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Looking for a good A/B switcher for blind listening tests

richard12511

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#1
I'm really interested in getting back into blind listening tests, but I want to improve my process a bit from how I've done it in the past. I'm looking for a speaker switcher that can switch quickly between either two mono speakers or two stereo pairs. I also want the ability to equalize the bass by using at least 2 subs. Also, a switcher that could support 3 speakers at the same time would be preferred.

This is the only one I know of atm. Any other suggestions? I'm no good with DIY, but if someone wants to guide me through making something, I could do that.

Recently I purchased the Genelec 8030c and the Magnepan LRS, and that's kinda the impetus for this. I'm starting to get a pretty good collection of different speakers, and I'd love to start comparing them in a more objective manner.
 

restorer-john

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#2
Considering the low demand for such a product, the AVA, although limited in the number of items it can connect, it does appear to be good value.

It does appear to use the preamplifiers to level set however. It may not be able to level match integrated amplifiers against one another.

If you just want to switch between speakers and sources without the full ABX testing, you could build something quite inexpensively.
 
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richard12511

richard12511

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Thread Starter #3
Considering the low demand for such a product, the AVA, although limited in the number of items it can connect, it does appear to be good value.

It does appear to use the preamplifiers to level set however. It may not be able to level match integrated amplifiers against one another.

If you just want to switch between speakers and sources without the full ABX testing, you could build something quite inexpensively.
Since I'll only be using this for speakers, I'll just be doing preference testing, so I may not need the ABX stuff. I'd definitely be down for DIY, but I just have no idea where to even start on that.
 

Bob-23

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#5
I'll just be doing preference testing, so I may not need the ABX stuff.
I think so, too. In my experience, a simple A-B switch box does a quite good job, with or without relay. Years ago, I built one according to Rod Elliott resp. Phil Allison with relays - but for a beginner it might even be too difficult. A simple double-pole-double-throw (DPDT) - switch a little box should do it, too. But there should be lots of these boxes on the market.
Rod Elliott's great ESP: https://sound-au.com/

Instantaneous switching done by such a box is necessary - at least when the differences between the sources are potentially minimal - because our accoustic memory is extremely short. Plugging in and out would already take too long.

You need a sensitive multimeter in order to equalize loudness resp. voltage of both of the sources, as adequately as possible. Take a 400 Hz test signal from Youtube, both amps shouldn't differ by more than 1 %. Even very slight loudness differences which are not yet discerned as such, are perceived as 'more open', 'better' sounding.

You can even do the switching quasi 'blindly' by obfuscating before yourself which position of the toggle switches which amp - e.g. you may let somebody else connect the box to the amps and cover the cables or you twist the cables leading to the box...

But, as it switches seamlessly you usually get it immediatley if there's a difference, or not.

You'll probably have surprising and potentially 'shocking' results.
 
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richard12511

richard12511

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Thread Starter #6
An AVR can be used for this, including level matching different speakers.
Can you elaborate on this? I've got 3 AVRs here, though only two with preouts to support active designs.
 

Chromatischism

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#7
Can you elaborate on this? I've got 3 AVRs here, though only two with preouts to support active designs.
Sure. This won't support instant switching, but the delay is only about 2 seconds. It's what I've come up with using the gear I have.

Connect one speaker to front right, and the other to surround right (or use front and surround left, it doesn't matter).

Use the Levels menu to adjust levels to be as equal as possible.

Use a source that can mix stereo channels to the surrounds. I use foobar with a DSP plugin and set a hotkey to turn it on or off. This is running on my laptop PC and connected with HDMI.

Optionally, you can use a DSP that mixes both channels to mono and run that while switching. I didn't care for it but it's an option. Basically you're using the player source as your switcher in lieu of hardware. I just sit back and switch using hotkeys, while using another hotkey to rewind 10 seconds. This way I can listen to the same passage repeatedly with either speaker. I can post screenshots later if interested.
 
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#8
Since I'll only be using this for speakers, I'll just be doing preference testing, so I may not need the ABX stuff. I'd definitely be down for DIY, but I just have no idea where to even start on that.
I think if it's just simply for the purpose of selecting speakers something like Taga Harmony TS-4 could do, it's inexpensive and does the job. The question is if you're bothered with the components you introduce directly into the signal path.

Edit. also, if you can use it at all will depend on your amplifier power output
 
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richard12511

richard12511

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Went ahead and purchased the Van Alstine. I figure it's a worthwhile investment for future purchases for which I can demo.

Not sure I'm still getting the LRS(they never replied to my purchase request) but I'll definitely be using it to compare Genelec 8030c/Revel M105/JBL 308p.
 

restorer-john

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#10
Went ahead and purchased the Van Alstine. I figure it's a worthwhile investment for future purchases for which I can demo.
I think you'll be happy with it. Even down the track, when AVA has stopped making them, you'll have a valuable device that may end up worth as much or more than you paid for it.

Why don't you do a review of it here on ASR?
 
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richard12511

richard12511

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Thread Starter #11
I'll definitely give my opinion of it once I have sufficient experience with it.
 
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