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Blind test - objectivists with tin hearing?

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#1
"I had a long conversation during the show with Thorsten Loesch of Abbington Musical Research and IFI. He told me a fascinating story about confirmation bias. That’s when you are so sure of something that even strong evidence to the contrary will not persuade you to change your mind.

Thorsten put together a blind ABX testing where he told participants it was a comparison of two power cables. But when he went behind the curtains, ostensibly to change the power cable, what he actually did was switch the speaker cables on one channel, so the system was playing out of phase. Thorsten had three different types of audiophiles take his test: subjectivists, objectivists, and those who were neither. The subjectivists and neutral listeners heard the effects of the system being thrown out of phase. The objectivists heard no differences. It was a robust test with clearly correlated results.

And how noticeable is having one speaker’s channel out of phase with the other? Ten years ago, at CES I entered a room with an “All Digital System” that had all the DACs and electronics in the loudspeakers. I listened for about ten seconds, then I turned to the gentleman who was giving the presentation and told him, “One of your channels is out of phase with the other.” He told me that was impossible since all the connections were hard-wired. I thanked him and left. A day later he caught me in the hall and explained that indeed one channel had been mis-wired out of phase.

The fact that the objectivists in Thorsten’s test were the ones who were so set in their opinions that it blinded them to the aural facts in front of their ears is a delicious irony. Why? Because those audiophiles who embrace ABX testing with the most fervor are those who believe most strongly in effects of expectation bias, which is why sighted testing is, in their eyes, flawed. Thorsten’s test indicates a strong tendency for objectivists to listen with closed ears whether the test is blind or sighted, which isn’t very objective, is it? "

www.theabsolutesound.com/articles/rmaf-2018-digital/

What do you think of this?
 

garbulky

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#2
I got a chuckle. I think comparison tests cause masking due to their very nature of being a comparison test and you are testing two very similar things with each other. However I also don't have any evidence to back this up, so take that with some salt. :D
 
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RayDunzl

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#4

amirm

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#5
What do you think of this?
I think it is a fish story. Any such experiment needs to have documentation showing precisely how many people in each bucket, their scores, etc. Having seen Thorsten Loesch give talks, I say the strongest bias in the experiment is his thinking, than anything else. :)
 

Cosmik

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#6
I have had the same out-of-phase experience at a show and in a hi-fi shop.

I don't think it can be levelled as a criticism of all objectivists - and of course listening test enthusiasts aren't objectivists; they're pseudo-objectivists who collate subjective responses into pseudo-objective statistics. Their methods could equally well be applied to poetry, producing 'objective' measures of the quality of poetry.
 

RayDunzl

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#7
I think it is a fish story.
Made me think of JJ's fascinating story with the switchbox that doesn't switch anything, but, as I remember, he told the listeners it did.
 

Blumlein 88

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#8
Made me think of JJ's fascinating story with the switchbox that doesn't switch anything, but, as I remember, he told the listeners it did.
Are you thinking of his comparison between a SS and tube amp. The tube amp had a few tubes that had working heater filaments, but didn't even work. And wasn't connected. Yet when he switched many heard the kind of amp they thought they were listening to, but one professor or something looked behind the tube amp seeing it wasn't connected to anything else.
 

garbulky

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Are you thinking of his comparison between a SS and tube amp. The tube amp had a few tubes that had working heater filaments, but didn't even work. And wasn't connected. Yet when he switched many heard the kind of amp they thought they were listening to, but one professor or something looked behind the tube amp seeing it wasn't connected to anything else.
I wonder - does this mean we can't comprehend everything we hear? Something must be focusing what parts of the sound we take away our impressions of.
 

Cosmik

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#10
I wonder - does this mean we can't comprehend everything we hear? Something must be focusing what parts of the sound we take away our impressions of.
Listening intently to an arbitrary, electronics-centric difference is a completely artificial situation that has no parallel in nature. 'Hearing' is only an incidental component in this random psychological experiment. Just because the experimenter thinks that hearing is the core of the experiment doesn't mean it is so.
 

RayDunzl

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#12
Are you thinking of his comparison between a SS and tube amp.
Yes, that fascinating story.

---

Now having stories that maybe straddle both sides of the fence, I remain satisfied with my conclusion, that we (all of us) can be easily fooled by a little sleight of hand, or other "unexpected" result.

Both casual tests "prepared" the audience. Some audience members may have taken that and "prepared" themselves for their "expected" result one way, some another.
 

RayDunzl

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#13
A few minutes ago I stood in the center, and switched phase on a channel.

Out of phase was putting the stereo image at 90 degrees, nothing in the middle. In-phase was normal. All very obvious on a switch.

Then I switched back and forth a few times, from the desk, not checking the center. They sounded different.

Then got interrupted for a bit, and just sat back down.

I'm listening to the HDRadio, so it's unfamiliar music, Jazz All Night on WUSF.

The DSP window is obscured with another window right now.

I've forgotten the setting I left it at when the interruption occurred.

I can't tell you if (from this off-axis) position, with unfamiliar music, whether I left it in, or out, of phase, by listening.

With a little concentration, I'm gonna guess "out", there's a little tell in the bass, not the off-axis image.

*looks

Got it!

1547280013109.png


But not from "sounding" out of phase, but sounding a little extra boomy on the kick drum area, where I have some absurd DSP going on in a narrow range.
 

RayDunzl

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#14

RayDunzl

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#15
I have a budget 2 CD set.

Vox Classics Charles Ives Piano Pieces.

Took me a while to figure out, since I didn't have a phase switch at the time (long ago). Finally reversed a speaker cable.

Yes, All of both disks (solo piano) have a channel out of phase.

I emailed the manufacturer.

They replied with something like "Who cares?"

I was gonna burn a proper copy someday (this was like 1997), but now I can just push the button when I play it again.

Someday.

Maybe tomorrow.

Right now I'm happy with the out-of-phase radio jazz with the boomy string bass here at the desk in the corner.
 
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#17
It would be interesting if this were true - I'd probably be more inclined to believe it with something less audible than putting the speakers out of phase, however. I did that to myself by accident recently by getting mixed up while patching a cable back together (in my defense, the stock HD800 cable is wretched to repair), and it was instantly audible that something was very wrong when I put them on. Still, seems like fun - perhaps there is a need for someone to try to replicate his result :p
 

rebbiputzmaker

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#18
I think it is a fish story. Any such experiment needs to have documentation showing precisely how many people in each bucket, their scores, etc. Having seen Thorsten Loesch give talks, I say the strongest bias in the experiment is his thinking, than anything else. :)
When you are talking with someone do you always carry around documentation of study statistics?

Knowing Thorsten, he is not one to just make up stories, sorry.

Maybe the people who already had made up their mind did not actually bother to listen.
 
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Cosmik

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#19
It would be interesting if this were true - I'd probably be more inclined to believe it with something less audible than putting the speakers out of phase
As I say, I have had the same experience and once indirectly: an exhibitor at a show relating the tale of how a 'Golden Ears' had earlier noticed that he had wired a speaker out of phase. I am not lying! :)
 
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