Originally Posted by PhilS
As I suspected, your conclusions are based primarily on what you have read, and what others have told you, and not on first-hand experience with the matter under discussion. I submit that extensive first-hand listening experience with a good amp (coupled with a good source, or course) would change your opinion. But no matter. You are free to stubbornly persist in your opinon based on what others tell you must
be the case, while the rest of us enjoy significantly higher fidelity sound because we pulled our heads out of the sand. (I was once a skeptic like you and also had my head in the sand, so to speak.)
Well, I have a choice between competing sources. My choice is between DBTs (maybe not enough of them) and what people (including you) tell me about their "listening experience." With respect, I choose to believe the DBTs and reject "listening experience" as too subjective and unreliable. In support of this, I note that in the DBT I posted:
- some participants brought their own music;
- they had as much time as they wanted to listen blind to make their choice;
- when they knew which amp they were listening to, they all (even the sceptics) believed they were hearing significant differences. They were even "amazed" at these "differences."
The people being tested were initially allowed a period when they could listen to the amps and could see what they were listening to. They wrote comments expressing their views. Look at the comments on eg the Pioneer (cheap) and Levinson (expensive) amps. They are v similar to what you hear on here from some posters:
"Levinson: Sweeter top end...more visceral impact...Depth/sound stage excellent...Good clarity on voice...Strings and horns clear...Leading edge of transient is excellent."
"Pioneer: Less top end - blurry...Crescendo attack a little shrill...Harsh at times...Less attack, no bottom...less string clarity."
So, the test conditions clearly weren't a problem for them at this point. They "heard" very significant differences.
But when the amps were heard under blind test conditions, the comments changed. The comment recorded for the blind Pioneer/ Levinson comparison is "Amps sound strikingly similar." LOL.
|You make a valid point about speakers measuring differently, but some amps measure differenlty also.
I don't think this is the case. Different amps don't show anything like the differences that different speakers do. Maybe someone can confirm.
|In any event, I would not be surprised if a DBT involving items that we know sound differently (e.g., speakers, headpohones, tubes) might also fail to yield statistically significant differences in some cases. Indeed, I'd like to see a DBT involving the AKG 701 vs. the HD 650 or HD 600. There's no question these phones sound different, but they are somewhat close in many systems, and I bet a lot of folks would fail a DBT under the "typical" DBT test conditions.
Even if that's true, you are comparing v similar headphones, whereas the test compared v different amps (at least price wise). The group had a measly 52% success rate at differentiating a $12,000 amp from a $250 one. That really should, in my opinion, make anyone looking to buy an expensive amp sit up and question what they are doing. If someone blind tested HD650s against "off the shelf" headphones, I would expect them to achieve significantly better results than 52% success. Admittedly, some people thought the same about amps before their beliefs were tested. But it's only logical that differences in speakers/ headphones should show up, whereas the same won't necessarily be true of amps. Speakers actually produce the sound; amplifiers merely amplify it. They do not offer magical sound-quality improvements.
So if I do really splash out, it will be on speakers, where I know the difference will be felt (although even then, I would be extremely careful as I remain to be convinced that some of the speakers on offer represent value for money).
|You seem to believe DBT's are fail proof, in terms of resolving the question at issue, which again is, IMO, a case of putting test data obtained in particular circumstances above real-world experience and judgments made by experienced and intelligent listeners. (When I listen to music, I place much weight on what it sounds like to me, not what some test or graph says it should sound like.)
And if it genuinely sounds different, you will be able to pick out the superior sound in a DBT. Simple as that.
I'm not saying DBTs are fail proof, I'm saying that in my view they are much more reliable than "listening experience."