DomT

Who has bought an entire system at a dealer blind?

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Super Wammer
19 minutes ago, MartinC said:

The biggest flaw in this approach for particularly the speakers was that you weren't in your own room but still very interesting to hear that you did this. How did you find it?

Edit: I have not done any unsighted listening in a hifi shop.

The point of the thread is to establish if those strongly promoting blind testing actually practice what they preach. Keith has declared that he doesnt. Wondering about the others.

Rather than criticising my process perhaps you could let us know if you have done a comparative blind test to buy a system  

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I haven’t, but given the untidy, abysmally decorated look of many dealers dem rooms I have visited over the years, I think it would have been a great advantage to have been blindfolded! It does sound rather dangerous though; tripping over or stubbing ones toe on 60kgs of power amp could be painful. Come to think of it their toilets were even worse; not only would it have been an advantage to be blindfolded but one had the impression that the previous occupants were blindfolded.

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I would never contemplate buying a system in that way, neither have I suggested that others do so.

I advocate anyone interested in hifi to get involved in a test (third party conducted, blind and level matched) if they are ever given the opportunity. Think of it as a reality check, an education perhaps.

I'm very pleased that I have been involved in such tests on a number of occasions, you have to do it yourself, no amount of chatting about it matters.

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12 minutes ago, DomT said:

The point of the thread is to establish if those strongly promoting blind testing actually practice what they preach. Keith has declared that he doesnt. Wondering about the others.

Rather than criticising my process perhaps you could let us know if you have done a comparative blind test to buy a system  

Sorry, you totally misunderstood my post there. My point wasn't to be critical but to genuinely ask how you found the experience. It's interesting to hear you have chosen equipment in this way as so few do. I would like it to have been practical for me to do so on occasions but it has not been.

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37 minutes ago, MGTOW said:

Similar story here.

After spending almost 3 years continuously on the road at the start of the punk era I took some time off. A friend from earlier times was just setting up his own hifi shop so I gave him a budget (quite modest, not a lot of money in punk in the early days) and he brought round this...

Dual 505, early wood plinth model, Nagaoka MP11,

Nad 3020, original not the A version,

AR 18s, again original flat front model on Linn Kan stands.

Bloody marvellous, much better than any of the much higher priced kit I had been playing with in the mid70s.

Foolishly I tried upgrading after a year or two, big mistake, that system sang!

Sorry DomT, not really what you were asking I know. In later years I was involved in a fair number of blind, level matched tests, both for magazines and manufacturers. Taught me a lot.

I have never considered using such tests to select a system for myself, far too many other factors involved.

Curious, which punk band were you in?

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43 minutes ago, DomT said:

The point of the thread is to establish if those strongly promoting blind testing actually practice what they preach. Keith has declared that he doesnt. Wondering about the others.

Rather than criticising my process perhaps you could let us know if you have done a comparative blind test to buy a system  

I think you've raised a great point.

All this "but it wasn't a level matched blind demo" rhetoric comes over to me as excuseitis from people when the results of sighted tests are announced and the results didn't go the way that someone with vested emotional interest wanted them to.

There's also a large element of hypocrisy in it. Telling others to do blind testing where their own system wasn't selected on the basis of blind testing.

And blind testing increases the stress levels of participants. Being under stress is not a good state of mind for evaluating hi-fi equipment.

I have no issue with anyone doing sighted listening tests.

Also, when it comes to listening tests, it is possible to get better at them with practise. To the point where you can go into a blind listening test session and take the mickey out of the manufacturer's sales rep...

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Super Wammer
50 minutes ago, MartinC said:

Sorry, you totally misunderstood my post there. My point wasn't to be critical but to genuinely ask how you found the experience. It's interesting to hear you have chosen equipment in this way as so few do. I would like it to have been practical for me to do so on occasions but it has not been.

The dealer had a better time than me. He was killing himself lauhing (silently) and would test me to see if I was peaking or not by not responding to questions and waiting for me to lift my blindfold but I didn’t.

For me it was frustrating being blindfolded for 3 hours but as I had read that this was the best way to do things I persevered (this was in 2004).

Did I think that the process worked? I kept my speakers as none of the new ones could get close to them so it wasn’t a huge risk. At the time I wanted a more compact system than NuVista M3 and 3 box Wadia and this was achieved. I arrived at a balance of sound that I was happy with on a blind basis. I would have ended up in the same place sighted as my musical preferences don’t change (and are the same today). 

I have never repeated the process and would not do any blind testing again. I have confidence in my preferences and how to balance criteria for selecting hifi and so don’t need to do any blind sessions. Level matching is useful sometimes but also has flaws.

The biggest problem isn’t blind vs non-blind. It’s dealer demos. Total waste of time except to get to a rough shortlist. Home demo for a few weeks is what is needed in a no pressure relaxed environment in the room where you will listen. 

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Moderator

There are many good points raised above.

I have been involved in a number of properly conducted blind testing experiments, and the results are usually very interesting. The crucial point is 'properly conducted'. At a minimum, this means the use of a suitable size listening panel, preferably comprising at least a fair proportion of people traned in critical listening. Also, it implies proper statistical techniques to deal with the data. Anything with just a few people, and there is no hope of getting statistically accurate results. Pure guesswork would be just as valid.

The other crucial point is that blind testing is only intended to establish the statistical probablity that two things are, or are not, distinguishable from each other. One person listening to a number of different things and not knowing which is which is not in any way a proper blind test. In fact, it's worse than useless because there are far too many variables. If you listen to two things like that at different times or in a different mental state, the results will be all over the place.

Using bling testing on your own to pick audio components for your system has so many problems as to be worthless.

To answer the question. I have bought a few things 'blind', as in not having heard them at all, based on primarily comments and recommendations from people with similar systems and tastes. No, I have never bought anything based on incomplete blind testing, because it would be a waste of time.

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Posted (edited)
20 minutes ago, DomT said:

Home demo for a few weeks is what is needed in a no pressure relaxed environment in the room where you will listen. 

Couldn't agree more.

I've never purchased anything blind from a dealer. I'd love to try it though, sounds like fun. I'd probably feel a little uncomfortable sitting there for hours with a blindfold on.

Many dealers don't see themselves as mail order companies yet for me the best way to try and compare gear is in the comfort of my own familiar room. Dealer demos are perhaps best for shortlisting but I wouldn't make a final decision based on it.

Edited by halloweenman

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Super Dealer
Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, DomT said:

The point of the thread is to establish if those strongly promoting blind testing actually practice what they preach. Keith has declared that he doesnt. Wondering about the others.

Rather than criticising my process perhaps you could let us know if you have done a comparative blind test to buy a system  

I have conducted unsighted level matched comparisons in the past To satisfy my own curiosity,  they can be extremely revealing removing sighted bias.

I am more happy to conduct any test unsighted, if a customer requires it.

Comparing  linear power supplies ,mains power cables ,expensive interconnects or dac’s  is very straightforward, remember the purpose of unsighted comparison is to establish if there is a difference.

Once it has been established there is a difference choosing your preference can be conducted in any fashion you choose.

Keith

Edited by PuritéAudio

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Moderator
6 minutes ago, PuritéAudio said:

I have conducted unsighted level matched comparisons in the past To satisfy my own curiosity,  they can be extremely revealing removing sighted bias.

I am more happy to conduct any test unsighted, if a customer requires it.

Comparing  linear power supplies ,mains power cables ,expensive interconnects or dac’s  is very straightforward, remember the purpose of unsighted comparison is to establish if there is a difference.

Once it has been established there is a difference choosing your preference can be conducted in any fashion you choose.

Keith

Sorry Keith, but one person comparing two things unsighted is not a blind test, it's a blind guess. A great deal of the time, repeating that on different occasions will produce different results. You are the first to acknowledge the capacity of human perception to be flawed and subject to external influence. Removing visual influence is only one aspect of this.

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29 minutes ago, rabski said:

There are many good points raised above.

I have been involved in a number of properly conducted blind testing experiments, and the results are usually very interesting. The crucial point is 'properly conducted'. At a minimum, this means the use of a suitable size listening panel, preferably comprising at least a fair proportion of people traned in critical listening. Also, it implies proper statistical techniques to deal with the data. Anything with just a few people, and there is no hope of getting statistically accurate results. Pure guesswork would be just as valid.

The other crucial point is that blind testing is only intended to establish the statistical probablity that two things are, or are not, distinguishable from each other. One person listening to a number of different things and not knowing which is which is not in any way a proper blind test. In fact, it's worse than useless because there are far too many variables. If you listen to two things like that at different times or in a different mental state, the results will be all over the place.

Using bling testing on your own to pick audio components for your system has so many problems as to be worthless.

To answer the question. I have bought a few things 'blind', as in not having heard them at all, based on primarily comments and recommendations from people with similar systems and tastes. No, I have never bought anything based on incomplete blind testing, because it would be a waste of time.

Like many people I think you seem to be 'over egging' the issue.

I believe that the kind of testing you advocate has been carried out on occasions, by manufactures, audio societies and others, but this is, generally beyond the resources of the average enthusiast.

Scientifically conducted testing is complex, long winded and boring, I am not suggesting this kind of testing at all.

All that is required is to listen to comparisons of components that are level matched and not in view, ie switched by a third party. I have found this to be hugely instructive, not in choosing components, but in simply showing the difficulty that people have hearing differences that are, in other circumstances, 'night and day'.

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Super Dealer
11 minutes ago, rabski said:

Sorry Keith, but one person comparing two things unsighted is not a blind test, it's a blind guess. A great deal of the time, repeating that on different occasions will produce different results. You are the first to acknowledge the capacity of human perception to be flawed and subject to external influence. Removing visual influence is only one aspect of this.

I find it more than adequate, once level matched ( if necessary) and compared unsighted with another party switching, if I can’t reliably pick one then as far as I am concerned there is no difference.

Even tiny differences are inconsequential compared to the really large gains that can be had in room/speaker interactions.

Keith

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Super Wammer
4 hours ago, DomT said:

There has been lots of talk about blind testing and am wondering how many people practice what they preach.

I might be wrong but I am pretty sure that I am the only person here who has actually chosen a complete system at a dealer (KJ West One) completely blind to what I was listening too. I have actually tried this methodology spending real cash on the outcome. Have never repeated the methodology because it didn’t reveal anything new in terms of what I like or don’t like or my ability to differentiate between products.

Anyone else done this especially those advocating this approach? Not just a cable or one component but a whole system like I did?

This is basically “Tailoring” the sound to meet your needs sonically until you hit that sweet spot and say yes, that’s what I like! Plenty of box swapping but an experienced dealer will eventually find the sweet spot. Having said that, my view is it should be done at home.

I did it years ago when a few decent dealers were more than happy to do personal home dems. A lot of work mind but satisfying for both parties and fun because sitting wearing a blindfold isn’t easy but if I recall, I came away with kit that I hadn’t expected at all but it worked. Also, it was cheaper overall. 
I see the thread is being derailed tho. 

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