Thread: The Audiophile Thread

  1. #326
    Member Staun's Avatar
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    As we all know, most audiophile equipment especially preamps, don't come with attenuation controls. Bass, mid and treble. Do they feel this is some type of deviding line? I know the story, it colours the sound. Or, my equipment is so good, I don't need such things and no matter where I place it, it's going to sound great. Others will say, I need them to tweak the sound because of room size or space that is avaliable. 3LockBox asked a great question. Are they listening to music or the gear?
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  2. #327
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    As we all know, most audiophile equipment especially preamps, don't come with attenuation controls. Bass, mid and treble. Do they feel this is some type of deviding line? I know the story, it colours the sound. Or, my equipment is so good, I don't need such things and no matter where I place it, it's going to sound great. Others will say, I need them to tweak the sound because of room size or space that is avaliable. 3LockBox asked a great question. Are they listening to music or the gear?
    I suspect, at a certain level of equipment it is assumed you're going to place your speakers in an ideal configuration. You wouldn't spend the money if you couldn't. And I think you meant "tone controls" not "attenuation," which is volume.

  3. #328
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    MI suspect, at a certain level of equipment it is assumed you're going to place your speakers in an ideal configuration. You wouldn't spend the money if you couldn't. And I think you meant "tone controls" not "attenuation," which is volume.
    Rcarlberg, isn't that what they basically do? Raise or lower the volume? I think that's what most people would say. You raised or lowered the volume on one of these controls. Might be hard for some to feel, you just added more.
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  4. #329
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    That also assumes a great deal. What a buyer will do and where he will place it but I do see your point.
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  5. #330
    Member Staun's Avatar
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    At any rate, would an audiophile be caught dead with a tone control?
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  6. #331
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    I think that's what most people would say. You raised or lowered the volume on one of these controls. Might be hard for some to feel, you just added more.
    I think "most people" would use the common term Tone Control, to distinguish it from Volume Control.

  7. #332
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    Quote Originally Posted by rcarlberg View Post
    I think "most people" would use the common term Tone Control, to distinguish it from Volume Control.
    i took your advise. Post#330.
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  8. #333
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    To finish an earlier point about bass. It can be portioned as lower bass, mid bass and upper bass. Is this correct?
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  9. #334
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    To finish an earlier point about bass. It can be portioned as lower bass, mid bass and upper bass. Is this correct?
    Correct? There is no right or wrong on arbitrary distinctions. You could just as easily divide the low frequencies into two ranges, or four.

  10. #335
    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    As we all know, most audiophile equipment especially preamps, don't come with attenuation controls. Bass, mid and treble. Do they feel this is some type of deviding line? I know the story, it colours the sound. Or, my equipment is so good, I don't need such things and no matter where I place it, it's going to sound great. Others will say, I need them to tweak the sound because of room size or space that is avaliable. 3LockBox asked a great question. Are they listening to music or the gear?
    I think the idea is that a proper system should replicate what is sent to it, I.e. Give you a truthful representation. Not to belabour my Tetra fever (!) but those speakers, in combination with my Oppo player and Leema amp, deliver the most truthful sound of any configuration I've (emphasis on I've) heard. Of course, that Dave Holland, Herbie Hancock, David Torn, Keith Richards and Ron Carter feel the same way doesn't hurt my argument, but the point is: if your player, amp and speakers deliver what they are being given truthfully, then you shouldn't need "tone" controls or any form of equalization. If the album is well produced, why would I want it to sound anything other than how it was meant to sound?

    That's the argument, in a nutshell.

    I did, however, have a lesson in the difference between gain and volume today, and I must say it was a revelation. My setup has just stepped up another notch by increasing the gain so how I use the volume control has now changed,

  11. #336
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post

    I did, however, have a lesson in the difference between gain and volume today, and I must say it was a revelation. My setup has just stepped up another notch by increasing the gain so how I use the volume control has now changed,
    John, are you referring to an adjustment you made from the Leema to boost or reduce the gain on a source input (presumably the Oppo)? If so, from my experience, the value of adjusting the gain on each source input is to allow you to balance them. I have a Rotel CDP that is LOUDER than most other digital players. I trimmed the gain on that source so that I don't have to change the volume when I switch to digital playback or to vinyl.
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  12. #337
    Quote Originally Posted by rottersclub View Post
    John, are you referring to an adjustment you made from the Leema to boost or reduce the gain on a source input (presumably the Oppo)? If so, from my experience, the value of adjusting the gain on each source input is to allow you to balance them. I have a Rotel CDP that is LOUDER than most other digital players. I trimmed the gain on that source so that I don't have to change the volume when I switch to digital playback or to vinyl.
    Yes...but while you're correct about balancing various devices, it can also substantially change the sound, in one case literally moving the drums forward or back in the stereo image.

  13. #338
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    Typically, you want the most transparent component to add the gain to your signal. Lets assume you have a noisy preamp (some kind of hum when you crank it up), you would want more gain coming from your source equipment to improve the signal to noise ratio. So, the component with the better gain stage should be used to raise the volume. But sometimes a component is optimized for a certain level, and that's where you get the best performance (likely what jkelman has experienced).

    Now the ability to adjust gain in a source component is not typical, but when it is it can be very beneficial to balancing the sound between different components, or fine tuning the presentation.

    Now for analogue lovers, there is a definitely optimization to be had getting the right gain from the cartridge - step-up - phono stage - preamp - amp combination. But that is a whole different kettle of fish.
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  14. #339
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    Now for analogue lovers, there is a definitely optimization to be had getting the right gain from the cartridge - step-up - phono stage - preamp - amp combination. But that is a whole different kettle of fish.
    My preamp does have an adjustment for MC cart output levels. I'll use the cart factory specs and my TT guy to set the right gain. If you don't have control here, you'll have to acquire some type of external amplification stage. It's an additional circuit in the system which I don't like but depending on how good your phono stage is, you may need one. I've not heard a great many of them but I'm told some are very good. Heard one made by Cambridge but I didn't like it as I felt it really made the sound quite flat. I'm also told that a tube phono stage would be very good. Is this true? Also, I think I've asked this before but, what is the advantage in having a low output MC cart vs. a higher output MC cart?
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  15. #340
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    Quote Originally Posted by jkelman View Post
    I did, however, have a lesson in the difference between gain and volume today, and I must say it was a revelation. My setup has just stepped up another notch by increasing the gain so how I use the volume control has now changed,
    Is gain more related to strength of signal rather than how loud or how soft the signal is?
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    Quote Originally Posted by Staun View Post
    I think I've asked this before but, what is the advantage in having a low output MC cart vs. a higher output MC cart?
    I think you meant moving coil versus moving magnet pickups -- MC have lower moving masses and so are more responsive -- though the output level is lower.

  17. #342
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    There are MM cartridges - generally outputting 2.5 - 5mv
    There are high output MC's (HOMC) - generally outputting 2 - 2.5mv
    There are MC's - generally outputting 1 - 2 mv
    There are low output moving coils (LOMC) - generally outputting .2 - 1mv

    MM and HOMC's can usually function quite nicely with a standard moving magnet phono stage that adds about 45db of gain to the signal
    MC and especially LOMC's need an extra step up transformer or head amp to add an additional 10-25db of gain to the signal. Matching the transformer or dead amp is almost an art, adjusting additional capacitance and resistance on the step up device to get a good balanced sound. This can be an expensive proposition but generally results in superior sound.

    For comparison, a CD player usually outputs about 2 volts. Cartridges are measured in milli-volts.
    Last edited by BobM; 02-24-2015 at 10:36 AM.
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  18. #343
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    There is no inherent advantage, of course, to low output cartridges -- unless they come with concomitant low moving mass.

    And no mass is lower than a laser

  19. #344
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    When I moved houses last year, I made a few changes in my 2 channel setup. One was that I switched from unbalanced (RCA) to balanced (XLR) interconnects between my preamp and my power amp. The result was the gain is now significantly higher, so much so that I have had to turn the volume level down on the preamp. But I am also finding the sound to have so much more presence than in my old house. Admittedly, the new room is about 25% smaller and I'm using a pair of fairly large floor standers to which I am a bit closer, but still the palpability of the music is so much stronger now. It's almost like was hearing the music at the far end of a tunnel before. Now, I'm not just in the control booth, I'm on the studio floor!

    A side note to all you vinyl fans, I was noticing a slight loss of top end (in the cymbals primarily), playing vinyl and after some casting about, I realized that the turntable was not perfectly level on the stand. I shimmed two of the three feet to get it back to level and now the sound is outstanding. I listened to a bunch of things last night and with the exception of Bruford's One of a Kind, everything was just fantastic, with special mention to Pierre Moerlen's Gong Downwind. What a great album it is (except for the dodgy vocals) and it is great sounding to boot. I had forgotten that the violin was by Didier Lockwood. (Another benefit of vinyl - larger print on the cover and inserts.)
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  20. #345
    Member Emeritus (A.M.P.) rcarlberg's Avatar
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    Smaller + closer + louder = more presence.

    Wait until you try headphones!

  21. #346
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    Quote Originally Posted by rottersclub View Post

    A side note to all you vinyl fans, I was noticing a slight loss of top end (in the cymbals primarily), playing vinyl and after some casting about, I realized that the turntable was not perfectly level on the stand.
    Gong's Espresso album (especially Percolations) is a great showpiece.

    Does your tonearm have the ability to adjust VTA (vertical tracking angle)? If yes, then try raising the back of the arm a small bit at a time. Listen to the cymbals and bell-like tones especially until they sound clear and precise. Of course, as you do this your bass may appear to sound lighter, but it also may tighten up and become more precise. You want a balance between the two that appeals to your ear and gets rid of any sibilance or distortion. Make sure your stylus is clean before you start.

    Lowering the arm will give you more bass. Raising the arm will enhance treble. Generally.
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  22. #347
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    Has anyone seen the new Cadillac ad? Steve Wozniak has quite the vinyl collection. I wonder what that turntable is.

    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

  23. #348
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    Quote Originally Posted by BobM View Post
    Gong's Espresso album (especially Percolations) is a great showpiece.

    Does your tonearm have the ability to adjust VTA (vertical tracking angle)? If yes, then try raising the back of the arm a small bit at a time. Listen to the cymbals and bell-like tones especially until they sound clear and precise. Of course, as you do this your bass may appear to sound lighter, but it also may tighten up and become more precise. You want a balance between the two that appeals to your ear and gets rid of any sibilance or distortion. Make sure your stylus is clean before you start.

    Lowering the arm will give you more bass. Raising the arm will enhance treble. Generally.
    Agreed, Bob. I have been using Gazeuse/Expresso for demoing gear since the 70s!

    I have a 35 year old Rega TT with a five year old RB301 tonearm. Rega gear doesn't have the option to adjust the VTA, so I was required to raise (shim) the arm when I got the Dynavector cartridge, as it is about 4mm taller than a standard Rega cartridge.

    I'm quite happy with the balance I'm getting between the HF and LF. I was listening to Nefertiti last night on vinyl and at one point (Pinocchio maybe) Ron Carter's bass was so emphatic, that I had the sense that I could feel it. And no r, I wasn't playing it at 11!
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
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  24. #349
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jerjo View Post
    Has anyone seen the new Cadillac ad? Steve Wozniak has quite the vinyl collection. I wonder what that turntable is.
    According to AudioAsylum, it's a VPI Classic 4:

    http://www.audioasylum.com/audio/vin...0/1104056.html

    I've never heard a VPI, but they all have that wire loop coming out the back of the tonearm that I find a bit unnerving. Not that I would hang the cat with it or anything. But still ...
    Think of a book as a vase, and a movie as the stained-glass window that the filmmaker has made out of the pieces after hes smashed it with a hammer.
    -- Russell Banks (paraphrased)

  25. #350
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    I see that one of the comments asked why he didn't have a more expensive table. My Google search lists that table at around $10K. I'd say most audiophiles would be more than happy with a $10,000 turntable. Man, that's a lot of vinyl. I'd love to spend a day in that room, just listening to music.
    I don't like country music, but I don't mean to denigrate those who do. And for the people who like country music, denigrate means 'put down.'- Bob Newhart

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