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Old 3rd March 2011, 10:37 AM   #10461
jkeny is offline jkeny  Ireland
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffforrest View Post
"the fact that the listener is being asked to focus in an unnatural way on the sound so as to hear differences"

In what way is that different to listening, knowingly changing something and listening again?
Expectation bias - the listener is being asked to hear any difference that might exist between the devices (or no difference) - rather than the relaxed natural evolving of an opinion about the sound. Like my wife said to me unsolicited over Christmas after the music was playing for a couple of hours in the background (& she doesn't take any interest in Hifi) - "that really sounds very good". I know other biases were at play here but of a different nature

I guess my point is that when the idea of a "test" is raised then it changes the ear/brain relationship in the listener.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 10:38 AM   #10462
SY is offline SY  United States
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cliffforrest View Post
In what way is that different to listening, knowingly changing something and listening again?
The inability to peek and validate one's conscious or unconscious biases.

An important point is that ABX is one of many blind testing formats, i.e., it is just one of many DBT formats. One can also do triangle (my favorite) or repeated preference/ranking. The latter requires a lot more trials for statistical significance, but some people prefer it.

The most difficult part is accepting the results if they don't comport with your wishes.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 10:41 AM   #10463
SY is offline SY  United States
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Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
I know other biases were at play here but of a different nature
That's exactly correct. It does no good to eliminate one form of bias but then introduce another (Clever Hans, for example). And that's also why DOUBLE blind is important- it is far too easy, especially with spouses, to unconsciously transmit and receive unintentional nonauditory cues.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 10:44 AM   #10464
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jkeny View Post
Expectation bias - the listener is being asked to hear any difference that might exist between the devices (or no difference) - rather than the relaxed natural evolving of an opinion about the sound. Like my wife said to me unsolicited over Christmas after the music was playing for a couple of hours in the background (& she doesn't take any interest in Hifi) - "that really sounds very good". I know other biases were at play here but of a different nature

I guess my point is that when the idea of a "test" is raised then it changes the ear/brain relationship in the listener.
And my point was questioning whether in listening, modifying then listening again, you are NOT listening for changes ??

That doesn't compute!

And that anecdotal "wife from the kitchen" stuff is rather tired and has zero value.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 11:03 AM   #10465
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Originally Posted by Joshua_G View Post
Indeed, I select components for my sound system to my personal taste.
I select components that please my preferences in sound system neither the preferences of someone else nor to satisfy any measuring instrument.
Is there anything wrong in that?
Do you really believe I should be deprived of the privilege that any teenager drummer has?

May I ask about how do you select components to your sound system?
I bag your pardon, but my last question addresses the core of the differences between us. Should you reply that question I'll be able to point that core.
Once upon a time when I was an audiophile, the common wisdom and advice was to tell people to select audio components based on what sounded to them like live music. People actually used to attend live music in those days even if it was only a high school orchestra, band, or church choir and pipe organ recital so there was some expectation of familiarity with it among most of the population. Once I became even a little experienced and sophisticated at listening to expensive audio equipment, I realized none of it did. That's when I started thinking about trying to find out why.

Today, I think few people hear live music anymore (Grateful Dead doesn't count) or at least they don't hear it very often. Small wonder some people buy simply what they like. That's okay if you don't pretend that it's high fidelity. What I find not okay is that the price of much equipment in the category that is called "high end" has little to do with its intrinsic worth either insofar as the cost to research and manufacture it or by its performance compared to much less expensive alternatives. The cult mentality of those who manufacture it, advertise and review it, and sell it is designed specifically to deter any rational thought being given to what you are actually getting and putting it in context of what you are paying for it. This is because when viewed in that light none of it stands up to what I call the smell test. Where every other area of electronics has evolved to where you get more and more performance for less and less money over time, TV sets and computers for example, this niche seems to constantly head in exactly the opposite direction.

Personally, as someone with a lifetime of experience with engineers, scientists, manufacturers, and other people who create and sell products, I refuse to call tinkering research, clumsy hand wiring workmanship, inconsistent manufacturing practices acceptable, and products with poor or variable performance imbued with some mystical powers that cannot be quantified. To me it's all overpriced junk. For example, exactly which manufacturers of high end audio equipment excluding those which are owned by large corporations such as HK Industries is or could be ISO 9000 certified? I'll bet almost none of them.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 11:13 AM   #10466
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ISO900x certification is meaningless in the context of limited production and fashion. Conformance to ISO900x boils down to documenting procedures and following them ("Document what you do, then do what you document"). You can make absolute doo-doo and still be ISO certified- it means that everything you make is doo-doo, and the same kind of doo-doo day in and day out. And it means you paid a LOT of fees for auditors, consultants, and the rest of the ISO racket.

Quote:
I think few people hear live music anymore (Grateful Dead doesn't count)
Considering that Jerry Garcia died in 1995, that's a safe statement. And I would dare say that most people around here listen to live music on a regular basis- it's impossible to avoid.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 01:16 PM   #10467
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Soundminded View Post
... it seems to me that the sound of recordings of music may have become a substitute for the real thing judged apart from what it was once proffered to be capable of. For most people they don't know or care. MP3 with ear buds is good enough for them. Me, I'm a dinosaur. I just keep plugging away at trying to build and tweak equipment that actually sounds like real music. I gave up on the mainstream thinking about how to do that a long time ago after I concluded that no amount of perfecting it would achieve those results. It's rewarding when you feel you've made progress on your own. The down side is that when there's a problem there's nobody else to turn to for advice, you're strictly on your own in uncharted waters. If you can't fix it, nobody else can either.
I guess everyone has a different amount of time, energy and intelligence to spend on any aspect of their life, and most people are not involved with DIYAUDIO! Therefore, if they are going to have decent audio reproduction by necessity will have to be satisfied with what they can purchase. I think most or all of us here on this list have a more active interest in making progress on this front, even if it is just personally.

I share a similar view to yours, in that after years of professional audio engineering I am now just trying to satisfy my own interest in the subject. I have no illusions that any advancements will become a new paradigm for the masses, but I'm having fun, and maybe most importantly, it is keeping me actively involved with music, my first love! (don't tell my wife!)

I hope for you that your new concept for acoustic imaging can be brought to market, but if not, enjoy listening to it! If you DO decide to share it with the rest of us DIY geeks, than thanks in advance...

p.s. thanks for sharing your experience auditioning violins; the instrument crappy enough to be suitable for me has not yet been invented.

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Last edited by hhoyt; 3rd March 2011 at 01:31 PM.
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Old 3rd March 2011, 01:23 PM   #10468
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PMA View Post
Curtain before the amps is OK, provided you do not use those lousy switchboxes and nests of shoe-lace signal cables, supported by click-click instant choice.

I use the curtain method, or the method of same boxes for different amps. People are able to tell differences.
But of course there are cases that differences are heard. Not all amps sound the same, and surely not all speakers sound the same. I don't think anybody has an issue with that.

The point is, unless you do a controlled test, you cannot be sure whether there indeed IS an audible difference or not.
Except for some pathological cases.

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Old 3rd March 2011, 01:28 PM   #10469
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson Pass View Post
The brain tries to assemble a picture that makes sense
from all the senses, and this sort of thing is not limited
to sight.

One of my favorites is where the listener is presented with
a tone that is rising or falling in pitch. If you add a gated
burst of white noise, the listener will of course continue
to hear the rising or falling tone through the noise.

If you gate the tone out at the same time you gate the
noise in, the listener will still perceive a continuous rising
or falling tone, even though it isn't there.

Yes that's a good one. Another one involves two sliding tones that rise in pitch, then restart at the low end and rise again. The upsetting effect is that you think the tone is continually rising, but it remains clearly audible. It can go on for an hour, and you think it is continually rising in pitch, but it never gets at the point you can't hear it anymore.
Unsettling.

jan didden
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Old 3rd March 2011, 01:43 PM   #10470
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Nelson Pass View Post
The brain tries to assemble a picture that makes sense
from all the senses, and this sort of thing is not limited
to sight.[snip]
The brain is a prediction machine. If you see two speaker boxes, one large and one small, the expectation is that the larger box has deeper bass.
Even if they have absolutely the same bass, sighted test will overwhelmingly result in giving better bass to the larger box.

Now why is that? There's a lot of literature on this, but the short end is that the brain as said is a prediction machine, honed in 100's of 1000's of years resulting in the human race rising to be the top species. If you hear low notes, it implies a large animal, and you better pay attention. Conversely, if you see a large animal or any large object, it implies lots of low frequency tones. You are biased toward the combination of large object - low frequency sound, because it used to be that your survival depended on your ability to quickly and accurately do that pairing and act on it. Simple as that.

jan didden
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