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Tube rolling - Page 11

post #151 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

I never had the impression that people were tube rolling for accurate sound. I thought it was for enjoying the music. The problem is when people suppose there's only right way to do that. "Laughable! Ha ha!!" -- Jesus Quintana


Like i said in my post, there's more than one way to get a job done. But there certainly are tools better suited to certain tasks.

 

I think tube rolling is more for experimenting and enjoying the process of changing variables, rather than enjoying music. if you wanted to enjoy the music, you'd stop rolling tubes and Listen.

 

Cheers

post #152 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by ab initio View Post

 

I think tube rolling is more for experimenting and enjoying the process of changing variables, rather than enjoying music. if you wanted to enjoy the music, you'd stop rolling tubes and Listen.

 

Listening with a tube amp, then.

post #153 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by Claritas View Post
 

 

Listening with a tube amp, then.


I completely agree that one may listen with a tube amp and really enjoy it. I love the sound of my tube amp.

 

Cheers

post #154 of 178
With a flat solid state amp and a good equalizer, I can make a million different fun sounds. And still be able to snap in a correction that gives me exactly what the people who created the recording intended.

Nothing wrong with colored sound. I just wouldn't want to be hard wired in to a specific coloration on all the music I play. I'd like to be able to precisely adjust it.
post #155 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post


Natural sound is not colored. It is what it is.
If you record natural sound to a recording medium with a flat response, the recording will have the same frequency response that the mikes picked up from the natural sound.
Recording engineers creatively adjust response during mixing to improve the sound as an overall balanced recording.
When the engineers creatively mix music, they listen on studio monitors calibrated to a flat response.
If you calibrate your speakers to a flat response and play back a CD mixed this way, you will hear the same thing the engineers did.

If you want realistic playback of direct recordings, you want a flat response.
If you want accurate playback of music that has been creatively mixed, you want a flat response.

You start with an accurate balanced response. Then if you feel like a ham sandwich, you fiddle with the bass and treble. But unless you start with a balanced response, you have no idea how it was intended to sound.

Very few people have heard recordings played back with a balanced response. It takes some work to accomplish.

 

Natural sound gets colored by your ears (or perhaps your brain). Recording engineers creatively (read: subjectively, using their ears) adjust response during mixing to "improve" the sound. Except on many many recordings, the mix is terrible. I understand what you're telling me - which is basically that you leave it up entirely to the engineer to calibrate "the recording's EQ" for you, and that's fine I guess, but EQing your own gear to hear what the engineer heard is NOT realistic playback. It is what the engineer deems "better sounding", which is very very different first of all, from what you're hearing LIVE, second of all, from your personal preference.

 

Secondly, you say they listen on "studio monitor calibrated to a flat response" - that just plain wasn't true a lot of the time. Studios buy studio gear aimed to be flat, but that's only true (and not always) in modern times (and it shows when you listen to many many recordings, particularly anything recorded pre-1980 which is the vast majority of the music I listen to).

 

So if you do want realistic playback, truly realistic playback, then you do not put blind faith into an engineers' ears which are very different from yours to begin with. That being said, I wouldn't spend hours EQing every recording I own to get the "best sound for my ears" out of it, that's just not realistic - I would rather buy a tube amp and a few pairs of different headphones ;) 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

With a flat solid state amp and a good equalizer, I can make a million different fun sounds. And still be able to snap in a correction that gives me exactly what the people who created the recording intended.

Nothing wrong with colored sound. I just wouldn't want to be hard wired in to a specific coloration on all the music I play. I'd like to be able to precisely adjust it.
 
And why couldn't you with a tube amp? I am hard wired to a specific coloration only until I want to change it. Then I can tube roll, or... use an equalizer. In the meantime I only have to turn my amp on to have a sound I particularly enjoy for all (or almost) my music, without having to tinker on an EQ for 15 minutes before I change an album. So in the end I spend more time listening and enjoying music than I do playing around with an EQ.

Edited by elmoe - 3/26/14 at 3:30am
post #156 of 178
Professional studios have a support staff whose job it is to maintain and calibrate the equipment. They don't want a client to do half of a mix, then take a break for a week or two and come back to a different monitor sound. Good studios have monitors calibrated to a balanced response. This was as true in 1950 as it is today. Capitol records for instance, maintained studios in New York and LA that were precisely calibrated to match each other. I'm sure RCA and Columbia had the same sort of thing. I've worked in many LA studios and have spoken with their chief engineers. They keep their equipment calibrated to a flat response. It's the only way they can make sure they are mixing consistently.

It's easy to design and manufacture clean, balanced solid state amps. If it's possible to put a signal through the chain from source through the amp without any alteration of the sound, that is best because then your only wild card is the transducers. You can calibrate them with an equalizer without having any other components further distorting the response. That simplifies things enormously.
post #157 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

Professional studios have a support staff whose job it is to maintain and calibrate the equipment. They don't want a client to do half of a mix, then take a break for a week or two and come back to a different monitor sound. Good studios have monitors calibrated to a balanced response. This was as true in 1950 as it is today. Capitol records for instance, maintained studios in New York and LA that were precisely calibrated to match each other. I'm sure RCA and Columbia had the same sort of thing. I've worked in many LA studios and have spoken with their chief engineers. They keep their equipment calibrated to a flat response. It's the only way they can make sure they are mixing consistently.

It's easy to design and manufacture clean, balanced solid state amps. If it's possible to put a signal through the chain from source through the amp without any alteration of the sound, that is best because then your only wild card is the transducers. You can calibrate them with an equalizer without having any other components further distorting the response. That simplifies things enormously.

 

Sorry but this absolutely wasn't true in 1950, and the enormous amount of badly mixed recordings is unequivocal on this point. Just look up some of the first album recording methods for rock bands even up to the 1970s, they were anything but calibrated, more often than not they didn't even use monitors at all. Not to mention a great many artists, even world renowned like Ray Charles, had most of their early hits recording in terrible fashion, I can give you a long long list of such recordings if you'd like to look up how they were recorded and mixed. Even the Motown studio up to the 70s did a terrible job at recording/mixing/mastering their records, and they sold more albums than any other studio out there.

 

It only simplifies things if you're looking to equalize in the first place, which is exactly what tube amps prevent people who use them from having to do.

post #158 of 178
No, you're correct, not in 1950. In the pre-hifi era, every record label had their own playback curve, although by 1950, many of them were moving towards a flat response. Calibration to a flat response became universal with the RIAA standards in the early hifi era... around 1954.

Bad recordings don't mean that there weren't standards. Thhankfully, today, CDs are remarkably consistent, at least with classical and jazz. Contemporary rock music can be all over the place, but that's because so much work is being done in home studios now. I have my system calibrated to a flat response and there are only a few recordings I need to reach for the tone controls to correct... and all of those are from the pre-hifi era and are very rough transfers from shellac and amateur recordings. (early be bop)

Most people don't understand what calibrating to a flat response means, because although it is taken for granted in professional studios, few home audio enthusiasts go to the trouble of calibrating their systems. It's the best thing you can do for sound quality though. Balanced response is clearer, more transparent, more focused and makes all professionally recorded music sound better.
post #159 of 178

Well calibrating your system. In what I believe to be one of these HEAD FI first threads on equalization the original thread starter stated.

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by PiccoloNamek View Post

I am a strong proponent of properly applied equalization. When used correctly, equalization can make a good headphone great, and a great headphone superb. And most headphones need at least some equalization. In my 3 years since joining Head-Fi, having heard and used many different types of headphones, I have noticed a phenomenon that has occurred with every headphone, ear bud, and IEM I have ever used. I first read about it at Siegfried Linkwitz's page some years ago, where he discusses his method for equalizing the Etymotic ER4S. He states that "an acoustic impedance mismatch between transducer, ear canal, and eardrum" is causing a resonance that results in a large peak at 7.5kHz, coloring the sound. He and a friend of his also experienced the same effect when using a pair of old Sennheiser HD414s. (For the record, I'd wager good money this is the primary reason why so many people cannot tolerate the ER4S.)

 

So if you believe that headphone audio system ear headphone impedance mismatch necessitates a good headphone audio system be equalized to your personal ears.

 

Would follow that dictate and always equalize ones headphone to adjust to the year headphone impedance mismatch. Nullify what is being said on this forum about choosing a headphone to rolling combination per type of music for maximum enjoyment? Could one still do that is some logic if one always equalized ones headphone to compensate for the ear headphone impedance mismatch?

 

And is it also true the chief coloration differences between one tube and another is chiefly frequency response and would it then follow that what is said in tube rolling threads about the advantages of one tube over another per genre or anything else be rendered ineffectual were we always to equalize our headphones?

 


Edited by bbmiller - 3/26/14 at 2:48pm
post #160 of 178
Every speaker system requires equalization, regardless of what kind of amp is being used. The odds of speaker response and room response perfectly balancing is pretty much nil, even with the best speakers in a carefully treated room.
post #161 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by bbmiller View Post
 

And is it also true the chief coloration differences between one tube and another is chiefly frequency response [...] ?

 

 

Probably not. Most tubes amps will have reasonnably flat FR whatever tubes you roll in. You'd really have to mess up your design to have an amp which isn't flat at audio frequencies (except very low bass and the highest treble, mostly due to transformers issues).

 

The differences are probably due to the fact that tubes don't exactly have the same operating curves. When you change a tube, keeping all other things equal, you can have significant differences in operating points. This in turn affect gain and distortion.

 

This is over-simplified, of course. It depends a lot of the topology used by the amp. If feedback is used, for example, the amp becomes quite immune to the effect of tuberolling. Auto-biasing schemes can also help to guarantee optimal operating points.

post #162 of 178
The best tube amps can be functionally about as good as solid state amps. They wouldn't measure quite as good, but the difference would be mostly outside the range of hearing. That said, I think that most of the reason people like the sound of tube amps is because of the slightly steeper high end rolloff. A lot of speakers and headphones have goosed treble to increase "detail". The rolloff on tube amps corrects for that a bit. But an equalizer would be a much more precise and flexible way to address imbalances in transducers.
post #163 of 178

Yes but... most tube amps discussed on head-fi are either OTL or hybrid. They usually don't have a high end roll-off.

post #164 of 178
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

No, you're correct, not in 1950. In the pre-hifi era, every record label had their own playback curve, although by 1950, many of them were moving towards a flat response. Calibration to a flat response became universal with the RIAA standards in the early hifi era... around 1954.

Bad recordings don't mean that there weren't standards. Thhankfully, today, CDs are remarkably consistent, at least with classical and jazz. Contemporary rock music can be all over the place, but that's because so much work is being done in home studios now. I have my system calibrated to a flat response and there are only a few recordings I need to reach for the tone controls to correct... and all of those are from the pre-hifi era and are very rough transfers from shellac and amateur recordings. (early be bop)

Most people don't understand what calibrating to a flat response means, because although it is taken for granted in professional studios, few home audio enthusiasts go to the trouble of calibrating their systems. It's the best thing you can do for sound quality though. Balanced response is clearer, more transparent, more focused and makes all professionally recorded music sound better.

 

Calibration to a flat response may have become universal in 1954, but that doesn't mean it was always used. Before bands got famous, they didn't record their albums in "hi-end" studios, and the results are terrible. This is true for a vast vast majority of bands, not just in pop or early be bop music but in: rock, pop, blues, alot of small jazz ensembles, funk, soul, rnb, metal etc etc etc from the 1950s all the way to the end of the 70s, 15 years AFTER that "standard". And I'm not talking about unknown little bands noone's heard of either. There are an incredible number of albums that were recorded on a 2 track set in the middle of the room while the musicians all bunched up together and played - and on a recording like that, even the best engineers had a hard time doing something good (if they even tried, which didn't happen for many artists).

 

Today, yes, CDs are consistent, but the vast majority of my music collection goes from the 1920s to the 1980s. So the problem is still there as far as I'm concerned. Thankfully, some remasters squeezed out as much as they could from the terrible recordings, but compared to a modern "standard" release, they are still far from being good.

 

That being said you did get me curious enough to try to calibrate my system to a flat response and see what the fuss is about. I'll be trying it in the future, even if I have my doubts as to whether or not I'll enjoy it more than just adding my tube amp in the mix.

post #165 of 178
My CD collection includes music going all the way back to the turn of the century too. When the older material is transferred to CD, the engineers balance the EQ and conform it to playback for a flat response. The only time you would need to apply all the various curves of pre-hifi recording is when you play back an original shellac disk. You would apply that particular curve using an equalizer.

If your EQ curves on your music really were all over the place, a tube amp wouldn't fix that. A tube amp has a specific fixed response, just like a solid state amp does.

Achieving a flat response in playback isn't easy. It took me about two months to get balanced. But it's worth it. I almost never touch my tone controls and everything sounds good.
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