Expensive CD players, are they worth it? - Page 13 - AVS Forum
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post #361 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 01:14 PM
 
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Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

Sorry, I saw this thread this afternoon and don't have the time to wade through the many pages of, I'm sure, hard-held opinions. I'll just post a brief discription of my own experience.

I have A/B tested, blind conditions, a $5 yard sale Sears cdp with an expensive, highly modded and highly respected JVC XLZ1050 using (of course) identical front-end equipment, room, speakers, and discs. All participants could discern NO AUDIBLE DIFFERENCE between the players. The only difference between the two was the need to adjust the output of the Sears model upward to level match the JVC before the testing.

This is just one person's test. YMMV.

Thank you. This is exactly the sort of result one should expect, and the result that anyone would get by properly performing such a comparison.
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post #362 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 01:16 PM
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Scientist, you do understand about quantization and sampling?
PS.
I dont take offense about you pointing out I am new, after all I have worked with codecs for 19 years now.
Still, reading comments from some who have been here Nov 2007 and Aug 2005 does not mean they understand the subject of music any better then me

Cheers
DT
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post #363 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 01:18 PM
 
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

This all works nicely until you want to present back the nuances of change that music and singing has, and it is this that can be lost or become stirile.

Wrong. All that a CD player (or any playback device) can do is reproduce the information on the disc accurately. Emotional content is entirely a function of the performance, not the playback method. Also, there is absolutely no signal loss or distortion of any kind within the audible range by any CD player. (The sampling theorem proves this conclusively.)
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post #364 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 01:35 PM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Scientist, you do understand about quantization and sampling?

Yup. I build data collection systems for Medical Research; we get to play with AD/DA conversion interfaces for nMRI, gene sequencers (the signal is analog strangely enough), mass spectrometers, and just about every audio and image collection device you can imagine. Majored in Math at University. But there are others here on AVS who build the actual audio hardware we're discussing, they're the ones you'll really have to convince...

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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

I dont take offense about you pointing out I am new, after all I have worked with codecs for 19 years now.
Still, reading comments from some who have been here Nov 2007 and Aug 2005 does not mean they understand the subject of music any better then me

Fair enough, however, I'll also not that having worked with codecs for 19 years doesn't necessarily mean you know anything about how how auditory perception of music works either.... What kind of codecs used for what purpose?
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post #365 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 01:37 PM
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Ok 1st, channel seperation at 20khz had a difference of 22dB.

So what? It's so good in both players that the difference won't be noticeable.

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Then frequency response is 1dB variation between the 2 players.

So in 19 years of audio experience you never learned to read a graph? Where in the frequency spectrum are these two players off by even half that amount? (Again, I'm talking about with de-emphasis turned off.)

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And the 1Khz dithered tone, I am sorry but the hump for the Onkyo is not fractions, if you think you cannot notice good for you

I doubt you can either. Feel free to try to prove me wrong.

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

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post #366 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 01:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

I doubt you can either. Feel free to try to prove me wrong.

Well put.
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post #367 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 01:51 PM
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Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

Wrong. All that a CD player (or any playback device) can do is reproduce the information on the disc accurately. Emotional content is entirely a function of the performance, not the playback method. Also, there is absolutely no signal loss or distortion of any kind within the audible range by any CD player. (The sampling theorem proves this conclusively.)

PULLIAMM,
Apparently you don't understand much about sampling and quantization.
Here is a link from an old post of mine.

You also neglect to take into account the analog output stage of a CDP. This is where the biggest differences in sonics between cheap and quality CDPs arises.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Scientist, you do understand about quantization and sampling?
PS.
I dont take offense about you pointing out I am new, after all I have worked with codecs for 19 years now.
Still, reading comments from some who have been here Nov 2007 and Aug 2005 does not mean they understand the subject of music any better then me

Cheers
DT

DT,
Time to stop feeding the animals.
Cheers,

C N Machani
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post #368 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 02:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by machani View Post

PULLIAMM,
Apparently you don't understand much about sampling and quantization.

Wrong. I understand it perfectly, though you obviously do not. Anyone who understands sampling knows that the original waveform and the reconstructed waveform are identical to 1/2 the sampling frequency (to 22KHz, in the case of CDs.)
Today's analog electronics (whether in CD players preamps, or other audio devices) are so many orders of magnitude better than any speaker that they are transparent.
Audio equipment is pure technology. Only human performers can convey emotion. This is either captured on the recording or it isn't. The playback device can only be (more or less) accurate, not emotional.
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post #369 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 02:24 PM
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Originally Posted by PULLIAMM View Post

Today's analog electronics (whether in CD players preamps, or other audio devices) are so many orders of magnitude better than any speaker that they are transparent.

Just an after-thought on my other post in this thread. The test we ran included, just for giggles, a half-dozen different pairs of speakers. All elicited the same results. No audible difference between the A/B'ed cdp's was detected with any speaker pair. We also ran a spectrum analyzer on the speakers' output during the tests, but resolution was such that we could not see any measurable, discernable differences between the cdp's. That doesn't necessarily mean differences didn't exist...just that we could not see it.

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post #370 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 02:39 PM
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Originally Posted by Mudslide View Post

we could not see any measurable, discernable differences between the cdp's. That doesn't necessarily mean differences didn't exist...just that we could not see it.

That explains your conclusion
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post #371 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 02:54 PM
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Originally Posted by scientest View Post

Yup. I build data collection systems for Medical Research; we get to play with AD/DA conversion interfaces for nMRI, gene sequencers (the signal is analog strangely enough), mass spectrometers, and just about every audio and image collection device you can imagine. Majored in Math at University. But there are others here on AVS who build the actual audio hardware we're discussing, they're the ones you'll really have to convince...



Fair enough, however, I'll also not that having worked with codecs for 19 years doesn't necessarily mean you know anything about how how auditory perception of music works either.... What kind of codecs used for what purpose?

My background:
The actual architecture and use of PCM analogue encoding in modems/tdm mulitplexors/routers and also video/conferencing network solutions comprising of distributed PCs combined with routers/switches.
So basically the actual use of voice and video processing

Anyway back on course at a higher level the question is this; Why are Wolfson/Burr-Brown - TI/Cyrrus continue investing time and money into developing new DACs and architectures?
I can tell you it is not for marketing purposes as these products are not sold to the public but used within specific product boards.

Now companies are interested in using DACs that are cost competitive while offering performance for that value.
As I say it is not just about converting the 1s and 0s, it is not just about quantization/sampling but also the architecture of the processors and the board/product they are implemented within.

If we had reached and concluded the basic level that Scientist and Pulliam argue, we would not require any new DAC architectures or high performance chips that are still being manufactured and designed.

Sadly MY literature cannot be posted as it is proprietary training/product information but going along with what I mention above here are some links.
Now some may think it is pure marketing (and a way it is marketing) but these products as I mentioned are purchased by companies that do not buy into marketing practices used on the public.

Wolfson High Performance Audio background:
http://www.epn-online.com/page/20104...solutions.html

Wolfson announcing their best sounding DAC:
http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/whatsnew/press/PI269/

Check the architecture changes and information between Wolfson WM8741 and previous 8740:
http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/products/WM8741/
http://www.wolfsonmicro.com/products/WM8740

I appreciate this is all subjective and when people disagree they will find the smallest technical argument to prove their point and the discussion goes a different tangent.

In reality there is probably a balanced between both sides of our arguments.
Still, this does not answer why some companies pay a premium to use the so-called highest performance DACs provided by Wolfson/TI/Cyrrus/etc, and in their cheaper products buy the cheaper DAC-architectures.

Cheers
DT
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post #372 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 03:02 PM
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post #373 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 03:16 PM
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Why are Wolfson/Burr-Brown - TI/Cyrrus continue investing time and money into developing new DACs and architectures?
I can tell you it is not for marketing purposes as these products are not sold to the public but used within specific product boards.

LOL! Do you seriously think Wolfson doesn't market its DACs to its (corporate) customers? C'mon.

As for why Wolfson is constantly designing new DACs, it's because its (corporate) customers want themfor whatever reason.

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I appreciate this is all subjective and when people disagree they will find the smallest technical argument to prove their point and the discussion goes a different tangent.

No, it's not all subjective. We can quantify the audibility of sonic differences. That would appear to be outside your realm of specialization, however.

Quote:


Still, this does not answer why some companies pay a premium to use the so-called highest performance DACs provided by Wolfson/TI/Cyrrus/etc, and in their cheaper products buy the cheaper DAC-architectures.

Again, marketing. You can sell a product for more when you can claim to have used the "best" parts. But the best parts technically are not necessarily audibly superior to lesser parts.

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

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post #374 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 03:28 PM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

My background:
The actual architecture and use of PCM analogue encoding in modems/tdm mulitplexors/routers and also video/conferencing network solutions comprising of distributed PCs combined with routers/switches.
So basically the actual use of voice and video processing

Are you an AES member?

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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Anyway back on course at a higher level the question is this; Why are Wolfson/Burr-Brown - TI/Cyrrus continue investing time and money into developing new DACs and architectures?

Lots of reason other than the audibility; some of it is driven by the use of DACS in new areas other than consumer audio where higher resolution is needed. Some of it is a marketing game; someone produces a 192kHz capable chip then so does everyone else. Then there's new chip manufacturing technologies, chip / wafer densities, energy usage and dozens of things that have nothing to do with what is audible or not.

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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

I can tell you it is not for marketing purposes as these products are not sold to the public but used within specific product boards.

That doesn't preclude marketing; how many times have you seen an end manufacturing company brag that they use the latest Burr Brown or whatever? They've got to do it to be perceived as having something "new" to market even if the basics of the underlying technology haven't changed in 20 years...

[snip/]

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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

If we had reached and concluded the basic level that Scientist and Pulliam argue, we would not require any new DAC architectures or high performance chips that are still being manufactured and designed.

Now there's a non-sequitur. Let's keep to real arguments here.

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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Sadly MY literature cannot be posted as it is proprietary training/product information but going along with what I mention above here are some links.

No need to post proprietary work, I would like actual pointers to real research that shows how any of the chip level changes can results in audible artifacts that can be detected in real life. Preferably peer reviewed. Yeah, I know of some, but the stuff that matters (for the purposes of this thread) are the things that make their way into end consumer products.

[snip]

So far you've made an argument equivalent to "the use of gold door handles on my Ford Explorer proves it can go faster than your Ferrari Scuderia ". You sound like you should be in a position to get into the real issues here, not some superficial "it's new, it's gotta be better" nonsense.
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post #375 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 03:29 PM
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mcnarus,
yeah your soooo right, high engineer companies really get sucked into it, sigh.
If a company could increase their product's profit margin they would, in reality they would choose the cheapest DAC and build.

You really think the general public even cares about the architecture or chips/processors used in the product they are buying in audio equipment?

And please do not tell me you (and most others) stay up with current news coming out of DAC manufacturers, basically most people are not interested in daily news or in fact any news of these companies.

Anyway no point saying anymore, sometimes marketing can be about information not blah blah blah, and whatever information I provide you will take the argument to another tangent...
No surprise there.

Edit:
Scientist, let it go please.
Obviously you want to change the argument to lessen my credentials and make this about egos, if you cannot face that there are actually some here who are involved in product design/architecture and use of codecs throughout the years thats fine, I have nothing to prove to you, only to my work and our customers
Your after differences, well duh Wolfson explains the limitations of CD and the reasons of moving forward with newer technology, then there is the difference in their DAC architecture...
If you cannot understand that difference and read the relevant information on their site thats your problem not mine.


Cheers
DT
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post #376 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 03:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Some CD tests are listed here.

Can you point me to the articles which specifically conclude that there are no discernible differences in perceived audio quality between CD players? I'd rather not track down and purchase OOP magazines if the articles therein aren't germane to this discussion. Are there any such newer than 1990, which is the most recent article referencing CD players which I can find in the link you provided?

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An audio group in Spain has also been doing such tests.

Based upon the group's mission statement as described here, http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_marco.htm , they would seem to have a considerable bias, which is what we're trying to avoid. Is there any professional organization which has done conclusive ABX testing of CD players?
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post #377 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 03:58 PM
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Originally Posted by Ron Party View Post

That explains your conclusion

Where in my posts do you see a conclusion? I merely reported the test conditions and what the participants witnessed.

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post #378 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 04:10 PM
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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Scientist, let it go please.
Obviously you want to change the argument to lessen my credentials and make this about egos,

Um, how do you figure that? I'm asking for something from you that's actually on the topic of this thread and about which you claim to have some knowledge. So far you've done nothing but vague hand waving, that doesn't really get you any points: on the internet everyone is a Nobel prize winning rocket scientist...

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Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

if you cannot face that there are actually some here who are involved in product design/architecture and use of codecs throughout the years thats fine,

I have and continue to work with many such people.

Quote:
Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

I have nothing to prove to you, only to my work and our customers

And yet you felt it necessary to post here in the first place....

Quote:
Originally Posted by DulcetTones View Post

Your after differences, well duh Wolfson explains the limitations of CD and the reasons of moving forward with newer technology, then there is the difference in their DAC architecture...
If you cannot understand that difference and read the relevant information on their site thats your problem not mine.

I didn't see anything on the site that would approach peer reviewed science showing that there are actual audible differences between the were and older technologies. Perhaps you can make it more explicit where such information might be hiding? Marketing to engineers is still marketing...
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post #379 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 04:28 PM
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Can you point me to the articles which specifically conclude that there are no discernible differences in perceived audio quality between CD players? I'd rather not track down and purchase OOP magazines if the articles therein aren't germane to this discussion.

You asked for articles. I provided some. If you're too lazy to go look them up, what do you want me to do?

Quote:


Are there any such newer than 1990, which is the most recent article referencing CD players which I can find in the link you provided?

Since when does science have an expiration date? Nobody's going to keep publishing tests if they aren't getting any different results.

Quote:


Based upon the group's mission statement as described here, http://www.matrixhifi.com/ENG_marco.htm , they would seem to have a considerable bias, which is what we're trying to avoid.

Yes, a scientific approach to audio is a bias we just can't tolerate. If you don't like their tests, why don't you do your own?

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

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post #380 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 04:29 PM
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yeah your soooo right, high engineer companies really get sucked into it, sigh.

No, but apparently some of their engineers do.

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

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post #381 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 05:57 PM
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I have to admit. Even if a $2000 CD player did sound slightly better, I would not spend that kind of money on a CD player.

Looking at this from another slant, are CD players good enough? They are limited to 44.1khz and 16 bits by design. I found an article once that concluded CD players may not have a high enough bit rate ( http://www.meridian-audio.com/ara/coding2.pdf.)

And of course there was SACD and DVD Audio, so either someone else felt that CD was lacking, or we are being given a snow job. I feel digital audio IS the best method for transporting and playing back high fidelity audio. The media is just the storage mechanism. Given the best possible fidelity (whatever that bit rate/depth is,) why shouldn't any decent DAC be able to produce a near perfect analog output ?

If jitter is the issue, the receiver should just buffer up the data. Forget about S/DPIF and HDMI. USB storage is a commodity technology, AND some receivers support it now. But low res MP3s store on the USB storage are not going to give you the best results.

My proposal would be to start shipping our music as higher than CD resolution losslessy compressed files on some standard optical media. And to sell USB storages devices that can autoload this media onto their internal drives. They don't even need a fancy readout, the receivers can provide the GUI.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #382 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 07:07 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

You asked for articles. I provided some. If you're too lazy to go look them up, what do you want me to do??

  • I asked if anyone could provide articles related to CD player ABX comparisons
  • You provided a long list of articles which span a wide variety of ABX topics
  • The articles are generally from older, hardcopy magazines and are not easily found
  • I ask specifically which articles from within the list are specific to my question so that I may minimize the number of OOP magazines I must find and purchase
  • Rather than answer this simple question, you accuse me of laziness?
Presumably you do know which articles answer my question because you've read them yourself.

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Since when does science have an expiration date?

When evolving technology and design may have significantly affected the nearly 20-year-old results?

Quote:


Nobody's going to keep publishing tests if they aren't getting any different results.?

A glib answer which sounds a lot like convenient supposition.


Quote:


Yes, a scientific approach to audio is a bias we just can't tolerate. If you don't like their tests, why don't you do your own?

Feigned obtuseness in an attempt to be witty doesn't obviate my question.

Being snarky, defensive and rude will not help persuade folks to your point of view. Welcome to my ignore list.
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post #383 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 07:15 PM
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I ask specifically which articles from within the list are specific to my question so that I may minimize the number of OOP magazines I must find and purchase
Rather than answer this simple question, you accuse me of laziness

?
Read the titles of the articles fer crissakes. That's what I mean by lazy.

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When evolving technology and design may have significantly affected the nearly 20-year-old results?

Like what? Seriously, CD reproduction was a mature technology 20 years ago. There have been lots of new products. But really new design, of a magnitude that would make one even think that differences between players would suddenly become audible? I can't think of one.

Besides, the burden of proof here is pretty clear. If someone thinks they've developed a new design that really produces audibly superior results, there's a standard scientific technique for demonstrating that. How come nobody has?

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Being snarky, defensive and rude will not help persuade folks to your point of view.

Someone unwilling to read the titles of articles, let alone their contents, is not likely to be persuadable of anything.

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

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post #384 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 07:20 PM
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I sometimes think these threads serve little purpose. I am pretty sure you can't prove anything to anyone which is opposite of the something they have convinced themselves of.

Another problem is the human perception is involved. And perception is difficult to quantify. People don't have the same hearing. And I think we can all agree we have biases which make it hard to be objective.

It's likely to pointless to tell someone they did not hear a difference they say they have heard. They well likely take that as a personal attack. Didn't you just call them a liar by saying they did NOT hear a difference? Whether they heard it, or just perceived that they heard it is mostly irrelevant.

I have read a number of articles on blind audio testing. I am convinced that amps and CD players are very hard to tell apart. But that does not mean they sound alike. Given that audio circuits have distortion, and distortion is likely not identical from product to product it's clear these devices have the potential to sound different. I just suspect that it's subtle.

Some people say they hear dramatic differences from audio product to audio product. I always doubt those. Not because I think they are lying. Because I think our perception is failible. I am also not sure people use the same definition of dramatic than I do. I consider the difference between an AM transistor radio and a good stereo to be dramatic Dramatic means most everyone should notice a difference.

I think personal biases, differences in perception, differences in semantics and differences in personality will also cause these threads to degenerate into flame fests.

I think we can all agree this topic is slippery, and coming to a concensus is likely impossible.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #385 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 07:41 PM
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Another problem is the human perception is involved. And perception is difficult to quantify. People don't have the same hearing. And I think we can all agree we have biases which make it hard to be objective.

This is true if you just pretend that the science of perceptual psychology does not exist. But it's a real science that does quantify perceptions and does deal with biases.

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It's likely to pointless to tell someone they did not hear a difference they say they have heard. They well likely take that as a personal attack. Didn't you just call them a liar by saying they did NOT hear a difference? Whether they heard it, or just perceived that they heard it is mostly irrelevant.

Poppycock. Nobody's being accused of lying. What they "stand accused of" is misinterpreting the evidence of their own senses.

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I just suspect that it's subtle.

We don't have to "suspect" things. We have empirical means of testing them.

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I think we can all agree this topic is slippery, and coming to a concensus is likely impossible.

There is a consensus, at least within the scientific community. If people want to believe something else, that's fine. But if they want to promote such pseudoscientific beliefs, they should expect to get roughed up a bit in a forum with the word "science" in the title.

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

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post #386 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 09:55 PM
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My mind can be changed. Just not by an infinite amount of "I bought a new cd player, it sounded better than my old one!"-style testimony. We need somebody who claims to be able to hear a difference between well-built CD players to identify which they are listening to by the sound and the sound alone.

"Identifying" cd-players in a sighted test is like playing 3 card monty with all three cards face up. Its not hard. I'm asking people that claim to have apparently superior hearing to prove it by using that hearing to distinguish equipment which I say is indistinguishable. Anyone who can do that would stop me from posting on the subject ever again.
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post #387 of 540 Old 06-13-2008, 10:13 PM
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Isn't it possible that the differences are too subtle to distinguish two players, yet one player could be more pleasing over the long haul?

I personally believe CD players are going to sound alike, but I am willing to accept the above statement could be true.

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post #388 of 540 Old 06-14-2008, 04:32 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Isn't it possible that the differences are too subtle to distinguish two players, yet one player could be more pleasing over the long haul?

I personally believe CD players are going to sound alike, but I am willing to accept the above statement could be true.

If there were subtle sonic differences then, yes. People gain familiarity with a sound and that familiarity is comfortable. I've seen it many times with speaker systems that sound similar to each other. Listen to one for a time and you will prefer it over the other. Listen to the other for a time and it will sound better than the first one in a comparison.

But when there is no audible difference, I would tend to doubt it. It would be the same thing as saying that two units sounded the same in a bias controlled test and then sounded different later on in another bias controlled test. It doesn't seem very likely to me.
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post #389 of 540 Old 06-14-2008, 08:06 AM
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I believe the sound difference, if any, will come from DAC structure design. Let's assume engineers know what they are doing, so there are no bottleneck in the audio flow to limit DAC performance. There are 4 different ways that I know:

1. Entry level -- one DAC controls L/R
2. Mid level -- dual differential design one DAC for L, one DAC for R
3. Mid high Level -- 2 DACs for L and 2 DACs for R
4. High end -- 4 DACs for L and 4 DACs for R

Does more always mean better and if better, how much better?
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post #390 of 540 Old 06-14-2008, 08:43 AM
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Isn't it possible that the differences are too subtle to distinguish two players, yet one player could be more pleasing over the long haul?

Let's assume you listen to two CD players "over the long haul." And you ultimately decide that one is "more pleasing" than the other. You should then be able to conduct the following blind test: Listen to both (blind), and determine which sounds more pleasing to you. Repeat 15-20 times. Does the same deck sound more pleasing each time? If so, then yes, there is a real difference. If your choices come closer to 50-50, then there isn't.

Now, a real psychoacoustician could tell you why there is no chance that you'd get a positive result here. If anyone thinks he's wrong, they're welcome (noobligated) to try it themselves.

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

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