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JIMV
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A wierd and wonderful hobby

This is certainly a weird and wonderful hobby. As I began to plan for retirement a few years ago I decided I needed a retirement audio system, i.e.; a system that would keep me happy for a very long time on a fixed and limited income. So, when we moved to a tax friendly state and settled in 18 months ago, I began to replace my decade old system with newer stuff, PrimaLuna amp, decent cables, and finally, a replacement for my 8 year old Adcom GF750 CD player, a machine that really still sounds better than any DVD based gear I have heard. While I would have liked to buy the new Bryston CD player, the hefty price on a fixed income was prohibitive. (used Bryston players simply do not exist yet).

I have read a lot of good press about the Benchmark DAC and found one on E-Bay, a few years old but in good shape. I bought it and sent it off to Benchmark for current upgrades (a really good company to deal with). I got it back earlier this week and remembered something I had forgotten

dcstep
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Re: A wierd and wonderful hobby

Thanks for sharing your experience.

That reminds me of my first experience with a high quality CDP, back in the early 1990s. I'd been using very inexpensive players to that point, thinking "bits are bits." I'd go into dealers and ask them to demonstrate the superiority of their products, but none did that effectively. Finally, one smart dealer said, "come pick up a PS Audio Lambda transport and PS Audio DAC one Saturday evening to try in your system until Monday." Well, I did that and A-Bd like crazy with two copies of the same CD. I went back and forth, back and forth and didn't hear any difference. Finally, I thought, "what the heck, I've got this thing for the day so why not just listen to music until it's time to take it back." After a few minutes of relaxed listening I suddenly thought that I heard more air around the bass strings and more details and no glare. When I went back to the old machine this time the difference was crystal clear. When I got into the car I heard the glare of its CDP.

I bought the PS transport and DAC.

I think that our ears actually get "trained" and that we can't hear certain things until we get training or experience a difference. Once we first hear some effect, then it becomes easier to hear it in the future.

Digital is one of those things that hard to define the difference we hear, but once we hear it then it becomes easier to hear, but no easier to explain. Many just experience the bad part of digital as fatigue, but never can separately hear the cause of the fatigue.

Dave

JIMV
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Re: A wierd and wonderful hobby

Something else I have noticed. I tend to listen to music at a pretty low volume level. Loud is generally tiring to me. This new rig seems to let e play louder witout fatigue than did the Adcom.

That said...the Adcom is over 8 years old and still works great and sounds better than the half dozen other CD players and DVD units that have passed through my video system in the same period. Those folk did a good job with audio before they quit 2 channel and went to less capable multi channel and video stuff.

mrlowry
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Re: A wierd and wonderful hobby

The interesting thing about both of your experiences is that they demonstrate one thing. Short, back and forth A/B sessions are nearly useless for listening to CD players. A position that I've held for years. Our brains are good at filling in information that is missing that it knows should be there automatically without us knowing it. A good example is if you record people saying a sentence and remove the first letter of one of the words the brain will usually fill in the missing letter by the context of the sentence. Even if there are a number of words that it could be the brain will pick the right letter over 90% of the time. Part of being an audiophile is UNtraining our brains from this tenancy.

My preferred demo method to audition things is what they refer A/B/A using FULL SONGS (not snippets.) The reason for A/B/A over A/B is that because there is a slight natural bias for B. If it's new or different it must be better so people go with B.

JIMV
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Re: A wierd and wonderful hobby

You may well be onto something there. My listening was telling me I liked one setup better than another but for the life of me I could not figure out why. It took longer listening to figure what I was hearing. I expected to hear one thing and was hearing something else entirely. Still, the A/B test was fun, just not very informative.

Another problem was in getting the volume right. I figure the loudest signal would be the one I would favor and was not able to scientifically set the two sources so, I was unable to say with certainty if I was hearing a better source or simply a louder one.

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