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What have we learned, and what not (yet)?

Willem

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Amir has done a great service, so I thought it may be right to summarize some of the bigger trends in his results. The first is that electronics do not need to be very expensive, and that many even modestly priced electronic components are better than human hearing acuity and hence sonically transparent.
The next observation is that pro audio gear from the likes of Bryston, Benchmark, RME etc is consistently excellent. Conversely, a lot of exotic boutique gear is mediocre or even awful. This is an all the more painful contrast because the high end pro audio gear tends to be rather more affordable than the exotic stuff.
Interestingly, on the DAC side of things excellent units such as those by Topping, JDS etc can even be dirt cheap, even though perforning with the best of the big boys. The explanation is probably that the core component, the DAC chip itself, is cheap and produced by only a handful of manufacturers. Designing a DAC is an exercise in competent implementation. The downside of these cheap DACs is that you do not necessarily get the versatility, manufacturing quality and long term support that you get from the established pro audio brands. What is missing in our portfolio of measurements are some results for the DAC section of medium priced integrated amplifers like the Yamaha AS 501 or AS 801. Are they also good enough to be effectively transparent?
On the amplifier side things are not so clear. Again, the likes of Benchmark, Bryston or Hypex are excellent, and though expensive, not ridiculously so. What is missing here, at least thus far in the testing series, are both examples of ultra expensive audiophile amps from boutique brands ( I expect them to disappoint) and perhaps more interestingly, examples of good enough power amplifiers. Amir has tested a few, with mixed results. The cheap modern Crown pro audio amp was less than perfect, and so were one or more cheap integrated digital amps and particularly HT receivers. I have seen a proper test of the the now discontinued 2x350 watt (!!!) Yamaha P3500s and measured extremely well for a very low price and robust construction, but I would love to see a test of the successor model. I would also like to see some test results for classic amplifers likje the Quad 606 and later current dumpers. Is it true that they already reached practical perfection? Similarly, I would love to see results for medium priced integrated stereo amps like the Yamaha AS 501, 701 and 801. With about 2x100 watts rms they seem to offer excellent quality at low cost for medium sized rooms. At the very budget end Amir promised us a test of the traditional Sony STR DH 130 receiver. So I would think that tests of a few well chosen representative amplifiers could teach us a lot about what is possible for little money. I admit I am not really interested in the ultra cheap speaker amps on a chip. My interest is on substantiating and nuancing my conviction that electronics do not need to cost that much, and that it is silly to spend too much on them, as many audiophiles eem to do. In my two systems the electronics did not take up more than about 20% of the budget. The rest went to the speakers, and it is there that I believe the real sonic differences are.
 

Tks

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One thing I learned is that there are far many more "objectivists" than "subjectivists" than I thought.

Amir's revelations about the THX 789 and it's continued staggering demand to this day has demonstrably demonstrated this. Likewise with relatively general audio populace on places like Reddit, not tolerating much of people talking about cable voodoo and nonsense of such sort claiming audible superiority being night and day.
 

Veri

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Amir's revelations about the THX 789 and it's continued staggering demand to this day has demonstrably demonstrated this.
Well, the THX is pretty praised in the subjectivist circles too though, looking at Zeos for example. Can probably blame him for the absolute lack of stock :D
 
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Daverz

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What have I learned? DACs and (solid state) headphone amps seem to be a solved problem (at least for diligent manufacturers). There seems to be no reason to pay more than $500 bucks on a 2-channel balanced DAC.

Power amps? Maybe not so much. In fact, we seem to be going backwards at the low cost end. I suppose we can say there's little need to pay more than $3k for a state-of-the-art stereo power amp.
 
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Tks

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Well, the THX is pretty praised in the subjectivist circles too though, looking at Zeos for example. Can probably blame him for the absolute lack of stock :D

That's pretty much the only reason any long standing "tube" subjectivists(and similar folks) have for even mentioning the 789, because Zeos has made it a talking point among the masses, and mentions it regularly for it's performance record shattering THX implementation. Again, if you want to see the depravity of what holdouts look like (people in opposition to having high fidelity music chains for consumption of media), look no further than the following sorts of places:

https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ally-good-or-just-overhyped.7908/#post-262050

https://www.superbestaudiofriends.o...ically-incorrect-audio-blog.7261/#post-249242

Pack your bags folks. We can now fake high performance, high fidelity it seems.
 
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