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11-22-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 8,755
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 3192
Reply to: 3192
We don’t necessarily know “Why”, nor do we need to….

A couple days ago a local friend of mine asked to let him to listen my Celestion SL600 monitors:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=2500  (on the second page)

I brought to him the monitors with the stand (but with no LF section). The SL600 sounded like crap, very identicall to the sound of my Melquiades driving SL600. It was very obvious after the very first notes that his 50W PP A class B amp juts can not drive those speakers. It is not the issue of power but the fact that SL600, for whatever, reasons demand incredibly high QUALITY of amplification… Anyhow, I told him that if he promises to find a better amplifier then I will leave the SL600 in his room for a while, so I did… The guy didn’t disagree that his amplification was very poor but still he asked me why I feel that his amps were inadequate. I made an attempt to explain but while I was pooling out of my ass my bogus explanation I was wondering what the hell I was doing. I really do not know any explanation why some SS amps sound good or bad and pretty much anything that I’m capable to provide as “explanation” (even for myself) is completely fabricated. For instance I know very defiantly that an amplifier does very poor job but why do we (the peoples who juts USE audio) should care WHY the amp perform poorly? Yes, there are some very basic and very simplistic things: like amount of bias current relative to the load impedance but why we, THE USERS OF AUDIO, need to go further to understand how this damn amplifier works?

I think the reasons why we, THE AUDIO USERS, mistakably feel that the nuts and bolts of audio design is something that we should touch is the very same reason that brings so much evil in audio – the mediocrity  and stupidity of audio reviewing. Those people, the reviewers, year after year without having talent or skills to sell Sound, they force audio people to buy into a semi-technical justification “WHY SOUND SHOULD BE GOOD”. As the result a cretin-reviewer writes about among of capacitors, silverness of the cables or amount of flux  but at the same time he is falling give an objectives assessment of the actual Sound. The irony that even if a reviewer would try to say anything about sound (presumably that he would know “how”) then we the morons-readers would not understand him unless a reviewer will justify “the quality of sound” by some kind irrelevant technical fact.

We, the people who use audio, really do not need to know all those night and bolt – we juts ride horses, we as not veterinarians, and we do not need to know the acidneed of the horn’ stomach in order to ride her. A couple weeks back I stopped by at auto-dealer to buy a car. The sale- guy told me a long story about the amount of titanium in the car’s engine, the exclusive torch generation algorithm and unique weight distribution. I suggested him to shut up because nether I not him have any idea or interest what these words means. After driving test, the car was driving very poorly. So, where all that glorified “torch” gone?

The point that I’mtrying to make is that we really need to define for ourselves what we are interesting in audio: do we shovel technologies and try to fit them for our demands or we just try to fulfill our demands without any regards to technologies… After all - when you buy a car that drives as you expected… DO YOU REALLY CARE HOW IT WAS DONE? Do we really need to know about the “uniqueness” of the speaker’s drivers if the speakers sound like shit? Do you really need to know about the benefits if a given amplifier topology if from the sound of this amplifier the cactuses desiccate….

Perhaps if the audio – reviewing Morons would self-impose a ban to writhe up bogusness about irrelevant technology then perhaps the entire possess of reviewing would be different. Last year I asked a guy who occasionally write reviews if he think to abandon to write in his review about that irrelevant pseudo-techno-crap and he replied “what else to write about?”

We, the used do not need explanation, he need a “black box” with demanded performance.  If we, the users begin to wonder about differences between bipolar vs. MOSFETS, Bessel vs. Butterworth or cathode bias vs. self-bias then the people who furnish us with solutions of the people who critique this solution do very piss-poor job and they should be thrown out.

The fantasizes.. eh!!!
Romy the caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-22-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 1,827
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 2
Post ID: 3195
Reply to: 3192
Why, indeed
I have found it useful to learn a little bit and also to remember what people have said about equipment they build.  When I have had a chance to listen to the gear and compare what manufacturers have said with my impression of the gear, I have been able to build on my basic, puny knowledge as it relates to my own taste.  So regardless of how much anyone else "likes" a Krell amp, I remember that I disliked it so much that I become suspicious of the whole genre typified by the Krell amp.  Maybe that's not fair or reasonable, but so far it's saved me time, if nothing else.  Also, listening and comparing "specs" with sound helps sniff out the pure BS, such as the many Carver "alikes", etc.  Basically, one does oneself a service to remember that some manufacturers produce nothing but mid-fi, and some produce nothing but junk.

As you have said, most of the spec touting is just hyberbole and/or pandering to the pseudo-knowledgable "target" audience, anyway.   Also enthusiasm about the good stuff is generally mixed right in with enthusiasm about the bad stuff; so maybe we are better served to learn to read people than to learn electronics.

Best regards,
Paul S
11-22-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
drdna
San Francisco, California
Posts 472
Joined on 10-29-2005

Post #: 3
Post ID: 3196
Reply to: 3192
This applies to manufacturers also
When I think back to some of the products made over the years I realize that neither we nor the manufacturers really know what makes something sound good.  Some of the early pieces made by (and I hope Roman forgives me here) Pass, Van den Hul, Conrad Johnson, Bruce Edgar, etc. were quite good.  But with success comes the compulsion to build more expensive products, and I suppose one falls back on one's engineering background and specifications, ending up with a new product that isn't improved at all.  Witness the Threshold amplifiers after Pass sold off the company in all their sterile astringent pinched glory.  Horrible! 

Sadly, it seems more often than not that a good sounding product is just a combination of things in a circuit design that balances perfectly, perhaps like the Melquiades, which I have plans to build when I save up the scratch.  It is the faut of the designer when they believe that their novel circuit design theories have led them to good sound, when this may not be the case at all; it may be something else entirely.  At least it seems that way to me in my audio experiments.

Just my two cents.

Adrian
11-22-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Dominic
Montreal, Canada
Posts 67
Joined on 08-23-2006

Post #: 4
Post ID: 3197
Reply to: 3196
or no
i think there's something to be said for the 'black box with demanded performance'. in fact i used to come at it from that very angle, somehow expecting i could try everything to see if it had the demanded performance. it totally sucks that you can't just order something with the sound you want and know that that's the sound you'll get, since reviews and manufacturers are necessarily nebulous in their descriptions. 'be nice if that could be solved.
 But then i've become a gearwhore in every avenue of life, i've got to know the inner workings of everything, and try and make something.
11-23-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 5
Post ID: 3198
Reply to: 3197
The Dark Ages
When grouped together, audiophiles fall in between the Dark Ages and the dawn of the Renaissance.

The occult fights against religion for providing the ultimate answers to all fundamental sonic and existential questions; agnostics should be burnt at the stake; sects are formed and tendencies are furiously adhered to and followed.

Gurus emerge from the ashes and establish a following. Temples are built and pious 'philes flock in for their weekly liturgical catharsis, and to hear the sonic teachings of the chosen ones. Some, very few, will be allowed to partake in the ultimate initiation (pay in cash, check or otherwise hot money); the Guru holds the key to the Holy Grail, the key to unravel the most convoluted and fundamental of all quests: the ultimate reproduction and the reason why.

The quest for the Unified (sonic) Theory never ends.
11-23-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Paul S
San Diego, California, USA
Posts 1,827
Joined on 10-12-2006

Post #: 6
Post ID: 3199
Reply to: 3197
When we stumble onto something good
So what are we to make of a product like the ML2 amps (using them here only as an example, not a topic)?  I have to say I more or less took a flyer on these, since I never heard them in a system I could stand before I up and bought them, and I well knew in advance the limits and limitations of SETs topological terms.  But now that I have them in my own system they don't sound like any SETs I have heard before.  In fact, they don't sound much like any amps I have heard before in terms of character.  And this raises lots of questions for me in terms of my "knowledge" about hi-fi electronic genres, since I am not sure in a technical sense what makes this amp so special.  OTOH, it has to be "something", and I do plan to figure it out as I listen.

While I can't argue with the observation that we "don't know what sounds good", I can observe for myself that Romy took some ideas from the ML2s (and, no doubt, other electronic stuff) when he "deduced" the Melquiades, which are, after all, an amalgamation of memories, both memories of sound and memories of electronics with which Romy has formed associations.

So here is another case for knowing something about the workings of the gear. Even if it does not solve the question of "circuit supremacy" it does suggest both the existence and value of a "working knowledge" of the gear.

It appears to me that the "problem" is not so much with knowledge of electronics, per se, but rather with current evaluative methods and methodologies and the developmental processes stemming from these methods and methodologies.  Basically, there seems to be a disconnect between what we know about electronics and what we hear, and how we use what we hear to change what we "know" about electronics.

It has long seemed to me that those who know the most about electronics, per se, are different people than those who know the most about music, per se.  Yet it has also been clear for some time that it takes more than a melding of both interests to render good hi-fi.

But learning to listen is not just a technique, it is a process.  And likely the "knowledge" of hi-fi must transform itself on both fronts, listening and knowledge about the workings of the gear and how that relates to what we hear.

I am reluctant to let go of the idea that I can keep track of what sounds right to me.  I would rather expand my knowledge than adopt a random approach borne of dispair of knowledge.

Paul S
11-23-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 8,755
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 3201
Reply to: 3197
The Industry as a garbage-disposal for Audio Makers.

 Dominic wrote:
… i think there's something to be said for the 'black box with demanded performance'. in fact i used to come at it from that very angle, somehow expecting i could try everything to see if it had the demanded performance. …

Actually there's something else to be said for the “black box with demanded performance”.

The “demanded performance” is not something that might be “observed” but something that should be expressed. Let me explaine. The “demanded performance” has nothing to do with personal tastes, inclination or preference. The “demanded performance” of playback it is juts a “pointer” (speaking on IT lingo) within a scale of “real fidelity” of musical perception. Therefore when we talk about the “demanded performance” we are talking about the level of a manufacture AND a level of a consumer to understand where this “pointer” is located.

The demanded level always exists. The question is how far the demanded level moves up. The higher the demanded level moves the more generic and more unified the requirements are. When a playback is implemented according to high-end requirements (in ideal) then the “demanded performance level” should be in fact a common denominator that is absolutely equal among everyone.

This is bigger problems: a consumer in it’s evolvement (no restrictions) might reach a level where all people “who already there” end up with (the same identical demands). However, it is very difficult, practically imposable for manufacturers (there are objective reasons why). This is why I feel that a “demanded performance” is very frequently is not that might be “observed” but something that should be expressed – it is way more complicated for the makers to express then for us “to recognize”.

We have .5% among audio listeners who actually have any signs of listening intelligence. We have the same percentage of people who has listening intelligence among the audio makers. Then we have probably .1% of all High-end audio listeners who become audio maker, and it is very much not the best .1%. So, we have very limited chance that an audio maker understands any stratification of “demanded performance”. Not to mention that, as “Drdna” very correctly point out, most of the manufactures has very short productive lifespan and with literally a couple years they  get converted form idealistic people who would like to do “better audio” into crap manufacturing disposable commodity of audio industry…

Rgs,
The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-23-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 8,755
Joined on 05-27-2004

Post #: 8
Post ID: 3202
Reply to: 3199
ML2, Hegel, Kant…. and the tube dampers…

 Paul S wrote:
So what are we to make of a product like the ML2 amps (using them here only as an example, not a topic)?  I have to say I more or less took a flyer on these, since I never heard them in a system I could stand before I up and bought them, and I well knew in advance the limits and limitations of SETs topological terms.  But now that I have them in my own system they don't sound like any SETs I have heard before.  In fact, they don't sound much like any amps I have heard before in terms of character.  And this raises lots of questions for me in terms of my "knowledge" about hi-fi electronic genres, since I am not sure in a technical sense what makes this amp so special.  OTOH, it has to be "something", and I do plan to figure it out as I listen.

While I can't argue with the observation that we "don't know what sounds good", I can observe for myself that Romy took some ideas from the ML2s (and, no doubt, other electronic stuff) when he "deduced" the Melquiades, which are, after all, an amalgamation of memories, both memories of sound and memories of electronics with which Romy has formed associations.

So here is another case for knowing something about the workings of the gear. Even if it does not solve the question of "circuit supremacy" it does suggest both the existence and value of a "working knowledge" of the gear.

It appears to me that the "problem" is not so much with knowledge of electronics, per se, but rather with current evaluative methods and methodologies and the developmental processes stemming from these methods and methodologies.  Basically, there seems to be a disconnect between what we know about electronics and what we hear, and how we use what we hear to change what we "know" about electronics.

It has long seemed to me that those who know the most about electronics, per se, are different people than those who know the most about music, per se.  Yet it has also been clear for some time that it takes more than a melding of both interests to render good hi-fi.

But learning to listen is not just a technique, it is a process.  And likely the "knowledge" of hi-fi must transform itself on both fronts, listening and knowledge about the workings of the gear and how that relates to what we hear.

I am reluctant to let go of the idea that I can keep track of what sounds right to me.  I would rather expand my knowledge than adopt a random approach borne of dispair of knowledge.
Sure, the odder ML2 was probably the best educational tool I had in audio. I never was kidding saing that many people out there, even among those who are using older ML2, hardly understand how to use it. I do not mean the selection of speakers or tubes but I mean a recognition now ML2 is capable to “work” with listening awareness and in a way to sahpe awareness in a certain format. I clearly recognize that before ML2 I have seen audio from a very different perspective and frankly speaking, as I understand now, it was quite stupid perspective . The most interesting thing about ML2 that it did NOT show HOW the things should be done but rather ML2 encouraged to think about the nature of the things and stimulated to develop own sight. I have no problems to call myself as the ML2’s graduate...

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=550

However, it was my ways and it certainly not the only way. I come to high-end audio with a certain baggage of prerequisites and with certain amount of margins. In my case the ML2 was a useful schooling.

it is important to understand that when we learns anything in audio we do not really take in and embrace the new things but rather discover the “correct” answers with ourselves. We do have all answers built in within us and all that we need to do it juts to find the patterns according to winch out consciousness could dig the “realizations” out. It is not about knowing “what sounds good" but rather having within ourselves a keys to the mechanisms that would allow to objectively asses how our inner-us react to different sonic irritations… It is just about honesty, sensitivity, own sense of values and ability to extrapolate the views creatively via external metaphoric symbolism (sound in the given case).

Rgs,
Romy


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
11-08-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Manitou
Perthshire, Scotland
Posts 9
Joined on 10-26-2007

Post #: 9
Post ID: 5827
Reply to: 3199
YES!
Hey!

I launched a similarly dischordant notion, I think.  I also value your reluctance.  YES!

I was born in La Jolla, live in Scotland and design things, mainly related to accurate music reproduction.  The calm and silence and lack of seismic action seems to focus the mind!

Cheers,

Christopher


"If you can imagine it, it's real"
...myself and others...
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