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Stereophile's Jim Austin disagrees w Atkinson; says tubes have something that can't be measured

Regardless of all this useless fuss, the amplifier is impeccably beautiful.
This is actually a collectible item.
And the price for such a beautiful thing can not be called unreasonable.
No one will ever notice that its distortion is not 0.000003%, because no one in the world notices this at all.
And that's enough.
I never once bought an amp based upon how it looks (I listen to music, as opposed to looking at it). But hey, whatever floats your boat.
 
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn't let it in the house ;)

that was my thought too. "Impeccably beautiful"? Uhhh, no. I'll buy an amp for $600 that looks fine and does a better job of what it's supposed to do, and then buy a few nice pieces of art for my room and still come out $5k better off thanks.
 
Still sticking to the "some things can't be measured" trope.
Yes, me too.

Concerning the Mastersound amp: Looking at the rectangle pass through, I would say that is sub-par in context.

Picture from the review: Small-signal 1kHz squarewave into 8 ohms.

523-Mas845fig02-600.jpg
 
I remember when J. Gordon Holt elevated testing rather than casting it aside as irrelevant.

I just read their review of the $79k/pair Momentum amplifier, another example of the "measurements don't matter" school of design. Sigh. The comparison to the low-powered tube amp was interesting. At least it is clear what the reviewer likes.
 
that was my thought too. "Impeccably beautiful"? Uhhh, no. I'll buy an amp for $600 that looks fine and does a better job of what it's supposed to do, and then buy a few nice pieces of art for my room and still come out $5k better off thanks.
To me it looks like a DIY light bulb test fixture. Nothing against test fixtures, but they should stay at work lol.
 
Well, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. I wouldn't let it in the house ;)
Finally.
There are two absolutely wonderful things in this world.
The first is that everything perceived is in the perception of the perceiver.
The second is that nobody forces anyone.
So, in this particular case, nothing wonderful is broken.
And that's great.
 
I remember when J. Gordon Holt elevated testing rather than casting it aside as irrelevant.

I just read their review of the $79k/pair Momentum amplifier, another example of the "measurements don't matter" school of design. Sigh. The comparison to the low-powered tube amp was interesting. At least it is clear what the reviewer likes.
Yeah only money does.
 
Regardless of all this useless fuss, the amplifier is impeccably beautiful.
This is actually a collectible item.
And the price for such a beautiful thing can not be called unreasonable.
No one will ever notice that its distortion is not 0.000003%, because no one in the world notices this at all.
And that's enough.
It's not even particularly nice compared to other tube amps.

Apart from that I don't understand the need to want to give a magical attribute, as if it has something incredible that no sterile measurement will be able to understand, instead of admitting that it is a fascinating but technically outdated technology.
It's as if someone keeps arguing that steam locomotives still have a smoothness and a pleasure to transport that no electric locomotive can match. It is an absurd and ridiculous speech and lends itself to being made fun of. But if you simply say that steam trains are beautiful and fascinating and you like to ride them, nobody will tell you anything.
Ditto with the tubes, just say that they are fascinating and that you like having an amplifier like this. This no one can take away from you because it's completely subjective, and that's fine.
 
I just want to make it clear that the opinion expressed by JA1 here, though very well-supported, is not universally shared.

It's true--no one connected with reality can deny it--that certain features in old-school tube amps cause departures from neutrality, especially with loudspeakers with impedance curves that drop below, let us say, 4 ohms, which is most modern loudspeakers. No one can deny it because they are measurable at clearly audible levels. But there's another school of thought--embraced by certain other Stereophile writers--that believes that something less tangible is retained in some such amplifiers that is lost in demonstrably more accurate ones. Such opinions are based on subjective experience--self-perceived connection with the music. This makes them literally irrefutable-- they cannot be tested objectively, so they cannot be contradicted, which is annoying--yet (and this is my opinion, as the magazine's editor), in a magazine committed to subjective experience--to listening--above all else, such opinions must not be dismissed out of hand.

Edit: I thought I should add that the opinions/beliefs I'm referring to are held by many of the most experienced, devoted, passionate audiophiles. I do not take that lightly.

Jim Austin, Editor
Stereophile

I just want to make it clear that the opinion expressed by Jim Austin here, is not well-supported nor universally shared.

It's true--no one connected with reality can deny it--that certain features in old-school tube amps cause departures from neutrality, especially with loudspeakers with impedance curves that drop below, let us say, 4 ohms, which is most modern loudspeakers. No one can deny it because they are measurable at clearly audible levels.

There's another school of thought--embraced by certain Stereophile and other writers that believe the same thing --they believe (as there is no proof it is a belief) that something less tangible is retained in some such amplifiers yet is lost in, demonstrably, more accurate ones. Alas that what is supposed to be lost is not defined. Such opinions are based on subjective experience--self-perceived connection with the music. This makes them dismiss-able since they cannot be tested objectively, so they can be contradicted, which is quite obvious as they are just opinions and cannot be proven --yet (and this is my opinion, as some rando idiot on ASR), and committed to expose subjective bollocks-- to listening and correctly interpreting an as complete as possible measurement suite that is correctly measured -- above all else, such subjective opinions must be dismissed out of hand and 'we' should look at facts rather than beliefs.

Edit: I thought I should add that the opinions/beliefs I'm referring to are held by many of the most experienced, devoted, passionate audiophiles. I do take that lightly because of how they are and what the believe instead of know.

Solderdude, random idiot
ASR member
 
Do you care at all about how any of your other equipment looks? For instance do you care what your speakers look like?

I don't particularly. I mean there's a fairly well-established general appearance for speakers and I'm pretty comfortable with most anything that sits within that general range.
 
Finally.
There are two absolutely wonderful things in this world.
The first is that everything perceived is in the perception of the perceiver.
The second is that nobody forces anyone.
So, in this particular case, nothing wonderful is broken.
And that's great.

Sure. Just don't make claims about it being any more "musical" or "realistic" or "more revealing" than any other measurably equal or better amp at any other price point...
 
I don't particularly. I mean there's a fairly well-established general appearance for speakers and I'm pretty comfortable with most anything that sits within that general range.
As the proud owner of alien robot monster DIY speakers, I obviously am very forgiving, too. The cabinets are non-resonant and and very sturdy, though!
 
I see this as a very positive development.

JA1 whose technical abilities are undisputable can be more direct.

JA2 can be the jester that pleases the paying crowd.
 
I see this as a very positive development.

JA1 whose technical abilities are undisputable can be more direct.

JA2 can be the jester that pleases the paying crowd.
That's the sad, but true situation.
 
people will always try to justify their $10,000 purchase that doesnt measure well with some 'ethereal' quality that defies mere mortal products that measure well

you can also see it at the Willsenton R8 end where we have reasonably affordable chinese tubes... i think on the flip side we see $10k class a/b units that dont measure all that well either
 
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