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Where do you stand on accuracy vs euphonics wrt amplification

Wharfedale Evo 4.2

spaace

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Both do sound "scientific" and perhaps even "objective" but both falter on the same question: how do we know the reproduction is close or far from the original? Do we know the original (even the one on the recording) actually sounds?
I had a brief class in college that dealt with the exactly the question you posed ...


Belive me thats a rabbit hole you dont want to go into.

For this discussions lets assume that

"You cant rerecord the performance and therefore this is the only source you have."

The only practical question at hand is if the subjective effects can be attributed to the measurements we have ....

Since there are no amplifiers that are *rated* (not described), wrt depth or other euphonics, i guess there are no reliable measures of those.

I wonder why warm cant be measured though ...that is now understood as caused by the tube distortion and iam sure the quantity of that can be measured.

In any case, i do understand from the responses here that there are folks who extremely care and believe they can distinguish the euphonic qualities arising from amplification alone. Therefore for these folks these measurements are immaterial unless those euphonics can be demonstrably achieved.

I get it. Thank you. That was the question i had asked. I guess its been answered.
 

arj

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To put things to perspective, Looking at an amp to be accurate is analysing a small part of the picture of accuracy since the Room, the room to speaker interaction and the speaker to amp interaction have a far more an important impact than the amp itself but finally its the source equipment that has the single largest impact on Accuracy.

In terms of equipment the order of accuracy would be Source>Speaker>Amp

Additionally amp-speaker interaction is far more complex than specs will suggest.
 
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spaace

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I have been talking to benchmark team themselves about abh2. I posed the same qn to them and here is their response ...

Qn.Are subjective qualities(soundstage depth and width, separation etc, which do not require polluting the base signal eg for warmth of tube) a direct result of a better measuring amp ?"

Annswer : Not so. The measurements are extremely important. If the measurements that we deem important are outstanding (as the AHB2’s are), these subjective qualities of soundstage depth, width, black background, etc. will be present. This would be transparent to the music file. Gear that doesn’t necessarily measure well can give a false sense of spaciousness that isn’t transparent to the original file. I hope that helps some.
 

arj

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I wonder why warm cant be measured though ...that is now understood as caused by the tube distortion and iam sure the quantity of that can be measured.
I think it can be as a sound is Warm when there is a lower emphasis on high frequency and higher 2nd/4th harmonics in the midrange. if the emphasis on high frequency is stll lower then the sound can get euphonic and if the mid range harmonics have a high THD then it starts getting golden to muddy.
 

spaace

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The response benchmark team gave me about god measurements resilting in dark background, does evoke a memory ...

When i was auditioning for speakers one audition that i particularly liked was a system which had psb imagine t2 and nad 375. I liked the dark background a lot in that setup.

Recently i came across a review in asr forum of nad 325 which seemed to have good measurements. At the time of auditioning i had attributed it to psb highs being intentionally voiced low as shown by their speakers measurements.

Now iam left wondering how much of a role NAD had to play in it.
 

raghupb

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The response benchmark team gave me about god measurements resilting in dark background, does evoke a memory ...

When i was auditioning for speakers one audition that i particularly liked was a system which had psb imagine t2 and nad 375. I liked the dark background a lot in that setup.

Recently i came across a review in asr forum of nad 325 which seemed to have good measurements. At the time of auditioning i had attributed it to psb highs being intentionally voiced low as shown by their speakers measurements.

Now iam left wondering how much of a role NAD had to play in it.
Isn't darker background related to noise floor?
If I understand the concept behind it, lower noise floor gets you higher SNR.
Not the other around as implied by the highlighted statement.

You also need to find out how an amp will perform when pushed beyond it's comfort zone.
Say, when wild impedance swings are present or speakers are not particularly sensitive.
Impedance dips are content specific, the nasties show themselves in music with lots of bass/sub-bass.
But not necessarily though. Since these are transients, the amp should be able to supply enough current.
I would assume Benchmark, NAD, etc can do all this, resulting in a capable piece of gear.

The speaker behavior on various amps will be different, even though the amps' measurement is in the same ballpark.
Some pair ups sound bright, some "neutral", some warm ...
Some may allow us to perceive depth, width, separation, some may not so much.
I think this is where the designer chooses to add a bit of deviation.

After all of this system matching, measurements or otherwise, your room comes into play.
Those first reflections from side walls and the rear port reflections need to be tackled.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

sandeepss

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All of that sounds measurable if you ask me.
Sorry if this sounds dumb :) How will you measure the 2nd order harmonics that arj mentioned? Unlike line frequency of 50Hz which is fixed, in music frequency keeps varying over a range

the mid range harmonics have a high THD then it starts getting golden to muddy.
I read somewhere (forgot the source :) ) that humans normally can't detect a THD less than 1%. But here too, measuring THD at a particular frequency won't help either.
 

jls001

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Isn't darker background related to noise floor?
Yes.

It's the cumulative noise floor that matters. Of the electronics, the AC supply (cleaned up supply as well as grounding boxes), and most critically the room. All these directly translates to increased detail retrieval.
 

prem

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The challenge is to get the balance right. All frequencies should sound balanced. For example, by cleaning the power supply, certain frequencies may open up but the balance can go. How to get the balance back then becomes the huge challenge. Understanding that is very critical to get a musical sound.
 

jls001

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Sorry if this sounds dumb :) How will you measure the 2nd order harmonics that arj mentioned?
The standard protocol is to inject a 1 kHz test tone into the device being measured and measure the primary frequency (1 kHz), second, third, etc harmonic frequencies. One does not measure a music signal but a standard, known (level as well as freq) test tone.
 

sandeepss

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The standard protocol is to inject a 1 kHz test tone into the device being measured and measure the primary frequency (1 kHz), second, third, etc harmonic frequencies. One does not measure a music signal but a standard, known (level as well as freq) test tone.
Thanks J, agree. Since the OP mentioned that 2nd/4th order harmonics can be measured across the mid range (as in arj's post), I had this query.
 

raghupb

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Yes.

It's the cumulative noise floor that matters. Of the electronics, the AC supply (cleaned up supply as well as grounding boxes), and most critically the room. All these directly translates to increased detail retrieval.
True. Many FMs who have visited say my home being very quiet :)
Very little street (ambient) noise comes in.

Really don't know about how clean the power supply is. Scared to go down this rabbit hole.
I blindly trust the wall socket and the design integrity of individual component power supplies.

Cheers,
Raghu
 

Mi_10

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The challenge is to get the balance right. All frequencies should sound balanced. For example, by cleaning the power supply, certain frequencies may open up but the balance can go. How to get the balance back then becomes the huge challenge. Understanding that is very critical to get a musical sound.
The Human ear (an average one at that) is by itself sensitive to varying degrees for different freq ranges. If All Frequencies are theoretically balanced, it will not sound great to an average human ear.

There is another theory in Evolution which states that because we are hearing human voices all through our sensory growth period (0-8 years), our ears always display highest sensitivity to human voice (Which is roughly between 350 Hz - 5 Khz) . And this why most of us early on like the V-shaped EQ curve which is actually offsets and makes it a balanced one for an average human ear
 

prem

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Mi_10, when I say balanced, I am not referring to any measurements. It’s subjective. What is balanced to me may not be balanced to you. Which is why masterings of Japanese, European and American CDs of the same album sounds different. Japanese masterings will always be hotter. European will be more laid back. What I was trying to say was if you have dialled in a sound you like, which to your ears sound balanced, cleaning up the power would upset this balance and you will have to do a few more adjustments to get the balance back.
 

Mi_10

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Mi_10, when I say balanced, I am not referring to any measurements. It’s subjective. What is balanced to me may not be balanced to you. Which is why masterings of Japanese, European and American CDs of the same album sounds different. Japanese masterings will always be hotter. European will be more laid back. What I was trying to say was if you have dialled in a sound you like, which to your ears sound balanced, cleaning up the power would upset this balance and you will have to do a few more adjustments to get the balance back.
Ah got it, i got carried away into different area with the sentence, 'all frequencies should sound balanced'

I get you now sir
 

square_wave

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Annswer : these subjective qualities of soundstage depth, width, black background, etc. will be present. This would be transparent to the music file. Gear that doesn’t necessarily measure well can give a false sense of spaciousness that isn’t transparent to the original file. I hope that helps some.
I am sure the amplifier will definitely exhibit those qualities. But, almost all well designed amplifiers should exhibit those qualities in the right kind of system. I have heard vintage amps like Krell, Forte, Threshold or Tube amps doing that in the right kind of system.

I have also heard newer and better measuring amps fare worse in the wrong systems.

Almost always there is a focussed audiophile who have explored synergy and setup ( at all fronts ) behind the better systems.
 

arj

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All of that sounds measurable if you ask me.
Measurable, May be
But is it being measured and published to compare and evaluate is the real issue.
Even if you do get it it still will only convey one dimension as then you have the impedance and phase curves and other frequency and time dimensions.
 

Enkay78

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Now I wonder do we Indians ever done a double blind tests of any of the audiophile gears.....would be interesting.


A double blind tests of not only the experrienced listeners but also of any common consumers.

*Though I won't be surprised of there is none*
 

square_wave

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Now I wonder do we Indians ever done a double blind tests of any of the audiophile gears.....would be interesting.

A double blind tests of not only the experrienced listeners but also of any common consumers.

*Though I won't be surprised of there is none*
I can turn this around :)

Lets say you own a top of the line, super resolving loudspeaker and a good listening room ( acoustics wise ).

You are given 2 options.

1. Choose gear and cables via exploration ( money no object )
2. Choose gear and cables that are at the boundary line in double blind tests. Meaning, these are gear and cables beyond which typical test subjects cannot hear differences in double blind tests but are technically compatible. Usual suspects are 200 $ dacs, random electric wire etc.

If double blind test is the only validation criteria, experienced audiophiles or sound engineers should not prefer the results of option 1 consistently. But they almost always do.
 
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