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ODS123

Advice for Beginners - consider this test from an audio club

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2 minutes ago, jason str said:

 

Hopefully friends and family will spring for a pine box.

Termite treated of course.

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3 minutes ago, glens said:

The veneer-both-sides treatment doesn't hurt helps the MDF stability, I'm sure.

 

I feel a lot of demands are being made under a diversionary guise.  It'd be better to offer contrary evidence and seek refutation, to be fair.

We already did 15 pages on MDF, but we could follow The Law of ODS123: rinse and repeat. 

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Pretty much any amp, including some truly crappy ones, make the cut as set by Clark.  ODS123 has much higher criteria.  He has a much more refined inability to hear differences between amps.  

 

Here are his criteria based upon his posts, since all he seems able to do is refer to Clark’s article, even though Clark’s criteria for the test are looser than what ODS123 finds acceptable.

 

1.  Any great amplifier must have a balance control.  An accurately calibrated dual volume pot is not enough.  Perhaps two seperate volume controls and a balance control together would be best?  ODS123, any thoughts on that?

 

2.  An amplifier must have a mono switch so that crappy early stereo recordings can be converted to mono.  This is deal breaker and, unfortuneately, only McIntosh provides this critical feature that is so highly sought after by audiophiles the world over.  This is especially true for beginner audiophiles, many of whom are upset that this important feature is not provided by lesser manufacturers than McIntosh.

 

3.  A amplifier must have wattage metres.  This is very important.  Without this critical feature, an audiophile who is wearing earplugs during his testing by Clark might not notice that his expensive high quality MDF speakers are being overdriven to the point of destruction.  When earplugs aren’t being worn, it is still amusing to watch the metres barely move because your excellent, sensitive speakers use less than 1 of the 200 watts available.

 

Only an amplifier of the highest quality will provide these must have features (albeit not audio quality since a crappy quality $100 receiver sounds the same).  

 

Conclusion:  Begginers, go out and buy a $6000 McIntosh receiver.  No other amplifier provides the features required by a budding audiophile.

 

Thanks for the sage advice ODS123.  Beginner audiophiles of the world rejoice!  Finally, some advice you can actually use.  Oh, also, spend most of your money on speakers.  A good budget for beginners is around $6000 for the amp and, well, more than that for your speakers since you are supposed to spend most of your budget on your speakers, right?

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2 minutes ago, Tizman said:

Conclusion:  Begginers, go out and buy a $6000 McIntosh receiver.  No other amplifier provides the features required by a budding audiophile.

 

Thanks for the sage advice ODS123.  Beginner audiophiles of the world rejoice!  Finally, some advice you can actually use.  Oh, also, spend most of your money on speakers.  A good budget for beginners is around $6000 for the amp and, well, more than that for your speakers since you are supposed to spend most of your budget on your speakers, right?

Don't forget the speakers should be 50% to 200% more than the cost of the amplification since that is where the bang for the buck is.  

 

Take that student loans.

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To be fair, the amp was a gift from his wife, for his power hungry Vandersteens. Man, that must have sounded good. Too bad he didn’t let the cables break in more.  

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3 hours ago, ODS123 said:

lack of validity controls.

Good morning everyone and welcome to day 21. On track here to set a record I believe.

 

 Alright please define what you mean. It is true that there are smoke and mirrors and snake oil and outright deception regarding sales and claims for audio gear in many cases.

 

  Never want this shut down. It is the humorous highlight of my day right now. This is like the "Klipsch Onion" site would be if there were one.

51 minutes ago, Deang said:

Man, I never thought of that - MDF coffins. Please don’t let them bury me in a MDF coffin. 

Bean counters are heading that way Dean. When the formaldehyde fumes fill the casket they save on embalming fluid.

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… o O (the DBT occurred in Guadalajara Spain …. so they must of used 14 hotel bellhops to round out the testing subjects) … furthermore, double blind responses...

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46 minutes ago, Dave A said:

Never want this shut down. It is the humorous highlight of my day right now. This is like the "Klipsch Onion" ...

Okay, that was really funny. 

 

 

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“Why do you have so many amplifiers...”

 

 

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1 hour ago, Tizman said:

Conclusion:  Begginers, go out and buy a $6000 McIntosh receiver.  No other amplifier provides the features required by a budding audiophile.

 

Here is a true story about pronouncements from on high regarding audio gear. On my way back from a speaker buy in Witchita recently I caught up on emails. There was a guy wanting to buy my Chorus I's who was kind of irate I had not answered my emails promptly. So I called him that night and explained to him my land line had been on the blink for days (THANKS ATT really feel the love) and I had been pretty busy so did not pay much attention to the cell phone since I don't text or do much in the way of emails there. So once we get past all that and we start talking he tells a sad tale of Audiogon egos who had basically convinced him if you did not spend $80,000 you would never have a real system. He was crushed because he did not have that kind of money.  He went on to say that he had heard abut Klipsch but that Klipsch according to these Audiogon guru's he had been listening to was "to lifelike" and not sonically pure like it should be. He got to thinking about that and asked himself is lifelike not the way it is supposed to be? So he looked up Klipsch on Craigslist and there was my Chorus I with the MAHL tweeter. I laughed when he was done with his story and said come on over and I will prove those fru fru idiots are 100% wrong.

This guy is really antsy to hear these things so I agree to meet with him on Sunday. He shows up and loves the Chorus. But he is also looking at a pile of KPT-456's that I had unloaded but had yet to hook one up. He asks me about them and I tell him they are the second best speaker I have ever had in this shop and WAY better than the Chorus. So he has to hear them. In the middle of being tired and unprepared we slog through getting the crossovers put in and moving things around. He asked me what the best speakers were that I had ever had here and I said you walked right past them. He did not know the MCM 1900 was a speaker. You know not purty and not rectangular or veneer covered so it never dawned on him what they were.

 

  I got the 456's hooked up and we played various genres for a couple of hours. It was funny to watch the intent look on his face and he would scoot the chair back and forth and play that again and do you have any of this to play and you know how that goes. I truly enjoy seeing people hear high fidelity with superb presence for the first time since I am sitting right there with them and loving it too. Still had the soda pop drips running down the side of one of them but he said they were going home with him. I asked him how did these stack up to the fancy things he had heard and he grinned and said they beat the $80,000 B&W's. Not even close.

 

  He leaves and I figure he drove 90 miles an hour to get home and hook them up. I get an email a few hours later and he says how magnificent they sound and thanked me for opening his eyes to Klispch. I get another email a couple of hours later and he is in panic mode. He was listening to the best sound ever in his house and things just died. The amp shut down and is there any way the speaker could damage the amp? I am sitting here trying to figure out what he had done when I get another email. All is well and it was his electrical outlet that had gone bad.

 He could not believe the absolute towering presence and fidelity of those 456's and he took them home for $1,600. I am happy to say I have created another Klipsch fanatic.

 

 The Audiogon guys were full of studies and proper ways of doing things and self assured they were right but for my buyer where the rubber hits the road it was, to him, provable they were full of crap.

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4 hours ago, ODS123 said:

It seems Diz, Dean and Dave are hellbent on getting this thread shut down.  I seem to have a struck a nerve with you three.

 

Guys, I'll reply to your posts so long as their pertinent.  It's not a problem if they're snide, snarky or even nasty, so long as their relevent.

 

Tiz..  From Richard Clark's website.  There's a great deal of Q&A from RC to critics such as yourself.  I suggest you go to the website and read for yourself before further hectoring me on this point.

 

Amplifier Comparison Test Conditions

1. Amplifier gain controls - of both channels - are matched to within +- .05 dB.

2. Speaker wires on both amps are properly wired with respect to polarity. (+ and -)

3. That neither amp has signal phase inversion. If so correction will be made in #2 above.

4. That neither amp is loaded beyond its rated impedance.

5. That all amplifiers with signal processors have those features turned off. This includes bass boost circuits, filters, etc. If frequency tailoring circuits cannot be completely bypassed an equalizer will be inserted in the signal path of one of the amps (only one and the listener can decide which) to compensate for the difference. Compensation will also be made for input and output loading that affects frequency response. Since we are only listening for differences in the sonic signature of circuit topology, the addition of an EQ in only one amps signal path should make the test even easier.

6. That neither amp exhibits excessive noise (including RFI).

7. That each amp can be properly driven by the test setup. Not normally a problem but it is theoretically a problem.

8. That the L and R channels are not reversed in one amp.

9. That neither amp has excessive physical noise or other indicators that can be observed by the listener.

10. That neither amp has DC OFFSET that causes audible pops when its output is switched.

11. That the channel separation of all amps in the test is at least 30 dB from 20Hz to 20kHz.

 

 

In other words, if 2 amps sound different, then he’ll insert an equalizer to make them sound similar.   It appears that the test was rigged to make the amps sound similar enough that the listener can’t pass the ABX challenge.

 

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Have the questions I posed in an earlier post about ABX tests for audio been answered?

  • Can most people listen to 2 different music samples (A & B ) that have subtle sound differences, and then listen to Sample X, and reliably identify whether A or B is the same as X?  What percentage of the general population can remember 3 audio samples that have subtle differences?  What percentage of trained listeners?   What are the limits of human memory of sound?  If someone can’t identify X as A or B, does that mean that A & B are the same, or does this show that people can’t remember 3 sound samples with subtle differences, and the ABX test is therefore limited in its usefulness for audio?  (It seems to me this may be different from a scenario where the differences between A & B are significant, e.g., A is a duck quacking and B is a dog barking.)  Is an ABX audio test effectively a shell game – i.e., it confuses people?
     
  • What is the explanation for the phenomenon that many people who participate in formal tests (e.g., ABX, DBT) often cannot reliably identify subtle differences in sound quality (e.g., between different amps, or different bit rates for recordings), whereas many life-long hobbyists report that they can readily hear differences via their casual listening observations?  Are the hobbyists “audiophools”?   Or does this point to a problem with the test methodology? 

I don’t know the answers to these questions, but clearly there is a disconnect between some ABX audio test results and the experience of many life-long hobbyists.

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Good questions and observations.

 

Maybe there is a way to “beat the test”. Since it is largely based on memory ...

 

1) Use a small sample of something - like a cymbal crash, or a 10kHz test tone.

 

2) Never listen to ‘B’, just ‘A’. Just stay on ‘A’ until completely familiar with it. Then hit ‘X’. 

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I wonder if the personality type (Driver, Expressive, Amiable, Analytical in the old S4 personality test jargon - there are lots and lots of these tests) of the listener determines their propensity to use and trust DBT/ABX testing methodologies?

 

Further, I wonder if certain personality types (perhaps Analytical?) are subconsciously invested in NOT hearing differences?

 

There are many subjects that diametrically opposed personality types (Driver and Amiable, Expressive and Analytical) have difficulty bridging - almost like not speaking the same language. Perhaps audio is one of those subjects?

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1 hour ago, robert_kc said:

In other words, if 2 amps sound different, then he’ll insert an equalizer to make them sound similar.   It appears that the test was rigged to make the amps sound similar enough that the listener can’t pass the ABX challenge.

 

6 hours ago, ODS123 said:

 

5. That all amplifiers with signal processors have those features turned off. This includes bass boost circuits, filters, etc.

 

If frequency tailoring circuits cannot be completely bypassed an equalizer will be inserted in the signal path of one of the amps (only one and the listener can decide which) to compensate for the difference.

 

 

Number 5 seems to be fair, but if you put it in other words, it can appear to be rigged.

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3 minutes ago, Khornukopia said:

 

 

Number 5 seems to be fair, but if you put it in other words, it can appear to be rigged.

 

The rules for the "Richard Clark $10,000 Amplifier Challenge" also state:  "Compensation will also be made for input and output loading that affects frequency response."  What does this mean?    

 

In what percentage of tests where there was a difference in sound between amps did he apply EQ in order to make the 2 amps sound similar?

 

 

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1 minute ago, robert_kc said:

The rules for the "Richard Clark $10,000 Amplifier Challenge" also state:  "Compensation will also be made for input and output loading that affects frequency response."  What does this mean?    

 

In what percentage of tests where there was a difference in sound between amps did he apply EQ in order to make the 2 amps sound similar?

 

I don't know the answers to your questions. I never heard about this challenge before reading about it here on the forum recently. 

 

I would guess he is trying to prevent a challenger from adding an external circuit that could modify the sound of the amp to make it easier to pick out during a DB test.

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My personal opinion about this whole thing is that even if different amps sound the same with one specific speaker, the same amps most probably will sound different with other speakers, so it is the different combinations of equipment that matters, as many of you have already said. 

 

 

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