Originally Posted by rnrgagne
Well I agree that we can be trained to know what to listen for to a certain extent.
There are actually two dimensions to ear training.
One dimension of audible differences is where we hear that the spectral balance or timbre is incorrect while the other dimension of audible differences is where we hear sounds that were not part of the music or we hear that parts of the music have disappeared. Both of these kinds of errors are most easily and sensitively detected by means of direct comparison over a period of a few seconds at most.
Such as a person that assumes bloated bass is powerful and that accurate bass is anemic.
When differences of this nature are large, then it can be safe to presume that nobody in their right mind would perform or record music that sounds that bad. Of course recordings have been made where there is quite a bit of reliable evidence that their sonic shortcomings are exactly what was recorded. If you attempt to configure or adjust your system so that they sound right, you will hurt your system's SQ for the general run of recordings. This is one reason why I automatically discount poetic prose about a system's sound quality based on just one or a small number of recordings.
Once we enter the realm of subtle differences, then it is very difficult to judge SQ unless some kind of direct comparison with an accurate sound can be made. The natural variation in performances and recordings work against us, because it becomes unreasonable to presume that any given recording is a priori actually done that well.
The other problem is that in the realm of subtle differences, relatively small level differences and the natural morphing of spectral balance and content of music can contain differences that vastly exceed the differences among the equipment being compared.
The good news is that close comparisons of equipment that only manifests small differences is generally possible and often easy to arrange.
Listener training is a reliably observable effect, but it works only to a point. Once a difference is so small as to inaudible, that is it butts up against one the thresholds of hearing for that effect, nobody hears nothing. The standard means for training listeners is to contrive a situation where the effect in question is magnified so that it becomes obvious and easy to hear. The magnification is scaled back in logical steps until no difference is heard. The point where differences are no longer heard becomes a data point. It is well known that these data points tend to cluster around points that in some cases correlate with physically observable effects that can be observed by independent means. IOW, if we understand how parts of our hearing system work, their maximum performance can be deduced from that knowlege, and when that happens it matches up with actual observations.
A loudspeaker by it's mechanical nature is one of the more significant components in the chain and can certainly have easily identifiable characteristics.
Differences among rooms often make differences among loudspeakers seem small. If you actually take several pairs of loudspeakers on a tour of various listening rooms you may find that each room impresses its sonic character on the speaker so strongly that the differences among the speakers is the lesser audible effect.
Those characteristics can be completely altered by placement, so one speaker might sound better 8' from the listening position and another at 10', or toed in vs not toed in etc...
I don't know how you rectify that in a speaker DBT,
Please study up on Harman's hydraulic "Speaker Shuffler".http://mixonline.com/gear/tech_talk/techtalk_wysi_not_always_wyg/
"In the MLL, Harman created a device called the speaker shuffler, a hydraulic machine that operates behind a visually opaque and sonically transparent screen, and lets you swap up to four pairs of speakers up to 200 pounds each and put them in the exact same position, all within three seconds. It removes what Chaikin calls the “nuisance variables” that can color perception, such as logo, brand, look of the product, color, price and, most importantly, position. Any speaker will sound different if it’s placed even a foot to the left or right, affecting the listener’s judgment."
"Shown is the automated speaker shuffler of the MLL set up for A/B stereo testing of two stereo
loudspeakers. Here the front listening screen is pulled up."http://seanolive.blogspot.com/2010/07/harman-kardons-quest-to-standardise.html
"Above: Trained listener Alex Miller is evaluating the sound quality of three loudspeakers in Harman's Multichannel Listening Lab. The automated speaker shuffler ensures that each speaker is heard in the exact same position. The acoustically transparent, visually opaque scrim means the tests are double-blind and not influenced by brand, price or other sighted biases. The computer randomly selects the presentation order of the speakers in each trial and listener controls the switching so that experimenter bias is removed from the test."
but that's not really my point. My point is a speaker test is completely different than a component, speaker cable or power cable testing, and should be. To suggest you can "train" yourself to hear what a power cord can do seems beyond absurd.
I am uncomfortable with dismissing potential audible differences when there are measurable differences that might be audible.
Power cords might cause audible differences due to ground loops and how they are routed, but this applies only to systems that are poorly configured in the first place. Shielded power cords might make a difference as compared to unshielded power cords in some circumstances. Of course standard commercial grade shielded power cords can be obtained for only a modest price premium. If the rest of the system is up to snuff, the location of a power cord should not matter that much. However we have audiophiles who favor unshielded interconnects and even unshielded phono cables, and amps and preamps in wooden boxes that lack the normal shielding. Go figure!Edited by arnyk - 9/5/12 at 5:15am