Wading through all the pseudo science from hifi mags etc

Posted by: gramophone on 31 August 2018

On the site of an online accessories vendor saw a comment below from a happy purchaser of a £6 electrical contact cleaning fluid: "MP3 files now sounds like CD quality...Wow!!-!" You can find loads similar all over the world of hifi publishing.

Here's a link to a link to an article about biases: https://www.theatlantic.com/he...ine-from-bad/247240/

This article quotes from a study carried out at the University of Bordeaux (the study mostly deals with appreciation of wine though also 4k tv). Basically when cheap wine is secretly put into an empty bottle of good wine (top notch chateaux label on the front) wine experts to a man rave about it). Similarly, if we're told hifi wire A costs £1,000 and B costs £20 and you hear them in a test you wouldn't have a human brain, with all its fallibilities, if you didn't prefer A.

Posted on: 31 August 2018 by Allan Milne


The only way to decide is with your own ears in a blind A/B demo.

I have an advantage, since being blind myself means someone else always has to do the wiring/equipment changes for me so all my demos are blind anyway 


Its not just the mags and other web sites, I've also read some questionable claims on this forum, respecting that the posters really do believe they hear a difference and interesting to read but ÖÖ really (no names, you decide)?




Posted on: 31 August 2018 by gramophone

Allan you certainly have an advantage here. Even if the person administrating the comparison says or shows the listener nothing we are all extremely adept at taking a whole variety of other cues.

There's a video on YouTube from a channel 5 car show where the reviewer (a paid-up car nut who must have driven hundreds of cars) tests the audio systems in 3 luxury cars. Needless to say the winner is the Naim in the Bentley. But his wearing a blindfold seemed ridiculous theatre to me, I can't believe he wouldn't have been able to distinguish the different cars from the smell, the feeling of the seat he sat in etc etc (he knew already which car had which system).

Just want to add to my post that I'm not trying to denigrate experts (the article itself doesn't). It's just how we're wired.


Posted on: 31 August 2018 by yeti42

Sometimes it takes a while to realise something is not right, I can get halfway through a bottle of corked wine, but, but Iíve never managed to finish one.

Posted on: 31 August 2018 by gramophone
yeti42 posted:

Sometimes it takes a while to realise something is not right, I can get halfway through a bottle of corked wine, but, but Iíve never managed to finish one.

Well you've beaten me. I've never noticed when a wine is  corked (yet by some reports it's almost 10%), perhaps on one occasion when the shared opinion was simply "so horrible!". This record does, when I occasionally reflect on it, make me wonder (like that I should only buy cheap "plonk").   All the preceding obviously about bottles with corks (doh!), most don't have a cork these days but that's fairly recent and I'm 50. In mitigation many times haven't been ideal testing conditions if you know what I mean.

Posted on: 01 September 2018 by Rich 1

I can tell the difference between different wines and don't always like the expensive ones, and of coarse some of the cheaper ones are as awful as the most expensive. Substitute wine for audio! 

I find my mood also affect's the way I enjoy or don't enjoy my wine/audio. In my blackest moods I'll find faults real and imaginary. Call the psychiatrist! Rich

Posted on: 01 September 2018 by Huge

Oxidised wine is fairly common (about 10%) and the effect varies from mild to quite distasteful, fungal infection is a little less common (about 1%).

Truly corked wine is unmistakeable and absolutely revolting...  I've encountered 2 bottles in my lifetime, in both cases after tasting a small sip of the wine to check it, I knew immediately.  2 cups of strong black coffee later, I could start to taste something other than the cork taint.


Just as good wine can be ruined by being served or stored badly and reduced to the level of 'plonk', so can the reproduction of music from a CD be ruined by bad set-up of the replay equipment, reducing it to the playback quality of MP3.

Maybe this is how the purchaser of the £6 contact fluid got them to sound the same (or maybe it was just simple expectation and/or justification bias).