(pair of) SILVER-7 TUBE AMPs
Joined: Sun Jan 14, 2007 12:53 pm
Location: TN Native Languishing in MD
An Early DBT (Double Blind Test) of Amplifiers
Back in the mid 1970s J. Peter Moncrief (later "IAR") became somewhat infamous for conducting a pretty thorough DBT of power amps. He was an obsessive, and rather meticulous researcher. He spent around a year doing his experiment, and then wrote it up for "Sound Advice" magazine, a San Francisco based audiophile mag that enjoyed some prominence in that period. Just about every serious audiophile in the Berkeley/SF area ended up partaking in the test. I did the test exactly in the period that our Paragon preamp was coming to market. Moncrief was an extraordinary "character" to say the very least. But I digress.
Moncrief achieved some infamy because of his result. He tested high-end amplifiers from the likes of Audio Research, Levinson, Marantz, McIntosh and others from more of a mid-fi status. Maybe 12 to 15 amps in total. The winner of this DBT preference test? Bob Carver's Phase Linear 400. Needless to say, this set the audiophile community on it's literal ear. As anyone can predict, there was a huge rush on PL-400 amplifiers, and everyone had to get one. There were two camps immediately formed. First, "He is full of total crap and this amp is rubbish." Second, "You know, this amp is pretty darn good when you give it a fair listen." And so for a time - maybe a year or so - lot's of Bay Area audiophiles had a PL-400 sitting around and sometimes even in their systems. But, after a while, they were all gone, and everyone went back to their "personal favorites."
His DBT testing schema was pretty darn good for it's time. Far more rigorous than the usual "listening session" conducted by magazine reviewers. But in the end, the outcome wasn't really all that meaningful when applied to the consumer's question, "What power amp do I think sound's best." Just because Consumer Reports declares the Toyota Camry or the Honda Accord, or whatever to be the "Best Sedan" doesn't mean at all that it is best for YOU. Bias rules.
From FrankieD's lips to your ears: Sunfire: a quiet box of endless power.
Sunfire TG-IV/400~7 Amp
Carver SD/A-360 CDP
Active bi-amp: Ashly XR-1001 & 2 Rane PEQ-15s
Main: HotRodded AL-IIIs
Sub: Klipsch RT-12d
Center: Sunfire CRS-3c
Surround: Sunfire CRS-3 (x 2)
OconeeOrange wrote:"Gary likes to play it 'loud' as do I. His system begs you turn it up until you die"
RIP WIlliam B. Dibble, 1948-2012. I'll miss you my friend.