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Archive through July 07, 2004

 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 409
Registered: Feb-04
Kegger

Yeah, the music - that's it! The Dan's 2nd last line is mine.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1518
Registered: Dec-03
My Rantz,

Thank you. I know nothing, in practice, about SACD, unfortunately, only what is written about it. If the "Format war" (not my term; I take it to mean competition for market share) produces more choice, and better value, for consumers, I am in favour of it. But the industry also needs agreed standards, especially at an early stage in development. Some of the articles e.g. Sem has posted state that quadraphonic systems were widely predicted to be about to take over in about 1975 (hence the classics like Pink Floyd). But by 1977, the whole idea had essentially died as a commercial proposition, and one factor is thought to be the many competing formats; consumers did not know which one to get, and therefore did not get anything. We might well have had surround sound for nearly thirty years if the different parts of the industry had cooperated. I doubt this will happen this time, but who knows. Sometimes competition is healthy, and produces more choice. Sometimes it is wasteful duplication of scarce resources, and nothing gets done, because people are unwilling to commit them.

Sorry, what is a "pentacle"....?!

Ghia,

I don't go for boycotts etc. but there is a strength of feeling I wholly admire against e.g. Nestlé's rapacious and cynical marketing of formula baby feeds in third world countries - there are forums (my wife visits) where people go apoplectic about this. Quite rightly, in my view.

Re whether computers will do anything for Third World countries, there was a symposium on this "The Digital Divide" a few years ago, and Mr Gates came down strongly on the side that they were irrelevant.

Hi-res audio is about the last thing anyone will worry about if their family's income is a dollar a day. However, low labour costs may well be a good opportunity for some places with skilled but poor work forces to get some income, investment, and escape from the trap - provided the income can be reatined, and turned into investment at the point where it is generated. Curiously, GATT doesn't at all reassure them, and I think they are right to be sceptical about certain countries' bleating about free trade. I am not in any way especially well informed about this, but it seems to me that this is more or less where parts of India and China are, right now, and we Western hifi consumers are potentially doing those guys some good. Sub-saharan Africa is a different case; the prospects there are grim, and getting grimmer.

Anyway, it is a pleasure to read these enthusiastic posts about SACD and DVD-A. I thank everyone concerned. I will go on learning here, and try to stick to the topic. I suppose the "ethical" issue (note inverted commas), which is close to the topic of the thread, boils down to whether all the thirty-years or so of accumulated CD collections in the world have done any good, for people. I would say "probably", but wonder about the total cost. But, here I agree completely with Kegger and others; it is not what we are talking about, and not for others to choose what is good for people. People should be free to choose for themselves; no-one should dictate what they can and cannot buy. I would only add that they should be given the facts and allowed to make up their own minds, based on their own real assessment of the possibilities, and what these mean, for them. There is just an awful lot of nonsense floating around right now, and it is not all random mistakes.

My Rantz,

Yep. Kegger tells it like it is. We should give him an award for plain speaking. I may well score about zero on that one. End of morose ramble. Just having another damn birthday. If I get any nice discs, I'll let y'all know.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 410
Registered: Feb-04
John A

Pentacle or pentagram: as in the sign of the devil. Hope you see the mirth!

And happy damn birthday - I feel the same way about them!

Seriously, I hope you have a good one and many more!

If not for you, tell your wife about "Beyond Borders" with Angelina Jolie. Heart wrenching but good film relating to morose ramble above.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1522
Registered: Dec-03
My Rantz,

I'll drink to that.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 511
Registered: Dec-03
well johnny i hope you have a nice birthday and
get some good gifts.

all this praise to kegger stuff has got to quit
you guys are making me tear up!

i believe we have a nice little group hear where
everyone contributes.some just contribute different
than others.but the sum of all these contributions
makes one hell of a sounding board.

some are short "mine" some are long "jan" and the
rest usually go somewhere in between to get us to
this point.without one being more imprortant than
anyone else.

but it is obvious why we are all hear.

to enjoy the music!

sometimes we may get off topic and or argue but
in one way shape or form we usually end up learning
something.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 411
Registered: Feb-04
Hear, hear! Nice one Kegger - whoops sorry! But, you are spot on!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1523
Registered: Dec-03
My Rantz,

That was to your previous post. But I'll drink to the later one, too.

Thanks for explaining the joke. Yes, nice one. At my age you need a bit of a leg up. "Pentangle" got there name from there, too. How come Chrysler cars are not boycotted by the superstiscious, or driven by folk on their way to covens or whatever they do.

Thanks for the good wishes. I feel better already.

Will check out Beyond Borders. Thanks for that, too. The IMDB entry has the single user comment "patronizing drivel", so it can't be all bad. Have printed out the page for Mrs A.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1524
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

Thanks. "to enjoy the music" I'll drink to that, too. I am writing about posts several steps back. I am out of phase. Or "incoherent" as I am sure MR will be quick to say....

All the best.
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 412
Registered: Feb-04
"How come Chrysler cars are not boycotted by the superstiscious, or driven by folk on their way to covens or whatever they do."

A must read: "The De Vinci Code" by Dan Brown.

If you keep drinking to these posts, yuo wlil be getitng vewy inkoherentttt!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 303
Registered: Dec-03
Rantz,

Happy birthday, not too many candles on the cake(fire laws you know). LOL!

BTW, super book. Cheers!
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 413
Registered: Feb-04
Rick

Thanks a lot, but mine was a few months back. It's actually John A's big day! You'll have to think up another one for him :-)

 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 158
Registered: Apr-04
JohnA wrote:

"Re whether computers will do anything for Third World countries, there was a symposium on this "The Digital Divide" a few years ago, and Mr Gates came down strongly on the side that they were irrelevant."

Alas, Mr. Gates doesn't run Msft anymore and, in my opinion, this is the number one reason the company is now so badly managed and why longtime employees such as I no longer consider it special or a privilege to work there. For Msft-haters, the incompetent management under the Ballmer regime may be what ultimately brings the company down.

Another corporate giant, Coca-Cola, is under fire for environmental issues causing health and irrigation problems in India.
 

Silver Member
Username: Ghiacabriolet

NC

Post Number: 159
Registered: Apr-04
Happy birthday, JohnA!
 

Silver Member
Username: Sem

Post Number: 145
Registered: Mar-04
John A.
Happy birthday!! And many more to come, if I were there, I'd raise a glass and toast.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1525
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, too, to Rick, Ghia, and Sem. Cheers, all.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 304
Registered: Dec-03
JohnA.,

A happy, happy birthday!

How does it feel to turn 30?????????
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Happy B-day, John. Buy a Shostakovich disc and tell them to put it on my tab.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 515
Registered: Dec-03
hey john did you notice the bottom of the main
forum page has a top 10 poster thing?

your second with at least a weeks worth of posts
to catch up! lol

hey i'm 7th!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1529
Registered: Dec-03
8th, Kegger.

But max points for common sense!

Thanks, Jan! I now have the Jazz Suites, the Leningrad symph (Naxos DVd-As) and the Strings Qts. ("Brilliant Classics" CDs) Treat yourself to that Rubio quartet cycle of the Qts., even if you already have another version. It is amazing.

Here's s funny one, Sinatra/Basie "Live at the Sands" (Warner), birthday gift, will not play on DVD-Audio (NAD T533) only on DVD-Video (NAD T532). Will investigate. Like Naxos, Warner puts both formats on the same side of the disc, not part of the original DVD-Audio consortium format. Neither was their "watermarking" system, so I read. Will investigate and report back. The disc comes in a sealed bag from the dealer, and a label thereupon says the whole can be returned only if unopened. Despite that, the disc and box are covered in fingerprints. Full price, too (I guess). It is time for a new Branson to start "Virg*n Discs".

The Warner blurb gives the name of the recording engineer and the all the equipment used, and says it is from the original, 1966, four-track tape masters. Apart from the music, I am keen to know if they've stuck with 4.0, or added extra channels to keep up with the decadent times. The Dolby mastering says "5.1".

Sem?

I was especially looking forward to the ice cubes!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1530
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, too, to Rick, Ghia, and Sem. Cheers, all.
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 577
Registered: Dec-03
Jan--

When I say Audio is engineering I am not referring to the recording, I am referring to the components used for playback, not the recording process. Every recording engineer and producer can and do alter the sound as they wish.

I don't know of any Objectivists in audio that solely believe in measurements. Never met one. Every audio objectivist I have ever met has believed in measurements that are either confirmed or trashed by listening with the use of DBT (double blind testing). For people that design equipment, measurements by themselves are certainly not enough, just as listening by itself is not enough. And I think that for consumers that want the most accurate reviews, people that review according to the quality objectivist engineering credo would benefit greatly.


Great measurements may be nice, but are not necessarily that meaningful by themselves. Afterall, what is the point of improving specifications to the point that only your dog and a passing bat may hear the difference? Also, what if your measurements do not translate into good sound? So great measurements by themselves (particularly with loudspeakers) are not by themselves the Holy Grail. On the other hand, I have never heard a speaker I liked with mediocre measurements.

You say the Technics receiver had 0.0001% THD but reviewed poorly in subjectivist journals. Going back to the 70's on that one. There are innumerable biases or reasons that could account for that. And if it sounded poorly in a DBT, I am confident there were innumerable other measurements that could also account for that, such as indiscriminate use of Global or Negative feedback. On the other hand negative feedback is a wonderful advancement and is used by every great amp manufacturer, from Krell, Parasound, Aragon, etc. Even the Theta Dreadnaught amp which states they use no Global Feedback, uses negative feedback "locally" through various amp stages. Somehow this has greatly impressed the high end press. Maybe because 30 years ago Negative feedback was used by some manufacturers indiscrimately. Now everyone uses it.



Similarly, if a reviewer is unable to differentiate various cd players, amps, and wires in blind tests--of what use are they to the consumer? I can see that they may be a great lightning rod for getting ads for the magazine from wire and odd-ball amp companies, the high end magazines will generally love you, the audio salon dealers will love you, and quite a few manufacturers will love you too (expressed by more ads and congratulatory letters). But if a reviewer cannot tell the difference in a double blind test, of what use are they to the CONSUMER?

Wire, interconnects, amps, receivers, dvd players, cd players, etc. all fall into the above rules in the Objectivist camp. The measurements are important so that the designing engineer can replicate the performance once he/she settles on the performance at the price point the company is after. The DBT listening is important to tell if "us humans are just jiving ourselves or others"--which we all know, are prone to do (consciously or unconsciously). But it may be even more important because of the Authority Trust issue, which spreads like a virus through all aspects of life and is found particularly in audio. I read it in Stereophile or TAS--it must be true.

You say why would the differences in wire measurements not effect sound? I agree, why wouldn't they?--let's have a DBT test and see if they do--or would you rather rely on someone telling you that they do, or be influenced by a belief system that says there is something wrong with you if you cannot hear the better imaging in these $500 wires that the reviewer says exist? But guess what--there have been many DBT tests of comparable diameter wires, from 0.50/foot to $1,000 foot. For some reason no one has been able to discern a statistical difference in hundreds of tests. So, if one has a need to believe in marketting hype or just feels better buying expensive wires--I am fine with that. I just don't want to hear them telling me that they sound better. They may look better. Actually--they should look a lot better. Like a Monet:-)

If the purpose (or raison d'etre) of the electronics is to pass the signal as accurately as possible, what better way than measurements and DBT's? If a reviewer can't tell the audible difference between 5 different amplifiers or 5 different speaker wires in a DBT, of what possible use is his/her review to the consumer?
This is not to say that in equal sounding amplifiers I am not very interested in reading about the build quality, the warranty, the features, the power envelope, etc. This information is very likely to determine my electronics purchase. In well-built amplifiers (solid state or tubes) one would think that signal accuracy and the ability to discern a sonic difference would be of manifest importance. If a solid state or tube amplifier is less accurate but the sound appeals to the consumer--I am fine with that. There is no law that says people have to value accuracy over distortion that sounds good to them. And by distortion I mean any quality that is different from the original signal--not just the typical distortion readings. I mean all measurements that differ from the original signal.

As you say, you don't think anyone who buys a BMW or Lexus 430 thinks it's the same as a Chevrolet because it may go the same speed or it may get the same gas mileage. Cars aren't items that one can perform a DBT on--unless you are truly blind--but then you shouldn't be behind the wheel:-)

But there are a number of auto magazines that perform innumerable tests on most of the mass produced cars. And many of them print the results on the many objective measureable aspects and also comment on the subjective aspects such as looks, comfort, and pride of ownership.

But there are many products that DBT's can totally be performed on that don't require prior product brand knowledge.


My argument isn't remotely circular. Measurements confirmed by Double blind testing. You wouldn't want to take a drug that hadn't gone through some kind of statistical double blind testing proving its effectiveness--and also that it won't harm you or your wallet unnecessarily.

That is all I expect in a good audio magazine. And it is darn hard to find, because it doesn't feed "The Beast".

Why exempt audio reviews from the rigors of science? If you can give me a logical answer--I will be happy to concede the issue. I just don't want to hear--"I can't discern the difference under all this pressure". Take a month --they usually do anyway. Or another great excuse I hear--"The difference in time between listening causes me to forget the exact qualities". If this were a valid argument, then how can they review the sound of any equipment?

And I think there are quite a few honorable manufacturers--just not too many honorable marketting people:-)


I buy equipment that some would say is quite expensive and others would say is not. I bought my Pioneer Elite 49TXi because I liked the features, nice power envelope, and it looks great (and I can afford it). I bought my Pioneer Elite 59AVi universal player because it looks great with the 49TXi, it has firewire connections to the 49TXi (and other potential components) and has HDMI for my next HDTV. And after listening to various speakers, I fell in love both visually and particularly sonically with my 2 prs of Monitor Audio GR10's and the GR center channel, along with a HSU VTF-3 subwoofer. And to throw a bone to the local Tweeter dealer I bought a bunch of the cheapest Monster Cable wire. I paid a $1.ft maybe instead of 0.50/ft, but I visit the store enough so what the heck:-)

There is considerable evidence that a great many measurable differences in components exist that are not audible, but virtually nothing to support the opposing viewpoint. And usually when a difference is noted, it generally appears that the performance is less accurate.

Anyway, people have their belief systems and I am not likely to change anyone's belief system.
 

Silver Member
Username: Sem

Post Number: 147
Registered: Mar-04
John A.
"Apart from the music, I am keen to know if they've stuck with 4.0, or added extra channels to keep up with the decadent times. The Dolby mastering says "5.1"."
Sorry to hear it won't play in your T533, that's odd. I hope you get it figured out.

As far as the mix, it says 5.1 surround but all I can really vouch for is at least 5.0
I just listened closely to the intro and there was definately percussion and bass coming from the center channel, most everything, including percussion and bass is coming from the fronts. The surrounds, as I mentioned before, are primarily used for "sonic fill"
........and the ice cubes, sometimes from the front, somtimes from the surrounds.

Good luck!!

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1536
Registered: Dec-03
Sem,

Thanks. Will keep you posted. I suppose Warner worries that people will complain if there is nothing on the center channel.

A darned nuisance, not being able to play that disc. The "playing" icon comes on-screen and on-display ("DVD-A") for one second, then goes away, for good. The disc's watermarking maybe thinks it is being read to be copied, though I cannot be sure, and do not know how that works. That Disc is a great package, original sleeve notes and all. Just no sound!

Gregory,

That was great. I would add my signature to that. I cannot discern any real difference of opinion, honestly, between your and Jan's very informed comments, except in use of difficult words such as "subjectivist" and "objectivist".

Measurements and measuring instruments extend the range and resolution of what we can experience. In the end we want the sound, and being able to measure the performance of components that contribute to that, but which you cannot hear in themselves, can surely improve design and manufacture. No-one can hear a capacitor, but the engineer has to know its measured specification in order to design e.g. a crossover that will do the job he wants. Never mind that nobody knows what a microFarad sounds like, it is not important.

I just think Jan is arguing against the tendency to look at specifications and make a decision on those alone, rather than to judge the end result. The whole point is how it sounds. Certainly some people lose sight of that. He is right, and so are you, in my opinion.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
My argument is against an attitude that claims there is only one way to think. Maybe it was due to all the nuns I had in school, but I never bought into the "This is the way it is" philosophy. Particularly when the argument is inconsistent.

"... the only problem I have with tubes has nothing to do with their performance ...

...they aren't as reliable and toss out heat..."

"... 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..."

"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."

"For people that design equipment, measurements by themselves are certainly not enough ..."

"The measurements are important ..."

"Great measurements may be nice, but are not necessarily that meaningful by themselves. Afterall, what is the point of improving specifications to the point that only your dog and a passing bat may hear the difference?"

"If one feels that tubes make music sound nicer, then lets add a "niceness" switch to the pre-amp..."

"By the way, the only problem I have with tubes ..."

Sounds to me like you have a problem with tubes.

"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."

" ... if a reviewer is unable to differentiate various cd players, amps, and wires in blind tests--of what use are they to the consumer?"

"But if a reviewer cannot tell the difference in a double blind test, of what use are they to the CONSUMER?"

"If a reviewer can't tell the audible difference between 5 different amplifiers or 5 different speaker wires in a DBT, of what possible use is his/her review to the consumer?"

"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)."

"professional listeners"

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

Seems you do have a problem.

"Electronics should either have no audible effect on the master copy(currently unachievable) ..."

"If a solid state or tube amplifier is less accurate but the sound appeals to the consumer--I am fine with that. There is no law that says people have to value accuracy over distortion that sounds good to them. And by distortion I mean any quality that is different from the original signal--not just the typical distortion readings. I mean all measurements that differ from the original signal."

So most everything is bad?

"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."

"Every component manufacturer buys parts from other companies."

"I never criticized that."

" ... it makes no difference whether my company manufactures the Boron, or not."

"If they want to pay more for nice packaging that is fine with me."

"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 ..."

"I have no gripes against any of the wire companies."

Sure, I believe you this time.

" ... 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."


"Won't happen in TAS or Stereophile---BS is their stock and trade."

"Look what happened to Jayson Blair of the NY Times when they found he was spouting BS- ..."

I've been waiting for that "Stereophile" editorial on the war on terror.

"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."

You're right again. Letters from manufacturers and average readers never make it into the high end rags. Except for every month in manufacturer's comments and the letters section ... oh, never mind. But where do you think I found all the information on the Arcam? Hint: it wasn't in the Arcam literature.

"The Audio Critic regularly pans most of the speakers it reviews, never says one wire is better than another ... they criticize poor construction and poor design all the time.

"Sadly, it is not the kind of publication to do well in the advertising market for obvious reasons ..."

Small wonder?!

"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 ..."

So what's the use? You really care if the manufacturer says the amp makes 120 watts and they can only squeaze 119 watts out of it? "Sound and Vision" is what "Stereo Review" became in the mid 1990's. "Stereo Review" had the reputation of never offending an advertiser since they never gave a negative review. They were the very reason J. Gordon Holt first started publishing "Stereophile" after having worked for "Stereo Review". To think you are using the no bad reviews and advertising dollars as an argument against the subjective magazines is laughable and ludicrous.

"My Boron is either cheaper and/or of higher purity, or it isn't."

"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."

" ... this can be grossly unfair ... to consumers that are mostly left in the lurch, either severely overpaying or just getting inferior product--unless they get lucky."

Yes, all that expensive stuff the manufacturer was "forced" to include. "Get lucky", does that mean get it cheap?

"You say the Technics receiver had 0.0001% THD but reviewed poorly in subjectivist journals."

Nope, I never said that. The magazines that listened to equipment never reviewed it, there was no point. But "Stereo Review" loved it so much they ran a two page ad at the front gatefold.

"There are innumerable biases or reasons that could account for that. And if it sounded poorly in a DBT, I am confident there were innumerable other measurements that could also account for that ..."

Yes, there were. It was a horrible design. And take my word for it, you didn't want to hook up this reciever through a switch.

"On the other hand negative feedback is a wonderful advancement and is used by every great amp manufacturer ..."

There you go again with the "every great" so and so. You really need to read better magazines. And, by the way, flouride's another wonderful advancement.

" ... let's have a DBT test and see if they do ... But guess what--there have been many DBT tests of comparable diameter wires, from 0.50/foot to $1,000 foot. For some reason no one has been able to discern a statistical difference in hundreds of tests.

Like I said, send in those subscription cards. You haven't seen the results so they don't exist. Way to go, George W.

" ... would you rather rely on someone telling you that they do, or be influenced by a belief system that says there is something wrong with you if you cannot hear the better imaging in these $500 wires that the reviewer says exist?"

No, I'd rather listen and make up my own mind. Don't need your stinkin' specs.

"As you say, you don't think anyone who buys a BMW or Lexus 430 thinks it's the same as a Chevrolet because it may go the same speed or it may get the same gas mileage. Cars aren't items that one can perform a DBT on--unless you are truly blind--but then you shouldn't be behind the wheel:-)"

So why is there braile on the drive up ATM's?

"Amps and wires don't soundstage and image ... "

I better go tell my amps to knock it off, they've been doing that for over thirty years.

"There is considerable evidence that a great many measurable differences in components exist that are not audible ..."

Wait a minute, I thought that was my point?!

" ... but virtually nothing to support the opposing viewpoint."

Not in the magazines you read. If that were the case we wouldn't know about an awful lot of things in this world. DNA, bacteria or gravity. The earth is not flat you know? I don't think the argument, "We don't know it, so it's not worth looking for, 'cause I won't know it when I find it" really is a motto to live by.

"Why exempt audio reviews from the rigors of science? If you can give me a logical answer--I will be happy to concede the issue. I just don't want to hear--"I can't discern the difference under all this pressure". Take a month --they usually do anyway. Or another great excuse I hear--"The difference in time between listening causes me to forget the exact qualities". If this were a valid argument, then how can they review the sound of any equipment?"

Can you really tell me you know exactly what an amplifier you heard five years ago sounds like? That would be remarkable. Rather like remembering the golden streak in your kindergarten teacher's shoulder length hair that would have you gazing at her ... Oh, but I digress. The point is not what they heard before but what they are listening to now. Right now. That's what they are writing about. Sure they make comparisons. So what? That's bad? Nobody is exempting them from science. But because they don't write the review from that standpoint you feel they should all be shot. You claim they don't know anything about circuitry. Probably not true if you read the reviews. They do talk about circuitry. And do I have to have an M.D. to know my allergies are bothering me? Not so far. Must I be a somelier to know I don't prefer Mad Dog 20/20?
You have your way of deciding what to buy and I have mine. I would prefer to spend some time with an amplifier or speaker. I can tell much more about the equipment after a weekend than I can when someone asks, "So, which one did you prefer?"

There you have it, Gregory. As I said above, this discussion is getting way off base and I don't really care to play the game anymore. I will give you the last word and then I will hold my tongue. At least until there's another crack about tubes or wires or so forth.
I don't expect to change anyone's mind when they've made it up and shut the door. Just stating my opinion. As Walter Brennan used to say, "No brag, just fact."
Have at it. But do you really decide what to buy based on the warranty and the remote?


 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
John A. - You are correct that no one can hear a capacitor. (But I did have a nieghbor who claimed he heard little voices. I guess they could have been capacitors, you know stored energy sources, of a sorts.) But most anyone can hear the effect of a capacitor in a circuit. When I redid my Mac tube amps the first items I changed were the capacitors and the internal wiring. It made a huge difference. Even the old guy that thought everything that measured the same should sound the same commented on the improvement and admitted he never thought capacitors could make that much difference.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1568
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Even after all that, I still find I am pretty well 100% with both you and Gregory on this issue, as I understand you, and it is one about which I have no preconceived ideas of my own (though I beginning to take an interest). The apparent difference of opinion could merely be a result of the way you each use words. I am going to go on reading here with interest. This linear "forum post" format is not ideal, and I wonder if it generates misunderstanding by making it appear that people are being evasive by changing the subject, not answering the question, when in fact they have not understood the point, and won't say so. I have "gone ballistic" on a couple on occasions about this. One only has so much time.

Let me offer tentative solution to the impasse.

"You are correct that no one can hear a capacitor....But most anyone can hear the effect of a capacitor in a circuit."

The first thing you do if you replace a capacitor is look at its specification, which is inaudible, in itself. You have to take some things, like specs, on trust, otherwise thers is no way to begin doing anything. However, you should always be sceptical. Of everything. Even capacitor makers will probably try it on, and need to be reminded the purchasers will decide for themselves, if necessary, and make their own measurements. That is the ultimate quality control, on everything, really.

How warmly I agree with "My argument is against an attitude that claims there is only one way to think." The quote "At least Tom Nousaine uses the scientific method..." etc. rings most alarm bells, for me. A dentist or a dustman can be a better scientist than a Nobel prizwinner when it comes to fixing a car or choosing a hi-fi set-up. And who knows what else. There was once a clerk in a patent office in Berne... Independent judgement is everything; the word of authority is nothing, and, in fact, should be challenged just on the grounds of what it is; it is usually false, and about power, not understanding. If we assume "scientists" (how do we tell them - do they wear a hat with "scientist" written on the front?) have the authority claimed, formerly, by e.g. your nuns, then we are all quite lost.

I will go away and read subsequent posts with interest.

BTW: back, in parenthesis, to "twilight of the CD"; I heard a radio discussion this morning on the future of the recording industry, by musicians, founders of independent labels, the head of EMI Classical division, and various professional readers of runes. As I understood it, none saw a much of a future for CD, at all. The question was whether any kind of disc is going to go on being interesting to consumers; whether "collectors" are just a dying breed. Opinion was divided on that one. Music DVD-Video seems a good bet for e.g. opera, where the visual aspect of performance was part of the composer's intention. For audio alone, "who knows?" seems the general, informed opinion. Source: BBC - Radio 3 - CD Review. Click on "Listen to the latest programme". The discussion starts about 1 hr 20 min in, after a review of all recordings, ever, of "The Rite of Spring".
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 578
Registered: Dec-03
Jan--

I don't have much time today to respond, but you seem to find an intellectual inconsistency by me when you list the following quotes, which must have taken you a lot of work to collate as they had been written over a long period at different times.

"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."

"For people that design equipment, measurements by themselves are
certainly not enough ..."

"The measurements are important ..."

"Great measurements may be nice, but are not necessarily that
meaningful by themselves. Afterall, what is the point of improving
specifications to the point that only your dog and a passing bat may
hear the difference?"

"If one feels that tubes make music sound nicer, then lets add a
"niceness" switch to the pre-amp..."

"By the way, the only problem I have with tubes ..."


My point is clear. The onus of proving a sonic (or any other type of difference) is on the person making the claim. That is why I say measurements are important, but not the only important test.
In reviews if measurements are done in the absence of a double blind listening test, how do we know they make an AUDIBLE difference?

If listening is done in the absence of DBT's and lab measurements, how do we know we aren't being BS'd--either purposely or unwittingly?

As far as tube amps are concerned, if one can hear a difference through a DBT, I am very confident there is a measureable reason to explain it. I don't believe in magic. If in certain tube amps it is measureable, then, as Bob Carver has shown in DBT tests, it is duplicable in solid state by making output and circuitry alterations.


 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
John A. - Yes, you should always be skeptical. That is why the second thing you do with a capacitor before you insert in in a circuit is take a VOM and measure the capacitance. Items occassionally get mismarked. And you would like to have similar values in both sides of a push/pull circuit and both sides of a stereo circuit for best imaging and soundstaging, at least to a reasonable percentage, say plus or minus 1%.
But I hold that the person who can't hear the difference between a paper and oil vs. a polypropolene cap is the same person who can't hear the effects of wires or amps without a spec sheet.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Real quick here since I said I would hold my tongue. But it's so hard to not comment.

It really wasn't that difficult to find the points where I disagree and feel you contradict yourself.

" ... they had been written over a long period at different times." Not sure, but I doubt the nuns would like that sentence structure.

I dislike onuses (onusi?), though they are a fact of life. And they're rather like opinions, everybody has one. But no one has to prove their claims to me, I get to decide on my own. If I go wrong then shame on me. The one that always gets me though is that "good to the last drop". It isn't (in my opinion).

"In reviews if measurements are done in the absence of a double blind listening test, how do we know they make an AUDIBLE difference?

If listening is done in the absence of DBT's and lab measurements, how do we know we aren't being BS'd--either purposely or unwittingly?"

Uh, let me guess, no help, wait, wait ... I know, we listen and make up our own mind. Yeah, that's the ticket.

See, Gregory, I just don't believe in DBT's.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 542
Registered: Dec-03
i think we all understand we can't believe most
of what we hear and read.

so i think each individual needs to find their
own way of sifting through the crap we find.

some people find ways that seem to work for them
while others go a different route.

so yes we can make suggestions on how to go about
this but we shouldn't try to say our way of doing
this is the correct one.

as we have all seen many of the so called experts
have varying oppinions from tubes to xover designs.

and you can find just about anything on the web to
back your oppinions whether it be scientific or
someones oppinion.

you can just do a google search for what your looking
for and find many different sceintific/oppinions
that are different from one another.

the thing is trying to decide for yourself what
is more important to your particular task at hand.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Sorry, I got distracted by one of my dogs.

"As far as tube amps are concerned, if one can hear a difference through a DBT, I am very confident there is a measureable reason to explain it. I don't believe in magic. If in certain tube amps it is measureable, then, as Bob Carver has shown in DBT tests, it is duplicable in solid state by making output and circuitry alterations."

Well, let's see.

"The following is from an interview with Bob Carver:

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."

If you're OK with 90% being equal to "duplicable", I guess I'll just have to live with that.

Or maybe you meant "output and circuit alterations" to be using tubes instead of transistors.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 543
Registered: Dec-03
hey jan!

i've got a question for you.

in your oppinion.

ive been toying with the idea of getting a 2 channel
tube preamp.

now my thoughts are i can use a tube preamp and
my larger solid state amps to try and recreate the
tube sound without having to buy a large tube amp.

am i way off on this? or can that be done?

any suggestions on setup or equipment is greatly
appreciated!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1573
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

One onus; two onera. Like opus; opera, I think.
I have given up on "forums"; there is only so much one can do.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Kegger - I guess it depends on what you are looking for as "tube sound". That's a phrase that has different meanings to different people.
My idea of tube sound is a fuller body without adding weight to the bottom end. It is a more three dimensional sound that gives the vocalist or instrument more sense of a body in front of you. There is a roundness to the image and the leading edge of sounds. Not rounding them of to the point where you loose the dynamics of the music but there is a different stop/start to good tubes vs. not so good tubes or most solid state. If anything the small dynamics of a piece are easier to follow with tubes. The space around instruments and voices is better defined. And good tubes will never be aggressive if you have the right tube compliment in the equipment. One nice feature to tubes is the ease with which you can alter the sound by exchanging tubes of a different make or model. Pull up a tube retailer on the web and look at the variuos types of tubes that can be used or substituted for a 12AX7 or 6DJ8 which are typical tubes for a pre amp. (I like the sound of 12AX7 [triode] pre amps best of all.) Each tube will have a sonic signature that you can use to your advantage. Some will have a quieter background, some more dynamics and some will be more three dimensional. If you stay away from the Chinese tubes in general you will have very good Russian tubes that are reasonably priced and a wealth of new old stock tubes that can go as high in price as you care to take it. One of the advantages of using a tube pre amp is the tube life is much longer than a power amp output tube. So your tube changes can be five years or more. And there is no rebiasing with a pre amp tube.
Then you want to consider do you want "new" tube sound or more "classic" tube sound. New tube sound is much flatter in frequency response and better bass control than the classic pieces such as Dynaco PAS3ax (great piece for very little money but suffers from being a less expensive model that has more noise, particularly on phono, than new sound), Marantz 7C (very pricy piece now but one you will remeber owning for years to come), McIntosh C22 (the best of the classic pieces that offers a good combination of both worlds, pricy and hard to find because no one wants to part with them). A Conrad Johnson PV-5 is another piece of tube gear you will remember forever, a golden midrange that will keep you up at night listening to this wonderful sound you know isn't totally accurate but you can't turn it off. You've not heard female vocals until you've heard them through a PV-5. The newer pieces from about mid 80's forward offer the best sound if you are after accuracy with tubes. I've had an Audible Illusions for almost twenty years and it is holding up very well against anything I could dream of affording today. It's an inconvenient piece though since it uses twin volume controls. Not bad once you get the hang of it but not for everyone. There are lots to choose from on today's market. And then you have the older pieces that have been updated to consider also. VanAlstine and Curcio do good work. Check Audio Classics for what they have available. They're a bunch of old McIntosh people who really know their stuff. If your leaning to a Dyna unit I have one that needs a little repair.
The pre amp is where most people will tell you you can get "tube sound" and that is generally true but it is still a matter of system matching. Tubes up front aren't going to take an obvious bipolar transitor amp and change it's character. I think you'll find most hybrids are combining tubes in the pre amp and MOSFET's in the power amp because of the synchronicity you can get from that combination.
Like any equipment, price is the determining factor to the performance you will obtain. In general, I would say it is easier to get very good performance with mid priced tubes compared to mid priced solid state. Harder at the low end of pricing (usually because you are buying used or bare bones equipment) and about the same at the high end of dollars.
One last caveat is output impedance. If you run long cables, tubes need to be chosen with that in mind. Many tube pre amps have a low enough output impedance (around 600 ohms) to drive long cables if they are not predominantly capacitive loads but not all (particularly older gear) can do more than about two meters of cable length.
If you want to try tubes give several pieces a try before you decide, if at all possible, since not all tubes will be great matches with transistors. What amps are you thinking of using with the tubes? And what were you thinking you would end up with in terms of sound by going to tubes?
Any other questions?
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 313
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Have you any thoughts or know of the Antique Sound Lab integrated tube amps or integrated tube amps in general?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 546
Registered: Dec-03
well jan i can't really awnser all your questions
because quite frankly i know little of them.

i just know the few i've heard "don't know what they were"
had a very pleasing sound to them.

sure i'd be up for a piece of eqipment that needs
some work. but i have know idea about them or how
to fix one.

i guess all i can do is give you a little bit of
info and hope you can and will guide me in the right
direction.

amps. i have parasound/rotel/crown and 2 older kenwood
m2a's that i have never been able to find much info
on. i know they are mosfet and were kenwoods top
of the line amps at the time. very low distortion
high current, very powerful amps.if the specs do
you any good i have the sheet still and will list
some.220 rms both channels driven at 8 ohms from
20hz to 20,000 hz with no more than 0.004% total
harmonic distortion.damping factor 1000 at 50 hz
8 ohms. transient response 1.6us. signal to noise
ratio 120 db.input sensitivity/impedance 1 v/47 kohms.
clipping power 8 ohms 247 w/ch, 4 ohms 350 w/ch
dynamic power 8 ohms 346 w/ch 4 ohms 526 w/ch.

one of the kenwoods was what i was thinking of using.
if their are any other specs i could try to find
let me know.i've allways felt these amps sounded
nice to me. that's why i picked up a second one.

speakers: i have 10 pairs of speakers and can try
as many as i need to get the sound i'm looking for.


i don't want to spend an arm and a leg.
i will have short cable runs.
2 channel preamp "have no use for phono"
don't care about accuracy.
like the idea of changing tubes for different sounds.
i don't like background noise or hissing in the
speakers.
would like to have remote if it's practical (price)
new or used doesn't matter to me.
only need 1 set of rca ins. (denon dvd player)


i like my music systems to play back the full spectrum.
i enjoy plenty of bottom end/crisp highs and sweet
midrange.

i've tried to cover as much as i can understand
that you want.

what kinda "ballpark" prices are we talking.that
might give me a better idea of what i'm willing
to consider looking at.

appreciate all your help with this jan and from
prior discussions thought you would be a good person
to talk to on this.

i'm not sure what i'm trying to get out of a tube
preamp. i've never had tubes of any sort and i'd
just like to experiment a little and see if i like
it.

if you need anymore info from me just ask!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1574
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Like Kegger, I am interested, and thank you. What I worry about is "One nice feature to tubes is the ease with which you can alter the sound by exchanging tubes of a different make or model."

For me, that way madness lies.

Personally , I don't want filters, or control over things that give a sound that happens to please me, or not, just for the moment. Just as I do not want ambience effects. I want zero colouration, zero phase artifacts. A hypothetical "single wire" amp, with just a gain control, is the ideal.

I want the original sound.

Is this naive?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 547
Registered: Dec-03
john i don't think that is naive.

i think it is very possable.
and it is what you are looking for.

personally i'm not looking for that in a tube.
i'm just looking for pleasing sound.if i happen
to get that great!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 579
Registered: Dec-03
Jan--

The only thing you were correct on was that I used poor sentence structure (by saying the same thing twice) on that one line.

Just wondering--Is there any product you believe that benefits the consumer by double blind testing? Or is this strictly an audio exemption? Just wondering--why are you against double blind testing?

While Bob Carver is a brilliant and innovative engineer (many have used his circuitry and parts in their products), ever since he started Sunfire he has been writing his own ads and has ben "playing ball" with most of the audiophile press.


You then quote me as follows:

"As far as tube amps are concerned, if one can hear a difference through a DBT, I am very confident there is a measureable reason to explain it. I don't believe in magic. If in certain tube amps it is measureable, then, as Bob Carver has shown in DBT tests, it is duplicable in solid state by making output and circuitry alterations."

Well, let's see.

You quote an interview with Bob Carver-

"The following is from an interview with Bob Carver:

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."

I don't see where Bob Carver says he was unable to make one 100%--he said he made one 90%. And if one is to believe Bob Carver (outside of his engineering genius, he is prone to hyperbole) how does he account for 90%? Is it a mental calibration based on his 100% hearing ability or is it based on 90% of the measurements he obtained? Or is it just a throw away line in an interview to make sure the high end press doesn't recall his credibility credentials--as they did many years ago when he tricked Stereophile during a DBT with a $700 solid state amp and they couldn't tell the difference between that and a very expensive tube amp.

I guess one would have to ask Bob Carver what he is basing the 90% on if we really want to know.

The following is a response by the editor of The Audio Critic (Peter Aczel) to a letter (issue 25 in winter 1998-1999) critical of Bob Carver for an ad saying that his Sunfire amp has the soul of a 9-watt triode.

"Bob Carver is a "Good Guy in a White Hat" because he gives you well-engineered--sometimes brilliantly engineered product at a fair price. Dennis Had and Conrad-Johnson are "Bad Guys in Black Hats" because they give you dumb-ss tweako engineering at an unconsciously inflated price."

"That does not mean Bob Carver's advertising is as good or credible as his Sunfire product. As a former advertising professional I have told him more than once that he should not write his own ads, but he just can't live with anyone else's words--or taste. I happen to know that he secretly congratulates himself for being a hard-nosed marketeer who understands that consumers and dealers must be told what they want to hear, not necessarily the facts. In other words, he is willing to let you buy the right product (his) for the wrong reasons. Not because he is money-hungry--his entire biography would be totally different if he were--but because he thinks that's the way smart marketeers operate. Sometimes he even lapses into borderline tweakspeak just to gain the confidence of the tweako element, although I know for a fact he shares none of their beliefs."

"The bottom line from a GoodGuy/BadGuy perspective is that it would be good for audio if Dennis Had and Conrad-Johnson went away, but bad for audio, very bad, if Bob Carver went away. We need him, warts and all."







 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Rick - No, I have no personal experience with Antique Sound Labs equipment. I only know what I have read, but, judging from the description of parts and construction quality they seem like a company that has more old school thinking in their products than many others. They use very good parts in the circuitry but don't dress up the gear unneccessarily with cosmetics. Their circuits are simple and in some cases seem to be mostly revisions/rethinking to older tube products with new thinking about power supplies and isolation of components. For the most part they appear to be fairly priced. I know nothing about reliablity of their products and that is the downfall of many companies, though A.S.L. has been around for awhile now and most that build unreliable gear fade away rapidly.

Kegger - I would think the Parasound or Rotel might do well with tubes, I don't know the Kenwoods either and so can't comment. Kenwood (Trio to John A.) went through a period where they made better than average gear from Japan and then made some junk and then started to make decent product again. Iwouldn't hestitate to give them a try though, you never know till you try.
I mentioned the Dyna because they are sometimes difficult to find and it would give you an option if that was what you thought you wanted. But the PAS3ax doesn't have the type of sound you are looking for no matter what you do to it. It is pleasant and good value for a tube pre amp but will never cross the line of being a budget product.
Looking through the classifieds on Audio Classics and Stereophile sites I can give you some idea of prices. In the "new" tube sound equipment they have a Conrad Johnson PV 10 for $925, a PV12 for $1100, a Audio Research SP9 for $695 and a Quad 24 for $519. Of all those I would probably choose the Quad, I like their sound, very Brittish, you know. Those are all high end products that should get you close to what you say you are looking for and they are all still in business and will stand behind their products often offering upgrades to older equipment. They are top of the line companies that also are very proud of their work and repairs don't come cheap. This is not a tube thing they get lots for their solid state gear too. There is a Counterpoint SA-1000 which is at $375. This is a very good pre amp from the mid 80's. Has new tube sound, was considered a budget Audio Research. This is a company that is out business but the founder of the company stills supports the products on line. There is a McIntosh C22 reissue that is selling for $3495, this is a reissue of their classic pre amp and was reintroduced in 1995 selling for $2295 at that time. The increase in price is an indication of the quality, there isn't much better at any price today. There is also a Mac MX110 with tube pre amp tuner combined, it's at $700 and repesents a good bit of the sound of the C 22 with good potential for upgrade of parts. It was Mac's last tube combo. And a Citation IV, an early Citation, then the poor man's McIntosh, for $699, good sound but definitely old school sound.
I would see if there is a dealer in your area that has any tube products to borrow for a weekend to get a taste of tubes. Tubes aren't for everyone but if you like what they do the used market offeres good deals if you're patient.

John A. - I will get back to you, but, yes, the total obsessives can get on a track similar to making VTA changes to their tonearms for every disc when getting into tubes. But sensible folks know what the limits are.

Gregory - I will spend some time giving a reply. No time now. But the Bob Carver quote was one of yours from June 14.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 314
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

As always, thanks for your input. I think I'm going to give the ASL 30 watt integrated a try. I am going to build a new 2 channel music only system. An ASL integrated, a California Audio Labs CL20 CD player for source. I want to go back to a minimonitor for speakers. What in your opinion should I be auditioning in the $1000pr range? I want something warm, accurate, detailed, and image like crazy. I was thinking Quad/Spendor. Am I on the right path here?

Keep in mind I haven't owned a tube amp in 30 years, but I DO remember that sound...... like butter!
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 129
Registered: Dec-03
I once read an interview with Steve McCormack in which he said that he loved the tube sound, but hated the fact that the sonic character of tube equipment will change over time due to tube life and retubing effects.

If you are concerned with your equipment maintaing factory specs, solid state gear is the way to go. If you like to tinker with your system, tube gear is definately the way to go.

If I had the space I would probably have a s/s and a tube system.

 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 551
Registered: Dec-03
ok jan good stuff thank you very much!

if you think of anything else i should know just
speak up.

i am in no big hurry to get one.have been intersted
for awhile now.

if i come accross anything and you don't mind i
will post it hear and see what you think.

just for grins i looked on ebay and saw something
that looked very intriging.probably a piece of junk
but looks well made and a very nice style.
http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&category=14974&item=5706578016&rd= 1

also has remote what do you think?they are in chicago
also which would be very close to me.

again thanks for all the info.i'm still lost but
with more knowlage now.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 552
Registered: Dec-03
ben i have no problem with that assesment.

and i am an extreme tweeker,can't leave anything alone.

that is kinda why i wanted to try tubes,so i could
play with the sound.

i also have plenty of room for a 3rd system. lol
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 553
Registered: Dec-03
i just did a little quickie google search and
found some very promising reviews on this little
guy.

Dared SL-2000A
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 580
Registered: Dec-03
Jan--

It wasn't my quote. It was excerpted from an interview with Bob Carver in 1998 in Audio Ideas Guide.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1577
Registered: Dec-03
Warm, even glowing review (pun) in July HiFi News of a "affordable" 2 x 35 W integrated stereo valve amp made in China to Dutch company's spec. Says new Chinese valeves are a whole new ball game, as it were. It is quite absurdly called a "PrimaLuna Prologue One". Three references to the number one in the name of a stereo amp.... www.hifi-notes.com
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
OK, after a day of jury duty, I have read the posts from Rick, Kegger, John, Ben and Gregory, so let me catch up.

Rick - I didn't see the ASL 30 on the A.S.L. web site so I don't know what you're looking at spending or whether you're mainly interested in an integrated amp. I can't imaging you will go wrong with anything they produce. The only thing that gave me a chuckle was the description of their "Class A single ended" integrated since single ended can't be anything but Class A as there is no X-over point to the other half of the circuit in a single ended amp. Just for your information if you haven't made up your mind totally, McIntosh is reintroducing the MC 275 power amp. It's "the classic" Mac tube amp and all the tube products from Mac have only increased in value as the C22 I mentioned to Kegger attests to. Don't know if it fits in your plan but it is rather like buying a '67 Vette in that it will cost you nothing to use it for ten years. And Mac will always stand behind their product.
I would put tube sound as a Chianti Classico Reserva. So good, complex yet straight forward, makes you want more, good with almost anything and a finish you will remember for thirty years. Maybe eighteen year old Chivas Regal.

I've seen your post on the speakers and stayed away since I have no personal experience of the new small speakers from either company. I've sold and coveted both companies' speakers for years but that doesn't mean what they have now is in the same category anymore than saying I once owned Advents. I wouldn't begin to suggest the current Advent line up to any one I liked. Both the Spendor and the Quad have recieved excellent reviews and it appears the companies haven't strayed from their roots like so many others. I have personal experience with the Dynaudio minis and I have always been impressed with their products whether they were built by Dynaudio or used in another companies desings. I would place them on my personal short list. I believe they are still available as raw speakers that you can put together for less cash. Kegger can probably help with that if you're interested. There is always the ubiquitous LS3/5a. They are not officially in production but they are still available and still a worthy consideration if the price is right. I'm sure you've seen the discussions John and I have had about this speaker. Put "LS3/5a unofficial support site" into a search and check the "LS3/5a shootout" to see if it gives you any useful information. This is from the shootout. "All the listeners, to a man, left with a newfound respect for the LS3/5A, even Andy Whittle who must be way beyond bored with the speaker. We sat there amazed as the speakers continued to deliver sound which, even by 2001 standards, defies belief. (It was only after switching to Wilson WATT Puppy System 6 that we realised how much was missing down below, especially from the Eddy Louiss track.) Secondly, all agreed that it was a scandal that the speaker was no longer available." I don't know if you can find Harbeth anywhere but they are another I would consider. The problem is there are so many good small speakers, particularly now that we have so much from the Canadian companies coming into the U.S. The exchange on the Dollar doesn't give you the advantage on the Brittish speakers right now.

Ben - I remember the interview with Mr. McCormack. And he is correct in many instances but not all. The all time best selling tube amp is still the Dynaco Stereo 70. This was a budget design (sold for $59 kit and $79 assembled, the McIntosh MC275 sold for $449) and it shows that pedigree in several ways. One of the most dramatic is the way it uses the EL34 output tubes. By comparison with many of its higher priced competitors, the Dyna ran its outputs very hot and this meant tube life was pretty short. It didn't matter too much when the amp was designed because four new tubes would cost $6 to $10, now today a low priced EL34 will cost twice that for each tube. Running them that hot meant the tube had rather high distortion and lacked dynamics as it got to the end of its life. The McIntosh, Marantz and Citation gear from the same period ran their tubes much cooler and got lots of tube life by comparison. The Macs, particularly, had almost cool running amps. I use two MC240's that have 6L6GC outputs and I have occassionally had to take the cages off the amps to check whether they were running because the transformers are so cool when they are at idle. Mac also used a fixed bias circuit that didn't need constant adjustment, even when you change tubes you just plug in an appropriate relacement tube and you are ready to go, and this made a large difference in the life and sound of their tubes. As a tube wears in a Mac it doesn't have the distortion products that are present in an amp like the ST70. It will produce less power and have less dynamics but it is a gradual process that takes several years before you change outputs. When we did the Mac clinics I often saw Mac tubes that were 20 years old with original tubes that still met spec. That was the case with my pair when I got them in the mid '80's. And of course driver tubes and pre amp tubes have a much longer life, more so now with the better tube coolers available. If you're changing pre amp tubes more than every five years you're being fanatical. So I would agree that some tube products did and still do have a problem with wear but not all tube products suffer the same fate. I would ask this question before I bought a tube power amp from any manufacturer.

Kegger - I don't know what to tell you about the Dared pre amp. It has good reviews so it sounds as if it can live up to its billing. On Ebay you might walk away with a steal. I don't want to sound negative as I know nothing about the company or the product but, here are my two comments about what I read. The first is minor, I see this is a Chinese design and I have never had what I considered good sound from a Chinese tube. I certainly haven't tried them all so there could be great tubes from China that I'm unaware of. John's post claims the new valves from China are hot stuff. Otherwise, this might just mean changing the tubes to Russian or new old stock. Then again it might be wonderful out of the box. The other hesitation I would have is an unknown company. There have been so many companies that produce audio equipment, tube and transistor, that go out of business in a few years. Many are a matter of a great engineer that is a lousy business man. This leaves you with a problem if the unit ever needs repair. Even if this is a reworking af a "classic" ciruit I doubt you'll find a tech that will touch it without a schematic. And if there are any proprietary parts you could own a very attractive paper weight. This is why I tend to stay with companies that have a track record, but, every company has to start somewhere. If you're in the Chicago area you might ask if there are any private designer/builders that might have a product that would siut you. I know in Dallas there are a few guys that do tubes on a one or two off basis that sell for very reasonable prices. Check with some of the electrical supply houses or contact the local radio/audio clubs if you want to try that route. Still, if you got the Dared pe amp for not much money you could be the envy of your nieghbors and friends. Only you can call this one, Kegger.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 577
Registered: Dec-03
thanks jan if i can get it for a good price i may
just snatch it up.

i like the look.
the build quality "looks" nice.
has a remote.
and looks relatively inexpensive.


can you tell what kind of preamp this is?
you mentioned different styles in your first post.
can you tell if this falls into any of those catagories.

does it look like you could put standard tubes in
their to play with the sound.as i know nothing of
these things. my guess is they are standard and
you could try anything you like.

are their different "not brand but type" tubes to
stay away form or ones that are better.

and i don't think i mean the preamp itself but
the tubes that the preamp can take.

or does the tubes the preamp can take determine what
kind of preamp it is.

i hope i'm not asking stupid questions or getting
you lost.

if i am just slap me around a little. i can take it.

and believe me i've made bigger mistakes than spending
$300 on a preamp! (not that i want to $300 away)
but i've done stupider things!
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 315
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Thanks again. I saw the ASL 30w integrated amp on the Audio Advisor web sight. They make a30w @$999 and the 50w @ $1399. I would love to get a MAC, but a bit pricey. As far as the speakers go, I think you are dead on. I already had the Dynaudio 52's on the short list. What can you tell me about the Green Mountain Audio Europa? I just can't put my hands on a pair to audition.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 578
Registered: Dec-03
hear is a site with better pictures and at the
end it shows a view from the bottom.

if anyone is interested in seeing this thing.

http://sphl.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/buy_auc.pl?dgtlplay&1086313519
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
John - There are probably more good tube products out there today than there have been in the past thirty years. Part of the appeal is the simplicity of most good tube circuits and the availability of good to very good tubes at what are considered reasonable prices by today's standards.
In reference to your "that way madness lies" comment. It can be a madness. I dealt with a customer that would pursue that path with a maniacal quest for the ultimate sound. One week he would come in telling you about what tubes he had put in his amplifier and what they did. The next week he would swear he would never buy tubes again. One week it was CD's, the next LP's. Transistors/tubes, cones/Sorbothane, stereo/mono, cone/electrostatic. It was a constant circle with him. But he was the extreme exception. he was one of the clients that make a salesperson wonder if they should reconsider their career choice.
Changing tubes for system compatability is a virtue of tubes if you don't go overboard. Part of the problem/virtue is the ease with which you can achieve the results. Pull one tube out and plug in another and you can have a different sound. A new system for $6.50 and two minutes time.
Changing tubes can get very different sound from a circuit depending on the compatability of the tube within the particular circuit. If you are pushing the tube too close to its limits it will not be happy where a tube substitute, say going from a 6L6 to a KT66 with a larger envelope, will be a better fit for the circuit. The variables are also the availablity of tubes from different manufacturers and the new old stock tubes that are out there. If you have a decent knowledge of the tubes you are dealing with or a good dealer you don't have to go nuts with the changes you are going to achieve. You are generaly choosing not between tubes that dramatically alter the sound but more tubes that have different strengths and weaknesses. Some tubes are graded for the microphonics of the tube (part of what tubes in musical instrument amplifiers do that gives a certain sound, not good for hifi) going from very to not at all. Choose between a tube that has less noise (Telefunken) or better dynamics (Bugle Boy or Slyvania). I've had tubes that sounded gorgeous at low volumes but had problems at high volumes. There are military tubes that will last forever (in relative terms to tube life). So you have a circuit and you change the quality of that circuit by experimenting with tubes. Or you don't, you buy the equipment and consider the manufacturer's choice to be the sound you want.
There are some wonderful new old stock tubes that an individual can buy a few at at time but a manufacturer would never put them in a product because they cannot assure the availability of replacements in the future. New old stock tubes are from the period when tubes were plentiful and manufacturers made the best tubes they could. As tube production lines stopped the product suffered and for quite a while the tubes that were available where of lesser quality than the older tubes. A few years ago a team of English tube engineers tried to revive the Golden Areo line but had to resort to Chinese manufacturing companies. The tubes sounded wonderful, everything I remembered from the old company's products, but they were unreliable (where the originals would last and last) and as the exchange rates rose they were eventually forced out of producton. But substituting these for the stock tubes is a way to upgrade an amplifier's sound from, let's say, a $2,000 unit to the quality of a $4,000 amplifier. (Today's tubes are a mix of still not as good as the past, as good as the past and some that, due to computers, have excceded the past designs.) I hope you understand that and don't think a manufacturer should always provide the best sound possible. They should but they have to consider cost and repairablity also. If you know there are 200 of this tube available and your product will "sound" different at serial number 201, or your cost will rise when you have to find another tube, you would be doing a disservice to use that tube.
I respect your unerring desire for accuracy but I have found that an impossibility in reality. Having been involved in recording and eventually getting a product to the end of the chain, the speakers, I can't say there is much that is accurate in the reproduction of music. Convincing, yes; but accurate, no. Just the experience I have had placing the same amplifier or speaker in different systems tells me there is a world of difference in the sound of components that measure one way but interact as separate units. Certainly hearing the same speaker I had sold dozens of times as it was placed in dozens of different rooms convinces me there are no absolutes in this hobby. Clients expressed their satisfaction while I heard a different response than I had achieved in the last room. Is this bad? I think not, just inevitable. Were the sounds drastically different? No, not too different. Were they exactly the same? Impossible.
So while we can all hope for the "absolute sound", until all audiophiles repair to an identical "approved" room (101) with the same "certified" equipment that will be no more than the Holy Grail.
And who will choose this "official" room and system? I certainly hope not the Electoral College or the Supreme Court of Audio. As I have said I have worked with dozens of audio salespeople who could all agree whether we liked the sound of a certain component but could not agree on what was the ultimate system. I never worked with anyone who had the same system I owned, maybe a piece or two but never the same system. And yet we would hear each other's sytems and appreciate what was good about each system. But we all listen for slightly different qualities in live and recorded music. And then add in a musician and an engineer and you will barely get the same pieces.
So my ultimate system is still what makes me happy. Is it accurate? Unfortunately, I have to say no. I have had too many components in and out of the system for comparison to know that there are products that do certain aspects of reproducing music better than my system can. And my system does some things that I think are wonderful compared to all the pieces of equipment I have heard. Are any of them accurate? I would say no, just pleasing to me and pleasing to the clients that now own that piece of equipment.
It's somewhat like being married. You can have a fantastic spouse but appreciate that your neighbor can bake a better lasagne. You can enjoy the abilty your spouse has to paint on a canvas but know your sister's husband did a better job painting their house or tuning the car. We have our unique talents. I feel the same is true of audio equipment. I have never thought Eric Clapton or Elvis was in my room with me but I've sure enjoyed what I have heard.
Am I convinced I have an 88 piece orchestra in my room or that I have been transported to the LaScalla opera house? Not yet. Maybe this is what can happen with DVD-A and SACD, no?
So you can call it what you like; distortion, coloration or just inaccuracy but I like it and that is, to me, the bottom line. And if changing a tube makes me like it more - OK, what if I change two tubes?
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 132
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

When repacing the 12AT7 tubes, I would definately be sure to get a matched pair. his is done through testing. A good place to get tubes would be www.upscaleaudio.com.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 580
Registered: Dec-03
hey ben thanks for the link.

if you also now about tubes how about some input
from yourself.

as it looks like jan is the only one around hear
that knows anything about them.

and i'm sure he won't mind someone elses oppinion
even if it happens to differ from his.

maybe we could get a tube discussion going and
the ones that don't know anything "myself included"
could learn a few things and ask some questions.

jan has done an excelent job so far but i'm up for
more knowlage.

if anyone disagrees with this or feels we need a new
post just speak up.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Rick - Sorry, I don't have any knowledge of the Green Mountain products.

Kegger - Give it a try and see what you think. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.

The construction quality looks good and the parts list is good so I would say this falls into the new school of tube design. It should give you the benefits of tubes without the rolled highs and less defined bottom of old school products.
The tubes used are fairly common tubes for a pre amp or driver section of a power amp. The 12AT7 is a good choice for a pre amp as it has good gain characteristics. Unlike a 12AX7 the 12AT7 doesn't have as many choices to substitute but you should find more than enough choices if you go that route. The 12AT7 is a triode, which means it has three elements of construction as opposed to a diode or pentode. Put "How tubes work" in a search if you want to know more about tube construction. If you will click on the link at the rectifier tube, the 5Z4P, you will get a partial tube substitution table. Once a pre amp has been designed around a particular type of tube you will stay within the accepted substitutes for that tube. In this case the designers picked the 12AT7 as the tube of choice. They could have used a 12AX7, 12AU7 or 6DJ8, all common tubes for pre amps. They chose the 12AT7 for particular characteristics, my guess would be the gain vs. noise. Look across the table at the 12AT7 and you will see several tubes that can be substituted. The first division is between American and other counries' designation for what is approximately the same tube. Here you see you can sub an ECC81 for the 12AT7. The ECC81 is a European number. The next division is between the various tube numbers that are similar to an ECC81 or 12AT7. The 7728 is probably a military/heavy use tube, because it was designed for a different use it will likely be slightly different in sonics or durability. The other numbers can mean several things such as a 12AT7 sub that is designed for use in a specific location within a circuit, maybe where it is subjected to more vibration. Some of the numbers are subs that can be used with minimal circuit modification. Some tubes have similar characteristics but use different pin configurations to make the tube work. Some can sub if specs are allowed to deviate slightly. Output tubes in a power amp are the only tubes you would have to check bias on when you substitute or replace tubes. Pre amp/driver tubes such as the 12AT7 are direct drop in replacements. No adjustments are neccessary for replacement as long as you are going with a direct replacement number. Soft start circuits with thermistors or complete circuits, chokes or standby systems all will increase the tube life. Like light bulbs and other electronic devices, tubes get brittle when you slam them with 110 volts. Lower priced units will sometimes delete these circuits for cost reasons. You will end up replacing tubes more often if these are deleted. Pre amp tubes aren't overly expensive but you would like your tubes to last as long as possible. There is no sonic reason to not have these protection circuits.
Manufacturers will make several grades of the popular tube types like a 12AT7 or 12AX7. Some will be graded for noise or microphonics. Some will have more rugged construction or constructio particularly geared to audio use or maybe just gold pins. If you have read the post I made to John A. you will see there are qualities you can choose from within these sub groups. Certain tubes will be better at dynamics, some offer better separation of instruments or better decay of a signal. A good tube person can help you out with selection but it is a try it and see situation with any tube. Partly due to the reasons I gave John and partly because the tube inertacts within the circuit and unless a seller has tried a particular tube in multitudes of circuits it is hard if not impossible to tell you what to expect beyond generalities. It is harded to predict when the product you are using is new or unknown. The Macs are easy to sub because there are so many over such a long period of time. So you will have to take someone's best guess with this unit more than likely.
To understand more about tube substitution you should start with a tube substitution guide book. They are avaiable on the net or try www.tubesandmore.com. Look through their books and the info they give on tubes. Next click on a few sites that offer tubes to see what they say. Tubes are sold in matched pairs, quads and octets for power output tubes. Pre amp tubes are generally graded for noise or microphonics but not much else. Normally if you are buying pre amp tubes you are not concerned with matching like you are with output tubes. As long as they come from the same batch pre amp tubes should be fine. If there is any fuether grading it will be an additional cost item. RAM tubes has a grading system for all their tubes.
One last item here. This pre amp has no protection for the tubes or anyone around the tubes. Tubes run hot. They are the equivalent of a hot light bulb. Make certain this pre amp will be in a safe place where no one can get burned by touching a pretty glowing thingy. I don't have children around but I had cages for my amps. The Macs, like this pre amp have a chrome chassis. I had the cages off to clean the amps and my cat jumped into the middle of the amplifier. I assume he saw his reflection and went for the "other" cat. He didn't get hurt but it taught him a lesson he never forgot. Tubes run at very high voltages. Pre amp tubes will have about 400 to 600 volts at the heater. There's not much current but 600 volts will give you a dangerous, possibly lethal, shock that will grab you and not want to let go. Please use this pre amp accordingly. Let me know what happens or if you have more questions.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Gregory - I haven't forgotten your question but I will have to do an answer at another time.
I pretty much knew the quote was not from your personal interview with Bob Carver. But now we are really nitting picks. If John A. gets "Eats, Shoots and Leaves" and starts to criticize punctuation I am out of here Tootie Sweetie.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 583
Registered: Dec-03
JAN THAT IS SOME AWSOME SH!T.

now i have to decipher some of what you have said
and compare it with your other posts because i believe
i have a question that stems from both.

thanks.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1579
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

I shall never criticise punctuation or style. Never. Rest assured. I merely responded to your aside about the plural of "onus". No criticism. Not at all. How's that for sentence structure...

Thank you for the post on tubes (aka valves). I appreciate that. In hifi we are always on the edge of objective/subjective. It is difficult sometimes to be clear about where one is. I am not looking to "upgrade" right now, but am always interested in new possibilities, may be in 2005. The renaissance of valve/tube amps is very interesting, like turntables : Pro-Ject now have a whole range of the latter, including one looking bit like a Michell GyroDeck. Some makers are clearly expecting a recovery for vinyl. I hope they are right.

I once "nearly" bought a Quad valve amp set, I think 33/303, but the power rating worried me, I think it was 2 x 20 or even less. The dealer (a nice guy) rather undersold it, and said it might be nice but expensive "like running a vintage Bentley". So I bought a new transistor amp (Armstrong 621), that lasted about 14 years, and have been with solid state everything, ever since. Possibly the Quad would be working to this day, and have held its value, as you mention for McIntosh.

I wonder if you could comment on the power ratings of valve vs transistor amps? You would not really expect to get realistic listening levels out of a transistor amp rated at 2 x 30 W or whatever. 2 x 40 W from the old Armstrong 621 eventually proved to be not enough, and the thing overheated, and died, in 1993, towards the end of the Kyrie of Mozart's mass in C minor (you remember these things - a requiem for my loyal amp). Expensive attempts at resuscitation never succeeded; the paramedics screwed up, I think. I expect this will be the eventual fate of of my current 5.1 NAD. It sounds good, plenty loud enough on stereo, clips just occasionally on e.g. organ in surround (Bach magnificat 4.0 - "all channels driven" is not a meaningless test term!) but has gone into overheat protection a couple of times, the latest near the top of Mt Doom, to the children's extreme consternation. Any 5.1 valve/tube amps out there? or is that a cultural contradiction?

Re jury service for some reason I vividly picture you in place of Henry Fonda in "Twelve Angry Men".

Best wishes.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1580
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

Further points not covered above.

"Am I convinced I have an 88 piece orchestra in my room or that I have been transported to the LaScalla opera house? Not yet."

Having discussed and debated and learned, here, the one conclusion I think I have come to is the crucial distinction between "they are here" and "you are there". Surround will not bring the orchestra to your room, thank goodness, not until you have 88 speakers and a big enough room. What it can do, now, and you only need four speakers, is take you convincingly out of your room and place you in e.g., yes, La Scalla, Milan.

"Maybe this is what can happen with DVD-A and SACD, no?"

I can speak for DVD-A, and the answer is "Yes, provided....." We are back to the Old Dogs topic. The "provided....." is that the recording engineers knew what they were doing, or, at leas, had the same objective you have; that you have your speakers positioned as you would for stereo imaging (but on four sides, not one); and that you can suppress the competing acoustic signature of the room you happen to be sitting in. You don't want to hear the competing sound of your own room, any more than you want the sound of the speakers themselves.

With closed eyes I have been convincingly transported to named performance venues I have actually visited (Chapel of Kings' College Cambridge) and named ones I haven't but can easily imagine actually sound that way (all Saints' Tooting; concert halls in Bournemouth, Glasgow, Studio of Russian Broadcasting Moscow; hall in Orebro, Sweden). I have failed to play "the Sands" Sinatra DVD-A, but look forward to being transported to LA in 1966.

BTW EMI on the 4.0 Bach/King's College DVD-A slighly confuse the issue by saying proudly on the label it is an "Abbey Road Recording". That is quite different. I worried briefly I had been sonically duped, and the reverb was electronic. Not so. All recorded actually in Kings C. Chapel on given dates in late 1999. Where Abbey Road comes in, I am not sure. Totally amazing sound, honestly. They could not possibly have faked that.
 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 133
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

I am not a tube expert. All I can tell you is to talk to a dealer like Upscale and tell tham what you are trying to do. If you are replacing two similar tubes (one each channel) it would do you well to make sure they are matched. Other than that, enjoy.

 

Silver Member
Username: Black_math

Post Number: 134
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,

I was right about the Sony CD player being compared to a &1,000.00 CD player. You attempted to correct my comparison by stating:

"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"

Here is a quote from the article:

"On conventional CDs, the DVP-NS500V offers credible performance that is comparable to some much higher priced CD-only players with high-end aspirations (e.g., the Rega Planet). The Sony's sound (on CDs and SACDs) has several defining characteristics."

I shouldn't have been so quick to question my memory!

 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Ben - You and I may have been referring to a different article, I'm not sure. I would say the point can still be made that the price of performance is coming down. But we are again picking things apart. I saw one thing in an article and you possibly saw another. Each of us see and hear differently.

John A. - I wasn't bothered by your remark, just trying to point out what I felt was some silliness. After the years I have spent in theater and sales I don't take many things personally.
Your question about power ratings is no more easily answered than, "How much horsepower is needed in an automobile?". It depends.
We all know power requirements are dependent on several factors, the most important being the efficiency of the attached speakers. I often use the Klipschorn as a reference because it was so unusual in many ways; and, in this instance it was one of the most efficient speakers sold to the consumer. At 104 dB w/ 1 watt @ 1 meter we could show how loud the Klipsch could play attached to an Advent table radio with 4 watts of power. I was selling IMF transmission lines at the same time, for more money, that couldn't achieve the same results with a McIntosh 500 watt power amp. But placing a pair of Klipschorns in a room was not easy, they were huge. I have never lived in a house that would accomodate a pair let alone 5.1 of them. So what can you expect from 20-30 watts is relative. And remember that 25 watts was considered huge for most listeners until the early '60's. There were no 84-86 dB speakers back then, even "compact" speakers could be expected to hit 94 dB.
I will assume your question is about realistic listening levels in an average home. But then I have to ask, to what levels? We all know that at the high frequencies we are usually delivering a few watts at even the highest volumes. Most should know that at average listening levels (what is average, Mr. Ashcroft?) we expend less than ten to twenty watts. And of course as we ask for more power the demand is expotential. What I always found was the amount of power needed to deliver "deep" bass was far beyond what most clients thought would be required. The amount of power to deliver a huge drum whack at anything close to realistic levels is incredible. As another example, the Mac 500 watt amp had a hold feature on the meters to show max power. When Telarc produced "The Firebird Suite" on LP it was a demo favorite. Put "The Firebird" on the IMF and the meters are at 50 watts until the drum where they are suddenly pegged, the amp has maxed out. (Due to the Power Guard circuitry of modern McIntosh amps they don't clip. The circuit limits the voltage to the front end driver section of the amplifier so the outputs are never driven into a clipping mode.) Put the same on the Klipschorn and the meters are barely seen to move until the drum, then they jump up to less than 20 watts max power. The IMF impressed when it reproduced the bass drum, the Klipschorn made your pants legs shake.
So, I think the answer you may really want is more along the lines of, what happens when the amps clip. And again I have to say, it depends. Most everyone has heard that a tube amp clips "gracefully" where a bipolar transistor amp clips "hard". Those are simplifications that go only so far in describing what you might hear. If you see the action of the output devices tracked on an ossiloscope you will see most bipolars do not round off the edges of the waveform for more than a few miliseconds in time before the signal is flatened out and hard clipping results. When the same situation is repeated with a good tube amp the waveform is rounded quite gradually as it reaches its limits and then it also flattens out. So you don't hear the hardness of the bipolar amp and you have an apparent amount of head room that is normally not available from the solid state counterpart.
But if the signal clips the front end of the tube amp you will be sending a distorted signal to the outputs no matter what. Because a Dynaco amp was a budget design the front end had less headroom than a Mac or a Marantz. So when the Dynaco clipped it was far more noticeable than when the same occurred on the better amp.
We all know of small amps that are far better than their specs indicate. Another example is the original B&K ST140 rated at 40 watts with MOSFET outputs vs. a Yamaha reciever rated at 100 watts. There is just barely a 3 dB difference if they were equal, but, the B&K just ate up the Yamaha because they weren't equal. The MOSFET's clipped more like a tube amp with a hefty power supply and the Yamaha showed it was a bipolar transistor reciever design.
Now we have Single Ended Triode tube amps with 8 to 10 watts. But there is also a resurgence of efficient speakers. Will they manage "Night on Bald Mountain" or Hip Hop at realistic levels? Probably not, but who would buy any 8 watt amp if those were their requirements?
So, when I went from my Chevelle SS the next car I bought was a Honda Civic with about 65 horsepower. The Chevelle could go quick and fast in a straight line. It wasn't much on curves. The Honda could go into a curve at the same speed the Chevelle did and come out just as fast as it went in. I had as much fun but in a different manner.
As I got a client into building a system one of the most frequent comments I would make was, "As I give you one thing, I will almost always take away one or two others." Evrything is a tradeoff of sorts, you have to decide what is most important to you.
I don't know if that answers any of the question you asked, but I do think the Quad would still be running and worth several times its original price.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1587
Registered: Dec-03
Just a quick "thank you" Jan. I will read again, and report back. Roughly, volume of sound (in dB) at say 1 m is proportional to efficiency of speaker and to power used by it. So you can trade efficiency against power and end up with same volume of sound. And, yes, low frequencies use more power than high. I have always bought the idea that neutrality in a speaker (desirable) is purchased at the expense of efficiency, so I go for low-efficiency speakers (not that that matters in itself), which require powerful amps (neither does that). I have no experience of "horns". They take the WAF to new lows, that's all I know. I vaguely feel I am beginning to run out of steam at 5 x 60 W (plus 100 W sub) with conventional electromagmetic speakers, and would not wish to go lower than that, hence I would worry about the cost of valve amps that would deliver at least equal power.

Yes, I remember the days when my 2 x 40 W was thought impressive, and 2 x 100 W was for megalomaniacs only. Have we all gone deaf in the intervening years?
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
John - Yes, I believe so, particularly those younger than ourselves. God, how I sound like my parents! I feel so old.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Gregory - If you have read the past few posts I have made you will have some idea what I feel is important, how I judge components and systems and what I think can be said for accuracy in audio reproduction in the home environment.
Now let's address your questions to me.

I will begin by saying I think double blind tests are just great for deciding certain variables and the value of one product over another. But as you must have realized by now I have few absolutes in my life. Maybe it was the nuns, maybe it is my Italian heritage where the best pasta sauce you've ever had is the one you just had or maybe too much George Carlin when I was growing up ("Yeah, Monsignor, if God is all powerful, can he make a rock so heavy even he can't pick it up?").
DBT is a perfectly acceptable way to judge, IMO, the desirability of Coke or Pepsi. A few quick tastes from unmarked cups and you can say, "I prefer A over B". And who cares if you are not correct? After you finish your 2 liter bottle of Pepsi you can go spend $1.99 for a bottle of Dr. Pepper. ("I'm a Pepper, you're a Pepper ... ", OK, now you've got that in my head; curse you, Red Baron!!!) DBT's are OK for whether you like Spiderman or Superman. Which do you think has the cooler costume?
I begin to have problems with DBT's for things like drugs, though. I know they are the accepted method of testing for the drug industry, but, there's something creepy about those tests to me. Let's just say the following are results from a DBT. I made the numbers up, but I don't think that matters in this example.

"The results indicate of the participants that used the drug 52% got satisfactory results while 28% showed no signs of improvement. Of those given a placebo, only 33% demonstrated favorable response while 44% indicated no response to the drug what so ever."

Maybe I've got the whole thing messed up against the reality of DBT's but it seems to me that if 33% got results similar to the drug by taking a sugar pill, you might want to give more sugar pills. Is it because you see the 44% who didn't get results, and you just don't want to endanger anyone? Well, maybe the results would be higher if they never knew there was a placebo in the test somewhere. Would the real drug's efficacy be higher if the participants in the test didn't know that they MIGHT be recieving a placebo? They had to, at sometime, think, "Maybe I'm getting the sugar pill." Did that keep them from getting better results just as those who wanted to believe their sugar pill was the real drug got the desired results? And, of course, what were the long term effects of both the drug and the placebo? What were the side effects of both?
In other words, what did your mind tell you to expect and did you get those results?
Here in Texas we have what is known as Texas A&M (Agriculture and Mechanical) University. They have "cadets" and march around in uniforms and, like Marines, if you were once an Aggie you are forever an Aggie. They turn out lots of engineers and veterinarians. If I go to a vet that is an Aggie, I almost always know what to expect (my preconceptons verified, in my opinion). I say, "I use organics in my yard and I don't have a flea problem." They say, "Organics don't work."
I see what I want to see as the results of my effort. They see what they have decided is the result of their training. Organics are not taught at Texas A&M university. They have been taught chemicals are the way to solve a problem. They see that as the answer because they have not seen another answer. When I go to the Holistic vet my animals recieve no chemicals because the Holistic vet doesn't believe in them. Have I had satisfactory results from both vets? Yes. Am I fooling myself in either case? Maybe. Would the animal have gotten better on their own? Possibly.
We all have past references that we use to make decisions and solve problems. My viewpoint is not the same as anyone else. I sometimes look at my dogs and wonder what their viewpoint is when their eyes are 6", 13" and 27" off the ground. (I have three dogs not one very funny looking one.) Surely not the same as mine.
So viewpoint is what I bring to everything I judge. For the most part, in my world, 1+1 does not equal 2. Rather 1+1 = 1+1 until I judge otherwise.
As a salesperson I have worked in stores that used comparators and stores that just hooked up equipment to suit the client. I've not seen big differences between either method. I would say because the customers brought their own viewpoints to the store.
I will use a few quotes from an article in "Stereophile" and ask you to go to their site and put DBT in their search for more informaton.

"To the scientist, "what you like" is unimportant because it is not based on any measurable, objective standard. "What you like" is merely the reflection of an individual's biases, limitations and caprice, and thus has no validity."

"To the objectivist, listening for oneself to discover if differences exist is ruled out. Again, I quote Dr. Lipshitz: "...I would like to comment briefly on the frequently-heard but nonsensical request which the 'subjectivists' make of us 'objectivists'--namely that we undertake tests to substantiate their claims for the audibility of a certain effect. How can you expect someone who professes not to be able to hear something demonstrate its audibility? The onus clearly falls on those who claim that they can hear the difference to subject their claims to the harsh reality of a blind test."


"Blind tests which have demonstrated audible differences between components have been attacked on the basis of alleged poor methodology. Martin Colloms's blind amplifier tests in Hi-Fi News & Record Review (May '86, p.67, and August '86, p.7 & 9) showed a 63% correct identification, yet the results were dismissed since some of the subjects refused to respond to each presentation. In addition, Stereophile's blind amplifier tests conducted during the Stereophile Bay Area Hi-Fi Show in 1989 revealed sonic differences between an Adcom GFA-555 and VTL 300W Deluxe monoblocks. However, the results were incorrectly reported--in a paper given at the AES conference attacking the audiophile position--to be of no statistical significance. I refer the reader to the letter in Vol.12 No.10 from Professor Herman Burstein, one of the country's foremost statisticians, who did find a degree of statistical significance in the test results. When JA informed Tom Nousaine, author of the paper that incorrectly ascribed no significance to our results, that Professor Burstein had indeed found a small but nevertheless statistically acceptable evidence of differences between amplifiers, Mr. Nousaine responded that the established acceptance criterion for recognizing a difference was therefore too low. Furthermore, he attempts to discredit even statistically significant evidence of differences in this quote from his paper: "It is wise to be suspicious of results which are barely significant in any endeavor."

Whether you agree with the above statements depends on your viewpoint. Just as it does with the veterinarian and just as it does with two people who see "Farenheit: 911". In the movie example, both people see and hear the exact same images in the exact same sequence. Those that come predisposed to one point of view will disagree with those who have obtained a different point of view. Those that come open minded, if there is such a thing; can they be swayed in one direction? Maybe. Can their position then be reversed? Probably.
In the same fashion I find those that are of a mind not to believe in subjective listening will find no differences when they attempt such an endeavor. They will use their assumptions of what they have already accepted and that will be sufficient for them.

"Nothing would embarrass or offend me more than to be a Stereophile and John Atkinson adherent of subjectivism." (June 13th.) That seems so place your flag squarely at one end of the field.

(You state that amplifiers do not "soundstage". I can't accept that premise. Both beacause my experience tells me otherwise, and I cannot logically see the chain being one of: CD-no stage, pre amp-no stage, power amp- no stage, speakers- SOUNDSTAGE! Where did it come from? Is there Magic here that I am unaware of after more than tirty years of listening?)
Does that explain why DBT's may be less conclusive when the subjective listener employs the same methodology? Yes and no.
Of course the subjective listener is telling themself there are differences. So they should detect the differences. But they are also telling themself the differences are detectable over a period of time. They are, therefore, placing the assumptions of one viewpoint against another.
DBT's are effective in "static" situations. Coke vs. Pepsi. They work less well in "dynamic" situations. Have you ever purchased a product that you "tested" before the purchase? Probably a car. In a test drive you have a dynamic of many variables. But you decide, admittedly not in a DBT, that one car is better suited to you than another. Once you get the car you may notice things that you wish you had noticed before you purchased. If you had rented the car for a week maybe you would have noticed these items.
To me, listening over a period of time gives me more infromation to assess. I have had quite a few products through my system over the years and I can tell moe about that product as I get more familiar with the strengths and weaknesses of each piece of equipment. Playing the same music through three amplifiers will reveal the ability of one to have better low level detail, one will handle dynamics big and small better and another will make a more convincing presentation of a vocal. Over most of the music I play they will sound very similar. Almost unidentifiable as far as frequency, soundstaging and so forth are concerned. But I hear more as I listen more. Have I convinced myself those differences are there. I can't tell and neither can anyone else. No one else has my viewpoint. Would I hear those differences in a typical DBT? Probably not. Have I convinced myself of that? Yes. Have you convinced yourself I would not? I think so.

You speak of the onus of proof, as does Dr. Lipshitz. I have no reason to place the onus of proof on anyone. If a product can perform to the satisfaction of the buyer it will succeed in the market place. I, for one, have been amazed at the acceptance of dual zone climate conrol in a vehicle where the two zones are mere inches apart. But it has become a deal breaker for some in the market. Would a DBT proof its value? Probably not. Does that matter? Certainly not.
The market will decide the value of a statement, not any amount of tests you care to perform. So whether there are real or percieved differences matters little to me. As I have stated to John, hearing the same speakers installed in a dozen rooms tells me there is little accuracy in audio. Are the clients happy when they have their new speakers? Usually, yes. Can they go to another system and appreciate its qualities? I hope so.
DBT's of audio equipment are, to me, the same as DBT's of your spouse or your pasta sauce. There are too many dynamics that change over a period of time to make a judgement beyond the now.
And that is all the subjective reviewers are telling me.
As a salesperson I have read many, many magazines and articles about my hobby/profession. I have boxes of past material and many more that were read and I went on. To me "Stereophile" is no more relavent than the "JAES". I read the "N.Y. Times" and the "Wall Street Journal". John mentioned the over the top qualties of "The Absolute Sound". Agreed. But I sometimes buy "The Weekly World News" just so I can keep up with BatBoy or find out that G.W. Bush performed a wedding ceremony between John Kerry and Osama Bin Laden while traveling in a time capsule. You take everything with a grain of salt. You place everything in an appropriate folder.
You say you place yourself among the skeptics. I find I am far more skeptical of those that have such an apparent mindset they would make statements that a group of people "love" distortion. I find ridiculing the writings of anyone, or the profession of anyone to be dogmatic. If someone wants to stand on the streets of New York and play guitar in their underware, let them. If someone wants to buy a clock that makes their audio system sound better, they have my permission.
Saying you have no problem with this group or that stance is not the same as having no problem if you have voiced the objection in the first place.

"Speaking clearly though the hole in his sheet, the man made it clear he had no opposition to people of color attending the same school as his children. He then torched the building."

My problem is with anyone who is unable to see beyond their own preconceptions. You ask what use are the subjective listeners if they can't pass a DBT. Well, they entertain me. They tell me what equipment I might be interested in listening to. They lull me to sleep sometimes. Whatever the reason, they are merely serving a portion of the buying public that wants that type of writing. What good are wires that have cryogenically frozen molecules? They serve a piece of the market. If you don't care for that portion of the market, as long as it doesn't harm anyone, it should not concern you. Can you dismiss the information? Well, I don't think all those guys were in a time capsule, really.
Does it bother me that you seem unwilling to accept the subjective listeners? I'll get over it. It is your perogative to have your opinion. I reserve the right to have my own.
There is my answer to you question. You expected a simple yes or no?
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 589
Registered: Dec-03
you know when we all started arguing/debating or
just throwing our oppinions out their about audio
i found myself on most of the same viewpoints as
gregory and still do with some.then i thought johna
was more the way i am.but lately him and i but heads
quite often and i find myself on the other side of
fence from john more times than not "that is ok
though it spurs more debate".but the one thing i
never thought, was that i would find myself thinking
more like jan.as to start out i thought he was a
pompis a$$hole "and can still sound like that some times" (please don't take that too hard jan)
but lately after seeing more of his views i am
starting to realize he looks at things more like
myself than i ever would have thought.


i personally believe their are no absolutes. and
when it comes to audio i can't find accuracy.
what is it? to me as long as it sounds good to you
that is all that matters.

yes you take some specs in and evaluate them but
it comes down to how it sounds to you.

and anyone who says it has to be this way or it
is not correct is no one i want to listen to.
yah that way may be correct for you but i'm going
to experiment and find a different way to do it.
or what your listening for is not what i'm listening for.


and i don't think any of us think excactly the same
when it comes to audio.be it how to get their or
whether we are their!

all we can do express our oppinions of what we like
and hear.while listening to others and see if that
might fit into what we like.

but anyone who tries to force their oppinion as
fact can get lost in my book.


i agree with a lot that gregory has said along with
john and now more recently jan.

i allways say to myself try to keep an open mind
but sometimes it is very difficult when someone
says something that really pi$$es you off or varies
so much from your oppinion and they try and jam it
down your throught.

i think more people need to relize audio is more
of an oppinion than fact.


and i believe in dbt to a certain degree. but their
have been times iv'e tried it and found no difference
but later after hearing that piece of equipment
for awhile then removing it i notice something.
so to me somethings you don't notice right away
but after awhile you do.

i still say i hear no differnce in cables or wires
as long as i have descent ones to start with.

but most other things i can hear differences.

 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 590
Registered: Dec-03
now we just need to get jan into multichannel
music!

because dvd-a and sacd to me sound so much better
than cd's ever did!

and on a well recorded/mixed surround title it is
so much more involving.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 591
Registered: Dec-03
jan i hope you don't take my comment the wrong
way.

what i mean is my oppinion of you has changed and
i don't mean because we are talking about tubes
and you've givin me some insight.

but because earlier on in posts i felt you rubbed
me the wrong way and i made an early observation
that lately i realize was not correct.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 592
Registered: Dec-03
john to get back to your speaker efficency thing.

it is much easier to make a good sounding low
efficency speaker than it is a high efficency one.

many factors come into play. obviously mainly xovers
and drivers.

but the reason you don't see a lot of high efficency
speakers is the manufacturers don't need to make
them anymore because we have bazillion watt amps.

back in the hayday of tubes you had efficent speakers
so you could run smaller tube amps.

now you need at least 75watts a channel to drive
them nicely and 125 to give you some headroom.

you can still find some highly efficent speakers.
i have some klipsch and jbl's that are up over 90
i think the jbl's are around 92 while the klipsch
are around 97.

but most speakers now adays are around 87 so yah
if you want to go tubes you either need to get
efficent speakers or try what i've been talking
with jan about and use a tube preamp with a solid
state amp.

from what he and others i have talked to about
that setup say, it can work very nicely.

i was just at a highend shop today "the only one
in my area that deals with tubes" talking to a few
different guys in their from customers to the owner.
and they agree a tube preamp with a good solid
state amp works excelent.

and i listend to some combos like that today on
nice speakers "ones i can't afford" and what i heard
was very aweinspiring.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 593
Registered: Dec-03
the same manufacturer who makes that preamp has
some very cool looking equipment on their site.

check it out!

http://www.daredtube.net/SAMPLE.htm
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1589
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Kegger!

Having read Jan's and Gregory's post a couple of times, I think there is a difference in the way they each use certain words. Whether there is also any real difference of opinion beneath the misunderstanding, I am not sure; there could well be. The post format makes it difficult to see who is quoting whom, and whether either or both is quoting someone else (Atkinson; Nousaine; Lipschitz; Burstein...?).

Let me paste some quotes, I am not always sure whose.

Gregory June 21 "At least Tom Nousaine uses the scientific method..." There is no scientific method. The question is whether people are fooling themselves or not. Most of us do that, a lot of the time. But we can try to find out if, and when, we are. And also try not to fool others. "Science" is what you are left with when you have systematically eliminated all the possibilities you can think of that you are fooling yourself (Richard Feynmann said that, I think). No-one should take on trust conclusions that are contrary to his/her own experience - that is about the most "unscientific" thing you can do. Wheel on "experts" with academic qualifications who claim they know better than you, and Jan sees the nuns again. He is right. We should question them, and their supposed authority. Take nobody's word for it: decide for yourself.

Concerning double-blind testing, that is just one way of trying to see if there is are consistent differences between the way people describe things. If apparent differences are consistently reported between two sample groups, one has to ask why. The explanation may not be simple. If no difference are consistently reported, it does not mean that no differences exist. The whole idea of accepting the word of an eminent statistician is absurd. If he is any good, he will give you, and explain, his assessment of probability that something is or is not the case. If he says "trust me, I know what I am talking about" then he is a nun in disguise.

Gregory June 24 "Anyway, people have their belief systems and I am not likely to change anyone's belief system." Jan is justified in taking exception to that, and so am I. Any person who seriously wants to know how things are (on tubes or anything else) is willing the consider changing his/her "belief system". You are stating that others here (us) hold opinions dogmatically, believing them to be facts, while you, yourself, do not. How did you achieve this miraculous state of omniscience? The statement declares the writer unwilling to explain why he thinks anyone might share his view. "Believe what I say because it is I who says it" is a good indication that the writer does not believe it him/herself. We could save a lot of time of people would declare this position at the outset.

So, is everything, in the end, just a matter of opinion? I say "no", and it is here is disagree with Jan. This is another way of retreating from trying to say anything with which people disagree. There are facts. They are usually fairly boring things, in themselves. You can count the number of valves/tubes (or transistors or whatever) in an amp, and your total is either right or wrong.

Who said this (quoted by jan June 30)?:- ""To the scientist, "what you like" is unimportant because it is not based on any measurable, objective standard. "What you like" is merely the reflection of an individual's biases, limitations and caprice, and thus has no validity."" Total nonsense. "What we experience" is all we have, plus how we interpret that.

Jan: "So viewpoint is what I bring to everything I judge". Quite right, so does everyone else; there is no alternative.

Jan: "For the most part, in my world, 1+1 does not equal 2. Rather 1+1 = 1+1 until I judge otherwise. " Here Jan oversteps the mark. 1+1 has to be equal to 1+1 and also to 2, otherwise we contradict ourselves, and nothing we say can be understood, even by ourselves. This is not the "nun" speaking. Her profession depends precisely on 1+1 equalling anything she feels like, and on then bullying people into submission, if they disagree. She knows better, because she has a privileged line of communication with the being that knows everything.

All we can do here is report on experiences and opinions. Making personal remarks about prose style and belief systems is simply a smokescreen, and an indication of trying to change the rules of the game, in order to appear to win an argument, rather than arrive at common understanding. I've had to make this point before, in a discussion with Gregory about phasing and number of channels required for perception of position of sound sources. It is beginning to look like a persistent pattern of behaviour. One only has so much time.

A little good manners would go a long way.

I come away from this thread actually interested to listen to a tube amp, to make up my own mind. I have changed my "belief system". I thank Jan for that. If it turns out I was wasting my time, I take full responsibility, and still thank Jan, for presenting his honest opinion, and enabling me to form my own, whether it agrees with his or not. I am not obliged to accept that tubes are different, or even "better"; Jan seems, to me, to be the last here to say "because I say so". See what a good job the nuns did, by accident? They turned out a sceptic, and a true scientist, probably the exact opposite of theor intention. And there either is, or is not, a real difference between the sound of tube/valve and transistor amps: that is not just a matter of opinion, though clearly opinions disagree. If the difference is "real" then "subjective" and "objective" must agree. The problem with "objective" is that we do not have direct access to it, and other people sometimes claim, falsely, that they do. One has to make up one's own mind. There is no alternative. Fortunately.

I am waiting for "off topic", again, but it ain't.

Peace.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 596
Registered: Dec-03
these are still early impressions and i could be
way off base on this but.

i have been doing some extensive listening lately
to dvd-a and sacd.

i find both to a major upgrade from cd.

but i think i am starting to find a difference
between the 2.

to me sacd sounds excelent you can tell the higher
resolution but may seem more musical like the
music has a pleasing filter so to speak on it
maybe slightly rouning off the extremes of digital.

where dvd-a just gives you the full high rez sound
with no pleasing filters. just bam hear is the sound
as brilliant and clear as it could possably be.

to good examples of the dvd-a sound i am speaking
of are becks sea change and fleetwood mac's say
you will.

and 2 examples of sacd would be steely dan's gaucho
and a nora jones disk"not sure which one" or pink
floyds dsotm.pretty much all sacd's i've listened
to but some stand out.

so it seems to me if i am correct on this jan
would prefer sacd while john and gregory may prefer
dvd-a.

i find myself enjoying both.

now i'm not trying to say this is the way it is
but i might be on to something.

any thoghts?
 

Silver Member
Username: Myrantz

Post Number: 428
Registered: Feb-04
Kegger

Just from the few titles we have, I agree. I think both are just great and have no real preference, but if I had to describe the difference I'd say the SACD sounds more towards great analogue playback where DVD-A tends towards the digital. Like you, I'm not saying that's the way it is - just a way of explanation. It's all great stuff!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 583
Registered: Dec-03
John A.

The scientific method is well known. It goes as follows:

1. Observe some aspect of the universe.
2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed.
3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions.
4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results.
5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation.

So Nousaine uses the scientific method:

1)Observe some aspect of speaker wire performance. To him they sound the same.

2)Come up with a HYPOTHESIS to explain your observations. His hypothesis: there are generally no audible differences from one 14 gauge wire to another in 15 foot connections and 25 foot connections, whether made of copper or silver, braided, twisted, or solid core.

3)Use the hypothesis to make predictions.

The prediction is that there will be no significant (70% or higher) audible difference in a large enough double blind test.

4)Test these observations through the use of experiments.

Using (let's say ABX and double blind tests) to affirm or debunk this hypothesis I will perform this test on any 25 people that believe they can hear a difference in wires and use their wire and one at $1.00/ft (and maybe 5 others of varying prices) on their own systems using their own LP's or cd's or any signal source.

5)Repeat 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between hypothesis and outcome.

This speaks for itself. We will repeat 20 listening tests per person (or more) until we have statistically large enough sample.

Let us take speaker wires. Many people say they experience a great sonic improvement. A good double blind test can prove whether they are jiving themselves or whether they can audibly differentiate.

What is good about the scientific method is that other people will be able to perform the same test, hence confirming or debunking the results. They can point out fallacies in the testing method and hopefully agree upon an alternative method they think is better.

This is not to say that everything can be examined by the scientific method. But audio is one area that is generally very suitable for ABX and double blind tests. Now, when differences are noticeable, the tests cannot tell you which you should like more. Only you can do that. But it can tell you whether you can even discern a difference, or are just jiving yourself and/or others.

If differences are observed than it is up to interested individuals and engineers to test what those differences are. But if no audible differences are detected, if one is interested, one can ask why they think these people think they hear a difference even when they are unable to tell the items apart. Could be group think, the amp or wire is visually appealing, Authoritive Belief, pride of ownership, etc.

I don't exempt myself from having belief system flaws. I succombed for many years to Authority Belief in audio and was quite susceptible to hearing things that weren't there when the salesman said-"can't you hear the tighter bass and greater resolution". Tests have been conducted when a salesperson says "Can't you hear the difference" and "Do you think they both sound the same" to the customer. Obviously the sound is what it is--but we are all susceptible to suggestion from authoritative figures.

But I know, like religions and other belief systems, even given fairly solid proof, many people are unwilling to give up their beliefs. Most people believe in the same religion as their parents--the choice generally isn't made on which one is better or more accurate. Same is true (to a lesser degree) of politics. Heck, how many Americans haven't been out of the country but say--"This is the best country on earth". How do they know that? I am sure plenty of French, Canadians, Aussies, and Brits think their country is the best.

For instance, there is a pile of proof that evolution takes place. Yet in the US there are many school districts and a great many people that want to treat and teach Creationism with the same authority as evolution. I would call this cognitive dissonance--the inability to change your belief given an inordinate amount of proof in one direction and none in the other.

You say that no one should trust conclusions contrary to their experience. I believe that the magician tricked my eye in sawing that woman in half. But my experience tells me he did saw her in half. Our senses are very unreliable. Optical and audio illusions are all around us--good stereo and a good recording gives an illusion. The scientific method gives us a way to try and determine hypotheses and get closer to a truth.

In real audible differences I have ZERO problem with anyone's preferences. Heck, I don't have a problem in their choices when there is no audible difference--as long as they voice an opinion and not make an authoritarian claim.

If the tube amp or wire actually sounds different (as tested by DBT's), then the person is entitled to make authoritarian claims on a difference. It could be the differences are more accurate or less accurate, but they are different. No law says people have to like a more or less accurate sound. Heck, we have all those adjustments on preamps because people have preferences.

I just first want to establish the difference first. After an audible difference is established, we can all go our own way on what we like. But if you just want to rely on your ears with no testing confirmation--you are entitled to do that too.

Of course, people are entitled to hold whatever beliefs they want. But I would think if people really trust their hearing so much they should be happy to be involved in DBT's, or at least read reviews done under ABX and DBT's.

Many people rely on Consumer Reports for their washing machine, dryer, or dishwasher purchase. Are their tests an absolute answer? Of course not. But I am more likely to trust my purchase based on their compiled information (which even usually includes repair history), rather than walk into the store blindly and rely solely on the salesperson or a marketting piece.

 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 600
Registered: Dec-03
rantz it does sound like you are hearing the same
thing i am.

just using a slightly different way of explaining
it.

so maybe i am not crazy and we are getting closer
to finding a difference.

i am glad to hear someone else seems to find what
i do!
 

Silver Member
Username: Gman

Mt. Pleasant, SC

Post Number: 584
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger--

I have similarly found that more of my SACD recordings sound better than my DVD-A recordings. As these recordings are totally different and none of the recordings remotely approach the theoretical boundaries of either format, I am prone to suspect that currently the SACD discs have been engineered better (in general). I certainly wouldn't go as far as saying that the SACD format is better.

It could be that so far Sony has invested more into hiring and having better engineers, as they have a distinct vested interest.

It took cd's quite a while to make good recordings. I am fairly confident that once the DVD-A engineers get the proper technology and expertise they will make excellent discs. I doubt that most of the DVD-A disc studios and engineers have the money and expertise behind them in full force yet.

"and i believe in dbt to a certain degree. but their
have been times iv'e tried it and found no difference
but later after hearing that piece of equipment
for awhile then removing it i notice something.
so to me somethings you don't notice right away
but after awhile you do."

I have had the opposite experience. I worked at an office next to a vitamin plant 25 years ago. When I first started work there the smell was awful. A month later I barely noticed it.

About 20 years ago I bought a pair of speakers from a dealer and told him it sounded a bit shrill in the upper registers. He told me-"Let it break in about 100 hours". He was right, after about 3 weeks I didn't hear a shrillness. Oddly enough, when other audiophiles came over they noticed a shrillness in the upper register.

My conclusion--we have a strong tendency to get used to the sound or smell of our environment. Our ears will get used to sonic anomalies after a while, just as our sense of smell will cancel out familiar orders. We all have gone to peoples homes and some of them have a recognizable odor that no one living in the house notices.

My point being, I will generally trust my first impression more and definitely trust a DBT and ABX situation even more than my own sense of hearing. It is hard enough for me to recognize a difference between amps with an obvious difference in a DBT than it is to recall at a later date which one sounded like what.

I find once I move down the sonic ladder from the big 3: The recording quality, the speakers, and the room acoustics---the differences between well made products (such as cd players, amps, etc.) gets far more difficult to judge on an audible difference basis, unless I use a DBT or ABX system---and even then I often don't hear a difference.

I am tempted to buy a good $600 ABX device to potentially save me and my audio friends many of thousands of dollars down the line. I have discussed it with a couple of friends and they might even chip in if we all have equal access.

It should be interesting. We all stand to have our sonic preferences exposed and be embarrassed.

Of course, it may prove on a number of components and even wire, that we can hear statistically significant differences. Who knows? I look forward to it either way, even if I can't hear the difference between my Pioneer Elite 49TXi and a friends Onkyo 601.

Afterall, I have quite a few beliefs and "truisms" that I have changed since I was 20 years old.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 613
Registered: Dec-03
gregory i can see where your coming from and agree with your
thinking for the most part.

but i think you miss understood what i said.so i
will use an example.this is not excactly how it
went but it gets the point accross.

i had hooked up a new amp compared that one to the
old one and found no difference.
but i left it like that with the new amp hooked
up for about a month.it sounded fine. one day i
removed the new amp and hooked back up the old one.
and right away something was missing it wasn't as
full sounding or quite as dynamic as the new one.
their was a definate difference that i didn't see
before but definatly did now.

so what i was trying to say was sometimes it is hard to tell the difference from just doing a quick
ab test but after listening for awhile you might
start to hear some charicteristic/sonic signature
that you didn't until you gave a good listen.

and that is where i can find fault with ab or db
testing.

and can see how it might not catch everything.



back to dvd-a and sacd.

i think you are describing something a little
different than what mr. rantz and myself seem to
be.

but i'm not absolutley sure what i'm hearing so
it could be.

to me right now dvd-a is a little more edgy or
hard and sacd is a little softer.

but i find i like the beck dvd-a because of that
and the fleetwood mac dvd-a they just seem to be
quicker/more at you.

where sacd seems a little more laid back but that
works very well for pink floyd dsotm.

like i said i'm not sure yet but that is what i'm
leaning towards.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 626
Registered: Dec-03
JAN!

i have put a bid on that preamp after discussions
with the seller and i hope i win it.

the one he sold just before the one i am bidding
on went off at $315 with just one bid. so i am
hoping i can do the same.(2 days left)

i still have a couple questions for you but i need
to figure it out first.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1598
Registered: Dec-03
Gregory,

Thank you for writing that post of July 01. Unfortunately I cannot see how to repay the compliment with an adequate reply, without going so far off topic as to be out of sight. Let me try to keep it short.

"The scientific method is well known."

There is a lot of dispute about whether there is anything you could call "scientific method". When people say there is just one - "The scientific method" - I have to say I disagree, and join forces with Jan. It happens we are in some distinguished company, there, but never mind.

"It goes as follows: "

OK, I respond.

"1. Observe some aspect of the universe."

Which one? It has a lot of aspects....

"2. Invent a tentative description, called a hypothesis, that is consistent with what you have observed."

You only need to do that if the ones already around have problems, such as, for example, not being consistent with observations, or, for example, two or more sorts of people cling to different, incompatible ones to explain (not just "describe") what anyone may observe for themselves.

"3. Use the hypothesis to make predictions."

If the hypothesis makes predictions by which it can be tested, it counts as "science" - this much I agree with. What the hypothesis predicts is also what it explains.

"4. Test those predictions by experiments or further observations and modify the hypothesis in the light of your results."

You don't test predictions. You compare them with observations. If the hypothesis predicts something that does not seem to be true, you have to reject it, or look harder to see if "seems" is the same as "is". If it is, then the hypothesis has been falsified, by experience/observation. You then need to find a new one: you know the old one is wrong.

"5. Repeat steps 3 and 4 until there are no discrepancies between theory and experiment and/or observation."

Not good enough, because "no discrepancies" can occur when a hypothesis makes no predictions by which it can, potentially, be falsified. There are lots of these around. They usually go along with someone telling you that you have to accept them, because they say so, perhaps claiming they have priviliged access to evidence ("revelation"); you know when you know ("faith"); or (very common) if you disagree you'll be in big trouble ("ideology").

I think I generally agree that the hi-fi world has quite a lot of non-science, including personal revelation ("believe me my speakers allow me to hear things other people can't), "faith" ("it makes me feel good to believe this, and who are you to tell me I shouldn't?") and "ideology" (expert market researchers have concluded that..."). I've personally encountered all these under "cables". That does not mean cables make no difference, just that people have some strange reasons for believing they do.

The "bottom line" is people should make up their own minds.

Where I would start is with a problem in what people already believe. This can be a big one or a small one. Your problem can be your car won't start. You worry about that because you want to know what you have to do to make it start. If someone believes it is because the battery is flat (hypothesis) then there are lots of predictions you can test, for example, the starter motor should not turn audibly, the lights should not come on, and the car should start if you hook up another battery with jump leads. In practice, any one of those predictions, if it fails to agree with observation, will be enough to make you think of another hypothesis, but you cannot be sure - ever. For example, the starter motor might have gone; the lights might have fused; the replacement battery might be flat; and so on.

I think science is just the sum of all the hypotheses that explain things by making predictions which could disprove them, but don't.

The big point is this: science is not an alternative route to certainty. There is no route to certainty. All we have is the sum total of everyone's best shot, so far. The moment anyone says "that's it; it is 'scientifically proven'" then we know the idea of "the scientific method" is being misused. Most people were once fairly sure the Earth is flat. But it isn't. They were wrong. We know that, now. But we also should recognise that we, too, may be wrong.

I would say this tubes vs transistors is a good problem to start being scientific about. The first thing you do is listen, with everything else the same, and decide if you can really hear a difference. What other people say, and what they can measure with test gear, is somthing to consider, but it is not, in itself, the point. The point is, do they sound different? When "experts" claim they know better than you, and any differences you imagine you hear are a result of you fooling yourself, listen to their explanation of the apparent difference, try to allow for that, and see if the difference seems to persist. If it does, tell people, and tell them what you did to eliminate your own bias, so they can can try the same procedure, and decide for themselves, too.

That would be the "scientific" way to go. But there is nothing special about "scientific"; finding testable solutions to problems is just the way we obtain knowledge. About anything. Chemistry, astronomy, car mechanics, art, music, hi-fi, roasting peanuts, cleaning windows; whatever.

Double-blind trials are irrelevant, really. Just because there is consensus about something does not make it true. And if there is no consensus, it does not follow that all the differing opinions must be false. Sure, take other people's reported experiences into account, but always remember anyone can be fooling themselves (we have to forgive that, we all do it) or just fooling other people (that we should never forgive, imho).

Personally, my interest in tubes/valves is increased. I mean to see if I can hear it, when the opportunity arises. Don't know when this will be. But it seems to me Jan has "been there; done that". I will be interested to know if he is fooling himself (nothing wrong with that; but Jan seems a fairly informed and sceptical guy, not prone to self-delusion), if he is trying to fool us (I very much doubt it), or if the difference is real. Making up one's own mind, on the basis of experience, is all there is to it, really.

In general, the line "I/my friends/the experts cannot tell the difference" is no use to anyone, really. "Try it and see for yourself" is much more convincing. If it is followed with "I predict you will not hear any difference" then we are getting somewhere, because we can disagree without getting denounced/flamed/frozen-out/sacked/forced-to-recant/excommunicated/tortured/inca rcerated/executed.

History show us the extraordinary lengths some people will go to stop other people making up their own minds. They only do that when they don't believe it themselves.

Please don't take offence, Gregory, I am not comparing you with the Spanish Inquisition!

Kegger,

Your opinion on tubes will be worth having, too. Make sure and let us know!

Sorry about the length. I did my best for content.

All the best.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Kegger - Good luck!

This is somewhat off the subject of audio but since we have entered in to discussion of scientific method I would like to add a comment.
There are many cases of scientific method contradicting itself. How many reports have to be announced that say this is good for you, this causes cancer, do this for good health only to be contradicted by other studies that say the exact opposite. Just look at the information on weight loss, hormone therapy and Alzhiemers.
If scientific methods were foolproof I don't believe these contradictions should exist.
Instead it appears that scientists are not always certain of their information and facts, merely certain of their opinion and position.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 639
Registered: Dec-03
jan i couldn't agree with you more.

i love when people say, well in this study they found
it does this.

and i ask them well under what conditions was the
study taken.

i mean if anyone wants a study to go their way it
can be swung their way with either a little tweaking
of the people involved or how they conduct the test.
it's not that difficult.

so how can you really believe any study.


like john said you have to have your crap detectors
up full blast all the time.
and decipher for yourself what you choose to belive.

and trust your eyes and ears as much as possable.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1604
Registered: Dec-03
Jan, Kegger,

That is what I was trying to say!

Just to repeat: "The big point is this: science is not an alternative route to certainty. There is no route to certainty. All we have is the sum total of everyone's best shot, so far."

Beware the men in white coats. If they wear them to keep their other clothes clean, that's OK. If wear them as their official uniform, watch out; they are up to no good.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Just like nuns. I'm not going to sleep well tonight. Black/white, black/white ...
Little penguins in lab coats.
Oh, John, why did you do this to me?
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1610
Registered: Dec-03
Jan, Cool.

The lab coat is white so you can see any spots. A habit is black, to conceal them.

Penguins want things both ways, web-footed little bast*rds.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
OOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOH!
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1615
Registered: Dec-03
Any penguins reading: no offence intended; it was just a figure of speech.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 686
Registered: Dec-03
well the preamp is paid for. should be hear by
thursday or friday.

i am beaming with anticipation.

i allready want to change tubes and play with it.
yet i haven't even heard it.

jan are their certain tubes i should look for?
brand/country? or ones to stay away from?

i will do my own research, but just wondering if
you have preferences.

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1631
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

Could you just state the make and model, again? I cannot track it, here.

Good luck! I am looking forward to your opinion.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1632
Registered: Dec-03
Kegger,

Could you just state the make and model, again? I cannot track it, here.

Good luck! I am looking forward to your opinion.

You will soon be needing a turntable.... (smiley)
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 689
Registered: Dec-03
2004 model: Dared SL-2000A tube preamp, remote.

john hear is a link to the preamp and 1 to the
manufacturer.

http://sphl.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/buy_auc.pl?dgtlplay&1086313519

http://www.daredtube.net/SAMPLE.htm

no no no johny ha ha ha turntable what the heck
would i do with one of those ancient things. lol

i have no records/albums so no turntable hear!

 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1633
Registered: Dec-03
Thanks, Kegger. Just joking about the turntable!

But the tubes vs solid-state discussion reminds me somehow of vinyl vs CD.

I'll bet you most tube amp owners have a turntable in use, perhaps they are just die-hard conservatives, perhaps they really know something. Ken Kessler in HiFi News is an amusing guy on this, and seems to know a lot.

I am looking forward to your report on your amp. Jan's advice on this thread is priceless. If I went into any hifi dealer I know and asked about tube amps they'd say "What?"
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 699
Registered: Dec-03
john:

"Thanks, Kegger. Just joking about the turntable!"

i figured that and was joking back.


also i understand about turntables and know many
"audiofiles" use them.

2 things though.

(1) just not my cup of tea. "the ritual of the disks
and players"

(2) i don't have 1 or any albums and don't need to
start another new direction.
 

Gold Member
Username: John_a

Post Number: 1637
Registered: Dec-03
Yes. It only really makes sense of you already have a lot LPs, as I do, "left over" from the old days.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 700
Registered: Dec-03
i may look into a quality cd player though.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Kegger - Congatulations on the pre amp, hope it works well for you with your amp(s).
I don't have time to comment on particular tubes right now but I won't forget. The best advice I have is spend a week or two sorting out what it can achieve with your various amps and then go from there. Hearing the pre amp with several amps is the best way to narrow down what the pre amp is actually contributing to your "new" sound.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 705
Registered: Dec-03
sounds good jan!
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Kegger - here's what I would look for in tubes:

Bugle Boy 12AT7/ECC81; considered one of the very best ever made. Excellent sonics, not extrememly sensitive to microphonics, clear sound with a hint of old tube magic. Expensive, NOS only.

Siemens ECC81; the best tube brand I ever found. Very close to the very best if not the best ever. Clear sound, can be sensitive to microphonics but the ones I have had that were more sensitive were the best sounding. If you can isolate the pre amp you will be well rewarded. There are different models available so see what you can find. The right version of this tube will keep you up at night listening. Moderately expensive, NOS only.

Shuguang Golden Dragon 12AT7; very good tubes, built in China to NOS Golden Aereo designs. They are very good sounding though the reliability is less than great. Moderately expensive.

Telefunken ECC81; Telefunken was considered the best audio tube available for many years. There are many variations of this tube so choose from among the pieces available. Telefunkens are usually very quiet, good on microphonics with a natural sound that is not dramatic but just right. Can be very expensive, NOS only.

Svetlana and Sovtek 12AT7; both are Russian companies. It is generally considered the Russians have the best new stock tubes since their factories never shut down as did most of the rest of the world. The Russian tubes I've used have all been quite satisfactory but not anywhere near the very best I've had in my equipment. Since they are current production they are relatively inexpensive but sometimes not available due to trade problems.

Groove Tube; designed primarily for guitar amps they found a growing market for tubes in the 80's and have directed more product towards the audio side of sales. They are not a tube manufacturer, they have tubes made for them or buy current stock and grade the tubes to their own standards. Very good sound for the money spent, fairly inexpensive.

RAM; another seller who makes no tubes of their own. They buy from everywhere and grade the tubes according to their scale of performance. RAM stands by their tubes but you never are sure what you buy today is the same as they sold five years ago. Can be a good deal but generally I have found better tubes on my own. Moderately expensive.

I have never had a good sounding Chinese tube other than the Shuguangs. They are very good but as I said not that reliable. There are reports of good tubes coming from China now. The only way I would buy a Chinese tube was with an exchange within 5-7 days. You will probably know right away whether you like the sound.

If you are still pursuing classical music I found a review of several versions of "The Planets". In SACD, the best is the Duetsche Grammophone with John Eliot Gardiner and the Philharmonia Orchestra. There is a DVD-A that gets high marks for sonics and less for performance, EMI with Andre Previn and the London Symphony. On straight CD is the performance I always considered the best from my LP collection, Decca with George Solti and the London Phlharmonica Orchestra. The sound is very good, the performance is pure Solti. He was the master of the Chicago Symphony when it was considered one of the top three orchestras in the U.S. and the standard was "The Chicago Sound". No one does schmaltz like Solti without getting on your nerves. The performance starts at a get your attention level and next thing you know the chorus is fading out. Very highly recommended if you want Red Book CD.
 

J. Vigne
Unregistered guest
Also order some VibraPods or some other type of soft footer for the pre amp.
 

Silver Member
Username: Rick_b

New york Usa

Post Number: 322
Registered: Dec-03
Jan,
What are your feelings on the smaller tubes, sound wise, over the larger tubes? I am not referring to power. I hear the smaller tubes have a richer sound, more detail, more air, than say the EL34's or KT88's. I would truly value your opinion on this.
 

Silver Member
Username: Kegger

MICHIGAN

Post Number: 739
Registered: Dec-03
jan i have the.

"There is a DVD-A that gets high marks for sonics and less for performance, EMI with Andre Previn and the London Symphony" planets

and do find it very entertaining. i'm still trying
to like classical. i hope it's an acquired taste
because so far i'm not that inspired. BUT I HAVE
NOT GIVIN UP YET!

i extremely appreciate the tube rundown!


what do you mean by "microphonics"

and "NOS only"






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