For all the hifi skeptics....

jaxwired

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When it comes to hifi, there are lots of people that are skeptics about all the differences we believers claim to hear from cables and electronics. Often these skeptics will point to double blind tests that fail to show differences in components or the lack of scientific measurements to prove these sonic differences. And the audiophile community really has no good response to these attacks other than saying "we hear a difference". Well, I just read an old article about Bryston from the mid 1990s. This is an interview with 3 of their top execs and engineer. What is fascinating is that they say that they would make changes to the amps that would be technically inaudible. Meaning the design or parts change resulted in a signal change that was negligable or outside the human audible range. They would put the change into the amps and ship them without any announcement and no visible appearance change. Now here's the punch line. The dealers and customers would report in large numbers they hear a difference. In one case they changed a carbon-film resistor to a metal-film resistor and the only measurable change was in frequencies below 100hz (deep bass) and the change was much too small to be considered audible by humans. The month after making the change (with no announcement and no visible way to know anything had changed), they got as many as 50 calls from all over north america asking what they had done to improve the bass!! Pretty strong evidence for what I've always said, you simply cannot measure everything we hear. We do not yet fully understand how we hear. Full article here: http://www.stereophile.com/interviews/996russell/index.html
 

MajorFubar

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jaxwired said:
Pretty strong evidence for what I've always said, you simply cannot measure everything we hear. We do not yet fully understand how we hear.
I've been saying that for ages, often in contradiction to people who basically say that if science hasn't yet found a way to measure it then it doesn't exist. Always keep an open mind. There's no bigger idiot than he who dismisses something just because existing science says it doesn't exist.
 

altruistic.lemon

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Memory might be bit vague, mate, but weren't Bryston the same people who advised not to waste money on expensive wire? Struck a chord in what passes for the lemon head, anyway.
 

Frank Harvey

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MajorFubar said:
jaxwired said:
Pretty strong evidence for what I've always said, you simply cannot measure everything we hear. We do not yet fully understand how we hear.
I've been saying that for ages, often in contradiction to people who basically say that if science hasn't yet found a way to measure it then it doesn't exist. Always keep an open mind. There's no bigger idiot than he who dismisses something just because existing science says it doesn't exist.
Same here.
 
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Anonymous

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MajorFubar said:
jaxwired said:
Pretty strong evidence for what I've always said, you simply cannot measure everything we hear. We do not yet fully understand how we hear.
I've been saying that for ages, often in contradiction to people who basically say that if science hasn't yet found a way to measure it then it doesn't exist. Always keep an open mind. There's no bigger idiot than he who dismisses something just because existing science says it doesn't exist.

No evidence at all I am afraid. The interview didn't say the change referred to couldn't be measured, it said that the measured change was believed to be too small to be audible by humans. I am afraid that doesn't justify the statement 'you simply cannot measure everything we hear'. While that may or may not be true, the interview doesn't lead to that conclusion.

Just FWIW, later on in the interview:

Brian Russell: On the other hand, we also had a case where we just changed the color of the on/off switch button from white to black, and we had a couple of people phoning to say that the new black-button amplifier sounded better than the white-button amplifier.

You have to be careful with human perception.
 
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jaxwired

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andy8421 said:
No evidence at all I am afraid. The interview didn't say the change referred to couldn't be measured, it said that the measured change was believed to be too small to be audible by humans. I am afraid that doesn't justify the statement 'you simply cannot measure everything we hear'. While that may or may not be true, the interview doesn't lead to that conclusion.

Ok, I'll give you that, but it sure as heck is strong evidence against the "all amps sound the same" crowd. There have been numerous blind listening tests that "prove" that all amps sound the same. This would indicate that not only do they not sound the same, but even tiny, tiny changes that would seem to be the most inconsequential are audible, not to mention entirely different amplifiers with all different parts and circuits. To me, that's pretty profound.
 

CJSF

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I'm with Jaxwired, we can perceive change of the minutest amount, we are a finely tuned instrument that is not fully understood, certainly makes life interesting.

Back in the 80's we designed a valve preamp on the basis of listening tests to each vital component, including valves and their manufacture. The results were staggering, significantly, cheap penny resistors audibly out performed specialist components costing 10-20 times more. Valve makes of the same type differed and voltage applied to the valve had a dramatic difference. I seem to remember something like 4v was the optimum, recommended was 12v . . . I still have in the shed, one of the large variable rheostats we use for those particular valve voltage tests, it took weeks of listening, but the result was stunning, sadly I dont have one pre left of the 10 or so built.

Also remember doing listening tests at one of the Heathrow shows on a 'Jardine' valve amp, said to have measurable distortion levels of somthing like 12%!!! We put it against I think? a Krell, it knocked spots . . . one of the test records incidentally was Jazz at the Pawnshop.

I still say trust your ears . . . CJSF
 
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Anonymous

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For me, all it proves is they got it wrong when they said it was inaudible.

It certainly doesn't change the fact that if you can't determine something apart in an ABX test, then there is likely no difference (audibly).

I'm probably a skeptic up to a point, but I'll give everything a chance. I always blind test things these days to make sure I'm not fooling myself. If I pass, then whatever it is I'm testing gets a green light, otherwise it goes on the "unnecessary list".

I run ADM9Ts with a BK XXLS400 sub. I also use a Beresford DAC even though I don't "need" to... I like the extra inputs and the volume knob.To my old ears, the Beresford and the internal ADM9 DAC sound identical. They probably aren't identical, and some people may be able to tell them apart, but I'm happy. The same goes for MP3 at high bitrate, and FLAC or WAV.

ABX for me is a money saver. Before I actually did the tests I bought some HD albums from Linn. Sounded superb, and I swore they were better... Downsample and ABX... nope, they were "identical" to me at least...Still superb, even as 200 kbps MP3s.

It's a subjective world and I don't want to question anyones preference. But I would always suggest doing a "proper" unsighted comparison these days. You can save £100's or more... :)
 
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Anonymous

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snivilisationism said:
Before I actually did the tests I bought some HD albums from Linn. Sounded superb, and I swore they were better... Downsample and ABX... nope, they were "identical" to me at least...Still superb, even as 200 kbps MP3s.
From one skeptic to another: I also like the mastering on Linn's offerings, and I'm very glad they offer the same music in CD quality at 50% discount :)

I also ran across this article yesterday (from iTrax -- surprised that Apple's lawyers haven't found them yet), which makes the point that many hi-def offerings still contain zero audio above 20kHz, because they come from a master that did not preserve those frequencies.

As for the skeptics/believers debate: it's mostly a language problem I think. For a scientist, the terms "evidence" and "proof" are very strong words, like waving a red flag in front of a bull. I'm fine with people hearing whatever they want to hear :twisted: , but that is usually accompanied by a statement like "so my experience proves you are wrong" -- which most of the time is very simple to counter. I've seen such absolute statements from both sides of the fence, scientific inaccuracy flourishes wildly it seems.
 

altruistic.lemon

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tremon said:
snivilisationism said:
Before I actually did the tests I bought some HD albums from Linn. Sounded superb, and I swore they were better... Downsample and ABX... nope, they were "identical" to me at least...Still superb, even as 200 kbps MP3s.
From one skeptic to another: I also like the mastering on Linn's offerings, and I'm very glad they offer the same music in CD quality at 50% discount :)

I also ran across this article yesterday (from iTrax -- surprised that Apple's lawyers haven't found them yet), which makes the point that many hi-def offerings still contain zero audio above 20kHz, because they come from a master that did not preserve those frequencies.
Why would you want anything above 20khz? Unless my education is amiss, we can't hear that high anyway, which is why they put CDs at that level.

Mind you, dogs might learn to enjoy music, I suppose.
 

CnoEvil

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altruistic.lemon said:
tremon said:
snivilisationism said:
Before I actually did the tests I bought some HD albums from Linn. Sounded superb, and I swore they were better... Downsample and ABX... nope, they were "identical" to me at least...Still superb, even as 200 kbps MP3s.
From one skeptic to another: I also like the mastering on Linn's offerings, and I'm very glad they offer the same music in CD quality at 50% discount :)

I also ran across this article yesterday (from iTrax -- surprised that Apple's lawyers haven't found them yet), which makes the point that many hi-def offerings still contain zero audio above 20kHz, because they come from a master that did not preserve those frequencies.
Why would you want anything above 20khz? Unless my education is amiss, we can't hear that high anyway, which is why they put CDs at that level.

Mind you, dogs might learn to enjoy music, I suppose.

AL, just in case you are interested, some info here:
http://recordinghacks.com/articles/the-world-beyond-20khz/
 

6th.replicant

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tremon said:
snivilisationism said:
Before I actually did the tests I bought some HD albums from Linn. Sounded superb, and I swore they were better... Downsample and ABX... nope, they were "identical" to me at least...Still superb, even as 200 kbps MP3s.
From one skeptic to another: I also like the mastering on Linn's offerings, and I'm very glad they offer the same music in CD quality at 50% discount :)

I also ran across this article yesterday ... which makes the point that many hi-def offerings still contain zero audio above 20kHz, because they come from a master that did not preserve those frequencies....

Surely, the crux of the article is re 44.1-48kHz files being upsampled to 88.2-96kHz and being sold as genuine h-res; in short, it's an article re fraud??
 

altruistic.lemon

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CNO, that's internet

[Yet again, please moderate your language - MODS]

. Get you ears tested - if they go above 16khz, count yourself one of the chosen few.

The internet is great, but it does allow all sort of cranks to have a go.
 

CnoEvil

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altruistic.lemon said:
CNO, that's internet b***sh*t. Get you ears tested - if they go above 16khz, count yourself one of the chosen few.

The internet is great, but it does allow all sort of cranks to have a go.

You may well be correct, but there is a growing body of opinion that believe the frequencies we can't hear, have an effect on those we can. I suspect this may be true, but it's certainly no more than a suspicion. :)

Edit. Speaker companies like Kef, Monitor Audio and B&W, must all see the merit in producing tweeters that go well above the limit of human hearing.
 

6th.replicant

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altruistic.lemon said:
...Why would you want anything above 20khz? Unless my education is amiss, we can't hear that high anyway, which is why they put CDs at that level...

True. But if I may add my tuppence, IME what is often audible with pukka 88.2, 96 or 192kHz studio master-type recordings - when fed into a compatible DAC - is a greater sense of space and 'air' around instruments and voices. It's as if the music has more room to breathe, which helps my kit create an impression that the sound is 'in the room', as opposed to merely coming out of the speakers. Same applies to (most) SACDs.

Dunno if that makes sense... :shifty:
 

jaxwired

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snivilisationism said:
For me, all it proves is they got it wrong when they said it was inaudible.

It certainly doesn't change the fact that if you can't determine something apart in an ABX test, then there is likely no difference (audibly).

So you think that an ABX test would have allowed people to consistently pickout the resistor change? All I can say is that's where we differ entirely. People have been shown to be unable to consistenly identify a $10k amp and a $200 amp from different manufacturers in an ABX test, but you think they would be able to pick out a single resistor type change. Ummmm....ok.....I disagree...

What the Bryston experience shows is that ABX testing is intrinsically flawed.
 

CnoEvil

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6th.replicant said:
altruistic.lemon said:
...Why would you want anything above 20khz? Unless my education is amiss, we can't hear that high anyway, which is why they put CDs at that level...

True. But if I may add my tuppence, IME what is often audible with pukka 88.2, 96 or 192kHz studio master-type recordings - when fed into a compatible DAC - is a greater sense of space and 'air' around instruments and voices. It's as if the music has more room to breathe, which helps my kit create an impression that the sound is 'in the room', as opposed to merely coming out of the speakers. Same applies to (most) SACDs.

Dunno if that makes sense... :shifty:
It certainly makes sense to me....I think it all contributes to the feeling of realism.
 
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Anonymous

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CnoEvil said:
You may well be correct, but there is a growing body of opinion that believe the frequencies we can't hear, have an effect on those we can.

No there isn't. More nonsense I am afraid. There was a paper by Tsutomo Oohashi sometime back that maintained that humans responded to hypersonic stimulus. The paper has been discreditied in many subsequent studies. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop people linking to the original paper, or believing it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypersonic_effect
 

Ryan92

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In terms of the flaws on ABX testing, it may well me flawed as a means of collecting data in certain circumstances, though I maintain it's the perfect way to decide if something is worth the consumer's money. If you personally can find no audible difference between two products or find that the difference between component A and component B is not worth the price gap, don't buy it? Obviously the answers to those questions will differ from person to person, but then that's opinion. All I'm saying is that just because one person can't reliably ditinguish between 2 things, be it recordings or components, doesn't mean it's not worth the money, or even investigating, it's just not worth their's.
 
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Anonymous

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jaxwired said:
What the Bryston experience shows is that ABX testing is intrinsically flawed.

In a field where human response really matters, the development of drugs and treatments, extraordinary steps have to be taken to avoid biasing the results. Studies have shown that even though the patient was unaware which drug was real and which was placebo, the fact that the clinician administering the drug knew, was enough to impact the study. Apparently body language cues were being picked up by the patient from the doctor.

Placebo effects are extremely strong. ABX and double blind testing are the accepted way of eliminating human subjective bias.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Double_blind#Double-blind_trials

It would be a brave man who suggested that somehow listening to hifi was immune from these effects.
 

Frank Harvey

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CnoEvil said:
You may well be correct, but there is a growing body of opinion that believe the frequencies we can't hear, have an effect on those we can. I suspect this may be true, but it's certainly no more than a suspicion. :)
You are correct Cno. Even in the 90's, Pioneer produced Legato Link, which was a process that digitally tried to recreate (via complex algorithms) the harmonics that a CD was missing above 20kHz. Whether this worked or not, it certainly gave the Pioneer's a unique sound in comparison to other CD players of the time.

The whole theory was that the frequencies that were 'lopped off' above 20kHz affected how the one's sound below 20kHz. Think of it this way - if you hear a frequency of around 40Hz, then one of around 12kHz, they have a specific sound. Play them together, and they no longer sound the same. So even if a frequency was out of our hearing range, it could still affect how others sound.

I do agree that even though we can't hear these frequencies, we can sense them. I'm not sure what the frequency is, but in the old days, you could walk into a room and sense if a CRT television was switched on, even if you couldn't see it.
 

CnoEvil

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andy8421 said:
CnoEvil said:
You may well be correct, but there is a growing body of opinion that believe the frequencies we can't hear, have an effect on those we can.

No there isn't. More nonsense I am afraid. There was a paper by Tsutomo Oohashi sometime back that maintained that humans responded to hypersonic stimulus. The paper has been discreditied in many subsequent studies. Unfortunately, it doesn't stop people linking to the original paper, or believing it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hypersonic_effect

Would it be fair to infer from this, that you think some of the major speaker companies have spent a lot of time and money, producing very high frequency tweeters as a marketing ploy?.....either that or their thinking is flawed.

This is not having a go, it's just that I'm interested in your view.

Edit. Maybe someone from the speaker manufacturers on here, would like to comment. :)
 

CnoEvil

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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
CnoEvil said:
You may well be correct, but there is a growing body of opinion that believe the frequencies we can't hear, have an effect on those we can. I suspect this may be true, but it's certainly no more than a suspicion. :)
You are correct Cno. Even in the 90's, Pioneer produced Legato Link, which was a process that digitally tried to recreate (via complex algorithms) the harmonics that a CD was missing above 20kHz. Whether this worked or not, it certainly gave the Pioneer's a unique sound in comparison to other CD players of the time. The whole theory was that the frequencies that were 'lopped off' above 20kHz affected how the one's sound below 20kHz. Think of it this way - if you hear a frequency of around 40Hz, then one of around 12kHz, they have a specific sound. Play them together, and they no longer sound the same. So even if a frequency was out of our hearing range, it could still affect how others sound. I do agree that even though we can't hear these frequencies, we can sense them. I'm not sure what the frequency is, but in the old days, you could walk into a room and sense if a CRT television was switched on, even if you couldn't see it.
Thx David, this is roughly what I thought was the logic behind it.....erroneous as it may be. :)
 

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