Questions of faith - reflections on your own taste, thoughts about right or wrong!


Before the Eisenport thread gets completely lost, I would like to open a new platform for all opinions at this point
regarding the disharmonies.

On the one hand, there are advocates of the symmetrical arrangement of components between the rails (in the complement) and on the other, advocates of the minimalist JLH proposal.

Have fun,


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I'll try to give a short introduction summarizing the situation:

Two opposing factions, one exponent categorically rejects everything that does not correspond to his ideas, especially old-fashioned designs.

The other faction is more open-minded, but one spokesperson often throws out theses about the good sound of individual components and their shapes. At the same time, he propagates the truly minimalist design of three active components alone.

JLH minimalist meets the most modern HIRAGA. So it's all about operating class A. But which is the right one? Or which is the right component? Which is the only true dimensioning or basic circuit?

Master one goes so far that he only likes his secretly thriving concept, a bridged HIRAGA powerhouse with a fabulous 6Adc quiescent current. He is obviously in love with this concept.

Master two loves minimalist quasi single-ended circuits and swears by the right component, but has withheld from us an exemplary circuit with the best sounding components currently available.

I think,
that would actually be a really good start to a small, friendly value competition - I am personally interested in the results of both group spokespersons.


For me the best amp is the most linear one.
Due to non-linearities of real active elements, a super simple approach cannot achieve this goal.
On the other hand this goal is reached if distortions are below audible levels.
All this can be measured by technical instruments.
Any further improvements of technical data ends up in technical overkill - not worth the effort.
All in all, you may call me an objectivist.
And cerainly I am biased - like everybody here.
Hope that helps.
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I've been busy for several years now to develop an Hiraga 'on steroids', balanced and bridged, solid twice output based upon the 8W version, delivering 30+W running at 4 x 1.5Adc in the totem poles. Run through a zillion simulations now, no pole compensation needed, by surprise (huh???), phase flat from dc to >100k. The Hiraga design outperforms anything actually.

The Hiraga Le Monstre, and Classe A, is indeed - for complementary transistors PP - an extremely good amplifier - also because it is half-wave symmetric. But because it amplifies the half-waves separately, and thus audibly amplifies them differently, and also runs on half-wave separated power supplies, it is not a hi-fi or high-end amplifier.

Two controversial statements.

30W in true class A mode as pushpull:
actually only require 1.4Adc and two operating voltages of +/-22Vdc plus perhaps +/-3Vdc, i.e. rails of at least 25Vdc positive and negative. A real classic. Now pumped up as a bridge and emerging from the small, well-known le monstre, quasi as a kind of Susy-style X-amp, at least with the potential for it.
The rails could now be reduced to +/-12.5Vdc, leading to a power dissipation of 25V*6A = 150W, the announced steroids.

Any of us can construct such an amplifier immediately, no question - so there must be something more behind it.
The esoteric healers now go so far as to deny this construct hi-fi suitability and even the undefined high-end approach.

I find this very exciting, exemplary even, and would be pleased to hear supporting arguments and reasoning.

I think it's not controversial:
The upper quoted post is just an unrelated, aimless remodeling suggestion.
The post quoted below claims that the upper suggestion does not correspond to a hi-fi or high-end - i.e. audio - amplifier. And it substantates this;-)
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For decades the people that think that a certain concept in HIFI is the best, have bored me to death. If you show them how bad their stuff sounds in an A-B test with something else, they fight the test condition. People that answer any fact with "Yes, but..." are just a drag and don't help on a way to improve anything.
Sure I have my oppinions, but I can correct them, if facts show I was wrong.
In the last years many of my ideas about HIFI had to be adjusted to reality.
Some AB chip amps for example, belong to the best sounding stuff that exists. PA amps have gotten incredible good in sound quality, making expensive high end gear look stupid waste of material. The D-amp is an 100% capable alternative to any other amp class.
On the other hand, I had to admit that some valve stuff, like output stages in CD player, can add something that improves sound somehow. Even if artificial, it sounds nicer. So why not use it, if my A-B test gives this, subjective result.
Next is HT for listening to to music. What once simply was some more or less stupid effect, with Audessey, Dirac, Dolby Atmos, has become a real alternative to stereo listening.
If you are able to build your house around your stereo setup, it may sound better, in most listening rooms, which are a compromise for real world life, a good multi channel installation can beat stereo hands down.
OK, I often listen to life music and like it if the reproduction comes close to that.
The esoteric music, where a triangle "ping" stands in the room and slowly fades away, then some harp sounds, carefully placed, impress the listener at some audio fair, are not my music. This is sound effect from the other side of Blueray explosions.
Overly impressive effects are interesting, but not what music reproduction is about.

When some transistor stage design theory get's more important than the audible result, I politely excuse and leave... it is like playing soccer without a ball.
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I know this phenomenon all too well - and fall for it again and again for a short time.

This is another reason why I regularly rotate the use of all my amplifiers - everyone gets a turn, even different speakers.

But I'm slowly getting too old for this practice.
You /we only need one amplifier and speakers for daily happiness - that's my realization.

When some transistor stage design theory get's more important than the audible result, I politely excuse and leave... it is like playing soccer without a ball.
More like playing a certain style of ball without worrying about winning... the signal is the ball, the transistors are the players, good sound is winning (weird how a meme can infect a word in one's head, a decade on).

I don't fully agree or disagree with your points. I'm reminded of a game in the other football, the most recent Patriots-Rams Super Bowl. It was widely panned for its style, boring to death for many. Watching sports and playing them are different experiences of course. Playing around and building "beautiful" amplifier circuits may be more akin to the experience of watching, with listening akin to playing. (NB: That is one of my favorite Super Bowls in recent memory. A masterful performance. Tastes vary).
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Faith can be great, a source of deep strength. It's when it turns into religion that the bombs start raining. But religion is a perhaps irreplaceable source of community, kinship, things we (generalized) yearn for. See the US Civil Rights Movement for examples of the aforementioned positive aspects of both.

These characteristics of more "important" communities and movements apply to niches like audio too (we're constantly on the march to de-unification, niche-ifying ourselves as a species. Global media and we all become globally less significant by the birth, natural entropy in the search for meaning). You can find audio forums based around the religions of measurements and the religion of mythical veil lifting. Only rhetorical bombs dropped thus far.
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I think that audio system building begins with clearly understanding what it is that you truly most desire from your audio system, and not what you only think you desire. Forced in to a dichotomy of subjective versus objective philosophy, even though the reality for most of us is somewhere along a spectrum between those two extremes, helps an audiophile to identify what truly is most important for them. So, here’s a thought question which reveals your true primary objective for an audio system. Your answer may surprise you. That question is intentionally posed as polar opposites. The gray philosophical area where most of us they we exist only obscures what we are really trying to accomplish. The question is intentionally posed as polar opposites. It is a thought experiment, so it doesn’t matter whether the two systems are presently achievable. The philosophically gray area where most of us think we exist obscures, and therefore, adds cost to, and delays what it is that we are really trying to accomplish.

THE QUESTION: Would you rather have an audio system which sounds indistinguishable, to your ears, from a live performance, and yet, for whatever reason, doesn’t measure well on the bench, or would you rather have a system which measures absolutely perfectly on every common parameter, and yet for whatever reason, produces music which sounds obviously reproduced?
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Music which sounds obviously reproduced frees your mind from search of perfection and helps you to focus on the music itself. Quite a lot of people in this hobby like the sound of their systems more than live performances of acoustic instruments.
Boredom is the main motivation for change of equipment. It's a form of substance addiction and has the same effect on brain. Once one gets hooked there is rarely a chance for recovery.
Regular folk has limited ( by the resources available) opportunity to get the "drug". It focuses on music. Diy folk on the other hand is in constant state of flux and almost never has optimally performing system because there is always the next amp to make. It's never about music reproduction. What to regular people is often a dream DIY folk knocks over the weekend and abandons next week to make another. Never fully integrating the sound nor understanding it and becoming an "expert " on hamburger level of food chain and never advancing. .My grandfather had to sell a cow to buy a radio. My father had to sell a pig, and I am picking from the curb far better radios nobody wants.
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I'm deep into DIYS audio, but can find an end point which satisfies me, even for years. This includes a clean installation, usually looking done professional. No open wires, raw wood or unfinished boxes. The usual "this is just for a try, I do it nice when it works" is not my thing. It will never work... or look nice with such builders.
Every exposed DIYS object has to look well made for me. Which often resembles "pro", "studio" or "lab" gear, but no need for a piano style paint job in most cases.
For me some technical estetics are part of the game. I like nice, well done and perfectly performing wires, which may be better than needed. For example to connect a CD to a simple amp doesn't need my 5-7mm diameter, 100% shielded, 0.5mm strong core wire with the conductive carbon layer and silky surface. It is overkill on shielding and resistance, but looks nice and plugs in with the right feel. Some simpler cable and plugs would do. Anyway, since I heard what bad connections in worst case scenarios can do, I use such good, self made cables with nice plugs. Nothing expensive, just simple quality, like Neutrik, Rean, Sommer Cable etc. It may not be directly audible in such use, but it makes me feel better. If you have to bundle stuff behind some gear, analog and digital signals and mains connections, these wires show what they can do, simply in not acting up at all.

If I listen to something and my ears are telling me there is something wrong, I will try to find and erase this problem. May be it has something to do with my work on performance engines, where every unusual sound may be the begining of a potential failure.
On the other hand, there has to be a condition that is ready to race on an engine or worth listening in an audio system. If you don't reach this point, there is something wrong imo.

I have worked on my audio systems until they did sound right to me. My children playing real instruments give me a nice reset from time to time.
If my system is very close to a real guitar or drum kit and doesn't emit any hardware specific sounds, so to say "technical components", that is "my" personal level of acceptable quality. If the music sounds tormented and the speaker, amp or CD player get's audible, I get a problem with listening.

I can enjoy musik even on some Amazon Echo Dot when I'm outside doing work on the house, but when someone turns his phone loud until distortion is 50%, I get mad. I think the point were OK turns into not OK is a very personal thing.
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On the other hand this goal is reached if distortions are below audible levels.
What kind of distortions do you count, and at what levels? Linear distortions as they affect LF transients? One standard deviation below published thresholds of audibility? Maybe two standard deviations? IOW, how low below published audible thresholds/limits for 50% of the population would you aim for? Enough to cover 70% of the population is good enough?