Originally Posted by virtualsamana
Thanks for your responses guys. I find this topic rather intriguing. I am curious how so many people can hear night and day differences between amps and yet when a challenge like this comes along people can't A/B a wallmart cheapo from a McIntosh or Bryston. It's faciating isn't it?
So how would you explain the fact that no one has yet to pass Richard Clark's challenge? Without A/B/X testing how do we separate fact from fiction? In some audiophile circles there is certainty that $5000 botique cables sound drastically different than more reasonably priced canares or mogami. Those same people eschew the A/B/X testing that shows no discernible difference between cables exists. I also see some similarities in the external clocking debates. It seems people can hear what they want to hear and it has been scientifically shown that our perception greatly influences our hearing. That is why I see some validity to the blind A/B/X testing. Especially when it comes to components that are supposed to be linear or transparent.
Because his challenge isn't to say they're different, or that one is better than the other - it's to IDENTIFY which one is which. I won't say A/B tests are invalid - but I will say they're generally misapplied, arguing that oranges = apples because both are fruit.
I think DIY informal A/B testing is a pretty valuable thing to do for any musician, and I make a point of doing it whenever I get new gear that duplicates the functionality of old gear. It can be instructive, too... when I got my first high-end guitar cable, I immediately A/B'd it against the cables I had. It was significantly better than the others, but the surprise was what came in second - some old, cheap Rapcos I've had for ages, which are supposedly inferior to the George Ls. At first listen, the George Ls sound better because they're brighter than the Rapcos... but really LISTEN, and the George Ls sound harsh and glaring. But to hear it, clearly, I had to do a serious A/B with an even better cable (Sommer). The Sommer was clear at the high end, not rolled-off like the Rapco but not harsh like the George L. So anyway, that's an example of how weird A/B testing can make things seem, and why it's not the easy answer the rec.audio.hifi crowd would like to pretend it is.