Amplifiers affecting speaker frequency response - Page 10 - AVS Forum
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post #271 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 08:24 AM
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Then simply ignore what we say and go on about your business. I told you I didn't recommend you get involved in bias controlled testing. It is a serious hassle. Crank up the Krell and enjoy some music.


The thing is, I really want to learn. If I can save money in future don't you think I would want to? It just appears that the method and the conditions for testing amplifiers against each other makes it very inaccessible for many people to do properly.

If I could get my hands on an ABX comparator box then I would certainly be one big step closer. I just need to scour the internet and see if I can find someone who can sell one. Or get someone to make one for me. I don't mind paying someone to build me a comparator.
I have one.
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post #272 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 08:57 AM
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That's a matter of opinion and I'll bet your opinion is not based on personal experience.
You would lose that bet smile.gif. I have performed both professionally and personally countless blind tests. I have been on the side of creating experiments and being in them. What I said is absolutely based on personal and professional experience. Take two different sounding MP3s and vary the switch over time. You will see that it gets harder and harder to tell the difference.
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It is perfectly possible to do a test with a 2 second delay and get the same results as you get with a millisecond delay. Exactly the same.
That runs foul of research in this area and ton of personal experience. Ask Arny. He will tell you the same thing. The smaller the difference, the faster the switchover needs to be.
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I have never read an AES paper and have never suggested that someone else read one. But I have done the tests so it is not possible for you to move me from my position. I know better. My knowledge was gained the hard way. Period. The same is true of Arny. Please go write another article about jitter or some other inaudible phenomenon. You will get a more tractable audience there.
If you think 2 seconds is good enough, show us research or testing data that demonstrates how small differences are not lost that way. Don't say you know it in the same sentence that says you don't read research papers. I have no issue with you having an opinion that convinces you. But please don't lecture industry people who do this for a living on being right. You simply are not in this area. And it is very easy to demonstrate the point to yourself.

Not knowing this would lead to many results of no difference. The switch over time is too long for your brain to remember what the other device sounded like. You get frustrated and conclude that there is no difference where a much faster switching time (as in perceptually instantaneous) may have brought it out.

I think it is wonderful that you have done your own tests. But it simply is not instructive to others or results that can be trusted.

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post #273 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 09:21 AM
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You would lose that bet smile.gif. I have performed both professionally and personally countless blind tests. I have been on the side of creating experiments and being in them. What I said is absolutely based on personal and professional experience. Take two different sounding MP3s and vary the switch over time. You will see that it gets harder and harder to tell the difference.
That runs foul of research in this area and ton of personal experience. Ask Arny. He will tell you the same thing. The smaller the difference, the faster the switchover needs to be.
If you think 2 seconds is good enough, show us research or testing data that demonstrates how small differences are not lost that way. Don't say you know it in the same sentence that says you don't read research papers. I have no issue with you having an opinion that convinces you. But please don't lecture industry people who do this for a living on being right. You simply are not in this area. And it is very easy to demonstrate the point to yourself.

Not knowing this would lead to many results of no difference. The switch over time is too long for your brain to remember what the other device sounded like. You get frustrated and conclude that there is no difference where a much faster switching time (as in perceptually instantaneous) may have brought it out.

I think it is wonderful that you have done your own tests. But it simply is not instructive to others or results that can be trusted.

Yes I think 2 seconds is more than enough. Why? Because subtely audible differences still show up as differences. Our audiophile group did this stuff over a period of 3 years. I'm not interested in converting you. I went through the process out of curiosity and converted myself and the other nine who were involved in the project. Sorry, you don't convince me at all and I'll state whatever information on the forum I please just as you do.
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post #274 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 09:56 AM
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Yes I think 2 seconds is more than enough. Why? Because subtely audible differences still show up as differences. Our audiophile group did this stuff over a period of 3 years. I'm not interested in converting you. I went through the process out of curiosity and converted myself and the other nine who were involved in the project. Sorry, you don't convince me at all and I'll state whatever information on the forum I please just as you do.
I don't care about convincing you. I care about what you say not becoming another thing people who only read forums get to believe.

Here is ITU (european standards group) BS 1116, "METHODS FOR THE SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF SMALL IMPAIRMENTS IN AUDIO SYSTEMS INCLUDING MULTICHANNEL SOUND SYSTEMS"

"Since long- and medium-term aural memory is unreliable, the test procedure should rely exclusively on short-term memory. This is best done if a near-instantaneous switching (see Note 1) method is used in conjunction with a triple stimulus system as described in Appendix 3. Such switching demands close time alignment among the stimuli."

2 seconds is not near-instantaneous.

So it doesn't matter what you and your buddies did or how long you spent doing it. There are audiophiles who get together just the same and convince themselves that cables sound different to them. And they think since that is what they perceived, so it must be reality. The fact that your belly convinced you that your testing was right is neither here nor there because they were convinced just the same. It only matters if you have knowledge of human auditory memory and lots of experience to know what test conditions are important. Seeing how you don't have that knowledge and spent three years doing things wrong, says that it is time to properly learn the topic before hammering the people with your experience.

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post #275 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 10:39 AM
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I meant you should attend some ABX tests. Your area probably has some relevant hobby (or pro) groups who conduct these things from time to time. Get in touch and ask them if they have any scheduled. It will be a huge eye-opener for you and it has the potential to save you thousands of $$$ as well as giving you better results.


There is no "ABX club" near me. I've never even heard of such a thing.

 

Sure - but there may well be an audio hobbyist club of some sort. I used to belong to one many years ago and found the meetings both enjoyable and useful. If no such thing exists near where you live, then I agree that it can be difficult to attend an ABX test session.

 

HST, given that many hundreds of such tests have been conducted - thousands even - and they all pretty much come to the exact same conclusions, I do find it odd why you would think that their conclusions are not vaiid, or that every test is flawed, or that they have a hidden agenda to deceive you.  The posters in this thread who are trying so hard to get you to see the scientific points behind their argument - Arny, Jason, FMW, Dio etc - have no agenda and no reason to try to deceive you. Why would they? Whatever you choose to believe has no impact on their own personal life. They are simply giving their time to try to help you understand something better. And when this understanding comes, it will give you more enjoyment from your AV system and also save you a lot of potentially wasted money.

 

I am at a loss as to why you seem to have such a closed mind. You find it easy to believe that all the ABX tests are flawed, or that people are out to trick you, yet you seem to also find it easy to believe that sighted tests in uncontrolled conditions are valid. We can prove to you, beyond all doubt, that sighted tests are more or less useless yet you demand ever increasing standards of proof - but you never seem to demand the same burden of proof of those who put forward their conclusions based solely on sighted tests. I am not knocking you here and I hope you realise that - just that I find your position and reluctance to admit of even the possibility that ABX tests are the highest standard of proof which exist when comparing A with B.

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post #276 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 10:44 AM
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Post #251 describes the one we used. Did you read it?

I did read it, but I can't rely on other people to help switch. I'm a single guy in a rented apartment at the moment. The idea was to be able to do the testing myself. It appears I can't do what I want done without the necessarily hardware.

 

This is where the audio club could help. i bet if you joined one locally and suggested the procedure described in post 251, they would find it a very interesting way to pass an evening. If there is really no possibility of this happening, then you will have to rely on the published results of people who have actually done similar or full ABX tests. This is fairly normal in life isn’t it?  When you take a headache tablet, you don't do all the blind trials yourself - you rely on the published data from tests conducted by others. If you can do that with things that can potentially affect your life or death, why is it so hard for you to do it with AV trials?

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post #277 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 10:46 AM
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Then simply ignore what we say and go on about your business. I told you I didn't recommend you get involved in bias controlled testing. It is a serious hassle. Crank up the Krell and enjoy some music.


The thing is, I really want to learn. If I can save money in future don't you think I would want to? It just appears that the method and the conditions for testing amplifiers against each other makes it very inaccessible for many people to do properly.

 

If I could get my hands on an ABX comparator box then I would certainly be one big step closer. I just need to scour the internet and see if I can find someone who can sell one. Or get someone to make one for me. I don't mind paying someone to build me a comparator.

 

But you readily believe the alleged sonic benefits of one amp over another without any proof at all?  This is the part I don't understand.

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post #278 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 11:08 AM
 
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2. People are told to go and run ABX tests on hardware. I am glad you now admitted how challenging it is.
So?
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There is no harm in trying.
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post #279 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 11:29 AM - Thread Starter
 
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HST, given that many hundreds of such tests have been conducted - thousands even - and they all pretty much come to the exact same conclusions, I do find it odd why you would think that their conclusions are not vaiid, or that every test is flawed, or that they have a hidden agenda to deceive you.  The posters in this thread who are trying so hard to get you to see the scientific points behind their argument - Arny, Jason, FMW, Dio etc - have no agenda and no reason to try to deceive you. Why would they? Whatever you choose to believe has no impact on their own personal life. They are simply giving their time to try to help you understand something better. And when this understanding comes, it will give you more enjoyment from your AV system and also save you a lot of potentially wasted money.

I believe there is more to this story than what you are telling me. You are trying very hard to steer me into believing your biased worldview. The "evidence" that you have presented is a summary of an AES paper with no actual details presented.

 

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I am at a loss as to why you seem to have such a closed mind. You find it easy to believe that all the ABX tests are flawed, or that people are out to trick you, yet you seem to also find it easy to believe that sighted tests in uncontrolled conditions are valid.

 

I don't have a closed mind. I am open to being convinced - but I don't see any reason to be convinced simply because you say so, and simply because you provided a summary worth of test results and no actual meat and potatoes to back up those results - no info, no nothing. For all I know the participants were hard of hearing, had poor sensitivity to hearing subtle audible changes, etc etc etc.

 

Perhaps the testing had poor controls. I also have not claimed that all ABX tests were flawed. I'm sure statistically there must be some that were well controlled, but you can't assume that all ABX tests are conclusive. And please, people are deceitful creatures - it's simply how the deck was stacked. You and others are trying to steer me into believing results that I don't find particularly conclusive. There may be evidence that people can't hear differences under some conditions, but there is no evidence that is conclusive enough where you could extrapolate the results to all conditions.

 

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We can prove to you, beyond all doubt, that sighted tests are more or less useless yet you demand ever increasing standards of proof - but you never seem to demand the same burden of proof of those who put forward their conclusions based solely on sighted tests.

 

I don't doubt that sighted testing is flawed. I may not demand the same burden of proof for sighted tests because there is nothing to prove. I'm not under trial here, nor is anyone else - but if you want to punt your belief system at me then I need more details than what has been presented. There appears to be an urgent need to change my tune on the subject, which I find a little unnerving.
 

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I am not knocking you here and I hope you realise that - just that I find your position and reluctance to admit of even the possibility that ABX tests are the highest standard of proof which exist when comparing A with B.

I have not admitted anything yet. I freely admit sighted testing is flawed and I accept that double blind research is well-founded. But not all double blind testing is equal, not all tests are well controlled. In the case of audio double blind results, I'm not convinced that the results could be assumed to be valid for all people, under all conditions.

 

I know that some of you are trying your darnedest to hit me over the head and steer me into believing your position, but I have no reason to change just because you feel I have to. The fact I want to do the testing MYSELF gives you some indication that I think that there is a good possibility that my biases have steered me into hearing things that may not exist - however, that might not be true either, but I am willing to put it to the test. So please don't tell me I have a closed mind. You don't know me personally, so I would appreciate it if you don't make judgment calls on my character just yet.

 

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This is where the audio club could help. i bet if you joined one locally and suggested the procedure described in post 251, they would find it a very interesting way to pass an evening. If there is really no possibility of this happening, then you will have to rely on the published results of people who have actually done similar or full ABX tests. T



I don't want to rely on the results. I'm not going to change what I think just because I read a summary of test results! The only way I will change my tune is if I test myself, or have myself tested. That is the only way. Expecting anything more is simply unreasonable.

 

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But you readily believe the alleged sonic benefits of one amp over another without any proof at all?  This is the part I don't understand.

Without hard evidence either way to convince me I shouldn't have to make a call. Right now I derive enjoyment from listening to music with my equipment. If I can test myself at some point and if I find I can't discern differences like I thought I could then I'll change my stance (for me), not other people. I won't join your brigade and put people down. I'll only speak for myself on this, which I think is only reasonable.

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post #280 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 11:47 AM
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I don't care about convincing you. I care about what you say not becoming another thing people who only read forums get to believe.

Here is ITU (european standards group) BS 1116, "METHODS FOR THE SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF SMALL IMPAIRMENTS IN AUDIO SYSTEMS INCLUDING MULTICHANNEL SOUND SYSTEMS"

"Since long- and medium-term aural memory is unreliable, the test procedure should rely exclusively on short-term memory. This is best done if a near-instantaneous switching (see Note 1) method is used in conjunction with a triple stimulus system as described in Appendix 3. Such switching demands close time alignment among the stimuli."

2 seconds is not near-instantaneous.

So it doesn't matter what you and your buddies did or how long you spent doing it. There are audiophiles who get together just the same and convince themselves that cables sound different to them. And they think since that is what they perceived, so it must be reality. The fact that your belly convinced you that your testing was right is neither here nor there because they were convinced just the same. It only matters if you have knowledge of human auditory memory and lots of experience to know what test conditions are important. Seeing how you don't have that knowledge and spent three years doing things wrong, says that it is time to properly learn the topic before hammering the people with your experience.

If you had gone through it you would know better.
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post #281 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 11:54 AM
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Eventually in life you may have to trust the research of others. In my field you test what you can, but not everyone has the time and resources (skills, experience, millions of dollars in test equipment plus lab, etc.) It is simply impractical, if not impossible, to test everything yourself. Saying a wealth of evidence from prior research is not a reliable source, well, your call, but be prepared to spend a lot of time and effort (and money) to prove it all by (and to) yourself.

Audio is but one area in which people hold to beliefs with religious fervor. You can find adherents of film cameras who, despite the research, tests and visual evidence of the best digital cameras, will always insist they are lacking in that magic something. Ultimately if you believe something no research will sway you. Nothing wrong with that, it’s your preference. It’s the old subjective vs. objective debate; IMO neither should be taken to extremes.
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post #282 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 11:58 AM
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Without hard evidence either way to convince me I shouldn't have to make a call. Right now I derive enjoyment from listening to music with my equipment. If I can test myself at some point and if I find I can't discern differences like I thought I could then I'll change my stance (for me), not other people. I won't join your brigade and put people down. I'll only speak for myself on this, which I think is only reasonable.

Don't let it bother you. We're just trying to help. There is no consequence for us if you go in a different direction. We're sharing experience. Ignore it if you like. Not a problem at all.
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post #283 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 12:14 PM
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The easiest way to do ABX testing is to use prefabricated files that are made using equipment of the kind you wish to test. The freeware music player FOOBAR2000 has an ABX plug in to handle the mechanics of the testing. Some files that you may be interested in comparing can be found http://ethanwiner.com/aes/ . Try some of the files named "Soundblaster Generations" It is essentally DAC tests.
What does any of this have to do with testing amplifiers? I have watched Ethan/JJ's video in the past. It is worth watching but it is off-topic as far as teaching someone how to do tests on their own.

The page whose link I posted above is *not* a link to the video of Ethan & JJ's AES presentation. That video is at: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BYTlN6wjcvQ
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And further, to test amplifiers you need to have controls that bring out differences. There are no files there that provide this.

That's why I said: "Try some of the files named "Soundblaster Generations" It is essentially DAC tests"
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And why would a software player with ABX have any usefulness in testing two pieces of hardware?

Because if ADCs and DACs are much more accurate than power amplifiers (and the good ones are) then the recording of an amplifier's output is an accurate reflection of how it changes the audio passing through it.

This is the same basic principle as Audio Precision test equipment. Do you believe that Audio Precision test equipment is a valid way to test amplifiers?
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post #284 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 12:23 PM
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If anyone disputes these things, I like to ask them to post an actual ABX test protocol and test that they have participated in. Please be specific so that we can see if you knew how to do it right and if so, for others to learn how to do it. If I am right and no such test description is forthcoming, then let's assume we are done lecturing others on going and running these tests and reading research papers neither one of which seems to be practiced by vocal members on this point.

One of the best discussions of an actual series of ABX tests has already been quoted several times:

http://webpages.charter.net/fryguy/Amp_Sound.pdf
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post #285 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 12:31 PM
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Yes I think 2 seconds is more than enough. Why? Because subtely audible differences still show up as differences. Our audiophile group did this stuff over a period of 3 years. I'm not interested in converting you. I went through the process out of curiosity and converted myself and the other nine who were involved in the project. Sorry, you don't convince me at all and I'll state whatever information on the forum I please just as you do.
I don't care about convincing you. I care about what you say not becoming another thing people who only read forums get to believe.

Here is ITU (european standards group) BS 1116, "METHODS FOR THE SUBJECTIVE ASSESSMENT OF SMALL IMPAIRMENTS IN AUDIO SYSTEMS INCLUDING MULTICHANNEL SOUND SYSTEMS"

"Since long- and medium-term aural memory is unreliable, the test procedure should rely exclusively on short-term memory. This is best done if a near-instantaneous switching (see Note 1) method is used in conjunction with a triple stimulus system as described in Appendix 3. Such switching demands close time alignment among the stimuli."

2 seconds is not near-instantaneous.

We've always tried to get the switch-over time in ABX tests well under 2 seconds, with 0.5 seconds or better being typical. I seem to recall that the ABX RM-2 relay box would do a switch-over in about 0.15 seconds. Studies of cognition of sounds such as are found in "This is your brain on Music" by Dainel Levitin support the idea that after two seconds our memory for small differences is significantly degraded.

On the other hand I know that further delays result in further degradation. I know from my personal experiences and those of other audiophiles that casual audiophile cable-swapping comparisons can involve delays of several minutes.
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post #286 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 12:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
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I have one.

 

Do you still need it? :) Would you be selling to sell?

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post #287 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 01:01 PM
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I believe there is more to this story than what you are telling me.

Merely a truism. Nobody tells the complete story, heck nobody remembers the complete story.
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You are trying very hard to steer me into believing your biased worldview.

That's one of the things that humans do. We are all biased. An low bias view of the current situation is that we are trying to get you to abandon the parts of your biased world view that disagrees with our biased, but also possibly better informed world view.
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The "evidence" that you have presented is a summary of an AES paper with no actual details presented.

Actually there is a collection of relevant AES papers:

Burstein, Herman, "Approximation Formulas for Error Risk and Sample Size in ABX Testing", Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol. 36, p. 879 (1988)
Clark, David L., "High-Resolution Subjective Testing Using a Double-Blind Comparator", Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol. 30 No. 5, May 1982, pp. 330-338.
Lipschitz, Stanley P., and Van der kooy, John, "The Great Debate: Subjective Evaluation", Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol. 29 No. 7/8, Jul/Aug 1981, pp. 482-491.
Toole, Floyd E., "Listening Tests - Turning Opinion Into Fact", Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol. 30, No. 6, June 1982, pp. 431-445.
Toole, Floyd E., and Olive, Sean E., "Hearing is Believing vs. Believing is Hearing: Blind vs. Sighted Tests, and Other Interesting Things", 97th AES Convention (San Francisco, Nov. 10-13, 1994), [3893 (H-5], 20 pages.
Warren, Richard M., "Auditory Illusions and their Relation to Mechanisms Enhancing Accuracy of Perception", Journal of the Audio Engineering Society, Vol. 31 No. 9 (1983 September).

That is just a sampling, there are more. Nobody is stopping you from reading them.
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I don't have a closed mind. I am open to being convinced - but I don't see any reason to be convinced simply because you say so, and simply because you provided a summary worth of test results and no actual meat and potatoes to back up those results - no info, no nothing.

That is a false claim given the cites of http://webpages.charter.net/fryguy/Amp_Sound.pdf which includes all of the above.
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For all I know the participants were hard of hearing, had poor sensitivity to hearing subtle audible changes, etc etc etc.

Sounds like a conspiracy theory to me! Maybe not such an open mind! ;-)
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Perhaps the testing had poor controls.

This discussion is all about controls. I think that you are grasping at straws, trying despriately to not be swayed by some pretty good evidence.
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I also have not claimed that all ABX tests were flawed.

But you have suggested that most of them were grievously flawed.
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I'm sure statistically there must be some that were well controlled, but you can't assume that all ABX tests are conclusive.

A truism that sheds very little light. Of course everything in the real world has at least one flaw. No doubt there have been ABX tests that were poorly planned or poorly executed. Indeed of course even just my friends and I have gotten into an ABX test and realized that it was going off the rails and bailed. A lot of that happened before we hit on the set of procedures and equipment that we now call ABX.
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And please, people are deceitful creatures - it's simply how the deck was stacked.

I'm sorry about all those people who mistreated you to the point were you suspect that everybody is out to get you. :-(
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You and others are trying to steer me into believing results that I don't find particularly conclusive.

Denial ain't just a river in Eguypt. One thing for sure, just about everybody here who is pro ABX is trying to steer you into something that they do find particularly conclusive.
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There may be evidence that people can't hear differences under some conditions,

Basically, the above statement looks like pretty much total denial of established scientific facts. There is tons of evidence that people can't hear many differences under a wide range of circumstances. I guess that you think that the Fletcher Munson Curves are balderdash.
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but there is no evidence that is conclusive enough where you could extrapolate the results to all conditions.

Again, you vastly underestimate science. Here are the Fletcher-Munson curves:



You see that line marked "Threshold of Audibility"? That is the line below all people with normal hearing can't hear a certain difference - that difference being audibility of any kind. Not too far below that is the point at which nobody hears anything because it is too far below a universal noise source - the Brownian motion of air molecules.

So your statement " There may be evidence that people can't hear differences under some conditions," has to be founded in a lack of appreciation of the true facts of the situation. There is compelling evidence that all people can't hear differences under a wide range of conditions that you seem to wish to ignore.

BTW, Fletcher and Munson were optimists. Our true inability to hear is far, far greater than that shown above. The circumstances are a bit more complex, but no less universal.
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post #288 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 06:27 PM
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^Somebody's ego isn't fitting on my screen. Looks like I need a bigger monitor. rolleyes.gif

"...the most extensive and up to date analysis of HDMI and S/PDIF anywhere?" Uhm, anywhere? So I guess large companies that produce consumer A/V products never do any such testing.

Your picture just looks like a couple of stacks of overpriced gear alongside an old analog oscilloscope and a lower-cost (relatively speaking) Audio Precision.
Since people keep asking about this picture I thought I respond to what it is and clear up confusion.

Addressing your comments first, you seem to be saying the test gear is not expensive enough for you with that reference to old scope and audio precision. The job of the analyzer is to generate digital signals and measure them after digitizing them through its analog to digital converter. The rest is software. How high-end do you think the box needs to be to be good enough to measure a DAC performance? Thousands? Tens of thousands? If an ADC is this expensive to build, why do you think the $5 DAC in your AVR is precise enough?

Let's put that aside for now. You say what is there is a "lower cost Audio Precision" in my setup. You are mistaken. That is not an audio precision. I suspect what threw you off was the smallness of the box with the cables running into it. The box is smaller therefore must be a low-end device. Right? Wrong smile.gif. Too much expectation bias. biggrin.gif That analyzer is the Prism Sound's dScope, a competitor to Audio Precision: http://www.prismsound.com/test_measure/products_subs/dscope/dscope_home.php

tmrc05_prism_aug2012.gif

It is absolutely current and their top of the line product with all the features/extras. I do have an Audio Precision analyzer which is a much larger box. It is actually on my workbench in the above picture but it is almost completely hidden as it is behind my laptop. The reason it is hidden is that I only did a bit of testing (which I did not report in the article) with AP. The software on AP made the work very tedious. I met with the Prism Sound folks in the middle of the project at CES and quickly saw how much more optimized their system is for this kind of testing. A key point was that their signal generator can run on the PC compared to AP which wants to send the signal itself. This made the latter a pain to use with my own test signals and switch interfaces between HDMI and USB. With dScope, this was a breeze. The dScope signal generator runs on the PC which sharply reduced by testing time. Their software/graphing capabilities are also a delight to use. Excited, I asked them if they would loan me a dScope and they said absolutely yes! They had never heard of anyone characterizing HDMI jitter with their machine and were very happy to see me do this analysis with their system.

Above should also address your question regarding such data existing in large companies. If the supplier of the measurement system has not heard of this (and didn't have automated tests ready to go for it), it reasons that this type of analysis simply is not done by their customers. If it is done and we are still getting such atrocious HDMI performance out of these AVRs, then they are doubly guilty! A point which I make in the article.

What was cool in working with Prism Sound is that Julian Dunn, one of the top luminaries in digital audio and the person who highlighted jitter issues more than any other, was one of the architects at Prism. I actually used his papers to perform the audibility analysis explained in my article. They also make professional DACs and ADCs so they bring a wealth of knowledge there with respect to testing them. I had them review my final paper by them before publication. They were surprised and loved the data that I had produced. The found one small oversight which I plan to correct in the online version (it makes the performance of devices worse than what I measured).

As to the analog scope, it is a 150 Mhz Tektronix scope. I bought it new in 1990s and it cost thousands of dollars then. It still works beautifully. I have an Agilent digital scope but there are some things that analog scopes do that digital does not (e.g. it is free of aliasing). Any engineer that does hardware work will always have an analog scope in addition to digital gear they may have. My use for this project was simply looking at its screen to know that the signal was the one I was sending out. Accuracy was paramount and didn't want to select the wrong file to play on my PC. But again, it played no role in data gathering. The dScope's high-precision converters were used for all analysis.

Now to the "stack of overpriced gear" comment. As I noted earlier, I wrote this article because Arny claimed that advances in silicon development have resulted in HDMI jitter not being a problem anymore. So I assembled all the gear I had going back to my Mark Levinson DAC circa 1999 so that we could see the trend if any. I augmented my personal gear with others from work which is where that monster Mark Levinson processor at the bottom came from. So yes, the right hand was all "audiophile gear." The stack on the left however, is standard consumer electronics fair and the focus of the article. The high-end units are used to show contrast in measured performance. There are AVRs from Onkyo Pioneer,Yamaha and Anthem. Here is the detailed list/description from the article:


1.Mark Levinson No 360S. I have had this since 1999 and it is my reference DAC for critical listening tests at my workstation. It is quite an antique relative to flashy newer devices. So in theory, folks should have had no problem outperforming it. Needless to say, this DAC does not have HDMI so testing was limited to its S/PDIF port only.

2.Lexicon 12B processor. This is my beloved processor which has been collecting dust since it does not have HDMI. I think the 12B was introduced around 2003. Again, it will be interesting to see if the new kids on the block outperform it.

3.Onkyo TX-SR805 and Yamaha RX-V861 are a couple of AVRs I have on hand for bench testing. They are about four or five years old as of this writing. Retail prices at the time were in the $1,000 range from what I recall.

4.Pioneer Elite SC-63 and Anthem MRX-300 are newer AVRs introduced in 2012, and 2011 respectively. They represent premium offerings in AVRs in today’s market.

5.Anthem AVM-50 is an example of semi-high end processors retailing at $5,500. One would expect it to outperform other AVRs and the company’s own integrated product, MRX-300.

6.Mark Levinson 502. This was the mother of all processors when announced back in 2008 at a retail price of $30,000. Unlike older high-end processors, this one actually has HDMI on it. Sporting 18-layer (!) PC boards, this design is more complicated than half a dozen computers put together. It takes an hour just to disassemble it. I know, I have done it! Unlike many other HDMI implementations, this one has a custom designed subsystem (others buy modules since they don’t have in-house expertise or volumes to design their own). The unit is still in production today at lower prices. I had no expectations about its performance going into the testing but came out extremely impressed as you will see later.

7.Tact RCS 2.0. This is a 2-channel processor with quite a cult following from a small company known for its “room correction” (EQ). A colleague had it in his storage and when he heard I was doing this testing, he offered it for use. It of course does not have HDMI so its testing was limited to S/PDIF.

8.Peachtree decco65. This is an integrated DAC and power amp. Cute little device. Question is, does it do better than mass market AVRs? Again, no HDMI but good reference regardless.

In addition to testing HDMI, I also tested S/PDIF performance using both USB feed from PC using Async and Sync interfaces. You see the Berkeley USB converter in the middle of the picture for example. There is an Audiophileo which is hidden from view.

As to the picture being an ego thing, you can look at it that way if you like. I am very proud of this work and don’t mind stating it as such. It is the most comprehensive project I have performed for this series of articles and I stand by it being without rival inside any company or outside (I can just imagine Denon buying a $45,000 Mark Levinson analyzer to test with!). One of the cool answers that dropped out of the testing was whether high-end gear performs better than others objectively.

So to summarize, high-end state-of-the-art measurement gear was used for testing, not low-end as you claimed. Both high-end and mass market gear was used to compare one vs. the other despite your suggestion otherwise. Three interfaces were tested (USB, S/PDIF and HDMI) and compared with each other. Finally I tested everything in my home workbench which I had to completely clear for this testing. It is not at Madrona Digital as asked.

Amir
Founder, Madrona Digital
"Insist on Quality Engineering"

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post #289 of 362 Old 11-17-2013, 08:24 PM
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Then simply ignore what we say and go on about your business. I told you I didn't recommend you get involved in bias controlled testing. It is a serious hassle. Crank up the Krell and enjoy some music.


The thing is, I really want to learn. If I can save money in future don't you think I would want to? It just appears that the method and the conditions for testing amplifiers against each other makes it very inaccessible for many people to do properly.

If I could get my hands on an ABX comparator box then I would certainly be one big step closer. I just need to scour the internet and see if I can find someone who can sell one. Or get someone to make one for me. I don't mind paying someone to build me a comparator.

What would you pay for one?

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I have one.

How complete?

Does it work?

Have you used it?

Provenance?
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Since people keep asking about this picture
When did people do that?
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What would you pay for one?

I have no idea. Rather someone give me a figure and we work from there. :) 

 

How much would it cost to have you build one?

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post #292 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 03:24 AM
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I don't want to rely on the results. I'm not going to change what I think just because I read a summary of test results! The only way I will change my tune is if I test myself, or have myself tested. That is the only way. Expecting anything more is simply unreasonable.

 

So when you are ill and your doctor gives you some medication, you run all the blind trials tests that the FDA have already run, yourself, before you take the medication?

 

I dont believe that. So I find it impossible to understand that you willingly accept the test findings of scientists in one field but refuse to accept the test findings of scientists in another field. Especially when the field in which you accept the results has the potential to cause your death. A more 'reasonable' position would be for you to hold the medical trials to a higher standard, yet you choose to hold the AV trials to the highest standard. Weird.

 

The above, plus your repeated postulations that the entire audio ABX test thing is a gigantic conspiracy, where people with defective hearing are deliberately chosen to sit in on deliberately flawed tests, all makes me believe that you are not being serious in this discussion.

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post #293 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 03:30 AM
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What would you pay for one?
I have no idea. Rather someone give me a figure and we work from there. smile.gif  

How much would it cost to have you build one?

The original ABX Comparator sold for $1,000 in the middle-1980s, and paid the people who designed and built it about minimum wage. IOW if we had paid ourselves fairly for the skills and efforts involved, it effectively lost money big time even though it was cash flow positive. As a money-making venture it should have sold for about twice that, and what I recall about the parts cost backs that up.

The CPI in 1985 was about 106, it is about 232 today. A fair price today would be about $4500. Many of the parts in the original logic module are unobtainable. AFAIK all of the tooling is lost. The implementation of the new device would use the customer's laptop for control purposes.
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post #294 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 03:37 AM
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"...the most extensive and up to date analysis of HDMI and S/PDIF anywhere?" Uhm, anywhere? So I guess large companies that produce consumer A/V products never do any such testing.

Your picture just looks like a couple of stacks of overpriced gear alongside an old analog oscilloscope and a lower-cost (relatively speaking) Audio Precision.

As originally presented there wasn't enough detail to actually clearly identify makes and models.
Quote:
Since people keep asking about this picture I thought I respond to what it is and clear up confusion.

Addressing your comments first, you seem to be saying the test gear is not expensive enough for you with that reference to old scope and audio precision. The job of the analyzer is to generate digital signals and measure them after digitizing them through its analog to digital converter. The rest is software. How high-end do you think the box needs to be to be good enough to measure a DAC performance? Thousands? Tens of thousands? If an ADC is this expensive to build, why do you think the $5 DAC in your AVR is precise enough?

Let's put that aside for now. You say what is there is a "lower cost Audio Precision" in my setup. You are mistaken. That is not an audio precision. I suspect what threw you off was the smallness of the box with the cables running into it. The box is smaller therefore must be a low-end device. Right? Wrong smile.gif. Too much expectation bias. biggrin.gif That analyzer is the Prism Sound's dScope, a competitor to Audio Precision: http://www.prismsound.com/test_measure/products_subs/dscope/dscope_home.php

It is absolutely current and their top of the line product with all the features/extras. I do have an Audio Precision analyzer which is a much larger box. It is actually on my workbench in the above picture but it is almost completely hidden as it is behind my laptop. The reason it is hidden is that I only did a bit of testing (which I did not report in the article) with AP. The software on AP made the work very tedious. I met with the Prism Sound folks in the middle of the project at CES and quickly saw how much more optimized their system is for this kind of testing. A key point was that their signal generator can run on the PC compared to AP which wants to send the signal itself. This made the latter a pain to use with my own test signals and switch interfaces between HDMI and USB. With dScope, this was a breeze. The dScope signal generator runs on the PC which sharply reduced by testing time. Their software/graphing capabilities are also a delight to use. Excited, I asked them if they would loan me a dScope and they said absolutely yes! They had never heard of anyone characterizing HDMI jitter with their machine and were very happy to see me do this analysis with their system.

Above should also address your question regarding such data existing in large companies. If the supplier of the measurement system has not heard of this (and didn't have automated tests ready to go for it), it reasons that this type of analysis simply is not done by their customers. If it is done and we are still getting such atrocious HDMI performance out of these AVRs, then they are doubly guilty! A point which I make in the article.

What was cool in working with Prism Sound is that Julian Dunn, one of the top luminaries in digital audio and the person who highlighted jitter issues more than any other, was one of the architects at Prism. I actually used his papers to perform the audibility analysis explained in my article. They also make professional DACs and ADCs so they bring a wealth of knowledge there with respect to testing them. I had them review my final paper by them before publication. They were surprised and loved the data that I had produced. The found one small oversight which I plan to correct in the online version (it makes the performance of devices worse than what I measured).

As to the analog scope, it is a 150 Mhz Tektronix scope. I bought it new in 1990s and it cost thousands of dollars then. It still works beautifully. I have an Agilent digital scope but there are some things that analog scopes do that digital does not (e.g. it is free of aliasing). Any engineer that does hardware work will always have an analog scope in addition to digital gear they may have. My use for this project was simply looking at its screen to know that the signal was the one I was sending out. Accuracy was paramount and didn't want to select the wrong file to play on my PC. But again, it played no role in data gathering. The dScope's high-precision converters were used for all analysis.

Now to the "stack of overpriced gear" comment. As I noted earlier, I wrote this article because Arny claimed that advances in silicon development have resulted in HDMI jitter not being a problem anymore. So I assembled all the gear I had going back to my Mark Levinson DAC circa 1999 so that we could see the trend if any. I augmented my personal gear with others from work which is where that monster Mark Levinson processor at the bottom came from. So yes, the right hand was all "audiophile gear." The stack on the left however, is standard consumer electronics fair and the focus of the article. The high-end units are used to show contrast in measured performance. There are AVRs from Onkyo Pioneer,Yamaha and Anthem. Here is the detailed list/description from the article:


1.Mark Levinson No 360S. I have had this since 1999 and it is my reference DAC for critical listening tests at my workstation. It is quite an antique relative to flashy newer devices. So in theory, folks should have had no problem outperforming it. Needless to say, this DAC does not have HDMI so testing was limited to its S/PDIF port only.

2.Lexicon 12B processor. This is my beloved processor which has been collecting dust since it does not have HDMI. I think the 12B was introduced around 2003. Again, it will be interesting to see if the new kids on the block outperform it.

3.Onkyo TX-SR805 and Yamaha RX-V861 are a couple of AVRs I have on hand for bench testing. They are about four or five years old as of this writing. Retail prices at the time were in the $1,000 range from what I recall.

4.Pioneer Elite SC-63 and Anthem MRX-300 are newer AVRs introduced in 2012, and 2011 respectively. They represent premium offerings in AVRs in today’s market.

5.Anthem AVM-50 is an example of semi-high end processors retailing at $5,500. One would expect it to outperform other AVRs and the company’s own integrated product, MRX-300.

6.Mark Levinson 502. This was the mother of all processors when announced back in 2008 at a retail price of $30,000. Unlike older high-end processors, this one actually has HDMI on it. Sporting 18-layer (!) PC boards, this design is more complicated than half a dozen computers put together. It takes an hour just to disassemble it. I know, I have done it! Unlike many other HDMI implementations, this one has a custom designed subsystem (others buy modules since they don’t have in-house expertise or volumes to design their own). The unit is still in production today at lower prices. I had no expectations about its performance going into the testing but came out extremely impressed as you will see later.

7.Tact RCS 2.0. This is a 2-channel processor with quite a cult following from a small company known for its “room correction” (EQ). A colleague had it in his storage and when he heard I was doing this testing, he offered it for use. It of course does not have HDMI so its testing was limited to S/PDIF.

8.Peachtree decco65. This is an integrated DAC and power amp. Cute little device. Question is, does it do better than mass market AVRs? Again, no HDMI but good reference regardless.

In addition to testing HDMI, I also tested S/PDIF performance using both USB feed from PC using Async and Sync interfaces. You see the Berkeley USB converter in the middle of the picture for example. There is an Audiophileo which is hidden from view.

As to the picture being an ego thing, you can look at it that way if you like. I am very proud of this work and don’t mind stating it as such. It is the most comprehensive project I have performed for this series of articles and I stand by it being without rival inside any company or outside (I can just imagine Denon buying a $45,000 Mark Levinson analyzer to test with!). One of the cool answers that dropped out of the testing was whether high-end gear performs better than others objectively.

So to summarize, high-end state-of-the-art measurement gear was used for testing, not low-end as you claimed. Both high-end and mass market gear was used to compare one vs. the other despite your suggestion otherwise. Three interfaces were tested (USB, S/PDIF and HDMI) and compared with each other. Finally I tested everything in my home workbench which I had to completely clear for this testing. It is not at Madrona Digital as asked.

The obvious bias in this alleged test is that the inexpensive AVRs are about 5 years old, and the expensive ones are pretty new. This is a pretty rapdily moving area, technology wise so it is a huge bias in favor of high end. Also, a number of the high end components are so old that they don't even support HDMI. The statement " stacks of overpriced gear" seems excessively complementary because it does not mention how out-of-date that much of it is. The Prism Analyzer seems to be just fine, and the analog oscilloscope seems to be fine as well.

In another thread in another forum someone made some comments about how easy it can be to add external outputs to a mainstream AVR. In the process he mentioned evidence that strongly suggested that the interface board design was shared across the entire product line. Anybody in product design at that level that is surprised by this? ;-)
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post #295 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 03:45 AM
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I don't want to rely on the results. I'm not going to change what I think just because I read a summary of test results! The only way I will change my tune is if I test myself, or have myself tested. That is the only way. Expecting anything more is simply unreasonable.

So when you are ill and your doctor gives you some medication, you run all the blind trials tests that the FDA have already run, yourself, before you take the medication?

That is pretty funny. What we are looking inside and seeing is how seriously people who have invested in high end audio are into denial, even after unbiased and authoritative sources have presented evidence that has convinced much of the mainstream audio industry.
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I don't believe that. So I find it impossible to understand that you willingly accept the test findings of scientists in one field but refuse to accept the test findings of scientists in another field.

Health is real life-or-death. Audio is a hobby. Case closed!

But beyond that, look at all of the pseudo science that comes into play when people self-medicate. If audio were a disease, self-medication is rampant! ;-)
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Especially when the field in which you accept the results has the potential to cause your death. A more 'reasonable' position would be for you to hold the medical trials to a higher standard, yet you choose to hold the AV trials to the highest standard. Weird.

The above, plus your repeated postulations that the entire audio ABX test thing is a gigantic conspiracy, where people with defective hearing are deliberately chosen to sit in on deliberately flawed tests, all makes me believe that you are not being serious in this discussion.

Any port in a storm!
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post #296 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 03:52 AM
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I don't want to rely on the results. I'm not going to change what I think just because I read a summary of test results! The only way I will change my tune is if I test myself, or have myself tested. That is the only way. Expecting anything more is simply unreasonable.

So when you are ill and your doctor gives you some medication, you run all the blind trials tests that the FDA have already run, yourself, before you take the medication?

That is pretty funny. What we are looking inside and seeing is how seriously people who have invested in high end audio are into denial, even after unbiased and authoritative sources have presented evidence that has convinced much of the mainstream audio industry.

 

Yes - this is another thing that has always puzzled me. If I show someone proof of how they can get the exact same result but by spending far less money, I’d expect them to accept this with open arms (and closed pocketbook). Yet the reverse is actually true much of the time. Denial is an extremely interesting, and powerful, facet of human psychology.

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post #297 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 04:33 AM
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I don't want to rely on the results. I'm not going to change what I think just because I read a summary of test results! The only way I will change my tune is if I test myself, or have myself tested. That is the only way. Expecting anything more is simply unreasonable.


So when you are ill and your doctor gives you some medication, you run all the blind trials tests that the FDA have already run, yourself, before you take the medication?


That is pretty funny. What we are looking inside and seeing is how seriously people who have invested in high end audio are into denial, even after unbiased and authoritative sources have presented evidence that has convinced much of the mainstream audio industry.

Yes - this is another thing that has always puzzled me. If I show someone proof of how they can get the exact same result but by spending far less money, I’d expect them to accept this with open arms (and closed pocketbook). Yet the reverse is actually true much of the time. Denial is an extremely interesting, and powerful, facet of human psychology.

Two words: Status symbol.

How many posts have we seen even on AVS which is a paragon of audio rationality in comparison to many other places, that seems to presume a linear or at least monotonic and increasing relationship between cost and sound quality?

We should show some mercy. The discussion is often wildly counter-intuitive. Audiophile hearts seem to be wired to cherish amplifiers from the anvil, doorstop and boat anchor school of industrial design. As switchmode becomes mainstream, its only going to get worse for audiophiles who remain steeped in that tradition. I don't think that there are many cheap Krell amplifiers. ;-)

We have to remember we are dealing with people who already spent the money, wired up the amp, and probably paid the Visa bill.

The phrase "You get what you pay for" is wired into western culture, and to some degree it is true. This discussion has a subtext formed of a list of the exceptions, some pretty spectacular, which are due to the excesses of the high end audio industry. Two words: Sighted evaluation.
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post #298 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 05:07 AM
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

 
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Originally Posted by Shaun B View Post

 

I don't want to rely on the results. I'm not going to change what I think just because I read a summary of test results! The only way I will change my tune is if I test myself, or have myself tested. That is the only way. Expecting anything more is simply unreasonable.


So when you are ill and your doctor gives you some medication, you run all the blind trials tests that the FDA have already run, yourself, before you take the medication?


That is pretty funny. What we are looking inside and seeing is how seriously people who have invested in high end audio are into denial, even after unbiased and authoritative sources have presented evidence that has convinced much of the mainstream audio industry.

Yes - this is another thing that has always puzzled me. If I show someone proof of how they can get the exact same result but by spending far less money, I’d expect them to accept this with open arms (and closed pocketbook). Yet the reverse is actually true much of the time. Denial is an extremely interesting, and powerful, facet of human psychology.

Two words: Status symbol.

How many posts have we seen even on AVS which is a paragon of audio rationality in comparison to many other places, that seems to presume a linear or at least monotonic and increasing relationship between cost and sound quality?

We should show some mercy. The discussion is often wildly counter-intuitive. Audiophile hearts seem to be wired to cherish amplifiers from the anvil, doorstop and boat anchor school of industrial design. As switchmode becomes mainstream, its only going to get worse for audiophiles who remain steeped in that tradition. I don't think that there are many cheap Krell amplifiers. ;-)

We have to remember we are dealing with people who already spent the money, wired up the amp, and probably paid the Visa bill.

The phrase "You get what you pay for" is wired into western culture, and to some degree it is true. This discussion has a subtext formed of a list of the exceptions, some pretty spectacular, which are due to the excesses of the high end audio industry. Two words: Sighted evaluation.

 

Yes, good points. I'm no more immune from the 'status symbol effect' than the next guy I guess. I drive a Mercedes for example and I like the fact that I drive a Mercedes. In truth, a Honda of equivalent model is just as well built, just as reliable and does the job of taking me safely and swiftly from A to B just as well. But I pay the extra for the Mercedes. Yet, I can still accept this for what it is, and also readily accept that the Honda is, in every parameter that matters, just as good a choice for a lot less money.

 

Of course, the poor 'audiophile' has also been the victim of an industry which mercilessly exploits his beliefs and faith for their own gain, aided and abetted by consumer magazines in hock to their advertisers and whose reviews are, with a few exceptions, invariably entirely subjective. "The xxxxx revealed a layer of inky dark spaces between the notes which yyyyy could not attain and I found myself hearing insights into the vocals of zzzzzz which had hitherto been hidden..." This is the sort of claptrap I read almost every time I pick up an AV magazine.  it's perhaps not surprising after decades of this sort of stuff that people eventually believe it. Repeat a lie often enough etc etc.

 

It would be instructive for the 'believers' to venture into a professional sound studio, editing suite etc and see the equipment in use there. No magic cables, no exotic power cords, no 'audiophile' speakers etc. But lots of acoustic treatments and lots of gear chosen for its proven performance characteristics. It is ironic that the content used for evaluation is produced using this sort of high-quality, but definitely 'unmagic' equipment yet, according to the believers, it can only properly be heard if one uses this 'high end' amp, or this 'special' speaker wire etc.  Meanwhile, we see people every day spending thousands on, for example, speakers and placing them almost randomly in an untreated room, eschewing electronic EQ such as Audyssey XT32 because they "prefer a pure signal" and then embarking on a long and costly 'upgrade' path because the sound they are experiencing is less than satisfying. "Maybe an external DAC will give me what I am seeking? Maybe a new amp? Maybe I need a new, more expensive processor? No - it is my speaker wire that's the problem....."

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post #299 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 05:42 AM
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No argument there. But I think there is a difference between an audiophile and a well heeled audio system buyer. The well heeled audio system buyer goes to a dealer and gets a system put together. He can afford it. Has it installed and goes on with life. The audiophile gets addicted to equipment and never ceases fussing with it and upgrading things. This happens even at the modest end of audio. How many posts do you see on AVS with the question "what should I upgrade next?" If the questioner would think it through he would understand that, if he doesn't know why he should upgrade, then he is upgrading for no reason. He is upgrading just to upgrade. Pretty illogical but it happens all the time. Just look at all the stuff people want to move on Audiogon. And they want to move it over and over.

When you become struck by common sense and begin to realize that upgrading electronics is pointless, the whole thing then becomes a disease. Sell X and buy Y. Y is no better than X was so buy Z. Z is no better............. I've been through it myself. Looking back on it is embarrasing. I try not to look back.
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post #300 of 362 Old 11-18-2013, 06:00 AM
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No argument there. But I think there is a difference between an audiophile and a well heeled audio system buyer. The well heeled audio system buyer goes to a dealer and gets a system put together. He can afford it. Has it installed and goes on with life. The audiophile gets addicted to equipment and never ceases fussing with it and upgrading things. This happens even at the modest end of audio. How many posts do you see on AVS with the question "what should I upgrade next?" If the questioner would think it through he would understand that, if he doesn't know why he should upgrade, then he is upgrading for no reason. He is upgrading just to upgrade. Pretty illogical but it happens all the time. Just look at all the stuff people want to move on Audiogon. And they want to move it over and over.

When you become struck by common sense and begin to realize that upgrading electronics is pointless, the whole thing then becomes a disease. Sell X and buy Y. Y is no better than X was so buy Z. Z is no better............. I've been through it myself. Looking back on it is embarrasing. I try not to look back.

 

Agreed. Addiction is right. The constant feeling of a need to upgrade just shows, to me, that there is something fundamentally wrong that can never be corrected by the chosen 'upgrade' path. So if the problem is, for example, caused by room modes, changing the amp is never going to fix it. Before applying a solution, one first needs to know the problem, etc.

 

I too have been through it, like you. Looking back I can scarcely believe that I was taken in by so much hooey. The revelation to me was discovering the importance of the room. I had read literally thousands of magazine reviews of equipment, going back to the 70s, and I had never, ever, not once, seen a single article that said the room is arguably the most important component in the system. Not one. Amps, receivers, speakers, cables etc etc were all (subjectively) reviewed month after month and the implication was always that if only I changed my speakers to the latest in-favour' models, or bought that new, more expensive amp or new phono cartridge etc, all my problems would melt away. I wasted many thousands of dollars like this, and can see now what a superbly efficient job the magazines were doing for their paymasters, the advertisers.  Yes it is a bit embarrassing, looking back. But at least we learned the error of our ways. It seems that many simply refuse to learn at all.

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