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Subject: Re: Koss Porta pros
From: Fred Maxwell (rockbox_at_anti-spam.org)
Date: 2004-06-21


Green, Tom wrote:

> Well, I'm not sure I wholly agree that "measurements are everything".
> Here are some quick thoughts:
>
> First, I believe there are some things that cannot be measured, at least
> in any meaningful way. Emotions are a good example. What makes a work
> of art (or music) "good" is another.

I never meant to suggest that measurements could quantify the quality of
music or photographs, the emotional content, etc. That is, and always
should be, a wholly subjective area.

But you can measure the accuracy in reproducing music. We have crude
measurements now like "total harmonic distortion" that does not even
take into account that odd order harmonics are very annoying while even
order harmonics are not.

With photography, the can definitely measure most of the important
aspects of a camera, lens, or film. You can measure pincushion
distortion in a lens, color accuracy of film, chromatic abberation of a
lens, sharpness of focus across the focal plane, accuracy of shutter
speed, response of metering, etc.

Stairs used to "feel" right or wrong. Now we have specific guidelines
for rise and tread (i.e., The sum of two risers and one tread should be
24 to 25 inches., The sum of one riser and one tread should be equal to
17 to 18 inches., The height of the riser times the width of the tread
should equal between 70 and 75 inches., Never make a tread below 9
inches wide and 7 to 7 5/8 make the best risers.) I hope that some day
we can have an equally good understanding of what makes on audio
component sound better than another.

> Second, there is always variability. This applies to everything of
> course - measurements, test equipment, manufacture of items being
> tested, etc.

I would argue that, with calibration, the variability in your hearing
from hour to hour would be greater.

> Third, as you say, "correlating that to human perceptions" is difficult
> at best, especially since we all respond so very differently to things.

A very good point. For example, the vinyl noise, ticks, and pops
inherent in LP recordings drives me insane (you knew that something was
to blame for that ;-). When I'm listening to music and hear a tick, it
destroys the illusion for me. It would be like watching a movie and
seeing the set fall down.

> But yes, I do agree that some more meaningful research into both the
> science and ART of sound and perception would be most welcome! Which I
> think, in essence, is your main point - that a balanced approach is
> best.

Absolutely.

Regards,
   Fred Maxwell

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