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Ethan Winer on... Condenser Microphones
Old 8th September 2008
  #151
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However, taking that experience to a forum and articulating it such a way that it becomes useful info that's worth passing on would appear to be beyond many of that 'top 5%' if this thread is anything to go by.
Old 8th September 2008
  #152
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Guys,

I'll address as many points as I have time for, but first please read this carefully:

Many of the things people say I said are not what I said at all. I never said an SM58 can be made to sound like a U87. In fact, I said exactly the opposite, and explained why they can't be made to sound alike. I also never said that all A/D/A converters sound the same. If you're going to quote me, please quote me accurately. Thank you!

Quote:
Originally Posted by 11413 View Post
your response is always to categorically invalidate my experience, or what i heard in the room.
I'm sorry you feel that way, and I can see why you might. But saying someone is mistaken is very different from calling them a liar. Ben summed it up perfectly:

Quote:
Whether what you heard was caused by the placebo effect or not, I don't think that he or anyone is contesting whether or not you experienced it.
This is why I keep harping on comb filtering, and other reasons people can honestly think they hear something that's not really there.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jamwerks View Post
I was speaking about EQing. When we use EQ's in music making we don't work at that "pixel by pixel" resolution, which is what we would need to be able to come close to what you seem to be suggesting (and that would only be an approximation).
Most people do not use EQ in that way, but such EQ is available. You said we don't have that ability yet, so my point was simply to show that we do.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
you distinctly proclaimed ... that beyond the shadow of a doubt there was no measurable difference between low-end and high-end AD/DA converters.
This is a perfect example of putting words in my mouth. If you can find a post where I said "beyond the shadow of a doubt there was no measurable difference" I'll send you $100. And if you can't find that, I'll gladly accept your apology.

Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
I thought, probably others did too, that you were saying that frequency response, THD and perhaps a few other standard measurements, as performed and published by the manufacturer of the gear, were a complete and reliable characterization of the gear.
F*ck no! heh

My point was, and always has been, if we can hear something then we can measure it. I even went out of my way to show some of the way vendors lie, such as applying smoothing to speaker response graphs, or omitting key data like specifying very low preamp THD but not saying at what output level it was tested. So I don't know how you read into my post that I said published data is all we need. IMO this is getting even worse lately, as manufacturers sell to a new generation of people who don't give a crap about specs. So a speaker review or catalog entry will say how large the woofer is, but not give the -3 dB points or even any data at all.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Fredrik View Post
I know of people that get their results based on intuition and ear that are verry succesful. Perhaps it´s not always neccesary for a painter to know the molecular structure of the paint he´s using etc.
I agree totally. But in that case the painter should not be arguing about molecular structure on the Internet. heh

Quote:
Originally Posted by Sounds Great View Post
You could find 5 microphones that have almost identical specs and yet they all sound completely different from one another.
Sound completely different? On what do you base that? Why do you believe microphones that measure the same will not sound at least fairly close?

Quote:
Originally Posted by andy_simpson View Post
It would be useful to separate the potential distortion into electrical (amplifiers, transformers, etc) and mechanical.
Yes, exactly. (Also Andy, I have your recent email but haven't had a chance to reply.)

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
I think if you take a closer look into most or all of the statements/claims attributed to Ethan in the OP, you will see a recurring theme of over generalization and vagueness that amazingly ignores a lot of important, scientific factors....
If you take a closer look into most or all of the statements/claims attributed to Ethan you will find that many were never said by Ethan.

Quote:
Originally Posted by 11413 View Post
Ethan doesnt believe there is such a thing as jitter.
This is another example of putting words into my mouth. Of course there's "such a thing" as jitter. What I contest is whether it's actually audible.

--Ethan
Old 8th September 2008
  #153
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third world order wrote :

" but sometimes using a different mic pre or compressor is the magickal ingredient which takes an ok performance into the stratosphere."

I DISAGREE
Give us one example of that ?

taking a bad performance and loading it up with distortion may make it better.
but you would never take a good performance and load it with distortion to make it better.

I'm with Ethan. I think posters on gearslutz are looking for anyway they can to add
distortion to cover them selves up and disguise their lack of musicality.

Everything Ehthan says is based on a premise that good musicians dont like distortion.
Which i believe to be true.
Old 8th September 2008
  #154
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Talking

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I agree totally. But in that case the painter should not be arguing about molecular structure on the Internet. heh

--Ethan
True true
Old 8th September 2008
  #155
11413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Johan View Post
third world order wrote :

" but sometimes using a different mic pre or compressor is the magickal ingredient which takes an ok performance into the stratosphere."

I DISAGREE
Give us one example of that ?

taking a bad performance and loading it up with distortion may make it better.
but you would never take a good performance and load it with distortion to make it better.

I'm with Ethan. I think posters on gearslutz are looking for anyway they can to add
distortion to cover them selves up and disguise their lack of musicality.

Everything Ehthan says is based on a premise that good musicians dont like distortion.
Which i believe to be true.
false on all accounts.

your basic assertion is good musicians like clean... FALSE

why false?

James Marshall Hendrix.

rock & roll started with running guitar amps into clipping and (strangely) distortion. if the Marshall 100 watt Super Lead was used as it was designed to be used, and not cranked to 11, we'd still be listening to Pat ****ing Boone.

THEREFORE, your "belief" spits in the face of all rock & roll.

i'll side with rock & roll over Ethan Winer 100 out of 100 times, thank you.


NEXT.
Old 8th September 2008
  #156
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Does your general conversation rely on hyperbole too, or just your posts here?
Old 8th September 2008
  #157
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11413 View Post
false on all accounts.

your basic assertion is good musicians like clean... FALSE

why false?

James Marshall Hendrix.

rock & roll started with running guitar amps into clipping and (strangely) distortion. if the Marshall 100 watt Super Lead was used as it was designed to be used, and not cranked to 11, we'd still be listening to Pat ****ing Boone.

THEREFORE, your "belief" spits in the face of all rock & roll.

i'll side with rock & roll over Ethan Winer 100 out of 100 times, thank you.


NEXT.
This looks like another straw man argument, did Ethan say that?

Nobody disputes the merit of distortion to be used artistically for effect (as I recall Ethan plays electric guitar too). The fundamental issue (IMO) is keeping subjectively euphonious inaccuracy, separate from reference audio paths. As a hardware designer my philosophy has always been to make the chain linear, and put effects into their own black box (with a bypass switch). Designing nonlinearity into any link of an audio chain requires ASSumptions about both the subjective tastes of your customers, and what other gear may be used in that full chain. If everybody added just a pinch of distortion to their part of the chain, you could easily end up with too much.

If someone prefers to use 2" analog tape as an effect, that is their option, but don't claim it is somehow better for all applications. It may be inaccurate in a way that some subjectively like. There are also others who prefer their recording media to not have a sound character of it's own.

Jimi rocked, but that isn't remotely the issue. I wouldn't want the recording media to arbitrarily distort his sound. Maybe if you feel a need to dirty up some Hendrix tracks because they were too clean, I don't.

JR
Old 8th September 2008
  #158
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Ethan...I don't even understand why you would bother responding to this thread.....
Thanks for all the help!
.
Old 8th September 2008
  #159
Han
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Using 2" tape as an effect, that's brilliant! In order to get back that enormous width and deepness in the stereo image I guess?
Old 8th September 2008
  #160
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Back in the day, tape compression was used with good effect on some sources, but these days we have dynamics processors coming out of the woodwork. I won't debate the merit of that flavor of compression which is a subjective call. There are other weaker phenomenon associated with that media, and huge variability depending on how well machine is set up, condition of heads, and even which track we're talking about. YMMV

JR
Old 8th September 2008
  #161
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Guys,




This is another example of putting words into my mouth. Of course there's "such a thing" as jitter. What I contest is whether it's actually audible.

--Ethan
You're kidding, right? this is what drives me crazy. Of course it's audible! It used to drive me nuts before I upgraded my converters.
Old 8th September 2008
  #162
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnRoberts View Post
This looks like another straw man argument, did Ethan say that?
Exactly. Yet again words were put into my mouth.

Quote:
Nobody disputes the merit of distortion to be used artistically for effect
That too. I even linked to my Sound On Sound magazine article earlier where I talk up the benefits of intentional subtle distortion.

Quote:
The fundamental issue (IMO) is keeping subjectively euphonious inaccuracy, separate from reference audio paths.
That statement nails it. On the one hand we have people obsessing over tiny amounts of coloration from an A/D/A/ converter, and then out of the other side of their mouth they praise qualities in some gear that transcend traditional specs. Folks, you can't have it both ways. Now, one could argue that the "transcendent" stuff needs to be captured faithfully, and I agree. But even a cheap sound card can capture a fuzz guitar tone well enough to not further harm the sound.

--Ethan
Old 8th September 2008
  #163
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Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
You're kidding, right? this is what drives me crazy. Of course it's audible! It [jitter] used to drive me nuts before I upgraded my converters.
How do you know what you objected to was jitter and not something else such as a poor aliasing filter or an inadequate analog stage?

--Ethan
Old 8th September 2008
  #164
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No, it can't. That cheap sound card will destroy the sound of a nice guitar. The fast transient attacks will loose their precise, defined sound and change into something washed out and artificial. The overall tone will loose perceived bass extension. There will be a repulsive sort of shrillness in the upper midrange.
You won't see this with a sine wave sweep, not at all. But it's very audible.


Please take the time and listen to the two "Tape" clips in this file I made with a Lynx Aurora and a Black Lion Audio Sparrow:

www.scherer.de/Download/AuroraSparrow.zip

Both are fine converters, but the Sparrow (file 1) clearly has an edge. The vocals and harmonica sound more balanced and less offensive in the midrange, the drum has a better defined attack, the Shakuhachi recording sounds closer to the source, more detailed, the acoustic has a lot more high end sparkle...

There was a severe hum problem with the tape machine I used to do this test, but the differences are clearly audible. There's also a lot of "pleasent" distortion already on the recording (from the outboard stuff the signal went through and from tape compression), but it doesn't mask the differences of the converters.

Now had I recorded this with a cheap sound card as well the differences would be much more obvious still.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
But even a cheap sound card can capture a fuzz guitar tone well enough to not further harm the sound.

--Ethan
Old 8th September 2008
  #165
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Living sounds,

I did some more testing with the Lynx Aurora and for sure it colors the signal clearly at 44.1kS/s. Close to transparent at 192kS/s but the best trained listeners picked the difference between before and after the roundtripp 10/10 - 12/12 even at 192.

This piece is considered extremly good and it measures like crazy (good) but still it's not transparent. Something about the filtering probably.

/Peter
Old 8th September 2008
  #166
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
Please take the time and listen to the two "Tape" clips in this file I made with a Lynx Aurora and a Black Lion Audio Sparrow:
I'll gladly listen as soon as the download finishes. But note that I said "fuzz guitar" - not delicate instruments. I hope you can see the distinction!

--Ethan
Old 8th September 2008
  #167
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Ethan you seem to make assumptions as to what people want to capture, if you have made a choice as to the signal chain into your system that may well contain distortion you would want to capture that how you hear it, so converters should always be as transparent as possible.
Old 8th September 2008
  #168
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
How do you know what you objected to was jitter and not something else such as a poor aliasing filter or an inadequate analog stage?

--Ethan
The exact same "effect" existed during all recordings I ever made with any card or interface from the cheapest creative labs card to their most expensive; and from the cheapest m-audio card to their most expensive (1814FW). The "effect" no longer exists after upgrading the converters.
Old 8th September 2008
  #169
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This is no sufficient basis to assume the difference is caused by jitter. There are far too many variables in this equation.


Quote:
Originally Posted by TurboJets View Post
The exact same "effect" existed during all recordings I ever made with any card or interface from the cheapest creative labs card to their most expensive; and from the cheapest m-audio card to their most expensive (1814FW). The "effect" no longer exists after upgrading the converters.
Old 9th September 2008
  #170
11413
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
This is no sufficient basis to assume the difference is caused by jitter. There are far too many variables in this equation.
a good test would be to listen thru a benchmark DAC1 or any of the other jitter rejecting D/A converters..

but who cares? he fixed it and is happy with the results.
Old 9th September 2008
  #171
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Quote:
Originally Posted by living sounds View Post
This is no sufficient basis to assume the difference is caused by jitter. There are far too many variables in this equation.
So, you're saying I don't know what jitter sounds like?
Old 9th September 2008
  #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by 11413 View Post
a good test would be to listen thru a benchmark DAC1 or any of the other jitter rejecting D/A converters..

but who cares? he fixed it and is happy with the results.
Actually, I care very much. If I think jitter is responsible for a significant/noticeable loss in my audio quality then I would consider spending money on a solution to fix it. However, if I am convinced that jitter is inaudible (in most pro-ish ADAs) then I can rule it out as something that needs improving in my audio chain. I can also ignore the marketing hype and opinions of those who say my sound will improve tremendously if I buy something with a low jitter clock. In short it may save me money and that matters to me.
Old 9th September 2008
  #173
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Old 9th September 2008
  #174
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
F*ck no! heh

My point was, and always has been, if we can hear something then we can measure it. I even went out of my way to show some of the way vendors lie, such as applying smoothing to speaker response graphs, or omitting key data like specifying very low preamp THD but not saying at what output level it was tested. So I don't know how you read into my post that I said published data is all we need. IMO this is getting even worse lately, as manufacturers sell to a new generation of people who don't give a crap about specs. So a speaker review or catalog entry will say how large the woofer is, but not give the -3 dB points or even any data at all.
In that case, I agree with you! I think I got this impression from a thread about the Mackie HR824s, where you seemed to insist that they are very accurate monitors, based on the published (well, the manufacturer-supplied) frequency response curve. I think the HR824 is an excellent example of a piece of audio gear whose behavior is elusive; hard to pin down with a few summary numbers. Looks great in a frequency response test but something else is going on there...

-synthoid
Old 9th September 2008
  #175
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
I'll gladly listen as soon as the download finishes. But note that I said "fuzz guitar" - not delicate instruments. I hope you can see the distinction!

--Ethan
This is an interesting question and is worth going into a little detail on.

While it might seem that heavily distorted electric guitar would not be demanding to record & reproduce, experience tells us otherwise.

At face value it might appear that the distorted electric guitar has a very low crest-factor and that a little more 'minor' distortion could hardly do it any harm.

However, the case of the extremely distorted guitar illustrates some highly significant issues with regards to recording & reproduction, most significantly of equal loudness.

If we consider the effects of equal loudness on a normal instrument, with a 'normal' peak over RMS (crest factor), our perception of the timbre of the instrument is based on our spectral perception (subject to equal loudness effects) averaged over the dynamic range of the instrument, at whatever playback level we listen.

In the case of the heavily distorted electric guitar, since there is almost no crest factor involved, we have an extreme equal loudness effect, where very small differences in loudness have a large effect on our spectral perception.

For example, a heavily distorted electric guitar can range from 'thin' & 'soft' to bass-heavy & 'harsh' within a relatively few dB SPL.

This also applies to other compression practices (ie. modern recordings), which in the same way reduce the scaleability of a recording to a smaller range of listening levels.

The modern 'hyper-compressed' recordings are a good example of this, not to mention TV.

Andy
Old 9th September 2008
  #176
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
I don't know what you mean by 'linear' audio gear.
I simply meant preamps, power amps, and equalizers. Versus compressors that change what they do with different input levels.
Ethan, what preamps, power amps, and equalizers do you use that don't change
what they do with different input levels? Even if you just mean 'eq response wise'.
Please list them so i can avoid them.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Just because you don't understand placebo effect, and expectation bias, and related issues like the value of double blind testing that are well-known and universally accepted, that doesn't make you right. It just means you don't understand them.
I missed the part where what he said alluded to him not understanding the placebo
effect when relevant. You somehow jumped to the conclusion that he doesn't
understand what the placebo effect is. Sounds like you're putting words in his mouth
or at the least making large assumptions about his understanding.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
Exactly. Yet again words were put into my mouth.
Ohh, the irony.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
So we looked at the TLM spec sheet and applied parametric EQ that exactly matched the presence boost on the 4033's track. Both tracks then sounded identical.
I suggest that was bias expectation Ethan. You expected as a result of your presence boost
that they would sound identical, and so you heard it that way. Perhaps you don't understand
what bias expectation is.

Or perhaps you truly could not hear the difference. I'm not sure which is worse.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
On the one hand we have people obsessing over tiny amounts of coloration from an A/D/A/ converter
Ethan, in your experience what happens when you stack up say 40 tracks that contain
tiny amounts of coloration on each track? Is it still a tiny amount?
It's the subtleties that when compounded make the difference. I'm not religious,
but i like the saying 'God lives in the details'.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
and then out of the other side of their mouth they praise qualities in some gear that transcend traditional specs. Folks, you can't have it both ways.
How does this conflict with your previous line? Why does coloration and qualities that
'transcend traditional specs' have to be mutually exclusive?

Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
But even a cheap sound card can capture a fuzz guitar tone well enough to not further harm the sound.
Define "fuzz guitar" and define "harm".
Is this from a guitar through an amp that's been mic'ed?
Are you saying that what comes out of your studio monitors is no worse
that what you hear through the amp? (remember i'm asking a question
so you can clarify, not putting words in your mouth.)

Please explain further what you mean, as this spurs too many questions
on my part. I then invite you to prove your claim to be truth as you so
'appear' to state.

Thanks.
Old 9th September 2008
  #177
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Quote:
Originally Posted by synthoid View Post
I think I got this impression from a thread about the Mackie HR824s, where you seemed to insist that they are very accurate monitors, based on the published (well, the manufacturer-supplied) frequency response curve.
Actually, in that case I have more to go on than the vendor's published data. A few years ago David French tested ten popular studio monitors at high resolution, and the Mackie 824 was by far the flattest of them all. Most of the speakers showed an intentional dip in the harshness range around 2 to 4 KHz, so it's easy to see why some people would find those other speakers smoother sounding and less fatiguing. But they were not accurate! I expect that sort of trickery in speakers sold to the hi-fi market, but not speakers sold as studio monitors.

Philip Newell's book Recording Studio Design has an extensive table showing the frequency response and distortion of 36 pro type loudspeakers. Again the Mackie 824 was proven extremely flat, with very low distortion compared to most other models.

Quote:
Looks great in a frequency response test but something else is going on there.
A lot of people love Mackie speakers, but I'm aware that many others do not. I'm not sure why some people dislike Mackies, but my two guesses are:

1) Mackie 824s are flat down to 37 Hz, so if they're used in a room with no bass trapping the sound will probably be very boomy. But in that case it's the room, not the speakers.

2) As noted above, many speakers have a dip around 2 to 4 KHz, so by comparison the Mackies sound harsh. But it's the other speakers that are in error, not the Mackies.

Understand I have no axe to grind here. I have a pair of bi-amped JBL 4430s in my home studio - the big ones with a 15 inch woofer and bi-radial horn. But a lot of my friends have Mackie 824s and we all like them.

--Ethan
Old 9th September 2008
  #178
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Ethan Winer View Post
If you take a closer look into most or all of the statements/claims attributed to Ethan you will find that many were never said by Ethan.
Instead of continuing with the thread, maybe you could state your positions clearly and we could debate them (or not) intelligently instead of all this useless back and forth about what you may have said or not.
Old 9th September 2008
  #179
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Quote:
Originally Posted by CaptainHook View Post
Ethan, what preamps, power amps, and equalizers do you use that don't change what they do with different input levels?
Short of clipping or near-clipping, all of them.

Quote:
Ethan, in your experience what happens when you stack up say 40 tracks that contain tiny amounts of coloration on each track? Is it still a tiny amount?
Yes it's still tiny unless it's the same coloration. For example, if you record 20 tracks in a crappy room having a nasty midrange resonance, that same resonance will be on all the tracks. So it's as if the entire mix were put through an EQ with a high-Q boost. Likewise for hum. If the same hum is on all tracks it will be louder in the summation. But most things do not add coherently, and so will not accumulate. A drum track and an acoustic guitar track will not add coherently, nor will noise or the distortion on different tracks.

Quote:
Define "fuzz guitar" and define "harm".
Fuzz guitar: My tele through an amp with all the knobs turned up to 10.

Harm: Enough change to think, "Damn, that just doesn't sound as good."

Quote:
Is this from a guitar through an amp that's been mic'ed?
I don't see how it matters. Fuzz is fuzz. Sometimes I mic an amp, sometimes I use my Zoom effects box. Both have their uses.

Quote:
Are you saying that what comes out of your studio monitors is no worse
that what you hear through the amp?
Well, that's different. It's difficult to capture anything with a microphone such that when played through loudspeakers it sounds exactly the same. I've come mighty close with my DPA 4090 though.

--Ethan
Old 9th September 2008
  #180
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Lightbulb

Quote:
Originally Posted by Samc View Post
Instead of continuing with the thread, maybe you could state your positions clearly and we could debate them (or not) intelligently instead of all this useless back and forth about what you may have said or not.
You're putting the cart before the horse. The problem is not me, but those who misquote me. So tell them to clean up their act.

--Ethan
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