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Originally Posted by rntlee
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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