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Technical and scientific discussion of amps, cables and other topics.

Searching for truth?

I ran across a link to something yesterday whilst noodling around on my local university's web-site that got me thinking. Since at my age that's pretty impressive I thought I'd pass it on...

"All scientific measurements must contend with some level of background noise or statistical fluctuation. But if the signal-to-noise ratio cannot be improved, even in principle, the effect is probably not real and the work is not science."*

It turns out that the author is (possibly was) sort of a professional skeptic and I don't much hold with that anymore than I do with "believers". However membership in either group does not automatically discredit their thoughts and experiences in my book, it merely taints them...

Having spent most of my life tinkering with electronic systems I know that the key to fixing or improving them is to "get a handle" on the problem. Usually this involves observing the "problem" while futzing with as many variables as possible to ferret out those that affect it. That process is a discrete filter which improves the S/N of our understanding of the problem. The key is to focus on what's wrong, not what's right because unless the system is really rummy it's already far more right than wrong so the errors get washed out by the 'noise' of the desired signal.

As audiophiles we want to optimize the various factors that go into our listening experience, but the battle ironically requires first improving the S/N of our ability to sense the problems to where we can understand and control them. Then maybe we can improve the S/N of the desired information...

I'd never considered being able to alter the S/N as a test for understanding, maybe even as a proof that there is something to understand, but I like it!

Rick


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Topic - Searching for truth? - rick_m 09:52:30 11/03/14 (28)

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