Darko gets defensive (again) 😄

Might be the first time I have agreed with Darko.

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[ Slim_Fishguttz] (Darko gets defensive (again) 😄)
Still-One Might be the first time I have agreed with Darko.

I can see both sides here, notwithstanding I typically enjoy John’s work. The problem will always exist in the audio review world that subjectivity reigns supreme when blind testing (of any kind) doesn’t take place. On that basis, I get how the endless banter from so called doubters never cease. Simply because the reviewer never stated that there was any kind of empirical evidence offered.

It’s unlike most other areas of review e.g. cameras where things can clearly be measured or side by side comparisons made and the reader/viewer can make their own minds up. Other more aspects of a camera such as, feel, grip etc would have to be confirmed in person.

If one expects impartiality in audio reviews, then typically they’ve gone to the wrong place. Moreover, I don’t think reviewers claim that their opinion is anything more than just that. It is very much open to interpretation & one is always advised to demo the gear themselves. So, on that basis alone, we can agree or disagree based on our own experience as there’s typically little by way of quantitative evidence to support reviewers’ views.

John has always made in clear he will not do any form of blind testing. I’m ok with that & I don’t get why others cannot accept such a review as mere opinion. Further, the idea that a reviewer must do blind testing or else their review is meaningless, I believe misses the point. This coupled with the fact that doing such ‘tests’ is logistically awkward. I think the place for such tests is at audio clubs and the like, where time can be taken to set things up and there are people on hand to make it work.

Although I’m not a car enthusiast, I suspect it’s a bit like reading how a reviewer found the handling of a given car. There are no measurements to go along with that, it’s all one person’s opinion & any other driver may find differences of opinion.

As for the article, unfortunately, fictitious Barry didn’t stick to his guns and got ‘found out’. However, those that demand truly unsighted reviews, this indeed would apply to all gear to remove any perceived sighted bias.

We read or listen to such reviews to get a point of view from an ‘expert’ in the field. Sure there are some sites that devote all their efforts to measurements, but typically do not relate them to the real world of listening. I believe it was an engineer at Sim Audio (Moon) who said that they want all their products to measure well (great) & that those measurements must relate to how they perform in situ (even better) - that is they listen. if the measurements don’t match the listening experience, then back to the drawing board. I thought that was highly insightful.

Cheers. :smiley:

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Here he goes, refusing to understand the difference between digital and analog again.

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As a car enthusiast myself, I can say that there are definitely measurements that go with handling. The problem isn’t that there are no measurements; it’s that a set of measurement values I find enjoyable might be the same set you find objectionable. A Porsche has a definite set of measurements, but I’m a Porsche fan and you may not be because you find the ride stiff and the steering heavy and the clutch difficult to engage smoothly. Same set of measurements, different reactions.

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Kuryan_Thomas

As a car enthusiast myself, I can say that there are definitely measurements that go with handling. The problem isn’t that there are no measurements; it’s that a set of measurement values I find enjoyable might be the same set you find objectionable. A Porsche has a definite set of measurements, but I’m a Porsche fan and you may not be because you find the ride stiff and the steering heavy and the clutch difficult to engage smoothly. Same set of measurements, different reactions.

Thanks Kuryan - I did say I wasn’t a car enthusiast. :laughing: I appreciate your response, which of course makes complete sense. I was probably generalising a bit in regard to the handling of a car. However, I assumed it was the one area where subjectivity played a large role. So, in that sense it seems to be the case based on your reply, even though there may be measurements to assist one’s thought processes.

I think above all (& you can tell me if this applies similarly to car reviewers), it’s a case of reliability & consistency from a given reviewer. I have deliberately not used the word honesty as it perhaps is subjective and if there’s no consistency that’s immaterial. Heck, a dishonest reviewer can be useful, so long as they are consistently so.

I also think it’s all too easy to cast dispersions on any given reviewer. We can all find fault without providing positive input. It seems to me all too easy and of little value in itself. Provide some substance in the form of discussion or don’t comment at all. I digress…sorry 'bout that.

Cheers. :musical_note: :musical_note: :musical_note:

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He may want to chime in - @John_Darko

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Yeesh! Really?

Let’s review the “logic”.

  1. There are audible differences between loudspeakers/amplifiers/DACs/…
  2. Those differences are detectable in both blind and sighted tests.
  3. “Barry” is willing to countenance Darko’s reports of differences between loudspeakers/amplifiers/DACs/… in sighted tests.

Ergo: “Barry” ought to believe Darko’s reports of differences between USB cables in sighted tests.

This just does not follow.

Just because Darko can “hear” differences in cases where differences actually exist does not imply that every time Darko “hears” a difference, one actually exists.

Barry should, instead, have made the inference that, if Darko reports differences when none actually exist (USB cables), then perhaps Darko’s reports of differences among loudspeakers/amplifiers/DACs are less reliable than desired and that he should look elsewhere for audio advice.

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From my point of view, Darko nailed it very nicely with:

all sighted tests executed under the same conditions are psychoacoustically flawed. In other words, if we are to acknowledge the placebo effect as real for subjective reviews of USB cables, then, assuming the same test conditions, we should acknowledge the placebo effect for all product types: DACs, turntables, cartridges, amplifiers etc.

Doesn’t make his reviews any less entertaining to read or watch, of course.

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I have three money pit hobbies: cars, photography, and audio. Audio is unique among these in a particular way: many discussions around it are focused on unexplainable tweaking.

If you read or watch a typical review of a car, it will give some objective facts about the design, engine (or propulsion system in the case of an electric car), and the interior. Then comes a drive. The reviewer will say things like, “Wow, the acceleration is intense.” They talk about the feel of the steering (“tight, taut, accurate”), or how the sporty seats “hug” you in turns. These are all 100% subjective, and everyone expects that. And that’s perfectly fine.

What no credible car reviewer or blogger would do is propound some preposterous concept like, “Gasoline that was refined in Louisiana makes the car perform 10x better than gasoline refined in New Jersey,” or, “I’ve found that the Porsche 911 GT3’s handling is subtly darkened by going for the black interior trim upgrade ($5,000), rather than the standard silver interior trim.” They would be laughed at. Sure, they can credibly say that the race tuned suspension option ($15,000) will handle “better”, but they would likely also ask something like, “but do you really want that to commute to work?”

Photography suffers from a gear mentality, where my camera and lenses become more important than the photos I take. But no photography reviewer will suggest that the dark areas of your photos will be subtly improved by buying and using a Gucci leather carrying case ($3,000). Everyone would ask for dynamic range measurements, and if the reviewer or blogger responded with, “I can see it, if you can’t, your camera must be crap or your eyes not as good as mine,” that would be the end of their career.

I have never understood what it is about audio that allows people to make similar claims and not be challenged, but instead worshiped. Maybe it’s just tradition.

Edit/add: Those price numbers are totally made up.

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Amen. Plus 10 characters.

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Why is this even a debate? Please spend your money on buying great music and supporting artists not $500 USB cables with purposely vague descriptions.

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Thanks Kuryan - very interesting thoughts & you did make me chuckle at:

Kuryan_Thomas

Gasoline that was refined in Louisiana makes the car perform 10x better than gasoline refined in New Jersey,” or, “I’ve found that the Porsche 911 GT3’s handling is subtly darkened by going for the black interior trim upgrade ($5,000), rather than the standard silver interior trim…
But no photography reviewer will suggest that the dark areas of your photos will be subtly improved by buying and using a Gucci leather carrying case ($3,000)

I totally get it!!!

Kuryan_Thomas

I have never understood what it is about audio that allows people to make similar claims and not be challenged, but instead worshiped. Maybe it’s just tradition.

I do not have an answer for this supposition & nor am I a reviewer. I suspect much as you say it’s about ‘tradition’. Notwithstanding, there are specific sites that devote much of their time to measurements & the ‘science’ behind certain claims. I’ve been to some of these & whilst one may assume that’s a far more objective route to be taking, they also seem to get caught up in their own views with dogmatic debate flying either way. Of course, the bulk are the flock and get riled up at the slightest whimper from anybody who may disagree with a suggested scientific reason why ‘something’ may be so. Alas, I am not an electrical engineer, so whilst such discussions often make interesting reading, my level and depth of understanding only go so far.

Measurements are typically always available for any piece of gear, suffice to say that often it’s not sufficient. Thus, expensive gear is required to take further measurements, which indeed for some measurements (far from all) may change depending on the environment. It’s time consuming, and some likely do not have a deep understanding to make sense of it anyhow. Therein lies the problem for those that demand audio reviews must have the science to back up said claims.

As per this thread, I can already see that people have strong views & I think that’s where issues arise. As per anything in life, we are all entitled to our views, some chose to have their own beliefs and not listen to the best scientific minds (e.g. global warming). Notwithstanding, in science, a belief is just that and has no weight, yet due to its inherent nature really can’t be countered.

As for me, I don’t hold strong views in the world of audio. I am more than capable of making up my own mind, doing the necessary research if that’s what’s required and listening (demo). Our hearing all differs, coupled with brain interactions that make the discussion of what we hear into the realm of neuroscience.

I like reading audio reviews, just as I do music reviews & erstwhile camera’s. (I’d still frequent camera review sites if I was in the market for something new.)

Regards… :guitar: :guitar: :guitar:

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Very well put.

The point is that reviewers like Darko either make assertions that can’t be evidenced or, where the evidence is made available, are insupportable. I’m as easily seduced by good writing as the next person but glad to be as clear as possible what reviews are and are not based on.

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Well, its certainly worked: he’s generated controversy and clicks, and I bet he’s happy with that.

I don’t personally believe it’s necessary to have EE expertise (EEE?) to see through some of these claims. Thomas Huxley, “Darwin’s bulldog”, gave a very good guide rule. He said that if someone told him he’d seen a horse in Piccadilly Circus, he would believe that person without question (this was the 19th century); if someone told him he’d seen a zebra in Piccadilly Circus, he would look at the person’s overall credibility and depending on that might ask for some proof; but if the person said he’d seen a unicorn in Piccadilly Circus, Huxley would want to see incontrovertible proof, even if the messenger were the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I find this rule of thumb very useful in today’s “fake news” world. In our country, we were told “Mexico would pay for a wall to keep them out.” In the UK, folks were told that “X billion pounds would be available to bolster NHS if the UK left the EU”. I’m not here to argue the politics, but where would you put these claims? I put the wall claim as equivalent to a unicorn, and the NHS claim as somewhere between a zebra and a unicorn.

The answer to asking for proof of having seen a unicorn in Piccadilly Circus cannot be, “Just trust me,” or, “Go look for yourself, but if you don’t see one when you get there, your eyes are probably not as good as mine.” Not even if the person telling you this is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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No clicks here. Gave up on Darko a while back. His continued promotion of the usual suspects is just plain embarrassing.

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I agree, when we put on concerts we use competent cables, good mics and DI boxes and the musicians bring their own instruments and pedal boards. A great sound engineer sorts it all at soundcheck. The Mackie PA is so much cheaper than any Hi Fi gear you will find but is first class as well.
So the super cost of boutique cable makes absolutely no sense to me… I mean… we even run signal cables near basic mains cables all over the place. Then we have LED stage lighting with all that involves all on the same mains circuit.
From this we achieve stunning live shows and amazing recordings… Good enough for a few live album releases.
There is a plot out there but many seem to have lost it :joy:

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Kuryan_Thomas

I don’t personally believe it’s necessary to have EE expertise (EEE?) to see through some of these claims.

I concur - many are clear cut, others I find not so where they become highly technical discussions. Such technical discussions are not offered by those reviewers who choose to review based solely on their personal experience/ear, which is what I was referring to when I made the comment. Technical discussions mostly occur at sites where that is their mantra. Yet sides can be equally dogmatic about their science. Hence, my electrical engineering comment I do have a science degree, but in a totally unrelated field, Luckily, that brings me closer to Thomas Huxley and so am well aware who he was.

Kuryan_Thomas The answer to asking for proof of having seen a unicorn in Piccadilly Circus cannot be, “Just trust me,” or, “Go look for yourself, but if you don’t see one when you get there, your eyes are probably not as good as mine.” Not even if the person telling you this is the Archbishop of Canterbury.

I get your point entirely. To state my position once again, I don’t fall into either camp who have strong beliefs one way or the other on this matter. I am more than satisfied to take the information that is provided and make up my own mind as I do with most things in life.

As per my comments above, beliefs can’t be argued. Sure they can be discussed, but when somebody holds a belief it’s typically not based on empirical evidence. Hence, I will view any review as just a person’s opinion. So, it really doesn’t hold much weight. However, it also doesn’t mean that it is utter garbage either (although it possibly could be).

And yes, when it comes to those unicorns & just ‘trust me’ even if it’s the Archbishop, of course it holds no weight.

There are many things that people buy that likely should have some robust science behind them, yet there is little put forward in multi-billion dollar industries. Immediately, I think of the natural health industry (vitamins). People buy vitamins & spend $1000’s yearly believing their health will be improved, illness averted etc. Yet the overwhelming medical/scientific evidence demonstrates that to be highly unlikely for most of those products sold. Some may even be harmful to individuals. The cosmetics industry another - purporting wild claims of youthfulness if you only use our creams. Clearly here isn’t the appropriate place to discuss that in depth. Suffice to say that buying and using audio gear is not harmful to one’s health (listening at loud volumes is/carrying heavy amps & loudspeakers quite possibly could be also). Audio gear is rather harmless & makes people happy!

As for non sceintific audio reviews (the overwhelming majority), I find many entertaining & I like hearing about audio gear, in particular new brands or those I’m not familiar with.

Cheers!

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