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Audiophilia: hobby or disease?
Hobby 17%  17%  [ 10 ]
Disease 31%  31%  [ 18 ]
could go either way 39%  39%  [ 23 ]
Your mom goes to college 3%  3%  [ 2 ]
We shewt people who use dem big purty words 'round here 10%  10%  [ 6 ]
Total votes : 59
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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 6:50 am 
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There is something that I'd like to clear up first :

yeha : Do they sell $4000 systems at walmart? (i dont go to walmart) Have you ever heard what a $4000 audio system sounds like? I can hear the difference between a $200 PC setup (what I have), a $1000 setup, and a $4000 setup. Its not huge, but its there.

Bobdog : How can you buy shakti stones and challenge yeha's stats and numbers? WRT the raising the cables, unless your cables arent insulated, there is no scientific explanation for this. If there is you should be able to find us a journal article somewhere about how current leaks out of insulated cables.

Ok now that thats out of the way :
- people like sthayashi (respek!!!) may not have the most sensitive hearing. This fact fact should be taken into account even though it can be used as a crutch by audiophiles "I can hear the diff but you cant". For eg. I can see flicker in monitors at 85 Hz but I cant smell worth a damn. So it is _possible_ that some people can hear differences that you cant. It would be interesting to do double blind tests for a large amount of equipment with a large number of people, but not averaging out the results. See if some people picked out the high end equipment consistently.
- That being said I think a lot of the audio stuff sold is nonsense and has no scientific reason to it.
- Generally an audio system is limited by some component (usually speaker, amp, interconnects, source). So changing one component might not necessarily change the sound much. I've changed from completely ghetto wiring to the best radio shack sells (12-guage?), and from a $40 cd player to a $200 one. Each upgrade I could hear the difference. I have no experience with the exotic crap and dont intend to.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 12:08 pm 
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tay wrote:
I've changed from completely ghetto wiring to the best radio shack sells (12-guage?), and from a $40 cd player to a $200 one. Each upgrade I could hear the difference. I have no experience with the exotic crap and dont intend to.

And that is the start of the slippery slope people, "I'm happy with what I've got... but I'll just listen to XYZ 'out of interest"... :D

Been there myself ... and slipped.. :oops:

There have been many posts in this thread and I personally think Green Shoes last post hit more nails than any other.

yeha's last post was the best he made, with little/no 'instant attack' and said volumes also...

Not to discredit Devonar, BobDog, Ed and a whole host of others. 8)


I personally suffer Arcam CD and Linn amp and speakers, not esoteric, not cheap. I, through my association with a speaker/amplifier design engineer friend, have heard systems many people will not have the priveledge of... one of the 'best' was an American PA Amp :shock: (I think a 'Solo' ) which sounded 'OK' but had responce times that made my Linn system sound like it was moving through molases... :? and made some music suddenly come alive.. at least with the likes of Joe Satriani and co.

I've heard Tandy/Radio Shack interconnects that sound better than much much more expensive interconnects. I've tried isolation platforms and donoughts and... 'shapes'... some work some don't.
The ones I have are shaped like a 'Rolo', if that means anything to you. And the designer went to the lenghts of trying different colours of the plastic (Having done a suitable course to understand the molecular stucture of such ) to see if there were any 'hearable' and measurable differences.

The whole point is though... does it improve your listening pleasure... if it does,... what other people think does not.

Linn's philosophy is and has allways been, 'Try it on the ***, or with the ***, or inside the ****, if that sounds better... then that's what's 'right'. Audiophiles used to slam Linn for this.

The bottom line is... If you like what you hear,... or if it's good enough ... then fine 8) , And then applies to all levels...

And if you want to turn the thread another way, then let's dicuss the completely ridiculous cone shape drivers we most commonly use,... why do we? and I'm not talking about using crappy Quad's with their limited range or the over priced 'flat panel' pretenders from a couple of (American and other) retailers...



'Esoteric' is made of Elastic...

As is hearing, perception and belief...

Make of it what you will...



And if this post has contributed little to the overall thread,... then I am apologetic but I'm glad I'm in the overall majority... :lol:

Light, Love and peace..

Pete


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 12:32 pm 
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Ho boy...seems my rather insignificant comments (or so I thought) have billowed into something ugly.

How people choose to spend their money is their own business, and if they want to spend $2000 on speakers cables (which is moronic in my not-so-humble opinion, but it's my right as a consumer to have this opinion) then so be it. I don't look down on them for it--it's their choice and their opinion. Likewise, many well educated, pragmatic people will look at my tube amps and wail about how they incorporate obsolete, 1920s era technology that has poor THD, low power output, and so on.

Doesn't change the fact that it sounds better to me than anything Rotel currently manufactures, but....whatever.

I personally build my audio equipment not because it's cheap and I end up with a better product, but because my hobby is building stuff.

Rather than debate the merits of people's beliefs or science, I'll just leave everyone with a very nice paper from a bright young lad at MIT:

http://web.mit.edu/cheever/www/cheever_thesis.pdf



ps: cable risers are complete bs. :lol:

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 2:36 pm 
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Yaaaay! I win! :mrgreen: :mrgreen:

j/k

thanks for the vote of confidence peteamer, I couldn't even remember what I wrote though, had to go back and check :oops: .

peteamer wrote:
The whole point is though... does it improve your listening pleasure... if it does,... what other people think does not.

This is interesting....it's probably true, but could it improve perceived listening pleasure? If someone came over and told you that you had a rockin' setup when you were considering replacing everything, would that not change your opinion at all? Hopefully it wouldn't, because you're right, what others say won't actually change your enjoyment...but perhaps some people "gloss over" that b/c others say it's good. Admittedly, I subscribe to this same philosophy on many levels, whether consciously or not. Just being overly philosophical, not trying to argue with you or anything.
peteamer wrote:
The whole point is though... does it improve your listening pleasure... if it does,... what other people think does not.

Bingo.
peteamer wrote:
And if you want to turn the thread another way, then let's dicuss the completely ridiculous cone shape drivers we most commonly use,... why do we? and I'm not talking about using crappy Quad's with their limited range or the over priced 'flat panel' pretenders from a couple of (American and other) retailers...

Do you prefer electro-static speakers, or is there something else out there I haven't heard of? I think the electro-static towers are pretty freakin' cool myself, but I can't afford them ATM... :cry:
@
Beyonder, cool paper. I'm only about 20 pages through it, but he seems to have done his homework.


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 4:19 pm 
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Green Shoes wrote:
Do you prefer electro-static speakers, or is there something else out there I haven't heard of? I think the electro-static towers are pretty freakin' cool myself, but I can't afford them ATM... :cry:


You should try giving Magneplanar's planar magnetic ribbon and quasiribbon speakers a try; my dad has a pair of MG1.6 QR and he loves them; they sound great to me as well, but I can't afford speakers like that, nor would they work well in a space as small as mine. Also, he listens to more string than I do, and I listen to more percussion and vocal than he does.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 4:31 pm 
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HERE GOES ANOTHER VERY LONG POST. I AM SORRY IN ADVANCE.

1.0 Why am I here and what the f**k do I know?

Something I dislike: coming to a new poster board and seeming like I am some pedantic asshole who thinks he knows everything about everything. I know so very little about so very much and I am fully aware of this. I came to SPCR to learn about computers, something I know almost nothing about, but through a comedy of errors have ended up trapped in a few threads that have ended up dealing with one or two of the only topics in the world I do happen to know something about: audio equipment and scientific method/testing methodology. (And I don’t consider myself an expert in the former, I personally know a number of people far more knowledgeable on this topic than I—I have never even designed a circuit or built a speaker in my life, how much could I really know?!?!) Weird. That said…

2.0 Reality and perception
2.1 Rationalists and … irrationalists?


Devonavar, and others, have suggested that there is a divide between “rationalists” and “subjectivists” within the audio community. I reject his characterization of people like me as being non-rational, for reasons I shall detail below. On the other hand, I think he brings up a good point when he uses these themes to address the question of what is the standard of “real” in an medium that is inherently divorced from the empiria. Contrary to the prevailing view around here, audiophiles are not a bunch of gullible sots, forever chasing the next brand of “snake oil” (though some are), and this very topic has been the subject of long and heated debate in such places as www.audiogon.com and www.audioasylum.com, as well as in Stereophile and The Absolute Sound (TAS). This topic cuts to the heart of a matter that is both ontological and epistemological in its nature.

2.2 Ontology

Ontology is the nature of things. Subjectivists (e.g. post-modernists and some social constructivists) argue that “reality” is contingent on those observing it and in discussing what a sound really sounds like in abstraction from the person doing the listening is an untenable exercise. Their cause really got underway after the failure of Aristotelian Physics, which everyone just knew was “true” after centuries of testing, in favor of Einsteinian Physics. That is, they claim that Aristotle was “right” only because so many people happened to believe he was—and that he had now fallen from favor was simply a result of a shift in prevailing views, not “truth” per se, which does not exist outside of the eye of the beholder.

Objectivists argue that an objective reality exists—e.g. a reality that is an object separable from the person doing the observing. One need not abandon rationality to admit that this reality may be only imperfectly perceived and doing so does not deny its (meta-)physical existence. Perception for rationalists becomes an issue of epistemology—or how we “know” the things we “know.”

2.3 Epistemology

So how do we know what we know? Soft-core social constructivists (those not associated with ontological subjectivity), argue that even if an independent metaphysical reality exists, our perception of it is so colored by our socially constructed identities (which encompass gendered, racial, social, familial, etc. social norms, rules, and relations), that an objective observation of a “real” reality is not possible. Rationalists, on the other hand, believe that our perceptions (and tests, et al.) do allow us insight into the “real” reality. The “noise” associated with these perceptions will dictate the degree to which we correctly perceive reality and thus the proximity of our beliefs to it. The greater the “hard” rationality assumption, the lesser the assumed noise in estimation; in the limit, noise --> 0 and perception = reality.

2.3 Political and the social sciences

Last year, I received my Ph.D. in political science from a department that is well known for its rational-choice approach to the field—from both an ontological and epistemic perspective. That is, we are working very hard to put the “SCIENCE” back into political science. Game theorists and quantitative methodologists abounded and, perhaps because I am a product of this factory, I have bought into this program and am on rat-choice bandwagon in a big way.

I am convinced that a more rigorous, scientific approach to political science (and the social sciences more generally) will yield great insights. On the other hand, I also know that we do not have access to all of the necessary data, models, and testing techniques we would need to fully (epistemologically) specify the world according to these standards. Indeed, often times we must move our analyses from the quantifiable world of data-dominance and address many substantively important issues using impressionistic, descriptive methods. If we were to limit ourselves to questions upon which we had fully specified methods and data, I fear we would remain unable to address far too much of what is truly important in the world. Thus we must, at times, go beyond quantitative “tests” knowing that though we may draw conclusions when doing so, these conclusions remain suspect and open to revision.

In a circumstance such as this, how are we to incorporate new data, be it quantitative or qualitative, into our belief-set? Bayes rule offers us one possibility. Bayes rule, simply stated is: Pr(A|D)=Pr(D|A)*Pr(A)/ Pr(D|A)*Pr(A)+ Pr(D|~A)*Pr(~A), which we might read as something like: “The probability A is true after observing data D is a function of the probability we would observe D if A were true, times our prior belief that A was true, divided by the probability we would observe D if A were true, times our prior belief that A was true, plus the probability we would observe D if A were not true, times our prior belief that A was not true.” In effect, Bayes Rule gives us a ratio into which we can incorporate incoming data in a “rational” manner. In the absence of spiked priors (in which all the probability weight is distributed to our prior beliefs and zero-weights are given to new data), we have a means by which rational observers can update their beliefs such that as D --> (infinity), our beliefs --> reality.

This is a very powerful rule because it says that all individuals, WHATEVER THEIR PRIOR BELIEFS AND NO MATTER WHAT WEIGHT THEY GIVE INCOMING DATA (AS LONG AS IT IS > 0), THEY WILL ALL REACH THE SAME CONCLUSION AS D --> (infinity). Not only that, but that conclusion with be an epistemologically “correct” belief over the true ontological nature of the empiria. Note that Bayesians are thus, by their nature, both ontological objectivists and epistemological rationalists. However, note that if D < (infinity) we can only approach truth (at varying rates of closure)—thus even rationalists will admit that, in the absence of full data, we may still hold beliefs that only approach (or approximate) reality.

3.0 What does this have to do with audio?!?
3.1 Bayes rule and the audible phenomena


I said above that I disagreed with Devonavar’s characterization of me as non-rational. I am fully rational in my outlook in a Bayesian sense: I hold certain beliefs and test them against data and update my beliefs at a rate that suits me. I also believe that musical events are ontologically separable from those listening to them and that there IS a “true” sound for a given performance.

How we can know what that sound is a thornier question. As has been noted by others, the most important issue in determining what we hear is not made by us at all, but by record producers and recording engineers (for a very insightful discussion on this point, see the Round Table discussion on the playback hierarchy in TAS no. 151: pp. 84-93). They are sure to screw this up… but hopefully not too much. We have no control over this process, so the best we can do is select components that are most faithful to the recording and set them (and our rooms) up so that they will most accurately reproduce the information held in our aluminum pits or vinyl groves.

But is it possible to know if we are getting closer to (recorded) reality? Well, as a rationalist, I would say yes. We have a great deal of data upon which to draw. A FIRST CUT would be electronic testing. This is an excellent tool, one that is completely scientific and replicable. Unfortunately, as in political science, we have access to neither the full data nor the fully specified tests necessary for this first step to be enough on its own. If we want to answer many of the interesting questions, we must UNFORTUNATELY move beyond these methods and on to others that remain more impressionistic and descriptive… and, yes, experiential. We can each, individually weight the degree to which these new (qualitative and quantitative) data revise our posterior beliefs, but to disregard either (as many posters here seem to do) or both is as foolish as it is inefficient.

Note that, by updating my beliefs according to Bayes Rule, I am assuming that (1) incoming information is a true (if noisy) signal of the empiria and, as a result, (2) updating allows us to converge toward true belief. However, given that D < (infinity), we cannot say that we have reached the full epistemological truth content of the audio playback phenomena. However, because I do not spike my prior beliefs and do allow for updating, I am certainly more rational in my methods than, say, yeha.

3.2 But if “correct” remains unknown, should we prefer “pleasant” instead?

Again provocatively, Devonavar asks that if we cannot know for certain when the last bit of information is extracted from a vinyl groove or recovered CD pit, might we not seek a pleasant musical experience as opposed to a “realistic” one? I think not, and I think most audiophiles would agree with me. As we love music, there can be nothing more appealing then reproducing the musical experience as faithfully as possible—subject to the constraints placed upon that experience by the recording side of the equation. It is true that certain gear adds something that may correct or enhance certain recordings or types of music, but often this is simply a band-aid for failings that should have been corrected in the recording studio—our playback rigs cannot be held hostage to a few poor recordings—and the more faithful our playback gear, the better is will sound on the widest range of material (although, again, it might sound down right terrible on a few select pieces). (The problem is that both the audiophile who listens to 3 watt SET amps and Lowther speakers and the other audiophile who listens to Krell mega-amps and difficult-to-drive cone drivers both say they are after truth… and one HAS TO BE WRONG!)

How can we know if we are moving in the direction of greater truth as long as the full measure of truth eludes us? Bayes rule provides us a way: if the empiria is a true (if noisy) signal of truth and if we update our beliefs and expose ourselves to as much and as varied data as possible, our beliefs over which components are more truthful will converge towards reality—even if it never reaches it.

We will be confident in the incoming data, and can then update at a higher rate, the higher the (perceived) quality of these data. For example, I hold lab test results in a somewhat lower regard than many here so I am less convinced by lab results telling us that there is no difference between a $$$ CD player and a Wal-Mart Special, but new and more refined electronic testing techniques may increase my faith in what our instruments tell us. Also not that, skeptical as I am, I do not disregard these results, indeed, I would begin to regard the expensive CD player with some suspicion after observing these results, I just to not allow them to update my posterior beliefs to the same extent as, say, yeha. By the same token, training our ears is always a good idea. Perhaps if yeha were to attend more live concerts (particularly of acoustic music), he might have enough faith in his own ears that he would be willing to let them judge the differences between that same $$$ CD palyer and the Wal-Mart Special (not as opposed to lab measurements, but in addition to them). Note that these results only obtain if we begin by assuming ontological objectivity and epistemological rationality, however.

4.0 Testing
4.1 As much as we can, as often as we can


Puzzlingly,
tay wrote:
Bobdog : How can you buy shakti stones and challenge yeha's stats and numbers?

I cannot understand this statement at all. I buy things like shakti stones in order to TEST them! I try and buy, try, listen to, and sample, as much live and recorded music and playback equipment as I can—some of it is quite goofy. I don’t consider this irrational, but rather an opportunity to update my beliefs over certain technologies and products.

Consider this: all rational scientists (social or from the “hard” sciences) are at heart Lakatosians; Imre Lakatos’s work on the philosophy of science is a corner-stone in the scientific method. He (and Popper before him) proposed that we made BOLD predictions (like “shakti stones will work!”), and then subject these hypotheses to hard empirical tests (as this post is too long already, I will avoid the finer points of Lakatosian research programs). In this vein, the more strange the claim, the more potentially informative will the tests on them be because it is these bold, counter-intuitive claims that most challenge our comfortable (and often incorrect) presumptions. Although they are often proven false, such claims are also the path to real breakthroughs as well—to shy away from these, as tay suggests, is as unscientific an endeavor as I could think of.

But what do these new claims do to our existing beliefs? How do we incorporate the data we have from or tests of the same? BAYES RULE PROVIDES THE (RATIONAL) ANSWER!

4.2 Blind testing

One final note: Many have advocated double-blind testing to see “if there really is anything to this ‘hi-end’ audio stuff.” I have as well—I think it is a source of great empirical data (though not the only one). The reason why some audiophiles are more leery is this: some gear is made to sound/look good on a short demo but is crap in reality. TV’s factory setting generally crush white levels and make everything look blue in an effort to get that TV to “pop” on the shelf—providing a brighter, if not better, picture than anything else near it; by the same token, some audio gear will be pumped up, punchy, bright, and in-your-face which will surely catch your attention on a 5 min. demo in the store or on a 30 sec. cut in an ABX double-blind test. However, like bright blue TVs, these characteristics will grate in the long run (I think of Polk speakers when I think of this).

Many audiophiles fear that such jacked up gear will get too great an edge over more subtle equipment that relies on uncovering nuance and detail that will reward a long-term listener but will be overwhelmed by bombast in a short audition. On this point, I actually agree with yeha, somewhat: I think this is no excuse for abandoning double-blind testing. But I also recognize that sometimes longer experience is needed as well. There are many tests we can use to evaluate audio gear; it would be great if one day we had a set of measurements that would save us the trouble of listening to see which products were best (… I guess), but we are NOT THERE YET. As a result, we must avail ourselves of a number of testing methods, some scientific (lab tests), some quantitative (properly run ABX tests), some personal and experiential (do I actually hear a difference?), and they should ALL be allowed to inform our posterior beliefs. Given our limited understanding of the audio (psycho) phenomena, it is the only rational thing to do.

peteamer wrote:
And if this post has contributed little to the overall thread,... then I am apologetic but I'm glad I'm in the overall majority... :lol:

I liked that so much I decided to steal it.


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 4:50 pm 
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Here's that picture of my setup I promised.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 5:06 pm 
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A MUCH SHORTER POST THAN MY LAST....
Edward Ng wrote:
Here's that picture of my setup I promised.

-Ed

What do you think of the PS Audio? I have heard mixed, but mostly good things about them.

Also, what are you using for front end software, player? I am planning on X-Lobby, have you any suggestions?


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 5:20 pm 
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BobDog wrote:
A MUCH SHORTER POST THAN MY LAST....
Edward Ng wrote:
Here's that picture of my setup I promised.

-Ed

What do you think of the PS Audio? I have heard mixed, but mostly good things about them.

Also, what are you using for front end software, player? I am planning on X-Lobby, have you any suggestions?


I feel this amp is a great match for my speakers, and the frequency response & resolving accuracy are sublimely flat and precise (respectively). Unless I change to less efficient speakers (and I have no such plans), I'm not going to be changing this amp for anything.

All music is encoded to my hard disk in APE or FLAC lossless, played back via foobar2000, special install, kernel streaming with all DSP modules disabled (even volume control), 32-bits out to my soundcard (Echo Audio Mia MIDI), which is locked to 44.1KHz sample rate. I can't think of a purer source; we used this as a source in comparison against my dad's Rega Planet one time on his system and he prefers this over his own Planet; actually, he has asked me to build a similar system for him, but I'm still trying to figure out how to make it as easy for him to use as possible, as I currently rip with EAC and then encode with FLAC Frontend, but I think that's a bit tedious for him.

-Ed

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 5:30 pm 
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Edward Ng wrote:
we used this as a source in comparison against my dad's Rega Planet one time on his system and he prefers this over his own Planet


Humm, I think that the planets are really great players too. How do you get 32 bits... and what can decode a 32-bit word?

Edward Ng wrote:
I currently rip with EAC and then encode with FLAC Frontend
What does that mean (I told you I am new to computer audio!)?


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 5:33 pm 
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Oh yea, I remembered that you said you had a Benchmark on the other thread... that can decode 32 bits? I wonder if 16 bits of dither is overkill? I have no idea, have you tried with lower word-lengths?


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 5:39 pm 
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I only use 32-bits because that's the bitrate that I must use when sending data to Mia MIDI via kernel streaming; otherwise, I'd just use 16-bit.

I believe the soundcard's DSP will read the 32-bit word length and translate it down to whatever the attached device can accept (or simply output it in 24-bits, as I recall an Audio Note DAC that didn't like my sound card's output, so my guess is the Audio Note can only handle 16-bit word length).

-Ed

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Last edited by Edward Ng on Wed May 11, 2005 5:50 pm, edited 2 times in total.

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 5:46 pm 
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BobDog wrote:
Edward Ng wrote:
we used this as a source in comparison against my dad's Rega Planet one time on his system and he prefers this over his own Planet


Humm, I think that the planets are really great players too. How do you get 32 bits... and what can decode a 32-bit word?

Edward Ng wrote:
I currently rip with EAC and then encode with FLAC Frontend
What does that mean (I told you I am new to computer audio!)?


EAC is known also as Exact Audio Copy; it's a piece of software popular with people who want to rip audio in highest fidelity (supposedly better; I can't say I am convinced that's true, but it definitely can't hurt). FLAC is Free Lossless Audio Codec, and is an open-source lossless compression codec for audio. It only reduces files down maybe 30-40%, but it when decompressed is bit for bit identical to the original PCM material.

A simple explaination as to why this setup sounds better than the Rega Planet is that when ripping audio as data, it is not time-sensitive; thus, it completely bypasses one of the major stages of audio reproduction in normal CD transport-based systems for introduction of jitter (if not the worst stage of all from that respect). Using the Benchmark DAC1 then eliminates any possible jitter effect between the sound card and itself. Where does this leave room for any jitter at all in my system? I can't seem to find any, other than maybe the stage where the raw audio data has to pass from foobar2000 to the sound card's own DSP, but that's being done at 44.1KHz and 32-bits, so it's highly likely that this stage of transportation is hardly susceptible to jitter effects in any noticeable way. :)

-Ed

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 5:52 pm 
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Hello:

I think that there are more than a few former/closet/raving audiophiles here at SPCR! We all are tuned in to the sound of things -- and we care enough to try and not abuse our ears with loud computers...

Here's my main stereo set up:

Linn Axis with Dynavector cartridge
Rotel CD modded by Enlightened Audio Designs
Audible Illusions Modulus IIc (the star of the system!)
B&K ST-140
Radio Shack LX-55 Lineaum speakers with a RS 10" powered woofer (modded with 2 oz. of 5-minute epoxy on the cone!)

If I say so myself, this is an excellent system -- in some ways it is better than it was when I had Snell Acoustics Type E/II's. Those had better (and deeper) bass than my RS, but the Lineaum tweeters are pretty special, and overall, I like my $300 speakers better than the $900 Snells...

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Edward Ng wrote:
my guess is the Audio Note can only handle 16-bit word length
You are correct, Audio Note is one of those companies that is against up/over-sampling and they use 16bit ladder DAC chips in their DACs. Thank you for the info. on the software, I was unaware that you could not just rip directly to FLAC files (or can you?).

NeilBlanchard wrote:
Audible Illusions Modulus IIc (the star of the system!)
I've never heard one, but from all I've heard about them... you lucky bastard! But are you not using an HTPC/PC as a source also?


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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 7:08 pm 
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Hi Bob:

No, I don't have a PC or anything high-tech like that, yet. Here's what my version of the Modulus looks like:
Image
It's got four 6922/6DJ8's that are used (IIRC) in a triode mode (no cascade follower, whatever that is). Two tubes are the phono stage (30dB gain?) and the other two are the line stage. Twin volume pots -- so there is no need for a balance pot to in the circuit, so as to keep everything as simple and clean as possible. :twisted:

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 7:41 pm 
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Edward Ng wrote:
EAC is known also as Exact Audio Copy; it's a piece of software popular with people who want to rip audio in highest fidelity (supposedly better; I can't say I am convinced that's true, but it definitely can't hurt). FLAC is Free Lossless Audio Codec, and is an open-source lossless compression codec for audio. It only reduces files down maybe 30-40%, but it when decompressed is bit for bit identical to the original PCM material.

Critical point to be made here. Fidelity is a questionable choice of words to use to describe EAC. Secure is better. There is a much higher probability of a bit-perfect rip with EAC (or a higher confidence level, stats was never my strong suit). However, it does not come out of the box set up this way. Assuming you have a good drive, it can calibrate for sample offset.

Personally, I prefer PlexTools, because it's almost as accurate, but a lot faster (PlexTools makes a few assumptions about the CD, EAC does not. The science behind this distinction is a little over my head).

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sthayashi wrote:
Edward Ng wrote:
EAC is known also as Exact Audio Copy; it's a piece of software popular with people who want to rip audio in highest fidelity (supposedly better; I can't say I am convinced that's true, but it definitely can't hurt). FLAC is Free Lossless Audio Codec, and is an open-source lossless compression codec for audio. It only reduces files down maybe 30-40%, but it when decompressed is bit for bit identical to the original PCM material.

Critical point to be made here. Fidelity is a questionable choice of words to use to describe EAC. Secure is better. There is a much higher probability of a bit-perfect rip with EAC (or a higher confidence level, stats was never my strong suit). However, it does not come out of the box set up this way. Assuming you have a good drive, it can calibrate for sample offset.

Personally, I prefer PlexTools, because it's almost as accurate, but a lot faster (PlexTools makes a few assumptions about the CD, EAC does not. The science behind this distinction is a little over my head).


Which is why I'm not convinced. :)

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PostPosted: Wed May 11, 2005 9:49 pm 
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I dont mean to be the forum jerk, and I know I've stepped over the bounds of civility a couple of times, but this simply needs to be said.....

Bobdog : Only a political scientist could write so much hogwash and say so little. Please dont try and put rational clothes on emotional decision making.

Quote:
I buy things like shakti stones in order to TEST them!

If I told you a room filled with manure would sound amazing would you fill your room with manure? If not then why shakti stones.


Quote:
Consider this: all rational scientists (social or from the “hard” sciences) are at heart Lakatosians
Lakota, ginkoba, i dont care. Youre not a scientist. There is no "social" science. *flame away* Lakatos was an idiot. His mumbo jumbo retardation has no place in science nor the philosophy of science although he did make it into one of Goulds books which is annoying.

Quoting lakatos here :
Quote:
Now, Newton's theory of gravitation, Einstein's relativity theory, quantum mechanics, Marxism, Freudism, are all research programmes, each with a characteristic hard core stubbornly defended, each with its more flexible protective belt and each with its elaborate problem-solving machinery. Each of them, at any stage of its development, has unsolved problems and undigested anomalies.
This is absurd. Just because these are all theories does not mean they have anything worth comparing in common.

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BobDog wrote:
I came to SPCR to learn about computers, something I know almost nothing about, but through a comedy of errors have ended up trapped in a few threads that have ended up dealing with one or two of the only topics in the world I do happen to know something about: audio equipment and scientific method/testing methodology. (And I don’t consider myself an expert in the former, I personally know a number of people far more knowledgeable on this topic than I—I have never even designed a circuit or built a speaker in my life, how much could I really know?!?!)

Even though you've received the official welcome, I think I need to mention this. If you actually do have any questions on computing in general, feel free to open up a new topic in the off-topic section. If your question relates to quiet computing, feel free to open up a topic in the appropriate area.

Sorry, I do feel a little bad that you're having to debate with the same people who are actually quite friendly about helping out others when it comes to computing.

(That said, I'm having quite a lot of fun reading what you have to say, regardless of whether I agree with it or not).

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IF SOMEONE WOULD TELL ME HOW I CAN GET THE HYPERLINKS INTO SINGLE WORDS, I'D APPRECIATE THAT A LOT AND MY POSTS WOULD BE A LOT EASIER TO READ AS WELL.... Anyway,

sthayashi wrote:
If you actually do have any questions on computing in general, feel free to open up a new topic in the off-topic section.
First of all, thank you sthayashi... as I said in an earlier post on this thread, I have purchased all my parts already but I am sure I will be asking quite a few software and networking questions when my case finally gets here and everything is more or less up'n'running. Also, I did have one question, which I still do not think has been adequately answered--if any of the HUGE number of people who seem to feel the need to weigh in on this question might want to give answering this: http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewto ... highlight= a shot, I'd be very interested in hearing what you have to say.
tay wrote:
Bobdog : Only a political scientist could write so much hogwash and say so little. Please dont try and put rational clothes on emotional decision making.... Lakota, ginkoba, i dont care. Youre not a scientist. There is no "social" science.
There is a world of difference between "science" and "scientific method." Similarly, there is a world of difference between the "hard" and "soft" sciences (though postmodernists would disagree), political science clearly being in the latter camp. My point is that the testing and science of audio is so much in its infancy, it lies closer to PoliSci than, say, physics. As such, expanding our knowledge of audio will be much like that in the other soft sciences: use replicable test data whenever it is available, but do not be afraid to use other data as well and be willing to incorporate the latter into your posterior belief set.

tay wrote:
Quote:

I buy things like shakti stones in order to TEST them!
If I told you a room filled with manure would sound amazing would you fill your room with manure? If not then why shakti stones.
This is about as clever as my mother's logic when she asked me "if all your freinds jumped off a cliff would you too?" No, I think that it is very unlikely that I'll be filling my listening room with manure. In fact, as I have now said MANY TIMES ON THIS THREAD, I am easing up on the extreme audio experience (at least for a while) and will be unlikely to be spending time and money on such experiments in the foreseeable future. That said, I would think that people like tay would be pleased that I took the time to test shakti stones and fond them wanting--why he'd flame me for testing and honestly reporting the results remains quite confusing to me. That is like saying the idea that I think that HDD suspension is silly so I will NEVER try it (despite many people having said they tried it successfully because I am sure that they are ALL just a bunch of inveterate modders deluding themselves).

tay wrote:
Lakatos was an idiot. His mumbo jumbo retardation has no place in science nor the philosophy of science although he did make it into one of Goulds books which is annoying.
Quoting lakatos here :
Quote:
Now, Newton's theory of gravitation, Einstein's relativity theory, quantum mechanics, Marxism, Freudism, are all research programmes, each with a characteristic hard core stubbornly defended, each with its more flexible protective belt and each with its elaborate problem-solving machinery. Each of them, at any stage of its development, has unsolved problems and undigested anomalies.

This is absurd. Just because these are all theories does not mean they have anything worth comparing in common.
This thread is actually a spinoff of another thread on a home-build tube amp, which it had unfortunately hijacked. I don't want to hijack this thread again to get into a discussion of Lakatos with tay, whom he clearly does not understand at all (although I think a thread devoted to a meta-theoretical discussion on Lakatos on a silent computer forum would likely be a first :D !). I will, however, try and briefly clear up a few things:
(1) Lakatos is not comparing the theories, he is comparing the investigative form and standards of proof under which these theories operate.
(2) A "hard core" is an untestable set of assumptions that motivate further research, this research expands the empirical domain over which the hard core holds sway-or the "outer-belt".
(3) Empirical inconsistencies in the outer-belt are allowable if, in overcoming these, new additions to the outer-belt are able to explain new or novel phenomena. When they do so, this is called a progressive problem-shift; if the theory overcomes empirical failures by reference to new ad hoc assumptions, only added to paper over the theory's failures, then this is called a degenerative problem-shift.
(4) Core assumptions, outer-belt findings and additions, and a program of testing compose a Lakatosian research program.
(5) Tay’s inability to grasp the fact that Newton, Einstein Marx, and Freud all fall under this broad rubric, is further evidence of his lack of understanding of Lakatos.
(6) It is true that while Marxism began as such a research program, its decent in to ad hoc-ery under Communism, left it adrift and no longer "scientific" in a Lakatosian sense. As was shown by Popper, BTW.
(7) I would like to say hi-end audio is on the path to becoming a scientific research program, but as it lacks a unifying hard core, I do not think it qualifies.

Still, I think we can hold ourselves to the standards of Lakatosian tests and proofs; I advocate a Bayesian approach to doing so.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 12:15 pm 
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BobDog wrote:
IF SOMEONE WOULD TELL ME HOW I CAN GET THE HYPERLINKS INTO SINGLE WORDS, I'D APPRECIATE THAT A LOT AND MY POSTS WOULD BE A LOT EASIER TO READ AS WELL.... Anyway,


Code:
[url=http://forums.silentpcreview.com/viewtopic.php?t=21877&highlight=]Like this[/url]
Like this


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 12:21 pm 
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Bobdog,

Your answer, and many others, lies at the end of this short and sweet, blue worded 'hidden URL' link...

8)


Pete [edit]'pipped at the ... post ... :roll: '[/edit] Amer


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 1:40 pm 
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nici wrote:
Code: Like this

peteamer wrote:
Bobdog,

Your answer, and many others, lies at the end of this short and sweet, blue worded 'hidden URL' link...


Oh, thanks.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 3:19 pm 
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Green Shoes wrote:
Beyonder, cool paper. I'm only about 20 pages through it, but he seems to have done his homework.


Yeah, the guy really knows his stuff.

The paper really opened my eyes and caused me to reconsider some of the things people consider relevant to the way an amplifier "sounds", like THD. After reading this paper, THD is really a very poor measurement of anything.

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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 5:52 pm 
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BobDog wrote:
My point is that the testing and science of audio is so much in its infancy, it lies closer to PoliSci than, say, physics. As such, expanding our knowledge of audio will be much like that in the other soft sciences: use replicable test data whenever it is available, but do not be afraid to use other data as well and be willing to incorporate the latter into your posterior belief set.

Hmm. Yes and no. I would agree insofar as we're talking about how sound sounds subjectively. However, some of the stuff we're talking about here is pretty hard science. Our understanding of electromagnetics is decidedly not "soft" science. It's hard science. It's really rather central to our understanding of physics.

Take, for example, the experiment described above, where you split a signal, invert one half of it, run it through two cables, then sum the signals and view the output on an oscilliscope. If you get a flat line on the scope output, then there's no functional difference between the cables. Period. There's nothing soft about the science involved in that sort of experiment.

Now, you want to discuss whether the "colour" and "warmth" of vinyl makes it a better medium than optical discs, be my guest. I might even agree with you (that is, I might agree that a little analog distortion is a good thing, particularly if the comparison class is a little digital distortion). But if you want to tell me that two identical sets of speaker wires, one on the ground and the other on cable lifters, result in different output, well sorry, you've got to show me on the scope before I'll believe that.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 6:47 pm 
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Gorsnak wrote:
Take, for example, the experiment described above, where you split a signal, invert one half of it, run it through two cables, then sum the signals and view the output on an oscilliscope. If you get a flat line on the scope output, then there's no functional difference between the cables. Period. There's nothing soft about the science involved in that sort of experiment.
I think this is a reasonable post, but still disagree. You assume that an oscilloscope reading is telling you everything there is to know about the sound, which I do not think is correct--the tests we now use for audio do not fully capture our psychoacoustic experience and thus do not fully specify the human listening experience.

One good example of this is Ed Ng's Benchmark DAC. According to Benchmark, one of the reasons their product sounds so good is because they have developed a number of tests that test things that no one else is even aware of--by improving performance in these proprietary parameters, Benchmark is able to gain an audible edge even though their DAC might measure identically to another DAC according to more generally used tests. Marketing hype? Maybe, I don’t know. As I said before, I’ve never heard the Benchmark and I am obviously not privy to their unique tests. Considering the how many people DO like the Benchmark (Edward among them), maybe there is something to these secret tests after all. If so, I would think this would be troubling to the just-read-the-oscilloscope crowd.

Another example is “jitter” that was not discovered to be a problem in digital sound reproduction for several years after CD’s release—it took years of people LISTENING and telling companies that the new digital format sucked before measurements were developed to begin to quantify what the reason for this suckyness was.

The point is that contemporary testing technology is often not all that Gorsnak and others make it out to be. I am not saying abandon testing—it is an important tool. But just because we have not figured out to measure something YET, does not mean it does not exist and does not effect our appreciation of the music.

In any case, here is an article you may find interesting:

[quote=Stereophile"]"Some say it dates back to 1927, when Gramophone magazine's editor thundered that electrical reproduction was a step backward in sound quality," said the promotional copy for Home Entertainment 2005's opening-day event, "The Great Debate: Subjectivism on Trial." It continued: "But whenever it started, the Great Debate between 'subjectivists,' who hear differences among audio components, and 'objectivists,' who tend to ascribe such differences to the listeners' overheated imaginations, rages just as strongly in the 21st century as it did in the 20th." On April 29 at the Manhattan Hilton, Stereophile editor John Atkinson and one of the Internet's most vocal audio skeptics, Arnold B. Krueger, debated mano a mano where the line should be drawn between honest reporting and audio delusion.[/quote]

A review of the debate PLUS AN MP3 RECORDING OF THE FULL THING, BLOW BY BLOW, can be found on Stereophile’s website here.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 7:18 pm 
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BobDog wrote:
I think this is a reasonable post, but still disagree. You assume that an oscilloscope reading is telling you everything there is to know about the sound, which I do not think is correct--the tests we now use for audio do not fully capture our psychoacoustic experience and thus do not fully specify the human listening experience.

An oscilloscope doesn't tell me anything about the sound. What it does is tell me everything about the electrical current flowing through the circuit. If I'm testing, say, two cords connecting an eq to an amp, and my scope can't measure the difference, then there's no possible way that the amp circuitry will respond differently to the two signals, and hence there's no possible way for the sound to be any different. So long as my scope has as good resolving power as the amp, there's just no room for any difference. Or are you saying that our understanding of electromagnetics is faulty? Where, exactly, is the difference in the behaviour of the speaker cones coming from if the electrical current is exactly the same?


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 7:55 pm 
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Gorsnak wrote:
BobDog wrote:
I think this is a reasonable post, but still disagree. You assume that an oscilloscope reading is telling you everything there is to know about the sound, which I do not think is correct--the tests we now use for audio do not fully capture our psychoacoustic experience and thus do not fully specify the human listening experience.


An oscilloscope doesn't tell me anything about the sound. What it does is tell me everything about the electrical current flowing through the circuit. If I'm testing, say, two cords connecting an eq to an amp, and my scope can't measure the difference, then there's no possible way that the amp circuitry will respond differently to the two signals, and hence there's no possible way for the sound to be any different. So long as my scope has as good resolving power as the amp, there's just no room for any difference. Or are you saying that our understanding of electromagnetics is faulty? Where, exactly, is the difference in the behaviour of the speaker cones coming from if the electrical current is exactly the same?
That is funny because, at a minimum, amps should react differently to different loads put into them. All cables measure differently and thus will react with amps differently. Thus, even if presented with the same electrical signal via the tests of which you speak, the amp will sound different... and since we generally listen to music, as opposed to watching it, I think that is what matters most.

That is, of course, only one example of how cables may "sound" different. Like I said above, I am not against measurements, but I think that if we stop listening we are missing out on a lot of information that I can say from emperical experience, has been missed by oscilloscope et al.


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PostPosted: Thu May 12, 2005 8:25 pm 
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BobDog wrote:
That is funny because, at a minimum, amps should react differently to different loads put into them. All cables measure differently and thus will react with amps differently. Thus, even if presented with the same electrical signal via the tests of which you speak, the amp will sound different... and since we generally listen to music, as opposed to watching it, I think that is what matters most.

That is, of course, only one example of how cables may "sound" different. Like I said above, I am not against measurements, but I think that if we stop listening we are missing out on a lot of information that I can say from emperical experience, has been missed by oscilloscope et al.

What different load? We've got an eq connected to an amp. We have two different cables we can use to connect them. Using the described methodology, we've determined that the cables in question will conduct electrical current in the relevant range of amplitude and frequency in a functionally equivalent fashion (to the limit of our scope's sensitivity). Now you're saying it's still possible for the amp to react differently to the signal coming from the eq depending on which cable is used to connect them? How, exactly? Where is the difference coming from?

This has nothing to do with acoustics. This is strictly a question of electromagnetics. Acoustics only happens after the speaker driver starts creating compression waves in the air. Everything before that stage is strictly a question of electron flow. Voltage, resistance, inductance, and capacitance. There is nothing else. If a scope can't see the difference between two electrical currents, then neither can your amp. They're both just collections of semi-conductors, after all.

Look, if you want to say that our acoustical measurement equipment doesn't gather all the information our ears can, fine. I agree. Subtlely different speaker designs, down to the minutiae of the shape of a horn, or the resonant qualities of the cabinet, or the mass of the diaphragm might result in differences that are audible but perhaps not measurable via instrumentation. Likewise, subtle variations in room acoustics may do the same (actually, are far more likely to than minor speaker variations). Sound is complicated. Mind you, it's reasonably predictable. A sound system design that looks good in EASE or Ulysses will almost always sound good, too, and the phase interference will be just where predicted, and the direct sound:reflected sound ratios will be nearly spot on, etc. But you can get some weird stuff happening that you might not have expected because your room model is inevitably only an approximation of the actual acoustic environment.

But that's not what you seem to be saying. You seem to be saying that unmeasurable differences in electrical signals can nonetheless result in electronic circuits behaving differently. How? I just don't understand what you think is going on with the underlying physics here.


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