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In Reply to: That would sound awesome posted by John C. - Aussie on September 11, 2006 at 17:15:00:
Problem is that accurate E/S units like the Sound Labs, if fed from a good player and amps, reveals all the recording blemishes. Given a clean recording the sound is awesome, but sadly there are fewer in this collection that I previously realised. But there ARE some :-)
John, you should know that to get good sound you need tubes (valves). :-)
"John, you should know that to get good sound you need tubes (valves). :-)"
Stop stirring Brian.
If I want a "throttled" input which makes so-so recordings tolerable then I can use a different player. No doubt a dose of second degree harmonics from tubes might do a similar job. However I'm not about to go down that reverse path. Not much point in paying out heaps for Sound Labs speakers if they are to fed with a compromised input.
So, I'll live with a restricted base of recordings to enjoy the awesome sound from the good ones. Irritating I have to do that but time to face reality - it is a less than perfect recording world out there :-( But, thank heaven, there are Tony Faulkners who DO know what they are doing and do not place microphones in ridiculous positions too close to the instruments.
.... that many audiophiles counteract what they do not like in the sound of their system with measures that reduce the fidelity. e.g. If the harshness is disliked speakers are chosen with drooping top ends. It might ameliorate the problems with recordings which suffer harshness because of microphones being too close, but it also dampens down the fidelity of well recorded CDs, LPs, SACDS etc.
My feeling is that some tube amps (note I said some, not all) soften the musical result to achieve what Brian described - makes all recordings listenable. A good amp is a good amp whether it be SS or tube and from that point of view there is nothing to choose between them. To claim tube amps solve problems is peddling snake oil as much as to say SS amps are necessary for clean transient reproduction.
I'm not a fan of tube amps for different reasons - SS is more reliable, less messing around with continual biasing (appreciating the better tube amps can do this automatically) and less heat involved. It also concerns me that tubes age and significant sound differences can be heard with different breeds of tubes. But that is just my take.
I'm not trying to rubbish all tube amps, it is just they are not for me and I reject the notion put forward by Brian (whether his tongue was in cheek or not) that a tube amp would make all my CDs listenable. I am presenbtly listening to an order of Chandos CDs which just arrived and every one of them is superb both sonically and artistically with no change of componentry needed or desired.
So please do not misinterpret. I'm not trying to offend tube amp owners, just reacting to a suggestion posted above. Does this explain?
I gotta to agree with you here, the only extra thing a very good tube amplifier will add to the mix is much higher maintenance. A very good SS amplifier will provide you much the sound same quality for a lot less maintenance. Whilst the Atmaspheres are good amplfiiers, I am reasonably confident that it a'int gonna turn soar's ear into a silk purse.
Music making the painting, recording it the photograph
John, perhaps you are associating euphonic, lush sounding tube gear with my remarks. I assure you that is not the case! While you visited me very briefly in May, I was using the Atma-Sphere tube electronics, which are not at all "tubey" in that sense. I suggest that a system that gets it right, whether tube, solid state, or a combination, lays bare the flaws in recordings, but not annoyingly so. I also suggest that recordings often are actually much better than we give them credit for, that system resonances, noise, and distortion can cause them to sound objectionable. For example, a recording that seems bright may in fact not be, and I'm not referring to or recommending gear that rolls off the top end to make it sound acceptable. I want all the music and less "hifi" sound. An example of a system years ago that was very revealing yet forgiving at the same time was the Levinson HQD system.
I tend to agree with you Brian. I had Silvaweld OTLs on my Acoustats and the sound was absolutely superb (but the room became a Sauna). Eventually, I couldn't live with the heat.
In learning about IIM distortion, first proposed by Otala in the late 70s, I think the combination of the Halcros with a highly reactive speaker like a soundlab is a bad idea. IIM distortion is when the Back EMF of a speaker is reamplified by the partnering amp. This can happen if he feedback is high and thus giving a pathway for the back EMF to circle back around to the input as part of the normal feedback signal. Only now, its not a normal feedback signal anymore as it is blended with this back EMF.
This has been kind of my suspicions for some time. I read an article by a past engineer for McIntosh a couple of years ago and he felt the same way.
On the other hand I read so much from inmates loving tubes I was afraid I might be short changing myself. Unluckily I don't have the budget to change for experimentation sake alone.
And lastly, the addition of distortion (good or bad) seems counter productive to me.
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