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Audibly transparent

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WinterRacer

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Jan 14, 2009
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CnoEvil said:
That's some question!

If you read through the test results of my amp, you would have seen that it has very low distortion, with comments like this...."However, the real coup de grace came at the end, when I saw graph 8, which shows intermodulation distortion, specifically CCIF-IMD. If you ever needed any proof of the superiority of the Class A design you can stop right here, as this is the best result I have ever seem. In fact as results go, it's perfect......because Class A amps do not require any frequency compensation, open loop gain remains steady over the audio band, which results in superior transient response and therefore dramatically reduced Transient Intermodulation Distortion."

So I can only infer from this, that my system sounds so good because of less, rather than more distortion....which is helped by reference level speakers and a decent streamer. :shifty:
Thanks and agree, you're hearing the benefits of a low distortion (aka neutral or accurate) system! :)
 

WinterRacer

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Jan 14, 2009
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
steve_1979 said:
Bob Carver can make a mass produced $700 solid state amplifier sound exactly the same as any other amplifier (regardless of cost) simply by mimicking the distortion.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge
Which would probably have been a useful exercise if it had been done for a positive reason. Three and a half years later, it has changed nothing.
What's your view on why this test was done and what would a positive version of it be?
 

WinterRacer

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Reflecting on this thread, I'd like to reiterate some points:

1. Accuracy is a good thing,

2. From a SQ PoV, 'too accurate' is not possible. However beyond a certain point, improvements are inaudible - you're paying for something you can't hear.

3. Terms such as 'clinical', 'harsh', etc. are nothing to do with an accurate system, they are caused by distortion or present in the recording.

Over and out. :)
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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WinterRacer said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
steve_1979 said:
Bob Carver can make a mass produced $700 solid state amplifier sound exactly the same as any other amplifier (regardless of cost) simply by mimicking the distortion.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge
Which would probably have been a useful exercise if it had been done for a positive reason. Three and a half years later, it has changed nothing.
What's your view on why this test was done and what would a positive version of it be?
If nothing else it demonstrates why you should be using 100W+ amps even for low volume listening.
 

Frank Harvey

Well-known member
Jun 27, 2008
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18,890
WinterRacer said:
1. Accuracy is a good thing
Agreed, particularly if that is what you're aiming for.

2. From a SQ PoV, 'too accurate' is not possible. However beyond a certain point, improvements are inaudible - you're paying for something you can't hear.
But we're far from accurate as no system can recreate a real live event. And I agree, nothing can be too accurate, but a listener can perceive something as too accurate for their liking - as in the frequency response may be too flat for them because they like a warmer sound. It is down to what people are used to or what they prefer as to whether accurate is too accurate.

3. Terms such as 'clinical', 'harsh', etc. are nothing to do with an accurate system, they are caused by distortion or present in the recording.
It is how some people perceive an accurate system when they hear one..
 

AlmaataKZ

New member
Jan 7, 2009
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WinterRacer said:
Reflecting on this thread, I'd like to reiterate some points:

1. Accuracy is a good thing,

2. From a SQ PoV, 'too accurate' is not possible. However beyond a certain point, improvements are inaudible - you're paying for something you can't hear.

3. Terms such as 'clinical', 'harsh', etc. are nothing to do with an accurate system, they are caused by distortion or present in the recording.
Agree!
 

AlmaataKZ

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Jan 7, 2009
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FrankHarveyHiFi said:
WinterRacer said:
1. Accuracy is a good thing
Agreed, particularly if that is what you're aiming for.

2. From a SQ PoV, 'too accurate' is not possible. However beyond a certain point, improvements are inaudible - you're paying for something you can't hear.
But we're far from accurate as no system can recreate a real live event. And I agree, nothing can be too accurate, but a listener can perceive something as too accurate for their liking - as in the frequency response may be too flat for them because they like a warmer sound. It is down to what people are used to or what they prefer as to whether accurate is too accurate.

3. Terms such as 'clinical', 'harsh', etc. are nothing to do with an accurate system, they are caused by distortion or present in the recording.
It is how some people perceive an accurate system when they hear one..
Now that's putting it upside down again!
 

Singslinger

New member
Jul 31, 2010
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BigH said:
WinterRacer said:
FrankHarveyHiFi said:
steve_1979 said:
Bob Carver can make a mass produced $700 solid state amplifier sound exactly the same as any other amplifier (regardless of cost) simply by mimicking the distortion.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge
Which would probably have been a useful exercise if it had been done for a positive reason. Three and a half years later, it has changed nothing.
What's your view on why this test was done and what would a positive version of it be?
If nothing else it demonstrates why you should be using 100W+ amps even for low volume listening.
While there is some truth to this, I'm firmly in the Class A camp that believes less is more.

At low volumes my Sugden Masterclass integrated (30 w) gives me pretty much the best sound possible in my bedroom while my Accuphase E-560 (also 30w class A) integrated in my listening room is even better.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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WinterRacer said:
Thanks and agree, you're hearing the benefits of a low distortion (aka neutral or accurate) system! :)
Well if that's the case, almost every other amp I've heard isn't transparent.....and only SS true Class A can be claimed as accurate......which is most unlikely.

For me, this shows it's all too easy to be blinded by one's own dogma (I'm including me here).......it's not "what" is playing the music that counts, but "how" the music sounds.

It's very simple to miss the big picture, when getting hung up on the minutiae of sound.....paralysis by analysis, shall we say.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Singslinger said:
While there is some truth to this, I'm firmly in the Class A camp that believes less is more. At low volumes my Sugden Masterclass integrated (30 w) gives me pretty much the best sound possible in my bedroom while my Accuphase E-560 (also 30w class A) integrated in my listening room is even better.
Ah, but you have seen the light.....and felt the heat (and payed the lecky bill). ;)
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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AlmaataKZ said:
Now that's putting it upside down again!
The enjoyment of music happens on an ethereal level, much like the appreciation of Art, Sculpture, Photography or beauty of any kind; so there is no right and wrong......provided of course, you place more importance on the music, than the system that produces it.
 

Singslinger

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Jul 31, 2010
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CnoEvil said:
Singslinger said:
While there is some truth to this, I'm firmly in the Class A camp that believes less is more. At low volumes my Sugden Masterclass integrated (30 w) gives me pretty much the best sound possible in my bedroom while my Accuphase E-560 (also 30w class A) integrated in my listening room is even better.
Ah, but you have seen the light.....and felt the heat (and payed the lecky bill). ;)
:cheers:
 

Covenanter

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Jul 20, 2012
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lindsayt said:
Spoken voice is good test of a system's transparency. So is piano.

I wouldn't want to rely solely on spoken voice as a test of a system's transparency. What if you've got speakers like the LS3/5a that are superb at spoken voice but not so good for recreating a live rock or pop band or a 32 foot organ pipe?
I've only ever bought 3 hifi systems in my life and on each occasion it was the reproduction of piano (or the failure to reproduce piano) that was the deciding factor in my final choice. I don't know why this should be.

Chris
 

Covenanter

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Jul 20, 2012
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lindsayt said:
Spoken voice is good test of a system's transparency. So is piano.

I wouldn't want to rely solely on spoken voice as a test of a system's transparency. What if you've got speakers like the LS3/5a that are superb at spoken voice but not so good for recreating a live rock or pop band or a 32 foot organ pipe?
I've only ever bought 3 hifi systems in my life and on each occasion it was the reproduction of piano (or the failure to reproduce piano) that was the deciding factor in my final choice. I don't know why this should be.

Chris
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Covenanter said:
I don't know why this should be.....

Chris
...because it's a great benchmark, as it's very difficult to get right.

I also use violin, female voice (soprano) and the spoken word.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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CnoEvil said:
Covenanter said:
I don't know why this should be.....

Chris
...because it's a great benchmark, as it's very difficult to get right.

I also use violin, female voice (soprano) and the spoken word.
A wide range should be used, some speakers are good for vocals and midrange stuff but can turn to jelly when you play a bass guitar and don't have enough bass for some types of music depends on your music styles you like.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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BigH said:
CnoEvil said:
Covenanter said:
I don't know why this should be.....

Chris
...because it's a great benchmark, as it's very difficult to get right.

I also use violin, female voice (soprano) and the spoken word.
A wide range should be used, some speakers are good for vocals and midrange stuff but can turn to jelly when you play a bass guitar and don't have enough bass for some types of music depends on your music styles you like.
Agreed, though this can be as much about the amp (ability to control), as about the speakers.
 

Covenanter

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Jul 20, 2012
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CnoEvil said:
Covenanter said:
I don't know why this should be.....

Chris
...because it's a great benchmark, as it's very difficult to get right.

I also use violin, female voice (soprano) and the spoken word.
Yep I use a wide range (although not spoken word but will remember that for next time) but the point I was making was that in the end it has come down to piano.

Chris
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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CnoEvil said:
BigH said:
CnoEvil said:
Covenanter said:
I don't know why this should be.....

Chris
...because it's a great benchmark, as it's very difficult to get right.

I also use violin, female voice (soprano) and the spoken word.
A wide range should be used, some speakers are good for vocals and midrange stuff but can turn to jelly when you play a bass guitar and don't have enough bass for some types of music depends on your music styles you like.
Agreed, though this can be as much about the amp (ability to control), as about the speakers.
Yes I agree, just found some speakers that were great for vocals but could not handle bass at low volume.
 

BigH

New member
Dec 29, 2012
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Covenanter said:
CnoEvil said:
Covenanter said:
I don't know why this should be.....

Chris
...because it's a great benchmark, as it's very difficult to get right.

I also use violin, female voice (soprano) and the spoken word.
Yep I use a wide range (although not spoken word but will remember that for next time) but the point I was making was that in the end it has come down to piano.

Chris
Piano would be a good test but does not test everything I don't think.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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BigH said:
Can you recommend some spoken word and piano music that you use?
For pianos, most of the famous piano concertos / sonatas....I like this recording: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Schubert-Piano-Sonatas-D-840-Lewis/dp/B00585QLX2/ref=sr_1_7?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1358876238&sr=1-7

and this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Keyboard-Concertos-Vol-1/dp/B00005A797/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1358876521&sr=1-1

and Jacques Loussier (Telarc): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plays-Bach-50th-Anniversary-Recording/dp/B001U1K4YU/ref=sr_1_7?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1358876905&sr=1-7

For the spoken word, use radio, TV and Blu-Ray.....shoudn't sound chesty or have the "cupped hands" effect.
 

BigH

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Dec 29, 2012
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CnoEvil said:
BigH said:
Can you recommend some spoken word and piano music that you use?
For pianos, most of the famous piano concertos / sonatas....I like this recording: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Schubert-Piano-Sonatas-D-840-Lewis/dp/B00585QLX2/ref=sr_1_7?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1358876238&sr=1-7

and this: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Bach-Keyboard-Concertos-Vol-1/dp/B00005A797/ref=sr_1_1?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1358876521&sr=1-1

and Jacques Loussier (Telarc): http://www.amazon.co.uk/Plays-Bach-50th-Anniversary-Recording/dp/B001U1K4YU/ref=sr_1_7?s=music&ie=UTF8&qid=1358876905&sr=1-7

For the spoken word, use radio, TV and Blu-Ray.....shoudn't sound chesty or have the "cupped hands" effect.
Thanks I was thinking of Piano Sonatas and Concertos, so that is good.
 

JMacMan

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Nov 9, 2012
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I know it's semantics...lol... but if it isn't 100% transparent, isn't that opaque instead?

I appreciate that for many, mixing and matching separates to get a sound that one likes, is part of the fun of the hobby, and keeps journalists and HiFi dealers in clover.

However, if one believes (does anyone anymore, apart from me?...lol) that the term HiFi means high fidelity, that is a reproduction that is as close to the original as possible, rather than any old sound that pleases me, then transparency (not opaqueness) to the source must surely be the desired outcome.

As has been mentioned (but many forget) things such as tone controls and loudness compensation filters working in the digital domain with DSP, can achieve what the old analogue components achieved, - but without the demirits of added noise and distortion - such as to tailor the response to suit ones personal concept of hiFi 'flavour' should one so desire.

That we have eschewed such controls (which was relevant to a degree back in the analogue era) and not embraced them in the digital age, but prefer to try and tailor a sound via mixing and matching kit and interconnects etc, is again something that keeps journalists and dealers in clover, but achieves nothing for the consumer except keeping them on the profit making roundabout for the HiFi industry.

I'd also argue, (with a degree of tongue in cheek..lol) that if measurements and blind ABX testing mean scant all to the self called and pronounced experts (journalists and dealers) that Bose as an integrated system beats the hell out of anything performance wise being offered by these third party, mix and match 'tweaker's at the consumer level, and without measurement and blind ABX testing to support the superiority of mixing and matching, i.e. if it's all a subjective wine tasting excercise in sound, then those self proclaimed experts have nothing in their repoitoire of journalist or dealer jargon beyond dubious hype and opinion to refute the claim.

So In the interests of provoking some thought and discussion perhaps, I say Bose wins!

I believe the sales figures support the claim as well, so either the general public are wrong, gullible and stupid, or mixing and matching, via wine tasting in HiFi is just that - fun, a hobby, supporting your local dealer and HiFi industry, but ultimately not a lot about Hi Fidelity reproduction as a concept or goal per se anymore, and the general public see it for the emporers new clothes syndrome that it oft is - especially when some of these mix and match solutions cost more than the price of an expensive car, with sound quality a bare few percentage points perhaps over something vastly cheaper.

That the HiFi industry is in decline worldwide seems to be a general observation in most audio circles, and whilst it is sold and marketed the way it currently is, I'd say this trend is likely to continue. Y generation particularly is very tech savvy, and not easily fooled....

Anyway, I don't mean to be argumentative or offend anyone, but just some thoughts hopefully a little relevant to the topic at least.

John
 

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