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  1. #1
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    Some thoughts on the Audiophile Holy Wars :-).

    Quote Originally Posted by Archimago View Post
    Hmmmm. As others say, this is really not possible.

    I fear to ask just how noisy your DAC is! Over the years of measurements, I have never seen noise all that significant over a USB interface unless something went wrong like picking up ground loop hum and stuff like that. If anything, they tend to measure better than other digital interfaces.

    Just have a look at the Oppo BDP-105 results I put up recently comparing USB, HDMI, Coaxial, TosLink:
    http://archimago.blogspot.com/2017/04/measurements-oppo-bdp-105-rca-xlr-hdmi.html

    If you do find some evidence for what I believe is one of many myths in the audiophile world, I'd love to see it!
    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    What you chose to call a "myth" I chose to call a very carefully planned and targeted marketing campaign. Once one removes the real myth that states that the high end audio magazines produce editorial content that free of influence from the advertisers then one will begin to see just how these "myths" (aka marketing campaigns) work. It's really rather simple: manufacturer (aka advertiser) produces an item that does absolutely nothing and yet the item receives rave reviews in all the high end audio magazines. And so a myth is born.

    Archimago I know full well that you despise this behavior but I can't but feeling that your very polite responses to these myths is like bringing a knife to a gun fight. The behavior of almost the entire high end industry, from manufactures to reviewers to salespeople, is despicable and needs to be treated not with respect but with scorn.
    Quote Originally Posted by Mnyb View Post
    I think archimago does it even better he have carefully measured and presented real evidence on his site.

    That works really well with the part of the pupolation that have not yet got "audiophilia" .

    The calm matter of fact manner helps convince the much bigger audience that not yet afflicted.
    The true believers are in most cases lost , they die off slowly ( the prices in high end indicates that this is a factor ).
    The more effective work is convincing people to not join the cult in the first place .

    A fun an educational site does this work more effectively than something else .

    The alarmist tone and manner ( used in populist politics ) would make him look like yet another cuckoo with alternative facts
    Quote Originally Posted by ralphpnj View Post
    I fully understand why you, Archimago and many others believe that the calm, polite and evidenced based approach is the proper one since reason does indicate that this approach SHOULD work much more effectively than my much more hostile approach. However the facts prove otherwise, in other words, the calm, polite and evidenced based approach does not work. Just ask President Trump which approach works better
    Hey Mnyb and Ralph!
    Lovely chatting with you guys again as usual :-). I thought it would be good to start a new thread discussing this rather than clutter up the "Intona USB Thing" comments. Because of the length of this, I'm going to split into 3 posts!

    Yeah, what can you say about the state of the world these days, eh? Trump (100 days are up) is truly the hysterical gift that just keeps giving; him and his cadre. "Sad." - indeed.

    I don't think that bringing objectivity into a "gun fight" is like taking out a knife. It's way more powerful - depending on the situation it will either blow a hole like a bazooka or perhaps the shut-down power of an EMP blast. The bluster of guys who just talk out of undisciplined "experience" and nothing but hot air based on their own (religious-like) testimonies have been a subject that I've focused on over the years on the blog. IMO, they are not that hard to quiet down. Even though their underlying opinions might not change, eventually what ends up happening is that they have no further arguments to refute the evidence and walks away or ignore posts. I think that Mnyb is right that perhaps the "true believers" might never change but those are not the folks I necessarily want to "convert" (though I believe from E-mails and PM's over the years that many are converting!).

    I wanted to systematically provide something substantial on-line as a resource for those "more objective" folks who wanted something to point to when they get into these "unholy wars". I hope we can stand on a higher plane of argument and challenge not with words, but rather say to the subjectivist:

    "Hey man, I can just as easily testify that something makes or doesn't make a difference and I can show you why this jives with reality - check my experiments out... If you got better evidence, show me!"

    IMO, usually this diffuses the tension and there's not much to say after that. I hope that newcomers to the hobby can see this tendency time after time! What the way of the world in the political sphere is is irrelevant I think to what we can do within our little community. The audiophile hobby is small and I think it doesn't take that much to change views over time.

    We must not underestimate the power of the Internet these days. I look at the work and views of folks like Peter Aczel and wonder if he were publishing "The Audio Critic" openly on-line, whether it would have had a much more powerful effect on audiophilia. With the Internet, we no longer have to come up short-handed competing with the likes of Industry-sponsored stuff. (I know the number of hits I get on my blog posts... I have a strong suspicion that the "silent majority" are hungry for facts rather than just opinion.)

    Over the years, I have tried to follow a systematic approach. My belief is that if more audiophile hobbyists become educated about how the technology works, this "kernel" of knowledge will defend against an automatic acceptance of nonsense. The audiophile press has done a wonderful job of distorting truths, exaggerating significance, and not associating objective evidence as "reality", rather accepting the subjectivist claims as somehow being more valuable or generalizable which is of course nonsense. When the hobby loses its ties to science and engineering whence it arose, anything becomes possible, including descent into claims based on madness.
    Last edited by Archimago; 2017-04-30 at 15:35.
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

  2. #2
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    For those new to some of our discussions here over the years, here are a few links over the years which I've tried to provide evidence for and thoughts I wanted people to consider. I've tried to maintain a general structure in mind of topics to address, many of which are contemporaneous with where the Industry is going or products it wants to promote:

    MP3 (high bitrate) vs. FLAC blind test - MP3 320kbps appears to be just as good even to audiophiles with $$$ gear!

    The beginnings of device measurements: Squeezebox Touch, Transporter, NOS DAC, Playstation 1

    The beginnings of looking at the "dreaded jitter" :-) - Adaptive vs. Asynchronous USB, USB cables (making no difference)


    Cable measurements (USB, TosLink, Coaxial, HDMI, ethernet, Synergistic power cable, Crystal Cable, interconnects...) - summarized here; notice also philosophical discussions

    Audio playback software - no, they make no difference! On Windows, on Mac OS X

    Windows OS tweaks... No difference either from stuff like JPLAY and Fidelizer.

    Audio lossless compression - lossless is lossless :-)

    On the fact that many SACD's are just upsamples to remind folks that we should treat "high res" with caution, the 24-bit vs. 16-bit blind test

    Explorations in vinyl playback and time domain performance compared to digital. (Digital) (Technics SL-1200) (Roksan TMS)

    Various philosophical discussions: Passion/Audiophilia/Faith/Money, Vinyl vs. Digital, Objectivism vs. Subjectivism, convenience/lossy/societal trends/worsening quality, wisdom of simplicity in hi-res


    "Basics" of thinking about High Resolution Audio, value of 176/192kHz?, limitations of human hearing, do we need >20kHz?

    Digital filters: Linear vs. Minimal phase blind test, basics of it

    USB "noise": USB hubs, using Corning optical USB cable, what a bad USB cable sounds like

    Pono: general comments, Player itself

    The power of DSP room correction: First time... Second time...

    Computer Audio: Part I, Part II

    Inexpensive audio streaming these days: Using ODROID C2 and Raspberry Pi 3. "Touch" player.

    MQA: many posts beginning here.
    Last edited by Archimago; 2017-04-30 at 22:18.
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

  3. #3
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    That's just some that come to mind; many more in there potentially of interest such as acoustic panels, or how speaker grills affect sound...

    Ralph, I agree with you. Though I try to be gentle in words, I do believe the Industry promotes and desires that people hold views of mythical proportions for their financial gains. This is absolutely the undercurrent of what we often swim against. Again, I don't think we need to be deterred nor give up the fight to educate and speak up against egregious error. As social creatures, we are swayed by those around us and there's a natural desire to belong to "tribes". In my E-mails with some over the years, I've often wondered if we in these little corners of audiophile land do what we can to promote more "rational audiophiles" - the Neo-Objective Audiophile Revival :-) - we will see that in fact we have more power than we think.

    Maybe not world altering but I think it would be fun to see this hobby change over time... Very cool if the old Squeezebox Forum - the remnant site of an early, discontinued, but certainly not forgotten streaming system plays its part :-).
    Last edited by Archimago; 2017-04-30 at 15:01.
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

  4. #4
    Senior Member Wombat's Avatar
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    The efforts you and others do is simply amazing! Thanks for that.
    It should be mentioned that people like Arnold K. spend much time in several forums and events to make people think about their own percetption.
    Over the last years i see several High-End peddlers are more cautious with direct superlatives and they have it harder to find gullibles.
    Nonetheless they try to sell now with 'The difference is subtile and not to abx or measure but worth once spotted'
    Transporter (modded) -> RG142 -> Avantgarde Acoustic based 500VA monoblocks -> Sommer SPK240 -> self-made speakers

  5. #5
    Senior Member Archimago's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Wombat View Post
    The efforts you and others do is simply amazing! Thanks for that.
    It should be mentioned that people like Arnold K. spend much time in several forums and events to make people think about their own percetption.
    Over the last years i see several High-End peddlers are more cautious with direct superlatives and they have it harder to find gullibles.
    Nonetheless they try to sell now with 'The difference is subtile and not to abx or measure but worth once spotted'
    I've certainly seen Arny K's tireless efforts over the years... Hey, who can forget Arny's tete-a-tete with John Atkinson in 2005!

    The Great Audiophile Debate - John Atkinson vs. Arny Krueger

    Amazing that was 12 years ago, Arny!
    Archimago's Musings: (archimago.blogspot.com) A 'more objective' audiophile blog.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    I tend to think of it as a cultural thing . I'm no anthropologist and can't always find the words in English ( not my first language).
    It's giving "them" to much credit calling conspiracy all the time .

    The audiophile community has iterated down to this in small steps , it's just what happens when you go on unchecked by reality in your own little feedback loop for decades. The first "filter bubble" before Internet was big thing

    But it is also true then when we already got the current situation it attracts a lot of deliberate scams like in the cable industry.
    Some of these brands migth have started and are still run by .

    People who actually still believes this . Some who actually just continue as always and not really questioning things . And true con artist who just struck gold by inventing x to cure y just like the health scammers do .
    Or something even more complicated.

    The corruption between press and the subject they are writing about is not unique to the audiophile world .
    The twist is what they are "corrupting about" is total make believe, floating away into the night in their own bubble

    But I do think that the truth of migth have sunk into some editors but they are keeping up apearences because it's to much money rolling in but mostly social prestige and they don't know of anything else .

    Profitable magazine, that's not so common these days , but if would try this career I would chose some other topic than high end audio ?

    The audio critic was a good magazine it's issues are aviable for PDF downloads.
    The magazine is not without its own problems .

    I recommend to find one article where they test a Sony CD player vs a expensive Accuphase unit for one of its really good articles.
    It explains a lot of how designing audio works in some ways and why the exotic stuff gets expensive really fast even if they are based mostly on real technology and sometimes performing worse than mainstream stuff. Just good journalism.
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Main hifi: Touch + CIA PS +MeridianG68J MeridianHD621 MeridianG98DH 2 x MeridianDSP5200 MeridianDSP5200HC 2 xMeridianDSP3100 +Rel Stadium 3 sub.
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  7. #7
    Senior Member Julf's Avatar
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    But then there is this: Why the Flat Earth Movement is the Best Symbol of the Increasingly Diminished Value of Truth and Intelligence

    "It’s the same quick-fix attitude that’s besieging our political landscape: information that doesn’t accord with your carefully manicured world-view is “fake news,” opinions that don’t cohere with your own are offensive, everything you dislike or that frightens you can be wedged between scare quotes and rejected out of hand. Never mind the “expertise” of “professionals” and “elites.” You still matter. You know everything you need to know."

    For many audiophilia is a way to escape from a modern world full of knowledge, science, technology and expertise into a simpler, gentler word where you count simply for having been around long enough to read enough audiophile magazines and but the right boxes. But because you are Special, with better ears than the ears of all those know-it-all engineer types, your Truth trumps (pun intended) all their formulas.

    Unfortunately proving them wrong just strengthens their resolve.
    "To try to judge the real from the false will always be hard. In this fast-growing art of 'high fidelity' the quackery will bear a solid gilt edge that will fool many people" - Paul W Klipsch, 1953

  8. #8
    Senior Member Mnyb's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Julf View Post
    But then there is this: Why the Flat Earth Movement is the Best Symbol of the Increasingly Diminished Value of Truth and Intelligence

    "It’s the same quick-fix attitude that’s besieging our political landscape: information that doesn’t accord with your carefully manicured world-view is “fake news,” opinions that don’t cohere with your own are offensive, everything you dislike or that frightens you can be wedged between scare quotes and rejected out of hand. Never mind the “expertise” of “professionals” and “elites.” You still matter. You know everything you need to know."

    For many audiophilia is a way to escape from a modern world full of knowledge, science, technology and expertise into a simpler, gentler word where you count simply for having been around long enough to read enough audiophile magazines and but the right boxes. But because you are Special, with better ears than the ears of all those know-it-all engineer types, your Truth trumps (pun intended) all their formulas.

    Unfortunately proving them wrong just strengthens their resolve.
    .. and buy the rigth boxes too ,the ones cherished in the magazines then your in and experienced and matters . Yes a culture/cult around exclusive audio gear ?

    Dont get me wrong i do love and cherish audio gear too its fun , besides the sound i love the design and brands behind some of the stuff and the history of hifi .
    At the same time i realise that my phone these days are better than my first standalone DAC from the 2000's , thats just how it works .

    If it only could be like the old car hobby , not many in that hobby pretends that they are "better" but loves the style and feeling of these old cars . The tube hobbyist on the other hand have dreamed up some insane stuff to pretend that tube gear is "better" ?
    If they could just like the sound of it and accept that its cloured and distorted and actually not whats been feed to the input and be happy anyway ?
    --------------------------------------------------------------------
    Main hifi: Touch + CIA PS +MeridianG68J MeridianHD621 MeridianG98DH 2 x MeridianDSP5200 MeridianDSP5200HC 2 xMeridianDSP3100 +Rel Stadium 3 sub.
    Bedroom/Office: Boom
    Kitchen: Touch + powered Fostex PM0.4
    Misc use: Radio (with battery)
    iPad1 with iPengHD & SqueezePad
    (spares Touch, SB3, reciever ,controller )
    server HP proliant micro server N36L with ClearOS Linux

    http://people.xiph.org/~xiphmont/demo/neil-young.html

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archimago View Post
    For those new to some of our discussions here over the years, here are a few links over the years which I've tried to provide evidence for and thoughts I wanted people to consider. I've tried to maintain a general structure in mind of topics to address, many of which are contemporaneous with where the Industry is going or products it wants to promote:
    1. It was your MP3/FLAC test that convinced me I CAN distinguish MP3 and FLAC! It was the metal track - I couldn't establish a preference, but I could pick out A and B at will for that one track. Once, I randomised the playlist and tried it 10 times. I got 9 right. Until your test, I was thinking it might be placebo but now I'm convinced it's audible.

    2. One of your tests on digital cables is the ONLY concrete evidence I have seen that changing a digital cable can affect measurements at the analogue output of a DAC. Without your evidence, I would probably have to concede this might be just a theoretical possibility. (Just in case it isn't clear from the preceding words, I am not writing about audibility.)

    I thank you for your measurement-led approach. I don't agree with all your summarisations though.

    I can see how certain audiophiles might jump on some of the above words and extrapolate wrongly. But that's no reason to bury or twist conclusions.
    Last edited by darrenyeats; 2017-05-01 at 05:13.
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  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by Archimago View Post
    I've certainly seen Arny K's tireless efforts over the years... Hey, who can forget Arny's tete-a-tete with John Atkinson in 2005!

    The Great Audiophile Debate - John Atkinson vs. Arny Krueger

    Amazing that was 12 years ago, Arny!
    Thanks for the kind words.

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