We Presently Know All The Principles Which Apply To Sound Reproduction. Yes Or No? - diyAudio
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Old 8th June 2003, 02:36 PM   #1
Wizard of Kelts
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Default We Presently Know All The Principles Which Apply To Sound Reproduction. Yes Or No?

If the answer is No, than how can we, on a message board, convince someone else on a message board that he is not hearing something?

Do tests of randomly picked listeners necessarily establish the truth?

Comments from both sides are welcome.
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Old 8th June 2003, 02:50 PM   #2
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Well yes, of course. And No too...

I suspect that your question is really "do we fully understand how sound is interpreted by the brain"

I'd say we are pretty close to understanding "sound reproduction". That's largely field equations, and other well establishedaspects of acoustics. So if your goal in sound reproduction is to predict what a sound pressure level will be at a point given a certain system for excitation, I'd say we as a society have a pretty good grip on that. Way moreso than say understanding turbulent fluid flow for example.

However we are a lot farther away on understanding how the brain interprets a given pressure field.


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Old 8th June 2003, 03:45 PM   #3
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There are aspects which are understood fully (like how to get the voltage coming out of a microphone to be replicated to arbitrary accuracy at the terminals of a loudspeaker), there are aspects which are less well understood (like how to make a discrete channel system fool the human ear/brain into registering "live"), and aspects which will probably never be fully understood (like how to map a 3 dimensional time-varying sound field from one space and time to another).
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Old 8th June 2003, 04:17 PM   #4
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SY,

I think you hit it on the nose.

kelticwizard,

The listener will always be both *the whole point* and also the weakest link. If an alien beamed down with a 3-D transient perfect listening room in tow, 4 out of 5 dentists would call it crappy sound. As I learn more and more about DIY, I actually trust reviews less and less, and try to analyze the designer's knowledge and effort put into the design more.
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Old 8th June 2003, 06:02 PM   #5
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I feel the single most largest problem is the listener. Each of us suffers varying degrees of hearing loss and no two people are the same. I have a friend that has to have the highs so loud they rip my head off, but to him it sounds so wonderful. He is tone deaf in those frequencies and has to boost them to ear splitting levels to hear. Someone who has run a jackhammer his whole life will not hear the same as an office worker. This is the weak link IMO
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Old 8th June 2003, 06:20 PM   #6
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Hi,

Quote:
I feel the single most largest problem is the listener.
Yeah...let's eliminate the customer.
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Old 8th June 2003, 07:06 PM   #7
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Default Re: We Presently Know All The Principles Which Apply To Sound Reproduction. Yes Or No?

Koinichiwa,

The answer is simple - ABSOLUTELY NO. We know perhaps 10 - 20% of the whole picture, though we probably know 80 - 90% of the basics. So we understand in the most basic sense how "sound" works, but we understands very little about the intricacies, a fact proven by our inability to make adequate hearing prothestics work (and I'm not talking about hearing aids, but systems that replace the "Ear").

Quote:
Originally posted by kelticwizard
If the answer is No, than how can we, on a message board, convince someone else on a message board that he is not hearing something?
We cannot. The fundamental problem is that our current society has a tendency to overestimate the achievement of our sciences and also the general deeply ingrained believe that "newer" equals "better".

If an individual subscribes to this particular religion he will not be swayed unless exposed to a "Road to Damscus" incident. You cannot do that on a message board.

The best that can be expected on a message board is an exchange of ideas that is open and unprejudiced. Sadly the selfproclaimed objectivists (never mind plain trolls who seem to have too much time on their hands) seem to be mightily intollerant of people saying: "Maybe you cannot hear it, maybe you consider the point proven, YET I CAN HEAR 'IT' (IT being whatever subject is contentious)".

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Old 8th June 2003, 07:24 PM   #8
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Old 9th June 2003, 12:12 AM   #9
AKSA is offline AKSA  Australia
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No.

Psychoacoustics, economics, closed minds - all are responsible to a greater or lesser extent.

Notwithstanding, there remain considerable differences in preferences between listeners, and this accounts for the profusion of brands and models, particularly of speakers, in the market.

It also gives some explanation for the megalitres of snake oil.......

Cheers,

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Old 9th June 2003, 03:00 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally posted by AKSA
Notwithstanding, there remain considerable differences in preferences between listeners, and this accounts for the profusion of brands and models, particularly of speakers, in the market.
I'd argue that speakers are the weakest link and the lowest fidelity portion of the audio chain. Thus each speaker designer tries to fix some portion, at the expense of the rest. There's a lot of trade-offs a customer has to wade through in terms of a finished product and find the set that matches his listening biases.

WRT science and audio: There's a lot that science doesn't tell us in audio, but science gives us a design methodology and a means of evaluation. It provides direction in design; and that's a very powerful thing. As a person who makes his living with science, I like to think that it will explain all eventually; it has to. We are only partway down the road though.

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