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.

Stereophile understands that people hear differently and desire different things.

That's a very generous interpretation.

"That's a very generous interpretation."

Very generous!

With the exception of some reviewing Stereophile sells ads. All magazines do. The discernment is up to the readers, but since the internet truth finding is easier. Stereophile only has so many rooms, setups, ears and review deadlines to judge with. Those who experience are the real tellers of audio and we don't find many of them posting because of trolling, but their experiences are what give us insight beyond our own.

I would say it takes about 6 months (again being generous) to see who the experienced guys are here, or on any forum. Once you spot those guys It's easier to get real (factual) opinions from. Even those I may differ with, reading their experiences is valuable.


Everyone's ears are different. Think about what that means...
Nobody goes to CES to look at audio gear. That's why the audio press hardly bothers with it. It's where Onkyo displays their new Dolby Atmos surround sound receivers. Nobody that listens to music cares. 
Three things to try at home before passing judgement on what affects perception of sound and what doesn’t.

1. Remove all telephone books from the house or apartment and listen again.
2. Remove all cell phones from the house and listen again.
3. Remove all old newspapers and magazines from the house and listen again.
4. Take as many CDs and or LPs as you can carry outside and listen again.

You be the judge. You are the decider.