James Randi’s attack on high performance audio - Page 22 - AVS Forum
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post #631 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 09:56 AM
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Originally Posted by mike lavigne View Post

yes, and personally i am familiar with most of them.


If you can not understand the flaws with that. Or how the mind and the ears work. Then you are exactly the sucker these guys market to.
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post #632 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:04 AM
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Originally Posted by mike lavigne View Post

sorry, i did not mean toi imply that you specifically were saying that the test was rigged.....only that some would likely say that here.

OTOH the test was most definetly not scientific. we were told which cable was being listened to and we all could easily see the moderator changing the cables. before the test all the cables were sitting on the floor and he simply grabbed one and connected it.

i have heard this demo done previously when the Valhalla was the top cable....the differences then were not as easy to hear. my strong opinion for this was that this time the rest of the system (other than the cdp to preamp interconnect) was all wired with the Odin interconnect and Odin speaker cable. the reason for changing the cdp to preamp cable is that that is the interconnect that typically has the most effect on performance and can be done quickly without powering down the system.

IMHO the Odin has such greater resolving power that the system is much more revealing of cable differences. this viewpoint is consistent with my previous posts regarding the need for ideal conditions for cable differences to be easily heard.

i wish that all here could have been there.


The effect of human psychological preconception and expectation can be extremely subtle, but nonetheless, produce erroneous results with implications which seem "quite profound." This is clearly illustrated by the historical example of ostensibly well controlled Scientific experimental protocols designed to test the central precept of Homeopathy: the supposed "memory" ( I cringe, just typing that ) of water. Several procedures designed and implemented by reputedly competent Scientists, initially suggested the effect was quite real, much to the dismay of critical thinkers, everywhere. Of course, subsequent testing more rigorously designed to completely eliminate any possibility of psychological influence, resulted in zero confirmation of such a patently ludicrous notion.
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post #633 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by mike lavigne View Post

i will simply add that particularly with the last 2 changes....the degree of easily perceived differences was so obvious it was laughable. you could make the case that it sounded like a different system altogether between Valhalla and Odin.....or maybe different speakers.

also; when they say larger bandwidth...that means more down low as well as up high. the level of ambient information (which exsits on a bed of low frequency) was huge. it was as much qualitative as quantitative.

Again I have to ask: Why are you leaving this money on the table?
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post #634 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:27 AM
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Originally Posted by speco2003 View Post

If you can not understand the flaws with that. Or how the mind and the ears work. Then you are exactly the sucker these guys market to.

i see someone playing a piano and hear it, then i see someone playing a trumpet and hear it.

i think i am qualified to tell the difference between the sound of a piano and trumpet blinded.

it is all about degrees of difference. when the difference reaches a high enough degree; it is obvious that the difference is not trivial. i am saying that the differences were not trivial.
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post #635 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:33 AM
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Originally Posted by rto View Post

The effect of human psychological preconception and expectation can be extremely subtle, but nonetheless, produce erroneous results with implications which seem "quite profound." This is clearly illustrated by the historical example of ostensibly well controlled Scientific experimental protocols designed to test the central precept of Homeopathy: the supposed "memory" ( I cringe, just typing that ) of water. Several procedures designed and implemented by reputedly competent Scientists, initially suggested the effect was quite real, much to the dismay of critical thinkers, everywhere. Of course, subsequent testing more rigorously designed to completely eliminate any possibility of psychological influence, resulted in zero confirmation of such a patently ludicrous notion.

A bit overstated, but may be true with the average person. However with experience, much of the psychological influence is easily overcome. After spending 3 days at the RMAF, I can assure you that when going from room to room, listening to system after system, you quickly get to know what sounds good, what sounds bad, and what's in between. What provides a huge, clear soundstage. And what sounds like a big huge ball of muddy unintelligable mess.

In several cases, at first glance, equipment that I thought would simply have to suck, surpised me in how great it sounded. Other systems looked so great, that they looked like Art, but once sound started coming out, I was looking for the door.

One system in particular that I had extremely high hopes for and was looking forward to hearing, was one of the biggest dissapointments for me out of the whole show. And it consisted of some very well known and recommended equipment and speakers on this forum.

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post #636 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by kromkamp View Post

Again I have to ask: Why are you leaving this money on the table?

as previously stated in this thread a few times; i am ready and willing to accept this challenge under my terms, in my room....if someone else will do the leg-work.

if someone will step forward i am game.....but i do not have the time or energy to deal with the process of putting it all together.

if i was confident that it could be worked out in the end then maybe the money would entice me to dive in......but i am skeptical. i read the thread on Randi's site involving Kramer and my friend Michael (Wellfed) regarding the chip. i would not really want to get into that personally. i am not pointing fingers....it just appears to be a quite stressful proceedure.
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post #637 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:48 AM
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Originally Posted by mike lavigne View Post

as previously stated in this thread a few times; i am ready and willing to accept this challenge under my terms, in my room....if someone else will do the leg-work.

if someone will step forward i am game.....but i do not have the time or energy to deal with the process of putting it all together.

if i was confident that it could be worked out in the end then maybe the money would entice me to dive in......but i am skeptical. i read the thread on Randi's site involving Kramer and my friend Michael (Wellfed) regarding the chip. i would not really want to get into that personally. i am not pointing fingers....it just appears to be a quite stressful proceedure.

I think Randi would be quite willing to work with you on your terms, but I don't know how you would get someone else to fully do the legwork (maybe if they were to receive a portion of your winnings).

It just seemed to me that if you had time to participate fully in the above-mentioned demo you would also be willing to invest some amount of time into this, particularly with 62.5 meters of Odin on the line

If the Fremer test actually happens, would that give you confidence that things could be worked out?
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post #638 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:52 AM
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I humbly quote my previous post;

"i admit that cable comparing is not all that much fun and in a sense....work. i don't blame people for not wanting to do it. it can be very tedious and make my brain hurt. when i am comparing cables my wife knows not to interrupt and i don't answer the phone of allow any distraction. i need to focus......and be in the correct mood. i don't do it late at night when i'm tired."

If this doesn't speak loudly to the inconsistency of human testing abilities and the psychoacoustic factor I don't know what does...........

........ If an interconnect or speaker cable changes the sound it is because it is either a "filter" of sorts, or improperly built, and the truth is both can be built and sold for $5 or $5000.

And beauty is in the ear of the beholder.


If someone could hear the difference between identical 8' lengths of 12 gauge and 14 gauge zip cords - then I'd be really impressed
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post #639 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post

If someone could hear the difference between identical 8' lengths of 12 gauge and 14 gauge zip cords - then I'd be really impressed

At about 50,000 ft of both, I bet I could, but at 8ft I'd bet 12 gauge zip sounds the same as 12 gauge Pear.

Why is there NO perfect equipment, only compromises?
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post #640 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 10:59 AM
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Originally Posted by kromkamp View Post

I think Randi would be quite willing to work with you on your terms, but I don't know how you would get someone else to fully do the legwork (maybe if they were to receive a portion of your winnings).

It just seemed to me that if you had time to participate fully in the above-mentioned demo you would also be willing to invest some amount of time into this, particularly with 62.5 meters of Odin on the line

If the Fremer test actually happens, would that give you confidence that things could be worked out?

i'll split it 50/50 with you if you want to get involved.

regarding the Fremer test; it would depend on how the test is set up.
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post #641 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 11:00 AM
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However with experience, much of the psychological influence is easily overcome.

From Floyd Toole's 1994 paper, "Hearing is Believing vs. Believing is Hearing: Blind vs. Sighted Listening Tests, and Other Interesting Things."
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Overall, though, it was clear that the psychological factor of simply revealing the identities of the products altered the preference ratings by amounts that were comparable with any physical factor examined in these tests, including the differences between the products themselves. That an effect of this kind should be observed is not remarkable, nor is it unexpected. What is surprising is that the effect is so strong, and that it applies about equally to experienced and inexperienced listeners.

It wouldn't be scientific of me, really, to trust just one study like this. But I still say, trust your ears, but don't trust your brain---even if it is experienced!

Michael
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post #642 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 11:09 AM
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Originally Posted by Rutgar View Post

A bit overstated, but may be true with the average person. However with experience, much of the psychological influence is easily overcome.

I take strong issue with this assertion. All of us can identify with the experiences you relate in the balance of your post, which hardly negate the fact that it can be extraordinarily difficult to account for psychological influence. Scientifically trained researchers conducting trials in the aforementioned Homeopathy protocol had absolutely no desire to confirm a precept they presumably believed was entirely spurious, but subconsciously effected the outcome despite their ( better ) conscious judgement, and produced misleading data-sets.
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post #643 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 11:10 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

But I still say, trust your ears, but don't trust your brain---even if it is experienced!

\\\\\\


We see this all the time from performers. They ask the monitor engineer to change something, and sometimes by the engineer just moving his hand towards the mixing desk they think he made the change.

The effect of the brain and enviroment on the ear is well documented. Audiofools do not seem to want to understand that though.

Did you wake up angry today, have too much to drink, have a cold? Are you sad, happy etcc? These things all influence the ear more than the snake oil sold.
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post #644 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 11:11 AM
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A pity no one brought in a video recorder. I'd love to have heard the presentation.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #645 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 11:18 AM
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OTOH the test was most definetly not scientific. we were told which cable was being listened to and we all could easily see the moderator changing the cables. before the test all the cables were sitting on the floor and he simply grabbed one and connected it.

i have heard this demo done previously when the Valhalla was the top cable....the differences then were not as easy to hear. my strong opinion for this was that this time the rest of the system (other than the cdp to preamp interconnect) was all wired with the Odin interconnect and Odin speaker cable. the reason for changing the cdp to preamp cable is that that is the interconnect that typically has the most effect on performance and can be done quickly without powering down the system.

IMHO the Odin has such greater resolving power that the system is much more revealing of cable differences. this viewpoint is consistent with my previous posts regarding the need for ideal conditions for cable differences to be easily heard.

i wish that all here could have been there.

MikeL, thanks for the details!

I have no doubt we all would have similar conclusions if we were involved. Heck too me they all would have sounded great and I would be just always looking for the "refreshments"

It is not "open-minded" to reject knowledge - Bob Lee
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post #646 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 11:28 AM
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Audiofools do not seem to want to understand that though.

speco, will you give the namecalling a rest? This debate is heated enough as it is.

Michael
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post #647 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 11:36 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mike lavigne View Post

i'll split it 50/50 with you if you want to get involved.

regarding the Fremer test; it would depend on how the test is set up.

I don't expect anyone to win the challenge, so I'm not the best candidate

But, there seem to be many people here who *do* think cables make a difference and I'd certainly encourage them to get involved with that kind of money on the line, and no particular skill involved to win it except the organizational kind....

What I mean by the Fremer test is that if it actually happens, would that sufficiently convince you that a)you would be able to come up with an agreement of terms for your test, and b)that Randi is honorable enough to keep up his end of the deal if you were to pass the test?
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post #648 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 12:21 PM
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Pear Cable's response to the challenge. Basically suggests it is bogus but is applauds Fremer is doing it anyway.

Michael
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post #649 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 12:32 PM
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I have some quick observations on a less controversial front:

As a low-end guy with a pair of measly $800 Def-Tech bipolars, I'm glad I am not stuck with the "Golden Ears" affliction. My speakers (and Technics Surround sound decoder, and Marantz Monoblocks) sound absolutely phenomenal to me, I don't want to know what I'm missing.

That being said, I also don't want to "p$ss in anyone's coffee." If people derive a great deal of pleasure dabbling in the High-End audio arena, then there is no reason to denigrate them. They are doing what they love, and if that involves meticulously matching interconnects with speakers and amplifiers looking for that undefinable "open, airy spaciousness", then more power to them. I get a great deal of pleasure in similarly silly endeavors, so who am I to judge?

The science on this is pretty irrefutable, so for those of us who accept the science and frankly just plain common sense that things like wires and amplifiers (for the most part) impart little to no sonic impact, we can blissfully save several thousand dollars on green pens and power cords and other such nonsense. But we shouldn't be in the business of telling others what they do or don't hear. I know it drives me crazy when my mom tells me how much happier I am now that I have children. How the hell does she know what makes me happy?

The Amazing Randi is doing the world a service by debunking these charlatans. Most of us would agree that fraud is a crime. If our insurance company, or bank defrauds us, we want those people to got to jail. But somehow when a "psychic" defrauds us, that's somehow OK? As long as I know I'm at a magic show, that's fine. But when you claim to be legitimate and are not, then you deserve to go to jail as well.

As for Randi' motives, what do I care? If my kid has a disease, and the doctor cures her, what do I care whether the doctor's motives were selfish? (See the TV show "House" for many fine examples of this.) As long as Randi is sincere and gives people a fair chance to win the $1 Million, that's all that matters. From everything I've seen, Randi is more than fair.

Mike

It's toe-tappingly tragic!
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post #650 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 01:32 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

Pear Cable's response to the challenge. Basically suggests it is bogus but is applauds Fremer is doing it anyway.

""as a condition of his challenge acceptance....no psychic, supernatural or paranormal abilities.""

Excellent. IOW, all he has to do is find the diff.

Now, will it be accepted under those conditions?

Cheers, John

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post #651 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 01:42 PM
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Yes, Randi accepted this condition in his last writing on the matter. Three quotes:
Quote:


Regardless, we of course have the right to accept this claim as paranormal in nature, and we hereby do accept it as such. We will even create, for the purposes of this experimental protocol, a special category of "golden ears," just for you.

Quote:


The JREF believes that if the claims made for these cables – not to mention the claim that vinyl plastic can be magnetized! – are genuine, that would constitute a paranormal event. And, it’s our challenge, so we can make this provision if we want to, and you should welcome the scent of a million dollars wafting your way!

Quote:


Well, let’s leave out the designation “paranormal,” then, since it seems that it intrudes on your sensitivity standards.

Here's something interesting: I don't think Randi understood what the term "interconnects" means. That is, Michael Fremer said this:
Quote:


In addition I would like to include interconnects unless you concede that they make a difference in which case there’s no need....

To which Randi responded:
Quote:


As for the “interconnects” you mention, it would be my intention to simply mechanically – by hand – connect or disconnect the speaker leads, as dictated by the randomizer means we employ…

Clearly he thought that by "interconnects" Fremer was referring to some method of connecting the speaker cables into the system, not the cables used to connect sources to amps, etc.

Michael
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post #652 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 01:43 PM
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Thanks for the heads-up Mike.
Quote:


Fremer has also asked that interconnects be tested in addition to loudspeaker cables unless James Randi will concede that they affect sound quality.

Gee, what interconnects do you think Fremer would choose?

Quote:


But we shouldn't be in the business of telling others what they do or don't hear. I know it drives me crazy when my mom tells me how much happier I am now that I have children. How the hell does she know what makes me happy?

You be nice to your mother now and remember one thing. The reason grandparents and grandchildren get along so well is because they both have a common enemy

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post #653 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 02:12 PM
 
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From the Gizmodo article linked to above:

Quote:


No test protocol for the challenge was stipulated in the original accusation, however James Randi reserves the right to change test protocol in any way he personally desires.

Wrong. Randi does not change the test protocol in any way. He (or whoever is involved in the test) and the challenger agree on a test protocol. It is up to the challenger to define what his ability is, come up with a test protocol that demonstrates that ability and define what will be a successful result. Nearly all challengers fail this requirement. The JREF (Randi's organization) will accept or reject the test protocol. Their main concern will be that the test protocol will produce a result that is self-evident. In other words, a result that is obvious and cannot be disputed. It's possible that the JREF may make suggestions but the challenger doesn't have to accept the suggestions, neither does the JREF have to accept the test protocol unless it's safistifed with it.

It is my feeling that Fremer will ultimately back out, especially when he figures out that he will be unable to show that he can reliably hear any differences, and will come up with umpteen accusations against the JREF orgainization.
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post #654 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by alan halvorson View Post

From the Gizmodo article linked to above:



Wrong. Randi does not change the test protocol in any way. He (or whoever is involved in the test) and the challenger agree on a test protocol. It is up to the challenger to define what his ability is, come up with a test protocol that demonstrates that ability and define what will be a successful result. Nearly all challengers fail this requirement. The JREF (Randi's organization) will accept or reject the test protocol. Their main concern will be that the test protocol will produce a result that is self-evident. In other words, a result that is obvious and cannot be disputed. It's possible that the JREF may make suggestions but the challenger doesn't have to accept the suggestions, neither does the JREF have to accept the test protocol unless it's safistifed with it.

It is my feeling that Fremer will ultimately back out, especially when he figures out that he will be unable to show that he can reliably hear any differences, and will come up with umpteen accusations against the JREF orgainization.

i do not expect Fremer to back out unless Kramer (Randi's protocol guy) is unwilling to allow a protocol that supports a proper listening environment with a system and room that is high resolution friendly. Fremer is not one to back down at all. OTOH Fremer has a temper and Kramer can be (understandably considering the $$$'s) pretty relentless.......if this falls apart it will be there.

and i am not pointing fingers but just stateing facts.

i personally do not want to deal with Mr. Kramer and then have to be focused for a test. it would simply add too much drama.
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post #655 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 02:55 PM
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I absolutely agree that the room and equipment ought to be top notch. It is in Randi's best interest, too, assuming he is right (as I believe he is) that Fremer will fail. There needs to be no question that JREF was willing to accomodate Mr. Fremer's listening preferences in every way reasonably possible without compromising the blindness of the test.

Michael
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post #656 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 03:16 PM
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I still don't get it. How can anything that are "so easy to hear" be so difficult to prove in a controlled test? And with 1 million as a prize!!

Sound and video is not magic, it is pure physics. Physics that can be magical
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post #657 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 03:17 PM
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A temper? Not a bipolar disorder I hope!

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #658 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 03:20 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Michael Grant View Post

I absolutely agree that the room and equipment ought to be top notch. It is in Randi's best interest, too, assuming he is right (as I believe he is) that Fremer will fail. There needs to be no question that JREF was willing to accomodate Mr. Fremer's listening preferences in every way reasonably possible without compromising the blindness of the test.


The same Fremer that gave a 45K$ transport/DAC glowing report, that measured worse than a beaten up 20$ DVD player from china?

I must say that in most cases, the one that hear these "differences" are the same that:
*tells all that one need a system that can resolve all those details.
*and the same person having a noisey tube amp and other stuff, making the system waaaay un-detailed.

Isn't that funny?

Sound and video is not magic, it is pure physics. Physics that can be magical
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post #659 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 03:26 PM
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I'm sympathetic to what you're saying, but the point is that it doesn't do Randi any good to give Fremer an easy excuse if he fails.

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post #660 of 1770 Old 10-15-2007, 03:30 PM
 
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Quote:


The same Fremer that gave a 45K$ transport/DAC glowing report, that measured worse than a beaten up 20$ DVD player from china?

True and funny.
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