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pfarrell
2005-07-25, 08:37
On Mon, 2005-07-25 at 03:37 -0700, Mike Hanson wrote:
> DrNic Wrote:
> > I would love to see the spectral map of hearing for the audiophile set
> > (and for the techs too) and then lets comment on how good the real
> > "final stage" is in their systems... ! :)
> Unfortunately, it's not just frequency response that counts here.
> There's also the sensitivy to the temporal (i.e. timing) elements of
> the music. Also, a system with a flat frequency response that can't
> handle dynamics will still sound awful.

I haven't see solid statistics to back it up, but I expect most
audiophiles do not have flat ears. From what I can pick up of the
demographics, audiophiles are men with money to spend on audio toys.
That means they are over 30 and often part of the baby boomer
generation. My kid and her friends are very happy with MP3s on iPods.
Most of us boomers have two problems with their ears. First, they are
old, and hearing gets worse as you get old (can't hear that lion
hiding), and second, most of us listened to too much rock and roll in
our foolish youth, so tinnitus is a fact of life.

But, being 5dB down above 15kHz is not going to prevent appreciation of
good reproduction. There just isn't that much up there.

And more importantly, as Mike said, it is not all frequency response.
Timing and more specifically phase is critical to hearing. Phase is how
humans tell where the lion is. It was a critical evolutionary adaption.
And now it is how we tell real space from a boombox.

The entire "high end" section of audiophiles is based on engineering
measurements not being sufficient. Necessary, sure. But not the whole
picture.

--
Pat
http://www.pfarrell.com/music/slimserver/slimsoftware.html

Mike Hanson
2005-07-25, 08:43
Quite!

-=> Mike Hanson <=-

Robin Bowes
2005-07-25, 09:43
Pat Farrell wrote:
>
> I haven't see solid statistics to back it up, but I expect most
> audiophiles do not have flat ears. From what I can pick up of the
> demographics, audiophiles are men with money to spend on audio toys.
> That means they are over 30 and often part of the baby boomer
> generation. My kid and her friends are very happy with MP3s on iPods.
> Most of us boomers have two problems with their ears. First, they are
> old, and hearing gets worse as you get old (can't hear that lion
> hiding), and second, most of us listened to too much rock and roll in
> our foolish youth, so tinnitus is a fact of life.

Pardon? (Old sound engineers' joke).

Having a degree in Electroacoustics [1] and having spent many hours in
and around an anechoic chamber [2] performing audiometric tests and
testing hearing defenders, I can confirm that most people's hearing is
not "perfect".

[1] http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/
[2] http://www.acoustics.salford.ac.uk/enterprise/anechoic_chamber.htm

> But, being 5dB down above 15kHz is not going to prevent appreciation of
> good reproduction. There just isn't that much up there.

Indeed, FM radio transmission only goes up to 15kHz.

The important point to note is that everyone will have their own idea of
what a "good" frequency response is. Personally, I've spent too long
playing electric guitar and doing front-of-house sound for (heavy) rock
bands in small funtion rooms, and I *know* that my hearing is damaged.
But that doesn't stop me from being to hear the difference between (say)
the analogue output of the SB1 and the analogue output from my tweaked
Art DI/O DAC.

> And more importantly, as Mike said, it is not all frequency response.
> Timing and more specifically phase is critical to hearing. Phase is how
> humans tell where the lion is. It was a critical evolutionary adaption.
> And now it is how we tell real space from a boombox.

Absolutely. Timing *is* phase. The human ear is incredibly sensitive to
frequency response, but it is also very adaptible - it is able to "tune
in" to information and filter out background noise (ever had a
conversation at a noisy party?).

Poor or "bad" phase affects the relationship between frequencies and is
not as easy to characterise as poor frequency response. As Pat says, it
allows you to (generally) tell whether you're listening to a live source
or a recording. A "good" high-fidelity reproduction system will sound
transparent - it will sound like the performer is in the room with you.
A good phase-response is essential for this.

> The entire "high end" section of audiophiles is based on engineering
> measurements not being sufficient. Necessary, sure. But not the whole
> picture.

Absolutely. Until we can measure the things that make a difference to
our perception of the sound we hear then measurements alone are not enough.

R.