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Old 25th Apr 2019, 10:14 am   #781
ajgriff
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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I think the dictionaries are wrong.
That's a rather worrying assertion when it comes to our ability to communicate effectively with our fellow human beings.

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Old 25th Apr 2019, 10:39 am   #782
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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... Audiophiles like singe-ended amps with big valves and no feedback; they will display them. Hi-fi enthusiasts prefer push-pull amps with feedback, and are not too bothered what the active device is; they will hide them in a corner.
This isn't my experience, and I do seem to spend most of my waking hours fixing bust hi-fi for people, almost all of whom would be happy to call themselves both audiophiles and hi-fi enthusiasts. I would say that among the valve amps push-pull ones outnumber single-ended ones by at least three to one. And half of the single-ended ones are weedy little chaps using a 300B or a triode-connected EL84 or even a 2A3 or PX4 (the latter very rare) and driving horn-loaded speakers (quite often just one pair of horns in a multi-horn system). Many of the SE amps don't have global feedback. Some do though, and more have local feedback with unbypassed cathode resistors. Just about everyone, of my customers at least, who owns a valve amp has it where you can see it.

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Old 25th Apr 2019, 10:50 am   #783
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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I think the dictionaries are wrong. I distinguish between an audiophile (someone who likes to listen to audio equipment, and in most cases look at it too) and a hi-fi enthusiast (someone who likes to listen to music reproduced reasonably accurately). The former will keep changing his equipment and in many cases is easy prey for the snake oil merchants. The latter will only do an occasional upgrade, perhaps when his income or the state of the art in technology make this possible.

Audiophiles like singe-ended amps with big valves and no feedback; they will display them. Hi-fi enthusiasts prefer push-pull amps with feedback, and are not too bothered what the active device is; they will hide them in a corner.
You've got me worried now. I've always considered myself to be both an audiophile AND a hi-fi enthusiast, but I don't own any valve equipment! I do own 28 turntables, though, if this helps?

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Old 25th Apr 2019, 5:10 pm   #784
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Someone describing himself as a hi-fi enthusiast does not guarantee that he is a hi-fi enthusiast. In a similar way, equipment described as hi-fi might not actually be hi-fi. The issue is whether accuracy of reproduction is sought, or a pleasant sound - which for some people may require certain lack of fidelity.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 5:25 pm   #785
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Or perhaps the issue is 'fidelity to the best that the recording engineer could do' (which is what the most accurate reproducers would give us) or 'fidelity to the acoustic experience we might have had if we'd gone to the performance or to the effect that the musicians wanted to create'. Quite a few enthusiasts would argue that the second kind of fidelity is more desirable than the first.

Given a) that acoustics are affected substantially by the listening room and b) that the experience happens inside our heads, and all our heads are different, I think it's entirely plausible that achieving the second kind of fidelity might require the use of equipment which isn't just 'a straight piece of wire with gain'. Once upon a time everyone understood and accepted this. Quad, Leak etc didn't build all those tone controls and filters into their pre-amps for no reason. They were there precisely to allow the listener to make the equipment as imperfect as was required to reproduce the original musical experience as well as possible. I suspect if we'd presented Peter Walker with a modern pre-amp (a unity gain box with a volume control and, if we're lucky, a reduction in source impedance) he'd have walked away laughing.

Cheers,

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Old 25th Apr 2019, 6:16 pm   #786
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

I try to work out whether the individual is using the equipment to listen to the music or is using the music to listen to the equipment.

David
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 6:33 pm   #787
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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I try to work out whether the individual is using the equipment to listen to the music or is using the music to listen to the equipment.

David
I like it.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 6:44 pm   #788
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

I have known people to whom, it seemed to me, the equipment was an end in itself, rather than a means to an end. Their attitude was/is best summed up by the punch line in Flanders & Swann's 'Song of Reproduction' -'I never did care for music much, it's the High Fidelity!'
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 7:17 pm   #789
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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Or perhaps the issue is 'fidelity to the best that the recording engineer could do' (which is what the most accurate reproducers would give us) or 'fidelity to the acoustic experience we might have had if we'd gone to the performance or to the effect that the musicians wanted to create'. Quite a few enthusiasts would argue that the second kind of fidelity is more desirable than the first.

Given a) that acoustics are affected substantially by the listening room and b) that the experience happens inside our heads, and all our heads are different, I think it's entirely plausible that achieving the second kind of fidelity might require the use of equipment which isn't just 'a straight piece of wire with gain'. Once upon a time everyone understood and accepted this. Quad, Leak etc didn't build all those tone controls and filters into their pre-amps for no reason. They were there precisely to allow the listener to make the equipment as imperfect as was required to reproduce the original musical experience as well as possible. I suspect if we'd presented Peter Walker with a modern pre-amp (a unity gain box with a volume control and, if we're lucky, a reduction in source impedance) he'd have walked away laughing.

Cheers,

GJ
Indeed. The irony is, modern day, minimalist audiophools (passive pre amps etc) seem to think that the recording that lands on their laps via CD, vinyl, FM, DAB, whatever is already 'perfect'. It isn't. There are so many so called studios where the monitoring systems are very not neutral. This is evidenced by playing a series of CDs or LPs and hearing how the tonal qualities vary wildly. A lot of studios are seemingly oblivious to the fact that if you boost an area of the monitoring system - perhaps making playbacks impressive to listen to - only serves to make the final mix totally wrong. For example, if the monitoring system in a studio has bass boost applied (for example making rock bands sounding punchy and powerful) then when subsequently played back on a good quality 'flat' hifi system it will show the exact opposite; a lack of bass. So, inaccuracies in studio monitoring systems lead to final recordings that display the exact opposite of the monitoring system. And that is a very common fault, poor monitoring systems in recording studios. The better studios, able to employ timer served, knowledgeable engineers and studio designers don't suffer in this way, but the many smaller (and not so small) studios often do.

So, far from taking the minimalist view, the audiophool or even the knowledgeable audiophile should use equipment with tone controls, if not high quality graphic equalisers and employ equipment for setting up the same to match (or at least, provide some form of correction) to their listening room. A problematic, notchy, peaky frequency response in the listening room is much worse than the supposed extra 'distortion' that tone control circuitry may bring to the fold.
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Old 25th Apr 2019, 11:50 pm   #790
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Hold on - I use a passive pre. And I am certainly not a minimalist anything. What do you need gain for? The output level of most sources actually needs to be attenuated and not amplified before it goes into a power amp.

The only time you need an active preamp is if you are going to have, and use tone controls, or absolutely need things like tape loops.

Anyway, to be technically correct, an active preamp is actually a buffered passive pre (AKA volume control).

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Old 26th Apr 2019, 12:04 am   #791
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers View Post

The only time you need an active preamp is if you are going to have, and use tone controls, or absolutely need things like tape loops.

Anyway, to be technically correct, an active preamp is actually a buffered passive pre (AKA volume control).

Craig
You need an active preamp if you play LPs with a magnetic cartridge as you have to amplify the signal massively and also perform the RIAA equalisation, before any messing about with tone controls (best of luck with that).
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 3:23 am   #792
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Re-reading a little of this very long thread reminds me of something I once heard about, which was that someone had spent a lot of time, money and effort trying to get the sound he wanted. A piece of music including a violin solo was involved, and the upshot was that the listener still didn't think the sound was 'right', at which point the musician involved walked into the room playing the piece on his violin!
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 8:18 am   #793
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers View Post

The only time you need an active preamp is if you are going to have, and use tone controls, or absolutely need things like tape loops.

Anyway, to be technically correct, an active preamp is actually a buffered passive pre (AKA volume control).

Craig
You need an active preamp if you play LPs with a magnetic cartridge as you have to amplify the signal massively and also perform the RIAA equalisation, before any messing about with tone controls (best of luck with that).
Well yes of course. You need active electronics somewhere unless you are using an acoustic horn and 78's as in the HMV logo.

The point I was trying to make is the output from most sources will be enough, without attenuation, to drive most power amps to full output or well into clipping.

The best description of a pre-amp is a "control amplifier", and ought to borrow its architecture from a mixing desk, with a mixing bus, individual sensitivity matching for each input, and a master output control. The aim being to preserve overload margin throughout. It ought to make provision for tape recorder output and listen, and a headphone output. It should be capable of driving long lengths of coax or balanced cables. But its overall gain from input to output will be well below unity if it feeds a power amp.

Or, for domestic non-professional applications you can just use a high quality pot-in-a-box (or equivalent, tapped transformer, tapped auto-transformer or optical) for short cable lengths.

Now I don't have tone controls, but I can see the argument for having them. With sensitive use they can be used to correct for recording anomalies. For example anything by Phil Collins is mixed very hard sounding, because he is deaf as a post so directs the mixing engineer to compensate. Lots of close miked Deutsche Grammophon classical recordings sound unnatural (certainly as compared to a live orchestra) without tonal adjustment.

I'm almost persuading myself I need an add-on tone control!

Craig
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 9:06 am   #794
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

If anyone thinks a studio recording is realistic should listen to any stereo recording done on a half decent microphone. The stereo imaging is astonishing in comparison. I think tone controls are desirable and any perceived distortion added is ac
academic considering what happens to the recording from source to media.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 9:33 am   #795
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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If anyone thinks a studio recording is realistic should listen to any stereo recording done on a half decent microphone ...
I'm not quite sure what point you're trying to make here. Are you saying that no studio recordings have ever been made in stereo using a half decent microphone ? Or is it that all the recordings ever made using any other mic arrangement have unacceptably bad imaging ?

Do you know 'The Caution Horses' by the Cowboy Junkies ? They are folks who care about how their recordings are made and they made their first one (admittedly mostly because of financial constraints) using a single mic in their garage. It is an astonishing album, in my opinion of course. Their second was recorded in a church. But their third, Caution Horses, was (eventually) recorded in a studio - the story's here https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Caution_Horses. I think it sounds pretty good. Listen to this track from a proper source on a proper system and see what you think https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rnmoOp8Jbdg.

Cheers,

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Old 26th Apr 2019, 10:30 am   #796
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

There is a 'right' sound, but as it exists only in the listener's head, words cannot describe it and it depends on all manner of external non-auditory influences (Most recent meal, what he's been drinking, last hifi magazine review read, colour of room....) so no two people ever agree on what is right.

My favourite classical recordings were the early Decca stereo ones that had been recorded in a very simple fashion, and my least favourite were the Deutsche Gramofon ones which seemed over-worked somehow I wasn't sure what it was about them, I'd just blamed von Karajan!

I'm just amused that some people abhor tone controls and equalisers, but consider it quite proper to keep buying and selling equipment trying to get the same effect. It's a bit like saying "I want to go Eastwards today, so I must sell my car and keep buying new ones until I happen upon one already facing in that direction!"

Of course, there are equalising networks inside crossovers (whether active, passive or digital) but what they don't know about doesn't vex them. I'm hoping none are reading this so I haven't given the game away.

David
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 10:36 am   #797
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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Someone describing himself as a hi-fi enthusiast does not guarantee that he is a hi-fi enthusiast.
This statement bothers me for some reason. For the purposes of meaningful discourse I think it's reasonable to assume, initially at least, that someone claiming to be a grave digger understands the meaning of the noun grave.

Alan

PS For what it's worth I am also an advocate of tone controls (possibly switchable) although I think that the traditional baxandall arrangement has an unnecessary degree of attenuation.
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 11:06 am   #798
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Of course, there are equalising networks inside crossovers (whether active, passive or digital) but what they don't know about doesn't vex them. I'm hoping none are reading this so I haven't given the game away.
Thoughtful of you not to mention mixing desks. Could have induced apoplexy in some.

Alan
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 12:18 pm   #799
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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........that someone claiming to be a grave digger understands the meaning of the noun grave.

Are you sure it's a noun and not an adjective?
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Old 26th Apr 2019, 12:19 pm   #800
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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Originally Posted by Radio Wrangler
I'm just amused that some people abhor tone controls and equalisers, but consider it quite proper to keep buying and selling equipment trying to get the same effect. It's a bit like saying "I want to go Eastwards today, so I must sell my car and keep buying new ones until I happen upon one already facing in that direction!"
A good analogy!

Quote:
Originally Posted by ajgriff
This statement bothers me for some reason. For the purposes of meaningful discourse I think it's reasonable to assume, initially at least, that someone claiming to be a grave digger understands the meaning of the noun grave.
Generally that is true. I used to assume it for audio people too, but experience tells me that it is not always true.

As a counter-example, consider how most people (or, at least, most men) think of themselves as a better than average driver. It can't be true of all of them.
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