Audio myths

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How many myths does it take to equal truth? It took hundreds of years and a lot of people passing away before the myth the earth is flat could be put to rest. But, myths come in all flavors. Take for example this website entitled Dispelling Popular Audio Myths. Posted nearly 17 years ago, this calm and educated writer claims to debunk myths common amongst Audiophiles:
  • Frequency response greater than 20kHz is important
  • Digital audio sounds worse than analog
  • Gold-plated connectors sound better than connectors made with tin or nickel
  • Using audiophile speaker cables improves the sound
  • Amplifiers based on vacuum tubes sound better than solid state designs
  • Replacing the resistors and capacitors in preamps and power amps with higher quality units can improve the sound of a system
  • Absolute microphone or speaker polarity makes an audible difference
And many other gems the author wants to help dispel and set the record straight. One last fact he wishes to share with us:
It is difficult to prove or disprove issues like those I have presented here because human auditory perception is so fragile and our memory is so short. With A/B testing - where you switch between one version of a signal and another to audition the difference - it is mandatory that the switch be performed very quickly. If it takes you fifteen minutes to hook up a replacement amplifier, it will be very hard to tell if there truly was a difference, compared to being able to switch between the two amps in less than a second. Even when switching quickly, it is important that both amplifiers be set to exactly the same volume level.
Starting tomorrow I'd like to present the other side of each of these points, one at time. Stay tuned.
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Paul McGowan

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