Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12
Results 21 to 34 of 34

Thread: "Subjective" v. "Objective" in Audio

  1. #21
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    836

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by yeecn View Post
    Sorry - I mean your earlier question regarding Nelson Pass.
    Nope - but that's okay. I won't lose sleep over it.

    I didn't actually have a question about Nelson Pass. Whether or not one likes his amps, I was just struck by an attitude in his quote that was somewhat open-minded and free from zealotry. I found that attitude sensible and attractive. Others may disagree.

  2. #22
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    4,008

    Default The power of emotion over fact .... Rolls Royce engines

    As I step onto an aircraft I always take a look to see if the engines have the sliver RR (Rolls Royce) logo sticker. As a boy I vividly remember the bankruptcy of RR Engines because of the frozen chicken/carbon fibre problem, of how the British Government rescued the company in the national interest (rightly so), of the Spitfire Merlin engine from WW2, the beautiful engineering of RR cars. So the mental stage is set for me to have strong emotional - subjective - attachment to the RR engine, and to feel reassured and safe when flying their aero engines.

    It occurred to me on the British Airways flight back from Hong Kong (I discarded my Virgin ticket and bought a new ticket from a real airline) that although I felt snug in my RR equipped 747, I actually knew nothing whatever about the engines technical performance, design, reliability or any other hard fact. My subjective feelings of safety were based solely on seeing the logo on the engine casing, and then creating a mental fantasy based on my preconceptions of the RR engineering quality - of their cars.

    It further occurred to me that, if I was an industry insider, I might, or might not have an entirely different and conceivably contradictory insider's perspective of the engine situation. Data analysis of in-service records might prove that another brand of aero engine - say, a GE unit - had in fact a much better in-service reliability, lower operating cost, was quieter and lighter with less moving parts to go wrong. So my fact-less attachment to the RR engine could be nothing more than a romantic fantasy. I could even by flying in an aircraft fitted with RR engines but not displaying the RR logo on the casings and feel less safe. In other words, the visual cue of the logo was associated with positive feelings towards the engines, and when deprived of the visuals, my illusory feeling of safety evaporated or even reversed. But the actual factual performance of the engine would remain the same.

    How does this apply to audio equipment? We must not underestimate the impact that seeing a piece of audio equipment has on how we subjectively feel about it - positive or negative. But in a blind test, we are unable to link to our preconceptions; we are forced to evaluate based on what we hear alone. And under those conditions, deprived of (visual) preconceptions, our preferences may be neutral or even reversed. Even though all I know about aero engines is their power output - one specification amongst thousands - I am as ill informed as the well intentioned neighbour who believes that that power output of his amplifier is the sole defining characteristic.

    In fact - Rolls Royce aero engines are a hugely successful business with cutting-edge technology and a full order book which again, in the absence of any facts, reassures me on the basis that 600 airlines can't be wrong. But see how we confuse and substitute subjective opinions for objective facts? We do it so effortlessly that we're not aware we're doing it.

    Rolls Royce Trent 900 used on Airbus 380 video here. Boeing Dreamliner Trent 1000 here. Note in particular the resistance to the explosive detachment of a front blade at 3000rpm and the bird strike (frozen chicken) testing which in the case of the 1970's RB211 destroyed the engine, and the company. My emotional preconceptions reinforced by RR's recent success with the A380 and Dreamliner merely reinforce my subjective feelings towards the product, based on not a shred of hard evidence.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  3. #23
    honmanm Guest

    Default

    The great thing with aircraft being not only costly to make but also costly to operate is that an incredible amount of research effort goes into their development - and everything that can be measured, is. The prime goal for airliner engine designers is efficiency, and even a fractional of a percent improvement in efficiency is enough to swing the market behind a manufacturer. This is because less fuel is needed, resulting in a lower take off weight, resulting in less fuel being needed, etc... a truly virtuous cycle.

    An aero engineer colleague once remarked that a rule of thumb in aircraft design is "when the weight of the paperwork equals the take-of-weight of the aircraft being developed, it is ready to fly" (oh BTW the chicken gun fires thawed chickens, otherwise it wouldn't be a fair contest...).

    Oddly enough at the time (or just before) there had been a bone of contention amongst engineers, not unlike our present debate - the HP vs Texas Instruments calculator wars. A bit like tubes vs. transistors, that one!

  4. #24
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    836

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post

    ... in a blind test, we are unable to link to our preconceptions
    It's actually an ancient idea. This is why Justice is traditionally depicted as being blind - so as not to be influenced by things that don't (i.e. shouldn't) matter. See attached image, here

    A good symbol for double-blind testers, perhaps?

  5. #25
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    344

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    This is why Justice is traditionally depicted as being blind
    hear hear, very apt and a beautiful example, EricW. Unfortunately that is how we pick our leaders who then pick our pockets with their eyes wide open.

  6. #26
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    4,008

    Default Proper governance - William Haig

    Quote Originally Posted by kittykat View Post
    ...Unfortunately that is how we pick our leaders who then pick our pockets with their eyes wide open.
    One problem is the rise in the importance of oration as a primary skill amongst our leaders. President Obama is a master orator, as was Edward Kennedy, who spoke with more emotion and, in my opinion, created a bigger vision.

    Our new Foreign Secretary, William Hague is an example of how fickle the pubic are about electing their leaders. Haig was briefly leader of the Conservative (now ruling) party, but never found his feet. He is an exceptionally bright man and a very good communicator. His handicap is that he speaks with a northern English accent (Yorkshire) which to those in the elite south makes him sound like a displaced farmer amongst those speaking the Queen's English. So, on the basis of accent alone he didn't survive as leader. Cameron's souther accent sound much more acceptable.

    I have the highest regard for William Haig as a typical tell-it-like-it-is Yorkshireman and providing our overseas friends can understand him, we are in safe hands indeed.

    Haig at his best here. What he has to say about thirteen years of failed governance is an absolute outrage. Now we have a new Government - long overdue.
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  7. #27
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    836

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ...

    His handicap is that he speaks with a northern English accent (Yorkshire) which to those in the elite south makes him sound like a displaced farmer amongst those speaking the Queen's English. So, on the basis of accent alone he didn't survive as leader. Cameron's southern accent sounds much more acceptable.

    I have the highest regard for William Haig as a typical tell-it-like-it-is Yorkshireman and providing our overseas friends can understand him, we are in safe hands indeed.
    Well, I can tell you he sounds quite comprehensible to me. I don't think you need to worry. Having the "right" accent, which seems to be so important in Britain, is an almost complete non-issue in the rest of the English-speaking world. I can tell that he's not using RP, but aside from that he sounds just fine.

  8. #28
    Join Date
    Feb 2010
    Location
    England and Cyprus
    Posts
    367

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    His handicap is that he speaks with a northern English accent (Yorkshire) which to those in the elite south makes him sound like a displaced farmer amongst those speaking the Queen's English. So, on the basis of accent alone he didn't survive as leader. Cameron's souther accent sound much more acceptable.
    This Yorkshireman says "Ouch!"

    William Haig's leadership failed, I think, because the time for the Tories to advance had not yet arrived.

    But read this

    http://www.timesonline.co.uk/tol/com...cle7129129.ece


    Cameron and Clegg: who is more upper crust?
    It’s an intriguing, very British – and entirely pointless – pastime to work out which of our leaders is the posher
    Of more concern is the fact that a very high proportion on MPs from all parties were educated, not in Government financed schools, but in Independent, fee taking schools.

    Look also at the undergraduates in science, maths, engineering and modern languages - the hard subjects - most come from the Independent Sector.

  9. #29
    yeecn Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    Mr. Yee, I did not understand Nelson Pass to be arguing against blind tests. In fact, in the quote he makes it quite clear that he's used them and that, under those conditions, people will often either hear no differences, or (same thing) "hear differences which could not possibly exist". Either way, I read that as an affirmation of the methodology, not a repudiation, and I'm not sure why you think otherwise.
    Refer to my earlier post on ABX test. Blind test has a very simple procedure and a equally simple, well defined goal. There is no ambiguity whatsoever. Nelson Pass mentioned the term blind tests briefly - but what followed has nothing to do with blind tests whatsoerver. It gave a wrong impression of what blind tests was about. It is misleading. It certainly mislead you.

    Either Nelson Pass passed the blind test on his own amplifiers, or he did not. He did not say. Why? That't everybody's guess.

  10. #30
    Join Date
    Jun 2009
    Location
    Canada
    Posts
    836

    Default

    Mr. Yee, I am happy for you that you are no longer a neurotic, tormented audiophile.

    But have you perhaps just exchanged one kind of obsession for a different kind of obsession?

    ABX tests are the bee's knees. Nelson Pass is whatever you say he is. Now relax, put your feet up, have a drink, put on your favourite CD. Or go for a walk with your wife.

  11. #31
    Join Date
    Jan 2006
    Location
    South of England, UK
    Posts
    4,008

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    ...Now relax, put your feet up, have a drink, put on your favourite CD. Or go for a walk with your wife.
    What a wonderful conclusion to this thread. It echoes what I said earlier about diverting a little of the pent-up angst away from ones own preconceptions and needs and towards others around us. Our families and our communities could benefit hugely if we devote a little more time to them, and a little less time to hardware. Failing that, a little more time listening alone at home and being satisfied with whatever equipment our economic status allows us to indulge in.

    Life is so extremely short; do we really want to be remembered as nerds obsessed with cold hardware to be disposed of by our executors or could we leave a warm human memory as evidence that we walked this earth and tried to brighten someone else's day?
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  12. #32
    yeecn Guest

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    But have you perhaps just exchanged one kind of obsession for a different kind of obsession?
    Well say Eric. I know I can find good company in HUG. Just came back from a night out with my family. But we choose an upmarket shopping mall. Did not really enjoy the noise and happening there. Next time we will choose better.

  13. #33
    Join Date
    Oct 2009
    Location
    Australia
    Posts
    344

    Default

    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    As I step onto an aircraft I always take a look to see if the engines have the sliver RR (Rolls Royce) logo sticker.
    Rolls Royce is indeed iconic and hope it remains proudly so. The air crash investigation episode of the BA flight over the Indonesian volcano was shown here a few weeks back, probably to coincide with whats happening in Europe. Those Rolls Royce engines are indeed engineered to the n-th degree, to survive what it did. Really incredible.

    From what I can understand there are technology and partnership divergences in the jet engine industry. There is a “revolution” ahead in engines led by Pratt & Whitney, with their GTF technology (geared turbo fan) which claims at least 10% fuel efficiency. They are betting the farm on it as P&W is the smallest player in the commercial jet field at the moment (they have slipped significantly through the years). They have been trialling GTX with Airbus.

    GE (and partner Snecma under the CFM umbrella) have also a similar offering – LeapX in the pipeline.

    Rolls Royce is apparently also developing something on their own as well, but has an alliance with P&W under the International Aero Engines group which supplies Airbus. Airbus says they will commit with Intl Aero and CFM on the long term.

    It looks like the duopoly of Boeing and Airbus (and ultimately really the airlines with bottomline concerns) is turning up the heat on its suppliers for better technology (and possibly even fragment them?). Think there is a lot being invested in engine technology for what’s coming in the Chinese commercial jet manufacturing industry. The giant really has just awoken and shudder to think the demands it will place on energy.

  14. #34
    honmanm Guest

    Default

    An illuminating description of the difference between objective & subjective approaches here

    The comments made by the 2 designers (Greg and Hugh) in the thread make a very interesting contrast.

    See also posts 48 & 49 in the thread... if true, this might explain some of the "less accurate but sounds better" experiences with recorded music.

Page 2 of 2 FirstFirst 12

Posting Permissions

  • You may not post new threads
  • You may not post replies
  • You may not post attachments
  • You may not edit your posts
  •