Article by WL Low
|Our test “Conductor” Lam Seng Fatt.
Here are some statistics we have compiled from the final tally of the “Golden Ear Challenge” presented by this website, www.AV2Day.com. From the 10,000-odd KLIAV 2014 visitors, we sampled 294 participants over a three-day period, which means about 3% of total showgoers were tested.
Many have personally complained to me that the room was closed and music was playing inside or the room was closed with a sign hanging on the door indicating the time of the next session. The answer is that if you had encountered the first scenario, most likely during the first 2 days of the show, it was because the demo room next door had the ‘common sense’ to play Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture, with the 12 salutation cannons at full blast, while our participants in room no.7038 were trying to pick out the little differences between two digital transmission cables! We had to close the door to ensure a more conducive environment for the Golden Ear challenge. I spoke to the people next door on the second day when I met them and they never bothered us again, not with their 12 salutation cannons anyway. The later scenario was that we were either out for lunch or out for some fresh air. Either way, we appologize for not being “there”.
From the answers given by the 294 willing participants in the Golden Ear challenge, here is the break down of the scores by numbers:
1) Preference: Participants were asked if they preferred the sound of cable A (Co-axial) or B (Toslink)?
48% of participants chose A,
31% of participants chose B, and
21% of participants chose not to indicate their preferred cable.
Co-axial is the preferred choice of digital transmission by a good margin.
|Some of the “Golden Ears” challenge participants. Recognise any of them?
Next we look at the breakdown of participants’ score card.
2) Scorecard: The correct sequence on all 3 days is the same (although I did indicate that it may NOT be, during the test sessions), meaning if you had participated and had circled the five sequences as:
Then congratulations on being blessed with goods ears, or being well trained. There was also a C choice for “Unsure” for those who “heard no differences” whatsoever, which some had also circled on the test sheets.
There are just 8 (just below 3%) participants out of 294 participants who got all 5 sequences correct. We are going to certify these people and reward them handsomely in the near future.
There are 34 (about 12%) participants who got 4 out of 5 sequences correct. Well done folks, but we do not certify nor reward second best!
There are 78 (almost 27%) participants who got 3 out of 5 sequences correct. Not bad actually, but these folks probably suffered from some form of hearing fatigue by the 4th test, temporary loss of concentration or were just plain lucky! Actually, more than 60% of this group got the first 3 sequences correct! That’s why we decided to do the test in 5 sequences and not 3 to weed out the element of luck!
There are 76 (spot on 26%) participants who got 2 out of 5 sequences correct. What can I say about this bunch except to urge them to train harder to improve their listening/concentration skills or with them better luck next time!
There are 62 (more than 21%) participants who got 1 out of 5 sequences correct. We either welcome these newbies to the hobby, or they (the more senior audiophiles, that is) ran out of luck after just one strike.
There are 36 (more than 12%) participants who got 0 correct, with 2 totally indicating that they heard absolutely no difference whatsoever on any sequences in the test sheet! Ah…! It was not meant to be, don’t spend anymore $$$ on hifi equipment! Just enjoy and be a proud music lover. Ha! Ha!
Here’s another interesting fact – 12 of the 36 in this group actually got the sequences all in reverse, meaning that they could clearly hear the difference, but just got confused between the A & B sound.
|Willy Low, is seen here as co-test “Conductor” when Lam Seng Fatt was out on a toilet break. Veteran audiophile, Erik Goh also conducted the test on the last day. We at AV2Day would also like to thank Ooi Chee Hiean for his help with crowd control
I wish to end this article with something rather cheerful which we witnessed during those 3 days.
First scenario: During one of the test sessions on the second day, a couple came into the room, and the husband wanted to participate in the “Golden Ear” challenge. Lam Seng Fatt duly started the test session, but the man had trouble deciding which answer to circle on each sequence. Each time the wife looked on and encouraged him to listen again. Something which we obliged for those with a short memory span. After a few repeats, the husband was still rather undecided about the sequences. The wife lost her temper and started saying that it was very easy to hear the difference, and that she should take the challenge alongside her husband. She was very sure of her answers each time, when her hapless husband was still thinking about which to circle. I am also not sure if either of the couple won the challenge, but I did advise the husband that his wife is a good listener and that he should bring her along the next time he wants to buy some hifi equipment. The beaming wife told us that this is the best hifi show yet, as it was boring for her in the last few years, just accompanying her husband to the show! She looks forward to more fun & games next year.
The next scenario involved the boss of a hifi dealership who insisted that all his staff and business associates participated in the event as a form of baptism of fire! So over the course of the 3 demo days, the boss and all his staff and business associates came to take the challenge repeatedly, sometimes with very hilarious results!
I was actually very surprised that many industry people came to participate in the “Golden Ear” challenge!
Stay tuned, as we shall announce the names of all our 8 deserving Golden Ears and details of the prize-giving ceremony on this web site shortly.
Article by WL Low