You guys want transparency?
They don't come much clearer than this lot.
Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts
So if I described my Pioneer amp as "transparent, coherent and with impeccable timing", while my DAC has a "truly organic sound" what do I really mean?
I have no idea. This sounds like the start of a joke. Whats the punchline?
@ Overdose, no pictures of see through amps?
We do know that WHF does subjective reviews, not objective. It is therefoe not possible to pin anything down to a specific, measurable technical characteristic if that is one is looking for. The recent case with HDMI reviews challenge has demosntrated that.
Personally, I do not like subjective reviews, especially when they are instead of objective evaluation - because they are not of much practical use and can be misleading. If they are in addition to objective evaluation, subjective reviews can add sence, if you know the personal values of the reviewer.
System here http://www.whathifi.com/forum/your-system/my-dream-system-oh-maybe-one-day
If you truly believe that, then you've just been lucky enough to never own a cr*p amp. Feel free to browse through my back-catalogue of budget low-grade trash from the likes of JVC and Akai that I owned as a teenager in the 80s. They lit up like a Christmas tree, they had more dials and knobs than the cockpit of a 747, and at the time I thought they were the bee's knees. You'd soon change your mind.
Main gear: Mac Mini > HRT Streamer II+ > Marantz PM66 KI > Mission 794
Also cluttering-up the place:
Thorens TD160 no cartridge; Marantz CD63 mkII KI; Technics SL-P777; Cyrus 2 + PSX; Cyrus Tuner; Nakamichi DR-1
What do you want, the moon on a stick?
Here is a pic of an active speaker so tranparent that it is invisible:
new reference for amp transparency .
Yamaha RX-497 & CDX-397mk2 | Q Acoustics 2010i
I don't see what all the fuss is about.
This is just a perception of being faster, it isn't actually faster. If you counted the beats from a portion of the same track at a given time period on a loose "slow" amp, and the same on a tight "fast" amp the results would be the same, at exactly the same time.
So if "good timing" means "tight/fast" or it has good definition, I wish they would just say that. I think "timing" is the wrong word to use and it obviously is a cause for confusion.
Timing is, probably, the wrong word. It has nothing to do with the 'time' between beats on the track. When we talk about timing in hifi, there are really two quite different things we mean. One is digital timing errors, known as 'jitter,' which refers to errors in the timing of the digital signal. But with amps, we really don't mean timing.
With amps, there is the expression PRA...I mean, Precision, Rhythm, Accuracy, and Timing. Not one of these four words, taken by itself, is a decent description of what people are talking about - which is that some amps seem to bring greater 'rhythm' to the music (which is impossible literally, but that's the impression). If I do an A/B test between my Naim Nait 5 and my NAD C326, the main difference that I hear is that the Naim seems to boogie a little more - the bass feels tighter, stronger, faster....something. That quality is what people mean by timing.
Someone (I think it was Ben Law) wanted to know if this was something that can be measured. I think the answer, sort of, is yes. The specification of an amp you are asking about is called the 'slew rate' (a measure of how fast an amp recovers from the end of playing a signal. An amp designer faces many trade-offs - do not allow anyone on this forum to convince you that, somehow, all amps below a certain noise floor are basically the same (because they are relaying the recording 'perfectly'). Perfect doesn't exist. This is engineering, and all engineered products - speakers, amps, race cars, airplanes - involve making compromises.
In the case of the slew rate, it's a designer's decision. The trade off is between an amp that sounds 'fast' and an amp that has a lot of 'air.' These are subjective experiences of hearing a sound and different people hear different things. But the slew rate is real. You can find some inexpensive Japanese amps that have tons of air and sound amazing, especially with light speaker cones. Switch to something like my Naim, and suddenly it sounds more rhythmic and like the bass line has improved. Partly this is the higher current, controlling the drivers more precisely. But listen to the Naim for awhile and you start to realise that it really doesn't have much air around the vocals - you don't have the shimmer on the highs that your old Yamaha receiver has, even though you're more likely to tap your foot to the song.
This isn't mystery-hifi-review-speak, it's a design decision based on, among other things, the targeted slew rate. You could talk about this instead of timing, but WHF prefers to avoid the technical-speak. So they talk about PR*T.
(Does it really make sense to filter this word on a hifi forum?)
Digital sources: Benchmark DAC1, Cambridge DACMagic, Oppo BDP95EU
Amplifiers: McIntosh MC150, Balanced Audio Technology VK-50 SE, Pathos Logos, Naim Nait 5, NAD 326Bee
Speakers: Homebuilt based on Scan-Speak 15W/8530K00, ProAc Response D18, PMC DB1i, Boston A25, B&W PV1D subwoofer, Homebuilt based on Fostex 4" full-range drivers
Cables: QED speaker cables, Van den Hull XLR interconnects, among many others
Under construction: Tripath 2020-based class T amp, Mini-TL speakers based on Seas W15LY001 drivers
Recently sold: KEF Q300 speakers, AudioEngine D1 DAC
Thats the badger
David @Frank Harvey Hi-Fi, Coventry
Mitsubishi HC7000 / Oppo BDP103 / Audiolab 8200AP / Rotel RMB1575 / kick ass speaker system
Humans are incapable of hearing differences in slew rates of modern amplifiers as these slew rates are high enough to not affect the signal in the audio frequency range.
Whether it is reality or just perception, that's the only explanation I have
Playing devil's advocate, is there any reason why there can't be an 'audibly transparent' passive crossover?
Yes. When you feed an amplified music signal to an electronic network of soldered-together parts that tears it apart and sends parts of the signal to two different drivers with different moving masses, radiating areas, impedences, shapes, and location on a baffle, you simply are not going to get something coming out which is exactly like what you fed in. Common sense here folks.
I keep running into people on this forum who want to debate whether high-end gear is really just 'all marketing' - the accusation is that, above a certain level, everything sounds the same because it has reached some 'perfect' level of transparency, and how can it sound better than the original?
Most people here love music, so here's my advice if you are confused about transparency: Go see some live music. Go to a rock concert, at a venue bigger than a bar but no bigger than the Royal Albert Hall. Go to a jazz club that is established enough to have a big sound system. Go to a symphony. I suspect that basically everyone here has done this, but I also suspect that for some of you, it's been awhile.
Go and do this and listen to the sound:
1. This is what is meant by transparency.
2. Note how effing good it sounds.
3. Accept that your system does not sound this good and cannot and will never
Hifi is about trying to get the maximum out of:
1. A recording which is never perfect and often highly flawed
2. Source components which are recreating sound where none really exists
3. Amplifiers which ALWAYS change the sound based on decisions made by its designers
4. Speakers which cannot ever perfectly reproduce any sound.
Hifi is the art of creating a fake audible image of something that isn't really there. It will never sound 100% right! 100% right would be 100% transparent - i.e., the stereo kit disappears completely. It's every designers goal but it isn't achieveable.
So it's legitimate to judge kit on transparency, since no one is at 100%, and it's a primary design goal. At a given price level - especially 500 quid - we will be very far indeed from 100% so there is plenty of room for a new model to come in and redefine what is 'good' at that price. I don't see the knock.
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