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So, now we know that our brain is constantly trying to play tricks on us and how we should fight that. The next job is to identify the fingerprints of shortcomings in your reference set. If you can’t find any you are either not a gifted listener or an extremely brilliant set builder. I have never heard a stereo set without shortcomings and I would be highly surprised if such a thing would exist. Most likely you have to try again until you come up with one or more shortcomings - things that are not supposed to be there. The difficulty here is that your brain knows it’s listening to a stereo and stereos sound like stereos and not like real sound, according to your brain. Let’s take one of the most difficult things to get right in a stereo: sibilance control. Many audiophiles take for granted that sibilance is not on par with the real world. Even seasoned listeners tell me that it’s in the recording when I know it isn’t. That’s ok for it is rather difficult and often expensive to get it right. So you better learn to live with it. But for arguments sake, let’s say that you want to improve sibilance control in your set. Then it would be nice to find out what causes it. The only way to find out is to replace individual components - piece by piece  and including cables and the music file or disks. It is therefore handy to have audiophile friends to exchange equipment and cables with. Friends can also point you to properties of the sound - both positive and negative - that are remarkable. That way you teach each other to listen. And, yes, initially you will misinterpret some properties as will your friends. That will bring us back to the beginning of this video: make sure that no egos get in the way for that will absolutely lead to errors. As an exercise connect your smartphone as a source and listen to the changes that causes. Or the old cd-player you gave to your son and that he no longer uses since it needs those funny silver discs….

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