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The performance of symbol-sampled receivers is usually evaluated via Forney's finite impulse response (FIR) model for the equivalent channel [discrete-time transversal filter (DTTF)]. This model contains a matched filter, and, thus, requires prior knowledge of the continuous-time channel-impulse response. Therefore, if the channel is continuous and unknown, it is unrealistic to use the DTTF model, which leads to an upper bound on the system performance. Using an alternative model for the equivalent discrete-time channel, where the matched filter is replaced by a receive filter matched to the symbol waveform, we propose a framework to quantitatively investigate the performance loss from a theoretical perspective. The theoretical results are corroborated using a practical system.