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Leeps's picture
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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

i'm not an electronics expert, but I do like good timing when I hear it.  I think your ability to notice good timing is a little dependent on the type of music being played.

Here are some tracks that really demonstrate whether your system exhibits good timing or not;

Rodrigo y Gabriela - triveni (from 11:11)

Radiohead - Like Spinning Plates (from Amnesiac) 

Tracks that have a strong percussive element (like the snap here on Rodrigo & Gabriela's guitars, particularly Gabriela's percussion on the guitar part way through this track) should really have bite and impact, but on some systems it doesn't.  This was a strength of my previous Cambridge amp and it's the aspect I miss most.

If you play Spinning Plates (particularly the intro) & you just think, "yeh, whatever", then your system doesn't manifest strong timing.  It should really make you stop & take notice, almost puzzling you to wonder what on earth this sound is.  I think that's why timing appeals to me so much, because it really affects the emotional impact of the genres of music I tend to listen to most.

Large classical works too tend to show up poor timing.  If it sounds like all the instruments are muddled together and indistinct, then bad timing is often to blame.

As for the contribution an amp makes to timing, I have no doubt that it does as I've played the above tracks and others on two amps with identical speakers and source and one amp was most definitely better at timing.  Just don't ask me to explain how.

 

 

 

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

Subjectivity is difficult to quantify, however as I said in my earlier post, timing of an amplifier is easily measured so is not a black art (Like some would have you believe), problem is not many Hi Fi Magazines test these days so it all comes down to the personal opinions of the reviewers. (Hence you should only treat reviews as a very rough guide to enable you to reduce your short list (In WHF if it gets 3 stars or more, stick it on your list)

Bill

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

'Timing' has nothing to do with the electrical parameters of an amp, and certainly nothing to do with timing in a digital sense.  It is no different to describing wine as having 'a big nose', it is a subjective description used by a reviewer to capture his experience of the amplifier. Might as well have used 'pacy' or 'fast' or anything else come to that. It illustrates the problems of using language to describe subjective interpretation.  

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

chebby wrote:

Can anyone explain how 'timing' applies to an amplifier.

I understand that CD players and DACs have clocks and I understand the various issues regarding the rotational accuracy of turntables, but I don't understand how amplifiers can exhibit good (or poor) timing.

Thanks.

This may help. Found this amongst my saved stuff.

http://www.stereophile.com/content/sounds-audio-glossary-glossary-t-u

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

andyjm wrote:

'Timing' has nothing to do with the electrical parameters of an amp, and certainly nothing to do with timing in a digital sense.  It is no different to describing wine as having 'a big nose', it is a subjective description used by a reviewer to capture his experience of the amplifier. Might as well have used 'pacy' or 'fast' or anything else come to that. It illustrates the problems of using language to describe subjective interpretation.  

True enough.

The phenomena is real though, some amplifiers seem to take anything played through it at a quite relentles pace others seem to make the music 'plod' along, often quite tediously.

I am reasonably convinced that this is a reflection on how amplifiers deal with transients, both 'starting' and 'stopping'. Fast and articulate seems to be the preference, though this can be overdone, the relentness driving presentation of 'Olive' era Naim being a case in point. The opposite can be just as bad too, the slow, 'plodding' portrayal of early Krell KSA series being a case in point.

The best of course seem to have no obvious effect at all beyond reproducing the tempo as played, I generally find it quite easy to work this all out, but back in the day I did have rather a lot of practice.

One thing to add, I feel that the ability to follow a tune played by one particular instrument is I think a clarity issue, not directly connected to the timing issues I have been describing.

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

If this timing issue is clearly audible to an experienced listener, let alone hi-fi reviewer, why then each magazin review gets it differently?

For the Supernait WHF said it plods and times badly, in Hi-Fi Choice and Stereophile it was briliant.

Naim Supernait - 4*

"So, the Supernait is a fine performer, but it isn't flawless. It paints in broad strokes, missing out on the fine detail that the likes of Moon's I-3 RS and AVI's Lab Series integrated reveal with ease. Low-level dynamics are also downgraded, diluting the emotion in voices."

Roksan Kandy K2 BT - 4*

"There seems to be a bit of a timing issue that means notes don’t link as cohesively as they should and instruments don’t combine to create a truly unified whole.  It means the Roksan is unable to untangle the web of particularly complicated sections of music, and that leaves them sounding messier and more cluttered than they should."

Leema Pulse III - 4*

"Judged by the highest standards (at this price), there are slight shortfalls in outright transparency and rhythmic precision, but nothing that goes as far as spoiling the final result."

Thoughts?  :?

 

P.S. 

I really enjoyed  Rodrigo y Gabriela - Triveni. Thank you Leeps for sharing it. :wave:  

B&W CM1 + FS-700/CM + Roksan Kandy K2 BT + Native Instruments TA2 + Commodore 64 LPSU + Audioquest Type 4

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

I just downloaded the Radiohead track in a frenzy of curiosity. It sounds like my washing machine on a low temperature cycle with an overlay of my cat howling on a bad night. Does that mean my amplifier lacks timing? 

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

Vladimir wrote:

If this timing issue is clearly audible to an experienced listener, let alone hi-fi reviewer, why then each magazin review gets it differently?

For the Supernait WHF said it plods and times badly, in Hi-Fi Choice and Stereophile it was briliant.

Naim Supernait - 4*

"So, the Supernait is a fine performer, but it isn't flawless. It paints in broad strokes, missing out on the fine detail that the likes of Moon's I-3 RS and AVI's Lab Series integrated reveal with ease. Low-level dynamics are also downgraded, diluting the emotion in voices."

Roksan Kandy K2 BT - 4*

"There seems to be a bit of a timing issue that means notes don’t link as cohesively as they should and instruments don’t combine to create a truly unified whole.  It means the Roksan is unable to untangle the web of particularly complicated sections of music, and that leaves them sounding messier and more cluttered than they should."

Leema Pulse III - 4*

"Judged by the highest standards (at this price), there are slight shortfalls in outright transparency and rhythmic precision, but nothing that goes as far as spoiling the final result."

Thoughts?  :?

 

P.S. 

I really enjoyed  Rodrigo y Gabriela - Triveni. Thank you Leeps for sharing it. :wave:  

That really sums it up: With every review mag you get a different conclusion, which mirrors various tastes on this forum. One size doesn't fit all, far more important is synergy, room acoustics and, of course, personal preference.

I had Arcam A65+ for years and loved it, but that only had a 4 star rating, yet in the right system it was as good as any price compatible 5 star product.

As always, reviews are there as a pure guide and shouldn't be taken as gospel. Hi-fi/AV isn't an exact science.

Amp; CDP; Turntable; Tuner; Speakers

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

Vladimir wrote:

If this timing issue is clearly audible to an experienced listener, let alone hi-fi reviewer, why then each magazin review gets it differently?

For the Supernait WHF said it plods and times badly, in Hi-Fi Choice and Stereophile it was briliant.

Naim Supernait - 4*

"So, the Supernait is a fine performer, but it isn't flawless. It paints in broad strokes, missing out on the fine detail that the likes of Moon's I-3 RS and AVI's Lab Series integrated reveal with ease. Low-level dynamics are also downgraded, diluting the emotion in voices."

Roksan Kandy K2 BT - 4*

"There seems to be a bit of a timing issue that means notes don’t link as cohesively as they should and instruments don’t combine to create a truly unified whole.  It means the Roksan is unable to untangle the web of particularly complicated sections of music, and that leaves them sounding messier and more cluttered than they should."

Leema Pulse III - 4*

"Judged by the highest standards (at this price), there are slight shortfalls in outright transparency and rhythmic precision, but nothing that goes as far as spoiling the final result."

Thoughts?  :?

I think it is the case that a number of different things are going on here. My thoughts in my earlier posts reflect on how some amplifiers seem to to affect tempo, and that only.

Clarity, the ability to sort out complex threads, is different again, personally I think this to be caused by amplifiers failing to track small but important dynamic shifts but I have no evidence for this.

Other amplifiers seem to paint with a 'broad brush', getting the main elements of the music right but simply missing out on all the low level detail, lots of ways an amplifier can appear to sound wrong, timing is just one of them.

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

When I moved from the big HK6900 to the lightweight Pioneer A400 with my then new B&W CM1s I was amazed how much more engaging, fun and entertaiing it sounded. I was ready to forgive the uncontrolled bass, distortion, clipping and coloration to enjoy the pros. However, that honeymoon didn't last long and I wanted more.

When the K2 BT came in I felt that the Roksan didn't have the zing, the zaz, the musicality like the lighthearted A400. Everything the first 3 days was a thud, bam, plod, kapow! Too much power, superb controll of the speakers, zero distortion, a powerhouse. But no zing bb!  :pray: Bare in mind there were no reviews when I bought my K2 BT.

4 months constantly on, playing music everyday, its finally zingy and zazzy. It retains its brutish character but it improved its social skills. 

OFC I could be imagining all of this. I did a lot of speaker positioning during the "burning in".

B&W CM1 + FS-700/CM + Roksan Kandy K2 BT + Native Instruments TA2 + Commodore 64 LPSU + Audioquest Type 4

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

In other words, you should've kept the HK...!

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

Went as a gift to a dear friend who wanted to refurbish it. Smile Soundwise I like the K2 BT more than the HK and the A400 at this point.

B&W CM1 + FS-700/CM + Roksan Kandy K2 BT + Native Instruments TA2 + Commodore 64 LPSU + Audioquest Type 4

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

I have an HK6850 that's going on Ebay at some point.  Maybe this weekend.  Nice amp but the Onkyo does all I need these days.

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

Some mentionned damping factor but its not it. Tube amps have very low damping and are well timed. Damping is supposed to help control woofer throw mostly with very low sensitivity long throw woofers but that is stil debated if you read on the subject.

 

I really understood whats a bad timing after litening to a bad timing amp. My old vintage yamaha sounds slow motion. You would swear the song plays slower and I had people compare and confirm (The electronics are almost 40 years old). But sometimes I like that sound too and it can give a big wow factor to some music when your in a certain mood. So I would think at the opposite that an amp can sound faster too but I never felt that with my own 5 amps only the yamaha struck me for sounding slow. Usually when an amp sounds wrong I would blame some bad frequency response but now I know that timing is something too. 

 

I find the reviews pretty good has it often takes me months to finally make my mind on gear. The way the reviewers can point at some very tiny flaws often make me suspect they actually use precise audio analysing tools and data then just comment and omit to give the data. 

 

It think it not bs, and just suggest people to listen to a slow sounding amp side by side with a quick one level matched. It can be felt easily. 

 

 

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RE: 'Timing' (amplifiers).

I think you have mistaken WHF for Stereophile regarding measurments during reviews. WHF read the specs in the manual and play with the amp for couple of times and that is it.

B&W CM1 + FS-700/CM + Roksan Kandy K2 BT + Native Instruments TA2 + Commodore 64 LPSU + Audioquest Type 4

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