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Why do/don't "audiophile" cables improve sound? - Page 12

post #166 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
That's what I stride for, and why I go tubeless.

I want to hear music as it was recorded, as pure as possible. No extra distortion or effects.
So this is your bias... When you hear something that you think sounds good, it may very well measure flat (FR, L, C, R might all be hunkey-dorey by some measurement's analysis), but others may have different opinions. Others may enjoy listening to music, rather than a collection of noises with very little distortion. Others may actually ENJOY distortions caused by a cable. Some could care less about the absolute science behind why their $500 IC's sound better to them than a pair of Radio Shack jobs. And that's why audiophile cables DO make a difference.

Just a quick question, if you'll entertain it: How long do you typically listen for during 'one' listening session? A couple songs? A full CD? A couple CD's? All day?
post #167 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
That's what I stride for, and why I go tubeless.

I want to hear music as it was recorded, as pure as possible. No extra distortion or effects.

Just wondering what tube gear you have owned, that you have formed this opinion on?
post #168 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by yotacowboy View Post
So this is your bias... When you hear something that you think sounds good, it may very well measure flat (FR, L, C, R might all be hunkey-dorey by some measurement's analysis), but others may have different opinions.
This is a rather key point, preference trumps fidelity sometimes. But here is another. Unless you have access to the master tapes how would you know that what you hear is "accurately reproducing" what was recorded anyway. You may not be able to use your experience of live concert sound as a guide since halls have different sounds and studios may be very different in a between and within sense, and of course our memories may be "coloured".

As the stereophile article on that esoteric - cough - cable shows elements that actively alter the sound may be deemed more likeable, I am a little concerned that the professional listener deemed the cable realistic since by the traditional definition of high fidelity it wasnt accurate in the same way that a cable that just lets it all through unvarnished would be, but that is the difference between humans and measuring kit, humans are much more easily fooled

Quote:
Others may enjoy listening to music, rather than a collection of noises with very little distortion. Others may actually ENJOY distortions caused by a cable. Some could care less about the absolute science behind why their $500 IC's sound better to them than a pair of Radio Shack jobs. And that's why audiophile cables DO make a difference.
This seems paradoxical since there is a tension here between sounds better and high fidelity. When I listen to old recordings I can often hear a lot of distortion, I have some old Electric Prunes albums on CD that have a lot of unwanted and I think unintended noise. I basically listen through it, it is a nuisance but it doesnt kill my enjoyment. On modern recordings I really dont want to hear anything but clean sound, maybe that is just me.
post #169 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
That's what I stride for, and why I go tubeless.
Someone hasn't heard a good tube amp.
Quote:
Originally Posted by tom hankins View Post
Just wondering what tube gear you have owned, that you have formed this opinion on?
If I had to guess, I would say none... but who knows, he may surprise me. Sounds to me like he has formed his opinion after reading about even order harmonics in tube amps.
post #170 of 293
This may be presumptuous, but I don't think that LawnGnome is trying to say that tube equipment can't sound good, or better than solid-state equipment. I think his point is that, in general, tube equipment tends to add more distortion, thereby decreasing the accuracy of the signal reproduction.

It's possible to argue that some of the better-designed tube gear can be fairly accurate and have high linearity, but it might be said that similar or higher accuracy can be achieved with solid-state equipment for the same price. (Again, speaking only of signal accuracy, not perceived sound quality.)

The usual reason for creating tube equipment seems to be the addition of even-ordered harmonic distortion, which sounds pleasing to the ear... Otherwise, what's the point?

I agree with LawnGnome's philosophy about playback equipment; I don't care what the recording sounded like in the mastering room in the '60s, I care that the sound is accurate, perhaps even more accurate than what the mastering engineer heard. This is the problem with having equipment that is purposefully colored. Sure, some music sounds better with this or that cable, but other music will sound worse. There is no standard to how music is mixed or mastered (now I'm paraphrasing bigshot ), but in my view, playback equipment shouldn't be colored to compensate for the engineers' flaws.

That said, nothing is 100% accurate, and in some ways, coloration in one component can compensate for inaccuracy in another component, or room acoustics. So, completely YMMV.
post #171 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
This may be presumptuous, but I don't think that LawnGnome is trying to say that tube equipment can't sound good, or better than solid-state equipment. I think his point is that, in general, tube equipment tends to add more distortion, thereby decreasing the accuracy of the signal reproduction.

It's possible to argue that some of the better-designed tube gear can be fairly accurate and have high linearity, but it might be said that similar or higher accuracy can be achieved with solid-state equipment for the same price. (Again, speaking only of signal accuracy, not perceived sound quality.)

The usual reason for creating tube equipment seems to be the addition of even-ordered harmonic distortion, which sounds pleasing to the ear... Otherwise, what's the point?

I agree with LawnGnome's philosophy about playback equipment; I don't care what the recording sounded like in the mastering room in the '60s, I care that the sound is accurate, perhaps even more accurate than what the mastering engineer heard. This is the problem with having equipment that is purposefully colored. Sure, some music sounds better with this or that cable, but other music will sound worse. There is no standard to how music is mixed or mastered (now I'm paraphrasing bigshot ), but in my view, playback equipment shouldn't be colored to compensate for the engineers' flaws.

That said, nothing is 100% accurate, and in some ways, coloration in one component can compensate for inaccuracy in another component, or room acoustics. So, completely YMMV.

Exactly.

Never did I say SS was better than Tube.

All I said is I wanted to hear music as it was made, with the least amount of extra distortion/etc added to it.

But guess I can't say that without getting attacked.
post #172 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
I think his point is that, in general, tube equipment tends to add more distortion, thereby decreasing the accuracy of the signal reproduction.
That may be his point, but he would still be wrong.

Not all tube amps sound 'tubey'. Solid state also carries its own distortion, the difference being that it is not pleasing to the ear and can often be perceived as harshness.

Besides the fact, even order harmonic distortion does not lower accuracy. It might change the tonality slightly, but any loss of accuracy is due to an inferior circuit, not the tubes themselves.

To you, an accurate reproduction might include things like having an extremely clean and etched presentation... but to others that type of sound is very unnatural. Making blanket statements about one type of gear is a mistake, and that is what I took issue with in LawnGnome's post.
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
All I said is I wanted to hear music as it was made, with the least amount of extra distortion/etc added to it.
I've heard 5-6 different PPA's, and would characterize them as sounding very dry. In my opinion most well designed tube amps offer a closer reproduction of 'music as it was made'. I find your blanket statement about tube amps to be incorrect.

As for being attacked... please.

EDIT: By the way, do you have an answer for Tom's question?
post #173 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by philodox View Post
Besides the fact, even order harmonic distortion does not lower accuracy. It might change the tonality slightly, but any loss of accuracy is due to an inferior circuit, not the tubes themselves.
Hmm... That's an interesting point. It sort of begs the question, how much does harmonic distortion affect perception of accuracy? If solid-state harmonic distortion is random and tube harmonic distortion is even-ordered, perhaps 1% of tube distortion could cause less audible distortion than 0.1% solid-state distortion.

I guess this is the grey area where it's possible that both sides are right--tube and solid-state equipment can both be accurate, but in different ways.

If you're a tube-lover, just remember that many solid-state guys come from the guitar amplifier angle, where tube equipment is purposefully designed to sound "tubey." I was in this camp at one point.
post #174 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by infinitesymphony View Post
That said, nothing is 100% accurate, and in some ways, coloration in one component can compensate for inaccuracy in another component, or room acoustics. So, completely YMMV.
Also can add in that one's own ear canal, bone resonance, and hearing response are a serious factor in what is perceived as natural or neutral.

Unless you know the mastering studio, and recording engineers who made the piece, it's a best (or at least informed) guess about the "sound" they were trying to achieve.

In the end, it's just what you prefer the sound to be. Enjoyable or not.

As for cables... It's what you're happy with, preferably of some basic quality. The amount of color you'd get from a 6' or less cable is absolutely negligible compared to the zillions of cables, mixers, converters, amplifiers, ..., that go into the production of the music you're listening to.
post #175 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post

But guess I can't say that without getting attacked.
Likewise...

What you've essentially said is that you have a personal preference, based on what you hear, and confirmed by science. Or is it the other way around? Based on science, and confirmed by what you hear?
post #176 of 293
The next step is to determine the threshold of audibility and JND (just noticeable difference) of various types of harmonic distortion. When you determine that, THEN you can actually say that one type of distortion at a high level sounds just as bad as another type at a lower level.

But from my experience, the miniscule amount of distortion present in reasonably good solid state electronics is so low, the level of distortion isn't audible, so the whole point is moot.

See ya
Steve
post #177 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by LawnGnome View Post
Exactly.

Never did I say SS was better than Tube.

All I said is I wanted to hear music as it was made, with the least amount of extra distortion/etc added to it.

But guess I can't say that without getting attacked.
Well I would not consider asking a simple question like, what tube gear have you owned that has led you to this decision an attack. Just want to know what your experience with tube gear is. I have been buying and selling and auditioning preamps for my system over the last 1-2 years looking for the perfect pre. I have come to the realization that once you hit a certain level both SS and tube close to identical. The minor difference might be slight speed in SS and tubes being more transparent. This is on average of course. And in the lower price. buld, and overall quality of the gear the differences grow.
So when you say you have decided to not go with tube gear I would like to know what your reference point is? So.... what tube gear have you owned to lead you to your decision?
post #178 of 293
You don't have to own tube gear to prefer solid state. And sound might not have anything to do with it either. If you just want components that are dependable and don't heat the whole house, you might not want tubes.

Personally, I would like to have a tube setup to play mid to late 40s 78s. But I wouldn't want to hook a CD player up to a tube amp. There is something to be said for playing a recording on the sort of equipment it was mastered on.

See ya
Steve
post #179 of 293
It seems downright absurd to me to care for the (sort of) amp used for monitoring without knowing the speaker models and the exact dimensions of the studio and its acoustic properties... not to speak of the cabling! BTW, some studios use tube gear... so you would have to consult the CD booklets before each listening session -- in most cases without success.

Personally I currently prefer solid-state amps for their clarity, control and speed, but I think tube amps can offer a similar accuracy and neutrality, with a slightly different pattern of colorations (speak dominating even-order harmonics) and a clear tendency towards organicalness.
.
post #180 of 293
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
You don't have to own tube gear to prefer solid state. And sound might not have anything to do with it either. If you just want components that are dependable and don't heat the whole house, you might not want tubes.

Personally, I would like to have a tube setup to play mid to late 40s 78s. But I wouldn't want to hook a CD player up to a tube amp. There is something to be said for playing a recording on the sort of equipment it was mastered on.

See ya
Steve
he never said what he preferred. Only the reason he would not own tube gear. I was asking a simple question about what tube gear he owned so I might have reference as to where he is coming from. I dont claim either to better than the other.
Also his reasons were involed around what he said are flaws (sonicly)when comparing the two(ss and tube) which has nothing to do with not wanting to mess with tubes because of heat or anything else. I think its a very fair question to want to know what hes basing his opinion on. its very hard to take someone serious when they throw out general info on one thing or another and they have limited to no first hand knowledge of what they are talking about. I just want to know wether I should take his quotes serious.......or not?
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