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Old 6th January 2013, 01:23 PM   #111
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Originally Posted by john curl View Post
My way is listening only. Think about it. It is just a variation in blind testing that WORKS!
No its not. You HAVE TO KNOW what you're listening to, before you can decide which is best.

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Old 6th January 2013, 01:30 PM   #112
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The simple fact is that people have the right to choose; some choices are more expensive than others; that will never change.
It is the most precious right. Everywhere this right ceases to exist, you find much bigger problems than who's paying too much for what.
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Old 6th January 2013, 01:53 PM   #113
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Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
Cynical, moi?
I don't doubt that some manufacturers do just this. The brand linked in the first post of this thread make no qualms about using the eval board from their dac chip supplier as the basis of their dac. Some brands do however invest thousands of man hours in designing their own pcb's and writing their own software for their dacs, and I applaud their effort. Examples of every type can be found if one is willing to look.
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Old 6th January 2013, 02:08 PM   #114
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My view is that this whole arguement is sterile. It cannot get anywhere because the comparisons being made are between turnips and apples! The simple fact is that people have the right to choose; some choices are more expensive than others; that will never change.
I'm sure you're right, and what others choose to spend their money on is not really anything we should be bothered about.

What I do find a problem, however, is that the megabucks aspect means that the whole hobby becomes contaminated with spurious stuff, and the fundamental stuff goes out of the window. The fact that people are prepared to spend $5000 on a DAC (based on a $5 chip), say, feeds back via simplistic Econ101 thinking to make it seem as though a homebrew DAC costing $200 must have something wrong with it, and should therefore have its cost bumped up dramatically with the inclusion of some exotic parts and materials. With circular logic, the very fact these materials cost so much and are purchased is then taken to mean that they really do transform the sound. Basically, the hobby has just become an extension of commercial audio marketing, and the stuff designed and built on a shoestring budget is automatically assumed to be inferior.

I tentatively suggest an example from another discussion. You might have thought that the world of DSP (e.g. active crossover) software was one area immune from fanciful marketing: basically, once it's been designed, the most marvellous processing filters etc. can be reproduced at literally zero cost. PCs are massively powerful and cheap, and high quality sound cards used in professional recording studios don't cost much, either. PCs are complete music sources in themselves (CD, SACD, DVD audio, FLAC downloads etc. etc.) with no issues to do with jitter* and sample rates. The ingredients are there, in other words, for the only area of interest to be the actual filtering itself - the interesting bit. But in a masochistic move, the DIY fraternity has decided that:

(a) PCs and sound cards are cheap and therefore inferior to dedicated DSP boards
(b) The mathematical equivalence between convolution in the time domain and multiplication in the frequency domain is somehow not true.

The result is that convolution must be carried out using brute force methods, which needs mega-processing power. A PC could still do it, but they are forbidden in the 'high end'. The only solution is to buy racks of high-powered DSP cards with elaborate solutions to the problems of differing sample clocks and so on. Suddenly what was an interesting technical and mathematical discussion turns into the fetishisation of ever-more expensive hardware. Where there were almost literally no limits on what could be done, in terms of filter size, and so on, using a standard PC, the mathematical aspect turns into one of how to optimise and compromise the filtering in order to fit it into whatever DSP processing power is available. The really fundamental discussions are lost in the noise.

* The PC, audio stream, and DACs are slave to the sound card's sample clock which becomes the only source of jitter. If the card's measurements show it to be truly ultra-low noise, then it unambiguously is.
 
Old 6th January 2013, 02:11 PM   #115
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Let me again explain my listening techniques that work (for me) so that people will not be too confused:
IF you take two (or more sometimes) sources, each amplitude and frequency response matched to each other, and randomly label them X, Y, Z or A, B, C or L, M, N etc. Randomize them somehow, with a live tester or computer, whatever.
Then you give the listener a choice. A or B, X or Y or Z or whatever.
Then they chose which they prefer in some listening test, next best, and finally the least acceptable.
I once did this very test in Japan for HK, with 3 unknown (to me) sources. I had NO CONTROL over the test. I gave the order of my preference. They were stunned: 'He can hear differences!' 'OF COURSE I can hear differences', I replied, 'It's my job.'
Now this was 35 years ago, I would be a little easier on myself in a challenge like this, today. Now I am 70 years old, and I still hear differences, but not as easily, so I often let others chose for me.
I do have an advantage over many new designers:
I have accumulated enough experience in 'what works' that I don't have to reinvent a new listening test, every time I make something. I use what worked before, with perhaps a few changes. Works for me.
 
Old 6th January 2013, 02:22 PM   #116
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Then you give the listener a choice. A or B, X or Y or Z or whatever.
Then they chose which they prefer in some listening test, next best, and finally the least acceptable.
Thanks for the explanation, John. But I hope that you can see the obvious flaw in this method. At least as I understand your description.
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Old 6th January 2013, 02:35 PM   #117
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Not everyone deals in subtleties, Jan. And few have your depth of knowledge or experience. The less you know, the easier it is to have an opinion. That's life.

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I don't see it as being any different to "high end" handbags... Why would a woman spend $3000 on a hand bag...
And you can tell her until you're blue in the face that the $300 handbag is not better than the cheap one, does not make her look better, does not transform her. You'll be wasting your breath. As Jan said, some people already "know" - and there is simply no telling them otherwise. Hi-Fi, like handbags, can be a fetish item.
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Old 6th January 2013, 03:00 PM   #118
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I don't see it as being any different to "high end" handbags.
The big difference is that the woman with an expensive handbag, and its designer, are unlikely to claim that it reduces the mass of the contents thus making them easier to carry and it brings out the true colour of the lipstick (which remain masked by 'ordinary' handbags).

At least we know that the purpose of an expensive handbag is to show that the bearer can afford to buy it, or have it bought for her. It may be beautiful or ugly or just plain peculiar, but it will carry the designer's name or logo so that rich people (and people who think they are rich, and people who would like to be rich) will know they are supposed to praise it for it's 'elegant' design. Of course, next year they will praise something completely different because this year's design will then be "so last year!".
 
Old 6th January 2013, 03:03 PM   #119
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The only way to REALLY save money is TRUE DIY.

By that I mean don't buy anything ready made.

For example:-

If you were trying to DIY an amplifier, the expensive parts are the transformer, the heatsinks, the capacitors and the chassis.

OK.Not much you can do about 1,2 or 3 unless you buy second hand, but TRUE DIYers build their own chassis.

PCBs. Make your own for a fraction of the cost of buying them.

Nelson Pass has opened up a whole DIY industry of STUNNING amplifiers that can be built fairly cheaply at home.

There is a good industry in Gain Clone amplifiers that can easilly be built DIY.

As soon as you vector in anything that is unique or custom made the cost starts to rocket.
 
Old 6th January 2013, 03:18 PM   #120
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The big difference is that the woman with an expensive handbag, and its designer, are unlikely to claim that it reduces the mass of the contents thus making them easier to carry and it brings out the true colour of the lipstick (which remain masked by 'ordinary' handbags).
Really? Are you sure? You can't be talking about any women I know.
The more expensive the handbag, the thinner and prettier it makes you look.
(Men have similar reactions to leather jackets)
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