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Re: what you can't measure (sorry, really long)
Author: Posted by Tom
Date: 04/15/2004

No reason HLO and HLS folks can't live together. Many research scientists go to church. Problems arise when people confuse their faith beliefs with demonstrable reality.
Dan.dan argues that if it can be heard it can be measured. While I accept this concept, I also think it misses the point. Let me leave electronics and wander into biology for an example.
When I was in college, biochemists discovered that the lactic acid cycle involved one more ATP transaction than had been accepted as the measurable number for decades. It turned out that the measurements all medical and other bio research rested on through the 40s 50s and early 60s was simply wrong.
That didn't make all the research invalid, but the new, more accurate measurements made it it possible for other research to be more accurate as well. But the new measurement data didn't end the search for answers to all sorts of biological questions.
So we look again at audio. There was a time when the RCA ribbon mics defined audio quality, and when the 'Big Elvis' Shure 55 was a 'studio' grade mic. Those time reflected the fact that the circuitry to which the mics connected wouldn't reveal any limitations of the mics.
As circuitry got quieter, less distorted, and wider range, the need for better mics also evolved. The advent of solid state circuitry enhanced this trend, and the development of digital has driven further advances in mic quality. This is not limited to mics, either. Think about the days, not so long ago, when an Altec A-7 was an acceptable studio monitor (OK, at least the A7-500) and a 'very good' PA speaker. Now even inexpensive PA speakers are better than studio monitors of 30 years ago.
Similarly, as we learn to treat more diseases, we see an increase in age related medical problems. That's not because the problems are new, but because improvements in one area allow us to see new issues which were previously hidden. As our sound technology gets better, we are able to hear things which were previously masked.
While we're worrying about whether phantom power is the nuts, let's not forget that it was chosen not as an audio decision, but as a practical soultion to use the available lighting system in a Norwegian(?) studio facility for convenience and economy.
That doesn't alter the fact that at 48vdc, the mic is traditionally the highest voltage part of any audio system other than the power amps. All the internal circuitry of desks, processors, recorders, etc. runs on +/- 15 or 18 vdc. So, the phantom 'limitations' conceptually seem a bit 'phantom' by their own definition (except insofar as capsule biasing and current sourcing may be involved).
Then remember that some of our best mics are the Sennheiser small capsule MKH series, which don't use high capsule bias.
Finally, getting back to distinctions between faith and science, let's not forget that the current love affair with all-things-tube has NOTHING to do with a desire for objectively measured quality, and everything to do with the perceived quality of the 'tube sound' which, by definition is more frequency limited, more noisy, and more distorted (but all in a 'good way'). Many people simply LIKE the 'tube sound'.
If people like it, doesn't that justify its 'quality' to an extent despite any measurement issues? Just as the Paris Salon rejected the Impressionists when they first started showing, even as art consumers raved, many of the audio judgments are about perceptions and taste, rather than measurable realities.
But differences in taste should not distract us from understanding that we do know how to measure many things to a great degree of accuracy, and it we should not confuse preferences in what we like with criticism of the available measurement capabilities.
Cordially, Tom  
Posted by Oliver Archut
04/12/2004
 
Posted by arthur
04/13/2004
 
Posted by dan.dan
04/13/2004
 
Posted by arthur
04/14/2004
 
Posted by dan.dan
04/14/2004
 
Posted by arthur
04/15/2004
 
Posted by dan.dan
04/15/2004
 
Posted by arthur
04/15/2004
 
Posted by dan.dan
04/15/2004
 
Posted by Tom
04/13/2004
 
Posted by arthur
04/14/2004
 
Posted by Tom
04/15/2004
 
Posted by Erik
04/13/2004