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"Click Here To Find Out If All Amplifiers Sound The Same"
krabapple
post Apr 25 2014, 03:22
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sigh

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-ZUCoK4qyls...eature=youtu.be


someone please watch this latest Audioholics ' truth behind the question' video for me so I can keep my blood pressure down.





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andrew_berge
post Apr 25 2014, 04:45
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QUOTE
You ask me about whether or not all amplifiers sound the same. I say 'Yes' and 'No'. I say 'Yes' for the people that think that all amplifiers sound the same because it'll make them happy, and i say 'No' for the audiophiles that want a little bit more performance or they have certain listening requirements and listening conditions that qualify better amplifiers.

What.

The rest of the video basically says 'No'.
QUOTE
[There are situations where amplifiers can sound similar], yes there is truth to that, but there is also truth to the fact that amplifiers can and do sound differently. They measure differently, therefore they can sound differently.


This post has been edited by andrew_berge: Apr 25 2014, 04:45
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lithopsian
post Apr 25 2014, 11:50
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I'm not sure who I should be laughing at (or staring at aghast?). The question itself is stupid, but the video only talks about power-amps attached to receivers (intriguingly a curious combination almost entirely restricted to the US and so pervasive in pseudo-audiophile circles here that many people don't realise there is anything else) which makes the question even more pointless.

P.S. I stopped listening half way through ...
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andy o
post Apr 26 2014, 01:16
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What I took from this is that expensive amps both do and don't sound the same, but surely will get you buff trying to lift them.
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Arnold B. Kruege...
post May 5 2014, 11:53
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QUOTE (andrew_berge @ Apr 24 2014, 23:45) *
QUOTE
You ask me about whether or not all amplifiers sound the same. I say 'Yes' and 'No'. I say 'Yes' for the people that think that all amplifiers sound the same because it'll make them happy, and i say 'No' for the audiophiles that want a little bit more performance or they have certain listening requirements and listening conditions that qualify better amplifiers.

What.


"Certain listening requirements" = want it louder or not.

"Certain listening conditions" = inefficient speakers some yards from the listener

"Certain listening conditions" = drive speakers full range or use a separately powered subwoofer

QUOTE
The rest of the video basically says 'No'.
QUOTE
[There are situations where amplifiers can sound similar], yes there is truth to that, but there is also truth to the fact that amplifiers can and do sound differently. They measure differently, therefore they can sound differently.



A repetition of the myth that everything that measures different sounds different?
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mzil
post May 5 2014, 21:44
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QUOTE (krabapple @ Apr 24 2014, 19:22) *
sigh
someone please watch this latest Audioholics ' truth behind the question' video for me so I can keep my blood pressure down.


Besides Arny, I'm one of the few people I know who has actually taken the time to test to see if my audiophile expert friend claimant was indeed able to statistically distinguish between a Mark Levinson quality amp and a Yamaha integrated amp one seventh its price. Instead of a multi-thousand dollar Audio Precision machine, all I needed was a $20 Radio Shack voltmeter and a CD with test tones to carefully level match. Under nearly ideal conditions, his chosen switching methodology, at his own pace, in a specially designed room with pro-grade acoustical treatments, using a roughly $16K stereo he chose and put together himself (2ch only and no video), the answer is NO, he couldn't tell a difference.

This post has been edited by mzil: May 5 2014, 22:11
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TomasPin
post May 5 2014, 22:01
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QUOTE (mzil @ May 5 2014, 17:44) *
(...) the answer is NO, he couldn't tell a difference.

Did he continue to call himself an "audiophile expert" after that? tongue.gif

Good job lighting the way for him.

This post has been edited by TomasPin: May 5 2014, 22:02


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mzil
post May 5 2014, 22:07
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Although I made it a point to film him on camera, pre-test, to verbally agree that all test conditions were to his liking and that everything was up to snuff and adequate for him to be able to hear a difference, he still wouldn't budge on his stance!

It would be like talking an Intelligent Design Creationist into thinking that evolution is correct. Not happening.

Think about it. Their way of thinking is a belief system ["They ought to sound different"] whereas our position is evidence based science ["We can't find anyone who can distinguish between two amps* kept within their operational range and carefully level matched"].

*Fitting certain minimal requirements which even cheap receivers usually exceed.

This post has been edited by mzil: May 5 2014, 22:22
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DigitalMan
post May 6 2014, 06:21
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OK, I'm in; let's play this out a little.

If there are audible differences between different amplifiers, it should be plausible then that different amplifiers of the same model but different serial numbers can sound different, right? Much like a bottle of wine can vary from lot to lot, or bottle to bottle, shouldn't amplifiers then have variation within the same model? There are tolerances to all of the components, changes to parts throughout the life of the production life cycle... And we have modifiers who believe they can hear differences in the same amplifier but with minor modifications to it (capacitors, resistors, etc.).

So, have we read of audiophiles who can tell the difference between two amplifiers of the same model? Or how about audiophiles auditioning five different amplifiers of the same model to pick the best of the lot before they buy? Or are there only audible differences between different models and makes but not within the same model?

I would be impressed if someone could hear the difference between different serial numbers of the same model amplifier assuming both were operating correctly to their specifications.


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pdq
post May 6 2014, 13:01
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It would be interesting if the same amplifier were available with different front panels, and the audiophiles argued over which sounded better, the black or the chrome. laugh.gif
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Hotsoup
post May 6 2014, 13:51
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QUOTE (pdq @ May 6 2014, 05:01) *
It would be interesting if the same amplifier were available with different front panels, and the audiophiles argued over which sounded better, the black or the chrome. laugh.gif
Cambridge Audio makes everything in silver or black. I don't think I've ever heard anyone say the silver sounds brighter.. Of course it's possible that company is considered too "mid-fi" for there to be such nuance.

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mzil
post May 6 2014, 15:31
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QUOTE (pdq @ May 6 2014, 05:01) *
It would be interesting if the same amplifier were available with different front panels, and the audiophiles argued over which sounded better, the black or the chrome. laugh.gif

Color makes a big difference to people's sound perception. There was once an experiment done in the 80's, if I recall, where listening panels where brought in to listen to a speaker company's "new improved crossover design".
Two pairs of the company's same speakers were auditioned, blindly, one with the old crossover design and one with the new version. The drivers and everything else were of course the same, but to differentiate the two sets of speakers visually, one was a darker stained wood than the other, rather than labeling them "A" and "B".

Test listeners almost universally preferred the sound of the crossover used in the darker stained cabinet and most agreed it was better specifically in the bass.

In truth, there was absolutely no difference between the two sets of speakers used, at all; the crossover, drivers, etc. were identical. It was all a ruse.

This post has been edited by mzil: May 6 2014, 16:29
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pdq
post May 6 2014, 18:38
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Well, I wouldn't rule out the possibility that the wood finish could affect the bass, but if it is just the color of stain then that is, I think, unlikely.
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DigitalMan
post May 7 2014, 02:48
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I remember reading about a study where the color of the fabric used for the speaker grille affected the perceived sound quality. Google failed me tonight, but maybe I can find that again. They tested primary colors and it was interesting to read the perceived sound differences that were described by the listeners.


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post May 9 2014, 12:08
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QUOTE (DigitalMan @ May 6 2014, 21:48) *
I remember reading about a study where the color of the fabric used for the speaker grille affected the perceived sound quality. Google failed me tonight, but maybe I can find that again. They tested primary colors and it was interesting to read the perceived sound differences that were described by the listeners.


Those sorts of things are the natural consequence of the kinds of casual listening evaluations that most audiophiles and even professional use as their guides.

Besides bias due to differences such as exterior colors that are irrelevant to sound quality, non-level matched, non-quick switched, non-time synchronized comparisons are literally guaranteed to create those kinds of impressions.
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2tec
post May 9 2014, 14:33
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With all due respect, I'd just like to point out that without matching output levels, amplifiers do sound different in one aspect, all amplifier designs can differ in total output capacity. More powerful amplifiers can increase speaker output which is often perceived as better sound.

In strictly controlled conditions, all properly designed, modern amplifiers can apparently be made to sound the same. However, imho, in the average sound system, adding amplifier power can lead to an apparent increase in listening quality.

This post has been edited by 2tec: May 9 2014, 15:25


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Arnold B. Kruege...
post May 9 2014, 22:01
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QUOTE (2tec @ May 9 2014, 09:33) *
With all due respect, I'd just like to point out that without matching output levels, amplifiers do sound different in one aspect, all amplifier designs can differ in total output capacity. More powerful amplifiers can increase speaker output which is often perceived as better sound.


It is not more powerful amplifiers that increase speaker output but rather the increase in spaeker output comes from listeners who choose to turn the volume up. The additional power creates the potential ability to do so without increased distortion, but exercising this potential is up to the discretion of the person operating the volume control. There is no necessary connection between the more powerful amplifier and the perception of better sound. Actually, nominal amounts of clipping may not be perceived by listeners.

Also, I see that the comment did not actually include a quote of my statement.

This is what I said:

Those sorts of things are the natural consequence of the kinds of casual listening evaluations that most audiophiles and even professional use as their guides.

Besides bias due to differences such as exterior colors that are irrelevant to sound quality, non-level matched, non-quick switched, non-time synchronized comparisons are literally guaranteed to create those kinds of impressions.


The context was not listing the reasons why amplifiers sound different, but rather listing the ways that poorly planned, poorly executed listening evaluations create the impression of audible difference which are due to the poor planning and execution.

QUOTE
In strictly controlled conditions, all properly designed, modern amplifiers can apparently be made to sound the same. However, imho, in the average sound system, adding amplifier power can lead to an apparent increase in listening quality.


The question begged here is whether the amplifiers inherently sound different but that modern listening tests suppress this, or whether amplifiers inherently sound the same and modern listening tests simply prevent this inherent sameness from being suppressed. If modern amplifiers inherently sounded different there is no way that the simple precautions described above could suppress it.

It may be helpful to consider what happens when two identical amplifiers are compared when levels are mismatched, which they almost always are if proper steps are not taken. It is easy to show that level mismatches create very easily audible differences. These differences can even distract from hearing more subtle audible differences if they exist. If levels are not matched, a comparison of two identical amplifiers or even the same amplifier presented twice would create the reliable perception that the amplifiers sound different.

The same can be shown the consequences of the other influences that I mentioned. If you don't control them they will be present and they can easily be shown to create the reliable perception of an audible difference even when the amplifiers are absolutely identical, or even the same amplifier presented twice.

It is the basic and inherent nature of amplifiers that have reached certain fairly minimal technical performance levels (by modern standards) related to sonic accuracy to sound identical when ever other relevant influences outside of the actual sound quality of the amplifier are kept the same. All modern listening tests do is allow this aspect of their basic nature to be perceived.

The above might be taken as a fairly wordy exposition of the same basic ideas excellently raised in post #16 http://www.hydrogenaudio.org/forums/index....st&p=865398 by 2tec.

However it is easy to show that any power capability increases that are not exploited by raising overall power levels above clipping remain moot. If the goal is producing 10 watts of power, a 11 watt amplfier won't necesarily or have a higher probability of doing a better or worse job than a say. 100 watt amplifier. This is contrary to popular audiophile mythology.

This post has been edited by Arnold B. Krueger: May 9 2014, 22:08
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