$10k golden ears AMP challenge!

Mark gas

Second Unit
Joined
Mar 23, 2002
Messages
322
Richard Clark did a test on tube amps too. He said tube amps just add distortion and he could bet a/b class amps to sound the same when he added distortion to them.
 

John Kotches

Effects Supervisor
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Mar 14, 2000
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Seth,
What is written within this forum I've responded to. The series of posts specifies car amplifiers.
Non-dynamic speakers are excluded from the test -- which means planar magnetics, ribbons and electrostatics are not allowable.
This further skews the test in the favor of the person issuing the challenge, as the above speakers can be one of the most difficult to drive.
Of course once you start dictating the choice of speaker driver type, then start messing with the input and output loading -- in other words Real world conditions then yes, differences get diminished.
As far as having anything to lose, you seem to think my livelihood derives from my A/V writing. It doesn't.
With respect to my credibility, my body of writing speaks for itself.
Regards,
 

Ludwig Crumb

Agent
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Aug 29, 2002
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36
Clark claims that you can duplicate the sound of a tube amp by adding s 0.2 ohm resistor (i think that was the value) on the speaker leads of the transistor amped speaker.

if the gains and volumes are properly matched (so the theory goes) there will be almost no difference between the tube and transistor amp.
 

Michael Roderiques

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Aug 25, 1999
Messages
174
Well I guess this just goes to show that some one can come up with some form of "evaluation" or "testing" method that like any other has little or no value.

Funny thing about statistics, they can prove just about anything you want. just depends on the data collection method.

Paper will lay still and let you write anything on it.
 

Ludwig Crumb

Agent
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Aug 29, 2002
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36
I respect his knowledge and when looking at the big picture, I believe he is right. My only problem with him is that his testing criteria is too lopsided. I suppose if it was my 10 grand at stake, I would try to swing all the variables in my favor as well.
 

Chu Gai

Lead Actor
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7,270
I'd be pleased to simply have the levels matched at the speaker terminals with neither amp being driven past its ability to perform.
 

Lin Park

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 31, 1999
Messages
286
If you normalize enough things, then you won't be comparing A to B - you'll be comparing A to A and have no chance of winning this. From a theoretical standpoint he may be right, but does everyone who purchases electronics have the ability to make the mods to the front and back end that are being proposed?
I'd propose you bring some solid state amps over to my house and we'll compare them to my tube amps. If I can't tell the difference 100% of the time, you can sit and watch me cry for the rest of the day.

Lin
 

Chu Gai

Lead Actor
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Jun 29, 2001
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Just ensuring the signals going to the speakers are the sam should be sufficient. You might find the following bit old history interesting.
effect).
--
,
Sebastien


Sources: - 85th AES Convention Report, JAES, Vol.36, No.12, Dec. 1988.

Audio tape of "Esoteric Audio: Can You Hear It?", Workshop 18, 85th AES Convention (available from: Mobiltape, 25061 W. Ave. Stanford, Suite 70, Valencia, CA91355).
 

Manuel Delaflor

Supporting Actor
Joined
May 25, 2001
Messages
657
I think the test is absurd, if we can't test the amplifiers at their limits, what's the point of the test?

I know, to see if there is a "sonic signature", or sonic differences due to the topology of the design, or something like that.

But for me this is like comparing a Ferrari with a Yugo, only that we most use the same seat on both cars, be unable to see or hear the engine or smell any difference and then asked to tell if we can perceive a difference in both cars running at 20MPH on a good paved road with no curves.
 

Gabriel_Lam

Screenwriter
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Mar 7, 2002
Messages
1,402
Or like comparing two different kinds of fruit purely by taste, only we cannot see the fruit, cannot smell the fruit, and the fruit is cut into exactly the same size, shape, and the more moist one is dried so that the moisture & texture levels are the same. Sounds pretty easy if there's a "huge" difference.
 

Seth_L

Screenwriter
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Apr 5, 2002
Messages
1,553
I think the test is absurd, if we can't test the amplifiers at their limits, what's the point of the test?
Manuel I would stagger that most of the people here aren't testing the limits of their amplifiers on a daily basis. Even when you're listening to a movie at reference volume if you've properly sized your amps They're not breaking a sweat. So if typical conditions don't test the limits of the amplifier why test them under such grueling conditions?

Test a QSC PLX3402 against a boutique amp. If your speakers can sucessfully test the limits of the QSC then the boutique amp will have given up already, or you'll be deaf. QSC PLX series amps are stable under just about any driving conditions you can create. This includes reactive loads. If 1100Wx2 into 4 ohms at .05% THD isn't sufficient I'm not sure who makes an amp that can drive the load in question. Odds are the electrical circuit that you have the amp plugged into will give out before the amp. The amp can draw 39A from a 120VAC line when delivering all it's power into twin 4 ohm loads.

Seth
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
Messages
21
Hi all,

Good to see we are having a healthy debate – as it should be, afterall why should be believe certain amps are best because it was claimed by the manufacturer or audiophile to be so, right?
Anyone who says “ampX” is better than “ampY” because it has “better imaging” should be able to PROVE it. Otherwise you should make such statements.

I’d like to clarify a couple of things:
The “rules” were originally written for Car audio amps, it is old and needs a little updating because it has been brought to home audio as well.
Firstly, you don’t have to be in the industry to take the challenge, ANYONE can take it if they are confident of their ability. ALL commercial amps are allowed – NO LIMITATIONS, if you have a $100k super amp, test it against a “cheap” amp. I think clipping should be allowed because it wouldn’t prove that amp A is better than amp B by virtual of better design and “super imaging” attributes that are claimed, rather than AMP just has more power than amp B. e.g a lot of expensive tube amps are only 10-15watts, so comparing power only isn’t fair on the tube amps. We are after differences in SOUND QUALITY – that’s where all the fuss is!

On to preliminary: The preliminary process is to judge if you are wasting your time due to things like “partial deafness” – e.g if you can hear the difference within +- 1db in volume. If you pass this (6 out of 6) then you take the important A/B sound quality test.
Remember in the A/B test, it can be done on your own speaker, cables, amps, lounge chair, you can supply everything – he has done this to extinguish *excuses* people make after they fail the test using his equipments.

If you feel like 12 out of 12 is too tough, then you can reduce it down to 6 out of 6 – but people who boasts greatness about their amps and are confident enough to turn it from a “challenge” into a “bet” – your money against his. Hey if you swear your amp is THAT MUCH BETTER, then how hard could 6 out of 6 be right?

This is what he has to say recently:


i'll take a challenger that thinks he has the worlds best home amp up against a run of the mill car audio amp any day of the week------whats so special about "high end" home amps-------nothing except that the marketing BS is deeper--------tell them to pack em up and "come on down"----------i guess you havent read about the challenge i did with the company that makes high end tube amps------"single ended triodes"-------i made that challenge $45K------with the requirement only 6 out of 6 against a commercial grade Crown DC-300--------and they lost!!!!!----- it wasn't my normal challenge------the sales manager visited our CD plant and commented that we could improve our studios if we upgraded our amps-------i told him i didn't believe it would make any difference------i stated that if he could show me that he could show me that he could hear the difference in his amps ( i believe they were 15K a stero pair) that i would buy them for all three of our mastering studios-------that would have been 45K-------i actually took a signed purchase order with me and laid it on the coffee table before the test------we did the test in his own listening room on his own equipment using LP records!!!!!!(you know cause vinyl is superior to CD's)------after only 4 or 5 tries he gave up and admitted he could not tell a difference--------if i remember correctly Manvill's wife Ellen was there and witnessed the entire thing.......... we did the test in his house on his personal system-------if you know them ask around------it is not possible for him to forget this even though i can see why he might want to...........RC


“Manvill” (Smith) referred to is Head Technical at JL audio, one of the leaders in CarAudio equipments.

Yep so he’ll also do a “top-of-the-line” home amp against a “run-of-the-mill” car amp, or any combinations of it.
Hope that clears one or two things!
 
Joined
Oct 31, 2002
Messages
21
To answer the question about where it can be done:

Well normally – you go to his company, he has some of the most expensive equipments that you and I could only dream of owning – speakers, amps ect….ALSO he has some of the “budget” stuff. If you want to use his equipments - OR to save on all the *excuses*, you are welcomed to bring your own.

As you read my previous post, if the challenge is BIG enough, he’ll go to your place. But because he is very busy, no time wasters – ONLY serious people! (Read my previous post). But hey if you are confident, spend a grab yourself a plane ticket, take the challenge and win $10k – after expenses, you’ll still end up with $9k profit atleast. It shouldn’t take more than a couple of hours, but if you fear “listening fatigue”, take all the time you need to complete the challenge or come back another day when you are fresh! How often do you get to profit $8-9k from listening to music for an hour or two.


The way claims are made, as if it’s like “night” and “day” – Should it take longer than 1-2 hours to pick 6 out of 6 or 12/12?

And again, ALL COMMERCIAL AMPS ARE PERMITTED. Krell and Mcintosh – he has the lot at his company – bring your own or use his.

There’s a good reason why non-dynamic speakers are not allowed – Think about it in terms of manufacturer’s claims and think about ALL amp designs. It is clearly better to use dynamic speakers.

[edit]
One more than, the reason why the "challenge" must be at least 12/12 is because he wanted to eliminated the possibility of a complete fluke...it's bound to happen that someone could win it by accident. Again those who can HEAR differences shouldn't need the possibility of fluking through.
[edit]
 

Guy Usher

Supporting Actor
Joined
Oct 20, 2002
Messages
780
You won't catch me going 200 mph in a YUGO. . . Why do all these tweakers hate double blind test... You know why. . .
 

Lin Park

Second Unit
Joined
Jan 31, 1999
Messages
286
Let me get this straight: he says there is virtually NO difference between amps but that there is a chance that someone could get lucky 6 straight times but NOT 12 straight times? Riiiiiiiiiigggght.

Lin
 

RobertR

Executive Producer
Senior HTF Member
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Dec 19, 1998
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10,665
he says there is virtually NO difference between amps but that there is a chance that someone could get lucky 6 straight times but NOT 12 straight times? Riiiiiiiiiigggght.
Despite your sarcasm, he's right in saying that the odds of getting it right 12 straight times due to sheer luck are very low, and that the odds of being lucky 6 times in a row are much higher. Randomly getting an A/B choice correct is the equivalent of a coin toss. You are aware that the odds of having a coin toss come up heads 6 times in a row (1 out of 64) are MUCH higher than having it happen 12 times in a row (1 out of 4096), yes?
 

Craig_Kg

Supporting Actor
Joined
Feb 25, 2002
Messages
768
Why doesn't someone in Burlington just give it a go? They'd have nothing to lose (except face).
I'd be rollingup with a different amp every week
 

Andre D

Stunt Coordinator
Joined
Oct 5, 2001
Messages
70
Despite your sarcasm, he's right in saying that the odds of getting it right 12 straight times due to sheer luck are very low, and that the odds of being lucky 6 times in a row are much higher. Randomly getting an A/B choice correct is the equivalent of a coin toss. You are aware that the odds of having a coin toss come up heads 6 times in a row (1 out of 64) are MUCH higher than having it happen 12 times in a row (1 out of 4096), yes?
You took the words right out of my mouth. It's just it funny that everyone is so quick to dismiss the challenge when it makes a lot of sense.
 

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