Test Your Ears!

cole1paul

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Hi all,

I'm usually a lurker and rarely post, but I thought everyone here would enjoy going through this little experiment. I can't tell you exactly what it entails, but it's relatively short. Would love to hear your results/impressions below and in a comment on the video if you feel so inclined.

-Cole


 

dboomer

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I can clearly hear a difference between the two. But what I can’t tell is if the difference is because of the drum, the heads or the tuning of the drums.

The biggest difference to me is the character of the sustain. I don’t think I can hear a difference in the strike portion of the sound.
 

Heartbeat

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I could tell the difference and knew he switched them. To me, the difference sounded more like it was coming from the shell material. I could easily identify the mahogany. And the DW had more of a pure tone.
 

cole1paul

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I could tell the difference and knew he switched them. To me, the difference sounded more like it was coming from the shell material. I could easily identify the mahogany. And the DW had more of a pure tone.
Do you know which was which? Did I switch the audio or not?
 

mpungercar

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I could tell the difference but I have no idea which drum was which. I would love to hear the same test using the same heads on both drums because I'd like to know how much of an effect remo vs evans made.

Also, I'd be willing to bet there was more difference to your ears than what the microphone was able to pick up.
 

marc3k

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I was thinking about how I would describe the sound that I'm hearing and I completely missed when he switched to the other tom. I did not like the sound of any of them. But I'm impressed about how he managed to make them sound so similar (at least to my ears).
Nice experiment!
 

TheBeachBoy

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I heard the initial switch during the first test but once he revealed what drums they were I had no clue which was which. Honestly that's not surprising. Our eyes tend to affect what our ears hear. I've gotten compliments from every drummer who's sat behind my Pearl Exports, without them know what they were at first (no badges and the wrap is long gone) so there wasn't any bias for/against the product line itself.
 

cole1paul

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Yes. You switched the audio on the visual clip. When I saw you strike the DW, but heard the Pearl, my ears perked up right away. Lol
Interesting, and did you have a preference between tom 1 and tom 2 before the drums in question were revealed? Do you know if I switched the last reveal?

Also, I'd be willing to bet there was more difference to your ears than what the microphone was able to pick up.
Definitely true, though not as great as you might expect, and there was another conflating element I'll expand on after I get some more opinions.

I heard the initial switch during the first test but once he revealed what drums they were I had no clue which was which. Honestly that's not surprising. Our eyes tend to affect what our ears hear. I've gotten compliments from every drummer who's sat behind my Pearl Exports, without them know what they were at first (no badges and the wrap is long gone) so there wasn't any bias for/against the product line itself.
I can totally believe that. I know many folks swear by the old stencil kits, and some of the drums that have sounded amazing to me in a particular room with a particular configuration have been lower end drums.
 

cole1paul

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I can clearly hear a difference between the two. But what I can’t tell is if the difference is because of the drum, the heads or the tuning of the drums.

The biggest difference to me is the character of the sustain. I don’t think I can hear a difference in the strike portion of the sound.
I'm with you - I can hear the difference. Do you know which is which though?
 

dboomer

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I'm with you - I can hear the difference. Do you know which is which though?
If we take you at your word then yes, clearly in the first two examples. Not certain about the third one as what I thought I was hearing didn’t seem to match to the optix. So that one left me with doubts.

Kinda like that Laurel vs Yanny thing. Once your brain assigns it one way or the other it becomes difficult to every hear it differently.

As I said before the difference I heard was the after-ring later into the sustain. That is easy to make happen by changing the tuning of the reso head. I don’t know what you did about that nor do we know the differences in heads. So while I can hear a difference, and instantly preferred the first drum from the first and second test I don’t know why exactly I hear a difference.

Now if you come back and say you deceived us with which was which. I will still prefer the sound I identified as the expensive one in the first two tests
 
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cole1paul

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If we take you at your word then yes, clearly in the first two examples. Not certain about the third one as what I thought I was hearing didn’t seem to match to the optix. So that one left me with doubts.

Kinda like that Laurel vs Yanny thing. Once your brain assigns it one way or the other it becomes difficult to every hear it differently.

As I said before the difference I heard was the after-ring later into the sustain. That is easy to make happen by changing the tuning of the reso head. I don’t know what you did about that nor do we know the differences in heads. So while I can hear a difference, and instantly preferred what you identified as the expensive drum from the first and second test I don’t know why exactly I hear a difference.

Now if you come back and say you deceived us with which was which. I will still prefer the sound I identified as the expensive one in the first two tests
Just to clarify, I never actually state which is which in the blind tests. I let you know that there is a DW and a Pearl but I don't say which is first or second. So there's never a reveal/trick on the first two blind tests.
 

dboomer

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Like I said, I don’t know which drum was A and which was B. But I could clearly identify them 10 times out of 10. That is unless you are now gonna say you played only one drum for the whole test :)

Are you familiar with ABX testing. Check this out. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ABX_test
 

Heartbeat

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Interesting, and did you have a preference between tom 1 and tom 2 before the drums in question were revealed? Do you know if I switched the last reveal?
I preferred the first 6 hits of the initial "blind" test. That was the DW (Tom 1). The first visual had its audio switched. The last visual at the end is correct.
 

cole1paul

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I preferred the first 6 hits of the initial "blind" test. That was the DW (Tom 1). The first visual had its audio switched. The last visual at the end is correct.
I like the confidence! I don't think anyone else has been willing to try spelling it out yet. I won't reveal anything at the moment since I know there are plenty of people that prefer to read comments over watching the actual video, but there is definitely an interesting conversation to be had.
 

cole1paul

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Also, for all concerned, I'll just reiterate that there isn't actually a particular point I'm trying to make with this video. It might seem like I'm trying to lead you toward a conclusion but I assure you this is purely a self-reflective exercise. If you're confident on the answer, that's good info. If you're unsure, that's good info as well. Your conclusions are purely your own, but I love the feedback so thank you for sharing!
 

cole1paul

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That is why real science uses double blind tests.

not accusing you of anything, but here's a cute example of “leading”

Fortunately this isn’t my thesis.
To be fair though, at least in the first two tests as long as you don’t read comments there should be negligible influence from my directions. I really only say to form an opinion, then describe what drums are being used. If you feel like you’re being led by the end, that’s another useful piece of information to chew on.
 

dboomer

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I thought your presentation was clever.

Imagine if people made decisions based only on hearing. No logos or wood species or construction methods. Only listening. And the only possible answers were: I like it, I don’t like it or it makes no difference.
 

Barden

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I saw the dw tom sitting metal to metal on the snare basket, but the pearl tom using two of the rubber isolation ends of the basket and your mask. Before that I hear two toms where one pitch bends down and the other bends up (a little) ending in more overtones I associate with the bottom head. This made it easier to differentiate from each other. Were the individual proprietary mounting systems of either drum used instead, I suspect the difference would be more noticeable. That being said, I think the first set of audio and video combined is not swapped. The dw tom is being robbed of low end sustain, something that it's generally known for.
 


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