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Your opinions please?

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matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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Clare Newsome said:
matthewpiano said:
I think the whole point is that we are all looking for slightly different things in our hi-fi, as we all look for different things in most areas of our lives.

Actually, I wonder how many people out there can appreciate how significantly different pianos can sound. Put a Schimmel K230T next to a Fazioli F228, for example, and they are both recognisably a piano but the tonal qualities are actually quite different. Is one right and the other wrong? No. Both are beautifully made instruments but they offer different qualities. Some pianists will prefer the Schimmel and others will prefer the Fazioli. It is the same if you compare a Martin acoustic guitar with a Yamaha, or a Buffet clarinet with a LeBlanc. With this sort of variation between seemingly similar instruments is it any wonder that we all like different things in our hi-fi?
Even pianos from the same manufacturer can vary. Yamaha has a room in its piano plant where you can try a range of factory-fresh models and pick your favourite. Amazing place :)
Absolutely. We often have multiples of the same model in stock at work, including Yamaha, and no two are ever exactly the same. There have been several times when I've lined three examples of the same make and model up so that a customer can choose the one they like the best. I've been to the Schimmel factory in Braunschweig and experienced the same in their selection centre. All fascinating. :)
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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oldric_naubhoff said:
well, in that case, why is it that so many people like sound of tube amps? it's proven they produce more harmonic distortion then solid state and somehow, despite this fact, it doesn't drive people from listening to tube amps...
Well you and many other people may think that it's been proven that valve amps produce more THD+N distortion than solid state. I don't.

Every graph that I've ever seen of THD+N vs power output for amplifiers has been at stupidly deafeningly loud volume levles. I've never seen a graph that would cover the area from 20dbs to 80dbs for my speakers. And when you do look at the solid state graphs you see that most of them have exponentially rising THD+N figures as the power decreases. A very undesirable trait that is not shared by the better valve amps.

Which brings me onto my next post...
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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If you look at a few op-amp data sheets such as figure 21 in the one for the Analog Devices ADA4001-2 you will see that THD+N depends upon the voltage. In a hi-fi situation we will get voltage levels off the left hand side of the graph! Into an area where THD+N levels will go above 1%!

This means that there are situations where the op amp in an active crossover will be giving us more distortion than the inductors in a passive crossover.

Worst case scenario for op amp based active crossovers is: treble frequencies at lower volume levels on highly efficient speakers.
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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Paul Hobbs said:
My laptop screen (for work) is calibrated to be perfectly neutral. My tv is calibrated at home to look how I like it. Is it not the same thing? I dislike all this neutral rubbish. Since its impossible to replicate what the artist is hearing, I may as well eq it for my enjoyment.
I think you mean what the recording engineer is hearing, the artist will not necessarily hear the same thing and as for neutrality, that's true hi-fi.
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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lindsayt said:
oldric_naubhoff said:
well, in that case, why is it that so many people like sound of tube amps? it's proven they produce more harmonic distortion then solid state and somehow, despite this fact, it doesn't drive people from listening to tube amps...
Well you and many other people may think that it's been proven that valve amps produce more THD+N distortion than solid state. I don't.
my post was in response to Overdoses remark that poor sound is caused by "hideous distortion". I thought it's commonly accepted fact that tubes produce more THD than SS devices. but in fairness, it doesn't really matter to me if what I hear sounds good. I really think that above a certain level no distortion is audible anyway. it would be something around -70dB - -60dB. I don't know how to convert it into % but it definitely is much higher than some 0.00001% or whatever.

lindsayt said:
Every graph that I've ever seen of THD+N vs power output for amplifiers has been at stupidly deafeningly loud volume levles. I've never seen a graph that would cover the area from 20dbs to 80dbs for my speakers. And when you do look at the solid state graphs you see that most of them have exponentially rising THD+N figures as the power decreases. A very undesirable trait that is not shared by the better valve amps.
that is true, however, note that (at least in case of quality SS power amps) the level of distortion for low power output starts at very low levels in absolute terms. then it decreases and in the end rapidly rises when transistors hit their voltage rails limits. when you look at THD+N graphs vs. power for a SS amp at low power it'll still be around 0.02%. if you want to you could check some graphs at Stereophile.

however, I have to confess that I'm always taking those measurements with a pinch of salt. overwhelming amp designs make use of negative feedback loop to lower level of distortion. while I admit it's great stuff if you have to amplify a steady state sinewave I believe that in case of musical signal it's not making such a great job, due to its very nauture. I wish manufacturers were submitting open loop distortion measurements for their amps in which case you'd be able to asses better how much distortion an amp really produces. I'm getting a feeling that in case of open loop distortion measurements SS devices wouldn't fare so favorably against tubes. (with exception of a few amp designs which don't use negative feedback loop).
 

Paul.

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Nov 26, 2010
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I don't care what the engineer is hearing, I listen to the music the artists write. I listen to artists that I like, so logically I listen to it in a way I like. But then I'm not technicaly in to hifi, Im just in to music.
 

lindsayt

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Apr 8, 2011
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Oldric, I totally agree with you regarding the use of feedback.

The Stereophile review of the Musical Fidelity AMS100 power amps has a set of typical solid state measurements that are remarkably similar to the Analog Devices Opamp measurements. The graph for the AMS100 cuts off at 0.1 watt - 93 dbs through my speakers - where it has 0.02% distortion. The vertical scale is exponential. By the time we get down to 60 dbs - 0.1 milliwatt and 5khz we're looking at distortion of over 1% for the AMS100. Compare this to the Yamamoto A-08 valve amp measurements where the distortion into 8 ohms is 0.6% at 0.1 watts and falling.

Solid state amps are bad news for the opening bars of Ravels Bolero.
 

steve_1979

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Jul 14, 2010
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oldric_naubhoff said:
so far I haven't seen any active speaker which produces anything near 0.0001% distortion, unlike some people's claims.
Just because an active crossover has about 0.001% distortion that doesn't mean that an active speaker will also have 0.001% distortion. There are many other factors that will effect the sound of a speaker such as the drivers and enclosure.
 

relocated

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Jan 20, 2012
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Paul Hobbs said:
I don't care what the engineer is hearing, I listen to the music the artists write. I listen to artists that I like, so logically I listen to it in a way I like. But then I'm not technicaly in to hifi, Im just in to music.
Trouble is the only time you "listen to the music the artists write", is when you listen in an audience to a live performance. So I am afraid you are entirely in the hands of the engineer when it comes to recorded music. Unfortunately too much music is mixed and eq'd for car stereo and lo-fi gear so for a lot of music a half decent hifi system is against a huge headwind of mediocrity. :cry:
 

AEJim

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Nov 17, 2008
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relocated said:
Paul Hobbs said:
I don't care what the engineer is hearing, I listen to the music the artists write. I listen to artists that I like, so logically I listen to it in a way I like. But then I'm not technicaly in to hifi, Im just in to music.
Trouble is the only time you "listen to the music the artists write", is when you listen in an audience to a live performance. So I am afraid you are entirely in the hands of the engineer when it comes to recorded music. Unfortunately too much music is mixed and eq'd for car stereo and lo-fi gear so for a lot of music a half decent hifi system is against a huge headwind of mediocrity. :cry:
One decent indicator of the quality of the quality of a recording is high dynamic range - which would show something largely hasn't been mixed to sound "loud" above all else. This website is a nice little database which would help find recordings which at least do well in that area - http://www.dr.loudness-war.info/

It's not a be-all and end-all indicator of quality but it's a start! Must admit I've settled into using Dire Straits a lot in listening tests (I know, hi-fi cliché and all that) and it seems their recordings measure very well for dynamic range there. :)
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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lindsayt said:
Oldric, I totally agree with you regarding the use of feedback.

The Stereophile review of the Musical Fidelity AMS100 power amps has a set of typical solid state measurements that are remarkably similar to the Analog Devices Opamp measurements. The graph for the AMS100 cuts off at 0.1 watt - 93 dbs through my speakers - where it has 0.02% distortion. The vertical scale is exponential. By the time we get down to 60 dbs - 0.1 milliwatt and 5khz we're looking at distortion of over 1% for the AMS100. Compare this to the Yamamoto A-08 valve amp measurements where the distortion into 8 ohms is 0.6% at 0.1 watts and falling.

Solid state amps are bad news for the opening bars of Ravels Bolero.
very interesting point. never thought of it that way. never heard anyone talking of it that may. must be marketing propaganda behind it. "let's not highlight inconvenient facts". ;)

you're right, in case of efficient speakers driven by SS gear it may not particularly be a good match. BTW, how efficient are your speakers? 93dB of 0.1W?

I've just checked out AN Jinro and it's similar situation! below 0.4% THD for 8 Ohms at 0.02W and falling. at 1W into 8Ohms it's still only 0.6%. and THD is largely independent of frequency. of course, the situation doesn't look so rosy for higher output levels but with some 100dB efficient speakers it won't matter anyway.

I'm feeling like another piece of the puzzle falls into place now. :)
 

oldric_naubhoff

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Mar 11, 2011
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steve_1979 said:
oldric_naubhoff said:
so far I haven't seen any active speaker which produces anything near 0.0001% distortion, unlike some people's claims.
Just because an active crossover has about 0.001% distortion that doesn't mean that an active speaker will also have 0.001% distortion. There are many other factors that will effect the sound of a speaker such as the drivers and enclosure.
thanks Steve for reminding me. now, would you answer my original question? would you take up my challenge and show me an active speaker which actually measures considerably better in terms of THD than any well conceived passive speaker?

I haven't seen any yet but maybe I don't know something you know? I couldn't visit all places.
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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Paul Hobbs said:
I don't care what the engineer is hearing, I listen to the music the artists write. I listen to artists that I like, so logically I listen to it in a way I like. But then I'm not technicaly in to hifi, Im just in to music.
And all produced and mastered by an engineer, the last person to hear and interact with the music before it goes on the shelf for you to buy! (unless, as has been mentioned, you are at a live 'acoustic' gig)
 

matthewpiano

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Nov 23, 2007
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The engineer and producer are both key and as listeners we rely on both to a great extent. After the artists themselves these two people are the closest to the music and it is, in effect, through their ears that we hear our favourite songs and albums. A really good engineer/producer/re-mixer can really influence our perception as Steven Wilsons remixing work on the 40th Anniversary issue of Jethro Tull's Aqualung shows. On this latest release of a classic album there is far more depth to the sound and more detail to enjoy.
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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matthewpiano said:
A really good engineer/producer/re-mixer can really influence our perception as Steven Wilsons remixing work on the 40th Anniversary issue of Jethro Tull's Aqualung shows. On this latest release of a classic album there is far more depth to the sound and more detail to enjoy.
Duly added to my wish lists, thanks
 

matthewpiano

Well-known member
Nov 23, 2007
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Of course, a really good engineer will work closely with the musicians to create the album that they all want to hear. Then it is the job of the replay equipment to reproduce that. Doesn't always happen though and some engineers fail to achieve the wishes of the musicians.
 

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