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Old 3rd August 2004, 10:44 AM   #1
Prune is offline Prune  Canada
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When I read D Self's writings, such as this one:
http://www.dself.dsl.pipex.com/ampin...o/subjectv.htm
I feel very confused. As someone who has the pretense of being a rational scientist, swearing by my copy of the Skeptic's Dictionary, I feel I should agree with that article in whole, yet here I am reading this forum (and worse, Audioasylum), using silver/teflon wiring, Auricaps, and seven dollar resistors -- all the while knowing that a blind or null test will show me my folly, and thus avoiding it...

Sorry, destroyer X, for this threadjacking.
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Old 3rd August 2004, 11:50 AM   #2
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Quote:
I feel very confused.
I'm not surprised if you have just read Self's diatribe. Unfortunately, it appears to me that he cannot really explain why people can hear certain differences and therefore attempts to both deny those differences by suggesting analogs with several other areas of science and then heads down the route of greater and greater refinement of a set of measurements which only lead him to be more skeptical about whether people can really hear what they claim to. Then this always leads to the implication that humans are basically nuts and terribly unreliable. He uses the term "subjectivist" in a derrogatory way.

Quote:
D.Self writes: I believe this to be a representative sample, and we appear to be in the paradoxical situation that the most expensive equipment provides the worst objective performance. Whatever the rights and wrongs of subjective assessment, I think that most people would agree that this is a strange state of affairs.
I find this interesting. Self acknowledges here that objective listening (let's not unfairly discredit the witness by using the word "subjective") has an poor or even negative correlation with objective performance measurement that Self uses. But rather than drawing the conclusion that his measures are inadequate, he prefers to question the witness.

Of course, if you want to make a living out of being an audio guru you cannot go around saying "I don't know, I just haven't figured it out yet". Or "I have all these theories but my amps still don't sound that good yet". No, you have to go around saying "Very few people have my insights or rigorous approach, why not buy my book and learn from my research or sign up for one of my courses?"

IMO people, using their ears, are a much more reliable and objective source of audio performance assessment than ANY scientist or other using measurement equipment or simulators. We can all tell a live saxophone or voice from a recording - easily. Hifi simply isn't very realistic yet and the defects are quite audible.

The greatest folly of scientists and engineers is to IGNORE THE EVIDENCE and create a comfort zone within a re-assuring process or theory. Unfortunately, I see no evidence whatsoever on Self's site of objective performance measurement or comparison using PEOPLE. So, although I have never heard the Self amp myself, it wouldn't surpise me at all if its greatest followers are famillies of oscilloscopes sitting in their lounge of an evening listening to their favourite sinewaves.
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Old 3rd August 2004, 12:38 PM   #3
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Traderbam,

I find your notion of families of oscilloscopes sitting happily in their lounge rooms listening attentively to their favourite sine waves absolutely comical, and entirely apt.

Ne'er was there a better description of D. Self's often dissonant view of the world...... Absolutely my feeling, too.

Rarely do I find humour amongst the prostatic gumshots of this forum, but this one was genuinely funny, and I loved it.....

Thank you!

Cheers,

Hugh
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Old 3rd August 2004, 12:47 PM   #4
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My pleasure, Hugh. Glad to be of service.
Brian
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Old 3rd August 2004, 01:25 PM   #5
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Very good analogies and psicoacoustical behaviour, hehe, unfortunattelly i could not understand some words...not problem

Me good
You great

Carlos
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Old 3rd August 2004, 01:33 PM   #6
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Default hahahaha! I never saw to, one scope together distortion analiser

Walking together the street, and entering a shop to buy audio amplifiers!

This way, let me made the obvious conclusion, my pleasure, equipments must be made for ears, for human ears, and adapted to some small cultural differences too.

I am shocked till today.... looking myself into a mirror and asking myself....am i bassy guy.... the Englishman, once, told me boomy....i am walking the street with a persecution delirium.... when someone looks at me.... i always thinking :
- "he nows!, i am a bassy, boomy guy"

What a shame to me..but now serious, if the man was rigth, and the one i trust, my country needs 6 db plus low end.

Carlos
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Old 3rd August 2004, 01:43 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by traderbam

[snip]IMO people, using their ears, are a much more reliable and objective source of audio performance assessment than ANY scientist or other using measurement equipment or simulators. We can all tell a live saxophone or voice from a recording - easily. Hifi simply isn't very realistic yet and the defects are quite audible.
[snip]

Traderbam,

This may be your opinion, but that's all what it is. It flies in the face of a long history of human unreliability when it comes to perception, be it sound, vision, or just repeating a story.

You don't hear with your ears, you hear with your mind. A person can listen to the same music, on the same system, same time of day, on two days and report different perceptions. Witnesses present at an accident often report different course of events. After reading a newspaper report of the event they were present at, they report a different course of events, because they can't keep their own experiences and the newspaper report apart.

An example: People witnessing an accident are asked about how much time there was between the accident and the arrival of the ambulance. They give wildly differring times. Sure, because their WAS NO AMBULANCE. When confronted with that, they get angly and aggressive. This was an accident, for Pete's sake. OF COURSE there was an ambulance! See what I mean?

Let me give you another example of people rationalising their perceptions with their believes. This involves a famous neuroscience case, where a patient has a rare defect in his brain that prevents him to be aware of his right body side. He cannot feel, hear, see anything at the right side, he is also not aware of his right arm and leg.
The doctors are fascinated and try to force him to acknowledge he has a right side. One doctor sits in front of him and takes the patients right hand in his hands so the patient clearly sees it. He then asks him: how many hands do you see? Answer: three. Question: don't you think that is strange? Answer: No, why? You have three arms, so naturally there are three hands.

Now this is no joke, it is a classic case that has been studied over and over again. This patient was an intelligent, fully functioning (except for this defect) human being. Neurophsychology is replete with less extreme examples of cases documenting the extremely cheating nature of human perception. I admit this one is a bit extreme, but it also clearly indicates that people will do WHATEVER is necessary to hang on to their believes. And you call them reliable, objective? You've got a lot of humour, my friend!

Jan Didden
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Old 3rd August 2004, 01:54 PM   #8
PMA is offline PMA  Europe
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Jan,

Why are some people able to describe sonic difference of the two amps (black boxes), not being informed about their technical differences, both amps should be "same sounding" according to traditional a la Self explanation? Why do the different people come with similar sound descriptions independently, not knowing assessment of the others?

Some time ago I also had agreed with D. Self's scepticism, especially when I had not performed my own listenning tests.
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Old 3rd August 2004, 02:22 PM   #9
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I am not rooting for Self here. I have other gripes with him, and I think his pathetic hanging on to classical topologies stifles innovation big time. He is a smart and intelligent man, if he only had a more open mind he could do great things.

I also accept that people can hear differences between amps, although I could (if I took the time, which I am not prepared to do) come up with a long list of cases where people couldn't here a difference between different amp (that measure differently) under blind conditions.

What I strongly protest is the idea that somehow people, with their track record of unreliability, bending facts to fit their beliefs and full of prejudice, are seen as objective and reliable. Evidence to the contrary abounds on this forum.

Traderbam himself is a prime example. To support his case, he states flatly "Everybody can hear the difference between a life voice and recording" or something to that effect. Really? Has he or "everybody" tried it in a controlled and blind environment? Well, I have. I have been present at an event where recordings of a chamber quartet were compared with the quartet life. I tell you, it was damn difficult, and I (and others present) frequently got it wrong. And we cheated a few times, because we saw that on some takes the quartet was just going through the motions and not really playing. That saved some reputations, but it was nothing to be proud of. Shocking, to say the least.

Jan Didden
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Old 3rd August 2004, 02:35 PM   #10
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You bought his book, didn't you Jan?
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