing what RM2 did very well. But, there are no guarantees in any real world experiment, and someone could screw up the works with a RM-2 or anything else.
Quote:
What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.

It is all about using the right tool for the job. When the job at hand involves subtle differences that may or may not be audible, it is hard to beat a well-implemented ABX test. Sighted evaluations and the kid's games that I see all of the high end reviewers playing don't even come close. IMO they are selling products, not testing them reliably. I see that their tests are generally positive for audible differences no matter what sort of hair-brained scheme they are involved with. That's not how the real world works - it runs hot and cold depending on which knob you turn.
post #277 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnky 
Listener training and choice of program material are absolutely critical to the sensitivity of any listening test. Just because someone is a high end reviewer or even an experienced ABX-er doesn't mean you can walk into a test cold turkey and get the best possible results.

"Listener training"? What does that entail? BTW, thank you for elaborating on the ABX/DB schemes. I've been a skeptic for decades but I've never conducted a proper ABX or DB test. I know that regardless whether differences exist (or not) the most likely scenario is that I will manufacture my own and the reason is due to the test being sighted, hence bias control is thrown out the window.

It never surprises me when a fellow skeptic says "yeah, I've never believed cables can make audible differences but just the other day I swopped this special interconnect at a friends house and I heard differences!?!", all the while the test was sighted and we know that that introduces it's own level of bias to the equation. Funny.
post #278 of 3048
Not sure if this has been posted, but :

http://www.head-fi.org/t/486598/testing-audiophile-claims-and-myths

Quite interesting. Basically all the ammo you'll ever need in a cable debate. biggrin.gif
post #279 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post


"Listener training"? What does that entail?

The short answer is "Whatever it takes'. ;-)

The first priority is finding program material that makes the differences as audible as it can possibly be.

After that, the best way to train listeners is to contrive a recording where the difference that exists and is of interest is as loud as it takes to be obvious. Then make a series of recordings that attenuate the difference in logical steps down to the real world level. Start the listeners out easy, and work them through the steps until they are hopefully getting reliable detection with the real world situation.

For example lets say that we know that a certain speaker cable attenuates the music by 1 dB @ 20 KHz but hardly at all at 10 KHz.

So first we find recordings that are rich in content at 20 KHz. but weak at 10 KHz. Obviously a recording that is like many, cut off at 15 KHz won't do for this test!

Then we roll out our audio production tools and produce a recording that is modified so that we have a test where in reality, the sound @ 20 Khz is down by 10 dB instead of just 1 dB. We produce another recording at 5 dB, and another at 2 dB. We start the listeners with the 10 dB recording and hopefully they breeze right though it, getting it perfectly like total pros. Then we work them down in steps to the real world situation. Some place along the way, reliable detection might disappear before we get to the real world test. Or not. We then know quite a bit of relevant information.
post #280 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
Then we roll out our audio production tools and produce a recording that is modified so that we have a test where in reality, the sound @ 20 Khz is down by 10 dB instead of just 1 dB. We produce another recording at 5 dB, and another at 2 dB. We start the listeners with the 10 dB recording and hopefully they breeze right though it, getting it perfectly like total pros. Then we work them down in steps to the real world situation. Some place along the way, reliable detection might disappear before we get to the real world test. Or not. We then know quite a bit of relevant information.

Seems like a hell of a lot of work to me. smile.gif
post #281 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post


There is no replacement for displacement

Presume this is about automotive, not audio.

If by displacement you mean cubic dollars, then yes!
post #282 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

Seems like a hell of a lot of work to me. smile.gif

If you are good at audio production and geared up to do this sort of thing, then it is maybe an hour's work, max.

Another technique is shown at Ethan's site, which involves passing the music through the same imperfect path of interest over and over again. That is more work, but now you're talking maybe two hours not one.

In subjective testing, an hour is nothing - you'll spend a lot more time just listening. 16 trials for starters, right?

Of course, these kinds of time and technology commitments shut down a lot of internet eggspurts! ;-)

IME golden earism is about spending lots of money, spending a few minutes hooking the new toy up, and then off to the purpose of the whole exercise: bragging rights!
post #283 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
Presume this is about automotive, not audio.

No, audio related. wink.gif
post #284 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

No, audio related. wink.gif

Within bounds, I disagree.

(1) We can now effectively trade efficiency for size with speakers, and size is pretty not much of an issue for just about everything else.

(2) Remember that a Sansa Clip+ is a full-function stereo FM receiver, digital music player and music library whose performance level is about the same as a mid-fi stereo receiver plus digital player. Its minuscule power output is really the only technical performance difference with any significance.
post #285 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
We can now effectively trade efficiency for size with speakers, and size is pretty not much of an issue for just about everything else.

What do you mean?
post #286 of 3048
I'm far too lazy to read this entire thread. I think the claims made by boutique speaker/gear/cable manufacturers are nearly all bs. I do not think there is any sort of conspiracy. People are just easily fooled.

I think it's just like jewelry. Extremely overpriced things that are shiny and pretty.
post #287 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
We can now effectively trade efficiency for size with speakers, and size is pretty not much of an issue for just about everything else.
What do you mean?

What is unclear about what I said?
post #288 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
What is unclear about what I said?

I'm trying to ascertain what you are disagreeing with in particular. For low bass frequencies it's a given you need swept displacement - the more the better, especially as frequencies decrease to be able to meet and exceed the threshold of audibility.
post #289 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

Arnyk, what is your position on high-end interconnects and/or speaker cabling? Is the ABX test still the most effective method in eliminating user bias? I remember in one of your debates with Stereophile editor John Wilkinson where he mentioned your ABX box possibly contaminating the results. What are your thoughts on this? Thanks.
In any such test, you have to accomplish two things:

1. Remove bias.

2. Make sure you are testing what you set out to test. That is, the test fixture must not change the comparison of interest. As an example, one method of checking the charge in a car battery is to subject it to a heavy load and see what its voltage is then. Well, the act of drawing such power from a battery reduces what energy was stored in it. So the act of measurement changed what we were trying to measure. In the case of car battery this is not a significant factor. But it might be in the instance you ask about. For that, here is a good discussion between JN and ArnyK:
Quote:
Originally Posted by jneutron View Post

Originally Posted by jneutron

""What is the return signal path for the inputs?""


Again, I ask the question...what is the return signal path for the inputs?


Clearly, I have to elaborate. With two unbalanced RCA's connecting a source to an amp, through whatever box...what is the return path for each channel's current?


What percentage of the return signal travels through the channel's shield, what percentage travels through the other channel's shield, and what percentage travels through the ground safety bond to the power outlet to the source unit?


At DC, the bulk of the return current is via the line cord ground for 3 pin units.

At mid audio frequencies, it is split 50/50 between IC shields.

At HF, the lowest impedance path is the channel's shield, 100%.


A basic tenet of EMC.
Then this: http://www.avsforum.com/t/1340051/seeking-education-about-those-ultra-expensive-interconnects/420#post_20601556

That technical discussion (around grounding issues) may be hard to follow but I am hoping this other argument is not. At some level, saying to use ABX switchboxes and such assumes an outcome and is circular in nature to the camp you are trying to convince. If one starts off with the belief that esoteric cables make a difference, then surely putting a switchbox in the middle upsets that apple cart completely and violates rule #2. The only way to assume it can't, is to believe that such differences do not exist. If they do not, what was the purpose of running the test? In other words, a Christian cannot prove God exists to an atheist by swearing on the bible! smile.gif You have to go into the test assuming the other outcome is just as valid. If so, then that makes the test fixture very hard to build.

BTW, I have done blind tests of interconnects using dual-output and dual-input device chain. I found some small differences that were quite repeatable and consistent. Whether the issue at hand is what JN says, I don't know. Content selection was important here as was the ability to loop on very small revealing segment and instant AB switching. The difference was not big enough for me to care so I use whatever cable I have handy.
post #290 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

I'm trying to ascertain what you are disagreeing with in particular. For low bass frequencies it's a given you need swept displacement - the more the better, especially as frequencies decrease to be able to meet and exceed the threshold of audibility.

The idea that I'm disagreeing with is the idea that the enclosure volume would have to be large for clean, extended, intense bass.
post #291 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

In any such test, you have to accomplish two things:
1. Remove bias.
2. Make sure you are testing what you set out to test. That is, the test fixture must not change the comparison of interest.

Merely well-known truisms that any careful practitioner would pay attention to.
Quote:
At some level, saying to use ABX switchboxes and such assumes an outcome and is circular in nature to the camp you are trying to convince.

This would be an assertion that is commonly heard from those who are biased against proven scence, not a proven fact.
Quote:
If one starts off with the belief that esoteric cables make a difference, then surely putting a switchbox in the middle upsets that apple cart completely and violates rule #2.

An obvious false claim that has been addressed a number of ways in the past.

(1) It is possible to compare cables in a DBT by means of a concealed person who plugs and unplugs cables in accordance with a secret, pre-written script. This was done by Larry Greenhill as assisted by the Audiophile Society of Westchester County (NY) in, if memory serves the 1980s. Details of the test and its results were published in The Audio Amateur magazine.

(2) It is not a given that a switchbox necessarily significantly alters the electrical properties of an interconnect or speaker cable.

Finally, it is my experience that the GE idea that the people who do carefully implemented listening tests are biased against the existence of audible differences is a common conceit of audiophiles and reviewers who advocate hyper-expensive cables.

We have to recognize the kind of mentality that one encounters when dealing with advocates of ultra high priced cables.

One such discussion went something like this:

Arny: "Don't you think that is possible to build a swtichbox that does not significantly alter the electrical properties of the cable run?

GE: "How do we know that the beautiful sound quality of these cables is due to their electrical properties?"
post #292 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
The idea that I'm disagreeing with is the idea that the enclosure volume would have to be large for clean, extended, intense bass.

You can work around enclosure size but you'll end up paying for it.
post #293 of 3048
Not sure if this has been covered, but concerning power cords - one manufacturer answers the question why adding a proper dedicated power cable can make a difference :

Quote:
One of the first questions people typically ask us is why the last 6 feet of power cable matters when typically there are hundreds of feet of power delivery wires feeding the AC to the wall socket in the first place. The answer is deceptively simple and can be addressed in two parts: the equipment is not at the end of the delivery system and most of the noise that degrades performance is generated by the equipment itself.

It is a common misconception that a piece of equipment is at the end of the power delivery chain when, in fact, it is actually in the middle of that chain. AC power has two conductors (ignoring the ground wire which is only for noise and safety) and power flows in a loop between the two conductors – your equipment sitting right in the middle of that loop. So the unit is not at the end of the chain, but rather in the middle and this is the area where the AC power is subjected to high levels of noise – and that noise can degrade the audio or video quality significantly.

The noise is actually generated by the equipment itself and for this reason, it is critically important that the last 6 feet of power delivery in the loop be extremely well shielded both internally (to the power cable) and externally (to the equipment). A stock power cable is perhaps the worst thing you can use to connect your equipment to the power as these are neither protected internally or externally and their construction does not support the reduction of complex interactions and noise generated by the equipment.


What do you guys think of that? biggrin.gif
post #294 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

Not sure if this has been covered, but concerning power cords - one manufacturer answers the question why adding a proper dedicated power cable can make a difference :
Quote:
Originally Posted by high end power cord source 
One of the first questions people typically ask us is why the last 6 feet of power cable matters when typically there are hundreds of feet of power delivery wires feeding the AC to the wall socket in the first place. The answer is deceptively simple and can be addressed in two parts: the equipment is not at the end of the delivery system and most of the noise that degrades performance is generated by the equipment itself.

It is a common misconception that a piece of equipment is at the end of the power delivery chain when, in fact, it is actually in the middle of that chain. AC power has two conductors (ignoring the ground wire which is only for noise and safety) and power flows in a loop between the two conductors – your equipment sitting right in the middle of that loop. So the unit is not at the end of the chain, but rather in the middle and this is the area where the AC power is subjected to high levels of noise – and that noise can degrade the audio or video quality significantly.

The noise is actually generated by the equipment itself and for this reason, it is critically important that the last 6 feet of power delivery in the loop be extremely well shielded both internally (to the power cable) and externally (to the equipment). A stock power cable is perhaps the worst thing you can use to connect your equipment to the power as these are neither protected internally or externally and their construction does not support the reduction of complex interactions and noise generated by the equipment.
What do you guys think of that? biggrin.gif

First and foremost, shielded power cords are commodity items. Here is a very nicely made one from a highly respected source:

"18GA AC 6' SHIELDED POWER CORD 13A STRAIGHT RECEPTACLE SJT Belden 3 Conductor Power Cords, Type: Beldfoil Shielded, Power Rating: 1625 W, Current Rating: 13 A, Length: 6 feet 7 , Cord: SJT, Features: Molded PVC grounding connector, PH-386, IEC 320-C-13, NEMA 5-15P molded vinyl grounding plug, UL, CSA listed"

Price: $12.35

http://www.mcmelectronics.com/product/23-495&scode=GS401&CAWELAID=240969702



So, if you need a shielded power cord, enjoy!

Secondly, a shielded power cord is a tacit admission that something is not exactly right with the piece of equipment it is being used with. Being sensitive to noise coming in through the power cord and/or pushing noise back through the power cord are equipment faults. Shielded power cords are band aids.

So, if you think that your audio gear is junky, this is the product for you!
post #295 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

You can work around enclosure size but you'll end up paying for it.

Not necessarily. The enclosure is often the most expensive single component of a subwoofer. The subwoofer driver may be only 25% of the total product cost. A large enclosure also has a very practical negative impact because it makes the product harder to situate in a room. Size has a significant marketing cost because it cuts WAF.
post #296 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
The enclosure is often the most expensive single component of a subwoofer. The subwoofer driver may be only 25% of the total product cost. A large enclosure also has a very practical negative impact because it makes the product harder to situate in a room. Size has a significant marketing cost because it cuts WAF.

I should have clarified. You are not necessarily paying in monetary terms, you are paying in the sense that you are introducing additional unwanted variables that could end up compromising the solution.

You can use a small box, but then you need a bigger driver with more swept displacement. You will need a bigger amp which means more heat, which means thermal compression may be a problem, potentially. Third and probably most important as it affects the other two listed issues is the fact you may need considerable EQ to shape the response curve which eats both woofer excursion and amplifier power, exacerbating the issues even further.

Look, it's a compromise, just like using a big box is a compromise in some way or another (low WAF), but there are fewer compromises, at least in my book.
post #297 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
First and foremost, shielded power cords are commodity items. Here is a very nicely made one from a highly respected source:

Okay, but power cords that are included in most commercial gear are already shielded, right?
post #298 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk 
The enclosure is often the most expensive single component of a subwoofer.

True in some cases, especially if we are discussing the bottom of the barrel subwoofer, but not true in other cases where the goal is high performance in mind. Do you want a small box but extended bass down to 20 Hz at realistic levels with low distortion? Then you will pay dearly for it.

The wood, cost-wise, is almost a non-issue in comparison.
post #299 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

Not sure if this has been covered, but concerning power cords - one manufacturer answers the question why adding a proper dedicated power cable can make a difference :

What do you guys think of that? biggrin.gif
That reads like something from Shunyata. Of all cable companies, I find them the best when it comes to putting forward somewhat plausible arguments. They also have reasonably priced products. For example, they have a power cable that is $99. For a specialty product, it is pretty reasonable.
post #300 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by goneten View Post

Okay, but power cords that are included in most commercial gear are already shielded, right?

Not so much.

IME, most manufacturers find it more economical and reliable to build equipment that works well with a plain vanilla power cable.

Over the years I built up quite a stash of power cables from equipment that I scrapped out for one reason or the other. A few years back I had a need for a bunch of power cables that were wired into a power distribution system, so I simply cut the unneeded plugs off of these cables I had collected, and put them back into use. In the process we came face to face with the inner construction of the cables. Only a tiny fraction were shielded.
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