Cable nonsense -- article #2

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John Dunlavy

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Nov 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/11/97
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The many well-written responses to my recent "cable postings" have
convinced me that a significant number of readers have awakened to the
mess that exists with respect to questionable advertising claims being
made for the properties and performance of audiophile cables.

It has become increasingly obvious that many audiophiles are well
aware that most cable advertising is based upon gibberish intended to
sell expensive, "high-tech looking" cables that seldom perform as
claimed. Indeed, it is a provable fact that most cables, regardless of
cost or appearance, are not designed according to the teachings of
credible engineering criteria, confirmed by meaningful measurements
and properly conducted listening evaluations.

Intrigued by the questionable technology underpinning the advertised
claims for patented cable designs, I contacted a friend who is both a
patent attorney and a competent E.E. As a result of our discussion,
he secured copies of several patents relevant to some of the most
expensive, well-advertised and best-selling cables presently
available. Perusing these patents, I was shocked by much of what I
read. I was also dismayed that the U.S. Patent Office issued them, in
view of the flooby-dust and gobbledygook explanations given for how
they were supposed to work and perform.

Over the past 33 years, I have participated in numerous listening
comparisons, often in the presence of knowledgeable, well-intentioned
audiophiles claiming the ability to "always hear a difference between
cables". These listening sessions frequently took place within
listening rooms that most audiophiles would probably "kill for"!
Initially, before appropriate controls were introduced, results always
favored the most expensive cable with a high-tech appearance and the
greatest "sex appeal"!

However, when "blind", but non-intimidating, controls were instituted,
the differences originally identified could no longer be recognized -
and tabulated results revealed scores very close to those expected for
random-guessing. Yet, many self-proclaimed golden-ear audiophiles
continue to insist that they can always identify audible differences
between cables and abhor "blind evaluations" on the basis of perceived
intimidation.

Reliable studies have conclusively proven that "audible differences"
perceived during poorly-controlled subjective listening comparisons
almost invariably vanish when proper "listening controls" are
instituted. Without proper "blind" controls, listening evaluations
almost never yield any relevant or reliable information regarding
possible differences between cables. (However, such controls must be
designed to effectively eliminate "listener stress" - claimed by some
who do not believe in the relevance of blind comparisons.)

In attempting to eliminate (or reduce) the effect of such perceived
intimidation, we have devised an interesting "deception technique",
wherein we pretend to change cables, letting listeners believe they
know which cable they are hearing, when in reality they are hearing
the same cable throughout the entire session. Interestingly, all
participating listeners invariably continue to identify differences
they believe exist, even though they have listened to the same cable
throughout the evaluation.

An alternate version consists of actually changing cables but mixing
up the order, permitting listeners to believe they are listening to a
particular cable they have earlier identified as possessing certain
audible differences - when they are actually listening to a different
cable. Again, their choice of descriptive adjectives always tracks
the identity of the cable they thought they were listening to, but
were not!

Of course, as I have reiterated many times, it is indeed possible to
sometimes identify barely perceptible differences between
cables. These are almost always traceable to cable/equipment interface
problems, etc., and have always proven to be measurable, quantifiable
and explainable, using well-understood theory and technical knowledge,
along with adequate measurement tools.

Lets now consider the relevance of the many impressive-looking,
high-tech appearing specs and graphs that regularly appear in
expensive magazine advertisements, used to compare presumably
important "measurable" differences between cables. These include
graphs supposedly comparing a zip-cord and one being promoted on the
basis of its superior curve of Joules versus frequency. But a Joule is
defined as a unit of energy or work in the MKS system. In electrical
terms, a Joule is simply a "watt-second". With respect to energy, it
is the work done when "a force of one Newton produces a displacement
of one meter in the direction of the force". However, neither
definition seems very relevant for describing an audible or measurable
property of an audiophile cable.

A similarly impressive-looking graph, advertised as comparing the
"efficiency" of different cables, also begs examination. Here, the
advertisement defined efficiency as being related to "the phase
between voltages and currents along the cable". In the graph,
zip-cord is depicted as exhibiting an efficiency very close to zero at
frequencies below 100 Hertz, including the mains frequency of 60
Hz. But if zip-cord exhibited such a low "efficiency" (according to
normal use of the term), it certainly would not be usable for
supplying A.C. current from an outlet to lights, toasters, fans,
etc. (Indeed, in most household applications, zip-cord would likely
overheat and probably catch fire!) Hmmm!

A further, frequently encountered advertising claim for cables is the
use of "six nines" or 99.9999 percent pure copper (usually designated
6N copper). Such ads usually imply that 6N copper is unique and is
used only in the world's finest and most expensive audio
cables. Further references are often made to an audible correlation
between the use of 6N copper and sonic purity. But, according to the
Directors of the Engineering Departments of several of the largest
wire and cable manufacturers in the United States, virtually all of
today's copper wire is made of "six nines" copper. Every one of them
claimed it would be hard to find any cable, whether zip-cord, house
wiring, etc., that did not use it.

Some cable manufacturers even refer to their products as being made of
special "grain-oriented" copper or copper with "directional
properties", with respect to current/signal flow (gulp)! All large,
reputable wire and cable manufactures, with whom we have spoken, laugh
(or cry) at such assertions and claims. Indeed, if a wire exhibited
directional properties with respect to current flow, the
directionality would "rectify" audio signals (like a diode in series
with a wire carrying an A.C. current), creating unlistenable levels of
second-order harmonic distortion components (wow!).

Another means for selling more loudspeaker cables is that referred to
as "bi-wiring", requiring the use of two cables. However, bi-wiring
does not work in the simplistic fashion imagined by audiophiles
lacking the engineering credentials to analyze the potential system
degradation in accuracy that can result from using separate cables to
connect the output of the power-amp to the separate high and
low-frequency input connectors at the loudspeaker. In fact, such usage
can induce many expensive high-slew rate amplifiers to oscillate at
frequencies above the limit of audibility. This condition can arise
because of the added (effectively doubled) capacitance introduced by
the "bass cable" not being "resistively- terminated" above the bass
crossover frequency and the "mid-tweeter" cable not being
resistively-terminated above the tweeter range, where a typical
tweeter's impedance nearly doubles within each octave above the audio
range.

As well, the issue of bi-amping should be addressed with regards to
using this application in an attempt to better the quality of sonic
reproduction. A straight-forward analysis reveals that this process
may actually adversly affect sound reproduction. This is especially
true when the amps have different properties, such as a tube-amp for
the treble and a solid-state amp for the bass, each possessing
different gains, output impedances, etc. Amplifiers with different
gains, unless compensated to be equal, can audibly affect the
frequency-response, etc. of the loudspeaker.

I could go on and on, ad nauseum, reciting more nonsense, but it seems
prudent to preserve readers from further pain and anguish!

To see what a sampling of competent engineers had to say about typical
cable advertisements, I had three E.E. types (all holding Ph.D's from
different major U.S. universities) read several examples and provide
me with their opinions. Their comments and explanations matched my
own, with all three being in full agreement with the comments I
expressed above. Some of their comments incorporated expletives I
prefer to not to repeat!

Many readers may question my motives for making the above comments and
observations. Well, I originally undertook the task of studying the
properties and design criteria for audio cables for three reasons: (1)
I am the curious type that cannot rest until I have studied the
relevant facts concerning controversial subjects, (2) Measurements of
the electrical properties of a large sampling of commercially
available cables revealed relatively poor performance properties, that
did not correlate with their cost, advertised attributes and or
high-tech appearance, (3) I needed loudspeaker cables and
interconnects with performance as close to "perfect" as possible, so
that I could rule out any contributions from the loudspeaker cables
and interconnects when making measurements of our loudspeakers or
performing critical evaluations with them within our listening room.

But other reasons cut deeper: when advertised performance claims for
products are structured to convey integrity and a sense of being true
in every respect, yet in reality are either misleading or outright
false, the basic covenant of trust that should exist between
manufacturers and consumers is breached. If permitted to continue
unabated and without appropriate redress, increasing consumer distrust
will eventually destroy the integrity of the audiophile industry as a
whole. Ultimately, I believe this has the potential to erode the
rewards available from a very neat hobby, especially for those in
pursuit of "true, documentable perfection" in the reproduction of
music.

When profits and desired market share are given priority by any
manufacturer over their obligation to provide products with
performance and features that conform to advertised claims, I believe
that consumers have a right to know and be concerned. Too many
innocent and uninformed consumers wrongly assume that Government
"protection agencies" are vigilantly pursuing false/misleading
advertising claims and products that do not perform as claimed. Not
so! Today, most government regulatory agencies effectively have their
hands tied behind their backs by bureaucrats representing "special
interest groups" whose only gauge of success is profit - and profit,
alone! As such, they are frequently impotent to take any meaningful
action against companies engaged in advertising, marketing and selling
products whose performance does not meet the rightful expectations of
the purchaser.

Best of listening,
John Dunlavy

P.S. - If anyone would like to introduce credible information or
measurements that disprove any of the comments I have made above, I
would sincerely be open to receiving them.

uh OH!

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Nov 13, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/13/97
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On 13 Nov 1997 18:36:30 GMT, mle...@hudson.cs.unb.ca (Martin Leese -
OMG) wrote:

[ quoted text deleted -- jwd ]

>More relevant definitions are:
>
> Energy in a capacitor = (C*V*V)/2
> Energy in an inductor = (L*I*I)/2
> where V = voltage
> I = current
> C = capacitance
> L = inductance
>
>I cannot belive you did not know this so must assume that when you
>chose to define energy in terms of mechanical work done you were
>being mischievous. This was unfortunate as it damaged the
>credibility of an otherwise excellent set of posts.

Force x Distance is work, so yes, he mistated what joules was,
somewhat. Energy is the ability to do that work. Reactive loads can
store and release energy, as you've described above, which can
otherwise do work, but do no work with the reactive load. The whole
use of a Joule vs. frequency for describing cable properties seems a
little hocus pocus misleading, as you can simply and more accurately
describe the cable by showing an impedance chart, and measuring the
reactive components, which most audiophiles are more familiar with, if
at all. I don't know. I don't really care anymore. I'm still
enjoying my stereo, and nobody selling networks (psychic or otherwise)
can stop me from doing that.

colin

ShLampen

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Nov 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/14/97
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In article <64a9b1$3...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu>, John Dunlavy
<10236...@compuserve.com> writes:

> But, according to the Directors of the Engineering Departments of
> several of the largest wire and cable manufacturers in the United
> States, virtually all of today's copper wire is made of "six nines"
> copper. Every one of them claimed it would be hard to find any
> cable, whether zip-cord, house wiring, etc., that did not use it.

Oh, I can't resist a little honesty here. The standard copper used by
Belden, and most other commercial manufacturers is ASTM B115 ETP which
is 99.95% pure. While we do make 6N products, I am unware of any of
them which was NOT for a high-end audio 'distributor' (they also call
themselves manufacturers which they are not).

No professional audio or video product in our catalog uses 6N copper
and I am aware of only one radio station (out of 12,000) which uses 6N
cable...and they're about to change back! (I'm sure there are others,
I just don't know who they are.)

Recording studios fall on the fence regarding cable and copper purity.
Some of them are even loonier than some of the bleeding-edge high-end
home-audio group.

I intend to start a double-blind study next year regarding
"oxygen-free" cable. If you got ten pieces of identical wire and five
were 99.95% and five 6N, could you tell which was which?

--
Steve Lampen Technology Development Manager Belden Wire & Cable Co.
www.belden.com
My new book, "Wire, Cable, and Fiber Optics for Video and Audio Engineers"
has just been published by McGraw-Hill.

AWRigby

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Nov 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/22/97
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... From John Dunlavy ...

With respect to some of the recent posts regarding audiophile cables
and their performance properties, a lot of questionable technical
information is still being touted as gospel on the NET.

For example, in my post of 11 Nov., I cited several examples -
including magazine advertising using graphs for comparing the
performance of different cables on the basis of Joules Vs. Frequency
and efficiency Vs Frequency. In my view, rating the relative
performance of cables using Joules and/or efficiency conveys no
relevant meaning regarding their real-world performance within an
audiophile system. To support this view, I mentioned that the standard
definition of a Joule is a watt-second - a measurement of energy
storage which has no relevance to cables. Neither do curves of
efficiency Vs frequency, unless efficiency is defined in the normal
manner - which it was not.

Since a Joule is a measure of energy or unit of work Vs time, I fail
to understand its relevance for rating cable performance or for using
it to compare one cable to another. This view seems further justified
when cables are advertised as exhibiting performance in the range of
300 to 600 Joules, while all other cables earn a rating of only about
0.3 to 1 Joule. Hmmm!

Indeed, every one of the many textbooks in my office defines a Joule
as a "watt-second" (in MKS units). In the C.G.S. system, 1 Joule = 10
to the 7th-power ergs/second. Webster's Collegiate Dictionary defines
a Joule as, "the absolute meters-kilogram-second unit of work" or
energy equal to 10>7th-power ergs, or approximately 0.7375
foot-pounds. (So what does this have to do with loudspeaker cables,
pray tell?)

On Nov. 13, 1997, Martin Leese (mle...@hudson.cs.unb.ca), perhaps
misinterpreting my intent, wrote:

> More relevant definitions are:
> Energy in a capacitor = (C*V*V)/2
> Energy in an inductor = (L*I*I)/2
>
> where V = voltage
> I = current
> C = capacitance
> L = inductance

> I cannot believe you did not know this so must assume that when you


> chose to define energy in terms of mechanical work done you were
> being mischievous. This was unfortunate as it damaged the
> credibility of an otherwise excellent set of posts.

> Of course with AC signals, the average energy is zero and these
> energy stores simply present themselves as reactance.

With regard to Martin Leese's assertion that his (C*V*V)/2, etc.
represent more relevant definitions than using Joules, which convey
no relevance to cable performance, I would agree. If Martin is
inferring that I do not understand the meaning of a Joule or that I
do not properly grasp the way cables perform, perhaps he can explain
his viewpoints on the subject in more detail! Anyway, lets keep the
dialog active - with the discovery of truth being our main objective.

With regard to accuracy, the purpose of an audiophile loudspeaker
cable is to transport complex, rapidly-varying A.C. signals between
the output of a power-amp and the input of the loudspeaker with as
few measurable/audible alterations as possible. This means vanishing
levels of frequency-domain distortion and time-domain distortion,
along with the lowest possible signal loss.

The physics and engineering principles associated with the
propagation of even the most complex electrical signals along a cable
have been exhaustively studied and are well-know. Despite this, many
audiophile cable companies continue to advertise that they have
discovered fundamentally new design principles which permit their
cables to achieve levels of performance far beyond that obtainable by
their competitors. And they use bogus specs, misleading explanations,
and meaningless graphs to tout the superiority of their products.

With respect to performance, the important and relevant properties of
loudspeaker cables are: 1) total loss resistance of conductors, 2)
inductance per unit length, 3) capacitance per unit length, 4) total
signal loss incurred Vs frequency when terminated by the input
impedance of loudspeaker, 5) velocity of propagation factor, 6)
maximum safe voltage, 7) maximum safe current, 8) stability of
properties with respect to temperature extremes, 9) dielectric
absorption, 10) loss tangent of dielectric, 11) dispersive properties
in the time and frequency domains, etc.

While the above measurable properties represent most or all of the
important considerations that serious designers of loudspeaker cables
must take into account, the average audiophile need only be concerned
with: 1) power loss Vs frequency, with the cable terminated by the
input impedance of a typical loudspeaker, 2) impulse/step response
(for disclosing any frequency/time dispersive properties), and 3)
quality of the connectors (preferably gold plated and with a large
contact area).

Another property that may prove worthwhile for those wishing to
achieve the most accurate performance possible from a loudspeaker
cable is its characteristic impedance. Although of questionable merit
at audio frequencies, it still represents good engineering practice,
despite the fact that even a 20-30 ft length of cable represents an
insignificant fraction of a wavelength at 20 kHz. However, since
trained ears are often able to discern almost vanishing levels of
distortion, and it is not difficult to design and manufacture a
loudspeaker cable with a characteristic impedance in the range of 6
to 8 Ohms, a case might be made for doing so!

But some might argue that a cable with a characteristic impedance of
6 or 8 Ohms would exhibit a much higher parallel capacitance than
typical 30 to 100 Ohm cables, causing some high slew-rate power-amps
with a poor stability factor to oscillate (usually at ultra-sonic
frequencies). Such oscillations can, of course, destroy some tweeters
and or damage transistors and other components within the amplifier.
The solution for solving the stability problem is simple and is the
reason for the costly, beautifully-machined, high-tech looking box at
the end of some expensive cables, which houses what some
manufacturers refer to as a unique terminating network. Unique? No!
Most often, the network is nothing more than a simple, inexpensive
resistor/capacitor network, at the speaker end of the cable, in
parallel with the cable conductors. Often referred to as a Zobel
Network, it typically consists of a 6-10 Ohm non-inductive resistor
(5-10 watt rating) in series with a 0.33-0.47 uF, 400-600 Volt
capacitor (preferably with a polypropylene, Teflon, etc. high-quality
dielectric). Such a terminating network compensates for the usual
rising input impedance of many loudspeakers at frequencies above the
audio range, thus providing a more-or-less constant resistive load,
independent of frequency, for the amplifier.

But the proper location for such an R-C network is either inside the
loudspeaker or a conjugate version at the output of the amp. Indeed,
many well-designed audiophile power amps use a small inductor wound
around, and connected in parallel with, a 1-2 watt carbon resistor,
connected in series with the output terminals.

Let's now briefly consider what meaningful properties
well-designed audiophile coaxial inter-connect cables should
possess. Perhaps, the most important consideration is a cable's
ability to prevent hum from being induced by nearby 60 Hz hum-fields
surrounding some power transformers, A.C. mains wires, etc. The best
means for minimizing such hum induction is an outer shield with the
highest possible conductivity (lowest series resistance, from
end-to-end, between the connectors). Most of the so called high-tech
solutions being offered in the marketplace, such as those using a
second center conductor to carry the ground connection, and
connecting the shield braid to ground at only one end of the cable,
does not work well for two reasons: 1) it significantly increases the
capacitance per foot and 2) it greatly reduces the shielding effect
(while increasing ground-loop transfer) of the outer braid in
preventing nearby A.C. fields from inducing hum voltages into the
center conductor.

In answer to Doug Plumb's query concerning the values for the
Zobel Network, the values for the resistor and capacito are not
critical - resistances in the range of about 5 to 10 Ohms and
capacitances in the range of about 0.3 to 0.6 being acceptable for
use under most conditions.

Must stop writing and return to the old grind. Thanks for caring!

All comments are welcome. Special thanks to Charles Biller, Howard
Ferstler, Allan Freeman, Vandit Kalia, Colin, Tom Jacobs, Steve
Lampen, Mike Guyote and GRL for their comments and observations. I
will attempt to answer more questions about cable design and
performance in the near future.

Best regards,
John Dunlavy


Randall Bradley

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
to

So, to summarize (if I understand this properly), in effect the "best"
cable would be none at all - or in other words a direct connection of
nil length between the amplifier and the speaker's VC.

Therefore any differential in performance of a speaker measured *with*
cable vs. "direct" connection can be said to the be the "effect" of
the cable (at least with that amplifier). No?

Seems like an easy enough test to me.

Anyone going to do it? :}

_-_-
BEAR labs

Richard Tuck

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Nov 24, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/24/97
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SNIP

>Oh, I can't resist a little honesty here. The standard copper used by
>Belden, and most other commercial manufacturers is ASTM B115 ETP which
>is 99.95% pure. While we do make 6N products, I am unware of any of
>them which was NOT for a high-end audio 'distributor' (they also call
>themselves manufacturers which they are not).
SNIP

>I intend to start a double-blind study next year regarding
>"oxygen-free" cable. If you got ten pieces of identical wire and five
>were 99.95% and five 6N, could you tell which was which?
SNIP

I fully support the idea of a trial. However, just to add fuel to the
fire, it is well worth pointing out the technological pressures that
brought about the development of OFHC copper. This was nothing to do
with electrical conductivity at all (the few per cent higher
conductivity making being of little or no consequence) but to enable
vacuum tight copper to glass seals and leak free vacuum envelopes to be
fabricated for electron tubes. It was also to reduce embrittlement
after firing in a hydrogen atmosphere.

You see ordinary commercial coppers contain relatively large oxide
inclusions that reduce to copper after heat treatments in a hydrogen
furnace causing blistering and leaving microscopic voids. The voids
often link up and create a leak path. BTE hydrogen furnacing is
something tube engineers do all the time to degass components or braze
together structures.

Richard Tuck - Physicist and Tube Engineer

Mike Ford

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
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In article <65ca09$e...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu>, Randy Bradley
<ra...@rdrc.rpi.edu> wrote:

As I remember it many years ago this is just what Mike Moffat tried,
cables vs bolting the amp outputs to the speaker terminals. He liked the
sound of the cables better. It was a real puzzler, I think to him and many
others, and perhaps a turning point in the consideration of the effect of
cables. The idea now I suppose is that cables either enhance (add
something) or filter out some bad elements, or perhaps provide some
characteristic that allows the amp and speaker to be better coupled, if in
fact actually less coupled.

Of course it could be that putting some amp too close to the speakers has
some bad effect. Nobody has much pursued this that I know of.

Bob Myers

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Nov 26, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/26/97
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Mike Ford (mike...@netwiz.net) wrote:

> As I remember it many years ago this is just what Mike Moffat tried,
> cables vs bolting the amp outputs to the speaker terminals. He liked the
> sound of the cables better. It was a real puzzler, I think to him and many
> others, and perhaps a turning point in the consideration of the effect of
> cables. The idea now I suppose is that cables either enhance (add
> something) or filter out some bad elements, or perhaps provide some
> characteristic that allows the amp and speaker to be better coupled, if in
> fact actually less coupled.

> Of course it could be that putting some amp too close to the speakers has
> some bad effect. Nobody has much pursued this that I know of.

It could also simply be that this involved such a tight mechanical
coupling between the speaker and the amp that you wound up with some
rattling, buzzing, or some such unwanted purely-mechanical vibration
off the amp chassis. Why leap to the conclusion that the cables had
anything at all to do with this?

--
Bob Myers KC0EW Hewlett-Packard Co. |Opinions expressed here are not
O- Workstations Systems Div.|those of my employer or any other
my...@fc.hp.com Fort Collins, Colorado |sentient life-form on this planet.

Mike Ford

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Nov 28, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/28/97
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In article <65h9r0$i...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu>, my...@hpfcla.fc.hp.com
(Bob Myers) wrote:

> Mike Ford (mike...@netwiz.net) wrote:

>> As I remember it many years ago this is just what Mike Moffat tried,
>> cables vs bolting the amp outputs to the speaker terminals. He liked the
>> sound of the cables better. It was a real puzzler, I think to him and many

> It could also simply be that this involved such a tight mechanical


> coupling between the speaker and the amp that you wound up with some
> rattling, buzzing, or some such unwanted purely-mechanical vibration
> off the amp chassis. Why leap to the conclusion that the cables had
> anything at all to do with this?

The test wasn't that haphazard. It wasn't grand science, but it wasn't
careless either. The spl wasn't that loud, more the serious listening
level then the in store demo, and I am reasonably sure they walked
around and looked and listened for the amp misbehaving.

I wasn't there, but it is only about second or third hand information
to me, but my impression was that a fair amount of time was spent
fooling around with the test and attempting to figure out what was
going on. The conclusion of cables was not leapt to, but arrived at by
reason and elimination of other likely causes.

Try it yourself and see what happens.

Greg Guarino

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Nov 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/29/97
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On 28 Nov 1997 13:38:17 -0500, mike...@netwiz.net (Mike Ford)
wrote:

>The test wasn't that haphazard. It wasn't grand science, but it wasn't
>careless either. The spl wasn't that loud, more the serious listening
>level then the in store demo, and I am reasonably sure they walked
>around and looked and listened for the amp misbehaving.
>
>I wasn't there, but it is only about second or third hand information
>to me, but my impression was that a fair amount of time was spent
>fooling around with the test and attempting to figure out what was
>going on. The conclusion of cables was not leapt to, but arrived at by
>reason and elimination of other likely causes.
>
>Try it yourself and see what happens.

I have seen no mention in this thread of any attempt to make a
suitably blind test of this question. What seems most likely to me is
that he tried cables then the "direct connection" and thought he heard
a difference. I don't think it's fruitful to speculate on the CAUSE of
an audible difference before there is reliable evidence that it
exists.

--
Greg Guarino
Sorcerer Sound Recording Studios
http://www.mindspring.com/~sorcerersound

charles hunt

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Nov 29, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/29/97
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In <65n32p$m...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu> mike...@netwiz.net (Mike
Ford) writes:

> In article <65h9r0$i...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu>, my...@hpfcla.fc.hp.com
> (Bob Myers) wrote:

>> It could also simply be that this involved such a tight mechanical
>> coupling between the speaker and the amp that you wound up with some
>> rattling, buzzing, or some such unwanted purely-mechanical vibration
>> off the amp chassis. Why leap to the conclusion that the cables had
>> anything at all to do with this?

> The conclusion of cables was not leapt to, but arrived at by


> reason and elimination of other likely causes.
>
> Try it yourself and see what happens.

I found the same thing-- having the amp next to the speaker sounded a
bit distorted and less than sweet - room sounds almost inaudible. --
inserting 10 feet of various cables without moving amps things worse
blurrier and the bass less articulate and controlled etc. moving the
amps 10ft. away with the same cable was a big improvement but the Bass
was still bad and the sound though less distorted sounding was still
woolly and with some cables edgy or bright sounding ambient sound
varied with the cable, I have tried several DIY'S, monster parallel
twin, Belden coax Rolmex etc. Each has its own problem as does having
the amp coupled to the speaker -- -- The Speakers are Magnepan 3.5's
with the crossover mounted directly to the back.

Suggestions please!

Chas

Arny Kr|ger

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Nov 30, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/30/97
to

[ Consider this a warning to steer clear of the blind testing waters.
The moderators have no strong feelings one way or the other about
the subject, but we know where the discussions inevitably go. We've
been there before and aren't going back right now. -- jwd ]

Greg Guarino wrote in message <65piia$p...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu>...

>I have seen no mention in this thread of any attempt to make a
>suitably blind test of this question. What seems most likely to me is
>that he tried cables then the "direct connection" and thought he heard
>a difference. I don't think it's fruitful to speculate on the CAUSE of
>an audible difference before there is reliable evidence that it
>exists.

Exactly. I can contrive scenarios where minimizing the speaker cable
makes no difference to speak of, either measurable or otherwise, and
others where audibility would be almost a given. Do people contrive
tests to prove their agendas?

One example I can think of is a published and web posted article by a
well-known amp designer supporting the idea that speaker cable has
audible effects. Not only did he pick one of the all time worst
speaker loads, he used 40 feet of relatively light guage speaker wire
as his base line. Well, duhhh!

Jamal

unread,
Nov 30, 1997, 3:00:00 AM11/30/97
to

There is a new trend of monitor speakers in studios going active. This
means that the speaker driver, be it tweeter or mid-bass unit is being
driven directly from the attached amplifier/s that has been
electronically filtered(x-over). Most people find this type of
speakers very revealing, but not easy to manufacture.

--
Jamal
jam...@pc.jaring.my

Mike Ford

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Dec 1, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/1/97
to

In article <65piia$p...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu>, ggua...@pipeline.com
(Greg Guarino) wrote:

> On 28 Nov 1997 13:38:17 -0500, mike...@netwiz.net (Mike Ford)
> wrote:
>

> >going on. The conclusion of cables was not leapt to, but arrived at by


> >reason and elimination of other likely causes.
> >
> >Try it yourself and see what happens.
>

> I have seen no mention in this thread of any attempt to make a
> suitably blind test of this question. What seems most likely to me is
> that he tried cables then the "direct connection" and thought he heard
> a difference. I don't think it's fruitful to speculate on the CAUSE of
> an audible difference before there is reliable evidence that it
> exists.

I think the idea of a carefull double blind test of amp directly
connected to speakers vs using some amount of cable is a dandy one.
Go do it and tell us what you find out.

What always amazes me is why when suitably blind testing shows that a
person must be imagining a difference, that they didn't imagine it in
a more convient way to suit their ends. I believe the goal of the amp
to speaker test was to see if the logical expectation that the sound
would be even better without any cable was true, and then to set off
marketing amps to bolt onto speakers. Why the most inconvient,
puzzling, and useless to him result of better with cables? The
perversity of human nature?

The experiment I refered to was prior to the time of audiophile
products being explained away by blind testing. Only a few people
would have thought of such a test back in those days. As much as I
happen to like the idea of blind testing, I don't see what it has
done for my stereo. It has helped to convince me not to buy a number
of things, but I can't think of anything double blind testing has
helped me buy. Can you?

Paul Zrimsek

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Dec 2, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/2/97
to

Mike Ford <mike...@netwiz.net> wrote in article
<65uv93$4...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>...

> The experiment I refered to was prior to the time of audiophile
> products being explained away by blind testing. Only a few people
> would have thought of such a test back in those days. As much as I
> happen to like the idea of blind testing, I don't see what it has
> done for my stereo. It has helped to convince me not to buy a number
> of things, but I can't think of anything double blind testing has
> helped me buy. Can you?

How about: All the stuff you wouldn't have had the money to buy if you'd
gone ahead and blown your hard-earned on all that stuff double-blind
testing convinced you not to buy?

Paul Zrimsek
pzri...@tiac.net

Mike Ford

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Dec 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/3/97
to

In article <65si9o$s...@eyrie.graphics.cornell.edu>, "Jamal"
<jam...@pc.jaring.my> wrote:

What you suggest is a different thing. Directly connecting the drivers
to the amp bypasses a crossover network of passive components, not
just a length wire. People have been trying this sort of arrangement
for many years, and I can't say that I have ever been that impressed
with the results. While the method often has a lot of horsepower at
its disposal via DSP, I don't think the art of crossover design and
driver compensation is as well understood as it is with old fashioned
passive components.

Why do you say manufacturing isn't easy? Several people with little
experience on the Bass DIY list have managed pretty well with powered
subwoofers.

Greg Guarino

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Dec 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/3/97
to

On 2 Dec 1997 20:34:01 GMT, "Paul Zrimsek" <pzri...@tiac.net>
wrote:

>Mike Ford <mike...@netwiz.net> wrote in article
><65uv93$4...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>...

[quoted text deleted -- deb]

>> As much as I
>> happen to like the idea of blind testing, I don't see what it has
>> done for my stereo. It has helped to convince me not to buy a number
>> of things, but I can't think of anything double blind testing has
>> helped me buy. Can you?

>How about: All the stuff you wouldn't have had the money to buy if you'd
>gone ahead and blown your hard-earned on all that stuff double-blind
>testing convinced you not to buy?

>Paul Zrimsek
>pzri...@tiac.net

To put a finer point on it, it can help you buy more MUSIC:

CDs, concert tickets, piano lessons, a Les Paul, trips to Rio,
New Orleans, Nashville, Salzburg...

Arny Kr|ger

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Dec 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/3/97
to

Mike Ford wrote in message <65uv93$4...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>...

>What always amazes me is why when suitably blind testing shows that a
>person must be imagining a difference, that they didn't imagine it in
>a more convient way to suit their ends.

The Placebo Effect is fairly universal and has to do with expectations,
right?

The fact is that once people learn how to listen they can learn how
to reduce their sensitivity to the Placebo effect. However, nobody
who is hip to Placebo seriously thinks that they can eliminate their
sensitivity to it, and we all rely on blind tests as the final
authority on issues of audibility.

>
>As much as I
>happen to like the idea of blind testing, I don't see what it has
>done for my stereo. It has helped to convince me not to buy a number
>of things, but I can't think of anything double blind testing has
>helped me buy. Can you?

Like my complete current stereo. What blind tests do is to increase
your options by freeing you of fear of bad sound "under every bed".

Folks who believe that every cable, every amp, every CD player has a
significantly different sound in every case, live in a hellish world
where putting systems together is a total nightmare. Many of them
believe that different combinations also sound different, leading to
an nearly infinite number of possible choices that sounds "wrong",
and at most one (but perhaps none) that sounds "right".

Blind tests have taught me that there are far more options that sound
about the same; so in many cases I can choose from a variety of
basically alike-sounding options based on looks, convenience,
features, price, packaging, availablitiy, service, reliability, etc.

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist

unread,
Dec 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/3/97
to

In article <661rbp$a...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,

Paul Zrimsek <pzri...@tiac.net> wrote:
>Mike Ford <mike...@netwiz.net> wrote in article
><65uv93$4...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>...

>> The experiment I refered to was prior to the time of audiophile


>> products being explained away by blind testing. Only a few people

>> would have thought of such a test back in those days. As much as I


>> happen to like the idea of blind testing, I don't see what it has
>> done for my stereo. It has helped to convince me not to buy a number
>> of things, but I can't think of anything double blind testing has
>> helped me buy. Can you?

>How about: All the stuff you wouldn't have had the money to buy if you'd


>gone ahead and blown your hard-earned on all that stuff double-blind
>testing convinced you not to buy?

Well, any number of new designs are based on hearing studies that use
double-blind testing methods. The use of hearing studies, especially
in the study of acoustics, coder design, speaker design, frequency
shaping, some instrument designs, and the like is quite common.

In terms of things like amplifiers, and most electronics, the
artifacts of the ones that don't do intentional shaping or distorton
are very very likely not to be audible. I'd think that one could
use elementary masking to tell one what to design to add a given
level of audible second harmonic, etc, too, but I don't know if that
is the case.
--
Copyright alice!jj 1997, all rights reserved, except transmission by USENET
and like facilities granted. This notice must be included. Any use by a
provider charging in any way for the IP represented in and by this article
and any inclusion in print or other media are specifically prohibited.

uh OH!

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Dec 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/3/97
to

On 3 Dec 1997 09:59:46 -0500, mike...@netwiz.net (Mike Ford) wrote:

>What you suggest is a different thing. Directly connecting the drivers
>to the amp bypasses a crossover network of passive components, not
>just a length wire. People have been trying this sort of arrangement
>for many years, and I can't say that I have ever been that impressed
>with the results. While the method often has a lot of horsepower at
>its disposal via DSP, I don't think the art of crossover design and
>driver compensation is as well understood as it is with old fashioned
>passive components.

It's probably well-understood by many, just not necessarily those who
think that active drive has some magical advantage by providing
textbook crossover slopes which, when combined with driver slopes, end
up far from the textbook model.

>Why do you say manufacturing isn't easy? Several people with little
>experience on the Bass DIY list have managed pretty well with powered
>subwoofers.

It seems less daunting when your crossover is in the 80 Hz region.

colin

Paul Zrimsek

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Dec 3, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/3/97
to

Greg Guarino <ggua...@pipeline.com> wrote in article
<663sis$e...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>...

> >How about: All the stuff you wouldn't have had the money to buy if you'd
> >gone ahead and blown your hard-earned on all that stuff double-blind
> >testing convinced you not to buy?

> To put a finer point on it, it can help you buy more MUSIC:


>
> CDs, concert tickets, piano lessons, a Les Paul, trips to Rio,
> New Orleans, Nashville, Salzburg...

That's a point, certainly. I've also been told that there are weirdos
out there who are interested in spending their money on things other
than music. I guess getting the same sound for less money would leave
them more to spend on whatever else it is that they like.

--
Paul Zrimsek
pzri...@tiac.net

Steve Jones

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Dec 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/5/97
to

Arny Kr|ger wrote:

[ quoted text deleted -- jmv ]

> The fact is that once people learn how to listen they can learn how
> to reduce their sensitivity to the Placebo effect. However, nobody
> who is hip to Placebo seriously thinks that they can eliminate their
> sensitivity to it, and we all rely on blind tests as the final
> authority on issues of audibility.

Audibility as to relative comparison (device A vs device B). What is
wholely missing is direct absolute comparison to live. What may or may
not be audible between components has nothing *at all* to do with how
those components compare with 'live'. Especially, with a compromised
format, such as stereo, a distortionless electrical reproduction may
highlight the perceptual errors inherent in the format, to a greater
degree than one that tends toward the euphonic, IMO.



> >As much as I
> >happen to like the idea of blind testing, I don't see what it has
> >done for my stereo. It has helped to convince me not to buy a number
> >of things, but I can't think of anything double blind testing has
> >helped me buy. Can you?
>

> Like my complete current stereo. What blind tests do is to increase
> your options by freeing you of fear of bad sound "under every bed".

And (sadly) relieve you of any chance you may transend a flawed medium
for your own personal preferences and ultimate enjoyment.


> Folks who believe that every cable, every amp, every CD player has a
> significantly different sound in every case, live in a hellish world
> where putting systems together is a total nightmare. Many of them
> believe that different combinations also sound different, leading to
> an nearly infinite number of possible choices that sounds "wrong",
> and at most one (but perhaps none) that sounds "right".

Not as hellish a world as believing that everything sounds the same
(that arguement twists both ways, Arny). All that those folks are trying
to do is adjust their system's balance to their personal preference. Not
everyone give a shit about having an 'accurate' stereo system (whatever
THAT means). Why should 'everyone'?



> Blind tests have taught me that there are far more options that sound
> about the same; so in many cases I can choose from a variety of
> basically alike-sounding options based on looks, convenience,
> features, price, packaging, availablitiy, service, reliability, etc.

But unfortuneately Arny left out the qualifier "sounds right". :-(

Isn't that the final true test of High-End Audio?

-Steve Jones

Bob Myers

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Dec 5, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/5/97
to

Steve Jones (steve...@vcd.hp.com) wrote:
> > Like my complete current stereo. What blind tests do is to increase
> > your options by freeing you of fear of bad sound "under every bed".

> And (sadly) relieve you of any chance you may transend a flawed medium
> for your own personal preferences and ultimate enjoyment.

How so, Steve? How do the results of any blind tests impact on your
personal preferences, except by *possibly* revealing that those preferences
may not really be based on how something *sounds*?

> Not as hellish a world as believing that everything sounds the same
> (that arguement twists both ways, Arny). All that those folks are trying
> to do is adjust their system's balance to their personal preference. Not
> everyone give a shit about having an 'accurate' stereo system (whatever
> THAT means). Why should 'everyone'?

Sure, but I've never seen anyone claim that "EVERYTHING sounds the same."
All anyone has provided is some interesting information which suggests
that perhaps the magnitude of certain reported differences might NOT be
just due to how these things sound. I've never seen any call for
individuals to abandon their preferences if those preferences should
happen to conflict with strict "accuracy". I HAVE seen some objections
made, and quite correctly, when someone claims that what is clearly their
preference MUST really result from a striving FOR such accuracy.

Steve Jones

unread,
Dec 8, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/8/97
to

Bob Myers wrote:
>
> Steve Jones (steve...@vcd.hp.com) wrote:
> > > Like my complete current stereo. What blind tests do is to increase
> > > your options by freeing you of fear of bad sound "under every bed".
>
> > And (sadly) relieve you of any chance you may transend a flawed medium
> > for your own personal preferences and ultimate enjoyment.
>
> How so, Steve? How do the results of any blind tests impact on your
> personal preferences, except by *possibly* revealing that those preferences
> may not really be based on how something *sounds*?

Blind tests compared to *what*. One component to another? Not that old
shell game, again. Conformity excludes the exceptional. I mean, if by
way of blind comparison, an Audiolab 666 sounds identical as a Krell
BFD-400S, I ask "So what?". I would much prefer to listen to how does
the individual DUT (as part of a complete system) compare to a live
event.

BTW, what I was specifically writing about components that: 1) DO sound
different under blind tests, and 2) do not measure as 'accurately' as
other DUTs. Good SETAs come to mind (and ear). Comparing them, there IS
a sonically significant difference. So a SETA sounds different that an
Audiolab or similar sounding Krell. Less 'accurate', yup. But for alot
of folks, more enjoyable than either of those SS amps. IMO, *music* is
*enjoyable*.



> > Not as hellish a world as believing that everything sounds the same
> > (that arguement twists both ways, Arny). All that those folks are trying
> > to do is adjust their system's balance to their personal preference. Not
> > everyone give a shit about having an 'accurate' stereo system (whatever
> > THAT means). Why should 'everyone'?
>
> Sure, but I've never seen anyone claim that "EVERYTHING sounds the same."

Clever snip, Bob. :-) Out of context.

> All anyone has provided is some interesting information which suggests
> that perhaps the magnitude of certain reported differences might NOT be
> just due to how these things sound. I've never seen any call for
> individuals to abandon their preferences if those preferences should
> happen to conflict with strict "accuracy".

Bullmerde. Look to Arny and Stewart for their relentless campaign
against SETAs. Their arguements on technical merits alone DEMAND
exclusion for personal use. Weigh that with some of Scott Franklin's
writings. Sure he dislikes SETAs, but he does label his preferences as
preferences. And even acknowledes that in Japan in the early '70's,
SETAs and Lowthers were a match made in heaven (as they were in the
'40s,50's,60's,80's, and are still today. Heard them lately, Scott?).
There must be some sonic validity to an approach that has even Western
Electric building new 300Bs in the US again.

> I HAVE seen some objections
> made, and quite correctly, when someone claims that what is clearly their
> preference MUST really result from a striving FOR such accuracy.

So have I, and I do wince at some of the pro-offered theories (sometimes
by me, too!). But I do also question just how true this accuracy model
is with a flawed system, and why it's ultimate persuit (in stereo) may
be ultimately flawed.

-Steve Jones

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Dec 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/9/97
to

Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> writes:

>Bob Myers wrote:
>>
>> Steve Jones (steve...@vcd.hp.com) wrote:
>> > > Like my complete current stereo. What blind tests do is to increase
>> > > your options by freeing you of fear of bad sound "under every bed".
>>
>> > And (sadly) relieve you of any chance you may transend a flawed medium
>> > for your own personal preferences and ultimate enjoyment.
>>
>> How so, Steve? How do the results of any blind tests impact on your
>> personal preferences, except by *possibly* revealing that those preferences
>> may not really be based on how something *sounds*?
>
>Blind tests compared to *what*. One component to another? Not that old
>shell game, again. Conformity excludes the exceptional. I mean, if by
>way of blind comparison, an Audiolab 666 sounds identical as a Krell
>BFD-400S, I ask "So what?". I would much prefer to listen to how does
>the individual DUT (as part of a complete system) compare to a live
>event.

This seems completely to miss the point. If the Krell and Audiolab
sound identical to each other, then clearly they will each sound the
same compared to a live event. If one were exceptional, then it would
*not* sound the same in a blind test.

>BTW, what I was specifically writing about components that: 1) DO sound
>different under blind tests, and 2) do not measure as 'accurately' as
>other DUTs. Good SETAs come to mind (and ear). Comparing them, there IS
>a sonically significant difference. So a SETA sounds different that an
>Audiolab or similar sounding Krell. Less 'accurate', yup. But for alot
>of folks, more enjoyable than either of those SS amps. IMO, *music* is
>*enjoyable*.

Quite so, but *high fidelity sound* should be distinguished from
*enjoyable music*.

>> > Not as hellish a world as believing that everything sounds the same
>> > (that arguement twists both ways, Arny). All that those folks are trying
>> > to do is adjust their system's balance to their personal preference. Not
>> > everyone give a shit about having an 'accurate' stereo system (whatever
>> > THAT means). Why should 'everyone'?
>>
>> Sure, but I've never seen anyone claim that "EVERYTHING sounds the same."
>
>Clever snip, Bob. :-) Out of context.

The point remains. Nobody ever gave the vinyl/SETA supporters a hard
time until they claimed that because they *preferred* that sound, it
was *therefore* 'superior', and dreamed up all kinds of crazy
arguments to defend their preference.

>> All anyone has provided is some interesting information which suggests
>> that perhaps the magnitude of certain reported differences might NOT be
>> just due to how these things sound. I've never seen any call for
>> individuals to abandon their preferences if those preferences should
>> happen to conflict with strict "accuracy".
>
>Bullmerde. Look to Arny and Stewart for their relentless campaign
>against SETAs. Their arguements on technical merits alone DEMAND
>exclusion for personal use. Weigh that with some of Scott Franklin's
>writings. Sure he dislikes SETAs, but he does label his preferences as
>preferences. And even acknowledes that in Japan in the early '70's,
>SETAs and Lowthers were a match made in heaven (as they were in the
>'40s,50's,60's,80's, and are still today. Heard them lately, Scott?).
>There must be some sonic validity to an approach that has even Western
>Electric building new 300Bs in the US again.

Western Electric will build anything for which there's a market, this
has nothing to do with the intrinsic quality of SETAs. I have no
'campaign' against anyone having a *preference* for SETAs, only
against those who try to 'prove' that SETAs are *technically*
superior, which of course they're not. Scott Franklin expresses a
preference for P-P, he also points out very clearly how flawed are
SETAs, which is *not* labelled as a preference, but as fact. Given
that Lowther voice coils expire above 15 watts, that the drivers have
a sensitivity well in excess of 100dB/w/m, and that Lowther speakers
have a frequency response akin to a mountain range, the technical
failings of SETAs are well disguised, and it's certainly possible that
there are serendipitous combinations of a hump in the impedance curve
matching a dip in the frequency response curve, which would allow the
SETA to provide a synergistic match. Of course, slinging a 4 ohm
resistor in series with the output of a 10 watt class A SS P-P amp
would have the same effect, without the added distortion..........

SETAs and Lowthers can sound very dynamic, but there is no bass, and
they're hopelessly coloured on full-scale orchestral works, IMNVHO.

>> I HAVE seen some objections
>> made, and quite correctly, when someone claims that what is clearly their
>> preference MUST really result from a striving FOR such accuracy.
>
>So have I, and I do wince at some of the pro-offered theories (sometimes
>by me, too!). But I do also question just how true this accuracy model
>is with a flawed system, and why it's ultimate persuit (in stereo) may
>be ultimately flawed.

Accuracy is accuracy. If there's something musically wrong with a flat
and distortionless link from master tape to speaker terminals, then
we're into the area of signal processing, and I'd suggest that this
should really be done in the studio, or by room-correcting
equalisation in the home system, not by introducing random distortions
via LP or SETA.

--

Stewart Pinkerton | Music is art, audio is engineering
ASP Consulting |
(44) 1509 880112 |

Bob Myers

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Dec 9, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/9/97
to

Steve Jones (steve...@vcd.hp.com) wrote:
> > > And (sadly) relieve you of any chance you may transend a flawed medium
> > > for your own personal preferences and ultimate enjoyment.
> >
> > How so, Steve? How do the results of any blind tests impact on your
> > personal preferences, except by *possibly* revealing that those preferences
> > may not really be based on how something *sounds*?

> Blind tests compared to *what*. One component to another? Not that old

Why do you assume that the "blind" test is ANY different in terms of
"compared to *what*?"? The ONLY difference implied by calling a test
"blind" is just that - you don't have knowledge of what's being
tested. Other than that, it is entirely reasonable to assume that the
nature of the test is identical to the sighted version. Don't assume
a particular test protocol (ABX or whatever) just because I've asked
about the impact of the test being blind. So again - how does losing
knowledge of the equipment under test, and instead relying solely on
how it SOUNDS, "relieve you of any chance you may transcend a flawed
medium"?

> shell game, again. Conformity excludes the exceptional. I mean, if by
> way of blind comparison, an Audiolab 666 sounds identical as a Krell
> BFD-400S, I ask "So what?". I would much prefer to listen to how does
> the individual DUT (as part of a complete system) compare to a live
> event.

And how often can you do this, either in a sighted or a blind test?
At best, we are FAR more likely to be comparing what we hear -
WHETHER OR NOT we can read the label on the equipment - to a memory
of what we THINK "live events" sound like.

> BTW, what I was specifically writing about components that: 1) DO sound
> different under blind tests, and 2) do not measure as 'accurately' as
> other DUTs. Good SETAs come to mind (and ear). Comparing them, there IS
> a sonically significant difference. So a SETA sounds different that an
> Audiolab or similar sounding Krell. Less 'accurate', yup. But for alot
> of folks, more enjoyable than either of those SS amps. IMO, *music* is
> *enjoyable*.

Sure. And again, I don't see anyone arguing against personal
preferences. Half-baked theories about the ORIGINS of those
preferences ("SETAs sound better BECAUSE..."), yes - and rightly so.

> > > Not as hellish a world as believing that everything sounds the same
> > > (that arguement twists both ways, Arny). All that those folks are trying
> > > to do is adjust their system's balance to their personal preference. Not
> > > everyone give a shit about having an 'accurate' stereo system (whatever
> > > THAT means). Why should 'everyone'?
> >
> > Sure, but I've never seen anyone claim that "EVERYTHING sounds the same."

> Clever snip, Bob. :-) Out of context.

Sorry, this wasn't intended as a "clever snip" - did I misunderstand
your intent in the above paragraph? Were you not implying that there
are those who DO believe that "everything sounds the same"? Have you
heard anyone claiming that you SHOULD *prefer* something on the basis
of objective accuracy alone?

> > All anyone has provided is some interesting information which suggests
> > that perhaps the magnitude of certain reported differences might NOT be
> > just due to how these things sound. I've never seen any call for
> > individuals to abandon their preferences if those preferences should
> > happen to conflict with strict "accuracy".

> Bullmerde. Look to Arny and Stewart for their relentless campaign
> against SETAs. Their arguements on technical merits alone DEMAND
> exclusion for personal use. Weigh that with some of Scott Franklin's

Frankly, I haven't seen this in their posts. What I HAVE seen are
some pretty strong words against some complete nonsense about how
SETAs work, whether they are inherently higher or lower in distortion
compared to other designs, etc., etc., etc.. If you can find an
example where either of these gentlemen have told someone NOT to
prefer SETAs on the basis of technical specs, I would sincerely like
to see it. I do completely agree with the notion that Scott has been
polite almost to a fault in discussing the topic with people who
were, in effect, standing on the table and shouting for the world to
accept their nonsensical theories. More people should follow his
example.

> > I HAVE seen some objections
> > made, and quite correctly, when someone claims that what is clearly their
> > preference MUST really result from a striving FOR such accuracy.

> So have I, and I do wince at some of the pro-offered theories (sometimes
> by me, too!). But I do also question just how true this accuracy model
> is with a flawed system, and why it's ultimate persuit (in stereo) may
> be ultimately flawed.

It's ultimately flawed from the standpoint of the PREFERENCES of many
because accuracy in the objective, quantifiable sense has to do with
how well you reproduce the signal that came out of the studio, not
with the relation to the sound itself (which CANNOT appear on a
recording, simply because it IS, after all, a recording). Stereo
audio relies on a number of illusions, and it's not too surprising
that to make the listener "believe in" the illusion of "real" sound,
some things might need to be done to the signal at playback which
technically constitute distortion, and therefore INaccuracy.

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist

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Dec 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/11/97
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In article <66i1gp$m...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,
Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
>about SETA's and audibly different things...

Ok, fine. Nobody has suggested that you need to use a blind test to
decide what you prefer.



>Bullmerde. Look to Arny and Stewart for their relentless campaign
>against SETAs.

What relentless campaign?

They state that THEY don't like them. They state that they are
worse, from the technical end. They do NOT state that
you have to prefer what they like.

They don't like them. That is not a relentless campaign. Their
articles explaining the hideous mistakes in Seigfreid's theories is
not a relentless campaign against SETA, it's against the
misinformation and confusing in Seigfried's articles.

>Their arguements on technical merits alone DEMAND
>exclusion for personal use.

Technical measurements are not preferences.

Technical measurements do not demand anything, other than that they
be made accurately.

>Weigh that with some of Scott Franklin's

>writings. Sure he dislikes SETAs, but he does label his preferences as
>preferences.

Technical measurements are not preferences. As both Arny and Stewart
make clear, they do not prefer the kind of distortions they hear
in SETA's. So what?

You seem to complain that the mere fact that they mention the
TECHNICAL FACTS somehow "demand exclusion". Why? As about
99 of us have already said to Seigfried, PREFER WHAT YOU LIKE,
it's your business alone.

But, Steve, the difference between a testable, falsifiable,
confirmable measurement and a preference is as wide as intergalactic
space, from the scientific point of view. The preference is not at
all arguable. The scientific point is.

One DOES NOT require the other to agree, in fact that's often when
one learns interesting things about human perception.

>But I do also question just how true this accuracy model
>is with a flawed system, and why it's ultimate persuit (in stereo) may
>be ultimately flawed.

Well, if you have an ultimately accurate system, then you can inject
what inaccuracies you LIKE, under your own control, can't you? You
can rationalize the process and decide which you like, instead of
wandering around stores and other places trying to decide which
collections of accidental and deliberate distortion are the best.

Steve Jones

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Dec 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/11/97
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Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> writes:

> >Bob Myers wrote:

> >> Steve Jones (steve...@vcd.hp.com) wrote:
> >> > > Like my complete current stereo. What blind tests do is to increase
> >> > > your options by freeing you of fear of bad sound "under every bed".

> >> > And (sadly) relieve you of any chance you may transend a flawed medium
> >> > for your own personal preferences and ultimate enjoyment.

> >> How so, Steve? How do the results of any blind tests impact on your
> >> personal preferences, except by *possibly* revealing that those preferences
> >> may not really be based on how something *sounds*?

> >Blind tests compared to *what*. One component to another? Not that old
> >shell game, again. Conformity excludes the exceptional. I mean, if by
> >way of blind comparison, an Audiolab 666 sounds identical as a Krell
> >BFD-400S, I ask "So what?". I would much prefer to listen to how does
> >the individual DUT (as part of a complete system) compare to a live
> >event.

> This seems completely to miss the point. If the Krell and Audiolab
> sound identical to each other, then clearly they will each sound the
> same compared to a live event. If one were exceptional, then it would
> *not* sound the same in a blind test.

Not sound the same to the two previous DUTs, for sure. What is failed
to be grasped is precisely this: how well does this (or any)
reproduction of audio directly compare to a live event. No
intermediate examples, no Aristolean logic, no wordy debates. Direct
experience via direct comparison. Period.

In the end, with a flawed format (stereo), the comparison to live
will NEVER be exact, but the closest one prefers *to live* is the
qualifier. For me, the dry clinical sound of some of today's solid
state equipment is not even close. For others it may be. But you must
listen (and chose) for yourself.


> >BTW, what I was specifically writing about components that: 1) DO sound
> >different under blind tests, and 2) do not measure as 'accurately' as
> >other DUTs. Good SETAs come to mind (and ear). Comparing them, there IS
> >a sonically significant difference. So a SETA sounds different that an
> >Audiolab or similar sounding Krell. Less 'accurate', yup. But for alot
> >of folks, more enjoyable than either of those SS amps. IMO, *music* is
> >*enjoyable*.

> Quite so, but *high fidelity sound* should be distinguished from
> *enjoyable music*.

Distinguished? Sure. But is the *final qualifier* to be measured only
in the greater accuracy to the original signal. If that is your
qualifier, Stewart, there is alot of equipment out there that is of
less distortion (ie: higher fidelity) than your Krell/Apogee combo
that you prefer. What are you arguing *for*?

What if *high fidelity sound* is not enjoyable (or to be more
exacting: realistic)? Should we only suffer for our pleasures (spoken
with a Calvinist accent)? :-)



> >> > Not as hellish a world as believing that everything sounds the same
> >> > (that arguement twists both ways, Arny). All that those folks are trying
> >> > to do is adjust their system's balance to their personal preference. Not
> >> > everyone give a shit about having an 'accurate' stereo system (whatever
> >> > THAT means). Why should 'everyone'?

> >> Sure, but I've never seen anyone claim that "EVERYTHING sounds the same."

> >Clever snip, Bob. :-) Out of context.

> The point remains. Nobody ever gave the vinyl/SETA supporters a hard
> time until they claimed that because they *preferred* that sound, it
> was *therefore* 'superior', and dreamed up all kinds of crazy
> arguments to defend their preference.

In my case, I've never claimed superiority. Only, SETAs (or other
means that give the end user greater enjoyment) as a valid
alternative for the many in who the chase of 'latest,greatest, and
more accurate' eventually left them out in the cold.

> >> All anyone has provided is some interesting information which suggests
> >> that perhaps the magnitude of certain reported differences might NOT be
> >> just due to how these things sound. I've never seen any call for
> >> individuals to abandon their preferences if those preferences should
> >> happen to conflict with strict "accuracy".

> >Bullmerde. Look to Arny and Stewart for their relentless campaign
> >against SETAs. Their arguements on technical merits alone DEMAND
> >exclusion for personal use. Weigh that with some of Scott Franklin's
> >writings. Sure he dislikes SETAs, but he does label his preferences as
> >preferences. And even acknowledes that in Japan in the early '70's,
> >SETAs and Lowthers were a match made in heaven (as they were in the
> >'40s,50's,60's,80's, and are still today. Heard them lately, Scott?).
> >There must be some sonic validity to an approach that has even Western
> >Electric building new 300Bs in the US again.

> Western Electric will build anything for which there's a market, this
> has nothing to do with the intrinsic quality of SETAs.

Pure free market, devoid of manufacture's manipulations. The end
consumer has driven a company to supply what the market no longer
offers. Capitalism at it's finest. I'm glad I live in America.

This is indeed interesting times we live in! Harleys and Hondas. New
AC Cobras available built from the original wood bucks. Ferrari
F-40s. The past and future are converging in the marketplace.
Customer preference is the key to intrinsic quality. Engineers build
to the specs as determined by marketing, from customer feedback. The
end user defines Quality.

> I have no
> 'campaign' against anyone having a *preference* for SETAs, only
> against those who try to 'prove' that SETAs are *technically*
> superior, which of course they're not. Scott Franklin expresses a
> preference for P-P, he also points out very clearly how flawed are
> SETAs, which is *not* labelled as a preference, but as fact. Given
> that Lowther voice coils expire above 15 watts, that the drivers have
> a sensitivity well in excess of 100dB/w/m, and that Lowther speakers
> have a frequency response akin to a mountain range, the technical
> failings of SETAs are well disguised, and it's certainly possible that
> there are serendipitous combinations of a hump in the impedance curve
> matching a dip in the frequency response curve, which would allow the
> SETA to provide a synergistic match. Of course, slinging a 4 ohm
> resistor in series with the output of a 10 watt class A SS P-P amp
> would have the same effect, without the added distortion..........

Stewart, I seem to remember you did some consulting engineering for a
company that you were reluctant to name. From the above description,
were you the genesis of Bob Carver's Sunfire ("with the Soul of a 9
watt triode)? :-)

Seriously, such simplistic number crunching does not represent (except
in the most naked of instances):
1) SETAs
2) Lowthers
3) Or on acchieving the same effect with meerly tweeking the output
impedence of the amp.

If they did, this combo wouldn't rise from the ashes of history (again
and again) to give yet another generation of engineers conniption fits
(present company excluded, of course!) whenever even mentioned.

Now I'm NOT saying SETAs and Lowthers are superior and/or they are for
EveryMan in audio. They are simply a connection to the past that has
been engineered out of modern audio. But, there is something *there*
that resonates with alot of listeners. The smart engineer WILL recognize
this and capitalize. Others will just bitch and moan.

> SETAs and Lowthers can sound very dynamic, but there is no bass, and
> they're hopelessly coloured on full-scale orchestral works, IMNVHO.

Depends on which enclosure you've auditioned. The TP-1 with a Lowther
PM3A will play louder than a Klipschorn at <30Hz (and above, too). Care
to advance another strawman?

As for 'colored', can you name me a speaker that isn't?
Pick your poison (thanks Scott).

<snip>

> Accuracy is accuracy. If there's something musically wrong with a flat
> and distortionless link from master tape to speaker terminals, then
> we're into the area of signal processing, and I'd suggest that this
> should really be done in the studio, or by room-correcting
> equalisation in the home system, not by introducing random distortions
> via LP or SETA.

"Their arguments on technical merits alone DEMAND exclusion for
personal use."

Well not QUITE demand, but ........ :-)

-Steve Jones

Scott Frankland

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Dec 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/11/97
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Steve Jones wrote:
>
> Bullmerde. Look to Arny and Stewart for their relentless campaign
> against SETAs. Their arguements on technical merits alone DEMAND
> exclusion for personal use. Weigh that with some of Scott Franklin's
> writings. Sure he dislikes SETAs, but he does label his preferences as
> preferences.

Where did I say I dislike SETA's, Steve? I don't recall making
such a blanket statement anywhere. I have shown in this forum
and elsewhere that SETA's produce minute amounts of low-order
distortion at low power levels (i.e., up to about 1/2 watt for
a single triode). I confess to having a strong interest in tube
amps that use gapped transformers, whether PP or SE. The problem
is in finding a suitably efficient loudspeaker (or in building
a high-powered transformer-coupled SETA).

> And even acknowledes that in Japan in the early '70's,
> SETAs and Lowthers were a match made in heaven (as they were in the
> '40s,50's,60's,80's, and are still today.

Well, what I said was:
"There is an apocalyptic story about Ikeda's discovery of the
Western Electric 91-A. This 3.5W single-ended amplifier must
have sounded like pure heaven on 1970's-vintage Lowther horns
when compared to the nascent transistor amps." [i.e., the
first generation of SS amps].

> Heard them lately, Scott?).

No, but I plan to very soon, and with the super-gumbo cabinets
to boot.

> There must be some sonic validity to an approach that has even Western
> Electric building new 300Bs in the US again.

Um, the people who purchased the rights are building them, not
the Western Electric of halcyon times. Yes, there is a market.
That's why they bought the rights. :-)

~SF~

Scott Frankland

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Dec 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/11/97
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Stewart Pinkerton wrote:
>
> Scott Franklin expresses a
> preference for P-P, he also points out very clearly how flawed are
> SETAs, which is *not* labelled as a preference, but as fact.

Yes, I can find a number of problems with the SETA approach,
but only if high power at low distortion is demanded. My
preference is not so much for PP, as for large planar speakers
that are terra infirma for most SETA's. A PP amp is evidently
the more ideal solution for such a speaker. My actual preference
is for beauty, engagement, and excitement (as I perceive it).

~SF~

Steve Jones

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Dec 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/11/97
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Scott Frankland wrote:
>
> Where did I say I dislike SETA's, Steve? I don't recall making
> such a blanket statement anywhere.

<snip>

I infered that from the tome of your arguments with Siggy. Sorry if I
mis-stated your position.


> > And even acknowledes that in Japan in the early '70's,
> > SETAs and Lowthers were a match made in heaven (as they were in the
> > '40s,50's,60's,80's, and are still today.
>
> Well, what I said was:
> "There is an apocalyptic story about Ikeda's discovery of the
> Western Electric 91-A. This 3.5W single-ended amplifier must
> have sounded like pure heaven on 1970's-vintage Lowther horns
> when compared to the nascent transistor amps." [i.e., the
> first generation of SS amps].

Thanks for the whole tamale. I didn't have the full Stereophile article
at my disposal here at work.



> > There must be some sonic validity to an approach that has even Western
> > Electric building new 300Bs in the US again.
>
> Um, the people who purchased the rights are building them, not
> the Western Electric of halcyon times. Yes, there is a market.
> That's why they bought the rights. :-)

They are actually being built by the same production line and
engineering people on the same production machinery, in the same Kansas
City factory as the originals (using even the original filament pour).
Bell Labs is doing the quality control.

Charles Whitner bankrolled this effort under the Western Electric name
that he is leasing from AT&T. Never the less, they are the real thing.

-Steve Jones

Steve Jones

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Dec 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/11/97
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jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist wrote:
>
> In article <66i1gp$m...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,
> Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
> >about SETA's and audibly different things...

> Ok, fine. Nobody has suggested that you need to use a blind test to
> decide what you prefer.

Oh really? The rhetorical 'nobody' isn't worth commenting on.



> >Bullmerde. Look to Arny and Stewart for their relentless campaign
> >against SETAs.

> What relentless campaign?

> They state that THEY don't like them. They state that they are
> worse, from the technical end. They do NOT state that
> you have to prefer what they like.

Neither do they state that this technical bias is indeed only a
preference. They tend offer no alternative perspectives (although
Stewart gave it a good shot recently).



> They don't like them. That is not a relentless campaign. Their
> articles explaining the hideous mistakes in Seigfreid's theories is
> not a relentless campaign against SETA, it's against the
> misinformation and confusing in Seigfried's articles.

I'm not here to defend Siggy's theories. Didn't (and won't) read those
threads.


> >Their arguements on technical merits alone DEMAND
> >exclusion for personal use.

> Technical measurements are not preferences.

Just WHERE are these actual technical measurements, jj. Not in the
majority of arguements advanced. Most are just as much bluff as Siggy's
theories. My favorite was that the Ongaku would be indishtingushable
from some solid state amp in a double blinded test. Bullshit.

But presentation of the cloak of science in order to add credence in
advancement of their personal biases is most definately exclusionary
*preference*, and dishonest.


> Technical measurements do not demand anything, other than that they
> be made accurately.

And should be presented accurately, without interpetation. Adherence to
technical measurements, to bolster one's personal preference agenda, has
led to this.



> Technical measurements are not preferences. As both Arny and Stewart
> make clear, they do not prefer the kind of distortions they hear
> in SETA's. So what?

Then I would prefer them to bridge the gap (between science and
preference), and state in situ (of their postings), that all their
technical arguments offered are ultimately up to you to decide.
Unfortuneately, the technical measurements are often far too lacking and
the biased interpetations (in advancement of their agenda) too
numerious.


> You seem to complain that the mere fact that they mention the
> TECHNICAL FACTS somehow "demand exclusion". Why? As about
> 99 of us have already said to Seigfried, PREFER WHAT YOU LIKE,
> it's your business alone.

*Merely mentioning* technical merits (get my wording correct, jj), no.
Implication as to their universality, yes. Add a disclaimer.


> But, Steve, the difference between a testable, falsifiable,
> confirmable measurement and a preference is as wide as intergalactic
> space, from the scientific point of view. The preference is not at
> all arguable. The scientific point is.

Then why are you arguing? What has been testable, falsifiable, or a
confirmable measurement in this discussion?


> >But I do also question just how true this accuracy model
> >is with a flawed system, and why it's ultimate persuit (in stereo) may
> >be ultimately flawed.
>
> Well, if you have an ultimately accurate system, then you can inject
> what inaccuracies you LIKE, under your own control, can't you?

Why must everything be under *your own control*. Ever just enjoy a
beautiful sunset? Or inspiring music.

BTW, I DO consider the universe as the ultimately accurate system. I'll
take it as it is, thank you. People tend to (continually) screw it up
too much.

-Steve Jones

Steve Jones

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Dec 11, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/11/97
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Bob Myers wrote:

> Why do you assume that the "blind" test is ANY different in terms of
> "compared to *what*?"? The ONLY difference implied by calling a test
> "blind" is just that - you don't have knowledge of what's being
> tested. Other than that, it is entirely reasonable to assume that the
> nature of the test is identical to the sighted version. Don't assume
> a particular test protocol (ABX or whatever) just because I've asked
> about the impact of the test being blind.

The comments I ORIGINALLY made were in reference to Arny's comments
concerning the selection process on component comparison he used to put
together his stereo system. I didn't infer as to ALL blind tests. As
stated: "one to another............"

> So again - how does losing
> knowledge of the equipment under test, and instead relying solely on
> how it SOUNDS, "relieve you of any chance you may transcend a flawed
> medium"?

Listening to equipment, blind or sighted, is nothing more than comparing
commodities. It bears NO relation to the RE-production of an acoustic
event. Simply, relative vs absolute.



> > shell game, again. Conformity excludes the exceptional. I mean, if by
> > way of blind comparison, an Audiolab 666 sounds identical as a Krell
> > BFD-400S, I ask "So what?". I would much prefer to listen to how does
> > the individual DUT (as part of a complete system) compare to a live
> > event.

> And how often can you do this, either in a sighted or a blind test?

> At best, we are FAR more likely to be comparing what we hear -
> WHETHER OR NOT we can read the label on the equipment - to a memory
> of what we THINK "live events" sound like.

Not often enough! The latest I've heard was at Hi-Fi '97 with NHT's
exhibit. Should we disregard this type of comparison?

<snip>



> Sure. And again, I don't see anyone arguing against personal
> preferences. Half-baked theories about the ORIGINS of those
> preferences ("SETAs sound better BECAUSE..."), yes - and rightly so.

Are any of those 'theories' presented here? Seems that you are arguing
only against *my* preferences (and using previous posters postitions as
a strawman). :-(

<snip>

> > Clever snip, Bob. :-) Out of context.

> Sorry, this wasn't intended as a "clever snip" - did I misunderstand

> your intent in the above paragraph?

Yes. Please read the original, in context as in response to Arny's
comments (too long to repeat here).

> Were you not implying that there

> are those who DO believe that "everything sounds the same"?

No.

<snip>

> Frankly, I haven't seen this in their posts. What I HAVE seen are
> some pretty strong words against some complete nonsense about how
> SETAs work, whether they are inherently higher or lower in distortion
> compared to other designs, etc., etc., etc.. If you can find an
> example where either of these gentlemen have told someone NOT to
> prefer SETAs on the basis of technical specs, I would sincerely like >
to see it.

For the latest, see Stewart's response to my last
post....... Specifically, the last paragraph.

<snip>



> > So have I, and I do wince at some of the pro-offered theories (sometimes

> > by me, too!). But I do also question just how true this accuracy model

> > is with a flawed system, and why it's ultimate persuit (in stereo) may
> > be ultimately flawed.

> It's ultimately flawed from the standpoint of the PREFERENCES of many

> because accuracy in the objective, quantifiable sense has to do with
> how well you reproduce the signal that came out of the studio, not
> with the relation to the sound itself (which CANNOT appear on a
> recording, simply because it IS, after all, a recording). Stereo
> audio relies on a number of illusions, and it's not too surprising
> that to make the listener "believe in" the illusion of "real" sound,
> some things might need to be done to the signal at playback which
> technically constitute distortion, and therefore INaccuracy.

Thanks for restating my previous paragraph. :-)

-Steve Jones

Scott Frankland

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Dec 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/12/97
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Steve Jones wrote:

> > > There must be some sonic validity to an approach that has even Western
> > > Electric building new 300Bs in the US again.

> > Um, the people who purchased the rights are building them, not
> > the Western Electric of halcyon times. Yes, there is a market.
> > That's why they bought the rights. :-)

> They are actually being built by the same production line and
> engineering people on the same production machinery, in the same Kansas
> City factory as the originals (using even the original filament pour).
> Bell Labs is doing the quality control.

Well, um, hmmm. When I think WE I think 1930's. At any rate, kudos
if they are using the same methodology. I am aware that WE tubes
were built to the highest possible standards as to both performance
and reliability. The materials used for these tubes were often exotic,
such as platinum and/or iridium for filaments. These directly-heated
filamentary cathodes were then coated with the oxides of barium and
strontium applied alternately in successive layers. Like a fine
Samurai sword, the filament is methodically heated to 1000degC after
each oxide application. In what became known as the "WE standard
filament", sixteen such layers were applied. Tubes containing WE
standard filaments were found to last more than 20,000 hours under
laboratory conditions.

~SF~

Scott Frankland

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Dec 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/12/97
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Stewart Pinkerton

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Dec 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/12/97
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Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> writes:

>Bob Myers wrote:

>> Frankly, I haven't seen this in their posts. What I HAVE seen are
>> some pretty strong words against some complete nonsense about how
>> SETAs work, whether they are inherently higher or lower in distortion
>> compared to other designs, etc., etc., etc.. If you can find an
>> example where either of these gentlemen have told someone NOT to
>> prefer SETAs on the basis of technical specs, I would sincerely like >
>to see it.
>
>For the latest, see Stewart's response to my last
>post....... Specifically, the last paragraph.

Since you conveniently fail to quote said paragraph, please explain
exactly where I have said that anyone should not *prefer* SETAs if
they choose, despite their obvious technical flaws.

In fact, I have said elsewhere that there's nothing particularly bad
about SETAs in practice, *if* they're used with very high sensitivity
speakers, thereby disguising the high-power weaknesses inherent to
this technology. It should be obvious from my support of SET
line-level preamps, such as the excellent Conrad-Johnson PV10AL, that
I have nothing against the use of SET technology where significant
power output is not required, except on the less technically
significant grounds of cost and reliability compared to say an
equivalent MOSFET design.

Steve Jones

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Dec 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/12/97
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Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> writes:

[quoted text deleted -- deb]

> >For the latest, see Stewart's response to my last


> >post....... Specifically, the last paragraph.

> Since you conveniently fail to quote said paragraph, please explain
> exactly where I have said that anyone should not *prefer* SETAs if
> they choose, despite their obvious technical flaws.

For the sake of brevity, not convenience, Stewart. Sorry if you took it
that way.
I refer you to my posting on this thread dated Wed 16:35 (that includes
my reply to your last paragraph)

> In fact, I have said elsewhere that there's nothing particularly bad
> about SETAs in practice, *if* they're used with very high sensitivity
> speakers, thereby disguising the high-power weaknesses inherent to
> this technology. It should be obvious from my support of SET
> line-level preamps, such as the excellent Conrad-Johnson PV10AL, that
> I have nothing against the use of SET technology where significant
> power output is not required, except on the less technically
> significant grounds of cost and reliability compared to say an
> equivalent MOSFET design.

Well said.

Buy ya a beer? :-)

-Steve Jones

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist

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Dec 12, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/12/97
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In article <66pe9v$1...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,

Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
>jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist wrote:
>> Ok, fine. Nobody has suggested that you need to use a blind test to
>> decide what you prefer.

>Oh really? The rhetorical 'nobody' isn't worth commenting on.

Really? Who has suggested that you need a blind test to find out
what you PREFER? If you prefer to base your preference on sighted
tests, so be it.

>Neither do they state that this technical bias is indeed only a
>preference. They tend offer no alternative perspectives (although
>Stewart gave it a good shot recently).

Technical measurements are not preferences. You must separate the
measurement from the question of preference. I measure LP's,
I can see the distortion there, but sometimes I none the less
perfer the LP. Most (not Arnold) people agree.



>> Technical measurements are not preferences.

>Just WHERE are these actual technical measurements, jj.

Well, I can't speak for others firsthand, but I have a good bunch
around here, in lots of different forms.

>Not in the
>majority of arguements advanced.

And how do you know this? I try to flag really outrageous stuff
when I see it, but like most people here, my time is limited.

>My favorite was that the Ongaku would be indishtingushable
>from some solid state amp in a double blinded test. Bullshit.

Hm. No comment on specific bits of gear. I can say, I think, though,
that I personally haven't made that comparison.

>But presentation of the cloak of science in order to add credence in
>advancement of their personal biases is most definately exclusionary
>*preference*, and dishonest.

How is it dishonest to relate measurements?



>And should be presented accurately, without interpetation. Adherence to
>technical measurements, to bolster one's personal preference agenda, has
>led to this.

Um, I still don't see this.

Further, if one prefers to buy stuff that measures well, why not?
I'm not sure I'd agree with them (I've done battle against the
SNR brigade for years, myself), but whose place is it to tell them
their preference is wrong, and that their reasons are wrong?

If they want to enforce them on others, now, that is a different
issue, but I don't see a lot of that.

>Then why are you arguing? What has been testable, falsifiable, or a
>confirmable measurement in this discussion?

Well, I've cited measurements of human hearing, that are currently
being disputed as "models" and "theory" by Drummond. The results of
the last 100 years are testable, people test them all the time, they
are falsifiable, and none the less still stand... Same with LP
distortions, cable distortions ...

I must say that at this point "this discussion" isn't clear to me,
there are so many "discussions" going on, so I'm trying to stay in
context, but it's no longer entirely clear to me which context
is which.

>> Well, if you have an ultimately accurate system, then you can inject
>> what inaccuracies you LIKE, under your own control, can't you?

>Why must everything be under *your own control*. Ever just enjoy a
>beautiful sunset? Or inspiring music.

So, if I paint the sunset, should I paint in the imperfection, if
I want the imperfect NOT to be there? It's not "reality"
we're debating, but our interpretation of it. Why not control
our interpretation, knowingly, as we see fit?

>BTW, I DO consider the universe as the ultimately accurate system. I'll
>take it as it is, thank you. People tend to (continually) screw it up
>too much.

Well, I'll buy that. Why does an old line from, um, "Paint your wagon",
I think:

" God made the mountains
God made the skys,
God made the people,
God knows why,
He fixed up the planet
As best as he could,
Then in come the people
And GUM IT UP GOOD! "

Yea, there's some trVth in that.

Nousaine

unread,
Dec 14, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/14/97
to

Scott Frankland notes:

<<<<Well, um, hmmm. When I think WE I think 1930's. At any rate, kudos
if they are using the same methodology. I am aware that WE tubes
were built to the highest possible standards as to both performance
and reliability. The materials used for these tubes were often exotic,
such as platinum and/or iridium for filaments. These directly-heated
filamentary cathodes were then coated with the oxides of barium and
strontium applied alternately in successive layers. Like a fine
Samurai sword, the filament is methodically heated to 1000degC after
each oxide application. In what became known as the "WE standard
filament", sixteen such layers were applied. Tubes containing WE
standard filaments were found to last more than 20,000 hours under
laboratory conditions.>>>

And again to remind everyone what was the number one concern with
telephony.....reliability. These tubes and their manufacturing
processes were designed for transatlantic submarine cables, for bayou
use in Louisiana, for room-temperature superconductivity in
Frostbite Falls in February. The telephone company made everything
with the idea of eliminating failure and service calls.

Of course performance was always a consideration...but recall the
bandwidth is 300 to 3000 Hz. Wastern Electric tubes are like desk
telephone sets of the same era. Made so you can crack walnuts with
the handset but constrained by the technology of the time. Don't
forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
of tubes. they invented digital to eliminate the disadavantages of
analog (and started using it in the network in 1962.)

Steve Jones

unread,
Dec 15, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/15/97
to

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist wrote:
>
> In article <66pe9v$1...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,
> Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
> >
> >Neither do they state that this technical bias is indeed only a
> >preference. They tend offer no alternative perspectives (although
> >Stewart gave it a good shot recently).
>
> Technical measurements are not preferences.

Correct. But my statement was in reference to technical bias. What's
your statement got to do with it?

> You must separate the
> measurement from the question of preference.

My beef is with the interpetation of said measurements, advanced to only
to add credence to one's preference over another's, ie: technical bias.

<snip>



> >But presentation of the cloak of science in order to add credence in
> >advancement of their personal biases is most definately exclusionary
> >*preference*, and dishonest.
>
> How is it dishonest to relate measurements?

Oy! Again with the measurements!

Please refrain from the continuation of your attempts to rewrite my
posts. Measurements ARE NOT THE ISSUE as I have, and continue, to
state.

<snip>



> I must say that at this point "this discussion" isn't clear to me,
> there are so many "discussions" going on, so I'm trying to stay in
> context, but it's no longer entirely clear to me which context
> is which.

You might have a better shot at FOLLOWING the context, if you weren't so
single mindedly intent on changing it to suit your agenda.

<snip>

-Steve Jones

Scott Frankland

unread,
Dec 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/16/97
to

Tom Nousaine wrote:
>
> Of course performance was always a consideration...but recall the
> bandwidth is 300 to 3000 Hz.

The 300B was designed for high-fidelity applications, Tom.
Theatre amps such as the WE 91-A used them (just look for
the WE logo on your favorite old movie soundtrack!).

> Wastern Electric tubes are like desk
> telephone sets of the same era. Made so you can crack walnuts with
> the handset but constrained by the technology of the time.

But don't try this at home! ;-)

> Don't
> forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
> of tubes.

But not necessarily the sound quality limitations of tubes. :-)

> they invented digital to eliminate the disadavantages of
> analog (and started using it in the network in 1962.)

Well, that's a capsule summary if I ever saw one, but OK.

~SF~

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist

unread,
Dec 16, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/16/97
to

In article <673fir$6...@jamesv.Warren.MENTORG.COM>,

Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
>jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist wrote:
>> In article <66pe9v$1...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,
>> Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
>> >Neither do they state that this technical bias is indeed only a
>> >preference. They tend offer no alternative perspectives (although
>> >Stewart gave it a good shot recently).
>> Technical measurements are not preferences.
>Correct. But my statement was in reference to technical bias. What's
>your statement got to do with it?

Because it seems to me that you confute technical measurements
with "bias". The measurements are what they are, and they
don't constitute bias.

You can't even call it a bias if somebody insists on using
measurements to decide what to like, it's a PREFERENCE. One that
neither you nor I may agree with, indeed, but it's still a preference.

>My beef is with the interpetation of said measurements, advanced to only
>to add credence to one's preference over another's, ie: technical bias.

If the measurements are correct, what's the beef?

>Please refrain from the continuation of your attempts to rewrite my
>posts. Measurements ARE NOT THE ISSUE as I have, and continue, to
>state.

But if I state "the frammitz has an SNR of 12 dB and the frozitiz
has an SNR of 99 dB" is this a technical bias?

From what I understand of this argument, you'd say yes. Now,
I could be wrong, but that's what it seems to me you're saying.



>You might have a better shot at FOLLOWING the context, if you weren't so
>single mindedly intent on changing it to suit your agenda.

And, now, you accuse me of ill intent. You, as well as another
poster, have both seen fit to directly accuse me of unethical
behavior.

You have several times claimed to know "what I think", when in fact
you have no idea what I think, and it is quite clear that your
repeated attacks here and elsehwere are based purely on your
own (perhaps inadvertant) agenda. Please cease harrassing me.

Steve Jones

unread,
Dec 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/17/97
to

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist wrote:
>
> In article <673fir$6...@jamesv.Warren.MENTORG.COM>,
> Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
> >
> >Correct. But my statement was in reference to technical bias. What's
> >your statement got to do with it?
>
> Because it seems to me that you confute technical measurements
> with "bias". The measurements are what they are, and they
> don't constitute bias.

Interpetations of said measures for the basis of promotions of one's
agenda ie: technical bias.

Get over your demonstrated intent to mis-state my posts.



> If the measurements are correct, what's the beef?

INTERPETATION is the beef. Sheesh, do you believe the popular media's
interpetation of global warming, too?



> But if I state "the frammitz has an SNR of 12 dB and the frozitiz
> has an SNR of 99 dB" is this a technical bias?
>
> From what I understand of this argument, you'd say yes. Now,
> I could be wrong, but that's what it seems to me you're saying.

You ARE wrong. My implication was as to the interpetations spun that the
frozitiz (with a SNR of 99dB) is better than the frammitz (with a SNR of
12 dB) so it is better to buy the frozitiz. Got it, now?


> >You might have a better shot at FOLLOWING the context, if you weren't so
> >single mindedly intent on changing it to suit your agenda.
>
> And, now, you accuse me of ill intent. You, as well as another
> poster, have both seen fit to directly accuse me of unethical
> behavior.

Pathetic. :-(



> You have several times claimed to know "what I think", when in fact
> you have no idea what I think, and it is quite clear that your
> repeated attacks here and elsehwere are based purely on your
> own (perhaps inadvertant) agenda. Please cease harrassing me.

Then why do you continue to wax on about what I didn't say (demonstrably
mis-stated and attributed to me), originally to someone else from
another post? I will not leave my postings in the mangled mess that you
corrupt them.

Them's crocodile tears, jj.

-Steve Jones

Arny Kr|ger

unread,
Dec 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/17/97
to

Scott Frankland wrote in message <676cm0$8...@jamesv.Warren.MENTORG.COM>...
>Tom Nousaine wrote:

>> Of course performance was always a consideration...but recall the
>> bandwidth is 300 to 3000 Hz.

>The 300B was designed for high-fidelity applications, Tom.
>Theatre amps such as the WE 91-A used them (just look for
>the WE logo on your favorite old movie soundtrack!).

The then-current standard was for response from maybe 50 to 9,000 Hz.
"Academy Sound", I believe. Would this be an adequate standard, today? ;-)

>> Don't
>> forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
>> of tubes.

>But not necessarily the sound quality limitations of tubes. :-)

Since all tubes have relatively short lives and use way more power,
and SS was invented to provide greater relaiblity and save power, all
I have to do is show a link between reliablity and power and sound
quality, and I think I will have proven you wrong.

The link between reliability and sound quality is obvious. Back in
the days when tubes were king, people were replacing them all the
time. The MacIntosh labs crew carried tubes by the case so that every
Mac amp they tested would meet spec when they were done. It was well
known that if you did not replace the tubes in a Dyna Stereo 70 every
6 months, but used it a lot, it would not meet spec. Compare that to
the reliability of SS. I recently checked out some SS equipment that
had been in steady use for 20 years. It still met spec.

The link between power and sound quality is equally obvious. Modern
speakers are marvels of smoothness and broad response, particularly
for their size and cost. But they are not efficient. As a practical
matter, tubed amplifiers were never broadly practical much above 60
wpc, and 30 wpc was more like the rule. Above that point the power
and cost gets very oppresive, particularly considering the
reliability aspects just mentioned. OTOH, cool-running SS amps with
300 wpc and more are readily available, and if you really want power,
the sky is virtually the limit.

Modern, high quality speakers have sensitivities on the order of
87-90 dB/W at 1 meter. With 30 wpc (15 dBw) it is difficult to
sustain concert hall volumes (95-105 dB peaks) in a typical living
room at the listener's location. That takes another 10 dB or so of
power - 200-300 wpc. That kind of power is practially out of reach
for typical commercial tubed amps. This is not to say that higher
powers can't be obtained with tubes, it is just that this rarely
happens.

Therefore, it is safe to conclude that transistors were invented to
deal with sound quality problems with tubes.

Stewart Pinkerton

unread,
Dec 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/17/97
to

Scott Frankland <audi...@ix.netcom.com> writes:

>Tom Nousaine wrote:
>>
>> Of course performance was always a consideration...but recall the
>> bandwidth is 300 to 3000 Hz.
>
>The 300B was designed for high-fidelity applications, Tom.
>Theatre amps such as the WE 91-A used them (just look for
>the WE logo on your favorite old movie soundtrack!).

And then listen to that soundtrack..............

I'm not knocking the 300B, although I believe it's known for a
'rose-tinted' balance compared with the 211/845, but I really don't
think we can equate the 'high fidelity' of the twenties with the
abilities of modern equipment. Hopefully, we've made *some* progress
in seventy years.............

>> Wastern Electric tubes are like desk
>> telephone sets of the same era. Made so you can crack walnuts with
>> the handset but constrained by the technology of the time.
>
>But don't try this at home! ;-)

Another indication of why tubes are impractical at home......

>> Don't
>> forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
>> of tubes.
>
>But not necessarily the sound quality limitations of tubes. :-)

Which isn't to say that tubes are *not* limited in sound quality. :-)

>> they invented digital to eliminate the disadavantages of
>> analog (and started using it in the network in 1962.)
>
>Well, that's a capsule summary if I ever saw one, but OK.

Amen to that!

Steve Jones

unread,
Dec 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/17/97
to

Arny Kr|ger wrote:
>
<snip of technical reasons, leading to this technical bias>

> Therefore, it is safe to conclude that transistors were invented to
> deal with sound quality problems with tubes.

Not quite *safe*, Arny.

The transistor was *specifically* developed by Bell Labs, to deal
with the problems in long distance telecommunications (the target
market).

Bell Labs *specifically* developed the WE300B as an audio power
triode to be used in (theater) sound reproduction (the target
market). The last power triode to be so exclusively designed, until
the modern Vaic and KR tubes.

But please note: Bell Labs *never* specified the transistor for sound
reproduction replacement ("to deal with the sound quality problems")
of the WE300B. And note, some WE theater systems were in use into the
mid '70s.

You may build a case on *technical* merit, but please leave the
conclusions, safe or not, to us.

-Steve Jones

BTW, you bandwidth figures (50-9kHz) seem a little constricted, as even
AM broadcasts of the era were 20-13kHz+.

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist

unread,
Dec 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/17/97
to

In article <678mar$a...@jamesv.Warren.MENTORG.COM>,

Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:
>INTERPETATION is the beef. Sheesh, do you believe the popular media's
>interpetation of global warming, too?

I believe very little of what the popular media says without some
very careful examination. I've been a source for more than one
confusing article that said NOTHING like what I said to the
flippin' journalist.



>> But if I state "the frammitz has an SNR of 12 dB and the frozitiz
>> has an SNR of 99 dB" is this a technical bias?

>> From what I understand of this argument, you'd say yes. Now,
>> I could be wrong, but that's what it seems to me you're saying.

>You ARE wrong. My implication was as to the interpetations spun that the
>frozitiz (with a SNR of 99dB) is better than the frammitz (with a SNR of
>12 dB) so it is better to buy the frozitiz. Got it, now?

Hmm, I'd argue that the conclusion "it's better to buy" is unsupported
without some other argument. By itself, it's a purely unsupported
assertion based on a measurement. If there is evidence that
"accuracy" <in the technical> sense is good in this case, there
might be an argument, but for a pure assertion I agree with you,
there's no "meat" to argue with, and no following up on the
assertion that the "better measurement" is indeed "the one to buy"
(or that even the better snr IS the "better measurement" for that
matter, but I will stipulate your assuming that for purposes of
argument)

>> And, now, you accuse me of ill intent. You, as well as another
>> poster, have both seen fit to directly accuse me of unethical
>> behavior.

>Pathetic. :-(

Sir, you have repeatedly attacked me, here and in other newsgroups,
and accused me of willful ill intent.

YOU HAVE SHOWN NEITHER PROOF OF INTENT NOR PROOF OF UNINTENTIONAL
OFFENSE.

Now, if you can, stand and deliver.

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist

unread,
Dec 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/17/97
to

In article <679938$f...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,
Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:

>Arny Kr|ger wrote:
>> Therefore, it is safe to conclude that transistors were invented to
>> deal with sound quality problems with tubes.

Hmm, in a round-about way, possibly..

>Not quite *safe*, Arny.

Agreed.

>The transistor was *specifically* developed by Bell Labs, to deal
>with the problems in long distance telecommunications (the target
>market).

Well, this was in fact to deal partially with sound quality problems,
but the sound quality problems were in long distance telecommunications,
indeed, and the first transistors were research curiousities, not
even good telephony amplifiers. It was only after quite a bit
of research that transistors were any good for repeaters for
speech, let alone audio.

>Bell Labs *specifically* developed the WE300B as an audio power
>triode to be used in (theater) sound reproduction (the target
>market). The last power triode to be so exclusively designed, until
>the modern Vaic and KR tubes.

This was indeed before one of the many legal assaults on Bell Labs,
when Bell Labs still did audio, which it somewhat invented.

Of course, it would be unfair to say that the period before the '39
(was it 39? I think so) consent decree was when most of the modern
mechanisms for audio were invented, and where...

>But please note: Bell Labs *never* specified the transistor for sound
>reproduction replacement ("to deal with the sound quality problems")
>of the WE300B. And note, some WE theater systems were in use into the
>mid '70s.

Agreed. At least for the first transistor. Nowadays I'd not
say for sure, especially since I'm at ATT labs, not Lucent Bell
Labs any more. Then again, a lot has happened since the
invention of the first transistor.

Steve Jones

unread,
Dec 17, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/17/97
to

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist wrote:

> In article <678mar$a...@jamesv.Warren.MENTORG.COM>,
> Steve Jones <steve...@vcd.hp.com> wrote:

[quoted text deleted -- deb]

> >> But if I state "the frammitz has an SNR of 12 dB and the frozitiz


> >> has an SNR of 99 dB" is this a technical bias?

> >> From what I understand of this argument, you'd say yes. Now,
> >> I could be wrong, but that's what it seems to me you're saying.

> >You ARE wrong. My implication was as to the interpetations spun that the
> >frozitiz (with a SNR of 99dB) is better than the frammitz (with a SNR of
> >12 dB) so it is better to buy the frozitiz. Got it, now?

> Hmm, I'd argue that the conclusion "it's better to buy" is unsupported
> without some other argument. By itself, it's a purely unsupported
> assertion based on a measurement. If there is evidence that
> "accuracy" <in the technical> sense is good in this case, there
> might be an argument, but for a pure assertion I agree with you,
> there's no "meat" to argue with, and no following up on the
> assertion that the "better measurement" is indeed "the one to buy"
> (or that even the better snr IS the "better measurement" for that
> matter, but I will stipulate your assuming that for purposes of
> argument)

By George, I think he's got it (finally!).

Have a Happy Solstice,jj
-Steve Jones

Scott Frankland

unread,
Dec 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/18/97
to

Steve Jones wrote:
>
> BTW, you bandwidth figures (50-9kHz) seem a little constricted, as even
> AM broadcasts of the era were 20-13kHz+.

Why are you guys even arguing about this? The 300B is capable of
well beyond 20kHz BW in any modern design. Yes, I know.

~SF~

Peter Irwin

unread,
Dec 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/18/97
to

Arny Kr|ger (ar...@concentric.net) wrote:
> Scott Frankland wrote in message <676cm0$8...@jamesv.Warren.MENTORG.COM>...

> >The 300B was designed for high-fidelity applications, Tom.


> >Theatre amps such as the WE 91-A used them (just look for
> >the WE logo on your favorite old movie soundtrack!).

> The then-current standard was for response from maybe 50 to 9,000 Hz.


> "Academy Sound", I believe. Would this be an adequate standard, today? ;-)

Well, as I recall, the "Academy Filter" was proposed by the folks
who give out Oscars, not by an engineering body. There were people
at the SMPE who were pretty annoyed with this decision because the
best optical recordings already did have wider bandwidth.

> Modern, high quality speakers have sensitivities on the order of
> 87-90 dB/W at 1 meter. With 30 wpc (15 dBw) it is difficult to
> sustain concert hall volumes (95-105 dB peaks) in a typical living
> room at the listener's location. That takes another 10 dB or so of
> power - 200-300 wpc. That kind of power is practially out of reach
> for typical commercial tubed amps. This is not to say that higher
> powers can't be obtained with tubes, it is just that this rarely
> happens.

Really?

My impression was that to get an estimate of the sound level produced
by a pair of speakers in a typical room that you could use the
sensitivity rating (one metre free-space) and multiply by amplifier
power.

If speakers are 90dB 1w/1m, and amplifier power is 15dBw, then I
would have thought this adequate for 105dB peaks. Many speakers are
more like 87 dB, so 60 wpc might be required for typical speakers.

Peter.
----
pir...@ktb.net

Scott Frankland

unread,
Dec 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/18/97
to

Stewart Pinkerton wrote:

> >The 300B was designed for high-fidelity applications, Tom.
> >Theatre amps such as the WE 91-A used them (just look for
> >the WE logo on your favorite old movie soundtrack!).

> And then listen to that soundtrack..............

And? Many of them were quite luscious, IMO. Others sounded
quite dark and opaque. Hard to say who screwed up what.

> I'm not knocking the 300B, although I believe it's known for a
> 'rose-tinted' balance compared with the 211/845, but I really don't
> think we can equate the 'high fidelity' of the twenties with the
> abilities of modern equipment. Hopefully, we've made *some* progress
> in seventy years.............

Well, the 91-A is a 30's amp, Stewart, and yes, SOME progress
has been made since then (negative feedback, for example).



> >> Wastern Electric tubes are like desk
> >> telephone sets of the same era. Made so you can crack walnuts with
> >> the handset but constrained by the technology of the time.

> >But don't try this at home! ;-)

> Another indication of why tubes are impractical at home......

Which is why they make cages. :-)



> >> Don't
> >> forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
> >> of tubes.

> >But not necessarily the sound quality limitations of tubes. :-)

> Which isn't to say that tubes are *not* limited in sound quality. :-)

Limited, yes, but their strong suit is euphonics (and even
enhancement). :-)

~SF~

jj, curmudgeon and tiring philalethist

unread,
Dec 18, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/18/97
to

In article <67bd6m$l...@merckx.graphics.cornell.edu>,

Peter Irwin <pir...@ktb.net> wrote:
>My impression was that to get an estimate of the sound level produced
>by a pair of speakers in a typical room that you could use the
>sensitivity rating (one metre free-space) and multiply by amplifier
>power.

Well, you need a measure of how much the room stores. Basically,
you can figure out the "room reflection coefficient" and that will
tell you how much room gain there is at a given frequency.

In other words, there is a room factor to consider.

Nousaine

unread,
Dec 19, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/19/97
to

Regarding the response to:

> >> Don't
> >> forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
> >> of tubes.

> >But not necessarily the sound quality limitations of tubes. :-)>>>

So you are telling me that Ma Bell ignored sound quality limitations
of transistors and used them instead of "better sounding" tubed
equipment? Better watch it here....Bell Labs invented stereo, solid
state, PCM and even earlier a more significant innovation...negative
feedback stabilized amplifiers. The idea that Bell Labs wasn't
interested in the quality of sound is simply not true. ALL the
important sound quality ideas we use today came from the telephone
industry. It is only in the past 10-15 years that anybody else
contributed anything else.

Look at CD. The first time Americans used digital audio was in 1962
when Illinois Bell installed digital carrier systems. This was about
20 years prior to the introduction of digital audio in consumer
gear...and 10 years before it reached pro-audio.

Again the reason that solid-state was so important is because it
improved sound transmission in both reliability, cost and quality.

Nousaine

unread,
Dec 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/21/97
to

Let me rephrase my comment for better syntax:

<<Again the reason that solid-state was so important is because it
improved sound transmission in both reliability, cost and quality.>>

Omit "both."

Scott Frankland

unread,
Dec 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/21/97
to

Nousaine wrote:
>
> Regarding the response to:
>
> > >> Don't
> > >> forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
> > >> of tubes.
>
> > >But not necessarily the sound quality limitations of tubes. :-)>>>
>
> So you are telling me that Ma Bell ignored sound quality limitations
> of transistors and used them instead of "better sounding" tubed
> equipment?

Take it easy, Tom. You're reading too much into my statement. Just
read it for what it says. It does not say that Bell Labs ignored the
sound quality issue. That kind of statement would be phenomenally
ignorant (and I'm not ignorant, at least not on the subject of Bell
Labs' audio accomplishments).

> Better watch it here....Bell Labs invented stereo, solid
> state, PCM and even earlier a more significant innovation...negative
> feedback stabilized amplifiers. The idea that Bell Labs wasn't
> interested in the quality of sound is simply not true.

I think this is called a "straw man". Go ahead, get up on your
soapbox:

> ALL the
> important sound quality ideas we use today came from the telephone
> industry. It is only in the past 10-15 years that anybody else
> contributed anything else.

Care to list what you mean by "ALL the most important sound quality
ideas"? This is a rather extraordinary claim (although by no means
extravagant). I would have worded it: "Most all the important sound
quality ideas...."



> Again the reason that solid-state was so important is because it
> improved sound transmission in both reliability, cost and quality.

That's nice. I prefer tubes myself.

~SF~

Peter Irwin

unread,
Dec 21, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/21/97
to

Nousaine (nous...@aol.com) wrote:

> Regarding the response to:

> > >> Don't
> > >> forget the telco invented solid state to circumvent the limitations
> > >> of tubes.

> > >But not necessarily the sound quality limitations of tubes. :-)>>>

> So you are telling me that Ma Bell ignored sound quality limitations
> of transistors and used them instead of "better sounding" tubed
> equipment?

They didn't. They continued to use and make tube equipment for quite a
while after the development of the transistor.

The problem I have with "the sound quality limitations of tubes" is
that unless the statement is heavily qualified, it appears to
contradict the position held by Peter Walker and many others that good
tube amplifiers cannot be improved upon in terms of sound quality. If
anyone has good evidence against Walker's position, I would like to
hear it, but there seems to be a lot of tube bashing about for no good
reason.

> Better watch it here....Bell Labs invented stereo,

Really?

They did do some very interesting work on "auditory perspective" or
whatever it was that they called it, but I think that stereo is
arguably quite a bit older than that body of work. There was also
some very interesting work at the UK Columbia record label about the
same time which continued at EMI labs.

> solid state,

The transistor was developed at Bell, but I think that is only a
subset of solid state technology.

> PCM and even earlier a more significant innovation...negative
> feedback stabilized amplifiers.

Two good examples.

> The idea that Bell Labs wasn't interested in the quality of sound is

> simply not true. ALL the important sound quality ideas we use today


> came from the telephone industry. It is only in the past 10-15 years
> that anybody else contributed anything else.

Are you saying that the work done at EMI, the BBC, AR, Quad, KEF, the
NRC in Ottawa, and many other places which aren't telephone companies,
didn't contribute "important sound quality ideas" prior to 10-15 years
ago??

Heck, the telephone companies and AT&T in particular have made major
contributions, but I don't buy the idea that they did the whole thing.

--
Peter.
pir...@ktb.net

Peter Irwin

unread,
Dec 22, 1997, 3:00:00 AM12/22/97