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Perceptions of Audio Perception

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Subjective evaluation of audio components continues to be one of the most hotly contested issues facing audio professionals, despite the attempts of many engineers and authors to shed objective light on the truth as they see it. This paper will attempt to point out the human frailties which make such subjective judgments less than totally meaningful, since these appraisals are more a product of what we expect to hear than what is actually being heard. It is critical that anyone involved in such subjective evaluation be aware that what we believe we hear is much more a function of what goes on inside our heads than what occurs on the outside. It is also imperative that audio equipment manufacturers realize that subjective evaluation must not take precedence over science and common sense. To not do so will compromise most any audio product in some way. Some basic system (and component) requirements are presented to form a basis for an objectively satisfactory sound system to which one may subjectively listen.

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