Originally Posted by pepar
I was another of the three that heard the modded 5508 owner's system. Well, it was impressive looking and the $20k each (!) left and right speakers were amazing looking - IIRC some sort of horn on top of a large squarish cabinet ... reminiscent of the Altec Voice Of The Theater, but on steroids. But when he fired it up, the image was 1" deep and with no room correction/EQ it was lumpy on the low end. And being lumpy at the low end, the overhang obscured everything.At that moment, I knew what he considered good and I came off the fence that there was any chance at all that the modded gear had made one whit of difference in his system.
That really says everything I need to know, Jeff. If the listener cannot realise that the room is the single most important system component and cannot recognise the problems his room is causing, let alone take steps to correct them, then why on earth should I believe him if he says that he can hear "substantial improvements" between a stock AVR and a modified one? He can't hear the lumpy low end response, or how it affects all the other frequencies but he *can* hear a difference between this capacitor and that, or this wire and that? Forgive me for my skepticism.
$40,000 dollar speakers? What's the point if they are in such a poor room? Why do people persist in believing that their AVR is more important in determining SQ than the room itself? Why will people spend 40k on a pair of speakers but not spend a tenth of that on trying to improve the room, or at least to electronically EQ it as best they can? Why do people believe that a subtle difference between this BD player or that, between this amp or that, is going to matter one whit if the room is as bad as you suggest this one was?
It comes back to my constant refrain in this thread: if the differences are so small that they allow all of this discussion as to whether they actually exist or not, then the manufacturer has not fulfilled his promise. And if the room is not recognised as the most important part of the system, and the one where real differences in SQ can be made, then there really is no purpose in worrying about tiny differences between item A and item B.
I think a lot of people are 'gear worshippers'. They love having the latest and shiniest AVR or amp, or the most amazing-looking set of speakers, or interconnects that look as if they rightly belong on the deck of the Enterprise, but they cannot see that the un-sexy room is where the big gains are found, or lost.
Craig's graphs and account above say it all really.