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It's a high distortion design, that is why.

12AU7s - good ones - make great zero-gain buffers, e.g. cathode-follower with maximum NFB and a gain of .95. That is what I use mine for. I would never use any of the 12AU7 varieties in a critical role like splitter/driver.

You'll also notice that I'm not alone in my considered view of the 12AU7.

I'm into good sounding audio to listen to simply recorded acoustic music, IE mostly classical, and choral music. I'm an ex cathedral chorister, and still sing in my current parish.

I listen to such music at least once a week, live. And once I had a system that did a very good job at that, and letting me hear how different each recording is. Well, my need to worry fell. Issues like the room, better amplifiers, wider FR range took primacy. Playing around with small tonal changes strikes me as a waste of time, and money.

The rebuilt classic valve PP NFB power amps I've used since the mid 1990s contain role-appropriate valves. They have very large storage in their PSUs and have very good bass, they are quiet, sweet, and crisp, valvey, yet neutral.

For me audio is about knowing where I am going, learning, and sticking to it. Likely return on investment in improving believability and involvement is my main criterion.

I would never use a multi-miked, phased Eq'd, Aphexed, mix-down pop recording as a guide.

While simpler recordings have a good deal of variation* in the sound-field they create, I am reasonably across that and can understand what I hear. EG ORTF, 2 spaced omnis, or 3!, Decca's mix. Crossed pairs, sound-field mikes, Kimber Iso-Mike. etc.

In the late 1970s I was lucky to find a speaker design that beat the QUAD 57s, almost new black mesh ones that I nearly bought, and did a bettr job on the inevitable baby boomer pop/rock collection as well. They are 2-way 8 inch spheres and since the 90s bi-amped: actively in the bass since there IS no low-pass, and passively in the treble.

The side of the audio hobby with changing cables, valves, or regular changes in equipment seems a pretty pointless tail chase to me. I feel it is driven by trying to get a hi-fi system to sound good on recordings for which the term high-fidelity to an ensemble in a space in real time just does not apply.

E.g. One visitor (who because he has a dipl.eng in EE thinks he's 'a scientist') turned up with a carry bag of nothing but pop CDs and put on a Linda Ronstadt album - famously discussed in Rolling Stone for its use of the Aphex Aural Exciter, and which I have on LP and still enjoy.

He proceeded to tell me that there was a lot of MR distortion. Well, hell yes!

Dig it.


Warmest

Tim Bailey

Skeptical Measurer & Audio Scrounger



Edits: 06/15/12 06/15/12

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  • It's a high distortion design, that is why. - Timbo in Oz 16:07:58 06/15/12 (0)

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