Just trying to understand....
It reminds me that someone here compared a Mark Levinson 333 to a Purifi and a Benchmark AHB2. According to the measurements on the various sites, including ASR, the Mark Levinson is far behind the first two amplifiers mentioned in reference.
From what I understood it is a blind test ) I imagine this type of test has some value
Here are the conclusions drawn from the person and which were hailed with much less criticism oddly ...
I take it that the person's credibility depends only on this blind test and that this blind test contradicts the measures? what happens next ?
"My personal conclusion:
Class D amplifiers have improved a lot of the years but Class D Amps are still no match to good design Class AB Amp.in term of sound quality and dynamic handling
Benchmark AHB2 is more versatile (good for all music) and more dynamic than the Class D Purifi Eigentakt
Class D Purifi Eigentakt is suitable for center channel, its slight compression and unnatural bias toward midrange makes dialogue more clear It is not an ideal amp for life classical music reproduction.
Mark Levinson 333 is the best despite its old age. It is the most life-like, with more weight on vocal , and more at ease when playing life recording classical orchestra at higher volume level
There needs to additional scientific measurements that can explain why the benchmark AHB2 sounds better than Purifi Eigentakt in my environment and why the levinson sounds more dynamic and detailed on loud classical music. Traditional SINAD, THD , IMD measurement using sinewave do not have the musical waverform complexity and can not explain the contrast of what we heard among these amplifiers in our environment. What we heard can not be explained with just THD measurement as they all sound good (not distorted) but different. As below certain THD, the delta is not audible."
Sometimes more linear amplifiers (or speakers) sound 1) "compressed", 2) "with a soundstage constrained in depth", 3) "lacking in midrange bloom" but at the same with an 4) "unnatural bias toward midrange" – in other words 1) harder clipping hence the differences between the louder peaks is smaller, instead of scaling them gradually, 2) lack of negative phase second harmonic distortion 3) less second harmonic which is esp audible in the voice range and 4) bass is not bloated, highs are not put forward, so it might seem in comparison that the midrange is instead put forward (even if not distorted).
Again, a bit of distortion in the "right" places may make the voicing of an amplifier more pleasing. Nothing wrong with that. It is a preference. And putting the "right" amount of distortion may be an art in itself. But as Papa Pass has shown, it does not have to be awfully expensive. Placing a premium for that feature is nowadays bordering on fraud, IMNSHO.