Would Audyssey elinimate the sound differences in different brands (bright vs warm)? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 10:30 AM - Thread Starter
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I'm shopping for a new receiver and reading about the characteristics of the different major brands. I don't like overly "bright" highs, so am leading toward the Marantz/Denon end of the spectrum vs Yamaha/Onkyo. However, I'm wondering if I am going to use Audyssey, won't that make them relatively equal? Am I thinking about this the wrong way?

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post #2 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 10:35 AM
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Not really. It will smooth the FR of the speakers in the room but it will not change the timbre greatly. Thus, similar (matched) speakers will be more accurately matched in situ but different-sounding speakers will still sound different.

EDIT: I missed that you were looking for differences between the AVRs. Small potatoes.

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post #3 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 10:41 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Kipa View Post

I'm shopping for a new receiver and reading about the characteristics of the different major brands. I don't like overly "bright" highs, so am leading toward the Marantz/Denon end of the spectrum vs Yamaha/Onkyo. However, I'm wondering if I am going to use Audyssey, won't that make them relatively equal? Am I thinking about this the wrong way?

Kipa

Brightness/Warmness in a receiver is nothing but myth. There is no such thing.
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post #4 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 10:48 AM
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In blind listening tests, no one has been able to differentiate the sound of one AVR over another .. room treatments and speakers have the most effect on set up ..

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post #5 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 10:53 AM
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Auto Eq is a great feature to have on a receiver. As far as warm/bright thing goes. You will be hard pressed to hear any much difference on the warm vs. bright sound characteristic between various brands of receivers. I say this because I had a Yamaha with Y.P.A.O and now have a Denon. The only thing I noticed between the two is the Denon sounded maybe just a little thinner and lighter on the lows after an Audyssey calibration. But the overall sound seemed much more open with better imaging. The Yamaha had a boomier punch. But this is all after doing the auto eqs on the receivers, so after going back in the Denon's menu and doing some manual tweaking on just the output level on the sub, I got the thicker deep bass sound. I still hear the same sound otherwise with my existing speakers. I.M.O, I actually prefer the Audyssey Multi EQ XT.
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post #6 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 12:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

In blind listening tests, no one has been able to differentiate the sound of one AVR over another .. room treatments and speakers have the most effect on set up ..

I don't believe that in the slightest ...

one hifi amp to another - maybe

one AVR to another - no way - thats not true at all - I've owned various higher end and lower end receivers and they have sounded very different in character - after all we're talking about different DACs, differing implementation of DACs (quality of op-amps etc), quality of internal power supplies and final output stages.

otherwise you could also argue all cd players sound the same - no different than a receiver really - in the components that can make the sound sound different
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post #7 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by markabuckley View Post

I don't believe that in the slightest ...

one hifi amp to another - maybe

one AVR to another - no way - thats not true at all - I've owned various higher end and lower end receivers and they have sounded very different in character - after all we're talking about different DACs, differing implementation of DACs (quality of op-amps etc), quality of internal power supplies and final output stages.

otherwise you could also argue all cd players sound the same - no different than a receiver really - in the components that can make the sound sound different

A completly misguided assumption. Level match them, turn the eq off and run a few unsighted tests. Then come back and tell us what you heard.

Speakers and room treatment are where differences are heard ..

http://www.hometheaterfocus.com/rece...d-quality.aspx

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post #8 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 01:40 PM
 
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Originally Posted by markabuckley View Post

I don't believe that in the slightest ...

one hifi amp to another - maybe

one AVR to another - no way - thats not true at all - I've owned various higher end and lower end receivers and they have sounded very different in character - after all we're talking about different DACs, differing implementation of DACs (quality of op-amps etc), quality of internal power supplies and final output stages.

otherwise you could also argue all cd players sound the same - no different than a receiver really - in the components that can make the sound sound different

I have owned receivers by just about every major brand throughout the years. I have yet to hear one that sounded any different than the other. In other words, people said Yamaha sounds bright, they don't. It is said that Harmon Kardon sounds warm, they don't. You can make a receiver sound just about any way you want by simply adjusting the tone controls.
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post #9 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 01:43 PM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

I have owned receivers by just about every major brand throughout the years. I have yet to hear one that sounded any different than the other. In other words, people said Yamaha sounds bright, they don't. It is said that Harmon Kardon sounds warm, they don't. You can make a receiver sound just about any way you want by simply adjusting the tone controls.

The objective data supports that ... ... and, with proper level matching and set up, the subjective data supports it as well ..

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post #10 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 02:02 PM
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ok so why can I get no-where near the SQ of Music playback on my current Pioneer than I did with my previous Arcam AVR350 ? This is SPDIF 2 channel in.

exact same speakers, exact same source - only difference is the AV receiver

I'm not necessarily saying "bright" or "warm" - I'm talking seperation of instruments etc - for music the Arcam sounded very light footed, very hifi like, you could hear everything going on in the mix.

the Pioneer is much more brutish in character - seperation of instruments is no-where near the Arcam

but I love it for movies at loud volumes
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post #11 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 02:15 PM
 
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Originally Posted by markabuckley View Post

ok so why can I get no-where near the SQ of Music playback on my current Pioneer than I did with my previous Arcam AVR350 ? This is SPDIF 2 channel in.

exact same speakers, exact same source - only difference is the AV receiver

I'm not necessarily saying "bright" or "warm" - I'm talking seperation of instruments etc - for music the Arcam sounded very light footed, very hifi like, you could hear everything going on in the mix.

the Pioneer is much more brutish in character - seperation of instruments is no-where near the Arcam

but I love it for movies at loud volumes

I highly suspect that if I had your Arcam in my living room I would notice none of these differences that you mention. I have often heard how BRIGHT Yamaha receivers were, yet I have had several of them and have yet to notice any brightness whatsoever.
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post #12 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 02:38 PM
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ok fair enough

so for my next receiver as I want to go HD - I may as well go for the bottom of the range Denon or Onkyo ? as long as it has 7.1 it'll sound as good ?
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post #13 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 02:41 PM
 
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Originally Posted by markabuckley View Post

ok fair enough

so for my next receiver as I want to go HD - I may as well go for the bottom of the range Denon or Onkyo ? as long as it has 7.1 it'll sound as good ?

As long as the receiver has the power and features that you are looking for you will be just fine.
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post #14 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 02:45 PM
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Originally Posted by markabuckley View Post

ok fair enough

so for my next receiver as I want to go HD - I may as well go for the bottom of the range Denon or Onkyo ? as long as it has 7.1 it'll sound as good ?

bottom of the line 60 watt receivers will sound just as good as top of the line 200 watt receivers if you level match them to the 60 watt receiver as it plays with no distortion....

but of course you will not be thrilled with that amount of output or headroom for most movies, so buy as much power as you can afford. Plus you will want to fork over some more bread for more features...its not as easy as just buying the cheapest 7.1 that you can find.

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post #15 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 02:56 PM
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Originally Posted by tundrSQ View Post

bottom of the line 60 watt receivers will sound just as good as top of the line 200 watt receivers if you level match them to the 60 watt receiver as it plays with no distortion....

but of course you will not be thrilled with that amount of output or headroom for most movies, so buy as much power as you can afford. Plus you will want to fork over some more bread for more features...its not as easy as just buying the cheapest 7.1 that you can find.

True that .. unless you have some very efficient speakers .. one of the reasons I've hung on to my Klipsch Cornwall's since the 1970's .. ..

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post #16 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 03:07 PM
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so genuinely - and I'm genuinely interested I could go very cheap av receiver with pre-outs with a half decent 2nd hand 7 channel power amp and be more than happy
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post #17 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 03:24 PM
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Originally Posted by markabuckley View Post

so genuinely - and I'm genuinely interested I could go very cheap av receiver with pre-outs with a half decent 2nd hand 7 channel power amp and be more than happy

Absolutely .. in addition to the benefits of upgrading one or the other at a later date ..

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post #18 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 03:36 PM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

I highly suspect that if I had your Arcam in my living room I would notice none of these differences that you mention. I have often heard how BRIGHT Yamaha receivers were, yet I have had several of them and have yet to notice any brightness whatsoever.

Quote:
Originally Posted by mgkdragn View Post

In blind listening tests, no one has been able to differentiate the sound of one AVR over another .. room treatments and speakers have the most effect on set up ..



The differences are slight between AVRs, but they are real. But this is a complex subject. Your speakers and the recordings you listen to are going to dictate the overall character of sound you hear, so you may not notice the slight character the AVR brings to the equation. Also, if you don't have the ability to do quick switching, I could very well see the differences between AVRs becoming lost.

Not too long ago, I did a blind test between several AVRs at the local AV store with the salesman doing the switching. First up was the Denon AVR4310 vs the Arcam AVR500, connected to Monitor Audio RX8s. Listening was done blind with instant switching between the two performed by the salesman. Within just a couple of switches back and forth, I was surprised to clearly and easily hear a difference, and it was always in favor of the Arcam. The Arcam sounded fuller and more harmonically complete while the Denon sounded comparatively thin and electronic.

In next demo room over, I listened to the Denon AVR5308, the Arcam AVR600, the Primare SPA22 AVR, and the Primare SP32 / Primare 5CH amp. This time the gear was powering Martin Logan Vistas and later a pair of Sonus Faber Liutos. Testing was still blind and the salesman did the switching on command.

The first comparison was between the Denon AVR5308 and the Primare SPA22 AVR. Again the differences were easily noticeable and easily repeatable. However, much to my surprise I consistently chose the Denon as my favorite between these two. The 5308 sounded much like the Arcam in the previous room. Nicely fleshed out, smooth and balanced. The Primare sounded mid-forward and borderline brash at times. I wasn't expecting that considering what I've read about the Primare house sound.

Then I compared the Denon AVR5308 to the Arcam AVR600. This was a closer call and I had to take a break to clear my mind about 15 minutes in. During the first listening session I flip-flopped between the two as to which I preferred. They both sounded quite good, but one sounded more forward through the upper mids, and a bit more "open". The other in comparison was either neutral or a little recessed though the mids depending on the song. When I came back from the break, my preference became clear when I chose music tracks that already had good presence through the mids. On these tracks the forward/open AVR became a bit aggressive. This turned out to be the Arcam AVR600. The bass on the Denon was also fuller, warmer. I could see someone picking either of these depending on the type of sound they were after but I preferred the slightly laid-back, richer bass presentation of the Denon. It sounded less forced to me.

Finally I listened the Primare separates vs the Denon 5308. Again, no contest, I always chose the Denon. The Primare still sounded forward / brash through the mids.

In the end though, I agree that there are usually bigger fish to fry for most people.
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post #19 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 06:08 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

The differences are slight between AVRs, but they are real. But this is a complex subject. Your speakers and the recordings you listen to are going to dictate the overall character of sound you hear, so you may not notice the slight character the AVR brings to the equation. Also, if you don't have the ability to do quick switching, I could very well see the differences between AVRs becoming lost.

Not too long ago, I did a blind test between several AVRs at the local AV store with the salesman doing the switching. First up was the Denon AVR4310 vs the Arcam AVR500, connected to Monitor Audio RX8s. Listening was done blind with instant switching between the two performed by the salesman. Within just a couple of switches back and forth, I was surprised to clearly and easily hear a difference, and it was always in favor of the Arcam. The Arcam sounded fuller and more harmonically complete while the Denon sounded comparatively thin and electronic.

In next demo room over, I listened to the Denon AVR5308, the Arcam AVR600, the Primare SPA22 AVR, and the Primare SP32 / Primare 5CH amp. This time the gear was powering Martin Logan Vistas and later a pair of Sonus Faber Liutos. Testing was still blind and the salesman did the switching on command.

The first comparison was between the Denon AVR5308 and the Primare SPA22 AVR. Again the differences were easily noticeable and easily repeatable. However, much to my surprise I consistently chose the Denon as my favorite between these two. The 5308 sounded much like the Arcam in the previous room. Nicely fleshed out, smooth and balanced. The Primare sounded mid-forward and borderline brash at times. I wasn't expecting that considering what I've read about the Primare house sound.

Then I compared the Denon AVR5308 to the Arcam AVR600. This was a closer call and I had to take a break to clear my mind about 15 minutes in. During the first listening session I flip-flopped between the two as to which I preferred. They both sounded quite good, but one sounded more forward through the upper mids, and a bit more "open". The other in comparison was either neutral or a little recessed though the mids depending on the song. When I came back from the break, my preference became clear when I chose music tracks that already had good presence through the mids. On these tracks the forward/open AVR became a bit aggressive. This turned out to be the Arcam AVR600. The bass on the Denon was also fuller, warmer. I could see someone picking either of these depending on the type of sound they were after but I preferred the slightly laid-back, richer bass presentation of the Denon. It sounded less forced to me.

Finally I listened the Primare separates vs the Denon 5308. Again, no contest, I always chose the Denon. The Primare still sounded forward / brash through the mids.

In the end though, I agree that there are usually bigger fish to fry for most people.

Since virtually all modern AVRs and amplifiers provide ruler flat amplification, please explain why you hear these differences.
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post #20 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 07:12 PM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

Since virtually all modern AVRs and amplifiers provide ruler flat amplification, please explain why you hear these differences.

I can't, but I've done the best thing I know how, which is to conduct my auditions blind and without bias.

Explain to me why a fresh tomato tastes different than one that is days old. Compositionally, they are the same thing, so they should taste the same, yet they don't.

It is good to be skeptical, but there is more between heaven and earth than man can explain, so its a good idea to keep an open mind.

Trust me, I've been where you are standing and five years ago I would have made the same assertions that you have to the OP, but I wanted to to find out for myself if there was any truth to the subjective claims being casually made by many in this hobby. I still can't agree with those that claim an amp or AVR made a profound different to the sound quality of their system, but after exposing myself to a broad range of components over the past five years, I can acknowledge that there are some slight differences even though on paper it seems there shouldn't be.
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post #21 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 07:22 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

I can't, but I've done the best thing I know how, which is to conduct my auditions blind and without bias.

Explain to me why a fresh tomato tastes different than one that is days old. Compositionally, they are the same thing, so they should taste the same, yet they don't.

It is good to be skeptical, but there is more between heaven and earth than man can explain, so its a good idea to keep an open mind.

Trust me, I've been where you are standing and five years ago I would have made the same assertions that you have to the OP, but I wanted to to find out for myself if there was any truth to the subjective claims being casually made by many in this hobby. I still can't agree with those that claim an amp or AVR made a profound different to the sound quality of their system, but after exposing myself to a broad range of components over the past five years, I can acknowledge that there are some slight differences even though on paper it seems there shouldn't be.

If there are differences, they can be measured. Ruler flat is exactly that.
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post #22 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

If there are differences, they can be measured. Ruler flat is exactly that.

First, you are oversimplifying. There is more to sound quality that flat frequency response. If two motorcycles can both accelerate 0 to 60 in 3 seconds, do you expect them to feel and drive exactly the same?

With that said, I agree that the differences I've heard can likely be measured, but just because they can be measured doesn't mean that they are.
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post #23 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 07:33 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

First, you are oversimplifying. There is more to sound quality that flat frequency response. If two motorcycles can both accelerate 0 to 60 in 3 seconds, do you expect them to feel and drive exactly the same?

With that said, I agree that the differences I've heard can likely be measured, but just because they can be measured doesn't mean that they are.

Strange, under controlled conditions with testing being done by qualified technicians, nobody has ever been able to reliably tell the differences between amplifiers. Are you saying you can???
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post #24 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 07:40 PM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

Strange, under controlled conditions with testing being done by qualified technicians, nobody has ever been able to reliably tell the differences between amplifiers. Are you saying you can???

We aren't talking about amps, we are discussing AVRs, which are preamps, processors, DACs, and amps all in one.

Me personally, I can't reliably hear a difference between amps, but I do believe that I can hear slight differences between prepros and AVRs.

BTW - what is your source for these "tests done by qualified technicians"? Do you have links to the test results?
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post #25 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 07:50 PM
 
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Originally Posted by hifisponge View Post

We aren't talking about amps, we are discussing AVRs, which are preamps, processors, DACs, and amps all in one.

Me personally, I can't reliably hear a difference between amps, but I do believe that I can hear slight differences between prepros and AVRs.

BTW - what is your source for these "tests done by qualified technicians"? Do you have links to the test results?

The first extensive testing of amplifiers that I personally read about was done by Julian Hirsch of Hirsch Houck laboratories for Stereo Review magazine back in the 70's. I have no idea if there is a link to this article. The Richard Clark audio challenge is legendary. Here is a link that references Julian Hirsch's tests: http://www.mastersonaudio.com/audio/20020901.htm
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post #26 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 08:27 PM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

Since virtually all modern AVRs and amplifiers provide ruler flat amplification, please explain why you hear these differences.

There is no such thing as ruler flat response (unless u have an ideal system), talk less of virtually all AVRs having the same 'ruler flat' response.

To say there is no difference in the output you can get from any two AVRs is just wrong. An easy example is the effect of resolution and SNR of the ADC or even the DAC implementation. The more accurate and better qualified statement would be that there is minimal difference, which is possibly inaudible, between receivers of similar spec, tech, design objectives, etc.

This is totally unrelated to whether speakers and room treatments introduce more audible differences.
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post #27 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 09:55 PM
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All amps distort. That's not debatable.

Amps don't distort identically. That's also not debatable.

The question is whether you can hear the difference. That is really what the endless debate is about.

If you read Self's book on amp design, you will see a lot of thought centered around remove distortion as much as possible from every amp stage. That implies that Self thinks all distortion is worth looking at.

Of course some think reducing THD does not guarantee great sound. And there's people very happy with the sound from high distortion, low feedback amps.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #28 of 181 Old 08-27-2010, 11:32 PM
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Originally Posted by ruadmaa View Post

The first extensive testing of amplifiers that I personally read about was done by Julian Hirsch of Hirsch Houck laboratories for Stereo Review magazine back in the 70's. I have no idea if there is a link to this article. The Richard Clark audio challenge is legendary. Here is a link that references Julian Hirsch's tests: http://www.mastersonaudio.com/audio/20020901.htm

I think you need better evidence than those to justify your position.

I havent seen the original hirsch article you are referring to, but what was described in the article points to a subjective listening tests, that doesn't vindicate your position that all AVRs have the same response.

As to the Clark challenge, thats just a moot experiment. Anyone that takes him up on it is just wasting his/her time. First, he takes out all the signal processing to isolate only the analog amplifier, then restricts the amplifiers into a linear region which implies the input to output relationship of the amps is governed predominantly by the frequency response, and then uses an external equalizer to harmonize the frequency response of the two amps. Given that any LTI system is governed by its frequency response, it not surprising that people cant distinguished between amps with same response. Problem is that he used an external equalizer to harmonize the response of the two amps, and thus you are not comparing just the two amps, but you are comparing two amps in which one uses pre-processing to achieve the response/performance of the other. If they have the same response, why use an equalizer? if they have the same response, why get rid of the digital processing? I would like to see him make a low resolution system sound as good as a high one, cos no equalizer will bring back the lost info.
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post #29 of 181 Old 08-28-2010, 03:00 AM
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I thought the EQ was only needed if one amp displayed non linearity over the audio range? Seems most amps have a pretty flat response.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #30 of 181 Old 08-28-2010, 03:10 AM
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by toslat View Post

I think you need better evidence than those to justify your position.

I havent seen the original hirsch article you are referring to, but what was described in the article points to a subjective listening tests, that doesn't vindicate your position that all AVRs have the same response.

As to the Clark challenge, thats just a moot experiment. Anyone that takes him up on it is just wasting his/her time. First, he takes out all the signal processing to isolate only the analog amplifier, then restricts the amplifiers into a linear region which implies the input to output relationship of the amps is governed predominantly by the frequency response, and then uses an external equalizer to harmonize the frequency response of the two amps. Given that any LTI system is governed by its frequency response, it not surprising that people cant distinguished between amps with same response. Problem is that he used an external equalizer to harmonize the response of the two amps, and thus you are not comparing just the two amps, but you are comparing two amps in which one uses pre-processing to achieve the response/performance of the other. If they have the same response, why use an equalizer? if they have the same response, why get rid of the digital processing? I would like to see him make a low resolution system sound as good as a high one, cos no equalizer will bring back the lost info.

Sorry, I have to go with my own judgment and experience that I have gained throughout the years. The advice I gave the OP is quite sound and I stand behind it. Buy a receiver/amplifier that has the the amount of power and features that you need. It is a very good rule of thumb to go by. Speakers and room parameters have far more to do with audio quality than any amplifier.

Here is a link to an article on the subject that I find to be interesting: http://www.matrixhifi.com/contenedor_ppec_eng.htm
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