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Listening Tests and how length of time spent listening alters perception ex. (1 Viewer)


Second Unit
Dec 8, 2020
Real Name
I grew up on a farm nestled near the top of Steve's Mountain in NB. The house was so old it still had a water cistern in the basement on top of a dirt floor. Electricity was clearly an after thought when it was installed. Insulation if any was rock wool blown in behind slats covered with horse hair and plaster. To say the house was cold in the winter time was an understatement. Without slippers, my feet would get so cold they hurt. The house was barely warm enough to keep the water from freezing in the pipes when temperatures dipped into the -30s C without the wind. Sitting on top of the mountain meant there was always wind. Sorry for the preamble but I needed it to set the stage.

Well one day, the furnace konked out and my parents sent us over to the next door neighbours to keep warm and out of their way so they could fix the furnace and bring heat back into the house. After playing outside with the neighbour's kids, we headed inside to watch black and white TV. I was between 6 or 7 at the time and had no clue about audio. The first thing I noticed is how different everything sounded from our TV at home. Everything from the fully violent and uncensored Bugs Bunny Cartoons (Mel Blanc deserves a Pulitzer prize!!) to commercials. It struck me as odd that things sounded different because the source material was the same. However, after some time had passed, (I cant remember how much time), everything suddenly sounded the same as the TV at home. Being a kid, I never thought too much about it and just accepted my perception.

My point behind this story is that the human brain is very powerful and will shift or alter your perception of what you are hearing if given time. My immediate perceptions were indeed correct that the the neighbours TV sounded different (for a myriad of reasons which Im not going into) from my TV at home. But after long term listening, it sounded the same. I had no preconceived ideas about audio at the time. Audiophiles always poopoo controlled blind listening tests and one of the reasons they give is that the tests are too short to hear any differences. They require longer listening sessions to hear the differences. That longer time is when the brain steps in and begins to alter the perception of what they are hearing and report it as differences. For me, my brain made the two TVs sound the same.
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Senior HTF Member
Nov 28, 2011
Real Name
I have noticed something similar, albeit anecdotally.

I went away on extended vacations where I didn't listen to any music, nor watching much of any television for more than two weeks. When I got back home, the stereo system and tv sounded somewhat "quieter" than I remembered.

Eventually after a few days of listening to music and watching tv, my ears "adjusted back" to what I was accustomed to.

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