Why do components sound different?


I have always wondered why there is so much discussion about how a pre-amp, amp, DAC, streamer sound.

To me, they should not have any sound! They are merely passing the signal thru to the next device until they get to your ears from your headphones or speakers.

The perfect component would have a linear frequency response, no distortion ( no harmonics which are overtones of the original signal) and introduce no other frequencies.

Anything else is just hard to measure and can only be described in words like "warm", "soundstage", "harsh", "lifelike".

Thoughts?
vanson1
Why would you want to listen to something you don't like? BUT you like the tune with less bass or less treble or more whatever. Why on earth would you not want the ability to change the sound?

50 + years with tone control, bass contour and variable loudness. WHY would you not want it? Set everything to 0 ZERO and you're using a line-stage, or hit the tone bypass on the newer stuff. Mcintosh of course.

Have you ever listened to Janis? There aren't any good recordings.. A lot of soul, but not a stitch of fidelity. :-)

Regards
I think you don't understand HiFi.  :(


Mostly design preferences. Most preamps, amps, DAC, streamer if designed to have low distortion and noise will sound similar enough they would be very hard to differentiate in blind listening tests. The biggest differences will come from speakers and room interaction.
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To me, they should not have any sound! They are merely passing the signal thru to the next device until they get to your ears from your headphones or speakers.

Man this is the strangest thing. I could almost swear I heard this before somewhere. But, where? 
The System is also built around the philosophy that the ideal component does nothing. The perfect component does not sound a certain way. It does not impart, it does not detract. It is not there at all.

Wait- what?!?!  https://systems.audiogon.com/systems/8367

Tube gear does sound different - not better - than solid state! But transparent to the source? No! Hence the quest for that magic set of tubes - preferably NOS - that will elevate a tube component to the next level of sonic goodness! Witness the availability of DACs with tube outputs to make them sound somehow more "analog" like!
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It's a pretty simple concept. All equipment has it's own sound signature. Period. If it didn't we would all have cheap ass mass market junk and be happy. 
No audio equipment is totally transparent to the source.
He's an engineer who thinks he knows better and will enlighten us. 

We'll see if he humbles himself and learns over time.  :) 


I think you don't understand HiFi.  :(

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Who would that be oh wise one? Remember just because you have an opinion doesn't mean it has any weight with a guy like me. YOUR understanding of HiFi is surely your own. I don't share a LOT of your views on equipment or testing, so opinions do vary, ay?

I KNOW all equipment has it's own signature and that can change with just the AC power source. The second is always the room size and treatment. Equipment/electrical 50%, room set up, and speaker placement 50%.

I been working on two systems off and on for 15 years. One (Elixirs) that 
has taken a lot of time to change the design without messing up the original cabinet design to much.. Making your own system work for you is tough, especially when you have bouts of OCD like me.. I like heavy equipment racks and heavy speakers cabinets and have an OLD back.. LOL.

Neutral, what's neutral, in neutral and coasting? There is no such thing as neutral. It's like calling something pinkish, 50 shades of pink...

NOW it time to throw the hat on the floor, and get ready for the weekend.
Yes my friend, turn up the music, as I slowly walk around the hat to the beat of the music and my faithful dog follows me. I STOP. I stomp my feet (both) and back around the hat very slowly as the dog shakes the toy and the stuffing flies out.. OLAY..

Time to feed the chickens..

Regards
OP said:
"The perfect component would have a linear frequency response, no distortion ( no harmonics which are overtones of the original signal) and introduce no other frequencies."

But none of them are perfect ant THAT'S why they all sound different!
GET IT?

Why couldn't the straight wire with gain be a curved wire with gain?

pick a microphone, that choice was the last shot at perfection, it’s ALL downhill from there…..


oldheaveymec, my response was to the OP. 



Didn’t Carver answer this long ago? Design choices nothing more. 
Wait, components sound different? I coulda sworn we decided it was all confirmation bias?