for pointing me to this part of the thread.
Originally Posted by John Schuermann
As pretty much all of us in this thread know, Harman has about the only double blind speaker testing facility in the world. Yet here is Kevin Voecks - one of the biggest proponents of double blind testing there is - talking about differences very much like what you are describing, in relation to a speaker shuffler test between Revel models. The listener was Tom Norton at Sound and Vision, who during the session preferred the F208 to the Studio2 Ultima:
Kevin had the following comments on blind tests using short selections, with which I fully agree:
"As you know, many people argue about double-blind tests. Most of their arguments are without merit, but not all. One of the most important is that in my opinion and observation, it does indeed take extended listening sessions to hear the more subtle differences. The important thing is that these more subtle differences can indeed become more evident over time. Having listened to the Performa3 series and Ultima2 series both for very long periods of time, the difference at high frequencies especially is dramatic. The Ultima2 tweeter is so much "cleaner," with vastly lower distortion (even though the Performa3 distortion is far below most speakers) that it is much easier to listen to without fatigue. Combined with the advantages of low diffraction, it is the high frequency range that causes the Ultima2 series to win in long-term listening tests. Getting back to the blind testing, that kind of difference is best heard with longer sessions. There must be breaks between long sessions, as fatigue sets in, but that is where differences that audiophiles live for become apparent."
The rest of the article is here:
I completely agree with the S&V quote regarding Kevin’s SalonII comments.
With the SalonII/Levinson system that I have evolved to, I listen (often at quite loud levels) for hours on end without any “fatigue” setting in. I could also do this in stereo with my Amati Homage as well, but could not get a surround system to my liking at that time, although the Amati’s created an awesome 3D image surrounding me partially from behind me (not directly behind) and incredible depth behind
and of course in front of the speakers. The lack of fatigue at high levels was mostly in the tweeters to me, but every driver and crossover mattered.
Since I loved Logic7, I tried different centers and surrounds and amps for them to add to my Amati’s with no success. Then I left 2 channel nirvana (at least to me at that time) for an equivalent movie and multi-channel experience that was quite elusive. I got back to nirvana in multi-channel with the Salon/Levinson and pretty darn close in stereo (something magical about the Amati’s other than the Dali tweeter that they used, as I also got a set of Dali Euphonia’s and Dynaudio thinking that would sooth my quest).
Once I felt this type of nirvana and mistakenly took it for granted, I missed it and sought it again.
Almost all other system attempts that were affordable to me at least resulted in reaching an earlier point of becoming fatigued and I just couldn’t listen any more.
Thus, once I evolved to the SalonII/Levinson as the base system (for me)…I changed power sources, power cables, interconnects, RCA to XLR, speaker cables, dedicated lines, etc.
I could then detect the subtle changes (or imagined I did) by finding that the fatigue saturation point, or my brain just knowing something just wasn’t right…not scientifically.
I got to the point where I could tell immediately by listening to only a few discs and a few short bursts of certain tracks that I could feel (or not) the differences. I said feel
not hear (it must be the dopamine produced in the brain from the experience).
My logic (or rationalization of nonsense?) is that our (or my) brain can detect all of the imperfections present, but chooses to ignore them (same amplified even more with video). Hence a large part of the break in period for equipment/cables, etc. is for the brain to sort out the errors and learn how to ignore them (I know about capacitors, etc.).
Hopefully it does this in a reasonable period of time, or you end up sending it back.
Now when you remove most of the flaws in the “expensive” systems, any time you notice them it becomes irritating and annoying sooner an sooner. Same with learning fine wines, etc.…you get conditioned and great wine still annoys you even with one sip (I am not that way)…actually most things in life are this way.
Perhaps it is just in my nature, as I can immediately find flaws in all endeavors, in fact I am attracted to them like a magnet, which is why I had a successful career, I learned to spot errors quickly and then address them. (Not mentioning this attribute is quite a detriment in marital relationships!)
Thus, Nirvana to me is not noticing any flaws even when you try hard to listen for them (or view them) and getting that brain saying “thumbs up" for hours on end. I often need to listen twice, once to convince myself there aren't any detectable flaws, and then go back to try and just listen.