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#1 of 256 OFFLINE   Ashford Little

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Posted January 28 2002 - 04:01 PM

So I had a little time to kill during lunch time and stopped by a local HiFi Buys/Tweeter. I was not planning on buying anything, but just wanted to check and see if there was anything new I might have missed - fat chance given the level of knowledge.

My dilemma is that I desperately want to upgrade my preamp. I also want Firewire so I wondered if maybe, just maybe a receiver could hold me over for a while.

I listened to a Denon 3802 & 4802 vs. a Ref 30 and matching amp (200/ch). I listened to audio only since my main concern was lack of confidence in all reciever's rated wattage.

I first listened to a nice jazz selection on the B&K and a pair of Vienna Accoustics speakers. Sounded good, very good. Then switched over to the 4802.

Difference? Huge. Music was muddy and the power simply wasn't there on the receiver. I'm not trying to bash Denon as it could have just as easily been another make.

The power difference was noticeable as well. While the receiver was rated at something like 125/ch vs. 200/ch some may say that of course I heard a difference, but remember the math and how much power it takes to make a substantial difference. And I also wasn't listening at extremely loud volumes either.

I'm actually disappointed though since I was hoping I could live with a cheap interim replacement, but it looks like I will have to wait a little longer.

#2 of 256 OFFLINE   JaleelK

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Posted January 29 2002 - 03:37 AM

So I had a little time to kill during lunch time and stopped by a local HiFi Buys/Tweeter. I was not planning on buying anything, but just wanted to check and see if there was anything new I might have missed - fat chance given the level of knowledge.

My dilemma is that I desperately want to upgrade my preamp. I also want Firewire so I wondered if maybe, just maybe a receiver could hold me over for a while.

I listened to a Denon 3802 & 4802 vs. a Ref 30 and matching amp (200/ch). I listened to audio only since my main concern was lack of confidence in all reciever's rated wattage.

I first listened to a nice jazz selection on the B&K and a pair of Vienna Accoustics speakers. Sounded good, very good. Then switched over to the 4802.

Difference? Huge. Music was muddy and the power simply wasn't there on the receiver. I'm not trying to bash Denon as it could have just as easily been another make.

The power difference was noticeable as well. While the receiver was rated at something like 125/ch vs. 200/ch some may say that of course I heard a difference, but remember the math and how much power it takes to make a substantial difference. And I also wasn't listening at extremely loud volumes either.

I'm actually disappointed though since I was hoping I could live with a cheap interim replacement, but it looks like I will have to wait a little longer.

_____________________________________

That comparison you conducted at a the Hi-Fi store was unreliable, it was sighted, uncontrolled, not level matched.

If you were to conduct a level matched blind listening test, those huge difference you reported would diminish a lot. Once your bias is eliminated and you have to rely totally upon your ears and nothing else. Comparing audio equipment in stores is kind of unreliable anyway.

There is very little sonic difference between high-end audio and so-called Mid-fi gear(speakers excluded), the high-end manufacturers, know this is true that is why many of them are struggling to survive.

#3 of 256 OFFLINE   Mark Austin

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Posted January 29 2002 - 03:45 AM

Quote:
That comparison you conducted at a the Hi-Fi store was unreliable, it was sighted, uncontrolled,...

Is that the way you conduct all of your auditions for audio gear? Do you listen to your gear at home in sighted situations?

Quote:
If you were to conduct a level matched blind listening test, those huge difference you reported would diminish a lot.

Are you suggesting that you know the results of such a test before it is even conducted? Interesting.

Quote:
There is very little sonic difference between high-end audio and so-called Mid-fi gear(speakers excluded), the high-end manufacturers, know this is true that is why many of them are struggling to survive.

Is this just speculation, or is there something/anything that can back up that claim?

#4 of 256 OFFLINE   Legairre

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Posted January 29 2002 - 04:15 AM

Ashford,
I have compared my Denon 3300 reciver's amp to my Rotel 1095. And yes their is a difference. A Big difference. Even at low volumes. Music has a much more airy sound to it and the detail and clarity is a lot better. There's also a much better seperation between left and right speakers in stereo mode. Instruments and backgroud vocals that relly were in the back before are now more pronouned. So for ME, yes a seperate amp did make a big difference over my receiver's amps and I was a real sceptic.

And before someone says it's the placebo effect. Tell me how my wife and brother can pick the better sounding one(and pick out what sounds better, even though they don't know the correct words to use) when they don't know which one their listening too when I switch the cables back and forth. I've done this with them over and over and they can tell too and they don't even care about sound. Now my wife even says the amp was worth it. I had to do this with her because she wanted me to prove to her that the amp made a difference.

#5 of 256 OFFLINE   Kevin C Brown

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Posted January 29 2002 - 05:02 AM

I agree with Jaleel.

No way to do a proper comparison in an audio store.

You can never ever know if each component is set up exactly the same as the other (unless you go through each menu and confirm the settings yourself). Levels, crossovers, any eq's, etc.

And, Jaleel also had it right, in that even a 0.1 dB difference in the sound level between two components will cause the louder one to be perceived as the "better" performer. It's called "psychoacoustics."

The best way to do comparison shopping is get the component into your system, with your room, with material that you are familiar with. If you like it, you keep it. If not, most reputable stereo/HT stores will let you bring it back.

And, I also agree with his statement that there is a very small difference between mid fi components and high end stuff. (Mid fi is a mis-namer here, because I actually definately don't consider Denon receivers "mid fi" ! Posted Image ) I believe that the higher level Denons (3802 and up), used as pre/pros, can give pre/pros costing upwards of 50% higher a run for their money.

(No, I don't own a Denon receiver. Got a Sony pre/pro.)

Speakers are a different story, typically *much* easier to hear differences between speakers. Just up to you which ones you prefer.
If it's not worth waiting until the last minute to do, then it's not worth doing.

KevinVision 7.1 ...

#6 of 256 OFFLINE   Larry B

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Posted January 29 2002 - 05:38 AM

Jaleel:

Quote:
That comparison you conducted at a the Hi-Fi store was unreliable,it was sighted, uncontrolled, not level matched.

If you were to conduct a level matched blind listening test, those huge difference you reported would diminish a lot. Once your bias is eliminated and you have to rely totally
upon your ears and nothing else. Comparing audio equipment in stores is kind of unreliable anyway.

There is very little sonic difference between high-end audio and so-called Mid-fi gear(speakers excluded), the high-end manufacturers, know this is true that is why many of them are struggling to survive.

You are absolutely correct that the comparison was not done blinded. As a scientist, I can not fault you for taking the position that the results are unreliable (though they may be correct, none the less). However, it is not at all clear to me that your statements are based on any stronger evidence. You may recall that I contributed to a heated discussion you had with RicP a few weeks ago, in which I suggested that you go out and do your own listening, rather than relying on an unsubstantiated report of an amplifier test. Have you done so? If so, please tell us about it.

As far as hi-end gear goes, I adamantly disagree with your statements. First, there are some hi-end manufacturers who are doing well. Of course, their revenues will never approach those of low- and mid-end manufacturers, but that is to be expected. The reason they have low revenues is the same reason that many hi-end manufactures never become successful: They are competing in a very small marketplace. To use what I think is a reasonable analogy, how many cars do you think Ferrari (or Maserati, or Lamborgini) sells in a year? The answer is obviously "not many," and that's in spite of the fact that these are among the greatest cars on the planet. The reason these companies sell so few cars is that (1) there are not many people who can aford them, and (2) of those who can afford them, only a small proportion have any interest in exotic sports cars.

As for the quality of hi-end gear, it is far and away better than mid-fi. However, the nature of audio equipment is that as one goes up the chain, the sonic benefits become progressively more subtle (and more expensive!).

I will end by again suggesting that you go out and do some listening.

Larry

P.S. Do you have any favorite restaurants? If so, did you compare their food to that in other restaurants, using a double-blind test? If not, does that mean that your preferences are unsubstantiated and thus, unjustified?

#7 of 256 OFFLINE   Larry B

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Posted January 29 2002 - 06:50 AM

Marc:

Quote:
I am just going to watch and amuse my self even though I am getting an irresistable urge to jump in

Smart man. Some of us never learnPosted Image

Larry

#8 of 256 OFFLINE   Legairre

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Posted January 29 2002 - 08:05 AM

Marc,
You're a lot wiser man than I am. I guess I'm just a love the abuse.

#9 of 256 OFFLINE   Ted Lee

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Posted January 29 2002 - 09:22 AM

i'm also with you mark...this should be interesting.

i only have one thing to say:

i wish people would stop ragging on someone else's observations. if that person hears/sees something, then that should be it. end of discussion.

end rant... :b
 

#10 of 256 OFFLINE   chris c

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Posted January 29 2002 - 10:19 AM

Jaleel, is it your mission in life to ensure that nobody comes to the conclusion that changing amplifiers can make a difference in the sound of a system? Every time anyone posts that they heard said difference there you are to "correct" them. What gives? It's insulting (and ridiculous) that you think you are some kind of authority on everyone's ability to hear.

#11 of 256 OFFLINE   Legairre

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Posted January 29 2002 - 11:12 AM

Chris,
Your welcome in my house anytime. Posted Image

#12 of 256 OFFLINE   Chuck C

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Posted January 29 2002 - 11:21 AM

Well Done chris c!

#13 of 256 OFFLINE   Legairre

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Posted January 29 2002 - 03:15 PM

Mark,
For me it's more like 1st, 2nd and 3rd.

1st, Sound and power: If the speakers I'm driving are power hungry sound and power are both a 10, because the amount of power it takes to drive hungry speakers can effect the sound.

2nd, Features: I'll sacrifice something like DPLII if unit "A" has better sound, but no DPLII and unit "B" has DPLII, but doesn't sound as good. Sound is king. For me connectivity, ease of use and upgradability all fall under the category of features.

3rd, Looks: I only consider this one when I find two units with comparable sound and features. ONLY when everything else is equal do looks play into my final decision.

#14 of 256 OFFLINE   John Royster

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Posted January 29 2002 - 04:06 PM

Wow.

looks actually matter? Oh well, I'm doomed to this infernal hobby/love anyway. I went from stereo separates (well not separates - CD and an amplifier) to a receiver and I want to harm myself everyday for doing it. The kind of harm only banging your head into a nice cold chunk of steel repeatedly for hours on end will suffice.

We're all strong in our convictions so audition each in your home and let your ears decide. I can't argue/offer any more without getting into a debate and wind up acting like an intelligent monkey surrounded by angry/dumb gorillas.

#15 of 256 OFFLINE   Sebastien David

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Posted January 29 2002 - 04:08 PM

I find the analogy with sports cars interesting.
In fact, you could get the same level of performance and driving enjoyment in cars costing much less than a Ferrari or Lamborghini. I won't go into the details, but let's just say that some relatively exotic and somewhat modified Japanese cars, as well as some lesser known and less expensive cars, would give a run for their money to any Ferrari. Think beefed up Supras and Skylines, Acura NSX, Ultima GTR, Porsche 911 GT2, etc... However, you will sacrifice big time in terms of luxury and prestige, at least most of the time.

Now, I do not have enough experience to be the definite judge on that matter, but it seems to me like electronic gear works in the same way. You can get super high-end equipment that might sound A BIT better and give you A BIT more enjoyment of the music/movies, but you could also get some "mid-fi" gear that would sound almost as good for a lot less dinero. You would again cut down on such things as lasting quality and prestige, however.

Whether it works the same in both cases is not mine to decide, however I find it interesting that such a comparison was made. I'm two cents poorer.

#16 of 256 OFFLINE   RicP

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Posted January 29 2002 - 04:17 PM

Posted Image .....must resist....can not jump in.... must remain calm.....stay away from Jaleel's threads...is so....difficult... Posted Image

#17 of 256 OFFLINE   Ashford Little

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Posted January 30 2002 - 04:10 AM

Well, I had no intention of touching off this type of reaction; I was simply reporting on an observation. I am sorry that I didn't have time to clarify things earlier, but I have obtained some sort of funk bug that has had me down for the count since my first post.

That said, I do feel that I must clarify a few statements and or misconceptions.

Quote:
That comparison you conducted at a the Hi-Fi store was unreliable, it was sighted, uncontrolled, not level matched.

If you were to conduct a level matched blind listening test, those huge difference you reported would diminish a lot. Once your bias is eliminated and you have to rely totally upon your ears and nothing else. Comparing audio equipment in stores is kind of unreliable anyway.

There is very little sonic difference between high-end audio and so-called Mid-fi gear(speakers excluded), the high-end manufacturers, know this is true that is why many of them are struggling to survive.


Jaleel, I said I was killing time during lunch hour; I didn't say I was attempting to set up an exotic scientific test. I realize that some bias certainly might exist, but the next thing you will say is that I have to set up a double-blind test to hear the "true" difference between my B&W speakers and a Bose system.

I also would like to point out that all of the systems were hooked up through a switcher which the salesperson pointed out before the test would diminish the differences between the equipment.

I stand by two positions. One, a separate amplifier in almost all cases will more easily drive the speakers vs. almost all receivers. I remember in college, a long time ago, when a friend of mine switched from a McIntosh receiver rated at 100/ch to a Mac preamp and a Crown amp (80/ch), noting the ease at which the separates drove the system and being surprised.

Secondly, components in separates do typically produce a better sound than a comparable receiver.

I will reiterate that each person must decide what system works best for them. In my case, I was hoping that I would not hear a noticeable difference so that I could get a cheaper solution until the whole Firewire and DVD-A/SACD battles are complete.

This is my opinion and the last time I checked, it has as much validity as anyones elses.

#18 of 256 OFFLINE   JaleelK

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Posted January 30 2002 - 09:12 AM




Once again, according audio engineering, there is nothing about amp that should make one sound airy or add clarity, all well built amps generally sound the same. Even times when you notice some differences in DBT they are so very subtle it not even worth mentioning.

And before someone says it's the placebo effect. Tell me how my wife and brother can pick the better sounding one(and pick out what sounds better, even though they don't know the correct words to use) when they don't know which one their listening too when I switch the cables back and forth. I've done this with them over and over and they can tell too and they don't even care about sound. Now my wife even says the amp was worth it. I had to do this with her because she wanted me to prove to her that the amp made a difference.>>>>>>>


That is not the proper way to conduct a blind level match test. I conducted my own test of two amps, a Bryston and a Parasound using the ABX comparator downloaded from the PCABX website [url=http://PCABX.com ]and I couldn't tell which amp was which.

#19 of 256 OFFLINE   JaleelK

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Posted January 30 2002 - 09:27 AM

[quote]Ashford, I agree with you and please don't pay much attention to Jaleel. I think it is a computer not a person. I have noticed that it recognizes certain keywords in posts that it responds to. Any post that has separates and receiver together will definetly warrant a response from it. Also notice all it's responses will contain key words like 'blind test', 'uncontrolled', 'level matched' etc. Also notice that it will only respond to a post once after which no matter how many questions you ask it, you get no response.
__________________

I will respond to any question as long as its not personal. I would like to talk to one of the Administrators to see if we can get a Tom Nousaine or Arny Kruger(the man who help design the first ABX comparator, who also designed the PCABX website, so you can do your a/b comparison right from your PC)to take part in a HomeTheaterForum Chat.

#20 of 256 OFFLINE   JaleelK

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Posted January 30 2002 - 09:45 AM

Quote:
Jaleel, is it your mission in life to ensure that nobody comes to the conclusion that changing amplifiers can make a difference in the sound of a system? Every time anyone posts that they heard said difference there you are to "correct" them. What gives? It's insulting (and ridiculous) that you think you are some kind of authority on everyone's ability to hear.


There are differences in sounds of amps, but most of the times they are so subtle they are barely detectable, this comes from people who people who have conducted many listening test. Once again, most well built amps generally sound the same, although separates amps will give you more power and can play louder and louder sounds are often considered better sounding by most listeners, that is why level matching is need when trying to determine sound quality of amps.

BTW, I don't mean to insult anyone, I'm just sharing my view as others often do here.


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