Originally Posted by Nightlord
That's just ridicolous, there you go to extreme measures to avoid having a result. I'm starting to think that version of abx test is designed to test people rather than amps.
Why is that ridiculous? The objectivist argument has never
been that ALL
amplifiers sound the same (though it may sometimes be casually simplified as such).
The argument is that differences can be measured, that we can measure everything we can hear and then some, and if two amplifiers measure within the limits of what we (think we) know to be inaudible, they will in fact be indistinguishable sonically.
Since the vast majority of amplifiers sold today aim for, and achieve, performance that falls well within those audibility limits, this isn't an esoteric, academic endeavor. The vast majority of amplifiers on the market should sound alike. Controlled tests supporting that make shopping for one much easier to approach.
But back to the ridiculous part. If by means of a few dollars of passive components, we can make a cheap prosound amp sound like a megabuck tube amp or Krell or whatever, then we know there isn't some magical mysterious unmeasurable quality responsible for any actual audible difference. Armed with this knowledge, shopping is again simplified... if you like a non-transparent sound, measurements will guide you there much more efficiently than some random magazine and forum combination of prose.
There's also the implicit argument, often stated explicitly as Joe did above, that certain amps do something that 'solid state/other/whatever amps just can't do.' Well, if you can emulate the sound with a cheap alternative, it exposes that claim as more mere illusion.
As for the second part of your argument, controlled testing actually goes to extreme measures to increase the chances
of having a positive result as much as possible
. Research has shown that we are typically much more sensitive to rapid changes separated by no delay. Research has been performed to determine our likely most sensitive range of auditory memory. Extensive measures can and hopefully are taken to optimize the listening environment... quite, properly treated space, quality equipment (speakers, mostly)... music is chosen to highlight differences, not mask them. And if that doesn't work, protocols can be adjusted to let people listen at their leisure with their equipment and their choice of music in their home, even if that doesn't optimize their hearing sensitivity but does "make them relaxed."
But if you mean taking away people's ability to "see" what they are listening to as an extreme measure that likely prohibits a positive result being achieved... sure. I agree completely.