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Old 23rd May 2013, 11:49 AM   #9141
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
I'm trying to find the classification for that type of fallacious argument: if you don't agree with some opinion on a technical matter then that must mean you are an ignorant philistine or perverse in some way. Agree, and you're one of the boys without a stain on your character.

List of fallacies - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Is it the old chestnut of ad hominem, or is there a more accurate classification?



So is this reproduction of emotion a function of simple design parameters e.g. by limiting slew rate, the emotion is killed automatically? Or is it hidden somewhere in the details of the design? As I asked previously, can we look at an existing amp with built-in emotion, and spot the 'emotion components', or point to areas of the circuit that maintain stability while allowing the emotion through? Regardless of whether meaurements after the fact can reveal the emotion, what in the design is responsible for reproducing or killing the emotion? Funny that amplifiers fail to pass on the emotion but never fail to pass on, say, the woodwind.

"Here's the classical music section (beautiful oboe network there) and these large devices are for rock music. We include a small speech circuit for completeness. Moving onto the more abstract areas, we have ambience, excitement and a very large emotion circuit with SOA protection; we're very proud of our emotion circuit. For the British market we can switch in a conventional dullness module." etc.
Let's make this short and sweet.

If you have two amps which measure practically the same, and have the same power rating, do you believe it's possible that one may sound flat and boring, and for the other to be viacious, full of energy and life? That on a few musical pieces that you know from personal experience do sound lively and are bubbling with life, in a system which always the same, save for the amp?

And I do NOT refer to quiet chamber music, a small jazz trio, and some such typical demo music which anything called an amp should be able to do. I refer to thunder and brimstone pieces, even electronic pieces (e.g. Vangelis, Blue Man Group, etc).

If you think you can rationally design the world's best amp, what are you waiting for? Reason with it, it may just come alive.

If you need to categorize emotion which may or may not be there, so you can build it in, by all means do, I can't wait to hear the result.

BTW, I didn't invent the term "British sound", you Brits did, just look at any magaizine from say 1975 onwards. It's not about absolute hearing, it's about customary work and what one is used to and told and retold many times the sound should be like.

Look at e-bay and similar sites and you will notice that second hand British audio products don't do half as well outside Britain as they do on the home market. Compare second hand prices from the British and say German, Dutch, Swiss, Italian etc. e-bays. Not many Naim, Cyrus et al. devices on offer, and when there are, typically less than one half their price on UK e-bay.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 02:39 PM   #9142
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There is an easy explanation (for at least some cases), but some people get offended when 'euphonic distortion' is mentioned. When it is obvious (e.g. typical Chinese low voltage 'tube buffer', for adding 'tube warmth' to a 'nasty' 'sterile' 'dull' SS system) it is easy to spot and laugh at. When it is more subtle it is easier to deny.

I am not saying that all sound preferences can be explained in this way, but I am quite convinced that some can - possibly many can. The problem is that this widespread phenomenon gets in the way of finding what engineering changes can lead to genuinely better sound.

Mostly I dislike euphonic distortion . It is acceptable when Revox tape recorders . When the raison d'etre it makes everything sound like Elvis . Euphonic is an acceptable distortion as it is heard in real life , if happening at high level it can be accepted . In real life too loud or the building will add that colouration . Wood box colouration also is accepted because many concert halls have that colouration . I would say if above 5 watts typical I can accept it . Choose it in preference ? No .

The one concert hall quality much loved is a high ceiling .

5 watts is not a bad yardstick . Seems true almost regardless . My 8 watt amp makes DIN 45500 . It also has suspension bridge distortion harmonics . It took months to get that ( almost like Boeing were doing it ) . It is the only time I can say 8 watts was enough . When clipping it simply says sorry that is all I can give . One thinks right up to that point it would go on for ever . I never had a small amp do that . Usually they sound poor and that is all there is to say . I am pleased and that is rare for me . I only built this amp so as to be more than an armchair critic .

DF 96 . You and I agree on much . My late brother was my research lab . It made me lazy . I sent him an e-mail to his now defunct address , being of some faith I have hopes . His address was valvedabbler . I wish I knew the password as I would love to use it .
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Old 23rd May 2013, 06:21 PM   #9143
dvv is offline dvv  Serbia
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Mostly I dislike euphonic distortion . It is acceptable when Revox tape recorders . When the raison d'etre it makes everything sound like Elvis . Euphonic is an acceptable distortion as it is heard in real life , if happening at high level it can be accepted . In real life too loud or the building will add that colouration . Wood box colouration also is accepted because many concert halls have that colouration . I would say if above 5 watts typical I can accept it . Choose it in preference ? No .

The one concert hall quality much loved is a high ceiling .

5 watts is not a bad yardstick . Seems true almost regardless . My 8 watt amp makes DIN 45500 . It also has suspension bridge distortion harmonics . It took months to get that ( almost like Boeing were doing it ) . It is the only time I can say 8 watts was enough . When clipping it simply says sorry that is all I can give . One thinks right up to that point it would go on for ever . I never had a small amp do that . Usually they sound poor and that is all there is to say . I am pleased and that is rare for me . I only built this amp so as to be more than an armchair critic .

DF 96 . You and I agree on much . My late brother was my research lab . It made me lazy . I sent him an e-mail to his now defunct address , being of some faith I have hopes . His address was valvedabbler . I wish I knew the password as I would love to use it .
If by "euphonic" you mean that the amp is doing something to the original signal other than simply amplyfing it, then I wholeheartedly agree.

That is just as false and artificial as being flat and disinterested.

The amp should be as true to the original signal as possible, only making it louder via the loudspeakers. Obviously, there being no perfection, it will err somewhat, but so long as this error is not noticeable, or is noticeable only here or there and very little, that's all right with me.

To know how it behaves or misbehaves, I have built those headphone amps. The fact is that agree with Dan D'Agostino that fine tuning a power amp is easier with quality headphones - not perfect, not in a jiffy fast, but better than without. Actually, three different headphones, but that's another story, and I do admit to being a headphone fan.

I am reminded of an amp a friend built (an avid tube fan) some years ago. His speakers were JBL 4312 monitors, which are fairly efficient at 95 dB/2.83V/1m, but are also known as pretty fast responding speakers hard to fool. At first hearing, his amp sounded sublime, playing his kind of music, which is classic chamber music and club jazz. Lovely sound! To die for! Never mind it only had like 9 or 10 Watts of power.

Then I had it try to do Vangelis' "Metallic Rain" (soundtrack of "Blade Runner"). It did the first part, rather slow and quiet, very nicely, but when at one point there is a tremendous crash when everything comes in all at once, the amp choked and made it all sound very gentlemanly, stiff upper lip and all that, when in reality, that was supposed be a crash-in, a crescendo of music, some of it fairly sharp.

Well, speaking strictly for myself, I like a crecendo to sound like a crescendo, not like its polished, face lifted, plastic brother.

ANY amp will do its best playing low level, fairly slow music, but the acid test is to play loud, fairly fast music - that's where most of them fall short.

And just for the record, while this experience involved a tube amp, a not so good transistor amp would have fared no better, in fact, it would have fared probably worse to much worse.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 07:13 PM   #9144
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Originally Posted by dvv View Post
If you have two amps which measure practically the same, and have the same power rating, do you believe it's possible that one may sound flat and boring, and for the other to be viacious, full of energy and life?
No.

If they measure the same in every regard, with any and every possible test we can dream up, I have to believe that the perceived difference is all in the mind. Starting out with a prejudice like "British amps are dull" is bound to result in a self-fulfilling outcome anyway.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 07:42 PM   #9145
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Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
No.

If they measure the same in every regard, with any and every possible test we can dream up, I have to believe that the perceived difference is all in the mind. Starting out with a prejudice like "British amps are dull" is bound to result in a self-fulfilling outcome anyway.
As long as one assiduously avoids ears-only listening and trying to correlate measurements to THOSE results, one can make all kinds of silly pronouncements.
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Old 23rd May 2013, 11:28 PM   #9146
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Then I had it try to do Vangelis' "Metallic Rain" (soundtrack of "Blade Runner"). It did the first part, rather slow and quiet, very nicely, but when at one point there is a tremendous crash when everything comes in all at once, the amp choked and made it all sound very gentlemanly, stiff upper lip and all that, when in reality, that was supposed be a crash-in, a crescendo of music, some of it fairly sharp.

Well, speaking strictly for myself, I like a crecendo to sound like a crescendo, not like its polished, face lifted, plastic brother.

ANY amp will do its best playing low level, fairly slow music, but the acid test is to play loud, fairly fast music - that's where most of them fall short.
Exactly so. A crescendo should have scary, ripping through your body, impact - if your system can't startle you then it's not up to the mark. I have a classical piece that starts with a tremendous fortissimo, this is a real 'round of clean underwear for everyone' piece ...

The recent, highly compressed pop is a tremendous test, puts systems nominally capable of playing loud under big stress when asked to play at higher volumes. Just recently discovered Foo Fighters, and this material is perfect for the task: heavily produced, extremely dense, very aggressive vocals ...
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Old 24th May 2013, 07:25 AM   #9147
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Originally Posted by CopperTop View Post
No.

If they measure the same in every regard, with any and every possible test we can dream up, I have to believe that the perceived difference is all in the mind. Starting out with a prejudice like "British amps are dull" is bound to result in a self-fulfilling outcome anyway.
"All in the mind" - fine. Than all we need do is to expand our definition of what we like by saying it has to satisfy our ears and our mind.

In any case, we then seem to have to satisfy both. Normally, we'd call that taste, some people like the priest, others like his wife.

To me, if one can pick out a certain amp among a group of its peers say 8 out of 10 times, then there is an audble difference.

British amps are generally made along similar lines simply because that's the prevailing technical attitude in Britain. Just as many German amps were made "the German way", or Italian amps "the Italian way". There's nothing wrong or odd about it, I think that's fairly normal. Brits believe in what is to me a very curtailed response - like any other approach, so this one has its good and bad sides. I just happen to think it makes the amps made along those lines, British or whosever, sound a little rounded-off, a little too artificially sweetened. I could say the same about most German made amps while they were still made in Germany, which was a long time ago.

The key word here is "most". There will always be others who do not subscribe to the same or similar logic. In the UK, one such company would be TAG McLaren, for example, whose amp I would very gladly own. AVI also sounded good to me.

And it's not as if the UK didn't have some not only world class companies, but people actually leading in the field and setting new standards. Two always come to my mind - dCS, Boothroyd-Stuart Meridian and SME. Some amazing minds working there.

Not to expand any more, but let me go on record as saying that there are other fields where UK stands hardly even seriously challenged, let alone surpased (odd units here and there overlooked, we are talking about general performance over time).
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Old 24th May 2013, 07:26 AM   #9148
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Exactly so. A crescendo should have scary, ripping through your body, impact - if your system can't startle you then it's not up to the mark. I have a classical piece that starts with a tremendous fortissimo, this is a real 'round of clean underwear for everyone' piece ...

The recent, highly compressed pop is a tremendous test, puts systems nominally capable of playing loud under big stress when asked to play at higher volumes. Just recently discovered Foo Fighters, and this material is perfect for the task: heavily produced, extremely dense, very aggressive vocals ...
Exactly - where do I underwrite?
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Old 24th May 2013, 08:07 AM   #9149
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If a weedy amplifier cannot deliver a crescendo, a measuring microphone or oscilloscope will show the clipping ie gross distortion.
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Old 24th May 2013, 08:20 AM   #9150
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Originally Posted by davidsrsb View Post
If a weedy amplifier cannot deliver a crescendo, a measuring microphone or oscilloscope will show the clipping ie gross distortion.
Just out of curiosity, supposing it didn't clip or distort as such. Supposing its gain varied with signal amplitude, perhaps with a time constant of a significant fraction of a second i.e. it acted as a compressor. Would conventional measurements pick this up?
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