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Old 24th June 2011, 09:22 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by audio-kraut
I can only assess what I can measure, I simply cannot assess what you can hear.
Quote:
Originally Posted by abraxalito
There is the rub - the 'objectivist' does indeed ***** it - as worthless.
If it cannot be assessed, it cannot be assessed a value. That does not have to mean "worthless" as a euphemistic perjorative. Measurements are used to assess value, whether they be grams, minutes (we all spend time), barrels, carats, or THD percentages. If a person assigns some subjective value, irrespective of measurements, to audio reproduction components, they still must sell that value to others. Wrapping it real pretty doesn't always work. This is a marketplace of ideas, and the how&why insistence of the objectivist equates to "where's the value?"
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Old 24th June 2011, 12:54 PM   #12
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The elephant story is a very good picture of the situation, it's nice to think of this kind of illustration. With 99% of the job, I mean that without the base of the imperfect measurements we have, the blind men would have to describe the elephant without even touching it.

A funny experiment would be to make a contest : one hour in front of an unknown 3 ways system, active and with a digital EQ+Filter controlled from the listening seat. No measurement allowed, just music and pink noise. Could the elite of the GEB be able to make it sounding uncolored ? For me no doubt, I can't, I need some help from the measure.
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Old 24th June 2011, 01:18 PM   #13
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radugazon View Post
The elephant story is a very good picture of the situation, it's nice to think of this kind of illustration. With 99% of the job, I mean that without the base of the imperfect measurements we have, the blind men would have to describe the elephant without even touching it.
Not quite, to map the measurements common these days for HiFi onto the elephant it would be like if the wise man finding the tusk would measure the smoothness of it and conclude from that something about the smoothness of the surface of the elephant.

The measurements currently done are not at all like the Elephant story, but rather like that of the drunk man looking for his lost car keys.

Finding him searching under a street light for something, he is approached by a policeman who ask what he is doing. When told "looking for the car keys I dropped while trying to get into my car" the policeman asks where the car is, as non is near the street light. The drunk man points somewhere into the darkness quite a bit distant. The policeman is bemused and ask the drunk man why he is looking for the keys here, under streetlight, if they got lost over there, only to be told "but the light is better here".

Sure, we can measure many things, but they generally show so poor correlation with reality that they are next to useless.

Speakers typically have several percent THD at rated power in the midband (never mind in the bass) yet they are almost never measured for distortion, instead we argue about small percent fraction of THD in amplifiers, indeed a case of "the light is better here". Equally, A Speakers DI shows quite good corellation with percieved sound, given minimum standards of on axis response
flatness, yet it is almost never measured.

There are many more such areas. I would indeed suggest that contrariwise to your assertion current common measurements do perhaps at best a 10% job in telling us about sound quality and the rather disturbing tendency to measure individual items makes sure any issues caused by interactions between multiple pieces are safely ignored.

Quite frankly, given the state of affairs in electronics fields outside Audio, one cannot fail to see the current state in audio as mostly at the level of the dark ages, so no wonder we get so much "Eye of Newt", "Blood of Bat" and so many Witchhunters, because in fact that which is important is simply not measured.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Radugazon View Post
A funny experiment would be to make a contest : one hour in front of an unknown 3 ways system, active and with a digital EQ+Filter controlled from the listening seat. No measurement allowed, just music and pink noise. Could the elite of the GEB be able to make it sounding uncolored ? For me no doubt, I can't, I need some help from the measure.
Well, it may be funny. However sound engineers in my generation routinely had do something like this using non-digital means. I would not necessarily claim that routinely and reliably achieved uncoloured sound (this does need some form of available reference), but those that where certainly could achieve quite consistent sound, with different PA systems and in different Venues, using no measurements at all (RTA's and Crown TEF's being too expensive for routine on site use).

Ciao T
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Old 24th June 2011, 01:35 PM   #14
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The title to the thread has been changed slightly as it was misleading. I apologise for taking liberties.

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Old 24th June 2011, 01:50 PM   #15
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Tony,

Quote:
Originally Posted by wintermute View Post
The title to the thread has been changed slightly as it was misleading. I apologise for taking liberties.

Tony.
I think having it as the official thread and being able to point people who pollute other threads with the same to:

1) Contribute to the debate if they have anything to add
2) Read all the arguments posited and see that no repetition is needed

Then we can debate more useful things else where and perchance (one may hope, for eternally springs this weakest of all emotions, hope) move for the current state of "war" between the Hegelian Deamons Thesis and Antithesis into the new realm of synthesis, where the warring opposites are united into new understanding (actually, to be precise thesis, antithesis and synthesis are more Kant and Fichte than Hegel).

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Old 24th June 2011, 03:00 PM   #16
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If I may pose a slightly off-topic question:

Years ago I worked at a high-end audio store, and my boss mentioned that he thought that one of the items he sold had no effect whatsoever on sound. When I questioned the ethics of this, he responded.

If the customer spends $100 on something that he thinks improves his stereo system, and he goes home and enjoys his stereo at least $100-worth more, then he is happy. The salesman is happy, the manufacturer is happy. Everyone is happy. Whether or not there is an actual improvement in the sound of his stereo is irrelevant. The efficacy of the product may be fake, but the customer's enjoyment is real. Thus, YES, it is ethical.

To this day I don't know whether or not I agree with him.

So my question is: Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that somewhere someone is selling something that is bogus, and they know it. But people buy it and like it and are happier because of their purchase. Is the salesperson ethical?
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Old 24th June 2011, 03:48 PM   #17
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So your question boils down to: is it ethical to make somone happy by misleading him? (Yes its black-and-white). Tough one.

Can I bring in another on-topic view? The notion that measurements have no relation to how something actually sounds.
I think it very well does. For example, if an amp has a largish Zout, that will modify the speaker freq response which, if it is large enough, will be audible.

The confusion comes from the fact that people's preference don't seem to correlate with "objective" performance. Listeners may well prefer the amp with the largish Zout because the end result pleases them more, and then say: see, the meausrement (largish Zout) doesn't correspont with the sound quality: I like it.
But I think we can all see the logical fallacy here.

My point is that measurements say something about how transparent and faithful an amp reproduces the source material. It does not say how or if people like the result, because that depends on personal preference and a lot of other things, which have been mentioned before in this thread.
Thoughts?

jan didden
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Old 24th June 2011, 04:23 PM   #18
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by janneman View Post
Can I bring in another on-topic view? The notion that measurements have no relation to how something actually sounds.
I think it very well does.
My contention is not if the measurements have ANY relation to sound, but rather that for almost all common measurements "better" measurements correlate very poorly with "better sound".

Quote:
Originally Posted by janneman View Post
For example, if an amp has a largish Zout, that will modify the speaker freq response which, if it is large enough, will be audible.
Sure, but the questions are "What is largish" and what if a speakers frequency response is more flat with a high source impedance than a low one? Or has lower distortion? Or both?

Quote:
Originally Posted by janneman View Post
The confusion comes from the fact that people's preference don't seem to correlate with "objective" performance. Listeners may well prefer the amp with the largish Zout because the end result pleases them more, and then say: see, the meausrement (largish Zout) doesn't correspont with the sound quality: I like it.
But I think we can all see the logical fallacy here.
The fallacy here is at side of the "meter reader" brigade who promote a single dimensional measurement on the principle that the number has merit in itself.

Low output impedance/High Damping Factor
Low THD
Flat on axis response in speakers

are among my pet peeves.

Quote:
Originally Posted by janneman View Post
My point is that measurements say something about how transparent and faithful an amp reproduces the source material.
Only in an electrical sense. There is no reference to system context or audibility.

Unless we can instead use a distortion metric that includes both system interactions (e.g. distortion cancellation between speaker and amplifier, a factor that is most easily observed with SE Tube Amp's) and audibility (e.g. using GedLee metrics instead of THD) the measurement is useless as judge of quality.

Note, I do frequently and extensively measure audio gear. In the case of my own designs (which generally do not consider the typical measured "quality" as relevant or desirable) I simply use measurements as a quick and reasonably objective way to confirm it performs as designed in these parameters.

However, following objective measurement tests each and every product is auditioned and we do occasionally find products in these tests that do not subjectively perform on par, yet passed the measurement stage.

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Old 24th June 2011, 06:10 PM   #19
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Quote:
So my question is: Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that somewhere someone is selling something that is bogus, and they know it. But people buy it and like it and are happier because of their purchase. Is the salesperson ethical?
Perhaps the more pertinent question is: Are people who buy something that is bogus and like it and are happier because of their purchase ethical?
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Old 24th June 2011, 08:08 PM   #20
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Originally Posted by ThorstenL View Post
[snip]However, following objective measurement tests each and every product is auditioned and we do occasionally find products in these tests that do not subjectively perform on par, yet passed the measurement stage.

Ciao T
Thorsten,

In such cases, do you find what (in possibly technical, measurable terms) causes that discrepancy? Can you say what the shortcomings are versus an amp that DOES perform on par? That would be hugely interesting.

jan didden
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