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interesting article about "transistors vs tubes" in audio

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by unclejed613, Nov 28, 2011.

  1. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

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    For NigelGoodwin and Nsaspook, sure I'll agree with certain modern music that has a lot of extra-LF content the mono subwoofer is good enough.

    But for a lot of really nicely mastered classic rock (60's 70's 80's) it was considered good form to master the kick drum slightly to one side of centre and the bass guitar to the other side. With a proper stereo playback the effect is very nice and gives a very clear effect of the band in front of you with the drummer slightly to the side and the bass player slightly to th eother side. And there's little ELF content as it would have been rolled off to suit good stereo HiFi performance on system of the day. You can hear the position of the instruments quite well and it is the way it is meant to be performed, so you can really hear all band members in their places.

    Now if you listen to that music on a setup with a mono sub and no stereo woofers (or mono sub and reduced stereo LF as is common in sub setups) then the unfortunate result is the bass player and drummer are now mashed together right in the middle of the sound, and it gets murky and (to me) is quite a step backwards from a good stereo setup that has decent response stereo woofers.

    In my opinion (again) sub woofers are a theatre device, fantastic for movies etc and pretty cool fun for "doosh doosh doosh" dance parties, but I would never say they are the best system for general listening to stereo music. Maybe I need to confess to being a "purist" and should be buying oxygen-free 1gauge speaker cables over at the audiophile golden ear forums... ;)
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2011
  2. Nigel Goodwin

    Nigel Goodwin Super Moderator Most Helpful Member

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    It doesn't matter where you master it, the low frequencies still have no directional detail.

    With a single sub-woofer (hidden behind the sofa for example) the kick drum will still come from slightly to one side of centre (if that was where it was mastered), the directional information comes from the 'higher' frequencies, not from the sub-bass.
     
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  3. unclejed613

    unclejed613 Well-Known Member

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  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. nsaspook

    nsaspook Well-Known Member

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    I sell "extra-pure" snake oil and cable lifters, so if you ever do go to the "golden side" I can help you. Stereo bass works pretty well in smaller rooms with one sweet spot for the listener with the limited low frequency dynamic range and the limits on mixing on vinyl recording (the vinyl tailored masters were used on almost all recorded media during that era (before CD)).
    Low bass tracks (about 200hz and below) are blended to mono before cutting masters.
    http://www.customrecords.com/prepare_music_for_vinyl_record.html

    I grew up on records, tube amps and big speakers so I love that mellow sound but the remastered recordings from the original studio tapes on modern high-def media and equipment is closer to the true sound.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  6. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    nsaspook, at what frequency are you calling bass that can be stereo differentiated via human hearing? You said 'low bass' is 200hz, what's 'high bass' and where does it stop being bass and become mid? Stereo separation at 400hz is going to be borderline at best and again best only in headphones.

    Once you get to this point of trying to reproduce a stage performance there is only one possible solution... Be at the stage during the performance. There is so much more aural information in a live performance that it can never truly be exactly duplicated because it requires a unique experience, recordings can only reproduce a single experience and it isn't original to the self so it's dull in comparison to a live performance (under well engineered audio conditions)

    I think that this desire to achieve this 'pure experience' in audio is nothing more than a psychological feature of people with strong acoustic/emotional memory trying to reproduce the moment where they emotionally experienced something they heard, probably not even relating to the audio itself, simple psychological and mental states.

    It really is all in your head.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  7. KeepItSimpleStupid

    KeepItSimpleStupid Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    The above is an extremely powerful statement. There might be some truth in it.
     
  8. DJDAudio

    DJDAudio New Member

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    As per the ' sub woofer' argument, For my home setup, I do like to 'experience' my music, I am running a system capable of 5,740Watts RMS, it has (2) Dedicated 20amp 120 Circuits installed for the 6 Rack mount amplifiers. ( Yes I know at sustained peak it would trip the breakers.. Already been there haha )
    I was not happy with the classic '.1' Sub channel setup, so I took my front Left and Right channels and actively crossed them to create a Left and right Mid bass channels that I am running 12's behind my screen with and JBL control series for the highs.
    My low end has (2) 15's that run in mono, with a summation of all the low frequency from both channels. I do run 10 channels of audio for 'the movie experience' But do prefer my classic 'Stereo' for most Music listening.

    Now I said all of that to say, the normal home theater method of rolling off the audio that is below 'directional' level works on paper, but at excessive volume levels the 'sound waves' hit you at set directions. without the Mid-Bass I could tell where my sub was in the room ever so slightly by the way it 'felt' not heard.

    Again all this comes down to each persons experience, and everyone will have there own, but for my room and music choice I found I needed (2) levels of separation before I could drop to a 'mono' sub channel.

    In the OmniMax Theater I service They have the (8) 18" Subs mounted centered in the sound stage directly facing the listener. the room is effectively 'dead' as in the walls are fully sound deadened and during the shuttle launch the full 15,000 Watts of sound waves hit you, and you can 'feel' where the sub is, even with your ears covered. A very cool experience. I will have to find pictures of the Sub, you can walk in the front port!
     
  9. Sceadwian

    Sceadwian Banned

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    DJDAudio, could you please explain how that much wattage has anything to do with 'experience' of music aside from sound pressure levels that will deafen you and possible damage internal organs?

    The most incredible audio I've heard is from 1-5 watts systems in a quiet environment. If you want to blast the world away at expense of long term hearing by all means, but don't ever define that as a 'pure' audio experience! That's like saying smashing your finger with a hammer is a life changing experience because it takes the focus off of the stubbed toe that is rotting. Louder is not better, fidelity is not power. Reproduction is a simple thing, and so massively misunderstood that I believe the definition of a modern audiophile has faded from even the possibility of public discussion.
     
  10. DJDAudio

    DJDAudio New Member

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    I probably should explain myself better always had bad low frequency hearing. hardly ever run my system any where near its max potential I do believe in o verkill 4 to run a amp nowhere near its limits its output is much cleaner. Not to mention I can't possibly afford speakers or amplifiers anywhere near the efficiency needed to enjoy music at
    1 or 2 watts. Nor the space required for said speaker enclosures. Like I said to each there own. I have to feel most of my low frequency for I can not hear it as well as most. :) and before you blame it on loud music I have had the problem since I was very young.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  11. DJDAudio

    DJDAudio New Member

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    An interesting point of conversation, IMAX has a whole department of sound engineers, formally Sonics we recently had a crew come in to 'tune' our system for the new Dark night rising film. They use a 15,000 Watt sound system to as best they can 'faithfully' reproduce the original audio.

    One problem with audio is Air has mass, and the more air you have to move the more energy it has to take to move it, very high efficiency speaker systems rely on horn loading that effectively allow the sound to slowly accelerate the air molecules in a controlled fashion, like merging into traffic, where as brute force crashing your car into a wall are most normal sealed enclosure speaker systems. I found the high efficient speakers tend to lack the 'quickness' or the 'punch' that direct coupled speaker do. But at a cost for they need much more power to accomplish the same task, and allot of 'fidelity' is lost at the speaker to 'wall of air' coupling point. ( like a crumple zone in a car )

    Our old theater was entirely Tube driven. And from what some of the older Sound techs of told me they can not distinguish a difference between the theaters. Even with the same old 6 channel reel to reel audio player ( sadly that we still have in use haha ) For it sounds better then our DA88 could on a good day.

    Sonics even designed there own amps and entire room acoustics to make the sound as best as possible, and to this day I still say after a fresh tune, the sound quality ( for a 4 story tall theater ) is still amazing.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  12. nsaspook

    nsaspook Well-Known Member

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    It wasn't a statement about what you can hear, just the fact there is little if any 200hz and below stereo bass mix in classic vinyl mastered recording to hear because of the required mono mix to make a playable record. What the stereo differentiated frequency is varies by person and how much training that person has in detecting slight signal changes. I've worked with some old school military techs who could heard audio clues the computers would totally miss. My hearing is shot from too many years as a young Navy tech monitoring signals with headphones and noisy helicopter flights so I'm not a golden ears searching for pure sound but I do love live performances and take the kids to local acts whenever possible.

    I set my bass management crossover at 100hz 24db slope on the receiver (10inch woofers in the front LR speakers) then process that using a Behringer DSP1124P Parametric Equalizer to create two channels. One EQ channel goes to a Pro 1kW amp feeding 4 separate 12inch subs, the other EQ channel is used as a 40hz low-pass signal to a Behringer A500 amp powering a riser tactile transducer platform. (for movie LFE channel effects not music)
    http://www.behringer.com/EN/Products/DSP1124P.aspx
    http://myplace.frontier.com/~zoneminder/sitebuildercontent/sitebuilderpictures/p1060244.jpg
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2011
  13. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

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    That's definitely a part of it. I've done time in two commercial recording studios, working on friends music and my own, and for years owned a pretty decent home recording setup, although now I just have a stripped down hoe studio with digital 16 track. I've used good studio headphones, been in on some mastering and of course used good studio monitors (flat freq response stereo speakers).

    With a good stereo setup you can hear clear placements for kick drums and bass guitar, bass synth etc. And when you later play it on a friends setup with mono subwoofer it mashes and muddies part of the bass.

    Someone who has stereo front speakers with 12inch drivers capable of good bass, and who also has their sub turned down to only use the ELF can minimise the problem and still get some decent stereo performance.

    But most modern systems that come complete with subs (with pissant little front speakers etc) produce a horrible muddy mashed bass experience. Gee I'm starting to sound like Audioguru. ;)
     
  14. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    I have been a Bose basher for many years. The "subwoofer" in the very expensive stereos is only 5.25 inches in diameter! It produces no sounds below 100Hz and booms like a bongo drum up to about 250Hz where the tiny mid-tweeters begin.
     
  15. nsaspook

    nsaspook Well-Known Member

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    I had a co-worker bragging about his new Bose system the wife got for Christmas years ago. A few of us started chanting "No highs? No Lows? Must be Bose." near his cube. The poor guy, $3500 for a fancy boom-box.
     
  16. audioguru

    audioguru Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Bose made a compact but powerful speaker many years ago. It had 1 little speaker facing forward and 8 other little speakers all around. I think the speakers were only 4.5 inches in diameter.
    The speaker produced no bass and no treble so it came with an equalizer that boosted the lows and highs and its response curve looked like a happy face.
    I don't like the sound of a speaker that has its high frequencies modulated by its low frequencies. Separate tweeter and woofer sound much better.
     

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  17. unclejed613

    unclejed613 Well-Known Member

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    back in the 70's when Tom Holman was designing the APT-1 amplifier, one of the sound tests he used was a simple pair of scissors. the sound scissors make when being squeezed shut has a very low average power, but a very high power spike when they snap closed. of several amplifiers he tested, each rated at 100W, the compression from power limiting made "sssssnip" sound like "sssssnik". the average power was less than a watt, but the spike at the end drove the amplifiers into severe clipping. He found that a 200W amp would reproduce the sound correctly with the level adjusted to produce the same average power. when he designed his amp it had a lot of dynamic headroom (it could reproduce short bursts of 200W audio, but the amp's long-term power was 100W). so basically what he found was, that to reproduce audio accurately, the amp should be capable of short bursts of high power beyond the amp's rated power. the same thing applies to a theater. the normal output power during movies may be a few watts, but for realistic sound should be capable of hundreds of watts in short bursts.
     
  18. nsaspook

    nsaspook Well-Known Member

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    [​IMG]

    Spock, this amp sounds like crap!
     
  19. gabeNC

    gabeNC Member

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    very nice!
     

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