Why Do So Many Audiophiles Reject Blind Testing Of Audio Components?


Because it was scientifically proven to be useless more than 60 years ago.

A speech scientist by the name of Irwin Pollack have conducted an experiment in the early 1950s. In a blind ABX listening test, he asked people to distinguish minimal pairs of consonants (like “r” and “l”, or “t” and “p”).

He found out that listeners had no problem telling these consonants apart when they were played back immediately one after the other. But as he increased the pause between the playbacks, the listener’s ability to distinguish between them diminished. Once the time separating the sounds exceeded 10-15 milliseconds (approximately 1/100th of a second), people had a really hard time telling obviously different sounds apart. Their answers became statistically no better than a random guess.

If you are interested in the science of these things, here’s a nice summary:

Categorical and noncategorical modes of speech perception along the voicing continuum

Since then, the experiment was repeated many times (last major update in 2000, Reliability of a dichotic consonant-vowel pairs task using an ABX procedure.)

So reliably recognizing the difference between similar sounds in an ABX environment is impossible. 15ms playback gap, and the listener’s guess becomes no better than random. This happens because humans don't have any meaningful waveform memory. We cannot exactly recall the sound itself, and rely on various mental models for comparison. It takes time and effort to develop these models, thus making us really bad at playing "spot the sonic difference right now and here" game.

Also, please note that the experimenters were using the sounds of speech. Human ears have significantly better resolution and discrimination in the speech spectrum. If a comparison method is not working well with speech, it would not work at all with music.

So the “double blind testing” crowd is worshiping an ABX protocol that was scientifically proven more than 60 years ago to be completely unsuitable for telling similar sounds apart. And they insist all the other methods are “unscientific.”

The irony seems to be lost on them.

Why do so many audiophiles reject blind testing of audio components? - Quora
artemus_5
So...it sounds like you're anti-engineering to get a baseline of what driver parameters are suitable for a specific design.

Ears are different. So are driver parameters, and you gotta start somewhere.

The reason why audio is so interesting, especially with speaker systems, is because multiple systems can measure similarly, yet sound quite a bit different. That's why measurement systems have become so sophisticated. It's not just a single line anymore.
So...it sounds like you’re anti-engineering
Nowadays people ask for simplistic divisions...

Black or white.... No colors in between....

War between objectivist or subjectivist, war between analog or digital , etc...

That make no sense at all save for those who like dividing themselves instead of thinking...

How do you pick that i am anti-engineering?

Is it because the only engineer you ever know is deaf and never correlated accuracy by the numbers with accuracy for his ears, in an increasing improvement process , where the ears is the last judge?

Most engineers are audiophiles and music lovers...

The exception is few pseudo scientists or fanatics who inhabit here....

I apologize to you anyway i dont want to sound rude....

regards and best wishes for you....
It's not possible to look for accuracy in a recording when reproducing what was created in the studio.

Who knows how they wanted a voice to sound, a piano, a saxophone or guitar etc.

The room is going to color the sound matter what you do.

Sure, you can aim for a base line using tones, sweeps and measurements, Who knows how good the pressing of the record is.

Too many unknowns to be able to perfectly reproduce what was recorded.

My system has an audience of one. My senses are different than others, it would be silly to think that we all hear and perceive frequencies the same.No more than we taste, smell, see or register touch the same. What is pleasant to me, may be annoying to someone else. Have a friend who likes bright speakers. I don't.
You have to admit, in audio blind testing is way more effective than deaf testing...just sayin'...
You have to admit, in audio blind testing is way more effective than deaf testing...just sayin’...
You are not completely right here.... 😊

Conforming their hearing to their tools and conditioning their own ears by designing habits to obey the measuring gear tools is worst than being deaf, because "deaf testing" could be right by the law of chance more often then listening systematically only the end results of pure design numbers with no real supervision by "non professional ears"...

Happily, like i said most engineers are also artists hearing really for the music and not only to the "corrected" sound, wearing very precise clothing in imperial habits and measures....Pass labs designer for example, or the crowds of Sansui Engineers and many others one look for a sound quality very audible and not explainable by the numbers only...They had discovered the right measuring numbers to fit them, they dont conform their creativity and ears to numbers...



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«Numbers obey something else and we must called it love»-Anonymus Smith

«Like love encompassing everything, prime numbers distribution contains everything and no one knows why and even how it is possible»-Anonymus Smith

«Prime numbers are the deepest mystery completely wrapped in the more simplest way and plain for all to see»-Anonymus Smith

«Prime numbers distribution is so powerful that it give sleepness night to all mathematicians from the beginning of time.»-Anonymus Smith

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