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Steinway Lyngdorf Review

In discussing how to get the clarity and definition back, Robert E. Greene states:

"Odd ideas have arisen. First there was the really peculiar one that it had something to do with amplifiers, when in fact good amplifiers are all but perfect in the relevant frequency ranges."

So it's a really peculiar idea that we should be concerned about amplifiers? What was the purpose of all those amplifier reviews over the last many decades? I have a few problems with his statement.

First, it propagates the myth that amplifiers are perfect and that speakers are all that matter. This is a mass market notion that was especially popular during the "distortion wars". The specs on that amp are "so good, you can't hear it." With any luck, I WOULDN'T BE hearing an amp like that, ever.

The "all but perfect part" ignores the idea that smaller quantitative errors may be as qualitatively important to the listener as larger errors. It also assumes that the standard of measurements are adequate for describing sound and that quantitative notions of audibility have been updated with state of the art equipment. I cite measurements here, because subjective listening tells us that amplifiers are NOT perfect.

The part of his statement that says "within the relevant frequency ranges" is missing consideration of the time element in reproduced music. Because the ear is so sensitive to time delays, an amplifier might perform well on static tests within the 20-20kHz range, but be "slow." A faster, wide bandwidth amp is easily audibly superior to an amp which barely plods along for 20kHz. There is also the question of what constitutes relevant frequency ranges.


Being concerned about amplifier clarity is not a "particularly odd idea". It's a fundamental difference between universal mediocre sound and living, breathing, lifelike, electronic artifact free music playback. It's counter productive and surprising for an experienced reviewer to propagate a mass market myth of ignorance which is at odds with the entire industry.


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Topic - Steinway Lyngdorf Review - barryb 13:31:26 12/30/11 (19)

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