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Do all preamps sound alike?

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Anonymous
October 12, 2004 5:36:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Whether all power amps sound alike is a regular topic of discussion
on this and other audio newsgroups. This post is not on that subject,
and I for one would appreciate not seeing it creep into this thread, as
this subject gets enough play already. I t occurred to me that in all
this hubub about amplifiers somehow preamps are ignored.
So the question is "Do all preamps sound alike? If the answer is
something like "Yes, so long as they are competently designed", then
specifying what constitutes "competent design" for a preamp would help
immensely.

Wylie Williams
The Speaker and Stereo Store
Saint Louis, Missouri

More about : preamps sound alike

Anonymous
October 12, 2004 7:19:14 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie, a few months back, I wanted to hear this one for myself and
played with the couple I have here at home. Not a huge difference but
some. Then went to the local guys and chatted with. Yep, huge difference
and I needed to hear to believe. Came home, grabbed my main preamp and
went back to the store.
The set me up with a nice system using Rotel's top line preamp. All
other components including the B&W 802's were much nicer/expensive.
The Rotel had (to me) an artificial mid-range. Vocals were in your face
and grainy. My main preamp is still the Acurus RL-11. Not one thing
about it is unnatural or bloated. It's detailed, precise, and does what
a preamp is supposed to do, convey the music without altering it. So,
yes with my experience there is a difference. Compare before you buy or
change.
John


"Wylie Williams" <wyliewill@charter.net> wrote in message
news:ckfceo027c9@news3.newsguy.com...
> Whether all power amps sound alike is a regular topic of discussion
> on this and other audio newsgroups. This post is not on that subject,
> and I for one would appreciate not seeing it creep into this thread,
> as this subject gets enough play already. I t occurred to me that in
> all this hubub about amplifiers somehow preamps are ignored.
> So the question is "Do all preamps sound alike? If the answer is
> something like "Yes, so long as they are competently designed", then
> specifying what constitutes "competent design" for a preamp would help
> immensely.
>
> Wylie Williams
> The Speaker and Stereo Store
> Saint Louis, Missouri
Anonymous
October 13, 2004 3:50:46 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 12 Oct 2004 01:36:24 GMT, Wylie Williams <wyliewill@charter.net>
wrote:

> Whether all power amps sound alike is a regular topic of discussion
>on this and other audio newsgroups. This post is not on that subject,
>and I for one would appreciate not seeing it creep into this thread, as
>this subject gets enough play already. I t occurred to me that in all
>this hubub about amplifiers somehow preamps are ignored.
> So the question is "Do all preamps sound alike? If the answer is
>something like "Yes, so long as they are competently designed", then
>specifying what constitutes "competent design" for a preamp would help
>immensely.

How about "If the gain is set to unity, then the preamp should add no
audible colouration when compared to a bypass cable". That shouldn't
be very tough to set up and test, if you have a second preamp with at
least two line inputs of equal sensitivity.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Related resources
Anonymous
October 13, 2004 3:53:57 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams <wyliewill@charter.net> wrote in message news:<ckfceo027c9@news3.newsguy.com>...
> Whether all power amps sound alike is a regular topic of discussion
> on this and other audio newsgroups. This post is not on that subject,
> and I for one would appreciate not seeing it creep into this thread, as
> this subject gets enough play already. I t occurred to me that in all
> this hubub about amplifiers somehow preamps are ignored.
> So the question is "Do all preamps sound alike? If the answer is
> something like "Yes, so long as they are competently designed", then
> specifying what constitutes "competent design" for a preamp would help
> immensely.
>
> Wylie Williams
> The Speaker and Stereo Store
> Saint Louis, Missouri


I consider the preamp to be the heart and soul of the audio
electronics of my system; far more than the amplifier. That is, it has
been my experience (discovered quite by accident less than 5 years
ago) that the preamp has a far greater influence on the sonic
character of the system than does the amplifier (assuming, of course,
that the amplifier is adequate to handle the workload).

There *can* be marked audible differences in pre amps, which is
probably why you rarely see it debated. In fact, often casual
listening can pick up differences that may exist. One thing I found
that is that the differences can be pronounced in the frequency
extremes, especially when comparing tubes and solid state pre amps.

A few years ago I conducted an in-home audition of the Audible
Illusions 3A and subsequently 4 other pre amps in my system. It was
fairly easy to use specific passages is selected recordings to point
out differences, some marked.

To make a long story short the 3A simply did not fit into my system.
My detailed comments can be found at:
http://www.audioreview.com/Preamplifiers/Audible
Illusions/PRD_118448_1591crx.aspx#reviews

My "review" is dated February 27, 2000.
I thought I gave the 3A a favorable review, 4 out of 5 stars. But I
guess some of my comments struck a nerve and I got a couple of pieces
of "hate mail". To my real surprise Audible Illusions, the
manufacturer, itself sent me an Email. Their Email was professional
just wanting to get to the bottom of the problem I had. After some
informative exchanges, they too agreed that the 3A would not work well
in my system. There were no sonic aberrations, per se, an actually it
sounded good but it was clear that it was dissimilar to my previous
pre amp (actually it may have sounded "better").

I have since learned that there are a lot of pre amps that are more
"transparent" but not necessarily "better" than the 3A. I eventually
settled on a passive pre that performed much better in my system than
the 3A.

Of course, sound aside, pre amps differ so greatly in features and
layout those differences can be more influential in your choice.
Because while the sound may differ from pre to pre it nothing like (in
most cases) the sound differences in speakers.

The bottom line is that, when it comes to the pre amp, there is
absolutely no substitute for an in-home audition.
Anonymous
October 13, 2004 3:57:27 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams wyliewill@charter.net wrote:



> Whether all power amps sound alike is a regular topic of discussion
>on this and other audio newsgroups. This post is not on that subject,
>and I for one would appreciate not seeing it creep into this thread, as
>this subject gets enough play already. I t occurred to me that in all
>this hubub about amplifiers somehow preamps are ignored.
> So the question is "Do all preamps sound alike? If the answer is
>something like "Yes, so long as they are competently designed", then
>specifying what constitutes "competent design" for a preamp would help
>immensely.
>
>Wylie Williams
>The Speaker and Stereo Store
>Saint Louis, Missouri

Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating with
a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
gain.
October 13, 2004 6:41:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams wrote:
> Whether all power amps sound alike is a regular topic of discussion
> on this and other audio newsgroups. This post is not on that subject,
> and I for one would appreciate not seeing it creep into this thread, as
> this subject gets enough play already. I t occurred to me that in all
> this hubub about amplifiers somehow preamps are ignored.
> So the question is "Do all preamps sound alike? If the answer is
> something like "Yes, so long as they are competently designed", then
> specifying what constitutes "competent design" for a preamp would help
> immensely.
>
> Wylie Williams
> The Speaker and Stereo Store
> Saint Louis, Missouri

Competent *line-level* preamps sound alike. Competence in a preamp means
flat frequency response, low distortion and noise. In other words, close
to a straight wire with gain. In addition, the volume control should
provide accurate left-right tracking throughout its range. I have seen
cheaper preamps that have fairly gross tracking errors that make it easy
to tell them apart from others. Digital volume controls can greatly
alleviate this problem. By the way, designing a competent line-level
preamp is much easier than designing a competent power amp. For the
consumer, features (like the number of inputs and outputs, type of tone
controls, etc.) and aesthetics probably are the important
differentiators in preamps.

Phono-preamps are much less alike. RIAA equalization errors are often
noticeable.
Anonymous
October 13, 2004 6:42:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams <wyliewill@charter.net> wrote in message news:<ckfceo027c9@news3.newsguy.com>...
> Whether all power amps sound alike is a regular topic of discussion
> on this and other audio newsgroups. This post is not on that subject,
> and I for one would appreciate not seeing it creep into this thread, as
> this subject gets enough play already. I t occurred to me that in all
> this hubub about amplifiers somehow preamps are ignored.
> So the question is "Do all preamps sound alike? If the answer is
> something like "Yes, so long as they are competently designed", then
> specifying what constitutes "competent design" for a preamp would help
> immensely.
>
> Wylie Williams
> The Speaker and Stereo Store
> Saint Louis, Missouri

You could say that a competent design does not add unwanted audible
artifacts, but that is subjective. Say that a competent design does
not add any audible artifacts. That's getting closer, but you need
some sort of reference against which to compare a design.

Let's say that a design is competent if it cannot be distinguished
from an independent design in a blind test. At the current state of
the art, this is a practical and objective definition. I would go even
further and say that a competent designer should be able to produce a
competent design without any testing at all. (Except for the usual
"smoke test" to find out if any of the IC's are inserted backwards).

In terms of power amps vs. preamps, the distinction is somewhat
arbitrary. Both amplify. Historically, a "preamp" was the circuit that
managed the physical interface with an analog sensor or signal source.
For instance a phono pickup required a different preamp than a
microphone. In general usage, an audio preamp also contains the
switches and controls, whereas a power amp often has only input and
output terminals.

The criteria for preamps and power amps should be the same, except
that there is an additional burden on preamps. Suppose a preamp has
tone controls, then it will obviously introduce an artifact when the
controls are cranked. But again, two preamps that are designed to have
the same control function should sound the same. Real preamps may be
distinguished by how the designer has chosen to make these controls
behave -- this is a way for preamps to sound different.

If the two preamps were given a fair double blind test, and sounded
different, one of them would probably be an incompetent design. If
it's a "sighted" test, then the best explanation is the influence of
expectations on perception.
Anonymous
October 13, 2004 6:42:56 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Nousaine wrote:

> Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
> another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating with
> a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
> gain.

What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like

active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
Anonymous
October 14, 2004 3:32:19 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:



>Nousaine wrote:
>
>> Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
>> another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating
>with
>> a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
>> gain.
>
>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>
>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison

A "passive" pre-amplifier can be nothing more than a switch and an attenuator.
Maybe they should be called a post-amplifier.
Anonymous
October 14, 2004 3:46:37 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 13 Oct 2004 02:42:56 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Nousaine wrote:
>
>> Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
>> another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating with
>> a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
>> gain.
>
>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>
>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison

One does indeed find these comments, but they're fundamentally
rubbish. A passive controller cannot possibly reduce dynamics, since
it's basically just a switch and a volume control - as you'll find
inside any active preamp. Now, if your active preamp introduces some
compression, then it may *sound* more dynamic, but it ain't really so
- as any radio station sound engineer can confirm.

--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 14, 2004 4:34:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Nousaine wrote:
> Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>
>
>
>
>>Nousaine wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
>>>another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating
>>
>>with
>>
>>>a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
>>>gain.
>>
>>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
>>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>>
>>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
>>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
>
>
> A "passive" pre-amplifier can be nothing more than a switch and an attenuator.
> Maybe they should be called a post-amplifier.

"post-amplifier"???

Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
some of them cost quite a bit?

Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
margin?
Anonymous
October 14, 2004 4:35:10 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> On 13 Oct 2004 02:42:56 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>>Nousaine wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
>>>another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating with
>>>a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
>>>gain.
>>
>>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
>>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>>
>>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
>>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
>
>
> One does indeed find these comments, but they're fundamentally
> rubbish. A passive controller cannot possibly reduce dynamics, since
> it's basically just a switch and a volume control - as you'll find
> inside any active preamp. Now, if your active preamp introduces some
> compression, then it may *sound* more dynamic, but it ain't really so
> - as any radio station sound engineer can confirm.
>

I have heard that radio transmissions are compressed to make them sound
more "punchy" on cheap portable radios and boom boxes, but how does
compression make the sound more dynamic? Doesn't compression just bring
the peaks and troughs closer together, hence reducing the dynamic range?

Btw, didn't you note before that the Audiolab 8000A and 8000S integrated
amps sound different, due to the different pre-amp sections in each amp?
Anonymous
October 14, 2004 7:24:51 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:



>Nousaine wrote:
>> Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>>
>>
>>
>>
>>>Nousaine wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>>Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from
>one
>>>>another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating
>>>
>>>with
>>>
>>>>a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except
>for
>>>>gain.
>>>
>>>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
>>>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>>>
>>>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
>>>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
>>
>>
>> A "passive" pre-amplifier can be nothing more than a switch and an
>attenuator.
>> Maybe they should be called a post-amplifier.
>
>"post-amplifier"???
>
>Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
>some of them cost quite a bit?
>
>Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
>margin?

As far as I can tell it is just margin. Afterall what IS the FUNCTION of a
preamplifer other than switching, balancing of input levels and certain
equalization functions (tone controls and phono-eq; tone controls, fader and
balance and input loops)?

What does a passive preamplifier offer? Only switching and attenuation or
passive-level eq (the latter of which always includes attenuation)?

Because it has no gain it cannot match input levels or perform any function
other than input switching without loss.
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:42:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote in message >


> What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
> one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>
> active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
> passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison

Your reference to "stereotypical descriptions" is right on target;
especially at it applies to passive line stages. I'm glad that you
raised the topic because there is a lot of misunderstanding among
audiophiles about passive line stages relative to active pres.
Unfortunately, many audiophiles have the perception about passives
that staunchly reflects the stereotype you put forth. It's a fallacy.

Such perceptions of passives are an over generalization and carelessly
old fashion. There are certainly passives that help perpetuate the
fallacy? But I am *positive* that they were either poorly designed, in
which case they (hopefully) don't make it in the market place, or
poorly matched in there respective systems or both.

Some of the chief disseminators of this fallacy are high-end audio
dealers who are 1) simply behind the times, 2) biased because they
don't carry low profit margin passives, or 3) simply not
knowledgeable.

I have seen/heard a lot of talk about passives and their inherent
weaknesses but I have never seen a compelling reason why a well
designed, well matched passive cannot audibly perform with the very
best active pres on the market. And at 20% to 30% of the cost of an
active pre!

But perhaps the fallacy is waning. I was thumbing through the October
issue (Recommended Component Issue) of Stereophile and to my surprise
I see a Placette Passive is rated as a Class A component. I'm not
suprised that it is highly rated. Sonically, it certainly deserves it.
What is surprising is that this $1000 product is rated Class A. While
there may be notable exceptions, it is my perception that a line stage
no matter how good it may sound will be lucky to get a C let alone a B
rating if it costs "only" $1000. But there the Placette is lumped
together with products costing $5000, $10,000, $20,000, $25,000, etc.
The average cost of the 23 pre amps in the Class A group is a whopping
$13,600! But there the Placette stands going toe-to-toe with arguably
the very best. Not bad for a component that is sold direct and with a
limited ad budget. I have seen Placette ads in some audio magazines (I
don't remember which ones). I don't recall if they advertise in
Stereophile.

Robert C. Lang
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:43:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 14 Oct 2004 03:24:51 GMT, nousaine@aol.com (Nousaine) wrote:

>Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>
>>Nousaine wrote:

>>Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
>>some of them cost quite a bit?
>>
>>Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
>>margin?
>
>As far as I can tell it is just margin.

It depends. The parts for my own passive controller cost more than
$800, being a Penny&Giles studio pot and a bunch of Pickering
Ruthenium-tipped relays, with Neutrik gold-clad XLR connectors and a
very smooth power supply (for the relays). OTOH, I can't see where the
sales price comes from when it's just a box with an Elma Switch and an
Alps pot, total parts cost not exceeding $100, more like $50 in OEM
quantity.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:43:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 14 Oct 2004 00:35:10 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
>> On 13 Oct 2004 02:42:56 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Nousaine wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>>Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
>>>>another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating with
>>>>a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
>>>>gain.
>>>
>>>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
>>>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>>>
>>>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
>>>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
>>
>>
>> One does indeed find these comments, but they're fundamentally
>> rubbish. A passive controller cannot possibly reduce dynamics, since
>> it's basically just a switch and a volume control - as you'll find
>> inside any active preamp. Now, if your active preamp introduces some
>> compression, then it may *sound* more dynamic, but it ain't really so
>> - as any radio station sound engineer can confirm.
>>
>
>I have heard that radio transmissions are compressed to make them sound
>more "punchy" on cheap portable radios and boom boxes, but how does
>compression make the sound more dynamic? Doesn't compression just bring
>the peaks and troughs closer together, hence reducing the dynamic range?

This does however make the transmission sound louder, and you can hear
more 'low level' detail - because of course it's *not* low-level any
more! Just like a vinyl cutting master, in fact........

>Btw, didn't you note before that the Audiolab 8000A and 8000S integrated
>amps sound different, due to the different pre-amp sections in each amp?

Yes, but I don't know why that is.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:45:33 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"Nousaine" <nousaine@aol.com> wrote in message
news:ckkri301cae@news1.newsguy.com...
> Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>
>
>
> >Nousaine wrote:
> >> Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>
> >>>Nousaine wrote:
> >>>
> >>>
> >>>>Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different
from
> >one
> >>>>another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW
operating
> >>>
> >>>with
> >>>
> >>>>a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway
except
> >for
> >>>>gain.
> >>>
> >>>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
> >>>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
> >>>
> >>>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
> >>>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
> >>
> >>
> >> A "passive" pre-amplifier can be nothing more than a switch and an
> >attenuator.
> >> Maybe they should be called a post-amplifier.
> >
> >"post-amplifier"???
> >
> >Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
> >some of them cost quite a bit?
> >
> >Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
> >margin?
>
> As far as I can tell it is just margin. Afterall what IS the FUNCTION of a
> preamplifer other than switching, balancing of input levels and certain
> equalization functions (tone controls and phono-eq; tone controls, fader
and
> balance and input loops)?
>
> What does a passive preamplifier offer? Only switching and attenuation or
> passive-level eq (the latter of which always includes attenuation)?
>
> Because it has no gain it cannot match input levels or perform any
function
> other than input switching without loss.

But it can use hundreds of expensive Vishay 1% tolerance resistors in doing
so, as well as very expensive capacitors and pots, and it can be hand-built
in small quantities. These things do add cost...keep in mind that your auto
dealer probably now charges over $50 per hour for work on your car. Apply
that to hand work on a preamp plus parts cost with a 5X markup (to retail,
standard manufacturing practice) and the charges add up pretty quickly.
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:46:29 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

nousaine@aol.com (Nousaine) wrote in message news:<ckkdu302tla@news2.newsguy.com>...
> Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>
>
>
> >Nousaine wrote:
> >
> >> Of my current stable of preamplifiers none of them sound different from one
> >> another until I use one of the controls to alter the sound. IOW operating
> with
> >> a straight-thru functionnone of them changes the sound in anyway except for
> >> gain.
> >
> >What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
> >one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
> >
> >active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
> >passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
>
> A "passive" pre-amplifier can be nothing more than a switch and an attenuator.
> Maybe they should be called a post-amplifier.


Yes, by very definition a preamplifier is an electronic circuit or
device. I usually steer clear of referring to a "preamp" when
referring to it's passive "cousin" calling it instead a "passive line
stage" as I steadfastly did in my first post to this thread. But then,
of course, "passive line stage" can and does cause confusion in a
discussion among audiophiles (although not to the degree it did, say,
5 years ago before people began learning more about the concept).

With that said, an oxymoron, though it may be, the referring to a
passive line stage as a "passive preamp" is probably part and parcel
to our English language. There are literally dozens of words in the
English language that, when examined, make no sense, but are,
nonetheless, clearly understood as to meaning. Some common misnomers,
"American Indian" (talk about a major historical and linguistic
blunder), "Brazilian grass" (it won't even grow in Brazil and it's not
grass), "cat gut" comes from sheep, "rice paper" (not made from rice),
"Panda Bear" (no genetic connection to bears), whalebone (not even
close to bone), etc., etc.

While I believe it is *very* important to understand the differences
between "pre amp" and "passive line stage" to have an intelligent
discussion on the topic, the two will probably evermore be used
interchangeably. That is, the use of "passive" before "preamp", will
probably be sufficient to distinguish one from the other.

Robert C. Lang
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:47:08 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<ckkhj20n3q@news4.newsguy.com>...

> Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
> some of them cost quite a bit?
>
> Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
> margin?

It's probably a combination of things including, materials, limited
distribution and sales compared to active pres, profit margins,
design, whether it employs RCA or balanced connecters, etc. But
certainly materials cost is important.

Resistor based passive designs have inherent issues that must be tamed
to bring the passive closer to the music. The primary problem with
typical high end resistors, including many of the lower cost Vishay
resistors is brightness (high frequency distortion). At least one
manufacturer I know of claims that their passives get around these
problems by using nothing top-of-the-line Vishay S102 resistors in a
stepped volume control. They claim that the absolutely resistive load
they offer to the source means instant rise time that protects
dynamics and high frequency accuracy without adding audible
brightness.

I don't know what is considered expensive when it comes to parts in
audio equipment. But from whay I understand from comments made over
the past few years is that a resistor based passive is no better than
the resistor that it employs. Further, that Vishay resistors are, in
general, more expensive than most and that the top-of-the-line Vishay
102s, in particular, are the best they produce. Also, one passive may
employ a lot more of a specific quality resistor than a competitor (in
this case the more the better).

A poorly designed passive, with cheap materials, will probably have
more of an audible negative impact that a poorly designed active pre
with cheap materials, because there is less to hide behind.

Robert C. Lang
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 3:55:53 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<ckkhju0n5g@news4.newsguy.com>...

>
> I have heard that radio transmissions are compressed to make them sound
> more "punchy" on cheap portable radios and boom boxes, but how does
> compression make the sound more dynamic? Doesn't compression just bring
> the peaks and troughs closer together, hence reducing the dynamic range?
>

It's not so much that compression makes things "more" dynamic as it
simply changes the dynamics...and as you point out, more often it does
so by reducing the peak to average ratio, which is really making
things "less" dynamic! However, savvy engineers will delay the onset
of the compressor's action, allowing the natural peak transient to
occur unmodified before gain reduction kicks in. This makes the music
sound more "punchy" because it changes the envelope of each transient;
it emphasizes the attack disproportionately.

Then once they've skewed the original dynamics with a compressor to
get it more "punchy", they run the whole thing through a limiter to
prevent overshoot. Smart engineers will adjust the attack & release
parameters of the limiter so it's not simply undoing what the
compressor did.

(The operative word being "Smart".)
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 7:30:16 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> On 14 Oct 2004 00:35:10 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>

>>
>>I have heard that radio transmissions are compressed to make them sound
>>more "punchy" on cheap portable radios and boom boxes, but how does
>>compression make the sound more dynamic? Doesn't compression just bring
>>the peaks and troughs closer together, hence reducing the dynamic range?
>
>
> This does however make the transmission sound louder, and you can hear
> more 'low level' detail - because of course it's *not* low-level any
> more! Just like a vinyl cutting master, in fact........

Sorry, I have no experience with vinyl.

>
>
>>Btw, didn't you note before that the Audiolab 8000A and 8000S integrated
>>amps sound different, due to the different pre-amp sections in each amp?
>
>
> Yes, but I don't know why that is.

So one of the pre-amps is incompetent then?

Btw, I thought you would have worked out why ... to use an Americanism,
"it ain't rocket science!"

;) 
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 7:30:40 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 10/14/04 7:55 PM, in article ckn3m90sb7@news3.newsguy.com, "Bob Ross"
<bross@berklee.net> wrote:

> Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote in message
> news:<ckkhju0n5g@news4.newsguy.com>...
>
>>
>> I have heard that radio transmissions are compressed to make them sound
>> more "punchy" on cheap portable radios and boom boxes, but how does
>> compression make the sound more dynamic? Doesn't compression just bring
>> the peaks and troughs closer together, hence reducing the dynamic range?
>>
>
> It's not so much that compression makes things "more" dynamic as it
> simply changes the dynamics...and as you point out, more often it does
> so by reducing the peak to average ratio, which is really making
> things "less" dynamic! However, savvy engineers will delay the onset
> of the compressor's action, allowing the natural peak transient to
> occur unmodified before gain reduction kicks in. This makes the music
> sound more "punchy" because it changes the envelope of each transient;
> it emphasizes the attack disproportionately.
>
> Then once they've skewed the original dynamics with a compressor to
> get it more "punchy", they run the whole thing through a limiter to
> prevent overshoot. Smart engineers will adjust the attack & release
> parameters of the limiter so it's not simply undoing what the
> compressor did.
>
> (The operative word being "Smart".)

I have a question - given the dynamic range of live music (I have no idea
what that might be) - is it possible to record it faithfully on CD or other
media without at least some compression?
Anonymous
October 15, 2004 7:31:20 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 10/14/04 7:45 PM, in article ckn32t0rob@news3.newsguy.com, "Harry Lavo"
<harry.lavo@rcn.com> wrote:

> Apply
> that to hand work on a preamp plus parts cost with a 5X markup (to retail,
> standard manufacturing practice) and the charges add up pretty quickly.

That markup certainly applies to our hobby - but high volume consumer gear
and other high volume products such as computers do not have such markups -
it is closer to 2-3x and sometimes as low as 1.5x or less!
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 3:28:03 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 15 Oct 2004 03:30:16 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
>> On 14 Oct 2004 00:35:10 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
>> wrote:

>>>Btw, didn't you note before that the Audiolab 8000A and 8000S integrated
>>>amps sound different, due to the different pre-amp sections in each amp?
>>
>> Yes, but I don't know why that is.
>
>So one of the pre-amps is incompetent then?

By definition, yes, the 8000A has a problem.

>Btw, I thought you would have worked out why ... to use an Americanism,
>"it ain't rocket science!"

I didn't care why at the time - I was making a purchasing decision,
not investigating a problem.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 3:28:36 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 15 Oct 2004 03:30:40 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>I have a question - given the dynamic range of live music (I have no idea
>what that might be) - is it possible to record it faithfully on CD or other
>media without at least some compression?

Yes. There is no known master tape with a dynamic range of greater
than 80-85 dB, so the 93dB of CD is more than adequate to encompass
the dynamic range of live music, as heard from the front stalls of a
concert hall. In fact, most live performances will have a dynamic
range of about 60-70dB, as the noise floor in a concert hall will
never be lower than 40dB or so.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 3:29:54 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 14 Oct 2004 23:47:08 GMT, langvid@pacbell.net (Robert C. Lang)
wrote:

>Resistor based passive designs have inherent issues that must be tamed
>to bring the passive closer to the music. The primary problem with
>typical high end resistors, including many of the lower cost Vishay
>resistors is brightness (high frequency distortion).

Excuse me? Do you have *any* evidence for this extraordinary claim? I
have run sweeps on many resistors, and I find no evidence whatsoever
of *any* distortion products on any of the better types (wirewound,
metal-film or bulk metal), below 100kHz and down to -140dB below a 10
volt rms drive signal. Aside from some parasitic inductance and
capacitance, which of course does not introduce nonlinear distortion,
merely frequency response effects, modern resistors simply don't cause
problems IME - and I was looking for linearity and frequency response
*way* beyond what you'd need for domestic audio!

>At least one
>manufacturer I know of claims that their passives get around these
>problems by using nothing top-of-the-line Vishay S102 resistors in a
>stepped volume control. They claim that the absolutely resistive load
>they offer to the source means instant rise time that protects
>dynamics and high frequency accuracy without adding audible
>brightness.

That's fine if your music system needs to handle MegaHertz signals,
but hardly necessary for audio!

>I don't know what is considered expensive when it comes to parts in
>audio equipment. But from whay I understand from comments made over
>the past few years is that a resistor based passive is no better than
>the resistor that it employs.

True in theoretical terms, but apparently irrelevant in practice - see
below.

> Further, that Vishay resistors are, in
>general, more expensive than most and that the top-of-the-line Vishay
>102s, in particular, are the best they produce. Also, one passive may
>employ a lot more of a specific quality resistor than a competitor (in
>this case the more the better).

That's certainly true, and can make some switched attenuators very
expensive indeed.

>A poorly designed passive, with cheap materials, will probably have
>more of an audible negative impact that a poorly designed active pre
>with cheap materials, because there is less to hide behind.

While that *may* be true, I have not encountered anyone able to hear
the difference between an attenuator made with cheap metal film
resistors and one made with Vishay 102s, which I would agree are
*technically* the best resistors that money can buy. My own passive
controller sacrifices perfect channel tracking in favour of infinite
adjustment, and uses a conductive plastic Penney&Giles pot, as used in
the best recording studio equipment. It droops -3dB at 190kHz in my
system, which I consider to be adequate............
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
October 16, 2004 3:30:39 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Robert C. Lang wrote:
> Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<ckkhj20n3q@news4.newsguy.com>...
>
>> Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
>> some of them cost quite a bit?
>>
>> Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
>> margin?
>
> It's probably a combination of things including, materials, limited
> distribution and sales compared to active pres, profit margins,
> design, whether it employs RCA or balanced connecters, etc. But
> certainly materials cost is important.
>
> Resistor based passive designs have inherent issues that must be tamed
> to bring the passive closer to the music.

Why would resistor based passive designs have inherent issues? What are
the other passive designs based on? Potentiometers? How does one bring
the passive closer to the music?

> The primary problem with
> typical high end resistors, including many of the lower cost Vishay
> resistors is brightness (high frequency distortion).

Why would resistors cause high frequency distortion? These resistors are
commonly used at radio frequencies, so why would audio be a problem?

I have used resistors in designing ultra-low distortion instruments, and
I have never found common metal-film resistors to cause non-linear
distortion at audio frequencies. Unless you blow them up, of course.

> At least one
> manufacturer I know of claims that their passives get around these
> problems by using nothing top-of-the-line Vishay S102 resistors in a
> stepped volume control. They claim that the absolutely resistive load
> they offer to the source means instant rise time that protects
> dynamics and high frequency accuracy without adding audible
> brightness.

And you don't question their claim?

>
> I don't know what is considered expensive when it comes to parts in
> audio equipment. But from whay I understand from comments made over
> the past few years is that a resistor based passive is no better than
> the resistor that it employs. Further, that Vishay resistors are, in
> general, more expensive than most and that the top-of-the-line Vishay
> 102s, in particular, are the best they produce.

What separates the "best" resistors from good resistors, besides
tolerance? You can certainly get 1% metal film resistors from Vishay and
other suppliers at low prices.


> Also, one passive may
> employ a lot more of a specific quality resistor than a competitor (in
> this case the more the better).
>
> A poorly designed passive, with cheap materials, will probably have
> more of an audible negative impact that a poorly designed active pre
> with cheap materials, because there is less to hide behind.

By definition, a poorly designed active preamp *will* have great
negative impact.
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 3:35:18 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

"B&D" <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote in message
news:cknga801ib0@news1.newsguy.com...
> On 10/14/04 7:45 PM, in article ckn32t0rob@news3.newsguy.com, "Harry Lavo"
> <harry.lavo@rcn.com> wrote:
>
> > Apply
> > that to hand work on a preamp plus parts cost with a 5X markup (to
retail,
> > standard manufacturing practice) and the charges add up pretty quickly.
>
> That markup certainly applies to our hobby - but high volume consumer gear
> and other high volume products such as computers do not have such
markups -
> it is closer to 2-3x and sometimes as low as 1.5x or less!

Sorry, it ain't so but may be we are referring to different things. I
referenced retail, not manufactuere's selling price.

Generally audio companies try to give a retailers a 40% margin from
"list"...then there is usually a distributor or a wholesaler in there who
takes 15% or so of what remains (15% x 60% = 9-10% of retail). That leaves
the manufacturer with a selling price of about 1/2 of retail. Of that
amount, generally his cost of sale has to average no higher than 50-60% to
allow him to cover G&A and selling expense and any profit. So his total
cost is 50-60% x 50% of retail, or 25-30% of retail. This cost in turn is
divided when all the cost accounting is completed, into labor and cost of
components. Depending on the type of business one will generally be higher
than the other. But in a low volume operation component costs will usually
be less than labor, and in a high volume operation, more than labor. So
lets split the two and say 50% of total cost is component cost. That's 50%
of 25-30% of retail, or 12.5-15% of retail. Thats a 6x-8x markup to retail.
Only the higher volume, more established manufactures are likely to get it
to 5x.

For example, in high volume consumer goods such as groceries and sundries
(toothpaste, etc.) 20% of retail for component cost (5x markup) would be a
good average although retail margins tend to be lower in those industries,
so if the retail margin were more like audio it would be a lesser percentage
and a higher markup.

BTW I've worked in those industries as well as in audio manufacturing
(briefly) for a well known manufacturer. I'm not guessing at the general
parameters. You can argue specifics of any one number, but you can't get
too far from these ratios in the end.
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 7:07:44 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 15 Oct 2004 03:30:40 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>
>I have a question - given the dynamic range of live music (I have no idea
>what that might be) - is it possible to record it faithfully on CD or other
>media without at least some compression?

Yes, without any problem!

I measured this myself some time back and came up with the follwing
(see the usenet thread "16 bits is enough, som facts to prove it",
use http://groups.google.se/groups if you would like to read the
thread):

"Analyzed CDs:

1. The Kroumata Percussion Ensemble, track 4 Hierophonie by Y. Taira
BIS CD-232, recorded 1983 by Micahel Bergek.

2. The Rite of Spring by Stravinsky, Redwood Symphony, track 1
Introduction. Clarity Recordings, recorded 1993 by Bob Porter.

Both recordings has subjectively a very low background noise from the
recording venue, and show signs of good care in the recording and
mastering process. My playback equipment have problems playing these
CD:s at the volume required to hear the background noise over the room
noise, because of its limited max SPL (speakers are QUAD ESL-63).

Result:

1. Background noise 65dB, tutti -1dB
2. Background noise 63dB, tutti -1dB

This is about 11 bits, well within the 16 bits that the CD is capable
of. There are still 5 bits (30 dB) left for listening to
'microdynamincs' or 'hearing things in the noise', as some fellow
posters say they do."

It still stands. 11 bits will do, but a few more doesn't hurt, i.e. 16
would be a nice number!

Note: both recordings are all digital (yes son, they had that in
1983!) and have not been compressed in any way.

Per
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 7:08:14 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> On 15 Oct 2004 03:30:16 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>

>>Btw, I thought you would have worked out why ... to use an Americanism,
>>"it ain't rocket science!"
>
>
> I didn't care why at the time - I was making a purchasing decision,
> not investigating a problem.


I wasn't having a dig at your technical abilities. There was a winkly emoticon
in my original post ...

:) 
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 7:08:55 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Robert C. Lang wrote:

> Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote in message >
>
>
>
>>What about active and passive pre-amps? Looking through the archives,
>>one tends to find (subjective) stereotypical descriptions like
>>
>>active pre-amps --> dynamic sounding
>>passive pre-amps --> lifeless in comparison
>
>
> Your reference to "stereotypical descriptions" is right on target;
> especially at it applies to passive line stages. I'm glad that you
> raised the topic because there is a lot of misunderstanding among
> audiophiles about passive line stages relative to active pres.
> Unfortunately, many audiophiles have the perception about passives
> that staunchly reflects the stereotype you put forth. It's a fallacy.
>

Like you said, it is a stereotype.

<snip>

> Some of the chief disseminators of this fallacy are high-end audio
> dealers who are 1) simply behind the times, 2) biased because they
> don't carry low profit margin passives, or 3) simply not
> knowledgeable.
>

I would say (2) and (3).

> I have seen/heard a lot of talk about passives and their inherent
> weaknesses but I have never seen a compelling reason why a well
> designed, well matched passive cannot audibly perform with the very
> best active pres on the market. And at 20% to 30% of the cost of an
> active pre!

Agreed,

>
> But perhaps the fallacy is waning. I was thumbing through the October
> issue (Recommended Component Issue) of Stereophile and to my surprise
> I see a Placette Passive is rated as a Class A component. I'm not
> suprised that it is highly rated. Sonically, it certainly deserves it.
> What is surprising is that this $1000 product is rated Class A.

> While there may be notable exceptions, it is my perception that a line stage
> no matter how good it may sound will be lucky to get a C let alone a B
> rating if it costs "only" $1000. But there the Placette is lumped
> together with products costing $5000, $10,000, $20,000, $25,000, etc.

Well, a line stage (or passive pre) shouldn't have any sound, as it should just
be a source selector and volume control. Btw, for $1000, I hope it comes with a
remote!

> The average cost of the 23 pre amps in the Class A group is a whopping
> $13,600!

One has to wonder what sort of audiophile buys a pre-amp worth 5 figures!
Anonymous
October 16, 2004 7:09:20 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> On 14 Oct 2004 03:24:51 GMT, nousaine@aol.com (Nousaine) wrote:
>
>
>>Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Nousaine wrote:
>
>
>>>Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
>>>some of them cost quite a bit?
>>>
>>>Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
>>>margin?
>>
>>As far as I can tell it is just margin.
>
>
> It depends. The parts for my own passive controller cost more than
> $800, being a Penny&Giles studio pot and a bunch of Pickering
> Ruthenium-tipped relays, with Neutrik gold-clad XLR connectors and a
> very smooth power supply (for the relays). OTOH, I can't see where the
> sales price comes from when it's just a box with an Elma Switch and an
> Alps pot, total parts cost not exceeding $100, more like $50 in OEM
> quantity.


Cough! Cough! $800?

I hope it comes with a remote control for that amount of money ...

:) 
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 3:12:24 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 16 Oct 2004 15:08:55 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Robert C. Lang wrote:

>> The average cost of the 23 pre amps in the Class A group is a whopping
>> $13,600!
>
>One has to wonder what sort of audiophile buys a pre-amp worth 5 figures!

I can't resist a good feed line!

One whose IQ is worth only two figures? :-)
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 3:12:50 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 16 Oct 2004 15:09:20 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
>> On 14 Oct 2004 03:24:51 GMT, nousaine@aol.com (Nousaine) wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>>Nousaine wrote:
>>
>>
>>>>Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
>>>>some of them cost quite a bit?
>>>>
>>>>Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
>>>>margin?
>>>
>>>As far as I can tell it is just margin.
>>
>>
>> It depends. The parts for my own passive controller cost more than
>> $800, being a Penny&Giles studio pot and a bunch of Pickering
>> Ruthenium-tipped relays, with Neutrik gold-clad XLR connectors and a
>> very smooth power supply (for the relays). OTOH, I can't see where the
>> sales price comes from when it's just a box with an Elma Switch and an
>> Alps pot, total parts cost not exceeding $100, more like $50 in OEM
>> quantity.
>
>
>Cough! Cough! $800?

If I changed my name to Mark Levinson, I could no doubt charge $8,000
for it.............

>I hope it comes with a remote control for that amount of money ...

Of course it does! Voice controlled, even:

"Anne, turn the volume up a bit"......................

I also have a magic washing basket - you throw in dirty clothes, and
they reappear a few days later in your clothes drawers, washed and
pressed!
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 3:49:04 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 10/16/04 11:09 AM, in article ckrdj002n68@news4.newsguy.com, "Tat Chan"
<le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote:

> Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
>> On 14 Oct 2004 03:24:51 GMT, nousaine@aol.com (Nousaine) wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Tat Chan le_king_num_7@hotmail.com wrote:
>>>
>>>
>>>> Nousaine wrote:
>>
>>
>>>> Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
>>>> some of them cost quite a bit?
>>>>
>>>> Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
>>>> margin?
>>>
>>> As far as I can tell it is just margin.
>>
>>
>> It depends. The parts for my own passive controller cost more than
>> $800, being a Penny&Giles studio pot and a bunch of Pickering
>> Ruthenium-tipped relays, with Neutrik gold-clad XLR connectors and a
>> very smooth power supply (for the relays). OTOH, I can't see where the
>> sales price comes from when it's just a box with an Elma Switch and an
>> Alps pot, total parts cost not exceeding $100, more like $50 in OEM
>> quantity.
>
>
> Cough! Cough! $800?
>
> I hope it comes with a remote control for that amount of money ...
>
> :) 

From his post, it *sounds* like he built it himself? Stewart?
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 6:40:29 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> On 16 Oct 2004 15:09:20 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>>
>>

>>>
>>>It depends. The parts for my own passive controller cost more than
>>>$800, being a Penny&Giles studio pot and a bunch of Pickering
>>>Ruthenium-tipped relays, with Neutrik gold-clad XLR connectors and a
>>>very smooth power supply (for the relays). OTOH, I can't see where the
>>>sales price comes from when it's just a box with an Elma Switch and an
>>>Alps pot, total parts cost not exceeding $100, more like $50 in OEM
>>>quantity.
>>
>>
>>Cough! Cough! $800?
>
>
> If I changed my name to Mark Levinson, I could no doubt charge $8,000
> for it.............
>

is that with or without a tube output stage?

:) 


>>I hope it comes with a remote control for that amount of money ...
>
>
> Of course it does! Voice controlled, even:
>
> "Anne, turn the volume up a bit"......................
>

Oh great, voice recognition software built in as well ...

Does it ever go "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that?"

:) 


> I also have a magic washing basket - you throw in dirty clothes, and
> they reappear a few days later in your clothes drawers, washed and
> pressed!

Ah, so you got one of those Wash Iron Food Etc (WIFE) contraptions then?
Do they come with a 3 year warranty and 30 day money back gurantee?

:) 
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 6:40:53 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 16 Oct 2004 23:49:04 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:

>On 10/16/04 11:09 AM, in article ckrdj002n68@news4.newsguy.com, "Tat Chan"
><le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote:
>
>> Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

>>>The parts for my own passive controller cost more than
>>> $800, being a Penny&Giles studio pot and a bunch of Pickering
>>> Ruthenium-tipped relays, with Neutrik gold-clad XLR connectors and a
>>> very smooth power supply (for the relays). OTOH, I can't see where the
>>> sales price comes from when it's just a box with an Elma Switch and an
>>> Alps pot, total parts cost not exceeding $100, more like $50 in OEM
>>> quantity.
>>
>> Cough! Cough! $800?
>>
>> I hope it comes with a remote control for that amount of money ...
>>
>> :) 
>
>From his post, it *sounds* like he built it himself? Stewart?

Yes, it's a homebrew. I've also built the Elma/Alps version for my TV
sound system, fronting an Audiolab 8000P rather than the Krell in the
main system. As you'd expect from any of my gear, they sound
identical, i.e. just like the input signal. :-)
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 6:41:16 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Good questions all. Stewart raised very similar questions about my
statements. Please see my reply to his post.

Robert C. Lang

Chung <chunglau@covad.net> wrote in message news:<ckpmiv0113a@news2.newsguy.com>...
> Robert C. Lang wrote:
> > Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com> wrote in message news:<ckkhj20n3q@news4.newsguy.com>...
> >
> >> Btw, if a passive pre-amp just contains a switch and attenuator, why do
> >> some of them cost quite a bit?
> >>
> >> Is the attenuator (volume pot?) that expensive, or is it just the profit
> >> margin?
> >
> > It's probably a combination of things including, materials, limited
> > distribution and sales compared to active pres, profit margins,
> > design, whether it employs RCA or balanced connecters, etc. But
> > certainly materials cost is important.
> >
> > Resistor based passive designs have inherent issues that must be tamed
> > to bring the passive closer to the music.
>
> Why would resistor based passive designs have inherent issues? What are
> the other passive designs based on? Potentiometers? How does one bring
> the passive closer to the music?
>
> > The primary problem with
> > typical high end resistors, including many of the lower cost Vishay
> > resistors is brightness (high frequency distortion).
>
> Why would resistors cause high frequency distortion? These resistors are
> commonly used at radio frequencies, so why would audio be a problem?
>
> I have used resistors in designing ultra-low distortion instruments, and
> I have never found common metal-film resistors to cause non-linear
> distortion at audio frequencies. Unless you blow them up, of course.
>
> > At least one
> > manufacturer I know of claims that their passives get around these
> > problems by using nothing top-of-the-line Vishay S102 resistors in a
> > stepped volume control. They claim that the absolutely resistive load
> > they offer to the source means instant rise time that protects
> > dynamics and high frequency accuracy without adding audible
> > brightness.
>
> And you don't question their claim?
>
> >
> > I don't know what is considered expensive when it comes to parts in
> > audio equipment. But from whay I understand from comments made over
> > the past few years is that a resistor based passive is no better than
> > the resistor that it employs. Further, that Vishay resistors are, in
> > general, more expensive than most and that the top-of-the-line Vishay
> > 102s, in particular, are the best they produce.
>
> What separates the "best" resistors from good resistors, besides
> tolerance? You can certainly get 1% metal film resistors from Vishay and
> other suppliers at low prices.
>
>
> > Also, one passive may
> > employ a lot more of a specific quality resistor than a competitor (in
> > this case the more the better).
> >
> > A poorly designed passive, with cheap materials, will probably have
> > more of an audible negative impact that a poorly designed active pre
> > with cheap materials, because there is less to hide behind.
>
> By definition, a poorly designed active preamp *will* have great
> negative impact.
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 6:42:02 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<ckpmhi0110o@news2.newsguy.com>...
> On 14 Oct 2004 23:47:08 GMT, langvid@pacbell.net (Robert C. Lang)
> wrote:
>
> >Resistor based passive designs have inherent issues that must be tamed
> >to bring the passive closer to the music. The primary problem with
> >typical high end resistors, including many of the lower cost Vishay
> >resistors is brightness (high frequency distortion).
>
> Excuse me? Do you have *any* evidence for this extraordinary claim? I
> have run sweeps on many resistors, and I find no evidence whatsoever
> of *any* distortion products on any of the better types (wirewound,
> metal-film or bulk metal), below 100kHz and down to -140dB below a 10
> volt rms drive signal. Aside from some parasitic inductance and
> capacitance, which of course does not introduce nonlinear distortion,
> merely frequency response effects, modern resistors simply don't cause
> problems IME - and I was looking for linearity and frequency response
> *way* beyond what you'd need for domestic audio!

I will defer to your empirical conclusions based on your tests. I
should have clarified my response so as to not elevate it to a claim.
My information came directly from two (not one) respected pre amp
designers, both whom could clearly be biased toward materials they use
for their products. I will, however, talk to one of the designers
about *his* claim and report back to the group.

But your conclusions raises more questions (for me) they answer. If
there are no practical or measurable quality differences among
resistors what makes some passive sound better than others (and that
indeed has been my experience)? I realize that there is much more to a
passive (such as design implementation) than merely its resistors.
Also, what parts *can* and *do* make a measurable/audible difference?
You mentioned that your passive had $800 worth of parts. Why does your
passive sound superior to others that you have heard?
Could the designer have gotten away with parts that cost substanially
less with out an audible penalty? I guess what I am asking is if key
parts such as resistors don't make a difference (I'm not trying to put
words in your mouth)
then what is the point of using anything but the cheapest?


>
> That's certainly true, and can make some switched attenuators very
> expensive indeed.

But will they sound better?

Robert C. Lang
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 8:55:58 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<ckpmf4010ve@news2.newsguy.com>...
> On 15 Oct 2004 03:30:40 GMT, B&D <bromo@ix.netcom.com> wrote:
>
> >I have a question - given the dynamic range of live music (I have no idea
> >what that might be) - is it possible to record it faithfully on CD or other
> >media without at least some compression?
>
> Yes. There is no known master tape with a dynamic range of greater
> than 80-85 dB

But the question wasn't whether a CD could capture the dynamic range
of an extant master tape, but whether it could capture the dynamic
range of a live performance.


> In fact, most live performances will have a dynamic
> range of about 60-70dB, as the noise floor in a concert hall will
> never be lower than 40dB or so.

You've never heard music beneath the noise floor in a recording? Or
beneath the noise floor in a concert hall?

Yes, given the dynamic range of MOST live music, 16 bit/44.1k PCM is
an adequate recording medium. And those very few exceptions would
probably be pointless to attempt to store in any medium that exceeds
redbook CD's dynamic range because they would tax the limitations of
the playback equipment...or of the listener's ears.
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 8:56:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 17 Oct 2004 14:40:29 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
wrote:

>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
>> On 16 Oct 2004 15:09:20 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>>>
>>>>It depends. The parts for my own passive controller cost more than
>>>>$800, being a Penny&Giles studio pot and a bunch of Pickering
>>>>Ruthenium-tipped relays, with Neutrik gold-clad XLR connectors and a
>>>>very smooth power supply (for the relays). OTOH, I can't see where the
>>>>sales price comes from when it's just a box with an Elma Switch and an
>>>>Alps pot, total parts cost not exceeding $100, more like $50 in OEM
>>>>quantity.
>>>
>>>
>>>Cough! Cough! $800?
>>
>> If I changed my name to Mark Levinson, I could no doubt charge $8,000
>> for it.............
>>
>is that with or without a tube output stage?

Nope, but including 45 kilos of laser-cut magnesium alloy which
doesn't actually do anything....................

>>>I hope it comes with a remote control for that amount of money ...
>>
>> Of course it does! Voice controlled, even:
>>
>> "Anne, turn the volume up a bit"......................
>>
>Oh great, voice recognition software built in as well ...
>
>Does it ever go "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that?"

No, I have upgraded to the JCN 9000, which fixed those bugs.

>> I also have a magic washing basket - you throw in dirty clothes, and
>> they reappear a few days later in your clothes drawers, washed and
>> pressed!
>
>Ah, so you got one of those Wash Iron Food Etc (WIFE) contraptions then?
>Do they come with a 3 year warranty and 30 day money back gurantee?

No, they come with a lifetime warranty and take all your money......
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
Anonymous
October 17, 2004 9:10:23 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

On 17 Oct 2004 14:42:02 GMT, langvid@pacbell.net (Robert C. Lang)
wrote:

>Stewart Pinkerton <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<ckpmhi0110o@news2.newsguy.com>...
>> On 14 Oct 2004 23:47:08 GMT, langvid@pacbell.net (Robert C. Lang)
>> wrote:
>>
>> >Resistor based passive designs have inherent issues that must be tamed
>> >to bring the passive closer to the music. The primary problem with
>> >typical high end resistors, including many of the lower cost Vishay
>> >resistors is brightness (high frequency distortion).
>>
>> Excuse me? Do you have *any* evidence for this extraordinary claim? I
>> have run sweeps on many resistors, and I find no evidence whatsoever
>> of *any* distortion products on any of the better types (wirewound,
>> metal-film or bulk metal), below 100kHz and down to -140dB below a 10
>> volt rms drive signal. Aside from some parasitic inductance and
>> capacitance, which of course does not introduce nonlinear distortion,
>> merely frequency response effects, modern resistors simply don't cause
>> problems IME - and I was looking for linearity and frequency response
>> *way* beyond what you'd need for domestic audio!
>
>I will defer to your empirical conclusions based on your tests. I
>should have clarified my response so as to not elevate it to a claim.
>My information came directly from two (not one) respected pre amp
>designers, both whom could clearly be biased toward materials they use
>for their products. I will, however, talk to one of the designers
>about *his* claim and report back to the group.
>
>But your conclusions raises more questions (for me) they answer. If
>there are no practical or measurable quality differences among
>resistors what makes some passive sound better than others (and that
>indeed has been my experience)?

Has it indeed? Do you have any *evidence* for this extraordinary
claim?

>I realize that there is much more to a
>passive (such as design implementation) than merely its resistors.

What, you mean like a switch or some relays?

>Also, what parts *can* and *do* make a measurable/audible difference?

None in my experience, so long as you avoid obviously crippled items
such as silver-clad switches or carbon resistors.

>You mentioned that your passive had $800 worth of parts. Why does your
>passive sound superior to others that you have heard?

It doesn't, see my other posts regarding this item.

>Could the designer have gotten away with parts that cost substanially
>less with out an audible penalty?

Yes, specifically an Elma switch and Alps 'Black Beauty' pot, which is
what I use in my TV sound system.

> I guess what I am asking is if key
>parts such as resistors don't make a difference (I'm not trying to put
>words in your mouth)
>then what is the point of using anything but the cheapest?

None at all, sonically. Of course, a P&G pot has a very smooth action
and will last 'forever', as will the ruthenium-tipped relays.

>> That's certainly true, and can make some switched attenuators very
>> expensive indeed.
>
>But will they sound better?

Not in my experience, and I've built attenuators using Vishay S102s,
which is as good as it gets technically.
--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is Art - Audio is Engineering
October 17, 2004 9:50:50 PM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Robert C. Lang wrote:
> Stewart Pinkerton <patent3@dircon.co.uk> wrote in message news:<ckpmhi0110o@news2.newsguy.com>...
>> On 14 Oct 2004 23:47:08 GMT, langvid@pacbell.net (Robert C. Lang)
>> wrote:
>>
>> >Resistor based passive designs have inherent issues that must be tamed
>> >to bring the passive closer to the music. The primary problem with
>> >typical high end resistors, including many of the lower cost Vishay
>> >resistors is brightness (high frequency distortion).
>>
>> Excuse me? Do you have *any* evidence for this extraordinary claim? I
>> have run sweeps on many resistors, and I find no evidence whatsoever
>> of *any* distortion products on any of the better types (wirewound,
>> metal-film or bulk metal), below 100kHz and down to -140dB below a 10
>> volt rms drive signal. Aside from some parasitic inductance and
>> capacitance, which of course does not introduce nonlinear distortion,
>> merely frequency response effects, modern resistors simply don't cause
>> problems IME - and I was looking for linearity and frequency response
>> *way* beyond what you'd need for domestic audio!
>
> I will defer to your empirical conclusions based on your tests. I
> should have clarified my response so as to not elevate it to a claim.
> My information came directly from two (not one) respected pre amp
> designers, both whom could clearly be biased toward materials they use
> for their products. I will, however, talk to one of the designers
> about *his* claim and report back to the group.
>
> But your conclusions raises more questions (for me) they answer. If
> there are no practical or measurable quality differences among
> resistors what makes some passive sound better than others (and that
> indeed has been my experience)? I realize that there is much more to a
> passive (such as design implementation) than merely its resistors.

How about the choice of resistor values? Too low, and you risk loading
the sources, and too high, you have too much high frequency droop and noise.

The biggest problem with passive preamp is that (a) there is no voltage
gain and buffering, and (b) the capacitance of the cable at the output
could affect the frequency response.


> Also, what parts *can* and *do* make a measurable/audible difference?

Matching of left and right channels, by using accurate resistors.
Quality of the switches/relays.

> You mentioned that your passive had $800 worth of parts. Why does your
> passive sound superior to others that you have heard?

He actually did not say that.

> Could the designer have gotten away with parts that cost substanially
> less with out an audible penalty? I guess what I am asking is if key
> parts such as resistors don't make a difference (I'm not trying to put
> words in your mouth)
> then what is the point of using anything but the cheapest?

Tolerances. Good switches are more expensive. Aesthetics (mechanical
design).

>
>
>>
>> That's certainly true, and can make some switched attenuators very
>> expensive indeed.
>
> But will they sound better?

Better left-right tracking is good.
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 12:48:42 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Georg Grosz wrote:

> If the two preamps were given a fair double blind test, and sounded
> different, one of them would probably be an incompetent design.

I wish I had take more Philosophy classes that worked through logical
thinking. Somehow when I make a post asking "Do preamps sound alike?"
and there are a number of answers like this I imagine myself doing a
comparison of two preamps, hearing a difference, then asking myself
"Which one is the incompetent one. Let's check the specs. Hmmm, both
have excellent specs. Could it be that both of them are incompetent in
different ways?" At that point to reach a conclusion I would either
have to begin conducting technical research beyond my education or just
deciding I like one better than the other, and start comparing it to
others until I find the one I like best. At least I am qualified to do
that. But then I have just thrown objectivity out the window. Or should
I read audiophile magazines that have access to more preamps than I will
ever be able to audition? No, can't do that they are subjective. But
then so am I. Must be objective, but don't have the tools. I know,
I'll post on RAHE. No, I did that and the results were definitely
mixed. I must restart my train of thought as I seems to have acquired a
circular track. Where is the exit?

Wylie Williams
October 18, 2004 5:50:25 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams wrote:
> Georg Grosz wrote:
>
>> If the two preamps were given a fair double blind test, and sounded
>> different, one of them would probably be an incompetent design.
>
> I wish I had take more Philosophy classes that worked through logical
> thinking. Somehow when I make a post asking "Do preamps sound alike?"
> and there are a number of answers like this I imagine myself doing a
> comparison of two preamps, hearing a difference, then asking myself
> "Which one is the incompetent one. Let's check the specs. Hmmm, both
> have excellent specs. Could it be that both of them are incompetent in
> different ways?" At that point to reach a conclusion I would either
> have to begin conducting technical research beyond my education or just
> deciding I like one better than the other, and start comparing it to
> others until I find the one I like best. At least I am qualified to do
> that. But then I have just thrown objectivity out the window. Or should
> I read audiophile magazines that have access to more preamps than I will
> ever be able to audition? No, can't do that they are subjective. But
> then so am I. Must be objective, but don't have the tools. I know,
> I'll post on RAHE. No, I did that and the results were definitely
> mixed. I must restart my train of thought as I seems to have acquired a
> circular track. Where is the exit?
>
> Wylie Williams

So you don't like (some of) the answers that you received? Where is the
circular track?

Let me try to summarize the answers for you:

(1) Some people believe that preamps sound very different from one another.

(2) Some people believe that preamps should sound alike, but due to
implementation issues, some sound different (due to poor designs).

(3) Some people think that they sound alike under DBT conditions.

(4) Some people believe that phono preamps can sound different.

So, why are you not happy with the answers? Again, where is the circular
track?

By the way, if you ask the question "Do all cables sound alike?", you
would probably get the same answers.
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 5:50:49 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> On 17 Oct 2004 14:40:29 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
> wrote:
>
>
>>Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>>


>>is that with or without a tube output stage?
>
>
> Nope, but including 45 kilos of laser-cut magnesium alloy which
> doesn't actually do anything....................
>
>

would make a handy door stop if nothing else


>>>Of course it does! Voice controlled, even:
>>>
>>>"Anne, turn the volume up a bit"......................
>>>
>>
>>Oh great, voice recognition software built in as well ...
>>
>>Does it ever go "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that?"
>
>
> No, I have upgraded to the JCN 9000, which fixed those bugs.
>
>

JCN 9000?
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 7:27:32 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams wrote:

> Georg Grosz wrote:
>
>> If the two preamps were given a fair double blind test, and sounded
>> different, one of them would probably be an incompetent design.
>
>
> I wish I had take more Philosophy classes that worked through logical
> thinking. Somehow when I make a post asking "Do preamps sound alike?"
> and there are a number of answers like this I imagine myself doing a
> comparison of two preamps, hearing a difference, then asking myself
> "Which one is the incompetent one. Let's check the specs. Hmmm, both
> have excellent specs. Could it be that both of them are incompetent in
> different ways?"

Dude, what else is a pre-amp meant to do other than act as a source
selector and volume control?

As such, a pre-amp should be nothing more than a connection (maybe with
some gain) to the power amp and as such have no distinct sound of its own.
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 7:29:12 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams wyliewill@charter.net wrote:



>Georg Grosz wrote:
>
>> If the two preamps were given a fair double blind test, and sounded
>> different, one of them would probably be an incompetent design.
>
>I wish I had take more Philosophy classes that worked through logical
>thinking. Somehow when I make a post asking "Do preamps sound alike?"
>and there are a number of answers like this I imagine myself doing a
>comparison of two preamps, hearing a difference, then asking myself
>"Which one is the incompetent one. Let's check the specs. Hmmm, both
>have excellent specs. Could it be that both of them are incompetent in
>different ways?" At that point to reach a conclusion I would either
>have to begin conducting technical research beyond my education or just
>deciding I like one better than the other, and start comparing it to
>others until I find the one I like best. At least I am qualified to do
>that. But then I have just thrown objectivity out the window. Or should
>I read audiophile magazines that have access to more preamps than I will
>ever be able to audition? No, can't do that they are subjective. But
>then so am I. Must be objective, but don't have the tools. I know,
>I'll post on RAHE. No, I did that and the results were definitely
>mixed. I must restart my train of thought as I seems to have acquired a
>circular track. Where is the exit?
>
>Wylie Williams

Well it's easy to get reports of difference in open comparisons of equipment.
Even when you give subjects the same an identical sound presentations twice
it's common to have them report 'differences' about 3/4 of the time.

Further few will ever investigate those times that there are real audible
differences as to 'cause.' The largest cause of real difference is input
sensitivity. Give a power amp the same input voltage as another even relatively
small differences in input sensitivity will make audible loudness differences
at the speakers. Level matching is the level field enabling device.

Further I've encountered electronic stereo devices with balance mistracking as
high as 2-dB. It'svseldom the case where true cause is investigated even when
actual acoustic differences exist.

For example I once had a good friend who claimed his high-end amplifier sounded
clearly better than my old Parasound. In truth it actually did sound
"different" in a direct comparison but only because of input sensitivity
differences and a 2-dB channel imbalance in his reference piece. When I matched
levels channel to channel he was no longer tell them apart he wasn't able to
tell which one was driving his speakers.

I once assembled a 'highly-tweaked' system consisting of an outboard DAC,
vacumn tube pre-amp, high-end amp, $100/meter interconnects, $300 soeaker
cables with networks, special cable dress and Vibration control devices and not
one of 10 highly interested and deeply experienced hard core audiophiles was
able to reliably identify this system from a dumbed-down system including a
20-year old $99 kit preamplifier, a 10-year old used $200 Parasound power
amplifier, 'junk-box' interconnects, 16-guage car audio zip-cord speaker cables
with purposely "un-tweaked" cable dress (speaker cables of 6-feet for one
channel and 25-feet for the other with the 25-foot section wrapped around the
power cables) using their own programs, single listener sweet spot listening
with either system driving the same speakers ({PSB Stratus Mini.)

Of course, each of the systems were level matched channel to channel with each
other. There was no attempt at matching frequency response although it wasn't
necessary. What was most interesting is that there was a 2-dB channel imbalance
between the 2 systems when they were run 'naked.'

It is my opinion that most reported differences in sound quality among
pass-thru with gain electronics (pre-amps, equalizers in bypass mode, power
amplifiers, integrated amps and receivers with the tone controls bypassed or
centered) are the result of expectation (75% even when given the same sound
twice) and the rest are due to level/balance mismatches which may be more
common than commonly thought.
Anonymous
October 18, 2004 7:29:47 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Tat Chan wrote:

> Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
>> On 17 Oct 2004 14:40:29 GMT, Tat Chan <le_king_num_7@hotmail.com>
>> wrote:
>>
>>
>>> Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>>>
>
>
>>> is that with or without a tube output stage?
>>
>>
>>
>> Nope, but including 45 kilos of laser-cut magnesium alloy which
>> doesn't actually do anything....................
>>
>>
>
> would make a handy door stop if nothing else
>
>
>>>> Of course it does! Voice controlled, even:
>>>>
>>>> "Anne, turn the volume up a bit"......................
>>>>
>>>
>>> Oh great, voice recognition software built in as well ...
>>>
>>> Does it ever go "I'm sorry Dave, I'm afraid I can't do that?"
>>
>>
>>
>> No, I have upgraded to the JCN 9000, which fixed those bugs.
>>
>>
>
> JCN 9000?

Whoops, I think I have answered my own question.

HAL --> IBM ---> JCN
Anonymous
October 19, 2004 3:45:05 AM

Archived from groups: rec.audio.high-end (More info?)

Wylie Williams <wyliewill@charter.net> wrote in message news:<ckulra014qv@news2.newsguy.com>...
> Georg Grosz wrote:
>
> > If the two preamps were given a fair double blind test, and sounded
> > different, one of them would probably be an incompetent design.
>
> I wish I had take more Philosophy classes that worked through logical
> thinking. Somehow when I make a post asking "Do preamps sound alike?"
> and there are a number of answers like this I imagine myself doing a
> comparison of two preamps, hearing a difference, then asking myself
> "Which one is the incompetent one.

The first question should be, "Have I listened to these in a way that
allows me to be SURE that I am really hearing a difference, and not
merely imagining one (or really hearing a dfference that's the result
of a level-mismatch, rather than any flaw in either unit)?" That's
probably your answer.

> Let's check the specs. Hmmm, both
> have excellent specs. Could it be that both of them are incompetent in
> different ways?"

Or could it be that the spec sheets do not accurately reflect each
component's performance?

> At that point to reach a conclusion I would either
> have to begin conducting technical research beyond my education or just
> deciding I like one better than the other, and start comparing it to
> others until I find the one I like best. At least I am qualified to do
> that. But then I have just thrown objectivity out the window. Or should
> I read audiophile magazines that have access to more preamps than I will
> ever be able to audition? No, can't do that they are subjective. But
> then so am I. Must be objective, but don't have the tools.

Sure you do. Anyone can do an objective listening comparison, if they
care to go to the trouble.

> I know,
> I'll post on RAHE. No, I did that and the results were definitely
> mixed. I must restart my train of thought as I seems to have acquired a
> circular track. Where is the exit?
>
The exit lies in learning to conduct meaningful listening comparisons.
Or in simply deciding to believe the subjectivists' story. Take your
pick.

bob
!