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Fancy parts -- is there a placebo effect?


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1/16/2004 9:51 PM
Shea
Fancy parts -- is there a placebo effect?
Be honest.  
 
After you've swapped out some old stock parts with some expensive or rare components that are supposed to give you pure tonal bliss --  
 
Have you ever wondered whether the difference you hear is all in your head, because you're expecting the amp to sound better?  
 
Shea
 
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1/16/2004 10:10 PM
SpeedRacer
Have you ever wondered whether the difference you hear is all in your head, because you're expecting the amp to sound better?  
 
Every single time. :)  
It is a well known psychological effect - you want to justify the money/time you spent and it takes a while before you any perspective. Add to that the fact that precious few folks ever do any kind of A/B..(they simply rip and replace a part or parts based on heresay essentially..) AND that human memory of sound is one of our weakest abilities and you have a trainwreck waiting to happen. In my case with the trannies I spent many months (literally - the 50W took 2 years to bring to production!) doing A/B tests and then when *I* was convinced I sent out demos to a group of folks I trusted to get their input.. when everyone agreed on the results and heard the same things I did (indepentdently) I felt good about the whole idea. I think that many differences we hear are real, but to put them in perspective we need to do A/B tests and spend some real time with the changes/mods to really understand them (not report back that they are the 'joint' while we are essentially 'honeymooning')  
jm2c  
imbw
 
1/21/2004 7:46 PM
Rick Erickson

quote:
"and you have a trainwreck waiting to happen."
 
 
I thought trainwrecks were suppopsed to sound pretty good, isn't that one of the popular boutique amps to clone? ;)  
 
RE
 
1/21/2004 8:55 PM
jaysg

Transformers have to be the worst, because it takes so long to swap them. An op amp swap in a TS9 is real-time in comparison.
 
1/17/2004 12:58 AM
Enzo

Yep, there are both real effects and placebo effects. You probably get a bit of each.  
 
One thing I hear a lot is a guy saying how much better his amp now sounds with the orange drops - or whatever. Of course once you read the rest of his post you find he also changed the speaker, installed different tubes, "blackfaced" the circuit, and modded the tone stack. Well, if the results sound good, nore power to gim, but I have no idea how he can decide the contribution of the new caps in all that.  
 
If you really want to know what something does to your sound, do only one thing at a time and listen to the results. Do six things all at once and you will never know.
 
1/17/2004 1:06 AM
anonymous
No placebo effect. At least in my humble experince. In fact lots of times the more expensive part sounds worse. More expensive is not always better.  
 
In sum, if you've done lot's of swapping with good parts and it always yields an improvement then perhaps a little more critical listening is in order. I'm not saying better parts don't make an improvement. Rather that some do and some don't and some actually make things sound worse.  
 
Just my opinion.
 
1/17/2004 6:43 AM
slowblues

This is the reason I built two single ended amps "almost"  
exactly the same primarily to check out different circuits also different brands and values.  
Then you can do a true A/B test.  
Trouble is the testing never seems to end.  
slow
 

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