Photographers vs. Audiophiles (Part 2): Audio Woo

Started 2 months ago | Discussions thread
Don_Campbell Senior Member • Posts: 2,883
Re: Single group option

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

ZodiacPhoto wrote:

Don_Campbell wrote:

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.

If the difference is spending $5,000 vs $30,000 for a piece of high end audio, serious unbiased testing is a must - unless those sums are pocket change for the buyer.

I said in the "testing of basic good audio equipment." Basic good audio equipment doesn't need to mean $5000 vs $30000. And, as soon as you take that marvelously magical $30000 instrument and slightly tweak the equalization to more closely match your musical taste to a more pleasing sound than the recording producer managed to achieve? You've then decided that whatever "accuracy" it had in your neutral blind test wasn't good enough for that CD playback experience.

$5k to $30k is not unusual in high end audio.

Oh, yeah, I know. I said nothing about usual or unusual. I said "testing of basic good audio equipment." You misundertood my point about equalization. I'm assuming a test is done with neutral settings. Also, I'm assuming nothing whacky in the equipment being tested--whacky can be eliminated without blinding. But I very much doubt any self-respecting audiophile listens to different source material, recorded under totally different performance conditions, at different eras, with different producers doing the mixing and so on, and does so with flat, neutral settings. He or she will tweak to make his mix of recordings sound pleasing on playback.

Once you accept that tweaking (during ownership and listening for pleasure) will be done, then all the shades of difference between two middle-end or high-end systems will be altered by that tweaking. That in turn makes the flat neutral settings of the A/B blinded testing likely to be less than overwhelmingly meaningful.

Competing units should be compared without any tweaking or equalization applied.

Which is what I was referring to originally and just now.

I don't own anything that expensive because I know how to get the results I like for much less.

EXACTLY my point. I resemble that. I have great oldish and very robust 3-way speakers that cost me a lot on a post-doc salary far back when i was a post-doc. They still sound great as they have through a succession of solid preamp/amp and receiver combinations over the decades.

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.

I never accepted the idea that you should listen to music flat. I prefer elevated frequency response above 12 khz to compensate for reduced sensitivity (I am over 50). I also prefer a combination of fast and tight bass and low frequency extension. Therefore I use a good parametric equalizer in my system. Some would consider that a blasphemy.

And it makes whimsical the careful double blind decision of the accuracy of some nominal "neutral setting."

Again, testing should be done without equalization applied.

Again, testing without equalization is assumed, but when you follow that by tweaking during playback/ownership the testing may have less relationship to what you need to pay to achieve a pleasant listening experience.

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