Originally Posted by oink
1). It is a simple, non scientific test in my HT with a M&K Sound S150II THX Ultra2 Certified setup.
2) Assuming "pre-amp" mode in the Denon means the internal amps are NOT used.
3) Whether or not the Denon's display/manual is being "honest," I can't vouch for.
I don't care which amp is active...I go with what I hear.
4) BD lossless, of course.
OK thanks. Do you have the answers to the 4 questions I asked? I am wondering if you realise the importance of very precise level-matching and instantaneous switching, for example? If those two things alone are ignored, then, unfortunately, there are no meaningful conclusions which can be drawn from the test undertaken. The reason for the former is that it has been proven beyond doubt that unless units are precisely level matched to +/- 0.5dB, the louder unit will always "sound best" subjectively and will be preferred by a majority of listeners, consistently. And the reason the instantaneous switching is important is that human auditory memory only lasts for 3 or 4 seconds at best - so if the switch between units takes longer than that, then no conclusions at all
can be drawn simply because the listener has no idea now what the first unit sounded like.
Of course, people do hear differences between units all the time, but this is almost always because of the improper way in which the tests have been set up. The other factor is inescapable human bias - when we know which unit is playing our biases eliminate the possibility of objectivity. Even when we understand human cognitive bias very well, we cannot control it or eliminate it in our minds as it is a subconscious
Normally none of this matters - if someone believes they hear a difference and comes to the conclusion that one unit "sounds better" than another, that is their own personal business. The problem arises if people spend money based on those (false) beliefs or on the 'recommendations' of others who hold those beliefs. It could be, for example, disastrous, if someone exchanged a perfectly good unit for another because he had been led to believe it sounded better when in fact, measured objectively, it doesn't.
As an aside, salesmen have long since known that customers always prefer the louder unit when they do these random, unscientific tests, and so the practice of nudging up the volume on the more expensive unit is commonplace.