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PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 2:32 pm 
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The goal would be to find people who have the power cord or gear and try to meet or something like that to record the setup. Some recording device are cheap. I'll refer you again to Ethan's work : 25$ sound cards vs a pricey one.As stated above the device will capture(record) what's coming out of the setup or device (music or tone). When can then listen to it on a transparent system or null the files. If there's a real or measurable difference we'll see/hear it.

But were not there and that's why I'm asking for help, I won't and I can't do everything.

Go to gearslutz forum or other pro's website/forum you'll find a lot of informations. There's also debate, like audiophile's debate, there too.

I have been surprised at how some studios are modest, with computers there's no more need for tons of gear.

-- 28 Sep 2017 18:46 --

Here's an exemple of what can be measure, you can browse his blog he's talking about his gear ans method

http://archimago.blogspot.ca/2017/08/me ... i.html?m=1

http://ethanwiner.com/converters.html

http://ethanwiner.com/loop-back.htm

HydrogenAudio are doing a lot of this


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:28 am 
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sthomas1049 wrote:
Another question - How do you know what the pro’s are using? We make an assumption that it is of quality but not every studio has an Abby Road budget. There is a reason why Behringer has such a large market share – cause they sell a sh!t load of cost effective products that cater to studios with a tight budget. Are you saying if a professional uses a $400 Behringer A to D converter that it must produce the same quality as a $12k Weiss? Would you not question a $400 A/D converter if it was to be used to evaluate stereo equipment costing 10x as much?


A buddy of mine teaches this topic at University. According to him, Behringer is not sold to lots of studios. It is sold to hobbyists/home recordists. It's "Prosumer" gear.

What finds it's way into cost effective setups are things like MOTU or focusrite. These things do not cost an Abby road budget.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:18 am 
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Fair enough – Behringer maybe marketed toward a prosumer. My example was to not single out a particular brand but to demonstrate that we do not know for sure what is being used within all recording studio’s. Professionals will use a wide variety of equipment to achieve what ever sound they desire. It does not have to be of reference quality.

I used Behringer as an example because I own some of their equipment and can say that it is not the most transparent gear out there. Which brings me back to what is used to record and evaluate through ABX testing? Is there a guide or a list of reference gear that will not contribute to the sound?

The Ethan Winer link above comparing A to D converters with an unknown music track proves what? One of the files shows noise when viewed through a spectrogram. Is it the $25 sound card, the $2k Lavry Blue converter or the M-Audio which could also be considered “Prosumer”? And is the noise audible through that particular musical track by everyone who listens to it? If we cannot hear noise through 1 music track evaluated through 1 piece of gear does that mean we should discredit everything else? Ethan’s example seems to state so! This is of course assuming the test was conducted as Mr Winer claimed. How do we know for sure??

Lets look at ABX testing in detail. I’m in the market for a new preamp. My dealer has been kind enough to lend me one that I am interested in for home evaluation. Lets now assume I also own a reference quality A to D converter that will not contribute to the sound. I make 2 recordings from the line level out of both preamps. Now how do I evaluate these recordings? Do I listen with my existing equipment or use the one on loan? A Null test will only demonstrate that there is a difference assuming you can match the timings perfectly (both amplitude and timings must match perfectly otherwise the Null test is well…null and void!). So evaluating through a recording is not the best of procedures with this example which now leads one to question how do we conduct a ABX test? Invest in switching gear that will allow a single source to feed 2 different preamps and then back to 1 single amplifier? Does such gear exist? Or have a friend blindly switch the equipment. Just to note on the latter, as quoted by Mr Ethan Winer himself “Hearing memory is accurate for about 1/4 second.”

Not trying to debunk ABX testing. But it is far more complicated than testing music files of different sample rates with a Foobar plugin.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:33 am 
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You use the recordings of the two preamps in exactly the same way that you would use the recordings of the two tracks of different sample rate.

You play them back through whatever gear you have with the foobar ABX tool. Preferably listening through headphones to see if you can hear the difference between the two tracks as foobar switches tracks instantly.

You are now listening for the difference in sound between the two preamps.

If you cannot tell the difference, then why bother buying the new piece?

------------

I own some behringer too. The A/D and D/A's are not very good at all. I've used some MOTU (borrowed) and TC Electronik ( bought on sale at Long and McQuade for $175 ) and can say that they both blow away the Behringer in every department. Many small recording studios use that level of gear.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 10:35 am 
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He's using tone and track he created : classical, rock or synth (he's musician as well)

About noise test it by yourself with the -50db , 60db, and -70db whitenoise inserted every one or two seconds during playback. If you can't hear a buzzing agressiv whitenoise how can you hear subtle noise at lower noise floor?

Send him an email if something is not clear for you, he'll awnser. I asked him if I could use the music files he created. He sent me the wave files to experiment and share. I still need to learn how to create the effects I want, and I'm still open for help.

Again there's a lot of files and articles, I suggest that you read them all as well as searched on Internet, Ethan's not the only one who's sharing this kind of informations.

Nulling will probably show you that there's no audible difference lol

-- 29 Sep 2017 14:44 --

Archimago gives a lot of details on his gear and how he's doing his tests. But I didn't have success to communicate with him.

-- 29 Sep 2017 14:49 --

I've learned something new today : FUD. (Thanks to someone who added a comment about that on the MQA article)

https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fear,_u ... _and_doubt

I now have a word to use for the people who like to make us doubt : You never hear a X system so you'll never know a trully high end system is. :mrgreen:


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:27 am 
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As popular as they are, not everyone owns headphones. Those that don’t I doubt very much will invest in a pair just to evaluate a piece of gear that is to be used with a speaker system. Headphones, proper headphone amplification, A to D converter....this ABX testing is starting to generate a healthy cost. Besides, I don’t believe a headphone will give a true representation of what to expect from your speakers. Apples to oranges comparison.

Now in the case of evaluating a preamp – removing it from your amplifier for the sake of recording also removes any interaction the output impedance of the pre has with the input impedance of the amplifier. Do you not think this is also important? Probably not an issue with solid state equipment, but a consideration if combining a tube pre with a SS amp.

patate91. I am very familiar with both Mr Winer and Archimago writings. But thank you for the references – much appreciated. I am not debating sound quality of said equipment. I am debating the usefulness of ABX testing if not conducted properly which I may also add based on this thread will require an investment. Not to mention a know how.

Nulling 2 files of the same amplitude and timing will give you an accurate answer as in the case of comparing WAV vs MP3. But even Mr Winer states that it is near impossible to match timings of 2 separate recordings. The 3 recordings provided within his example are not matched therefor a null test cannot be used.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 11:51 am 
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People are comparing files and equipments sighted and in uncontroled environnements reporting the results on Internet.

ABXing at home with no stress is an upgrade IMO. Again what people use against ABXing is that it uses unknown gear, in unknown environnement with music not up to their taste. Does it need a high control level? For some yes.

Here's an exemple about experimenting at home, to explain my point.

The other day my daughter (7 years old) asked me it's true that we can produce current with citrus fruit.

I said yes, we searched for a procedure on Internet.

We did the experiment with a light bulb and multimeter.

We concluded that it's possible.

No controled environnement, no deep research. It was enough to prove it. At least to have a results we can reproduce.

ABXing at home will gives you an opportunity to remove your eyes. Only your ears and you can test for week or month if you want.

Now if you want to beleive that what you're earing is not true, or if you want a more controlled environnement go for it. Do those tests by yourself and draw your conclusions and share your results and maybe why you think your results are valid or not. If you have link that explain the downfall of ABX send Them to me I'll add them to my useful links section.(After reading I found the last part more "agressive", but that's not my intention, as you probably noticed english is not my primary language)

As for speakers do you tests with them. But your room's acoustic will makes your critical listening more harder. Moving your head will change what you are hearing. But again that's the day to day reality of almost everyone. Let say you upgrade a components or listen to high rez files but your room or speakers are not able to show you differences why upgrade?? For peace of mind maybe.

A procedure for ABXing can be useful for people that like to understand, and experiment. Again that's a step in another direction. Thinking that everyone would have a controlled environnement is silly.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:11 pm 
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patate91 wrote:
As for speakers do you tests with them. But your room's acoustic will makes your critical listening more harder. Moving your head will change what you are hearing. But again that's the day to day reality of almost everyone. Let say you upgrade a components or listen to high rez files but your room or speakers are not able to show you differences why upgrade?? For peace of mind maybe.

A procedure for ABXing can be useful for people that like to understand, and experiment. Again that's a step in another direction. Thinking that everyone would have a controlled environnement is silly.


Exactly correct. The room acoustic can influence the results in a very bad way. Using headphones removes the room effect. If you don't have any headphones, it will make detecting differences harder.

But, if the room makes it impossible to hear a difference, you may again find that there is no point to "upgrading" the component in question, whether or not using headphones reveals a difference. IMO, it is best to spend the money on treating the room, until you can hear the difference that you've heard when ABXing with headphones.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 12:21 pm 
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Exactly, I would recommend room acoustic treatments before amp, dac, etc upgrade.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 1:18 pm 
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If you really want to play around with AB testing, build a simple switchbox.

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It is nothing but attenuators, jacks, binding posts, wire and switches/relays. It'll contribute no audible distortion to the devices that you are testing. It is very simple to build if you only want to test line level components like preamps and DACs/CD players. To test amplifiers will require additional connectors (12 binding posts), an additional switch/relay and an additional set of 4 inputs, so that the voltages of each amp can be level matched (use a DMM).

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A listening test comparing components is valid only when you are able to instantaneously switch between components which have been properly level matched and whose identities are unknown to you.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 29, 2017 5:47 pm 
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I missed this thread and catching up with it I'm amazed how peoples like to complain that abx have been beaten to death bla bla but, a thread like this one opened my eyes many years ago. It had me test different components, technology, removing the expectation and having me focus on what I hear and not what I want to hear. It helped me a lot to progress in this hobby.

Now I don't use expensive audiophile cable, most of my money went on the speakers and I've put attention to the room etc. The result today is miles ahead of the best system I had before and this simply because I stopped blindly listening to reviews and forum and started testing things for myself.

It's an effort, a rewarding one, that not all of us will be willing to do and it's ok like that since there is different ways to enjoy this hobby.

This thread does have its place here. Testing yourself, the components, your expectations and preconceived notion will always have its place. If it's of no interests to you just move to something else.


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 30, 2017 11:01 am 
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franksmith wrote:
I missed this thread and catching up with it I'm amazed how peoples like to complain that abx have been beaten to death bla bla but, a thread like this one opened my eyes many years ago. It had me test different components, technology, removing the expectation and having me focus on what I hear and not what I want to hear. It helped me a lot to progress in this hobby.

Now I don't use expensive audiophile cable, most of my money went on the speakers and I've put attention to the room etc. The result today is miles ahead of the best system I had before and this simply because I stopped blindly listening to reviews and forum and started testing things for myself.

It's an effort, a rewarding one, that not all of us will be willing to do and it's ok like that since there is different ways to enjoy this hobby.

This thread does have its place here. Testing yourself, the components, your expectations and preconceived notion will always have its place. If it's of no interests to you just move to something else.



Thanks, I have to say I did this post because I also found posts like this and started to experiment. I wish I found something like this earlier, I would have saved money.

Like you said nothing is forced here, people can do it if they want and draw their own conclusion. I someone feels that the experiment is flawed he can just go deeper.

What I don't understand is why someone will not trust his own experience but will beleive what someone else isexperiencing applies to him with no doubt.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 6:48 am 
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patate91 wrote:
What I don't understand is why someone will not trust his own experience but will beleive what someone else isexperiencing applies to him with no doubt.


That doesn’t make any sense – perhaps something was lost with translation? Once a person obtains a piece of equipment they gain experience with it. People do make blind purchases based strictly on the experience of others. And there could be many reasons why. I have yet to see a piece of equipment for sale on CAM where the seller would allow the buyer to perform a ABX test prior to the final sale. The buyer may rely on the opinion of others to try and justify his/her purchase. There is nothing wrong with this. It is very rare that we are allowed to demo equipment prior to purchase within our own environment that will allow evaluation, be it ABX testing or sighted listening. This is common with all industries and not just audio! There are no rules to this hobby – those that try to dictate them are biased and closed minded! Fair enough if you disagree with those who make bold statements about equipment and or cables – you do not have to buy into their claims. But be happy that those who purchase $1000 power cords are investing into a industry that you have a deep passion for. It’s a win for all!

Bumpy wrote:

Exactly correct. The room acoustic can influence the results in a very bad way. Using headphones removes the room effect. If you don't have any headphones, it will make detecting differences harder.

But, if the room makes it impossible to hear a difference, you may again find that there is no point to "upgrading" the component in question, whether or not using headphones reveals a difference. IMO, it is best to spend the money on treating the room, until you can hear the difference that you've heard when ABXing with headphones.


Bumpy – don’t think anyone is arguing the importance of proper acoustics. But saying that it is a static element that should not change while ABX testing. Fully agree that poor acoustics has a vast impact on what we hear but that is another topic for discussion. Very true that headphones will remove the influence of room acoustics but they will also add their own influence. The below graph is the frequency response of 4 different headphones. Can you honestly say than anyone of these will give a true representation of what to expect out of your speakers? I own about a dozen headphones of various quality and I can honestly say that some will mask details that can be easily heard through my speakers. IMO if one is critically evaluating a component intended for speaker playback, then that component should be tested within the same system. For reference the orange trace in the below graph which could be considered one of the most coloured is actually a $2000 + reference headphone from a very reputable maker.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 8:29 am 
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In general, rooms acoustics are terrible, which is why the comment about headphones. Remember, the only evaluation done in ABX is if you can hear a difference. Not if A is better than B or how A/B will sound through your speakers.


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PostPosted: Sun Oct 01, 2017 10:04 am 
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sthomas1049 wrote:
That doesn’t make any sense – perhaps something was lost with translation? Once a person obtains a piece of equipment they gain experience with it. People do make blind purchases based strictly on the experience of others. And there could be many reasons why. I have yet to see a piece of equipment for sale on CAM where the seller would allow the buyer to perform a ABX test prior to the final sale. The buyer may rely on the opinion of others to try and justify his/her purchase. There is nothing wrong with this. It is very rare that we are allowed to demo equipment prior to purchase within our own environment that will allow evaluation, be it ABX testing or sighted listening. This is common with all industries and not just audio! There are no rules to this hobby – those that try to dictate them are biased and closed minded! Fair enough if you disagree with those who make bold statements about equipment and or cables – you do not have to buy into their claims. But be happy that those who purchase $1000 power cords are investing into a industry that you have a deep passion for. It’s a win for all!


Maybe that's something we can think about, and start a "new trend". Things and habits can change. We can let things go, we can participate, we can encourage etc. We just have to decide what we want to do. I like what I do and share, if I stop loving it I'll stops. If it's nous for you pass a long and that's it. Again this is not a personal attack I love to debate and understand and I like to be proved wrong. Maybe you can find links and texts that are showing flaws of ABX and I'll add them in the useful links section.


sthomas1049 wrote:
Bumpy – don’t think anyone is arguing the importance of proper acoustics. But saying that it is a static element that should not change while ABX testing. Fully agree that poor acoustics has a vast impact on what we hear but that is another topic for discussion. Very true that headphones will remove the influence of room acoustics but they will also add their own influence. The below graph is the frequency response of 4 different headphones. Can you honestly say than anyone of these will give a true representation of what to expect out of your speakers? I own about a dozen headphones of various quality and I can honestly say that some will mask details that can be easily heard through my speakers. IMO if one is critically evaluating a component intended for speaker playback, then that component should be tested within the same system. For reference the orange trace in the below graph which could be considered one of the most coloured is actually a $2000 + reference headphone from a very reputable maker.



Yep headphone are not perfects but it remains that they are a "better tool" for ABXing.

Don't forget ABX help you find differences. If something brings a change or an improvements it should be highlighted with ABX. While ABXing the frequency response, for exemple, will remain the same (with headphone, speakers is another story as said above), so if there's something different it's not your brain that plays a trick.


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