Audible Component Differences...A Nousaine Story

Chu Gai

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The following story was recounted by Tom Nousaine. So should you tweak?


 

Kevin C Brown

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Chu- I really hate info like that. Makes me re-think "upgrades".
 

Lewis Besze

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Yeah I remeber this story I think it was published in Stereo Review,or it's successor[S&V].
My favorite was when Nousaine burned several cds to various people[some were audiophiles],he intentinally dithered the signal to introduce distorsion,then burnt it to several CD-Rs.He also made the same song bit perfect copies on the same CD-Rs for reference.First he didn't tell what was the difference,and some actually did preffered the distorted copies.The subjects were free to use any CD player in their posessions,and were invited to take them home and spend considerable time with it.Then he revealed that one of copy of the song was altered cosiderably,but didn't reveal which.
None of the contestant could reliably "guess" which one was the altered song.
 

Yogi

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Which means people can't distinguish between clean and distorted sound in a true DBT, right?
 

Chu Gai

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It simply means that some things don't have an effect even when compounded. How often do we read in reviews from the snotty, my system is just so revealing and don't you wish you had all this stuff so you'd be cool too and I take every precaution posssible to not contaminate my signal, critics about the spectacular benefits to be realized from something or other? To bolster their supposed credentials, they list their attached equipment (stuff you'll never be able to afford but ya wants to!) as some sort of figure of merit much in the same way that scientists who publish in peer reviewed journals list their equipment, sources, calibrations, etc. For example, look at this equipment vitae from 6moons for their review of the Silverline Bolero speakers.
Well god damn! These guys must really know audio, huh?

Nousaine broke every rule with the Geek system. Junk interconnects, wrapping speaker wire around power cords, preamps and amps that you'd find in the salvation army junk bin, you name it.

He also broke a couple of other rules. He level matched. He then tossed a blanket over the connecting wires. Now does Tom get his blanket from the Navaho reservations and have it impregnated with peyote and mescaline to dull the senses and render the listener's ears insensitive? Or is Tom pointing out that if you focus on what's important you can get a kick-ass system even if you're on a budget?
 

Angelo.M

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Chu:

There are 2 important tweaks conspicuously absent from Nousaine's rig that would have absolutely, unquestionably and indisputable transformed his system into a thing of unparalleled beauty, revealing the essence, the substance, the liquidity, the fundamental truth of 2-channel performance itself, placing the performers in the room with you, with a soundstage as wide as one's imagingation.

I think you already know what they are:



and

 

Chu Gai

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Think how good that beer will taste when it's resting on a chilled Shakti stone. Makes me thirsty even this early in the morning.
 

Bill Blank

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Kind of along the lines of Angelo's response, I find a six pack of one of the local brewery's (Victory) beers often improves the sound of my system 10-fold.

Bill
 

Lewis Besze

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This wasn't a DBT people used their own rig or anybody's they choose.The only thing they could rely on was their "ear".
 

Kevin_R_H

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Chu,

Well, I would be hesitant to quote Tom Nousaine. I mean, I really question the audio credentials of anyone who would use the words "high-end" and "Bryston" in the same sentence.

Kevin

P.S. - just kidding...
 

Rich Wenzel

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you know, i have very mixed feelings about this....

first off, i agree DBT's are very valuable. I also think they are not 100% conclusive.

If none of this stuff makes any difference, the only things we should look at are features and reliability...

if that is the case, how does this industry exist?

why do i bother with anything but the cheapest stuff?

Why are their class A, A/B, B, D, H etc amps? Do they all sound the same?

I don't know the answer. I will eagerly accept that DBT's should be used as a form of ordering, i.e., what makes the biggest difference to my sound quality, but if I am willing to accept them as fact and all inclusive, there is no reason for brands like BAT, CJ, etc...And I am not willing to do that, yet.

V
 

Wayde_R

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I've done a DBT not long ago.

I was prone to believe the CD using digi outs did practically nothing audible for the sound quality. In the store my friend had a $2000 single disc cd player (forget the brand something like Monsoon) and a $100 changer being sold in the back room used. Both connected to the same system playing the same CD.

The best I can describe is one kinda sorta almost seemed to sort of have a "different" sound to it, but I wouldn't have called it "better". I couldn't possibly conclude that one favoured the mid-highs or anything intelligent like that. I really don't know if I even heard a difference or imagined it.

But if these were different speakers and amps I'm sure there would be a difference.
 

RobWil

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That Victory Hop Devil is superb!
 

Chu Gai

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first off, i agree DBT's are very valuable. I also think they are not 100% conclusive.
Anything poorly done will give spurious results. This wasn't a DBT per se, just some rudimentary level matching and a blanket. Quite remarkable don't you think that this levels the playing field?

If none of this stuff makes any difference, the only things we should look at are features and reliability...
Says who? What about...
ease of use
service
availability
resale value
appearance
preferences for a certain methodology
status
bragging rights
exclucivity
warranty
add whatever you want

if that is the case, how does this industry exist?
Same way lots of industries exist like cosmetics, shampoos, bottled water, sugar, salt...marketing and advertising with hopefully bona fide science making sense of it all.

why do i bother with anything but the cheapest stuff?
Because of items that I listed above for starters. Because you're human. Because as your disposable income goes up so does your appreciation or desire for things that reflect upon it. Would Emeril serve his creations on Chinet and Wallmart plates?
But consider for the moment the persons who post here and elsewhere and they're looking for a soup to nuts system for say $2k. Maybe less. Now if he drops $200 on interconnects when he could've done it for $50 and he drops $400 for some Monster Power Conditioner when he could've done $50 for an Isobar and he drops $600 on a CD player when he could've got a pretty decent all-in-one for say $200, then there ain't a hell of a lot left over for speakers and a receiver is there? What about some prudent thinking here? He's left with $800 going the 'everything matters route and with the other approach, he's got $1700. Do some careful refurb receiver shopping, maybe a used SVS and he's got a pretty fair amount of cash to drop on some nice speakers. Maybe enough for a case of beer and pizza to have his friends over.
When you've got tons of money, you just don't care anymore. When you're on a budget, with a mortgage, kids, rising taxes, planning for retirement, things get a little more real.
 

Bill Blank

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Indeed it is, though I prefer their Golden Monkey, a 9.5% Belgian Tripel. Lately I've been on a Whirlwind Whitbier kick seeing it's spring time and all.

Best part is the brewery is one block down the street should I need another 6-pack!!

Bill
 

Wayde_R

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So, Chu. Would you say you subscribe to Nousaine's objectivist audio philosophy?

He has a list of 16 audio urban legends. Is there anywhere this is in print on line so I can read it? I'm interested in this "attitude".

I've often wondered what planet audio reviewers are on when they describe a $7,000 surround processor/pre-amp pretty good "for-the-money". I love/hate that phrase "for the money" to me it's lazy writing, no more than a nod and wink to their colleagues and it relieves the writer of the responsibility of expressing himself.

If I spend $7K on a single component they better open a new proctology wing at the local hospital cause it's going to kick some serious arse.
 

Yogi

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But from what you are saying the CDs were unlabelled sort of like in a DBT and they were allowed to play them in whatever system they liked. So with respect to the recording this was a double blind test because none of the subjects knew which recording was which. They were administering the test onto themselves without knowing which was the 'good' and which was the 'bad' recording, so in essence this was a DBT, since all bias was eliminated between the test taker and the test giver, right?
 

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