I’m late today. I spent the morning running out to Pasadena to attend a daylong series of presentations on retirement (remember I’m a university professor and nearing the age when adults consider retiring). It’s kind of strange to contemplate handling senior citizen issues when I don’t feel like one, but anyway.
The other time intrusion today was being part of an attempt to do some audio demos in NYC during the week of CE Week in late June. More information to follow.
When I showed up early this morning to check email, I got one more from my new friend in Australia…Mark Goldstein from CD Illumination. As I expected, he’s not really done with me. Whenever a touchy feely, emo audiophile gets challenged by the bits vs. bits argument or gets backed into a corner by science, the reaction is quite often to go on the attack. It happened this morning in one last email from CD Illumination.
You know Mark I think there is something terribly wrong here because the improvement in sound quality between my copy and your original is very obvious to any experienced listener I know.
So I can make three deductions about your evals: 1. Your equipment somehow equalises the differences; 2. You are physiologically or psychologically unable to appreciate the improvement; 3. You are desperately trying to cover up the differences you have already heard so as to protect your bits and bytes argument. Which by the way most audiophiles have already moved on and see it as a ‘flat earth’ dogmatic stance.
His challenge to my integrity, capabilities, and process was a step onto the line, if not over the line. I responded:
You assertions of better fidelity didn’t hold up in my evaluation. You’re right that I’m skeptical but I didn’t let that affect my judgment. I spent a great deal of time trying to verify your claims…and I involved two other very qualified audio engineers as well. I did the testing in multiple places using multiple systems as you recommended.
To your specific issues:
My equipment ranges from very high-end audiophile, to professional studio, to consumer grade, to auto system, and desktop playback. I would say that I gave a very thorough evaluation using every possible variant. I did not put the discs in a $50 CD player.
If my listening ability is questioned then what about the other two engineers? I didn’t say anything to them other than to ask if there was a difference in the sound. They heard no differences when switching back and forth. As a professional mastering engineer with credits stretching back for 30 years (Bad Company, The Allman Brothers, etc), I’ll put my hearing acuity up against yours and your friends any day.
I’ve been honest about the process and open to your suggestions. If I had heard any changes at all (not necessarily improvements), I know I have the integrity to acknowledge my own failings. I’ve been wrong many times in my life. I didn’t spent all this time and effort to lie about the results. Would you like to hear from the other engineers I involved in the evaluation?
Unfortunately, your claims of sonic improvements in my system with my content were debunked. It’s unfortunate for you and CD Illumination, but it is true that the same bits on a replicated CD and a CD-R copy (even with your special process) sounded identical when played through the same signal path. If all you do is accept this narrow case, there’s been progress. If you continue to doubt my integrity, my process, and abilities, it’s more telling about your own self-denial than anything else.
Good luck with your enterprise. The bits triumphed over myths this time.
Why do the “accessory hounds” and “tweak heads” lock up whenever evidence is presented that goes against their position? Rather than confront the truth, they claim, “if it sounds good or better, then it is better!” Who are the ones who are ‘flat earth’ dogmatic believers?