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HE2005: The Great Debate

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Anonymous
May 10, 2005 3:50:32 AM

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

The recording of the Atkinson vs Arny Krueger debate at
Home Entertainment 2005 is now available. Go to:
http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

More about : he2005 great debate

Anonymous
May 10, 2005 6:51:02 AM

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

Stereophile_Edi...@Compuserve.com wrote:
> The recording of the Atkinson vs Arny Krueger debate at
> Home Entertainment 2005 is now available. Go to:
> http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/
>
> John Atkinson
> Editor, Stereophile


Thanks for posting this, John, and also for hosting it. I'm sure it
won't change any minds, but a civil airing of views is always welcome.

Would anyone who was present care to point themselves out in the
accompanying photograph, and/or take credit for any of the questions
asked?

bob
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 4:23:55 AM

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

Bob,

i am in the front row and was very busy typing (in red shirt to JA's right
in pic http://www.stereophile.com/images/newsart/hegreatdebate... ). Was
busy typing as fast as i could to 'record' the event and post it online that
evening. My writings concerning the event can be read at
http://www.enjoythemusic.com/hifi2005/ .

Enjoy the Music,

Steven R. Rochlin
http://www.EnjoyTheMusic.com


Where you can find:

Superior Audio, The Absolute Sound,
Review Magazine, The $ensible Sound,
Audiophile Audition, The Audiophile Voice...
....and MUCH more!

<nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:D 5p7im032d@news4.newsguy.com...
> Stereophile_Edi...@Compuserve.com wrote:
>> The recording of the Atkinson vs Arny Krueger debate at
>> Home Entertainment 2005 is now available. Go to:
>> http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/
>>
>> John Atkinson
>> Editor, Stereophile
>
>
> Thanks for posting this, John, and also for hosting it. I'm sure it
> won't change any minds, but a civil airing of views is always welcome.
>
> Would anyone who was present care to point themselves out in the
> accompanying photograph, and/or take credit for any of the questions
> asked?
>
> bob
Related resources
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 4:25:00 AM

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

nabo...@hotmail.com wrote:
> Would anyone who was present care to point themselves out in
> the accompanying photograph, and/or take credit for any of the
> questions asked?

Looking at the photo of the audience, here's who I can identify
in the front row (R-L): John Marks, unknown, Jason Serinus,
Steven Rochlin, Art Dudley. To the left of my head is the
Show's AV guy with the roving mike. Standing, addressing Mr.
Krueger and myself is Harry Lavo.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 4:26:01 AM

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

nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
> Stereophile_Edi...@Compuserve.com wrote:
> > The recording of the Atkinson vs Arny Krueger debate at
> > Home Entertainment 2005 is now available. Go to:
> > http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/
> >
> > John Atkinson
> > Editor, Stereophile


> Thanks for posting this, John, and also for hosting it. I'm sure it
> won't change any minds, but a civil airing of views is always welcome.

> Would anyone who was present care to point themselves out in the
> accompanying photograph, and/or take credit for any of the questions
> asked?

I thought I already had -- I asked the question that was directed to
JA, about the conclusions he drew from his 'conversion from objectivist to
subjectivist' experience.

Harry Lavo asked the question to Arny about monadic listening tests.

The question to Arny about absolute phase was from a Primedia/Stereophile
employee, I think. At least, he was sitting ion front of me, and I was sitting
amidst a pack of Primedia editorial and support staff.



--

-S
It's not my business to do intelligent work. -- D. Rumsfeld, testifying
before the House Armed Services Committee
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 4:27:59 AM

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

<nabob33@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:D 5p7im032d@news4.newsguy.com...
> Stereophile_Edi...@Compuserve.com wrote:
> > The recording of the Atkinson vs Arny Krueger debate at
> > Home Entertainment 2005 is now available. Go to:
> > http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/
> >
> > John Atkinson
> > Editor, Stereophile
>
>
> Thanks for posting this, John, and also for hosting it. I'm sure it
> won't change any minds, but a civil airing of views is always welcome.
>
> Would anyone who was present care to point themselves out in the
> accompanying photograph, and/or take credit for any of the questions
> asked?

Well, that last photo was taken during my long-winded spiel. I'm the guy
with the mic.

Harry
Anonymous
May 11, 2005 7:15:23 AM

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

Steven Sullivan wrote:
> The question to Arny about absolute phase was from a
> Primedia/Stereophile employee, I think.

It was Stereophile columnist John Marks.

John Atkinson, Editor, Stereophile
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 7:55:32 PM

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

Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the following (to
me, obvious) questions:

1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular DB test,
shouldn't the proper response be to devise improvements to or
modifications of the testing method instead of deriding the whole
concept of blind testing? For example, if the listening times are too
short, in your opinion, wouldn't extending the listening times be the
logical response? If instruments for converting the signal are deemed
questionable or unreliable, wouldn't modifing the instruments, or
removing them and using simple switching circuitry and
level balancing, be a logical response? - If, that is, one truly wants
such tests to succeed.

2. The complaint is made that such tests are typically or often
"inconclusive," and therefore not of consequence or value. But isn't
that missing the whole point. - The fact that listeners have difficulty
in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit sells
for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial interest
and value to many audiophiles. Among other factors, including one's own
listening experience, it can reveal which components, or upgrades, may
be likely to produce the most audible improvements, and at what price.
(And, such reviews and reports by others are of importance to many of us
who don't live in a major metropolitan area or have the budget and time
to travel to varous dealers and shows. - Although I do listen to major
components, particularly speakers, before making a purchase, the usual
recommendation that everyone should listen carefully to every component
of interest is often impracticable.)

3. The suggestion that the performance of audio components is really a
matter of personal, subjective taste, much like the difference between
orchestras, musicians, etc., is highly misleading. If we are talking
about high fidelity audio, that is. Music, and our preferences therein,
are subjective, but the wires, transistors,resistors, magnets, and
acoustics entailed in reproducing music are governed by the laws of physics.

4. As a long-time Sterephile subscriber, I would challenge the editors
to submit the following question to their subscribers: Would you like to
see more tests of at least some audio components in which at least
portions of the listening tests and evaluations were performed under
conditions in which the reviewers didn't know what component they were
listening to, or it's price? Note that I am not suggesting that the
tests have to be totally DBT a la Arnie's system, or the like, but
merely that they be listening tests in which the reviewer isn't told
what component he or she is listening to at least part of the time.) To
sidestep one of the usual objections, I would suggest that you add a
question inquiring whether the listener would be willing to pay a few
dollars more to cover the costs of such tests. I would also suggest
that your poll or inquiry be conducted without your usual propoganda
about the limitations and uncertainty of such tests.

Jim Cate

Stereophile_Editor@Compuserve.com wrote:
> The recording of the Atkinson vs Arny Krueger debate at
> Home Entertainment 2005 is now available. Go to:
> http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/
>
> John Atkinson
> Editor, Stereophile
Anonymous
May 13, 2005 10:59:14 PM

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

Jim Cate <jimcate@pdq.net> wrote:
> Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the following (to
> me, obvious) questions:

> 1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular DB test,
> shouldn't the proper response be to devise improvements to or
> modifications of the testing method instead of deriding the whole
> concept of blind testing? For example, if the listening times are too
> short, in your opinion, wouldn't extending the listening times be the
> logical response? If instruments for converting the signal are deemed
> questionable or unreliable, wouldn't modifing the instruments, or
> removing them and using simple switching circuitry and
> level balancing, be a logical response? - If, that is, one truly wants
> such tests to succeed.

Yes.


> 2. The complaint is made that such tests are typically or often
> "inconclusive," and therefore not of consequence or value. But isn't
> that missing the whole point. - The fact that listeners have difficulty
> in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit sells
> for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial interest
> and value to many audiophiles. Among other factors, including one's own
> listening experience, it can reveal which components, or upgrades, may
> be likely to produce the most audible improvements, and at what price.
> (And, such reviews and reports by others are of importance to many of us
> who don't live in a major metropolitan area or have the budget and time
> to travel to varous dealers and shows. - Although I do listen to major
> components, particularly speakers, before making a purchase, the usual
> recommendation that everyone should listen carefully to every component
> of interest is often impracticable.)

Yes.


> 3. The suggestion that the performance of audio components is really a
> matter of personal, subjective taste, much like the difference between
> orchestras, musicians, etc., is highly misleading. If we are talking
> about high fidelity audio, that is. Music, and our preferences therein,
> are subjective, but the wires, transistors,resistors, magnets, and
> acoustics entailed in reproducing music are governed by the laws of physics.


Indeed.

> 4. As a long-time Sterephile subscriber, I would challenge the editors
> to submit the following question to their subscribers: Would you like to
> see more tests of at least some audio components in which at least
> portions of the listening tests and evaluations were performed under
> conditions in which the reviewers didn't know what component they were
> listening to, or it's price? Note that I am not suggesting that the
> tests have to be totally DBT a la Arnie's system, or the like, but
> merely that they be listening tests in which the reviewer isn't told
> what component he or she is listening to at least part of the time.) To
> sidestep one of the usual objections, I would suggest that you add a
> question inquiring whether the listener would be willing to pay a few
> dollars more to cover the costs of such tests. I would also suggest
> that your poll or inquiry be conducted without your usual propoganda
> about the limitations and uncertainty of such tests.

Consider the fallout -- from subscribers with rigs consting upwards of
$10K, and more importantly, from advertisers who make and market the stuff
-- when there turns out to be little correlation between price and
performance in such evaluations.



--
-S
It's not my business to do intelligent work. -- D. Rumsfeld, testifying
before the House Armed Services Committee
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 1:35:29 AM

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

Jim Cate wrote:
> Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the following
(to
> me, obvious) questions:
>
> 1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular DB test,
> shouldn't the proper response be to devise improvements to or
> modifications of the testing method instead of deriding the whole
> concept of blind testing?



Absolutely.



For example, if the listening times are too
> short, in your opinion, wouldn't extending the listening times be the

> logical response? If instruments for converting the signal are
deemed
> questionable or unreliable, wouldn't modifing the instruments, or
> removing them and using simple switching circuitry and
> level balancing, be a logical response? - If, that is, one truly
wants
> such tests to succeed.


Most definitely. However, this does not seem to apply to John's
anecdote since Niether John nor any of the other participants, as far
as we know, had any issues with that particular single blind test and
were quite satisfied with the protocols and the results of that test.




>
> 2. The complaint is made that such tests are typically or often
> "inconclusive," and therefore not of consequence or value. But isn't

> that missing the whole point. - The fact that listeners have
difficulty
> in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit
sells
> for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial
interest
> and value to many audiophiles.


It could be, however those kinds of tests only look for differences,
They do not allow one to evaluate the value of differences should they
be found. I'm not sure that difficulty in hearing differences in abx
dbts really comments on the value of differences should they exist.
When one looks at John's anecdote and accepts it at face value it does
suggest that differences missed or even imaged are significant enough
in long term listening for *some* to go out and buy a more expensive
amp.





Among other factors, including one's own
> listening experience, it can reveal which components, or upgrades,
may
> be likely to produce the most audible improvements, and at what
price.


Or it may not. It will at the very least be a great deal more work for
the reviewers. Perhaps that is why *none* of the audio journals
including those that subscribe to the objectivist approach to audio do
dbts on components up for review.





> (And, such reviews and reports by others are of importance to many of
us
> who don't live in a major metropolitan area or have the budget and
time
> to travel to varous dealers and shows. - Although I do listen to
major
> components, particularly speakers, before making a purchase, the
usual
> recommendation that everyone should listen carefully to every
component
> of interest is often impracticable.)



I suspect doing dbts of any merit on every component up for review
would be every bit as impracitable for any audio journal.




>
> 3. The suggestion that the performance of audio components is really
a
> matter of personal, subjective taste, much like the difference
between
> orchestras, musicians, etc., is highly misleading. If we are talking
> about high fidelity audio, that is. Music, and our preferences
therein,
> are subjective, but the wires, transistors,resistors, magnets, and
> acoustics entailed in reproducing music are governed by the laws of
physics.



Then what do you say to the objectivist who has done a blind test that
resulted in a null and then goes out armed with this knowledge and buys
a less expensive amp only to find in the long run the change has
rendered home listening unpleasant? Does objectivism demand that
audiophiles some how change what they percieve? I have yet to find an
objectivist who can answer this question. They all want to change the
circustances of the question to suit their approach to audio.



>
> 4. As a long-time Sterephile subscriber, I would challenge the
editors
> to submit the following question to their subscribers: Would you like
to
> see more tests of at least some audio components in which at least
> portions of the listening tests and evaluations were performed under
> conditions in which the reviewers didn't know what component they
were
> listening to, or it's price? Note that I am not suggesting that the
> tests have to be totally DBT a la Arnie's system, or the like, but
> merely that they be listening tests in which the reviewer isn't told
> what component he or she is listening to at least part of the time.)
To
> sidestep one of the usual objections, I would suggest that you add a
> question inquiring whether the listener would be willing to pay a few

> dollars more to cover the costs of such tests. I would also suggest
> that your poll or inquiry be conducted without your usual propoganda
> about the limitations and uncertainty of such tests.


I suppose it should also ask if the subscribers are willing to foot the
additional costs incurred by such a cumbersome process. Consider the
fact that most of the equipment is simply delivered to reviewers (most
of whom make their living outside of working for Stereophile) for them
to use as they would if they were merely a purchaser of that piece of
equipment. The logistics involved in keeping the reviewers blind to the
identity of a component would involve a susbstantial amount of man
hours along with considerable intrusion on the reviewer's home life.



>
> Jim Cate
>
> Stereophile_Editor@Compuserve.com wrote:
> > The recording of the Atkinson vs Arny Krueger debate at
> > Home Entertainment 2005 is now available. Go to:
> > http://www.stereophile.com/news/050905debate/
> >
> > John Atkinson
> > Editor, Stereophile




Scott Wheeler
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 1:44:30 AM

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

I have bookmarked the page and will read it in detail later. I did note
one item of intrest. It is said one participant was once one who accepted
the validity of blind testing but changed his mind when long term
listening to a bit of gear seemed to reveal difference after all where
none was first noticed. May I suggest this is perfectly inline with the
testing school of thought and is in fact confirmation of one of it's
conclusions. As the gear was heard over time it was known and the "test",
if we can call it such, had long since stopped being blind. Having first
been a believer that two amps of different type sound different and then
concluding otherwise during a blind test, all the cognative and perceptual
framework for resuming that conclusion were in place when the longer not
blind "test" commenced. The controls for perception flaws were removed
and the results not surprising in the least. It would be more intresting
to have done the ab test again blind to see if additional exposure sighted
now makes a difference, or that the longer period have been one where the
amp types were switched without knowledge and then identity tested in a
blind session. Repeat, the testimonial report is specific confirmation of
the listening alone school of testing to determine differences in
audibility and not support in the other direction.
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 7:56:24 PM

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

"Jim Cate" <jimcate@pdq.net> wrote in message
news:D 62ilk0emt@news1.newsguy.com...
> Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the following (to
> me, obvious) questions:
>
> 1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular DB test,
> shouldn't the proper response be to devise improvements to or
> modifications of the testing method instead of deriding the whole
> concept of blind testing? For example, if the listening times are too
> short, in your opinion, wouldn't extending the listening times be the
> logical response? If instruments for converting the signal are deemed
> questionable or unreliable, wouldn't modifing the instruments, or
> removing them and using simple switching circuitry and
> level balancing, be a logical response? - If, that is, one truly wants
> such tests to succeed.
>
> 2. The complaint is made that such tests are typically or often
> "inconclusive," and therefore not of consequence or value. But isn't
> that missing the whole point. - The fact that listeners have difficulty
> in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit sells
> for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial interest
> and value to many audiophiles. Among other factors, including one's own
> listening experience, it can reveal which components, or upgrades, may
> be likely to produce the most audible improvements, and at what price.
> (And, such reviews and reports by others are of importance to many of us
> who don't live in a major metropolitan area or have the budget and time
> to travel to varous dealers and shows. - Although I do listen to major
> components, particularly speakers, before making a purchase, the usual
> recommendation that everyone should listen carefully to every component
> of interest is often impracticable.)
>
> 3. The suggestion that the performance of audio components is really a
> matter of personal, subjective taste, much like the difference between
> orchestras, musicians, etc., is highly misleading. If we are talking
> about high fidelity audio, that is. Music, and our preferences therein,
> are subjective, but the wires, transistors,resistors, magnets, and
> acoustics entailed in reproducing music are governed by the laws of
physics.
>
> 4. As a long-time Sterephile subscriber, I would challenge the editors
> to submit the following question to their subscribers: Would you like to
> see more tests of at least some audio components in which at least
> portions of the listening tests and evaluations were performed under
> conditions in which the reviewers didn't know what component they were
> listening to, or it's price? Note that I am not suggesting that the
> tests have to be totally DBT a la Arnie's system, or the like, but
> merely that they be listening tests in which the reviewer isn't told
> what component he or she is listening to at least part of the time.) To
> sidestep one of the usual objections, I would suggest that you add a
> question inquiring whether the listener would be willing to pay a few
> dollars more to cover the costs of such tests. I would also suggest
> that your poll or inquiry be conducted without your usual propoganda
> about the limitations and uncertainty of such tests.
>

Jim, those are absolutely good questions. The problem is, even with
modifications it is easy to construct a theoretical model suggesting that
the testing process itself destroys the ability to measure musical response.
The way around this is to use testing which simulates normal relaxed
listening (as closely as possible). Listen, relax, enjoy (or not). Then
evaluate. Period. Ideally, you should not even know what is being tested.
However this approach requires multiple testees (dozens, better hundreds)
and the time and location to do such testing. Let me describe an actual
example.

Some researchers in Japan used such an approach to measure the impact of
ultrasonic response on listeners ratings of reproduced music. They
constructed a testing room with an armchair, soft lighting, a soothing
outdoor view, and very carefully constructed audio system employing separate
amps and supertweeters for the ultrasonics. The testees knew only that they
were to listen to the music, and afterward fill out a simple questionnaire.

Employing Gamelan music (chosen for its abundance of overtones), they found
statistical significance at the 95% level between music reproduced with a
20khz cutoff and that reproduced with frequencies extending up to 80khz.
They measured not only overall quality of the sound ratings, but also
specific attributes...some also statistically significant. When they
presented the paper to the AES, the skepticism was so severe they went back
and repeated the test...this time they wired the subjects and monitored
their brains but otherwise they were just told to listen to the music and
various aspects of the brain were recorded. They found that the pleasure
centers of the brain were activated when the overtones were used, and were
not activated when the 20khz cutoff was used. They also were not activated
when listening to silence, used as a control. Moreover, the correlation
with the earlier test was statistically significant (about half the subjects
were repeaters).

When I presented the data here, Arny Kruger who was posting here at the time
and is the main champion of ABX testing on the web, became defensive. At
first he tried to dismiss the test as "old news". Then he claimed he found
evidence that the ultrasonic frequencies affected the upper regions of the
hearing range (despite the researchers specific attempts to defeat this
possibility). Then he dismissed the whole thing as worthless because it
hadn't been corroborated (this was only a few months after it was
published).

Perhaps Arny's reaction was typically human when strongly held beliefs and
conventional wisdom are challenged. But Arny missed the main point. That
point was that monadic testing, under relaxed conditions and with*no*
comparison or even "rating" during the test, gave statistically significant
results. And that these results were not a statistical aberration, but were
repeated and correlated with a physiological response to music. So whether
Army's belief in sub-ultrasonic corruption is true or not, the fact is the
testing yielded differences to a stimulus that was supposedly inaudible, and
if audible, subtle in the extreme.

I and a few others have been arguing that some similar test protocol was
more likely to correlate with in-home experience. The problem is, even if
we are right, such testing is too cumbersome to be of any real world use
except in special showcase scenarios...it is not practical for reviewing, or
for choosing audio equipment in the home. However, it does certainly
suggest caution in substituting AB or ABX testing. Such testing is
radically different in the underlying conditions, and since the musical
response of the ear/brain complex is so subtle and unpredictable and mis- or
un- understood, it is simply too simplistic to assert that what works for
testing using white noise or audio codecs works for overall open-ended
musical evaluation of equipment. That is why some of us prefer to stay with
conventional audio evaluation given the Hobson's choice.

I hope this helps you understand that I have a reason for being skeptical of
DBT's. Even more important, why I believe it is intellectually dishonest to
promote them as the be-all and end-all for determining audio "truth", as is
done here on RAHE by some. They are a tool...useful in some
cases...unproven in others. Until that later qualifier is removed, I think
overselling them does a disservice and can be classified as "brainwashing".
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 9:24:58 PM

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

<Theporkygeorge@aol.com> wrote in message
news:D 636j106bi@news4.newsguy.com...
> Jim Cate wrote:
>> Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the following
> (to
>> me, obvious) questions:
>>
>> 1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular DB test,
>> shouldn't the proper response be to devise improvements to or
>> modifications of the testing method instead of deriding the whole
>> concept of blind testing?

Let's put it this way: John Atkinson HAS to believe as he does in order to
hold his job as the editor of a high-end stereo magazine. It's easier to
change your views from objective to subjective than it is to find another
decent job. People believe what they must believe to hold their position in
society. You can't be a narc without supporting the laws proscribing
narcotics.

Norm Strong
Anonymous
May 14, 2005 11:41:29 PM

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

"Jim, those are absolutely good questions. The problem is, even with
modifications it is easy to construct a theoretical model suggesting that
the testing process itself destroys the ability to measure musical
response."

That is a theory and merely posing it gains no support for it's validity.
As a theory it can be tested. While not a test of it per sey, the fact
that such testing is universal and unchallendged as to validity in 99
percent of all other situations where humans are involved would lead one
to think testing it a not meaningful gesture. It too is fammiliar in 99
ppercent of the anti/un scientific theories of astrology, esp, etc.
wherein testing has directed results under cutting closely held folk
models of reality.
Anonymous
May 15, 2005 8:01:16 PM

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

"Employing Gamelan music (chosen for its abundance of overtones), they
found statistical significance at the 95% level between music reproduced
with a 20khz cutoff and that reproduced with frequencies extending up to
80khz. They measured not only overall quality of the sound ratings, but
also specific attributes...some also statistically significant. When they
presented the paper to the AES, the skepticism was so severe they went
back and repeated the test...this time they wired the subjects and
monitored their brains but otherwise they were just told to listen to the
music and various aspects of the brain were recorded. They found that the
pleasure centers of the brain were activated when the overtones were used,
and were not activated when the 20khz cutoff was used. They also were not
activated when listening to silence, used as a control. Moreover, the
correlation"


Assuming validity, this is a perfect example in favor of testing using
listening alone. The test could have been simplified. Leaving aside
"quality" etc. which is in many ways irrelevant as to the validity of
listening alone testing, they need only have tested for having heard a
difference, any difference. If found, the source of the difference could
have been explored. Having shown brain reaction to ultrasonic signals the
next step is to exclude the very real possibility that resonances within
the nasal cavity and skull etc. were not excited. This is needed because
there is firm grounds to hold a 20 k cut off via eardrum based on testing.
This test should have every subjective advocate nodding their heads in
agreement and it doesn't undermine the listening alone benchmark of
testing showing no difference in amps, wire, cd players, etc. in the
least; it supports it. I will never be afraid of such testing and we
should have more of it.
Anonymous
May 15, 2005 8:11:55 PM

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

On 13 May 2005 15:55:32 GMT, Jim Cate <jimcate@pdq.net> wrote:

>The fact that listeners have difficulty
>in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit sells
>for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial interest
>and value to many audiophiles.

The point is that virtually all listeners DO hear the quality
differences between a $400 set and a $4000 set. If a certain person
belongs to the tiny minority who doesn't hear the difference, then he
should buy the simple piece of equipment. Unless of course he wants to
buy a B & O from Denmark. people buy B & O for the looks, it's a
sculpture, an objet d'art that happens to emanate sound.

>but the wires, transistors,resistors, magnets, and
>acoustics entailed in reproducing music are governed by the laws of physics.

Yes. And as those parts are not ideal types in the scientific meaning
of the notion "ideal type", but real things, they sound differently
when constructed differently. A cap is never a cap with this or that
value.

Everything in nature is governed by the laws of physics, there is no
magic about it. However many things cannot be measured and computed
readily. Simple things can, complex things cannot.

Fortunately the behaviour of an audio system can be registered, so
that the result can be replayed ad libitum, by designing a careful
setup with specially designed measurement microphones. This is the way
some speaker builders do their research.

Curiously this is never done in the magazines. Curiously this is never
done by one Arny Krueger or other objectivist advocates.

It seems to me that nobody cares for the physical data, for objective
empirical research.

Ernesto.

"You don't have to learn science if you don't feel
like it. So you can forget the whole business if
it is too much mental strain, which it usually is."

Richard Feynman
Anonymous
May 15, 2005 8:24:58 PM

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

On 14 May 2005 17:24:58 GMT, <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:

>Let's put it this way: John Atkinson HAS to believe as he does in order to
>hold his job as the editor of a high-end stereo magazine. It's easier to
>change your views from objective to subjective than it is to find another
>decent job. People believe what they must believe to hold their position in
>society. You can't be a narc without supporting the laws proscribing
>narcotics.

I personally believe that you can only write for an audio magazine in
an anecdotal way. When they test equipment, it's not a rigorous,
scientific test. But why should it be? We never ask Gardener's World
to do rigorous tests. We never ask car magazines to do rigorous tests.
We nver ask yachting magazines to do rigorous tests.

My problem is that NOBODY is doing rigorous tests. Not even at the
universities. The humble science of measurement and computation is not
applied to audio, it seems.

Ernesto.

"You don't have to learn science if you don't feel
like it. So you can forget the whole business if
it is too much mental strain, which it usually is."

Richard Feynman
Anonymous
May 15, 2005 11:18:48 PM

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

normanstrong@comcast.net wrote:
> <Theporkygeorge@aol.com> wrote in message
> news:D 636j106bi@news4.newsguy.com...
> > Jim Cate wrote:
> >> Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the
> > following (to me, obvious) questions:
> >>
> >> 1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular
> >> DB test, shouldn't the proper response be to devise
> >> improvements to or modifications of the testing method
> >> instead of deriding the whole concept of blind testing?

Mr. Cate should note that I didn't _deride_ the whole concept
of blind testing at the debate. Instead I stated, correctly,
that the vast majority of published blind tests that have been
cited as "proving" that, for example, amplifiers under normal
conditions of use do not sound different from one another
have had methodolical and/or organizational problems.

Please note that I published the recording of the debate to
prevent people from being able to misrepresent what Arny Krueger
and I actually said.

> Let's put it this way: John Atkinson HAS to believe as he does
> in order to hold his job as the editor of a high-end stereo
> magazine. It's easier to change your views from objective to
> subjective than it is to find another decent job.

Norm, I have always responded to your questions with respect
and truthfulness, so I am taken back by the fact that you now
appear to be accusing me of dishonesty. The change from
"objectivist" to "subjectivist" I described in the debate
was true . As I mentioned, due both to the arrogance of
youth and my career as a research scientist, I was a hard-line
objectivist who was certain back in the 1970s that no audible
differences existed between amplifiers. To have to admit that
my opinion was incorrect as a result of the experience I
described at the debate neither happened overnight nor did it
happen without a great deal of soul-searching. It also
happened years before I became the editor of a hi-fi magazine

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile
Anonymous
May 17, 2005 5:11:51 AM

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

On 15 May 2005 16:11:55 GMT, ernstr@xs4all.nl (Ernst Raedecker) wrote:

>On 13 May 2005 15:55:32 GMT, Jim Cate <jimcate@pdq.net> wrote:
>
>>The fact that listeners have difficulty
>>in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit sells
>>for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial interest
>>and value to many audiophiles.
>
>The point is that virtually all listeners DO hear the quality
>differences between a $400 set and a $4000 set.

If you're talking about amps and CD players, then that statement is
simply not true - leaving aside overpriced rubbish such as Audio Note
which is deliberately broken.

> If a certain person
>belongs to the tiny minority who doesn't hear the difference, then he
>should buy the simple piece of equipment. Unless of course he wants to
>buy a B & O from Denmark. people buy B & O for the looks, it's a
>sculpture, an objet d'art that happens to emanate sound.
>
>>but the wires, transistors,resistors, magnets, and
>>acoustics entailed in reproducing music are governed by the laws of physics.
>
>Yes. And as those parts are not ideal types in the scientific meaning
>of the notion "ideal type", but real things, they sound differently
>when constructed differently. A cap is never a cap with this or that
>value.

No, caps and especially cables do *not* sound different, whatever you
may care to claim. There remains a considerable pool of money waiting
for anyone who can prove otherwise.

>Everything in nature is governed by the laws of physics, there is no
>magic about it. However many things cannot be measured and computed
>readily. Simple things can, complex things cannot.

Audio equipment is a simple thing in this regard. I have *never* heard
an audible difference which could not be traced to some easily
measurable parameter.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 5:18:50 AM

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

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
> On 15 May 2005 16:11:55 GMT, ernstr@xs4all.nl (Ernst Raedecker)
wrote:
>
> >On 13 May 2005 15:55:32 GMT, Jim Cate <jimcate@pdq.net> wrote:
> >
> >>The fact that listeners have difficulty
> >>in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit
sells
> >>for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial
interest
> >>and value to many audiophiles.
> >
> >The point is that virtually all listeners DO hear the quality
> >differences between a $400 set and a $4000 set.
>
> If you're talking about amps and CD players, then that statement is
> simply not true - leaving aside overpriced rubbish such as Audio Note
> which is deliberately broken.



Actually I have had the pleasure of listening to an all Audio Note
system. It worked just fine. I thought it did not offer the best value
for the performance but it certainly worked and it sounded very good. I
can assure you that their products are not "deliberately broken."




Scott Wheeler
Anonymous
May 18, 2005 5:25:12 AM

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

On 14 May 2005 17:24:58 GMT, <normanstrong@comcast.net> wrote:



>Let's put it this way: John Atkinson HAS to believe as he does in order to
>hold his job as the editor of a high-end stereo magazine. It's easier to
>change your views from objective to subjective than it is to find another
>decent job. People believe what they must believe to hold their position in
>society. You can't be a narc without supporting the laws proscribing
>narcotics.

Why not, Norman? Based on the number of narcs prosecuted and convicted
for corruption you certainly can do things you don't believe in. I
would venture that if what you say is true the entire corporate world
and the legal system would freeze up overnight - perhaps most of the
modern world. What a statement - "people believe what they must
believe in order to hold their position in society.". Now, if you'd
said people must APPEAR to believe what they must believe ... I could
go along.
Anonymous
May 19, 2005 4:08:43 AM

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

On 18 May 2005 01:18:50 GMT, Theporkygeorge@aol.com wrote:

>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>> On 15 May 2005 16:11:55 GMT, ernstr@xs4all.nl (Ernst Raedecker)
>wrote:
>>
>> >On 13 May 2005 15:55:32 GMT, Jim Cate <jimcate@pdq.net> wrote:
>> >
>> >>The fact that listeners have difficulty
>> >>in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit
>sells
>> >>for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial
>interest
>> >>and value to many audiophiles.
>> >
>> >The point is that virtually all listeners DO hear the quality
>> >differences between a $400 set and a $4000 set.
>>
>> If you're talking about amps and CD players, then that statement is
>> simply not true - leaving aside overpriced rubbish such as Audio Note
>> which is deliberately broken.
>
>Actually I have had the pleasure of listening to an all Audio Note
>system. It worked just fine. I thought it did not offer the best value
>for the performance but it certainly worked and it sounded very good. I
>can assure you that their products are not "deliberately broken."

They recommend low-power single ended triode amplifiers - definitely
broken - which is why they were replaced in the 1920s! However, my
comment was specifically aimed at their DAC, which has no
reconstruction filter. This was a conscious choice by Peter Qvortrup,
and the reconstruction filter is an *essential* part of the A/D-D/A
process, so that player is deliberately broken.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
May 21, 2005 4:59:56 AM

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

Stereophile_Editor@Compuserve.com wrote:

> normanstrong@comcast.net wrote:
>
>><Theporkygeorge@aol.com> wrote in message
>>news:D 636j106bi@news4.newsguy.com...
>>
>>>Jim Cate wrote:
>>>
>>>>Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the
>>>
>>>following (to me, obvious) questions:
>>>
>>>>1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular
>>>>DB test, shouldn't the proper response be to devise
>>>>improvements to or modifications of the testing method
>>>>instead of deriding the whole concept of blind testing?
>
>
> Mr. Cate should note that I didn't _deride_ the whole concept
> of blind testing at the debate. Instead I stated, correctly,
> that the vast majority of published blind tests that have been
> cited as "proving" that, for example, amplifiers under normal
> conditions of use do not sound different from one another
> have had methodolical and/or organizational problems.
>
> Please note that I published the recording of the debate to
> prevent people from being able to misrepresent what Arny Krueger
> and I actually said.
>


And Mr. Atkinson should note that I did not, in fact, state that he had
derided the whole concept of blind testing at the debate. However, the
policies and practices of Stereophile over the years have substantially
done so. (Maybe I missed them, but how many Stereophile reviews in the
past 10 years have published the results of blind tests with methodology
generally approved by Stereophile? - Thirty? Fifteen maybe? Perhaps 10
or so? Five?) And how many articles have been published explaining the
potential benefits to the readers of blind testing under at least some
circumstances?

Jim
Anonymous
May 26, 2005 4:24:48 AM

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

On 13 May 2005 15:55:32 GMT, in article <d62ilk0emt@news1.newsguy.com>, Jim Cate
stated:
>
>Reading the above excerpts from the DBT debate, I have the following (to
>me, obvious) questions:
>
>1. If there are issues with the methodology of a particular DB test,
>shouldn't the proper response be to devise improvements to or
>modifications of the testing method instead of deriding the whole
>concept of blind testing? For example, if the listening times are too
>short, in your opinion, wouldn't extending the listening times be the
>logical response? If instruments for converting the signal are deemed
>questionable or unreliable, wouldn't modifing the instruments, or
>removing them and using simple switching circuitry and
>level balancing, be a logical response? - If, that is, one truly wants
>such tests to succeed.
>

I think the point that double blind tests are too time consuming is a canard.

Not every product review need include a double blind test.

Instead, double blind tests should be conducted every so often. In that way,
the time required can be devoted to them. Even though every product won't be
tested that way, the results of those tests can help consumers of product
reviews evaluate the likely reliability of the subjective reviews. If double
blind tests consistently show that listeners can't distinguish certain products,
subject claims can be evaluated in that light. If they show otherwise, so be
it.

>2. The complaint is made that such tests are typically or often
>"inconclusive," and therefore not of consequence or value. But isn't
>that missing the whole point. - The fact that listeners have difficulty
>in distinguishing one unit from another, particularly if one unit sells
>for $400 and the other sells for $4,000, can be of substantial interest
>and value to many audiophiles.

I agree. The fact that no difference can be detected is not inconclusive -- it
is a conclusion, and it is valuable information.

>3. The suggestion that the performance of audio components is really a
>matter of personal, subjective taste, much like the difference between
>orchestras, musicians, etc., is highly misleading. If we are talking
>about high fidelity audio, that is. Music, and our preferences therein,
>are subjective, but the wires, transistors,resistors, magnets, and
>acoustics entailed in reproducing music are governed by the laws of physics.

That's true. And since there are major financial ramifications to judgments
about wires and transistors, we should know if there are actual differences. If
in lieu of spending an extra $10,000 I should rather drink a couple of glasses
of red wine before listening, I'd like to know that.

>4. As a long-time Sterephile subscriber, I would challenge the editors
>to submit the following question to their subscribers: Would you like to
>see more tests of at least some audio components in which at least
>portions of the listening tests and evaluations were performed under
>conditions in which the reviewers didn't know what component they were
>listening to, or it's price?

That's an absolutely great idea.
Anonymous
May 27, 2005 3:47:49 AM

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

gofab.com wrote:
> I guess you've raised another point -- before we answer the question of what
> Stereophile should do, we need to answer the question of what is Stereophile's
> mission and to whom does it owe its allegiances. Manufacturers or consumers?
> Is Stereophile an industry publication and thus, essentially, propoganda? Or is
> it journalism?
>
> Most likely the answer is somewhere in the middle. Maybe what Stereophile is,
> is a compromise, finely honed over the years, between the competing demands
> posed by these poles.

Oh, no, it's not a compromise at all. Like all for-profit publications,
Stereophile seeks to provide content that will appeal to large numbers
of readers considered desirable by the advertisers. In other words, it
needs both readers who believe in snake oil and advertisers who sell
it.

bob
____________

"Further carefully-conducted blind tests will be necessary
if these conclusions are felt to be in error."
--Stanley P. Lipshitz
Anonymous
May 28, 2005 12:59:47 AM

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

nabob33@hotmail.com wrote:
> gofab.com wrote:
> > I guess you've raised another point -- before we answer the question of what
> > Stereophile should do, we need to answer the question of what is Stereophile's
> > mission and to whom does it owe its allegiances. Manufacturers or consumers?
> > Is Stereophile an industry publication and thus, essentially, propoganda? Or is
> > it journalism?
> >
> > Most likely the answer is somewhere in the middle. Maybe what Stereophile is,
> > is a compromise, finely honed over the years, between the competing demands
> > posed by these poles.
>
> Oh, no, it's not a compromise at all. Like all for-profit publications,
> Stereophile seeks to provide content that will appeal to large numbers
> of readers considered desirable by the advertisers. In other words, it
> needs both readers who believe in snake oil and advertisers who sell
> it.
>


Sorry but that is just a bunch of balony. The history of Stereophile is
well documented. It was founded by J Gordon Holt in reaction to hifi
magazines of the time (objectivst magazines) to provide an alternative
approach to audio reviewing in which the reviews were based on actual
usage. Stereophile grew over the years using this approach to audio
review. Obviously the subscribers to Stereophile were audiophiles who
shared J. Gordon Holt's lack of satisfaction with established
objectivist audio publications. There were no advertisements in
Stereophile for years. So obviously the readership was established
before any adveretisers were in place. Just because some one feels that
the established MO to hifi review from the objectist magazines was not
satisfactory does not mean they believe in snake oil.





Scott Wheeler
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