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A good article about the human ear and tubes


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140 replies to this topic

#1 of 141 Yogi

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Posted September 12 2003 - 02:00 AM

http://www.herronaud...m/tastubes.html

A good discussion about the pros and cons of tube sound.
The truth is not out there but within you.

#2 of 141 Chu Gai

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Posted September 12 2003 - 03:26 AM

think it's accurate?

#3 of 141 Yogi

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Posted September 12 2003 - 03:38 AM

I think its pretty accurate since the general tone is not favouring tubes like the other articles do. The Miller effect seems to explain why every tube has a different tone.

Why are you such a skeptic, Chu when it comes to tubes?Posted Image
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#4 of 141 Brian tj

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Posted September 13 2003 - 12:21 AM

Hi to all
Yogi thanks! Looks like good reading. No time now but I saved it so later.
Thanks for solid state & tube reply weeks agoPosted Image You where right the B&K sounds grate with tubesPosted Image Posted Image sorry Chu did not take your advice, the Audio Experience concerto, tube Phono eq-preamp was easy and offordabul.
Chu you are very smart but I am afraid you are trapped by ############ and think you need to get out and just listen some times!
No time now I am off to a vinal swap meat see you all later we need more tack on tubes on this list.
Yogi keep up the good work and thanks.
Brian tj

#5 of 141 Jack Gilvey

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Posted September 13 2003 - 12:36 AM

Quote:
The worst thing an audio engineer can do is to assume that he or she knows much about the nature of human hearing. After all, the engineer who designed our hearing knows a few things we never will.

Perceptive.
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#6 of 141 David_Stein

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Posted September 13 2003 - 03:01 AM

if there are two things that make me just a bit skeptical when reading an article on amplifier sound its:
1) making mention of tubes being favored in guitar/bass amps (since theres quite a difference between sound production vs. reproduction)
2) alluding to spiritual/religious entities. or anything non-scientific for that matter.

#7 of 141 Yogi

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Posted September 13 2003 - 08:35 AM

Quote:
alluding to spiritual/religious entities. or anything non-scientific for that matter.


That would make all 'amplifier' articles bogus. I have yet to read an article that discusses theory and experiments inside out (like a doctoral thesis, hell even those have certain subjective terms in them) without any reference to non-scientific subjective phenomenon. So I don't know what would make a valid article.
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#8 of 141 Brett DiMichele

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Posted September 13 2003 - 09:58 AM

All I know is when I fire up my tubes I can curl up on the
floor beside them and bask in thier warm orange and blue
euphonic glow and roast marshmallows too! Try that with an
S.S Amp (okay sure a 200 Watt Class A S.S Beast will fry
eggs but it won't bask you in that glow!!!)

Posted Image
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#9 of 141 Brett DiMichele

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Posted September 13 2003 - 09:59 AM

Hahahaha! I just realized I said A S.S Posted Image
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#10 of 141 Chu Gai

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Posted September 13 2003 - 12:23 PM

Quote:
Why are you such a skeptic, Chu when it comes to tubes?

Well you'll have to be a heck of a lot more specific Yogi. I'm pretty sure the majority of my comments regarding tubes and the 'tube sound' have been pretty much accurate when it comes to describing the phenomena that occur. I think in the vast majority of my responses that dealt with this topic focussed on matters such as...

1) high output impedance and therefore interactions with the impedance curve of loudspeakers to create non-flat frequency repsonse curves with musical material
2) generally the absence of feedback which depending upon the type of tube can exascerbate #1 above.
3) non-linear distortion which can generate harmonics..odd as well as even
4) loosely regulated power supplies
5) frequency dependant output impdedances

You could, if you wanted to, verify #1 by simply running test tones at various frequencies and measureing the voltages at the speaker inputs. Seeing as you may very well have your solid state amp, you could repeat the same test and compare your results and draw your own independent conclusions.
Now those aren't make believe things but Yogi, my friend, you use the word skeptic as if somehow that is the most awful thing in the world. I've never denied your, or anyone elses right to their prefernces. But in the context of what I typed above, you have the opportunity to verify the phenomena or you can choose the path of belief.

Philosophically, I feel it is the job for the amplification equipment/playback equipment to take what's on the medium and transfer it faithfully to the speakers. I personally consider an amp that doesn't do that as not meeting my criteria for the term high fideltiy. Fidelity is honesty and I consider a device that imparts an intentional veil or coloration to the music to be unacceptable. It is by definition not neutral. Now you might say that speakers are also imperfect devices. Well that's true. I just don't see the sense in exascerbating the situation.

As far as clipping may go, there's no guarantee that all tube amps have even order harmonics just as there's none that a solid state amp will have only odd order ones. My take is that it's a non-issue if the harmonics are inaudible and if one compares a tube amp to a comparably priced solid state one, that tube will clip long long before the solid state one does. To my mind, there's something to be said for economics and a good engineer will do the job for a buck where the rest of us do it for $10 or $20. Something to be said for simply cutting the Gordion knot, no? Tubes get a bigger pass from reviewers. If a solid state amp behaved in a similar fashion it may well get the StereoPhile kiss of death. Especially if it's name is Onkyo or Yamaha!

Yes it is true tubes can make things sound nice, pleasant, musical, whatever you want to call it. The problem, for me, is that it does that to everything. Now if some of the stuff you listen to sounds less harsh on the tubes then maybe, just maybe, it was either intended to sound harsher in the first place or maybe it's just a crappy recording. It's certainly your perogative to alter that. Myself, I like having control over such matters and I abhor having an amp that does it for me whether I want to or not. Please accept my apologies if I don't want that applied to everything I listen to.


Brian tj...I'm a little amazed at your comments to myself. If you recall, you asked about a very specific item. A certain phono amp if I recall. Not one of my comments indicated you should not buy a tube based phono preamp. Rather they dealt with quite factual matters...issues of product support, warranty, fit and finish, questions regarding FCC certification, etc. I urged that you investigate the matter before making a purchase. I do apolgize if I had an excessive amount of respect for you money. If you're reading this, can you tell me if the unit you bought has a sticker that said it meets FCC requirements?

Quote:
The worst thing an audio engineer can do is to assume that he or she knows much about the nature of human hearing. After all, the engineer who designed our hearing knows a few things we never will.
Why anyone would think that an audio engineer knows much if anything about the nature of human hearing is beyond me. A first semester smattering of courses in human hearing/psychoacoustics just might stop some of this nonsense and propogation about what can and can't be heard or audibly discerned.

As to whether the Miller Effect is what's responsible for tube sounds, it might be more appropriate to say it tends to be more of an issue with tubes than solid state. However, if you examine the net effects in that numbered list above it becomes to me at least irrelevent over what's causing the observed phenomena. But observed they are and one could, if they wanted to, model the performance characteristics of a tube amp with something like a 1/3 octave equalizer and a solid state amp.

If you were to walk into someone's home and saw that their equalizer was set something like this picture...
Posted Image
you might say, damn kids playing with the equalizer...sheesh! However if I were to tell you that's what a particular tube amp's frequency response is with a particular speaker load, explain to me why the response would probably...mmmmmmm...liquid midrage Posted Image?

However, let's look at one of the paragraphs in the linked article you provided.
Quote:
We found that a 3-millibel variation in the frequency response curve can change a listener's perception of the unit. This could explain the audible improvements often associated with wide bandwidth in audio equipment. A loss of frequency response in terms of decibels at 100kHz will mean, in most cases, a drop in frequency response of several millibels at 10kHz - a perceptible change. Many of the colorations (sonic variations) heard in audio equipment will correlate with frequency response variations. It is somewhat surprising that one can consistently hear such small differences between electronic components when the listening is done with speakers that vary in response by several decibels.
Indeed, our ears are quite sensitive to level differences and when those correspond to significantly altered FR's, then yes, it can be audible. However, given that our hearing is most sensitive in the 1-4 kHz range and that it takes a level difference of about 0.2 dB or 200 millibels, and that's using test tones with headphones, then it is with a very skeptical eye that I look at his claim of 3 millibels or 0.003dB as being detectable. My skeptical eye begins to roll when this claim is further taken to be audible at around 10 kHz.

I don't deny preferences gentlemen. And while many may look at tubes as providing a warm, encompassing, romantic sound, my read on this is we're dealing with some FR abberations coupled with some audible harmonic distortion with maybe a little tiny bit of microphonics tossed in. The former is what you'll read in TAS or other audio publication. The latter is what's happening. Magic it ain't.

#11 of 141 LanceJ

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Posted September 13 2003 - 01:00 PM

My only post on this:

We don't know everything about human hearing, but we do know some things. Just because we don't know 100% Of Everything In The Universe doesn't mean certain theories & concepts are not correct.

Using irrelevant voids in technical knowledge to "prove" a product works is disturbing to me.

LJ

#12 of 141 Brian tj

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Posted September 13 2003 - 11:25 PM

Hi all
YOU pepepol and your ###########If this is true all speakers and amps with the same tec sheet or ### sound the same???????????????this includes BOOOOSSSSSS I THINK not.
And I am sorry 12 awg BX DOS not make good speaker cabalPosted Image and for the record I have booth TUBES and SS. and they sound goooooDDDDDPosted Image Posted Image
Sorry I wet off NO you cant believe all you read but you can believe all you hear or can you??Posted Image b
But the read thing gos for #### to!!! You must listen and learn.
Brian tj

#13 of 141 Brian tj

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Posted September 14 2003 - 12:29 AM

HI all Chu the mane ?? was Tubes and ss and yes I ges I did ask for your $0.02 but I got 2.50 and the ?? waes lost at that point the thread went off on slamming the that preamp and did not offer any other choses do not have time to debate all the little?? fit ?? a screw did not fit just right,The ground is always a concern and by the way I did not have to connect the earth ground it works just fine no noise. Chu you seem like a nice guy but you come on to ?? strong Your posts are so long and yes some good info but but tow much by the end the point was lost. point was tubes and soiled state now I feel you do not like tube and think you wear prejudice in your response. Posted Image and yes I have the knead for two of the EQ settings and they sound goooodPosted Image and wen you get sooooo concerned for my mony agin you mis the ??? Tubes and SS not my moneyPosted Image one more thing I never looked for FCC stamp don't care but will go look for you No stamp I also looked at my marantz dv 8300 see no stamp on that ether but it dose worn of radiation. and I did see one screw with out a lock washer owell Posted Image Should I call Marantz about the washer??Posted Image Posted Image
Brian tj

#14 of 141 RichardHOS

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Posted September 14 2003 - 07:13 AM

My IQ just dropped four points.

Posted Image

#15 of 141 Chu Gai

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Posted September 14 2003 - 07:49 AM

You're right Brian, I should've taken the positive reports of the tube preamp and said it sounded like a fantastic deal and left it at that. It was also gauche of me to point out a factual error that's not corroborated by careful research in audibility. Fuzzy math lives I tell you Posted Image

#16 of 141 Brian tj

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Posted September 14 2003 - 11:40 PM

HI all Richard sorry for the brain drain!!
Chu I read all the ?? you read and saw no help, good or bad for that preamp. Thats y I posted hear looking for others that have mixed tubes and ss. I read hear some one ? your schooling bolder dash, I would rather hear what you lectin to and on what. Do you do any testing out of the norm ##? ex 4awg speaker cable, mix tubes and ss and so on. ARE WE talking from experience?
Wish I was better at this spelling, putting thoughts on paper and typing!Posted Image
Your last post is their a happy medium????Posted Image
Brian tj

#17 of 141 Yogi

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Posted September 15 2003 - 02:08 AM

Chu, that comment was only a funny remark so please dont take it seriously. I apologize if it didn't come out the way it was intended to.

I agree to all the points that you made except perhaps #4 which I think is not true in the context of modern day tube amps. Also even though I agree with #2 I welcome the use of minimal global feedback as I am not particularly fond of the accentuated 'siblance' as I listen to a lot of vocals and my tube amp certainly excels in this area compared to my more expensive SS amp.

Also when the author says that in listening tests they had verified that a 3mb difference is audible, I take his word for it assuming that he did do some testing to claim that, just as many of us here just believe the results of DBT without having verified it ourselves. For example I have never seen any DBT article do any kind of statistical hypothesis testing or presented any statistical data and yet many of us here live and die by them. So in every article there has to be trust beyond a certain level. After all every article cant be a Ph.D. dissertation and even in those we assume certain things to be true without asking for a proof.

Quote:
My IQ just dropped four points.

Richard, so it must be zero nowPosted Image JK.

Do you have any scientific evidence that a person could drop IQ by reading something? If not would you call me a gauche for pointing out a factual error that's not corroborated by careful research in IQ testing? (sorry Chu I took your words but they do sound kind of nice) How can you make such un substantiated claims without any hard scientific evidencePosted Image. What gives Richard.Posted Image
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#18 of 141 RichardHOS

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Posted September 15 2003 - 02:18 AM

I am product all evidince now you with test, sure cah subjectivt expiriment make need claim,,

#19 of 141 RichardHOS

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Posted September 15 2003 - 02:23 AM

Quote:
Also when the author says that in listening tests they had verified that a 3mb difference is audible, I take his word for it assuming that he did do some testing to claim that, just as many of us here just believe the results of DBT without having verified it ourselves. For example I have never seen any DBT article do any kind of statistical hypothesis testing or presented any statistical data and yet many of us here live and die by them. So in every article there has to be trust beyond a certain level.

It's important to note when an article makes claims that are in line with previous observations, and when it makes claims that are so drastically different form previous observations. The first tends to strengthen the validity of that particular observation, adding its corroboration to the group... the latter deserves skepticism and further testing to explain the vast differences in observation.

Not that new things aren't seen or heard, but to just accept revolutionary results without any serious attempt at confirmation is naieve.

#20 of 141 Yogi

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Posted September 15 2003 - 03:04 AM

Richard, but you do accept the results of tests (without any statistical data) that go against decades of experience. Have you ever seen any data for the observations that you site. Show me the data?
Posted Image

Or on second thoughts forget about the data. I dont want this thread to deteriorate into an obj vs subj thread. Already enough of those garbage threads from time to time. I just posted something that I thought was interesting reading for someone interested to know more about tubes. I am not looking for a debate about tubes vs SS. Perhaps in the future I should make that clear in the orignal post.

Cheers.
The truth is not out there but within you.


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