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ODS123

Advice for Beginners - consider this test from an audio club

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12 hours ago, jimjimbo said:

Certainly any ABX test would have to be at the factory in some controlled space, and I think that's asking a bit much of the Klipsch folks and Roy.  Anything we would try to do out at Rodney's would be a waste of time I think.

 

Since some audiophiles contend that ABX boxes reduce audible differences (an allegation that was rigorously debunked by Arny Kreuger, it's inventor) I suggest forgoing the ABX box and do something much easier.  There's no need to let perfect be the enemy of good here!  I suggest simply hiding two system front-ends behind a curtain (speakers in front of curtain) and have someone behind the curtain switch randomly between the two.  Of course, there's still a need for rigor.  Firstly, volume knob position on each pre (or integrated amp) would have to set so the two systems are precisely volume/voltage matched.  Second, whoever is doing the switching must promise not to intimate which is about to be played by way of clearing throat, cough, whatever.  This totally imperfect non DBT still goes wayyyyy further than the complete lack of rigor most people exercise in their approach to this hobby.

 

Alas, this will never happen.   One, I don't think it's in Klipsch's best interest to play a role in this exercise.  Two, most audiophiles don't really want to know the truth about the audibility of differences b/w modern amplifiers, cd-players, DAC's, cables, etc....  

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… curtain's and replicating machine's ---> tree's and lightning under a night sky ----> which sound of thunder was best ?

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1 hour ago, ODS123 said:

most audiophiles don't really want to know the truth about the audibility of differences b/w modern amplifiers, cd-players, DAC's, cables, etc....  

What a crock.

 

And, the "truth" is what YOU make of it, not someone else.  I think this has been said at least 1000 times on this forum, if not more, but still there are people that maintain that their truth is the only truth.

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Umm, OK, Ok...

 

I think the main point of the OP is that the speakers should come first. 

 

I agree with that statement.

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11 hours ago, ODS123 said:


Well, I suppose the Behringer being better than expected is one way of looking at it.  But what about all the other stuff ahead of the speakers?  Let's remember that system A had a $50 dvd player; System B a several thousand dollar transport/DAC combo.  System A had 15' generic thin interconnects; System B had very short and expensive interconnects.  System A a generic power cord; System B a pricey one. And so on.  ..You would think that even if the $4000 pre/ amp combo didn't sound better than the $199 Behringer, then certainly ALL the other stuff would raise System B well above A.  .  Well, that is if all that other stuff, as believed by many audiophiles,  really does significantly contribute to how a system sounds.  

Your test did not allow for judgement of any component, it allowed people to make a choice of a sound preference. Which again has nothing to do with any component quality or value.  

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1 hour ago, windashine said:

… curtain's and replicating machine's ---> tree's and lightning under a night sky ----> which sound of thunder was best ?

50 people in a room and you will have a split decision based on preference and expectations of what 1 believes thunder should sound like...........................

 

Personally I will take the night sky, or Imagine Dragons Thunder :)  

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1 hour ago, joessportster said:

50 people in a room and you will have a split decision based on preference and expectations of what 1 believes thunder should sound like.

 

Personally, I know what that sounds like and I don't want to hear the real life crack of lightning close by in my living room!  Same with real life gun shots, hand grenades and T-Rex's chomping human bones.  🙉

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1 hour ago, joessportster said:

Your test did not allow for judgement of any component, it allowed people to make a choice of a sound preference. Which again has nothing to do with any component quality or value.  

 

I wouldn't structure the Test that way.  ..I would tell people they would hear two systems in succession:  A, then B.    I would then play X, which is either A or B chosen at random..  They make note of whether X is A or B.  Do this as many times as feasible.  Then calculate if the number of correct choices occurred more than chance.  If not, then audible differences remain unproven for that system.  

 

No preference is expressed.  ..Just whether X is A, or B.  

 

The two systems would have to include amps that are engineered for low distortion across the hearing band and maintain that low distortion while driving  the  speakers (let's Khorns) to the desired volume.  Tube amps, except for maybe McIntosh, probably wouldn't meet this criteria.  ..But pretty much EVERY modern day S/S amp would.

 

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Whenever I hear Arnie Kruger's name bandied about, I know what I'm in for. A load of BS, usually.........

 

Shakey

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5 minutes ago, ODS123 said:

.I would tell people they would hear two systems in succession:  A, then B.  

 

In scientific research it goes much deeper than that.  Do you train your listeners for inter-rater reliability?  Do you use people who all have their hearing tested and match within a specified parameter?  Do you separate the groups by sex?  By age, and what age cutoffs do you use?  Experienced listeners or those with no music experience at all?

 

If you separated people enough to control all the variables including classical music, rock, frequency sweeps,  you would end up with results so narrow you couldn't use them to predict results using any other criteria.  In other words it would lack face validity and results which would not generalize to other speakers.

 

I think most of us have thought this through to a certain extent.  For me the anecdotal results with whoever shows up to the Get-together are good enough for me and fits into the category of "take it for what it's worth."  B)

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2 hours ago, wvu80 said:

 

In scientific research it goes much deeper than that.  Do you train your listeners for inter-rater reliability?  Do you use people who all have their hearing tested and match within a specified parameter?  Do you separate the groups by sex?  By age, and what age cutoffs do you use?  Experienced listeners or those with no music experience at all?

 

No, I wouldn't do any of that.  The people attending the gathering are presumably self-annointed audiophiles who believe they can hear differences b/w properly operating modern day amps.  Anyone who doesn't believe they can hear differences would be asked not to participate.     But that said, I certainly wouldn't have a problem w/ such inclusion/exclusion criteria being applied.  

 

It's interesting how once an actual test is contemplated the view changes from "of course differences b/w amps are audible - anyone not deaf should be able to hear them!" to "Well, let's include only those with considerable experience and hearing deemed excellent by hearing tests."  ..I'm not quoting/ paraphrasing anything you have said wvu80, just the point of view in general on sites like this and others. 

 

2 hours ago, wvu80 said:

If you separated people enough to control all the variables including classical music, rock, frequency sweeps,  you would end up with results so narrow you couldn't use them to predict results using any other criteria.  In other words it would lack face validity and results which would not generalize to other speakers.

 

Still, that would be at least some shred of substantiation for the "Modern amps indeed sound different from each other" part of this hobby.  I agree, it doesn't prove anything more than "audible differences were proven for these participants for these two systems."  Still, whenever people have tried to do just that, they've come up short.

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47 minutes ago, Shakeydeal said:

Whenever I hear Arnie Kruger's name bandied about, I know what I'm in for. A load of BS, usually.........

 

I was involved in an online debate with Arny once, a few years ago, about digital filters. When I presented mathematical proof and he started to lose the argument, he went ad-hominem and called me a "digiphobe". I laughed so hard that I almost fell out of my chair, because I've been designing digital audio equipment since 1991.

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2 minutes ago, Edgar said:

 

I was involved in an online debate with Arny once, a few years ago, about digital filters. When I presented mathematical proof and he started to lose the argument, he went ad-hominem and called me a "digiphobe". I laughed so hard that I almost fell out of my chair, because I've been designing digital audio equipment since 1991.

 

I remember Arnie back from years ago on the old user groups when he and Steve Zipser (Sunshine Audio) would spar. That was some funny sh&*t right there...........

 

Shakey

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1 minute ago, Shakeydeal said:

 

I remember Arnie back from years ago on the old user groups when he and Steve Zipser (Sunshine Audio) would spar. That was some funny sh&*t right there...........

 

 

Now that brings back some memories ...

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12 hours ago, ACV92 said:

Well, considering that I'm a Tier 1 audio guy ...

 

So, my 5.5's, H II's, (2) Dayton 15" UMax flat packs, crappy INuke 3000DSP, Marantz SR-8002, laptop and Yamaha CD player sources are happy to push the less is more BS.  Those of you that have $30K + setups

@ACV92 I wouldn’t consider that tier one, or entry level. My system is also modest by hi end standards. 

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1 hour ago, Edgar said:

 

I was involved in an online debate with Arny once, a few years ago, about digital filters. When I presented mathematical proof and he started to lose the argument, he went ad-hominem and called me a "digiphobe". I laughed so hard that I almost fell out of my chair, because I've been designing digital audio equipment since 1991.

 

So he was clearly losing the debate?  Wow, would love to see the links to that discussion. Please provide :)

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33 minutes ago, ODS123 said:

 

So he was clearly losing the debate?  Wow, would love to see the links to that discussion. Please provide :)

 

I think that it was on comp.dsp. I'll see if I can find it, but it's been a while.

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OP:

 

The test you are proposing might have some interest for some people - i.e., only people who are committed to using only modern solid-state amps that meet some vague criterion of being “linear”.    (Which seems like an unusually restricted test to me.  What about people who prefer tube amps?)

 

Given your apparent desire to test only modern solid-state amps, then off the top of my head I think the test would only be useful if:

 

  • The test should involve only natural music (i.e., no electronically produced or altered music).  There is no way to determine how electronically produced and/or altered music should sound.  (What’s the benchmark for how a synthesizer should sound?   What’s the benchmark for intentionally distorted music?)   In contrast, people who regularly attend live concerts where there is no use of electronics (i.e., no electronic instruments, and no sound reinforcement system) know how “natural instruments” should sound, such as a violin, oboe, trumpet, etc.
  • If you want a really useful test, have a live string quartet play, and alternate with recordings.
  • The test should employ only high-quality hi-res (e.g., Blu-ray, SACD, 24bit/192kHz) recordings.   The recordings must have hi-res provenance - NOT copied CDs.  And the recordings must be “as delivered” – NOT manipulated by PC software.   (If music files are loaded onto a PC, you have no way of knowing whether what you are hearing is part of the recording or an artifact of the software.   You have no way of knowing how much the PC software is “mucking up” a recording.)   Garbage-in/garbage-out.  (What’s the point of a test that’s based on poor quality recordings of music for which there is no benchmark?)
  • The test must employ a high-quality state-of-the art universal player that can play all types of hi-res recordings.
  • The test must employ high-quality state-of-the art full-range speakers.  Presumably Klipsch. 
  • The listening venue must be quiet, and have acoustics that are appropriate for the music.
  • There should be different listening sessions for people who listen to different genres.  For example, one listening session for classical music.  A separate session for jazz.  A separate session for big-band.   Etc.   (People should not be forced to listen to music they dislike.)    The tests should allow listeners to listen at length to recordings that they are familiar with.   The tests should involve a relaxed environment.
  • The test should involve music lovers who regularly attend live concerts where no electronics are used, and who describe themselves as being discerning listeners.  (What would be the point of including someone who says that they don’t care about sound quality, or says that they have a “tin ear”, or damaged hearing?)
  • The amps must be level matched.
  • The test should include a variety of modern solid-state amps.  (What’s the point of testing only amps that have similar design?)
     
  • Class A, Class AB, Class D, etc.
  • Output transformers (e.g., some McIntosh) or not
  • Type of feedback employed
  • Design of power supply
  • Implementation of volume control (i.e., volume control in the digital or analog domain)
  • Employment of distortion canceling circuitry, or not
  • Employment of vibration dampening, or not
  • Employment of anti-clipping circuitry, or not
  • Quality of components
  • Etc.  (Someone who is more knowledgeable about amp design can edit the list)

This list of criteria is off-the-top-of-my head.  There undoubtedly are many other considerations when testing solid-state amps.

 

However, I have little interest in such a test, because I prefer tube amps.  

 

The only blinded test I’d be interested in would involve playing hi-res classical recordings and judging which amp (tube or solid-state) I think reminds me most of live music in the symphony hall.   Isn’t the point of hi-fi for people to enjoy recorded music in their home?  And therefore, shouldn’t the test focus on which reproduced sound the listener prefers – i.e., which inevitable distortions and colorations they prefer?  

 

My recommendation for a listening test:  Include a variety of tube amps and solid-state amps in the test and ask people which amp they think sounds most natural.  Ask listeners which amp they would prefer to listen to.   Alternate recorded music with classical musicians performing live, so that there is a benchmark.

 

Bottom line, what’s the goal of the proposed test?   Without significant resources and work, the test will likely be severely limited in scope, and limited in its relevance to various consumers depending on their disparate likes, needs, circumstances, etc.

 

Because of the complexities involved in formal listening tests, most people rely on their own ears, listening to their recordings, in their home.   

 

What’s the point of having hi-fi as a hobby if you let someone else tell you how your hi-fi system sounds?

 

 

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4 hours ago, Deang said:

 I wouldn’t consider that tier one, or entry level. My system is also modest by hi end standards

 

Mine certainly isn't high end either. I think there are lots of folks on here who have quite modest systems and aren't full of themselves but just enjoy getting together and discuss this hobby.

 

Bruce

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On 12/18/2018 at 10:58 PM, JohnA said:

Come on guys,  lighten up!  He's saying, in effect, you don't have to buy McIntosh electronics in the beginning.  Buy Klipsch instead of Blose and pair them with Yamaha instead of Conrad-Johnson.  Excellent advice.
.


My father HAD a 20W MONO Macintosh tube amp into that 15" Altec Lansing driver too! 

I was SPOILED to good audio as a child! :-)

John Kuthe...

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