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Tube warmth and distortion and it's pros - Page 8

post #106 of 194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by herbie12389 View Post
 

Dont worry about measurements. You should only be focusing on the music. Just how well it sounds. No amp offers it all til you ready to start jumping in deep. Find what suites you best! If you have any building exp check out Millet amps. Wont break the bank and offers a decent sound. 

Thanks for the recommendation.I agree that sound doesn't equate to measurements.  It all depends on if we are aware of all possibilities in our measurements.  People say SS measures all the same so therefore it all sound good.  Not true, compared O2 and Beta 22 for my LCD 2.2, and it's obvious without any blind testing that the Beta is better.  

 

I heard the RWA Isabella(Tube) with LCD-3 at the meet, and to my ears sounded fantastic!  It sounded better than the 009 with the Blue Hawii(It's a tube amp by the way).

 

I would say Isabella is much better than my O2(SS) Amp for my LCD 2.2.


Edited by SilverEars - 4/17/14 at 5:02pm
post #107 of 194

Measurements represent sound the same way that letters represent words. If you don't know how to read them, it's just gobbledegook.

 

Listening tests of different equipment at different times and different volume levels are meaningless. You introduce so many variables, you don't know what to attribute the sound quality to.


Edited by bigshot - 4/17/14 at 5:18pm
post #108 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post

Im not in the least unhappy with my current setup... just curious about bigshot's claims.

 

I've always found that it's easier to improve my setup when I isolate what the problem is and address it. As good as my system is, there are still things about it that could be better. I know exactly what those things are. Some of them just aren't possible, and others are on my list.

post #109 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by SilverEars View Post
 

I personally have bad experience with software equalizers. There is definitely a difference between amp/source/headphones boosting certain bands in the FR and the software EQ.

 

What software EQ have you used? Parametric? How many bands?

 

My equalizer is built into my AV amp, but I wouldn't mind finding a software based one for Mac that is more flexible. I have Boom, but it isn't much better than Apple's crappy EQ. I love the equalizer in Sound Forge. I'd like to find a system wide software EQ like that.


Edited by bigshot - 4/17/14 at 5:27pm
post #110 of 194
Thread Starter 

I say measurements should be made at the headphone's sound output for it to be useful.  Look at all the headphones measurements, how can we know precisely how they sound?  We are not at the point where we can know how they will sound based on headphone measurements. 


Edited by SilverEars - 4/17/14 at 5:34pm
post #111 of 194

If you understand what the numbers mean in real world sound and the numbers aren't fudged, you can have a fairly good idea of what equipment sounds like. Here are a couple of fantastic videos by Ethan Winer from seminars at the Audio Engineering Society. They are worth listening to. At the end of the Audio Myths one, he does some experiments with sound quality that are very enlightening and put specs in perspective.

 

AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
AES Damn Lies Seminar: http://youtu.be/Zvireu2SGZM

post #112 of 194
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

What software EQ have you used? Parametric? How many bands?

 

I've used the graphical on my foobar.  :p

post #113 of 194

That's probably like the craptastic Apple equalizer. Ten bands just isn't close to being enough.

 

Sound Forge has a 31 band 1/3 octave graphic EQ. That is actually useful. I'd actually prefer that to the five band parametric built into my AV receiver.... or just five more bands in the parametric.

post #114 of 194
Thread Starter 

Is there any way to selectively bring the vocals forward?  For some reason, I think headphones do that, I don't know how.

post #115 of 194

You could boost the frequencies through the vocal range... that's between 150Hz and 1kHz give or take a little, depending on whether the vocals are male or female.

post #116 of 194
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

What software EQ have you used? Parametric? How many bands?

 

My equalizer is built into my AV amp, but I wouldn't mind finding a software based one for Mac that is more flexible. I have Boom, but it isn't much better than Apple's crappy EQ. I love the equalizer in Sound Forge. I'd like to find a system wide software EQ like that.

I've had good luck with this one in Windows - the interface isn't the best, but it's very powerful and configurable, and system-wide (which I like): http://sourceforge.net/projects/equalizerapo/

 

I'm not a Mac guy though, so I'm afraid I can't help you on the Apple side of things.

post #117 of 194

There are some very good VST ready EQs you can use with Foobar (and foobar's VST plugin). I forgot the name of the one I used to test EQing out, but a quick google search should find you plenty of great choices.

post #118 of 194

Bigshot, 

 

I've been reading through this thread and have come up with a couple questions that I think you're most apt to comment on.  I just want to make sure that I'm understanding the process here as I really haven't formed an opinion for "one side or the other" yet.  I apologize in advance if this is heinously off topic.

 

Anyway, as a studio engineer the sound is recorded as raw data into the mixing board at which point it is the job of the studio engineer to ensure that the sound is flat.  I'm assuming the data received is not intrinsically a flat response and some sort of eq'ing from the engineer himself will have to be made.  Now we've a completely (what I'll call) normalized recording.  Flat line response, just the music, no added artifacts.  From here the music is then re-tweaked to sound as it does on the CD, ie the mastering process correct?  Little boost here, little deflation there, the end result is the flavor of recording which most pleases the engineer and his intended audience.  

 

Now we move straight to the CD itself which has been purchased by thousands to listen at home on their own equipment.  Here's where I'm a bit confused.  I understand that you don't like the ham-handed approach of "hard-wiring" coloration, distortion, etc into your equipment so you opt for uncharacteristically neutral equipment in order to jump this hurdle.  Nothing added by the equipment, incoming signal remains constant as it did leaving the studio.  However, that's exactly the problem, the source has left the studio.  So whatever room that engineer mastered the CD is NOT your room.  Next, you take measurements of your room and how the sound interacts with it in order to cancel those negative alterations.  Great, now we have neutral equipment passing the exact signal the engineer heard without the addition or subtraction of any part of the spectrum, but on top of this we've also neutralized the room's effect.  The purist, or it might be better to say, the most honest representation of the CD is now achieved.

 

I'm not sure how the EQ now plays a part.  I've actually never run any room diagnostics or corrections so forgive me for being a little green here, but hasn't the signal been properly "normalized" at this point?  Your gear isn't affecting the signal and neither is the room, I'm failing to see why you'd now need an EQ to further process the sound.  I'm also operating under the assumption that equalizations made within the digital environment are free from negative effects.  In other words, turning the bass or treble knob on an amp (after the signal has become analogue) compromises the sound to give you that bass or treble boost.  If this is digitally done before the signal becomes analogue you're free of these conditions, or at least to an extent?

 

Regardless, if you're always EQ'ing or re-EQ'ing the signal to suit your taste would it not be more efficient to purchase equipment that simply has your flavor of EQ curve and be done with it?  That question may or may not be pertinent depending on how I've understood what you've posted thus far so please sprinkle a little salt on it before ingesting :D 

 

--colin

post #119 of 194
You're thinking about interesting things!

The chain is a bit off in your description of the process. I'll start there.

The musician is miked and recorded. The mics are stone flat and capture an accurate, clean recording of the music. This is called "tracking".

The various tracks are mixed in the mixing board, not just for relative volume, but for tonal quality too. The engineer creatively EQs the various tracks to make them "read" as separate parts, not blend all together as a mush. This might require straying from accuracy, but it is a creative decision made by the musicians, producer and engineer.

The mix is monitored on speakers calibrated to a flat response. This calibration is necessary so the whole thing doesn't sound different if they have to go to another studio to complete a mix. Hopefully, what is heard in the studio is going to be heard at home.

The final mix is adjusted to make sure one song isn't louder than another on the album, or so that one song doesn't sound sharp and another muffled. This is called "mastering". The goal is to get all the individual songs to sound like one unified album. Again, this is monitored on calibrated studio monitors.

Next it is burned onto a CD. That is an exact copy of what the engineers intend it to sound like.

The CD is played back on a home stereo. Ideally, that home system is calibrated, just like the studio monitors. If so, everything sounds exactly the same as the musicians, producer and engineer heard. All of the accurate sound is accurate and the creative decisions made in the mix are all presented accurately.

Does that make sense? In particular, the mastering part?

OK, now to the seocnd part of your question...

When you buy a set of speakers, they are not flat. It is very difficult to manufacture full range speakers that are totally balanced. Even if they were, the room itself would alter the sound and make the response unbalanced.

When you build a listening room, the first thing you do is look at room acoustics. You try to cancel out the reflections that mess up resonse... Absorbtive panels, bass traps, etc. These are the broad strokes things that correctt for the big things.

Now if you are married, or if you want a listening room to look like a normal living room, treatments can only go so far. Even if you are willing to run acoustic panelling everywhere, it can only get you close... not perfect.

So you make up the difference with equalization. EQ is a lot easier than knocking out walls, panelling over big windows or flying acoustic panels from the ceilings. It also is MUCH more flexible and precise. You do what you can with the room, then you EQ the rest of the way.

The easiest way to control EQ is to add it as the absolute last step in the chain... right before the speakers. If you correct for EQ by using a colored CD player, when you use a different source, the correction doesn't apply. That means that your CD player would sound totally different than your FM radio tuner, DAP or turntable. You want a completely neutral system, so when you apply EQ at the very end, the EQ is being applied to everything you play on your system.

Now, let's say that you prefer a little bit of coloration overall in one place or another in the curve. The odds of finding equipment colored to your particular taste is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Some people like a 5dB bass boost at 100Hz, other people would prefer a larger boost in the sub bass- say a 15dB boost at 40Hz. Still other people prefer "in your face" mids, U shaped curves with lots of bass and treble, or "detailed" or "warm" treble. It's just not possible to have DAPs, CD players, DACs or radio tuners all adjusted to a different taste in sound signature. That would be chaos.

So they make everything neutral, and you apply an overall correction using an equalizer to make all of your equipment sound colored precisely the way you want them. EQ curves don't have to be flat. They can be any flavor of the rainbow you'd like, and you have complete control over how much of a coloration or how little you want.

Once you've set an EQ curve... whether calibrated to flat or colored to your taste... you leave it be. You don't monkey with it. If you want to adjust for specific recordings, you use your tone controls.

In theory, a carefully chosen EQ curve will give you exactly what you want. That is great if engineers are infalible and all recordings are created to spec. But engineers are human too. So you have tone controls to quickly adjust the tone without monkeying with the carefully balanced EQ curve you've set up with your equalizer. With good recordings, you can bypass the tone controls. But with less than perfect ones, it's nice to be able to do a quick fix. Neither tone controls nor EQ degrade the sound. They just allow you to change the response.

EQ is for a fixed overall correction. Tone controls allow you to do quick and dirty corrections on the fly.

Does this help?
Edited by bigshot - 4/18/14 at 12:17pm
post #120 of 194

Yes, the mastering aspect is much clearer now!  I've had no experience actually sitting in the seat of a recording engineer and I'm sure that was displayed in my previous post.  Regardless, the process is much clearer now that I've got an explanation in front of me.  

 

So the EQ is applied directly before the speakers, which makes a lot of sense as you'd need it to be applied to everything before the speakers themselves so that the same EQ is constant regardless of the source before it.  Perfect.  Does my EQ in the analogue environment vs the digital environment theory still stand?  Briefly, EQing in the digital domain will have less negative effects then doing so with the analogue signal itself?  It seemed that EQing the signal in the analogue environment is a battle of compromises whereas that was much less of an issue when doing the same in the digital environment.  So you're taking the signal from the amp, pushing it through the EQ and out to the speakers?  This signal is all analogue correct, as in the eq is not changing it back to digital modifying the signal and then sending it back out to the speakers in its altered analogue form?  I'm not sure if this theory holds water or not.  

 

Finding that perfect set of a equipment (and I wholehearted agree here) is like finding a needle in a haystack, but that brings me to another question.  Given the amount of different gear you've the ability to pick from, why would you choose a 5000 dollar amp over a 500 dollar one?  Lets say you have speakers which are dead flat, you've eq'd everything to where you'd like and you have a modest setup.  Technically you're hearing the music as it was intended, accurate to how the studio heard it.  Are you searching for a more appealing sense of neutrality in your playback when you choose the 5000 dollar amp?  It seems that since you've applied room correction and eq'd the output before the speakers there's nothing left to do and a modest setup would be all you need since the amp's output is going through your carefully calibrated EQ.  How can you now justify the more expensive amp?  

 

"Now, let's say that you prefer a little bit of coloration overall in one place or another in the curve. The odds of finding equipment colored to your particular taste is like trying to find a needle in a haystack. Some people like a 5dB bass boost at 100Hz, other people would prefer a larger boost in the sub bass- say a 15dB boost at 40Hz. Still other people prefer "in your face" mids, U shaped curves with lots of bass and treble, or "detailed" or "warm" treble. It's just not possible to have DAPs, CD players, DACs or radio tuners all adjusted to a different taste in sound signature. That would be chaos.

So they make everything neutral, and you apply an overall correction using an equalizer to make all of your equipment sound colored precisely the way you want them. EQ curves don't have to be flat. They can be any flavor of the rainbow you'd like, and you have complete control over how much of a coloration or how little you want."

 

They as in the equipment manufacturers themselves?  I find that hard to believe but I may not be getting that pronoun's reference correct.  I guess what I'm getting at here is that the amp, regardless of how neutral it is, has different flavors of neutrality or warmth or whatever.  Some appealing to you, some not.  So in effect you are picking an amp for what it adds to your system, in your case I'd assume your searching for one which adds the least amount of anything.  Do you measure this quantitatively or merely use your ears? I'm not sure how'd you'd establish a baseline for neutrality given my assumption that not all neutrality sounds the same amp to amp.  Conversely, your quote above leads me to believe that you can pick any arbitrary collection of equipment, eq the output to your flat response speakers and be happy with the sound you've created as it is accurate to what the recording engineer produced in their studio.  The emphasis here is now shifted from subjectively picking equipment that you like soundiwse and instead picking equipment which will objectively make your system just run so that you can personally change the sound output via your EQ.  The EQ becomes the keystone of your system's inherent sound, the rest is just there to provide a signal path, power, and other basic needs.  Does this make sense?

 

To bring this back around to OPs post, you've a tube amp and a solid state amp which display the same numbers on paper (tough, if not impossible but let me use this fantasy for the purpose of the discussion); thus on paper the two amps should sound roughly the same.  The same could be true of two solid state amps or two tube amps, how are you picking between the two assuming their specs are the same and assuming that your EQ is modifying their output anyway?  There just doesn't seem to be any room for argument now as to which amp sounds better than the other as you've already pigeon-holed the sound how you like it regardless of the transmission line before the EQ.  

 

PS, I guess I should be fortunate I'm not yet married as the wife seems to add another difficult variable!  

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