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Why are our ears so foolish?, why not our sense of sight, smell and touch too?
BearcatSandor
post Nov 8 2010, 04:41
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Reading this post http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=494426 got me thinking.

Why are is our ears-brain connection so easily fooled? I haven't heard of any ABXing on sight, smell or touch issues. My impression is that most people can see the difference (slight though it is) between 720p and 1080p/i and they don't confuse one fabric for another by feel.

If our eyes were like our ears, you could do an ABX over a standard definition TV and a 1080i TV and people would not be able to tell the difference between the screens.

Why did we develop such easily fooled hearing devices? I wonder if it's just humans that are so easily fooled audibly.

Bearcat


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Engelsstaub
post Nov 8 2010, 05:25
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 7 2010, 22:41) *
Why did we develop such easily fooled hearing devices? I wonder if it's just humans that are so easily fooled audibly.

Bearcat


If your dog could speak, the first thing he'd tell you is to "ditch those lousy MP3s." biggrin.gif (The only humans currently doing so are Sterophile journos in their editorial rants.)


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Ed Seedhouse
post Nov 8 2010, 05:53
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 7 2010, 20:41) *
Why are is our ears-brain connection so easily fooled? I haven't heard of any ABXing on sight, smell or touch issues.


Just because you haven't heard doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Wine tastings are commonly done double blind and in fact most of the "taste" of the wine is precisely in the smell of it. The senses of taste and smell are more like one sense than two. Blindfolded and with their noses plugged people can't tell the difference in taste between a slice of potato and a slice of apple, for instance.

QUOTE
If our eyes were like our ears, you could do an ABX over a standard definition TV and a 1080i TV and people would not be able to tell the difference between the screens.


Well, you are talking about resolution, not illusions. The eyes detect light - vibrations at many many gigaherts (terahertz?) whereas ears detect sound a generally less than 15khz tops. Lower frequency, lower resolution for equal aperture. Law of physics you know, and the apature of the ears is not much more than the aperture of the eyes.

Furthermore the physical limits of the eyes as far as resolution goes in much greater than the ears.
We can out-do the limits of our ears fairly easily, but we have as yet precisely NO electronic display equipment that can out-do the limits of the eyes, so far as I know.

QUOTE
Why did we develop such easily fooled hearing devices? I wonder if it's just humans that are so easily fooled audibly.


Site is easily fooled in fact. You'll see lots more optical illusions than you will auditory ones. They are published in magazines and books all the time. Just go down to your nearest library and take out a book on optical illusions. Ever seen a mirage on a hot stretch of payment? That's your eyes being fooled. Happens regularly around my neck of the woods in summer.

Furthermore our eyes and brains reconstruce an apparantly real and highly detailed three dimensional view of the world around us, but that's almost a complete hallucination. Actually we can see only a tiny part of our visual field in any detail at all. So we are in fact being fooled by our vision nearly continuously.


This post has been edited by Ed Seedhouse: Nov 8 2010, 06:02


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BearcatSandor
post Nov 8 2010, 06:12
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That's all helpful Ed, and what you say is true. I think i was unclear. What i was wondering is why our ears are so readily fooled by our positive expectations.. You can't give someone chocolate cream pie, tell them it's cherry cream pie and fool them. You can't give someone slightly grayed eye glasses, tell them "these are awesomely dark sunglasses" and have them think the bright summer day is suddenly dim and comfortable. I'm excluding hypnosis situations..

However, you *can* easily fool most people in to thinking that two cables sound different if they are different gauges,


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saratoga
post Nov 8 2010, 06:17
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 8 2010, 00:12) *
That's all helpful Ed, and what you say is true. I think i was unclear. What i was wondering is why our ears are so readily fooled by our positive expectations..


I don't think they're particularly more or less easily fooled then any other sense.

QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 8 2010, 00:12) *
You can't give someone chocolate cream pie, tell them it's cherry cream pie and fool them.


Yeah and you can't play a bass note to most people and tell them its treble either.

Compare a fine glass or wine verses a merely good glass of wine and most people won't know the difference either. Double blind tests have been done with food and video technology for a very long time, not just audio.
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shakey_snake
post Nov 8 2010, 06:21
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 8 2010, 00:12) *
You can't give someone chocolate cream pie, tell them it's cherry cream pie and fool them. You can't give someone slightly grayed eye glasses, tell them "these are awesomely dark sunglasses" and have them think the bright summer day is suddenly dim and comfortable. I'm excluding hypnosis situations..

However, you *can* easily fool most people in to thinking that two cables sound different if they are different gauges,
In all of these cases, considering they're not done blind, it's simple cases of people trusting their eyesight more than their other sense you are "testing".


Meanwhile, on the internet...
Four concentric circles

This post has been edited by shakey_snake: Nov 8 2010, 06:21


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BearcatSandor
post Nov 8 2010, 06:24
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QUOTE (saratoga @ Nov 7 2010, 22:17) *
Yeah and you can't play a bass note to most people and tell them its treble either.

Compare a fine glass or wine verses a merely good glass of wine and most people won't know the difference either. Double blind tests have been done with food and video technology for a very long time, not just audio.

Thank you. That's a much better comparative to the ones i came up with and points out the silly fallacy in my argument.

I appreciate that.


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BearcatSandor
post Nov 8 2010, 07:10
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QUOTE (shakey_snake @ Nov 7 2010, 22:21) *
<snip> </snip>

Meanwhile, on the internet...
Four concentric circles

What's most interesting to me about those kinds of optical illusions is that once you see one in a certain way it can be very hard to force your brain to see it in another, and some are harder than others for some people. I find the faces vs vase illusion easy to switch back and forth as well as the spinning dancer. However, that one you posted above messes with my eyes so much that it just kind of vibrates back and forth and refuses to settle. I do have some very mild cerebral palsy and astigmatism so that is a factor.

spinning dancer: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Spinning_Dancer
vase illusion: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rubin_vase

Is is usually the case that after you're done ABXing something, that you continue to hear differences, or you can't hear what you once did just like a person who can't ever un-see the vase or the faces?


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Ed Seedhouse
post Nov 8 2010, 07:15
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 7 2010, 22:12) *
What i was wondering is why our ears are so readily fooled by our positive expectations..


You haven't provided any evidence that they are more readily fooled than any other sense. What "fools" us is not so much our senses as our brains. Take any two sensory inputs of the same kind at a level that is down near the noise level of that particular sense, and you'll find people believing that they have detected differences that aren't really there.

QUOTE
You can't give someone chocolate cream pie, tell them it's cherry cream pie and fool them.


But you can give someone two identical chocolate cream pies and with a little showmanship convince the eater that one is clearly better than the other.

QUOTE
You can't give someone slightly grayed eye glasses, tell them "these are awesomely dark sunglasses" and have them think the bright summer day is suddenly dim and comfortable. I'm excluding hypnosis situations..

However, you *can* easily fool most people in to thinking that two cables sound different if they are different gauges,


I bet you could convince a customer that two identical sunglasses were "obviously" different by charging ten bucks for one and five hundred bucks for the other, though.





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jimmy69
post Nov 8 2010, 08:57
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QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse @ Nov 8 2010, 14:23) *
Furthermore the physical limits of the eyes as far as resolution goes in much greater than the ears.
We can out-do the limits of our ears fairly easily, but we have as yet precisely NO electronic display equipment that can out-do the limits of the eyes, so far as I know.


Apple would have you believe their retina display does
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dhromed
post Nov 8 2010, 09:55
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QUOTE (jimmy69 @ Nov 8 2010, 08:57) *
QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse @ Nov 8 2010, 14:23) *
Furthermore the physical limits of the eyes as far as resolution goes in much greater than the ears.
We can out-do the limits of our ears fairly easily, but we have as yet precisely NO electronic display equipment that can out-do the limits of the eyes, so far as I know.


Apple would have you believe their retina display does


The Retina display is around 320dpi. It's not really out-doing the eyes, but it's close enough. You'd need 1000dpi reproduction to make out the pixels on a 320dpi image, such as print.
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2Bdecided
post Nov 8 2010, 10:50
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 8 2010, 04:41) *
If our eyes were like our ears, you could do an ABX over a standard definition TV and a 1080i TV and people would not be able to tell the difference between the screens.
Wrong comparison entirely.

SD vs 1080i is like AM radio vs CD - i.e. 4-10kHz bandwidth vs 22kHz bandwidth.

CD vs mp3 is exactly like uncompressed video vs DVD (MPEG-2), or TIFF vs JPEG.

(Normal people never see uncompressed digital video, unless they work in a TV studio).

The differences between uncompressed video and compressed video, or uncompressed images and compressed images, are perfectly comparable to CD vs mp3. Similar lossy coding principles, based on similar masking principles.

Most human senses are roughly logarithmic on at least one scale. Most human senses exhibit masking. There's nothing special about hearing at all.

Cheers,
David.

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dhromed
post Nov 8 2010, 11:13
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Big post. Typed in a relative hurry. Proofread once.

May contain some errors or weasel words. Please indicate. Yay.

===========

Our eyes are your primary sense by a fairly long distance. Ears come second, then smell/taste and lastly touch.

The less important a sense is, the less our brain is adapted to prioritize extracting any information content over simply letting in the rough experience, and the greater the emotional impact of input through that sense—and by extension, the greater the irrationality that comes with it.

QUOTE (BearcatSandor)
What's most interesting to me about those kinds of optical illusions is that once you see one in a certain way it can be very hard to force your brain to see it in another, and some are harder than others for some people.


Optical illusions are fine and dandy, but they have nothing to do with audiophoolery. Illusions in general are crafted input that exploits a real aspect of a sensory system to make one perceive something for which there is no real input. Swapping your cables from plain to directional is just make-belief and fantasy.

Most optical illusions exploit that fact that your brain tries incredibly hard to make sense of the input and will commonly override that which is physcially seen by the eye.

QUOTE (BearcatSandor)
It is usually the case that after you're done ABXing something, that you continue to hear differences, or you can't hear what you once did just like a person who can't ever un-see the vase or the faces?


Like I said, they're not comparable like that. A more accurate comparison would that, once you noticed a very faint stain on a rough white wall, you continue to see it, because you know that it is there.

What is comparable to illusion is when you continue to see the stain even after it's removed, because you've convinced yourself that it's there.

QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse)
Ever seen a mirage on a hot stretch of payment? That's your eyes being fooled.


A mirage is not an optical illusion. It would be foolery if one believed that the image is actually there, but the bent light is a very real and physical effect, and you see it because the light's there to be seen.

QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse)
Furthermore our eyes and brains reconstruce an apparantly real and highly detailed three dimensional view of the world around us, but that's almost a complete hallucination. Actually we can see only a tiny part of our visual field in any detail at all. So we are in fact being fooled by our vision nearly continuously.


True, that. Another reason why audio and visuals cannot be compared in any simple way.

QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse)
Well, you are talking about resolution, not illusions. The eyes detect light - vibrations at many many gigaherts (terahertz?) whereas ears detect sound a generally less than 15khz tops. Lower frequency, lower resolution for equal aperture. Law of physics you know, and the apature of the ears is not much more than the aperture of the eyes. Furthermore the physical limits of the eyes as far as resolution goes in much greater than the ears. We can out-do the limits of our ears fairly easily, but we have as yet precisely NO electronic display equipment that can out-do the limits of the eyes, so far as I know.


Hold up. The Hz of light has absolutely nothing to do with this, and the eye performs much worse in terms of resolution.

Your eyes detect three specific frequencies (with rolloff) at varying intensities and your brain constructs colour from all the myriad combinations of these three + intensity levels.

The optical resolution is roughly comparable to a picture several thousand pixels to each side, but the effective resolution drops off sharply away from the center of the retina, and it's a mistake to talk of the eye's resolution as one does for a monitor or camera. The edges of your vision have greater temporal resolution though, and the general "sample rate" of the eyes varies greatly depending on whether the changes are brightness, colour, movement etc.

Any illusion of fluid motion is complete at around ~60-70fps for sharp images (games) and ~25 for inherently motion-blurred images (recorded film). This is much, much lower than the ear, which (for most people) only begins to respond at 30Hz, and then reaches all the way up to 17,000Hz and often beyond.

The dynamic range of any one sight per primary colour under optimal conditions is a little over 8-bit (green a bit more, blue a bit less), but as the iris changes almost constantly depending on where it's focused, the total dynamic range is much, much greater.

The ear is a wide-band frequency analyzer with an enormous inherent range in both frequency and amplitude.

QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse)
Just because you haven't heard doesn't mean it doesn't exist. Wine tastings are commonly done double blind and in fact most of the "taste" of the wine is precisely in the smell of it.


+1

The crux of the matter is subtlety.

QUOTE
My impression is that most people can see the difference (slight though it is) between 720p and 1080p/i


It's quite the difference, actually, when viewed intently.
However, as I said earlier, your brain is better adapted to primarily extract information from visual data, and 1080p adds barely any real information compared to 720p. There are exceptions, however. 1080p is still a pretty big difference pixel-wise, and some of my sport-loving friends commented on being able to recognize individuals in overview shots.

Contrast with DVD, where I was unable to recognize an actor once because the resolution was too low and he was too far away.

QUOTE
and they don't confuse one fabric for another by feel.


They most certainly do.
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andy o
post Nov 8 2010, 11:55
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QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse @ Nov 7 2010, 21:53) *
we have as yet precisely NO electronic display equipment that can out-do the limits of the eyes, so far as I know.

Doesn't it depend on how far you are from the display? But I'm thinking you mean something else here, maybe?

QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 8 2010, 01:55) *
QUOTE (jimmy69 @ Nov 8 2010, 08:57) *

Apple would have you believe their retina display does


The Retina display is around 320dpi. It's not really out-doing the eyes, but it's close enough. You'd need 1000dpi reproduction to make out the pixels on a 320dpi image, such as print.

I think you're mixing up the dpi on print with the ppi (pixels per inch) on digital displays.

I don't know if you saw this, but this is a pretty good and amusing dissection of Steve Job's claim for the "retina" display.
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dhromed
post Nov 8 2010, 12:50
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QUOTE (andy o @ Nov 8 2010, 11:55) *
QUOTE (dhromed)
The Retina display is around 320dpi. It's not really out-doing the eyes, but it's close enough. You'd need 1000dpi reproduction to make out the pixels on a 320dpi image, such as print.

I think you're mixing up the dpi on print with the ppi (pixels per inch) on digital displays.

I don't know if you saw this, but this is a pretty good and amusing dissection of Steve Job's claim for the "retina" display.


I'm not mixing it up, but maybe my comment wasn't clearly written.

The Retina display, when viewed at normal distances, has practically indistinguishable pixels. But so did the old display, and so does my CRT monitor at home. Now, why I still have a CRT is another debate entirely, but the point is that, if I were to take a 300dpi image, and print it at 100% scale, using a printer that puts ink on paper at 1200dpi, Each pixel of that image would be 4x4 printer dots. You would have no trouble making out the pixels as clean squares then, even at a semi-close look.

A pixel image* reproduced at 100% scale on a 326dpi display looks perfectly non-pixelly, because:
a) the pixels are (probably) lined up, so there's no aliasing or other distortion.
b) the pixels of the monitor blur together a little, making each individual pixel hard(er) to distinguish.

Point b) is very important, as it's the reason my (effectively) 120dpi main monitor looks normal instead of blocky, and also the reason that visual antialiasing works at all.

That link is nice, though. As they say; Cool story, bro.
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andy o
post Nov 8 2010, 13:49
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Sorry, but we should be talking about pixels per inch (PPI). DPI is more suitable for printers' and analog displays' use, and does not correlate to pixels in absolute terms. If you take a 300 PPI image and print it, the amount of dots-per-inch to resolve it will vary relative to what's in the picture, and probably stuff like how many ink colors your're using, etc. But that's beside the point. Nobody brought up print DPI.

DPI (print) and PPI are often confused in the photography world too. When talking about digital displays, often PPI is what you wanna use.

BTW, as an aside, I have the new iPod Touch with the retina display, and have compared it with both the previous iPhone and the previous iPod Touch, and damn the others do look pixelated even at "regular" distance.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post Nov 8 2010, 14:20
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 7 2010, 22:41) *
Reading this post http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=494426 got me thinking.

Why are is our ears-brain connection so easily fooled?


Because they were evolved to keep us alive out in the woods and fields, and not evolved to ace ABX tests of lossy compressors or sort power amps by their sound quality.
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dhromed
post Nov 8 2010, 14:29
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QUOTE (andy o @ Nov 8 2010, 13:49) *
Sorry, but we should be talking about pixels per inch (PPI). DPI is more suitable for printers' and analog displays' use, and does not correlate to pixels in absolute terms.


I know this, but I've never been in a situation where distinguishing between "pixel" and "dot" served a practical purpose. They mean exactly the same; it's just that dot is commonly used in print and pixel is commonly used in display tech and digital imagery.

QUOTE (andy o @ Nov 8 2010, 13:49) *
BTW, as an aside, I have the new iPod Touch with the retina display, and have compared it with both the previous iPhone and the previous iPod Touch, and damn the others do look pixelated even at "regular" distance.


I've seen it, and it's quite asweome. Fun to get up close to the display and actually see more*. It has almost as many pixels as my main monitor! It was nearly enough to make me want to get one. I was narrowly rescued by the notion that I have no practical use for it. smile.gif


*) except that this means that those details are invisible under normal circumstances, so what's the point of designing raster images for that? It has its use in vector rendering, of course, such as, to take a wild example, font glyphs. But we're getting a little OT here.

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post Nov 8 2010, 17:23
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 7 2010, 23:41) *
Why are is our ears-brain connection so easily fooled? I haven't heard of any ABXing on sight, smell or touch issues. My impression is that most people can see the difference (slight though it is) between 720p and 1080p/i and they don't confuse one fabric for another by feel.


Perhaps you should ask "Why are we so foolish?"

Life, or our perception of life, is severely affected by expectation bias. Career aspirations, marriage, relationships, things we buy, things we want, etc are all skewed from mental constructs, desires, and expectations.

All our senses are affected by this. It's easy to dislike or like something based on branding or marketing. Some people rave about the taste of organic or "natural" foods even though these terms can be mostly marketing. People can like the touch of something (e.g. leather) just because it's expensive. I've seen people change their minds about the good looks of some of the new Hyundai cars when they realize it's a Hyundai and not a luxury brand. Smell is also frequently used to fool customers, such as pumping smells of bread or baking into stores to make people hungry, inducing them to buy more stuff.

There are few perceptions in life that are not skewed because of our expectations desire. Right of the top of my head, I'd say a cure for a disease is one of the few things in life where you actually get out of it what you wanted to get.

Beyond that however...

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aclo
post Nov 8 2010, 17:40
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QUOTE (Ed Seedhouse @ Nov 8 2010, 06:53) *
The eyes detect light - vibrations at many many gigaherts (terahertz?) whereas ears detect sound a generally less than 15khz tops. Lower frequency, lower resolution for equal aperture. Law of physics you know, and the apature of the ears is not much more than the aperture of the eyes.

While I do agree with the overall sentiment, this bit isn't relevant. Frequency/wavelength and aperture determine the maximum angular resolution behind the lens (for diffractive processes). So in the case of light, it determines the smallest detail you could resolve at a given distance with a perfect eye lens, perfectly "calibrated" eye etc etc. In the case of sound, your eardrum doesn't really have a spatial resolving ability (in the sense that your outer ear isn't acting as a diffractive lens in the same way as the lenses in your eyes), so the frequency is not relevant in this sense.

It's true that if you were to use echolocation this sort of considerations would come into play.
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[JAZ]
post Nov 8 2010, 17:48
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QUOTE (dhromed @ Nov 8 2010, 15:29) *
I've never been in a situation where distinguishing between "pixel" and "dot" served a practical purpose. They mean exactly the same; it's just that dot is commonly used in print and pixel is commonly used in display tech and digital imagery.


A pixel is an exact color at an exact brigthness. (ocean blue)
A dot is a single-color (and in print, at a single brightness) (cyan).

Conclusion: You need several dots to represent a pixel.



About vision: The nearer we put the display to our eyes, the higher the requirement of PPIs for such display. It's a question of physics. A common cinema display is viewed between 10 to 60meters (it really depends on display size), Television is used to be viewed betwen 3 to 5 meters (depending on size), PC displays between 50 to 80cm, Mobile phones between 20 and 40 cm.

Looking at any other distance, is like using amplification to hear the SNR of some audio equipment.

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Martel
post Nov 8 2010, 18:53
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 8 2010, 05:41) *
first post
Have you ever tried to pause a H.263/H.264 video of a lower bitrate? I bet you can't see many of the artifacts in motion but you will clearly see them on a paused video. They've been exploiting this since interlaced video (or even earlier with all the TV predecessors).
Then there are some illegal wine "ingredients" which improve the taste cheaply. They add caffeine into soft drinks to make you like it more (basically by drugging you), improving the subjectively perceived taste but hardly the real one... etc.

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post Nov 8 2010, 20:04
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QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 7 2010, 20:41) *
Reading this post http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=494426 got me thinking.

Why are is our ears-brain connection so easily fooled? I haven't heard of any ABXing on sight, smell or touch issues. My impression is that most people can see the difference (slight though it is) between 720p and 1080p/i and they don't confuse one fabric for another by feel.


Any sensory evaluation must be done by a DBT. Wine tasting is done blind, video quality is done blind, smell is so difficult to test and different between people it's even worse to test, and touch is done via technologies that are equal to a blind test.

Your assumption that ear-brain is easily foold is right. So is any other sensory modality.

Please go to www.aes.org/sections/pnw/ppt.htm and read the slide deck titled "why you hear what you hear". The same data reducton that occurs in the audio sensoria happens just the same n video, except that even more reduction from input to output occurs. There is an "audio vs. video" talk that will also show you some of the issues.

Please, do not make claims based on the fallacy of incredulity and/or ignorance (i.e. "I haven't heard"). I have indeed heard, read, and executed such tests in both audio and video domains, and participated in dbt wine tastnigs. Major wine contests are nearly all blind at this point, so this is hardly a unique experience, not that I judge such contests...

Of course, I do auditory perception research for a living, and have papers and professional awards relating to both audio and video, which might help in the "informed" catagory.

If I seem brusk, well, I've seen mistakes like this enough times that I've given up counting.


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Woodinville
post Nov 8 2010, 20:07
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QUOTE (andy o @ Nov 8 2010, 05:49) *
Sorry, but we should be talking about pixels per inch (PPI). DPI is more suitable for printers' and analog displays' use, and does not correlate to pixels in absolute terms. If you take a 300 PPI image and print it, the amount of dots-per-inch to resolve it will vary relative to what's in the picture, and probably stuff like how many ink colors your're using, etc. But that's beside the point. Nobody brought up print DPI.

DPI (print) and PPI are often confused in the photography world too. When talking about digital displays, often PPI is what you wanna use.

BTW, as an aside, I have the new iPod Touch with the retina display, and have compared it with both the previous iPhone and the previous iPod Touch, and damn the others do look pixelated even at "regular" distance.



You mean pixels per degree/minute/second.


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Woodinville
post Nov 8 2010, 20:09
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QUOTE (Arnold B. Krueger @ Nov 8 2010, 06:20) *
QUOTE (BearcatSandor @ Nov 7 2010, 22:41) *
Reading this post http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=494426 got me thinking.

Why are is our ears-brain connection so easily fooled?


Because they were evolved to keep us alive out in the woods and fields, and not evolved to ace ABX tests of lossy compressors or sort power amps by their sound quality.


And it's complex, full sensory integration that kept us alive.

We WILL do that sort of thing, doesn't matter if you're trying or not.


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