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Testing audiophile claims and myths

Discussion in 'Sound Science' started by prog rock man, May 3, 2010.
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  1. KeithEmo
    I may do just that.
    I am, however, a bit saddened.

    I really had thought that this group was about: "Testing audfiophile claims and myths"...
    (And, perhaps, about devising new tests to learn new things about new gear and technology....)

    But, instead, it's mostly about:
    "Deciding not to bother to test audiophile myths and legends because we already know none of them are true".

    So far, in several months, I haven't seen ANY discussion about testing ANYTHING new here at all.
    (It's all: "Well, someone tested that already... and we trust their answers... no need to bother... move along...."

    Any test that shows the opposite of the popular view is "obviously badly flawed" or "a waste of time"...
    While tests that support the popular views are "clearly compelling"...
    And any flaws we might notice in them are "clearly insignificant"...

    If I were to believe the majority fo the posts in the last dozen pages...
    All decent audio gear made after 1987 is perfect...
    So we might as well all buy a low cost receiver at our favorite big box store or online outlet...
    (I still haven't figured out why, if that's the case, we should even keep reading......)

    I will add one final thing...

    Very few manufacturers of audio equipment have any reason whatsoever to spend money on comparison tests.
    In reality, most good products are quite similar in sound quality and performance...
    (Note that I did not say "exactly the same".)
    However, there is very little justification for spending good money to show your product is "a little bit better".
    And the companies who make good low cost products have little incentive to prove their case at all.
    Tests cost good money - and most "price sensitive" customers will choose the cheaper one anyway.

    Nobody who makes $10 cables is going to sponsor a test to prove that they're as good as $500 cables.
    They can't possibly sell enough extra $10 cables to pay for the cost of the test.
    (It may cost the audiophile company a $500 sale - but they only make a buck on the $10 cable they sell in its place.)

    I will throw one thing out there.
    If anyone actually WANTS to compare various products themselves, by whatever methodology they like...
    The audio gear we sell where I work - at Emotiva - comes with a 30 day return policy...
    Therefore, you can test it, any way you like, and then return it if you don't like the results...
    (I'm sure you can find at least a few other manufacturers who offer the same option.)
    Sometimes it's fun to learn things without simply taking someone else's word for them.

    CoryGillmore likes this.
  2. analogsurviver
    OK, this IS head-fi. I hope no one will disagree with that.

    In recent years, many in ear headsphones started using balanced armature drivers - from one way to usually more way designs, sometimes mixed with conventional dynamic drivers.
    Please do check how does the impedance curve of in ear headphones using balanced armatures can measure/look like. From that WILD impedance fluctuations it should be perfectly clear that the amp driving such headphones should have as low output impedance/as high damping factor as possible - or there can be measurable deviations from perfectly flat frequency response. You can see mentions of this happening all over the head-fi - even if described incorrectly, the observation that amp A sounds with such headphone differently than with Amp B is correct - and can be verified by measurements. Any reviewer worth at least the shadow of his/her salt would comment on performance of any current amp or DAC also when driving
    such difficult loads.

    The same is happening with amps and speakers. Particularly amps and speakers chosen by Stereo Review aim at the easiest possible load - constant, almost completely pure resistance. The tube amp choesn wass an OTL ( OUTPUT TRANSFORMER LESS ) design. OTL eschews the use of otherwise indespensable output transformer - and all of its limitations. Bar one - output impedance. OTLs can easily have output impedance of 1 ohm or even more - making their frequency response with speakers with varying impedance of course - varying. Vacuum tube OTLs traditionally excell in the treble - and Futterman specifically has been the choice for the treble range with active crossover systems in many cost no object systems. No one in his right mind would ever use it for subwoofer ... not only it would be too expensive, but would perform quite poorly at that.

    There is any amount of evidence out there published; just google OTL frequency response vs speaker impedance My first hit was this : https://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=50405.0
    Depending on speaker impedance used, such an amp can easily exceed 2 dB variation from flat anywhere across the 20-20k band. 2 dB variation in frequency response IS AUDIBLE - and OTL amp can only escape this variation to be heard/measured IF the speaker load is dead constant flat and non reactive - aka Magnepan ( and nothing else in real life ).

    The degree of oversimplification in order to justify "everything sounds the same" is going FAR too far in this thread. I would tend to agree there are "little, if any" difference in two technically comparable amps of comparable power driving reasonably easy impedance normal dynamic box speakers. But choosing as easy load as possible for an amp known to have troubles with any normal speakers is a little too hard to believe the Stereo Review test has not been deliberatly rigged - inf avour of "no difference" - from the very start.
  3. KeithEmo
    I agree with you 100%.

    However, in this case, I'm not so sure the test was exactly rigged.
    If they'd set out purely to rig the test I would have expected them to have chosen more normal speakers and a more normal high end amplifier.

    They made it sound as if their goal was:
    "To compare some gear that audiophiles would agree was audiophile grade to some common off-the-shelf consumer gear"...
    With the obvious goal of proving that there was little difference between them.

    My guess is that they chose the Futterman simply because, to most of their readers, and to many audiophiles, it represented "a really expensive and exotic piece of super high end gear".
    (But that certainly may have influenced their decision to choose the Maggies - which are such a benign load.)

    There's also a distinct possibility that their choice of gear was largely determined by what was available to them at the time.
    (In that context, and when viewed a certain way, I might agree that the Futterman would be widely precieved as "the exact opposite of a cheap receiver".)

    As I recall, at this point in history, Stereo Review was NOT widely viewed by audiophiles or the industry as "a fountain of commonsense wisdom".
    They were more often described as: "The magazine that never gave a product a bad review - especially if it was made by one of their advertisers".
    I suspect they were trying to earn back some credibility by providing what their readers would see as "some hard hitting credible journalism" - or a reasonable facsimile of it.

    analogsurviver likes this.
  4. KeithEmo
    They do actually seem to provide a lot of useful information in their reviews.
    And they seem to have a LOT of reviews.
    And the information itself, and most of the actual conclusions they reach from it, seem to be relatively unbiased.

    Although, to be fair, they do also have a few very distinctly odd OPINIONS, against which they tend to judge the equipment they review.
    For example, they seem to believe that "a piece of equipment shouldn't distort if you turn the Volume control up to its maximum setting"...
    They argue that "it shouldn't let you do that", and they rate any piece of gear poorly that allows you to do so.
    In fact, there is no such industry standard, or even a vague consensus.
    It's not an unreasonable suggestion, and there are good arguments both for and against it, but disagreeing with their opinion is not a design or performance flaw.
    Someone else might argue, with equal validity, that a piece of gear that reaches maximum output at full Volume "has no free gain" - and consider that to be a design flaw.
    It is simply a design choice with which they disagree.
    (However, in fairness to them, they seem to usually explain their reasoning, providing plenty of opportunity to discount it if you disagree with it.)

    analogsurviver and Steve999 like this.
  5. analogsurviver
    I agree with everything you've said above.

    The trouble is that Hirsch-Houck Labs ( or, to be direct, late Julian Hirsch ) has been doing lion's share of objective testing (measurements) in mainstream US audio press. Besides Stereo Review, it was Popular Electronics and maybe more. The only seriously different "mainstream, slick" objective testing published in US came from Audio Magazine. High Fidelity, although not THAT lukewarm as Stereo Review, has also been clearly in the "safe" camp, with only mildly more critical approach than Stereo Review.

    We have a singer-songwriter in Slovenia ( rather mainstream, sort of our equivalent to Jackson Browne of US - who is one of his idols ) called Andrej Šifrer. Even he wrote the song "Hladen ali vroč" ( Hot or cold ). The lyrics ( and refrain ) go something like this ( it does unfortunately not rhyme in my attempt at english translation ) :
    " ... but be cold, cold or hot ... - if you are lukewarm, I will spit you away... "

    I found some european objective reviews of the bygone age to be of particularly high quality. And most of them, regardless if published in italian SUONO magazine or italian or german editions of Stereoplay magazine, have been actually made by IAF - Insituto Alta Fedelta (Institute for High Fidelity) in Rome, Italy. These were more comprehensive than anything published in the mainstream magazines in US - and for objective review of say Beveridge 2SW and other super high end US gear, they are the single source. Too bad they are NOT available online as pdf files, similar to the American Radio History - at least not known to me. And even if they were available as pdf files, non italian and non german reading public would only be able to look at the graphs and figures - being left out for comments on the listening impressions, which were a healthy mix of playing it safe and vaxing poetically - without going overboard in either direction. But they DID say whether they thought the device under test was - or not - a good value and whether it justified its cost. You would never read in any of the US mainstram magazines ( in review of the Grado Signature 2 phono cartridge , german Stereoplay ) : Congratulations, Mr. Grado .... but your manual labor is expensive !

    French had ( still have ? > Nouvelle Revue du Son ) Revue du Son ( mainstream, objective, but with very good assesment of listening impressions ) - and the "esoteric" L'Audiophile, a sanctuary of Jean Hiraga, of japanese origins, bringing the fresh air from the land of the rising sun many years in advance of most others in the west. Tubes, horns, turntables ( all in the Les Undesirables category in this thread... ) - but made with ingenuity of the approach and passion that can leave nobody unmoved by the actual listening to some good music. Also many interesting, although rather pricy DIY projects. All of these has seemingly consolidated here : https://vumetre.com/qui-sommes-nous.html

    I believe most of the people here have at least rudimentary overview of the british audio press - so, I will not cover that here.

    Due to language barrier, objective review Danish, Swedish, Norvegian, .... audio press was/is beyond my reach.
  6. bigshot
    They weren't testing the power of the amps. That is a given. A speaker that requires more oomph needs a bigger amp. They were comparing the output of amps that were performing to spec. That means that the amp had to be capable of pushing the transducer properly.

    The more variables you introduce, the more likely differences could be due to something other than the thing you're testing. The way to test an amp is to use the most revealing speakers you can find, as long as the amp is able to push them to spec. I think the Magnapans are a very good choice. They are among the cleanest and flattest speakers you can buy. If you can't hear a difference with them, you're not going to hear a difference with lesser speakers.

    I am glad you finally read the article, even if it was just to nit pick. The fact that you are aware of all the controls and results, and you still are grasping at straws tells me that you know you are wrong.

    If you don't have any better test to offer up for us that show different results, I'm just going to claim victory and move on. You can go ahead and search for a stray thread, but it isn't going to change the overall results.

    If they chose all the same kind of amps in the same price range, what would you be saying? If radically different typologies and radically different price ranges didn't reveal a difference, what does imply about amps of similar characteristics?

    This is the best test I've ever seen comparing amps. The fact that it was so well designed and documented is the reason that very few people have bothered to test other slightly different variables. When the test results were this conclusive, people just accepted it and moved on... well except people who are so invested psychologically or commercially that they can't allow themselves to accept it.

    If you think that you could come up with different results with the same sort of controls, you and your employer certainly have the ability to do that. Prove your make and model is audibly different, then back that up with measurements showing where the audible improvement comes from. Everyone will buy your product and you'll be rich.

    But we all know you won't do that, because an amp is an amp. The technology that allows a manufacturer to build an audibly perfect amp is common knowledge. Even duffers in their garage working with off the shelf parts can do it as a hobby.

    Sound quality is a poor reason to select one amp over another. Features, build quality and price are better reasons to make a particular buying decision.

    If your car had another gear setting... Beyond Reverse, Neutral, Park and Drive you had one more... Crash... Would that be something that perhaps the designer should have omitted from his plans?

    Controls that blow past specs are bad design. It doesn't matter if you keep within clipping, but there is no purpose for it and it can only hurt the sound quality.

    This is getting silly now. You're not even thinking about the things you say. We aren't interested in sorting through your random thoughts. Try to organize yourself and speak on point. Thanks.

    They aren't looking for that because of sound quality, they're looking for it because of manufacturing tolerances. When you manufacture equipment, every unit that comes off the line is a little different. Manufacturers have a range acceptable variation before they mark a unit NG and toss it in the recycle bin. Those variations all have to be beyond the threshold of audibility to meet spec. If they can design something to maintain control until 40kHz, then it's very unlikely that there would be problems down below 20kHz. Manufacturers build overkill into their designs. Then audiophools look at those specs and imagine that they can hear them. Then they figure that even better specs would mean better sound. It doesn't. They don't know what perfect sound is because they don't know what those numbers really represent... and in many cases, they have a personality disorder that makes them not want to know.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Sgt. Ear Ache likes this.
  7. Sgt. Ear Ache
    I'm begging for it! Please...give me something to chew on! I want to believe...I'm a fan of audio gear. I love the stuff and I would be very happy if expensive amps could put out a better clean signal than cheap ones! I'd love it if I could improve the sound of my headphones (or amp) by burning them in for a week. I'd enjoy upgrading all my cables if I knew it would actually improve the SQ! But all the published tests I can find lead me to believe it's all hokum! So, please...point me to the stuff that proves it isn't!

    BTW, I've been over at ASR all morning reading threads there. Interesting! Great forum...and nothing I've seen there really does anything to help me believe the myths!
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  8. castleofargh Contributor
    can't disagree with this. I've mentioned the "testing" apparently hidden in the title of this thread a good dozen times, but in practice I could delete the all thread save the first post and we wouldn't be missing a lot of testing. personally it pisses me off to see what is done with this thread. and what's mind blowing is that it seems to annoy pretty much all parties involved in it. yet here we are and nothing changes. we still get baited into debating nonsense themes, empty claims and non falsifiable ideas for sport. fighting over an anecdote(often unsubstantiated) with one side making it a conclusive stuff about everything, and the other side saying it's worth nothing because it's just one anecdote. I'm reading that thinking "wow, they once again reached a point where everybody's wrong, how do they do that?"
    then there is the all bias about how the standards for myself aren't the ones I demand from others. when I'm the one neglecting variables, conditions, or even any form of supporting evidence, it's for the greater good! to make it easier to understand for the layman. but if the guy on the other side does the same, oh boy, I must tell everybody about how that guy is soooooooo wrong and unscientific. no hope for science to grow from this, but maybe as a comedy it could get somewhere?

    of course my biggest trouble when reading those posts is how often I'm wondering: "what are they talking about again?". I know people fight, but I'm not sure they fight the same points or are even aware of that. I tried to tidy things up by saying that all amps sound the same is false, but apparently nobody is defending that idea. and I've seen nobody claiming that all amps sound audibly different. so what idea is being defended when arguing about amps and audibility? IDK. I hope we're all clear on the idea that amplifiers do exist.

    anyway, my advice is to discuss only stuff that have been properly researched or things that can actually be tested by members. we can make a topic about "what if" for those interested in considering what hasn't been done or what hasn't been properly tested yet. you clearly are such a person and I don't see anything wrong with that. but this topic isn't really it IMO as the testing part is still supposedly the main point.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    taffy2207, GearMe and Steve999 like this.
  9. Sgt. Ear Ache
    Why does it have to be testing done only by members? Why can’t we look at and discuss testing done by groups who have resources and capabilities beyond what many of us can accomplish? I can maybe set up a test for myself, but i can’t really organize tests involving multiple subjects.

    In fact, re-reading the first post tells me thats exactly the intent with this thread - to look for and discuss tests that have been done. So I’m not sure what your issue is...

    And your point about not all amps sounding the same was dealt with. You know that right? We are discussing amps designed to put out a clean, uncoloured amplified signal.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
    Steve999 likes this.
  10. castleofargh Contributor
    dunno if I accidentally deleted part of my sentence or if it's a pure brain fart on my part but of course I didn't mean post stuff only tested by people of the forum. that's dumb.
    anyway off I go to edit that crap ^_^ sorry.
  11. analogsurviver
    I have read that article back in the day it has been published - Stereo Review and High Fidelity have been in the portfolio of magazines available in the library of the US Information Centre in Ljubljana back in the day. Magazines were possible to borrow for a week ( or two ? - it has been a while... ), and if unlucky, you had to wait for a month or so after publication to be actually able to read it at library or borrow it for home reading. This time, it had only to be refreshed.

    I agree regarding Magnepans. But they DO require "all that they can see" in terms of power in order to play back uncompressed recordings - certainly MUCH more power than Futterman can provide into 6 (or so, depending on the exact model ) ohm load. https://www.stereophile.com/content/new-york-audio-laboratories-futterman-otl-1-power-amplifier
    I have VERY fond memories of " big Maggie with the line source ribbon " - most likely these https://www.stereophile.com/content/magnepan-mg25r-loudspeaker ( or bigger, but definitely with line source full height ribbon tweeter ) which I got to listen and work with during my stay at Benz Switzerland. And, no, the two super amps at disposal , the then top Spectral and Swiss Physics, did NOT sound identical - even if carefully adjusted for level to never go into clipping ( hard to do... the space was HUGE, under the ceiling was hung Mr. Benz's glider aircraft ... - he was an avid gliding pilot ) I doubt a more clearly audible difference between "cold" ( Spectral ) and "warm" ( Swiss Physics ) power amps is possible. As this was in 1990, the succesors of the Van Den Hul MC-10 cartridge ( designed by VdH but actually made by Benz, who also sold it under Empire MC-1000 VdH name ) used by Stereo Review test three years earlier have been tested on this rig prior to being put into production. The ultra low output ( 0.03 mV/5cm/sec - NOTHING will get rid of hum at this tiny output ... ) prototype of what later became available commercially as Benz Ruby cartridge has been THE highlight of all things audio in my lifetime. Of all audio transducers, it istll holds the rise/fall time record: 3 uS ( in words : three microseconds ) . After it, listening to Vdh MC-10 felt like going from FM to AM radio...

    Here some food for thought - or bone to chew on - whatever you prefer. As I can not afford Spectral and Futterman and similar $ equipment, I HAD to do "something". That "something" is possible with Technics range - which had great designs, but the electronic components, mainly passive, were of less than superb quality. And, Technics designs have, in certain places of the circuit, chronically undersized value capacitors - which for proper operation would require up to two orders of magnitude higher value ( ! )

    You could, until recent resurrection of the Technics brand, only buy vintage Technics models. Due to age, the first thing to do is to replace most if not all electrolytic caps. And, I did NEVER bring a Technics only to its stock new condition ... - while at it, I did try to replace all electrolityc caps with film variety, if that was due to sheer value/physical size impossible, I did install bypass film caps, etc. And, if and when the undersized cap has been found, it has been replaced with value that actually made the circuit to perform as intended - if two orders of magnitude greater than stock required and there is physical space available, in it went. And, no, I did not succumb to the "film cap MUST work better" audiophool notion ; I did verify the operation of each and every stage of modification, for each and every part replaced with an oscilloscope, since the generally higher Q of film caps vs electrolytics can introduce oscillations - if one does nor know what one is doing or if one is not careful enough.

    The results can be - and are - stunning. Side by side comparison of refurbished to stock and refurbished/modified to aS standard has to be heard to be believed. For the pedantics and nitpickers, ABX can be used - but necessary it is most definitely NOT.

    There is one amplifier make NOBODY will rave about its sound quality. And that is - ReVox . In 1977 ReVox, after splash his Electrocompaniet Pre/power made, hired Matti Otala to design for them integrated amp and pre/power combo. It is "ooch - aach" on paper - but, real amps have never had anything even approaching the following of Revox reel-tro-reel decks.

    I did get to modify one ReVoX B750 ( MK II ? ). The owner could not believe that this was his old amp after I returned it to him ... - and I could not believe the cheapiosity ReVoX displayed in choosing the passive components for this anything but inexpensive product.

    There is a guy online from Switzerland that does more or less the same for RevoX reel to reels - charging for EACH INDIVIDUAL CAP installed - separately. And, it adds up...big, bold Swiss style .
  12. KeithEmo
    You seem to be missing some of the more major points.

    By using Magenpans, which are a very resistive load, they essentially came very close to testing those amplifiers with a purely resistive load.
    This is a very poor representation of how they will perform with real world loads.
    Part of the reason is that the amps will be more likely to misbehave with almost any other commercially available speaker.
    But another part of that is that Magnepans will NOT reveal, for example, if the amplifiers have insufficient damping to drive a normal speaker well.
    The point is not that the amplifiers did or did not meet specifications. The point is that the test was run under conditions not at all representative of "normal listening conditions".
    Anyone attempting to perform the same identical test, but substituting almost any other speaker, would reasonably expect to get different results - whcih sort of defeats the larger purpose.
    (Both audibly and by measurement.)

    To be very specific...
    Amplifiers like the Futterman have a very low damping factor - according to their own specifications.
    Therefore, even when performing perfectly to specification, the Futterman can be expected to perform a certain way, both audibly and by measurements, with almost all popular speakers.
    However, coincidentally or deliberately, they chose one of the very few speakers that would cause it to act uncharistically - and MASK this difference in performance by not being sensitive to it.

    Likewise, unless used with a subwoofer, Magneplanars will MASK poor low bass performance, either in the amp or in the source, because they themselves don't reproduce low bass well.
    (You cannot tell if the amplifiers sound audibly different in the bass region by playing them through speakers that fail to reproduce the bass region properly - which Magnepans do not.)
    If they'd tested those amplifiers with other speakers, we would have expected both audible and measurable differences to exist, but they carefully avoided the conditions that would have caused that to happen.
    (You can't be claiming to test "whether audible differences exist" by first carefully avoiding the conditions where those differences would be likely to occur.)

    It was a great test....
    As long as you plan to buy either a Pioneer receiver (of the proper vintage), or a Futterman amplifier, and Magnepan 3's (make sure you get the correct revision there too).
    And as long as you're only concerned with how they compare in sound to each other - but not to anything else.
    And, of course, only if you plan to listen solely to vinyl albums and CDs.
    And it's probably a good idea to stick with a tube preamp - like the single preamp they chose to test with.
    Otherwise, it is poorly devised to apply to any other combination of components.
    Any test which hoped for any credibility would have used at least an attempt at a "representative cross section" of the gear they're hoping to posit conclusions about.
    (You're trying to say that "horses run just as fast as zebras - by comparing one horse to one zebra - on an especially unusual track.)

    if you consider that to be "nit picking" then you are far more tolerant than I.

  13. bigshot
    Notice that several of us are having a conversation here and the two replies above goes right back to the source of the problem, ignoring the conversation we are having. I don't know if this is fixable if they are all output and no input.

    Since the day this subforum was created, we've had people invade this forum to derail any efforts to talk about the topic and bait those of us who are here for the right reasons into arguing with them. Over and over, goalposts shift and we go running off after them again. The difference here is that most trolls get bored and eventually go away. These guys are planted here like weeds and they aren't going to leave of their own choice.

    I don't think this behavior has anything at all to do with sound quality or science. I think this is just a ploy for attention... even negative attention qualifies as attention if you're desperate enough for it. I'm not going to speculate on what it is in their ordinary lives that makes them feel the need to do this, but I think anyone can read through the lines and see that they are here pretending to be something that they really aren't. It doesn't take a lot of guesswork to know the source of this kind of behavior. PM me and I'll tell you privately if you can't figure it out for yourself.

    The question is, how do we stop feeding their desperate need for attention? This is a discussion forum. If we discuss and they're a part of it, they're going to keep pushing into the spotlight and trying to elbow us out with their long winded rambling posts full of blather. They've been given clear indications that their divisiveness isn't appreciated. They've been told that in no uncertain terms in fact. They blow right past those shots across the bow and keep up the contrarian nonsense. They are either ignoring us, or they are incapable of understanding and having empathy for the people around them. Again, I'm not going to speculate on which of those is the case and what the cause is. But I will say that they aren't going to lift a finger to conform to the formal and informal social rules of this forum. I also don't think it's possible for the whole forum to just ignore them. Forums can't be that organized. There are too many of us to corral. I think we're stuck with them. Someone somewhere must have plopped them down here intending us to be their babysitter without letting us have a say in whether we want to do that. We have no choice.

    The only way I see of dealing with them is one sentence dismissals of their long winded blather and then talk past them to the rest of the group. No quoting them in replies. No direct answers to their points. No addressing them by name. That would turn off the attention spigot and perhaps they would move on to bother some other forum somewhere. I'm willing to do that if it would help.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  14. bigshot
    I'd like to direct your attention to the gentleman who thought his DAC sounded different who did a controlled test for the first time. I got very little assistance helping him conduct his first controlled test from other people in this forum... only people trotting out the tired old absolutist nonsense about his test might not cross every T and dotting every I. He conducted the test and did a good job. He found his answer and he's now sharing his discovery and encouraging other people to do tests. I've even helped one of our problem posters do a test of lossy vs lossless. But he ignored the results and went back to spouting the same "pure theory" nonsense.

    I do a bunch of tests and I talk about them all the time. I'm currently inviting people to help me crowd source a test to find an amp, DAC or player that sounds different. If people aren't talking about testing, it's because they get shouted down by the "your test isn't good enough" camp. I say if you do a level matched, direct A/B switched, blind comparison, you are worthy of listening to. Some of us are used to doing that. Some have never done a controlled test like that in their life. They blather about subjective impressions, insist that no test is good enough, and discourage people from doing their own controlled tests. THAT is why we don't have enough talk about testing here.
    Last edited: Jun 12, 2019
  15. GearMe

    ^THIS...I often have similar feelings in this thread...it can seem as though neither 'side' considers the broader context and is hell-bent on arguing/being right rather than considering alternatives.

    IMO, a test/experiment/etc. can be flawed from the outset (i.e. bad assumptions like 'that's a powerful enough amp"; or "everybody listens to music in the 85-90dB range", etc.). Even if the basic testing process is solid (level matched, direct A/B switched), if the initial assumptions aren't right (i.e. align with my or your use case), then the results are of little value to that indivdual. Whether or not this one was seems to be up for a debate (of sorts). :wink:

    FWIW, I had a few different sets of Maggies (II's and III's) back in the day and mine sure gulped the power. I ended up running them with bridged mono amps (ARC D100B's) and eventually setting up separately powered subwoofers as Keith described to get the sound to my liking. Didn't need to do that for many other sets of speakers that I owned.

    Additionally, I had multiple systems in different rooms during that timeframe and my lesser system had Hafler equipment including a DH-200 (still have it in storage). Nice amp for the money! That said, it couldn't drive the Maggies (tried it) to the levels I liked...so am wondering how the DH-120 (in the Stereo Review test) was able to effectively drive Maggies with less power than a DH-200.

    Didn't see the SPL levels in the article (skimmed it; so probably missed it)...we're they relatively lower listening levels?
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