Blind Testing a 1 dB Level Difference

Change the target here:  6dB  3dB  1dB  0.5dB  0.2dB  0.1dB 

Purpose

A 3 dB tolerance is a common figure in frequency response specifications. Some professional systems go beyond by one or two decibels. In some eccentric cases, fractions of a decibel are quoted. This test helps you determine the smallest difference in levels you can detect.

Files being tested

1 dB Up 1 dB Down Flat

The first one plays back a 440 Hz sine tone characterized by a sudden increase in level occurring after 1 second (1 dB in this case). The second file introduces a decrease in level by the same amount. The third one is flat.

The Test

1 dB Up 1 dB Down Flat
Listen to [?] then vote — multiple guesses not allowed (your vote triggers a new draw)

To pass a blind test, you will need to perform 10 trials at least, obtain a high score and reach a high confidence level: 95% is standard to rate statistical significance. It means that your score outperforms random guesses by 95%. There is still a probability that you just got lucky though, 5%. To reduce such probability to 1%, keep testing until you reached a confidence level of 99%.

If you didn't pass this test, try with a higher level difference. Change the target on the top of this column.

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Take up the challenge

  • Find the smallest difference in sound levels you can detect. 
    The Level Series:  6dB  3dB  1dB  0.5dB  0.2dB  0.1dB 

  • Find the highest frequency you can reliably hear.
    The Frequency Series:  10kHz 11k 12k 13k 14k 15k 16k 17k 18k 19k 20kHz

  • Find the smallest difference in pitch (frequency) you can hear. 
    The Pitch Series:  50c  20c  10c  5c  2c  1c 

  • Find the highest dynamic range offered by your listening environment. 
    The Dynamic Range Series:  36dB  42dB  48dB  54dB  60dB  66dB  72dB  78dB 

  • Do you have the absolute hearing ability? 
    The Perfect Pitch Blind Test:  C Scale  Chromatic 

  • Are your ears sensitive to Absolute Phase? 
    The Absolute Polarity Blind Test:  Here 

  • Can you hear a difference between 16-bit and 8-bit audio files? 
    The 16-bit v/s 8-bit Blind Test

For sound and studio engineers