Originally Posted by arnyk
In this particular case there is quite a bit of relevant science, and this guy is essentially claiming that it is all wrong. Given the other goof-ups he made prior to this, it is unlikely that he knows something that nobody else knows.
this topic started with sweeping statements like that so I'm not exactly surprised it continues.
what is the relevant science? what goof-ups?
let me give you an example. the Fletcher-Munson curves have been determined a long time ago, I think in the 30s. by looking at them one would assume there is a huge variation of tonality with SPL. of course there is some variance but it doesn't seem as high as the plots would indicate. why is that? because they used sines to determine them and (likely at neural level) the perception changes depending on program material. my ears tell me that and one of the papers I linked above confirms it.
having said that, my BS detectors tend to become alert whenever people claim that "all the relevant science is known".
Originally Posted by CruelInventions
Possibly a result of the unpredictability which is part and parcel of expectation bias, a more complicated phenomenon than the commonly over-simplified reduction to a, "more expensive/reputable = likely to sound better" assessment.
that may be true but IMO expectation bias is not less of a problem than the noise introduced by DBT. what I don't get is... how come expectation bias is taken from granted while the problems of DBTs are ignored off-hand?
Originally Posted by CruelInventions
In the case of someone rejecting expensive speaker cables and ICs but not power cords, given how the latter is also subject the same audible threshold detection limits as the former
and therefore not likely to be any audibly different either, my inclination would be that this divergence was simply the case of expectation bias manifesting itself in different ways for speaker cables/ICs vs power cords with that listener.
that is an assertion if I understand it correctly. are you saying that a power cable can't affect the sound in ways different than an IC or speaker cable? I disagree and have enough reasons to think the contrary. this doesn't in any way mean that a good power cable must be expensive.
the problem with DBT (I don't know if said it before and I don't care to reread the topic) is the way such tests are usually organized. a proper test is hard (expensive) to set up. the usual tests are botched. in my view a proper DBT should use experienced listeners with good hearing (not too old), the best equipment available in well-treated rooms, the music should be familiar and pre-exposure to the "DUT" should be allowed. also, the listening sessions should be long-enough but not too long so that fatigue doesn't set-in, the switching from A to B should be at the listeners altitude. and maybe most importantly, no outside pressure "c'mon, decide already" and a quiet room, not filled with people.
I think you agree that such a test would be very hard to set-up, not to mention tedious for both the listener and the test organizers.
what a "regular" DBT eliminates is obvious differences and that's all. with audio as well as with everything else the law of diminishing returns applies and with expensive gear the differences aren't exactly obvious. generally the 20/80 rule applies, as in you pay 20% of the price to get 80% of the results. if you want to get the remaining 1/4 of quality you need to pay 4 times more. of course, the question is, how does one measure perception to such a precise degree?
having read a number of scientific studies on psychoacoustics, one thing I can tell is that some don't seem to be properly set-up. many are done at universities, either by teachers or as part of PhDs etc. when did the average university gain access to good audio reproduction equipment? how does one assess differences when $10 PC speakers are used? and, sorry to be blunt, but if students are used for evaluating those differences, well... I think the average iPod listener is not exactly qualified. IME, on first exposure to a good stereo, most people seem rather confused and don't know exactly what to listen for. listening is partially an acquired skill.
of course there is another side to it. for instance pressure occurs when dealer borrows equipment to potential buyer, agreeing for a week of evaluation. after a couple of days dealer calls and say, you know, that's the last I have on stock and another guy showed interest, better make up your mind fast. maybe potential buyer came late from work and wasn't able to properly audition at revelant SPLs? so potential buyer either takes a rash decision and buys. or he refrains from buying and dealer says you know I lost another potential customer because I borrowed this to you. meaning that "next time there'll be no borrowing". yes, those guys are actually out to get your money and they know how, that's why they started the distribution business in the first place
of course I'm aware that such things happen but it's not always the case. for instance, I bought my current speakers after a week of evaluation in my home with no pressure involved.
but what's funny is that generally, and this likely includes most posters here, irrespective of the side they take and the price involved, the buying decision is not a result of a DBT, not even a botched one, but of short, sighted evaluation
what I'm trying to say is that one must be aware that there's always another side to the coin.
all this will likely be solved the moment we reach a thorough understanding of how our brain and hearing work. that'll be the moment when we know to what extent expectation bias influences our perception. also to what extend DBT introduces errors. it's obvious to me that in the year 2013 our understanding is primitive and there are more important things for science to determine. until that happens we'll continue having lots of Internet debates based on speculation.