It’s interesting to see that some people who hear night and day differences when reviewing products can't or won’t do it blind - even for $1,000,000. I didn’t know reviewers were paid so well…
For some interesting info about the sound of amps I suggest emailing Richard Clarke - firstname.lastname@example.org. He runs the $10,000 AMP challenge. You can request the stats from him. Or you can read through this thread. But set aside some time – it’s long.
About the challenge…
There is a contest that pays 10 GRAND to anyone who can correctly identify one amp from another 24 out of 24 times in a blind test.
The rules, as listed in the above thread, were written for car amps. The person running the contest has opened the challenge up to home theater amps.
Basically here’s how it works (as I understand it)…
Take ANY two amps (Amp 1 and Amp 2).
The amps are tested to find their linear range (i.e. where they operate w/o distortion or clipping).
The linear range of the less powerful amp is selected (so that 10-watt tube amp isn’t driven into clipping while going up against the $10,000 SS amp)
Adjustments are made for the input sensitivity of each amp.
If necessary, the amps are EQ’ed to sound the same, apparently some amp makers boost/cut certain frequencies to give their amp a distinctive sound.
The person taking the challenge decides which amp gets EQ’ed. Yes, you can take a working flea market find, have it EQ'ed, and compare it to a Halcro.
The person taking the contest listens to ANY music they want for however long they want, but the guy running the contest requests that they keep it limited to a few hours.
The person taking the contest can use ANY available commercial speakers; as long as the speakers use cones and the amps being tested can power them.
There will be 2 listening sessions of 24 trials. If anyone can tell the two amps apart 100% of the time, they walk away with $10,000.
Above you’ll find the email addy of the guy running the contest. Please contact him for the official rules.
BTW – No one has won as of yet. I’d think that anyone who can hear the difference between a $5000 amp and a $10,000 amp at sane listening levels would be all over this. They could compare a $15,000 amp vs. a Radio Shack special and walk away with the cash.