The "Official" All CD Players Sound the Same Thread - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 1168 Old 12-25-2008, 03:17 PM - Thread Starter
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There is a group of listeners who believe that for properly constructed CD players that are not defective and manufactured over the last 20 years there will be no audible differences if during the listening test they are properly synced and the output level matched. The rare player that may have been modified or poorly constructed may sound different, but are not believed to be common. The purpose of this thread is to provide an easily found and referenced location for posting links to double blind tests and other information discussing whether there are audible differences between CD Players.

This thread is only for information regarding CD players. Discussion of cables, amps, etc should be posted elsewhere.
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post #2 of 1168 Old 12-25-2008, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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This post will be updated to serve as an index to this thread for finding articles and studies related to this subject. Note that some of the references cited below are out of print and not available on-line. Charels J suggests that you may be able to contact your local library and have them request an inter library loan or a copy of an article of interest. They will then contact other libraires and obtain a copy from them for you.

1) Post #3 - Masters, Ian G. and Clark, D. L., "Do All CD Players Sound the Same?", Stereo Review, pp.50-57 (January 1986). No online source available. Out of print, unavaialble. Maybe find at library. Thanks to arnyk.

2) Post #7 - Link to ABX website listing two ABX tests regarding CD players. Thanks to EdanT.

3) Post #6- CD Player Comparison, The Sensible Sound, # 4, Apr/May 1999 and #75, Jun/Jul 1999. No online source available. Out of print, unavaialble. Maybe find at library. Thanks to arnyk.

4) Post #? - Link to MatrixHiFi, who have conducted tests comparing CD Players. Warning - poor translation from Spanish. Thanks to mcnarus.

5) Post #64 - Articles generally titled "CD Players - Can You Hear the Difference?" Stereo Review Dec 1988, Oct 1990. Thanks to Charles J. Link to website if available or info on print source if available to be added.
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post #3 of 1168 Old 12-25-2008, 03:18 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to arnyk for posting information about this study, published in Stereo Review in the middle 1980s.

Masters, Ian G. and Clark, D. L., "Do All CD Players Sound the Same?", Stereo Review, pp.50-57 (January 1986).
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post #4 of 1168 Old 12-25-2008, 03:20 PM - Thread Starter
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Thanks to ? for posting information about the ABT website. The have conducted tests with CD players in at least two different studies, linked here and here. (When I learn how to insert a link)

I'll fill in the blanks above by editing the post - any help explaining how do so will be appreciated.

Okay guys – take it from here…
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post #5 of 1168 Old 12-25-2008, 03:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Thanks to arnyk for posting information about this study, published in Stereo Review in the middle 1980s.

Masters, Ian G. and Clark, D. L., "Do All CD Players Sound the Same?", Stereo Review, pp.50-57 (January 1986).

When a link becomes available it will be placed here.

I remember reading that article, along with another dealing with amplification, which yielded quite similar results. The apoplectic, spittle foaming reaction from much of the readership in response was of epic proportions and equally hilarious. It's apparently very difficult for many people to accept that their perceptions simply aren't as keenly honed for exclusive discernment as they'd like to believe.
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post #6 of 1168 Old 12-25-2008, 06:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Thanks to arnyk for posting information about this study, published in Stereo Review in the middle 1980s.

Masters, Ian G. and Clark, D. L., "Do All CD Players Sound the Same?", Stereo Review, pp.50-57 (January 1986).

When a link becomes available it will be placed here.

Two more articles about possibly relevant CD player tests that I've seen references to:

CD Player Comparison, The Sensible Sound, # 75, Jun/Jul 1999.

CD Player Comparison, The Sensible Sound, # 74, Apr/May 1999.
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post #7 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 01:06 AM
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To keep balance I think it's important to also reference this link wihch gives a different perspective: http://www.avguide.com/forums/the-di...and-audio-dbts. While it may not find favour with the objectivists, it is extremely well written and essential to read for another scientific viewpoint.

What may be useful to extract from the above article is that for all links posted to this thread a summary should be provided as to how many people took part, number of test rounds, highest score achieved, was the test single or double blind, what methodology was used (e.g. ABX) and if the test conductor had a known bias (i.e. objectivist or subjectivist) which could have biased the trial, e.g. biased selection of candidates.

I have provided a link to the ABX site which Mcnarus provided which I understand links to all ABX tests conducted for CD players: http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_cd.htm. The link provides reference to a total of three tests; one was faulty as it compared a 14 bit CD player to a 16 bit CD player, the other compared only DAC's, so there is only one test relevant to this thread, the outcome of which I have summarised below:

Source:

http://www.provide.net/~djcarlst/abx_cd.htm
Players Compared: Sony CDP-707 EST vs. Panasonic SLS-295 (portable)
Date Conducted: Unknown
Methodology: Double Blind - ABX
Number of Listeners: 4 (estimated) *
Number of Rounds: 12 (estimated) *
Total Score: 25/48 = 52% (p=0.443)
Highest Individual Score: Not provided **
Test Conductor Bias: Not specified
Candidate Screening and Selection: Not specified

* Number of listeners has been derived as follows: 4 candidates x 12 tests = 48 results. One could assume less test subject with more tests conducted, such as 2 candidates x 24 tests or alternatively 12 candidates x 4 tests; either side would provide less usable results.

** The Highest Individual Score is essential data as we would just need just one listener to perform significantly beyond probability to not draw a null hypothesis from the test. Aggregating the scores will mask this.
If all could post links and supply a summary in the above format then we can perform an informal meta-study thereafter. Are there any other columns that others would like to add? Possibly a comments column?

Would it be fair to assume that any tests that were not strictly controlled double blind should probably be excluded from the list?
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post #8 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 02:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EdanT View Post

To keep balance I think it's important to also reference this link wihch gives a different perspective: http://www.avguide.com/forums/the-di...and-audio-dbts. While it may not find favour with the objectivists, it is extremely well written and essential to read for another scientific viewpoint.

The problem with the above paper is that it is very one-sided.

For example it says:

"As pointed out in another post by Jonathan Valin - medical DBT's are massive. They involve thousands of patients with strict entry criteria (the disease being studied is strictly defined, you can not have other medical conditions which may interfere with data interpretation, you must be of a certain age, etc etc). These studies are carefully designed, take months or years to complete, months to analyze, and then months for the peer review process and finally publication.

Audio DBT's are not."

First off, medical DBTs don't always involve thousands of patients. I know about medical DBTs - I have two children with PhDs who are medical researchers.

Quote:


As pointed out in another post by Jonathan Valin - medical DBT's are massive. They involve thousands of patients with strict entry criteria (the disease being studied is strictly defined, you can not have other medical conditions which may interfere with data interpretation, you must be of a certain age, etc etc). These studies are carefully designed, take months or years to complete, months to analyze, and then months for the peer review process and finally publication.

All true in a tiny minority of cases, namely the megabuck, bet-your-company tests that this MD's drug salesmen tell him about. Of course that's not all there is.

Quote:


Audio DBT's are not.

Of course not. We're talking CD players, not megabuck pharmaceuticals. ;-)

Quote:


We never know how sophisticated the listening panel are,

The guy never asked. The contacts for the audio DBTs he's complaining about have been out on the web for years.

Quote:


whether they know what to look for,

The guy is presuming the worst (in a state of self-imposed ignorance), which speaks to his state of mind, not that of the people who did the tests.

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and whether individual variations in hearing, perception, chronic diseases which may affect hearing - have been identified and controlled for.

Again, the guy never asked. The authors of the tests he's complaining about are as acessible as he wants them to be. I know these people - they answer their phones and emails. Google searches come up with their names and numbers.

Quote:


We do not know if the test material (music) being played is familiar to the listener.

If he this guy did his reasearch, he'd know that many of the musical pieces used were pieces that most audiophiles were intimately familiar with. Besides, he's made an assumption - that people can't hear differences in how equipment works unless they are intimately familiar with the music. Trust me, if you do ABX tests, by the end of the test you're familiar with the music! ;-).

Quote:


We don't know if non-verbal cues (which can be used to lead AND mislead) are present.

Again, speaks the writers nbon-existent research and near-paranoid presumptions about the people who did the tests.

Quote:


And finally, the evaluation period is all too brief.

The author demands iron-clad scientific evidence from the people he's criticizing, and then he does his little proof-by-assertion thing.

Quote:


We all know that it can sometimes take weeks of listening to material we are familiar with, on systems we are familiar with, before we get to know the effect of a particular change. How are we expected to identify the changes in such a short period of time, and in an unfamiliar system?

We don't all know that - some of us have done careful reasearch, and others just mouth urban legends like they were written on stone.
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post #9 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 08:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Thanks guys for your posts and for getting on board. I think that this is going to be a very useful thread as time goes on. In particular, I know that you have a lot of experience on this matter, arnyk, and appreciate what you have to say.
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post #10 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 08:30 AM - Thread Starter
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Oh, one other thing...

This subject has come up in various threads in the past and some people have gotten very emotional. I think that is okay for the most part - it is good when people feel strongly about something - but please try to keep this a civil discussion and treat each other with respect. There are knowledgeable people on both sides of this issue and others who are eager to learn. Let's leave off the name calling and intentional distortions of what other posters have said. Thanks in advance to all for your good behavior!
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post #11 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 08:38 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Let's leave off the name calling and intentional distortions of what other posters have said.

And lets include trolling to the "leave off" list.
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post #12 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 08:38 AM - Thread Starter
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arnyk - Thanks for adding the Sensible Sound articles to the body of information. Do you know if there are any links to these articles or how we might obtain copies? Ditto for the Stereo Review article by Masters and Clark. I'd like to put a link in here right at the top of this thread or, failing that, info on how interested parties can obtain a copy. Thanks!
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post #13 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 08:39 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by geekhd View Post

And lets include trolling to the "leave off" list.

Excellent point geekhd - thanks for the addition!

I have come back and to edit my response after taking alook at the other thread we keep referencing. I will post a link to it as soon as I take time to learn how to do so or somebody gives me a quick pointer. I think this may be helpful since mcnarus and geekhd accuse me of being a troll. A quick look at the other thread - it happens very early in the thread - will reveal how geekhd and mcnarus conduct themselves in these discussions - in fact geekhd was suspended from posting by the moderator for his inappropriate conduct
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post #14 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 08:58 AM
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So when did this troll get appointed a moderator?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #15 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 09:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Thanks guys for your posts and for getting on board. I think that this is going to be a very useful thread as time goes on. In particular, I know that you have a lot of experience on this matter, arnyk, and appreciate what you have to say.

Not that I'm ignoring the morally objectionable title and the transparent attempt to keep certain people from posting to certain threads.

When someone changes from vitriol to sweetness and light overnight, its clear that they are scheming, not communicating.
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post #16 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 09:05 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

arnyk - Thanks for adding the Sensible Sound articles to the body of information. Do you know if there are any links to these articles or how we might obtain copies? Ditto for the Stereo Review article by Masters and Clark. I'd like to put a link in here right at the top of this thread or, failing that, info on how interested parties can obtain a copy. Thanks!

The publications in question aren't publishing this stuff on the web, and I've seen evidence that they are policing other's attempts, well-meaning or not, to infringe on their copyrights.
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post #17 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 09:06 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

There is a group of listeners who believe that for properly constructed CD players that are not defective and manufactured over the last 20 years there will be no audible differences if during the listening test they are properly synced and the output level matched.

If you really beleive that Volcan, why the straw man title?
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post #18 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 10:00 AM
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Volcan, what CD player do you own?
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post #19 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 10:05 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Not that I'm ignoring the morally objectionable title and the transparent attempt to keep certain people from posting to certain threads.

When someone changes from vitriol to sweetness and light overnight, its clear that they are scheming, not communicating.


arnyk - In our previous thread, I tried to be respectful and open minded and I am sorry if my questions or statments offended anyone. I am still somewhat open minded about this issue. I have not been convinced by the evidence that has been presented. My motivation has been attacked and I have been called names. Not all of your brethern have conducted themselvees as well as you. And if one looks through the other thread to see the treatment of the OP, they can turn mean pretty fast. It is also my understanding that this conduct has not occured only in the past thread. I admit I repsponded back in kind a couple of times, but if you look through my posts in that thread, you will find much sweetness and very little vitriol.

I am surprised an "official" thread was never started for this issue. I am sincerely try to make it easier for newbies to understand this topic. I will stop commenting on posts if others feel that makes me seem a moderator - I am just trying the get this thread going.

And I will freely admit, that part of my motivation is to allow others, who believe differently than the "no difference" group to be able to discuss what they believe without the thread being taken over by others pushing an agenda. I am refering to a potential "Which is better Denon X vs Rotel Y" thread. With this official thread available this information can easily be found or referred to. If those people disagree with the "no difference" group, I feel that they should be able to keep their discussion on track.
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post #20 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 10:06 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

If you really beleive that Volcan, why the straw man title?

Let me know what title you prefer and we'll change it.
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post #21 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 10:07 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

Volcan, what CD player do you own?

I have a NAD 502. You?
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post #22 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 10:13 AM
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I use my sony 5 disc DVD player to play my CD's. Then again I probably listen to a CD at home 3x a year.

Can you do me a favor? Can you sum up YOUR personal feelings on the whole CDP issue in a couple of sentences for me? Thanks!
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post #23 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 10:17 AM
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Quote:


And I will freely admit, that part of my motivation is to allow others, who beleive differently than the "no difference" group to be able to discuss what they believe without the thread being taken over by others pushing an agenda.

So those that believe there is no difference have an agenda? But the other side doesn't have an agenda? Very open minded of you.
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post #24 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 10:21 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

Excellent point geekhd - thanks for the addition!

Then why haven't you removed this thread?
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post #25 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 11:38 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

So when did this troll get appointed a moderator?

mcnarus - you really should refrain from the name calling. I understand that you didn't have as much fun with me as with the other newbie who started that thread. I thought that maybe you might want to move on. If you insist on calling me names, then maybe we should provide a link to that thread so that people in the future will understand what went on and they can draw their own conclusions. I could provide a link right here.

I think it would be more productive if everyone took this opportunity to contribute to the discussion that is the topic of this thread.
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post #26 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 11:44 AM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

So those that believe there is no difference have an agenda? But the other side doesn't have an agenda? Very open minded of you.

WilliamZX11 - What I am refering to is when someone believes that there is a difference in the sound of CD players he may start a thread asking others what they think about two players he is considering. There are many such threads on the internet. It seems that when one is posted in this forum the "no difference" group feels compeeled to convince him that there is no difference and then ridicule anyone who claims to hear a difference. The thread disintegrates and the pupose of the thread is taken over into another "difference vs no difference" arguement.

Why not let these people have their discussion?
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post #27 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 11:49 AM - Thread Starter
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I thought that this thread was getting off to a pretty good start, with arnyk citing a couple more references. Why not continue with his example?
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post #28 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 11:50 AM - Thread Starter
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mcnarus - I am ready to move on. If you would prefer to cite the reference to Matrix Hi fi, introduce it however you wish and provide a link please do so.
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post #29 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 12:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Volcan View Post

WilliamZX11 - What I am refering to is when someone believes that there is a difference in the sound of CD players he may start a thread asking others what they think about two players he is considering. There are many such threads on the internet. It seems that when one is posted in this forum the "no difference" group feels compeeled to convince him that there is no difference and then ridicule anyone who claims to hear a difference. The thread disintegrates and the pupose of the thread is taken over into another "difference vs no difference" arguement.

Why not let these people have their discussion?

So the facts, if there are any, should be completely ignored, so that people can have discussions about differences that may not really exist? Most come to these forums to learn, if all you want is confirmation of your current belief system, there are plenty of other audio forums out there. Some of them actaully ban discussion of anything against their beliefs, maybe you would be happier at one of those sites.
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post #30 of 1168 Old 12-26-2008, 12:34 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

So the facts, if there are any, should be completely ignored, so that people can have discussions about differences that may not really exist? Most come to these forums to learn, if all you want is confirmation of your current belief system, there are plenty of other audio forums out there. Some of them actaully ban discussion of anything against their beliefs, maybe you would be happier at one of those sites.

On the contrary WilliamZX11. I think that disagreement and discussion can be productive. But there are some people who have been exposed to your position and simply disagree. Should they not be able to have a dialogue without having the thread hi-jacked?
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