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#17018 - 08/08/03 10:06 PM Hear No Evil: another essay
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
I have noticed the pervasive faith that people in this forum have in double-blind testing of audio equipment. This is interesting to me, as I have usually associated audiophiles with faith in the subjective. I mean honestly, I'm surprised to see people who love Axiom speakers yet believe that almost all the other components are barely differentiable. How do the skeptics justify or prove the excellent performance of their speakers? Apparently any personal observations are so inaccurate and variable as to be useless.

Does that mean that there are skeptics here who bought speakers based purely on frequency response curves and other measurements? Or is it because of trust in Axiom's use of double-blind testing to confirm performance traits? But that brings me to my point: double-blind testing is useful at getting gross statistical information about listener reactions, but it has severe limitations. An argument commonly put forth in Stereophile is: "Audio equipment is for listening, not comparing." That is to say that most people simply want to enjoy the music through their equipment: that is the only goal.

See no evil
The implication would then be: if the equipment sounds enjoyable enough to justify the price, then it doesn't matter if the measurements are terrible. What would skeptics do in this situation? Conclude that they were under some delusion, that their ears were going bad? Similarly, if double-blind tests indicate that "no difference" is heard, will that prevent you from making a purchase? Welcome to low-fi, mass produced audio equipment for the masses. Ignorance is bliss, and much less expensive too!

Because blind testing is subjective, I will tend to agree generally with the results. What's dangerous to me is to come to some conclusion when no difference is detected. Or when no study was ever done, as with most audio equipment. That does not prove anything; rather, it indicates a failure to gather decisive data. I believe that most pieces of audio gear are audibly distinguishable, but it depends entirely on the experience of the listener. Once you have listened critically to various equipment, and once you know what to listen for, you can vastly improve your signal to noise ratio.

So what if the experiment subjects don't share my scrutiny of the mid-treble region, what if they prefer a bass hump at 100Hz, what if they don't know the recording, or what if they just didn't listen long enough? I don't pick up on more subtle characteristics until listening to dozens of different CDs on the same equipment. Likewise, what if the measurements taken don't cover the traits I'm interested in? Namely, my musical enjoyability. I don't "enjoy" a response curve, I don't "savor" high impedances, nor do I cry because of a speaker resonance.

Chocolate
Example: in a psychology class on perception, we set up blind taste tests of two different chocolate bars: Hershey Special Dark versus Lindt dark chocolate. Most students could not consistently distinguish between them, but I had a 100% hit rate and only one or two false positives. Experiments are great, but there's an infinity of variables to control for, and you're limited to a) what you can anticipate, b) what's practical, and c) the subjects' abilities. Theory will always fall short of reality because it is a synthetic reconstruction. Trying to measure all aspects of audio equipment's performance is like trying to make a perfect circle on the beach using pebbles.

-Cooper

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#17019 - 08/08/03 10:45 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
fhw Offline
devotee

Registered: 11/22/01
Posts: 345
Loc: London, ON
Cooper,

Some interesting points you bring up. However, these sorts of posts are invitation for everybody's $0.02, so...

A lot of the people posting on this board are scientists of one form or another, such as engineers and doctors. As such, they (we...I'm one myself) have a predisposition to favor hard science over subjective descriptions we might consider "flights of fancy". It's the deeply entrenched skepticism of scientific/philosophical inquiry, and if you've thought that way for 30 years, it's pretty darn hard to change your approach to things. And heck...if speaker design can be described in measurable numbers a-la the NRC curves, a scientist is drawn like a horse to water.

So what happens when reviewers name a power cable product of the year, despite no statistically measurable difference? The scientist dismisses it...at best, it's expectation bias, at worst it's sheer nonsese.

Much as I love watching 2x6spds raise the wrath of Semi and Chesseroo by claiming megabuck speaker wire makes a difference, the truth is there's nothing wrong with believing in the subjective. It's just that with us fuddy-duddy scientists, it'll never happen until that p-value hits less than 0.05

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#17020 - 08/08/03 11:41 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
PlainHaven Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 07/15/03
Posts: 25
Loc: Ohio
Hi Cooper!

I can't speak on the technical side of this as I'm still pretty much a newbie when it comes to audio equipment--and I don't know the technical/engineering side like many others here do. But like FHW, I am also a scientist by training, and I have no problems with wanting to see some support for claims. I also feel strongly that a critical philosphical element of any kind of objective, scientific experimentation is disciplined attention to the null hypothesis...the "starting point" that says there is no difference (whether it be the perceived efficacy of a pharmaceutical vs. an existing one or a placebo, or the transmission qualities of different kind of speaker wire). When you say "What's dangerous to me is to come to some conclusion when no difference is detected", I think just the opposite...until a difference is detected it's dangerous to think one exists.

I know we're not talking about earth-shattering issues here--it's auditory equipment not cancer drugs, and life is too short for us not to be enjoying it, including joy in listening to music. But at the same time if someone makes a claim (whether they're a manufacturer promoting their product or otherwise) I'm always interested to see if their claims hold up. As an example, I'd love to see if folks could distinguish between similar-spec'd receivers given the same accoustic setup...I think it'd be really interesting and answer some questions (maybe it's been done already). In any case, this kind of information helps me make better (and more informed) purchase decisions as a consumer, and IMO also ultimately promotes better engineering vs. a heavy reliance on marketing (you know who's the KING of THAT).

Sorry if I missed your point Cooper (and I'm stepping off my improvised soapbox). I agree with you that ultimately it's up to each person to make their own decisions; I'll just always welcome the ol' p-values when doing so.

Take care all.

Larry



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#17021 - 08/09/03 12:43 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Cblake

I think your meditation is profound. I particularly like your analogy of drawing a perfect circle with pebbles with the relationship between theory and reality.

I'm not a scientist but have faith in reason, if that doesn't strike those without a poetic organ as too funny.

I have no idea what an individual electron, if there is such a thing, or a gaggle of them, 'experience' as they pass through wires of different properties. If a 'scientist' can say, with confidence, that every factor bearing on such a flow can me objectified, identified, and measured, then what's left but measurement of all relevant factors? But, our day to day perception is on a different level of magnitude than the phenomenon under inspection - the flow of electrons through power Cord A and B, or the modulated output from an amplifier through speaker wires A and B.

Seems to me that a scientist can say, that as to those factors which we can identify and measure, we find there are or are not significant differences between the flow in wire A or B.

However, it may be, that if a scientist could 'ride' an electon, his/her point of view would be substantially different. In particular, the resolution of detail would open a potential universe of variables which are not perceivable from our point of view, or maybe just not obvious, or discovered yet.

What if a scientist could only measure the voltage of the signal entering the wire and the voltage of the signal leaving the wire? Armed with his single variable, but confident that it is sufficient to discern any difference in performance of various test wires, such a scientist would have all the data he would need for his tests and conclusions.

Such a flatlander could announce with certainty, that there is no difference between wire A and wire B in terms of the voltage entering and leaving the subject wires.

More than resistance and impedence, etc., what other variables do we really need to quantify in order to characterize the performance of wire? Ask a quantum audio scientist from the late 22nd century, there may be more variables under heaven than Horatio's fine science can discern ...

Which leaves the subjective observer. Who could put confidence in such a wet and messy piece of equipment? Why would anyone think that such a lump of protoplasm could possibly discern differences in the effect of various speaker wires on the flow of electrons, 'things' we understand so well, when our sophisticated multimeters indicate no discernable difference in what these devices can measure?

I don't use megabuck cables. I use Bob Crump design power cords and like the modestly priced but weirdly thin Mapleshade Double Golden Helix Plus speaker wires for my tube amp driven stereo system. Can I hear a difference between the lamp cord I used before? I think so. Can you?

I can hear a difference between different amps and processors. Can you?

I can hear differences between different speakers. Can you?


Edited by 2x6spds (08/09/03 12:46 AM)
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17022 - 08/09/03 02:03 AM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
I think all the Scientists should be less Martha Stewart and be more BAM! And take it up a notch!!!
Scientists have not eaten that "pork fat" since its statistacally bad for them.
They don't really know how GREAT it tastes.
Oh wait...oh wait...did I hear a scientist just say "the pork fat releases the endorphines and that is why people feel good and it is not actually good but ....

figures they would say that....

_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17023 - 08/09/03 02:43 AM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
Nod and smile, nod and smile...

*backs away slowly*
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#17024 - 08/09/03 02:48 AM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Good points all around, and I appreciate the humor. A laugh goes a long way, no? The number of perspectives that we have, just between different human beings, is immense, not to mention going outside the human and into the theoretical.

I would still like to respond to the null hypothesis idea. I am familiar with this: in statistics, you begin with a null hypothesis that there is no difference between two choices. Only once you have exceeded your margin of error, usually two standard deviations or ~95% certainty, can you claim that there is a statistically significant difference.

However, I stand by my original claim: when the difference is not statistically significant, then the experiment is a failure. You go into an experiment with the purpose of discovering the magnitude and direction of the suspected difference between two variables. If you are "unable to reject the null hypothesis," it means just that. You can never prove a null hypothesis, only disprove. That's why it's called "null:" it has no value.

The funny thing is that, in general, I am an extremely analytical and scientific person. I probably analyze and contemplate the Stereophile graphs more than most readers, and I personally would like my amps and sound sources to have high power and low distortion.

Let me put it this way: I think it's important for us to increase the number of pebbles for our circle, so that we can better understand and better replicate high fidelity. I just think it's more practical and efficient to allow ourselves to be guided by both personal observation and scientific testing. After all, the most profound scientific results come either unexpectedly or from creative hypotheses. Personal observation can give birth to new alternative hypotheses. New hypotheses can lead to new and better forms of testing and measurement.

The bottom line to the listener is to listen and enjoy. Let the listener within inspire the scientist within.

-Cooper

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#17025 - 08/09/03 03:10 AM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
More pebbles, more tolerance, more accurate reproduction of music.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17026 - 08/09/03 12:55 PM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
PlainHaven Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 07/15/03
Posts: 25
Loc: Ohio
LOL...loved the "nod and smile, back away slowly"...! Sage advice!!

I'm not trying to put down the value of subjective satisfaction...you oughta have what you love, and if you think it works that's great. But at the same time, personally, I LIKE knowing if $300 speaker cables make a difference (or not) over $30 ones. If blind designs show people can't tell the difference between the two, many will still buy the more expensive ones to get the "better" cables and feel better about their system...and that's great. Whatever trips your trigger; for me, that info is helpful because it can save me some money.

At the risk of seeming to throw down a gauntlet (and I'm NOT) I just have to say I fundamentally disagree with the idea that:

"when the difference is not statistically significant, then the experiment is a failure. You go into an experiment with the purpose of discovering the magnitude and direction of the suspected difference between two variables."

IMO, truly objective researchers may HOPE for a difference, but have to ASSUME going in that there isn't one. Analogous to innocent until proven guilty. And in fact many times not finding statistically significant findings IS significant and meaningful...although perhaps not an end result desired by pharmaceutical companies, audio accessories manufacturers and the like.

To sum it up, although it'd stop a lot of back and forth (fun) discussion about speaker "break in", speaker wire, receiver "brightness", etc., all I'm saying is that I'd like to see any studies where people have done blind comparisons (e.g., all factors controlled except for brand of receiver) to see if there IS an auditory difference. If not, well, the placebo effect is real, but I don't necessarily want to pay for it.

BTW, got my Axioms yesterday and WOW...very nice...the black oak is MUCH nicer than I anticipated. Can't wait to set them up...going to do it this weekend.

Take care all.





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#17027 - 08/09/03 03:11 PM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
OK, I'm going to regret this later, but I've just got to weigh in on the "null result" thing. If more people/scientists actually accepted the "null result" as a valid result (or the failed hypothesis, etc), I think that science would be far more advanced than it is today. Far too many researchers (and I'm not saying all, or most, but some is too many) fudge the data to get results, and it seems (I'm not a scientist, so feel free to smack me down) that there is a culture of not publishing "failed" experiements. In reading quasi-scientific publications (Smithsonian, National Geographic, Natural History), it is often refreshing to see something like "Our hypothesis was proved wrong," in the text.

Just my two bits.
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#17028 - 08/09/03 04:23 PM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
What? You guys don't like pork fat?
_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17029 - 08/09/03 07:39 PM Re: Hear No Evil: 2.58 litres milk. 1.53 teaspo
KC_Mike Offline
local

Registered: 01/11/03
Posts: 209
Loc: KS
Hmmm..I am getting hungry.

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#17030 - 08/10/03 03:46 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
This article rocks. This is why I'm a skeptic. In some areas...

http://www.users.qwest.net/~jcosta3/article_dragon.htm


_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#17031 - 08/10/03 03:50 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Ah 2x6, your dream of 'riding an electron' treads into the domain of the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle. Electrons (and other subatomic particles) are such flightly beasts that you can either get an accurate measurement of their motion or their position, but not both. Quantum mechanics is a bitch.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#17032 - 08/10/03 03:58 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
Quantum. Can't live with 'em, wouldn't exist without 'em.
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#17033 - 08/10/03 04:04 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Exactly, my friend pmbuko! That's why authoritative pronouncements that wire cannot make a difference in audio sound output is perhaps a bit immodest.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17034 - 08/10/03 04:05 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Kcarlile, you post some really funny stuff!!
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17035 - 08/10/03 04:18 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
That's 'cause I often post when I'm not thinking straight!
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#17036 - 08/10/03 11:05 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
The comments that scientists are somehow 'skeptics' is absurd. The term skeptic applies to both sides equally with each side being skeptical of the other's idea or beliefs.

Ken, that essay by Sagan is outstanding and it defines the underlying problem in discussing the audio issues in a very succinct way.
There are two passages that he writes which exemplify my feelings and approach to these unproven ideas:

"Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so".
I think his statement says it all quite well.

As for the second statement, here is exactly why people begin the arguments about audio:
"Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion."
The key phrase here is "tentatively to reject". Those whose believe a concept (like speaker break-in for example), have taken a leap of faith and not tentatively rejected the hypothesis while others have taken the more systematic approach. The arguments arise when the masses of faith meets the masses of the unproved.

If one is to inform others properly about these controversial audio ideas, then at least promote them NOT as fact, but ONLY as a personal belief and have the decency to also inform them of the other possibilities that exist. As true evidence comes about, then present that information so it can be reviewed by all. Note for the masses of the faith, newspaper articles, statements from the general public and magazine clippings do not cut the mustard as credible sources for the masses of the unproved.

I thought fhw and PlainHaven have a superb perspective on the scientific method and its underlying principles. The posts were excellent reading.

_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#17037 - 08/10/03 01:13 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Chess says:

"If one is to inform others properly about these controversial audio ideas, then at least promote them NOT as fact, but ONLY as a personal belief and have the decency to also inform them of the other possibilities that exist."

======================================

Back at ya, Chess!
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17038 - 08/10/03 01:14 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
And ya know where I got that link? From a review of a toy that blows smoke rings. Isn't the web fun?
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#17039 - 08/10/03 02:52 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
2x6spds,

There is already evidence pointing towards phenomena such as the psychoacoustic perceptions during human listening tests ("brain break-in"). Since some of that has been published, it is accepted as fact. Some other evidence leans towards disproving some other issues (such as the ABX double blind tests and cable theories) but has not been published yet to my knowledge (although i have also not finished reading the journal publications by Floyd Toole et al., that may contain more of this information).

I have already conceded that some things have not yet been proved nor disproved such as the SUBTLE differences which might exist between amps/receivers/cdp but i do have my own beliefs.

However, the day that some hardcore 'faith believers' actually concede that science can measure many things beyond what our meagre bodies' senses can perceive and that these audio issues could very well be caused soley on the bias in our minds having no real electrically measured differences, then i would probably leave the forums entirely knowing that people new to the home audio stuff will receive an objective and informed perspective.

Perhaps you would be willing to take the first step at bridging the gap and post a message on the forums in support of the side of science disproving advertised cable theory or amplifier differences.
How about it?

_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#17040 - 08/10/03 03:38 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Chess Posits:

Evidence exists
Some has been published
Ergo, it is accepted as fact.

Hmmmmm.

Do I understand you correctly, that folks who disagree with you (no audible differences between different amps, no such thing as break in, no audible difference between different cables - speaker, interconnect, power) are "faith believers?"

OK, nodding and smiling, nodding and smiling ...

I'm not a scientist. Basically the extent of my knowledge about electricity is never, ever take electrical appliances into the bathtub while bathing.

However, I have some experience with amps, I own a bunch, so when you suggest, "Perhaps you would be willing to take the first step at bridging the gap and post a message on the forums in support of the side of science disproving advertised cable theory or amplifier differences.
How about it?" I'll take a whack at it.

For me, because I am not electrically savvy (except don't lick fingers before stuffing them into outlets) all these amps are "black boxes" whose internal workings are obviously the work of very little people who live in each component.

All I can base my opinions on is my personal experience with each of these amps. I can hear substantial differences between these amps. I'd be astonished if you couldn't.

My amps:

Yamaha M80 (2 channel)
Anthem PVA-5 (5 channel)
(3) Onkyo M282s (2 channels each)
Kenwood KA9100 (2 channel)
Antique Sound Labs MG S1 15DT (2 channel)

Now, it may be that each amp designer hoped to achieve transparency where the amp essentially disappears between the source and the output. I can hear differences. Clearly, I do not own an ultimate amp which achieves its objective of disappearing.

I can also hear differences between speakers and sources (different CD players.)

I use Q-tips, carefully. Follow directions and report back.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17041 - 08/10/03 04:19 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
People mock what they do not understand.
Thanks for illustrating that point so clearly.


_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#17042 - 08/10/03 04:41 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Not to put too fine a point on this matter, but you profess to have no understanding as to why there may be an audible difference between amplifiers and therefore mock those who report audible differences between amplifiers.

Same for cabling, perhaps CD players as well if I recall your previous posts correctly.

All I'm suggesting is you might want to adopt a more modest and less strident certainty in your expression of your own opinions.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17043 - 08/10/03 09:03 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
In reply to:

Your inability to invalidate my hypothesis is not at all the same thing as proving it true. Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder. What I'm asking you to do comes down to believing, in the absence of evidence, on my say-so




Chess, this would be an excellent point if we were debating the existence of God. That is a claim that will never be testable because it is inherently unscientific. And I do appreciate your acknowledgement that there may be subtle differences between amplifiers. For the record, I will state that anything that is observable will also be measurable, and of course there are plenty of measurable differences not detectable by naked human perception.

However, I think you are led astray from scientific principles when you say:
In reply to:

the day that some hardcore 'faith believers' actually concede that science can measure many things beyond what our meagre bodies' senses can perceive and that these audio issues could very well be caused soley on the bias in our minds having no real electrically measured differences, then i would probably leave the forums entirely



You heard wrong
Are you saying that the entire purpose for your presence on this forum is to contradict or nullify people's observations? I am sure this is not really how you feel, but I'll run with it anyway. The scientific stance would be to prove the foundation of the phenomenon: either psychological or actual. Science is here to explain observation, sometimes when it runs counter to existing theories. When Galileo pointed his telescope to the sky and estimated that the solar system wasn't in fact revolving around Earth, he helped give birth to a new era of theory.

So here's the observational phenomenon that most troubles you: break-in. Most audiophiles observe break-in first hand, though some are not aware of it. At the very least, you have conceded that there is a common perception of break-in. Every scientist has his hypothesis about an observation, and yours seems to be that break-in of any audio component is actually a perceptual illusion, and that there is no measurable change in the equipment. One reason you gave is that when people hear one audio system for a long period of time (say 200 hours or more), and subsequently swap out one component for a new one, the sonic changes are initially very obvious; however, after extended listening they perceive a shift toward the sound of the old component. They allow themselves to believe there's a true shift in performance because they have heard of the myth of "break-in." That's a tenable hypothesis, but in order to prove it, you must run an experiment.

Hearing evil placebo
Split 100 self-proclaimed "audiophiles" into two groups. First they all listen to one sound system for 200 hours (this is a long experiment). You tell 50 of them they are going to listen to a brand new piece of audio gear, and you tell the other 50 that the new component has 500 hours of use. You swap in a component that is easily distinguishable from the previous one. You tell them to listen to the modified system and describe any audible changes that take place over 50 hours. In fact, all testing audio equipment has 500+ hours of use. Your null hypothesis: audiophiles' judgment is not swayed when they are told that an audio component is brand new. Alternate hypothesis: those told it's a new component will report more changes than those told it's used. Additionally, these changes will be toward the sonic characteristics of the original component.

If that experiment succeeds, then I will kowtow to you. However, it would only prove that some people can be swayed by the idea of break-in, and does not disprove component break-in, because you haven't tested for it. Here's my theory: in a blind test, audiophiles can tell the difference between a new pair of Axiom M22's and a pair with 100 hours of use. Specifically, they will hear the treble get more "relaxed" and less "harsh", while the bass will become deeper and louder. Okay, we'll split them into two groups again. Control for previously-listened-to speakers. They are both told that a new pair of speakers is being subbed in, and to note any differences. Then 50 audiophiles get to hear a genuinely new pair of M22s, while the other 50 are actually given a pair with 500+ hours of use.

Null hypothesis: audiophiles can't hear the difference between a new pair of M22s and a pair with 500 hours of use. Alternate hypothesis: M22s break in much like many other speakers are observed to break in: relaxing treble, extended bass.

Notice how much narrower my theory is, and thus easier to prove. But you can never disprove that M22's have audible break-in. Even if your experiment succeeds, it is still possible that M22's break in.

-Cooper

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#17044 - 08/10/03 10:29 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
I had a high end Sherwood receiver (if that's not a contradiction of terms). Sounded like crap the day I got it. Sounded like crap the day I got rid of it. Funny, that one didn't get any better after I ran it for quite a while. I guess I just didn't psychoacoustically adjust to that particular unit.

I had a Cambridge D500SE. Sounded like crap out of the box. Let it run by itself for about 10 days. Still sounded like crap.

Got an Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 CD Player. Sounded a bit thin out of the box. Let it run just like the Cambridge, by itself for about a week. Listened to it and smiled bigly. That one got much better!!!

My M3Tis, M22s and M50s all improved after breaking in.

Some components improve after breaking in. Some don't. Go figure.


_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17045 - 08/10/03 11:18 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
Cooper,
I've sent you a PM on this subject.
This thread is making some forum readers uncomfortable so i'm taking my part of it to private messages instead.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#17046 - 08/10/03 11:31 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
I'd gladly invite anyone to my place for a listening session to disprove to me that there is no sonic changes even just between my Rotel RSX 1065 and my Bryston 4B. If they can not hear any diffrence I would gladly accept that my ears and brain is lying to me and that I am going crazy.
As with the findings 2X6spds has found (non scientific or non electrical) I would agree with him. I too have heard sonic differences with different amps.
Also I read it everywhere in articles, magazines and books for the last 2 decades. To me that good enough as fact.
If I never took advice from articles and forum posts and thought it was all crap then all that reviews from the "experts" are all bogus crap too.
I use my ears and it is a good enough tool to tell me if the sound is better TO ME or not. If your telling me that a Krell or Mark Levinson is as good as your Denon, Pioneer, Yammys I'd like to know what crack your on. If those same livingrooms had the chance to audition some of those high end audio pieces then I would take your word for it. If not all you are regurgitating is someone elses diction. I have had the liberty to demo some nice equipement in MY livingroom. And we are not talking between same monetary range amps, like budget separate amps vs new surround recievers with ample wattage. I'm talking about audio gear such as a Krell KAV 300 Integrated vs a Denon amp/receiver.
Put away your p*nis analysers, get off your god complex and open your ears.

Amps that made my livingroom:

Bryston 4B
Bryston 3B
Bryston 2B
Krell KAV 300 Integrated
Rotel RSX1065
Rotel RSX1055
Onkyo Integra DTR 5.1
NAD 752
NAD early model integrated
HK AVR225
HK AVR10
Denon early model AC3 ready receiver
Rotel early model integrated stereo

ps: Just to add more lighter fluid to the fire. I still love and stand by my KIBERS! All those pretty colors. Just as good as pork fat.
_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17047 - 08/10/03 11:32 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Gee, Chess, I think if anyone doesn't take your opinion as gospel, you're the one who gets pretty uncomfortable.

Why don't you keep your cards face up on the table like the rest of us?
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17048 - 08/10/03 11:36 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
chesseroo Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/13/02
Posts: 4733
Loc: western canada
I've asked you kindly (and privately) before to keep your personal attacks ouf of the forums and i'm asking you again now publicly.
Please have some respect for the other readers.
_________________________
"Those who preach the myths of audio are ignorant of truth."

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#17049 - 08/11/03 12:23 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
I for one am finding this interesting reading and would prefer to see it stay public. If someone is uncomfortable with the thread then they can just skip over the thread when reading and move on to the next. I'm glad there are some people starting to show up on here that are willing to argue the other side of things. Previously, if only reading this board a new user would think that cables, amps, and just about anything else other then the speakers and the room that they are in makes no difference. Without doing extensive testing for myself, I'm not sure which side I fall on, which makes the reading that much more interesting to me.


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#17050 - 08/11/03 01:11 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Chess, please don't misconstrue my disagreement with your opinions as a personal attack on you.

If there is a dogma, on this board, barring disagreement on these matters, let us know. Until such a pronouncement is made I'll figure we're all entitled to our opinions and are free to express them in an adult and respectful manner - out in the open, on a public board, rather than through PMs.

I can hear the difference between various speaker types. I really like Axioms. I can hear differences between amps. My favorite modestly priced tube amp is the ASL MG SI 15DT. My favorite mid priced multichannel is the Anthem PVA 5/7.

I can hear differences between CD Players. My current favorite is the Ah! Njoe Tjoeb 4000 with the upsampler and Siemens ECC288 tubes.

Now, maybe you can't hear these differences. Maybe, I'm kidding myself. Nevertheless, I hold my opinions in good faith and only feel the need to express them because of what I perceive as a rather hostile, dogmatic, inflexible and intolerant attachment to a contrary set of opinions by some posters on this site.

So, I urge open and polite discourse, modesty as to the correctness of our respective positions, and tolerance of contrary opinions.

I own enough Axiom speakers to feel part of the family. If there are 'belief requirements' which must be adhered to in order be welcomed on this site, then I would probably, smile and nod, smile and nod, and slowly back out.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17051 - 08/11/03 06:59 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
FordPrefect Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/05/02
Posts: 1333
Loc: Ancaster, Ontario
I'd also rather see this stay in the open, all of these points help keep my brain active . Believe me; compared to an F1 forum I belong to this place is very, very laidback.
_________________________
getting to 2,000 posts; one year at a time vp160/qs8/qs4/ep350/m60/m2200s

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#17052 - 08/11/03 07:51 AM Ah! Tubed CDPs
OGS20 Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/23/02
Posts: 65
Loc: TO
This is mainly for 2x6spds, but comments are welcome.

1. How would you rate this CDP with others in the sub-1000 dollar range players?
2. Have you tried (most of) the other mods offer (I presume you bought it from Upscale)?
3. How reliable is the transport mechanism so far (it's based on an old Marantz/Philips, right)?

Sorry for the silly questions but the Ah! and various other tubed CDPs have piqued my interest for a while.

Happy listenin'

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#17053 - 08/11/03 12:54 PM Re: Ah! Tubed CDPs
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Hello OGS20

I got my Ah! from Kevin at Upscale, a very classy bunch of folks. It is based on the Marantz chassis. Originally, I got it with the Big Foot option, Direkt Power Kord, Ediswan (1964 vintage) tube upgrade, and the Burr Brown OPA 627s. Loved it!

Never had a chance to compare it to the Heart 6000 though I've heard good things about that unit. I did compare it to a Cambridge D500SE but there was no comparison. The Ah! is just in a different league as to audio reproduction.

I listened to an Adcom CDP which was very good, but don't recall the model number - it may have been a bit over the $1000 level. Didn't have a chance to do enough listening to say whether I preferred one over the other.

I compared it to the Toshiba SD9200 and Philips SACD 1000, and prefer the Ah!, although I did buy one of each of these HiRez units for my solid state HT systems and for their SACD/DVD-A capabilities.

I ended up getting the upsampler and a pair of Siemens ECC288 tubes for the Ah! These take quite a while to break-in.

Interesting you should ask about the transport. The transport failed in my Toshiba, taken care of under warranty. I'm holding my breath as to the Philips because many other folks who grabbed one of these units have suffered transport failures. So far the Ah! is holding up just fine.

If you find yourself in Southern California you're more than welcome to come by for a listen.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17054 - 08/11/03 01:31 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
This has to be one of the most entertaining and informative threads I've come across on any board in a long time. It has awakened parts of my brain that have not seen activity probably since college.

Pushing the boundaries of personal belief, whetever they are based on, is always a healthy endeavor. Thanks to everyone who has participated in the spirit of open debate thus far.

And chess, please don't leave. We value your opinion here, too. I believe the comments were directed on your method of delivery, not on the content of your comments themselves. Criticism does not equate to a personal attack. It comes with the territory of open debate.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#17055 - 08/11/03 01:43 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
Yeah, chess, I haven't even read through this thread yet, but go ahead and say "Don't do it in the PM, please!" I believe people in this forum are all civil and mature enough to describe our disagreements without making a personal attack. In the end we may have to agree to disagree (again); but reading through everyone's opinions is still so much fun.

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#17056 - 08/11/03 03:31 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
MIKEY Offline
devotee

Registered: 07/23/02
Posts: 331
Loc: ORANGE COUNTY CALIF
Cooper, would one place said beach pebbles on dry sand, or the wetter sand located closer to the water ? :>
I'm telling ya, I just love Mondays.. All this 'catchin up' to do on the forum reads..
Between this and the PAINFULLY BRIGHT thread over in Stereo, I'm not getting much work done this morning !
As Hercule Poirot would say, "It is good to work the little grey cells, no ?" "Oui.."
_________________________
LFE ! The rest is just details..

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#17057 - 08/11/03 03:44 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
BigWill Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 1951
Loc: Corona, Calif. USA!!!
Speaking of opinions, here's mine:

Self-described audiophiles spend oodles of cash on expensive equipment in order to feel that they are different from everybody else, have more refined tastes than everybody else, and belong to an elite cadre of individuals with heightened senses. If you disagree with any of the myths to which they subscribe, you are opening yourself up to ridicule as one who has inferior senses and/or impaired reasoning. To disagree with an audiophile reaffirms to him that he is better than you - you can't even hear the difference between two stereo cables!

IMO this thread seems like it doesn't belong on the Axiom forum. Axiom owners are generally value conscious people, either unwilling or unable to shell out $20,000+ to get to your mid-fi level. Y'all would fare better hawking that snake oil elsewhere.

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#17058 - 08/11/03 04:13 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
BigWill

Axiom fans may well love their speakers and take joy in how inexpensive they are, but I think they're also very pleased with the quality of music they put out.

It's also great that Axiom speakers sound as good or better than some very, very expensive competitors.

I think that's about as far as I'd be comfortable generalizing about what Axiom owners believe or don't believe.

Just because Axiom owners may agree that Axiom speakers are inexpensive and wonderful does not mean that these owners agree that:

1. All amps sound the same;

2. There is no discernable difference in the quality of audio put out by different CD players;

3. There is no discernable difference in sound quality between different interconnects, power cords or speaker wire.

I suppose what you're saying is that to disagree with your position, or Chess's, makes someone a "self-described audiophile" who needs to feel "different [better] than everybody else" who "belong to an elite cadre of individuals with heightened sense."

Gee, I don't feel like that.

Seems to me that you have it backwards Big Will. On the one side, folks who are calling for more tolerance and an open mind, on the other side, you who accuse those making that argument for tolerance as ridiculing folks who disagree or accusing them of having inferior senses and/or reasoning ability.

On the one hand, those who call for a more reasoned discussion and more tolerance to dissenting opinions. On the other hand, you, who accuse these folks of hawking snake oil and not belonging on the Axiom forum.

I'd guess that Chess has had the PM machine humming and asked you to jump in here and "defend" him. If I'm wrong, sorry. But if I'm correct, why don't you post the PMs you received from Chess asking you to join in this discussion so we can get this whole thing out in the open?

What is clear is that folks who are of the opinion that all CD players are the same as to audio quality, that all amps are the same as to audio quality and that all cabling is the same as to audio quality, seem to also be saying, "you better believe that also, and if you don't agree with us, you don't belong on this board."

Now, I doubt that is the position of the folks at Axiom, but if Axiom agrees with you says that the expression of opinions that amps, CDPs and/or cabling can make a difference in sound quality, don't belong on this site, and folks who make that argument are not welcome, I'll leave.

But as to you, I figure I'm as entitled to hold and express my opinion as you are.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17059 - 08/11/03 04:27 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
rcvecc Offline
aficionado

Registered: 04/17/03
Posts: 608
Loc: east haven ct
whats up big will,your post seems to suggest that people who spend a few bucks on decent electronics are snobbish .not the case here,i noticed on some posts that you can tell good beer or cogniac(spell check) from bad ones,i am not a big drinker,and i am not able to tell good quality liquer from bad because im not really sure what qualities im looking for,so my point is,maybe the people that think that more expensive,or higher end audio gear is a waste- or there is no differance,really dont know what qualities to look for when it comes to sound...ron

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#17060 - 08/11/03 04:41 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
JohnK Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/11/02
Posts: 10307
Counsellor, tone down the paranoia. The right to express an opinion doesn't include a right to be taken seriously. We try to treat these things with a sense of humor when possible, but facts are facts. When someone claims that an item which is essentially identical when measured is somehow nevertheless better, the burden is on him to prove it. These beliefs have been put to the test of blind comparisons and when the nameplates and price tags have disappeared the differences in sound have likewise disappeared. Although, as always, it can be said that these matters are open to further investigation under controlled conditions, the common-sense, cost-effective position has to be that these benefits don't exist. We shouldn't support the gross exaggerations and outright scams that are unfortunately so prevalent in the AV business.
_________________________
-----------------------------------

Enjoy the music, not the equipment.



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#17061 - 08/11/03 05:22 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
Hello John;

In reply to:


These beliefs have been put to the test of blind comparisons and when the nameplates and price tags have disappeared the differences in sound have likewise disappeared




I heard countless times in this forum from the "experts" that there is evidence that disproves differences in amps, speaker wire and CD players. Where? All I have just seen are re-posting of older posting of these "experts"

I see more information in magazines, articles and forums about differences in such products. Go pick up a magazine and in every edition you will find a review of a product and they will go to say its remarkable or non remarkable qualities. Are you saying all the audio magazines reviews today are all snake oil?

If thats not good enough, have you or the experts personally tried the same blind test yourself. And I don't mean amps in the same range. A Denon will sound like a Yammy will sound like a Rotel. In this price range it is hard too tell. I mean has any of you tried in the same room a Mark Levinson, a Krell, a Pass Labs vs your Pioneer receiver , your Denon receiver using the same speakers. I have had a chance to do demo them. I also have had a chance to compare my Toshiba CD player vs a Rega Planet 2000 CD player and both have different sounds on the same speakers.

What I don't get is why some individuals can have so strong convictions based on other peoples studies or heresay. Unless they actually have tried those tests themselves, should it be better to keep your comment until you actually have tried it themselves. I think those individuals are very closed minded. And being in the "right" profession doesnt mean you know all there is on the audio subject.

_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17062 - 08/11/03 07:25 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
**The following post is my own and was neither endorsed nor encouraged by any other forum member.**

I second JohnK's assertion of your paranoia. I do not believe there is an organized assault on your position, so to speak. I would, however, like to draw attention to the fact that you are making a slow but sure departure from the basis of civility, which any form of constructive and open debate depends on.

I believe my posting history shows that I try to keep things light-hearted around here. I enjoy being the proverbial fence-sitter and not becoming deeply entrenched with either camp during debates. But in light of your recent post, I feel that I need to hold up a mirror for you.

You have said on more than one occasion that you are not attacking chess personally. The post to which I am replying is where you have crossed the line. Not only have you blatantly accused chesseroo of conspiring against you:
In reply to:

I'd guess that Chess has had the PM machine humming and asked you to jump in here and "defend" him.



but you have also asked that any PMs from him be made public:
In reply to:

why don't you post the PMs you received from Chess asking you to join in this discussion so we can get this whole thing out in the open?



which would immediately alienate chess while also ostensibly seeking to support your conspiracy theory.

Sending PMs comes with a tacit agreement that what is passed between parties will remain private. This is one of the main reasons the PM feature exists. Asking people to breach that trust is not only low, but reprehensible.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#17063 - 08/11/03 08:52 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
I have to throw my $0.02 on Carl Sagan's excellent essay that Ken linked to above. As usual, the essay is wonderfully articulate and accurately conveys to general audience the concept of healthy skepticism which is so important in all scientific thought processes. However, as much as he is methodologically correct, he is still proclaiming his own "faith" when he categorically states: "Claims that cannot be tested, assertions immune to disproof are veridically worthless, whatever value they may have in inspiring us or in exciting our sense of wonder" and "Once again, the only sensible approach is tentatively to reject the dragon hypothesis, to be open to future physical data, and to wonder what the cause might be that so many apparently sane and sober people share the same strange delusion."

As I previously stated elsewhere in this forum, it is usually impossible to scientifically prove that Phenomenon X does NOT exist. All science can do is to demonstrate that you do NOT HAVE TO assume that Phenomenon X exists. This is the true essence of null hypothesis. Whether you still believe/think/feel that Phenomenon X exists when faced with "negative" results belongs to the domain of faith, not science.

Sagan's problem was that he had tried to assert his own worldview as a universal truth, based on the same methodological approach described in this essay -- obviously, however, the fundamental worldviews do not belong to the territory of scientific methodology. In addition, in my (rather radical) analysis, Sagan was so much entrenched in the don't-believe-it-until-proven slogan that it might have acted to deprive himself of true "imagination" as a scientist. Indeed, he was truly a great educator and visionary, but as a research scientist, he did not make a single breakthrough discovery.

----------

Enough about Sagan; back to audio... My own view is that there is NO SINGLE "PUBLIC" DATA available, either objective (measurements) or subjective (listening tests), that convincingly demonstrate that there is a phenomenon of long-term speaker break-in (over 10's and 100's of hours), or that there are readily audible "sonic signatures" or sound differences among today's good-quality solid-state analog amps ("mid-fi" to "exotic high-end") or among correctly chosen, good-quality cables. All available is, in my definition, PERSONAL ANECDOTES rather than public data -- including all the "expert" subjective reviews published in reputable audiophile magazines.

I repeat that this does NOT prove that there is no audible difference among these gears. It belongs to your own faith how to take the available information. Science tells you no more here.

My own personal faith? -- Basically, I am neutral. While I've never personally experienced or been convinced that these "controversial" differences exist, I would like to be very careful in proclaiming that there SHOULD BE no differences. It also depends on the complexity of the system in question. At any rate, the cerebral geek in me always tends to demand a reasonable, logical explanation when it comes to one of these controversial topics. Incidentally, I don't have a 100% faith in my own ears, either -- while I do wish to believe what my ears hear, I always try to take it critically. If there is even a slightest doubt, I postpone to draw a conclusion. I am too aware of the well-established psycho-acoustic effects to blindly believe in my own ears.

My own personal anecdote? -- To be honest, I always wanted some assurance that my "mid-fi" electronics are not audibly degrading the sound quality of my system. Through this past 10 years or so, I did bring in my home several "higher-end" amps from dealers and friends, and compared the sound quality (instantaneous A/B whenever possible, but not always). The brands I've listened to in-home include Krell, Sunfire, Theta, and Simaudio -- some of these were VERY expensive. Again, these were never a blind testing; I knew what I was listening. In no case, however, I could convince myself that there was substantive difference in sound quality. Otherwise, I would have already bought some of these. I stopped doing this in the past year or two, simply because I've been "discouraged" enough.

In contrast, I am so fascinated with loudspeakers, because different brands sound so obviously different, even among very expensive ones. And I see every physical reason why speakers sound so different from each other.

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#17064 - 08/11/03 08:53 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
PlainHaven Offline
hobbyist

Registered: 07/15/03
Posts: 25
Loc: Ohio
Ay carumba!

While I agree with a number of posters that reading everyone's viewpoints is very interesting, from my perspective as a relative newcomer to these chats I'd sure hate to see an escalation of hard feelings...my initial (and current) reaction is that y'all are kind of like an Axiom "family", and while family members disagree, at some point it might start to get counterproductive.

At the risk of sounding like a gol' darn empiricist, can anyone tell me if the kinds of studies we've talked about exist? (EDITED ADDED POINT: I JUST READ SUSHI'S NOTE ABOVE; LOOKS LIKE IF THEY EXIST, THEY'RE CERTAINTLY NOT IN THE MAINSTREAM!) At this point the points everyone's made seem more like empirical questions to be answered than anything else, and I'd love to hear if any of these studies have been done...otherwise almost seems like a fourth topic to add to "that list of things you might as well not talk about". But of course, I could be wrong. THAT's happened a whole BUNCH of times.

Part of the reason that I'd like to see these studies is because I'm one of the jillion people that thought Bose was the be-all, end-all in home audio, mainly because of their admittedly superb marketing. So, feeling a bit stung, I suppose I'm more motivated to find the "truth" in this area than I was say, a year ago.

In any case, I appreciate everyone's perspectives and enjoy these boards...I'm learning a lot and it's been very helpful (and fun).

Take care y'all.

Larry






Edited by PlainHaven (08/11/03 09:01 PM)

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#17065 - 08/11/03 09:47 PM Re: Ah! Tubed CDPs
OGS20 Offline
old hand

Registered: 08/23/02
Posts: 65
Loc: TO
Back to some audio talk

2x6, the FIRST thing I ask about when I buy a CDP is the transport (warranty). I had a old Philips portable CDP, old Technics discman, previous Sansui CDP, and now my current NAD, all died/are dying from transport failures -- although my old players died after 500000 hours of use , unlike that POS NAD.

In regards to the Ah! player, if I'm allowed to take a wild guess at things -- it's the exact opposite of what a 555/777 ES Sony CDP sound like? I've heard that the Sonys are detailed, etc etc blah blah blah ... but I remembered auditioning (a long time ago) a Sony CDP with Inifiniti speakers and, even though there is a lot of "detail", it sounded artificial instead of "musical". (Back then I ended up with Tannoys, the aforementioned Sansui CDP and a OLD Fisher tube integrated).

And speaking of Fisher integrated how does your tiny tube amps do loud classical music?

As always, Happy listenin'

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#17066 - 08/11/03 10:45 PM Re: Ah! Tubed CDPs
2x6spds Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/16/02
Posts: 2726
Loc: CA, USA
Funny thing, I'd been using a 10 year old JVC 6 disc changer. Transports as well as it did in 1993. Didn't know that transports had become dodgy, didn't know to ask about their warranties. Go know. Now I'm waiting for them all to die.

Haven't heard the high end Sony CDPs, but read reports that these units can be modified to compete with some really high end units.

The Ah! + the 5 wpc ASL amp is a match made in heaven. Makes beautiful music. The ASL gets a bit lost in big symphonic pieces at higher volumes, but all in all, the Ah! + ASL + a pair of M22 like modified Michaura M55 speakers (Cardas silver wire inside, Jensen paper/oil caps, Caddock resistors, fuse removed) + Vance Dickason Titanic 10" subwoofer kit + Maple Audio Ambience Interconnects, Mapleshade Clearview Double Golden Helix Plus speaker wires, well, this combination of modestly priced components is as close to audio nirvana as I've heard, and I've listened to some really high buck systems.

Dunno which piece is responsible for which part of the wonderful synergy here, but the soundstage this thing throws is enormous - wide and tall. Source placement is spot on (if there's not too much going on). Female vocals, small jazz groups - sounds really close to a live performance in my living room.

This is by far the most listenable system I have.

A word on the high rez systems which sound great in their own rights, but different -

DVD Audio system

Sony STRDB 1070 receiver as a processor
(3) Onkyo M282 2 channel solid state amps
Toshiba SD9200 DVD-A player
(4) Michaura M55 speakers (spookily M22 like, same drivers)
(1) Merak MC6H center channel speaker (Axiom made)
(1) Dahlquist PDQ 1500 15" sub
(1) Klipsch LF10 sub (supposedly 1640 watt amp)

This system is incredible, powerful, enormous slam, sweet in its own right, but not as sweet as the 5 wpc tubie.

SACD System

Onkyo TXDS 797 receiver as a processor
Philips SACD 1000
Outlaw ICBM bass management module
Anthem PVA 5 amplifier for front 5 channels
Kenwood KA 9100 2 channel amp for back surrounds
M60 like Michaura M665 front L/R speakers
Gigantic Klipsch KLF 7 center
M50 like Michaura M66 side surrounds
Mission 77ds back surrounds
SVS 20-39 sub
Velodyne CHT 100 sub (subs are stereo output from the ICBM)

This system is great for big orchestral pieces, very different sounding from the rest.

All in all, best of these systems for kicking back and listening to music - 5 wpc tubie with Ah! etc.

But, honorable mention to the garage system - all used components - total cost about $240.

Mint Silver faced Pioneer SX850 receiver
10 year old JVC 6 disc changer
Dahlquist DQM 905 speakers
Kenwood SW300 sub with Dayton Titanic 10" replacement driver
This system is just terrific!!!

BTW, I've heard some Tannoys which sound incredibly good, and one of the sweetest tube amps I've ever heard was a slightly modified OLD Fisher.

For me, tube systems are better for listening to music. Sand systems better for Home Theater.
_________________________
Enjoy the Music. Trust your ears. Laugh at Folks Who Claim to Know it All.

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#17067 - 08/11/03 10:52 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Well I'm glad that this thread has made a positive impact. I am a big fan of the Golden Mean, so I think the most severe deficiencies are typically at either end of the spectrum. I believe Aristotle pointed out that you should pick the extreme that is less objectionable and go from there. To me, this is the listening end, because I'm a consumer not an engineer of audio equipment.

The great thing about audiophilia is that you are free to take it as far as you like. My initial upgrades were because the sound would sometimes really bother me: a resonation at some frequency, a lack of volume, etc. My crappy DVD player sounded really edgy to me, especially in the treble, so I started to suspect it being a weak point. I upgraded to a Yamaha and was quite amazed. And believe when I say that DVD player did not have a flat frequency response!

If you feel no urge to upgrade, then you are going to be one of the happier audiophiles. Tying back to the frequency response of amps, I don't believe it's substantial, but what's more important is the resolution of the amp. Every component puts a limit on the resolution and soundstaging: my CD player & speakers are two big examples. I don't know how much benefit I'll get from upgrading my amp, and I may never know unless I hear something really sweet. For a while, I thought my Paradigm Mini Monitors were all the speaker I'd ever need, but just an occasional listen to my headphones / headphone amp showed me what potential lay untapped in the rest of my system.

Oh and Mikey, I find that sun-dried pebbles can sound a bit brittle, while submerged pebbles give me some satsifying whooompf in the bass without getting to sloppy.

Scientists get their fix by proving and measuring, while audiophiles get their fix by hearing the earth-shattering differences between components. As long as we spend more time listening to music, then we're all ahead of the game.. that is, unless your job involves hearing differences or measuring them.

-Cooper

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#17068 - 08/12/03 11:07 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
chrono Offline
old hand

Registered: 06/24/03
Posts: 89
Loc: Toronto, ON
Hey cblake. Which headphones / headphone amp do you have? Im not sure if you posted it already, but I'd like to know.

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#17069 - 08/12/03 11:25 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
BigWill Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 1951
Loc: Corona, Calif. USA!!!
Alas, no PMs from anybody. Not even Chess. The only time I ever got one was when someone wanted to pick up my black QS8s on the cheap.

And I suppose I erred with my assertion that this thread didn't belong here. What I really meant was: Even if there are audible differences between high priced stuff and cheap stuff, it is largely irrelevant for most members on this board. The price point of the Axioms generally attracts your average Joes and not dedicated audiophiles.

For example, I spent roughly $2K on Axioms and $1k on a receiver and DVD player. I am completely satisfied with the quality of my system. Other than adding a better sub, or a 2 channel amp to run my mains, I am probably done. I could run out and pay cash for 5 of those Halo JC1s and the C2 processor, but I think I'd rather have a pool and a big screen instead. Just priorities, I guess.



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#17070 - 08/12/03 12:16 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
Zarak Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 1849
Loc: PA
BigWill said:(sorry, I don't know how to do this the right way)
___________
I am completely satisfied with the quality of my system. Other than adding a better sub, or a 2 channel amp to run my mains, I am probably done.
________________

Sounds like upgraditis to me...Completely satisfied followed by the list of things that still need upgrading

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#17071 - 08/12/03 12:28 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
BigWill Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 1951
Loc: Corona, Calif. USA!!!
Yeah, but I won't be upgrading my speaker wire, interconnects, surge protector, etc...

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#17072 - 08/12/03 04:54 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
Based on your priorities (that you listed above) it would be futile to upgrade speaker wires ,interconnects and surge protectors. The cost of those upgrades will definitely cost you a nice big screen TV. If I didnt have a big screen TV I wouldnt be wasting my hard earned money on things that barely increases the level of listening.
Fortunately I have a nice 78"+ picture from my FP. But if I had that extra money ...
_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17073 - 08/13/03 12:06 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
BigWill Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/01/03
Posts: 1951
Loc: Corona, Calif. USA!!!
Just finished reading a PM I received from Chesseroo. It was only a little longer than the one that said, "Hey BigWill, post something to defend me from those fanatical audiophiles."

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#17074 - 08/13/03 10:22 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
real80sman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/16/02
Posts: 1115
Loc: Ontario, Canada
Well, this whole thread just gave me a headache. Goes to show my simple mindedness. Just cracked a Caffrey's Irish Ale to relax........ smooth and mellow.

When I was in high school, I worked at an audio store. Bar none, the worst sounding speakers in the store were the Bose 901's. $2k cdn and they sounded like someone threw a sleeping bag over them. Gave a whole new meaning to the term "laid back". I wonder if the engineers set out to design a speaker that sounded like it was in a closet? Some customers loved them, others hated them. It really showed how different each person's perceptions and preferences really are.

One of my favorite combinations at the time was a set of Boston T1100 towers, driven with a Cyruss amp. (with the outboard power supply hooked up of course) They were so open and revealing. But I was 16, and what the hell did I know anyway? Same kind of goes for now at 34.

Time for another Caffrey's.......

_________________________
Shawn

Epic 80/600 + M3's + Custom Finish Algonquin V3's

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#17075 - 08/13/03 11:26 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
cblake Offline
old hand

Registered: 07/21/03
Posts: 80
Loc: Pittsburgh, PA, USA
Sheesh, I must have missed the post confirmation button..

Chrono, I have Grado SR60 headphones and a Headroom Little amp (the cheapest non-portable amp the sell). The Grados are very detailed and neutral, except for being a little bit laid back. That's not a bad thing for headphones, in my opinion, because you tend to crank them pretty loud.

I recommend the Headroom amps because of the processing to eliminate fatigue..

-Cooper


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#17076 - 08/14/03 03:10 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
"When I was in high school, I worked at an audio store. Bar none, the worst sounding speakers in the store were the Bose 901's. $2k cdn and they sounded like someone threw a sleeping bag over them. Gave a whole new meaning to the term "laid back". I wonder if the engineers set out to design a speaker that sounded like it was in a closet? Some customers loved them, others hated them. It really showed how different each person's perceptions and preferences really are."

That's exactly how I felt about the Rocket RS150's. I am stunned that so many people LOVE that sound. Bleck! Thank god there are as many different speakers as there are tastes in sound.


_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#17077 - 08/14/03 02:11 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Yeah. The difference between the Rockets and Axioms is, like, Bleck and White!
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#17078 - 08/14/03 02:26 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
curtis Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 05/28/03
Posts: 1501
Loc: Manhattan Beach, CA
OK...that was worth a laugh!

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#17079 - 08/14/03 02:27 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Please don't encourage me. You may yet regret it.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#17080 - 08/15/03 11:41 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay (to 2x6spds)
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17696
Loc: NoVA
I certainly do...
_________________________
I didn't do it, no one saw me, you can't prove anything.

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#17081 - 09/09/03 09:59 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
dharmatone Offline
buff

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 41
So, Saturn, after all that amp/reciever testing can you tell me what your quality sound/price ratio winner is...Just in case i have to replace my old Yamaha 1020 (circa 1978)some time soon. I have a rotel cd 951. Assume it will be driving M22's w/sub w/no HT intentions at the moment anyway. thanks

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#17082 - 09/10/03 12:31 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
if only Sound/price ratio (for solid state and strictly my personal opinion)
For stereo only:
money willing
RA-1060 or RA-02 or RA-01
http://www.rotel.com/products/integrated-amplifiers.htm
Rotel makes excellent pre-amp sections for the price.
Your 951 is an excellent CD player 20 bit Burr Brown PCM-69 DACs HDCD will compliment any of the above.
The M22 is very efficient and 60w is lots of power to drive.

or a used C370/C350/C320BEE Stereo Integrated Amplifier
http://nadelectronics.com/integrated_amp/




_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17083 - 09/10/03 02:40 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
spiffnme Offline
axiomite

Registered: 04/01/03
Posts: 5214
Loc: Los Angeles
Yeah Rotel!
_________________________
"A nation cannot prosper long, when it favors only the prosperous." -President Barack Obama

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#17084 - 09/10/03 11:03 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
I've compared the pre-amp section of some of those Rotel above to a Bryston pre-amp/integrated and both do not add to the sound. Both are clear, clean and neutral and do not add to the signal. The only difference is that the Bryston pre-amp is 3 times more. I was able to to determine that those preamps above does not add to the signal because my CD player has a built in volume control where I can plug the CD player right into the power amp. When I put the pre-amps between the CD player and amp I personally did not notice a difference.

That being, does anyone know if any of those All-in-one players or SACD combo players have built in volume control so that I can just plug that unit to a couple of power amps? Some people have mentioned that the shortest path to a speakers is best.

Saturn
_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17085 - 09/10/03 01:44 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Saturn,

I don't know of any modern disc-players that have an integrated volume contol for anything other than a headphone jack.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#17086 - 09/10/03 08:56 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
dharmatone Offline
buff

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 41
Thanks, Saturn. So if Rotel and NAD for 2 channel, what's your pick based on the same criteria for multi-channel.

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#17087 - 09/11/03 12:11 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
Saturn Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/21/02
Posts: 1041
Loc: Toronto Ontario Canuck
Now your asking a personal choice..
Don't beat me if you don't like the sound but here was my pick for stereo listening.
The watts maybe low in comparison to HT but the DETAIL!
And its loud enough in most rooms... not Sushi's cathedral ceilings

a tie
1. Arcam A65 Plus - as good as Brystons pre/power but cheap
1. Exposure 2010 - my dad has...phenominal

3. Rotel RA-02
4. Rotel 1060

http://www.exposurehifi.com/exposure_html_site_files/2010_ti_ht_pages/2010_ti_int_amp_ht.html

http://www.hifichoice.co.uk/review_read.asp?ID=2374

http://www.audiorevolution.com/equip/rotel/

This actually mentions to pair it up with Axioms.
http://www.goodsound.com/equipment/rotel_ra1060.htm

In the end go listen to it maybe even bring in you speakers. A good retailer should not mind you setting up your speakers with the products you are interested with.

Saturn



_________________________
http://www.quadloft.com/hometheater- new HT

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#17088 - 09/11/03 04:46 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
dharmatone Offline
buff

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 41
thanks, for the info. just heard from Ian that, after looking at photo of my room, i should go with 60's instead of 22's. Might need a boy toy to help me schelp those around to audition amps.....

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#17089 - 09/11/03 05:58 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16224
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
That what the craigslist W4M section is for.

_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#17090 - 09/11/03 07:20 PM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
sushi Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 02/09/03
Posts: 1490
Loc: Dallas, TX
In reply to:

just heard from Ian that, after looking at photo of my room, i should go with 60's instead of 22's.



That's interesting, dharmatone. So, he recommended that you go for the M60's even if you plan to get a subwoofer? Did he say it was because of the room size?

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#17091 - 09/12/03 02:33 AM Re: Hear No Evil: another essay
dharmatone Offline
buff

Registered: 03/09/03
Posts: 41
Yup, amie showed him the photos, plus dimension info. He suggeted 60's plus sub. But he's a sound ideologue (i hope) with out a downstairs neighbor, and, of course, he's gotta make a living! I still might give the 22's a try first since both you and Alan suggested that w/sub, they might be the best solution if i don't intend to crank them up. And then there is the pesky furniture arrangment thing. Gee, its hard to be a girl, low-budget audiophile (did that come out right? -lol). You guys can all blame your wives. i have to take full responsiblity for decor over sound compromises.

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