Friday, September 5, 2014

I like Science, but this blog is for Fun

I pretty much agree with Peter Aczel on what is audible (I say, likely audible) or not, and the people of Hydrogen Audio and so on.  I greatly respect all of them for digging for the provable truth, scientific and so on.  DBT is definitely the way to do things scientifically and work toward a believable collection of ideas.

But I'm running my audio hobby for fun, and DBT is just plain hard and boring work.  I prefer to do things I like to do, which generally doesn't include testing of any kind (and I figure if you're not going to do DBT you might as well not do any testing at all) so I usually don't bother doing any, I just plug the new stuff in and go, unless it's really bad.

So this is not about science, truth, and what is provably true.  I'm only moderately interested in getting by with the least expensive amplification I can and so on.  Actually I have a far less expensive amplifier than Peter Aczel, and probably one he would have recommended (though not as much as his).

This blog is not about "science in the service of art," much as I respect that.  Recorded music is nice, mind expanding, and so on, but it's only one thing I do.  I also spend a lot of time messing with things which may or may not be all that important (in fact, they probably aren't) but I have fun doing so.  I like cool stuff, and I like overbuilt audio equipment, and technically interesting audio concepts.  I have fun thinking about such things.  I don't claim the mantel of science.  I claim the mantel of play.

One of the best commenters on Hydrogen Audio, the famous inventor of abx testing, has admitted if all you are doing is fooling around--which is exactly what I'm doing in full awareness of that--go ahead, you are free to amuse yourself however.  What he finds fault with is falsely claiming your testing is valid, scientific, etc., when it doesn't pass DBT basics.  I agree with that completely (though I still read TAS and Stereophile for amusement).  And I fit his OK category of someone who knows and will readily admit that what he is doing is not scientific, etc.

BTW, I have done blind testing on myself, and formal DBT's on others, on audiophile theories.  Not one of these tests had a positive result.  This was somewhat mind blowing for me, and I think it should have been for others.  I know testing on anything having peculiar audiophile interest, like some of the things reported on here, would be very difficult.

I don't believe in most audiophile testing.  Sighted testing is likely worthless or worse.  I believe in scientific tests such as those at Hydrogen Audio, but those aren't very interesting for many kinds of fooling around.

Since sighted testing is likely worthless or worse, I don't bother taking it seriously.  I indeed make pivotal judgements sometimes--quite often--listening to background music--even from another room.

This is all for fun for me.  I do hope something cool eventually turns up, but meanwhile, I know I can't make any special claims.  Except many people have said my sound is the best, and I myself think it is up with the best I saw at Newport 2014, such as the grand MBL system (with many qualifications of course, my room is far smaller).

But there are problems.  My bass EQ is ad hoc and incomplete, better room treatment is needed (I've been thinking Bag End eTrap, I also like RealTraps, funny the many camps in room tuning.  Even Ethan Winer says some EQ is necessary.  He puts down the eTrap but not seriously IMO.  It's a interesting question how much aborption would have the same effect as an eTrap in the very corner, at the most crucial frequency.  I have a corner in mind, the first hallway corner which is just 8 feet from the subwoofer.  I had an outlet put there last year, eTrap was on my mind.  There is no space for a serious corner trap.  I could put a pair of mini traps vertically.  But more than that would cut down the hallway space too much.  My belief is that the eTrap "cancels" more of a serious mode, when placed in the required corner, than a pair of mini traps on the wall vertically, at 45 Hz.  The mini traps would have the advantage of greater broad bass band absorption, but less peak absorption at the critical frequency.  No where around my room in the lower half do I have room for a serious bass trap.  Only around the ceiling, perhaps, an installation challenge.

Nowhere on the web I have seen a serious, "scientific" comparison on room adjusting methods, including EQ (there are now many comprehensive and semi-comprehensive EQ systems, not just the one or two points Ethan Winer suggests), room damping, and active devices.  The latter two could be a very direct scientific comparison.  How much corner treatment works of all kinds could be directly compared, measured, DBT's.

I might at least end up doing the measurements, if I acquire both kinds of things, which I think I will.

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