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Thread: How to set amplifier input sensitivity.

  1. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Preamps don't generally color the sound.
    The quality of the components and the design of a preamp will effect the sound. Don't forget that pre-amps amplify the signal, and just like in a DAC that output stage matters.

    A friend of mine keeps telling me that I must try an audio research pre with my Krell because he's convinced it will improve the sound. If anyone wants to lend me one in London please PM me.
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-17-2019 at 20:42.

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    Would you say your Audio Research pre amp audibly colors the sound? What make and model is that? What kind of coloration is it? Frequency response, distortion, dynamics? The only way for a preamp to sound better than another is for one of them to be defective either by manufacture or design. There can't be anything that sounds better than audibly transparent. That is perfect by definition.

    I've done controlled listening tests on dozens of pieces of home audio equipment and I have yet to find any that aren't audibly transparent. I'd like to borrow a preamp that colors the sound for testing if you know of one that definitely does.

    EDIT: I looked up measurements on the Audio Research Reference 6 online and there is nothing there that should be anywhere close to being audible in normal use. Could your preamp be defective? Is it old?
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-17-2019 at 21:36.

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    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Would you say your Audio Research pre amp audibly colors the sound? What make and model is that? What kind of coloration is it? Frequency response, distortion, dynamics? The only way for a preamp to sound better than another is for one of them to be defective either by manufacture or design. There can't be anything that sounds better than audibly transparent. That is perfect by definition.

    I've done controlled listening tests on dozens of pieces of home audio equipment and I have yet to find any that aren't audibly transparent. I'd like to borrow a preamp that colors the sound for testing if you know of one that definitely does.

    EDIT: I looked up measurements on the Audio Research Reference 6 online and there is nothing there that should be anywhere close to being audible in normal use. Could your preamp be defective? Is it old?
    Sorry, bigshot, but your assertions that "a preamp is a preamp" just don't sound credible. What piece-of-crap preamp do you use? As an audio engineer, are you saying that there's no audible difference in a Peavey mixing board and a Neve console?

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    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Sorry, bigshot, but your assertions that "a preamp is a preamp" just don't sound credible. What piece-of-crap preamp do you use? As an audio engineer, are you saying that there's no audible difference in a Peavey mixing board and a Neve console?
    I think the point is that with modern technology it is easy to make a pre-amp which has vanishing levels of distortion. The output signal is indistinguishable from the input signal. (If you subtract the output from the input, you get zilch.) Unless the thing is broken or designed to willfully distort the signal it should be impossible to tell one high quality pre-amp from another.

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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Sorry, bigshot, but your assertions that "a preamp is a preamp" just don't sound credible. What piece-of-crap preamp do you use? As an audio engineer, are you saying that there's no audible difference in a Peavey mixing board and a Neve console?
    The difference between pro equipment and consumer equipment is that pro equipment is more flexible when it comes to mixing. Mic pres are super clean for a reason... In mixing you often have to apply heavy compression to vocals or apply broad level adjustments that could drag up the noise floor with it or employ complex signal processing filters that require headroom. Commercially recorded music on CDs is pre-balanced and normalized up to peak level, so you don't need an extreme range of flexibility like that. Everything is optimized to be transparent at line level, and transparent is as good as sound fidelity gets if you are listening with human ears. Dogs and bats might require more, but dogs and bats can buy their own stereos.

    Baron Scarpia is absolutely correct. The null test is a good way to test to see if what comes out is the same as what goes in.
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-18-2019 at 20:36.

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    Senior Member Larkenfield's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Baron Scarpia View Post
    I think the point is that with modern technology it is easy to make a pre-amp which has vanishing levels of distortion. The output signal is indistinguishable from the input signal. (If you subtract the output from the input, you get zilch.) Unless the thing is broken or designed to willfully distort the signal it should be impossible to tell one high quality pre-amp from another.
    Freedom from distortion is not necessarily equivalent to musicality of a piece of equipment, nor does everyone confine themselves to the digital world but include valve equipment. Sometimes one of the best movies one can make is to add the warmth of a valve preamp to a somewhat sterile digital amp. But those who depend only on specs may never consider it, and it’s their loss because the difference can be amazing in the overall musicality of the sound.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jun-18-2019 at 21:29.
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    Musicians produce musicality. Amplifiers have fidelity. High fidelity means that the sound quality meets the range of human hearing. What comes in is the same as what comes out. "A wire with gain." What you are talking about is euphonic coloration. That isn't high fidelity, that is signal processing. Distortion doesn't increase musicality. It can just blur the sound in a way that you might like. Some people like to wear purple sunglasses, other people prefer orange or green. It's fine to do that if it makes you happy. But as I've said before, it's better to apply signal processing through a DSP where you can fine tune the kind and amount of euphonic coloration, than it is to hard wire an arbitrary or random amount of distortion into the equipment's design.
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-18-2019 at 20:46.

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Musicians produce musicality. Amplifiers have fidelity. High fidelity means that the sound quality meets the range of human hearing. What comes in is the same as what comes out. "A wire with gain." What you are talking about is euphonic coloration. That isn't high fidelity, that is signal processing. Distortion doesn't increase musicality. It can just blur the sound in a way that you might like. Some people like to wear purple sunglasses, other people prefer orange or green. It's fine to do that if it makes you happy. But as I've said before, it's better to apply signal processing through a DSP where you can fine tune the kind and amount of euphonic coloration, than it is to hard wire an arbitrary or random amount of distortion into the equipment's design.
    Your idea of euphonic colorization. Oh, you mean in your way of thinking that a tuba sounds like a piano, and a piccolo sounds like a clarinet, and the bass sounds like a trombone? That’s your fearful and distorted idea of colorization and it’s false. Stop talking about the analog world that you have no understanding of. This may come as a shock to you, but some listeners do combine analog and digital equipment to great satisfaction and advantage. You have a problem with that? Of course you do. You’re on a mission. So, you see everything one-sided and talk about things that are beyond your understanding because they actually depend on actual hearing rather than reading specs. This may also come as a shock to you, but the reproduction of the musicality in an original performance does not sound the same on all equipment. If you have a problem with this, I’d be glad to take it up with the moderators on the continual disinformation you continue to dispense that is quite often a great disservice to listeners who are looking for better sound.
    Last edited by Larkenfield; Jun-18-2019 at 21:52.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Musicians produce musicality. Amplifiers have fidelity. High fidelity means that the sound quality meets the range of human hearing. What comes in is the same as what comes out. "A wire with gain." What you are talking about is euphonic coloration. That isn't high fidelity, that is signal processing. Distortion doesn't increase musicality. It can just blur the sound in a way that you might like. Some people like to wear purple sunglasses, other people prefer orange or green. It's fine to do that if it makes you happy. But as I've said before, it's better to apply signal processing through a DSP where you can fine tune the kind and amount of euphonic coloration, than it is to hard wire an arbitrary or random amount of distortion into the equipment's design.
    That's misleading; as usual, bigshot's "shotgun" criticisms tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater. It is common knowledge that even-number harmonics are more pleasing to the human ear than odd-order harmonics. That's because even-order harmonics occur naturally, in the harmonic series. There's even a signal processor called an Aphex Aural Exciter which creates even-harmonic distortion.

    https://youtu.be/zyB18qv6zjw


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    [QUOTE=Larkenfield;1657166....add the warmth of a valve preamp to a somewhat sterile digital amp.[/QUOTE]


    Sure. Add a load of even order harmonics and you get a warm fuzzy sound. Now you may like that sound, and that's just fine, but a pre that adds distortion is by no means HiFi

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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Musicians produce musicality. Amplifiers have fidelity. High fidelity means that the sound quality meets the range of human hearing. What comes in is the same as what comes out. "A wire with gain." What you are talking about is euphonic coloration. That isn't high fidelity, that is signal processing. Distortion doesn't increase musicality. It can just blur the sound in a way that you might like. Some people like to wear purple sunglasses, other people prefer orange or green. It's fine to do that if it makes you happy. But as I've said before, it's better to apply signal processing through a DSP where you can fine tune the kind and amount of euphonic coloration, than it is to hard wire an arbitrary or random amount of distortion into the equipment's design.
    One characteristic of not so good amps is that they tend to emphasise the most prominent sounds. So the small details of the recording effectively disappear. For me one of the most important negative consequences of this is the spacial cues in the recording get lost. For me this is important, at least as important as tone.

    But yes, reduced timbre could be, I guess, counteracted with DSP, though I would like to hear it to believe it. It seems a very odd way to go about thing, and I suspect a very unreliable way at best -- I mean why not just buy a class A amp, SS or valve?
    Last edited by Mandryka; Jun-18-2019 at 21:28.

  14. #27
    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    That's misleading; as usual, bigshot's "shotgun" criticisms tend to throw out the baby with the bathwater. It is common knowledge that even-number harmonics are more pleasing to the human ear than odd-order harmonics. That's because even-order harmonics occur naturally, in the harmonic series. There's even a signal processor called an Aphex Aural Exciter which creates even-harmonic distortion.
    My view is that the musical instrument should produce the even number harmonics that are pleasant to the ear and the microphone should capture them. The equipment should reproduce the harmonics that are produced by the instrument itself. That is the definition of high fidelity. I don't want an amplifier that adds even number harmonics to any signal that passes through it.
    Last edited by Baron Scarpia; Jun-18-2019 at 21:33.

  15. #28
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    One characteristic of not so good amps is that they tend to emphasise the most prominent sounds. So the small details of the recording effectively disappear. For me one of the most important negative consequences of this is the spacial cues in the recording get lost. For me this is important, at least as important as tone.

    But yes, reduced timbre could be, I guess, counteracted with DSP, though I would like to hear it to believe it. It seems a very odd way to go about thing, and I suspect a very unreliable way at best -- I mean why not just buy a class A amp, SS or valve?
    Losing detail would be a sign of noise or distortion, which would affect weaker components of the signal more than strong components of the signal. That is going to happen in your speaker, which probably has total distortion 1% or more, rather than in your pre-amp, which probably has distortion of 0.01%.

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    It will happen in the power amp if it’s class A/B. I don’t use preamps.

  17. #30
    Senior Member Baron Scarpia's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    I mean why not just buy a class A amp, SS or valve?
    Not everyone has such deep pockets.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mandryka View Post
    It will happen in the power amp if it’s class A/B. I don’t use preamps.
    If your amp has volume control it must have a pre-amp of some kind.

    The quality of sound is most dependent on the speakers, which have the job of converting an electrical signal into air-pressure. The second most important component is the power amplifier, which has to maintain control when driving speakers, which can be a strongly nonlinear, frequency dependent load.

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