Actually, I think the definition in the context of the OP is quite, well, transparent. This thread should not be confused with the other one directed at WHF reviewers.
Edit: I see WR beat me to it.
Main: SqueezeBox Classic>AVI ADM40
Second: SqueezeBox Touch>AVI ADM9RSS
Actually, I think the definition in the context of the OP is quite, well, transparent.
Definition of more Transparent is less Fogg, Phileas!
"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again." André Gide
And so around and around we go...
.......I take it that you mean, "around the world we go", but it seems to take a lot less than the usual 80 days.
This is a quote from a blog and I feel relevant to a discussion of what might be audibly transparent vs. the view that 'huge night and day differences' exist between components such as speaker cables.
Google "Steve Zipser Yamaha Pass blind" to learn about the most public debunking of audiophool myth about the "sound" of electronic parts.
To summarize, a loudmouth Miami audio dealer was unable to tell the difference between flagship Pass amps and a humble "mid-fi" Yamaha integrated amp when biases were controlled, though he obviously heard big differences when he knew that what was playing because he was listening to his biases and not the music. This comparison took place in the dealer's own reference system in his own home, with his own musical selections he picked because he thought they clearly revealed "differences" in amp "sound."
There's plenty more out there like this if you care to look.
How about the numerous studies that show that when you remove the artificial colouring from sweets, people can't tell what flavour they are in an A/B test.
That does not mean there isn't a difference in taste - in this case one can prove beyond a doubt that the flavour chemistry is different. But put people in an A/B test, and take their sensation out of the context of their consciousness, and they fail. Not just with music, with everything.
To me this invalidates the A/B test as a sole diagnostic tool more than anything. In the case of the Miami loud-mouth, the whole test was designed to embarrass him, not dig for the truth. The high-stakes nature of the test is antithetical to the activity the test is supposed to be evaluating, i.e. relaxed long listening periods. Or maybe the amps weren't that different, I don't know. But isolated A/B tests of human sensation can be used to prove all kinds of things that are not true.
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This experiment suggests the complete opposite:
The science of hearing perception tells us to expect this result.
Also, measuring a difference doesn't mean the difference is audible, hence the numerical definition of transparency in the OP.
I don't think that the flavour test works as a comparison, largely because some flavours are vague at best. I tried sweets before that seemingly have no likeness to their coresponding flavour, regardless of colour. Did the test show that any flavour differences were detected by the way, or was it that the exact flavours were not identified?
It is quite easy to detect large differences in quick A/B switching, if they exist. It is less easy to successfully attribute the differences to particular test samples successively.
A direct A/B switching test can be considered a more course form of testing than ABX, where A/B is more likely to have a higher hit rate of success, but the tests and their results are subtley different.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
Is the apparent distortion in a passive crossover (0.1%) audible? I note this is said to be 0.001% in an active crossover. I am wondering if either of these make an audible difference and an adverse effect on transparency.
Very interesting article. The findings in the last paragraph of the fourth page are particularly striking.
HiFi / A/V / Bedroom
THD+N distortion in passive and active crossovers is not a single figure. It depends upon the power and frequency. Active and passive crossovers have different shaped THD+N vs power graphs.
It's highly misleading to say that a passive crossover has 0.1% THD+N distortion and an active 0.001% without stating the power levels and frequency. And without stating them for a wide range of power levels and frequencies.
A domestic hi-fi will be asked to recreate signals from 20hz to 20khz and from 20dbs to 110 or 120dbs. With both of these scales being logarithmic that's a mind-boggling large variation in frequency and power.
I believe that over 1% THD+N is audible. Over 10% and it's easily audible when compared to something that's a few percent lower.
Quoted because I felt this post required more attention. An excellent point well made by John.
The reliance on wooly language and dismissal of objective methods of review works both ways.
A big thumbs up for Bose products!
I know it's semantics...lol... but if it isn't 100% transparent, isn't that opaque instead?
I appreciate that for many, mixing and matching separates to get a sound that one likes, is part of the fun of the hobby, and keeps journalists and HiFi dealers in clover.
However, if one believes (does anyone anymore, apart from me?...lol) that the term HiFi means high fidelity, that is a reproduction that is as close to the original as possible, rather than any old sound that pleases me, then transparency (not opaqueness) to the source must surely be the desired outcome.
As has been mentioned (but many forget) things such as tone controls and loudness compensation filters working in the digital domain with DSP, can achieve what the old analogue components achieved, - but without the demirits of added noise and distortion - such as to tailor the response to suit ones personal concept of hiFi 'flavour' should one so desire.
That we have eschewed such controls (which was relevant to a degree back in the analogue era) and not embraced them in the digital age, but prefer to try and tailor a sound via mixing and matching kit and interconnects etc, is again something that keeps journalists and dealers in clover, but achieves nothing for the consumer except keeping them on the profit making roundabout for the HiFi industry.
I'd also argue, (with a degree of tongue in cheek..lol) that if measurements and blind ABX testing mean scant all to the self called and pronounced experts (journalists and dealers) that Bose as an integrated system beats the hell out of anything performance wise being offered by these third party, mix and match 'tweaker's at the consumer level, and without measurement and blind ABX testing to support the superiority of mixing and matching, i.e. if it's all a subjective wine tasting excercise in sound, then those self proclaimed experts have nothing in their repoitoire of journalist or dealer jargon beyond dubious hype and opinion to refute the claim.
So In the interests of provoking some thought and discussion perhaps, I say Bose wins!
I believe the sales figures support the claim as well, so either the general public are wrong, gullible and stupid, or mixing and matching, via wine tasting in HiFi is just that - fun, a hobby, supporting your local dealer and HiFi industry, but ultimately not a lot about Hi Fidelity reproduction as a concept or goal per se anymore, and the general public see it for the emporers new clothes syndrome that it oft is - especially when some of these mix and match solutions cost more than the price of an expensive car, with sound quality a bare few percentage points perhaps over something vastly cheaper.
That the HiFi industry is in decline worldwide seems to be a general observation in most audio circles, and whilst it is sold and marketed the way it currently is, I'd say this trend is likely to continue. Y generation particularly is very tech savvy, and not easily fooled....
Anyway, I don't mean to be argumentative or offend anyone, but just some thoughts hopefully a little relevant to the topic at least.
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Those measurements may be reliable, but I don't necessarily agree with the OP's statement 'Speakers are the component furthest from being audibly transparent, which is why many people recommend spending most of your budget on them.'
Let me return to the poor old 2009 iPod classic - I've just recently purchased the Arcam drDock, and to an extent it has made a silk purse from a sow's ear. And, I repeat, I was also quite horrified when I purchased my very first DVD player so many years ago. That's when the term 'transparency' made a whole lot of sense to me, without any technical measurements at all, when compared to my trusty CD player.
I don't have any problem at all with WHF's use of the term 'transparency'.
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