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RE: The Big GOTCHA that folks seem to ignore with ABX, etc.

This is just yet another attempt to rationalize undesired results.

Of course any poorly designed test will give us corrupted data. Ironically this is the inherent problem with sighted tests. Those are inherently poorly designed by virtue of being sighted and in almost all cases not quick switching, level matched and time synchronized. And yet since they give audiophiles the results they want those very same comparisons are not scrutinized.

If there is any concern about the sensitivity of any ABX DBT then some one truly screwed up. When there is a question or debate over the audibility of something the process of examination starts by setting up an A/B test under the same exact circumstances under which the original claims of an audible difference were first made. How on earth is sensitivity an issue if the test is a test of a claimed audible difference under the same circumstances?

Or to put it differently. If someone says they are hearing differences between cables or whatever on their system using their choice of music the ABX test should be done on their system using their choice of music between those cables or the whatever. There would be no chance of the listener not being sensitive using an ABX test to the very differences they claim to hear sighted on the same system using the same source material.

So please do tell, How would ABX be an issue? If an audiophile can hear these big night and day differences that their wives can hear from the kitchen while doing the dishes how is it that these same audiophiles can no longer detect these differences in an ABX DBT on the very same system using the very same music?

And here is the real gotcha. It's easy to hear real differences in an ABX DBT. Sensitivity HAS been tested on the ABX DBT protocol. It's is an extremely sensitive test that will uncover differences often missed in sighted non time synchronized quick switching comparisons.

Obvious differences that are actually real don't disappear when you set up an ABX DBT. What often does come to light is that when one sets up a level matched time synchronized quick switching comparison those "huge night and day differences" just aren't there anymore even under sighted conditions. They never were there. They were the product of poorly designed sighted comparisons that may or may not have been level matched and certainly were not quick switching time synchronized comparisons.

Time delays between samples are the biggest culprit in the perception of differences where there is no audible difference in the actual sound. But a lot of audiophiles don't accept this basic fact of human biology. This is the most important lesson. No one is a human tape recorder. You can not make meaningful comparisons between aural memories and direct real time aural stimuli. They are inherently different and as such will always lead to the conclusion of differences in sound even when none are present. Certainly always when that is the expectation. Time synchronized quick switching level matched comparisons are ESSENTIAL for any meaningful comparisons. More so even than the blind protocols.

J Gordon Holt said the following and this was spot on. "As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me, because I am associated by so many people with the mess my disciples made of spreading my gospel."

There is no "gotcha" with ABX DBT *IF* one is genuinely interested in simply finding out what does and what does not sound different. *IF* one has a deep investment, be it financial investment, investment of their time or emotional investment in the results one is prone to looking for any excuse to dismiss undesired results.

"The truth is not polite" Rocco DeLuca. Reality does not give a fuck whether or not we like it.

Have there been poorly designed and poorly executed ABX DBT? Sure! And those particular tests should be dismissed. But they are not the rule. Airplanes crash from time to time. We don't dismiss the laws of aerodynamics because of it.

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  • RE: The Big GOTCHA that folks seem to ignore with ABX, etc. - Analog Scott 08:09:05 10/22/23 (0)


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