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There is nothing holy about the signal

Is the signal holy?

  • Yes it is

    Votes: 18 16.5%
  • No it isn't

    Votes: 84 77.1%
  • Undecided / No opinion

    Votes: 7 6.4%

  • Total voters
    109

terryforsythe

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I have played with a number of target curves in Dirac Live. In many recordings I prefer the Harmon curve. In some I like the Harmon curve with 3 or 4 dB of extra bass. For a few recordings I like a flat response at the listening position. My DSP stores 4 target curves I can select, which is convenient.

For me, it comes down to the music and how it was recorded. It would be nice if all recording engineers used the same amplifier and speakers (preferably flat response) while mixing, but that is not realistic. Moreover, recording engineers vary among their tastes. So, there is not one target curve that is always going to be the best solution.

As far as equipment, I have compared expensive speaker wire to inexpensive wire and heard no difference. Expensive power cables seem strange to me - your electricity is flowing through Romex from the breaker panel all of the way to the outlet, sometimes pushing 100 ft., and changing the last 6 ft. is going to make a difference? Etc., etc.

On the other hand, decades ago I did research and ran power loss experiments on laminated steel inductor cores. Long story short, steel core power losses increase exponentially with frequency and magnetizing force, and thus they are not optimal for use at frequencies above the bass region. Improvements over steel core inductors provided by air core inductors (heavy gauge wire) were clearly audible, though to different degrees depending on the steel core designs and sizes.
 

Mart68

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General question...

How long does expectation bias in listening last?

If someone buys something based on expectation bias, is there an average length of time before the bias wears off and they 'hear the device for what it is?' (That would seem to account for 'audiophilia nervosa' and a high rate of changing gear.)

For some lucky/unlucky people, could it be permanent?
An interesting question

I got a new cd transport couple of months ago. Not expecting it to sound different to the old one but it does.

For want of a better word it sounds 'calmer.'

Figured the effect would wear off but it hasn't yet

Of course I am comparing the audiophile way, not back to back with controls but going on my memory of what albums sounded like with the old transport

So you won't see me running about forums proclaiming it as evidence transports sound different.

I don't have the kit for measuring it and a blind test is not simple to do especially as I live alone.

Occom's razor says it's unconscious bias, I'm happy with that until proven wrong. But I really did expect it to wear off by now.
 

solderdude

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So my questions for ASR are: do you think signal integrity is important?
In principle, yes in practice 'no' or 'it depends'.

One can change the signal integrity in the electronic or acoustic plane in order to get to the signal arriving at the ears being closer to the actual reproduced signal.
One can change the signal integrity in the electronic or acoustic plane in order to get a preferred sound.

In both cases it depends on what one's goal is so either could be 'right'

Do you avoid all manipulation to the signal?
I don't and many people here don't.
But... for some transducers I don't manipulate the signal because I feel I don't have to.

If you did manipulate your signal, how did you choose your target curve?
I made my own target based on how I know things should sound. I ended up with a target that deviates a little here and there from Harman.

Do you think there is a role for preference when it comes to signal manipulation?
Why wouldn't there be ?

You could add the following questions:

Are standards for measurements essential so test conditions are always comparable ?

Do my ears and gears follow measurement standards exactly ?
 

Multicore

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It's about tangibles of physically swapping tubes being more pleasurable than something being done on the digital side. If I'm gonna be honest, even just switching from Midgard to a SET amp with hundreds of thousands times more distortion provide barely audible difference to my ears (i.e. I would probably fail DBT more likely than passing it) and they're mostly fine tuning the harmonics within the sound to a very small degree. DSP effects would actually be a lot more audible than just switching from a SS to a tube amp especially when you're using a linear impedance headphones like DCA Stealth, Susvara and other planar magnetics. With dynamic driver, impedance and damping factor difference between SS and tube are the main drivers for differences and rolling tubes would provide barely audible differences (other than amplification gain levels) when level matched (as long as the noise floor such as humming and hissing aren't audible).
I like to preserve, if I can, my sense of wonder. One of the ways is is my catch phrase: There's nothing so enduringly fashionable as nostalgia (as I've used here often).

Affordable pocket equipment can drive (and equalize, if you want) earphones to perfection. The situation with loudspeakers is approaching a similar solved-problem end point. So what are we going to do to keep it fun for ourselves as hobbyists and on the supply side to create new things to sell?

At present only the fractal topography of the boutique IEM market seems positively modernist. It doesn't appeal to me very much (they make my ears itch real bad) but all the fussing over transducers, enclosures, cable colors, connectors, target curves, distortions, ear pieces to optimize for the individual seems to be a hobby, judging from Crinacle's astonishing YouTube channel.

Much of the rest (vinyl revival, tube tech, 70s and 80s Japanese HiFi, vintage mics ...) fits my catch phrase.
 
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Blumlein 88

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For anyone wanting to add a little magic to their fiddling with the holy signal, but don't like DSP or don't find it as sexy and tactile here is a solution.

$799 per channel (you'll need two for stereo). Still about a 1/5th to a 1/10th of what a real Pultec will cost you. Has analog EQ, tubes, transformers and that old vintage studio look. If I wasn't so cheap, I wouldn't mind having a couple to use myself.

1702515665161.png
 

ahofer

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For anyone wanting to add a little magic to their fiddling with the holy signal, but don't like DSP or don't find it as sexy and tactile here is a solution.

$799 per channel (you'll need two for stereo). Still about a 1/5th to a 1/10th of what a real Pultec will cost you. Has analog EQ, tubes, transformers and that old vintage studio look. If I wasn't so cheap, I wouldn't mind having a couple to use myself.

View attachment 334105
That's still way cheaper than most of the adequately-powered tube amps.
 

Blumlein 88

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That's still way cheaper than most of the adequately-powered tube amps.
They make a tube-opto compressor if you really wanted to go all out in messing with your signal. Pair them both up.
 

ahofer

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They make a tube-opto compressor if you really wanted to go all out in messing with your signal. Pair them both up.
I'd like to see something like this as a stand-alone DSP unit to put in before the DAC. Or a plug-in to Roon. I want to do a DSP version of the Carver Amp Challenge.
 

kemmler3D

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ahofer

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MattHooper

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For anyone wanting to add a little magic to their fiddling with the holy signal, but don't like DSP or don't find it as sexy and tactile here is a solution.

$799 per channel (you'll need two for stereo). Still about a 1/5th to a 1/10th of what a real Pultec will cost you. Has analog EQ, tubes, transformers and that old vintage studio look. If I wasn't so cheap, I wouldn't mind having a couple to use myself.

View attachment 334105

Interesting!

Though I admit I couldn't bear those aesthetics in my own audio system . Anything with rack mount styling, and those type of knobs, takes me back to the days of being surrounded by that type of analog equipment in my work...shudder. (I have little romanticism about the days working in analog).
 

solderdude

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There is one aspect that is very hard to emulate as this would have to be done per transducer.
The influence of the output resistance (both for speaker and some headphones) which goes on top of the distortion and possible bandwidth limiting.
Simulators can mimic the 'tube' and 'linear' distortion part but not the output R which certainly can be a confounding factor in the 'sound' and could even be more determining than distortion or bandwidth limiting as the latter is only at the extremes of the audible range where output R can be anywhere in the audible range.
 

ahofer

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There is one aspect that is very hard to emulate as this would have to be done per transducer.
The influence of the output resistance (both for speaker and some headphones) which goes on top of the distortion and possible bandwidth limiting.
Simulators can mimic the 'tube' and 'linear' distortion part but not the output R which certainly can be a confounding factor in the 'sound' and could even be more determining than distortion or bandwidth limiting as the latter is only at the extremes of the audible range where output R can be anywhere in the audible range.
Wouldn’t being able to vary the effect by frequency and amplitude do it?
 

solderdude

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You would need to know the impedance (over the audible range) of the speaker and know the output R (also over the entire frequency range) and for woofers you also may be changing the damping a little.
So in practice not possible to simulate that.

Adding 'some' single tube transfer is possible but more often that not there is some feedback and multiple tubes with their own characteristic is used so not easy to simulate either unless you know the amps transfer function (also over the entire audible range).
Add to that non-linearities of interstage and output transformers and one can draw a quick conclusion that while one can simulate a specific tube that does not mean it is an accurate simulation of a tube amp with 1 or more of those tubes in it.

I get the sentiment (used transparent gear and simulate a tube) but I am quite sure that isn't the exact same effect 'a' tube amp may impart on the sound in one's home with some transducers.

I usually just smile inside whenever I see it coined.
 

Sined

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So my questions for ASR are: do you think signal integrity is important? Do you avoid all manipulation to the signal? If you did manipulate your signal, how did you choose your target curve? Do you think there is a role for preference when it comes to signal manipulation?
I would avoid any manipulation of the signal if it would have been recorded perfectly, which is not the case most of the time. Circle of confusions again, we have to live with the hearing and musical tastes of the recording engineers, and moreover, decisions made from their small studio monitor speakers that are far away from what we have in our listening rooms...
I built my own speakers with very high quality drivers fully calibrated using DSP with my DEQX processor in a 6 channels active system: I can make them sound like I like them sound, isn't that sweet ?!! I use my own taste target curve... that doesn't fix completely a bad recording, but that helps a little bit.
 

Newman

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I would avoid any manipulation of the signal if it would have been recorded perfectly, which is not the case most of the time. Circle of confusions again, we have to live with the hearing
yes
and musical tastes
no
of the recording engineers, and moreover, decisions made from their small studio monitor speakers that are far away from what we have in our listening rooms...
no
I built my own speakers with very high quality drivers fully calibrated using DSP with my DEQX processor in a 6 channels active system: I can make them sound like I like them sound, isn't that sweet ?!! I use my own taste target curve... that doesn't fix completely a bad recording, but that helps a little bit.
So does a tone control.
 

pinger

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Only speakers affect the sound quality. Other components should be purchased based on price, build quality, features, looks , durability. Thats it
 

DavidShe

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Newman

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Not really. Enthusiasts can't "remaster a source" unless they can access a clean master as a starting point. Starting with a file with any amount of multiband compression, even a small amount, reduces the exercise to an EQ tweak, not a remaster.
 

DavidShe

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Not really. Enthusiasts can't "remaster a source" unless they can access a clean master as a starting point. Starting with a file with any amount of multiband compression, even a small amount, reduces the exercise to an EQ tweak, not a remaster.

Enthusiasts who lack respect for the holiness of the signal may go on a tweaking frenzy, experimenting with any combination of the 90 billion free plugins available!
 
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