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ABx Box suggestions?
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Old 16th July 2019, 04:16 PM   #1
bikinpunk is offline bikinpunk  United States
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Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Decatur, Al
Default ABx Box suggestions?

I'm looking to get a test rig set up where I can do ABX testing of various devices from line level in, to amplifier and (less important) speakers.

My more immediate need is for DSP/DAC and also amplifier comparisons. I notice some differences between two similar pieces of equipment and the logical side of me knows that it can't be *real*. I'd like to prove it to myself with double blind testing. And then work toward generating data in cases where there may be real audible differences (another topic that requires more money than I have at this time).

Google has provided me with a few options:
  • AVA ABX Comparator (more than I can afford, pal)
  • QSC ABX Comparator (no longer made; unobtanium)
  • Record the audio of the various devices via soundcard and then use foobar or the like to do an ABX on the two different audio files (seems like this may be the most likely route for the time being but will be limited by the soundcard's specs)

I have also found a few threads by members here with their own DIY ABX projects but I never see any for sale and, to be honest, I'm not up to the task of building one myself... I'm doing well to solder wire together with my shaky hands.

I realize I haven't provided any specifics at this point but that is due to me not really knowing what my options are. I'd like a remote, automated level matching would be an added bonus but not necessary, and maybe some way of capturing the results automatically to keep me from having to break my session to write something down.

What I'm looking for here is suggestions on other options, or someone with an ABX comparator they want to sell (either DIY or manufactured).

Any help is appreciated.

Last edited by bikinpunk; 16th July 2019 at 04:25 PM.
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Old 16th July 2019, 06:10 PM   #2
Jazid is offline Jazid  United Kingdom
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PM sentABx Box suggestions?
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Old 18th July 2019, 06:59 PM   #3
Mark Tillotson is offline Mark Tillotson
diyAudio Member
Join Date: May 2018
Location: Cambridge UK
Building a decent double-blind tester is not as simple as it appears - the clicking of relays is not blind at all and must be either be fully sound-proofed, or dummy relays switched so that the same sounds are made on every reconfiguration.

You also need to ensure accurate level matching between A and B, which means being able to measure the difference in level and correct it. Measurement is not easy for music sources unless you use test tones embedded in the source material for this purpose. Probably easiest to get this working well in the digitial domain anyway, with the right software.

You can't blind ABX test speakers anyway, because speakers have to be non-overlapping in space. Short of silent speaker-swapping robots behind a curtain, you can't really do this.
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Old 19th July 2019, 07:46 AM   #4
LKA is offline LKA  Europe
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Join Date: Dec 2014
The clicking audibility mainly depends on loudness, music type and switching time. I use dummy relays and short switching times.
Accurate level matching is the most important thing when comparing two amplifiers.
My box requires external sine generator, e.g. software on notebook (which also functioning as log capture). MCU measures Vp and displays it. I usually calibrate for 10Vp/4R.

the box AB-BOX : The ABX Comparator - Google Photos

Last edited by LKA; 19th July 2019 at 07:56 AM.
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