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Illusions - what do we really hear

Discussion in 'audio' started by westsea, Jun 12, 2015.

  1. westsea

    westsea Retirement present

    There seems to have been a number of topics in areas of finesse that amaze me, to be fair some contributions are very informative. However I think we hear with our minds, whilst there is no doubt that some are more able and have better perception we seem to run into areas which need some suspension of belief /intelligence.
    The following link is to do with vision, but to me it is a salutatory reminder that in Hi Fi all is not what it seems. So, please take a look at this website

    and consider how it might apply to us. Some of the techniques are used in advertising (as you might guess it is psycho sientific

    Apologies Tony if it the wrong section
  2. Sibbers

    Sibbers Earthling

    Couldn't agree more. I hate my lying brain, telling me with absolute certainty that things are happening when perhaps they are not. I just wish it was easier to do blind tests on yourself.

    Some things I am very sure of, but I've definitely gotten to a point now where the differences are not obvious and I am full of doubt about what I think I know.
  3. Arkless Electronics

    Arkless Electronics Trade: Amp design and repairs.

    Hi-fi is a subject that abounds with "emperor's new clothes" type illusions!
    From mains cables to equipment supports for solid state non microphonic equipment.... via pointy oak cones, green pens on CD's, "Beltism", hi-fi plugs and fuses etc. Non of these things have any effect and yet many swear that they do. The power of the mind to create an illusion, when expectation is strong enough, should not be under estimated....
  4. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy Accuphase newbie

    Illusions - both optical/visual and auditive play on certain very specific traits or flaws common to all or most human beings.

    They are not a reason to conclude that 2 + 2 = 22 and our senses can never be trusted. This is absolutist and binary thinking at its worst.

    Perhaps we should be banned from driving cars or even going for a walk without some kind of supervision.

    The blind spot is where the optic nerve joins. We pattern-model around it until the illusion forces us, by its design, to miss something specific like a dot hidden at that particular spot. This is but one example but pattern modelling is at the heart of many illusion-trick.
  5. westsea

    westsea Retirement present

    I think the point to be made is not one of absolutes, but having a healthy distrust of our normal senses in some situations, of course we all trust them most of the time, it is just worth accepting that sometimes they can be misled
  6. whatsnext

    whatsnext Naimless

    Did you buy anything from the web site?

    Sorry to hear about your salutory reminder.

    Curious that you have thought about it so much, hear with our minds eh.
  7. whatsnext

    whatsnext Naimless

    What makes you think others don't mistrust their senses?

    Sorry leave you in peace
  8. westsea

    westsea Retirement present

    That's OK - it was the silver mains cables that set me off, not sure what you are saying - I guess you are right - it just a difference of view based on experience and knowledge
  9. whatsnext

    whatsnext Naimless

    I can tell we live two very different lives. I cannot find a silver mains cable thread over the last week or so. If you can provide a link reading that may enable my understanding of where you are coming from
  10. Steven Toy

    Steven Toy Accuphase newbie

    That's fine but the OP's position is somewhat different.

    "It's all foo A tells ya! It's all foooooo! [unless measured of course] We humans are fooled. We are useless pathetic creatures compared to an oscilloscope!"
  11. TPA

    TPA Trade: Tiger Paw

    Or you can take the view that it doesn't really matter. Even if you spend £5k on cables, which technically don't make any difference but it increases your enjoyment of music, is it worthwhile - then yes it is. For whatever reason, the means justify the end even it is just a psychological aberration, perhaps.

    I find cars drive better when they're really clean:)

    Or should I say, the driving experience is better.
  12. Rodney gold

    Rodney gold Im just me...

    If you believe you hear a difference etc , you do , it is a truism to you.. even if it doesnt exist ...
    you can play 2 tones , and about 30% of the population will hear them *and* will hear a tone inbetween them , which does not exist!!!
  13. westsea

    westsea Retirement present

    It was in this thread - Clearer Audio Prototype Burndy for Naim NAC 552 posts 25 to 28 I think

    Not sure how you can tell how different our lives are, I have to confess I'm and engineer and value is important, I have difficulty with what appears to me to be wasteful of resources. On the same day a mate of mine sent me the email about the Illusions competition as he was a finalist, and asked me to vote for his entry. The two things connected in my mind, hence the thread
  14. westsea

    westsea Retirement present

    That's not what the westsea says or thinks - only some of it is foo, the learning experience helps us to differentiate between the two - but both have place when we make choices.
  15. cooky1257

    cooky1257 pfm Member

    Yep, remain sceptical of perceived differences that are slight/minor. Simple blind test usually flushes them out.
    The hobby is riddled with con men eager to take your money and an army of victims desperate to tell you they weren't conned. Real improvements can be had for a few quid-contact cleaner for example.
  16. bownose

    bownose pfm Member

    I hear all sorts of thing, I try not to trust them: the shopping list they read to me at night is absolutely insane!
  17. camverton

    camverton pfm Member

    When all is said and done stereo itself is an illusion. If I listen to a closely recorded soloist it sounds as if they are coming from a centre speaker not mid air.

    Assuming minor differences actually exist I reckon my perception from day to day , if not minute to minute, changes by a greater degree making accurate subjective assessment well nigh impossible. One of the delights of being human.

    If, however, changing a piece of equipment for another which I believe to sound better (despite actually sounding the same) can improve my subjective enjoyment and as such can be a worthwhile improvement to my listening experience. In practice such perception of improvement tends to be short-lived.

    Our minds are (IMHO) a conflation between the objective, reasoning self and emotional self and assessment of hifi by listening to music can end up with the two in a battle for supremacy. Given how different we all are it is little wonder that some will be able to listen more objectively than others. As such these debates aren't, indeed can't, be resolved.
  18. Sibbers

    Sibbers Earthling

    I think it would be truly a very expensive and difficult thing to be able to hear so many minor differences when you are aware of specific changes because in the absence of information we make things up. Probably a dose of skepticism and self awareness of our brain trickery does indeed lay the best path.

    I'm sure there are some who can truly tell the difference between many minor alterations, but hardly most. I would not be able to give an account of the differences between my current audio gear and that of two or three iterations ago despite it being very obviously different. My memory is just too full of holes (although it doesn't seem that way to me as I recall my memories) so I imagine this is probably for those who have done blind tests or at the very least, multiple side by side comparisons. I wish I had that knowledge tbh!

    I don't think it's good to enjoy an imagined benefit, as this leads us into arguments about all sorts of concerning things but I agree it's hard to avoid. My car also drives loads better when it's clean - I know this is nuts, but my brain is an egotistical self assured sadist. Part of it anyway.
  19. adamdea

    adamdea You are not a sound quality evaluation device

    It is an interesting topic.
    I think that there is too much concentration though on ideas like
    -am I right about this or is it an illusion.

    It's more helpful IMHO to consider the ways in which what we hear is constructed by our brain trying to interpret data.

    Stereo though really is an illusion. The sound hitting your ears just isn't going to be the same as it would be if there was someone in the room with you. I'm quite enjoying listening to music from ceiling speakers because I know its not making an illusion of a soundstage in front of me, which actually helps me to just get on with it.
  20. awkwardbydesign

    awkwardbydesign Officially Awesome

    It IS amazing. To believe that none of these things have any effect. :D

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