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Old 14th September 2003, 05:30 AM   #21
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So far, what has been said (to paraphrase) seems to be that the design and layout is of prime importance and any components (provided they are of correct value or are linear in the manner required) have no effect upon the final result.

Hmmm

I have heard the result of this mindset. I have a friend who is quite an accomplished valve amp designer with deep knowledge of theory.

He makes very nice amps with very high quality transformers that he winds himself. Everything is well designed, well laid out, of suitable ratings, measured to provide good results etc and so on.

He has no belief in magic components beyond the fact that some customers would prefer them to be used and therefore they are more likely to be sold if they contain them. Otherwise, greencaps, cheap carbon and metal film resistors, white coffins, bog standard electros are the order ofthe day

The product is good and reliable but it is far from great.

Another of my friends has been at this amp builder and on a couple of occasions has forced him to incorporate top quality components into the mix. Boutique wire, wima, beyschlag, Auricaps etc. The results speak for themselves. The resulting amps are far superior. Not just in my opinion, but in the view of at least 3 other sets of ears I trust.

So, I guess I have to beg to differ.

One of the big advantages of DIY is that far higher spec parts that would normally inflict a price premium in the tens of thousands of dollars can be incorporated into the DIY product for a few hundred dollars. The resulting product can be utterly astounding for the price input.

Certainly, good (sometimes great) listenable product can be DIY'd at very low cots but, in my mind that misses the potential for truly stunning results.

My 2 cents (saving the rest for boutique components)

Drew
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Old 14th September 2003, 06:36 AM   #22
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How I see it, there are at least two states of mind involved. Naturally, the first one to come, is the one which doesn't believe that any changes in components will bring any substantial differences. Those are the people who mostly rely on measurements and who are lazy enough to trust only their own prejudices, and nothing else. I was like this too, and I preferred to listen and observe others to bias and decide about my choices. I was reading Stereophile and although some comments seemed to be unbelievable to me, somehow I didn't dismissed them, but rather blamed myself for not being able to comprehend everything that high end is there to offer. Well, after some time, I became able to put more time into all that high end hype, and I was fortunate enough to draw my own conclusions. It came to a point, after doing it full time (with complete disregard for anything else), when finally I was able to come to the same opinions as the reviewers in some of those great, high end magazines. I'm not talking here about the truth in particular equipment's review, but rather about the instances, when a reviewer could claim that a given piece of audio gear had 87% of performance in certain areas of audio reproduction. I can honestly say right now, that this is not something that he made up, but is a real estimate that is possible to make. Before, I could switch between inwall PS and batteries in my DAT player, and I was not sure about the differences. Now, I do it and I know right away what the difference is. What changed? I think nothing changed in audio chain. What changed, is my pertception, and i'm glad I can share it with you

I know it's late Saturday night, but those are my 2 cents I wanted to put in.
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Old 14th September 2003, 07:04 AM   #23
DrG is offline DrG  South Africa
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What I DO think is that if two totally different topologies manage to produce less distortion than is audible to the human ear (<0.1%), then they will be indistinguishable. Simple logic really in that if they distort the signal by such a small amount that we can't hear it, how can they sound different?
Wingfeather, with all due respect I think you've run a-fowel in your logic here. So let's keep all our eggs in one basket for a minute and hypothesize along your lines. Let's dream up 3 amplifiers, all of which have <0.1% THD. Amp 'A' = class A, 'B' = class 'AB' or 'B' and 'C' = tube, whatever class, for the purposes of this discussion. Power, input sensitivity etc identical. OK?

You say it is not possible to hear any difference/there can be no audible difference. I say there is. Because it is highly possible that IMD for example may be 0.2% in amp B and only 0.05% in amp A. Also C might have a damping factor of only 20, compared to 50 for A and 200 for B. Like I said, the ONLY way to get ALL of these identical is to have identical amps. A listening test *might* very likely lead to observations along the following lines:

A: Very wide, open soundstage. Good mids and tops. Good bass.
B: More 'clinical', narrower perceived soundstage. Mids and tops not as good as A. Excellent bass.
C: Excellent mids/tops. Good but 'loose' sounding bass.

This would be the typical respose with a variety of such amps (but not all) in my experience BUT obviously there are many variables/circuit differences/amps out there etc so this is NOT
to be viewed as religious dogma... These differences can be explained/reasoned on the hypothetical IMD/DF differences.

IMD has been proven (JAES articles) to be more audible than THD, and in smaller amounts. One manifestation is said to be a reduction in the "airiness" or "openness" of the perceived soundstage. DF is known to define an amps control of the speaker in the lower registers, around woofer resonance. And tube amps never have comparable DF's, always higher and therefore less perfect woofer behaviour, often manifested as "floppy" sounding bass.

I stress again that there are certain competent exceptions to every generalized observation above. But this would be a very typical listener response. I sold hi-fi part-time for 2 years, before I got into building seriously. I saw it many times.

The easiest way to prove it for yourself is to build an amp and play with the bias. Take a class AB design with optimized THD etc and up the bias. Slowly and carefully, taking the thermal limitations of your heat-sinking into account, place it in class A for a reasonable output level and listen... I would be greatly surprized if you heard no difference at all.
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Old 14th September 2003, 07:48 AM   #24
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This is a completly absurd argument, that is not based on reality. An objective appraisal of different components will show different measurements; some are better, some are worse. This is true for both caps and transistors, as well as fets.
For the record, Sanken power transistors are fast, linear and have a good safe area. In reality, and sometimes on cheaper products, we often use Toshiba transistors. Both companies easily outperform similar American products. I wish this were not the case, but I am not fool enough to deny it. With caps, there are differences in construction that make a difference with top performing brands. Of course, your standard Sony, etc will not get as much improvement, but state-of-the-art preamps and power amps need good caps as much as they need good design. I know, because I design at all levels of price, and the cheaper stuff has the same design excellence, yet does not sound as good as the more expensive stuff. If it did, I would be very happy, but audio reviewers and audiophiles give me enough feedback to know that this is an accurate assessment of the situation.
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Old 14th September 2003, 08:04 AM   #25
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Quote:
Originally posted by john curl

For the record, Sanken power transistors are fast, linear and have a good safe area. In reality, and sometimes on cheaper products, we often use Toshiba transistors. Both companies easily outperform similar American products. I wish this were not the case, but I am not fool enough to deny it.
John,

I greatly appreciate those words.

Pavel
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Old 14th September 2003, 08:30 AM   #26
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Quote:
Quote:
What I DO think is that if two totally different topologies manage to produce less distortion than is audible to the human ear (<0.1%), then they will be indistinguishable. Simple logic really in that if they distort the signal by such a small amount that we can't hear it, how can they sound different?
Wingfeather, with all due respect I think you've run a-fowel in your logic here. So let's keep all our eggs in one basket for a minute and hypothesize along your lines. Let's dream up 3 amplifiers, all of which have <0.1% THD. Amp 'A' = class A, 'B' = class 'AB' or 'B' and 'C' = tube, whatever class, for the purposes of this discussion. Power, input sensitivity etc identical. OK?
In the same post Wingfeather also wrote:

"And if two different topologies manage to produce exactly the same distortion spectrum as each other across every type of load (a feat which seems pretty much impossible), then I think they will also sound the same, for the same reason as above."

Indeed this is pretty much impossible but true by itself IMHO.


A bit off-topic maybe:

As for components that are the same and are from the same manufacturer and look optically the same: Are they really the same? Here’s an old story:

During WW2 Philips was enforced to produce tubes for the German army. They made pretty good tubes before WW2. However for the German army production they used the cheapest and gaseous steel they could find for the anodes, so the tubes didn’t last very long: Same tubes, same brand (and even same factory), same look but finally different tubes.

Cheers
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Old 14th September 2003, 08:43 AM   #27
DrG is offline DrG  South Africa
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Where are you, ACD...?

I'm really looking forward to an interesting debate between you and John Curl...
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Old 14th September 2003, 02:29 PM   #28
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Default DrG

I'm right here in the background wondering about how easy it is to get people to each other...
No mystery that wars starts so easily

To make this short:

Caps
Yes! There are good and bad caps, but no "magic" caps.....

Trannies
Yes! There are good and bad trannies, but no "magic" trannies.....

However my experience still tells me:
If you replace one "good" transistor or cap with another brand (with app. similar spec's) you will not be able to tell the difference.....

And just for the record!
I have never postulated that you just can use "crap" components
and expect High End results

However good standard components combined with the right
circuit and layout etc. can sound like a $10,000 amp
Most amps that sells for big buck's, just contains ordinary
components of standard quality... And many of these are known as "Reference Amplifiers" by magasines etc.

But lets keep discussing
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Old 14th September 2003, 03:16 PM   #29
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Default Re: DrG

Quote:
Originally posted by ACD

............

However good standard components combined with the right
circuit and layout etc. can sound like a $10,000 amp
Most amps that sells for big buck's, just contains ordinary
components of standard quality... And many of these are known as "Reference Amplifiers" by magasines etc.

Yes that is very true, but also an already open door IMHO.

Half of the work is just what you learn on college: The basics of electronic circuitry. But the other half is based on experience, intuition and finally imagination.

It is just the last half what distinguishes a good designer from a bad designer. And finally what makes a real amplifier (although this is not limited to amps).

Question still is “What is the right circuit?”
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Old 14th September 2003, 03:43 PM   #30
DrG is offline DrG  South Africa
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Quote:
Yes! There are good and bad caps, but no "magic" caps.....
Quote:
Yes! There are good and bad trannies, but no "magic" trannies.....
Oh please... that is NOT what you originally said/implied and you know it. At least have the guts to stick to whatever allegations you made or the character to admit they were nonsense. Or better still just don't make them and avoid intentionally provoking people by talking bull...
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