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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

BigH wrote:

http://www.engadget.com/2008/03/03/audiophiles-cant-tell-the-difference-between-monster-cable-and/

This is an old story, the version I heard was that a prestigious UK speaker manufacturer of both domestic and professional models was presenting it's new multi thousand pound recording monitors to a group of recording industry profesionals.

The pros, recording engineers and the like, were somewhat fazed by a requst from the speaker manufacturer that they use some specific hi end speaker cable and made sure it was properly 'sexed' for direction.

Anyway, the presentation went as planned and the new monitors were quite a success, until a couple of cheeky sound engineers reveiled that while one speaker used the prescribed hi end cable the other used a cable of  'bell wire' with a selection of 'foreign objects', in this case, wire coat hanger, bent nail and some 'silver' paper wrapped around a biro, soldered into the line for the other.

Such stories are amusing but their are plenty of real, scientifically rigorous, tests that show that even experienced listeners can not tell the difference between cables in a level matched, blind test.

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

I'm with you to a certain extent, but at it's most extreme, this theory would have me believe that the difference in SQ I perceive between my Marantz PM66Ki and something cheap by Matsui is purely down to expectation bias and unscientific testing, and I can't buy that. It's probably more true to say that after a certain quality threshold (not sure how you quantify or measure what that is) the differences follow the laws of diminishing returns, and at that point you're possibly more influenced by expectation bias than the real qualitative differences between products.

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

MajorFubar wrote:
I'm with you to a certain extent, but at it's most extreme, this theory would have me believe that the difference in SQ I perceive between my Marantz PM66Ki and something cheap by Matsui is purely down to expectation bias and unscientific testing, and I can't buy that. It's probably more true to say that after a certain quality threshold (not sure how you quantify or measure what that is) the differences follow the laws of diminishing returns, and at that point you're possibly more influenced by expectation bias than the real qualitative differences between products.

No one is suggesting that all amplifiers sound the same, or all cables or all anything else. 

There are real differences but they are often overshadowed by other factors. Many cheap products, amplifiers to take your example, are not competant designs by hifi standards so you are simply not comparing like with like. 

Take a decent entry level design from someone like Denon or Pioneer, and compare that to your Marantz in a blind test that is configured to make sure that both amplifiers under test are working within their capabilities.

That means setting up a systen with a good and noise free source (digital noise in particular can upset some amplifiers and not others), speakers of appropriate sensitivity and impedance characteristics, beneign speaker cables, level matching the output of both systems then making sure that both amplifiers are operating within their design parameters.

Under those conditions I would be astonished if anyone could tell the two amplifiers apart so the two amplifiers sound essentially identical in this situation. In the real world, the amplifiers are having to deal with external (electrical) noise, difficult loudspeaker loads, unusual speaker cables and, more often than not, an owner who always wants the music 'just a touch' louder.

These factors can cause real differences, suffuciant in some cases to tell one amplifier from another (still listening blind of course), but it important to realise that in sighted tests these differences are swamped by the effects of expectation bias, placebo effect etc, etc.

I know it is hard to believe that you will be taken in by such effects, especially when you know what to expect, but you will be, everyone is. It's the way the brain works and there is nothing you can do about it!

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

davedotco wrote:

These factors can cause real differences, suffuciant in some cases to tell one amplifier from another (still listening blind of course), but it important to realise that in sighted tests these differences are swamped by the effects of expectation bias, placebo effect etc, etc.

I know it is hard to believe that you will be taken in by such effects, especially when you know what to expect, but you will be, everyone is. It's the way the brain works and there is nothing you can do about it!

With all due respect, I don't think you'll find any psychologists (I mean academic researchers in psychology who study precisely this area) who'd agree with this. It's certainly true that in many situations most people will experience some form of bias in their judgements. It's equally true that most (psychological) biases can be overcome with training. There's a lot of idle talk about how our brains are 'hard-wired' to respond in certain ways. In fact, almost all of this supposed 'hard wiring' is susceptible to e.g. the influence of experience. Those who've advocated the 'hard wiring' form of argument, e.g. people like Paul Ekman, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Griffiths, generally agree that there are only a very small number of 'hard-wired' systems in the human brain that are impervious to training. These are the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust.

In other words, most people may be susceptible to biases in many situations, but it is possible to overcome most biases if you work at it.

The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves ...

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

matt49 wrote:

davedotco wrote:

These factors can cause real differences, suffuciant in some cases to tell one amplifier from another (still listening blind of course), but it important to realise that in sighted tests these differences are swamped by the effects of expectation bias, placebo effect etc, etc.

I know it is hard to believe that you will be taken in by such effects, especially when you know what to expect, but you will be, everyone is. It's the way the brain works and there is nothing you can do about it!

 

With all due respect, I don't think you'll find any psychologists (I mean academic researchers in psychology who study precisely this area) who'd agree with this. It's certainly true that in many situations most people will experience some form of bias in their judgements. It's equally true that most (psychological) biases can be overcome with training. There's a lot of idle talk about how our brains are 'hard-wired' to respond in certain ways. In fact, almost all of this supposed 'hard wiring' is susceptible to e.g. the influence of experience. Those who've advocated the 'hard wiring' form of argument, e.g. people like Paul Ekman, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Griffiths, generally agree that there are only a very small number of 'hard-wired' systems in the human brain that are impervious to training. These are the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust.

In other words, most people may be susceptible to biases in many situations, but it is possible to overcome most biases if you work at it.

 

I don't want to take this too far from the realms of hifi but you are correct, there are plenty of researchers who play down the effects of expectation bias and placebo effect, just as there are plenty who do not. 

I use these effects, expectation bias in the main to offer an explaination why, in sighted tests differences are often described as huge, night and day etc yet the same observers comprehensively fail to identify very different items in blind test.

This to me is the point, the experimental evidence is overwhelming, time and time again jounalists and other audio professionals fail blind tests comprehensively, so much so that few will now participate in them.

Just for amusement, take alook at this....

http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

matt49 wrote:

With all due respect, I don't think you'll find any psychologists (I mean academic researchers in psychology who study precisely this area) who'd agree with this. It's certainly true that in many situations most people will experience some form of bias in their judgements. It's equally true that most (psychological) biases can be overcome with training. There's a lot of idle talk about how our brains are 'hard-wired' to respond in certain ways. In fact, almost all of this supposed 'hard wiring' is susceptible to e.g. the influence of experience. Those who've advocated the 'hard wiring' form of argument, e.g. people like Paul Ekman, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Griffiths, generally agree that there are only a very small number of 'hard-wired' systems in the human brain that are impervious to training. These are the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust.

In other words, most people may be susceptible to biases in many situations, but it is possible to overcome most biases if you work at it.

 

I think regardless of the belief in subjective bias or not, the results of such blind tests designed to remove the bias are unequivocal. With such overwhelming evidence, it would be wise to consider this when choosing some new equipment on merits of sound quality alone.

Of course, anyone is free to spend their money however they wish, but personally, I think it better to have a genuine understanding of what is being bought and why.

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

matt49 wrote:

davedotco wrote:

These factors can cause real differences, suffuciant in some cases to tell one amplifier from another (still listening blind of course), but it important to realise that in sighted tests these differences are swamped by the effects of expectation bias, placebo effect etc, etc.

I know it is hard to believe that you will be taken in by such effects, especially when you know what to expect, but you will be, everyone is. It's the way the brain works and there is nothing you can do about it!

With all due respect, I don't think you'll find any psychologists (I mean academic researchers in psychology who study precisely this area) who'd agree with this. It's certainly true that in many situations most people will experience some form of bias in their judgements. It's equally true that most (psychological) biases can be overcome with training. There's a lot of idle talk about how our brains are 'hard-wired' to respond in certain ways. In fact, almost all of this supposed 'hard wiring' is susceptible to e.g. the influence of experience. Those who've advocated the 'hard wiring' form of argument, e.g. people like Paul Ekman, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Griffiths, generally agree that there are only a very small number of 'hard-wired' systems in the human brain that are impervious to training. These are the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust.

In other words, most people may be susceptible to biases in many situations, but it is possible to overcome most biases if you work at it.

I'll take your word for this but do you really think that people who make claims about cables etc want to overcome their biases?  They want to believe it and will avoid at all costs anything that might undermine that belief.

Chris

Marantz PM8005 / SA8005 / KEF R700s / AKG K702

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

Overdose wrote:

I think regardless of the belief in subjective bias or not, the results of such blind tests designed to remove the bias are unequivocal. With such overwhelming evidence, it would be wise to consider this when choosing some new equipment on merits of sound quality alone.

Of course, anyone is free to spend their money however they wish, but personally, I think it better to have a genuine understanding of what is being bought and why.

I agree that knowledge of the technical merits of equipment should play a role in any decision to buy. I'd never suggest otherwise. But that's an entirely different argument.

As for the evidence for subjective bias, you've missed my point. I didn't say there wasn't any evidence. What I said was that the scientific evidence doesn't support categorical statements of this kind:

davedotco wrote:

I know it is hard to believe that you will be taken in by such effects, especially when you know what to expect, but you will be, everyone is. It's the way the brain works and there is nothing you can do about it!

I also think statements like that do a disservice to open-minded debate. By all means let's be mildly and politely sceptical about some of the claims people make to have heard differences between pieces of kit. But scepticism has to be accompanied  by a bit of humility about one's own knowledge/ignorance, e.g. in the matter of the psychology of expectation bias. That's the point I was making.

The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves ...

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

davedotco wrote:

Thompsonuxb wrote:

pauln wrote:

Thompsonuxb wrote:

 

Lol...... you're so crazy...... ROFL

No, just educated.

 

The crazy i'm picking up....the educated...no...no..naaah, its not coming through.....just teasing.

 

Seriously Pauln, do you think that makes sense 'sonic illusions' - I mean think about it, sonic illusions, if your music sounds more detailed or bassier after the change of a cable say, its more likely a sonic illusion than that your speakers getting more or less of a signal and altering the sound  accordingly that the human ear/brain can actually hear/differenciate ....seriously?

Yes seriously, you really need to do your homework.

Just for amusement, a very simple illustration of how easily the brain can be fooled by what we do or do not hear.  

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G-lN8vWm3m0

 

Honestly, utter piffle.....

What does playing various tones at varing phase shifts really have to do with listening to music on a domestic set in your home?

I mean c'mon...this is why I throw down the 'come lets have a listen' challenge to you guys, its nonesense and in real world terms is about as useful has...er...something thats totally useless ... I mean really really useless.

music is recorded -  sources, amps and speakers play it back - on a given amp it will play back said track exactly the same if nothing is changed, my argument to you is if one part of said system is changed lets say the interconnect between source and amp, audible differences can be heard by the human ear, variations on certain aspects of said track can be picked up.

you don't need to do a 3year study on the subject just set your own kit up and try it for youself.....and believe your ears.  

 

wow.

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

davedotco wrote:

Craig M. wrote:

Craig M. wrote:

davedotco wrote:

If you think otherwise I strongly advise you to take a blind or an ABX test to find out just how difficult it is.

The incredible power of expectation bias, placebo effect and the general ability of all listeners to 'hear' with their eyes is quite astonishing and, if you have never taken part in such a test, it is probably impossible to convince anyone of the truth of these statements.

 

Good luck, I think you're wasting your time though.  Wink

Told you... 

 

Quite...... ROFL

I'm reminded of the old motto. "Never argue with idiots, they will bring you down to their level and beat you with their experience".

 

 

I can't help myself, I love arguing with idiots, its so entertaining....its what the internet was made for...... :roll:

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

matt49 wrote:

I agree that knowledge of the technical merits of equipment should play a role in any decision to buy. I'd never suggest otherwise. But that's an entirely different argument.

As for the evidence for subjective bias, you've missed my point. I didn't say there wasn't any evidence. What I said was that the scientific evidence doesn't support categorical statements of this kind:

I would say that it is beyond all reasonable doubt that expectation bias exists and is so powerful.  The point being that it does exist and the reasons for it are largely academic, but it's effects are obvious to see. Better to be aware of the phenomena and take it into consideration when making purchases in hifi equipment.

The only categorical statement that might be contestable is that everyone is affected by expectation bias, as this is how the brain works. However, there is little evidence that I can see that points to the contrary.

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

Look, the argument is going in the same direction all these genuinly interesting threads go. But lets stop and look at this objectively.

Setting a hi-end amp up to sound like a budget amp is folly - and what does that have to do with anything anyway?

You want to believe you ears/brain can be fooled by your kit...thats fine, laughable...actually laugh out loudable, but fine. But the so called science, blogs by some unknown with an alleged Phd and guff easily picked up on the internet should be dismissed and like I said a genuine listening session organised, then there will be nowhere to hide differences will ether be heard or not - I can't fatham why no one wants to do this.

I have a pair of Chord Crimson plus, QED performance 2 (subtle differences), Cambridge Pacific (definate step down compared to the other 2 in my set up) some Tandy (remember them) interconnects and numerous cheapo freebie cable lying around, I alos have a QED Quenex 1 and a QED sr75 coax, I'll bring these and challenge the whole lot of you to a dare to compare session (close to me) anywhere.

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

Lol...I'm sitting here laughing to myself, whilst Jill Scott is singing in the background reading through this thread again thinking I should have added Winston Churchills 'fight them on the beaches' speech in that last post.....sorry, I just had to share. 

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

Overdose wrote:

I would say that it is beyond all reasonable doubt that expectation bias exists and is so powerful.  The point being that it does exist and the reasons for it are largely academic, but it's effects are obvious to see. Better to be aware of the phenomena and take it into consideration when making purchases in hifi equipment.

No-one denies that expectation bias exists: that would be sheer folly. All you're doing here is setting up a straw man.

Overdose wrote:

The only categorical statement that might be contestable is that everyone is affected by expectation bias, as this is how the brain works. However, there is little evidence that I can see that points to the contrary.

I see where you're coming from, and several people on this forum have said similar things, but I'm afraid the scientific evidence says that you're wrong. All the evidence I'm aware of -- and I've read more of it than I care to remember over 25 years of academic study of the subject -- says that expectation bias and other similar cognitive biases can be overcome. If you're interested in the scientific evidence, I'd recommend starting with Daniel Kahneman's Thinking, Fast and Slow. Kahneman argues that we do suffer from all manner of cognitive biases (the 'thinking fast' of his title) but we're also capable of thinking without them ('thinking slow'). Kahneman's a very interesting thinker, the only psychologist I can think of who's won a Nobel Prize (there being no Nobel Prize for psychology). 

The screen door slams, Mary's dress waves ...

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RE: IET, Bi-wiring does not work and other myths

davedotco wrote:

matt49 wrote:

davedotco wrote:

These factors can cause real differences, suffuciant in some cases to tell one amplifier from another (still listening blind of course), but it important to realise that in sighted tests these differences are swamped by the effects of expectation bias, placebo effect etc, etc.

I know it is hard to believe that you will be taken in by such effects, especially when you know what to expect, but you will be, everyone is. It's the way the brain works and there is nothing you can do about it!

 

With all due respect, I don't think you'll find any psychologists (I mean academic researchers in psychology who study precisely this area) who'd agree with this. It's certainly true that in many situations most people will experience some form of bias in their judgements. It's equally true that most (psychological) biases can be overcome with training. There's a lot of idle talk about how our brains are 'hard-wired' to respond in certain ways. In fact, almost all of this supposed 'hard wiring' is susceptible to e.g. the influence of experience. Those who've advocated the 'hard wiring' form of argument, e.g. people like Paul Ekman, Silvan Tomkins, Paul Griffiths, generally agree that there are only a very small number of 'hard-wired' systems in the human brain that are impervious to training. These are the emotions of happiness, sadness, fear, anger, surprise, and disgust.

In other words, most people may be susceptible to biases in many situations, but it is possible to overcome most biases if you work at it.

 

I don't want to take this too far from the realms of hifi but you are correct, there are plenty of researchers who play down the effects of expectation bias and placebo effect, just as there are plenty who do not. 

I use these effects, expectation bias in the main to offer an explaination why, in sighted tests differences are often described as huge, night and day etc yet the same observers comprehensively fail to identify very different items in blind test.

This to me is the point, the experimental evidence is overwhelming, time and time again jounalists and other audio professionals fail blind tests comprehensively, so much so that few will now participate in them.

Just for amusement, take alook at this....

http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

I know I run the risk of boring many by my repetition but far too many seem to think that double blind ABX testing is incontrovertibly flawless. Please, someone put both myself & others out of our misery & show proof it works or I'll just keep repeating my doubts.

It's very important for the curious to acknowlwdge the existance of expectation bias - if we know it can colour our thinking, we can at least take quite simple steps to lessen its effects. However, some seem to assume its very existance renders all human experience suspect which ain't that enlightening or useful. I note from this thread that its not just audio fans that are dogged by opinions masquerading as facts - formally trained psychologists appear to be no better!

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