|Originally posted by PeterS|
Ignore those that say there is no difference. They know not what they say.
I realize you disagree with my viewpoint, but was the insult really necessary?
If you enjoy spending $15,000.00 of your hard earned Dollars on the placebo effect, be my guest. You might find the following bit of old history interesting.
At the 85th AES Convention (Los Angeles, Nov. 3-6, 1988), a workshop entitled "Esoteric Audio: Can You Hear It?" was held: three days of controlled listening followed by a panel/audience session on the fourth day (disclosure of results, discussion of issues and PUOSU ultimatum).
At issue, representative controversial effects: the audibility of distortion, tube sound vs. transistor sound, and audible differences between speaker cables. Three separate listening rooms were set up and run by assigned room captains:
1) loudspeaker cable room by Ian Eales, a recording studio owner (whose studio is wired with cable of the same brand as tested) and proponent of specialty cables;
2) tube-vs.-transistor amp room by Michael Fremer, a contributer to some underground audio mags and proponent of "tube sound";
3) distortion room by Peter Sutheim, professor and audio talk-show host.
For speaker cables, the comparison was between 12-gauge zipcord and cables from a well regarded exotic brand. The amplifier comparison was between a ("bad sounding", ugly looking) Crown transistor amp, a Threshold transistor amp and a VTL tube amp. Switching between the DUTs (for both amp and cable tests) was done by manual cable swap (probably not to have the "obvious" differences burried in the "audible" added distortion, and other "veiling effects", of a good switcher...)
The listeners were convention attendees (at the invitation of workshop Chairman David Clark), by all means experienced and critical listeners since AES conventions are usually attended by professional audio people, recording engineers, designers, ultra-serious audiophiles,... With such a large, educated listening panel, no doubt if there were "obvious" differences, they would be heard, and even the less obvious that would elude most RAO readers... (no insult intended here, just acknowledging reality)
Before announcing the results at the panel session on the fourth day, Chairman Clark asked those in the audience to express by a show of hands whether they believed that well designed power amps (measuring well in standard tests) sounded/would likely sound different from each other in level-matched listening comparisons (units operated within specs).
About 3/4 of the audience believed so, and this despite several carefully conducted/controlled listening tests (very likely well known to them prior to November 1988) that have indicated that sonic differences between amps are at best very small, if any.
For _both_ wire and amplifier comparisons, results indicated that these professional audio people (forming a large scale listening panel) were doing no better with their ears than they would have done with a coin to tell audible differences, with an average score very close to 50%, indicating that audible differences were extremely small, if there were any at all. I'm pretty sure the room captains tried to influence listeners with their biases but their efforts were randomized anyway
(matched levels and blind calling).[Listening, Mr. Dickson?]
The discussion panel was divided into two groups: the "men of faith" (the room captains and Noel Lee [Monster Cable]) and the "men of science" (Gene Pitts [then at Audio Magazine], Prof. John Vanderkooy [then at the U. of Waterloo, Ont., Canada], Prof. Dick Greiner [at U. of Wisconsin] and Floyd Toole [then at NRC of Canada]). The discussion extended to
the audience and became very lively at one point (to put it mildly ).
It is clear from the audio tape that Noel Lee didn't (want to?) know what he was doing and had no technical facts to offer to support his claims (not even a lame attempt a la MIT), but faith in what he believes a.k.a. personal opinions. He avoided as much as he could the issue of blind listening at Monster Cable. The scientific side of the panel argued solidly that, if there are real audible differences, they must be audible in controlled listening and if these differences are audible, they must be measurable in some way (cause ---> effect).
Sources: - 85th AES Convention Report, JAES, Vol.36, No.12, Dec. 1988.
Audio tape of "Esoteric Audio: Can You Hear It?", Workshop 18, 85th AES Convention (available from: Mobiltape, 25061 W. Ave. Stanford, Suite 70, Valencia, CA91355).