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Can we trust our ears?

SIY

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What is the saying about fighter aircraft? Designed by guys with PhD's, built by guys with Masters degrees, flown by guys with Bachelors degrees, and maintained by people with GED's.
Since two of my closest friends are a former fighter/bomber pilot and an Air Force maintenance engineer, and I came out of Lockheed's advanced aeronautics group, this rings painfully true.
 

cshake

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I was thinking about how to blind test headphone cables correctly and think there may be a way, though it requires a third cable in the system that is believed by all participants to be transparent.

Make a box with a tiny pigtail that goes to the amp, and a jack for the 'control' cable going to the actual headphones. The box has 6 test jacks: A out (1/4 TRS), B out (1/4 TRS), 2x A in (R/L with connector matching the headphone connectors), and same for 2x B in. Add two ganged 3P3T switches that force going through a non-connected state for each change. Wire it the logical way internally to put each test cable in the signal path. Plug each test cables into the jacks as loopbacks. Ensure the second person who is flipping the switch goes to neutral even if they go back to the same cable to cause switch noise and delay so as to not cue the listener. Maybe add an internal connection that bypasses the test cables in the neutral switch position for a true control test.

This is still susceptible to the level matching problem if one of the test cables is high resistance, but fixes the head positioning problem. If you really wanted to control level perfectly, you could measure DC resistance of each cable and put tiny inline resistors with the better (lower Z) cable, but anyone who goes that far probably already knows that measurements can show the difference (e.g. @solderdude's article).
 

solderdude

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A true audiophool and cable believer will object to the usage of extra wire and switches in the signal path.
He will instantly dismiss the test results because connectors and switches have a sound.
When they can't hear any differences in a well performed blind test they will simply deny the test results or claim this or that for their failure.

You can't convince (subjective only) audiophools. Even those that use expensive test equipment and know something about electronics. These trust their ears and findings more than their test gear and fall in classical traps as well.
Most audiophools don't believe measurements nor level matched blind tests anyway and claim that those pesky cloth eared engineer/science/design guys only perform standard tests that say nothing about how it performs with music and rig tests to trick them.
They (the engineer/science types) can't even measure differences between 2 different resistor types and cables yet they all know how different their 'house signature' is.
Even their wives can hear it.
There is no convincing audiophools

- end of rant -
 

StevenEleven

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Well, as Edgar Allen Poe wrote in 1845, presciently paraphrasing the lyrics to I Heard It Through the Grapevine:

Believe nothing you hear, and only one half that you see.
 
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I just took this test with my D50s, Atom, and Sundara combination. My questions is wouldn't this test be influenced by windows mixer?

I have troubles telling the difference between Uncompressed and the hire compression. I never guessed 128kbps. am very new to this...Spotify user. Maybe, I just don't have the gift?

This did help me. At the very least, I know I can cancel Amazon Prime HD if they do not add Wasapi or Asio support. Since I have troubles telling the difference without those.
 
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In our listening room when we retire to face our audio setup our only reliable companion is our ears. Trust them.
 

Julf

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Wombat

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"Here we go, again" takes up a large part of many threads.

A small number of well thought out and presented subject 'stickies', for quick diversion to, could promptly lessen lots of the bumph/constipated threads. o_O

These could be purposely written or refer to credible articles elsewhere. The onus on credible disagreement is then placed on the contrarian, i.e. put a case up-front or stop continually quibbling.

Of course this does not aid the desire for more forum 'hits'.
 
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BDWoody

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"Here we go, again" takes up a large part of many threads.

A small number of well thought out and presented subject 'stickies', for quick diversion to, could promptly lessen lots of the bumph/constipated threads. o_O
Maybe a well done FAQ with the standard list of 'but I hear a difference' questions with solid answers including references? There are some threads with mountains of reference links, but a lot of this could be summarized to a big 'start here if you think you hear differences' button?
 

trl

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I'm adding here @pma link for an interesting A/B test anyone can take:
https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/eve...be-distortion-listening-test-post5589641.html

Also, REW's ability to add harmonics up to 9th order will ease our in-house hearing tests: https://www.roomeqwizard.com/help/help_en-GB/html/siggen.html. Simply use REW's signal generator and add the distortions you might think your ears can hear; later you can increase the distortion % until you'll hear the difference.


Testing can be done for what frequency you want and checking/unchecking the check-boxes on the fly is the easiest A/B test possible.
 
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