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Simple listening test for audiophiles

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Jul 2, 2023
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Hi,

As a dedicated measurer, I often clash with audiophiles who boast superpowers in listening, enabling them to appreciate the benefits of esoteric USB cables, CD transports, bit-perfect streamers, and so on.

Therefore, after upgrading my cartridge from AT-VM95E to AT-VM740ML, I devised a straightforward test, highly advantageous for those undergoing the test, sparing them the burden of memory. In fact, the file that you can download from the link:

Link to File:

https://we.tl/t-DrOfTbOiJN ( WISH YOU WERE HERE )

is composed by inserting at least one interval from the other.

By analyzing the measurements taken with DELTAWAVE,(see the images) it is evident that the two cartridges exhibit significantly different responses. For those who believe that listening takes precedence over measurements, recognizing the differences within the FLAC file should be straightforward.
The file has no interruptions and therefore allows continuous listening, avoiding stressing the memory to carry out the comparison

Feel free to share your results even via private message.
 

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melomane13

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i you want compare , you must be sure than :
every cartridge is new ( the stylus wear out)
every cartridge is load with precise R and C
of course , cartridge are correctly mounted
because not all have the same output level, you have to set the level correctly, to 0.1 db
 
OP
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i you want compare , you must be sure than :
every cartridge is new ( the stylus wear out)
every cartridge is load with precise R and C
of course , cartridge are correctly mounted
because not all have the same output level, you have to set the level correctly, to 0.1 db
The cartridges has same hours (about 40h), In each case I found in DELTA WAVE also 3-5db of difference. It's just requested to find were the sound it is really different
 

melomane13

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and you have correctly load the cartridge? all cartrigge have specific R and C load.
 

melomane13

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and how you have correct this?
 
OP
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I believe this is completely irrelevant for the test. If we assume that I have also calibrated the arm/cartdrige system incorrectly or approximately, I find myself facing 2 heads and therefore 2 files that measure differently, just as the specifications of the 2 heads are different. In fact, the better one has a response up to 27KHz compared to 22KHz and better channel separation. The test requires recognizing the intervals belonging to the 2 heads.

However, if you are somehow asserting that two different heads in terms of price would have the same or very similar measurements, I disagree and invite you to take any measurements.
 

melomane13

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@widemediaphotography

ok, the truth appears.
because you don't know how work phono cartridge, you think it's useless to adjust accurately loading R C;

a cartidge is a complex system, its response depends on the compliance of the stylus, the coil, the impedance of the riaa preamplifier...
you must set this correctly before any comparison.

but let's pretend you did it, and also a correct alignment of the cartridge https://www.phaedrus-audio.com/protractor.htm

It is certainly true that one cartridge comes in at 22khz and the other at 27khz, but that does not mean that differences can be heard. I remind you that only very young individuals hear at 22khz.

only an ABX test will determine if differences are audible, but your recordings are not correct enough to prove anything, except that the 2 cartridges have differents specifications.

@dasdoing explained to you how to prepare 2 files to compare.
 
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@widemediaphotography

ok, the truth appears.
because you don't know how work phono cartridge, you think it's useless to adjust accurately loading R C;

a cartidge is a complex system, its response depends on the compliance of the stylus, the coil, the impedance of the riaa preamplifier...
you must set this correctly before any comparison.

but let's pretend you did it, and also a correct alignment of the cartridge https://www.phaedrus-audio.com/protractor.htm

It is certainly true that one cartridge comes in at 22khz and the other at 27khz, but that does not mean that differences can be heard. I remind you that only very young individuals hear at 22khz.

only an ABX test will determine if differences are audible, but your recordings are not correct enough to prove anything, except that the 2 cartridges have differents specifications.

@dasdoing explained to you how to prepare 2 files to compare.
Have you tried to run the test? The impression that "you're bandaging your head before you've injured it"...
This test is better then ABX because not include memory ability or rapid switching needs
 

Speedskater

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I would think that trained (ears only) listeners would hear meaningful differences between many phono cartridge/pre-amp combinations.
But to do a useful test, you need to do a high quality digital rip of each combination. Then time sync and level match each file.
 

danadam

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This test is better then ABX because not include memory ability or rapid switching needs
It's not better because it doesn't allow to compare the same part of music. One can only judge the difference in places where you did the switch, but if the difference is small then there is no way of telling if it is a difference between the files or if it is something baked in the recording itself.

The file has no interruptions
Spectrogram says it has :)
 

Speedskater

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It's not better because it doesn't allow to compare the same part of music. One can only judge the difference in places where you did the switch, but if the difference is small then there is no way of telling if it is a difference between the files or if it is something baked in the recording itself.
That's not the correct way to do an AB/X test.
In a good test, the listener has control of the music, the section of the track, the volume and the sequence & when the switch is done.
 

Blumlein 88

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More than one way to skin a cat. I don't see this as a terrible idea just because it isn't the classic ABX test. There are various ways to do tests for various reasons. I like triangle tests over abx myself. I've seen this sort of thing used for noise levels. Sections had higher noise and you were asked to listen and find areas with more noise. Other tests use the up/down method.

Quit arguing with the guy and do his test. See how it goes. A bit interesting if nothing else. I certainly don't think abx tests are fun or interesting until they give you results you need. So give it a try.
 
OP
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That's not the correct way to do an AB/X test.
In a good test, the listener has control of the music, the section of the track, the volume and the sequence & when the switch is done.
I have two pairs of headphones: the Hifiman HE1000 Stealth and the Sennheiser HD600, both connected to the same Violectric V222 amplifier. When listening to any track from any CD, I can effortlessly recognize which headphone I’m using, even without "the listener having control over the music, track section, volume, or sequence during the switch".

This test has been proposed on other forums, and some have successfully identified the intervals. Wouldn’t it be more useful to try this? If, while listening to a pair of speakers, I add or remove a heavy wool blanket, would you object that it’s impossible to discern the differences because the comparison isn’t made within the same track interval? Are you seriuous? :facepalm:
 
OP
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It's not better because it doesn't allow to compare the same part of music. One can only judge the difference in places where you did the switch, but if the difference is small then there is no way of telling if it is a difference between the files or if it is something baked in the recording itself.


Spectrogram says it has :)
In this case is more simple to find the intervals... :)
 

dasdoing

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More than one way to skin a cat. I don't see this as a terrible idea just because it isn't the classic ABX test. There are various ways to do tests for various reasons. I like triangle tests over abx myself. I've seen this sort of thing used for noise levels. Sections had higher noise and you were asked to listen and find areas with more noise. Other tests use the up/down method.

Quit arguing with the guy and do his test. See how it goes. A bit interesting if nothing else. I certainly don't think abx tests are fun or interesting until they give you results you need. So give it a try.

but he should at least repeat the same section. for example, the second guitar lick at the beginning has more body than the first, but how do I know it's not in the original?
 

melomane13

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I know a loudspeaker designer, well known in my country, who among other things collaborated on a serious audio magazine, at a time when there was no internet yet.

he tells an anecdote: one day, at the editorial office, they did some comparative tests between cartridges, from the correct basic model to the high-end one, in order to write an article.

Every cartrige was instrumentally interfaced (R & C) as best as possible and the output levels were balanced. All listeners were professional audio designers. The article did not come out, since no difference was felt... and a "scandal" was feared, especially with respect to the manufacturers who were also advertising announcers: why buy espensive cartridge if no difference?

You therefore understand the reason why, if you do not provide correct recordings and with a technical basis made according to the rules of art, I will not be interested in comparing pears with apples.
 
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