Originally Posted by ohrbrcko
Let me ask a question regarding the equipment reviews published by Stereophile Magazine. I skim over them as I don't have any sort of background to understand them. There is usually a number of charts/ graphs displayed in their reviews. I gather that from the review process that the equipment is put through that in fact they all have their own profile in terms of what the charts/graphs look like. Could this mean that this potentially translates into a different sound, sound signature, etc. for audio equipment? For example, two Amps have different charts/graphs that were produced through a testing and evaluation process. Could this mean that they sound different ? May be our hearing is such that we can't in many cases identify the sound differences but maybe they are there at least on paper anyways. Again, I was a liberal arts major and not a tech/audio savy person so I am just asking some questions that I am thinking about as I read through this discussion. Have a great weekend one and all...baseball starts up again today!
There are some sonic differences between some amplifiers but those amplifiers are not usually the ones that are being discussed in this forum. Not all differences in measurements are audible. The test equipment Stereophile uses is more sensitive than your hearing or mine so virtually every amplifier will have different measurements. Audible differences between various amplifiers, on the other hand, are pretty rare.
The only reliable way to determine audible differences is with bias controlled listening and audio magazines don't do bias controlled listening. Not only is it difficult to do but it would destroy magazine sales if they printed the results since it belies the content of that prose.
Interestingly, Stereophile did do a decent bias controlled test once at an audio show and discovered a barely statistically significant audible difference between two amplifiers. One was a solid state amp and the other was a high end tube amp. Those of us with experience in bias controlled comparisons often find obvious audible differences between solid state gear and tube gear so it is a credit to that manufacturer that their product was just barely differentiated from solid state in the test.
I once did an amplifier comparison between a solid state amp and a tube amp and had a result of no audible difference. Every other similar comparison had a statistically significant audible difference.
Audiophiles hate the concept of bias controlled testing because it appears to attack their egos by showing that audio electronics are not a meaningful way to improve sound quality. I was one of them but cured myself of it by going through the effort of conducting the tests. You can read their comments in the posts above this one and elsewhere. "Trust your ears," "You have impaired hearing," "the blind bias controlled tests are flawed." We hear it all the time. What they fail to accept is the logical conclusion that if a listener can't distinguish the sound of one unit from another without knowing which is which, then there is no audible difference. If the differences exist in a sighted test then they must be caused by hearing bias not by anything in the equipment. It is simply illogical to believe otherwise. Lots of illogical thinking in audio.