Have your say & ask the experts!

WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

169 replies [Last post]
MeanandGreen's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Dec 2012
Posts: 112
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Andrew Everard wrote:

moon wrote:
how can transparency be FOR in one review and in the AGAINST on reviews of the same product?

Again, though I wasn't involved in the review, to clarify: 'transparency' isn't the 'AGAINST' here: rather it says of the Marantz 'Just a shade soft and smoothed out – could do with a touch more transparency' (within the context of the test group assembled for the Group Test in question).

The way I read the test, it's simply that Rotel has raised the bar in this price-category.

Something I've always found interesting with What Hi-Fi reviews this, "the competition has raised the bar".

I wonder if products are actually revied and rated for how good they (actually are), or how well they compare with the competition. I mean there are always 5 star products in every category you can think of. Does that mean those products really are fantastic, or that they are the best from a selection at that price?

Hi-Fi technology doesn't change very rapidly, a £500 amp now will sound very much like a £500 amp 10 years ago. Yet we hear of raising the bar when newer models come out?

__________________

NAD C326BEE Amplifier, Sony CDP-XB930 CD Player, Pioneer PDR-509 CD Recorder, Arcam irDock with iPod Touch, Tannoy Mercury V4 speakers, 2x Tannoy HTS 101 subwoofers, Revolver Rack, QED/Cambridge Audio cabling throughout, Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones, Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE ear buds.

MeanandGreen's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Dec 2012
Posts: 112
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

steve_1979 wrote:

altruistic.lemon wrote:

What is this transparency anyway?

+1

I'd be interested to know what people mean when they use the word 'transparency' to describe a sound.

I would interpret this as clarity of the sound. 

Like others have said though if it sounds clear in one review it should in another, unless they don't rate products on their own true merits as mentioned in my previous post.

__________________

NAD C326BEE Amplifier, Sony CDP-XB930 CD Player, Pioneer PDR-509 CD Recorder, Arcam irDock with iPod Touch, Tannoy Mercury V4 speakers, 2x Tannoy HTS 101 subwoofers, Revolver Rack, QED/Cambridge Audio cabling throughout, Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones, Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE ear buds.

MajorFubar's picture
Offline
Joined: 3 Mar 2010
Posts: 3108
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

MeanandGreen wrote:
Hi-Fi technology doesn't change very rapidly, a £500 amp now will sound very much like a £500 amp 10 years ago. Yet we hear of raising the bar when newer models come out?
Does that include inflation, or is the assumption that the SQ really has improved so much that it's inflation-beating (rhetorical question). My PM66KI was £500 in the late 90s, and the Cyrus 2+PSX I've boxed ready to sell were also £500+ several years earlier. How much would you spend to equal them now...

__________________

Main system: Mac Mini 2011 • HRT II+ DAC • Lacie 3TB Cloudbox NAS • Marantz PM66 KI • EB Acoustics EB2

In storage: Thorens TD160 (no cart) • Cyrus 2 + PSX • Cyrus tuner • Technics SL-P777 • Marantz CD63KIS • Nakamichi DR-1

Andrew Everard's picture
Offline
Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 29118
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

MajorFubar wrote:
MeanandGreen wrote:
Hi-Fi technology doesn't change very rapidly, a £500 amp now will sound very much like a £500 amp 10 years ago. Yet we hear of raising the bar when newer models come out?

 

Does that include inflation, or is the assumption that the SQ really has improved so much that it's inflation-beating (rhetorical question). My PM66KI was £500 in the late 90s, and the Cyrus 2+PSX I've boxed ready to sell were also £500+ several years earlier. How much would you spend to equal them now...

Well, inflation calculators (at least for the UK) suggest that £500 in the mid-90s would be the equivalent of about £750 now.

__________________

Audio Editor, Gramophone

MeanandGreen's picture
Offline
Joined: 26 Dec 2012
Posts: 112
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

MajorFubar wrote:
MeanandGreen wrote:
Hi-Fi technology doesn't change very rapidly, a £500 amp now will sound very much like a £500 amp 10 years ago. Yet we hear of raising the bar when newer models come out?

 

Does that include inflation, or is the assumption that the SQ really has improved so much that it's inflation-beating (rhetorical question). My PM66KI was £500 in the late 90s, and the Cyrus 2+PSX I've boxed ready to sell were also £500+ several years earlier. How much would you spend to equal them now...

I'd look at the same price range now. A budget component 10 years ago was sub £250, that is still true today. The price sectors haven't changed.

I had a £300 NAD C350 amplifier from 12 or 13 years ago owned it since new. It has stopped working so I replaced it with a NAD C326BEE from today's range at £300. Is the new amp significantly better than the old one? No it isn't and it still slots into the same place in NAD's range that my C350 did 12 years ago.

__________________

NAD C326BEE Amplifier, Sony CDP-XB930 CD Player, Pioneer PDR-509 CD Recorder, Arcam irDock with iPod Touch, Tannoy Mercury V4 speakers, 2x Tannoy HTS 101 subwoofers, Revolver Rack, QED/Cambridge Audio cabling throughout, Sennheiser HD 518 Headphones, Beyerdynamic DTX-101iE ear buds.

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

steve_1979 wrote:

altruistic.lemon wrote:

What is this transparency anyway?

+1

I'd be interested to know what people mean when they use the word 'transparency' to describe a sound.

I'd use the term 'transparency' in the context of lack of unwanted audible artifacts in the music, so as an example distortion in speakers and jitter effects from digital components, the window analogy if you will, with no obscurities.

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

Andrew Everard's picture
Offline
Joined: 30 May 2007
Posts: 29118
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

MeanandGreen wrote:
I'd look at the same price range now. A budget component 10 years ago was sub £250, that is still true today. The price sectors haven't changed

Indeed: the hi-fi and AV sectors don't seem to do inflation.

__________________

Audio Editor, Gramophone

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

MeanandGreen wrote:

Hi-Fi technology doesn't change very rapidly, a £500 amp now will sound very much like a £500 amp 10 years ago. Yet we hear of raising the bar when newer models come out?

These glib statements of improvements are made every time a new product comes out. It's called marketing and applies to practically every consumer product out there.

Sometimes advancements are actually made in real terms, as opposed to aesthetics or a change for changes sake, but usually any improvements are rather small, so it pays to buy a previous model when a new one is announced, to get the best VFM.

 

 

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

6th.replicant wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

Covenanter wrote:

The real trouble is that the term is meaningless (as is "timing").

Chris

It's not meaningless, but you do need some sort of reference point to stop it becoming so.

Genuinely interested - please provide a (layman's) example / "reference point ".

Ta Smile

IMO. Transparancy or clarity is what you get when when anything that reduces it (transparecy) is removed ie. All types of distortion, artifacts / noise introduced by elements like poor power, jitter etc etc....Nb. the effect of a room can undo transparancy.

IMO. Well designed streamers are often more transparent than CDPs (at the same price point); some NOS Dacs (eg Audio Note) achieve it; well designed SS Class A amps can be more transparent due to the elimination of Crossover distortion; the new breed of Class D amps are looking very promising on the transparency front (Nad, Primare, Bel Canto, Devialet); certain AB amps, like Bryston.

On the speaker end, you could be looking at the Reference type monitor, like ATC, Focal, Kef Refs, B&W 800 Diamond series...also you would need to include well designed Actives here as well.

Like most other adjectives to do with describing the way hifi sounds, it's subjective...both by the person describing it and the person reading it. If benchmarks are used by the reviewer, it helps put the remarks in context and makes comparison easier. 

I seem to be waffling a bit - sorry.

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

CnoEvil wrote:

6th.replicant wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

Covenanter wrote:

The real trouble is that the term is meaningless (as is "timing").

Chris

It's not meaningless, but you do need some sort of reference point to stop it becoming so.

Genuinely interested - please provide a (layman's) example / "reference point ".

Ta Smile

IMO. Transparancy or clarity is what you get when when anything that reduces it (transparecy) is removed ie. All types of distortion, artifacts / noise introduced by elements like poor power, jitter etc etc....Nb. the effect of a room can undo transparancy.

IMO. Well designed streamers are often more transparent than CDPs (at the same price point); some NOS Dacs (eg Audio Note) achieve it; well designed SS Class A amps can be more transparent due to the elimination of Crossover distortion; the new breed of Class D amps are looking very promising on the transparency front (Nad, Primare, Bel Canto, Devialet); certain AB amps, like Bryston.

On the speaker end, you could be looking at the Reference type monitor, like ATC, Focal, Kef Refs, B&W 800 Diamond series...also you would need to include well designed Actives here as well.

Like most other adjectives to do with describing the way hifi sounds, it's subjective...both by the person describing it and the person reading it. If benchmarks are used by the reviewer, it helps put the remarks in context and makes comparison easier. 

I seem to be waffling a bit - sorry.

Not really. I'd say you were about right on the money.

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

Covenanter's picture
Offline
Joined: 20 Jul 2012
Posts: 958
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Ketan Bharadia wrote:

We judge products against similarly-priced rivals. In this case the arrival of Rotel's RA-10 has raised the bar, and shown that the Marantz could be better in certain areas.

By transparency we mean the ability of the amplifier to let the music signal through unchanged. 

That's clear enough but how do you know what the original "music signal" sounds like so that you can judge the extent of any "change"?

BTW perhaps you could explain "timing"?

Chris

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Covenanter wrote:

Ketan Bharadia wrote:

We judge products against similarly-priced rivals. In this case the arrival of Rotel's RA-10 has raised the bar, and shown that the Marantz could be better in certain areas.

By transparency we mean the ability of the amplifier to let the music signal through unchanged. 

That's clear enough but how do you know what the original "music signal" sounds like so that you can judge the extent of any "change"?

BTW perhaps you could explain "timing"?

Chris

While waiting for a reply, this might help ie. explaining the relationship between Pace, Rhythm and Timing: http://www.tnt-audio.com/edcorner/prat_e.html

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

Joined: 25 Jul 2011
Posts: 1858
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

CnoEvil wrote:

IMO. Transparancy or clarity is what you get when when anything that reduces it (transparecy) is removed ie. All types of distortion, artifacts / noise introduced by elements like poor power, jitter etc etc....Nb. the effect of a room can undo transparancy.

IMO. Well designed streamers are often more transparent than CDPs (at the same price point); some NOS Dacs (eg Audio Note) achieve it; well designed SS Class A amps can be more transparent due to the elimination of Crossover distortion; the new breed of Class D amps are looking very promising on the transparency front (Nad, Primare, Bel Canto, Devialet); certain AB amps, like Bryston.

On the speaker end, you could be looking at the Reference type monitor, like ATC, Focal, Kef Refs, B&W 800 Diamond series...also you would need to include well designed Actives here as well.

Like most other adjectives to do with describing the way hifi sounds, it's subjective...both by the person describing it and the person reading it. If benchmarks are used by the reviewer, it helps put the remarks in context and makes comparison easier. 

I seem to be waffling a bit - sorry.

Don't follow. Haven't heard an amp or any piece of gear for that matter which introduces distortion, artifacts etc.

What would be some examples?

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11410
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

altruistic.lemon wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

IMO. Transparancy or clarity is what you get when when anything that reduces it (transparecy) is removed ie. All types of distortion, artifacts / noise introduced by elements like poor power, jitter etc etc....Nb. the effect of a room can undo transparancy.

IMO. Well designed streamers are often more transparent than CDPs (at the same price point); some NOS Dacs (eg Audio Note) achieve it; well designed SS Class A amps can be more transparent due to the elimination of Crossover distortion; the new breed of Class D amps are looking very promising on the transparency front (Nad, Primare, Bel Canto, Devialet); certain AB amps, like Bryston.

On the speaker end, you could be looking at the Reference type monitor, like ATC, Focal, Kef Refs, B&W 800 Diamond series...also you would need to include well designed Actives here as well.

Like most other adjectives to do with describing the way hifi sounds, it's subjective...both by the person describing it and the person reading it. If benchmarks are used by the reviewer, it helps put the remarks in context and makes comparison easier. 

I seem to be waffling a bit - sorry.

Don't follow. Haven't heard an amp or any piece of gear for that matter which introduces distortion, artifacts etc.

What would be some examples?

I was talking about all the elements of a system, right the way through, from the quality of the mains power; the possible effects of RFI / EMI; to any problems in a digital source (like Jitter); to amps where for example, AB amps suffer crossover distortion; to all the problems associated with speakers (cabinet design, ports, crossovers etc).....all of which effect transparency, which is what I was asked.

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

Joined: 25 Jul 2011
Posts: 1858
RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Yeah, but which ones have you heard doing all this? Same with timing. does an amp really have influence on this? In fact, does any component? Can we name and shame?