Subjectivist, Objectivist or Inbetweenivist ? (website links)

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Just like the theme of this website everything isn’t just black or white but consists of many shades of grey.

How grey are you ?

post separation
Do you want to find out how grey your are and what websites might suit your way of thinking best ?
This short little ‘test‘ will give you an answer, note it’s for the fun of it so don’t make too much out of this.
For each question choose the answer you feel is most correct and write down the answer (for instance 1a, 2a e.t.c.)

1:
a: All electronic components have their own ‘sonic signature’.
b: only few electronic components may possibly have a ‘sonic signature’.

2:
a: tubes (valves) are relics and belong in a museum.
b: tubes (valves) are more musical sounding.

3:
a: I trust my ears over measurements.
b: hearing is easily fooled.

4:
a: Auditive memory is (very) short and unreliable.
b: I can remember exactly how my rig sounds.

5:
a: ‘Burn in’ of components like cables and most electronic components is real.
b: ‘Burn in’ of components like cables and a lot of electronic components is nonsense.

6:
a: My auditory perception is much better in the evening.
b: I can always evaluate a system, time of day isn’t important.

7:
a: Even switching mains cables influences the sound more than expected.
b: Switching mains cables creates expectancies.

8:
a: WAV sounds the same as FLAC.
b: WAV sounds better than FLAC.

9:
a: extremely low distortion figures are pointless as they are below the audible limit.
b: distortion figures say nothing when it comes to sound quality.

10:
a: Even when an amplifier measures the same after component(s) are changed it can still sound very different.
b: when an amplifier measures the same after component(s) are changed it still sounds the same.

When you have answered all the questions hold them against the list below.
Start with 0 points and if you chose answer a for question 1 over answer be ad 1 point.
Add the points of all questions.

1a: +1
1b: 0

2a: 0
2b: +1

3a: +1
3b: 0

4a: 0
4b: +1

5a: +1
5b: 0

6a: 0
6b: +1

7a: +1
7b: 0

8a: 0
8b: +1

9a: 0
9b: +1

10a: +1
10b: 0

When your score is 0 to 1 you are most likely in the 100% objectivists camp
The following (English language based) sites could be of interest to you:

hydrogenaudio
Elliott Sound Products
hifiduino
goldenears (not active anymore)
goldenears (Korean)
M.R.O. Rin Choi (not active anymore)
Rtings
Dynamic Range Database
NwAvGuy (not active anymore)
theslowdiyer
Sjöström audio
audioholics
the well tempered computer
Archimago’s musings
what HI*FI ?
personal audio (Russian)
the audiocritic
D.I.Y. audio heaven (forum)
Audio Engineering Society

With a score between 2 and 3 you feel audio is a scientific area but there might be something true in some of the points subjectivists make.
The following sites could be of interest to you:

hifiduino
Elliott Sound Products
theslowdiyer
Sjöström audio
audioholics
goldenears (not active anymore)
goldenears (Korean)
head-fi
innerfidelity
Steve Hoffman
Dynamic Range Database
the well tempered computer
personal audio (Russian)
Marlene’s Musings (not very active anymore)
NwAvGuy (not active anymore)
M.R.O. Rin Choi (not active anymore)
Rtings
tangentsoft
Archimago’s musings
what HI*FI ?
headphiles
the audiocritic
hometheatershack (home of REW)
D.I.Y. audio heaven (forum)
enjoy the music.com
Audio Engineering Society

With a score between 4 and 6 you are a real inbetweenivist and think both ‘camps’ have equally valid points.
The following sites could be of interest to you:

goldenears (not active anymore)
goldenears (Korean)
Changstar (not active anymore)
Super Best Audio Friends
head-fi
innerfidelity
theslowdiyer
Sjöström audio
Dynamic Range Database
Steve Hoffman
tangentsoft
M.R.O. Rin Choi (not active anymore)
Marlene’s Musings (not very active anymore)
Archimago’s musings
the well tempered computer
personal audio (Russian)
what HI*FI ?
headphiles
audio critique
Rtings
Computer Audiophile
The Absolute Sound
Audioholics
Stereophile
Hometheatershack
enjoy the music
D.I.Y. audio heaven (forum)
Audio Engineering Society

With a score between 7 and 8 you feel technical minded people do not know everything and there is more to audio than just pure technical issues.
The following sites could be of interest to you:

head-fi
innerfidelity
Dynamic Range Database
Rock Grotto (forum)
Stereophile
Steve Hoffman
tangentsoft
The Absolute Sound
headphiles
personal audio (Russian)
Changstar (not active anymore)
Super Best Audio Friends
hificritic
Computer Audiophile
The audiophiliac
Rtings
audio critique
hometheatershack
D.I.Y. audio heaven (forum)
audiogon
enjoy the music

When your score is between 9 and 10 you are most likely in the 100% subjectivists camp
The following sites could be of interest to you:

Dynamic Range Database
Rock Grotto (forum)
Super Best Audio Friends
hificritic
The Absolute Sound
Computer Audiophile
The audiophiliac
Audiogon
Stereophile

post separation

When a lie is repeated consistently it will eventually be considered a truth.

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Comments
  1. The Rabbit says:

    Frans, I only got 1!!! I’ve become an Objectivist……..

  2. Solderdude says:

    Huh ? the test must be flawed !

  3. The Rabbit says:

    I must be more sensible than I thought!!

    As an example … no.2 – Valves ARE troublesome but I also find them musical!!

    I feel as though I’ve visited the doctor and found a cure!!!! 😉

  4. Syd says:

    I scored 1 too but I blame Frans

  5. Solderdude says:

    Holy Mackerel…. I really have to alter the questions 😉

  6. The Rabbit says:

    I feel cleansed; as though I’ve visited the doctor and been cured.

  7. Israel Borouchoff says:

    I scored 3. I guess I am an opinionated objectivist with slight subjectivist tendencies, whatever that means!?!? I believe tubes are more musical, and well worth the trouble in some amplifiers.

    Also, I believe some components do benefit from burning-in, such as the forming of electrolytic capacitors (I know from experience that if left idle for lengthy periods, they do dry out and have to be replaced), the mechanical break- in of headphones, not so much for the ortho type, but the cone type. I am not sure, but perhaps tubes may benefit from burning-in as well. Also, not sure about OpAmps and other ICs either, especially those mounted on heat sinks.

    And, it has been my experience to see improvements in modding of off-the-shelf items, and headphones, such as the T40/T50RP are some examples. Perhaps my diagnosis is abnormal musical lust mixed up with electronic neurotic deviations!?!?

  8. Anonymous says:

    I’m a flippin’ fence sitter with a hedge-yer-bets 5!

    (‘avin’ a look see at the mo) cj

  9. The Rabbit says:

    Hi Chris. It’s quite funny that I got 1. I’m cured!!!

    Ian

  10. I got a 2, I am wondering though… What is the difference in question 9 between distortion figures being “pointless” or “saying little to nothing”?
    I feel somewhat content not being a pure objectivist, magic still exists in my life! 🙂
    Sad thing being that this site is not amongst those listed as interesting for me, I hope I will be allowed to hang around anyways?

    • Solderdude says:

      extremely low distortion figures (smaller than say 0.001%) are pointless because the harmonics generated are below the audible threshold as the harmonics are 100dB lower in SPL as the ‘wanted’ tone.
      Since we humans cannot handle even 80dB in dynamic range I even hold 0.01% (-80dB) as sufficient.
      You see when we listen at high levels with say 100dB SPL peaks the harmonics are at 20dB SPL. 20dB is perceived as complete silence when loud sounds are also present.
      Thus chasing figures in DAC’s and preamps of 0.0001% is completely pointless but looks nice in the specs and most will believe it matters while it doesn’t.
      Funny thing is even if you have a DAC with those impressive numbers and you use it with digital volume control as well the numbers suddenly aren’t pretty anymore.

      Another reason is the drivers of the headphones themselves add lots of harmonics by themselves. The amount of those added harmonics varies per frequency even. Think along the line of 0.01% at the very BEST and think 0.1% to 1% and have even seen figures up to 10%. Not measured them myself (yet) so would have to confirm this. Purrin (Changstar) makes GREAT efforts for this.

      Also consider that the distortion plots (with the small poles on the FR band and one large one as the tone used) shows small poles at various frequencies which seems obvious. The reason why it is done with 1 or max 2 tones is to make it visible. If one were to make these plots with real music the small poles would be completely ‘over shadowed’ (masked) by the music signals and you could not see them any more.
      Even distortion plots with numbers in 10% would not show up. You could easily hear this (10%) though. 0.001 and 0.0001 you could not as these extremely small harmonics (well 100dB below the music) will be ‘masked’ by the 1000 times higher distortion products the headphone creates by itself.

      The ‘numbers are pointless’ statement is mostly used by the better hearing side (subjectivists camp) reason being they hear things that do not reflect in the numbers or they prefer the added harmonics of tubes, transformers e.t.c. over amps with little to no added harmonics which means distortion figures in 0.1% to several % even and rolled off extremes MAY sound better (more lifelike) to them and THUS it IS better. To justify ignoring the bad measurements they say: numbers say nothing and ‘we do not know how to measure for real SQ’ e.t.c.

      So I differentiate between LOW figures are pointless (because objectively they are, but not entirely) and figures and numbers as meaning less because they can (distinctly and reliably) hear what cannot be seen in any numbers according to the non-educated.

      Low figures aren’t completely nonsense when the DAC or pre-amp is used with a volume control in front of it because of the noise floor. Also the amplitude and spread of harmonics (2nd, 3rd to nth) is of importance as well as the circumstances. Most numbers are measured at 1kHz where most amps/DAC’s perform well. This gives very nice numbers to provide a selling point but says little about the actual numbers at low and high frequencies.

  11. Ray Rational says:

    Hi everyone

    Ha ha! I just found this site and left rather a long post on the article about headphone attenuation; so I’ll try to be more concise.

    Talk about grey areas, I really couldn’t answer A or B to most questions as both answers had some validity (yes I know it is for fun) so I but down both but in the order of my preference and the odd comment next to the answers. Here they are:

    1 ~ A/B Not all, some don’t.
    2 ~ B/A Not all, some are great but but poor valve amps do exist!
    3 ~ B/A Sometimes, but it does depend on the night before…
    4 ~ A/B How would you know?
    5 ~ A/B Not all, a lot of components, but cables? Nah!
    6 ~ B/A How would you know?
    7 ~ B Only if the cable is absolute crap!
    8 ~ What are WAV and FLAC? I still record on a Revox PR99!
    9 ~ B/A What is good quality sound? Accurate or wonderful? The professional side of me wants accurate but at home I’ll settle for wonderful.
    10 ~ B/A From experience it normally does, but not every time; we don’t have every possible parameter in a testable form!

    I think that makes me a “fence sitter”!

    All the best…

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