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post #4531 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 10:48 AM
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I may regret going down this rabbit hole, but here goes anyway. I had originally planned on getting itech amps to go with my M2's, but ended up getting DCI amps instead.

Can anyone who has directly compared the Crown Itech 5000hd and the crown DCI 2 | 1250n or 4 | 1250n chime in on any perceptible sound quality difference(s)?

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post #4532 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 10:59 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennynike1 View Post
I may regret going down this rabbit hole, but here goes anyway. I had originally planned on getting itech amps to go with my M2's, but ended up getting DCI amps instead.

Can anyone who has directly compared the Crown Itech 5000hd and the crown DCI 2 | 1250n or 4 | 1250n chime in on any perceptible sound quality difference(s)?
I had this exact question and my dealer demoed the M2 on:
- iTech 4x3500
- DCi 4|1250n
- XLS DriveCore 2502 (with a BSS Soundweb for x-over)

They tried putting the iTech on the right speaker and XLS DriveCore on the left speaker so we could make instant switches (and we tried the other way around as well to rule out that the two speakers just had different sounds). The iTech sounded better by a great margin. Tighter bass and more open mids/highs. I was surprised. The DCi was better than the XLS but DCi and XLS was closer than iTech and DCi. Both me and my friend could tell blindly everytime the iTech was playing.

What I don't know is if it was the amps, DSP or AD/DA conversion unfortunately. So my "test" had too many variables to conclude something for sure.

I would definately recommend that you try and listen - others in here mention that they hear no difference.

EDIT: I already had the M2s running with a BSS Soundweb and Crown CTs amps when I asked the dealer. Reason I asked was to potentially upgrade amps. I ended up buying three MacroTech 5000i and still using the BSS. Dealer said that the Class-I topology just sounds better. Have not tried them yet though.

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post #4533 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 11:02 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by JonasHansen View Post
I had this exact question and my dealer demoed the M2 on:
- iTech 4x3500
- DCi 4|1250n
- XLS DriveCore 2502 (with a BSS Soundweb for x-over)

They tried putting the iTech on the right speaker and XLS DriveCore on the left speaker so we could make instant switches (and we tried the other way around as well to rule out that the two speakers just had different sounds). The iTech sounded better by a great margin. Tighter bass and more open mids/highs. I was surprised. The DCi was better than the XLS but DCi and XLS was closer than iTech and DCi. Both me and my friend could tell blindly everytime the iTech was playing.

What I don't know is if it was the amps, DSP or AD/DA conversion unfortunately. So my "test" had too many variables to conclude something for sure.

I would definately recommend that you try and listen - others in here mention that they hear no difference.

EDIT: I already had the M2s running with a BSS Soundweb and Crown CTs amps when I asked the dealer. Reason I asked was to potentially upgrade amps. I ended up buying three MacroTech 5000i and still using the BSS. Dealer said that the Class-I topology just sounds better. Have not tried them yet though.
Thanks for the info! I assume the speakers were level matched while testing the 3 amps?

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post #4534 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 11:13 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennynike1 View Post
Thanks for the info! I assume the speakers were level matched while testing the 3 amps?
Yes, they were. I verified (only on my phone though, but they used better gear for matching)

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post #4535 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 11:27 AM
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Do these amps/systems have facilities to make level adjustments to the tenth of a dB though? With the exception of a few esoteric setups such as particular Mark Levinson preamps, the vast majority of both consumer and pro gear I've worked with make level adjusting changes in half dB increments only, so unless outboard devices were entered into the signal path one can not easily make precise level matching adjustments with the precision necessary to be dead sure one is not being subliminally influenced by loudness differentials on the order of .25 dB or so.
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5539
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post #4536 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 11:42 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
Do these amps/systems have facilities to make level adjustments to the tenth of a dB though? With the exception of a few esoteric setups such as particular Mark Levinson preamps, the vast majority of both consumer and pro gear I've worked with make level adjusting changes in half dB increments only, so unless outboard devices were entered into the signal path one can not easily make precise level matching adjustments with the precision necessary to be dead sure one is not being subliminally influenced by loudness differentials on the order of .25 dB or so.
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5539
I did not verify in those levels of details. I believe they used this as "pre-amp": https://www.soundcraft.com/en/products/vi1000
Then feeding BSS/Amps with digital signal.

I do agree with you regarding level matching when testing, but the differences I heard, is not something I usually associate with loudness differences. But again: The test had more than one variable and was not scientific (even though we tried blind). But I was convinced and did buy new amps because of it. Time will tell if it was the right decision or if it sounds exactly the same after switching.

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post #4537 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
so unless outboard devices were entered into the signal path one can not easily make precise level matching adjustments with the precision necessary to be dead sure one is not being subliminally influenced by loudness differentials on the order of .25 dB or so.
http://www.aes.org/e-lib/browse.cfm?elib=5539
I'm no spring chicken and even with my ears I can just start to detect level differentials at about .2dB or higher on pink noise, PN, last time I checked under double blind conditions [Foobar 2000 with the ABX component added]:

foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.11
2018-06-04 23:16:44

File A: PN.wav
SHA1: e856d1d24ce9c9dbdb299288e40fa4512ff5e8e5
File B: PN +.2dB.wav
SHA1: 5890895a120b1053f8420b15f4786a375dbdd35a

Output:
DS : Speakers (USB Audio CODEC )
Crossfading: NO

23:16:44 : Test started.
23:18:07 : 01/01
23:18:48 : 02/02
23:20:00 : 03/03
23:20:15 : 04/04
23:21:59 : 05/05
23:22:14 : 06/06
23:22:39 : 07/07
23:22:54 : 07/08
23:23:40 : 08/09
23:23:58 : 08/10
23:23:58 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 8/10
Probability that you were guessing: 5.5%

-- signature --
0d32bbd46d49f34f9b99570cd0315ac7dbbdf0d2



Level matching tolerances should be within .1 dB or smaller for critical testing, if you ask me.
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post #4538 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 11:59 AM
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I had the option of getting itechs for my my M2's and using inexpensive inuke amps for my ordered Scl-2's and Scl-3's, or using Crown DCI amps for my entire system. I chose to go all DCI amps, which hopefully ends up being a sound decision. I can't envision using itechs for all of the surround speakers I am running, so the decision seemed solid. Only time will tell

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post #4539 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 12:04 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by pennynike1 View Post
I had the option of getting itechs for my my M2's and using inexpensive inuke amps for my ordered Scl-2's and Scl-3's, or using Crown DCI amps for my entire system. I chose to go all DCI amps, which hopefully ends up being a sound decision. I can't envision using itechs for all of the surround speakers I am running, so the decision seemed solid. Only time will tell
I think you made a good decision not going with the iNukes. I used the 4-channel NU4-6000 for surrounds and they were terrible. I high-pitch noise in all Atmos/Surround speakers. I got a Lexicon amp, and the noise was gone.

Personally I think you can do with less than DCI's for surrounds if compromises need to be done.

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post #4540 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 12:08 PM
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I think you made a good decision not going with the iNukes. I used the 4-channel NU4-6000 for surrounds and they were terrible. I high-pitch noise in all Atmos/Surround speakers. I got a Lexicon amp, and the noise was gone.

Personally I think you can do with less than DCI's for surrounds if compromises need to be done.
I actually have 2 of those inuke nu4 6000 amps, and I used them without issue for 4.5 years with 2 different sets of speakers. Never had an issue with them, but I figured upgrade now to Crown amps in order to compliment the new JBL speakers

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post #4541 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 12:17 PM
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I do agree with you regarding level matching when testing, but the differences I heard, is not something I usually associate with loudness differences.
It doesn't seem to be level according to our perception, no, [I know exactly what you mean] but the problem is tiny level differentials of a dB or smaller are usually misheard as qualitative changes rather than what they actually are: level. Tom Nousaine describes this in the AES article I linked to, and here is a free version without a pay wall [written in a more consumer friendly form for Stereo Review magazine, p53-55, Aug. 1997]:

"In half of the sets, both samples were played at precisely identical volumes. In the other half, there was a 1 dB difference in level between them. Although people had a strong tendency to "prefer" the louder alternative (especially when it came as the second of two), not one of the subjects reported volume or level as a discriminating factor. All comments on how the sound changed were couched in quality terms such as "cleaner" or "more harsh" even though volume was the only thing that had changed."

[I italicized the important part]

I fully concur with his findings and in my own double blind test I posted in my last post, above, even though I myself was the creator of the files, so I knew with 100% certainty the only difference was level, what I perceived was a change in tonality! It is uncanny!

This audible illusion (that tiny level differences are perceived as qualitative changes) is so strong it even overrides what I knew to be the truth!

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post #4542 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 12:39 PM
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The M2 w/DCI sounds stupid good to my ears. Not scientific, but damn....these speakers are sonic bliss.

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post #4543 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 01:09 PM
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The M2 w/DCI sounds stupid good to my ears. Not scientific, but damn....these speakers are sonic bliss.
I wasn't sure you were ever going to turn them on .

Glad you like'm. What are your thoughts compared to the 708's?
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post #4544 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 01:34 PM
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I wasn't sure you were ever going to turn them on .

Glad you like'm. What are your thoughts compared to the 708's?
I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get power to them. I actually just powered them on today because of @adidino comments in the JBL pro thread. I finally got them wired up this past weekend after getting the screen built out but had not powered them on yet. I was planning on getting the four subs dialed in via MiniDSP, doing some sub crawl for the rear subs, etc first. I hadn't even set up anything in the Marantz yet. I went upstairs and set the M2s to large and connected the Oppo .I wasn't even sure if I had the tuning files loaded correctly but what the hell - today was the day. Fortunately, they came to life on the first go. The bad news is that I had an 80's compilation SACD in the player so the first sounds I heard out of these bad boys was Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up. I abhorred that song in the 80s and despise it at an immeasurable level today. Regardless, its the best that song has ever sounded to my ears.

The M2 is truly special. It has a smoothness that doesn't sound like any horn I have heard. I loved my 4722s with the upgraded compression driver, but they were never what I would call a musical experience. They sounded great with the better compression driver, but the M2 is just better. I don't know if it is the wave-guide, the HF/LF drivers, the active equalization, or all the above as a complete package but it just works and works amazingly well. I am now at 3 hours of nonstop music and listening as I type this. I am running pure direct on the Marantz 8805, no subs, no tweaks, just raw. Amazing..... The only negative is I keep wondering if I did the setup correct. I mean they sound amazing but I also have never done active EQ with tuning files. Considering I only have one input into the amp and sound is coming out of both the upper and lower sections makes me think I did it right....lol. Thus far, I am very pleased. Once the subs are online and dialed in with a nice target curve, it should be a sonic wet dream. To your original question, the M2 is in another league than than the 708 for sure. I have not nor will I A/B them but I know how stuff sounds in my room. The M2 is the clear winner over anything I have owned by a wide margin. With that said, I still really like the 708. I think multichannel music and movies will be amazing.

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post #4545 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 01:38 PM
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Make sure that tuning file is loaded. It’s a different speaker without it. I’m guessing it’s loaded but double check that.
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gooddoc View Post
I wasn't sure you were ever going to turn them on [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/tongue.gif[/IMG] [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/biggrin.gif[/IMG].

Glad you like'm. What are your thoughts compared to the 708's?
No chit right? I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get power to them. I actually just powered them on today because of @adidino comments in the JBL pro thread. I finally got them wired up this past weekend after getting the screen built out but had not powered them on yet. I was planning on getting the four subs dialed in via MiniDSP, doing some sub crawl for the rear subs, etc first. I hadn't even set up anything in the Marantz yet. I went upstairs and set the M2s to large and connected the Oppo .I wasn't even sure if I had the tuning files loaded correctly but what the hell - today was the day. Fortunately, they came to life on the first go. The bad news is that I had an 80's compilation SACD in the player so the first sounds I heard out of these bad boys was Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up. I abhorred that song in the 80s and despise it at an immeasurable level today. Regardless, its the best that song has ever sounded to my ears.

The M2 is truly special. It has a smoothness that doesn't sound like any horn I have heard. I loved my 4722s with the upgraded compression driver, but they were never what I would call a musical experience. They sounded great with the better compression driver, but the M2 is just better. I don't know if it is the wave-guide, the HF/LF drivers, the active equalization, or all the above as a complete package but it just works and works amazingly well. I am now at 3 hours of nonstop music and listening as I type this. I am running pure direct on the Marantz 8805, no subs, no tweaks, just raw. Amazing..... The only negative is I keep wondering if I did the setup correct. I mean they sound amazing but I also have never done active EQ with tuning files. Considering I only have one input into the amp and sound is coming out of both the upper and lower sections makes me think I did it right....lol. Thus far, I am very pleased. Once the subs are online and dialed in with a nice target curve, it should be a sonic wet dream. To your original question, the M2 is in another league than than the 708 for sure. I have not nor will I A/B them but I know how stuff sounds in my room. The M2 is the clear winner over anything I have owned by a wide margin. With that said, I still really like the 708. I think multichannel music and movies will be amazing.

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post #4546 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 01:49 PM
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Give me a call. I’ll remote in and check for you

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Quote:
Originally Posted by adidino View Post
Make sure that tuning file is loaded. It’s a different speaker without it. I’m guessing it’s loaded but double check that.
How does one verify its loaded? I followed the directions, but how do I am ensure its "there" If anyone has TeamViewer on their computer, I can provide a remote session and connect to Audio Architect so you can check my homework.

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post #4547 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 02:34 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post
I'm no spring chicken and even with my ears I can just start to detect level differentials at about .2dB or higher on pink noise, PN, last time I checked under double blind conditions [Foobar 2000 with the ABX component added]:

foo_abx 2.0.2 report
foobar2000 v1.3.11
2018-06-04 23:16:44

File A: PN.wav
SHA1: e856d1d24ce9c9dbdb299288e40fa4512ff5e8e5
File B: PN +.2dB.wav
SHA1: 5890895a120b1053f8420b15f4786a375dbdd35a

Output:
DS : Speakers (USB Audio CODEC )
Crossfading: NO

23:16:44 : Test started.
23:18:07 : 01/01
23:18:48 : 02/02
23:20:00 : 03/03
23:20:15 : 04/04
23:21:59 : 05/05
23:22:14 : 06/06
23:22:39 : 07/07
23:22:54 : 07/08
23:23:40 : 08/09
23:23:58 : 08/10
23:23:58 : Test finished.

----------
Total: 8/10
Probability that you were guessing: 5.5%

-- signature --
0d32bbd46d49f34f9b99570cd0315ac7dbbdf0d2



Level matching tolerances should be within .1 dB or smaller for critical testing, if you ask me.
Impressive, but . . . you were listening to a stable broadband signal and the only variable was sound level. Consider how different things are comparing loudspeakers having significant differences in spectral balance, resonant behavior, frequency-dependent directivity, and bandwidth. How can one assure equal perceived loudness with these added variables? This is the real world of speaker comparisons. To this we add the infinite variations in program material. Frankly, given the number of non-linear variables I don't know how one would measure "equal perceived loudness" with the precision you suggest.

For what it is worth, many years ago I did comparison tests with deliberate loudness differences. The main effect was observed with speakers differing in bass balance and extension - no surprise there with the close spacing of equal loudness curves at low frequencies. Associated with this are room resonances, and comparing speakers in different locations yields differences in bass response not due to speaker performance. With bass accounting for about 30% of our overall sound quality ratings this is not trivial.

The other observation was that speakers exhibiting audible resonances were relatively immune to loudness differences - the resonances remained audible and objectionable over a reasonable range of loudness disparities.

So as speakers get better, loudness equalizations become easier. Obviously, comparing electronics at equal loudness is a simple task.
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post #4548 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 02:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Molon_Labe View Post
No chit right? I was beginning to wonder if I would ever get power to them. I actually just powered them on today because of @adidino comments in the JBL pro thread. I finally got them wired up this past weekend after getting the screen built out but had not powered them on yet. I was planning on getting the four subs dialed in via MiniDSP, doing some sub crawl for the rear subs, etc first. I hadn't even set up anything in the Marantz yet. I went upstairs and set the M2s to large and connected the Oppo .I wasn't even sure if I had the tuning files loaded correctly but what the hell - today was the day. Fortunately, they came to life on the first go. The bad news is that I had an 80's compilation SACD in the player so the first sounds I heard out of these bad boys was Rick Astley - Never Gonna Give You Up. I abhorred that song in the 80s and despise it at an immeasurable level today. Regardless, its the best that song has ever sounded to my ears.

The M2 is truly special. It has a smoothness that doesn't sound like any horn I have heard. I loved my 4722s with the upgraded compression driver, but they were never what I would call a musical experience. They sounded great with the better compression driver, but the M2 is just better. I don't know if it is the wave-guide, the HF/LF drivers, the active equalization, or all the above as a complete package but it just works and works amazingly well. I am now at 3 hours of nonstop music and listening as I type this. I am running pure direct on the Marantz 8805, no subs, no tweaks, just raw. Amazing..... The only negative is I keep wondering if I did the setup correct. I mean they sound amazing but I also have never done active EQ with tuning files. Considering I only have one input into the amp and sound is coming out of both the upper and lower sections makes me think I did it right....lol. Thus far, I am very pleased. Once the subs are online and dialed in with a nice target curve, it should be a sonic wet dream. To your original question, the M2 is in another league than than the 708 for sure. I have not nor will I A/B them but I know how stuff sounds in my room. The M2 is the clear winner over anything I have owned by a wide margin. With that said, I still really like the 708. I think multichannel music and movies will be amazing.
Yeah, I've always said the 708 is a great speaker. Simply not an M2 though. As surrounds complementing the M2's though, yeah, that's the ticket. Multichannel music is going to blow your mind 🤯 😀
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post #4549 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 03:21 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Impressive, but . . . you were listening to a stable broadband signal and the only variable was sound level. Consider how different things are comparing loudspeakers having significant differences in spectral balance, resonant behavior, frequency-dependent directivity, and bandwidth. How can one assure equal perceived loudness with these added variables? This is the real world of speaker comparisons. To this we add the infinite variations in program material. Frankly, given the number of non-linear variables I don't know how one would measure "equal perceived loudness" with the precision you suggest.

For what it is worth, many years ago I did comparison tests with deliberate loudness differences. The main effect was observed with speakers differing in bass balance and extension - no surprise there with the close spacing of equal loudness curves at low frequencies. Associated with this are room resonances, and comparing speakers in different locations yields differences in bass response not due to speaker performance. With bass accounting for about 30% of our overall sound quality ratings this is not trivial.

The other observation was that speakers exhibiting audible resonances were relatively immune to loudness differences - the resonances remained audible and objectionable over a reasonable range of loudness disparities.

So as speakers get better, loudness equalizations become easier. Obviously, comparing electronics at equal loudness is a simple task.
Now that you mention "comparing electronics", what are you experience with audible differences between amplifiers? Harman pairs the M2 speakers with both Mark Levinson amplifiers and Crown amplifiers in different price ranges. All these amps should have sufficient power to be well below the clipping threshold, but will they sound the same?

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post #4550 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 03:31 PM
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Obviously, comparing electronics at equal loudness is a simple task.
The topic at hand was a poster comparing amps, not speakers, and they admitted that some other variables were possibly changing so it wasn't actually a strict test.

I disagree that comparing electronics at equal loudness is a simple task for average consumers because with the exception of some rare Mark Levinson units consumers are locked to bumping up or down one amp to match the other in rather gross [opposite of "fine"] +/- .5 dB increments with modern day digital readout volume controls. Finer precision than that would be necessary so an additional device such as a precision stepped attenuator would need to be inserted into the signal path.
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Originally Posted by pennynike1 View Post
I may regret going down this rabbit hole, but here goes anyway. I had originally planned on getting itech amps to go with my M2's, but ended up getting DCI amps instead.



Can anyone who has directly compared the Crown Itech 5000hd and the crown DCI 2 | 1250n or 4 | 1250n chime in on any perceptible sound quality difference(s)?

It’s worth repeating that the M2’s designer uses a DCI4|1250n to drive his personal pair.

The pitch of the fan noise may be different...either way the amp needs to be in a different room. Otherwise, assume neither one is a broken amp.

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Crown DCI

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Originally Posted by DS-21 View Post
It’s worth repeating that the M2’s designer uses a DCI4|1250n to drive his personal pair.

The pitch of the fan noise may be different...either way the amp needs to be in a different room. Otherwise, assume neither one is a broken amp.
That is good to hear! I am currently running a DCI 4 | 1250n to power my left and right M2, and just took delivery of my DCI 2 | 1250n to power my center channel today

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post #4553 of 4705 Old 06-05-2019, 05:32 PM
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Originally Posted by JonasHansen View Post
Now that you mention "comparing electronics", what are you experience with audible differences between amplifiers? Harman pairs the M2 speakers with both Mark Levinson amplifiers and Crown amplifiers in different price ranges. All these amps should have sufficient power to be well below the clipping threshold, but will they sound the same?
I discuss the matching of power amplifiers and loudspeakers in Part 3 of the series on designing home theaters on the open access (free!) companion website for the third edition of my book. www.routledge.com/cw/toole. Click on the topic at the top of the webpage and download.

Obviously sound levels need to be well matched - not necessarily to within 0.1 dB as has been suggested. Hearing a very small difference in level may or may not translate into a difference in preference. It might conceivably happen in electronics, because the frequency responses are usually ruler flat, but it is highly unlikely in loudspeakers, as discussed in a recent post. The dominant factor in any level mismatch is the rapid growth of loudness at low frequencies. That could keep a thread going endlessly unless the tests are double blind.

I did my first power amplifier comparison in the mid 80s, for a serious Canadian audio magazine (remember when they existed?). Using the extensive facilities of the NRCC they were compared when driving dramatically different loudspeaker loads (in an adjacent acoustically isolated room), oscilloscopes monitored waveforms watching for clipping, and all of the sound was monitored using the same loudspeaker and power amp driven by the voltage across the "load" loudspeakers - these were constant factors. To everyone's amazement there was no significant difference perceived by the experienced audiophiles who participated. There were no time limits. Making it even more amazing was that nobody detected a true class B contender - until we played the pure tone sweep used for calibration which revealed the crossover distortion mercilessly. Simultaneous masking is powerful. A few other tests were similarly disappointing to those claiming large easily audible differences.

In the process some audible problems were revealed - all of them related to voltage or current limiting or misbehaving protection circuitry. I address these in the website article.

Fast forward to a few years ago and with the appearance of "digital" pulse-width modulated power amps there was an upsurge of resistance from the traditionalists. To be sure, there were products with problems, but there were others that exhibited no measurable, and, as it turns out, no audible problems so long as the current and voltage limits are not exceeded. One of these tests involved some analog power amps with prices that bring tears to the eyes - not all Harman - but with spectacular reputations. The results of protracted listening by self admitted purists yielded a statistical draw. The most golden of ears we were able to recruit found the "digital" amps to be just fine. They were, in this case, Crown amps.

Now I am not claiming that all digital amps are as good, or that Crown amps are the best, but merely to suggest that the relatively common concern about non-analog amplifiers is usually unwarranted. Remember, there were, and very likely still are, both "digital" and analog amps that fail to meet expectations. Think "receivers". Personally, I am listening to a mixture of both technologies.
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
Obviously sound levels need to be well matched - not necessarily to within 0.1 dB as has been suggested. Hearing a very small difference in level may or may not translate into a difference in preference.
There's a common misconception that amplifiers must be level matched for a blind ABX test because humans tend to have a preference for "louder" and equate it with "better". Well I'm not disagreeing with that, it's probably indeed true, but the main importance of level matching is to ensure neither amp has a "tell".

Imagine a similar "blind" test but instead of one amp playing at a slightly higher output level than the other when you switch to it instead you see flashing LED power level meters on its front panel start to bounce up and down with the music. Those lights have nothing to do with an alteration to the sound but they similarly act as a "tell" making the so-called "double blind" test actually a sighted test.

Discernible level differentials act as tells and reduce a blind test down to a sighted test.

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Originally Posted by m. zillch View Post

Imagine a similar "blind" test but instead of one amp playing at a slightly higher output level than the other when you switch to it instead you see flashing LED power level meters on its front panel start to bounce up and down with the music. .
Now I'm puzzled. The test you describe is clearly not "blind" if the power meters or bouncing lights are visible.

I think we are approaching the ultimate question: how many angels can dance on the head of a pin? And does it truly matter? With all the audible ailments in recorded music and movies, we need to argue for more easily accessible and adjustable tone controls
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Tone controls? Heck, they won't even let us have a balance knob anymore! Am I the only person in the world who finds stereo recordings listened to with headphones vary slightly and the center stage vocalist, drums, whatever shifts a few degrees laterally simply because one changes the recording? Drives me crazy. I want my center vocalist, get this, in the center. Oh what I'd give for an affordable headphone amp with a rotary balance control.
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Originally Posted by Floyd Toole View Post
I discuss the matching of power amplifiers and loudspeakers in Part 3 of the series on designing home theaters on the open access (free!) companion website for the third edition of my book. www.routledge.com/cw/toole. Click on the topic at the top of the webpage and download.

Obviously sound levels need to be well matched - not necessarily to within 0.1 dB as has been suggested. Hearing a very small difference in level may or may not translate into a difference in preference. It might conceivably happen in electronics, because the frequency responses are usually ruler flat, but it is highly unlikely in loudspeakers, as discussed in a recent post. The dominant factor in any level mismatch is the rapid growth of loudness at low frequencies. That could keep a thread going endlessly unless the tests are double blind.

I did my first power amplifier comparison in the mid 80s, for a serious Canadian audio magazine (remember when they existed?). Using the extensive facilities of the NRCC they were compared when driving dramatically different loudspeaker loads (in an adjacent acoustically isolated room), oscilloscopes monitored waveforms watching for clipping, and all of the sound was monitored using the same loudspeaker and power amp driven by the voltage across the "load" loudspeakers - these were constant factors. To everyone's amazement there was no significant difference perceived by the experienced audiophiles who participated. There were no time limits. Making it even more amazing was that nobody detected a true class B contender - until we played the pure tone sweep used for calibration which revealed the crossover distortion mercilessly. Simultaneous masking is powerful. A few other tests were similarly disappointing to those claiming large easily audible differences.

In the process some audible problems were revealed - all of them related to voltage or current limiting or misbehaving protection circuitry. I address these in the website article.

Fast forward to a few years ago and with the appearance of "digital" pulse-width modulated power amps there was an upsurge of resistance from the traditionalists. To be sure, there were products with problems, but there were others that exhibited no measurable, and, as it turns out, no audible problems so long as the current and voltage limits are not exceeded. One of these tests involved some analog power amps with prices that bring tears to the eyes - not all Harman - but with spectacular reputations. The results of protracted listening by self admitted purists yielded a statistical draw. The most golden of ears we were able to recruit found the "digital" amps to be just fine. They were, in this case, Crown amps.

Now I am not claiming that all digital amps are as good, or that Crown amps are the best, but merely to suggest that the relatively common concern about non-analog amplifiers is usually unwarranted. Remember, there were, and very likely still are, both "digital" and analog amps that fail to meet expectations. Think "receivers". Personally, I am listening to a mixture of both technologies.
Thanks for chiming in! If that is indeed true, then it just raises the question that a $300 400w Behringer class A/B amplifier sound exactly the same as a $10.000 Mark Levinson 400w amplifier (assuming neither are voltage or current limited).

Home Theater: JBL M2 & SUB18 powered by Crown and BSS.
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post #4558 of 4705 Old 06-06-2019, 01:13 AM
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^Not that exact comparison but I once conducted a blind test to settle a bet with a recording engineer friend of mine (a self proclaimed "expert listener" and audiophile) to see if he could audibly identify a Mark Levinson grade amp, specifically a unit from their companion line, Proceed, slated to be re-badged as Mark Levinson when Proceed was dissolved, against an introductory Yamaha integrated amp a fraction of the price. Using his own choice of music and a fancy, hand selected system, made of top-notch gear (including a Stereophile magazine Class "A" Rating source), costing ~$16K total ($13K +$3K in wiring/accessories, or about $24K in today's dollars), in a dedicated listening room with professionally applied room treatments, I won the bet:

From photographs I've noticed that Proceed amps were the ones originally selected and used in Harman's speaker shuffler test facility, although they were the lower power series to the one I used in my test.

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Tone controls? Heck, they won't even let us have a balance knob anymore!
Back in the day, this was the coolest item in the rack other than the Nakamichi tape deck.
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post #4560 of 4705 Old 06-06-2019, 03:54 AM
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Back in the day, this was the coolest item in the rack other than the Nakamichi tape deck.
Tonal controls..bha....I had a 9 band EQ in high school and college. Get that "V" shape curve going baby!!!!!
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