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RE: Testing and Listening: Two Completely different things and processes.

Testing and listening to a produced recording are two different mental processes, and as Tom Servo mentioned - Live listening is a completely different "Third" process - the most natural one. Real signal Real Time - only perception (not that those producers might not try to fool us.)

I digress, Of source you can test the signal with instrumentation to amazing precision these days. You can compare any signal input to a device to its output and overlay the traces to 24bit or higher precision. Of course you have to make the argument that the XXXkHz Sampling rate and NN MegaOhm input impedance and the connecting cables are not effecting the tested system network response.

If you go and try to analyze the signal (Frequency Analysis, for example) you have to recognize the parameters of the analysis set limits to the assessment. Many times the Analysis gear for audio is not that flexible - Swept sine testing is used or a random or pseudo-random signal. If you use an FFT Analysis - you capture the signal in blocks - and often the user or system sets his goals for high levels of frequency resolution with averages long blocks of information. For audio testing for human perception - where our time discrimination is pretty good - you'd like to keep the FFT block size down to 10msec or so which means a relatively poor 100Hz resolution. That's a 200 line analyzer with a 20kHz span.

Our (Bruel & Kjaer) can be set up to measure with a very wide dynamic range and with completely flexible analysis parameters all in parallel. And you can set up virtually unlimited "tap" points as we can synchronize the measurements inputs across 100's of channels. I have absolute confidence that we can detect the differences in a signal at any analog point on a system.

Of course, another way to test is to listen with your ears. Blind testing is a proven way to establish preferences - and with experience you lose the "pressure" of making a choice. And it is important to not know what you are listening to. Whether you expand that to a DBT is another issue.
The brain is working differently when in the "test" listening mode - than when in the "listen" listening mode. a

Audiophiles Listen to recordings for different purposes. To simulate a live event is one of those. or it could be to enjoy the artistry and technique of the musician, or it could be to see how their system throws and image, or how the recording produce decides to present the image. Or is could be just to sit and relax and meditate. Often with me, as with others, we do all of these...

The important thing to remember in all of these - there is the factor that the event we are experiencing while listening is as much imagined as it is real - perhaps even more imagined than real. In this imagined environment it is completely possible that you can have two identical signals and get two different experiences. Changing a power cord for in instance may or may not change the signal (I have never measured a change in a signal due to a power cord change in my lab or listening room) but it certainly can change the experience. This was one of the characterstics represented in Heyser's "Catastrophe Effect" as the manifold of our listening "plane" is constantly changing by our other observations happening before or during the experience.

I'm a test engineer, but as a hobbyist in audio, I embrace the subjective part of the experience - it is what makes the hobby great. And perhaps why other hobbies that effect the senses - Cigars, wine, beer, cooking, art, and music, and I'm sure many others have passionate participants.
AA members - if anything are passionate participants.






"The hardest thing of all is to find a black cat in a dark room, especially if there is no cat" - Confucius


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  • RE: Testing and Listening: Two Completely different things and processes. - BigguyinATL 09:16:50 03/17/17 (0)

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