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Certain areas of the Asylum have been designated as DBT (Double Blind Testing) free zones. In these designated areas, the topics of DBT and ABX are strictly off limits. Any post related to these topics will be subject to deletion.

These rules cut both ways:

Why are DBT discussions not allowed?

Quite simply, the reason is that these topics rarely spark a productive exchange. While a vast majority of Asylum inmates are firmly in the middle ground, the topics of DBT and ABX tend to force polarization and quickly degrade into death spiraling flame wars.

Is DBT bad?

Some think so. Others do not. From a strictly scientific viewpoint, DBT has proved to be the only method that is generally accepted for determining the audibility of small differences between audio equipment and cables. It does work.

A problem exists when these tests are either done poorly or when specific results are extrapolated erroneously. DBT is also not necessary for determining personal preferences.

What's the difference between DBT and ABX?

DBT is a scientific methodology. Some believe that ABX is closer to a religion. ABX is actually a sub-set of DBT. Years ago, a group of audiophiles developed a box that was dubbed the ABX Double Blind Comparator. The purpose of the box is to allow fast switching between two things to be compared, A versus B.

Fast instantaneous switching has many advantages. One's audio memory is short. Research has shown that one is more accurate in detecting small differences when the time between test stimulus is reduced.

The controversy then becomes the question of what effect the ABX box may have on the audio signal. Is the box totally transparent? What effect does adding additional cabling have on the results? Proponents would argue that these issues are irrelevant and that the advantages of fast switching out weigh any possible problems that are non-existent anyway. Opponents simply roll their eyes and respond with, 'Get a clue'. Discussions get nastier quickly.

Isn't this being unscientific?

Again, some may think so. In reality, there are many methods for determining preferences and accuracy of audio components. Measurement data is far more accurate than one's ears. DBT is simply one procedure. DBT does a great job in removing bias from comparisons. However, DBT does not imply that differences do not exist, only that these differences in this test, are below the levels of general audibility.

Many people feel that the true character of individual components is only realized after long term listening and living with the component in question. These people would argue that it takes time to fully appreciate or understand certain subtle differences that exist in various audio components.