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Best Speakers, Amp, Pre-amp, Turntable, phono cart? (Page 6)
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zigzag
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Jul 14, 2005, 07:10 PM
 
I knew as soon as I mentioned that article that everybody would say "Oh, that's crazy, they must have been listening through cardboard speakers / they're a bunch of tin ears / I can hear the difference easily / I have golden ears, etc." In other words, completely ignore what the test clearly shows: that under controlled conditions, using extremely high-resolution playback equipment, a team of 14 highly-qualified subjects could not hear the difference. How much evidence do you need? If this were a test of wrinkle creams, you'd all be saying, "Well sure, we all know that wrinkle creams don't work, this test demonstrates it!" It's a very straightforward test.

Here's what's funny: Why is it so hard for you guys to accept these results? Why not say, "Oh that's interesting, I wasn't aware of that," as you would do with the results of any other test? Why not say, "Cool, I can fit more songs on my iPod without hearing a difference!" I know the answer: your egos won't let you. You will all die making sure everyone thinks that you can hear the difference, no matter what, and they will be saying, "Who gives a ****?"
     
Y3a  (op)
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Jul 14, 2005, 08:29 PM
 
I've seen other tests conducted where they could hear the differences. WHO IS RIGHT??
     
budster101
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Jul 14, 2005, 08:31 PM
 
Well, since those testing the equipment have nothing to gain, and those who sell the equipment have everything to gain, I'd lean towards not being able to tell the difference.

Follow the money.
Would low end or mid range companies finance a study to benefit them ahead of high end? Why?
No market gain really.
     
Sherwin
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Jul 14, 2005, 08:36 PM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
Here's what's funny: Why is it so hard for you guys to accept these results? Why not say, "Oh that's interesting, I wasn't aware of that," as you would do with the results of any other test? Why not say, "Cool, I can fit more songs on my iPod without hearing a difference!" I know the answer: your egos won't let you.
Wrong. I don't accept those results because I, and many others around me, can clearly hear a difference.

Perhaps it would be a good time to explain that I've been a professional record producer for twenty years and a music tech professor for four? You and your article are wrong. Period.

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analogika
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Jul 14, 2005, 08:48 PM
 
btw, sherwin:

I take it you've read the journals of Mixerman?

http://www.mixerman.net/

abso****inglutely brilliant.
     
Sherwin
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Jul 14, 2005, 09:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by analogika
btw, sherwin:

I take it you've read the journals of Mixerman?
'Fraid not.
Bunch of industry anecdotes I guess? I love that kind of stuff but don't get to read much of it.
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analogika
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Jul 14, 2005, 09:22 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sherwin
'Fraid not.
Bunch of industry anecdotes I guess? I love that kind of stuff but don't get to read much of it.
Not quite.

It's an engineer's day-to-day diary of a "major" production of a newcomer band that goes horribly wrong in every single respect in a way that only big-money major productions can go wrong.

True story, apparently, and well-written.

Only the first half of the original album production session is available online for free; the rest is only available in the printed edition now.

It practically had me in stitches over the three days I spent every free minute on the web reading his account. My copy of the book is on the way across the pond.

Start reading, and get into the second week. Just trust me on this.

Start here: http://www.prosoundweb.com/recording/mm/week1/mm.php
     
Sherwin
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Jul 14, 2005, 09:33 PM
 
OK, thanks.

I'll start into that as soon as the cake turns up.
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zigzag
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Jul 14, 2005, 09:41 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sherwin
Wrong. I don't accept those results because I, and many others around me, can clearly hear a difference.

Perhaps it would be a good time to explain that I've been a professional record producer for twenty years and a music tech professor for four? You and your article are wrong. Period.

Perhaps it would be a good time to explain that that doesn't prove anything to me vis-a-vis your ability to hear the difference in a controlled test. The subjects in this study, with similar qualifications, assumed they could clearly hear a difference, which is why, apparently, they asked to participate (apparently this followed a larger but uncontrolled study that came to the same conclusions, and which audiophiles, predictably, rejected out of hand). And, apparently, they were all surprised to learn that they assumed wrong.

Your only challenge to the methodology thus far is that Germans have lousy ears. Is this true, analogika? Too much Hasselhoff?

I really don't care - if people claim to be able to hear the difference, fine. I just want to encourage other people to exercise a healthy degree of skepticism.
     
Sherwin
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Jul 14, 2005, 10:00 PM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
I just want to encourage other people to exercise a healthy degree of skepticism.
That we can agree on.
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Jul 15, 2005, 01:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
I really don't care - if people claim to be able to hear the difference, fine. I just want to encourage other people to exercise a healthy degree of skepticism.
Amen. I've got no problem with skepticism.
     
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Jul 15, 2005, 02:29 AM
 
Koala.
     
badidea
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Jul 15, 2005, 03:58 AM
 
Originally Posted by Railroader
I'm looking to spend $600 on a home theater receiver.

Please give me some recommendations.
HK 235
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Jul 15, 2005, 05:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
Yeah, right, you and Sherwin both have better ears than Deutsche Grammaphone's mastering engineer, listening through B&W 803s. I'm impressed!
They had a test in the Germen c't mag a while ago. They had a bunch of people, ranging from a member of a professional boys' choir, several singers (mostly classical music), professional sound engineers, etc. Even Mousse T was joining them. And for quality above 160 or 192 kBit (don't remember anymore), they weren't able to distinguish the various compressed formats from CD. Those guys could either choose to listen to high-end equipment (both speakers and headphones) or their own equipment.

If you know it's mp3, the human ear looks for the mistakes, but if you don't know it's compressed, it's basically impossible to distinguish them from the (uncompressed) original at higher rates.
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Sherwin
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Jul 15, 2005, 06:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
And for quality above 160 or 192 kBit (don't remember anymore), they weren't able to distinguish the various compressed formats from CD.
Keep going... We'll soon be at the "Germans can't tell the difference between a 64 kbps mp3 and a CD because they've all been listening to too much Hasselhoff".

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OreoCookie
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Jul 15, 2005, 06:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sherwin
Keep going... We'll soon be at the "Germans can't tell the difference between a 64 kbps mp3 and a CD because they've all been listening to too much Hasselhoff".

Would be good for us, coz we wouldn't need expensive gear … 

Or maybe that's why my setup is half British, half American (Wharfendale 70th anniversary speakers + an old Marantz quadrophonic receiver)
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effgee
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Jul 15, 2005, 06:41 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
Would be good for us, coz we wouldn't need expensive gear …
And now repeat after me: "Geiz ist geil, Geiz ist geil, ..."

     
Y3a  (op)
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Jul 15, 2005, 07:22 AM
 
The test could also prove that the equipment used was unable to reproduce the differences, instead of it being that the people couldn't hear the differences.
     
Sherwin
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Jul 15, 2005, 07:38 AM
 
Or maybe that they were listening for the wrong thing. One shouldn't be listening for artefacts but rather the energy across the whole spectrum. It's "fuzzier" but more "in your face" on an mp3. Less, umm, "clean" and "classy".

(hey, this is an audiophile thread, right? It's about time we started bring out the weird descriptions)
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badidea
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Jul 15, 2005, 07:42 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
Wharfendale 70th anniversary speakers
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Y3a  (op)
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Jul 15, 2005, 07:52 AM
 
Good Point Sherwin!

I guess they were trying to prove just how great an MP3 sounds, instead of finding the most realistic audio track and THEN finding out what they were listening to.

On a good system Vinyl will sound better than the CD of the same music because the waveforms haven't been chopped up into little pieces and turned into ones and zeros, and then put back with all the stuff missing between the reference points.

lemme See...

Is this the original digital version, or the MP3 digital version.
Wow!
See how the flaws in digital recordings are stiill audible in the MP3.....................
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 15, 2005, 08:38 AM
 
Originally Posted by badidea
I really like them, they don't have much bass (I keep my settings to pretty much neutral, no loudness), but for Jazz and classical music, they are wonderful. I can only recommend them.

Originally Posted by effgee
And now repeat after me: "Geiz ist geil, Geiz ist geil, ..."
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OreoCookie
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Jul 15, 2005, 08:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Y3a
Good Point Sherwin!

I guess they were trying to prove just how great an MP3 sounds, instead of finding the most realistic audio track and THEN finding out what they were listening to.

On a good system Vinyl will sound better than the CD of the same music because the waveforms haven't been chopped up into little pieces and turned into ones and zeros, and then put back with all the stuff missing between the reference points.

lemme See...

Is this the original digital version, or the MP3 digital version.
Wow!
See how the flaws in digital recordings are stiill audible in the MP3.....................
But analog sources have other problems, e. g. when a record has been played very often already, the waveforms gets etched out. Plus there is dust and dirt which can cause cracks and all that.

I think one thing people like you seem to forget is that the best quality you can get with any source is the quality of the record studio and the equipment involved. Compare old records (e. g. my parents' Best Of Beatles album or their Beatles Sessions albums) to what you can get now with digital studios.

Technically, we could always switch to SACDs or DVD-A if necessary, but for most people, it's not. I don't think you can (physically) see any difference between waveforms synthesized with 96 kHz+ resolution.

Plus, even if we assume you could make out a difference on extremely expensive gear and under good conditions and an audio track of sufficient quality (I figure that's hard to get), what good would that do for people with just an average stereo (= large majority)? Physically, if you cannot tell the difference on above-average setups between – say – analog and digital, what difference does it make? None. As a physicist, I would say, the source is good enough.

And the point of this study was not to show how great mp3s (or the other formats that were tested) are, but what difference it makes to people with trained ears as well as average users (they made a study open for everybody which was a shortened version of the test the pros did, the results were comparable), and for higher quality compressed audio, it was getting increasingly harder to distinguish (on their own setups, obviously).
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Y3a  (op)
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Jul 15, 2005, 09:20 AM
 
The point IS that the system they listened to is now suspect.

A top quality turntable, arm and cart playing a freshly opened high quality disk compared to a top line CD player and CD will still sound different because so much of the wave form is missing from the CD.
comparing a disk that was mastered and cut using 1960's technology and played a hundred times vs a newly re-mastered source and put to CD is NOT any kind of a test.

The best live mixing board in the late 70's and early 80's was the one specially built for Sheffield Labs. 56 inputs, passive EQ, and minimal effects bus usage. new Microphones, specially designed studio, and lots of checking and rechecking of the equipment. Tape units were Studer 1" 4 track units, and the cutting room had between 4 and 8 record cutting lathes, with specially built power amps to drive the cutters. they did NOT use limiters, or compressers. They carefully figured out how much music they could put on a side while still giving ample space between the grooves. They produced excellent quality LP's. Listen before you judge.

We are also NOT talking about 99.5 percent of the average joes who aren't experienced with top end audio equipment and are not sophisticated in that area, we are talking about those of us who DO hear the subtle differences.

I see that the names of these "pro's" still hasn't been revealed. Those who've listened to prolonged periods of LOUD music should be disqualified as they most likely have ear damage. those over 45 will suffer loss in range.
     
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Jul 15, 2005, 09:29 AM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
Well, what do you mean by "drive"? Do you mean provide adequate power, or do you mean "sounds better to you"? The former is certainly a variable - I didn't mean to suggest that all amps can drive the same loads. I'm assuming that in a blind test, the amps aren't being asked to drive unreasonable loads. I'm also assuming that the average consumer, like Railroader, isn't planning on driving Wilsons down to 20Hz. Even if we disagree about the more exotic stuff, I suspect you would agree that for his purposes, it makes no difference whether he buys an Adcom or a Sony or a Yamaha or a Kenwood or whatever - the components are probably all supplied by the same plants in Taiwan.
I mean DRIVE at theater levels, without clipping or audible distortion, in a 550 sq/ft room (12' ceilings), from 20Hz-20KHz. That takes a special kind of amp, especially for my pipe organ material. No run-of-the mill receiver can do that, I know, I've tried them. All of them clipped (most get knocked in "standby"), and you don't want that happening on a set of Wilsons.

FWIW, yes, I do recommend Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, and HK over brands like Sony or Kenwood. They're made better, will last longer, and those companies usually have much better CS for warranty or out of warranty repair. It's usually only $100-200 more, and it's money very well spent.
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zigzag
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Jul 15, 2005, 09:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by Y3a
The test could also prove that the equipment used was unable to reproduce the differences, instead of it being that the people couldn't hear the differences.
LOL - the test could also prove exactly what the results show: that however macho we might feel about our ears, for all practical purposes we can't hear the difference. That's the simplest and best explanation. Occam's Razor and all that.

Did you even read the article? Do you really think that using different components would've made the difference? According to you guys, the difference should be obvious. But it isn't. The only thing that's obvious to me is that audiophiles don't like to have their assumptions challenged.
     
Y3a  (op)
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Jul 15, 2005, 09:48 AM
 
So the system was perfect? LOL
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 15, 2005, 09:55 AM
 
Originally Posted by Y3a
The point IS that the system they listened to is now suspect.

A top quality turntable, arm and cart playing a freshly opened high quality disk compared to a top line CD player and CD will still sound different because so much of the wave form is missing from the CD.
comparing a disk that was mastered and cut using 1960's technology and played a hundred times vs a newly re-mastered source and put to CD is NOT any kind of a test.

The best live mixing board in the late 70's and early 80's was the one specially built for Sheffield Labs. 56 inputs, passive EQ, and minimal effects bus usage. new Microphones, specially designed studio, and lots of checking and rechecking of the equipment. Tape units were Studer 1" 4 track units, and the cutting room had between 4 and 8 record cutting lathes, with specially built power amps to drive the cutters. they did NOT use limiters, or compressers. They carefully figured out how much music they could put on a side while still giving ample space between the grooves. They produced excellent quality LP's. Listen before you judge.

We are also NOT talking about 99.5 percent of the average joes who aren't experienced with top end audio equipment and are not sophisticated in that area, we are talking about those of us who DO hear the subtle differences.

I see that the names of these "pro's" still hasn't been revealed. Those who've listened to prolonged periods of LOUD music should be disqualified as they most likely have ear damage. those over 45 will suffer loss in range.
One of them was Mousse T, another was a professional soprano. The youngest member was 12 (the member of the professional boys' choir), the oldest in the late 50s or so. One of the members was even blind. I'll look up the details at home if you wish, but those people were not average Joes by any means. The rig was also professional grade. A wide variety of music (among other things, classical music, electronic music, Jazz, pop and latin music) was used to put the compression algorithms to the test against a broad variety of material. They wanted to test claims coming from the audiophile community that they could tell the difference, and they (scientifically) proved them wrong.

To summarize what you have said before: only under very favorable conditions and assumptions, records may outperform digital sources (high-end setup, pristine-condition record with material coming from a certain period of time, i. e. pre-digital, but high-tech analog). Even if I assume this to be true, I think no record of a classical piece (just to pick an example) can beat the experience in a concert hall. So I don't think you gain much by any means.
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suvsr4terrorists
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Jul 15, 2005, 09:55 AM
 
You guys will believe whatever you want to believe. You're as bad as Christians.

"Here is a proof that god can't be all powerful. Here's proof that your bible was edited by constantine to remove all mention of reincarnation. Here's proof that the bible's original sources was something else. Here's proof that all the science in the bible was totally flat out wrong and ignorant"

"I understand what you're saying but it doesn't change anything I still believe in Jeebus."
     
OreoCookie
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Jul 15, 2005, 09:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Y3a
So the system was perfect? LOL
It works, because your ears are not perfect. So the waveforms are choppy and all that, but what good does it do if your ears are not sophisticated enough to detect the difference. MP3s and all other lossy formats I know of use physiological models to remove the information which is hard to detect by your brain.

So the weak point seems to be the ear which cannot be improved by any gear.
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zigzag
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by Y3a
Good Point Sherwin!

I guess they were trying to prove just how great an MP3 sounds, instead of finding the most realistic audio track and THEN finding out what they were listening to.
No - if you read the article, you'll see that the subjects were determined to demonstrate that they could hear the difference. That's why they volunteered - they were skeptical about the results of a previous study. And they couldn't hear the difference.
     
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:20 AM
 
i currently have an older HK AVR520 in my main home theater. works great for what i need and the size of the room.

i guess i should post some new photos; the room is done now (minus the last drapery, i friggin' hate sewing!!!) and so is the game room adjacent to it.
     
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:23 AM
 
Originally Posted by residentEvil
i currently have an older HK AVR520 in my main home theater. works great for what i need and the size of the room.

i guess i should post some new photos; the room is done now (minus the last drapery, i friggin' hate sewing!!!) and so is the game room adjacent to it.
Your theater was sick.
     
residentEvil
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:28 AM
 
Originally Posted by suvsr4terrorists
Your theater was sick.
the basement looks bad ass now. a little more work needs to be done (i have some seams along a concrete wall that need to be caulked and then clean again).

i'll take photos tonight.
     
zigzag
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by Y3a
So the system was perfect? LOL
1. I didn't say it was perfect. There's no such thing.
2. It wouldn't need to be perfect, it would only need to be good enough to reveal audible differences to well-trained ears. It was more than good enough to do that.
3. If all the golden ears here are to be believed, the differences should not only have been audible, but obvious. They were neither.

Sorry you don't like the results. When you come up with a plausible explanation for why the methodology was wrong, let us know.
     
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:39 AM
 
If it doesn't scare hippies, it's not worth listening to
     
zigzag
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:40 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
They had a test in the Germen c't mag a while ago. They had a bunch of people, ranging from a member of a professional boys' choir, several singers (mostly classical music), professional sound engineers, etc. Even Mousse T was joining them. And for quality above 160 or 192 kBit (don't remember anymore), they weren't able to distinguish the various compressed formats from CD. Those guys could either choose to listen to high-end equipment (both speakers and headphones) or their own equipment.

If you know it's mp3, the human ear looks for the mistakes, but if you don't know it's compressed, it's basically impossible to distinguish them from the (uncompressed) original at higher rates.
Yes, that's the test that I linked to on the previous page and that we've been discussing. No one seems to want to actually read it.
     
Sherwin
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Jul 15, 2005, 10:43 AM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
Yes, that's the test that I linked to on the previous page and that we've been discussing. No one seems to want to actually read it.
I read it. It's wrong.
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Jul 15, 2005, 11:02 AM
 
Originally Posted by MacNStein
I mean DRIVE at theater levels, without clipping or audible distortion, in a 550 sq/ft room (12' ceilings), from 20Hz-20KHz. That takes a special kind of amp, especially for my pipe organ material. No run-of-the mill receiver can do that, I know, I've tried them. All of them clipped (most get knocked in "standby"), and you don't want that happening on a set of Wilsons.
Like I said, I assume that in any comparison test, the amps aren't being asked to drive unreasonable loads. If I had a pair of Wilsons, I'd probably use Krells too.

FWIW, yes, I do recommend Yamaha, Denon, Onkyo, and HK over brands like Sony or Kenwood. They're made better, will last longer, and those companies usually have much better CS for warranty or out of warranty repair. It's usually only $100-200 more, and it's money very well spent.
In other words, you'd agree that they probably don't sound any different. As for service, I can't speak to that - I've never had a problem with any Sony product, while my $800 Denon DVD player tanked after a few years. But I attribute that pretty much to chance, I don't think one consumer brand is really any more robust than another, despite their reputations.
     
zigzag
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Jul 15, 2005, 11:07 AM
 
Originally Posted by Sherwin
I read it. It's wrong.
And, again, your basis for saying so, other than that Germans have lousy ears, is what exactly? Neither you nor Y3a have identified a single flaw in the methodology - you just keep saying that you know better. So thought the subjects of the study.
     
Sherwin
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Jul 15, 2005, 11:17 AM
 
My basis for saying so, ZigZag, is that I've got a pair of ears and personal experience tells me that I, and many other people, can hear the difference.
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Jul 15, 2005, 11:35 AM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
Yes, that's the test that I linked to on the previous page and that we've been discussing. No one seems to want to actually read it.
Sorry, missed that.

Originally Posted by Sherwin
My basis for saying so, ZigZag, is that I've got a pair of ears and personal experience tells me that I, and many other people, can hear the difference.
Well, I would dare you for a scientific experiment if I had that kind of setup at home.

Or if you think you can, just try to repeat the experiment for yourself. Take various pieces of music, encode them using a format of choice at – say – 128 kBit and 256 kBit (as in the article), burn it onto a cd and then compare it without knowing which source is what: compressed, uncompressed, data rate. (Knowing which one is which in advance doesn't count.)

I for one would be interested in the results.
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Sherwin
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Jul 15, 2005, 11:50 AM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
Well, I would dare you for a scientific experiment if I had that kind of setup at home.

I for one would be interested in the results.
Well, just go pop an album (let's say Hellbilly Deluxe by Rob Zombie - nice mix of energy and sounds) on your iTunes. Convert it. Pop the WAVs and MP3s into a playlist and pop it on random. Hang a pair of Apple Pro Speakers off the back and point 'em at your test subject. No need for any expensive speakers or set-up - most folks I know who can tell the difference (trained ears or not) can do it on almost any kind of setup.

I'd be surprised if even your Great Aunt Maude couldn't tell the difference.

You'll find better results from people who like quiet environments (i.e. someone who doesn't like iPod-provided background music all day) because those people tend to have better ear-to-brain interfaces.
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OreoCookie
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Jul 15, 2005, 12:13 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sherwin
Well, just go pop an album (let's say Hellbilly Deluxe by Rob Zombie - nice mix of energy and sounds) on your iTunes. Convert it. Pop the WAVs and MP3s into a playlist and pop it on random. Hang a pair of Apple Pro Speakers off the back and point 'em at your test subject. No need for any expensive speakers or set-up - most folks I know who can tell the difference (trained ears or not) can do it on almost any kind of setup.

I'd be surprised if even your Great Aunt Maude couldn't tell the difference.

You'll find better results from people who like quiet environments (i.e. someone who doesn't like iPod-provided background music all day) because those people tend to have better ear-to-brain interfaces.
I don't want to get into this too deeply, but I always felt ProSpeakers sound like crap. For years, I'm used to connect my computer to my stereo.

This is what neither, the public test with amateurs or the private test with professionals showed. (The statistics in the pro section was obviously not as good as in the public test.)

Personally, I felt that I could tell the difference between my current amp and the Sony one I gave away (it's much clearer now, even though the amp is older), same for the sound source, I `heard' the difference between the iPod's sucky headphone connector and my computer or CD player. I currently encode my songs in 192 kBit and that seems to be enough right now.
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Sherwin
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Jul 15, 2005, 12:26 PM
 
Originally Posted by OreoCookie
I don't want to get into this too deeply, but I always felt ProSpeakers sound like crap.
Yeah. They're crap in the grand scheme of things. But not half bad for what they are. The point was, if you're listening for the right cues it's possible to hear the difference even on lowly systems.
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Jul 15, 2005, 12:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by Sherwin
Yeah. They're crap in the grand scheme of things. But not half bad for what they are. The point was, if you're listening for the right cues it's possible to hear the difference even on lowly systems.
The thing is if I know it's an mp3, I can hear differences, too. If I would listen to them and I could switch back and forth, I would think I could make out the differences. But not knowing what the source is, I don't I could classify them correctly.
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Jul 15, 2005, 01:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by zigzag
In other words, you'd agree that they probably don't sound any different. As for service, I can't speak to that - I've never had a problem with any Sony product, while my $800 Denon DVD player tanked after a few years. But I attribute that pretty much to chance, I don't think one consumer brand is really any more robust than another, despite their reputations.
On the avg consumer's speakers, they probably wouldn't sound any better.

I do, however, think that some brands are more robust than others, especially Yamaha, Onkyo, Denon, and HK (all representing the "midrange"). Also, the extras, such as the remote, are better.
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Jul 16, 2005, 07:32 AM
 
I wonder if different digital decoders would have made a difference in what they heard? They were not trying to find the best source, just listening for the differences between digital formats. Big Deal.
     
 
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