Archive through December 05, 2004


Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 240
Registered: Oct-04
Jan, et al. In my eternal (maybe "infernal?") quest for product that clarifies CDs and DVDs, I have gone out on another creaky limb - and have ordered some product from the Zaino car polish people.

As some of you know, I've talked with the company president, and learned that many audiophiles use his products in the same manner as I've been using "Vivid."
Should get my supply by Thursday, and will post my reviews and other comments. IF the Zaino plastic cleaner/tweaker works as well as - or better than - Vivid, it will be a great thing for all CD-owners, for they will be able to treat discs for about 1/10th the cost of Vivid! And from what the president tells me (obviously, he's biased!) discs treated with his product have even better "optical qualities."
OK, gang - don't you secretly want to get more and better sound out of those discs with the "perfect sound forever" on them? Huh?

Remember - I'm much too far away from all of you for even one of Rick's old thunder-sticks to reach me! (grin)

More anon . . .

Silver Member
Username: Ojophile


Post Number: 163
Registered: Jun-04

Spector will need a "wall of money", considering he has hired Robert Shapiro as his defense attorney.

What breakup are you talking about? We're just behaving and reacting like a typical family. Upload

Larry, my friend, you flatter me no end. But if you can pack and send up some Florida sunshine my way, I'd be most grateful. It's cold heah, and it ain't fun. And it's not even officially winter yet --- really. "Allegory" is just so nice to use; it sounds educated. Upload

Sem and Larry, keep up the wry humour. We could always use some comic relief.

I'll check out Discoveries later.

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2552
Registered: Dec-03
Well, it looks like the Old Dogs reunion tour is off.

Ghia, I laughed and laughed. Thank you.

Best to all.

Back on Sunday.

PS Rick, No I have no idea what this is about, either. Will give it some more time. Please talk to Varney. I have to get on a plane tomorrow, and I sure hope the pilot thinks there is a real sky out there, also runways, other traffic &c.

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 342
Registered: Feb-04
I'm sorry to read such discord on this thread. Despite the varying points of view of the Old Dogs, I've always sensed a real fellowship among the members. I hope the differences don't supersede this fellowship. Ghia is right, as usual, in her previous post about the divisive mood of this country and the world in general. This forum doesn't seem immune to this inimical mood, despite the intelligent, good-hearted people who participate. There just seems to be a lot of acrimony in the air, fueled by, in my opinion, self-righteousness. I'd be the first to admit to thinking I know better than others. That may explain why I was so upset over the recent election results. For some of us, there is nothing more precious than our well-reasoned opinions, even if it costs us friends and makes us enemies, or in this instance, potentially destroys an online community.

As some of you may know, I haven't been posting as often as I used to. Just been spending time "getting perspective" as Jan put it. I'd like to share a verse I came across recently from the Tao Te Ching, which I hope you take to heart (or ignore if you so choose):

I have just three things to teach:
simplicity, patience, compassion.
These three are your greatest treasures.
Simple in actions and in thoughts,
you return to the source of being.
Patient with both friends and enemies,
you accord with the way things are.
Compassionate toward yourself,
you reconcile all beings in the world.

My apologies for the digression. This is way off topic. I will shut up now.


Got your PM. I'll send you a response. I just wanted to send this message to all, especially those who are thinking of leaving.


Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 665
Registered: Dec-03
Ghia, Sem, Larry, Don, and 2c,

Well said all!

So if everyone is finished barking, growling, snorting, stalking, and defensive posturing, let's get back to being the loveable, and may I add ADOREABLE pack that we are. There just is no ALPHA or pecking order in this pack. Any questions?

2c-I thought I was the only Buddist here (LOL!)

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 344
Registered: Feb-04

Your post is a prime example of the adorability of the pack.

You ARE the only Buddhist here. I've got a lot to unlearn.

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 666
Registered: Dec-03
LOL! THANK YOU.............

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1157
Registered: Aug-04
This is a bit more than a simple "Hi!" sorry about that :-)


Basically, it boils down to the fact that I have a low tolerance for arrogance, untruths and BS. So the fact that some of you here view the former as a virtue made me feel it might be quite difficult for me to continue participating here as an "Old Dog."

Jan, your last post was very good and heartfelt (you do have a heart don't you :-)) - seriously, I mean it, I'm not being facetious in the slightest, But this: "There are more important things than this forum to get upset about." gave me a bit of a chuckle.

Do you mean that we let any issues we might have slide by because they pale in comparison to 'things that are wrong in the world?'

I think (my opinion mind you) that's a bit too much to expect from anyone - even you. With any problem there is always one that is worse; that doesn't mean it cannot be discussed, debated, or vehemtly argued over - let alone solved. One has nothing to do with the other, though it all sounds terrific philosophically wise. Being at one with one's self or with the world and all that zen stuff is wonderful and enlightening etc but we need to get real also. We don't all follow the same tenets, not all of us have the same degree of patience and we all can only hope to be forever compassionate (thank you kindly 2C for those words).

We are all of different character and many are much more tolerant than I. Take Larry for an example, in the 'other side' thread on the subject of Amps, he argued to John A about what attributes a recording engineer should or not have. Larry, clearly showing more experience in this field, allowed John A to trample on his opinion most likely to prevent another long-winded epic rebuttal. If that is the case I take my hat off to Larry (as I often do) but I would not have been so giving to John A under those circumstances, because in my opinion, and I'm certain Larry's opinion is similar, John A was wrong in his. That's another story.

Was I wrong to defend Kegger and myself against Jan's arrogance? According to many here, yes! According to me, no! The difference in our characters define us as individuals - a clash here and there has to be expected and all the problems in the world have neither the capacity to solve the differences nor have any relation to them - that's my opinion, of course.

All this rubbish would have been long forgotten by now if the references to Kegger's and my admonishment to Jan's arrorant manner had not kept popping up in his posts. They were taken as jibes (regardless of the intent) and to try to prevent a misrepresentation of what Kegger and I deplored in Jan's manner, we resumed to set the matter straight.

Both Jan and John say they are mystified and cannot relate to what we are on about. I can only accept that is a little misleading because we have explained it over and over in plain english. It has, in my opinion, nothing whatsoever do do with what subject matter Jan was discussing even though Kegger kept bringing his views up about it. Jan insinuated we were calling him arrogant because we disagreed with him. Wrong! It was purely and simply the manner by which Jan put across his view, a bit like this: this is the way you do it instead of: in my opinion, this is the way it should be done, or this is the way I would do it. Sounds trivial doesn't? But, in the context of this type of thing occurring over and over again, something had to give and it did. I was never looking for an apology only a fair portrayal of what the fuss was about.

I do not dislike Jan or John A for that matter - in fact quite the opposite and I think that is common knowledge here. I have great respect for them both. I am not without sin and I can take it on the chin (as they obviously can also) when I'm wrong. What I do dislike is what I stated earlier and if I am in trouble for defending against misrepresentation than so be it - I will never cease to do that. In future I will try to be a bit more tolerant of other people's peccadillos and keep mine to a minimum.

My apologies for upsetting all you good people and though I appreciate your words immensely, looking for them was not on my mind . As far as I am concerned this matter shall remain in the "what's past is past" basket.

Jan, and you also John, I extend my hand.

And Ghia - don't you drop out on account of this hiccup - because that's all it is - hopefully as this has (or will), things get sorted out in the end. The embarrassment for all this nonsense exploding out of nowhere is mine and mine alone. You are the 'mother' of our family here - don't abandon your pups. They may be old dogs but they still aren't weened.


Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 242
Registered: Oct-04
I guess I'm a "wuss." For those of you who do not know what a "wuss" is - well, it's the "polite" version of a word which is anathema to the female sex, and generally considered a seexual slur. But in this case it means a person who opts out of a fight, and bows and scrapes and tries to make the best of a bad situation.
It has been mentioned that I sorta "gave in" to John A. in one of his postings. Yep. Did. Had no reason to extend an argument that, in my opinion, had nowhere to go and no life of its own. So I caved. Took the dive. Do it many times.
Unfortunately for me - and Mer will back this up - I do not have a strong ego. Been in the presence of too many really awesome men and women in my day - and have determined that, compared with them, I am a "commoner." Not stupid, just in a place that, relative to their accomplishments, means little in the Grand Scheme of Things.
I could teach all of you a lot about script writing. Studied it. Did it for 34 years. Got lots of awards, including an Emmy. OK? So? So what?
the "what" is that I have some precious knowledge, and valuable experience, which I am glad to share - free, yet!!! But I have no intention of preaching to you that I am somehow "above" all of you just because I worked very hard and had some really horrible times whilst doing it.
So - when I say "I could teach you a lot about script writing," well, I am only offering you my experience and what may pass for "expertise." Does that make me arrogant? Only if I phrase it in a manner that is demeaning to you.
Writing, as I have said, is fraught with mis-interpretations. Take my above phrase: "I could teach you a lot about script writing."
If you picture me up on a podium, looking down with a sneer on my face, you have every right to say: "what a jerk! Who does he think he is?"
BUT - if I hold out my hand and say in a clear and simple tone "I could teach you. . ." then the overtones are quite different.
Classical 1 was quite ready to shout that he had an inheritance, that he made lots of money, and that he raced sailboats. OK. Did that make all of you happy - did you feel that he was a good guy and a great companion? Probably not.
I could also tell you that, in years past, I made a very good living. So do most of you. It's all relative. But if I say that, I would hope to couch it in a context where you interpret it as "I'm very thankful that I was able to earn a lot of money to provide for my family."
Diff-runt emphasis. Different approach. Different reaction on the part of the reader.
Arrogant crops up a LOT on this forum. that's a sign of egocentric expression. Most men do it. MOre than do women. Cockadoodle doo and all that.
Many of you are more intelligent than I am. Heck, probably all of you are. I know my wife is. She is one of those "Mensa" folk. I am not. I have often asked her how she deals with a husband whom she considers less "brilliant" than she is. She answers: "because you are honest, and true, and considerate, and because you have so much to offer that I do not have." Well. . . I still can't solve her math problems. And she still can't make a house plant live - or sail a straight line - or spell worth a damn! If it were not for me, she'd never be able to submit her papers - she can barely spell "cat." But I lose every Scrabble game. I lose every philosophical argument. I lose my car keys - but that's another problem! (grin)
Am I making any sense here? I'm asking for patience, and understanding, and a bit of "air" between ideas. And yes - before any of you challenges me - I have had more than my share of really dumb responses on this forum. And have admitted to them. And have learned from them.

OK - I'm out of air - and Scotch. Time to sit back and think some more.

God bless all of you. I mean that. And I hope that my feeble meanderings may have some influence on future postings and considerations on this forum.

Respectfully. . .

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1158
Registered: Aug-04

You use words much better than I. My reference to you was meant as a compliment of the highest order. I'm saying while you are tolerant, I am easily heated into action - and obviously, it can get me in trouble. I sorry my words made you feel to have a need to explain. You don't and you are a scholar and a gentleman my friend. Merri would be proud no matter how high her IQ.

BTW - You're not the only one with a smarter wife :-)

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 244
Registered: Oct-04
MR - sir, your words did not make me feel the need for explanation - they were well-written and I did appreciate them. I had a need to expand on many of my previous comments about my "place" on this forum, and how I try to deal with what I often see as ego-talk - or the writings of intelligent people who have little clue as to how their phrasing and "attitude" will be received.
Actually, I came "back" to this forum on the strength of what Classical 1 was doing in Colorado - testing the "Vivid" product at about the same time I was. Got me back here - and now, thanks to you and others whom I feel comfortable "relating to," it is generally an enjoyable environment.
You will remember my sometimes heated reaction to John A.'s postings. On one occasion, I simply read his posting wrong - my fault entirely.
But in past times I've been angered to the point of Scotch-spilling (an expensive bit of anger! GRIN) because I thought him pedantic and high-minded. Indeed, I once walked off this forum based on some of his postings. It was that bad for me.
Sigh. So, even I - at age 68 - (chronologically only. I'm really 28!) have my childish moments.

Oh, yes - I'm glad you have a wife smarter than you are. Having a "dumb blonde" wears out very, very quickly!!! I know. Had one once. . . (ahem)

More anon. . .

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1903
Registered: Dec-03
Interesting reading of one mans journey through
amplifier design and realization!
"anyone intersted in what 1 man has discovered about tubes should read it"

I will link the rest on the bottom of the page for anyone intested in going farther!

August 1996

I guess before we get into the design you're going to need to understand a little about myself to understand why no one has else has tried such a thing. I do not have an engineering degree hanging on my wall. I am an artist/inventor with a passion for good sound. People have been known to say "He will try things you would never in a million years have considered" referring to me. I consider that my strongest asset. I have a lot of creativity and am very stubborn. I have arranged my life style in such a way so that when I get a vision I can enjoy the spontaneity of it, and act on it right away. I do not enjoy being side tracked by the demands and expectations of techno junkies for the simple reason that it dilutes my focus. I think a lot of artists are like this. It would be like an art critic calling to ask what kind of clay you used so he can decide if it's worthy of his time to come and look at the sculpture. I usually don't worry about specs simply because I have discovered over the years that good specs don't guarantee good sound. I just listen to whatever it is as I go. Things like the difference in sound between two identically rated capacitors of different brands, or tubes, etc. are very important in my experience, yet no specs can seem to suggest there is any difference.

High Fidelity Engineering has a clear focus that revolves around preserving the forgotten past of hi-fi in the 1960's before it took a major step backwards from the perspective of sound quality. By that I mean that since the invention of non-discrete IC based solid state receivers, over all sound quality has declined when compared to the older tube counterparts. Believing this gets harder and harder with each generation. Kids don't know what records are, and they think tubes are light bulbs. And quite frankly it is completely impossible to relate to the kind of sound quality I'm talking about unless you've been exposed to it. Kind of like a man trying to imagine what it must be like to be pregnant and give birth, something he'll never know... at least not in this lifetime.

If you're the average person with a stereo - even a fancy new surround sound stereo then you enjoy the company of approximately 98% of all the people reading this... and I'm sorry to say that presenting this amplifier in a way that you can grasp (because it goes against everything you know) may be no less complicated than a pregnant man.

The passion behind this idea for me comes from the desire to expose the common man owning the common stereo - to the magic of triodes, with a secondary objective of messing with the common audiophile who believes specifications are the 11th commandment. Someone should have done this long ago but because of the unorthodox thinking required to pull off such a feat I don't suppose other companies wanted to take the risk. For example if I tried to market a 6 watt amplifier with around 10% distortion who would take it seriously?

An entry level "audiophile" amplifier that would be affordable to the masses has been my dream for many years now. To find a way to make it affordable and make it appeal to the average person is obviously the difficult part. The passion to do so comes from past personal frustrations of not being able to afford what I want and not being able to enjoy what I have because I've heard what I want! (been there haven't ya!) I can assure you most of us have a hard time justifying the crazy amount of money required to obtain a true high fidelity system.

The general perception of an audio system to the masses is pretty much anything you could find at a "digital ready" electronics supermarket. Well guess what... the masses all have ears as good as any audiophile and the ability to appreciate the same things that result from high end listening. Those who've never been exposed to three dimensional high fidelity can hardly be chastised for not appreciating the difference between the two, or for not being aware that there is a profound difference.

The science of sound and harmonic resonance is far and away the most complex and least understood science on earth in my opinion. I would say that the monumental joint effort of all the people and the equipment required to send up an Apollo mission would be simpler than building a perfect playback system. It takes significant effort in design and a significant quality in parts to achieve good sound. It should be pointed out that the HIGH END audio market is oppressed with the monumental and expensive task of improving the high fidelity playback system we commonly refer to as the "stereo" and that is why a respectable stereo system costs between 15 and $30,000.00 Gee, that's about the price of an automobile!

September 1996

My objective with this design is to get the absolute highest quality... harmonically in-tact sound in the hands of the wanna be audiophiles. My research and experience over the years has taught me that tube circuits are the way to obtain this objective. If I were designing this on paper with specifications in mind I would have chosen solid state circuits. I really prefer the natural sound of tubes and while I have heard some solid state amplifiers that I could enjoy, they start at about $7500.00. The market is SATURATED with solid state gear and as I said, I don't feel it is the format necessary to complete this goal.

Up until this summer I have been building Class A1 push-pull tube amplifiers of various designs with the intention of marketing one as the entry level amplifier. The part I've been wrestling with (like all small manufactures) is keeping the cost down and yielding terrific sound quality. Success usually seems to go to those who have achieved the correct balance of compromise (understanding of course that everything in audio is a balance of compromise).

The push-pull tube amp designs seem to be the most popular because they can be fairly inexpensive to build, have plenty of power, and sound quite good when compared to mid-fi solid state gear. I really thought the answer could be found in a push-pull design for those reasons.

This summer while playing with single ended tube amplifier designs for my own personal stereo, I stumbled into some results that forced me to take a real second look at exactly what are watts? You know you read these adds for those five watt triode amplifiers that start at around $5,000.00 and go way up from there and wonder why would anyone pay that much for such a thing if it only has a few watts?

Lets just say some enlightenment from the audio spirits came upon me and it was enough to realize that at a normal listening level most of the musical content can be found in the first magical watt of power. I then realized that the priority in high fidelity reproduction should be focused on that first watt. I have been trying to truly understand this for some time now, and in particular been trying to define in my own research the reason why solid states watts seem less that tube watts to the ear, yet equipment measurements would indicate that they are capable of achieving the same amplitudes.

Solid state stereo gear has a tendency to sound thin, and quickly run out of headroom (clip) when pushed. Tube amps are very different. If you compare a 40 watt tube amp with a 100 watt solid state amp or receiver, the tube amp will put more music in the room, and get louder every time. You will find that at nominal listening levels the loudness button is needed to get the solid state amp to sound full-bodied, yet the tube amplifier sounded warm and full with a dead flat signal. This is a great example of how "watts" are not "watts" and a prelude to a secret only the most advanced audio gurus will share / and that is that specs in audio gear mean nothing.

Why is it that a 10 watt musical instrument amplifier such as a guitar amp will in real life (and on stage) get loud enough to split your brain in half, yet it seems to take mega bucks and major stereo gear with 100's of watts to reproduce the same sound in your living room, a room that remains a fraction of the size of a live performance? Perhaps it's because everyone is going about it wrong, confusing convenience with performance.

October 1996

Enough rattling on... Two weeks ago I completed prototyping the circuit for a single ended low power tube amplifier and have been listening to it ever since. The schematic is at the top of this page. At this stage I have already decided that this will be the chosen design for the project. The actual cost will decided by the cost of the output transformers. One of the main reasons single ended tube amps are so much higher in cost than their push pull counter parts is that the output transformers are completely different. In a single ended design the output transformer must be designed to handle the DC current at the bias point, so a special transformer must be used. It features an air gap that optimizes the coupling at low frequencies and the DC current that serves to lower the permeability of the core. Without the air gap, the iron will saturate under too little DC bias to accommodate the needs for a single ended triode. Too much gap will reduce primary inductance so that the lowest frequencies will not pass without attenuation.

All other things being equal, the output transformers (or IRON as I call it) has the final say in the resulting sound quality. When you're looking at different iron for a design, you find that the standard push-pull output transformers range in price between $75. and $400.00 ea. (per channel.) and you find the single ended output transformers range in price from $150. to 1200.00 ea. That BTW is why the single ended stuff is so expensive.

I have a 50 watt (ea. channel) tube amplifier that I built up to a reasonably impractical extreme and I have been using that as my personal reference piece. It powers an efficient pair of speakers in my main listen room (over 90dB) and in all honesty (with feedback off) sounds better than any other push pull amplifier I have compared it to. In fact a version of it was my original idea for this project, and has been for years because I liked the sound so well..

My specific design goal has wavered a bit in the past months as I get ready to do this. If I am going to market a tube amp to people who have never had the joy of listening to one, and given the solid state, cranked up with the loudness on and tone controls engaged listening habits of those people, how should it sound? Do I go for power so it will stomp their past systems, or do I go for pleasure so it will reveal to them the inner levels of music. In other words, do I give them what they already have but just a lot better, or do I give them an opportunity to discover a magic in music that they are unaware of. It really gets into a psychology issue, one that I have pondered for almost 10 years now. From a business standpoint I would make more money with the prior.

This is what happened... to completely solidify the decision. My new little single ended amplifier will run in either Pentode or Triode mode. In Pentode it benches 5.7 watts, and in Triode it does 1.8 watts RMS pure class A per channel. Because of the front end, and additional gain stage in the design it is possible to get louder than you could ever believe is possible with 5.7 watts. Anyway, ever since I switched the little guy over to triode mode, I have not had any desire to switch it back. It is the most natural real sound I have ever heard in this house. And the eerie thing is that it achieves a nominal listening level high enough to be exactly the same listening level I have been accustomed to. that's 1.8 watts Vs. 50 watts which is the same as a hundred watts or more in a solid state receiver. The enormous improvement in quality has made this new little amp my full time personal listening amp. My good ol' favorite just got bumped. As for the psychology issue, I will be going for the magic.

In my observations over the years the reason people turn the volume up to the levels they do, is to gain the effect of physically feeling the music. This effect is the motivating reason for turning it on, and this effect is the ONLY effect that the quality of equipment has to offer so it's no wonder. Once you have spent an evening with premium gear like this little triode amp, you find that the physical effect you were accustomed to happens sooner and at lower volumes because the even order harmonics are in-tact and free of odd order harmonics found in solid state circuits. Then the big one hits you, another more profound EFFECT happens in addition to the physical effect - emotional effect. So you have one that strokes your body, and one that caresses your inner self adding a new found joy to the experience of listening to your stereo.

November 1996

Having my strongest talent in speaker design I have thought long and hard about the statement: "Your speakers have the most effect on how your stereo will sound - replacing your speakers first gets the most improvement." Being a speaker designer the temptation to accept that has always been strong, however I have been slowly and consistently disproving that to myself year after year.

It is in my opinion the amplifier that makes the most difference in the sound of your stereo, and then your other electronics. I can safely say that your speakers are probably the least contributors to the sound rather than the most if your listening to good tube gear. It is not however usually NOT true when listening to mid-fi solid state gear. If you gave me a choice of a good tube amp and a pair of Bose speakers or a mid fi solid state amp and a $24000.00 pair of Wilson Watts, I would choose the Bose and the tube amp because it would sound better. I know blanket statements like this are hard to digest, but I believe it to be true from my own experience.

There are things in this design that some engineers would whine about, perhaps lots of things, but I did what I did... to achieve the desired sound. Audio is so much more complicated than a square wave response on a scope. I feel a significant part of the complexity can be found in the topology of the circuit itself. Understanding that all matter in the universe resonates, including conductors such as wire, adds an exiting new level of depth to it. I should imagine a circuit would not be unlike a piano with all of its notes. Combining the right ones (based on their fundamental tones (resonance) in a way where the harmonics of those resonance's are complimentary determines how pleasing the outcome is. Since on the bench there is no real way to measure molecular resonance or see its effect on the flow of electrons it is impossible to know exactly what is going on. If we could become electrons and jump in for the ride, how smooth would it be? Would it be violent? How many times would you hit you head? And when we both popped out the other end of the circuit at the approximate same time would one of us be battered up and the other one no worse for the wear? And if so why? These are the things that intriguing me. Now that you have an idea where I'm coming from, I will spend the remainder of this log going over the design itself with the intent of helping anyone who cares understand the reasons why I did the various things I did with this design.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"In my observations over the years the reason people turn the volume up to the levels they do, is to gain the effect of physically feeling the music."

In contrast to what the writer suggests, I found, through the years, the reason most people turn up the volume on their systems is to try to hear something that isn't there. The mass market components seldom get the music right and the listener thinks that by turning it louder, they will somwhow get back what has been left out. As the writer continues, the best thing most mass market products can do is have a switch that goes to "OFF".

"The passion to do so comes from past personal frustrations of not being able to afford what I want and not being able to enjoy what I have because I've heard what I want!"

I would again slightly disagree with the statement. The passion of the type of sound reproduction the writer seeks should come from having heard the real deal. Listening to live music is what inspires great designs in my experience. Comparing to other HiFi gear is a lesson in frustration or merely flexing one's ego; but, that is often, as in the later comparisons of his amp to an Adcom, where many designers start.

Kegger - This is a bit of a change for you if you agree with many of the ideas the writer proposes. For example, the amp is more important than the speaker. This is also back to single ended, but with a EL84 instead of a 300B. Where are you heading with this information?

For someone who is coming across this article and design for the first time and had the tenacity to read the entire piece, what, in your opinion, Kegger, should they take away from this?


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Rantz - From your post of 8:17 I'm not quite sure what side of your hand you're extending. I'll take what you have to offer and try not to misinterpret your comments. Peace.

"We don't all follow the same tenets, not all of us have the same degree of patience and we all can only hope to be forever compassionate ... "

What say we all give that a big "try" for the Holiday season ... at least.


Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2555
Registered: Dec-03
Brief one before leaving. Hand taken MR, and shaken warmly.


"Larry, clearly showing more experience in this field, allowed John A to trample on his opinion"

No, express a contrary one. That is all I did. With respect, and thanks, to Larry. As to you. Please take a look: Tuesday, November 30, 2004 - 01:16 am on Transcending Hi-Fi.... If this is the post to which you refer, I am still at a loss.

If I state, here and now, that I still hold the view I expressed there, which I do, does that amount to arrogance?

...I have a low tolerance for arrogance, untruths and BS. So the fact that some of you here view the former as a virtue...

My position is that I am not sure how we can recognise these things for what they are, especially "untruths".

Neverthess I think there are untruths. If I understood you, Kegger, and Varney correctly, there are none, at least in audio.

So, honestly, I am puzzled. There is no guile or spin in that last remark. It is the simple truth concerning my position.

Rick, 2c,

Re Budhism, please check out Varney's postings on the thread linked above. Fascinating, I thought.

I cannot resists a quip, scared as I am of flying. I travelled to Australia a few years ago on Thai Air. Lots of attention to cultural detail; plenty of gongs and so on on entering the cabin. Makes a pleasant change from "The Four Seasons", I thought. As the 747 accelerated for take-off, the female cabin attendants were quite calm, but nevertheless appeared to be praying.

I did not find that at all reassuring.

All the best.

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1904
Registered: Dec-03
I just found it intersting reading from the perspecive of someone
building and learning as they went. "kinda like me"

"The passion of the type of sound reproduction the writer seeks should come from having heard the real deal. Listening to live music is what inspires great designs in my experience"

Again this is where we butt heads! "not meaning in a bad way"

But for me what motivates me to strive to build or purchase something
I consider better really comes from other equipment I've heard
that I go "wow that sounds amazing".

That's how I got into tubes in the first place.
The high end shop in my area has some incredable equipment I can't afford
But would love to build or own.

I'm really getting intrigued by the so called incredable tube amps.
And I'm thinking of building something different "for me"
I read all the time of these truly amazing flea power amps as something
truly awe inspiring and I'd like to see for myself.

And I have come to the conclusion the amp "can" be the most important
part of your system. meaning like he said a resonable solid state amp
verse a tube amp.

I believe the tube amp will make more of a difference on the system.

But in a solid state system I believe the speakers can be more
effective on achieving your sonic goal. "if that makes any sense"
But through my own trials that's were im at right now!
But maybe if I had a truly amazing solid state amp I would think different.

I would hope if someone read this article they would feel the passion
in what the designer has experienced that might intrigue them to investigate.
If they were inclined to be thinking of going into tubes
or at least see what others feel is the better amp for music reproduction,
Be it tubes in general or the type of amp being described.

It actually knidof scares me to think a 7watt or less could do me justice
as I like my music a little on the louder side!
But I'd like to find out.

When I said I wanted to step back from the forum and let you guy's go at it.
Was really not wanting to get into any debates for awhile, but to just relax.
Maybe slow down and do some other thinking!

I'll have no problem carrying on some discussions but I'm debated out right now!

Deabates seem to turn into arguments and I'm not much for arguing.

Sharing knowlage or opinions back and fourth is one thing but I'm burn't
out on the whole debate thing!

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1905
Registered: Dec-03
The above is a reply to jan about the post:
" Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 12:42 am:"

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1906
Registered: Dec-03
ok the last one I'll put out for awhile!


Gordon Rankin, Wavelength's Single-Ended Man

Jonathan Scull, January, 1996

Jonathan Scull: Gordon, please tell us what you see as the basic difference between single-ended and push-pull.
Gordon Rankin: Well, first let me tell you that we actually used to build push-pull amps--they were EL34-based units--for a good five years before we tried our first single-ended amplifier. In any case, as a musician I would say the detail of the output of a single-ended amp seemed more pure and less distorted in some ways.

Scull: How did you get single-ended, Gordon?

Rankin: I'd gotten a pair of single-ended transformers and a bunch of tubes from a kid at the University of Cincinnati, and in there were single-plate 2A3s--they're very hard to find. I wired up a simple single-ended amplifier and listened in mono. Surprisingly, I found the sound was more exact. Its presentation was more true of a live performance. I guess in engineering terms you could say there are a lot of reasons why one is always better than two, two better than four, and so on. In fact, not having to worry about splitting the phase and integrating it into the output stage has a big impact on the sound too. And of course push-pull cancels even-order distortion. But in the end, push-pull just didn't seem as natural and balanced-sounding to me as single-ended.

Scull: You're saying that having both odd- and even-order distortion products in the output is an important aspect of single-ended's sound?

Rankin: You know, distortion is a part of life. The reproduction of sound will always include distortion products--both even- and odd-order. Any type of reproducing device will exhibit distortion in its output. And canceling even some of it can have a detrimental effect to the sound itself as a whole.

Scull: Gordon, can you describe your circuit for us?

Rankin: Sure, all our amplifiers are made up of only two stages. If we could do it with one stage, we'd do it! We use the 6SL7 family in the Cardinal series as the front-end driver and gain tube in an SRPP circuit--that's shunt-regulated push-pull.

Scull: The input stage is push-pull?

Rankin: Yes, that's right. Actually it's both the input and gain stage, so we consider that a single stage. Then you have the 300B, which is the output stage. We did some engineering on it, and implemented certain things differently than in some other designs, but the Cardinal's input is primarily an SRPP circuit.

Scull: What's the difference between the special edition XS version and a standard Cardinal?

Rankin: Let me tell first you what's the same. The standard Cardinal has silver input wire and primarily the same resistor complement as the XS. The output wires are standard in both, and the power transformer itself is pretty much copper-oriented in both.

Scull: Uhhh, yeah, but how do they differ, Gordon?

Rankin: Well, the regular Cardinal has an all-copper primary. The Cardinal XS has an output transformer that's a mixture of 20% silver and 80% OFC copper. I'd also played around with Siltech cables, especially their chassis hookup wire, and that stuff is really nice--probably the best internal hookup wire I've found to date. So we wired the Cardinal XS with Siltech and Kimber.

Scull: Why both?

Rankin: The Siltech is such a heavy gauge of silver that in some places I had to use the more flexible Kimber--the KCAG--a 20-gauge seven-strand design.

Scull: Lets's talk input tubes for a bit.

Rankin: Sure. There's about 100 different 6SL7s, like those manufactured by Sylvania, RCA, some European brands like ECC35s, and CV 569s. Philips bought Sylvania in '85 or '86, you know. But the tubes I've felt the happiest with are the Sylvanias. Matter of fact, in my opinion, the Sylvania tubes in the 6SL7 and the 6SN7 family have done the best job. We ship the Sylvania 6SL7WGT in the standard Cardinal, but you can also have the 6188, which is actually a 6SU7. The difference between them is that the two sides--it's a twin-triode--are heavily matched in a 6SU7, but everything else is pretty much the same as a 6SL7. But the 6188s are actually a little different. The plate impedance of a 6SL7 is roughly 50k ohms, but the 6188 is more like 25k ohms, and so it's got a better drive capability. It's an extremely nice tube--detailed and very fast. Because of the low plate impedance and high gain, it drives the 300B better than any other 6SL7 we've ever tried, including the 5691.

Scull: When ordering a Cardinal, do customers have the choice of input tube?

Rankin: We're shipping with the Philips Sylvania 6SL7WGT on the standard Cardinal, but we're pretty relaxed about it. We provided some of those hard-to-get 5691s for a long time. Fortunately they're much easier to find now. The US Government freed up an enormous supply of them recently. They finally figured out they had all these tubes lying around that they were unlikely to ever use. I just heard that Mike Matthews at New Sensor picked up 5000 6188s, and Steve at Angela Instruments has 5000 of the 5691s.

Scull: And with the XS?

Rankin: Then you have a choice of anything we have. Typically we sell them with the Mullard 5AR4 rectifier tube, which is branded by Sylvania and RCA. Almost everybody rebranded that tube because nobody made it better. Then there's a choice of input tubes between the 6188, or, for a more lush sound, they can have the 6SL7WGT.

Scull: Or for greater lushment, the RCA red-base?

Rankin: Yup, the red-base 5691 or, getting back to a more neutral sound, you can have the black-base Sylvania 5691. I prefer the 6188. Of the 5691s, I like the Sylvania better than the RCA, because the RCA gives a more rounded, slower sound. The Sylvania sounds much faster.

Scull: Moving to the output stage, let's talk 300Bs.

Rankin: Okaaaay. The standard issue for the Cardinal XS is the VAIC, and it's a very nice tube for a number of reason. Just by the feel and texture of the tube--its heavy base and glass--you can tell they've spent a lot of money in the design and construction. We also offer the Cardinal XS at a reduced price with the Golden Dragon 300B Super. When you're talking 7 or 8W, the output tube can make a difference of a couple of watts! The VAIC VV30B actually adds 1.5 or 2W without changing a thing--no biasing, no nothing. You just drop it in.

Scull: Speaking of biasing, how's it done in your amps?

Rankin: We do self-bias with all our tube amplifiers because we feel that the bass response is a lot faster and more realistic like that.

Scull: You prefer that scheme to fixed biasing?

Rankin: Yes, for fixed-biasing you need to supply a negative voltage, and you've got to use a meter to set it. Self-biasing uses a simple resistor on the tube--as more current passes through it, the voltage increases and therefore the tube biases itself. This actually helps in the area of clipping and low-frequency response. You see, when you fix-bias an amplifier, the tube becomes a lot harder to drive. You're driving the input to the tube, and you're driving the negative supply.

Scull: What about overall capacitance?

Rankin: Well, we use a Pi filter, which means you can get away with very low total capacitance. I don't believe in huge caps--it slows down the sound. In the Cardinal we use no more than 80µF of capacitance.

Scull: Since your amps are pure single-ended, let me ask how you feel about parallel 300Bs.

Rankin: I actually used to make an amplifier called the Twin, and that was a parallel single-ended amp. We came out with it because for a while our customers were using speakers that the Cardinal, at 7½ to 9W, just wouldn't drive. While I was designing and prototyping the Twin I noticed that at some point one of the tubes in the pair starts to take over. So you get this shearing effect--one tube will only be driving about 20% of the time, and the other in the pair will take over the rest of the job. You know, you can never truly match a set of tubes perfectly. They're mechanical devices, after all. Within the tolerances that you're looking for in the solid-state world, it would take 1000 to 2000 tubes before you'd get even two to work the same!

Scull: So parallel 300Bs need perfect matching?

Rankin: Yes, because you're driving one side of the transformer with both tubes. That's also why parallel 300Bs are more expensive--you've got more driver tubes and circuitry, and more stages overall. But a number of people who'd bought the Twins went for more sensitive speakers and switched to Cardinals. They've understood that straight single-ended actually works better than parallel 300Bs.

Scull: What do you hear as the differences between the two 300B circuit implementations?

Rankin: Parallel 300Bs are great for dynamics, but you lose a little of the clarity and information in the midband. You can hear this easily at louder listening levels. Of course, by then you may not care--maybe you're not listening carefully while you're cleaning or gallivanting around the house. But when you sit down to listen, it's very apparent. In general, parallels just don't sound as lush as single-ended.

Scull: So you're convinced that 7½ to 9 big ones are all it takes to make music?

Rankin: Yes, in fact the first amp we ever built was with the 845--you know, the big transmitter tube. I'd designed push-pull amps for years, so I also thought that you had to have the watts. That amp had a 6SL7 driving a 300B driving an 845! We don't make it now because they weighed 85 lbs each and actually took over 400 hours of my time to build. But the big transmitter tubes were great in the mid- and low bass. They're perfect for subwoofers--the 211s and 845s are the best things in the world for that. They have a real driving force because of their extremely high voltage. It just takes home the cows!

Scull: [laughs] Tell me, Gordon, how long have you been taking home the cows?

Rankin: We've been a business since 1981. We were building speakers back then when I graduated college with a degree in Electrical Engineering. I have degrees in music and physics as well. Building speakers was hard to do and time-consuming--matching drivers and so on. If we had the desktop computing power we have now back then, I'd probably still be designing speakers today!

Scull: So, Gordon, can a push-pull audiophile find happiness with single-ended triodes?

Rankin: I think so, I mean, I did--I was transformed!


Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 246
Registered: Oct-04
G-day from Swampville (yawn) - well, after reading Kegger's articles, uh, I think I'll hang out on Discoveries. I understand music, even if John and I have absolutely no agreement on most aspects of it (grin) - while I have nearly zero understanding of what the heck Kegger and Jan are debating! Nope. . .
My newest CD "glop" is due here by UPS today, so will quickly find out if: 1-it rots CDs or
2-it works as well as or better than "Vivid."
Me thinks 2 is better than 1 ! !

Do any of you get the "MusicDirect" catalog out of Chicago? If you do - KEGGER, I'VE FOUND T H E CD PLAYER FOR YOU! Look it up - called a Shanling CT-200 - and heck, it only costs $2,700, BUT - BUT - it has tubes a-plenty and glorious BLUE LIGHTS all over it. worth every penny!!!

Mer and I were thinking of sending one to you for Christmas, but then she worried that you might be Jewish, and thus consider the Christmas gift an insult. So we're not sending you one. (double grin)

More anon. . .

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1907
Registered: Dec-03
Larry, Yes I've seen there cd player's they are absolutly beautiful!

JohnA has mentioned them before as something he found interesting.

But like you said a little on the pricey side.
So far the most I've spent on a single piece of equipment is $1000
And I think I've been able to find some excelent equipment in there.

Good day to you sir!

By the way I'm not jewish so if you'd like to rethink!

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 247
Registered: Oct-04
Kegger: Well, I told Mer that we might change our minds and send you one, after all. However, she pointed to the check book and asked me to add up all that the two of us will have spent this year on our collective teeth problems.
GULP - With my two crowns and one root canal, and Mer's two crowns - total: $4,750.00
As in OUCH!
Maybe, my friend, you won't be getting a Shanling after all. . . GRIN.

BTW - my Doc-friend just called to say that the Sunfire receiver his wife "fried" is not repairable. That according to the manufacturer. He filed an insurance claim - but don't know what he'll replace it with. He says not another Sunfire. Guess he doesn't trust his wife's coffee-balancing? Hmmm. . . It must be nice to be able to afford a $4,000 receiver. I'll never know.

More anon. . .

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Kegger - "Again this is where we butt heads!"

Sorry, thought we were discussing.

"It actually knidof scares me to think a 7watt or less could do me justice ... "

Obviously, a case of being in need of more sensitivity.

"Or for greater lushment, the RCA red-base?"

Kegger, I'll give you fair warning; I've seen what happens to people when they get hooked on "greater lushment". It's not a pretty picture.

So what is it going to be, Kegger? S-E or P-P?

Amazingly, the forum will not allow the last two letters of my post to be put in print without the hyphen! But I can type screw. Wowserss!


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1908
Registered: Dec-03
larry you should find out if he definatly wants to go reciever again
or if he wants to try seperates (prepro and amp or amps)

maybe we could give him some things he might not thought of or be aware of!

like if he wants to try seperates he could go with a nice 2channel
amp for the front speakers and another for the center and surrounds.

something like that maybe or something else alltogether from
a suggestion from someone else.

Anyways let him know if he'd like to utilize your contacts on this board
that were here to help!

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1909
Registered: Dec-03
Jan I meant this:

"Kegger - "Again this is where we butt heads!"

Sorry, thought we were discussing."

were we seem to be different at.
That's why I put "not meaning in a bad way"

meaning that you seem think one way and I another.
(a difference of opinion)

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Here's the math lesson for the day: (this will be on the test, so take notes)

Kegger - Triode math -

1 = 104
2 = 107
3 = 110
4 = 113
5 = 116
6 = 119
7 = 122
8 = 125
9 = 128

If I remember correctly, 120 is threshold of pain, 130 is a jet taking off from 50' away, and permanent damage starts at about 110. This and a 300B and all our posts to Kegger WILL START LOOKING LIKE THIS!

Larry - I've done the math in my checkbook too.

2 = Mer's part
7 = Larry's part
0 = I can cover
0 = John will kick in

Looks like your only 9 away from Kegger geting one heck of a Xmas present.


Unregistered guest

Kegger - That's what I thought too. YEP!


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1910
Registered: Dec-03
Jan so your suggesting 104sens speakers?

I would agree.

But I have so many other speakers that I'd like to try
I'd hate to be locked in on the klipsch I own.

Yu know what I mean?

If I get this incredable sounding amp I'd like to try all my speakers on it.
(and have good solid volume without having to completely crank the amp)
That's the delema I'm contemplating.

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 248
Registered: Oct-04
Kegger: Will pass along the ideas, with thanks to you. Just not sure what he wants to do.

Jan V. - OK - I understand - but is there any way to increase the numbers in the "I can cover" and "John will kick in" listings? Hmm. . . that would surely make Kegger's present more of a "universal" player, wouldn't it? (grin)
Just asking. . .(slyly)

More sometime. . .

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

I know most of you have already been down the 6SU7/5691/6188 route and have made your decisions about fixed vs.self biasing. Kegger and I can go on with this on the side while the rest of you move on where no man or Ghia has gone before.
I would like to restate my question of a while back and see if anyone cares to get involved in this discussion.

If we can agree there is a communication that occurs during a live recording session (which I obviously do believe); what are the clues we, as listeners, pick up on that informs us this was happening during the recording session? In other words, what are you hearing on a recording where the artists really clicked and made something special happen as it was caught on tape? Conversely, can you say, if those clues aren't there, the recording session lacked something? What, if any, examples of this can you provide for the group to hear for themself?


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

LAR!!! John and I are already picking up half the numbers! How much more do you need for Chrissy's sake?!


Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 667
Registered: Dec-03
Morning All,

Nice to see the "DOGS" at least woofing at each other again.


As I become more interested in tubes, I have found the above posts very interesting. I have one observation or opinion if I may. For many years I thought the speakers were the most important piece in the chain. I changed my mind to the amp, and then to the source. Now I am totally convinced that the most important piece may very well be the preamp. If anyone wanted to immediately change the quality of their system with one piece of gear, put a tube pre-amp in the chain. That said let me ask a not so simple question. Can you describe to me what I will hear the difference to be with push-pull tubes and a SET?

BTW- On the subject of tube amps and low watts-I remember reading Nelson Pass saying "it's the first watt that counts".

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1911
Registered: Dec-03
The only way I can describe what I hear as a difference rick:

Would be a smoothness to the sound.
Jan could probably give you others.

But the only true set's that I've spent any time with don't
seem to be the true incredable sounding audiofile ones
So I still have to learn the real difference!

And as far as the preamp you say, I may agree with you on a solid state
amplified system.
Pretty close for me between speakers and a tube preamp.

But when I put a tube amp in the chain it seems to take over!
Sure I still want a good preamp and source but the amp seems to make more
of a positive differnce when I go tube!

That's just my thinking right now!
As far as what I've gone through!

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1160
Registered: Aug-04

From Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 01:52 am:



top idea!


John A,

from Wednesday, December 01, 2004 - 02:27 am:



I think you're confused!




I wouldn't be adverse to an expensive Christmas present either. And thanks for the reminder: I've got only 5 hours before my next "Dentist's Lifestyle Enhancement Procedure" - I was hoping it would have been all over and done with on Monday, but he needed me to fit in with his business plan: more visits - more enhancement.



The tubes glowing softly under the light in my bar fridge do little for sound until I lift the little tab on the tops. Then, after the soothing phsssstttt of the ring pull and I push my capacity to yield to the the lush golden current flowing from those cool pots, the sound becomes warm and more sublime right up to the point until the volume maxes out or until my head meets the soundfloor with a mighty thud. It's that push/pull thing - it's knowing how far to push it before pulling back.

And it's knowing one's capacity if one continues to be a tube receiver or you can really end up in a solid state, I can assure you.


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1912
Registered: Dec-03
Now that's some word play their mr rantz, I like it!

Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1161
Registered: Aug-04
Thanks Kegger, I tend to go a little ga-ga this time of the morning (2.40am).


As to your discussion:

"In other words, what are you hearing on a recording where the artists really clicked and made something special happen as it was caught on tape? "

On the B B King/Clapton "Riding With The King" recording at the end of one track you can hear Mr King say, "We're hot today - we're hot today!"

I thought that was a fair indication something special had taken place :-)


Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 668
Registered: Dec-03
Never quite looked at it that way mate. Very good Rantz, very good!

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1913
Registered: Dec-03
To jan's question I personally can't think of anything to lead me to that.
Not saying it doesn't happen but I have not heard anything that tells me so.

Would be interesting to hear a performance that was done as jan pruposes
verse the same performance without any interaction and see.
Anyone know of any examples we could try?
Jan do you know of any?

(unchained from fair warning)
I have a van halen album where david lee roth says:-(when the music slows down)

"Man that suit is you, you'll get some leg tonight for sure,
tell me how you do!"

Then you hear what sounds to come from a muffled source "maybe control room"

That says: "cmon dave give me break!"

Then dave says : "one break comin up!"

That comunication sounds cool. don't know if it jives with what is being asked.
But I like what I hear.

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 669
Registered: Dec-03
It's not even a verbal communication thing. On those occasions when the musicians are really in the groove, and the feeling is right, they just have to look at each other, and they know what the other is going to do before they do it. That is when the music is tight, creative and magical.

This is something you can't do without being together in the same room. You can't play off one another without being together, not in the magical creative moment.

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1914
Registered: Dec-03
I certainly can't disagree with that last post rick!

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 363
Registered: Mar-04


This is something you can't do without being together in the same room. You can't play off one another without being together, not in the magical creative moment.

Yes, but how would we, as mere "listeners" actually know this just by listening? I can, of course, understand if its a live recording. Hearing the quiet banter, etc. would certainly be a clue. The "direct to disc" lp's were great for this sort of thing. But I submit that there is no way to know for sure that the artists are even in the same country during the recording process of a "normal" studio album.


Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 670
Registered: Dec-03

I think your take is on the mark, but let me say this. You and I have been around musicians most of our lives, and anyone whoever picked up an instrument in earnest, or played in a garage band or whatever, can hear or sense when something special is happening. You can sense or feel the way an instrument is approached or attacked. One of the best personal examples of this I can give is: Listen to the 3rd verse of Cream's "Tales of Brave Ulysee's". Claptons guitar work on this verse is some of the best I have ever heard him play. He is so in the zone at this point, the guitar is just an extension of his soul. If you listen to how his intensity builds in verse 1 and 2, by 3 his is gone. He is oblivious to anything but what he is playing at that moment. This is something I sensed when I first heard it, and hear it today whenever played. Just a personal feeling, hope it makes sense.

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 671
Registered: Dec-03
Sorry, I'm an idiot sometimes. Make that "White Room."

"Tales of Brave Ulysee's" is one of my favorite examles of modern blues, but that's a whole other discussion.................................

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 249
Registered: Oct-04
Jan - sorry, I guess I don't understand either your post or your math. But don't try to explain, 'cause I won't understand it anyway! But thanx, anyway!

In my opinion, "recording all together" sounds much more cohesive. BUT in jazz and pop especially, musicians today are so used to playing "in the box" with earphones, that they most likely feel connected to all the other people in their collective "boxes."
The last time I was in a recording studio - to work - was 1994, so things may have changed a lot since then. But at that time, and with those musicians, it was "all together" takes.
Digital editing (I come from the era of razor blades and splice-blocks - UGH!) has made glitch-removals all too easy - saving the recording studios Big Bucks, and unless you really know what to listen for, not degrading the quality of the master to any large degree.
It's a no-win discussion - both ways have their virtues - and vices.

More anon. . .

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 345
Registered: Feb-04
You're never absolutely positive whether a recording is live (the band playing together at the same time) or not, as Sem rightly points out.

But on jazz and rock recordings, you can often tell by the spontaneity of the playing. A classic example is a solo, by, say, Coltrane. When you listen for the first time, you don't know where he's going with the solo and often you sense he doesn't know either and is just making it up as he goes. A tight band will follow his lead without missing a beat. It's got the palplable excitement of a high-wire act. Miles Davis was on to this when, for example, he recorded Kind of Blue. He didn't give the band the music before the recording session, just a loose sketch of what he wanted to play. As a result, the studio recording has the "sense" of a live performance. This was common practice for Miles. Perhaps, this is another example of what Rick calls "magical" playing.

But just because it's live doesn't mean it's got this extra creative, magical sound to it. The most disappointing concerts I've been to have been the one's where the live performance sounded so much like the studio recordings. The irony of it all!

Silver Member
Username: Ojophile


Post Number: 166
Registered: Jun-04
If we can agree there is a communication that occurs during a live recording session (which I obviously do believe); what are the clues we, as listeners, pick up on that informs us this was happening during the ercording session? In other words, what are you hearing on a recording where the artists really clicked and made something special happen as it was caught on tape?

I can cite examples using some of my jazz album collections. When the musicians start improvising on the chorus and take turns doing so, the communication is definitely there. Some examples:

Mad Hatter - Chick Corea

On the track, Humpty Dumpty, Chick Corea plays a fantastic acoustic piano solo at [elapsed time] 2:17, following Joe Farrell's lead and improv on tenor sax. At 3:16, Corea plays solid chords alongside drummer Steve Gadd's restless playing. You can feel the tension building up and finally releasing at 3:34 when Gadd "opens up" the line wide and clear. What I mean here is, Gadd plays the "ride" cymbals steadily, giving the music a flowing rhythm with Corea's playing brief 2-note patterns and Eddie Gomez providing solid bass lines. I'll bet my life that if you asked this quartet to play Humpty Dumpty again, they would play it differently than they did on record because they would send out new ideas to each other.

In Tribute, Diane Schuur.

Diane lets go at 2:27 of How High The Moon with a full, big band behind her, wailing and riding along the crest of her voice.

Someday My Prince Will Come, Miles Davis

The interaction among Davis, John Coltrane (ts), Hank Mobley, Wynton Kelly (piano), and Paul Chambers is engaging.

Usually, when jazz musicians "trade fours", I can hear how each one picks up from where the other leaves off.

The magic and chemistry between Louis Armstrong and Ella Fitzgerald on their duet albums are also a good example of such musical communication, I think.

Does the above somehow answer your question? If not, tell me what response you expect to hear.

Thanks and regards,



Silver Member
Username: Ojophile


Post Number: 167
Registered: Jun-04

Conversely, can you say, if those clues aren't there, the recording session lacked something? What, if any, examples of this can you provide for the group to hear for themself?

I can cite the Beatles' Let It Be. Even sans Phil Spector's "wall of sound" (McCartney's decision to reissue it as "Let It Be (N a k e d), you could tell that the group was no longer playing together. The magic was gone.

Also, the album that Bill Evans and Stan Getz made. I threw away my copy after a few times I had listened to it. The performance here is disjointed, and the serious listener could only wish the two artists could have never gotten together in the studio. In contrast, compare the Evans-Getz album with Cross Currents, the album that Evans made with Lee Konitz and Warne Marsh. The latter is a good example of excellent artistic collaboration.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

From the aricle on the Mercury recordings:

The diagram shows the microphone set-up and the 35 mm film soundrecorder with 3 tracks. In the cutting room the various takes were spliced. Each recording had a minimum number of splices which makes the recording all the more natural. Nowadays with the digital technique up to 400 (or even more) splices are not uncommon in a recorded symphony.


Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 365
Registered: Mar-04
Rick, 2C, Don, Jan,
All good stuff. I have much more I want to add but my wife has much more she wants to shop for... Needless to say, I'm going shopping :-(

Rick, I do have a Cream cd with both White Room and Tales Of Brave Ulysses on it and will listen to both, thanks.

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 346
Registered: Feb-04
Jan and whoever wishes to answer,

What's the big deal about 35mm film for recordings? I've got a few LPs and CDs using this source material and I hear no discernible difference.

Also, what's your opinion on Conrad Johnson tube equipment? A while ago I had thought about buying the MV-55/PV-10 combo, but didn't pull the trigger.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Don - I wasn't expecting to get any specific answer, just throwing out an idea for discussion. We talked about how we listen to music once before but I thought this might get a little deeper into the subject and look at what happens in different situations when artists are working together ("Meet the Beatles") and when their not ("Let it Be"). Both versions of "Let it Be" are interesting because of the progression of the group. From four kids playing to make the big time to three world worn fighters who wanted nothing to do with one another. Then there was Ringo, who was, in many ways, along for the ride by the time "Let it Be" was made.
The only time I've heard anything that could be used as a comparison between the same song played "in unison" and "played put together" was on a demo disc from a record label back in the early days of Direct to Disc LP's. It was meant to show the differences betwen several recording techniques and, of course, show off DTD.
I would point first to performers who went from the 50's and early 60's (when playing together was the norm) and had their career extend through to the 70's and 80's. Elvis is a great example for me, but Elvis before the Army and Elvis after the Army are two different performers, so the comparison is difficult. But take Elvis during the 50's and the rawness of the performance that suggest a tremendous amount of energy mixed with a huge amount of how to work the song. Compare that to most of Elvis in the 60's when the Colonel had him show up to record the soundtracks with music that had been cut months before. Then pull out the '68 special and hear the diference between Elvis in black leather with a small combo and a live audience against Elvis in the second half of the show with canned music again. Many of Elvis' contemporaries went from a studio full of musicians playing, to them in an isolation booth; so there's plenty to find there. Try your favorite Frank Sinatra from the '50's against Frank from the '70's. There is that difference of twenty years in their voice and talent, but there's a difference of twenty years in how they approach getting the guys together vs. getting a contractual agreement out of the way also.
Most of the live concerts that you can put on anytime and listen to are the same thing. I would say listen to Clapton live and Clapton produced by Phil Collins. As good as many people think they are in the studio, listen to The Bands' live perfomances. The most dramatic change I can think of is The Grateful Dead in the studio and then live where the improvisations can go on for twenty minutes. I would think Ghia can give some input from the Heart live albums. Then listen to Pink Floyd live and in the studio. Maybe I'm wrong here, but PF ws not a touring band other than the stage show they put on. They are a good example, to me, of what is wrong with live albums.
Count Basie on Pablo records was in his later years and the performers he played with were so in synch that I used those recordings over and over for demos because the energy just jumps off the discs no matter the tempo or dynamics of the piece. Don may know more about those recordings.
If you listen to what are direct to disc recordings from the nineteen-thirties when there was no other way to record you can get the sense of what makes those "everybody playing it at the same time" recordings special. You have to listen through the playback quality, but the quality of the music is often more alive than what was to come later. Anybody listen to Coleman Hawkins?
I don't do much opera, but I have a collection of Caruso that, despite the limited dynamic range, jumps with sound. The recording I have of Lotte Lenya performing "The Three Penny Opera" in the early fifties, in mono of course, has the same quality. Larry, what do you hear when you listen to an opera that is a studio production and a live performance of the same work?
In all these cases I hear the "energy". But it's small sonic clues mostly that indicate the give and take, the follow and lead, the catch and call of musicians and singers. It's the tentativeness of someone stepping out just a bit more than they have before and it's the swagger of somebody feeling what they are creating is something that won't ever exist again. It's Patsy Cline on "Walking After MIdnight" and "Crazy". It's the mistakes and the things that really worked. It is, for the most part, hearing the performers thinking as they play.
For me it translates into hearing the music vs. hearing a recording of the music.


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1915
Registered: Dec-03
I can hear what your saying jan and appreciate what you listen for
and enjoy in your music.

I just happen to differ in my likes when it comes to music.

I prefer studio recordings over live allmost every time.
They just seem cleaner and clearer to me.
But it could have a lot to do with what I listen to!

I have many studio and live versions of rock in my collection of the same
band, theres maybe 3 or 4 live versions that I even like.

They just don't seem as well recorded to me as the studio versions.

Don't know what that means for the group but I prefer studio over live.
I've bought several disks on accident that turned out to be live only
to be disapointed in what I heard.

I picked up "can't remember album" talking heads (take me to the river)
It turned out to be live, didn't like the performance.
Found out the studio version was on "more songs about buildings and food"
Bought that and love that version.


Am I the only one who prefers studio versions over live recordings?

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1916
Registered: Dec-03
The main thing I listen for in my music "besides liking the song"
Is low level detail, how clean and clear the recording is, being
able to hear each individual instruement with all it's information,
the different voice inflections that are picked up.

most if not all of the live versions of songs I listen to
don't have the clear detail in the instruements and I can't pick up the
subtle strum of the fingers going accross the bass, the decay of the cymbals
or guitar strings finishing there note with no
hand to stop the sound.
Often I've found the live versions muddy that up!
Just don't have the detail in the intruments I'm looking for.
All the background noise is amplified with the music.
I hear other things beside just the instruements or singer that seem
to override that detail i'm looking for.

Maybe a studio recording with all the band playing at once
to get the comunication and soul of the music to work but having the
instruments mic'd heavely would be something i'd really enjoy?

Just a thought!

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet


Post Number: 528
Registered: Apr-04

It's a little belated, but yes, I'll stick around. So, to paraphrase Tom Hanks "there's no crying in audio!!"

Good posts Dan, Jan, Kegger, 2C...did I leave anyone out?

In my late teens, I loved listening to the King Biscuit Flour Hour. It's been a long time since I've listened to one and have never listened to it on the quality of equipment I have now so I can't comment on the fidelity of the recordings. But, back then, it didn't much matter to me. It was always about the performance and hearing live versions of songs I knew as well as hearing live performances from performers I might not get to see in concert.

2C mentioned a bad live performance being one that was exactly like the studio version. That's a pet peeve of mine too. I want to hear something different in a live performance. It might be part of the reason the recent Aimee Mann live DVD/CD is a little of a disappointment to me. Too many of the songs are too similar to the studio versions. There are a couple of exceptions: "Red Vines" which is mostly acoustic in the live version until the last 3rd of the song. The acoustic arrangement gives it a fresh sound and, when the band kicks in for the end, I said "yes!" Unfortunately, it is only on the DVD and didn't get included in the CD. The other song, "Longshot" just kicks a s s live! It kicks a s s on the studio version too. But, in the live version, Julian Coryell, who didn't play on the studio version, just gives this incredible, melodic guitar solo that just soars and gives the song a whole new perspective. At the end, the audience is wild and Aimee, tells them "God Bless you, you guys are so f*ing great!"....That's one way to know they're feeling it. :-)

As for Heart, the song that is definitive for me in the live vs studio comparison is "Barracuda". Rocking song even on the studio version. In the final minute of the song there's a guitar solo that's pretty prominent. Lower in the mix, there's a second guitar solo going on that's not as prominent. When this song is done live, these solos become "dueling guitars" and the guitarists face one another and play off one another - to the point of actually strumming a few licks of the other's guitar. It's always pretty energetic and awesome.

In recent years, I mostly preferred studio versions versus live because of the "cleaner" sound Kegger mentioned. But, with my recent interest in some of the older jazz, as well as listening to some old gospel and country, the performances always seem to transcend any fidelity issues.


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1917
Registered: Dec-03
Well put GHIA!

It seems it may come down to what you value more in a performance that
determines how you like something peformed or recorded!


Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1162
Registered: Aug-04
Although I prefer the cleaner studio recordings over live recordings (generally), attending a good live performance is when you can tell that the musicians are having a whole lot of fun and the music just does something else entirely. The difference I think is when it's enjoyment and when it's work.

Charlie Watts - drummer for the Stones has a jazz band. That's his love - the Rolling Stones, he says, is going to work. I can understand that.

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 366
Registered: Mar-04


One of the best personal examples of this I can give is: Listen to the 3rd verse of Cream's (White Room). Claptons guitar work on this verse is some of the best I have ever heard him play. He is so in the zone at this point, the guitar is just an extension of his soul. If you listen to how his intensity builds in verse 1 and 2, by 3 his is gone. He is oblivious to anything but what he is playing at that moment.

While I certainly would agree that musicians can and do get into that "zone." It sounds, to me at least, the great ones such as Clapton, are nearly always in that zone. That's what sets them apart from everyone else who picks up a guitar, a sax, or sings, etc. That is the very essence of what makes them so great, is it not? Their instrument (or voice) becomes an extension of their being.
It may not sound like it, but I agree with your point that this in fact happens. I'm just not sure we, sitting in the "sweet spot" in our listening rooms, can tell if Clapton is in that zone on a particular song or its just Clapton being Clapton. We can make assumptions, but can we know for sure?
I'm not sure if I'm articulating my point in a way that makes sense. Sometimes, when enroute from my brain to my typing fingers, my thoughts take a detour, or at least a back road.

Kegger and Ghia,
Re: Live vs. studio recordings...I quite agree, in most every case I too prefer the studio versions for the same reasons as you describe. One notable difference is (and Kegger may relate to this since he's from Michigan) the album, Bob Seger Live Bullet. There is just so much more energy on the live recording as opposed to the studio versions of the same songs. Completely diferent, and much better effect in my opinion.
Those that mentioned not caring for live versions that are the same as the studio versions, the one show that I attended years ago that sticks out for that reason, is the group Boston when they were touring promoting their first album. I swear, if I closed my eyes it was just like being in my living room. Note for note, solo for solo, everything was exactly the same. I was quite disappointed.


Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 367
Registered: Mar-04
The following two links are somewhat related to what's been talked about here lately. They were writen 4 or 5 years ago but are still relevant to ongoing discussions here.

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1918
Registered: Dec-03
Interesting reading sem!

Reminds me of my days working at tapetronics here in michigan.
I was a tech there repairing anything in the building asociated with
cassette tape manufacturing, we were mainly contracted with motown.

Got sent out to california for tranining on the new slave machines
that copied the masters. Then later into the mastering room and qc.

One cool story! I was working in the mastering room when the door opened
I looked up and saw my boss with this tall guy with long hair and noticed
to my major surprise it was ted nugent!

He had brought in a cassette tape of that fred bear song they recorded
And wonderd if we could produce tapes from it and they would sound any good.
I tried not to look all star struck and be professional and said well
as long as that tape is in decent shape we should have no problem.
popped it in the tecnics tape transport 9900 "which I still have from there"
cranked up the volume and was quite suprised the tape sounded really good.
Turned and looked at him with a smile on my face and said no problem this
will be fine. He said "whack 'em and stack 'em" left with my boss and
I never saw em again. But was told he was very happy with the tapes we made.

I believe that was my only encounter with someone even a little famous!

Didn't mind when the plant got shutdown and it moved to another state.
When we had like millions of lionel richie dancing on the ceiling
tapes to do, that was all you heard and had to work 12hour days 7 days
a week until they were done! whoo that was bad, the same music over and over
really gets to you ecspecially if you happen to not like it in the first place!

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"What's the big deal about 35mm film for recordings? I've got a few LPs and CDs using this source material and I hear no discernible difference."

The big deal is how big 35mm tape is. When you are recording in analog the best results (lowest distortion, highest signal to noise, widest frequency response, broadest dynamic range, etc.) are achieved by putting as much tape on the most amount of tape. 35mm tape is much wider than what was used as the standard for recording at the time which was 1/2". To increase the performance of the 1/2" tape it was run at 30 i.p.s. which eats up a lot of tape quickly when you have a few false starts (you never record over a section of tape, it's always fresh tape). The 35mm gave more tape on a reel and, most importantly, gave more surface area for the signal to be placed on the tape and still have space between the three tracks for channel separation. 35mm is a sprocketed tape so tape speed was more consistent for less wow and flutter and more acurate frequency response. Because it was a thicker tape, running at higher speed, it could take a stronger bias signal and had a higher saturation point so levels could be run a few dB higher to get better dynamics and signal to noise. A thicker tape has less pront through and longer shelf life. There are other advantages but that accounts for the majority of reasons the 35mm tape was popular in the 50's and 60's. The limitations of the LP playback systems meant much of the advantages of the better tape were evened out when the signal couldn't be put on the record. Stereo LP is a 45/45 process that puts time and/or frequency and dynamic range constraints on the mastering process. Mercury was the first label to exploit what is called variable pitch recording. Until that time, when a master disc was cut the cutting lathe moved across the disc at a constant speed and time on the disc was determined by that speed. when Mercury wnated to get as much information on the disc as possible they invented variable pitch which means the cuting head is moved across the disc at different speeds depending on the content being recorded at that instant. Louder passages, or passages with deeper bass, required a wider deeper groove. Higher frequencies and quieter passages require less space. The engineer moved the spacing of the grooves to accommodate this need. This variability allowed more time and better frequency response on the disc but messed with the basic function of a tonearm. Having a radial tonearm that moved in a straight line on playback just as the lathe did on cutting meant the tonearm had to accommodate this variable spacing instead of moving across the record at a constant speed. Various methods of adjustment for the groove spacing were tried (servos, rubber pucks) but the radial tonearm, even more than the pivoted arm had problems keeping the stylus perpendiclar to the groove walls. The tables of the day also suffered from severe rumble and poor isloation, making deep bass a major problem in record cutting. Mercury was also the first to use a heated cutting head to make quieter masters. This article does a good job covering the progression of how music was put on a source for playback through the last 50 years:


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Lots of live recordings are very poor in terms of sonics. The feed for the recording is done often as an after thought of the sound reinforcement system. So it becomes a mix of stage feed and live (house) feed lines. It is a common problem with many types of music that is usually the result of the engineers not having much control over the process compared to the studio process. If you looked at the mic techniques I put links to a few days ago, you'll see there are breakdowns for studio and reinforcement techniques of mic placement and type. Part of the problem is the type of microphone that is used in the two different systems. Rugged dynamic mics are used in reinforcement work in case a mic gets rough treatment on stage. Most dynamic mics also have a little higher gain and so work better against feed back. Condenser mics are used in the studio when situations can be more controlled. Rock uses dyanmic mics because of the movement on stage. Classical and jazz mostly use condenser mics since movement is more limited.
A dynamic mic is similar to a dynamic speaker, meaning a conventional box speaker with woofer, mid and tweeter where the drivers have a cone diaphram mounted to a voice coil. They are rugged and have a good level of performance. Shure SM 57 & 58 and ElectroVice EV15's are good dynamic mics you'll see listed on recordings. A condenser mic, such as what you'll see a vocalist sing into in a studio is analogous to an electrostatic speaker like a Quad or Martin Logan. They are much more delicate in their construction which gives them a speed and a sound that is quite different from a typical dynamic mic. Condenser mics, like electrostaic speakers need a voltage applied to their diaphram to make them work. The Neumann 47 Parsons talks about in the second of Sem's articles is a condenser mic (as are the 86 & 87 mentioned) which is why he got a shock when he unplugged it without discharging it first.


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1919
Registered: Dec-03

" A condenser mic, such as
what you'll see a vocalist sing into in a studio is analogous to an
electrostatic speaker like a Quad or Martin Logan. They are much more
delicate in their construction which gives them a speed and a sound
that is quite different from a typical dynamic mic. Condenser mics,
like electrostaic speakers need a voltage applied to their diaphram to
make them work. The Neumann 47 Parsons talks about in the second of
Sem's articles is a condenser mic (as are the 86 & 87 mentioned) which
is why he got a shock when he unplugged it without discharging it

Is that those round flat ones you see?


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

PBS just broadcast here in Dallas the Crossroads Guitar Festival that Clapton brought to town last summer. They boiled down 60 guest artists and as many back up performers over three days of music into a two hour show. I heard the festival this summer and what PBS chose to show was a rather poor representaion of the talent that was on stage over those three days. But there will be a Clapton DVD sold so maybe they didn't get rights to the really good stuff.

Since most of the name performers flew into town for one or two days of the festival there wasn't a lot of rehearsal time between many of the participants. That meant about 50% of the music played was made up on the spot. Clapton, Jimmy Vaughn, and Robert Cray playing together brought Blues guitarist after Blues guitarist on stage, ending with Buddy Guy. As Guy was being hooked up to a line the show went to Robert Cray discussing the interaction between the various performers. He said Buddy Guy was the consumate performer who could take the show anywhere he wanted at anytime he wanted. His conclusion was, "You definitely got to be there", to perform with Guy. Clapton talked about how fearless Cray is, and how Cray is the most spontaneous performer according to E.C.
The improvisation between the players went back and forth as the music gave everyone a good chance to showcase their talent. As they broke into familiar pieces of music each had a chance to show how they played music. The various performers paused just a quarter second longer than the last to launch into their solo, or hit the first note harder or with more sustain. It occurred to me when this type of live performance happens one aspect of the live performance is the pacing of the music. Not the tempo which is more the overall speed of a section or whole piece of music. It is the way the different musicians get in and out of the sections they occupy. Holding back, plunging forward, stuttering and bending their notes.
The best free for all portions of the festival were the Blues guitarists playing together. So much of blues is finding new ways to play the same progressions. Like jazz it's about saying to the other performers, "here's what I can do with these seven (or two dozen) notes, let's see what you can think of". So the interplay was on the guitars and the rest of the band sat back and supported the guitarists.
One thing I've been thinking about in terms of "playing together" is when it works well it almost always gets your feet tapping and your body moving. The best of this interplay even gets the listener thinking and moving ahead of the performers to some extent, trying to guess what's going to happen next. It then becomes the suprise of where the musicians go with the music that sets this apart from studio work. Maybe the people who listen to jazz and blues will have more to say about that idea.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

"Is that those round flat ones you see?"

Not necessarily:


Gold Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 1163
Registered: Aug-04
Oh by the way Jan,

You were discussing the Mona Lisa a while back - using different versions as an analogy in order to prove a point to Kegger. Researching the Priory Of Scion I uncovered a code that led to Leonardo's original version of the famous painting - the location of which I am sworn to secrecy. The reason it was never exhibited was because the Priory thought that it made Mona appear obviously masculine when the idea was to keep the public guessing. Viewing the copy is testament to Da Vinci's ability to see far into the future:



J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

The Crossroads Festival reminded me how much Santana sounds the same on stage and in the studio. Such a fantastic musician but everything is apparently planned out to the second. The old Blues pickers were the most interesting overall. I got the impression they have never played the same song the same way twice in their entire life. It is quite a let down to think you could have saved your money and listened to an album at home and heard the same thing as "live".

Kegger - Even if you prefer studio mixes, there must be one or two live albums you like. Other than the sound, is there something about the those live albums you like that makes them better or worse than the studio stuff?


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1920
Registered: Dec-03
Good one rantz!

Jan: let me rephrase.

The round flat mic's I see people singing into do they fwll into the
catagory of mic your talking about?


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1921
Registered: Dec-03

"Kegger - Even if you prefer studio mixes, there must be one or two live albums you like. Other than the sound, is there something about the those live albums you like that makes them better or worse than the studio stuff?"

I will give this some thought!
And yes there are some live performances I have on cd that I like.

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1922
Registered: Dec-03
"It is quite a let down to think you could have saved your money and listened to an album at home and heard the same thing as "live". "

Not knocking anyone. as many of you have said the same thing!

But it shows just how different some of us are.
The reason I don't like most concerts is because they are different
from what I'm use to hearing. My favorie concerts were the ones
where I felt the performers sounded as good as the studio version.
I thought that said to me, "these guys are so good, man they can play as
well live as they do in the studio with no extra takes"

I thought that told me they were so talented it didn't take special
treatment to get the studio recording good, they just are that good!

Man how different people can look at things.

email/J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

This came in while I was typing the last post. It's the second article on studio techniques and happens to be on recording vocals. The term capacitor mic is the same as what I've referred to as a condenser mic. Most of what you see vacalists singing into in studio will be a condenser type mic. They can have different shapes depending on the maker. They can have different polar patterns also, a cardiod being the most common for vocals. Cardiod mics have a heart shaped polar pick up pattern with the widest portion being at the mic pick up. Cardiods also have what is called a "cardiod effect" which is a warming of the sound that increases as the performer gets closer to the mic. A vocalist, in particular a male vocalist, can overdo this effect and have their voice get thick and muddled when they work to close to a cardiod mic. One of the things you've probably seen in front of a vocal mic is a wind screen (this article refers to it as a POP screen, the flat, thin piece) that helps keep the sibilants and dynamic burts from overwhelming the mic and also keeps the vocalist at a safe distance from the "cardiod effect".

Recording vocals

Ok so this area is big but I'll try to tackle the main themes to think about.

Vocals are probably the most important part of a mix, they are the 'whistly' bits, the bits people hum when walking down the street. Now many musicians may differ in opinion but take it
from me vocals are pretty much the most important thing in a mix. So we got to get them right!

Room choice

You what? Yes room choosing is important. Ok so look at it this way. Recording studios will pay a small fortune to acoustically treat a room. The room will be treated to be what's known as
'dead'. This is jargon for non-reflective. The walls furnishings, carpet tiles ceiling tiles, the whole room has been constructed so that when a sound wave hits a surface it does not bounce off it, it is absorbed. If you don't know about acoustics it doesn't matter for now, you need to know that sound behaves like any wave and it will reflect off surfaces. You know what's it's like when you sing in the bath.

Why does a studio want this?

This is the big issue. Why does a studio want an acoustically 'dead' environment for vocals (and not only vocals). Well the more control over the sound an engineer has, the more pure the
sound, without room sound, the better she/he can paint a picture.
If you record vocals in the shower room the sound of the vocals will always have that open 'live' sound. You can't get rid of
this later. We want to be able to add the reverb artificially by using our lovely reverb unit.

Not a rule

Of course sometimes you can break the rules and use a particular acoustic space for an effect. Like recording the sound of a choir in a cathedral, you do want the acoustic room sound then.
But generally speaking for POP vocals you want a 'dead' room so the vocals can then be produced.

I don't have an acoustically dead space for vocals

Agreed you might not have the luxury or an open chequebook but you can use your imagination. I've created dead spaces many times. I've used tables and chairs, brooms poles and heavy
drapes, blankets, duvets etc to make a chamber where sound is absorbed as much as possible. Dense material is best like lots of pillows, roof insulation is good but whatch out if made from fibreglass.

Use your imagination.

Microphone choice

So if you are making a record forget about using anything other than a capacitor microphone or at least a VERY good dynamic mic. A capacitor mic is a mic that needs power either from a battery
or phantom power ( 48vdc) which good desks have. You might see vocalists using a sure SM58 (because they are rugged) on stage but forget about that in a studio as their frequency response will not get the lovely bits you want for stunning clear vocals. I'm not going to rant about this mic or that mic but something
like the akg 414 will sound very good.

Mic pickup patterns

Ever heard of this one? Well this is how the microphone picks up sounds form all directions. Some mics will pick up sound only if you sing directly into them some will pick up sounds from behind them. Mics have what's known as a polar pattern. Imagine a clock face and 12 o'clock is 0 degrees. 6 o'clock is 180 degrees. Some mics pick up well at 180 degrees others don't.

There are names associated with pick-up patterns such as:


I'll cut a very long story short here for the benefit of this paper and point out that uni-directional (meaning one-way) will be a good choice because you'll only pick up the sound from 0 degrees (12 o'clock). This will help if you are recording with the shower room effect, as the reflected sound will not be picked
up so much. If you use an omni-directional pattern all the reflections will be picked up which is BAD!

Pop shield

Ever seen the crazy looking thing in front of the mic? Looks like a pair of stockings over a disc. Well it is! You can make one if you get a pair of your own stockings and stretch them
over a hoop. Yes this is known as a pop shield. The voice is prone to making blasts and pops when singing or speaking the P and B sounds.
They are very similar sounds and can be a real pain when recording vocals. You can help reduce this problem with the stockings. This is known as reducing plosives.

Over to the vocalist

Trained vocalists are good at mic technique. This means they move to and from the mic to help with the dynamics of a performance. In-experienced vocalists are not great at this and
they tend to stick the mic in the mouth and try to eat it, especially rap artists. Which is fine but hard work for you! So try to educate them so as to get a better sound by not munching the mic. If they insist you might have to use a limiter.


A limiter it basically a compressor turned up full at a particular threshold. This means that when the vocal reaches a certain level the limiter will not allow it to go above that
limit. This is really very good for controlling the mic munching problem.
In fact limiters are used a great deal in live work. So if Alice Cooper slams his mic into the drummers head, the PA will not blow a driver as the level is limited. This is very useful for tricky performers. They can shout as much as they
like but it wont go any louder man!

Headphone mix

You want to have the vocalist really 'get-off' on the headphone mix. Happy performers sound better than irritated ones. Give them what they want by saving the killer vocal takes for when
the song is nearing completion. You know if the song is really 'kicking in the cans' the vocalist will get into it. Don't loose sight that it's a performing art, if heavy laced with science. Also note that as you are creating a headphone mix you have a great deal of power in couching the performance. Shall I add more reverb? Is it too flat? How can I get the performance angry? Very interesting area and very underrated job!


I usually apply a little compression at the recording stage and then tons at the mixing stage. Some guys don't record with it some do. Experiment with this but remember you can't get rid of it once you have recorded it, unless you have multiple undo functions. When mixing I'll use compression to bring out the breaths and fatten up the sound, and I love multi-band compression.

Aural enhancement.

These boxes add extra harmonic content making the sound have more 'top end' and clarity. You have to careful though as too much top end can sound nasty on the s and t sounds. You might
have to use a de-esser (compression at a specific frequency band), which will reduce the level of the troublesome frequencies.

Turn them up.

Don't forget to turn them up in the mix. And if the tune is for a radio mix we turn the lead vocals up by between 3 to 6 dB. That can be twice as loud! Listen for yourself to an album
version then a radio version.


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1923
Registered: Dec-03
Jan that last one sounds like a lot of stuff john wouldn't like! lol

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 251
Registered: Oct-04
Here one day, gone the next! Wow - just tried to call an audio store here in Swampville to confirm a meeting - to audition a pair of B & W 705s.
I'd talked with a saleswoman on Friday, and she said to come in on Dec. 3rd - tomorrow.
But when I called this ayem there was an automated "number no longer in service" announcement.
fortunately, I remembered the name of a small store next-door - and called them.
"They moved out overnight - and nobody knows where they went" was the woman's reply.
Well, now. . .how interesting! Another case of hi-end blues? Don't know.
Trouble is, that only leaves the really arrogant "House of HiFi" to deal with. Sigh.
I may go over there next week - I'd like so much to put the Polks up against the B & Ws and see the difference A-B comparison.
Interesting postings above, gang, but I'm not qualified to say anything about all that, so will just wait and watch for now.

Kegger: the doc says to tell you all "thanks" - but he just wants another receiver, as it's easier for the "coffee-spilling-wife" to deal with. OK - am now suggesting to him either a large NAD, a Rotel or a large Harmon-Kardon. Any thoughts on those? His speakers, he says, need "a lot" of power. Don't know much about his Martin Logans, except that they have, to me, a strange sound - probably just not used to the electrostatic elements? Yeah. . .

More anon. . .

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1925
Registered: Dec-03
allright lar.

I'll have to give the reciever thing some thought.

arcam has some really nice stuff right now!

Also I came accross some b&w's local here used for a good price I was pondering.
I really like the nautilus series. But probably won't do anything.

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 252
Registered: Oct-04
Kegger - thanx - yes, I'd overlooked Arcam.

The nautilus? (drool) You bet! Several big recording studios on the West Coast use them, including the "Skywalker" studios. Too esoteric, and expensive for this ole scribe.
I called the H of HF a few minutes ago, and actually got a person who would talk to me! I explained what I wanted, and he said I could come in and audition and compare.
Nice of him. . .but when I explained what "gear" I had, he just said: "Oh. . ." that dripped with sarcasm. He said the Polk company "has a fantastic sales unit" but obviously up to his standards. Sigh. Knew that before I called! (grin)

Jan doubts to some extent that my problems center on the Polks. Several others have voiced the same opinions. Well, now it's either the Polks or the Onkyo amplifier that's giving me sound-fits! Soooooo. . . here we go again!
BTW - I'll report on my latest CD-enhancing scheme later today - I think!

More anon. . .

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 253
Registered: Oct-04
Kegger: read between my words, please (blush)
shuddah been: "obviously not up to his standards." Sigh

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 368
Registered: Mar-04


Not knocking anyone. as many of you have said the same thing!
But it shows just how different some of us are.
The reason I don't like most concerts is because they are different
from what I'm use to hearing. My favorie concerts were the ones
where I felt the performers sounded as good as the studio version.
I thought that said to me, "these guys are so good, man they can play as
well live as they do in the studio with no extra takes"

I think we agree, kind of. My favorite concerts were also the ones where the performers sounded as good as on the studio versions. However, within that, I like to hear a slightly different version - maybe an extended guitar solo or a different ending or tempo. Just something to make me say, "Wow!! That was cool!!" and not just note for note exactly as it was on the original version.

A few years ago I saw Steely Dan in concert and they sounded absolutely fabulous. They played "Reeling in the Years" completely different than what's heard on the "Can't Buy a Thrill" album.. not better, not worse, just different. This version can be heard on their "Alive in America" cd. Hear a brief clip at lance


Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1926
Registered: Dec-03

"However, within
that, I like to hear a slightly different version - maybe an extended
guitar solo or a different ending or tempo. Just something to make me
say, "Wow!! That was cool!!" and not just note for note exactly as it
was on the original version."

I was thinking the same thing after i wrote it.

like if i'm at an ac\dc concert and angus breaks out into a solo and runs around
the stage. I like that, but they also sound like the album most of the concert.

Yes I think we agree!

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 186
Registered: Dec-03
Eric Clapton is not a blues artist. He may be a good guitar player but he is a one-time rock and roll musician who now plays adult contemporary music (muzak for baby boomers). Below is a link to real blues artists.

As far as live vs studio recordings, it depends on what you like. I like going to concerts and like it even better when the artist has enough talent to give studio recordings a life of their own during a live performance.

The new Neko Case album is a live one and is excellent! I reccomend to all.

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 347
Registered: Feb-04

Interesting link! I happen to agree with you re: Clapton, but very powerful people on this forum believe he is GOD and will smite you with holy vengeance for what you just wrote.

And thanks for the Neko Case recommendation. I was just listening to the New Pornographers in my car. She's got a great voice.

Hope you share more of your discoveries. I've got a couple for you:

"White People" Handsome Boy Modeling School. Eclectic hip hop with a great sense of humor. Not as great as their first album, but still solid.

"Chain Gang of Love" Raveonettes. Total fun fluff. Phil Spector wall-of-sound hopped up on steroids.

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 348
Registered: Feb-04

Thanks much for the explanation of 35mm tape.

No opinion on Conrad Johnson tube gear?

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 349
Registered: Feb-04
More notes on live music.

Sem mentioned that the Boston concert he went to sounded identical to the studio recordings. I guess playing live isn't "more than a feeling" for them. ELO used to play recorded music during their concerts and just pantomined playing their instruments.

At the other extreme, I've seen Dylan live four times and never heard him perform a song the same way. He changes arrangements on some songs so much that they're almost unrecognizable. To me, that's a sign of a real artist continually exploring the songs he's crafted.

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 369
Registered: Mar-04


ELO used to play recorded music during their concerts and just pantomined playing their instruments.

That was widely rumored quite a few years ago, I remember. It may have come from the fact that they had tape loops running throughout some of their songs (quite a few acts did actually, some still do). I've read that it was mostly blown out of proportion and what you saw/heard, for the most part, was them playing. I'll see if I can dig up supporting evidence, though I can't remember now where I saw it.


Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 254
Registered: Oct-04
Zaino, everybody, Zaino - Zaino's the glop-that will sanitize your nose. Huh?
Been too long with the varnish fumes today, gang.
BUT - did get the new Zaino plastic magic polish, and have used it on a half-dozen discs.
Wow - this stuff turns CDs into real mirrors! The before-and-after look is dramatically different.
Tested out a few CDs - some that had not been
"Vividified." Sound seemed very clear and warm, and I think this stuff does as good or better job than the Vivid - for about 1/10th the price.

Got an 8-oz bottle of the Z-stuff, and I'm figuring that it should treat, oh, about 1,000 or more discs - at least!

NOW - some notes. If you ever use it - you have to let it dry COMPLETELY on the disc before you polish it. Otherwise - streak city!

Used it on several discs that I'd used Vivid on, and here's a bit of a problem. First polish some of the Vivid comes off - but not all.
Second polish all of the Vivid appears to come off, and the disc appears much "clearer."

Whew! Tried out the Z-stuff on a couple of DVD videos - and the picture was crystal-clear. I'm thinking this stuff IS a bit better than Vivid, but not "night and day" so

OK - that's about my report. I paid $45 plus $4.95 shipping for about 3 oz of Vivid - and $12.95 plus 8.95 for shipping for 8 oz of the Zaino "Plastic Magic" stuff.
Two or more people should "go together" if ordering this stuff - and split the shipping and order costs. Shipping about 4 oz of the stuff by mail will cost about $3.00 - so you can see how two or more could save - IF anybody wants to try it.
I recommend it as I did Vivid - you can really see a yellowish bit of "crud" coming off un-treated CDs when you use this stuff the first time.
End of report. End of the day - finally finished varnishing the first of four little tables, and do NOT look forward to the next three! Sigh. But am saving a LOT of money doing this, so I guess it's OK.

More anon. . .

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 187
Registered: Dec-03
I agree about Dylan. He grew a lot as a live performer from his tour with the Dead. Dylan also has a top-notch band that he tours with which gives him limitless possibilities.

A good example a live album in which the songs are performed in a different manner than the original is Get Your Ya Ya's out by the Stones. This is an album that all rock music lovers should own.

For those Floyd fans that are obsessed with Porcupine Tree, I will do you one better...The Beta Band. I would stard with the 3 ep's...Fantastic stuff.

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1927
Registered: Dec-03
well I picked up 4 disks today!

greatful dead / american beauty dvd-a
elp / brain salad dvd-a
porcupine tree / in absentia dvd-a

And one just for Jan! lol
mercury living presence / respighi/ ancient dances and airs for lute
suites 1 2 and 3/ antal dorati/ philharmonia hungarica.

sacd "original 3-channel" direct dsd / new dsd stereo plus
the original cd transfer.

a 3-channel direct to dsd transfer from original analogue masters.

Allright will report back on the first 3 at the rate your hi rez disks
and the 3-channel one here if anyone is interested!

See yu later!

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 371
Registered: Mar-04


For those Floyd fans that are obsessed with Porcupine Tree, I will do you one better...The Beta Band. I would stard with the 3 ep's...Fantastic stuff.

I borrowed "Heroes to Zeros" from a friend a while ago and in parts it did remind me a bit of Floyd. I liked it enough to possibly explore further. I'll keep my eyes open for 3ep's

Look forward to reading your thoughts on all 4.


Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 188
Registered: Dec-03
Hero's to Zero's is OK. Their other albums are much better.

There was a scene in the movie "High Fidelity" in which John Cusack holds up a CD and sais that he will now sell x number of copies. He they played it and it began to sell. It was the 3Ep's (I actually had it before the movie, but it was cool to see them get a nod).

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Kegger - Glad to see you're going to give the Mercury disc a try. Hope you enjoy it. You are now also in charge of the first report on the difference between the two channel mix that has been the only one available to the public for forty years and the three channel mix on the SACD. The reports in the articles I've read on these discs is this three channel DSD mix is the closest to the actual master tape so far. Looking forward to your response.


Bronze Member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 31
Registered: Apr-04
Larry R

I have heard the B&W CDM7 speakers at a friend house. These are the predecessors of the B&W 703 and they sound marvelous. The 705 are more compact and more styled your wife will probably like them.

J. Vigne

I read carefully your last massage about various ways of using microphones, very interesting.
I have some CD's that were recorded at the sixties or even the fifties and I think that some of them were recorded with two or three microphones only.
I refer to the recordings of Kleperer Joocum or even early Karayan conducting Brahms and Beethoven symphonies.
These recordings may miss some details but they sound musical, integrated, flowing and coherent.
I suspect that when digital recording arrived at the late seventies the sound engineers did not know exactly how to use it.


Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 255
Registered: Oct-04
Asimo: Thanks for the "heads up" report on the B & Ws - I hope to audition some 705s next week here in Swampville. Will post my reaction to them here.
Always good to hear from you - sorry that we all could not make a go of the thread "Opera nutz." Maybe, with a little push from my friend Two Cents, we'll get it rolling again sometime soon?
Are you still involved with your opera group? Sure wish there was one such around here. The only one we've tried is, as I posted much earlier, too "in-bred" for our tastes, and they don't really get into any good discussions.
BTW - I'm really enjoying the new Yamaha CD player - but unfortunately it has spurred my disc-buying, to my wife's sometimes-questioning looks!

More anon. . .

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Two Cents - What kind of opinion are you looking for in regards C.J. gear? Sound, quality or value?


Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 350
Registered: Feb-04

All of the above. I get the sense CJ gear is expensive new, but might be a decent buy used. I value your opinion on this kind of thing. If you don't have an opinion, that's cool also.

Larry R.,

I will contribute to the Opera Nutz thread as soon as I finish watching the rest of the Le Nozze di Figaro dvd this weekend.


Do you have any recommendations on opera dvds? I recall that you and your friends get together to watch opera dvds.

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Sound of C.J. gear is rather detectable as C.J. sound. Neutral with a personality. The tube C.J. is the better of the line, I think. But the S.S. gear isn't far behind. It is a company that has been around the High End for several decades, has always received good if not great reviews and will stand behind their products no matter the age. They do a good job of holding their value (there's better but there's much more that's much worse in this area) with some pieces being much better than others. Those factors add up to a fairly good value in my mind. The repairs are rather pricey when needed, and the upgrades are also, but, they have done a good job of offering upgrades to products. The primaries of the company are engineers and take a sensible approach to their designs. They are also more interested in how the product sounds and then solving the problem areas with good engineering techniques. Something not found on many pieces of High End merchandise.
I would say most people buying used C.J., as long as you know what you are to expect by reading some archived reviews, and that sound suits your tastes, can keep C.J. gear for years without thinking about what's better. The same can be said for other companies such as McIntosh, Audio Research or Quad to name a few. But all of these companies, while essentally neutral have a sound of their own. You'll have to decide whether any one over another suits your tastes.
As for C.J., my personal favorite is a PV-5. Not neutral by any real means but it can sound more real on some pieces of music than many other units at much more expense. The benefit of the other units is they are much more consistent in their magic. Oh, but the mids on the PV-5 ... I can still hear them.


Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 258
Registered: Oct-04
Houston: we've got a problem. Yep.

Well, gang, it was kinda Christmas around our house today. As Mer and I were tearing apart her studio and putting in a new congolium floor the good UPS folk drove up and dropped off - tah-dah-three new CDs.
Well, that ended the grunt-work for awhile, and we had to go "audition" the discs.
Number one was a true winner - a SACD of Artur Rubenstein playing Chopin. Marvelous!
Number 2 was a highly-recommended disc of Schubert Piano Trios with the likes of Ashkenazy, Zukerman and Harrell. Sigh. We'd no sooner put it on the Yamaha than Mer said: "Phooey! It sounds tinny and awful!."
End of playing that one! Disc #3 was another recommended disc - Vol. 1 of Lennie Niehaus Quintets re-mastered. Well, I'd heard samples of it on Amazon - and thought it pretty good. Wrong.
Mer took a listen to cut #1 and pronounced it "Muzak." Sigh. OK, the gang here is on paper, not all improv, but I thought her comment a bit over the top. Anyway, she walked away, and said that if I wanted to listen to it, fine. . .
Note: when she talks like that I go for another Scotch and stay outta her way!

Anyway - that started us a-listening to several CDs - and after about a half-hour, Mer said to stop the player. "We've got a problem here, you know," she said. Chills up my spine.
Yep, she said, after all of your tweaking and changing and buying new stuff the sound still is sorta thin and distorted. What's the problem?


Anyway, we agree that we now have either an amp or a speaker problem with the sound. If it's the amp, well, I'll "snake" a Harmon Kardon or the likes from C City and try it out. If it's better, I'll try to find a way to dump the Onkyo - though I really doubt the amp is at fault. I'd try a NAD, but the only place in town selling them won't go for a "trial" deal.
Then there are the Polks. Triple sigh. Next week I'm going into the hated House of High Fidelity to audition a pair of B & W 705s, and some Paradigm Studio 20s as well. We'll see.
I'll take in some of my "problem" CDs as well as some of my favorites. Will post my reactions here on OD thread.

Any and all suggestions are welcome here. BTW, we put the "bad" Schubert CD on Mer's el-cheapo stereo and, while it didn't sound great, it sounded a heckuva lot better than it did on the Onkyo-Yamaha-Polk system! Maybe I should just junk all my "good stuff" and buy an el-cheapo Toshiba "sound-in-a-box" setup? I'm beginning to think I'd be better off - and saner!!!!!

Aside from that - Mer is hiding razor blades and sleeping pills from me - she knows I'm in deep distress. (just kidding)

More anon. . .

Gold Member
Username: Kegger


Post Number: 1942
Registered: Dec-03
Larry on the sight you can do a search with just the 2
first numbers of your zipcode and find some stuff in your area that
others are selling (usually for great prices) and you may find some
speakers that you never thought you could afford!

And if there close enough you could go audition and not need to ship them
because you can pick them up or have someone help you pick them up.

what is your zipcode I can look and see what I find also.

I found the B&w's I was talking about for $600 and the guy lives
less than 10 miles away!

I realy think you should look for used if your thinking about upgrading!

Just my thoughts lar. Take care buddy!

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New York USA

Post Number: 680
Registered: Dec-03
Hi All,

I remember someone asking about STOP-LITE a while back when we were discussing CD tweaks. We all thought it was out of production. I found a source for it and it is available-the original green pen Stop-lite.

Go to

Silver Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 261
Registered: Oct-04
Rick: Yeah, I'm the one responsible for posting that AudioPrism was out of business. Based that on the fact that, when I tried to contact them I got "out of business" answering machine.
then, later, I read in several places that the company was kaput. Apparently not so! I find several places Online where you can purchase their stuff.
I really don't understand - not a new situation for me! Anyway - apologies to any and all whom I misinformed!
The company has had its ups and downs - was bought out by Red Rose Music - and recently AP's two "main guys" bombed out of that company to form yet another "hi-end" companies. Not up and running yet, so don't know what they'll be tackling, but the pair is known for their devotion to tube amplifiers - so that's the way they may go.

Don: see Discoveries.

Kegger: thanks for the above - I've e-mailed you.

To all: still trying mightily to get the sound problems ironed out. Checked all cables and connections this ayem. All in phase and tight.
Speakers - moved them all about the room, as far as I could, anyway. Sound never got much different. sigh.
I called a friend, who claims it is probably a combination of the Onkyo and the Polks - he sells such stuff up in Chicago suburbs. He claims that Onkyo is great for theatre, but he doesn't recommend it for just music. As to the Polks, he says they have wonderful exterior finish, but are not "well matched" internally. I think he's referring to crossovers between woofers and tweeters? He suggested either Paradigm or B & W, as I'd been pushing the B & W idea with him. As he doesn't sell B & W, well, he thought I should get Paradigm studio 20s or 40s. From him, probably. But there's shipping, and he didn't volunteer any great discount, either!!! GRIN

More anon. . .

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 2560
Registered: Dec-03
Strange; I too was thinking of a "Mona Lisa" analogy. Jan and MyRantz make the point very well. My position is close to Jan's.

We could think of hi-fi as having the task of a book containing pictures that are reproductions of works of art.

There is a reference: the original.

There is the question of how much the photographer should place his own interpretation into the reproduction: as little as possible; ideally, not at all.

Would we not prefer to have the original, or something as indistinguishable from it as possible, hanging on our living room walls?

I would.

"Mona Lisa" with shades? Easy to do, but not for me, thanks. Nice effect, though; thanks, MR. But if asked to choose....

The familiarity we have with the original, after five hundred years, is the result of something. Let us call it, for the sake of argument, "genius".

Personally, I should like to get as close to the original, and Leonardo's intention, as possible. This is just a preference, you understand.

Show me a photographer who thinks he can render Leonardo's original intention better than the artist, because he has a digital camera and, say, "Photoshop" plug-ins or effects, and I will show you arrogance.


Change of tack. Slightly.

December "The Gramophone" tells me that Nimbus, into Ambisonics since 1974, has started releasing DVDs.

I read what they have to say on the subject of surround sound, DTS, and DVD-A, and find I could have written it myself. But not as well.

Nimbus DVD Music Introduction

No centre channnel; no sub.

This gets back to the first post in this thread, and my original disagreement with Jan, still unresolved. Jan; please take a look!

I have not heard any of the Nimbus discs, but I will.

And report back.

All the best.

Silver Member
Username: Ojophile


Post Number: 174
Registered: Jun-04

For all that great acoustic music that you enjoy listening to, I think the Paradigm 20 or 40 will be a best buy for you, valuewise (and still have money left for those crowns!). I've auditioned the Studio 20/40 and the Esprit as well using my own compiled material, and I liked very much what I heard. Specs.html erformanceSpecs.htm

Anyway, that was just a suggestion that I thought I'd throw in. The B&W's cost a lot here in Canada, that's why it's not on my list of upgrade options. To me, it's either PSB or Paradigm (both Canadian and reasonably priced). I've already installed a pair of PSB Alpha's as surrounds, so I would continue with PSB mains.

Good luck on your trip to that snotty high-end hi-fi store that you mentioned.


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

John - I've read "Nimbus DVD Music Introduction". Now what?


J. Vigne
Unregistered guest

Next installment: (his references to akg 414 & sm 57 are the model of microphone he tends to use to record the various parts of a drum kit)

Recording Drums

Ever tried?

Great fun. In fact I like it so much there is an 'in joke' that
my students only ever get to record drums. You know - rocks
drums, jazz kits, disco kits, percussion including congas,
triangle, tambourines, funk kits, piccolo snares, double bass
drums, crashes, china, hi-hats, splashes etc. etc.
shall I go on?

Rule number 1 - instrument recognition

Learn all the names of the all the drums so you don't look an
idiot. Yes ALL OF THEM! A navy captain needs to be able to
recognise all types of ships. Why should you not be able to
recognise the important things in your career?

Rule number 2 - broaden outlook

Do some background listening. Imagine the research a medical
doctor has to do on his subject, years and years of research so
he has all those medical terms on the tip of his tongue so he
can easily diagnose an illness. Literally, years spent learning
and studying. Studio Engineers are no different. They also have
invested serious time 'cutting their teeth' researching and
studying to give them an in depth knowledge of all situations.

Listen to drums from all styles of music, just because you like
nu-metal doesn't mean to say you wont have to record a jazz drum
kit to earn a living. The reality is that as a Studio Recording
Engineer you have to record whatever you are asked to record,
we can't pick and choose only the styles we like. Open your mind
to all forms and styles it's part of the maturing of your
outlook as a Studio Engineer.

Students often say 'Chris I can't stand jazz or I can't stand
that type of music and I'll loose my own taste if I have to
listen to it'. Well folks change jobs, go be a bus driver or
butcher! Unless you learn to distance yourself from the style
and the emotion to some extent you ain't going to make it as a
Studio Recording Engineer. OPEN YOUR MIND.

Get hold of CD's from different periods and styles. Listen to how
George Martin recorded Ringo's drums. Try listening to the way
the Red Hot Chili Peppers had the drums recorded on Blood Sugar
Sex Magik by Rick Rubin.

Ask yourself these questions while listening:

Where were the microphones placed?
What sort of room sound is it?
How many microphones were used?
Were the drums miked close or distant?
Does it sound as if they have been given artificial reverb?
Etc etc....


How many mics?

How long is a piece of string? Hmm who knows. A story goes like
this. Graduate leaves college armed with his wonderful learnt
techniques of - oh a drum kit - yes I place mic A here and
mic B here and hey I've 'got the sound'.


If you adopt that approach you'll be making dull sounding
records that have no personality in them and probably
un-original sounds too. The more mics you have at your disposal
the better. I've known engineers to place over 30 around a
drum kit. YES 30! They might have only ended up using 5 though.
The point here is that they have all these different sounds
that they can audition to see if they like it. The drummer
looks at you and scratches his head saying 'is it all really
necessary'. You reply 'I take my work seriously'.

Of course you may experiment so much that you discover tried and
testing ways of recording drums, you might be up against the
clock and need a quick sure-fire way of getting a sound.

Quick Solutions


One in the kick drum about two inches from where the beater
strikes will give the modern click and thump with subtle desk
e.q. Mic = re20

One on the snare facing down on the top skin close as you
can - sm57

One on the hi-hat facing down real close opposite where the
stick hits and about half way in the radius - capacitor mic

Two overheads in a crossed stereo pair configuration - akg 414s


1 Omni-directional in lovely sounding room.(move it around and
listen) Mic = akg 414

Decca tree (Early Beatles)

Three mics in a vertical line facing bass drum snare and cymbals

Now before I continue, that lot is a rough guide for you and you
must not adopt it just cause someone with experience told you.
YOU have to experiment with different combinations of mics
and placement yourself.


Tune up

Get the drummer to tune the drums. Out of tune drums always
sound like sh*t and you'll never turn a bad sound into a good
sound ever. Get him to tune them up if he can't, get someone who
can. Best of all, learn how to tune drums yourself, you'll
be invaluable.


Listen for rattles from stands or room fittings and get out the
gaffa tape and deaden them down, you don't want a rattle ringing
through in the quite bits especially when you start using


Check the drums for rings they usually have a particular
frequency where they just love to ocillate. I use crunched up
toilet paper and gaffa tape and stick blobs of it on tricky
drums just to 'dampen' the troublesome ring (no pun intended).
Be careful not to overdo this as the drums can end up sounding
lifeless. You'll also have to assure the drummer this might
give him a wicked noise in the mix!


Sometimes slackening off the top skin can add attack to the
sound creating that crack that you hear in hard rock and
nu-metal. But you'll only get this luxury if working with a POP
oriented song as mentioning this to a jazz drummer would be
asking for a fist supper.

If the spring on the snare is rattling too much again you can
slip some toilet paper underneath just to take the edge off if

Drum gating

Yuck.... do you have to? Personally I don't much but I know some
engineers do like to use them. Noise gates are automatic on/off
boxes for signals where you can set how long it takes to turn on
and turn off with the attack and decay dial. Also the length of
time that the gate stays open can be determined by the delay or
hold dial.

Gates can be good on cymbals as you can set them to close after
a period of time so they don't go on and on and on and on and on
in a mix. A gated snare can be effective for some styles too.
Here you can set the gate to close sharply giving the snare
focus, bit old hat now in my opinion. Kick drum (bass drum)
gating can be good to get ride of background nonsense when the
drum is not firing which helps to clean up the 'bottom end' of
the mix.

Drum compression.

Yes please and in many different ways. Individual drum
compression, group the drums and compress a stereo pair,
multi-band compression. The main thing to aim for is to produce
more attack from the drums. By using a compressor you make the
long-term average level of the drum louder, which gives the
perception of more 'punch' and 'fatness'. Be careful not to
over compress(unless for effect) or the sound might seem to
pump up and down in volume, not good.

Above all experiment!

30 mics just for a drum set. Jeez, I wished I'd had that guy's budget when I was trying to scrounge microphones!

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