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Are Blind Audio Comparisons Worthwhile? - Page 4

Poll Results: Are Blind Audio Comparisons Worthwhile?

 
  • 86% (118)
    Yes, blind audio comparisons are worthwhile
  • 13% (19)
    No, blind audio comparisons are not worthwhile
137 Total Votes  
post #91 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by gts007 View Post

Now this I know for certain is not true. Have you ever heard an Audyssey Multeq/XT calibration A/B'ed with direct mode? In my room and on my equipment, Multeq makes a huge difference for the better. It's like night and day. No blind test needed.

Blind tests are probably important for those that lack critical hearing. I think it requires training and practice to develop critical hearing and not just a good ear. One thing that works for me is to only select gear that has a proven track record. Just like musical instruments, audio equipment that is made for decades and remains a choice of modern professionals are always safe bets. Many ears over many years generally cannot go far wrong. The latest and greatest headphones such as Dr Beats Pros are introduced with a plenty of Monster marketing buzz and then quietly forgotten as they are replaced by the new greatest meanwhile classics like AKG 240's are still available after 30 years!

I think room eq is essential but ONLY after treating the setup acoustically first. Audyssey XT32 does an excellent job in my limited experience (my room). It does rob the sound slightly of some of the natural room acoustics and I can understand that some non-musically inclined listeners will prefer the more boomy (natural) sound of their room. However, those who are genuinely musically inclined will generally prefer a balanced and properly Eq'd sound, as it allows you to hear very clearly what is played by all muisicans. I prefer to hear every note on the bass guitar clearly and cleanly and to be able to hear what is played on the drums - this is not always evident when the room is dominated by room resonances or certain speakers with bass resonances (tendency towards one note bass).
post #92 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by fierce_gt View Post

yes, definitely! if blind testing shows no clear winner, then there's no clear winner. it shouldn't be a surprise either, ppl prefer different things, and that's ok. if you want to find out what speakers are 'most accurate' then there shouldn't be any listening necessary, only precise lab measurements, but frankly most ppl don't need or want 'accurate' and when you take about brand bias that becomes obvious.

when 90% of the cost to build speakers is spent on R&D and they've most have been practically unchanged for decades, it shouldn't be a surprise that value priced speakers can still sound great.

90% of speaker cost is cosmetics and distribution cost/mark ups. You are very very lucky if you find speakers with decent quality drivers in them. Most belong to the pro world where ugly black industrial boxes reign but at least the designers spend a little more on decent quality drivers (JBL comes to mind).
post #93 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shadorne View Post

Blind tests are probably important for those that lack critical hearing. I think it requires training and practice to develop critical hearing and not just a good ear.

I can't agree with the first and I agree that some training on how to listen is always warranted. What I think the critical training does is lends even more credence to the outcome of a blind test (regardless of DBT or SBT). Or even sighted with random labeled components.
post #94 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidio View Post

I voted they are worthwile, but seriously it depends. They are extremely difficult to properly conduct, and their results are equally difficult to correctly interpret, so it certainly pays to not be blind about what the limitations are.

http://www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/tas-194-meridian-audios-bob-stuart-talks-with-robert-harley-1

Thanks for a really informative read. While I haven't seen this article before it does tie directly into the width of the listening window the cable burn in challenge explicitly allows for and even encourages.
post #95 of 119
Blind listening tests are only really valid if you're going to hide your speakers behind an AT screen.

If you're going to see them, and your judgement is swayed by their looks, then that should be factored in.

Regardless, no A-B test is valid unless it is conducted in your actual listening room, imo.

-Suntan
post #96 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

I can't agree with the first and I agree that some training on how to listen is always warranted. What I think the critical training does is lends even more credence to the outcome of a blind test (regardless of DBT or SBT). Or even sighted with random labeled components.

I'll explain further what I mean. If you are trained at critical listening then you have learned to judge sound quality and balance. This is what a good audio engineer does. With this training you are less likely to be influenced by cosmetics or the price or other preconceptions about an item. So less need for blind testing.

With very little experience or training it is naturally inevitable that judgement is more easily swayed by marketing hype and cosmetics.So more need for blind testing.
post #97 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post



Thanks for a really informative read. While I haven't seen this article before it does tie directly into the width of the listening window the cable burn in challenge explicitly allows for and even encourages.

If you are implying cable burn-in is some kind of human mental adjustment to a change in sound presentation then I would agree. If you are promulgating the myth that cables need to be burned in like a mechanical engine then I beg to disagree.

I would agree with Bob Stuart that one of the downsides of ABX blind testing is that it may actually take a few hours and many different recordings to narrow down and identify subtle differences in an audio presentation. A golden eared pro will of course identify differences more quickly (having a wealth of experience) which is why they get paid to mix/master music by other professionals, even the musicians themselves, day in and day out.
Edited by Shadorne - 11/1/13 at 5:07pm
post #98 of 119
One of the major pitfalls is that listening to a presentation will inform the listener about that presentation. In a double-blind listening test, during the first presentation the test subject might hear a softly playing instrument the second presentation somehow does not reveal, i.e. due to a lack of resolution. However, because the first presentation has informed the test subject of both the fact that instrument is audible and the fact the music made sense with that instrument being part of it, the test subject will know and EXPECT that instrument to be part of it. Therefore, the test subject will always hear that instrument. In this example, the only way to detect the lack of resolution, which is nonetheless a *real* lack of resolution, would be to listen to it first, the more revealing one second. Obviously, you cannot let the test subject listen to either one first, as the goal of the blind listening test, or part of that goal, is to find out whether there really *is* a lack of resolution in one of both presentations, i.e. the other presentation does not suffer from. So, if the test subject is able to consistently hear differences each time when A is presented first, B second, but at the same time also *unable* to consistently hear differences each time when *B* is presented first, A second, the test results will be badly skewed, away from "B sounds different from A, specifically because B is more revealing than A" towards "no sonic difference". That is, probably most in particular if the guy who interprets these test results is an average joe who failed to accept Bob Stuart's expert advice regarding psychoacoustics. biggrin.gif
Edited by nvidio - 11/2/13 at 5:24am
post #99 of 119
Blind testing has its place, but remember this is recreation. People do not live or die if we chose the wrong speaker because we like the way it sounds with our eyes open.

What I have found most satisfying is to listen to a product in the store on material I bring with me, and if it gets past the first audition then I will listen at least three times over a couple of months.
If it is still meeting my expectations, home it goes. To date I have not regretted any purchase done that way.

Have there been any blind/open studies that follow listening impressions over a span of time?

That would be intriguing.
post #100 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by nvidio View Post

One of the major pitfalls is that listening to a presentation will inform the listener about that presentation. In a double-blind listening test, during the first presentation the test subject might hear a softly playing instrument the second presentation somehow does not reveal, i.e. due to a lack of resolution. However, because the first presentation has informed the test subject of both the fact that instrument is audible and the fact the music made sense with that instrument being part of it, the test subject will know and EXPECT that instrument to be part of it. Therefore, the test subject will always hear that instrument. In this example, the only way to detect the lack of resolution, which is nonetheless a *real* lack of resolution, would be to listen to it first, the more revealing one second. Obviously, you cannot let the test subject listen to either one first, as the goal of the blind listening test, or part of that goal, is to find out whether there really *is* a lack of resolution in one of both presentations, i.e. the other presentation does not suffer from. So, if the test subject is able to consistently hear differences each time when A is presented first, B second, but at the same time also *unable* to consistently hear differences each time when *B* is presented first, A second, the test results will be badly skewed, away from "B sounds different from A, specifically because B is more revealing than A" towards "no sonic difference". That is, probably most in particular if the guy who interprets these test results is an average joe who failed to accept Bob Stuart's expert advice regarding psychoacoustics. biggrin.gif

All of this can be accounted for with sufficiently large sample size, correctly designed controls plus correctly applied and interpreted statistics (good experimental design).

Art
post #101 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post

All of this can be accounted for with sufficiently large sample size, correctly designed controls plus correctly applied and interpreted statistics (good experimental design).

Art

Yep, but correct me if I am wrong that has not yet happened.
post #102 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmReverie View Post

Yep, but correct me if I am wrong that has not yet happened.

My point is still as I stated in my first post, however. Good science explains our physical world incredibly well and good science is self correcting. There is no rational reason to reject blind testing of audio gear to obtain information on real differences any more than there is a reason to reject science in drug trials or experimental physics. IMO those who reject it don't want to know what it will reveal.

Art
post #103 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmReverie View Post

Yep, but correct me if I am wrong that has not yet happened.
Harman does this routinely. See Sean Olive's blog.
post #104 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmReverie View Post

Yep, but correct me if I am wrong that has not yet happened.

I has been done, both at the corporate level and at the academic level. In may not be easy to find all the literature, one might have to go study psychoacoustics to gain access to a lot of research on the topic.
post #105 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by imagic View Post

I has been done, both at the corporate level and at the academic level. In may not be easy to find all the literature, one might have to go study psychoacoustics to gain access to a lot of research on the topic.

That makes me so happy (that it has been done) and sad (that I probably can't access it). Say I had access to academic research and journals (Which I do biggrin.gif) what are some I should look up?
post #106 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmReverie View Post


That makes me so happy (that it has been done) and sad (that I probably can't access it). Say I had access to academic research and journals (Which I do biggrin.gif) what are some I should look up?

I do not have the answer for you. I just spent the day with Keith Yates, who designed George Lucas' home theater (among others), and he studied psychoacoustics at the academic level. I'm taking his word for it that the scientifically valid research papers are out there—presumably you should find a university that teaches the topic, such an institution would have the relevant reference materials in its library.

post #107 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by FilmReverie View Post

That makes me so happy (that it has been done) and sad (that I probably can't access it). Say I had access to academic research and journals (Which I do biggrin.gif) what are some I should look up?

Ask a research librarian. I'm sure they could help zero in on results.
post #108 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post

My point is still as I stated in my first post, however. Good science explains our physical world incredibly well and good science is self correcting. There is no rational reason to reject blind testing of audio gear to obtain information on real differences any more than there is a reason to reject science in drug trials or experimental physics. IMO those who reject it don't want to know what it will reveal.

Art

Absolutely incredible that knowledgeable, and level headed individuals who will likely cite examples of scientific methodology in many aspects of modern life will vehemently deny it's usefulness in the area of audio and/or acoustics.

Interesting, also, that subjectivists seem to populate the majority of the written responses of this poll, and yet the results themselves overwhelmingly reflect the obvious, and rational result. This poll is good in that it restores my faith in the knowledge of the average AVS member! Is it possible that the small percentage whom steadfastly cling to their ridiculous ideology have a vested interest in perpetuating "the myth?"

Jay
post #109 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Pet Motel View Post

Absolutely incredible that knowledgeable, and level headed individuals who will likely cite examples of scientific methodology in many aspects of modern life will vehemently deny it's usefulness in the area of audio and/or acoustics.

Interesting, also, that subjectivists seem to populate the majority of the written responses of this poll, and yet the results themselves overwhelmingly reflect the obvious, and rational result. This poll is good in that it restores my faith in the knowledge of the average AVS member! Is it possible that the small percentage whom steadfastly cling to their ridiculous ideology have a vested interest in perpetuating "the myth?"

Jay

I think the bigger issue is the so called studies that we have available to us are laughably poorly done to the point that the research is pointless. This doesn't have to be the case but it currently is.
post #110 of 119

Blind testing is the best way to eliminate bias. It can be bias you don't even know you have.

post #111 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post

All of this can be accounted for with sufficiently large sample size, correctly designed controls plus correctly applied and interpreted statistics (good experimental design).

Art
Yes, that was my point. Good experimental design is what makes double-blind listening tests useful, and, unfortunately, as was to be expected, some individuals (not pointing any fingers here) have been showing a clear tendency to force upon others their own, subjective, opinions about what separates good experimental design from pseudoscientific experimental design. smile.gif
post #112 of 119
Hey Ender,

I'm looking at attending an event north of Indy on 12/14. Let me know if you want to hear a Crown XLS DriveCore on your setup.
post #113 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by David Susilo View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by N8DOGG View Post

I 100% agree on click bait. It's been discussed to DEATH on all of the forums. But..... it did get me to click tongue.gif

Reasons ABX is pointless: the human element.

1. A person needs to get used to the acoustic environment.

So why not just do it? Why stigmatize ABX when this would be true of any reliable listening test?
Quote:
2. Barometric pressure affects how sounds is perceived.

When TAS and SP start publishing barometric pressures during listening tests, I'll consider taking this seriously.
Quote:
3. Familiarity of the recorded materials.

Why stigmatize ABX when this would be true of any reliable listening test?
Quote:
4. Every person perceives things differently and have different hearing acuity.

Why stigmatize ABX when this would be true of any reliable listening test?
Quote:
5. In the end it's still a subjective comparison.

That's called poisoning the well - it applies to all listening tests, so I guess you want to say that they are all useless.

Actually most of the above comments poison the well when it comes to listening tests, is that the point?
post #114 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Art Sonneborn View Post

Wow ! I'm glad medicine doesn't adhere to this sort of thing, we would still be using leaches.

Art

Actually, leeches ARE now BACK being used in the western medical communities.
post #115 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Hey Ender,

I'm looking at attending an event north of Indy on 12/14. Let me know if you want to hear a Crown XLS DriveCore on your setup.

Well, if you get to Boston, bring them by tongue.gif

- Rich
post #116 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichB View Post

Well, if you get to Boston, bring them by tongue.gif

- Rich

Sure, I'll bring my Statements too. See how they contrast to the Revel Salons tongue.gif
post #117 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Sure, I'll bring my Statements too. See how they contrast to the Revel Salons tongue.gif

No problem. Just call first tongue.gif

A friend brought over his Focal Bookshelf speakers and they sounded damn good in my room.

- Rich
post #118 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jinjuku View Post

Sure, I'll bring my Statements too. See how they contrast to the Revel Salons tongue.gif

I just had a look at your gear.
Absolutely, bring those baby's (nice work) tongue.gif

Interesting setup you have there.
Interesting PC setup, for music, I have been streaming to the BDP-105's USB DAC.
It is amazing how different Kernel Streaming, WASAPI, and ASIO drivers sound with this device.
The 24 bit DAC is quite sensitive to the driver and bit padding options..

OT, for this thread, perhaps we can find another somewhere...

- Rich
post #119 of 119
Quote:
Originally Posted by RichB View Post

I just had a look at your gear.
Absolutely, bring those baby's (nice work) tongue.gif

Interesting setup you have there.
Interesting PC setup, for music, I have been streaming to the BDP-105's USB DAC.
It is amazing how different Kernel Streaming, WASAPI, and ASIO drivers sound with this device.
The 24 bit DAC is quite sensitive to the driver and bit padding options..

OT, for this thread, perhaps we can find another somewhere...

- Rich

Basically your Oppo is doing the same thing my Computer + EMU 1212M is doing. The EMU provides a vast amount of flexibility with it's ADAT / AES-EBU / SP_DIF I/O. Plus the ability to add on the expansion module and get Head-phone and TT pre's in addition to more analog I/O.

It also doesn't hurt that the Analog output was done by an Apogee engineer.

I decided to use a setup that you would find in a Mastering Studio. If it's used to master on then it has to be good enough for playback.

Using ASIO as my sound subsystem on Win7. Plus the reviews on the 1212, 1616, 0404 were great.
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