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post #91 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 07:51 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

Sure but I dont think you could have a test without some flaws. Again, there is no way a $12K system should not blow away a $700 system. It did not even come close to blowing it away SQ wise.

ok, so here we go.
flaws
#1" small smaple size
#2 no subject to peer reviewed criticism for publication
#3 published on a website with no verifiable means of determining accuracy of reporting
#4 conclusion is poorly written, confusing, and links provided are in spanish to explain some of their conclusions (see below)
#5 "trained listeners" did not have acces to both systems for a period of time to acclimate to differences between them and be able to discern them--while this has not traditionally been a part of dbt tests it should be to minimize the possibility that small differences do exist betwene systems
#6 potential for poor system "synergy" there are multiple variables within this dbt (i.e. many different components switched simultaneously and not tested separately--this essentially invalidates their conclusion entirely from a "science" perspective by itself

additionally one possibility is that that some components did not work well with each other or covered up differences that could have existed if one component at a time were tested.

nowfor those of you who think that one can use other dbt's of unidentical equipment to bridge the gap, you cant except to console yourself. remember this is a "science" forum.


" CONCLUSSIONS

We are convinced that the best way to identify differences in between systems (or individual equipment parts) is by instant commutation. However, some people challenges the use of an external ABX box (usually by people unused to conduct DBT's) arguing that the use of a commuter like the ABX might modify or flatten the response of the systems, masking the differences they so easily claim to hear at home or at an audio store (or even at some shows).

This challenge does not hold water, as we can see from the measurements conducted to the ABX we use:

********http://www.matrixhifi.com/abx1.htm********

*******http://www.matrixhifi.com/abx1_ver2.htm*******

However, and inspite of what we know, we have modify the method to avoid using the ABX box. This is the sole and only reason for the use of the "HABX" (Human ABX) by changing the speaker cables.
Another argument used against DBT's is that testers feels pressed by the surroundings or that time is not sufficient to identify wich is the system or piece of equipment subject of testing.

Well, to avoid being subject of such arguments, we have gone from the usual DBT questioning "wich is the one"? to "wich one you like best"? This should eliminate the pressure that so often is called upon to demerit the use of DBT's, furthermore, on this occasion there were not preagreed a max listening time, and each listener/tester could use the music of his choice.

The results speaks by itself:

How can it be possible that a basic system with such a price difference against the "reference" one, poorly placed, using the cheapest signal cables found, couldn't be distinguished from the more expensive one?

And, most of it all, how come the cheap system was chosen by so many people as the best sounding of the two?

Shouldn't the differences be so evident that it'd be a child's game to pick the best?

Well, we think that each can reach to its own conclussion..."


so those are just a preliminary list. now im not saying there is no merit to this or it doesn't mean anything or isn't interesting but it is far from being the end-all-be-all of proof of anything.
"
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post #92 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 07:53 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

Sure but I dont think you could have a test without some flaws. Again, there is no way a $12K system should not blow away a $700 system. It did not even come close to blowing it away SQ wise.

agreed--thats why this discussion keeps on keepin' on
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post #93 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 07:55 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

Sure but I dont think you could have a test without some flaws. Again, there is no way a $12K system should not blow away a $700 system. It did not even come close to blowing it away SQ wise.

This test's flaws are very significant. In my first post to this thread I suggested a test which would remedy most of them. Unfortunately, the test I proposed would be very time consuming and rather expensive to conduct as well. There have been other tests that are vastly superior to this one and the fact that this one is particularly poor needs to be noted.

Also, a great many people who claim they can tell the difference between a $700 system and a $12,000 system acknowledge that any differences they hear are subtle. The fact of the matter is that some people (who are probably much wealthier than you are) are willing to pay 100x more for a 1% improvement in performance. In the case of those people, this test won't make a bit of difference.

Claims in reviews about dramatic and obvious differences are relative to a very narrow range of performance and cannot be taken at face value. Reviews are a lot like a graph where the values being compared are ranged from 999 to 1001 and the y-axis scale is zoomed in around that range instead of showing the full range of possible values from 0 to 2000 (tiny differences are magnified in order to have a meaningful relative scale at the expense of having a meaningless absolute scale).
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post #94 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

I'm definitely a member of the "there shouldn't be an audible difference" camp, but if I weren't, I wouldn't be convinced by this test.

.

So you are saying that you don't beleive you could tell the difference between to different speakers played on the same system?

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post #95 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:18 PM
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Originally Posted by Raymond Leggs View Post

So you are saying that you don't beleive you could tell the difference between to different speakers played on the same system?

In the case of this test, speakers aren't being compared. I should say that I'm restricting the comparison to purely electronic components of reasonable quality (no super-cheap junk) used within their intended range of operation. Everything else, such as room configuration and speakers would have to be kept the same. That said, I would expect even speakers to begin to sound the same (to me) beyond a certain point.

I don't think that's a particularly important part of what I've posted though.
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post #96 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

This test's flaws are very significant. In my first post to this thread I suggested a test which would remedy most of them. Unfortunately, the test I proposed would be very time consuming and rather expensive to conduct as well. There have been other tests that are vastly superior to this one and the fact that this one is particularly poor needs to be noted.

Also, a great many people who claim they can tell the difference between a $700 system and a $12,000 system acknowledge that any differences they hear are subtle. The fact of the matter is that some people (who are probably much wealthier than you are) are willing to pay 100x more for a 1% improvement in performance. In the case of those people, this test won't make a bit of difference.

Claims in reviews about dramatic and obvious differences are relative to a very narrow range of performance and cannot be taken at face value. Reviews are a lot like a graph where the values being compared are ranged from 999 to 1001 and the y-axis scale is zoomed in around that range instead of showing the full range of possible values from 0 to 2000 (tiny differences are magnified in order to have a meaningful relative scale at the expense of having a meaningless absolute scale).

So you are really just saying that people simply exaggerate the differences all the time

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post #97 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:28 PM
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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

This test's flaws are very significant. In my first post to this thread I suggested a test which would remedy most of them. Unfortunately, the test I proposed would be very time consuming and rather expensive to conduct as well. There have been other tests that are vastly superior to this one and the fact that this one is particularly poor needs to be noted.

Also, a great many people who claim they can tell the difference between a $700 system and a $12,000 system acknowledge that any differences they hear are subtle. The fact of the matter is that some people (who are probably much wealthier than you are) are willing to pay 100x more for a 1% improvement in performance. In the case of those people, this test won't make a bit of difference.

Claims in reviews about dramatic and obvious differences are relative to a very narrow range of performance and cannot be taken at face value. Reviews are a lot like a graph where the values being compared are ranged from 999 to 1001 and the y-axis scale is zoomed in around that range instead of showing the full range of possible values from 0 to 2000 (tiny differences are magnified in order to have a meaningful relative scale at the expense of having a meaningless absolute scale).

which also brings up the issue of statistical power--while im not a statistician per se (and it would be difficult to determine because the magnitude of a detectible difference in this studies'' design is somewhat difficult to determine) but in general the smaller the difference you expect the larger the sample size needs to be to find a difference that could be statistically different.
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post #98 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:31 PM
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

So you are really just saying that people simply exaggerate the differences all the time

it does sound like there may be a contingent that would purchase a magazine subscription to a rag that consistently found every piece of reviewed gear to sound the same--maybe you're on to something here--you could make (another) bundle!
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Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

This site is read by thousands of people every day who just assume that the more money you throw into the gear, the better it will sound. If this thread just educated a few people sheding some light on the whole thing the site did its job. That is the whole point of the forum. Perhaps some of the golden ear people will so some tests of their own now to see if they can indeed tell a difference.

What I think you meant to say is that this test is not going to convince the people who have already invested a ton of dough into components that they might not be able to tell the difference. They dont want to hear that.

Good post, the golden ear and high end audiophiles will never conduct a blind test but they will always complain about "flaws" that they think exist. We already have proof by measurements and component design that state there would be no improvement in sound and these are backed up by DBT's. But audio is religion like to some people and they will believe what ever they want to.

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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

Honestly, this test isn't going to convince anyone who isn't already biased in favor of its conclusions. The writeup of the test makes it sound like it's going to provide definitive proof to shut up the naysayers and then proceeds to be even less convincing than a lot of the other tests that have come before.

It would be much more effective to suggest appropriate equipment in threads where people ask for buying advice than it is to tout a poorly conducted test as definitively ending debate about the cost-effectiveness of fancy audio equipment.

As stated this is not the only DBT posted on this board and your response is typical and we have seen it in every other DBT thread from the night and day difference side.

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So you are really just saying that people simply exaggerate the differences all the time

I read audiophile reviews for comic relief now days or if you really want a laugh head over to the audio asylum.
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post #100 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by MarkSmith View Post

So by that mentality if I have 10,000 to spend on a system I should spend over $9,500 on speakers and the rest on an entry level (pioneer 519 or equivalent ) amp and an insignia Blu-ray player?


If $10K is the number then $8K on speakers, $1K on room treatments and $1K on electronics will give you a far superior sound (including measurements) to having $2K speakers and having $8K in electronics.


There is a small thing called the Law of dimished returns, you should have proper electronics and that starts at X $$$ but after that there isnt really a difference just price tags, name brands, audio porn that all the audio science ignorance soaks up on a daily basis.

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post #101 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

Also, a great many people who claim they can tell the difference between a $700 system and a $12,000 system acknowledge that any differences they hear are subtle. The fact of the matter is that some people (who are probably much wealthier than you are) are willing to pay 100x more for a 1% improvement in performance. In the case of those people, this test won't make a bit of difference.


I'm definitely an example of a guy that finds the differences small but have spent a ton of dough on my system for that last little "nth". My second system is worth less than one of my DVD players in my main system and I'd say it gets me 90% of what I get from the main system. But I'd be willing to bet that if I put it in the same room as the main one the difference would be slighter when operating within its' SPL limits.

There's no way that my second system could reach concert level SPL's like my main system can without a hint of distortion. I suppose there's a value in that too.
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post #102 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 08:55 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm definitely an example of a guy that finds the differences small but have spent a ton of dough on my system for that last little "nth". My second system is worth less than one of my DVD players in my main system and I'd say it gets me 90% of what I get from the main system. But I'd be willing to bet that if I put it in the same room as the main one the difference would be slighter when operating within its' SPL limits.

There's no way that my second system could reach concert level SPL's like my main system can without a hint of distortion. I suppose there's a value in that too.

Good last point....SPL requirements.....testing everything at 80dBs is not going to show differences. Testing everything at +120dBs will make many systems fail.

Im also in agreement about spending on anything if someone wants too...if its beautiful cables for X dollars go ahead, if its uber sleek looking high end gear, absolutely. If the end result is pride and amazement then that is good too. I have posted many times that I buy the most expensive golf ball and I use a new one every round (the one from the last round is dirty so it goes in a box) all because I feel better when I do that....NOT because its a better ball

Just dont go out and tell others its better trying to convince them to buy the same.

The other point is that some people do like exclusive products.....they buy things others can not, kuddos to them for getting to that point in their life!

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post #103 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 09:09 PM
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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

My point is that this test doesn't give us enough information to say whether everyone was guessing or if a third (or more) of the participants could actually tell the difference.

As conducted, there is no way to conclude that everyone was guessing.

?

I agree with you, unless I missed something in the write up
It doesn't tell me how many trials each conducted and how well they guessed at their preference system
As you said, a 1 trial, adding up all the listeners doesn't cut it. No winners.
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post #104 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by Bruins29 View Post

What are the flaws? Out of 38 people 24 could not/did not choose a $12K over a $700 system in the same room with the same speakers. More people actually perfered the cheaper system. Pretty profound.

You can find flaws with anything in order to take a particular stance.

You mean that 24 guessed at the low end system, once? Or, 9 of 10 trials, the same 24?
A 1 trial group hug is not where it is at. Yes, and I am an ardent DBT guy.
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post #105 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 09:21 PM
 
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Just dont go out and tell others its better trying to convince them to buy the same.

The other point is that some people do like exclusive products.....they buy things others can not, kuddos to them for getting to that point in their life!

Good points, if you want a fun time read up on how theta digital owners act.
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post #106 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by Denophile View Post

it does sound like there may be a contingent that would purchase a magazine subscription to a rag that consistently found every piece of reviewed gear to sound the same--maybe you're on to something here--you could make (another) bundle!

Well, The Audio Critic was almost such a rag
It is not cheap to do a rag and the numbers are just not there for such a rag or it would be still prospering on paper.
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post #107 of 616 Old 07-13-2009, 09:57 PM
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Originally Posted by Denophile View Post

...
#6 potential for poor system "synergy" there are multiple variables within this dbt (i.e. many different components switched simultaneously and not tested separately--this essentially invalidates their conclusion entirely from a "science" perspective by itself

....
"

But that was the whole hypothesis being tested, not individual component testing. How does a low cost system compare audibly to an expensive system with only the speakers being the same. That should be a valid hypothesis to test, no?
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post #108 of 616 Old 07-14-2009, 08:59 AM
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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

Roughly 50% of US voters in the last election voted for Barack Obama and roughly 50% voted for John McCain, does that mean that nobody in America can tell the difference?

No one in America can really tell the difference. They only think there's a difference when they've been told the party affiliation or they can physically see them before they make their choice.
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post #109 of 616 Old 07-14-2009, 09:30 AM
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I think the whole argument can be simplified if we use computers as an example, no one has an issue with a $500 laptop of today being faster and more powerful than a $10k computer was 10 years ago, we just accept it as the technology getting cheaper to produce.

I don't know why we don't have the same basic understanding for audio technology, which for all intents and purposes is much older than computer technology. (With the exception of digital processing chipsets of course.)

Speaker and amplifier designs are no doubt the oldest and really probably reached their peak performance a long time ago, there is very little that is truly "new" in their designs.

I see no reason why a $500 speaker can't sound as good as an $8k one, to a point. Sure, it won't look like fine furniture and maybe the "to a point" is where the SPL capabilities or cabinet resonances come into play....
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post #110 of 616 Old 07-14-2009, 10:00 AM
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Originally Posted by Denophile View Post

i am wondering why we dont just take the whole subjective thing out of it--would it be possible to analyze output from speakers via different electronics with an identically placed microphone while playing various test tones or musical selections at matched levels and analyze the waveforms captured by the microphone and analyze for differences? has anyone done this? seems like it might help answer some questions...

I seem to recall an article in Stereophile that attempted to do what you're proposing a number of years ago. It's somewhere on their website so I can't help you with a ready link.

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Originally Posted by Dzhokhar View Post

Chu Gai, you seem to be missing my point. My point is that this test will not in any way convince anybody who already believes they can tell the difference. They'll just assume they would have been in the 26-37% that preferred the high-end system.

Yes, that test won't convince them. Even more convincing tests don't convince people like the one that Jason Serinus organized and participated in where stock power cords were swapped out for 10K in Nordost ones. There's always an excuse. Stress. Unfamiliarity.

The tests though, brief as they are, are predicated upon over a 100 years of research into human hearing. Since our ears are sensitive to both level and arrival times, provided that the difference in levels is below the level of detectability, it's highly unlikely one can tell the difference so long as both amps are operating within their limits. By no stretch of the imagination do I take this to mean that any amp will drive any speaker. There's some pretty weird speakers out there. Some amps just aren't powerful enough or stable enough into some loads.

So, these amateur tests serve to provide a partial confirmation of the above. They also serve to illustrate the role that bias plays as well as how we tend strongly to overestimate differences. Even when there are no differences.

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Honestly, this test isn't going to convince anyone who isn't already biased in favor of its conclusions. The writeup of the test makes it sound like it's going to provide definitive proof to shut up the naysayers and then proceeds to be even less convincing than a lot of the other tests that have come before.

It would be much more effective to suggest appropriate equipment in threads where people ask for buying advice than it is to tout a poorly conducted test as definitively ending debate about the cost-effectiveness of fancy audio equipment.

I have a budget. My ceiling may be your floor. Yours is somebody elses. Within the various strata will be amps that may not be able to be told apart in blind tests. You can use such tests to make more informed purchasing decisions within your budget. Why you may even use such tests to alter your overall buying decisions. Sink more into the speakers, buy a Denon player that does it all for under a $100, and maybe get a closeout price when Pioneer decides to introduce new models. Now none of this may matter when dropping 10K on amps is considered discretionary income, but the vast majority of people don't fall into that area.

"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 #111 of 616 Old 07-14-2009, 10:58 AM
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Originally Posted by rnrgagne View Post


Speaker and amplifier designs are no doubt the oldest and really probably reached their peak performance a long time ago, there is very little that is truly "new" in their designs.

....

I Have been thinking this all along, I think I may have even said it, in a different form.

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post #112 of 616 Old 07-14-2009, 11:52 AM
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Originally Posted by Chu Gai View Post

I have a budget. My ceiling may be your floor. Yours is somebody elses. Within the various strata will be amps that may not be able to be told apart in blind tests. You can use such tests to make more informed purchasing decisions within your budget. Why you may even use such tests to alter your overall buying decisions. Sink more into the speakers, buy a Denon player that does it all for under a $100, and maybe get a closeout price when Pioneer decides to introduce new models. Now none of this may matter when dropping 10K on amps is considered discretionary income, but the vast majority of people don't fall into that area.

Bingo. This is the great power of this sort of test. If someone is really open to the results then it can make gear buying decisions a lot easier and has the potential to reduce gear lust. After designing and building a lot of amplifiers over the years, the differences between them become very small once a certain point is reached, and as most of my gear is in a cupboard out of sight, name and appearance isn't worth paying an extra $ for.
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post #113 of 616 Old 07-14-2009, 11:37 PM
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You guys are missing some points here.

A $10K system will look alot nicer than a $1K.. It's not about what you hear, but also what you see.

Electronics became more as a pieces of art, like a picture on the wall, than an actual music equipment..
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post #114 of 616 Old 07-15-2009, 01:03 AM
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Originally Posted by mdLCD View Post

You guys are missing some points here.

A $10K system will look alot nicer than a $1K.. It's not about what you hear, but also what you see.

Electronics became more as a pieces of art, like a picture on the wall, than an actual music equipment..

Put it in a cupboard, then the aesthetics matter zip and then there is no need to pay for it.
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post #115 of 616 Old 07-15-2009, 05:33 AM
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Put it in a cupboard, then the aesthetics matter zip and then there is no need to pay for it.

That is certainly fine for someone who is content with doing so.
Most people are not.
If you look at a brand like Emotiva for example, it's all about having a big shinny unit on display that appeals to the "motor head" personality. This is every bit as valid as those who hide their system.
Personally I have never bought a system based on sound alone and I doubt many have.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #116 of 616 Old 07-15-2009, 07:01 AM - Thread Starter
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You guys are missing some points here.

A $10K system will look alot nicer than a $1K.. It's not about what you hear, but also what you see.

Electronics became more as a pieces of art, like a picture on the wall, than an actual music equipment..

Not to anyone with true design skills! The best systems are the ones that are pure audio, pure video....electronics should be hidden. If someone thinks they are art they have limited abilities wrt to design and 99% of all women would laugh at their idea of tastes....speakers/electronics bring down and truely expensive/well designed room ask any professional!

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Originally Posted by eljr View Post

That is certainly fine for someone who is content with doing so.
Most people are not.
If you look at a brand like Emotiva for example, it's all about having a big shinny unit on display that appeals to the "motor head" personality. This is every bit as valid as those who hide their system.
Personally I have never bought a system based on sound alone and I doubt many have.

Hence the problem with most people's subjective opinions.

We all know we fall in love with a brand, with looks, with whatever and automatically assume they will sound better then somethings we do not like as much

I have not build the right HT room yet to hide all equipment so Im stuck with seeing the equipment so of course I care how it looks but all my testing to find out how something TRUELY sounds is a mixture of Measurements and DBTs, any other way is just a joke to me.

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post #117 of 616 Old 07-15-2009, 07:22 AM
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my testing to find out how something TRUELY sounds is a mixture of Measurements and DBTs, any other way is just a joke to me.

I think you hit on a big difference between us. I am fine with you "testing to find out how something TRULY sounds is a mixture of Measurements and DBTs"
The difference is I also think it is fine for some else to buy based on which is the most shinny.
Saying, "any other way is just a joke to me" is very arrogant, even though I know you don't mean to be.


Personally I always listen to what the three blind mice have to say, weighing in shinny, features and size. (Don't explode but) I read the reviews and awards as well.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #118 of 616 Old 07-15-2009, 07:24 AM
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Originally Posted by penngray View Post

Not to anyone with true design skills! The best systems are the ones that are pure audio, pure video....electronics should be hidden. If someone thinks they are art they have limited abilities wrt to design and 99% of all women would laugh at their idea of tastes....speakers/electronics bring down and truely expensive/well designed room ask any professional!


.

Sometimes you just scare me.

What you got back home, little sister, to play your fuzzy warbles on? I bet you got little save pitiful, portable picnic players. Come with uncle and hear all proper! Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones. You are invited.
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post #119 of 616 Old 07-15-2009, 08:06 AM - Thread Starter
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I think you hit on a big difference between us. I am fine with you "testing to find out how something TRULY sounds is a mixture of Measurements and DBTs"
The difference is I also think it is fine for some else to buy based on which is the most shinny.
Saying, "any other way is just a joke to me" is very arrogant, even though I know you don't mean to be.


Personally I always listen to what the three blind mice have to say, weighing in shinny, features and size. (Don't explode but) I read the reviews and awards as well.

Its a joke in terms of actually sound quality conclusions. That is not arrogance that is mathematics (0 or 1 bit type stuff) talking. There is no grey area here where colors, fancy boxes, brands, price tag changes the SQ and if a person does not remove those from the test then their test is invalid. Hence their opinion on the product is invalid...hence all of it is a joke to me. There is little value in any of that sort of opinion to me, definitely less value then can be found from all the measurements that COULD be done.

In the end you can choose what you want to make your decisions too because its your money, if you think its not a joke then use it.

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post #120 of 616 Old 07-15-2009, 08:11 AM - Thread Starter
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Sometimes you just scare me.

Cool

I just believe speakers/AV equipment are tools, they are a compromise to the nicer rooms if they are seen.

The focus is the music or sound/visual of movies....remove the distractions and you have a better experience.

If you are worshipping speakers/AV equipment then you really haven't live and experienced enough to understand how silly it is to worship them

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