Rob Watts - How we do perceive sound

Very interesting video about signal reconstruction and how we perceive sound.

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Here is the whole video.
It is extremely interesting.
Really worth the 45 minutes duration.

Rob Watts knows how to explain things in a straightforward way.

He even mentions cables and compares them to noise shapers. This should be rather interesting to some forum members :wink:

Chord Electronic will probably produce very nice products in the future…

I’d say they they already produce some very nice products! I’ve recently compared my old Hugo TT to a RME ADI-2 DAC which is probably best in class for off the shelf dac chip implementations.

Needless to say, the Hugo TT made the RME sound like a toy. It sounded flat and distorted in comparison.

Rob Watts is at least 5 years ahead of the competition.

I stopped watching it after a couple of minutes, when he suggested the the brain is working at 250,000Hz. (And this fact was very important).

I listened to to a scientific programme on Radio 4 a couple of years ago, about how fast different creatures brains process sound and vision. According to the scientists, humans process at about 50Hz not 250,000Hz.
I prefer to believe a scientist, not a persons trying to sell HIFI equipment. :banana: :banana: :banana:


Both are correct, just not referring to the same thing :slightly_smiling_face:


What does “the brain is working to 250kHz” mean?

My understanding is the brain is effectively sampling audio and video at a rate of 50 time per second.

I own both a Mojo/Poly and Hugo2 and enjoy their sound and form factors/features a lot. Primarily used as desktop and portable headphone amps.
Tempted to get the streamer for the Hugo2, I use the Poly with the Mojo at home later in the day as a Roon endpoint sat on the sofa, top drawer kit.
Btw, unable to determine what frequency my brain is doing stuff at, however it’s been a gentle Saturday for what it’s worth!

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This is a quick judgment…

Well, Rob Watts explains it all.

You’re referring to something quite different : brain waves. This has nothing to do with audio, or how sound is perceived.

Brain waves frequency vary depending on their very nature (e.g. Alpha brain waves frequency is from 8,5 to 12 Hz).

Not sure this is correct…

Rob, stated “the brain is working to 250kHz” in relation to audio. Not me.
(And I wasn’t talking about brain waves. I have no knowledge of brain waves).

He compares the 250kHz with the sampling rate of CD, so presumably he is suggesting the the brain is sampling at 250kHz.

Well, unless the BBC are producing spoof scientific programes, where spoof scientists are making spoof claims, I assume it is correct.

When I experience piloerection, quickly followed by a burning flash sensation up my spine - I always put that down to unexpected transients outside my frequencies.


The brain, or your ears, do not have a central clock. And your ears are not digital devices so trying to make such comparisons seems strange from what I know.

What you need to do to model/emulate the workings of the human ear in math has really nothing to do with which audio waves you can hear and what is needed to model those.

I have written code for digital music instruments and the time from trigger to sound needs to be in single digit mS to not cause trouble for a good musician but I would never use that fact to say the ear samples at like 500Hz.

Search for Ivor Tiefenbrun (Linn) on Youtube and his 40-minute ”extreme engineering” talk. It may not give you numbers but is interesting. I have been unable to find anything similar from Julian Vereker (even in written form) - except from some interesting discussions on cd players on the old forum.


Jan, Rob Watts doesn’t talk about a brain central clock whatsoever.

He refers to something quite different.

Rob is a good speaker and does design exceedingly good DACs.

I’d thought sight and sound were pulse applications with a sampling frequency, but no idea what frequency my or anybody else’s ear or eyes sample at. Though most of this theory is well outside the scope of my brain.

Really interesting but he must say mscaler 50 times

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A least 50 times :joy:

His explanation of how to obtain perception of depth in the soundstage is rather interesting.

An alliance between Naim and Chord could result in stunning products. Naim focusing on the analog part while Chord on the digital part.

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I’d let Chord do the power supplies too - it could be a winner.


It’s the 50Hz frequency that controls this.

Well what I hear him say was that the human can distinguish the difference in timing of audible signals to 4 to 10 microseconds. Does that suggest that the human is operating ear/brain/other to ~100-250 MHz–I think it does. If your read other AES papers, the 5 microsecond number is consistent with the research of others, not Rob’s.

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I think that’s right. Rob Watts - total genius. Steve Sells - total amateur.