Critiques of Equipment

As I do some homework regarding CD & DVD players it continues to bug me that folks praise or slam, specific units without declaring whether they are using the DAC in the player (and analog pass through on the their pre/pro's) or using them as a transport (connecting through the coax).

I'm assuming the music will sound different, especially since most of the arguments here are over incremental changes in sound anyway.

Additionally, whether you believe in synergy or not, associated equipment groupings have an effect too.

My sense is there is very little "blind" side-by-side analysis that is done. Yet... there is no shortage of authoritative commentary!
No one has your equipment, your room, your sensitivities, and knowledge of your expectations. The experience level of folks posting here spans from very little beyond their own stuff to several who are professional by any standard. A careful reading of the posts will generally give you a good idea where a poster stands on that scale of knowledge. Usually a simple clue is the more experienced a person is the less definitive their opinion, if for no other reason than that they appreciate all of the variables involved.

If you're really interested in the basis a person has for their opinion, just ask, either by E-mail or in the body of the thread. To expect some sort of "authoritative commentary" in a audio user forum is IMHO a tad unrealistic. :-)
I've done a handfull of blind tests on front-end components with audiophile friends since I started in this hobby back in 85'. The results are not always as expected, but never leave anyone with a shadow of doubt there is a difference in front end components (or any other for that matter). I've always found results to be fairly consistent in terms of descriptions of qualities, but not as consistent in the preferences for individual qualities and components. It can be fun to do. Changes certainly are incremental, and whether they're worth the $ is entirely up to the individual. Synergy can be so easily demonstrated that questioning that just tells me you haven't tried many different combinations, or if you have, you must be hard of hearing. What gets me is the overzealous statements people use to describe the differences as if to justify their superior taste and savvy investment. Get over it! One of the things I've found in doing the A/B/A blind comparison sessions, is that it can be fun on a social level, but it is NOT about enjoying music in the moment, and in fact it tends to take you away from enjoying the music, at least it has for me. I agree, there is no shortage on commentary, but I'd doubt much of it qualifies as being "authorative". I've said it before, it's all subjective. If you can't hear a difference, and or, don't give a rat's derrier, all the power to'll have more time on your hands to enjoy the music!

It bothers me how some of these threads turn so negative towards one another. It is only a hobby for crying out loud. We need to respect each other and each others opinion.

Chuck, I totally agree with you.But for the
most part, there are so many good people here
at Agon.For that I am greatful.
Chuck and Jayctoy, At the risk of sounding paranoid, are your posts directed at the original poster or the responders? A more literal reading would suggest the latter. In that event (only), I would point out that the initial response was very negative in its condemnation of the way folks participate in threads in this forum, and would ask how you would have responded. If I've already read your response to the original thread, please ignor this.

Absolutely not, quite the opposite the poster makes an excellent point. I was just making a general comment concerning how emotional some people get when they comment about or critique a piece of equipment. At some point, not always, someone chimes in in disagreement e.g. the thread "what speaker after thiel 7.2". This one turned pretty nasty between a couple of people of which I feel was uncalled for. And jayctoy I am in agreement with you there are far more good people willing to share their experiences in a sane manner than those looking to pick a fight.
As a follow up, I don't look for threads by certain individuals, therefore I read a pretty good cross-section of notes by different people.

It just struck me this morning as I was reading the various comments on the Sony DVP-9000ES. The unit was getting trashed pretty good playing CD's and I couldn't figure out if the comments were directed to it as a transport or player or both. I got frustrated.

Regardless of the digital front end, my personal experience is the amp, the processor, the room acoustics, the speaker placement all seemed to have a more significant impact on what I have heard. Granted, I have only been somewhat serious for 3 years, but I've been to a lot of sound rooms in NY, MA, MN, MI, CT, and NJ during that time. One thing was certain to me, the same speakers sounded different in every location I visited. Additionally, I think it was Wilson, with a great sounding set-up, who used an IPod (without letting the listener know) at a A/V show trying to prove that the digital front end was less important. I guess that's a whole different topic though!
Quicke, I think you have used your three years well and have reached some valid conclusions regarding equipment and room synergy. Many on this forum are not nearly so advanced .....yet they do not let that deter them from offering their opinions, nor should they. Thats how they will learn.

One thing you might want to consider before you reach any conclusions about the value of the source, Lp or CD, is that in a well balanced (synergistic) set up, which is at all revealing, the sources become critical.

The difference in sources may be more subtle, but not less critical to those who care. (Think about how some music lovers love one performers version over another's by some margin and you can't tell the difference because you are not familar with the music, or you don't like the music and couldn't care less. Because you haven't developed a sophisticated knowledge yet and can't hear the differences doesn't mean that they don't exist and/or are not important).

While you may have loved the Wilsons and the Ipod, wouldn't it have been fun if they also had a TT system and a CD system connected, all balanced to match the rest of the system, so you could compare the differences and added value of each over the other?

I would agree that it might be easier to find a synergistic source than, say a room/speaker/amp interface. But just 'cause its easier, doesn't make it less important.

FWIW I have never heard as much of a difference between digital front ends as I expected. I have heard a few over the years and have always walked away thinking is it me or what. People slam certain players and say this smokes that or vise versa but I am sorry I to this day just don't hear it. Now pre-amps, amps, cables and room acoustics........yes, I have heard sustantial differences.

Newbee, Chuck is right, its a general comments, not
directed to anyone.No offense here. Enjoy the music.
You will be surprise,How many friends I met here at
Newbee, I do agree with you,you are so right.I do read
your post, and I do learn from them.
The term I'm eliminating from by audiophile decscriptive vocabulary is: "best" I've used the term and, although it is one my tympanics relate to, it is not user friendly when someone has the cdp that I'm saying my "cdp is better than." The word I use now is: "preferred" User friendly, and real. We're all a bunch of audiophools trying to get the sound we love (prefer) for the $$ we're comfortable spending or our wives (significant others) allow us...peace, warren
Quick correction. I never heard the IPod/Wilson combo. I believe it was in something written by Robert Harley. If memory serves me correctly, he said it was one of the best sounding set-ups at the show and it was a shocker when the IPod was revealed.
Hey Warren - Good attempt at the P.C. audiophool vocabulary. Unfortunately
you'll probably get get folks misusing your fine suggestions in ways such as

"We (that is me, my entire family, all my audiophile friends, and
everyone else who's been blessed with hearing our rig) PREFERRED the sound
of the Zandocker-Modified Audio Integrity Supreme Righteousness above any
other front end we've ever heard, including vinyl rigs costing eight times the
price of the ZAISR! We cannot conceive of the sad and sorry monkey-assed
boob who might think otherwise after hearing the ZAISR and would possibly
PREFER any other front-end component. The ZAISR changed our lives and
brought happiness and prosperity in its wake, as we've no doubt it may
bestow upon those enlightened audiophiles who are able to discriminate
between, say, sh!t and shinola. So profound is our PREFERENCE for this front
end over all other front-ends that we are making it our personal mission to
illuminate the audiophile community with the virtues of this god-sent front-
end that we so PREFER. To that end we've establised the First Unitarian
Church of Zandocker right here in Ottumwa, Iowa, where others who've been
as blessed as we may come and worship and go out to spread the word
among the heathen who have yet to hear the good words I am sharing with all
of you here. Praise Zandocker!"

Marco, you're a
Reading some reviews/criticism here and on other audio sites often brings to
mind that great line by The Clash from their album "Sandinista"
addressing the U.S. justification of their involvement in Vietnam:

"Charlie don't surf, but we think he should!"