Originally Posted by krabapple
Manufacturer 'spec sheets' are often not particularly useful. But well done bench tests can be.
The 'dark truth' -- unavoidable truth -- is that humans are very prone to believing what they want to believe, regardless of whether it is true. As a doctor you should be at least aware that proper comparisons like this are done 'blind' (as well as having other controls in place), to separate 'placebo'-like effects from ones due to real audible difference. Its very possible you drew the wrong conclusion from your 'experiment' with the Marantz and Kenwood because the experiment itself was flawed.
Interesting -- sound reproduction is a very subjective shall I say 'art'. So I ask, what better experiment is there than swapping integrated amps using the same room speakers sources recordings and comparing the two over a period of months? Maybe I am confused, but how a component sounds in the environment it is going to be used -- isn't that pretty much what matters?
There are those in this community that seem to take sine waves and spec sheets as proxies for sound quality -- are you in that camp? I was in an exchange on another thread with a soul who professed that any digitally sourced sound is 'perfect' and would suffer no further discussion. He had no room in his thinking for moving coils tubes and direct to disc recordings. And to his credit, it is very hard to find such things properly presented, so how would he know? But I wander. . .
No, I am afraid even to my beer sodden neighbors at the time the Kenwood was a toad. My flaw was believing the specs, but I overcame it a few months later when I sold it, well, based on the sparkling spec sheet. The poor sap who bought it had a big wallet and a tin ear. I got what I paid for it and bought a Paragon E tube preamp and sold some books and grabbed a pair of Dyanco tube mono amps. Best sounding set I ever had despite some spectacular power supply issues -- nothing like an output tube glowing white hot, but that is another story. One last, the Paragon and Dyancos had lousy specs -- 1% THD or some such, but they sounded sublime -- even my beer sodden neighbors appreciated them.