Can we hear differences?
Setting up a listening test to compare various types of files, cables, or equipment is not easy. You need the right equipment and a trusted set of files to start, but it is possible.
The objective of any of these tests is to determine differences in formats, cables, devices, conversion tools, etc. You don’t need to like the music. The question is “do you hear a difference”. That difference might be insignificant, but if it repeatedly appears, then there is a difference. Differences may be covered and only appear in certain sections of the music, so it’s important to do the test with different music and repeat the test.
Does it matter that these differences exist? Certainly, it does to the listener.
Blue Coast Recordings owner and chief recordist Cookie Marenco has put together a short but effective set of instructions on how to set up a listening test to hear differences. It is certainly worth the time to try this if you’re in doubt.