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What Hifi Magazine - The Big Question, blind testing. - Page 2

post #16 of 39
I have started a thread on the What HiFi forum about blind tests...

What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision - Blind Tests
post #17 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by drummerman (of What Hi-fi?)

Who cares anyhow, it's entertaining reading, whichever publication and if I want to buy, the only opinion/ears that matter are mine.
Hilarious.


.
post #18 of 39
Shark_Jump, virtually all analog electronic components are susceptible to vibration, although most are at such a low level as to be not noticeable. The components most likely to be noticeably affected are vacuum tubes and record players.

My previous statement was a fact not an opinion, and meant as a sign-post to help you in the right direction. You are of course at liberty to follow that direction if it interests you, or completely reject it if it does not match your requirements. (It’s worthwhile keeping in mind that all magazine reports on rack ‘sound quality’ is little more than shallow subjective prose with the main aim of hooking readers in order to sell magazines). If you wish to prove that it has something to do with ‘room frequency’ balance / reflections due to the change of the ‘furniture’ then I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours, and I look forward to reading your report.

Prog Rock Man, I hope you enjoy any visit you make to their ‘test’ session. Even if it proves nothing it may well be an entertaining day. : )
post #19 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
Shark_Jump, virtually all analog electronic components are susceptible to vibration, although most are at such a low level as to be not noticeable. The components most likely to be noticeably affected are vacuum tubes and record players.
Agreed, though this would be limited to Record Players, CD players and valves yes? And only when listening through speakers (not headphones).

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
My statement was a fact not an opinion, and posted to help you in the right direction. You are of course at liberty to follow that direction if it interests you, or completely reject it if it does not match your understanding. (It’s worthwhile keeping in mind that all magazine reports on rack ‘sound quality’ is little more than shallow subjective prose with the main aim of hooking readers in order to sell magazines).

If you wish to prove that it has something to do ‘room frequency’ balance / reflections due to the change of the ‘furniture’ then I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours, and I look forward to reading your report.
Do you not think that changing room furnature alters the frequency reponse of your room?

Also do you not think this can have a significant effect on what you actually hear from your speakers?

Here are a few room accoustics links.

Acoustic Treatment and Design for Recording Studios and Listening Rooms

Build a Better Bass Trap
post #20 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark_Jump View Post

Do you not think that changing room furnature alters the frequency reponse of your room?

Also do you not think this can have a significant effect on what you actually hear from your speakers?
A qualified 'yes'. Qualification: if changing a large item (such as a sofa for example) then there is a perceptable change to response via speakers. However most racks are very similar in size and shape and I would be very surprised if swaping like-for-almost-like would make a noticeable difference. I believe that the two racks would need to be very significantly different in size for it to have any effect at all due to room acoustics, and even then it would be 'whole room' dependent and not 'a specific sound quality that is the character of that specific rack'. In other words if you did sub in a very different sized rack it would affect the acoustics differently from room to room according to the whole speaker + room + contents response, so attributing 'good bass and a clear mid-range' (etc.) to a specific rack (as the magazines have done) would still be complete nonesense.

Unsurprisingly the places where I have heard of big differences being noted in 'the sound quality of racks' have been A) in magazines whereby circulation and hence income was dependent upon their being an intersting difference, and B) on the internet where ego and implied status have been at stake.


Anyway, good luck with your experiements.
post #21 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
A qualified 'yes'. Qualification: if changing a large item (such as a sofa for example) then there is a perceptable change to response via speakers. However most racks are very similar in size and shape and I would be very surprised if swaping like-for-almost-like would make a noticeable difference. I believe that the two racks would need to be very significantly different in size for it to have any effect at all due to room acoustics, and even then it would be 'whole room' dependent and not 'a specific sound quality that is the character of that specific rack'.
Well a qualified yes is good because at least you are giving me the benefit of the doubt now.

What if previously you had your equipment on a book shelf or inside a cupboard that has folding in doors? Like the examples below.

Do you think going from this to a rack could make a noticable difference to your room accoustics in some instances?

Cause and effect, the cause of the effect someone could be hearing in these examples is just as likely to be due to the change in their furniture than a reasonant characteristic of their equipment in a not insignificant amount of instances. This is even more likely to be the cause in instances where change is heard and there is no turntable or tubes.

Sure, this is just a theory of mine, but it is credible and the fact it is untested does not make it untrue.




post #22 of 39
Edit: you still miss the points. Which are...

A) Room effects only come into effect if the change between the racks is significant. In any test of 'standard' like-for-almost-like racks the differences are down to vibration transmission and susceptability.

B) Virtually all rack 'tests' are written with a personal aganda whereby the writer has a vested interest in asigning a specific sound quality to a specific rack. Hence the test is at best biased, and may even be completely falsified.

If you don't want to accept this then you are naturally welcome to disagree. I have provided the sign post and you have decided to walk in a different direction. Best wishes, but no point to continue the discussion.
post #23 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
Edit: you still miss the points. Which are...

A) Room effects only come into effect if the change between the racks is significant. In any test of 'standard' like-for-almost-like racks the differences are down to vibration transmission and susceptability.
I'm sure that is the case, its not a point though, more a caveat. I think we are actually more or less agreeing with each other here.

Do you notice when the sonic characteristics are being described 'smoother midrange' etc. it is never stated what was there before that the journo is comparing it against. What I mean is the equipment had to be sitting on something before the test, unless it can self-levitate.

And what exactly is being tested, the rack, the interaction of the rack with the equipment dynamically or the combination of both and the interaction with the room? So many variables, I am confused, I need to look at some graphs to calm down.

What I mean the dynamic performance of a piece of rack equipment is the relationship between mass and stiffness (assuming low damping). The resonance is effectively then determined by the mass of the audio equipment and the stiffness of the rack by the relationship

f= 1/2pi x (k/M)^0.5

Hence for a proper assessment of an audio racks dynamic performance, the mass and location of the test equipment on the rack (middle shelf, top shelf etc) of the equipment being tested needs to be included in the test results. It may sound great with a 3Kg turntable on the top shelf, but its resonant frequency and modal response would be totally different if you put added a 10Kg amp on the middle shelf.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
B) Virtually all rack 'tests' are written with a personal aganda whereby the writer has a vested interest in asigning a specific sound quality to a specific rack. Hence the test is at best biased, and may even be completely falsified.
I'm sure it happens.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
If you don't want to accept this then you are naturally welcome to disagree. I have provided the sign post and you have decided to walk in a different direction. .


Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
Best wishes, but no point to continue the discussion.
OK. I did enjoy our discussion though.
post #24 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by JohnFerrier View Post
Hilarious.


.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Leny View Post
Shark_Jump, virtually all analog electronic components are susceptible to vibration, although most are at such a low level as to be not noticeable. The components most likely to be noticeably affected are vacuum tubes and record players.

My previous statement was a fact not an opinion, and meant as a sign-post to help you in the right direction. You are of course at liberty to follow that direction if it interests you, or completely reject it if it does not match your requirements. (It’s worthwhile keeping in mind that all magazine reports on rack ‘sound quality’ is little more than shallow subjective prose with the main aim of hooking readers in order to sell magazines). If you wish to prove that it has something to do with ‘room frequency’ balance / reflections due to the change of the ‘furniture’ then I wish you the best of luck in your endeavours, and I look forward to reading your report.

Prog Rock Man, I hope you enjoy any visit you make to their ‘test’ session. Even if it proves nothing it may well be an entertaining day. : )
So this is just like a WHF thread, people post silly comments and go way off topic!

But, if you pick through the posts and be patient, I am sure answers are to be found.
post #25 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by nick_charles View Post
I have started a thread on the What HiFi forum about blind tests...

What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision - Blind Tests
It looks like you have a response from the consulting editor.

What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision - Blind Tests

I cannot see anything about blind testing in the link. I won't say anything else as its probably not great ethics to pass comment on another thread .

"All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole - not an individual reviewer. Each product will be listened to and/or viewed by several members of the test team, who will then discuss the final verdict before it appears in the magazine or on the website. This avoids any individual bias creeping in."
post #26 of 39
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark_Jump View Post
It looks like you have a response from the consulting editor.

What Hi-Fi? Sound and Vision - Blind Tests

I cannot see anything about blind testing in the link. I won't say anything else as its probably not great ethics to pass comment on another thread .

"All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole - not an individual reviewer. Each product will be listened to and/or viewed by several members of the test team, who will then discuss the final verdict before it appears in the magazine or on the website. This avoids any individual bias creeping in."

I originally posted the below on the What Hifi forum and found that it has been removed....

http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f133/t...8/#post6605887

......so it would appear they do not like having their 'Big Question' open to close scrutiny. Very disappointing and questionable ethics on their part.


Edited by Prog Rock Man - 5/6/10 at 1:50pm
post #27 of 39
Quote:
Originally Posted by Shark_Jump View Post
It looks like you have a response from the consulting editor.

"All review verdicts are agreed upon by the team as a whole - not an individual reviewer. Each product will be listened to and/or viewed by several members of the test team, who will then discuss the final verdict before it appears in the magazine or on the website. This avoids any individual bias creeping in."
It sounds as if the listeners listen in a group, nod their heads and agree on a common verdict, say hello to Groupthink, Peer pressure and Self-censorship.

This is why individual testing is really important, sadly this is very rare even amongst the most well-intentioned experimenters as it greatly adds cost and time. Any group listening is fundamentally flawed even should they agree on no difference.

Of course arriving at a "common" review based on 4 individual evaluations would be nigh-on impossible, say one reviewer detected a high frequency roll-off and another thought the high end was extended, you have an irreconcilable difference.
post #28 of 39
Thread Starter 
The participants are all together and listen at the same time. You do get disagreements, but more often consensus. I see now that the Big Question is devised for fun and good will to forum members, but it is flawed and not to be taken seriously.
post #29 of 39
To be honest, What Hi-Fi is not a magazine I would place a lot of faith in. I haven't bought it for years although I occasionally glance thru a copy if in the newsagents. For starters, it is hardly a Hi-Fi magazine these days as it focusses more on AV stuff.

My lack of faith stems from the fact that they seem to heavily recommend certain brands. For example, with headphones, it's Grado. For DAP's, it's Apple. Sony seem to dominate AV electronics. Some conspiracy theorists would say it's connected with advertising budgets etc., whatever the case I don't feel they are particularly impartial.

I tend to read Hi-Fi World and occasionally Hi-Fi Choice or Hi-Fi News. I like the fact they bother to measure the equipment that they review. HFC used to do blind tests when doing a group of products, hopefully they still do this. HFW do not blind test but I enjoy their reviews, they certainly don't seem to be tied to particular "names" and they also have 2nd opinions for some reviews. All of these magazines seem to have a much higher level of experience with quality gear than WHF.
post #30 of 39
Thread Starter 
I am still a fan of WHF. They do loads of hifi reviews as well as the AV stuff, just look at their buyer's guide for the sheer number of products they have reviewed.

Comments about bias towards some manufacturers is not true as no one making such an allegation has been able to back it up with any evidence. Just counting adverts to good/bad reviews and you see the manufacturers advertise no matter what. WHF are big and rich enough, since they are part of a massive magazine group to be as immune to bias as any other publication and more so than smaller scale publishers.

I do see why the likes of Grado and Apple remaining highly recommended for so long is a bad thing. Sony do not dominate the AV section, just count awards and articles to see that. Surely the opposite of flavour of the month would be more suspicious.
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