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Is FR the only important measurement? Real life testing.

isostasy

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I do see certain parallels. There are these mystical guitar amplifiers, each of which has its own inimitable sound.
On closer inspection, it turns out that EQ and distortion play a decisive role (in reality it is likely to be much more complex, such as effect of guitar driver impedance on the FR,...). That's why amp modelers work so well.
There will always be small differences between a modeled amp and the original, but in the mix of a recording, 99.9% of people will not notice a difference.

Ultimately, physics, technology and psychoacoustics provide the answers in this area as well. There is not much room left for magic and undiscovered effects in the transmission of sound pressure fluctuations.




Yep, it started with Line 6 POD, the Johnson J-Station and the first culmination point might have been the Digitech GNX4. The clean sound of the J-Sation was already breathtakingly good back then - I used the J-Station and the GNX4 myself back then.
I agree with you totally, I guess I'm more going at this from the point of view of seeking out and purchasing a guitar amp vs. a hi-fi amp (which is what we're talking about, right, we are consumers and this is a consumer forum?). With a hi-fi amp I don't need to try before I buy, I am content reading someone I trust such as Amir doing measurements and giving their opinion, assuming good quality control and minimal product variance. Guitar amps are totally different though: just because you can make any two sound the same, doesn't mean that, as a consumer, it would be a good idea to just get any old thing and put most of my resources into tweaking it to the sound I want.

Rest assure you can find a lot if of guitarist on forums. They have similar discussions as audiophiles, even about the sound of cables.
Wow, I guess I am the one who's been living under a rock then. Thanks for enlightening me (or showing me the dark side, I'm not sure haha).

I knew that video was going to bring out the musicians who were all riled up. It was a great video and showed that in todays world you can measure the sound and set to mimicking it. But, in the guitar world there are so many products and companies making different items to affect the sound, it becomes a "play it and see if you like it" type of purchase. It is like having hifi amps made to specifically have different sounds and then comparing them. The number of iterations from the different variables sky rockets quickly. Every knob change for EQ and distortion makes a new sound. I'm glad I don't have to pick out one or two items as it would seem almost impossible. I suppose that is why most of these high level guitar players have so much equipment to choose from. Years of buying different pedals and such. All in all a great video. He makes a case for the buy it if you like it and then use it till it dies thinking. Might save someone a few bucks here and there. The guy was very interesting in the video as "He is just a musician and doesn't no anything about circuits" kind of guy :)

Do you mean me? If you read my posts you'll see I'm not disputing the findings of the video, I'm simply questioning the relevance to hi-fi purchasing decisions, which are based on different metrics. You're right, musical purchases are "play it and see if you like it" types of purchases but I don't see the problem in that, provided you aren't trying to judge things against an absolute measure, which is what today's review culture tends to apply to everything. For one thing, when you're buying a musical instrument or related item, how you feel about it is absolutely relevant because at the end of the day you're the one who has to use it. Take a really stupid example: colour. Does the colour of your instrument make a difference to the sound? No. You could even prove this with measurements. Does this mean the colour doesn't matter at all? No, because if you don't like how it looks it might put you off practicing, or you might feel like a total idiot on stage.
 

Spkrdctr

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Do you mean me? If you read my posts you'll see I'm not disputing the findings of the video, I'm simply questioning the relevance to hi-fi purchasing decisions, which are based on different metrics. You're right, musical purchases are "play it and see if you like it" types of purchases but I don't see the problem in that, provided you aren't trying to judge things against an absolute measure, which is what today's review culture tends to apply to everything. For one thing, when you're buying a musical instrument or related item, how you feel about it is absolutely relevant because at the end of the day you're the one who has to use it. Take a really stupid example: colour. Does the colour of your instrument make a difference to the sound? No. You could even prove this with measurements. Does this mean the colour doesn't matter at all? No, because if you don't like how it looks it might put you off practicing, or you might feel like a total idiot on stage.
No, that was not directed at you personally. I was not trying to be negative. But, many times my writing is lacking in trying to convey my thoughts. I was "trying" to say that I fully expected musicians to have a fairly negative reaction to the video. The reason in my opinion is that usually musicians and the hifi crowd and especially in ASR arena are totally different. In ASR, measurements can and usually do show why and how well a piece of equipment is working or not working. In buying guitar equipment, it has almost nothing to do with our ASR arena. It really is a play it and see if you like it type of decision. The goals are different and are totally subjective. That is how the entire field of guitar sound systems work. I think the video just showed that the internet forum characterizations of audiophoolery terms did not really apply either. He narrowed it down to help someone pick what they want based on EQ and distortion far more that tube type and other factors in the video. So, in essence we agree. In the end it was an interesting video.
 

gavagai

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I'm simply questioning the relevance to hi-fi purchasing decisions, which are based on different metrics.

To me, a lot of audiophile think that their relation with their gear is the same kind of relation that the musicians have with their instruments. It's a kind of Munchhausen syndrom, the illness is thinking that the finger of god can touch a soul the same way It can touch some kind of hardware.

This is why every study that bust the uniqueness of musical instruments must be welcomed by an hifi objectivist.
 

oleg87

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I would not care to apply the same analytical methodologies to guitar gear as hifi gear. With guitar amps, it’s not simply about the audible quality of the sound. It’s an extension of your instrument, it has a feel to it - it responds to the way you play, and you respond to it.
 

isostasy

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No, that was not directed at you personally. I was not trying to be negative. But, many times my writing is lacking in trying to convey my thoughts. I was "trying" to say that I fully expected musicians to have a fairly negative reaction to the video. The reason in my opinion is that usually musicians and the hifi crowd and especially in ASR arena are totally different. In ASR, measurements can and usually do show why and how well a piece of equipment is working or not working. In buying guitar equipment, it has almost nothing to do with our ASR arena. It really is a play it and see if you like it type of decision. The goals are different and are totally subjective. That is how the entire field of guitar sound systems work. I think the video just showed that the internet forum characterizations of audiophoolery terms did not really apply either. He narrowed it down to help someone pick what they want based on EQ and distortion far more that tube type and other factors in the video. So, in essence we agree. In the end it was an interesting video.
Yes it looks liek we agree, sorry for misunderstanding and getting my back up.
To me, a lot of audiophile think that their relation with their gear is the same kind of relation that the musicians have with their instruments. It's a kind of Munchhausen syndrom, the illness is thinking that the finger of god can touch a soul the same way It can touch some kind of hardware.

This is why every study that bust the uniqueness of musical instruments must be welcomed by an hifi objectivist.

Mmm ok I'm starting to see where you're coming from now, I can agree with this. So you're saying: if we can even show something which we want to distort the signal for a creative reason can be reduced to some objective measures, this shows all such similar talk about hi-fi equipment, which we don't want to distort the signal, to be a non-starter?
 

Multicore

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Thanks for sharing this video! Omg this stuff is so annoying. And ultimately impossible to get a grip of. Well, not impossible, as this shows, but nearly so for this ordinary practitioner.

I learned to HATE guitar amps in the 1980s. Later I learned to get the sounds I want with some gear on the floor and DI. For years I used a pair of big Mackie powered PA speakers when the venue had nothing suitable.

I took a break for over 10 years and started playing again in 2019 at which point I discovered Amp Modelers. This made clear one of the reasons why I hate guitar amps: there are too many, and each has too many knobs, so auditioning them is nearly impossible. Most of the really good sounding ones only sound good when played really loud. And now with the modelers you also have to choose one of a million FIR files for the cab, speaker type, mic models and positions, studio acoustic, omg it goes on and on. I HATE IT.

Anyway, fwiw, turns out I like the big old Fender amps best. Like this


If you're a guitarist, keep watching for an astonishing stretch at about 3:00.

If you like fancy ocean sail boats, keep watching through 2:30
 
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Psycher1

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Hmm. I gotta say that this makes me a bit uncomfortable. I agree with everything, so I feel silly making a fuss about this, but I also agree with all the verbiages used to describe the tubes and sounds, especially the differences between the amp types. As a guitar player, I have experienced all these things. If I was just going to have a guitar and a cable, you do hear all these differences. I never liked Vox or Fender. Marshals were always fine. I loved Mesa and Orange. Correctable and spoofable? Sure. But I didn't have EQ, just a guitar and a cable.

It reminds me that Line6 makes very detailed boards that simulate other companies' products and include settings to control Bias, BiasX, sag, hum, etc., to simulate how tubes behave. You could play with how the power amp vs. pre amp distortion sounded and affected the sound. Could you distort mids and treble but leave the bass clean? Depends on the amp and how it was wired - but sure, as distortion can be frequency dependant after all. And yet those effects were very subtle; half the time, I couldn't tell the difference in sound at all, and even when I could, it was usually only if I was actively playing the guitar. But here and there, they would be apparent in the feel, the speed of the response, and how 'cold' or 'warm' it could make the same EQ settings sound.

So, by that, I admit that it's completely pointless, especially for an outside observer. And yet... when you strummed the strings, you could tell something was changing, which had value to the artist. Yes, the mix would nearly remove all of these changes, but they had value to me as a player.

Similarly, most guitars would sound the same. But they don't feel the same, frets aren't always of good quality, but you'll never hear that listening to me play. Pickups would sound subtly different. Easily corrected by EQ, sure, but guitar players are often not going to do that (though you absolutely can: Tube Screamer and pre-amp EQ pedal). Most are just going to pick the guitar they feel is the best tool for the job, whether or not we as listeners will ever be the wiser about their decision.
 

Xulonn

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This! Similar to a good photographer who shoots great pics with any camera.
Or the skier who thinks a different brand of skis will improve his skiing. Back in the 1960's, older guys with cable bindings skied circles around me and my latest Head and Rossignol skis and their state of the art bindings. (Although I appreciated the safety features of the newer bindings.) I bought the latest very excellent skis, and my performance did not improve as a result.

The same thing happened with my windsurfing in the 1980s and 90s. Expert sailors with "inferior" gear sailed circles around me on San Francisco Bay and under the Golden Gate Bridge. Talent, skill and practice are the winning combination.

Another example - the best cars in Formula one are driven by the best drivers. But put the best drivers in inferior cars, and they can do amazing things on the track.

I have met and read about many amateur guitar players over the decades who paralleled my modest accomplishments in skiing and windsurfing with their limited guitar playing skills greatly overshadowed by their fascination with guitars and amplifiers. It is easier to buy another amp than to take one's guitar playing to the next level.

OTOH, listening to music is not a skill and talent-based thing, although hearing minor differences in sound is an improvable skill.

My take on this video is that, just like some audiophiles, some guitar players falsely believe that it is the innate properties of a vacuum tube vs. a transistor, and not the quality and configuration of circuit and controls design that actually account for the differences in the sound produced by an amplifier.
 

ocinn

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The Axe-Fx is a top-of-the-range, extremely expensive processor which loads of touring bands use
Yeah, Either that or Kemper is the industry standard for festival-level live music. I see some bands use lesser known products like the Line 6 Helix and NeuralDSP, but its rare.

Its always funny to me when processing haters exclaim "oh well <insert favorite band> uses marshall/fender/etc...." no they don't... In 2022, the signal that is being mixed thru the PA and heard by the audience is purely coming off of a guitar processor (at festival level acts). Amps on stage are solely for show/aesthetic, or for closer monitoring reference. If a real amplifier is used and mic'd (i.e. boutique amps etc) it is far placed backstage (i've even seem them in trailers, or placed in the trunk of an SUV) in an isolation cabinet. The only regular exception i've ever seen to this are Leslie cabinets. The emulations are not good enough yet.

The last alternative is if a boutique/special amplifier is used, it will be ran thru a reactive speaker load box, to strain the tubes, and then the line level DI output from the loadbox is then sent to a processor to do the cabinet/microphone emulation.

I personally use a $600 Helix StompXL. Plug it into one of my cheapo EV ZLX powered PA speakers when I'm home to jam, and when I'm out its as easy as just giving 2 1/4 TRS balanced lines to FOH and my tone and flexibility is 500x better than using a real amp+cab+mic.
 
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pglee

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Thanks for sharing this video! Omg this stuff is so annoying. And ultimately impossible to get a grip of. Well, not impossible, as this shows, but nearly so for this ordinary practitioner.

I learned to HATE guitar amps in the 1980s. Later I learned to get the sounds I want with some gear on the floor and DI. For years I used a pair of big Mackie powered PA speakers when the venue had nothing suitable.

I took a break for over 10 years and started playing again in 2019 at which point I discovered Amp Modelers. This made clear one of the reasons why I hate guitar amps: there are too many, and each has too many knobs, so auditioning them is nearly impossible. Most of the really good sounding ones only sound good when played really loud. And now with the modelers you also have to choose one of a million FIR files for the cab, speaker type, mic models and positions, studio acoustic, omg it goes on and on. I HATE IT.

Anyway, fwiw, turns out I like the big old Fender amps best. Like this


If you're a guitarist, keep watching for an astonishing stretch at about 3:00.

If you like fancy ocean sail boats, keep watching through 2:30
I've had good luck with the Fender Champion 100. It has most of the classic fender amps preset so you aren't overwhelmed by too many options. Plus, it's very affordable, sturdy, loud, and lightweight.
 

Reed

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What’s great about this video is that all of the objectivists here are reacting positively to subjective testing that we are listening to on YouTube. Remember that before you jump ugly with someone on the forum. That said, dude did an excellent job. I think he even changed the order of things during a “blackout“ segment to throw us off. It does bring to mind that both music creators and listeners make themselves available to romantic notions about equipment- probably because we love music. And love is often irrational.
 

amirm

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Do you mean me? If you read my posts you'll see I'm not disputing the findings of the video, I'm simply questioning the relevance to hi-fi purchasing decisions, which are based on different metrics.
What I like about it is that the blogger worked methodically with no technical knowledge to figure out what was happening in the audio chain. And with it, found online subjective comments to be totally incorrect. This is what I plead with audiophiles all the time when they claim this and that tweak is audible. I ask them to set up a blind test to verify. Many of course don't. But this video shows that if you are really interested in the truth, and don't want to believe anyone else, you have to put in some work. And that once you do, you realize that what you read online that goes against science/engineering is routinely wrong.
 

pseudoid

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We should invite/make Jim Lill an honorary ASR member (who is talented enough to be able to think with his ears).
< Jealous.
 

amirm

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... but wait, @amirm just promoted to the 1st page. Maybe I should!:facepalm:
It is an incredible "labor of love" that puts my testing to shame. :) I could not believe how many options he found to have an A/B switch to test an effect.
 

hex168

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Great stuff.

And I love the quote "Writing about music is like dancing about architecture." Couldn't this easily be extended to a lot of audiophile reviews?
A note for the Science Fiction/Fantasy readers here: Steven Brust actually pulled off writing a book centered on dancing about architecture. I'm sure he did it because of the well-known quote. (The book is "Vallista," number 15 in an intended series of 17, each of which has a theme such as war, law, economics, food, and, um, dancing about architecture. If you are interested, I do not suggest starting with #15.)
 
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