Validty of blind testing - Page 3 - AVS Forum
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post #61 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 06:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Of course we can. I mean, we've only been studying it for a century and a half or more. That you seem totally unfamiliar with this work does not mean the work has not been done.
+1
Aspirin and other nsaids as well as every single prescription drug you can buy demonstrate in double blind testing that the null hypothesis (drug has the same effect as placebo) is false.
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post #62 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 06:04 PM
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Originally Posted by jim19611961 View Post

For me, this muddies the results of blind A/B testing because we would have to know how trained the listeners are. In one test, you could have a room full of untrained listeners that would skew the results in the direction of there being no differences (or smaller ones) between A & B.


And I always say, this depends on what you are trying to test.

If you are testing some audiophile blowhard's, er, I mean, self-proclaimed disciminating listener's claim that *HE HIMSELF* hears a difference between a particular A and B, then consider him already 'trained' in that dimension (fine aural discrimination of this A and this B), and just subject him to a blind comparison of A and B (after training him in the methodology of ABX). Use his gear, his music, if possible. Use sufficient trials, avoid fatigue, and employ the right statistics to analyze the results. (Although typically these blowhards golden ears claim it's *easy* for them to hear A vs B; they do it routinely...it shouldn't really tax them if true.)

Obviously this is not a scientific test; scientists aren't that interested in proving or disproving individual claims of prowess (though James Randi is ;> ), they prefer to get a sense of what exists in a population. And there the question is, how *likely* or how *easy* is it for A and B to be told apart, in general. For that, for academic publication, you want well-trained subjects, excellent controls both positive and negative, a sufficient sampling of subjects to give the test statistical 'power', the whole nine yards. But for the sort of claims of "even I can do this" you sometimes see here on AVSF, and much more often at places like Stereophil or the 'like a light switch' claim referred to in Harley;s screed, I hold the the simple 'ok, let's just see if you can do the same thing, with one control in place' test suffices to dispose of them one by one.

Recommendation for formal (scientific) studies are laid out for example here
http://books.google.com/books?id=XX9xwk9G0EUC&source=gbs_navlinks_s

And here
http://webstore.ansi.org/RecordDetail.aspx?sku=ISO+4120%3A2004
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post #63 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 06:22 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Of course we can.
Don't just say that we can without also proving it, please. I choose to firmly believe solely in reliable objective evidence facts because I am 150 percent convinced that there are far too many gasbag facts about audio being spread around by certain individuals who claim to be scientists, but who have consistently failed to produce even an ounce of science. wink.gif
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I mean, we've only been studying it for a century and a half or more. That you seem totally unfamiliar with this work does not mean the work has not been done.
Do you know for how many centuries we had been studying the flatness of the planet Earth before we finally found the truth? Don't make me laugh, please...
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post #64 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 06:26 PM
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How many centuries?

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post #65 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 06:44 PM
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Don't just say that we can without also proving it, please.
Prove what? There are whole textbooks devoted to human hearing perception. Do you think they are all fiction?
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Do you know for how many centuries we had been studying the flatness of the planet Earth before we finally found the truth?
Approximately 0, if the word "study" has any meaning. The understanding that the Earth is spherical dates back at least to Pythagoras. What's your point?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #66 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 06:44 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

And I always say, this depends on what you are trying to test.

If you are testing some audiophile blowhard's, er, I mean, self-proclaimed disciminating listener's claim that *HE HIMSELF* hears a difference between a particular A and B, then consider him already 'trained' in that dimension (fine aural discrimination of this A and this B), and just subject him to a blind comparison of A and B (after training him in the methodology of ABX). Use his gear, his music, if possible. Use sufficient trials, avoid fatigue, and employ the right statistics to analyze the results. (Although typically these blowhards golden ears claim it's *easy* for them to hear A vs B; they do it routinely...it shouldn't really tax them if true.)

Obviously this is not a scientific test; scientists aren't that interested in proving or disproving individual claims of prowess (though James Randi is ;> ), they prefer to get a sense of what exists in a population. And there the question is, how *likely* or how *easy* is it for A and B to be told apart, in general. For that, for academic publication, you want well-trained subjects, excellent controls both positive and negative, a sufficient sampling of subjects to give the test statistical 'power', the whole nine yards. But for the sort of claims of "even I can do this" you sometimes see here on AVSF, and much more often at places like Stereophil or the 'like a light switch' claim referred to in Harley;s screed, I hold the the simple 'ok, let's just see if you can do the same thing, with one control in place' test suffices to dispose of them one by one.

Recommendation for formal (scientific) studies are laid out for example here
http://books.google.com/books?id=XX9xwk9G0EUC&source=gbs_navlinks_s

And here
http://webstore.ansi.org/RecordDetail.aspx?sku=ISO+4120%3A2004
The question is not "does a difference between a particular A and B disappear if you just subject him to a blind comparison of A and B (after training him in the methodology of ABX)?"; the question is "do they disappear because blind testing is valid, and, if yes, can you also prove that blind testing is valid or do you just choose to believe it is valid because someone has told you to believe that it is valid?"...
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post #67 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 06:52 PM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

How many centuries?
Eleventy point four and a half minus seven?
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post #68 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 07:08 PM
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Originally Posted by nvidio View Post

The question is not "does a difference between a particular A and B disappear if you just subject him to a blind comparison of A and B (after training him in the methodology of ABX)?"; the question is "do they disappear because blind testing is valid, and, if yes, can you also prove that blind testing is valid or do you just choose to believe it is valid because someone has told you to believe that it is valid?"...

Using blind testing you can 'validate' heard differences down to the measured limits of human hearing physiology.

Is there something else you require?

What do *you* consider to be inherently invalidating aspects of blind testing? And where are your references in support? Some form of blinding is, after all, the standard in sensory testing. If you desire references regarding sensory test methods, go buy Mielgaard and consult the bibliography. I gave you the link. Are the scientists doin it all rong, and if so why?

Also: given that 'difference' is readily reported between and A and a B that are in fact exactly the same (i.e., the same test signal, presented twice, with a 'phantom switch' protocol, to a subject that expects and A and B), indicating deep flaws in the accuracy of our own sensory apprehension/interpretation apparatus, why are some people obsessed with the supposed flaws of *blind testing*? We *know* sighted comparison/evaluation is deeply subject to error. Why do we give it *any* credence in audio?
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post #69 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 07:14 PM
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Originally Posted by nvidio View Post


Do you know for how many centuries we had been studying the flatness of the planet Earth before we finally found the truth?

Do you? What do you mean 'we'? The ancient Greeks 'finally' figured out that the earth was a sphere, as far back as the 6th C BC..,that's 26 centuries ago. Columbus knew it too. People tended to notice that ships 'disappeared' over the horizon...yet managed to return. The intelligent ones concluded that the earth is curved.

Now, why don't you offer up the popular 'science said bumblebees can't fly' canard, and work towards a pseudoskeptic trifecta?
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post #70 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 07:16 PM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

How many centuries?
Husband and wife are in bed ready to go to sleep. Wife turns to the husband and asks, "do you know what I am thinking?" Husband says, "if I say yes, do you still have to tell me?"

biggrin.gif from a US sitcom....

I don't think any of us want to know....

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post #71 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 08:40 PM
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Well, we can thank blind testing for the decline in the quality of classical music.

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post #72 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 08:49 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Prove what?
Prove that you are able to even read my sentence. rolleyes.gif
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There are whole textbooks devoted to human hearing perception. Do you think they are all fiction?
Of course I don't think that. However, the simple fact they are not all fiction still does not prove the validity of blind testing. Based on the fact you seem to think that you are knowledgeable on the subject, it should be easy for you to prove the validity of blind testing. Don't just keep repeating that blind testing is valid. Instead, let me see you prove it.
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Approximately 0, if the word "study" has any meaning. The understanding that the Earth is spherical dates back at least to Pythagoras. What's your point?
My point is that, even though the understanding, or hypothesis that the Earth is spherical does indeed date very very far back, the same cannot be said about the discovery of conclusive evidence that proved the hypothesis to be correct. My point is also that blind testing cannot be used to prove an audible difference does not exist. It can only be used to prove a difference can be heard (i.e. if no difference was heard during blind testing, it means that further testing is in order).
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post #73 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 09:18 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

Using blind testing you can 'validate' heard differences down to the measured limits of human hearing physiology.

Is there something else you require?

What do *you* consider to be inherently invalidating aspects of blind testing? And where are your references in support? Some form of blinding is, after all, the standard in sensory testing. If you desire references regarding sensory test methods, go buy Mielgaard and consult the bibliography. I gave you the link. Are the scientists doin it all rong, and if so why?

Also: given that 'difference' is readily reported between and A and a B that are in fact exactly the same (i.e., the same test signal, presented twice, with a 'phantom switch' protocol, to a subject that expects and A and B), indicating deep flaws in the accuracy of our own sensory apprehension/interpretation apparatus, why are some people obsessed with the supposed flaws of *blind testing*? We *know* sighted comparison/evaluation is deeply subject to error. Why do we give it *any* credence in audio?
I gave you the video that shows how "some form of blinding" does not magically prevent people from hearing sounds that aren't real. As a result, we *know* blind testing is deeply subject to error. Why do we give it *any* credence in audio?
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post #74 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 09:51 PM
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Originally Posted by nvidio View Post

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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

Using blind testing you can 'validate' heard differences down to the measured limits of human hearing physiology.

Is there something else you require?

What do *you* consider to be inherently invalidating aspects of blind testing? And where are your references in support? Some form of blinding is, after all, the standard in sensory testing. If you desire references regarding sensory test methods, go buy Mielgaard and consult the bibliography. I gave you the link. Are the scientists doin it all rong, and if so why?

Also: given that 'difference' is readily reported between and A and a B that are in fact exactly the same (i.e., the same test signal, presented twice, with a 'phantom switch' protocol, to a subject that expects and A and B), indicating deep flaws in the accuracy of our own sensory apprehension/interpretation apparatus, why are some people obsessed with the supposed flaws of *blind testing*? We *know* sighted comparison/evaluation is deeply subject to error. Why do we give it *any* credence in audio?
I gave you the video that shows how "some form of blinding" does not magically prevent people from hearing sounds that aren't real. As a result, we *know* blind testing is deeply subject to error. Why do we give it *any* credence in audio?
i don't see that test the same way you do at all. There was no comparison to see if people could identify the difference between two spoken sentences, one with the"s" and one without. You have tested a without b much less x.
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post #75 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 09:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Phil17108 View Post

.... It's what sounds best to you and what looks the best. ...
You don't need any test for that.
Some would like to know if there are difference though. Why pay more for brand X sugar vs brand Y?
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post #76 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 10:00 PM
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Originally Posted by goneten View Post

I'm not arguing against blind testing as I believe the only way to reliably discern differences is to listen double blind. However we are having a debate over a number of audio myths, and blind testing eventually cropped up

In my local forum the following was referenced :


What do you guys make of these references?
Is that like saying Pauling Linus was right about vitamin C because he has two individual Nobels to his name??? That is what you are saying.
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post #77 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 10:22 PM
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Originally Posted by jim19611961 View Post

....

So its possible that a majority of blind A/B results show that people cant tell a difference not because there isn't one, but because they are not trained to notice the differences.

And, all those audiophiles who claim differences all the time are by default trained??? Really? rolleyes.gif
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post #78 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 10:37 PM - Thread Starter
 
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So did any of you muster the courage to read all 15 pages of the thread? wink.gif
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post #79 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 10:54 PM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

Do you? What do you mean 'we'? The ancient Greeks 'finally' figured out that the earth was a sphere, as far back as the 6th C BC..,that's 26 centuries ago. Columbus knew it too. People tended to notice that ships 'disappeared' over the horizon...yet managed to return. The intelligent ones concluded that the earth is curved.
For all they might have known, the fact ships 'disappeared' over the horizon...yet managed to return could have been due to the increased effect the Earth's gravity had on the rays of light as the distance the light had to travel would also be increased. The real reason why they (the intelligent ones) concluded the Earth is curved is because they already had gained accurate knowledge of the fact light travels in a line that is so straight that it couldn't possibly explain the phenomenon of 'disappearing' and 're-appearing' ships on the horizon. It is this knowledge that they believed was impossible to ignore, and that was causing them to invent a new theory. A huge leap toward actual conclusive evidence wasn't made until it became trivial that it was technically possible to travel around the world. Viewing planet Earth from outer space for the first time in the history of mankind was the final step.
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Now, why don't you offer up the popular 'science said bumblebees can't fly' canard, and work towards a pseudoskeptic trifecta?
Nice try. biggrin.gif
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post #80 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 11:03 PM
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Originally Posted by nvidio View Post

I gave you the video that shows how "some form of blinding" does not magically prevent people from hearing sounds that aren't real. As a result, we *know* blind testing is deeply subject to error. Why do we give it *any* credence in audio?

Wow. Whoever draws *that* conclusion from *that* evidence, truly doesn't understand what blind tests are.

No one ever claimed that blind test prevent people from hearing sounds that aren't real -- magically or otherwise. Quite the contrary. Blind tests exist, and have power, because we *know* that when people are comparing two things (or even *think* they are comparing two things), they often 'expect' on some level that they will sound different. And so they 'hear' a difference. This can happen sighted or blind.

What blind tests allow us to do is see how often a person is certainly wrong. i.e., how often they call two sounds different, that *must* be the same (i.e., A vs A, and B vs B). This is compared with the number of times A vs B is called as 'different' or 'same'. If a person correctly calls 'same' as 'same' and 'different' as 'different' a statistically significant number of times (that is, if they perform 'better than guessing'), then there's a good likelihood that there;s a real audible difference in play.

If a subject actually *says* they don't hear *any* differences during the test, then there's no test. This doesn't happen often, though I have seen occasional reports where subjects felt that it somehow became more 'difficult' to hear those big differences they heard sighted....just from hiding the identities of the test signals! Sometimes this confrontation with the power of 'sighted' influences chastens the subject; sometimes it leads them to conclude that 'something must be wrong with blind testing'. rolleyes.gif
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post #81 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 11:14 PM
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Originally Posted by nvidio View Post

For all they might have known, the fact ships 'disappeared' over the horizon...yet managed to return could have been due to the increased effect the Earth's gravity had on the rays of light as the distance the light had to travel would also be increased.

You've got to be joking.
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The real reason why they (the intelligent ones) concluded the Earth is curved is because they already had gained accurate knowledge of the fact light travels in a line that is so straight that it couldn't possibly explain the phenomenon of 'disappearing' and 're-appearing' ships on the horizon. It is this knowledge that they believed was impossible to ignore, and that was causing them to invent a new theory. A huge leap toward actual conclusive evidence wasn't made until it became trivial that it was technically possible to travel around the world. Viewing planet Earth from outer space for the first time in the history of mankind was the final step.

Still joking (and lamely so), I hope. Your potted history of the idea of round earth bears no resemblance to any history of the idea I'm aware of. And you misconceive what blind testing is too.
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post #82 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 11:19 PM
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So did any of you muster the courage to read all 15 pages of the thread? wink.gif

You're confusing masochism with courage.
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post #83 of 355 Old 02-03-2014, 11:40 PM
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Originally Posted by Randy Bessinger View Post

i don't see that test the same way you do at all. There was no comparison to see if people could identify the difference between two spoken sentences, one with the"s" and one without. You have tested a without b much less x.
Modifying the experiment to make it match the criteria that you mention will not affect the final outcome, at least not in a significant way, and I suppose it wouldn't be all that hard for people to find out if it did.
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post #84 of 355 Old 02-04-2014, 12:26 AM
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Originally Posted by krabapple View Post

Wow. Whoever draws *that* conclusion from *that* evidence, truly doesn't understand what blind tests are.

No one ever claimed that blind test prevent people from hearing sounds that aren't real -- magically or otherwise. Quite the contrary. Blind tests exist, and have power, because we *know* that when people are comparing two things (or even *think* they are comparing two things), they often 'expect' on some level that they will sound different. And so they 'hear' a difference. This can happen sighted or blind.

What blind tests allow us to do is see how often a person is certainly wrong. i.e., how often they call two sounds different, that *must* be the same (i.e., A vs A, and B vs B). This is compared with the number of times A vs B is called as 'different' or 'same'. If a person correctly calls 'same' as 'same' and 'different' as 'different' a statistically significant number of times (that is, if they perform 'better than guessing'), then there's a good likelihood that there;s a real audible difference in play.

If a subject actually *says* they don't hear *any* differences during the test, then there's no test. This doesn't happen often, though I have seen occasional reports where subjects felt that it somehow became more 'difficult' to hear those big differences they heard sighted....just from hiding the identities of the test signals! Sometimes this confrontation with the power of 'sighted' influences chastens the subject; sometimes it leads them to conclude that 'something must be wrong with blind testing'. rolleyes.gif
Yes, that is entirely correct. However, if it leads them to conclude that 'something must be wrong with blind testing' then it is up to you to, instead of repeating a million times over that nothing can possibly be wrong with blind testing, prove that nothing is wrong with blind testing. Wanna know why I want you to prove it? It's actually quite easy to understand. Just to make it even more easy, let me give you a small hint. It's because, despite the fact this has already been made perfecly clear to you from the very beginning, you are still consistently failing to admit that the real reason why you are still consistently failing to prove it is only because you can't. rolleyes.gif
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post #85 of 355 Old 02-04-2014, 12:42 AM
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You've got to be joking.
Wait... what? They never taught that to you in highschool? biggrin.gif
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Still joking (and lamely so), I hope. Your potted history of the idea of round earth bears no resemblance to any history of the idea I'm aware of. And you misconceive what blind testing is too.
Since you insist that you are the expert among true experts, I might as well just hand over the privilege to you to figure this one out by yourself.
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post #86 of 355 Old 02-04-2014, 03:15 AM
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whip it out.
Just watch from 8:09 to 9:22.

Using audible illusions to discredit audio DBTs is like using tax cheaters to discredit the idea of taxation.

If we all sat around doing nothing listening to Poppy Crumb Audible Illusions recordings on our audio systems...

LOL!
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post #87 of 355 Old 02-04-2014, 03:22 AM
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However, if it leads them to conclude that 'something must be wrong with blind testing' then it is up to you to, instead of repeating a million times over that nothing can possibly be wrong with blind testing, prove that nothing is wrong with blind testing.

Excluded middle argument. Double blind testing is a human activity. No human activity as actually performed is free of uncontrolled influences AKA errors. Therefore DBTs as actually performed are contaminated by human errors.

All DBTs are is a flawed human effort to reduce some common influences that invalidate many sighted evaluations and casual evaluations.

We're back to the same old game - demonize DBTs because they don't meet someone's personal standards for perfection, when the world is full of people basing all kinds of audio decisions on the most flawed evaluations one can imagine - the non-level matched, non-time-synched, sighted evaluation.
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post #88 of 355 Old 02-04-2014, 03:33 AM
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I gave you the video that shows how "some form of blinding" does not magically prevent people from hearing sounds that aren't real. As a result, we *know* blind testing is deeply subject to error. Why do we give it *any* credence in audio?

I sense some mistaken idea that DBTs exist only to prevent people from hearing sounds that aren't real.

In fact audio DBTs were invented to control trivial influences such as those due to level mismatching, and determine the difference between unreliable and reliable perceptions. A good clean reliable audible illusion, (this time using a common experience, not an experience concocted to make a point by Poppy Crumb) such as hearing music while listening to a MP3, skates through just fine.

Stereo and multichannel as they presently are implemented are illusions. A/v reproduction is an illusion. A test that discarded all illusions would be useless for A/V..
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post #89 of 355 Old 02-04-2014, 06:38 AM
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As a former high end audiophile I'll tell you what confuses me. All the decades I was involved in high end audio, my goal was to improve the sonics of my system in order to get as close to real as possible - or at least as close as I could afford to get. I was always interested in anything that dealt with the quality of sound reproduction. When I learned about bias controlled testing, I naturally took to it like a moth to a flame. What I learned from the experience changed the way I do audio forever. I wasn't angry that my $3500 CD player sounded exactly like my $100 one. I was thrilled that I could sell the expensive one and use the money for something more meaningful. Personally, I had no interest in bragging rights or impressing others. I was only interested in listening to music as accurately as I could. Removing an expensive piece of audio jewelry without losing anything sonic was terrific in my view.

Here is my confusion. Most audiophiles hate the concept that some of their audio jewelry doesn't necessarily represent sonic improvements. Why? A watch collector doesn't care that his Patek Phillippe watch doesn't keep better time than a Casio. The exotic car owner understands that a Ford will get him to destination just as effectively as a Lamborghini. Why do the audiophiles cling desperately to their sonic beliefs? Personally I think it is the concept of golden ears. I think audiophiles believe they can hear better than other people and therefore have a feeling of superiority over others. It isn't about equipment at all, perhaps. It is about their own skill level. They are furious that their hearing is biased just like everyone else's. It degrades that feeling of superiority.

I'm confused by that sentiment if it is true. Since high end audiophiles are generally higher up the intelligence and income scale, one would think they would look at things with a more analytical than emotional approach. The bias controlled listening test is an ear opener that every audiophile should experience. It is such a shame that it is such a fussy and difficult thing to do. I see no problem with wanting to own a $3500 CD player any more than owning a Patek Phillippe watch. It is a lovely thing to own. Why does it have to sound better?
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post #90 of 355 Old 02-04-2014, 07:23 AM
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.

I'm confused by that sentiment if it is true. Since high end audiophiles are generally higher up the intelligence and income scale, one would think they would look at thing with more analytical than emotional approach. The bias controlled listening test is an ear opener that every audiophile should experience. It is such a shame that it is such a fussy and difficult thing to do. I see no problem with wanting to own a $3500 CD player any more than owning a Patek Phillippe watch. It is a lovely thing to own. Why does it have to sound better?

Tradition is a very strong influence on people's lives. For maybe 7 decades people have been told that "new improved" audio gear "sounds better". It's tradition.
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