Expensive CD players, are they worth it? - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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post #271 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 06:35 AM
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I think moneywalker's onto something: Like appreciation for abstract art, the sound of a CD player is what the listener brings to it!

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

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post #272 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 06:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

By contrast, CD players either reconstruct the original signal correctly or they do not, period. Since all of them do, there is nothing that can make a more expensive one "better" except for things not directly related to sound quality (eg looks, build, loading speed.)

If you truly believe this, then why is your cut off point $500 for CDP's? Why not a $10 Coby player from the local Walgreens?
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post #273 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 07:36 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by btf1980 View Post

If you truly believe this, then why is your cut off point $500 for CDP's? Why not a $10 Coby player from the local Walgreens?

Actually, my cutoff point is $350. For this, I get excellent looks, reliability, quietness of operation, fast loading, build quality, ability to track flawed discs, remote control, and longevity.
Also, today's portables have one limitation that prevents access to the pure sound from their DACs: the signal has to pass through the headphone amp. (Early portables often had a line-out jack.)
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post #274 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 07:46 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

By contrast, CD players either reconstruct the original signal correctly or they do not, period. Since all of them do, there is nothing that can make a more expensive one "better" except for things not directly related to sound quality (eg looks, build, loading speed.)

For the analog portion of a CD player I wouldn't agree that is necessarily the case. An analog section could be flawed in many ways. However, I don't think you have to go to a very expensive player to avoid such issues.

For any digital output I agree completely and that is how I use my player (when I use it). I mostly via computer to hard drive and use a Sonos ZP80; takes player issues out of the equation completely...
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post #275 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 09:47 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

Expensive CD players, are they worth it?

That was the original question.
The answer is, no, definitely not.

-1
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post #276 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 09:54 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

I think moneywalker's onto something: Like appreciation for abstract art, the sound of a CD player is what the listener brings to it!

It is possible to learn to appreciate abstract art. Learning will not change the fact that expensive CD players do not sound better.
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post #277 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 02:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

I don't think paper specs mean anything. My new CD player does not have better specs than my old one, but it sounds better, which is all that counts.

Did you not just proclaim multiple times in this thread that you believed there was NO audible difference in cd players?? What's wrong with this picture??
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post #278 of 540 Old 06-06-2008, 03:08 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by jewel5 View Post

Did you not just proclaim multiple times in this thread that you believed there was NO audible difference in cd players?? What's wrong with this picture??

Yo "PULLIAMM"!

"Ouch!" That's gonna leave a scar!

Peace!

"Chance favors only the prepared mind. "Louis Pasteur"

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post #279 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 12:26 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

It is possible to learn to appreciate abstract art. Learning will not change the fact that expensive CD players do not sound better.

All you have to do is to append "to me" to your statements (i.e. "expensive CD players do not sound better to me"), and then all is well....
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post #280 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 04:22 AM
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This thread hasn't died yet?
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post #281 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 07:24 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by esaleris View Post

All you have to do is to append "to me" to your statements (i.e. "expensive CD players do not sound better to me"), and then all is well....

That does not compute with "PULLIAMM"!

"Chance favors only the prepared mind. "Louis Pasteur"

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post #282 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 02:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

It is possible to learn to appreciate abstract art. Learning will not change the fact that expensive CD players do not sound better.

ok, I then need to know the reason people buy them?

Elwood P. Dowd: Years ago my mother used to say to me, she'd say, "In this world, Elwood, you must be" - she always called me Elwood - "In this world, Elwood, you must be oh so smart or oh so pleasant." Well, for years I was smart. I recommend pleasant. You may quote me.
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post #283 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 05:14 PM
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They buy them because other people say they should buy them. They buy them because they can. They buy them because their biases tell them they outperform less expensive products. They buy them for pride of ownership. They buy them for a fascination with fine fit and finish. They buy them to impress other people. They buy them simply because they want them.

In other words they buy them for the same reasons they buy anything expensive when something less expensive will do.
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post #284 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

They buy them because other people say they should buy them. They buy them because they can. They buy them because their biases tell them they outperform less expensive products. They buy them for pride of ownership. They buy them for a fascination with fine fit and finish. They buy them to impress other people. They buy them simply because they want them.

In other words they buy them for the same reasons they buy anything expensive when something less expensive will do.

But not because they confirmably do a better job of reproducing the signal.

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post #285 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 05:23 PM
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The reason to buy an expensive CD player is 'you' can hear the difference. How good is the rest of your system at revealing nuance? How real does it sound?

Your system may be accurate, but do you wonder who put a live band in the next room or do you always know it is your stereo playing?

My neighbor can't taste the difference between 2-buck Chuck wine and some excellent wines. They should never buy expensive wine! Lucky them! And lucky is the person who doesn't hear significant qualitative differences in Cd players or finds the differences insignificant. They save money.


But, if you can taste or hear the difference, appreciate it and can afford better (not always real expensive) wine or audio equipment, buy it! Otherwise save your money.

Should the OP spend more on a CD player?
It all depends. Does it sound better to them, can they afford it without taking food from the kiddies, will their SO kill them if they spend money? Lots of data goes into that equation.

And realize that all your 'truths' like mine are IMHO. Just have fun with it.
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post #286 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 05:27 PM
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Theres either the "abstract art" way of looking at it where quality doesn't exist outside of personal perception, and then theres the cold, boring explanation that companies are out to take your money and cd players don't have to do anything besides reproduce what was put on the CD with less error than is audible.

I would commend anyone who admitted to buying a CD player for one of the reasons FMW listed, but anyone who makes claims about actual performance without ANY reasoning to back it up is seriously kidding themselves.
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post #287 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 05:46 PM
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My reasons are audible and they are not based on belief. Belief is the bugaboo of being human, and it can mislead you into all kinds of weird thinking.

I use my hearing to buy audio equipment. I believe I'll have another glass of wine.

DACs have improved greatly over the years, just listen. Analog circuits sound different to me also so I listened to 3 or 4 well respected players and bought the one that sounded best to me. Go figure. Am I crazy, self deceived? I don't think so (though several of you will) and it was my money buying my happiness.
If being a member of AVS means 'believing' all gear is the same, then why does AVS exist? Oh, so folks can argue....

Just have some FUN. It is a hobby after all.
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post #288 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 05:55 PM
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The problem here is that you haven't read up on the thousands upon thousands of excellent posts illustrating the technical details of how all of thus stuff works. Most people can't be bothered to learn the details, but for those of us that HAVE, its infuriating to have years of research thrown out the window by a bunch of scattered individuals claiming that their individual perception (which can easily be biased/flawed otherwise) disagrees.

The major annoyance here is that "your personal perception is all that matters" does not jive with posting your personal perceptions for everyone else to read. If EVERYTHING is a figment of your imagination, you don't have to tell us over and over and over and over and over and OVER again that our ideas about electrical theory, statistics, business strategies, psychology/perception are all wrong because they happen to not agree with an unconfirmed potentially biased observation.
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post #289 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 06:58 PM
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I do have an understanding of these things. I have been at it for 35 years and educate myself. Why would an engineer make somthing different if all is the same? They want it to sound better.

Your car gets you there just like mine. You make a choice based on your needs, your sensitivities, your biases. I can drive a $400 car, but I can't listen to a $400 stereo. Just my choice and my sensitivities. I can afford a new BMW, but I do not like BMWs and do not want to put that much money into a car.

Why does everyone have to agree that all CD players, all amplifiers and preamplifiers sound the same? Why is there a post asking why spend more than $350 (Thanks Pulliam) on a CD player if everyone 'knows' the answer? Is AVS a group that preaches to the choir? Then again, maybe you can't hear the differences I do and insist my perception is the same as yours.

Pulliam has his ears checked and they are perfect. Well, perfect enough not to need hearing aids. What does he understand about music and recording and concert halls? Maybe he only listens to Metallica. If he is happy with his $350 player, so be it. I am happy for him. He just likes to argue his point. He wants to post here instead of work during the week. (I believe I fired him from his last job.)

If you have speakers that are in a box and have an internal passive crossover, you are not hearing what I am hearing. Honestly. If you do not hear and feel the presence of the performers you (1) have a ways to go or (2) it is not that important to you or (3) you do not percieve what others do. At its best an audio system should be a time machine taking you to the recording session.

Can someone snowboard better than the most of us? Can someone cook gourmet meals better than most of us? Can someone outrun us? Can someone tell the difference in feel between silk and rayon better than some of us? Can the nuances mean more to some of us? Can a musician or a singer or an audiophile hear better than most of us? YES. Wine experts can taste differences that I miss. Do I snub their perceptions? No. I save a few bucks. I look for the $12-$25 bargains. I drink other folks $200 bottles (yes!).

I listen for the 'bargains' in audio in the price range I decide to spend. I would save money if I didn't hear a difference. I like to save money. Then I can buy more music and movies. That is what this is about. If a CD player makes 70% of my music sound more real and it is in my price range, why wouldn't I buy it?

You and any engineer can't measure everything. No one knew about jitter until years after CD players came to the market. It was perfect sound forever. The first players were terrible! The DACs had huge timing errors. The error was unmeasurable at that time. If you don't think so you still have that original Sony. Thank goodness some engineers, like Mr. Stuart at Meridian, could hear the problems and had the engineering skills to move CD forward. It has moved forward and low priced players are much better. Some high priced players exceed low priced players quality of sound in an appropriately revealing system. If you do not agree, hey, great. Save the dough. But you are holding tight to a belief system and want everyone to agree with you. Christians think their beliefs are right. Muslims too, and Hasidic Jews.

let's not go to war over beliefs... Just have some fun.
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post #290 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 07:14 PM
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You have confused opinion with fact. It isn't a committee debate whether one CD player more accurately reproduces what has been stamped on the CD than another. CD players are not tasked with reproducing a live performance, as the hardware can not have the anthropomorphic knowledge of what a live performance is supposed to sound like. They should merely reproduce what was recorded on the disk.

It doesn't take a particularly expensive CD player to reproduce a signal as it was recorded. I wouldn't go as far as Pulliam as to quote a specific threshold, because that misses the point. The point is, all you have to do is find the cheapest CD player that has all the features you want and reproduces the signal accurately.

If expensive audio hardware is male jewelry, thats ok. But do NOT make claims about the performance of devices if you aren't willing to actually CONVINCE us of what you have observed. If you are going to take the cop out route that personal perception trumps verifiability, take it to its natural end and stop giving us your personal observations that, by your own logic, DO NOT MATTER to us.
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post #291 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 07:30 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winesnob View Post

I do have an understanding of these things. I have been at it for 35 years and educate myself. Why would an engineer make somthing different if all is the same? They want it to sound better.

Funniest statement on AVS evar....
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post #292 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 07:33 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Pitot Static View Post

If expensive audio hardware is male jewelry, thats ok. But do NOT make claims about the performance of devices if you aren't willing to actually CONVINCE us of what you have observed. If you are going to take the cop out route that personal perception trumps verifiability, take it to its natural end and stop giving us your personal observations that, by your own logic, DO NOT MATTER to us.

What arrogance! If you and others are interested in hearing only objective, double blind, level-matched, bias controlled, super duper test results, then great! But you know what? There are OTHER PEOPLE here who are plenty happy taking part in this hobby using their damn ears. If you don't agree with it, then fine, don't agree with it! But this arrogance that people who view things only as you do are the only ones allowed to expresses their views or discuss their own experiences is absolutely ridiculous.
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post #293 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 07:38 PM
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What is the difference in verifiability and audibility? I changed the power cord on my CD player. It sounds WAY better. I changed the coax cable between my CD transport and the DAC. Sounded WAY better. Same bits...?? Didn't make sense to me as an IT professional. But I heard it and kept it. My wife heard it and she is not 'on my side' in this.

Do I have to be an engineer and measure it for it to be real? Are all of you engineers? I didn't see that before I joined. Could it be that you are self deceived to hear no difference because of your beliefs that there are none due to a measurement? Same logic applies accross the board.

Does a tube based computer give better results than a solid state computer or do they just SOUND better? ;-)

Well, laugh a little, put on some great music and enjoy your weekend. Thanks for the debate. I hope the OP gets something out of it.
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post #294 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 07:47 PM
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I'm not "disagreeing with an opinion." I'm "requiring a higher standard of proof" of a factual claim.

Providing alternate opinions = good thing. Making factual claims that are wholly unsupported = bad thing. Consider the difference between the following statements:

1. Red is my favorite color.

2. The color "red" has a wavelength of about 650nm.

One of these is an opinion that not everybody necessarily shares. The other is a fact. The "fact" depends on some other basic knowledge, like what does "wavelength" mean and "whats a nanometer" and whatnot, but nonetheless it is built on established principles that have useful meaning.

To continue to repost that you swear you heard a difference between two different CD players is like continuing to swear you were abducted by aliens. If you don't care to justify your position that goes against some basic principles of physics, psychology, and human perception, why offer it so frequently?
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post #295 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 08:00 PM
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Winesnob, it takes a multi-disciplined approach to explain why you thought changing the power cord on your CD player improved the sound, and why it shouldn't have. Unfortunately, most people don't have the time or interest to study all the disciplines required. But heres the short version. (Disclaimer: the reason why the short version isn't short is because there is WAY too much to cover in a few posts).

Physical reasoning: Electricity travels a long distance over "plain" inexpensive wiring before it reaches that one last piece of wiring that enters your CD player. Since the whole job of the PSU in the CD player is to filter out any possible interference, merely changing one conductor out for another one can't affect the signal.

Psychological: You knew when you switched the cable, and you wouldn't have even tried it if you weren't inclined to believe that there would be a change. Expectancy bias caused you to hear an "improvement" that was probably never there in the first place.

Business: Cable companies are in business to make money. The more effort they put into convincing everybody that miracles are possible even with absurd tweaks like power cables, the more 10 cent a foot copper they can sell you for $100 a foot.

Perceptual: Humans do not have infinitely sensitive transducers. There is a finite just-noticable-difference for people with typical hearing (obviously much worse for people with documented hearing loss) and that implies limits to hearing based on frequency response and sound pressure level. Even if you changed a 12 gauge power cable for a big fat 6 gauge power cable with quadruple shielding, the actual difference it would make to the signal path is MANY orders of magnitude smaller than the JND in "normal" hearing. Note that while its possible to have below average hearing, there really is no such thing as "golden ears." Skilled musicians have better listening abilities, but not better hearing abilities.

As long as businesses are out to make money and as long as consumers fail to account for expectancy bias, there will continue to be posts on avsforum claiming nearly impossible observations.
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post #296 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 08:08 PM
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How does the wavelength of red help me in seeing it? I listen to my music I do not spend time measuring my CD player every day.

If you want to be right. Ok you are right.. but I am having fun with my music and my system. This is a hobby. Definition: A hobby is usually something that you really enjoy doing which is not paid work.

Measuring CD players 'specs' is not my hobby.

Facts are rarely correct. Is the earth the center of the universe. It was a fact. CD - Perfect sound forever was a fact. Until they learned the next facts. Slippery slope that objectivism.

The problem with facts is you can only associate with others who believe your facts. Again, it is a belief. Nothing more.

Fun is more contagious than spouting facts at folks. Is this a fact? That's up to you.
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post #297 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 08:14 PM
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Reading the last page of this thread reminds me I just saw Sex and The City at the Red Rock Casino and It was the best movie ever made. It also had the best cast, best cinematography, best costumes and best sex ever shown on the big screen!

This movie will take every Oscar category this year

Sound familiar? It's just my humble opinion and live with it just as everyone else on this forum should.

Someone once said "no one ever lost money underestimating the intelligence of the American public"

Keep climbing the equipment ladder, the exercise will help you live longer because you'll never reach the top
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post #298 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by winesnob View Post

Facts are rarely correct.

HAHAHA, thanks Homer. "Facts shmacks! You can use facts to prove anything thats even remotely true!"

Heres one discipline that I totally forgot to mention: epistemology. Some people don't understand how knowledge comes about, and why some matters are not as simple as you'd like to boil it down to. Just because you think "I changed the power cable on my CD player, it now sounds way better" is a simple statement with no further explanation required, it actually opens up a massive can of worms that you didn't even realize was there. Why be suckered by a marketing campaign? Why let expectancy bias run rampant? How could we build a test that verifies whether, in general, audible differences are possible between such components?

Those who don't want to know the answer to these questions should not be making statements that require them to be answered.
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post #299 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 08:42 PM
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Hey, sounds like my kind of movie. but stay out of casinos. Don't you know the odds are against you?

Well, I didn't 'believe' in cables, but I tried 2 on a loan. My Cd player came with an 'audio jewelry' power cable, so I didn't even think of trying it there for a few days, The one cord was subtle the other awful and it was 'awfully' expensive so I wanted to return it. I tried it on the Cd player and OH MY GOSH!

That wasn't wishful thinking. It cost me BIG bucks and I do ONT tell folks how much I spend on my equipment, so no big ego rush there. But the gains were worth the $$ in sound. I'll switch it back tonight just for you. After all this time, I shouldn't be swayed by measurements, er, the limits of my knowledge.

by the way, during the day my power does not come over miles of copper. It comes off my roof. Don't make so many assumptions.

Again, I say you can look at the measurements and hear what you expect based on the measurements just as much as I could be swayed by 'advertising'. The power cables had not been advertised in any magazine and they still aren't. Darn.

Anyway, Joe Cocker is singing to me from behind the ficus. He is THERE. I can't measure it, but darn am I having fun.
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post #300 of 540 Old 06-07-2008, 09:05 PM
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Quote:
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Anyway, Joe Cocker is singing to me from behind the ficus. He is THERE. I can't measure it, but darn am I having fun.

I never thought of Joe Cocker as the shy type....you should tell him to get out from behind that tree and take center stage!
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