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Launch of Pono Studio Headphones
Old 24th March 2014
  #1711
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
The ultrasonic information is delivered by bone conduction, is it not?...
Quote:
...Direct vibration of the brain can be communicated to the cochlea via intracranial fluid conduction [13,14], a pathway proposed by Ranke [11] more than 60 years ago and termed the third window by Tonndorf and Tabor [12]. Thus, transmission of airborne ultrasonic frequencies through the eye to the ear via intracranial fluid conduction helps to explain two mysteries in the human extended range of hearing...
...The eye window is a functional vibration pathway through the brain to the ear via intracranial fluid conduction...
Source: ITJ - The International Tinnitus Journal - Eyes as Fenestrations to the Ears: A Novel Mechanism for High-Frequency and Ultrasonic Hearing
Old 24th March 2014
  #1712
Gear Addict
I've stayed out of the "scientific" debate until now, just because I'm not a DSP guru and it's not the main point of Pono as I see it, but I'd like to throw my thoughts out there.

Those of us who remember when CDs first came out may be experiencing déjà vu, because the debate is the same now as it was then. Nobody can argue with the math, because it's demonstrably correct. But we don't listen to math, we listen to sounds produced by physical devices. Is it not possible that certain physical devices behave differently under varying conditions? Could this not produce varying sonic effects, which may be perceived by humans? This may be why some say they prefer 192 vs 96 or whatever -- perhaps their DAC produces a more pleasant sound at 192 for some unknown reason. I have no proof of this, but it's something I suspect may be overlooked by those who think the theorems prove that sample rates don't matter at all.

A similar thing was going on at the birth of the CD format. The math was the same and unimpeachable, but other factors such as poor filtering and botched digital transfers were causing many of us to say we still preferred analog and didn't believe the "perfect sound forever" hype. Which resulted in a lot of name-calling, until it was recognized that there were these other flies in the ointment that needed fixing before CDs realized their sonic potential. Which, as of now, seems pretty good! Lots of CDs I own sound fantastic.

Now with hi-res digital, any remaining issues with 16/44.1, known or unknown, and no matter how inconsequential, can be eliminated. Those who want the highest resolution possible, for whatever reason, can have it, thanks to sources like Pono. You don't think you need hi-res? Don't buy it. You'll save a lot of money.

Oh, and one more thing: I could be wrong about all this. heh

Cheers,
Eddie
Old 24th March 2014
  #1713
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
I've stayed out of the "scientific" debate until now, just because I'm not a DSP guru and it's not the main point of Pono as I see it, but I'd like to throw my thoughts out there.

Those of us who remember when CDs first came out may be experiencing déjà vu, because the debate is the same now as it was then. Nobody can argue with the math, because it's demonstrably correct. But we don't listen to math, we listen to sounds produced by physical devices. Is it not possible that certain physical devices behave differently under varying conditions? Could this not produce varying sonic effects, which may be perceived by humans? This may be why some say they prefer 192 vs 96 or whatever -- perhaps their DAC produces a more pleasant sound at 192 for some unknown reason. I have no proof of this, but it's something I suspect may be overlooked by those who think the theorems prove that sample rates don't matter at all.

A similar thing was going on at the birth of the CD format. The math was the same and unimpeachable, but other factors such as poor filtering and botched digital transfers were causing many of us to say we still preferred analog and didn't believe the "perfect sound forever" hype. Which resulted in a lot of name-calling, until it was recognized that there were these other flies in the ointment that needed fixing before CDs realized their sonic potential. Which, as of now, seems pretty good! Lots of CDs I own sound fantastic.

Now with hi-res digital, any remaining issues with 16/44.1, known or unknown, and no matter how inconsequential, can be eliminated. Those who want the highest resolution possible, for whatever reason, can have it, thanks to sources like Pono. You don't think you need hi-res? Don't buy it. You'll save a lot of money.

Oh, and one more thing: I could be wrong about all this. heh

Cheers,
Eddie
Your thinking parallels that of many in the 'scientific camp.' It is the math which we have scientific confidence in -- NOT particular devices, which, of course, are subject to human design flaws and technical limitations.

Of course, that was true back at the dawn of the CD era, too, though far fewer of us were familiar with the mathematical concepts (dependent on our education, of course).

Then, like now, there were loads of marketing claims -- many which started rooted in some sort of scientific basis -- but which were often pried loose from their factual foundations by Sony's and other marketing departments as the 'silver rush' started cranking up for one of the most profitable periods in music industry history.
Old 24th March 2014
  #1714
Much understanding about the human brain and thought processes comes from the study of abnormality - brain damage or dysfunction - rather than a direct studies. If we think about tinnitus and the mechanisms and pathways through which it occurs, we begin to see a far more complex and less understood phenomenon than it would first appear.

Is this proof that Pono sounds better than ABC? Of course not. Is it proof that more research needs to be done before ultrasound can be dismissed as a component in hearing and the appreciation of music? Yes.
Old 24th March 2014
  #1715
Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
Much understanding about the human brain and thought processes comes from the study of abnormality - brain damage or dysfunction - rather than a direct studies. If we think about tinnitus and the mechanisms and pathways through which it occurs, we begin to see a far more complex and less understood phenomenon than it would first appear.

Is this proof that Pono sounds better than ABC? Of course not. Is it proof that more research needs to be done before ultrasound can be dismissed as a component in hearing and the appreciation of music? Yes.
That sounds like a very reasonable position.

I think it is very clear there is a lot we do not understand about how what we hear is processed in the brain -- and it is utterly fascinating territory for exploration, seems to me.


(PS... I caught up a bit with that one post you'd quoted while I was still editing it. As I noted in the edited post, the notion of hearing damage from ultrasonic exposure to the eyes is fascinating, but, of course, hard to analyze epidemiolgically.)
Old 24th March 2014
  #1716
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Eddie TX View Post
Is it not possible that certain physical devices behave differently under varying conditions? Could this not produce varying sonic effects, which may be perceived by humans? This may be why some say they prefer 192 vs 96 or whatever -- perhaps their DAC produces a more pleasant sound at 192 for some unknown reason.
This can be tested and should be tested. If someone thinks they can tell the difference AND fails at a/b/x testing, then I suggest it's confirmation bias.

If they think they can tell the difference and PASS a/b/x testing then there is something there!

It's also possible there is an x-factor we don't know about and haven't figured out how to measure... but I'm still confused why that x-factor wouldn't influence a/b/x testing.

None of this means there is no difference... it just means it's pointless to solve for the difference (by Pono or anything else) until you understand what the difference is, IF it exists.

Quote:
Now with hi-res digital, any remaining issues with 16/44.1, known or unknown, and no matter how inconsequential, can be eliminated. Those who want the highest resolution possible, for whatever reason, can have it, thanks to sources like Pono. You don't think you need hi-res? Don't buy it. You'll save a lot of money.

Oh, and one more thing: I could be wrong about all this. heh

Cheers,
Eddie
Cheers right back a you Eddie... sounds reasonable to me. I won't buy higher res because I attribute the differences I've noticed to confirmation bias. If others want to buy higher sample rate audio files, go for it... pick up a few $500 interconnects and power cables while you're at it.

I like your last statement... I too could be wrong. But only when I can hear that I'm wrong in a way that eliminates my confirmation bias as a factor will I spend the money.
Old 24th March 2014
  #1717
Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
That sounds like a very reasonable position.
I think it is very clear there is a lot we do not understand about how what we hear is processed in the brain -- and it is utterly fascinating territory for exploration, seems to me.
(PS... I caught up a bit with that one post you'd quoted while I was still editing it. As I noted in the edited post, the notion of hearing damage from ultrasonic exposure to the eyes is fascinating, but, of course, hard to analyze epidemiolgically.)
Thanks theblue1 - appreciate your comments.
Yeah - the tinnitus study isn't of much relevance to Pono (only to demonstrate an ultrasound pathway and mechanism). The bone conduction pathway is interesting though...a study of headphones which work normally but also transmit ultrasound through the bones could offer some insight; it could be a factor in reproducing sounds more realistically...or not.

When I studied this topic (around a decade ago) researchers had discovered that the combined firing of neurons in the brain created patterns of ultrasound (and external ultrasound sources will interact with the brain); this is why the patents exist on the technology - it works but wasn't used commercially as the public weren't ready to accept the technology (10 years ago). I'm out of that loop now but still interested enough that any form of technology sufficiently advanced doesn't become magic.
Old 24th March 2014
  #1718
Gear Guru
 
UnderTow's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Antelope
These are some of the major points in digital audio today. Once an audio signal is transformed into the digital world, it becomes a small piece of information at a time point. By increasing the sample rate and bit depth, you also increase the pieces of information, thus resulting in a more detailed representation of the original analog signal. Bit depth describes the amount of bits of information for each sample. It is addressed directly to the resolution of each sample in digital audio data.
Talk about ambiguous wording. It specifically says "By increasing the sample rate and bit depth" but that is really confusing for people that don't understand digital audio.

Well Antelope do say "Audiophile and pro audio equipment" on their website so they are true to form to what can be expected from an Audiophile company's marketing...

Alistair
Old 25th March 2014
  #1719
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
this was posted in the other thread, it was shot down, and now you are simply pretending that you do not know that this study does not show "ultrasonic perception" as you claim. The first time, maybe you didn't read it with understanding. The second time....

It is clear that the scientists measured ultrasonic vibrations arriving at the location of the ears using their instruments. At no time were the subjects aware of the presence of the ultrasound. They did not "hear" anything. They were totally unaware of the presence of the ultrasound. The authors of the paper go out of their way to state that specifically:

Quote:
The threshold for hearing at 25 kHz is approximately 125 dB SPL [17], and the present stimulus was inaudible, but the induced head vibration was recordable.
they recorded the vibrations of the skulls, with their instruments, the subjects did not perceive it.

the point of the paper in a Tinnitus Journal is that tinnitus might be exacerbated by ultrasound and if so, some ultrasound could arrive PHYSICALLY at the ears even if the ears were plugged.

In essence, this paper is saying that your head is hollow and sound (including ultrasound) can travel through it! The experimenters NOTED that no subject 'heard' any sound.

This does not "explain" ultrasonic perception at all. In fact it puts yet another nail into Ultrasonic Perception's coffin! Because in all the tests for such perception that have gone before - all those tests where humans already tried and failed to hear much above 20kHz, THEY BROUGHT THEIR EYES WITH THEM into the testing space!!! Their eyes did not help them pass the test! To "hear" or even "perceive" the ultrasound.

There is simply no need for a "mechanism" to explain something that _isn't _happening. If human beings can perceive ultrasound through their EYES, wonderful, but wait.... weren't their EYES present in the room when they were taking all those ABX tests? And yet they couldn't perceive the ultrasound then? Were they asked to leave their eyes in a basket by the door? Why do you need to look for an excuse for "how" ultrasound works its magic on us, BEFORE we have even shown "that" it can?? It truly IS Magical Thinking to put this cart before the horse.

Does the fact that these scientists have discovered that the head is hollow and sound waves pass through the eyes to the ears somehow make a retroactive difference to the thousands of people who have already been tested for ultrasonic perception and failed? Do they now get to take the test again expecting 'new results'? Will they do better next time now that they "know" about this new 'mechanism'? Remember to not leave their eyes at home?

What desperate grasping at straws this is! If there is a reason why some people prefer the higher sample rates ultrasonic perception is not it. Very high overtones are a vanishingly smaller and smaller component of the total musical content. When you are listening to your music at such a volume that your speakers are putting out that threshold of 125 dB SPL at 25kHz, the rest of the music would have to be at artillery explosion volume. The last thing you would be thinking about would be sample rate.

You would be thinking about a course in lip reading.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1720
**** I must be the only one on GS that hears a difference in higher sample rates. I don't know or care about the whole science of mechanics of it, but the difference to me is that the higher you go the more it feels like the music is "in the room" with you. Maybe I subconsciously bought into the hype. Meh whatever, I like the higher sample rates and always thought the projects I did in 96 were more pleasing than the ones in 44.1
Old 25th March 2014
  #1721
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James Lehmann's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
**** I must be the only one on GS that hears a difference in higher sample rates. I don't know or care about the whole science of mechanics of it, but the difference to me is that the higher you go the more it feels like the music is "in the room" with you. Maybe I subconsciously bought into the hype. Meh whatever, I like the higher sample rates and always thought the projects I did in 96 were more pleasing than the ones in 44.1
You're not the only one, and if there are people here claiming to know exactly what and how other folks hear I am not one of them.

The main issue is whether you think record companies charging 300% more for an album - i.e. $24.99 instead of $7.99 - is going to be fair and reasonable, once the need for reduced file-size mp3's gradually disappears and CD's die out as a physical delivery medium?
Old 25th March 2014
  #1722
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GJ999x's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
**** I must be the only one on GS that hears a difference in higher sample rates. I don't know or care about the whole science of mechanics of it, but the difference to me is that the higher you go the more it feels like the music is "in the room" with you. Maybe I subconsciously bought into the hype. Meh whatever, I like the higher sample rates and always thought the projects I did in 96 were more pleasing than the ones in 44.1
Do an ABX test on a webcam, adjudicated by someone the sceptics can trust! I dont think we've seen any documented evidence that humans can tell the difference (when it comes to listening to finalised music), so it would be quite groundbreaking if what you're saying is true.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1723
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by joeq View Post
What desperate grasping at straws this is! If there is a reason why some people prefer the higher sample rates ultrasonic perception is not it. Very high overtones are a vanishingly smaller and smaller component of the total musical content.
Agreed. The fascination with "ultrasonic audio" is puzzling at best. Tonal instruments produce such little energy at ultrasonic frequencies that the majority of what's up there can only be called schmutz.

Considering that our ears cannot discern timbre (and can barely discern pitch) at frequencies above 10 kHz, what musical qualities would ultrasonic energy even provide? If it were even possible to perceive, I'd guess it would be terribly annoying at best. Fortunately we cannot perceive it (even with the eye/skin/bone pathways).

Worse still is the idea of trying to deliver all this ultrasonic schmutz with 192 kHz sampling rates. Analog circuit designers have a hard enough time keeping their circuits linear in the 20 to 20 kHz bandwidth; now we're asking them to double that for no good reason!

The whole thing seems almost farcical, like trying to wash a car by driving it into a lake.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1724
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Record companies and stores have always charged whatever the traffic would allow.

The idea that CDs were "too expensive" was tech/consumer electronics industry propaganda intended to provide their customers with a rationalization for looting music to play on new gizmos that nobody would buy if they needed to replace their music collection. CDs were typically sold at or even above list price because most people wouldn't even cross a mall to save a buck on a CD.

It was always entirely about people really wanting a particular CD or not.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1726
That article, while interesting is just speculation that there might be something going on in the subconscious experience, there is no science being done, just a request to do a different type of test.

The problem is, I doubt Neil Young would be willing to take a test like this because what if he doesn't pick Pono. While more expensive than a "conscious ABX" test, it's not like they are testing a new drug. This type of test could easily be set up by the Pono folks to prove their product is a superior listening experience. Same goes for $1,000.00 cables.

Also, his point about AE making small changes others don't consciously hear, while overall true doesn't mean that all those small changes don't make for a very different sounding final product, which is the point of all the small changes.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1727
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Record companies and stores have always charged whatever the traffic would allow.

The idea that CDs were "too expensive" was tech/consumer electronics industry propaganda intended to provide their customers with a rationalization for looting music to play on new gizmos that nobody would buy if they needed to replace their music collection. CDs were typically sold at or even above list price because most people wouldn't even cross a mall to save a buck on a CD.

It was always entirely about people really wanting a particular CD or not.
People I knew cared about what they paid for records. We would drive 30 miles to go to the first discount record stores because we spent so much money on records (and gas, after all, was 15 cents a gallon). Now, to be sure, the cynics among us were pretty sure they would jack their prices when they'd cleared out some of the competition -- but when it was a matter of paying under 3 bucks at the discount store or 5 or 6 for the same record elsewhere and you lived for music, you did what you felt you had to do with the money from your $1.20 an hour job.

This idea that people didn't care about what they paid for their records is from someone else's 1960s. Not mine.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1728
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bandpass's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bogosort View Post
Analog circuit designers have a hard enough time keeping their circuits linear in the 20 to 20 kHz bandwidth; now we're asking them to double that for no good reason!
Here are specs on Sony's "hi-res" amp, TA-A1ES. Looks like they're only giving a distortion figure to 20kHz:

Rated Power Output*
80 W + 80 W
20 Hz to 20 kHz 0.09 % 8 ohms

*Measured under the following conditions:
Power requirements: 230 V AC, 50 Hz/60 Hz

Supported impedance of speakers
4 ohms or higher

Distortion
0.008 %
1 kHz 10 W 8 ohms

Frequency response
10 Hz to 100 kHz ±3 dB (8 ohms)

Input (UNBALANCED)
Sensitivity: 150 mV
Impedance: 47 kohms
S/N ratio: 96 dB (Input short, A, 20 kHz LPF)

Input (BALANCED)
Impedance: 20 kohms / 20 kohms
S/N ratio: 96 dB (Input short, A, 20 kHz LPF)
Old 25th March 2014
  #1729
Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
**** I must be the only one on GS that hears a difference in higher sample rates. I don't know or care about the whole science of mechanics of it, but the difference to me is that the higher you go the more it feels like the music is "in the room" with you. Maybe I subconsciously bought into the hype. Meh whatever, I like the higher sample rates and always thought the projects I did in 96 were more pleasing than the ones in 44.1
You're certainly far from the only person who believes he hears a difference. And, as has been stipulated by science-oriented folks over and over in the thread, there's no reason to think that all converters handle all SR's equally well. There's no reason a given converter couldn't perform better at a given rate than another, for real reasons endemic to that design or perhaps even due to some damage or defect.

It's only math that is perfect. The existence of the ideal does not necessarily mean that, in the real world, attempts to implement the ideal may be less than entirely successful.

(That said, advances in converter design, particularly multi-bit, oversampling designs, have helped mitigate issues relating to anti-alias filter operations that may have indirectly led to variations in performance in older designs.)

That said, we also know that various forms of cognitive bias are pretty much endemic to humans and, in cases where differences are slight or non-existent, that what we expect (or sometimes fear) to find can confuse our perceptions significantly. We also know that many people do not believe they are subject to such cognitive biases -- because they have a naive belief in the primacy and accuracy of their own perception -- 'you can just hear it,' 'anyone with ears,' etc. And, when ABX tests disappoint some of these folks, seeming to reveal that their superhuman hearing is, actually, all too human, some try to suggest that there is a 'problem' with the methodology -- despite the fact that it is one of the primary approaches developed in more than a century of perceptual testing.

So there are a range of possibilities and potential explanations for them.

Last edited by theblue1; 25th March 2014 at 05:40 PM.. Reason: q
Old 25th March 2014
  #1730
Lives for gear
 
nuthinupmysleeve's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
It was always entirely about people really wanting a particular CD or not.
Not for me either.

The funny thing is I spent far more money on iTunes/Amazon downloads than I ever spent on CDs.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1731
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by jasonwagner View Post
That article, while interesting is just speculation that there might be something going on in the subconscious experience, there is no science being done, just a request to do a different type of test.
Agreed. More troubling however is Farmelo's hand-waving of the second commenter's (Taylor Herbert) very good points. According to Farmelo, audiophile claims don't require evidence because hey, it's just a hobby. And placebo effect is "just part of the fun." Perhaps he should reconsider his byline, which reads Allen Farmelo is an engineer. . .
Old 25th March 2014
  #1732
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bogosort's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by bandpass View Post
Here are specs on Sony's "hi-res" amp, TA-A1ES. Looks like they're only giving a distortion figure to 20kHz
It looks worse than that: I read the specs as showing the rated power only to 20 kHz, and the distortion only at 1 kHz. What do you think the distortion figure looks like at 80 kHz?
Old 25th March 2014
  #1733
Reading the Tape Op article ( The Possibility of Subconscious Auditory Effects in Audioworkers - A Case for Renewing Humility and Wonder in the Field of Professional Audio | Tape Op - the Creative Music Recording Magazine ), I'm struck by a few things.

He's quick to 'sum up' what others think without providing any evidence that is is the case at all. As when he writes, "And I’ll go so far as to claim that as a professional community, we express disdain for the idea that there is something measurable going on subconsciously as we listen."

I'm a very science-oriented guy (when it comes to technology and not-in-the-slightest when it comes to art) but that just makes me all the more interested in measurable subconscious effects. Are you kidding? Subconscious effect is one of the most interesting aspects. But since you don't want to go running off making half-baked assumptions from some little only half-understood but 'suggestive' bit of data, it is crucial to not just grasp at what MIGHT be a straw of hope for a cherished personal belief, but, rather to understand the data in the broader context and range of interrelationships.

This is fascinating stuff and I really don't believe other science-oriented types are as incurious about it as he seems to suggest.

Sure, some of us can occasionally get a bit, let's say, reactive when trying to explain the same bit of science for the 100th time to some people, some of whom won't even bother to try to lift a neuron to educate themselves, but that is more a politic problem, a people problem.

Then, he goes on to write:
Quote:
Now, as experts who have trained our ears, we know that a vast majority of people can’t hear most of the small differences that we can hear, yet we still bother to execute those small changes because we believe that indiscernible changes in sound still impact listeners who can’t hear them. This is not belief in magic; this is the belief that even though someone can’t consciously pick those differences out in a Conscious Blind ABX Test something will still register on some level.
But, of course, these changes likely ARE audible to normal humans -- they just may not be noticeable in the average listener's context. If he had the mixer's immersion in the work and engagement with details, then he, too, might well be able to identify those changes in such a test. It's an improper and misguided analogy -- but he really seems to BELIEVE it -- since he doubles down in the next paragraph...
Quote:
We probably don’t really realize that we’re being this sophisticated, but what we mean when we say on some level is that consciously inaudible differences will register with people subconsciously.
He appears to misunderstand the very nature of the concept inaudible! Audible has a very real, definite meaning. It is NOT a synonym for noticeable.
It's a crucial distinction he apparently can't seem to grasp. Rather bizarrely.

It gets better/worse...

Quote:
The pinnacle of this hubristic attitude within the audio-worker community is indeed the hegemonic reverence for the Conscious Blind ABX Test. As we noted above, those tests are cheaper and easier and therefore more common, but those tests also work to affirm that expert listeners have an advantage over non-experts. Yes, one person can reliably discern between A and B and they’ve get the proverbial seal of ‘expert’ stamped onto their proverbial forehead, but if this expert can’t make out a difference, then - well - that difference simply doesn’t matter because it’s been scientifically rendered insignificant.
Is the writer talking about perceptual testing by scientists attempting to determine perceptual behaviors or preferences? Is he talking about making a decision between two pieces of gear, two formats, two media? Is he talking about a given engineer trying to test his own limits of perception?

This is context which is utterly crucial to having half a clue what is in the writer's mind. Sadly, he just runs everything together into one ball of confusion and misaligned logical attempts.

And I'd LOVE to know what basis he has for THIS choice observation:
Quote:
The logical conclusion of this attitude is never stated openly, but if it were it’d go like this: if we experts can hear it, it matters; if we can’t, it’s not important. And then we stop right there claiming that we’ve executed the gold standard of scientific research.
"We experts"? What basis does this guy have for speaking for all recording professionals -- particularly when his observations and his very attempts at logic are so poorly arrived at and delivered? He sure does NOT speak for me. But he keeps trying to put words in my mouth by extension. Yet, I don't buy into the half-baked straw man nonsense he has so far suggested 'we' embrace.

Quote:
Another big problem with the Conscious Blind ABX Testing Paradigm is that it really doesn’t tell me anything I don’t already know as a person who wakes up every day, makes some coffee, and essentially begins a unending series of Conscious ABX Tests on myself as an audioworker. Can I hear a difference between X and Y? Come on - we all pretty much know what we can and can’t reliably hear consciously.
But he's clearly NOT doing ABX tests because he's working with knowledge of his sources unless he undertakes an ABX methodology. There's no sort of ABX. There's no ABX without a clear method and sufficient rigor to produce results in which we can be confident.

He also seems to be willfully ignoring -- or be willfully ignorant of -- the fact that there is nothing preventing ABX testing from being carried out over extended periods. If we are concerned that typical short exposure, detail-oriented listening is somehow skewing our results, we can implement methods that avoid the conditions we feel are skewing the testing.

Now, as I noted at the beginning, I, for one, am fascinated by advanced ways of testing perception. When I was in uni in the 70s, the first brain scan study results were being evaluated and tentatively used in perceptual testing and we studied the nascent field in the grad level cognition class I somehow talked my way into (as a non-psych major! I got into a lot of classes without proper prerequisites in my 3+ years of unmatriculated uni study but that was the peach. ) -- it was clear that there was enormous potential -- but as we've seen from some of the two-step-forward-one-step-back developments in the scan tech sphere in the last few decades, it was a bit too easy for some over-eager boosters of the technology to come to poorly supported conclusions -- and there was a serious attempt to 'recalibrate' (and just throw out) some research in the field. (And it is the Scientific Method's insistence on confirmation of results by successful replication of experiments that is key to Science's self-correcting nature.)

Happily, such research continues and it is, indeed, an increasingly valuable tool. It would be a shame if the writing in this article lead us to dismiss that particular fact. Nor should we let sloppiness of thought and expression blind us to the common sense observation (well supported by science) that there are many levels of consciousness and attention and that bringing focus to ONE arena of attention may well distract from others -- shifting emphasis to or focusing entirely on one arena of conscious attention may well distract us from other facets of our perception. But THAT is precisely the grist of proper experimental design, understanding the lessons of the past and constructing investigations which allow us to confirm and extend what we have learned. It's great that we have new tools to add to our experimental kit, even if it has been a long slog getting to a point where we can use them to test more subtle aspects of perception.


EDIT _____
Quote:
Try to remember that, even as an expert audio-worker, it is not only OK but also a sign of scientific integrity to ask open questions based on curiosity and wonder, even when those questions might run against the grain of current dogma.
Asking questions is, indeed, a sign of curiosity. Scientists are usually by nature curious and, by training, skeptical. So in definite agreement on this point, as I think most science-oriented folks would be.

That said, I have NO idea how a genuine question (as opposed to a bit of rhetoric, yes?) could "run against the grain of current dogma."

Oh, and dogma is an element of formal religion -- it has NO place in real science.
_________

PS... I will give him 10 extra points for using hubristic and hegemonic in the same sentence. I do love my polysyllabia.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1734
@joeq - you can frame the context any way you like but ultrasound is still a component of the process of hearing...the science proves that.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1735
Gear Addict
 
czoli's Avatar
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by theblue1 View Post
You're certainly far from the only person who believes he hears a difference. And, as has been stipulated by science-oriented folks over and over in the thread, there's no reason to think that all converters handle all SR's equally well. There's no reason a given converter couldn't perform better at a given rate than another, for real reasons endemic to that design or perhaps even due to some damage or defect.

It's only math that is perfect. The existence of the ideal does not necessarily mean that, in the real world, attempts to implement the ideal may be less than entirely successful.

(That said, advances in converter design, particularly multi-bit, oversampling designs, have helped mitigate issues relating to anti-alias filter operations that may have indirectly led to variations in performance in older designs.)

That said, we also know that various forms of cognitive bias are pretty much endemic to humans and, in cases where differences are slight or non-existent, that what we expect (or sometimes fear) to find can confuse our perceptions significantly. We also know that many people do not believe they are subject to such cognitive biases -- because they have a naive belief in the primacy and accuracy of their own perception -- 'you can just hear it,' 'anyone with ears,' etc. And, when ABX tests disappoint some of these folks, seeming to reveal that their superhuman hearing is, actually, all too human, some try to suggest that there is a 'problem' with the methodology -- despite the fact that it is one of the primary approaches developed in more than a century of perceptual testing.

So there are a range of possibilities and potential explanations for them.
Could cognitive bias explain the reason why I feel like Prince riding around in my purple Chrysler K-Car which used to be painted red? Didn't I once have a little red corvette not a K-Car?
Old 25th March 2014
  #1736
Quote:
Originally Posted by czoli View Post
Could cognitive bias explain the reason why I feel like Prince riding around in my purple Chrysler K-Car which used to be painted red? Didn't I once have a little red corvette not a K-Car?
Trying to determine that would present some interesting experimental design challenges, I think.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1737
Gear Guru
 

here's the thing about subconscious audio effects

number one conscious or subconscious if they exist, they will register as electrical activity in the brain. Ultrasonic frequencies do not.

number two, conscious or subconscious if they enhance the enjoyment of music in any way, listeners in blinded studies would demonstrate a statistical preference for one over the other. Even if they did not know why. Again with ultrasonics, no such influence has ever been detected. ABX studies are usually forced-choice so that subjects cannot 'pass' if they are unsure. This allows very small, but real influences to be felt over a number of trials.

No such influence has been detected. The idea of it being subconscious still means that it must be felt. There is a difference between "subconscious" and "non-existent". Your beliefs fall into the latter category.

this article is not a scientific paper, it is an essay. A diatribe proclaiming more "reasons" to "explain" phenomena that only exists in some people's placebos. My "sense of wonder" is not attenuated in any way by my refusal to believe in Magic. The real universe we actually live in, the real things our senses can actually perceive are wondrous beyond compare. I actually feel sorry for those for whom the Reality of Existence is apparently so dull that they need to invent Fairies and Unicorns to make it more 'exciting' for them.

Do not tell me that because I look for hard evidence that I have "no sense of wonder". I am not taking that from anybody.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1738
I believe in Magic. Except when it's contradicted by Science.



I'm with joeq -- the world as Science describes it is a LOT more amazing and wonderful than any of the nonsense they tried to feed me in Sunday school. (I only made it two weeks before I begged to be let back into adult services where they talked about ethics, love, spiritual longing... not talking bushes and flying chariots.)
Old 25th March 2014
  #1739
Gear Nut
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by auralart View Post
**** I must be the only one on GS that hears a difference in higher sample rates. I don't know or care about the whole science of mechanics of it, but the difference to me is that the higher you go the more it feels like the music is "in the room" with you. Maybe I subconsciously bought into the hype. Meh whatever, I like the higher sample rates and always thought the projects I did in 96 were more pleasing than the ones in 44.1
You are not the only one. Here is a picture of a 10kHz square wave from my signal generator, digitized at 44.1kHz on a professional ADC and played back on a professional DAC to my oscilloscope (OK that scope WAS professional in 1988 or so).

Launch of Pono-_adb1930.jpg


Here is the original waveform


Launch of Pono-_adb1932.jpg

Remember all those amplifier reviews where the reviewer shows the 10kHz square wave response? With CDs you don't even have to worry about them. With 192kHz you see and hear that it is a square wave once more.
Old 25th March 2014
  #1740
Gear Guru
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Arthur Stone View Post
@joeq - you can frame the context any way you like but ultrasound is still a component of the process of hearing...the science proves that.


Where is this science you say "proves" it? The one study you linked to was not even about perception, merely transmission. It, in fact, showed the opposite of what you claim. That even though ultrasonic vibrations were present at the inner ear, the subjects were unaware of their existence. You not only did not understand the purport of the study the first time you posted it, you deliberately ignored the posts that pointed out your error and posted it again hoping to slip it by as "evidence" in the discussion of ultrasonic perception.

There is a reason why texts, references and encyclopedias all agree on the values for the range of human hearing. That is because all the experiments studies and measurements agree. When a lot of experiments all agree, that's a pretty good sign that your opinion is no longer relevant. The only place where there is any 'controversy' is from the audio woo-woos and they don't do any controlled studies or blind tests. While they frequently seek out or claim the imprimatur of science, they don't do "science". If they did conduct a scientific test - without cheating - they would get the same result because that's what the reality happens to be.

If new studies got 'new' results, these references and encyclopedias can be literally updated in a matter of days! Unlike YOU, scientists are not stubborn. They are fact-slutz. If the facts say something, they go with it. Even if they "wish" it said something else.
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