or Connect
AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › Audio theory, Setup and Chat › Are audio companies all involved in a huge conspiracy?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Are audio companies all involved in a huge conspiracy? - Page 12

post #331 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Shouldn't the people who are ripped off being the ones that complain, and not the people who are not buying the message??? smile.gif We seem to be giving ourselves ulcers on these forums worrying about what the other guy will spend. It is not like this is like sales tax and we too have to pay that percentage too. Everyone is able to walk away from that pitch. Surely their souls need to be saved. No?
Just kidding. biggrin.gif OK, just a little. smile.gif

The topic of this thread is potential audio company conspiracy, it's about discussing the possibilities of it and not about "complaining". Your post, or rant, while colorful with neato pictures is basically irrelevant to the context. It is completely irrelevant to my post, which is how an industry accepted or "preached" formula can be used by snake oil vendors for their own gain. Big difference in 10% of a $10,000 system and 10% of a $100,000 system isn't there?

iPhones certainly don't cost $10k and they're useful to boot. Just about everyone in modern society has a cell phone, so we're talking billions, not millions of phones in the world. It's not inconceiveable that out of that, the big chunk of the 2 million, are people with expiring contracts, or with other phones that want to switch. There may be some element of upgrading simply for the sake of upgrading but it's far removed from Apple saying you "need" to spend a minimum 10% on accessories...
post #332 of 3048
I would hope in the 21st century the Scientific Method would be accepted without question. But alas, it is not. mad.gif

A short visual explanation



or

A longer explanation from wikipedia

Quote:
The scientific method (or simply scientific method) is a body of techniques for investigating phenomena, acquiring new knowledge, or correcting and integrating previous knowledge.[1] To be termed scientific, a method of inquiry must be based on empirical and measurable evidence subject to specific principles of reasoning.[2] The Oxford English Dictionary says that scientific method is: "a method or procedure that has characterized natural science since the 17th century, consisting in systematic observation, measurement, and experiment, and the formulation, testing, and modification of hypotheses."[3]
The chief characteristic which distinguishes a scientific method of inquiry from other methods of acquiring knowledge is that scientists seek to let reality speak for itself, supporting a theory when a theory's predictions are confirmed and challenging a theory when its predictions prove false. Although procedures vary from one field of inquiry to another, identifiable features distinguish scientific inquiry from other methods of obtaining knowledge. Scientific researchers propose hypotheses as explanations of phenomena, and design experimental studies to test these hypotheses via predictions which can be derived from them. These steps must be repeatable, to guard against mistake or confusion in any particular experimenter. Theories that encompass wider domains of inquiry may bind many independently derived hypotheses together in a coherent, supportive structure. Theories, in turn, may help form new hypotheses or place groups of hypotheses into context.
Scientific inquiry is generally intended to be as objective as possible in order to reduce biased interpretations of results. Another basic expectation is to document, archive and share all data and methodology so they are available for careful scrutiny by other scientists, giving them the opportunity to verify results by attempting to reproduce them. This practice, called full disclosure, also allows statistical measures of the reliability of these data to be established (when data is sampled or compared to chance).
post #333 of 3048
Quote:
If someone goes into an audio shop and the sales person says, "Listen to these cables, you'll hear (fill in the glorification here)", that's often what the customer hears. The cost of the product only substantiates the claim, and the published pseudo-science underscores it further. He buys the cables, takes them one, plunks them into his system and, fairly often, hears the same glorious improvements in his own system, at least for a while. If we apply science, we might think his perceptions are flawed, but to the happy customer they're his reality. How often a customer is happy with his new snake-oil purchase is probably related to how compelling the marketing, packaging, appearance, etc. Good snake-oil looks, feels, smells, tastes and yes, sounds good.
Whenever someone posts here asking, Will Cable X make my system sound better?, people like me chime in that it won't. But the truth is, it probably will make it sound better to him, just not for the reasons he thinks. I'm not inclined to change my answer, however.
Quote:
I'm fairly sure this discussion centers around saving people from buying expensive products that don't do what they're supposed to. But enclosed within that discussion is the concept of "saving people from themselves". You can't do it.
So true. The best you can do is give them information and let them decide to act or not act on it. Trouble is, the information space in the field is dominated by the "conspirators"—the audio companies, the audio dealers, the audio magazines—who don't just promise better sound but employ pseudoscience and half-truths to support those promises. We're just a tiny counterweight on the other side of that seesaw.
post #334 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

We're just a tiny counterweight on the other side of that seesaw.
My personal experience is that those that blindly accept the snake-oil are in the minority over all. I have not, for example, ever...EVER had a client request exotic speaker cables beyond my usual 12ga recommendations. I had a guy ask once, I gave him my explanation, and it never came up again.

I don't deal with the extreme high-end much, but some. I did have a client that already had the most expensive cables I've ever seen in person in an installation. 10' for about $1000. I just let it go, safer than taking a shot at it for the sake of science. His room was loaded with unbelievably expensive gear like monoblocks worth $50,000 each, speakers worth $60,000 each. Funny, I was hired to tune the system and there was a LOT wrong! But you could see why if he bought gear like that the 50 cents a foot wire wouldn't make him happy.

But I do deal with folks spending high-end money if not etherial high end systems, though. I've had several quote the scientific few to me! It seems to be more popular to debunk than to...well, Bunk...these days, probably because of Mythbusters etc.

I'm more hopeful, but the rare instance of the snake oil fan is disturbing. You just have to smile and let them be happy.
post #335 of 3048
Quote:
My personal experience is that those that blindly accept the snake-oil are in the minority over all.
That's likely true, given that only a small minority of people who buy audio gear are, in any sense, audiophiles. It's when you make the jump from, I just want something to play my tunes, to, How can I make this sound better?, that you are exposed to the snake oil, and the "arguments" for it.

OTOH, let's not forget that if you wander into Best Buy and ask for cables of any kind, you will be steered toward the most expensive products (naturally), and if you ask why spend more, you'll get the usual bulls**t. I don't know how hard the hard-sell is, but surely some percentage of non-audiophile Best Buy customers can be said to blindly accept the snake oil, too.
post #336 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

If someone goes into an audio shop and the sales person says, "Listen to these cables, you'll hear (fill in the glorification here)", that's often what the customer hears. The cost of the product only substantiates the claim, and the published pseudo-science underscores it further.

Yes, and the real issue for me is consumerism. Most people who fall prey to wire scams do not have unlimited funds, and genuinely want to know if what they've been told is true. That's who I write for, and hopefully they'll ask before they waste their money. It's unethical to sell someone a placebo-based product, whether they believe they benefited or not.

Also, a lot of this is driven by people who are not happy with the sound of their system, and are looking for ways to improve it without buying super-expensive speakers and amps etc. After all, if they were happy with the quality, they wouldn't be looking at these products. This is why threads about what affects quality and by how much are useful. Cable sellers would have people believe that cables account for at least 10-20 percent of a system's quality!

--Ethan
post #337 of 3048
Quote:
Most people who fall prey to wire scams do not have unlimited funds, and genuinely want to know if what they've been told is true.
I think what they most want to know is that they've put their money where it matters. That's the greatest harm that the snake oil peddler does—he misleads people into buying a weaker system than they could afford.
Quote:
It's unethical to sell someone a placebo-based product, whether they believe they benefited or not.
How would you feel about a pitch that went, "We can't give you a scientific explanation for why our cables would sound better, but lots of our customers think they do"? It's an absolutely true statement, and makes no phony claims.
post #338 of 3048
Things like some in the audio industry pushing the idea that a $20,000 component rack will somehow make your system sound better really woke me up to how much BS there is in the audiophile world... http://www.avisolation.com/

From what I understand - what we enjoy as the Hi-Fi market these days started off as a DIY hobby for enthusiasts that would collect parts from RadioShack and build their own components. This grew into small companies selling ready-made components to the general public. Kind of like how the PC market grew.

These days unfortunately, it seems like Hi-Fi has been hijacked by the 'it can only sound good only if it costs a lot of money' crowd. Of course this is a mindset that has been carefully nurtured by the boutique companies that stand to reap the rewards of such thinking.
post #339 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

OTOH, let's not forget that if you wander into Best Buy and ask for cables of any kind, you will be steered toward the most expensive products (naturally), and if you ask why spend more, you'll get the usual bulls**t. I don't know how hard the hard-sell is, but surely some percentage of non-audiophile Best Buy customers can be said to blindly accept the snake oil, too.

Yes, and Best Buy should be ashamed. Their customers are the folks that really fall prey, and when I talk to them and tell them what they should have spent on a 3' HDMI cable they almost cry, but some have taken the BB cable back for a refund, got it, and replaced them with lower cost cables. That experience is negative to the consumer, and it's been proven that a negative experience will be related about 10 times to others, but a positive experience related only about 3 times. That's pretty good fan-out! And a reason for us all to take heart. A close friend of mine was in a big box store looking at TVs, when the sales snoid tried to pitch him on a $65 HDMI cable. My friend said he had a friend who was a home theater custom installer and that I told him to not buy the expensive cables. The BB sales guy said, "Hang on to him, he's a good friend." That proves they know that they are doing. I'll be the company forces them to do that kind of thing or loose their job.

If somebody's really unhappy with the sound of their stuff, and the stuff itself isn't bad, I'd probably send them to Ethan for acoustic materials. Talk about bang for the buck that you can prove works!
post #340 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

If somebody's really unhappy with the sound of their stuff, and the stuff itself isn't bad, I'd probably send them to Ethan for acoustic materials. Talk about bang for the buck that you can prove works!

I would even suggest they head down to their local hardware store for a bail or two of acoustic insulation batts and DIY. That and get themselves/download a real time analyser and see what is actually going on.
post #341 of 3048
Quote:
I'll be the company forces them to do that kind of thing or loose their job.
Undoubtedly. Here's a great story about how big box retailers put pressure on their branches, and the store managers put pressure on their employees. Turns out that Staples judges managers on how many extras they tack onto a sale. So some store managers have told their employees not to sell a computer that's on sale unless the buyer is willing to take the extended warranty, too. Wouldn't surprise me in the least if Best Buy knew exactly how much money it made on wire with each component purchase.
post #342 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

Yes, and Best Buy should be ashamed. Their customers are the folks that really fall prey, and when I talk to them and tell them what they should have spent on a 3' HDMI cable they almost cry, but some have taken the BB cable back for a refund, got it, and replaced them with lower cost cables. That experience is negative to the consumer, and it's been proven that a negative experience will be related about 10 times to others, but a positive experience related only about 3 times. That's pretty good fan-out! And a reason for us all to take heart. A close friend of mine was in a big box store looking at TVs, when the sales snoid tried to pitch him on a $65 HDMI cable. My friend said he had a friend who was a home theater custom installer and that I told him to not buy the expensive cables. The BB sales guy said, "Hang on to him, he's a good friend." That proves they know that they are doing. I'll be the company forces them to do that kind of thing or loose their job.
I am a bit puzzled by the position you are taking here given the fact that you are in the business and know the true dynamics here. So it is clear for everyone else, let me tell a story.

A couple of years ago we were approached by one of the largest electronic distributors to buy flat panel TVs through them. The pitch was that they had them in stock and their warehouse was just five minutes from us so we could sell and fulfill from them. So far so good. I ask the rep what our *cost* would be relative to what the big box stores sold them on sale. His answer? It would be 10% higher! Let me repeat, our cost would be 10% higher than the customer price at a big box store. I asked him why. He said on sale items like that they will get manufacturer spiffs to sell them below even his cost. I asked how we were going to sell anything that way given how much customers prices shop these days. His answer was that we wouldn't unless we sold an extended warranty and a premium cable with the said TV. So we would lose money on the TV but make it up with these products. We did not accept his offer and today we let the customer buy his flat panel or charge him a nominal fee to buy it for him if he wants us to. We don't sell any premium cables either. It simply is not the way we do business.

The thing you want to take away from this is that the reason the cable (and extended service agreements) exists is because of us! Yes, all of us. We have become such bargain shoppers that we have pushed the retail prices below cost. We price shop everything to death and forever want the best deal. In doing so, we have left no choice but for the retailers to sell these other bits to make a cent or else close their doors. For every audiophile who buys a fancy cable, there are thousands and thousands of people who walk out with a TV under one arm and a Monster cable in the other. And the piece of paper with that useless extended warranty.

We have distorted the market economics to death and then come here and complain about retailers pushing for cables and warranties. Well, look to yourself smile.gif. That is where the problem is. It really is. Audiophiles could stop buying cables tomorrow and it won't make a bit of difference in total market size for premium cables. And it is not limited to audio. I went to buy a car for my son. Once we decided to purchase it, the finance guy started his game of selling the extended warranty. "Sir, do you know how many computers this car has? It has N number of them. And the main thing that breaks down in these cars is the computer. " I kid you not. He is telling me now that I am assured to have a computer go bad in this car. It took 30 minutes to get him past it. Was it pleasant? Nope. But having walked into the dealership with their costs in hand and negotiated for an hour for the best deal, I knew that was coming and there was no way around it.
Quote:
If somebody's really unhappy with the sound of their stuff, and the stuff itself isn't bad, I'd probably send them to Ethan for acoustic materials. Talk about bang for the buck that you can prove works!
Sadly, there is as much if not more fraudulent money robbing products sold in acoustic industry as there is in wires. Have you ever seen any double blind tests of any acoustic products? Have you? I assume not. Does bias take a back seat when it comes to acoustic products? We are sold on and act on graphs that don't represent how we hear. And products that can make the experience worse, not better. It puzzles me how they constantly get a free pass on this front. Not only that, folks guilt people into buying acoustic products. "What? You are going to buy a new amp but have no acoustic treatment in your room?" Never mind that the guy does not know what to buy and is being given completely incorrect and conflicting information on what to buy and where to put it. Person is almost ordered to go and buy acoustic treatment for his room or he is not a card carrying audiophile or member of the science camp. Tell the folks advocating such that you may not need much of anything in a typical living room and they will be up in arms. "It can't be" according to them.

Get a copy of the current issue of Widescreen Review Magazine where I show how current the common wisdom is in room acoustics can be totally wrong. How we routinely violate listening test results and research when we buy and deploy acoustic products. If you waste money on a cable, you just lose money. If you waste money on acoustic products, you not only lose money but wind up screwing up your room decor to boot. Yet we encourage people to go in this direction as if they can't do wrong. Well, they can smile.gif.

So please don't send people to a site with an anxious electronic shopping cart of acoustic products just waiting to empty their pockets. Send them to a class by an expert first who can teach them the real science of acoustics and not folklore read online. If they can't or won't do that, then they should hire someone to do the work for them.

BTW, I apologize for picking on your post smile.gif. Your previous post was a good one and I am simply using this one to make these additional points.
post #343 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Not only that, folks guilt people into buying acoustic products. "What? You are going to buy a new amp but have no acoustic treatment in your room?"

Well that doesn't come from the high-end audio retail sector. Heck, the high-end audio shops in my country don't even carry room treatment products. It's either DIY or pay huge sums of money for freight from overseas.

What you are talking about is more advice from other enthusiasts. Like don't be fussing with expensive cables trying to get the sound improvements you want... but experiment with room orientation and speaker and listening position placement and possibly room treatments as well. Even if that is just putting drapes up over that large window.

Of course a lot of that is something that the person can do for free - albeit at the expense of some time and learning curve. But since this isn't something that can be boxed up and sold to a customer, the audio industry downplays this aspect and instead focuses on - "buy our $$$ amp/$$$ component rack/$$$ cables and you will achieve audio perfection".

It's like what I was getting at before... that it seems like the "high-end" has hijacked Hi-Fi and turned it into nothing more than buying the most expensive bits of gear that your budget will allow. What about the fun and satisfying DIY aspect of learning and making improvements to the audio experience for yourself?
post #344 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

The thing you want to take away from this is that the reason the cable (and extended service agreements) exists is because of us! Yes, all of us. We have become such bargain shoppers that we have pushed the retail prices below cost. We price shop everything to death and forever want the best deal.
You say this like it's something that just recently happened, but in fact, people have been shopping things to death for thousands of years. Bargaining hunting didn't start with flat screen TV, it started with commerce. It's part of how it works. The only difference today is "reach", a consumer has more tools to get his answers faster. My folks subscribed to Consumer Reports 50 years ago so they could buy wisely.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post


In doing so, we have left no choice but for the retailers to sell these other bits to make a cent or else close their doors. For every audiophile who buys a fancy cable, there are thousands and thousands of people who walk out with a TV under one arm and a Monster cable in the other. And the piece of paper with that useless extended warranty.
We have distorted the market economics to death and then come here and complain about retailers pushing for cables and warranties. Well, look to yourself smile.gif. That is where the problem is. It really is.
Again, there are two sides to any transaction, the buyer and the seller. Both have their rules and desires, but want to end up with the best possible deal. Consumers don't set prices, retailers do. In fact, there are only two instances I can think of where the consumer sets the price, and one is an auction. The other is where a consumer does something illegal. No, it's the cut-throat retailer that has dropped his price to increase revenue volume at the expense of profit. Consumers just shop for the best price. Just look at the last quarter report from Best Buy: lots of volume, not so much profit. They're selling cell phones, now that the TV market has saturated. And if you think there's no margin on TVs, take a look at cell phones once.

The entire thing is driven by greed on both sides, but the last influence level is the consumer, the first is the manufacturer with the retailer and others in the middle. We made this fantastic technology and it cost us a bundle to make it, so the only way we can make our product recover the development and marketing costs is to sell it with tiny margins so that it's reachable by more people and make our money on volume. That model works great for fast food, not so great for technology.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post


Audiophiles could stop buying cables tomorrow and it won't make a bit of difference in total market size for premium cables.
Good observation, but not true when you look at what cables audiophiles buy vs what premium cables are sold with a TV or BD player. The high-end market is specific, a niche, not shared with big box marketing except possible for certain brand names. The products and prices are different.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post


Sadly, there is as much if not more fraudulent money robbing products sold in acoustic industry as there is in wires. Have you ever seen any double blind tests of any acoustic products? Have you? I assume not. Does bias take a back seat when it comes to acoustic products? We are sold on and act on graphs that don't represent how we hear. And products that can make the experience worse, not better. It puzzles me how they constantly get a free pass on this front. Not only that, folks guilt people into buying acoustic products. "What? You are going to buy a new amp but have no acoustic treatment in your room?" Never mind that the guy does not know what to buy and is being given completely incorrect and conflicting information on what to buy and where to put it. Person is almost ordered to go and buy acoustic treatment for his room or he is not a card carrying audiophile or member of the science camp. Tell the folks advocating such that you may not need much of anything in a typical living room and they will be up in arms. "It can't be" according to them.
As someone in the industry, your opinion now puzzles me! I never implied people should just buy fuzz and stick it everywhere, I made a specific reference. I doubt you're taking a shot at him, right? Look, there's opportunities for scam everywhere. You might focus on acoustics today, but tomorrow it's something else. If people just order 1" foam on the internet and stick it wherever, then yes, they have probably screwed up. But if they're working with one of us, that's you or me, wouldn't we make every attempt at steering them right? Please don't generalize, or you'll point your finger at every single product, principle, or discipline as a potential for needless spending.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post


Get a copy of the current issue of Widescreen Review Magazine where I show how current the common wisdom is in room acoustics can be totally wrong. How we routinely violate listening test results and research when we buy and deploy acoustic products. If you waste money on a cable, you just lose money. If you waste money on acoustic products, you not only lose money but wind up screwing up your room decor to boot. Yet we encourage people to go in this direction as if they can't do wrong. Well, they can smile.gif.
"We" don't encourage people in this direction as if they can do no wrong, not in acoustic treatment, or in cabling, or in anything else. Again with the generalization.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post


So please don't send people to a site with an anxious electronic shopping cart of acoustic products just waiting to empty their pockets. Send them to a class by an expert first who can teach them the real science of acoustics and not folklore read online. If they can't or won't do that, then they should hire someone to do the work for them.
Again, I'm surprised by this statement from an industry expert. Really?? Send them to a class by an expert? What class would that be? That's just a tiny impractical step away from reality. Nobody's going to a class on acoustics so they can do it themselves, assuming there were such classes available to them.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post


If they can't or won't do that, then they should hire someone to do the work for them.
Ah, finally, something we agree on. But again, the fact that they should doesn't mean they will. The greater number won't, and I'm sure you know that.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post


BTW, I apologize for picking on your post smile.gif. Your previous post was a good one and I am simply using this one to make these additional points.

It's ok, man. It's what you do.
post #345 of 3048
Quote:
We have distorted the market economics to death and then come here and complain about retailers pushing for cables and warranties. Well, look to yourself . That is where the problem is.
Well, sorta. Nobody's holding a gun to retailers' heads and saying, this is how you have to price your products. They do it this way because they've determined they can make the most money this way, which is fine. Staples can make more selling 50 laptops with extended warranties than 100 laptops without them, so that's what they do. Best Buy makes the same decision on TVs.

And there's nothing wrong with that.* What's wrong is the display at Best Buy comparing the Monster component cable to the generic composite cable to show that Monster brand cables are better than generic cables. It's not what they sell that's the fraud; it's how they sell it.

*There is something wrong with Staples stores pretending they're out of stock on the laptop unless the customer wants the extended warranty. If that's the deal, that's what the advertising circular should say.
post #346 of 3048
Most if not all states have laws against bait and switch.
post #347 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

As someone in the industry, your opinion now puzzles me!

Again, I'm surprised by this statement from an industry expert. Really??
In case you're not aware, he is notorious for making things up as he goes.
post #348 of 3048
I have said it before here many times and I will say it again....

I think the FTC (yes Federal Trade Commission, not FCC) needs to step in like they did with other consumer products. Some of these sales tactics are just downright fraud.

1) Best Buy setting up a kiosk pitching their calibration services. One TV is fed HD and the other SD! This was exposed and documented, look for it.

2) Monster setting up another kiosk with an A/B switch comparing a 50 foot roll of their 14 or 16ga speaker wire to a roll of generic 24ga wire.

Some will cry "buyer beware". But no consumer can be expected to be an expert in all fields nor is it reasonable to expect them to do and understand the research on highly technical subjects. That's why big brother needs to step in and set advertising standards like they did with the food industry.

And I think we are close to that. There is room for technical argument with analog cables. But some of these HDMI cable claims are absolute fraud. And everybody needs at east one HDMI cable to hook up a TV these days. So here we need some oversight.

IMO!
post #349 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Sadly, there is as much if not more fraudulent money robbing products sold in acoustic industry as there is in wires. Have you ever seen any double blind tests of any acoustic products? Have you? I assume not.

Does bias take a back seat when it comes to acoustic products?

Not only that, folks guilt people into buying acoustic products.....

Tell the folks advocating such that you may not need much of anything in a typical living room and they will be up in arms....

First off I will say that just like cable vendors there are definitely acoustic treatment vendors that I feel are gouging with the cost of their products. But it's easy enough to shop around, or make your own treatments.
( I frequently see Ethan contributing to DIY treatment threads, but I don't recall ever seeing anyone from Monster or JPS labs helping people to build their own cables.)

Having said that, the overwhelming majority of recommendations I see on these forums are never in a "guilting" tone like snake oil salesmen use, and it's always in the context of the whole system, not just the treatments. It's rare that speaker and sub placement etc isn't also in the conversation for instance.

I also have no idea where you're running into these people who would argue that a normal room might not suffice, I certainly haven't come across any. Most of the discussions I've read in the various forums a far more practical, and often mention the WAF and its' limitations. I've never heard a cable pusher take into account how those "arc welder" leads will look in a room.

The other thing about room treatments, which can be bad if done incorrectly as you suggest, is that the impact they have is generally tangible. Without having to have golden ears or training either. It doesn't take much more than clapping your hands to tell how lively a room is, and what difference a throw rug can make to that hand clap. There is no cable on this planet that can duplicate that much of an acoustic difference that I've experienced.
Edited by rnrgagne - 9/22/12 at 9:51am
post #350 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

Again, I'm surprised by this statement from an industry expert. Really?? Send them to a class by an expert? What class would that be? That's just a tiny impractical step away from reality. Nobody's going to a class on acoustics so they can do it themselves, assuming there were such classes available to them.
You don't know what classes there are in this area??? The class I have in mind is offered in three parts at CEDIA conference once a year (ESD 301, ESD 302 and ESD 303). It was just on a few weeks ago. I know some members from here went to it and I paid for my son to go and take it as his first introduction to this area. They are taught by Dr. Toole and in just a day and half, you get the knowledge and wisdom he has earned in 40 years of being in this business. You will learn more about audio in this much time than you have spent years hanging around this forum. Yes, the class is not free. It will cost you a few hundred dollars for the tuition and the you would have to pay to get there. Next year it is in Denver so travel is more convenient. Tony Grimani also teaches a class that is much shorter (around 4 hours from what I recall) at CEDIA and hence costs less to attend. The course number for that is ESD031. While he does not get into the research side of things, he does cover the high level version. Tony if you don't know him, is probably the top five theater designer in US, usually doing projects in hundreds of thousands of dollars.

If you want a much cheaper and immediate answer, everything Dr. Toole teaches is condensed in his book: Sound Reproduction: The Acoustics and Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms [Paperback]: http://www.amazon.com/Sound-Reproduction-Acoustics-Psychoacoustics-Loudspeakers/dp/0240520092/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1348330436&sr=8-3&keywords=toole. It is dense reading at times (especially the proof points that draw from other technical papers) although designed for everyone to be able to understand it if you work hard enough at it. Despite the thick volume it is, you can skip to the right sections (e.g. ignore the large room acoustics). If you are going to buy just one book in audio, this would be it. This one would set you back $42.

If you don't want to spend any money and intense concentration reading of the above book requires, you can read my version of his teachings smile.gif. I have written a series of articles for WSR magazine that is based on that teaching and plan to keep doing so in the future. This was the first installment: http://www.madronadigital.com/Library/BassOptimization.html. Note that despite all the improvements that are demonstrated there in sound acoustics of the room, not one piece of acoustic material is used! Read it and then let me know if you think it is still wise to send people shopping first, then educate them second smile.gif. I have written two other follow up articles to that. One that came out a few weeks ago and was on the psychoacoustics of room noise. The other is on perceptual effects of first reflections in the room and so called comb filtering. This one is on newsstands now. It again shows why you don't want to rush to wallpaper your room with acoustic material based on what you think is right rather than the science and research data of what we hear. I plan to put up the former online once I reformat it from print (probably in week or so). For the latter, it will be a while until the issue is out of print. For now, if you buy the book, then you will be able to use my article as a high level guide to navigate you through the concepts there.
Quote:
Ah, finally, something we agree on. But again, the fact that they should doesn't mean they will. The greater number won't, and I'm sure you know that.
Well, that is his choice indeed. I am addressing the advice you said you were going to give him and trying to impact that. You can’t send someone to change his engine valve timing without worrying that doesn't know how to open the hood first smile.gif. The notion that all things in audio are simple is just wrong. To wit, the title of my last acoustic article in WSR is: "it is not simple!" Just because something makes sense in our belly doesn't mean that is how audio works. Here is another example of that: http://www.madronadigital.com/Library/DigitalAudioJitter.html. The title of that article is "Digital Audio: The Possible and Impossible." It actually ties into this thread because it discusses cables. The so called “impossible” things are what every digital audio designer knows or else they can’t design a functioning piece of equipment. So no, personally I would never send a person to go and buy acoustic products as to save them from saving money on cables. You would take him from one ditch and throw him in a deeper one smile.gif.
post #351 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

You would take him from one ditch and throw him in a deeper one smile.gif.
amirm, as much as you want to lump the two together for the sake of your marketing in disguise for your store, those two are different type of ditches. Acoustic treatment ditch deals with real weak link in audio setup and cable ditch doesn't.
post #352 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

That's the greatest harm that the snake oil peddler does—he misleads people into buying a weaker system than they could afford.

Yes, that too.
Quote:
How would you feel about a pitch that went, "We can't give you a scientific explanation for why our cables would sound better, but lots of our customers think they do"? It's an absolutely true statement, and makes no phony claims.

That's still dishonest because either 1) they know their products are ineffective even though some customers believe it, or 2) they're incompetent and actually believe their own BS. The real issue of course is the frailty of hearing perception. People are susceptible to suggestion, and often believe the sound improved even when it didn't. I see the same testimonials in ads for health "supplement" products. I'm sure some people believe they have more "energy and stamina" after taking those placebo pills. And "supports a healthy immune system" is impossible to disprove without a controlled test of thousands of subjects. Who does that in their own home?

--Ethan
post #353 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

Sadly, there is as much if not more fraudulent money robbing products sold in acoustic industry as there is in wires.

I certainly hope you're not including me in that sweeping generalization. Yes, there are fraudulent acoustic product suppliers, and I exposed one of them with hard data on my company's Product Data page. There are also acoustic products that are total BS, like the small sake cup "resonators" and half dollar-sized magic disks. But most acoustic vendors are honest, and their products work. As opposed to most wire vendors whose products may "work" okay, but are priced 10-1000x more than they're worth.
Quote:
Have you ever seen any double blind tests of any acoustic products?

Double-blind tests are needed only for products / situations where an improvement is not obvious or is commonly disputed. Say you have two speaker wires that are both thick enough to pass the required current, and they both measure the same at audio frequencies, yet some people believe they sound different anyway. In that case a blind test will tell for certain if anyone really hears a difference. This is not the case with acoustic products where the audible difference is obvious, and hard data - both lab and in situ - clearly shows the improvement in frequency response and decay times. The Data page linked above clearly shows the effectiveness of RealTraps products, and our Hearing is Believing video lets people hear the difference. If you feel the need for a blind test, close your eyes when the video gets to that section. biggrin.gif

Believing that a blind test is needed to hear the difference between an untreated room with 30+ dB nulls versus a treated room, is like believing a blind test is needed to know if the sound got worse with both tweeters disconnected. Even uneducated listeners can hear the enormous improvement from a properly treated room. Amir, it's tempting to chastise you because this is at least the third time I've explained to you why blind tests are not needed with products that make an obvious and measurable difference. But instead I'll thank you for giving me the opportunity to stamp out yet another instance of audiophile nonsense.
Quote:
So please don't send people to a site with an anxious electronic shopping cart of acoustic products just waiting to empty their pockets. Send them to a class by an expert first who can teach them the real science of acoustics and not folklore read online. If they can't or won't do that, then they should hire someone to do the work for them.

Whew, I'm glad the RealTraps web site doesn't have a shopping cart. Now I know you're not talking about us! But this is a great opportunity to explain another important difference between acoustic treatment vendors. When customers deal with a vendor who is expert with acoustics, as my team is, they get advice just as good as from an independent consultant. Heck, in my experience, many consultants and designers barely understand the basics. Hence all the beautiful and expensive rooms we see in magazine photos that obviously have terrible sound because there's inadequate treatment. I lost count of all the "pro designed" rooms we've had to fix over the years. Very few audiophiles care enough to take a class. They just want a solution that's guaranteed to be effective. When customers ask us if they should hire a consultant to work out their treatment, I always explains that we do this for free as part of our service. If they hire a consultant they'll get the same (or lesser) advice, and they'll still need to buy the treatment. So in that case the cost of a consultant is just money out the window. Of course, a good audio consultant will recommend audio and video gear as well as acoustics, though we often do that too.

--Ethan
post #354 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post

Double-blind tests are needed only for products / situations where an improvement is not obvious or is commonly disputed.
Just because there are obvious differences, it doesn't mean they are in the direction that we think they are. The change may very well have made things worse yet we might think it is better because we spent the money on something we think should improve things. I wish bias took a back seat when there are differences but it doesn't. Let's look at concrete experimentation data we have on speakers where no one disputes there are differences between them: http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2009/04/dishonesty-of-sighted-audio-product.html

"The Dishonesty of Sighted Listening Tests

A Blind Versus Sighted Loudspeaker Experiment
This question was tested in 1994, shortly after I joined Harman International as Manager of Subjective Evaluation [1]. My mission was to introduce formalized, double-blind product testing at Harman. To my surprise, this mandate met rather strong opposition from some of the more entrenched marketing, sales and engineering staff who felt that, as trained audio professionals, they were immune from the influence of sighted biases. Unfortunately, at that time there were no published scientific studies in the audio literature to either support or refute their claims, so a listening experiment was designed to directly test this hypothesis. The details of this test are described in references 1 and 2.

A total of 40 Harman employees participated in these tests, giving preference ratings to four loudspeakers that covered a wide range of size and price. The test was conducted under both sighted and blind conditions using four different music selections."


Here are the results for sighted versus blind:

BlindVsSightedMeanLoudspeakerRatings.png

And

BlindVsSightedPositionInteractions.png

We see that the ranking changed significantly once we took away knowledge of what was being tested, even though significant sonic differences existed between speakers. So your precondition for not needing blind listening tests simply does not hold water. Since you are so vested in your own products, maybe you think they make an improvement when they don't. Maybe they make things worse. That is why we do blind tests.
Quote:
This is not the case with acoustic products where the audible difference is obvious, and hard data - both lab and in situ - clearly shows the improvement in frequency response and decay times.
Sorry but I don't play music and put a microphone and a measurement tool in the room and leave and let them do the listening for me. biggrin.gif It matters not that you pleased a meter. It matters if you please my ears. I have two of them last I checked. And each hears a different waveform. The brain interprets those differing signals and that is what I hear. This is the thesis of my last article in WSR. How so much acoustic material is sold on the basis of graphs which show the exact opposite conclusions relative to science of our hearing and actual listening tests. I go through a number of such studies so it is not just an opinion I throw out. You hear the same if you listened to Dr. Toole and countless other research work he draws upon. Including people like Dave Clark who are famous for his many blind tests of amps and such.
Quote:
Believing that a blind test is needed to hear the difference between an untreated room with 30+ dB nulls versus a treated room, is like believing a blind test is needed to know if the sound got worse with both tweeters disconnected. Even uneducated listeners can hear the enormous improvement from a properly treated room.
How do you know what you have done is the best use of money? What if I can do even better with possibly less material? What if I can do better with different material? There is no data on your web site showing whether I am better off putting an absorber, a diffuser, or nothing on my side wall. Yes, you have some graphs. But per above, I am not trying to please the microphone.
Quote:
Amir, it's tempting to chastise you because this is at least the third time I've explained to you why blind tests are not needed with products that make an obvious and measurable difference. But instead I'll thank you for giving me the opportunity to stamp out yet another instance of audiophile nonsense.
So now measurable difference is all we need? We don't need to know if they correlate with better sound?
Quote:
But this is a great opportunity to explain another important difference between acoustic treatment vendors. When customers deal with a vendor who is expert with acoustics, as my team is, they get advice just as good as from an independent consultant. Heck, in my experience, many consultants and designers barely understand the basics. Hence all the beautiful and expensive rooms we see in magazine photos that obviously have terrible sound because there's inadequate treatment. I lost count of all the "pro designed" rooms we've had to fix over the years. Very few audiophiles care enough to take a class. They just want a solution that's guaranteed to be effective. When customers ask us if they should hire a consultant to work out their treatment, I always explains that we do this for free as part of our service. If they hire a consultant they'll get the same (or lesser) advice, and they'll still need to buy the treatment. So in that case the cost of a consultant is just money out the window. Of course, a good audio consultant will recommend audio and video gear as well as acoustics, though we often do that too.--Ethan
Unfortunately some of that free advice is wrong Ethan. And it is not me that is saying it but top experts in the industry. You have a video for example where you talk down competing products such as polycylindrical diffusers. Here is a snapshot of it:

i-tKC7JZn-XL.jpg

The proper use of such a diffuser is to put random distance between the tubes. Here is the difference in performance doing it your way:

i-TpFtTg5-X2.png
As you see, you completely destroy the performance of such a product as soon as you stack them next to each other as your video does (i.e. sharp reduction in diffusion in lower frequencies). Where did the above graph and admonishment to use them correctly come from? Dr. Toole's book. Which itself draws from Dr. D'Antonio's research and measurements. That is why I suggest people go there and learn these things first before showing up at your shop. There are just too many ways you can go wrong here when you go to a manufacturers web site for acoustic knowledge.

I want to be fair and say that I don't think at all that you intend to deceive people. And you do try to educate people. It is just that you have acoustic beliefs that are in dispute and the other side backs it with solid evidence such as above. I hear you say you are more right than them. I do smile.gif. Problem you have is that you don't have the data they have to demonstrate it. As an advocate of listening tests I find out very odd.

BTW, here is a fun video showing how sinister bias can be:
post #355 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

What if I can do even better with possibly less material? What if I can do better with different material?
There is no data on your web site showing whether I am better off putting an absorber, a diffuser, or nothing on my side wall. Yes, you have some graphs. But per above, I am not trying to please the microphone.

The simple answer is then do it.
You are throwing out the baby with the bathwater with your response. Put a pair of speakers in the middle of an empty room and everything you do from there is dealing with room acoustics and is a form of acoustic treatment. You know, or you should know that every room is different so it would be a waste of bandwidth to try to suggest what would be best at anyone's side wall let alone yours. (Although with enough information you could probably come up with a reasonable model to get fairly close.)

When treating a room, I suppose you could tailor it to your own specific ears if you're the only one ever listening in that room, but I think for most normal applications using measuring tools to tune accepted general standards makes a heck of a lot more sense.
post #356 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by diomania View Post

In case you're not aware, he is notorious for making things up as he goes.

Yes, I got that now. He seems to like me as his target too. I must have a big red circle on my back.
post #357 of 3048
OK, Amirm. I'll give this one more volley.
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

You don't know what classes there are in this area???
Yip, I thank I heard tell of them thar classes. And I even heard of that there CEDIA thang (geez! Insert toothless grin here). Ah even done gone to a couple of them CEDIA thangs. They might coulda been just a tad over my simple head, but ah thank ah remembers seein' a whole passel of flashin' lights.... But thanks fer tellin' all them folks I'm so dumb.

You've blown this all out of proportion...once again. Emphasis on "blown". My point, if you care to see it, is this: Suggesting that my clients go attend classes in acoustics is, well, dumb. Bad business. Bad salesmanship. Insulting. Demeaning. Need I go on? If you wanted to have a house built and your builder insisted you go to carpenter, plumber, or electrical school, what would you think? I'm not suggesting clients travel miles and miles to go to a "trade-only" convention to take classes. Now, if there were a seminar in their home town, perhaps, if they were really interested, but really now, does that ever happen in real life? Or even your life? Yes, I know of Tool, read the book, taken the classes, met Tony, etc. That's part of why I do what I do and my clients hire me as an expert instead of doing it themselves and screwing things up.

Ah even done gone an done that THX thang. Ah gotta THX badge here somewheres....lemme look fer it a spell...prolly left er pret near mah NASCAR cap.
.
I'm not even going to bother quoting or responding to the rest of your most recent attempt at self aggrandizement. Oh sorry, I guess I'd have to select just one. Just not worth the trouble.

And my, aren't we off track here?

Look, you want to shoot? Let me set up some cans for you. Wait a second...almost done... Ok, here you go. Ready. Aim. Fire at will.

• Expensive cables are worth the money. Every penny.

• If you place a brick on your AVR it sounds better.

• If you orient your AVR so it's pointed north, it sounds better. Especially with expensive cables. And the brick.

• If you replace your power cord with one that costs $1000, it cleans up your sound/picture/marriage/whatever. Goes great with the other cables. And the brick.

• Records are more accurate that digital recordings of any kind (that outta get him going!)

• Size does matter

• If you play Revolution #9 backwards you find out which Beatle died first.


How's that? Any other targets you want to shoot at? Or do I still have that big red dot on my back? Would it help if I put the antler hat back on?

By the way, do your publishers know you engage in all this kind of childish bickering? Wouldn't they be afraid it might undermine your credibility? And theirs?

Ooops! Too late!

Duck-N-Cover!

Ker-POW!

And I might get booted off this forum for this post. I just don't care anymore.
post #358 of 3048
^^ I LOL'd.
post #359 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

... And I might get booted off this forum for this post. I just don't care anymore.

Some AVS forums are more loose than others. biggrin.gif
post #360 of 3048
Quote:
Originally Posted by has7738 View Post

He seems to like me as his target too. I must have a big red circle on my back.
One way to find out if you really debunked him or not is through his reactions. He will come after you and tries to discredit you in any way he thinks he can, even by making things up if you debunk his marketing in disguise. In your case, your debunking work was very good, as seen from his replies. Others have dealt with such target on their back as well, arnyk, Ethan Winer, jinjuku, Bigus, ...etc, just to name a few.
He even "shot" me as well:
Quote:
Originally Posted by amirm View Post

At least what I sell makes music. Yours only makes noise.

Edited by diomania - 9/23/12 at 9:51am
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Audio theory, Setup and Chat
AVS › AVS Forum › Audio › Audio theory, Setup and Chat › Are audio companies all involved in a huge conspiracy?