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Audio Myths and Human Perception - Explored

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mikebse2a3    437

I thought this might be an interesting thread were we could gather information about Audio Myths and Human Perception of Sound Reproduction.

 

My hope is to find information/test that encourage open mind thinking combined with actual experiences so that we can all draw our own conclusions.

 

 

I'll start with this video:

 

miketn

 

 

 

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mikebse2a3    437

Here is another AES Workshop.

 

Note: Listen to demonstration of Clipping and Crossover Distortion around 24~25 minutes into the video.

 

 

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twk123    614

Here is a great talk from Tony Andrews about audio compression and the adrenal effects of bad sound vs the dopamine response of good sound. Interesting stuff and Tony is pretty much the English equivalent to PWK. There is another video about him discussing his speaker design as well.The notable difference is Tony's Funktion 1 sound system uses horn loaded paper cones while Klipsch uses compression drivers. The Funktion 1 system in Beta Nightclub in Denver is actually what got me addicted to horn loaded music and down the Klipsch rabbit hole.

 

 

 

 

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derrickdj1    6640

Excellent subject Mike.  So much of what we hear is steered in a particular direction depending on what we are looking for, the setting, mood, etc.  Not to mention all the different pieces of gear in the audio chain.

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Chris A    1571

Mike,

 

Both the Ethan Winer presentations are really good.  The first one you posted I had seen before some years ago--so I had to refresh my recall by watching all of it.  Both presentations together are about 1 hour 45 minutes, however.  The standing joke is that millennials have an attention span measured in seconds.  I don't know how to close that gap with the younger folks that won't invest in learning those really important concepts.

 

Winer really stacks in the concepts in the second presentation--way too quickly, I might add.  Unfortunately, he doesn't present the real nitty-gritty loudspeaker stuff, which turns out to be the most important in terms of hi-fi...since loudspeakers+rooms are always the weakest link in the chain...always...

 

4 hours ago, mikebse2a3 said:

My hope is to find information/test that encourage open mind thinking combined with actual experiences so that we can all draw our own conclusions.

Some of the concepts presented by Winer I believe glossed over some really important stuff that's in the details that makes a difference.  In particular the Griesinger stuff on clarity and phase distortion is really a big deal, and I believe that Winer just stepped over that part in the phase portion without really pointing out that phase fidelity does have a real effect on hi-fi performance: a BIG effect.

 

My experiences with the K-402-MEH vis-à-vis Jubilee performance can be essentially found in that Griesinger presentation: it's not really close in real life comparing the two.  I wish that Roy would choose to hear the difference. Perhaps he might reconsider the coaxial design approach over the "tried-and-true" approaches.  It would make a pretty big difference in the cinema marketplace in terms of clarity of presentation.  It could lead to a jump in sales.

 

There are other points on Winer's presentation that also gloss over details that do make a difference.  His treatment of modulation distortion completely glosses over the fact that horns don't have it and direct radiators do have it.  That's a huge oversight. 

 

Additionally, Winer really pulled his punches when it comes to mixing and mastering: he doesn't talk about the degree of "manipulation" of commercial-popular music over the original recording or mixdown track.  He completely lost the ball on that topic I believe, and the elephant is still sitting in the room, waiting to be introduced to its audience.

 

Good topic here.  The forum has been kind of stuffy for a long while now on real hi-fi matters.  Perhaps this will stimulate some real discussions.

 

Chris

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Chris A    1571

A thought after thinking about this for a little while:

 

Like in military circles where "amateurs talk about weapons and maneuver; experts talk about logistics."

 

In my experience in hi-fi, "amateurs talk about electronics, etc.; experts talk about loudspeakers and room acoustics."

 

Winer also is saying that in his second presentation.

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etc6849    198

There is definitely truth to this.  A lot of my personal sound improvements were from acoustics, and these were definitely measureable.

 

I think the electronics part is worth exploring for a lot of folks (but I seldom see the components necessary recommended, except in one of ChrisA's posts where he helped me find the Xilica and recommends active crossovers).  Changing out my signal chain completely has given me the last jump in performance on my system.  By eliminating hiss completely I can hear artists breathing, longer decay of symbols, etc...

 

White papers like these present solid engineering facts:

https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/19947905-the-audio-path-in-consumer-grade-audio-products

 

https://benchmarkmedia.com/blogs/application_notes/power-amplifiers-the-importance-of-the-first-watt

 

I admit I was a little skeptical about how audible of a difference I could get by getting rid of my Emotiva (insert any brand to be fair) consumer gear and switching to top level pro gear and my PC.  The difference is definitely audible, and I will never buy consumer grade audio gear again.  I also tri-amp which greatly helps to keep distortion low, but even using pro audio gear on my bookshelf speakers there is no going back.

 

PC AES out->Xilica XD4080 (FIR filtering)->Benchmark AHB2 amps->Klipsch P39f speakers

 

I'm not trying to pick on Emotiva, Pass Labs, or any one amp brand, but wanted to highlight the types of measurements that made a drastic difference for me (especially since I am not using passive XO's that would pad the signal for the tweeters and mid-range).  The Emotiva XPR amps I had have measurements found at this link: http://hometheaterhifi.com/reviews/amplifier/power-amplifier/emotiva-xpr-1-monoblock-power-amplifier/  I didn't paste the XPR measurements as I only used them for tri-amping since that is what I already had at the time, and the measurements in the review were not done the same way, and I wanted to compare apples to apples.

 

I really wish I could take detailed measurements for my Xilica XD4080 versus the Emotiva XMC-1 I previously used.  Even the Xilica specs don't seem to show what performance I'm getting as I'm bypassing it's A/D conversion by feeding it via AES.  I know it sounds worlds better than any processor or AVR I've owned.  I am very surprised how much the signal chain matters to be honest, but it is true better S/N means better dynamic range, so there you go...

 

I even made my own cables this time around after seeing the video below.  Aside from selecting or making top grade pro cables, I am certain cables don't matter.  That is an entirely different myth I am not brave enough to touch ;)
 

Benchmark AHB2:

1115BAHB2fig04.jpg

 

Fig.4 Benchmark AHB2, sum of distortion harmonics (dB ref. fundamental) vs 1kHz continuous output power into 8 ohms.

Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/benchmark-media-systems-ahb2-power-amplifier-measurements#I26uUVZB16wZAKo4.99
 
 

1115BAHB2fig03.jpg

Fig.3 Benchmark AHB2, spectrum of 1kHz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 1W into 8 ohms (linear frequency scale).


Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/benchmark-media-systems-ahb2-power-amplifier-measurements#I26uUVZB16wZAKo4.99

 

First Watt J2:

1016FWJ2fig04.jpg

Fig.4 First Watt J2, both channels driven, distortion (%) vs 1kHz continuous output power into 8 ohms.
Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/first-watt-j2-power-amplifier-measurements#352yGGEvuMcGLXJ3.99
 

1016FWJ2fig03.jpg

Fig.3 First Watt J2, spectrum of 1kHz sinewave, DC–1kHz, at 1W into 8 ohms (linear frequency scale).


Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/first-watt-j2-power-amplifier-measurements#352yGGEvuMcGLXJ3.99
 

 

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John Albright    287

Mike, you're a dog.  Ya done quit preachin' an' gone to meddlin'!!!  :D 

 

I was surprised how high some of the digital distortions had to be before I heard them on my laptop's speakers. 

I can hear distortion in many 256k MP3s riding down the road on my motorcycles.  The source is a really cheap MP3 player, or my Garmin GPS on the C14.  MP3 destroys the localization of the voices in the Doobie's "Blackwater", yet lot's of the ones I have downloaded sound perfectly acceptable through my Integra/Acurus/Klipsch system.  Because I expect them to sound good? 

 

I like 24/192kHz DVD-Audio just a smidge better than the same recording on vinyl.  I have a pretty good Thorens turntable, tonearm and A-T moving coil cartridge.  I believe the 24/192 DVD-A sounds better then the CD of the same recording on my system.  Perhaps I should re-evaluate. 

 

The only thing I have clearly heard between amps is a large difference in Damping Factor, provided they are not over-driven.  That includes tube amps.  In my experience, a good tube amp well within its output capacity sounds like a good solid state amp also well within its output capacity.  If you switch from reproducing to producing music and I'll take that tube amp. 

 

Interesting topic! 

 

 

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Chris A    1571

Many more audiophile myths and belief systems in this thread that's grown slowly over the past 7 years:

 

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mikebse2a3    437

Thanks to all participating ...!!!

 

 

20 hours ago, derrickdj1 said:

So much of what we hear is steered in a particular direction depending on what we are looking for, the setting, mood, etc.  Not to mention all the different pieces of gear in the audio chain.

Exactly.... and the trap many of us humans fall into is forming and adhering to beliefs and myths without paying due attention to all the factors/assumptions that lead to there formation.

 

miketn

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mikebse2a3    437
On ‎7‎/‎29‎/‎2017 at 5:25 PM, robert_kc said:

Please explain the specific issue that you want to discuss.

 

It's not about any specific issue but more about opening minds and causing us all to hopefully achieve a better understanding of just how complex sound reproduction is.

 

Richard C Heyser (PWK thought very highly of Heyser) was the first to wake me up to the fact that way to often audio reproduction, equipment, and testing procedures have often been one-dimensional or treated as if it is a one-dimensional problem or experience and the reality is audio reproduction is multi-dimensional and the process to understand it requires looking into all the dimensions involved. ie: when you look at a loudspeaker's SPL/Frequency Response graph of a loudspeaker as is often displayed it is only a one-dimensional view of what we are hearing and likewise when you view the Impulse Response graph or Phase Response graph or Polar Response graph they are often one-dimensional views of the same thing and it is only when we combine them do we really begin to understand the multi-dimensional aspect and how it relates to the sound reproduction we experience.

 

 

 

 

I have just discovered this when I went to the AES website.... '

Time Delay Spectrometry: An Anthology

An anthology of the works of Richard C. Heyser on measurement, analysis and perception

  "On the advice of the Technical Council, the AES has decided to make this anthology available on an Open Access basis, in order to disseminate the work of Richard Heyser as widely as possible."

 

So I have decided to post it here for easy access download on the forum for those interested. 

I know many want read the technical articles but I encourage everyone to read all the articles that he originally wrote for Audio Magazine and reprinted here.

For those who have or are familiar with his review of the Klipschorn note how he correlated measurements with the listening experience.

http://www.soundhifi.com/klipsch/86horn.htm

 

Anthology:

AES_TimeDelaySpectrometry.pdf

 

 

Please if you don't look at anything else in this thread IMHO you should take the time to watch this video...!!!

If you have any desire at all to have a better understanding of subjective and objective observations this just might open your mind some :)Many consider Heyser a "Giant" in audio and here is a video presentation about the man and his work.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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mikebse2a3    437
21 hours ago, Chris A said:

Winer really stacks in the concepts in the second presentation--way too quickly, I might add.  Unfortunately, he doesn't present the real nitty-gritty loudspeaker stuff, which turns out to be the most important in terms of hi-fi...since loudspeakers+rooms are always the weakest link in the chain...always...

 

But it's so much easier to just blame and swap equipment than work on the room Chris...:D  (And yes equipment matters... it all matters.....but some matter more than others..!!!)

 

21 hours ago, Chris A said:

There are other points on Winer's presentation that also gloss over details that do make a difference.  His treatment of modulation distortion completely glosses over the fact that horns don't have it and direct radiators do have it.  That's a huge oversight. 

 

Additionally, Winer really pulled his punches when it comes to mixing and mastering: he doesn't talk about the degree of "manipulation" of commercial-popular music over the original recording or mixdown track.  He completely lost the ball on that topic I believe, and the elephant is still sitting in the room, waiting to be introduced to its audience.

 

Agree Chris but with the limited time they had I think they did good.

 

Ahhh.... the Recording/Mastering Elephant and Room Acoustic Elephant.....hopefully more will begin to see them and give them the priority they demand..;)

 

 

miketn

 

 

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derrickdj1    6640

I think in the second video, Ethan made an important statement: Fidelity and price.  This is something that is always address by the elder spokesman on our forum.  Cost to go from X to Y and can you hear a difference vs measure or incomplete measuring may be a better word.  Is component A really better than component B?  Ethan point out how spec's can be deceiving.  Measuring thing at one frequency don't give the full picture.

 

Most of us that know better not to  base our purchases on just spec.  We also don't discount the audio chain , room influence, etc.  The view is of a more holistic approach.  Most of you know, I will rebut when someone says get a bigger speaker, switch an amp/avr.  To many factors are left out for consideration that make this a hodgepodge approach to audio fidelity.  I commonly tell people, spend all the money you want but, that won't achieve audio fidelity on it's own!

 

The hard part is sitting and learning which take time and most are not that patience. Because all rooms are different puts another kink to achieving true Hi Fi.  You don't have to reach the summit, but should have an understanding of where you are and what compromises you are willing to make to complete the journey.

 

I will pose another question, what is Hi Fi in the space you are using?  This will differ in a nearfield vs far field setup.  Other room characteristic will also come in to pay.  Room M cannot sound like room X without some major over haul to make room M and X equal.  This is not practical in most homes and nor should it be.  Our goal is to maximize our room, how far you want to go is another topic.

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mikebse2a3    437

Hey etc6849 I enjoyed that cable test demonstration.

 

 

I thought the video you posted discussing the THX Achromatic Audio Amplifier deserved to be posted here.

 

I was glad he mentioned the linearity of Triode Tubes versus Transistors and of course there is much more to an amplifier than just the amplifying device chosen so that alone doesn't qualify them as necessarily better but they do deserve respect.

 

miketn

 

 

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mikebse2a3    437
15 hours ago, John Albright said:

The only thing I have clearly heard between amps is a large difference in Damping Factor, provided they are not over-driven.  That includes tube amps.  In my experience, a good tube amp well within its output capacity sounds like a good solid state amp also well within its output capacity.  If you switch from reproducing to producing music and I'll take that tube amp. 

 

Hmmm..... if an amplifier is good at producing music should it also not be good at reproducing music.... or does that beg the question why would that add up to be to much of a good thing..???:P

 

I think most here will agree that amplifiers can sound different and that steady state test while helpful fall very short at correlating those test with listening impressions especially considering there is very little that is steady about music signals and the loads the amplifiers have to perform into. With that being said I have found that many well designed amplifiers sound more alike than different when operated within their design limits.

 

Accurate and Musical are not mutually exclusive IMHO whether we are talking amplifiers or loudspeakers even though some seem to believe that myth.

 

Here was my experience a few years ago and I still own and enjoy all of them...:)

 

miketn

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mikebse2a3    437

Another "GREAT MYTH" .......  "My goal is to only hear what the recording engineer wanted me to hear"

 

Unless you make and playback your own recordings on all the same equipment and in the same room with the same loudspeaker with the listener in the exact same location you will never experience exactly what the recording engineer heard...!!!

 

At this point in time I have assembled a system with what I believe are reasonably accurate components in an acoustically treated room with the flexibility of adapting the system (when playing back recordings with obvious shortcomings to be nice:angry2:) with a DSP EQ  Program I created that can be disabled when not needed.

 

Notre: @Chris A has done a lot of research and documentation on this subject that I would like to acknowledge.

 

This thread has some links that some might find of interest:

 

 

A look into some EQ mastering techniques which will also be helpful for de-mastering/re-mastering our recordings.

 

Note: especially the comments about the "mudd" spectrum which in my opinion depending on room dimensions will shift up or down the scale somewhat. Even though he is discussing this frequency region in relation to recording mastering this frequency spectrum is also where a large majority of home listening rooms will make or break the reproduction we experience and in my experience when left acoustically unattended/untreated is responsible for many wrongly blaming their loudspeaker/equipment and spending many $$$$$ on the loudspeaker/equipment merry go round.

 

miketn

 

 

 

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tube fanatic    557
22 hours ago, Chris A said:

A thought after thinking about this for a little while:

In my experience in hi-fi, "amateurs talk about electronics, etc.; experts talk about loudspeakers and room acoustics."

 

Really Chris, you can't possibly believe this!  Regardless of the perfection in speakers, room acoustics, and the relationship between the two, if you feed those speakers with an amp lacking the needed synergy the result will be poor sound.  A true expert will consider every aspect of the reproduction chain starting with the source.  One of the local guys, an acoustics engineer, designs recording studios and looks at absolutely everything before coming up with his design.  To me, that's the only way to achieve the presumed perfection that some strive for.

 

I question how many on the forum are willing to go the speaker/room acoustics route given the near total lack of response to even taking a measurement to find out how much power is needed to satisfy a given listening level.

 

 

Maynard

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Chris A    1571
3 hours ago, mikebse2a3 said:

Note: Chris A has done a lot of research and documentation on this subject that I would like to acknowledge.

Thanks Mike.

 

4 hours ago, mikebse2a3 said:

But it's so much easier to just blame and swap equipment than work on the room Chris...:D

Yes it is.   I also see those that do tend to be uncharacteristically vocal, too.  Perhaps this practice begins to weigh on some over time?

 

However, the physics of the problem doesn't equivocate: the place with the biggest "bang for buck" in terms of potential for sound improvement is always loudspeakers and room acoustics.

 

Chris

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tube fanatic    557
12 hours ago, Chris A said:

Thanks Mike.

 

Yes it is.   I also see those that do tend to be uncharacteristically vocal, too.  Perhaps this practice begins to weigh on some over time?

 

However, the physics of the problem doesn't equivocate: the place with the biggest "bang for buck" in terms of potential for sound improvement is always loudspeakers and room acoustics.

 

Chris

So, as an expert in room acoustics, do you place any value on the role of electronics in producing the desired musical experience?  And, if you do, please elaborate on the parameters of the electronics which have the greatest influence on the sound and explain why solid state equipment, in spite of minuscule distortion and near identical specs, can sound so radically different in a particular system.  I would like to be enlightened since I am only a vocal "amateur"!

 

Maynard

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