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Amplifier output varies in terms of source any resolution?

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Anonymous
July 30, 2005 5:15:52 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

The similarly-titled thread about CD output has been moderately
interesting, but for me personally less so than I imagine for many
people, for two reasons:

i) most of my listening is to vinyl and tape, CDs come a poor third,
and I can't say I've noticed any significant variation in output
amongst the CDs that I do play

ii) on the other hand, I /do/ notice a huge discrepancy between the
output of my amp (Cambridge Audio 340A) when playing a CD and the
output when playing tape or vinyl. By which I mean that on the 0-10
scale of my volume control, to achieve the same subjective volume that
I typically want, I have to use a setting of only say 2 for CDs
compared to say 5-6 for tape or vinyl.

I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
up" the CD output.

Is this true, or is there more to it than this?
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 5:15:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

That's silly. The only difference is that the phono stage has lower
gain than your pickup needs to give equal output.

Kal


On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 13:15:52 GMT, andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk (Andy
Spragg) wrote:

>The similarly-titled thread about CD output has been moderately
>interesting, but for me personally less so than I imagine for many
>people, for two reasons:
>
>i) most of my listening is to vinyl and tape, CDs come a poor third,
>and I can't say I've noticed any significant variation in output
>amongst the CDs that I do play
>
>ii) on the other hand, I /do/ notice a huge discrepancy between the
>output of my amp (Cambridge Audio 340A) when playing a CD and the
>output when playing tape or vinyl. By which I mean that on the 0-10
>scale of my volume control, to achieve the same subjective volume that
>I typically want, I have to use a setting of only say 2 for CDs
>compared to say 5-6 for tape or vinyl.
>
>I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
>with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
>uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
>people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
>up" the CD output.
>
>Is this true, or is there more to it than this?
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 5:15:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Andy Spragg" wrote ...
> The similarly-titled thread about CD output has been moderately
> interesting, but for me personally less so than I imagine for many
> people, for two reasons:
>
> i) most of my listening is to vinyl and tape, CDs come a poor third,
> and I can't say I've noticed any significant variation in output
> amongst the CDs that I do play
>
> ii) on the other hand, I /do/ notice a huge discrepancy between the
> output of my amp (Cambridge Audio 340A) when playing a CD and the
> output when playing tape or vinyl. By which I mean that on the 0-10
> scale of my volume control, to achieve the same subjective volume that
> I typically want, I have to use a setting of only say 2 for CDs
> compared to say 5-6 for tape or vinyl.
>
> I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
> with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
> uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
> people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
> up" the CD output.
>
> Is this true, or is there more to it than this?

My characterization would be that there is LESS to it
than all that.

Most likely is that your CD player simply has a higher
output voltage than your tape deck or the phono preamp.
Given the relative age/era of the equipment this doesn't
seem very surprising to me.

If you find adjusting the knob tedious, you could put an
attenuator ("pad") between the CD player and the input
to your amplifier. If you make it yourself it might cost
10GBP if you use expensive connectors. The four resistors
may even cost as much as 20 pence each.
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 10:29:18 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

In article <1122729348.f69bb0f6467fa8cbfd5066d848ce9276@teranews>,
Andy Spragg <andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk> wrote:
>
>I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
>with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
>uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
>people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
>up" the CD output.
>
>Is this true, or is there more to it than this?

Utter shite. Whoever claimed that should not be listened to.
The level differences are due to the CD player outputs being hotter
than the nominal input level on your amp. Before you ask, the gear
is not in any danger.


Francois.
Anonymous
July 30, 2005 11:43:07 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

>>ii) on the other hand, I /do/ notice a huge discrepancy between the
>output of my amp (Cambridge Audio 340A) when playing a CD and the
>output when playing tape or vinyl. By which I mean that on the 0-10
>scale of my volume control, to achieve the same subjective volume that
>I typically want, I have to use a setting of only say 2 for CDs
>compared to say 5-6 for tape or vinyl.
>
>I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
>with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
>uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
>people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
>up" the CD output.
>
>Is this true, or is there more to it than this?

No, there's rather less :-) CD players tend to have higher output
levels than other audio sources.
Anonymous
July 31, 2005 11:05:23 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Andy Spragg" <andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk> wrote in
message
news:1122729348.f69bb0f6467fa8cbfd5066d848ce9276@teranews

> The similarly-titled thread about CD output has been
> moderately interesting, but for me personally less so
> than I imagine for many people, for two reasons:

> i) most of my listening is to vinyl and tape, CDs come a
> poor third, and I can't say I've noticed any significant
> variation in output amongst the CDs that I do play.

From this I conclude that you are either deaf or are
trolling or both. The CD format is the best-sounding and
most exact format in general use. LPs and analog tapes at
best are rough approximations of recordings. I presume that
you've lost enough high frequency sensitivity in your ears
that you can't hear the steady audible noise in analog tapes
and LPs.

> ii) on the other hand, I /do/ notice a huge discrepancy
> between the output of my amp (Cambridge Audio 340A) when
> playing a CD and the output when playing tape or vinyl.
> By which I mean that on the 0-10 scale of my volume
> control, to achieve the same subjective volume that I
> typically want, I have to use a setting of only say 2 for
> CDs compared to say 5-6 for tape or vinyl.

It's well-known that CD players as a rule have higher output
than most other audio components. Since the CD format has
vastly greater dynamic range than LP or analog tape, they
need to have higher output to keep their noise level out of
the mud.

> I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice
> before someone with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally
> told me that it's not an uncommon thing for manufacturers
> to do.

Virtually every CD player ever made has a full-output
voltage of 2 volts or more. Tuners have outputs of 1 volt or
less. LP playback is a bit more difficult to characterize
because usually an internal preamp is involved. Consumer
tape machines generally have outputs of 1 volt or less.

>On the assumption that most people these days will
> be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big up" the
> CD output.

This whole discussion is very naive because it does not
differentiate between the capabilities of various media as
compared to how they are used. When the CD format was
introduced it was well-known that it had the potential for
vastly better frequency response (accuracy of timbre) and
dynamic range (accurate handling of loud and soft passages).
Whereas LP and analog tape have clearly irresolvable clearly
audible problems with both.

For example, prior to the CD format it was common to
compress or otherwise attenuate peak levels to avoid mushy
sounds with tapes, and shattering or gritty sound with LPs.
In essence, the greater inherent dynamic range of the CD
format enabled peak levels such as during crescendoes to
finally be presented to the listener without further
manipulation, while presenting the softest passages without
audible hiss in the same recording.

Since higher peaks were possible, it was decided to design
CD players so that their highest output levels were as a
rule higher than those that were then common with LP and
tape players.

However, just because a format is capable of higher dynamic
range, there's no guarantee that it is actually exploited
during the production process. Today it is common to make
recordings that have virtually no dynamic range. When played
on a CD player, they merely sound louder.

>is true, or is there more to it than this?

Given how much hearing acuity you've obviously lost based on
your preference for highly substandard media, I don't know
why you worry about what you hear.
Anonymous
July 31, 2005 7:10:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Kalman Rubinson" <kr4@nyu.edu> wrote in message
news:0m1ne1h8r3u5hg5rdd6n2gf0atrgp7dssg@4ax.com...
> On Sat, 30 Jul 2005 13:15:52 GMT, andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk (Andy
> Spragg) wrote:
> >ii) on the other hand, I /do/ notice a huge discrepancy between the
> >output of my amp (Cambridge Audio 340A) when playing a CD and the
> >output when playing tape or vinyl. By which I mean that on the 0-10
> >scale of my volume control, to achieve the same subjective volume that
> >I typically want, I have to use a setting of only say 2 for CDs
> >compared to say 5-6 for tape or vinyl.
> >
> >I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
> >with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
> >uncommon thing for manufacturers to do.

Wow, the sales droids must have been *really* stupid if they gave you a
replacement for the same non existent fault, TWICE!

>On the assumption that most
> >people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
> >up" the CD output.

> That's silly. The only difference is that the phono stage has lower
> gain than your pickup needs to give equal output.

In fact it is all due to the CD "standard" output of 2V for Dfs. This was
adopted at the very beginning to allow for the extra dynamic range of CD.
The analog "standard" was usually 0.775V.
Unfortunately the loudness "wars" between mastering engineers means that
most CD's have less dynamic range than the old vinyl, and it is compressed
right up to the maximum level. So CD will always be louder than analog, at
the same volume control setting.
Some CD players have adjustable output level, if yours doesn't then you can
either use the volume control as you already do, or add an attenuator in the
CD player o/p to amplifier i/p connection.

Many amps also have an attenuator built in for volume reduction, like
answering the phone. This can be useful for getting better volume control
precision with CD at low levels. However it can cause problems if you forget
and turn it off with the volume control well up.

MrT.
Anonymous
August 1, 2005 2:12:13 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Andy Spragg" <andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk> wrote in message
news:1122729348.f69bb0f6467fa8cbfd5066d848ce9276@teranews...
>
> I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
> with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
> uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
> people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
> up" the CD output.
>
> Is this true, or is there more to it than this?

Well, you could check for yourself, by connecting your tape deck to the
amplifier's CD inputs, and your CD player to the amplifier's tape inputs.
This will show you whether the difference in volume is caused by the
amplifier, or by differences in output levels of the CD player and tape
machine.

I am confident you'll find the difference is that the CD player and and tape
machine have different output levels; it's nothing to do with the
amplifier.

Tim
Anonymous
August 1, 2005 3:24:25 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 07:05:23 -0400, "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com>
wrote:

>Virtually every CD player ever made has a full-output
>voltage of 2 volts or more. Tuners have outputs of 1 volt or
>less. LP playback is a bit more difficult to characterize
>because usually an internal preamp is involved. Consumer
>tape machines generally have outputs of 1 volt or less.

And I often wonder if some criticisms of CD as being harsh sounding
are caused by poor headroom on the amplifier's inputs.

Professional audio knows that correct gain structure is the key to
quality recording and playback. But even the most expensive
audiophool gear seems to admit no concept of this.
Anonymous
August 1, 2005 3:24:26 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Laurence Payne" <lpayne1NOSPAM@dsl.pipexSPAMTRAP.com>
wrote in message
news:nptre1d90k18rn9cikfi0r8s91dnp1s2mu@4ax.com
> On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 07:05:23 -0400, "Arny Krueger"
> <arnyk@hotpop.com> wrote:
>
>> Virtually every CD player ever made has a full-output
>> voltage of 2 volts or more. Tuners have outputs of 1
>> volt or less. LP playback is a bit more difficult to
>> characterize because usually an internal preamp is
>> involved. Consumer tape machines generally have outputs
>> of 1 volt or less.
>
> And I often wonder if some criticisms of CD as being
> harsh sounding are caused by poor headroom on the
> amplifier's inputs.

Possible in some cases.

> Professional audio knows that correct gain structure is
> the key to quality recording and playback. But even the
> most expensive audiophool gear seems to admit no concept
> of this.

Most audio gear, audiophool, consumer or pro seems to
concentrate level controls near the input to the device.
This addresses a lot of concerns about dynamic range.

I think that most complaints about CDs sounding harsh have
other sources, some non-technical.
Anonymous
August 1, 2005 11:01:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Sun, 31 Jul 2005 07:05:23 -0400, "Arny Krueger" <arnyk@hotpop.com>
wrote:

>"Andy Spragg" <andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk> wrote in

>> i) most of my listening is to vinyl and tape, CDs come a
>> poor third, and I can't say I've noticed any significant
>> variation in output amongst the CDs that I do play.
>
>From this I conclude that you are either deaf or are
>trolling or both.

And from this I conclude that you should read a bit more carefully.
Or (grudgingly) that I should write a bit more carefully.

"most of my listening is to vinyl and tape, CDs come a
poor third"

- i.e. they form a small minority of my total listening hours. Seemed
pretty unambiguous to me.

"I can't say I've noticed any significant variation in output amongst
the CDs that I do play"

Try as I might, I can't misinterpret this.

>It's well-known that CD players as a rule have higher output
>than most other audio components.

Not by me, it wasn't. But now it is. Thanks.

(irrelevant remainder snipped)
Anonymous
August 2, 2005 2:30:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

In article <1122729348.f69bb0f6467fa8cbfd5066d848ce9276@teranews>,
Andy Spragg <andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk> wrote:

>I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
>with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
>uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
>people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
>up" the CD output.
>
>Is this true, or is there more to it than this?

There may be more to it than this.

Back in the old pre-CD days, there was a de-facto standard for
"line-level" signals. Full-scale, maximum-output voltage was usually
close to 1 volt peak-to-peak.

When CDs came along, CD players used a new standard - full-scale
line-level output is commonly 2 volts peak-to-peak. This is 6 dB
louder than the older standard - quite perceptible, although somewhat
short of the 10 dB difference which people seem to perceive as "twice
as loud."

I've never heard a definitive answer as to why the standard was
changed. My guess is that it was done in part due to the "louder
sounds better" issue, and part to the fact that CDs have a lot of
dynamic range capability, and that the 1-volt peak-to-peak standard
level would have put the lower end of a CD's dynamic range down below
the hum-and-hiss noise floor of a lot of consumer electronics
components.

The higher 2-volt level did cause some problems for some older preamps
and amplifiers - it was enough to cause them to "clip", and made the
CDs sound rather harsh and nasty.

I'd guess that your CD player is putting out a 2-volt signal, that
your phono preamp and tape deck are putting out 1-volt signals, and
that you're simply hearing the difference.

--
Dave Platt <dplatt@radagast.org> AE6EO
Hosting the Jade Warrior home page: http://www.radagast.org/jade-warrior
I do _not_ wish to receive unsolicited commercial email, and I will
boycott any company which has the gall to send me such ads!
Anonymous
August 2, 2005 9:48:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

On Mon, 01 Aug 2005 22:30:24 -0000, dplatt@radagast.org (Dave Platt)
wrote:

>In article <1122729348.f69bb0f6467fa8cbfd5066d848ce9276@teranews>,
>Andy Spragg <andy@sparge.globalnet.co.uk> wrote:
>
>>I took the amplifier back and got it exchanged twice before someone
>>with more hi-fi knowledge than me finally told me that it's not an
>>uncommon thing for manufacturers to do. On the assumption that most
>>people these days will be listening to CDs most of the time, they "big
>>up" the CD output.
>>
>>Is this true, or is there more to it than this?
>
>There may be more to it than this.
>
>Back in the old pre-CD days, there was a de-facto standard for
>"line-level" signals. Full-scale, maximum-output voltage was usually
>close to 1 volt peak-to-peak.
>
>When CDs came along, CD players used a new standard - full-scale
>line-level output is commonly 2 volts peak-to-peak. This is 6 dB
>louder than the older standard - quite perceptible, although somewhat
>short of the 10 dB difference which people seem to perceive as "twice
>as loud."

Actually, the CD standard is 2 volts rms for full-scale, which is
about 15dB above 1 volt pk-pk.

>I've never heard a definitive answer as to why the standard was
>changed. My guess is that it was done in part due to the "louder
>sounds better" issue, and part to the fact that CDs have a lot of
>dynamic range capability, and that the 1-volt peak-to-peak standard
>level would have put the lower end of a CD's dynamic range down below
>the hum-and-hiss noise floor of a lot of consumer electronics
>components.

The latter is the case, as 96dB below 2 volts rms is about 20
microvolts, which is about the same as the noise floor on many quite
good preamps of the early '80s. Indeed, there is absolutely no chance
of anyone *ever* achieving the full theoretical range of 24-bit audio,
due to noise floor limitations with a 2 volt rms full-scale output.

>The higher 2-volt level did cause some problems for some older preamps
>and amplifiers - it was enough to cause them to "clip", and made the
>CDs sound rather harsh and nasty.

Indeed, and for a while you could get in-line attenuators from good
hi-fi shops to fix this problem.

>I'd guess that your CD player is putting out a 2-volt signal, that
>your phono preamp and tape deck are putting out 1-volt signals, and
>that you're simply hearing the difference.

That is highly likely, and of course not a problem.

--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
August 2, 2005 5:01:31 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.tech (More info?)

"Dave Platt" <dplatt@radagast.org> wrote in message
news:11et8k0jj0dma25@corp.supernews.com...
> I've never heard a definitive answer as to why the standard was
> changed.

You haven't looked too hard then.

> My guess is that it was done in part due to the "louder
> sounds better" issue, and part to the fact that CDs have a lot of
> dynamic range capability, and that the 1-volt peak-to-peak standard
> level would have put the lower end of a CD's dynamic range down below
> the hum-and-hiss noise floor of a lot of consumer electronics
> components.

The latter is the case. Loudness wars came about a decade later.

MrT.
!