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Keith - I completely understand the points you're making and can see the danger of unsupportable claims becoming accepted as fact. I suppose the point where I might disagree with you is what should be allowed or encouraged as a topic of discussion on the forum - which is of course a matter of balance. Since you are a moderator your point of view naturally takes precedence.

For the record, I have a science/engineering background and a natural tendency towards rationalism, reductionism and objectivity. However I also realise that not everything that goes on in my head - for example, when I'm listening to music - is deterministic or repeatable. Speaking for myself, if I describe the results of equipment changes, I try to do so in measured language, making it clear that it's my personal experience and without the intention of convincing others that they would or should hear the same things.

However, if I understand you correctly, you'd prefer not to have any subjective comments in the discussion. I'll try to bear that in mind in future.
Can someone please explain why the advocates of DBTs, which is the purest form of "listening" there is, can be accused of stating that listening is somehow "flawed""? Objectivists are actually begging you to listen! They just want you to listen without any other input affecting your evaluation.
Keith - I completely understand the points you're making and can see the danger of unsupportable claims becoming accepted as fact. I suppose the point where I might disagree with you is what should be allowed or encouraged as a topic of discussion on the forum - which is of course a matter of balance. Since you are a moderator your point of view naturally takes precedence.

Actually me being a moderator (which is largely an administrative task) should have any bearing on this. What matters is what the community wants.

Of course, opinions will be divided, but the majority of the community (or maybe the most vocal) seems to favour rationality over blind faith (which, at the moment, seems to be the only alternative being offered).

For the record, I have a science/engineering background and a natural tendency towards rationalism, reductionism and objectivity. However I also realise that not everything that goes on in my head - for example, when I'm listening to music - is deterministic or repeatable. Speaking for myself, if I describe the results of equipment changes, I try to do so in measured language, making it clear that it's my personal experience and without the intention of convincing others that they would or should hear the same things.

I would suggest you are unusual.

Most of the time it starts along the lines of "night and day" differences than even a profoundly deaf person could hear and, when challenged, gradually retreat. In one case what started as "night and day" differences gradually eroded to the point where I was told I would need to be training my ears for weeks on end, on equipment and in surroundings I was comfortable with, in order to hear the difference.

And then the implication was that if I couldn't, it was the fault of my ears or that I hadn't spent enough on equipment.

The rational, scientific viewpoint is, in my view, straightforward: if you make whacky, unconventional, or illogical sounding claims, you need to support that with evidence; real evidence.

Anyone who claims that "it sounded great to me" is evidence is inherently untrustworthy, because that is anti-science. Equally anyone who avoids or advises to avoid scientific methods like DBT/ABX when judging the comparative audio quality of equipment cannot be trusted because, in all likelihood, their views are completely false.

Of course a lot goes into the enjoyment of audio, and knowing you spend a lot on kit, or that you are using a trusted brand, or that the cables are sexy looking, can definitely enhance your enjoyment. In fact, it's fairly clear these things enhance many people's enjoyment far more than any real audio differences.

The problem lies when people claim real audio benefits where there are none, or none that can be proven, and where these claims can negatively impact the people they are advertising these claims to.

However, if I understand you correctly, you'd prefer not to have any subjective comments in the discussion. I'll try to bear that in mind in future.

I'm happy to have rational debate on it and, if the community wants it, I'm happy to have irrational debate on it too, as long as people realise it goes both ways: If you make an subjective comment on how good something sounds to you, expect some other member of the community to point out if that observation is contrary to known Science and Engineering, and that a proper assessment isn't complete without a meaningful scientific study.

Such arguments should, ideally, be accepted as the other side of the coin, and without claims of "bullying", or "closed-mindedness" or "science isn't always right", etc. that always accompany such responses.

Alternatively, be open-minded and conduct ABX testing before making such claims. As a student of Science and Engineering, you will know that (contrary to a lot of popular opinion) Science is largely all about being open minded, of coming up with different hypotheses and trying to prove or disprove them.

Of course it's not always easy to do this with full scientific rigour, but a number of people I know who have then done personal tests have been surprised at the results.

I agree that, at the end of the day, what matters most is personal comfort, but I am a strong advocate of the view that one's belief systems should not be foisted on others, and a lot of audiophilia is driven by unsubstantiated belief systems that have been cultivated by the marketing departments of audio equipment vendors.

Cheers,

Keith
Objectivists are actually begging you to listen! They just want you to listen without any other input affecting your evaluation.
Precisely - and listen using your ears, not anyone else's. Why this point gets missed where DBTs are concerned is a puzzle even to me, a non engineer.
What my brain makes of what my ears pass on is coloured by:
1. Expectation/Confirmation Bias
2. Louder - as little as 0.2 dB - sounds better effect
3. Other non auditory inputs
All that a level matched DBT seeks to do is eliminate to the extent possible, the effect of the above on the brain, leaving the input from just my ears to be the guiding criterion.
The idea behind propagating this view is to assist people that are new to this subject, to give them a rational way of assessing things for themselves rather than following a herd instinct.
It is also very possible that I may not hear the same improvement that someone else hears in a properly set up level matched DBT. All ears are not created equal, and some age faster than others.

I haven't however come across any such responses/ discussions here or elsewhere by anyone in response to a level matched DBT finding - if there are, it would be interesting to read them.

All the conversation seems to be about improvements found, assessed to be so on evidence of brain processes involving many inputs outside those from just the ears. And questions from people pointing this out.

SSDD.
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@Majik
"Actually me being a moderator (which is largely an administrative task) should have any bearing on this. What matters is what the community wants.

Of course, opinions will be divided, but the majority of the community (or maybe the most vocal) seems to favour rationality over blind faith (which, at the moment, seems to be the only alternative being offered)."

Here's the problem that I have..for a long time now the Majority, of which you really are a member of, consists of almost exclusively some pretty hard core objectivists (for lack of a better term) We know who it is.. there's jaGatie, and kumar,chicks, ratty, nobob and the other half a dozen or so ..That's the "community" that you're speaking of. The problem is that when anyone else comes on to this forum and mentions they hear a difference.. and it doesn't matter what kind of difference, or what type of product, they just get piled on by your "community".. Oh they'll try for a bit to posit their point of view, and have a reasonable and fun time but after a bit of frequently rude or demeaning bullying they realize it's simply not worth their time or effort and move on.

I remember back in the early days of this forum when Sonos was a new product there was lots of fun discussion of how things sounded, how people felt about different versions of firmware sounded, or coax, vs optical cables or different codec's.. That actual sense of community is long gone.. replaced by what feels like a group that's just waiting to pounce on any unsuspecting newbie who doesn't hold the same opinions as they do.. What a shame..
"Rude bullying" like accusations that ears are not trained properly or the system is too cheap to show the differences that the golden eared, wealthy, and more discerning audiophiles hear? Also, the almost automatic accusations of "closed mindedness" and "not listening" that have been debunked a hundred times? Let's face it, the insults flow freely from both sides, neither are innocent. Though one side does have truth and science on their side, in addition to insults, so I understand the frustration when your only defense is to belittle the ears, equipment and attitude of others. :rolleyes:

And please don't make me post links to rudeness from the subjectivists. I'm on a tablet right now, and cutting and pasting hundreds of posts will be a pain.
Let's not go off the rail and start slinging mud at the "opposition".

Of course, opinions will be divided, but the majority of the community (or maybe the most vocal) seems to favour rationality over blind faith (which, at the moment, seems to be the only alternative being offered)."

What other alternative to rationality are you suggesting to the one you have stated?
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That part wasn't my post, it was Majik's
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But I do have a suggestion, why not have a Audiophile section of the forum? Then those that want to post about what they hear etc can do so and those that think it's all BS can stay out and not be bothered. Heck I'll even volunteer to be the moderater..
Another approach is one that Alan Shaw over in the Harbeth forums has started to kick off 2015.

He and many other users support the view that any modern stereo amplifier that has adequate power so as to not be driven out of its designed limits by the speaker load will yield the same sound quality from any Harbeth speaker in a DBT - it is therefore not necessary to pick one for sonic signature, but look to things like features, reliability and after sales support instead.

This view gets expressed over and over again - ad nauseam - in threads started by someone that comes along every couple of months claiming to hear unique sonic magic from their amp - which typically tends to be expensive and usually inadequately powered. Low powered valve amps are the usual suspects, though not the only ones. Almost all are much more expensive than the mass market makes.

The 2015 action is to start a thread and stop such discussions by moderating them out in a forum where all posts are subject to moderation before release, by pointing to the thread which explains the thinking.

Digital tech beyond CDPs isn't common there, so there aren't many such discussions around DACs even though the forum philosophy in general is that if an improvement can't be heard in a well constructed DBT, it doesn't exist and is a pointless pursuit for maker and buyer. Or perhaps not so pointless for the maker.

The other forum that operates on similar lines for a long time now is Hydrogenaudio.
PS: If interested, check out Alan's first post on the thread here:
http://www.harbeth.co.uk/usergroup/showthread.php?2473-Revised-HUG-mission-statement-for-2015&p=32218#post32218
Another approach is one that Alan Shaw over in the Harbeth forums has started to kick off 2015.
I'd support this approach for the Sonos forums.
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The argument is never ending in audio as to what constitutes better sound. There is certainly no denying that snake oil exist to some extent but that's painting with a broad brush isn't it ?

If I'm in the market for a Ferrari, and want some insight as to how it drives, I would ask someone who actually sat in the seat and took it for a spin rather than someone who read about how it drives off the internet.

All amps sound the same, cables too, dacs don't matter, blah blah, same old song and dance from people with little to no experience with a variety of gear.

You simply have to experience some things in life for yourself, and that goes beyond audio too. There are those who are happy with what they have and that's all well and good, but there are still others who seek out better. Experiment with some different stuff in your home, in your system with your ears. Not such a tall order is it ? If your that interested in audio anyway.
Experiment with some different stuff in your home, in your system with your ears. Not such a tall order is it ? If your (sic) that interested in audio anyway.

I've been through dozens of amps, preamps, integrated amps and receivers over the past few years. Not a one of them sounded better than the others, once tone controls were disabled and volumes matched. But then that's been proven since at least as far back as when Peter Walker was running QUAD, hasn't it?

Same experience with interconnects and speaker cables. If they're of sufficient quality to meet the need, there simply is no difference between the Belkins and the absurdly priced ones.

Speakers, of course, are different. There is no perfect transducer. I believe my QUAD ESL-63s get as close to ideal as is currently possible, but that's far from perfect, and they don't have the dynamic range of dynamic drivers. Would love to hear some big Harbeths some day.
But I do have a suggestion, why not have a Audiophile section of the forum? Then those that want to post about what they hear etc can do so and those that think it's all BS can stay out and not be bothered. Heck I'll even volunteer to be the moderater..

There is not much to moderate. As moderators we don't censor the comments, we keep things tidy and deal with bad behavior. Each of us made very plain that we were not signing up to be censors.

Are you suggesting that there should be some sort of litmus test required for admission to the audiophile section?

Other than attract more pundits, I'm not sure that a specialized section would serve to keep the two sides apart. I think that it is likely to attract trolls. For a while users needed to pass a quiz before they were given access to the Digital Experts section. Probably, this was designed to promote high level discussions between professionals. Overall, this did not work out so well because participation was limited and the experts tended to hang together rather than helping main stream users.

In my opinion, the problem is that neither side wants to acknowledge the existence of other side of the coin. Replies from the other side of the coin are unwelcome because ... er ... things are so "obvious" ... we are just wasting time.

Some of us can play both sides of this coin. I am docile here, but I can be quite disruptive in showdowns -- exposing the follies of both sides. The whole situation reminds me of an early teen dance where the boys line one side of the gym, the girls line the other side, and there is not much dancing.
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Are you suggesting that there should be some sort of litmus test required for admission to the audiophile section?

.


No I wasn't..
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LOL, if audio does one thing well, it's the ability to start rifts. I can certainly see both sides of the coin, to some none of this matters and for whatever reason they can't hear differences. Like I keep saying, that's all well and good for you but your own personal experiences won't echo everyones. Is there anything wrong with 2 different people having 2 different opinions ? Obviously not and that's the whole point of discussions on forums, to share opinions and experiences...no ?
LOL, if audio does one thing well, it's the ability to start rifts. I can certainly see both sides of the coin, to some none of this matters and for whatever reason they can't hear differences. Like I keep saying, that's all well and good for you but your own personal experiences won't echo everyones. Is there anything wrong with 2 different people having 2 different opinions ? Obviously not and that's the whole point of discussions on forums, to share opinions and experiences...no ?

As long as you admit that your opinion defies all logic and science, and therefore is based on faith and faith alone, we have no problem. When you start referring to your opinion as anything else, that is when you get challenged for proof.

And stop with the veiled insults, suggesting you can hear something our inferior ears cannot, unless you are willing to subject your golden cochlea to an ABX test to prove it.
I have said this before, but it bears repeating. The listening experience is based on inputs from more than just the ears, and to that extent even a well constructed DBT has limitations.
However, the weightage that is accorded to these other inputs changes significantly from person to person and even with the same person over time. As a result this very much becomes a YMMV thing - or rather YMWV - mileage will vary. For instance, I like my speaker enclosures to look good in addition to how the speakers measure, but amber backlit VU meters don't float my listening experience boat anymore - at one time they did, as did the glow of tubes in a tube amp.
One thing that has always worked is a glass or two of the best tipple and the lights down low. Music has always sounded better from my set up then, an audiophile tweak I can always count on.
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As long as you admit that your opinion defies all logic and science, and therefore is based on faith and faith alone, we have no problem. When you start referring to your opinion as anything else, that is when you get challenged for proof.

And stop with the veiled insults, suggesting you can hear something our inferior ears cannot, unless you are willing to subject your golden cochlea to an ABX test to prove it.


That's kind of what I've been talking about, the rudeness, where does he insult you directly?? Try reading your post objectively, it's so confrontational no wonder folks get turned off. You may not mean to come off that way but you do, relax its not life or death here.

Construction guy's point was that people hear differently... Or in the case of many folks, like my wife as an example, they simply don't care how stuff sounds..
Consider the two statements:
1. Two amplifiers that have the same measured flat frequency/distortion response of the kind that most modern amplifiers exhibit, that are working within designed limits - i.e, without clipping/distorting - cannot be distinguished from each other in a level matched DBT when operating with tone controls or the like not engaged.
2. All amplifiers sound the same.
People, of whom I am one, that support the first statement are often said to be saying the second, which they are not. The second statement is not a short version of the first, and isn't believed to be a true statement by them.
I am curious to know if there is anybody on this forum that disagrees with statement 1.
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... Or in the case of many folks, like my wife as an example, they simply don't care how stuff sounds..

Loved it, ErikM. Your comment sounds just like my wife too. I am convinced she would watch her c*** TV movies as a flickering image on a black & white telly, with audio coming from a tin can on the end of a piece of string... and still be quite content! Ah well, each to their own!
Your comment sounds just like my wife too.
I know some women that are auto or camera enthusiasts, though in a minority - but I haven't come across a single audiophile woman. It isn't that they don't appreciate good sounding music, but they seem to be able to remain focused on the music once a certain SQ is achieved. They are happy to leave the kit to be the passive thing it is.
Speaking of people who don't care how stuff sounds, how does one explain hires aficionados who, even after being given scientific proof that hires formats can damage the sound through distortion; they still continue to tout the format as audio nirvana? Certainly they also "simply don't care how stuff sounds" if they prefer a distorted format over a clean one?