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Oh Scott, that warms my heart to hear. You, of all people, admitting cognitive bias may exist and influence you (as it does everyone on the planet). Hallelujah! :)
Wut, I use blind testing more than most. I want to know what's real and what's a head fake.

Remember last year in re AXPONA? I got in so many arguments over that with my ex friend who is the super high end subjectivist. Over many things, including his $1,000 + fancy pants AQ Diamond USB cable to use from my laptop to the DAC versus my far cheaper cable of about $40 or $50. He claimed he heard a big difference. I sure didn't and it was my system. I challenged him right then and there to do a level matched single blind test and he completely blew up. That's far from the only thing he blew up over in MY house. 35 year friendship over!
 

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Here is some real life for you

Tinnitus is the perception of noise or ringing in the ears. A common problem, tinnitus affects about 15 to 20 percent of people. Tinnitus isn't a condition itself — it's a symptom of an underlying condition, such as age-related hearing loss, ear injury or a circulatory system disorder.

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/tinnitus/symptoms-causes/syc-20350156

Mayo Clinic good enough for you?

To break it down to simple language, you have hearing damage so any ideas about having golden ears, trained ears or whatever is destroyed. Now you can believe all you want that DACs amps or whatever have this huge effect although it can't be measured or you can hear the difference between 0.01% distortion or 0.001% distortion when playing through speakers in a non-optimised room, no measurements, HVAC blowing air around all you want. However, thinking for some reason that you can hear through tinnitus? Well, they have another medical term for that but it has more to do with the brain than the ears.

Maybe you should be saving up your money to fix your hearing problem--that is coming as they have figured out how to grow those hairs back in animals--it might filter it's way down to you in the next five years. Brought to you buy those "sciencey" people you dispise so much. Then again, that is against the audiophile creed that science has no clue how our magical ears work, how the brain perceives sound and surely can't measure machines designed, built, calibrated by humans... Keep believing that, the rest of the world will get their hearing fixed, people have already have had it done after being deaf their entire life.

I know I have already posted plenty of links for you to read and learn about. No point in wasting my time or clogging up the thread for somebody that won't read it or is unable to understand what is written. Personallly, I would be more concerned with minimizing or curing tinnitus than trying to prop up my belief in golden ears...but that is just me. I tend to go after the real issues in audio be it room acoustics, proper setup, room treatments and speaker capabilities as they are the true problems. If you believe that a DAC will give you nirvana with tinnitus--I am not aware of any youtuber that focuses on that segment of audio. That would be akin to an adult film star with ED that worries about a camera adding five pounds--might have a bgger problem than the camera!

https://www.tomshardware.com/reviews/high-end-pc-audio,3733-19.html

The above link is a good point to ponder.
 

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"I challenged him right then and there to do a level matched single blind test and he completely blew up."

Belief is hard to change. It's really tuff stuff in our brain. Many times, our perceptions of our environment fool us.

Oh my gosh how my perceptions have fooled me at times especially listening to hifi.

Open minds are healthy.
 

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Discussion Starter #184
Im sure I could dig up some really qualified person to give a 101 on dacs...but it wont matter to you. you have "everything sound the same" itus
Do it and we'll vet them, lol. I personally believe if there is an audible difference in DACs it is because:

a) it is not designed for accurate playback; e.g., it is using a reconstruction filter that is (possibly purposefully, possibly due to ignorance of the designer) inaccurate -- you enjoy the compromises (I wouldn't buy it).

b) its output stage lacks the current to drive your amplifier (shouldn't be an issue given the design of most amps, but...if you have an esoteric amp, you create this problem for yourself). Or, maybe you like the way the DACs outputs sound when clipping (is the output stage a tube stage?).

c) other design decisions purposely color the DAC

Every one of these things is measurable. Every one of them may account for "taste", but for me, personally, I'd not want to buy a single product that has goals beyond "transparent to the input signal". Again, I'm not looking to make music, I'm looking to play it back faithfully! Again, the reason is simple -- if I'm playing it back faithfully, and it sounds like chit, then it's either my room, my speakers, or the content. I don't need to add more variables to my bloody playback chain than already exist after the signal exits the power-amp!
 

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Every one of these things is measurable. Every one of them may account for "taste", but for me, personally, I'd not want to buy a single product that has goals beyond "transparent to the input signal". Again, I'm not looking to make music, I'm looking to play it back faithfully! Again, the reason is simple -- if I'm playing it back faithfully, and it sounds like chit, then it's either my room, my speakers, or the content. I don't need to add more variables to my bloody playback chain than already exist after the signal exits the power-amp!

here lies a major major problem....its not all measurable.
 
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"I challenged him right then and there to do a level matched single blind test and he completely blew up."

Belief is hard to change. It's really tuff stuff in our brain. Many times, our perceptions of our environment fool us.

Oh my gosh how my perceptions have fooled me at times especially listening to hifi.

Open minds are healthy.
I actually did work for him at one time, but that ended 30 years ago. Sadly, he still thought he was my boss. We even got into an argument regarding how I parked MY car in MY garage let alone several other topics that were purely me and had zero to do with him.

But with the cable challenge I really put him on the spot and more important, his beliefs that he spent hundreds of thousand of $$$ on. He knew I could do it right then and there for no cost and do it easily so the only defense he had was to lose it and throw a fit.

The audio confusion also happens with many other things around us, even our cars. Notice how we think are cars run better after a car wash? False. Our cars are more rattle free after a car wash? Can be true as the moisture swells the rubber gaskets and weatherstrip a bit. Why your car, if it has some rattles, has less when it's raining. Two reason, what I just said about weatherstrip and seals and the noise floor is higher. Why your car feel like it's faster on a cool dry day. It is. Usually D/A is higher. We have apps on our phone to calculate air density at the drag strip. Higher air density, your car makes more power and is faster. My first time at a drag strip was June 9, 1960 at Kilcare outside of Dayton. Drag raced just about as long as I've had ESLs as speakers. The car tricks I'm also pretty familiar with. Some is real and some are imagination just like another hobby we've discussed a few time around here.
 

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Discussion Starter #187 (Edited)
here lies a major major problem....its not all measurable.
Well, then in decades of audio research, no other metrics have come out, so...I'd suggest you find intelligent folks to put something together.

Until then, sighted, variable-laden, uncontrolled tests convince no logical person of anything, ever. You should be happy about that, because without it, the technology we have wouldn't exist...period!

That said, I'm all about trying to figure out why there are differences when no measurable differences exist. But, the only way I'll do it is through unbiased tests, wherein, to date, all differences go away (unless there exist known measurable differences). If you don't like unbiased tests, then please state, with precision, their faults (and not whiny faults that are mostly an admission that your working audio memory is crap just like everyone else's). If, when sighted, there are dramatic differences as some claim, putting a g-damn "blindfold" on the test shouldn't change that!

I'll never understand how people go from "there are night and day differences, holy crap, it totally changed my world" to "well, I wouldn't hear them when the test is conducted blindly". For fks sake, how is that logical. And, if you honestly think it is, state, again, with precision, why!

Here's the thing -- the point of this thread is to show everyone why variables need to be controlled. There are plenty of them in the signal chain. If not controlled, hopefully, now you can clearly see why you may hear a difference. But, when you control them, those differences vanish. However, the capability of your system may not be equal -- some of the combinations in my original post will certainly not be capable of reaching the same levels as others. However, so long as they all have the same resulting dynamic range at some level, then (provided all things in the signal chain are transparent) they will sound the same. However, you may not be able to spin the volume knob on each the same amount (either down or up) before falling either into the "noise floor" or clipping something -- this may impose a quantity difference in the usable volume range...nothing more, though!

Of course, if you like the sound your devices make when clipping then...well...there's not much help for you, haha!
 

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here lies a major major problem....its not all measurable.
The two dimensional stuff we mostly have metrics for thereby can mostly measure. The three dimensional …. not so fast.

You remember that thread I was talking about a few post ago? We really went at it for 70 - 80 pages …. several hundred posts. Many many objectivists were saying that everything was measurable and it was actually Floyd Toole who was reluctantly saying, wait a minute, not so fast, we don't even have metrics to measure. I even had some defenders such as Craig John who understood exactly what I was talking about.
 

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That said, I'm all about trying to figure out why there are differences when no measurable differences exist.


But, the only way I'll do it is through unbiased tests.



I'll never understand how people go from "there are night and day differences

1. there are differences because EVERYONE’S ears are different.

2. most people have some sort of hearing loss (even if they dont know it).

3. there are too many variables to control. and unless you have that amp with those speakers in a vaccuum in the exact same position with the same exact power source, with the same exact temperature/air/moisture there will be differences in EVERYTHING.


people are weird. everyone is different. some people make it up as they go along, and some people actually believe they hear an honest to god difference, and that THAT difference is better or worse. it isnt something that can be explained or quantified or measured.

detectable differences may be able to be measured...but perceived differences cannot. perceived differences is what most people live their lives by (and i am not speaking of just theater audio).




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Well, then in decades of audio research, no other metrics have come out, so...I'd suggest you find intelligent folks to put something together.

Until then, sighted, variable-laden, uncontrolled tests convince no logical person of anything, ever. You should be happy about that, because without it, the technology we have wouldn't exist...period!

That said, I'm all about trying to figure out why there are differences when no measurable differences exist. But, the only way I'll do it is through unbiased tests, wherein, to date, all differences go away (unless there exist known measurable differences). If you don't like unbiased tests, then please state, with precision, their faults (and not whiny faults that are mostly an admission that your working audio memory is crap just like everyone else's). If, when sighted, there are dramatic differences as some claim, putting a g-damn "blindfold" on the test shouldn't change that!

I'll never understand how people go from "there are night and day differences, holy crap, it totally changed my world" to "well, I wouldn't hear them when the test is conducted blindly". For fks sake, how is that logical. And, if you honestly think it is, state, again, with precision, why!

Here's the thing -- the point of this thread is to show everyone why variables need to be controlled. There are plenty of them in the signal chain. If not controlled, hopefully, now you can clearly see why you may hear a difference. But, when you control them, those differences vanish. However, the capability of your system may not be equal -- some of the combinations in my original post will certainly not be capable of reaching the same levels as others. However, so long as they all have the same resulting dynamic range at some level, then (provided all things in the signal chain are transparent) they will sound the same. However, you may not be able to spin the volume knob on each the same amount (either down or up) before falling either into the "noise floor" or clipping something -- this may impose a quantity difference in the usable volume range...nothing more, though!

Of course, if you like the sound your devices make when clipping then...well...there's not much help for you, haha!
Well, the measurements we have available do a good predictive job in the two dimensional, but … but ….. the three dimensional? All that soundstage, imaging, scale hooey I go all diarrhea about all the time? Next time you're over this way, try that chit on me with, for example, the two phono stages that measure the same, but do not sound the same, not even close. You could test me on a 100 tries and I won't miss, all because of the huge three dimensional differences between the two. Next time you're around, be happy to do it. It'd be much harder with the DACs, but with the right material, I'll nail it … piano and strings.
 

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some dumb youtuber did some double blind tests on headphone amps...I will save you. they picked 2 amps with really different output stages so the differences were so obvious, anyone could hear. obviously...or maybe not...making these 2 amps measure with the same output stages...totally defeats the purpose/function of design. imo, the varying degrees of resistance in speakers/xovers...isnt so simple as a constant flow of power. I will go so far as needing 4 dimensional science and measurements to even come close to scratching the surface. but hey....most dont even know what 4 dimensional is.
 

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Discussion Starter #192
1. there are differences because EVERYONE’S ears are different.

2. most people have some sort of hearing loss (even if they dont know it).

3. there are too many variables to control. and unless you have that amp with those speakers in a vaccuum in the exact same position with the same exact power source, with the same exact temperature/air/moisture there will be differences in EVERYTHING.


people are weird. everyone is different. some people make it up as they go along, and some people actually believe they hear an honest to god difference, and that THAT difference is better or worse. it isnt something that can be explained or quantified or measured.

detectable differences may be able to be measured...but perceived differences cannot. perceived differences is what most people live their lives by (and i am not speaking of just theater audio).




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That's a bit...well...I don't know what word I want to use, lol. That's -- philosophy...soft science. Sure, my reality is my reality and until you can jump in my head and extract the neurons you don't know what I know any better than I can express it to you. But, if you can admit:

a) a microphone is a more accurate device than our ears
b) we can simulate two ears with two microphones arranged in a fake head
c) we can use software to measure the and analysis the data acquired by two mics
d) if there are differences in what the mics hear there should be differences in what we hear
e) if there are no differences in what the mics hear, then either:
e1) we can hear better than the mic (well, then you don't agree with point a)
e2) there is a "real" audible difference, but we didn't measure the right stuff to find it
e3) there is no difference

Feel free to enhance the decision tree any way you'd like. But, until we can drill into our brains and extract our biological CPUs, the CPUs and software we build will have to suffice for performing this (and other) analysis "reliably" (because our brains sure as hell are NOT reliable machines!).
 

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1. there are differences because EVERYONE’S ears are different.

2. most people have some sort of hearing loss (even if they dont know it).

3. there are too many variables to control. and unless you have that amp with those speakers in a vaccuum in the exact same position with the same exact power source, with the same exact temperature/air/moisture there will be differences in EVERYTHING.


people are weird. everyone is different. some people make it up as they go along, and some people actually believe they hear an honest to god difference, and that THAT difference is better or worse. it isnt something that can be explained or quantified or measured.

detectable differences may be able to be measured...but perceived differences cannot. perceived differences is what most people live their lives by (and i am not speaking of just theater audio).




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“detectable differences may be able to be measured...but perceived differences cannot.”

Citation needed


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That's a bit...well...I don't know what word I want to use, lol. That's -- philosophy...soft science. Sure, my reality is my reality and until you can jump in my head and extract the neurons you don't know what I know any better than I can express it to you. But, if you can admit:

a) a microphone is a more accurate device than our ears
b) we can simulate two ears with two microphones arranged in a fake head
c) we can use software to measure the and analysis the data acquired by two mics
d) if there are differences in what the mics hear there should be differences in what we hear
e) if there are no differences in what the mics hear, then either:
e1) we can hear better than the mic (well, then you don't agree with point a)
e2) there is a "real" audible difference, but we didn't measure the right stuff to find it
e3) there is no difference

Feel free to enhance the decision tree any way you'd like. But, until we can drill into our brains and extract our biological CPUs, the CPUs and software we build will have to suffice for performing this (and other) analysis "reliably" (because our brains sure as hell are NOT reliable machines!).
E2
 

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1. there are differences because EVERYONE’S ears are different.

2. most people have some sort of hearing loss (even if they dont know it).

3. there are too many variables to control. and unless you have that amp with those speakers in a vaccuum in the exact same position with the same exact power source, with the same exact temperature/air/moisture there will be differences in EVERYTHING.


people are weird. everyone is different. some people make it up as they go along, and some people actually believe they hear an honest to god difference, and that THAT difference is better or worse. it isnt something that can be explained or quantified or measured.

detectable differences may be able to be measured...but perceived differences cannot. perceived differences is what most people live their lives by (and i am not speaking of just theater audio).

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But, but, you're taking those great big geezer ears and that hearing loss and comparing. Can those great big ears and (slight to moderate) hearing loss reliably detect a difference between two otherwise identical measuring widgets? (forget the vacuum part because then that will blow me out of the water)
 

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That's a bit...well...I don't know what word I want to use, lol. That's -- philosophy...soft science. Sure, my reality is my reality and until you can jump in my head and extract the neurons you don't know what I know any better than I can express it to you. But, if you can admit:



a) a microphone is a more accurate device than our ears

b) we can simulate two ears with two microphones arranged in a fake head

c) we can use software to measure the and analysis the data acquired by two mics

d) if there are differences in what the mics hear there should be differences in what we hear

e) if there are no differences in what the mics hear, then either:

e1) we can hear better than the mic (well, then you don't agree with point a)

e2) there is a "real" audible difference, but we didn't measure the right stuff to find it

e3) there is no difference



Feel free to enhance the decision tree any way you'd like. But, until we can drill into our brains and extract our biological CPUs, the CPUs and software we build will have to suffice for performing this (and other) analysis "reliably" (because our brains sure as hell are NOT reliable machines!).


and that was my point.

“a) a microphone is a more accurate device than our ears

b) we can simulate two ears with two microphones arranged in a fake head”

and yet the one MAJOR thing NO ONE can duplicate is the human brain.

there is NOTHING on this planet that can replicate human perception. it doesnt matter what processors, what mics, how loud, how clean...the biggest variable IS the human brain.........and EVERYONE’S brain is different.

hash it out however you want. it still wont make any sense because of that one large variable...the human mind.


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But, but, you're taking those great big geezer ears and that hearing loss and comparing. Can those great big ears and (slight to moderate) hearing loss reliably detect a difference between two otherwise identical measuring widgets? (forget the vacuum part because then that will blow me out of the water)


well. the only response i have for that is....

you dont have to be a “geezer” to have hearing loss. some hearing losss isnt caused by age.


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people with hf hearing loss are usually more sensitive to speakers being bright...go figure :)
 

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people with hf hearing loss are usually more sensitive to speakers being bright...go figure :)


it depends on what kind of hearing loss.

highs. lows. it varies.

hearing loss isnt a blanket statement unfortunately.


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Discussion Starter #200
The two dimensional stuff we mostly have metrics for thereby can mostly measure. The three dimensional …. not so fast.

You remember that thread I was talking about a few post ago? We really went at it for 70 - 80 pages …. several hundred posts. Many many objectivists were saying that everything was measurable and it was actually Floyd Toole who was reluctantly saying, wait a minute, not so fast, we don't even have metrics to measure. I even had some defenders such as Craig John who understood exactly what I was talking about.
Wait -- we don't have metrics for 3D audio, or we don't have metrics for 3D soundstaging?

If it is the latter -- I'd ask, "what is a 3D soundstage"? Personally, I've never heard one -- maybe it is my ears. I can "pretend" I hear it, because with my current setup every sound, however wide or narrow, gets rendered in front of me in a "bubble" of its own and that "bubble" may be louder or softer than another one. But, to me, that's not "3D", it's just a different SPL level. I can "pretend" it is 3D because the "softer" bubbles may either be softer or they may be further away (and the louder closer to me). Alas, my brain mostly goes with "they are softer / louder" rather than "they are further / closer".

So, if by "3D soundstage" you mean you feel like the instruments are actually in a 3D space, as if you know exactly where it is positioned front to back and could walk up to it and touch it...well, that I've never experienced, neither live nor reproduced. I've been to plenty of live concerts (my brother plays saxophone, bass clarinet, and oboe; I go see him play when I can) and even there I can't say I hear it "3D" by that definition. It's not like I can shut my eyes and tell the exact spot in 3-dimensions where my brother is playing, that's for sure! Can you? If so, guess your ears are better or more trained than mine....

That said, despite posting about the 3D sound via headphones stuff (which I know exists), I've never tried it...so, it's possible my ears work, just not live or with reproduced sound, lol. If I couldn't perceive 3D with those sims then I'd put a nail in it; my ears are "broke", lol. Honestly, it's the reason I don't try them, hahaha!
some dumb youtuber did some double blind tests on headphone amps...I will save you. they picked 2 amps with really different output stages so the differences were so obvious, anyone could hear. obviously...or maybe not...making these 2 amps measure with the same output stages...totally defeats the purpose/function of design. imo, the varying degrees of resistance in speakers/xovers...isnt so simple as a constant flow of power. I will go so far as needing 4 dimensional science and measurements to even come close to scratching the surface. but hey....most dont even know what 4 dimensional is.
Guess we'll have to agree to disagree -- you're not reading what we're posting. Is it possible to design something that is not transparent? YES! Is it desired? Maybe by you, not by "us".

So, I'd argue that if two things sound different, then either:

a) one of them is not transparent
b) neither of them is transparent
c) the test was flawed
d) the listener was super-human and should be experimented on to see why their hearing is better than everyone else in the world, on average -- in other words, we finally found a listener that may actually be hearing the measurable differences that likely exist, but are below our threshold of audibility.

You pick, no matter what, I don't want the one that isn't transparent! Anything a device can do to f-up the signal, I'd prefer to be defeatable. I don't want to bake it into my signal chain and I sure a fck don't want to pay out the nose for the "privilege" of doing so!

Further, I want more of "us" than "you" in the "music making business" because then I can play back a known, controlled, entity and cease to be encumbered by the circle of confusion.
 
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