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#23 - Electrical engineers have repeatedly demonstrated that
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I am having a hard time reconciling how C is the answer choice that most weakens the argument. Too me this answer choice does make sense because the conclusion is talking about how the music lovers are imaging that there is any real difference in quality between the two vacuum tube amplifiers.

For this reason I chose E : b/c it differentiating the quality of "an amplifiers musical production" I thought this answer choice best weakens the argument b/c its saying that there is a difference in quality.

Could someone please explain these two answers b/c I know with weaken questions you're trying to find a gap b/w the premise and conclusion, so maybe I'm missing this part. Would the gap be that there are different way other than quality that music production is evaluated. Would this be the justification for C then?

Clay Cooper
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Hi Sarah,

Answer choice C just sounds better to

I'll stop. Thanks for your question.

From reading it, it sounds like you have misunderstood what the argument (conclusion) is claiming. It is claiming not that there is a difference between vacuum tube amplifiers and solid state amplifiers, as your question seems to indicate, but instead that there is in fact NO difference, and whatever difference music lovers claim to hear must be only in their imaginations.

Once we understand that this is the conclusion, the reason for answer choice C being correct are more clear: if, in fact, some of the things that make music sound pleasing to a listener cannot be measured, then the measurements on which the conclusion is based (measurements which purported to establish that there is no difference between the two types of amplifiers) do not necessarily capture every aspect of what a listener hears; it therefore is much more plausible that the conclusion is mistaken and a difference really does exist.

I hope that helps.
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For this question I understand the flaw, had a prephrase that matched the answer perfectly during the timed test but when I was reviewing the questions, I could not get rid of answer E. And I do not understand what answer B is saying.

If E is true, first, wouldn't it directly counter the premise for the argument? Second, wouldn't the difference in measurement be the difference in what music lovers hear?

Kristina Moen
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Hi Peter,

The argument is about the best vacuum-tube amplifiers as compared to the best solid-state amplifiers. Answer Choice (E) does not weaken the argument because it doesn't matter if some vacuum-tube amplifiers are better or worse than some solid-state amplifiers. Yeah, maybe on the cheaper end, there's a difference! But the premise compares the best, and the conclusion is about the best. When I first read this stimulus, I perked up when I saw the word best because it is a very common flaw for the premise to compare different things than the conclusion. Apples to oranges. :-D Sadly, not the case here.

So, next I looked at the language in the premise vs. the conclusion. Okay, we are comparing the same things - but using different metrics! The premise talks about "the characteristics commonly measured in evaluating the quality of an amplifier’s musical reproduction," and the conclusion uses the language "sounds better." Hmmm... maybe what sounds "better" to me sounds different to you? Seems like you understand why Answer Choice (C) is correct, so I won't spend any more time on that here.

Answer Choice (B) is again not about the best. It is saying that range of quality varies more for vacuum-type tube amplifiers. Who cares? This argument is about the best. 8-)
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Thanks! That makes a lot of sense :D