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Message to golden-eared audiophiles posting at ASR for the first time...

DSJR

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he’s a super nice guy AFAICT, but he went off the rails a bit on that one. As we’ve experienced here: Most of us understand bias is implicit in humans and we can’t avoid it. But some folks haven’t encountered the research at all, find the idea profoundly disconcerting and sort of automatically view it as an insult. Especially if their business demands they claim otherwise.

I know the thread and the individuals well, but honestly and as I tried to post in replies there, you need to work with your average audio customer or couple. Results aren't predictable at all, no two people are quite the same, at least at the upper mid to higher audio gear 'level' and tastes in speaker finish and so on vary so very much, making the academic study as discussed there just a little out of whack in my opinion. So easy to be tribal and to follow blindly the guru at the head of the particular forums (here too) and not to question or do research for ones-self. I should bloody know, it took me forty years of subjective evaluation and 'trusting my ears' before I totally fooled myself in an A-B comparison and the 'penny' finally dropped! I'm now all but ex-communicated from many of my former forum haunts because I'm too darned objective, as Serge has found and mentioned in a recent post (maybe it's the county in which we live, I don't know :D ).
 

ahofer

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Every ABX anyone has ever done using the foobar plugin fits that description.

The other question is why there is pressure unsighted that is absent sighted. Few seem to take the step and realize it is because it turns out to be difficult? And why, exactly, is that?
 

ahofer

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making the academic study as discussed there just a little out of whack in my opinion
Yeah, that was why I pointed out that while I could design a better way to audition products, it was totally unrealistic from both a market structure and consumer preference point of view.
 

sergeauckland

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The other question is why there is pressure unsighted that is absent sighted. Few seem to take the step and realize it is because it turns out to be difficult? And why, exactly, is that?

What has annoyed me many times is the logic failure in those that deny the validity of a blind test because ' I can clearly hear the difference sighted, but can't when tested blind, therefore the blind test is wrong.' There's too much stress in a blind test, (because I'm afraid I'll get it wrong and my credibility will suffer). Blind testing isn't how people use HiFi, I need weeks to decide which I prefer and so on.

If something is so bloody similar that it takes weeks to decide, even sighted, does it matter which? They're the same, just buy the prettiest.

S.
 

raistlin65

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What has annoyed me many times is the logic failure in those that deny the validity of a blind test because ' I can clearly hear the difference sighted, but can't when tested blind, therefore the blind test is wrong.' There's too much stress in a blind test, (because I'm afraid I'll get it wrong and my credibility will suffer). Blind testing isn't how people use HiFi, I need weeks to decide which I prefer and so on.

If something is so bloody similar that it takes weeks to decide, even sighted, does it matter which? They're the same, just buy the prettiest.

S.

I really think many of the stress arguments about DBT are bad faith arguments. I find it really hard to believe that anybody is overly stressed by that. Just seems like something many people put forward to discredit DBT.

Well, other than the internal stress that goes on when one has to confront that their beliefs are wrong. There might be a few who experience that.
 

rdenney

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What has annoyed me many times is the logic failure in those that deny the validity of a blind test because ' I can clearly hear the difference sighted, but can't when tested blind, therefore the blind test is wrong.' There's too much stress in a blind test, (because I'm afraid I'll get it wrong and my credibility will suffer). Blind testing isn't how people use HiFi, I need weeks to decide which I prefer and so on.

If something is so bloody similar that it takes weeks to decide, even sighted, does it matter which? They're the same, just buy the prettiest.

S.
Abso-freaking-lutely. This is a point I have made many times in many contexts.

And I have learned it the hard way, over and over. Just one example: I owned a very nice, hand-made B&S Symphonie F tuba (the smaller tubas that I use mostly for chamber music), from the first generation of those instruments made in the GDR before unification. It was beautiful. But the dang fifth-valve branch was too short and the fingering patterns were too much different from what my hand wanted to do as a result. And it only had five valves, which was adequate for an F tuba but that sixth valve does provide some interesting capabilities.

Comes my way some years after buying that tuba: A newer six-valve version from the last generation of those instruments made right around the time of unification. It had nearly all of the best features, plus the sixth valve and a fifth-valve branch that was long enough. But it lacked the hand-work detailing of the earlier model. I played both for a couple of weeks. I lost sleep over it, and enlisted the opinion of far better players than myself who politely avoided saying the obvious, "it doesn't matter Rick, you suck on either one." My wife liked the older one because it was prettier (subtly but undeniably so) and it definitely had more historical interest. I thought I could detect a slightly greater singing quality with the older one, but then the newer one was easier to play because of the added valve and tubing.

Biases abound and from all directions.

After two weeks, one good friend blew away all the angst: If you can't decide after two weeks of going back and forth, the difference just isn't that important. Choose one. The decision was easy after that: Playability, which directly impacts whether I can easily play the right pitch in tune, trumps ethereal qualities that I can't put my finger on.

This isn't like the larger sum of money I spent for my big B-flat tuba that I use for large ensembles. (Actually, for both my big tubas.) I played one note, heard what bounced down from the 20' ceiling in that room, and knew I would buy it. No angst, just figuring out how to put the money together. That was much more sensible: It's worth spending the money for a big effect that is obvious, but those are not the effects that require poetry. It may not be worth spending the money on subtleties so fine that we are afraid to subject them to controlled testing.

Do people need to spend money so badly that they will focus endlessly on fine effects while completely ignoring gross effects?

Yes.

Rick "not innocent of this self-delusional imperative" Denney
 
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rdenney

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I really think many of the stress arguments about DBT are bad faith arguments. I find it really hard to believe that anybody is overly stressed by that. Just seems like something many people put forward to discredit DBT.

Well, other than the internal stress that goes on when one has to confront that their beliefs are wrong. There might be a few who experience that.
Hmmm. Well, for me, blind testing is exhausting, requiring layers of concentration on details I don't normally care much about. That does not make it unrealistic, though, because if I can hear them with conscious attention, I will also hear them when thinking about other things, I just won't formulate a conscious reaction to it. We are often bothered by things we don't dig deeply enough to understand.

Blind testing is also judgmental in ways most of us find uncomfortable. Whatever we think of our perceptual ability is getting put to the implacable test.

That in no way tempts me to discredit it, beyond the usual warning (mostly to myself) that hearing a difference does not mean one is better than the other. Detecting the difference is necessary but not sufficient to formulating a preference.

What I do think are often bad-faith arguments are the claims that the differences are noticeable and profound, made by people who don't actually hear the difference but (in the most charitable case) assume it's their own lack of ability or sophistication and therefore choose not to own up to it.

Rick "data driven, but not always happily so" Denney
 

Harmonie

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What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.
 

richard12511

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The other question is why there is pressure unsighted that is absent sighted. Few seem to take the step and realize it is because it turns out to be difficult? And why, exactly, is that?

Also, I often find that the people who poo-poo blind testing because of that added pressure are the same ones claiming "night and day", "not subtle at all" differences between components. Surely a tiny bit of added pressure is not enough to obscure a "night and day" difference?

IME, even speakers don't sound as different as we like to believe they do(at least ones that measure well). I've never blinded my 8351b against my 8030c, but I bet that they'd be harder to tell apart than most would assume, at least at reasonable volumes with subs handling the low end.
 

Mart68

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I'd guess that the vast majority of people who claim blind testing is invalid because it is stressful have never actually done one.

They just read that somewhere and decided that was a good reason to dismiss it.

if they had tried it they would realise how hard it can be to identify small but real differences, and they'd be a lot less sure of themselves and wouldn't make that argument in the first place.

These days i notice most of the claimed differences (especially with things like DACs and power cables) are with the sound-staging and imaging - ironically the two areas in which we rely most heavily on the input of the brain to 'paint a picture.'

Even so if one component really creates a narrow soundstage isolated between the speakers and the other has a sound-stage that is tall, deep and much wider than the speakers (as is often claimed) that should be a trivially easy difference to perceive blind.
 

Harmonie

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I'd guess that the vast majority of people who claim blind testing is invalid because it is stressful have never actually done one.

They just read that somewhere and decided that was a good reason to dismiss it.

.

+1

The most difficult thing for an audiophile, is to be true to himself
 

FrantzM

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Hi

I came from the other side. Subjectivist and a hard one. I was reminded yesterday while reading a review ofa $350,000 speaker in the Absolute Sound. I, no longer read these reviews or care for them but ... I realized how much people can be invested in a hobby and the psychological blow that comes when one realizes that one is not so special: Many audiophiles, truly believe their hearing acuity to be superior to the vast majority of the population. Their choice of equipment in their opinions and that of people around them, make them special if a bit off, iconoclastic or eccentric. Traits that many people could find endearing and those who possess them, would consider as making them part of the "exceptionals" (pardon my abuse of the English language here :)). The shock of realizing that for all these years you were wrong and/or utterly ordinary, even at the bottom of the hearing pile, is jarring. The other shock is that of prices... Most can't in all sincerity fathom that a $9.oo dongle can sound undistinguishable from their last "organic" $15,000 total crap. (Reference to a "total" Digital to Analog Converter reviewed by Amir...;)) :D. I mean, how can that little box with 4 speakers in it (D&D 8C) replaces my DAC stack with the reclocker, the DAC, my preamplifier, my amplifier, my cables, stand and my 300 lbs (135 Kg) each speakers???!!??? ... It doesn't compute. Can a pair of $175 speakers with their own amplifers be better than my $10,000/pair mini monitor with no bass ( I knew that but , the midrange ...ooooh the midrange !!!!!)??? I will find an amp with better synergy to fatten the bass so I go to a tube amplifier and ... $20,000 later the LSR 308 is still superior but I can't begin to admit it ...

I think that all of us should take a deep breath and realize that most of us would not buy anything from Bose, Amirm test be damned! Let us all realize it takes a long time to wean from brainwash.

My Message to golden-eared audiophiles would be to:

Read a lot DON'T post, just yet.
Learn, learn even more
Acquire a miniDSP UMike-1 and download REW.
Learn to measure. The learning curve is steep , then again you know how to setup a turntable ...
Learn to interpret measurements and graphs.
Learn those measurements that matter.
Learn to respect DSP.
Learns that in the bass, DSP, EQ :)eek:) and subwoofers are your friends.
Understand that it will take time but it will result in a better , paradoxically much less expensive system.... ,

then listen with that new mindset and post here

Else you will be close to trolling :)
 
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Speedskater

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I'd guess that the vast majority of people who claim blind testing is invalid because it is stressful have never actually done one.
And the audiophiles that have done one have taken on an almost impossible challenge. Rather than first doing an A/BX test that they might hear a difference like maybe a 10 foot heavy speaker cable vs and 100 feet of small doorbell wire, they start with almost identical products.
 
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What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

What annoys me is that we have to repeat the same things over and over again.

Then stay out of the threads with new members.

Seriously, >90% of the issues I and others witness on this board would be solved immediately if people who cannot exercise patience would simply not get involved.
 
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