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

JSmith

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My SMSL dac offers several sound “color” choices. Anyone played with those?
They simply offer different mixture and levels of 2nd & 3rd harmonic distortion;

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Short38

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They simply offer different mixture and levels of 2nd & 3rd harmonic distortion;

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JSmith
Thank you for posting the graphs showing distortion mixes. I suppose I could simulate pretty much any strange measuring amp on the planet. The mind boggles.
 

Short38

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Another ear opener is J Gordon Holt reading “Why Hi-Fi Experts Disagree” on the first(?) Stereophile test cd. When I listen to a recording that seems exceptional in any way I think microphones mixing and recording engineer. Then I think about the reproduction chain in my home.
 

Cbdb2

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I am definitely not an expert. But in my forty years in the hobby I have learned enough to do two things. 1. Listen to actual experts. 2. Sniff out who the actual experts really are. When it comes to the state of the art in spatial audio the two experts I listen to are Dr. Edgar Choueiri and James Johnston. If you and the guy with buns of steel want to dispute what those experts have to say on the subject of spatial audio using actual facts, measurements and listening tests I’m happy to listen to what any of you have to say. But when all you guys have are personal insults my conclusion is that you guys are actually in over your heads on that subject.
From my 30 years experience working as a recording engineer I agree with my expert (not trying to sell a $20000 effects box) Dr Toole when he said: "much of it is far from what the artists and recording engineers intended - the "soundstage" is very fluid, and envelopment can be profound. In this mode it is really a sound-effects generator and opinions of like or dislike will predictably vary."
 

Newman

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Gotta love them sound-effects generators!
 

Sal1950

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Thank you for posting the link.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile
My apologies John for not including a link to the original article on Stereophile.
Since the article is so criticizing of the direction the magazine has taken since his (J. Gordon Holt) departure, I
keep a C&P copy on my hard-drive for fear it will one day disappear from the website and that was
what I used for reference.
 

egellings

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Problem with those single ended amplifiers is the large OPT (output transformer) that's needed for them because the DC plate current of only a single tube magnetizes the core; there is no balancing current to zero out the resulting quiescent magnetic field such as found in a push-pull design. Just for the halibut, I built one to see what all the hoopla was about concerning them. I had the tube drive one half of the winding of relatively small xfmr made for push-pull use, and the other half of the winding was connected to a constant current source (CCS). The inherently high impedance of a CCS means the winding appears to be open circuit with a DC current magically flowing through it, which neutralizes the magnetism caused by the tube's plate current. It worked well.
 

Sal1950

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My VTL 80 monoblocks used 4 6L6 - 5881s per amp. I thought they had a smooth, clean and detailed sound above 80hz.
The factory Russian tubes gave me 15+ years and God knows how many hours of service, they were still working
fine and in bias spec when I sold them. A really tuff reliable output tube IMO.
 

jim1274

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Big 10-4 guys. I never heard an omni I thought sounded "right".
Since the days of the original Bose 901's, all I ever heard from omni's were a large, unfocused image bouncing
from every wall in the room.
They're just wrong IMHO
I came across this thread when looking for others take on tube amps, specifically related to use with an Omni, Duevel Enterprise in my case. The Duevel distributor recommended this one—link from his web site:


I’m not a “tube guy”, but try to be open-minded. While that tube amp may sound excellent with the Duevels, I went with a Benchmark AHB2 instead and very satisfied.

I have not found it to have a “large unfocused image bouncing from every wall in the room” at all here in my living room. I’m starting to wonder if my living room may have room acoustics particularly well suited to the Omnis. The opinion on Omnis seem to vary a lot, so maybe that explains much, or at least some, of it. The YMMV thing. I liked it enough to buy the Enterprises not long after throwing the dice on the entry level Planets. Only regret is not going right to the Enterprise model, but that was quite a bit more $, so Planets were a smaller investment in event they did not do it for me.
 

fpitas

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Some people love omnis. Others, not so much:

 

jim1274

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Some people love omnis. Others, not so much:

Yeah, I definitely have gathered as much. Maybe I will “tire” of them or am glossing over shortcomings, but have listened to these more in the living room in a couple weeks than a whole typical winter’s worth in the past.

So far, I’m liking them a lot, at least the Duevel Enterprise model. I rotated several pretty good “box” speakers in and out of the living room, ending up with the Omnis winning the spot. I plan to do some more detailed comparison of various speaker attributes vs my “box” speakers to try and find the Omni flaws. So far, beyond some loss of imaging precision, I’m not finding much I don’t like.
 

Newman

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Well, that's a good start. As you persist with them, the phenomenon of personal adaptation will take hold, and you will care less and less about their shortcomings.
 

Haskil

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Thank you for posting the link.

John Atkinson
Technical Editor, Stereophile
Thank you for this text and your exchange with the founder of Stéréophile... I totally agree with both of your comments... Your analysis is correct...

Let's hope that a start will come that will reconcile the public with high fidelity...


PS. I knew the time - 1970s and 1980s - when the French loudspeaker manufacturer Cabasse rented a large room at the International Sound Festival in Paris to do its demonstrations which consisted of an immediate comparison between recorded sounds and big band of Jazz gathered on the stage... Audiophiles - at the time we called hifists - lined up to attend these great demonstrations and when the CD appeared, music lovers very quickly understood how this medium outperformed the LP - we didn't did not say vinyls at that time -, which upset a lot of small device brands who quickly began their work of undermining near the editorial offices of High Fidelity and music magazines... these small brands spent much more advertisements that the big brands in their columns and their small size meant that they often interacted directly with the editorial staff, which flattered the ego of specialized journalists when the large Japanese and American industrial groups passed through the filter of the press offices. ..
 

Skeeter

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I came across this thread when looking for others take on tube amps, specifically related to use with an Omni, Duevel Enterprise in my case. The Duevel distributor recommended this one—link from his web site:


I’m not a “tube guy”, but try to be open-minded. While that tube amp may sound excellent with the Duevels, I went with a Benchmark AHB2 instead and very satisfied.

I have not found it to have a “large unfocused image bouncing from every wall in the room” at all here in my living room. I’m starting to wonder if my living room may have room acoustics particularly well suited to the Omnis. The opinion on Omnis seem to vary a lot, so maybe that explains much, or at least some, of it. The YMMV thing. I liked it enough to buy the Enterprises not long after throwing the dice on the entry level Planets. Only regret is not going right to the Enterprise model, but that was quite a bit more $, so Planets were a smaller investment in event they did not do it for me.
The main thing is to enjoy your sound.
 

SIY

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I’m not a “tube guy”, but try to be open-minded. While that tube amp may sound excellent with the Duevels, I went with a Benchmark AHB2 instead and very satisfied.
You dodged some bullets. Putting aside the idiotic "review," the claims for that amp are... questionable. A pair of EL34 in Class A might get you 15-20W max, maybe, possibly, on a good day, wind at your back, going downhill. Their 30W Class A claim is ridiculous (putting aside that Class A gets you no advantage but is stunningly less efficient than the usual AB operation).
 

jim1274

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Well, that's a good start. As you persist with them, the phenomenon of personal adaptation will take hold, and you will care less and less about their
You dodged some bullets. Putting aside the idiotic "review," the claims for that amp are... questionable. A pair of EL34 in Class A might get you 15-20W max, maybe, possibly, on a good day, wind at your back, going downhill. Their 30W Class A claim is ridiculous (putting aside that Class A gets you no advantage but is stunningly less efficient than the usual AB operation).
I was not even tempted to go with the tube amp. I did think there was merit to trying the Enterprise with a “better” amp than my AVR or Emotiva— Benchmark did the trick. I’ve owned a couple botique tube amps in the past, but long gone now…and not coming back..
 

Sal1950

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Their 30W Class A claim is ridiculous (putting aside that Class A gets you no advantage but is stunningly less efficient than the usual AB operation).
And the fact that if they are pushing them that hard, it won't be long till you have a kool lightning show inside the glass. :p
 
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