How do I verify - or debunk - the claims of The Upgrade Company? - Page 7 - AVS Forum
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post #181 of 1596 Old 06-03-2011, 07:19 PM
 
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Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

Some of us have performed listening tests on different cables for comparison, as well as receptacles so yes this is audible.

Is it really audible or people think it's audible? How did they control the placebo?

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As to comparing cryoed Romex I am not even sure how you could do a blind test.

Get double quantity (they are cheap). Have one set cryoed and compare with un-cryoed set.

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Some believe that cabling can make an audible difference

Is this belief based on fact or fiction? How do these people separate fact from fiction?
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post #182 of 1596 Old 06-03-2011, 07:28 PM
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I agree, I prefer the Onkyo over Integra for the hidden door and black volume as well. The only time I picked the Integra was with the DHC-80.1 over the 5507 as Onkyo disabled Audyssey Pro on the 5507 but came to the senses with the 5508.

As far as these upgrades I know I heard a difference when I had upgraded crossovers made for a some speakers. These had the same crossover points but used higher quality caps and such and the difference was a much smoother and detailed sound.

I know I have also heard differences in the various pre-pro's I have owned over the years. People who say they all sound the same when listening to movies have just never had the opportunity to audition various pre-pro's in there own system at the same time.

As far as these after market upgrades I have personally never did them nor do I think I ever will. I even convinced a friend to not have his Integra 80.1 upgraded as the expense didn't seem worthwhile especially when you consider how often he upgrades his pre-pro's.

The fact that TUC doesn't divulge the parts they upgrade is nuts to me, I think there one of the only upgrade company's that doesn't. I don't think TUC is actually making there own proprietary parts so they are just using what everyone else has access to so just come clean. TUC's assertion that the 5508 is built to higher standards also shows either there ignorance or flat out dishonesty so why would anyone want to spend a lot of money with them?

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post #183 of 1596 Old 06-03-2011, 07:32 PM
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very interesting read
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post #184 of 1596 Old 06-03-2011, 08:26 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

Here is a Professional review of an upgraded pair of Marantz components on Positive Feedback that I am sure many of you will insist was not performed adequately, but it is in print:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue53/marantz.htm

Rich

Being in print doesn't make it credible, he seems to believe in just about anything as well:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue32/fuses.htm

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue8/bybee.htm
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post #185 of 1596 Old 06-03-2011, 08:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Being in print doesn't make it credible, he seems to believe in just about anything as well:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue32/fuses.htm

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue8/bybee.htm

I'm sorry but looking quickly at both of the reviews listed above borders on the ridiculous. To make a tweak such as a $30.00 fuse to a $12k amp and then say "but it did notably change these $12,000 beauties' sound". C'mon man.

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post #186 of 1596 Old 06-03-2011, 08:57 PM
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So who's re-writing the physics and engineering books to explain stuff like power cables making a difference?

And if not, are some people saying science is wrong? Seems like scientists would jump at the chance to study some of these weird phenomenon...IF it had any hope of being true.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #187 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 04:40 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Being in print doesn't make it credible, he seems to believe in just about anything as well:

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue32/fuses.htm

http://www.positive-feedback.com/Issue8/bybee.htm

Have you performed any listening tests to make these comparisons and to indicate that there is no difference or that this is not possible? It is good to be skeptical, but don't totally dismiss the possibility.

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Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

I'm sorry but looking quickly at both of the reviews listed above borders on the ridiculous. To make a tweak such as a $30.00 fuse to a $12k amp and then say "but it did notably change these $12,000 beauties' sound". C'mon man.

Bill

Bill,

A lot of people, not just the reviewers have been testing the affects on the sound of components by changing some fuses (some may also be directional). We have discussed this on WBF. Many could not believe that these can alter the sound (but not always for the better). Some of TUC upgraded machines including my upgraded 885 uses replaced Hi End fuses.

Many can not believe that fuses, or caps or resistors can cause any change in the sound.

I also know the argument that many of you will have that blind testing or DBT were not conducted on these tests. But, at best these tests can be extremely difficult to conduct.

Rich

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post #188 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 04:55 AM
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Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

I also know the argument that many of you will have that blind testing or DBT were not conducted on these tests. But, at best these tests can be extremely difficult to conduct.

Rich

the fact that a test is difficult to conduct doesn't eliminate the need for it...

"it's too hard to prove it, so take my word for it".... sorry... that dog don't hunt...

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post #189 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 05:03 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

So who's re-writing the physics and engineering books to explain stuff like power cables making a difference?

And if not, are some people saying science is wrong? Seems like scientists would jump at the chance to study some of these weird phenomenon...IF it had any hope of being true.

Though not a text book, you may wish to at least look through this thread:

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...y-reduce-noise

Rich

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post #190 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 05:06 AM
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Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

the fact that a test is difficult to conduct doesn't eliminate the need for it...

"it's too hard to prove it, so take my word for it".... sorry... that dog don't hunt...

How might you suggest swapping out the fuses in the same unit so that there is not "too much" time between the comparisons? In addition, there is probably required time for the fuses and other electronic components in the unit being compared to reach best operating temperatures.

Also, if you suggest using a 2nd identical unit, how would you prevent the 2 from sounding different?

Rich

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post #191 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 07:16 AM
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Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

Have you performed any listening tests to make these comparisons and to indicate that there is no difference or that this is not possible? It is good to be skeptical, but don't totally dismiss the possibility.

Why not? In all these years, if any of these items worked, there would be some evidence. Instead all we get is people's "beliefs".

I haven't tried fortune telling or dousing either. Many people believe that both work, does that mean we need to try them out before dismissing them? What a waste of time.
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post #192 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 07:20 AM
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Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

Also, if you suggest using a 2nd identical unit, how would you prevent the 2 from sounding different?

Rich

Are you saying that two identical pre-amps or amps will sound different? If so, there's really no point to the reviews you point to, as I won't be able to buy the same unit the reviewer has.
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post #193 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 07:25 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Are you saying that two identical pre-amps or amps will sound different? If so, there's really no point to the reviews you point to, as I won't be able to buy the same unit the reviewer has.

I can not say that they will or won't sound the same. But, for speakers as an example, identical sounding speakers is quite difficult or possibly not possible or practical to make. Yes, they may be very close, but they may well sound a little different and be slightly different in measurements.

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post #194 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

I can not say that they will or won't sound the same. But, for speakers as an example, identical sounding speakers is quite difficult or possibly not possible or practical to make. Yes, they may be very close, but they may well sound a little different and be slightly different in measurements.

Rich

I didn't ask about speakers. You really can't say two identical amps will sound the same? What do you base this on?

Would this explain why someone can't tell the difference blind with audio fuses? Seems to me it would make it easy to pass a blind test between the two amps, even if the fuses did nothing to the sound.
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post #195 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 07:51 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

Have you performed any listening tests to make these comparisons and to indicate that there is no difference or that this is not possible? It is good to be skeptical, but don't totally dismiss the possibility.

Rich

Have you performed any proper double blind listening tests to verify if your beliefs have any objective validity? If not, why?
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post #196 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 07:59 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

I didn't ask about speakers. You really can't say two identical amps will sound the same? What do you base this on?

Would this explain why someone can't tell the difference blind with audio fuses? Seems to me it would make it easy to pass a blind test between the two amps, even if the fuses did nothing to the sound.

I said I can't say that they will or they won't sound the same. I personally don't have the experience in comparing enough identical audio components to say that they do or they do not. Do you? Audio components have tolerances or specs and each individual audio component will vary somewhat from unit to unit for measurements.

I never said that different audio fuses could not be heard in blind tests. Some fuses work with some equipment and not other equipment. Sometimes there may be an improvement in the audio sound other times it may be worse. It is audio component and fuse dependent.

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Have you performed any proper double blind listening tests to verify if your beliefs have any objective validity? If not, why?

Just as many of the members of this forum believe that double blind tests should be performed, most have not or do not perform them.

I have not performed double blind tests though I have performed some blind as well as sighted tests. I am sure that many on this forum would still say that these are inadequate and only a properly performed double blind test is acceptable. I do not have sufficient space in my listening room to get behind my racks to make all of connections for "properly set-up double blind tests" without possibly putting the equipment and the wiring in jeopardy.

Double blind tests need to be set up very precisely and they may not be set up properly for what you would consider a totally unbiased test. They also will frequently yield unexpected results. Additionally double blind and blind tests are frequently used for short duration of time to hear differences. But, many times it may require a bit longer listening time to recognize differences that can not be noted in such a short time period.

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post #197 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:28 AM
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I never said that different audio fuses could not be heard in blind tests. Some fuses work with some equipment and not other equipment. Sometimes there may be an improvement in the audio sound other times it may be worse. It is audio component and fuse dependent.

Any evidence of any of these claims? Sounds like pure speculation.

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Double blind tests need to be set up very precisely and they may not be set up properly for what you would consider a totally unbiased test. They also will frequently yield unexpected results.

Any examples of these unexpected results? I've never seen any, and would be very interested.
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post #198 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:30 AM
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Just as many of the members of this forum believe that double blind tests should be performed, most have not or do not perform them.

Rich,

I have not done any proper DBTs myself and I'm sure others here have not either. But I think that many here (myself included) are not making claims how fuses, cables and exotic accessories are making substantial improvements to their systems. If the reviewer in an earlier link can not consistantly chose the $12k amp that has the upgraded fuses over the one that does not then his review is highly questionable IMO.

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post #199 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:37 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Any evidence of any of these claims? Sounds like pure speculation.



Any examples of these unexpected results? I've never seen any, and would be very interested.

You may wish to look through these links from WBF:

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...le+blind+tests

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...le+blind+tests

http://www.whatsbestforum.com/showth...le+blind+tests

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post #200 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:44 AM
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Maybe you could point to the relevent posts? From reading the first page of each link, it looks like just more reviews and opinions, and I don't really have time to read hundreds of posts to find evidence to prove your claims.
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post #201 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:48 AM
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Originally Posted by Bill Mac View Post

Rich,

I have not done any proper DBTs myself and I'm sure others here have not either. But I think that many here (myself included) are not making claims how fuses, cables and exotic accessories are making substantial improvements to their systems. If the reviewer in an earlier link can not consistantly chose the $12k amp that has the upgraded fuses over the one that does not then his review is highly questionable IMO.

Bill

Hi Bill,

I am not suggesting that all by any means of the mentioned items and tweaks make a substantial improvement or change in the sound. Besides everyone uses their own "yardstick" as to how to describe improvement in general terms.

Without a question some of these things may be un-noticed or subtle or non existent. Audio systems are very complex "animals" and what may work for one system or some equipment may not work for other systems or equipment. All of the components and the equipment in an audio or audio/video system contribute in some way to the overall sound of the system.

Of course, as has been mentioned previously the most important portions of this puzzle are related to the speakers and the room itself and acoustic room treatments. When the speakers and the room are dealt with other changes and tweaks can be noted more readily.

Also, most of the cables that I am using or suggesting are at least relatively not "that" expensive or exotic (many in the $100 to $200 range for ICs) certainly not compared to the really expensive high end portion of the market. However, if the price of these are compared to something like Monoprice, then they would be considered expensive.

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post #202 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:51 AM
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Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Maybe you could point to the relevent posts? From reading the first page of each link, it looks like just more reviews and opinions, and I don't really have time to read hundreds of posts to find evidence to prove your claims.

Hi William,

I am sorry and am not trying to be obtuse about this. I just remember reading some of the comments at this point in those threads and without spending a fair amount of time I do not know where to direct you.

I do know however that DBT are frequently used for such things as testing of food and beverage products.

Rich

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post #203 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 09:15 AM
 
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All of the components and the equipment in an audio or audio/video system contribute in some way to the overall sound of the system.

How do you KNOW this? Or are you just speculating?
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post #204 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by diomania View Post

How do you KNOW this? Or are you just speculating?

This is based upon experience by many many people in the Hi end world including some audio engineers. Many on WBF have come to the same conclusion. I know that many here will either pooh pooh this idea or say that insufficient blind, double blind, or measurements have not been made.

Not everything that measures well sounds that good and not everything that sounds good measures that well. But, there are audio components that will sound better with some audio components than they will with others. There can be impedance and other matches and mismatches. Audio components from one maker will frequently sound better together for example Audio Research with other Audio Research products than with other components.

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post #205 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 01:23 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by WilliamZX11 View Post

Maybe you could point to the relevent posts? From reading the first page of each link, it looks like just more reviews and opinions, and I don't really have time to read hundreds of posts to find evidence to prove your claims.

Personally I think the entire thread debunks itself. It started out as how can I verify... and later admittedly it comes out as I knew from the beginning they are lying... well who was lying from the get go. Regarding asking someone to debunk your disbelief is just as silly. No one is asking you to believe anything and in most cases couldn't take less if you did.

Regarding the topic at hand I'll keep my opinion to myself as it's irrelevant to the above.
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post #206 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 03:26 PM
 
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Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

This is based upon experience by many many people in the Hi end world including some audio engineers. Many on WBF have come to the same conclusion.

My question was how you would know this, not what others say.

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I know that many here will either pooh pooh this idea or say that insufficient blind, double blind, or measurements have not been made.

Usually, extraordinary claims without evidence get pooh pooh-ed here and ideally it should be everywhere. Just because WBF doesn't (per the forum founder's decision), it doesn't make those extraordinary claims to be true. They are just that, claims.

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Not everything that measures well sounds that good and not everything that sounds good measures that well.

Can you give some examples of this?

Quote:


But, there are audio components that will sound better with some audio components than they will with others.

Again, some examples please? Also, what defines better? Is it higher fidelity by any chance?

Quote:


There can be impedance and other matches and mismatches. Audio components from one maker will frequently sound better together for example Audio Research with other Audio Research products than with other components.

How did mismatch between Audio Research component and other brand component change the sound and how was it determined? Was it through subjective listening sessions?
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post #207 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 06:12 PM
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Personally I think the entire thread debunks itself. It started out as how can I verify... and later admittedly it comes out as I knew from the beginning they are lying... well who was lying from the get go. Regarding asking someone to debunk your disbelief is just as silly. No one is asking you to believe anything and in most cases couldn't take less if you did.

Regarding the topic at hand I'll keep my opinion to myself as it's irrelevant to the above.

That pretty much covers it. Case closed. End of story. Move along here people. Nothing more to see.
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post #208 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:07 PM
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Originally Posted by naturephoto1 View Post

I have made comparisons of stock versus upgraded components as I have previously mentioned, though many will argue that the testing was not adequate. I am hoping to have the opportunity to get together with some of the AVS members sometime in the not too distant future.

Rich,

First off, I must say that I've really enjoyed your level-headedness and civility in these discussions. You have been much more civil and respectful than some of the other posters you're conversing with. Kudos to you for that.

Do you use the analog or the digital circuitry in your 885? IOW, is your Oppo 83SE connected via the analog MC outputs/stereo analog outputs, or is it connected via HDMI/optical/coaxial digital? If you are using the analog circuits, (as I suspect you are), you're not really playing to the strengths of the Onkyo 885 pre/pro, and you're playing to a glaring weakness of the Oppo, (more on that in a second.) The 885's biggest strength is in it's digital signal processing, Bass Management and Audyssey MultEQ XT capabilities. However, these are all performed in the digital domain, and the MC analog circuit bypasses these processes entirely. (The analog stereo inputs can be digitally processed, or the processes can be bypassed, at the user's discretion.) Either way, if you're not using any of the digital signal processing in the 885, I don't think you are using it's strongest attributes.

More importantly, I'm not sure what TUC can "upgrade" in the analog MC signal path because, AFAIK, that circuit is a simple "pass through" with gain. There just isn't much in there that could potentially benefit from an "upgrade."

In terms of the "glaring weakness" of the Oppo 83SE, if you're using it's on-board Bass Management, that is a totally messed up BM scheme. It's *supposed* to be an 80 Hz crossover, but, in fact, the crossover frequencies are different for the HPF and LPF. In addition, the crossover slopes are just bizarre:

From the Audioholics review with measurements:
Quote:


Oppo only gives you one choice of crossover frequency; 80Hz, which is supposed to apply for the subwoofer Low Pass Filter (LPF) and the High Pass Filter (HPF) for all speakers set to small. This is fine for most applications and we like to see the filters exhibit the following roll off characteristics per THX for optimal subwoofer to satellite speaker blending.

HPF: Fc = 80Hz 12db/Oct roll off with -3dB pt at 80Hz

LPF: Fc = 80Hz 24dB/Oct roll off with -6dB pt at 80Hz

Unfortunately neither player followed this recommendation. In fact, they were both different from each other which again was puzzling though not surprising since no DVD / Blu-ray players we've bench tested with the exception of Denon flagships (ie. DVD-5910CI, DVD-A1UDCI) actually exhibit the correct specified cut off frequency and roll off characteristics.

http://www.audioholics.com/reviews/t.../oppo-bdp-83se

I can't copy their table of crossover points and slopes but here is a summary:
  • The 83 Had an LPF of 130 Hz and 16 dB/Octave slope, and an HPF of 100 Hz and 12 dB/Octave slope.
  • The 83 SE had an LPF of 143 Hz and 18 dB/Octave slope, and an HPF of 90 Hz and a 13 dB/Octave slope.

None of those crossover points or slopes makes any sense. Oppo states the crossover is *supposed* to be an 80 Hz crossover, but clearly it's anything but. I tried to help a friend integrate his subs using the Oppo's 83SE's analog MC outputs and its' BM scheme. I found that it was virtually impossible to get it right.

In addition to the BM issues, the 83SE's "summing" of the re-directed bass with the LFE was channel was found to introduce very high levels of distortion:

Quote:


What was perplexing however was the outrageously high distortion from the subwoofer channel of the BDP-83SE. We double checked this with the built in digital Oscilloscope feature of the Audio Precision and could see visible clipping of the test signal. The output signal level was 2.7Vrms so we knocked the subwoofer trim down -10dB figuring the opamps were hitting the rails causing it to clip, and retested. The sub output level dropped to around 1Vrms but was still clipping hard. We retested using a -20dBFS test signal and boosted the subwoofer level to +10dB which would give us about the same 1Vrms output level that clipped the subwoofer channel before. This time the distortion levels were similar to the other channels (< 0.05% THD + N). What this told us was that the BDP-83SE was not properly handling 0dBFS digital output levels when recombining into the subwoofer channel.

Bottom line, if you are using the Bass Management in the Oppo and bypassing the Bass Management in the Onkyo, you are likely not getting optimal Bass Management, and you may be introducing huge amounts of distortion into your subwoofer channel. (OTOH, if TUC's "upgrade" of the Oppo 83SE fixed these problems, then the upgrade could be totally worthwhile. Wouldn't it be nice if TUC would at least provide this kind of insight into what their "upgrades" consist of? Does the OSD of TUC's "upgraded" Oppo have any changes to the menus or the Bass Management choices? Does it offer any other crossover frequencies, or any other indication that the BM issues were sorted out in any way?)

In addition to the issues with the BM signal processing, the Oppo's Speaker Distance settings are rudimentary and difficult to optimize. From the manual:

Quote:


Since the delay is calculated based on the distance difference from each speaker to the listener's position, it is important to set the distance for the front speakers first and then the other speakers. Anytime you change the distance of the front speakers, the distance of the other speakers will be automatically adjusted to maintain the same distance difference.

Distance between the surround speakers and the listener must be shorter than or equal to that between the front speakers and the listener. In case the channel delay settings cannot match your speaker configuration, please set all distances to the same and use your receiver/amplifier to set the channel delay.

Getting the speaker distances correct can have a huge impact on sound quality, and the Oppo's inattention to this important detail is very disappointing. Nonetheless, if you use the Onkyo's internal digital processing, you can set the Distances to within 0.2 ft of the correct distance, (as opposed to the Oppo's granularity of just 1.0 ft increments.) You can also set each speaker's distance without regard for its' distance relative to the other speakers in the system.

I know it may seem that these basic settings are less important, and that "audiophile tweaks" like cryogenically treated cables, "audiophile grade electrical outlets," and disc de-magnetizers etc. can have a bigger impact. However, in my experience, if the "BASIC" fundamental settings of speaker/subwoofer levels, distances and crossovers are optimized, if room acoustics are addressed, and if high resolution room correction is employed, there will be very little left for the audiophile tweaks to improve.

Many audiophiles seem to disdain Digital Signal Processing, (BM, levels, distances, Room Correction, etc.), as "another veil in between the listener and the music." On the contrary, I find it to be the set of tweaks that optimizes the listening experience.

I would still love to hear your system with all it's audiophile tweaks, and to have you hear mine, with all it's DSP tweaks.

Craig

Lombardi said it:
Perfection is not attainable, but if we chase perfection we can catch excellence."

My System

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post #209 of 1596 Old 06-04-2011, 08:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Charles R View Post

Personally I think the entire thread debunks itself. It started out as how can I verify... and later admittedly it comes out as I knew from the beginning they are lying... well who was lying from the get go. Regarding asking someone to debunk your disbelief is just as silly. No one is asking you to believe anything and in most cases couldn't take less if you did.

Regarding the topic at hand I'll keep my opinion to myself as it's irrelevant to the above.

This reminds me of an experiment in grade school where the teacher whispers something to the first person in a row and that person in turn whispers it to the next person, etc, etc, until the last person gets the statement at which time it is compared to the original. Of course, there is a similarity but it has mutated .. many times hilariously.

I started out with the simple mission of debunking - or verifying - the Upgrade Company's statement that the 5508 was superior to the 80.2. That the thread took the admittedly inevitable turn into the very old argument between those who believe these upgrades improve the sound quality and those who not only reject them as a hoax but belittle and insult anyone who spends their money on it.

I'll admit that the thread has run its course as there is no longer any discussion regarding my topic.
But your summation of the thread and your insinuations are wrong.

Jeff
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post #210 of 1596 Old 06-05-2011, 01:53 AM
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Originally Posted by pepar View Post

This reminds me of an experiment in grade school where the teacher whispers something to the first person in a row and that person in turn whispers it to the next person, etc, etc, until the last person gets the statement at which time it is compared to the original. Of course, there is a similarity but it has mutated .. many times hilariously.

I started out with the simple mission of debunking - or verifying - the Upgrade Company's statement that the 5508 was superior to the 80.2. That the thread took the admittedly inevitable turn into the very old argument between those who believe these upgrades improve the sound quality and those who not only reject them as a hoax but belittle and insult anyone who spends their money on it.

I'll admit that the thread has run its course as there is no longer any discussion regarding my topic.
But your summation of the thread and your insinuations are wrong.

Jeff

Jeff,

Yesterday I spoke with Dave Schulte and he stands by his information that there are differences between the Onkyo 5508 and the Integra 80.2. He insists that the Onkyo 5508 sounds better than the Integra 80.2. I know that in conversations with David in the past that he indicated that there were firmware differences between the Onkyo and Integra twins. I do not know if this is also the case between the present Onkyo 5508 and the Integra 80.2, but it may.

Regardless, David still indicates that the 2 present machines do sound different and that the Onkyo sounds better.

Rich

Richard A. Nelridge

www.nelridge.com
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