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  1. #26
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    All the tech stuff is great - CD was invented and WAS popular because it was convenient. Real Audiophiles stayed with Vinyl because it sounds better. SS came about because it was more user friendly and promised much - Real Audiophiles stayed with tubes. And it appears even audiophiles like me that grew up on CD and SS have moved to tubes and vinyl because despite their pain in the ass nature they sound so vastly superior it's not even remotely close.

    But user friendliness was why those others became popular because so few people are audiophiles. MP3 sounds much worse than CD but it is killing CD because it is far far far more convenient. So presumably anything that is more convenient and user friendly will come about and crush MP3. There is nothing really new here. At least MP3 doesn't claim perfect sound forever and lie to everyone. I am not against any of this - I have an iPod connected it up to my car cd player with XPOD and it's great - can listen to 80gigs of music in my car. That's a lot of songs - and it sounds good enough (it is a car after all) and I'm all for making convenient access to music.

    It won't replace the niche market - the niche market and Real audiophiles with the good ears kept vinyl and tubes around. But with many philes with thousands of CDs - it ain't going anywhere for at least a decade.
    Of course all the experienced audiophiles and reviewers who OWN (not just rave about) CD and/or SS Amps are not "Real audiophiles" and/or don't have good ears...

    It could never be that CD and SS have some actual strengths over Vinyl and Tubes that some persons prefer... Of course not, those persons must just be deaf fools...

  2. #27
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    That's really sad... this is what I'm getting in Jamaica:

    That is not a bad speed at all. You should love streaming and downloading!
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  3. #28
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I profoundly disagree here. There has never been a comparison of SACD and vinyl, so you cannot quantify that statement.
    I would agree. One of HP's favorite's is Howard Hanson's The Composer and His Orchestra. Having heard versions of both in his system using the Clearaudio Statement / Goldfinger and an EMM Labs CD-SA SE, I would have to say the digital version was more impressive. I haven't had a chance to visit him with the newer XD-S1 which is said to be better still. Even Madonna's Ray of Light makes the walls disappear on the EMM Labs player with his spectacular system.

    rw

  4. #29
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    If what you state is true, then why did Bernie Grundman who is perhaps the best lathe cutter on this planet state that if you are looking for accuracy, do not look towards vinyl? Apparently based on his experience, vinyl does not sound like the original masters it was cut from, and that it "colors" the sound in a way that is appealing to the ears.(complimentary distortion). It is difficult based on his words to label vinyl vastly superior in spite of the the issues with earlier digital recordings, and the relatively low resolution of redbook CD.
    Because one person does not make the decisions for the vast number of experts who design and build the best turntables and the best digital "replay" players all of which to my knowledge will tell you their best turntables "SOUND BETTER" than their best digital. Accuracy to the spec sheet is all fine and good - but the ear brain is better than any measuring device we have. Most measurements support negative feedback - a premise which is fatally flawed and the best of the best SS designers in blind sessions choose cheaper SE tube designs. If you want to throw the ears out of the equation when evaluating audio reproducers then you win the debate. If we hand select which measurements to count and which to chuck then SS and CD and SACD and newer digital wins. I choose to use ears.

    I don't want to turn this into "either or" because I am the person who has always said - "buy it all." There is a lot of music not available on vinyl and in order to listen to it you need CD. And vice versa. So buy both - buy the best your budget will allow. Some vinyl is pitiful and a good CD or SACD will better it. But I maintain that the best "sound" I have heard so far has come from vinyl/SET and not CD or Streaming or SACD. This is not to say that any given CD or SACD won't beat the tar out of the album on vinyl. It's not that every vinyl will be better than every cd. Sorry for the confusion as it seems I gave the impression in my earlier reply - had not had my coffee this morning.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    If these audiophiles really had the "good ears" then why couldn't they identify that the thing the love about vinyl is its distortions? Whether euphoric or not, it is what it is. So what you are saying is the audiophiles with the "good ears" love distortion. Does not sound like their ears are so good to me.
    I don't buy it. Euphony, second order harmonic distortion, frequency issues are problems with vinyl and Single ended amplifiers. Trouble is guys with Bryston and CD don't appear to be able to hear the "more" severe issues from negative feedback .

    In over 700 amplifier reviews Colloms noted that non negative feedback amps for example suffer some frequency issues and thus one could conclude that they are inaccurate (so what everything is), but noted

    " It was almost uncanny how this zero-feedback pairing allowed more of the natural vitality and characteristic signatures of notes to be replayed, especially their beginnings and endings. It's as if other components blur these nuances. Well, they may be nuances, but they somehow tell us so much more about the quality of the instrument and of its playing.

    Let's consider the outrageous proposition that corrective feedback is fundamentally unmusical. In my reviews, I have observed that high-feedback amplifiers---which have an inherently limited open-loop bandwidth---suffer what is commonly called "midrange glare": a hardening of and forwardness in the upper midrange. Amplifiers with wider open-loop bandwidths have less of this, or their "projection" moves up to the mid-treble. Low-bandwidth, high-feedback designs can end up sounding "dark," even significantly colored in the midrange." http://stereophile.com/reference/70/index3.html

    He also noted that most of the top SS and tube makers have been moving to lower the negative feedback. Rather than wait for the likes of Krell and Levinson and ARC and all these makers to finally figure out that zero feedback is vastly better I would rather start by listening to the makers who have already figured it out. It sounds better and it's very likely less expensive.

    I'll take frequency response issues since EVERY speaker and EVERY room will impact frequency not to mention the way the human ear and just tilting the head will effect frequency response. The added noise floor is generally not heard at the listening position with music playing. It is filtered out. Everything else in music replay is gutted by CD and SS to get rid of this noise and to flatten frequency which won't matter since the speakers are far worse than the SE amplifiers in distortion or frequency in most all cases. But because people seem to read spec sheets and don't listen to a lot of different kinds of gear they miss what it is Colloms is talking about that is lacking in SS. And CD is a similarly designed concept where error correction is similar to feedback. It is so very very apparent on leading edge and decay of instruments that it sounds "broken." Yes a Bryston or like amp have practically zero noise (I had one in my system) and it's as clear and crisp as it arguably gets. It's also completely unnatural.

  5. #30
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Feanor
    INDEED
    My performance lies between.



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  6. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    But I maintain that the best "sound" I have heard so far has come from vinyl/SET and not CD or Streaming or SACD.
    As a point of reference, exactly what systems are we comparing? Don't get me wrong - I have two vinyl playback systems and have content going back to 1969 when I started this game.

    rw

  7. #32
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    Of course all the experienced audiophiles and reviewers who OWN (not just rave about) CD and/or SS Amps are not "Real audiophiles" and/or don't have good ears...

    It could never be that CD and SS have some actual strengths over Vinyl and Tubes that some persons prefer... Of course not, those persons must just be deaf fools...
    Every audiophile/reviewer I have met that owns a premium turntable rig and a premium CD player/SACD machine has said they prefer their vinyl rig. Every single time. I have heard a few premium SACD machines and they "impress" me. But I have to agree with Bob Neill that the CD player he reviewed in the end beat one of the best SACD machines available at the time - and he has not changed the stance with the newer SACD machines. Forget vinyl - with the right cd player I am not convinced that SACD sounds better. The recording may in fact be better (which no doubt it is) but the replay devices have not been and from the consumer side of it that is what matters. Same for CD over vinyl. That said there are very very few cd players designed like the one that Bob Neil reviewed so for the larger "market" when you only have 2-3 manufacturers in the entire industry making them that way then until you have heard a better example of it you have not heard CD remotely sound the way those players reproduce CD - period. How many CD players have you heard that have no correction and no digital or analog filters. Until you have you have not heard CD reproduced in this way or IMO this good.

    I am very impressed with Linn and Meridian's Soolos. They sound far better than most CD players I have heard and offer HUGE user friendliness and convenience. And they will get better and cheaper very soon. I am ALL FOR this stuff. And it sounds better than a lot of vinyl replay systems no doubt. Still I have not heard it yet beat the best vinyl systems I have heard (though to be fair those vinyl rigs cost significantly more dollars than the likes of the Meridian/Soolos or Linn set-up). And of course vinyl is a much bigger pain in the arse. So practically speaking it may be good enough to go this route.

    I don't believe that people who have heard the best Single Ended amps and the best vinyl would choose CD or SS(of the non SE variety) would make those choices. And if so then I don't trust their hearing ability. If that sounds like I'm a pompous jerk so be it. I can't believe people can't hear what should be very bleeding obvious. Even the guys who design the best SS amplifiers in the business are moving to lowering feedback - they know it sounds better too - but it is more expensive and they can't sell measurements because they get worse. People are slaves to numbers. More Horsepower, bigger breast size, higher torque, more watts, more damping factor, more mega pixels, whatever. In themselves they don't equate to better quality.

  8. #33
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    As a point of reference, exactly what systems are we comparing? Don't get me wrong - I have two vinyl playback systems and have content going back to 1969 when I started this game.

    rw
    Here in lies a vast difficulty in making comparisons. For example the best overall sound I have heard was the new Audio Note TT3 reference player in an all Audio Note system of stupid prices. But it was the best sound I have heard. Playing back several different vinyl pieces. The DAC 5 sig at $76k connected to a Philips Pro device is also the best CD replay I have heard (both should be at these prices I grant you). The vinyl sounds better than the digital. Like it or not, RGA is a fanboy or not, the DAC 5 is widely considered to be "one of" the very best sounding players that CD is capable of. You can make arguments for others but it is without question in the "running" as the best CD reproducers available. The turntable rig sounds better and the manufacturer says the same - as did Linn with their best table bettering their digital.

    Going off brand presents far more difficulty. For instance I could take a Clearaudio or a Rega player and connect it up to my stereo and it may very well be that I could prefer an EMM Labs (which also is considered to be one of the very best in the world in designing CD replay - I know people who went from Audio Note to EMM Labs so IME it had to be outstanding and that is what I heard at CES). With the Clearaudio/Rega example they make noted players but in a mix and match set-up more and more becomes less and less controllable to get a great match. The phono stage or the preamplifier's phon stage may not be up to the task of getting all it can from the rig. It is "easier" to make the comparisons with companies that make both CD and turntables and IMO LINN, Rega, Audio Note turntables sound better than their CD and digital. Bringing in off brands then brings us to possible mismatches where anything goes. I have heard the DAC five in a non Audio Note system and it sounded pretty bad. Best I have heard to pretty bad illustrates that system matching is absolutely critical.

    So I leave it to the manufacturers - and compare the best set-ups they can muster VS the best set-ups from a vinyl front end and the latter has won the day. I realize there are "pitfalls" in this and that is why I highlight it here. It ends up always coming back to the loudspeakers because you can have a great speaker and a medium quality vinyl front end that will sound better than the best digital in the world held back by medium speakers or amplification (as was the case with the DAC 5).

    I think it is FAR harder for most of the people reading these threads to make good comparisons with top vinyl replay because very few dealers carry any of it. Or tubes or SET. People get the most experience with what is available to them. Even in a "rich" city like Vancouver there are not many dealers carrying quality vinyl replay or Single Ended amplifiers or even tube amps. Some carry one or two lines of turntables - Clearaudio(not their better ones), Rega and Project, MMF but this is not really indicative of what vinyl is all about. It scratches the surface to use a bad pun.

    Very few dealers are as good as Soundhounds in Victoria BC that has some of the best of all technologies. They carry the Linn and Meridian/soolos streaming systems and they're very very good. I have no problem with people saying they flatten CD sound - they do to many (which may be why Linn stopped making cd players). They also sell top flight CD replay in Audio Note, Meridian, and they also sell top flight vinyl, Linn, Audio Note, among others. And then the SS amps from Bryston, Classe, Musical Fidelity, McIntosh(and tube), Meridian, Sim Audio etc. And then tube amps, Audio Note, Octave, McIntosh, Wyatech, ASL. Then the variety of speakers, Quad, Magnepan, Audio Note, Meridian, Dynaudio, Paradigm, Harbeth, Sonu Faber, B&W, Paradigm, etc.

    It allows people to get a sense of what a $500 turntable is doing and a $5k or $20k turntable is doing and what a variety of different kinds of digital technologies are bringing to the table.

    Lastly I say again I am not "against" the new technologies - I would like something like the Soolos myself - not against at all - I say again I have an ipod in the car - there is a difference between what I have heard as the "best sound that I have heard" versus the practicalities of ease of use and downright price. As much as I like the TT3 I will never be able to afford it so in a sense the argument is moot anyway!
    Last edited by RGA; 05-30-2010 at 01:22 PM.

  9. #34
    Forum Regular audio amateur's Avatar
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    Check out the upload speed
    I know this doesn't count, I'm using a computer at school...


  10. #35
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by audio amateur
    Check out the upload speed
    I know this doesn't count, I'm using a computer at school...

    I must admit, I have never seen a situation where the upload speed is faster than the download speed. That is really new and unique.....
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  11. #36
    Aging Smartass
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    CD's sound better than vinyl.

    Vinyl is "warmer" and more "lifelike" than CD, and therefore better.

    Seems we've been down this road a few times before...

    I'm definitely in the CD camp, though I've got plenty of some pretty horrible sounding discs. Still, when I get something like the Mobile Fidelity CD remaster of Santana's "Abraxas" and feel as if I"m listening to the recording for the first time, then I know there's an advantage to CD's. As anyone who owns it know, the original CD of "Abraxas" is horrible.

    Likewise, the MoFi SACD remaster of Eric Clapton's "461 Ocean Boulevard" is quite an ear-opener. The original LP sounded downright lousy (I never owned the CD), but the new SACD remaster sounds markedly superior in all respects, again like listening to the album for the first time.

    So, CD's and SACD's certainly can - and do - sound better than LP's. Sometimes.

    On the other hand, when it comes to classical music, I'm a hands-down supporter of the CD or SACD format over vinyl. NO classical LP that I own comes remotely close to sounding as good as the best sounding CD's and SACD's in my collection. It will be a sad day in my household when - and if - CD's and SACD's disappear.

  12. #37
    Ajani
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Every audiophile/reviewer I have met that owns a premium turntable rig and a premium CD player/SACD machine has said they prefer their vinyl rig. Every single time.
    That doesn't necessarily mean anything; since most persons who own both a Vinyl rig and a CD/SACD Player don't spend similar amounts on them... Usually one is the main source and the other is used for more occasional duties... So both sources may be "premium" but the turntable may be far more expensive (higher quality) than the CD player... Also, a person who prefers vinyl is more likely to own both a TT and a CDP, than a person who prefers CDs. The reason being that a Vinyl fan may buy a CDP simply because he can't find a lot of music he likes on Vinyl. Whereas a CD fan can find almost anything on CD, so he has little/no incentive to own both rigs...

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I am very impressed with Linn and Meridian's Soolos. They sound far better than most CD players I have heard and offer HUGE user friendliness and convenience. And they will get better and cheaper very soon. I am ALL FOR this stuff. And it sounds better than a lot of vinyl replay systems no doubt. Still I have not heard it yet beat the best vinyl systems I have heard (though to be fair those vinyl rigs cost significantly more dollars than the likes of the Meridian/Soolos or Linn set-up). And of course vinyl is a much bigger pain in the arse. So practically speaking it may be good enough to go this route.
    There in lies a major issue I have with the belief that 'real audiohpiles' use vinyl and tubes... If we limit the discussion to State of the Art equipment then it is certainly conceivable that persons with unlimited budgets may consistently choose Vinyl and Tubes. However, that is not the reality for most audiophiles. We have to choose based on what performs best within our budget. Competent SS and digital can generally be had much cheaper than competent tubes and vinyl.

    In fact lets take this line of thought a step further: so many audiophiles show utter contempt for the iPod and claim that it has destroyed music, young persons aren't interested in sound quality and other such BS... Here's the challenge: put together a TT/Tube setup that sounds better than an MP3 player of the same price... Forget even convenience like portability (since the TT/Tube setup would fail immediately), just compare sound quality at a comparable price... And note: no nonsense like scouring A'gon for vintage TT and Tubes and then putting in 18 hours of work to repair them. New gear versus new gear (cuz if you go used, then you need to compare to a used MP3 player - which can be had for like a dollar on ebay)... For persons on a truly limited budget, there is nothing comparable to an MP3 player + it can easily be upgraded by ripping your music to lossless and buying a decent set of earbuds..

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I don't believe that people who have heard the best Single Ended amps and the best vinyl would choose CD or SS(of the non SE variety) would make those choices. And if so then I don't trust their hearing ability. If that sounds like I'm a pompous jerk so be it. I can't believe people can't hear what should be very bleeding obvious. Even the guys who design the best SS amplifiers in the business are moving to lowering feedback - they know it sounds better too - but it is more expensive and they can't sell measurements because they get worse.
    Like?

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    People are slaves to numbers. More Horsepower, bigger breast size, higher torque, more watts, more damping factor, more mega pixels, whatever. In themselves they don't equate to better quality.
    I thought we were talking about HiFi.

  13. #38
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Here in lies a vast difficulty in making comparisons.
    Do I gather correctly in this novelette that you have not compared the same recording on vinyl vs an exceptional SACD player? Why limit your choices to only companies that produce both?

  14. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I must admit, I have never seen a situation where the upload speed is faster than the download speed. That is really new and unique.....
    The IT department gets all the fun toys.

    rw

  15. #40
    M.P.S.E /AES/SMPTE member Sir Terrence the Terrible's Avatar
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    Four years of intense education on the ear/brain mechanism teaches me that our ears are the worst measuring devices. Great at determining what is good or bad sounding, but not great measurement devices.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    Because one person does not make the decisions for the vast number of experts who design and build the best turntables and the best digital "replay" players all of which to my knowledge will tell you their best turntables "SOUND BETTER" than their best digital. Accuracy to the spec sheet is all fine and good - but the ear brain is better than any measuring device we have. Most measurements support negative feedback - a premise which is fatally flawed and the best of the best SS designers in blind sessions choose cheaper SE tube designs. If you want to throw the ears out of the equation when evaluating audio reproducers then you win the debate. If we hand select which measurements to count and which to chuck then SS and CD and SACD and newer digital wins. I choose to use ears.
    He may not make decisions for turntable designers, but he does the best mastering on this planet for what those designer will play on those turntables. If he says that vinyl is not accurate, you can bet your best pair of shoes he is correct. Doug Sax, another expert mastering engineer has also said the same things that Bernie Grundman has said, so with two of the best mastering and cutting engineers saying the same thing, I basically except what they say as truth. They should know, they cut the lathe vinyl is stamped from. There assessment is not based on measurements, it is based on listening to the vinyl, digital, and the master tapes both came from. So, if the vinyl is not accurate, then no turntable on this planet will make it so, regardless of cost.

    I would like for these designers to sit and listen to the master analog tape, and compare that to what their best turntable can do with the vinyl disc. I am sure they would be very shocked at what they hear...I am sure of it!


    I don't want to turn this into "either or" because I am the person who has always said - "buy it all." There is a lot of music not available on vinyl and in order to listen to it you need CD. And vice versa. So buy both - buy the best your budget will allow. Some vinyl is pitiful and a good CD or SACD will better it. But I maintain that the best "sound" I have heard so far has come from vinyl/SET and not CD or Streaming or SACD. This is not to say that any given CD or SACD won't beat the tar out of the album on vinyl. It's not that every vinyl will be better than every cd. Sorry for the confusion as it seems I gave the impression in my earlier reply - had not had my coffee this morning.
    As an audio engineer(I am putting that cap on) the "best" sound is a subjective opinion. The most "accurate" sound on the other hand is totally objective, and excludes our personal biases. Either the end product sounds like the master, or it does not. Best for you may not be the best for me, that is the subjective personal nature of that perspective. The combination of SET and vinyl would not be an accurate representation of even a analog recording, as the amp would add its own sound onto what is already there. The vinyl is already different from the master, so its inaccuracy is already established. From your posts I gather that euphoria is more important to you than accuracy, and I am quite frankly the polar opposite of that.



    I don't buy it. Euphony, second order harmonic distortion, frequency issues are problems with vinyl and Single ended amplifiers. Trouble is guys with Bryston and CD don't appear to be able to hear the "more" severe issues from negative feedback
    I would say the issues of negative feedback are probably benign to our hearing and the issues of euphony are not. You don't really hear the issues of a negative feedback until the system becomes unstable via clipping. The only other disadvantage is that a signal goes from clean to distorted much quicker than with the gradual nature of a non feedback design. When operating normally(or in well designed amp using negative feedback) you don't hear the effects of negative feedback.

    And keep this in mind about Bryston. They have come a long way from the 4B(which is your reference), and the amps they design now would trash the 4B in terms of sound quality.

    In over 700 amplifier reviews Colloms noted that non negative feedback amps for example suffer some frequency issues and thus one could conclude that they are inaccurate (so what everything is), but noted

    " It was almost uncanny how this zero-feedback pairing allowed more of the natural vitality and characteristic signatures of notes to be replayed, especially their beginnings and endings. It's as if other components blur these nuances. Well, they may be nuances, but they somehow tell us so much more about the quality of the instrument and of its playing.
    So is he claiming that all negative feedback amps are the same? Doesn't he understand that negative feedback amps are all over the map in how much negative feedback is actually used? Could it also be that the Cary design wasn't really designed for negative feedback, and would sound worse when engaged? His quote does not really reveal anything to me..his approach is not very scientific. Take not of the comments by Ken Stevens the President of Convergent Audio Technology. He makes the exact same point I am making.

    Let's consider the outrageous proposition that corrective feedback is fundamentally unmusical. In my reviews, I have observed that high-feedback amplifiers---which have an inherently limited open-loop bandwidth---suffer what is commonly called "midrange glare": a hardening of and forwardness in the upper midrange. Amplifiers with wider open-loop bandwidths have less of this, or their "projection" moves up to the mid-treble. Low-bandwidth, high-feedback designs can end up sounding "dark," even significantly colored in the midrange." http://stereophile.com/reference/70/index3.html
    This sounds like he is just mixing all negative feedback amps into one great big mush of generalizations. What about SS amps that use low negative feedback?

    He also noted that most of the top SS and tube makers have been moving to lower the negative feedback. Rather than wait for the likes of Krell and Levinson and ARC and all these makers to finally figure out that zero feedback is vastly better I would rather start by listening to the makers who have already figured it out. It sounds better and it's very likely less expensive.
    What is better to us is more likely a combination of our own personal likes and prejudices.

    I'll take frequency response issues since EVERY speaker and EVERY room will impact frequency not to mention the way the human ear and just tilting the head will effect frequency response.
    So you will except frequency aberrations all the way through the chain? Not me! A room and a speaker can be corrected with room treatments and EQ, but an amplifier cannot. If it has frequency aberrations, you just have to live with them. I don't usually listen to music with my head tilted, so I do not think that is apart of the equation at all.



    The added noise floor is generally not heard at the listening position with music playing. It is filtered out.
    That masking occurs only as long as the music is louder than the noise. Once the music drops down near the noise floor, it becomes very audible at any distance especially with very efficient speakers. If I record music in DXD and transfer it to vinyl, the noise floor will be much higher than the DXD recording. If I use all of the dynamic range of DXD, you will certainly hear the noise floor even in the presence of low level music on vinyl. Neither vinyl or analog in general has the dynamic range of DXD, so its noise floor will be much higher than digital DXD.

    Everything else in music replay is gutted by CD and SS to get rid of this noise and to flatten frequency which won't matter since the speakers are far worse than the SE amplifiers in distortion or frequency in most all cases.
    I will give you on the frequency response, but your distortion comment I cannot. A well designed speaker will have very low distortion until you push it. A SET amp has a lot of distortion even when operating comfortably.

    But because people seem to read spec sheets and don't listen to a lot of different kinds of gear they miss what it is Colloms is talking about that is lacking in SS.
    So his opinion triumphs all?. I don't think so. His opinion reflects his likes and biases just like everyone else's do. Tubes and SET both change what is heard on the master tape, and one can argue much more than SS amps do. Both have distinct sonic characteristic which are not all the same, and the same could be said for SS designs. Not all tube designs are a like, and not all SS designs are all alike, and therefore no generalization can be attributed to either. Not all SET and tubes designs will sound better than SS designs, and not all SS designs will sound better than tubes. Blanket generalization don't sit well with me based on these facts.

    And CD is a similarly designed concept where error correction is similar to feedback.
    Error correction in digital audio is not audible. That has already been proven.

    It is so very very apparent on leading edge and decay of instruments that it sounds "broken." Yes a Bryston or like amp have practically zero noise (I had one in my system) and it's as clear and crisp as it arguably gets. It's also completely unnatural.
    I have never heard the leading edge and decay of instruments to sound broken as a result of error correction. Error correction is only necessary when an error occurs, and the process is completely inaudible. I have created burned CD discs with known digital errors, and have never heard what you describe when the error was detected and corrected by the system( a light goes on when digital correction came into play).

    Once again, your comparison between analog and digital audio is based on the CD, and not true high resolution audio. It is akin to comparing MP3 to 3" analog tape with Dolby SR, as in no real comparison. Once the sampling and bit rates go higher than CD, analog can no longer compete at any level, and at any price.

    The differences(not better or worse) between SS amps and tube and SET amps involves a lot of complicated and complex psychoacoustical related issues that cannot be defined by the generalizations that you are using. Why SET and Tube designs can sound better to some has to do with artificial things it does to the signal in reference to harmonics. The broken effect you describe with SS only occurs when the signal is pushed into distortion. If it is not, it doesn't occur. Tube and SET has even order distortion which sounds pleasant to the ear. SS designs have odd order distortions which are not pleasing to the ear, but only occur when the amp is pushed into distortion. When operating normally, this distortion is not audible to the ear. The even order harmonics of tube and SET designs is always present, and that leads to the euphoria, and the idea that it sound better. Euphoria does not equal accuracy. It is akin to sugar water as opposed to just plain water.

    I guess my best analogy to this would be my original recording is lemon water. A tube or SET playback of my recording adds sugar to this lemon water. It may taste better, but it is not the lemon water I poured.
    Last edited by Sir Terrence the Terrible; 05-31-2010 at 12:14 PM.
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  16. #41
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    That doesn't necessarily mean anything; since most persons who own both a Vinyl rig and a CD/SACD Player don't spend similar amounts on them... Usually one is the main source and the other is used for more occasional duties... So both sources may be "premium" but the turntable may be far more expensive (higher quality) than the CD player... Also, a person who prefers vinyl is more likely to own both a TT and a CDP, than a person who prefers CDs. The reason being that a Vinyl fan may buy a CDP simply because he can't find a lot of music he likes on Vinyl. Whereas a CD fan can find almost anything on CD, so he has little/no incentive to own both rigs...
    I agree with you if the audiophiles grew up on vinyl - I would say people in their mid 30s down like me that largely grew up on CD and SS would be another matter. Vinyl is making a resurgence over the last several years in sales growth (which isn't saying much) but nevertheless it is growing at almost an annual exponential rate. There are thousands of albums on vinyl that are not on CD. But of course most are back catalog. But even new artists that come out with Vinyl and CD releases often put an extra song or two on the vinyl release - I have a Jewel album that contains a couple of extra tracks. Phil Collins had different backing music on British releases on vinyl that were not on western prints. Some artists like Madonna came out with Hard Candy (yeah I know) but it included the 12 inch version of one song and also the CD for a couple bucks more than just the cd itself. There are non sound reasons to purchase vinyls like the superior cover art and often better liner notes. So I agree there are non "sonic" reasons that people buy vinyl.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    There in lies a major issue I have with the belief that 'real audiohpiles' use vinyl and tubes... If we limit the discussion to State of the Art equipment then it is certainly conceivable that persons with unlimited budgets may consistently choose Vinyl and Tubes. However, that is not the reality for most audiophiles. We have to choose based on what performs best within our budget. Competent SS and digital can generally be had much cheaper than competent tubes and vinyl.

    In fact lets take this line of thought a step further: so many audiophiles show utter contempt for the iPod and claim that it has destroyed music, young persons aren't interested in sound quality and other such BS... Here's the challenge: put together a TT/Tube setup that sounds better than an MP3 player of the same price... Forget even convenience like portability (since the TT/Tube setup would fail immediately), just compare sound quality at a comparable price... And note: no nonsense like scouring A'gon for vintage TT and Tubes and then putting in 18 hours of work to repair them. New gear versus new gear (cuz if you go used, then you need to compare to a used MP3 player - which can be had for like a dollar on ebay)... For persons on a truly limited budget, there is nothing comparable to an MP3 player + it can easily be upgraded by ripping your music to lossless and buying a decent set of earbuds..
    No argument from me - I am 100% with you. I was convinced by vinylphiles that any entry level player would beat CD at 10 times the price. You've been around on forums long enough to have read those claims. So I thought what the hell let's buy a Rega P2 (my NAD 533 was a Rega P2 made by Rega for NAD - basically it was a different colour and said NAD) same thing. And at around $500 I was not at all convinced that it, along with a very popular very highly praised Shure M97xE cartridge, was better than most any similarly priced good digital front end. Though it often showed glimpses of better sound. For instance the odd record that I had where I also owned the same CD (I have a bucket of them know as I have bought vinyl versions of most of my CD collection in part to make comparisons and in part because I want the best version of the album (whether CD or vinyl) and many are rather similar especially new vinyl that were basically digital transfers.

    To your point though I am not in the camp that says iPod has destroyed music. The iPod if you think about it is a glorified walkman. It is essentially a device to take music with you on the go. You could not put a vinyl/tube system that would compete with a walkman in the 1980s and you still can't today.

    I say again - I am not in the either or camp. I believe you should buy both if you want the best recording of the music. Some people buy 20,000 albums which to me is just silly since you are never going to listen to that many a second time through. There isn't that much music that I like. So If I am sitting with a bunch of Ray Charles or Johnny Cash, or whoever albums I want the ones that sound the best. If it sounds better on CD great, if it sounds better on vinyl great - that's the one I want to listen to. Or if there are singles available on vinyl for DJs that never came about on CD or vice versa that is interesting as well.

    The definition of competent is subjective. I consider the Sugden A21a to be the entry point of "good" sound. Sound that I could live with over the long haul on a budget. It's $2,500+. Someone might consider a Bryston Preamp and Bryston 4BSSt to be good - I think it brittle crap and it's no wonder why so much music sounds so bad - the engineers use this terrible sounding gear to record stuff with. Uggh. Any engineer using it has lousy hearing period end of discussion. So anyone calling them experts has no clue.

    Vinyl is an expensive proposition - the tables and arms and carts of quality you're probably looking at the $1,500. On the flip side used vinyl is cheap. But so are CD's - pawn shops sell them 5 for $10. Mp3 is free with bittorent in Canada(legal) and America - if you don't get caught you're fine.

  17. #42
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    Do I gather correctly in this novelette that you have not compared the same recording on vinyl vs an exceptional SACD player? Why limit your choices to only companies that produce both?
    I did auditions years back when SACD was fairly new. It didn't impress me in itself on any recording nor did it a couple years ago. While vinyl on the same system of the same recordings did. My only issues was that some of the music was foreign to me because SACD had at those times limited selections. The SACD in these cases were Sony's best players. So I don't know how you would rank Sony at SACD. Their top of the line machines seem to be fairly well regarded at those times however.

  18. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I did auditions years back when SACD was fairly new. It didn't impress me in itself on any recording nor did it a couple years ago. While vinyl on the same system of the same recordings did.
    On what systems did you actually compare the same recording on vinyl vs. SACD?

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    My only issues was that some of the music was foreign to me because SACD had at those times limited selections.
    That would be a definite problem.

    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    The SACD in these cases were Sony's best players. So I don't know how you would rank Sony at SACD.
    Not very highly.

    rw

  19. #44
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    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Four years of intense education on the ear/brain mechanism teaches me that our ears are the worst measuring devices. Great at determining what is good or bad sounding, but not great measurement devices.
    Agree, and measurements are not good at determining what is good or bad sounding - zero ability in fact.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    He may not make decisions for turntable designers, but he does the best mastering on this planet for what those designer will play on those turntables. If he says that vinyl is not accurate, you can bet your best pair of shoes he is correct. Doug Sax, another expert mastering engineer has also said the same things that Bernie Grundman has said, so with two of the best mastering and cutting engineers saying the same thing, I basically except what they say as truth. They should know, they cut the lathe vinyl is stamped from. There assessment is not based on measurements, it is based on listening to the vinyl, digital, and the master tapes both came from. So, if the vinyl is not accurate, then no turntable on this planet will make it so, regardless of cost.

    I would like for these designers to sit and listen to the master analog tape, and compare that to what their best turntable can do with the vinyl disc. I am sure they would be very shocked at what they hear...I am sure of it!
    Some of these turntables are better than cutting machines. Audio Note is in possession of a great number of master tapes, they cut vinyl, and their top turntable takes the cutting lathe to new heights. It is beyond what is used to cut records.

    An important aspect here is the word Accuracy. Crap word. Nothing in audio is accurate and terms like "more accurate" is also dubious unless you have a 100% perfectly accurate solution that you can look to as a basis then you have zippo. Trying to be more accurate to a solution when nobody has the solution to compare how close you got is idiotic. And throwing numbers around and saying well this stereo has flatter response so it is more accurate is also dubious. And it has to match with what is actually heard. For instance a speaker with a 5db dip at 40hz and a 15db dip at 19khz with 3% distortion is technically less accurate than a speaker with a 2db rise at 2khz and 2db rise at 10khz with .05% distortion but the latter may drive everyone listening to it screaming from the room because they sound terribly fatiguing.

    You can put 100 top of the field loudspeaker designers with engineer cum laudi degrees in a room and you can't even get them to agree on whether the speaker should be omni-directional, Transmission line, horn, panel, single driver etc. Trust the experts?

    I certainly won't argue the technical merits for CD versus vinyl - I am not an engineer but I know enough that the technical merits heavily favour CD. Same with SS and Tube. SACD to CD. The fact that that is completely irrelevant is the issue. As with most things it needs to be addressed in the audibility spectrum.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible

    As an audio engineer(I am putting that cap on) the "best" sound is a subjective opinion. The most "accurate" sound on the other hand is totally objective, and excludes our personal biases. Either the end product sounds like the master, or it does not. Best for you may not be the best for me, that is the subjective personal nature of that perspective. The combination of SET and vinyl would not be an accurate representation of even a analog recording, as the amp would add its own sound onto what is already there. The vinyl is already different from the master, so its inaccuracy is already established. From your posts I gather that euphoria is more important to you than accuracy, and I am quite frankly the polar opposite of that.
    The point Colloms made - and by the way there is no one better on the planet in audio engineering than him. No one said vinyl or SET was accurate. That however doesn't mean CD or SS is more accurate. It simply means that some numbers are technically more accurate and some numbers that most SS CD makers rarely publish are glossed over. marketing is a bigger aspect than science and when the science comes from the large "sellers" then science is corrupted. Americans unfortunately have a tough time accepting the notion of a conflict of interest and just believe whatever a biog corporation tells them.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible


    I would say the issues of negative feedback are probably benign to our hearing and the issues of euphony are not. You don't really hear the issues of a negative feedback until the system becomes unstable via clipping. The only other disadvantage is that a signal goes from clean to distorted much quicker than with the gradual nature of a non feedback design. When operating normally(or in well designed amp using negative feedback) you don't hear the effects of negative feedback.
    You might say it but it isn't the case according to blind level matched auditions. Even if we just stay with SS - in the blind level matched auditions held at Hi-Fi Choice the Single Ended zero feedback Sugden A21a was chosen by the entire panel over every other SS amplifier in their tests. Colloms has noted the same thing with all of the major established Big Boys moving to lower their feedback. They know as well - but they have to "get there." All of these engineers know how to make an amplifier that exhibits astounding technical specifications. Good sound comes from quality listening and to make decisions that may "unpretty" the spec sheet but decide that it sounds better and NOT make the pure marketing decisions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible

    And keep this in mind about Bryston. They have come a long way from the 4B(which is your reference), and the amps they design now would trash the 4B in terms of sound quality.
    You see now your argument makes no sense. NOBODY in a Double blind test will tell the difference between a 4B NRB and a 28b SST - NOBODY. The difference is at best subtle. The numbers of the original Brystons were Staggeringly good and so are the new ones. My dealer has sold Bryston for years and work with Bryston day in and day out for years listening to every match-up they can. Not one of the people working there actually own it in their own homes. And they carry the SST line-up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    So is he claiming that all negative feedback amps are the same? Doesn't he understand that negative feedback amps are all over the map in how much negative feedback is actually used? Could it also be that the Cary design wasn't really designed for negative feedback, and would sound worse when engaged?
    Why not read the whole article. Colloms is an engineer - he was the technical editor of most of the Audio Magazines out there - he measured ALL those amplifiers in great nauseating detail. I think he makes it pretty clear and unlike every other reviewer on the planet has auditioned, and measured, all of the best of them. The correlational factor seems to me to be that "in general" the amps that used less feedback (which he measures) sound better. That doesn't mean that any given amp won't beat any other given amp. Correlations are not absolutes their correlations that will have exceptions.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible

    This sounds like he is just mixing all negative feedback amps into one great big mush of generalizations. What about SS amps that use low negative feedback?
    He is not talking about Tubes versus SS he is talking about negative feedback - that indicates to me he is talking about it regardless of whether there are tubes. In fact he does say that in the article which is why he notes that the likes of Krell and Mark Levinson when they make "better" sounding amps they tend to have lower feedback and they don't make tube amps.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible


    What is better to us is more likely a combination of our own personal likes and prejudices.
    Look I agree - there are tons of reasons to like one thing over another. However, the vast majority of people who debate these things have not IMO heard the best examples of the technology. Listening to a Rega P3 is not indicative of what vinyl is remotely capable of. Nor is Clearaudio Emotion. They're mediocre examples. Tubes are a little more common but most people listen to one or two of the mainstream brands - which may or may not be very good. I find Cary for example to be sweet but drive shy. A person listening to that will say - nice midrange but not much else and rather mushy sounding. Right they say - that's SET and make a value judgment on the entire technology. I have directly compared two $1300 EL 34 tube based amps with the same preamp and power amp tubes. The Jolida 302B and the Antique Sound Labs AQ 1003 DT. Same price same tube type similar power - completely different sounding amplifiers. Not even REMOTELY in the same ballpark. The Jolida is dark and warm and a little thick sounding. The ASL is fast open and thinner (a little SS like). Depending on which one a person tries their view of tube amps can be wildly different.

    SS amplifiers of big power and damping factors and feedback are not wildly different (not enough to really wow me). If you think there is a big difference between the Bryston models then SET amp differences are at least 100,000 times more different. The Grant Fidelity Rita will blow you into next week with all that speed and crackling reserve power anyone could want. And this from a guy who used Bryston in the recording studio for decades. And the Rita is built way the hell better than any Bryston.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible

    So you will except frequency aberrations all the way through the chain? Not me! A room and a speaker can be corrected with room treatments and EQ, but an amplifier cannot. If it has frequency aberrations, you just have to live with them. I don't usually listen to music with my head tilted, so I do not think that is apart of the equation at all.
    No because you will accept all the added low grade switches that impact sound with the use of Equalizers. If you think you can hear a difference between a 4b and a 4NRB and you can't hear what adding artificial frequency correctors are doing then I don't get it. The frequency response issues we're talking about is 2db down at 20khz or -.5 db at 23hz. Big deal. Sure if you are using badly matched speaker SETs have issues - but hard to drive loudspeakers are BAD loudspeaker designs so who cares about not driving bad loudspeaker designs? I'd rather avoid those at the outset.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible

    I will give you on the frequency response, but your distortion comment I cannot. A well designed speaker will have very low distortion until you push it. A SET amp has a lot of distortion even when operating comfortably.
    SS feedback amplifiers are measured at full power where their distortion is best - they perform very badly at the point of first entry (some mistakingly call the first watt). The error (distortion) begins and is fedback and the distorted sound runs through the circuits over and over - makes the graphs look like same in same out - it is a FACT that they are not. SET amps perform their best at the point of entry and at their lowest power figures. They distort as the volume goes up but again if you have very very easy to drive speakers you will NEVER push these amps to audible distortion.

    Consider your own premise. A High efficiency speaker system SHOULD in theory reveal far more NOISE than any LE loudspeaker. And SET amps have the HIGHEST rated distortion (and so do Audio Note CD players for that matter) - so in THEORY, a very high efficiency horn system would let you hear all that awful noise more readily than any other kind of system. No one would EVER connect such high distorting CD players and ADD to that high distorting SET amps to such speakers - and that is precisely what they do and they don't exhibit high noise. At full power SETs stink. At the point of entry they are very very low. Guess where the industry measures - full power - to put SS in the best possible light and SET and tubes and SE SS amps in the worst possible light. They are selling numbers.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible

    So his opinion triumphs all?. I don't think so. His opinion reflects his likes and biases just like everyone else's do. Tubes and SET both change what is heard on the master tape, and one can argue much more than SS amps do. Both have distinct sonic characteristic which are not all the same, and the same could be said for SS designs. Not all tube designs are a like, and not all SS designs are all alike, and therefore no generalization can be attributed to either. Not all SET and tubes designs will sound better than SS designs, and not all SS designs will sound better than tubes. Blanket generalization don't sit well with me based on these facts.
    I agree, I like the Sugden SS amplifier more than I like the Jolida or the ASL tube amps mentioned above. I recently reviewed a tube hybrid power amp - that in some respects deifies placement into either camp. Remember I am not saying that one is better than the other I am just saying that the absolute best system I have heard is from a SET vinyl rig. That does NOT mean that every SET vinyl rig won't be beat or even at the same prices or different makes etc. And the one system I hold in that spot is priced such that it is largely moot. A bughatti is better than any car in my price class - but that is moot since what I can afford forces me to make another choice.

    Take the Soolos system - I am FAR more likely to be able to afford this than the SET/Vinyl rig I heard. And I would be happy as all get out with it.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible

    I have never heard the leading edge and decay of instruments to sound broken as a result of error correction. Error correction is only necessary when an error occurs, and the process is completely inaudible. I have created burned CD discs with known digital errors, and have never heard what you describe when the error was detected and corrected by the system( a light goes on when digital correction came into play).
    There are several aspects here to be clear. Only one aspect of the Audio Note CD player is that it has no error correction. remember the others are no filtering, tube output stage, and zero oversampling. These in tandem is what is being discussed. Only the manufacturer would be able to say which has more and less impact on the resulting sound.


    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    Once again, your comparison between analog and digital audio is based on the CD, and not true high resolution audio. It is akin to comparing MP3 to 3" analog tape with Dolby SR, as in no real comparison. Once the sampling and bit rates go higher than CD, analog can no longer compete at any level, and at any price.
    That may be true. I would need to hear it in my system. Can you recommend a commercial playback system. The Meridian Soolos doesn't sound as good as my turntable or the CD player I am reviewing - is there something you know of that is considerably better than that set-up.

    Quote Originally Posted by Sir Terrence the Terrible
    I guess my best analogy to this would be my original recording is lemon water. A tube or SET playback of my recording adds sugar to this lemon water. It may taste better, but it is not the lemon water I poured.
    I just think you give far too much credit to Solid State that is giving you the Lemon Water. If it truly did give you exactly the lemon water you claim it does then why would the new SST version be "more perfect" that you claimed the first version gave you. perfect sound forever keeps adding to the perfection? Huh?

    Some SETs will add sugar some will add a grain of it and some will add 5 spoonfuls. I think I would agree that SETs and tubes and turntables are much bigger offenders at deviating that SS and CD. But then that is why nobody can tell the difference between a $1,000 NAD and an $18,000 Bryston or $30,000 Krell, or tell the difference between a $600 CD player and $20,000 CD player in blind tests. The truth is this stuff sounds a lot more similar than it should given the price differences. Meanwhile, stick and Audio Note CD player in against anyone else and you'll hear the difference in blind tests. SETs - most of them ditto. Good or bad preferable or not, at least there are REAL audible differences between a SET, turntable rigs, and unique CD players.

  20. #45
    RGA
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    Quote Originally Posted by E-Stat
    On what systems did you actually compare the same recording on vinyl vs. SACD?

    The SACD comparison was Martin Logan 2chanel and surround sound with Bryston and EAD and a Linn LP 12. CD player was Cal Labs

    I suppose the problem though is that I first have to "like" the sound of SACD in order to bother with spending huge amounts of time with it. I am currently reviewing a $3500 cd player - If you know of a dedicated SACD machine that you feel would better it perhaps I can bring some in to compare. I already have a few top recorded SACD/CD discs in my collection from IsoMike. My turntable rig is in the $5k price range so I could easily get albums of all three. I have numerous albums already on vinyl and CD so buying the SACD version would not be a big deal. It might be kind of fun to do this this summer.

    If possible recommend a few SACD players in the $2k-7k range just in case I can't get some from certain makes. I will keep an open mind.

  21. #46
    Music Junkie E-Stat's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I suppose the problem though is that I first have to "like" the sound of SACD in order to bother with spending huge amounts of time with it.
    I think you'll find that high resolution digital can be quite good. You really need to hear an EMM Labs player to fully understand that which it is capable. A used CD-SA can be found in the $7k range.

    rw

  22. #47
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    Quote Originally Posted by RGA
    I just think you give far too much credit to Solid State that is giving you the Lemon Water. If it truly did give you exactly the lemon water you claim it does then why would the new SST version be "more perfect" that you claimed the first version gave you. perfect sound forever keeps adding to the perfection? Huh?

    Some SETs will add sugar some will add a grain of it and some will add 5 spoonfuls. I think I would agree that SETs and tubes and turntables are much bigger offenders at deviating that SS and CD. But then that is why nobody can tell the difference between a $1,000 NAD and an $18,000 Bryston or $30,000 Krell, or tell the difference between a $600 CD player and $20,000 CD player in blind tests. The truth is this stuff sounds a lot more similar than it should given the price differences. Meanwhile, stick and Audio Note CD player in against anyone else and you'll hear the difference in blind tests. SETs - most of them ditto. Good or bad preferable or not, at least there are REAL audible differences between a SET, turntable rigs, and unique CD players.
    I think the sonic similarities between SS and CD are actually evidence that they are indeed far more accurate than Vinyl and Tubes... If any tube amp can sound completely different from another (even in the same price range) while all SS amps sound so similar (regardless of price) then clearly the tube amps are causing all manner of distortions to the original sound...

    Line up 10 witnesses of an accident: if all 10 give very similar accounts of the event then you have great confidence of what happened. While if all 10 have wildly different stories then clearly you can have no confidence of what really happened...

    Now whether SS and CD manufacturers are ripping you off by selling very expensive gear that doesn't sound substantially different from cheaper gear, or previous models, is another story entirely... But that is not a reason to buy Tubes or Analog; just because each manufacturer will give you their own distorted version of the musical event...

    NOTE: I have no issues with persons desire to buy tubes or analog - buy whatever sound good to you is my belief...

  23. #48
    Vinyl Fundamentalist Forums Moderator poppachubby's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    then clearly the tube amps are causing all manner of distortions to the original sound...
    Huh? Class A tube amps generally have ZERO distortion. I think that's been the hook of Rich's point. He is discussing how similar topologies can have different sounding output.

  24. #49
    Shostakovich fan Feanor's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by poppachubby
    Huh? Class A tube amps generally have ZERO distortion. I think that's been the hook of Rich's point. He is discussing how similar topologies can have different sounding output.
    Say what? That is nonsense.

  25. #50
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ajani
    while all SS amps sound so similar (regardless of price)...
    We must be hearing different SS amps.

    rw

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