Thursday, May 10, 2012

Blind or Sighted listening tests

A most informative (but now two year old) posting from the Sean Olive blog, Audio Musings, reports data from a 1994 study of blind v. sighted tests of loudspeakers can be found under the heading "The dishonesty of sighted listening tests"

It's worth a read since Sean is one of the few folks in the world with the education in experimental methods involving human subjects and sufficient interest in applying these to audio reproduction. Apart from confirming what most open-minded people expected, that sighted listening has an effect on how you judge a product, there are two very interesting results that warrant particular attention. First, experienced listeners are no less susceptible to the effects of sighted listening, despite the protestations otherwise that we have learned to factor this out. Second, I was taken by the curious impact of blind or sighted listening on the judgement of speakers when layout/positioning is adjusted. It seems that you are far more sensitive to positioning of speaker in the room and the resulting impact on sound when you listen blind. Not sure how to turn these results into practical guidance for your own tweaking but then, blind testing is always very hard to do on your own :)

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