A note about ABX DBT (blind testing) and the SH Forums

Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Mar 3, 2012.

Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.
  1. Steve Hoffman

    Steve Hoffman Audiophile Music Mastering Your Host Thread Starter

    I guess we have to remind people again:

    The below was written by HOLY ZOO, the creator/founder of www.stevehoffman.tv with co-moderator Claviusb back in 2003. This is a reminder to read carefully and follow these simple rules.


    2/6/03: This is now a Subjectivist vs. Objectivist DBT Debate Free Forum!


    Holy Zoo writes:

    "The debate about:

    Double Blind Testing

    ABX Testing

    Objectivity vs. Subjectivity

    These are all basically the same time-honored audiophile topic (really: argument). We (Robert and Jeff) have participated on many an audio email list / forum / newsgroup over the years watching and participating in this debate.

    Indeed, we come from opposite sides of the argument - Robert tends to be a subjectivist, I lean towards the objectivist camp. Robert believes in tweaking, I'm very doubtful that anyone can hear tweaks and are imagining things (I mean, come on, *especially* Robert! )

    Yet we still agree on the following: We've both watched folks who would normally get along great - who share a lot of common musical tastes and opinions - people who even agreed about political and religious topics(!!) - shred each other to little bitty pieces over the Objectivist/Subjectivist Double Blind Testing debate. It can go on and on for hundreds of posts, and the only thing it all accomplishes is to annoy and alienate the people who are not at the polar extremes, while reinforcing the opinions of those who are at the polar extremes.

    And here in lies the the problem. It absolutely kills any discussion that it crops up in between regular folk.

    For example, lets say that Bradley starts a thread about which amp sounds better - Marantz or Creek, and people are chiming in with their opinions. But then someone will bring up the old "there's never been a scientific study showing that you can tell the difference between the Marantz and the Creek - everyone here is just speculating". This will often divert the entire thread into dozens of posts about the DBT/OS debate. To the extremist, the thread is very much on topic, even more than ever before in his or her mind.

    Meanwhile, for the guy who started the thread, who wanted to know the opinions of the folks here on the forum who've actually listened to the Marantz and the Creek -- the answer may never be known. To this poor guy, his thread has been hijacked: technical jargon is thrown around from both sides along with dizzying displays of snide comments and half-hidden digs. The combatants dance the edge of what the moderators find tolerable (well, most of the time anyway) while looking to create the utmost damage to the other side, unaware that many people tune out fairly quickly and to them it all looks like bickering, even if they find themselves sort of agreeing with one side or the other. Pages and pages of posts are created, and like a dog chasing it's own tail, there is no end until both sides tire for the evening or the thread gets closed. The web is filled and filled with such stuff.

    If you feel you must debate the issue, there are a myriad of music hardware forums out there waiting. Or if you must, you can even PM a person here about it, if you know they're inclined to want to debate.

    But we won't be continuing such scenarios here. To some people, the "Subjectivism vs. Objectivism" debate is almost a religion, and you know where we stand on that. Some people may find our lack of interest to continue what can easily be found elsewhere boring, but we find having amicable discussions refreshing, and the real reason that we were drawn to Steve's site in the first place.

    We hope you understand why we've made this decision. If you'd like to discuss it with us in private, our PM-Boxes are always open. What we do not wish to have is a debate about this right here, right now. We are very certain that we've made the best choice for the forum, and as such we ask you to respect this new rule, and to move forward, sharing and discussing the enjoyment of audio and music.


    Robert & Jeff

    We'd like to add a couple of very important clarifications:

    1) It is the objectivist/subjectivist debate that is banned, not the notion of reporting the results of DBT's, or taking scientific measurements (for instance, calculating the RMS db level of a recording) and reporting them here.

    So, for example, if you and your friends get together and do a double blind test comparing different Beatles albums, you are more than welcome to post the results.

    2) In a similiar manner, just as you may not post DBT thread-craps, the inverse is also prohibited: for example, saying "enough of the scientific clap-trap - just trust your ears!".
Thread Status:
Not open for further replies.

Share This Page