A-B, v.

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu Feb 9 08:24:37 UTC 2006

* A-B, v. 'compare (one audio source against another, as with an A-B switch)'

I noticed this used twice in articles accompanying the latest Village
Voice Pazz & Jop Critic's Poll...

Anyone who wrote that Sleater-Kinney have only now learned how to
"really" rock never A/B'd the disc against One Beat or Dig Me Out
and/or can't distinguish band interaction from mic placement.
Yet when I A-B'd it up against Kanye, I found Late Registration not
only deeper but just as much fun.

I see this on Usenet back to 1989:

rec.music.misc, May 22, 1989
I just got out my LP pressing and AB'd it against the CD, and the CD
has noticeably more hiss, dirtier transients, and a rather smeared

Audiophiles have used the less elliptical term "A-B test" since the
early '70s at least, both as a noun and verb:

* A-B test, n.

1972 _Washington Post_ 5 Nov. 13/4 The best way to judge a
loudspeaker..is to listen carefully to one and then to another
(so-called "A-B test") playing the same material and powered by the
same amplifier in the same room.
[HNP Doc ID 99708395]

* A-B test, v.

1974 _Washington Post_ 22 Sep. (Book World) 4/4 Indeed, A-B tested
against a representative sampling of more conventional-type speakers
now on the U.S. market, the MFB system more than held its own.
[HNP Doc ID 120947333]

--Ben Zimmer

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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