Can YOU hear the difference between amplifiers?? - Page 4 - AVS Forum
View Poll Results: Can you hear the difference between amplifiers?
1 - Absolutely 35 22.73%
2 - Generally Yes 47 30.52%
3 - Undecided... 15 9.74%
4 - Doubtful but perhaps 30 19.48%
5 - Absolutely Not 27 17.53%
Voters: 154. You may not vote on this poll

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post #91 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 10:16 AM
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Based on the assumption that "all decent amps are basically equal" (trying to side step that debate for the moment)... i'd like to ask about the path *to* the amp (if it's not too much of a tangent)

I've got, what many would consider, a decent amp for my front channels.When I swapped out my old receiver for a new one I felt like the sound was missing some fullness (overly bright perhaps some would say?) A diagram of my setup:


My music is served by a SqueezeBox [SB] (via analog now to make as few changes as possible). R1 is the old AVR and R2 is the new one. I tweaked R2 in an attempt to make the path from the SB to A as unprocessed as possible but still felt it was lacking. So, I started to think about putting an integrated amp into the mix (one with AVR bypass) in hopes that my situation would be improved. Am I kidding myself this would make *that* much of a difference? I would have believed this was a very different conversation than the AMP vs AMP debate. Your thoughts?

For those who are curious: R1 = 20 yr old Nak AV-2; R2 = Onkyo TX-NR818; A = McIntosh 7100D.
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post #92 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 10:26 AM
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If I CAN hear a difference, then something is broken (or at best, poorly designed).

Chris

"It's [expletive] lame to watch Jaws, a film that uses the 2.40 ratio as well as any ever produced, in the wrong format on HBO." -Steven Soderbergh, Oscar-winning director

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post #93 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 10:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

Perhaps your left brained in one camp the right brained in the other, or something like that Theresa. The belittling and insults though, I wonder what your test would say about those? This little chesnut, from post 72, for example, and this attitude is coming from one side only.

My sincere apologies.
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post #94 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 10:50 AM
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Originally Posted by ChrisW6ATV View Post

If I CAN hear a difference, then something is broken (or at best, poorly designed).

Was that in response to my post?
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post #95 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 11:40 AM
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Originally Posted by brannigan View Post

Maybe one day they'll discover better ways to measure things we don't yet know exist that are creating subtle differences. Maybe there's something to the design of these things that matters in ways we just don't understand. 

 

While acoustics and electrical engineering is a branch of science, it's nothing like quantum physics, so I can't imagine what aspects of it you believe are not understood. Regardless, if there are differences then they can be heard and yet when blind AB or ABX testing is done with modern amps working to spec, people can't hear the differences any more, in any statistically valid way. Why would that be?  How about because there are no differences?

 

Surely it is more simple to understand that there are actually no differences than to ascribe the lack of difference to some part of science "we don't yet understand"? Remember Occam's Razor?  Or, as I heard it expressed recently in a movie - if you hear the sound of galloping hooves, don't think unicorns; think horses. 

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post #96 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 11:46 AM
 
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Originally Posted by Theresa View Post

My sincere apologies.

Goodness, you certainly haven't done anything that needs an apology! Your level headed approach to these topics is always beyond reproach whatever side or argument you agree with. BTW, how is your UPA amp holding up? Wasn't that the one that had an RCA connector break loose?
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post #97 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 12:59 PM
 
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It seems like the one camp is just trying to comfort themselves into believing their David is the equal to my Goliath. smile.gif BAT.JPG 551k .JPG file
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post #98 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 01:01 PM
 
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And yet still no one has commented on the beer test. I bet money you can't guess 24/24 times right. smile.gif
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post #99 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 01:06 PM
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Originally Posted by mankite View Post

And yet still no one has commented on the beer test. I bet money you can't guess 24/24 times right. smile.gif

Between light beers?

I certainly could tell the difference between a: Coors, Gordon Biersch Hefe, and Sierra Nevada. Pet you money, 100/100.

;-)
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post #100 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 01:13 PM
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Have you tried a different cable?
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post #101 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 01:15 PM
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I tweaked R2 in an attempt to make the path from the SB to A as unprocessed as possible but still felt it was lacking.
It's possible that there's some control you've overlooked which is responsible for the difference. But it's quite likely that your problem is some combination of expectation bias and comparisons with mismatched levels.For example, perhaps the first time you listened to your new receiver, you had the volume turned down a bit, and it sounded kinda flat, and that's now created a subconscious expectation that your conscious mind can't erase. Unfortunately, our heads work that way.
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Am I kidding myself this would make *that* much of a difference?
If R2 is altering the frequency response, then substituting an integrated with flat response will change things. But that's why it'll change things, and it would be better to adjust R2 appropriately.

If the problem is (meaning no offense) more psychological than physical, then substituting an integrated might make a HUGE difference, but that'll be psychological, too.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #102 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 01:16 PM
 
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Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

Between light beers?
I certainly could tell the difference between a: Coors, Gordon Biersch Hefe, and Sierra Nevada. Pet you money, 100/100.
;-)

Coors light, Bud Light, Miller Light. That's the challenge.
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post #103 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 01:36 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

It's possible that there's some control you've overlooked which is responsible for the difference. But it's quite likely that your problem is some combination of expectation bias and comparisons with mismatched levels.For example, perhaps the first time you listened to your new receiver, you had the volume turned down a bit, and it sounded kinda flat, and that's now created a subconscious expectation that your conscious mind can't erase. Unfortunately, our heads work that way.
If R2 is altering the frequency response, then substituting an integrated with flat response will change things. But that's why it'll change things, and it would be better to adjust R2 appropriately.
If the problem is (meaning no offense) more psychological than physical, then substituting an integrated might make a HUGE difference, but that'll be psychological, too.

No offense taken... I fully acknowledge the psychological contribution. Since I am unable/unwilling to do what would be considered a true controlled experiment... the only things I have to make my decision on are price/feature and my subjective response to the listening experience.

Your second-to-last sentence is at the heart of my concern. How possible is it to get R2 to be as pure as possible? These modern AVRs seem to focus their energies on creating a good surround experience with various bits of DSP trickery. That's all well and good for the "typical" characteristic of a movie sound track but I wonder how well it does on more traditional HiFi.
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post #104 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 01:53 PM
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Originally Posted by cfineman View Post

Your second-to-last sentence is at the heart of my concern. How possible is it to get R2 to be as pure as possible? These modern AVRs seem to focus their energies on creating a good surround experience with various bits of DSP trickery. That's all well and good for the "typical" characteristic of a movie sound track but I wonder how well it does on more traditional HiFi.

It should do the same. An AVR is content-blind. It's only us humans who can distinguish a movie sound track from "traditional HiFi" (as you say). For an AVR a signal is nothing more and nothing less than a signal. smile.gif
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post #105 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 02:00 PM
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The UPA-5 is mostly working fine with one channel not used because of the broken RCA jack. I have a UPA-2 that was going unused that I am now using as a substitute for that channel. Would like to send the amp in but frankly being without it is intolerable for me.
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post #106 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 02:43 PM
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Hmm... not sure what happened to my previous response to this but....
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Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

It should do the same. An AVR is content-blind. It's only us humans who can distinguish a movie sound track from "traditional HiFi" (as you say). For an AVR a signal is nothing more and nothing less than a signal. smile.gif

You mean there's not a little audio engineer inside the AVR? ;-)

The point I was getting at is: I have the impression that AVRs optimize for a home theater listening experiences and use various bits of DSP trickery to achieve that end. Even when it's (almost?) all turned off, it's still a less pure pathway. My concern was how much that "alters" the signal. If, instead, I chose something that had fewer, cleaner processing stages for music, would I see a noticeable improvement?
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post #107 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 03:20 PM
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The point I was getting at is: I have the impression that AVRs optimize for a home theater listening experiences and use various bits of DSP trickery to achieve that end.
I think you're wrong about this. Accurate reproduction is generally the goal, whether for music or movies. Yes, AVRs offer many ways to stray from accuracy, but accuracy is almost certainly the starting point, unless the unit is really badly designed.
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Even when it's (almost?) all turned off, it's still a less pure pathway.
Assuming it's all turned off, it is as pure as any integrated you can buy—or at least close enough to pure that you couldn't tell the difference. in a fair test.
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If, instead, I chose something that had fewer, cleaner processing stages for music, would I see a noticeable improvement?
No, at least not for the reason you think. There really aren't more "processing stages" in an AVR.

My recommendation is to spend some more time with your AVR's manual, to see if there's a way to turn all the processing off. (It's often called "pure" or "direct" or something.)

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #108 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 03:54 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by brannigan View Post

Maybe one day they'll discover better ways to measure things we don't yet know exist that are creating subtle differences. Maybe there's something to the design of these things that matters in ways we just don't understand. Here's a really stupid anology (brace yourself). If you eat a delicious sandwich like everyone else you'll enjoy it but if you put it in a blender and drink it it'll be a different experience even though all of it's measurements are identical for it's physical makeup...right.....RIGHT GUYS? redface.gif

This analogy doesn't work though. Blending food changes it completely. It's like saying, I have all these ingredients, but from these ingredients I can make food taste totally different because preparation and technique and all these other factors go into making up the final food. If we follow this analogy a little further, many people will remind us that we eat 50% with our eyes, so someone who is able to make those same ingredients look appetising will end up having more people prefer the taste regardless... but if we blindfold people before feeding, then they are 100% relying on their sense of taste. This is the same reason why blind testing (though not literal) is needed for making comparisons in listening tests, because bias is a natural part of human nature. So for the sake of verifying if you "can" hear a difference, you need to be conducting double blind testing. To verify that you "prefer" or "like" one products sound over another, then do whatever you want, but that does not actually prove anything scientific - it is simply an anecdote/opinion.
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post #109 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 04:09 PM
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Originally Posted by mankite View Post

And yet still no one has commented on the beer test. I bet money you can't guess 24/24 times right. smile.gif

I am non alcoholic. But in this case, it is not completely analogous because you cannot guarantee that the remnants or aftertaste from one beer is not impacting the next beer you taste. If you use mouthwash between each tasting and did not ingest the beer, then maybe you could improve your chances.

Also, you need to understand what is being said... the question is not "are all amplifiers the same?", the question is, can you hear the difference between amplifiers that are level matched, competently designed, not faulty and not driven outside of it's comfort zone. Unfortunately, the poll is pointless because you can claim what you want without ever having taken a proper double blind listening test - heck most people don't even have a sound meter or know how to use one in order to level match.
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post #110 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 05:27 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

I think you're wrong about this. Accurate reproduction is generally the goal, whether for music or movies. Yes, AVRs offer many ways to stray from accuracy, but accuracy is almost certainly the starting point, unless the unit is really badly designed.
Assuming it's all turned off, it is as pure as any integrated you can buy—or at least close enough to pure that you couldn't tell the difference. in a fair test.
No, at least not for the reason you think. There really aren't more "processing stages" in an AVR.
My recommendation is to spend some more time with your AVR's manual, to see if there's a way to turn all the processing off. (It's often called "pure" or "direct" or something.)

As an example... I was reading people comparing the Anthem AVRs against the Arcam AVRs. There was a fairly strong/consistent sentiment leaning towards the Arcam being better if music is part of the equation but the Anthem's room correction be far preferable if you are just focused on home theater. Now I grant you all this is hearsay... but it still influences my own thoughts on the matter.

Got no problem with "accuracy is the starting point" but I gotta wonder (and please take this in the rhetorical spirit it is intended): Do you believe in your heart and mind that different AMP/Processor combos (of which AVRs are a subset) do not exhibit different sonic qualities? That adjectives like warmth, resolution, imaging, and speed are not significant aspects of these different combos? My preconceived notions tell me they are.

I re-read an article on the "carver challenge" the other day when I was starting to think about this. Here's a quote from the article:
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Originally Posted by stereofile View Post

Carver claims that the original, unmodified M1.0 amplifier had been designed to sound "the way he wanted it to." If, in fact, he could make it sound any way he wished, as seemed to be proven with his success in this experiment, why then did he elect to go with a typical mid-fi "solid-state sound" instead of emulating the sound of one of the best-sounding solid-state or tubed amplifiers on the market? There were, it turns out, some good reasons.

Perhaps I'm better off focusing my time/$ on my new speakers rather than the AMP/AVR. I am spending more time fiddling with the AVR as you suggest.

In the end... I remember (albeit through the veil of time) how happy I was with my purchase some 20yrs ago. This did not yield the same emotional charge (for music anyway) that previous purchase did. Perhaps my emotional dialects have withered with age biggrin.gif
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post #111 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 06:28 PM
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As an example... I was reading people comparing the Anthem AVRs against the Arcam AVRs. There was a fairly strong/consistent sentiment leaning towards the Arcam being better if music is part of the equation but the Anthem's room correction be far preferable if you are just focused on home theater. Now I grant you all this is hearsay.
It's not that it's hearsay. It's that all it takes is one post on a widely read Internet forum saying he thought the Arcam sounded better for music, and a thousand know-nothings start repeating it as if it were gospel truth. That's how expectation bias works. In a blind, level-matched test, you couldn't tell them apart if your life depended on it. (And if all AVRs sound different, how can you talk about all Arcam AVRs as if they have the same characteristics? Wouldn't you at least have to have listened to every Arcam and Anthem AVR ever made? Do you think anyone has? And if they did, wouldn't their impression of the first one color their perceptions of all the subsequent ones?)
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Do you believe in your heart and mind that different AMP/Processor combos (of which AVRs are a subset) do not exhibit different sonic qualities?
Yes. Any that aren't are designed by incompetents.
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That adjectives like warmth, resolution, imaging, and speed are not significant aspects of these different combos?
They are not. They are all bulls**t terms used by people who don't know the difference between what they really hear and what they only imagine.
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My preconceived notions tell me they are.
I'm gonna be a nice guy and not respond to this. smile.gif
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Perhaps I'm better off focusing my time/$ on my new speakers rather than the AMP/AVR.
Yep.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #112 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 07:15 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cfineman View Post

As an example... I was reading people comparing the Anthem AVRs against the Arcam AVRs. There was a fairly strong/consistent sentiment leaning towards the Arcam being better if music is part of the equation but the Anthem's room correction be far preferable if you are just focused on home theater. Now I grant you all this is hearsay... but it still influences my own thoughts on the matter.
Got no problem with "accuracy is the starting point" but I gotta wonder (and please take this in the rhetorical spirit it is intended): Do you believe in your heart and mind that different AMP/Processor combos (of which AVRs are a subset) do not exhibit different sonic qualities? That adjectives like warmth, resolution, imaging, and speed are not significant aspects of these different combos? My preconceived notions tell me they are.
I re-read an article on the "carver challenge" the other day when I was starting to think about this. Here's a quote from the article:
Perhaps I'm better off focusing my time/$ on my new speakers rather than the AMP/AVR. I am spending more time fiddling with the AVR as you suggest.
In the end... I remember (albeit through the veil of time) how happy I was with my purchase some 20yrs ago. This did not yield the same emotional charge (for music anyway) that previous purchase did. Perhaps my emotional dialects have withered with age biggrin.gif

I'd remind you that the discussion is on amplification, which is well understood. When you add processing and other signal altering factors into play, you are no longer maintaining a level playing field.

e.g. I pit one AVR against another (same model), the first one I leave at default, the second one I set equalisation such that the midrange is pulled down by 10dB. Well of course you will hear differences. Just like you will notice differences between the quality of the digital to analogue conversion of say an old PC's onboard audio vs. a decent sound card. Or the difference between a processor that has corrected a null/peak in the room response. These things are not being discussed and you need to take all of that out of the equation and focus only on the job of amplification.

The original PlayStation with analogue RCA outputs at the back of the unit is highly regarded in some circles as being able to best megabuck CD players... when measured it showed ridiculously high levels of distortion. The people that liked the sound from that unit was equating the lack of detail and the distortion as being warmth or vinyl like sound. This is all fine and dandy, people can like what they like no problem with that, sound quality is subjective of course. Amplification is not though. You want a different sound, change your source, your speakers, your DAC, your processing, your settings, your seating position etc. These are the things that will impact the audio. I'm sure if we ran a double blind test where the same amp was used and the same pair of speakers were used and the only difference was that the balance was set to left or right, that you would be able to pick which was which (duh). Or something less extreme, if the same amp and pair of speakers was used and the only thing switched between sessions was a rug vs. hard flooring. In these instances the ability to reliably identify which is which is well agreed upon as proof of being able to "hear" the difference. Yet when we talk about amplification, somehow there is some additional magic that makes one amp sound so superior to another but inability to pick which is which in a double blind test is not proof since the test (a hearing test) doesn't take into consideration other things that science can't explain. Nobody is being asked to explain why it is that two amps sound different, they are simply being asked to show that they can.

Imagine you are at the optometrist (fictional one) and you ask to have your eyes checked. For those that have never been, they will test your vision by displaying the same image twice under different lenses and asking you which is clearer. Your choices are: "first", "second" or "they are the same". Now imagine the two images are different and there is an attractive guy in the first image and an attractive woman in the second. Instead of answering which is clearer, you decide to answer which you prefer (say because you don't want to admit that you see the attractive guy more clearly for fear of being labelled a homosexual)... so while you might have been super lucky and the woman was actually clearer in all instances, it is more than likely that you will end up with a bad prescription, but at least you aren't gay. This ridiculous scenario was put forth to draw parallels to this discussion. The reason for a double blind, level matched, no faulty and comfort zoned amplifier listening test is similar to the reason they show the same image instead of two different ones. i.e. to remove any bias, preconceived preferences and any other variable not linked to the actual "hearing" that you are doing. As opposed to a improper listening test where the levels are not matched, where people are aware of which amp is driving the speaker and for fear of being labelled a wax ear (opposite of golden ear is what I am aiming for), you always choose the amp that you paid more for (or you pick the amp that sounded better in the carefully treated audition room, or the one that all your friends are recommending etc. etc.)
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post #113 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 07:31 PM
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Originally Posted by mankite View Post

And yet still no one has commented on the beer test. I bet money you can't guess 24/24 times right. smile.gif

The question here should be whether or not one can hear the difference in amps after 24 beers...
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post #114 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 08:55 PM
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Originally Posted by mankite View Post

Coors light, Bud Light, Miller Light. That's the challenge.

I used to work in the bar business for many years and have actually won several bar bets doing exactly this. However, the problem with your test (as you originally stated it with shot glasses) is that the sample is too small. Give me a few ounces of each and some water between each tasting, and I could do it. Also has to be draft beer, lol - bottles introduce too many other variables.

I don't know that I can still do this since I don't drink nearly as often as I used to, but it can be done.
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post #115 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 09:02 PM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

...
They are not. They are all bulls**t terms used by people who don't know the difference between what they really hear and what they only imagine.
...

Perception and bias (which obviously colors the former) will fall into just about any kind of decision (purchase, marriage, what to have for lunch). So this begs the question... if I can't trust the opinions of folks around me and I don't have the time to do full double blind testing... how would you recommend going about making a purchasing decision? How did you choose your current system? Purely price & feature set? Gut feel when you listened to a system that just "felt right" and never look back (which is pretty much how I bought my system 20 years ago... clearly I not any closer to my freshman year EE classes! biggrin.gif )
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post #116 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 10:42 PM
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Interesting thread.
My two cents is that various distortions generated by the amplifier (especially 3rd order) can and do affect what is heard from the amp. This is one reason tube amps tend to sound "warm;, second order harmonics (and various other orders too).

I believe that if the blind tests were done with a single frequency tone instead of musical passages, one could hear some differences in amps. When you add all the natural harmonics found in music, voice and nature the brain interprets the addition of all these harmonics from the various sources as "shading" of the original material. The amount of sound impulses from the ears received by the brain in any span of time is huge and the brain cannot sort out all the individual notes plus their multi-ordered harmonics as well as the time delay based on the distance from the source to the microphones so it sort of averages all the impulses into a "sound". This sound can be unique to an individual as it is party formed over time by frequent use of certain pathways within the brain were all the impulses from the ears are "translated" into something the brain has learned to understand as music, voices, nature sounds, etc.

Neurologist understand the mechanics of the brain learning what something sounds like over time and with varying experiences of different sounds in different environments. Engineers understand what sound is made up of and how to record it, store it and replay it using electronic theory. The two sciences meet when the ears transmit nerve impulses to the brain and the brain deciphers what it is given. We all share the basic biology associated with hearing but some have honed their brain to better interpret what it "hears" over years of trained listening. I find it hard to believe some folks cannot hear these various harmonic differences in amps.

As for the beer taste test....having made my own beer for years I can attest that one can develop a "palate" for fine differences in flavors. People make a living tasting things for food and beverage companies, so it can clearly be done...if one has developed the brain's ability to differentiate the various flavors into their associated ingredients. The same should apply to hears or sight or any of our other senses.

Back to your local station....
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post #117 of 433 Old 11-15-2012, 11:22 PM
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Originally Posted by hdkhang View Post

I'd remind you that the discussion is on amplification, which is well understood. When you add processing and other signal altering factors into play, you are no longer maintaining a level playing field.
e.g. I pit one AVR against another (same model), the first one I leave at default, the second one I set equalisation such that the midrange is pulled down by 10dB. Well of course you will hear differences. Just like you will notice differences between the quality of the digital to analogue conversion of say an old PC's onboard audio vs. a decent sound card. Or the difference between a processor that has corrected a null/peak in the room response. These things are not being discussed and you need to take all of that out of the equation and focus only on the job of amplification.
The original PlayStation with analogue RCA outputs at the back of the unit is highly regarded in some circles as being able to best megabuck CD players... when measured it showed ridiculously high levels of distortion. The people that liked the sound from that unit was equating the lack of detail and the distortion as being warmth or vinyl like sound. This is all fine and dandy, people can like what they like no problem with that, sound quality is subjective of course. Amplification is not though. You want a different sound, change your source, your speakers, your DAC, your processing, your settings, your seating position etc. These are the things that will impact the audio. I'm sure if we ran a double blind test where the same amp was used and the same pair of speakers were used and the only difference was that the balance was set to left or right, that you would be able to pick which was which (duh). Or something less extreme, if the same amp and pair of speakers was used and the only thing switched between sessions was a rug vs. hard flooring. In these instances the ability to reliably identify which is which is well agreed upon as proof of being able to "hear" the difference. Yet when we talk about amplification, somehow there is some additional magic that makes one amp sound so superior to another but inability to pick which is which in a double blind test is not proof since the test (a hearing test) doesn't take into consideration other things that science can't explain. Nobody is being asked to explain why it is that two amps sound different, they are simply being asked to show that they can.
Imagine you are at the optometrist (fictional one) and you ask to have your eyes checked. For those that have never been, they will test your vision by displaying the same image twice under different lenses and asking you which is clearer. Your choices are: "first", "second" or "they are the same". Now imagine the two images are different and there is an attractive guy in the first image and an attractive woman in the second. Instead of answering which is clearer, you decide to answer which you prefer (say because you don't want to admit that you see the attractive guy more clearly for fear of being labelled a homosexual)... so while you might have been super lucky and the woman was actually clearer in all instances, it is more than likely that you will end up with a bad prescription, but at least you aren't gay. This ridiculous scenario was put forth to draw parallels to this discussion. The reason for a double blind, level matched, no faulty and comfort zoned amplifier listening test is similar to the reason they show the same image instead of two different ones. i.e. to remove any bias, preconceived preferences and any other variable not linked to the actual "hearing" that you are doing. As opposed to a improper listening test where the levels are not matched, where people are aware of which amp is driving the speaker and for fear of being labelled a wax ear (opposite of golden ear is what I am aiming for), you always choose the amp that you paid more for (or you pick the amp that sounded better in the carefully treated audition room, or the one that all your friends are recommending etc. etc.)

You make an excellent point.

With some humor too... Good stuff...

I would be inclined to agree with you, simply because of your talent with words.

Over the years I've had a variety of different amplification in my HT. Same room, same speakers, same wires, same source, calibrated with the same microphone to the exact same level (85db). Each one sounded different at all sane volumes. With your logic, I've certainly fooled myself. Somehow, I've also managed to fool my wife (who preferred how things sounded two amps ago). I've also manged to fool 100's of reviewers who also can hear the differences (bench tests included). And also, I've fooled 10's of thousands of other respected individuals who have made Home Theater, and specifically HT Amplification their profession. Smart, highly intelligent, driven people who have designed and built the gear we see and hear today. See, you're calling us all either; delusional, ignorant, or liars. It's demeaning. And offensive.

You see Hdkhang, the overwhelming proof that there *IS* a difference.

And yet, on the other side, we have a very small (and vocal) minority who claim otherwise. Many of the very loudest of the bunch would *really* like to believe it so. I suspect many of this minority suffer from the same confirmation bias you claim afflicts the majority. And they lack the experience of playing with different amplifiers in their own HT.

10 years ago there were no less than 6 high-end audio shops within 20 miles of my home. Places I could demo the latest and greatest. I could even get the sales guys to *gasp* switch amps around.

Today, where does an educated consumer go to listen to amplification? Where do they go to listen to speakers from Linn, Energy, Vienna Acoustics, Infinity, Martin Logan, Definitive Technologies... All with the same amp/processor? Today, there's a Best Buy (at least mine has a Magnolia), and that's it. Perhaps today people just aren't exposed to these differences. Maybe people now get their buying advice from internet forums instead of actually listening to the gear in a demo room. Maybe, just maybe - In a industry where equipment cannot be demo'd easily by the average consumer, manufacturers push feature set as the only real way of differentiating their product... Since the quality cannot be heard from Amazon.com but the checklist of DSP modes is easily compared.

It's Movember. I'm observing it. I'm supposed to act gentlemanly.

I am not going to call those who have only owned receivers ignorant.. Instead I will encourage them to experiment, have fun. Get a cheap amp from Craigslist, try it out.
I'm not going to call those who have had separates but disagree, delusional. It's not my place to make judgments on another person's truth. Instead, I understand them and agree to disagree. Who am I to judge?
And finally, I'm certainly not going to call every legitimate reviewer, professional or hobbiest, from every publication / forum / blog for decades, a liar.
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post #118 of 433 Old 11-16-2012, 02:42 AM
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Since you can hear a difference you should get the one that sounds better to you and your spouse, if you can afford it. I've used many separate amplifiers, HK, Sherwood, Sony (back when they made decent equipment), Emotiva and others I cannot remember. They all sounded very similar, unlike speakers which sound very different. Given the similarity in circuitry of all the amps, I attribute any difference to defects and the placebo effect. You on the other hand should go with what you know/feel. When it comes right down to it, it is all about the music and movies, not about who prefers what amp.
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post #119 of 433 Old 11-16-2012, 04:31 AM
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Originally Posted by cfineman View Post

 
Perhaps I'm better off focusing my time/$ on my new speakers rather than the AMP/AVR. I am spending more time fiddling with the AVR as you suggest.

In the end... I remember (albeit through the veil of time) how happy I was with my purchase some 20yrs ago. This did not yield the same emotional charge (for music anyway) that previous purchase did. Perhaps my emotional dialects have withered with age biggrin.gif

 

You have to try to remove emotion from the equation when considering the playback hardware. difficult though that is. This is why blind tests are so valuable - when all knowledge of what is playing, which brand, the price, the appearance etc is removed, then all that is left is the sound. And invariably nobody can then tell the difference, with the caveats already mentioned 100 times in this thread (level matching, working in spec etc).

 

Amps make very little, if any, difference to the sound you hear. The most important thing in your component chain, and the one that most affects what you hear, is the room itself. If you can accommodate some simple bass traps - even just two in the front corners, that will have far, far, far more impact on what you hear than changing any amp for any other amp. Second, as you suggest, is the speakers.

 

Most people get caught in an endless loop of ugradeitis because they sound they are hearing seems in some way deficient to them. Almost always this will be the impact of the room on the sound. If you can use traps and treatments to get the room right, I can all but guarantee you that your upgradeitis will be cured, even if you have fairly modest equipment. Remember, a $20,000 pair of speakers in a room with huge peaks, nulls, reflections, echoes etc etc will sound terrible. But a $500 pair of speakers in a good room will usually sound terrific. And treatments aren't all that expensive and are very easy to install.

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post #120 of 433 Old 11-16-2012, 04:33 AM
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

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As an example... I was reading people comparing the Anthem AVRs against the Arcam AVRs. There was a fairly strong/consistent sentiment leaning towards the Arcam being better if music is part of the equation but the Anthem's room correction be far preferable if you are just focused on home theater. Now I grant you all this is hearsay.
It's not that it's hearsay. It's that all it takes is one post on a widely read Internet forum saying he thought the Arcam sounded better for music, and a thousand know-nothings start repeating it as if it were gospel truth. That's how expectation bias works. In a blind, level-matched test, you couldn't tell them apart if your life depended on it. (And if all AVRs sound different, how can you talk about all Arcam AVRs as if they have the same characteristics? Wouldn't you at least have to have listened to every Arcam and Anthem AVR ever made? Do you think anyone has? And if they did, wouldn't their impression of the first one color their perceptions of all the subsequent ones?)
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Do you believe in your heart and mind that different AMP/Processor combos (of which AVRs are a subset) do not exhibit different sonic qualities?
Yes. Any that aren't are designed by incompetents.
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That adjectives like warmth, resolution, imaging, and speed are not significant aspects of these different combos?
They are not. They are all bulls**t terms used by people who don't know the difference between what they really hear and what they only imagine.
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My preconceived notions tell me they are.
I'm gonna be a nice guy and not respond to this. smile.gif
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Perhaps I'm better off focusing my time/$ on my new speakers rather than the AMP/AVR.
Yep.

+1. Especially the BS terms...

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