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Sweetest CDP I have ever seen! - Page 3

post #31 of 54
It actually wasn't just carlo I'd heard that from. Someone else had told me the same thing in the context of considering EAR HP4 upgrades. (Ie: If it sounds this good with poor quality parts, there must be potential there for upgrades.)

Still, zzz's information is a little more first hand.
post #32 of 54
kelly,
When do you expect to get your modified unit back (day/date)? As you already know-- I'm JEALOUS as could be. That has to be about as good a source as money can buy right now. You bastard!!!

We will be breathlessly awaiting your review!

markl
post #33 of 54
Mark
Honestly, I think you're the only one who cares so much and only because you're a Sony fanatic.

The estimate is 3-4 weeks. I expect it back in late August.

After that, I'm planning to buy a Blockhead and have it wired to a custom modified Sony R10. Of course, the Blockhead will need 2 VD Nite power cables, plus another for the source and a VD Nite interconnect to join them. It's getting Rick to design the custom balanced cables for the R10 that's going to be the hard part.

(kidding)
post #34 of 54
Har har har. I'm going to forgive you for the "Sony fanatic line".... I have NO allegiance to any brand, only individual components that deliver the MUSIC.... OK... call me ignorant....

Which of the following are you seriously contemplating....

1. Blockhead.... (you can't do this without a special cable so I guess, this is a joke...)

2. 2 VD Nite Series--- this may be a joke to you, but you'd be well-served actuallly buying them for your modified SCDXA777ES....

markl
post #35 of 54
Easy, Mark. I was just designing in my head the ultimate Markl experience.

I like the Headroom amps.
Unfortunately, their prices demand that I love the Headroom amps, and I don't. It would require modification for me to get the sound I want out of their amps and I'm not even sure that would do it. It's a consideration, but at that point I might be better off going the DIY route--which I am contemplating a little more seriously.

For the VD cables, it's just a matter of auditioning and raising capitol if they're as good as everyone says. So far, I have my heart set on Kimber Select interconnects but there's a lot I haven't heard.
post #36 of 54
"For the VD cables, it's just a matter of auditioning and raising capitol if they're as good as everyone says. So far, I have my heart set on Kimber Select interconnects but there's a lot I haven't heard."

Sure fine. You know what it is you must do.....

markl
post #37 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by markl
kelly,
When do you expect to get your modified unit back (day/date)? As you already know-- I'm JEALOUS as could be. That has to be about as good a source as money can buy right now. You bastard!!!

We will be breathlessly awaiting your review!

markl
Sorry to be pedantic, Markl, but surely you meant to say, "that is about as good a DIGITAL source as money can buy.." You were assuming everyone knows that the best analog sources thrash digital, right?
post #38 of 54
zzz... never mind. I'm way too busy and tired to get into a Silly Head-Fi Argument(TM). Getting ready for the next Head-Fi meeting is a massive race against time. I'm pretty ****ing ornery right now. Pardon moi.

Anyone who says "it's all layout" is sending a big middle finger to Magnequest, Black Gate, etc. Apparently, Tim may not even have said this at all. Damn my second-hand information network. I don't get it. Whatever. Don't care.

However, he did say, "I only use tubes for marketing reasons... solid state delivers equivalent performance". Does this not send a big middle finger to esoteric tube manufacturers and his own customers too? "Hey buddy, these glow! Neato! Buy it, ya confused knucklehead!" This is a weird thing to publicly admit (on his own website) since most of his amps are tubed.

If Tim has the secret to unlocking tube magic via a 100% solid state design, then why not GO SS all the way? Believe in it? Build it! Leave those expensive, obsolete, finicky tubes alone since they are essentially Christmas ornaments. It would save everyone a little tube rolling trouble, would it not? I don't get it. Whatever. Don't care.

I'd be very glad to hear one of these wonderful "tube-equivalent" SS amps with my high-sensitivity horns. If it indeed has the same magic sound as a pure SET design... well... Jude's going to have to change my logo, won't he?

(bleakly heads back to the lab... befuddled with the weirdness of this world)
post #39 of 54

Nick's philosophy is correct.

Quote:
Originally posted by Nick Dangerous
Not weird at all.

A tubed source matched to a tubed preamp matched to a tube amplifier = too much tube! Things get a little syrupy by that point, making it nearly impossible to detect the changes tube rolling make. Plus, if you swap sources to a non-tubed unit, you gotta rebalance the overall tube sound. This is a pain.
What Nick's saying makes perfect sense. It's also the reason engineers tend to use a warm mike and a solid state preamp or a really pristine-sounding mike and a tube preamp but not a warm mike and tube preamp at the same time. It's the reason I was considering a Great River mike pre to go with an AKG 414.

Engineers talk about this all the time: a balancing act between tube and solid-state components. It's also why certain producers I know like to go from analog tape to Protools: they want that color, that dimension, at a specific point on the way in, just as Nick does on the way out.
post #40 of 54
Solid state equipment is not, by its nature, necessarily cold nor accurate.

Tube equipment is not, by its nature, necessarily warm nor "more colored."

Many intelligent people think many things that are not true and that many otherwise intelligent people believe such myths does not make them less mythological.
post #41 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by kelly
Solid state equipment is not, by its nature, necessarily cold nor accurate.
I'm not certain whether you're speaking to Scrypt or not. If you are, allow me to point out that he didn't suggest solid state was necessarily "cold" or "accurate."

Quote:
Tube equipment is not, by its nature, necessarily warm nor "more colored."
That depends entirely on who is speaking. Right now, I'm speaking: I'm a studio musician who doesn't simply believe in objective audio data. I'm an empiricist, as are most of the people I've worked with. So are most of the people on Head-fi, of course.

I do happen to find decent tube equipment to be warm or colored in character. Objectively, it's difficult to say whether this is to be taken as better or worse unless the person who formulates the thought equates coloration with a better or worse audio experience in and of itself. I don't. I've been a studio musician for decades and have experienced the difference when tracking (guys in studios do these tests constantly, and it's always about what sounds best to them) and I must say, in my view, a bit of calculated distortion can improve the sound of all kinds of music -- classical music and all the rest of it -- if used intelligently.

If I use the word "warm" to describe the sound classic producers like Phil Spector sought when they consciously pushed an analog signal into the red (which is the sound of "You've Lost that Lovin' Feelin'" and "Be My Baby" -- I'm in a unique position to understand this, since my primary studio gig in '89 was having to reproduce those recordings exactly, which meant finding close to the original gear and hiring real orchestral players (and the parent company, Daiichi Kosho, paid our studio a million bucks a year to do it)), that's because I've come to identify the sound that way as a matter of convenience, as have many people I've worked with. We're not trying to find an objective truth, we're just looking for common language to describe a sound we like.

Personally, I don't use the phrase "more air" to describe ATRAC-R, as do many on this list: the phrase means nothing to me when applied to an MDR. But that doesn't matter, because it means something to the people who describe it that way, and who am I to tell them to hear things differently (or you to tell me) when the truth is they hear what they hear?

Quote:
Many intelligent people think many things that are not true and that many otherwise intelligent people believe such myths does not make them less mythological.
I don't think we're discussing truth or myths. What we're discussing is simply taste. And in my view, a fuller range of sonic pleasure is available to me when I combine solid state and tube resources in a way that combines the virtues of both. If we were discussing science, perhaps the criteria would need to be defined more carefully.

Really, the majority of engineers do speak of superior tube gear as having beautiful warmth and color. And that does mean something, because it's how they perceive what they're recording and they're the people who record what you listen to -- so perhaps it's useful to understand what they're trying to do. In the case of recording (not audiophile situations, because studio recording is all I really know about; I don't pretend to be an expert in the audiophile arena), the difference has to do with how information is captured before it reaches the digital domain (if that's where you're going -- some people stay analog). Personally, when I'm trying to get a natural but raucous sound, I prefer to capture the sound via analog tape using tube and solid state equipment and then send it to Protools or Digital Performer or whatever. If I'm recording a string quartet, I might want to skip the analog tape but use the same tube/solid state combination. If I want something murky on purpose, perhaps I'll experiment with a tube-tube situation. If I want something pinched and chintzy and fun or massive and dead, I'll toy with Reaktor software and similar tools and stay digital. But if two pieces of solid state gear happened to sound good for a part, then I'd use them together. But in the main, I prefer the combination of tube and solid state.

That doesn't mean I'm perpetuating "myths." It simply means I'm being true to what I like. A lot of engineers and musicians happen to swear by the tube/solid state combination. It's really a question of taste and experience. I'd wager that others on this thread can appreciate why I'd use words like warm, pristine and murky to describe differences in sound: There's no such thing as a flat signal in the ultimate sense.
post #42 of 54
Tweertinelle

It behooves you to use whatever equipment you have available to produce the sound you're trying to produce. No one, not even I, would fault you for the way you describe your own equipment.

My objection was to perpetuating the stereotype that ALL gear that uses a certain technology necessarily produces a certain sound. That some gear does, or that you have gear that does, is not surprising--to assume that a piece of gear you have never heard sounds a certain way only because it has a tube, transistor or opamp in the signal path is a prejudice I'd rather not use.

This tangent began because of an objection to using a tubed output stage in a CD player in conjunction with a tube headphone amplifier. I personally own a tube headphone amplifier that I'm very pleased with and am having a tubed output added, in addition to many other modifications, to my CD player that will be driving the amplifier. The goal of the CD player mods it to maintain neutrality and transparency. Of course, I cannot yet tell you whether the modifications succeed in achieving this goal--I can only tell you that I was unwilling to forgo the tube output that has been described as so excellent based only on experience other people have had with completely different equipment.

Proof by example is false logic. No one denies that you have equipment that may follow a stereotype. The myth I speak of is that people too often assume that ALL equipment behaves in a similar way based only on the decision to use a valve in the design. "Warmth" and "coloration" are simply NOT the only reasons an engineer would make such a design decision regardless of whether you use some completely different tube equipment to achieve "warmth" in your recordings.
post #43 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by kelly
My objection was to perpetuating the stereotype that ALL gear that uses a certain technology necessarily produces a certain sound. That some gear does, or that you have gear that does, is not surprising--to assume that a piece of gear you have never heard sounds a certain way only because it has a tube, transistor or opamp in the signal path is a prejudice I'd rather not use.


Yes, every piece of gear is different, tube or otherwise. Still, certain kinds of equipment are commonly used and exploited for particular kinds of sound, and not just by me. I feel I have a right to characterize the difference as I hear it. I've been a studio musician since I was a teen and this isn't just based on equipment in my rig.

Quote:
This tangent began because of an objection to using a tubed output stage in a CD player in conjunction with a tube headphone amplifier. I personally own a tube headphone amplifier that I'm very pleased with and am having a tubed output added, in addition to many other modifications, to my CD player that will be driving the amplifier. The goal of the CD player mods it to maintain neutrality and transparency. Of course, I cannot yet tell you whether the modifications succeed in achieving this goal--I can only tell you that I was unwilling to forgo the tube output that has been described as so excellent based only on experience other people have had with completely different equipment.


I cannot comment on your individual experience with these components because that's how you hear. I'd even venture to say that, if your setup sounds beautiful to you, you've probably hit on a golden combination.

But that has nothing to do with what Scrypt was saying. He wasn't chastising you or saying you were wrong. He was only explaining that a lot of professionals agree with Nick. Hence there's a precedent for Nick's way of looking at tubes. But it doesn't make your ears or your experience invalid. If you hear something different, then perhaps you hear something new.

Quote:
Proof by example is false logic.


Yes, but that's where I lose you. I never said anything about proof. This is all a question of taste and nothing more.

Quote:
No one denies that you have equipment that may follow a stereotype.


Thanks for the kind words about my taste in sound.

Look, this isn't a PC discussion about race or gender. It's about aesthetics. Which means there are no stereotypes, there are only cultivated prejudices all round -- or, as Charles Lamb called them, imperfect sympathies.

Quote:
The myth I speak of is that people too often assume that ALL equipment behaves in a similar way based only on the decision to use a valve in the design.


First, you're misinterpreting me when you suggest I've said that all equipment "behaves in a similar way." I think I've made that clear.

Second, if people find an aesthetic generalization to be empirically true, then it is a useful generalization for them. If you hear something else, then fine. But there are obvious reasons why many people like the combination of tube and solid state.

Quote:
"Warmth" and "coloration" are simply NOT the only reasons an engineer would make such a design decision regardless of whether you use some completely different tube equipment to achieve "warmth" in your recordings.
I know you probably don't mean it that way, but this is bordering on insulting. I've been a studio musician for a lifetime. I'm not some guy in his home using his own quirky equipment and being insular. I'm in my thirties and made my living as a musician in other people's studios for decades. Which doesn't mean my taste is better than anyone else's. But it does mean I've had tons of experience with audio engineers and all kinds of recording equipment and with the way clients tend to think about these things. You're disputing common musical shorthand, not nebulous prejudices. You might as well dispute adjectives musicians commonly use to describe the timbre of an oboe.

Certainly, a lot of factors go into any series of musical decisions regarding what gear we use or listen to. But common language is not necessarily "stereotypical" language. It's merely shorthand. If it doesn't work for you, fine. But notice I haven't referred to *your* thinking as stereotypical, nor enclosed your words in derisive quote marks. If you're espousing open-mindedness, then why be intolerant of ordinary recording parlance? I'll wager you've listened to recordings by the very engineers/musicians you've dismissed as thinking stereotypically and liked what they created and didn't get caught up in misplaced PC concepts while savoring what are ultimately soundworlds constructed of inspired epicurean subjectivity.

Don't we have more useful things to talk about than so-called stereotypes, especially when you've found a combination of gear that makes you so happy? I'd like to spend more time hearing about that and less getting trashed for my choice in adjectives.
post #44 of 54
Quote:
Originally posted by kelly
Tweertinelle



This tangent began because of an objection to using a tubed output stage in a CD player in conjunction with a tube headphone amplifier. I personally own a tube headphone amplifier that I'm very pleased with and am having a tubed output added, in addition to many other modifications, to my CD player that will be driving the amplifier. The goal of the CD player mods it to maintain neutrality and transparency. Of course, I cannot yet tell you whether the modifications succeed in achieving this goal--I can only tell you that I was unwilling to forgo the tube output that has been described as so excellent based only on experience other people have had with completely different equipment.

Here's an interesting post.

http://www.harmonicdiscord.com/forum...pic.php?t=4312

...and an interesting quote:

Quote:
So, what does ModWright like? ModWright's system provides a sound with a wide and deep soundstage, with a 3-D presence and involvement. Air extension, detail and microdynamics are all present, but the sound is not perceived as harsh or bright. Bass and midrange are full, defined and warm, but without tubbyness or softness.
His use of the term "tubbyness" most likely indicates his acceptance of a tube sound (as opposed to SS). I didn't see anywhere his use of the terms neutrality and transparency.

Another qoute (from his website):

Quote:
These mods represent ModWright's Statement work. We feel that these mods bring the music listener closer to The Absolute Truth of music reproduction than anything else we have heard.
I'm just guessing here, but I think his goal is great music, as opposed to "neutrality and transparency". I'd also venture that the tube stage in the 777 mod is partly there to add warmth and to counteract digital glare etc. My take is that when you go with Modwright, you are buying into his sense of color. OTOH, much of the thrust of his mods is to reduce distortion (power, jitter etc.), hence, I agree here with the use of the term transparency. He does not seem to be looking for neutrality.

I'm anxious to see your review of the modded 777, btw. I am thinking seriously of following the same route.
post #45 of 54
Tweertinelle
I'm sorry you felt "trashed" by my language, though, honestly, you go pretty far out of your way to dismiss political correctness to then turn around and seek defensiveness. Let me try again--nothing new here--merely rephrasing.

If *any* sound engineer (of any caliber or qualification) finds generalizations (note the substitution of the word stereotype for a more politically correct word) useful in his or her engineering then it is useful. Whatever means a sound engineer uses to achieve his art is valid. If I like the result, I'll likely not care whether he thought all tubes were warm or not.

I have a politically correct friend who I often (for fun) choose to infuriate by stating, "Generalizations are generally true." She responds, "No they're not!" and we get into statistical arguments about things that could only possibly be subjective. I can't help but be reminded of that now.

My sincere belief is that a solid state component could be created that you'd not be able to tell it wasn't "tubed" and that a tube component could be created that you'd not be able to tell wasn't solid state. In my experience, the stereotypes are reduced as you spend more money. I'll stop there and agree to disagree, though.

Pigmode
As always, you've raised some good points. I contacted Dan Wright today about it and here is his response in full:

Quote:
The reason for the tubed output stage was two-fold.
First of all, it hadn't been done before with SACD
players and it was actually Jennifer Crock of Jena
Labs' idea. She had proposed and is still working on
a dual-differential, fully balanced, tubed output
stage for the SCD-1. This was taking a while to
complete and so I suggested a SE version of the same
mod. The Single-Ended tube stage had already been
designed, so we started discussing it from there.

The second reason was to simply improve sonics by
eliminating several op-amps from the signal path and
provide an ultra-high bandwidth gainstage that could
also function as a line-stage, thus eliminating the
need for a preamp.

I am a self-admitted tube-head and really like the
sound that a good tube system can produce.

When the prototype was complete, I knew that we had
something very special. Reactions at CES this last
year confirmed my feelings as many heads and ears were
turned.

I hope this helps answer the question .
I suppose it's still rather interpretive.

A large problem to me is that I've yet to hear any component lacking in signature so I suppose there is some debate as to what the word "coloration" should mean. If a tube amp to me sounds "clean" and "real", but a solid state sounds "harsh" then it's odd to me that the conclusions should be that the more realistic sounding component was the one we would call "more colored." Maybe I should refrain from using this word at all. I've already banned "musical" and "analytical" from my personal vocabulary.

In any case, our priorities seem rather dissimilar but I hope my descriptions of the Absolute Truth XA777ES are still useful to you when I finally hear it.
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