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DAC blind test: NO audible difference whatsoever
DAC blind test: NO audible difference whatsoever
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Old 10th May 2018, 07:13 PM   #1691
scottjoplin is offline scottjoplin  Wales
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Something that keeps cropping up is the problem of short term audio memory, which appears to mean that only suitably trained or experienced people are able to do a meaningful ABX test. For the rest of us normal folk who like to compare in a more relaxed way similar to how we would listen to music for pleasure, how valid is extended listening over days between changes? I appreciate the problem of things sounding better merely because they're different.
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Old 10th May 2018, 08:17 PM   #1692
mmerrill99 is offline mmerrill99  United States
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A recent article in NYT How the Shape of Your Ears Affects What You Hear - The New York Times might clarify some aspects of auditory perception i.e. it uses a model-based approach - we compare what we hear/see against previously stored abstracted aspects or models. In this case a change in the shape of the ear disturbs our perception of elevation location of the source of what is being heard. Just how large the difference in the soundfield impinging on the tympanic membrane from this change in ear shape, I don't know but it makes for an interesting question.

What this research shows is that auditory perception uses a model based approach - we locate the elevation of a sound based on the pattern of frequencies that we have learned correlate with the actual location we can see or sense in other ways. A small change in this pattern breaks this correlation but the interesting thing is that we adapt to changes after about a week & then have the same location capabilities as our previous perception gave.

This means that we learn/lay down new aspects/models by correlation between our senses & our understanding of how the world works within that perceptual framework.

The same happens with visual perception so prism glasses that flip the image falling on the Fovea into the correct, upright orientation is disorienting at first but after about a week the visual world is no longer perceived as flipped but is correctly orientated.

Here's the really interesting part - taking off the glasses & we immediately? adjust to the image on the fovea being upside down & again perceive it in the correct orientation. The same applies with ears - slightly change the shape of the ears pinna & we find it difficult to localise height of sounds but readjusts over a week of use. Changing between the original pinna shape & new shape is then instantly adapted to rather than taking a week. We seem to retain the new perceptual model learned & can instantly(?) flip between them.

So just to bring this to our hobby. Do we 'learn' the sound of our playback system & putting in a new device allows us to perceive it as a change in some aspect of the sound? It might not be an very obvious aspect - could be a small change in our perception of elevation/soundstage/individualisation of the performers, etc.

So as is being asked here - what is the value of sighted listening Vs ABX blind testing? Maybe some aspects of our auditory perception are not instant A/B differences but rather more subtle differences which are teased out over time. Being able to A/B these subtle differences may well require training/experience to be able to differentiate

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Old 10th May 2018, 08:19 PM   #1693
planet10 is offline planet10  Canada
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DAC blind test: NO audible difference whatsoever
Quote:
Originally Posted by 00940 View Post
And ?

That would be of great importance if all sighted listening tests by audiophiles and hifi critics were centered around the overall feeling of pleasure and involvement one gets from music through a particular system. But many of these tests also involve analytical listening as they focus on particular aspects (imaging, details, bass response and so on). Are you going to throw all that out ?
You are missing the point.

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Old 10th May 2018, 11:37 PM   #1694
gabdx is offline gabdx  Canada
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Originally Posted by stocktrader200 View Post
I am running the iphone (5) into a tube buffer. the Iphone has virtually no measureable jitter and distortion levels of 0.003% (2nd tubelike) at 1v output.
Any external DAC is a waste of money load up lossless or AIFF files onto the Iphone
google Iphone tests Ken Rockwell
I hope that you are joking.
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Old 11th May 2018, 12:39 AM   #1695
Tromperie is offline Tromperie  Australia
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Nope. Analytical listening uses different circuits than listening for pleasure.
lol
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Old 11th May 2018, 12:08 PM   #1696
Jakob2 is offline Jakob2  Germany
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Quote:
Originally Posted by scottjoplin View Post
Something that keeps cropping up is the problem of short term audio memory, ......
The matter of the short auditory memory wrt our discussion is a controversial one. If taken at face value the statement is true as the auditory memory is the echoic memory that appears to be a real short term memory (accordng to the literature the time span is within a range of at max a couple of seconds).

In the broader sense it is a bit misleading as auditory memory means (should mean) the ability to memorize certain properties of original sound events and to retrieve such information from working memory and long term storage.

As we have often pointed out in the past -and mmerill99 did again describing the NYT article - we deal with models about our senses. The term "working memory" came out from one specific memory model, it means that sounds are transferred from the echoic memory to another storage area where processing of these sounds begins. Unprocessed sound seem to fade away in quite short time while sound information that is used may last for minutes to hours.

According to the model processing and categorization of sounds allows transfer to long term memory where the information may last for years (forever?).
Mark4 pointed out that it is our understanding that remembering might not only retrieve information from long term storage but also (?ever?) tends to alter the information and writing back a (at least) slightly different version.

Wrt multidimensional stimuli afaik there is not so much published material available that deals with degrees of difference and the according ability to remember the various differences.


Quote:
.....which appears to mean that only suitably trained or experienced people are able to do a meaningful ABX test.
What we know so far seems to provide evidence that on average participants that are not used to do ABX tests do experience more difficulties compared for example doing an A/B test.

But, in my experience, on average people are experiencing difficulties when doing A/B as well, if they were not used to do such kind of tests.

So anyway people should practise as usually adapting to unusal conditions takes some time.
As some people describe getting good results with ABX tests, it might still be a useful tool.

As a reminder, the ABX test is a test for difference (only) and should only be used if the knowing about a difference (alone) is really an important information.(It usually is at certain stages of a development or altering process; but wrt the questions that we discuss iīd say it isnīt that important)

Postscript: ABX is similar to other protocols like triangle (and others) tests, because participants have to memorize three items but does not have the advantage of enhance efficiency.
In the case of a "sort the odd one out" test, participants probe "AAB" , "ABA", "BAB" and "BBA" in the trials and should be able to identify the different sample. As chance to get the correct answer by random guessing is only 1/3, less trials are needed to get the same socalled "level of significance" .

In an ABX the chance to get a correct answer by random guessing is still 1/2 as it is in the case of an A/B test.

Quote:
For the rest of us normal folk who like to compare in a more relaxed way similar to how we would listen to music for pleasure, how valid is extended listening over days between changes? I appreciate the problem of things sounding better merely because they're different.
A/B tests are more similar to our usual habits for comparison of two "things" , so might have a genuine advantage, but the statistical needs for more trials and the somewhat artifical "blinding" cause usually (on average) that some accomodation/training time is still needed.

Listening over prolonged time spans do not harm generally but it depends on the question that you trying to explore and the specific way to assess it.

Last edited by Jakob2; 11th May 2018 at 12:17 PM.
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Old 11th May 2018, 12:32 PM   #1697
Bigun is offline Bigun  Canada
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Originally Posted by DF96 View Post
Some things actually are impossible. Proving something by experiment is one of them.

Fortunately, in audio we do not have to prove anything; just show that it is likely to be true. If people cannot reliably distinguish between the sound of A and B, then it is likely that A and B are indistinguishable (at least for those people under those conditions, and possibly/probably for other people too under similar conditions); this does not mean that A and B are identical, but neither does it mean that nothing useful at all can be said.
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