New Linn Forum

General HiFi discussion, using the Tune Method to evaluate performance

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by ARMCOSMO » 2018-09-27 21:05

timster wrote:Linn hasn't abandoned Tune Dem at all. It's still very central to their SO ethos.

Yup, my Linn dealer still used it when he set up my system 2 years ago.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Music Lover » 2018-09-27 22:46

Spannko wrote:Except that you used “freedom of speech” and “it’s mandatory to use tune dem” in the same paragraph.
Sorry, I cant follow you, please explain.
You have many rules, everywhere. In different forums and in society. These have nothing to do with freedom of speech. It's separate items.
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Music Lover » 2018-09-27 22:46

ARMCOSMO wrote:
timster wrote:Linn hasn't abandoned Tune Dem at all. It's still very central to their SO ethos.

Yup, my Linn dealer still used it when he set up my system 2 years ago.
That's good, but I was talking about Linn not their dealers.
It's all about musical understanding!

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by ThomasOK » 2018-09-27 23:22

Music Lover wrote:
Spannko wrote:Except that you used “freedom of speech” and “it’s mandatory to use tune dem” in the same paragraph.
Sorry, I cant follow you, please explain.
You have many rules, everywhere. In different forums and in society. These have nothing to do with freedom of speech. It's separate items.
What he's saying is that if you take freedom of speech to extremes, such as is often done in my country, you can say anything you want - even if it is harmful. So if you stipulate that all discussion about perfromance has to be based on the tune dem you are necessarily limiting the freedom of speech.

It is the limitation of the freedom of speech, and the general cordiality of the founders and members, that keeps this forum freer of the pointless types of arguments often seen on the web. Personally I find this refreshing.
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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Spannko » 2018-09-28 06:45

ThomasOK wrote:It is the limitation of the freedom of speech, and the general cordiality of the founders and members, that keeps this forum freer of the pointless types of arguments often seen on the web. Personally I find this refreshing.
That pretty well sums up the whole debate in a nutshell.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-28 12:46

ThomasOK wrote:
Music Lover wrote:It is the limitation of the freedom of speech, and the general cordiality of the founders and members, that keeps this forum freer of the pointless types of arguments often seen on the web. Personally I find this refreshing.
IMO, the mark of a good forum is that it finds a sensible balance between openness and discipline. We wouldn't want a forum where there was only orthodoxy and nobody could express any kind of controversial view. At the same time, we should treat our forum host and fellow members with respect, and that will on occasion mean holding back on things we might want to say and the way in which we want to say them.

Again IMO, the Linn forum has (had?) a pretty good balance on the whole, as does this one also. I look forward to helping to maintain that balance when the forum reopens.

David

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Andrew L » 2018-09-28 12:59

One thing has always puzzled me. Tune Dem is used as the only permitted means of evaluation here. So, who is to say whether you used this method or not?
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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Charlie1 » 2018-09-28 13:16

Andrew L wrote:One thing has always puzzled me. Tune Dem is used as the only permitted means of evaluation here. So, who is to say whether you used this method or not?
Good question.

It's pretty obvious when someone is describing differences primarily based on traditional HiFi criteria, such as sound stage, bass control, etc. The admins generally allow these observations, but only as secondary. The primary focus must be of a musical emphasis - for example, ease of which you can follow a melody.

But of course not everyone will perform the Tune Method the same way. We've discussed this in the past and members do vary in their approach. You will also find some minor differences between Fredrik's Tune Method description here and Ivor's 'How to Judge a System' page that used to be on the Linn website, and can still be found on Internet archival services.

Admins don't currently enforce any specific Tune Method approach, which may partly explain occasional differences of opinion when listening to video clips. Personally, I think people have different sensitivities, even when judging musical criteria alone, but that's just my current (ever evolving) view point. After all, how can a music lover with Naim amps find Linn kit analytical and uninvolving and yet not be an audiophile who's only interested in recreating perfect sound? It's not for us to say they are listening the wrong way. Music doesn't work like that. There's no point buying equipment cos other people find it more involving than anything else. We need to please ourselves. --may have drifted slightly off topic :D

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-28 13:40

Charlie1 wrote:You will also find some minor differences between Fredrik's Tune Method description here and Ivor's 'How to Judge a System' page that used to be on the Linn website, and can still be found on Internet archival services.
Linn updated their Tune Dem "how to" page, and the current version is here. I'll leave it to others to work out whether there is any significant difference between this and Fredrik's description.

While, like any other method of evaluations, Tune Dem has its limitations (I think I'm allowed to say that, even on this forum :)), there is merit in insisting, in a forum dedicated to audiophile discussion, that there should be some degree of consistency and collective discipline in the way we make and describe comparisons. Complete consistency is, I guess, unachievable, but at least we can get away from the unedifying spectacle of people hurling essentially meaningless adjectives at each other from entrenched positions, which is what happens too often on other forums.

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Last edited by DavidHB on 2018-09-28 15:08, edited 1 time in total.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Charlie1 » 2018-09-28 15:05

DavidHB wrote:Linn updated their Tune Dem "how to" page, and the current version is here. I'll leave it to others to work out whether there is any significant difference between this and Fredrik's description.
Thanks David. Good to know Linn has put this back, albeit tweaked somewhat. It seems broadly the same as before though. Can't help thinking this was instigated by David Williamson.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Spannko » 2018-09-28 15:22

DavidHB wrote:
While, like any other method of evaluations, Tune Dem has its limitations.

David
After using Tune Dem for the last 30 years when evaluating everything from car stereos to digital pianos, I’m not aware of any limitations of the approach.

How would you describe the limitations as you see them?

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-28 16:19

Spannko wrote:After using Tune Dem for the last 30 years when evaluating everything from car stereos to digital pianos, I’m not aware of any limitations of the approach ... How would you describe the limitations as you see them?
Firstly, I said "limitations", not "failings" or "disadvantages". I know of no better method for making quick comparisons between setups and components and repeatedly and reliably establishing a difference between A and B. In that sense, I count myself as much a proponent of Tune Dem as you clearly are.

The limitation of Tune Dem is that it has a system focus. All the intellectual and emotional effort of the comparison (which can be considerable, if one is, say, in a shop contemplating an expensive purchase) is necessarily focused on the system. But the ultimate purpose of audiophile Hi-Fi is, as Fredrik reminded us the other day, to convey the emotional impact of the musical performance. For that to happen, the system must 'disappear' (in the sense that the listener ceases to be aware of it). So, IMO at least, the psychological state in which one does Tune Dem is different from that in which one engages in normal listening for enjoyment.

The question then arises as to whether a Tune Dem result is nevertheless a good predictor of normal listening enjoyment. Actually, I think that it is. If, on first hearing some unfamiliar component or system, I immediately think "Yes, that's good" (I know that's not Tune Dem as such, but it has the same immediacy and system focus), my opinion tends not to change when I engage with it in extended listening to different types of music. Perhaps I'm too cautious, or I'm not good enough at Tune Dem, but I always like to complement my Tune Dem and "short burst" listening with longer periods of more relaxed and less system-aware listening before reaching a fully considered view.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Spannko » 2018-09-28 17:00

DavidHB wrote:
The question then arises as to whether a Tune Dem result is nevertheless a good predictor of normal listening enjoyment. Actually, I think that it is. If, on first hearing some unfamiliar component or system, I immediately think "Yes, that's good" (I know that's not Tune Dem as such, but it has the same immediacy and system focus), my opinion tends not to change when I engage with it in extended listening to different types of music. Perhaps I'm too cautious, or I'm not good enough at Tune Dem, but I always like to complement my Tune Dem and "short burst" listening with longer periods of more relaxed and less system-aware listening before reaching a fully considered view.

David
As I said in an earlier reply, it’s clear that your approach works for you, but as you admit, it’s not Tune Dem.

One of the advantages of using Tune Dem is if listener A describes X as being more tuneful than Y, then listener B will agree and could confidently buy product X without having heard it.

It’s likely that your “Yes, that’s good” approach will only be valid for you. Of course there’s absolutely nothing wrong with using your approach (for you), but it makes it extremely difficult to share knowledge and develop our understanding of how to assemble HiFi systems which make great music.

Again, I apologise for being so picky.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Charlie1 » 2018-09-28 17:14

Spannko wrote:One of the advantages of using Tune Dem is if listener A describes X as being more tuneful than Y, then listener B will agree and could confidently buy product X without having heard it.
I'm a bit more cautious of this approach than I used to me. Fredrik often said something like 'more often than not we'll agree when using tune method.' and I prefer that way of approaching it. If you think about the video clips then there are some folks that 99% of the time agree, like Fredrik and Tom, but some folks are a way off that level of agreement. If you're a way off 100% then it's much more of a gamble to buy something based on the view of the another member, even when relying on the Tune Method.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Spannko » 2018-09-28 18:19

Charlie1 wrote:
Spannko wrote:One of the advantages of using Tune Dem is if listener A describes X as being more tuneful than Y, then listener B will agree and could confidently buy product X without having heard it.
I'm a bit more cautious of this approach than I used to me. Fredrik often said something like 'more often than not we'll agree when using tune method.' and I prefer that way of approaching it. If you think about the video clips then there are some folks that 99% of the time agree, like Fredrik and Tom, but some folks are a way off that level of agreement. If you're a way off 100% then it's much more of a gamble to buy something based on the view of the another member, even when relying on the Tune Method.
I think you’re right to exercise a bit of caution, particularly if it’s me doing the listening!

I was actually thinking along the lines of the method being consistent, but it’s the implementation where inconsistency’s arise, and I didn’t want to cover old ground.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Charlie1 » 2018-09-28 18:47

Spannko wrote:I was actually thinking along the lines of the method being consistent, but it’s the implementation where inconsistency’s arise, and I didn’t want to cover old ground.
No worries.

It raises an interesting point though. Does that mean you think there is only one correct answer? For example, only one correct torque setting that is 'the' optimum.

Someone asked me for the old Linn 'How to Judge A System' webpage. It was a lot harder to find than I recall, so here's a couple of older versions for posterity:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060528134 ... System.pdf
https://web.archive.org/web/20060528130 ... system.cfm
https://web.archive.org/web/20110519124 ... e_a_system

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by beck » 2018-09-28 19:05

I found this from an interview in Stereophile in 1994.

Harley: What do you consider important in music reproduction?
Tiefenbrun: Oh, God. That's a great question. The cop-out answer is to say "fidelity."

Music is an international language of feeling and emotion. And all people respond to music in the same way—hard as that is to believe. To me, what's important is to communicate the emotional message. A hi-fi system above a certain threshold can begin to do that, and enable the listener to respond to the merits of a performance and the message of the composer. That's the goal.

Music does so many things, doesn't it? It's therapeutic, educational, stimulating—it changes your mood. I think it's essential for human well-being.

I don't regard being in the hi-fi industry as merely being in the entertainment business. Music at home or anywhere can be entertaining, but it can be more than that—and often is more than that. To exist, we probably only need water and food, but for human well-being we need even more. We need shelter, we need clothes, we need sex, we need love, we need music, we need song, we need to dance. And we need a wee dram occasionally!


Read more at https://www.stereophile.com/content/wee ... 4W9XuHr.99

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Jumanji » 2018-09-28 19:24

Charlie1 wrote:Someone asked me for the old Linn 'How to Judge A System' webpage. It was a lot harder to find than I recall, so here's a couple of older versions for posterity:
https://web.archive.org/web/20060528134 ... System.pdf
Thanks Charly,

especially the first link I found very helpful.

The statement:
' Silent repetition is what you do when you are listening to someone speaking and you are intent on gaining a complete understanding. You silently repeat everything the person says in your own head. This of course is done naturally and simultaneously without great effort if you are truly interested but requires deliberate effort if you are not or the content is difficult or important.'

was really an eye-opener. In fact I do this, but never was aware of it. So I can now better relate to the intention of 'sing along'.

I have to admit so far I was (and still am) skeptical about TuneDem.
Easier to sing along? What could that mean?
If I listen to a song the first time, wouldn't it be easier for the second time and even easier for the third time (when I now listen to the other system) and wouldn't that falsify the result?
And if I took a song I know very well, wouldn't I be able to follow anyway as I know it that well already?
And if I like the music is it easier to follow then when I have to listen to something that hurts my ears? If I'm in a relaxed mood, isn't it easier to sing along while when in a more analytical mood it might even feel a bit embarrising.
I like listening to classical music, so what do I sing along? Violins, Bass, etc. all of the instruments I can‘t...
So I tried it a couple of times but couldn't do something with it.

With the speech comparison it makes more sense to me. I will give it another try. Curious to see what happens.

J.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-28 20:20

Back to spannko's point and Charlie1's demurral.

I entirely agree that my approach is entirely for me. But then so also is any Tune Dem process individual to the person who engages in it. Tune Dem is a good method for working out what I prefer. But my Tune Dem results say little or nothing of certainty about what spannko, or anyone else, would prefer. Tune Dem is a subjective assessment process, not an objective system of measurement. This is a dilemma that any audio engineer will face when developing equipment. But the alternative - to rely on measurement criteria which do not fully or accurately model likely user preferences - is even worse.

Now it happens that, quite a lot of the time, different people (particularly different people with a common interest and some commonality of experience) do tend to have the same view as to whether option A or option B is preferable. That is why, when an experienced person like Fredrik trusts his extensive knowledge and experience in determining what is preferable, his products reflect the fact that his judgments are right far more often than not. But, as with all subjective judgments and informed guesswork, there is inevitably some element of risk. For those of us who do not spend our working lives making systematic assessments of audio equipment, the risk seems that much greater when we start thinking about significant investments in Hi-Fi equipment, although we do at least have the consolation that it is only ourselves we have to please.

David

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Charlie1 » 2018-09-28 20:41

I agree that someone like Fredrik is better practiced and much more likely to reach a decision using tune method that is the same choice that he would make if instead living with each option for a while - ie it’s a very reliable shortcut.

Reading between the lines, I get the impression you both believe there is one correct choice that should apply to everyone. In other words, one option is musically better in all respects.

Whereas, I now think that sometimes the musical benefits can be split between the two choices. Not saying they are evening split, just split, and therefore the door is open for people to have different preferences - ones that are also reliable - ie they’d make the same choice if living with each choice for a while.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Spannko » 2018-09-28 21:37

DavidHB wrote:I entirely agree that my approach is entirely for me. But then so also is any Tune Dem process individual to the person who engages in it. Tune Dem is a good method for working out what I prefer. But my Tune Dem results say little or nothing of certainty about what spannko, or anyone else, would prefer. Tune Dem is a subjective assessment process, not an objective system of measurement. This is a dilemma that any audio engineer will face when developing equipment. But the alternative - to rely on measurement criteria which do not fully or accurately model likely user preferences - is even worse.


David
Let’s say you’ve owned a new piano for a while and it’s started to sound a “bit off” and in need of a retune. A gentleman arrives with nothing more than a special spanner and starts to fettle under the lid. You ask him where his other tools are and he tells you the only other tool he needs is between his ears. Do you say “Sorry, that’s not good enough, your idea of tune isn’t the same as mine” I’d love to see his face if you did!

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by sunbeamgls » 2018-09-28 21:48

^ a piano being in tune is a static thing. You can even, very reliably, use an electronic instrument to measure each string and it will tell you when you've twiddled the right adjuster to the right point.

I can't think how that's relevant to following a tune and hearing emotion in music. This is a dynamic experience that involves timing, changes between notes and other parameters such as staccato, volume variations and more. An istrument being in tune is objective and static.
AEDSM; AEBox/1; 3x Tundra Stereo 2.5; PMC 20.26. Blogger. Exakt Design. SO measuring.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by sunbeamgls » 2018-09-28 21:59

Music Lover wrote:
timster wrote:Linn hasn't abandoned Tune Dem at all. It's still very central to their SO ethos.
Linn abandoned TD (they removed it from their home page and stoped lecturing the method) but reintroduced it on the home page a few years back.
I've visited numerous demos held by Ivor (80's and forward) and he always described and used TD. So did all Linn employees.

During recent years, demos held by Linn employees focus on technical aspects of the products - something Ivor never did. He was against technical discussions.
Some Linn reps. mention TD but it's another version, focusing on clarity.
Ivor focused on musical understanding.

Hence, that Linn products of today focus on clarity is not surprising.
Ivor was proud of Linn as an engineering company. Look back at the literature from the 80s and you'll see lots of that. He also gave lectures at engineering societies. I went to an early DS demo evening when Ivor used tune dem to step through different digital file formats. He was quite happy to talk about why file formats were technically flawed and why Linn felt that high res was technically superior and tune demmed better, in his opinion.
AEDSM; AEBox/1; 3x Tundra Stereo 2.5; PMC 20.26. Blogger. Exakt Design. SO measuring.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by Charlie1 » 2018-09-28 22:19

Jumanji wrote:Thanks Charly,

especially the first link I found very helpful.
Glad you found it useful.

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Re: New Linn Forum

Post by DavidHB » 2018-09-28 22:47

Spannko wrote:Let’s say you’ve owned a new piano for a while and it’s started to sound a “bit off” and in need of a retune. A gentleman arrives with nothing more than a special spanner and starts to fettle under the lid. You ask him where his other tools are and he tells you the only other tool he needs is between his ears. Do you say “Sorry, that’s not good enough, your idea of tune isn’t the same as mine” I’d love to see his face if you did!
The tuning of a piano is, compared with the assessment of the performance of a high end audio system, a relatively simple task. It relies on patterns in the behaviour of audio frequencies that nearly all humans recognise. So the great majority of us can perceive (with varying degrees of precision) whether a piano is in tune or not. (I'll ignore for present purposes the fact that a conventional "well tempered" piano actually distributes small errors across the tuning range to make all keys equally playable.)

Beyond that, my idea of a particular tune may well be different from that of the piano tuner. His job finished when he restored the piano to its required tuning. But the audio system's job is only done when it has conveyed the sense of the tune (in particular its emotional impact) to the listener. That involves a degree of subjectivity that is simply not, in general, required in the piano tuning case. So I'm afraid that your analogy does not hold good for me.

I'm conscious that this discussion (which only started with an aside in a previous post of mine) has rather taken us off topic. Perhaps I could steer things back in the right direction by pointing out that a particular strength of the Linn forum (in my view) is its ability - most of the time - to sustain high quality debate on awkward topics such as the degree to which perceptions of our expensive Hi-Fi systems are based on objective criteria or are "all in the mind". I hope those debates continue when we get the forum back.

David

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