Disclosures and subjectivity

This morning my attention was drawn to my disclosures page on this site (click on ‘Disclosures’ above). Having more or less forgotten about it, I went and had a read. Two things struck me. First, it was woefully out of date (last updated in August 2004!) Second, I still agree with most of it.

Anyway, I’ve brought it up to date. And now I want to quote a little of it:

There has long been a trend towards high fidelity mysticism. Sometimes it is dressed up with a pseudo-scientific facade, but in the end it boils down to unadulterated subjectivism and is based on the silly notion that the listener’s ears and heart are calibrated, stable, measuring devices. Else, how could they be so certain that amplifier A sounds different in some way to amplifier B, when the listening takes place days or weeks apart….

The honest reviewer will approach his or her task with humility, and a proper understanding of the variability of all humans. That a particular recording causes one to tap one’s foot with the music today, using System A, unlike yesterday, using System B, says much more about the reviewer’s mood on those two days than it does about the differences between the systems.

That brought to mind a little visit I made to Sydney last week. Epson flew me up for the launch of two of their new home theatre projectors, the TW4000 and TW5000. These bump up the dynamic contrast ratio of Epson’s three panel LCD technology to a claimed 72,000:1. Interestingly, the ‘native’ contrast ratio they now put at a very impressive 6,000:1. They also add frame interpolation, which generates intermediate frames between the actual frames of the signal, smoothing motion. This sort of technology has been around for years in some Philips and Loewe TVs, and in recent years has appeared in Samsung, Sony and Panasonic TVs. But the only front projector I’m aware of in which it has previously appeared is the near $20,000 Sony VPL-VW200 projector.

Anyway, the venue was Audio Connection in Sydney, a high-end audio and home theatre specialist. While waiting around at one point I spied lots of exotic and interesting sound gear, but one that had me puzzled was a CD transport (ie. digital out only) from C.E.C. which claimed to be ‘belt drive’. This was obviously an expensive and audiophile piece of equipment, but I must say I had a chuckle over it.

I figured that this was one of those faddish things and that this was probably an old model that had been traded in. But I checked.

Here’s a review from 2005 of the C.E.C. TL-51XZ Belt Drive CD player. Turns out they’ve been around for years.

From this point, my draft of this post continued for another 800 or so words. Then I decided that I really ought to try to sell it as an article. So consider for yourself, what do you think I could have found objectionable about the review to which I linked? Clue: it starts at the words: ‘I would submit …’

This entry was posted in Audio, Equipment, Rant, Video. Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *