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marcelo
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Re: Because I said so . . .

By reading these posts and a zillion other where DBT, ABX testing, etc etc. are challenged as far as the results obtained, there is a contradictory explanation given by those who firmly states that DBT is not enough to conclude whether there are or aren't differences in perceived sound, and it goes more or less like this:

"we need a long term relationship (monthes sometimes!) with the (whatever gear) to find out about the differences, and a single DBT is too little time to do it"

Well, this is the first part, but then we hear or read:

"I heard last night the brand new "XXY" high end CDP, and it was absolutely a no brainer to conclude that it was far better than the "ZZZ" we compared it with"! Or "What a difference those cables made on my system! I could immediatly hear the difference with my old cables!"

So, those whom states that we need to live with our cables or those high end snake oil gadgets for about 30 days before we can really appreciate what it does, are usually the same whom states that "it was immediatly perceived the difference"....

See? the story is almost always the same...

Why then, people that swear having heard differences, and being able to identify wich rig or even cables are being used, when offered to prove it they either pass or criticize the BT?

I was myself told "you have no musical education, thus, you are not qualified to hear subtle differences". Allright, the bashing we all know. BUT, I wonder, why I was a honorable member of the golden ear club when I was in the firm belief that I heard differences? Why was I a qualified tester to choose wich brand of cables was the appropiate for a given set up only until yesterday and today I have no ears?
"Oh, maybe you never were a GE" really? Strawman arguments.

Worse yet, somebody agrees to it, and finds out how difficult it is to even perceive any difference (much less identify the source) in between, fx, cdp's.
Mockery from the GE gang is to be expected. "he was under pressure", "the chosen enviroment was wrong", "the music choice was not right", "you had too many cocktails before testing"...and so on.

This is why DBT is such a hot issue all over. Because the minute someone says "I have tested this and couldn't hear ANY difference at all", the other side comes in a bunch saying "you and your uneducated ears"...and I'm sure I'm not the only one here whom heard this.

brgds, marcelo
ps: I love high end gear, don't get me wrong, and I love thick and bright cables, massive or designer CDPs, and I admit, I love owning the best (who doesn't?) out there, but, I don

swittev
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
- Failure to give correct frequency response on digital output (no-name DVD player, -3 dB at 4.5 kHz). Reported from another person in Sweden.

I'b be very interested in what a DVD player can do to a digital stream to affect only FR of the analog result?

ScottW

swittev
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
The only possible conclusion is that you were not able to hear the difference right then, in that setup,

I think that is an excellent point that has not been touched on enough. IIRC, the speakers used in the DBT were not the same speakers John used to ultimately conclude the amps were different. I don't think his experience nullifies DBT or ABX protocols. It just points out that system design is as or more important than individual components. I would also point out that quality component designs can minimize interaction between components making system design more foolproof.

ScottW

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
A non-correct deamphasis flag sent to the external D/A.

Software.... it's only typing Thanks for the reply.

ScottW

arnyk
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Re: Because I said so . . .

>>"Here we go again - the "DBT can't be long term" myth rides again!"

>I don't know this myth. I only know that in most cases, blind or not, a group of people are asked to spend some time, usually short, in a new environment and evaluate something. Not a good situation.

That was never the intent of ABX. The whole reason that we invented the ABX Comparator was so that a person could do a DBT all by themselves, in their listening room, in their time.

About 60 of the original ABX Comparators were built and sold, and AFAIK the owners predominately used them that way. I certainly did that with mine.

About 5 years ago, a refinement of the ABX Comparator was developed called PCABX. Now, the ABX Comparator became a program that people could download and run on their PC.

Thousands, perhaps tens of thousands of people have downloaded the various PCABX comparators and have done their own DBTs in their own listening environment, in their own time.

"there is no reason any or all of that can't be done under bias-controlled conditions. "

>Can you name a "bias-controlled condition"?

Sure, someone doing their own ABX or PCABX test.

> I cannot, especially since I carry my biases around with me.

Carrying your biases around is what we all do, which is why bias controls are so helpful. Bias controls can really work.

> I already know your system does not sound as good as (insert name here) because I already have feelings about this and your stance.

That seems like a pretty strange thing to say.

>The same is true of you. Suggesting you (or anyone) can overcome or ignore bias is simply lying to yourself.

It's generally recognized that blind testing can elminate the effects of certain common kinds of bias. That's not the same thing as overcoming or ignoring bias by lying to yourself.

Reed
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

I have tried several blind tests on equipment/cables in my system. What I have found is if I hear a big difference mormally, I can generally tell in a blind test. If I perceive a small difference, I sometimes cannot teel in a blind test. You cannot discredit the equipment/cable if there is no difference, however, as the downstream components may not be of high enough quality to detect the difference. Let's face it, the higher you get up the ladder, there more subtle the differences become. The blind test is really of no use to me.

I also think that it is easier to detect differences in your own system, where you are used to listening to music. Your ear is much more tuned into the sound of it.

arnyk
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>I have tried several blind tests on equipment/cables in my system.

Is it apriori true that any particular cable is going to sound different? If not, what is the standard for establishing whether cables sound different, and how large the difference is?

All sighted tests involving small differences are highly questionable because sighted tests are highly prone to false positives. Therefore sighted tests are not a reliable standard for determining whether differences exist, or what the size of the difference is.

Absent sighted tests, what is the standard that one uses to judge the sensitivity of blind tests?

>What I have found is if I hear a big difference mormally, I can generally tell in a blind test.

Same question - how does one determine the size of the difference sufficiently reliably to use the judgement to judge blind tests?

>If I perceive a small difference, I sometimes cannot teel in a blind test.

Obviously, the size of the difference is not being judged here using a blind test. So what kind of superior, more reliable standard is being used? The standard cannot reasonably be a sighted test because sighted tests are so extremely prone to false positives. What remains as a reasonble standard?

> You cannot discredit the equipment/cable if there is no difference,

In many cases cables have no measureable effect on audio passing through them. This is despite the fact that many differences can be easily measured, but are way below any generally accepted standards for audibility.

> however, as the downstream components may not be of high enough quality to detect the difference.

This is irrelevant to whether the test is blind or not. Therefore, its presence would appear to indicate that the writer is somehow confused about what he is writing about.

> Let's face it, the higher you get up the ladder, there more subtle the differences become.

This isn't generally true either. For example as one moves up the price and status ladder (seemingly according to Stereophile) you encounter SET amplfiers that introduce fairly large readily measureable frequency response differences that vary with the speaker being used. Similarly, some more expensive cables include networks of electrical components that also introduce larger, measureable frequency response errors.

>The blind test is really of no use to me.

>I also think that it is easier to detect differences in your own system, where you are used to listening to music.

Again, another issue that is irrelevant to the issue of blind testing.

>Your ear is much more tuned into the sound of it.

I think that's true, but its not always true that this is advantageous. Using a unfamiliar system sometimes has favorable psychological effects.

Thomas_A
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Former post from me.

Matrixhifi
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Hello from Spain.

I do not know which will have been Mr Atkinson's intention on having opened this so polemic topic. It is necessary to recognize his courage.

Having informed Mr Atkinson in more BT that the majority of fans, I am sure that he knows that the above mentioned tests are valid.

Also I am sure that he would never recognize the previous affirmation, since it would be like to shoot stones against his proper roof.

In our web we have published infinity of tests that reveal that in this interest it is not a gold everything what shines.

Regards
Alfonso

Robh3606
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

My question is how valid are tests done at home with no controls?? By controls I would define simple level matching as one of them. Unless I missed it in the thread I see DBT and ABX testing portrayed as just a simple comparison. For the testing to have any merit what about addressing issues besides bias that can effect the results and can be mitigated by your average hobbiest. I would think that room interaction between a pair of speakers as well as level matching could give you very different results than if you used some kind of controls in set-up. When you advocate DBT or ABX testing at home is there some kind of minimum "controls" that are need or recommended to be in place???

Rob

Matrixhifi
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Hi

This is our custom made & developed ABX interface.

http://www.matrixhifi.com/contenedor_abx_ver2.htm

Full of high end components inside...., as we now that simple componentes in signal path can degrade sound and make a Wadia player sound like a cheepo DVD player. (well... is what some spanish audioxfiles sais ).

This ABX dont do it (see the AP measurements) but... audioxfiles don't want to believe. They are always listening "differences" in audio forums, not in real live.

Luismax

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

More about real life.

We have lot of experience whit blind test and abx comparison.

We have even more experience in discussion forums especialy polemical posts whit never ending dialectical wars.

Our filosofy is: facts not words.

In audio forums lot of people can ear big differences between some components. Great, instantaneous, immediate, palapables, without place to any doubt.

We sais "ok where can I meet you, where mai I go to see you & to listen to you hifi.
Let

arnyk
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>My question is how valid are tests done at home with no controls??

Tests are rarely any better than their controls.

>By controls I would define simple level matching as one of them.

The other high-priority control is time-synching, if relevant.

>Unless I missed it in the thread I see DBT and ABX testing portrayed as just a simple comparison.

ABX has always included level matching within 0.1 dB in the range of frequencies where audio is perceptible, with a reasonble allowance for broader tolerances at the frequency extremes. This point was clearly made in the Clark ABX article in the 1978 JAES.

>For the testing to have any merit what about addressing issues besides bias that can effect the results and can be mitigated by your average hobbiest. I would think that room interaction between a pair of speakers as well as level matching could give you very different results than if you used some kind of controls in set-up.

Agreed. Some amps are more difficult for amps to drive than others. This may have been an issue in the ages-old DBT that John Atkinson keeps bringing up again and again, but never provides any relevant details about.

>When you advocate DBT or ABX testing at home is there some kind of minimum "controls" that are need or recommended to be in place???

You can find what is AFAIK the most recent thinking about listening test controls in the sidebar "10 Requirements..." posted at www.pcabx.com .

clarkjohnsen
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

jamesgarvin wrote: "I think it is the same reason that some people have a need to convert others to their religion, their profession, etc. They need validation."

The irony here is immense. The DBT religionists seek validation *with a test that's never been validated*. For over fifteen years I've argued that the resolution capability of DBTs in audio has never been established. How does one do that? By taking a sonic phenomenon that everyone finds audible and subjecting it to DBT rigors. Then take successively smaller differences and find where the process loses focus, as it were, or whether it does at all.

Lacking such validation, DBTs in audio are mere wishful thinking and decidedly unscientific.

clark

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>Some amps are more difficult for amps to drive than others.
>This may have been an issue in the ages-old DBT that John
>Atkinson keeps bringing up again and again, but never
>provides any relevant details about.

Mr. Krueger, I request you keep your distortions of the truth to other forums. In the case of the 1978 blind listening test of amplifiers I have, both elsewhere and on this board, informed you that these test were described in exhaustive detail in the November 1978 issue of Hi-Fi News. Yes, that article is not yet available in that magazine's on-line archives, but it would not be appropriate for me to post it on the Stereophile website without permission.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

I think there are areas of DBT/Control that are underutilized:

1) For things like interconnects, speaker cable, or "small" items, it would seem not too big a task to have a reviewer be told that he/she will be listening to a new component in his/her reference system to describe, but not know what item was actually changed. Testing would involve one item only, and the reviewer could listen "for months" to fully get the feel for the new product.

It would seem that the reviewer would use his/her usual listening protcols and have all the time required to get a feel for the sound of a given product. We'd be left with pure, unadulterated reviewing!

It would also be interesting to see what the reviewer may describe if the "change" was a sham and the system was unchanged from his/her reference.

This type of testing would require no ABX or instantaneous challenges, just a leisurely description of sound.

I suspect we would have many "null" reviews when faced with actually decribing sound and not describing product, per se.

2) To take this one level further, I'd like to see much more in the way of "multiple reviews." Have a half dozen reviewers spend some time with the same product and not allow them to compare notes before submitting their results. The reviewers would be "blinded" from each other, with the results indicating the range of experience a product provided.

_______________________________

Not to be a cynic on my first post, but my hunch is that this sort of test would be overly threatening to a reviewer - fear of being wrong would be a powerful negative incentive for overstating differences and making night and day proclamations.

Perhaps reviewers would even stake the claim that this fear inhibited their ability to relax and "listen," making for inferior reviews...

Christian
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
For over fifteen years I've argued that the resolution capability of DBTs in audio has never been established. How does one do that? By taking a sonic phenomenon that everyone finds audible and subjecting it to DBT rigors. Then take successively smaller differences and find where the process loses focus, as it were, or whether it does at all.

Maybe we need a new science. We could call it "psychoacoustic".

Axon
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
The irony here is immense. The DBT religionists seek validation *with a test that's never been validated*.


I think it's a bit less onesided than that, and I tried to flesh this out a bit in a HA thread. The skeptic would say that cable differences have never been validated either, and that audiophiles have an unfounded disbelief in the placebo effect, so strictly in terms of differing beliefs, both sides have their criticisms.

Moreover, how would you propose "validating" blind testing in a way that both sides would accept? We already have a really good bead on what the "limits" are from existing blind tests, and we have successful blind tests that give us a good idea of what can be proven audible. It's just that these limits are not accepted.

arnyk
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>Mr. Krueger, I request you keep your distortions of the truth to other forums.

I'll bet money this personal attack won't be moderated!

>In the case of the 1978 blind listening test of amplifiers I have, both elsewhere and on this board, informed you that these test were described in exhaustive detail in the November 1978 issue of Hi-Fi News.

I know you won't believe this John, but I have no recollection of this information at all.

I checked google, and I found that you last mentioned it on RAO around last May 10. There is no response from me to that post, or that information. One might even think I never saw that information then.

> Yes, that article is not yet available in that magazine's on-line archives, but it would not be appropriate for me to post it on the Stereophile website without permission.

I'm sure it will be as good as secret from me for a long time. ;-(

arnyk
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>> We really know nothing about Atkinson's 1978 Quad
>>amplifier tests.

>They were reported in exhaustive detail in the November 1978 issue of Hi-Fi News.

Ahh, the lost reference!

When I see that article or a facsimile of it...

>My point is that at that time, I had no reason to doubt the results of the tests.

Understandable, but hardly binding on much of anything almost 30 years later.

>And as I reported in the July Stereophile, I told this anecdote at the debate to make two specific points. First, it demonstrates that my following the then-as-now "objectivist" mantra -- that audiophiles should buy the cheapest amplifier that offers the power and features they need -- had let me down.

That purported failure is contingent on facts not in evidence, including whether or not the Quad amp actually had an audible fault as you used it, and whether or not its replacement would actually sound different, as you used it.

>Second, it pits against one another two core beliefs of the believers in "scientific" testing: 1) that a blind test, merely by being blind, reveals the reality of audible amplifier differences;

I'm willing to stipulate that any particular test by any means may not be relevant to all circumstances and all times that follow it. ;=)

To say otherwise would be to deny the true meaning of the results of scientific experiments. They're only valid until disproved or corrected, at which time their validity becomes questionable, but not necessarily totally falsified.

> and 2) that sighted listening is dominated by nonaudio factors, the so-called "Placebo Effect."

That this solitary, highly specific but itself questionable experience sheds any meaningful light on that issue seems errr, highly questionable.

It strikes me as being as valid as saying that all suspension bridges are inhrently unsafe because of that nasty little experience in the Tacoma Narrows about 70 years ago.

>To explain my quarter-century-old Damascene experience, you have to accept that either the blind test was flawed -- in which case all the reports that cited that 1978 test as "proving" the amplifiers sounded the same were wrong --

Again, a solitary undocumented possible exception does not disprove a widely-accepted rule.

>or that the nonaudio factors were irrelevant, in which case the criticisms of sighted listening based on that factor must be wrong.

The image of the Empire State building hanging on a thread just flashed through my mind.

IME it takes a lot of evidence to support conclusions this far-reaching, a very, very tiny amount of which seems to be available for widespread inspection.

marcelo
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

It's sort of a dead end or blind alley.

What really amazes me is that many of them whom supports that DBT is not a good method, has never tried it and refuses the chances given to do so (not everybody, but most of them I know does), while those whom supports dbt "have been there" and now are taking another approach. And I want to underline "a different approach", at least a more critical one.
IOW, it seems like refusing the advantages of DBT is a matter of denial.

brgds, marcelo

marcelo
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>Second, it pits against one another two core beliefs of the believers in "scientific" testing: 1) that a blind test, merely by being blind, reveals the reality of audible amplifier differences;

a) audible differences should be perceived by our ears and not our eyes...why the need of the eyes to find audible differences?

b) a blind test cannot reveal anything just because it is blind, sure enough, but at least will isolate the placebo effect from the test proceedings, and this can only be beneficial to the results, whatever those might be.

It is like trying to kill the messenger.

Dismissing the method because we do not get the results we wanted to obtain...makes no sense, does it?

brgds, marcelo

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>>>Some amps are more difficult for amps to drive than
>>>others. This may have been an issue in the ages-old DBT
>>>that John Atkinson keeps bringing up again and again, but
>>>never provides any relevant details about.
>>
>>Mr. Krueger, I request you keep your distortions of the
>>truth to other forums.
>
> I'll bet money this personal attack won't be moderated!

Sigh. This is not a personal attack, Mr. Krueger. I am merely pointing out, correctly, that you are being a little loose with the truth. In the case of the 1978 tests to which I was referring, the full details were published in HFN. I am not hiding anything about these tests; if you had wanted more detail, then all you needed to do was to check the article out in a library. Or even ask someone to send you a photocopy.

>>In the case of the 1978 blind listening test of amplifiers
>>I have, both elsewhere and on this board, informed you
>>that these test were described in exhaustive detail in the
>>November 1978 issue of Hi-Fi News.
>
>I know you won't believe this John, but I have no
>recollection of this information at all.

Mr. Krueger, I drew your attention to it in a posting on this board timestamped 9/05/05 3:10pm, ie, more than 2 days before you wrote that I "never provided any relevant details," on 9/07/05 4:14pm. In addition, I mentioned this fact in my July "As We See It" essay, reprinted at http://www.stereophile.com/asweseeit/705awsi. I know you read that essay because you have written about it in other forums. For you now to claim ignorance of this is, shall I say, a stretch.

>I checked google, and I found that you last mentioned it
>on RAO around last May 10. There is no response from me to
>that post, or that information. One might even think I
>never saw that information then.

Oh well, Mr. Krueger. At least now you can stop claiming that I am keeping this test a "secret."

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

marcelo
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:

Quote:
This ABX dont do it (see the AP measurements) but... audioxfiles don't want to believe. They are always listening "differences" in audio forums, not in real live.

Luismax


lololol... C

arnyk
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>Sigh. This is not a personal attack, Mr. Krueger.

Of course not, to do so would be a fault. ;-)

>I am merely pointing out, correctly, that you are being a little loose with the truth.

No, what really happened is that I was unaware of two posts, neither of which I had responded to at the time.

Therefore, only a person who thinks they are all-knowing could hold me responsible for their contents.

> In the case of the 1978 tests to which I was referring, the full details were published in HFN.

I figured that out for the first time this afternoon.

> I am not hiding anything about these tests; if you had wanted more detail, then all you needed to do was to check the article out in a library. Or even ask someone to send you a photocopy.

First off I'd have to find a library that subscribes to HFN.

Secondly, I'd have to find a library that kept their back issues going back 30 years.

I think your *secret* is safe from me, John! ;-)

Scott Wheeler
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
>> We really know nothing about Atkinson's 1978 Quad
>>amplifier tests.

>They were reported in exhaustive detail in the November 1978 issue of Hi-Fi News.

Ahh, the lost reference!

When I see that article or a facsimile of it...

What do you expect to find?

>My point is that at that time, I had no reason to doubt the results of the tests.

Understandable, but hardly binding on much of anything almost 30 years later.

Funny, the same folks were sayng the same things about audible differences then as they are now. Pbjectivists had it wrong then but have it right now?

>And as I reported in the July Stereophile, I told this anecdote at the debate to make two specific points. First, it demonstrates that my following the then-as-now "objectivist" mantra -- that audiophiles should buy the cheapest amplifier that offers the power and features they need -- had let me down.

That purported failure is contingent on facts not in evidence,

No it is most certainly is not. It is contingent on only one thing, that John is telling the truth.

including whether or not the Quad amp actually had an audible fault as you used it, and whether or not its replacement would actually sound different, as you used it.

Nope, that is not a contigency at all. John was dis-satisfied with the amp regardless.

>Second, it pits against one another two core beliefs of the believers in "scientific" testing: 1) that a blind test, merely by being blind, reveals the reality of audible amplifier differences;

I'm willing to stipulate that any particular test by any means may not be relevant to all circumstances and all times that follow it. ;=)

What does any of this have to do with the fact that John and many others feel let down by the objectivist method of selecting amps?

To say otherwise would be to deny the true meaning of the results of scientific experiments.

Not at all. One's satisfaction with one's system is not a matter of science but a matter of personal opinion.

They're only valid until disproved or corrected, at which time their validity becomes questionable, but not necessarily totally falsified.

That's all fine and well but quite irrelevant.

> and 2) that sighted listening is dominated by nonaudio factors, the so-called "Placebo Effect."

It's also the way we all listen to our systems.

That this solitary, highly specific but itself questionable experience sheds any meaningful light on that issue seems errr, highly questionable.

Only if you choose to ignore the human experince side of audio.

It strikes me as being as valid as saying that all suspension bridges are inhrently unsafe because of that nasty little experience in the Tacoma Narrows about 70 years ago.

Stability of bridges is a matter of physics. Satisfaction with one's system is a matter of personal experience.

>To explain my quarter-century-old Damascene experience, you have to accept that either the blind test was flawed -- in which case all the reports that cited that 1978 test as "proving" the amplifiers sounded the same were wrong --

Again, a solitary undocumented possible exception does not disprove a widely-accepted rule.

It's hardly solitary. People widely report different levels of satisfaction with amps that would be regarded as sonic equals if one were to apply the objectivist mantra for choosing an amplifier.

>or that the nonaudio factors were irrelevant, in which case the criticisms of sighted listening based on that factor must be wrong.

The image of the Empire State building hanging on a thread just flashed through my mind.

IME it takes a lot of evidence to support conclusions this far-reaching, a very, very tiny amount of which seems to be available for widespread inspection.

haroon
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

I was there in HE2005 and listened to the debate between Mr. Krueger and Mr. Atkinson.

Although I partially agree with Mr. Atkinson (I believe: there could be some aspects of quality that are not measurable because we might not have started to measure them becaue of limited knowledge) but I totally agree with Mr. Krueger's approach especially double-blind testing. It is the most scientific approach. I learn violin and have very strong background in statistics. I wonder that the whole universe obeys laws of physics and recording and reproductions of sound must also do so.

Mr. John Atkinson seemed to be a very polite and cultured man but it is disappointing that after the debate all the Stereophile

Scrith
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

My experience is that double-blind testing is inherently flawed. I also think it is the only valid method of comparison.

The flaw comes from the samples being used for the test. I can't remember how many times I carefully compared two items and found no audible difference...only to discover days or months later that I believe I can hear something different about my new hardware during casual playback of some music I hadn't used in the double-blind test...so then I hook up the old hardware for a new double-blind test and, quite often, the difference is clear.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>If you add strange non-audiphile components to a hi-end system you are razonably decreasing signal and adding noise to the original, indeed more connectors also make the same problem.

(1) We and others did ABX tests based on cable-swapping, which again add no hardware to the signal chain

(2) We devised PCABX which in many applications adds no hardware to the signal chain.

(3) The idea that adding high quality connectors, relays, and cables to a signal chain necessarily degrades signal quality can and has been evaulated with test equipment.

Remember, like nmany others I have an audio test facility that is appreciably more sensitive than Stereophile's because it is based on more recent technology.

There is no evidence to support the hypothesis that skillfully adding high quality connectors, relays, and cables etc., to a signal chain necessarily degrades signal quality.

Ever wonder why you see few if any technical tests of interconnect cables and connectors in SP? With a few notable exceptions such as certain cables with built-in electrical networks, such tests return the residuals of the test equipment.

It is possible to measure frequency response variations in speaker cables which are mostly dependent on the speakers and cable length. However, nothing says you have to use more speaker cable when you include a relay box or other switcher.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>My experience is that double-blind testing is inherently flawed. I also think it is the only valid method of comparison.

Agreed, nothing's perfect. ;-)

>The flaw comes from the samples being used for the test. I can't remember how many times I carefully compared two items and found no audible difference...only to discover days or months later that I believe I can hear something different about my new hardware during casual playback of some music I hadn't used in the double-blind test...so then I hook up the old hardware for a new double-blind test and, quite often, the difference is clear.

This exact same problem would noticably bedevil sighted evaluations if they weren't so prone to false positives.

Hearing differences is often extremely contingent on an attempt to reproduce a specific kind of sound. You just don't find every representative sound in every recording.

There's a *standard* collection of musical selections that was developed by some of the origional ABX developers. It's grown from 10 to 50 to now about 75 or 80 musical excerpts.

For example the last serious updating included some rap music that exposed flaws in subwoofers like nothing we ever had before. If anybody did a subwoofer evaluation with the previous generation of test music, it was potentially flawed.

But, that is completely independent of whether the test is sighted or blind. Its all about having a valid test, one that is not highly likely to be invalidated by excess false positives.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
Since there may be an issue with Stereophile reprinting the article to which you refer to Mr. Atkinson, would it be too much trouble for you to email a copy of it, scanned if necessary, to those interested in reading it?

I will ask HFN's editor if he has a problem with that. But I should point out that until now no-one has asked me for a copy.

John Atkinson
Editor, Stereophile

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

"But I should point out that until now no-one has asked me for a copy." I was wondering about that. Un jeu tres amusant, nicht wahr?

clark

PS My own HFNRR library goes back only to 1982 [sigh].

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>But I should point out that until now no-one has asked me for a copy.

Le me make it at least 2! ;-)

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:

Quote:

I guess you measured those noises you are talking about, right? And, if you did, it is because you are familiar with the ABX, am I wrong?


I was lucky, if you answer me in this way is cos you know I

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Steering back to the original subject, I have a Q for Arny:

IYO, is there any explanation at all (beyond any scientific one ;-) ) as to why DBTs are such a hot issue?

I think we can generally agree that DBTs are usually disregarded as a valid method much as the subjective tests are by DBT supporters, so,

Is it a matter of being too agressive when trying to convey the results obtained from a DBT?
Is it the way it is conveyed?
Is it the frustration that the test results might generate or has generated to owners of high end systems reading the results?
Is it because we consider our high end, high priced systems an extension of our ego and consider ourselves under attack when someone compares it hand to hand with something costing 10 times less, thus reacting in denial? or trying by all means to justify the expense (usually high)?

Or what?

brgds, marcelo

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>IYO, is there any explanation at all (beyond any scientific one ;-) ) as to why DBTs are such a hot issue?

DBTs have the potential to invalidate the core beliefs and activities of a large segment of the high end audio marketplace and community.

>Is it a matter of being too agressive when trying to convey the results obtained from a DBT?

This all started out 30 years ago, we were pretty low key. The results surprised even many of us.

For example, the first ABX test ever done pretty much threw cold water on an expensive power amp purchase (for me) that I had just made. I compared my old amp to my new one and I couldn't hear a difference. Unlike Atkinson I kept them both for quite a while after! ;-)

>Is it the way it is conveyed?

Some people, many high end audio dealers, reviewers and manufacturers reacted surprisingly harshly and negatively, right up front.

>Is it the frustration that the test results might generate or has generated to owners of high end systems reading the results?

I think that historically the most hostile and agressive of the people who have reacted against DBTs have been in the high end audio business.

>Is it because we consider our high end, high priced systems an extension of our ego and consider ourselves under attack when someone compares it hand to hand with something costing 10 times less, thus reacting in denial?

I think that buyer's remorse may be related to some people's negative reactions.

I think that again some of the most harsh reactions have come from people who recently dropped a load of cash on high end audio gear.

>or trying by all means to justify the expense (usually high)

A lot of high end buyers that seem to be on the defensive - I have heard many people say that "My wife and friends think I'm crazy for spending so much...

There are no absolute generalities - some people are very confident and apparently just think that they've done what they have done and whatever anybody else says they're going to do what they do.

After all this is supposed to be a hobby and an avocation. There's no rule that says that an avocation or a hobby has to be maximally cost-effective, right?

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>After all this is supposed to be a hobby and an avocation. There's no rule that says that an avocation or a hobby has to be maximally cost-effective, right?

Cost effective? ha ha ha! Ask a Krell owner, they ought to know about it...

brgds, marcelo

ps: me for instance?

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

I've never taken part in a controlled DBT, but based on the results from so many people that have, I'd be quite surprized if I found I could consistently detect any differences between two good amps that were working within their envelopes.

I also know that I've brought home a bunch of different amps (I'm lucky in that I have a bud who works at Audio Etc. in Orange, and they carry a fairly good range of products) to try out, and I hear differences between them. I absolutely like some better than others. On my system (1976 Klipsch La Scalas with Al Klappenberger's crossovers) the best sounding amp I've found is a (please don't laugh) old little Rotel RA-820BX2 integrated from circa 1985. I compared it to a bunch of stuff (various Jolida, an Acurus DIA-100 II, a Creek A50, a Krell KAV-300i (!), some other stuff) and to me, they all sounded different. Some of them had better bass, some had a more open sound, the Acurus was way too bright... I like the Rotel the best.

But let's say for a moment that I like the Krell the best. It costs, like, 20 times what the Rotel cost back when it was new. Let's also say I tried a DBT between the two, and as long as I kept things below 110dB or so, I couldn't hear any difference between the Krell and the Rotel. Hook 'em up and listen to them, Krell is better. Back to the DBT, they sound the same.

Okay.

Now what would you guys suggest? That (assuming I can afford it) I buy the Krell because it sounds better to me when I know I'm listening to it, or stick with the Rotel and save the money because when I don't know which one I'm listening to, I can't tell any difference?

I know what I'd do - I'd buy the Krell. Life is too short to try and convince myself that I'd be just as happy with the Rotel because of what the DBT showed me.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Ray, great post.

>Now what would you guys suggest? That (assuming I can afford it) I buy the Krell because it sounds better to me when I know I'm listening to it, or stick with the Rotel and save the money because when I don't know which one I'm listening to, I can't tell any difference?

I know what I'd do - I'd buy the Krell. Life is too short to try and convince myself that I'd be just as happy with the Rotel because of what the DBT showed me.

See how easy it is to admit that we do not need to excuse ourselves to buy whatever piece of equipment we like? Ray, this is exactly the same approach I have now after several tests. I don't waiste my time exploring where is the difference that can justify my (silly) purchase, because regardless of the result, I desperately want to own that Krell (or anything else), and part of my joy is watching the blue led's glow in the dark. Would a Rotel (or a D amp) give me the same service I need? Well, as long as my loudspeakers demand is covered, I think so. Will I be as happy owning a Rotel rather than my beloved and long desired Krell? No, definetely not. And, as you very well said, life is too short to wonder all the time about the money waisted, nor is necessary to justify with subjective vocabulary how much better this or that sounds if in all reality what we want is just to owe it.

brgds, marcelo

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Ray makes the exact point that describes the issue. If my new amp sounds better to me in a sighted test, but sounds the same in a controlled test, then it's +1 for the new amp.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Hi, Marcelo and Stray Cat!

I absolutely think you are right with regards to how you choose your equipment, but there is a line we should discuss here when it comes to reviewing equipment or claiming to give an supposedly expert opinion.

If basking in the blue glow of a Krell's LED is a good enough reason to drive you to buy a product, fine. That's the realm of personal taste and choice.

But when it comes to someone claiming to be able to make dispassionate statements and claims as to the sound of our equipment and frame his skill in such a way that is regarded as being a dependable part of this industry, wouldn't you raise the bar?

The task of the reviewer is not to decide which piece of hi fi gear he likes based on LED color taste, feelings of exclusivity, cache', or decor so much as it is to differentiate how those pieces sound and relay that to the rest of us. A reviwer is claiming to be able to act as a set of surrogate ears for us. That is a broad claim, not an expression of individual preference that may vary from day to day or by the color of a product faceplate.

You guys are straight up enough to say you are expressing your personal taste and bias in your purchasing decision, but the reviewer is claiming to be a disinterested party who only seeks the truth about how the pieces sound. The reviewer is claiming to be able to remove those same idiosyncratic preferences from his presentation. The reviewer is staking a claim of neutrality in pursuit of the underlying essence of a given product. We get to relax and just like stuff.

If Art Dudley always preferred the sound of equipment with blue LEDs, then how useful would he be to you? If Sam Tellig always chose to recommend loudspeakers because they had cherry veneer and that matched his sofa, what would be gained by reading his reviews?

For me, this blind testing stuff goes to placing the burden on reviewers to demonstrate their utility when it comes to seeking out equipment to audition - just like other experts describe consumer goods and we use their descriptions to "narrow the field."

Obviously, I can't go listen to every amplifier that's out there. A reviwer should be a trusted neutral party whose information I can rely on as being accurate to help make my hunt a little easier, or to give me an idea of things to listen for when I do my own audtitioning of the same, similar, or even unrelated equipment.

The onus is on them to be astute, accurate, and discerning. Their profession is based on this premise.

If you as a civilian can't tell the difference between how two pieces of equipment sound, you affect only you. If a reviewer with 30,000 consumers can't, but claims to, then he can harm whole companies, stores, consumers, and the hobby at large.

So, this obviously brings us back to "caveat emptor" and never relying overly much on a reviewer's opinion - but if we reduce it ultimately to that retort every time we argue about reviews, then the role of the reviewer in any of this hobby is reduced to zero - horoscopes for equipment and nothing more. Again, the skill of the reviewer rises as a crucial issue.

I want a reviewer who is a skilled listener and can improve my skills through reading his reviews and picking up nuance that I can apply to my own experience. It's not only a reviwer's job to accurately describe the sound of equipment, it's equally his responsibility to make me a better listener and consumer.

Tomorrow, remind me to mention how hi fi reviewers have it tougher than music or wine reviewers - with them we can readily "review the reviewer" without too much difficulty and we can learn to use the subjective code words they use to ascertain when they probably are or are not veering into our own realm of preference.

With a hi fi reviewer, it is much more difficult for each of us to "check his work." Yet another reason to strive for demonstrations of listening skills as a means of reviwer quality control!

Sorry to have been so wordy, apologies if this came across as disagreeable. I liked and agreed with your takes and wanted to use them as a point of departure to describe what I think is a crucial matter.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

>But let's say for a moment that I like the Krell the best. It costs, like, 20 times what the Rotel cost back when it was new. Let's also say I tried a DBT between the two, and as long as I kept things below 110dB or so, I couldn't hear any difference between the Krell and the Rotel. Hook 'em up and listen to them, Krell is better. Back to the DBT, they sound the same.

The irony is that if money was any kind of an issue, the high dollar-per-watt cost of the Krell might force you to buy an amp that worked exactly the opposite of your example.

IOW, the non-Krell amp might sound a lot better above 110 dB than the Krell because it had enough power to do the job.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Hi Buddha, thanks for your reply, very interesting subjects brought up, I agree with quite a few of your arguments.

However, I'd like to try dissipate a wrong idea somebody else might get reading us both.

What I was trying to relay is that, given the situation described (choosing a Rotel or a Krell), when it comes down to performance, it might as well be that both are great performers with (and I stress this) our loudspeakers design. It comes to a point where we need to decide: do I take Rotel or Krell? (please, Rotel or Krell owners don't feel offended we are using these 2 brands as examples, it does not means to represent either layer of the audiophile standard beyond its cost, ok?), then some will choose with their mind and some others (me, i.e.) will do it with the heart.
Now, having chosen whatever, the proud owner of the more expensive amp, when asked, usually tries to justify having bought the costly one by conveying a lot of differences that magically appeared when sighted listening but are not audible unsighted.

Basically, I wonder what is the importance of the eye when listening (besides de glowing led's ), what's the bid deal to judge or evaluate or even compare 2 different pieces of whatever without looking at it or knowing what's sounding. I said it before, we listen with our ears, not our eyes.

Reviews & Reviewers: I do have respect and I understand the nature of their job, walking on a thin line to keep happy all manufactures yet not deceiving their readers. Hard task!.
Therefore, it is important to be able to separate facts from illusion. JA said a lot of the words used to describe how a system performs is based on illusions and I'd add "created by the moment".
Allright, you'd agree that if what is described as "a wider scene" is not measurable (and it is not) with any testing rig, how then can the ilussion be recreated at our homes with some kind of accuracy to experience the same as the reviewer did at his home?
How can anyone, if I say that by changing a power cable I "improved focus considerable" in my system, believe this is what can happen at your end? Compared to what? Measured with what? Ambiguous talk imho, and costly to others before they figure out if true.
That's why I strive for more objectivism, and for not to convey through reviews subjective illusions that may not be recreated anywhere else but in the reviewer's mind.
Facts are what we need as tools to judge if the changes can be simulated at home.
Facts are what may or may not lead us to a real improvement, not illusions or fancy words. Measureable performance is something we can easily recreate, state of mind is not.

You know what I'd like from a reviewer? To finalize each review with a DBT against their reference. If the conclusion is positive, great, if negative, then the reviewer should have the guts to put his reputation on line, much as Mikey did on the cable review last issue. He was passionate about those cables, he accepted the poor measurements JA published, yet he standed by his word. Probably one of the best conclussions I read in a long time.
Will I buy the cables? I don't know, I don't think so, but it raised my respect bar for MF.

Note that I don't think we are disagreeing, but probably (hopefully from my words) complementing each other's thoughts, so I appreciate you having used the glowing led's as a start point to further elaborate.

Brgds, Marcelo

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Someone spoke of a guy who was "dropping a lot of money" on a Krell and therefore had to justify his questionable investment by disparaging DBTs.

Poppycock!

I've never met a single individual who spent money for its own sake. (Oh, maybe a pretty panel can swing a trick...)Someone who "drops" $3K on cables, say, is utterly convinced of their worth *or he wouldn't be spending such a sum*. Geez Luiz!

That same guy's views on DBTs are uncorrelated to what's missing from his wallet. Give us a break.

clark

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

"

Quote:
Hi Buddha, thanks for your reply, very interesting subjects brought up, I agree with quite a few of your arguments.

However, I'd like to try dissipate a wrong idea somebody else might get reading us both.

What I was trying to relay is that, given the situation described (choosing a Rotel or a Krell), when it comes down to performance, it might as well be that both are great performers with (and I stress this) our loudspeakers design. It comes to a point where we need to decide: do I take Rotel or Krell? (please, Rotel or Krell owners don't feel offended we are using these 2 brands as examples, it does not means to represent either layer of the audiophile standard beyond its cost, ok?), then some will choose with their mind and some others (me, i.e.) will do it with the heart.
Now, having chosen whatever, the proud owner of the more expensive amp, when asked, usually tries to justify having bought the costly one by conveying a lot of differences that magically appeared when sighted listening but are not audible unsighted."

Why even choose a charged word such as magically? It implies tht the listener is irrational.

"Basically, I wonder what is the importance of the eye when listening (besides de glowing led's ), what's the bid deal to judge or evaluate or even compare 2 different pieces of whatever without looking at it or knowing what's sounding. I said it before, we listen with our ears, not our eyes."

How often do you actually use you rsystem without knowing what is playing? *If* one chooses to review equipment in such way as to recreate the actual way in which that equipment will be used in the real world it pretty much means sighted listening.Would you insist that a food critic taste everything with a blind fold on? Stereophile has chosen to review products by using them as any customer would use them. Some people agree with this concept some don't. But it is the policy and has been from the begining.

"Reviews & Reviewers: I do have respect and I understand the nature of their job, walking on a thin line to keep happy all manufactures yet not deceiving their readers. Hard task!."

I think you have already misrepresented the policies of review t Stereophile. It is not a part of policiy that reviewers are asked to keep the manufacturers happy. Quite the opposite, reviewers are expected to offer honest impressions even if they would be quite offensive to the manufatcurer. It has happened too.

"Therefore, it is important to be able to separate facts from illusion."

What? The whole point is illusion.

"JA said a lot of the words used to describe how a system performs is based on illusions and I'd add "created by the moment"."

Not really sure what you mean here.

"Allright, you'd agree that if what is described as "a wider scene" is not measurable (and it is not) with any testing rig,"

I would not agree with that at all.

"how then can the ilussion be recreated at our homes with some kind of accuracy to experience the same as the reviewer did at his home?"

Who ever said it would be? When a reviewer offers impressions of a piece of equipment in *their* systems in *their* listening envirement I see no implied claim of universality of those impressions.

"How can anyone, if I say that by changing a power cable I "improved focus considerable" in my system, believe this is what can happen at your end?"

The next step after reading review that is provocative would logically be a personal audition. That is also what Stereophile recomends to all it's readers.

"Compared to what?"

What the reviewer was already using in his system and what you are already using in your system before an audition.

"Measured with what?'

Why measure? What do you do with your system? Do you measure it or listen to music with it?

"Ambiguous talk imho, and costly to others before they figure out if true."

That depends. Most equipment can be auditioned at home first.

"That's why I strive for more objectivism, and for not to convey through reviews subjective illusions that may not be recreated anywhere else but in the reviewer's mind."

As hs been pointed out by JA in his now famous anecdote an objectivist MO may also fail to recreate the expected result anywhere but in their DBTs.

"Facts are what we need as tools to judge if the changes can be simulated at home."

I'll take auditions thank you.

"Facts are what may or may not lead us to a real improvement, not illusions or fancy words. Measureable performance is something we can easily recreate, state of mind is not."

Are you so sure about that? Seems to me that the audiophile who day in and day out finds greater satisfaction in his or her high end equipment is either recreating measurable performance and/or state of mind on a daily basis.

"You know what I'd like from a reviewer? To finalize each review with a DBT against their reference."

Nothing wrong with wanting it but it is a pipe dream. Not even the audio magazines that agree with the objectivist mantra actually perfom DBTs for each review.

"If the conclusion is positive, great, if negative, then the reviewer should have the guts to put his reputation on line, much as Mikey did on the cable review last issue."

Turns into a big production. What do we do with the potential for false negatives and false positives? Did JA's DBT make his impressions of the Quad amp any more or less valid? does it really resolve anything?

"He was passionate about those cables, he accepted the poor measurements JA published, yet he standed by his word. Probably one of the best conclussions I read in a long time.
Will I buy the cables? I don't know, I don't think so, but it raised my respect bar for MF."

The question IMO isn't whether you would buy them but would you audition them. I would suggest not buying anything based purely on a review. Reviews should raise awareness and peak interest in equipment. They should not be the sole basis for purchasing decisions.

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Why even choose a charged word such as magically? It implies tht the listener is irrational

Your interpretation of my choice of wording out something. However, I can rephrase it if you want me to, but I don't think it worth, mainly because it is highly irrelevant and certainly not meant nor used as an insult. Do they exist? I mean, irrational listeners?

How often do you actually use you rsystem without knowing what is playing?

As often as I want to test a new component. Once I find out what I like best, I don't need to do it, but, I'm not a reviewer, so I don't reach with my subjectivity to 30+k ppl. My responsability is Zero.

*If* one chooses to review equipment in such way as to recreate the actual way in which that equipment will be used in the real world it pretty much means sighted listening.

Nope, because the reviewer will issue a judgment, and that judgement or opinion should be based on his objective findings, not on his subjectivity.

Would you insist that a food critic taste everything with a blind fold on?

Yes, absolutely. If he will convey the taste of the food, now if he will convey how it looks on a plate, I don't need no critic, just a picture and a description of what's on it and how much of each, but not how it tastes.

Stereophile has chosen to review products by using them as any customer would use them. Some people agree with this concept some don't. But it is the policy and has been from the begining.

So? did I say I wanted Stereophile any different?

I think you have already misrepresented the policies of review t Stereophile. It is not a part of policiy that reviewers are asked to keep the manufacturers happy. Quite the opposite, reviewers are expected to offer honest impressions even if they would be quite offensive to the manufatcurer. It has happened too.

You sound as if you are Stereophile's policy maker or at least part of the staff, well aware of SP policies. Are you?
And can you tell me why are you referring to Stereophile (twice now), when I have never mentioned any specific magazine nor a specific reviewer but one and only to praise him?
OTH, the day I stop reading ads for well proven snake oil on any magazine (no need to be SP), the day that a magazine provides a list of unwanted/not reccomended products or snake oil products, I will agree with you and the policies that you suggest is followed through and thorough. But, nobody bites the feeding hand. Not too hard anyway.

"JA said a lot of the words used to describe how a system performs is based on illusions and I'd add "created by the moment"."

Not really sure what you mean here.

you haven't read the threads? naughty naughty!
JA said that words such as image are just a description of an illusion. Makes sense now?

Who ever said it would be? When a reviewer offers impressions of a piece of equipment in *their* systems in *their* listening envirement I see no implied claim of universality of those impressions.

You, for example, said it. Here: " Stereophile has chosen to review products by using them as any customer would use them."

Why measure? What do you do with your system? Do you measure it or listen to music with it?

Why looking at the system when testing? Do you look or listen to music with it? See what I and others mean? You wonder why do I want measures? Well, to get the specs fx? Why would you want to look at it? To see the glowing blue leds? (as I do?)

The next step after reading review that is provocative would logically be a personal audition. That is also what Stereophile recomends to all it's readers.

See? It needs to be provocative. Otherwise, hardly effective. What if I ask you: is this a magazine's policy? It sounds perfect to me from a commercial point of view: send a provocative review to the market, hoping for the logical reaction on readers to go out doing something I encourage to do, and get the expected results. Scott, I'm sure you did not meant it this way. It's me and my twisted, profit oriented mind...

As for the rest, well, I'll wait until you get back from those auditions you were taking inspired by me .

brgds, marcelo

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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
Why even choose a charged word such as magically? It implies tht the listener is irrational

Your interpretation of my choice of wording out something.

Really? I was mistaken in interpreting it as meaning something supernatural?

However, I can rephrase it if you want me to, but I don't think it worth, mainly because it is highly irrelevant and certainly not meant nor used as an insult. Do they exist? I mean, irrational listeners?

Yes, people can be irrational, even listeners.

How often do you actually use you rsystem without knowing what is playing?

As often as I want to test a new component.

OK so you, like most people, actually know what is playing when you listen for pleasure and with that knowledge comes all the potential pitfalls of sighted listening. How scary. What do you do about your biases then?

Once I find out what I like best, I don't need to do it, but, I'm not a reviewer, so I don't reach with my subjectivity to 30+k ppl. My responsability is Zero.

Do you think the reviewers of Stereophile are being dishonest in their reviews? Do you think they don't believe what they report?

*If* one chooses to review equipment in such way as to recreate the actual way in which that equipment will be used in the real world it pretty much means sighted listening.

Nope, because the reviewer will issue a judgment, and that judgement or opinion should be based on his objective findings, not on his subjectivity.

That makes no sense at all. You are asking for a subjective opionion to be objective.

Would you insist that a food critic taste everything with a blind fold on?

Yes, absolutely.

Well then you must take issue with the vast majority of food critics. Nothing wrong with that but then I must ask you, if I recomended a place to eat would you ask me if my opinions were formed under double blind conditions?

If he will convey the taste of the food, now if he will convey how it looks on a plate, I don't need no critic, just a picture and a description of what's on it and how much of each, but not how it tastes.

That would pretty much exlude any food critics from your reading list. Do you ignore all recomendations when it comes to food? Do you blind fold yourself before trying any new dish?

Stereophile has chosen to review products by using them as any customer would use them. Some people agree with this concept some don't. But it is the policy and has been from the begining.

So? did I say I wanted Stereophile any different?

That was my impression. you said you wanted more objectivity and wanted reviews to be concluded with a DBT. Were you excluding Sterophile fom your wishes?

I think you have already misrepresented the policies of review t Stereophile. It is not a part of policiy that reviewers are asked to keep the manufacturers happy. Quite the opposite, reviewers are expected to offer honest impressions even if they would be quite offensive to the manufatcurer. It has happened too.

You sound as if you are Stereophile's policy maker or at least part of the staff, well aware of SP policies.

Do you read the magazine? I have and that is were I got the info.

Are you?

Nope, but anyone from Stereophile is welcome to correct any errors I have made in regards to editorial policies of Stereophile.

And can you tell me why are you referring to Stereophile (twice now), when I have never mentioned any specific magazine nor a specific reviewer but one and only to praise him?

These forums are Steeophile forums.

OTH, the day I stop reading ads for well proven snake oil on any magazine (no need to be SP), the day that a magazine provides a list of unwanted/not reccomended products or snake oil products, I will agree with you and the policies that you suggest is followed through and thorough.

You think Stereophile has neve given a bad review or reported no positive results with a tweak?

But, nobody bites the feeding hand. Not too hard anyway.

It looks like you do not actually read the magazine. while bad reviews have been fewer then days of yore they do exist and often at the expense of an actual advertiser. I think your inference of patranizing advterisers with good reviews is both wrong and unsupported.

"JA said a lot of the words used to describe how a system performs is based on illusions and I'd add "created by the moment"."

Not really sure what you mean here.

you haven't read the threads? naughty naughty!
JA said that words such as image are just a description of an illusion. Makes sense now?

No, "creted by the moment" still makes no sense to me.

Who ever said it would be? When a reviewer offers impressions of a piece of equipment in *their* systems in *their* listening envirement I see no implied claim of universality of those impressions.

You, for example, said it. Here: " Stereophile has chosen to review products by using them as any customer would use them."

Yes by plugging them into *their* system not the subscribers' systems. Do you believe all components will offer exactly the same performance in every system in every listening envirement? Do you believe Stereophile is making this claim in their reviews?

Why measure? What do you do with your system? Do you measure it or listen to music with it?

Why looking at the system when testing?

Because that's how it will be when listening for plaesure. I have no problem with people choosing not to audition sighted. i do a lot of my own comparisons blind. I just don't see any problem with Stereophile choosing their policies on review methods. This may come as a surprise to you but it was born out of a disatisfaction with the results of the objectivist methods of evaluating components.

Do you look or listen to music with it? See what I and others mean?

Not in this case. I have no idea what you mean by that question.

You wonder why do I want measures? Well, to get the specs fx?

That is fine if that is ineresting to you. An interest is such things is not a requirement for one to enjoy listening to music on their systems.

Why would you want to look at it? To see the glowing blue leds? (as I do?)

It is not the issue. It isn't a question of *looking* it is a question of *knowing* what is playing. An inevitable reality that all audiophiles live with when they listen for pleasure. Is that a bad thing?

The next step after reading review that is provocative would logically be a personal audition. That is also what Stereophile recomends to all it's readers.

See? It needs to be provocative.

Of course. If the review fails to provoke some interest then what is the point of an audition?

Otherwise, hardly effective. What if I ask you: is this a magazine's policy?

I would tell you your question makes no sense. Maybe provocative was a bad choice of words.

It sounds perfect to me from a commercial point of view: send a provocative review to the market, hoping for the logical reaction on readers to go out doing something I encourage to do, and get the expected results.

Well, again, provocative may have not been the best choice of words. I meant it in a way as to generate enough interest to provoke one to look further into a product. Heck the technical description alone in a review could be provocative for some readers.

Scott, I'm sure you did not meant it this way. It's me and my twisted, profit oriented mind...

As for the rest, well, I'll wait until you get back from those auditions you were taking inspired by me .

You would have to write a review that provoked further interest in a component.

Buddha
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

A question about DBT that I haven't seen brought up.

Why does it always have to be instantaneous?

There seems to be a whole lotta nuance in fine listening that ABX might actually not reveal.

I'd think the best DBT would be done giving the listener/reviewer as much time between comparisons as possible, or even left "as is" with reviews taking weeks or months - just don't tell the reviewer what the change was.

That would seem to be the most powerful DBT of all - it would require no other devices be insinuated into the listening chain and would give the reviewer the leisure to really listen for those small difference that really make all the difference!

Buddha
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?

Also, not to cause any affront to any cult of DBT, but why all this comparator, level matching stuff?

I do blind listening with my audio buddy all the time setting up disc players into input A or input B and turning the volume all the way down between trials and then listening.

We do the same, only better (!) with cables: one person can come over, put in cable A or cable B - anywhere in the system, go home, and wait for the report from the listener.

We even do it where we switch polarity to the one or both speakers and see whether or not we can hear or prefer one set-up vs. another.

Very informative, and it helps point out to us what listening points different listeners are adpet at picking up, and how dedicated listeners can vary in their different skills!

Since I don't listen to components by jumping from one to the other instantaneously, why should a reviewer?

Being able to tell that there is a "difference" in an instantaneously swithed DBT tells me less about a reviewer than what he may be able to discern given ample time.

So, blind testing, great, but this instantaneous blah blah blah just seems to be trying for either a null result or a relatively useless "there's a difference result", not a nuanced and insightful result.

Hope that made sense.

Xenophanes
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Re: Why is Blind Testing Such a Hot Button?


Quote:
Also, not to cause any affront to any cult of DBT, but why all this comparator, level matching stuff?

I do blind listening with my audio buddy all the time setting up disc players into input A or input B and turning the volume all the way down between trials and then listening.

We do the same, only better (!) with cables: one person can come over, put in cable A or cable B - anywhere in the system, go home, and wait for the report from the listener.

We even do it where we switch polarity to the one or both speakers and see whether or not we can hear or prefer one set-up vs. another.

Very informative, and it helps point out to us what listening points different listeners are adpet at picking up, and how dedicated listeners can vary in their different skills!

Since I don't listen to components by jumping from one to the other instantaneously, why should a reviewer?

Being able to tell that there is a "difference" in an instantaneously swithed DBT tells me less about a reviewer than what he may be able to discern given ample time.

So, blind testing, great, but this instantaneous blah blah blah just seems to be trying for either a null result or a relatively useless "there's a difference result", not a nuanced and insightful result.

Hope that made sense.

Small differences in volume level are audible, and are often mistaken for quality differences. Hence, level matching is a critical protocol where small differences are concerned.

Why do you think instantaneous switching has something to do with having "ample time"? Nothing prevents you from listening to something for as long as you find practical. The fact is, having more than a fraction of a second gap in time between the two choices decreases the sensitivity of the audition. So the experts say.

Comparing the sound quality of two components implies you can tell the sound apart.

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