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How is "tube sound" even audible in modern headphone amps? - Page 17

post #241 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post

Bigshot has stated he has never heard a good high-end tube headphone amp.

 

I have heard a high end solid state headphone amp and it really isn't necessary. It sounds exactly the same with my headphones as plugged straight into my iPod, iMac or A/V receiver. High end headphone amps are a waste of money. Just get headphones that are clean and relatively flat and don't require amping like I did. If you have to adjust the response a little to make it perfectly flat, use an equalizer. If you want to gaze at a pretty glow, light a candle.


Edited by bigshot - 7/1/14 at 12:07am
post #242 of 366

When I set up my theater/listening room, I invited a friend over who is an audiophile to hear what I had been building. As we went back to the theater, he was chatting about the things he was doing in his system... bi-amping or something... and I sat him down on the couch and hit play without any preparation about what he was going to hear. He sat straight up and said, "Ooo! That wonderful analogue sound!" I replied, "No that's a digital recording." "SACD?" "No my whole library is AAC 256, just like the iTunes Store." He looked puzzled and turned around to look at my equipment... "Tubes?" "No" I said again. "It's a $350 Yamaha AV amp." He listened a little longer and looked around the room. "I don't see any bass traps or room treatment." "Nope, I can't do that in this room, it's all wood panelling." Finally he gave up and said, "Why does it sound so good then?" "Very careful equalization and a DSP that converts stereo to 5:1." "Oh. I don't do that stuff." he said. "It messes up the sound."


Edited by bigshot - 7/1/14 at 12:21am
post #243 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

I have heard a high end solid state headphone amp and it really isn't necessary. It sounds exactly the same with my headphones as plugged straight into my iPod, iMac or A/V receiver. High end headphone amps are a waste of money. Just get headphones that are clean and relatively flat and don't require amping like I did. If you have to adjust the response a little to make it perfectly flat, use an equalizer. If you want to gaze at a pretty glow, light a candle.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post

When I set up my theater/listening room, I invited a friend over who is an audiophile to hear what I had been building. As we went back to the theater, he was chatting about the things he was doing in his system... bi-amping or something... and I sat him down on the couch and hit play without any preparation about what he was going to hear. He sat straight up and said, "Ooo! That wonderful analogue sound!" I replied, "No that's a digital recording." "SACD?" "No my whole library is AAC 256, just like the iTunes Store." He looked puzzled and turned around to look at my equipment... "Tubes?" "No" I said again. "It's a $350 Yamaha AV amp." He listened a little longer and looked around the room. "I don't see any bass traps or room treatment." "Nope, I can't do that in this room, it's all wood panelling." Finally he gave up and said, "Why does it sound so good then?" "Very careful equalization and a DSP that converts stereo to 5:1." "Oh. I don't do that stuff." he said. "It messes up the sound."


I understand what your saying and get your point. I still think different amps sound different.wink.gif
Edited by Redcarmoose - 7/1/14 at 5:43am
post #244 of 366

Or perhaps he was just being polite... ;)

post #245 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by madwolfa View Post


I'm not bothered by my transducers imperfections, my speakers and headphones are perceptually flat enough for my taste. And if the recording is bad by itself, well, I either live with it or skip to another one.

 

But what if its a very artistic track by a very good artist...but the sound engineer was under pressure by the corporate backing to add compression, loudness and a wonky frequency balance, which the artist could not over rule?  What if Led Zeppelins stairway to heaven was only available in 128 Mp3? 

 

Your proposition then would be...I dunno, just put a bullet in my brain and spare me that thought! :frown:

Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post


Bigshot has stated he has never heard a good high-end tube headphone amp. Thus we have the over all problem with Head-Fi at the present time.

 

I wish .  Mind you...I may not have heard the sound of a top line tube amp...but seeing that everything I have heard with a tube in the path sounds different to without tubes, going by the theory presented here, I have not heard a top line tubed device.  But if it turns out that tube distortion is what I enjoy, I have no issues with that.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

 

I have heard a high end solid state headphone amp and it really isn't necessary. It sounds exactly the same with my headphones as plugged straight into my iPod, iMac or A/V receiver. High end headphone amps are a waste of money. Just get headphones that are clean and relatively flat and don't require amping like I did. If you have to adjust the response a little to make it perfectly flat, use an equalizer. If you want to gaze at a pretty glow, light a candle.

 

But the flickering flame....shadows that move in the dark...I think I might have just had a minor heart attack thinking about it.

 

But seriously, I have eq'd the crap out of evrything I could lay my hands on and have not found eq to give me that tube sound.  And I do know this, even if I could it just won't be the same.  Because the machine is not as fascinating as the other machine.

 

It is the same reason that men pay more for an antique classic automobile, restore it with modern replica fabricated parts.  You could get a corolla for much less that will outperform an antique in every technical benchmark....blow it out of the water.  But it won't be the same.  Why driving an antique sports car at the edge of its performance envelope is altogether a completely different experience to taking a modern sports to its sterile edge of adhesion.  Why the old days of formula one is an altogether different spectacle to modern f1.

 

Man and machine is intertwined, like when walking into a hardware store and next thing you know, you own machines that you will use once and never again.  Like buying the best computer parts for MOAR POWER!  Or the woman that can't resist that machine which dices, slices and mashes (I want one of them too!). The machine is a.....tool, something about evolution, man and tools, everyone should know what I am talking about (I lost a part of me when I was forced to sell my tool chest to make ends meet, and it will never be the same to replace them with new tools later, my tools journeyed with me for many years).

 

And history is a powerful force to reckon with.

 

Point being....I forget.

 

Oh yeah, You can never convince someone that enjoys his/her (Where's Dubstep Girl when you need her?) tube amplifier to not do so.  It is a hobby, and if part of it is to experience history as it were, who is to say its wrong to enjoy it so?  Bloody no one, that's who.

 

My biggest fear is that machine will turn on man one day...its like listening to loud music and drinking beer, or skydiving, it aint good for ya and may even kill ya, we know it, but we will still pursue it, nothing gets in the way of the human imagination, what we envision, we will accomplish, in due to time.  Whatever fate awaits us, someone, somewhere, has already envisioned it.

 

Unless that is the reason for the discouragement of tube amp usage...someone has envisioned the awakening of tube amps and we are doomed by them!  I am envisioning a trilogy already, with the provision of a prequel tilogy if it does well...

post #246 of 366

redcarmoose admitted several times that he was probably attracted by some particular kind of distortion, so EQ wouldn't make it anyway. you seek clean sound, he seeks lovely sound. only a conflict in tastes here ^_^. TBH it would be great to have both kind of signals available from a switch. sometimes I wouldn't mind a "tube sound".

 

 

 

 

 

 

the question of the topic has been answered with logic. same measurements(all of them) do lead to same sound. so if the specs are good enough, there is no arguing that a tube amp can be good.

 

-any objectivist will agree with that when he sees how good the specs of a few tube amps can get nowadays. it isn't hard to imagine having the same sound from an objectivist point of view. and also not hard to see that it is usually easier/cheaper to get the good specs from SS amps.

 

-any subjectivist can work out some matter of blind test with friends and agree also that you can get tube amps that sound like SS, the same way that you can find SS amps that sound "tube like"(I've experienced that a few times). if it's about about distortion and grain, or warmth, you can actually get that from a few SS amps too. but in that case it is usually easier to get the "tube sound" from a tube amp. nothing really challenging in all those concepts in the end.

 

-the problem is usually with the third breed of thinking. people that are not objectivists and not subjectivists(or hardcore subjectivist, "the only real world is the world in my head, submit to my power!!"). they reject both measurements from the objective point of view, and subjective testings like abx, dbt and anything trying to moderate the effects of biases while purely relying on human senses and perception.

those guys are mostly impervious to logic, and reject anything up to science itself if needed. we cannot bring arguments or facts to them, they only wanna hear that they are right. third column would be too rational for them, 1,2,3 ... it doesn't seem right.  let's call them "the audiophile's fifth column".  :wink_face:

if you look at most topics, we end up with nothing done and big shot arguing against those guys, when he's himself what I see as a subjectivist(a real one). that's how unreasonable those guys are. they force objectivists and subjectivists to unify against them ^_^.

 

the last pages of this topic have been free of that fifth column, and while we clearly tend to have different opinions, everybody can see the logic or personal tastes behind the others posts. I liked that a lot.

thank you.

post #247 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by Redcarmoose View Post

I understand what your saying and get your point. I still think different amps sound different.wink.gif

 

Do the test yourself and get a surprise! I've done it.

post #248 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by SP Wild View Post
 

It is the same reason that men pay more for an antique classic automobile, restore it with modern replica fabricated parts.  You could get a corolla for much less that will outperform an antique in every technical benchmark....blow it out of the water.  But it won't be the same.

 

That is a psychological thing, not a technical one. I try to get satisfaction from the creativity of the music, not the aesthetics or provenance of the equipment used to play it. All I need the equipment to do is to present the music accurately. It's natural for humans to wrap romance around expensive belongings and to anthropomorphize inanimate objects, but I do that with art and music and literature, not black boxes full of wires that light up. Ask me about the Pieta and I will give you a distinctly non-scientific analysis. But when it comes to stereo components, I'm more down to earth and practical. Stereo equipment has always been more of an irritating distraction from music for me, not the point of the hobby.

post #249 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

TBH it would be great to have both kind of signals available from a switch. sometimes I wouldn't mind a "tube sound".

 

That would certainly be possible. Bob Carver proved that an inexpensive solid state amp could be hobbled to sound exactly like an audiophile tube amp. I wonder why no one has ever made an amp that is switchable like that. Probably because the point isn't the sound... it's the "romance" of tubes.

post #250 of 366

Low end tube amps aren't hard to distinguish from solid state amps in bias controlled listening tests.  Their harmonic distortion tends to mask some of the high frequency content and act basically like a treble cut tone control producing a darker sound.  The very high end tube amps are often indistinguishable from solid state.  And that, of course, makes them silly to buy since solid state amps with inaudible distortions are less expensive.  So you can choose between high distortion relatively affordable to clean at very high prices.  It is no wonder the technology is obsolete.

post #251 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by blades View Post
 

Low end tube amps aren't hard to distinguish from solid state amps in bias controlled listening tests.  Their harmonic distortion tends to mask some of the high frequency content and act basically like a treble cut tone control producing a darker sound.  The very high end tube amps are often indistinguishable from solid state.  And that, of course, makes them silly to buy since solid state amps with inaudible distortions are less expensive.  So you can choose between high distortion relatively affordable to clean at very high prices.  It is no wonder the technology is obsolete.


Is there any source that confirms that audible distortion in tube amps will always translate to rolled off high frequencies? And are there no other effects of the distorted signal?


The reason I ask is because I've always taken it for granted that a distorted tube signal will work like that, but I have no idea why. It's not something I have experienced for myself, really.


Edited by SunshineReggae - 7/3/14 at 12:57pm
post #252 of 366

If it's a really bad tube amp, the distortion can mush up the low mids to low end. I remember old tube amps when I was a kid doing that. The frequencies were all there, but the detail was all smeared over. That may have been due to very old tubes though.

post #253 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

If it's a really bad tube amp, the distortion can mush up the low mids to low end. I remember old tube amps when I was a kid doing that. The frequencies were all there, but the detail was all smeared over. That may have been due to very old tubes though.


So if harmonic distortion is introduced, the high frequencies are always first to suffer?

post #254 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

TBH it would be great to have both kind of signals available from a switch. sometimes I wouldn't mind a "tube sound".

 

That would certainly be possible. Bob Carver proved that an inexpensive solid state amp could be hobbled to sound exactly like an audiophile tube amp. I wonder why no one has ever made an amp that is switchable like that. Probably because the point isn't the sound... it's the "romance" of tubes.

I want one!!!!! 

I once saw a software with lots of tweakable settings to ruin the sound like a vinyl does, with wow, several types of distortions, noise.. so I guess there must also be some "tube sounding" DSPs.

 

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by SunshineReggae View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
 

If it's a really bad tube amp, the distortion can mush up the low mids to low end. I remember old tube amps when I was a kid doing that. The frequencies were all there, but the detail was all smeared over. That may have been due to very old tubes though.


So if harmonic distortion is introduced, the high frequencies are always first to suffer?

 harmonics are signals created at the multiples of the original frequency(for 100hz you get a new signal that wasn't on the record at 200, 300, 400hz ... ) it's bound to always affect frequencies higher than the original. so in a way yes.

but that's without looking at what is causing the distortions. the cause usually doesn't affect all frequencies equally, so it doesn't have to always cripple the trebles.

but then I guess it is the desired effect of someone getting a tube amp. the "warm" sound.

am I combo-contradicting myself here? ^_^ so yes but no but yes. obviously.

post #255 of 366
Quote:
Originally Posted by castleofargh View Post
 

I want one!!!!! 

I once saw a software with lots of tweakable settings to ruin the sound like a vinyl does, with wow, several types of distortions, noise.. so I guess there must also be some "tube sounding" DSPs.

 

 

 harmonics are signals created at the multiples of the original frequency(for 100hz you get a new signal that wasn't on the record at 200, 300, 400hz ... ) it's bound to always affect frequencies higher than the original. so in a way yes.

but that's without looking at what is causing the distortions. the cause usually doesn't affect all frequencies equally, so it doesn't have to always cripple the trebles.

but then I guess it is the desired effect of someone getting a tube amp. the "warm" sound.

am I combo-contradicting myself here? ^_^ so yes but no but yes. obviously.


Well, thanks :). I guess what I am getting at is that for the supposed "tube sound" to work, there has to at least be some kind of control over where and how the harmonic distortion is going to occur. I mean if it's unpredictable, it's going to be hard to design an amp around that. So I was wondering if there was at least the certainty that the distortion affects the higher frequencies, which as you say seems to be somewhat the case. I still feel that there's a lot I don't get about it though.

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