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The walking dead and "blind listening"


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It's puzzled me for years why some always try to discredit an audio review by calling it invalid if it wasn't a

"blind listening" test. At audio shows I don't even bother to look at the equipment when I walk into a room, I'm listening

and comparing to what I remember from other rooms and from home play, within 5 minutes I know if there's something

that's an improvement or an also ran. However this article hits what I believe to be the truth, those insisting on "blind listening"

are basically untrained at listening.

 

The Poor Audiophile: Blind Audio Testing: The Scientific Truth Behind the Myth

 

I suspect the same applies also to the "bits are bits" crowd. To be fair, there is so much "midfi" equipment with little sound difference

dominating regular stores that consumers don't get a chance to hear better gear that often and casual visits to audio stores aren't

a good way to train the ear. Perhaps what the audiophile business needs is regular local "listening 101" classes for those who want better sound

but need listening education before they are willing to pull out their wallet.

Regards,

Dave

 

Audio system

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No complaints here, but I'm sure they will start soon...

 

Meanwhile the information on the training software was news to me. I'm going to download the Harman program and see if I'm as "trained" as I think I am thanks for posting this.

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It's the same for audio as it is for any other scientific technology.

If you can't back up your your opinion with double blind testing and pure accurate measurements it will forever remain just that, YOUR OPINION.

If you say amp A sounds better than amp B and Joe Listener comes to a different conclusion, who's right? How do you prove it?

This is a position that would be laughed out of any scientific investigation accept audio

Just ridiculous!

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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It's puzzled me for years why some always try to discredit an audio review by calling it invalid if it wasn't a

"blind listening" test. At audio shows I don't even bother to look at the equipment when I walk into a room, I'm listening

and comparing to what I remember from other rooms and from home play, within 5 minutes I know if there's something

that's an improvement or an also ran. However this article hits what I believe to be the truth, those insisting on "blind listening"

are basically untrained at listening.

 

The Poor Audiophile: Blind Audio Testing: The Scientific Truth Behind the Myth

 

I suspect the same applies also to the "bits are bits" crowd. To be fair, there is so much "midfi" equipment with little sound difference

dominating regular stores that consumers don't get a chance to hear better gear that often and casual visits to audio stores aren't

a good way to train the ear. Perhaps what the audiophile business needs is regular local "listening 101" classes for those who want better sound

but need listening education before they are willing to pull out their wallet.

 

 

Why stop there? Think of all the crazies who dismiss all the evidence for divine creation simply because they are unenlightened human beings who pay more attention to the fossil record than they do to the Biblical record, which is the bit-perfect word of God.

 

Think of how much more humane modern medicine would be if we would simply acknowledge that God, rather than natural selection, creates and propagates antibiotic resistance in bacteria.

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Here we go again....!!!!

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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I do confess a certain weakness when trolled by the perpetual whine that plaintively asks "how is it possible that there are these sub-humans who hold an opinion at variance with my own, which is obvious to any rational person, the correct opinion?"

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I do confess a certain weakness when trolled by the perpetual whine that plaintively asks "how is it possible that there are these sub-humans who hold an opinion at variance with my own, which is obvious to any rational person, the correct opinion?"

 

Have you come up with the answer yet? :)

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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I do confess a certain weakness when trolled by the perpetual whine that plaintively asks "how is it possible that there are these sub-humans who hold an opinion at variance with my own, which is obvious to any rational person, the correct opinion?"

 

Have you come up with the answer yet? :)

 

Many.

 

But they are never compelling.

 

I have the answer...invite them over for a beverage of their choice and have a listen to their favorite tracks. Then go to their place and have a listen with your favorite beverage and your favorite tracks. Then go together to a concert and discuss the music over your favorite beverages.

 

It's called friendship...

 

John

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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In the immortal words of Elvis, what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?!!!!

Positive emotions enhance our musical experiences.

 

Synology DS213+ NAS -> Auralic Vega w/Linear Power Supply -> Auralic Vega DAC (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> XLR -> Auralic Taurus Pre -> XLR -> Pass Labs XA-30.5 power amplifier (on 4" maple and 4 Stillpoints) -> Hawthorne Audio Reference K2 Speakers in MTM configuration (Symposium Jr HD rollerball isolation) and Hawthorne Audio Bass Augmentation Baffles (Symposium Jr rollerball isolation) -> Bi-amped w/ two Rythmic OB plate amps) -> Extensive Room Treatments (x2 SRL Acoustics Prime 37 diffusion plus key absorption and extensive bass trapping) and Pi Audio Uberbuss' for the front end and amplification

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The following pasted reply is to a different article on a different forum but it probably fits here as well (these are my words though):

 

I know this is old but I've never understood this line of thought - the guy freely admits in point 10 that "trained listeners" can hear things that the untrained ear does not, like a speaker out of phase or a frequency imbalance. So, who's to say that those of us who are intimately familiar with our gear and our music that we aren't trained to hear very specific nuances within? I don't hold anyone else responsible if they cannot, but that's just me. Just like the mechanic who can hear the difference between engine knock and valve chatter, or the video sciences person who can tell "red" isn't "red" on a specific monitor, it's a learned thing, not voodoo. My wife can't (or doesn't care to) see the difference between an SD broadcast and an HD one. That doesn't mean she's blind, she sees what I see, but she just doesn't pay that close of attention to it. Some do, to a very granular degree, it's just what we're sensitive to.

 

My hearing certainly has its limitations though.

Ryzen 3900x Roon Core PC -> Intel i9900k HQPlayer W10 machine -> iFi Zen Stream NAA

Holo May KTE, Benchmark LA4 preamp

SMC Audio upgraded DNA-125 Amp

Dynaudio Confidence C2 Platinum speakers

Vinyl rig - Schiit Sol, Nagaoka MP-500, Mod Squad PhonoDrive phono stage

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I have the answer...invite them over for a beverage of their choice and have a listen to their favorite tracks. Then go to their place and have a listen with your favorite beverage and your favorite tracks. Then go together to a concert and discuss the music over your favorite beverages.

 

It's called friendship...

 

John

 

Just to be the Devil's advocate here, friendship obviously pollutes a truly free and honest exchange of opinions. It is a preferred tactic by company reps. You buy perspective customers lunch, treat them to drinks, make them friends, and it makes it hard for them to say no or to disagree. Recruiters of spies take the other end of it. They ask for favors and get the target to become comfortable with doing things for them. Sometimes bitter enemies are the most truthful in some sense.

 

DISCLAIMER: I am not against friendship. Not against get togethers of forum members, and not suggesting forum discussions should be treated with utmost enmity between opposing views.

 

DISCLAIMER OF DISCLAIMER: Maybe I would answer Rodney Kings infamous quote, "can't we all just get along?" with heck no are you crazy? It is when we don't get along we can make the most difference. The trick is making a positive difference, and not just making each other unhappy.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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In the immortal words of Elvis, what's so funny about peace, love, and understanding?!!!!

 

 

 

Just to make it clear which Elvis we are referring to here. Hear me bro?

 

(Great song though)

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Actually, those immortal words belong to Nick Lowe, not to either Elvis.

-Bob

 

You are indeed correct. Elvis was privileged with being the guy to put the word out to everyone.

 

And just to date myself, I first heard this song in my car ('67 Camaro) on an 8 track dub of the cassette. In my own defense it was a semi-pro Akai 8 track recorder I used to dub the cassette (played on an early Pioneer deck).

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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You wouldn't have to date yourself if only you would learn to listen with your heart instead of having the Audacity to look at Fourier transforms.

 

Well, defending myself a bit more. There was the time, while cruising with my girlfriend (in the same car) she asked on a Friday evening, "how much would it cost to drive to the coast? I want to see the sun rise over the ocean." Eventually the calculating was done, the both of us had the requisite scratch, and we did indeed see the sun rise over the ocean, and more before that event. Her name was Allison.

 

So,

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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Sometimes bitter enemies are the most truthful in some sense.

 

DISCLAIMER OF DISCLAIMER: Maybe I would answer Rodney Kings infamous quote, "can't we all just get along?" with heck no are you crazy? It is when we don't get along we can make the most difference. The trick is making a positive difference, and not just making each other unhappy.

 

I doubt anyone will ever witness such a perverse justification and defense for trolling behavior as the above.

 

Please read "techniques"

http://www.planetcalypsoforum.com/gallery/files/3/2/8/please_do_not_feed_the_troll.jpg

 

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It's puzzled me for years why some always try to discredit an audio review by calling it invalid if it wasn't a

"blind listening" test. At audio shows I don't even bother to look at the equipment when I walk into a room, I'm listening

and comparing to what I remember from other rooms and from home play, within 5 minutes I know if there's something

that's an improvement or an also ran. However this article hits what I believe to be the truth, those insisting on "blind listening"

are basically untrained at listening.

 

The Poor Audiophile: Blind Audio Testing: The Scientific Truth Behind the Myth

 

I suspect the same applies also to the "bits are bits" crowd. To be fair, there is so much "midfi" equipment with little sound difference

dominating regular stores that consumers don't get a chance to hear better gear that often and casual visits to audio stores aren't

a good way to train the ear. Perhaps what the audiophile business needs is regular local "listening 101" classes for those who want better sound

but need listening education before they are willing to pull out their wallet.

 

 

Blind testing (actually, it needs to be "double-blind" to be really 'effective') has only one goal: to remove natural human biases from listening tests. The theory is that foreknowledge will 'taint' the results of any tests involving human senses. Here's a rather coarse example. Most men would find a beautiful woman's touch very pleasurable as she ran her fingers up and down their arm. But those same men would be repelled by the exact-same sensation if they knew it was being caused by a big, hairy tarantula (or a big hairy longshoreman! :)) crawling up their arm. Foreknowledge of what's lightly brushing their skin will give two separate results to exactly the same sensory perception. That's all double blind testing is supposed to do; eliminate the tainting effect of one's sighted or expectational bias. This type of testing certainly works in pharmaceutical trials where nobody involved in the testing knows which patients are getting the real medicine and which ones are getting the placebo. This industry has been using this method for generations, and here, it works. The processed food industry has also used DBT (Double-Blind Testing) successfully for decades.

 

In audio, though, the results are less clear. Many will say that blind testing doesn't work for audio because blind tests give the results that all DACs and all modern amplifiers sound exactly the same, when even measurements show that they couldn't possibly sound the same! Conversely, DBTs will show that all audio interconnects and USB cables sound the same, when the measurements agree that they should all sound the same! This dual personality between DBTs should make them very suspect when it comes to audio. Indeed, when DBTs show no difference between components that should sound different and at the same time show no difference between components that technically, should not sound different, it's not a very reliable, or ultimately useful test.

 

Another caveat, here is that most audio DBTs are simply not stringently enough set-up to yield results that could be in any way definitive of anything.

George

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Whoops, this is not a science, it is a hobby ! Once you understand that the rest makes sense :)

...

Yep !

 

 

Actually, for most audiophiles, it's a neurosis more than it's a hobby. Building model airplanes is a hobby, playing golf is a hobby, listening to reproduced music is, at best, a pleasant passtime, and at worse a horribly neurotic tail-chasing endeavor bordering on the psychotic! :)

George

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It's the same for audio as it is for any other scientific technology.

If you can't back up your your opinion with double blind testing and pure accurate measurements it will forever remain just that, YOUR OPINION.

If you say amp A sounds better than amp B and Joe Listener comes to a different conclusion, who's right? How do you prove it?

This is a position that would be laughed out of any scientific investigation accept audio

Just ridiculous!

 

 

While what you say is correct about opinions as far as it goes, the problem arises that the assumption that blind testing works for audio is largely unfounded and difficult to verify. See my reply #22, above.

George

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Actually, for most audiophiles, it's a neurosis more than it's a hobby. Building model airplanes is a hobby, playing golf is a hobby, listening to reproduced music is, at best, a pleasant passtime, and at worse a horribly neurotic tail-chasing endeavor bordering on the psychotic! :)

 

You speaking for yourself ?

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