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WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

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BenLaw's picture
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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Recent venues at which I have been to see amplified music (I guess what you are referring to as a 'rock concert') include Manchester Apollo, Manchester academy and the cockpit in Leeds. Compared to my system, none of these is more transparent than my system, nor do they comparatively sound effing good. Over the years the same goes for a variety of venues and nightclubs in different UK cities and abroad. Where do you go that sounds so great?

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Maybe its all that cheap cabling  Wink

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

This is what they said with Redbook CDs. Yes, it does not contain data about 22khz, but no worries, science tells you that humans can't hear above this point.

But then CDs weren't 'perfect' after all (perfect...ha). It turns out that the third harmonic of, say, 80khz is 10khz. People can't hear the tone in a test, maybe, but LPs are still going strong 30 years later because people still perceive the analogue signal to sound more natural (even with the extra noise from vinyl).

Maybe these people are all mentally ill, or part of a conspiracy led by John and Andrew and their devious team. Or maybe the science of how people perceive complex mixes of sounds is still evolving. Maybe there are large differences, perhaps genetic, that make different people perceive sound differently (certainly this is the case with the other senses, especially vision).

If you delve into the world of DIY amplifiers, there are many articles out there for builders on how to tune the slew rate to get a faster or airier sound from your amp.

History is filled with people who are excoriated with what current science can 'prove.' Take Barry Marshall, Australian doctor who discovered that peptic ulcers were caused by a bacterial infection. He was ridiculed by the world medical establishment for a decade (despite isolating the bacterium and successfully treating hundreds of ulcer patients with antibiotics). But the medical community ALREADY KNEW that bacteria could not live in the stomach. It had been PROVEN repeatedly. How can you have a bacterial infection in a sterile environment. It isn't possible.

Well...it is possible and today, most ulcers are treated with antibiotics. Even at the time, many doctors were already using them with ulcer patients - doctors whose perception was not skewed by what they thought they knew. They saw their patients getting better and they took that data, rather than the data that said what they were clearly seeing was 'impossible.'

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

BenLaw wrote:

Recent venues at which I have been to see amplified music (I guess what you are referring to as a 'rock concert') include Manchester Apollo, Manchester academy and the cockpit in Leeds. Compared to my system, none of these is more transparent than my system, nor do they comparatively sound effing good. Over the years the same goes for a variety of venues and nightclubs in different UK cities and abroad. Where do you go that sounds so great?

Well, these days I feel like it's a brilliant night off when I manage to have a beer anywhere but indoors, so nowhere in awhile. The Borderline in London has nice sound.

Of course there are other issues in a live venue - it's too loud, too much other noise, massive back wave from the huge subs. You can tweak your system at home to be just how you want it. But if you are trying to say that recordings of this type of music sound better (or just as effing good) than live unrecorded music, then I don't believe you. You have nice kit but I really don't buy that your living room sounds better than Manchester Academy, especially with the massive sofa back between your listening position and just one of your speakers. I do accept that you can set your own system up for a better listening experience, for you, on a given day (especially with those ATC SCM 40s - love those).

Not everyone is going to agree with me since we all hear different things and have different tastes. But for newbies and neutrals, who are trying to sort this all out - I will leave it to them to decide whether recorded music or live music sounds better. I did suggest that people go see some music and decide for themselves.

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Office: A bunch of computers, Cambridge DACMagic, Naim Nait 5, DIY 11L standmounts based on Scan-Speak 15W/8530K00

On hand, testing, or selling: Pathos Logos, ProAc Response D18, B&W PV1D subwoofer, Tripath 2020-based 'Class T' amp, Single-driver speakers based on Fostex FE103EN, PMC DB1i, Boston A25, Roth OLi RA2

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:

Maybe its all that cheap cabling  Wink

beauty, eh

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Office: A bunch of computers, Cambridge DACMagic, Naim Nait 5, DIY 11L standmounts based on Scan-Speak 15W/8530K00

On hand, testing, or selling: Pathos Logos, ProAc Response D18, B&W PV1D subwoofer, Tripath 2020-based 'Class T' amp, Single-driver speakers based on Fostex FE103EN, PMC DB1i, Boston A25, Roth OLi RA2

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

CnoEvil wrote:

An amp that can't properly control the bass driver on a speaker, turns the whole bassline and drums to a sort of muddled mush...thus effecting the timing (IMO).

 

I agree, and until you've heard it or had it pointed out you may not notice it. I'd heard the term thrown around in hi-fi mags for years but never really got it, until I listed to Donald Fagens Weather in my Head (Sunken Condos), in my bathroom (Sonos amp, MA C180) it sounds ok but the bass track is mushy, in the lounge the bass track stops and starts in an instant, that IMO is timing.

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

SpursGator wrote:

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

Yes but...

I accept your argument if the jazz club has NO sound system. If it does then you're comparing their sound system in the mix as well. Might as well say "does my system sound the same as a Marshall amp into a 4x12?" or "Has my lounge got the acoustics of Ronnie Scott's?"

End of the day what matters is do you like the way your system sounds in your setting? If yes, leave it alone. If no, identify what you don't like and look for a specific solution. Arguing semantics, like resistance, is futile.

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

SpursGator wrote:

 

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.

Excellent post and spot on IMO    beauty, eh

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

visionary wrote:

Yes but...

I accept your argument if the jazz club has NO sound system. If it does then you're comparing their sound system in the mix as well. Might as well say "does my system sound the same as a Marshall amp into a 4x12?" or "Has my lounge got the acoustics of Ronnie Scott's?"

End of the day what matters is do you like the way your system sounds in your setting? If yes, leave it alone. If no, identify what you don't like and look for a specific solution. Arguing semantics, like resistance, is futile.

Sure, you might have better kit than the club. But you are still listening to (and reconstructing) a recording. A recording of an artist playing at Ronnie Scott's can't sound better than the artist playing at Ronnie Scott's. (Yeah, I too could argue against this - if I had a soundboard recording and high-end kit, it would be a very different listening experience in my small room than at Ronnie Scott's. Okay, fine, but don't overthink this. Perhaps 99.9999% of the time, and logically 100% of the time, the recording won't sound as good as the original.)

The second half of your post I absolutely agree with, Visionary. It's just that we hear a lot from people who do like the way their system sounds in their setting, who instead of proclaiming that, proclaim something very close to nothing possibly CAN sound better than my (or some other) system, and I can prove it with measurements. Your statement is solid hifi advice. The second statement is absurd.

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Office: A bunch of computers, Cambridge DACMagic, Naim Nait 5, DIY 11L standmounts based on Scan-Speak 15W/8530K00

On hand, testing, or selling: Pathos Logos, ProAc Response D18, B&W PV1D subwoofer, Tripath 2020-based 'Class T' amp, Single-driver speakers based on Fostex FE103EN, PMC DB1i, Boston A25, Roth OLi RA2

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Hi,

Were the same speakers used for the first and second testing of the Marantz amplifier ?.

The speakers have the most impact on sound (except for cartridges - they can have double digit THD at specific frequencies) - so if different speakers were used between the two tests - this may account for the lower score ? of the Marantz against the other amplifiers.

Regards,

Shadders.

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

FrankHarveyHiFi wrote:

Maybe its all that cheap cabling  Wink

 

Obviously you told a very funny joke, but seeing as I use generic pro cables in my system and generic speaker cable then I wouldn't blame the cabling in a venue. Probably similar cable also used in the recording studio.

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

SpursGator wrote:

This is what they said with Redbook CDs. Yes, it does not contain data about 22khz, but no worries, science tells you that humans can't hear above this point.

But then CDs weren't 'perfect' after all (perfect...ha). It turns out that the third harmonic of, say, 80khz is 10khz. People can't hear the tone in a test, maybe, but LPs are still going strong 30 years later because people still perceive the analogue signal to sound more natural (even with the extra noise from vinyl).

No it isn't.

The third harmonic of 80KHz is 240KHz

Both are inaudible.

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

AlmaataKZ wrote:

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.

Humans are incapable of hearing quite a lot of things that some people in HiFi would have you believe are a problem. Jitter in modern digital systems would be another example.

I have said before that anything audible is measurable, but not all that is measurable is audible. There are plenty of examples of marketing spiel that try to capitalise on the perception of a problem, simply because it can be measured. No amount of marketing can change the limitations of human hearing and some things are just not an issue, in the case of hifi, inaudible sounds.

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Overdose wrote:

Humans are incapable of hearing quite a lot of things that some people in HiFi would have you believe are a problem. Jitter in modern digital systems would be another example.

I have said before that anything audible is measurable, but not all that is measurable is audible. There are plenty of examples of marketing spiel that try to capitalise on the perception of a problem, simply because it can be measured. No amount of marketing can change the limitations of human hearing and some things are just not an issue, in the case of hifi, inaudible sounds.

Tannoy claim there is merit in having a tweeter that goes higher than human hearing, and if interested in their research, you can request their white paper on the subject: http://support.tannoy.com/entries/20608577-what-s-the-fuss-about-wideband

They are certainly not the only reputable company to believe this (Kef, AE, MA, Focal etc), so I think it's worth keeping an open mind on.

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RE: WHF review , lack of transparency? Aye

Overdose wrote:

SpursGator wrote:

This is what they said with Redbook CDs. Yes, it does not contain data about 22khz, but no worries, science tells you that humans can't hear above this point.

But then CDs weren't 'perfect' after all (perfect...ha). It turns out that the third harmonic of, say, 80khz is 10khz. People can't hear the tone in a test, maybe, but LPs are still going strong 30 years later because people still perceive the analogue signal to sound more natural (even with the extra noise from vinyl).

No it isn't.

The third harmonic of 80KHz is 240KHz

Both are inaudible.

it is 240 and 20khz, all three are inaudible. (Harmonics are both up and down the spectrum).