Home > Podcast > AV Rant #209: NAS Ghoul

AV Rant #209: NAS Ghoul

December 9th, 2010

Liz is off on her first scheduled vacation and Tom brings in Barb Gonzalez of About.com fame to sit in. Barb likes her speakers expensive and her drives networked. Barb has been playing around with Airplay, Google TV, and Samsung’s All Share and gives her impressions. She’s also got a favorite media streamer – and it’s not what you think. Tom will link up the related articles when they are posted. Sony releases a new TV with a built in PS2. Tom and Barb discuss how this happened and whether or not it is cool. The McGurk Effect – what it means for audiophiles. Blockbuster adjusts their pricing again. Tom’s been chasing shorts. Or probably one short. Thanks for listening and don’t forget to vote for us at Podcast Alley! To see our (mostly) complete collection of show videos, click here. To get our iPhone app, visit the iTunes store.

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  1. Downtowner
    December 11th, 2010 at 16:04 | #1

    Never heard of the McGurk Effect. It’s incredible. Here’s what I think is going on: there’s an error-correction algorithm built into our hearing system. Truth be told, the conditions of the test, i.e. playing a recording of “Baa” but showing a mouth saying “Faa”, are impossible to create in reality in real time. In the real world, when your eyes see “Faa” it’s because the person actually said “Faa”. Thanks to the McGurk Effect, it doesn’t matter if your ears perfectly received it or not…your brain hears it correctly.

  2. December 17th, 2010 at 00:23 | #2

    It’s a very cool phenomenon for sure. Really, your brain has been programmed to believe your eyes over your ears. To me, that’s why you close your eyes when you really want to hear something. You need to tell your brain to pay attention to a normally secondary source of info. When the two conflict, the brain automatically defaults to the eyes.

    The implications for esoterics is that if they can see what is playing (or what gear is in use), it won’t matter which actually sounds better. While I don’t think you need to double blind everything (and I’ve written as much on Audioholics a number of times), single blind is very, very important.

  3. Downtowner
    December 18th, 2010 at 20:18 | #3

    We ranters love to rail against all that is non-objective in audio. It’s a good way to pursue true high fidelity and avoid wasting money. On the other hand, what if – due to the McGurk Effect – seeing 0000 gauge spun gold speaker wire running to your magnificent speaker enclosures finished in ancient Grecian marble makes your brain think that it sounds “more awesome”?

    Might we have to admit that installing audio equipment that is not measureably superior but that is clearly made with the finest materials and highest standards of construction – just might lead to a very tangible (albeit subjective) perception of heightened musical enjoyment?

    For my own personal use I’m still a skeptic when it comes to passive audio accessories with price tags in the $1000’s, however I’m starting to think that the guys who buy stuff like that may not be getting as hornswoggled as we think they are.

  4. Rob
    December 28th, 2010 at 02:33 | #4

    There’s only one problem with that line of thinking, Downtowner: close your eyes and both the McGurk effect AND any placebo effect from over-priced equipment disappears!

    If I’m going to spend mega-bucks on audio, I’d like for any improvements to still be perceivable even with my eyes closed 😉

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