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Thread: Class A vs Class AB amplifiers

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    Quote Originally Posted by Larkenfield View Post
    Advice found online to someone who'd just bought a new Denon AV receiver and it sounded 'empty' to him.
    I'd be happy to offer advice... Enter the settings for room and speaker sizes carefully. Use the automatic room correction feature of your amp. When it's done coming up with a response curve, save that setting out as a preset, and then start listening to many different kinds of recordings, experimenting with small corrections using the built in parametric equalizer. Work on figuring out what kind of sound the numbers represent. As you do this, you will be refining what you are looking for in the sound of your system and you'll be incrementally approaching your goal. When you finally arrive at a curve you think is perfect, save it as the default and enjoy.

    Hint: "Warmth" is a slow roll off of about -6dB at the high end starting at about 8 to 10kHz, and perhaps a mid bass boost of +3dB to compensate for the lack of sub bass in your speakers. Adding a rug to the floor if you have hardwood floors will help with that too.

    No one is arguing that you can't have colored sound. Just start from clean and balanced and add coloration through DSPs, EQ and room treatment where you can precisely control the kind and degree of coloration.
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-24-2019 at 16:49.
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  2. #32
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    By the way, bias affects everyone... even me! It's nothing to be ashamed of. You just have to be aware of it and make an effort to prevent bias from skewing your decisions in ways that cost you more money and don't get you any closer to your goals.
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  4. #33
    Senior Member eljr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I've heard music that is uninspiring and lackluster, but amps generally have a high degree of fidelity to the original signal or they don't. An amp doesn't inspire me. Musical creativity does. I haven't run across an amp that wasn't audibly transparent in 30 years. Transparent is as good as it gets, because that means that what goes in is identical to what comes out... a wire with gain.

    The problem with audiophile terms is that they tend to describe how the person feels about sound, not the sound itself. Imagine if you had appendicitis and you went to the doctor and said, "I can't accomplish my normal tasks because I am unhappy and unsatisfied." It wouldn't tell the doctor anything to let him know what the problem was. It's the same thing when you describe the sound of an amp in poetic terms.

    I think if you are serious enough about a hobby to plunk down hundreds of dollars on it, you would spend a little time researching how the basic physics of sound and the digital reproduction of sound works. Then you could say, "The high end sounds like there is a roll off." or "There seems to be distortion in the upper mids." When you say things like that, I know EXACTLY what you mean and can come up with suggestions on how to correct it. When you say, "The sound is opaque." or "This amp sounds uninspiring." all I can do is look at you with a blank expression because your description is so solipsist, only you know what you are referring to.
    Good post.


    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Of course high end audio salesmen encourage this kind of thing, because focusing on how you feel about sound invites expectation bias to make you think you hear things you don't. It really isn't hard to figure out the basics of describing sound in specific and accurate ways. I'm happy to offer suggestions on how to do that if anyone is interested.

    But it's been my experience that people who are deep into audiophoolery refuse to listen seriously to anything but information that validates their pre-existing misconceptions. That is a common trait among a lot of people on the internet lately, not just in home audio.
    needless commentary

    I feel you may be powerless to not end your posts as such. I know a gentleman on a sport board who does the same thing. Makes a good point but then, compulsively it seems, adds his snark.

    BTW, I have found that audio salesmen encourage this kind of thing because they believe it just as most do. I have also found audio salesmen who understand about not needing the $10,000 amp and are up front about it.
    Last edited by eljr; Jun-26-2019 at 13:38.
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  6. #34
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eljr View Post
    Makes a good point but then, compulsively it seems, adds his snark.
    Truer words were never spoken. In fact, I think the "snark" factor impedes bigshot's objectivity, and as we are showing, hurts his credibility.
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    Senior Member eljr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by millionrainbows View Post
    Truer words were never spoken. In fact, I think the "snark" factor impedes bigshot's objectivity, and as we are showing, hurts his credibility.
    His command of the science does nothing to hurt his credibility. With all respect, he is the first guy I'd run to with a question.


    I will say, bias DOES have a place outside the laboratory but I think he has acknowledged that in his conversations with me.

    That shows a true open mind.

    (He clearly does not like that it does however. lol)

    BTW, I much enjoy your posts too!
    Last edited by eljr; Jun-26-2019 at 16:05.
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  9. #36
    Senior Member bigshot's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by eljr View Post
    I feel you may be powerless to not end your posts as such. I know a gentleman on a sport board who does the same thing. Makes a good point but then, compulsively it seems, adds his snark.

    BTW, I have found that audio salesmen encourage this kind of thing because they believe it just as most do. I have also found audio salesmen who understand about not needing the $10,000 amp and are up front about it.
    Audiophoolery is a separate thing from being interested in hifi sound. It's consumer driven and involves a lot of magical thinking wrapped in pseudo-scientific "facts". It's basically snake oil. Everyone has the ability to think logically and analyze situations to solve a problem. If they don't choose to do that and they engage in sloppy thinking, conspicuous consumption and ego gratification based on owning expensive things, I say that is perfectly fine for them. They can spend their money however they want. But when they go into a public forum and try to convince other people of their sloppy logic, that is where I draw the line. All opinions are not created equal.

    I was very fortunate. I had some experienced friends and family that put me on the right track. When the internet came along, it was extremely helpful in understanding how digital sound worked and how to optimize it. I appreciate that and I want to share the things I know about to help put other people on the right track. I make an effort to not talk about things I don't really understand or haven't fully researched yet.

    When I talk about audiophools I am differentiating certain ideas from ones that actually are grounded in logic. I'm not angry or condescending when I use that term. I'm just calling a spade a spade.

    I've found a few really good audio salesmen, but not in high end audio. The guys who really know their stuff are home theater dealers. I really enjoyed picking the brain of the guy who installed my theater. He had worked on establishing the THX standard up at Lucasfilm and was very honest and straightforward about what mattered and what didn't. He showed me how important a tape measure can be in setting up a system. When I swapped in new rear speakers, I spoke to another guy who had done a home theater for Sting. I described what my goals were, and he told me how to achieve them. He admitted that he doesn't argue with people when they tell him they want silver cables or high end amps. He knows it doesn't make a difference, but if that's what they want, he will do that. He looked at my room and knew instantly the speakers that would make it sound better. He got me a great deal on them too. I totally swear by home theater techs. They are worth the added expense.

    Then there's the high end audio salesman who stood with his hands behind his back so he could twiddle the tone controls when I was auditioning speakers... He was deliberately trying to trick me, and he knew exactly what he was doing. I've met more than a few of his kind, but mostly at fancy audio stores. At most electronics stores the salesmen really don't know much at all. They just recite specs off a tear sheet.
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-26-2019 at 18:10.
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    Quote Originally Posted by eljr View Post
    I will say, bias DOES have a place outside the laboratory but I think he has acknowledged that in his conversations with me.
    I will readily admit the night and day difference a glass of wine and a comfortable chair make to the sound of Mozart on my system. A veil has been lifted!
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-26-2019 at 18:10.
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    AES Audio Myths Seminar: http://youtu.be/BYTlN6wjcvQ
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  12. #38
    Senior Member eljr's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Audiophoolery is a separate thing from being interested in hifi sound. It's consumer driven and involves a lot of magical thinking wrapped in pseudo-scientific "facts". It's basically snake oil. Everyone has the ability to think logically and analyze situations to solve a problem. If they don't choose to do that and they engage in sloppy thinking, conspicuous consumption and ego gratification based on owning expensive things, I say that is perfectly fine for them. They can spend their money however they want. But when they go into a public forum and try to convince other people of their sloppy logic, that is where I draw the line.

    I was very fortunate. I had some experienced friends and family that put me on the right track. When the internet came along, it was extremely helpful in understanding how digital sound worked and how to optimize it. I appreciate that and I want to share the things I know about to help put other people on the right track. I make an effort to not talk about things I don't really understand or haven't fully researched yet.

    When I talk about audiophools I am differentiating certain ideas from ones that actually are grounded in logic. I'm not angry or condescending when I use that term. I'm just calling a spade a spade.

    I've found a few really good audio salesmen, but not in high end audio. The guys who really know their stuff are home theater dealers. I really enjoyed picking the brain of the guy who installed my theater. He had worked on establishing the THX standard up at Lucasfilm and was very honest and straightforward about what mattered and what didn't. When I swapped in new rear speakers, I spoke to another guy who had done a home theater for Sting. I described what my goals were, and he told me how to achieve them. He admitted that he doesn't argue with people when they tell him they want silver cables or high end amps. He knows it doesn't make a difference, but if that's what they want, he will do that. He looked at my room and knew instantly the speakers that would make it sound better. He got me a great deal on them too. I totally swear by home theater techs. They are worth the added expense.

    Then there's the high end audio salesman who stood with his hands behind his back so he could twiddle the tone controls when I was auditioning speakers... He was deliberately trying to trick me, and he knew exactly what he was doing. I've met more than a few of his kind, but mostly at fancy audio stores. At most electronics stores the salesmen really don't know much at all. They just recite specs off a tear sheet.
    I do agree and have said so previous here, it is OK to say that A sounds better than B, to you, even if it holds no water universally.
    It is not OK to proclaim anything more than that.

    You do realize, because of the bias effect, people really do perceive better sound when it does not exist? They are not lying.
    Saturn, the Bringer of Old Age

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    Ideally a placebo should be cheap. A $10,000 line cord is not an efficient placebo.

    I like the "sound" of my old NAD 1180 pre-amp. I understand it may be evidence of a very mild form of distortion. Back in the days when distortion was hard to avoid there was an incentive to make what distortion remained pleasant.
    Last edited by Baron Scarpia; Jun-26-2019 at 18:30.

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    Quote Originally Posted by eljr View Post
    You do realize, because of the bias effect, people really do perceive better sound when it does not exist? They are not lying.
    Yes, I understand that. But there is a willful and knowing force driving all this... the salesmen. Equipment manufacturers know that their amp sounds the same as any other. But they use testimonials on their website to create the impression that there is a difference. They cherry pick those testimonials to make it look the way they want it to look, and innocent people parrot the misinformation in internet forums. One lie generates more lies. If someone points out that the claims on the manufacturer's site aren't true, the marketing guys just throw up their hands and say, "Well that's what our customers tell us!" Sometimes the only way to stop that merry go round is to fire a shot into the air.

    Audiophoolery isn't a simple accident. It's a marketing strategy. I reserve my snark for the strategy. If someone is politely offered a clue and they continue to repeat marketing BS, they aren't just making an honest mistake. There is a reason why they're doing that... either to support themselves financially or as a way to prop up their ego. I just want to help people make their music sound better. I'm not interested in lining pockets of snake oil salesmen or stroking people who are needy to the point of being annoying.
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-26-2019 at 18:34.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I will readily admit the night and day difference a glass of wine and a comfortable chair make to the sound of Mozart on my system. A veil has been lifted!
    When I bought my lead system, coincidentally, designed by the man who did the sound at the Woodstock Festival (69), Bangladesh concert and many other such shows back in the day, I was told that I did not need big mono blocks for improved sound. All I would gain was a few decibels. It was made clear it was a want not a need.

    Let me tell you, after having spent a lifetime hopping to one day be in a position to acquire such power amplifiers, I could never get the same satisfaction with something that cost half the price and sounded the same.

    I am quite content to indulge my bias, knowing full well that is what I am doing.
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    Equipment manufacturers know that their amp sounds the same as any other.
    I don't know this to be true.

    I would be shocked if it were not true in some cases and true in others.

    People are very able to convince themselves of anything. Weather they be an engineer, doctor or kid working at McDonald's.
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    If you design and manufacture electronics you know how it works, and you've likely done listening tests. They know. However, there is a market for ever diminishing returns, even past the point of audibility. They serve the market that buys by the numbers. The actual sound is secondary. They compete via abstract measurements. If a manufacturer truly believed that their product sounded better to human ears, they would encourage consumers to conduct controlled listening tests. They aren't doing that. In fact they're discouraging it.

    My lifelong dream has been to have a screening/listening room. I remember seeing an Edward R Murrow interview with Sammy Davis Jr when I was little. He was sitting in his living room and he pushed a button and a screen dropped down and a window for a projector opened up. I swore I'd have that someday. When I finally got in a position to buy a house, the stars and technology were in align and I was able to do it. I use it every day. And every day, I feel like Sammy!
    Last edited by bigshot; Jun-26-2019 at 20:28.
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  19. #44
    Senior Member millionrainbows's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bigshot View Post
    I will readily admit the night and day difference a glass of wine and a comfortable chair make to the sound of Mozart on my system. A veil has been lifted!
    Hey, you're taking up real estate. This post would have made a good addendum to your previous one, but nothing more.
    "The way out is through the door. Why is it that no one will use this method?"
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    "I don't mind dying, as long as I can still breathe." ---Me

  20. #45
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    Tag! You're it!
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