Jazz enthusiast best 2.1 system advice - AVS Forum
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Old 10-02-2012, 09:36 AM - Thread Starter
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My step father is a big jazz enthusiast I want to get him a 2.1 system that will allow him to fully enjoy his CDs. I was thinking a good Denon reciever and some Martin logan speakers. my question is what do you guys suggest and also should i pick up some vinyls and a turntable will it give more original sound. I have been out of the AV world for a couple years now since i moved to Italy so forgive the be for sounding like a noub. so what should i do i have a budget of $3000 but I would perfer to spen alot less. used martin logans would be the idea but let hear you opinions. and i think the vinyls would be a good touch if the sound quality would be good--
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Old 10-02-2012, 10:05 AM
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First, I think you should ask him what he wants. What makes you think he wants a 2.1 set-up? What makes you think he wants large speakers? What makes you think he'll like Martin Logans? Where did you pull that brand from?

Second, I would not advise anyone to get into vinyl from a cold start at this point. If he's got a stack of old records lying around, that's one thing. But starting from scratch makes very little sense for most people. (And even less sense for people who are foisting it on someone else.)

With that in mind, the usual advice:
1. Put most of the money into speakers.
2. Receivers (stereo or AVR) are more cost-effective than separates.
3. AVRs are more complex, but add the advantages of bass management and room correction.
4. Don't spend on wires.

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Old 10-02-2012, 11:01 AM
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I agree with everything mcnarus said, and I'll add that a stereo (not surround) system is simpler and usually better without a subwoofer. Just get good full range speakers that play to a low enough frequency.

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Old 10-02-2012, 05:58 PM
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fwiw, onkyo tx8255 reciever $199 amazon
if you don't mind buying refurbished manuf. from a autherized dealer accessories4less has it for $119

pair of nht classic 3 speakers $800 (have great all round sound from low bass ,mids, to the highs)

marantz cd5004 cd player $350 amazonbuilt like a tank will last a while
refurb accessories4less $250

if strictly listening to jazz i would skip the sub
as for turntable and vinyl having more original sound is totally subjective

i'm so laid back,i'm laid out
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Old 10-02-2012, 08:44 PM
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Is his collection primarily CDs? If he's receptive to using a music server it would make sense to go with an AVR or something like the Harman Kardon 3490 (stereo receiver with digital inputs). Right now the setup below seems like a good fit.

KEF Q900s (accessories4less $1200)
HK 3490 or AVR or the Onkyo already mentioned
Marantz CD5004 already mentioned for disc player

He might be happy with the Q900s without a subwoofer. They have a pretty decent low end (34-36 Hz).

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Old 10-07-2012, 07:43 AM
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I wholly disagree with recommending a cheap avr. It's a waste of money and an over complication of what is supposed to be a simple process. You're paying for a bunch of tech you don't need and sacrificing performance in the only criterion that matters (stereo).

I would look at speakers like Totem, Usher, and swans for best bang for the buck stereo speakers. Then look for an integrated amp like creek, NAD, or Jolida. Or better yet, something like the peachtree nova. As stated before, cabling can be modest, such as monoprice or knuconceptz.

If he wants vinyl and has albums, look on the used market for something like a Thorens, Empire, Rega, vpi, pro-ject, etc as you'll have to spend ten times the price new to match the quality.

If you can go cd, look into the Jolida jd-100a.

For $3k you had have a pretty awesome setup with the usher x-708, peachtree nova, and Jolida 100a

If you needed a sub you could add a REL which doesn't need a sub out.
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Old 10-07-2012, 01:21 PM
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Originally Posted by newrival View Post

I wholly disagree with recommending a cheap avr. It's a waste of money and an over complication of what is supposed to be a simple process. You're paying for a bunch of tech you don't need and sacrificing performance in the only criterion that matters (stereo).

The complication associated with using an AVR as a stereo amp is usually just a matter of turning off the unused speakers. Takes a few minutes.

The so-called waste of money is a negative quantity, because of the large economies of scale associated with buying a high volume mainstream product instead of a low volume specialty product. IOW you can buy a 5.1 AVR for a fraction of what you would pay for a 2.0 channel integrated amp. Perchance you later on want to add a subwoofer or upgrade to surround, the incremental cost for new electronics is zero because you already have all that you need.

For example, considehttp://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-R-S500BL-Natural-Stereo-Receiver/dp/B0044779GI which is Yamaha's mainstream 2 channel integrated amp.

Compare that to http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QQXDVC for a 5.1 AVR

At this time there is a nearly 2:1 cost advantage, with the AVR being the low price alternative!
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:55 AM
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Well, I'd wouldn't recommend a cheaper AVR either, but a little better one. The one Arnyk linked doesn't have room correction. The page has a link to a newer model that does. Having the room correction makes set up of that 'complicated' device very simple. Plug in the mic start room correction, and the AVR will sense what speakers are there, cut off unused ones,,and you are pretty much done.

My only complaint with AVRs is they seem to have a much shorter lifetime than conventional stereo recievers or integrateds. Its not uncommon to hear of recievers and integrateds lasting many many years, until somewhere down the road caps give out. With the ever increasing amount of technology and digital wizardry in an AVR failures such as hdmi board, newtwork card, and other digital failures makes them somewhat more risky for years of enjoyment than the conventional analog integrated.

Even that I'm a fan of AVRs and like the flexibility it affords me, even though my system is only 2 channel, but I can see the allure of the simplicity of a simple 2 channel device.
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Old 10-08-2012, 06:53 AM
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Originally Posted by glangford View Post

Well, I'd wouldn't recommend a cheaper AVR either, but a little better one. The one Arnyk linked doesn't have room correction.

Here we see an example of an attempt to falsify by means of surreptiously changing the requirements beyond those already given. Originally, the standard of comparison was a 2 channel integrated amplifier. Now, a surreptious attempt has been made to raise the standard of comparison.

BTW the post above is a false claim - the AVR I recommended does have room correction. It has manual room correction in the form of manually set equalization and delays. These are features that are typically missing from the original standard - the classic 2 channel integrated amplifier.
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The page has a link to a newer model that does.

Right, and the newer model is still significantly less costly than the most comparable 2 channel integrated amplifier from the same manufacturer. Of course pointing out that my original claim about the economies of scale that are common with AVRs is another opportunity to be gracious that was avoided by my critic.
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Having the room correction makes set up of that 'complicated' device very simple. Plug in the mic start room correction, and the AVR will sense what speakers are there, cut off unused ones,,and you are pretty much done.

Thanks for that!
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My only complaint with AVRs is they seem to have a much shorter lifetime than conventional stereo recievers (sic) or integrateds.

So now we have a claim that would require statistical analysis to be credible, but lacking statistical support.
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Its not uncommon to hear of recievers (sic) and integrateds lasting many many years, until somewhere down the road caps give out.

It is also not uncommon to hear of AVRs that last many years as well. A couple of years ago some friends of mine and I cleaned out a storeroom in a Manhattan office building that was being vacated by one of the largest consumer electronics magazines in the world. it was piled deep in vintage equipment that had been probably been lost track of, including 1 high end power amplifier that we eventually sold for thousands and thousands of dollars, a classic high end CRT-based video projector, and 3 pieces of high end AV test equipment. All still worth similar money on the used equipment market. We also pulled several AVRs out of the store room, some that were over a decade old. They all met original spec when tested on the bench. Their biggest practical problem was the lack of HDMI support which was perfectly understandable given their age. They are back in service.
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With the ever increasing amount of technology and digital wizardry in an AVR failures such as hdmi board, newtwork card, and other digital failures makes them somewhat more risky for years of enjoyment than the conventional analog integrated.

Nice sounding story which while it may be intuitively attractive, fails to pass technical analysis. The fact is that increasing the amount of technology and function doesn't decrease the reliability of electronic gear. Rather, the reliability of electronic gear goes down when the number of IC packages, board sizes, power use and internal interconnections increases. A good example of this is PCs where we see that a modern PC where the exact kinds of added functions mentioned above are packaged into about the same number of increasingly complex chips resulting in gear that is more functional, but with equal or better reliability that is more frequently replaced due to functional obsolescence than anything else. In fact modern AVRs are emptier boxes than ever as a peek inside will reveal.



The above shows the actual implementation of the advanced features in a modern AVR - its just a few chips on a circuit board.

Below, the circuitry from a classic 2 channel receiver:



Notice the large number of soldered connections, with many individual small parts soldered in. Not shown are the many interconnecting cables that are shows in the modern example, above.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:05 AM
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Originally Posted by glangford View Post

Well, I'd wouldn't recommend a cheaper AVR either, but a little better one. The one Arnyk linked doesn't have room correction. The page has a link to a newer model that does. Having the room correction makes set up of that 'complicated' device very simple. Plug in the mic start room correction, and the AVR will sense what speakers are there, cut off unused ones,,and you are pretty much done. . . .
Even that I'm a fan of AVRs and like the flexibility it affords me, even though my system is only 2 channel, but I can see the allure of the simplicity of a simple 2 channel device.

I agree. The simplicity of automated room correction software makes a lot more sense for many people over manual EQ systems. A lower model Denon receiver with Audyssey MultiEQ would work very well because of the built-in EQ filters that it provides, too.

But yeah. Simple 2 channel devices can sometimes be a better choice. My mother constantly gets her Marantz AVR out of wack pressing the wrong buttons. It no longer works for her until I go by her house and figure out what she did and reset it (which is not always easy because she tries to fix it herself with random button pressing--LOL). My brother and I got her that receiver, and a 2 channel stereo receiver or integrated amp would have been a much better choice for her. So depending on how technologically inclined the OP's father is--and whether or not he is willing to learn the AVR--a simpler unit may work better.
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Here we see an example of an attempt to falsify by means of surreptiously changing the requirements beyond those already given. Originally, the standard of comparison was a 2 channel integrated amplifier. Now, a surreptious attempt has been made to raise the standard of comparison.

I didn't see it that way at all. I think he was just trying to offer some alternative advice to help the OP. I don't think he was trying to debate you rolleyes.gif

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Old 10-08-2012, 09:13 AM
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Originally Posted by cel4145 View Post

But yeah. Simple 2 channel devices can sometimes be a better choice. My mother constantly gets her Marantz AVR out of wack pressing the wrong buttons. It no longer works for her until I go by her house and figure out what she did and reset it (which is not always easy because she tries to fix it herself with random button pressing--LOL).

On the newer Yamaha AVRs, the receiver can be easily set up so that pressing one button resets everything needed to get music playing very nicely again.

On mine that button is labelled "CD". Pretty tricky, eh? ;-)

I also put a piece of white tape with an arrow pointing at it next to it for umm, casual users.
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Old 10-08-2012, 09:55 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

On the newer Yamaha AVRs, the receiver can be easily set up so that pressing one button resets everything needed to get music playing very nicely again.
On mine that button is labelled "CD". Pretty tricky, eh? ;-)
I also put a piece of white tape with an arrow pointing at it next to it for umm, casual users.

Yeah. Very clever of you. Having done tech support, I will tell you that your solution lacks imagination of the many ways users of technology will find to mess up a setup. And my mom and her AVR are no exception. LOL

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Old 10-08-2012, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

The complication associated with using an AVR as a stereo amp is usually just a matter of turning off the unused speakers. Takes a few minutes.
The so-called waste of money is a negative quantity, because of the large economies of scale associated with buying a high volume mainstream product instead of a low volume specialty product. IOW you can buy a 5.1 AVR for a fraction of what you would pay for a 2.0 channel integrated amp. Perchance you later on want to add a subwoofer or upgrade to surround, the incremental cost for new electronics is zero because you already have all that you need.
For example, considehttp://www.amazon.com/Yamaha-R-S500BL-Natural-Stereo-Receiver/dp/B0044779GI which is Yamaha's mainstream 2 channel integrated amp.
Compare that to http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B004QQXDVC for a 5.1 AVR
At this time there is a nearly 2:1 cost advantage, with the AVR being the low price alternative!

Room correction is fine, but virtually unnecessary for the situation presented, IMO. For one, room interaction is greatly reduced through the use of monitors. Second, room correction often affects inner detail of the signal. You can argue this point, but I would submit that, if this weren't the case, why would nearly all AVR makers, even those in the upper echelon, incorporate a bypass mode for stereo that eliminates any eq or dsp?

And, as I have had extensive experience with the very 2 channel offering you list, as well as the $1200 Peachtree integrated amp that I suggested, I can say that on every qualitative level the Peachtree was markedly better.

Additionally, unless you have some insider knowledge on your example, you are making some weighty assumptions about the relative performance of the two receivers that you have listed. You seem to suggest that the only reason the 2-channel option is more expensive is due to limited production. While it could be a factor I find it unlikely that it is the major causal factor.
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Old 10-08-2012, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by newrival View Post

Room correction is fine, but virtually unnecessary for the situation presented, IMO.

I agree with you, but only for semantic reasons. I disagree with the phrase "room correction" as being both unnecessarily specific, but also potentially a fallacious concept.

I favor the phrase "system tailoring" because all I really care about is whether the system sounds right to me. Is the problem the speakers, the room or the time of the year or even the recording? I don't really care, I just want it to sound right to me!

This is really a pretty global thing with me. Last week I was sitting in a tent on the east shore of Lake Superior near the Barrett River and was listening to my Sansa Clip+. It didn't sound right to me until I spent some quality time with the built in equalizer.
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For one, room interaction is greatly reduced through the use of monitors.

If you are saying that sitting in the near field tend to minimize the effects of the room, then yes but only minimizes, not eliminates.
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Second, room correction often affects inner detail of the signal. You can argue this point

And I would probably win if only on the grounds that equalization is a linear process that effects large and small signals equally. But, there is more, but different day, different discussion.
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but I would submit that, if this weren't the case, why would nearly all AVR makers, even those in the upper echelon, incorporate a bypass mode for stereo that eliminates any eq or dsp?

Which isn't globally true because the DSP is now required for the operation of the AVR, implementing such generally-used features as bass management and even just the volume control.

Bass managment is at its core just a bunch of equalizers.

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And, as I have had extensive experience with the very 2 channel offering you list, as well as the $1200 Peachtree integrated amp that I suggested, I can say that on every qualitative level the Peachtree was markedly better.

If you can't talk persuasively about your time-synched level matched bias controlled listening tests, not a lot of people are going to pay much attention to that sort of thing.
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Additionally, unless you have some insider knowledge on your example, you are making some weighty assumptions about the relative performance of the two receivers that you have listed. You seem to suggest that the only reason the 2-channel option is more expensive is due to limited production. While it could be a factor I find it unlikely that it is the major causal factor.

You can find whatever you can think up, but if you can't back it up its just dueling assertions.

The tech tests online show no evidence of audible flaws in the AVRs I've been talking about. I was in an total equipment failure situation when I took my AVR out of its box as it were, so it didn't get a lot of bench testing. But its predecessors did. With 40+ years of technical experience around production lines, I know that there's a lot that is very concrete to the phrase "Economies of scale".
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:07 PM
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fair points all, arnyk.

Although, my one and perhaps only gripe would be the same as I have with the general assertion held on this site regarding qualitative comparisons or analysis in the absence of data. I work/have worked with scientists of a wide variety of fields, and I have never experienced any who so categorically dismiss these subjective analyses as the folks here seem to do. Perhaps it is because of the anonymity of the forum and some amount of distrust in those offering perspective - of which I wholly understand -, but it has always been surprising to me. It is not uncommon for. let's say, a chemist to make a qualitative assessment about a compound based on fully subjective data - by feel, if you will. Do we base research on such observations? Of course not, but it is extremely useful to utilize our experience as a filter because qualitative data is often indicative of a pattern of predictable quantitative traits. This is done throughout the scientific world and allows for more "important" science to be done. Often times expediency dictates, and these observations can be invaluable.

I know this horse is a soft mush from being flogged for years around here, but I suppose I wanted my turn with the stick.
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Old 10-08-2012, 02:38 PM
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fair points all, arnyk.
Although, my one and perhaps only gripe would be the same as I have with the general assertion held on this site regarding qualitative comparisons or analysis in the absence of data. I work/have worked with scientists of a wide variety of fields, and I have never experienced any who so categorically dismiss these subjective analyses as the folks here seem to do.

I also work/have worked with scientists of a wide variety of fields, and I have never experienced any other field except perhaps medicine where so many clearly wrong opinions are put forth so earnestly based only on subjective data.
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It is not uncommon for. let's say, a chemist to make a qualitative assessment about a compound based on fully subjective data - by feel, if you will.

Is it not completely unheard of for a chemist to make a qualitative assessment about a compound based on only subjective data when the compound is highly dilute, say at the parts-per-million level?

This compares to what we see with many audiophile myths.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:05 PM
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It is not uncommon for. let's say, a chemist to make a qualitative assessment about a compound based on fully subjective data - by feel, if you will.
Whoa, there, cowboy. There is a world of difference between "subjective data" and "feel." An experienced chemist is acquainted with the chemical properties of a wide variety of substances. On encountering a new substance, he can look at its chemical makeup and draw inferences about what properties it might have. That's not "feel," and it has nothing to do with perception.

We use that same approach here. We see a new amplifier, scan its technical specs and maybe its design, and , without even measuring it, make predictions about whether or not it's likely to be audibly distinguishable from some other amp. We can do that because we have a lot of data about the performance of both amps and ears.

But that's not what the anti-scientists here are doing. They're not drawing on an established data set. They're ignoring all prior science completely, and really are just going on "feel." You've drawn a false analogy.

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Old 10-08-2012, 03:23 PM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

I also work/have worked with scientists of a wide variety of fields, and I have never experienced any other field except perhaps medicine where so many clearly wrong opinions are put forth so earnestly based only on subjective data.
I'm not so sure I agree with your assertion. While I cannot discount your experience, I would recommend you consider the context. Science of all types have been fraught with misleading, untrue, and plain irrational explanations and theories. The study of electronics and, by extension, audio reproduction through them is in its infancy. Look at the beginnings of any discipline and you find a history much like what we are discussing now.
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Is it not completely unheard of for a chemist to make a qualitative assessment about a compound based on only subjective data when the compound is highly dilute, say at the parts-per-million level?
This compares to what we see with many audiophile myths.
Not necessarily, but I think I understand the point you are trying to make
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:32 PM
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Whoa, there, cowboy. There is a world of difference between "subjective data" and "feel." An experienced chemist is acquainted with the chemical properties of a wide variety of substances. On encountering a new substance, he can look at its chemical makeup and draw inferences about what properties it might have. That's not "feel," and it has nothing to do with perception.

To do something "by feel" has everything to do with subjective data. I am sorry, but your assessment of the definition of "feel" must be completely different than mine. If this is the case, I recommend you skip my parenthetical comment and stick to the rest of my argument if you are that hung up on it.

As to me drawing a false analogy, I haven't. You are applying an alternative scenarion based solely on theme as to discredit it. I never said anything about new substances, nor chemical make-ups. This is logic-chopping.
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We use that same approach here. We see a new amplifier, scan its technical specs and maybe its design, and , without even measuring it, make predictions about whether or not it's likely to be audibly distinguishable from some other amp. We can do that because we have a lot of data about the performance of both amps and ears. .

If this is the case, then is not the reciprocal also true?

What I mean to say is that if one is able to glean some insight of how something is experienced from how something measures, can one not, then, glean some insight of how something will measure based on how it sounds?

Before anyone gets bent out of shape on this, let me express on the outset, then I am not an audiophile apologist here. I am merely expressing an opinion about the polarity of these two camps.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:51 PM
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What I mean to say is that if one is able to glean some insight of how something is experienced from how something measures, can one not, then, glean some insight of how something will measure based on how it sounds?

There is a precondition that needs to be considered first. The precondition is whether the something can be heard at all. Many things that audiophiles claim to hear cannot be heard at all.

When it comes to amplifiers, the most common situation is that the amplifier has no discernible sound of its own.

I hoped that this would become clear from my prior comment about things being highly dilute.
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Old 10-08-2012, 03:53 PM
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Science of all types have been fraught with misleading, untrue, and plain irrational explanations and theories.
True, but let's use the proper scientific term. These are hypotheses. Reasonable hypotheses can and should be tested. I'm going to leave the definition of reasonable open for the moment.
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The study of electronics and, by extension, audio reproduction through them is in its infancy. Look at the beginnings of any discipline and you find a history much like what we are discussing now.
But the science we're really talking about is psychoacoustics, which is more than a century and a half old. Granted, there is a lot that we still do not know, but there is a lot that we do know, and a lot for which we have very strong evidence. Science builds on knowledge; it does not simply replace it. The audio subjectivists would have us simply replace it with their own religion.
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What I mean to say is that if one is able to glean some insight of how something is experienced from how something measures, can one not, then, glean some insight of how something will measure based on how it sounds?
Sure, if you "measure" how it sounds properly. If you listen to two amps blind, and one seems to have a weaker high end than the other, and you can detect the difference reliably, then it's reasonable to hazard a guess about what a FR plot will show. If you just plug an amp in and say, this sounds rolled off to me, then, no, there's nothing useful to be gleaned from that, because there are too many alternative explanations for your impression.
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Before anyone gets bent out of shape on this, let me express on the outset, then I am not an audiophile apologist here. I am merely expressing an opinion about the polarity of these two camps.
Yes, I noticed. Thank you.

Let me put my point a little differently: All science begins with the observation of a phenomenon that cannot be explained. The subsequent work includes confirming the observation, then developing and testing hypotheses about an explanation, culminating in the development of a theory. The trouble with all subjective audio observations is that they can be explained already. If you try out a new cable, and it sounds different to you, well, that's not a surprise at all to a knowledgeable scientists. There are multiple possible explanations for that phenomenon. Science is not about finding new explanations when we already have perfectly good ones. Now, if you pass a DBT with that cable, then we may have something worth investigating.

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

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Old 10-08-2012, 04:01 PM
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Originally Posted by newrival View Post

Science of all types have been fraught with misleading, untrue, and plain irrational explanations and theories.

Is that really true, today?

Isn't it true that Science has made tremendous headway when it comes to determining which explanations and theories are misleading, untrue and irrational?

Or are you saying that you don't think that the proper application of the Scientific Method has made any significant headway at all with that problem?
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The study of electronics and, by extension, audio reproduction through them is in its infancy.

Please give your credentials for making such a sweeping and unusual statement.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:40 PM
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Is that really true, today?
Isn't it true that Science has made tremendous headway when it comes to determining which explanations and theories are misleading, untrue and irrational?

tremendous headway? sure, of course it has. But even so, it has not eliminated the extreme viewpoints, but merely changed their delta. If you had a large group of people claiming the psychoacoustic effect of stereo was caused by wandering spirits of another dimension that physically shift the source of the sound in space, then you wouldn't find someone saying that an amplifier imparts its own sound on a signal so radical.
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Or are you saying that you don't think that the proper application of the Scientific Method has made any significant headway at all with that problem?

No, it is not my intention to imply that.
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Please give your credentials for making such a sweeping and unusual statement.
I will amend my statement to make clear my point:
The study of electronics and, by extension, audio reproduction through them is in its *RELATIVE* infancy.
I was drawing a comparison, and did not sufficiently make that clear, it seems.
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Old 10-08-2012, 04:56 PM
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. . . The study of electronics and, by extension, audio reproduction through them is in its *RELATIVE* infancy.
Sorry, but I need to take issue with this statement. Although I know next to nothing about psychoacoustics and hearing, and only some about the physics of sound, I completely understand the electronics used in audio. It is not in its infancy, rather it is very mature.

To illustrate, I can draw a schematic based on what I would like to accomplish. I can then feed it into a spice simulator, and get a pretty exact prediction of how the final device will behave. I can then build the device, and it will not only do as I had planned, but I can also get a good estimation of how many years it will last doing it. I don't think there is anything in electronics that isn't pretty well understood. Otherwise, simulation would not work as well as it does.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:07 PM
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Originally Posted by MarkHotchkiss View Post

Sorry, but I need to take issue with this statement. Although I know next to nothing about psychoacoustics and hearing, and only some about the physics of sound, I completely understand the electronics used in audio. It is not in its infancy, rather it is very mature.

Yes you are partially correct, which is why i amended my statement to include the word relative. Relative to, say, what we now call our fundamental sciences or even our secondary sciences.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:20 PM
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I don't think there is anything in electronics that isn't pretty well understood. Otherwise, simulation would not work as well as it does

There are plenty of things in electronics that aren't understood, which is fantastic for us. New tertiary sciences are developing and we are all the beneficiaries.

Simulation is possible because it is based on what we know, and no one is arguing that. But that in and of itself is not a proof that we are correct, only tha within an acceptable margin our explanations align with what is observable. One only needs to look at gravity as example of this fact. Each discovery gets heralded as definitive only to discover that it too is incomplete or incorrect in some way. It works, however, because each discovery pushes us closer to the truth with each reshaping, and in increments we can manage.

edit:the very first sentence is presumptuous, but this is an axiom of any scientific subject. There is always something we don't understand, even if it is that which we can't conceive currently. If all were known, we could fire all the scientists and just employ engineers.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:43 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

But the science we're really talking about is psychoacoustics, which is more than a century and a half old. Granted, there is a lot that we still do not know, but there is a lot that we do know, and a lot for which we have very strong evidence. Science builds on knowledge; it does not simply replace it. The audio subjectivists would have us simply replace it with their own religion.

And the other side of the coin would be that all their "religion" (subjectivity) be replaced with only what we can currently measure. You may or may not agree with that, but it is undeniably as extreme a view as the other.
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If you listen to two amps blind, and one seems to have a weaker high end than the other, and you can detect the difference reliably, then it's reasonable to hazard a guess about what a FR plot will show. If you just plug an amp in and say, this sounds rolled off to me, then, no, there's nothing useful to be gleaned from that, because there are too many alternative explanations for your impression.

I agree with you whole heartedly, there must be a baseline from which to compare. But don't audiophiles do this to some extent? Compare it with their reference as a baseline, that is?
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Let me put my point a little differently: All science begins with the observation of a phenomenon that cannot be explained. The subsequent work includes confirming the observation, then developing and testing hypotheses about an explanation, culminating in the development of a theory. The trouble with all subjective audio observations is that they can be explained already. If you try out a new cable, and it sounds different to you, well, that's not a surprise at all to a knowledgeable scientists. There are multiple possible explanations for that phenomenon. Science is not about finding new explanations when we already have perfectly good ones. Now, if you pass a DBT with that cable, then we may have something worth investigating.

I was nodding my head the whole paragraph until you said this: "Science is not about finding new explanations when we already have perfectly good ones."

You seem to have an understanding of the practice, so I am puzzled why you would say that. Science is nothing but finding new explanations when we already have perfectly good ones. It is the evolution of understanding. The greatest thing, IMO, about humanity is that there are those who will never settle with "perfectly good" explanations, because occasionally one of those radicals is right. Otherwise, all you have is complacency.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:45 PM
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I sincerely apologize to jeanpaul for completely and utterly derailing this thread.
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Old 10-08-2012, 05:50 PM
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There are plenty of things in electronics that aren't understood, which is fantastic for us.
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edit:the very first sentence is presumptuous, but this is an axiom of any scientific subject.
I'm not sure I buy this. Electronics is not some mystery of the universe that our ancestors stumbled upon and initially subscribed to the work of the gods. Every bit of electronics out there is a man-made object. If we didn't understand it very, very well, we could not have built it in the first place. I think you're confusing natural and applied sciences here.
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There is always something we don't understand, even if it is that which we can't conceive currently. If all were known, we could fire all the scientists and just employ engineers.
I have always understood electronics to be the province of engineers, not scientists. smile.gif

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

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Old 10-08-2012, 06:02 PM
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And the other side of the coin would be that all their "religion" (subjectivity) be replaced with only what we can currently measure. You may or may not agree with that, but it is undeniably as extreme a view as the other.
What does "replaced with only what we can measure" even mean? No scientist says, if we can't measure it, it doesn't exist. You are guilty of a false equivalence here.
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I agree with you whole heartedly, there must be a baseline from which to compare. But don't audiophiles do this to some extent? Compare it with their reference as a baseline, that is?
That's what they say they do, but their baseline isn't stable. (We can prove that scientifically.) An unstable baseline is not a baseline.
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I was nodding my head the whole paragraph until you said this: "Science is not about finding new explanations when we already have perfectly good ones."

You seem to have an understanding of the practice, so I am puzzled why you would say that. Science is nothing but finding new explanations when we already have perfectly good ones.
Give us an example. Galileo didn't derive his theory of the solar system from an urge to "think different." He derived it because the data he had didn't fit the geocentric hypothesis. Einstein did not discover relativity just for variety's sake; he did it because there were phenomena that Newtonian physics didn't adequately explain. If that were not true, there would have been no way to confirm that he was correct.
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The greatest thing, IMO, about humanity is that there are those who will never settle with "perfectly good" explanations, because occasionally one of those radicals is right.
No, those radicals are always and everywhere cranks. The radicals who actually move the ball forward are those who don't accept the fudging of the old theories to fit inconvenient data. Another term for "inconvenient data" is "phenomena we cannot explain."

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

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