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How we perceive sound


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There have been many posts on this forum regarding how things sound. Sometimes there is a lack of 'scientific evidence' that what is perceived is accurate.

Most recently, on the 'Dedicated Power' thread, I posited an opinion that there are things we are not thinking to be relevant to the issue at hand.

To that, I  link to the NYTimes article:

https://www.nytimes.com/2022/06/06/science/optical-illusion-tunnel.html

 

This so unbelievably simple, yet complex.

Perhaps human hearing is influenced by our brain's inherent design? I think so.

And, given that, it makes sense that so many speaker designs 'sound right' to so many people. 

Yes, everyone has different ears, but maybe we are hardwired into what we find 'accurate/enjoyable?

Bob

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Couple of fine points about visual; perception: Some visual processing is done in the visual cortex of the brain, but a lot is done in the eye itself. The brain will resolves figure/ground matters but the retina does raw processing (lower level). Look up Lateral Inhibition. This is a game played in the eye where the firing rate of a neuron in the retina increases or decreases the firing rate of of adjacent neurons. (only changes in firing rate communicates information, the tonic rate communicates nothing).

A slight side effect of this is the mat of neural tissue doing the processing (and a lot of blood vessels etc. according to the pics of my retinas) lies in front of the rod s and cones which are the actual sensory cells. So as an optical mechanism the eye is far behind even a cheap camera. 

Another effect is because information is only transmitted by changes in the tonic rate of neural firing a nerve can habituate to a new tonic rate and where it one was communicating it ceases to do so. Put you watch on and pressure sensing nerves in the skin  change their firing rate  and you feel the pressure. Wear it awhile and those nerves habituate to to the new firing rate (the new rate become perceived as the tonic rate) and you no longer feel the watch band.

Ditto with ears. present constant noise to one ear and it will habituate to the frequencies involved. So if you commute home from work on the highway for 20 min your left ear will be getting different sound than the right. Get home and settle in with a tumbler of single malt and put on your favorite Rabid Squirrels album. Your ears will not hear the same level left to right. Sadly audiophile fashion has dictated you no longer get a balance control.  To save face (perhaps) you do not admit to noticing.  However to a large extent we perceive what we expect to perceive. I am always gratified when someone says," eh, don't really know if X made a difference".

 

Worth geeping track of the fact that seeing something on the screen is vry different than seeing it on a medium like paper. Tjhat screen is strobing at you. This is why I do not watch TV. It does things to your brain and those things are not for your benefit> I hav a gizm called a Light and Sound machine. It flshes light in your eyes while pulsing tone in your ears. Does interesting things to your brain. Lot of snake oil around the things but EEGs show very real effects.  The sequelae of those effects (brain wave entrainment) are where the snake oil kicks in.

As far as the nature of reality, it is well known that it is very difficult, but not impossible to perceive. I have no doubt that Jesus walked on water. Not because I am a "believer" but because many Zen masters have done the same thing. In the Zen tradition it is considered showing off and a distraction from ones objectives thus is strongly discouraged. .

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16 hours ago, arni said:

As far as the nature of reality, it is well known that it is very difficult, but not impossible to perceive. I have no doubt that Jesus walked on water. Not because I am a "believer" but because many Zen masters have done the same thing. In the Zen tradition it is considered showing off and a distraction from ones objectives thus is strongly discouraged. .

I would not mind seeing that trick.

 

Other than skiing and ice skating, I have had no luck walking on water.

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Interesting points brought up.

And, though visual perception/processing may take different paths in the brain. I still believe our auditory system is affected by our brains. That 2 loudspeakers can convey not only depth, but position of an auditory image. These are 'tricks' of the mind, just as sleight of hand fools us into believing 'magic'.

B

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  • 3 months later...

There was an interesting article on this general subject in the Washington Post the past few days.  I don't know if you need a subscription to read it or not:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/pr/2022/09/29/presenting-search-perfect-sound-an-immersive-project-washington-post/

https://www.washingtonpost.com/arts-entertainment/interactive/2022/perfect-sound-quality-vinyl-records/?itid=hp-top-table-main-t-6

I won't offer my take on the observations and opinions offered in the article by either the author or the people interviewed.  Everybody should draw their own conclusions - none are wrong.

The comments following the article are both disappointing and illuminating.  It's amazing how the seemingly simple act of listening to and enjoying an art form like music could cause such rancor.  But, like other articles before, there it is.

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@BKDad

I saw those articles, the second one was something I thought would be a good thread on this forum.

Though digital streaming isn't the preferred playback method of our generous host, I read that article and wonder just how much vinyl, and all the things in between (cartridge/turntable/phono preamp), can manipulate sound reproduction?

B

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On 10/3/2022 at 5:56 PM, GdnrBob said:

@BKDad

I saw those articles, the second one was something I thought would be a good thread on this forum.

Though digital streaming isn't the preferred playback method of our generous host, I read that article and wonder just how much vinyl, and all the things in between (cartridge/turntable/phono preamp), can manipulate sound reproduction?

B

 And folks never mention the hundreds and hundreds of feet of cables and wires in the recording studio. Then there's the mixing process which has many switches and slider controls on top with another hundred or so feet of convoluted wires inside!  (and if all computerized, numerous IC boards)

Folks then worry about a few feet of cables and wires in their house...  😬

 

Just sit back and enjoy your music! 

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8 hours ago, DC-93 said:

Folks then worry about a few feet of cables and wires in their house...  😬

Amen…

I suppose maybe I could abide that stuff if I heard it.
But it is easier for me to look at say a speaker’s step function or impulse response, or transfer function and have some idea if it is largely correct.

Seeing the cables hanging from string reminds me of Pinocchio.👃 (<— this is a nose, by the way.)

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Did you see "Get Back", the Beatles documentary? The studio was a nest of cables!

Guessing the Abbey Road Studio was top notch for the time. (over 50 years ago!!) 

I did wonder what monitors they were using, though.  

  

I do have a few vintage Japanese LP pressings from the 60s-70s.   And vintage Gold MoFi and DCC CDs.

So, limited to whatever the studios used back in the day!  

The last "new" thing I bought was McCartney III in 2020.   

 

Just got my Vandersteens back into my room!  NICE!!

 

 

 

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The one article starts off in a way that I find intellectually offensive.

 
Quote

 

Sept. 29 at 11:01 a.m.
Tom Port is a 68-year-old man who spends his days in an office park outside Los Angeles where he takes it upon himself to determine which records are the best-sounding in the world. This is a task for which he considers himself uniquely qualified.

 

 
Most fellows think that they are uniquely qualified in many things.
Bedrooms, cars, BBQ grills, tools, etc.
However usually another party is able to determine if this is fantasy and hope/hubris or is there is some skill.

Hanging cables from strings on the ceiling does not really conjure the genius of Antonio Gaudi as well as it conveys Gepetto.

I do not know the fellow, but he seems a bit left of center as his name implies.
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I was just listening to a CD of "1492" (Vangelus)...one of my favorites and recommended.  Anyway....at the beginning there is a male chorus singing...the melody returns with the altos (females) singing the exact same notes.  What was thrilling to me is to hear the added alto overtones ...so subtle and so meaningful.  On other systems you can't tell the male from female sections.  

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7 hours ago, Stringreen said:

I was just listening to a CD of "1492" (Vangelus)...one of my favorites and recommended.  Anyway....at the beginning there is a male chorus singing...the melody returns with the altos (females) singing the exact same notes.  What was thrilling to me is to hear the added alto overtones ...so subtle and so meaningful.  On other systems you can't tell the male from female sections.  


You must be playing it on an older system? 
The new trend is to not be able to tell them apart.

[Where did I put it?] I need to find my Vangelus CD.

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21 hours ago, Stringreen said:

I was just listening to a CD of "1492" (Vangelus)...one of my favorites and recommended.  Anyway....at the beginning there is a male chorus singing...the melody returns with the altos (females) singing the exact same notes.  What was thrilling to me is to hear the added alto overtones ...so subtle and so meaningful.  On other systems you can't tell the male from female sections.  

I tried using elevators under my  cables.....absolutely no difference either way

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