Stupid things you hear from the DBT/Null test crowd....

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  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,603
    edited April 2012
    The most fantastic thing is the fact that the DBT/Null test crowd religiously ignore the fact that the Bell Labs researchers (Dr. Harvey Fletcher et al) who invented home stereophonic systems extensively used ABX and A/B testing in their telephone voice quality tests, but turned to sighted subjective tests with trained listeners for stereo trials. This fact alone should inform any reasonable person. Any credible scientist will tell you that a test methodology has to be appropriate for the thing being tested. It is fanatical and unrealistic to assume that one type of test can be applied to every situation.

    I have asked proponents of the ABX, A/B and DBT methods to provide scientific evidence that these methods are suitable for multi-dimensional stimuli such a stereophonic sound field, and no one has...nor will they ever be able to. These tests are by definition unsuitable for cases where a subject is acted upon by complex, time-varying stimuli such as a stereophonic sound field. However, such inappropriate test methods are tenaciously and religiously clung to because they are the only tests that lend credence to the naysayer belief system that "every thing sounds the same".

    The scientific literature is quite clear that in situations where human senses are stimulated by multi-dimensional stimuli such as food, wine, perfume,...and stereo sound, descriptive tests by trained subjects are more appropriate than forced choice methods with either untrained or trained subjects.

    I have noted in reviews posted on this forum that I sometimes do not discover a difference in sound between two components until I compare my sound stage maps and listening notes. In some cases, when the sound field was complex and filled with many sounds coming from many locations, it was not always a subtle change that was missed. When I am trying to catalog the locations and descriptions of every sound in a complex stereophonic sound field, it is very difficult, or impossible, to mentally compare one entire sound field to another...even if there is a glaring difference. This is the case in my room with a high resolution system. Imagine the additional difficulties I might incur if I were doing comparative evaluations with an unfamiliar audio system of lower resolution in an unfamiliar room.

    In those cases where I did not become aware of a sonic or tactile difference until I compared sound stage notes, I would have failed to perceive a difference using a forced choice discrimination method like ABX or A/B...even though the difference was plainly apparent. However, the difference was "buried" in a complexity of other sonic and tactile stimuli.
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  • headrottheadrott Posts: 5,453
    edited April 2012
    ^^^^^^^yep^^^^^^^
    Relayer-Big-O-Poster.jpg
    Taken from a recent Audioholics reply regarding "Club Polk" and Polk speakers:
    "I'm yet to hear a Polk speaker that merits more than a sentence and 60 seconds discussion." :\
    My response is: If you need 60 seconds to respond in one sentence, you probably should't be evaluating Polk speakers.....


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  • SyndilSyndil Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2012
    Multi-dimensional? Tactile? lol.

    I won't argue that judging the quality of audio gear is an objective process, because it isn't. It is very subjective. But what is being judged is audio only. It's not like wine or food, where you look at it, smell it and taste it. And in many cases, these items are still judged blindly, with the tester not knowing which company made the food (Pepsi challenge, anyone?) or in the case of a wine competition, not knowing the brand/vintage/batch of the wine, with it being identified by only a non-descriptive letter or number.

    When judging audio gear, the only thing that truly matters is how it sounds. The point of doing a blind comparison is for one reason only--to eliminate the placebo effect. You can make sound stage maps and listening notes in a blind comparison; the only thing you cannot know is what exactly it is you are comparing, as that knowledge may inaccurately color your observations due to bias.

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  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,215
    edited April 2012
    Syndil wrote: »
    Multi-dimensional? Tactile? lol.

    I won't argue that judging the quality of audio gear is an objective process, because it isn't. It is very subjective. But what is being judged is audio only. It's not like wine or food, where you look at it, smell it and taste it. And in many cases, these items are still judged blindly, with the tester not knowing which company made the food (Pepsi challenge, anyone?) or in the case of a wine competition, not knowing the brand/vintage/batch of the wine, with it being identified by only a non-descriptive letter or number.

    When judging audio gear, the only thing that truly matters is how it sounds. The point of doing a blind comparison is for one reason only--to eliminate the placebo effect. You can make sound stage maps and listening notes in a blind comparison; the only thing you cannot know is what exactly it is you are comparing, as that knowledge may inaccurately color your observations due to bias.

    So not using DBT for 3 of the senses makes sense, but not using it for one of the other senses doesn't?
  • SyndilSyndil Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2012
    Re-read. Blind testing is used for food and wine. Blind testing does not always mean you literally cannot see what you are testing. It means you cannot identify what you are testing, other than by a designator (number or letter). With audio gear, it does mean you cannot see it, since its shape will be recognizable and it will have its brand logo somewhere on it. With food--take the Pepsi challenge, for example--one cannot distinguish Coke from Pepsi visually. With wine, one cannot determine what brand/vintage/batch it is visually.

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  • steveinazsteveinaz Posts: 19,064
    edited April 2012
    It's also much eaiser to hear differences with your own equipment, as you are vastly familiar with it's nuances. I just find nit-picking the hobby with ABX sillyness, just takes away from the enjoyment factor. I do on occassion do A/B test, but I simply trust my ears, and switch between the 2 components and listen. I don't sweat having perfect "level" balance and any of that non-sense, as I know the difference between level and tonal changes.

    My hobbies are for my enjoyment, not my personal torture. I think people that obcess about such things are missing the boat.
  • DSkipDSkip Posts: 16,215
    edited April 2012
    Syndil wrote: »
    Re-read. Blind testing is used for food and wine. Blind testing does not always mean you literally cannot see what you are testing. It means you cannot identify what you are testing, other than by a designator (number or letter). With audio gear, it does mean you cannot see it, since its shape will be recognizable and it will have its brand logo somewhere on it. With food--take the Pepsi challenge, for example--one cannot distinguish Coke from Pepsi visually. With wine, one cannot determine what brand/vintage/batch it is visually.

    OK. I'm not fully awake evidently.
  • SyndilSyndil Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2012
    steveinaz wrote: »
    It's also much eaiser to hear differences with your own equipment, as you are vastly familiar with it's nuances. I just find nit-picking the hobby with ABX sillyness, just takes away from the enjoyment factor. I do on occassion do A/B test, but I simply trust my ears, and switch between the 2 components and listen. I don't sweat having perfect "level" balance and any of that non-sense, as I know the difference between level and tonal changes.

    My hobbies are for my enjoyment, not my personal torture. I think people that obcess about such things are missing the boat.

    More than one way to skin a cat. I enjoy the hobby very much, but I enjoy it more knowing that I am not allowing myself to be deceived by a lot of the snake oil that's out there--something I have been guilty of in the past. I take immense enjoyment in getting the most bang for my buck in every part of my life, so applying that to audio gear just makes it that much more enjoyable to me. Maybe not to you, but that's OK. To each their own.

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  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012
    Syndil wrote: »
    More than one way to skin a cat. I enjoy the hobby very much, but I enjoy it more knowing that I am not allowing myself to be deceived by a lot of the snake oil that's out there--something I have been guilty of in the past. I take immense enjoyment in getting the most bang for my buck in every part of my life, so applying that to audio gear just makes it that much more enjoyable to me. Maybe not to you, but that's OK. To each their own.

    Simply listening will make sure you aren't deceived by snake oil, no fancy tests or scientific plots, charts or even manufacturer's specs are needed. Simply sitting down and listening will dispell all the snake oil out there. The gear either works for YOU or it doesn't. It's pretty simple really.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  • SyndilSyndil Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2012
    As close to perfect as I am, none of use are infallible. All of us are susceptible to bias and suggestion. Don't believe it? Have yourself hypnotized. Blind testing simply eliminates bias. I don't understand what the big deal is, really. If there really is a difference you can hear while you can see the gear, then you will still be able to hear that difference when you can't see the gear. To claim otherwise is to admit that what you think you are hearing is actually a product of bias, a.k.a the placebo effect.

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  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012
    Never said anything about infallible, simple listening is all that is needed. You act like the actual tests are infallible, they aren't. If I had such a bias why in some cases does the more inexpensive piece sound better? You'd think the bias would be for the perceived better widget that costs more to sound better. Again for me it's simple listening and spending an extended period of time with a piece. That's how I decide.

    People who spend a very short time with the new widget really don't give it the time needed to find out about the nuances of said widget. For me that takes time for flesh out likes and dislikes of that certain widget compared to MY baseline. It can't be done accurately in a short term listening test DBT or not. Beleive it or not my method actually helps to get rid of that intial bias because of repeated listening over a 3-4 week period. After that I know if I like it or not compared to my baseline.

    Anoyone who thinks they can evalute a new widget in their rig DBT or not in a few hours is full of it and is fooling themselves.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  • SyndilSyndil Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2012
    DBT doesn't have to be limited to a few hours. You can do any sort of blind testing you would normally do without the blind part. For things with obvious differences I agree it is not always necessary. For instance I don't do blind tests of various recordings of the same piece. But when it comes to nuance differences, or "chasing that last 0.1%" as some like to say, I believe it is absolutely necessary.

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  • DMaraDMara Posts: 1,436
    edited April 2012
    Presenting different opinions is good for a conversation. However the problem is some begin to fall into personal attack mode by calling names to mock others. The thread then becomes a war zone :biggrin:
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  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012
    Well, we can agree to disagree. DBT serve no purpose in audio. You either like it better or you don't over time. No amount of DBT's is going to help. People have preferences for different reasons and they already have a built set of biases that determine those preferences and no amount of DBT is going to influence those biases.

    If DBT's work for you, then continue to use them as YOUR tool to determine you next audio move. I have found I don't need to.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

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  • SyndilSyndil Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2012
    DMara wrote: »
    Presenting different opinions is good for a conversation. However the problem is some begin to fall into personal attack mode by calling names to mock others. The thread then becomes a war zone :biggrin:

    Did I miss something? Thread has been surprisingly civil so far, I thought...

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  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,603
    edited April 2012
    Syndil wrote: »
    Multi-dimensional? Tactile? lol.

    I won't argue that judging the quality of audio gear is an objective process, because it isn't. It is very subjective. But what is being judged is audio only. It's not like wine or food, where you look at it, smell it and taste it. And in many cases, these items are still judged blindly, with the tester not knowing which company made the food (Pepsi challenge, anyone?) or in the case of a wine competition, not knowing the brand/vintage/batch of the wine, with it being identified by only a non-descriptive letter or number.

    The original design specification for home stereophonic systems described an electro-mechanical system that would create the illusion of a live musical performance in the home. Just as music concerts produce aural, tactile and visual cues, Dr. Harvey Fletcher (the inventor of home stereo) and his colleagues sought to create a satisfying illusion that produced aural, tactile and visual cues similar to a live musical performance.

    It does not seem reasonable to me to scoff at the concept of tactile sensation as a metric for evaluating audio since the perception of sound is totally due to pressure waves acting on a person's ear drums and/or other parts of the body. In other words, if one's body is not "touched" by an acoustic pressure wave, nothing will be heard. Thus, the sense of hearing is actually an extension of the sense of touch. Just as the sense of taste is assisted by the senses of sight, smell, and touch (the appearance, aroma and texture of food), so is the sense of hearing assisted by the senses of sight and touch.

    T. Somerville devoted considerable discussion to concert hall and home listening room acoustics in his paper "Survey of Stereophony", (published in the Proceedings of the Institution of Electrical Engineers, Convention on Stereophonic Sound Recording, Reproduction and Broadcasting, London, March 1959, pp. 201-208.) This is the paper in which the term "sound stage" was coined. Somerville discusses reverberation effects (which later came to be called "air" and "ambiance"), sound stage width and depth and "aesthetic presentation". One of the most profound comments made by Somerville was:

    "A listener in a concert hall, because of the binaural characteristics of hearing, is able to distinguish between the various sections of the orchestra, and, in particular, he can pick out the solo part. In this, hearing is also assisted by sight."

    Regarding tactile sensation produced by stereophonic systems, Dr. Fletcher was quite clear on this:
    In a technical paper presented at the Winter Convention of the American Institute of Electrical Engineers* in New York City in 1934 (January 23-26), Dr. Fletcher stated:

    "This symposium describes principles and apparatus involved in the reproduction of music in large halls, the reproduction being of such a character that may give even greater emotional thrills to music lovers than those experienced from the original music. This statement is based upon the testimony of those who have heard some of the few concerts reproduced by the apparatus which will be described in the papers of this symposium. [Underlined emphasis mine.]

    The most intense peaks in music come in the range between 200 and 1000 cycles per second. Taking an average for this range it may be seen that there is approximately a 100-dB range in intensity for the music, provided about 10 dB is allowed for the masking of sound in the concert hall even when the audience is quietest.

    The music from the largest orchestra utilizes only 70 dB of this range when it plays in a concert hall of usual size.

    For halls like the Academy of Music in Philadelphia and Carnegie Hall in New York City,...,the power of the sound source is approximately 400 watts.

    A person would experience the sense of feeling
    when closer than about 10 meters to such a source of 400 watts power, even in free open space.
    [An emphasis on the word "feeling" appears in the original text.]
    Syndil wrote: »
    When judging audio gear, the only thing that truly matters is how it sounds. The point of doing a blind comparison is for one reason only--to eliminate the placebo effect. You can make sound stage maps and listening notes in a blind comparison; the only thing you cannot know is what exactly it is you are comparing, as that knowledge may inaccurately color your observations due to bias.

    Many people seem to be unaware that placebo effect works both ways. There can either be a positive bias toward or a negative bias against something. For a person with a 100% bias that all audio gear sounds alike, it is doubtful that that person would hear a sonic difference even if it is glaring. In such a case, how would blinding deal with this placebo effect? In the case of a person who is easily swayed by prestige brands, aesthetics, blinding could cause them to "shut down" and say they don't hear a difference in any trial. It can be proved that a difference actually existed in audio signal samples. It cannot be proved whether or not a person is being truthful regarding their perceptions of those audio signal samples.

    Just as I have learned not to automatically attribute good character to people who are physically attractive and rich, I have learned not to automatically attribute good quality to audio products that are aesthetically pleasing and expensive.
    Syndil wrote: »
    Blind testing simply eliminates bias.

    No, not always. Blind testing is stressful for some people and often leads to another type of bias: guessing bias. This is particularly true of untrained subjects. Someone wishing to avoid the embarrassment being wrong might say they don't hear any differences in any samples, knowing full well that no one can prove whether they actually heard a difference or not.
    Syndil wrote: »
    Re-read. Blind testing is used for food and wine.

    Just because we see something used, it does not mean it was used appropriately. We must distinguish between blind testing used in an informal non-scientific trial, such as the Pepsi Taste Challenge or an non-scientific wine tasting, and blind testing used in formal scientific studies.

    Dr. Harry Lawless is one of the world's foremost authorities on sensory evaluation of food. He is the co-author of one of the standard texts in sensory evaluation of food: "Sensory Evaluation of Foods: Principles and Practices" (2nd edition), Dr. Harry T. Lawless, professor of food science at Cornell University and Dr. Hildegarde Heymann, professor of viticulture and oenology at the University of California at Davis.
    In section 4.2.7, entitled "The ABX Discrimination Task", of Lawless and Heymann's textbook, "Sensory Evaluation of Foods: Principles and Practices" (2nd edition), they write:

    "This test has been widely used as a forced choice measure of discrimination in psychological studies, for example, in discrimination of speech sounds and in measuring auditory thresholds (Macmillan et al., 1977; Pierce and Gilbert, 1958). Several signal detection models (see Chapter 5) are available to predict performance using this test (Macmillan and Creelman, 1991). The method has been rarely if ever applied to food testing, although some sensory scientists have been aware of it (Frijters et al., 1980). Huang and Lawless (1998) did not see any advantages to the use of this test over more standard discrimination tests."
    (p. 88)

    One sentence of the passage above bears further investigation:

    "The method has been rarely if ever applied to food testing, although some sensory scientists have been aware of it (Frijters et al., 1980)."

    In the same section, Lawless and Heymann address the question of why the ABX test has rarely been used in food testing:

    "As in other general tests of overall difference (triangle, duo-trio) the nature of the difference is not specified and this presents a challenge to the panelists to discover relevant dimensions of sensory difference and not be swayed by apparent but random differences. As foods are multi-dimensional, random variation in irrelevant dimensions can act as a false signal to the panelists and draw their attention to sensory features that are not consistent sources of difference (Ennis and Mullen, 1986)."
    heiney9 wrote: »
    Simply listening will make sure you aren't deceived by snake oil...

    This is true, provided the listener knows what to listen for. The best defense against snake oil is being able to evaluate stereophonic performance parameters. This requires study and practice.

    The goal should be training the ear to the point that it cannot be tricked, rather than rigging a test to reduce the fear of being tricked.


    Further reading:

    A-Survey-Of-Early-Stereophonic-System-Subjective-Evaluation

    A-Historical-Overview-of-Stereophonic-Blind-Testing

    Further-Thoughts-On-ABX-Testing-Of-Stereophonic-Audio-Systems
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
    "Knowledge, without understanding, is a path to failure."~DK
    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • decaldecal Posts: 3,181
    edited April 2012
    This is getting boring. Somebody start slingin' some mud !!!! :lol:
    If you can't hear a difference, don't waste your money.
  • DarqueKnightDarqueKnight Posts: 6,603
    edited April 2012
    To reemphasize, the big question for me is that the inventor and early developers of home stereo systems were eminent scientists at the world's premier electronics research and development laboratory (Bell Labs). They were experts in the application of blind testing methods to telephony. Curiously, when these same eminent scientists turned their attention to developing and testing stereophonic audio systems, they used trained listeners in non-blind trials.

    If blind testing was as important, and absolutely required to remove bias, as some people make it out to be, why wasn't such testing at the forefront during the development of stereo?

    Did Dr. Fletcher and his colleagues not know what they were doing?

    Is it reasonable to advocate a testing methodology for something that is unjustifiably counter to that used by the people who invented the thing?

    Two Bell Telephone Laboratories scientists, F. K. Harvey and M. R. Schroeder, presented a paper at the 12th Annual Convention the the Audio Engineering Society on October 11, 1960 with abstract as follows:

    "In transmitting and reproducing two-channel stereophonic signals, the original program material may be modified deliberately or unintentionally. Separation upper and lower cutoff frequencies as well as full-band channel separation (in dB) have been evaluated subjectively in terms of detection of spatial difference, preservation of spatial resemblance, and listener preference. In addition, other pertinent observations on subjective aspects are reported."

    In their discussion of their test procedure, Harvey and Schroeder stated:

    "Critical listeners were sought in these tests because of a desire to set permanent standards. At the moment, only a small percentage of people fully appreciate high fidelity. Even less appreciate or understand stereo. However, there is a growing sophistication evidenced among users of stereo equipment. Anticipating the future, it seemed wise to avoid naive or unconcerned personnel in these tests to prevent establishing loose standards which eventually might have to be abandoned.

    The listeners chosen were sophisticated in the art of sound localization either by working in this field or by education before testing. They were felt to be the equal of any serious listener who is accustomed to playing the same records many times and thus becomes familiar with the more subtle artistic and technical effects."
    "So hot it burns Mice!"~DK
    "Polk SDA-SRSs are hopelessly out of date both sonically and technologically... I see no value whatsoever in older SDA speakers."~Audio Asylum Member
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    "Those who irrationally rail against something or someone that is no threat to them, actually desire (or desire to be like) the thing or person they are railing against."~DK
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012

    This is true, provided the listener knows what to listen for. The best defense against snake oil is being able to evaluate stereophonic performance parameters. This requires study and practice.

    The goal should be training the ear to the point that it cannot be tricked, rather than rigging a test to reduce the fear of being tricked.

    I agree and to me that is self evident, but I'm glad you pointed it out. I have developed a critical listening style over many, many years and many times I pick up on things others either don't hear or more likely aren't listening for. One MUST know what to listen for and how to listen. It doesn't matter if you are just critically listening or participating in some sort of DBT, if you don't know what to listen for and how to listen for it, it won't matter.

    H9

    P.s. I will also add, that I know what I like and what I don't like when listening, right or wrong those preferences are what I tend to listen for. I am not completely unflexible in that regard however.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • halo71halo71 Posts: 4,405
    edited April 2012
    DMara wrote: »
    Presenting different opinions is good for a conversation. However the problem is some begin to fall into personal attack mode by calling names to mock others. The thread then becomes a war zone :biggrin:

    Well that's another one from out in left field ehh? Better be careful you'll get this one closed too.:cheesygrin:
    --Gary--
  • maximillianmaximillian Posts: 2,084
    edited April 2012
    Wait, wasn't this thread already closed?
  • tonybtonyb Posts: 31,642
    edited April 2012
    Wait, wasn't this thread already closed?

    Only to closed minds my friend, only to closed minds. :cheesygrin:
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  • newrivalnewrival Posts: 2,020
    edited April 2012
    DK, my biggest issue with your argument for trained listeners is the lack of a reliable baseline. I have not seen any reliable method of calibration of the human listener. At best one can only approximate it, and is far too variable to me.
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  • SyndilSyndil Posts: 1,591
    edited April 2012
    I am not a fan of the "wall of words" argument. For my sake and yours, I'll keep my points brief. The music hall analogy does not apply to audio systems. Part of the enjoyment of the music hall is indeed picking out instruments (with your eyes) that are making the sounds you hear. There is no such visual component to audio gear.

    Furthermore, critical listening of a music hall has very little in common with critical listening of audio gear. When you are going to a music hall, you are not judging how close the quality of the sound comes to a live performance--it IS a live performance, so that would be silly. The entire analogy is baseless.

    As for tactile sensations, you can indeed feel bass rumble and the like, but you will feel that whether or not you can see the equipment that is producing the bass.

    Back to the food analogy, there was a reason I picked the Pepsi challenge as my example, as it bears the most resemblance to judging audio equipment. Yes, most taste tests are not blind, as there is no need for them to be blind. I have participated in several myself. However in those tests, I was tasting experimental products from a single source (KFC), not judging products from various manufacturers that I may have had a bias towards or against, either consciously or subconsciously. The potential for such a bias does exist when you are pitting brands against each other, as is commonly done in audio gear comparisons. And when that potential exists, blind testing eliminates it.

    The same problem lies with your argument regarding the original pioneers into audio. At that point, they were not judging established products from competing brands, they were experimenting to determine which methodology produced the best results. There was no potential for bias. So once again, apples to oranges.

    As for the adequacy of my ear, I would pit it against absolutely anyone's. I am a classically trained, performing musician with over 25 years of experience. The last hearing test I took was a group hearing test (one of those trailers they bring to your workplace), and I finished the test a full 10 minutes before the next person. If you are not familiar with the nature of the test, the less tones you can hear, the more they repeat them, so the longer the test takes. I keep a pair of Etymotic Musician's earplugs with me at all times on my keychain, and use them whenever I feel the sound is too loud. Which is often, especially when I go out.

    One might possibly argue that I have not trained myself to listen to the audio gear instead of the music coming out of it, but to that I would say, why would I want to do that? It's all about the music. This is also why I refuse to invest ridiculous amounts of money in audio gear. Some say it's chasing that last 1%, but that is a percentage of a larger subset that is, even at its theoretical best possible level, nowhere near as good as the real thing. Recordings by their very nature are inherently inferior, and as they say, you can't polish a ****. Actually the Mythbusters proved that you can, but it's still a ****. If I were to ever spend more money in a year on audio gear than I did on attending live performances, I would be absolutely ashamed to admit it.

    But still, even when I do spend modest amounts of money on gear, as I did this last year with my pre/pro purchase, I buy several, and audition them blindly in my home. This last time I pitted an Adcom GTP-880 against an Outlaw Audio 990, and I knew I had to do it blindly because I already owned several Adcom amps and preamps. The Adcom GTP-880 looked much better in my audio rack than the 990 does, since it matches everything else, but the 990 sounded better to my ear.

    When a person wants something to be true, they will often make themselves believe that it is, despite the facts. If you spend $2,000 on cables, you damn well better find out that they sound better than some cheapo Monoprice cables, otherwise you'll feel like an utter clot for spending that kind of money on them. All the more reason it is important to make that judgment blindly.

    RT-12, CS350-LS, PSW-300, Infinity Overture 1, Monoprice RC-65i
    Adcom GFA-545II, GFA-6000, Outlaw Audio 990, Netgear NeoTV
    Denon DCM-460, DMD-1000, Sony BDP-360, Bravia KDL-40Z4100/S
    Monster AVL-300, HTS-2500 MKII
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012
    newrival wrote: »
    DK, my biggest issue with your argument for trained listeners is the lack of a reliable baseline. I have not seen any reliable method of calibration of the human listener. At best one can only approximate it, and is far too variable to me.

    Impossible because even if you could devise a test that created a baseline, we are all human and we all hear, see, feel, touch, taste and interpret things differently. I like what I like in a piece of gear and, if I listen, those biases are going to come through. I am aware of them so I do try and compensate, but they are there and no one can tell me A) I am not hearing it or B) what I'm hearing is wrong.

    Why do you need a baseline for everyone else? You listen for yourself on your own and make your own choices, right? How is forming a baseline with 10-100 other people going to change what you hear and how you interpret it based on your own personal biases and experiences? Sure, we can all share what we hear, but then the barrier becomes that some are better at verbally articulating what they hear or a group of people have different ideas about what a word or phrase means, etc, etc, etc.......so a baseline can never really be achieved.

    Some guidelines, hints, ideas can be given, but even then it's up to the indivdual to interpret those factors.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012
    Syndil wrote: »
    I am not a fan of the "wall of words" argument. For my sake and yours, I'll keep my points brief. The music hall analogy does not apply to audio systems. Part of the enjoyment of the music hall is indeed picking out instruments (with your eyes) that are making the sounds you hear. There is no such visual component to audio gear.

    I couldn't disagree more. When my eyes are closed, or it's completey dark I have a heightened perception of the musical soundstage in front of me. In fact I prefer to listen in the dark or eyes closed, much more going on.

    I have also found trained musicians make lousy critical listeners because when they are listening to a composition, they are listening for a completely different set of parameters. This is in my experience with several musicians I know. We have had several discussions about istening habits. Not saying you are this way, but your arguement doesn't hold water with me JUST because you are a trained musician.

    Just because one is a world famous race car driver doesn't mean they can parallel park a car.

    I have spent time with both the Adcom and Outlaw piece and they both leave a lot to be desired.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012
    Syndil wrote: »

    When a person wants something to be true, they will often make themselves believe that it is, despite the facts. If you spend $2,000 on cables, you damn well better find out that they sound better than some cheapo Monoprice cables, otherwise you'll feel like an utter clot for spending that kind of money on them. All the more reason it is important to make that judgment blindly.

    Except many of us here including myself have choosen the lesser expensive pieces on occasion. Do you know why? Because they sounded better to me. And it was a full visual test. It took me about a month of critical listening to a few pieces to determine which one I preferred. There is not a single person here who is serious about this hobby that would LOVE to spend more than is necessary to enjoy a piece of gear.
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
  • pietro944pietro944 Posts: 720
    edited April 2012
    DMara wrote: »
    Presenting different opinions is good for a conversation. However the problem is some begin to fall into personal attack mode by calling names to mock others. The thread then becomes a war zone :biggrin:

    And it's always the same arrogant people who mock others....such as the term "delusional".This doesn't belong in any discussion among level-headed people,imo.
  • newrivalnewrival Posts: 2,020
    edited April 2012
    heiney9 wrote: »
    Impossible because even if you could devise a test that created a baseline, we are all human and we all hear, see, feel, touch, taste and interpret things differently. I like what I like in a piece of gear and, if I listen, those biases are going to come through. I am aware of them so I do try and compensate, but they are there and no one can tell me A) I am not hearing it or B) what I'm hearing is wrong.

    Why do you need a baseline for everyone else? You listen for yourself on your own and make your own choices, right? How is forming a baseline with 10-100 other people going to change what you hear and how you interpret it based on your own personal biases and experiences? Sure, we can all share what we hear, but then the barrier becomes that some are better at verbally articulating what they hear or a group of people have different ideas about what a word or phrase means, etc, etc, etc.......so a baseline can never really be achieved.

    Some guidelines, hints, ideas can be given, but even then it's up to the indivdual to interpret those factors.

    H9

    That's kind of my point. By relying on the human as the measuring device, you're immensely increasing the exposure to interference, thus reducing the reliability of the "measurement." Of course by measurement, I mean the report from the trained listener.
    design is where science and art break even.
  • heiney9heiney9 Posts: 24,125
    edited April 2012
    Again, I have to ask the question; Why do you (or anyone) need someone else to tell you, show you, etc, that something sounds good? Why can't you do that for yourself. My greatest disconnect with people who want to be told if "something" sounds good, is why they need someone to tell them? I may ask a friend what they think of a piece of gear or a wine or a tequila, but I would always want to evaluate for myself.

    The reliability of the measurement soley lies with YOU the listener, correct? You either like it or don't, or somewhere inbetween.

    I hate liver, if someone told me 9 out of 10 top chef's love liver and I went and tasted it and hated it, am I supposed to just keep eating it even though I hate it just because trained foodies said it tastes good? I disagree with a lot of the professional audio reviewers out there, just because it's their profession (a subjective one at that) doesn't mean I can't disagree. However, I will say their words and reviews hold more weight in me making a decision whether or not to consider something.

    H9
    "Appreciation of audio is a completely subjective human experience. Measurements can provide a measure of insight, but are no substitute for human judgment. Why are we looking to reduce a subjective experience to objective criteria anyway? The subtleties of music and audio reproduction are for those who appreciate it. Differentiation by numbers is for those who do not".--Nelson Pass

    Pass Aleph 30 | EE Avant Pre | EE Mini Max Plus DAC | MIT Shotgun S3 | MIT Z P/C's | updated SDA 1C| SQ Box Touch/Welbourne Labs P/S- Tubes add soul!
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