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Old 15th September 2001, 11:23 PM   #21
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Columbia, SC
Paul,
But is it always correct to assume, blindly, that because something sounds good, it *must* be a distortion product? Clearly, the sonic signature of any piece of equipment is due to its deviation from the original signal. However, there are a non-trivial number of people who immediately conclude that if it sounds good, it's because of distortion. Witness some peoples' knee-jerk response to tubed gear--it's judged to be unacceptable *because* it sounds good, and the better it sounds, the more they mistrust it. But it's not limited to tube equipment, viz. your noting that some feel that way about Nelson's designs, which are solid state.
Somehow, it never seems to occur to people that maybe...just maybe...it sounds better because it's closer to the music.

Grey

[Edited by GRollins on 09-16-2001 at 09:15 PM]
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Old 15th September 2001, 11:35 PM   #22
paulb is offline paulb  Canada
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Join Date: Jun 2001
Location: Calgary
Grey,
I can't disagree. I'm just curious about the whole thing. So if you compare two amplifiers, and one has a higher measured distortion rating but sounds more "musical" is it because of, or in spite of, the additional distortion?
Cynics would say "because of"; I'd have to lean towards the "in spite of" side because I have a heard time believing that the human ear can distinguish between, say, 0.1 and 0.01% distortion. So there are other factors here, ones we haven't learned how to measure yet. But I do believe they are measurable. The trouble is, the whole thing gets caught up in psychological factors - like if a whole bunch of other people say it sounds good, or if you want it to sound better because you built it yourself (we've exchanged comments on this before).
Anyway, the whole thing may be moot for me because I don't know if I can hear the difference. Maybe hanging around this site more will inspire me to a quest to see if I can.
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Old 17th September 2001, 03:14 AM   #23
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Join Date: Feb 2001
Location: Columbia, SC
Paul,
We're in agreement.
I was lucky, in that I worked in the retail side of the industry and got to hear scads of pieces of equipment that I didn't have to pay for. Not having to worry about the price tag allowed me to set aside questions of ego, 'perceived value,' or worrying about how ugly it was, so that I could concentrate on the sound. It was a wonderful education. (Terrible way to make a living though, especially during a recession. Jam, who is to my knowledge the only person here who currently makes a living in the industry, has my deepest sympathy.) In the process, I learned a lot about the difference between measurements and actual sound quality. My eventual conclusion was congruent with yours: It's "in spite of" mediocre specs. But that doesn't mean that I don't know a fair number of people who feel that it's euphonic distortion products that make things sound good.
Not surprisingly, I wouldn't care to trade systems with any of them--their systems don't sound like music.

Grey
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