Originally Posted by Axatax
This begs the question --
How can people with lesser hearing differentiate the subtle differences in signal and power cables, rocks on top of CD players, etc. for example?
We probably don't want to turn this thread into a debate on that
. I will give the answer but follow up debate should probably be in its own thread. Answer is that they can and cannot. The high frequency roll off is only an issue if that is the effect for such product. Since the ear is most sensitive to mid frequencies and we don't lose much there, then most likely improvement for anything that audible makes the sound better likely has large contributions in that region.
If on the other hand you are testing a product where variations exist in high frequencies, then yes, you better have people who can hear that range. You can read confirmation of both of these factor from Harman folks where people like Floyd confirm that age does not diminish one's ability to critically evaluate audio products while at the same time, their expert listeners go through regular hearing tests to make sure they can hear issues in speaker design across the full audio range.
This is not meant as a snarky/sarcastic question, but seriously begs the question as to why I cannot hear these differences while a 65 year old person can (I wish I could!, as I'm apparently missing something...).
Why can one person play golf better than another? We accept training and natural ability as having a role in sports but when it comes to hearing audio distortion we tend to think we are all created equally
We know that we can teach people to hear artifacts in say, audio compression. Therefore it reasons that the average person is oblivious to distortions that are audible and there all the time. By the same token, it is possible that some people have gained or already possess the ability to hear certain artifacts that others cannot.
I know I have lost a ton of my high frequency hearing yet I can hear compression artifacts (due to training) that the general public cannot. This is due to combined effect of both above.
I don't have any "musical" background, FWIW. I think (know) my hearing at my age is quite good - and appears to be *improving* through age.
Practical experience shows that having a musical experience is not a help in hearing distortion in audio products. Different training, for different application.