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How is "tube sound" even audible in modern headphone amps? - Page 2

post #16 of 366

Weird.....won't let me type outside of the cells in the above post?

 

So how about the specs on this small modern headphone tube amp?

post #17 of 366
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

It's better to buy headphones that sound right in the first place than trying to force funky phones to sound better.

 

Or better to buy headphones that sound right to you, like I did swapping HD600 to HD650 for darker/beefier sound... The source/amplifying hardware should stay neutral and Bifrost/Asgard 2 is doing just that.

post #18 of 366
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Astropin View Post
 

Weird.....won't let me type outside of the cells in the above post?

 

So how about the specs on this small modern headphone tube amp?

 

30 dB gain? Isn't it a bit excessive for a small headphone amp? Also that 20~600 Ohm output impedance? Why does it vary so much?

Distortion at typical 300 Ohm load (Sennheiser HD6x0) looks good to me. People say it has to be >1% to become somewhat audible..

post #19 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by madwolfa View Post
 

 

Or better to buy headphones that sound right to you, like I did swapping HD600 to HD650 for darker/beefier sound... The source/amplifying hardware should stay neutral and Bifrost/Asgard 2 is doing just that.

That could work.

I was thinking about people, e.g., that buy cans that are too bright and spend their lives trying to find an amp that fixes this problem. Finally they convince themselves that they've found the magical amp when IMO, they may have simply convinvced themselves of findng their holy grail.

post #20 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

That could work.

I was thinking about people, e.g., that buy cans that are too bright and spend their lives trying to find an amp that fixes this problem. Finally they convince themselves that they've found the magical amp when IMO, they may have simply convinvced themselves of findng their holy grail.

 

Or people just like bright cans and pair it with tubes to smooth things out, which doesn't necessarily only mean rolling off the high end. I've spend hours EQing the DAC1 to see if I could get the same (or better) sound than I do from it being paired to my tube amp - I've been using frequency response graphs of my headphones to try and first EQ flat (successfully), then slightly EQ by ear for the type of sound signature I get with my tube amp (without success). Perhaps I'm doing things wrong, but I would say after 20 years of musicianship and 10 years into this hobby, I'm pretty confident in my ability to EQ... Never had a problem EQing the sound for any of the instruments I play, or with the music I've recorded.

post #21 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

 

Or people just like bright cans and pair it with tubes to smooth things out, which doesn't necessarily only mean rolling off the high end. I've spend hours EQing the DAC1 to see if I could get the same (or better) sound than I do from it being paired to my tube amp - I've been using frequency response graphs of my headphones to try and first EQ flat (successfully), then slightly EQ by ear for the type of sound signature I get with my tube amp (without success). Perhaps I'm doing things wrong, but I would say after 20 years of musicianship and 10 years into this hobby, I'm pretty confident in my ability to EQ... Never had a problem EQing the sound for any of the instruments I play, or with the music I've recorded.

The only thing you can hope tp get from a tube amp is some even order harmonic distortion. This may subjectively make one feel that the treble is tamed, it would not do so for me. I prefer a clean amp and neutral cans and if I can I will EQ some tonal preferences, as in pushing up the sub and extended bass since we cannot feel that with our bodies when using headphones. As it stands, in recent times, most decent SS and tube amps have distortion levels far below our ability to perceive and FR flat accross the board. I think many people are fooled when comparing amps due to three reasons.

1) Auditory memory for the comaprison of small diffreneces is very short term.

2) The volumes must be closely matched due to the ear's nonlinear FR, see.Fletcher-Munson.

3) Perception by expectation (Expectation Bias),a human condition.

post #22 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by StanD View Post
 

1) Auditory memory for the comaprison of small diffreneces is very short term.

2) The volumes must be closely matched due to the ear's nonlinear FR, see.Fletcher-Munson.

3) Perception by expectation (Expectation Bias),a human condition.

 

That explains 99.9% of HeadFi!

post #23 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

That explains 99.9% of HeadFi!

Then the other 0.1% is obviously cables! :-P

Cheers
post #24 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

That explains 99.9% of HeadFi!

You said it ;)

Some folks get very aggitated when trying to discuss things that they do not believe nor do they try to seek the truth and instead prefer holding onto fairy tales. The engineering behind audio electronics is very straight forward. Headphones are a more difficult matter due to mechanics and acoustics, even down to coupling to our noggins. I just love it when someone thinks that pairing an amp to the headphones they bought that apparently sound too bright can cure the problem. Once they convince themselves, they become cured.That wouldn't fool me, I'd have to sell off or junk the cans. My advice is that next time they should buy cans that sound right in the first place. Perhaps a tad of EQ can do, otherwise, IMO fawget about it.


Edited by StanD - 6/5/14 at 3:00pm
post #25 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by elmoe View Post
 

Here you are:

 

http://www.theaudioarchive.com/TAA_Resources_Tubes_versus_Solid_State.htm

 

A very interesting read.

Very interesting article. Thanks for posting.

And it even answers the OPs question: tubes distort nicer and the structure of their harmonics enhance clarity and natural sound.

This is still true with modern designs (of course). 

post #26 of 366
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mironathetin View Post

Very interesting article. Thanks for posting.
And it even answers the OPs question: tubes distort nicer and the structure of their harmonics enhance clarity and natural sound.
This is still true with modern designs (of course). 

I'm not rebutting the fact they distort nicely. But how does that matter when distortion levels are several orders below audible?
post #27 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by madwolfa View Post


I'm not rebutting the fact they distort nicely. But how does that matter when distortion levels are several orders below audible?

don't ask, read!

post #28 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by mironathetin View Post
 

Very interesting article. Thanks for posting.

And it even answers the OPs question: tubes distort nicer and the structure of their harmonics enhance clarity and natural sound.

This is still true with modern designs (of course).

I agree that tubes distort nicer when overdriven, which can matter sometimes even with modern designs, but when driven in the design power range, the distortion is not audible on a modern tube or solid state design. Also, I don't think I would ever describe distortion harmonics as "enhancing clarity" - to my mind, "enhanced clarity" requires as little distortion as possible.

post #29 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by mironathetin View Post
 

don't ask, read!

Maybe you should follow your own advice - it only talks about the differences when both devices are driven to an overload condition.

post #30 of 366
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cjl View Post
 

Maybe you should follow your own advice - it only talks about the differences when both devices are driven to an overload condition.

 

Exactly. In fact, I've read that article twice before starting this topic.

 

When non-overdriven, we're talking about 0.01s % of THD here for tubes and 0.001s % for SS..

Both are inaudible.


Edited by madwolfa - 6/12/14 at 9:10am
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