anyone in LA want to help me do a blind test?

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

I live in Pasadena, CA. I'm interested in doing blind tests on
interconnect cables, using a long-listening protocol rather than a
quick switching protocol. I've already done 12 trials and scored 9/12
correct- not statistically significant yet, but I'm learning under what
conditions I perform better, so there is still a chance I could reach a
statistically significant positive result. Unfortunately these tests
take a while and I've lost the help of my prior assistant. If you want
to help, I'd also help you with blind tests in trade. Anyone
interested?

If so, don't reply to this email. It is a free account to receive
spam. Reply to

mpm
At
alumni
Dot
caltech
Dot
edu

-Mike

PS. or post here
84 answers Last reply
More about anyone blind test
  1. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    I live in Pasadena also. Sounds like a fun project--fraught with the
    possibility of frustration. Oh, boy! Feel free to e-mail me at
    bernmart@earthlink.net.

    Cheers, Bernie
  2. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see how a
    long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the sound of
    my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables such as
    temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose too
    hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than any
    change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).


    ---MIKE---
  3. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    ---MIKE--- wrote:
    > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see how
    a
    > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the sound
    of
    > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables such
    as
    > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose
    too
    > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than
    any
    > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    >
    >
    > ---MIKE---

    You might be right, but I need to do the test to find out.

    -Other Mike
  4. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "---MIKE---" <twinmountain@webtv.net> wrote in message
    news:d1t2nr01drr@news1.newsguy.com...
    > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see how a
    > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the sound of
    > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables such as
    > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose too
    > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than any
    > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    >
    >
    > ---MIKE---

    The atmospheric pressure, humidity, state of your sinuses, etc., should all
    be uncorrelated
    with which of the two cables being compared is in use. So those random
    variables should
    not invalidate a long enough series of tests with a significant deviation
    from chance.

    I'm not a "believer" in high end cable myself but I'm all in favor of tests
    like this being done.
    After all, I've been wrong about things before.
  5. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    ---MIKE--- wrote:
    > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see how a
    > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the sound of
    > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables such as
    > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose too
    > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than any
    > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    >
    >

    While Michael does say he uses a "long-listening protocol" rather than a
    "quick switching protocol", he does not define these terms. It isn't
    possible to know if he only listens to one pair of cables per hour, per
    day, or per week. As such, we can't assume environmental or internal
    variables would significantly alter the outcome. Even switching cables
    once per hour can "take a while" if one is trying to complete exhaustive
    tests.

    Even *if* environmental or internal changes alter perceptions of sound,
    these variables are constantly changing and could impact equally upon
    "quick switch" protocols provided the research took place across a
    period of days, weeks or months. In fact, changes in mood or blowing
    one's nose too hard can occur during research taking place in the course
    of a single afternoon.

    The key issue isn't whether there are variables that can alter
    outcome/value of the dependent variable. The issue is how those
    variables are distributed through the study (i.e. randomly vs.
    non-randomly). When environmental and internal variables are viewed in
    that light, the results of even the fabled quick-switch/double-blind
    model can be tainted.

    -Scott
  6. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    John P. Green wrote:
    > "---MIKE---" <twinmountain@webtv.net> wrote in message
    > news:d1t2nr01drr@news1.newsguy.com...
    > > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see
    how a
    > > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the
    sound of
    > > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables
    such as
    > > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose
    too
    > > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than
    any
    > > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    > >
    > >
    > > ---MIKE---
    >
    > The atmospheric pressure, humidity, state of your sinuses, etc.,
    should all
    > be uncorrelated
    > with which of the two cables being compared is in use. So those
    random
    > variables should
    > not invalidate a long enough series of tests with a significant
    deviation
    > from chance.
    >
    > I'm not a "believer" in high end cable myself but I'm all in favor of
    tests
    > like this being done.
    > After all, I've been wrong about things before.

    I'm not sure myself about high-end cables. I tend to doubt they do
    anything. However, a few years ago I listened carefully and thought
    they were doing something. Was I imagining this? I did an informal
    blind test with the help of a friend, which involved several five
    minute listening sessions to cables. Every four sessions was either
    ABAB or ABBA, unknown to me. We did 16 sessions which gave me four
    chances to guess the order ABAB or ABBA. I guessed right all four
    times. Not only that, but I was quite confident that I knew what I was
    hearing.

    But four trials is not enough to be statiscally sound. Last year I had
    another friend help me in a similar test. I did eight trials. This
    time I got five right and three wrong, which isn't very promising.
    Furthermore, in the last trial I was absolutely confident I knew which
    cable I was hearing, and I was wrong. It showed me how strong
    expectation bias can be.

    But I still wonder if I was just tired. After all, each trial involved
    four listening sessions, so that was 32 sessions, or about five or six
    hours of real time to get through all that.

    So I want to do some more tests.

    -Mike
  7. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Scott <scm207@charter.net> wrote:
    > ---MIKE--- wrote:
    > > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see how a
    > > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the sound of
    > > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables such as
    > > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose too
    > > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than any
    > > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    > >
    > >

    > While Michael does say he uses a "long-listening protocol" rather than a
    > "quick switching protocol", he does not define these terms. It isn't
    > possible to know if he only listens to one pair of cables per hour, per
    > day, or per week. As such, we can't assume environmental or internal
    > variables would significantly alter the outcome. Even switching cables
    > once per hour can "take a while" if one is trying to complete exhaustive
    > tests.

    > Even *if* environmental or internal changes alter perceptions of sound,
    > these variables are constantly changing and could impact equally upon
    > "quick switch" protocols provided the research took place across a
    > period of days, weeks or months. In fact, changes in mood or blowing
    > one's nose too hard can occur during research taking place in the course
    > of a single afternoon.

    > The key issue isn't whether there are variables that can alter
    > outcome/value of the dependent variable. The issue is how those
    > variables are distributed through the study (i.e. randomly vs.
    > non-randomly). When environmental and internal variables are viewed in
    > that light, the results of even the fabled quick-switch/double-blind
    > model can be tainted.

    > -Scott

    That might make more sense if the listeners claimed to be able to hear the
    difference on some days and not others. But in most if not all ABX/DBT,
    the listener *does* claim to hear a difernece *during the test*. IN an
    ABX, the listener basically *has* to report 'hearing' a difference between
    A and B -- that is, during the 'sighted' portion of the test; otherwise
    the test is meaningless -- it's just guessing in the literal sense.
  8. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Scott wrote:
    > ---MIKE--- wrote:
    > > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see
    how a
    > > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the
    sound of
    > > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables
    such as
    > > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose
    too
    > > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than
    any
    > > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    > >
    > >
    >
    > While Michael does say he uses a "long-listening protocol" rather
    than a
    > "quick switching protocol", he does not define these terms. It isn't

    > possible to know if he only listens to one pair of cables per hour,
    per
    > day, or per week. As such, we can't assume environmental or internal

    > variables would significantly alter the outcome. Even switching
    cables
    > once per hour can "take a while" if one is trying to complete
    exhaustive
    > tests.
    >
    > Even *if* environmental or internal changes alter perceptions of
    sound,
    > these variables are constantly changing and could impact equally upon

    > "quick switch" protocols provided the research took place across a
    > period of days, weeks or months. In fact, changes in mood or blowing

    > one's nose too hard can occur during research taking place in the
    course
    > of a single afternoon.
    >
    > The key issue isn't whether there are variables that can alter
    > outcome/value of the dependent variable. The issue is how those
    > variables are distributed through the study (i.e. randomly vs.
    > non-randomly). When environmental and internal variables are viewed
    in
    > that light, the results of even the fabled quick-switch/double-blind
    > model can be tainted.
    >
    > -Scott

    As a kind of similar point, I've also thought that the kind of quick
    switch test that switches *while the music is in progress* is nonsense.
    The idea is that you are supposed to tell if you hear a change right
    at the moment you switch--well of course you hear a change, because the
    music itself is changing!

    To clarify my intended protocol (and the same one I've used in past
    tests) : I listen for about five minutes to each cable, enough time to
    settle in and hear it at music. I don't try to compare cables
    directly--I'm not comparing "what I hear now" to my memory--but instead
    I'm just taking notes on my current musical experience without trying
    to think too much about which cable it is. I ask that my assistant do
    four trials, hooking up the cables in the order ABAB, ABBA, BABA, or
    BAAB. This means that I'm getting a good sense of contrast through the
    four trials--at least twice the cable switches to the other one. My
    job after the four trials is to guess whether the middle two were the
    same or different.

    I've done twelve trials overall, but in two separate periods with
    vastly different equipment and setup. 4/4 in the first set, and 5/8 in
    the second set.

    "Quick switch" tests should be also called "contrast tests" because
    they emphasize how one piece of equipment sounds "placed right next"
    (the sound placed in time, that is) to another one. But this doesn't
    represent how people actually listen to music, or how they enjoy it.
    After all, if a piece of audio equipment is beautiful-sounding, (or a
    violin is, or a piano is, or a string quartet is), then it sounds
    beautiful "on its own." You don't need to put it right next to
    something else to be able to hear the beauty. Likewise, if a piece of
    audio equipment has some sort of character--if it is either ugly or
    beautiful--it should sound that way after you've settled in with it.
    It shouldn't be necessary to compare the sound to something else to
    determine this, and it fact I think that contrast tests obscure
    differences because they prevent the listener from settling in and
    hearing a piece of music, over its natural span of time, hearing it as
    actual *music*.

    -Mike
  9. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:
    >
    > I'm not sure myself about high-end cables. I tend to doubt they do
    > anything. However, a few years ago I listened carefully and thought
    > they were doing something. Was I imagining this? I did an informal
    > blind test with the help of a friend, which involved several five
    > minute listening sessions to cables. Every four sessions was either
    > ABAB or ABBA, unknown to me. We did 16 sessions which gave me four
    > chances to guess the order ABAB or ABBA. I guessed right all four
    > times. Not only that, but I was quite confident that I knew what I
    was
    > hearing.
    >
    > But four trials is not enough to be statiscally sound. Last year I
    had
    > another friend help me in a similar test. I did eight trials. This
    > time I got five right and three wrong,

    Ah, then your earlier assertion that you'd gotten 9 out of 12 correct
    was statistically irrelevant. You cannot just add up the results of
    different tests as you go along. You generally need to decide in
    advance how many trials you are going to do (and how many correct you
    are shooting for).

    Besides, you described this as "a similar test." If it was not exacly
    the same test--same cables, system, room, protocol--there would be no
    comparison at all between the two.

    > which isn't very promising.
    > Furthermore, in the last trial I was absolutely confident I knew
    which
    > cable I was hearing, and I was wrong. It showed me how strong
    > expectation bias can be.

    Yeah, ain't it the truth.

    > But I still wonder if I was just tired. After all, each trial
    involved
    > four listening sessions, so that was 32 sessions, or about five or
    six
    > hours of real time to get through all that.

    I would think fatigue would make you less confident about what you were
    hearing, not more, but it's possible. Next time, don't try to do it all
    in a single day.

    > So I want to do some more tests.

    Some questions:
    --what cables (and length)?
    --what system?
    --did you level-match, and how?
    --did you also try doing a quick-switching test for comparison?

    bob
  10. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:d205od0cd6@news3.newsguy.com...
    >
    > But four trials is not enough to be statiscally sound. Last year I had
    > another friend help me in a similar test. I did eight trials. This
    > time I got five right and three wrong, which isn't very promising.
    > Furthermore, in the last trial I was absolutely confident I knew which
    > cable I was hearing, and I was wrong. It showed me how strong
    > expectation bias can be.
    >
    > But I still wonder if I was just tired. After all, each trial involved
    > four listening sessions, so that was 32 sessions, or about five or six
    > hours of real time to get through all that.
    >
    > So I want to do some more tests.
    >
    Even if you can tell the difference, if it requires this amount of careful
    test listening to discern differences, is it worth the cost? When I listen
    to music I like to forget about everything else and simply enjoy the trip.
    Tests of the kind you wish to conduct appear interesting enough (for young
    folks with young hearing) engaging in the audio hobby trip, but not the
    enjoying the music trip.
  11. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:
    > Scott wrote:
    >> ---MIKE--- wrote:
    >> > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see
    > how a
    >> > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the
    > sound of
    >> > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables
    > such as
    >> > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose
    > too
    >> > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than
    > any
    >> > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    >> >
    >> >
    >>
    >> While Michael does say he uses a "long-listening protocol" rather
    > than a
    >> "quick switching protocol", he does not define these terms. It isn't
    >
    >> possible to know if he only listens to one pair of cables per hour,
    > per
    >> day, or per week. As such, we can't assume environmental or internal
    >
    >> variables would significantly alter the outcome. Even switching
    > cables
    >> once per hour can "take a while" if one is trying to complete
    > exhaustive
    >> tests.
    >>
    >> Even *if* environmental or internal changes alter perceptions of
    > sound,
    >> these variables are constantly changing and could impact equally upon
    >
    >> "quick switch" protocols provided the research took place across a
    >> period of days, weeks or months. In fact, changes in mood or blowing
    >
    >> one's nose too hard can occur during research taking place in the
    > course
    >> of a single afternoon.
    >>
    >> The key issue isn't whether there are variables that can alter
    >> outcome/value of the dependent variable. The issue is how those
    >> variables are distributed through the study (i.e. randomly vs.
    >> non-randomly). When environmental and internal variables are viewed
    > in
    >> that light, the results of even the fabled quick-switch/double-blind
    >> model can be tainted.
    >>
    >> -Scott
    >
    > As a kind of similar point, I've also thought that the kind of quick
    > switch test that switches *while the music is in progress* is nonsense.
    > The idea is that you are supposed to tell if you hear a change right
    > at the moment you switch--well of course you hear a change, because the
    > music itself is changing!
    >
    > To clarify my intended protocol (and the same one I've used in past
    > tests) : I listen for about five minutes to each cable, enough time to
    > settle in and hear it at music. I don't try to compare cables
    > directly--I'm not comparing "what I hear now" to my memory--but instead
    > I'm just taking notes on my current musical experience without trying
    > to think too much about which cable it is. I ask that my assistant do
    > four trials, hooking up the cables in the order ABAB, ABBA, BABA, or
    > BAAB. This means that I'm getting a good sense of contrast through the
    > four trials--at least twice the cable switches to the other one. My
    > job after the four trials is to guess whether the middle two were the
    > same or different.
    >
    > I've done twelve trials overall, but in two separate periods with
    > vastly different equipment and setup. 4/4 in the first set, and 5/8 in
    > the second set.
    >
    > "Quick switch" tests should be also called "contrast tests" because
    > they emphasize how one piece of equipment sounds "placed right next"
    > (the sound placed in time, that is) to another one. But this doesn't
    > represent how people actually listen to music, or how they enjoy it.
    > After all, if a piece of audio equipment is beautiful-sounding, (or a
    > violin is, or a piano is, or a string quartet is), then it sounds
    > beautiful "on its own." You don't need to put it right next to
    > something else to be able to hear the beauty. Likewise, if a piece of
    > audio equipment has some sort of character--if it is either ugly or
    > beautiful--it should sound that way after you've settled in with it.
    > It shouldn't be necessary to compare the sound to something else to
    > determine this, and it fact I think that contrast tests obscure
    > differences because they prevent the listener from settling in and
    > hearing a piece of music, over its natural span of time, hearing it as
    > actual *music*.
    >
    > -Mike

    As a control, can you also ask your assistant to use a sequence that is
    different than the 4 you have shown? You only want to find out if the
    middle two are the same or different, so I do not see why you need to
    limit the number of possible sequences to those 4.
  12. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:

    > As a kind of similar point, I've also thought that the kind of quick
    > switch test that switches *while the music is in progress* is
    nonsense.

    You are entitled to your opinion. But there is good scientific evidence
    that you are wrong.

    > The idea is that you are supposed to tell if you hear a change right
    > at the moment you switch--well of course you hear a change, because
    the
    > music itself is changing!

    A case for using minimalist drone in DBTs.

    > To clarify my intended protocol (and the same one I've used in past
    > tests) : I listen for about five minutes to each cable, enough time
    to
    > settle in and hear it at music. I don't try to compare cables
    > directly--I'm not comparing "what I hear now" to my memory--but
    instead
    > I'm just taking notes on my current musical experience without trying
    > to think too much about which cable it is. I ask that my assistant
    do
    > four trials, hooking up the cables in the order ABAB, ABBA, BABA, or
    > BAAB. This means that I'm getting a good sense of contrast through
    the
    > four trials--at least twice the cable switches to the other one. My
    > job after the four trials is to guess whether the middle two were the
    > same or different.

    This protocol doesn't make a lot of sense, actually. What you are doing
    is a standard same-different test, with two extra segments that are
    useless (since you already know they are different from the segments
    adjacent to them). I would suggest instead that you simply do a
    same-different test, AA or AB (you could alternate or randomize which
    cable is A), and allow yourself to listen more than once to each. This
    should improve the sensitivity of your test.

    One thing that's very important in a same-different test, by the way,
    is that you have an equal number of same and different trials. That's
    another reason you need to decide on the number of trials in advance.

    > I've done twelve trials overall, but in two separate periods with
    > vastly different equipment and setup. 4/4 in the first set, and 5/8
    in
    > the second set.
    >
    > "Quick switch" tests should be also called "contrast tests" because
    > they emphasize how one piece of equipment sounds "placed right next"
    > (the sound placed in time, that is) to another one.

    And yet you described your test above as giving you "a good sense of
    contrast." You are playing with words here. Contrast is exactly what we
    are trying to determine.

    > But this doesn't
    > represent how people actually listen to music, or how they enjoy it.

    True, but you are not trying to measure enjoyment. You are trying to
    measure contrast--as you yourself said!

    > After all, if a piece of audio equipment is beautiful-sounding, (or a
    > violin is, or a piano is, or a string quartet is), then it sounds
    > beautiful "on its own." You don't need to put it right next to
    > something else to be able to hear the beauty. Likewise, if a piece
    of
    > audio equipment has some sort of character--if it is either ugly or
    > beautiful--it should sound that way after you've settled in with it.
    > It shouldn't be necessary to compare the sound to something else to
    > determine this, and it fact I think that contrast tests obscure
    > differences because they prevent the listener from settling in and
    > hearing a piece of music, over its natural span of time, hearing it
    as
    > actual *music*.

    Such is your hypothesis. All available evidence suggests you are wrong,
    but if you think otherwise you should definitely test it.

    bob
  13. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > >
    > > I'm not sure myself about high-end cables. I tend to doubt they do
    > > anything. However, a few years ago I listened carefully and
    thought
    > > they were doing something. Was I imagining this? I did an
    informal
    > > blind test with the help of a friend, which involved several five
    > > minute listening sessions to cables. Every four sessions was
    either
    > > ABAB or ABBA, unknown to me. We did 16 sessions which gave me four
    > > chances to guess the order ABAB or ABBA. I guessed right all four
    > > times. Not only that, but I was quite confident that I knew what I
    > was
    > > hearing.
    > >
    > > But four trials is not enough to be statiscally sound. Last year I
    > had
    > > another friend help me in a similar test. I did eight trials.
    This
    > > time I got five right and three wrong,
    >
    > Ah, then your earlier assertion that you'd gotten 9 out of 12 correct
    > was statistically irrelevant. You cannot just add up the results of
    > different tests as you go along. You generally need to decide in
    > advance how many trials you are going to do (and how many correct you
    > are shooting for).
    >
    > Besides, you described this as "a similar test." If it was not exacly
    > the same test--same cables, system, room, protocol--there would be no
    > comparison at all between the two.

    Look, I never claimed I had achieved anything that was statiscally
    sound, nor was my earlier assertion submitted to a peer-reviewed
    refereed journal. I'm an interested as you in doing this test
    properly, and I certainly plan to do as you say, decide the number of
    trials in advance. I was simply suggesting that I thought it was worth
    continuing the exploration. However, I still don't have an assistant
    so it will have to wait until someone wants to help. (I can't find any
    audiophile clubs in LA... anyone know of one?)

    >
    > > which isn't very promising.
    > > Furthermore, in the last trial I was absolutely confident I knew
    > which
    > > cable I was hearing, and I was wrong. It showed me how strong
    > > expectation bias can be.
    >
    > Yeah, ain't it the truth.

    Yes, and let me say that I think expectation bias exists alongside real
    differences in cables--or at least that's my hypothesis. So the test
    has to be carefully designed. And in the end I might just think that
    cables aren't worth it, if they can only be heard under highly
    specialized conditions.

    >
    > > But I still wonder if I was just tired. After all, each trial
    > involved
    > > four listening sessions, so that was 32 sessions, or about five or
    > six
    > > hours of real time to get through all that.
    >
    > I would think fatigue would make you less confident about what you
    were
    > hearing, not more, but it's possible. Next time, don't try to do it
    all
    > in a single day.

    To me, fatigue makes it harder to be in touch with my reaction to
    music. Easier to imagine something.

    >
    > > So I want to do some more tests.
    >
    > Some questions:
    > --what cables (and length)?
    > --what system?
    > --did you level-match, and how?
    > --did you also try doing a quick-switching test for comparison?
    >
    > bob

    Cables: 2M Radio Shack basic gold plated vs. the cheapest Transparent
    cable (the one with no network boxes), also two meters.

    Marantz CD player into Calfornia Audio Labs tube DAC into SP-6
    preamplifier into B&K EX442 power amp into headphones. (Yes I'm using
    a 200 wpc power amplifier to drive 600 ohm headphones - it sounded okay
    to me). The cable between preamplifier and power amplifier was
    swapped.

    However, when I do this again I think I'm going to skip the
    preamplifier and run the DAC straight into Antique Sound Lab tube
    headphone amplifer.

    I didn't level match but I was assuming that 2M of bare interconnect
    cable doesn't have much effect, espcially into a 100 KOhm load (the
    next test). That could be a flawed assumption.

    Haven't tried a quick-switching test with this setup, although if I can
    find any audiophiles in LA who can loan me an ABX box I'll try it.

    Best,
    Mike
  14. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    >
    > > As a kind of similar point, I've also thought that the kind of
    quick
    > > switch test that switches *while the music is in progress* is
    > nonsense.
    >
    > You are entitled to your opinion. But there is good scientific
    evidence
    > that you are wrong.
    >
    > > The idea is that you are supposed to tell if you hear a change
    right
    > > at the moment you switch--well of course you hear a change, because
    > the
    > > music itself is changing!
    >
    > A case for using minimalist drone in DBTs.

    Well what do you think the truth is? Do you think that it doesn't
    matter that you use a changing signal during a quick switch test? Why
    not?

    >
    > > To clarify my intended protocol (and the same one I've used in past
    > > tests) : I listen for about five minutes to each cable, enough time
    > to
    > > settle in and hear it at music. I don't try to compare cables
    > > directly--I'm not comparing "what I hear now" to my memory--but
    > instead
    > > I'm just taking notes on my current musical experience without
    trying
    > > to think too much about which cable it is. I ask that my assistant
    > do
    > > four trials, hooking up the cables in the order ABAB, ABBA, BABA,
    or
    > > BAAB. This means that I'm getting a good sense of contrast through
    > the
    > > four trials--at least twice the cable switches to the other one.
    My
    > > job after the four trials is to guess whether the middle two were
    the
    > > same or different.
    >
    > This protocol doesn't make a lot of sense, actually. What you are
    doing
    > is a standard same-different test, with two extra segments that are
    > useless (since you already know they are different from the segments
    > adjacent to them). I would suggest instead that you simply do a
    > same-different test, AA or AB (you could alternate or randomize which
    > cable is A), and allow yourself to listen more than once to each.
    This
    > should improve the sensitivity of your test.
    >
    > One thing that's very important in a same-different test, by the way,
    > is that you have an equal number of same and different trials. That's
    > another reason you need to decide on the number of trials in advance.

    Okay, you might be right.

    >
    > > I've done twelve trials overall, but in two separate periods with
    > > vastly different equipment and setup. 4/4 in the first set, and
    5/8
    > in
    > > the second set.
    > >
    > > "Quick switch" tests should be also called "contrast tests" because
    > > they emphasize how one piece of equipment sounds "placed right
    next"
    > > (the sound placed in time, that is) to another one.
    >
    > And yet you described your test above as giving you "a good sense of
    > contrast." You are playing with words here. Contrast is exactly what
    we
    > are trying to determine.

    Not playing with words, Bob. I just didn't word this carefully.
    Actually these concepts I'm trying to describe are pretty deep. That's
    one thing I've noticed about "objectivists" like you--the world is much
    more black-and-white to you. If you find an apparent contradiction in
    my words, you assume that's a flaw to the core, instead of thinking
    carefully about what I might mean.

    One possible way to describe this is "conscious contrast" versus
    "unconscious contrast." A quick-switch test uses conscious
    contrast--the listener is actually trying to hear a difference, or even
    if not, they can't escape noticing the moment of switch. I was
    attempting to introduce unconscious contrast. That is, I was listening
    by noting what I heard, taking each experience on its own--so no
    emphasis on contrast in the listening. But I still wanted to have a
    test that varied the conditions frequently, to "clear the palete" as it
    were. There was no need for me to focus on changes, but let them work
    in the background to change what came to my attention.

    Anyway, the world isn't black-and-white. Contrast isn't evil. It can
    be simultaneously true that a quick-switch test is doomed by its
    emphasis on contrast, while contrast is still important.

    >
    > > But this doesn't
    > > represent how people actually listen to music, or how they enjoy
    it.
    >
    > True, but you are not trying to measure enjoyment. You are trying to
    > measure contrast--as you yourself said!

    I never said I was trying to "measure" contrast. I was always trying
    to note my reactions as objectively as possible, including the reaction
    of enjoying the music. Typically I would note *how* or *what* was
    enjoyable. My hypothesis is that cables may differ is what aspects of
    the music they bring to conscious enjoyment.

    I'm trying to devise a test that is closer to natural listening. But
    it's a terribly difficult job. I would absolute agree with you that we
    can't reproduce a natural listening environment and simultaneously test
    people. That's the whole problem! But quick-switch tests are about
    the furthest thing from musical enjoyment I can imagine.

    >
    > > After all, if a piece of audio equipment is beautiful-sounding, (or
    a
    > > violin is, or a piano is, or a string quartet is), then it sounds
    > > beautiful "on its own." You don't need to put it right next to
    > > something else to be able to hear the beauty. Likewise, if a piece
    > of
    > > audio equipment has some sort of character--if it is either ugly or
    > > beautiful--it should sound that way after you've settled in with
    it.
    > > It shouldn't be necessary to compare the sound to something else to
    > > determine this, and it fact I think that contrast tests obscure
    > > differences because they prevent the listener from settling in and
    > > hearing a piece of music, over its natural span of time, hearing it
    > as
    > > actual *music*.
    >
    > Such is your hypothesis. All available evidence suggests you are
    wrong,

    Wow, pretty damning statement there.

    > but if you think otherwise you should definitely test it.

    Yup, we have to have objective evidence one way or another, I'll agree
    with that.

    -Mike

    >
    > bob

    Mike
  15. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    I was trying to have a balanced variety of conditions. But as Bob
    says, it may be better to do a same/different test.

    -Mike
  16. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Hi Norman,

    You are speaking right to the dilemma. We want to test as a way of
    learning what's true. What equipment brings maximum enjoyment? We
    want objective evidence of that. But testing is usually an unnatural
    environment. I'm trying to find a way to reconcile this. The
    "objectivists" on rahe as far as I can see don't attempt to reconcile
    it at all.

    -Mike
  17. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:
    > nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > > Michael Mossey wrote:

    > > > "Quick switch" tests should be also called "contrast tests"
    because
    > > > they emphasize how one piece of equipment sounds "placed right
    > next"
    > > > (the sound placed in time, that is) to another one.
    > >
    > > And yet you described your test above as giving you "a good sense
    of
    > > contrast." You are playing with words here. Contrast is exactly
    what
    > we
    > > are trying to determine.
    >
    > Not playing with words, Bob. I just didn't word this carefully.
    > Actually these concepts I'm trying to describe are pretty deep.
    That's
    > one thing I've noticed about "objectivists" like you--the world is
    much
    > more black-and-white to you.

    Only parts of it, and we are careful to keep the discrete and the
    continuous separate. I am suggesting that you are failing to do this,
    and that your fuzzy language was symptomatic of that.

    > If you find an apparent contradiction in
    > my words, you assume that's a flaw to the core, instead of thinking
    > carefully about what I might mean.

    I'm pretty sure I know what you mean. It's a concept that's been batted
    around here before. I just think you're wrong.
    >
    > One possible way to describe this is "conscious contrast" versus
    > "unconscious contrast." A quick-switch test uses conscious
    > contrast--the listener is actually trying to hear a difference, or
    even
    > if not, they can't escape noticing the moment of switch. I was
    > attempting to introduce unconscious contrast. That is, I was
    listening
    > by noting what I heard, taking each experience on its own--so no
    > emphasis on contrast in the listening. But I still wanted to have a
    > test that varied the conditions frequently, to "clear the palete" as
    it
    > were. There was no need for me to focus on changes, but let them
    work
    > in the background to change what came to my attention.

    Surely you would agree that there is something counterintuitive about
    the claim that we are more likely to hear differences between things if
    we do not try to hear differences between them. And before you object
    tht this isn't what you said, I will agree that it isn't what you said.
    But I would argue that what you actually said reduces to this.

    Nonetheless, I have already agreed that while I think your "unconscious
    contrast" hypothesis is implausible, it's at least thoughtfully
    rendered, and I hope you are successful in testing it.
    >
    > Anyway, the world isn't black-and-white. Contrast isn't evil. It
    can
    > be simultaneously true that a quick-switch test is doomed by its
    > emphasis on contrast, while contrast is still important.
    >
    > >
    > > > But this doesn't
    > > > represent how people actually listen to music, or how they enjoy
    > it.
    > >
    > > True, but you are not trying to measure enjoyment. You are trying
    to
    > > measure contrast--as you yourself said!
    >
    > I never said I was trying to "measure" contrast.

    You used the word "contrast," and measuring it is exactly what you are
    doing. Specifically, you are measuring the contrast between these two
    interconnects against the threshold below which humans cannot detect
    sonic contrasts.

    > I was always trying
    > to note my reactions as objectively as possible, including the
    reaction
    > of enjoying the music. Typically I would note *how* or *what* was
    > enjoyable. My hypothesis is that cables may differ is what aspects
    of
    > the music they bring to conscious enjoyment.
    >
    > I'm trying to devise a test that is closer to natural listening. But
    > it's a terribly difficult job. I would absolute agree with you that
    we
    > can't reproduce a natural listening environment and simultaneously
    test
    > people. That's the whole problem! But quick-switch tests are about
    > the furthest thing from musical enjoyment I can imagine.

    Well, of course, but that's not what they're designed for. And I'm not
    sure that a protocol designed to enhance musical enjoyment would be the
    most effective means of determining sonic differences. That's where we
    differ.

    bob
  18. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:
    > Hi Norman,
    >
    > You are speaking right to the dilemma. We want to test as a way of
    > learning what's true. What equipment brings maximum enjoyment? We
    > want objective evidence of that. But testing is usually an unnatural
    > environment. I'm trying to find a way to reconcile this. The
    > "objectivists" on rahe as far as I can see don't attempt to reconcile
    > it at all.

    That's because we see this as two separate questions, with detection of
    differences coming first. After all, if your ears can't deliver
    different signals to your brain, there's no way for you to have
    different levels of musical enjoyment, right?

    It's your hyothesis that our ears really are delivering different
    signals to our brain, but that if we try to focus consciously on those
    differences, we won't detect them. Whereas if we focus instead on our
    enjoyment of the music, we will become conscious of a difference.

    I said in another post that the evidence is stacked up against you. It
    is. The evidence suggests that ABX tests and similar DBTs are capable
    of identifying sonic differences very close to the physical limits of
    what the ear can detect. The evidence further suggests that the kinds
    of differences that interconnects, say, can be responsible for are ones
    for which we have a very short memory, so your protocol is likely to be
    less sensitive than a quick-switch test.

    But that's the existing evidence. You are welcome to throw new evidence
    on the table, and you have my respect for your willingness to do so.

    bob
  19. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    >
    > Surely you would agree that there is something counterintuitive about
    > the claim that we are more likely to hear differences between things
    if
    > we do not try to hear differences between them. And before you object
    > tht this isn't what you said, I will agree that it isn't what you
    said.
    > But I would argue that what you actually said reduces to this.
    >

    It is counterintuitive, and paradoxical. But human perception and
    performance is full of such paradoxes. I'm an amateur musician and
    I've talked to a lot of musicians, and it is pretty common for a
    musician to say that "trying too hard" interferes with their
    performance. I've also heard martial artists say that. It is VERY
    common for a musician to say that focusing too much on the details
    destroys a balanced sense of the whole (notice the relevance to
    quick-switch testing that focuses on a very small moment of
    experience).

    It is easy enough to observe that paying attention to some part of
    your experience changes it, so that it is hard to observe your own
    natural responses. For example, try to be aware of your eyeblinks
    and count the number in one minute, but *without* any sense that
    you are changing your natural pattern. Or note that bodyworkers can
    ask a person to pay attention to their breathing, and can
    see immediately that the depth or rate of their breathing changes
    with this attention.

    My own ideas for testing protocols aren't free from these effects.
    If there is any truth to the idea that trying too hard, or conscious
    focus on contrast, can interfere with listening, quick-switch
    testing is going to be susceptible to these effects even more.

    If we can get a grant of about a million dollars, we could pipe music
    into subjects while they lie in a PET scanner. Then they wouldn't
    have to consciously try to do anything at all. Of course PET
    scanners create an enormous background noise.

    > Nonetheless, I have already agreed that while I think your
    "unconscious
    > contrast" hypothesis is implausible, it's at least thoughtfully
    > rendered, and I hope you are successful in testing it.

    Well, thank you.

    > >
    > > Anyway, the world isn't black-and-white. Contrast isn't evil. It
    > can
    > > be simultaneously true that a quick-switch test is doomed by its
    > > emphasis on contrast, while contrast is still important.
    > >
    > > >
    > > > > But this doesn't
    > > > > represent how people actually listen to music, or how they
    enjoy
    > > it.
    > > >
    > > > True, but you are not trying to measure enjoyment. You are trying
    > to
    > > > measure contrast--as you yourself said!
    > >
    > > I never said I was trying to "measure" contrast.
    >
    > You used the word "contrast," and measuring it is exactly what you
    are
    > doing. Specifically, you are measuring the contrast between these two
    > interconnects against the threshold below which humans cannot detect
    > sonic contrasts.

    Okay, that's true, I am looking for differences. However, I'm not
    necessarily looking for the conscious perception of contrast.

    Once an audio engineer described to me a blind listening test on
    cartridges he did with a panel. The members of the panel rated
    the sound quality after each listen. They also chatted with each other
    between sessions. The engineer said he noticed informally that
    sometimes
    the panel chatted about the music they had just heard, while sometimes
    they chatted about the sound of the cartridge. In his opinion, the
    better cartridges inspired people to talk about the music.

    Now, never mind that this test was not scientific or controlled. I'm
    only using it to suggest a possibility--that outside observers could
    see that a person reacts differently to different things, while at the
    same time the person doesn't have to be aware of the difference. Or
    the person could be aware of the difference but attribute it to the
    wrong thing.

    I've had enough life experience to realize that other people are
    observing my emotions and reactions to things, sometimes seeing stuff
    that I'm not aware of.

    Maybe we could do some kind of audio test where somebody observes
    the subject, rather than having the subject give their own
    observations.
    But that's tricky. For now, what I'm trying to explain is this:

    I my own tests I tried to function as an observer of
    my own musical enjoyment, rather than an observer of sound.
    This is actually a difficult or maybe
    impossible thing to do. But I tried. Sometimes I found myself
    listening to a cable and just really enjoying it or noticing all
    sorts of pleasant musical details. Sometimes I found myself not
    enjoying the music. I wrote these observations down. And more than
    half the time, my observations fit a pattern: more enjoyment with
    the Transparent cable compared to the Radio Shack. I couldn't
    consciously point to the differences in sound while I was listening.
    So that's why my test was different than quick switch.

    >
    > > I was always trying
    > > to note my reactions as objectively as possible, including the
    > reaction
    > > of enjoying the music. Typically I would note *how* or *what* was
    > > enjoyable. My hypothesis is that cables may differ is what aspects
    > of
    > > the music they bring to conscious enjoyment.
    > >
    > > I'm trying to devise a test that is closer to natural listening.
    But
    > > it's a terribly difficult job. I would absolute agree with you
    that
    > we
    > > can't reproduce a natural listening environment and simultaneously
    > test
    > > people. That's the whole problem! But quick-switch tests are
    about
    > > the furthest thing from musical enjoyment I can imagine.
    >
    > Well, of course, but that's not what they're designed for. And I'm
    not
    > sure that a protocol designed to enhance musical enjoyment would be
    the
    > most effective means of determining sonic differences. That's where
    we
    > differ.
    >
    > bob

    It could be (this is probably what you believe) that all the details in
    a musical signal that the ear can actually hear are available in the
    act of short-term comparison of sound. If this were true, then I would
    agree that quick-switch testing would be the gold standard of
    comparison.

    But how do we know this is true? Can we determine this is true from
    quick-switch testing? If all the tests we do involve the same mode
    of listening, can we infer things about other modes of listening?

    I'm seriously posing these questions in case you or anyone else wants
    to
    take a shot at them.

    Best,
    Mike
  20. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:d25hfd0sb0@news4.newsguy.com...
    > Hi Norman,
    >
    > You are speaking right to the dilemma. We want to test as a way of
    > learning what's true. What equipment brings maximum enjoyment? We
    > want objective evidence of that. But testing is usually an unnatural
    > environment. I'm trying to find a way to reconcile this. The
    > "objectivists" on rahe as far as I can see don't attempt to reconcile
    > it at all.

    Since testing is an unnatural act, the results of any test are suspect as
    far as the body of subjectivist audiophiles is concerned. Ideally then, one
    has to come up with a test protocol wherein the subject does not know he's
    being tested. Then objection is that the subject is not 'on his mettle',
    and the results can't really be trusted. As you can easily see, there is a
    valid objection to both approaches, such that it's impossible to draw any
    conclusions.

    I'm giving the matter some thought, and I hope to eventually think of a way
    to obtain useful objective results that will be acceptable to both sides of
    the argument. So far, it seems that every proposal has some sort of
    drawback that makes it invalid to either the subjectivists or the
    objectivists--usually both!

    Cheers,

    Norm
  21. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:

    > It could be (this is probably what you believe) that all the details
    in
    > a musical signal that the ear can actually hear are available in the
    > act of short-term comparison of sound. If this were true, then I
    would
    > agree that quick-switch testing would be the gold standard of
    > comparison.
    >
    > But how do we know this is true? Can we determine this is true from
    > quick-switch testing? If all the tests we do involve the same mode
    > of listening, can we infer things about other modes of listening?

    One thing we do know is that when we modify a quick-switching test to
    interpose a gap between listening samples, even just a few seconds, the
    sensitivity of the test goes way down. I suppose it's possible that the
    only thing that declines here is our ability to consciously identify
    sonic differences, but our mental reaction to the difference would
    remain robust, as long as we gave ourselves time to have a mental
    reaction. That seems to be your hypothesis.

    One other thing to think about is the issue of music as a source
    material here. It is certainly the case that our mental reaction to
    music differs from our mental reaction to other sounds. But it is
    highly unlikely to be the case that our ears work differently when
    hearing music. Your hypothesis has to be about mental reactions to
    music (whatever that is!), not the physical act of picking up sounds
    and transmitting them to the brain. And another thing we know from
    experiments that have been done already is that people are better at
    identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise than
    music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to music
    actually obscures differences (though there are other and probably
    better explanations for this).

    A final thought on this: How can your mental reaction to music NOT
    differ the second time you hear it? And isn't the fact of familiarity
    likely to trump the kinds of sonic differences an interconnect might be
    responsible for?

    bob
  22. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    >
    > > It could be (this is probably what you believe) that all the
    details
    > in
    > > a musical signal that the ear can actually hear are available in
    the
    > > act of short-term comparison of sound. If this were true, then I
    > would
    > > agree that quick-switch testing would be the gold standard of
    > > comparison.
    > >
    > > But how do we know this is true? Can we determine this is true
    from
    > > quick-switch testing? If all the tests we do involve the same mode
    > > of listening, can we infer things about other modes of listening?
    >
    > One thing we do know is that when we modify a quick-switching test to
    > interpose a gap between listening samples, even just a few seconds,
    the
    > sensitivity of the test goes way down. I suppose it's possible that
    the
    > only thing that declines here is our ability to consciously identify
    > sonic differences, but our mental reaction to the difference would
    > remain robust, as long as we gave ourselves time to have a mental
    > reaction. That seems to be your hypothesis.

    It seems perfectly consistent to me that putting a gap in a
    quick-switching test decreases sensitivity, if the subject is still
    trying to hear differences in sound (as opposed to registering musical
    impressions).


    >
    > One other thing to think about is the issue of music as a source
    > material here. It is certainly the case that our mental reaction to
    > music differs from our mental reaction to other sounds. But it is
    > highly unlikely to be the case that our ears work differently when
    > hearing music. Your hypothesis has to be about mental reactions to
    > music (whatever that is!), not the physical act of picking up sounds
    > and transmitting them to the brain.

    Well, you and the other scientists/engineers in this forum have always
    maintained that the evidence says our ears don't work differently in
    hearing music. I realize that may be true. But I ask again: how would
    you know if that were true? Wouldn't that require listening tests that
    could control how a subject listens and employ a variety of listening
    modes, ranging from "enjoying music" to "hearing sound"? Have these
    tests been done? And how would the test subject's listening mode be
    controlled (what seems to me an extraordinarily difficult problem--has
    someone solved it?)?


    > And another thing we know from
    > experiments that have been done already is that people are better at
    > identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise than
    > music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to music
    > actually obscures differences (though there are other and probably
    > better explanations for this).

    What kinds of differences? I'm sure frequency response differences are
    audible in pink noise and steady-state tones; how about something like
    jitter? Suppose we had a malfunctioning digital recorder with so much
    jitter that there's no argument it can be heard; wouldn't it be heard
    first on signals with transients?

    >
    > A final thought on this: How can your mental reaction to music NOT
    > differ the second time you hear it? And isn't the fact of familiarity
    > likely to trump the kinds of sonic differences an interconnect might
    be
    > responsible for?
    >
    > bob

    I agree, I was not able to perfectly control my mental reactions to
    music. As you mention, hearing something twice affects this. Instead
    of hearing it as "two" clips of music, I hear it as one piece of music
    that happens to repeat some details; and the second repetition has
    different musical feeling than the first. Just by observing my own
    experience, I've noted that listening to a piece of music all the way
    through, then clearing the pallete with other pieces of music, then
    taking a break, and only then listening again, seems to replicate my
    musical reaction better. Perhaps I will be successful in reducing the
    variation in reactions to music below the threshold of difference
    between cables. Note that audiophiles say cables are *vastly*
    different; I think that's probably an exaggeration, but if there is any
    truth to the idea that a cable really matters to the musical
    perception, it should show up in my listening.

    Best,
    Mike
  23. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    <nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:d2aea30u6s@news2.newsguy.com...
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    >
    >> It could be (this is probably what you believe) that all the details
    > in
    >> a musical signal that the ear can actually hear are available in the
    >> act of short-term comparison of sound. If this were true, then I
    > would
    >> agree that quick-switch testing would be the gold standard of
    >> comparison.
    >>
    >> But how do we know this is true? Can we determine this is true from
    >> quick-switch testing? If all the tests we do involve the same mode
    >> of listening, can we infer things about other modes of listening?
    >
    > One thing we do know is that when we modify a quick-switching test to
    > interpose a gap between listening samples, even just a few seconds, the
    > sensitivity of the test goes way down. I suppose it's possible that the
    > only thing that declines here is our ability to consciously identify
    > sonic differences, but our mental reaction to the difference would
    > remain robust, as long as we gave ourselves time to have a mental
    > reaction. That seems to be your hypothesis.
    >
    > One other thing to think about is the issue of music as a source
    > material here. It is certainly the case that our mental reaction to
    > music differs from our mental reaction to other sounds. But it is
    > highly unlikely to be the case that our ears work differently when
    > hearing music. Your hypothesis has to be about mental reactions to
    > music (whatever that is!), not the physical act of picking up sounds
    > and transmitting them to the brain. And another thing we know from
    > experiments that have been done already is that people are better at
    > identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise than
    > music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to music
    > actually obscures differences (though there are other and probably
    > better explanations for this).
    >
    > A final thought on this: How can your mental reaction to music NOT
    > differ the second time you hear it? And isn't the fact of familiarity
    > likely to trump the kinds of sonic differences an interconnect might be
    > responsible for?

    This is a reasonable argument. If the source is white or pink noise, it
    might be easier to detect a very slight difference. If you can tell the
    difference between interconnects using noise as a source, but not music,
    then I would say you can tell the difference---period.

    Norm Strong
  24. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:
    > nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > >
    > > > It could be (this is probably what you believe) that all the
    > details
    > > in
    > > > a musical signal that the ear can actually hear are available in
    > the
    > > > act of short-term comparison of sound. If this were true, then I
    > > would
    > > > agree that quick-switch testing would be the gold standard of
    > > > comparison.
    > > >
    > > > But how do we know this is true? Can we determine this is true
    > from
    > > > quick-switch testing? If all the tests we do involve the same
    mode
    > > > of listening, can we infer things about other modes of listening?
    > >
    > > One thing we do know is that when we modify a quick-switching test
    to
    > > interpose a gap between listening samples, even just a few seconds,
    > the
    > > sensitivity of the test goes way down. I suppose it's possible that
    > the
    > > only thing that declines here is our ability to consciously
    identify
    > > sonic differences, but our mental reaction to the difference would
    > > remain robust, as long as we gave ourselves time to have a mental
    > > reaction. That seems to be your hypothesis.
    >
    > It seems perfectly consistent to me that putting a gap in a
    > quick-switching test decreases sensitivity, if the subject is still
    > trying to hear differences in sound (as opposed to registering
    musical
    > impressions).

    "Putting a gap in a quick-switching test" is an oxymoron. The point is
    that any gap, in any listening comparison, will reduce sensitivity. And
    there is no reason other than pure faith to believe that your listening
    comparison will be any different.

    > > One other thing to think about is the issue of music as a source
    > > material here. It is certainly the case that our mental reaction to
    > > music differs from our mental reaction to other sounds. But it is
    > > highly unlikely to be the case that our ears work differently when
    > > hearing music. Your hypothesis has to be about mental reactions to
    > > music (whatever that is!), not the physical act of picking up
    sounds
    > > and transmitting them to the brain.
    >
    > Well, you and the other scientists/engineers in this forum

    For the record, I am neither.

    > have always
    > maintained that the evidence says our ears don't work differently in
    > hearing music. I realize that may be true. But I ask again: how
    would
    > you know if that were true?

    You mean, besides sheer common sense and the absolute lack of
    countervailing evidence?

    > Wouldn't that require listening tests that
    > could control how a subject listens and employ a variety of listening
    > modes, ranging from "enjoying music" to "hearing sound"?

    Your ear does not "enjoy music." It only reacts to rapid changes in air
    pressure. That's how we know that it doesn't operate differently.

    > Have these
    > tests been done? And how would the test subject's listening mode be
    > controlled (what seems to me an extraordinarily difficult
    problem--has
    > someone solved it?)?

    Have you ever actually cracked a textbook on psychoacoustics? You
    certainly seem to be interested enough in the subject. You would be
    amazed at what has actually been tested--and what has been eliminated
    as a realistic possibility as a result of those tests.

    > > And another thing we know from
    > > experiments that have been done already is that people are better
    at
    > > identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise than
    > > music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to music
    > > actually obscures differences (though there are other and probably
    > > better explanations for this).
    >
    > What kinds of differences? I'm sure frequency response differences
    are
    > audible in pink noise and steady-state tones; how about something
    like
    > jitter? Suppose we had a malfunctioning digital recorder with so
    much
    > jitter that there's no argument it can be heard; wouldn't it be heard
    > first on signals with transients?

    We're talking about analog interconnects, aren't we? Can you offer any
    physical explanation for how they might possibly affect anything other
    than frequency response?
    >
    > >
    > > A final thought on this: How can your mental reaction to music NOT
    > > differ the second time you hear it? And isn't the fact of
    familiarity
    > > likely to trump the kinds of sonic differences an interconnect
    might
    > be
    > > responsible for?
    > >
    > > bob
    >
    > I agree, I was not able to perfectly control my mental reactions to
    > music. As you mention, hearing something twice affects this.
    Instead
    > of hearing it as "two" clips of music, I hear it as one piece of
    music
    > that happens to repeat some details; and the second repetition has
    > different musical feeling than the first. Just by observing my own
    > experience, I've noted that listening to a piece of music all the way
    > through, then clearing the pallete with other pieces of music, then
    > taking a break, and only then listening again, seems to replicate my
    > musical reaction better. Perhaps I will be successful in reducing
    the
    > variation in reactions to music below the threshold of difference
    > between cables. Note that audiophiles say cables are *vastly*
    > different; I think that's probably an exaggeration, but if there is
    any
    > truth to the idea that a cable really matters to the musical
    > perception, it should show up in my listening.

    I'm fairly certain the opposite is true: That we can find cables that
    would be differentiable in a standard quick-switching DBT, but not by
    your method. But I'm not willing to test that assertion, because I
    seriously doubt your method could differentiate anything that wasn't
    physically broken.

    bob
  25. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:d205od0cd6@news3.newsguy.com...
    > John P. Green wrote:
    > > "---MIKE---" <twinmountain@webtv.net> wrote in message
    > > news:d1t2nr01drr@news1.newsguy.com...
    > > > I'm not in LA so I can't participate in your test. I fail to see
    > how a
    > > > long term test can show anything. I notice differences in the
    > sound of
    > > > my system from day to day without making any changes. Variables
    > such as
    > > > temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure, whether I blew my nose
    > too
    > > > hard, my level of fatigue, mood, etc. make greater differences than
    > any
    > > > change of cables would (unless one of the cables was defective).
    > > >
    > > >
    > > > ---MIKE---
    > >
    > > The atmospheric pressure, humidity, state of your sinuses, etc.,
    > should all
    > > be uncorrelated
    > > with which of the two cables being compared is in use. So those
    > random
    > > variables should
    > > not invalidate a long enough series of tests with a significant
    > deviation
    > > from chance.
    > >
    > > I'm not a "believer" in high end cable myself but I'm all in favor of
    > tests
    > > like this being done.
    > > After all, I've been wrong about things before.
    >
    > I'm not sure myself about high-end cables. I tend to doubt they do
    > anything. However, a few years ago I listened carefully and thought
    > they were doing something. Was I imagining this? I did an informal
    > blind test with the help of a friend, which involved several five
    > minute listening sessions to cables. Every four sessions was either
    > ABAB or ABBA, unknown to me. We did 16 sessions which gave me four
    > chances to guess the order ABAB or ABBA. I guessed right all four
    > times. Not only that, but I was quite confident that I knew what I was
    > hearing.
    >
    > But four trials is not enough to be statiscally sound. Last year I had
    > another friend help me in a similar test. I did eight trials. This
    > time I got five right and three wrong, which isn't very promising.
    > Furthermore, in the last trial I was absolutely confident I knew which
    > cable I was hearing, and I was wrong. It showed me how strong
    > expectation bias can be.
    >
    > But I still wonder if I was just tired. After all, each trial involved
    > four listening sessions, so that was 32 sessions, or about five or six
    > hours of real time to get through all that.
    >
    > So I want to do some more tests.

    If, after all this time, you are not really sure, is it really worth the
    effort?
    I would think that straining that hard to detect some minor difference
    between cables (even if it exists) would detract from simply enjoying
    the music.

    - Gary Rosen
  26. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:d2cshv0v4i@news1.newsguy.com...
    > nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > >
    > > > It could be (this is probably what you believe) that all the
    > details
    > > in
    > > > a musical signal that the ear can actually hear are available in
    > the
    > > > act of short-term comparison of sound. If this were true, then I
    > > would
    > > > agree that quick-switch testing would be the gold standard of
    > > > comparison.
    > > >
    > > > But how do we know this is true? Can we determine this is true
    > from
    > > > quick-switch testing? If all the tests we do involve the same mode
    > > > of listening, can we infer things about other modes of listening?
    > >
    > > One thing we do know is that when we modify a quick-switching test to
    > > interpose a gap between listening samples, even just a few seconds,
    > the
    > > sensitivity of the test goes way down. I suppose it's possible that
    > the
    > > only thing that declines here is our ability to consciously identify
    > > sonic differences, but our mental reaction to the difference would
    > > remain robust, as long as we gave ourselves time to have a mental
    > > reaction. That seems to be your hypothesis.
    >
    > It seems perfectly consistent to me that putting a gap in a
    > quick-switching test decreases sensitivity, if the subject is still
    > trying to hear differences in sound (as opposed to registering musical
    > impressions).
    >

    Absolutely right, and IMO there is a difference and it gets to the crux of
    the matter.

    >
    > >
    > > One other thing to think about is the issue of music as a source
    > > material here. It is certainly the case that our mental reaction to
    > > music differs from our mental reaction to other sounds. But it is
    > > highly unlikely to be the case that our ears work differently when
    > > hearing music. Your hypothesis has to be about mental reactions to
    > > music (whatever that is!), not the physical act of picking up sounds
    > > and transmitting them to the brain.
    >
    > Well, you and the other scientists/engineers in this forum have always
    > maintained that the evidence says our ears don't work differently in
    > hearing music. I realize that may be true. But I ask again: how would
    > you know if that were true? Wouldn't that require listening tests that
    > could control how a subject listens and employ a variety of listening
    > modes, ranging from "enjoying music" to "hearing sound"? Have these
    > tests been done? And how would the test subject's listening mode be
    > controlled (what seems to me an extraordinarily difficult problem--has
    > someone solved it?)?
    >

    I've thoroughly enjoyed your articulate and persuasive presentation for the
    case for thoughtful evaluation of quick-switch testing. You have presented
    it more powerfully than I was able to in a long, long thread here about a
    year ago. And in particular, I argued the case for a control test which --
    no -- had not been done to get at the possibility you reference. It is why
    I and ohters have avoided concluding that because a quick switch blind test
    shows no difference, there is no musical difference. And why we continue
    to do other forms of critical listening in making our own listening
    discisions.

    BTW, I proposed a specific test protocol to get at the control issue, and
    tried to solicit interest within the group in joining together to put this
    issue to rest. It was met with little enthusiasm by the objectivists here.


    >
    > > And another thing we know from
    > > experiments that have been done already is that people are better at
    > > identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise than
    > > music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to music
    > > actually obscures differences (though there are other and probably
    > > better explanations for this).
    >
    > What kinds of differences? I'm sure frequency response differences are
    > audible in pink noise and steady-state tones; how about something like
    > jitter? Suppose we had a malfunctioning digital recorder with so much
    > jitter that there's no argument it can be heard; wouldn't it be heard
    > first on signals with transients?
    >

    I cut a test high-speed disk copy of some Brubeck today, while configuring a
    computer. Just for fun...never tried to record at 52X before. Then for
    even more fun, thew it on the main system. My ears bled. Then realized I
    had copied MP3 files (albeit 196k) and in combination with the high speed
    cutting it was disasterous on the piano transients and sharp breathing on
    the sax (don't know which was the culprit but I intend to reburn same media
    at 4x to find out).

    > >
    > > A final thought on this: How can your mental reaction to music NOT
    > > differ the second time you hear it? And isn't the fact of familiarity
    > > likely to trump the kinds of sonic differences an interconnect might
    > be
    > > responsible for?
    > >
    > > bob
    >
    > I agree, I was not able to perfectly control my mental reactions to
    > music. As you mention, hearing something twice affects this. Instead
    > of hearing it as "two" clips of music, I hear it as one piece of music
    > that happens to repeat some details; and the second repetition has
    > different musical feeling than the first. Just by observing my own
    > experience, I've noted that listening to a piece of music all the way
    > through, then clearing the pallete with other pieces of music, then
    > taking a break, and only then listening again, seems to replicate my
    > musical reaction better. Perhaps I will be successful in reducing the
    > variation in reactions to music below the threshold of difference
    > between cables. Note that audiophiles say cables are *vastly*
    > different; I think that's probably an exaggeration, but if there is any
    > truth to the idea that a cable really matters to the musical
    > perception, it should show up in my listening.

    Right on. If you think the above repetition is polluting, just consider
    what constant switching does to our ability to hear nuances in musical
    reproduction (which is not sound, but is a subjective interpretation by the
    brain).
  27. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > > Well, you and the other scientists/engineers in this forum
    >
    > For the record, I am neither.
    >
    > > have always
    > > maintained that the evidence says our ears don't work differently
    in
    > > hearing music. I realize that may be true. But I ask again: how
    > would
    > > you know if that were true?
    >
    > You mean, besides sheer common sense and the absolute lack of
    > countervailing evidence?

    You are dodging the question. First of all, I'm sure you will be the
    first to agree that "common sense" can be wrong. Secondly, my own
    common sense tells me that quick-switching obscures differences. And
    thirdly, you are dodging my question which is to ask about the current
    evidence: was it gathered in a way that accounts for a different "mode
    of hearing," or a way that could rule this out? And given that this is
    such a difficult problem (akin to understanding consciousness) how was
    it solved?

    >
    > > Wouldn't that require listening tests that
    > > could control how a subject listens and employ a variety of
    listening
    > > modes, ranging from "enjoying music" to "hearing sound"?
    >
    > Your ear does not "enjoy music." It only reacts to rapid changes in
    air
    > pressure. That's how we know that it doesn't operate differently.

    You are taking a highly reductionist approach. There is much more I
    could learn about psychoacoustics and neurology, I admit that. And if
    I find some time between my other four hobbies I will check out a book
    on psychoacoustics from the library. (I have an account at the Caltech
    library.) But I'm suspicious of a reductionist approach, especially
    its ability to rule out possibilities.

    >
    > > Have these
    > > tests been done? And how would the test subject's listening mode
    be
    > > controlled (what seems to me an extraordinarily difficult
    > problem--has
    > > someone solved it?)?
    >
    > Have you ever actually cracked a textbook on psychoacoustics? You
    > certainly seem to be interested enough in the subject. You would be
    > amazed at what has actually been tested--and what has been eliminated
    > as a realistic possibility as a result of those tests.
    >
    > > > And another thing we know from
    > > > experiments that have been done already is that people are better
    > at
    > > > identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise than
    > > > music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to music
    > > > actually obscures differences (though there are other and
    probably
    > > > better explanations for this).
    > >
    > > What kinds of differences? I'm sure frequency response differences
    > are
    > > audible in pink noise and steady-state tones; how about something
    > like
    > > jitter? Suppose we had a malfunctioning digital recorder with so
    > much
    > > jitter that there's no argument it can be heard; wouldn't it be
    heard
    > > first on signals with transients?
    >
    > We're talking about analog interconnects, aren't we? Can you offer
    any
    > physical explanation for how they might possibly affect anything
    other
    > than frequency response?

    Well I'm addressing your argument that the results of pink noise
    suggest it is better than music as a test stimulus. I'm asking "for
    what effects?" I'm interested in all of audio, not just interconnects.
    In fact the effects of amplifiers and recorders are probably more
    interesting to me than interconnects.

    The argument that interconnects could only affect frequency response is
    reductionist. That's its weakness.

    -Mike
  28. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Harry F Lavo" <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote in message
    news:d2fl8g016ir@news1.newsguy.com...

    > Right on. If you think the above repetition is polluting, just consider
    > what constant switching does to our ability to hear nuances in musical
    > reproduction (which is not sound, but is a subjective interpretation by
    the
    > brain).

    If "nuances in musical reproduction" are heard by "... a subjective
    interpretation by the brain", then how do you know whether any differences
    perceived are due to differences in the source material, rather than
    changes in the subject's mood, health, internal distractions etc.?

    - Gary Rosen
  29. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Harry F Lavo wrote:
    > "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    > news:d2cshv0v4i@news1.newsguy.com...
    > > nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > > > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > > >
    > > > > It could be (this is probably what you believe) that all the
    > > details
    > > > in
    > > > > a musical signal that the ear can actually hear are available
    in
    > > the
    > > > > act of short-term comparison of sound. If this were true, then
    I
    > > > would
    > > > > agree that quick-switch testing would be the gold standard of
    > > > > comparison.
    > > > >
    > > > > But how do we know this is true? Can we determine this is true
    > > from
    > > > > quick-switch testing? If all the tests we do involve the same
    mode
    > > > > of listening, can we infer things about other modes of
    listening?
    > > >
    > > > One thing we do know is that when we modify a quick-switching
    test to
    > > > interpose a gap between listening samples, even just a few
    seconds,
    > > the
    > > > sensitivity of the test goes way down. I suppose it's possible
    that
    > > the
    > > > only thing that declines here is our ability to consciously
    identify
    > > > sonic differences, but our mental reaction to the difference
    would
    > > > remain robust, as long as we gave ourselves time to have a mental
    > > > reaction. That seems to be your hypothesis.
    > >
    > > It seems perfectly consistent to me that putting a gap in a
    > > quick-switching test decreases sensitivity, if the subject is still
    > > trying to hear differences in sound (as opposed to registering
    musical
    > > impressions).
    > >
    >
    > Absolutely right, and IMO there is a difference and it gets to the
    crux of
    > the matter.
    >
    > >
    > > >
    > > > One other thing to think about is the issue of music as a source
    > > > material here. It is certainly the case that our mental reaction
    to
    > > > music differs from our mental reaction to other sounds. But it
    is
    > > > highly unlikely to be the case that our ears work differently
    when
    > > > hearing music. Your hypothesis has to be about mental reactions
    to
    > > > music (whatever that is!), not the physical act of picking up
    sounds
    > > > and transmitting them to the brain.
    > >
    > > Well, you and the other scientists/engineers in this forum have
    always
    > > maintained that the evidence says our ears don't work differently
    in
    > > hearing music. I realize that may be true. But I ask again: how
    would
    > > you know if that were true? Wouldn't that require listening tests
    that
    > > could control how a subject listens and employ a variety of
    listening
    > > modes, ranging from "enjoying music" to "hearing sound"? Have
    these
    > > tests been done? And how would the test subject's listening mode
    be
    > > controlled (what seems to me an extraordinarily difficult
    problem--has
    > > someone solved it?)?
    > >
    >
    > I've thoroughly enjoyed your articulate and persuasive presentation
    for the
    > case for thoughtful evaluation of quick-switch testing. You have
    presented
    > it more powerfully than I was able to in a long, long thread here
    about a
    > year ago. And in particular, I argued the case for a control test
    which --
    > no -- had not been done to get at the possibility you reference. It
    is why
    > I and ohters have avoided concluding that because a quick switch
    blind test
    > shows no difference, there is no musical difference. And why we
    continue
    > to do other forms of critical listening in making our own listening
    > discisions.
    >
    > BTW, I proposed a specific test protocol to get at the control issue,
    and
    > tried to solicit interest within the group in joining together to put
    this
    > issue to rest. It was met with little enthusiasm by the objectivists
    here.
    >

    Thanks for your comments. Even though I haven't posted here much
    before, I've been thinking about these issues ever since I was a
    freshman at Caltech in 1987. Not much has changed in the arguments put
    forth by the objectivists; I remember the old "tubes are better" / "no,
    you just like the sound of the distortion" going on in exactly the same
    form back then, among students at Caltech. I've learned a lot about
    mindfulness, musicianship, the philosophy of science, and so on that
    bears on this question in the years since then. I think we need
    evidence and as this is not my career I don't really have the
    opportunity to investigate this; my main point here is that the
    "objectivist" position has problems, I think best summed up by saying
    that it is a reductionist view. This is not to say I know it's wrong;
    just to say that I can believe it would mislead.

    Best,
    Mike
  30. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Gary Rosen" <garymrosen@comcast.net> wrote in message
    news:d2i5iv01rl8@news2.newsguy.com...
    > "Harry F Lavo" <hlavo@comcast.net> wrote in message
    > news:d2fl8g016ir@news1.newsguy.com...
    >
    > > Right on. If you think the above repetition is polluting, just consider
    > > what constant switching does to our ability to hear nuances in musical
    > > reproduction (which is not sound, but is a subjective interpretation by
    > the
    > > brain).
    >
    > If "nuances in musical reproduction" are heard by "... a subjective
    > interpretation by the brain", then how do you know whether any differences
    > perceived are due to differences in the source material, rather than
    > changes in the subject's mood, health, internal distractions etc.?
    >
    > - Gary Rosen
    >

    That's why truly evaluative listening must be done over time, under varying
    (and hopefuully relaxed) conditions. And why several independent
    observations are better than just one persons, as that helps separate out
    reality.
  31. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:
    > nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > > > Well, you and the other scientists/engineers in this forum
    > >
    > > For the record, I am neither.
    > >
    > > > have always
    > > > maintained that the evidence says our ears don't work differently
    > in
    > > > hearing music. I realize that may be true. But I ask again: how
    > > would
    > > > you know if that were true?
    > >
    > > You mean, besides sheer common sense and the absolute lack of
    > > countervailing evidence?
    >
    > You are dodging the question. First of all, I'm sure you will be the
    > first to agree that "common sense" can be wrong.

    As you are about to demonstrate...

    > Secondly, my own
    > common sense tells me that quick-switching obscures differences.

    That is because your common sense is ill-informed. The common sense of
    someone who was at least passingly familiar with the psychoacoustics
    literature would be very different.

    > And
    > thirdly, you are dodging my question which is to ask about the
    current
    > evidence: was it gathered in a way that accounts for a different
    "mode
    > of hearing," or a way that could rule this out? And given that this
    is
    > such a difficult problem (akin to understanding consciousness) how
    was
    > it solved?

    It is your unproven assumption that there is even such a thing as
    "different modes of hearing." Nothing we know about hearing perception
    suggests that we *hear* music differently than we hear anything else.
    (And yes, there have been plenty of psychoacoustics experiments dealing
    with music. There are whole textbooks on the subject.)
    >
    > >
    > > > Wouldn't that require listening tests that
    > > > could control how a subject listens and employ a variety of
    > listening
    > > > modes, ranging from "enjoying music" to "hearing sound"?
    > >
    > > Your ear does not "enjoy music." It only reacts to rapid changes in
    > air
    > > pressure. That's how we know that it doesn't operate differently.
    >
    > You are taking a highly reductionist approach.

    Reductionism is only wrong if it leaves something out. What have I left
    out about the operation of the ear?

    > There is much more I
    > could learn about psychoacoustics and neurology, I admit that. And
    if
    > I find some time between my other four hobbies I will check out a
    book
    > on psychoacoustics from the library. (I have an account at the
    Caltech
    > library.) But I'm suspicious of a reductionist approach, especially
    > its ability to rule out possibilities.
    >
    > >
    > > > Have these
    > > > tests been done? And how would the test subject's listening mode
    > be
    > > > controlled (what seems to me an extraordinarily difficult
    > > problem--has
    > > > someone solved it?)?
    > >
    > > Have you ever actually cracked a textbook on psychoacoustics? You
    > > certainly seem to be interested enough in the subject. You would be
    > > amazed at what has actually been tested--and what has been
    eliminated
    > > as a realistic possibility as a result of those tests.
    > >
    > > > > And another thing we know from
    > > > > experiments that have been done already is that people are
    better
    > > at
    > > > > identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise
    than
    > > > > music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to
    music
    > > > > actually obscures differences (though there are other and
    > probably
    > > > > better explanations for this).
    > > >
    > > > What kinds of differences? I'm sure frequency response
    differences
    > > are
    > > > audible in pink noise and steady-state tones; how about something
    > > like
    > > > jitter? Suppose we had a malfunctioning digital recorder with so
    > > much
    > > > jitter that there's no argument it can be heard; wouldn't it be
    > heard
    > > > first on signals with transients?
    > >
    > > We're talking about analog interconnects, aren't we? Can you offer
    > any
    > > physical explanation for how they might possibly affect anything
    > other
    > > than frequency response?
    >
    > Well I'm addressing your argument that the results of pink noise
    > suggest it is better than music as a test stimulus. I'm asking "for
    > what effects?" I'm interested in all of audio, not just
    interconnects.
    > In fact the effects of amplifiers and recorders are probably more
    > interesting to me than interconnects.
    >
    > The argument that interconnects could only affect frequency response
    is
    > reductionist. That's its weakness.

    Only if it leaves something out. So I'll ask again, what am I leaving
    out? You went to CalTech. I'd be embarrassed to admit in this company
    how I fulfilled my science distribution requirement. So you tell me:
    What can interconnects do to a signal besides affect freuency response?

    bob
  32. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1 Apr 2005 00:44:16 GMT, "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    wrote:

    >nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:

    >> We're talking about analog interconnects, aren't we? Can you offer any
    >> physical explanation for how they might possibly affect anything other
    >> than frequency response?
    >
    >Well I'm addressing your argument that the results of pink noise
    >suggest it is better than music as a test stimulus. I'm asking "for
    >what effects?"

    Audible differences of any kind. Incidentally, your 'common sense' is
    also at fault regarding quick-switched comparisons. We know this
    because, when small differences are deliberately introduced between
    signals, the most sensitive technique for discovering those
    differences is quick switching DBT. This is not some handwaving
    theorising, this is practical results from real listening tests.
    That's why big professional organisations such as Harman International
    use quick-switch DBTs in their everyday R&D.

    > I'm interested in all of audio, not just interconnects.
    > In fact the effects of amplifiers and recorders are probably more
    >interesting to me than interconnects.
    >
    >The argument that interconnects could only affect frequency response is
    >reductionist. That's its weakness.

    You're dodging the question. He did not argue that interconnects can
    only affect FR, he asked if *you* could suggest any mechanism for any
    other effect. Can you?

    BTW, if you could use a few thousand bucks, there's an outstanding
    prize for *anyone* who can demonstrate an ability to hear differences
    among cables.
    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  33. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 1 Apr 2005 00:52:03 GMT, "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    wrote:

    > Even though I haven't posted here much
    >before, I've been thinking about these issues ever since I was a
    >freshman at Caltech in 1987. Not much has changed in the arguments put
    >forth by the objectivists; I remember the old "tubes are better" / "no,
    >you just like the sound of the distortion" going on in exactly the same
    >form back then, among students at Caltech.

    Why would anything have changed? 2+2 is likely to remain 4
    indefinitely, and tubes are unlikely to stop generating euphonic
    artifacts.

    It's the 'subjectivists' who seem to come up with ever more fanciful
    theories, but can never provide any real experimental evidence to back
    them up.

    > I've learned a lot about
    >mindfulness, musicianship, the philosophy of science, and so on that
    >bears on this question in the years since then. I think we need
    >evidence and as this is not my career I don't really have the
    >opportunity to investigate this; my main point here is that the
    >"objectivist" position has problems, I think best summed up by saying
    >that it is a reductionist view. This is not to say I know it's wrong;
    >just to say that I can believe it would mislead.

    That is mere sophistry. The objectivist position is absolutely *not*
    reductionist, it accepts all possibilities. It does however ask that
    anyone making an extraordinary claim should acknowledge that *they*
    have a responsibility to provide evidence to back that claim. It is
    insufficient to claim 'we don't know everything' as a justification
    for some wild fancy.
    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  34. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > > nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > > > Michael Mossey wrote:
    > > > > Well, you and the other scientists/engineers in this forum
    > > >
    > > > For the record, I am neither.
    > > >
    > > > > have always
    > > > > maintained that the evidence says our ears don't work
    differently
    > > in
    > > > > hearing music. I realize that may be true. But I ask again:
    how
    > > > would
    > > > > you know if that were true?
    > > >
    > > > You mean, besides sheer common sense and the absolute lack of
    > > > countervailing evidence?
    > >
    > > You are dodging the question. First of all, I'm sure you will be
    the
    > > first to agree that "common sense" can be wrong.
    >
    > As you are about to demonstrate...
    >
    > > Secondly, my own
    > > common sense tells me that quick-switching obscures differences.
    >
    > That is because your common sense is ill-informed. The common sense
    of
    > someone who was at least passingly familiar with the psychoacoustics
    > literature would be very different.

    I didn't expect you to use the word common sense to describe scientific
    knowledge. That's "uncommon" sense in the sense that not many people
    have that knowledge, and it is also not based on intuition.

    I thought you were referring to the common experience: ask someone to
    compare two sounds, and they will want them closer in time to hear the
    differences better. Common sense is: feel confused or uncertain? Look
    closer, listen closer. That's an intuition or a direct experience. It
    needs to be investigated.

    I've done a lot of investigating of my musical consciousness, and it
    has become obvious to me that I can't be conscious of how a signal
    affects me musically when I'm doing quick switching. This is "common
    sense" in the sense that it is intuition, but it is also something
    highly investigated.

    When anyone tells me something, I generally ask (or think to myself)
    the question, "How do you know?" I wonder how you know that quick
    switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical aspects
    of a signal? You would say you know it from evidence gathered through
    experimentation. I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors aware
    how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no one
    has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this. So I
    wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    complete conscious access to the signal?


    >
    > > And
    > > thirdly, you are dodging my question which is to ask about the
    > current
    > > evidence: was it gathered in a way that accounts for a different
    > "mode
    > > of hearing," or a way that could rule this out? And given that
    this
    > is
    > > such a difficult problem (akin to understanding consciousness) how
    > was
    > > it solved?
    >
    > It is your unproven assumption that there is even such a thing as
    > "different modes of hearing." Nothing we know about hearing
    perception
    > suggests that we *hear* music differently than we hear anything else.
    > (And yes, there have been plenty of psychoacoustics experiments
    dealing
    > with music. There are whole textbooks on the subject.)

    "Different modes of hearing" refers to a very obvious subjective
    phenomena. What you consciously experience depends on what you are
    paying attention to. Very simple, and I don't see how you can disagree
    with that.

    So I'm asking, how does the research prove "what you are paying
    attention to" doesn't matter? You've come back at me with a lot of
    different responses but not an answer to my question. If you don't
    want to answer it, that's fine. If you want to refer me to a specific
    book, that's fine.


    > >
    > > >
    > > > > Wouldn't that require listening tests that
    > > > > could control how a subject listens and employ a variety of
    > > listening
    > > > > modes, ranging from "enjoying music" to "hearing sound"?
    > > >
    > > > Your ear does not "enjoy music." It only reacts to rapid changes
    in
    > > air
    > > > pressure. That's how we know that it doesn't operate differently.
    > >
    > > You are taking a highly reductionist approach.
    >
    > Reductionism is only wrong if it leaves something out. What have I
    left
    > out about the operation of the ear?

    Reductionism in this sense is reducing something to components and
    making irrelevant their interaction. You separated "enjoyment" (which
    takes place across a large section of the brain) from "hearing" (which
    I assume you mean refers to the physical ear and perhaps the auditory
    cortex). In essense, you are saying the ear "doesn't operate
    differently" because you have reduced it to a model in which there is
    no connection between ear and consciousness.

    >
    > > There is much more I
    > > could learn about psychoacoustics and neurology, I admit that. And
    > if
    > > I find some time between my other four hobbies I will check out a
    > book
    > > on psychoacoustics from the library. (I have an account at the
    > Caltech
    > > library.) But I'm suspicious of a reductionist approach,
    especially
    > > its ability to rule out possibilities.
    > >
    > > >
    > > > > Have these
    > > > > tests been done? And how would the test subject's listening
    mode
    > > be
    > > > > controlled (what seems to me an extraordinarily difficult
    > > > problem--has
    > > > > someone solved it?)?
    > > >
    > > > Have you ever actually cracked a textbook on psychoacoustics? You
    > > > certainly seem to be interested enough in the subject. You would
    be
    > > > amazed at what has actually been tested--and what has been
    > eliminated
    > > > as a realistic possibility as a result of those tests.
    > > >
    > > > > > And another thing we know from
    > > > > > experiments that have been done already is that people are
    > better
    > > > at
    > > > > > identifying differences in sounds like tones and pink noise
    > than
    > > > > > music--which at least suggests that our mental reaction to
    > music
    > > > > > actually obscures differences (though there are other and
    > > probably
    > > > > > better explanations for this).
    > > > >
    > > > > What kinds of differences? I'm sure frequency response
    > differences
    > > > are
    > > > > audible in pink noise and steady-state tones; how about
    something
    > > > like
    > > > > jitter? Suppose we had a malfunctioning digital recorder with
    so
    > > > much
    > > > > jitter that there's no argument it can be heard; wouldn't it be
    > > heard
    > > > > first on signals with transients?
    > > >
    > > > We're talking about analog interconnects, aren't we? Can you
    offer
    > > any
    > > > physical explanation for how they might possibly affect anything
    > > other
    > > > than frequency response?
    > >
    > > Well I'm addressing your argument that the results of pink noise
    > > suggest it is better than music as a test stimulus. I'm asking
    "for
    > > what effects?" I'm interested in all of audio, not just
    > interconnects.
    > > In fact the effects of amplifiers and recorders are probably more
    > > interesting to me than interconnects.
    > >
    > > The argument that interconnects could only affect frequency
    response
    > is
    > > reductionist. That's its weakness.
    >
    > Only if it leaves something out. So I'll ask again, what am I leaving
    > out? You went to CalTech. I'd be embarrassed to admit in this company
    > how I fulfilled my science distribution requirement. So you tell me:
    > What can interconnects do to a signal besides affect freuency
    response?
    >
    > bob

    To hypothesize that interconnects make an audible difference, all I
    have to know is that they are part of the system. Anything that's a
    part of a system can interact with the rest of the system.

    The answer to your question is, I don't know. If my listening tests
    demonstrate interconnects make a difference, the next step would be to
    investigate why. I wouldn't go into that step assuming that frequency
    response is the difference, but I would try to be open to any
    possibility.

    -Mike
  35. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:

    > I wonder how you know that quick
    > switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical aspects
    > of a signal? You would say you know it from evidence gathered
    through
    > experimentation. I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors
    aware
    > how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no
    one
    > has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this. So
    I
    > wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    > complete conscious access to the signal?

    "Complete conscious access to the signal" depends, first, on the
    ability of our ears and nervous system to deliver that signal to our
    brain. There are real, physical, limits to what our ears can detect,
    and we know that standard DBTs can get pretty close to those limits.

    <snip>

    > "Different modes of hearing" refers to a very obvious subjective
    > phenomena. What you consciously experience depends on what you are
    > paying attention to. Very simple, and I don't see how you can
    disagree
    > with that.
    >
    > So I'm asking, how does the research prove "what you are paying
    > attention to" doesn't matter?

    We don't really know what listening test subjects are paying attention
    to. Seriously. All we know is that they can or cannot consistently
    identify the difference between two things. (In fact, in a properly
    designed ABX test, you could do exactly the test you described
    earlier.) So far, no one has been able to show that they can hear
    differences better by not using quick-switching comparisons. You could
    be the first. But if you'll familiarize yourself a bit with the
    psychoacoustics lioterature, you'll understand why some of us are
    betting against you.

    <snip>

    > Reductionism in this sense is reducing something to components and
    > making irrelevant their interaction. You separated "enjoyment"
    (which
    > takes place across a large section of the brain) from "hearing"
    (which
    > I assume you mean refers to the physical ear and perhaps the auditory
    > cortex). In essense, you are saying the ear "doesn't operate
    > differently" because you have reduced it to a model in which there is
    > no connection between ear and consciousness.

    I've done no such thing. All I've done is argued for priority. You have
    to "hear" before you "enjoy." If you think otherwise, you have a very
    strange notion of anatomy.

    bob
  36. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    I'm going to the Caltech library this afternoon to get a book on
    pyschoacoustics. I imagine it won't tell me much about how this
    information was derived from experiment but it will probably just
    present the information. Nonetheless, it will be a start.

    I agree that if you can't hear it, then you can't be consciously aware
    of it.

    My point is something like this: if you can't be consciously aware of
    it, then you can't know if you can hear it.

    My experience of consciousness, and I think the scientific evidence
    backs me up in this, is that consciousness doesn't represent a
    projection that contains all the information in the sensory input, but
    picks and chooses among the available sensory information, and
    *constructs* an experience based on an internal model.

    There's a famous experiment in which subjects fail to see a
    gorilla-suited man walk through a basketball game, when the subjects
    are asked to focus on the ball. You cannot conclude from this
    experiment that the eye can't see a gorilla. You CAN conclude that the
    mode of attention blocked it from consciousness.

    So, I'm not trying to argue with you: this is an honest question: how
    does the research to determine what we "hear" separate that stage from
    consciousness? How do you determine what you can hear in a way that
    doesn't need to account for how consciousness is formed from that
    signal? Brain implants in the auditory cortex?

    -Mike
  37. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
    > On 1 Apr 2005 00:52:03 GMT, "Michael Mossey"
    <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    > wrote:
    >
    > > Even though I haven't posted here much
    > >before, I've been thinking about these issues ever since I was a
    > >freshman at Caltech in 1987. Not much has changed in the arguments
    put
    > >forth by the objectivists; I remember the old "tubes are better" /
    "no,
    > >you just like the sound of the distortion" going on in exactly the
    same
    > >form back then, among students at Caltech.
    >
    > Why would anything have changed? 2+2 is likely to remain 4
    > indefinitely, and tubes are unlikely to stop generating euphonic
    > artifacts.
    >
    > It's the 'subjectivists' who seem to come up with ever more fanciful
    > theories, but can never provide any real experimental evidence to
    back
    > them up.
    >
    > > I've learned a lot about
    > >mindfulness, musicianship, the philosophy of science, and so on that
    > >bears on this question in the years since then. I think we need
    > >evidence and as this is not my career I don't really have the
    > >opportunity to investigate this; my main point here is that the
    > >"objectivist" position has problems, I think best summed up by
    saying
    > >that it is a reductionist view. This is not to say I know it's
    wrong;
    > >just to say that I can believe it would mislead.
    >
    > That is mere sophistry. The objectivist position is absolutely *not*
    > reductionist, it accepts all possibilities.

    I thought that science can never test *all* possibilities. I don't
    mean to say this is valid reasoning to tear down any point of view we
    disagree with. I think this is nonetheless quite a significant
    difference between us, if you think that science can test *all*
    possibilities.


    > It does however ask that
    > anyone making an extraordinary claim should acknowledge that *they*
    > have a responsibility to provide evidence to back that claim. It is
    > insufficient to claim 'we don't know everything' as a justification
    > for some wild fancy.

    I agree. However, notice that I don't think my hypotheses are "wild
    fancy." I don't think it is wild fancy to suggest that choice of
    attention can affect what we're conscious of. If I cannot find any
    evidence for this position, I will eventually abandon it.

    -Mike
  38. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:

    > So, I'm not trying to argue with you: this is an honest question: how
    > does the research to determine what we "hear" separate that stage
    from
    > consciousness? How do you determine what you can hear in a way that
    > doesn't need to account for how consciousness is formed from that
    > signal? Brain implants in the auditory cortex?

    Not sure I'm getting you here. Everything we're talking about is
    conscious. You can't do what audiophiles claim to do--notice a sonic
    difference between A and B--any way but consciously. You listen to
    Cable A for 5 minutes, then Cable X for 5 minutes, then you decide
    whether your emotional response to the two selections is sufficiently
    similar to determine that X is or is not A. You aren't separating
    "hearing" from "consciousness." So why is this an issue?

    bob
  39. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    >
    > > I wonder how you know that quick
    > > switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical
    aspects
    > > of a signal? You would say you know it from evidence gathered
    > through
    > > experimentation. I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors
    > aware
    > > how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no
    > one
    > > has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this.
    So
    > I
    > > wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    > > complete conscious access to the signal?
    >
    > "Complete conscious access to the signal" depends, first, on the
    > ability of our ears and nervous system to deliver that signal to our
    > brain. There are real, physical, limits to what our ears can detect,
    > and we know that standard DBTs can get pretty close to those limits.
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    > > "Different modes of hearing" refers to a very obvious subjective
    > > phenomena. What you consciously experience depends on what you are
    > > paying attention to. Very simple, and I don't see how you can
    > disagree
    > > with that.
    > >
    > > So I'm asking, how does the research prove "what you are paying
    > > attention to" doesn't matter?
    >
    > We don't really know what listening test subjects are paying
    attention
    > to. Seriously. All we know is that they can or cannot consistently
    > identify the difference between two things. (In fact, in a properly
    > designed ABX test, you could do exactly the test you described
    > earlier.) So far, no one has been able to show that they can hear
    > differences better by not using quick-switching comparisons. You
    could
    > be the first. But if you'll familiarize yourself a bit with the
    > psychoacoustics lioterature, you'll understand why some of us are
    > betting against you.
    >
    > <snip>
    >
    > > Reductionism in this sense is reducing something to components and
    > > making irrelevant their interaction. You separated "enjoyment"
    > (which
    > > takes place across a large section of the brain) from "hearing"
    > (which
    > > I assume you mean refers to the physical ear and perhaps the
    auditory
    > > cortex). In essense, you are saying the ear "doesn't operate
    > > differently" because you have reduced it to a model in which there
    is
    > > no connection between ear and consciousness.
    >
    > I've done no such thing. All I've done is argued for priority. You
    have
    > to "hear" before you "enjoy." If you think otherwise, you have a very
    > strange notion of anatomy.
    >
    > bob

    Bob, what you say here makes a lot of sense. It is like saying that
    the brain is composed of two stages: ear and consciousness. A signal
    that doesn't trigger the ear stage can't be propagated into the
    consciousness stage.

    I think we can agree that this is not really the best model for what we
    are arguing here: the audibility of differences. We're not questioning
    whether you can hear signal A and B -- of course you can hear both of
    them. We're asking whether the two signals produce a different
    response in stage 1, such that stage 2 could register a difference.

    Also, to be more precise, don't we have to say something like "the
    difference between the A and B response in stage 1 is below the noise
    in stage 1"? I think we have to bring the concept of noise into it to
    speak sensibly of a stage not being able to detect a difference.
    Otherwise I'm not sure what it would mean for a system to "not respond"
    to the difference.

    Does this sound right to you? Or how would you clarify it? Note that
    I'm not making any argument against your position here, I'm just trying
    to put it into more precise conceptual form.

    I realize that you were probably just speaking succinctly, but do note
    that your statement above is a reduction of the situation (since I'm
    always crying "reductionist" ;) . Let's agree on the more precise
    situation.

    -Mike
  40. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 3 Apr 2005 15:57:50 GMT, "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    wrote:

    >When anyone tells me something, I generally ask (or think to myself)
    >the question, "How do you know?" I wonder how you know that quick
    >switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical aspects
    >of a signal?

    That would be because lots of experiments have shown it to be the most
    sensitive method for detecting signals with known differences.

    > You would say you know it from evidence gathered through
    >experimentation.

    Correct.

    > I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors aware
    >how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no one
    >has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this. So I
    >wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    >complete conscious access to the signal?

    Simple, really. Put the same known differences into two signals which
    are tta tke limnit of detection by quick-switch DBT, and no other
    method will reveal them. Care to provide any evidence that this is not
    the case?

    This is *not* rocket science, nor is it new.


    >Reductionism in this sense is reducing something to components and
    >making irrelevant their interaction. You separated "enjoyment" (which
    >takes place across a large section of the brain) from "hearing" (which
    >I assume you mean refers to the physical ear and perhaps the auditory
    >cortex). In essense, you are saying the ear "doesn't operate
    >differently" because you have reduced it to a model in which there is
    >no connection between ear and consciousness.

    No, we're all talking about *listening* tests, which involve all
    aspects of human consciousness. You are the one guilty of
    reductionism, because anything which does not fit your prejudice is
    automatically rejected on that single basis.

    >To hypothesize that interconnects make an audible difference, all I
    >have to know is that they are part of the system. Anything that's a
    >part of a system can interact with the rest of the system.

    True enough, but can you show *any* evidence that these differences
    are *audible*?

    >The answer to your question is, I don't know.

    I do. There are *always* differences, but unless they are electrically
    gross, they are not audible.

    > If my listening tests
    >demonstrate interconnects make a difference, the next step would be to
    >investigate why. I wouldn't go into that step assuming that frequency
    >response is the difference, but I would try to be open to any
    >possibility.

    You can also pick up about $5,000 if you publish those results in this
    newgroup.
    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  41. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:d2p3pu01p7q@news1.newsguy.com...
    >
    > When anyone tells me something, I generally ask (or think to myself)
    > the question, "How do you know?" I wonder how you know that quick
    > switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical aspects
    > of a signal? You would say you know it from evidence gathered through
    > experimentation. I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors aware
    > how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no one
    > has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this. So I
    > wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    > complete conscious access to the signal?

    It doesn't. Quick switching is done strictly for the purpose of determining
    whether there is a difference between 2 signals--or not. It tells you
    nothing about which signal is better, or more satisfying over the long haul.
    How do we know that quick switching is more sensitive? I imagine someone,
    somewhere, sometime manufactured 2 signals whose difference was known and
    then experimented to find out what means of comparison enabled the subject
    to detect the smallest differences.

    Norm Strong
  42. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    nabo...@hotmail.com wrote:
    > Michael Mossey wrote:
    >
    > > So, I'm not trying to argue with you: this is an honest question:
    how
    > > does the research to determine what we "hear" separate that stage
    > from
    > > consciousness? How do you determine what you can hear in a way
    that
    > > doesn't need to account for how consciousness is formed from that
    > > signal? Brain implants in the auditory cortex?
    >
    > Not sure I'm getting you here. Everything we're talking about is
    > conscious. You can't do what audiophiles claim to do--notice a sonic
    > difference between A and B--any way but consciously. You listen to
    > Cable A for 5 minutes, then Cable X for 5 minutes, then you decide
    > whether your emotional response to the two selections is sufficiently
    > similar to determine that X is or is not A. You aren't separating
    > "hearing" from "consciousness." So why is this an issue?
    >
    > bob

    Hi Bob,

    You've said that if you can't hear it, then you can't enjoy it. Very
    good point.

    But let's ask: how do we *know* if we can or can't hear it?

    I've already read enough about psychoacoustics to provide a partial
    answer. One way we know is by doing experiments in which we ask
    subjects to indicate, via forced-choice or some other way, whether they
    heard a difference. A test in which the subject cannot report
    correctly hearing a difference leads to two conclusions:

    (1) The ear couldn't resolve the difference (under these conditions)
    (2) Consciousness can't resolve the difference (under these conditions)

    [ or (3) the test was broken ]

    So, at least some of the experiments we do to determine what the ear
    can hear aren't able to separate what consciousness can resolve from
    what the ear can resolve. In any given test, the resolving power of
    consciousness may be the limit. But this is an important observation,
    because consciousness is a highly malleable, non-static entity that
    responds to (1) the test directions, (2) the nature of the test
    stimulus, (3) subtle cues in the people around, etc. etc. Under
    different conditions, consciousness may have more resolving power.

    Here's a quote from Moore, "An Introduction to the Psychology of
    Hearing", page 65 -

    On the question of intensity discrimination (the ability to tell apart
    two tones different in intensity) --

    (note that the standard figure for one difference limen is usually
    regarded as 0.5 to 1 dB for white noise)

    "Such studies have indicated that information from only a small number
    of neurones is sufficient to account for intensity discrimination. The
    number required seems to be about 100. Indeed, if the information
    contained in the firing rates of all the 30000 neurones in the auditory
    nerve were used optimally, then intensity discrimination would be much
    better than it actually is ... It appears that, for most stimuli,
    intensity discrimination is not limited by the information carried in
    the auditory nerve, but by the use made of that information at more
    central levels of processing."

    This is only one example, so it doesn't prove anything, but to me it
    suggests that the resolving power of the ear/brain could be better,
    under ideal conditions, than shows up in a standard psychoacoustical
    test.

    -Mike
  43. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Michael Mossey wrote:
    >
    > You've said that if you can't hear it, then you can't enjoy it. Very
    > good point.
    >
    > But let's ask: how do we *know* if we can or can't hear it?

    Umm, usually it's bleedin' obvious, mate!

    > I've already read enough about psychoacoustics to provide a partial
    > answer. One way we know is by doing experiments in which we ask
    > subjects to indicate, via forced-choice or some other way, whether
    they
    > heard a difference. A test in which the subject cannot report
    > correctly hearing a difference leads to two conclusions:
    >
    > (1) The ear couldn't resolve the difference (under these conditions)
    > (2) Consciousness can't resolve the difference (under these
    conditions)

    You're not answering my question: Why are these two separate
    possibilities? Alternatively, why should I care about whether we failed
    to be conscious of a difference between two sounds because

    a) There was no difference in the signal reaching the brain, or
    b) There was a difference in the signal reaching the brain, but the
    brain did not react differently to them?

    All I care about is, are we conscious of a difference? And all
    available evidence suggests that a quick-switching DBT is the most
    sensitive test for answering that question.
    >
    > [ or (3) the test was broken ]
    >
    > So, at least some of the experiments we do to determine what the ear
    > can hear aren't able to separate what consciousness can resolve from
    > what the ear can resolve. In any given test, the resolving power of
    > consciousness may be the limit. But this is an important
    observation,
    > because consciousness is a highly malleable, non-static entity that
    > responds to (1) the test directions, (2) the nature of the test
    > stimulus, (3) subtle cues in the people around, etc. etc. Under
    > different conditions, consciousness may have more resolving power.

    But this is trivial. Of course different people, at different times,
    concentrating on different things, may (will) hear differently. You
    seem to be under the impression that all of psychoacoustics is based on
    a half dozen listening tests. There have been lots of tests, of lots of
    people, and no evidence that any kind of listening allows you to hear
    distortion that's 100 dB down.

    > Here's a quote from Moore, "An Introduction to the Psychology of
    > Hearing", page 65 -
    >
    > On the question of intensity discrimination (the ability to tell
    apart
    > two tones different in intensity) --
    >
    > (note that the standard figure for one difference limen is usually
    > regarded as 0.5 to 1 dB for white noise)
    >
    > "Such studies have indicated that information from only a small
    number
    > of neurones is sufficient to account for intensity discrimination.
    The
    > number required seems to be about 100. Indeed, if the information
    > contained in the firing rates of all the 30000 neurones in the
    auditory
    > nerve were used optimally, then intensity discrimination would be
    much
    > better than it actually is ... It appears that, for most stimuli,
    > intensity discrimination is not limited by the information carried in
    > the auditory nerve, but by the use made of that information at more
    > central levels of processing."
    >
    > This is only one example, so it doesn't prove anything, but to me it
    > suggests that the resolving power of the ear/brain could be better,
    > under ideal conditions, than shows up in a standard psychoacoustical
    > test.

    That's certainly a creative interpretation.

    bob
  44. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
    > On 3 Apr 2005 15:57:50 GMT, "Michael Mossey"
    <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >When anyone tells me something, I generally ask (or think to myself)
    > >the question, "How do you know?" I wonder how you know that quick
    > >switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical
    aspects
    > >of a signal?
    >
    > That would be because lots of experiments have shown it to be the
    most
    > sensitive method for detecting signals with known differences.
    >
    > > You would say you know it from evidence gathered through
    > >experimentation.
    >
    > Correct.
    >
    > > I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors aware
    > >how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no
    one
    > >has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this.
    So I
    > >wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    > >complete conscious access to the signal?
    >
    > Simple, really. Put the same known differences into two signals which
    > are tta tke limnit of detection by quick-switch DBT, and no other
    > method will reveal them. Care to provide any evidence that this is
    not
    > the case?

    I see the point you are making.. quick-switch is the most sensitive of
    the available methods, by this reasoning.

    However, what I asked was, "How do you know that quick-switch provides
    *complete* conscious access to the signal?"

    In other words, how do you know that *any* feature of the signal that
    can be detected under *any* condition, can be detected under
    quick-switch conditions?

    The obvious answer is that we *can't* detect every feature of the
    signal simply because in a finite time there's too much to pay
    attention to.

    This notion of "feature of the signal" requires some clarification.
    Take vision. We know a lot about the visual cortext. Some neurons
    respond to shape, some to line direction, some to color. These are all
    features of a visual scene.

    Moore (1989) says that much less is known about the auditory context.
    Not many neurons in it respond to pure tones and test signals. What
    "features" it can detect are somewhat a mystery (as of 1989), although
    we can safely assume they have something to do with the needs of the
    human organism -- to recognize the sounds of other animals and to
    recognize speech.

    >
    > This is *not* rocket science, nor is it new.

    It *is* psychology/neurology and needs to be informed by our
    understanding of the whole brain, from sensory perception to
    consciousness.

    >
    >
    > >Reductionism in this sense is reducing something to components and
    > >making irrelevant their interaction. You separated "enjoyment"
    (which
    > >takes place across a large section of the brain) from "hearing"
    (which
    > >I assume you mean refers to the physical ear and perhaps the
    auditory
    > >cortex). In essense, you are saying the ear "doesn't operate
    > >differently" because you have reduced it to a model in which there
    is
    > >no connection between ear and consciousness.
    >
    > No, we're all talking about *listening* tests, which involve all
    > aspects of human consciousness. You are the one guilty of
    > reductionism, because anything which does not fit your prejudice is
    > automatically rejected on that single basis.

    In what way is asking questions and investigating "rejection"?

    Secondly, I'm glad you agree that listening tests involve
    consciousness. I believe my point above was in response to Bob who had
    *separated* consciousness from the ear's function.

    >
    > >To hypothesize that interconnects make an audible difference, all I
    > >have to know is that they are part of the system. Anything that's a
    > >part of a system can interact with the rest of the system.
    >
    > True enough, but can you show *any* evidence that these differences
    > are *audible*?
    >
    > >The answer to your question is, I don't know.
    >
    > I do. There are *always* differences, but unless they are
    electrically
    > gross, they are not audible.
    >
    > > If my listening tests
    > >demonstrate interconnects make a difference, the next step would be
    to
    > >investigate why. I wouldn't go into that step assuming that
    frequency
    > >response is the difference, but I would try to be open to any
    > >possibility.
    >
    > You can also pick up about $5,000 if you publish those results in
    this
    > newgroup.

    I tried once to entice a local audiophile to help me with the promise
    of money. He backed out. I DO have a problem finding people who want
    to do blind tests. I really have no perspective to say how widespread
    this is, but certainly among local people I've talked to, there's not
    much interest.

    As I said from the beginning, blind testing is necessary to check what
    we know.

    -Mike
  45. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    normanstrong@comcast.net wrote:
    > "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    > news:d2p3pu01p7q@news1.newsguy.com...
    > >
    > > When anyone tells me something, I generally ask (or think to
    myself)
    > > the question, "How do you know?" I wonder how you know that quick
    > > switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical
    aspects
    > > of a signal? You would say you know it from evidence gathered
    through
    > > experimentation. I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors
    aware
    > > how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no
    one
    > > has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this.
    So I
    > > wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    > > complete conscious access to the signal?
    >
    > It doesn't. Quick switching is done strictly for the purpose of
    determining
    > whether there is a difference between 2 signals--or not.

    Isn't this a short hand for asking "if there is any difference between
    two signals in features that can be detected under any reasonable
    listening condition"? Aren't you implicitly saying that *any* feature
    of the signal is available to consciousness in quick-switching?

    >It tells you
    > nothing about which signal is better, or more satisfying over the
    long haul.
    > How do we know that quick switching is more sensitive? I imagine
    someone,
    > somewhere, sometime manufactured 2 signals whose difference was known
    and
    > then experimented to find out what means of comparison enabled the
    subject
    > to detect the smallest differences.
    >
    > Norm Strong

    Okay - 2 signals whose difference was known -- they differed in
    specific features. Isn't any conclusion about the best means of
    comparison relative to the specific features of difference?

    -Mike
  46. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
    > On 3 Apr 2005 15:57:50 GMT, "Michael Mossey"
    <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    > wrote:
    >
    > >When anyone tells me something, I generally ask (or think to myself)
    > >the question, "How do you know?" I wonder how you know that quick
    > >switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical
    aspects
    > >of a signal?
    >
    > That would be because lots of experiments have shown it to be the
    most
    > sensitive method for detecting signals with known differences.
    >
    > > You would say you know it from evidence gathered through
    > >experimentation.
    >
    > Correct.
    >
    > > I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors aware
    > >how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no
    one
    > >has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this.
    So I
    > >wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    > >complete conscious access to the signal?
    >
    > Simple, really. Put the same known differences into two signals which
    > are tta tke limnit of detection by quick-switch DBT, and no other
    > method will reveal them. Care to provide any evidence that this is
    not
    > the case?
    >
    > This is *not* rocket science, nor is it new.
    >
    >

    Quick question, Stewart. Have you ever heard a component which sounded
    good at first, then became annoying over time? For example, maybe
    something a little bright, which at first gave the cymbals an
    impressive sheen, and then sounded harsh or fatiguing over time?

    If so, I'm next going to ask about the possibility of integration in
    sensory perception.

    -Mike
  47. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 4 Apr 2005 23:55:09 GMT, "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    wrote:

    >Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

    >> The objectivist position is absolutely *not*
    >> reductionist, it accepts all possibilities.
    >
    >I thought that science can never test *all* possibilities.

    Exactly, which is why all possibilities must be accepted *until* such
    time as testing discards some of them.

    > I don't
    >mean to say this is valid reasoning to tear down any point of view we
    >disagree with. I think this is nonetheless quite a significant
    >difference between us, if you think that science can test *all*
    >possibilities.

    Please try not to misinterprtet what I say.

    >> It does however ask that
    >> anyone making an extraordinary claim should acknowledge that *they*
    >> have a responsibility to provide evidence to back that claim. It is
    >> insufficient to claim 'we don't know everything' as a justification
    >> for some wild fancy.
    >
    >I agree. However, notice that I don't think my hypotheses are "wild
    >fancy."

    So provide some evidence to back them up.

    > I don't think it is wild fancy to suggest that choice of
    >attention can affect what we're conscious of. If I cannot find any
    >evidence for this position, I will eventually abandon it.

    Life is short.
    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  48. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    On 5 Apr 2005 00:58:58 GMT, "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    wrote:

    >You've said that if you can't hear it, then you can't enjoy it. Very
    >good point.
    >
    >But let's ask: how do we *know* if we can or can't hear it?

    Blind testing.

    >I've already read enough about psychoacoustics to provide a partial
    >answer. One way we know is by doing experiments in which we ask
    >subjects to indicate, via forced-choice or some other way, whether they
    >heard a difference. A test in which the subject cannot report
    >correctly hearing a difference leads to two conclusions:
    >
    >(1) The ear couldn't resolve the difference (under these conditions)
    >(2) Consciousness can't resolve the difference (under these conditions)
    >
    >[ or (3) the test was broken ]
    >
    >So, at least some of the experiments we do to determine what the ear
    >can hear aren't able to separate what consciousness can resolve from
    >what the ear can resolve.

    You'll find a set of graduated listening tests on Arny Krueger's PCABX
    website.

    > In any given test, the resolving power of
    >consciousness may be the limit. But this is an important observation,
    >because consciousness is a highly malleable, non-static entity that
    >responds to (1) the test directions, (2) the nature of the test
    >stimulus, (3) subtle cues in the people around, etc. etc. Under
    >different conditions, consciousness may have more resolving power.

    Have you any idea what the above is supposed to mean?

    >Here's a quote from Moore, "An Introduction to the Psychology of
    >Hearing", page 65 -
    >
    >On the question of intensity discrimination (the ability to tell apart
    >two tones different in intensity) --
    >
    >(note that the standard figure for one difference limen is usually
    >regarded as 0.5 to 1 dB for white noise)
    >
    >"Such studies have indicated that information from only a small number
    >of neurones is sufficient to account for intensity discrimination. The
    >number required seems to be about 100. Indeed, if the information
    >contained in the firing rates of all the 30000 neurones in the auditory
    >nerve were used optimally, then intensity discrimination would be much
    >better than it actually is ... It appears that, for most stimuli,
    >intensity discrimination is not limited by the information carried in
    >the auditory nerve, but by the use made of that information at more
    >central levels of processing."
    >
    >This is only one example, so it doesn't prove anything, but to me it
    >suggests that the resolving power of the ear/brain could be better,
    >under ideal conditions, than shows up in a standard psychoacoustical
    >test.

    All systems are capable of being optimised, but very few actually are.
    I cannot run 100 metres in ten seconds, and you cannot hear
    differences between nominally competent cables or amplifiers.
    --

    Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
  49. Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

    "Michael Mossey" <michaelmossey@yahoo.com> wrote in message
    news:d2vave01r2f@news2.newsguy.com...
    > Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
    > > On 3 Apr 2005 15:57:50 GMT, "Michael Mossey"
    > <michaelmossey@yahoo.com>
    > > wrote:
    > >
    > > >When anyone tells me something, I generally ask (or think to myself)
    > > >the question, "How do you know?" I wonder how you know that quick
    > > >switching comparisons provide conscious access to all musical
    > aspects
    > > >of a signal?
    > >
    > > That would be because lots of experiments have shown it to be the
    > most
    > > sensitive method for detecting signals with known differences.
    > >
    > > > You would say you know it from evidence gathered through
    > > >experimentation.
    > >
    > > Correct.
    > >
    > > > I say, that's fine, but were the experimentors aware
    > > >how different modes of attention affect consciousness? So far, no
    > one
    > > >has pointed me to an experiment that shows any attention to this.
    > So I
    > > >wonder, how certain is this knowledge that quick-switching provides
    > > >complete conscious access to the signal?
    > >
    > > Simple, really. Put the same known differences into two signals which
    > > are tta tke limnit of detection by quick-switch DBT, and no other
    > > method will reveal them. Care to provide any evidence that this is
    > not
    > > the case?
    >
    > I see the point you are making.. quick-switch is the most sensitive of
    > the available methods, by this reasoning.
    >
    > However, what I asked was, "How do you know that quick-switch provides
    > *complete* conscious access to the signal?"
    >
    > In other words, how do you know that *any* feature of the signal that
    > can be detected under *any* condition, can be detected under
    > quick-switch conditions?
    >
    > The obvious answer is that we *can't* detect every feature of the
    > signal simply because in a finite time there's too much to pay
    > attention to.
    >
    > This notion of "feature of the signal" requires some clarification.
    > Take vision. We know a lot about the visual cortext. Some neurons
    > respond to shape, some to line direction, some to color. These are all
    > features of a visual scene.
    >
    > Moore (1989) says that much less is known about the auditory context.
    > Not many neurons in it respond to pure tones and test signals. What
    > "features" it can detect are somewhat a mystery (as of 1989), although
    > we can safely assume they have something to do with the needs of the
    > human organism -- to recognize the sounds of other animals and to
    > recognize speech.

    Four things that have come to my attention since 1990 in brain research:

    1) the brain seems hardwired to recognize/respond to certain rythmic
    patterns
    2) the brain seems hardwired to respond to certain harmonic patterns
    3) the ear cortex iteself has "memory" that can fill in missinng signal if
    the sound has been memorized, iindepent of the remaining brain (this just
    reported recently).
    4) the brain may respond to ultrasonic sound when it is part of a natural
    sound, and to have the presence of same increase musical pleasure. Whether
    the ear is the mechanism for this is not clear. And the findings are too
    new to have yet been replicated.

    All of this suggests that the human processing of and response to music is
    far more complicated than we ever imagined.

    >
    > >
    > > This is *not* rocket science, nor is it new.
    >
    > It *is* psychology/neurology and needs to be informed by our
    > understanding of the whole brain, from sensory perception to
    > consciousness.
    >

    You said it. My remarks above simply emphasize it.

    > >
    > >
    > > >Reductionism in this sense is reducing something to components and
    > > >making irrelevant their interaction. You separated "enjoyment"
    > (which
    > > >takes place across a large section of the brain) from "hearing"
    > (which
    > > >I assume you mean refers to the physical ear and perhaps the
    > auditory
    > > >cortex). In essense, you are saying the ear "doesn't operate
    > > >differently" because you have reduced it to a model in which there
    > is
    > > >no connection between ear and consciousness.
    > >
    > > No, we're all talking about *listening* tests, which involve all
    > > aspects of human consciousness. You are the one guilty of
    > > reductionism, because anything which does not fit your prejudice is
    > > automatically rejected on that single basis.
    >
    > In what way is asking questions and investigating "rejection"?
    >

    It is heresy to question "the truth". Can you better define 'dogma'?


    > Secondly, I'm glad you agree that listening tests involve
    > consciousness. I believe my point above was in response to Bob who had
    > *separated* consciousness from the ear's function.

    And continues to do so in every argument. Perhaps you will convince him to
    stop.

    >
    > >
    > > >To hypothesize that interconnects make an audible difference, all I
    > > >have to know is that they are part of the system. Anything that's a
    > > >part of a system can interact with the rest of the system.
    > >
    > > True enough, but can you show *any* evidence that these differences
    > > are *audible*?
    > >
    > > >The answer to your question is, I don't know.
    > >
    > > I do. There are *always* differences, but unless they are
    > electrically
    > > gross, they are not audible.
    > >
    > > > If my listening tests
    > > >demonstrate interconnects make a difference, the next step would be
    > to
    > > >investigate why. I wouldn't go into that step assuming that
    > frequency
    > > >response is the difference, but I would try to be open to any
    > > >possibility.
    > >
    > > You can also pick up about $5,000 if you publish those results in
    > this
    > > newgroup.
    >
    > I tried once to entice a local audiophile to help me with the promise
    > of money. He backed out. I DO have a problem finding people who want
    > to do blind tests. I really have no perspective to say how widespread
    > this is, but certainly among local people I've talked to, there's not
    > much interest.

    I think the reason is, there is little riding on the outcome. Most people
    are satisfied using their own sighted hearing, flawed as it may be, to make
    decisions regarding their audio systems.

    >
    > As I said from the beginning, blind testing is necessary to check what
    > we know.

    So long as the test is designed in such a way as to not interfere with the
    phenomenon under study.
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