Measurements vs Listening

May 3, 2022
 by Paul McGowan

26 comments on “Measurements vs Listening”

  1. For 2 years we’ve wondered where Paul sat on the mask debate.
    Now we know!
    What sort of audio question will it take to get you to open up about Jan.6 and Trump? Perhaps the true benefits of $600 interconnects or $2k speaker wires?
    With comments like that, Lauren Boebert is going to make you move to California! (We’ll welcome you back with open arms … 6′ apart of course!)

    I bet your PR guy is holding his head right now!!

  2. A timely diversion from the original post title.
    The polarity of world-views these days is amazing. All or nothing, black and white…
    The true joys of this life are all gray, but so missed out on when we are all angry and up in our heads – the heart suffers ❤️

  3. It always amazes me that if you have tools you don’t use all of them and we have measurements and ears, neither of which are perfect but both of which give us significant info.

    And I’ve seen examples with one audio designer who both listened and measured of him picking a cartridge and designing speakers with measurement that came out sounding as he expected so there are some significant aural clues in measurements. Interestingly while some measurements got better and the sound did in one amplifier, the conventional measurements, harmonic and IM distortion a flat response got worse.

  4. Paul, those paper masks that everyone was urged to wear are ineffective at either protecting you or protecting others. My daughter, a nurse anesthetist, explained that if you want an effective mask you need to wear an N-95 mask that surgeons wear. However, even that mask is ineffective unless it is pushed so tightly against your face that it gouges into your skin and leaves red marks on your skin. That is how surgeons performing operations must wear their masks and the first thing they do when done is to discard that uncomfortable face covering.

    If you are convinced that masks are protective then it is your privilege to wear one whenever you want. Just don’t ask me to wear one, thank you very much.

    1. Laszlo,
      I disagree with your opinion on wearing masks.
      They may not give 100% protection, however they do
      give some (25%-50%) protection…better than nothing.

      1. One thing to ask yourself about masks. The next time you’re going under for an operation, would you ask your surgeon not to wear his or her mask? Seriously. Ask yourself that question. Remember why surgeons wear masks. I am sure they’d much prefer not to.

        1. As I mention in my first comment, my nurse anesthetist daughter who witnesses many operations each week, explains that surgeons do not wear the surgical masks (also called disposable masks) that airlines used to hand out. The University of Maryland explains why:

          However, surgical masks are not highly effective at blocking out tiny particles in the air — “aerosols” that are generated by breathing, talking, coughing, or sneezing and are the primary mode of transmission of the germ (virus) that causes COVID-19. Because of the loose fit between the surface of the mask and your face, they do not provide complete protection from the COVID-19 virus.

          In the operating room surgeons wear N-95 masks which are effective but only if they are made to fit very tightly on the face. As my daughter also explained, they must be so tight that when removed they leave red lines on the face where the metal ribs cut into the skin. So of course I would expect a surgeon to wear such a mask during an operation.

    2. I get the sentiment but let me point out a few issues with your statement. First, ANY filter that blocks moisture from your mouth is better than NO filter. It’s just simple logic.

      Second, if I am at risk I want to do whatever I can to mitigate that risk. Clearly, masks lower risks. So, out of courtesy if you want to be around me I would ask you to wear a mask or prove to me you don’t have CoViD. I hardly think that’s an unreasonable request.

      You can certainly refuse and that’s fine. I just won’t hang around you.

      1. It still comes down to a common courtesy and kindness thing. If you ask me to wear one rubber boot, a Michael Jackson glove, a Betty Boop eye patch, a mask and three silly hats before coming into your space – boot, patch, glove, mask and hat me up. Common decency has given way to me me me.

        I’d like to see the stats on the number of folk who refused to take the vax but DID eat a tide pod…. 😉

        Back to audio.
        The good news: I repaired my Magnepan MGIII’s and they are now my main shop speakers.
        The bad news: I now have a one square foot area in which I can effectively work.

      2. HI Paul. You are a reasonable guy and you are also very polite. I like you and have ordered equipment from PS Audio. I will also respect your decision to not be in your presence unless I’m wearing a mask by not being in your presence. I had Covid in the summer of 2020 and have since received four vaccinations from all three manufacturers. I think that is more than adequate to insure that I am not infectious.

        1. Excellent and thank you for getting vaccinated. It may save your life (though it helps, it doesn’t keep you from getting reinfected).

          Sadly, here in Boulder a day or so ago we got news of a close friend who too was fully vaccinated and boosted, who contracted CoViD and was without symptoms. He went to his grandparents house. Grandma got it and died two weeks later. Very sad. Imagine how her grandson must feel.

          I wish none of this were true. I hate it like poison.

          I don’t wear a mask out in public anymore unless someone asks me to or is uncomfortable. Then it’s a no-brainer.

          I carry one just in case I get into an elevator or car or close quarters with someone and then it’s back on again (an N-95)

          1. Thanks for explaining that Paul. If you’re wearing an N-95 mask and wearing it correctly (as I explain above) then you are indeed doing something useful to prevent infection. More power to you. But in the case of the grandmother who contracted Covid and died two weeks after her grandson’s visit, how can we be sure that he carried the virus to her? There might have been other vectors, perhaps even virus particles floating through the air from far away. However, I agree that the son’s conscience would have been clear had he worn an N-95 mask during his visit.

        2. That is not correct: there are documented cases of people being infected with covid who have had covid and all recommended doses to date.

  5. I absolutely agree with what has been said. Paul’s comment about wearing a mask is nothing more than a metaphorical comparison. I love the way Paul approaches subjects, without taboos and with common sense, the truth of each one always depends on their degree of knowledge of the subjects and nobody is the supreme of genius. It’s funny when we realize that there is always a lack of common sense in the analysis of opinions with common sense. Unfortunately, we live in a human world where ignorant radicalism, catalyzed by the rottenness of information on the internet, prevails more and more.

  6. If measurements are end all in assessment of performance, quality, and emotional appeal, why not listen to the measurements? Or better still, use measurements to create music, which I am sure someone has done. As a matter fact, Beck offers us this video intertwining measurements and music, filled not with black or white or even gray but color.
    https://youtu.be/OWibCHSPsAU

  7. An an engineer and orchestral musician, I live in both worlds. While completely flat measurements may look good on paper, sitting in the middle of an orchestra day in out is my ultimate measurement. The trick is to correlate all the dynamics, modes in stage, hall reverberation, mic type, placement, etc. into an accurate representation in the home listening environment. Equipment measurements are an essential starting point to achieve that end result, and probably some very complex computer modeling with many complex variables to help achieve the desired end result as well. One would probably need a scaled down concert hall in their house to get the best end result.

  8. Roy Delgado the designer of the Klipsch Heritage speaker series talked about measurements. Early in his career w/Klipsch he had a speaker that met the measurements but still didn’t sound correct. He reported that to Paul Klipsch and Paul said Ï forgot to tell you the 5% fudge factor.”At this point you have to decide if you want a sound that the measurements like or what the human ear likes.

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