Originally Posted by Heinrich S
People like to say that expectation bias results in people expecting to hear certain differences and they do. I have experienced things which run counter to that. I had certain preconceptions about a piece of audio gear and I heard what I did NOT want to hear. How do you explain that?
I don't think its really expectation bias, even. IME, I recall being very convinced that higher sampling rates could surely improve sound, but higher bitrates were unlikely to do so, at least when recording at something near full scale. Yet, despite my clear and semilong held bias, the first time I switched my DAW to deeper bit depth, I was knocked out by the difference I perceived in sound of a recorded acoustic guitar. So my perception was entirely at odds with my expectation. And I still can't demonstrate that my reaction was to something that changed as a result of the deeper bit depth. For my purposes, the appropriate response was clear. I had plenty of processing power and storage to record at the deeper bit depth, so that's what I did. To some extent "just in case" what I thought I heard was real. Frankly at the time I was more interested in trying to get the best recording of a decent performance I could get, not in assessing in depth the capabilities of my system in different configurations. I was analytically certain that I was not degrading my recording by using the greatest bit depth my software would support . . .
The problem is that a lot of the stuff that interferes with our perception is happening on the subconscious level, where we cannot really even perceive it, and certainly can't control it.
OTOH, it's clear that there have been situations where "no difference" "True believers" who had insufficient engineering.audio understanding have set up tests to prove their point in which through their own errors they introduced distortions that were readily audible to anybody listening with open ears.
But almost anybody can mishear, IMO. Tjere's a local high end shop that I still like to go to. Who else is going to have PROACS for me to listen to? Used to have a guy working there who was a fellow guitar player. We bonded a bit. I was listening to speakers, and we moved a pair into a separate room to audition. Left side was horribly distorted. When I pointed it out to hm, he couldn't fix it. Came back a couple of days later, and he said the amp module on the left channel was malfunctioning. Said it was fixed. We played music again. Still grossly (to me) audible distortion, that he didn't hear because his mind was focused elsewhere. I'm sure that kind of thing has happened to me, too, in one circumstance or another, so I don't too much blame the fella. But it goes to show . ..