I have noticed that the plural of some animate nouns sounds very similar to its plural accusative. Here are some examples from Forvo so you can hear what I mean:
In the following pairings:
I do detect a difference in pronunciation, which makes me wonder if the differences in pronunciation are due to variations in the speaker or variations in the pronunciation of the word itself. Forvo is fantastic, but it is powered by people and though pronunciations are subjected to a voting system that is only open to native speakers, it is not forced to meet any rigorous standards by accredited institutions. In English, I can go to any number of good, free, online dictionaries that will pronounce the word in English and feel reasonably certain that the pronunciation is correct. I don't have that guarantee with Forvo, but based off the English I've heard on it, it's pretty darn good. Not being a native speaker of Russian, I'm taking it on good faith that these pronunciations are as true to the prescribed dictionary pronunciations as they can get. Are there any native Russian speakers who can give their assessment of the Russian recordings at Forvo? Or know of a free, online, authoritative resource that provides pronunciations of Russian words?
This next and final example:
diverges a bit from the above-- it compares the masculine singular with the masculine plural -- but these, too, sound very similar to me. Is there a distinct difference that native Russians hear between these two as well?
So to sum up/recap, do these pairings, including the pair above, also sound the same to native Russian speakers or do they detect a difference between the two and one who is learning the language simply needs to train their ear better to detect the difference? Or, is it possible that these words do have distinctive pronunciations but the speakers in some of these Forvo recordings aren't using precise pronunciation?