Attention Scientists, Engineers and Na-s

Isn't it funny how timing works. With all the different discussions on proving this, show me fact on that and the psycho acoustical potential of the other thing an article comes along with the same topics and some REAL potential answers. I received my newest copy of "The Audiophile Voice" Vol.7, Issue1 today and on page 16 is an article written by David Blair and Bill Eisen titled "In The Matter Of Noise". The article focuses on disturbance noise but has some reference to thermal noise, low frequency noise and shot noise, and our ability to measure these noises with the equipment of today. We have measured noise as low as 6x10 to the power of -5, or approximately a few cycles per day. We have also found through laboratory testing that the human brain is stimulated with frequencies from just above 0Hz to just below 50kHz. U.S. Department of Defense documents also show studies of low frequency activity below measurable levels and there various affects.
The article then begins to talk about out of band (hearing) noise and in band noise produced by our electronic equipment and the potential of these noises effecting our sound system. The assumptions are that "disturbance noises rob our systems of dynamics, low-level information, tonal purity and stage depth". These effects are for the most part overlooked and misunderstood by the scientific communities. They say they think that our speakers being hit with "massive quantities of R.F.I. are affected" A very good quote referring to power filters was "Effective noise control imposes no sonic tradeoffs or downside." How often have the discussions here on Audiogon focused on what they are doing? A very interesting comment was that Teflon is capable of carrying 40-Kilovolts static charge, and the industry is touting this as a great insulator for audio signals, that's scarey!
Now I bring this to light because I believe the view of the "Scientists and Engineers" here on Audiogon is so narrow that they are failing to see the exciting challenges in front of them. If all these noises do exist, which they do, and they can be transmitted and received through our systems, isn't possible, just maybe feasible that the insulation of our wires, the casing of our dedicated lines the size and shape of the conductor could, just maybe effect the sound? Isn't it even possible that forces set off by electrical components could be interfering in some so far unmeasured and inaudible way affecting the sound. Do you all test within the full spectrum of 0Hz to 50Khz for every possible situation? Or is it possible, just ever so small of a chance that you are overlooking a whole new science yet unexplored. Doesn't that, even slightly excite your little scientific fossils?
Man if I was younger, healthier and wanted a challenge. This is a career if you'd just climb out from behind you oscilloscopes and spectrum analyzer and see the world is indeed still spinning, and yes, it is 2001. Remember how 30 years ago 2001 was going to be so exciting. What the hell have the Scientist, Engineers and Na-sayers who tote there stuff here on Audiogon done for the advancement of science. Anyone, have any of you really broken through! J.D.
JD, GREAT, thankyou for the time and trouble to inform us about this at lenghth. The article seems to help along with a few questions which had been bugging me for a long time, which I had tried to bring up here in other threads and probably been thought loco for.
Nice thread J.d.Makes you think, I wish i was smart enough to figure it all out.
As a scientist/materials science engineer, I can tell you that closemindedness is no more endemic in audio than anywhere else. The man who taught me more about research than anyone else showed me that THE most important thing to learn was to never get married to any theory, practice, way of doing things, etc. Rules are broken every day. Those who live by this mantra are the people who discover things. Others, go slowly along, citing what the accepted positions are, and make very little in the way of discovery. One thing to remember in audio is the old saying, "If you can hear it, but cannot measure it, we just haven't figured out how to measure it".
Trelja, I agree 100%. I am an electrical and computer engineer and see first hand every day the mistakes that result from "assumptions." I augh when I see posts from fellow engineers who propose that their technical background insures a monopoly on the truth. I always try to remember that the best scientists in the world once thought that the earth was flat ....
Please don't tar us all with the same brush. I'm an engineer/scientist who still trusts his ears over any piece of test equipment.
Great post Trelja, I would love to see us here break down some of those barriers and maybe as a group begin to think different. It will take yours and others of like mind to create the platform. I was thinking that a lot of the creative juices must be lost in the computer field, but you're here so that's hope!
I was thinking of all the posts of voodoo lately and believe a majority are under this yet under defined science. Think of the shelving, footers, isolation discussions. Are they talking about vibration or is it noise not measured? Power cords, outlets, power conditioners talk of this noise, but I think only tell a third of the story. Power supplies, capacitors, resisters, solder all deal with part of the story. What else have we yet to learn that will open the doors? Interconnects and speaker wire, it goes on and on. My belief is there are way too many of us who claim changes to our systems that something must be to it. How often in the development of our society have we had to look beyond the given, break the rules just to move ahead. I'm so excited to hear you all talk outside the box, no right or wrong, just theory to be proven later! HAVE FUN, DREAM!!!!!! IF WE CAN'T DREAM TOGETHER, THEN WHAT'S THE POINT?
I think the key to this lies in the 2nd and 3rd sentences of Jadem's post. The former starts, "The assumptions..." The latter starts, "These effects..." That's quite a lot of scientific progress in the space of a single sentence. Yes, assumptions can get you into trouble. And the biggest trouble they can get you into is to treat them as more than just assumptions. That's why scientists talk about the properties of cables that have been demonstrated to affect currents passing through them, while others assume that there must be something else involved. Scientists aren't the ones doing the assuming here.
This is quickly becoming a very entertaining thread. Jadem6 unfortunately, I have become one of those computer field people. After years of "working" for a living(under the pitiful salaries paid to researchers), I decided that I too wanted to do little for 2 to 3 times as much as I was making. We did the work at my company(s), and they got the money(for VERRRRY little work). I may be dumb, but I am not stupid. I now program C++/Oracle, in a UNIX environment. Back in the fun days, I worked at two companies. At the first, we made thick/thin film/polymer inks. Conductive, resistive, dielectric, insulative, encapsulative, and solder pastes. We supplied companies like Vishay, Solen, Sprague, CTS, Holco, and many, many more involved in audio and other fields. I then went to a company that made EL(electroluminescent lighting), which is just a capacitor that lights up. I got to test all manner of polymers(as dielectric) and conductors there. I found a lot of things that I wanted to try for audio(insulators like kynar[PVDF]), but am no longer in that field. Along the way, I found more often than not, scientists who just wanted to work a 40 hour week and go home. They had NO interest in making any progress or discoveries. Scientific dogma was not to be questioned. They were written in stone. I also found that for every "rule", there was something that blew it apart. One example of a "truth" would be that something like Bi2O3 would push the TCR(temperature coefficient of resistance) of a resistor negative. I found resistors where the opposite would be true, it would instead shift positive. All the while, people in awe of the "scientists" because of whatever. Believe me folks, there is nothing better or smarter about a scientist than anyone else. It was just the course of education we took.
A lot of excellent posts above. I especially liked the summary of Estmad who despite being a scientist is willing to "think outside the box". I think he speaks for many open minded audiophiles, including me. I spent a 30+ year career as a forest soil scientist, and so was well versed in scientific principles. We had to be constantly "on guard" against scientific dogma, assumptions, and "truths"-- mine was a different field, but the principles of inquiry are the same. Thanks for a good thread JD. Cheers. Craig
O.K. Trelja and Craig, now what? How can we as educated people of like mind find new answers? I've learned alot about you two now and feel we have a good start, we don't have to change the world, just progress our corner. J.D.
Once again:

Relativism: a theory that knowledge is relative to the limited nature of the mind and the conditions of knowing and hence not true to the nature of independent reality and that holds that absolutely true knowledge is impossible because of the limitations and variability of sense perceptions or that reality as it is in itself can not be known by minds whose modes of thinking and perceptions are essentially subjective or that thinking and perceptions sees relations of one thing to another only and not the intrinsic nature of an object and hence are merely symbolic.

(Just a little "stream of consciousness" post. [:)] )
Hi JD; A challenge I would mostly fail as I have little electronics knowledge. But what I do know is that critical listening skills are real when put in the context of longterm listening to my own system, in my own room, and with my own music. When doubting thomas' show up here on Agon, I mostly just chuckle because I have confidence in my own listening skills given the above conditions. The one thing I can do is encourage new/young audiophiles to educate themselves in this important skill. Having said that, it still leaves us with subjectivists (you, me, Trelja, and many Agon members), vs objectivists-- who show up here from time to time. IMO it takes time, patience, and perserverence to develop critical listening skills. I expect I would fail many blind listening tests because of the way they are set up, structured, and the time limits usually imposed. Time, system and music familiarity are essential to successful critical listening. Cheers. Craig.
Garfish, I think it is difficult to fail the blind listening test, whether it be my own system or one else where. Two important things I have noticed is when I close my eyes and listen I can hear great detail and yes notice things missing(which who would want to admit with their own system, I myself strive for perfection. Something I can't help). Though the sound is not as beautiful when I open my eyes. I would gather that this is because my senses are hightened when my eyes are closed. I usually don't have a problem when I hear other system setup's and can usually notice the defects. Hope I didn't get off the subject to much here. Pete
Wow Danvetc, that was amazing. Just came out huh? That's exactly what I'm talking about, loosen up and let ideas flow. Now you just need to relate it to audio equipment and we have a start. Don't get me wrong, I love your "stream of consciousness" thank-you for sharing. J.D.

Craig, I think you under estimate the knowledge you do have. I've read enough of your posts to know you have a very good grasp of this hobby, you and I just need some techno dude to help us out here.
Sharp thinking Jostler! You're right, assumptions will get us into trouble, especially if they get metamorphosed into "thruths", which often enough happens. On the other hand, assumptions , as new insight in a given set of problems, can lead to scientific progress, under the condition, that they become verified or lead to new sets of premises for further research.
If proposals for us to make something of ourselves are being sought, I would humbly suggest an experiment. We could all share in the listening. Doing this via listening to a product in our system. A matris test could be developed. We could choose something simple, perhaps power cords or interconnect. Make a number of different designs(ideally in pairs, maybe 3 to 5 pairs of variables) focusing on things like wire guage, metal composition, insulation, and geometry. We could evaluate things like one strand versus more than one, stranded versus solid core, silver versus copper, insulations such as PVC, teflon, kynar(don't see that used in audio...), and twisted versus braided versus not organized. Perhaps have a member assemble the lot of cable for the experiment(making each cable identical for each person). We could all pitch in a modest sum of money($50, $100, or whatever), to cover materials and labor. We would listen to each product in our system for two to three weeks. We would report the results here on Audiogon. The cables would also be tested objectively, using an oscilloscope, with several pieces of music(which we will also agree to use in our listening). The measurements would not be revealed until we each round of testing came to a conclusion. I know it may seem to be a daunting undertaking, but I think 5 to 10 people might be interested. We could then develop rough guides on how variables work with different types of amplification, loudspeaker, music, etc. Afterwards, all involved can call themselves scientists, because that is what they would be. Just one man's opinion...
Jade - What are the scientists supposed to "break through" to? I suggest that you replace all your electronics with stuff that was built by non-engineers and also that it uses principles discovered only by non-scientists. This way you can stay home and beat your drum without fear any electronic coloration. And I won't be tempted to respond you your moronic posts because you won't have a computer.
A true scientist would retain an open mind as has been pointed out here. But the scientific method can become a trap, or at least a constraint on what might be achieved.. History has taught scientists that failing to rigorously prove new theories can lead to decades of wasted endeavour, and so the inherent scepticism of the scientific method has been learnt the hard way. But having said that, it can be argued that the scientific method has closed medical minds to many potentially beneficial ways of treating people other than getting out the knife or prescribing pills (sorry to you doctors for being so harsh - I know I should qualify that statement, but space does not really permit). Therefore many scientists have found there is value in a little bit of a walk on the wild side every now and then, in order to create new possibilities. The value of doing this and how to ensure it does not just result in wasted time on fanciful notions is a debate in the scientific community and one that each scientist needs to take a view on. So there is a tricky balance for any scientist between wasting time on silly ideas and failing to make progress because of too much scepticism. I think the scientists that cause my blood to boil however are those that simply made a career choice mistake and should have become accountants. The world is made up of all types, and accountancy is one of those areas where ambiguity or a lack of rules that cover every eventuality is not tolerated (lest it allow an unscrupulous management to tell lies), and therefore tends to attract people that feel more comfortable in a profession where there is an unequivocal answer to every problem (apologies to the accountants I have now offended). Accountancy is a very particular type of science where a fundamental theory is at its foundation, and all the detailed rules are deduced from this. (Before I get shot down - I know that this is a simplification by the way as I have studied the history of accountancy in some detail). But the scientists that make my blood boil are those that approach audio in that same way - with the assumption that existing electrical theory is a unified theory of audio and that all there is to learn is deductive from that. Even if they are right, they are making a huge and unjustified assumption, and therefore hardly earn the right to the scientific high-ground - which they so commonly claim on these forums. I just want to emphasise that I do not accuse all scientists of this fault at all.
C'mon Stevemj, we need scientists and engineers just as we need artists, craftsmen, and dreamers. And "moronic posts"?-- that's below the belt man, not to mention being wrong. Craig
OK, what do you think of this. As you must know, the difference between the sound of musical instruments is mostly in the in the harmonic distortion that they add the fundamental. Varying amounts of energy in the different harmonics give instruments their characteristic sound. Now, since alot of people prefer gear and sources with measurably higher distortion and noise, perhaps the added harmonics are what give different amps what some call a "musical" quality. It just so happens that the kind of distortion tube gear has is mostly in the lower harmonics where it is the most pleasant.
Steve, I just don't get it. You have such great insight and knowlecge like stated above and could offer so much. Then you'll turn around and become a royal pain like the past week on other threads. Why? Isn't it just as easy to provide value. In all honesty, thank-you for the above. J.D.
J.D. Hear,hear! I remember, long, long ago, when TAS was still innocent and without advertisements, HP ruminating on just this point Steve was bringing up, to wit, that tube's "musical superiority" might be the effect of their inherent lower harmonics distortion. : From Steve's statement you could of course infere, that if that is true about tubed gear, then other amps without measurable distortion must perforce sound alike. To out ears they don't. So now we can start to bicker again about the validity of either measurements or the nonvalidity of our imagination. Isn't it getting tedious a bit?
Jade - Sorry if I get a little testy. I have concluded that there is just not enough common ground for believers and non-believers to have useful discussion. Well, actually, I think speakers are an exception to that. Speakers have such enormously high distortion compared to everything else, and almost no specs are provided for them, that we can only sit and listen and believers are certainly as good as anyone at that.

It is the fact that believers refused to allow that psychology is am important factor that makes discussion pointless. Without the willingness to factor this in, it becomes hopeless search for reasons for real differences.

The "amazing" differences people report between line cords, power conditioners, cable conditioners and distribution outlets are absolute proof of the psychology involved. Once one accepts this aspect of the listening phenomenon, then believers and non-believers can argue about things that are at least theoretically possible.
Thank-you Steve, this is what I was hoping for, educated people talking from alternate sides of an issue, with ideas not attacks.
Is it possible then that the line cords, cables and conditioners also play a part in the distortion, thus making it science and not psychology? (wich I find more a science of explaining the unknown than any of them.) Is it possible that isolation devices and footers lower of raise the distortion created through vibration?
Ahem. It's a bit over the top to offer as fact that the "believers" here have take the position that psychology doesn't play some part in what they hear. Quite the contrary, as a matter of fact, which anyone who has spent time on this site well knows. To claim that pshchology is "an important fact" overly magnifies it's relevance and only serves to further dilute the otherwise argument.

Interestingly, the inhibitors of reasonable exchange seem to be the "non-believers" claiming that if they can't measure it any difference someone hears in audio equipment are strictly psychological. That's a very closed minded perspective and leaves no room for negotiation. As with most closed minded views it is inarguable because there is no leeway on the "non-believers'" position. To budge even a little is to admit being wrong.

There are very few things that are absolute in this world, including science. Remember, the "experts" once claimed the Earth was flat and that we'd never walk on the moon. Again and again people of vision and passion have proved them wrong. Somethings never change.
Jade - It simply is not possible, no chance, none, zero, nada, ziltch, that line cords, power conditioners outlet distributors or cable conditions (there is a different reason for them) have any effect on fidelity. These things have the same effect on sound as whether or not your car is in the garage.

An amplifier's rectifiers brutalize the AC waveform in the process of using it. Amplifiers are a source of AC line distortion, not a victum of it. Here is an analogy. Let's say you have a compressor and a spray gun. To do a nice job of painting you want the air to flow smoothly to the gun from the tank. So, you go over to where the air enters the compressor and set up a little screen so that any wind drafts around the compressor intake will be reduced.

Its actually even worse than this. If the products altered the AC waveform as they claim it wouldn't make any difference, but they don't even do that.
O.K. Steve, if it's not the power supply and it's effect on the audio signals in our amp. or source (which you did not mention) and the cords, conditioners, etc. are not effecting anything in the signal, than how do you explain the added noise, lost of base definition, lack of sound stage detail and added edginess that occurs when I switch out my cords and conditioner to standard cords from the wall? The difference is not subtle and it is way beyond subtle, this is like a clock radio vs. stereo system. There is with no doubt, and laughably so a difference, how do we explain this? If there is no measurable difference as claimed, then it must have to do with something we are failing to measure. What? I think for anyone to stand and claim there is no difference has to be not willing to except something unknown to them and I don't see you as that person.
If I took your sprayer analogy and went with it, I would think there is a chance the flow would be smoother, more even if the pressure tank was next to the nozzle, thus no resistance to the flow. If my hypothesis is correct then I would assume a wider hose could provide a more stable pressure, thus a more even flow. If the casing is butyl rubber with a potential for small leakage of air vs. a vinyl tube the flow would be that much more stable. By screening the compressor intake and controlling it's environment I believe we will see a more predictable performance. This of course has not been proven by me and I doubt by you either. So here we sit, you claim no possible difference, I claim possible. Neither of us have any more than our own experience and education to prove our theory, but they both make sense. The point is not to begin a thread on air compressor and there effect on paint sprayers, it was and is to draw a comparison as you tried to do.
Now you have told us, often I might add that it is not possible that the power cords, wiring, conditioners, etc. can have an effect because your scope shows no difference. O.K. I'll give you that a scope will not show a difference, but I'm still claiming better sound, as I do with my sprayer giving a better surface. If you measure the compressor there is no difference, and I would bet the pressure at the hose end is the same under measurement. So is the better finish psychological, or have we yet to conduct the proper test? For us both to stop there seems childish at best. If we both really cared, would we not want to continue working together to find out if there is or is not a physical difference. So from my perspective, today we sit like two kids in a sand box, I'm right and your wrong, and visa versa. We can chose to go home and complain about the other kid, and more than likely not play together again, or we could stop and try to figure out what is going on. The claim of audible difference is not just psychological, and science has a way to prove it. To continue it will require you to accept that I hear a tangible, physical, measurable difference and that your interested in helping the rest of us figure out why. So do you want to play, or go home? J.D.
JD: "The claim of audible difference is not just psychological, and science has a way to prove it." This is what's known as assuming your conclusion. The claim of audible difference may indeed be "just psychological." Your requirement that Steve accept that you hear "a tangible, physical, measurable difference" makes no sense, since you haven't even demonstrated that there's a measurable difference here, let alone an audible one.
That's wrong Jostler. I have now had over ten people come and listen to my system, I've then taken out the cords and conditioner and put in the stock cords ( you can read elsewhere my process that's been said to be overkill). I have had amazement, shock, confusion, smiles, but as of yet not one person who didn't hear a major loss with the stock cords. Now if you chose to ignore my factual proof for your unproven doubt, fine, your entitled to your opinion but please don't participate in this discussion for you add no new value.
Jade - I would be willing to bet you any amount of money (well, say up to $10,000) that you would be unable to hear the difference in line cords in a true double blind experiment. The reason this psychology business is treacherous is that people REALLY do believe they hear a difference. And it isn't that there is something wrong with anyone, its just the way the mind works.

So, try a test where neither you nor the person scoring the test knows which cord is installed. Make sure there is no possible clue as to which cord is connected. See how you do.
Fpeel - What are some of things that believers think sound better, yet they attribute to psychology?
If you read my post in "blind tests" you would know I've done quite a bit of testing. I'm sure my procedures will not meet your criteria in that you insist on your point. With that said, I'm done with you and Jostler for the time being. If anyone else wants to have a constructive discussion and continue this line of thought please do and I would love to join in. I do however refuse to discuss this with you two any more. You have already cause enough damage on these three threads and through it all you have yet to bring anything constructive to the table. J.D.
In discussions of scientific theory Stephen Hawking states that "any physical theory is always provisional, in the sense that it is only a hypothesis: you can never prove it. No matter how many times the results of experiments agree with a theory, you can never be sure that the next time the result will not contradict the theory. On the other hand, you can disprove a theory by finding even a single observation that disagrees with the predictions of the theory." I propose the theory made by our "experts" here on Audiogon is that in that all wire and cable will test identical when a charge is past through it, then the prediction has been made that there will be no audible difference. I further propose that the observations made by the masses here at Audiogon through blind testing and simple comparison contradict the stated theory, thus the theory is false. It's simple to see and provable in my opinion.
Up until 1969 when Caltech physicist Murry Gell-Mann won his Nobel prize for work that discovered quarks it was believed that protons and neutrons were the "elementary" particles. Of course sense then we've defined six different quarks, and we believe that these are not the smallest but only another layer of building blocks that create mater. It is now know through quantum mechanics that all particles are in fact waves, and that the higher the energy of a particle, the smaller the wavelength of the corresponding wave. We can even go beyond this and talk about the effects of weak nuclear forces. These were not really described until 1967 and has subsequently been used to describe the unification of particle behavior and it's interaction with electromagnetic forces. My point here is that in the past 30 years the very definition of physics has been rewritten. Our understanding of the effects of all forces on wave energy is maybe in it's infancy, so for anyone to claim absolute is surly not a scientist, but rather an ill informed trouble maker. I believe the interaction of a number of physical phenomenon could play a part in how electrical charges behave and react with-in our components and should be a part in our discussions. I go back to my earlier posts, IS IT POSSIBLE...?
For us to look at the leading edge of physics and say none of these discoveries or theories have bearing on electronics is just simply silly. Do you think for one minute that Stephen Hawking, Albert Einstein, Charles Darwin, Galileo Galilei, etc would accept the weak scientific stand that a few here have proposed? Of course not, but then they were not afraid to take a risk of being proven wrong in there theories. I hope the people on this site will learn to simply not respond to these folks until they show a true interest in learning, and that we can continue to talk through there static. (Oh yea, static is not possible, forgot)
I wish my passion was electronics rather than cosmology, then I'd have a damn leg to stand on. That's why I need your help out there. J.D.
Stevemj - your claim that power cords cannot make a difference strikes me as exposing the fact you have not tried listening for yourself with an open mind. There will be many here that have tried power cables (on decent systems and on suitable music) and found very significant differences. Of course, when I say significant, I mean musically significant, whereas I suspect you would assume I was claiming something else. But then again your frame of reference does not appear to be music at all. As it happens, I organised and participated in a blind test where three of us were subjected to four different power cables being substituted by a fourth person according to sequences that had no discernible pattern - I wish I had the sequence available to me now to show you. I happened to know the sound of each of these cables very well, and had refreshed my memory of them on the music sample we were using immediately before the test. Another participant was a "golden ears" who was given no prior familiarity, except in the lead-in to the test. The third was a novice. At first we just used two cables, the best of them and the stock cord. Then we used all four, for a real test of our hearing ability. Not surprisingly to me all three of us could reliably pick the cables in the two cable comparison (I was 100%, so was Golden Ears, and the novice was 69%). When we mixed four up, it was much harder. I got it wrong twice, Golden Ears had no trouble distinguishing the two cables used in the first experiment but mixed up the other two a lot of the time, and the novice got terribly confused and worn out by the whole thing. You will have to appreciate that I am going from memory on something we did a year or so ago, and which I only did to satisfy my curiosity. This was my one and only attempt at a double blind test and it didn't tell me anything I didn't already know. Now you will ask me for documentary proof. I suppose I could get affidavits from the four people involved if you really need it.
Stevmj, put your money where your mouth is! We would be more than willing to participate in a properly conducted double-blind test where samples of power cords, for example, are rotated in a random manner by an independent party who has no interest in, or knowledge of, the cables under test. For our own business purposes we have conducted such tests where we have introduced different types of cables and cords (our own and other makes) to people who have absolutely no interest in audio or equipment other than they listen to music, both live and recorded (usually via their car radio or occasionally play a cassette on their midi-systems) or are involved in music during the course of their work. These people have no preconceived beliefs or notions that they "have" to find a difference or are under any obligation to do so, they just listen and give their unbiased opinion on what they hear and what their perceptions tell them. The results are interesting and using music tracks that they themselves choose and are familiar with there has not been one occasion where they failed to differentiate a change in cable. The cords were swapped randomly by another person who also has no idea of the cable types nor any vested interest in the procedure. There are a lot of "things" we as humans do not understand in this world. But just because we cannot analyze it and label it and place it in a convenient slot in the annals of human science does not mean that one person can say " cannot be true and therefore you must be wrong or a fool..." and deny anyone else who may feel and think differently their right to enjoy those differences. Flame on....! Regards, Richard at
Hey folks, chill a little, here, please. In just 37 posts what could have been a really useful discussion broke down to the standard "You don't want to hear what I'm saying, so I won't talk to you anymore, and further more (fill in the insult of your choice here)". But dammit, both sides have the same problem - a question to which they do not have an answer.

There is in this thread the illustration of the "musicality" of tube amps, and the observation that they apparently have higher levels of harmonic "distortion" in the lower harmonics. I'm neither a scientist, nor a fully qualified audiophile, but even I can imagine a possibility - that tube amps can pass thru more of the harmonics of the instrument than solid state does. Their inherent harmonic distortion amplifies those harmonics of the instrument (it's a guess, here folks - please see above disclaimer). My point here is that any scientist should be able to demonstrate that this is or is not physically possible, if not precisely "true". And develop theories of why it could be true, if present science can't absolutely prove/disprove the effect. The one illustration of a double bind test where differences in power cords were detected with a surprising degree of accuracy (and 100% is not the standard for reliability in such a test) should be written up and published, so such a test can be examined and duplicated (and if the participants can't write it up in standard scientific format, perhaps an objectivist could lend a hand?). The possibility that the "Golden Ears" actually can hear things others can not must be examined. Lord knows my spouse can hear things I don't! I mean, there's alot going on that just plain requires a whole lot more study. Which leads us to the plain and simple fact that study costs money and requires resources and organization that a group of hobbiests assembled on an internet usegroup just isn't all that likely to be able to assemble. It's a noble cause, we have all the knights and shining armor we require, we just lack Camelot and the King to pull it all together. I liken basic scientific research to feudal times - lots of fiefs, some grander than others, and lots of feuds, some pettier than others, but lacking a cohesive, central thrust that would unite the effort into a totally effective force. Instead, we have to pull the disparate pieces together to effect a desired outcome. I don't know this for a fact, but it wouldn't surprise me to learn that when I pay a seemingly exhorbitant price for a piece of gear, I'm not paying merely for the assembled components, but rather the bulk of the cost is for the research that led the design team to assemble the components in the way that they did. I'd be interested in knowing more about the history of Canada's famed anechoic chamber, for example. It's a potential model for the type of facility I think we need in audio to fully develop the potential for accurate sound reproduction. I just wonder if the economics exist for such a project?

Well, anyway, let's among ourselves drop the swords and daggers, try to overlook the real and imagined slights in the interest of extracting the intent and valuable content of a given post, and above all continue to help one another extract the best from what the audio gods have given us thus far.

and if you don't, you blithering idiot, I'll flame the bejesus outta ya ;-)

Vantage - Where are you located? Are you willing to consider a $10,000 bet. I don't want to do this if it isn't worth the trouble. If so, we can seriously consider how to arrange this.
JD - What I see constantly being put forward is called an "argument from ignorance". This kind of argument works like this, since we don't really understand how things work, whatever the arguer is claiming must be true.
Stevemj, you know where to contact us, please feel free to email me at any time to discuss double-blind tests further. Many thanks, kind regards, Richard.
Steve, my assertion was not that the "believers" here have attributed any specific phenonema to psychological influence, but that it was erroneous to claim its existence and potential for influence has been discounted by that group. Quite the contrary and if you more closely read the torrent of posts you've elicited that would have been more clear.

BTW, your suggestion of a sizeable bet with someone that they can't succeed in a blind test would render said test moot. The added influence a bet would have on the subjects would inject an immeasureable stimuli into the equation, thus no true conclusion could be drawn. Better to double check the scientific method before proceeding so as to not waste time with a worthless effort.
Now REALLY, Fpeel, you haven't properly digested Stevemj's posts. Please PROVE that betting would make a test like that moot.
I suggest a double blind setting with people, who have betted, and a similar group, identical in n, age and gender to group one, who have not. Furthermore two control groups are necessary. Firstly one, where all think that they have made a bet, but in fact have not. Secondly another group, where all are under the impression not to have placed bets, but who actually have. Then of course, we have to agree on the maths used, to work out a possible statistical significance. As for finding members for the placebo control groups, I think it would not be difficult to recruit them here, many of us - on both sides of the great divide between "scientists" and "believers" are prone to occasional attacks of suggestibility, which I am ready to prove : I suggest a double blind.......please read from the second paragraph of this post. Thankyou.
What I read was the suggestion of a one-to-one bet. No science, no statistics, just schoolyard bully taunting. If you saw something different, fine. At this point the water line has reached my eyebrows and I'm swimming back to shore. Enjoy the water, but watch out for the sharks.
Sorry, You make me look sheepish. I was trying to be funny. Seems I wasn't. Please throw me a lifewest...
No, I'm the one who should be apologizing, Detlof. Just reread your post and, oops! My blunder. Sorry about that. Still, enough of this topic. It's been beat to death. Next!