Originally Posted by DaViD Boulet
Not to mention that regardless of how one deems to best evaluate the audible differences (double blind tests etc.), to propose that there should be no difference at all between two pieces of gear because "a $400 receiver is going to decode DD/DTS the exact same way a $30,000 theta will." is utterly misguided, as "decoding" is only one of about 1000 ways that sound can be affected.
Even if two processors were fed a bit-for-bit identical PCM signal where no "decoding" was involved at all, there are a host of reasons why the final sound fed to the amp stage could be audibly different. The most obvious step would be d/a conversion, on top of which one would add all of the "usual" analog issues that affect traditional analog gear.
Now, whether or not two particular pieces of gear sound different from each other or not is a matter for proper evaluation. But the statement that supposes that it wouldn't be possible for them to sound different is uneducated, unscientific, and unfounded.
Funny how people still disagree with DBT's, but I have shown that high end gear does not use better DAC's or a better analog pre amp.