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High end audiophile converters
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #61
Gear Guru
My 535 is from 1988 is is still working fine. They only have 4 mains PSU large caps, 2 for gain shunt, 2 4.7 uf for bias. It's a mostly direct coupled design. Those large mains caps are very high quality and should last at least another 10 years or so.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #62
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
I had the $5000 150 watter over at my shop back in Van Nuys, CA. After matching gains, I connected one side and the other to my standard amp, an Adcom GFA 545.

The owner walked out very pissed off. My used $220 amp creamed his Pass Labs amp in every way. I think he sold it.
Haha - seems like everybody has a story designed to debunk hi-fi. It's like telling people you ride motorcycles -- you'll immediately hear about an accident their friend was involved in. "Oh yeah, that's interesting. Thanks!"

Your friend has too much money and not enough brains if he thinks that that comparison had anything to do with his own reality. Thanks though.

I've had 7 or 8 different amps in and out of this house. Each has sounded differently, and sometimes the cheaper ones do actually impress people. I like Brystons quite a lot. I even like mid-level Marantz. They offer a great first impression - very comforting sound. Critical listening begins to show their weaknesses. Challenging material crushes them. Adding demanding loudspeakers, those capable of extreme detail and extended frequencies, makes them sound harsh. Put them in a big room and they collapse under pressure. Add a great pre/pro and suddenly you hear things you don't appreciate.

I have no doubts that the Adcom sounded great in your scenario. It's an easy amp to work with. If your story is entirely factual then both of you seemed to think so. I also have no doubts that it wouldn't enjoy being exposed by more revealing equipment. An Adcom amp is one of those that I've tried. It's nice and it's safe. It's not going to make anyone say, "holy ****!" I get that reaction a lot, and from engineers, with the Pass. And the Krell. And the Accuphase. My parents would like the Adcom, of course they like Bose, too.
Old 14th September 2012
  #63
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aTelecine-Lex's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
There is a very significant amount of sensitivity to high-end "Audiophile" grade components.

Whilst true that, for the most part, the design of Audiophile equipment is based in some part around "neutrality" - Different components have a radical effect on an Audiophile system.

There may be many reasons for this, nevertheless it's a point of import which worth noting in this discussion.

For example, to many (myself included) a Krell amplifier and preamplifier mated to high-end Theil speakers will, generally speaking, sound "shrill" and quite unpleasant.

Conversely, a Classe amp/pre-amp powering the same speakers will yield a significantly more pleasing listening experience.

Just, throwing that out there in the interest of discussion...

Best,
Alexa
Old 14th September 2012
  #64
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
You guys continue barking in my alley. As I mentioned earlier I have Krell amps powering surrounds and the center channel in my basement listening room. Speakers are by Thiel. When I had my first pair of Thiels back in the 90s (1.5s) they did sound shrill with Krell amps. We are, after all, talking about two brands notorious for being intensely articulate. Pairing them together can be tricky, and the 1.5s did not like what those amps were giving them. Not unpleasant under most genres of music, but I can understand a comment like "shrill" especially if you're accustomed to another character of sound. What you're hearing though is not the amp or speakers -- they're revealing issues elsewhere. Back to the eyesight analogy again: 20/20 vision reveals blemishes and wrinkles which blurry vision can't detect.

Moving up the Thiel ladder, getting to newer, bigger models which are entirely Thiel-made (not true for older, smaller models), you get detail without any semblance of shrillness. That's why I have this combo at the center position. Fronts are also Thiels - the big ones - but they sound a bit different. Better in my opinion, maybe too revealing for some folks. Though I can't imagine anyone calling them shrill. The source comes from Accuphase equipment which helps quite a lot since they're general neutral but slightly warm and full. Krell and Thiel mated to the wrong kind of electronics could QUICKLY get ugly. It can be a chore getting all these components to play nice together but worth it. See my post way above regarding sonic nirvana. It's the Vinyl w/Ortofon cartridge-->Accuphase-->Pass-->Thiel combo (with Transparent cables all around) which blew my mind. Others came close but this is the first time I've ever closed that threshold into complete believability. My girlfriend, who doesn't give two ****s about audio, who's been with me through 13 years of this stuff, has never commented on any single upgrade. Hearing the above combo for the first time she actually said, "that's amazing!"
Old 14th September 2012
  #65
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aTelecine-Lex's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo ➡️
You guys continue barking in my alley. As I mentioned earlier I have Krell amps powering surrounds and the center channel in my basement listening room. Speakers are by Thiel. When I had my first pair of Thiels back in the 90s (1.5s) they did sound shrill with Krell amps. We are, after all, talking about two brands notorious for being intensely articulate. Pairing them together can be tricky, and the 1.5s did not like what those amps were giving them. Not unpleasant under most genres of music, but I can understand a comment like "shrill" especially if you're accustomed to another character of sound. What you're hearing though is not the amp or speakers -- they're revealing issues elsewhere. Back to the eyesight analogy again: 20/20 vision reveals blemishes and wrinkles which blurry vision can't detect.

Moving up the Thiel ladder, getting to newer, bigger models which are entirely Thiel-made (not true for older, smaller models), you get detail without any semblance of shrillness. That's why I have this combo at the center position. Fronts are also Thiels - the big ones - but they sound a bit different. Better in my opinion, maybe too revealing for some folks. Though I can't imagine anyone calling them shrill. The source comes from Accuphase equipment which helps quite a lot since they're general neutral but slightly warm and full. Krell and Thiel mated to the wrong kind of electronics could QUICKLY get ugly. It can be a chore getting all these components to play nice together but worth it. See my post way above regarding sonic nirvana. It's the Vinyl w/Ortofon cartridge-->Accuphase-->Pass-->Thiel combo (with Transparent cables all around) which blew my mind. Others came close but this is the first time I've ever closed that threshold into complete believability. My girlfriend, who doesn't give two ****s about audio, who's been with me through 13 years of this stuff, has never commented on any single upgrade. Hearing the above combo for the first time she actually said, "that's amazing!"
Perhaps my descriptive use of the term "shrill" reads more harshly then I intended.

My experience with the aforementioned Krell/Theil combination to be exact was a pair of Theil CS 3.6's mated to the older model Krell integrated (500i? - Model name escapes me ATM) Both of which I took from "storage" at my house trying to find a system to bring to College.

Let's just say that particular combination was "cold" at best.

I mainly used it as an example to illustrate the point of how sensitive to different components some of these systems can be.

I ended up taking a wonderful Merridian 5.1 system (a fully self-contained system with the amplifiers in the speakers) Which is still in use and sounds fantastic as ever today.

I have since upgraded my main "Hi-Fi" system which is also intgrated into my studio space - Krell "Master Reference" Amplification - and B&W N802's - Wired w/ Harmonic-Tech "Magic" Series. (loaned w/hope permentaly by my father whom moved on)

He now has the actual B&W "Nautilus" (The one's which appear to be designed by H.R. Gieger)

I must say, those speakers are simply breathtaking.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #66
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aTelecine-Lex ➡️
Perhaps my descriptive use of the term "shrill" reads more harshly then I intended.

My experience with the aforementioned Krell/Theil combination to be exact was a pair of Theil CS 3.6's mated to the older model Krell integrated (500i? - Model name escapes me ATM) Both of which I took from "storage" at my house trying to find a system to bring to College.

Let's just say that particular combination was "cold" at best.

I mainly used it as an example to illustrate the point of how sensitive to different components some of these systems can be.

I ended up taking a wonderful Merridian 5.1 system (a fully self-contained system with the amplifiers in the speakers) Which is still in use and sounds fantastic as ever today.

I have since upgraded my main "Hi-Fi" system which is also intgrated into my studio space - Krell "Master Reference" Amplification - and B&W N802's - Wired w/ Harmonic-Tech "Magic" Series. (loaned w/hope permentaly by my father whom moved on)

He now has the actual B&W "Nautilus" (The one's which appear to be designed by H.R. Gieger)

I must say, those speakers are simply breathtaking.
Sorry to hear about your dad. He clearly had excellent taste, which is now passed onto another generation. Those components will last forever and won't be outdone in the near future -- there's just not much room for improvement. 802s are one of the best bets in hi-fi and very friendly to various types of electronics. I auditioned them at a local store last year, trying a few different amps, and it was splitting hairs which was best. Not Krell though, but I'm a huge fan of Krell authority and punch so the combo must sound fantastic.
Old 14th September 2012 | Show parent
  #67
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psycho_monkey's Avatar
 
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aTelecine-Lex ➡️
He now has the actual B&W "Nautilus" (The one's which appear to be designed by H.R. Gieger)

I must say, those speakers are simply breathtaking.
As of 2002, they were being used in 5.1 in Studios 1+3 (possibly 2 as well? can't remember..at that point St2 wasn't permanently 5.1) for midfield monitoring (I think the surrounds in St 1 were a smaller, ceiling-mounted version with the same drivers).

Quote:
Originally Posted by elambo ➡️
Sorry to hear about your dad. He clearly had excellent taste, which is now passed onto another generation.
When Lex said "moved on" I think that referred to his constant upgrading, not his passing!

Either that, or they stock B+W on the other side...
Old 15th September 2012
  #68
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
If god were a stereo salesman he'd sell B&Ws.
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #69
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c1ferrari's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
I had the $5000 150 watter over at my shop back in Van Nuys, CA. After matching gains, I connected one side and the other to my standard amp, an Adcom GFA 545.

The owner walked out very pissed off. My used $220 amp creamed his Pass Labs amp in every way. I think he sold it.
Jim,

What was the rest of the repro chain
Old 15th September 2012 | Show parent
  #70
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c1ferrari's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aTelecine-Lex ➡️
He now has the actual B&W "Nautilus" (The one's which appear to be designed by H.R. Gieger)

I must say, those speakers are simply breathtaking.
I first heard these speakers in typical "show" conditions -- read...AWFUL -- during the early/mid 90's.

Marvelous visual appeal

I was somewhat younger, then, with acute hearing
The Nautilus was driven by Mark Levinson gear...my stamina withstood the challenge
Old 16th September 2012
  #71
Gear Nut
 
🎧 10 years
Chris Connaker at Computer Audiophile believes that the EEM Labs DAC 2x is the best da converter he has ever heard. He has heard most everything.

Computer Audiophile - EMM Labs DAC2X Review

Bugs
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #72
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugstone ➡️
Chris Connaker at Computer Audiophile believes that the EEM Labs DAC 2x is the best da converter he has ever heard. He has heard most everything.

Computer Audiophile - EMM Labs DAC2X Review

Bugs
It's too bad many of us as humans are so susceptible to biases that govern our perception of sound. $15.5K! Of course it's got to sound better than anything, right? Oh that sleek brushed aluminum finish, the smooth edges; my ears are much happier now. LOL
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #73
tkr
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bugstone ➡️
Chris Connaker at Computer Audiophile believes that the EEM Labs DAC 2x is the best da converter he has ever heard. He has heard most everything.

Computer Audiophile - EMM Labs DAC2X Review

Bugs
I`ve owned two different EmmLabs dacs, the Dac 6 and the Dac 6 eSe. Thet didn`t sound half bad.

Very expensive, of course, and IMO ultimately not worth the price.

yours
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #74
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by tkr ➡️
I`ve owned two different EmmLabs dacs, the Dac 6 and the Dac 6 eSe. Thet didn`t sound half bad.
Now THAT'S funny!
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #75
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
only one side of each amp was used.
You're simultaneously presenting amp A to the left speaker and amp B to the right speaker? I've never heard of such a bizarre experiment. So much for real-world listening. It would be impossible to judge any amp based upon its true characteristics, you're merely judging one amps' ability to earn more attention than another, and that doesn't translate to "best." In a room with Cornel West and Pauly Shore, Pauly would certainly force more people to stare at him, but I wouldn't want to spend a weekend fishing with him. In some cases I imagine a Bose amp would get people to turn their heads. Odd.

Also, when someone tries to pay closer attention to you, do they turn their head toward you? They do not, they turn it away because they're trying to point their ear toward you. In your test, if I wanted to pay closer attention to speaker A I'd turn my head to face speaker B so that my ears could hear A better.

There are so many other problems with that test that I wouldn't know where to go next.

No matter. I have access to the Adcom - I'll borrow it and review in my listening space. It won't sound like your 545 because you've heavily modified it, which means it's no longer a 545, but I'll get a renewed semblance of what they sound like.
Old 16th September 2012 | Show parent
  #76
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
You can also sum mono and cut the feed to one side so you only hear one side at a time. Instant comparisons, gain matched, without a delay, that's how you A/B stuff.
I know better than to continue trying to persuade someone who's as focused into their regimen as you are, Jim, even when I know it's highly flawed. If you're happy with the test and not open to dialogue then that's that. I'd never even attempt that listening scenario - for reasons above and others - but I no longer need to (nor should anyone need to go through all that to hear a difference. Yeesh!). My years of upgrading are essentially over -- I've finally settled into a system which no longer needs improving. I sometimes miss the never-ending auditioning but more importantly I've again realized the whole point of all this: the music. I'd almost forgotten about the music.
Old 17th September 2012
  #77
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
Auditioning 1 channel from 2 separate amps is ludicrous, seriously! (if that is indeed what you are saying, maybe I've misunderstood?). Very few rooms are completely symmetrical and even a deviation of a millimeter or a fraction of a degree that the speaker is angled will render the test invalid. Heck, people's left and right ears are not even identical. Even if you sum to mono and play back each side separately, there are way too many flaws to mention. Better amps will throw a more realistic soundstage with greater depth so why would you not spend an extra 30 seconds to swap the amp using both channels?
I sold hi-fi in the 90's and got to try a lot of gear. Adcom makes great amps for the money (I even owned one briefly), but they are not even in the same league as Krell, Levinson, Classe, etc....(though I can't really comment on a modified Adcom). Not trying to be a jerk, just relaying my experience. BTW, Kimber 8TC speaker cable is awesome stuff and I used it to show people that didn't believe cables could make a difference.
Old 17th September 2012
  #78
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1 Review written
🎧 10 years
ha - after my last post, I realized that the title of this thread is "high end audiophile converters"! Not sure how it deviated so far off course, but I apologize for my part in that.
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #79
tkr
Gear Addict
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
The amp channels were also switched so any acoustic effects would follow. It was a great test, sorry you didn't think of trying it. Let us know if you do.

You can also sum mono and cut the feed to one side so you only hear one side at a time. Instant comparisons, gain matched, without a delay, that's how you A/B stuff.

George Massenberg once told me that snapshot audio preference decisions are also time based. You need to live with something for some time to get the true effect of it. That's why these tests lasted several hours each, you want the full exposure, not a 2 minute decision.

So far, the Adcom with it's stellar design topology (every stage is a lesson in linear amp design) has beaten all contenders for realism, clarity and details.

You may find a better sounding amp, but not for near the $210 I spent for it used from Wes Dooley.
I think it´s a logical fallacy to conclude that the Adcom GFA 545 is the better amp anyway....

Yours might be better, I don´t know, but that doesn´t tell us anything about how good the stock unmodified Adcom is.

yours
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #80
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c1ferrari's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
Well, from the start is was quailty CD's from folks like Todd Garfinkle (MA Recordings). Audio interconnects were Kimber AGSS pure silver. Indeed. I'm looking for some 1130's on the secondary market.
This box scraped the residuals of my Audio Precision analyzer, so I don't really know how good it tests. AP

That fed a modified Adcom GFA 545 with faster slew rate, 3 times wider bandwidth and very low THD. Interconnects were more Kimber AGSS and the Kimber 8TC speaker cable feeding the 15" sub and the two JBL 4408A's with custom crossovers. Wish I were familiar with this loudspeaker system Ray Kimber has Krell amps and their top-o-line CD player, they do sound pretty good, but my Adcom reveals more. I'm enjoying the money I saved.
Thanks for the detailed description, Jim
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #81
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DistortingJack's Avatar
 
🎧 10 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by aTelecine-Lex ➡️
There really is not much comparison to "studio" or "pro" grade equipment when contrasted with very high-end audio components.

If you look, or better still listen to something like the Krell "Master Reference" series amplifiers paired to a complimentary set of speakers and consider the specs the build quality - and more importantly the sound... It's hard to contrast with what is in everyday use at professional studios.

Although, with regard to DA conversion I'd say for the most part the line is beginning to blur between "pro" grade and "Audiophile" grade.

As suggested earlier, most of the Audiophile grade DA equipment is quite similar but packaged to suit it's particular market. One could probably find a better deal buying a "pro" grade DA then a equally matched Audiophile component.

Best,
Alexa
The main qualm I have with the "audiophile" label is that there is a premium for a psychological reassurance that the item is indeed of superior quality. This is neither a secret nor unique to that particular market, but it does seem a lot more ludicrous than anywhere else, short of Japanese fish.

If I'm honest I would treat this as a case by case scenario; I would buy professional AD/DA converters, cables and amplifiers myself, since I like clean sound in these instead of "mojo". For speakers, headphones and things that impart a sound no matter what I would treat both as the same market; I tend to like a more luscious, smoother sound on these and the "pro" range, particularly in the bottom and mid-tier markets, tends to sound rather harsh by design in comparison.

I don't think the audiophile converter would have an edge over the pro range, definitely not in price. To me that's one of those items that should be functional and completely transparent. Metric Halo, Lynx, Apogee, Lavry, even SSL will do just fine.
Just my £0.02
Old 17th September 2012
  #82
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Reptil's Avatar
 
2 Reviews written
🎧 15 years
Jim Williams, IMHO you owe it to yourself to try a pair of good electrostatic speakers.
they have no influence on slewrate. not one we could hear anyway. it can be intimidating so many ppl. go back to "slow" dynamic drivers.
http://www.hometheaterhifi.com/volum...hite-paper.pdf
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #83
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Jim Williams ➡️
After 7 seconds your reference is shot, according to those that spend way more time on this stuff. That is why quick switching in real time is important. 30 seconds later and you rely on memory instead of your senses. Ask any cop how reliable memory is and you will get several answers.
Hear hear! So many people do not get this. And many claim the opposite is true. Sorry, no.

However, this applies to other gear shootouts as well. Since "ear memory" is not nearly as reliable as you think, you can't compare, say, a high end converter to a low end one without performing a thorough scientific double-blind A/B test, which takes into account the time-sensitive issue mentioned above. And yes, you can implement the test to be taken over a long period of time, too.
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #84
Lives for gear
...and about comparing amps (and other equipment). If you didn't implement the following into your test, then the results don't mean anything:

1. You can't be the one switching between the equipment.
2. You don't have to be blinded, but you cannot be allowed to see any indication of what piece of gear is playing, whether it's lights on equipment, switch positions, faders, etc., etc.
3. Any clues, such as speaker position determination based on current playback is not allowed.
4. The person switching the devices should not be an audio professional and not have any bias toward the equipment under test.
5. The switching should be random, but the same unit should not be played back more than two times in succession.
6. The person performing the switches needs to take down your answers, or better yet, a third person who also is not biased and is not familiar with the equipment.
7. The person switching cannot give any clues whatsoever as to what is being played, other than saying a switch has happened (if needed).
8. The switching between units under test needs to be seamless with no gaps as to not distract the subject.
9. Switching should happen within seven seconds or less. 7 second loops on same sections should be repeated before making a decision. Sections can be changed before making a decision but each section should start at the looped beginning at least four times.
10. A minimum number of ten [10] trials must be performed, and in order to have a relevant conclusion, the statistical confidence level must be at least 95%. In the case of 10 trials, the subject must consistently choose the same unit 9/10 times for a 95% confidence requirement. If, in this case, the subject chose the same unit 8/10 times, there is not enough confidence that the user was not guessing.
11. GREAT care (this cannot be underestimated) must be taken to ensure levels are thoroughly matched. A less than 1 dB difference can flaw the results.
12. And more that I can't think of right now....

The above test can be performed over an extended period of time.

EDIT: Oh yeah, the switcher must not LABEL the currently played back units. For example, he/she cannot say, "this is unit A, this is unit B" or "this is amp 1, this is amp 2". He should say something simple like, "Okay, I just switched".
Old 17th September 2012 | Show parent
  #85
Lives for gear
 
🎧 15 years
The trouble with ALL converters as I see it:

No one has done a definitive blind test with LOTS of converters at the same time. Blind testing against monitered live source would be the most revealing as to which AD - DA cycle comes closest (most transparent and therefore "Best").

Not all converters are transparent, some are specifically made to be colored. I suspect many audiophile converters are colored. When you add color to "enhance" it's the same thing as adding an EQ at the end of the chain, we know what happens when you add a Pultec EQ (the smile it puts on your face) but then why not just use a Pultec EQ if your intention is to "enhance" instead of listening to the source as it was mixed/mastered. "Enhancement" has become a standard proceedure for audiophile gear. Even cable can be used as an EQ.

Audiophiles are notorius for spending vast amounts of money on gear and little or nothing on rooms. Bottom line is the sound you hear is the interaction between all the gear and the ROOM. Is it any wonder they are all over the map as to what sounds "best" when every single room is acoustically different. Studios overcome many acoustical problems just from large cubic volume of their spaces (not something present in most audiophile listening spaces). Specific room layout, building materials, and treatment are very important for real studios however with audiophiles it's just a room or part of a room in their house used for listening. We see plenty of new guys here that jump feet first into the gear pool yet don't do the basics when it comes to basic room layout, proper speaker positioning, and acoustical treatment. From what I've seen in the audiophile world it's much worse.

Digital clocking . . . Unless the converter is the master there will be reclocking involved. There are very lengthy threads here on that one issue alone. First a stereo file must be used when evaluating all digital clocking (internal AND reclocking of external). When clocking is off the 3D timing cues we use to position a source in the sphere around our bodies get moved to an up front - in our face position. Some prefer that type of sound however it lends itself to the typical flat digital 2D image at the same time. So what may have been mixed/mastered with a great 3D image is now much flatter with some digital clocking. Use the search function to get up to speed on that.

Eventually there will be a Gearslutz blind converter shootout but the logistics are a nightmare. Using a good studio control room with a well controlled test with lots of converters, lots of testing, and live source(s) for comparison a few things would result. Being able to place a converter on a scale from transparent to colored. If colored which were the most perfered by the testers. The 3D imaging of the converter (relating back to it's internal clocking). This very needed info is presently absent for us studio guys but would be equally useful for audiophiles in that they could buy the same converters we deem "best" by blind choice. That should take some of the marketing factor out of it.

Bottom line . . . While many of us have done AB comparisons of converters or even been lucky enough to test a few at the same time we have yet as a comunity done a large scale apples to apples blind test. When that day comes we will truly advance what we know about converters. Speculation and marketing will have the major advantage until then.
Old 18th September 2012
  #86
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
What happened here??? This over-magnification of the minutia and closed-minded pompousness is precisely what gives audiophilia a bad name. If it's that difficult to illustrate an improvement than there simply isn't one -- so says the anti-audiophile, and who could blame him after reading the last few pages of this thread? There's a lot of hiding behind names, labels and procedures when it's entirely unnecessary. Just listen... Do you like what you hear? Great, then you're doing something right. Keep going until it's the best thing ever. All this attempting to "prove" that one component is better than another through graphs and silly tests, it's asinine. We're actually talking about tests which have nothing to do with the real world, created merely to compensate for poor auditory memory, somehow touted as relevant even though it entirely omits half of what makes a great amp great? Perhaps more than half. Honestly, it's hilarious and I wouldn't blame the average Joe for laughing at all this. I've watched so many audiophile threads spiral downward in exactly the same way. People dictating, creating insane overcomplicated tests which confuse the simple point of listening. The synergy created between components is entirely lost on half of this stuff and it's such a CRUCIAL element.

It was fun while it lasted. I wonder if the OP ever got his answer.

Someone had asked what components I've settled on. I mentioned it earlier but it's an Accuphase preamp, Krell and Pass Labs amps, Thiel speakers, Transparent Audio interconnects and speaker cables. 30 years of upgrading and I haven't changed any core components in a couple years when, prior to this, I was auditioning something new on a monthly basis. I miss the auditions but if I'm being honest with myself I don't expect to ever hear another improvement, not unless my taste - my idea of what's perfect - changes. That's sad because it's fun to hear something better and to incorporate it.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #87
Lives for gear
There's nothing assinine about it at all, and it has everything to do with the REAL world. If the subject under test calls both samples in this type of test the Lavry A/D converter 50% of the time, as an example, then obviously the subject is guessing, and really cannot decipher the differences. This happens all the time on a very well put-together scientific test, all while the subject swears up and down that he/she picked the Lavry 100% of the time. Just a coincidence? Sorry, it's not. If you can't hear it, you can't hear it. End of story. And this is not limited to low-end systems (one of many counter-arguments).

Of course, when the user is swayed by brand recognition, hype, price, color, texture, feel, etc., etc., then all of the sudden they can "magically" "hear" the differences. LOL
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #88
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elambo's Avatar
 
1 Review written
🎧 15 years
Quote:
Originally Posted by SoSueMe ➡️
There's nothing assinine about it at all, and it has everything to do with the REAL world.
I wasn't referring to your tests when mentioning the real world. Most of the rules you'd mentioned were designed for real-world listening, even if there were a helluva lot of them.

I agree that personal justification (paying for something then feeling the need to justify its cost by touting its greatness irrespective of any actual benefits) is a brutish and powerful force that drives many of these comments. It's difficult to exorcise, but it's certainly possible if you remove ego from the equation. Some will protect their pride at all costs, even when it disallows further benefit to themselves by removing the welcome mat of further improvement.
Old 18th September 2012 | Show parent
  #89
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr ➡️
The trouble with ALL converters as I see it:

No one has done a definitive blind test with LOTS of converters at the same time.
I'm working on a solution that will bring this closer to reality.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr ➡️
Blind testing against monitered live source would be the most revealing as to which AD - DA cycle comes closest (most transparent and therefore "Best").
That's fine assuming one converter actually does that better than another, and the listener could actually decipher this in a thorough scientific test.

From the converters I've tested so far (I've only tested a few so far but I own one low, one mid, and one high end unit), these differences have not been picked out by anyone. In other words, it's been shown that all subjects were guessing and could not tell the difference between the converters. Until the differences are actually heard, then testing against a "live" source is a waste of time. Plus, too many variables come into play when testing against live sources, which can easily flaw the results, which have been discussed in other threads.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr ➡️
Not all converters are transparent, some are specifically made to be colored. I suspect many audiophile converters are colored. When you add color to "enhance" it's the same thing as adding an EQ at the end of the chain, we know what happens when you add a Pultec EQ (the smile it puts on your face) but then why not just use a Pultec EQ if your intention is to "enhance" instead of listening to the source as it was mixed/mastered. "Enhancement" has become a standard proceedure for audiophile gear. Even cable can be used as an EQ.
I agree, but I need to get my hands on a colored converter to see if people are really hearing the differences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr ➡️
Audiophiles are notorius for spending vast amounts of money on gear and little or nothing on rooms. Bottom line is the sound you hear is the interaction between all the gear and the ROOM. Is it any wonder they are all over the map as to what sounds "best" when every single room is acoustically different. Studios overcome many acoustical problems just from large cubic volume of their spaces (not something present in most audiophile listening spaces). Specific room layout, building materials, and treatment are very important for real studios however with audiophiles it's just a room or part of a room in their house used for listening. We see plenty of new guys here that jump feet first into the gear pool yet don't do the basics when it comes to basic room layout, proper speaker positioning, and acoustical treatment. From what I've seen in the audiophile world it's much worse.
....which may contribute to not being able to hear differences, being that the environment may mask such minute differences.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr ➡️
Digital clocking . . . Unless the converter is the master there will be reclocking involved. There are very lengthy threads here on that one issue alone. First a stereo file must be used when evaluating all digital clocking (internal AND reclocking of external). When clocking is off the 3D timing cues we use to position a source in the sphere around our bodies get moved to an up front - in our face position. Some prefer that type of sound however it lends itself to the typical flat digital 2D image at the same time. So what may have been mixed/mastered with a great 3D image is now much flatter with some digital clocking. Use the search function to get up to speed on that.
None of this matters if you cannot decipher the differences in the resultant audio. If you can't hear it, you can't hear it.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Bassmankr ➡️
Eventually there will be a Gearslutz blind converter shootout but the logistics are a nightmare. Using a good studio control room with a well controlled test with lots of converters, lots of testing, and live source(s) for comparison a few things would result. Being able to place a converter on a scale from transparent to colored. If colored which were the most perfered by the testers. The 3D imaging of the converter (relating back to it's internal clocking). This very needed info is presently absent for us studio guys but would be equally useful for audiophiles in that they could buy the same converters we deem "best" by blind choice. That should take some of the marketing factor out of it.

Bottom line . . . While many of us have done AB comparisons of converters or even been lucky enough to test a few at the same time we have yet as a comunity done a large scale apples to apples blind test. When that day comes we will truly advance what we know about converters. Speculation and marketing will have the major advantage until then.
The solution I'm working on does all of this and much more, minus the live vs. converted comparisons. It takes into account potentially very large audiences and comparison types, tracking many details of varieties of systems, environments, and their users/listeners. It's also a "self-learning" research tool that does complex statistical analysis and compares different types of comparitive tests, tracking multiple trends, etc., continually updating itself.
Old 18th September 2012
  #90
Gear Nut
 
🎧 5 years
I remember the most incredible experience I have ever had listening to music was visiting a very very high-end audiophile store that had a pair of Usher BE-20's hooked up to a pair of massive 500w antique soundlabs tube monoblocks (these were the biggest amps I have ever seen). I can't remember the front-end/conversion, probably DCS or something but as soon as the piece came on (some club jazz piece I hadn't heard before) I could very nearly almost "taste" the piano in the room in which it was recorded the sound was so startlingly real. I could immediately almost feel the presence of the players in the group and simply being able to "sense" someone being in the same room that most definitely wasn't there was actually quite eerie and nearly unsettling. By the end of the song I was in total disbelief. I didn't know what to think.

It was the same moment when I realized just why people go so crazy over this stuff (audiophiles). When you hear a recorded piece that sounds so real that it literally is totally indistinguishable from actually being there in that same room except that you can open your eyes and very clearly see that there are no actual performers in the room it's actually exhilarating. The effect was very "drug-like" and I don't think I have any memory at all that I remember so clearly as listening to that one song.

If I could "mix" music in an environment like that... I can only imagine it would be like pure heaven.
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