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Old 18th August 2004, 04:24 AM   #31
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I didn't say it would be a good anology, I only mentioned it could be more appropriate than comparing oranges and apples. After all, we are discusing here 3 different senses and in two examples, we are dealing with material objects. Perhaps sound waves are more tricky?

Still, I would not be able to distinguish three Santa Barbara Pinot Noirs and three Russian River Pinot Noirs, while I would have no problem finding apple from orange.
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Old 18th August 2004, 06:25 AM   #32
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SY, almost anyone can do BLIND TESTING, it is ABX testing that is virtually impossible to pass, because it FORCES a decision of a certain kind.
For example, about 25 years ago while in Japan for HK, I was asked to listen to 3 separate audio circuits, not made by me, in a blind test. I could distinguish them and point out which was the best. It amazed the Japanese, but it did not surprise me. I do it all the time.
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Old 18th August 2004, 12:10 PM   #33
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Default ABX

In wine tasting, we call this a triangle forced choice test. They work beautifully, they are quite standard in the wine industry, and in fact, that's the type of testing I use with my own products. Our customers demand this sort of data.

I find it interesting that people doing ABX testing in audio distinguish some surprisingly subtle differences. It's an appropriate modality for testing certain kinds of variables, but there are other blind testing methods which are more suitable for other problems.
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Old 18th August 2004, 06:58 PM   #34
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SY, you are saying to me that you have 2 or 3 selections and that you taste each one, and then you are given an unmarked selection and you decide which of the original selections that it is. You do this 20 or more times in a row, and you have to be right 95% of the time to have any significance to your decisions. Wow! I once observed a bar bet like this, and the person couldn't tell the difference between cola, 7up or ginger ale after a few tries. Of course, to be fair, we must make the wines a similar as possible. I might suggest adding sugar or other components in order to 'even up' the wines, so that we are not considering taster preference. ;-) Can you see a parallel to this in audio testing?
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Old 18th August 2004, 07:47 PM   #35
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Here's a test that we did today:

We compared wines bottled at the same time but with two corks having different levels of an additive that we're testing. Five panelists (prequalified to be able to detect wine flaws like TCA, volatility, brettanomyces, and the like). Five trials per panelist. Each trial is a set of three glasses, two of which have the same wine, the third of which is "different." The panelist tries to detect the odd wine out in each trial trio. All panelists scored 4/5 or 5/5 correct; by using a t-test, we determined that they can distinguish between wines bottled with the two corks to better than 95% confidence level. I'm not going to use that additive!
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Old 18th August 2004, 11:23 PM   #36
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A possible advantage the wine industry has is a standardized nomiclature relating a specific adjective to a specific taste which is related to a specific chemical component. My brother-in-law how owned a winery for a while, educated me (atempted to would be more accurate) on a few examples. I remember best "vegatative" and how to relate it to the tasye of green beel peppers and why it results from greenery included with the crush. I was also shown how there is training available using sample scents in vials so that everyone means the same thing when they use a particular adjective.

Apart from reading some some definitions in TAS once, which added to the mystery rather than reduce it, I'm unaware that audio has anything similar. It would seem possible to create a standard set of .wav files that define "warm", "laid back", "analytical", etc etc. -- but maybe that would just let too many of us nulkultorni in to the drawing room.
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Old 18th August 2004, 11:46 PM   #37
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We like to believe that we've got a standardized vocabulary, but we don't, really. For example, one famous critic uses the term "Asian spice." What does that mean? Five spice powder? Cumin? Cinnamon? Saffron? And everything's relative- one person's rich and velvety is another person's cloying and hot.
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Old 19th August 2004, 03:53 AM   #38
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SY, you are saying to me that you have 2 or 3 selections and that you taste each one, and then you are given an unmarked selection and you decide which of the original selections that it is. You do this 20 or more times in a row, and you have to be right 95% of the time to have any significance to your decisions. Wow! I once observed a bar bet like this, and the person couldn't tell the difference between cola, 7up or ginger ale after a few tries. Of course, to be fair, we must make the wines a similar as possible. I might suggest adding sugar or other components in order to 'even up' the wines, so that we are not considering taster preference. ;-) Can you see a parallel to this in audio testing?
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Old 19th August 2004, 12:57 PM   #39
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John, no, I don't follow the analogy. We're not trying to even things up, we're trying to see if doing thing "X" makes any discernable difference to the wine. First, one has to determine if there IS any difference before deciding which is preferred. Preference tests come second. I should make the side comment that "being right 95% of the time" is not the same thing as "being able to distinguish A from B at a 95% confidence level." The latter is what we do in sensory testing, not the former.

Bars tend to be lousy environments for sensory testing; that's one reason that these bar bets are so funny. When I was doing amplifier tests, I didn't set my speakers up in a boiler room. And to forestall the next question, we do NOT swallow the wine! Fifteen glasses of wine per panelist would result in a lot of puke being generated, and the aroma of accumulated vomit might tend to obscure the aroma nuances we're looking for, especially if you're the fourth or fifth panelist.

One more fun test we did: my drinking/cooking buddy and I once visited the famous wine critic Robert Parker. Parker set up a group of 27 wines in a blind manner. We were asked to determine which wines were French and which were American. I've got a good technical palate, but my palate memory is quite ordinary. My buddy has a superb palate memory. In any case, my buddy got 25 right out of 27, and directly identified 5 of the wines (he missed zero in his direct identification). For some reason, the left brain/right brain thing and test pressure didn't seem to bother him. (for the record, I got 19/27, not particularly significant)

And, finally, successful blind testing/identification is part of the examination process for professional certifications like WSET, Master Sommellier, and Master of Wine.
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Old 19th August 2004, 01:23 PM   #40
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My wife can do that. Two years ago we were with friends in France, and they served us several different wines from the area to taste and talk about it. I'm not a particular expert, but after tasting the third or fourth glas (no bottles visible) my wife said: That's not a French wine! Really, my friend said, amused. No, my wife said, it's Italian, Tuscany, I think from Montalcino, either a 97 or 98 from Vasco Sassetti. Dead silence. Friend off to the kitchen, came back, you are absolutely right, 98 Rosso di Montacino from Vasco Sassetti.... Joke from his wife....

Now, I find this absolutely fascinating (there more about her that's fascinating, but that's another story). There was no indication or expectation that an Italian wine was to be served. How do you guys do it???

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