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#35834 - 03/11/04 09:36 AM Moving on from this? :)
ringmir Offline

Registered: 02/03/04
Posts: 619
Loc: boston
So....I am confident that I personally can not distinguish the differences between "high-end" receivers when tested blind and equally configured.

That said, I don't much care to test them like that. While it may be meaningful for advertising and benchmarking, it's not how, IMO, people listen to them in their homes. (In other words "I'm a bunny rabbit with a pancake on its head"?)

What do people think about the sound of the receivers when they are *not* equally configured? Meaning:
YES equal volume levels.
But aside from that, let each company run with whatever effects it provides over the others.

And lets not limit this to receivers, since I'm operating under the assumptions I stated above about my hearing ability, lets open up the floor to pre-amps too (assume, if you will feel better about it, that they're connected to the same amp.)
[black]-"The further we go and older we grow, the more we know, the less we show."[/black]

#35835 - 01/17/05 07:18 AM No - Receivers really do not sound different...
DigitalFrontiers Offline

Registered: 01/17/05
Posts: 4
Loc: Canada
Prompted by this and [many] other online postings, I set out to learn, once and for all, 'do all receivers sound the same in a real-world setting?' So, early last month I took the better part of a weekend and set to work recruiting help and components. I own three receivers; a modern, (two-years old), high-end Pioneer Elite VSX-36tx, an old, (some would call it vintage), Pioneer SX3700, and a Technics SA-DA10 unit, (most expensive in the ‘SA’ line which they manufactured before they pulled the plug in North America a few years ago). One sits in the living room, one is generally in the basement packed away and the other in the shop. I also borrowed my brother's ‘low-end’ Kenwood VR806 receiver, a local store's top-of-the-line NAD 773 and my ex-roomate’s Denon AVR 1603. I scrounged around for both Yamaha and Onyko receivers but came up empty... which is unfortunate as I have always had this mental image of Yamaha products sounding ‘better’ than all other components; maybe I have been sucked in by the “natural sound” mantra of the company…

My brother and I both have excellent hearing, he is 26 I am 39 years of age, and we prefer different music styles... to say the least. We both play 7-string guitar, as does my wife who is also blessed with a beautiful voice, (sings at special events). Additionally, we attend a great many live musical presentations in our city, thus, I feel that we have a solid foundation of how music ‘should sound’.

Armed with more audio gear than common sense would allow, we sat down for the better part of an entire weekend of -20 degree outdoor temperatures, (hiding in the house from our beautiful Canadian weather), swapping receivers and cables from our source, (a brand-new Elite 47Ai, SACD / DVD-A CD player). Our reference material included ‘standard’ CDs, as well as SACD & DVD-Audio discs. We listened to a stunning array of material from raunchy punk-rock & metal, (his choices), to more ‘moderate’ selections from Dylan, Pink Floyd, Neil Young, BB King and, for the reference sake of clarity, (to cleanse the mental palette), a ‘sampler’ Teldec CD of classical music. Our patch cabling was all Audio Research manufactured with the exception of the heavy-gauge speaker wires which were manufacturer by Paradigm. The loudspeakers were swapped back and forth between a set of Magneplanar 1.6QR’s and Paradigm Acoustics Monitor 9’s, (indulgent enough to own both). The room is irregularly shaped, sort of an abbreviated “L”, approximately 20 feet wide and 35 feet long, carpeted and hosting a variety of soft furniture, but mostly ‘acoustically hard’ walls.

After many hours of work swapping components and listening, (repeat), at a variety of volume levels, from subtle to uncomfortable, both of us agreed; when tone controls are set to 'flat', volume is adjusted to produce the same SPL, (using a Radio Shack SPL meter mid-room) and all DSP sound effects are disabled on the units (the method we employed for all testing), the end-result is that (our samples), of reasonably well constructed receivers appear to, quite frankly, sound pretty damned much the same - this includes units in our test group running from a little more than a hundred and fifty dollars, all the way up to a unit which costs nearly three grand (with taxes).

What else can I say, well, to quote my grandma, “stick that in your pipe and smoke it”

"It's difficult to understand something, when your salary depends on you not understanding it"

#35836 - 01/17/05 11:48 AM Re: Wow... Receivers really do sound different!
Riffman Offline

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 242
I read a lot of stuff I can't comprehend here. When I bought mine, I tried an Onkyo and a NAD, both similar in price. They sounded incredibly different. The NAD was smoother and beefier. The Onkyo seemed a little more detailed.

#35837 - 01/17/05 11:50 AM Re: Wow... Receivers really do sound different!
Riffman Offline

Registered: 04/26/04
Posts: 242
Even my girlfriend who could care less about audio was able to tell which receiver was which in blind testing. I had already heard them so I couldn't do the blind tests.

#35838 - 01/21/05 04:05 PM Re: No - Receivers really do not sound different..
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16326
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Hey DF,

I just got back from vacation and have been catching up on the ungodly number of posts that occured in the past week. This thread seems to have fallen by the wayside, so I thought I'd lift it up again.

It sounds like you really took the time to try to do the comparative listening thoroughly and carefully. Although I can't say I find your results surprising, I thank you for sharing the results of your "ears-on" test.
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

#35839 - 01/21/05 04:30 PM Re: No - Receivers really do not sound different..
LT61 Offline

Registered: 02/23/04
Posts: 839
Loc: Illinois.
Just to let you know, Big John.....filled in with the "jokes" while you were gone.

LIFE: "Choices, balance, and timing"


#35840 - 01/21/05 05:15 PM Re: No - Receivers really do not sound different..
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16326
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
From the looks of it, some comic relief was needed around here.
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

#35841 - 01/23/05 02:27 PM Re: Wow... Receivers really do sound different!
Donincos Offline

Registered: 12/05/04
Posts: 47
Loc: Colorado Springs
I also “herd” a difference between receivers when I started shopping around for a new one. I went to the local audio store and demoed a Denon 1905 and a Yamaha 650. And I herd a difference. The Yamaha was brighter. A few days later I went a different store and listened to the same receivers again. Could not here one bit of difference between the two. I got the Denon and I’m very happy with it. After hooking it up when I got home I could not here a difference between it and my Sony HTiB receiver accept at very high levels. The Denon has some head room and my old Sony didn’t. The salesman at the first store was a Yamaha fan. The salesman at the second store did not seem to have a preference and focused on the features of the receivers. After all this the next time I buy a piece of equipment I’ll bring the items home give them a try and take back the ones I don’t want.

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