I've done enough blind and double-blind testing of cables and other audio gear (and read enough about it) to be unsurprised at this result. In fact, I wish there had been betting opened upon the result so I could have won some money.
To those who poo-poo these tests let's keep these things in mind:
What kind of claims are made by manufacturers, and often by reviewers and
many audiophiles about boutique cables? Very often the top-rated cables are said to transform a system's sound in a significant
, easily discernible
and subjectively quantifiable
manner. Changes in depth, focus, clarity, timbre, "pacing," bass etc. These changes are purportedly so major that sited reviewers actually recommend cables at jaw-dropping price points, and people actually believe they hear differences warranting these amazing costs.
But suddenly when blind testing rears it's head these "amazing differences" start shrinking to teeny, tiny differences that, as some will complain, one becomes insensitive to during a test. That issue in of itself should be sobering, in terms of the levels of sonic difference we are really looking at. (Reminds me very much of all those PSI people who can easily read minds on their own time, but when put to test start complaining of everything under the sun in how difficult it became...as the poor test results flowed in).
There is just a ton of scientific research detailing how people are fooled by their subjective biases. It also shows that you don't even have to go into a
test of A and B thinking either will be different. You may think you are neutral on A and B. But that's not how our brains work. Our brains are always trying to discern differences, (especially if we are trying to discern differences). And you will tend
to think you are hearing/seeing differences between A and B as a matter of course. People under testing will think they perceive a difference between A and A, even when A has not been switched at all.
These are issues that any truth-seeking, or care-minded person ought to take into account if they really want to get to the bottom of whether A is reliably
sonically discernible from B. If not, then you just aren't accounting in your methodology for variable well-known to influence test results.
I'm not saying that any particular
blind/double-blind test puts a nail into the coffin of subjective claims about a cable or whatever. A good scientists or researcher is (or should be) cautious about results even of tests that seem well controlled, because there could always have been an X factor unaccounted for that influenced the test (which is why repeatability of test results by other parties is such a big part of the scientific method).
BUT...to those who want to say that blind tests are not reliable for discerning sonic differences the question arises: then what type of tests ARE better for determining if you really are able to reliably distinguish a cable on sonic differences alone
I mean, if taking into account plenty of scientific research showing the issues of sighted bias, and trying to reduce those variables unrelated to the actual sonic differences via blind testing isn't
the way to be more sure of a test result...what in the world is? A group of audiophiles reclining in front of 6K cables, wine glasses in hand?
Also, the "it's too stressful" line of thinking as an excuse against null results doesn't do much to account for the many positive results that occur during blind testing. I've had a number of positive results (e.g. comparing DACs)...and didn't feel any of this terrible strain. Also, research into all manner of things sonic, e.g. tests for audio codecs and compression schemes, yield reliable positive test results for sonic differences, using blind testing.
As an audiophile myself I understand the allure of cables and tweaks: it gives you the promise of pushing your system's performance beyond what is just handed to you at the store. It plays into that audiophile quest to get the system better...better...better... and we leap on anything that seems to do this.
But, I just can't ignore the results I've found in being involved in blind/double-blind tests, nor can I ignore the many results found by others, and all the research on human perception and behaviour in these issues.
Now...time to go fire up my tube-amp, which no one will pry from my dead hands....