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In Reply to: Re: Several comments… posted by andy19191 on November 11, 2005 at 09:34:47:
"As far as I can see he has not claimed to have heard any but the ones he has owned." - Yes, but then he doesn't claim to have owned any of the items he ridicules.
Read the page extremely carefully and critically - there is no evidence whatsoever that he has owned or listened to any of the products he ridicules.
"Can I ask how you came to this conclusion (about elevators) and if you have a high confidence in it? Why do you feel so many apparently well informed people disagree and without feeling the need to test?" - I came to it by listening and I have reasonable confidence in it. All of the 'well informed' people you refer to who have not felt the need to test this product have obviously never tried them, or they would effectively have tested them, and their 'information' often comes solely from pages like the one in the link being discussed here, which provide no scientific comment whatsoever on this product so they're not particularly well informed.
"Why do you feel the need to appeal to science for an explanation when you have gone against conventional scientific reasoning in being able to hear a difference? Don't you feel the explanation may lie somewhere else?" - I haven't gone against scientific reasoning, conventional or otherwise. At best scientific reasoning will strongly suggest that I shouldn't hear anything but conventional scientific reasoning has often been wrong and revised during the history of science. In this particular case, please share with us all the reasoning you refer to which suggests that I shouldn't hear anything - I'd like to know the scientific basis for your belief on this one.
And that request is not an attempt to shift the onus of proof. You say that there are scientific reasons why I shouldn't hear anything so I'm simply asking you to tell me what those reasons are. Can you do that?
> there is no evidence whatsoever that he has owned or listened to any of the products he ridicules.
We are in full agreement here.
My point was that neither he, nor I, nor most people with an interest/understanding of audio and/or the audio industry need to to listen them to know they do not meet the unsubstantiated claims for sound improvement. It is no different to going to the local market and seeing designer goods on sale for, apparently, 10% of their retail price. Most people do not need to inspect these goods to know they are not real. Instead they rely on their own knowledge of how things work.
> I came to it by listening and I have reasonable confidence in it.
Despite this, I have far more than reasonable confidence that they do not work (but not absolute because there is a minute possibility there is something extreme about the situation in your room) even though I have not heard them. I have this confidence because I have studied and learned a model of how electrical devices work. This model has been proven to be accurate in my work over the last few decades and it is the same model used by scientists, engineers and teachers in research, industry and schools throughout the world and for well over a 100 years. This really is something one can have confidence in because of the massive amount of evidence supporting it and none, that I am aware of, indicating that it is wrong for normal electroacoustic devices.
In addition, the chances of your having performed an experiment where a subtle audible difference could be reliably distinguished is negligible. Of course, I am assuming you are claiming a subtle improvement here rather than a "night and day" improvement which would be something else.
But do not worry, I do not have a switch box to sell or believe that careful unbiased experiments should be compulsory for every consumer before purchasing kit. Nonetheless, if comparing audio tweaks is part of your audio hobby it is something to consider if you are interested in whether the tweaks work or not.
> All of the 'well informed' people you refer to who have not felt the need to test this product have obviously never tried them, or they would effectively have tested them, and their 'information' often comes solely from pages like the one in the link being discussed here, which provide no scientific comment whatsoever on this product so they're not particularly well informed.
I doubt the page referred to is considered a source of reliable information by anyone including the author. I suspect the only intention was to amuse.
Instead, the "techies" would rely on their technical knowledge and the "arties" would rely on common sense having listened to what the "techies" had to say and having been to the local market.
> At best scientific reasoning will strongly suggest that I shouldn't hear anything but conventional scientific reasoning has often been wrong and revised during the history of science.
Utter nonsense. After Newton and the establishment of a sound mathematical basis for formulating and testing the laws of physics there have been incredibly few revisions of established laws. These revisions were to include observed wrinkles in extreme cases usually involving the motion of stars and sub atomic particles but not audio cable stands.
> In this particular case, please share with us all the reasoning you refer to which suggests that I shouldn't hear anything.
You have not significantly changed the electrical properties of your cable, the signal from your amplifier, the properties of your speaker or the acoustics of your room. Without changing one of these and changing it enough to be audible you will not reliably here a difference.
Of course, it is possible for all of us to hear all sorts of unreliable differences due to signals to our brain from sources other than our ears influencing our perception of sound. With the possible exception of a glass wine, I would suggest almost none are going to help with the appreciation of music.
You said - with a quote from me in '> <'s:
"> there is no evidence whatsoever that he has owned or listened to any of the products he ridicules. <
We are in full agreement here.
My point was that neither he, nor I, nor most people with an interest/understanding of audio and/or the audio industry need to to listen them to know they do not meet the unsubstantiated claims for sound improvement. It is no different to going to the local market and seeing designer goods on sale for, apparently, 10% of their retail price. Most people do not need to inspect these goods to know they are not real. Instead they rely on their own knowledge of how things work."
And that directly contradicts what you implied in your first post here where you said:
"The subject of the thread was a non-techie and therefore could not draw on knowledge to determine what worked and what did not. He bought various kit, found they did not meet the advertised claims and posted accordingly. Seems pretty reasonable to me."
So originally you claimed he bought these products and personally found they didn't work.
Frankly, I don't think it's reasonable to make the sort of claims he makes about products he hasn't tried. There's nothing in them but ridicule, and no technical reasons given for the ridicule, but you seemed to find that ok through most of this thread.
Re the elevators: you imply that you've tried them and heard nothing. That doesn't mean that I heard nothing. I've used them now with 3 different sets of cables and the results have been diffeerent with each. They do nothing I can detect with my current cables apart from looking good which is why I still like using them, but my current cables pay attention to electrostatic charges in their construction while my previous ones don't. I also find they don't seem to produce a difference when used on polished floors, but do on floors carpeted with synthetic carpet - depending, of course on cable. Since what I hear varies on circumstances but seems to form a consistent pattern depending on the circumstances, I see reason to have some confidence in what I hear.
And if, as I suggested, it is due to electrostatic charge issues, then the materials used for cable dielectrics and how they are shielded will influence results so, given those factors, there may be a mild change introduced into cable properties by insulating them from floor coverings like carpet.
It's not a big thing and I would hardly suggest playing with elevators to solve major problems in a system, but they may be benificial in helping to get a little bit more out of a good system. Your mileage may definitely vary but nothing you've said proves they don't work - just that some people don't hear anything but that could be because of different circumstances or simply because of individual differences in hearing acuity, or a combination of both.
[SNIP] - I suggest we let people read what was said in the thread?
> And if, as I suggested, it is due to electrostatic charge issues...
Do you believe the explanation for the improved sound lies with known science or some modification to known science?
If the former, I suggest you put some estimated numbers to the electrostatic charges involved to see what the effect is for a cable on the floor and a cable supported on a stand. You do not need precise numbers just order of magnitude estimates to see if the effect is large enough to be significant. Be prepared for disappointment though because rather a large number of scientists and engineers will have performed this estimate over the years since electrical equipment was first connected together with cables.
If the latter, then the potential rewards are enormous if you can perform a repeatable experiment to demonstrate the effect since, ultimately, this is the foundation of all science.
Whatever the explanation, just being able to demonstrate the effect will net over $1 million from various challenges that have been open for quite a few years now. If I, or millions of audio enthusiasts around the world, thought the device in question had even the slightest chance of creating an audibly discernible difference (doesn't need to be an improvement) we would be after the money like a shot.
> but nothing you've said proves they don't work
Yes this is what is so interesting. Not so much what I have said but that you seem able to hold a view that you know is against scientific reasoning and yet want it to be supported by a scientific explanation.
"Yes this is what is so interesting. Not so much what I have said but that you seem able to hold a view that you know is against scientific reasoning and yet want it to be supported by a scientific explanation."
I've actually done some research and had it published, but in a very different field. I don't claim to be an electronics expert. I do know how hard it can be to prove something and I'm quite happy about the fact that the standards of scientific proof are quite rigorous, and I tried to comply with those standards in the research I did. I do try to be equally rigorous about examining my own perceptions when I think I hear something in my system.
I also know that science exists to explain what we observe - not to tell us what we must observe. I accept that our observations are sometimes mistaken and I think that science should be able to give reasons for those mistakes when they occur.
But, as I said, I do hear something with cable elevators under certain conditions. It seems to be dependent on floor covering and it seems to be dependent on the cable. If I'm mistaken, then it's a strange error - not the so called usual audiophile one of consistently hearing something that isn't there. So, while I could be mistaken, I'm inclined to think there's a little less chance of that simply because of the consistency of the pattern as to whether I hear something or not. I happen to think it would be nice if I heard something when they are used with my current cables but, as I said previously, I don't.
Since I happen to be faced with the fact that I do think I hear something under the conditions that I've mentioned, I naturally have wondered why that is the case and what could cause that pattern of observations. I haven't been able to come up with a reason which would explain the pattern in my thinking that I hear something if I actually am mistaken when I think I hear it, and I do happen to have a major in psychology in my undergraduate degree and my wife was a psychologist. I'm not totally ignorant about the causes of error. On the other hand, I've also tried to consider what explanation could account for what I hear if I happen to be right in my perceptions. The only thing I've been able to think of is electrostatic charges and I said that was the only reason I could think of. If the elevators actually do something, then they may well do it for some totally different reason.
I don't need to support my view that I hear something under some circumstances with a scientific explanation. If there was a scientific explanation that we were all aware of, you wouldn't be asking me to support my view. If I happen to feel the need for further support for my view that I hear something, I'll try and repeat my observations. I'll listen again over time with different cables and try taking the elevators to some friends homes to try them with different floor coverings since I don't intend changing the carpet in my current house just for a test. The reason I'll try and repeat my observations is that I haven't come across a scientific explanation for why they work, and I've never seen one from the manufacturer. Once again, I'd have no need to support my view if there was an accepted explanation.
Lack of an explanation doesn't mean that something doesn't work. Explanations don't make something work - they explain why it does work, and things that do work will continue to work regardless of whether or not there is an explanation and also whether or not any explanation given is true or false. The fact that something does work isn't enough in itself to guarantee that the explanation given for why it works is correct.
On the other hand, explanations for why things shouldn't work are a lot more messy. Such explanations can also be right or wrong. The explanation could be wrong and the thing may not work for a totally different reason, so the fact that something doesn't work doesn't guarantee the correctness of any explanation for why that should be the case. On the other hand, if the explanation is correct, it's often only correct under certain circumstances and the thing may actually work under other circumstances. It's actually quite difficult to come up with an explanation for why something can't work - period - because you have to be able to prove that that explanation is correct under every circumstance. That's particularly hard to do.
So take all of that where you will. At present I happen to think that there may be something that I hear under certain circumstances and I simply offered an opinion on what that was. I'm happy to consider reasons for why I could be mistaken. I have considered some in the past and I'm still prepared to consider some but if you offer a reason, you better be prepared to offer one that accounts for the pattern in when I think I hear something and when I don't. Don't bother to try presenting a reason that doesn't take the pattern into account because a reason that doesn't do that simply won't explain what I think I hear and when I think I hear it. And don't bother to simply say as you have that it doesn't comply with scientific reasoning unless you can show that there is absolutely no possibility of there being a scientific reason that you haven't considered. Scientific reasoning exists to explain observations - observations come first. We don't adjust our observations to conform to reason - we use reason to ensure that our scientific explanations conform with the facts of our observations.
So I suggest we just call an end to this discussion unless you've got a reason to offer for why I might be mistaken and why I make the mistake in the particular pattern in which I make it, and you're also prepared to seriously entertain the idea that the person mistaken may be you.
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