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Blind Cable Taste Test RESULTS! - Page 8

post #106 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sovkiller
Ray provided a quick blind test among three of his amps...he hooked there the Hornet, the HR-2, and the Stealth, honestly none of the members in the meeting that participate in that test, about 3 or 4 besides me, were able to discern between the three of his amps, ...I accepted that to my ears the 3 amps sounded identical,
I have had the same experience with several different portable amps - though not blind - and there was a famous (blind) amp test back in the 80s "Do All amplifiers sounds the same?" (Masters and Clark) that showed that people could not reliably distinguish between a $200 Pioneer receiver and a $12000 Futterman combo or between a $2000 Mark Levinson and either a $500 NAD or a $320 Hafler.

This one had a fairly big sample of participants.
post #107 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs
Ray had an expectation as to what the results of the test should be, which may have biased the results.

Unless the experimenter communicated something to the participants either consciously or unconsciously or there were other cues that allowed the participants to know or guess which amp was which I dont see a problem.

Did any of the participants have access to the impressions of other participants before they took the test - if so that would be a problem as it could easily alter the findings.

Had the experimenter said these three amps sound the same upfront that would be a serious problem but if the experimenter gave no clues or expressed or communicated no expectations then I see no issue here. It is of course too small a smaple to be significant but it is interesting.
post #108 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by hciman77
but if the experimenter gave no clues or expressed or communicated no expectations then I see no issue here.
That is true, of course, but we don't know that, which is why I said that the experimenter's expectation may have biased the results. A double-blind test eliminates the possibility of experimenter bias. But like I said, I found the results interesting nevertheless.
post #109 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by hciman77
[T]here was a famous (blind) amp test back in the 80s "Do All amplifiers sounds the same?" (Masters and Clark) that showed that people could not reliably distinguish between a $200 Pioneer receiver and a $12000 Futterman combo or between a $2000 Mark Levinson and either a $500 NAD or a $320 Hafler.

This one had a fairly big sample of participants.
If that is the famous test I am recalling, one of the participants was a serious audiophile who, having observed the results of the test, became absolutely convinced that amps sound the same and therefore purchased one of the cheaper amps and lived with it for a year or so -- and was miserable, ultimately concluding he made the biggest mistake of his life. Basically, he determined that the listening conditions of the test had convinced him that all amps sound the same, but practical experience living with the cheap amp for a long time in his system convinced him that it sounded like krap.

Which just goes to show some of the limitations of those types of tests. It doesn't mean, of course, that the results are of no value. But interpreting the results, or applying them to practical real-world listening, is sometimes difficult.
post #110 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS
If that is the famous test I am recalling, one of the participants was a serious audiophile who, having observed the results of the test, became absolutely convinced that amps sound the same and therefore purchased one of the cheaper amps and lived with it for a year or so -- and was miserable, ultimately concluding he made the biggest mistake of his life. Basically, he determined that the listening conditions of the test had convinced him that all amps sound the same, but practical experience living with the cheap amp for a long time in his system convinced him that it sounded like krap.
Or maybe he is like me and can't overcome the negative psychoacoustic impact of looking at gear that looks like crap.
post #111 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeteeth
That's based on sighted or blind listening?
Neither. I use a special unbiased technique. That's why I use $22k cabling with $975 source, who could have believed cables give me most for my money? I have downgraded into a cheaper and smaller source because it sounds better to me.
When I stop hearing a difference between cables I will sell them all, who can say no to a few grand? There's no point in owning expensive gear if they do nothing...
post #112 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by SunByrne
Well, we would in fact know something. For instance, here's a hypothesis which is still tenable in the face of the current data (I'm not saying I agree with this, just that it's still tenable): people can't really tell the difference and are just responding randomly. If we could reject the null on a test of association, we could reject that explanation.

I couldn't agree more. In fact, I routinely recommend rejection for submissions to the scientific journals for which I review, usually on the basis of flawed experimental methdology/statistics.

I just didn't think this was quite the right context for being quite that fastidious.
I've also rejected one or two manuscripts for bad statistics/experimental design. However, I do look at the design before even considering the statistics. In this test, the question appears to have been "which cable is which"? However, the subjects appear to have no control conditions whatsoever. What basis would they have for making an identification? Unless they had outside experience with one or more of the cables in question, they would be making a blind guess. The expected result of a blind guess is of course random.

If I give a subject an unlabelled headphone, and ask, "Is this a Grado HP-1?" and the subject has never heard a Grado HP-1 (nor seen one) I'd expect a fairly random response. In fact, if I gave the subject three completely unfamiliar headphones, and asked them to identify Sennheiser HD-650, Sony SA-5000 or AKG K-701 (and they have never seen or heard any of them) how could you get anything besides random? And yet, I do suspect that the majority of listeners who have heard those three headphones will agree that they do not sound the same. In fact, I don't even think the "can we detect headphone differences?" question even attracts controversy. The listeners would simply not have had the experience needed to identify the sonic signatures of the headphones, and so results would be random.

If the analogous experiment to the one reported, using items with known audible differences, would be expected to generate random data, why would we try and draw conclusions from this one? An experiment expected to generate random results yielded random results. I guess you could do the analysis to show the results were truly random, but suppose that you got statistical significance. What scientific hypothesis would be supported by a significant result? If there isn't a clear answer to that question, stats are wasted time.

Incidentally, the Rat Shack "Fusion" cables, since discontinued, offered very nice sound for the money.
post #113 of 578
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hirsch
I've also rejected one or two manuscripts for bad statistics/experimental design. However, I do look at the design before even considering the statistics. In this test, the question appears to have been "which cable is which"? However, the subjects appear to have no control conditions whatsoever. What basis would they have for making an identification? Unless they had outside experience with one or more of the cables in question, they would be making a blind guess. The expected result of a blind guess is of course random.

If I give a subject an unlabelled headphone, and ask, "Is this a Grado HP-1?" and the subject has never heard a Grado HP-1 (nor seen one) I'd expect a fairly random response. In fact, if I gave the subject three completely unfamiliar headphones, and asked them to identify Sennheiser HD-650, Sony SA-5000 or AKG K-701 (and they have never seen or heard any of them) how could you get anything besides random? And yet, I do suspect that the majority of listeners who have heard those three headphones will agree that they do not sound the same. In fact, I don't even think the "can we detect headphone differences?" question even attracts controversy. The listeners would simply not have had the experience needed to identify the sonic signatures of the headphones, and so results would be random.

If the analogous experiment to the one reported, using items with known audible differences, would be expected to generate random data, why would we try and draw conclusions from this one? An experiment expected to generate random results yielded random results. I guess you could do the analysis to show the results were truly random, but suppose that you got statistical significance. What scientific hypothesis would be supported by a significant result? If there isn't a clear answer to that question, stats are wasted time.
By all means, come up with your own test, build the cables, and organize it.


Quote:
Incidentally, the Rat Shack "Fusion" cables, since discontinued, offered very nice sound for the money.
I did not use the Fusion cables. I used those cheapest "white package" ones they had. They didn't even have gold plating on the connectors.

-Ed
post #114 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by eyeteeth
The "nay-sayers/agnostics" seem well behaved. Somewhat blase' actually, in a "tell us something we don't know" kind of way. I've always thought 'believers' should do more blind listening for the purpose of self-education. It can be a threatening exercise though as well as a humbling one.
I read about a test of cables done by a major audio magazine where they took "golden ears" audiophiles and just plain folks and put them in a room and switched between cheap cables and super fancy ones, asking them to figure out which was which. Pretty soon, both groups of people realized that they weren't able to hear any difference. The just plain folks laughed at their inability. The audiophiles got hopping mad and frustrated.

Some people have their ego invested in the results and some don't.

See ya
Steve
post #115 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS
If that is the famous test I am recalling, one of the participants was a serious audiophile who, having observed the results of the test, became absolutely convinced that amps sound the same and therefore purchased one of the cheaper amps and lived with it for a year or so -- and was miserable, ultimately concluding he made the biggest mistake of his life. Basically, he determined that the listening conditions of the test had convinced him that all amps sound the same, but practical experience living with the cheap amp for a long time in his system convinced him that it sounded like krap.
That would be one of the Stereophile guys, John Atkinson I think. I've come across this phenomenon as well; it's the long term listen that really matters. Thanks for showing the other side of that story.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick82
Neither. I use a special unbiased technique. That's why I use $22k cabling with $975 source, who could have believed cables give me most for my money? I have downgraded into a cheaper and smaller source because it sounds better to me.
If there is such a thing, I'd recommend an appointment with an audiophile accountant!
post #116 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by PhilS
Among other things, your argument assumes that silver cables sound better than RS cables in ALL systems, which I don't think any cable "believer" would contend.
How many cable believers use Radio Shack cables because they sound best with their particular system? Aren't most people using Radio Shack cables "cable naysayers"?

There's something to be logically deduced from that angle... Either Radio Shack cables don't sound better, which this test seems to indicate isn't the case... or cable believers judge certain cables better than Radio Shack for reasons other than how they sound.

See ya
Steve
post #117 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot
How many cable believers use Radio Shack cables because they sound best with their particular system? Aren't most people using Radio Shack cables "cable naysayers"?

There's something to be logically deduced from that angle... Either Radio Shack cables don't sound better, which this test seems to indicate isn't the case... or cable believers judge certain cables better than Radio Shack for reasons other than how they sound.

See ya
Steve
Those people can't believe stock cable sounds good because it's too cheap. Put the same cable into some fancy packaging and people will buy it instead even if it costs more. It's like useless jewelry that makes them feel prettier, the more it costs the better they feel about themselves...
Those are the same people who think mp3 sounds bad. It's placebo, pure and simple. I listen to 128 kbps mp3 no problem, WAV sounds little better so what.
What does that jewelry do anyway, give extra weight so it's harder to move? It reminds me of the quote from Simpsons by some egoistic rich guy: "Look at my watch, it is jammed with so much jewel the hands can't move." Same quote can be given to big fat shielded cables...

In the future there will be only one optimal cable to buy for $10. If people want coloration they can do that with software, why pay more for worse sound than stock cable? I guess people just want to look at their pretty magic cables that give some colored flavor. Like with glowing tubes, it makes them special to have a certain flavored system. They must be bored of how real life sounds like and want to alter it.
post #118 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Edwood
By all means, come up with your own test, build the cables, and organize it.




I did not use the Fusion cables. I used those cheapest "white package" ones they had. They didn't even have gold plating on the connectors.

-Ed
Hi Ed,

I was not criticizing what you did, but rather those who started spouting statistics and trying to read more into it than was there. Incidentally, I apologize for not involving myself when this was being set up. You've got a good methodology that I think could be adapted to get at some serious questions.

Hirsch

And I still like the Fusions
post #119 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot
There's something to be logically deduced from that angle... Either Radio Shack cables don't sound better, which this test seems to indicate isn't the case... or cable believers judge certain cables better than Radio Shack for reasons other than how they sound.

See ya
Steve
Once again, you miss the point. Nobody asked which cable people preferred. The question is which was which. More people judged the Canare to be silver cable than those that guessed Rat Shack or silver itself to be silver combined. That does not mean that people liked the Canare Star Quad better (although they might have). It simply means that they thought it sounded like a silver cable (or whatever they thought a silver cable sounded like). The test says nothing about preference. It does not appear to have even been asked.
post #120 of 578
Quote:
Originally Posted by Patrick82
Those are the same people who think mp3 sounds bad. It's placebo, pure and simple. I listen to 128 kbps mp3 no problem, WAV sounds little better so what.
So I'm guessing a big Vat power cable on your computer magically makes 128kbps mp3's sound great as well, eh?
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