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blackraven
02-06-2008, 11:31 PM
Here's a couple of interesting web sites that I though may involk some discussion and more controversy :devil:

www.hometheaterfocus.com/receivers/amplifier-sound-quality.aspx

http://bruce.coppola.name/audio/wisdom.html

Feanor
02-07-2008, 06:52 AM
Here's a couple of interesting web sites that I though may involk some discussion and more controversy :devil:

www.hometheaterfocus.com/receivers/amplifier-sound-quality.aspx (http://www.hometheaterfocus.com/receivers/amplifier-sound-quality.aspx)

http://bruce.coppola.name/audio/wisdom.html


I'll read these reference more thoroughly after work. A couple of things come to mind however.

First, I've read the amplifier test in question before. It is interesting that the article was written by Ian G. Masters know for his "objectivist" bias, nevertheless the testing did prove that some amp could be distinquished from each other by at least some of the participants; this puts the lie to the notion that "all amplifieres sound alike".

The second item refers to Peter Aczel and The Audio Critic. One thing for sure is the Aczel is thoroughly hated and detested by virtually every "subjectivist" audiophile.

Personally I'm convinced I can hear differences between amplifiers, and even between different vacuum tubes in the same device, but I have rarely even suspected I heard differences between decent inteconnects, much less power cords.

blackraven
02-07-2008, 07:37 AM
I always take things with a grain of salt. I just posted those sites for some interesting discussion but it looks like no one else has any opinions or comments.

Ajani
02-07-2008, 07:47 AM
I always take things with a grain of salt. I just posted those sites for some interesting discussion but it looks like no one else has any opinions or comments.

That's the best way to take any claims in audio.... Though I believe there are differences in the sound of amplifiers, I don't think they are nearly as 'Night and Day' as many 'audiophiles' claim....

I don't think the article disproved that there are differences, it seemed to show that most people can't accurately tell the differences... In other words - the differences are likely quite subtle....

The only thing I've heard truly dramatic differences with are: Speakers & Room acoustics...

blackraven
02-07-2008, 07:55 AM
I tend to agree that differences in amps are subtle but I certainly have heard some amps that are warmer or brighter than others especially when used with high end speakers and CDP's. I think there can be big differences among CDP's as I have seen with modifying my MusicHall and comparing the Marantz SA8001, 740c and 840c. Cables, power cords and power conditioners, I'm skeptical about differences in sound.

SlumpBuster
02-07-2008, 09:20 AM
Of the "Top Ten Audio Lies" one is the "Cable Lie" and one is the "Bi-Wire Lie." But to me those cancel eachother out. If I use affordable wire, then why can't I bi-wire just in case? In otherwords, if a don't believe lie one (that cable matters) then lie two (that you have to bi-wire) becomes a strawman. There is no harm no foul in bi-wiring if I'm using cheap wire. In fact, I'm creating an effectively larger guage wire in the the process.
I use quality Home Depot 14 guage speaker wire terminated with bananas in a bi-wire configuration. I had the extra wire so I figured "Why not bi-wire?" At least it looks cool. If it has no effect, then so what. If it does have a positive effect, then I'm covered.

Les Adams
02-07-2008, 10:48 AM
I noticed a huge difference when I changed my power amp from a Quad 405 to a Quad 909. Midrange clarity in partictular was dramatically improved and the overally tonal quality changed to give a more open and detailed sound - and that is comaping two amplifiers from the same manufacturer, albeit one design older than another. I suspect preamps may make an even bigger difference and changing from a Denon AVR 3801 as a preamp to the Quad 99 certainly made an instant improvement. But, both these changes were apparent to my ears without question, but my girlfriend could not tell the difference! This is all very subjective I think!

KUNK
02-07-2008, 11:57 AM
Thank you...I added "Audio Wisdom" to my audio links....cool site....lets find mo

E-Stat
02-07-2008, 09:14 PM
Here's a couple of interesting web sites that I though may involk some discussion and more controversy
What this twenty-five year old amp article doesn't begin to address is the effect of the amplifier-speaker interaction. Maggies are very nice speakers (had some myself back in the 70s) that present a nearly perfectly resistive load to the amp. Best case scenario if you will. The vast majority of box speakers, however, have impedance curves that are all over the place. Or, if you favor electrostats like I do, you need an amp that can perform the same with a particularly nasty reactive load. The Rat Shack receiver would likely shut down trying to drive my speakers where the Levinson wouldn't even be breathing hard. Some Crown pro amps go into protection with the 1200 pf capacitive load of the Sound Labs.

It is all about system matching.

rw

audio amateur
02-08-2008, 02:59 AM
What this twenty-five year old amp article doesn't begin to address is the effect of the amplifier-speaker interaction. Maggies are very nice speakers (had some myself back in the 70s) that present a nearly perfectly resistive load to the amp. Best case scenario if you will. The vast majority of box speakers, however, have impedance curves that are all over the place. Or, if you favor electrostats like I do, you need an amp that can perform the same with a particularly nasty reactive load. The Rat Shack receiver would likely shut down trying to drive my speakers where the Levinson wouldn't even be breathing hard. Some Crown pro amps go into protection with the 1200 pf capacitive load of the Sound Labs.

It is all about system matching.

rw
Cool stuff. What are you powering them with at the moment?

Ajani
02-08-2008, 05:47 AM
What this twenty-five year old amp article doesn't begin to address is the effect of the amplifier-speaker interaction. Maggies are very nice speakers (had some myself back in the 70s) that present a nearly perfectly resistive load to the amp. Best case scenario if you will. The vast majority of box speakers, however, have impedance curves that are all over the place. Or, if you favor electrostats like I do, you need an amp that can perform the same with a particularly nasty reactive load. The Rat Shack receiver would likely shut down trying to drive my speakers where the Levinson wouldn't even be breathing hard. Some Crown pro amps go into protection with the 1200 pf capacitive load of the Sound Labs.

It is all about system matching.

rw

That's a really good point actually.

Though I don't tend to hear huge differences in sound in amps; power and ability to drive diificult loads are essential when trying to match amp with speakers.... I've heard 50 watt amps drive efficient loudspeakers to ridiculously loud levels in a small room, but for inefficient speakers in a much larger room I'd want nothing less than 200 watts...

E-Stat
02-08-2008, 07:31 AM
Cool stuff. What are you powering them with at the moment?
A pair of VTL MB-450 mono tube amps. Previously, with my former electrostats, I used a Threshold Stasis amp that was likewise load insensitive.

rw

filecat13
02-08-2008, 01:24 PM
All your amps are belong to my Haflers.

Okay, you guys make good points. The speaker-amp interaction is quite the deal. I've got a large number of amps, some of them bought on a whim to see if they could improve the sound of some of my speakers.

I was having a "b" of a time driving these JBL 4430s here in my office with a Carver (OK, don't start :nono: ), but a Soundcraftsmen A200 set them right.

Running some L7s with Soundcraftsmen A200s didn't work well, but Hafler PR2600s worked wonders with them.

Driving L250s with the Haflers just didn't quite get it, but a Fosgate Audionics 4125 was just the ticket.

Best thing for the L100s: vintage Kenwood KA-801 integrated amp. Best for the S2600s: Panasonic SA-XR10 digital amp. And so it goes.

I couldn't tell you how many amps I swapped in and out, sometimes with no discernible effect, then suddenly one just clicked. If I were smarter (or more educated) perhaps I could study schematics, impedance curves, etc. to predict these things, but I'm just a random sequence generator looking for the right combination. :crazy:

audio amateur
02-10-2008, 03:14 AM
A pair of VTL MB-450 mono tube amps. Previously, with my former electrostats, I used a Threshold Stasis amp that was likewise load insensitive.

rw
Very nice:)

Feanor
02-10-2008, 04:45 AM
That's a really good point actually.

Though I don't tend to hear huge differences in sound in amps; power and ability to drive diificult loads are essential when trying to match amp with speakers.... I've heard 50 watt amps drive efficient loudspeakers to ridiculously loud levels in a small room, but for inefficient speakers in a much larger room I'd want nothing less than 200 watts...

If there was ever a misused audio adjective it's got to be "huge". One guy's "huge" is another guy's "insignificant".

Despite having Magneplanars -- and easy load as mentioned by E-Stat -- I easily heard the differences among the seven or eight different amps I've heard in my system in the last 4 years, and the five or six preamps for that matter. In fact, I'm convinced I heard difference among the four or so different tubes I've heard in my current preamp.

Were any of these differences "huge"? Well, let's just say they were "significant" -- at least to me :22:

Other differences:

I've heard about five different CDPs or DACs in my system and I'd say the the differences were "subtle".
I can't say heard any differences among the interconnects or even speaker cables I've used. Then again I haven't had tried Vallhala cables, for instance.
Some people say they can hear difference between iTunes and Foobar2000: sorry, no-can-hear, but that might be computer and configuration dependant.

Ajani
02-10-2008, 05:51 AM
If there was ever a misused audio adjective it's got to be "huge". One guy's "huge" is another guy's "insignificant".

Despite having Magneplanars -- and easy load as mentioned by E-Stat -- I easily heard the differences among the seven or eight different amps I've heard in my system in the last 4 years, and the five or six preamps for that matter. In fact, I'm convinced I heard difference among the four or so different tubes I've heard in my current preamp.

Were any of these differences "huge"? Well, let's just say they were "significant" -- at least to me :22:

Other differences:

I've heard about five different CDPs or DACs in my system and I'd say the the differences were "subtle".
I can't say heard any differences among the interconnects or even speaker cables I've used. Then again I haven't had tried Vallhala cables, for instance.
Some people say they can hear difference between iTunes and Foobar2000: sorry, no-can-hear, but that might be computer and configuration dependant.

Whether you use the word 'Huge' or 'Significant', the magnitude of the differences are still totally relative...

Just check out this post (which is also in this thread):


I noticed a huge difference when I changed my power amp from a Quad 405 to a Quad 909. Midrange clarity in partictular was dramatically improved and the overally tonal quality changed to give a more open and detailed sound - and that is comaping two amplifiers from the same manufacturer, albeit one design older than another. I suspect preamps may make an even bigger difference and changing from a Denon AVR 3801 as a preamp to the Quad 99 certainly made an instant improvement. But, both these changes were apparent to my ears without question, but my girlfriend could not tell the difference! This is all very subjective I think!

I haven't seen anyone arguing that all speakers sound the same.... but even after decades, some people still claim all amps sound the same and even more claim all CD players sound the same and most claim that all cables sound the same...

I look at things this way: If it can still be debated after decades then there is probably something to it.... IMO, the differences are all far subtler than many audiophiles claim... and the reason I used the word 'Huge' is just to say that I've not experienced any 'Night & Day' differences in amplification.... I've heard differences, but their significance really depended on how much money you're willing to spend...

Rock&Roll Ninja
02-10-2008, 10:05 AM
If there was ever a misused audio adjective it's got to be "huge". One guy's "huge" is another guy's "insignificant".
Hey! This is a family forum! :ihih:

blackraven
02-10-2008, 05:53 PM
My wife uses the word huge all the time!:yesnod:

filecat13
02-10-2008, 07:46 PM
My wife uses the word huge all the time!:yesnod:

I'm confused. :confused5: Is she referring to your ego? :lol:


Hey, it's just a cheap joke. Nothing else intended.

Les Adams
02-20-2008, 07:48 AM
I haven't seen anyone arguing that all speakers sound the same.... but even after decades, some people still claim all amps sound the same and even more claim all CD players sound the same and most claim that all cables sound the same...

I look at things this way: If it can still be debated after decades then there is probably something to it.... IMO, the differences are all far subtler than many audiophiles claim... and the reason I used the word 'Huge' is just to say that I've not experienced any 'Night & Day' differences in amplification.... I've heard differences, but their significance really depended on how much money you're willing to spend...

I think it depends on HOW you listen. My afore mentioned girlfriend has only ever experienced soundstage once when I managed to get her sitting in the correct position and told her what to listen for. She was very impressed by what she heard, as though she had just witnessed some kind of magic trick, but it did not change how she listens and she is still happy to sit off to one side and enjoys the music just as much. The "depth" of her listening goes no further than the words and melody and she really can not hear the difference between amplifiers let alone cables. I on the other hand get completely immersed in the music and the more imagery and detail there is, the more I enjoy it.

I would compare the appreciation and perception of fine audio with that of fine art. I might look at a fine painting and my enjoyment of it would be based purly on the subject matter, i.e. is it a nice flower, or pretty scene? Whereas an art Connoisseur can also appreciate the brush strokes and the finer detail that is missed by my un-trained or un-appreciative eye. I might also miss the detail because it doesn't matter to me, just as my girlfriend doesn't care if the hi-hat is ting-ing beautifully, or the bass is tight and punchy, her attention and enjoyment of the music is based purely on the basic subjects - the song and the singer.. she likes it or she doesn't.

In my experience, amplifiers DO sound different. I conceed however that the differences between loudspeakers are more dramatic and therefore more obvious. I struggle to hear the difference between one good cable and onother, but that does not mean there is no difference, it simply means that I can't hear it.

Ajani
02-20-2008, 08:37 AM
I think it depends on HOW you listen. My afore mentioned girlfriend has only ever experienced soundstage once when I managed to get her sitting in the correct position and told her what to listen for. She was very impressed by what she heard, as though she had just witnessed some kind of magic trick, but it did not change how she listens and she is still happy to sit off to one side and enjoys the music just as much. The "depth" of her listening goes no further than the words and melody and she really can not hear the difference between amplifiers let alone cables. I on the other hand get completely immersed in the music and the more imagery and detail there is, the more I enjoy it.

I would compare the appreciation and perception of fine audio with that of fine art. I might look at a fine painting and my enjoyment of it would be based purly on the subject matter, i.e. is it a nice flower, or pretty scene? Whereas an art Connoisseur can also appreciate the brush strokes and the finer detail that is missed by my un-trained or un-appreciative eye. I might also miss the detail because it doesn't matter to me, just as my girlfriend doesn't care if the hi-hat is ting-ing beautifully, or the bass is tight and punchy, her attention and enjoyment of the music is based purely on the basic subjects - the song and the singer.. she likes it or she doesn't.

In my experience, amplifiers DO sound different. I conceed however that the differences between loudspeakers are more dramatic and therefore more obvious. I struggle to hear the difference between one good cable and onother, but that does not mean there is no difference, it simply means that I can't hear it.

All good points... what I'll add, is that much of the problem with our hobby is that we often overemphasize subtle differences and thus leave the uninitiated scratching their heads in bewilderment....

Even though you're not an art connoisseur, (short of being colour blind) I'm sure you would notice the difference between a painting in Bright Red versus one in Dull Green.... that is a major difference... brush strokes are a subtle one that only the well trained are likely to identify... our hobby is just like that... Speakers can make major differences in sound, while many of the other items i.e. amps, cd players and cables usually make far more subtle differences.... However, I must add that combining several subtle differences can result in a major difference in the overall sound of your system...

bfalls
02-20-2008, 10:39 AM
Common to almost every post in this thread is the word "difference". I have no doubt differences can be heard by someone in almost every comparison whether amps, cables, speakers, whatever.

The problem comes in when deciding how the differences relate. Without specific standards how do we tell if the difference is better. So the midrange is more "fluid", the bass "punchy", the high-end "sweet". Unless you can put specific value to these terms they're all related to a value stored in your head. Is the tweeter sweet as in "sweet as honey" relating to its smoothness, or sweet like sugar which has some grain, or texture to it. Can a "revealing midrange" mean all the beatutiful detail is there, or annoying as in "I hear everything including breathing, background noise, fingers on the fretboard. It's all relative to an ideal stored in your head which can be different for each of us.

I know I hear a difference between optical and coax digital interfaces. To me the optical is better, more rounded, warmer. But to someone else the coax may be better, because it's transparent with no sonic signature. This is why these questions never get answered because the reference in my head is not necessarily the reference in yours.

It becomes too easy sometimes to relate better to cost. If you just paid $1200 for a 1M interconnect and it sounded "different". As an "audiophile" I'm not likely you'll tell anyone it doesn't sound better. After all so many other "Golden Ears" have proclaimed it to be better. Why subject yourself to ridicule for not knowing it's better. I'd be more likely to ridicule for buying a $1200 interconnect in the first place.

I know my ears have changed over the years, but I'm not sure the reference in my head has. The question is if my brain smart enough to compensate correctly?

Ajani
02-20-2008, 12:43 PM
Common to almost every post in this thread is the word "difference". I have no doubt differences can be heard by someone in almost every comparison whether amps, cables, speakers, whatever.

The problem comes in when deciding how the differences relate. Without specific standards how do we tell if the difference is better. So the midrange is more "fluid", the bass "punchy", the high-end "sweet". Unless you can put specific value to these terms they're all related to a value stored in your head. Is the tweeter sweet as in "sweet as honey" relating to its smoothness, or sweet like sugar which has some grain, or texture to it. Can a "revealing midrange" mean all the beatutiful detail is there, or annoying as in "I hear everything including breathing, background noise, fingers on the fretboard. It's all relative to an ideal stored in your head which can be different for each of us.

I know I hear a difference between optical and coax digital interfaces. To me the optical is better, more rounded, warmer. But to someone else the coax may be better, because it's transparent with no sonic signature. This is why these questions never get answered because the reference in my head is not necessarily the reference in yours.

It becomes too easy sometimes to relate better to cost. If you just paid $1200 for a 1M interconnect and it sounded "different". As an "audiophile" I'm not likely you'll tell anyone it doesn't sound better. After all so many other "Golden Ears" have proclaimed it to be better. Why subject yourself to ridicule for not knowing it's better. I'd be more likely to ridicule for buying a $1200 interconnect in the first place.

I know my ears have changed over the years, but I'm not sure the reference in my head has. The question is if my brain smart enough to compensate correctly?

Your point about whether different + more expensive = better is why it's best not to take reviews of equipment as 'gold'... You have to listen for yourself...

Simple example is comparing three highly critically acclaimed speakers at the same price: B&W 683, Revel Concerta F12 and Monitor Audio RS8.... All 3 sound very different and depending on what you're looking for, could be audio nirvana... IMO, B&W are the most detailed, Revel are the most neutral and Monitor Audio are the most musical... now what does that mean to someone??? Possibly nothing without my frame of reference...

Now if you assume that different + more expensive = better, then obviously a Pair of B&W 804S speakers must sound better than a Revel Concerta F12 (since the B&Ws both sound different and are more expensive)... however, in reality you might well prefer to stick with the cheaper Revels because you find the B&W sound too detailed (breathing, background noise, fingers on the fretboard)....

O'Shag
03-04-2008, 03:24 PM
What a load of rubbish. Just when I think that there may be a place for double blind testing in audio, then I read an article like this. Its just complete and utter rubbish and I know this because the differences are so profoundly evident to anyone with half an ear or a brain. Take the $200 Pioneer cited. Does this Pioneer sound the same as my $4,500 Yamaha RX-Z9 multi-channel processor receiver? I doubt it, but lets just suppose it does. What I can tell you is that my Yamaha RX-Z9, which I love, sounds crap compared to my Mark Levinson, Audio Research or Spectron amps. Its literally a night and day difference. Comparing solid state to triode tube amps? The way the music is conveyed and projected is entirely different. You do not need to learn what to listen for. You do not need to sit in a certain sweet spot. A high-quality amplifier will be immediately evident from first listen - even from outside the room!. What sounds different?

- The sound image is three dimensional and has real body as opposed to the flat lifeless 2d image of mass market products
- The sound is much bigger/lifesize and is projected effortlessly from the speakers ie no compression
- The sound is complete, meaning you can close your eyes and you can believe you are witnessing a real performance live.
- The instruments sound like themselves with correct harmonic completeness, tone and timbre
- Massive dynamic capability allows the aliveness and essence of the music to be fully conveyed, something which a mass market receiver can only dream of.

If one believes this type of drivel suggested in such an article, then whats the point of being an audiophile, really? :hand: Just go out spend the$1000 on a system and live in totally blissful ingnorant stupidity for the rest of one's days.

No offence to anyone :D

blackraven
03-04-2008, 04:00 PM
Hey, I just threw this out there to create a little controversy and discussion. I'm not saying I believe it!

O'Shag
03-06-2008, 01:57 PM
I didn't think that you believed that for a minute Blackraven. I would have thought the opposite given a lot of your posts. Actually this post was a great idea. Its certainly healthy to have such discourse. Reading the article in question just confirms the question of double blind testing for me. I do think, if such a test was conducted properly, that the results would show the easily-noticable differences. I can but think that the tests are badly set up. The differences of amplifiers are much easier to hear than that of cables - much easier...

But still and all - a thought provoking thread- How's the weather in St Paul ( I love that city - lived in Minnetonka for three years)

Cheers Mate

Les Adams
03-07-2008, 10:33 AM
What a load of rubbish. Just when I think that there may be a place for double blind testing in audio, then I read an article like this. Its just complete and utter rubbish and I know this because the differences are so profoundly evident to anyone with half an ear or a brain.
No offence to anyone :D

I beg to differ! My girlfriend has a very active brain and in terms of i.q. she is more than a match for me.. she also has two fully working ears... BUT, I have made changes to my system that have made a profound difference to my ears, yet she struggles to notice the difference.

What the article and tests prove however is that there are people earning a living by bluffing their way in this industry! There are differences but not everyone can hear them! I am sure that once a certain level of quality is reached then the law of diminishing returns comes into play and I doubt that I could hear the difference, but that does not mean there is no difference, it just means I can't hear it.

In audio terms this is what makes us "audiophiles" as opposed to casual listeners of music. Our depth of listening goes beyond the music itself and we can appreciate differences in sound that others may not. To suggest that those who do not listen in the same way, or are unable to hear those differences are stupid or deaf is not necessarily true, but perhaps they should not be evaluating audio gear in the hi-fi press!

Maybe subjecting audio reviewers to double-blind listening tests to prove they CAN hear the difference between different amplifiers as part of their qualification for the job might be an idea? After all, an antiques salesman who cannot spot a fake would not hold a position at Southerby's for long would he?

blackraven
03-07-2008, 11:12 AM
O'Shag, The weather here sucks, it was 2F last night. Its been a really bitter cold winter.
I live in Woodbury just 10 min east of St. Paul. I take my boat to lake Minnetonka.

By the way, I'm flying out to LA today for a few days.

O'Shag
03-07-2008, 10:00 PM
Cheers Les,

There is most certainly a lot of shicanery in the audio business - I really have to laugh sometimes. Like I told my son today, the last person you want to take at their word is someone that wants to sell you something. especially if the item or concept is expensive and especially if you don't know them personally. One has to use a good deal of common sense, especially with respect to audio. There are a lot of interesting opinions to the left and right, and certainly a lot of well-informed intelligent people, but I find the truth generally lies somewhere in the middle. I tend to start to question arguments where most of the statements are absolutes ie my way is right, the others are wrong.

Perhaps what you say is correct in terms of many people being unable to hear a difference in amplifiers. I for the life of me can't understand it as it is so obvious to me, but then again I might be delusional, or I could have had an alien grandmother. Honestly Les, I don't really care so much about convincing others, becuase I know for myself and thats what counts. But any audiophile who listens to their system regularly should be able to perceive differences in certain amplifiers - slight or significant, just my opinion.

Like your turntable by the way. My rig is the Musical Fidelity M1 table with SME M2 and Dynavector Karat 17D2.

O'Shag
03-07-2008, 10:09 PM
Howdy BlackRaven,

2 degrees -My word!! Thats the odd thing about Minnesota. Its so darned warm and beautiful in the summer, and the winter can kill ya stone dead! Love Lake Minnetonka in the summer. Certianly a nice spot to have the yacht moored. Also have a fondness for the three adjoining lakes downtown - Lake Harriet is one I remember, and I often went canoeing there with my young lady. Some of the old mansions down around that area are spectacular.

I hat to make you feel bad, but the weather here in LA today was so beautifully mild and warm. I love this time of year in So Cal. The air has that certain smell thats so refreshing. When the summer comes on the smog will take care of that though.

Ajani
03-08-2008, 08:27 AM
......
There is most certainly a lot of shicanery in the audio business - I really have to laugh sometimes. Like I told my son today, the last person you want to take at their word is someone that wants to sell you something. especially if the item or concept is expensive and especially if you don't know them personally.

So true.... I remember going into a store almost two years ago to check out new speakers.... and the salesman spent the entire time trying to convince me to the buy a Pair of Monitor Audio RS6 speakers because "They are such great speakers, that he doesn't even know why Monitor Audio produces the Gold series" - it's interesting to note that the store didn't have any Gold series in stock at the time.... A few months later I passed by the same store and another salesman was quick to do a direct comparison between the Gold and Silvers, in order to convince me that the Gold were well worth triple the price of the Silvers... and that the Silvers would not meet my audio needs... Now certainly, the difference could be due to one salesman loving the Silver and the other the Gold or it could just be a case of 'sell what's in the store now!!!'.....

I've also been to a B&W dealer back when the CM1s came out... Since I was really looking for floorstanders, I inquired when the store would be getting the CM7s... and the salesman went to great lengths to explain to me that the CM7s were going to be inferior to the CM1s (made out of less solid cabinet materials etc..) and so I should just buy the CM1s now...

Needless to say, I don't regard the opinions of salesmen at all in this hobby... Trust your ears and have fun...



One has to use a good deal of common sense, especially with respect to audio. There are a lot of interesting opinions to the left and right, and certainly a lot of well-informed intelligent people, but I find the truth generally lies somewhere in the middle. I tend to start to question arguments where most of the statements are absolutes ie my way is right, the others are wrong.

That's exactly my point of view on this hobby... listen to all opinions but form your own, since exageration and the simple fact that people hear differently can lead you down the wrong path easily...


Perhaps what you say is correct in terms of many people being unable to hear a difference in amplifiers. I for the life of me can't understand it as it is so obvious to me, but then again I might be delusional, or I could have had an alien grandmother. Honestly Les, I don't really care so much about convincing others, becuase I know for myself and thats what counts. But any audiophile who listens to their system regularly should be able to perceive differences in certain amplifiers - slight or significant, just my opinion........

Or you may actually be much better at identifying differences, because of your years of experience in this hobby... Keep in mind that the average person doesn't care enough to really study the differences in audio (as they have different hobbies; like studying subtle differences in brushstrokes in artwork)...

Les Adams
03-08-2008, 11:57 AM
Perhaps what you say is correct in terms of many people being unable to hear a difference in amplifiers. I for the life of me can't understand it as it is so obvious to me, but then again I might be delusional, or I could have had an alien grandmother. Honestly Les, I don't really care so much about convincing others, becuase I know for myself and thats what counts. But any audiophile who listens to their system regularly should be able to perceive differences in certain amplifiers - slight or significant, just my opinion.

Like your turntable by the way. My rig is the Musical Fidelity M1 table with SME M2 and Dynavector Karat 17D2.

I don't think you are delusional at all. When I first put the Ringmat on my 401 I really did not expect or, if I am honest, WANT to hear a difference! 50 for a piece of cardboard? But despite my scepticism my ears could hear the improvement and I got a friend to test me blind to make sure I was not delusional!

How about this thought? I sometimes have my hi-fi on during the day playing background music while I do household chores. This means I am not sitting in the optimal position, soundstage and subtleties become irrelevant and the music is purely a backgound to what I am doing. I still enjoy the music but under these conditions, I doubt that I would notice if someone swapped my amp for a lesser or better one. I think this is how many people enjoy music. In other words they are not focussed or wrapped up in the experience.

When I "listen" to music properly I have the lights down low and there are no distractions. If anybody walks in the room or anything distracts me, i.e. the telephone, my concentration is broken and my focus is elsewhere, so I won't be aware or care about fidelity. My room is set up around the system so that I sit in the optimal position to hear it. By comparison I have a friend who has a fairly decent setup - B&W 603 floor standers, a Denon CD player and Denon amp, but the way his speakers are placed in relation to his listening position and other furniture means he has never heard soundstage and would not hear subtle differences. Now if this chap were to write a review of his system he would probably give it five stars, but this is based on HOW he listens and whilst he might comment that the bass is deep and the treble is clean and crisp, which it is, his depth of listening goes no further than that. He might also read the newspaper while "listening" to music! This man does not care about soundstage or how realistic or engaging the presentation is and in some ways I envy him! He has found the holy grail as far as he is concerned and will keep the same system for many years, probably until it breaks and is forced to replace it!

I am not suggesting that reviewers of hi-fi do not set systems up correctly or don't care about fidelity, I am sure they do, but the above example demonstrates how as human beings we have different levels of perception partly based upon our desire to hear the differences. In other words if we don't care we won't hear. However, this does not mean that we imagine differences because we want to, it means we can detect them because our senses and desire to do so enable us to detect them.

I am not sure I have expressed what I was trying to say very clearly, but I hope it makes some sence!

O'Shag
03-08-2008, 07:56 PM
Ajani, your point about retail sales folks is especially pertinent, because I am becoming more aware that some of the reviewers are either unwittingly or with full knowledge acting as shills for certain products. There seems IMO to be a direct correlation between the price of products and the reviewers rating of the product. Its led to a very bent perception of reality in the high-end world. Fine audio is rated according to its price. As horrific as it is to conjecture, could it be that the reviewers know that if they provide a glowing review that they will get a special price or have to pay nothing for the product?

Again, I take the middle ground, and try to read between the lines. I do admire John Atkinson. He takes a scientific approach and is firmly based on the planet earth in comparison to some.

O'Shag
03-08-2008, 08:03 PM
Hi Les. I would definitely agree with much of what you are saying, but there are exceptional components that are so above the norm, the differences caneasily be heard by non-audiophiles (eg my fiancee) from outside the room, to say nothing of inside the room. Take for example the Acapella speakers with their ion tweeter. Or JBL 4350s. Or my KEF Reference 109 Maidstone.
A really good analogue rig with a premium phono stage sounds very different from a Cd player. The sound is so much bigger, more natural, real and effortless. Whenever I use my MFA MC Reference prototype preamp to cut a CD-R copy from a record, the sound is clearly different for a regular CD. Every non-audiophile friend I've had thats heard these Cd-Rs have immediately noticed the difference, and wanted the CD-R. There are several examples. By the way, what phono stage are you using for the Garrard 401?

blackraven
03-08-2008, 10:34 PM
O'shag, great weather we're having here in LA today. I'm in Seal Beach tonight and spent the day in Laguna. Sure wish I lived here all year round.

Brett A
03-09-2008, 05:07 AM
awesome new hifi forum

http://hifitalk.forumotion.com/

The link brought me to a register pane that I could not get past w/o registering it seems.
Is it true that you have to join to even see what the conversations look like or even how the forum is formatted? Or did I miss something.

Les Adams
03-10-2008, 09:12 AM
Hi Les. By the way, what phono stage are you using for the Garrard 401?

All points noted O'Shag. I guess a blind test using our girlfriends and spouses might be a good way to sort this out!

I use a Trichord Dino phono stage.

Ajani
03-30-2008, 05:02 PM
I finally read and saved the original article (since this topic came up again in another thread). There are a few problems that I have with the test, but the major one being the choice of speakers:

Magnepan MG-111a's

Planars would not be my choice for such a test given that many people (including some Planar owners) claim not to be able to hear much difference between amps (of the same power rating) using their speakers... so they tend to chase after more and more powerful amps to avoid clipping and get better bass and volume... Hell, I've seen a few professional reviews refer to Maggies as being great speakers but not ones that give you a clear insight into the quality of the upstream components...

To make the amp test fair, the reviewer would need to also use speakers that are known for being critical of different upstream components....

Also keep in mind that DBT is used by professional magazines such as HiFi Choice regularly and the participants are able to hear differences in the amps/source/speakers being tested.

So even though I believe in DBT... that test was pure BS as far as I'm concerned...

E-Stat
03-31-2008, 04:50 AM
Hell, I've seen a few professional reviews refer to Maggies as being great speakers but not ones that give you a clear insight into the quality of the upstream components...
I'll have to disagree with that perspective. Maggies certainly offer the kind of resolution necessary to hear subtle differences. What they cannot do, however, is demonstrate the more typical interaction between amplifier and speaker since they present such a consistent and easy to drive resistive load. Amps that work fine with them may fare poorly with more challenging speaker loads.

rw

Feanor
03-31-2008, 05:01 AM
.... Maggies certainly offer the kind of resolution necessary to hear subtle differences. What they cannot do, however, is demonstrate the more typical interaction between amplifier and speaker since they present such a consistent and easy to drive resistive load. Amps that work fine with them may fare poorly with more challenging speaker loads.

rw

I agree that Maggie rez is good, even on the quasi-ribbon models. This is why Maggie owners often spend disproportionate amounts on amps and upstream components -- their speakers can reveal the differences.

Certainly I strongly believe I've heard distinct differences between various amps, preamps, and vacuum tubes. On the other hand to me differences amoung digital sources have been very subtle, and difference among decent interconnects insignificant.