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Serious ABX tests: Sony Discman vs High-end sources - Page 2

post #16 of 137
One thing why I'm ..critical about the audio critic is his complete denial that, for example, opamps could sound different. this is quite ignorant...

and yes, his bashing of tube equipment is on the border of ridiculousness.
first he states that tubes have higher distortion, then he denies that tubes could sound any different, in any way possible!


"As for the ?tube sound,? there are
two possibilities: (1) It?s a figment of
the deluded audiophile?s imagination,
or (2) it?s a deliberate coloration introduced
by the manufacturer to appeal
to corrupted tastes, in which case a
solid-state design could easily mimic
the sound if the designer were perverse
enough to want it that way."


first, he once again defames every audiophile on this planet.
in his second 'explanation', he talks about coloured sound - wait, didn't he just say that there is NO difference? why could there be a colouration, then? and who gives him the right to say that this (of course nonexistant..) colouration is by definition a bad thing?
It's all about how much we enjoy good music. What's wrong with enjoying music in a certain way?

I thought it was common knowledge that some of the 'tube sound' comes from 2nd order harmonic distortions.

and to go on about his "lies": "lie" number 3. mr. aczel, would you please have a look at this: http://headwize.com/projects/showfil...meier4_prj.htm
veeery simple graphics that even a ten year old can understand. yeah, 21khz is a bit an extreme example, but as you could see, so is the distortion. and yes, there are people which can hear up to 20khz despite their age... a friend of mine can hear up to 23khz

I feel offended by mr. aczels statement, and I think everybody else who likes music will feel so too. he's defaming most people on this forum who dare to say they like one amp over another, he's defaming every person in the world who likes tube sound. to make matters worse, he mixes completely unfounded critics with real ones. I do agree with him that various 'miracle cures' are a mere ripoff - but from the other things he said, you can't really rely on him. is it just another smear campaign, or is it a valid critic - you never know with people like mr. aczel
post #17 of 137
On the weekend I did a comparo of my modded Zhaolu d2 with discrete headamp vs the headphone jack of a 10 year old denon cd player, and could observe no differences! The denon was even driving my k701's with no difficulty. This does make me wonder about the audible differences between digital sources.
post #18 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by wixy View Post
On the weekend I did a comparo of my modded Zhaolu d2 with discrete headamp vs the headphone jack of a 10 year old denon cd player, and could observe no differences! The denon was even driving my k701's with no difficulty. This does make me wonder about the audible differences between digital sources.
the headphone jack on those thing don't really do the player itself justice.
post #19 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redo View Post
..Number one, transistors can NOT reproduce tube sound. They've been trying to figure out a way to do so ever since the transistor came out and they can't. Two, even in the digital processing age, DSP effects still can't nail down what tubes do to audio. Three, ....
Apparently Richard Clark (of $10000 amplifier challenge fame) had no problems making SS amps sound indistinguishable form the valve ones with just a few inexpensive parts.
Quote:
of course my challenge includes tube amps---thats what got it started to begin with----while most tube amps have more distortion than transistor amps it is still usually below the audible level of a couple percent---the biggest audible difference is like Big T said---the higher output impedance created by the transformer windings causes a slight frequency dependant amplitude difference---while this is usually less than a db or so except in the worst designs (the "super" amps without negative feedback really have this problem big time)the effect is subtle but audible-----and since it naturally happens at the resonant places of the speaker it is sometimes very pronounced----it is easily duplicated with a small value resistor in series with the speaker-----RC-
http://www.tom-morrow-land.com/tests...rccomments.htm
More on the amp challenge - http://www.tom-morrow-land.com/tests/ampchall/index.htm



.
post #20 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by zheka View Post
Apparently Richard Clark (of $10000 amplifier challenge fame) had no problems making SS amps sound indistinguishable form the valve ones with just a few inexpensive parts.


More on the amp challenge - http://www.tom-morrow-land.com/tests/ampchall/index.htm



.

Richard Clark even admits that the testing and in home results would vary quite a bit. Then one would have to play the amp below clipping range. However, specifically in the case of tubes, a small bit of clipping can be very pleasing to the listener. There's a big reason why electric guitar sings to so many people, and it has to do with tubes being pushed into overdrive.

Solid State needs to have relatively insane power ratings compared to tubes. Start overdriving transistors and it's no longer fun.
post #21 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by balou View Post
in his second 'explanation', he talks about coloured sound - wait, didn't he just say that there is NO difference?
No. He quite clearly said that there are two possibilities. Did you miss the word "or" in his statement?

Quote:
One thing why I'm ..critical about the audio critic is his complete denial that, for example, opamps could sound different. this is quite ignorant...
Except that he doesn't say that. Here's what he actually says:

Quote:
Those who are able to read The Audio Critic without moving their lips know very well that the "everything sounds the same" label the various tweako journals try to stick to our audio philosophy is a malicious misrepresentation. What we insist on is that there are no unexplainable sonic differences ... Audible differences are due to frequency response, distortion, noise, impedance effects, and so forth--in other words, quantifiable phenomenon. In most cases the quantification is easy, in some not so easy, but the mechanism whereby the audible difference occurs is never inexplicable.
post #22 of 137
I have to say, reluctantly, that I do have to believe this to a certain extent after an experiment I did tonight.
I level matched my headphone jack on Onkyo DX-7555 Cd player, my Creek OBH-11 SE [a $250.00 amp], Heed CanAmp [a $400.00 amp], and a Headroom Max [a $1,400.00 amp], using Sennheiser HD600 and HD650 headphones, and a Radio Shack Sound Level Meter.
Results:
They ALL sounded the SAME to me!!! No joke.
The headphone jack on my Cd player sounded the same as the Headroom Max...what a disappointment!
I also level matched my daughters portable Sony discman, [8 years old], and my Music Hall CD25.2 Cd player. I listened to them through both the Sennheisers and the AKG's using the Headroom Max.
Results: They sounded the same! And this was even by visually knowing which one was playing at any given time!
How could this be???
post #23 of 137
Sound preferance does not equal better in most cases as the more accurate equipment does not gloss over inadaquacies in the recordings & hence will end up sounding worse on better equipment.

The output capacitors on the portables are sure to be electrolytics which absorb a minimum of 5% of the signal due to dielectric absorbtion. This can mask a multitude of recording sins & cause the loss of true soundstage. If recordings are used that have a edgy sounding treble the portable may win those ABX tests due to the masking effects of the electrolytic coupling capacitors producing a softer treble than is actually in the recording.

I have went through & removed all electrolytic coupling capacitors on my home system & have vastly improved soundstage of coarse at the expense of revealing poor recording practices by studio engineers which unfortunately permeates most of pop & rock music. However well done recordings sound absolutely incredable
post #24 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redo View Post
Ohh man, stuff like this aggravates me. Especially his signal path and final conclusion writings. Some things are a bit over the top for me, but to tell me all amps are the same unless they are faulty is just nonsense.

Lines like this:

"As for the “tube sound,” there are
two possibilities: (1) It’s a figment of
the deluded audiophile’s imagination,
or (2) it’s a deliberate coloration introduced
by the manufacturer to appeal
to corrupted tastes, in which case a
solid-state design could easily mimic
the sound if the designer were perverse
enough to want it that way."



It makes me cringe. Number one, transistors can NOT reproduce tube sound. They've been trying to figure out a way to do so ever since the transistor came out and they can't. Two, even in the digital processing age, DSP effects still can't nail down what tubes do to audio. Three, who is this guy to say my musical tastes are just an ignorant lie or ignorant skew on music? It's what I like, I don't need to sit down and listen to sterile sound just because it's "accurate".
If you heard a trully professional tube amp such as the one my friend built (it was not colored in any way), the superiority of the specs that most people see on the spec page for (even high end solid state) solid state amps, then hear the superior sound coming from the true class A1 limited push-pull tube amp with zero feedback when operated at normal listening levels (not running with the power maxed out which in not a normal listening situation) there is a whole new level of resolution to be found coming from the tube amp. The distortion on this amp by the way when run at normal listening levels was very low even without any corrective feedback .02% at 1/2 power. It only shot up as you approache full power output but unlike most transister amps did not turn harsh when clipped due to the output being limited at the driver stage & forced into a soft clip instead of a hard clip you get from a transistor amp.

Many record companies that still make analog recordings still use tubes in there mike preamps, compressors & cutting lathes for those that still make high quality LP's. Even in the digital recording studios they still use tubes for various functions as they are still considered to be the best in those applications.

Also you will notice that most highend transistor amps don't spec as well as most mid-fi transistor amps. This is intentional as most mid-fi amps use excessive negative feedback to achieve those nice pretty specs on thier spec page but the sound in many but not all cases can be downright horrid.
post #25 of 137
Only ABXS I've ever tried was recently changing the dac board of my Zhaolu. After about 5 tries I stopped because it was too easy. They just sound so different. Same thing between my PPAv2 and my balanced CK2III. The CK2III sounds very smooth and out of your head compared to the PPAv2(depending on op-amps used of course) and is very easy to detect. Both done with HD650s.

So why couldn't the crowd tell a difference? My guess is that they didn't know what to look for in the first place. I have listened to my own setups extensively and know what much about how they sound with different music and therefore it is much easier to tell them apart. When you listen to a lot of music your ears(ok, brains actually) get trained and learn to pick out the smaller things. For someone not familiar with hifi two systems can sound quite alike if the only things they recognize are the same melodies and lyrics(and then there are people who can't even do that). But I do have to agree that the speakers/headphones make the biggest difference in a system.
post #26 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Epicurean View Post
Only ABXS I've ever tried was recently changing the dac board of my Zhaolu. After about 5 tries I stopped because it was too easy. They just sound so different.
I'm curious as to the methodology you used for your "ABX" test.
post #27 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
There is some difficulty with the translation, but the comparison of the Sony SACD XA3000ES and the Discman Sony E-775 does not appear to conclude that 50% of the subjects could tell a difference. It appears to say that the correct identification of the source was made 50% of the time, which means that the results were random. In other words, no-one could tell the difference.
Ah right, I stand corrected, thank you Febs. This implies to me that the subjects have tin ears.
post #28 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by nicke2323 View Post
While you're at it, don't miss Peter's "The 10 biggest lies in audio", where common audio myths are debunked.
http://theaudiocritic.com/downloads/article_1.pdf

By now you probably think I'm a die-hard techie anti-audiophile. Not at all (although I admit to being an engineer). !
There is nothing wrong with being an engineer but there are engineers and engineers. Some have done a 7 year degree course and others have done a 6 month media studies course. Compare the opinions of an engineer who is one of the most famous in the industry Tim De Paravicini
http://www.ear-usa.com/timdeparavicini.htm

with this Peter Azdel guy and they are diametrically opposed. Although both would no doubt claim to adhere to the same scientific principles the difference is that one actually listens to his equipment and the other quite obviously doesn't look further than the end of his slide rule.

Science is about empirical observation not arguing from a priori first principles. If enough people claim amps sound different then the question is why do they sound different and what other measurements should be made to try and explain this, rather than denying there is any difference in the first place. That's called dogma.
post #29 of 137
IT'S A HOBBY! Right?

OK a way of life for some of us but let me enjoy my $500 interconnects and believe they make a difference. PLEEEEEEEEEASE!
post #30 of 137
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
I'm curious as to the methodology you used for your "ABX" test.
Well I had a friend of mine change the board while I was listening, isn't that the way it is supposed to be? Everything else stayed the same and volume control at the same level. I take it you are a bit skeptical, eh? The dac chips in question are the AD1852 and the CS4398 and they sound so different that the entire soundstage is quite different. The CS4398 is smoother and more upfront and more air while the AD1852 sounds a lot more distant and infront of you with more treble(or a sharper sound). Really, you can't miss it.

edit: And just to mention it, I have a much harder time telling cables apart, if at all.
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