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How far have ss amps really come in the last twenty years??

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watchnerd

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#61
Have any of the seemingly perpetual anti-measurement types ever put their money where their mouth is to show their golden-ear-ness? I saw a while ago where Amir offered $1,000 to someone blathering on about what matters and what doesn't, but of course nothing came of it.

Maybe a standing offer based on member pledges for anyone who can do what the rest of us apparently can't on an actual proper test? For all the belief, you'd think someone would have (could have?) at least given it a shot.

Oh, and Mr. I'm a musician so I have very special listening processes that the rest of you couldn't possibly relate to... Seriously? A DAC or amp is not an instrument. It isn't there to alter or shape sound arbitrarily or to taste.

You are saying it isn't about AB tests...imagine that...very convenient.
Are you trying to make a 21st century version of the Stereophile Carver Challenge?
 

SIY

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#62
The interesting thing to me about the Stereophile deal was that they didn't start out by blind testing the CJ versus the before-mod Carver to make sure they could be distinguished in the first place. It's a... curious omission.
 

Thomas savage

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#63
I think what we have here with @daveyf is a interesting philosophical difference between the majority of us and the typical ' audiophile '

What I read when I come across his posts here is a tendency towards creativity and a need to feel involved with recorded music creatively.

That's the hobby , and it will never end nor do those folks want it too as they enjoy the chase. It's a self sustaining circuit that compares two events that to many of us but not to them are somewhat divorced The live sound and that of the recorded sound that's been captured my the imperfect and 'actual' creative process of recording and production.

These two philosophies are diametrically opposed to one another. I can remember being on that merry go round , I never really enjoyed it though . For me it was consuming and costly, more akin to a bad relationship that you just can't quit but to others the self imposed mystery of music reproduction is enjoyable.

For me it's a relief to be informed by science and research ( as well as my tiny British mind can be) . I don't have a concern about my hifi now or what I hear beyond things breaking and needing replacing. I found peace in the end of the journey ASR has shown me.

The word Audiophile should be defined by chaos , a state of perpetual anxiety that seeks it's continuation at almost any cost. A bit like being a drug addict.

I was very defensive when some forum members started to question my ' audiophile ' assertions , often feeling offended. It was worth the pain , ten fold but my objective was perhaps different to many subjective lead folks and in being so I had no choice but to push past the pain truth brought .
 
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#64
Are you trying to make a 21st century version of the Stereophile Carver Challenge?
Alan Shaw of Harbeth speakers has a better challenge. He will give you a pair of his speakers if you can tell the difference between his amp and your well designed amp during audition. That's a $15K value. To my knowledge, he hasn't paid out yet. In fact, he has had zero takers for his challenge. Where is the Michael Phelps of the Golden Ear Team?
 

Sal1950

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#65
Amir, IF I hear something that impresses me, I really couldn't give a rats ass as to how that is 'proven' from a so called 'experts' opinion. I trust my ears, and that is good enough for me. This hobby..and to me that is all it is, is all about myself ( and most a'philes) trying to get 'better' and more 'realistic' sound in our home systems. T
And this is exactly why you will fail over and over to improve the sound of your system in any real way that relates to being accurate to the source.
You throw phoolish money after phoolish money chasing some magical sound your believe you hear when it has been proven over and over that human senses are the weakest link and bias continually distorts your perceptions. You not only shun measurements but refuse to put your believe system to the real test by closing your eyes and really finding out if you can "trust your ears" without knowing what your listening to.
It is this circle jerk of the subjective listening community that has turned the audio "hobby" into the laughing stock of deductive thinking people of all walks.
 
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JohnYang1997

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#66
I don't like everyone immediately go into all these.
There are critical conditions in the front before all those inaudible statements.
For an amplifier does have
1, enough power?
2, measurements that showed very low noise and distortion from very low to near max level? Thd imd multitone and accumulated noise?
Most amplifiers don't meet these two requirements. And many of them are not even close to it.
Do amplifiers have sound? Of course yes. Not because the technology does allow us to design a perfectly clean sounding amplifier but most companies don't have the means to test or don't follow simple engineering design method.
 
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#67
Thanks!. Could be, I suppose.




FWIW, here are stereophile measurements for the two tube amps I own. The CJ is my main amp, the Eico I use occasionally:

Conrad Johnson Premier 12 mono block amps:

https://www.stereophile.com/content/conrad-johnson-premier-twelve-monoblock-amplifier-measurements

Eico HF81

https://www.stereophile.com/content/eico-hf-81-integrated-amplifier-measurements
The Premier 12 looks pretty similar to the one I linked, with a higher output impedance. The Eico looks quite colorful. Impressive scale on the tone controls. All three have relatively high bass distortion, the Eico especially. If you like the sound these amps are giving you, I can see why you would feel something is missing with most Solid State designs. Maybe there's a harmonic distortion EQ you could engage to emulate the tube performance in an SS amp but fine tuning that curve vs. output (since the distortion varies with power and frequency) sounds like a nightmare.

What speakers do you use? Is this only two channel and music or is it also put to use for home theater purposes?
 
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And this is exactly why you will fail over and over to improve the sound of your system in any real way that relates to being accurate to the source.
You throw phoolish money after phoolish money chasing some magical sound your believe you hear when it has been proven over and over that human senses are the weakest link and bias continually distorts your perceptions. You not only shun measurements but refuse to put your believe system to the real test by closing your eyes and really finding out if you can "trust your ears" without knowing what your listening to.
It is this circle jerk of the subjective listening community that has turned the audio "hobby" into the laughing stock of deductive thinking people of all walks.
For a 'scientific leaning person', you make numerous assumptions that may or may not be correct ( NOT very logical or deductive IMHO!:facepalm:). You have absolutely NO IDEA as to what it is that I spend on my system, or how much enjoyment I get from it! To that, you are ABSOLUTELY CLUELESS as to the results that i get...and the amount of expectation I have for it.

i am off this discussion...there really is nothing to be garnered by being here...:(
 
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cjfrbw

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#69
Objectivists should read this article from DIY audio about Hovland and it's products. It's pretty funny. I really enjoy the lady who determines the strict polarity of resistors by holding them to her chest while listening to a transistor radio through headphones. The 'tube dowser'/'transformer dowser' was pretty priceless, too.

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes-valves/227913-time-hovland-hp-100-lore.html

Stereophile gave the HP 100 a rave review, and even had reasonable measurements from the review sample. How, I don't know.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/hovland-hp-100-preamplifier-measurements-part-2

Word I heard was the preamp's 'secret sauce' was a final JFET output connected to a special ringing metal capacitor that produced second order harmonics. However, that's from memory, so I don't know exactly how the circuit operated.
 
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#70
I don't like everyone immediately go into all these.
There are critical conditions in the front before all those inaudible statements.
For an amplifier does have
1, enough power?
2, measurements that showed very low noise and distortion from very low to near max level? Thd imd multitone and accumulated noise?
Most amplifiers don't meet these two requirements. And many of them are not even close to it.
Do amplifiers have sound? Of course yes. Not because the technology does allow us to design a perfectly clean sounding amplifier but most companies don't have the means to test or don't follow simple engineering design method.
And then there's mating with speakers, rooms, systems, and listening habits: how the amp performs across various loads, resistive and reactive; the speaker's own distortion profile--whether those distortion products are simply reproduced or further distorted at the power levels used; and any variable noise of any volume control, whether before or after the amp (fits your accumulated noise category but just wanted to specify it here since the chosen volume level will vary from listener to listener, is related to the amp's gain, and may come prior to the amp).
 

amirm

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#71
i am off this discussion...there really is nothing to be garnered by being here...:(
You certainly embarked on an impossible mission. It is not just us that you are fighting, but thousands of researchers over decades establishing the audio science we advocate. But yes, best leave instead of making enemies. May you find a comfortable home some place...
 

Wombat

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#72
LOL, I am certain you are 100% correct! There is no real reason why i would be attracted to the philosophies that you and apparently others on this site abide by. To me, measurements are an interesting aside...and are always going to be of secondary interest to what I hear with my own ears....clearly YMMV.
Your perception is not static, it will vary in time and situation.
 

amirm

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#73
Amir,my last word. Has it occurred to you that possibly there are thousands of researchers who have absolutely minimal experience in the reproduction and enjoyment of music...and MILLIONS of simple folk who have immense experience and get tremendous enjoyment from music, all of whom have opposite findings and opinions to the 'thousands of researchers'.....:rolleyes:
I wouldn't pretend to teach them one note of music. I hope in return, none of them attempt to teach me about audio science, engineering, psychoacoustics, and the topics we are discussing. This is my profession. It is not theirs.
 

andreasmaaan

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#74
Objectivists should read this article from DIY audio about Hovland and it's products. It's pretty funny. I really enjoy the lady who determines the strict polarity of resistors by holding them to her chest while listening to a transistor radio through headphones. The 'tube dowser'/'transformer dowser' was pretty priceless, too.

https://www.diyaudio.com/forums/tubes-valves/227913-time-hovland-hp-100-lore.html

Stereophile gave the HP 100 a rave review, and even had reasonable measurements from the review sample. How, I don't know.

https://www.stereophile.com/content/hovland-hp-100-preamplifier-measurements-part-2

Word I heard was the preamp's 'secret sauce' was a final JFET output connected to a special ringing metal capacitor that produced second order harmonics. However, that's from memory, so I don't know exactly how the circuit operated.
That's incredible! Bookmarked for additional future lolz.

I doubt any magic sauce is in the second harmonic, however. It would need to be much higher in level than those measurements show to be audible, except under exceptional circumstances (i.e. low load impedance, high output).
 

Hypnotoad

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#75
Amir,my last word. Has it occurred to you that possibly there are thousands of researchers who have absolutely minimal experience in the reproduction and enjoyment of music...and MILLIONS of simple folk who have immense experience and get tremendous enjoyment from music, all of whom have opposite findings and opinions to the 'thousands of researchers'.
Reminds me of the soldier, when the Sergeant said he was out of step, he replied, I am in step, everyone else isn't. ;)

Are you related to Romy the Cat?
 

solderdude

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#76
I think it is perfectly fine to have a preference for a certain sound.
It is also perfectly fine to enjoy music every way one chooses to.
It is equally fine to enjoy audio jewelry.

When measurements don't mean anything to someone, that's perfectly fine too.
We aren't all technically avid.

Stating here that measurements say nothing is like walking into a church and yelling 'God does not exist'.
It seems to me that @daveyf simply lacks technical knowledge and has never compared audio in a more scientific way.

The first reply you got summed up the sentiment of the majority of local dwellers.
Carry on what you are doing daveyf (I mean with your queste, not trying to educate the unenlightened locals)
Maybe you have learned it is not a wise thing to enter someones home and telling everyone in it they are clueless.
You merely look at audio from another angle than folks here.
 
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cjfrbw

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#77
"Maybe you have learned It is not a wise thing to enter someones home and telling everyone in it they are clueless."

Heh, heh! Yeah, that's not very 'Dale Carnegie' of him!
 

Cosmik

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#78
For those talking about odd versus even harmonics, it has to be pointed out that they only apply to simple waveforms. On complex signals (a composite of multiple sources), supposed 'harmonic' distortion of any kind leads to nasty, grungy, un-musical intermodulation distortion products.

Anyone who has some sort of belief in the benefits of, say, even harmonics is referring only to the sound when applied to simple recordings of, say, girl-and-guitar or string quartets. An amplifier doesn't know anything about harmonics or the composition of the signal: it can't synthesise harmonics for the individual sources which is the fantasy of the euphonic distortion advocates. In many case it will be just a crude, bent transfer function that would be better expressed as a graph that shows deviation from linear against a ramp input, rather than inferring its presence indirectly from the harmonic products it spawns from a sine wave. Rather than imagining the amp is a super-sophisticated harmonic analysis and re-synthesis tool, you can then see how pathetic it is, and how its effect will depend on signal level (e.g. crossover distortion will affect low level signals proportionately more).

A common thing in discussions of this kind is for someone to say "This distortion sounds good on music..." when in fact the music they are talking about is a tiny subset of all possible music. It may even be only a small proportion of a single recording, before 'it gets going' at the start. But by the time they have heard the 'veil being lifted' on the first few notes they are convinced they have discovered some sort of audio nirvana.
 

JJB70

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#79
This may sound silly but I see no inherent contradiction between objectivism and subjectivism in audio.

I think that it is clear that the performance of audio equipment is best demonstrated by measurement. Especially for the parts of the chain before the speakers. Speakers can also be measured of course but their actual performance in the home is also largely determined by set up and room interactions (although now there are very good DSP packages to help people optimize speakers). So I don't think there is any rational argument against objective evaluation.

However, I also think that if people are happy with a particular item or system then whether or not it measures well is moot. Usually on audio forums this line of argument is used by golden eared types to advocate high end boutique gear and stuff like cables but I look at it from the other direction. Once a product achieves transparency then further improvement is technically interesting but unlikely to alter the listening experience. And even if it isn't transparent there is an area of performance where there are discernible audible improvements to be found but which is still satisfying. To be happy with audio equipment does not require it to be state of the art but to facilitate enjoyment without feeling that the experience is constrained by the equipment. Hence the value of accompanying objectivism with subjectivism. To put it another way, yes, accept that measurement is truth but don't fall into the trap of chasing the rainbow if you are happy with what you've got or spend more than you need to if a lesser item meets your needs or expectations.

Conversely the fact that something is audibly no better than a much cheaper alternative does not mean that it is not attractive. I honestly believe that transparent performance in DACs is available for peanuts and that for most purposes on board DACs are fine unless really badly implemented. I also see no reason to go beyond the JDS Atom for a headphone amp if only considering SQ. But, I do understand why people buy stuff like RME and Benchmark as pleasure of ownership is a legitimate driver and there is a satisfaction in knowing you have something which is engineered to such a high standard.

Style, finish and tactile feel all make a difference to how we feel about a product and those are subjective qualities.

So, I really believe that objectivism and subjectivism both have their place. What I do hate is golden eared objectivism trying to hype expensive products as sounding better if not supported by measurement or in denial of mediocre measurement.
 

Rja4000

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#80
If I dare...

I'm pretty convinced the science is the way to go.
The way we want to go, anyway, because it provides a lot of relief to be able to objectively and repeatably measure what's 'good enough' for our ears... and therefore allow us to optimize costs, effort and, ultimately, cool down our fear to have made a wrong choice.
When we hear bad recording, that's because the recording is bad. Not our system.

But, I'm 57. I started to have an interest in sound reproduction when I was 17. That's 40 years.

During that period, I've always wanted to trust figures to tell me if the sound would be good. Unfortunately, and now we seem to know why, this was mainly (marketing) bullshit, for most of this time.

So, how did we proceed?

Train our ears and try to listen as far as we could to make choices.
Is that the way to go?
Well, what else did we have at hand?
Magazines? Reviews? Sales guys' advices? (I've been one myself, when I was 23-24, and I did as honestly as I could, but I've always been aware of the limits of my knowledge)

Double blind test is, for sure, the best, and probably only, way to make educated choices and to correlate hearing and measurements.
But that's not something we, simple people, can afford. (Except, maybe, to compare MP3 to WAV or some other source-level hypothetic difference).

And, in my opinion, for a blind test to be really valid, one has to suppose that all the other components of the chain are 'perfect'.
Otherwise, if you end up saying there is no difference, isn't the difference actually masked by another component's weakness?
And what becomes of your conclusion when, ultimately, this component is improved?

Also, for budget components (I dont speak about DACs and sources, but more about amps and loudspeakers), none is perfect.
That means that, ultimately, you'll have to make choices between pest and cholera. Isn't everybody's choice and taste different then?
I remember Paul Messenger writing that he'd always picked a sensitive, dynamic loudspeaker, over a flat but lazy one, if he had to choose.

So, the quest, for objectivists, should be, in my opinion, to always challenge the measurements.
Because, ultimately, we want to be able to trust them.

Not to be biased by 'subjectivists', but to systematically try to find a measurenent that could show a difference where subjectivists say there is one.
That could be statistical analysis (and, yes, maybe weight and color play a game).
And if there is no actual difference, to be able to demonstrate it.

But dont systematically shoot those guys (unless they say there is no truth in measurements or scientific method at all).
Some of them are probably actually honest in their quest.
Just check if you can measure a difference... or not.
 
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