Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Don_Campbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,882
Re: Single group option

tbcass wrote:

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

tbcass wrote:

Sounds like a good plan.

Sometimes a single, undivided group is used. Random pattern of switching between two units is used, known only to the test organizers. And while there are only two units compared, participants are told that there are 4 or 5 different units, and asked to rate them from best to worst.

One thing to note is it is best if the people conducting the tests are unaware of that or hidden from view lest they give subtle visual and verbal clues.

I'm all for blind and double blind testing of essential things but at some level it seems of less necessity for testing of basic good audio equipment. If you have to go to that trouble to detect a small difference then you might be overworking the purchase.

Across my collection of old, medium old and new CD's the optimal sound can often be tweaked to be more pleasing than the neutral settings of my amplifiers. That is clearly due to recording producer's tastes and talents, the setting (live or studio) of the recordings, the original mastering techniques and on and on. Actual accurate reproduction is great if the original recording precisely suits your tastes. Of course many of the attributes of accurate reproduction are important as a baseline if you are going to tweak the playback with some equalization. Think about recently remastered CDs: many are great improvements over the originals. Someone producing the new  version didn't just accept them as "accurate" in their original form and I don't need to do so with any music I play.

No one is forced to listen to every album from every era of recording and from a variety of studios or live venues as if they represent the one true version of that gig. As soon as you decide that you may be adjusting the sound from various sources to be as pleasing as you want it to be during playback, then slight differences in what you hear in double blind testing become less significant.  When you do that kind of adjusting and impose a bit of our own taste onto the music then the details of some arcane hoohah in one box or another which is claimed to turn music into magic seems a bit overwrought.

An awful lot of modestly priced hardware is available that has the capability to be low noise, low distortion, high output, flat frequency response over the audio range at neutral settings and so on. Sure, if  you want 5.1 surround sound with hugely thumping bass to mimic a thunderstorm, fighter jet or an explosion in watching a movie you might be adding some functionality but that's not exactly what I call "hi-fi," and it still needn't be very expensive. JMO of course.

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