Testing audiophile claims and myths
May 9, 2010 at 3:27 PM Post #46 of 15,877

Prog Rock Man

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If only hifi dealers had blind testing rooms and you could see if you could pick out that new DAC from your existing one and a control!
 
I wonder why they don't do that 
confused_face(1).gif

 
May 11, 2010 at 1:12 PM Post #48 of 15,877

fzman

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Nick, don't you think you are begging the question here by using the word 'guessing' ?
Quote:
 there were two sets of tests a first run of 8 where everyone guessed correctly (8/8) 

 
May 11, 2010 at 2:24 PM Post #49 of 15,877

nick_charles

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Quote:
Nick, don't you think you are begging the question here by using the word 'guessing' ?


------------------------Guess--------------------------------

guess (gs)
v. guessed, guess·ing, guess·es
v.tr.
1.
a. To predict (a result or an event) without sufficient information.
b. To assume, presume, or assert (a fact) without sufficient information.
2. To form a correct estimate or conjecture of: guessed the answer.
3. To suppose; think: I guess he was wrong.
v.intr.
1. To make an estimate or conjecture: We could only guess at her motives.
2. To estimate or conjecture correctly.
n.
1. An act or instance of guessing.
2. A conjecture arrived at by guessing.
-------------------------------------------------------------
 
May 11, 2010 at 3:00 PM Post #50 of 15,877

Prog Rock Man

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The most recent edition of What Hifi magazine has a blind test between a £250 stereo amp and a £1k plus AV amp for music only. The Stereo amp wins easily.
 
But all amps sound the same, don't they!?
 
May 11, 2010 at 3:25 PM Post #51 of 15,877

jcx

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Quote:
The most recent edition of What Hifi magazine has a blind test between a £250 stereo amp and a £1k plus AV amp for music only. The Stereo amp wins easily.
 
But all amps sound the same, don't they!?



I did reference the Carver Stereophile challenge - where a $600 Carver amp is nulled by Bob Carver (with RadioShack parts overnite in his hotel room) against a "five figure tube amp"
 
after adjusting frequency response and output impedance to match, Stereophile's "Golden Ears" couldn't tell the difference in blind listening
 
so the literal "all amps sound the same" is a strawman - amps can differ in frequency response and output damping by enough to be audibly distinguished under DBT conditions
 
but as a understood and controllable difference it is "uninteresting" in an engineering sense - it means designers just build in EQ to give their amps unique "voices" - not that there is some mysterious superiority of audiophile tweaks, parts or tubes vs SS in amplifiers
 
May 12, 2010 at 12:10 PM Post #52 of 15,877

Prog Rock Man

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The doctoring of amps so that they sound the same, and then exclaiming after a blind test that they sound the same, does seen somewhat pointless and odd.
 
May 12, 2010 at 12:14 PM Post #53 of 15,877

aimlink

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Quote:
The doctoring of amps so that they sound the same, and then exclaiming after a blind test that they sound the same, does seen somewhat pointless and odd.


The point became very clear when the prices of the amps involved were compared.  
wink_face.gif
  Very revelatory indeed, but us audiophiles tend to shy away from such potential slander.   We use cables as the punching bag to ventilate on this pesky issue of value for money.
 
May 12, 2010 at 1:02 PM Post #54 of 15,877

terriblepaulz

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Quote:
I did reference the Carver Stereophile challenge - where a $600 Carver amp is nulled by Bob Carver (with RadioShack parts overnite in his hotel room) against a "five figure tube amp"
 
after adjusting frequency response and output impedance to match, Stereophile's "Golden Ears" couldn't tell the difference in blind listening
 
so the literal "all amps sound the same" is a strawman - amps can differ in frequency response and output damping by enough to be audibly distinguished under DBT conditions
 
but as a understood and controllable difference it is "uninteresting" in an engineering sense - it means designers just build in EQ to give their amps unique "voices" - not that there is some mysterious superiority of audiophile tweaks, parts or tubes vs SS in amplifiers

 
I understood the Carver challenge as a demonstration that the "tube sound" could be easily replicated in an SS amp.  The real strawman is reducing the statement "all solid state amps built in compliance with minimum performance standards sound the same" to the statement "all amps sound the same".  Nobody who expects to be taken seriously makes the second statement, while the first claim is supported by some empirical evidence. 
 
 
May 12, 2010 at 1:02 PM Post #55 of 15,877

terriblepaulz

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Quote:
I did reference the Carver Stereophile challenge - where a $600 Carver amp is nulled by Bob Carver (with RadioShack parts overnite in his hotel room) against a "five figure tube amp"
 
after adjusting frequency response and output impedance to match, Stereophile's "Golden Ears" couldn't tell the difference in blind listening
 
so the literal "all amps sound the same" is a strawman - amps can differ in frequency response and output damping by enough to be audibly distinguished under DBT conditions
 
but as a understood and controllable difference it is "uninteresting" in an engineering sense - it means designers just build in EQ to give their amps unique "voices" - not that there is some mysterious superiority of audiophile tweaks, parts or tubes vs SS in amplifiers

 
I understood the Carver challenge as a demonstration that the "tube sound" could be easily replicated in an SS amp.  The real strawman is reducing the statement "all solid state amps built in compliance with minimum performance standards sound the same" to the statement "all amps sound the same".  Nobody who expects to be taken seriously makes the second statement, while the first statement is supported by some empirical evidence. 
 
 
May 13, 2010 at 6:27 PM Post #56 of 15,877

ford2

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Quote:
I did reference the Carver Stereophile challenge - where a $600 Carver amp is nulled by Bob Carver (with RadioShack parts overnite in his hotel room) against a "five figure tube amp"
 
after adjusting frequency response and output impedance to match, Stereophile's "Golden Ears" couldn't tell the difference in blind listening
 
so the literal "all amps sound the same" is a strawman - amps can differ in frequency response and output damping by enough to be audibly distinguished under DBT conditions
 
but as a understood and controllable difference it is "uninteresting" in an engineering sense - it means designers just build in EQ to give their amps unique "voices" - not that there is some mysterious superiority of audiophile tweaks, parts or tubes vs SS in amplifiers



It begs the question that if the carver $600 amp can beat *five figure tube amps" then WHY is carver building and selling near five figure tube amps on ebay.
 
May 13, 2010 at 9:23 PM Post #57 of 15,877

jcx

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for Profit?
 
the Challenge didn't change the market, he couldn't sell his SS for what he can a tube amp given "High End Audiophile" expectations
 
 
a few years ago I was at a BAS talk where a US manufacturer offering what they felt were good value power amps said they came to the conclusion they would have to close the doors or appeal to "High End" predjudices
 
he went on about the machined Al case, careful matching of anodizing, "jewelry" connectors, exotic attenuator - but never once said anything about upgrading the amp circuitry
 
they are now very sucessful, selling more product - and charging 4x more per watt 
 
May 13, 2010 at 9:39 PM Post #58 of 15,877

terriblepaulz

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Quote:
It begs the question that if the carver $600 amp can beat *five figure tube amps" then WHY is carver building and selling near five figure tube amps on ebay.

Because people will buy them.
 
May 13, 2010 at 11:52 PM Post #59 of 15,877
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Interesting thread this.  After much experimentation myself, I'm leaning towards the thought that tonal differences are easy to spot, but differences in detail are somewhat harder, so a short blind test of two tonally-identical components could easily result in people not being able to tell the difference.
 
I'd have to find the thread, but a kid single-blind-tested his father on cables and his father picked them every time, but that was gear he was intimately familiar with.  With what I know now, I'm willing to bet I could probably set up DBTs myself which would guarantee a negative or positive result for different types of components by deliberately matching or mis-matching components respectively, eg: a grossly under-powered amp for large speakers that require a lot of power tested at a moderately loud volume with orchestral works against a much more powerful amp.
 
May 14, 2010 at 12:17 AM Post #60 of 15,877

JxK

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^I'll just add one thing. If/when you DBT cables, be sure to volume match. It's easy to overlook, but is an extremely important variable to eliminate.
 
P.S. I like the quote you've got in your signature.
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