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If "Tube Sound" Is a Myth, Why Tubes?

raindance

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Methinks @d'Brit is on the wrong forum :). Not sure one can measure "organic" sound. However, I'd love to see Conrad Johnson stuff measured, I've had the misfortune of working on their much loved PV12L preamp, which was a POS, basically a 12AX7 circuit with 12AU7 tubes plugged in for "lower gain"; result was massively under-biased tubes running in non linear region, no doubt this was responsible for its "sound" (when it wasn't oscillating due to them leaving out the grid stopper resistors).
 

SIY

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Methinks @d'Brit is on the wrong forum :). Not sure one can measure "organic" sound. However, I'd love to see Conrad Johnson stuff measured, I've had the misfortune of working on their much loved PV12L preamp, which was a POS, basically a 12AX7 circuit with 12AU7 tubes plugged in for "lower gain"; result was massively under-biased tubes running in non linear region, no doubt this was responsible for its "sound" (when it wasn't oscillating due to them leaving out the grid stopper resistors).
I’ve worked on quite a bit of their gear. Forty years or so ago, I paid several semesters worth of tuition from rebuilding their preamps using a stable circuit having good RIAA conformance. The owners were quite happy about it, and I learned that “famous brand” did not equate to good design.
 
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I’ve worked on quite a bit of their gear. Forty years or so ago, I paid several semesters worth of tuition from rebuilding their preamps using a stable circuit having good RIAA conformance. The owners were quite happy about it, and I learned that “famous brand” did not equate to good design.
I don't think "organic" can be measured either. I value measurements as a preview, to avoid gear that simply doesn't 'measure up' ;-) And to point toward gear that may be worth auditioning. But measurements cannot by definition reveal all that is involved in audio.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than you've even dreamed of in your philosophy." Shakespeare: Hamlet: Act 1 Scene 5
 

Julf

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IBut measurements cannot by definition reveal all that is involved in audio.
What definition would that be?

I guess you missed the word "science" in the forum name?
 
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Science has often resisted disruptive theories that in time become accepted. If science ever does manage to measure the organic factor, it will then become an accepted reality. That science cannot measure something is not proof that it doesn't exist. Are you suggesting that on this forum, only those whose POV declares that "if it can't be measured, it can't exist" are acceptable as participants?
 

Julf

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Science has often resisted disruptive theories that in time become accepted.
It has resisted many more that have proven to be total BS.

If science ever does manage to measure the organic factor, it will then become an accepted reality.
Yes, until then it isn't.

That science cannot measure something is not proof that it doesn't exist.
It also isn't proof that it exists.

I assume you are familiar with Russell's Teapot?

Are you suggesting that on this forum, only those whose POV declares that "if it can't be measured, it can't exist" are acceptable as participants?
I am suggesting that making statements about something that not only can't be measured, but isn't even really defined in any way, is a waste of our time.
 

SIY

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I don't think "organic" can be measured either. I value measurements as a preview, to avoid gear that simply doesn't 'measure up' ;-) And to point toward gear that may be worth auditioning. But measurements cannot by definition reveal all that is involved in audio.

"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than you've even dreamed of in your philosophy." Shakespeare: Hamlet: Act 1 Scene 5
The number of times a demonstrated sonic difference was not measurable is zero. And it’s particularly straightforward with electronics. The things that can elicit reactions like “organic” are real, but generally unrelated to the sound.
 
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"It also isn't proof that it exists. I am suggesting that making statements about something that not only can't be measured, but isn't even really defined in any way, is a waste of our time. The things that can elicit reactions like “organic” are real, but generally unrelated to the sound."

Proof requires that it be demonstrable. When statistically, enough people report an agreed upon perception, the likelihood of there being something to it greatly increases. Can all those people be imagining it? Rejecting as a waste of time something that can't currently be measured is to lock oneself into a mindset that is authoritarian rather than investigative. Given that you dismiss as a waste of time perceptions that can't be measured, upon what basis do you declare a perception by others that they describe as organic... to be "unrelated to the sound"?

BTW, "organic" can be defined as 'palpability', 'wholeness', a quality of something heard and perceived to be tangible and thus evident.

"There are but two ways of forming an opinion in science. One is the scientific method; the other, the scholastic. One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority." R.A. Heinlein

To state that thousands of people reporting that they hear something and that they agree in general upon what they're hearing is, a waste of time because it can't currently be measured and therefore should be dismissed is to deny that input has any potentially in identifing where science has yet to explore.
 

SIY

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"It also isn't proof that it exists. I am suggesting that making statements about something that not only can't be measured, but isn't even really defined in any way, is a waste of our time. The things that can elicit reactions like “organic” are real, but generally unrelated to the sound."

Proof requires that it be demonstrable. When statistically, enough people report an agreed upon perception, the likelihood of there being something to it greatly increases. Can all those people be imagining it? Rejecting as a waste of time something that can't currently be measured is to lock oneself into a mindset that is authoritarian rather than investigative. Given that you dismiss as a waste of time perceptions that can't be measured, upon what basis do you declare a perception by others that they describe as organic... to be "unrelated to the sound"?

BTW, "organic" can be defined as 'palpability', 'wholeness', a quality of something heard and perceived to be tangible and thus evident.

"There are but two ways of forming an opinion in science. One is the scientific method; the other, the scholastic. One can judge from experiment, or one can blindly accept authority. To the scientific mind, experimental proof is all important and theory is merely a convenience in description, to be junked when it no longer fits. To the academic mind, authority is everything and facts are junked when they do not fit theory laid down by authority." R.A. Heinlein

To state that thousands of people reporting that they hear something and that they agree in general upon what they're hearing is, a waste of time because it can't currently be measured and therefore should be dismissed is to deny that input has any potentially in identifing where science has yet to explore.
I’m trying to find something correct in this morass, but am failing.
 

Willem

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Tube sound is not a mystery at all, and can be measured. When we do that, it shows in non flat frequency response and mostly second harmonic distortion. And indeed, in the studio tube sound can be imitated with digital plug ins that add such non flat frequency responses and second harmonic distortion. Some Panasonic Bluray players have an option to do this as well.
 

solderdude

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To state that thousands of people reporting that they hear something and that they agree in general upon what they're hearing is, a waste of time because it can't currently be measured and therefore should be dismissed is to deny that input has any potentially in identifing where science has yet to explore.
But will the same people report the same when tests are done blind, level matched and have statistic relevance or do these properties magically disappear and remain not demonstrable ?

Where are the controlled blind test results that this phenomenon is real ?

Can all those people be imagining it?
When one sees optical illusions do the vast majority of people see this while what they see is merely an illusion that looks real because of how the brain and senses operate.
Why would hearing and the brain be any different ?
 

maverickronin

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"There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio, than you've even dreamed of in your philosophy." Shakespeare: Hamlet: Act 1 Scene 5
You forget the Hamlet Corollary.

There are more made up things in people's philosophies than there are in heaven and earth.
 

BDWoody

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Can all those people be imagining it?
Of course they can. In fact, most of the industry counts on them continuing to hear every veil that they suggest is lifted with every tweak or upgrade.

I'd like to see a single one out of the many you are standing with to step out from the crowd and demonstrate what they hear with a valid test.

Lots of people saying 'ME TOO!!' doesn't turn it into evidence.
 

PaulD

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Of course they can. In fact, most of the industry counts on them continuing to hear every veil that they suggest is lifted with every tweak or upgrade.

I'd like to see a single one out of the many you are standing with to step out from the crowd and demonstrate what they hear with a valid test.

Lots of people saying 'ME TOO!!' doesn't turn it into evidence.
Indeed BDW you are completely correct, the industry is BUILT on a bunch of people imagining sonic differences and the ephemeral nature of sound. Disproving it takes effort so it is easier to believe the illusion.

Here is a couple of concrete examples I have previously explained here https://www.audiosciencereview.com/...ds/revealing-member-stories.9947/#post-268910 These clearly show that people imagine the sonic differences they expect or want to hear.

"I have 2 more...

On a couple of occasions I changed the LED on the front of an amp (multiple versions) from blue, to yellow or red. Sighted testing by others (multiple copies of the amp available) had listeners saying the amplifier with the yellow/red LED sounded smoother and warmer... There was no circuitry difference. This was for a bet with an acoustics friend (he won).

With a friend who was a die-hard vinyl fan who would tell me that digital audio sounded bad/"cold"/sterile blah blah, I once digitised one if his favourite albums and played it back swapping between the digital and analogue versions. He confidently picked the analogue version as sounding better etc. I then said, "Oh, sorry I had the leads swapped, that was the digital version." to which he cried out, "But now I don't know what I'm supposed to believe!" The 'supposed to believe' bit stuck with me... Now he ignores the hifi press, and freely admits that digital audio sounds better, he even likes streaming! But he still often plays vinyl, loves the covers and his several thousand records for what they are - and who wouldn't?"

EDIT: I will point out that I claim no superiority in this matter, and neither do others. It's just that I am aware of how my mind works, and all people are wired this way. I have fooled myself mixing a song in a studio, adjusting the EQ a tad, only to look across the board 20 minutes later to see the EQ bypassed on that channel! :facepalm::D It happens to all of us, it's how we are wired, and that's why we have process to avoid these biases (level-matched, blind tests etc). Many others are similarly careful and have been fooled, Bob Katz (mastering engineer) tells a story where he thought a DAC was SO much better than his old one, until he matched the levels - then they sounded the same...
 
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