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tuga last won the day on September 29 2019

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About tuga

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    Oxfordshire, UK
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  • Digital Source 1
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    Teac UD-501 (DSD128)
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    Bespoke transistor
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    Stirling LS3/6
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    I am not in the Hi-Fi trade

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  1. John abdicated, Sphile's Editor is now Jim: https://www.stereophile.com/content/stereophile-next-generation
  2. Some types of distortion are more nefarious (I always wanted to use this word) than others. Trained listeners are a lot more sensitive/effective at identifying distortions. This AP chap has bad taste in music...
  3. Observation is as much science as measurements, perhaps not as accurate but complementary in some aspects. This was taken from one of the Beeb's Research Department papers: 9 LOUDSPEAKER EVALUATION 9.1 introduction The obvious and definitive means of evaluating a loudspeaker is of course by listening to it. An expert listener auditioning known programme material can learn a great deal from a listening test. If all of the sound balancers who use a particular loudspeaker declare it to be excellent, then by definition it is excellent. In the author's experience at least, such universal approbation is rare. Although a group of users in an organisation like the BBC usually show remarkable accord in their evaluations, they tend to use adjectives like 'woolly, ‘hard’, or ‘chesty’, and nouns like 'honk', 'quack', or ‘lisp’. One can often hear what they refer to, but such quirks can rarely be identified by objective measurement, and are very poor guides indeed to any design modifications that might effect significant tonal improvements. (Very rarely, complimentary expressions like 'clean' or 'uncoloured' are applied; perhaps one reason for the rarity of these is that a perfect loudspeaker should presumably have no perceptible characteristics of its own.) What is required, of course, is a well-defined relationship between subjective peculiarities, measurable deviations from 'ideal' acoustic output, and oddities in physical behaviour. A 'dreadful quack at 800 Hz' should be confirmed by a disturbance in the otherwise serene acoustic time-frequency-acceptability plot, and by an agonised writhing at 800 Hz to disturb the otherwise exemplary piston-like movement of the diaphragm. Reality is otherwise. 'Good' loudspeaker drive units appear to exhibit just as complex mechanical and acoustic behaviour as 'bad' ones. The author is currently engaged in a project to try to find some relationship between the subjective, acoustic, and mechanical facets of loudspeaker behaviour. This has been undertaken in the knowledge that previous attempts during four decades have not yielded a final solution. Results (positive or negative) will be published in due course. Two reference works only are listed relating to this subject, each includes an extensive bibliography. 9.2 Subjective evaluation Experience shows that comparative judgements of loudspeaker quality can be made more consistently than absolute ones. An absolute assessment of a new design is something which emerges gradually out of weeks or months of use in control rooms. Often, a pair of new loudspeakers sent out for 'field trial' will be received with cautious approval, yet returned after a month or two with a list of criticisms detailing points that have emerged only gradually from continuos use. For comparative tests, a reference loudspeaker is of course needed. This is provisionally selected during the early stages of commercial production as being a typical unit of acceptable quality; once production is well established, a new reference may be adopted as a clearer picture emerges of what is 'typical'. In fact, at least three such units are selected in normal BBC practice, to provide a working standard for acceptance testing: a spare (which is carefully stored): and a standard by which the manufacturers can assess the consistency of their output, whether by listening or by measurement. An established standard is also of course the only reasonable reference available in appraising a new design. In listening tests, it is important that the listener should begin with as few preconceived ideas as possible. For example, a look at a response plot may cause him, consciously or otherwise, to listen for some expected peculiarities. Normally, an A/B switch is provided, and the loudspeaker to be used as reference is indicated. The loudspeakers are placed behind an acoustically transparent but optically opaque curtain, especially if any aspect of the units under test might be visually identifiable. To help eliminate room effects, the test may be repeated with the loudspeaker positions interchanged. If several units are to be tested, it is useful to include one twice — anonymously — to test the listener's consistency. (Experienced listeners expect this.) Finally, it is essential that the listener delivers his judgement before any additional information is given to him; not (one would trust) that he might 'cheat', but rather that he might re-interpret what he thought he had heard in the light of further knowledge. Subsequent discussion may well prove valuable, but must be subsequent. Formal tests involving a number of listeners may need further care, particularly if, as is likely, they permit less in the way of personal communication between subjects and test organiser. Past experience suggests that a particular hazard is the use of descriptive terms whose meaning seems obvious to everyone, but which can actually mean different things to different people. . This is from a Wolfgang Klippel and Robert Werner piece about the Measurement and Perception of Regular Loudspeaker Distortion: Conclusion Linear and nonlinear distortion is unavoidable in current electroacoustical transducers using a moving coil assembly driving diaphragms, cones, and other radiators. The regular distortion is deterministic and can be predicted by using linear and nonlinear models and identified loudspeaker parameters in an early design stage. Finding acceptable limits for those regular distortions is an important part in defining the target performance at the beginning of loudspeaker development. Subjective evaluation is required to assess the audibility and the impact on perceived sound quality. Some distortions which are audible might still be acceptable or even desirable in some applications. Systematic listening tests, nonlinear auralization, and objective assessment based on a perceptual model are useful tools to assess regular distortion. https://audioxpress.com/article/Measurement-and-Perception-of-Regular-Loudspeaker-Distortion
  4. I said: The same is true for shows or even in-store demos. The room-speaker footprint is massive by an immense factor. I find it amazing that people are able to discern/comment on the quality of the source (or even amplification) at shows when listening in unfamiliar acoustic settings to an unfamiliar system... . Bake-offs are interesting for many reasons, as Oldius pointed out. I used to attend a meeting of audiophiles when I was living in Lisbon which always took place in the same converted garage, a spaciously and gently treated 30+ m2 affair. We compared virgin as well as modded electronics and sometimes one of the attendees would bring along his speakers. Interesting and educational. . Shows or even in-store demos are often the only way to listen to other/new equipment, apart from said bake-offs.
  5. Must have been a nano-calibre because I haven't felt anything and there's no blood in the carpet. Or maybe my observation skills need improving...
  6. If you go round peoples houses you are listening to an unfamiliar system in an unfamiliar room. This is an interesting but not particularly fruitful experience unless one or more of those rooms and systems are very familiar to you. There was a time when I fiddled with a pair of 2-way horn speakers: I bought a mic, and like you I read the objective information I could get my hands on. I listened to the only pairs of horns I could access, some TAD 2402s and some Avantgardes at a dealer. Added a tweeter, replaced the horn. Tried a chip-amp and a tripath-amp. Ultimately a project that too expensive and burdensome. I don't disagree with the terms per se, only if or when they are used pejoratively. Interestingly I am considered an objectivist here and at PFM and a subjectivist in ASR... If you haven't yet there's an interesting old piece presented by Henning Møller (Brüel & Kjær) at the 59th AES Convention in 1978 which discusses listening and measurement correlation is an interesting read: Multidimensional Audio Abstract Audio is easily and meaningfully perceived by the "global" subjective human mind - and comprehended simultaneously. A similar "meaning" can be obtained in the objective world of measurements if - as in the human mind - a reasonable amount of "local" objective measurements are simultaneously considered and weighted. No single measurement is sufficient. Today there are already six "measuring domains" that strongly correlate to the subjective perception of Audio. These will be discussed in the paper. http://shop.linkwitz.audio/multidimensionalaudio.pdf I've been participating in audio forums in the US and the UK and Portugal and Spain and France since the mid '00s. My observations are what they are. You can contest them as anecdotal, as much as my listening experiences with cables or other equipment. Audiophile behaviour is not my field of research nor even my pastime... Like I said: The most rationalist of audiophile I have met is Serge, who claims that he buys all his gear on specs and measurements. But his objectivism is supported by knowledge, unlike Keith's which to my understanding is based on belief. Most other audiophiles tend to be primarily objective or subjective in their approach, there are hardly any pure subjectivists or objectivists if at all. A more evolved or effective approach is to learn the basics and use both listening and measurements. Well, Jack, you seem to fall into that cluster. Nothing to be worried about...
  7. That a very good question. I find that AB testing is only good for rather gross differences (and a tiring, boring task). I prefer to replace a single piece of equipment in my system, assess it's performance for a week or three, then go back to the original system. Never replace/audition two new components or you will lose your references. If measurements are available and I identify some shortcomings in the performance then I try to correlate the two and see if I can pinpoint probable causes. Only when I know what's wrong and what is probably causing it do I look for a replacement that will potentially solve those shortcomings and hopefuly not create new ones. I use measurements to shortlist potential candidates worth listening to. Vinyl reproduction is very flawed, just as speakers are, and this raises the level of complexity exponentially. I strive for accurate reproduction of the signal and (thus) prefer digital. Besides, digital sounds (subjectively) better. As for THD, if the levels are vanishingly low then they become inaudible. There is listening training software and you can also use Audacity to learn what harmonic distortion sounds like. Also the material that you use to assess performance may or may not be adequate. And to make matters worse low- even-order HD sounds pleasing/euphonic to many people...
  8. There are two that I know of, Hydrogen Audio and ASR. I have never visited the former, but the latter has showed that you can't have an objective-only forum; some people's absolute faith in "Science" has been proven wrong in numerous occasions, usually due to incorrect measurement methodology, sometimes because of poor interpretation of measurements and of the Science involved and others because listening has legitimately questioned the validity of current research/knowledge. My experience roughly matches yours, but I still like to say that most things matter, the difference is in how much they impact the final result. Some things matter very little, and change for change's sake leads you nowhere. This is an area where some technical knowledge and measurements with help you decide or upgrade intentionally, not accidentally. It is nice to share as well as to learn from the collective but one thing that I have learned is that serious audio is ultimately a path that one must trail alone, no matter whether you are objective, subjective or both. This is why I prefer to only share objective information. Me telling that I prefer my Darjeeling with two sugars is of no use to anyone else...
  9. I don't question the freedom of practice but I do find that a subjective only methodology is not very effective way of getting somewhere/anywhere. As with anything in life, the balanced approach is the most harmonious. Listening and measurements are both assessment tools, they complement each other. Both require adequate methodology and some proficience and knowledge in order to be effective. I agree. Measurements are an effective way of illustrating a point and should be commented. But ultimately they are self-explanatory to those who can read them. I think anyone practicing audiophilia seriously should get acquainted with measurements, learn how to correlate them with listening and use them to their advantage.
  10. In response to my last question - Do we want objectivity? - I think that many of us do, at least some degree of objectivity. Why else would we ask for help and opinions in forums or look for answers in magazines reviews if not to find some concreteness? Once we are in possession of those answers we tend to either align with them when the match our preconceptions, and or take them as gospel (and this is true of both purely subjective as well as purely objective postions), or dismiss them altogether when they don't match our taste and or anecdotal experiences. It's funny to observe that we sometimes get so deeply involved with our playback equipment that we are sometimes willing to discard reason so easily. A strange way to express our individuality.
  11. There's your answer. Each one of us will probably have a different one... It's mostly a matter of taste. And why reviews or opinion requests are mostly useless. Can we be objective about audio and listening? Yes. Do we want that?
  12. Can you define? a) high-fidelity b) audition properly . Can you re-order the following objectives according to your preference by decreasing importance? 1. accurate reproduction of the recording (low-level detail, tonal balance, acoustic cues) 2. fun, foot-tapping and goosebumps 3. sharp phantom images 4. spaciousness 5. soundstage width 6. wide sweet-spot (no imperative need to sit at apex of equilateral triangle) 7. ability to play loud 8. powerful bass
  13. tuga

    Speakers in corners

    I understand the appeal of Youtube but most of these self-proclaimed jecksperts (Guttenberg, Darko, this guy) are not the best sources of credible information...