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silverhairbp 9th February 2013 07:33 PM

Human Hearing
Interesting article on the sensitivity of human hearing.

Human hearing beats the Fourier uncertainty principle

A bit related....

During the voicing of components, I participated on a panel that consistently and repeatedly identified changes in frequency response of otherwise identical components by as small as 3 millibels. Subsequent testing with others revealed the human ability to identify smaller changes. This is A/B testing switching back and forth between components.

I think there is a discussion of these specific tests (without naming the participants) on the Herron Audio web site.

jcx 9th February 2013 07:59 PM

Typical sensational science journalism/strawman version Psycoacoustics, Signal Theory
mentioned in the Blowtorch thread as well - eye catching title ends up not saying what many audiophiles would like to believe

read carefully - they quickly backpedal from the implied significance of the headline:


Since researchers have known for a long time about the cochlea's nonlinearities, the current results are not quite as surprising as they would otherwise be. "It is and it is not [surprising]," Magnasco told "We were surprised, yet we expected this to happen. The thing is, mathematically the possibility existed all along. There's a theorem that asserts uncertainty is only obeyed by linear operators (like the linear operators of quantum mechanics). Now there's five decades of careful documentation of just how nastily nonlinear the cochlea is, but it is not evident how any of the cochlea's nonlinearities contributes to enhancing time-frequency acuity. We now know our results imply that some of those nonlinearities have the purpose of sharpening acuity beyond the na´ve linear limits.

Read more at: Human hearing beats the Fourier uncertainty principle
when they show the Cramer-Rao boundary for the stimulus on the same plot we can get excited if humean hearing beats a Signal Theory/Statistical Information Theory limit pointed out >50 years ago

silverhairbp 9th February 2013 08:07 PM

That's true, but how do we know we're actually hearing what someone else hears? Our perception of a particular sound / pitch / transient is shaped by many factors including the shape of our outer ear, irregularities in the ear canal, the last concert we attended and if we drive our cars with the windows open (and a lot more).

That said, hearing sensitivity will also vary with the individual. But the sensitivity exists nonetheless and IMO it is much greater than most people think.

jcx 9th February 2013 08:23 PM

human hearing limits with music have been explored in much greater depth in the past decade by those designing, tuning lossy codecs

encoding <20% of the Shannon-Hartley Channel capacity information of RedBook CD in only ~6-7 bits mantissa per critical band is "transparent" - to the point that public trials have been abandoned for higher bit rates since no statistically valid information was being seen
musically uncommon "killer samples", extensive training on the specific codec's errors and lower than typical home background noise listening setups is needed to hear differences at higher bit rates and better lossy codecs today

silverhairbp 9th February 2013 08:47 PM

I believe that there is a difference in LISTENING (not necessarily hearing) between "the pubic" and audiophiles. That's why many of those lossy codecs are NOT transparent to audiophiles but perfectly acceptable to "the public." I also think that the audible difference between some high end components is such that "the pubic" can't tell (or don't listen for) the difference.

jcx 9th February 2013 09:16 PM

lets see some of these audiophiles post foobar ABX 20/20 of music @ >256kb then - modern codecs, last few years tunings

really the differences today are extremely small, even when detected in ABX "better"/original isn't always clear

OGG, AAC, even WMA today are't the same as MP3 in early 2000

silverhairbp 10th February 2013 06:36 AM

Probably best if we agree to disagree.

simon dart 11th February 2013 10:15 AM

My two pennyworth is that I often see the ear brain relationship over simplified. The biological mechanism of the ear although remarkable, is pretty unsophisticated. The brain is the by far the most important part of our hearing mechanism. It does an incredible amount of processing to build the real time model of a sound field in our consciousness.

The enormously capable pattern recognition machine between our ears is subject to different perceptions and influences for each individual. Experience, environment, culture are all constantly changing, and all have a bearing on how we can perceive sound. There are areas of broad commonality between us but no absolute answers can be found here. We all perceive sound differently. Any research must be seen in that context.

benb 21st November 2016 07:48 PM

I was just about to post a thread with the title of that link and the forum software suggested this thread (and about four others). But I was going to post it in the Lounge rather than here in Full Range, as it appears to be of wider interest.

I just saw it on twitter here:

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