Blind test. I constantly fail...

Discussion in 'Blind Testing and Psychoacoustics' started by murphythecat, Jun 3, 2017.

  1. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    hi everyone
    ever since I got my Pro ican amp that allow multiple input and 1 pair of output and the Yggdrasil with the 2 separate output, ive tested myself with a couple of my gear and my results of trying to hear specific difference between gear is bad

    first test:
    ive tested 5 high end IC's and also added a cheap 2$ dolloramma IC.
    results are explained here: http://superbestaudiofriends.org/in...e-rolling-adventures.2034/page-11#post-134725

    as a conclusion, I and my friends couldnt distinguish ANY of them conclusively!

    second test:
    my pass diy b1 preamp have two different output:
    1st output has for coupling caps a 4.7uf mundorf zn film caps
    2nd output has for coupling caps a very small value silver mica cap. that output it also has a resistor and switch in the signal path that is not in the signal path with the 1st output.

    again, with the turn of a switch, within mili second, I can switch between both output.

    results: I do seem to hear very slight tonal shift when the output change, but its so minimal that in blind test I can never say which output is being used.
    my conclusion, the difference is negligible.

    third test:
    1st the Yggdrasil is feeding directly my pro ican
    2nd the Yggdrasil is feeding my diy pass b1 (so it has to go thruw switches, blue alp pot, all fed by a not so elaborate PSU, ECT)

    results, im pretty sure you guessed it: difference are negligible to the point I again could never tell which is playing in a blind test.
    my girlfriend in blindtest cannot either distinguish any difference between the Yggdrasil going directly into my pro ican or the Yggdrasil feeding the Pass b1, then coming back to the pro ican. this is blowing my mind. id bet 10 000$ that nobody could reliably tell the difference.



    now its time to compare my Yggdrasil with my NOS R2R ECdesigns Mosaic T...
     
    Last edited: Jun 3, 2017
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  2. Thenewerguy009

    Thenewerguy009 Friend

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    What headphones?
     
  3. landroni

    landroni Friend

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    Careful with your money, as you may end up losing hard earned cash.

    I would say that much will depend on the methodology. I believe traditional methodology in "objectivist" circles is largely flawed and biased towards 'no diff' outcomes. So if you falsely assume NO LONG TERM AUDITORY MEMORY in humans and set your trials using 0.75 sec samples of j-pop that you then switch between at under 0.0035 nano seconds, I reckon you won't get that very far.

    You are much more likely to appreciate minute differences in long listening sessions, in blind conditions. You would also likely need to train your brain for such sessions, as from cold these things don't seem to go very well, because let's face it many of these things can be subtle (see e.g. @atomicbob's experience) and it takes time to reliably appreciate differences between gear even in sighted conditions. A useful gizmo in such cases would be something like the Van Alstine ABX (apparently discontinued) or @Torq's (hopefully pending) TOSSER.

    I should also note that blind testing (even the double- kind) is inherently limited. For one, you can only DBT things that can be blind tested, so e.g. bye-bye blind testing transducers. For another, testing in blind conditions, while religiously espoused by "objectivists", still fundamentally and fully relies on the test subject's subjective impressions of the gear. More importantly though, DBT will never tell you which piece of gear is better, or why; the only thing DBT in audio can tell you is how often you've correctly detected a difference and how often you've wrongly detected a difference. And little else.
     
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  4. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Careful with that, there are freaks around here who are very good at picking out the sound of coupling caps and the like. keep that bet as rhetoric ;)
     
  5. TMRaven

    TMRaven Friend

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    Negligible differences are what the hobby's built upon. It' s definitely not a hobby for enthusiasts who seek out clear improvements in the objective realm-- not saying you are one.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  6. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Also, if you can't reproducibly hear the differences, it could end up saving you a lot of money in the long run- be happy!
     
  7. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    oh yeah, i wouldnt really want to bet 10 000$, but the difference is impossible to hear in a blind test. for example, if i were to make you listen to 20 tracks and you were to tell which output is playing. or with test 1, which ic is playing. id bet nobody could reliably tell the difference.

    headphones used are Utopia and HD800 SBAF + SDR

    im very happy with the outcome. it allows me to not obsess over ameliorate the pass b1 psu, or change for a better pot, ect. I also will sell all my pricy IC's and wont obsess over trying many different coupling caps for my pass b1.
     
  8. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    You're very imprecise, "nobody", "if I were to make you listen". I wasn't talking about you or me- for a reason.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  9. bigfatpaulie

    bigfatpaulie Tried to screw other friends while playing victim

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    I agree with what has already been said here. If you can't hear the difference, that's great. Go with the least costly option and save your money for something you would appreciate.

    But, just because it doesn't make a difference to you that doesn't mean that that is universally the case. My mother can't tell the difference between the built in TV speakers and the $10,000 surround system they have. Go figure.

    I also think that some people derive joy from owning expensive cables, even if they can't hear the difference (ie they would fail a double blind test), because they feel they hear a difference and they enjoy their system more with them. What's wrong with that: Isn't the point of high end cables to make you enjoy your system more? The placebo effect can be very profound.

    The problem lies in people INSISTING that others NEED super expensive cables to enjoy music and tell them that what they have is junk unless it's to the same price standards. That's not right. The same holds true the other way...

    At the end of the day, to each their own. If one can't hear a difference, I believe that. If one can, I believe that, too.
     
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  10. murphythecat

    murphythecat Friend

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    if minute difference is not apparent, id expect that all "difference" heard over a long period of time is placebo or at least I wouldnt trust the difference I hear over a long period of time. but thats me.

    to my logic, it makes no sense that two component sound exactly the same but then over a long period of time, differences would be all of suddenly apparent? I dont want to be controversial and the test I made satisfy my need to see just how close IC's sound from each other, or just how transparent my diy pass b1 was.

    i dont really want to convince other as well, just share my experience. if I have to really try to hear a difference between two component, that tells me everything I need to know. maybe not for you however! all in good faith and maybe your right that DBT is flawed, but in DBT, I can easily tell difference if a switch a eq, or use sonarworks. so not sure why DBT wouldnt work all the time.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
  11. Grahad2

    Grahad2 Red eyes from too much anime

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    Randi has his 1 million challenge around as well for those inclined to it.
     
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  12. Torq

    Torq MOT: Headphone.com

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    Long-term effects tend to be realized as either differences in the onset of fatigue (or complete absence of it), and a higher tendency to feel "connected" or "involved" in one's listening. With, say, Yggdrasil vs. Spring DAC, while I still enjoy both, my listening gravitated back to be primarily via Yggdrasil over time - a function of long-term listening. There wasn't something that was "suddenly apparent" (doesn't even make sense if you're attempting to apply logic).

    Depends on the components. Starting out trying to A/B or DBX interconnects would be the hardest way to go.

    Compare a Spring DAC in NOS mode vs. Yggdrasil and if the difference there isn't immediately apparent, then I'd hate to think what was wrong elsewhere in the chain. Choosing which was "better" would be a different matter.

    For me, when I originally compared Modi MB to Bifrost MB I had a hell of a time telling them apart. It took a lot of listening and practice to be able to do it reliably. The differences are very small. Though once you find them, they're a lot easier to hear going forward.
     
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  13. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    For stuff where differences are small, practice might be required to distinguish the difference. It took me some practice before I could reliably tell the difference between and ODAC and Modi 2.

    For example, it might be hard to tell the difference between two wines from the same Bordeaux appellation, especially if you are not familiar with at least one of them, and don't cleanse your palette when going back and forth.
     
  14. Kattefjaes

    Kattefjaes Mostly Harmless

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    Compare a Liquid Carbon and a GS-X Mk.2, if you can't hear a difference, then there's a serious problem somewhere. Heck, even within Schiit DACs, a Modi Multibit compared to a Yggdrasil should be a pretty easy spot on a good chain. Components can and do vary- there are massive differences between topology, design and construction- they're different and sound that way.

    There are two issues there- a good enough chain to reveal differences and a good listener. Given both of those, and reasonable source material, there are lots of gross differences to be heard.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
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  15. Wilson

    Wilson Socially Anxious Volleyball

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    Critical listening seems to be a craft. First, one must have some aptitude for it, in this case, good enough hearing. Then comes access to resources - one must have the time to listen to equipment properly, and properly means without interruption and in a space that's conducive to it. And then the mindset - perhaps an unforced attentiveness.

    Then there's the work outside of the listening, developing the vocabulary to describe the experience, and the comparison of that experience with what others have heard.

    Most of all, you have to love it.

    After about a year here, I've realized that I love the music, and I love what good equipment (purchases I have made on faith, rather than experience) can do for the music, but I don't have what it takes to go beyond that for now. It's good to acknowledge one's limitations. Less upgraditus and more fun with the little time I can set aside for dedicated and immersed listening.

    EDIT: This craft, like, other crafts, takes years to get good at.
     
    Last edited: Jun 4, 2017
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  16. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    If the proposal was prove that there is a difference and nobody could hear it, one can say that the proposal didn't get far!

    But really, what is proved or shown by a failed AB or ABX test is that that person at that time could not detect a difference. It does not prove that there isn't one. Or that somebody else couldn't hear it.

    Having a simple AB comparison tool, though, perhaps at the cost of some ego, could save people a lot of money!

    Whether one is up against personal limitations or discovering something is actually audiophoolery. And which is which, is good for fuelling hours of heated debate!

    @murphythecat, good for you. Good for your honest experience. And hey, in the unlikely event of anyone ever proving that all the electronics in the world do sound the same, we can still spend a lifetime comparing transducers!
     
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  17. jhaider

    jhaider Acquaintance

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    That's not true. It's a two-step. Once a difference is established, a double-blind test can be done for preference as well. You dispense with X and just go with A or B.

    Harman does blind tests on speakers all the time. And it shows. I'm incredibly impressed with the sonics of the recent speakers I've heard from Revel, JBL Synthesis, and JBL Pro. If they manage to do to headphones what they've done to speakers, watch out!
     
  18. Garns

    Garns Friend

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    Doing ABX tests is like going to the optician. "Better with... Or without? Side 1... Or side 2?" And then you panic and come away with a new pair of glasses which would be perfect for a blind rhinoceros.
     
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  19. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Depends on your resources. If you are Mr Oliver...

    No. Blind tests fully and fundamentally test your subjective impression of the gear... uninfluenced by look, feel, price tag, brand and all the little details which certainly turn us on, but have nothing to do with sound. The aim is to listen minus a few inevitable biases. Some people use the word "objective" for this, but it isn't: it is as subjective as it gets. Aurally. Purely sound. Audiophiles ought to love the idea, but marketing men had different ideas, and, sadly, we lapped them up.

    if you detect a difference, you can then decide which one you prefer.

    I suppose both can be useful. And only thing is really not the case. It can tell you every thing. Minus the biases.

    Of course, I'm lazy... and I like to feel the volume knob!

    But I wish to hell that some of these audiophiles would get the basic stuff like level matching right when comparing AB even sighted. Or, at least try. And then think and talk about the psychology of listening, and, for instance, what happens in our brain when we repeatedly listen to the same piece of music. Because it's fascinating stuff. Probably the most interesting gear is inside our heads, but the world is full of people who don't even want to think about it. Isn't that strange? They'll queue up to buy Audioquest's latest wire, or Synergetic Thingy's latest little container-of-sand adapter... and not want to think about their own brain cells.
     
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  20. cskippy

    cskippy Creamy warmpoo

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    Another thought...If you don't know what differences to look for than it's hard to hear them. You're getting bombarded by so much information it's hard to pinpoint exactly what areas changes are happening in. Is it imaging, transient attack, stage depth/width, frequency response elevation or depression? There are so many variables to consider.

    Another analogy is trying to find a "perfect" QHD 144Hz IPS monitor. I lucked out and got a perfect one my first try but some other people have gone through 7 replacements to get an acceptable one. Things like dead pixels, backlight bleed, and white/grey uniformity all are things to check for a good monitor.

    What's interesting is some people probably get a good enough monitor but because they run through these very specific test and know what to look for, little imperfections or changes become more apparent. In this case it's bad because they start obsessing over the imperfections and want perfection, which is impossible.

    For critical listening this mindset and attention to the little details will help you distinguish gear better.

    First, listen to one setup for a couple hours or even days to have a good understanding of it's sonic character. Next, introduce one change and listen again long enough to get a feel for the sound. Now think does the music sound better or worse than before? You might not be able to pinpoint exactly what changed to make it sound better or worse but with extended listening I'll start to pick up smaller and smaller nuances that I might have missed if I was too focused on one individual aspect of the sound.
     
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