Food for thought

Printable View

  • 08-15-2006, 10:44 PM
    Bernd
    Food for thought
    Interesting points raised...concerning reviews


    "One of the oddest things I have noticed about the world of high end audio in the last few years is the failure by many audiophiles to understand that no component—no piece of scientific equipment made by human hands, no human—has direct access to what Robert E. Greene confidently calls "objective reality." Every manmade thing is an interpretation. Everybody interprets. The microscope interprets less than a novel, but the difference is in degree, not in kind. This is not a statement of disbelief in "objective reality." I believe in it as much as Robert Greene does. But neither Professor Greene nor I have direct access to it, any more than a religious believer has direct access to his god. Both are matters of faith. I find faith in objective reality to be the far more reasonable of the two, but I don't delude myself that this is anything more than an inference I draw from its apparent solidity, general predictability, and success in winning a broad consensus about its nature. Clearly something is there, which is not something I can say with confidence about the almighty(s).
    What is this preamble about? It is a reminder, mainly; a form of caveat lector that I find is increasingly necessary. To wit: when you read in a review that Speaker A is more accurate, more transparent, more truthful, more correct, smile knowingly, understand that you are listening to rhetoric—a reviewer's interpretation of a designer's interpretation, and look elsewhere for less ambitious and more knowing counsel. To wit: Reynauds—even these marvelous little creatures I am about to describe—are not more (or less) truthful or accurate than Harbeths, Spendors, Quads, Merlins, Josephs, or Sonus Fabers. They will not provide you with superior (or inferior) access to the ding an sich than these other worthies. They offer an interpretation of the world of music that differs from that of the others. Their interpretation, their point of view, their choice of priorities, interests and has come to appeal to me, which is why I have spent the last few months exploring and writing about Reynauds. But when I rave about them, as I sometimes do, you must understand my raving as rhetoric: personal enthusiasm taking the form of persuasion. Speakers compete with each other rhetorically: they attempt to persuade you that their designer's point of view is "the best." Enthusiastic reviewers will often do the same. We are rhetoricians. Robert Greene is as much a rhetorician in his way as I am in mine. Even the Gospel is rhetoric, an interpretation which represents a point of view—many actually; and you'd be amazed at some of the interpretations the editors left out! Which is why Christians have their favorite versions of it: why some find the King James "truer" than the Revised Standard and others will only read it in Hebrew and Greek. And we won't go into ‘the rhetoric of science'! "


    Bob Neill


    Peace

    Bernd:16:
  • 08-16-2006, 03:22 AM
    accastil
    in short, go for what is beatiful to YOUR OWN EARS. blind yourself of the brands and the prices. listen and decide it with your ears.
  • 08-16-2006, 04:44 AM
    curiousburke
    One question this post causes me to ponder is:

    If a single human brain experiences three musical performances, those being: a) live, b) speaker set 1, and c) speaker set 2, and this human decides that (b) sounded much more like (a) then did (c), does this subjective opinion have any relation on the objective differences between (a), (b), and (c)?

    Can we extract objective data about reality from our subjective interface with it?

    -m
  • 08-16-2006, 05:06 AM
    Worf101
    We have to do that..
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by curiousburke
    One question this post causes me to ponder is:

    If a single human brain experiences three musical performances, those being: a) live, b) speaker set 1, and c) speaker set 2, and this human decides that (b) sounded much more like (a) then did (c), does this subjective opinion have any relation on the objective differences between (a), (b), and (c)?

    Can we extract objective data about reality from our subjective interface with it?

    -m

    We have to "extrapolate" the objective from our "subjective" views/perspectives of reality or we cease to exist. We would never leave the womb. Our mind interprets, extrapolates does the best it can to make sense of the jumble of shapes, forms, noises etc...and we shove off from there.

    Da Worfster
  • 08-16-2006, 06:07 AM
    kexodusc
    Even the absolute best systems I've heard (some over $450,000 and breathtaking), still didn't even come close to fooling me into believing it was the real thing.
    Maybe it's the amateur musician in me that's around the real thing too much? Or maybe it's as Jneutron says - the reproduction of natural sound cues by unnatural and completely different reproduction cues - that makes this impossible?
    Whatever - I don't even care - some music has always, ALWAYS sounded better than none to me. I haven't heard a functional speaker I couldn't listen to and enjoy if need be. Given the option of Bose and a clock radio - I'd take Bose every single time!
    After that, it's all gravy - I try not to get sidetracked by the means to the end.
  • 08-16-2006, 06:24 AM
    GMichael
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by kexodusc
    Given the option of Bose and a clock radio - I'd take Bose every single time!
    .

    What if your clock radio IS a Bose, or Boston Acoustics??
  • 08-16-2006, 06:35 AM
    kexodusc
    That's easy
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by GMichael
    What if your clock radio IS a Bose, or Boston Acoustics??

    I go with what I think sounds better based on whatever criteria I deem relevant. Maybe whatever one keeps the best time, too
  • 08-16-2006, 06:55 AM
    curiousburke
    I firmly believe (not "think") we can tap into the objective reality of which speaker sounds more like the "real" thing through our subjective interface with the outside world because all sources go through the same subjective filter. At the very least, we can determine this for given individual at a given time, but I suspect we can do much better then this.

    However, as I see it, the problem is that we put the "real" thing on a pedestal that it doesn't necessarily deserve. For example, I used to work at Kodak where I heard this interesting bit of film history. Kodak produced a film (or really a film system) that very accurately reproduced the original scene. However, they found this film/processing didn't not sell as well as other films that accentuated certain aspects. People just prefer pictures that are more vibrant then reality. Maybe music is the same, and the question of which system more accurately reproduces the "real" performance is just not relevant.

    -m
  • 08-16-2006, 07:18 AM
    Mike Anderson
    I'd simply like to challenge the premises that:

    1) there is an objective reality (I'd guess there's no such thing);

    and

    2) that no religious believer has direct access to his God (experience suggests otherwise).

    Carry on.
  • 08-16-2006, 08:32 AM
    curiousburke
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Mike Anderson
    I'd simply like to challenge the premises that:

    1) there is an objective reality (I'd guess there's no such thing);

    and what do you propose there is?
  • 08-16-2006, 09:20 AM
    hermanv
    There seems to be some need either in human discourse or in forums to turn all subjects into absolute white or absolute black.

    I've designed or helped to design a few speaker systems. There are tools that measure many aspects of a speakers performance. Yes, I know that the correlation between the measurements and "how it sounds" leave many things to be desired, but there are degrees of distortion and flatness of response, both equating to more or less accuracy, that these tools can display with reasonable accurracy. They can measure group delays and time coherence and phase, so a well designed speaker usually measures better that a poorly designed one. And a well designed speaker will be more satisfactory (i.e. sound better) to a larger audience than a speciallized tweaked design catering to a select few.

    So it is not ALL subjective, it is not just opinion. The ears are and should be used a a refinement of definition, but most good sounding speakers will also measure well. And most people given a choice between two designs will choose he same one as the better one.
  • 08-16-2006, 10:40 AM
    JoeE SP9
    Just what is the "rhetoric of science"?:idea:
  • 08-16-2006, 02:34 PM
    dean_martin
    Reproduction of music is shadow puppets on the wall of Socrates's cave except that we know it's not the real thing. We may be fooled into thinking we can achieve an exact replica of the real thing, but to hear the real thing we must climb out of our comfy, high-tech cave. And, once we're out and in the club, or at the civic center, fair grounds, or amphitheater who's to say we're actually hearing the real thing when human voices and acoustic instruments are pumped through PA systems and electric guitars are played through amps chosen by someone because they sound a certain way to that someone?

    So, was So-Crates a 2ch. guy or was he all-out surround sound?
  • 08-16-2006, 08:22 PM
    Florian
    You cant get a perfect copy, but you can come close to the illusion of it beeing live when you close your eyes. I have had this quite a few times, with people comming over for a listening session or passing by the house and asking if we are having a party with live music. You can get close, but only with a few systems. Now whatever these components are, is up to you. I already made my choice.
  • 08-16-2006, 10:05 PM
    Mike Anderson
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by curiousburke
    and what do you propose there is?

    Dreams.
  • 08-17-2006, 02:38 AM
    givendale
    A little off topic..
    Where did the Bob Neil part of your post come from??
  • 08-17-2006, 02:41 AM
    Bernd
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by givendale
    Where did the Bob Neil part of your post come from??

    Hi,

    I found it surfing the web. Too much time on my hands at the moment, I guess.

    Peace

    Bernd:6:
  • 08-19-2006, 04:11 PM
    accastil
    for everything we have to compare, there is of course something better. but this "something better" may not always be the choice for everyone. each person has different tastes and preferences. some like it lifelike or real, some like it flat, some like it dynamic, some like it over-exagerrated. in other words, we have to go for whatever makes us happy and contented. nevermind what others might say about how your system sounds like but the important thing is that your system gives contentment to you as you listen to the music.
  • 08-20-2006, 04:42 AM
    RGA
    Well Bob is generally correct but he could also add that even the standards or what the designer is attempting at the outset plays an important part. A horror movie director is out to scare the audience -- Halloween and the Exorcist in the day they were out were extremely effective and were complete and total successes. They attempted to scare and they scared people. They were not trying to make an ambitious docu drama like a Schindler's List or enter what you would choose.

    The notion of trying to recreate the live performance is impossible because your room and the live event you saw cannot even remotely be recreated in your room -- and certainly not from a recording made in a studio doctored by a recording engineer most likely done on speakers that were completely different than what you are using in your home. I am in the camp that believes this is totally the wrong way to try and build a loudspeaker but that does not mean that it IS the wrong way for other buyers and designers who choose this path -- but it does mean that I probably won't and don't like the results of such speakers. Then there are those who want to perfectly reproduce the disc -- but that is troublesome because again -- different speakers rooms and not truly knowing what was on the recording at the outset. I like a different philosophy better than these two.

    Bob Neil was a reviewer who became a small dealer selling equipment he really likes -- perhaps his statement can be found on his web-page http://www.amherstaudio.com/#JMReynaud