Would your familiarity with the music played effect your test performance?

I've never seen it mentioned in these types of discussions but personally, being in a double blind test using music I am either unfamiliar with or don't like (or both) would negatively effect my sound quality judgments unless the differences were extremely obvious.

If the test music was an album I've been hearing since the 60s or 70s including the remasters, re-releases etc such as Abbey Road, the 1st 4 Led Zeppelin albums, Miles' Kind Of Blue, etc I could detect far more nuances etc and get a better feel for the qualities of the tested items.

Anyone else of the same opinion?

Showing 1 response by simonmoon

With regards to most studio rock recordings, I would say, for the most part yes. Mostly because of familiarity.

But with classical and acoustic jazz, not so much.

I am pretty much only a fan of modern, avant-garde and contemporary classical music (the atonal, dissonant, ’thorny’ sounding stuff).

But since, for the most part, all classical recordings are recorded in such a way, as to capture the natural acoustic properties of the instruments, ambient and spatial information of the venue and the musicians within the venue, I could very easily listen to some 19th or 18h century classical music, which I don’t care for, but still get a positive judgement of the ability of the system to reproduce dynamics, timbre, soundstage and image.

In other words, the recording quality of the LA Phil, recorded at Disney Hall, playing some old Beethoven or Brahms piece, which would bore me, would still sound as well recorded as a contemporary piece by Unsuk Chin, Thomas Ades, Joan Tower, etc, which I would enjoy musically. But I could use either for evaluating audio gear.

Much the same with acoustic jazz. I could grab almost any brand new ECM label recording, for example, even if I am completely unfamiliar with it, but still know the high quality of reproduction to expect. And therefore, still be able to use it for evaluating gear.