There's a joke that goes "that plugin you've been messing with for the last 10 minutes has been in bypass mode." It's funny because at one time or another we've all done that, thought we could hear the difference our adjustments were making only to find it was in bypass.
There are many ways our mind can convince us a plugin is different or better than it's not. The GUI can play a part, the volume difference, the fact we want to buy it or have already bought it can play a role in our reasoning.
Now HOFA has come up with their version of the blind test, hoping to give the listener as objective a test as is possible, even better there is a FREE version in all popular formats including VST, AU, AAX and RTAS. This is what HOFA say about their 4U Blindtest plugin;
When comparing different plugins or mixes, it is often difficult to judge objectively without being influenced by other factors like names, the user interface or loudness. The HOFA 4U+ BlindTest plugins allow hiding these controls to allow a blind comparison. Besides a random order with hidden names, it is also possible to run a test sequence to get a statistically significant conclusion.
For conclusive results, besides the rating notes can be taken per entry and round. This makes it possible to evaluate qualitative aspects additionally to the rating. The rating maximum can be set between one and ten.
As “louder” signals often sound “better”, an included EBU analysis allows matching the loudness automatically. This can be useful to evaluate different sources independently from their loudness.
All HOFA 4U+ BlindTest plugins are linked, so you only need to have one user interface opened.
A shuffle button is also included to really help the process of choosing.
HOFA are not the first to come up with this idea but this plugin is excellent and given there is a free version a really great find.