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RE: Audibly transparent

lindsayt wrote:

Overdose wrote:

SpursGator wrote:

I try to stay open minded. But I've also heard two amps that measure almost identically on Winer's criteria sound totally different in the same system. It's a bit reductionist for me.

Either the measurements are incorrect, or the measured differences significant?

Some rational and thought provoking responses on this thread with the usual smattering of emotive and irrelevant ranting and sniping. It's why things are in general, never resolved.

Some questions that stand out in the noise, are that, if as suggested the most imortant thing about hifi is the enjoyment of music and that the best equipment is that which you enjoy the sound of the most, ie it's all subjective (and that is certainly the view of some) then does that not render ALL subjective reviews irrelevent except to the reviewer?

Another question, is that if the measurements are simply a guide and no more, why is it that 'upgrades' always tend towards the higher end (more expensive)?

Also, What references are used to quantify the audible superiority of equipment in a higher price bracket over cheaper alternatives?

I think that it is perfectly fine to have the view that if you like something then that's all that you need to know, but your opinion is based on the sound of something that can be measured and quantified, it has at the end of the day been designed to sound this way and its sound is very much measurable and repeatable. It has to be this way or every piece of this equipment would sound different. It's a manufacturing principle called quality.

Some interesting questions there Overdose.

 

I've found in bake-offs that the opinions of the listeners can be unanimous - if none of them have a vested psychological interest in any of the equipment being baked-off. IE if they all have a fairly open mind. For example bake-offs where everyone's agreed that power amp A had a more natural and detailed midrange whilst amp B had a tighter bass with a particular set of speakers. What you may then have is disagreement about overall preference - which is fair enough. Or then again, at bake-offs you can get a unanimous overall preference for one particular component because that component is equally good or better in all areas.

With the same track played in succession on 2 different components the ear is very good at hearing the differences. The more enjoyable component is always the one that's best in creating the illusion that the band or orchestra are there playing in the room for you. IE the most transparent - in the true meaning of the word transparent. This is the reference for subjective reviews. More enjoyable because it's more like a live performance, sounds more like the actual instruments or vocalists, more able to hear any production effects in the recording.

 

Upgrades are not always more expensive. For example Coincidents best sounding power amp is not their more expensive one. It's their cheaper one. The more expensive one gives you less good sound but more power. If a manufacturer were to come up with a better sounding product that cost them less to manufacture they might either drop the old one, or sell the new product at a price that was not directly related to the production costs.

 

There are also other examples where a much cheaper product will sound better than a more expensive in the right system. For example in a system where you don't need the gain of a linestage in your pre-amp there's a high chance that a simple inexpensive resistor based passive pre-amp will sound better than any active pre-amps at any price. Less is more in hi-fi where you can get away with less.

 

When you look across different manufacturers, sound quality and price are not directly related when buying new due to different cost structures and different skills, techniques, technologies, priorities. 

 

Hit the nail on the head!! Been saying this for years.

 OPPO 105EU, Arcam AVR450, Boston Acoustics M340. Dac: Musical fedility V90.

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RE: Audibly transparent

drummerman wrote:

Rooms also have a nasty habit of messing with accurate. Unless you live in an anechoic/treated one, you're unlikely to benefit from the full extend some manufacturers go to to achieve near as perfect on paper results. Some form of room equalization would come in handy. AV receivers do it as do some of the more specialist hifi/pro audio manufacturers. Pure Hifi, high or lo end, are mostly still burrying their heads in the sand though. Simple tone controls are widely sniffed at and whilst not ideal technically, they at least offer a modicum of adjustability. On occasions, surely better than nothing.

regards

 Well said drummerman

 OPPO 105EU, Arcam AVR450, Boston Acoustics M340. Dac: Musical fedility V90.

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RE: Audibly transparent

WinterRacer wrote:

SpursGator wrote:

The fact is, jitter, by definition, is something that exists only in an analogue signal, even if it is caused by a digital artifact (imperfect timing). 

 

I doubt anyone else is interested in this and I suspect you've already made your mind up how all this works.  Just one thing, jitter is, as you point out, imperfect timing in the clock used in the encoding of the digital data.  Distortion is what results in the analogue signal.  

 

 

Okay point granted if you want to phrase it that way - but my point was that jitter matters only on the analogue side (yes, it results in a particular form of distortion). But it cannot cause data errors and is thus mostly irrelevant on the digital side of the chain.

Maybe nobody else is interested anymore who knows...I think you've argued your side extremely well. But if you are right about transparency et al then you should be buying pro gear not audiophile stuff. That's what it's built for. Probably the only useful point I made the whole time and nobody picked up the bait.

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RE: Audibly transparent

 

Well, it's audible and transparent!

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RE: Audibly transparent

Alec wrote:

 

Well, it's audible and transparent!

That it is!  :grin:

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Audibly transparent

CnoEvil wrote:
I grew up with a mother who was a classically trained singer

Snap

CnoEvil wrote:
and a father who was an amateur conductor
 

My dad used to sing in choirs.

CnoEvil wrote:
Are you saying that you should buy a system that's as "accurate" as possible to the recording, even if you don't like the way it sounds?.....or are you saying that you cannot understand people who go for a "life-like" presentation?

I'm with WR here.

I listen almost exclusively to classical music at home. I can't claim to listen much live music, in fact I listen to practically none.

I've read comments from others, including at least one professional recording engineer, that the best test for an audio replay system is the spoken voice. Since everyone knows what real voices sound like, everyone should be pretty good at recognising a life-like reproduction.

I like to think I can tell a life-like recreation of a real instrument even if I'm not familiar with that instrument played live.

Classical recordings vary quite a bit. Generally they're very good (at least compared to typical pop recordings). To me, most of the bad ones have either poor clarity or too unnatural a spatial balance or strange venue acoustics or a combination of these. I find it difficult to see what kind of distortion would improve any of these problems.

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RE: Audibly transparent

Phileas wrote:

I'm with WR here.

At this stage, I can't remember who is saying what!  ROFL

ie. Do you mean you go for Neutral (accurate to the recording), or Natural (accurate to the un-miked real thing)......if it's the latter, then my philosophy on this has struck a chord ( :oops: ).

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Audibly transparent

SpursGator wrote:

Okay point granted if you want to phrase it that way - but my point was that jitter matters only on the analogue side (yes, it results in a particular form of distortion). But it cannot cause data errors and is thus mostly irrelevant on the digital side of the chain.

Jitter is entirely irrelevant if the equipment deals with it sufficiently well enough, ie it'll be audibly transparent. Artifacts caused by jitter should be well below the noise level for transparency, which for some is -100dB and others up to around -80dB

For sure, there is no reason why most equipment couldn't be so and at a reasonable price to boot, except speakers, for which it is currently all but impossible. More important than jitter though (which should really be a non issue anyway) is perhaps THD for amplification, still though it is possible to manufacture amps that are truly transparent, pop on some decent tone controls or add an EQ and everyones a winner. Smile

In fact, I'm pretty sure that given the right audio software, a truly transparent system could be given the right amount of distortion to mimmick pretty much any system out there.

Hmmm. :?  That's worth looking into.

 

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RE: Audibly transparent

SpursGator wrote:

Maybe nobody else is interested anymore who knows...I think you've argued your side extremely well. But if you are right about transparency et al then you should be buying pro gear not audiophile stuff. That's what it's built for. Probably the only useful point I made the whole time and nobody picked up the bait.

Thanks, I think there have been some interesting points on both sides of the argument, and there's probably quite a bit of common ground.

Regarding buying pro gear.  Well actually I did buy some Genelec speakers for my study system and I'm very pleased with them.  I know AlmataKz bought a pair and likes them too.  However, I don't think transparency is purely for studio kit, I believe it applies equally to hi-fi kit too, but that may be where we differ?

 

 

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RE: Audibly transparent

CnoEvil wrote:

At this stage, I can't remember who is saying what!  ROFL

ie. Do you mean you go for Neutral (accurate to the recording), or Natural (accurate to the un-miked real thing)......if it's the latter, then my philosophy on this has struck a chord ( :oops: ).

 

Cno, don't feel you have to answer this, but I wonder what kind of distortion a system can add that consistency makes recordings sound more life-like?  Furthermore, what happens if you add this distortion to an already life-like recording?

 

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RE: Audibly transparent

Overdose wrote:
In fact, I'm pretty sure that given the right audio software, a truly transparent system could be given the right amount of distortion to mimmick pretty much any system out there.

Hmmm. :?  That's worth looking into. 

Bob Carver can make a mass produced $700 solid state amplifier sound exactly the same as any other amplifier (regardless of cost) simply by mimicking the distortion.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge

Hi-Fi - Teufel DecoderStation 5 > AVI DM5

Head-Fi - Epiphany Acoustics EHP-O2Di > Sennheisser HD700

Portable - Sony NWZ-A847 > Westone UM3x

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RE: Audibly transparent

Spoken voice is good test of a system's transparency. So is piano.

I wouldn't want to rely solely on spoken voice as a test of a system's transparency. What if you've got speakers like the LS3/5a that are superb at spoken voice but not so good for recreating a live rock or pop band or a 32 foot organ pipe?

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RE: Audibly transparent

steve_1979 wrote:
Bob Carver can make a mass produced $700 solid state amplifier sound exactly the same as any other amplifier (regardless of cost) simply by mimicking the distortion.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/carver-challenge

Which would probably have been a useful exercise if it had been done for a positive reason. Three and a half years later, it has changed nothing.

DavidF @FrankHarveyHiFi, Coventry.

"Long is the way, and hard, that out of hell leads up to light"

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RE: Audibly transparent

WinterRacer wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

At this stage, I can't remember who is saying what!  ROFL

ie. Do you mean you go for Neutral (accurate to the recording), or Natural (accurate to the un-miked real thing)......if it's the latter, then my philosophy on this has struck a chord ( :oops: ).

Cno, don't feel you have to answer this, but I wonder what kind of distortion a system can add that consistency makes recordings sound more life-like?  Furthermore, what happens if you add this distortion to an already life-like recording?

That's some question! 

If you read through the test results of my amp, you would have seen that it has very low distortion, with comments like this...."However, the real coup de grace came at the end, when I saw graph 8, which shows intermodulation distortion, specifically CCIF-IMD. If you ever needed any proof of the superiority of the Class A design you can stop right here, as this is the best result I have ever seem. In fact as results go, it's perfect......because Class A amps do not require any frequency compensation, open loop gain remains steady over the audio band, which results in superior transient response and therefore dramatically reduced Transient Intermodulation Distortion."

So I can only infer from this, that my system sounds so good because of less, rather than more distortion....which is helped by reference level speakers and a decent streamer.  :shifty:

 

"We should no more let numbers define audio quality than we should let chemical analysis be the arbiter of fine wines."  Nelson Pass

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RE: Audibly transparent

CnoEvil wrote:

That's some question! 

If you read through the test results of my amp, you would have seen that it has very low distortion, with comments like this...."However, the real coup de grace came at the end, when I saw graph 8, which shows intermodulation distortion, specifically CCIF-IMD. If you ever needed any proof of the superiority of the Class A design you can stop right here, as this is the best result I have ever seem. In fact as results go, it's perfect......because Class A amps do not require any frequency compensation, open loop gain remains steady over the audio band, which results in superior transient response and therefore dramatically reduced Transient Intermodulation Distortion."

So I can only infer from this, that my system sounds so good because of less, rather than more distortion....which is helped by reference level speakers and a decent streamer.  :shifty:

 

Thanks and agree, you're hearing the benefits of a low distortion (aka neutral or accurate) system! Smile

 

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