Blind tests are valid and useful but, as Ted notes, you need to know what you are listening for. Otherwise the blind test results will be random. The persons tested must be able to perceive the differences for the results to be valid.
The average person will not hear a difference between a good MP3 and a CD on a typical system. But many of us can because we have experience and know what to listen for. A blind test of the first group may provide evidence there is no difference to be perceived by randomly chosen people. Perhaps helpful, but it does not test whether there is a difference between Redbook and MP3.
My experience is like Ted’s. Unless the difference is profound, I need to listen for a long time to learn everything I can about the differences. Even if the difference is profound, it takes time for me to appreciate the various differences and nuances.
After switching back and forth like this, a blind test can be very helpful to test whether what you hear is real or your own perception bias.
I continue to find interesting that the differences I hear between Redbook and high resolution become smaller the better the playback equipment. My guess is many experience this with the DirectStream which produces spectacular results with Redbook.
Hi, yes I completely understand what you and Ted are saying. I know these versions REALLY well. I can hear differences as I switch between the known DSD and the Mastered for iTunes copies. I think this is what you guys mean? Being able to hear the differences as you are playing them.
I was extremely confident in being able to hear these differences and thinking I was a Golden Ear until I did that blind test lol
The most important thing, as I mentioned and Ted later said, is that I actually enjoyed all versions in the blind test - including the Mastered for iTunes copy !! Blasphemy, I know lol
This is not something easy for an audiophile like myself to admit by the way. It really showed TO ME (not anyone else) how expectation bias affects me.
I know many will think their ears are better than the rest of us (like I did) but you might be surprised in a blind test situation - even with the stuff you know extremely well.
To me the music comes first - I think it’s a credit to my DSD Snr that it’s able to make so much of my music sound amazing so this post is supposed to be read in a light hearted way - there’s nothing overly serious in the big picture of life here folks.
PS: where I have multiple formats of the same album, it goes without saying I really only listen to the ‘best’ that I have… DSD first, Hi-Res PCM next, CD and then Mastered for iTunes…
I’ll get back to toe tapping