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Hello, I’m generally referred to as jj
Posted: 01 December 2012 09:54 AM   [ Ignore ]
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I’ve been around the skeptical world for quite a long time, mostly because I work in the audio industry, or worked, since I’m presently retired.  I’m officially an EE, but my professional credit is in human perception, mostly auditory, but with some visual perception work as well. I do math, signal processing, and drive hifi salesmen into rage.

I’m more than mildly disgruntled with all of the factioning in the skeptica and atheist communities.

You can find out what I do beyond take photographs of national parks (as a hobby. PLEASE) by reading home.comcast.net/~retired_old_jj or go to http://www.ieeeghn.org/wiki/index.php/James_D._Johnston for the concise, professionally edited version.

I like: science, critical examination, civil rights, mathematics, people, lack of supernatural stuff
I don’t like: Nonsense, bovine waste, or 50,000 dollar speaker cables for a home stereo, religion stuffed in my face

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Posted: 01 December 2012 11:53 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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Welcome, JJ.  However, you may not be at all gruntled here, because we do have a wide variety of athiest, skeptic, and humanist factions among our members, many of how are only too happy to express themselves.  As I see it there’s a major difference between irrationality and nonsense.  I think purposeful nonsense can be fun, and can also be used to point out more subtle forms of natural fertilizer.

Occam

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Posted: 01 December 2012 01:24 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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Welcome JJ. I’ve long been a critic of esoteric and needlessly expensive audio gear. When I worked at Apple in the 1990s one of my coworkers, an electrical engineer, and I conducted a speaker wire test at his house. We compared some inexpensive Radio Shack speaker wire with some audiophile-grade wire that cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500/ft. After adjusting for volume neither of us could detect any differences among the wires in a blind listening test. The wire that carried the most current? 12-ga. lamp cord.

I look forward to your opinions on myriad subjects.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 02:07 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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DarronS - 01 December 2012 01:24 PM

Welcome JJ. I’ve long been a critic of esoteric and needlessly expensive audio gear. When I worked at Apple in the 1990s one of my coworkers, an electrical engineer, and I conducted a speaker wire test at his house. We compared some inexpensive Radio Shack speaker wire with some audiophile-grade wire that cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $500/ft. After adjusting for volume neither of us could detect any differences among the wires in a blind listening test. The wire that carried the most current? 12-ga. lamp cord.

I look forward to your opinions on myriad subjects.

Oh yeah. Some other folks used a 10,000 set of speaker cables (borrowed) vs. coathangers.  Zero distinction.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 02:20 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Occam. - 01 December 2012 11:53 AM

  As I see it there’s a major difference between irrationality and nonsense.  I think purposeful nonsense can be fun, and can also be used to point out more subtle forms of natural fertilizer.

Occam

I should show you the “Heisenburg Problem in Amplifiers vs. Preamps”.  It is quite the natural fertilizer, to say the least.

Bleeping URL won’t work. Never mind.

[ Edited: 01 December 2012 02:25 PM by jj ]
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Posted: 01 December 2012 02:26 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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Occam. - 01 December 2012 11:53 AM

Welcome, JJ.  However, you may not be at all gruntled here, because we do have a wide variety of athiest, skeptic, and humanist factions among our members, many of how are only too happy to express themselves.  As I see it there’s a major difference between irrationality and nonsense.  I think purposeful nonsense can be fun, and can also be used to point out more subtle forms of natural fertilizer.

Occam

So, maybe I should start a thread on audiophile forms of natural fertilizer?  There’s so much, but unlike <bleep> like homeopathy it doesn’t directly kill people.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 03:35 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Can you recommend the most affordable/quality surround sound system that I can plug in to my TV?

Taking pictures of National Parks sounds like a nice hobby.

I replied to your “What is observation” topic under the Philosophy heading.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 04:02 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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For a variety of reasons (including that I haven’t evaluated home-theatre-in-a-box systems) I avoid giving any kind of product recommendation. Answering technical questions is fine, of course.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 04:27 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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TimB - 01 December 2012 03:35 PM

Can you recommend the most affordable/quality surround sound system?

I can answer that. Forget surround sound. Get a good integrated amp and a pair of floor standing speakers. NAD makes excellent electronic gear for the money and any Canadian speaker brand will be a good value. You need to audition speakers and decide what you like. Electronics all sound pretty much the same, except for cheap home theater in a box crap. Stay far away from Bose.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 04:47 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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DarronS - 01 December 2012 04:27 PM
TimB - 01 December 2012 03:35 PM

Can you recommend the most affordable/quality surround sound system?

I can answer that. Forget surround sound. Get a good integrated amp and a pair of floor standing speakers. NAD makes excellent electronic gear for the money and any Canadian speaker brand will be a good value. You need to audition speakers and decide what you like. Electronics all sound pretty much the same, except for cheap home theater in a box crap. Stay far away from Bose.

Well, I agree about the HTIAB, and I won’t discuss specific manufacturers.

BUT the only part I have to object to is the dismissal of multichannel audio. There is a substantial advantage, known from 1933 (Steinburg and Snow, Bell Labs,) republished as chapter 13 of “Speech and Hearing in Communication” published by the Acoustical Society of America.  The advantage lies substantially in the center speaker, and less so for the sides or backs.

Speaking of which, it takes 7 speakers to give you sensation anywhere in the plane, not 5. But that’s a different issue.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 05:08 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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I agree with the concept of surround sound, but the problem is unless you buy high-end equipment you don’t get adequate power and frequency response. Look at the specs of the typical home theater receiver and you’ll see the manufacturers claiming output on the order of 100 watts per channel times seven channels, but the receiver will only have a 400-watt power supply. That means when you need the maximum power the output will actually drop to far below the stated power. This will cause the amplifier to clip and degrade the sound. Unless your budget is very high you’re going to get better sound (not the same as sound field) with a two-channel system.

My setup includes a pair of DCM TF-7 speakers (91 db efficiency, -3 db at 29 HZ) and a 225 wpc Carver amp. I have never driven my amp to clipping. I realize 225 wpc is past the point of diminishing returns, but I got the Carver amp at a pawn shop for $50 and spend $150 getting some capacitors replaced. I picked up the DCM speakers at a different pawn shop for $100. Buying new comparable equipment would cost at least $2,000.

Maybe we should start a hi-fi equipment thread. I love discussing this stuff with reasonable people.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 05:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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DarronS - 01 December 2012 05:08 PM

I agree with the concept of surround sound, but the problem is unless you buy high-end equipment you don’t get adequate power and frequency response. Look at the specs of the typical home theater receiver and you’ll see the manufacturers claiming output on the order of 100 watts per channel times seven channels, but the receiver will only have a 400-watt power supply. That means when you need the maximum power the output will actually drop to far below the stated power. This will cause the amplifier to clip and degrade the sound. Unless your budget is very high you’re going to get better sound (not the same as sound field) with a two-channel system.

Well, actually, we should probably move this to science, but in fact 100 wpc for 7 channels is a heck of a lot of power. Modern speakers of decent consumer quality run at least 85dB 1w/1m (older speakers may be much less efficient), which means you get 105dB from each speaker. Given your example, you get 111dB peak (400 watts into speakers) from a 400 watt power supply.  This is compared to the 113 you would get from 7 channels at 100 wpc.

So unless you want to be really loud, that 400 watt total is just fine and dandy.

In addition, you do want speakers that do 40-20K for all of the speakers, but that’s not that hard these days, if you look at some pretty small drivers you can do that in a two-way without a lot of difficulty. I had some such sitting around until my college student took off with them. smile

For an extreme example, this one driver Dayton Audio RS100-4 4” Reference Full-Range Driver 4 Ohm from partsexpress.com will give you 60Hz to 20kHz with one peak way up in the high end inside of a 228 cubic inch box with 1 1” internal diameter port 2.8 inches long.  That’s a box 5” by 8 by 5.7 inside dimensions. Not too shabby for a teeny-tiny box. This will give you 97dB peak levels (staying inside of the continuous rating, even, not the peak rating) anywhere from about 58Hz to 20kHz.  You know, now that I just figured that out I think I’ll build a couple of those just to play with. smile

So no, the speakers do not have to be huge and expensive. You need at least 3 subwoofers, though. The reasons are not simple, but are based on basic psychoacoustics.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 05:52 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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OK. I won’t argue with someone who is more qualified than me to speak on the subject, especially when what you say makes sense. And yeah, I’ve heard some amazing small two-way speakers lately.

Edit: fixed a typo

[ Edited: 01 December 2012 07:23 PM by DarronS ]
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Posted: 01 December 2012 06:11 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Thanks to both of you for your input Though most of it was over my head.

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“Our lives are not our own. From womb to tomb… We are bound to others, past and present… And by each crime and every kindness… We birth our future.”  Sonmi, 2144.

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Posted: 01 December 2012 07:58 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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Me too, but I did recognize the word “Bose”. which is as Darron mentioned we have to stay away from. Why Darron?

Cap’t Jack

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Posted: 01 December 2012 08:45 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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Search for reviews of Bose speakers. You’ll only find a few, as Bose has intimidated reviewers into not publishing bad reviews of their products, beginning with Bose suing Consumer Reports a couple of decades ago over an accurate review of some Bose speakers. CR correctly reported the Bose speakers had a large hole in the frequency response, and Bose sued for libel.

I’ve listened to a lot of Bose products over the years, and they all sound like crap. Keep in mind I’ve been a staff photographer at two music festivals over the last 25 years, and attend many parties where musicians are playing live, acoustic music. I know what music sounds like, and Bose products do not reproduce music accurately.

The best advice I can give you is avoid any speakers with plastic enclosures.

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