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Interesting...
Author: Posted by dan.dan
Date: 04/14/2004

I don't see how you make the leap from trusting what is known and excluding new ideas. Trusting what is known does not imply excluding new ideas. Lots of people trust what is known. Most of them are also very open to new ideas. Most of them are also willing to draw distinctions between what is known and what is generally believed.
Religeous beliefs are characterized by faith, which is believing what is not known in spite of, or in the face of a lack of proof, or, in some cases even a lack of evidince. The latter would be called 'blind faith'.
All knowable concepts can be characterized into two mutually exclusive classes:
1. Those things that are known. 2. Those things that are not known.
In order to qualify for classifcation #1, a rigorous scientific or mathematical proof is necessary. The scientific community calls concepts in classification #1 'laws,' or 'theorems' (mathematical term). Generally, they are not refuted, though they can be *expanded* (e.g. when Einstein showed that Newtonian physics is a simplified subset of a more general set of physical principles).
Classification #2 can be subdivided into two more mutually exclusive groups:
1. Those things that have never been conceived of. 2. Those things that have been considered, postulated, hypothesized, deliberated, etc.
In classification 1 we have what I would call 'potential' knowledge--concepts yet to be known by mankind in general.
In classification 2 we have all concepts that have been put forth. One can argue whether these things are true or not, but they are not, strictly speaking, absolutely *known* to be true like the fundamental principles of nature.
When people have religeous beliefs, it's about the latter set of things. Things that are not, or even cannot be known, but that a person has a strong personal conviction about, and so has chosen to believe without rigorous proof.
Now, back to what can be measured/heard, etc.
It can be absolutely demonstrated that:
1. By definition, sound is fluctuations in air pressure that occur at frequencies in the audible spectrum. These fluctuations travel in space by wave propagation.
2. By definition, an audio *signal* is a representation in some medium of these fluctuations measured (imperfectly for practical purposes) at some point in space. This representation is, mathematically, in terms of magnitude vs. time.
3. Anything that operates on an audio signal in such a way that it changes the audible qualities (timbre, pitch, volume, etc.) of a signal must change the signal itself. In other words, it's impossible to make an audio signal sound different without changing the signal because, by definition, identical signals 'sound' the same.
4. Any changes to a signal that are too small to be within the resolution limits of the representation medium are not meaningful in the result. If a change is too small for, say, 16 bit digital to capture, then it cannot, by definition, change what a 16 bit signal sounds like because it cannot change the signal representation.
Therefore, all changes to a signal that are audible in the outcome must be measurable as changes to that outcome.
Even if somebody comes along tomorrow and proves that sound is not just fluctuations in air, current recording and reproduction techniques can only capture fluctuations in air, current media can only represent audio as such signals, so anything that does not change the signal cannot produce an audible change to the result given the current state of the art.
So, totally regardless of all of the things yet to be discovered about audio and audio perception, it remains a fundamental, absolute principle that, when discussing things that degrade an audio signal, if it can be heard, it can be measured. The corollary is sometimes emphatically stated as 'what you cannot measure does not exist.' It is a metaphysical reality in audio that can be known with deeper certainty even than the laws of physics.
Just because a person has decided to acknowledge that 1 + 1 = 2 does not make that person a 'hard line' religeous fanatic. The same people who adhere to 'what you cannot measure does not exist' in audio will generally freely admit that our understanding of how changes to a signal affect human perception of the corresponding sound is still very sketchy. For example, there have been a lot of heated debates over why we often prefer the sound of a classic large diaphragm condenser on a vocal over the more accurate representation of a small diaphragm condenser. There are a lot of ideas, but the truth is we don't know, and it's probably not possible to know, since preference is a very individual phenomenon, and the causes of preference are even more difficult to classify.
So, in the case of P48 vs. direct powering, if there is, in fact, an audible difference in the outcome (i.e. recorded audio), that also means there is a measurable difference in what the mic is doing to a given sound. We have not said that there isn't a difference. We've only said that, if there is a difference, somebody will be able to study it and understand exactly what the difference is.
At the present time, all of the studies that have been done by people knowledgable in the field tend toward the conclusion that P48, if implemented well, does not degrade the sound quality of a mic. If that's not true, somebody ought to do the audio community a service by proving that it's not true.
Suggesting that does not make me closed to new ideas. When I don't personally know the answer to a question, I must rely on other people who have studied the phenomenon in question. So, it ends up being a question of trust. Two people say different things, and neither is advancing concrete proof, but one of them at least credibly claims to have objectively studied the matter, while the other is offering only anecdotal evidence. I don't think it's unreasonable to believe the former until the latter offers some kind of explanation or evidence. That's not being closed to new ideas. That's simply being a thinking individual.
Moreover, I've said many times that I actually believe Erik does hear a difference, and I would be very curious to know exactly what he is hearing. But without some kind of study, that's impossible. That doesn't change the fact that I believe Erik hears a difference. It simply means I am not willing to make the leap of faith from 'Erik hears a difference' to 'phantom powering is bad for microphone performance' without some kind of objective evidence.
Best regards, --Dan  
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