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If a difference is audible, is it measurable?


wgscott

Well?  

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The first thing comes to mind is power cables. They seem to affect the sound of all my components. My understanding there is not a measurable difference.

AMR 777 DAC, Purist Ultimate USB, PC server 4gig SOTM USB, server 2012, Audiophil Optimizer,Joule Preamp LAP150 Platinum Vcaps Bybee, Spectron Monoblocks Bybee Vcaps, Eggleston Savoy speakers, 2 REL Stentor III subwoofers, Pranawire Cosmos speaker wire, Purist Dominus Praesto cabling, Purist Anniversary (Canorus)power cables and Elrod Statement Gold power cable, VPI Aries I SDS w/Grado The Statement LP, 11kVA power isolation, 16 sound panels and bass traps TAD,RPG,GIK and Realtraps

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I voted yes only because you have to know what you are measuring for. It is theoretically possible that there are reproducibly audible difference that are not measurable by any current instrument.

 

I voted yes because I hit the wrong doggam button!

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Are there differences you (or an even more gifted audiophile) can hear that cannot be measured?

 

Which way are you asking this?

 

Are there differences you can hear that cannot be measured? Yes or no.

 

Or is it instead

 

If a difference is audible, is it measurable? Yes or no.

 

I voted yes as I thought the question was the latter.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I suspect that every difference is measurable. The problem is that we don't know how to measure so many of them because we probably have no clue what causes them and what metrics they might change. For example, "soundstage" may well be a phase effect, with no difference at all in frequency response, dynamic range or anything else we hold dear.

 

A wise man knows how little he knows.

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I'm mostly in agreement with bluesman.

 

As I have commented before, for there to be an audible difference, there must be a difference in the electrical output of the amplifier (yes environmental factors can cause a difference but over a short time these can be ignored). Given a sufficiently resolving recording device the output of an amplifier should be recordable, so yes to measure and compare two components to a change makes an audible difference should be possible.

 

On the other hand I don't think abstract concepts like sound stage can be measured.

 

Eloise

Eloise

---

...in my opinion / experience...

While I agree "Everything may matter" working out what actually affects the sound is a trickier thing.

And I agree "Trust your ears" but equally don't allow them to fool you - trust them with a bit of skepticism.

keep your mind open... But mind your brain doesn't fall out.

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I suspect that every difference is measurable. The problem is that we don't know how to measure so many of them because we probably have no clue what causes them and what metrics they might change. For example, "soundstage" may well be a phase effect, with no difference at all in frequency response, dynamic range or anything else we hold dear.

 

A wise man knows how little he knows.

 

You know this idea soundstage or imagining being undecipherable or something like that gets bounced around quite a lot. It is phase difference, FR difference and intensity difference between your ears or the channels of a recording. There may not be a soundstage spec, but it isn't really needed. If your two or more channels don't alter FR, phase, or loudness of the source signal they will play it back properly. If they do, it may effect soundstage.

 

Just to point out it has been figured out in detail, Qsound can place a sound where you want it in a recording, including behind or beside you using only 2 channels. Roger Waters Amused to Death CD was recorded with it and has several good examples. So though their algorithm is proprietary it shows they have it figured out. I don't see why one couldn't use the same to feed a signal in and describe how the soundstage is.

 

One can also show this to themselves. A sound editor can let you take a simple repetitive tone or mono recording to start with. You can duplicate it in two channels. Then delay one, and hear it image off center. Or change intensity in one channel and hear it image off center or do both. One can even delay it in one direction and put intensity in another direction to get confused imaging. You won't have the precision of the Qsound algorithm, but it demonstrates the effect isn't really beyond understanding to some considerable extent.

 

Not saying I know it all, as you say a wise man knows how little he knows. But at the same time we know something considerable about this soundstage business if not everything yet.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Which way are you asking this?

 

Are there differences you can hear that cannot be measured? Yes or no.

 

Or is it instead

 

If a difference is audible, is it measurable? Yes or no.

 

I voted yes as I thought the question was the latter.

 

If all of us consistently vote the opposite way we intend, this might yet work out.

 

(I did mean "can you hear differences that cannot be measured?").

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My concern is less related to if we can measure it - I'm confident from my research and discussions with audio and non-audio engineers that our ability to measure any and all differences is sound; the question that is not so easy to figure out is what's important. Psychoacoustics is a fascinating and hotly debated field, though it likely holds the answers that will shape the future of hifi; for example (I'm trying to relocate the articles), some studies have shown that frequencies far beyond our "hearing range" of 20Hz-20kHz will still affect the way we perceive the music/sounds - even though we can not "hear" it. These frequencies can be measured, it was just thought of as junk data before these studies. (Remember when we thought most DNA was junk/useless DNA?) I've even read articles with completely opposite opinions on subjects, such as the importance of first reflections, that are equally lauded in the academic communities.

 

For those of you who've read Floyd Toole, his research suggests that first reflections are probably the most important aspect of sound reproduction. From what I understand, his studies are taught on the same level as any other important acoustic researcher in Universities (though I can't claim having personal knowledge of this- I've heard it anecdotally). Toole did a study in which he put listeners in anechoic or quasi-anechoic chambers with a stereo, but he simulated reflection points with extra loudspeakers (obviously the point of an anechoic chamber is for no reflections). Having given the listeners individual volume controls, Toole found that most listeners would turn up the simulated first reflection speakers such that they were louder than the actual "source speakers". You can read his book to find all of the details.

Those of you with any knowledge of audio acoustics, however will know that this is almost entirely the opposite of a main goal in this field- which is damping these reflections with acoustic panels.

 

I have yet to have formal psychoacoustic or similar training/experience related to the ear/brain mechanism, but it seems to me that academic circles have as much or more disagreement in these aspects of sound production than in simply measuring gear, at least in my experience and discussions.

Flac audio (MBP) to miniDSP 10x10 running REW and active crossovers to ADCOM GFA 555 and 2 QSC GX5's (Tri Amped). Using Paradigm Studio 100 V.2 Speakers modded for the Active Crossover and stereo Velodyne HGS12 subwoofers.

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I didn't vote, "only because you have to know what you are measuring for. It is theoretically possible that there are reproducibly audible difference that are not measurable by any instrument currently in existence. "

 

As is so often with polls from some members, the dice is loaded, whether inadvertently or otherwise.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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I didn't vote, "only because you have to know what you are measuring for. It is theoretically possible that there are reproducibly audible difference that are not measurable by any instrument currently in existence. "

 

As is so often with polls from some members, the dice is loaded, whether inadvertently or otherwise.

 

+1 The question should be phrased, [h=2]If a difference is audible, is it measurable using existing technology?[/h]

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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Unless of course the O.P. was asking the question as he wrote it, not as you wrote it. In other words, can the difference be detected with an instrument, in principle, if we know what physical quantity to measure, and have a device capable of doing so?

 

The question is based on the suggestion (which I think is false) that the human ear is more sensitive than any measuring device.

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I didn't vote, "only because you have to know what you are measuring for. It is theoretically possible that there are reproducibly audible difference that are not measurable by any instrument currently in existence. "

 

As is so often with polls from some members, the dice is loaded, whether inadvertently or otherwise.

 

+2

 

If there was a third category, "Sometimes/Perhaps/Maybe", it would get my vote. As to whether there are differences that I can hear that cannot be measured (by current knowledge), my answer is an unequivocal "Yes". But that question has been answered literally countless times by both sides.

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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The question is based on the suggestion (which I think is false) that the human ear is more sensitive than any measuring device.

 

If you can't proof that "the human is not more sensitive than any measuring device", you are also a subjectivist.

 

I'm all ears (and mind)...!

 

But please don't talk about statistics, or ENT tests, since the gear they use is only to know if you are able to listen and understand a plain human conversation.

 

Roch

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The question is based on the suggestion (which I think is false) that the human ear is more sensitive than any measuring device.

 

Or could it be that the human ear can hear things that we don't yet know how to measure?

"Relax, it's only hi-fi. There's never been a hi-fi emergency." - Roy Hall

"Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted." - William Bruce Cameron

 

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Here's some insight.......to a thread that's the inverse of one I started earlier.

 

I firmly believe that if it's audible, it's measurable.....but very difficult to properly set up and perform correctly. First things first before looking for a difference one should carefully determine if it exists in the first place........which should be a carefully developed and administered test regimen.

 

Now as to the actual measurements. It's called power response.....and it ain't easy. Sometimes polar response plots will reveal some small spacial or soundstage variance but power response can nail down even the most elusive differences.

 

.....but who's got the time for such extensive testing?....not many

 

musicanddesign.com

 

If you don't understand any of the terms, please take some time to research the definitions as the article leaves little room for interpretations.

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Unless of course the O.P. was asking the question as he wrote it, not as you wrote it. In other words, can the difference be detected with an instrument, in principle, if we know what physical quantity to measure, and have a device capable of doing so?

I didn't notice the bit in red in the O.P. Makes a big difference.

 

The question is based on the suggestion (which I think is false) that the human ear is more sensitive than any measuring device.

 

Well the human ear may not be more sensitive at detecting sound wave frequencies than any measuring device, but the human brain is likely far better at detecting patterns and information encoded in those frequencies.

Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.

- Einstein

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First things first before looking for a difference one should carefully determine if it exists in the first place........which should be a carefully developed and administered test regimen.

 

Using the very DBTs that most subjectivists consider flawed, no doubt ?

Both of these threads are yet another blatant attempt to convince those who disagree with you, that what they are reporting in numerous threads is incorrect. Sorry, but the vast majority of C.A. members don't need saving from themselves.

They are as welcome by most as a knock on the door by Jehovah's Witnesses.

 

(or an even more gifted audiophile)

Note yet another giveaway to the intentions of the OP. Thinly veiled sarcasm.

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Using the very DBTs that most subjectivists consider flawed, no doubt ?

Both of these threads are yet another blatant attempt to convince those who disagree with you, that what they are reporting in numerous threads is incorrect. Sorry, but the vast majority of C.A. members don't need saving from themselves.

They are as welcome by most as a knock on the door by Jehovah's Witnesses.

 

Alex,

 

Is it true that Jehovah's Witnesses spin in the opposite direction south of the equator?

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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I didn't notice the bit in red in the O.P. Makes a big difference.

 

 

 

Well the human ear may not be more sensitive at detecting sound wave frequencies than any measuring device, but the human brain is likely far better at detecting patterns and information encoded in those frequencies.

 

You will get no argument from me on that idea on the human brain detecting patterns. However, that brain can only process what it really gets in an information stream from the ears. There are other sensory information streams, but if the ears can't detect something to send a different signal to the brain that is a bottleneck.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Alex,

 

Is it true that Jehovah's Witnesses spin in the opposite direction south of the equator?

 

Dennis

I wouldn't know as I haven't been north of the equator.

 

Incidentally 2 females from that organisation knocked on my door yesterday.

They spun around pretty quickly when I said that I wasn't interested. Come to think of it, it may have on this occasion been a clockwise spin. Perhaps they spun around faster because I was in an old pair of shorts and a singlet at the time ? (grin)

Alex

 

How a Digital Audio file sounds, or a Digital Video file looks, is governed to a large extent by the Power Supply area. All that Identical Checksums gives is the possibility of REGENERATING the file to close to that of the original file.

PROFILE UPDATED 13-11-2020

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Dennis

I wouldn't know as I haven't been north of the equator.

 

Incidentally 2 females from that organisation knocked on my door yesterday.

They spun around pretty quickly when I said that I wasn't interested. Come to think of it, it may have on this occasion been a clockwise spin. Perhaps they spun around faster because I was in an old pair of shorts and a singlet at the time ? (grin)

Alex

 

Well, they visit regularly here. I too have observed a consistent clockwise spin viewed from above. So I guess the position relative to the equator has nothing to do with it.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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