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Old 10th April 2009, 02:57 PM   #1
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Default I need a hand - Rally the scientists

Hi everyone,

Does this require a thread of it's own? Not necessarily, but I wouldn't want to wreck another one, so here it is, on its own.

I fully expect to get disciplined for this. I guess my only hope is that the first moderator to read this post understands what I mean, and just bites me for posting flamebait rather than banning me for being disagreeable.

So, what annoys me so much that I'm trying to get myself banned for writing about it?

http://www.diyaudio.com/forums/showt...99#post1798599

That does.

I'm sorry, SandyK. This isn't a personal attack on you, but this idea that digital audio is affected by some "twilight zone factor" is going too far.

Science is real. Information theory is real. If a digital file appears to be identical to another, it is. There's no question about it. A digital file simply doesn't hold the sort of "metadata" that's being attributed to it. There is no information stored about how the bits came to get into the file, only the bits. That's it.

It's not just this instance, of course, or I'd just ignore it. But it's becoming such a pervasive attitude on this forum, this notion that "I can hear it, and some-one else reckons they can hear it too, so it must be real". If that makes you happy? So be it. At least audiophile foolishness doesn't kill anyone, unlike, say, "alternative medicine". But it's the same idea, and that scares me no end.

Please, go and learn some science. Start with http://scienceblogs.com/pharyngula/2...ur_comment.php . Learn how to test observations properly. Learn what expectation bias and the placebo effect are. Then, maybe, people will stop fearing immunisations, and I won't have to read about how the bits coming out of a bluray reader have been blessed with the ability to sound different to the same bits fed through the same reproduction chain.

But probably not. I'll probably just get banned.
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Old 10th April 2009, 03:11 PM   #2
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One vote for placebo effect.

Anyways a scratched cd can measure the same if you read it slowly with a computer but skip if you play with a cd-player at 1x. I don't belive that any buffered copy can keep anything of it.

But why do you fear getting banned and why didn't you chose a subject related to the topic?
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Old 10th April 2009, 03:22 PM   #3
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Default Re: I need a hand - Rally the scientists

Quote:
Originally posted by TheSeekerr
A digital file simply doesn't hold the sort of "metadata" that's being attributed to it. There is no information stored about how the bits came to get into the file, only the bits. That's it.

Don't worry Claude Shannon was on your side too. This has been hashed and rehashed (so to speak) many times before. Take a deep breath and remember it will not go away.
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Old 10th April 2009, 03:25 PM   #4
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I think the Emperor's Clothes Syndrome also has a great deal to do with much 'high end' audio.
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Old 10th April 2009, 03:44 PM   #5
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Thanks folks - you've helped restore my trust that there's some sane people out there. I just couldn't believe the stubborn resistence I was met with over there when trying to introduce science. It also baffles me that it's accepted that there's a "chalk and cheese" difference between a "BR burned CD-R compared to a CD/DVD burned CD-R".

As to the subject line? I started the original post with the misguided idea of asking poeple to join the original thread to support scientific rationalism, but realised that I wasn't going to prove anything. Unfortunately, I forgot to change it.

Why fear the mods? Because it only takes one to interpret my post as an attack on their worldview, and they're as fallible as the rest of us.

Ah well. I've learnt not to post in anger, and no harm has come of it.
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Old 10th April 2009, 03:57 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by TheSeekerr
believe the stubborn resistence I was met with over there when trying to introduce science. It also baffles me that it's accepted that there's a "chalk and cheese" difference between a "BR burned CD-R compared to a CD/DVD burned CD-R".
I don't know what is a BR burned cd-r but a powerful laser will induce a stronger effect on the dye and thus there are less chances to have reading errors. In dvd burners there are two lasers that must be aligned and i feel that probably the designers take more care with the dvd-beam that they do with the ir one that burns the cd, so there could be some misalignment that could introduce a (perhaps audible) error rate.

EDIT: The original point was: once the data has been read bit-identically to the original, it must sound like the original, but to be read bit-identically the pits must have a certain minimum quality (reflectivity, depth, etc).
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Old 10th April 2009, 04:14 PM   #7
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Indeed, this is a growing problem, made worse by the growing popularity of computer audio.

I also am of the opinion that you basically have two choices:

1) endless unresolved arguments over what is essentially a 'belief system' (and hence not subject to logic)
2) ignore it and move on.


I've chosen 2. Unless someone exhibits a willingness to include some notion of the fallability of our auditory systems, fallibility of our judgement overall and a recognition of the powerful psychological mechanisms that can color our perceptions, I simply won't bother discussing audio since it's a lost cause - we're simply starting from largely incompatible views of the 'problem'.

It's disappointing, since I do believe (or at least strongly suspect) that there are some very interesting unanswered questions in the audio realm, but it's virtually impossible to get at the real substance due to all the noise.
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Old 10th April 2009, 04:17 PM   #8
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Another vote for the OP. Hopefully, after some time, people discover that the differences between some parts of the audio chain (like speakers, rooms and recordings) totally dominate the quality of what we hear, while others are 'subtle' at best. For myself, I just try and not waste time on tweaks or arguments about these 'subtle' things. Worrying about wire, green ink, bit perfect, etc, just isn't productive, neither is spending time arguing them.
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Old 10th April 2009, 04:32 PM   #9
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Don't get worked up about it. There are a lot of people who refuse to think rationally, and it's pretty much impossible to convince them otherwise. You'll only give yourself a headache if you try too hard.

For some reason there seems to be a lot of this in the field of audio, caused by people who believe that their senses tell them only what really exists. They won't acknowledge that human senses are very easily fooled because this implies that everything is uncertain, and humans hate uncertainty.
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Old 10th April 2009, 04:52 PM   #10
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OTOH, one could be tempted to say: "Don't think. FEEL"

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OrEBcrY4AYM
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