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Decibels, distortion, amplifiers and golden ears - Page 7  

post #91 of 790
Quote:
So did my family (technically my two parents) earn the extra wealth? Certainly, moreso than other families who sit around and let the government money chime in, or who aren't willing to sacrifice anything to get the most out of what little they worked for through means of corrupt labor unions, unfair taxation, the irrational system of the narrow minded "special interest groups", and extremely overweight people on disability.
Simmer down you're spouting off some pretty political stuff that's
all over the map and has zero to do with the thread at hand. Half
the people here do so to avoid think and dealing with that kind of
thing.
post #92 of 790
(It's weirdly amusing to see repeating personas on interweb forums.)

Let's see. I kinda don't want to get involved in this, but my brain wants to cache-dump before I go back to the Deathly Hallows:

On the grand scales of diminishing returns, aplifiers are surely on an obscene curve. From what I understand of psychoacoustics, second-order harmonics by themselves will rarely if ever be audible, due to masking effects of louder impulses.

Aside from the 'magical aural flavor' from harmonics, which is so frequently bickered over, amplifiers will also provide various other details which affect the transducers at the end of the chain: What's the Ohmage of the output? Does the amp have enough juice to power the power-greedy low frequencies on demand? Does anything in the circuitry affect the leading impulses? Are there any frequency biases?

With speakers obviously being imperfect, some will respond better with lower Ohmage, some with higher; some need a reserve of power off to the side in order to provide bass energy; some have lots of driver inertia which blunts the 'attack' unless fed unusually more power during those phases; some do well to have a slope of additional high frequency energy to compensate for the transducer's weakness in that range.

As for harmonic distortions, it seems a bit obtuse to compare a speaker distortion to a tube distortion. The speaker's distortion is at the end of the chain, and dependant on the mechanical system of the transducer itself. The tube's distortion is meant to have euphonic harmonics, which also change over time (3D waterfall plot is necessary to see that, as opposed to simple 2D impulse plot). Although the second order harmonics should not be audible by themselves in the 'shadow' of their leading impulses, they may intermingle additively and subtractively with other impulses in the greater waveform -- music, that is, rather than single blip impulses.

As for whether this ends up being truly audible, let alone audible enough to justify the cost of some amplifiers? On an average budget, it does not. Many audiophiles have Doctors' salaries, however, and would merely prefer $50,000 speakers rather than slip fees and maintenance costs for a small yacht. Those of us bouncing paycheck to paycheck may be better served by flea market 5.1 system. It's not really the point of the first post, though. That may have been the motivating feeling that fueled the authorial tone of the post, but it was not laid out in so many words until much later.

A more accurate thread title would surely have been, "Decibels, distortion, and diminishing returns."

(It's fun to envision what people's avatars say about them. To the left is the green goblin who fusses over having to leave his keyhole whenever anyone attempts to unlock the door to audio bliss. To the right is the guy who peeks his head into the thread to reassert that it is all shades of gray in the end.)

Edit: Oh, bother, I forgot to say the thing that caused me to type this message in the first place: I heard the clicking and popping during that flash-based speaker distortion test. Just wanted to reaffirm that it is not an isolated incident.
post #93 of 790
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Psiga View Post
(It's weirdly amusing to see repeating personas on interweb forums.)

Let's see. I kinda don't want to get involved in this, but my brain wants to cache-dump before I go back to the Deathly Hallows:

On the grand scales of diminishing returns, aplifiers are surely on an obscene curve. From what I understand of psychoacoustics, second-order harmonics by themselves will rarely if ever be audible, due to masking effects of louder impulses.

Aside from the 'magical aural flavor' from harmonics, which is so frequently bickered over, amplifiers will also provide various other details which affect the transducers at the end of the chain: What's the Ohmage of the output? Does the amp have enough juice to power the power-greedy low frequencies on demand? Does anything in the circuitry affect the leading impulses? Are there any frequency biases?
I'm not sure that I've ever heard resistance called "Ohmage" before. And, if you read the thread I think I mentioned a Harman Kardon high current receiver I bought and it's salutary effect on the sound of my speakers. That could have been on another thread though. This one has become so long that I honestly don't remember.

Quote:
With speakers obviously being imperfect, some will respond better with lower Ohmage, some with higher; some need a reserve of power off to the side in order to provide bass energy; some have lots of driver inertia which blunts the 'attack' unless fed unusually more power during those phases; some do well to have a slope of additional high frequency energy to compensate for the transducer's weakness in that range.
Agreed, although I think these problems are far more pronounced with speakers than headphones. One of the reasons I would tend to go toward electrostatics or electrets. I do have some orthodynamics on the way to me after reading a good deal about them here.

Quote:
As for harmonic distortions, it seems a bit obtuse to compare a speaker distortion to a tube distortion. The speaker's distortion is at the end of the chain, and dependant on the mechanical system of the transducer itself. The tube's distortion is meant to have euphonic harmonics, which also change over time (3D waterfall plot is necessary to see that, as opposed to simple 2D impulse plot). Although the second order harmonics should not be audible by themselves in the 'shadow' of their leading impulses, they may intermingle additively and subtractively with other impulses in the greater waveform -- music, that is, rather than single blip impulses.
The tube's distortion is not *meant* to have euphonic harmonics (whatever they may be), it just happens to have those harmonics which some people consider to be "euphonic".

I'm fairly sure that I mentioned having a waterfall display, much like the one used on submarines for their passive sonar. Mine isn't 3D, but I rather imagine that your's is not also.

Frankly, I suspect I have better test equipment than 90+% of the people on this forum. I also know how to use that test equipment. I'm the only one so far to provide a spectrum analyzer plot that I personally took.

Quote:
As for whether this ends up being truly audible, let alone audible enough to justify the cost of some amplifiers? On an average budget, it does not. Many audiophiles have Doctors' salaries, however, and would merely prefer $50,000 speakers rather than slip fees and maintenance costs for a small yacht. Those of us bouncing paycheck to paycheck may be better served by flea market 5.1 system. It's not really the point of the first post, though. That may have been the motivating feeling that fueled the authorial tone of the post, but it was not laid out in so many words until much later.
I have two physicians in my family, they spent so much time studying medicine that they really don't know a lot of the things I do about sound, electronics, physics, etc.

Expertise in one field does not ipso facto confer expertise in another. My physician relatives defer to me in those things in which I have expertise the same way that I would not argue with them about things medical.

The funny thing is that you would never dream my step father in law is a physician, he has gray hair in about a yard long ponytail and looks more like an aged street person than an MD psychiatrist.

Quote:
A more accurate thread title would surely have been, "Decibels, distortion, and diminishing returns."
When you start the thread you get to pick the title. Who among us is perfect?

Quote:
(It's fun to envision what people's avatars say about them. To the left is the green goblin who fusses over having to leave his keyhole whenever anyone attempts to unlock the door to audio bliss. To the right is the guy who peeks his head into the thread to reassert that it is all shades of gray in the end.)
If that is some sort of attempt to insult me, rest assured that I spent ten years or more on the usenet political newsgroups, there is absolutely nothing you can say that will bother me in the slightest.

I'll just point out that you will not be the first person on this thread to offer me personal insult sans provocation.

Not everything is shades of gray. Digital data for one thing is either right or wrong, no shades of gray at all.

If you have numbers to show that I am wrong, then by all means post them. Until then my numbers stand so far unchallenged despite all the words that have been spent trying to show that I am wrong.

Quote:
Edit: Oh, bother, I forgot to say the thing that caused me to type this message in the first place: I heard the clicking and popping during that flash-based speaker distortion test. Just wanted to reaffirm that it is not an isolated incident.
OK, that makes thee data points, one negative and two positive. I wonder if anyone else who took the test has read this thread and neglected to mention hearing clicking sounds.

On edit: You don't like my avatar, perhaps this one is more to your liking, I use it on political *forums*.

post #94 of 790
Thread Starter 
Azure,

I went and read the thread you linked to and found it very interesting.

MarkusL makes an excellent point:

Quote:
Assuming the statistic of the result follows a gaussian distribution: You have to be aware that this distribution does not stop at -45db. Instead the high value for -45 has to be interpreted the following way: All people able to hear -45db distortion AND the people able to hear even more fall in this category. So the -45db category represents the sum of peoble hearing -45db to -infinity distortion. That´s why this value is so high.
That is close to what I was thinking earlier but didn't quite put my finger on it.

MarkusL, I appreciate the helping hand..
post #95 of 790
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVinylRipper View Post
I have two physicians in my family, they spent so much time studying medicine that they really don't know a lot of the things I do about sound, electronics, physics, etc.

Expertise in one field does not ipso facto confer expertise in another. My physician relatives defer to me in those things in which I have expertise the same way that I would not argue with them about things medical.

The funny thing is that you would never dream my step father in law is a physician, he has gray hair in about a yard long ponytail and looks more like an aged street person than an MD psychiatrist.
TheVinylRipper, you asked for specific examples of why people get angered by your posts. This is one such example. You frequently reply to on-topic posts with non sequitur answers, often involving personal anecdotes that have nothing to do with the thread. Psiga's point was that some people have the means to afford $50,000 systems, and he used doctors as an example. He did not suggest that doctors have superior expertise in the fields of electronics, phsyics. Your response is completely unrelated to the point that was made.
post #96 of 790
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVinylRipper View Post
Good morning everyone.

This may well be my last post/thread here, I strongly suspect that my views upset more than a few of you and that is not my intention at all.
I've been doing a little math and have come to some conclusions that I would like to share.
The majority of high quality amplifiers these days have a distortion level of 0.01 percent or less.
The formula for calculating decibel gain or loss for voltage or current is:
Gain in dB = 20*(log base 10*(gain ratio))
http://www.allaboutcircuits.com/vol_3/chpt_1/5.html

0.01% =1/10,000 or a ratio of 10,000/1
log 10,000=4
20*4=80
So the distortion level of modern amplifiers is approximately -80 dB down from their output.

On this thread, the most golden eared audiophile who took the test could hear distortion down to approximately -40 dB.
The formula for calculating decimal ratio from dB is:
decimal ratio=10^(dB/20)
Which gives us:
10^(40/20)=10^2=100
Therefore the most golden eared audiophile that took the test could only hear distortion down to 100 times that of the high quality amps which we have today.

Even the best transducers (headphones, speakers, microphones) today have distortion far greater than 0.01%, personally from my own experience with phonograph cartridges I would guess closer to 1.0%
Strangely enough that is the same ratio by which the most golden eared audiophiles heard distortion in the test to which I linked above.
My conclusion therefore is that the differences in high quality amplifiers today are totally hidden by the distortion of the transducers through which we listen to those amplifiers.

I welcome discussion on this subject.

As I said at the beginning, my intention is not to cause anyone to become upset, it is rather to introduce some rationality into what I see as a somewhat irrational fixation on ever and ever better specs on amplification and/or DAC's.
Sorry to interupt this friendly conversation, but I thought this was ALL common knowledge. Maybe not the exact numbers, but still... Distortion of even the best loudspeakers is at least several percents.
I've been a numbers-junk most of my life, but believe me; it will eventually get you nowhere. Nothing adds up to what you (believe to) hear.

Let's just face it: people just LIKE distortion. Turntables, tube-amps, excentric speakers... Most highly aclaimed gear has all kinds of distortion, but can sound damn good.
post #97 of 790
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by thrillmetoo View Post
Sorry to interupt this friendly conversation, but I thought this was ALL common knowledge.
Apparently you haven't read the thread

Common knowledge is anything but.
post #98 of 790
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
TheVinylRipper, you asked for specific examples of why people get angered by your posts. This is one such example. You frequently reply to on-topic posts with non sequitur answers, often involving personal anecdotes that have nothing to do with the thread. Psiga's point was that some people have the means to afford $50,000 systems, and he used doctors as an example. He did not suggest that doctors have superior expertise in the fields of electronics, phsyics. Your response is completely unrelated to the point that was made.
It is blatantly obvious that some people have the means to afford very expensive systems. So obvious in fact that I didn't feel that it warranted a direct response.

What was I supposed to reply in your estimation? No they don't?

I felt that the implication was that because doctors are well educated then they have a superior knowledge of the reproduction of sound.

That was the point of my reply.

And I'm not the only one to respond with non-sequiturs, read the posts about how much money the poster's family has.

Have I insulted anyone?

Look at the thread, I have been both directly and indirectly insulted while not returning those insults in kind.

You might be surprised how many PM's I have received since starting this thread telling me they enjoyed my posts and asking me not to leave HeadFi.

It would appear that there are some here who share my views and yet are cowed enough by the rather rude reception I get to not risk speaking out in public. Not everyone has a skin as thick as mine.

I like it when others attack me personally and call me rude names. It means they have no other arrows in their quiver and that I have defeated them.
post #99 of 790
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVinylRipper View Post
It is blatantly obvious that some people have the means to afford very expensive systems. So obvious in fact that I didn't feel that it warranted a direct response.

What was I supposed to reply in your estimation? No they don't?
Frankly, I don't care what you respond with, but you specifically asked for examples about why your posts piss people off, and I gave you an example. Do with that knowledge what you will.

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheVinylRipper View Post
I like it when others attack me personally and call me rude names. It means they have no other arrows in their quiver and that I have defeated them.
Wow, you're really a legend in your own mind, aren't you?
post #100 of 790
After reading every post in the entire thread, I'm really starting to like this Vinyl fellow. It's about time we had some more rational skeptics here to counter the groupthink and snake oil that passes for the gospel truth in this place. They say that the sting in rebuke is the truth. Perhaps that's why the amp-believers always get so upset when someone comes along and tries to discuss things from a rational, objectivist POV. But really now, why become so upset? I guess the internet really is serious business after all.

That being said, everyone else has a valid point as well. There's nothing wrong with distortion per se and I'd buy an amp that had a lot of it if I thought it sounded good. As for placebo sufferers, that's their prerogative. If they think they can hear something, more power to them, although I still think they're throwing their money away.
post #101 of 790
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Febs View Post
Wow, you're really a legend in your own mind, aren't you?
You do realize what you are doing, don't you?
post #102 of 790
VenylRipper, I haven't read the complete thread (too long), but I like your attitude somewhat.

Too bad that you are obviously situated in North America, as going bankrupt for medical reasons and being treat with hostility for "socialist" opinions is a very specific U.S. problem.

Not only "wrong" place to live, also wrong forum to utter audiophile scepticism!
post #103 of 790
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiccoloNamek View Post
After reading every post in the entire thread, I'm really starting to like this Vinyl fellow. It's about time we had some more rational skeptics here to counter the groupthink and snake oil that passes for the gospel truth in this place. They say that the sting in rebuke is the truth. Perhaps that's why the amp-believers always get so upset when someone comes along and tries to discuss things from a rational, objectivist POV. But really now, why become so upset? I guess the internet really is serious business after all.

That being said, everyone else has a valid point as well. There's nothing wrong with distortion per se and I'd buy an amp that had a lot of it if I thought it sounded good. As for placebo sufferers, that's their prerogative. If they think they can hear something, more power to them, although I still think they're throwing their money away.
"Welcome to HeadFi, sorry about your wallet."

It's a little discouraging to those coming to get practical advice who don't have a thick wallet. A situation I think that many visitors here are probably in.

Frankly, those with a very thick wallet generally don't have time to be posting and reading online anyway. There are exceptions, true but I think my observation is accurate for the majority coming here.

Those with the very thickest wallets just usually just go out and buy the most expensive gear they can find. Or have a personal shopper do it for them.

My own personal view, developed over decades of being an audiophile, is 70% on transducers and 30% on source, give or take a few percent.

During the analog years, that would probably have been more like 60/40 but digital sources are so clean that even fairly average ones are better than most analog sources.

Anyhoo, thanks for your support.

Cheers,

Jon
post #104 of 790
Quote:
Originally Posted by PiccoloNamek View Post
After reading every post in the entire thread, I'm really starting to like this Vinyl fellow. It's about time we had some more rational skeptics here to counter the groupthink and snake oil that passes for the gospel truth in this place. They say that the sting in rebuke is the truth. Perhaps that's why the amp-believers always get so upset when someone comes along and tries to discuss things from a rational, objectivist POV. But really now, why become so upset? I guess the internet really is serious business after all.
While I agree with this, it still doesn't change the fact that this guy is one of the pompous, look-at-me, holier-than-thou types. It's his attitude, not his opinion that I think is generating this negative response.
post #105 of 790
Quote:
Originally Posted by nickchen View Post
VenylRipper, I haven't read the complete thread (too long), but I like your attitude somewhat.

Too bad that you are obviously situated in North America, as going bankrupt for medical reasons and being treat with hostility for "socialist" opinions is a very specific U.S. problem.

Not only "wrong" place to live, also wrong forum to utter audiophile scepticism!
Well apparantly, good schools are also "U.S. specific". Not to mention that being treated with hostility for having "socialist" opinions is the exact reason that we are the most successful country in the world. Socialism looks great on paper, but has never worked on a significant scale in all of history (countries with insignificant population's don't count).
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