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Testing audiophile claims and myths - Page 197  

post #2941 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesHuntington View Post


IMO I see just as much myth in cheaper audio as I see in expensive gear. And by myth it's a lot about worth. I personally like my older gear, that's less to go wrong. No remote or computer needed to increase a audio signal.

All consumer products have some sort of misleading marketing on them. The difference is high volume consumer product are regulated by FTC where boutique consumer products are not. So cheaper audio (is there any left) are more feature oriented and more competitive. The cheaper audio are being replaced by A/V home theater gear. Because of competition these gears actually have a deflation. The value is placed more on feature and convenience, and of course quality. The boutique audio placed their value on quality (mythical or not), prestige and uniqueness. So audiophile products include vinyl, vacuum tubes and other ancient technologies. It is also the only technology product that features inflation in prices more than the economic inflation.

 

This is why we need to be informed consumers to sort out what is the proper value/myth for ourselves. A case study of Bose would be very interesting. Are there similarity between Bose believer and cable believer?

post #2942 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by dvw View Post

All consumer products have some sort of misleading marketing on them. The difference is high volume consumer product are regulated by FTC where boutique consumer products are not. So cheaper audio (is there any left) are more feature oriented and more competitive. The cheaper audio are being replaced by A/V home theater gear. Because of competition these gears actually have a deflation. The value is placed more on feature and convenience, and of course quality. The boutique audio placed their value on quality (mythical or not), prestige and uniqueness. So audiophile products include vinyl, vacuum tubes and other ancient technologies. It is also the only technology product that features inflation in prices more than the economic inflation.

This is why we need to be informed consumers to sort out what is the proper value/myth for ourselves. A case study of Bose would be very interesting. Are there similarity between Bose believer and cable believer?
Cable believers have extra money. But they usually put more into components than the Bosers.
Bose sells the whole set up and askes the consumer not to think and take their word for it.
Cable buyers may just be thinking too much. But there is some science behind both, and some faith. There's faith in about any purchase.
I don't think thicker or special material cables will improve sound in electronics as much as I believe average cables will bring down the quality of good electronics.
post #2943 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesHuntington View Post

Cable believers have extra money. But they usually put more into components than the Bosers.
Bose sells the whole set up and askes the consumer not to think and take their word for it.
Cable buyers may just be thinking too much. But there is some science behind both, and some faith. There's faith in about any purchase.
I don't think thicker or special material cables will improve sound in electronics as much as I believe average cables will bring down the quality of good electronics.

If special cables don't help, but average cables do harm....wireless?
post #2944 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesHuntington View Post

I don't think thicker or special material cables will improve sound in electronics as much as I believe average cables will bring down the quality of good electronics.

 

This makes zero sense. The inferred corollary to your "average cables will bring down the quality" is that better cables will improve the quality (since by default the average cables are what most people use). It may be technically bringing things back up to spec - but the net result is the same - an improvement. 

 

There is also, of course, no evidence to support either assertion. Provided that you give a cable of sufficient gauge for the load and distance - and don't do anything stupid to massively increase capacitance or inductance (e.g. a deliberately flawed, or poorly made cable) - there is nothing to suggest a difference. 


Edited by liamstrain - 7/13/14 at 6:58pm
post #2945 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by ferday View Post

If special cables don't help, but average cables do harm....wireless?
i don't stream or download with sq in mind, and very rarely for checking out new artists. I don't Bluetooth at all. I like cables, good or average, better than wireless. Can I prove wireless has more distortion in signal than wired, not really. But any music I stream is 320k or worse, and music I play wired is 320k or better, so I say I got wireless beat at minimum. IMO a wireless system worth listening to is more than I want to spend.
post #2946 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by liamstrain View Post

This makes zero sense. The inferred corollary to your "average cables will bring down the quality" is that better cables will improve the quality (since by default the average cables are what most people use). It may be technically bringing things back up to spec - but the net result is the same - an improvement. 

There is also, of course, no evidence to support either assertion. Provided that you give a cable of sufficient gauge for the load and distance - and don't do anything stupid to massively increase capacitance or inductance (e.g. a deliberately flawed, or poorly made cable) - there is nothing to suggest a difference. 
I give no instance to how much loss or gain for a reason. I just stated my opinion. If anything, stated differently, is that above average cables will not bring down the quality as much as average cables. Your second paragraph I agree for the most part. In the case of extreme myth busting, cables are not going to make a product better than its capacity. They may, though, bring a product to its capacity. But it's hard to gauge this idea without looking at every product individually. Going above a products design capacity with cables is usually accepted as bringing less favorable results.
Edited by JamesHuntington - 7/13/14 at 7:39pm
post #2947 of 6524

Read this advertisement from Schiit Audio, it's pretty funny.  Read the FAQ part.  :etysmile:  It's not like the BS audiofoolish advertisements, they have a sense of humor about it.

 

http://schiit.com/products/wyrd-usb-decrapifier

post #2948 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by JamesHuntington View Post

IMO a wireless system worth listening to is more than I want to spend.

Apple Airport
post #2949 of 6524

   Quote:

Originally Posted by JamesHuntington View Post


i don't stream or download with sq in mind, and very rarely for checking out new artists. I don't Bluetooth at all. I like cables, good or average, better than wireless. Can I prove wireless has more distortion in signal than wired, not really. But any music I stream is 320k or worse, and music I play wired is 320k or better, so I say I got wireless beat at minimum. IMO a wireless system worth listening to is more than I want to spend.

 

Router

Computer (HTPC/Embedded device/Desktop/etc)

DAC/Amp

Speakers

 

You probably have everything you need already at home ;)

 

I stream high bitrate/lossless audio to and from my home systems using a $5 ASUS router and a Raspberry Pi.

post #2950 of 6524


I've done hundreds of bias controlled listening tests and amplifier tests are by far the most difficult.  Your best bet for level matching is not an SPL meter but rather an AC volt meter and some test tones.  Switching is the problem.  You either need a self operated switch box or someone else to do the switching in a manner that prevents you from knowing which unit is playing at any given time.  I won't write an article here.  The reason amplifiers are so difficult is that you have to repeat the level matching with each iteration of the test and that normally takes too much time to have a valid test.  Or you need two identical systems setup level matched in advance so that you can easily swap the source.  It isn't something you can do casually for curiosity's sake.  That is why so few valid bias controlled tests have been done.  It is a major undertaking.

 

I can make matters easier for you.  As long as the amplifiers are solid state high fidelity (inaudible noise, distortion and variance from a flat frequency response) units and as long as they are used within their design parameters, they should be indistinguishable in a bias controlled tests.  If they aren't, then something is wrong.with at least one of them.  That doesn't hold true of tube amps, of course.  Most of them have audible noise, distortion and FR variance.  These statements are true regardless of the price of the amplifiers.

 

If you want audible differences, forget the electronics and deal with the transducers.  They all sound different from another.

post #2951 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by TransparentHolo View Post

Hi All, relatively new here (though lurked around for years)

I'd like to contribute and try to perform an ABX blind test regarding Schiit Magni vs Lake People G109-S. A $99 amp vs a $500-$600 amp, I can be the guinea pig in this experiment (for my own knowledge and to contribute a blind test, which by most conventional knowledge in audio circles should definitely show a difference between the two amps). Now I've done a few DIY projects before (cmoy's, mini3's etc) with varying success, and i'm looking for a relatively inexpensive way to perform this test. I know I'll need to level match the amps, so I'll need a sound level meter. Additionally I'll need some sort of switcher so that I can toggle between amps, or I suppose have someone else toggle through amps for me.

 I have no bias one way or the other (apart from the hefty purchase of course), If I hear no different I have no problem selling the vastly more expensive amp back.

Anyone have any recommendations for inexpensive methods to do this?

Sounds like a cool idea!

For your switching, you need
- a friend
- a switch for connecting amp outputs to single headphone (schiit passive pre could work fine)
- identical looking cables for hooking everything up
- rca splitters to send one source to both amps
- a blanket to hide the sources from the participants
- a multimeter to check outputs

Cheers
post #2952 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by TransparentHolo View Post
 

One of the problems I believe I and others have, is though the arguments are convincing, I am not an electrical engineer, and I don't understand a lot of the things being said when you say I should level match with an "AC volt meter" that alone is hard to understand, I will have to research this. For me, In order to show myself that there is no value in high end amps, or that there is value in high end amps, I can't settle for just experience, that's why I want to AB test in some way, even if it's hackneyed, to get myself started in one direction or the other.

 

Another problem is testing myself seems to be prohibitively expensive / require experience. There are testers that claim differences in amps (Tyll from InnerFidelity) and testers that claim no difference in amps.

 

So I suppose i'm looking for some way to roughly test myself, without breaking a huge amount of bank (on testing equipment), if that makes sense. Even a rough test is satisfactory to me to start me on a path.


the multimeter is ok because volt=loudness. as simple as that. while a sound level meter adds a need to be sure you will at no point move it or your headphone (not that easy when you're plugging and testing)+ the outside noises if you're not in a quiet environment. so in the end peak to peak measurement of a simple frequency is a good usable reading for loudness(just make sure you're close to the listening level you want to use beforehand with the headphone on at least one of the amp ^_^).

 

tyll measure amps, so obviously there are measurable differences. what's important is to know if the variations are audible or not for you and your headphone, because that's what matters to us humans. and that's why a subjective test like what you want to try is the answer, instead of some more accurate measurements.

 

and you will need at least one friend. you can bait one to your house with pringles.

 

also it would be nice to know that your headphone has an overall flat impedance response in case both amps are not with the same impedance values (for small differences it doesn't matter).

post #2953 of 6524
Quote:
Originally Posted by TransparentHolo View Post
 

One of the problems I believe I and others have, is though the arguments are convincing, I am not an electrical engineer, and I don't understand a lot of the things being said when you say I should level match with an "AC volt meter" that alone is hard to understand, I will have to research this. For me, In order to show myself that there is no value in high end amps, or that there is value in high end amps, I can't settle for just experience, that's why I want to AB test in some way, even if it's hackneyed, to get myself started in one direction or the other.

 

Another problem is testing myself seems to be prohibitively expensive / require experience. There are testers that claim differences in amps (Tyll from InnerFidelity) and testers that claim no difference in amps.

 

So I suppose i'm looking for some way to roughly test myself, without breaking a huge amount of bank (on testing equipment), if that makes sense. Even a rough test is satisfactory to me to start me on a path.

 

The best way to match levels is to measure the voltage across the speaker terminals while playing a test tone of 1000 hz or so.  If you are using headphones, then you would measure the voltage at the cable connector.  Set the meter to AC volts and put the probes on the connector.  Very simple. 

 

The major problem in audio is the existence of hearing bias.  What happens is that people fall prey to expectation.  They expect one unit to sound better than another because it is prettier, or  more expensive or because some magazine writer said it does.  Expectation bias is a self fulfilling prophecy.  The only way to eliminate bias is to use the ABX test you are talking about.  That means the listener has no idea which unit in a comparison is playing at any give time.  Those audible differences caused by bias will disappear and those audible differences caused by the equipment will be real and confirmed.  Because some writer says something sounds better than something else, unfortunately, means nothing at all.  It may be true and it may not be but the writer's saying so is meaningless.  Remember these folks are in the business of entertaining good prose is good entertainment.  To know if one piece of gear has an audible difference from another, the only meaningful method is the blind ABX test.

 

All amplifiers have different measurements and it is easy to make measurements as long as you have the expensive equipment to do it.  the problem is that not all differences in measurements are audible.  Testing audibility is lot different than testing electrical performance because of hearing bias.

 

I got started with bias controlled testing when people began claiming that one digital cable "sounded better" than another.  Since it is impossible that a competently made cable can change the values of the data, I knew this was nonsense.  So I did some tests with my wife helping me to determine that I was right.  One thing led to another and I got an audiophile group together to do a bunch of tests of nearly everything hifi.  It is a very boring and very time consuming process and can't be done by oneself.  It always requires help, otherwise you will know which unit is which.  Personally, I would never go through it again.  I learned from it to be sure but it was a hassle.


Edited by blades - 7/14/14 at 8:21am
post #2954 of 6524

Can someone please advise me on something. I've always believed that driving an amplifier at higher levels meant that distortion would increase, even below clipping.

 

I've also been told by many audiophiles and salesman that it is far better to drive an amp that has power in reserve, so that it is not stressed than one that is running close to its limits. Hence a larger amp would be better, because it can handle the demands easier.

 

Now for the advise part. What I've recently gathered from other places is that distortion does not increase linearly with power output.  Is this true? So if I use an amp that is rated to deliver 100W, and I use 70W, the distortion between say 30W-70W won't be all that different?

 

If I'm wrong about this then it means that amp headroom doesn't really do anything useful, which goes contrary to what I've learned for years.

post #2955 of 6524
It depends solely on the amp! Go to stereophile (I think it is) or something and look up their amp measurements, you'll se distortion vs power plots.
Often, SS amps will have a little higher distortion At lower outputs, distortion falling as output increases. Then, the distortion will eventually start climbing at some point, and sky-rocket at last (clipping). Try looking up some measurements..
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