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post #31 of 33 Old 05-04-2013, 06:37 AM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The Harmon-Kardon 3490 is unusual in that it actually HAS a large power transformer and filter caps; very unusual in ANY receiver these days. That's why it sounds as good as it does.

Are you aware that the new Harman Kardon AVRs use SMPS?
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post #32 of 33 Old 05-04-2013, 08:53 AM
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Originally Posted by rntlee View Post

Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

The fundamental problem with HT receivers is very simple; they skimp on the power supply.

Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

Sadly, there are no published objective listening tests which support this bit of audiophile conviction.

Here's one:

Actually this is an interesting read.

"Even with all the levels carefully matched, and even in conditions where none of the receivers were ever pushed past their limits, the Pioneer SX-1980 simply beat the hell out of the other receivers. Six of the eight panelists picked the SX-1980 as their favorite. All of them praised its awesome bass power, which was by far the most noticeable difference in the sound. "Not only is there more bottom end, it sounds tighter, too," one panelist said. (Note to all the audio smarty-pants out there: No, this isn't because Pioneer "goosed" the bass by artificially boosting it, as you'll see in the lab measurements.)"

Reading the rest of the article, I see no reason to agree with the conclusion:

"Does this test mean that vintage receivers are better than new receivers? Of course not. "

In fact, the vintage receiver that most closely matches a modern "separates" performance with > 150 wpc was found to sound better in a level-matched, blind listening test. I can't interpret the sentence "All of them praised its awesome bass power, which was by far the most noticeable difference in the sound." any other way than to conclude that the vintage receiver bested the new receivers.

I find three possible explanations. One is that the bench tests were asymmetrical with the receivers performance into the Mirage speakers which is possible but would be unusual for a classic SS power amplifier design. The amp might have had nonflat response into the speaker load since there was no evidence that it was tested that way. Another is that the test's kinda loosey-goosey flavor of double blind was actually single blind. Finally, there appears to be no formal monitoring to ensure that none of the amplifiers were clipping at least part of the time.

It appears to be a test that could bear repeating with additional controls. I'm not going to dismiss the results, but I'm also not going to build new science on them without better confirmation.
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post #33 of 33 Old 10-31-2015, 02:43 PM
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Re: Post #7

"The hidden agenda in the above suggestion is the issue of level matching. If you want to be sure that the amp comparison is on level ground, the outputs of the amp need to be matched within +/- 0.1 dB across the audio band. This takes a source of test signals (a CD or DVD can do this) and a voltmeter that is monitoring the voltage across the loudspeaker terminals. Using a SPL meter is a non-starter because acoustic measurements are inherently unstable for this level of precision."

I have seen this argument in many forums. I have also seen the published articles and 'challenges' for ABX comparisons. It seems that the necessity of level matching to that degree in order to assure no 'difference' (or, 'that the amp comparison is on level ground') basically forces the amps to sound more alike. I could understand volume level matching to a maximum spl, but not to that extreme across the frequency band. Many amps don't give specs with that low value of uncertainty in frequency response. This seems to effectively be an argument for using good equalizers to get the desired frequency response.
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