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mjzee

The importance of subjectivity

30 posts in this topic

1 hour ago, bresna said:

Stereo Review's Julian Hirsch sat down with 16 members of the Detroit Audio Society and did a blind test of a Pioneer solid state amp and a Mark Levison tube amp. He got a lot of grief for that article because statistically speaking, by a very slim margin, listeners preferred the sound of the Pioneer receiver. However, this was a two-part listening test. When people saw what they were listening to (un-blinded so to speak), they overwhelmingly chose the tube amp. I think that is the part that got him in the most trouble.

I don't remember this stopping them from doing blind tests though. In fact, I think they did a blind listening test of speaker wires shortly after this amplifier test. I found that Stereo Review article here: https://www.soundandvision.com/content/speaker-cables-can-you-hear-difference

Thanks for the details!

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55 minutes ago, mjzee said:

That was the writer's point.  Many people think chiropractors are quacks.  Your experience told you otherwise; so did the writer's.

Not really... the author was implying that this supposed quack actually did something for him, which seemed to surprise him. So hey, maybe some of these audio treatments might do something like that as well. I don't see the equivalency. I can't speak to his friend's Rife technology experience, but I can speak to chiropractic care. I feel and hear my spine move and it results in less pain. I can feel the pain lessen. There is no doubt. This isn't some slight change that I think is there.

Most people who tweak their audio system would probably say that a lot of them produce subtle changes. Feeling a facet joint pop is not subtle..

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29 minutes ago, bresna said:

Not really... the author was implying that this supposed quack actually did something for him, which seemed to surprise him. So hey, maybe some of these audio treatments might do something like that as well. I don't see the equivalency. I can't speak to his friend's Rife technology experience, but I can speak to chiropractic care. I feel and hear my spine move and it results in less pain. I can feel the pain lessen. There is no doubt. This isn't some slight change that I think is there.

Most people who tweak their audio system would probably say that a lot of them produce subtle changes. Feeling a facet joint pop is not subtle..

I believe the exact same thing as you. But you *could* argue that the same logic applies; some people claim that the improvement of their HiFi setup is huge. The difference being, though, that it's not possible to do a blind test for chiropractic care.

There is a story which is a bit sad and amusing at the same time. Some people claim that light therapy helps them to feel better (cures depressions, etcetera). And through our public care system, this type of therapy was offered in many areas. However, as the public care system is obliged to offer only scientifically validated care, they had to cease offering therapy, despite seemingly good results, as it was simply impossible to do a study with a control group that was offered "placebo" light therapy, and so the results could not be scientifically validated.

They even tried to make participants in studies to believe that it was all about sound therapy, and let people participate in fake "sound sessions". But rumours quickly spread that it was in fact light therapy that was being evaluated, and the control group could not be tricked any more.

 

 

Edited by Daniel A

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1 hour ago, Daniel A said:

I believe the exact same thing as you. But you *could* argue that the same logic applies; some people claim that the improvement of their HiFi setup is huge. The difference being, though, that it's not possible to do a blind test for chiropractic care.

There is a story which is a bit sad and amusing at the same time. Some people claim that light therapy helps them to feel better (cures depressions, etcetera). And through our public care system, this type of therapy was offered in many areas. However, as the public care system is obliged to offer only scientifically validated care, they had to cease offering therapy, despite seemingly good results, as it was simply impossible to do a study with a control group that was offered "placebo" light therapy, and so the results could not be scientifically validated.

They even tried to make participants in studies to believe that it was all about sound therapy, and let people participate in fake "sound sessions". But rumours quickly spread that it was in fact light therapy that was being evaluated, and the control group could not be tricked any more.

There was a light-hearted yet interesting story recently in The New Yorker about France and its tradition of hydrotherapy, aka "thermal cures".  Read it and tell me: Does it work?  Does it not work?  It's all subjective:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/30/seeking-a-cure-in-frances-waters

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1 hour ago, mjzee said:

There was a light-hearted yet interesting story recently in The New Yorker about France and its tradition of hydrotherapy, aka "thermal cures".  Read it and tell me: Does it work?  Does it not work?  It's all subjective:

https://www.newyorker.com/magazine/2022/05/30/seeking-a-cure-in-frances-waters

Work for what?

Back to the topic of HiFi, expectation bias might of course make someone perceive something to sound better. Most of us want to feel good; from enjoying music, enjoying good sound to enjoying life. If you're a "scientific" type of person, you might want to go with objective measurements. Whatever is being "proven" to be the best makes you feel good. Or you might be the type that trusts your own ears over anything else. Then, there is always the possibility that expectation bias plays a role. But still, whatever sounds best to you *will* be the best for you.

Then, there could be yet another type, the one that trusts authorities more than either their own ears or scientific measurements. If Michael Fremer says it's the best, then *that* will be the best for that person. :)

In reality, it is of course much more complex. What makes me feel good when playing music at home is a mix of good sound, slick design, brand names that I like and a price range that I can afford.

The bottom line is that the only way to have a meaningful discussion with others of what is the "best" - if one wants the discussion to reach any form of conclusion - is to take the objective, "scientific" approach.  Otherwise it's more like talking about which authors or books you like. I can enjoy both types of discussion.

Edited by Daniel A

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