iPod vs CD: WSJ CES

from 'Portals,' a column by Lee Gomes in today's WSJ (apologies in advance for any cross-posting), a quote of interest to some here:

"Portals became an official exhibitor at T.H.E. Show last week. I set up a room with two sound systems, identical except for one component. Everything except the speakers were hidden behind screens."

(sic - I'd use the singular 'was' here, WSJ!) snip...

"With the same music playing on both, participants used a remote control to switch between the two, and then tell me which sounded better. One of the tests compared a high-quality MP3 file from an iPod with a CD on a $3,000 player. Three-quarters of the 24 people taking this test preferred the CD. That was no surprise. However, when I played .wav files on the iPod - these are digital but uncompressed files; I was connecting the headphone jack to the amplifier - 52% of the 21 who took this test preferred the iPod."

(what, three test subjects dropped out? what is this, a presidential primary?)

"That made me smile, not because snooty audiophiles got the 'wrong' answer, but because it suggests great sound can come from popular but cheap gear."

(then the article goes on to make fun of expensive gear some more - you can tell who now owns the WSJ, can't you? - but he does mention that John Atkinson and Mikey Fremer in fact CAN tell the difference between a cheap and an expensive cable in his test.)

- and if you work for the WSJ, or that paper's new owner, please don't read this thread until tomorrow ;-)
Was B the ipod or the cd player.
I am not surprised that the uncompressed files through the Ipod played from the same setup got more postive response than the MP3 files. Whether the side by side test with the CD player was completely valid depends on a number of variables not discussed, principally the orientation of the listeners to the two sets of speakers and the orientation of each set of speakers to the room.
Sounds interesting - do you have a link to the article?
This again proves to me beyond doubt that the average person really doesn't give a rats behind about what we audiophiles look for. If most of the participants in this test thought the boom and sizzle from their car stereo with dual 15" subs is what great sound is all about then what conclusion can one draw from this test? When I talk about soundstaging, my friends think I am a freak with dolphin ears. My girlfriend admitted she was greatly impressed by a Bose surround system once. Why should we care about what people with tin-ears think is great sound?
Thank you very much Yehuda. Very provocative read indeed! :) I enjoyed it.
I agree with Rotovirus above. If you take 30 chumps and place them in a room with 2 bottles of wine, one $15 and the other $500 how many will pick the $500 as being better, and then how many would pay that much more for that bottle? We are connoisseurs of our hobby much like wine geeks are of theirs. The average chump looks at both hobbys as a sick waste of money. Great, to each their own. I would bet a lot of these same "chumps" are the ones with a brand new Humvee parked outside their one room apartment. Hence, we spend money on those things that matter to us.
I remember going on a date in the very early 80s and the girl was 19. I asked her where she would like to go to dinner, she told me Taco Bell was her favorite restaurant - "They have the best sour cream!" (Taco Bell's sour cream at that time was processed crap I have no idea what they are now serving, haven't eaten there is over 25 years.)

However, that girl had one hell of a body!
Arbuckle, I think his name is "Rotarius" :) "Rotavirus" causes diarrhoea.

But yes I do agree - a negative result doesn't mean much in science, especially when it is conducted by someone with an obvious axe to grind like this guy. Experiments can always be set up to prove the null hypothesis. But a positive result on the other hand, is significant.

Tomryan, I am envious! She may have had no taste, but at least she would be cheap to feed!
Yeah, I am not a rotavirus!
Tomryan, it has always been a fantasy of mine to meet a hot mama who is happy with a $4 value meal. You should have kept her around!