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Review and Measurements of Lounge LCR MKIII Phono Amp

SIY

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My own thoughts are that hiss and distortion can always be added when desired, but cannot be subtracted if they are already present.

That unease with silence is very familiar to those of us who have been inside anechoic chambers!
 
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Yeah, I tried an anechoic chamber in Sydney, Australia as well, although the experience wasn't as profound as in Death Valley, but that was perhaps because Death Valley happened earlier (or perhaps Death Valley was quieter).
 
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I have been to the quietest place on earth, the chamber in Microsoft's building 87. We kept the door open but all chambers are disconcerting.

I once tried to convince someone that background noise was like bias on a tape head and necessary for good sound. It was just some BS I was making up over drinks but then we started wondering if there could be some truth to it. True quietness is not natural at all. And, whenever I've measured some classic compressors and EQs, the noise levels were pretty high compared to even cheap gear today. Yet, everyone craves these things for their sound. It all goes back relevance. Just because we can measure something, it doesn't mean it matters.
 

AndrovichIV

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Since many albums nowadays are produced and mastered with too much energy in the harshness region, a piece of gear with a dip in the harshness region, and often followed by a peak around 10-12 kHz to retain some "sheen" or "air", will make these albums sound more pleasant, as my own experiments with an equalizer has shown. My speakers are fairly linear, and things like Diana Krall, Laurence Juber, etc. sound amazing and don't need any adjustments, but many modern albums do sound better when I equalize them.

As for the flowery prose, I'm wondering if this was a trend that was started by people who believed they heard differences, whether there were any or not, since the measurements often showed none. And to many readers flowery prose was easier to understand than the technical jargon. So the "romantic" reviewers felt justified in their writings, many readers understood it better (none of my friends who are into hi-fi really understand much of the technical aspect, and it's also difficult for me), and the manufacturers probably sold more equipment. Then in the end a larger percentage of the people into hi-fi were happy, although it came at the expense of the happiness of the people who understood the technical aspect, but at least nowadays, that's a minority of the people into audio.
As for whether inaccuracy sounds good or not, I think this Lounge phono preamp, as well as the Ayre Codex, and eXamplar Exception phono preamp, are good examples of people on this site who have bought these particular units and thought they sounded great, even though they were poorly made. Amir certainly didn't like the sound of the Ayre Codex, but the owner liked (at least until he saw the measurements), so ...
Okay, but in that case wouldn't it just make more sense to have a decent PRE AMP and say DSP and equalize sound to your liking. The way I see it you can have less distortion and any sound signature that you could possibly like. What this thing is doing essentially is a very crass equalization it seems. With a DSP you can equalize the FR down to a tenth of a decibel ...
 
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Okay, but in that case wouldn't it just make more sense to have a decent PRE AMP and say DSP and equalize sound to your liking. The way I see it you can have less distortion and any sound signature that you could possibly like. What this thing is doing essentially is a very crass equalization it seems. With a DSP you can equalize the FR down to a tenth of a decibel ...
Yes, that's probably what I would do as well. Although I'm aiming for accuracy, then to some extent I don't mind paying for a slight colouration, if the product is still well-made, but as you point out you could probably acheive the same result by using an equalizer.
So I would never buy the Lounge phono preamp. Nor would I buy a CD player like the megabucks Zanden 5000 that Michael Fremer gave a rave review but his own editor verbatim called the worst digital product he had ever measured. I don't think I would ever buy tubes either. I simply don't see the point in paying for poor engineering.
 
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Just as a quick note:
Before this thread I had never heard of the Lounge phono preamp, but after this thread I have noticed how many people rave about the Lounge for instance on the Steve Hoffmann forum. The manufacturer comments on this thread, "just listen to it, please", seems to sum up what many people go for - just a sound they like, even though it might mess up the signal completely (Michael Fremer might be raving about the Lounge soon).
 
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When I became a subjectivist: Runnin a small audio store across from the local university. Mr. C. - one of my regular record customers made a bold claim one day "I've got a better preamp than any of 'em you've got here in the shop." A duel was organized. He brought in his pre-amp - it was a very early Audio Research Corp. tube preamp ( SP-3a1 hadn't come out yet) -had been back to Minn. a couple of times for updates. Compared it to my MUCH better spec/d Marantz 33 (or did I have a 3300 by then ?) and a Dyna PAT-4 (Dyna always put the "it's so cheap n so good" grin on my face). The ARC simply let more of the music out -it was a distinct pleasure to listen thru -the other two were OK-but not worth crossing the street for. This same customer turned me onto Stereophile in the very early J. Gordon Holt era - what I like about Holt is he tried to figure out why? He listened -but he wanted to figure out what n why stuff sounded the way it did ? To this day - the only two audio mags I subscribe to are Hi Fi News and Record Review and Stereophile. Both continue to do meaningful testing to most of the equipment they review and have a back library of tests that make interesting reading (other than carts-98% of what I have purchased over the years has been used - test reports help with those buy/dumpster dive decisions.) I respect the work that guys like Mati Otala ,A. Stewart Hegeman , Walt Jung ,John Curl , Nelson Pass , and Siegfried Linkweitz have contributed - my SS system today benefits from their insights into what was wrong with transistors and how to design for what a transistor circuit does really well. The numbers always matter -but the question remains -are we measuring everything that matters ? In the end - do I enjoy listening to the music thru this stuff? And a few decades servicing audio equipment means I have no interest in stuff that doesn't turn on every time I want to listen to it. So- thank you Mr. C. for the most important lesson I ever got in listening to audio gear.
 
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That forum removed negative comments about it.
I wasn't aware of that, although I was aware of the Steve Hoffman forum's history of censoring a lot of content that didn't jive with the owner's personal taste or ego. Maybe it's just a matter of time before I will be banned from the Steve Hoffman forum, since I sometimes see so much crap being spewed that it would be difficult to keep my mouth shut - and I refuse to shut up and create an image of consent.
This is my general attitude, although i try to be respectful:


If you don't have anything nice to say.jpg
 
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