All in the mind

Published: Thursday 30 September 1993

-- (Credit: Ajit Ninan)THOSE who wax lyrical about the superior sound quality of compact discs over records or vice versa, do so merely for the sake of argument, conclude German music psychologists who found that only one out of 40 persons could distinguish between sounds from the two (New Scientist Vol 139, No 1884).

Klaus-Ernst Behne and Johannes Barkowsky from the Hanover Conservatory played identical classical and jazz recordings by turns from a CD player and a record player to 160 music buffs and only 4 could distinguish between the sounds.

Says Behne, "Sometimes the human perception is driven by a priori expectations. The barking of your own dog won't disturb you, but the barking of the neighbour's dog appears unbearable."

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