OK, Bruce, so I take this as a "no" to Jerry's offer?
----- Original Message -----
From: "Bruce Kinch" <[log in to unmask]>
To: <[log in to unmask]>
Sent: Wednesday, January 23, 2008 11:10 PM
Subject: Re: [ARSCLIST] Ampex ATR-102 opinion (was MD5 Hash Generators
> Hi Tom-
> On Jan 23, 2008, at 6:09 PM, Tom Fine wrote:
>> Hi Bruce:
>>> The logical fallacy here is to equate "disc quality" with the
>>> perception of music.
>> Ah, yeah, that's the point for those of us who must make a living
>> dealing in facts.
> Well, I'm retired, but I made my living dealing with ideas, as a
> college professor for 30 years. Does tend to force the mind open.
>> I think most of us operate under the assumption that the higher the
>> disc quality (ie lack of digital errors and mechanical stability), the
>> more output = input.
> Ah, an assumption is an idea. You have my attention.
>> As I've said repeatedly, if the input is of bad sonic quality, digital
>> media and digital conversion will certainly preserve and not mask
>> those flaws as much as older analog technologies, which add
>> distortions (some apparently very euphonic to some people) and mask or
>> "soften" some flaws at the input end (again, this is found to be
>> euphonic by some people).
> Ah, but the same is true of bad input to analog, so no points there.
> Please look up euphonic in a dictionary. It is not a swear. True,
> distortions can sound good to some people, there's a whole guitar
> effects industry to prove it. And as I noted at the last CES, a lot of
> digital demos relied on euphonic female vocal recordings that my dad
> would have filed under easy listening. I live in a Diana Krall-free
> zone now.
>> So I again submit that many of the "digital sucks" crowd are
>> igorantly confusing bad human craft and bad human decisions on the
>> input end with what they hear on the output end and blaming the
> I have never said digital sucks (is sucks a swear?), nor even bought
> the tee shirt. Can you refer me to someone in that crowd who has? If
> not, please promise to stop using swears to color an argument.
>> But, let's see if we can put these different world-views to some
>> quantifiable testing.
> How does one quantify ideas like world-views? My students couldn't, but
> they were just students.
> Hitler's idea (or world-view if you please) killed 6 million, Kevorkian
> maybe a dozen who asked him to, but kindly. The winner is...?
> Does a woman have a right to choose, or is abortion murder? Big Bang or
> Genesis? Coke or Pepsi?
> Tom, the objective becomes subjective because everyone has
> preconceptions and biases. Makes the species argumentative. You too.
>> Bruce, I really want you to take Jerry's offer. What's to be afraid of
>> -- I think some very interesting things could be learned by everyone
>> involved and Jerry has made a very generous offer of his time and
>> equipment. I suggest we can use test gears and test ears.
> Tom, it might make more sense if you took the test. You are probably
> more used to the methodology, and would be more surprised by anything
> other than a null result. I might be bored, or confused, but hardly
>> You guys buy two copies of a few commercial CD's -- choose a couple
>> of titles each, and I think the tests would be best if you chose
>> something you're familiar with and consider a decent-sounding
> Why? What does decent-sounding mean? Can you quantify that, or are we
> back in the realm of perception?
>> Keep one copy wrapped up or have it dropped-shipped to Jerry (in
>> other words, Jerry should test it right out of the shrink-wrap, so it
>> goes into his machines just like it came out of the store). Take the
>> other copies and apply these various treatments, keeping careful notes
>> as to what treatments were applied. I think you'd want to stick to one
>> type of treatment per disc but maybe not? Let Jerry submit both discs
>> to his rigorous tests (please research Jerry's lab if you don't
>> believe me that his tests are rigorous).
> Will Jerry's tests confirm the recordings are decent-sounding? That was
> the basis on which you would choose them, so he must be able to
> validate something that simple. Does the machine export the results to
> Amazon.coms review pages? Man would that be cool!
>> Then I would let a third party take possession of the discs (trust and
>> verify, ya know) and all of you make your way to the ABX comparison
>> setup of your choosing (there was a very good one designed by the
>> Boston Acoustic Society described in a recent JAES article).
> It's trust but verify, I think.
> I am actually a past dues-paying member of the BAS. Not without
> preconceptions in my day, at least. Actually, the decline in membership
> back then correlated nicely with the ascent of digital recordings.
> Never figured that out until now. Numbers don't lie, I guess.
>> Listen and find out first of all if there IS an audible difference
>> between treated and untreated discs. And if there is, let everyone
>> keep careful notes as to what they prefer. Then let's compare the
>> results with Jerry's scientific analysis of things like error rates
>> and mechanical stability. Perhaps we can learn a few useful facts:
>> 1. what variances in laser-disc interactions are effected by
>> polishing? Do they create higher or lower error rates? Do they effect
>> laser mechanics at all, and if so positively or negatively vis-a-vis
>> error rates? Is there an audible difference in ABX testing between
>> polished and unpolished discs?
> I'm mostly interested in whether something gets more decent-sounding or
> not. Wasn't that part of the hypothesis, that the discs were decent
> sounding? There should be room for improvement there.
>> 2. does shaving the edge of a disc improve stability? Does it effect
>> error rates or laser-disc interactions? Is there an audible difference
>> in ABX testing?
> Who knows, but does it sound better than decent?
>> 3. I guess we should ask if degaussing outright ruins a disc --
>> Scott's experience seems to indicate yes but I suspect the kind of
>> degaussing sold as a "treatment" uses a much less intense magnetic
>> field. So, if the disc isn't outright ruined, is the error rate or
>> mechanical stability effected? Is there an audible difference in ABX
> Scott seems to have one of the Dharma Initiative degaussers that
> imploded the hatch on Lost. But he heard a difference, and you'd have
> to bounce him off the panel as biased because of it. Me too, I'm
> afraid. Oops, I was afraid after all.
> My law student daughter says most trials are won/lost at voir dire.
> True of ABX trials, too?
>> 4. finally, and this would be the most interesting factor to examine
>> -- I dare say it fringes on a "perception" study -- was there much
>> agreement about any differences in sound? This would be particularly
>> interesting and I'll certainly admit surprise if there IS a
>> statistically relevant perceived differences in sound but no
>> statistically relevant differences from Jerry's tests. I doubt that
>> will happen but I'm never saying never.
> Wow, Tom, I've gotten you interested in PERCEPTION! You are no longer
> speaking in MEANINGLESS ABSOLUTES! Like BARNUMESQUE HOKUM!
>> 5. this one is also very interesting, at least to me -- are discs
>> found to have higher error rates or less mechanical stability in
>> Jerry's tests preferred sonically in the ABX tests? This gets into the
>> question, are there euphonic "problems" in digital systems akin to the
>> harmonic distortion in tube gear that some find euphonic? Again, I
>> doubt this but again I'm never saying never.
> I think the word you are looking for we can invent together right here
> and now. You have suggested that digital might be "dysphonic", if I
> have the Greek right. Sure, probably not, couldn't be, but maybe we can
> at least copyright it. I can see the new Sony ad: Perfect sound
> forever, and now less Dysphonic (TM) than ever, too! Royalties beyond
>> So, what do you say guys? Let's see if we can get the laboratory and
>> the listening room to meet in the middle here. I bet if someone
>> forwards this thread to the BAS guys who wrote that JAES article
>> they'd be game to get a crowd together for ABX testing. The only way
>> we'll get answers is to do some testing. Jerry's opened the door,
>> Bruce you should walk through it.
> Actually, Aldous Huxley opened the Doors of Perception, I think. I just
> can't remember if I actually walked through them, must have been back
> in the sixties, all a blur now. Worked for Jim Morrison, though.
> But obviously, we just want to ask different questions. We are looking
> for different answers. That is bias.
>> Extra gravey -- this might make a very good ARSC convention
> How about From Euphonic Analog to Dysphonic Digital: A new approach to
> evaluating musical reproduction. Authors Fine and Kinch demonstrate
> their technique of dual-dimensional audio testing. Plotting measured
> results on the X axis (Accuracy to Distortion) and subjective musical
> pleasurability (Euphonic to Dysphonic) on the Y axis, the researchers
> create a scatter plot revealing fundamental differences between
> technologies, recordings, and playback equipment. When correlated to
> individual biases, greater understanding of both audiophillic and
> meter-mania disorders can be derived.