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The Absolute Sound FLAC article
Satellite_6
post Jan 13 2012, 02:13
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Very amusing.

Doesn't it seem like more than the placebo affect though? More like a lack of any handle on reality. :S

How do people get this way?


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polemon
post Jan 13 2012, 16:03
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Jan 13 2012, 00:06) *
um, no, it wasn't.

O_o

Oookaaay, well, like I said, I never heard of the magazine before.


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Wombat
post Jan 13 2012, 19:32
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I wonder if this things that TAS testers hear is the Higgs-Boson particles changing things between the bits. Cern should accelerate an mp3 file of their test corpus and not waste their time with protons.
Anyone for a TOS #8 complient God-Particle abx? It may be the first inderect proof of this. Why use physics when we can easily do it by ear?
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ron spencer
post Jan 13 2012, 21:14
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What is the motivation of this article? I must admit I love reading TAS to see what stuff is sold...$12,000 for 1 meter of cable, $30,000 DACs etc. I guess there is a huge market for this stuff. Perhaps this FLAC thing is a way to open a new market for something...maybe a DAC that fixes FLAC...hey that rhymes!!!

This post has been edited by ron spencer: Jan 13 2012, 21:14
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Squeller
post Jan 14 2012, 15:44
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 If, with good gear and ears people could hear differences between redbook and 320kbps mp3, or even between redbook and sacd, then fine. I couldn't care less because still I think my ~250 kbps vbr stuff on target devices is not as bad as shellac records. But they refuse to prove their claims. Usually clowns with zero knowledge about computing.

I think audible differences are possible, but I refuse to take clowns serious that constantly tell us we listen to completely distorted output. Ridiculous.



This post has been edited by Squeller: Jan 14 2012, 15:46
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slks
post Jan 15 2012, 11:04
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QUOTE (ron spencer @ Jan 13 2012, 14:14) *
What is the motivation of this article? I must admit I love reading TAS to see what stuff is sold...$12,000 for 1 meter of cable, $30,000 DACs etc. I guess there is a huge market for this stuff.


I imagine the market isn't actually that big, but that doesn't matter - if you can sell just one twelve-thousand-dollar cable, you've made $11,998 profit!


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PeterJvM
post Jan 15 2012, 12:22
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QUOTE (Wombat @ Jan 13 2012, 20:32) *
I wonder if this things that TAS testers hear is the Higgs-Boson particles changing things between the bits. Cern should accelerate an mp3 file of their test corpus and not waste their time with protons.
Anyone for a TOS #8 complient God-Particle abx? It may be the first inderect proof of this. Why use physics when we can easily do it by ear?


Let's put some GOD(Higgs-Boson) particles inside a bag of marbles and hang them in front of a loudspeaker, then play the album Erogenous Zone.
After this check if the marbles have multiplied themselves, if so the existence of these particles is proven? tongue.gif


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milosz
post Jan 18 2012, 20:47
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I agree that two bit-identical files should sound the same.

However playing back two bit-identical files side-by-side or sequentially might engender some DAC or other digital-domain data handling difference. Just because the files on your drive are bit-identical doesn't mean your DAC is going to play them back exactly the same. The DAC should play them back exactly the same, but I think there's a possibility it might not. Things like jitter, LSB noise, etc can all come into play. Just a guess, but I would think that EVERY TIME you play a file back- whether from CD or hard drive or whatever- it will decode to analog a few parts per million (billion?) differently.

What I would like to see is a bit comparison in a pair of buffers to see if two bit-identical files present exactly the same bitstreams to the DAC. Does playing a file back happen without error? It might, I don't know. Does digital=>analog conversion happen exactly the same for each set of data, down to the last microvolt? I don't know.

But this is about file playback in general, not about some kind of file conversion loss or file-type-specific effect.

THAT said, I don't see that you could draw a conclusion that FLAC sounds worse than WAV given the experimental setup used by the authors of the Absolute Sound article. They could POSSIBLY conclude that the way their setup played these files back yielded some kind of differences- but you could not extrapolate this to say that FLAC just sounds worse than WAV in general. They failed to control for all the variables, by a wide margin. Very poor experimental design, and inexcusable hubris on the author's part in drawing their conclusions based on this flawed experiment.

It's clear that without double-blind testing these "quality tests" are just so much mental masturbation.

I subscribed to Absolute Sound in 2011, I wanted to check it out. I certainly wouldn't renew my subscription. If you examine the whole "subjectivist" argument in the light of consistent logic, you conclude that these golden-ear reviewers believe that their OPINION is somehow better or "more true" than actual objective reality. This notion is absurd on the face of it, and for anyone who is capable of rational thought the subjectivist approach can be clearly seen to be either the result of genuine delusion or cynical dishonesty.

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Wombat
post Jan 18 2012, 21:14
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QUOTE (milosz @ Jan 18 2012, 20:47) *
I agree that two bit-identical files should sound the same.

However playing back two bit-identical files side-by-side or sequentially might engender some DAC or other digital-domain data handling difference. Just because the files on your drive are bit-identical doesn't mean your DAC is going to play them back exactly the same. The DAC should play them back exactly the same, but I think there's a possibility it might not. Things like jitter, LSB noise, etc can all come into play. Just a guess, but I would think that EVERY TIME you play a file back- whether from CD or hard drive or whatever- it will decode to analog a few parts per million (billion?) differently.

What I would like to see is a bit comparison in a pair of buffers to see if two bit-identical files present exactly the same bitstreams to the DAC. Does playing a file back happen without error? It might, I don't know. Does digital=>analog conversion happen exactly the same for each set of data, down to the last microvolt? I don't know.

But this is about file playback in general, not about some kind of file conversion loss or file-type-specific effect.

If any of these theoretical factors you list here would influence peoples playback so much that it sounds different on every file, on Hydrogenaudio not one abx test could have been done.
People always must have heard differences no matter what they test.
It is exactly this weird reasoning that make such articles like the TAS one worthwhile for the business with trying to confuse.
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probedb
post Jan 19 2012, 10:24
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QUOTE (milosz @ Jan 18 2012, 19:47) *
What I would like to see is a bit comparison in a pair of buffers to see if two bit-identical files present exactly the same bitstreams to the DAC. Does playing a file back happen without error? It might, I don't know. Does digital=>analog conversion happen exactly the same for each set of data, down to the last microvolt? I don't know.

And you honestly think this would lead to an audible difference do you?

The thing that amuses me is that the people doing these tests are generally older so their hearing has deteriorated anyway. I'm 34 and can't hear past 16KHz, yet these people claim to be able to hear differences that a bat couldn't hear.
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bug80
post Jan 19 2012, 10:38
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QUOTE (milosz @ Jan 18 2012, 20:47) *
What I would like to see is a bit comparison in a pair of buffers to see if two bit-identical files present exactly the same bitstreams to the DAC.

Question: are the contents of a Word-file different every time you open it on your computer? Do the words shuffle if you compress it using ZIP? If not, why would it be different for audio?
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DonP
post Jan 19 2012, 15:00
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QUOTE (bug80 @ Jan 19 2012, 05:38) *
QUOTE (milosz @ Jan 18 2012, 20:47) *
What I would like to see is a bit comparison in a pair of buffers to see if two bit-identical files present exactly the same bitstreams to the DAC.

Question: are the contents of a Word-file different every time you open it on your computer? Do the words shuffle if you compress it using ZIP? If not, why would it be different for audio?


Bad example... the same as long as it's the same computer and same version of Word. Change those and things are often not quite the same. Things I've seen changed are the appearance of the dots on a bullet list, and how variable width fonts render.

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bug80
post Jan 19 2012, 15:11
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QUOTE (DonP @ Jan 19 2012, 15:00) *
QUOTE (bug80 @ Jan 19 2012, 05:38) *
QUOTE (milosz @ Jan 18 2012, 20:47) *
What I would like to see is a bit comparison in a pair of buffers to see if two bit-identical files present exactly the same bitstreams to the DAC.

Question: are the contents of a Word-file different every time you open it on your computer? Do the words shuffle if you compress it using ZIP? If not, why would it be different for audio?


Bad example... the same as long as it's the same computer and same version of Word. Change those and things are often not quite the same. Things I've seen changed are the appearance of the dots on a bullet list, and how variable width fonts render.

Of course, but we are talking about different FILES not different SOFTWARE. If you want to know if different FILES result in different bitstreams, even if they are bit-identical, you should only change one parameter (the file, not the playback software). So the example still holds.
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Brother John
post Jan 20 2012, 12:02
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QUOTE (milosz @ Jan 18 2012, 20:47) *
What I would like to see is a bit comparison in a pair of buffers to see if two bit-identical files present exactly the same bitstreams to the DAC.

Yes, they will. Computers are designed to work that way. If they weren’t they would not function at all. If you run that test and indeed get varying results the only valid conclusion is that your equipment ist faulty and should be fixed or replaced.

QUOTE (milosz)
Does digital=>analog conversion happen exactly the same for each set of data, down to the last microvolt? I don't know.
But this is about file playback in general, not about some kind of file conversion loss or file-type-specific effect.

You’ll probably see tiny differences because there are effects like jitter in the d/a stage (I’m not claiming anything about audibility!). But you’re right. That is a problem of the playback chain from the DAC onwards, it has nothing to do with the audio format or the digital domain as a whole. I guess that’s exactly the point where “experts” like the TAS authors would fail and still blame FLAC, even if they ran a scientifically correct experiment.


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zappalberto
post Nov 6 2013, 17:39
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QUOTE (SoAnIs @ Jan 7 2012, 07:31) *
Yep. The funniest bit is that none of the audiophile reviewers ever post the results of a hearing test. Most are over 40, and almost certainly have degraded hearing.

Yeah! Since I'm more than 50, I really have degraded hearing. And that's a major pain as a music enthusiast and musician as well. Please, have mercy on us oldies. Cheers. Alberto
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