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Old 23rd April 2012, 08:22 AM   #51
qusp is offline qusp  Australia
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Originally Posted by abraxalito View Post
The irony I noticed didn't have anything to do with him speaking to a revered IC designer. It was just the hilarity of him distancing himself from those who 'react defensively' whilst acting out textbook defensiveness n the interactions with me just prior.
I know, I was just saying that it added to the irony, not inferring what the source for your irony was
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Old 23rd April 2012, 01:39 PM   #52
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Actually, if you do your research, the tastings by RG included lots of wine professionals.
Defensive? Yawn, you’ll have to do better than that. I usually reserve extreme disdain for those with something to sell posting in DIY forums, but I have gotten myself in trouble for this. I was peripherally involved in the wine and food industry for 10 or so years and SY made his living at it. From what I can tell you accept RG’s input second hand because it fits into your world view of objectivity.

From his site…

“Rather, my basic points are these:

(1) Evidence has shown that most everyday wine drinkers (not wine professionals) don’t prefer more expensive wines to cheaper wines in blind tastings. This is separate from the question of whether the properties of expensive wines are aesthetically superior in the minds of experts.”

So what did I miss? I gather you didn’t even bother to read my posts. I suspect deeper research would find praise for industrial confections like Mollydooker or cultured yeast/ enzyme flavored typical NZ sauvignon blanc (please folks don’t take offense it’s MNSHO). The more recent generation of wine enthusiasts don’t generally have a clue about the esthetic properties of the most reputable wines at say 15 to 20 yrs. of age so I find virtually nothing of interest in any wine journalism these days.

As for objectivity, a few hours research will find numerous blind tests that show 16/44 audio is indistinguishable from SACD, etc. maybe even “transparent” so why bother.

I read some of your blog and think what you have done is very nice. I would, for my use, prefer an SD card player with USB only to transfer data. Some(former?) ESS guys are my buddies so I don't need the NDA .
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Last edited by scott wurcer; 23rd April 2012 at 01:41 PM.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 01:45 PM   #53
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Originally Posted by scott wurcer View Post
I was peripherally involved in the wine and food industry for 10 or so years and SY made his living at it.
And ironically, a major part of my job was setting up and performing double-blind evaluations.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 02:30 PM   #54
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Originally Posted by scott wurcer View Post
The wine and audio analogy is not very good, there is no objective "goal" for the enjoyability of wine or food for that matter.
Ok, I'll try this again. Scott is certainly entitled to believe the wine analogy is "not very good" but I believe there are many interesting and applicable parallels between the two industries including:

Both industries have developed their own somewhat cryptic and vague language primarily used by experts (or quasi-experts) to describe their respective products. Psychologists and marketing experts have explained how this is mainly a clever marketing technique to make people doubt what they're hearing and tasting while also making it much more difficult to hold reviewers accountable.

Both industries play heavily off insecurities over their customers own taste buds and ears. It's in both industries best interest to have people "defer to the experts" rather than make their own decisions. The experts in both industries consistently rate higher priced products much higher overall.

Both industries use rating systems to try and boil down the deferred decision making to "4 stars", "Class A" or "92 points". If it's really all about individual subjective perceptions, as Scott Wurcer suggests, such a system is rather absurd yet it's widely accepted in both industries.

Very substantial and profitable sub-industries have grown up around both industries over the last few decades. High-end audio is no longer just about good sounding gear, it's about $5000 equipment racks, stabilization platforms, fancy power cords, magic crystals, cable break-in devices, etc. Likewise There are far more ways to spend your money on, and related to, wine compared to 30 years ago.

Both industries have media that's been caught red-handed being far less than unbiased and completely lacking journalistic integrity (details in What We Hear). In fact, some argue it's downright fraudulent.

Both industries have relatively few people like Robin Goldstein who try to swim upstream by conducting extensive blind tests, publish their findings, and try to help educate people as to how human perceptions really work. And both industries generally try to discredit the few who dare travel that path.

Expectation bias is very applicable in both wine tasting and when evaluating audio gear. That's just how our senses work. As much as some want to believe they can completely decouple all their senses, and exclude other knowledge from their perceptions, they can't--taste or hearing.

And, above all, blind tasting/listening in both industries has consistently revealed VERY different results than the overwhelmingly more popular sighted tasting/listening. Those results have been well documented yet both industries have tried to marginalize blind testing in a variety of creative but not terribly valid ways. In both industries it would be trivial for those selling more expensive products to arrange blind tests to prove their product's worth, but I've yet to see a similarly well documented example of such a test (although I admit I've looked much harder on the audio side).

That said, I agree there are some differences between wine and audio. And I've tried to make them clear in the article.

I like wine. I sometimes spend more than I probably need to for wine. I've been to many tasting rooms at many wineries and it's great to talk to the people working there and hear the stories. Wine making is part art and part science.

Designing a DAC, however, isn't art at all unless you want a lower fidelity DAC that intentionally distorts the music. And once audio gear is audibly transparent it has been demonstrated to sound just like other gear that's also transparent. So in those respects audio is different than wine.

Back to the original topic of this thread, I still am not understanding how offering reasonably priced audio designs demonstrated to meet standards for audible transparency is somehow a bad thing. If anything it should help raise the price/performance bar and encourage others to follow. And, regardless, it's a good thing for those spending their money on audio gear to offer them another choice.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 02:43 PM   #55
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Quote:
Originally Posted by RocketScientist View Post
Designing a DAC, however, isn't art at all unless you want a lower fidelity DAC that intentionally distorts the music.
Quite the opposite in my experience - the art of DAC design focusses very strongly on doing more with less. Without optimization going on at every step, the design would not come out as the best value for money. Which after all is one pertinent definition of engineering (told, but apparently not originated by Henry Ford): 'doing for $1 what any fool can do for $2'.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 02:54 PM   #56
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Originally Posted by RocketScientist View Post
And both industries generally try to discredit the few who dare travel that path.
Since double-blind methods are used by every major winery (and most small ones), every candidate for wine certifications, every wine competition, every university oenology program, and (so it's claimed) by every major wine review publication, in what way is your statement not complete rubbish?
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Old 23rd April 2012, 02:55 PM   #57
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ART: "the quality, production, expression, or realm, according to aesthetic principles, of what is beautiful or appealing"

SCIENCE: "study dealing with a body of facts or truths systematically arranged and showing the operation of general laws"

FIDELITY: "the degree to which the output of a system, such as an amplifier or radio, accurately reproduces the characteristics of the input signal"

Designing a high fidelity DAC involves only the second two unless you want to consider what it looks like. And the fidelity of the result can be entirely determined by objective measurements.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 03:02 PM   #58
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Since double-blind methods are used by every major winery (and most small ones), every candidate for wine certifications, every wine competition, every university oenology program, and (so it's claimed) by every major wine review publication, in what way is your statement not complete rubbish?
I don't want to violate copyrights, but I could quote what many have had to say about Robert Goldstein. It sure looks like they're trying to discredit his work to me. I didn't say blind testing isn't used in the wine industry. But it does seem many are quick to downplay or discredit it when tests published to the general public fail to favor more expensive wines. The famous Two Buck Chuck blind test is another example.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 03:13 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by RocketScientist View Post
And, above all, blind tasting/listening in both industries has consistently revealed VERY different results than the overwhelmingly more popular sighted tasting/listening. Those results have been well documented yet both industries have tried to marginalize blind testing in a variety of creative but not terribly valid ways

As SY said with respect to the wine industry this statement is rubbish. You're living in a postmodern world, as late as 1978 the entire range of retail prices was maybe 5:1. The over the top high end in audio was already blooming then. You obviously have no interest in having a conversation so I won't waste my time.
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You call the link in your sig "non-commercial" ??? It reads like a long self congraulatory advert.
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Last edited by scott wurcer; 23rd April 2012 at 03:19 PM.
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Old 23rd April 2012, 03:33 PM   #60
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OK... Obviously it's a mistake to tackle TWO passionate hobbies/topics here (wine and audio) which apparently is touching two raw nerves. I probably should have just stuck to what I know best: Audio.

I have never said I'm a wine expert, I only know what I've read from a consumer's perspective. I still maintain there are plenty of parallels between the two industries and the idea was to help others, again from a consumer's perspective, better understand both how our senses work and how audio products are marketed.

So I will humbly refrain from discussing wine, but I would still like to understand how offering well documented, well measured, and arguably transparent, audio designs is a problem for those spending their money on audio gear? That is, as I understand it, the main topic of this thread.
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