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Old 9th Aug 2023, 6:18 pm   #3181
Craig Sawyers
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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But Quad did exactly that too. They never did listening tests on their products, with the possible exception of the loudspeakers.

Their view was - design it right, measure it right, production engineer it. Job done. And very largely they were right.

Craig
Hmm well I and many others would disagree there!
I had that from Mike Albinson (RIP). An old university friend of mine (Max Hadley) at that stage worked for Quad. Max was responsible for the 405 SOA circuit (that ended up as an encapsulated unit).

Since I was working in Cambridge, Max suggested that I come visit. It was actually the Summer shut down when the factory closed for at least a week. But Albinson was there, so I spent a cheerful hour or two talking to him. Lots of interesting stories of that conversation, but he absolutely confirmed that they did not listen to their products. They had no room or facility to do so.

So I had it from the horses mouth, from the guy that designed the input of the 303, the FM3, FM4, 405 and possibly others before he shuffled off.

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Old 9th Aug 2023, 6:44 pm   #3182
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NS10s...are a tool in the mix engineer's arsenal that enables midrange coherence in real world environments...of course, mix engineers will never rely on one set of monitors, and will cross-reference against the Tannoy / ATC etc. No mix engineer would dream of having a pair of NS10 at home - they are a work tool.
Precisely.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 6:46 pm   #3183
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But Quad did exactly that too. They never did listening tests on their products, with the possible exception of the loudspeakers.

Their view was - design it right, measure it right, production engineer it. Job done. And very largely they were right.

Craig
Hmm well I and many others would disagree there!
I had that from Mike Albinson (RIP). An old university friend of mine (Max Hadley) at that stage worked for Quad. Max was responsible for the 405 SOA circuit (that ended up as an encapsulated unit).

Since I was working in Cambridge, Max suggested that I come visit. It was actually the Summer shut down when the factory closed for at least a week. But Albinson was there, so I spent a cheerful hour or two talking to him. Lots of interesting stories of that conversation, but he absolutely confirmed that they did not listen to their products. They had no room or facility to do so.

So I had it from the horses mouth, from the guy that designed the input of the 303, the FM3, FM4, 405 and possibly others before he shuffled off.

Craig
Second reply in a row that's shut down and disappeared whilst I was typing it... the reply to Knobtwddler had got quite long, but will be repeated if I ever get this one out!

Anyway, I was not disagreeing with Quad not listening to their gear! That was well known. I was disagreeing that if an amp is well designed and measured then it will be erm.. right. I very strongly disagree with P J Walkers assertion that all well designed amps sound the same. That was my point. In fact I told him to his face what I thought of the 44 pre amp at the time.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 6:53 pm   #3184
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For anyone interested in the audible threshold of distortion, there is a double blind AB test on Klippel's website

https://www.klippel.de/listeningtest/

For anyone not knowing who Klippel are, they are the world leading suppliers of loudspeaker modelling software, and measurement systems. Every loudspeaker driver manufacturer worthy of mention uses their stuff.

You might be surprised at the results of the test, and your own perception threshold for non-linear distortions.

Craig
It's another contentious issue! Some types of distortion can be present in surprisingly large amounts and go largely unnoticed, pickup cartridges, magnetic tape, speakers etc (without a "perfect" reference anyway), whilst others can be objectionable at small levels, such as crossover distortion.

John Linsley Hood had a letter published in Electronics and Wireless World prob around mid 90's in which he described a very interesting experiment in which he used signal generators to replicate particular orders of harmonic distortion of a steady state signal. He varied phase as well as level and tried a variety of waveforms. The takeaway from it was that at certain high order harmonics and when the phase was also just right, he and some younger testers he enlisted for their fresh ears were able to easily and repeatably hear 0.002% distortion.

He could not offer an explanation for it and suggested it could be something worthy of further research.
I'll first say how bizarre I find it that in the five or so times I've quoted the above on as many forums no one has ever replied to or commented on that JLH letter which personally I think is gob-smacking and one of the most interesting things I've ever read on the subject! I digress...
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 6:57 pm   #3185
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NB - on the basis of evidence, i.e. making acclaimed recordings, Quad's amps are pretty much unsurpassed. They were all over Abbey Road studios, as well as the Beeb. On paper, they were responsible for tracking and mixing more successful recordings than the other brands put together. Of course, audiophiles know better - and there is no way to quantify why!
So were the Yamaha NS10's....
NS10s have a massive peak in the midrange that highlights the balance between vocal and lead instruments. They take a lot of training to get used to. Mixes made via NS10s have a characteristic that not only works in loud environments, i.e. working against Fletcher Munson, but they also enable mix engineers to get the vocal to cut out on radio that's hyper-limited. They are not meant to be nice listening speakers and I've never met anyone who considered them to be so. They are a tool in the mix engineer's arsenal that enables midrange coherence in real world environments. As with Quad amps, you simply cannot argue with the amount of records that are prized by audiophiles that were mixed with them. Their utility is a statistical fact. Of course, mix engineers will never rely on one set of monitors, and will cross-reference against the Tannoy / ATC etc. No mix engineer would dream of having a pair of NS10 at home - they are a work tool.
If by "cut out" you mean stand out, if a studio monitor speaker has a pronounced peak in the mid range, it is more than likely that the final mix will represent the obverse of the speaker's frequency response because a good engineer will be aiming for a balanced, 'flat' mix. So one is much more likely to end up with a mix that has a dip in the mid range, not a peak that makes vocals cut through, quite the opposite in fact. When I was using studios they generally had an actual radio speaker in a box resting on the mixing desk to truly hear how the mix sounded 'on the radio'. So for a pop record aimed at the singles chart, the final mix tended to be a meld of the monitor and radio speaker's sound; a mix that sounded 'good' on both.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:13 pm   #3186
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

That wasn't the point being made. The use of NS10s comes when the broad characteristics of the mix are already set and the problem to be solved is the balance between voices competing in the midrange. For reasons which may or may not be concerned with the size of the midrange peak, the NS10s give the information the mix engineer needs to achieve this balance. At a milder level, I balanced a lot of stuff on LS5/8s, but I wouldn't have them at home...
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:39 pm   #3187
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studios they generally had an actual radio speaker in a box resting on the mixing desk
I think you're referring to Auratone cubes. Every decent studio used to have them, and many do today. Most studios will also have a boom-box. Producers and mix engineers will use multiple references.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 7:57 pm   #3188
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NB - on the basis of evidence, i.e. making acclaimed recordings, Quad's amps are pretty much unsurpassed. They were all over Abbey Road studios, as well as the Beeb. On paper, they were responsible for tracking and mixing more successful recordings than the other brands put together. Of course, audiophiles know better - and there is no way to quantify why!
So were the Yamaha NS10's....
NS10s have a massive peak in the midrange that highlights the balance between vocal and lead instruments. They take a lot of training to get used to. Mixes made via NS10s have a characteristic that not only works in loud environments, i.e. working against Fletcher Munson, but they also enable mix engineers to get the vocal to cut out on radio that's hyper-limited. They are not meant to be nice listening speakers and I've never met anyone who considered them to be so. They are a tool in the mix engineer's arsenal that enables midrange coherence in real world environments. As with Quad amps, you simply cannot argue with the amount of records that are prized by audiophiles that were mixed with them. Their utility is a statistical fact. Of course, mix engineers will never rely on one set of monitors, and will cross-reference against the Tannoy / ATC etc. No mix engineer would dream of having a pair of NS10 at home - they are a work tool.
Second go..

NS10's are awful things. They are used because 99% of other studios use them... they are expected to be there. They are to give an indication of how the mix will sound on dubious quality equipment such as is used by a majority of the public.

Likewise Quad amps were not used in a few studios because of any specific qualities. I'll posit that Crown are/were probably the most widely used in fact.

Quad was used in a small pond of usually UK studios, often (not always) for classical music, and especially by the BBC at one time.

Quad attracts a very particular clientele A Venn diagram of which would probably include the vast majority of contributors to this site, amongst others. For a certain demographic, especially in the UK, there is basically no other hi fi brand! Conservative with a small c, listens only to classical music and is quite snobbish about it, up tight, no nonsense, British is best, probably a member of "the professions" or aspires to be (also things like physics and chemistry teachers), would rarely if ever be seen in a public house and once upon a time would have driven a walnut interior Rover.
Hobbies might include "this", horology, train spotting, supporting the National Trust and going to live classical concerts.

This is "yer Quad man". Ownership of pipe and slippers not obligatory...

Often a (classical) music lover rather than a hi fi enthusiast as such.

To such people, if "equation 4b" "proves" that the amplifier is close enough to perfection to be indeterminable from perfection then no other claim will be given any credence whatsoever unless it comes in the form of mathematical "proof" that "equation 4b" was flawed!

The above politics, with a small p, combined with the availability, VFM and reliability of Quad is why some studios, mainly in the UK, and the BBC, once used Quad amps.

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Old 9th Aug 2023, 8:34 pm   #3189
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I may have said similar a few weeks back... not sure, but I find a wry amusement at occupying a no mans land between a rock and a hard place when it comes to hi fi

Driven from every hi fi forum for fighting against the audiophoolery of magic fuses and enchanted wires of space cadet level subjectivism, I come here where I am then myself regarded as a maverick for insisting that there are subjective differences between amplifiers... You couldn't make it up!
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 8:37 pm   #3190
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The above politics, with a small p, combined with the availability, VFM and reliability of Quad is why some studios, mainly in the UK, and the BBC, once used Quad amps.
While studios at the top end of the market might have used something other than Quad, they were pretty much ubiquitous in the smaller studios that I've been in. They offer a good combination of sound quality and value for money. Their slightly restrained sound also helps tame the excesses of NS10s.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 8:56 pm   #3191
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The above politics, with a small p, combined with the availability, VFM and reliability of Quad is why some studios, mainly in the UK, and the BBC, once used Quad amps.
While studios at the top end of the market might have used something other than Quad, they were pretty much ubiquitous in the smaller studios that I've been in. They offer a good combination of sound quality and value for money. Their slightly restrained sound also helps tame the excesses of NS10s.
No studio that I've been in used them. It was no doubt during a certain era anyway. 405's were used by the BBC as the built in amps in some BBC designed monitors and I've seen a few old photos of 303's being used with usually Tannoys in Abbey Road. When I used to do repairs for studios most used active Genelecs.
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 9:24 pm   #3192
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The above politics, with a small p, combined with the availability, VFM and reliability of Quad is why some studios, mainly in the UK, and the BBC, once used Quad amps.
While studios at the top end of the market might have used something other than Quad, they were pretty much ubiquitous in the smaller studios that I've been in. They offer a good combination of sound quality and value for money. Their slightly restrained sound also helps tame the excesses of NS10s.
I think you've quoted someone else there. I don't think I wrote that! I did used to see Quads at most UK studios I visited, as well as the Beeb. Like anything, they hit a good balance between reliability and function, so they sold well in pro circles. I haven't been to Abbey Rd in a while, but I remember the large monitors using Bryston, and smaller often using 405s (this was a good few yrs back).
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 10:33 pm   #3193
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Not truly AUDIO phoolery, but i thought you chaps needed to see this...
https://offers.harmonipendant.com/ha...0UU9tbXIro49w0
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 10:56 pm   #3194
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Not truly AUDIO phoolery, but i thought you chaps needed to see this...
https://offers.harmonipendant.com/ha...0UU9tbXIro49w0
OMG! What's the number for the Advertising Standards Authority!?
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Old 9th Aug 2023, 11:54 pm   #3195
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A correction to my previous post: I meant to write 'Quad 520'. They were all over studios in the 80s and 90s, for near-field duties. Not sure why I wrote 405, as I don't recall seeing them in studios!

NB - am still puzzled about James' quote!
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Old 10th Aug 2023, 12:09 am   #3196
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The 520 was certainly built for pro use. I've had a few in over the years. Sounds similar to 405 which is to be expected as topology basically the same.

I think James quote happened like that as he edited a multi-quote and inadvertently removed the OP name hence leaving it appearing to quote Knobtwiddler!
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Old 10th Aug 2023, 12:40 am   #3197
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I was not disagreeing with Quad not listening to their gear! That was well known. I was disagreeing that if an amp is well designed and measured then it will be erm.. right. I very strongly disagree with P J Walkers assertion that all well designed amps sound the same. That was my point. In fact I told him to his face what I thought of the 44 pre amp at the time.
What Walker actually said was that if a difference be found between two amplifiers operating within their linear region be found, then measurements must logically furnish an explanation for said differences. These have to be the right measurements, of course.

Did you feel better after delivering your opinion of the 44 to Peter Walker? I've used one domestically for forty years without complaint. As for Walker himself, whenever we spoke or corresponded he behaved like the gentleman he was. If you care to read his autobiographical notes as published in Audio Biographies you will note that he started out as an iconoclast, too...
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Old 10th Aug 2023, 12:53 am   #3198
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Quad attracts a very particular clientele A Venn diagram of which would probably include the vast majority of contributors to this site, amongst others. For a certain demographic, especially in the UK, there is basically no other hi fi brand! Conservative with a small c, listens only to classical music and is quite snobbish about it, up tight, no nonsense, British is best, probably a member of "the professions" or aspires to be (also things like physics and chemistry teachers), would rarely if ever be seen in a public house and once upon a time would have driven a walnut interior Rover.
In that case, why, for instance, is a Quad 33 clearly visible in the background of an interview with Gilbert O'Sullivan at home at the height of his fame? Quad shifted far too many units for its market to be restricted to any particular class. Perhaps Quad customers are music lovers first and hi fi enthusiasts second - how shocking! What is hi fi for, anyway?
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Old 10th Aug 2023, 2:10 am   #3199
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I was not disagreeing with Quad not listening to their gear! That was well known. I was disagreeing that if an amp is well designed and measured then it will be erm.. right. I very strongly disagree with P J Walkers assertion that all well designed amps sound the same. That was my point. In fact I told him to his face what I thought of the 44 pre amp at the time.
What Walker actually said was that if a difference be found between two amplifiers operating within their linear region be found, then measurements must logically furnish an explanation for said differences. These have to be the right measurements, of course.

Did you feel better after delivering your opinion of the 44 to Peter Walker? I've used one domestically for forty years without complaint. As for Walker himself, whenever we spoke or corresponded he behaved like the gentleman he was. If you care to read his autobiographical notes as published in Audio Biographies you will note that he started out as an iconoclast, too...
Oh I can assure you I made my critique politely and that yes he was a complete gentleman in our discussion beatific almost... I was 18 and with hindsight would have taken the opportunity to congratulate him on the ESL speakers and not said anything about the 44.

The right measurements... well yes that's what we need! I'd love to know what the right measurements are that could explain why amplifiers with exemplary performance by all the currently used measurements can sound so different!

As for "Quad types" well today has been proof if any were needed that in antisubjectivist (to the extent of believing even all amplifiers sound the same) circles they are ones who believe everything required for the perfect amplifier was sorted out by Walker, Baxandall, Albinson, Williamson (Reg and DTN), Hafler etc by 1976 with the 405 and that if you think you can hear further improvement beyond the likes of the 33 and 303 in any other amplifier set up then you are imagining it. I'm surprised Gilbert Briggs name has not been brought up in "proof" that the perfect speaker had been designed by the late 50's as Briggs with H J Leak had demonstrated to many audiences that they couldn't tell the difference between Wharfedale and a live orchestra

My decades of experience now in designing and building audio equipment, modifying it, repairing hundreds of commercial amps and listening to them with an eye to the topologies used all tell me differently. Beyond the point where amplifiers measure as "blameless" by the Doug Self criteria I've often noticed marked differences between the sound of amplifiers which appear to have no correlation with measurements. We'll have to agree to disagree
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Old 10th Aug 2023, 7:40 am   #3200
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

I would expect all perfect amplifiers to sound the same.

But as nothing is ever entirely perfect, then how much of each possible imperfection can be tolerated before differences become noticeable? Different people have different threasholds.

Music is an unruly signal to have to handle. Clipping happens. Simple steady-state sinewave testing doesn't explore an amplifier's behaviour in these circumstances. There are plenty enough amplifiers around which without putting ridiculous signals into them can be got into slew-rate limiting or taking unreasonably long to recover from a transient.

So there are amplifiers which might look identical or even perfect under simplistic testing that can sound different with real world signals and usage applied.

The fundamental problem lies in the assumptions behind simplistic testing being adequate.

If a difference is heard, there ought to be a way to investigate the process causing it. Some perceived differences are psychosomatic, maybe a reaction to expenditure in this case proving that there is really nothing to explain the opinion amounts to trying to prove a negative, and absolute proof may be impossible. People's opinions are often quite impervious to facts, but if there are any loopholes they will be seized upon.

Mix in people without the background to understand technical issues, add in an absolute faith that there is no limit to the perception of their hearing. Oh, yes and the prestige of showing off expensive toys and you have a recipe for perpetual argument.

I prefer to keep well clear of such people. I've designed quite a bit of stuff for myself, but although the RF stuff has been published, the audio stuff never has been, never will be.

I've never owned any Quad equipment, but I've fixed a fair amount, and listened to it. I rove around surrounded by cherry wood and aniline leather. Never smoked a pipe or anything else.

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