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Newb Amp Question

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 

What are those light shaped glass things on high-end amps? For instance:

 

If they are lights do they modulate, as in shine brighter when they're working harder? At certain points in songs, or depending on the output volume? Sorry, I'm just new to all this, and can't find an answer with Google.

post #2 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

What are those light shaped glass things on high-end amps? For instance:

 

If they are lights do they modulate, as in shine brighter when they're working harder? At certain points in songs, or depending on the output volume? Sorry, I'm just new to all this, and can't find an answer with Google.

You mean the vaccum tubes?

post #3 of 16

In the US these are commonly called "Tubes" and in the UK where I come from they are known as "Valves".

 

You can read about them here:

 

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Vacuum_tube

 

Before the invention of the transistor and other solid state devices the thermionic valve was the way to process electronic signals.

 

In general consumer electronics the valve is now redundant almost entirely, however it lives on in some audio amplifiers. The reason for this is that some people prefer the sound of amplification with valves rather than with solid state devices.

 

On valve amplifiers the valves do light up but that remains constant regardless of the signal being processed.

post #4 of 16
Thread Starter 

Thanks very much. I didn't know vacuum tubes lit up. Is it just to let you know that the amp is on, like, for decoration? Or do vacuum tubes light up no matter what, when there's a voltage passed through it?

 

One other question I'd have is, is the difference between vacuum tube and solid state amps perceived, or can it be measured? Reason I ask is that I found out that a blind test between high end cables and a coat hanger(!) left 3 of 5 audiophiles baffled to determine the better cable.

 

Edited by jadawgis732 - 1/20/13 at 8:45pm
post #5 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

I didn't know vacuum tubes lit up. Is it just to let you know that the amp is on, like, for decoration? Or do vacuum tubes light up no matter what, when there's a voltage passed through it?

 

The "light" is a requirement for the electron flow in the vacuum of the tube, except that it isn't the light but the heat that is required (to boil off the electrons into the vacuum).


Edited by Oskari - 1/21/13 at 5:46am
post #6 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

 

One other question I'd have is, is the difference between vacuum tube and solid state amps perceived, or can it be measured? Reason I ask is that I found out that a blind test between high end cables and a coat hanger(!) left 3 of 5 audiophiles baffled to determine the better cable.

 

 

There is a sound which is associated with valve amplifiers which is "warm" and with a smooth treble. If the valve amplifiers have this sound then I think most people would identify them in a double blind test as distinct from solid state amplifiers.

 

Double blind tests are the only way to identify if people can hear differences between different audio components because the human hearing is so susceptible to suggestion and autosuggestion.

 

I have written a short article about this and I have a link to it in my signature.

post #7 of 16
Thread Starter 

Cool, I'm reading it now. Thanks!

 

By the way, your analogy of living in a city with a lot of traffic, and hearing a car on a Sunday morning causing you to become alert brought to mind this article. Written in the NYTimes, it's about our deep-seated stimulus to sound, which is not present in any other sense.

 

Regarding double blind tests, I didn't know that the researchers could have that much of an effect on the guinea pigs, so to speak. I'm not sure I agree. A few well-trained experimenters could effectively negate this effect, I think.

 
 

Edited by jadawgis732 - 1/22/13 at 11:20pm
post #8 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

Cool, I'm reading it now. Thanks!

 

By the way, your analogy of living in a city with a lot of traffic, and hearing a car on a Sunday morning causing you to become alert brought to mind this article. Written in the NYTimes, it's about our deep-seated stimulus to sound, which is not present in any other sense.

 

Regarding double blind tests, I didn't know that the researchers could have that much of an effect on the guinea pigs, so to speak. I'm not sure I agree. A few well-trained experimenters could effectively negate this effect, I think.

 
 

 

Thank you for that New York Times article. It is interesting reading indeed and I've added it to my collection of articles on how we perceive sound.

 

I think the effects of suggestion and autosuggestion happen to those who believe they have trained their ears as much as those who believe they have untrained ears.

 

At this link:

 

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

 

you will see a report by Jason Victor Serinus on a double blind test he arranged and performed on some hugely expensive Nordost Valhalla cables. Jason Victor Serinus performed the test to demonstrate that those cables do make a difference, he was, if you like, a "believer" in the positive benefits from these cables. As you will see in the article Jason was concerned that some of the people who would be participating in the test were not trained in listening to audio systems like him. Jason Serinus actually did some training with them beforehand.

 

When they all take the test it is revealed that the Nordost Valhalla cables can not be distinguished in any way from regular cheap mains cables by anyone. However most interesting Jason Serinus himself actually scores badly. He is, if you like, the most trained listener and yet he completely fails to identify the Valhalla cables in the double blind test.

 

Personally I think that when people believe themselves to be training their ears in some way they are in fact often just rehearsing and reinforcing autosuggestion.

 

 

I give Jason Victor Serinus huge credit for performing the test and for being honest about the outcome.

post #9 of 16
Thread Starter 

That's awesome. I thought I was the outlier in thinking "better" cables were a myth. It's nice to see that others have felt that way enough to test in a controlled environment. The only reason I would upgrade cables is for aesthetics and comfort, or because the old ones broke. For examplke, the TF10 cable is a monster, which is as surly and unbending as a bear. I also don't wear them over the eat, so I picked some up without silicon ear guides on eBay. But I have no illusions of them performing any better or worse. It's nice to have your beliefs confirmed.

 

Why the hell do people pay $300 for aftermarket cables for their HD650s?? Are they just in denial or is it an aesthetics thing?

post #10 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

Why the hell do people pay $300 for aftermarket cables for their HD650s?? Are they just in denial or is it an aesthetics thing?

Because a lot of people with highly resolving systems find they make a difference.  But don't take anyones word for it.  Experiment and find out for your self.

post #11 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi Rez View Post

Because a lot of people with highly resolving systems find they make a difference.  But don't take anyones word for it.  Experiment and find out for your self.

 

I knew this would turn into a discussion about cables very quickly :)

 

The key problem in assessing Hi Fi components is suggestion and autosuggestion on behalf of the listener. Components of any sort can apparently "make a difference" but this can be simply due to suggestion and autosuggestion on behalf of the listener. The power of suggestion and autosuggestion in hearing has been shown to be extremely great.

 

While a "try it out for yourself" approach seems very reasonable and liberal, unfortunately what happens is that the very significant promotion of these components in many forms by the Hi Fi industry has its fully intended result and the consumer will indeed "hear differences", until the triggers for suggestion and autosuggestion are removed.

 

The way to remove the triggers for suggestion and autosuggestion is double blind listening tests. If there are differences between audio components they will show themselves in those tests.

 

It is not practical for every consumer to run double blind listening tests themselves on every component they buy, so I think we must start to request that the audio reviewers conduct double blind listening tests on equipment. I think that if we started to see this then in many areas of audio we would see some very welcome reality, however it would also be great if there were indeed some surprises about what "makes a difference".

 

I do think that the Jason Serinus report on the double blind listening tests of the Nordost Valhalla mains cables should be read by as many people as possible.

 

http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volume_11_4/feature-article-blind-test-power-cords-12-2004.html

 

What is of greatest interest in this is Jason Serinus's own reported experience. He was a "believer" in these components and he felt that he did hear a difference when they were used prior to the test. He ran the test to demonstrate that these mains cables made a difference.

 

So, Jason Serinus was totally convinced that these were making a difference when they were not. How did that happen? It was autosuggestion on his behalf. When he plugged in these mains cables that action, and the seeing them there in his system, was the trigger for the autosuggestion. He would hear what he believed to be the benefits, the "firmed up bass" or whatever it was, purely on the basis of autosuggestion.

 

I will mention that I too was like Jason Serinus in the late 80s, buying expensive cables and fully believing they "made a difference". However later I realised that I was simply practising autosuggestion.

 

You will see a link to my own article on suggestion and autosuggestion in this posting. I recommend anyone who is considering spending a lot of money on Hi Fi components with dubious credentials should read up about this subject. They might well save a great deal of money.


Edited by p a t r i c k - 1/26/13 at 12:31am
post #12 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by p a t r i c k View Post

 

I knew this would turn into a discussion about cables very quickly :)

Probably not.  As the DBT discussions you've mentioned in this thread are not allowed in this forum, I doubt the discussion could be continued without further rule transgressions.

post #13 of 16
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi Rez View Post

Because a lot of people with highly resolving systems find they make a difference.  But don't take anyones word for it.  Experiment and find out for your self.

That's not going to happen. I shriek in fear of the financial hit from a pair of $250-$300 headphones, I'm not buying a $300 cable. And it's for this reason:

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by p a t r i c k View Post

While a "try it out for yourself" approach seems very reasonable and liberal, unfortunately what happens is that the very significant promotion of these components in many forms by the Hi Fi industry has its fully intended result and the consumer will indeed "hear differences", until the triggers for suggestion and autosuggestion are removed.

 

The way to remove the triggers for suggestion and autosuggestion is double blind listening tests. If there are differences between audio components they will show themselves in those tests.

In those tests performed (linked to above by p a t r i c k), the tests are inconclusive. Well, conclusive as far as better cables not making a difference. In the only other test I've seen, audiophiles couldn't tell the difference between good cables and a coat hanger. Before you think I was searching specifically for articles documenting the non-existence of such phenomena, I was actually searching for articles confirming it.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by Hi Rez View Post

Probably not.  As the DBT discussions you've mentioned in this thread are not allowed in this forum, I doubt the discussion could be continued without further rule transgressions.

Wait, what? How could they not be allowed? They are totally relevant!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Edited by jadawgis732 - 1/26/13 at 10:42am
post #14 of 16
Quote:
Originally Posted by jadawgis732 View Post

That's not going to happen. I shriek in fear of the financial hit from a pair of $250-$300 headphones, I'm not buying a $300 cable. And it's for this reason:

 

In those tests performed (linked to above by p a t r i c k), the tests are inconclusive. Well, conclusive as far as better cables not making a difference. In the only other test I've seen, audiophiles couldn't tell the difference between good cables and a coat hanger. Before you think I was searching specifically for articles documenting the non-existence of such phenomena, I was actually searching for articles confirming it.

 

Wait, what? How could they not be allowed? They are totally relevant!

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

They are relevant, however discussions of them are restricted to the Sound Science Forum.

 

Check out the rules at the top of the Cables forum:

 

"Due to the flame wars that erupt as a result, this, and the other forums (other than the Sound Science forum), are DBT and ABX-free zones and posts about either will be moved or deleted. See Jude's original post on the matter."

 

post #15 of 16
Thread Starter 

This isn't a thread in the cable section. I'm sorry if I stepped on any toes, and I won't be engaging in any flame wars. I don't engage in flame wars. Just wondering why people spend so much for good cables. It's okay, I don't need an answer. I suppose I'd have to ask people themselves why they are buying expensive cables. So disregard the question.

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