The invention of measurements and perception


This is going to be pretty airy-fairy. Sorry.

Let’s talk about how measurements get invented, and how this limits us.

One of the great works of engineering, science, and data is finding signals in the noise. What matters? Why? How much?

My background is in computer science, and a little in electrical engineering. So the question of what to measure to make systems (audio and computer) "better" is always on my mind.

What’s often missing in measurements is "pleasure" or "satisfaction."

I believe in math. I believe in statistics, but I also understand the limitations. That is, we can measure an attribute, like "interrupts per second" or "inflamatory markers" or Total Harmonic Distortion plus noise (THD+N)

However, measuring them, and understanding outcome and desirability are VERY different. Those companies who can do this excel at creating business value. For instance, like it or not, Bose and Harman excel (in their own ways) at finding this out. What some one will pay for, vs. how low a distortion figure is measured is VERY different.

What is my point?

Specs are good, I like specs, I like measurements, and they keep makers from cheating (more or less) but there must be a link between measurements and listener preferences before we can attribute desirability, listener preference, or economic viability.

What is that link? That link is you. That link is you listening in a chair, free of ideas like price, reviews or buzz. That link is you listening for no one but yourself and buying what you want to listen to the most.

E
erik_squires

You know what guys, you're sounding very very old. Today is the last day of the CES 2019 and the young brains there have moved so far beyond this discussion and frankly Stereophile magazine’s view of technology it’s not even close. Stereophile in fact is so stuck it could only send one reporter to the show. They can’t even see that the paradigm has shifted and exploding with new innovations.

While some of you are debating (still) the perceptions of sound the world has walked right on by you and on to the next chapter (chapters). I guess that’s what happens when you are a part of a world pre-internet and pre advanced teaching and technology. Calling each other mentally ill while your arguments are obsolete and irrelevant as far as this generation goes I guess is insane. It’s at least reserved for the unaware.

There’s nothing wrong with playing in a world of aged information, old people do that. But when you think you have something to still teach this fast pace technology world your fooling yourselves. You guys are still playing with mu-metal and sorbothane while the modern world is designing products to work with fields not trying to kill them. When you kill a field you also remove part of the music signal. When you dampen you do the same thing. When you house your electronic parts in a heavy chassis, same thing. Your talking about problems that don’t even exist in modern technology.

My friend from Kansas said it very well "carry on my wayward son". Do you guys ever wonder why HEA shows are almost all old folks now? It’s not because the young have not figured it out yet.

Michael Green

I hate to judge before all the facts are in but it appears from what you say the young Turks at CES are more interested in pro audio than high end audio or audiophiles. Which makes sense, really. Young dudes and dudettes can’t even identify countries on a map of the world these days, much less grasp the physics behind vibration isolation or magnetic field absorption. The signal, by the way, is not a magnetic field so your example of mu metal is a little bit lame, Michael. However the signal is *distorted* by magnetic fields, hence the mu metal. Capish?
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Here is the CES website for those interested in what the CES has been and is today.

http://www.ces.tech/

And here is NAMM, which is usually about 10 or so days after CES.

http://www.namm.org/thenammshow/2019

The CES is the home show and NAMM the pro.

It looks as though High End Audio, because of it’s decline in numbers, won’t be featured in either of the two bigger shows. That’s not official but with HEA only having 28 display rooms this year at the CES the rumor is the more tech driven shows won’t likely be the home any more for High End Audio displaying. I hope that’s not the case because HEA without being able to piggy back on one of the bigger shows will loose even more exposure in the US.

Michael Green