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Testing audiophile claims and myths - Page 200

post #2986 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

I do not agree with that inexpensive part. Simply look at the prices for analog potentiometers that are specified at anything approaching 0.2 dB across at least 60 dB

range. I agree that reliable AC voltmeter can be had for 50$ and that its absolute accuracy is not required for consistent result of matching we need.

 

Problem is that for the most part I DO NOT WANT digital volume control - as it means DSP and that means PCM. Even if it is accurate to within 0.000000.....1 dB.

Not on analog sources and not on DSD. Which brings us back to quality analog potentiometer$ / attenuator$. And THESE can be source of trouble - by the time they are "good enough", that means money. 

 

The first stupid thing any analog volume control device must avoid like a pleague is - microphonics. Unfortunately anything but trivial and taken for granted to be free from it.

 

It is fair to say that multichannel ( > 2 ) equipment can not be built with analog potentiometers ( differences become practically unmenageable, with the po$$ible exception of attenuator$$$ ) - but for all practical purposes, multichannel is already in PCM and yet another PCM stage will do no additional audible harm in such a system.


Well I can't do anything about an irrational fear of DSP or PCM processing.  I would imagine that is an issue for a small minority of people.  Most sources these days are going to be digital.  By your own description digital volume bypasses issues of consistency, microphonics and fineness of control. 

 

If you wanted something better in analog control you can go with switched resistors.  It is a problem created by eschewing digital processes. 


Edited by esldude - 8/15/14 at 2:29pm
post #2987 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by esldude View Post
 


Well I can't do anything about an irrational fear of DSP or PCM processing.  I would imagine that is an issue for a small minority of people.  Most sources these days are going to be digital. 

 

If you wanted something better in analog control you can go with switched resistors.  It is a problem created by eschewing digital processes. 

Unfortunately, it is not an irrational fear.  Otherwise, all analog recorders and tapes to feed them would have long ago become relatives of the Dodo. Yet at least rell to reel tapes made comeback - not en masse as in the past, but there was sufficient demand to warrant current production of tapes. Slowly digital is approaching the overall quality of analog tape - and it eventually should become able of eclipsing it. Yet analog recordings  to sound as original would require perfect (digital) recorder - no such thing yet; almost, but almost never catches a rabbit.

 

Switched resistors are unfortunately quite prone to microphonics - I had more than one rude awakening due to this in the past. What good is level perfectly matched if volume control "sings" along with the real tune ?

 

There is a reason why some manufacturers insist on carbon potentiometers for audio - although plastic on paper looks better and is guaranteed to last much longer. Even if it means replacing the carbon potentiometer(s) every now an then.

 

The reason is simple - sound.

post #2988 of 3125

None of that matters. Listen with your ears with your brain turned on. Those who are too crazy to do that can feel free to disregard this advice.

post #2989 of 3125

analogsurviver and his fight for endangered species ^_^.

 reel to reel tapes are found in all kind and all qualities, most of them have sadly poor crosstalk(but you're used to that with vinyls already right?), then I guess it depends on the speed used, as basically the faster you go the more you can put on it. but I'm not sure bringing in anything analog is a good way to make a point about how to measure an output.

 

 what about the readability scale limit on analog multimeter? at least having a digital screen is for sure a more precise way to get a value than looking at a needle.

 

I have no problem with you making your own choices or enjoying "analog" systems more. or simply enjoying going from one system to another. but please check the amplitude of the problems instead of using the eternal "analog is the only real stuff" gimmick based on your obsessive love for analog. this universal statement works only in theory as no physical support is actually free from discrete limitations. so in effect there is no such thing as real analog audio and thus it's superiority has to be demonstrated with a little more than "it's analog".

post #2990 of 3125

Analogue smells better. I love the smell of burning dust in the morning... it smells like... VICTORY!

post #2991 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post

analogsurviver and his fight for endangered species ^_^.
 reel to reel tapes are found in all kind and all qualities, most of them have sadly poor crosstalk(but you're used to that with vinyls already right?), then I guess it depends on the speed used, as basically the faster you go the more you can put on it. but I'm not sure bringing in anything analog is a good way to make a point about how to measure an output.

 what about the readability scale limit on analog multimeter? at least having a digital screen is for sure a more precise way to get a value than looking at a needle.

I have no problem with you making your own choices or enjoying "analog" systems more. or simply enjoying going from one system to another. but please check the amplitude of the problems instead of using the eternal "analog is the only real stuff" gimmick based on your obsessive love for analog. this universal statement works only in theory as no physical support is actually free from discrete limitations. so in effect there is no such thing as real analog audio and thus it's superiority has to be demonstrated with a little more than "it's analog".

It's sad that some folks are desperately clinging on to aspects of this debate because they are scared that, actually, all the effort they have been through in the past to obtain quality sound will be and is void. Digital and solid state have moved things past the point of what our ears and brain can distinguish as being perfect. It's almost like an elitist thing. It's like they don't want the masses to be able to enjoy hifi so they need to keep making stuff up to keep the way the listen exclusive some how . ultimately I don't care because I've opened my eyes and accept that my source /d-a conversion / amp are all transparent . It doesn't get better than this . It never will in terms of 2 channel stereo . The only thing that I need to change in the future in my rig is the headphones if I want a better/different sound. Until then I can maybe use eq if I please.
post #2992 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post

 

The reason is simple - sound.

 

Oh no! Now potentiometers have a sound.  I though we had reached the end of the road with hard drive cables.

post #2993 of 3125

It actually can be somewhat expensive (as passive electronic components go, not as audio gear goes) to get a good quality potentiometer that has minimal channel imbalance across a wide range of settings and that is silent when adjusting volume. Somehow, I doubt that's what analogsurviver was referring to though...

post #2994 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by blades View Post
 

 

Oh no! Now potentiometers have a sound.  I though we had reached the end of the road with hard drive cables.

Yes, they do. And luckily carbon potentiometers are among the least expensive possibilities. 

post #2995 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjl View Post
 

It actually can be somewhat expensive (as passive electronic components go, not as audio gear goes) to get a good quality potentiometer that has minimal channel imbalance across a wide range of settings and that is silent when adjusting volume. Somehow, I doubt that's what analogsurviver was referring to though...

Yes, that was EXACTLY what I was reffering to - cheap cheerful carbon potentiometer that does sound good but lacks ( minimal imabalance across say at least 60 dB of volume setting, is repeatable, that does not noise during adjustment ...) - can be quite cheap - the ones that do have the above qualities are another song entirely:

 

http://www.hificollective.co.uk/components/potentiometers.html

 

With careful shopping, one can save some % - but it unfortunately is in this general ballpark. Even if you can get 50% off the prices from the above link, it still is expensive. And you are ALWAYS limited by the physical size if replacing an inferior stock ( or worn ) potentiometer in existing equipment -  if it can not be physically accomodated, you can not use it, no matter how alluring specs it might have otherwise.

 

Still wondering why potentiometers/switches of this quality are extremely rarely used in commercially available equipment ?

post #2996 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by James-uk View Post


It's sad that some folks are desperately clinging on to aspects of this debate because they are scared that, actually, all the effort they have been through in the past to obtain quality sound will be and is void. Digital and solid state have moved things past the point of what our ears and brain can distinguish as being perfect. It's almost like an elitist thing. It's like they don't want the masses to be able to enjoy hifi so they need to keep making stuff up to keep the way the listen exclusive some how . ultimately I don't care because I've opened my eyes and accept that my source /d-a conversion / amp are all transparent . It doesn't get better than this . It never will in terms of 2 channel stereo . The only thing that I need to change in the future in my rig is the headphones if I want a better/different sound. Until then I can maybe use eq if I please.

The last thing I want is some elitist club, something unfortunately very present in audio. But I do strive for the minimal requirements that will do the trick - and unfortunately that can still not be made inexpesively. There is always possible to supass this level of "required" price at least an order of magnitude, by so caled audiophools things ( face plates thick enough to form an armor plate, VERY exotic connectors and cables, etc ) that bring very little, if anything, in sound quality.

 

Things eventually trickle down - and within reasonable period of time, what is today cutting edge SOTA at prohibitive price, is likely to get within the grasp of broader public. Specially with digital this is possible and is actually occuring. Analog will unfortunately never be able to follow suit - precision manufactured superb stylus of a phono cartridge will unfortunately never be inexpensive.

 

I agree regarding the headphones - even the least expensive electronic component will likely exceed the quality of even the best available headphones.  Which is not to say that everything that precedes these headphones is irrelevant - far from it. 

post #2997 of 3125

There is absolutely no reason to spend a lot of money on players or amps. Midrange equipment performs as well as expensive stuff to human ears. Headphones and speakers are a different matter. There, to get the best sound, you have to pay a bit. But the most important way of getting great sound is pretty much free... proper EQ settings for your transducer/room.

post #2998 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by analogsurviver View Post
 

The last thing I want is some elitist club, something unfortunately very present in audio. But I do strive for the minimal requirements that will do the trick - and unfortunately that can still not be made inexpesively.

 

But that's the fascinating thing - all current evidence (and by "evidence", I mean studies on human auditory capability, proper double blinded, level-matched tests, and similar sorts of things) indicates that for DACs, sources, cables, file formats, bit rates, amplifiers, and the like, you can absolutely pass that minimum level fairly inexpensively. The only area where there are still clear audible flaws at nearly any price level is the transducer itself, which is why any reasonable system should be primarily focused on the speakers or headphones (and, in the case of speakers, room correction and treatment is important too). Throwing huge wads of cash at esoteric file formats, garden-hose sized cables, and gigantic, gold-plated amplifiers is an exercise in futility.

post #2999 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

There is absolutely no reason to spend a lot of money on players or amps. Midrange equipment performs as well as expensive stuff to human ears. Headphones and speakers are a different matter. There, to get the best sound, you have to pay a bit. But the most important way of getting great sound is pretty much free... proper EQ settings for your transducer/room.

I'll never understand why EQ is so demonized. Precision software parametrics, and near flawless DSP's are readily available for cheap (or free) and make a huge difference

I use JRiver which is $20/year roughly. I thought it was dumb to pay for software (I happen to like it a lot) until I spent some time here at headfi and realized people think nothing of buying a $500 amp to change the sound ever so slightly (synergy!) when the excellent DSP and EQ I have access to with JRiver will provide me with that same "synergy" and so, so much more.

It can be done for free with foobar as well, so there you go....get a good quality tube emulator plugin and save your $500 for your transducer fund or some room treatment (which is sadly lacking even in many audiophile hi fi setups)
post #3000 of 3125
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

There is absolutely no reason to spend a lot of money on players or amps. Midrange equipment performs as well as expensive stuff to human ears. Headphones and speakers are a different matter. There, to get the best sound, you have to pay a bit. But the most important way of getting great sound is pretty much free... proper EQ settings for your transducer/room.

I agree regarding the proper equalization - the first thing we notice is deviations from frequency response, next comes noise, only then come nonlinear distortions - provided all of these are within reasonable and not catastrophic limits.

 

With headphones, strange things have started to happen. There are $ 60-ish  IEMs that completely defy you have to pay a substantial amount for headphones; but generally this still hold true.

 

Although "players" and amps contribute less, they are audible - even with $ 60-ish ( but good ) IEMs ...

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