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Archive through March 02, 2006

 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2774
Registered: Feb-05
I seem to have found just the synergy I've been looking for in my system. For once I'm not disappointed when I return home from a live performance and turn on my system. It's very satisfying.
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 346
Registered: Jan-05
Not that I would shoot anyone for having a different political perspective....
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2775
Registered: Feb-05
No, but it has almost come to that here before so I hope we can keep the politics out of our discussions.
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 347
Registered: Jan-05
Since Kegger isn't around here I'll say it: YEP

 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 278
Registered: Nov-05
Art - it sounds like you are there. Onya mate!

SM - well it sounds like you're off on a new adventure. Good on you. From what I have read it seems like you're on a very good if not the "right" track.

"Not that I'm trying to convert you, MR, but, to stay true to the thread title "Teaching an old dog new tricks...", well, this is definitely a new trick wouldn't you say?"

Well - er - yes I would. Maybe this old dog could learn a new trick also - like sitting up and begging. Hmmm I wonder :-)

My brother is currently going through a bout of upgraditis also, first out went the Krix to be replaced by the Spendor S8e's, next was his Marantz cdp. He was having an in-home audition of the Shanling T80 yesterday and I think I can guess what the outcome was.


 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 348
Registered: Jan-05
SM - well it sounds like you're off on a new adventure. Good on you. From what I have read it seems like you're on a very good if not the "right" track.

LOL! That was a sly one, MR. :-)

Upgraditis is an expensive disease, for sure. The scary thing is whether an entry level amp such as the Almarro or Fi is an upgrade to a McIntosh - even if said Mac is solid state. Hmmm....

What is a Krix? Maybe your brother can be the guinea pig for testing out a music server and USB DAC (or Squeezebox)? Think about it. You can plant the idea in his head (discreetly, of course), let him take on the challenge but you can see if it lives up to the hype. Then, if so, maybe you can bargain with Mrs. Rantz? Just a thought. lol

 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2776
Registered: Feb-05
Don't get me wrong MR I'm still an audio geek. I'm thinking about a cartridge upgrade for my TT. The rest of the setup is sounding splendid. This Prima Luna amp has made it all sound right. I'm boxing it all up tonight. Been painting all day as well as listening to music and following this discussion. Tomorrow all of the kitchen goes out and the house will be a fright with dust and dirt everywhere. Best to have the system all boxed up and in another room. I will miss it for the next several weeks. they say absence makes the heart grow fonder. It'd be difficult to be any fonder than I am now of this wonderful little setup.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2777
Registered: Feb-05
Krix = http://www.krix.com.au/homeentmain.htm
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 279
Registered: Nov-05
http://www.krix.com.au/

SM,

Krix are very fine Aussie made speakes. No, my brother is a bit of a dinosaur when it comes to that sort of technology - more so than I. He'll see it as another bullet for the execution of audio as we know it - and I'm not sure I don't disagree. I know, I know - things look different for the young and trendy :-)

Maybe we should buy the best darn audio componentry we can get our hands on to last us the rest of our lives - while we still can. Then when we are in our rockers, swaying back and forth to some fine music, we can sympathise with the generation of the day in fact that they'll never know what listening to music is all about. Just a thought. But, then some of you think that about we who don't use valve amps and turntables. Oh well!


 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 280
Registered: Nov-05
Art

Happy renovations - better you than me LOL!

Though we are overdue!

 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1113
Registered: Oct-04
2C et al - thanks for the info on the LPs - just not keeping up with that stuff at the moment. . .for good reasons! As in, uh, "money." Hmm. . .

SM - Good Grief, Gal! Letcha alone for a month or so and you turn all topsy-turvey wid yer audio stuff! Whew! So now you're gonna diss the discs and play comfy wid the computer? Well, now - that's a switch-er-oo - and please let all the Dawgs know how it comes out. I'll not follow suit on this one, but I sure am interested in hearing about your experiments! Uh, yeah, I secretly could have predicted that the Orbs would not really light your fire. When I tried them out I was quickly fatigued by them. . .

Art - Mer and I send our condolences on the temporary loss of your hi-fi gear. We've been that route so many times, and always have a grand celebration when the stereo is back in play - and the excess paint is rubbed off our hands, face, clothes, etc.!!! (grin) We usually manage a 50-50 split between paint on walls and paint on ourselves. . .

John A. - you are certainly right - to a point - that the "platter" is/was the TT on which the LP sat - but - here in good olde Ameruka, the DJs in days of old called the LPs "platters." Now down Jan's way, and up Don RX-1's way, things may have had diff-runt labels - but then the two of dem guyz are too young to know what I'm talkin' about. . .

Rick: welcome to the "big blow" state - and may your lifestyle here be relaxing and energizing. Mer and I have almost reached our "maxed-out" stay - and are thinking of heading back West within the next three years. We've lived here just about four years now - and that will be a record for us staying in one place. Depressing! (grin) Colorado calls very loudly to Mer, who says she "belongs there." Sigh. Double sigh. . .

Jan - if a CD player gets "too hot to handle" after being left on overnight - is that a major problem? I'm thinking that the Yammie is about to self-destruct. . .I worry about the fire issue, too.

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2779
Registered: Feb-05
Thanks Larry. I remembered all too late about my ever increasing latex allergy. Just like you Mer I tend to get a bit on me. Now I have welts all over me. Well off to bed for me (lets see if I can sleep with all of this itching). Good night all.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3931
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, all.

SM;- thanks for that quote from "AudioKarma". Yes, I have Quad ESL 63 speakers. Yes, I think audio files on magnetic disk, like iTunes, carry all the information - as I said, I wonder about Cd players touted as "getting all the information off the disk" - they are only reading at 1x speed; why should they miss a single bit, when computer CD drives don't?

I also applaud that guy's choice of computer. Computer noise (fans etc.) is a real nuisance. At home we have a new G5 iMac and it has a fan. Argh. The previous, desk-lamp-type iMac was completely silent. I am not sure I want to listen to computer files, however. I like disks, with notes, artwork and so on; that is how we obtain the recording in the first place, in most cases.

And I do NOT want "All your digital music, all over your house, all from the palm of your hand" - the current ad I see on this page. Anyway, all that can be done with a Mac, and Airport Express.

I am not a Luddite, as you know. We always have to ask whether the technology is delivering anything we actually want or need, or is becoming an end in itself. A bit like HiFi in general.

Must go. Monday. Work. Will be back.
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 710
Registered: Feb-04
"I am not a Luddite, as you know."

Luddites are given a bad name these days. It's a bias derived from conventional wisdom, which often isn't wise at all.

Following up on the very sensible and lengthy posts of Mr. Vigne elsewhere, I pose the following question: If thirty years ago, you had bought a Mac amp and preamp, a Linn turntable and Quad speakers and didn't buy another new piece of gear (except replacement tubes and cartridges), would you have been left behind in the world of musical reproduction? How much real progress has been made in "perfecting" audio equipment in the last 30 years?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3932
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, 2c.

I think that a musical Ned Ludd would object to all HiFi, believing that it puts musicians out of work.

Three out of three for identifying the system I wish I'd bought! And, no, I don't think I'd be missing much. Except all the music that was recorded and distributed only on CD....

How much real progress has been made in "perfecting" audio equipment in the last 30 years?

Not much. Digital is a mixed blessing. One could argue that it has brought better sound to more people at lower cost. Most LPs in the hay-day of vinyl were played on portables or what were called, over here, "radiograms". They were mostly not much cop. Not everyone back then was listening on Linn Sondeks, McIntosh tube amps, and Quad ESLs, or their equivalents.

Just before I leave for work, I type listening to a stereo FM radio on 1979 tuner, 2005 tube amp, and 198x speakers. I doubt if there is much I can realistically do to get better sound. And, in the studio, they are playing a CD.

MR;- Sorry if I got it wrong about DVD-A! I did believe it myself, I think you know that! Anyway, we've both taken new interest, and got something out of it, I do believe. I'll experiment some more with surround and LP when I get my old gear back.

BTW I read that there is a now a Blog vocabulary in which an Eco-Luddite is called a "Moonbat". I, myself, am a "Wingnut", I think.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 281
Registered: Nov-05
John A

Well, I don't think you got it wrong at all, but I haven't time to elaborate.

To be continued . . . .

 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 349
Registered: Jan-05
John,

I'm sorry, I didn't mean to infer you or anyone else is a Luddite. :-( I'll keep my digital explorations on other boards.

And while I'm showing contrition, I may as well explain my joke about the gun-toting republican comment....the gentleman who builds the Horns proudly discusses this on his forum - and, if you so desire it, you can combine a little target practice when you go to listen to his speakers - presumably the listening and the shooting are two separate activities. So, that was not a political comment nor an attempt to stereotype anyone.

Sticking tail between legs and going off to work on a dreary Monday....

 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7585
Registered: May-04



Larry - Yes, any CD player that gets too hot to touch has a problem. The possibility of a fire is ever present though unlikely since most manufacturers build in enough safe guards against any catastrophic failure that might result in a law suit. Hopefully, there are very few Ford Pintos (costing $0.05 less than a safe model) around any longer. Do get the player looked at by a technician. There shouldn't be anything in a CD player that draws enough current to make the unit overheat.




I'S DON' KNOW NUTHIN' 'BOUT SERVIN' NO COMPUTER FILES, MS. SCARLET!!!!!





Had you purchased 2c's proposed system in 1976, I would think you could easily demonstrate to many young whippersnappers* what music reproduction should be about and how it is done correctly. You could also go into a competent high end auio salon and hear something that reproduces music with a different personality, better or worse, than what you experience at home. The main thrust of my post (and how I tried to explain the process of putting together a system to my clients) is simply that the basic character of music has not changed in any significant manner over the last fifty years. Unless you were merely led to this system and someone said buy this, anyone who would have put together that system in 1976 would have been someone who, in my estimation, understood what music sounds like and was more than likely familiar with the sound of live music. They would have picked that system based upon what qualities were, at that time, important to them when they listened to music. Recorded or live, they listened to music the same way. That is where so many "audiophiles" get it wrong, I think. When they listen to their system, they are critical of the system. They listen for the terms that are used to define a hifi and not the ideas used to expand upon the work of the musicians. They don't listen for an artist "digging into" a piece of music or an instrument. They are not concerned with how aggressive or well paced the musicians go about their business. Instead they focus too much on the hifi aspects of the system.


It is a trap into which many audio junkies fall. When you go to a concert you stop for a few moments to listen to the symphony or the jazz combo as if they were your hifi. You try to figure out whether there is the imaging and soundstaging in live music are "real" and as good as what you read about in the magazine reviews. Most often they are not. But when you come home to listen to your system, you still are listening as if there should be the soundstaging and imaging that the reviewers claim to be the audiophile experience. (Don't take the terms soundstaging and imaging as the only qualities considered, they are just the most frequent examples of this critical thought disconnect. Everyone, it seems, wants their system to have exceptional depth and soundstage width. They are admirable qualities in a system but often poorly done just to impress and not at all what instructs you toward the artist's intent unless the staging is purposely done in a peculiar manner.) Everyone, as we've agreed, listens with a different set of criteria for what makes good music. Unfortunately, my experience has been most people have a different set of ears for live music (should they hear it) and for their hifi.


Art's comment regarding not being disappointed by his system after hearing live music is an excellent point. If you can take what you hear at the concert and transfer that thought process to your system, you'll find there are more things you feel your system does correctly. If your focus at that point is on the music and not the hifi, you'll hear what the system is doing correctly and the sins of omission any system might have will be minimized in value. I have to also say, I think sins of commission are then more obvious. If the system really gets it wrong and the sound can only be considered a hifi, then you have problems which need to be addressed. My feeling has been this "musical" thought process, or approach to listening, allows someone who listens to live music to be either a Quad owner or a Klipschorn owner and still be correct in their assessment of their equipment. They are hearing what is important to their sensibilites and can ignore the failings of the equipment in other areas.




I believe this is why you see musicians and professionals in the music field who have less than audiophile systems. They have established their priorities for "music" and they can search out those qualities in any reasonable collection of equipment. If they are listening with a musician's ear and not an audiophile's ear, they are not concerned with the frivolities which keep audiophiles up at night and subscribing to the review magazines.


Every great piece of audio has its own personality that will be influenced by the designer. If that designer has X-Y-Z as the priorities for music, the equipment should emphasize X-Y-Z. If you on the other hand, you have A-B-C as your priorities, you probably won't care for listening to X-Y-Z. But if you find the system, and it has to be a system, not just individual components, which satisfies your need for A-B-C, you can live with that system for a long time. I think you can take any combination of "Class A Recommended Components" from the last thirty years and, if they do A-B-C when you value A-B-C, you can enjoy those components at any time. You may grow in your understanding of what is important to you in music, if you experience live music on a regular basis, and what you desire from your system might also grow. That makes choosing wisely and not just on a magzine reviewer's comments all that much more important. Too many audiophiles get a system and then stop listening to live music with the same joy they had before they bought into the high end market. If your experience with live music grows, then there is a good chance a really good system can grow with you.


So, to finally answer 2c's question; yes, if you had decided on that system thirty years ago, I believe you could be quite satisfied with that same system today based on its musical abilities. You could walk into a competent audio salon and hear a system which does slightly more than what your system can manage. But, the most important point to me is you would understand exactly what the system was doing that made it more or less musical than yours. That allows you to decide whether the change is worth the effort and expense. You are no longer a dog chasing its tail giving up one component that has this quality or that quality. But you are deciding based on how the system affects you on a simple straight forward musical level. You could almost pick the system which is better than yours by listening from another room where so many of the audiophile tenets are muted.


As I pointed out to SM in a reply on "Buy this amplifier", you have to think of the system as a system and not just a group of individual components. I think this is one of the areas where the audio press misleads the reader. They review a component (and now on the cover declare it best in the world) and give the impression that owning this one component will provide you all the wonderful things they write about. And it is not just one component which makes the system sound the way it does. The magazines make you think cables and interconnects are the key to system matching and, while important to the overall quality, they tend to ignore or downplay the interaction between components. Or they overstate what changing a component can do to the system as a whole by focussing on the subtle changes they hear on a particular song when the pre amp is exchanged for another model. To my way of thinking, the audio press does the audiophile few favors.



*Larry - You have a few years on me but I do still remember sitting up at nights listening to our local version of "Johnny Rabbit" on KXOK AM out of St. Louis as he spun the new Beatles "platter".


 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1114
Registered: Oct-04
Jan: Thank God somebody else remembers "platters!" Whew. . .thought I'd lost it! (grin)

Yep - I called Yamaha and they said send it to California - nowhere else. But they said they'd have to give me - no, "sell" me at discount a new machine, not repair mine. Wondered about that the first time I sent the machine in. Got a new one - this one. Which they say is "replacement parts," without a warranty. So, I'm going to use the Yammie for another month or so, then cast around for another unit - maybe the HK my LA friend raves so about in his e-mails.

Liked your post re the "old" system and what it all might mean. Carefully considered, sir. . .
I'm trying to track it down, but apparently there's been a new test - in CA - of "Vivid" (remember that?) and the test indicates that it does help. When/if I can pin it down I'll post a link here for y'all. . .

Am now ready to test the "exact copy" software that SM linked me to, and urged me to try. I "think" it's all set in the computer - and will start it up tonight. IF it works, I'll post results - and IF it does, indeed, make great copies on black CD-Rs - heck, I'll even offer some to the Dawgs. IF it works. . .and IF it doesn't crash the computer, as it apparently does some of the time. Sigh.

Respecfully. . .LarryR
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 711
Registered: Feb-04
Jan and company,

You are on a roll. I happen to agree with a lot of what you have to say, but I wish to add two cents worth of comments. First, if we can borrow Forrest Gumps' simile and say audio equipment is like a box of chocolates, different folks will like different chocolates (I think you agree). For example, some vintage tube amps like the old CJs and Dynacos are like caramel filled chocolates--sweet and liquid in the middle. Some prefer the taste of caramel, but some might find it too sweet and syrupy (me, for instance). Even if you find that you like the taste, you can't help but wonder what the other chocolates taste like. Maybe there's one that tastes even better than the caramel filled chocolate. And so you take a bite out of another piece of chocolate and so on. (Audiogon is like a box filled with half-eaten chocolates.) I think audio manufacturers with the help of the audio press play off this insecurity that your piece of chocolate may not be the best tasting chocolate in the box. A key to consumer satisfaction, not just limited to audio equipment, is to accept something that is good enough, instead of always trying to seek the best. Know what you want in stereo equipment, buy the piece that delivers and then stop worrying that there's something out there that's better. (This is basically the thesis of Barry Schwartz's "The Paradox of Choice," a book explaining how the number of consumer choices we have today is sapping up our energy and contributing to our unhappiness.) Thirty years ago there were three or four major high-end tube amp manufacturers and each had it's house sound. Now, there are dozens of companies producing tube amps, making our decision more difficult and easier to second guess ourselves after we made our choice. The same is true for turntables, speakers, etc.

Now off to the zen-like toiling of trimming rose bushes and mowing the lawn.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7586
Registered: May-04


Yes, I agree. We have been conditioned to be unsatisfied and then dsisatisfied. We have been led to believe satisfaction can be ours if we only have the next, best thing. "New and Improved" has worn out its welcome and we tend to seek the instant gratification of being ahead of the curve and waiting for everyone else to catch up while we speed ahead to, "The S20 while phenomenally transparent in the mid-band has a remarkably even and clean response. You don't miss out on the frequency extremes and this is a wide band amplfier by anyone's standards. Gary credits this to the transformers which he has made especially for each of his amplifiers. They are designed to avoid saturation at all costs and to keep phase reversal as far out of band as possible." My God, what if your amplifier has saturated tansformers and phase reversal in band?!!!


In all too many cases, the improvements to be had are incremental and are often not much more than preferring a bit more salt and a pinch less pepper. If only they were as inexpensive as salt and pepper. This is a situation which has infected our entire society in that we want what we have not yet possessed and we want it now. I believe I've recently injected the comment a co-worker once had about a somewhat abusive boss, "Her personality is as thin as her Neimann Marcus credit card." Some of us are only shopping with Visa, but shop we must. As George Carlin asserts, we need more stuff!


 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3933
Registered: Dec-03
Back from work. Briefly.

Ghia/SM;- I did not imagine you thought I was a Luddite! I feared 2c was going to defend Mr. Ludd. But not so.

MR;- no time here, right now, either. But thanks for the comment.

Jan;-ever eloquent, I agree, but am still looking for the footnote to "whippersnapper*"

*Is this the opposite of "Old Dog"? How about "Young Pup"....?

Larry;- OK. The Platters. "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes". Touché. The word is much older and must have been used metaphorically for turntables or disks.

Jack Sprat would eat no fat;
His wife would eat no lean.
And so, between them both, you see,
They licked the platter clean.


This Forrest Gump idea about chocolates. Hmm. We can still ask whose orange cream tastes more like a real orange. Take away the real orange and it is difficult to say anything about orange creams, it seems to me. Except, maybe, "you know it's Good News".
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 282
Registered: Nov-05
John A

Your reviews of DVD-A led me to the world of hi-res surround music and I still thank you for that. DVD-A releases may be on the decline and while some new titles are still appearing, it seems several artists are also maintaining the format on DualDisc. Although in general I believe SACD has the edge in sonics, there are some DVD-A recordings that are truly exceptional and hard to beat in any genre imho. So really both formats are alive but SACD does seem a little healthier at present - where it all goes from here will be interesting.

Well as I guessed my brother ordered the Shanling T80 CDP. The dealer brought it to his house for a home audition after being clear that he doesn't offer discounts. However, he left about 8hrs later and will be delivering and setting up the player to make sure all is well when it arrives from the distributor. I believe this person is a well sought after audio engineer who designs sound rooms, mods equipment, has his own brand of audiophile cables and consults world wide. So a discount isn't everything - not when you get service like that! BTW, my brother will be getting his third set of Spendour S8e's soon. The delivery guy dropped the first set and damaged the veneer, the replacement set had a small join in the cabinetry that was less than satisfactory, so he is getting a bit frustrated about having to continue running in after running in after running in. Fortunately, Spendor seems to have a respectable dealer in this country.

Good post Jan, I'm might be copying that and sending it to someone.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 283
Registered: Nov-05
* whippersnapper

A bit older than a rug-rat but not quite an adult!

* whippersnipper

An electric or petrol driven device to trim grass. More than a pair of clippers but less than a scrub cutter.

Be careful about wasting your time trying demonstrate to many young whippersnippers what music reproduction should be about and how it is done correctly.

:-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 712
Registered: Feb-04
Rantz, thanks for the clarification. Now what's the term for someone who's older than a whippersnapper but not old enough to be a geezer?

Let us know if your brother's Shanling cdp sounds as good as it looks. I saw one in a hi-fi shop last year and thought it looked like it came from the future.



"I'm sorry, I didn't mean to infer you or anyone else is a Luddite. I'll keep my digital explorations on other boards."

SM,

Please feel free to share your explorations here as well. I think we're all an inclusive bunch and inquisitive about different music formats. I have to confess I own an ipod and don't deny its convenience. So any new information on digital formats would be of interest.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 285
Registered: Nov-05
2C

The Shanling T80 is the more conventional looking CDP though it uses output valves and has an upsampling option to 24bit 96hz.

http://www.soundlabsgroup.com.au/shanling/index.htm

Unfortunately there are none left in the country and he has to wait 3 weeks or more for the next shipment.

As to your first question, I'm afraid I became a geezer before I found the answer :-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 351
Registered: Jan-05
Check out the last picture on this page for a really funny, odd, and, within the right(?) frame of mind, downright crude (as with P l a y b o y, you don't have to read the article unless you want to):

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/manley5/seafood.html

 

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 553
Registered: Mar-04
SM, thanks for a good laugh. It almost looks as if both the guy and the sheep are smiling. Can't quite tell who is smiling more though. The dog, however, looked PO'd.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7592
Registered: May-04


Seems "this little piggy went to market" has a new meaning.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7593
Registered: May-04


Continuing on for a moment regarding how we have advanced the state of the art over the years.


So, what does the 300 sound like? Not much. It seems to have very little sound of its own, which is (or should be) what we're all looking for in an amplifier, so its sound is very hard to describe. Adjectives like "sweet" and "open" and "detailed" and "solid" lose a lot of their meaning when applied to sound that is just as musically right as that from the VTLs.

I've explained before in these pages why it is impossible to determine how neutral or uncolored a power amplifier is, so I won't repeat myself here. Suffice it to say that bypass or Hafler-style cancellation tests have failed to date to reflect how amplifiers actually sound under real-world operating conditions, and that the best approach continues to be informally statistical, based on the "average" spectral balance of the majority of cost-no-object designs. For example, the best solid-state amplifiers never sound quite as forward as the best tube designs, so it seems reasonable to assume that a "neutral" midrange would fall somewhere between them. The VTL 300's midrange does that.

I'm not saying the VTL 300 is perfect, just that I haven't yet found anything the matter with it. (More extended listening may change that.) I can say, though, that these amps are entirely free from texturing--grain, dryness--and that they come as close to providing a perfectly clear window on the original sounds as any amplifiers I have ever used. I have yet to hear anything in the sound that I could attribute to a characteristic of the amplifier; it simply does not call any attention to itself at all, except when driven into overload, which is not all that easy to do. (Overloaded, the sound merely becomes slightly fuzzy. There is no hash or crud. The likelihood of damaging tweeters with these amps is probably very low.)

Readers may recall my rhapsodizing over the exquisitely realistic high end from VTL's little 75/75W stereo amplifier, while complaining, perhaps unfairly, about its deficiency of muscle. I fully expected the 300-watters to have the muscle that the 75/75 lacked, but long experience had taught me to expect degraded high-end performance from higher-powered versions of superb low-powered amps. There isn't. In fact, as well as memory serves me (and my aural memory is legendary), the 300s sound almost exactly like the 75/75 except for their immensely increased maximum-volume capability and an even better low end. That same HF magic is still there, without the 75/75's offsetting weaknesses in the mids. I would not have believed it possible that any high-powered amplifier could have a sweeter high end than the Audio Research M-300 without giving up detail, but the VTL 300 has accomplished that seemingly impossible goal. Its highs are sweet and natural enough to allow me to operate the Sound Labs with their HF-limiting pots wide open.

The 300's high-end ease does not seem related to HF content, but to its harmonic rightness. For this reason, the amp does not sound duller-than-life through dynamic systems, as do amps which achieve their apparent HF sweetness by softening the upper overtone range. This is one of only three amplifiers I have found which are equally suited for use with electrostatics and dynamic speaker systems. (The other two were the Audio Research M-300s and VTL's 75/75.)

If you have been reading my reports in past issues, you may have noticed (footnote 2) that one of my pet peeves is the seeming inability to reproduce convincingly the true weight and authority of an orchestra's large brass instruments. The 300s do this as well as any amplifier I can recall having heard (the others were tube units too). Whether this is the result of a euphonic coloration or superior tonal accuracy is moot, but I really don't care which it is. All I care about is that, given a speaker system with the capability, these can approximate the size and power of a full symphony orchestra like few power amps I have heard.

Ah, but the low end: That's where all tubed amplifiers fall flat on their faces, right? Right. Even the ARC M-300, as incredibly good as it is, is a bit rotund through the midbass and sparse through the deep bass. The 300 isn't either of these things. It must be said that some solid-state amplifiers, like the big Krells and Thresholds, have a shade more authority and punch at the extreme low end than the 300, but this is, nonetheless, the first all-tube amplifier I have heard whose low end can give those solid-state amplifiers a run for their money. And it isn't even direct-coupled! Clearly, DC coupling would not be possible through the output transformer anyway, but there are also two interstage coupling capacitors in the signal path, albeit of what looks like a high-quality polycarbonate type. It is probable that the 300's low end would be even deeper and more gutsy if the voltage amp stages were direct-coupled, but I must say I find that difficult to imagine. The 300 does not have the LF leanness I have heard from most solid-state amplifiers which were not direct-coupled throughout. Its low end is almost impossible to fault!

Soundstage reproduction from these is truly awesome. They throw an immensely wide and convincing spatial presentation, accounting in large measure, I now believe, for the remarkable spatiality I got during my tests of the Infinity IRS Beta loudspeakers. The loudspeakers seem almost incidental to the sound; you can see them, but the sounds you hear seem completely detached from them, and the imaging specificity is so good that individual voices take on an almost-palpable reality of their own. Depth rendition, too, is very convincing, from proscenium to rear-stage shell, with the rows of instruments clearly ranked one behind another, and each surrounded by a sharp-edged outline separating it from the surrounding space. You almost get the feeling you should be able to see the instruments.

As for now ... there is no doubt in my mind that the VTL Monoblock 300s are the best power amplifiers I have heard, by a substantial margin and at a remarkably low price for that level of performance. Expressed reservations notwithstanding, I would recommend them to anyone who can afford them. Buy them, live with them, and just forget about power amplifiers until someone comes up with a major design breakthrough that will render these (and all else) immediately obsolete. But don't hold your breath until that happens.



The follow up*:


The tubed VTL MB300 monoblocks mated so well with the Acarian Alon V loudspeaker that I wanted to reacquaint Stereophile readers with them, and comment on developments since J. Gordon Holt first reviewed the amplifier ...

Though the sweet, liquid, holographic quality of triode tube operation has often been written about, it remains difficult to describe unless you've lived with it in your own system. It's...seductive. Detail is presented in a casual, graceful manner that sounds natural and real. The music simply exists in space. You don't tire of the sound as it continues to surprise and charm. In a quiet, darkened listening room there are few experiences quite so magical. I believe that the Alon Vs provided the venue for the full character of these amplifiers to emerge.

The problem historically has been the lowered power of triode operation and its marginal ability to handle dynamic peaks with insensitive speakers. That has not been a valid concern for several years now, as several companies are producing high-powered triode amps.

I remember auditioning the VTL 225 with the Mirage M-1 speaker six years ago. It sounded smooth but distant, and bass definition was a problem. The big Mirage is very current-hungry and needs a muscular solid-state amp to gain full control. With the newer M-1si in my living room and the VTL MB300s on hand, I took the opportunity to experiment. I was astonished by how well these amps disciplined and directed the speaker. A well-controlled speaker actually does the opposite of what the word suggests: Dynamics and bass response have that casual, natural, almost offhand feel that indicates sufficient power is available--even in triode mode.

The neat thing about the VTL is that it can be switched between triode (250Wpc) and tetrode (nearly 500Wpc) operation with a flick of two switches on the front panel. The earlier model ran in tetrode mode only at 350Wpc. You don't lose a lot in tetrode mode--a bit of stage width, a bit of liquidity and sweetness--but you gain much added power for those thunderous Saint-Saens Organ Symphony crescendos. However, I rarely needed that power with the Mirages, and never needed it with the Alon Vs. ...


Audiophiles who have read about but not yet heard a high-powered triode amplifier in their own homes need to do so. Get friendly with a tube head; make him loan you his amp for the weekend. If your speakers are capable, the improvements in sound quality should not be subtle.






Sounds pretty good, eh? Would you consider owning an amplifier that received those reviews?



* The first review was dated 1988, the follow up from 1996.


The entire review is worth reading for the technical descriptions of these amplifiers and can be found here; http://stereophile.com/tubepoweramps/689/





 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 286
Registered: Nov-05
Wrong thread perhaps Jan?


Back to your photo in 6Moons SM - it was obviously taken in New Zealand. Typical of many Kiwi family outings really - except the wife rides pillion when not in an amorous mood. :-)



 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3936
Registered: Dec-03
Ah, My Rantz, I was afraid I might cause offence with any similar remark, you being from down under and all. But you wrote it better, anyway. It's always the little neighbours, the New Zealanders, the Welsh, the Corsicans, who are alledged to have a penchant for sheep. I have no idea what this means. I wonder of whom it is said in US. People from Idaho...? Not Wyoming, obviously. With Brokeback Mountain winning awards everywhere, the question whether the sheep is a ewe cannot be avoided, it seems to me. That remark may cause offence. I have not seen the film.

Jan,

Humour is always on the edge of causing offence, if it is any good. This is a joke - no? A leg-pull. Like SM's Manley labs link - no?

"I have yet to hear anything in the sound that I could attribute to a characteristic of the amplifier..... Its highs are sweet and natural....." and so on.

In summary, this amp has no sound of its own, and sounds like this...

"Would you consider owning an amplifier that received those reviews?"

Well, I'd be interested to hear some music reproduced by means of one, to see if I can hear anything corresponding to what the guy is writing about.

"Whether this is the result of a euphonic coloration or superior tonal accuracy is moot".

Two more terms for "definitions"?

How could one tell the difference between euphonic coloration and superior tonal accuracy? Are these distinct from euphonic tonal accuracy and superior coloration? How about tonal coloration? Or euphonic accuracy?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7597
Registered: May-04

"How could one tell the difference between euphonic coloration and superior tonal accuracy?"

Now you're pulling my leg, eh, John?

How could your terms exist, Mr. A? "Tonal coloration" I can accept in an amplifier or a performance but, of course, "euphonic accuracy" is your way of making a joke. I'm somewhat surprised the idea of "euphonic coloration" has no meaning to you though. But then you owned a Sony until recently.



I've seen you struggle with the reviews in various magazines as you tend to put too much literalism behind each word. I've read several of the magazines you read, including HiFi+ which I find entertaining if somewhat off beat and at times down right stupid. However, any time a reviewer goes a bit too far in ascribing a sound to a piece of equipment, you can't quite come to terms with the metaphoric language. But metaphors often seem to be the only way to communicate what is heard into language that expresses the workings of an amplifier rather than its mere technical merits. Now you have me curious, John. How would you write a review that described the sound of yout PL amplifier? Are you a Grammophone type of reviewer?


 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2783
Registered: Feb-05
Umm John, I was born and raised in Idaho. We say it about folks from Montana....lol!
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 352
Registered: Jan-05
In my part of the country, there aren't a lot of sheep but we do have a lot of cousins and a lot of them like to ride motorcycles.
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 353
Registered: Jan-05
Hmmm...I used a lot of a lots in that last post.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3937
Registered: Dec-03
...to great effect, SM...!

Thanks, Jan. Good to know, Art!

That's a short post.

Will be back.
 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 354
Registered: Jan-05
Brevity is bliss....unless you're an audiophile reviewer.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3938
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, SM!

Jan,

Sorry if I vented my spleen a bit with that very early morning post.

We've clashed swords on language, before. I had several attempts at those quoted reviews, and came to the conclusion that probably it was not just me, but the writer did not know what he meant, either. I could be wrong.

I made a few permutations of the words and phrases, which I posted, and nothing became clearer or less clear. Equally meaningless, I thought, but ...who knows?

This is where we need guys like Kegger.

I can give, take, and enjoy metaphor. But, if I am invited to shell out on that scale, a bit of plain, honest writing is more likely to win me over than playing with words.

"Anyone who really believes he has something important say will not, willingly, run the risk of being misunderstood".

I am not a great linguist, but like to know what words mean, or are intended to mean. "Euphony" just means "better sound", but in Greek, as far as I can see. Maybe something is lost in translation.

Sorry, I cannot reach to a PrimaLuna amp review. "sounds good to me" is about the best I can manage, at the moment.

"Neutral; uncoloured; transparent; accurately rendering what I imagine the original must have been like" are the desirable traits; I agree with that much.

I am not an "anything" reviewer. I read Gramophone sometimes and get annoyed. I listen to CD review and half the time want to say to the reviewer "Words, words, words. Come on, then, pick up a clarinet and let us hear how you think he/she should play it".

Yes, maybe I am literal-minded. But metaphor ("higher-carrier") has to have some meaning underneath, surely...?

In the last few months I have read bits of, and vowed to give up: HiFi News; HiFi+ (I agree with you!); and HiFi World. I bought the last because it was a vinyl special issue, and also claimed to have a review of the Rega Apollo CD player. I read it, and am none the wiser for that. Except it is in black and silver, and costs £498.

I read a review of, I think, a DVD/CD player in HiFi News a few months ago, where the wordsmith Kessler said it "oozes perceived value".

I have mulled that phrase over several times. I think Kessler must have decided to edit in "perceived" just in case the thing was, in reality, a waste of money.

It is easy, and a cop-out, to play safe, and say nothing, while giving an impression to the contrary.

Saying something useful means being clear and unambiguous, sticking one's neck out, and running the risk of being proved wrong.

Few if any reviewers do that, as far as I can see.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3939
Registered: Dec-03
Let me add, Jan, that I always enjoy your posts, here. They are invariably informed, intelligent, and amusing. If you wrote for a mag, I'd buy it.
 

Anonymous
 
SM

Dang it cuz! Now yer gone done tol' the whole dang world. Now, don't forget yer helmet this weekend gal! Yee haa!

Billy Ray
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1115
Registered: Oct-04
Jan and John A. - Once upon a time I read Stereophile magazine - in the book store. Wondered who the heck could/spend all that money! Whew!

Nowadays I confine my review-reading to music-centered magazines: Gramophone and Opera News. Don't really follow the gear reviews in Gramophone, but I do tend to like their CD/SACD reviews. Comments? Probably. . .

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 713
Registered: Feb-04
On the topic of audiophile magazines, I like what's on the cover of The Absolute Sound this month. Refering to the annual Golden Ear awards, the cover reads "The Best of the Best", which makes sense only in the world of audio reviewers and 6-year olds. Of course, every single equipment review is a rave in these audio magazines and it's common for a review to pronounce an audio component worth twice its price (perhaps someone should tell these reviewers-shillers that the one or two audio components that isn't worth twice its price is really worth half its price instead of the perverse inverse way they phrase it). So every component is truly the best. And then there are the best of the best (haha). Which means that some components are bester than others. And somewhere there's the bestest amp of all. I think my 6-year-old nephew could follow the linguistic logic of The Absolute Sound, but I'm sure he would frown on the absence of mazes and games between the covers.

As far as sheep, motorcycles and cousins, I got nothing

: b
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7608
Registered: May-04


John - " ... I always enjoy your posts, here. They are invariably informed, intelligent, and amusing. If you wrote for a mag, I'd buy it."

Same here, John, but I think "neutral; uncoloured; transparent; accurately rendering what I imagine the original must have been like" would only get you through one review. Then you would have to either declare all amplifiers equal in such manners or resort to metaphors. Remember Kessler has been doing this for about thirty years now. I think J.Gordon Holt knew exactly what he meant when he wrote those words. Those and many like them have made him a fairly rich man.


 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 293
Registered: Nov-05
John A said: "Let me add, Jan, that I always enjoy your posts, here. They are invariably informed, intelligent, and amusing. . . ."

Yeah, once you realise it's not a woman he's reviewing :-)

"As far as sheep, motorcycles and cousins, I got nothing"

Well 2C, maybe that's why you can't get sheep or cousins

:-)


 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 714
Registered: Feb-04
LOL :-(
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3940
Registered: Dec-03
I once had an amp with its own, distinctive sound. I opened it up, tightened the bolt holding down the transformer, and the buzzing stopped.

Jan, thanks! It would probably be crushingly boring to all if we pursued this. I just can't figure out what the guy means, most of the time. My point is that I get to the point where I am not sure there is any point in looking for a point. That is four points to raise SM on her lots.

How about: A well-controlled speaker actually does the opposite of what the word suggests: Dynamics and bass response have that casual, natural, almost offhand feel that indicates sufficient power is available--even in triode mode.

Which word? "Speaker"? I can't think what else.

If the word to which he is referring is "speaker", he could have written "...actually does the opposite of what its name suggests ...", just to be clear.

But "the word" standing for "speaker" leads to absurdity in less than a second - after the colon, he refers to qualities of dynamics and bass response. Try to evaluate those on an object that does the opposite of what the word "speaker" suggests: an object which is silent; "mute", I assume.

Or is the opposite of "speaker" supposed to be "listener"...?

So, maybe "the word" wasn't "speaker" in the first place.... I go round in circles, trying to make sense of it, and can't.

Here's another problem from that short quote: "Dynamics and bass response have that casual, natural, almost offhand feel....". I can understand "dynamics" and "bass response", but not how they can "feel" casual or off-hand. You might as well say they feel informal, or dismissive, or, well, anything.

If something makes sense, both its equivalent and its opposite have to, too.

So, try substituting a synonym or antonym, and see if the words begin to make sense. If they don't, then they didn't make sense before, either.

Let's try it: "Dynamics and bass response have that formal, unnatural, almost intentional feel....".

Does this mean anything?

If Mr Holt knew exactly what he meant, why did he deny us this insight?

And what has "rich" got to do with it?

Perhaps Mr Holt is selling metaphors.

I am reviewing his review. Hope this is clear.

If you don't want clarity, consider instead that a well-controlled review actually does the opposite of what the word suggests: meaning and metaphor have that casual, natural, almost offhand feel that indicates sufficient insight is available--even in try-ode mode.
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1116
Registered: Oct-04
John A. - "that formal, unnatural, almost intentional feel. . ." Hmm. . .sounds like a wife I once had.

And yeah, she sure was a "speaker!"

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Florida USA

Post Number: 1305
Registered: Dec-03
Now THAT's funny! Very good Larry. LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1117
Registered: Oct-04
Rick: It's easy for you to say, sir! You didn't have to live with her! (double grin)

Glad to see you're still with us in spirit, Rick! Hope all goes well in the Land of the Giant Rat. Hmm. . . .

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1118
Registered: Oct-04
All Dawgs: jumping into the jazz genre again, I just got a new Bill Evans "platter." (sorry) It's actually albums on one CD: "Empathy" and "A Simple Matter of Conviction."

Interesting - here, Evans is paired with drummer Shelly Manne - who manages to get Evans "out of the groove" and into a more lively style than I'm used to hearing.

Bassists Monty Budwig and Eddie Gomez round out the roster - and some of you might opine that Scott La Faro was a better pairing - but Gomez especially makes a good showing.

In keeping with above reviews and comments, I'd like to say that this album, Polygram 37757, has fine euphemistic striation that satiates the eager palette of tone-color, and embroils the listener in multi-conscious reverberations of the soul. Guess that pretty much sums it up. (GRIN)

Actually - the sound quality of the disc is fair to good, but nothing special. It is the performance that counts here - and I consider it Evans at his finest, if not in his "usual" more pensive mood. I'm sure that many of you already have these albums - perhaps in their original LP form? They came out in 1962 and 1966 - a long, long time ago. When I, too, played those wunnerful, poppy, clicky, black records.

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7614
Registered: May-04


And the title of this two album disc is ... ? Polygram 37757?


After reading your review, I would have to suggest - don't give up your day job, Larry. Metaphorically speaking, that is.




John - The problem with your manner of interpretation (synonym/antonym) opens the door to widespread miscommunication.


"What we have here is a failure to communicate. ... A failure to communicate."



"'Dynamics and bass response have that casual, natural, almost offhand feel....'. I can understand 'dynamics' and 'bass response', but not how they can 'feel' casual or off-hand. You might as well say they feel informal, or dismissive, or, well, anything.

If something makes sense, both its equivalent and its opposite have to, too.

So, try substituting a synonym or antonym, and see if the words begin to make sense. If they don't, then they didn't make sense before, either.

Let's try it: 'Dynamics and bass response have that formal, unnatural, almost intentional feel....'

Does this mean anything?"



Yes, John it makes sense. It means you've missed the meaning of the phrase and have chosen to obfuscate the interpretation even further. While I agree that when we hear or read metaphors, we get to impose our own meaning to the phraseology, we do not get to pick the synonyms and antonyms which destroy the writer's intent. Plato, Shakespeare and Churchill could have it no other way. Analogies, similitudes, allegories and personfications allow the writer to speak to the highest and the most common of audiences. Now, surely you can see that "most common" is not the expected antonym to "highest", even in a society that still retains a monarchy. And, yet, I assume you know my meaning for I surely did not intend you to read into my words "altitudinous" nor "squat".


Shall we try looking further into the thesaurus for what Holt might have been trying to communicate. And you are correct, Holt was selling metaphors because the prevailing word usage when he began Stereophile was, "neutral; uncoloured; transparent; accurately rendering what I imagine the original must have been like", and it applied to all amplifiers with acceptably low distortion. To take your preferred methodology to its logical conclusion think for a minute what "transparent" and its antonyms "nubilous" and "turbid", even more so "neutral" and "vehement", would mean descriptively to someone who had never heard a music system. We get to assign meaning to figures of speech, John, but we are duty bound to honor the writer's original intent. Unless, of course, our intent is to create propaganda.


"Dynamics and bass response have that casual, natural, almost offhand feel....", is not the exact opposite of, "Dynamics and bass response have that formal, unnatural, almost intentional feel ... "


We admit to understanding "dynamics" and "bass response" so out first hurdle is "formal". If we are not invited to a "formal" affair, we can expect everyone to dress "casually". Assuming we do not live in tux and tails, we are dressed in what is more "natural" to us. Instead of the "formality" of the situation restricting our conversation, we might tell a joke; and, for those people who manage joke telling with "ease", we do that in an "off hand" sort of way. We count upon others to have the "feeling" this is not our "titular" manner but, in this "unfussy" setting, it is instead meant to convey a "comfortable" ability to make everyone laugh and the joke is not "forced" humor. Now, John, if you do not comprehend how we get that "feeling", "sensation" or "response", I don't think I can "get", "extort" or "educe" you to the point you understand the affective ability of words or music. All I can say is don't look for the most difficult reading but instead look for the writer's meaning. It is there in the words that are used. Stereophile is not meant to be the New York Times. If that is what you are looking for, ask Gregory Stern what he reads.


I agree the words are all too frequently open to miscommunication and can be employed as propaganda when necessary to further confuse the reader. But, to attempt any clarification which might have more direct meaning to the reader is to revisit "Do you listen".







 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3941
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Jan.

I suppose you and I do not respond in the same way to that kind of prose.

I agree to bracket "highest" with "most common" as adjectives for audiences.

BTW I think the exact antonym of "transparent" is "opaque", and the substitution shows the value of this rough test of whether words carry meaning. The meaning is altered, of course,and to the opposite - but there is still meaning there. We know what to do with a system that is "partial; coloured; opaque; distorting what I imagine the original must have been like".

I'll give it some more thought.

I belong to this minority who thinks that most of the World's problems arise from misunderstanding, which we court at our peril. That is partly my hope, I suppose. Misunderstanding is something we can do something about.

Anyway, end of sermon.

Nice exchange, Rick and Larry!
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 715
Registered: Feb-04
A sound is worth a thousand words?



I rather enjoyed Larry's mock review of the Bill Evans disc, almost as brilliant as Robin Williams' review of a wine (spoken in a pretentious, snobbish voice) as "flaccid yet ridiculous".



Does anyone else think it would be fun for Jan and John to go on a long road trip together?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7615
Registered: May-04


"Does anyone else think it would be fun for Jan and John to go on a long road trip together?"

Crosby and Hope. Or, Hope and Crosby. Abbott and Costello. Or, Costello and Abbott. Martin and Lewis. Or, Martin. Or, Lewis.




Opaque is, I would contend, no more the "automatic" antonym to "transparent" than "intentional" is to "offhand". I have a political game I play with antonyms/synonyms but I shall refrain from explaining that any further. It is merely the context in which "highest", "altitudinous" and "squat" are placed that give the words their meaning, John. To only look at the word without context is to alleviate all responsibility from yourself as the reader.


"Personally I'm always ready to learn, although I do not always like being taught."

"Men occasionally stumble over the truth, but most of them pick themselves up and hurry off as if nothing ever happened."

"Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room."

Sir Winston Churchill


 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3942
Registered: Dec-03
"Whereof we cannot speak; thereof we must be silent".

Ludwig Wittgenstein.

Actually, you know, 2c, we tried the Lone Ranger and Tonto act a while back. Tonto felt continually up-staged by Silver.

"To only look at the word without context is to alleviate all responsibility from yourself as the reader. "

I agree with that, Jan. But the words, before and after, carry the context, and are, in the end, all we have by means of which to communicate. Plus some non-verbal cues: the dilated iris; the frown; the smile; the perfect cadence. Yep, we need imagination to build the context from words. May be music and stuff can help us along.

I tried hard with those reviews, and the more I thought about them, the less they seemed to mean. It could be lack of imagination, I concede. I'll try them again with some music on.

Probably it's all in the first impression.

"And if you hear vague traces of skipping reels of rhyme
To your tambourine in time,
I wouldn't pay it any mind,
It's just a shadow, you're seeing, that he's chasing."

R. Zimmerman.

Will go back and read Larry's spoof, and stop this prattle.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 298
Registered: Nov-05
My God! I was reading Old Dogs and must have fallen asleep. Suddenly I was caught in a terrible nightmare - I dreamt I was locked in a room with two English Lit' majors debating the manner in which audio reviewers express their opinions to their readers. I tried everything to escape, the debate was becoming ferocious. Wodrs boceme jemblud, thye weer lsiong thire menaing, intrepirtations weer obsufcated by thire pherasoelogy, ti was a tatol communacition berakdown. My brain felt as if it was becoming full of misfiring synapses, it was the end, I was certain. Then I was saved, I awoke. Man, the things people dream.

:-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Nuck

Parkhill, Ontario Canada

Post Number: 1408
Registered: Dec-04

Never hold discussions with the monkey when the organ grinder is in the room."

Never pissss into the wind.

Don't step on Superman's cape.


 

Silver Member
Username: Simplymcintosh

Post Number: 355
Registered: Jan-05
This is one of the more interesting elucidations I've come across in audio reviews (WARNING! CRUDE ANALOGY AHEAD! DO NOT READ FURTHER IF YOU THINK YOU WILL BE OFFENDED!)


"So let's get our bearings: Single-driver crossover-less Fostex floorstander short enough to where a grown man's pecker wouldn't touch the top unless he was hung like a horse (I'm getting the hang of this hillbilly vibe)...."

If you'd like to read the context of this statement, go here: http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/hornshoppe/hornette.html

Came across a new online music store: http://www.dustygroove.com/

Any site that has Blossom Dearie at the top of their New This Week list is alright by me.



 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7617
Registered: May-04


Made me look!
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2791
Registered: Feb-05
I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!I MISS MY MUSIC!!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 716
Registered: Feb-04
Brilliant, Rantz!

And, SM,

uh...nevermind...
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 299
Registered: Nov-05
SM

Re the horn review: I will say nothing :-)

After hearing much about Blossom Dearie I gave her a listen a while back in a record store, and I felt like - er well - she needs to blossom. I couldn't get past her strange little girlie voice. Maybe she's an acquired taste.

2C - Thanks, but not really. Not like our two eruditious gentlemen from Dallas and London. Talk about chalk and cheese!

:-)
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2792
Registered: Feb-05
I haven't acquired that taste either Rantz. But SM's point is well taken.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7618
Registered: May-04


Or, cheese and chalk.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 300
Registered: Nov-05
Art - yes agreed! Seems like you are a music addict going cold turkey - I was like that when I gave up smoking. Don't worry, another week or so and you won't bother about about music again :-)

Jan

Yes, sorry! Cheese and chalk - the White Cliffs and all.
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 301
Registered: Nov-05
about about??????????
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2793
Registered: Feb-05
NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Florida USA

Post Number: 1308
Registered: Dec-03
Oh come now Larry.........Do you think you're the only one with an ex-wife from hell? LOL!


I've been married 3 times!
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 303
Registered: Nov-05
That'll teach you for dabbling in the occult Rick!

 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Florida USA

Post Number: 1309
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks Rantz.





I'm cured!
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2795
Registered: Feb-05
Me too Rick...+ another 9 1/2 year relationship. They're all nice folks who I maintain a friendship with except the first one. She is scary!
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1119
Registered: Oct-04
Rick: Heck, I been dare too, doncha no! No! No! No!

SM: Hey - yer makin me blush. . .

Jan: Uh, maybe U'd bedder read my post again: title of the CD is, well, the title of the two albums on the disc. It's still a Polygram CD, though. . .

Recovering from another opera trip to Sarasota yesterday. Horrible accident blocked all roads leading to the opera house - we missed our dinner reservations, and had a bleary time making do at a lesser place. Sigh. Bad food doth verily produce an equally bad opera reception by the attendees. Orp.

Rick: I hope duh trafik up there in Rat-land isn't as bad as it is down heah. I thought Naples was horrible, until I tried Sarasota at rush hour. Simply stopped in all directions - with ANY accident turning the scene into horn-blaring chaos. Horrible!

Mer and I are thinking very, very seriously of moving back to Colorado. Very seriously. . . . .

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Silver Member
Username: Sem

New York USA

Post Number: 554
Registered: Mar-04
Mer and I are thinking very, very seriously of moving back to Colorado. Very seriously. . . . .

If the financials worked out, it wouldn't be a decision that would take me too long to make. In fact I'd leave skid marks.............Apologies Rick.
 

Gold Member
Username: Artk

Albany, Oregon USA

Post Number: 2804
Registered: Feb-05
I'm with you Sem. I'm a four seasons kind a guy though. Not much for sub tropical climates.
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1120
Registered: Oct-04
Sem: (sigh) yeah, I know. . .Mer has been making rather pointed suggestions on the "skidmarks" possibilities, but we have another year or more to get things settled down enough to "blast off." this is the summer of the new car - and save, save, save. Next summer? Well, that may be it. . .we'll see.

We already know where we want to go - and have a Realtor service e-mailing us listings for homes in the area - fortunately, no strings attached! (grin) We know the area very well, so there are no "surprises" waiting - Mer just "wants to go home." Hmm. . . .

Will post as news occurs. .

Respectfully. . .LarryR
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Florida USA

Post Number: 1310
Registered: Dec-03
Larry,

So far so good here in Orlando. The traffic is about what I suspected. All in all not bad in my opinion. I must be used to traffic, being a native New Yorker. We are adjusting nicely and did not take the family long to morph into Floridians. They now complain when it dips below 60 degrees. As far as four seasons go, different strokes for different folks. You can have them. Just give me summer! LOL! All is well in Walt World........ Cheers!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3943
Registered: Dec-03
Mrs A visits an entirely different forum and told me of a quote there. So, since the subject of ex-wives comes up, plus the height of a Fostex floorstander.

Men are like carpet tiles.

Lay them right, and you can walk on them for years.


Point taken, MR. I agree. When I say "agree"....

(Dodges rotten eggs; falls asleep).
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Florida USA

Post Number: 1311
Registered: Dec-03
If only that wasn't so true..............(sigh).
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3946
Registered: Dec-03
I popped into a HiFi dealer today, a new one to me, and enquired about CD/SACD players. Difficult to know what the conclusion was. The guy seemed to know things and have opinions. He said something like "Yes, SACD has a 'finer grain', but isn't necessarily more musical. Unless you already own shelves full of SACDs, and assuming you do have shelves full of CDs, it is better to think about the benefits of a dedicated CD player."

I've heard other dealers say similar things about SACD.

I mentioned the new Rega CDP and he said it was not all the hype claims, plus Rega will be along with a more expensive and better model before long; the "Apollo" is their way of getting people interested. Also, he suggested I was thinking in the wrong price range, given my other gear, especially the speakers. A player that has "timing" and gives "precise control" would be his recommendatiom, especially given the "loose" sound from "a Chinese tube amp", and the "precise" and "controlled" sound of ESLs. He said he'd happily demonstrate what he meant, but they have nothing really comparable on their premises, so, in a perfect world, I'd bring in my other components for the demo, especially the speakers.

Hmmm. I'll think about it. I'm not sure what all that means. These guys do tend to go very serious when you say "Quad ESL". I could, cynically, just assume they think I've got more to spend than I admit, but it seems like more than that.

Anyway, no brand names; no hard sell. He did throw in Arcam and Marantz as making CD players at least as good as the Rega at that (in his view, low....!) price point, but that was as if to indicate there were loads of 'em. Yes, they carry Rega.

Does this make any sense to anyone?

Just a pre-emptive strike on my wallet, or sensible advice?

Oh, yes, serious-looking shop, with serious-looking gear. They also sell LPs. New ones.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3947
Registered: Dec-03
BTW 1- Larry; thanks for Thursday, February 23 and "euphemistic striation that satiates the eager palette of tone-color".

This neatly counterpoints the underlying surrelism of the metaphor. Just like Vogon poetry, really.

BTW 2 - Half-an-hour on the Louiseville Symphony Orchestra, Kentucky, on "CD review", today. Re-issues of things from the 50s and 60s, many first recordings, some only recordings. Some comissioned by them; written for them. I have to admit I'd never heard of that "LSO"; probably well-known over there (?). Sounded good to me.
 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Fl

Post Number: 1314
Registered: Dec-03
John,

He didn't say anything that would cause me alarm.
He seems pretty much on the money with his CDP recommendations. To me a player that has good pace, timing, and rhythm, adds up to a musical sounding piece. You also know where I stand on dedicated CD players.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7635
Registered: May-04


Nope, not "well known" over here. Boston, Chicago and New York are well known. After that there are lesser knowns and wanna-be-knowns.

My first suggestion would be to discount anyone who tells you emphatically Rega "is going to" do anything. Rega is more secretive than Honda or the Bush White House and, being much smaller, makes decisions in their own manner. Rega will do what Rega will do when Rega decides the time is right ... or not.


It does seem SACD is being excused from the table early. DVD-A was fed on the floor and SACD is about to make way for a new puppy. It almost makes you want to buy nothing. SACD discs are all but gone from the shelves of Tower and V!rgin here in Dallas.


"Quad ESL" means set in your ways; even to a Quad dealer. Unless you come in complaining about lack of dynamics with your amp or not enough low bass, any dealer should know you will expect every box speaker in the shop to sound like your panels. They don't want to deal with that discussion when they are selling you a CD player. And, if the final words are "ESL", they know you haven't spent much money in many, many years. You should see the reaction when you say "forty year old McIntosh tubes". Either they didn't realize computers were around that long ago (because they weren't), they figure you're there just to take up their time or we get into a discussion about which ones they own also.




 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 305
Registered: Nov-05
It is difficult to find suitable SACD's here in the big music stores also - at least ones I haven't already purchased (around 80). But new SACD titles still appear each week and it seems from around Xmas about 120 new titles have been released. The reason these hi-res titles are hard to find in the main record stores is that they cater mainly to people who don't have/can't afford the higher end systems like those enthusiasts who listen/buy hi-res music. CDP's ans t/t's are available to everyone at all price points and the store managers obligation is to turn over money.

I do agree that a SACD/Cd player needs to be a good quality piece of kit if you are to really benefit - especially in 2 channel only.

The other option is HDCD. Although they're are supposedly around 5000 titles they are still difficult to find with just a little logo on the rear cover. Just the other day I purchased a title with HDCD as I had a version without and I wanted to compare. It was Brian Ferry's 'Taxi' which I thought was already a well recorded album. The HDCD version clearly revealed more mid to high end detail and seemed to put more space around the instruments. In fact, I thought the difference was much more apparent then 2 channel SACD compared to CD - at least on my modest gear. But, as I've said before, the cd layer on hybrid SACD's is enhanced by either HDCD (in the case of Linn titles) or by super bit mapping so comparisons are not so simple.

Here's a link to players you may wish to investigate John, before you take out that big fat wallet at the behest of those silver tongued high-end audio salespeople: http://www.realhi-fi.com/products/shanling_cdt100cuk.html


I don't where Rick stands on dedicated cd players but I hope he picks sturdy well built ones on which to place his size 14 boots. LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3948
Registered: Dec-03
Rick,

Thanks. Yes, I know where you stand on dedicated CD players!

Jan,

Well, he was not "emphatic" about a forthcoming Rega - he just quietly damned the new "Apollo" with faint praise. Funny, the "hype" I was thinking of was the rave stuff on this forum, from owners, plus Frank A., who knows things from his part-time dealer work, and I am inclined to think he knows whereof he writes.

The guy I met today seemed to be suggesting "hype" in reviews in mags and so on. There aren't any, not yet; though I am fairly sure they will come in a few months. You know the Rega "legend" and reputation for "punching above its weight" (I don't care for that phrase).

As you know, I am a recent Quad ESL owner, not set in my audio ways. You could be right, though; he didn't know that. But the tone was not "What...?" but more click the heels and salute, or at least stare at the floor a bit. He then went on a bit about how they were right up there. And this was in a recepetion area lined with B&W 800 series, looking like a robot army. Mind, it is good to flatter customers a bit. Doubt you did that. (I see you as more an audio "House"....)

No, this guy had been around and knew his stuff. The shop was unlike any other. There was really no showroom, just auditioning rooms, and a reception area.

Actually, I was hoping to steer away from what I already owned, but I can see it helps someone talk specifics, and make comparisons they know the customer can relate to. The place I bought the PL2 amp has Quad 988s in the store which are much the same as ESL 63s, so they could probably set up a demo without me having to hire a van, and risk injury carrying my speakers. Not sure they do Rega. They suggested a Consonance something (tube output stage; Italian), but they are pricey (more than twice the Apollo).

Today's guy also made the point about tube CD players that you can't go on piling warm on warm and expect to get accurate, musical sound out the end. I think I've suggested that point, here, before. Though this could be getting misled by words, again.

Anyway, thanks.

"It almost makes you want to buy nothing. "

In the words of our friend Kegger:

---YEP---

PS This guy said he was first of all a musician. When he said "Timing", I said "Ah, yes; PRAT" - and he said "No that's not what I mean - I know [name of well-known audio reviewer who uses the phrase] well, and he has no understanding of music at all".

Marks to him, for that.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3949
Registered: Dec-03
MR,

Posts crossed, sorry. Will be back. Thanks.
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7638
Registered: May-04


"Doubt you did that. (I see you as more an audio "House"....)


Ha!


"PS This guy said he was first of all a musician."


Beware.


Do not get fooled by the, " ...
therefore, I know what sounds correct while (insert well known reviewer's name who types "PRaT often) ... and you, do not."


This is audio salesperson 101, John, and is meant to silently intimidate you. Stand by your Quads!




 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3950
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Jan.

Yes. I agreed. Always challenge authority. People who claim special knowledge and insight should be questioned! It is an obligation.

On average, does a musician have a better appreciation of fidelity in sound reproduction that a non-musician?

To my mind, this harks back to the heated debate on "Do you listen".

We - I mean the good guys, naturally (smiley) - seem to agree that reproducing musical performance is an objective. But I recall I was in small minority, probably on my own, in thinking that audio equipment has no musical properties of its own - to say so was playing with words; using various figures of speech and then taking them literally.

So, yes, putting down a reviewer because he is not a musician is out of court. Equally, I do not subscribe to hifi gear having PRaT.

So, I was silently bemused, rather than intimidated.

BTW my family are addicted to "House", the second series of which is underway over here. That's about the only television we watch. I think its OK. It's still sort of soap, granted a clever one, a bit like "West Wing" (which we had never seem until we were given a series on a set of DVDs for Christmas). Certainly the standard of US cultural import has gone up a notch or two from Highway Patrol and the Lucille Ball Show.

Laurie is a fine actor. Over here he is probably best known for playing a dimwit, an upper-class twit, as a foil to Rowan Atkinson, in "Blackadder". What a change in roles.

Anyway, apologies for the digression, there is another thread for TV shows.

To return to this audio issue.

I'll go and see of anyone has further views here on CD players, and check MR's link (thanks, MR).

I have also been ruminating on the sales guy ("audio consultant", perhaps he would prefer) implying that if you spend x on one component, you must be joking if you think that it will realise its full potential if you spend much less than x on another. Your little solid-state "Sonic Impact T-Amp" came to mind, as I was listening to guy.

"Spend more or you will be wasting the money you have already spent" is an argument to beware of, I think.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3951
Registered: Dec-03
My Rantz,

Ah, yes, the Shanling CD-T100C. Thanks. That's a lot of dosh!

"The brushed aluminium makes a real impact in modern homes."

It would make even more of one in ours. Mrs A would be amused.

Your brother's Shanling CD-T80 (correct?) is more in my range, but undoubtedly the sales guy would say my system would not be realising it potential etc.

"Why spoil the ship for a ha'porth of tar?"

If that is too idiomatic for this forum, it translates roughly as:

"Why compromise euphonic synergy for a mere grand on upsampling and a tube output stage?"

How is your brother getting on with that player, MR?
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7639
Registered: May-04


"Certainly the standard of US cultural import has gone up a notch or two from Highway Patrol and the Lucille Ball Show."


Along with those great comedic talents Broderick Crawford and Lucy, we said good bye yesterday to another character who taught us right from wrong as we were growing up. Farewell to Don Knotts. There's a bit of Barney that will live on in all of us.



 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Fl

Post Number: 1316
Registered: Dec-03
Great comedic talents?


It's been straight downhill since ROCKY and BULLWINKLE, hasn't it?
 

Silver Member
Username: My_rantz

Australia

Post Number: 306
Registered: Nov-05
"How is your brother getting on with that player, MR?"

John,

He is awaiting delivery of an overseas shipment. The last time I spoke with him he was having second thoughts. It was not that he didn't like the T-80. he did, but he heard it when his new speakers weren't run in and that he hasn't auditioned many others he's reviewed. The problem is that it is very dificult to audition other brands in his home. A common story. Yet, I think he will mostly likely get it and I'll get his report in due course.

We watched the 4th edition DVD set of 24 (aka 24hrs) over the past week and have been glued to the tele. Riveting stuff - over the top, but riveting!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3953
Registered: Dec-03
Thank you, My Rantz!
 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7647
Registered: May-04


"It's been straight downhill since ROCKY and BULLWINKLE, hasn't it?"


Not if you think "Pinky and The Brain" is high art.


 

Gold Member
Username: Rick_b

Orlando, Fl

Post Number: 1320
Registered: Dec-03
LOL!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3954
Registered: Dec-03
Apple - iPod HiFi.

Active speaker system. One cabinet with Class "D" amp, two mid-range/treble drivers, one woofer, two reflex ports. "...delivers room-filling stereo imaging...". 53Hz to 16kHz ± 3 dB

"Input port accepts analog 3.5 mm stereo minijack or S/PDIF optical digital miniplug" so it has its own DAC, too.

I think iPodders will like this. There are plenty of 'em.

Wonder how it sounds.
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 721
Registered: Feb-04
I recently listened to a JVC xrcd of Scheherazade, Fritz Reiner, CSO, and was blown away by the sound quality that can be achieved by a cd. It makes me think the poor quality of most cds is the result of poor transfers from the master tape and not the limitation of the format. The xrcd sounded as good as sacds to my ears. The downside is the cost at $30-40 per disc. Ouch!

http://www.xrcd.net/Shopping/process.asp
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

LondonU.K.

Post Number: 3955
Registered: Dec-03
That's interesting, Two Cents - thanks. I had not heard of JVC xrcd.

The general approach reminds me of DMM - Direct Metal Mastering - for LPs. They were/are really good.
 

Gold Member
Username: Larry_r

Naples, FL

Post Number: 1121
Registered: Oct-04
Downhill from Bill: Sigh. . .
Wellll, Ms. Golden Ears wanted to hear my new(est) Bill Evans album last night. Mistake.
"I don't like it."
That was her quick response. "But why not?" I asked.
"Just listen to that left hand - all chop and no follow-through on the chord progressions."
"Huh?"
"You can hear it for yourself. I don't want to hear any more. He never finishes anything - just noodles around. Drives me crazy. . ."

Wellll - the disc got turned off, and relegated to that section of the CD-file marked: "do not play when Mer is in the room."

So much for the Evans album, I thought - and then I listened to it (again) whilst Mer was away teaching. I hate to admit it, but she was right - and now I don't like the album, either! Double sigh. Anybody in the "lower 48" states want an Evans CD? Free. . .

So much for married life, sound-wise. . .

Got my new supply of BLACK CD-Rs - and am waiting for the chap who developed Exact Audio Copy to finish the product - which is still in "final" beta form. I'm very curious to see/hear what I can get. Heck - ANY improvement to my DG discs would be a Big Help!

2C - I, too, am interested in the xrcd - have never seen/heard any. And I think John A. is giving a good comparison - the DMM WAS very, very good!

So - is xrcd better-sounding that SACD? Inquiring minds want to know! I'll have to say that "most" of my SACDs have excellent sonic qualities - but, like their RedBook cousins, not all of them live up to their reputation.

Respectfully. . .LarryR

 

Gold Member
Username: Jan_b_vigne

Dallas, TX

Post Number: 7675
Registered: May-04


Send the CD on along, Larry. Do you need an address?



It seems any time the recording/mastering/pressing process garners more attention from those involved, the sound quality rises to levels which should be available on every disc we purchase. From the moment, "y'all play loud so we get it all", no longer were the overiding directions to the performers, sound quality has gone down hill.


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