UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Powered By Google Custom Search Vintage Radio and TV Service Data

Go Back   UK Vintage Radio Repair and Restoration Discussion Forum > General Vintage Technology > General Vintage Technology Discussions

Notices

General Vintage Technology Discussions For general discussions about vintage radio and other vintage electronics etc.

Reply
 
Thread Tools
Old 10th Aug 2023, 8:12 am   #3201
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 8,946
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

To me, a good amplifier is one that enables the listener to hear the details of the various instruments and voices in a complex passage.

Just one point though. It's proven that our eyes can detect even the smallest of changes in colours when compared. Our hearing is nowhere near that level of sensitivity. Yet people say that they can hear differences that basically don't exist. ABX testing is the answer, pure and simple. But audiophools are scared to death of it because they know that it will prove them unable to detect differences between equipments. They cite 'physiological reasons' for the test being an unfair one. There's always a reason isn't there!
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 10:39 am   #3202
knobtwiddler
Octode
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 1,093
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
To me, a good amplifier is one that enables the listener to hear the details of the various instruments and voices in a complex passage.

Just one point though. It's proven that our eyes can detect even the smallest of changes in colours when compared. Our hearing is nowhere near that level of sensitivity. Yet people say that they can hear differences that basically don't exist. ABX testing is the answer, pure and simple. But audiophools are scared to death of it because they know that it will prove them unable to detect differences between equipments. They cite 'physiological reasons' for the test being an unfair one. There's always a reason isn't there!
Spot on. I read somewhere (here?) that A/B/X tests had compared listener responses to the same speaker, where it had been painted silver or black. Does anyone remember that? I can believe responses varied. Of course, the silver ones sounded brighter! Just like silver cable sounds brighter, and MF resistors sound metallic!

NB - check out James Randi's (RIP) million dollar challenge if you don't know it: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/One_Mi...rmal_Challenge

He widened its scope to include audio cables as well as paranormal phenomena!
knobtwiddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 10:45 am   #3203
knobtwiddler
Octode
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 1,093
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
I would expect all perfect amplifiers to sound the same.
By the late '70s, so did Peter Baxandall (assuming said amp wasn't being driven outside of its limits).


Bertrand Russell wrote
Quote:
Some things are believed because people feel as if they must be true, and in such cases an immense weight of evidence is necessary to dispel the belief.
http://4tubes.com/3-BOOKS/BOOKS-LITE...%20mystery.pdf


edit - forgive me if you've read this quote a hundred times..
knobtwiddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 10:48 am   #3204
knobtwiddler
Octode
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 1,093
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Oh - and if Baxandall and Walker had been born a couple of decades later, they would've taken one look at the hifi presss and chosen careers in RF...
knobtwiddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 11:57 am   #3205
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 8,946
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

ABX testing works, it finds the truth. Linn's often outspoken Ivor Tiefenbrun embarrassingly found this out when he was only able to record a 50/50 'correct' choice in a test. That's the same as tossing a coin. He later didn't even achieve this, 12 out of 30.

https://bostonaudiosociety.org/bas_s...x_testing2.htm

If you don't want to read it, in summary no evidence was provided by Tiefenbrun during this series of tests that indicates ability to identify reliably:

(a) the presence of an undriven transducer in the room,
(b) the presence of the Sony PCM-F1 digital processor in the audio chain, or
(c) the presence of the relay contacts of the A/B/X switchbox in the circuit.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 11:58 am   #3206
Gulliver
Hexode
 
Join Date: Aug 2011
Location: Luton, Bedfordshire, UK.
Posts: 469
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

A few of us *can* hear those minute differences....I am an outlier who was studied for a few years because at 7 it was discovered that I could reliably hear to 30kHz and reliably report 1/2 Hz differences in tone up or down up to 24kHz.

Even at 50, my hearing approaches that of a 20 year old typical adult, though my right ear now has roll off starting at 18kHz. I can still reliably report those 1/2 Hz differences though. Half of one Herz difference at 20kHz ought to be indistinguishable.

That's more how my brain works than my ears. But I am not quite unique. So you can see why I retired a turntable because the induction motor was running about 0.5% slow.
Gulliver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 12:19 pm   #3207
stevehertz
Dekatron
 
stevehertz's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2011
Location: Rugeley, Staffordshire, UK.
Posts: 8,946
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

fair do's but that's frequency, not distortion, which you don't mention. But in any case I can't see why being able to tell that a turntable was 0.5% slow was a reason to retire it. As a musician I am very familiar with how the music industry often speed up recordings prior to publication in order to give them more 'zip' and appeal - so there's no real right or wrong in that sense, it's what sounds good to the producer. So I could listen to my deck and adjust the speed a tad (Garrard 401) and I'd be quite happy. I reckon most other people could do the same. I accept we're all different.
__________________
A digital radio is the latest thing, but a vintage wireless is forever..

Last edited by stevehertz; 10th Aug 2023 at 12:26 pm.
stevehertz is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 1:44 pm   #3208
Jez1234
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland, UK.
Posts: 936
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
To me, a good amplifier is one that enables the listener to hear the details of the various instruments and voices in a complex passage.

Just one point though. It's proven that our eyes can detect even the smallest of changes in colours when compared. Our hearing is nowhere near that level of sensitivity. Yet people say that they can hear differences that basically don't exist. ABX testing is the answer, pure and simple. But audiophools are scared to death of it because they know that it will prove them unable to detect differences between equipments. They cite 'physiological reasons' for the test being an unfair one. There's always a reason isn't there!
That is certainly an important criteria yes. Two amplifiers can have exemplary specs and yet with one unit loud, busy, complex passages come across almost as a wall of noise whereas with the other all sorts of finer details readily stand out and one can easily follow specific instruments.

It is in such areas as perceived separation between instruments when the going gets tough and in "spacial" and "soundstaging" areas that the biggest differences seem to occur. Any decent amp can make a well recorded jazz ensemble sound pretty impressive but with a really good one "you are there", you sense the acoustic size of the room, the front to back depth positioning of the performers as well as the left to right. With the best systems then with your eyes closed you could feel a sense that you could get out of the chair and walk 10m behind the plane of the speakers and 5 to the right and place a hand on the performer.

Other common subjective shortcomings in well measuring amps are a sense of strain and of it being unpleasantly loud and "in your face" when it is not actually playing very loud and you are averaging only 0.5W from the 100WPC 0.001% THD amplifier. It sounds "forced".
A "greyness" to the sound, a reduced palette of sound colours if you like, is another common one. This can get so that a high note from a clarinet, violin and synthesizer can sound rather too similar.

Non of our steady state classic measurements on amplifiers can even start to explain any of these very commonly experienced subjective differences.

Many have tried of course! "Better mousetraps" abound... from Quad themselves with partial cathode coupling in the II, triplets in the 303 and then Current dumping in the 405. We've had theories from Otala and lohstroh on slew rate and transient intermodulation distortion which were taken up by Electrocompaniet and Pioneer, Aubrey Sandmans "Class S", nicked by Matshushita as Technics "Class AA", Nelson Pass with "Stasis" topologies, Peter Blomley's oddity, Blumlein's ultralinear in valve amps (and the LTP of course), James Sugden and JLH popularising class A solid state in the late 60's and many many more... Non of these "better mousetraps" has proved the definitive answer but much has been contributed to the field by them collectively.

With most of the techniques or topologies above there are examples of specific models which sound great and others that don't.. which tends to put the dampeners on any eureka moment based on just two or three examples of a topology or idea.

To throw my hat into the ring, I'd say that there is something to the popular idea that valves sound better than transistors... not always no and of course the actual results vary enormously with topology and execution. As a general trend though they do seem to be able to avoid some of the subjective pitfalls I mentioned above around tonal "greyness" and lack of "spaciality" that can afflict many, but not all, solid state amps. The downsides are greater noise in very low level stages and that, especially with the more common and "classic simple circuitry", there can be a tendency to excessive "warmth", "lushness", "rose coloured spectacles" to the sound.... a faint hint of the "mellow bellow" even. This doesn't have to be that way though and these downsides are largely avoidable.

There also seems to be something to class A being better subjectively. It brings so many measurable technical benefits that it's hardly surprising though! Most of the benefit can be had by delivering the first few Watts in class A as, unless listening to very compressed program material, even when peaks are loud we are only averaging maybe a Watt...

A little less of a correlation, a trend, with this one but low negative feedback seems to be a good idea. I have found sufficient exceptions to the rule to make it more debatable than valves or class A but also enough positive correlation to say that it does at least somewhat follow a trend.
This of course very much ties in with the first two points as valves and especially class A can lower intrinsic open loop distortion through greater linearity and hence require less feedback for a given distortion factor.
Jez1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 3:46 pm   #3209
Radio Wrangler
Moderator
 
Radio Wrangler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 23,214
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knobtwiddler View Post
Oh - and if Baxandall and Walker had been born a couple of decades later, they would've taken one look at the hifi presss and chosen careers in RF...
I did!

David
__________________
Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
Radio Wrangler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 5:52 pm   #3210
Jez1234
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland, UK.
Posts: 936
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

"Ooo 'e's done it now! Gone and used werds to describe sound beyond figures from instruments! What is the world coming too? Doesn't 'e know only "mellow" and "nice tone" are allowed? Pseuds corner beckons... Down with this sort of thing! Careful now...."
Jez1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 7:07 pm   #3211
Craig Sawyers
Dekatron
 
Craig Sawyers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Oxford, UK.
Posts: 5,151
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Is it just me or has this gone far beyond audiophoolery, and into the unfortunate realm of you say potato and I say patarto. A bit like audio phorums which get into convoluted arguments and frayed tempers regarding what piece of kit sounds best.

Craig
__________________
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night
Craig Sawyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 7:49 pm   #3212
Jez1234
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland, UK.
Posts: 936
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers View Post
Is it just me or has this gone far beyond audiophoolery, and into the unfortunate realm of you say potato and I say patarto. A bit like audio phorums which get into convoluted arguments and frayed tempers regarding what piece of kit sounds best.

Craig
I hope that my little attempt at humour above over the whole thing hasn't gone down the wrong way

It's an awkward one for sure Craig. It occurred to me even yesterday that this could turn into a circular argument, and at least had some slight risk of frayed tempers. I hope we can all behave ourselves though.

As I said yesterday, from my POV it's bizarre, after being called an arch objectivist and even the subjectivists favourite insult "measurebator" for years, plus of course all the "he's so busy staring into his 'scope screen he's forgotten what music sounds like" stuff (I could go on...), to find myself confronted by the polar opposite here, where the majority not only, for a nice change, join me in mocking magic fuses etc but are so objectivist as to literally believe everything relevant to hi fi can be measured and that I'm no better than the magic fuse believers! I'm gobsmacked TBH!
The people who drove me off every hi fi forum will be buying popcorn by the lorry load if they've caught on to this thread believe me!

To me, after decades involved in audio amplifier design as my chosen field within electronics, it is simple fact that competently designed amplifiers can and do sound different. The vast majority of people in the field these days would I think agree with that.

I hope there is room on this site for opposing views on this perennial old chestnut.
Jez1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 7:50 pm   #3213
knobtwiddler
Octode
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Location: London, UK.
Posts: 1,093
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

You could have a point, Craig. There are thousands (literally) of hifi groups where people can share personal opinions that are individual to them and subjective. I've always felt that the nice thing about this group (the ban on political discussion is a masterstroke) is that we tend to keep it factual. I can't recall an instance when I've learnt anything from reading a discussion based on subjective opinion, but I have seen a lot of flaming. There must be thousands of useful tips that I've learnt from debates that are kept in the realm of the factual.
knobtwiddler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 9:14 pm   #3214
Jez1234
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland, UK.
Posts: 936
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Ah... here we go... Mr Knobtwiddler and I know each other of old, as may be apparent from some of his previous posts...

So many dog whistles intended for my ears there... I guess this is where I willingly walk into the "trap" of feeling the need to stand up for my 45 years or so of experience in the field and react to having this experience reduced to "personal opinions that are individual to them and subjective", hence by refusing to be brow beaten into submission and simply walking away with my tail between my legs I make Craig's prophesy self fulfilling and, as a bonus, can be "seen" as the one that brought the standard of debate below the required level. Nice tactic that...

One persons "facts" can be another's "opinion".

Do we discuss valve Vs transistor HF linear amplifiers or is that too contentious? Revox Vs Ferrograph tape mechs? The linear Vs SMPS debate the other week showed some entrenched opinions. Should that be off the menu?

Back closer to the topic, are we allowed to think that speakers sound different? and cartridges? and microphones? Do ones considered good enough for the BBC all sound the same?

At what point in measured performance do "the objectivists" concede that an amplifiers limitations become audible? Do we need figures? Is DIN 45500 good enough? Many audiophiles/phools consider single ended triode zero feedback amps costing £5000 to £300,000 (not a typo!) with 4 - 10%+ THD and a damping factor of 1 to be the non plus ultra (not me!), are they enlightened or deaf fools?

More philosophically on the nature of debate, should one upon finding oneself at a table of literal flat earthers say nothing to avoid rocking the boat? As may be gathered I would not be able to resist pointing out the curvature of the earth, the pictures of a round earth taken from space and the fact that to all reasonable people any debate on the subject had been settled 500 years ago...
Jez1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 9:45 pm   #3215
mark_in_manc
Octode
 
Join Date: Nov 2011
Location: Manchester, UK.
Posts: 1,889
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by knobtwiddler View Post
I read somewhere (here?) that A/B/X tests had compared listener responses to the same speaker, where it had been painted silver or black. Does anyone remember that?
Not specifically - but when Philips were still involved in audio and acoustics research at Eindhoven they used to take placement students from the university department where I studied (more than 30 years ago - ouch) and later worked. I remember a guy called Ronald Aarts giving a presentation where he mentioned that they had intentionally looked for bias in subjective testing of loudspeakers by painting them different colours, and had measured repeatable results. You might know that ABX testing often uses acoustically-transparent (one hopes...) but visually opaque screens, for such reasons.
__________________
"The best dBs, come in 3s" - Woody Brown
mark_in_manc is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 9:47 pm   #3216
m0cemdave
Octode
 
Join Date: Feb 2009
Location: Bletchley, Buckinghamshire, UK.
Posts: 1,254
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Are we straying a bit?

This long-running thread has always been for a bit of light-hearted fun at the expense of audiophilia, leaving the real heated arguments to other message boards which are more suited to that sort of thing....
m0cemdave is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 11:01 pm   #3217
Guest
Guest
 
Posts: n/a
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by stevehertz View Post
in any case I can't see why being able to tell that a turntable was 0.5% slow was a reason to retire it.
Sounds like a reason to service it! Could be a bit of excess mechanical drag, needing a clean up and some clock oil.
  Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 11:38 pm   #3218
Craig Sawyers
Dekatron
 
Craig Sawyers's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2010
Location: Oxford, UK.
Posts: 5,151
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by m0cemdave View Post
Are we straying a bit?

This long-running thread has always been for a bit of light-hearted fun at the expense of audiophilia, leaving the real heated arguments to other message boards which are more suited to that sort of thing....
My point exactly. This thread has turned into a spat between two members who seem to have forgotten the raison d'etre of this list - poking fun at the outer fringes of audio madness.

Craig
__________________
Doomed for a certain term to walk the night
Craig Sawyers is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 10th Aug 2023, 11:57 pm   #3219
Radio Wrangler
Moderator
 
Radio Wrangler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2012
Location: Fife, Scotland, UK.
Posts: 23,214
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

We seem to have acquired a little of the aggression usually found on audio discussion fora.

Let's leave that to them and stick to taking the mickey out of things we all agree are silly. Smart rocks, brilliant pebbles, magic crystals and cables insulated with unicorn hide... all at silly prices.

This is a place for hobbies, and if you notice that you've stopped enjoying something, then it's well past time you stopped. These things are not worth losing your happiness over.

This thread is a useful safety valve and it would be a shame to lose it due to any outbreak of antipathy. This forum needs to survive as a place where both the lug 'oles and the waving pointer meters have valid things to add.

David
__________________
Can't afford the volcanic island yet, but the plans for my monorail and the goons' uniforms are done
Radio Wrangler is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 11th Aug 2023, 1:45 am   #3220
Jez1234
Banned
 
Join Date: Mar 2021
Location: Morpeth, Northumberland, UK.
Posts: 936
Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Craig Sawyers View Post
Quote:
Originally Posted by m0cemdave View Post
Are we straying a bit?

This long-running thread has always been for a bit of light-hearted fun at the expense of audiophilia, leaving the real heated arguments to other message boards which are more suited to that sort of thing....
My point exactly. This thread has turned into a spat between two members who seem to have forgotten the raison d'etre of this list - poking fun at the outer fringes of audio madness.

Craig
Who gets to decide where the outer fringes of audio madness end and genuine differences begin? I think that is the crux of where this thread has drifted to.

I have enjoyed seeing "the boot on the other foot" in that when I poke fun at purveyors of £300+ audio fuses etc then on this site everyone is on my side, as it were.

I certainly do not regard audible differences between amplifiers as the outer fringe of audio madness but demonstrable fact. Demonstrable you ask? What is the function of hi fi equipment? Surely to give pleasure from the accurate reproduction of music. How do we listen to music? Well with those things attached to the side of our heads obviously! Hence the ear has to be the final, ultimate arbiter of audio quality and not test equipment. Who would place trust in a computer running algorithms over the human ear and years of experience in the subjective judging of a violin for example? By the very nature of music, the pleasure that may be derived from it and the evaluation of "quality" in the nature of this must, ultimately, be subjective

Would you accept a computer print out from some form of test equipment to tell you that that Caravaggio is far superior to that Van Gogh? I rather doubt it!

RF and SMPS design have a reputation of being somewhat of a black art. Anyone who has dabbled will be quick to agree! However both can ultimately be explained and their problems solved purely by sound engineering and mathematics. I suggest that, in the case of audio equipment, the final arbiter being a human subjective experience, fickle human taste makes it a "true black art". Now I'm not suggesting witchcraft or sorcery but merely that our frames of reference in the testing we do thus far are obviously inadequate in that they are obviously not testing for those things that our lug 'oles tell us are important. I'm sure we'll eventually get there

I wonder how many of the "all amplifiers sound the same" brigade have actually had the experience, the opportunity, to regularly compare various amplifiers and topologies in a room whose acoustics they are familiar with and with a high quality audio system they are equally familiar with and likewise the program material? If you have day in day out used say LS5/8s with built in Quad 405's and not had the opportunity to compare the results with the same speaker driven by different amps and with rather more audiophile techniques applied to the active crossover then I have little doubt you will be convinced that audio nirvana has already been attained.

The same would apply to anyone with an unchanging audio system and who has never questioned the subjective differences between well regarded amplifiers.

As to a spat between two members... Not my wishes I can assure everyone! I've left well alone and tolerated it up till the point where I felt it had become so obvious that something had to be said.

However I can't completely ignore the obvious negativity and derision directed at me by not just that member but various long standing and well regarded members, many recognised industry professionals, who I have great regard and respect for generally, but who are rather older than my tender 58 years and seem to think everything said by the likes of Baxandall, Walker et al back in the sixties and seventies are the ten commandments of amplifier design and that they were 100% correct in everything they said and whoa betide you to suggest otherwise.

To paraphrase Sir Isaac newton, it is by standing on the shoulders of giants etc... and like most I am eternally grateful for the advances in audio engineering made by such as Walker, Baxandall, Hafler, Albinson, linsley Hood etc etc who both inspired me and from whom I learnt a good part of my trade!

Time moves on though and understanding of audio engineering with it. The majority of people involved today in amplifier design etc would take the same view as myself, ie that there are obvious subjective differences between amplifiers that cannot be explained by the tests we have so far derived.
Some may be aware of the unfortunate rant made by Peter Baxandall towards the end of his life at a major AES gathering in which he slagged of any and all forms of subjective opinion in audio... and it went down about as well as a bucket of vomit with the majority younger and more subjectively aware audience of engineers and audio journalists etc. It was most ill judged unfortunately. His multi-part series on audio power amp design over months (7?) in WW is still of course required reading... even if the last part was never published for whatever reason!

Peace and love as Ringo says

Jez
Jez1234 is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Thread Tools



All times are GMT +1. The time now is 5:52 am.


All information and advice on this forum is subject to the WARNING AND DISCLAIMER located at https://www.vintage-radio.net/rules.html.
Failure to heed this warning may result in death or serious injury to yourself and/or others.


Powered by vBulletin®
Copyright ©2000 - 2024, vBulletin Solutions, Inc.
Copyright ©2002 - 2024, Paul Stenning.