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Archive through June 24, 2004

 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 131
Registered: Apr-04
Kegger,

I thought that might be "inspirational" to you as a consideration for speaker design. lol! To answer Gregory's point, maybe you could be the one to take the hempcones into the audiophile world of home speakers. :-)

Gregory:

"Duplicating posts is often a sign of enterring Hempland"

I can neither confirm nor deny that allegation. ;-)

My setup is great! I still haven't had time to do any "granular" calibration but I've gotten a lot of enjoyment listening to music through this system. I'm getting ready to go on vacation for 10 days and after that I have to continue my studies/tests for my certification exams for about 3-4 weeks so it may be late July before I get around to getting the calibration done correctly.

I love the MA's - thanks again for suggesting them!
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 333
Registered: Feb-04
For anyone interested, JVC have developed birch timber cones for speakers on a new micro system. The article is in www.homecinemachoice.com from a hardware news story dated Feb 3 2004.

Ghia

Pleading the 5th leads one to assumptions. And have a great vacation - should be happy one at the least! (grin)
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 548
Registered: Dec-03
Ghia--

Glad you like your MA GR10's. Unlike Hemp or Birch speaker cones, they don't have to be treated for termites.

Hope you enjoy your vacation in "Hempland" (a new island off of Jamaica filled with fast food stands, waterbeds on the beach, and headphones :-).

Or is it a new section of Disneyland done in an Alice and Wonderland motif-- along with hookah smoking caterpillars:-)

On a more serious note I have been going to a number of Spoleto events here in Charleston, SC. Just saw a nice chamber recital with a French twist--pieces by Poulenc, Debussy, and a great piano quintet by Cesar Franck (a Belgian who lived most of his life in France)performed by the St. Lawrence quartet.

Also went to a nice Alvin Ailey dance performance, a Brazilian dance and music extravaganza (lots of fun)and by the time Spoleto runs its course in 3 weeks I will be totally exhausted--besides missing plenty of work.




 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 132
Registered: Apr-04
Yeah, I've heard about hemp "roaches"....didn't know you had to worry about termites too. :-)

So, those JVC speakers appear to have their own "vice". Article mentions the birch has to be "soaked" in Japanese Sake to soften it enough to be formed into cones without splitting or cracking.

So, we could smoke the hempcone speakers and drink the birch cones. Party on! lol


MR,
That wasn't actually pleading the fifth. That was practice for interviewing for a job in the US State Dept. Ouch.

Gregory, I was wondering if you were attending Spoleto events. It sounds like a really good lineup this year. It's been several years since I've made it to Spoleto but I think I'm going to put that on my calendar for next year.

The Brazilian dance and music event sounds like fun. I wish I had known about it because I've got several Brazilian friends who I think would have been thrilled to go to something like that in the States (they live in NC now). I guess they'll just have to settle for the thrill of spending a week at the Outer Banks with me!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1296
Registered: Dec-03
Ghia,

"Article mentions the birch has to be "soaked" in Japanese Sake to soften it enough"

But, apart from country of origin, only sake made by traditional methods from organically-grown, genetically unmodified rice......?
 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 133
Registered: Apr-04
John A

The article wasn't quite that specific. I just termed it "Japanese Sake" (an alcoholic drink)arbitrarily but the article's verbiage is "Japan's favourite drink, Sake"

Here's excerpt on how this "astounding" revelation about softening the birch came about:

"....The chief engineer on the project was eating a squid dish in Japan and was struck by how soft it was. So he asked the chef how this had been achieved, and discovered that it had been soaked in Japan's favourite drink, Sake. The JVC engineers thus tried soaking their wood in Sake and lo and behold, they were able to shape it into the cone shape they needed without it cracking or splitting!"

You have to wonder if the Sake is actually part of the manufacturing process (sounds like it is) and, if so, how do they keep employees from imbibing while on the job. lol.

Cheers!
 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 134
Registered: Apr-04
Here's a pic of the birch cone speakers:

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1297
Registered: Dec-03
Ghia,

Nice photo. I was teasing about the sake. They will probably find after years of research that the active ingredient is something called alcohol....

So much of this audio business is full of "would you believe it" stories and, mostly, one shouldn't!

I am hoping to pick up my KEF tweeters by Friday. If they start telling me the plastic has to be soaked in beer made with Kentish hops I shall send them back. But they wouldn't.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Gregory - I've read it and read it again, "guitar players often play with the amps clipping" and "Guitarists ... like harmonic distortion." That is hysterical!!! Where do you get these ideas? Buy a Bucky Pizzarelli disc. Driving the circuit into feedback, clipping or whatever is used as an effect just as a sustain pedal on a piano or that infamous tremolo handle are used to change the sound temporarily.
Tubes are very clean until you drive them past their limits and then their distortion characteristics are predominantly even order harmonics; second, fourth, sixth, etc., as opposed to a solid state (bipolar transistor) output device which introduces uneven harmonics in vast quantities. Musical instruments, as a whole, are based on a harmonic structure that has peaks more in the even order harmonics than the odd order ones and therefore a tube has more similarity to a musical instrument than a (bipolar) transistor does. Odd order harmonics do not occur in predominance in nature, and, that is one of the reasons (bipolar) transistors sound so awful when they clip and why they destroy tweeters. Why do you think there has been so much effort over the past 45 years to develop a transistor that sounds and reacts similarly to a tube? That is the reason J-FETS, V-FETS and MOSFETS were developed and are used in audio. Harmonic distortion my Aunt Fanny!
If you are going to spout your single minded theories to someone who is trying to learn about audio at least have the courtesy to give valid information and present both sides. Fair and balanced, remember?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 376
Registered: Dec-03
jan i've actually seen some newer solid state amps
that are being created to recreate the soft clipping
sound of a tube amp.

and i didn't really see anything in his post that
was that far out of wack.his statement that guitar
players like distortion is pretty true my brother
plays electric guitar and would not be caught dead
without his distortion pedal.

so the only thing i saw was him maybe dissing the
use of hemp cones in home audio but i didn't really
take it that way.

sorry for butting in but i just didn't see it
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 553
Registered: Dec-03
Jan--

As you said--the tube amp clipping harmonic distortion is used as an effect by guitarists. I didn't say that guitarists drive their amps to distortion all the time anymore than I said they use a tremolo all the time. But they want that capability when they desire that sound.

But when I listen to music in my house I NEVER want clipping--harmonic or otherwise. I want to hear the recording as undistorted and accurate as possible. And almost every well-made solid state amp beats almost every tube amp (even the insanely priced ones) on all distortion measurements below clipping. Remember when much of the audiophile community went nuts over 8 watt single ended tube amps? They love harmonic clipping--but would never admit it--because they have "Golden Ears". They thought it made the music sound sweeter--and it may have. But it certainly sounded less like the recording.


But to think that added harmonic distortion to a recording is beneficial and more accurate is wild. Ideally in personal listening, no amp should clip. Who wants any clipping distortion of any type?


My point is--all clipping is bad (except for guitarists that want that effect)--harmonic or otherwise. Buy a powerful enough amp for your home speakers that doesn't clip, or clips once in a blue moon. Or get efficient enough speakers so you don't need to buy a super powerful amp.

I have to go to a Spoleto concert now--if you wish I will continue later.

.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 377
Registered: Dec-03
just before anyone gets ideas that i am dissing
tube equipment.definatly not.

i have listened to quite a few tube amps and preamps
that i like.
and if i can pick up the right tube preamp for the
right price i will.

now having said that it doesn't mean i am going
to ignore what that tube unit is doing that i like
the sound of.

to me it doesn't really matter how the sound is
produced weather it is from good clean power or
something that produces a pleasing distortion.
as long as i like the sound.

but knowing how it is producing that sound be it
soft clipping or whatever i'm not going to ignore
that it is their.just know it is and enjoy it.
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 118
Registered: Dec-03
The important thing to note here is that hemp is not the same thing as cannibus. Hemp won't alter your state of mind, but it can be made into a very durible textile.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 344
Registered: Feb-04
Ben,

The above references are 'tongue in cheek' and actually hemp is cannabis. However, the hemp that is now grown legally for commercial/industrial purposes has either been modified to yield an extremely low toxin level or is of a very low toxin level strain.

But you are right - the advice may save some desperate rock & rollers from mutillating their speakers or baking their T-shirts. :-)
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Guys, the point I'm trying to make with Gregory's comment is a sweeping generalisation that "guitar players often play with the amps clipping" and "Guitar ... players like distortion" is as far fetched as the idea that tube amps HAVE higher distortion. Gregory is taking a segment of all guitar players (presumably hard rock, some blues and some contemporary jazz players) and lumping them together with all guitar players. In his statement is the expressed opinion that makes every guitar player someone who wants to overdrive the amp because they "like" the distortion. This is far from the truth since it ignores the large numbers of players who wish to have a clear, true tone from their instrument. In today's market place of amplified instruments, the amplifier has become a necessity that virtually all guitar players use. Not because they like distortion but instead they hear something in a tube amplifier that is musical to them. How often does B.B.King distort his amplifier? If John Williams plays a concert or makes a recording his instrument is miked and run through an amplifier, but he is not distorting his sound. The comment Gregory made is, in my view, similar to the attitude of Detroit in the '60's that is still true to a certain extent today. "Why would you want a four cylinder when a V-8 is better?" Well, say that to someone driving a Honda S-2000 or Subaru WRX-Sti that are as fast or faster than most V-8's. And what does better mean? The little four banger will get much better mileage and probably last longer. So the idea that a segment defines the entire group is not giving a fair impression to those reading the statement and possbly trying to learn from what they take in. It is tantamount to propaganda!
Secondly, Gregory's comment seems aimed at perpetuating the myth that tube amplifiers are inferior to solid state products (usually based on "facts" like higher harmonic disortion). If Gregory doesn't care for tube amps that is perfectly acceptable, there are many transistor products to choose from. Many that sound very good. But he again makes the generalisation in his reply that those audiophiles that use an 8 watt SET tube amp "love harmonic distortion". His MO seems to be if he doesn't care for something (in this case tube amplifiers) those who do appreciate the qualities of a product or design mode "love harmonic distortion", which just as "liking" discrimination is "bad", so is liking distortion. It is a tactic that infers upon someonre a quality which most people would agree is distasteful. Those who "hate America" are distasteful, therefore ...
Maybe I'm as touchy about this as I am about certain other subjects that push a few of my buttons; but, there are so many people who want to dismiss an idea because it doesn't suit their tastes or needs.
In this case the old saw is tube amps have higher distrotion. That is a fabrication that has no basis in reality. Look at a review of a tube amplifier that has specs along with the review.
Let me give you an example of measurements made on a tube power amp. This is from "Stereophile" magazine, May 2004. Please don't dismiss this as a "golden ear" rag, what I'm using as an example is not a subjective review but an objective measurement of the amplifier's capability. It is even more decisive, and less driven by variables, than Gregory's beloved A-B-X blind testing. THD + noise is measured at 0.038%, intermodualtion components remain below -70 dB (0.03%) and distortion is dominated by the subjectively benign second harmonic and finally the reproduction of 10kHz ... squarewaves was excellent.
My point here is that no one is clipping their amplifier constantly when they listen to music in their home, not even the 8 watt SET owners (the point always made was to find a speaker that was effeicient enough to run on 8 watts but that if you tried to drive an 83 dB speaker with 8 watts you would be running it into clipping, that was a problem since the audio world had dimissed a technology in pursuit of numbers[higher efficiency speakers and 150 watt recievers]). Any amp sounds bad when it is clipping but to suggest that people run their amps into clipping is due to their "love (of) harmonic distortion" is ludicrous.
Many musicians want something very different from their "sound" than most audiophiles are looking to achieve. Selling HiFi to musicians taught me that years ago. Many mixing engineers want something different from what audiophiles are trying to achieve, a point we have all been discussing on several threads for the past few months. That doesn't make what they want to hear wrong. It is again an oversimplification to assume that because this is A, and you like it, that B, which you don't prefer, is less than adequate or "bad". Gregory seems to make statements that support his viewpoint only, as in the case of time alignment of a speaker's drivers, without considering there are opposing sides to the supposition and without explaining the other side or presenting the idea that even they exist. He simply sems to dismiss the ideas totally. I'm not asking him to change his mind, just to present a fair and balanced argument.
Finally, of course there are transistor amps that have been "modified" (?) to sound similar to a tube amp. They use the afore mentioned FET devices that have been developed to react similarly to a tube not like a conventional bipolar transistor. MOSFET's are the most famous in audio for sounding more like a tube.
It has always struck me as odd that in the 45+ year history of transistors the attempt has been, in audio at least, to make a transistor that sounds more like a tube than a transistor. Isn't that admitting an inherent flaw in the design and sound of a transistor for use in audio? Yet since the introduction of tubes more than 100 years ago the effort has been to make a tube sound as close to music as possible. (And here, Geregory, if you will look once again at the subjective reviews [how much the reviewer liked the sound] the end result of an 8 watt SET tube amplifier was not that it sounded more like the recording, but, instead, the prevailng response was an 8 watt SET tube amp sounded more like music and LESS like a recording.)
I will await further discussion but I am off to Eric Clapton's three day Guitar Festival. YEEEEHAAAAAAA!!!!
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 387
Registered: Dec-03
(some good reading info)
Volume cranked up in amp debate

By Brian Santo

Escondido, Calif. - The analog world is being translated into bits faster than you can say compact disk. Whether that's progress or an unfortunate progression is open to debate-and nowhere is the argument more heated than in the music industry, where many audiophiles still value vinyl and musicians treasure tube-based amplifiers.

Both groups seek a quality of sound presumably unattainable by the solid-state and digital counterparts of their analog artifacts. But those holdouts may be left behind by the latest in technology.

Recently, Deja Vu Audio (Berkeley Springs, Va.) reported the creation of a solid-state tube emulator that provides the sounds of several classic electric guitars (see July 11, page 39). Other tube emulators have preceded the Deja Vu design. The catch is that whenever attempts are made to bridge the gap between tube and solid-state sound reproduction, subjective criteria such as "warmth" often overwhelm scientific engineering principles.

But one audio engineer and physicist contends that the physics involved with the recreation of sound are no mystery and, furthermore, pretending that audio reproduction is a black art only confuses the market. That engineer, John Murphy of True Image Audio (Escondido), has designed a number of tube and solid-state preamps and power amps for the musical-instrument and professional-audio markets.

"Any product containing vacuum tubes is especially likely to be surrounded by exaggerated claims of supernatural performance," Murphy asserted. "From an engineering point of view, there is nothing new or mysterious about vacuum tubes. They have been in use since Lee de Forest first inserted a control grid into a Fleming valve in 1906 to create the first triode. Today, tube audio products are surrounded by such excessive disinformation that the small, but real, sonic advantage that tubes offer is almost lost in the hype."



When operated in a linear (or unclipped) mode, Murphy explained, tube amps sound the same as their solid-state counterparts, provided that their frequency response and group delay characteristics are well matched and their distortion levels are sufficiently low. The audible difference between tube and solid-state amps emerges only when they are clipped.

Murphy cited published results of several carefully conducted double-blind listening tests confirming that even highly trained listeners cannot hear the difference between tube and solid-state amplifiers when the amps are operated in their linear range. "Only a handful of fanatics-but mostly those with blatant financial interests-persist in making claims to the contrary," he said.

Everything changes when you clip (overdrive) the amps, however. "Then it becomes easy to hear the difference between typical tube and solid-state amps. It is also easy to see the difference on an oscilloscope trace," he said.

A typical tube amp (such as a pair of triodes in series) can be seen to clip with a softly rounded waveform, while typical solid-state amps (such as op amps) clip with razor-sharp edges.

"Every engineering student who has studied Fourier analysis knows why these two waveforms sound different: the harmonic structure," Murphy said. The hard clipping waveform of the solid-state amp has a different harmonic content from the soft-clipped tube amp, simply because the waveforms are different. While the harmonics from the solid-state amp have strong amplitudes out to frequencies beyond the limits of audibility, the harmonics from the soft-clipping tube amp fall rapidly in level with increasing frequency.

Amplifier debate rocks on

Those harmonic differences account for the "raspy and obnoxious" sound of the solid-state amp in clipping, compared with the much-more-mellow sound of the tube-amp clipping. A second, more-subtle difference is that solid-state amps tend to have a fixed 50-percent duty cycle as they clip, whereas most class A tube amps clip with a duty cycle that varies as a function of the drive level.

Push-pull, class AB tube power amps tend to clip much like solid-state amps, but they sound different because of their high output impedance. In particular, tube power amps exhibit a peak in their frequency response by as much as 10 dB or more at the resonance frequency of the speaker they are driving.

"No wonder they are reported to sound 'warmer' than solid-state power amps," Murphy said . "This aspect of tube power amps is not seen in test reports, where reviewers use nice 8 dummy loads for their tests. But measure the frequency response at the input terminals of your speaker, and you will see this effect clearly."

As for class A tube preamps, Fourier analysis helps reveal the harmonic structure of the clipped waveforms, Murphy said, noting that the unclipped waves have no harmonics, except for residual distortion. For instance, any square wave, regardless of its source, is composed of only the fundamental and odd harmonics (first, third, fifth, etc.).

Square wave

To a first approximation, the clipped output of either type of amp looks much like a square wave, and spectrum analysis shows that the waveforms consist largely of odd harmonics. Even the tube-amp waveforms, with their rounded shoulders, consist only of odd harmonics as long as the duty cycle of the wave is 50 percent and the left half is an inverted image of the right half (in other words, as long as half-wave symmetry is maintained). The even harmonics are introduced only as the waveform deviates from a perfect 50-50 duty cycle.

"This is what I call duty-cycle modulation," Murphy said, adding that many class A tube amps exhibit that characteristic. But most solid-state and push-pull tube amps have perfect 50-50 duty cycles, he explained, and therefore have no significant even-harmonic content in their clipped waveforms.

When the tube amp clips, its duty cycle starts at 50 percent and typically shifts to 55 percent (or even as much as 65 percent) as it is driven further into clipping. That has the effect of adding even harmonics as the amp is pressed further into clipping. Plotting the duty cycle vs. the input level provides a kind of sonic signature of the amp. For a typical solid-state amp, that signature is just a flat fine at 50 percent.

"But for some of the more interesting types of tube amps, that signature starts at 50 percent, goes to maybe 55 percent and then back to 50 percent or even 45 cent," Murphy said.

Solid state v. tubes: cranking the volume

"In response to a strong transient, these amps exhibit what looks like 'dancing harmonics' the spectrum analyzer. First the odds rise, and then the evens rise and fall between the odds. When a guitar is used as the signal source, the audible effect is a subtle, but musically interesting, sort of 'reedy' sound mixed with an otherwise 'brassy' sound," he explained.

"Besides the obvious soft clipping, I believe this to be an important reason why guitar players like tube amps. But so much for the truism that says: 'tubes have even harmonics, and solid state has odd harmonics.' Bull dung. The waveforms of both consist primarily of odd harmonics. Tube amps with duty modulation just throw in a sprinkling of evens.

Further, Murphy contended, "the occurrence of those even harmonics is not critically important , when you consider that most of the guitar-overdrive devices in use by players today employ solid state diode circuits, which exhibit soft clipping but with a fixed 50-percent duty cycle."

In 1983, Murphy designed a tube-emulator circuit that, to his knowledge, is the only solid-state overdrive device to exhibit duty cycle modulation.

"I have worked with at least one well known guitar player who sets up an array of tube-amp stacks on stage, only to use a small solid-state pedal-effects unit 'stomp box,' as players say-for his actual overdrive sound," he said.

'From the [perspective of the] audience, you would think he was using the amps, but those are just for show. The advantage of the stomp box is that it is reliable-no tubes to change, it's consistent and it usually provides more gain or overdrive than a typical tube guitar amp. The stomp box drives another guitar amp - tube or solid state - which then drives a limited number of the speakers. Most of the amps on stage are just props without any electronics or speakers."

The point, Murphy said, is that some professional artists would just as soon use their solid-state pedals as their tube amps. They can get a satisfactory overdrive sound from either. The pedal is simply more convenient.

"But ask a kid in the a audience," Murphy said, "and he will insist that his favorite guitar player uses a tube amp, because he saw it. Ha! A lot of really expensive tube amps are sold this way.

"As far as other characteristics of tube guitar amps are concerned, I have found that the pre-clipping frequency equalization and post-clipping EQ are absolutely critical adjustments. Once you have a well-behaved clipper-even if it's just simple diodes, as in the stomp boxes-it is the precise combination of pre- and post-clipping EQ that mostly determines how an amp sounds. The 'secret' of the best sounding guitar amps lies in the pre-clipping EQ response curve."

Subtle harmonic effects

If one could devise a solid-state amp that had soft clipping along with waveform duty-cycle modulation, Murphy contends, the amp would look substantially like a tube amp in the lab and would sound much like a tube amp in the listening room-down to the subtle effects of the time-varying even harmonics.

"From our knowledge of Fourier analysis, we can be confident that the waveform tells the whole truth and nothing but the truth. 'The waveform contains no 'secret' information as to whether it was produced by a tube amp, a solid-state amp, a digital waveform generator or hundreds of sine wave generators operating in parallel, for that matter," he said. "The mathematics of Fourier assures us of this. If we can make a solid-state amp produce the same waveform as a tube amp when it clips - including duty-cycle modulation - then we have successfully simulated the tube amp with solid-state components."

Reproducing the tube amp

Murphy created his solid state tube emulator circuit in 1983, when he was chief engineer for Carvin Corp. He claims his invention reproduces the significant characteristics of a tube amp.

"This circuit was first used in a line of solid-state guitar amplifiers by Carvin and introduced in their 1987 catalog of musical-instrument products. That circuit continues in production today in Carvin's SX series solid-state guitar amps," he said. Carvin could not be convinced to pursue a patent, and as a result, the tube simulator is now in the public domain.

"Common diodes are employed to clip first the one half of the waveform and then the other half of the waveform, but not at the same stage," Murphy explained. That follows the way in which a pair of tube triode stages, operating in series, clips only one half of the waveform at a time. It is the independent clipping of the two halves of the waveform that allows the duty cycle of the clipped wave to modulate away from 50 percent and introduce the even harmonics.

"My invention employs op amps to buffer each diode-clipper stage," Murphy said. "To more closely match the waveform of a 12AX7 triode clipper, my circuit also employs diodes in the feedback loop of the inverting op-amp buffers to make the clipping a bit less soft."

Besides applications in guitar amps, the circuit could be employed in the front end of any solid-state preamp or power amp to provide controlled clipping characteristics that measure - and sound - very much like a class A tube amplifier.

The next step in audio technology Murphy envisions, will be vacuum microelectronics-thermionic emission with cold arrays of microtips based on quantum tunneling as the electron source, and promising to provide triodes, pentodes, and the like.

"Though this new technology is targeted at microwave amplifiers and flat-panel displays, it is entirely possible that it will end up in guitar amps and hi-fi gear," Murphy said. "Imagine that."

Reprinted from Electronic Engineering Times, October 3, 1994
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 119
Registered: Dec-03
I think you can find great examples of both tube and solid state technology. An example is the Ampex machine used in the remastering process for the Rolling Stones SACD releases. Granted, this is not an endorsement of home amplifier technology, but it does show that tubes can play a part in hi-rez audio.

I have heard great tube gear and great solid state gear. The main question that I have is who knows what "real" is. I would be curious to see what Bob Ludwig listens to at home and what he prefers to use in the studio.

As far as electric guitar, it is moot to decide which technology is best to drive amps. Just like you can't really argue that Gibson makes better guitars than Fender.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Kegger - Interesting article but I'm not quite sure what to make of it as a whole. I've never even seen, to my recollection, a Carvin amplifier. But it has been years since I hung out in guitar shops. Everything is out of my price range now days.
I pulled Carvin up on Yahoo and got a first response series of reviews of a Carvin amp with the tube emulator circuit in it. The circuit gets bad reviews from actual users and most turned it off. One player wondered what the amp would sound like with an actual tube head in it. That is neither here nor there as I am not trying to trash his circuit since I never seen it or heard it (I don't think).
He makes several comments that I don't fully understand. The first is his reference to harmonics falling rapidly in a tube amp as it is overdriven. I've not seen this in a low level tube set. Granted I have no access to Fourier analysis but if the pre amp (low level) tubes are designed properly there should be no reason I know of that the response cannot extend well past 100kHz. There were no transistors when radar was invented during the second world war. If he is referring to a power amp the falling harmonics are more than likely the result of saturating the transformer core which is typically used to couple the output of the tube amp to the speaker. And yet his 10 dB peak at resonance seems to be more typical of an output transformerless design. In his reference to a full cycle tube amp they are rather rare (single ended amps are by nessecity full duty cycle but they are never used for musical instrument amplification since their power output is serverely limited and the heat from a Class A design tube power amp would be enough to heat whatever auditorium it was use in). He refers to a class AB amp but describes the operation of a Class C amplifier. The waveform of a class AB1 amp is switched on at a point between 60 to 55 degrees of the cycle. Class AB2 amps are switched at a point around 55 degrees. Both designs can be manipulated by the designer and neither is a hard and fast rule since any class AB amp runs in class A up to a certain wattage output and then kind of slides in to a class AB circuit topology.
The only amps I know that run with a duty cycle that starts at 50 degrees is a class C or D. I could be somewhat mistaken, it's another of those areas I have not had to pull out of my brain for many years. Most class C or D amps are used for public address systems, not for music of anything other than Muzak quality, and have a quite high measured distortion. He also discusses the sound of a triode amplifier which would again refer to a (typical) single ended amplifier. That design is not (normally) used as a power amplifier but the 12AX7 triode he refers to is used as a driver tube in the head (pre amp) section of a guitar amp. A 12AX7 based power amp couldn't produce more than a few watts (the last time I saw a review of a 12AX7 bsased power amp it was designed to drive headphones and had a max power of just over 2 watts. He ignores completely the later designs of pentode, power beam and radio transmission tubes that have very different distortion characteristics from a triode. In the end he also ignores the existence of the field effect transistors (FET's)that have been used to emulate the sound of a tube. Using a MOSFET would be a far more simplified means to achieve what appears to be his end result. He would appear to have spent years designing a mouse trap so complicated that no one wants it. So all in all I was left impressed by his knowledge but scratching my head at his methodology.
And the argument I wanted to make was not really whether a tube amp is better than a solid state design but rather to point out the fallacies, as I see them, in Gregory's statement that guitar players often clip their amplifiers, that guitar players like distortion and that those audiophiles who use a single ended amplifier love distortion. If anyone would care to discuss the virtues of the various output devices I would be happy to participate in that discussion as I do have a problem with anyone who will make unsubstantiated claims about any design, but, particularly about my beloved tubes.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 388
Registered: Dec-03
i had seen this article a while back and just wanted
to share it.

as we can see even people who are knowllagable in
the field of audio differ on how the tube amps
do their thing and why people like or dislike them.

i just found it an interesting read and how he
seams to dismiss that tubes sound better before
they clip and that musicians seem to prefer this.
so he decided to try and build a curcuit to emulate that in a solid state design.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
I'm sorry, I combined his terminology with my typing. In the description I gave of class AB1 and AB2 please substitute % for degrees. In other words a class AB1 amp switches on the opposite output device(s), plus and negative sides of the push/pull signal path, as the signal approaches 10 to 5 percent of the cycle remaining of the whole 180 degree cycle from 0 degrees through to 0 degrees. This represents a 50 percent duty cycle of the signal's path from 0 degrees through 180 degrees (positive swing) back through to 0 degrees and again through 180 degrees (negative swing)through to 0 degrees only to begin the positive swing again. Class AB1 will also hold the output device on until the signal has traveled 5 to 10 percent of the way through the opposite 180 degree path. That accounts for a 50/50 push/pull duty cycle; but, by leaving the outputs on past 0 degrees and switching them on before 0 degrees the crossover or notch distortion is reduced to the point of negligibility and the amp looks and sounds more like a class A amp that has no crossover distortion since the outputs are always on through both positive and negative swings of the signal.
I know what I mean, I hope it's clear to everyone else.
And, yes, he seems to only be interested in how the different devices clip not what happens in a "normal" operating mode before clipping sets in.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1301
Registered: Dec-03
Great discussion.

"Any product containing vacuum tubes is especially likely to be surrounded by exaggerated claims of supernatural performance," All that needs changing here is to delete the words "containing vacuum tubes is especially". There are crazy people believing nonsense about anything you care to name. What they are thinking of does not affect how the thing actually performs in the real world.

The only question I can see is whether someone who likes distortion wants the most accurate reproduction of the original distortion, or prefers his/her own system to throw in its own distortion, too. If you choose the second route, how is the system going to know which signals were supposed NOT to be distorted - how will it avoid distorting everything..??

So, whatever the source material, you want accurate sound reproduction. Then the whole problem disappears. Is there something I am not getting in all this? In hifi, you want zero tolerance for distortion. Worrying about which sort of distortion you get strikes me as like debating whether petrol-engine or diesel-engine cars are better from the point of view of what happens when you collide with a truck. Probably the fire risk is less with diesel, but that is unlikely to be the factor that affects your normal driving experience, and, even after the collision, it could well be the least of your worries.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1304
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

I went looking for a recording of the Shostakovich Quartets in London on Thursday. First choice would have been LP. I asked in the HMV shop ("no 'classical" vinyl") and they directed me to Harold Moore's, like an antiquarian bookshop but for LPs. Moore's had a "Good condition" second-hand boxed set of the Fitzwilliam Quartet on Decca - for £98! (What's that; US$150?) The CD reissue (as discussed above May 06 and before) was $30/$45 new inthe HMV shop. Moore's also offered the opinion that new vinyl pressings would never happen for "classical". I doubt that.

Anyway, being poor, I went back to HMV and bought the Rubio Quartet on Channel Classics CD. 5 CDs £11.99 (say $20 maximum). Awesome sound, recording, performance; audiophile sound, beautifully-captured acoustic, simple miking. I have only played No. 1. Twice. Live recording in church in Belgium. Young players, taking their name from the instrument maker, David Rubio. I read on the notes they played at his memorial service in 2001, after which his widow gave them on indefinite loan the "Hale Bop" violin, one of the last he made.

If you are/were looking, I can warmly recommend that recording. I have the whole cycle to look forward to. Thanks for spurring me on!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
John A. - Thanks, I'll see if I can find them here in the U.S. The quartets are some of my favorite music and difficult to find. Glad to know there are good sounding versions available.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1306
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

I may have got the record label name wrong, or else it is also called "Brilliant Classics". A quick Google gives me the review of the version i have:
http://www.musicweb.uk.net/classrev/2003/May03/Shostakovich_StringQuartets_compl ete.htm

I am sure you will be able to find that somewhere in US.

Awesomely good recording: "you are there". I heard good reports of that label on CD review, too. Wonderful performance, though, of course, it is the first Shosatokovich quartets I have really listened to, so I am not the best judge.
 

New member
Username: Asimo

Post Number: 7
Registered: Apr-04
John A

I also became a little addicted to "Brilliant Classics" edition. It is something unique in the classical CD publishers. They have many boxes up to 40 CD's in a box and their prices are sub Naxos price about 4 US $ per CD here. I already bought all Mahler symphonies 11 CD box, all Sibelius symphonies 7 CD box, Schubert lieder 7 CD box, Rachmaninov Vespers 3 CD box and some others. I have found all recording and performances between good to very good. Some recording are old material mostly from east Germany and some are new recording of a less known but very good performers. Many other recording are from the archives of well known classical CD publishers. The last one that I added to my collection is all Mozart sonatas played by Klara Wurtz a very nice pianist in 5 CD box.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1320
Registered: Dec-03
Asimo,

Thanks for the recommendation.

Those "Brilliant Classics" Rubio Qt. Shostakovich are incredible at any price. 2002 recordings. I have got as far as No. 3. Wonderful. The savings made by using simple miking at a live venue are actually to the benefit of the final product, in my opinion. You can hear them turning pages sometimes, but that is what you hear at a real performance, too.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 399
Registered: Dec-03
well i'm doing it again! i found another very good or
interesing read! "however you take it" hear it is. kinda long!
but i've seen a few long winded posts hear.

jan i think you'll enjoy this one!


Deluxe Classic 2A3 Single Ended Triode Amplifier

Trivial Bits

Just like so many of us, I grew up listening to tubes. In my case, it was my mom's old monstrous Magnavox console stereo with 12" woofers and horns. Just guessing, it was probably putting out a whopping 20 watts or so. It was an old 6BQ5 design. Not exactly audiophile quality but decent hifi none the less.

Since then I have been searching for the Holy Grail in Audio. In the late 60's or early 70's I got my first solid state system. It wasn't much, a crappy old integrated and a pretty worthless turntable, but hey, it was solid state, the latest and greatest. Much like CD's, solid state promised the world but really delivered a little slice of Arkansas (sorry to poke fun at anybody out there that lives in Arkansas. Arkansas is actually a beautiful state but admit it, the name carries a certain stigma attached with it. Oh I know, I live in Missouri, not much better when it comes to stigmas but hey, at least we have a competitive Baseball and Football team :-)

Anyway, over the years, I've bought and used literally dozens of solid state designs. I do have to say, solid state has come a loooong way. The designs today and a select few of yesteryear are quite stunning. Very musical, complete with bass to die for. That may be one of my greatest attractions to solid state, the bass. In The Beast (my big system), I boast almost 500 wpc at 8 ohms, tri-amped with a 12" woofer/cabinet design that reaches so deep into the netherworld that it scares all but the most savage demons. It's very cool to play with but somehow, something has always been missing. I've changed and rebuilt amps, tweaked every part of the system to death, but for some reason I've never been completely satisfied. I wouldn't say it's upgrade-itus, because it isn't. This goes deeper.

Enter Nels. When Nels and I hooked up, he started pushing the idea that what was missing was valves. Well, needless to say, it didn't take too long before his subliminal overtures in our conversations possessed my very being and I had plopped down a healthy chunk of money and bought a tubed preamp. Since I am Lord and Ruler of the Cheapskate Kingdom (located right next to that tiny Roman colony called Pocketus Lintus on the ancient world atlas), I searched the internet for what seemed to be weeks until I found what I thought would give me the biggest bang for the buck.

I picked out a second hand Lazarus Cascade Basic. It's a 12AX7 design with a low/medium gain phono stage. I ordered it and waited patiently for it to show up. When it did finally arrive, I took the box down to my listening room and ripped into it. I pulled it out and marveled at the little glass thingies inside. Ooou, they said Mullard, very cool. Then I slid it into my system. I carefully placed it on some squishy things to suck up the vibrations that were sure to infect my sound, then slowly flipped the power switch to the on position. There was a gentle hum from the transformer and then a subtle glow emanated from inside the casing. Extreeeemely cool. I picked one of my favorite CD's and slid it into the tray, pushed the close button and set the volume controls to a reasonable level. I sauntered (I just love that word) back my listening seat, sat down and holding my breath, I slowly pushed the play button. All at once, I realized what I had long since forgotten. I got this mini-rush of memories that seemed to come from a lifetime ago. It's exactly what I had been missing in my system.... Valves.

As the time passed, I upgraded my pre and some of the individual pieces but something was still missing. Somehow, even as good as The Beast sounds, it still didn't quite cut the mustard.

At the same time I bought the Lazarus, I started searching out old pieces of tube gear. Amps mainly. I'd drag these things home and take them down to my "laboratory" (said like Boris Karloff) and experiment on them. I'd perform operations on them as if they were lab rats.....all in the name of research. Many of them died in the name of science, but giving up their souls was a noble act. Just like Indian warriors, they died with honor. Some of them are still living and breathing. Off and on, the ones that survived the general massacre, will share their secrets of life with me. I have a couple of favorites that talk to me on a regular basis. Each have their own personality to share. Neither of their souls are pure, they both have a way of coloring the musical stories they tell. But that's OK, I don't mind, sometimes the little white lies they utter make the stories even better. But eventually, I tire of hearing the same stories again and again.

Then one day, as I was surfing the "net" I stumbled across a website called Midwest Audio. I was utterly mesmerized by the new Shanling CD player. This piece is pure artwork. I have no idea what it sounds like but it is drop dead gorgeous to look at. After I had snapped myself out of the spell the Shanling had cast upon me, I started looking at the other offerings that Midwest was making to the Audio Gods.

As I flipped through the pages, I noticed some pretty attractively priced tubed gear (less than $1000 US). That caught my attention immediately. All but too often in this industry, gear is overpriced and waaaaay too over-hyped. Most times when I go to listen to a new piece of gear, I am really disappointed. It never seems to live up to it's press, that or it's so ,well damned expensive that nobody can afford it. That (price) more that anything seems to drive most peoples purchases. What can I get for X dollars? We (mere pagans) want the biggest bang for the buck we can get. Then, we are left to lust after all that (seemingly) ultra cool gear we read about in the rags, full well knowing that there is no chance in Hell of ever actually getting a piece like that.

Well, after perusing the pages of Midwest Audio, my curiosity got the best of me. I tracked down their phone number and gave owner of Midwest Audio (Patrick J. Cunningham) a call. We talked for what seemed to be an hour about all kinds of stuff....music....gear...designs and mainly the "tube sound". When all was done, Patrick said he was going to send me one of his 2A3 amps to give a listen.

After I hung up the phone I thought to myself ..... a 2A3 amp......let's see.....that's all of 2 1/2 watts, what in the Audio Gods names am I going to match this with?!! Two and one half puny little watts means I'm going to need some pretty damned efficient speakers. Two and one half watts, hey, that's actually 2500 milli-watts! I think I like that much better.


Lafayette Goodmans SK-111




It just so happens that on one of my many spirit journeys in junking, I drug home a pair of Lafayette Goodmans SK-111's (circa late 1950's or so). They are a 15" dual concentric speaker. A dual concentric is basically an audiophile name for a co-ax speaker. The tweeter (usually a compression driver) is mounted directly to the pole piece of the main driver. The drivers usually have rare earth magnets (Alnico) of purported superhuman strengths. Standard ceramics and neodymium magnets are mere 98 pound weaklings and pale in comparison to the almighty Alnico. With the Alnico (typically) comes super high efficiencies. In the Goodmans case, they are screamers. I measured them with my Sencore SP-295c at just under 103 db (Flat, not A or C weighted). They aren't pretty, in fact the cabinets are more than a little beat up, but remember these things are as old as I am and Lord knows I haven't aged very well either. Fortunately the drivers sound (and look) like brand new, right down to the burgundy colored felt.

Enough Already ...... Get On With It
A week our so later my FedEx guy decides to pay a visit to me. I immediately knew what it was...the 2A3 amp. I scurried off downstairs to get it unpacked and setup. As I pulled it out of it's bulletproof packaging, it was far better looking than the pictures had hinted. It has a solid Cherry wood base that has am impeccable finish. The metal has been colored with a dark gray "crinkle" heat resistant paint. By crinkle I mean, it's that paint that when it dries, it looks like the skin of an orange. For those of us that are klutz's, if we do something stupid, like slamming into the amp and we chip the paint (don't worry Patrick :-), it's easily repaired and matches perfectly.

Before I plugged it into my system for the first listen, I pulled off the bottom cover. If you notice, everywhere you look there are premium components used in the design. For those who pray to the Audio Demigods, your chanting will not have been in vein. Point to point wiring, silver hook up wire, precision resistors, big fat Solens caps, Black Gates used at critical junctures and TFT teflon film caps were used throughout the signal path. Not to mention, hefty WBT gold plated binding posts and nice gold plated RCA female connectors. The stock tube compliment are Sovtek's. We have the obvious 2A3's and a pair of 6C45Pi's as the driver tube and it's all topped off with a 5AR4 rectifier tube and a CLC filtered B+ supply. The choice of a 6C45Pi driver tube provides the gain of a pentode, while allowing the triode sonics to come through. The amp also has hum balance pots located on the top side just behind the 2A3's. This minimalist design utilizes no negative feedback. Dual chokes are utilized in the power supply path which allows for better separation between stages. The tubes are cathode biased which is essentially and auto-biasing circuit and the adjustment of the hum balance pots doesn't effect the biasing of the tubes. Not a hint of sand anywhere. Overall, extremely nice, in fact I'm pretty impressed. Especially at this price point.

Now for the installation. At the far end of my listening room (about 40 feet away) directly opposite The Beast, I have my tube gear set up. I took out my other amps and installed the Classic 2A3. I decided to use my Korato KVP 20 as the front end and my Arcam 8se as the source. Both, very nice sounding pieces. I turned on the system, let the tubes get nice and hot, then gave it an initial listen. It didn't sound too bad, not as great as I had hoped, but not bad in the same respect. Well, I sure didn't see it coming, but somebody had done a rain dance and there was a storm was brewing in my tube room.


Deluxe Classic 2A3 SET Uncovered




Let me explain. I wasn't hearing what I felt I should have been hearing. The little details we live and die for just weren't there. I thought to myself, "Could this be?", a 2A3, with all these premium parts, that doesn't have any detail? "Not a chance." I answered myself. So I meditated for a while and my visions slowly began bringing my pre-amp into focus. I decided to change from the KVP 20 to my reference that I use in The Beast, the KVP 10. It's a true dual mono design with 12AX7's. It sounds wonderful in my big system so it should sound just as good here too, right? Well, after a few minutes of disconnecting and reconnecting, I had it installed and gave it a listen. The sounds definately got better but it still wasn't what I thought it should be...Damn! So I went and grabbed my trusty old Lazarus. I threw in some better tubes and fired it up. Nope, this one didn't work either. Good grief, what the heck is going on?

At this time I'm starting to think it's the Goodmans speakers. I'm beginning to have visions that I'll have to go see my local Witch Doctor and full time Snake Oil salesman that handles Lowther's (that's not a disparaging statement against Lowther's, it's a slam against my local guy). The thought doesn't thrill me a whole bunch. If I do that it means I just added another few weeks to the review process until the Lowther's break in, forget about the fact of having to tweak a pair a rear loaded horns to get them to sound right, let us not forget about the cost for a pair of PM2A's or DX4's.

Well, I started meditating again and finally decided to pack up the Deluxe Classic 2A3 (and the Korato) and go pay a friend of mine, Thom, a visit. Thom is a great guy and is heavily into 2A3's and 45's. He builds one helluva good amp and preamp. I showed up over at his place and immediately, Thom and Richard started drooling over the looks of the Deluxe Classic 2A3 amp. We pulled out an ancient pair of Klipsch Heresey's and one of Thom's amps and pre's. We started with a simple AB of the pre-amps. By the time we were done with the pre's, I was cussing Thom because his little hand built pre just blew mine away. God I hate when that happens. Then we started substituting amps. We slid in the 2A3 and it sounded simply marvelous. It played music exactly as I hoped it would. Well, after a few hours of paying homage to the Audio Gods, I packed up my gear, tucked tail and went home.

On the way back I started thinking about what I was going to do (praying is more like it). I really didn't think my speakers were the problem. So I called Patrick and we talked for a while. He mentioned that he listens to his with his Shanling going straight into the inputs of the 2A3, thereby removing anything extraneous from the signal path. I thought, hey, I can do that! I have a Creek OBH-10 (the Creek is nothing more than a motorized pot, no active circuits at all, just a pot with a remote control) that I can stick between the Arcam and the amp to give me some volume control. Then I grabbed an Audio Alchemy VAC in a Box (it's Thom's actually) so I could listen to some vinyl too.

I plugged it all together and turned it on and my room was immediately filled with music. Let me tell you, that was the ticket. Detail, depth, dynamics, every positive cliche a reviewer uses was pulsating through my body. I could feel little tingly things all over :-)

The first piece I played was Yo-Yo Ma and Emanuel Ax playing Brahms. This CD is absolutely phenomenal. When I listened to it before with the pre-amps in the way, it seemed slow and labored. Ma's attack on the cello was off, not by a great amount but off none the less. Somehow the life was missing in the music...and this is truly beautiful music, full of life and emotion. Ma's take on Brahms is stunning. Now with all of those pieces and parts out of the way, the amp began to truly sing. Ma sounded exactly as I imagine he would if I were standing in the back of the studio when he recorded this masterpiece. The aggressive attack of Ma's bowing, performed on his (over) quarter millennia old cellos, plus all of the glorious details of their fundamental harmonics, were magically restored by removing everything ahead of the Deluxe Classic 2A3 amp.

Over the next four or five hours I threw everything at this little gem but the kitchen sink. I sat here absolutely mesmerized with every piece I played. Then I started playing some vinyl.

Oh my God! Classic Records re-issue of Miles Davis', Kind of Blue was absolutely stunning. Now keep in mind, I'm using a cheap low/medium gain phono stage in the AA VAC in a Box with only a fair output voltage at best. It's an OK phono pre, not the best, but decent none the less. If you were to use a quality phono pre with a stiff output voltage, the results would be breathtaking. As it was, cut 1 side 1, So What, the stage sounded like it was close to 20-30 feet deep. Not to mention absolute, pinpoint placement of the musicians on the stage. There was no blurring of the music which happens so often. No big, bloated, fat guys playing even bigger and fatter instruments here. Everybody I experienced seemed true to life. The timbre and tonality of the instruments were spot on.

This in itself surprised the heck out of me. Reason, the old Goodmans. I knew they were good but I figured they would carry some pretty heavy baggage with them, especially in the critical midrange area. So many vintage speakers sound, well, a little beamy to put it mildly. I got really lucky in my find. That's not to say they are perfect, every speaker has it's compromises and the Goodmans are no different.

I never would have expected the Goodmans to mate so well with the rest of the gear, but they did. It's funny, these old speakers sound as clear and refined as a lot of what's on the market today. Best part is, they are in a predictable bass reflex cabinet, not a rear loaded horn. Granted I've tweaked the hell out of them. I rebuilt the crossovers using premium caps and I decided to use a planar tweeter of lower efficiency (92db) crossed in with a simple first order XO at about 12khz to extend the top end and reinforce where the compression driver doesn't go. Blending in that much lower efficiency tweeter sounds a little weird, I know, but it works, really well in fact. Then I cut some foam the size of the front baffle, made a cutout for the driver and installed it to knock down some of the wave launch of the mids. I blocked the bass reflex slots (so common back then) with some scrap plywood and cut a hole in one of them so I could tune the cabinets by ear using a cardboard tube from an old roll of paper towels as a vent. I stuffed the cabinets a little better to get rid of the slight boomyness and dampen a bit of the back waves. But that is really it. Are they perfect? Not hardly, but the tweaks I did work pretty darned well until I get the time measure the T-S parameters and build a proper cabinet for them. As it stands, these 15 ohm, 15" drivers easily hit 35hz (almost) flat in room and I have substantial output into the mid 20's, which is pretty darned good to say the least. That means I have no need for a sub for 98% of the music I listen to. If you have the notion to find a pair of these, good luck. I've been searching for some time and you can just plain forget it, they don't exist on the open market.

Anyway, back to the music. Everything I played just sounded "right" on this system with the exception of the heavily produced electronic music. That's not to say it sounded bad at all because it didn't, it's just that this type of music is better suited for a big slammin solid state system like The Beast.

It's not very often that when I listen to music on a stereo that I get overcome with emotion, but it happened with the Deluxe Classic 2A3. It usually happens to me at live events. As I was listening to the 2A3, this wave of emotion shoots through my body like a jolt of electricity. Every hair on my body stands at attention as the goose bumps pop out everywhere. It happened to me a more than few times that afternoon. I was listening to the Pat Metheny, We Live Here CD and the first of the rushes hit. The other memorable one was when I was listening to Pat Metheny and Charlie Haydens Beyond the Missouri Sky. I don't know if it was the resounding realism of the system or maybe I was just really impressionable and being swept up in the moment. It's so cool when that happens.

The Deluxe Classic 2A3's midrange and vocals are to die for. I played all kinds of different vocal music during this amps stay here. Everything from Cassandra Wilson and her sultry approach to jazz to Sade to Sarah Vaughn. Each of them sounded natural and un-encumbered. There wasn't even a hint at sibilance or graininess in their vocals. On the male vocal styling's, I played loads of different guys. For me, Harry Connick Jr. stood out of the crowd. His CD's are extremely well recorded. Harry can get a little weird sometimes but generally he makes some pretty good music. His vocals make for a great reference because they sound so natural. On the Deluxe Classic 2A3, it's no different, his voice was as smooth and buttery as you would expect.

>From Jazz to Classical, Acoustic to Rock and everything in between came to life with absolute precision (using the proper source materials of course). Midwest's Deluxe Classic 2A3 lived up to the hype surrounding the basic 2A3 amplifier design. The Classic 2A3 presented itself and the music with no artificial coloration's. It just allowed the music to play with effortless beauty.....providing (I had qualify that because of my experiences with the pre amps). Put a piece of gear in front of it that has any coloration and it will drive you nuts. This little amp seems almost transparent. When you have so little in the signal path, anything, even slightly flawed, shows up like a sore thumb. You end up listening to that piece of equipment rather than the music.

After experiencing this type of Audio Nirvana I'm beginning to think, as so many others before me are, be a minimalist. Fewer watts, fewer pieces in the audio chain, super high efficiency speakers, no hype, no BS, just pure music. An amp like this, a simple quality CD player, a $300 Creek OBH-10 and a kick ars pair of high E speakers is all a person needs. I'm extremely satisfied, so much so that I could easily do away with The Beast and not miss it (much). But I won't do that. I need that solid state slam fix on a pretty regular basis. I admit it, I'm a solid state bass junky. That's OK though, it's really cool.

Don't mistake what I'm saying at all, the Deluxe Classic 2A3 does a great job with bass, especially with my speakers. But the bass on a tube system with high E speakers is altogether different than the typical solid state rig. On the Deluxe Classic 2A3 it's extremely firm, refined and articulate. On solid state, it can be all that too, but on low E speakers coupled with silicon each adds it's own flavor to the music. That's not a bad thing by any means, it's just different, and different can be very good sometimes.

Oh Sure....You Like It, So What About Some Comparisons?
For those of you that are curious about the difference in sound to other SET amps, there is quite a difference between this 2A3 and say a typical 300B. A friend of mine, Willie, brought over a couple of his DIY amps and we sat down an made some side by side comparisons of them all. First, Willie is one heck of a DIYer. His amps are not only really cool looking, but they sound great too. He typically follows established designs but voices them to suit vintage speakers similar to the Goodmans that I have so they are a good match in my system. He also uses vintage iron and loads his amps up with premium parts (Solens, Black Gates, large value paper in oil caps, tantalum resistors). These end up being anything but cheap DIY amps. They will give anything on the market a good run for their money.

Willie brought over a tricked out 300B and a push pull, interstage transformer coupled 45. I'm a little reluctant to talk about Willies 45 because it's a completely different design than a SET since it's a push pull. Push pull designs are quite a bit weightier in the bass region than your typical SET. Throw in the interstage transformer coupled 45's and you now have a real competitor to the 2A3's midrange. Willie runs a slightly lower plate voltage in his designs which does a couple of things. First, it considerably extends the life of his vintage tubes (RCA's BTW) which is a good thing. Second, it lowers the output wattage. This P.P 45 was running slightly under 3 watts (I'm guessing). When we unplugged the Deluxe Classic 2A3 and plugged in the P.P 45 there was an immediate and more than noticeable difference. The P.P 45 carried a damned impressive bass line. For lack of a better way to describe it, the bass was somewhere between SET and solid state. Actually, it was very cool. The extreme high frequencies seems a bit more extended also but not to a significant extent, but extended none the less. After the P.P 45 warmed up a bit, I listened pretty intently. Although I love the bass coming out of the P.P 45, I can't use that comparison, it wouldn't be fair but surprisingly, the Classic 2A3 really didn't fair to bad at all. This little SET's bass was good enough that the margin wasn't as great as you might suspect. Now for the critical midrange. Well, IMO, the Deluxe Classic 2A3 won hands down. I found the mids far more articulate and smooth than the P.P 45. Again, this may not be a fair comparison either. I'm comparing apples and oranges here. The highs were pretty comparable. Though the P.P 45 had just a bit more pronounced highs, I'd say the quality was similar.

Willie's 300B is a sight to behold. It's a pure 300B that uses the Electro Harmonix TJ's. He uses vintage iron on the transformers with custom wound output chokes designed with silver secondary's. Paper and oils, and premium parts abound. His DIY amp would be a welcome replacement to a lot of people's mega-buck amps. For those familiar with the sound of a 300B, this will be old news. The 300B has a different approach to music. Where the 2A3 has a silky smooth presentation to music, the 300B takes a bit more analytical approach (if tubes can actually be analytical). The virtual soundstage of a 2A3 is transformed into a landscape with a 300B. The 300B has this huge soundstage but it comes with a slight sacrifice to the smooth silky presentation of the Deluxe Classic 2A3. Willies custom 300B was no different. The 300B produced music with surgical precision. It had great bass. Normally, the 300B has better bass (subjectively) than a 2A3. Not in this case. The Deluxe Classic 2A3 held it's own against the highly touted 300B designs. To my tastes, the Deluxe Classic 2A3 sounded quite a bit better. Personally, I'll sacrifice that enormous soundstage for the milkier midrange.

Complaints
Well lets see. There really isn't much to pick on in regards to this amp.

If I had my druthers, I'd druther see the inputs on the back side of the amp and the power switch on the front. I know why Tony designed it this way, it was to keep the signal path as short as possible. If he had put the inputs on the back of the unit, it would have changed the architecture (inside) of the unit. Not to mention it would have lengthened the input signal path. In an SET design, that can be a really big deal. Every (seemingly) minor change can have a huge impact on the sound. The inputs on the back are just a personal preference. Lots of the newer tube amps are coming out with the inputs on the front so it really isn't that big of a deal.

I could see the need for a tube cage for people with young kids. All of mine are grown and my nieces and nephews all know not to get near Uncle Scott's stereo. Death could ensue. Not by high voltage but by the owner :-)

The Deluxe Classic 2A3 comes with those little square rubber feet. They really don't do much of anything by means of absorbing vibrations or providing isolation. At the price point of this amp I really wouldn't expect too much more. In my case, I used some Sound Care Spikes that I use when I audition new gear. The average guy on the street is going to experiment with different types of isolators anyway. The little domed doorstops, Sorbothane or Vibropods will provide you with all the isolation you would want, plus they are cheap too. Ultimately, I didn't see the lack of expensive feet as much of a drawback at all.

Other than my personal preferences which are pretty minor, there really isn't anything noteworthy.

So.....
Well, as I finish up this review I can wholeheartedly say that I recommend this Deluxe Classic 2A3 amp from Midwest Audio. I feel you are getting one heck of a deal considering it's build quality, looks, and the premium parts, lest we forget the music it makes. Most manufacturers offering a product like this would probably triple the price if not more. At $1500 or so, depending on the options you choose, this is a pretty darned good deal.

If you are contemplating buying a flea powered tubed amp, take this advice to heart, keep your signal chain as simple as possible. Use a quality CD player, either with a variable output or buy a little passive preamp like the Creek. Heck, Partrick can even set up with one of those too (he buys the Shanling from Roy Hall, the US importer of Creek). If you are a vinyl addict like me, pick out a phono stage with a higher output voltage, say in 3.5 to 5 volt range. Same with your CD player. My Arcam only has a 2.3 volt output which is fine for a standard system that uses a preamp but when you plug it directly into this 2A3 (or any other for that manor) you only end up being able to listen to the first 1 1/2 watts (or so) of the amp. If you have screamers for speakers, that will do you just fine. With my Goodmans, that gave me a very pleasing 95 to 98 dB (or so) in room. That's more that adequate for most people but if your speakers are any less efficient you could need more output voltage to delve into that final precious watt or so.

There's a few things I forgot to mention in the body of the article above. First and probably the coolest of all, this amp is fully customizable. What the heck do I mean by that? Well, if you want the base crafted from any number of exotic hardwoods (no veneers here), Patrick and his team will make it for you. Want to supply your own antique wood, be his guest. Again, Patrick will be more than happy to build it. Now, here is something even more unusual, let Patrick know what type of speakers you plan to use and he will voice the amp to best suit your gear. A lot of people that are into flea powered amps are using Lowthers, Fostex, AER's, Klipsch horns or Tannoy's (and the list goes on and on). This particular amp that I have was voiced for Lowther Medallions with a second opinion provided by some Vintage Altec's. The voicing to the Altec's is probably why they are such a great mate to my Goodmans. Another thing, these amps are all hand built right here in the good ole' US of A. These are not mass produced by some poor guy (or girl) making $1 a day in some third world country, then imported and marked up to death. These are hand built by Patrick's partner Tony (and his team of Elves) on the East Coast. All the more reason that I find the price so incredible.

Patrick and Tony also make a less expensive version of the Deluxe Classic 2A3. It is the exact same design and look except it doesn't use as many of the "premium" parts. This could be really good option for those on a tight budget or the chronic tweaker. You could go for this one and over a period of time upgrade the caps and such all the while saving a buck or two. No doubt there are sonic differences but if money stands in the way, it could be a pretty viable option.

If you are in the market for a 2A3, 45 or a 300B, you need to give the Deluxe Classic 2A3 serious consideration. Paying more money for a "Name Brand" or an "Over-Classed, Ridiculously Expensive, Recommended Component" won't necessarily buy you a better amp. You will just be spending butt-loads more, but the choice is (ultimately) yours. Remember, sometimes the path to Audio Heaven isn't always paved with dollar bills. If that's the case, you are reading the wrong Review Magazine.

I'd personally like to thank Patrick and Tony at Midwest Audio for the use of their gear for the review.

Hey Patrick, ever think about making the 2A3 in a dual mono version? As great as the 2A3 sounds, I can only imagine how much better it could get.

Oh Nels, my wife would like to have a word or two with you. Trust me, you'd better hide.

Manufacturer's Comments
Scott,

It was very gracious of you to review our Classic 2A3 Deluxe, thank you. I am also pleased that this review is being published on the Internet; a medium which allows a global community of music lovers to discover new truths about how they can achieve the authentic reproduction of musical events in their own listening environment. It's an exciting time to be in this business, and to be able to educate music lovers worldwide.

Here's the scoop: when we set out to create our line of single ended triode amplifiers we had a few specific goals in mind. First and foremost, to create a world-class musical instrument (amplifier) that would satisfy even the most discerning listeners. Second, to create a unique oeuvre d'art with an aesthetic that connotes a sense of the 'Deco-Industrial'. Third, to strike a design synergy between the esoteric and the practical -- one that would allow listeners to experience the joy of music without having to subsidize a company's multi-million dollar advertising budget as part of the price of admission. I believe that the amplifier you reviewed, as well as our 300B and 45 models, have exceeded even our own expectations in this capacity. And the comments contained in your review, along with continued praise from our customers, makes our passion and enthusiasm for this work grow even stronger.

>From a design perspective, it is clear that we are minimalists; we value simplicity, harmony, and tonal purity. For us, virtually all else is artifice, whether it takes form as a non-essential physical attribute, or an intentionally ambiguous metempirical quality generated through the use of marketing hyperbole. Simply put, and without all the exhausted audiophile mumbo-jumbo, we design amps that make a piano sound like a piano, allows crooners to croon, scatters to scat, and lets a cello resonate so that you know that what you are hearing is made of wood and strings. In sum, to us the single most important attribute of music is tone; capture that in the art of music reproduction and you can begin to open the floodgates to musical ecstasy.

It's funny; when I finished reading your review, I thought to myself "hey, I gave this guy goosebumps, isn't that what it's all about?!" Yes, for me that's what it's all about. The Music. And hopefully, as we all become better listeners, to feel "the wave of emotion that shoots through your body like a jolt of electricity...to be swept up in the moment" as you so eloquently wrote. The way I see it, our amplifiers are simply a means to this end. No more, no less.

So, thanks again, Scott. I am thrilled that you enjoyed your listening sessions with our amplifier. It's so reassuring to know that there are individuals like yourself who are communicating with a growing number of music lovers who really 'get it'. Until next time, enjoy the music!

Cheers,
Patrick J. Cunningham
President - Midwest Audio


P.S. You asked for it, you got it. Look for a 2A3 Classic Deluxe monobloc design coming this Winter. As for the time being, those with monobloc fever will have to stick to our Classic 300B monoblocs (with the cool, retro, amber-glow lights)!




The Beast

Turntable -- Systemdek 2x2, Rega RB 250, Expressimo Mods, Rega Super Elys
CD Player -- Njoe Tjoeb 4000
Pre-Amp -- Korato KVP10 with the Phono Stage, Tubed with Mullards
Tri-Amped using:
- Tweeter Amp -- Spectro Acoustics 200sr, 100 wpc @ 8ohm, (heavily modded)
- Mid Range Amp -- Rotel RB-981, 130 wpc @ 8ohm, (tweaked)
- Woofer Amp -- Spectro Acoustics 500r, 250 wpc @ 8 ohm, (heavily modded)
Active Crossover -- Sony 4300 (discrete)
Speakers, My Design
- Tweeter - 30" Carver Ribbons,
- Mid-Bass - Focal 5K4211,
- Woofer - Shiva.
Interconnects and Cables,
- DIY, silver plated copper with teflon insulation,

 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 554
Registered: Dec-03
it seems that I have had to switch from aol to comcast ISP because it appears there have been some crude, rude, and infantile posters from aol.

Seems to me that the service should be able to screen out those "perpetrators" rather than paint with such a broad brush.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 403
Registered: Dec-03
are you saying gregory that you had to switch to
comcast to post hear?

that's insane!

but your better off without aol anyways!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1325
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

There are crude, rude and infantile posters everywhere. Therefore I think you have been given a false reason for having to switch ISPs. May I ask, where did you get this advice?

The whole point of http (hypertext transfer protocol) is that information can be passed from any http server to any http client: either of these on any computer platform; in any language; physically anywhere. When we post things we are using the original "form" html tag, which allows some info back from client to server. Any ISP should provide the full service, together with a unique, identifiable Internet protocol ID for each partner in any server-client transaction. There is absolutely no need for any restriction. Always be sceptical about instructions concerning which ISP to use, which platform, which browser.

And disobey, if possible!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 555
Registered: Dec-03
John A-


I think the problem has been on some of those posters on those Dahlton speakers. I agree, it does seem strange that they cannot block individual computers, unless these people are using public acess computers with aol as the carrier.

It still doesn't make sense. Thabkfully I have both aol and a comcast cable connection at home. It is just that I have had aol since 1992 and many people know my 3 sign-ons mostly on that ISP. And I can connect via cable on aol at home.

It isn't that important for me, but I imagine it is for others with no alternative.

This is what get printed when I try and send via aol:

Due to previous abuse, users from your internet service provider are not permitted to post to, administer, search, or otherwise participate on this board. We apologize for this inconvenience.

Please contact BBS Administrator if this problem persists.

I sent the admininstrator a complaint over 12 hours ago---to no avail so far.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1328
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

All http servers log client access with time, date, and the unique IP number of the computer the client program is running on. I corresponded with admin last November, and he tried hard to find the IP number of one poster, whom you may remember, who was out to cause as much damage as he could, defame people, etc.

It is certainly possible, and, regretfully, necessary, to block client access by certain IP numbers. It is not necessary to block access from a major Internet Service Provider. I am sure admin will see that this action could easily be misinterpreted. In my experience he is an excellent guy doing a really professional job.

As far as you are concerned, you are one of the most respected contributors on this forum, and I am sure admin knows that. If not, I think I could quickly rustle up about 100 supporters.

These spammers make life difficult for everybody. I have two levels of spam protection on my work e-mail, and neither of them works; they let through crap and throw away important messages. I still have to read all subject lines to see which is which.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 556
Registered: Dec-03
John--

Thank you so much for the kind words. For someone that has been using Macs and PC's for years, I am amazingly ignorant on many computer issues, except for the most basic. It is like I may drive a car well, but I would be totally lost if I had to do more than pump the gas, fill the oil, check the fluids and tire pressure, and other basics.

Car mechanics and computer techies love me--I support a number of them:-)

I am writing from my office PC which also allows me to use either AOL or the broadband ISP.

I was reading some of those obnoxious and childish posts--some in the Dahlton and "white van" speaker scammer areas. But I would hope that the board administrator is capable of blocking those that write severely inappropriate comments, rather than block everyone that is unfortunate enough to use the same ISP.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1331
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

Thanks. Admin is a good guy and I think he will respond. He has recently created the "music" category that several of us recommended, especially Kegger, I think. I wonder if the explanation is technical. AOL has some special way of handling files and parsing cgi requests, if I recall, and maybe it makes the client IP address more difficult to track, and block, if there is a delinquent at the other end. The problem with blocking thinks is: who decides what are "inappropriate comments"? it is the the think end of a wedge I would rather we did not need.

I tried my best weapon against Dahlton speakers last year: Speaker quality, but I don't think it had any effect.

I quote it again here.

Posted on Sunday, June 22, 2003 - 06:46 am:
This is an international phenomenon. Near Bognor Regis recently I bought 2 medium-sized floorstanding speakers from some guys in a Lada station wagon with Bulgarian license plates. Anyone read reviews of Anon Megacons? They are a steal. The solid plywood-and-cardboard construction had withstood the fall from the back of the lorry, no problem. The salesmen said they compare favorably with Quad ESL63s as long as you don't actually connect them to an amp or anything like that. Those guys really knew what they were talking about. I coupled them to a my Kenwood 2 kW "Cheffette". If you do power-up by poking cable into the holes thoughfully placed near floor level, two small side -effects are the hum gets complaints from the neighbours, and the burning sets off smoke alarms. For me, and I am picky, this can interfere with the sound. So take out those batteries, first. Then make sure the fazing is right. Even so the mid-range units stopped working after many contented seconds of use. Then the hum disappeared, but they are still great for disco music as long as you don't need high treble. Or low bass. Or vice versa, really. Obviously Anon designs speakers completely without bass thump, treble chiff or mid-range smack. But they still have "kick". Especially of you touch the exposed cables. And yes, they still have warranty cards, thoughtfully stapled onto the tweeters, under the lurex grills: nice touch, Anon!

All my friends think my Megacons are unusual and want to know where I got them. I tell them I paid $500 each, and because they have never heard of them there is no way they can check!!! I don't bother with music much, but the speakers cast long shadows and heat the room. My friends with BmW, Sharwood, Hyde Park, Polck, (all those fancy companies whose prices cover bribes to Audio reviewers) just sneer which shows how jealous they are. Anyone know of a value-for-money set of life-style ear protectors and satellite fire extinguisher that will complement this system? The sales guys said the cabinets should be cleaned with designer snake oil, and they generously sold me some of that, too. I didn't get a warranty on the snake oil. I was going to ask, but they had to leave the parking lot in a big hurry for some reason. The Speaker warranty gives a toll-free number and a reply-paid card registration card with spaces for your bank account and credit card details.

If you are lucky enough to get the same chance, don't think twice about buying these speakers, especially if you already have your own sprinkler system. I think the guys might even come down to $1000 the pair.

I am thinking of ugrading to a full 5.1 system. Does anyone know if these are a good start and count as "hi-end"?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
What has happened on the "old dogs" thread?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1356
Registered: Dec-03
It is still there, Jan:

https://www.ecoustics.com/electronics/forum/home-audio/21154.html

My last blast was an attempt to renew the original purpose of the thread, so I asked you how one could ever get the sound of King's College Chapel out of two speakers.

On another thread (I think, I lose track) it occurred to we might be the pigs in Animal Farm.

"Two speakers good. Four speakers bad"

The change we need, fellow creatures, is not

"Four speakers good. Two speakers bad"

But

"Two speakers can be good. Four speakers can be good, too, and even better than two under some circumstances, as long as we are clear about what we are trying to do. But we need to be clear about what we are trying to do, anyway, and even with two speakers. It is not a new problem.".

This will not make a slogan you can chant, I realise that.

I never aspired to be Napolean.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 558
Registered: Dec-03
John A,

The main problem is having state of the art recording studios and engineers/producers that know how to take full advantage of the format they are making.

The problem with many cd's has never been the format, but mostly the engineers using equipment that was meant for LP's and misuse of EQ and boosting that ruined the higher rez and noise floor capability of the format. The same problem exists with DVD-A and SACD. It is difficult to find a well-recorded disc of music you actually want to listen to anyway.

We can only hope the situation improves. But I remain skeptical. Too many studios want to do this on the cheap and they feel that the majority of people don't care anyway. They are probably right.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1359
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

Often, recordings made "on the cheap" are higher quality than those made in big studios, with many microphones and mixing consoles. This is certainly true with stereo. All the debate we have been having about whether to capture an original performance vs. to make something new applies at the recording end, too, as well as playback. And of course you have to have agreement at each end about what you are trying to do. Too much technology can get in the way: people end up using it because they have it, not because it does anything they want. I suspect this is one area where I am at one with Jan V.

BTW I have got the Deutches Grammophon "Tonmeister" on my list. The last person you want in charge of recording is a frustrated musician, with a desire to be creative, a love of Wagner, and opinions on interpretation etc. Give him a gang of technicians with multi-channel mixing capability and you have a recipe for disaster, I should think.

Sometimes the best recordings are the cheapest, because they use simpler techniques and a smaller number of people.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
The problem I'm having on "old dogs" is the thread just fizzled out. The last post has some info on the left hand column that makes no sense and the right side is blank. The thread will not forward past this point. The last post, according to the directory was from John A.. Is anyone else having this problem?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 424
Registered: Dec-03
no jan it works fine for me.

i will go post their right now to see if a new
post might help you out.

maybe your cookie for that thread is messed up
you could try deleleting all your cookies then try
again.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1361
Registered: Dec-03
"Old dogs" looks OK to me, Jan. I wonder if your browser (html client) need a bit more RAM or something, or some settings changes, in order to display such a large "page". It takes a while to download completely. A nice guy on my NAD T533 thread said he had printed out "Old dogs" and it gave 48 printed pages. And that was last week.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 559
Registered: Dec-03
John-

"Often, recordings made "on the cheap" are higher quality than those made in big studios, with many microphones and mixing consoles."

No argument here, but this is more a comment on poor engineering decisions and poor production decisions. A mediocre cellist playing a Stradivarius isn't going to sound like Yo Yo Ma. Many Indie films are far superior to Hollywood extravaganzas. The more talented and tasteful the producer and engineer (and the more knowledgable they are about proper technological use of their equipment) the better the outcome. Obviously having well-composed music that is well-played is a given. Having high quality tools and a big tool chest is great--but only if you know how to use them and when to use them. The higher quality microphones aren't at fault if the user is incompetent.




"This is certainly true with stereo. All the debate we have been having about whether to capture an original performance vs. to make something new applies at the recording end, too, as well as playback."

Live recordings in a concert hall are totally different from studio recordings--even more so with electric rock and blues. The goal in live recordings is to give the listener an experience as close as possible to attending the concert (without the visuals obviously). Most electric rock studio recordings generally don't even pretend to sound live. They have more in common with film. Like film is a directors/cinematographers vision--most rock studio works are a mix of musician/producer/engineer vision--particularly strong on the producer. No one would ever confuse Abbey Road or Sgt. Peppers by the Beatles and Produced by George Martin as anything close to a live performance. Yet they are great albums.



As far as playback is concerned--I want the ability to have it sound exactly as the master--and also have the ability to alter the sonics in the pre-amp if I feel it is wanting. If one feels that tubes make music sound nicer, then lets add a "niceness" switch to the pre-amp, but let's still have the ability to hear the signal exactly as it is. Bob Carver has done it.

Recording and playback are totally different. A Stradivarious violin might have all the proper measurements and materials to ellicit a wonderful sound from a great player. However, I don't want my speakers to always sound like a Strad violin. I also want them to sound like a french horn, a wah wah guitar, and baby screaming and numerous other sounds--I want accuracy, not a universal embedded quality. Then I want the ability to alter it if I desire.

Music is Art, just as audio is engineering.


 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1364
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

I agree. And you put it very well. I keep saying, here, "sound is sound". You can actually make a first-class recording of a real performance, yourself, with a single stereo microphone, if you think about where to place it.

"Art" is one of those words that means many things. It carries a lot of silly ideas in some contexts. In the original sense (artifice) "art" includes what we now would now call engineering and technology. "Artificial" once meant something very positive, indicating skill and ingenuity. What Stradivarius was doing was art, technology, engineering, craftsmanship. I doubt he would have understood that there was any distinction. He was making stringed instruments, for people to play. Someone making loudspeakers is just making things to reproduce sound. It is not so different. As Kegger says, you just take what you already know, then look, listen, and see how things might be improved.

BTW A perfect example of the virtue of simplicity in recording is the Brilliant Classics Shostakovich String Quartets I have mentioned a few times. As far as I can see, they just took a stereo microphone into the church in Mullem, Belgium, and recorded, live, what people there were hearing as the Rubio Quartet was playing. 5 CDs, less that $20, probably. Apparently the mobile recording studio intended for the Flanders Festival got stuck in traffic. What a good thing.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Music is art, just as audio is engineering. That's hysterical! Where do you come up with these ideas?
If you want it to sound like the master tape you better go buy a 32 track mixing board, several hundred feet of cabling, a (probably) class AB2 power amp and some small near field monitors that you can place about 4' from your listening position.
Bob Carver didn't make anything sound like the master tape, he made his amplifier sound like someone else's amplifier. Mr. Carver is the only on I know who ever calimed what came out of this amplifier was the same as the master tape.
A "niceness" switch? I thought Bob Carver put that on the Phase Linear 4000.
And I've always wondered; can you tell me exactly what a baby screaming sounds like?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1380
Registered: Dec-03
"can you tell me exactly what a baby screaming sounds like?"

If it's yours, it sounds exactly like your genes are just about to become something's lunch. It causes a rush of adrenalin. So it should. The kid is in such distress it has decided it has nothing to lose by blowing its cover, predators or no. Why some examples of a previously successful species now consider it is less important for the mother to respond than to be away working in an office or at a supermarket check-out somewhere is one of the great unexplained mysteries. IMHO. In comparison, communism was an anodyne misunderstanding.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 561
Registered: Dec-03
Jan--

You must be an audio dealer or A "true believer". Probably both--more convenient that way. I was trying to differentiate the normal line--"It is about the music".


Electronics should either have no audible effect on the master copy(currently unachievable), as little audible effect as possible, or make avaiable one, two, or a whole pallette of various electronic effects or alterations that you can have on all the time or turn on from the pre-amp when you so desire. If you want your tube sound--it can be done. It isn't magic. If there is a sonic difference--it is measureable, defineable, and duplicable.



I take your constant disdain as a compliment. Nothing would embarrass or offend me more than to be a Stereophile and John Atkinson adherent of subjectivism.

I prefer to intellectually side with the skeptics, Tom Nousaine types that never wrote articles proclaiming the benefits of green magic markers on cds, Shakti Stones, Tice Clocks, the amazing properties of expensive speaker wire and interconnects, etc. All items praised by Stereophile and heavily advertised.



A baby screaming in my room will sound different from a baby screaming in Carnegie hall, or a baby screaming in an audio salon. From a recordable sound signal aspect it has the same properties that all sound waves have.


 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 122
Registered: Dec-03
Most of the Carver products (amps, pre, cd players and speakers) that I have heard have not been the most accurate sounding. Sonic Holography certainly isn't a step towards "more accurate". I will say that I have never heard his crown jewel tube amps (Silver Seven's) or his Sunfire lineup (sxcept for his sub).

I will also say that you probably need an engineer listening to one of his recordings to tell you what accurate is.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 274
Registered: Dec-03
Ben,

I agree. Although his Sunfire products are good, I feel there are better sounding ones at that same price point. Just my humble opinion.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 430
Registered: Dec-03
while a lot of people knock carver products for
doing things out of the ordinary or not having
the sound they prefer.

i applaud him for using technichs that others do not
want to incorpret in their items.

now i'm not saying i like everything he does but
some are very nice.

the Sonic Holography can be cool to mess around
with and you can turn it off if it does not suit
you.

i also like the extra programmable channels on the
theatre grand prepro's.

yes other company's do simular things also and he
may not have invented all that he uses but at least
he experiments where others just follow the same
thing everyone else does.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Gregory - Oh, sir, how you do go on!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 562
Registered: Dec-03
I have heard many Carver/Sunfire products. I don't own any, but he certainy has my respect as being possibly the most innovative engineer in the audio world. For people that want a small subwoofer with big output his proprietary designs are amazing. His earlier speaker designs have been copied by some rather expensive companies. His voltage tracking amp designs were ground breaking.

Most other companies designs are "Me too's". Nothing wrong with that, as many are tried and true and excellent. But engineers like Carver are the ones that innovate and create sea changes in engineering practice.

The Sonic Holograph designs were interesting, but not my cup of tea. They had nothing to do with his circuitry alteration for tube sound however.

According to Bob Carver, the idea behind the TFM series of amplifiers was to build an amp that had the sound characteristics of a tube amp. By analyzing the input waveform and comparing it to the output waveform of tube amps, he devised a transfer function that, when applied to an input signal resulted in an output that was "tube-like".

The following is from an interview with Bob Carver:

GB: Does the difference between tube and solid-state sound come down just to output impedance?

BC: Not entirely, but almost entirely. Ninety per cent of the sound quality that we typically attribute to vacuum tubes comes from the output impedance.

GB: Many people think the output transformer, and associated factors like soft clipping and core saturation, create the tube sound. Does the transformer raise output impedance, and thus create tube sound?

BC: The forward impedance of the output tubes and the transformer together usually comes out at about 10 ohms. When you use 20 dB of feedback, it reduces it to around one ohm. That's basically what a vacuum-tube amplifier is all about.

GB: If output impedance is what creates tube sound, why did you build the Silver Seven tube amplifiers at Carver? Why not just add a resistor to a conventional amplifier, as you've done with the Sunfire amps to generate the current-source output?

BC: Building a big tube amplifier was a dream I had carried with me since my childhood, when I saw a big McIntosh in a window. There is something very hands on and fun about building tube amps. But for those that don't want to deal with the expense, upkeep, and potential problems associated with tube amps, I created an alternative solid state amp that has about 90% of the same sonic characteristics.

So my view on Carver, like him or not, is that he is a very smart and inventive engineer. I appreciate his intellectual curiosity and inventions, even if I don't like all his products.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
My view of Bob Carver is he's at about 90%. It's that other 10%.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
I have mentioned this several times on other threads but I'll stick it here also. "The Absolute Sound" (June/July) has several responses to the forum they printed last issue about the differences between tube and solid state. The forum in the last issue presented four different theories of why tubes and transistors sound diferent from one another. The letters section of this issue has five readers thoughts on the difference. Each reader has a reason to be believed as they worked on or designed amplifiers and so on. Of the five letters there are five different reasons that each feels is THE reason there is a difference. Every time I read an article about this difference there seems to be a different reason stated. I believe it would be far more simple to state why the wines of the Southern part of the Asti region in Piemonte taste different from the wines of the Northern part of Asti. Or why a Budwieser made in Houston tastes different from one made in St. Louis. The difference is there between tubes and transistors and to try to define it is an exercise in futility.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 567
Registered: Dec-03
In a similar vein, I personally just love the florid prose in The Absolute Sound, Stereophile, HiFi-News, etc. on speaker wire and interconnect reviews, besides their reviews on $10K solid state and $10-$20K tube amps. Generally they don't have different reasons why these wires sound different, but each of these professional reviewers can certainly wax poetic on amazing imaging, soundstage, delicate resolution, etc.

The following are some wonderful examples:


DH Labs Q-10 review from Abs. Sound 2004
$275 per 8-foot pair

Anytime a cable allows a cappella artist Laurel Massé to stand up and sing, complete with her distinctive body/chest resonance and well-worn voice, I take note.
The Q-10's character was mellow, as dark as molasses, and imbued with excellent upper harmonic textures. This cable's slightly rounded transient signature and midrange emphasis never offended.

(Sounds like a great wine)


"A terrific sense of the reverberation of the space sounded through the architecture. Perhaps a powerful feeling of dynamic freedom added to this impression of size, as well. It was as if the cables somehow played louder than the others I had on hand... The Equinox III cables get high marks for "getting out of the way." And for this characteristic, I consider them more the preservationist ideal than the compensatory alternative. From one who has never been enamored of "tone controls" -except to make the occasional "recording from hell" listenable - there's no higher praise."
- Neil Gader, THE ABSOLUTE SOUND, issue #121grated.

WireWorld Atlantis III++
$450 per 2.5-meter pair

"So listenable," my notes read over and over for this wonderful entry from an ever-dependable manufacturer. Jacintha's voice was full and forward, with exceptional depth and focus to the imaging on "Something's Gotta Give." Maybe the bottom end was fractionally lacking in weight and definition, and then again maybe it wasn't, but here and on Bitter Ballads the sound was always smooth, transparent, and integrated, with excellent dynamics, liveliness, and vitality. Perahia's piano was room-fillingly natural and musically just right, a sound you could listen to comfortably all day long and far into the night. On the Rachmaninoff the presentation was airy without being aggressive, very clean, open, and natural, with solid bass that allowed a lot of the venue's resonance to come through, really persuasive imaging in both planes, and superior coherence.

Supra Ply 3.4/S
$180 per 8-foot pair

Certainly it was the most analytical and detailed of my group, with the highest resolution. Contrapuntal lines and textures in the Bach emerged with such separation and textural clarity you might have notated the music from listening alone. The same was true of "Something's Gotta Give," where the bass was less potent but had exceptional definition and articulation.
Top-end instruments such as cymbals and tambourines were extremely smooth yet well-defined, even etched. The overall impression was of an agility, control, and sheer grip that easily rivaled and perhaps surpassed the MIT cables that so impressed me last issue. Consequently, imaging in both planes was excellent, almost but not quite equaling Kimber's 8TC, still the leader of my group in soundstaging.



" After working through my cable collection, I settled on Wireworld's Gold Eclipse III+, which seemed to bring the best sense of balance to the system's sound. Nordost Valhalla added a smidgen more air and space, but shaved off just a bit of palpability. Cardas Golden Reference also worked very well, but the Wireworld gave the best overall combination of extension, palpability, and resolution."
-Paul Bolin, STEREOPHILE, August 2002



"Gold Eclipse III+...relaxed and neutral yet vivid-sounding, with fully developed bass extension and weight, very open and well-articulated highs, and outstanding resolution of low-level details. More important, it gave nothing away at the edges, sounding coherent from top to bottom"
- Michael Fremer, STEREOPHILE, October 2000


Silver Electra III+ Power Cord: "Lush with lots of midband delicacy", found Michael Fremer, who named it his current favorite all-around power cord. "I feel foolish writing that an AC cord is 'intoxicating'", he writes, "but there you go!"
- STEREOPHILE RECOMMENDED COMPONENTS, October 2001

My dalliances with cables of the week lurched to a screaming halt last year, when I received a set of Transparent Audio Reference interconnects and speaker cables. These were products unlike any in my experience. Forget veils lifting, windows opening, or any of the tired old audio clichés: I'm talking about nothing less than communion -- an act of sharing thoughts or feelings in spiritual fellowship. If Cecil B. DeMille had directed the encounter, clouds would have parted, a ray of light would have fallen on my speakers, and choirs would have sung hosannas.


Now how can you not trust such professional "Golden Ear" reviewers as these? Heck, nevermind trying to define the difference these people "hear" between tubes and solid state--they hear the difference (often dramatically) between wire and wire.

Speaking of exercises in futility, basing you purchases and audio knowledge on recommendations from these periodicals is about as reliable as buying speakers from two guys in a white van.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 282
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

At least you know where the guys in the white van are coming from.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
None of the periodicals that I am aware of suggest a reader base their purchases on the opinions given by the reviewers. They are opinions that is all. And it is more interesting than, "The cable was just under eight feet in lenghth and approximately 15/32 inch in diameter. The outer jacket was a pale blue not unlike color #478 in the Lee palette of hues. The color of the wire itself was ...". The information the magazines impart is there in as factual a format as "Car and Driver" or "Consumer Reports". If you don't want to believe anything you read you can complete the adage by not believing half of what you see. It's not bad advice.
But, Gregory, tell us how you gain your knowledge of audio and what you base your purchases upon. There has to be a source. No?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1474
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

I suspect those choice quotes were written by "Hacks" - journalists with a deadline for x words of copy, but nothing to say.

I have just got the Jun-July "Absolute Sound" (what a silly name) which cost a fortune over here. Jan recommended it (thanks, Jan) for numerous articles on surround and hi-res audio. Will report back.

Once upon a time I was one of a group of friends, all of whom frequented the same pub. We developed a "bullshit scale", 0-10. Anyone banging on about something about which they knew nothing was likely to be brought down to earth when one of the group said, solemnly "Six". After a pause, the usual response, from one of the others, was something such as "No, I thought 'seven'". If anyone said "No, it was only a 'four'", then he was expressing mild agreement with the original speaker.

Ah, pubs....

Just for calibration purposes, those quotes would have averaged about a "five", I think, though I would personally give the Q-10 review a "seven". "Anytime a cable allows a cappella artist Laurel Massé to stand up and sing, complete with her distinctive body/chest resonance and well-worn voice, I take note." is a very good shot, but you have to deduct marks for trying too hard.

Jan gave us an effortless quote from Yamaha (Old Dogs, June 18) that scored about "eight", in my opinion, falling short of max points only because clearly and unpretentiously expressed (minus 1), and having a vestigial ring of plausibilty (bad speakers are a great; they challenge the rest of your system to make them sound good - minus 1).

But "eight" is about the best I've seen, here, imho.

Your June 12 "Music is art, just as audio is engineering" was not as bad as Jan thought, in my opinion, probably only a "four", though I am still puzzling about "just as".
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 568
Registered: Dec-03
John A--

I stand corrected---it would be better as: audio is enginnering and music is art. The "just as" was poor usage on my part--as there is no comparison.

But these magazines have editors and these quotes on wires and interconnects come from massive reviews. They weren't passing BS in random columns---they were reviews. As these have been done numerous times in these publications on these topics it becomes obvious that it is publishing and editorial policy on these magazines to find audible differences where none exist and to generally base them on price and ad quantity.

Jan--

I read and even subscribe to some of these magazines. I subscribe to Stereophile and their AV version and often pick up various others at Barnes and Noble. I use their reviews mainly for ease of use comments (nice remote, easy to program,easy to use, etc.). Stereophile is much better than most other high end pubs on printing measurements that they perform, so I use that info--although I rarely find their reviews have anything to do with their specs and graphs (always on components, but particularly annoying to me on speakers where they should be able to hear a boosted midrange or a clipped off high frequency). I often use the high end magazines for disc reviews on music and movies--as I expect them to be subjective.

But these reviewers speak for the magazine. Look what happened to Jayson Blair of the NY Times when they found he was spouting BS--not only did he get canned so did the head editor. Won't happen in TAS or Stereophile---BS is their stock and trade. It is how they get a million wire ads, tube ads, etc--and why the audio salons love them. The audio salons sell the stuff that most of the chain stores won't sell, although Tweeter and a few others will sell very expensive Sonus faber speakers and various other items. But they pretty m uch sell them at the same prices as the audio salons.

Sound and Vision is certainly the most reliable readily available publication for the average consumer, although I have noticed that some of their writers have succombed to BS. But the engineers like David Ranada, Pohlmann, and some others almost never resort to sound quality comments on amps, pre-amps, and other electronic components. Only on loudspeakers.

The best publication I read (and sadly rarely published more than 2 or 3 times a year) is The Audio Critic. It is also the most despised publication by the high-end subjective orthodoxy, as they are firm practicers of the scientific objective double blind ABX tests. It is also the main publication that uses audio engineers and measurements in reviewing--and confirming or not confirming their measurements by what they hear.

Invariably, when the discrepancies occur, they occur on loudspeakers--not on electronics.

Audio Critic often takes apart the components and comments on build quality, besides taking measurements. You will also find letters to the editor by greats in the industry from Siegfried Linkwitz, Floyd Toole, Vanderkooy and Lipshitz of Waterloo University, and many others that have been at the vanguard of audio for years. They also print letters from average readers.

Sadly, it is not the kind of publication to do well in the advertising market for obvious reasons--they don't kiss -ss.


By the way, the only problem I have with tubes has nothing to do with their performance---they can be excellent. I just find it pointless (unless one is a tube fetishist) to spend many times the price of similar performing solid state components. Plus they aren't as reliable and toss out heat--which we all know is the enemy of electronics.

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Oh well?!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1483
Registered: Dec-03
The editor of "Absolute sound" could benefit from advice on simple English. He takes pages to explain the obvious. He also seems obsessed with something called "high end" (used as noun and adjective), without explaining what that means. "End of what?", I kept asking myself. "Absolute Sound" has more about music than "HiFi News", a good thing. HiFi News used to be called "HiFi News and Record Review", but its reviews of recordings are now superficial, and few. Is there is a US counterpart of "Gramophone"?

Sorry I cannot comment at all on tubes versus transistors. "Tubes" were always called "valves" in UK, "valve" being short for "thermionic valve". It always felt as if they were being polite, diffidently fading in and out, and glowing cheerfully whilst at work. Early computers used valves. You could probably build a DSP from valves, but that could not affect its sound, only its size. And, with so many, the failure rate of a valve DSP would be very high. Valves are not really tubes. A tube is open at both ends. A glass cylinder, closed at one end, is a bulb. No-one talks of bulb amplifiers. "Tubes" suggests plumbing, to me.

Is the high end going down the tubes?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 482
Registered: Dec-03
lol john!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1485
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Kegger. Wish I could comment on the topic, though, not just on words!
 

Bronze Member
Username: Dgb100

PA

Post Number: 14
Registered: May-04
Of course the greatest test would be to get some Radio Shack cables, brand them with some new "esoteric" company label, say Vandelay, buy a nice big full color, full page ad and see how the review comes out. :-)
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 288
Registered: Dec-03
Derrick B,

They would be hailed as SONIC MARVELS!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
What cynics!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 571
Registered: Dec-03
Derrick--


The following is from Tom Nousaine(an audio engineer, tester, and reviewer for various publications) and just for general knowledge:

I know of no single high-end branded cable where the 'manufacturer' has drawn the wire. At most, some of them may put on connectors. I'm guessing that many branded cables are drop-shipped directly from the OEM mnufacturer to the
wholesaler or retailer. I'm still guessing but I'm thinking that many 'manufacturers' have no need for even warehousing.

One thing that leads me in this direction was a chance occurence at an audio club meeting. I had a $990 8-foot pair of wires with special "rectangular solid core" conductors with me. A club member looked carefully at them and exclaimed - "I know that wire; we used to use that stuff for strapping starter motors when
I worked at XXXX"

I'm speculating that Belden, or another such real wire-maker makes 100% of the
"wire" that is used in high-end cables. I also noted when I visited Transparent
Audio Marketing in Maine that they did have a warehouse (old barn) and they did
put terminations on at least some of the wire themselves, but the cable spools
in the warehouse all said "New England Wire and Cable" on them.
___________

Makes you wonder if anyone at Stereophile or TAS and other high end publications ever visted one of these so-called "manufacturers" to find out what is going on---but I doubt they really want to know.

 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 234
Registered: Feb-04
Of course not. They're interested in selling gear. It's like Enron and Halliburton drafting the country's energy policy. These publications have agendas that aren't necessarily pro-consumer. That's why these user forums are so valuable. The last time I read Stereophile, I threw it down in disgust. Every review seemed like a mouthpiece for the manufacturer. There was nothing remotely critical about the reviews. I think Stereophile should be renamed Hustler, because that's what they're doing, hustlin' you and pimpin' and prostitutin' themselves.

John A.- The US equivalent of "Gramophone" is "Fanfare." I remember it being very good, but I don't read periodicals anymore in my bomb shelter...
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1491
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Woof, woof.

Gregory,

There is the wonderful story of Quad using orange hedge-trimmer cable at an audio show, because they had forgotten to bring cables, and there was a garden centre over the road. Black and Decker have never sold so much power cable for so few hedge trimmers.

There is even a discussion about how long they take to break in.

2c,

Thanks. I shall look out for a copy of "Fanfare".

All the best.
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 124
Registered: Dec-03
I think you embelishing a little there $0.02. Stereophile is no worse than any other audio publication. Do you find it funny that Sound&Vision never write a bad product review??? Is that because they don't want to offend their sponsors??? Do you find it funny that some of the same companies that advertise in Stereophile also advertise in Sound&Vision. The problem that I have with Stereophile isn't the content of their reviews, it is what they review...things I can't afford.

I don't value Tom Tom Nousaine's opinion.
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 125
Registered: Dec-03
Also,

An American steel company may use the same stainless bar to make the driveshaft that they sell to Honda, Toyota, and Mercedes. Does that mean that Car and Driver is a faulty publication because thay don't mention this. Is a Mereceds customer being ripped off?
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 236
Registered: Feb-04
Ben,

I was actually indicting all of the mainstream periodicals. I singled out Stereophile because I'm most familiar with, having been a subscriber many years ago.

The reviews seem so formulaic. If I read one more time how the reviewer's spouse (who usually doesn't pay attention to what the reviewer does around the house) stopped to notice the sound or the looks of a particular product, I would cover the pages of the magazine with my own vomit. Every review seems to mention a few minor flaws of the reviewed product in the penultimate paragraph. But ultimately the product being reviewed is always comparable to something costing twice as much and a real bargain to boot (even if costs half your annual salary). It would be laughable if it weren't so duplicitous.
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 237
Registered: Feb-04
Ben,

I didn't know there were any American steel companies left. I think what's true of audio enthusiast magazines is true of auto enthusiast magazines. They exist primarily to sell you stuff.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 488
Registered: Dec-03
i'm not sure what magazine it was but not to long
ago i started to read a review of the Arcam AV8 pre-amp/processor,.

i got about 2/3 of a page into it and just couldn't
read anymore the guy who was reviewing it wasn't
discussing any features or how well built or anything
technical he just kept rambling on about 6 pages
worth that was like reading a book that was a poem
he was so full of himself it was sick.

i showed it to a friend of mine and he was trying
to figure out what the guy was trying to do also.

it was pure nonsense and discusting just a waste
of space/paper and time!
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 239
Registered: Feb-04
Kegger,

I've had too many experiences like the one you describe. Your accounts of your speaker-building hobby is better reading and tons more honest than what you find in the "professional" rags.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
I know I'm in the minority here, but ...

If you take apart just about any component you will find the majority of what is inside was not "manufactured" by the company who's name is on the front of the box. That is the Global Economy we now live in. More to the point it has been the economics of audio, and particularly high end audio, for more decades than even some of us have been around. Paul Klipsch bought his woofers from Eminence in the 1940's. Henry Kloss bought his first cassette decks from Wollensak and Nakamichi when both made items to order as black box products. Take apart most speakers at any price range and you won't see Theil or Wilson or so on stamped on the driver, you will see Vifa, Seas, Focal, etc. Do you think these speaker manufacturers make their own capacitors, resistors and inductors for the X-over? The majority of speaker manufacturers are no more than companies that put purchased components in a box they bought from a cabinet maker. On the high end side of CD players the fashion since the early 80's, when Meridian first jazzed up a Philips' player or Marantz became the basis for so many aftermarket companies, has been to use an entire product from some other company. And Meridian had no proprietary components inside the box, just stuff they bought from some other company. An NAD turntable is a Rega in most every way except for the label. Many companies use the Rega arm because of its quality. I don't know of but a few companies that even bend the chasis for their equipment and none that mill the faceplates. Certainly none that make their own power cords. Or output transistors, capacitors, etc..
Your argument is as old as the world. I suspect someone once said, "Look, spending money on Augustus' chariot is a waste of time, I happen to know he gets his wheels from Cesar and his wood from the carpenter down the road." Not every manufacturer can be like Yamaha and grow their own trees for the cabinetry on their recievers.
It all comes down to a basic principle: If you don't like it, believe it, trust it or agree with it; don't spend your money on it. That pretty much covers life as far as I can tell. Sitting around patting yourself on the back since you think you've got it figured out an the other guy is a schmuck for buying, reading or using that obnoxious product will only give you a sore elbow and then you have to decide what ointment to buy. And guess what. They don't make the tube it comes in.
This is a game that doesn't need to be played.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 572
Registered: Dec-03
Ben--

My point wasn't that certain high end wire companies were buying their Copper Ingot from Phelps Dodge Mining or Sumitomo Copper and making their own products. My point was the only thing they were doing was invoicing for product that a major wire manufacturer had made for many different companies, but jacketted for them with their logo's. Sometimes the only thing these wire companies accomplish is put connectors on the product--and often not even that.

At least Tom Nousaine uses the scientific method and tests products and conducts double blind tests. He isn't a dentist turned audio writer or a defense department analyst turned audio writer that can only talk about subjective impressions, as they have no knowledge of the circuitry and never perform double blind tests to tell if there is a REAL difference, or just an imagined one.

Look at the magazines and their reviewers that raved about Tice clocks, green magic markers on cd's, Shakti Stones, different wire with amazing soundstage and imaging, etc. Tom Nousaine was never in that crowd.




 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1494
Registered: Dec-03
Out of synch, as usual, at 15º East, I just really, really enjoyed all those recent posts.

2c has it on some magazines. That Absolute Sound editor is not reviewing equipment or recordings; he is reviewing himself. And what a fine specimen he finds himself to be. He must have a very high end indeed.

I used to get to feel just as nauseous about Gramophone, in the end. These guys would puff themselves up, spread out their peacock's tails, and pronounce on things they knew zero about. I always wanted to write in "Please show us how you play it/sing it, then". Or "Write a symphony, please. Just one, to give the others the general idea which way to go".

Re the global econony and the great example of cars, all the ones Ben mentions probably have transmission shafts made in Korea, by now.

Except Mercedes. Their hand-crafted transmission shafts are forged in Nuremburg, by a race of magically skilled, dwarf, craftsmen, from ancient and secret recipes for steel, guarded by blindly obedient and fearless warriors. Then stamped with mystic symbols that confer extra torque. All while listening to Wagner. All that is expensive, of course. But quality never somes cheap.

Unfortunately, Mercedes is now obliged to put no more then "Made in EU" on those shafts. I am not sure that isn't worse. Goodbye Sheffield Steel, Dresden china, Brussels sprouts. Lucky you guys over there are exempt. The hambuger and the frankfurter would have to be re-named, for a start.
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 126
Registered: Dec-03
I remember an absolute sound review from a couple of years ago when they raved about the CD and SACD playback of Sony's entry level DVD/SACD player. A $249 list player was favorably compared to a $1,000.00 CD player. How can that be? According to the experts here, that isn't possible!!!

I also know that John Atkinson, of Stereophile, is a recording engineer. He can evaluate recordings in a way most audio reviewers cannot...he actually knows what his releases are supposed to sound like. Can Tom claim that?

Tom Nouisane prefers to write for publications in which the magazine editors will not give a bad review (do to fear of loss of advertising sales). He is the perfect corporate citizen for this type of rag.
 

Silver Member
Username: Two_cents

Post Number: 241
Registered: Feb-04
A $249 list CD player being favorably compared to a $1,000 player happens all the time in those rags. And if you read a review of the $1,000 player, it'll be favorably compared to a $2,000 player. And that $2,000 player is a real bargain compared to a $5,000 player, etc., etc. (The last Perfect Vision/Absolute Sound favorably compared the SACD sound of Sony's entry model with it's flagship model and recommended both!)

I know I'm generalizing here, and there might be some good info in some of the rags, but you've got to be sceptical about a lot of these reviewers, recording engineer or not.
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 127
Registered: Dec-03
You have to be skeptical about a lot of things, including posters on this forum.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
In referrence to the $249 SACD player, it was given good marks for its SACD performance only. And the point was to say prices are coming down on the quality of SACD players. Hardly a heresy there.
Prices between Sony and a company like Arcam are not comparable. Sony deals in volume and when they turn out a product in large scale one of the functions of that production scale is to lower the price on the IC chips or the transports or lasers that are the heart of that technology. A company like Arcam makes very little of its own product but instead buys parts from all over and puts them in their box. The parts description has names such as Wolfson Microelectronics for chips, Analog Devices, Wolfson DAC's, Burr-Brown, Stargate and Oscon caps, WIMA caps, Sorbothane (what they don't make their own Sorbothane?), no name transformers, and a transport from Sony. They have products made in China, the boards are stuffed and tested by a subcontractor in Wales, final assembly (they put the face plate with their name on the box they bought from a metalworks shop) and quality control (using the Miller Audio Research QC Suite is done in Cambridge. And they call themselves manufacturers! So after buying all this and paying for someone else to make it for them they then QC the product, in another company's facility, so they can sell this for $2499 through 180 dealers worldwide. How many a year do you think Sony sells? How many for Arcam?
If you just want to find something to gripe about you can find something in any product. If you don't want to pay the price a cable company asks for their product why don't you call New England Wire and Cable or Belden and ask them for a 10' pair of Monster Cable speaker cables. I'm certain they would be happy to accommodate your request. Make sure they put in the the nice packaging that Monster uses also.
I would think this level of sourcing, manufacturing and marketing would make some sense to you guys. I wouldn't suspect that Gregory's chemical plant doesn't do much the same thing when they turn out a product. What say you, Gregory, do you make all your own raw materials, do everything in house, put it in containers with labels you design and make in your plant?
This discussion has gone way off track and seems to be not much more than a gripe session about companies you don't like. As I said before, if you don't like something then you shouldn't buy it. Sure the world doesn't work the way we would like it to but that's the way the world is today. I'm far more concerned about the marketing of a product that will be obsolete within a short time and the constant feed of product that is "audio Nirvana" by any company and then next year it is forgotten. John A. has testified to the service of a company such as KEF, I have had excellent service from McIntosh and HK. But a company like Nakamichi won't admit they made cassette decks. There is the problem I see, not who made the wire or whether the dentist thought it sounded nice in his system. Why can't a dentist give his opinion on a piece of equipment? Everyone of you have an opinion. They just happen to write for a periodical that some people are willing to buy and some are not.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1505
Registered: Dec-03
Just to say I agree totally with everything in Ben's and Jan's last posts.

Planned obsolescence is the real "waste maker". And no-one is ever satisfied with what they have, anyway - it is intended that it should be that way. CD, the topic of this thread, has had 22 years. Lots of people have lots CDs. CD players can't really get much better; you may as well keep the one you bought in the late 1980s. The industry now has a golden opportunity to deliver something better, and shoots itself in the foot by starting a war between vested interests about who will one day control a market that hardly yet exists. None of the manfacturers seems to think of just trying to make something that really is better, and letting the consumer decide for himself.

Was it always like this?
 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 147
Registered: Apr-04
"Planned obsolescence" is also known as a "business plan" for most companies. Apparently, this is what keeps their product cycles going and keeps them in business. But, the market has the power to determine the success of that plan.

In my industry (computers/software), the obsolescence cycle has historically been 18 months. But, what happens when the improved products reach a level of stability and provide a level of satisfaction that consumers don't see the value in the next upgrade? That is happening to a large degree in the "traditional" markets. Consequently, my company's new mission statement is "a pc in every shanty shack in every third world country."

I'm only half-kidding. This philosophy is behind the opening of support centers in India - most think this is a way to reduce costs. That's only the icing on the cake. The real prize is a potential new market for products.

Hmmm...this point of mine is somewhat related to the current topic, right? If only to share my perception that "these days" (JohnA asked if it was always this way) there seems to be a generic "business plan" that companies follow regardless of industry. Planned obsolescence is in every industry from audio to computers to cars to real estate (particularly in America and the "Wal-martization" of the country.)
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 504
Registered: Dec-03
i don't know why we even have to think about this
as a format war. "seriously"

can't we just have 2 new formats that are better than cd's.

so just shut the hell up go over to that unit
press open slide in that small round disk press
play grab a beverage and enjoy!

it really is that simple try it. you might enjoy
it more than arguing about which one is better or
who will last longer.cuz in the end does it really
matter if one is better than the other as long as
their better than what we had "cd"
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1509
Registered: Dec-03
Ghia,

In my opinion you are right on target. The computer industry is always a good point of reference, because, there, the technology - notably networking and smaller, less power-consuming, and faster CPUs - really has been developing continuously, at great speed, over several decades. There is some point in replacing your computer every few years. If you can afford it.

But no-one is better off with the illusion of obsolescence, which seems to be the hallmark of much of the audio industry.

" what happens when the improved products reach a level of stability and provide a level of satisfaction that consumers don't see the value in the next upgrade?"

....A: everyone can devote their time and energy to doing something useful, instead.

Getting back to our "ethical" discussion, the last thing the "Third World" needs is to be caught on the same hook. Give them the choice, of course, but not the addiction to pointless gadgets that consume so much of the resources of people who already have more to eat than they know what to do with, and find no satisfaction in anything. Decent water supplies are probably number one. If I had the choice between a 7.1 surround system and a greatly reduced chance of me/family/friends dying of cholera, or staple crop harvests failing through drought, I know which I'd choose.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 574
Registered: Dec-03
I have no problem with a Sony $249 SACD player getting similar reviews as a $1,000 or $2,000 similar player. I would be quite suprised if a particular SACD disc was played on all 3 machines through the same system, in the same room, in a blind test that there would be a statistical significance with "professional listeners" (self-annointed or not) being able to discern which machine was playing. This is not to say that the build quality might not be vastly superior on the more expensive models, the remotes better, more and varied inputs/outputs, etc.

I have an older HK cd player, an older Marantz cd player, a Pioneer Elite 59AVi, and a Denon 2900. Playing the same cd through the same system on each of these players I (and other friends) have never been able to tell which machine is playing.

On the current modern dvd players, universal or not, the main differences I am able to discern during playback are the video and the bass management and delays (if I use the dvd players functions instead of the receivers or preamps on these).

Ben--

"You have to be skeptical about a lot of things, including posters on this forum."

No doubt. I hope you don't exempt yourself. I hope people are skeptical about what I write, as "skepticism" and "objectivism" is what I am generally writing about in audio. Obviously I expect reviews of discs to be subjective--as musical tastes are subjective.

" also know that John Atkinson, of Stereophile, is a recording engineer. He can evaluate recordings in a way most audio reviewers cannot...he actually knows what his releases are supposed to sound like. Can Tom claim that? "

Tom Nousaine tests equipment--he doesn't write disc reviews. He says his musical tastes are as good or as bad as anyone else's.

"Tom Nouisane prefers to write for publications in which the magazine editors will not give a bad review (do to fear of loss of advertising sales). He is the perfect corporate citizen for this type of rag."

Huh? The Audio Critic regularly pans most of the speakers it reviews, never says one wire is better than another (unless they test it and confirm it by listening), they criticize poor construction and poor design all the time. They will say--I can see the parts, design, and construction quality of this amplifier merit it costing $3,000--not to say that it will sound any better than $1500 amp that isn't constructed as well, as conducted through a bind listening test. But they will readily admit that they would rather own the $3,000 amp with great design, great parts, and great warranty.

In Stereophile it strikes me that over 90-95% of any component makes it to the recommended component list. Just look in the last two years. True even on wires. I am pretty sure that Atkinson knows the wire issue is mostly BS, but is loathe to upset the manufacturers, the dealers, the huge amount of wire ads, and the readers that believe in subjectivity, upon which the magazine is mostly based.

Sound and Vision is much less subjective on components. Look at their receiver reviews in this (ecoustics) site. They list pros and cons on everything. They do their own measurements and don't rely on the manufacturer. They don't attribute BS soundstaging and imaging to a receiver. Amps and wires don't soundstage and image--loudspeakers and their interaction with rooms do that (interpretted by the listener, of course). Reading Stereophile you would never know that. Find me a published audio engineer in AES or BAS that says amps create imaging. An amplifier either successfully amplifies the signal accurately or it doesn't.

Heck, I own a Pioneer Elite 49TXi and you can find reviews on this site by both Sound and Vision and Stereophile. The Stereophile review is far more complimentary and also doesn't test the receiver, but just reprints the manufacturers specs. And it is a major multi-page review.

 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 575
Registered: Dec-03
Jan--

Every component manufacturer buys parts from other companies. Most receiver manufacturers tell you some of these parts from other companies as selling points. I never criticized that.

When IBM or Motorola ask me to quote price and delivery on 20 kgs of Boron pieces, 99.9999% pure and ask me to fax a typical or exact lot analysis with the quotation, I either fax them the information they want or I am out of the running.

IBM or Motorola then makes the purchasing decision based on price, delivery, and the metallic impurities that add up to a total of 0.0001% maximum. If they decide to order from me and test the material and it doesn't meet the specifications--they return it and don't pay for it.

I do not make untested claims for materials I manufacture or don't manufacture.

Sure, it makes no difference whether my company manufactures the Boron, or not. Their purchasing agents are calling anywhere from 3 to 10 different vendors--sometimes more, to get quotations.

My Boron is either cheaper and/or of higher purity, or it isn't. And these companies generally analyze the product before they use it, because if they "dope" over a million dollars worth of ultra high purity Silicon and it is off spec they are "screwed" and I am "screwed". If I supply better material at the same or cheaper price with a delivery that is acceptable, they don't care if I make it or I get it from Mars. The winnowing process has already occured--I've already had to compete against other vendors before they make the purchase.

There are few, if any, subjective aspects involved in the purchase.

I have no gripes against any of the wire companies. My only point was in educating the consumer. If they want to pay more for nice packaging that is fine with me. I am just for scientific awareness for the consumer--for the consumer to be able to differentiate between marketting and review hyperbole and reality.


I have no problem with a dentist or anyone else having an opinion.

My irritation is if equipment is reviewed subjectively with results that appear arbitrary, and which are in particular incapable of replication or confirmation, this can be grossly unfair to manufacturers who lose out in the lottery--and to consumers that are mostly left in the lurch, either severely overpaying or just getting inferior product--unless they get lucky.

Since subjective assessments on equipment cannot be replicated, the commercial success of a given make can depend entirely on the vagaries of fashion. While this is fine in the realm of clothing or hair styles, the hi-fi business is still claiming accuracy of reproduction as its raison d'etre, and therefore you would expect the technical element to be dominant.

This is the reason for my previous comment: Music is art, Audio is engineering (for which I owe John A. kudos for editting it correctly).

A second consequence of placing Subjectivism above measurements is that it places designers and honorable manufacturers in a most unenviable position. No degree of ingenuity or attention to technical detail can ensure a good review, and the pressure to adopt fashionable and expensive expedients (such as single crystal internal wiring) is great, even if the designer is certain that they have no audible effect for good or evil. Designers are faced with a choice between swallowing the Subjectivist credo whole or risk going out of business if they stick to their guns, or they just keeping very quiet and leaving the talking to the marketing department.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1512
Registered: Dec-03
Just to go back to Kegger (who posted 2 mins before me; I did not know).

Yes, that is common sense, again, if you can do it.

The problem with the "format war" as I see it is that it just confuses everybody; people are rightly skeptical, decide it is all a load of hype; don't realize there is something good in there; don't know "which way will the industry go"; conclude one or other format will be a waste of money; and do not buy high-res at all. Unless they are rich enough to afford to make expensive mistakes. I don't believe it was like that with LP, audio tape, audio cassette, CD. People like a clear signal, something they can understand. The natural, hi-res extension of CD (which is LPCM) is DVD-A (also LPCM, may be packed with MLP). It is a real shame that Sony-Philips just didn't go in there and implement DVD-A, having confidence in their continued ability to go on making a competitive product. I do think their aim was to generate consumer dissatisfaction; to get us to go out and replace all our CDs. See my point to Ghia about obsolescence etc.

But you are right, if you have the money, just relax, enjoy, cover your bets, and hope things don't change. However, if you are not so rich, tough luck, there is nothing you can do except put fairly big stakes on a gamble. If there is maybe something else you would rather do with that sort of money, it is a free world. For some....
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 505
Registered: Dec-03
john i'm sorry i don't see it as a format war!

i see it as 2 new high rez formats!

and a descent universal player is not that expensive!

they are used to play cd's/dvd's/sacd's/dvd-audio
and whatever else you want to play on it.so when
you need a new player why by one that doesn't support
these formats when it's not that much more.

i don't see the rich enough to afford to make a
mistake thing.unless you bought a player that doesn't
play all formats and the format you bought dies
so you need a new player to play the format that
lived.

but that also does not mean that media you have
is obsolite.because you still have the media you
bought and the player to play them on.

so i'm sorry john i think most of us that have
universal players don't really care that their
are 2 formats and one might die and have the other
one prosper.

sure we would like both to go on forever then we
have more choices of media but if one wins and one
dies it really doesn't really matter because we can
use either.

and if sony or whoever invented dvd-a saw the other
format as they were developing their own should
they have stopped developing it because they didn't
want a format war? would you have? if you've been
working on this design you would have just thrown
it away because someone else had allready made a
high rez format?how come we can only have 1 high
rez format?if one wins out should we never attempt
another or better on?
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 128
Registered: Dec-03
Greg,

I'm not skeptical of myself, that would be silly. I do know that I don't know everything and that we are all arguing moot points.

My point with JA was that he actually does recordings (they are supposed to be excellent if classical is your thing). I, most likely, would trust his determination of what accurate is when it comes to the reproduction of his recordings.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 406
Registered: Feb-04
"It is a real shame that Sony-Philips just didn't go in there and implement DVD-A, having confidence in their continued ability to go on making a competitive product. I do think their aim was to generate consumer dissatisfaction; to get us to go out and replace all our CDs"

John A, I beg to differ. The DVD-A forum has recently approved a CD layer or a flip-side CD version similar to that convenience provided on SACDs. Competition often results in a win for the consumer (and perhaps even alters the occassional business plan). Anyway, I certainly doubt I'll be replacing CD's, (well, maybe a couple) but I may well be re-discovering some great old favourites that are not in our collection.

And if one covers one's bets surely there's no need to hope that things don't change? That's the beauty of covering one's bets - isn't it - that, and enjoying the formats while they both exist?

I just hope that those propagating this war at least heed the rules set down by the Geneva Convention if they can't, at least,keep it bloodless!

Kegger,

I can't agree with you more!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 576
Registered: Dec-03
Ben--

I have no views on Mr. Atkinson's expertise on his recordings and on the way he wants them to sound. I never heard a disc of his making.

My disagreeements with Mr. Atkinson have to do with his subjective editorial policy on audio component reviews.

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
"I don't believe it was like that with LP, audio tape, audio cassette, CD. People like a clear signal, something they can understand."

John are you suggesting a clear signal such as "Perfect sound forever"? Unfortunately there were the same format wars at the introduction of every new format, more or less. Remember the "sharpish needles" and then fibre to make "them soft again"? There were problems with the introduction of LP's, then stereo LP's, tape was the dominion of the rich but two or four track; and 1/4" or 1/2"; 7 1/2" or 10" reels, better just stick with eight tracck to have all bases covered. Anyone remember Elcassette or JVC's ANR noise reduction. Who still owns a DBX unit? I'm sure there's a new ditty in there somewhere.

Gregory - "Music is art, Audio is art that employs engineering." That is the difference I see between you and me. I think any good producer/engineer will tell you there is an art that is not taught in a classroom nor to be found in any book to mixing a record. I have been involved in building theaters and studios and I don't think I could find an acoustical engineer who didn't, after all the calculations beforehand, go into a project and clap their hands and make a subjective judgement about the results. I don't know of any component or speaker designs by any engineer/designer that are released after the designer has merely satisfied themself that the measurements look good on paper. They all listen and make subjective judgements and make necessary adjustments. If that were not the case why would anyone have produced an amplifier after Mr. Wiliamson introduced his circuit? One of the best amplifiers to ever be reviewed by J. Hirsch in "Stereo Review" (which, with Mr. Pohlman, later became "Sound and Vision" [and both were scoffed at by the subjectivist press because they never gave an advertiser's product a bad review]) was a Technics unit back in the 1970's when negative feedback was in its hey day. Something like 0.0001% THD. What's the point of going forward after that achievement? Why spend more than $299 for a reciever?
You obviously live in a world of numbers and I assume you would be happier if the cable companies put specs for resistance, capacitance and so forth on their cables. What would that tell you? Please, this is an argument I have heard for thirty years. What would measurements on a cable tell you? Measurements show that the winding, spacing and materials affect the capacitance, inductance and phase coherence of the cable. Why would those not affect the sound?
Why did you spend money for the more expensive CD players when you can't tell the difference between them? Because they were better constructed? Do you listen to them or look at them with the covers off? (If the latter, Mr. Ashcroft is looking for your kind!)
I live in a city where what you drive is very, very important to some people. But I don't think anyone who buys a BMW or a Lexus 430 thinks its the same as a Chevrolet because they both get the same gas mileage or they both get you to the bank in the same amount of time.
You are welcome to believe whatever satisfies your own ego (I'm not trying to be insulting). Whatever makes you happy with your own beliefs is OK. But to seem to have such problems with those who are not in your camp seems dogmatic and closed minded.
"A second consequence of placing Subjectivism above measurements is that it places designers and honorable manufacturers in a most unenviable position. No degree of ingenuity or attention to technical detail can ensure a good review ...". Not it cannot. Not by either the subjectivists or the objective measurement folks if it measures well but sounds like ... well, you know what. Your circular argument seems to be that good measurements ensure good sound and no measurements mean you can't tell if it's good sound. It seems that anyone who can walk into a room and decide if what they are hearing pleases them disproves the latter. And having sold that particular Technics reciever I can assure you the former is certainly not the case.
And, really, your "swallowing the Subjectivist credo whole" is just too little to be respected as anything more than sour grapes. Do you have a list of "honourable" manufacturers or how are we to know who they are?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
"I don't believe it was like that with LP, audio tape, audio cassette, CD. People like a clear signal, something they can understand."

John are you suggesting a clear signal such as "Perfect sound forever"? Unfortunately there were the same format wars at the introduction of every new format, more or less. Remember the "sharpish needles" and then fibre to make "them soft again"? There were problems with the introduction of LP's, then stereo LP's, tape was the dominion of the rich but two or four track; and 1/4" or 1/2"; 7 1/2" or 10" reels, better just stick with eight tracck to have all bases covered. Anyone remember Elcassette or JVC's ANR noise reduction. Who still owns a DBX unit? I'm sure there's a new ditty in there somewhere.
I think you may take a bruising on that point, my friend.

Gregory - "Music is art, Audio is art that employs engineering." That is the difference I see between you and me. I think any good producer/engineer will tell you there is an art that is not taught in a classroom nor to be found in any book to mixing a record. I have been involved in building theaters and studios and I don't think I could find an acoustical engineer who didn't, after all the calculations beforehand, go into a project and clap their hands and make a subjective judgement about the results. I don't know of any component or speaker designs by any engineer/designer that are released after the designer has merely satisfied themself that the measurements look good on paper. They all listen and make subjective judgements and make necessary adjustments. If that were not the case why would anyone have produced an amplifier after Mr. Wiliamson introduced his circuit? One of the best amplifiers to ever be reviewed by J. Hirsch in "Stereo Review" (which, with Mr. Pohlman, later became "Sound and Vision" [and both were scoffed at by the subjectivist press because they never gave an advertiser's product a bad review]) was a Technics unit back in the 1970's when negative feedback was in its hey day. Something like 0.0001% THD. What's the point of going forward after that achievement? Why spend more than $299 for a reciever?
You obviously live in a world of numbers and I assume you would be happier if the cable companies put specs for resistance, capacitance and so forth on their cables. What would that tell you? Please, this is an argument I have heard for thirty years. What would measurements on a cable tell you? Measurements show that the winding, spacing and materials affect the capacitance, inductance and phase coherence of the cable. Why would those not affect the sound? You constantly claim you have no problems with this or that but it seems you do or we wouldn't be having this discussion.
Why did you spend money for the more expensive CD players when you can't tell the difference between them? Because they were better constructed? Do you listen to them or look at them with the covers off? (If the latter, Mr. Ashcroft is looking for your kind!)
I live in a city where what you drive is very, very important to some people. But I don't think anyone who buys a BMW or a Lexus 430 thinks its the same as a Chevrolet because they both get the same gas mileage or they both get you to the bank in the same amount of time.
You are welcome to believe whatever satisfies your own ego (I'm not trying to be insulting). Whatever makes you happy with your own beliefs is OK. But to seem to have such problems with those who are not in your camp seems dogmatic and closed minded.
"A second consequence of placing Subjectivism above measurements is that it places designers and honorable manufacturers in a most unenviable position. No degree of ingenuity or attention to technical detail can ensure a good review ...". Not it cannot. Not by either the subjectivists or the objective measurement folks if it measures well but sounds like ... well, you know what. Your circular argument seems to be that good measurements ensure good sound and no measurements mean you can't tell if it's good sound. It seems that anyone who can walk into a room and decide if what they are hearing pleases them disproves the latter. And having sold that particular Technics reciever I can assure you the former is certainly not the case.
And, really, your "swallowing the Subjectivist credo whole" is just too little to be respected as anything more than sour grapes. Do you have a list of "honourable" manufacturers or how are we to know who they are?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1515
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger, My Rantz, Ben,

I think genuine consumer choice is always a good thing. As I have said, if it turns out I am missing a lot with no SACD, I can envisage getting a player. For now, I have enough to please me. We live in interesting times, for audio.

Jan,

Yes I am in some doubt about that. One could argue there really was no choice with CD, the marketing clout of Sony-Philips just swept all before it, giving a virtual monopoly to one format. Of course, it was a "new technology", requiring substantial investment in new manufacturing techniques, etc. Not so, SACD and DVD-A. They are still 12 cm optical discs, but now with two layers.

So, the "format war" may be a good thing, giving consumers time to decide how to vote with their hard-earned cash.

I do not disagree with anyone here, really.

The format war there must have been over equalization for phono in the early 50s. One "format" one, in the end, RIAA, but, prior to that, practically every recording company in every country had it own formula for cutting dics, and a corresponding approach to equalization.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 407
Registered: Feb-04
John A

No one is saying that you should or should not get a SACD player. That response was not an answer we were seeking. I think the point that some of us might be trying to tactfully convey is that you seem to be encouraging a format war when others believe harmony is the preferable answer.

DVD-A is marvelous, we all agree wholeheartedly, so is SACD - you don't seem to agree, which, of course, is your prerogative. But the proof is in the pudding! You may hate the chef, but that doesn't mean he can't make a decent pudding simply because you think he's got the recipe wrong! Others have actually tasted it and found it very much to their liking. Kudos to the big, bad chef!

Of course, the only problem with SACD, the players must be placed within a pentacle for trouble free performance.




 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 155
Registered: Apr-04
MR

You wrote: "Kudos to the big, bad chef!"

That's hysterical!

I agree with MR, both formats are pleasing to me. My ear doesn't hear a definitive winner and my overtaxed brain doesn't understand the technical differences.

Kegger said it best: "so just shut the hell up go over to that unit press open slide in that small round disk press
play grab a beverage and enjoy! "

Of course, a little spirited debate is always entertaining too!
 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 156
Registered: Apr-04
JohnA wrote:

"Getting back to our "ethical" discussion, the last thing the "Third World" needs is to be caught on the same hook. Give them the choice, of course, but not the addiction to pointless gadgets that consume so much of the resources of people who already have more to eat than they know what to do with, and find no satisfaction in anything. Decent water supplies are probably number one. If I had the choice between a 7.1 surround system and a greatly reduced chance of me/family/friends dying of cholera, or staple crop harvests failing through drought, I know which I'd choose."

Good points! My recent vacation involving getting back to the basics with fishing (to provide one evening's meal) and family time and not missing my shiny new audio system showed me (although with some levity) the truly important things.

I think for Msft and other companies to open up new markets in third world countries will require an infrastructure investment. Unfortunately, I don't have faith that this will be the "right" infrastructure or will hold the "best interests" of the indigenous people foremost. These corporations are too soulless to do this right.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 408
Registered: Feb-04
Ghia,

Just read your other posts on Plunging into . . .

Certainly sounds that you have everything wired for sound in your house and that you're getting the satisfaction you'd hoped for. After all the auditioning, recommendations, reviews, and so on, when all is said and done, to know the feeling that you have spent wisely is a welcome relief leaving you free for the sheer enjoyment.

Both hi-res formats are just great and seemingly very well handled by the Denons. It's wonderful to have real quality in sound and it's all in the appreciation, not the understanding nor concerning ourselves with the evil empires (as entertaining as some of the debates are).

And you're right about Kegger, imo he always says it like it is and that one was a classic!

 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 508
Registered: Dec-03
i'm glad you guy's enjoy the random spouts off
the top of my head.

ghia glad to see you are enjoying!

mr. rantz yourself also.

and everyone else who is "enjoying the music"
.....
.....
.....
i just took some of my own advice tonight.

i had some time ago replaced the tweeter's and
mid's in my big jbls's "a little accident we won't
get into" but never went through the xover to
accomadate them until this last week.well their
done. i moved them back into the "multi room" and
setup em up. well after about an hour of going
through all the settings on my reciever and readjusting
my sub. i am extremely happy with the results.
so i sat their just "listening to the music" for
about 4 hours "little nap at the end" good stuff.

the more i play with my hk525 i have to ask myself.
why do i want to replace this thing? man it sounds
so good and does everything i want! well except
give me more channels than 7.1 which don't exist.lol
......
......
......

Here come those Santa Ana winds again

We'll jog with show folk on the sand
Drink kirschwasser from a shell
San Francisco show and tell
Well I should know by now
That it's just a spasm
Like a Sunday in T.J.
That it's cheap but it's not free
That I'm not what I used to be
And that love's not a game for three


you know everything about that is awsome.
"well maybe except that last line" lol
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