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Impeccable measurements. Are they the key to success in today's world of high end audio?

Blumlein 88

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#41
I think the market has clearly spoken. Impeccable measurements are not the key to success. Rarely someone combines the impeccables with the right story and presentation. Generally highly transparent gear gets called harsh, cold and unmusical. Has been that way my whole life. Musicality is the way to go. Yet all the most musical devices have a signature when you arrange to hear them vs true transparency.

I believe Vladimir Lamm may have some good insight. He has held cleanest specs aren't the most musical. He also claims proprietary models of hearing. He did do an interview way back when he first was in business about his goals. At any given power level he felt distortion must stay absolutely the same across the 20 khz bandwidth. He thought that distortion should not stay low till near clipping levels. It should begin a slow, but steady rise as signal level goes up. I believe he wanted peaks to max out around 2% distortion. Now some triodes come close to this though they don't hit all the marks. On his webpage he shows measurements of his amps and you see they follow the description above of steadily rising distortion with power level, and even distortion across the bandwidth at each power level. Distortion that varied with frequency would cause what sounds like a frequency response aberration.

So I don't know if he has a handle on best musicality in design, but I think he is onto something. Musicality sells and character rather than transparency sells. If it were me, I would make everything totally transparent and front the system with a musical pre-amp that met Lamm's guidelines. Easier than making amps. Even better get some DSP to make it musical. You will just have to come up with a cover story on your marketing. Everyone knows digital is bad mojo. No matter how transparent it is. You can't simply have a musicality plug in.
 

Mivera

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#42
I think the market has clearly spoken. Impeccable measurements are not the key to success. Rarely someone combines the impeccables with the right story and presentation. Generally highly transparent gear gets called harsh, cold and unmusical. Has been that way my whole life. Musicality is the way to go. Yet all the most musical devices have a signature when you arrange to hear them vs true transparency.

I believe Vladimir Lamm may have some good insight. He has held cleanest specs aren't the most musical. He also claims proprietary models of hearing. He did do an interview way back when he first was in business about his goals. At any given power level he felt distortion must stay absolutely the same across the 20 khz bandwidth. He thought that distortion should not stay low till near clipping levels. It should begin a slow, but steady rise as signal level goes up. I believe he wanted peaks to max out around 2% distortion. Now some triodes come close to this though they don't hit all the marks. On his webpage he shows measurements of his amps and you see they follow the description above of steadily rising distortion with power level, and even distortion across the bandwidth at each power level. Distortion that varied with frequency would cause what sounds like a frequency response aberration.

So I don't know if he has a handle on best musicality in design, but I think he is onto something. Musicality sells and character rather than transparency sells. If it were me, I would make everything totally transparent and front the system with a musical pre-amp that met Lamm's guidelines. Easier than making amps. Even better get some DSP to make it musical. You will just have to come up with a cover story on your marketing. Everyone knows digital is bad mojo. No matter how transparent it is. You can't simply have a musicality plug in.

I think it's possible to achieve a nice balance of both. The Phison PD2 DAC/Pre I'm distributing is built this way. The measured spec's haven't been released yet, but it's far far better sounding than DAC's I've had in the past that were among the best measuring available. And the noise floor is non existent. Even with the R2R analog volume control turned to max, with my ear up to the speaker it sounds like it's off. We will see what Srajan thinks of it at 6 moons. It's too bad he's reviewing before the Ethernet streamer module is available.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/phison/1.html
 

March Audio

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#43
I think good technical performance is only a small part of it. People are buying Hi end kit for many reasons, qudos, bling and of course due to the marketing driven desirability and technical "foo". You only need to take a look through WBF to see some of the nonsense people buy into.
 

Blumlein 88

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#44
I think it's possible to achieve a nice balance of both. The Phison PD2 DAC/Pre I'm distributing is built this way. The measured spec's haven't been released yet, but it's far far better sounding than DAC's I've had in the past that were among the best measuring available. And the noise floor is non existent. Even with the R2R analog volume control turned to max, with my ear up to the speaker it sounds like it's off. We will see what Srajan thinks of it at 6 moons. It's too bad he's reviewing before the Ethernet streamer module is available.

http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews2/phison/1.html

I don't disagree a balance can be struck. However, you asked about keys to success. Keys to success aren't ultimate in signal fidelity. Many who spend their money prefer something that doesn't have all that much fidelity to the source. If you plan to market, then study the market. It will reward you or not if you meet its perceived needs. You can't replace their perception with what you think is good for them and succeed.
 

Mivera

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#45
Jfet folded casode.jpg
I don't disagree a balance can be struck. However, you asked about keys to success. Keys to success aren't ultimate in signal fidelity. Many who spend their money prefer something that doesn't have all that much fidelity to the source. If you plan to market, then study the market. It will reward you or not if you meet its perceived needs. You can't replace their perception with what you think is good for them and succeed.
Yes I think subjective testing is a must for success. A nice blend of great measurements, combined with subjective tuning as well. For example the discrete modular class a Jfet folded cascode gain stage/servo boards used in the Phison PD2 use a special blend of both bipolar and Jfet transistors. They were blended this way due to subjective testing over several generations of prototypes. They could have been built 100 different ways that all measured outstanding, or simply replaced with $1 IC opamp's that measured outstanding as well. But the final version (which also measures outstanding) was chosen due to subjective listening sessions.
 
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Thomas savage

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#46
i agree but you can go too far, end up with a bland product that while offends no one also excites no one. whats popular is normally bland and misguided. better to sell what you believe in imo rather than people please, its a specialist market hifi after all.
 

Mivera

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#47
i agree but you can go too far, end up with a bland product that while offends no one also excites no one. whats popular is normally bland and misguided. better to sell what you believe in imo rather than people please, its a specialist market hifi after all.
Based on my research, this is what's most important when it comes to audio gear designed for the masses

1: Looks. The case must be very attractive. A great product in an ugly case will only sell to the geekiest of the geeks. Most would prefer mediocre sound in a very attractive thick machined aluminum case, to superior sound in a stamped steel box that sounded phenomenal.

2: Marketing. It's must be well known, plastered on every second page of every hifi mag, as well as talked about on all of the online forums.

3: Subjective first impressions. It must be something that is pleasant to the ears during short auditions. You can't just assume they will have the perfect recording on hand for the audition. Especially when in a dealer showroom. The last 4 showrooms I went to they were using a SONO's streaming lossy MP3's via spotify into the SPDIF inputs of their $10000+ DAC's. Then people wonder why I want to do direct sales.

4: Measurement data. A small % of technical guys put a lot of weight on the measured data. But this is low on the scale of importance as even companies such as Mark Levinson, with their excellent measuring gear, advertise very few specs.
 

Thomas savage

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#48
your right but you left out the bit where the mid level customer likes to think his $1500 amps are better than $10000 amps. what you will find is most people feel intimidated by HIFI. you will tell them something sounds good and show them, they will buy and wont question what you say. . they won't bugger about with it or obsess over it.

it was the same when i was into computing years ago, jo blogs is easily intimidated. all i had to do was use the shorthand keys in windows 3.11 and they thought i was god, boost the conventional memory to 610k and they think you're a wizz. when in fact i knew very little really.

people dont want too look stupid so they tend to just nod and agree if they feel you know more than them.
 

amirm

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#49
Mike, to make sure your pictures show up in the right place, be sure to put the cursor where you want it first. Then when you insert the image, it will go there rather than at the start of your post.
 

Mivera

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#50
Mike, to make sure your pictures show up in the right place, be sure to put the cursor where you want it first. Then when you insert the image, it will go there rather than at the start of your post.

I have been doing that, but when I go to "upload a file" it seems to put the pictures at the top of the post. If I go to attach an image, I must have the file hosted elsewhere.
 

Mivera

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#51
your right but you left out the bit where the mid level customer likes to think his $1500 amps are better than $10000 amps. what you will find is most people feel intimidated by HIFI. you will tell them something sounds good and show them, they will buy and wont question what you say. . they won't bugger about with it or obsess over it.

it was the same when i was into computing years ago, jo blogs is easily intimidated. all i had to do was use the shorthand keys in windows 3.11 and they thought i was god, boost the conventional memory to 610k and they think you're a wizz. when in fact i knew very little really.

people dont want too look stupid so they tend to just nod and agree if they feel you know more than them.

Yes no matter what price point, people always have a bias towards what they personally own. Even though the fact that they own it, has no bearing on the actual quality of the unit.
 

dallasjustice

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#54
Most audiophiles listen with their eyes. They are attracted to good looking gear. Of course, the manufacturers know that the gear looks create a big expectation bias (placebo effect). Specs can also create a placebo effect. Everyone is equally subject to these effects. It's in our human nature.

In the case of amps, class A amps aren't the best. IMO, elite class D designs are much better.

Will the customer judge the amp "by the pound or by the sound?" Everyone is different.

There is a new class of products that don't qualify as audiophile which sound as good as anything and are very small. Some call them "lifestyle products." Some of these products sell MUCH better than traditional audiophile gear.

Who do you think made more money in 2015; Pass Labs or Devialet? I'd put my money on Devialet by a mile.

Michael.
 

amirm

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#56
I have been doing that, but when I go to "upload a file" it seems to put the pictures at the top of the post. If I go to attach an image, I must have the file hosted elsewhere.
It loses the cursor position I think when you upload files. So let it do that and then hit the return key where you want it and then tell it to insert. Alternatively click on the image, do a control-x to delete it and then control-y where you want it to paste it. It works fairly close to a word processor in that manner.
 

Mivera

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#57
Most audiophiles listen with their eyes. They are attracted to good looking gear. Of course, the manufacturers know that the gear looks create a big expectation bias (placebo effect). Specs can also create a placebo effect. Everyone is equally subject to these effects. It's in our human nature.

In the case of amps, class A amps aren't the best. IMO, elite class D designs are much better.

Will the customer judge the amp "by the pound or by the sound?" Everyone is different.

There is a new class of products that don't qualify as audiophile which sound as good as anything and are very small. Some call them "lifestyle products." Some of these products sell MUCH better than traditional audiophile gear.

Who do you think made more money in 2015; Pass Labs or Devialet? I'd put my money on Devialet by a mile.

Michael.
Well they both probably made a fair bit of money. But the Devialet's are attractive looking, and are being aggressively marketed. The Focal/Devialet rep told me it's the best sounding system in the world to use with Focal speakers.
 

Mivera

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#58
It loses the cursor position I think when you upload files. So let it do that and then hit the return key where you want it and then tell it to insert. Alternatively click on the image, do a control-x to delete it and then control-y where you want it to paste it. It works fairly close to a word processor in that manner.
Okay I'll try that next time.
 

amirm

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#59
Well they both probably made a fair bit of money. But the Devialet's are attractive looking, and are being aggressively marketed. The Focal/Devialet rep told me it's the best sounding system in the world to use with Focal speakers.
I often see them demoed that way. Are they distributed by the same company in US?
 

Mivera

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#60
I often see them demoed that way. Are they distributed by the same company in US?
I'm not sure, it's Plurison in Canada. It's a real shame because I do like the Focal speakers.
 
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