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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Please add your opinion if the ABX test for audio is flawed or not.

I personally see no flaw and beleive in the results as fact.There are others who say it is flawed.What are your thoughts on this test?Especially with all this audio nervosa going around on the internet?
 

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ABX testing would lead us to believe that almost all CD players, DAC's, amps and cables (subtle differences) sound alike, even though they may vary wildly in their construction.


Blind testing speakers (large differences) has proven to be worthwhile, hard to dispute that.


I would say that ABX testing is a good tool, but not perfect. Long term listening is another good, but not perfect method.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I find long term testing tends to confuse my results.Things like the mood i'm in or health at the time.My sound systems sounds different to me even when I havn't changed anything.Some days I think it sounds excellent and other days no matter what I do I can't enjoy it.I think a shorter period of testing would be better for me.
 

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In my opinion, any differences b/w gear that cannot be discerned when "blinded" are not significant enough to impact my enjoyment of the music and are scarcely worth the expense.


I find it remarkable that a hobby which employs the talents of electrical engineers seems content to dismiss arguments urging the use of blinded studies to prove what is and what is not distinguishable. It's like we have one foot in the world of astro-physlics and another in astrology.


And how is it reasonable to believe that a difference that can't be discerned quickly (and blinded) will become apparent only with time?? Ugh. I suggest asking an Ear/Nose/Throat doctor about how our hearing acuity waxes and wanes with seasonal allergies, colds, congestion, etc… ..basically anything that triggers a histamine response. ..With this added to the mix, I find it hard to believe that one can hear the differences made by a new cable - which would be very subtle, at best - ONLY after a few weeks.


And as for pricey power cords… ..How is it possible that after electricity has traveled through hundreds of miles of power line (and all its splices) then hundreds of feet (or yards) of romex in our home, that changing the last three feet of wire with something exotic, expensive (cool looking, and packaged in a pricey box) is going to make a difference??
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm sorry this was meant to be put in the Audio theory section.Perhaps a Mod could move it for us?


When we remember the sound of a song 2 days or 2 weeks ago is just that.A memory.It's not short term memeory anymore.it has moved to long term memory to betotally recreated in our minds,influenced by too many emotions and thoughts through the process.ABX at a fairly fast rate is the only way to get real results.Although the test allows as much time as you like I think fast switching is the best way for me to hear small differences.
 

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Discussion Starter · #6 ·
I'm sorry this was meant to be put in the Audio theory section.Perhaps a Mod could move it for us?


When we remember the sound of a song 2 days or 2 weeks ago is just that.A memory.It's not short term memeory anymore.it has moved to long term memory to been totally recreated in our minds,influenced by too many emotions,feelings and thoughts through the process.ABX at a fairly fast rate is the only way to get real results.Although the test allows as much time as you like I think fast switching is the best way for me to hear small differences or even big ones for that matter.
 

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Nothing precludes one from doing the sort of long term testing as Tess suggests in a blind fashion. The thing is, can you get enough trials in to raise it to the level of being able to statistically analyze it.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai /forum/post/19639770


Nothing precludes one from doing the sort of long term testing as Tess suggests in a blind fashion. The thing is, can you get enough trials in to raise it to the level of being able to statistically analyze it.
Quote:
Originally Posted by theformerpro /forum/post/19639932


That's interesting.Perhaps a flaw there?

There is no flaw with quick switching while listening to same music in sync. It can easily be done with ABX switcher especially when comparing IC or speaker cables, DACs, disc players. So called long term listening is supported by subjectivists who want the aural memory to fade more between comparisons so that it will gain them leverage.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesseract67 /forum/post/19639208


ABX testing would lead us to believe that almost all CD players, DAC's, amps and cables (subtle differences) sound alike, even though they may vary wildly in their construction.


Blind testing speakers (large differences) has proven to be worthwhile, hard to dispute that.


I would say that ABX testing is a good tool, but not perfect. Long term listening is another good, but not perfect method.

Many times in audio showrooms, I've witnessed customers and salesmen claiming to hear differences in cables, players amps, etc. They hear the differences immediately, and often make a purchasing decision based on that single listening session. They seem very sure of the clear differences they heard, complete with detailed descriptions that go on and on.


Why when blinded do these differences seem to disappear? And why is long term listening needed to hear these differences that were clear just moments before?
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by theformerpro /forum/post/19639402


I find long term testing tends to confuse my results.Things like the mood i'm in or health at the time.My sound systems sounds different to me even when I havn't changed anything.Some days I think it sounds excellent and other days no matter what I do I can't enjoy it.I think a shorter period of testing would be better for me.

This is why I suggest long term, you can average out the results. There are days that you will feel different and that will affect your perceptions. The problem with blind testing is the difficulty for the Average Joe to perform it properly in a domestic setting.


Neither method is fool proof.


Blind testing and long term listening sessions are widely used in the audio industry in conjunction with one another. Both are useful tools.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 /forum/post/19641069


Why when blinded do these differences seem to disappear? And why is long term listening needed to hear these differences that were clear just moments before?

The simple answer is the controlled blind tests don't produce the results they desire and contradict their beliefs ergo the test is wrong.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by theformerpro /forum/post/19639402


I find long term testing tends to confuse my results.Things like the mood i'm in or health at the time.My sound systems sounds different to me even when I havn't changed anything.Some days I think it sounds excellent and other days no matter what I do I can't enjoy it.I think a shorter period of testing would be better for me.

I have the same issue, mood, humidity, background noise and other factors can affect my listening enjoyment. This is why long term listening is important. If I try a new piece of equipment on what happens to be a bad night, I will make a poor judgement.


Quote:
Originally Posted by David James /forum/post/19641480


The simple answer is the controlled blind tests don't produce the results they desire and contradict their beliefs ergo the test is wrong.


I'm glad you have this all figured out and rolled up so simply.


ABX testing tells you one thing quite conclusively. It tells you if there is a perceivable difference between A and B. Since so many say all cd players, amplifiers etc. sound the same, the ABX test is all you need to prove or debunk that theory. That isn't to say one is better, just that they are perceivably different.


Blind testing takes more human factors in account such as auditory memory, which is quite poor. Often listeners can pass an ABX test with high statistical accuracy but cannot pass a blind test. This shows that differences cannot be perceived or remembered over time or through confusion, stress etc.


Audiophiles feel that those small differences are of value. To say they are not is your personal opinion and should not be confused with any scientific findings.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by theformerpro /forum/post/19639402


...My sound systems sounds different to me even when I havn't changed anything....

Great example why one needs to do a careful DBT, levels matched, statistically sufficient trials
The mind is a funny thing.


Just imagine what it would be telling you if you changed things or think something was changed
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by tesseract67 /forum/post/19641197


This is why I suggest long term, you can average out the results. There are days that you will feel different and that will affect your perceptions. The problem with blind testing is the difficulty for the Average Joe to perform it properly in a domestic setting.


Neither method is fool proof.


Blind testing and long term listening sessions are widely used in the audio industry in conjunction with one another. Both are useful tools.

How do you average it out?

Not sure what you mean by long term listening in the audio industry? If it is not blinded, it is just as flawed as short term sighted listening. And no, blinded testing is more credible than sighted, foolproof or not.

Quote:
Originally Posted by syd123 /forum/post/19639526


....


I find it remarkable that a hobby which employs the talents of electrical engineers seems content to dismiss arguments urging the use of blinded studies to prove what is and what is not distinguishable. It's like we have one foot in the world of astro-physlics and another in astrology.


...

Is audio any different from any other consumer marketplace with regards to mythology, voodoo beliefs, urban legends, etc?


No one is immune from bs, no one.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt /forum/post/19642470


I have the same issue, mood, humidity, background noise and other factors can affect my listening enjoyment. This is why long term listening is important. If I try a new piece of equipment on what happens to be a bad night, I will make a poor judgement....


Blind testing takes more human factors in account such as auditory memory, which is quite poor. Often listeners can pass an ABX test with high statistical accuracy but cannot pass a blind test. This shows that differences cannot be perceived or remembered over time or through confusion, stress etc.

You are contradicting yourself. Since audio memory is poor how in the world does it improve over the long haul? It gets worse for small details.

Also, you are confused about ABX and blind testing. Not sure where you got your statistics that people pass ABX but fail blind testing. Both tests are double blind.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt /forum/post/19642470


Audiophiles feel that those small differences are of value. To say they are not is your personal opinion and should not be confused with any scientific findings.

If audiophiles can differentiate small differences, then they can pass both ABX or a DBt test, no? The evidence is not very good that they can, hence, small differences are below detection thresholds, period.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by theformerpro /forum/post/19639402


My sound systems sounds different to me even when I havn't changed anything.Some days I think it sounds excellent and other days no matter what I do I can't enjoy it.

I think we have all gone through this. One theory I have heard put forth on this, is that it's evidence of a problem with your power (at certain times, due to demand, etc., that your power gets mucked up and you can hear it in your system).


Not saying that this is my theory. Just one that I have heard.
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Rutgar /forum/post/19642925


I think we have all gone through this. One theory I have heard put forth on this, is that it's evidence of a problem with your power (at certain times, due to demand, etc., that your power gets mucked up and you can hear it in your system).


Not saying that this is my theory. Just one that I have heard.

I've read the same and must say that I simply don't buy this at all. ..As I mentioned earlier in the thread, our hearing acuity waxes and wanes as the result of all sorts of factors. Allergies, colds, sinusitis, etc... can all impact our hearing, not to mention our moods, preoccupation/ anxiety, etc...
 

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt /forum/post/19642470


I'm glad you have this all figured out and rolled up so simply.

Rather then just making stuff up yeah, such testing is valuable and at this point, the best means available.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt /forum/post/19642470


ABX testing tells you one thing quite conclusively. It tells you if there is a perceivable difference between A and B.

hmm, yes, that's exactly it. So we agree?
Quote:
Originally Posted by Harrypt /forum/post/19642470


Blind testing takes more human factors in account such as auditory memory, which is quite poor. Often listeners can pass an ABX test with high statistical accuracy but cannot pass a blind test. This shows that differences cannot be perceived or remembered over time or through confusion, stress etc.

And the links to those studies please.


Edit - never mind. I really don't care. You guys can go about believing whatever you want. When you have science, evidence or something other then beliefs, let me know.
 

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A couple of things that psychoacoustics experts have learned about human hearing:


1) People tend to hear differences even when there aren't any. Give people two identical presentations and ask them if they're the same or different, and maybe a third of the time (if not more), they'll say different. It's pure imagination.


That's why sighted comparisons are meaningless. You may "hear" a difference, but you don't know if it's real, or you're imagining it. Doesn't prove a thing.


2) Human memory for subtle sonic differences is very poor. A simple experiment: Conduct a DBT in a way that allows you to switch instantaneously between A and B. Find the smallest sonic difference that you can identify using that method. Now, repeat the test, but insert a 10-second gap whenever you switch. You will no longer be able to identify that difference.


And that's just 10 seconds. Imagine trying to compare a new component to one you heard yesterday, or last month in an audio store. You haven't got a chance of remembering it. So comparisons based on long-term listening are completely useless. You can't remember well enough to make a meaningful comparison.


Anyone who claims to be able to hear differences reliably under sighted, long-term conditions is either lying, delusional, or claiming to have super-human powers. All right, they're either lying or delusional.
 
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