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Author Topic:   Holt on Audio
muralman1
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posted November 29, 2007 04:44 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for muralman1   Click Here to Email muralman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
By John Atkinson and J. Gordon Holt • November, 2007
It was 45 years ago this month that the first issue of Stereophile, just 20 pages in length, went in the mail. It had been founded by one J. Gordon Holt. Gordon had been technical editor of High Fidelity magazine in the 1950s, and was tired of being asked to pander to the demands of advertisers. "I watched, first with incredulity and then with growing disgust, how the purchase of a year's advertising contract could virtually insure a manufacturer against publication of an unfavorable report," he said in a 1974 article looking back at those dark times. And if a company didn't buy advertising, they didn't get reviewed at all. The Stereophile, as it was then called, was Gordon's answer to audiophiles' need for an honest, reliable source of information. "Okay, if no one else will publish a magazine that calls the shots as it sees them, I'll do it myself," he later wrote.
The issue you hold in your hands is No.334, and the 252nd I have edited since I took over from Gordon as the magazine's editor in May 1986 (footnote 1). Gordon remained with us as Chief Tester until his resignation in August 1999, and I believe Stereophile still hews true to the goals he established in 1962: to review audio components by doing exactly what its purchasers will do—listen to them—and to publish the truth about what its writers hear and think. Gordon called 'em as he heard 'em: we still do and always will.

To celebrate Stereophile's 30th anniversary, Gordon gave a speech at a dinner the magazine hosted at the 1992 Consumer Electronics Show in Chicago. The text of that speech was reprinted in our September 1992 issue, and it makes for disturbing reading:

"We seem to have come to a tacit agreement that it's no longer necessary, or even desirable, for a home music system to sound like the real thing. We speak in hushed and reverent tones about reproducing the ineffable beauty of music, when in fact much real music is harsh and vulgar and ugly. We design the all-important musical midrange out of our equipment in order to try—vainly, I might add—to recreate the illusion of three-dimensional space through what is essentially a two-dimensional reproducer. And whenever we hear a loudspeaker or a CD player that shows subversive signs of sounding more 'alive' or 'realistic' than most, we dismiss it out of hand as being too 'forward' or 'aggressive.' As if a lot of real music isn't forward and aggressive!

"The idea that all we are trying to do is make equipment that gives the listener some sort of magical emotional response to a mystical experience called 'music' is all well and good, but it isn't what High End is all about. In fact, high fidelity was originally a reaction to the gorgeously rich-sounding console 'boom boxes' that dominated the home-music market during the 1940s!

"We've lost our direction....The High End in 1992 is a multi-million-dollar business. But it's an empty triumph, because we haven't accomplished what we set out to do. The playback still doesn't sound 'just like the real thing.' People, let's start getting back to basics. Let's put the 're' back into 'reproduction.' Let's promote products that dare to sound as 'alive' and 'aggressive' as the music they are trying to reproduce."

Strong stuff. Fifteen years later, Gordon is comfortably retired in Boulder, Colorado. I e-mailed him Labor Day to ask him about that 1992 polemic. My questions are in italics, followed by Gordon's unexpurgated answers (footnote 2).

Do you still feel the high-end audio industry has lost its way in the manner you described 15 years ago?

Not in the same manner; there's no hope now. Audio actually used to have a goal: perfect reproduction of the sound of real music performed in a real space. That was found difficult to achieve, and it was abandoned when most music lovers, who almost never heard anything except amplified music anyway, forgot what "the real thing" had sounded like. Today, "good" sound is whatever one likes. As Art Dudley so succinctly said [in his January 2004 "Listening," see "Letters," p.9], fidelity is irrelevant to music.

Since the only measure of sound quality is that the listener likes it, that has pretty well put an end to audio advancement, because different people rarely agree about sound quality. Abandoning the acoustical-instrument standard, and the mindless acceptance of voodoo science, were not parts of my original vision.

I remember you strongly feeling back in 1992 that multichannel/surround reproduction was the only chance the industry had for getting back on course.

With fidelity in stagnation, spatiality was the only area of improvement left.

As you were so committed to surround, do you feel that the commercial failures of DVD-Audio and SACD could have been avoided?

I doubt it. No audio product has ever succeeded because it was better, only because it was cheaper, smaller, or easier to use. Your generation of music lovers will probably be the last that even think about fidelity.

Judging by online forums and by the e-mail I receive, there are currently three areas of passion for audiophiles: vinyl playback, headphone listening, and music servers. Are you surprised by this?

I find them all boring, but nothing surprises me any more.

Do you see any signs of future vitality in high-end audio?

Vitality? Don't make me laugh. Audio as a hobby is dying, largely by its own hand. As far as the real world is concerned, high-end audio lost its credibility during the 1980s, when it flatly refused to submit to the kind of basic honesty controls (double-blind testing, for example) that had legitimized every other serious scientific endeavor since Pascal. [This refusal] is a source of endless derisive amusement among rational people and of perpetual embarrassment for me, because I am associated by so many people with the mess my disciples made of spreading my gospel. For the record: I never, ever claimed that measurements don't matter. What I said (and very often, at that) was, they don't always tell the whole story. Not quite the same thing.

Remember those loudspeaker shoot-outs we used to have during our annual writer gatherings in Santa Fe? The frequent occasions when various reviewers would repeatedly choose the same loudspeaker as their favorite (or least-favorite) model? That was all the proof needed that [blind] testing does work, aside from the fact that it's (still) the only honest kind. It also suggested that simple ear training, with DBT confirmation, could have built the kind of listening confidence among talented reviewers that might have made a world of difference in the outcome of high-end audio.

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GW
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posted November 29, 2007 06:23 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for GW   Click Here to Email GW     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
No strong point of disagreement from me. My only sign of hope is that there are some people out there who still do pursue the original intent, both on the designing side and on the listening side. But damn few. Perhaps too few.

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Dexter
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posted November 29, 2007 07:38 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Dexter     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Well done Vince, I come across this yesterday and read in high agreement.

Actually the Stereophile website has some great (imo) articles currently.
http://www.stereophile.com/interviews/1107parav/

http://www.stereophile.com/solidpreamps/1107pla/

and then there's the not to be missed (imo) bottom spanking (not in the British Parliamentarian sense!) a tt gets:
http://www.stereophile.com/turntables/1107gp/

------------------
Vinyl, superior sunscreen technology.

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cjfrbw
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posted November 30, 2007 02:28 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for cjfrbw   Click Here to Email cjfrbw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
What a bizarre rant. Sounds like JGH is sorely missing his role as the ultimate arbiter of high end taste.
If he can't tell everybody what they should be listening to, he is going to take his ball and go home.
If he can't get attention telling rich guys what horrendously expensive equipment that they should be buying, which opinion changed every four to six months or so as I recall, then he is happy to be a nattering nabob of negativity.

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geojap
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posted November 30, 2007 08:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for geojap   Click Here to Email geojap     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
It's not often you see such honesty in today's world of indirect, politically correct communication. What a great read. I think he was spot on in many of his assessments, especially his projections that extrapolated future trends.

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Salvatore P. Salerno
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posted November 30, 2007 09:14 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Salvatore P. Salerno   Click Here to Email Salvatore P. Salerno     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
I agree with what Holt says, although I wouldnt blame the hobby itself so much as he does.

The rise of the personal computer, the internet, and all the audio-related - and now, video-related - electronics that go with it have aleady killed the 'hobby'. It's killed the major news media and the traditional music business, and its in the process of killing television viewership and the movie business.

Audio is just one victim in the drive-by shooting thats been in progress since the PC/internet appeared and the subsequent segmentation and disintegration of traditional consumer markets began. It puts more control in peoples hands and that means the 'control' to get what they want instead of getting what other people decide they should have. Thats not reversible.

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craigdp
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posted November 30, 2007 11:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for craigdp   Click Here to Email craigdp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
J Gordon Holt is one of the last remaining sensible audiophiles. I think everything he said in this interview is spot on. Bring back double-blind testing, I have no doubt that Apogees will shine and that we will forever rid of stupidities like multi-thousand dollar speaker wire and power cords.

We need both good ears and good metrics. I remember the early days of CD (Perfect Sound Forever) when Mitsubishi engineers presented a new proposed CD standard of 100mHz. They were actually booed by the conclave... and then someone asked the head engineer why they had even tried it, he replied: "Unh, because it sounds better."

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Al
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posted November 30, 2007 11:44 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al   Click Here to Email Al     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
After reading it twice, He is 100% correct in everything he's said. I never thought I'd read it that straight forward from him tho. I guess honesty still does prevail. Al

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centaurus3200
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posted November 30, 2007 01:39 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for centaurus3200     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
hes still right on!

a friend came over a little while back and we were listening to records and cds on my system (Yamaha NS-1000M/McIntosh MC-60/DIY tube preamp).

to my ears, the system is still pretty euphoric - especially with the single 12AU7, zero feedback - no cathode follower preamp. the macs are a little warm, but not typical vintage tubey sounding.

he said - wow, the cymbals and horns sound sort of sibilant.

i said WTF do you think cymbals and horns sound like? LOL!

see ya,
Robby

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muralman1
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posted November 30, 2007 03:01 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for muralman1   Click Here to Email muralman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
We have a majority. I too agree with what he says. We Apogee owners have been on a quest for live acoustic sound the whole time.

Vince

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Anton
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posted November 30, 2007 03:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Anton   Click Here to Email Anton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by craigdp:
J Gordon Holt is one of the last remaining sensible audiophiles. I think everything he said in this interview is spot on. Bring back double-blind testing, I have no doubt that Apogees will shine and that we will forever rid of stupidities like multi-thousand dollar speaker wire and power cords.


Bring back double blind testing?

Can you enlighten me as to the halcyon days of the double blind reviewing standard? I must have skipped that issue.

You say you would like to be rid of the stupidities of multi-thousand dollar speaker wire and power cords? How are you currently burdened by these stupidities? Are you forced to buy those things?

Isn't this the speaker forum that accepts pretty much without argument the greatness of Symo wires with Apogee speakers? We actually see Symo cables rising in value, yet I can't recall a debate as to whether we need to be released from the burden of Symo tyranny.

JGH is from the day of two-prong electrical cords, maybe we need to get over ourselves and our fixation on three-prong cords and get back to what really makes for good Hi Fi.

Put me in the minority who think JGH has become a disenchanted crank at this point.

I admit to buying gear that I like the sound of. I don't exactly choose it because it is dissonant and excels in portraying ugliness. I buy it because it sounds to me the most like what I like listening to. If JGH wants to tell me I should be listening uphill, both ways, in order to capture the ugliness he thinks I should seek...no, thanks.

Seriously, what things in that column did JGH say that resonate with you? I think we should discuss his points and see where our argreement and disagreement exist, because to me he sounded purely like a guy who is sitting in Boulder (the capital of the generation he appears to loathe,) sipping his Starbucks vente frapacino, and yelling off his front porch, "Hey! You kids! Get off my lawn!"

[This message has been edited by Anton (edited November 30, 2007).]

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geddie
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posted November 30, 2007 04:10 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for geddie   Click Here to Email geddie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by muralman1:
We have a majority. Vince

What is this, Vince, an election or a contest you're running?

In case you guys have already forgotten "the good ol' days," J. Gordon Holt's disciples were busy spreading the word among anyone who would listen that NOTHING needed to be measured - just listen with your golden ears and make up your own mind.

What's more, Holt himself was the CHIEF proponent of multi thousand dollar cables and multi zillion dollar electronics. He always thought HIS golden ears were better than the others, and that the most expensive stuff was the best. In short, this man exhibited great disdain for scientific measurements of any type and great respect for his OWN ears.

I can see only one thing that Holt was right about - the younger generation would just as soon listen to an MP3 player as to a turntable or good CD player. Salvatore hit the nail on the head when he said the PC and the Internet have already assassinated high end audio.

[This message has been edited by geddie (edited November 30, 2007).]

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geddie
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posted November 30, 2007 04:16 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for geddie   Click Here to Email geddie     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by Anton:
Can you enlighten me as to the halcyon days of the double blind reviewing standard? I must have skipped that issue. .....

Put me in the minority who think JGH has become a disenchanted crank at this point.


Me, too, Anton!!

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muralman1
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posted November 30, 2007 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for muralman1   Click Here to Email muralman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Having never subscribed to any audio magazine, I know not the history. I was commenting on his writing. If he erred during his tenure, and promulgated expensive cables without double blind tests, then shame on him.

I have found most of what the audio mfgs. are selling have nothing to do with search for real. Just like most of the fishing lures you find in rod and reel stores have nothing to do with catching fish.

My experiment with power cables cut me free from any interest in commercial cables. They are just so many pretty lures. That includes Symo, by the way.

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centaurus3200
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posted November 30, 2007 04:27 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for centaurus3200     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
very true and the death of hi-fi was an intended decision made by corporations. it realizes more profit to kill hi-fi than to keep promoting it.

look at today's mass market gizmo makers; Sony, Yamaha, Panasonic, Harmon international, etc.

they at one time went to the hilt when designing and manufacturing balls out high-end gear. from the Sony TA and Esprit series, to the Yamaha V-FET amps and Beryllium dome speakers, from the jbl hartsfield to the Harmon kardon citation II and so on and so forth - it was a lot of investment, really expensive to make and really expensive to buy. and the products sometimes lost money with every unit sold - like the marantz 10B tuner. saul once said he felt like he was throwing a C-note into every 10B he sold.

so, why not just kill hi-fi so everything sounds like shit and you can mass market crap to play crap sources (mp3) with boomy 70Hz bass and no HF extension above 8khz.

far cheaper to design and manufacture and sell for more profit.

so, basically - there's much more money in crap sound than audiophilia. even with the snake oil cables. if no one knows what good sound is, they have no basis for their $400 Chinese made ipod sound dock, eh?

quote:
Originally posted by Salvatore P. Salerno:
I agree with what Holt says, although I wouldnt blame the hobby itself so much as he does.

The rise of the personal computer, the internet, and all the audio-related - and now, video-related - electronics that go with it have aleady killed the 'hobby'. It's killed the major news media and the traditional music business, and its in the process of killing television viewership and the movie business.

Audio is just one victim in the drive-by shooting thats been in progress since the PC/internet appeared and the subsequent segmentation and disintegration of traditional consumer markets began. It puts more control in peoples hands and that means the 'control' to get what they want instead of getting what other people decide they should have. Thats not reversible.


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craigdp
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posted November 30, 2007 04:55 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for craigdp   Click Here to Email craigdp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
OK, I'll feed the beast a little.
JGH was as opinionated as you all say he was BUT he did argue long and loud for double-blind testing and he actually did this kind of testing and reported on it - go back and read the articles (yes, I read them and no I don't remember when they were written).
His opinion that he had better ears than most, was just that: his subjective opinion - you can believe him or not, that's your opinion. What he tried to do was to inject some level of quantitative analysis into what was then a wasteland of fatuous hypesters AND he insisted that even when you got a flat line on graph paper you hadn't quite got all the story, you still had to listen to the sound and evaulate it. I say bravo! to both ideas.

As to multi-thousand dollar speaker wires: I actually did have the opportunity to do a commparison.

Divas, CAL 5000 CD player, ARC LS-16, Mark Levinson 23.5,Linn LP-12

I compared 14 gauge zip cord, LAT speaker wire (I paid $200 used for 8ft spade lugged) and a loaner from the guy who sold me the LAT of an 8ft pair Nordost something speaker wire, selling for $4000.
Over a long weekend I tried all three on all types of music, here are my conclusions:

I thought my LAT wire was much better than the zip cord (it should be, I paid $200 for it) and I thought that the Nordost was better than the zip cord, too. I tried to convince myself that there was something better, clearer, more transparent, hell - even louder about the Nordost (after all they cost 20 times what the LATs did) but I just could not make myself believe that was any difference at all, of course there was no way I was going to spend that much on speaker wires in any case. Now there was a case for double-blind testing...

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Anton
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posted November 30, 2007 05:19 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Anton   Click Here to Email Anton     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Hi, Craigdp!

John Atkinson addressed this double blind issue that JGH mentioned, and pointed out that the only DBT Stereophile undertook was a speaker comparison in one issue back when they still published out of Santa Fe.

If JGH was a proponent of DBT, you would not know it from his print legacy!

I think most proponents of DBT like to talk the talk, but rarely walk the walk.

Since this is an Apogee forum, let's ask how many people here chose their Apogees as the result of double blind listening trials.


I admit that I did not.

How I did it was I listened to many speakers over a relatively long period of time, and fell for the Apogees when I encountered them in an unblinded listening demonstration. I suppose I could be fooling myself, but after 15 years of happiness, you'd think that placebo effect would have worn off.

I picked my turntable, cartridge, amplifiers, and tonearm the same way.

I guess I had to trust my own ears!

If that's ruining JGH's Hi Fi experience, then he'll just have to sit and stew.


[This message has been edited by Anton (edited November 30, 2007).]

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cjfrbw
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posted November 30, 2007 05:35 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cjfrbw   Click Here to Email cjfrbw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Tales from the cable wars:

http://www.avsforum.com/avs-vb/showthread.php?t=941184&highlight=lavigne

Who elected JGH the oracle of "original intent"? How does he know whether something is supposed to sound good, bad or indifferent in the minds of the original performers or composers, unless he talked with them, sat in on the original performances, watched the editing and mix down process with the studio bozos and then plunked the recording into his stereo system to compare, and even then, its no double blind comparison and would rely on memory?
It sounds like he is just covering his ass, allowing himself leeway to recommend bad sounding stuff because unpleasant sound was the "original intent". It's easy to make a good sounding stereo sound bad (just turn down the bass and lower midrange and crank the treble), its difficult or impossible to make a bad sounding stereo system sound good.
As I recall, JGH was one of the great promoters of CD when it really was an abomination. Digital sounds a lot better now, or until recently, when mp3 and compression have re-crap-u-lated it. But maybe the artists want it to sound like compressed dreck, according to JGH.
It seems to me that high end audio is alive and well, more choices and information than ever. Just because the majority of the herd tends elsewhere doesn't mean that the high end isn't healthy. There is a dizzying array of high end offerings at the shows that didn't exist just ten years ago, and lot of novel reiterations of the old standards.
I accept that the recording I have in my home is an abstraction of an abstraction, probably only indirectly related to the original. "Original Intent" and "Absolute Sound" are silly and impossible goals that open the door to all kinds of absurd conjecture and posturing, unless they are entirely clarified by the original performing artists and composers. My criterion is whether my stereo system involves me, mesmerizes me and takes me on a trip that I enjoy and find edifying or intriguing, not whether it shrieks exactly the same.

[This message has been edited by cjfrbw (edited December 01, 2007).]

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centaurus3200
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posted November 30, 2007 10:15 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for centaurus3200     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
i've heard the new medium, it's really good. it's called VINYL! LOL!

seriously, if you don't have an analog deck, buy one. buy a used Technics SL-1200MK2 and throw a decent cartridge on it (nothing fancy - think sub $200 - even an $84 audio technica AT-440mla) and see what you get. i bet you'll like it!

Robby

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Al
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posted November 30, 2007 11:03 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for Al   Click Here to Email Al     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just for the record, It don't matter how well something is recorded, 50% will still complain, because either the HF MR or bass won't be to thier liking, get real and accept it, better still buy a few insturments and learn to play them, then record yourself, and see how real it sounds on your system, YOU just might learn something. Al

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MattC
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posted December 01, 2007 03:23 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for MattC   Click Here to Email MattC     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Before we pay too much time worshiping at the altar of DBT, I thought it wise to report on a recent DBT test. Information on this test is, as far as I remember, quite widely available on the internet. I believe the test was done in Germany in the late 90s.

The test involved MP3, and whether short snippets of music encoded at a higher resolution (as high as 320 kb) could be distinguished from that encoded at 128kb. As I recall the results of the test, the panel could rarely distinguish between MP3s encoded at any resolution - or guess which was which - but when they did, a majority of listeners apparently prefered the excerpts encoded at 128kb!

I can only speculate how the test would had gone had they then compared that 128Kb MP3 to an LP of the same snippet, played on an exotic and expensive turntable - although one imagines that the surface noise inherent in analog playback would have proven a dead give away given enough repetitions of the test using the same LP.

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muralman1
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posted December 01, 2007 07:47 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for muralman1   Click Here to Email muralman1     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Yeah but they weren't using Apogees.

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craigdp
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posted December 01, 2007 08:48 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for craigdp   Click Here to Email craigdp     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Anton:

I think, as you do, that some things must be left to the our 'golden' ears - I fell instantly for Apogees when I heard Jason Bloom demo the Scintillas at an audio show, the only other time that happened was at another audio show where I heard the Lineaum Model 9 - wow! what a speaker that was!

I think double blind testing is a great idea for components that make claims which defy common sense - remember the Tice 'clock'?

Most of us rely on our ears, because that's the equipment set we have. It's a pain in the butt to set up a real double blind test of any component, we're unlikely, as individuals, to manage it. That's where it would be great to see the audiophile magazines step in and do this kind of test (dream on). Then we could at least get rid of some of the wacko fringe. On the other hand, they supply us with so much laughter, perhaps we should leave well enough alone.

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jeff
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posted December 01, 2007 12:02 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for jeff   Click Here to Email jeff     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting thread.

You know, JGH was NOT an Apogee fan.

Jeff

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cjfrbw
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posted December 02, 2007 08:22 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for cjfrbw   Click Here to Email cjfrbw     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Interesting links about this.

http://blog.stereophile.com/stephenmejias/102407close/

http://www.audiofederation.com/blog/archives/373

[This message has been edited by cjfrbw (edited December 02, 2007).]

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gallant_diva
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posted December 02, 2007 09:36 PM     Click Here to See the Profile for gallant_diva   Click Here to Email gallant_diva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
JGH has a lot of contributions to audio despite being opinionated and contradictory at times.

But he sure knows who to draw attention, which is what seems to be the intention in his article. Good for him and Stereophile

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stevan
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posted December 03, 2007 01:51 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for stevan   Click Here to Email stevan     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Try out this test on your headphones and then on your Apogee-s

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IUDTlvagjJA

Its not music and its not the best copy on youtube but i think its a good test to see how good a system is :-)

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morricab
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posted December 03, 2007 08:27 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for morricab   Click Here to Email morricab     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Just a few short comments:

JGH says something rather important in this discussion and it has to do with the losing of a focus that reproduced music should always be referenced to the real thing, ie. Live unamplified music. When this standard of what is true (and only live unamplified music is the "absolute sound" ) is no longer even attempted to be applied the end result is subjectivity to "taste".

This is how we end up with countless pieces of audio gear and none is more right than the other just all wrong in different ways. I think this is where JGH gets his bitterness from that there has been not much in the way of convergence and very few, if any, components; whether tube or SS, converge on the real sound of real instruments in real space.

Now you might say, "well the recordings ultimately determine the realism" and you would be correct that indeed they are the ultimate limiting factor; however, there are some VERY realistic recordings available that with a really good playback give very close to live realism.

Al is completely right about recording yourself playing or someone you know who plays well. I did this for about 3 years with my ex the violinist and I have some wonderful reference material to work with as a result.

One thing we can all agree on at this forum is that planar speakers such as ribbon or electrostatic, do some important things right that other speakers cannot do as correctly and this revolves around coloration and low level resolution. Apogees are still one of the least colored speakers I have heard and do a superb job of resolving low level information (if not the absolute best at this they are at least well above average).

I still feel that this approach is the "closest" to realistic, although horn like dynamics would also be nice to add to Apogees and other electrostatics strengths.

Just for the record, the most realistic system I have heard to date is still Flo's Apogee Grand System powered by all Sphinx amplifiers and Sphinx cd player. The way it reproduces orchestral, chamber and Jazz music is nothing short of stunning. Of course it rocks with the best of them but that is not the best music to show off its strengths. Would it get better with better amps (IMO the sphinx are really superb so its not so easy to do but it is possible)? Probably.

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gallant_diva
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posted December 03, 2007 09:16 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for gallant_diva   Click Here to Email gallant_diva     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
Paul WEitzel of Tube Research Labs was my guest for 4 days. He came to help me setup the GT-800 amp (review coming soon). He is the most fussy audio designer and audiophile I have met. The guy simply finds fault in everything out there but backs his crticism with facts and reasons.

After the amp was fully setup we listened to my system (Centaur Fullrange) for two days, he finally spoke to give his opinion on my system (before he came he had told me he never liked any Apogee). He said this was the best bass he had heard from any system.

I do not think he was trying to flatter me (I do not take flattering any way) and I also overheard him talking to his brother on his cell and saying the same thing: "Hey, Brian, I cannot believe these aluminum pannels can generate such a tremendous and accurate bass".

His mind about Apogee is obvioulsy changed now. There were times when I was thinking of buying Wilson Max or Von Scweikerts but everytime I heard these speakers driven with top-notch electronics, I thought I prefered mine big time.

JGH did not like the Scintilla calling it too aggressive but then he thinks live music is aggressive too. I do not really understand what his real audio philosophy is but he is still an interesting (very rare in audio these days) writer. I like him.

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TinyTim
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posted December 03, 2007 09:36 AM     Click Here to See the Profile for TinyTim   Click Here to Email TinyTim     Edit/Delete Message   Reply w/Quote
quote:
Originally posted by morricab:
Just for the record, the most realistic system I have heard to date is still Flo's Apogee Grand System powered by all Sphinx amplifiers and Sphinx cd player. The way it reproduces orchestral, chamber and Jazz music is nothing short of stunning. Of course it rocks with the best of them but that is not the best music to show off its strengths. Would it get better with better amps (IMO the sphinx are really superb so its not so easy to do but it is possible)? Probably.

Thank you very much! The CAT SL1 took it a step further towards the direction of Allens gear. The Grand might be done this year, or at leeast shorty after that. The displays work, the crossovers work and the external power supplies. Currently the power amps are under construction.

Flo

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