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Amping for AKG Q701 - Page 8

post #106 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by obobskivich View Post

I'm not trying to be passive-aggressive or condescending - sorry that you read that far into my posts. redface.gif

Regarding "tube effects can be easily heard" - show me the data!
Ever heard Eddie Van Halen play guitar? Slash? Angus Young? wink.gif

It's distortion, some distortion can sound good. Being an "analogue atheist" is fine, but I don't have time to run down every single tiny part of what makes audio good for me. It's up to each person to decide. IMO, there's quite a difference in saying "cables are just cables" and "the electronics you use don't matter". I guess I'm more the agnostic to your atheism. smily_headphones1.gif
Edited by Magick Man - 3/15/12 at 9:09pm
post #107 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post


Ever heard Eddie Van Halen play guitar? Slash? Angus Young? wink.gif
It's distortion, some distortion can sound good. Being an "analogue atheist" is fine, but I don't have time to run down every single tiny part of what makes audio good for me. It's up to each person to decide. IMO, there's quite a difference in saying "cables are just cables" and "the electronics you use don't matter". I guess I'm more the agnostic to your atheism. smily_headphones1.gif


Yeah, for sure distortion is used for great effect in rock, starting with Hendrix and even earlier....but ever hear a nice tube guitar amp on a 'clean' setting? My old Fender Princeton....a tube amp.... sounded very clean and clear and distortion free unless you intentionally ran it into overdrive by boosting the guitar signal way up. Not taking sides in the tube amp issue, but tubes don't sound obviously distorted unless you intentionally distort them, judging from my experience with guitar amps. Never heard a tube headphone amp myself, so I really have no idea if you can hear the 'warmth' coming from their distortion.

 

post #108 of 363
I wouldn't call it distorted, per se, I was making a bad example of tube sound being distinct. But you can often hear a soft "texture" with regards to tube amps, the background isn't as black. I liken it to the audible equivalent of that tingle you feel before a really powerful thunderstorm, when the air is charged.
post #109 of 363

as far as i know q701 is not that sourse dependent... my Little dot MKV worked perfectly, which is an amp tuned for T1.

post #110 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

I wouldn't call it distorted, per se, I was making a bad example of tube sound being distinct. But you can often hear a soft "texture" with regards to tube amps, the background isn't as black. I liken it to the audible equivalent of that tingle you feel before a really powerful thunderstorm, when the air is charged.


I was young at the time I had the Princeton, so I probably didn't listen carefully enough, but I never heard anything but a clean clear signal, which I tried to get rid of as soon as possible by getting a pedal to boost my guitar signal and send the preamp tubes into distortion. I'm not denying the attraction of tube gear.....just never heard any obvious 'softness' or 'texture' myself. In fact, I hated the fact the fender sounded so clean. I was playing rock and blues. 

post #111 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by superliu View Post

as far as i know q701 is not that sourse dependent... my Little dot MKV worked perfectly, which is an amp tuned for T1.



I thought the mkV was tuned for the hd600. It's been around since long before the T1 anyway.

post #112 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post



I was young at the time I had the Princeton, so I probably didn't listen carefully enough, but I never heard anything but a clean clear signal, which I tried to get rid of as soon as possible by getting a pedal to boost my guitar signal and send the preamp tubes into distortion. I'm not denying the attraction of tube gear.....just never heard any obvious 'softness' or 'texture' myself. In fact, I hated the fact the fender sounded so clean. I was playing rock and blues. 

I think "clean" is relative. What is clean via a guitar amp speaker would probably not be with a good set of headphones. There's a lot of variables there.
post #113 of 363

However, I doubt the guitar speaker would be making the amp sound even cleaner than a good headphone would. Not saying there weren't other variables such as not doing a direct A/B'ing of ss vs tube guitar amps.

post #114 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Magick Man View Post

I wouldn't call it distorted, per se, I was making a bad example of tube sound being distinct. But you can often hear a soft "texture" with regards to tube amps, the background isn't as black. I liken it to the audible equivalent of that tingle you feel before a really powerful thunderstorm, when the air is charged.



Yeah, I would agree with that.

I have a tube headphone amp, depending on which NOS tubes I use, I can increase or decrease the "soft texture" which is probably just more second order harmonic.

It really doesn't sound distorted, just warm, lush and romantic.  

It doesn't really work for some forms of music (i.e. Aerosmith, for example), but it is very real and very obvious when compared to an SS amp.
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post

However, I doubt the guitar speaker would be making the amp sound even cleaner than a good headphone would. Not saying there weren't other variables such as not doing a direct A/B'ing of ss vs tube guitar amps.


Another thing about guitar amps, there speakers are never very flat, they are actually rather midrange heavy.

In addition, a lot of guitar amps have a fairly high output impedance, so the loudspeaker is underdamped.
 

 

post #115 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris J View Post



Yeah, I would agree with that.

I have a tube headphone amp, depending on which NOS tubes I use, I can increase or decrease the "soft texture" which is probably just more second order harmonic.

It really doesn't sound distorted, just warm, lush and romantic.  

It doesn't really work for some forms of music (i.e. Aerosmith, for example), but it is very real and very obvious when compared to an SS amp.
 


Another thing about guitar amps, there speakers are never very flat, they are actually rather midrange heavy.

In addition, a lot of guitar amps have a fairly high output impedance, so the loudspeaker is underdamped.
 

 


Yes, that was my point actually. The amp itself would probably sound more distorted/colored out of the speaker than out of good headphones. Well, that's just a guess anyway. Point is, that I couldn't hear the 'lushness' of the tubes, though it's quite possible others with more discriminating ears, could.


Edited by lejaz - 3/16/12 at 6:56am
post #116 of 363

IMO tubes can be very clean, absolutely.  That doesn't mean they have no apparent harmonic distortion (the pleasing kind), it just means their presentation is clean and not biased to any particular part of the frequency range. 

 

Given the way tubes work I don't think it would be possible for them to be dead-exact to SS.  I think it's a more fair argument to argue if tube distortion is a good thing or bad thing (it's less perfect and therefore bad, it's more pleasing to the ear and therefore good) than it is to argue that tubes don't change the sound. 

 

Also, with different tubes (tube rolling) it's perfectly sensible to hear differences from different manufacturers.  With different specifications, different material choices, placements, filters, etc, many would not apply gain (or the same amount of gain!) the same way.  Not all will do so linearly across the frequencies.  Many vintage (and even current) tubes were designed for military use in various situations.  For those tubes some are voiced differently to bias the frequency that will be its dominant special use, or to bias against its likely background environment, etc. 

 

I also think the tubes have greater effect in some headphones than others.  I'm not sure they have the same effect on low impedence, high current phones like AKG 70x as they do on moderate-high impedance headphones like Senn HD650, HD800, Beyer DT880.

 

My own personal feeling on why tube sound can be pleasing resulting from its distortion is because, to me, there is such a thing as "too perfect" a sound.  All the data-mining detail cravers out there will disagree, but I think SS can be very sterile in a way that, while it's more perfect to the recording it may not be perfect to the way real music would be heard in a real room.  The room itself changes the sound before it gets to your ears when you're hearing real music.  The microphones in the recording studio on most recordings try to avoid recording the room (excluding classical which explicitly records the room, and excluding binaural recording.)  The idea is your room speakers can re-create the room.  In that sense, SS is fine for speakers since your properly treated listening room will recreate that natural distortion between you and the speaker.  But headphones don't have that luxury, the sound is being beamed into your skull directly with little air, and no room distorting the sound.  There I think the tubes recreate a little of that natural air/room distortion in the analogue space in a way that is very hard to recreate digitally.  I think tubes are more important in headphone land than in speaker land for that reason.  Purely my line of thinking, this isn't the sound science forum after all! biggrin.gif

post #117 of 363
Quote:
Originally Posted by lejaz View Post


Yes, that was my point actually. The amp itself would probably sound more distorted/colored out of the speaker than out of good headphones. Well, that's just a guess anyway. Point is, that I couldn't hear the 'lushness' of the tubes, though it's quite possible others with more discriminating ears, could.


I don't think all tubes are "lush", many are in fact very natural (most were designed to be natural!) but I think they tend to be a little less sterile than most SS simply because of their less perfect nature.  The trick with tubes is that they introduce a type of distortion that blends everything together with softer edges, without perceptibly removing the clarity and attack of the tone, either.  Thus why I think it recreates the subtle distortion/attenuation of sound traveling through air over distance and the subtle reflections off objects/walls when used with headphones.  It shouldn't perceptibly distort or alter the sound or reduce resolution, it just presents a more smooth lifelike (after travel) soundwave.  Of course some people to go for lush tubes, which is to say, a biased-midrange with greater edge distortion and high frequency attenuation.

 

I don't think not hearing "lushness" means you didn't hear tube sound, most tubes would be more subtle than that.  You'd have to ABX the differences, or determine if one or the other is more fatiguing.   And not all SS is as sterile as others.  Some designs will allow a bit more "tube-like" presentation by design.  But usually that's more expensive to do!   But in the end it comes down to what you want out of your sound.  For some the more sterile/accurate SS would be strongly preferable to adding any intentional distortion.  I just think that's more viable on speakers than on headphones.

 

post #118 of 363

Regarding the E9 and reliability; Amazon does sell it, and they're generally great for returns/replacements within their window. IME most failures happen in that first month anyways (and I've had no issues with my E9, for whatever that's worth - had it for a while). Just to chime in from the other side; again, if the Schiit has relays and that DC thing was a fluke, I've got no complaints on reliability there - if $250 vs $120 is what you gotta do for peace of mind, that's really not that bad! Especially if their CS is good and they honor their warranty (I have no idea if they do or don't, and have no reason to believe they don't, if they were willing to fix a production flaw for early units; that's leaning me towards "yeah this is a good warranty") - I only bring this up because some warranties are a joke (in other words, do your homework; for all I know Fiio doesn't honor their warranties, or whatever else - if it's something you feel you'll be using, read up on it). 

 

The guitar amp example is not a fair one - you're changing way too many variables and putting all of the blame on one of them; that doesn't work. The cabinet, placement of the cabinet, speaker, etc plus the preamp, plus the guitar itself, plus the player, etc all play into it. If you're talking about recorded or live shows of pro musicians, now you have the entire set-up that handled that, and those acoustics. And on and on. See the problems?

 

Again, I'm not saying there's no differences and that gear doesn't matter on any level - I've never said that. What I am saying is that those differences are generally going to be inaudible, or so minor that you won't even pick them out unless you're doing a direct ABX - like the impedance matching argument; sure with some cases with some loads you will get FR deviation, which you won't know about unless you're measuring it with an audio analyzer or AB'ing with something else (and have controlled for all your other variables). Someone else said it earlier: worry less, listen to more music. That's roughly my philosophy on this whole thing - "good enough is really good enough." 

 

 

post #119 of 363

For me the K70X amping issue is very simple, Meyer and Luxman one one side, Violectric one the other side (the warm side), and the Phonitor just above both for me needs. In general tubes can sounds almost as the SS amps warm, cold, bassy, flat, the amp design will make the difference.

 

1.The DNA sound good with the K702, but not enough volume for the AKG's. I mean not enough volume before the sound get destroyed.

2.One of the big Bottlehead amps sounds great with the K702, just not as fast tight as the Phonitor, and yet very transparent and flat.

 

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post #120 of 363

Those are all, of course, in a vastly different price scale than ANY that have been discussed as pertaining to the OP's request. The least expensive of them, is the Bottlehead Smack (output coupled), at roughly $550. 

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