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Post #12669 exemplified.
"Do All Amplifiers Sound the Same" - Page 78
Of course not.. or we are all deaf?
I guess it depends on whether you can read. You've got your choice, January of 1987 or July of 1997 https://www.stereophile.com/features/113/index.html
So...did you mean Fixed It For You?...or Free Information For You?...or
Yo, NVM ITSK
Elucidated like a proud 59 yo should
(PS - I get so when to use FTFY v FIFY)
Ahh, thanks! I was looking in the test section pages 35-39
Or, are we all misinformed or ignorant of the facts, lack critical thinking ability or deliberately trying to misrepresent the facts to sell something or justify a purchase/belief? For example "are we all deaf?" is clearly nonsense, although different listeners do have differing levels of listening skill/ability, which is easily demonstrated with some basic listening skills training. However, even changing your question into something more reasonable (and less insulting), like; "or do we all have poor listening skills?" is still nonsense for two reasons:
Firstly, that is NOT the only other option. Any two things, even the exact same thing, can appear to sound very different depending on the biases which affect perception. In other words, amps can sound very different simply because our perception invents differences, even when there aren't any at all, but for some reason you failed to mention this other option, why is that?
Secondly, your statement implies that you have massively better listening skills than the rest of us, a falsehood peddled by many audiophiles. Some of us here are audio professionals with years of formal listening skills training and upon which our ability to be professionals, in a very competitive field, relies. It's extremely unlikely that your listening skills are even as good as some of us, let alone massively better and various controlled tests provide substantial evidence of this. When testing very small (audible) differences with both groups of audiophiles and groups of professional sound/music engineers, the audiophiles always perform significantly worse than the highly trained/experienced pro engineers. This isn't of course really surprising to a rational mind.
Hmmm, hadn't seen that 1997 one before. The final "John Atkinson scratches his head" is particularly troubling, he states that "Level differences also did not contribute" - which is false because he does not know whether level differences contributed. He shows that there is a significant impedance peak with the VTL amps which starts at about 500Hz, peaks at 1745Hz and results in a 0.5dB difference at that frequency. The obvious problem is that he level matched the outputs of the two amps with a 1kHz tone which is within this peak. So in fact the outputs were NOT level matched, there was a difference of roughly 0.3dB throughout the entire audible spectrum (except at 1kHz). The vast majority of listeners wouldn't notice such a small difference but a very few would/could, which incidentally correlates very well with the results he obtained and is why international standards require a level matched difference no greater than 0.1dB. So why is John Atkinson scratching his head?
Also interestingly, Atkinson states that the very much cheaper Adcom amp was "ostensibly flat within the audio band" but the VTL was not. So with the tested B&W speakers, the far cheaper amp actually has higher/better fidelity than the expensive amp! He then later states that "there is no doubt in my mind that the VTL is more pleasant to listen to for long periods ..." - Therefore, when he is listening for long periods he finds the lower fidelity amp "more pleasant" than the higher fidelity amp. Along with most other audiophiles, he appears to assume that what he personally finds "more pleasant" is automatically higher fidelity and therefore, the evidence he himself acquired that demonstrating the exact opposite, that he actually prefers lower fidelity, is probably why he's scratching his head! Not that he's discouraged in the slightest though, he just carries on with business as usual, flowery language describing the "bothersome" shortcomings of the cheaper amp's sound. Higher fidelity is apparently a "bothersome ... quality" in the audiophile world, glad he cleared that up for us!
If you look at that article for just the evidence of the tests and ignore the interpretation of it, it tells a clear story. (I think the advertorial standards might have changed a bit in the intervening decade.) As it says in the first post in this thread, the overall results fall into a nice bell curve of randomness.
I wouldn't say it tells a "clear story". The results did fall into a bell curve but not a "bell curve of randomness", a bell curve of randomness would be centred on 50% whereas the results obtained were centred on 52.3%. Given the number of trials (3,530), 52.3% is potentially somewhat significant, though not conclusive. Even if we were to assume that the obtained result was significant, a 0.3dB overall level difference is potentially audible (for a very small minority of people) and would therefore neatly account for the entirety of that significance.
I completely agree with you about Atkinson's interpretation though. It's obvious (and unsurprising) that he's desperate to justify his audiophile beliefs and validate his professional career. The article is littered with fallacies, half truths, falsehoods and typical audiophile hypocrisy!