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High end processors VS low end processors/receivers, hardware differences?

post #1 of 152
Thread Starter 
I was wondering if anyone had some objective data or even and explanation as to why a high end processor would sound better then a low end processor/receiver. I understand that subjective listening plays a role in what people prefer and that some audiophiles look at audio more as a hobby but is there a hardware reason that impacts sound quality? I am not talking about double blind tests and the side that states everything sounds the same but as of yet I have not found any objective data that would justify this night and day difference. I have searched the internet for sometime and found a profile on photobucket that has quite a selection of photo's, I will post them below. Mods if you want to change all the IMG pictures back into a text link that is ok.

Thank you.




Theta digital casablanca III

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...tremeclose.jpg

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Arcam FMJ AVR600/FMJ AV888

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...id_off_top.jpg
arcam-avr600-internal-dsp.jpg
arcam-avr600-internal-video.jpg
arcam-avr600-modules.jpg
arcam-avr600-power-amp.jpg
arcam-avr600-powersupply.jpg



B&K reference 70

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...r/P1010020.jpg
P1010021.jpg



Cary cinema 11a

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...inema_11-2.jpg



Classe SSP-800

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...800MainGut.jpg
SSP800-Board1.jpg
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SSP800-Transformer.jpg



Krell evolution 707

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...707inside2.jpg
707inside1.jpg



Lexicon MC-12

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...or/smr_101.jpg
smr_41.jpg



Mark Levinson NÂș 40

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...udio-proce.jpg
mark-levinson-no-40-ssp-video-proce.jpg



Mcintosh MX135 MX136

http://i716.photobucket.com/albums/w...r/HPIM0635.jpg
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post #2 of 152
One thread was not enough?
http://www.head-fi.org/forums/f133/h...rences-435570/
post #3 of 152
There is no telling how these clumsy and overdesigned circuities can perform anything better than some simpler designs. But they say that "beauty is in the eye of the beholder" and I believe that many wealthy people prefer that awkward electronics because of the space that it takes, if it is big, it must be good (just look at these gigantic capacitors in top amplifiers! )
post #4 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by SB View Post
I was wondering if anyone had some objective data or even and explanation as to why a high end processor would sound better then a low end processor/receiver. I understand that subjective listening plays a role in what people prefer and that some audiophiles look at audio more as a hobby but is there a hardware reason that impacts sound quality? I am not talking about double blind tests and the side that states everything sounds the same but as of yet I have not found any objective data that would justify this night and day difference. I have searched the internet for sometime and found a profile on photobucket that has quite a selection of photo's, I will post them below. Mods if you want to change all the IMG pictures back into a text link that is ok.

Thank you.
Good luck trying to find anything - there's a reason why nearly nobody believes in DACs making a difference that also believes in objective measurements, the differences are incredibly small between DACs and amplifiers.

BTW, it's a pretty sloppy research method to look exclusively for data that confirms your own preconceptions instead of looking at the data as a whole and drawing conclusions from that. If you want actual measurements and data I can provide them for you, but since numbers don't lie (at least if gathered in an appropriate manner) you're not going to easily find only data that supports the side you believe in. BTW what was the point of listing all of those images? Can you change them to links so the thread isn't gigantic and hard to navigate?
post #5 of 152
Thread Starter 
Sorry about the double post, mods you can delete the other thread. Most of the high end processors supply measured specs as well as a number of reviews and they did not measure any better then a basic denon receiver. But the high end "audiophiles" and "golden ear" clubs always counter with the same old story that measurements don't mean anything. So I wanted to concentrate on the physical hardware and see if someone can explain if that would give an advantage in "sound quality". I know the high end is full of snake oil and people will think what they want, as of yet I can not find a reason for this night and day difference that the review magazines go on about as well as the high end users. Even with my own listening with most of these products I could not hear a night and day difference.
post #6 of 152
I went from low end Yamaha, Denon & Harmon Kardon processors to Lexicon. Quite a noticeable leap in sound quality. They do not sound the same.
post #7 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
I went from low end Yamaha, Denon & Harmon Kardon processors to Lexicon. Quite a noticeable leap in sound quality. They do not sound the same.
This is the sound science forum, so give some data to back up your claims. If you have none then it is just your opinion. Sounds harsh but it is being realistic.

To the OP: As soon as the DAC's specs gets pass the human audible threshold you will be buying a better looking DAC that will have better numbers, that's the story.
I can't comment on the circuitry, as I have not seen it nor I understand the totality of it, but just to let you know some "audiophile" products are overdone and you can get the same result with a simpler circuitry design. Other times the manufacturer just takes another approach, or uses different materials that make the design different...
post #8 of 152
I don't need data to prove it, not hard change between the two units watch a movie or listen to music.
post #9 of 152
So, iriverdude, you just listened (with headphones or speakers) and concluded that they sounded different, with volume matching or?
post #10 of 152
yes volume matched, home theatre system. Do you need data to prove your Grado's sound better than ibuds?
post #11 of 152
Headphones are a different story than DACs. Then for proving your assortment I would need some kind of info regarding the chips both units you tested are using. Also the method you exactly chose for the testing, if you matched by ear or not, if it was sighted or blinded, etc.

I have checked the price of one Lexicon unit and it is >$3000, which is a lot. Don't know how much money you are talking about for the "low end", but you might be interested in reading a DBT between the DAC1 (@ $1000) and a supposedly "low end DAC" such as the Behrigner DEQ2496 (@ <$300). If you are interested tell me and I will post it, even if I have done so in other threads.
post #12 of 152
A av pre-amp is far more than a DAC. It's a multi-channel pre-amp, multi-channel input, bass management and time delay, video switcher, and decodes multi-channel sound formats. Also remote control, RS232 control, trigger control, and in some models room EQ. As well as a multi-channel DAC. And a multi-channel ADC. Multiple zones.

Quote:
Headphones are a different story than DACs.
Post proof why your Grado SR-225's sound better than SR-60's.

Quote:
f you matched by ear or not, if it was sighted or blinded, etc.
Calibrated by sound pressure meter. Totally impossible to do ABX testing as switching over gear pretty much means you know what's plugged in. Do you need data why your prefer Grado headphones over Sennheiser? No.
post #13 of 152
Quote:
Originally Posted by iriverdude View Post
A av pre-amp is far more than a DAC. It's a multi-channel pre-amp, multi-channel input, bass management and time delay, video switcher, and decodes multi-channel sound formats. Also remote control, RS232 control, trigger control, and in some models room EQ. As well as a multi-channel DAC. And a multi-channel ADC. Multiple zones.
Getting lost with this sentence. Do not understand. (I am tired, and as english ain't mother language it gets more difficult to understand)

Quote:
Post proof why your Grado SR-225's sound better than SR-60's.
I really can't tell what is better, as for headphones sound there is not a way to measure it that can be accepted as better, as far as I know. What can be measured is how good the driver is. After a lot of reading, learning, *listening and comparing different points of view I have realized that they are just different.

Quote:
Calibrated by sound pressure meter. Totally impossible to do ABX testing as switching over gear pretty much means you know what's plugged in.
Maybe i haven't understood you, but you mean to say with this that because you know what is plugged in you can't do an DBT using an ABX switch? You might know which DACs or equipment is going to be tested, but once the test starts you don't know beforehand what is going to sound first, and what it is going to be changed to.


Quote:
Do you need data why your prefer Grado headphones over Sennheiser? No.
That is out of question because assuming both headphones measure audibly different it depends on you whether you like one type of response or another. The data is there to tell me they sound different, whereas different DACs, when both measure different outside human threshold won't sound different to me, as a human.

Sorry for my lack of expression and clarity, I am very tired and need to sleep.
post #14 of 152
If you know what a av amplifier is, a av pre-amp is identical except it has no poweramp stages. I'm not going to explain further what those av pre-amp do over stereo DAC. If you're not into multi-channel you won't understand. Find out yourself.

Quote:
what is plugged in you can't do an DBT using an ABX switch?
Correct. If you want to do blind ABX tests you'll need to send audio to both processors at once, and have a multi-channel analogue switches to flick between them, which'll probably degrade sound quality. I'd like to see a B&M store go out of the way to do blind ABX tests, tell you to get lost.

I'm telling you now there is a difference, I gave my Lexicon MC-1 to my processor upgrading from his Denon AVD-2000 and he said it is a upgrade in sound quality when playing Pro-Logic & Dolby Digital material. As with those other makes, also changed from MC-1 to a updated Lexicon, and again difference in sound and better sound.
post #15 of 152
Well, seems you didn't find the correct method to do a comparison between two DACs. I was mistaken with using an ABX box, but it can be done following this method.

You can check three different comparisons between different DACs here:
1) Google Traductor

2) Google Traductor

3) Google Traductor

In these three tests, only one was said to sound different than the other. The google translation is a bit poor, but can be understood.

I had to make sure your assortment was not just spitting an opinion. I think the information you have given regarding the test you did need to be precised.
You might be right saying there are some audible differences, but I had to gather more information. Even so I don't think it is necessary to go for something so expensive.
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