PC ADVISOR MUSIC SURVEY (plus win an MP3 player!)

  Will 12:20 01 May 03

Hi guys,

I'm writing a feature on music compression (MP3, WMA, etc) and I could do with your input.

I'm running a survey to compare the different compression systems and quality levels. Basically you compare a compressed file against the original and say which one you think sounds better.

You can find the files on the June cover disc (second disc, the one that says "Ultimate Updates" on it, in the music\tracks folder), or if you don't have that to hand you can also download them (although it's an 80MB file so only really suitable to broadband users).

Once you've got the files, fill in the survey here: click here

There are also instructions on the survey page.

All completed entries will be entered into a draw to win a Creative Jukebox Zen MP3 player – plus you get to contribute to a future magazine feature.

Thanks for your help – any queries give me a shout,

Will Head,
Reviews Editor

  Coaster3 16:46 01 May 03

Where do I download the files from?

  crx1600 16:54 01 May 03
  Eagie 20:12 01 May 03

Why isn't there a "Can't tell any difference" option as surely that is just a valid answer (and certainly the more honest one in my case!)?

  Will 10:29 02 May 03

Hi Eagie,

I was thinking about putting in a "Can't tell any difference" option, but decided it would be better to constrain people to make a choice.

If enough people answer the survey, then the fact that two samples were indistinguishable should show through in the results.



  Goldcroft 12:05 02 May 03

Eagie has a very valid point Will, which your reply definitely does not answer.

  Will 14:34 02 May 03

Hi Goldcroft,

Eagie asked why there wasn't a "Can't tell the difference option", I said I'd considered it, but decided it was better to constrain people to make a choice and let the results show which ones were indistinguishable.

Which bit didn't I answer?



  Goldcroft 16:37 02 May 03

Hi Will: It was your rationale for not including a "can't tell the difference" option:

"If enough people answer the survey, then the fact that two samples were indistinguishable should show through in the results."

Don't really understand why you decided to avoid the "no difference" option. Every poll/survey usually has that selection and it is very relevant.

All the best.

  Will 17:29 02 May 03

Ah - I see now.

The idea behind the feature is to see whether people can spot the compressed file in a blind (or should that be deaf?) listening environment.

There are a lot of people who claim to be able to spot an MP3 over a real recording - but there's been little actual research into it.

While I considered having a "Can't tell" option I decided it would be better to force people to make a choice. In theory, with enough completed results then a near 50/50 split should show that the samples were pretty much indistinguishable.

I also think that if you force people to make a choice, then it may reveal subconscious processes at work that make them opt for one track over the other without them being able to explain exactly why they went for the one they did.

I couldn't really think of an easy was of incorporating both approaches into the same questionnaire so I opted for this one this time.

As it's the first time we've done something like this then there's no doubt room for improvement - so I'll bear in mind any comments should we do anything like it again in the future.



  H-J 17:53 02 May 03

If you fail to give people the correct range of responces, you will recieve a false impression. Whether you value the response depends on your motivation for asking the question in the first place. for example:

How well do you think this government has handled the war in Iraq?

a) Good.

b) Very Good.

c) Excellent.

(I apologise in advance for picking a political subject. I refuse to discuss the above subject in this forum. the question was posed for illustrative purposes only. Hope this satisfies the FE)


  steven_frost 10:51 03 May 03

for some strange reason i cant download the files its looking at my E: drive for the files (E:\downloads\music.rar) saying it cant find the server i do have a copy of the mag but being in a rush to get out of the office on friday i left it at work so any ideas would help

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