Non-Smoking Man

Cognitive Bias

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1 minute ago, uzzy said:

Cognitive bias at play- according to some lol 

Absolutely, and there is nothing I can do about it!

This is why I rarely recommend actives on sound quality grounds, though in general terms they are 'punchier' and more 'forthright' than passive speakers in a similar price point.

Whether the listener approves of this presentation or not is up to them, however they are quite practical in use and do offer fine value in material terms.

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Super Dealer
19 minutes ago, George 47 said:

This has been discussed before and as we are dealing with people then there will always be biases and prejudices. The saving grace is that as you only have to please yourself then they do not matter as you are the beneficiary. If you like deep bass and this hifi is stunning but can't reproduce bass below 30 Hz then it is not for you.

What for me is difficult is the pseudo-scientists who hide behind their views as science as it proves their point and all it is just dogma. If you do this test, this way and only controlling this parameter then you get my wanted result. And if it is repeated this way you find there are no differences between every SS amplifier, CD, DAC, cables etc. OK if that is what you believe then great but please do not try to dress it up as science because it is not. You are trying to get rid of one issue but you have used a test that actually cancels out all differences.

If you want to test a new drug you go through a HUGE and complex set of tests to try to correctly reduce personal effects. This makes them very expensive. But what helps is that normally these tests have a clear endpoint; a cure for leukaemia for which there is a clearly defined outcome. Now try the same test for drugs that help with psychological issues where the endpoint involves a less clearly defined outcome. For some conditions like depression there are clear outward signs so they become a little easier. But the variables are still large and these test can be inconclusive. And some pharma companies were not above doing them repeatedly until they got a positive result and publishing that result. Hopefully, that practice has stopped. 

Now make the test one where the person has a preference and all bets are off and most scientists will try to avoid them (if they have any sense). So trying to account for people's variances, biases and prejudices becomes extremely difficult. You can say I will try to reduce them by ensuring the same volume levels are used and that is easy and for most people that is straightforward. But blind tests? Forget it. It is a test that always produces the same zero result for most audio products. It is not the test as that is what all of science says. Tripe.

Who buys audio with a blind test? No dealers offer it because it is a PITA and it is disrespectful for the buyer. And as dealers like Serge found you go out of business going down that route. I suspect no one asks for it either.

So how can you reduce these issues? Forget A/B tests they will only test volume levels and frequency response. Try to get to hear the components for a day or so and then replace them back and listen to determine if there is a real change and if it is worth it.

Remember it is an audio system. The music is there to induce an emotional response in you. If the system does not let the music do that, do not bother. Yes, it may impress friends, or audionuts looking at measurements, or pseudo-techies with double-blind statistically analysed tests. It is your audio system and it is there for YOU.

That is just nonsense, there is absolutely no reason why an unsighted comparison would lead to a ‘zero’ result if there is a difference it will be heard as easily as if the test were sighted, this is just an old wife’s  tale.

The whole point of an unsighted test is to remove bias, to establish whether there is indeed a difference, once you have established a difference you can spend as long as you like and whatever method to determine which you prefer.

Keith

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12 minutes ago, locheeboy said:

The problem is...

when "cognitive bias" is introduce into a hi-f discussion, it immediately becomes "reductio ad Hitlerum" and ...hopefully, ends that discussion.

:hom:

Sadly this is true, which is a pity as I think it is an interesting subject in it's own right.

I have long since stopped getting involved in any hi-fi discussion that involves scientific analysis as so few enthusiasts know anything at all about science or the logical thought processes involved.

The idea, often stated on here, that "if it sounds good, it is good" is pretty destructive in any discussion of high fidelity reproduction. The suggestion that the quality of reproduction is, like musical preference, a matter of taste seems quite absurd to me.

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6 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

That is just nonsense, there is absolutely no reason why an unsighted comparison would lead to a ‘zero’ result if there is a difference it will be heard as easily as if the test were sighted, this is just an old wife’s  tale.

The whole point of an unsighted test is to remove bias, to establish whether there is indeed a difference, once you have established a difference you can spend as long as you like and whatever method to determine which you prefer.

Keith

Indeed.

But as posted earlier, since unsighted testing does not produce the results that enthusiasts want, there must be something wrong with the test.

Best not go there.

BTW. Do you remember the brand of those cheap monitors, I can't remember?

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11 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

That is just nonsense, there is absolutely no reason why an unsighted comparison would lead to a ‘zero’ result if there is a difference it will be heard as easily as if the test were sighted, this is just an old wife’s  tale.

The whole point of an unsighted test is to remove bias, to establish whether there is indeed a difference, once you have established a difference you can spend as long as you like and whatever method to determine which you prefer.

Keith

Show me a test where SS amps were statistically distinguished from each other. There isn't any. Do they all sound the same? Same from CDs and DACs. You are trying to solve one problem by creating a worse one. Do you believe all SS amps, DACs and CD players sound the same? If so you are in an interesting place. 

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Super Dealer

Have you considered George that perhaps all low distortion solid state amps, when they are capable of driving a loudspeaker will sound identical, and that your ‘difference’ are purely down to cognitive bias.

Keith

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9 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

Have you considered George that perhaps all low distortion solid state amps, when they are capable of driving a loudspeaker will sound identical, and that your ‘difference’ are purely down to cognitive bias.

Keith

Yes and as soon as I sit down and listen to my Pass Labs XA30.8 and the Nord NC500 amplifier I find they do not sound the same. The distortion on both is so low no one should be able to hear a difference. Even on monitor speakers I had in for review.

Have you ever thought that there may be problems with the DBT when all differentiation on SS amps, DACs (of which you offer a wide range of) all sound the same? Have you ever thought your cognitive bias is making you hear no difference as that is what you expect?  I have heard amps that sounded the same, expensive ones sounding better and the Nord better than a big power amp I had. Had to sell it and take a hit. 

And if I hear a guitar better on the Pass Labs than on the Nord what happens when I do a DBT? Does the guitar appear in the sound of the Nord or does the guitar disappear from the Pass Labs?  If it disappears, no thanks.

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Super Dealer

The first step would of course to be to compare both amps unsighted to determine whether you can reliably pick the difference unsighted.

If you can then we can examine the amplifiers to determine the cause of the difference.

Keith

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If you do not understand science then you do not understand scientific method and what these tests are actually telling you.

This matters little on an individual basis, but it does mean that some issues that could be quite enlightening are rarely discussed, so knowledge of how a hifi system behaves is lost.

Where I differ from many objectivists is that I do believe that some of the differences that many enthusiasts hear so clearly are real but not simply the result of differences in individual (hifi) components (in the way that such enthusiasts believe) but much more in the way that the components interact in a system sense and the way these interactions are perceived by the listener.

I find this fascinating in a hi-fi sense but sadly I do not have access to the sort of equipment needed to carry out testing that might illuminate this issue further.

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3 hours ago, PuritéAudio said:

The first step would of course to be to compare both amps unsighted to determine whether you can reliably pick the difference unsighted.

If you can then we can examine the amplifiers to determine the cause of the difference.

Keith

The first step is to do the ‘faulty test’ is a circular argument. If the test has never allowed anyone to statistically differentiate SS amps how can I succeed? There is no point in doing it?

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Super Dealer

I don’t think you have quite  grasped the concept of cognitive bias George.

Keith

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3 hours ago, MGTOW said:

If you do not understand science then you do not understand scientific method and what these tests are actually telling you.

This matters little on an individual basis, but it does mean that some issues that could be quite enlightening are rarely discussed, so knowledge of how a hifi system behaves is lost.

Where I differ from many objectivists is that I do believe that some of the differences that many enthusiasts hear so clearly are real but not simply the result of differences in individual (hifi) components (in the way that such enthusiasts believe) but much more in the way that the components interact in a system sense and the way these interactions are perceived by the listener.

I find this fascinating in a hi-fi sense but sadly I do not have access to the sort of equipment needed to carry out testing that might illuminate this issue further.

Some of us have a small inkling about these tests having been involved in enormous international tests with the UK's experts on the statistical analysis of adverse health effects. Conversations in the bar afterwards were enlightening.

Bruno Putzeys, the designer of nCore Class D amps, believes that a lot of subjective observations are real and it spurred him on to develop tests that confirm them. Also, the designer of the RME ADI-2 informed me that they have a large folder of tests that apply measurements to subjective observations. Also, Rob Watts at Chord DACs has carried out a series of blind listening tests that show people are more sensitive to certain audio problems than we thought. However, all of them are companies making audio products and they would say that wouldn't they?

Why do you believe that system interactions are behind some of these issues?

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3 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

I don’t think you have quite  grasped the concept of cognitive bias George.

Keith

Oh I have Keith. Have you?

Cognitive biases are often a result of your brain's attempt to simplify information processing.

You do not expect to find a difference so you do not hear one. It is a cognitive bias to help you make sense of different amplifiers. You do not hear differences as that makes life simpler. The DBT confirms this bias and you like it as it reinforces your bias and has a cloak of (false?) science around it.

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5 minutes ago, George 47 said:

Some of us have a small inkling about these tests having been involved in enormous international tests with the UK's experts on the statistical analysis of adverse health effects. Conversations in the bar afterwards were enlightening.

Bruno Putzeys, the designer of nCore Class D amps, believes that a lot of subjective observations are real and it spurred him on to develop tests that confirm them. Also, the designer of the RME ADI-2 informed me that they have a large folder of tests that apply measurements to subjective observations. Also, Rob Watts at Chord DACs has carried out a series of blind listening tests that show people are more sensitive to certain audio problems than we thought. However, all of them are companies making audio products and they would say that wouldn't they?

Why do you believe that system interactions are behind some of these issues?

There you go, decide on your conclusions then develop tests to confirm them. The very essence of scientific method!

You couldn't make it up...

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Super Dealer
6 minutes ago, George 47 said:

Oh I have Keith. Have you?

Cognitive biases are often a result of your brain's attempt to simplify information processing.

You do not expect to find a difference so you do not hear one. It is a cognitive bias to help you make sense of different amplifiers. You do not hear differences as that makes life simpler. The DBT confirms this bias and you like it as it reinforces your bias and has a cloak of (false?) science around it.

To an extent you are correct, I would not expect to hear any differences between two, for example oversampling DACs but you would, that is why you should compare unsighted and if necessary level matched, because you expect to hear a difference, I am sure you would find the experience enlightening.

Keith

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