The Absurdity of it All


50-60-70 year old ears stating with certainty that what they hear is proof positive of the efficacy of analog, uber-cables, tweaks...name your favorite latest and greatest audio "advancement." How many rock concerts under the bridge? Did we ever wear ear protection with our chain saws? Believe what you will, but hearing degrades with age and use and abuse. To pontificate authority while relying on damaged goods is akin to the 65 year old golfer believing his new $300 putter is going to improve his game. And his game MAY get better, but it is the belief that matters. Everything matters, but the brain matters the most.
jpwarren58

Showing 21 responses by mahgister

Thank you @bstbomber & @rcronk for those well reasoned thoughts.
I approve and thanks you for the read......
Audiogon is an audiophile site. Why their are so many people here who detest audiophiles (at any age) is a mystery.
Very simple...

Some "Not so great mind" like to bash minds which they estimated lower than themselves in knowledge and experience... It is mankind story....

It is way better to be enthusiast, trustful, open, if you are a true great mind for sure....Life is more easy....And the thinking process is more creative if not more neutral....I dont doubt you are one of those true great mind boxer...

My best to you....
Just my 2 cents - except the last part. That was Homer. He’s old.
i like your post....

 welcome....


Human hearing of great maestros, matured over fifty are not out of their place because some ignorant people here will claim so...A great maestro can spot a single musician playing right or wrong or not playing in his orchestra in spite of his age....

Hearing pitch and musical cues are not always innate, it is a learned ability, save for perfect pitch hearer.... And pitch perception DOES NOT reduce itself to pure frequencies hearing, it is not so simple...Save for simple mind....

And this war between subjectivist and objectivist is ridiculous... People short of argument take a side in an deadlock case, an ended road ...
And some came here quarelling people who speak about their sound experience with gear to ask them pass a hearing test or a blind test if not attack them... These audio threads are for PARTAKING experience and information... Blindtest CANNOT be systematically organized and anyway are NOT the solution....

Is it not ridiculous?

Which one the most ridiculous?

Take your side...

But this is waste of time...

Better to read a book.....

I will not suggest here for the moment the book i was reading, someone supposedly informed qualify the writer to be ignorant without even knowing the book , after all the writers’s life of studying acoustic...Is it not astounding ? It astound me the BIAS of some here and i dont speak about hearing bias here....
😊
I will read the book...
@mahgister

You get it. My points exactly.
Fair!


My best to you....


I respect Mahgister
I must say that i respect you totally also even if my discussion with you are in opposite terms...And in spite of sometimes harsh words between us...

I learned a lot thanks to you and without your challenging arguments i never would have been able to create my mechanical equalizer...

Being in opposite side dont exclude civility and even admiration or friendship...

A human is not HIS opinion and arguments...

And a master in pu-erh tea cannot be bad.....😊

But anyone can be wrong....


The best ears in the world are old musicians and especially healthy  orchestra maestros of 80 years old...

A thing i dont understand is the "doubt"  about  their experience feeling  by many....

Clean all doubts about your own hearing abilities and listen with relaxation and trust...

I am 70 years old with an average hearing degradation for my age...

I created devices and hundreds of changes in my system, and fine tune by ears my 32 tubes and pipes mechanical equalizer.... It takes times...

I never think that i had a good listening power over other people before and in fact i am pretty sure that my ability are very average....

BUT I TRUST MY EARS COMPLETELY and listen relaxed after each of my experiments....

I listen to my feeling, is it good? Is it bad? is it an improvement.... And i trust my feeling on the spot without even thinking....We listen with our BODY not only our ears, then trust your feeling without inner contestation.... Simply listen, relax, open your ears body and soul, let the feeling emerge with the sound and corresponding to the sound and you will know without error this si such or such  for me.... Simple...

After all that my system is so good for me, nothing will give me the insane costly  idea to upgrade.... All that make a system perfect, for sure on a degree which is the degree of optimal sound quality for what i have in ratio S.Q/price...But NO youtube costly system trash completely mine even the more costly.... They are better sometimes on all counts but not so much better and often they are non musical, harsh, fatiguing etc....

My Sansui amplifier or Mission cyrus speakers are not the top os the scale and NOTHING will change that...

But my system is so rightfully embedded  i feel no desire at all to buy anything at any cost.... I only listen any music forgetting sound....I can even  because  it is fun to do, times to times, new listening experiments....but i had already reach the limit of possible improvements.... It is only playing...I play relaxed...

My best to all....
But lets walk back your statement I don’t think it is universally accepted that maestros perceive and direct music even better with age. I think you will find that statement hard to support. I think what you will find, is that the best conductors, are the best, no matter what age they are at. The remaining conductors at an advanced age are remaining, not because they are better with age, but because they are better period, and always have been. Did know there are studies into how long conductors live. They seem to have long average lives.
I must say that this dont demolish my point but i recognize the validity of your remark indeed...

Then i will declare a win/win for each...

For sure even Maestros decline like all of us...

My point is they are recognized for their musical perception learned ability not for their frequencies range perception "per se".... 😊

Like you said they stay there because they are always the best not ONLY by habit.... I listen to an hour with Maestro Ansermet directing practice with his orchestra.... At 80 years old the old dog was barking with very articulated speech directives and accurate perception....


It is in french tough sorry....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Naxj8XbT8Q0

Best at what? This is quite a statement. What do you have to back it up and that describes exactly what they are best at? I don’t think you can support this statement, and I am quite certain you can’t support it as a universal statement.
No, it is not an opinion, it is a universally accepted fact that maestros perceive and direct music even better with age in normal conditions...

But my affirmation is valid in a world where perceiving is a QUALITY and a learning process, not a QUANTITY and a machine expertise who translate pitch in frequencies...

But for you qualities are epiphenomenon reducible to quantities; pitch EQUAL frequencies and is not a simple correlation, nothing else.... Then all maestro are semi deaf old dudes that put a show and they will be replaced by A.I. The brain is  ONLY a computer effecting Fourrier analysis after all....

Is it not?
Worser yet..Unproven "Technology" that doesn’t exist through objective means...but keeps magically appearing. Only marketing fluff with no way to prove efficacy by any type of real science or engineering.
Your affirmation are only a free belief about something you dont know...

My system is 500 bucks ...

I bought no tweaks... I created my own homemade devices at no cost and replicate at no cost some very costly one... I even invented one very powerful myself...A mechanical equalizer for the room....

Then i KNOW what could work or not by my listening experiments....

What you call a "tweak " with despise, i never bought them...Not because they dont work or never work...

Because it is easy to create your own with basic science and common sense...At low cost or even at NO cost...

I called my devices: controls in the three working embeddings dimensions of ANY audio system: mechanical,electrical and acoustical...

They are NOT secondary addition tweak to a system they are the main working controls tool of the system....

My system dont need any costly upgrade and compare favorably in the ratio S.Q. /price scale with ANYTHING... It is not the better in the absolute,not at all for sure, i am not a fool....But it is one of the best on earth for 500 bucks probably...I listen music with ZERO frustration....


Then be creative, trust your ears, and dont read too much audio reviews....

And let the pretense of science to the scientist.....Or to the sunday "scientism" skeptic club....

Audio is fun , may cost peanuts, and those who think otherwise are deluded and very loose with their money....I am not....

 My best regards with apology for my rant....

But many things must be repeated here....

One day, a few will clue in to the fact that if all they chase are marketing claims and not real substantiated audible claims,
Too simplistic....

I listened some costly tweak product on youtube marketed by a well known company and it is EVIDENT that there is an audible effect....

But not necessarily an effect i would want in my system...

Anyway i replicated some of these tweaks AT LOW COST but without the artificiality in the audible effect... My device control was less powerful but more delicate in the musical effect....Then some may produce very real spectacular effect, but not necessarily something i would wanted to pay for...And anyway one could replicate some at peanuts costs....

All tweaks are not equal....



This is not fact only my own experience for sure....
I listened some costly tweak product on youtube marketed by a well known company and it is EVIDENT that there is an audible effect....



Was that the one where he placed a large metal object (effectively) right against the microphone? Well duh! (not to you), of course that is going to make a difference! Or is it the one that had the shelved output that would not correlated to the communicated changes? All this is readily evident when you do correlated analysis of the audio samples. Not everything is as it seems.
No i listen to ALL the video on youtube with many customers...

Simple... But an audible effect is one thing, and not the story...

Remember: i personaly NEVER BUY "tweaks"

I created my own at NO COST....

Negating an audible effect is not my way...I will let sunday club scientist debunking some unreal and sometimes some real audible effects....

Investigating to create a better effect at no cost is my way....i prefer my listening experiments...

It is better to teach people how to fish without complicated means or tools than to use blindtest to criticize any means or tool for fishing without teaching people how to fish at NO COST....Some effects created by costly tweaks are real.... Negating all audible effects is non productive.... I prefer to assume the effect is there and VERIFYING IT at no cost....Improving my audio system is my goal, not a pretense to science with blindtest....

I am not against blindtest... Why not?

Especially for costly product...

But this does not solve the problem of HOW to improve at no cost my audio system...

I prefer sometimes assuming that something is real, some acoustical audible effect and trying to replicate it at NO COST... why contesting in principle ALL testimonies like placebos? The goal of a statiscal experiment using blindtest cannot be useful for me, save for particular spectacular costly product... It is not a general solution for customers listening their music and wanting to improve their S.Q..... Making my own listening experiment at no cost or at low cost is more useful and fun...Speaking about the results in my case is not promoting a brand i use only homemade or very low cost products...

Simple....

Nobody learn to fish blindfolded...
@jpeters568

My whole thing is "just try it". If it doesn’t make a difference, then you are good!

And because one person doesn’t hear any difference, doesn’t mean another who says they do are a victim of marketing.

Quick story to illustrate my thoughts on hearing vs listening.

I’ve been working on a speaker for a bit. A project I’ve been mulling about for a few months. Experimenting with a coax driver and a capacitor less crossover. Was trying to decide between two values of the resistor (8.2 ohm and 10 ohm). The high end was different. One went higher, but was missing the bit just below, the other didn’t go as high but held the info up to that point. There was a distinct difference to my ears.

I wanted an "unbiased" and "uninterested" opinion. I asked my 8yr old son to listen. Now, he has fresh ears and can hear a fly fart next door... He heard the clarity of the speakers, and commented on that. I asked him if he could describe what the differences were and if there was one he liked better as I A/B’d the speakers for him (Mono - L/R channels). He couldn’t. I asked if he could hear a difference. He couldn’t.

Hearing is biology. Much like sense of taste is biology. Listening is a skill, something learned or taught. Like taste, being able to isolate nuances is very much a skill.

Prior to Covid hitting, a friend was going through cancer treatment/surgery. He was unable to work for the better part of two years prior to Covid arriving. He was scheduled to have his final surgery but that was canceled due to the pandemic. He is a chef, and when Covid arrived, he got pretty down. I started fixing his stereo so he could listen to his vinyl collection. The transformation in his ability to listen for nuanced changes in a speaker build/tuning is astonishing. (I’ve built a lot of speakers for him). He is 64 and we often joke about the biological limits our age has put on our hearing. He is listening with far greater acuity than ever before.

I feel like this is a journey, and not a destination.
Excellent post!

My own remark

FIRST

To perceive something especially a change which can be subtle, and characterize this change positively or negatively ask for some pre-requisite...

We must use some cd or vinyl whe know very much by heart already

We must choose a recording with these characteristic: natural acoustic of the instrument sound, and human voices first with piano or orchestra or few acoustic instrument...
No pop, no rock, Why?

Because changes being detected they will ask to be judged by reference points... No commercial music sound natural, all is modified, and it is the TIMBRE natural experience which will be our signpost ALL ALONG the journey....

Distortions and sibilance are always detected easily if we use a known reference point: acoustic natural timbre in non amplified, or non electrical instruments and especially voices...

SECOND

Nothing can be clearly perceived and understood without a CONCEPT to seize it consciously and describe it... Then we must read about acoustic ...And If there is 3 working embeddings dimensions to modify and make cleaner with controls settings and devices : mechanical , electrical, and acoustical...

The most important one is acoustical...

Acoustic of a room is so powerful even experience audiophiles here underestimated it....
The room is not easy to control and as it has been said many times, it’s the biggest part of the system.
He is right absolutely....

For acoustic controls there is no easy road.... It takes time... this is the bad news... The good news is it is possible to ststematically afress it in a dedicated room without investing money only by hearing experiments with only homemade devices but it will not be esthetical...

The living room will ask for more money and even more difficulties because of the limitations you can impose in a living room...

The most useful piece in a system is not any piece of gear it is a dedicated room....

If someone is not being limited by money and he is so proud of his gear that his pleasure is boasting about it, his experience cannot help us...My system value is 500 dollars and i have hear better system than mine, it is easy to look for them on youtube....But if they are better in the absolute concretely it is an another story which can be telled only by acoustic means... In ratio S.Q. /price my system is one if not the best i ever listen to....

The goal is reaching audiophile experience for ordinary mortal with very limited money...

Then a dedicated room is the greatest gift.... By the way acoustic treatment with passive materials is mandatory but in a small room had his limits.... We must also controls timing of the wavefronts and ACTIVE means of controls could help tremendously: Resonators, ionizers, Schumann generators, BUT especially powerful : a mechanical equalizer based on Helmholtz acoustic resonators principles....An Helmholtz resonator can adress all acoustic problems in his own way: imaging, timbre, soundstage, listener envelopment factor in relation to sound width of the source...

Why?

Because a room is a very tigth pressure zone, like a set of strings on a violin....Each pipes and tubes resonastors introduce a different pressure which will  damp AND enhance different  frequencies...The set of tubes will be like a silent orchestra on his own, and the location of tubes and each pipes would be important and even the orientation of the variable neck position in the room linked to each pipes and tubes...

With a mechanical equalizer you modify the room for your speakers with your ears to control the fine tuning process...

An electronic equalizer is different and use a mic and is valid measure are for a millimeter precise location not for a human body location in the room...It can be a useful tool but cannot replace acoustic control by only itself.... A mechanical equalizer is PART of the room... It is an active tool modifiable through time... It is not esthetical for sure.... But some are more crafty than me...

This is my mechanical equalizer that teach me this: one could destruct acoustically a room/system or revive it completely with an audible effect very powerful with only a straw of very thin diameter, and short lenght at the right location or not....Then changing an amplifier will never be able to compete with this straw save going from a shitty amplifier to a better one... Nothing less will compare....

Acoustic is the key to audio experience if you had already choosen relatively BASIC good gear...But chosing good gear is the easy part of the journey...

The rest is marketing ignorance voluntary or unvolontary....
This is my experience....
Mahgister, can you show us a picture of your mechanical equalizer? I am not sure what you mean by "tight pressure zone" comparing it to strings on a violin. Maybe you mean tight tension?
There exist no photography of pressure zones in a room only diagram...

Pick any acoustical article they will show you ...

anyway thanks for your interest....

Any room is not only walls waiting from the waves to bounce back and beign reflected, absorbed or diffused...

Any room is when sound come from the speaker a multiple pressure zones created by the meeting of waves and their resonance...

I say that these pressure zone are tight like strings of a violin because of the speed of sound the waves croos my room near 80 times in one second...

The brain decision threshold treat the incoming frontwaves is 80 millisecond if i remember well...

Then i compared the new pressure zones introduced by 32 fine tuned tubes and pipes to a a violin string optimally tight for producing the right tone....i use my equalizer to modify the equilibrium between the distributed pressure zones and the ratio between the timing of direct and reflected waves...

The metaphor comes from the fact that before my ears qualify the sound quality, the waves had cross my room and ears a great number of times...

A slight modification like the fleeting of a tight string produce a note...A SINGLE STRAW constituting the neck of only one of my 32 tubes or pipes of few inches could destruct completely the sound timbre, or modify radically the soundstage or the listener envelopment.... A single straw has more qualitative audible effect than some upgrade in gear...


That illustrate how powerful acoustical settings are...

They are more details in my thread....

Thanks for your interest....





Very good post thanks...

Human voice timbre is the most well known and perceived musical and sound object...

It is the only way to fine tuned a system....Using it....
It doesn’t get much more pretentious than this. Insinuating the people that choose to buy less expensive, higher value gear can’t hear the differences is ridiculous.
You are right...

And no one need to pay to buy acoustic or psychoacoustic law.... they cost nothing to apply and make a difference bigger than ANY upgrade...

Relating price and S.Q. exceeding  a certain boundary quality is no more possible....And this boundary is way more low than what most audiophiles think....

For those who contend that we only need to rely on our ears - If that is the case, why would we need Audiogon or any other hobbyists forum. We need it as a source of information or to validate our own thinking. What we don’t need is someone preaching to us or trying to make us look foolish in front of those we look to for help.


Hearing is not only an inherited ability(perfect pitch individual) but it is a learned habit we develop in many ways...

I come here for information and discoveries...

But i started to progress the day i decide to trust my own hearing biases and let them flourished or be replaced by others one...I begin by trusting what i listen to trying to understand why the sound is such and not such and how could i modify it for my own liking....

I did that because when you dont have the luxury of money if you want to live an audiophile experience there is only one way: listening experiments with low cost devices of your own...

I am glad to this day that trusting my own wishes and hearing possibilities i reach my goal....

Then the first thing to learn is knowing that our ears are the seat of the experience not the gear....How we embed it is more important than any upgrade...

And acoustic is the master of all in audio...Not the gear...

Called that preaching if you want...

But it is the most important fact i learned the hard way....

It dont lack of people here to inform us how to spend our money with various branded names.... I prefer to explain how to spare it, if my experience can help a little in this way....

Acoustic and psychoacoustic for example give to us the law with which we can create our own timbre experience, soundstage, imaging, listener envelopment (LEV) and that with very simple principle....

The relatively good gear we own in most case is enough for this explorations and experiences...

This is my "preaching"...

By the way there is many other people here very competent for all other necessary very technical answers.... It is a very good forum....

The worst thing here would be NOT trusting our own hearing experience and learning , trusting mainly the words of praise of others about costly gear.... This is the upgrade pit....Few comes over it and at the end the cost is heavy...








😊😊😊😊😊


Imaging and accuracy are good things to shoot for but if the system does not feel right it is all to naught.
The most important "feeling" will come associated with the right voices and instruments timbre perception...

For sure we could be thrilled by the loudness and dynamic bass of an explosion accurately reproduced on a system....

But music is not mainly this experience....

There is no right perception of a natural timbre without acoustic control in small room....

Go on youtube and listen some costly system....If you own system is relatively good for sure....some sound unrealistic, harsh, or unnatural....At any price and it is the room problem most of the times more than the gear itself...
@stuartk, sorry about my delayed response. The visceral sensation is created by frequencies below 300 Hz. It is in this region that room acoustics cause the most trouble. Go to a rock concert at a large indoor venue and you get very powerful one note bass, boom, boom, boom. Go to an outdoor venue and you get beautiful bass. However, small indoor venues like Jazz clubs and larger indoor venue where acoustics were appropriately managed like Boston's Symphony Hall can give you wonderful sound. But the small rooms we usually listen to our systems in literally choke the bass below 100 Hz. Getting these frequencies right requires clever acoustic management, a lot of power both amplifier and driver and digital room control.
First point:  room acoustic can be controlled mechanically in a more powerful way than electronically...

Second point: i listen cello,tuba, and piano not heavy metal then over 40 hertz clear bass is enough and i have it in a 13 feet square room...I have a 52 watts amplifier, my sub is disconnected because i dont need it and any way only one sub in a small room is not ideal at all....

Third point no generalization are good.... There is different needs and different methods to reach a goal....
That’s quite a daunting thing to read when someone is writing that about a system that costs 30 or 40 times more than yours.

A respected Hi-Fi dealer at that!
I like your posts....

This one also....

Just a remark about the last sentence...

Hi-FI induce neurotic reactions because people dont focus on basic first and second are hypnotized by the costly gear...

In reality a "relatively good" audiophile experience cost peanuts if you stick to basic: mechanical, electrical and, most important, acoustical embeddings controls...

I proved it to myself...

Anyway my deepest regards....




mahgister, how much experience do you have actually measuring room acoustics and correcting defects with both acoustic management and digital EQ?
How much experience do you have actually "listening" to the same room acoustic with both passive materials treatment and active mechanical controls with a grid of 32 Helmholtz resonators finely tunable each one?

it is exactly like piano tuning by human ears but it takes some time because it was not my professional job...


When someone tells me they have "clear" bass that usually means they have almost no bass below 80 Hz. Because if you did without digital EQ the bass would be muddy and confused.
It is IMPOSSIBLE to have the tuba melodic line clearly with only 80 hertz bass...

I have it then my bass is clear to a point around at least 50 hertz and even under, but less so clear .... If i choose to disconnect my sub there is a reason....I am limited by the specs of my speakers even if they are spectacular with bass....

This cd contain one hour of tuba notes.... A very fine cd i recommend it....
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=olIrf-uioD8

They pull out the measurement microphone. I suggest you buy one. What you will see when you measure your system is a mess.
I dont doubt what you say here.... Are you surprized?

But what you dont catch is that this "mess" is the result of my fine tuning for my EARS first...This measured mess is the speakers design response in my uncontrolled room...But after the finetuning of my grid relatively to my specific speakers response, it is no more an absolute mess, it is a "mess" correlated to my specific ears desire .... It is the way i hear timbre voices and instrument that is my rule for ALL THE ROOM .... Not a very selected range of frequencies for a very narrow location in millimeter out of which all your measures are a real mess... I will remind you that i listen from 2 positions in my room....Not just one....  



And it is not an absolute mess at all sorry.....I am sure that your "clean" acoustic will not be so good for me...But will sound artificial....

I think you dont understand that my speakers specs are not modified by the electronic equalization like in your case, my mechanical equalisation is carried out continuously by devices which are now part of my room and they modify the room without modifying the speakers responses even if i used in my own way with my H.R. grid the speakers responses ....And the fine tuning by ears use the relatively large band of voice timbre coming from the speakers and is very "finely" tunable at any time....

No electronical equalization can replace a room acoustic treatment ....NONE...An E.E. is not a room treatment at all...

But my mechanical equalization is a ROOM tretament ALSO, and not only an equalizer on his own right also, adapted exactly to my speakers timbre response (not frequencies response) without modifying their natural original design colored response....Like your equalization....
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