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Old 24th September 2003, 12:56 AM   #71
Apogee is offline Apogee  United States
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Hi NoKnowledge,

Interesting thread...

You are absolutely correct in mentioning the overall system and the effect that it has on the sound. If your system is able to resolve at a high level I can promise you that you will very easily hear the differences even in a blind test. If your system is what I term "romantic" then you may not be able to hear many differences. Romantic systems are those that are usually very musical and lush. They suck you in and you just listen to the music without doing much analysis. They're great for listening but not the best for evaluating component changes...

My speakers are apogee studio grands and they are the opposite extreme. The ribbons are ruthless in their ability to resolve detail. These speakers are not at all "romantic" sounding. But, when the component chain is good and the source is good, they are magic and they sound they create grabs your attention and doesn't let go. They also make bad source material or components sound horrible...

My point is if the entire system is fixed, resolves well, and you are very used to its sound, then when you change one piece it really shows either for the better or worse.

I agree much of the hifi world is unmeasureable hype but some of it is not. I can assure you that you would be easily able to hear the differences in component changes in my system. The differences are rarely subtle. If we make a change and I can't really hear it then I lump it into the hype category...

I belong to a hifi group that does blind testing of components regardless of price at our meetings. Our fun lies in finding really good components that are not well known and cheap... This has allowed many in our group to build outstanding systems for relatively low cost (I am the only DIY guy)... I would take a very hard look at your whole system chain before I started critiquing what others are hearing... There is a reason that folks pay lots of money for this stuff in most cases...

That having been said, I don't subscribe to the WAY overpriced interconnect and speaker wire hype... You can easily duplicate the very best doing it yourself for not much money (in my experience)...

I agree with the others that you may also need to learn to listen.

Go to a pawn shop and start with a very simple receiver that is cheap and swap it in place of your current signal chain. Try to match the volume level (some of us even use a meter for this). Then analyze the difference. Try to figure out exactly where the differences are... Listen at the very top and the bottom. Play really good source material (this is very important) and use the same song on both systems. Switch back and forth several times and slowly you start to pick up on the differences. Which one of them sounds more "real"?

I would recommend also listening to something with female vocals. If your CD player will do it, I would recommend the Chesky Sara K disc entitled Hobo. Get the 24/96 version. Your speakers should completely disappear and you should easily be able to hear the room in the recording. The sound stage should be very wide (outside of your speakers) and deep (20 feet behind your speakers). This recording was made in a large room and your system should recreate this when close your eyes... This is what you're listening for...and the component changes will affect this... It's been my experience that most cheap components won't recreate much of a sound stage. Yes, the vocal my be in between the speakers but do the speakers disappear? Can you point to where the symbols are located in the drum kit? Where are the tympani's located in the room when listening to a symphony? How far back are they? Can you hear the vocalist breath in before she starts singing? Can you literally hear her lips part before her vocal comes out? How about the echo in the room of the drum stick hitting the skin on the snare? You get the idea... I can hear all of these (except the tympani's because there are none) on the Sara K disc...

I am very surprised that your wife is unable to hear differences since she is a classical musician. She may not know the terms for what she is hearing but I'm sure she can listen and tell you that "so and so just doesn't sound right or real". The object here is to get as close to "real" as possible...

This is what makes me suspicious of the resolving ability of the systems you are listening to...

Just my thoughts...
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Old 24th September 2003, 01:47 AM   #72
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Quote:
Originally posted by DrewP

I've also auditioned monitor audio/audiolab which was a horrid combo, and a B&W801, Electrocompaniet, XLO, Meridian 800series setup which left me totally unmoved, despite being worth the cost of a small flat.
Have you tried these things in pairs? I find it adds alot of depth that was missing before. Really feels in that middle space.


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Old 24th September 2003, 04:00 AM   #73
jcarr is offline jcarr  United States
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millwood:

>how do we know the difference (let's noise level) between a carbon resistor and a metal film resistor isn't on a scale lower than the above example?<

I've compared the THD figures of low-distortion line preamp circuits that used carbon-film vs. metal-film resistors, but were otherwise identical. In some cases the carbon resistor measured about 30dB worse.

regards, jonathan carr
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Old 24th September 2003, 04:23 AM   #74
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Quote:
Originally posted by SY


Or the opposite. I've been doing DIY audio for more than 35 years...
Holy crap, now you've made me think about it as well. I've been doing this DIY audio thing for nearly 20 years myself! Damn, now I feel all old and fossilized.


Sheldon
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Old 24th September 2003, 05:27 AM   #75
Zen Mod is offline Zen Mod  Serbia
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Quote:
Originally posted by stokessd


Holy crap, now you've made me think about it as well. I've been doing this DIY audio thing for nearly 20 years myself! Damn, now I feel all old and fossilized.


Sheldon

ya old,old Rodent!
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Old 24th September 2003, 06:01 AM   #76
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First I want to say one thing, if you guys had read my first post where I said that I understand the need of decent components, like metal film resistors, film caps, low noise op amps and so on. What I wondered was if it was any reason till buying this obscene expensive components and that someone could hear the difference of a single component. In no way I'm against quality stuff if I really get quality for my money.

OK Apogee

The apogee are great speaker, my father in law had some a few years ago, but they are way over my budget and they are not the easest spearkers to drive.

But I do think my wifes (the system I'm not allowed to play with) system have a bigger sound stage, even if it is a bit on the romantic side. But they sure produce music, soul and so on.
Maybee the reason is till that I don't hear the differnces is that they are musical? She loves her system, because it makes her hear the music and everything in it. We have tried to get her new speakers several times, days spent in hifi stores, weeks trying new ones at home, but nothing so far have kicked the pretty old Ohm's out.

Her system
Ohm Walsh 4X0
Musical Fidelity M3 Nu-Vista
Marantz SA-8260
AQ Coral interconnect
Speaker cable, some cheapo from the local radio store

My system
JBL K2 kloon, using the same elements and pre biased xover, but in an other box design..

Rega planet 2000
Alternated between VLT ST-85 and a GC for mid/high over 800Hz
and Pioneer M1's for the bas until last week(wish i could afford them) so right now I'm running GC for the bas and I don't recomend it and VLT for md high.

Even if you guys think I'm deaf, I think it sounds pretty decent and most golden ears enjoys listen to it. I don't know but I think I could hear difference if someone changed a key component, but just that it would sound different, not nessasary better or worse.
But I would never be able to tell if someone changed my interconnects that is for sure.

Sorry once again if I've upset anyone, just curious and want to know things, wherefor I ask

/Magnus

PS: Guess I will do blind tests here all night, to figuring out if I'm deaf or
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Old 24th September 2003, 10:16 AM   #77
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcarr
I've compared the THD figures of low-distortion line preamp circuits that used carbon-film vs. metal-film resistors, but were otherwise identical. In some cases the carbon resistor measured about 30dB worse.

regards, jonathan carr

Holly smoke! 30db worse?

a few questions if you don't mind:

1) in absolute terms how high/low is the THD for carbon resistors? if, for example, after the 30db hit, it is still below audible levels, I don't think anyone can make an argument that they can hear that (by definition).

2) what happened to other cases where the carbon resistor didn't impair THD by 30db? why the inconsistency?

3) what is the mechanism in the carbon resistors that did the 30db damage?

Just curious.
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Old 24th September 2003, 10:41 AM   #78
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Quote:
Originally posted by jcarr


I've compared the THD figures of low-distortion line preamp circuits that used carbon-film vs. metal-film resistors, but were otherwise identical. In some cases the carbon resistor measured about 30dB worse.

Can you recall what sort of metal film resistors they were, and did you try to measure the difference between cheap and expensive ones (e.g. MFR4 and RC55 and up)?

The 'traditional' reasons why circuits need expensive precision resistors (high absolute accuracy, tight matching to another resistor value, low change in value with time/temperature) aren't obviously useful in, say, setting the gain in a feedback network - a 1% inaccuracy in absolute gain never hurt anyone.

Are these (or other) virtues of precision resistors measurable in an audio context?

Cheers
IH
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Old 24th September 2003, 11:10 AM   #79
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Quote:
Originally posted by IanHarvey

Are these (or other) virtues of precision resistors measurable in an audio context?
To answer my own question - of course, accuracy of resistor matching in a differential amp is basically what sets your CMRR.

Other, less traditional, examples welcome...

Cheers
IH
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Old 24th September 2003, 11:15 AM   #80
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No Knowledge, I'll ift a couple of quotes from your original post if I may.

Firstly:
"Are there any reasons for exotic components and other magicís?"

Reasons why they work or reasons why people are willing to buy/use them?

As far as why they might work (please note that I'm not saying they all do, and many are used to provide "flavouring" if you will, in that film caps generally sound brighter and more detailed while paper in oils generally are considered to sound "darker" and "smoother") this is a fairly technical issue, steeped in science and mystery (and proprientry technologies).
I haven't the foggiest why a different dielectric film (poly prop as opposed to polyester) would sound different, one can only go by their own expereinces and the experiences of others who's ears they trust. As to why ceramic (Elnas), graphite (Black Gates), or Bamboo fibre (Technics) might make an electro cap sound different, again, I aint got the foggiest. All we's got is our ears.

As far as the second side of the question, why buy or use them, I guess it's a case of wishing, within one's budget, to get the best performance you can. Some people put resources into buying or building constant current sources for every stage, some into ultra low noise regulation, some into only valve rectification, some battery power supplies, some battery biasing, some silver foil coupling caps and black gates in the cathode cct.
Which gives "the best sound" or "the best value" is anyones guess. To some, none of it may make any audible change, to others, it's night and day, to others it's tradeoffs where gains in one aspect of the sound must be weighed against compromises intorduced elsewhere. Circuit tweaking is more of an art than a science and it's a constantly changing art at that.

Secondly:
"but Iíve never been able to hear any difference, neither have my wife and she do have golden ears."

Here we get into an issue of semantics. To have golden ears can be taken at least 3 ways.
*Firstly, that you have great hearing. I can't be stuffed reviewing the entire thread to find out if it was your wife, someone's wife was a classical musician who could detect musical details readily within the orchestra she was in.
*Secondly, that you are capable of hearing things that others cannot.
*Thirdly, (a derogatory term) used to describe a magical audio geek who can hear stuff that doesn't exist.

This is oversimplifying and to a degree all three definitions can bleed into each other in different ways.


Examples:
When I listen to a complex orchestral piece, I cannot follow the whole. I can follow individual instruments, I can follow the melody, I can follow the counterpoint but sadly (unlike a certain Mr Mozart) I am utterly incapable of listening to the lot, all together, let alone taking it all in and being able to recall any of it again at will. In this case, I do not qualify for the "orchestral wife" version of "Golden Ears".

As far as hearing things others cannot, I get both a plus and a minus guernsey here, having (when younger) been not able to pick the differences but now being capable of doing so. As I stated some time back, I truly believe that to some degree, some of this is a learned skill.

The third version, if i am to take the opinion of the naysayers out there, holds true for me. I'm one of the audio wierdo's who believe in some of (SOME OF, NOT ALL!) this stuff.

If I try something and I hear a difference (or in the case of a blind test, if someone else changes something and I hear a difference) then i hold it to be the case that there is a difference. If I can describe the difference and assign attributes to it, so much the better.

I guess, the times that I can pick the difference i'm golden eared and the times I can't I'm one of the naysayers.
BUT
If others can pick the difference at the times I can't, this doesn't make their insight any less truthful or relevant and I would hesitate to derogatorily refer to them as "golden ears".

Certainly, if none of the tweaky bits you've ever tried have made even a squeak of difference to you, you're liable to be better off financially, spend less time brooding about how you might tweak that little bit more out of the circuits abd yes, also belive us all to be stark raving bonkers.

On the other hand, if you've ever made what logic would dicate should be a small change and found a dramatic improvement, you may spend much money and time looking to increase the gains you've made even further or improve other aspects as well and find "tweaking" with boutique parts to be one of the great joys, mysteries and challenges of the DIY hobby.

Drew
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