Poll: Sonic differences between low/mid/high end CD Players are... - Page 7 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: The differences between low/mid/high CD Players are
real and significant 56 45.53%
real and minor 45 36.59%
non existent 7 5.69%
something that I'm looking into 15 12.20%
Voters: 123. You may not vote on this poll

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post #181 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:25 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Cowclops View Post

Even the "show of hands" problem is nothing compared to the bigger overall issue.

The test asked people which of two unknown CD players sounded better, which leads to no relevant conclusion. Just because a bunch of people happened to vote for the same CD player doesn't mean they could have identified it again after the fact.

Any test that attempts to answer the question "which cd player is the best" is skipping the more important initial question of, "can two well-built CD players be distinguished on sound and sound alone in a level matched blind test?"

Furthermore... if it does happen that two botique-priced CD players are audibly different, can it be shown that one or the other is poorly designed/malfunctioning? I.E. Did the designer intentionally add some undefeatable equalization/distortion for the express purpose of differentiating it from less expensive, but reference-quality CD players? Its definitely possible, anything that differentiates your products could mean more sales, even if that differentiating feature is that it takes a smelly crap on the signal before it spits it out.

Nothing like 3 paragraphs of pontificating. Again, we have an opinion piece with a lot of "gee, what if the designer did this or that?" with no evidence that this occured.

And, again, they heard a difference under blind conditions. You can dismiss that ALL you want, but it happened.

If the people involved did not hear a difference, they could not pick a preference. For some reason, that eludes some people.

So ... let's use an example a 4th grader can understand.

You have 2 Vanilla ice creams. You blind taste test them, and are asked "which is better?". After tasting them, you think "they taste the same". If you cannot taste the difference, the answer would be "Neither, they tasted the same".

If you liked "A" better, you answer "A" was better.

If you liked "B" better, you answer "B" was better.

Pseudo-engineers (and note to engineers, this is in reference to pseudo engineers here, not against engineers in general) on this site don't "get" this concept. People with common sense do.
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post #182 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops View Post

Even the "show of hands" problem is nothing compared to the bigger overall issue.

The test asked people which of two unknown CD players sounded better, which leads to no relevant conclusion. Just because a bunch of people happened to vote for the same CD player doesn't mean they could have identified it again after the fact.

Any test that attempts to answer the question "which cd player is the best" is skipping the more important initial question of, "can two well-built CD players be distinguished on sound and sound alone in a level matched blind test?"

Furthermore... if it does happen that two botique-priced CD players are audibly different, can it be shown that one or the other is poorly designed/malfunctioning? I.E. Did the designer intentionally add some undefeatable equalization/distortion for the express purpose of differentiating it from less expensive, but reference-quality CD players? Its definitely possible, anything that differentiates your products could mean more sales, even if that differentiating feature is that it takes a smelly crap on the signal before it spits it out.

A very rational argument with valid conclusions. My hat is off to you.
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post #183 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:38 AM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

I'd have preferred writing the preference instead of a show of hand. Simultaneous rarely is in fact, simultaneous.

Me too. Having participated in several blind tests, including ones which involved both the EMM and dcs stacks - 2 of the 5 involved in the Audiogon test - this was one of the first things that popped out to me.
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The break-in comments were funny.

I agree, with the possible exception of tube modified players.
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I suspect that some of the players are so highly resolving that they present the listener with more information than exists on the medium being played. It is, of course, a matter of preference and can also be a matter of philosophy.

It is this statement which I am most interested in. Can you 'splain?
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Alex is very clever and talented. I'm not sure everyone knows where his talents lie though.

If I'm not mistaken, Alex used to work at Sony and both he and Ed Meitner were (and still are) intimately involved in the whole SACD format.
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post #184 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:39 AM
 
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Step one is you have to learn how to set up an experiment that will give you the answer you're looking for, instead of some other answer that is only superficially relevant.

You can't ask people whether they think A or B sounded better, and merely asking 10 people only once whether A or B sounded better does not tell you whether they are REALLY HEARING A DIFFERENCE or further imagining stuff.

Just because it was blind doesn't mean it was correct. You have to be testing only one variable, and the variable I'd like to test is whether people can distinguish a CD player by sound and sound alone. The study as it was explained above did not ask this question, therefore it did not answer the question.

Craigsub, out of curiosity, what were your grades in the college level physics labs you must have taken?

Edit: Make that for everybody. Everybody who thinks the study explained above conclusively showed that even well designed CD players differ audibly, did you ever succesfully complete a full sequence of a lab-based science in college? If not, where did you learn experimental science? Hopefully not on avsforum.
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post #185 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:49 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops View Post

Step one is you have to learn how to set up an experiment that will give you the answer you're looking for, instead of some other answer that is only superficially relevant.

You can't ask people whether they think A or B sounded better, and merely asking 10 people only once whether A or B sounded better does not tell you whether they are REALLY HEARING A DIFFERENCE or further imagining stuff.

Just because it was blind doesn't mean it was correct. You have to be testing only one variable, and the variable I'd like to test is whether people can distinguish a CD player by sound and sound alone. The study as it was explained above did not ask this question, therefore it did not answer the question.

Craigsub, out of curiosity, what were your grades in the college level physics labs you must have taken?

Whether you think this type of tests works or not is not relevant. I have been in both "difference" tests and in "preference" tests over the past 30 years.

Both work, and if you don't believe that, you are wrong. They did this test in a very unbiased manner, and the results, at least for this panel, are noteworthy.

This is exactly the type of test I would recommend to people when making a major purchase decision.

I carried a 3.4 average. My lowest grade in any Physics course was a "B".

What school did you attend ? What was your GPA ? How many blind tests have you set up or been a participant ?
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post #186 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:49 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops View Post

Edit: Make that for everybody. Everybody who thinks the study explained above conclusively showed that even well designed CD players differ audibly, did you ever succesfully complete a full sequence of a lab-based science in college? If not, where did you learn experimental science? Hopefully not on avsforum.

Okay, I'll bite. I've made a career in R&D out of setting up controlled experiments. Granted, I'm not an electrical engineer (I'm a molecular biologist), but a good experiment is a good experiment.

I think this study is interesting, but I don't think anyone is claiming that it's the be-all end-all answer to this debate. It's no more or less valid than any of the "no difference" reports that show up in these threads. In science, there's always conflicting reports. A good scientist reviews all relevant literature, even when it's in contrast to their expectations/experiences.

Scott
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post #187 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops View Post


Edit: Make that for everybody. Everybody who thinks the study explained above conclusively showed that even well designed CD players differ audibly, did you ever succesfully complete a full sequence of a lab-based science in college? If not, where did you learn experimental science? Hopefully not on avsforum.

Cowclops ... Have you even bothered to read what my ultimate conclusion was in regards to this test ? I would like to see an answer to this question.

This was not supposed to be a college course. It was a group of hobbyists engaging in an unbiased listening test.
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post #188 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 10:56 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

Craig, what was the Audiogon test?


Here is the link. It opens in the middle, scroll to top:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...Ctm_cra&&#rest

You need to weed through the main explanation but the details are in the follow-up posts.
-2 trials do not establish a statistical significance, period.
-Level matching was a joke.
-The Cd players behind the curtain was visible enough to give location, not name, of course. They tried to get around that by a second CD as a divergence.
-Inputs were swapped to some extent in an attempt to randomize? and levels were them adjusted, not by test tones but to a predetermined level- wonderful.
One pair was no better matched than .5 dB, if even that or the other levels were even close to claimed levels. You know, pink noise was the signal and an spl meter, or something.
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post #189 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:01 AM
 
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Here is the link. It opens in the middle, scroll to top:

http://forum.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/fr...Ctm_cra&&#rest

You need to weed through the main explanation but the details are in the follow-up posts.
-2 trials do not establish a statistical significance, period.
-Level matching was a joke.
-The Cd players behind the curtain was visible enough to give location, not name, of course. They tried to get around that by a second CD as a divergence.
-Inputs were swapped to some extent in an attempt to randomize? and levels were them adjusted, not by test tones but to a predetermined level- wonderful.
One pair was no better matched than .5 dB, if even that or the other levels were even close to claimed levels. You know, pink noise was the signal and an spl meter, or something.

Charles, The question was asked of me. I answered it pretty directly. Unlike you, I did not toss in asinine and juvenile digs at the test.

For the record, the level matching was far superior to any test I have seen done by any test done here. The Phonic PAA3 which was used in this test is an excellent SPL meter. It is not an "spl meter or something".

When someone asks me a question, that is not an invitation for YOU to answer on my behalf. This is yet another sign of your arrogance. Grow up.
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post #190 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Cowclops View Post

Step one is you have to learn how to set up an experiment that will give you the answer you're looking for, instead of some other answer that is only superficially relevant.

So, humor us, or at least me. Articulate your null hypothesis and write up the materials and methods that you would use for your experiment. Will you just report raw data, or will you perform some sort of statistical analysis? What sort of population size will be required? What p value will you consider significant?

Man...I always thought it was just about figuring out how much you were comfortable spending and then auditioning until you found something you enjoyed. I never realized the importance of the cold sterility of scientific analysis when choosing an audio component.

Scott
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post #191 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:06 AM
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I'll state it again. How "scientific" is it to conclude almost anything based on incomplete information and/or speculation? This is a rhetorical question. If you have any questions or concerns about their test, post in the Audiogon thread. Get your answers, whatever they may be, from those that participated.
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post #192 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Cowclops View Post


Furthermore... if it does happen that two botique-priced CD players are audibly different, can it be shown that one or the other is poorly designed/malfunctioning? I.E. Did the designer intentionally add some undefeatable equalization/distortion for the express purpose of differentiating it from less expensive, but reference-quality CD players? Its definitely possible, anything that differentiates your products could mean more sales, even if that differentiating feature is that it takes a smelly crap on the signal before it spits it out.

At least one was highly custom modified I wonder to do what? Euphonics?
I guess the original designer wasn't good enough? Why buy that player in the first place if the design needs further work?
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post #193 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:12 AM
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Charles, ...:


You were not going to respond to me, remember?
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post #194 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:12 AM
 
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At least one was highly custom modified I wonder to do what? Euphonics?
I guess the original designer wasn't good enough? Why buy that player in the first place if the design needs further work?

Good question, especially since that player finished in last place in the blind listening test.

Interesting ... the one player of 5 contestents which was modded had the worst performance under blind conditions.

Aren't "audio snobs" supposed to pick the modded unit ?
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post #195 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:16 AM
 
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You were not going to respond to me, remember?

After you continued to take partial quotes of mine, and to use them to "prove" things to yourself, it became clear that being a gentleman was outside your ability. It is prudent to keep an eye on someone like you.

For example, when Chu Gai asked me a question, and you answered it.

Grown ups consider that to be rude behavior.
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post #196 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 11:57 AM
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The SPL unit was the Phonic PAA3 analyzer. It is accurate to within 0.1 dB, and is an excellent piece.

OK. I didn't read any details as to how it was used, held, and all that. Used solely as an SPL it won't show variations in FR. Voltages are so much easier! Having an accurate and precision like that means you can get good results or you can vandalize the results unintenionally.

You are not buying into the "peer pressure" nonsense, are you ?

I just like to mimimize variables and ensure responses are all independent. It's easy to do. In a group, whatever group, there usually is a dominant person just like in a pack of dogs. I tend to be pretty clinical.

No, It was people listening to 2 different tracks, and making a determination based on what they heard. Calling that flipping coins is beneath you.

It was only two evaluations per pair.

So is the bitching about their test.

I'm fairly consistent in my approach and excercise my first amendment rights

The world according to Chu. For the test, all the players were treated identically.

I prefer robust designs that deal with real world power. So do many doctors and scientists. I simply commented on other comments that were made.

Same amp for each test. I do believe it was Chu Gai who said speakers are a constant when testing amps. Changing your mind now ?

Not at all. If one, or more of the players was designed such that there was signficant response outside of the audio band...and...if the amp's FR is non linear outside of the audio band...you get...IM distortion that's audible within the audio band. Simple, right? Also doesn't show up in routine measurements.

You could look them up through Google.

I failed.

Remember, blind tests were used. More information than exists on the medium ? I need to think how that is possible ...

If you muck with the reconstruction filter, use different fittings or splines, you get out of band components that properly should have filtered out now being folded back into the audio area. This has been documented several times and is well known in several NOS DAC designs. In some DAC's like Audio Note, there's more 'distortion' than there is signal. Now you know how it's possible. As to how it can be detected, you could examine the shape of a square or sine wave. Care to bet if any of that was going on?

He hypnotized the listeners ?

When a person wears several hats...engineer, designer, promoter, you never know which one will show up. They each have different agendas and they're not always consistent with each other.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #197 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 12:11 PM
 
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Man...I always thought it was just about figuring out how much you were comfortable spending and then auditioning until you found something you enjoyed.

I agree. Another part of the process, though, is allocating a budget among the various components. Realizing that a very inexpensive CD player will do justice to even the best of systems frees up more money to spend where it will make a far bigger difference, including amps to some degree but primarily speakers.
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post #198 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 12:57 PM
 
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Chu Gai, The test was conceived as 2 tests - one for each track. However, each listener was permitted to ask to have a track repeated if necessary, which happened several times during the test. Once one has heard a difference, how many times does one need to repeat the test to be sure ?

They spent 6 hours as it was. Someone should have told them that a bunch of anal-retentive do nothings were going to do a hatchet job on their test.

And Chu, the level matching was far superior to anyting done here. You prefer Voltage matching. Can you show where you have tested using an accurate SPL meter vs. a voltage meter for level matching ? I have, and both are accurate. If you haven't, then perhaps you need to invest in a competent system like the Phonic, and run some tests. First hand experience might do you some good.

The Amp was a Lamm Monoblock pair.

As for the units having information "outside the medium", the only player that was modded by an outside company finished LAST. The remaining players are from pretty strict companies, in terms of areas like flat response curves. I looked at the info on the players. You should, too.

It amazes me that not ONE of the engineers or scientists here is lauding the fact that the panel thought the modded player was the worst sounding. We keep getting snide comments about the fact that one of the players was modded, yet nothing about its poor showing.

Of course, that would not serve the bias against this test, would it ?
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post #199 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 01:46 PM
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Once your sure, you're sure. If it's after 2x, 5x, it's up to the individual listener to determine that for himself.

If I'm anal-retentive it's only because I'm trying to lower my carbon footprint I'm not commenting on their procedure where they posted so I doubt it affects them. Critical commentary is hardly a hatchet job.

Yes, I prefer voltage matching and that at 3 points. It gives a picture that the pink noise, which is better than nothing but can be better, does not. It's quicker, not subject to variances in the room (a person moved, stood up, a door opened, closed, and so forth...all of which affect an spl meter), and cheaper. It's the procedure used by scientists and researchers and has not found to be bettered. Extreme care and attention to a lot of detail is needed to achieve reproducibility with a microphone. I wasn't there.

A review of the Lamm ML2.1 in StereoPhile indicates a few things - it is decidedly non-linear past and to some extent before 20K and being low powered, distortion rises appreciably at increased levels. Contrast that with the performance of the Aragon 8008. This means...
1) If the CDP's had signficant HF output beyond 20K, the non-linearity of the Lamm will make it prone to IM.
2) If the matching only appeared to be reproducible for the reasons mentioned above, then euphonics can vary between two players.

I have no idea what the modding entailed or if measurements were provided. I struck out on any reviews that involved measurements for the players in general. A player doesn't have to be modded to have information "outside the medium".

I have no comment about the modded player. In the past, I've contacted various companies about whether they've performed measurements on players before and after. I've not done well.

Yes, the test took 6 hours. In that time, they attempted to accomplish a lot - perhaps too much. I'd be spending more than a couple of listening sessions if I was dropping that kind of change. Maybe you would too. Perhaps we'll read more in the future.

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If I'm anal-retentive it's only because I'm trying to lower my carbon footprint

I like it!
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post #201 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 02:28 PM
 
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Quote:
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Once your sure, you're sure. If it's after 2x, 5x, it's up to the individual listener to determine that for himself.

If I'm anal-retentive it's only because I'm trying to lower my carbon footprint I'm not commenting on their procedure where they posted so I doubt it affects them. Critical commentary is hardly a hatchet job.

Yes, I prefer voltage matching and that at 3 points. It gives a picture that the pink noise, which is better than nothing but can be better, does not. It's quicker, not subject to variances in the room (a person moved, stood up, a door opened, closed, and so forth...all of which affect an spl meter), and cheaper. It's the procedure used by scientists and researchers and has not found to be bettered. Extreme care and attention to a lot of detail is needed to achieve reproducibility with a microphone. I wasn't there.

A review of the Lamm ML2.1 in StereoPhile indicates a few things - it is decidedly non-linear past and to some extent before 20K and being low powered, distortion rises appreciably at increased levels. Contrast that with the performance of the Aragon 8008. This means...
1) If the CDP's had signficant HF output beyond 20K, the non-linearity of the Lamm will make it prone to IM.
2) If the matching only appeared to be reproducible for the reasons mentioned above, then euphonics can vary between two players.

I have no idea what the modding entailed or if measurements were provided. I struck out on any reviews that involved measurements for the players in general. A player doesn't have to be modded to have information "outside the medium".

I have no comment about the modded player. In the past, I've contacted various companies about whether they've performed measurements on players before and after. I've not done well.

Yes, the test took 6 hours. In that time, they attempted to accomplish a lot - perhaps too much. I'd be spending more than a couple of listening sessions if I was dropping that kind of change. Maybe you would too. Perhaps we'll read more in the future.

Chu, The simple fact is the level matching done in that test is superior to any electronic component blind test done here.

And I never said YOU did a hatchet job ... that was aimed on other directions.

For my end, my most expensive player is a Denon 2900. It was $600 on sale.

An interesting find in regards to the level matching. Conventional wisdom suggests that the higher volume unit will sound better. Yet, in this test, we have the following quote:

Quote:


Only one pairing was off by an average of as much as 0.5dB and this is as close as we could get. In this pairing it was interesting that the player with the lower volume setting won decisively with a 9-1 vote.

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post #202 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 03:00 PM
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I'll look for more info on the level matching procedure.

Best regards...

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post #203 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 03:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by craigsub View Post

After you continued to take partial quotes of mine, and to use them to "prove" things to yourself, it became clear that being a gentleman was outside your ability. It is prudent to keep an eye on someone like you.

For example, when Chu Gai asked me a question, and you answered it.

Grown ups consider that to be rude behavior.


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you are now the sole AVSer in my ignore list.

You know what your early post means to me? You should. It means you will ignore my posts, period, end of story. Says nothing about whom I post to or not, does it.

And, yes, this is an open forum, still, so I can respond to other posts as I had information.

So, just try to ignore my posts. You will be happier.
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post #204 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 03:48 PM
 
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You know what your early post means to me? You should. It means you will ignore my posts, period, end of story. Says nothing about whom I post to or not, does it.

And, yes, this is an open forum, still, so I can respond to other posts as I had information.

So, just try to ignore my posts. You will be happier.

No ... I will be not ignore your posts, especially when you behave as you have here. You were offered the chance to walk away, and instead "quoted me", using partial posts, to "prove" a point. Typical behavior for you.

As you said, this is an open forum, and someone needs to keep an eye on those who will lie to make a point.
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post #205 of 253 Old 03-06-2007, 09:10 PM
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No ... I will be not ignore your posts,


Looking forward then.
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post #206 of 253 Old 03-07-2007, 03:12 AM
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craigsub - half of these guys mainly post on this forum just to argue this particular issue - and they've been at it for a year and a half, since this area was started.

That should tell you enough right there.
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post #207 of 253 Old 03-07-2007, 06:39 AM
 
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craigsub - half of these guys mainly post on this forum just to argue this particular issue - and they've been at it for a year and a half, since this area was started.

That should tell you enough right there.

Are you saying this is akin to an old Irish proverb ?

"Arguing with these guys is like wrestling with a pig in the mud. After an hour, you figure out it's FUN for the pig".



You make a good point - if I could not hear things that others could, AND I was insecure about it, I would behave in the same manner that these guys are.

Rammitinski - Thanks for shedding light on this.
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post #208 of 253 Old 03-07-2007, 06:42 AM
 
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craigsub - half of these guys mainly post on this forum just to argue this particular issue - and they've been at it for a year and a half, since this area was started.

That should tell you enough right there.

Great advice.
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post #209 of 253 Old 03-07-2007, 06:54 AM
 
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Great advice.

You are correct.
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post #210 of 253 Old 03-07-2007, 08:22 AM
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What do the other half do?

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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