Possibly the worst assumption in audio electronics - diyAudio
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Old 10th August 2010, 01:17 AM   #1
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Default Possibly the worst assumption in audio electronics

Wrong assumption -> people who study audio electronics know very little about human hearing, but assume they know more about it then they really do.

I guess I wrongly assumed most people knew this information, but then decided this must be one of the main reasons so many people have disagreements about audio electronics. Here's the great revelation. Human hearing is incredibly sensitive. Even though a lot of our hearing apparatus is mechanical it is far superior to most electronics on the market, ie. our hearing can detect more flaws in the electronics then those who parrot electronic theory realize. Its well known that real electronic components differ from theoretical electrical theory used to teach it. Of course, some people may have better hearing than other people. I read about these incredible numbers in the links below in reference to human hearing years ago.

There also seems to be a number prejudice, ie. when someone sees .1 % THD or even .01 or .001 % THD those that know nothing about human hearing assume that those numbers are so small they must be insignificant.

Read the great truths here about human hearing that most of you never knew.

Quote:
The human ear is one of the greatest marvels of nature: the inner ear or cochlea performs at least 1GFLOPS of real-time sensing, filtering, amplification, gain control, and data-compression computations in a tiny volume. The ear consumes about 14 μW of power while running on a 150mV battery; it could run on a pair of AA batteries for 15 years. The ear can sense 0.05 angstroms of eardrum motion at its best frequency and has an input dynamic range that spans 12 orders of magnitude in sound intensity. The ear operates over a frequency span of about 3 decades (10 octaves). Our ears report information with enough fidelity such that the auditory system can make a sound-location discrimination that corresponds to an inter aural time difference of a few microseconds even though the component parts of the system have 1-10 millisecond time constants. These impressive specifications were produced by at least 220 million years of evolution.
http://www.rle.mit.edu/avbs/document...NRFCOCHLEA.pdf

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Quote:
How sensitive is hearing?

Extraordinarily so. The ear can detect a sound wave so small it moves the eardrum just one angstrom, 100 times less than the diameter of a hydrogen molecule. Murray Sachs, director of biomedical engineering, likes to say that if there were nothing between you and the airport, 10 miles away, and if there were no other sounds, nothing for sound to reflect from--then theoretically, you could hear a piece of chalk drop at the airport.
Johns Hopkins Magazine - September 1996 Issue

There's more examples. Just use Google.

Last edited by 7n7is; 10th August 2010 at 01:29 AM.
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Old 10th August 2010, 01:42 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7n7is View Post
Read the great truths here about human hearing that most of you never knew.
Probably we never knew them because some of them are half-truths at best. The cochlea is rather useless when not combined with the brain in a recursive feedback system, which is rather more power hungry overall. That's just for starters... The idea that the cochlea does some kind of DSP is laughable. Shall I go on? Actually the rest of your quoted stuff is more reasonable.
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Old 10th August 2010, 02:25 AM   #3
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I'd add that the statements should all have been prefaced by the words "At best..."

Any impressive capabilities in hearing are largely relics of history by the age of 30 or so - again, the result of 220 million years of evolution since 30 was around about hte average lifespan until very recently.

The quote about dropping chalk is telling - in an unrealistic situation involving an impossible set of circumstances you can theoretically acheive pretty much anything since its never going to be tested. Nor does the example relate to the real world EXCEPT to show that, no matter how theoretically capable the ear is, in practise it is fooled and abused to a point of very average performance by the situation it finds itself in.
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Old 10th August 2010, 02:38 AM   #4
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Old cheese newly processed...and what point did you want to prove?
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Old 10th August 2010, 04:05 AM   #5
T in AZ is offline T in AZ  United States
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Gees, tough crowd
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Old 10th August 2010, 11:26 AM   #6
Cassiel is offline Cassiel  Libya
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So precious. Problem is that an audio lunatic's mind isn't that good; it's plagued with many false preconceptions and stupid beliefs. So, in a sense, it's like throwing pearls to pigs. IMO, human hearing is better left alone when talking about audio gear - too far out of scope. On the other hand, audio electronics devices created by men are much more manegable and can be talked about in audio forums like this, keeping general frustration levels low. A golden or tin ear isn't that important anymore. Your ear may be defective, your mind is malfunctioning but, hey! that amp is working - it plays undistorted sounds. LOL. The rest is just speculation.
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Old 10th August 2010, 11:31 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by stalker View Post
So precious. Problem is that an audio lunatic's mind isn't that good; it's plagued with many false preconceptions and stupid beliefs. So, in a sense, it's like throwing pearls to pigs. IMO, human hearing is better left alone when talking about audio gear - too far out of scope. On the other hand, audio electronics devices created by men are much more manegable and can be talked about in audio forums like this, keeping general frustration levels low. A golden or tin ear isn't that important anymore. Your ear may be defective, your mind is malfunctioning but, hey! that amp is working - it plays undistorted sounds. LOL. The rest is just speculation.
Translation:

Wrong assumption -> people who study audio electronics know very little about human hearing, but assume they know more about it then they really do.
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Old 10th August 2010, 11:42 AM   #8
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
Extraordinarily so. The ear can detect a sound wave so small it moves the eardrum just one angstrom, 100 times less than the diameter of a hydrogen molecule.
As soon as you read that, you know you're dealing with garbage.

I'll leave the chalk calculation as an exercise for the reader. It is similarly garbage.
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Old 10th August 2010, 12:13 PM   #9
Cassiel is offline Cassiel  Libya
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 7n7is View Post
Translation:

Wrong assumption -> people who study audio electronics know very little about human hearing, but assume they know more about it then they really do.
I wouldn't say very little, more than an ordinary man but not enough to understand it completely. Everybody is far from knowing everything but they do what they can. Everybody assumes they know more than they really do, it's in our nature.
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Old 10th August 2010, 12:25 PM   #10
AndrewT is offline AndrewT  Scotland
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Default The ear can detect a sound wave so small it moves the eardrum just one angstrom,

Quote:
Originally Posted by SY View Post
I'll leave the chalk calculation as an exercise for the reader.
could you or anyone do the chalk trick for us?
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