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Old 1st May 2004, 06:16 AM   #1
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Default Must admit- I was deceived by my own ears

I was tuning my car stereo and today I was listening at a rather loud volume and I was like damn this sounds awesome! But then I noticed that the tweeters turned on their self protection circuits, which meant they were being driven hard. Wierd, I thought. I noticed there were some peaks in some areas in the overall freq response, but I just thought maybe this was just some odd node or whatever I couldnt tune out with my 1 octave EQ.

I then was at home tuning the subwoofer level and then threw the system on the RTA. I went to do some adjustments, when I made an extreme adjustment to one knob and I was like, wait a minute, that just had NO effect at all. I look down and sure enough, the EQ "engage" button was set to DISENGAGE. Oh my god, I've been listening all this time since I did a redo of my stereo (maybe a week or so) with the EQ bypassed, and I thought it sounded "good". I was also wondering why when I was tuning before with the RTA I couldnt tune out these particular peaks and dips. but still, my ears told me that it sounded "good". Immediately I reEQ'd the system with the RTA as best as I could. This time making sure it was engaged. When I listened to it again, at first I was like "wow what dull sound". but after a little bit it was like this sounds much more natural, but once again i have to readjust the system gain structure, now that I have the EQ properly running.

Needless to say I was dissapointed in myself for not immediately noticing. It was before, I remember a 500 hz EQ had been turned up slightly by accident, but immedinately I could recognize that there was something wrong with the sound. But this time my ears let me down!

Can we say listener bias or am I loosing my hearing???
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Old 1st May 2004, 06:30 AM   #2
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Reading your post, it seems to me there's nothing wrong with your ears. It's just that we are sometimes betrayed by our 'I'.

What we perceive is only to a small extend determined by our ears. Sure, we have to get the sound inside our head, but from there on a lot goes on we have no clue about.

Neurological research has shown that the brain actually funnels all those 100's of thousands of bits of inputs into what they sometimes call a 'landscape' of sound, a multidimensional structure defining all the properties of what we 'think' is what we hear. Now, if you expect something to hear, the brain actually constructs the landscape ahead of time (anticipation) as close as it can remember to what it is expecting. But it goes even further. It increases the gain of the frequency and impuls sensing channels, that would reinforce the landscape as it expects it. Conversely, it decreases the gain of those input channels that would detract from the expected landscape. These 'channels' are not in the ear, but are part of the very complex, multi-feedback processing in the brain itself.

So, anything that would be in contradiction to what you are expecting must really make a very, very strong impression, or else it will simply be ignored. You just never become aware of it.

This all goes on almost completely hidden from our conciousness.
So, with that in mind (pun intended) your experiences are nothing out of the ordinary. But it is unsettling if these things come to the surface once in a while, because we feel betrayed by ourselves! But then again, the easiest person to fool is, indeed, yourself.

Jan Didden
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Old 1st May 2004, 07:23 AM   #3
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Quote:
"wow what dull sound".

Your ears are obviously trying to communicate their opinion of the EQ. Due to implementation it commonly does more harm than good.
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Old 1st May 2004, 09:26 AM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by janneman
Now, if you expect something to hear, the brain actually constructs the landscape ahead of time (anticipation) as close as it can remember to what it is expecting.
This makes very good sense where magic power cords and the like are concerned. The knowledge of having paid $2000 for a 2 metre length of wire jolts one's brain DSP settings to some nice setting.
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Old 1st May 2004, 09:45 AM   #5
Keld is offline Keld  Sweden
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Quote:
Originally posted by Circlotron

one's brain DSP .
I love that one!
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Old 1st May 2004, 10:41 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally posted by Keld
I love that one!

Well, it really is more of an ASP. But if you or anybody else REALLY are interested why you are fooled so often and so easy by yourself, read for instance John McCrone's "Going Inside: A tour around a single moment of conciousness". Amazon.com has it.

And the stuff I posted above about the "multidimensional landscape" of perception also goes for vision, smell, etc. That's one reason why eyewitnesses often report confliction evidence, although they saw the same scene, and all have excellent vision. Like people hearing the same music, having excellent ears, report different perceptions. Isn't mother nature devious??

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Old 1st May 2004, 12:02 PM   #7
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Is this why my stereo sounds way better in the dark?
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Old 1st May 2004, 12:20 PM   #8
TNT is offline TNT  Sweden
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I suppose You are familiar with the "burn in" concept. The more expensive products the longer burn in period stated before the best sound....


Burn in = getting used to / accepting the sound ????

/j
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Old 1st May 2004, 12:56 PM   #9
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Default Re: Must admit- I was deceived by my own ears

Quote:
Originally posted by eRiCdWoNg
Immediately I reEQ'd the system with the RTA as best as I could. This time making sure it was engaged. When I listened to it again, at first I was like "wow what dull sound". but after a little bit it was like this sounds much more natural, but once again i have to readjust the system gain structure, now that I have the EQ properly running.

Needless to say I was dissapointed in myself for not immediately noticing. It was before, I remember a 500 hz EQ had been turned up slightly by accident, but immedinately I could recognize that there was something wrong with the sound. But this time my ears let me down!

Can we say listener bias or am I loosing my hearing???

Well, whats the EQ you are using? I've really never had an EQ that I could live with, and I've had a few. They always flatten the image (talking 2 channel stereo) to some degree. The best analog eq's I've played with are SoundCraftsman's and some of the SAE units. There is allot of cascaded filters in eq's, all analog, all with their problems (nothing is perfect), and things get compounded by the time the signal is reaching the output. I'd rather just deal with a clean signal, amplified clean, reproduced as best as possible with the speakers, and deal with room problems passively (room treatments and placement).

Digital EQ's? Something I haven't played with much, but they seem promising.

Listener bias? Yeah, why not, its not a bad thing.

Loosing your hearing? No, I think you've made a discovery. Just don't go off the deep end with flea powered single ended triodes, LSD inspired Dr Seuss designed horn speakers, and interconnect cables that have to be aligned with magnetic north to sound their best.
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Old 1st May 2004, 02:13 PM   #10
Magura is offline Magura  Denmark
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Ive had the same experience with speaker cables.....till I made a friend of mine help me out with a blind test. In the blind test I couldnt tell the difference between silver, silver plated and copper. Prior to the blind test I was dead sure the difference was huge, as in day and night

I guess its all down to the power of suggestion.

Keeps the snake oil companies in buisness though.

Sometimes Id wish I had not made the blind tests, the silver interconnects were not that expensive to make, and they did improve the sound quite a bit

Magura
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