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Sanity Check


Ron Scubadiver
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59 minutes ago, Ron Scubadiver said:

http://matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

 

Next time you have a GAS attack, go to the above link for a sanity check.  It's a blind test where one side was a cheap class AB amp, $5 interconnects and a consumer disk player.   The other side was some expensive audiophile gear.  There was no statistically significant preference for either setup.  They don't mention this, but the level controls on the A500 are known to measure terribly, and they had to be used because there was no line stage in use.

 

I read so much BS related to this hobby.  The two most inflammatory subjects these days are wires/cables/interconnects and MQA.  Who do you believe?  Your money might be better spent taking your honey out to dinner.

 

 

Thanks for this!  I'm not sure this will eliminate future GAS attacks for me (as those are rooted more in wanton consumerism), but it certainly puts things in perspective.  I suspect most "believers" in high end gear will find reasons to disregard the results of this test.  In other words, you're probably preaching to the choir.  But I still appreciate the post!

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1 hour ago, Ron Scubadiver said:

http://matrixhifi.com/ENG_contenedor_ppec.htm

 

Next time you have a GAS attack, go to the above link for a sanity check.  It's a blind test where one side was a cheap class AB amp, $5 interconnects and a consumer disk player.   The other side was some expensive audiophile gear.  There was no statistically significant preference for either setup.  They don't mention this, but the level controls on the A500 are known to measure terribly, and they had to be used because there was no line stage in use.

 

I read so much BS related to this hobby.  The two most inflammatory subjects these days are wires/cables/interconnects and MQA.  Who do you believe?  Your money might be better spent taking your honey out to dinner.

 

 

Is the A500 you mention the Behringer A500 power amp, that can be had for less than $200? I had a pair of them (bridged) but I have used them in the stereo mode as well. I have, like you, read that the level controls on the amps measure terribly, but I've never heard anything untoward when using them. Actually, the A500 is a pretty good SS amp. It's built like a brick outhouse and is pretty bulletproof, plus it sounds fine. Perhaps not the last word in resolution (, but certainly it is better than many amps and good enough to get someone started down the path to good sound.  

 

Here is an excerpt from the results of a DBT test to which I was party back in 2010. A number of us were asked to participate in a fairly formal DBT of power amplifiers that was sanctioned by the then local audiophile club. One member brought his 220WPC Mark Levinson  No. 33H mono blocks, and another brought a then new Audio Research HD220. I supplied a pair of Behringer A500s and a pair of Denon POA6600A mono blocks (built under license to Nelson Pass using his "Stasis" circuit) just for fun. After the main shoot-outs, we decided to "contrast" the Behringers and the Denons against the Mark-Levinsons just for the hell of it. Here is an abbreviated result of that "test"......

 

Next in the DBT, we tried the Behringer A500 amps. These amps produces 250 Watts/channel each into 4 ohms and its street price is only $199! It is designed in Germany and manufactured in China and seems very ruggedly built, but it cost next to nothing compared to the Mark Levinson 33H amps ($24K/pair) against which the Behringers were pitted. In fact it is the cheapest power amp, I've seen – or listened to since the early sixties when a pair of Dyna Mark III 60 Watt/channel monoblocks were about $200/pair (and cheaper as kits). Differences here were again, that the MLs (we suspect) had better bass, and slightly smoother, more silken highs, but as with the Audio Research unit, this showed itself more in the character of the reproduced tape hiss than it did on the music. On some samples of music, the ability to detect any difference was reduced to blind chance levels. To say that we were all totally blown away by this experience is an understatement (especially for the chap who owned the No. 33H MLs). What we did notice is that in our host's huge listening room, both the Denons and the Behringer started to get more congested sounding at very high volume levels where the Mark Levinsons did not. This characteristic would never show itself in, say, my listening situation, where my room is less than 1/3 the volume of our host's listening room and where my proximity to neighbors also limits my allowable listening levels.

 

Conclusion

 

Some well meaning and knowledgeable audiophiles and writers (Peter Aczel, for one) have taken the stand that all correctly operating modern solid-state power amps should sound exactly the same when operated within each amp's normal parameters (I.E. not clipping). I feel that our experiments that Sunday show conclusively that differences in amplifiers - even contemporary ones with similar specifications, do exist, but in the final analysis, these differences are not that great, and ultimately not really all that important. All of the amps we ran in this double-blind test were eminently listenable and musical (even the Dynaco, if one keeps in mind its crossover notch distortion which shows itself at very low listening levels). All in attendance that day allowed that they could happily live with any of them and this included our Mark Levinson owner (although he said that with his big listening room (apparently bigger, even, than our host's), he needed the extra headroom afforded by the Mark Levinsons’ prodigious power supplies). Everyone was blown away by the Berhinger A500 and several doubted my veracity about the unit's cost (or, rather, lack of it). Our host's laptop (Google is your friend) settled that in a hurry! I suspect that more than one of our participants went home that evening and ordered one (or more) of the Behringer units. I know that our host that day bought two for his SACD surround experiment!

 

 

 

 

George

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Yes the famous chair test that gets trotted out by hardcore objectivists. The test was interesting but not for the purposes of proving the sameness of audio gear but rather how the stress of these kinds of tests degrades people's listening discernment. Unless you are a serious non-audiophile of the most toxic sort you can at least admit amps and DACs can sound significantly different from one another.

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4 minutes ago, GUTB said:

Yes the famous chair test that gets trotted out by hardcore objectivists. The test was interesting but not for the purposes of proving the sameness of audio gear but rather how the stress of these kinds of tests degrades people's listening discernment. Unless you are a serious non-audiophile of the most toxic sort you can at least admit amps and DACs can sound significantly different from one another.

 

Ahhhh. The old "I can turn invisible only if no one is watching"

 

That trope never gets worn out9_9

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1 hour ago, gmgraves said:

Is the A500 you mention the Behringer A500 power amp, that can be had for less than $200?

Yes.

 

1 hour ago, gmgraves said:

Some well meaning and knowledgeable audiophiles and writers (Peter Aczel, for one) have taken the stand that all correctly operating modern solid-state power amps should sound exactly the same when operated within each amp's normal parameters (I.E. not clipping). I feel that our experiments that Sunday show conclusively that differences in amplifiers - even contemporary ones with similar specifications, do exist, but in the final analysis, these differences are not that great, and ultimately not really all that important. 

 

 

 

 

 

The only real problem that I know of with the A500 is it lacks relays, so it has turn on and off transient noises.

 

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15 minutes ago, GUTB said:

Yes the famous chair test that gets trotted out by hardcore objectivists. The test was interesting but not for the purposes of proving the sameness of audio gear but rather how the stress of these kinds of tests degrades people's listening discernment. Unless you are a serious non-audiophile of the most toxic sort you can at least admit amps and DACs can sound significantly different from one another.

I must be toxic, because the only time I ever heard a significant difference was when an aging unit which was undoubtedly in need of major work was replaced with something new.  As for the stress argument, it is the one raised the most often by those opposed to blind testing. I have never seen so much as a quantum of proof that is going on.

 

It's possible to screw up a blind test with bad source material.  

 

I am a firm believer the differences in speakers overwhelm the differences in everything else put together in a digital playback chain.  Life is different in vinyl land.  Bad recordings sound bad no matter what and probably sound better on $5 earbuds while riding mass transit.

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2 minutes ago, Ron Scubadiver said:

I must be toxic, because the only time I ever heard a significant difference was when an aging unit which was undoubtedly in need of major work was replaced with something new.  As for the stress argument, it is the one raised the most often by those opposed to blind testing. I have never seen so much as a quantum of proof that is going on.

 

GUTB is the only here who believes that people who don't share his "unique" worldview are toxic. 

Sometimes it's like someone took a knife, baby
Edgy and dull and cut a six inch valley
Through the middle of my skull

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They misspelled the word "conclusion" twice in the last paragraph:

 

"Well, we think that each can reach to its own conclussion..."

 

Were they as sloppy with their research methods?

 

Was the research conducted by the University of jackoffs?

 

"Don't believe everything you read" sounds appropriate right now...

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1 hour ago, Ron Scubadiver said:

Yes.

 

 

The only real problem that I know of with the A500 is it lacks relays, so it has turn on and off transient noises.

 

I must admit that it's been awhile since I had these amps, but I don't remember on/off transient noises. Have you actually heard these from an A500 or are you speculating based on the lack of relay delay?

George

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46 minutes ago, Indydan said:

They misspelled the word "conclusion" twice in the last paragraph:

 

"Well, we think that each can reach to its own conclussion..."

 

Were they as sloppy with their research methods?

 

Was the research conducted by the University of jackoffs?

 

"Don't believe everything you read" sounds appropriate right now...

Lots of spelling errors and illiteracies, but plenty of smart, accomplished people can't write a straight sentence, so I wouldn't read too much into the writing "style" of this piece.

George

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3 minutes ago, gmgraves said:

Lots of spelling errors and illiteracies, but plenty of smart, accomplished people can't write a straight sentence, so I wouldn't read too much into the writing "style" of this piece.

 

They are from Spain, so not native English speaker/writer.

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1 hour ago, GUTB said:

Yes the famous chair test that gets trotted out by hardcore objectivists. The test was interesting but not for the purposes of proving the sameness of audio gear but rather how the stress of these kinds of tests degrades people's listening discernment. Unless you are a serious non-audiophile of the most toxic sort you can at least admit amps and DACs can sound significantly different from one another.

That depends upon your definition of "significantly different". One person might say that the difference between two components might be night and day with one being audio nirvana while the other is pure excrement. Another listener might find those same differences inconsequential.

George

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