Some interesting reads

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  • 12-26-2008, 06:08 PM
    blackraven
    Some interesting reads
  • 12-26-2008, 07:11 PM
    Feanor
    Same old
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven

    Of course, Aczel's article has been around for years. Notice he leaves himself some wriggle room in the discussion of several of the "lie" dicussions? Anyway it's Lie #9, CD treatments, that most closely bears on the SHM-CD question.

    I think a lot of people ignorantly apply analog analogies to digit technology. The actual SHM-CD producers actually only insist that the new material and techiques produce a more physically perfect CD, (more perfectly shaped and positioned dots). They do no more than imply that SHM-CDs sound better -- they leave the actual claim to the likes of the P-S critics.

    The thing is that A digital medium doesn't have to be physically perfect to produce perfect output: it only has to be good enough. Has any one measured the bit perfection with which a CD transport outputs standard vs. SHM CD signals? Has anyone measure the jitter differences between the two?? These two things can be measured; get back to me when the results are in. If SHM is more perfect at output, I'll believe it might sound better, otherwise I remain very skeptical.
  • 12-26-2008, 08:15 PM
    elapsed
    I've been debating on if I wanted to respond to these articles, but here goes.. all of my opinions here are based on my own ears, nothing more

    1. The Cable Lie - no question I've heard differences between interconnects. My only reference are Naim DIN interconnects (which are included free with Naim equipment) vs the very expensive Naim Hi-Line. The difference was not subtle, though the law of diminishing returns most certainly kicked in.

    2. The Vacuum-Tube Lie - I've only ever auditioned solid state, so I can't speak for myself. But I suspect that many who love tube find that this adds to the musical experience by not sounding so perfect and digital. There's nothing wrong with this at all, it comes down to one's taste.

    3. The Antidigital Lie - I agree that much of CD vs vinyl comes down to mastering. However the author has not taken jitter into account. 11010110 does not equal 110--101-10. Digital audio is by no means bulletproof.

    4. The Listening-Test Lie - I've never done a double-blind listening test so I can't speak to this, but I've auditioned over two dozen pre-amp, poweramp, cd player and speaker combinations over the past 3 years, many of which in the same listening room, and can attest to distinct differences between many of these pieces of equipment.

    5. The Feedback Lie - no idea

    6. The Burn-In Lie - I don't believe in equipment or cable burn-in, my system sounds great from the moment I plugged it in brand new.

    7. The Biwiring Lie - I agree with the author, bi-amping can make sense with a passive crossover, though it's my experience that this makes even more sense with an active crossover. As for Bi-wiring, I agree this is voodoo.

    8. The Power Conditioner Lie - Yes this is true with high current amps like Bryston or Naim. However then the author goes on to discuss high-priced line cords. There's no question in my mind that a power cable can make a difference in a system, especially on a source or poweramp. This has been discussed in detail already on these forums. Then the author goes on to use a horrible and pointless analogy.. "Does your car care about the hose you filled the tank with?"

    9. The CD Treatment Lie - no idea

    10. The Golden Ear Lie - I agree with the author.

    cheers,
    elapsed
  • 12-26-2008, 08:22 PM
    elapsed
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Feanor
    The thing is that A digital medium doesn't have to be physically perfect to produce perfect output: it only has to be good enough. Has any one measured the bit perfection with which a CD transport outputs standard vs. SHM CD signals? Has anyone measure the jitter differences between the two?? These two things can be measured; get back to me when the results are in. If SHM is more perfect at output, I'll believe it might sound better, otherwise I remain very skeptical.

    I was recently reading an article on CD vs Blu-spec CD, the idea being to apply a blue laser instead of a conventional infra-red laser to cut a more precise CD master with more perfect pits.

    http://www.ps3sacd.com/images/pit_red.jpg
    Conventional CD pit

    http://www.ps3sacd.com/images/pit_blue.jpg
    Blu-spec CD pit

    This technique leads to more accurate read-out of the (16-bit 44.1kHz PCM stereo) digital audio signal.

    http://www.ps3sacd.com/images/beam_profile_red.jpg
    Beam profile with a conventional CD

    http://www.ps3sacd.com/images/beam_profile_blue.jpg
    Beam profile with a Blu-spec CD

    I haven't heard this for myself, but I would strongly suspect that this would result in less jitter. Regardless, I'm happy to see that mastering techniques are improving.

    cheers,
    elapsed
  • 12-26-2008, 09:12 PM
    RoadRunner6
    BR, you're stepping on a lot of toes just daring to post such sacreligious heresy! (I happen to agree with him and I had forgotten about The Audio Critic until I saw your new thread. Don't tell anyone I said that I agree with him :D)

    I like his style and here is a partial quote from his review of the Benchmark DAC1 in 2005;


    "..........The Sound

    It should be obvious from the above discussion, at least to those familiar with The Audio Critic, that the Benchmark DAC1 has no sound of its own, transparently passing on to its output the quality of its input. Whatever sonic peculiarities may perchance be audible are due to the input signal, not the DAC1 circuit. Even if the circuit were a lot less perfect, that would still be the case. Absolute sonic transparency is a concept innocent audiophiles are uncomfortable with, believing that all audio components—CD players, preamplifiers, amplifiers, tuners, all of them—exhibit varying degrees of soundstaging, front-to-back depth, grain, air, etc. That it isn’t so, except in the case of loudspeakers, is a fact calmly accepted by professional engineers but not by the high-end pundits and high-end manufacturers, who would be out of business if the truth were to sink in universally.

    I am by now a little tired of harping on this subject but was still amused by John Atkinson’s comments on the Benchmark DAC1 in the May 2004 issue of Stereophile. John made sure to tell his readers that the Mark Levinson No. 30.6, which cost $17,500 before it was discontinued, still sounds better than the Benchmark, despite the latter’s perfect measurements. In a December 2004 followup (“2004 Editor’s Choice,” namely the Benchmark!) he adds the Theta Generation VIII ($10,000) and the Wadia 27ix ($9959) to the of-course-sounds-better list. I wonder what quality the Mark Levinson, Theta, and Wadia engineers dial into their products—above and beyond flat frequency response, low distortion, low noise, and the other usual suspects—that mysteriously makes them sound better. Maybe I should stop wondering after 28 years as an audio journalist and 57 years as an audiophile.

    ---Peter Aczel.........."

    (notice he refers to himself as an audiophile)

    Good stuff BR.

    RR6 :thumbsup:
  • 12-26-2008, 09:50 PM
    blackraven
    I made the post just for this discussion. I'm not saying I agree or disagree with any of this.

    I will say that there is a lot of high end low end equipment out there that alters the sound to try and make it more pleasing to the ears. Certainly tubes with tube bloom does this. And the fact that people believe that expensive cables make a difference in sound shows that some alteration of the signal may be happening but the manufacturers are not making us privy to what that change is.

    I'm interested in obtaining the SHM- sample CD to hear the difference myself. I own several XRCD24's and I have no doubt that they sound better that std CD's. Eastwind Imports has a sample SMH CD that I'm going to purchase for $15.

    Certainly Blu-spec CD looks interesting and promising if anything ever comes of it.
  • 12-27-2008, 06:23 AM
    Ajani
    I think the problems with Audiophilia comes down to 2 things Audiophiles tend to do:

    1) Be prejudiced - just post a thread about whether you should buy a 200 watt Rotel combo versus a 200 watt Krell integrated amp, and see how many forum members will immediately tell you that the Krell will smoke the Rotel... that there is NO comparison (despite the fact that 90% of them have never compared the two brands, much less the specific models you are interested in)...

    2) Severe exaggeration - I have no doubt that there are sonic differences between possibly all items in audio, the question is how significant the differences are... what I think DBX testing proves is not that there are no differences, but that audiophiles are prone to rampant bouts of over exaggeration about sonic differences... Krell will totally obliterate Rotel - hence in a DBX, the difference should be obvious... so when those same audiophiles take the DBX and can't tell the difference, they freak out and blame everything under the sun...

    IMO, with the exception of different brands of speakers, Audiophilia is about subtlety... So is John Atkinson correct that some overpriced Mark Levinson DAC sounds fractionally better than the Benchmark DAC1? Maybe, but unless I have money burning a hole in my pocket, I could care less....

    To me the biggest lie in Audiophilia is that you have to spend lots of money to get great sound...
  • 12-27-2008, 06:25 AM
    Feanor
    Hmmmmmmmm ...
    At one point or another in my auditioning history I have, of course, heard differences among speaker and amps, but also as I believed ...
    CDPs and DACs
    Speaker cables
    Interconnects
    Vacuum tubes of various makes and vintages
    Interconnects, analog at least
    Fuses used in speakers
    I'll admit that I've never even thought I heard difference among power cords . RFI/EMI filters, or vibration control devices, although these these are pretty dependent on the individual environment.

    What I allow -- that so many other people do not -- is that the differences I supposed I heard might have been my imagination or my mood at the time of listening.

    elapsed, contrary to you estimation of Aczel's comments, the "lie" I most disgree with is #10, that is, there are no golden ears -- I think some people do indeed hear better than others. (I'm no "golden ear" myself.)
  • 12-27-2008, 09:01 AM
    elapsed
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ajani
    just post a thread about whether you should buy a 200 watt Rotel combo versus a 200 watt Krell integrated amp, and see how many forum members will immediately tell you that the Krell will smoke the Rotel... that there is NO comparison (despite the fact that 90% of them have never compared the two brands, much less the specific models you are interested in)...

    Actually funny you made this comparison.. about two years ago I was in my final stages of auditioning systems, and had made a final choice of Paradigm Studio loudspeakers with a Rotel RSX-1057 receiver. I made the mistake of walking into another hifi store and auditioning Monitor Audio RS loudspeakers with a Rotel RA-1062 integrated, when my dealer then mentioned he had a used Krell KAV-400xi integrated on display. He swapped this in for the Rotel and I was absolutely floored, the difference was not subtle. Please excuse my level of exaggeration, but the Rotel sounded absolutely flat by contrast. I purchased the Krell on the spot. This was actually the second mistake I made that day, but that's a whole other story.

    cheers,
    elapsed
  • 12-27-2008, 09:27 AM
    blackraven
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ajani
    To me the biggest lie in Audiophilia is that you have to spend lots of money to get great sound...


    I could not have said it any better!
  • 12-27-2008, 10:22 AM
    IBSTORMIN
    My thoughts only from MY experience. I am no expert, actually just learning from alot of you.

    1. Cable lie - Don't agree. This audio expert is saying the only difference is reliability? SSooo, we should all be using the skinny RCA cables that come from the factory????.....I think NOT. I hear differences (you spent too much on Monster) but have not spent alot of money on RCA cables as there are better ways. I have a DVD player that hooks to my pre/pro with a computer DB-25 cable. When I bought the two seperate components on E-bay I had no cord. I went to a computer store and bought one for $6. It sounded better than the Blue Jeans RCA cables I had been using that cost $30. Enough said...then I got to wondering, what if I got a better quality DB-25??? Found out the computer industry doesn't use these anymore and picked up three different no name cables at a Salvation Army store for $1 each. Took them home and in A-B-C-D testing it was really hard to tell. Settled on the shortest one as slightly clearer. Yesterday I was in a Goodwill store and found a Gold pin HP cable, wondered if it might make a difference for another $1, brought it home. Tighter, more controlled bass and the treble was more pronounced and cleaner!!! BIG difference when compared to RCA. I have the option of hooking my pre/pro amp with RCA's or balanced XLR cables. Balanced XLR raises the output by 4-6 dB and is cleaner sounding than the RCA cables. There I am comparing Canare XLR with Blue Jeans RCA. According to Blue Jeans Cables Website, capacitance and inductance issues tend to rob the highs out of the music and this seems to me to be where you get the soundstage/detail from.

    2. Tube - no experience but my question to others is - when you say any component has a WARMER sound what does that mean exactly - less treble and more midrange or what?

    3. The Antidigital Lie - When CD players first came out in the 80's I got into many arguments with Best Buy types who insisted ALL CD PLAYERS SOUND THE SAME - ALL YOU DO IS BUY THE FEATURES YOU WANT - ITS DIGITAL YOU KNOW. My ears did not tell me that. My current DVD player has a Apogee Digital Clock to help with jitter. I had always heard a DVD player cannot sound as good as a dedicated CD player. This DVD player sounds better on CD's than an Integra CDC-3.4 that I had found as the best CD player I had heard before, better than a Marantz and Denon I had compared it to. The Integra is now in my offfice instead of my listening room.

    4. Listening test lie - I have never done an offficial test, just my own with no-one to impress but myself - and I CAN hear a difference. What I gather from the test results is not that they are useless, but that if they really looked at the ones that CAN repeatedly hear a difference, time after time, THEY should be the highly acclaimed experts in the field, NOT the one with the loudest voice/opinion. I think all the tests do is expose the 50% of the audio experts that no-one should listen to because they cannot hear a difference, but they don't give us those results because it would probably end some careers. After reading someones post about amplifiers not being different because all they do is amplify the sound I went down into my listening room and took my Integra M-588F (70lbs) out of my setup and substituted an inexpensive Kenwood 100 WPC (20lbs). I was surprised/amazed at how good the Kenwood sounded! But of course the DVD player and pre/pro were high end so the amp was the weak link. I put the 588 back in and WOW, now I understand what some of you are talking about when you refer to an open soundstage and almost 3D. My upgrades were gradual so I really hadn't noticed as much of a difference until now. The Kenwood sounded really good due to the quality of the signal it was receiving, but there was NO comparison between the amps in detail and soundstage.

    5. feedback lie - no idea

    6. burn in lie - haven't bought anything new in 30 years - couldn't tell ya!

    7. Bi-wiring lie - no experience

    8. power conditioner - no experience but have thought about trying. Replacing the power cord doesn't make sense to me because your wiring in the wall did not change size or output so how???.......dedicated outlet makes sense.

    9. CD treatment sounds like voodoo

    10. The Golden Ear Lie - don't agree. As I was disagreeing with most of the other opinions the "expert" had when I came to this one it pretty much answered my question about the abilities of the writer. HE can't tell a difference. From his article "Anyone without actual hearing impairment can hear what they hear, but only those with training and experience know what to make of it, how to interpret it." This is an audio expert??!! That's like saying everyone can sing the same, play a violin the same, if they just had enough training and experience. HAH!
    When I was a kid my Dad had a radio in the shed that was constantly off station and I would tune it in when I walked into the shed. My Dad could not hear a difference, my Mom and I could and his radio was like nails on a chalkboard to both of us. We couldn't believe he couldn't hear it. Tin ear is what we decided. I grew up KNOWING people had different hearing abilities. My Wife can't hear a difference but both of our kids can. Heredity. Just 'cause you can't hear a difference doesn't mean others can't. This guy is reviewing equipment and admitted HE can't hear a difference. I was tested when I was young and have almost perfect pitch. I can also hear the direction of bass, which is fun in an audio store where they think this is impossible. Case in point, my son and I went into a store, probably 15-20 years ago when Bose started pushing their little satellites with a sub. The salesman made the mistake of saying you can't tell where the bass is coming from. I looked at my son and raised my eyebrows. I already knew it was in the left front of the room and already knew he had similar abilities. He twisted his head listening and said he heard it in the left front of the room. The salesman with a jubilant "HAH!!!, I told you there was no way you could tell", ran to the right front of the room to show us the bass module. To his surprise, somone had moved it to the left front! I have no reason's to intimidate anyone in this forum as is said in his bashing of "Golden Ears". Just stating fact. I have proven to many people that I can hear differences they cannot, I have no need to impress as my good hearing is a curse. I like having music going all the time. As I have upgraded my home system, I have quit listening to CD's in my car on FORD's "Audiophile Quality" system because they just don't sound good anymore. it's a Company car I can't upgrade. (SIGH) Not to mention I now have to go back and listen to every CD I own to hear the details I can now hear with the new DB-25 cable!! Geez!

    Just the rantings of a looonatic! Thanks for reading. I'll go back to sleep now.
  • 12-27-2008, 12:46 PM
    blackraven
    IBSTORMIN, the warmer tube sound is something you have to hear for yourself. They best way that I can describe it is less digital sounding, less bright, smoother, slightly darker, possibly slightly overall more bassy sound. More like a good high quality Turntable sound but with better resolution and sound stage (although I have not heard TT's in the $2K and higher range with high end cartriges). High's can be rolled off a little depending upon the quality of the electronics. My Van Alstine Hybrid gear and even his all tube gear has more of an in between sound of solid state and tubes.

    Even adding just one tube piece of equipment (like a DAC, preamp or amp) can have a nice effect on the sound.
  • 12-27-2008, 01:09 PM
    IBSTORMIN
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    IBSTORMIN, the warmer tube sound is something you have to hear for yourself. They best way that I can describe it is less digital sounding, less bright, smoother, slightly darker, possibly slightly overall more bassy sound.

    Thanks for your response. The higher the quality of equipment I get into it seems the highs present themselves more and get clearer while the bass gets tighter and you don't seem to notice it as much (less boomy). The first time I really noticed this I bought my latest pair of speakers. At first I didn't like them, the music didn't sound like I remembered it. It took a while of A-B switching and then listening to the new ones for awhile before trying the old again to realize that I just never heard it like it was supposed to sound. The new speakers sound so much more real, I can't listen to the old ones for a long time without getting weary and wanting to go back. Then I got to wondering if the sound should be "warmer" which is why I ask. My limited experience with warm sound is from when I was playing with three CD players, an Integra, Denon and Marantz hooked to an Integra P-304/M-504 combination with blue jeans RCA's. The reason I liked the Integra is you could hear more detail, the Marantz seemed to have less highs and sounded more mellow and the Denon was kind of in between. Quality seemed about the same, just a different sound. I had always heard the Marantz line described as "warmer" and was wondering if this is what is being referred to. But then you buy wires to get more detail, which I guess is highs, so I am confused. I really have just started to get into the higher end things, after a lifetime of wanting them, in the last year or so and am learning alot from this sight.
  • 12-27-2008, 04:37 PM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by elapsed
    Actually funny you made this comparison.. about two years ago I was in my final stages of auditioning systems, and had made a final choice of Paradigm Studio loudspeakers with a Rotel RSX-1057 receiver. I made the mistake of walking into another hifi store and auditioning Monitor Audio RS loudspeakers with a Rotel RA-1062 integrated, when my dealer then mentioned he had a used Krell KAV-400xi integrated on display. He swapped this in for the Rotel and I was absolutely floored, the difference was not subtle. Please excuse my level of exaggeration, but the Rotel sounded absolutely flat by contrast. I purchased the Krell on the spot. This was actually the second mistake I made that day, but that's a whole other story.

    cheers,
    elapsed

    Hmmm... nothing wrong with you hearing a difference... my initial post is more about audiophiles claiming that the differences are huge, without even doing an audition...

    Also, the Rotel RA-1062 is a 60 watt integrated being compared to a 200 watt Krell Integrated... the power difference alone could account for the Krell sounding much better...

    So you liked a Krell/Monitor Audio combo? Interesting, that's not a combo I'd ever given any thought to....
  • 12-27-2008, 05:24 PM
    elapsed
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ajani
    Hmmm... nothing wrong with you hearing a difference... my initial post is more about audiophiles claiming that the differences are huge, without even doing an audition...

    Also, the Rotel RA-1062 is a 60 watt integrated being compared to a 200 watt Krell Integrated... the power difference alone could account for the Krell sounding much better...

    So you liked a Krell/Monitor Audio combo? Interesting, that's not a combo I'd ever given any thought to....

    Well see I made the purchase based only on the added resolution and detail I was hearing, not the musicality. The decision to buy was made in under a minute, on impulse (I can admit that the name brand had something to do with the purchase as well), and had nothing to do with the MA speakers. I then went on to purchase the speakers I now own without auditioning with the Krell, and the synergy was just awful. It was an expensive lesson! I then traded the Krell for a Naim integrated (the same one I originally auditioned my speakers with), and set myself on the right path again.

    Which takes us to another point.. more detail does not equate more musicality. I've been saying this all along on the SACD vs CD and vinyl discussion. And on top of that, it's so much easier to build a system around synergy from the ground up, you stop worrying about the equipment so much and can just relax and enjoy the music, which is what it's about in the first place! I wish I'd known these things when I first started building my system.

    cheers,
    elapsed
  • 12-28-2008, 03:39 PM
    IBSTORMIN
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by blackraven
    Even adding just one tube piece of equipment (like a DAC, preamp or amp) can have a nice effect on the sound.

    Does someone make tube CD players? I would like to start there and see if I like the sound. If so, could you recommend a few I could look for used?
  • 12-28-2008, 11:29 PM
    pixelthis
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN
    Does someone make tube CD players? I would like to start there and see if I like the sound. If so, could you recommend a few I could look for used?


    They are called "hybrids" and about the only thing the tube does is introduce harmonic distortion.
    If you replaced everything in a C.D player with tubes the resulting C.D player would
    be the size of the USS RONALD REGAN.
    Maybe bigger.
    You will have to look them up yourself, I dont waste time on nonsense.
    A "tube" C.D player is like having a Buick with a horse attached to the front.:1:
  • 12-29-2008, 08:28 AM
    02audionoob
    Not a recommendation -- just an observation
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN
    Does someone make tube CD players? I would like to start there and see if I like the sound. If so, could you recommend a few I could look for used?

    You could have a look at Jolida...

    http://www.jolida.com/catalogue/components.shtml
  • 12-29-2008, 10:10 AM
    IBSTORMIN
    And yet another irritating reply.
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by pixelthis
    They are called "hybrids" and about the only thing the tube does is introduce harmonic distortion.
    If you replaced everything in a C.D player with tubes the resulting C.D player would
    be the size of the USS RONALD REGAN.
    Maybe bigger.
    You will have to look them up yourself, I dont waste time on nonsense.
    A "tube" C.D player is like having a Buick with a horse attached to the front.:1:

    Pix, I was not asking you as I already know better. Do you know how to say anything without being caustic? You really need to either cut out the drugs.....or take more because they are not working.
  • 12-29-2008, 05:22 PM
    Ajani
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by IBSTORMIN
    Does someone make tube CD players? I would like to start there and see if I like the sound. If so, could you recommend a few I could look for used?

    I'd suggest trying something like this:

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....-X-10v3-Tube-B

    It's a cheap way to get tube sound in your system and if you don't like it, you can sell it for the price you paid for it....

    Pix is right in some sense... tube tech is old and outdated, but frankly, who cares? If you like the way they sound, then have fun... Nothing wrong with riding a horse instead of driving a car...
  • 12-29-2008, 07:41 PM
    02audionoob
    Old technology isn't necessarily outdated. Look at how old the combustion engine technology is. I don't suppose you see one of those around, anymore...oh, wait...maybe you do.
  • 12-29-2008, 08:38 PM
    IBSTORMIN
    Quote:

    Originally Posted by Ajani
    I'd suggest trying something like this:

    http://www.audiogon.com/cgi-bin/cls....-X-10v3-Tube-B

    It's a cheap way to get tube sound in your system and if you don't like it, you can sell it for the price you paid for it....

    Pix is right in some sense... tube tech is old and outdated, but frankly, who cares? If you like the way they sound, then have fun... Nothing wrong with riding a horse instead of driving a car...

    thanks for your reply Ajani. I asked what warm sound is. Blackraven described it and suggested I try and see if I liked the tube sound. i wasn't sure what to try and a really good CD player would appeal to me, and I thought it would not cost as much as a pre or amp. Bad idea I guess. Putting something in the line to change the sound just seems wrong to me when I have been trying to get the signal as clean as possible to my speakers. Am I wrong? Maybe trying a tube pre-amp would be a better idea? But then the tube pre would have to be the same quality as what I am used to, or better, or it is time wasted. Maybe staying with what I have, being happy with it, sitting and listening would be a good idea for awhile.
  • 12-29-2008, 08:57 PM
    blackraven
  • 12-29-2008, 09:33 PM
    blackraven
    IBSTORMIN, if your interested in the tube sound, consider a Van Alstine Tube preamp or DAC or even one of his hybrids. He has a 30 day return policy.
  • 12-30-2008, 01:59 AM
    RGA
    IBSTORMIN

    First with regards to tubes it is important to really get at the heart of the vocabulary out there and see if it really matches with yours. One person's neutral is another person's etchy over analytical and bright. One person's warm is another person's neutral and another person's muddy or mushy. And depending on the rest of the system it's possible to get varying results.

    I shoot for neutral and would prefer it to lean the darker side of the spectrum if it has to lean one direction - simply because a "warmer" system or "veiled" if you will will be more enjoyable to listen to for longer periods than one that perceptually screams at you - even if the owner feels it is more accurate or more neutral if it irritates the hell out of you and you leave it off then all you have is the satisfaction of believing your gear is technologically superb.

    This is why Aczel and the types don't impress me. He's not exactly the most honest guy around to begin with and was drubbed out of the high end audio community for reviewing his own stuff and when he got caught he suddenly became a raging naysayer.

    I digress. Tube amps and tube CD players should not be purchased to "warm" things up or to fix loudspeaker shortcummings or anything else. They like SS should be auditioned with complimentary gear and evaluated against a similarly priced competitor.

    My tube amp is 10 watts and it simply won't be a good match with most loudspeakers - however when it is a match, look out!

    My suggestion is to listen to a "good" High Efficient speaker with "good" SET amplification to hear what such a system can offer. I was a Bryston/Krell/Classe B&W type and I simply can't go back to that stuff. You'll find that the vast majority of SET/HE system owners all has high powered Solid State amps and big name speakers - they listened made the switch and you barely read that they ever go back.

    What specifically to try - well I would point to Audio Note because 1) I own it and know it and 2) it should sufficiently give you an idea of what some of the best tube DACs and tube amplifiers are capable of producing.

    This review is from a Bryston/PMC owner who had the top stuff from these guys. The better HE/Tube systems are not warm not analytical - they're "right" and it's hard to improve on that and very few companies get there. This fellow was in a similar boat as you http://www.audioasylum.com/reviews/O...al/345133.html

    If on the other hand you want Big power SS sounding tube amps but with less irritating grain because you have tough to drive speakers then the Grant Fidelity Rita would be a great option.