Integrated better than separates? I think so...

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by ODS123, Mar 10, 2018.

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  1. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    On one hand, that's good, because it's meant to be a fun hobby, not a rigorous endeavour.

    On the other hand, audio could do with a little more scientific method, at least comparable to the automotive hobby's use of dynamometer testing. Flawed as it may be, it has all but eliminated subjective "seat of the pants" claims of power improvements. The audio equivalent is (ideally, double-) blind testing, but few use it even though we know listening reports are no better at identifying subtle audio quality differences than one's arse-'n'-eyeballs are at measuring horsepower.
     
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  2. Ds2000

    Ds2000 All About every cool stereo component. Subscriber

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    Which op amps did you use? I may be looking to swap the BB opa2134pa, they’re not a good match for the circuit in my player.
     
  3. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    462B4B9E-10C8-431A-B40C-037FB607E9E3.jpeg 1D97DC45-13BB-461D-99D0-E978BC252658.jpeg
     
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  4. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    There have been many who have worked to correlate measured performance to what we perceive. Richard C Heyser was an early pioneer whose words continue to ring true today:

    “Perhaps more than any other discipline, audio engineering involves not only purely objective characterization but also subjective interpretations. It is the listening experience, that personal and most private sensation, which is the intended result of our labors in audio engineering. No technical measurement, however glorified with mathematics, can escape that fact.”

    Today, John Atkinson of Stereophile runs a rigorous set of measurements for reviewed components in that same pursuit. While some measurements like frequency response succeed, other simplistic ones like THD fail miserably to deliver useful knowledge. There is no magic involved - only that which we don't fully understand. The perceptual senses are far more complex than your example of test gear where the result has no qualitative aspects. The resulting metrics simply are.

    Similarly, Floyd Toole spent his career attempting to quantify what makes a truly good speaker. His research on uniform directivity has helped illuminate a very important aspect to delivering realism. Which is one reason why I've been a full range electrostat enthusiast. What you hear is cut from a single cloth. One pebble in the pond.

    Are we to the point where any analysis of test results can fully describe what experienced music lovers perceive? Not even close. Still much work to be done.
     
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  5. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    Follow the link provided in post #201 for full details.
     
  6. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Having actually had to teach people to listen on some really great playback equipment ( 25 or so a month over 3 years). IMO no amount of measuring or science will define what people hear. Class of 10 people maybe 2 on a average had the chops to pick out differences.
     
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  7. ODS123

    ODS123 Well-Known Member

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    Are you suggesting that these designers provide evidence about op-amps that support your claims that changing them leads to audible improvements? ..I'd love to see it. Though i love my Mac amp I (sadly) don't think McIntosh is any more interested in supporting their claims w/ validity testing than any other high-end company. ..If they did, they'd sell a mere fraction of their gear and would sell only to those like me who appreciate the build quality, aesthetic and features (ie., tone controls, mono) but otherwise don't believe it to sound better than any other modern day amp that is operating w/ in it's limits for power.
     
  8. ODS123

    ODS123 Well-Known Member

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    I pine for the day when people who buy audio gear require the same sort of proof of improvement that the FDA expects of Pharma companies seeking approval for a new med. With Pharma, claims about this molecule working better than that molecule (kinda like the banter hear about electrons) mean NOTHING. What matters is whether a statistically significant percentage of those who don't know whether or not they are taking the new med (i.e., are "blinded") report an improvement in symptoms. In otherwords, they take the necessary steps to make sure the improvements are real and not imagined. In audio, we pretend such testing would be impossible to conduct. ..nonsense. As I said, this mentality keeps our hobby from being fully respected. .
     
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  9. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    Hmmm. You previously complained about my presenting "a lot of techy sounding jargon" and yet that is what you want to find? Ok. Click here for a great document to digest about nonlinear distortion, it's causes and effects. Note that most op amps have from 60 to 100 db of open loop gain which must be reduced using 40-60 db of corrective feedback.

    Maybe one day you'll chill out and learn to listen. All you need do is audition the products their decades of experience have culminated in. Then perhaps you'll understand.
     
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  10. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I don’t think it really would matter. People are going to hear what they hear and like what they like. Plus having done a lot of measuring of other electronics, you can always get the results your trying to achieve. And once the marketing people thier spin on it...
     
  11. ODS123

    ODS123 Well-Known Member

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    But I'm not talking about measurements, there's already TOO much of that. I'm talking about proving Amp A sounds better than Amp B by showing how a group of sample listeners chose A over B a statically significant number of times in a (and here's the key) BLINDED listening test. ..It doesn't count if the group knows A is "supposed" to have tighter bass or better "PRAT" (I get sick a little in my mouth when I see that term). ..It's got to be a blinded comparison.. ..Just like what happens w/ demonstrating drug safety and efficacy.
     

     

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  12. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    I think you'll find a number of manufacturers do blind testing on their own. Pass does. Magnepan does. Van Alstine does. Harman does. Many do. It's how they determine whether a change is truly better. The end result is whether or not customers choose their products over their competitors.

    The challenge, however, is that blind testing in medicinal trials bears no resemblance to audio DBTs for a number of reasons:

    1. In medicine the training, experience and test-taking abilities of the subjects do NOT affect the results of the test.

    In audio they all DO. So it is as much of a test of the listeners than differences between the components alone. Harman, for example, trains their speaker evaluators who use the "shuffler". In a world of imperfection, preference continues to play a big part. Are your preferences the same as trained listeners who consistently observe differences?

    2. In medicine, the participants don't compare anything. There are administered either the the control or a placebo.

    In audio, however, one must make a forced choice between two different DUT.

    3. In medicine the tests have been scientifically validated for this use.

    In blind audio component comparisons, there has been NO validation. The sensitivity of the tests for different sonic parameters has not been determined. That's because the sensitivity changes with each subject (see #1).

    I was fortunate to have two mentors from an early age who exposed me to a wide range of gear and taught me about music appreciation. And yet, my gear preferences are different from either one. Each of us hears the same thing - its how we prioritize those results that differs and part of that has to do with the music we like most.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  13. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I don’t feel it can be done, what you find terrible I may like. Look at Klispch speakers. Would be great in a prefect world but After trying to teach “listening” I am a skeptic. That statistic wouldn’t really mean anything IMHO.

    :beerchug:
     
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  14. ODS123

    ODS123 Well-Known Member

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    Sorry but i think that's a cop out. It would be easy for a manufacturer to gather musicians - let's say 20 string musicians from a top US orchestra - and play recorded violin music (perhaps even there own recorded) and ask them, "which of these two amps (or speakers, or cables, or DACs, etc..) sounds more like real music?" You may quibble about whether violin music is the best choice, or whether the playback speakers are "revealing enough" etc. etc.. but you can't tell me that audiophiles would not interested in reading the results of that test. Of course they would. Good Luck getting a gear company to do this however. So, instead of these tests you get gear reviewers who wax poetic without ANY validity controls whatsoever.
     
  15. E-Stat

    E-Stat Addicted Member

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    In passing perhaps. It would have no bearing on my evaluation of gear.

    Ironically, some of the least discriminating evaluators of audio gear are professional musicians. One of my mentors is a member of a major symphony chorus and has introduced me to a number of those folks. You might be surprised at the level of gear many of them actually use. :)
     
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  16. ODS123

    ODS123 Well-Known Member

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    Reading white papers only predisposes someone to possibly imagining differences that aren't there. ..I don't want to do that. ..Just let me hear both amps side by side without knowing which is being played and I'll decide if I can hear the huge improvement in whatever (insert audio term here).

    To go back to the Pharma analogy. Doctors (good ones, anyway) don't care about a purported mechanism of action that makes one COPD inhaler better than another. They regard such discussions as being tainted by marketing buzzwords and language. They care mostly about outcome data that demonstrates one inhaler improved lung functioning more than the other while not increasing adverse events. In the audio world, our attention should be on whether people can REALLY hear the improvement not on the technical reasons that may or may not lead to the improvement.
     

     

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  17. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    I get what you are saying, that we should be able to abx everything in life to find the best solution to any given problem.. Drug companies do it for the most part, but not always are successful. Some pill or therapy that is meant to fix cancer might be pretty convincing, but what if the drug is meant to make your depression go away? Starts to get subjective really fast, and try abx'ing that with any degree of accuracy.

    OK, on abx testing involving the 5 seances. Not all of these are cut and dried for a number of reasons, but some are better than others. Taste, I couldn't do what wine tasters do. Same with smell, but I do pretty well at the optometrist with the "better/worse/about the same" questions, but really how accurate am I with that? Sometimes, when I can read that bottom line with a couple different lens settings it becomes less certain which is actually "the best".

    With hearing, I think it matters a great deal in how well a person listens. My wife could no more tell a 64k mp3 from a 24/192 hi rez file. She doesn't care either. She obviously would not be successful at telling the small minutia of which amp sounds best, integrated or separates. However some can I believe tell a great deal what sounds better. I probably fall short on this, but I do have some sense of it. Some will no doubt have better ears than others, better listening skills, maybe that can go beyond the mathematics.

    OK, they should be able to prove it by ABX, but does the brain immediately interpret the minute differences or do they require time that someone else flipping switches likely wont have to devote to the test?. I have noticed with DAC's in particular that it takes time, as in maybe a few weeks to full realize the difference I am hearing. I start thinking it is just my imagination, and then I will plug back in my old DAC and listen for a while. I find it easier at that point to notice its limitations. Unfortunately I don't have a good way to do actual ABX testing on it, nor do I have any inclination to do so. This hobby is actually for enjoyment, and if ABX'ing audio is what gives enjoyment then I have no judgement, but for me it is music first, and I want to be happy with its delivery system is all.
     
  18. GChief

    GChief AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Agree 100%! But you’ll like what you like and I will like what I like. Human physiology really needs to be taken into account, ear, sinuses, bone density etc. at least that’s what I was taught when taking over the Arual Recongniton Class. The Navy has done decades of research on this. No different than different rooms according most that I read. I actually just tried finding some of the studies I had to research back then but couldn’t find them on the inter webs.
     
    Last edited: Mar 13, 2018
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  19. Gibsonian

    Gibsonian Super Member

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    I might be interested in participating as a test subject in a combo drug/audio setting........
     
  20. DaveVoorhis

    DaveVoorhis Super Member

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    ABX testing involving the 5 seances ... ?

    Is that a Freudian Slap? :D
     
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