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post #91 of 227 Old 04-11-2015, 03:36 PM
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Oh, one more thing about the HK blind-speaker tests, and speakers designed using the resources of the NRC...

I've been aware of the "NRC" school of testing and design for many years. And much of it makes empirical sense to me.
And by "NRC" I generally mean speakers designed with a sort of "NRC" lineage, in terms of using the facilities and taking off from the type of tests that have shown certain loudspeaker parameters to be "more pleasing " than others.

And yet, the weird thing is, very few of the "NRC" school speakers have ever appealed to me! Examples being: PSB, Paradigm, Energy, Mirage, and more recently Definitive Technology. I've owned PSB and Paradigm speakers (given to me for work at certain points), listened to the others in many set ups. And they generally have left me unmoved, cold. The main reason that I think I identify is that although many of them sound "pleasant" insofar as sounding fairly full, easy to listen to, etc, they rarely sound "real."

I place high value on a system that presents me with the impression that is accurate to, or at least consonant with, the timbral
qualities of real voices and acoustic instruments. I'm not claiming to be some objective machine carrying around some perfect replica of "real sound" in my head, by which to make objective claims. But I do habitually take note of the sound of real voices and instruments, comparing them to reproduced sound, and noting the deficiencies in reproduced sound (I've also done various live instruments vs their recorded counterparts through speakers, checking out the differences). The most typical (and depressing) difference I find in stereo systems is the lack of timbral realism - voices, acoustic instruments etc - tend to have an electronic quality, their timbres sort of "grayed out" into a homogenous tone overlaid by the speaker or system. And in general, there is a sort of "canned" quality to everything immediately identifiable from the real thing. "Could I mistake the acoustic guitar through this speaker for a real guitar? Not at all, it's different in too many ways."

When I close my eyes in front of someone playing a real acoustic guitar, a cello, a violin, a trombone, I am astonished at the
sound - the timbral rainbow of colors it produces in my mind, the richness, the SIZE and presence with a combination of utterly unforced "detail" and "ease" to the sound. Reproduced versions just sound black and white, utterly reduced, mechanical, in comparison.

And yet *sometimes* I come across systems which really DO seem to portray some very realistic aspects of voices and acoustic sounds, which gives me hope.

But the "NRC" school products I've heard have never been part of such a system. Some tend to have full sound, even dispersion, generally competent sounding...but none of them sounded timbrally convincing at all to me.

My friend uses some Definitive Technology speakers. Very competently designed. And yet they are the epitome of speakers that "sound competently designed" but leave me utterly cold. I have no desire to ever keep sitting in front of them to keep listening. And it's not that I find accuracy boring or something. If a system is able to portray more quality of the real thing with great recordings, which would be utterly thrilling to me. Instead, it's the very impression that I am "just hearing sounds through another stereo system," a generally blandness (not characteristics of real sounds) that leaves me cold. (That goes for any HK speakers I remember encountering).

My personal reaction to the "NRC" school speakers have left me wondering "why?" And I wonder if this has to do with what is being tested in the first place. For instance, the HK tests seem set up to discern which speaker characteristics are judged "most pleasing." But that isn't necessarily the same as "most realistic." After all, BOSE seems to have produced a pleasing enough sound to sell millions of speakers, and they are terribly colored products. I wonder if this is some of the divide I'm hearing, that some other speakers to me somehow manage to bring something more "realistic" to the table, vs simply "more pleasing."

Though, it seems the newer HK studies showing people prefer more accuracy in a speaker may undermine this little hypothesis. A speaker that is more accurate should have a good chance also of sounding more realistic. (With caveats).

Again, this is just my subjective reaction to these products.

The first time I heard Revel speakers was a long time ago (I think they were the Salon) and I felt something similar: it was very impressive in many ways. The frequency range sounded smooth and evenly distributed. Tonality changed very little with listener position, nice even dispersion etc. All those good things that in NRC testing denote pleasing sound. Yet they simply failed to ping that "timbral truth" meter in my brain, and so left me mostly unmoved. I see that Revel speakers have made a great impression on lots of people more recently, but I haven't heard recent models.

(And, to cast my aesthetic vote, the Revel speakers in the photos in this thread are still ugly IMO).

Finally:

amirm, the article of yours that I read recently, in which you dispute the relevancy of live vs reproduced sound, raised some good points.
However, I'm still not convinced that such comparisons are without merit, or aren't useful.

In my own modest experience, comparing how some systems fare to "real sound" has been a nice guide to choosing systems that I find more compelling than others. And I used to compare recordings of voices - e.g. my son, my wife - and also instruments I own, played through speaker systems I would have in my home, comparing them directly to the real thing. This really did separate some speakers from others. Some speakers just sounded distinctly artificial and colored compared to the real sounds - others actually DID come startlingly close to the qualities of the real thing. And those ones are the ones I found most compelling and agreeable over the long term.

(Also, I've had a few "sounds totally real from another room" experiences with reproduced sound. One of them was certainly when I thought a live jazz band was perhaps playing in another room. It turned out to be a large pair of Dunlavy speakers once I looked in the room.
Even once I was in the room they still produced a level of realism that I'd experienced in few other systems. It struck me that Dunlavy's live vs reproduced tests must have paid *some* dividends).
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post #92 of 227 Old 04-12-2015, 11:48 AM
 
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I've been aware of the "NRC" school of testing and design for many years. And much of it makes empirical sense to me.
And by "NRC" I generally mean speakers designed with a sort of "NRC" lineage, in terms of using the facilities and taking off from the type of tests that have shown certain loudspeaker parameters to be "more pleasing " than others.

And yet, the weird thing is, very few of the "NRC" school speakers have ever appealed to me! Examples being: PSB, Paradigm, Energy, Mirage, and more recently Definitive Technology. I've owned PSB and Paradigm speakers (given to me for work at certain points), listened to the others in many set ups. And they generally have left me unmoved, cold. The main reason that I think I identify is that although many of them sound "pleasant" insofar as sounding fairly full, easy to listen to, etc, they rarely sound "real."
Just a quick note that the NRC learnings has been watered down to varying degrees in the offerings of all of these companies, some to the point of it being just a passing concern. Harman branded speakers is the only place that the spirit of NRC research is not only kept but advanced. Part of the reason is that the strongest advocates and researchers at NRC went to Harman (Dr. Toole, Olive, etc).
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post #93 of 227 Old 04-12-2015, 12:18 PM
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Fair enough amir. I'm certainly not trying to make any iron clad case against the NRC method, just making a personal observation.

Also, this observation of mine about NRC-school speakers is not without exception. People here probably know of the defunct "Waveform" speaker line, sold by John Otvos, which gained many excellent reviews. They are the ones with the egg-shaped head module. Otvos employed Dr. Claude Fortier of the NRC in designing the Waveform speakers, going for a combination of neutral, accurate frequency response with wide dispersion, accurate off-axis response. I own the Waveform Mach MC "egg" module speakers, and also once had the Waveform Mach Solo speakers in my house (as well as having heard the bigger "17" model Waveforms). They always have struck me as getting something quite right and convincing, timbrally speaking. Which is on reason I haven't parted with the little "eggs." But thus far they have been the exception to the rule, as far as my reactions to the "NRC related" brands I've mentioned.

I also have questions about measuring "resolution" in speakers, but I'll make a separate thread for that, especially as this thread was supposed to be about amps :-)
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post #94 of 227 Old 04-12-2015, 05:12 PM
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Just a quick note that the NRC learnings has been watered down to varying degrees in the offerings of all of these companies, some to the point of it being just a passing concern. Harman branded speakers is the only place that the spirit of NRC research is not only kept but advanced. Part of the reason is that the strongest advocates and researchers at NRC went to Harman (Dr. Toole, Olive, etc).
I'm sure Toole & Olive were well compensated in turn and had other personal reasons for looking to move on. I don't know who the etc. is though.

As to the NRC learnings having been watered down, what makes you so sure they weren't keying in on other aspects besides what Olive and company have been pushing? Does Paul Barton confide in you what it is they do in those anechoic chambers?

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #95 of 227 Old 04-12-2015, 06:21 PM
 
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I'm sure Toole & Olive were well compensated in turn and had other personal reasons for looking to move on.
I am sure you have a reason for saying what you say here too but what that is, is neither here, nor there. Let's leave non technical innuendoes out of the thread.

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I don't know who the etc. is though.
At least another good colleague of mine, Allan Devantier (see papers like this: http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=11234). And while he was not one of the researchers, Kevin Voecks used NRC and worked with Dr. Toole while he was at NRC, and Kevin was at Snell.

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As to the NRC learnings having been watered down, what makes you so sure they weren't keying in on other aspects besides what Olive and company have been pushing?
Please don't put a spin on everything in order to score points Chu. I am sure everyone has better thing to do than watch that in action. Either share some technical information or leave it at the door Chu. "Pushing?" Publishing research at our most prestigious institutions for sound reproduction, Acoustic Society of America and Audio Engineering Society is not "pushing." You have to have an awfully myopic and corrupt view of audio science to think it is all about marketing and pushing messages.

As to what makes me so sure, I say what I say based on inside knowledge of the industry. I don't owe you an explanation for why I know what I know, any more than your doctor knowing why he prescribes certain medication to you that he believes to work better than another.

What makes you think what I shared is not right? That you had not read it in a forum post by an anonymous poster???

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Does Paul Barton confide in you what it is they do in those anechoic chambers?
Maybe they are watching movies in there or taking a nap. I don't know what they do in anechoic chambers Chu. Presumably they are measuring speakers in there. That is not interesting. What is interesting is what they would do with such measurements which is what I have been sharing.

You seem to think all that is involved in this research is ownership of an anechoic chamber or spending time in one by such mere mentions. It is like thinking a race car driver only needs to be able to sit in such a car from time to time.
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post #96 of 227 Old 05-18-2015, 09:38 AM
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you cannot remove bias from preference.
Sure you can. There are well-developed DBT methods for testing preference. These remove sources of bias that are not relevant to the modality being tested, but may be *very* 'confounding'. Like, knowing the price of a DUT, when evaluating its sound.
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post #97 of 227 Old 05-18-2015, 09:55 AM
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It is very easy to observe such an improvement and we showed that beyond any doubt in controlled experiments on WBF Forum. Click on the first link in this search: https://www.google.com/webhp?sourcei...0amirm%20demag

The effect is not due to demagnetization but improvement is 100% verifiable there as the data demonstrates.

There is a big lesson here in not starting off with false assumptions about "what can't be."
It would be more of a service to link to the best post supporting the claim, on that 40-page thread.


Btw, I am in agreement with you otherwise here, re: Harman and loudspeakers. Though not on your jiving about amps. Yes, they *CAN* sound different, no one EVER said they could not or never do; no, we don 't have evidence that they typically *do*, and we certainly have no evidence that they do to the extent that audiophiles and marketers gush about. And as always, it is that very gushing that sets the norm for the rhetoric in consumer audio, so it can't be waved away as unimportant.
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post #98 of 227 Old 05-18-2015, 11:02 AM
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Sure you can. There are well-developed DBT methods for testing preference. These remove sources of bias that are not relevant to the modality being tested, but may be *very* 'confounding'. Like, knowing the price of a DUT, when evaluating its sound.
sorry, the way I see it, preference IS bias. "I like this" is, by its nature, kind of testing for bias, then assessing statistically the average bias to come up with something potentially useful from an economic perspective. For me, the greater value (well, if I had enough thousands of dollars to do it) would be to sit in one of those confounders-eliminated testing setups and determine with real precision what my personal biases are. Then I could look for speakers, or design my room, or whatever, to meet my personal biases rather than the averagish assessment that comes from testing a greater number of subjects. Although, TbH, I suppose I mostly know my big picture biases. robust, but not overblown bass (pumped up FR in the 40 to 100 Hz range pretty much always sounds fake to me (once you factor in equal loudness effects). I really really really am attracted to speakers with a dip in the presence region. Say minus 3 to 5 dB somewhere in the 2Khz to 4 or 5 KHz region. LOVE them. For months or years, then I notice that sometimes it sounds like the trumpet players are asleep or dead, onaccounta there's no bite, and I realize that in the end, accurat-er response (or at least a smoother, conservative high frequency rolloff) provides a superior overall experience. So I not only know my bias (which is AFAIK unconscious) and I know how my bias ends up biting me in the butt. Not bad self awareness for some old moron.
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post #99 of 227 Old 05-18-2015, 11:08 AM
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sorry, the way I see it, preference IS bias.
Clearly they have different operational meanings in this context...because there are things that can *bias* your *preference*.
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post #100 of 227 Old 05-18-2015, 11:37 AM
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Sure you can. There are well-developed DBT methods for testing preference. These remove sources of bias that are not relevant to the modality being tested, but may be *very* 'confounding'. Like, knowing the price of a DUT, when evaluating its sound.
How does knowing the price of a DUT equate to DBT?

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sorry, the way I see it, preference IS bias. "I like this" is, by its nature, kind of testing for bias, then assessing statistically the average bias to come up with something potentially useful from an economic perspective. For me, the greater value (well, if I had enough thousands of dollars to do it) would be to sit in one of those confounders-eliminated testing setups and determine with real precision what my personal biases are. Then I could look for speakers, or design my room, or whatever, to meet my personal biases rather than the averagish assessment that comes from testing a greater number of subjects. Although, TbH, I suppose I mostly know my big picture biases. robust, but not overblown bass (pumped up FR in the 40 to 100 Hz range pretty much always sounds fake to me (once you factor in equal loudness effects). I really really really am attracted to speakers with a dip in the presence region. Say minus 3 to 5 dB somewhere in the 2Khz to 4 or 5 KHz region. LOVE them. For months or years, then I notice that sometimes it sounds like the trumpet players are asleep or dead, onaccounta there's no bite, and I realize that in the end, accurat-er response (or at least a smoother, conservative high frequency rolloff) provides a superior overall experience. So I not only know my bias (which is AFAIK unconscious) and I know how my bias ends up biting me in the butt. Not bad self awareness for some old moron.
Actually what you are alluding to is listener training. Through rigourous training a person can learn to detect artifacts and distinguish neutral from colored sound. The training is a sort of anti-bias negative feedback that is supposed to eliminate bias from the equation so that the preference that is expressed is a preference for reality rather than a personal bias.

Of course, the effectiveness of the training is directly related to the realism of the test material and that depends directly upon the fidelity of the system used for training. It is sort of a tail-chasing cycle to progressively hone training through iterations of successively improved equipment, with the ultimate goal being nirvana or some such BS.

You are also alluding to familiarity bias. We tend to prefer what we know. Through training, the goal is to improve the range of knowing and hope that the preference starts to align more with reality after learning to distinguish realism from fakism.

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Clearly they have different operational meanings in this context...because there are things that can *bias* your *preference*.
I find it difficult to separate the two on a theoretical basis. Bias is bias no matter what motivates it. I suspect that where most disagreements in preference come into play among audiophiles, it is on a boundary where there are tradeoffs in performance to be made at the engineering level, followed by a close second in variations among the innate performance of the listeners' hearing. In most cases I suspect the overriding bias is in cost versus size of wad in the wallet.
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post #101 of 227 Old 05-19-2015, 10:54 AM
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How does knowing the price of a DUT equate to DBT?
Price information would one of the things that would be 'blinded' by a DBT.


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I find it difficult to separate the two on a theoretical basis. Bias is bias no matter what motivates it.
But researchers can , and do, care what motivates preference. Preference -- typically a conscious statement, a choice made when posed a question -- is often, and often unconsciously, *biased* one way or another by various factors.
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post #102 of 227 Old 05-19-2015, 12:08 PM
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How does knowing the price of a DUT equate to DBT?

Actually what you are alluding to is listener training. Through rigourous training a person can learn to detect artifacts and distinguish neutral from colored sound. The training is a sort of anti-bias negative feedback that is supposed to eliminate bias from the equation so that the preference that is expressed is a preference for reality rather than a personal bias.
As long as an audible difference exists, then one can improve one's ability to hear audible differences that are more subtle than normal. If audible differences do not exist then amount of training will make them appear in a bias controlled test. I know this because the test subjects in our bias controlled tests were audiophiles.

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Of course, the effectiveness of the training is directly related to the realism of the test material and that depends directly upon the fidelity of the system used for training. It is sort of a tail-chasing cycle to progressively hone training through iterations of successively improved equipment, with the ultimate goal being nirvana or some such BS.
No any sound will do, actually. The bias controlled testing we discuss here isn't qualitative. We simply seek to know whether an audible difference exists or not. We don't care about the quality of the sound, only the uniformity of its reproduction.

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You are also alluding to familiarity bias. We tend to prefer what we know. Through training, the goal is to improve the range of knowing and hope that the preference starts to align more with reality after learning to distinguish realism from fakism.
I can't translate what you wrote into anything I understand but preferences don't play a part in bias controlled testing. We simply don't allow them.

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I find it difficult to separate the two on a theoretical basis. Bias is bias no matter what motivates it. I suspect that where most disagreements in preference come into play among audiophiles, it is on a boundary where there are tradeoffs in performance to be made at the engineering level, followed by a close second in variations among the innate performance of the listeners' hearing. In most cases I suspect the overriding bias is in cost versus size of wad in the wallet.
You are concerned about what causes the bias. We ignore that. We don't allow any kind of bias in our testing.
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post #103 of 227 Old 05-19-2015, 10:07 PM
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I find that the excuses offered by many audiophiles against the idea of blind testing to be frankly pathetic. I've seen otherwise science-oriented, rational friends become, in their audiophile mode, completely inconsistent and resorting to essentially "I'm confident I heard what I heard. If blind tests don't agree, then it's the tests that are wrong, not me."
I agree that competent and applicable DBT should be given its due weight.

I would be hesitant to criticize advocates of any competent DBT unless of course it was inappropriately applied to the wrong use case.

One such IMO misapplied and also inherently flawed study is the often cited Harman room EQ study that restricted itself to a single channel through a single speaker in a single room with three programs of pop music and (to all appearances anyway) no loudness compensation let alone matching of such compensation via calibrated reference level in the programming.

Despite these limitations that circumscribe the study and restrict its applicability I find it difficult to fault Harman. Who am I to tell Harman how much of their own money to spend on promoting their own room EQ? Their study is fine as far as it goes.

What I object to is the misapplication (specifically, overgeneralization) of that study as if it holds some sort of universal truth concocted and promoted by audio gods. Someone advocating Harman's curve once replied to my question as to where the default curve came from with an allegation that it took about 2 hours to come up with it. This is how one develops a general-purpose default EQ curve that allegedly trumps all others?

Turning off the 'bright' Audyssey room EQ of my system is supposed to improve the sound of the bass in my room according to Harman expert listeners who preferred no EQ over Audyssey. What happens instead is that the unequalized response becomes thick mud (especially through the 'acoustically transparent' screen hanging in front of the disproportionately long dead wall) with boomy room modes on the bass and dull treble coloring the sound of every speaker.

IMO the inherent technical limitations of reproduction demand that case-by-case tradeoffs will compromise something along the way in the practical world we actually inhabit. Engineers are intimately familiar with such tradeoffs and sometimes the hardest part is the balancing act.

Medicine stands out as the most outrageous scientific counter-example I can identify, with the supposedly advanced US spending approximately double on health care compared to competitive nations but ranking nearly tied in lifespan with Cuba that has been under embargo and dismal dictatorship for half a century. Rumor has it the Cubans might have cured cancer too with their recent announcement of a vaccine. By all objective measures Cuba should rank far below the US yet the practical reality is that all those extra expenditures in the US are wasted on redundant 'privatized' administrative costs and profit margin funneled to the very top earners.

This example demonstrates that DBT in medicine only applies in the lab not the marketplace yet here on this forum so many people seem to marry the DBT and the 'best practices' promoted by the experts as if the holy grail of audio nirvana cannot be achieved in any way other than blindly following the expert recommendations no matter what financial mayhem or suboptimal result that leads to.

I suspect that the neglect of real-life practicalities on the part of consumers and the experts they hired has derailed far more system builds than any lack of alleged DBT rigor or alleged bias in sighted listening tests or alleged self-promotion by manufacturers ever has, or ever will. IMO DBT has its place but it does not belong in your living room.

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I had an outboard DAC, a Meridian CD player and a decent Sony CD player that I was sure were quite sonically distinguishable. I did some blind and double-blind testing between them and was able to identify each with almost perfect scores.
Unless you applied strict engineering and statistical methods and used dedicated, special-purpose hardware to eliminate all the 'tells', there is substantial reason to be skeptical that your testing was actually DBT.

To my knowledge, there have been no rigorous DBT of actual hardware DAC, at least none that were published in any credible journal. Also, DAC performance targets zero distortion in all aspects and things like load or other external factors are eliminated by design from the entire environment they function in to the greatest extent possible.

To my knowledge, amps are a very different animal, with some designs such as tube amps and tube-sounding amps employing deliberate design tradeoffs to introduce plainly audible even-order distortion that is sometimes pleasing (at least to heavy metal fans) plus the intended use of an amp plays a huge role in its actual performance (particularly regarding output power and load impedance).

My limiting practicality is that competently designed amps without any deliberate signature and operating within their capacity all sound the same to my untrained and gradually failing ears. I suspect that many aging audiophiles face the same limiting practicality, especially those who have accumulated enough wealth over a presumably longish life to afford audiophile grade pro equipment with superior performance that they can no longer appreciate fully if at all due to hearing loss.

If so then it begs the question why there are so many vociferous advocates of DBT on this forum especially considering that the competently designed and published ones can be counted on the fingers up one nose. Hard to base any purchasing decisions on a theoretical concept with no practical applications of it available to consumers.

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My pal had the Quad ESL 63 electrostatics and (as I remember) a pair of Spendor BC1 speakers...I was startled at how hesitant I became in telling them apart! It was remarkable how alike they sounded to my ear. Ultimately I could identify each, but it was much closer than I'd ever have guessed from sighted listening to each speaker.
What used to be obvious distinctions between speakers has vanished and now everything sounds pretty much equally dull to me, even analog cassette recordings vs digital.

I suspect that the same happens to most aging audiophiles with aging ears so do not feel so bad about being unable to distinguish the sound of dipole from monopole. Just let it be a sign that you no longer have to spend so much on your equipment to maximize your enjoyment.

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I have to admit very often I'd be hearing discontinuities, suck-outs, colorations, generally artificial sound, many of which would have me thinking I was listening to mid-fi, or a sub-too-small-sat system, with missing frequencies...I'd also habitually check the sound coming from the speakers to the "real" sounds of objects making noise and people talking about me, and this routinely exposed just how far away most sound systems (and microphone recordings etc of course) were from portraying the organic quality of real humans.
Ad-hoc demonstrations at shows are subject to severe acoustic limitations. You cannot expect them to perform at their top potential unless installed professionally in an optimized environment. Your example just points out that the in-room installation is a hugely important factor in the sound. IMO expo environment is for advertising not critical listening.

Regarding 'realism', that is another factor that needs to be tuned for. Do you want a movie scene filmed within a 'room' to sound like it is playing inside a room? Easy, just install a quality receiver/speakers and TV in your living room. Do you want an outdoor scene to sound like it is outdoors? Not so easy, now you need something akin to anechoic chamber and a really detailed mix such as full-fledged Atmos. Do you want a concert hall experience? A partly live dedicated home theater with a room simulation algorithm such as Audyssey DSX might do the trick but be mindful that to accurately reproduce the dynamic range of live performance you might need hefty speakers and amps too.

This 'realism' point is hugely interesting. What aspect of reality is being targetted? It makes all the diffence. A player piano sounds realistic, except it cannot improvise.

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As for my use of tube amplification...Anyway, just letting that out of my system....
I have no use for tubes. Big, heavy, hot, power hungry, noisy, consumable, unnatural sound... everything about them is wrong. They were great in the 1950's. To each his/her own...

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Oh, one more thing about the HK blind-speaker tests, and speakers designed using the resources of the NRC... And they generally have left me unmoved, cold. The main reason that I think I identify is that although many of them sound "pleasant" insofar as sounding fairly full, easy to listen to, etc, they rarely sound "real."
Despite the Primus line having all the modern Infinity advantages including CMMD or whatever diaphragms, small cabinets and a great price, I find the prominently intelligible and forward sounding midrange of 3-way Primus towers inferior to the laid-back midrange of my 10+ year old aluminum woofer Sapphire/TSC 3-way towers designed by a co-founder of Infinity (Cary Christie). It is a matter of 'does it sound like the helicopter is taking off in my living room' versus 'does it sound like I am outside with the helicopter taking off in front of me'?

Whether or not either of these budget designs benefitted from an anechoic chamber to tweak them is an open question. Does anyone actually advertise such information on a speaker-by-speaker basis? I suspect that all the final tuning is done in an actual listening room rather than an anechoic chamber anyway. Can anyone shed light on this? I find it hard to believe that all the pro speaker designers out there have anechoic chambers of their own or even rent time in one.

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The most typical (and depressing) difference I find in stereo systems is the lack of timbral realism...
IME Acoustic treatments and room EQ go a long way toward eliminating the 'boxy' sound of speakers in a room, but until your speaker system is capable of morphing itself into a cello and your room is capable of morphing itself into a concert hall you are bound to be disappointed.

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My personal reaction to the "NRC" school speakers have left me wondering "why?" And I wonder if this has to do with what is being tested in the first place. For instance, the HK tests seem set up to discern which speaker characteristics are judged "most pleasing." But that isn't necessarily the same as "most realistic."
Maybe that is what I am hearing in the Primus vs. Sapphire. Undoubtedly they were designed by different people with different goals and different technology. I suspect that plays a more important role than where they were measured.

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If audible differences do not exist then amount of training will make them appear in a bias controlled test.
Self-explanatory and obvious.

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No any sound will do, actually. The bias controlled testing we discuss here isn't qualitative. We simply seek to know whether an audible difference exists or not. We don't care about the quality of the sound, only the uniformity of its reproduction.
over my head. To me, fidelity is fidelity. Anyone with functioning ears can tell the difference between good and bad sound. When trying to tell the sonic difference with subtle variations in tech using trained listeners, how does the goal suddenly become shifted away from fidelity to 'uniformity'? The ultimate DBT is reality vs. Memorex. As difficult as that DBT is to construct, it is still the holy grail AFAIK.

What am I missing? According to your statement it almost seems that as tech improves the minor differences in implementation start to be treated as variations on reality as opposed to deviations from reality. Are we dealing with a multiverse DBT?

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I can't translate what you wrote into anything I understand but preferences don't play a part in bias controlled testing. We simply don't allow them.
Then according to your statement the Harman room EQ study I mentioned does not qualify as a bias controlled test because it stated its outcome in terms of preference, not accuracy.

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You are concerned about what causes the bias. We ignore that. We don't allow any kind of bias in our testing.
Sorry, this sounds to me like you are claiming that your DBT is conducted by perfect machines instead of humans. Bias is an inherent quality of humanity. Only fictitious supernatural beings have no bias whatsoever. Your testing may control for bias but it cannot remove bias by definition or any other means. That is impossible.

Not trying for a 'gotcha' moment, just trying to understand. Contrast "We don't need no stinking experts" with "I ain't no stinking expert" and you get my drift.
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Sorry, this sounds to me like you are claiming that your DBT is conducted by perfect machines instead of humans. Bias is an inherent quality of humanity. Only fictitious supernatural beings have no bias whatsoever. Your testing may control for bias but it cannot remove bias by definition or any other means. That is impossible.
You sound like someone who's been reading Robert Harley's articles.
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You sound like someone who's been reading Robert Harley's articles.
If so, that is coincidence. Never heard of him. Nice scalp but the Dr. Evil eyebrows seem a little over the top.

http://hifibooks.com/

So should I be flattered or embarassed? Is his work a good read?

Actually the only HT related reading I have done is online from various sources. The rest of what I learned comes from my engineering program of studies decades ago and whatever I picked up along the way. If it shows, apologies.

Been meaning to pick up a copy of Toole for months now, but life got in the way. Just finished a room full of DIY absorbers constructed of bedding. Real affordable. Real ooogly. Sounds better. Practical for an apartment install with one occupant, few tools, little strength, and budget issues. Not mainstream. Bottom feeder here.
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post #106 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 06:00 AM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post


Self-explanatory and obvious.

over my head. To me, fidelity is fidelity. Anyone with functioning ears can tell the difference between good and bad sound. When trying to tell the sonic difference with subtle variations in tech using trained listeners, how does the goal suddenly become shifted away from fidelity to 'uniformity'? The ultimate DBT is reality vs. Memorex. As difficult as that DBT is to construct, it is still the holy grail AFAIK.

What am I missing? According to your statement it almost seems that as tech improves the minor differences in implementation start to be treated as variations on reality as opposed to deviations from reality. Are we dealing with a multiverse DBT?

Then according to your statement the Harman room EQ study I mentioned does not qualify as a bias controlled test because it stated its outcome in terms of preference, not accuracy.

Sorry, this sounds to me like you are claiming that your DBT is conducted by perfect machines instead of humans. Bias is an inherent quality of humanity. Only fictitious supernatural beings have no bias whatsoever. Your testing may control for bias but it cannot remove bias by definition or any other means. That is impossible.

Not trying for a 'gotcha' moment, just trying to understand. Contrast "We don't need no stinking experts" with "I ain't no stinking expert" and you get my drift.
My fault. We are talking about different tests. The HK test was a preference test. The tests I conducted were designed only to determine whether or not audible differences exist. Both are worthwhile goals but the methods are somewhat different. The HK test compared products that sound different from one another so preference was the goal. In my tests the existence of audible differences themselves are the object of the test so preference is a matter of bias and not allowed in the test design. We have been debating different kinds of tests and that is my doing. Sorry.
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post #107 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 06:23 AM
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We have been debating different kinds of tests and that is my doing. Sorry.
Well maybe if I had more background I would not be stumbling through the weeds here either. I guess I should take some responsibility for that.
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You sound like someone who's been reading Robert Harley's articles.
It's in the book by Hugo Fastl and Eberhard Zwicker. So here we've got fact, the proof of which has been acquired from double-blind listening, objectively confirming that human hearing is indeed subjective, and, as was to be expected of course, we've also got your subjective accusation regarding Robert Harley's articles, i.e., the same traditional old hypocrisy like usual.
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The tests I conducted were designed only to determine whether or not audible differences exist.
Regardless of what you choose to believe, it is totally impossible to design such tests. Double-blind listening tests, or DBTs can only be used to gather statistical evidence to show that differences are audible, and, if it turns out no such evidence is found, the correct conclusion is always "for lack of evidence, we still don't know whether or not audible differences exist".
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post #110 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 09:24 AM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
I agree that competent and applicable DBT should be given its due weight.

I would be hesitant to criticize advocates of any competent DBT unless of course it was inappropriately applied to the wrong use case.

One such IMO misapplied and also inherently flawed study is the often cited Harman room EQ study that restricted itself to a single channel through a single speaker in a single room with three programs of pop music and (to all appearances anyway) no loudness compensation let alone matching of such compensation via calibrated reference level in the programming.

Have you read the actual research papers, where the methods are described? Do you understand why, for example, the tests are done with a single speaker?

[remaining curious assertions, snipped]
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post #111 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 09:30 AM
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Originally Posted by CherylJosie View Post
If so, that is coincidence. Never heard of him. Nice scalp but the Dr. Evil eyebrows seem a little over the top.

http://hifibooks.com/

So should I be flattered or embarassed? Is his work a good read?

Actually the only HT related reading I have done is online from various sources.


Ah, that answers my question.

Before you impugn the Harman research further, perhaps read the papers Drs. Toole and Olvie have published in JAES over the years. Much will be explained.

If not that, DO pick up Dr. Toole's book, 'Sound Reproduction', which summarizes a wealth of research by many labs.

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It's in the book by Hugo Fastl and Eberhard Zwicker. So here we've got fact, the proof of which has been acquired from double-blind listening, objectively confirming that human hearing is indeed subjective, and, as was to be expected of course, we've also got your subjective accusation regarding Robert Harley's articles, i.e., the same traditional old hypocrisy like usual.
Responding to the figment of your imagination once again.
Try reading carefully what someone wrote before responding.
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It's in the book by Hugo Fastl and Eberhard Zwicker. So here we've got fact, the proof of which has been acquired from double-blind listening, objectively confirming that human hearing is indeed subjective, and, as was to be expected of course, we've also got your subjective accusation regarding Robert Harley's articles, i.e., the same traditional old hypocrisy like usual.

This is ridiculous semantic quibbling. Psychological bias isn't literally 'removed' from the subject's mind by DBT. The subject will still (likely) be biased toward, say, higher-priced gear 'sounding better'. DBT can be considered an end-run *around* it, or 'nullification' of it. The test conditions remove the operation of bias as *factor* in the evaluation.

As for Harley's beliefs about DBT, they are reliably dopey, and not to be taken seriously.

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post #114 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 09:38 AM
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Regardless of what you choose to believe, it is totally impossible to design such tests. Double-blind listening tests, or DBTs can only be used to gather statistical evidence to show that differences are audible, and, if it turns out no such evidence is found, the correct conclusion is always "for lack of evidence, we still don't know whether or not audible differences exist".
Science doesn't *quite* work that way, sorry.


THe more likely phrasing in real papers wouold be, 'Our results do not support the claim that audible difference exists between A and B' .

Pile enough of those up and what do you think scientists come to 'believe'?
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post #115 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 09:42 AM
 
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Regardless of what you choose to believe, it is totally impossible to design such tests. Double-blind listening tests, or DBTs can only be used to gather statistical evidence to show that differences are audible, and, if it turns out no such evidence is found, the correct conclusion is always "for lack of evidence, we still don't know whether or not audible differences exist".
You sound like someone who has bought into the propaganda devised by high(price)-end audio peddlers such as Robert Harley and the likes (at least couple of them post on this forum). They try all sorts of things to discredit DBT. Why? For their income from peddling high(price)-end audio electronics of course.
Your fondness for JJ Johnston's status must have been short lived.
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post #116 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 09:55 AM
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This Robert Harley?


I'll be back later...


System links::: 1.5RQ > digits from all sources > 1177a > OpenDRC-DI with AcourateDRC > DEQ2496 > DAC2 > KCT > FPB 350mcx > reQuest + Cheezewoofer Wattless Deluxe > Sweetspot
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post #117 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 10:07 AM
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Regardless of what you choose to believe, it is totally impossible to design such tests. Double-blind listening tests, or DBTs can only be used to gather statistical evidence to show that differences are audible, and, if it turns out no such evidence is found, the correct conclusion is always "for lack of evidence, we still don't know whether or not audible differences exist".
Not only did I design such tests but actually conducted them. No lack of evidence. Where audible differences did not exist we got lots of statistical evidence to say that there was no audible difference. No need to throw bombs from outside the ropes. Go do a few bias controlled tests yourself and then we can talk from common experience. Arguing from a position of inexperience and ignorance doesn't move me at all. Sorry. Been there done that.
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post #118 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 10:19 AM
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This is ridiculous semantic quibbling. Psychological bias isn't literally 'removed' from the subject's mind by DBT. The subject will still (likely) be biased toward, say, higher-priced gear 'sounding better'. DBT can be considered an end-run *around* it, or 'nullification' of it. The test conditions remove the operation of bias as *factor* in the evaluation.
It is not always possible to remove the operation of bias as factor in the evaluation, while on top of that, it certainly is not always possible to reliably prove the removal of the operation of bias as factor in the evaluation was successful. On the contrary, it has been proven that humans, if put in a stressful situation, might not be able to tell differences between quite surprising things.
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As for Harley's beliefs about DBT, they are reliably dopey, and not to be taken seriously.
This is a subjective accusation of yours, which, for lack of reliable evidence, should not be taken seriously. As a matter of true fact, it shows that you are nothing more than a hypocrite, i.e., from Wikipedia:
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Objectivists feel that subjectivists often lack engineering training, technical knowledge, and objective credentials, but nevertheless make authoritative claims about product performance.
Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Audio_equipment_testing
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post #119 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 10:31 AM
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Here is the link to Robert Harley's interview with Bob Stuart of Meridian Audio.
http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...obert-harley-1
Nowhere in this article does Bob Stuart make the claim that DBT is scientifically useless. It's not. So there's no quackery in this regard. None whatsoever. However, there's also no quackery in his words about what DBT can and can't be used for, and why.
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post #120 of 227 Old 05-21-2015, 10:43 AM
 
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It is not always possible to remove the operation of bias as factor in the evaluation, while on top of that, it certainly is not always possible to reliably prove the removal of the operation of bias as factor in the evaluation was successful. On the contrary, it has been proven that humans, if put in a stressful situation, might not be able to tell differences between quite surprising things.
You are going around circle. You tried to use that stress excuse and failed. https://www.avsforum.com/forum/153-cd...l#post32251489
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Here is the link to Robert Harley's interview with Bob Stuart of Meridian Audio.
http://www.theabsolutesound.com/arti...obert-harley-1
Nowhere in this article does Bob Stuart make the claim that DBT is scientifically useless. It's not. So there's no quackery in this regard. None whatsoever. However, there's also no quackery in his words about what DBT can and can't be used for, and why.
Who do you take more seriously, Robert Harley or JJ Johnston?
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