Originally Posted by mrlittlejeans
arnyk - Are there any peer reviewed studies on the inaudibility of differences between amp designs or any papers published in JAES on this?
The last round of JAES papers about differences between amp designs related to the TIM/SID controversy. That controversy resulted in some papers with exceptional claims about audibility being published in the JAES. This happened because at the time the AES had no effective way judging them in an impartial way.
One reason that ABX was embraced so quickly by the AES because it provided a logical, impartial, scientific way out of the conundrum of what to publish.
Unfortunately the papers with the exceptional claims remain in the public record, largely unrebutted. At the time that was probably a good thing because the controversy needed to get settled out. But, long term the fact that they were never rebutted left some misapprehensions in place.
In the view of the AES review board, there have really not been any significant developments in amplifier designs since the SID/TIM controversy in the late 1970s, early 80s. That would be based on the record of articles published in the JAES. Either no such papers were ever submitted or given at conferences, or they were rejected.
I think it would be an important topic for AES to address if they haven't.
Whether amp design variations are important or not would be a judgement call. The last truly scientific power amp tests that I know of were published in Stereo Review January 1987 (p. 78-84).
Any such tests need to be organized and performed by advocates of the superiority of one design over any and/or all others. The fact that nobody from the "pro differences" viewpoint has done so for at least 30 years would appear to tell us what we need to know: In reality, they have nothing to offer.
Again based on what is actually getting presented and published, the high rez controversy is probably the big current hot button.