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Old 6th May 2019, 4:48 pm   #861
Radio Wrangler
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

There is a perfectly sound argument that what you hear is the end product. So you should care about what you can hear, and by reasoning, not care about what you can't hear.

Measurements are nice in that they are quick and save having to convene a listening panel for every step in a development, but measurements will tell you that everything is imperfect to an extant. Measurements are only useful if you know how much you can get away with

What spoils this nice idyllic world is that some people react to what they think they hear or what they are told they should hear, and some people believe you can't get away with anything.

Hifi needs a truth and reconciliation agency!

David
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Old 6th May 2019, 5:04 pm   #862
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Oh dear: in my copy of Stanley's classic book "Wireless Telegraphy" (2nd edition, 1919), "air waves" mean "sound waves". Visible light and radio frequency waves are "ether waves".
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Old 6th May 2019, 5:09 pm   #863
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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I can see that things like amplifiers have long since reached the point where technical analysis does not add much to the equation for the average consumer. ....... However, it seems to me that there is little demand from the vast majority of consumers for a high level of technical information and so the mainstream press don't bother. The relatively few people who are interested in, or want to learn about, the technicalities join forums like this one.

Alan
I think we have a case of chicken and egg here. You can say that there is no demand from the vast majority of consumers for a high degree of technical information, and that's quite true, but how did that come about?! It came about when 'audiophoolery' entered the ring sometime in the early 80s when reviewers began to spice up their reviews ushering in phrases and concepts of very debatable meaning and integrity. And the hifi buying public bought into those phrases and concepts and alongside the mags moved serious hifi into an era where the order of the day was along the lines of, "I don't give a damn about the specs, I can hear that this unit sounds better". People trusted glamorous, often outlandish reviews and their own (by now very much biassed) ears rather than a combination of specs, technical knowledge and yes, one's experienced ears. What had been a serious, 'enthusiasts' interest was now being followed by people with very little true understanding of the subject, but given the new platform, could now spout 'knowledgeably' and confidently about the new wave of hifi with all its now being unfolded mysteries and quirks. And hence, voodoo, snake oil and smoke and mirrors were born into hifi.
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Old 6th May 2019, 5:41 pm   #864
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

For me 'phoolery' began when a few brain cells got together and started to think, probably long before chickens & their eggs came along.

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Old 6th May 2019, 9:08 pm   #865
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Measurements don't really count for much anymore because recording, reproducing and amplifying electrical signals representing sounds is essentially a solved problem. Just select how loud you want it to play and how small a deviation from perfect is acceptable, and someone will give you a price on it. And if the performer, the record company and the hi-fi manufacturers have all done their jobs right then you can obtain, at the output terminals of your amplifier, a waveform which is identical to that which came from the microphone, only larger. If a fully-digital process is used throughout, even wow and flutter are essentially nil.

And unfortunately, that's the demarcation point beyond which the responsibility lies with the listener. The signal is as perfect as we want it now, yet there is still room for imperfections to be introduced: in the loudspeakers, the room -- and even the listener's ear. And unfortunately, these parameters outside the control of the amplifier manufacturer can have more influence on the final sound than the ones the manufacturer can do anything about. Whether the source be vinyl, CD or tape, and whether the amplifier be using valves, discrete semiconductors or ICs, is more or less immaterial: the speakers will see the same drive signal.

(Philips did try taking negative feedback from the speaker cones, but then feedback went out of fashion and the idea never amounted to much. The patents must have expired by now, so perhaps there is still room for experimentation here .....)

I still think the listening room and objects therein are going to have a more appreciable effect on the sound, that by definition won't be influenced by fancy interconnects or a different type of amplifier. Even repositioning the speakers and rearranging articles in the room will influence the sound, for better or worse, in ways unforeseeable upstream in the whole process. Even this takes no account of the listener themself, whose hearing may not be perfect and may be influenced temporarily by psychological state (mood, hormone levels, tiredness &c).

Once you have gone past the knee on the performance \ price graph, psychological factors become dominant. Fancy-sounding explanations just slightly beyond the understanding have a certain appeal -- it would surely all make sense, if I could only be bothered to learn enough on the subject! -- and disagreement between experts merely forces one to choose a "tribe" to which they then get the gratification of belonging.
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Old 6th May 2019, 10:00 pm   #866
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

As a point of information, under UK law, patents can only be enforced against those who do so for commercial purposes. A private individual is free to make use of any patented technology as long as they do so purely for private, non-commercial purposes.

I seem to recall seeing some curves in (I think) the miscellaneous data section of the ITT "Reference Data for Radio Engineers" book showing how the frequency response characteristic of the human ear varies with sound level. So if you could get perfect reproduction of a piece at a given sound level, the consequence of adjusting the volume control would be to necessitate re-balancing the tone controls to re-balance for the new level.

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Old 6th May 2019, 10:17 pm   #867
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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... So if you could get perfect reproduction of a piece at a given sound level, the consequence of adjusting the volume control would be to necessitate re-balancing the tone controls to re-balance for the new level.
This point used (which is to say decades ago) to be made routinely when people were given advice about setting up their hi-fi. The fact is that if the recording is of a piano 10m away then it will only sound like a piano if the volume corresponds to that of a piano 10m away. If you turn it down to avoid disturbing the neighbours or the baby or up because, well, you feel Elton or Freddie would want it that way then it won't sound like a piano (or, at least, not like a proper piano).

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 6th May 2019, 10:32 pm   #868
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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I seem to recall seeing some curves in (I think) the miscellaneous data section of the ITT "Reference Data for Radio Engineers" book showing how the frequency response characteristic of the human ear varies with sound level. So if you could get perfect reproduction of a piece at a given sound level, the consequence of adjusting the volume control would be to necessitate re-balancing the tone controls to re-balance for the new level.
Yes and that was the reason for having so called loudness controls.

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Whether the source be vinyl, CD or tape, and whether the amplifier be using valves, discrete semiconductors or ICs, is more or less immaterial: the speakers will see the same drive signal.
Can't agree with that particularly with regard to vinyl reproduction. Also valve and semiconductor amplifiers sound quite different from each other, to my ears anyway.

Alan
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Old 6th May 2019, 11:30 pm   #869
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Well here's one for you,
There are people out there that will tell you the different sound of different brand 9v batteries when used to power electric guitar effects pedals, seriously !
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Old 6th May 2019, 11:38 pm   #870
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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... Also valve and semiconductor amplifiers sound quite different from each other, to my ears anyway.
To your brain, quite possibly. But a group of people whose professional reputations depended on it got rather badly burned when they were persuaded to try telling the difference using only their ears . They were pros but once they couldn't see the amps they couldn't hear any difference between them.

The relevant article was posted here https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...t=65423&page=2 in the last two attachments of post #21 and the first one of post #22.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 6th May 2019, 11:39 pm   #871
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
I seem to recall seeing some curves in (I think) the miscellaneous data section of the ITT "Reference Data for Radio Engineers" book showing how the frequency response characteristic of the human ear varies with sound level. So if you could get perfect reproduction of a piece at a given sound level, the consequence of adjusting the volume control would be to necessitate re-balancing the tone controls to re-balance for the new level.
Yes and that was the reason for having so called loudness controls.

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Originally Posted by julie_m View Post
Whether the source be vinyl, CD or tape, and whether the amplifier be using valves, discrete semiconductors or ICs, is more or less immaterial: the speakers will see the same drive signal.
Can't agree with that particularly with regard to vinyl reproduction. Also valve and semiconductor amplifiers sound quite different from each other, to my ears anyway.

Alan
All things being equal then yes A valve amplifier will sound the same as a silicon amp. But things aren't equal. Not least is the difference in output impedance which as i understand it affects the damping factor into loudspeakers. This could fundamentally affect the audible response.
Now some people like this effect from valve amps, some don't.
I like the way my valve amps sound, some homebrew some "classic" commercial ones, and I also really enjoy listening to music via a couple of decent solid state jobs, an old mitsubishi power amp and latterly a scrappy but good Quad 405-2 which to me is a masterly piece of design that works and it works exccedingly well into fairly modern quad ESL speakers. As i'd expect.
I don't really understand all this fulmination against the audiophile as most of the stuff you guys rail at is also laughed at by the vast majority of users of high fidelity equipment.
if you think there's vast amounts of money wasted in this interest, then don't even think about getting into motorbikes, the amount of good money you can chuck away there doesn't bear thinking about. And mostly that really IS fashion.

A.
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Old 6th May 2019, 11:52 pm   #872
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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... But things aren't equal ...
They aren't if you compare a good solid-state amp with a bad valve amp. But there are also good valve amps. I measured the output impedance of a Leak TL/50 Plus earlier this evening and on the 8ohm output tapping it was 0.36ohms, which is negligible compared with the speaker's Ohmic voicecoil and crossover resistances. In terms of output impedance it will sound like a (good) solid-state amp.

It's critical to make sure we don't confuse the difference between solid-state and valve amps with the difference between (objectively) good and bad amps. Goodness and badness don't need to depend on the electronic devices used.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 6th May 2019, 11:59 pm   #873
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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... But things aren't equal ...
They aren't if you compare a good solid-state amp with a bad valve amp. But there are also good valve amps. I measured the output impedance of a Leak TL/50 Plus earlier this evening and on the 8ohm output tapping it was 0.36ohms, which is negligible compared with the speaker's Ohmic voicecoil and crossover resistances. In terms of output impedance it will sound like a (good) solid-state amp.

It's critical to make sure we don't confuse the difference between solid-state and valve amps with the difference between (objectively) good and bad amps. Goodness and badness don't need to depend on the electronic devices used.

Cheers,

GJ
Accepted GJ. I made my point badly, sorry.
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Old 7th May 2019, 12:09 am   #874
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

I made mine badly too, in a sense. When I was talking about 'good/bad' amps what I meant was amps that do/don't accurately reproduce the input electrical signal at the output terminals (only bigger, of course).

But it's not clear that the music played through a 'bad' amp will sound 'bad'. It may sound better, to people who like it, than the output of a near perfect amp. I've heard folks say that the experience of the latter is the same as the experience of drinking distilled water - inoffensive, but not much fun.

Cheers,

GJ
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Old 7th May 2019, 12:42 am   #875
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

This has to be the most unusual cable review ever- https://www.amazon.com/review/R3I8VKTCITJCX6
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Old 7th May 2019, 7:34 am   #876
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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This has to be the most unusual cable review ever- https://www.amazon.com/review/R3I8VKTCITJCX6
Most of the others are -takes as well - some of them quite good!

In any case, if your kit is that cable-critical, the designer wasn't doing his job.
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Old 7th May 2019, 8:29 am   #877
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

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... Also valve and semiconductor amplifiers sound quite different from each other, to my ears anyway.
To your brain, quite possibly. But a group of people whose professional reputations depended on it got rather badly burned when they were persuaded to try telling the difference using only their ears . They were pros but once they couldn't see the amps they couldn't hear any difference between them.

The relevant article was posted here https://www.vintage-radio.net/forum/...t=65423&page=2 in the last two attachments of post #21 and the first one of post #22.

Cheers,

GJ
I completely accept the point that well designed and implemented power amplifiers, of whatever gender, are audibly very similar. It was an ill considered comment on my part which could even be classed as 'phoolish'.

The theme of my recent brief posts to this thread has really been that it's the source and deilvery mechanisms which should be the focus of attention for those interested in high-fidelity audio reproduction. To my mind it's in theses areas where some technical understanding remains valuable.

Alan
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Old 7th May 2019, 10:44 am   #878
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

Quote:
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Quote:
Originally Posted by emeritus View Post
... So if you could get perfect reproduction of a piece at a given sound level, the consequence of adjusting the volume control would be to necessitate re-balancing the tone controls to re-balance for the new level.
This point used (which is to say decades ago) to be made routinely when people were given advice about setting up their hi-fi. The fact is that if the recording is of a piano 10m away then it will only sound like a piano if the volume corresponds to that of a piano 10m away. If you turn it down to avoid disturbing the neighbours or the baby or up because, well, you feel Elton or Freddie would want it that way then it won't sound like a piano (or, at least, not like a proper piano).

Cheers,

GJ
Exactly. The same applies when listening to a spoken human voice on a hifi. To stand a chance of it sounding realistic you have to set the volume so that it's the same level as it would be if that person were speaking directly (no amplification etc) in the room. Otherwise the Fletcher Munson curves come into play and the voice will exhibit tonal inaccuracies that (apart from other causes) make it sound unnatural. Indeed the spoken human voice - something that we are all very familiar with - is said to be one of the best tests of the accuracy (lack of colouration) of a hifi speaker/monitor.
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Old 7th May 2019, 11:29 am   #879
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

ZERO: NO CHARACTERISTIC IMPEDANCE FOR UNCOMPRESSED CURRENT TRANSFER
GROUND-NOISE DISSIPATION (GND)
DRAGON CONDUCTORS: SOLID PERFECT-SURFACE SILVER (PSS)
CARBON-BASED LINEARIZED NOISE-DISSIPATION SYSTEM (NDS)
DIELECTRIC-BIAS SYSTEM WITH CARBON-LEVEL RADIO-FREQUENCY TRAP (DBS)

From here https://www.audioquest.com/cables/sp...es/dragon-zero

For a 2 metre stereo pair of these loudspeaker cables - £21,799

Alternatively buy 1000 vinyl records, or subscribe to Tidal HiFi streaming for 90 years.

Yeesh.
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Old 7th May 2019, 12:09 pm   #880
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Default Re: The Audiophoolery Thread.

The average weekly wage of a premiership footballer passed £50,000 a couple of years ago https://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/42130297. 3 days pay for something that might make you happy isn't all that much to ask, I suppose. And they might negotiate a discount too.

The fact is, Craig, that you and I are not the target market .

Cheers,

GJ
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