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Z28SS
08-01-2003, 01:50 AM
All I can say is OMG! Nothing I have EVER heard even comes close to comparing to this amp! Some of the stuff I've tried in the past:

Planet Audio HVT-754 tube - Nice detailed highs but kinda thin sounding, a little loose on the bottom end. Missing some mid-range presence. Went good with my Focal Utopia 165W's. *** 1/2 out of 5.

JL Audio 300/4 - Very clean, alot of control, not much bass, kinda cold and analytical sounding. Especially through Kimber 4VS wire and Utopia's. *** out of 5.

JL Audio 500/5 - same as above. *** out of 5

Phoenix Gold 400.2ti - Very dynamic, lots of clean bass (very slightly loose but errors on the smooth side), nice midrange punch, very articulated highs, but a little lean and over emphisized. MUCH better than a JL Audio, IMHO. **** out of 5.

Arc Audio 2100CXL - Extremely dynamic and controlled, tons of ultra clean power, excellent presence and depth, very articulate, decent space between instruments, bass is very musical and controlled. The highs are smooth, clear, full bodied, and REAL sounding. They are my first choice for a solid state amp. **** 1/2 out of 5.

But... Words can hardly describe how the Butler Tube Driver amp sounds through CDT Eurosport ES-620's!

BASS: INCREDIBLE depth and precision! Full and rounded without sounding bloated. At first I thought some sorta boost was on! These amps don't have any boost! The power and authority is simply mind blowing. It's so musical and dynamic. No transistor amp can compare. If you're having a mid-bass problem or a problem bringing the bass 'up-front' - this amp is the cure!

MIDRANGE: Presence, depth, and width are outstanding! Everything sounded so real it was uncanny. Voices, violins, guitars, all came across with a new found dynamic and realism like nothing I've ever heard in a car amp. When I played 'Spanish Harlem' by Rebecca Pidgeon, I felt my heart race! She sounded REAL!

HIGHS: Finally an amp that can reproduce cymbals with realism and fine detail! It's like going from a 1 mega-pixel camera to a 10! So much more information was presented with such perfect timbre and air. There was an ease and perfect balance that is hard to describe. There was no artificial push or emphesis. Just a naturalness and realsim with just the right amount of air and body. This amp should be a good match with the TN51 tweeter, which can sound bad (distorted and congested) with a cheap amp.

The amp I tried was an original Tube Driver 750, circa 1996 - gold colored brushed aluminum. I can only imagine what a new Tube Driver Blue sounds like. I plan on selling ALL of my amps and buying a Tube Driver Blue 275 ASAP. They can be purchased directly from www.tubedriver.com for $499. They list them as 'demo' units.

If you are into SQ like me, you NEED one of these amps! Highly reccommended! ***** out of 5!

Equipment used:

Pioneer DEH-P940MP
CDT Eurosport ES-620's
Focal Utopia 180W's
Planet Audio PC64CK components <-- Old school, but very dynamic and balanced! I wish PA would have continued to make componets as good as these.
Tube Driver 750 (75W x 2)
JL Audio 250/1
Hifonics BX1500D
Elemental Designs 10'O' 44 <--- The most musical and smooth sub I ever heard! Sounds just like my Paradigm Servo 15" home theater woofer!
Kimber 4VS speaker wire <-- Soon to be replaced with Monster M20.2s Audiophile cable
Monster XLN Pro and 401 interconnects.

Anyone else here try or hear these amps?

kaukasion
08-01-2003, 02:02 AM
nice good to hear
ive been wondering about their amps
ive seen a couple and they look great

but never got to hear one yet
next time i get a chance imma take a listen

thumperfbc
08-01-2003, 02:31 AM
BUt but but... amps have no sonic characteristics of their own....


;)


riiiiight. Ignorance is bliss, i guess.

Maybe not.



Cool stuff man!
:bun: :bun: :bun:

justcook
08-01-2003, 02:45 AM
I have an old Butler Tube Driver 475. It's from '98 and then they actually went out of business or something, but now they're back. The new amps look just as cool as the old ones, but they don't have the balanced inputs anymore. I have to agree--they are amazing. Of course amps color the sound. It's just that the tubes in the Butler amps color it so well. The sound is rich and vibrant. The old amps had a dial (like a gain knob) so you could adjust the amount of tube vs. transistor to your taste, since they're really a tube hybrid. They also look really cool in the dark because the tubes glow. I'm just glad to see a post from someone about this company. The amps are a bit pricey, but if you're looking for SQ, you can't beat Butler.

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 03:10 AM
I knew there were problems with the
message when I saw these keywords.

analytical
Kimber wire
articulated
presence
depth
musical
full bodied
bloated
air
artificial push
congested


Jedi Mind tricks work in exotic home
audio - people with weak minds -
but don't expect those tricks to fool
the smart ones here.

analytical - I know of no amplifiers
skilled in thinking or reasoning.

articulated - I know of no amplifiers
that pay special attention to detail
in the sonic realm.

presence - I know of no amplifiers
that have a close relationship with
it's owner.

depth - I know of no amplifiers
that have the quality of being deep.

musical - I know of no amplifiers
that have a special interest or
talent in music.

full bodied - I know of no amplifiers
that have bodies, drink wine.

bloated - I know of no amplifiers
which are swollen.

air - I know of no amplifiers that
mix invisible odorless tasteless gases
(as nitrogen and oxygen) that
surrounds the earth.

artificial push - I know of no amplifiers
that try to trick listeners by playing
music other than what is being inputed.

congested - I know of no amplifiers
that desire to drop a log.

justcook
08-01-2003, 03:17 AM
Z28SS, I checked your profile. It was so obvious from your original post that you're into home audio. I understand the above reply--people don't talk about their car amps in the way that you do. It's cool though. What kind of gear do you run at home?

My system is simple, but sweet:

Naim CD5 cd player (by far my best component)
Thiel CS.5 loudspeakers (oldies but goodies)
Nordost flat-line cables (the cheapie Mark 2 ones, but they still rock)
Classe CA-100 amp (gotta love it)
and my cheesy Rotel RC-971 preamp, which I need to replace with a matching Naim preamp soon!

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 03:26 AM
Marketing people created the home audio
language - to stimulate sales - by confusing consumers with the lingo.

Audio is not rocket science, either
you like the system you heard or
you didn't. Skip the preliminary
song and dance and everything starts
to make sense. :rolleyes:

thumperfbc
08-01-2003, 03:36 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
I knew there were problems with the
message when I saw these keywords.

analytical
Kimber wire
articulated
presence
depth
musical
full bodied
bloated
air
artificial push
congested


Jedi Mind tricks work in exotic home
audio - people with weak minds -
but don't expect those tricks to fool
the smart ones here.

analytical - I know of no amplifiers
skilled in thinking or reasoning.

articulated - I know of no amplifiers
that pay special attention to detail
in the sonic realm.

presence - I know of no amplifiers
that have a close relationship with
it's owner.

depth - I know of no amplifiers
that have the quality of being deep.

musical - I know of no amplifiers
that have a special interest or
talent in music.

full bodied - I know of no amplifiers
that have bodies, drink wine.

bloated - I know of no amplifiers
which are swollen.

air - I know of no amplifiers that
mix invisible odorless tasteless gases
(as nitrogen and oxygen) that
surrounds the earth.

artificial push - I know of no amplifiers
that try to trick listeners by playing
music other than what is being inputed.

congested - I know of no amplifiers
that desire to drop a log.

Feeling fiesty tonight?

:D

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 03:43 AM
The violin plays while I :rolleyes:
reading this one.

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/amp/messages/23045.html

People in home audio need to skip
the foreplay and just come out and
say the truth..

Amplifier "A" just plain sucks when
I try to drive "XYZ" speakers and
amplifier "B" owns the speakers.

I just saved 5 paragraphs of baloney.


:bun: :cool: :bun:

thumperfbc
08-01-2003, 03:43 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
The violin plays while I :rolleyes:
reading this one.

http://www.audioasylum.com/forums/amp/messages/23045.html

People in home audio need to skip
the foreplay and just come out and
say the truth..

Amplifier "A" just plain sucks when
I try to drive "XYZ" speakers and
amplifier "B" owns the speakers.

I just saved 5 paragraphs of baloney.

:bun: :cool: :bun: :D

luvdeftonz
08-01-2003, 03:44 AM
I've heard a few tube amps myself, but only in home audio applications. This review seems somewhat fishy in that I've never, ever heard terms like articulate and analytical used to describe a tube amp. The tube amps I have heard were anything but articulate and analytical. In fact, I'm not sure an amp can be "warm" and "articulate/analytical". Those are terms usually thrown around when describing solid state. *But*...I haven't heard this Butler amp, so, maybe they've created something special.

I do agree with thylantyr in that many of these "marketing terms" do make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I guess those guys do earn every penny of their salary.

:)

bob crumbley 2
08-01-2003, 03:46 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
I knew there were problems with the
message when I saw these keywords.

analytical
Kimber wire
articulated
presence
depth
musical
full bodied
bloated
air
artificial push
congested


Jedi Mind tricks work in exotic home
audio - people with weak minds -
but don't expect those tricks to fool
the smart ones here.

analytical - I know of no amplifiers
skilled in thinking or reasoning.

articulated - I know of no amplifiers
that pay special attention to detail
in the sonic realm.

presence - I know of no amplifiers
that have a close relationship with
it's owner.

depth - I know of no amplifiers
that have the quality of being deep.

musical - I know of no amplifiers
that have a special interest or
talent in music.

full bodied - I know of no amplifiers
that have bodies, drink wine.

bloated - I know of no amplifiers
which are swollen.

air - I know of no amplifiers that
mix invisible odorless tasteless gases
(as nitrogen and oxygen) that
surrounds the earth.

artificial push - I know of no amplifiers
that try to trick listeners by playing
music other than what is being inputed.

congested - I know of no amplifiers
that desire to drop a log.

palabra!!!!

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 03:48 AM
I'm going to cut/paste my first reply
so doods understand what I said.

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justcook
08-01-2003, 03:51 AM
thylantyr, you have a gift for words. So why is such a literal and well spoken guy picking on us for our choice of words? The original poster made a point. He made it really well. I don't know when I last read something so intelligent on this board, and you're calling him (or us) stupid? Seriouisly, with your wit, you should write for an audio magazine. If I sent your post to the editors at Stereophile, they'd publish it in a heartbeat. It's classic. Audio enthusiasts have been using language like that for decades. It's just that companies like Bose have adopted that language and used it to sell their overpriced, shi!!y 6.1 systems to people who have no idea what good sound really is. The same applies to car audio. You can audition a Sony Xplode piece of garbage in a giant electronics warehouse, and of course it sounds good at maximum volume. People don't know any better and the salespeople just want to sell their crap. That's the real crime.

Z28SS
08-01-2003, 03:58 AM
Originally posted by justcook
Z28SS, I checked your profile. It was so obvious from your original post that you're into home audio. I understand the above reply--people don't talk about their car amps in the way that you do. It's cool though. What kind of gear do you run at home?

My system is simple, but sweet:

Naim CD5 cd player (by far my best component)
Thiel CS.5 loudspeakers (oldies but goodies)
Nordost flat-line cables (the cheapie Mark 2 ones, but they still rock)
Classe CA-100 amp (gotta love it)
and my cheesy Rotel RC-971 preamp, which I need to replace with a matching Naim preamp soon!

Cool! Someone who speaks my language! :D

Here's my home setup, which is 60% HT / 40% music:

Parasound AVC-2500u DTS/DD pre/pro
Parasound HCA-2205 5 channel amp (220W/ch)
Paradigm Studio 100's v.2 Front
Paradigm Studio 20's v.2 Rear
Paradigm Studio center channel v.2
Paradigm Servo 15 Sub
Sony DVP-9000ES DVD/SACD player
Toshiba TW56X81 56" hi-def 16:9 TV
RCA Ultimate TV Direct-TV receiver w/optical and 35hr recording capability
Mitsubishi S-VHS HiFi VCR
Monster HTS-5000 power conditioner
Salamander rack
Wireworld Eclipse III speaker cables - Front
Monster 2.4 biwire (single, for center)
Kimber Illuminations D-60 digital interconnect
Wireworld Eclipse II interconnects: pre -> amp (Front/Center/Rear/Sub)
Straightwire silver plated component cables
Various Monster, Kimber, Wireworld and Straightwire interconnects for VCR/DSS
Monster 1000 series cables for analog connection of DVD player to 5.1 analog input of pre/pro

Here's my COMPUTER setup:

Pioneer Elite VSX-26TX DD/DTS receiver ($1200 receiver)
Paradigm Mini Monitor's (front)
Paradigm Atom's (rear)
Paradigm CC170 (center)
Paradigm PDR-10 sub
Silver Sonic Q-10 speaker cables

How do you like the Rotel piece? I was looking at the 1098 pre/pro with the built-in screen. Looked pretty cool. BTW - Nice system!
thmbup

justcook
08-01-2003, 03:58 AM
Originally posted by luvdeftonz
I've heard a few tube amps myself, but only in home audio applications. This review seems somewhat fishy in that I've never, ever heard terms like articulate and analytical used to describe a tube amp. The tube amps I have heard were anything but articulate and analytical. In fact, I'm not sure an amp can be "warm" and "articulate/analytical". Those are terms usually thrown around when describing solid state. *But*...I haven't heard this Butler amp, so, maybe they've created something special.

I do agree with thylantyr in that many of these "marketing terms" do make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I guess those guys do earn every penny of their salary.

:)

"Warm" is definitely a home audio term to describe tubes, not solid state. Generally, solid state is regarded as "cold." Yes, it's marketing hype, but if listened to a good tube amp and a good solid state amp side by side in a closed room, you would understand. Warm means that acoustics, female vocals, classical, piano, etc., sound better. It's just weird that you're saying you've never heard those terms to describe tubes. Open up ANY issue of Stereophile published in the last twenty years and read ANY review of ANY tube gear, and you'll see that word used.

streetrace_r
08-01-2003, 04:01 AM
maybe the amps woulda sounded all the same if they had the same speakers runnign to them? :confused:

justcook
08-01-2003, 04:02 AM
Originally posted by Z28SS

How do you like the Rotel piece? I was looking at the 1098 pre/pro with the built-in screen. Looked pretty cool. BTW - Nice system!


Yikes, your system is a lot more elaborate than mine. Nice though. I just have a 2-channel system with my one CD source. I could run my Proscan TV into it, but I'm not that into home theater yet. My Rotel is my weak link. It's actually nicely uncolored, but I'd like to replace it. But I bought my mom the new Rotel integrated for the holidays to go with her B&W 302's and it's pretty sweet for such a good price. The integrated looks great too.

justcook
08-01-2003, 04:05 AM
Originally posted by streetrace_r
maybe the amps woulda sounded all the same if they had the same speakers runnign to them? :confused:

Ummm, yeah. That's what I meant. You can go to a showroom at any reputable audio dealer and run side by side comparisons with the same speakers. All amps color (yes, I'm using that word again) the sound (in home audio and car audio). It's just a question of whether or not you like the coloration.

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 04:09 AM
The audio industry thrives ....

... all in the name of making money ...

... hail to the king ...

If people need to rely on stereo
magazines to influence their
decision (based on carefully chosen
keywords) to buy something

*rather* than

going to the store and
auditioning the gear first hand, isn't this
counter-productive?

I'm not going to test drive that
car because "Car and Driver" said
it was /cool.


sheesh.

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 04:16 AM
Audio enthusiasts have been using language like that for decades.

I'll admit, I'm a noob.

I started audio only 20 years ago,
unlike you old timers of 50 years ...

and I thought it was gay then....

and looking at it again today...
it's still gay....

Picture if you will, Jesse James
of Monster Garage going into
the exotic home stereo store...

would he talk like that or
say..

<points to speaker> "These speakers
sound like as.s"....

thumperfbc
08-01-2003, 04:21 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
Audio enthusiasts have been using language like that for decades.

I'll admit, I'm a noob.

I started audio only 20 years ago,
unlike you old timers of 50 years ...

and I thought it was gay then....

and looking at it again today...
it's still gay....

Picture if you will, Jesse James
of Monster Garage going into
the exotic home stereo store...

would he talk like that or
say..

<points to speaker> "These speakers
sound like as.s"....

Hehe, Jeese James rocks.

thmbup

jsujo
08-01-2003, 04:22 AM
The problem I have with the poetic wording in Audiophilia is that they are all open to interpretation, and so it is very easy to predispose the reader to hear the same things, because by defining a characteristic you biased the poor listener...

bloated, airy, analytical, etc etc...are all abstractions in these cases.....

To me, a sense of air, is basically there if the amp reproduces enough of the details,,,well, its not that the amp is airy, its just doing its job well, so there is a more technical way to describe the phenomena, which everyone will agree with. and that teaches, not brain washes. The only obvious thing is the issue of the even order harmonics and odd order harmonics (which SS reproduce)...

In a nutshell, the Butler may be reproducing very well everything that is available, so its being a good boy,,,,but lets not get all lyrical about the sound,,,,Its serves no objective purpose....

justcook
08-01-2003, 04:25 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr

If people need to rely on stereo
magazines to influence their
decision (based on carefully chosen
keywords) to buy something

*rather* than

going to the store and
auditioning the gear first hand, isn't this
counter-productive?

sheesh.

My car audio dealer (who I love) sells five or six brands of gear. Am I going to read some car audio magazines to see what else it out there? Heck, yeah. What's wrong with that? There are hundreds of companies making home and car audio gear. How am I going to find out about some new company putting out some cool gear unless I read about it (assuming my dealer doesn't happen to carry it), or unless someone like thie original poster here tells me he heard something really cool? I'm not talking about the crap they sell in Best Buy or Circuit City. I'm talking about high-quality gear. That's the kind of stuff most of the guys on this board are talking about too. I guess if I didn't have to work for a living, I could spend all day auditioning gear, but life just doesn't work like that. A good magazine article can save me a lot of time. Then I have more time to enjoy the music. Dude, seriously, you gotta be a writer. This is a compliment--your post are hysterical.

luvdeftonz
08-01-2003, 04:29 AM
Originally posted by justcook


"Warm" is definitely a home audio term to describe tubes, not solid state. Generally, solid state is regarded as "cold." Yes, it's marketing hype, but if listened to a good tube amp and a good solid state amp side by side in a closed room, you would understand. Warm means that acoustics, female vocals, classical, piano, etc., sound better. It's just weird that you're saying you've never heard those terms to describe tubes. Open up ANY issue of Stereophile published in the last twenty years and read ANY review of ANY tube gear, and you'll see that word used.


You misread or misinterpreted. I know what "warm" is and what "warm" sounds like. I know tubes have this "warm" trait. I said, if you reread :), that warm AND articulate/analytical are not usually used when describing the same product. I've yet to hear an "articulate/analytical" tube amp that was at the same time "warm". In fact, I've never heard a tube or solid state that was both the traditional definition of "warm" AND articulate/analytical. One or the other, but I've yet to encounter both. I know warm, I know cold, and I know to analyze a review when it relies heavily on industry catch phrases and skips on anything I would consider substanitive....but that's just me...

Hehe, I've been a subscriber to StereoPhile, HomeTheater, Sound & Vision... et al, forever (even when they went by different names). I know the vocab, I just don't like it. The columnists sound like a bunch of old, rich, white men that sit in an empty, accoustically damped room, sipping Cognac, smoking a Cuban, all the while "analyzing" the improvisational skills of Miles Davis. I wonder if they could review a piece of equipment if I gave them a sheet of phrases that they could not use in said review....doubtful.

:)

justcook
08-01-2003, 04:37 AM
Originally posted by luvdeftonz



You misread or misinterpreted. I know what "warm" is and what "warm" sounds like. I know tubes have this "warm" trait. I said, if you reread :), that warm AND articulate/analytical are not usually used when describing the same product. I've yet to hear an "articulate/analytical" tube amp that was at the same time "warm". In fact, I've never heard a tube or solid state that was both the traditional definition of "warm" AND articulate/analytical. One or the other, but I've yet to encounter both. I know warm, I know cold, and I know to analyze a review when it relies heavily on industry catch phrases and skips on anything I would consider substanitive....but that's just me...


:)

Woops. Sorry. I read your post way too fast. I'm retarded, I know. I agree completely with what you're saying. And I also agree with what you're saying about the Stereophile reviewers. My argument is that these reviewers have WAY more time than me to audition gear. I wish I could sit around auditioning equipment all day long. So I read magazines to get some ideas and perspective. The funny thing is that despite the fact that I read the magazines, I bought almost everything I own BEFORE I read a review about it. I'd never heard of Butler when I bought my car amp. I just heard it and loved it.

Z28SS
08-01-2003, 04:49 AM
Originally posted by luvdeftonz
I've heard a few tube amps myself, but only in home audio applications. This review seems somewhat fishy in that I've never, ever heard terms like articulate and analytical used to describe a tube amp. The tube amps I have heard were anything but articulate and analytical. In fact, I'm not sure an amp can be "warm" and "articulate/analytical". Those are terms usually thrown around when describing solid state. *But*...I haven't heard this Butler amp, so, maybe they've created something special.

I do agree with thylantyr in that many of these "marketing terms" do make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I guess those guys do earn every penny of their salary.

:)

I don't believe I described the Butler amp as 'analytical'. The amp is VERY warm and smooth. There is just alot more detail ('information') and speed or dynamics to it's sound. All of these characteristics add to it's very apealing sound quality.

To me, JL Audio amps sound very cold and robotic. They have very good specs, and are very accurate, but sometimes this can bring out the worst aspects and components in your system. Some speaker cables can do the same thing. From what I've learned, you can balance a system better if you know the sound characteristics of a component. Take a JL Audio amp for example - if you pair it up with Focal components (very revealing tweeter - can sound harsh with the wrong amp/wire) and use a cable like Kimber 4TC, you will have some sonics 'problems'. The Amp is already cold, accurate and revealing. Add to that a cable that tends to 'preserve' the accuracy (cold and robotic sound) of the amp, and use speakers that really reveal everything it's given through the cable and it will sound harsh and unforgiving.

Now, take those same speakers and use a more 'forgiving' speaker cable like a Monster zip cord type or their Audiophile M10.2 cables and the sound will begin to change - it will 'warm' up, so to speak. How is it doing this? mostly by coloring the sound with harmonics. Harmonics are a measurable entity. When they are present in audio reproduction, depending on whether they are odd or even order, they can bring out certain frequencies and make the sound 'more dynamic'. The warmth comes from these frequencies 'doubling-up' on each other, making it sound fatter or 'have more body'.

To really take it one step farther, add a tube amp into that chain which adds alot of these harmonics to the sound, mostly pleasing ones. All of a sudden, the tweater sounds smooth and sweet, with no hint of harshness. The midrange has more punch, and the bass has more body - sounds fuller and more real. It's like playing connect-the-dots.

All it would take for anyone to hear what I'm talking about is to visit a high end store and demo some high-end gear. High end audio is all about reaching new levels of realism, not just what looks good on paper or sounds 'good'.

My first experience (or epiphiny) with high end audio came when I visited a local store and heard a CAL CD player through a Conrad Johnson tube amp into Revel speakers. They had this system on display in the front room of the store. They were playing some classical music on it and suddenly, as I approached the 'sweet spot', I closed my eyes and it was like peering through a window - looking down from a balcony at a theater and listening to an orchestra play. I was blown away buy just how realistic the music sounded. It was more than just 'sounding good' - it was REAL! Once you hear a system like that, you can close your eyes and instantly your mind switches to believing what your hearing is real, not a recording. It's sorta like doing those 3-D things in the newspaper. Once your mind is tricked, the image becomes 3D and you can see the depth/width/hieght of the object. The same thing applies to audio.

Once you hear it, you know what to listen for. All of the terms that audiophiles throw around suddenly makes sense. Until that happens, it just sounds like a bunch of goble-de-gook and 'magic'.

I take freinds to the local high-end audio store all the time. They were skeptical, but after listening to good equipment, they have the 'epiphany' and hear the stuff I told them about. Suddenly they understand and hear what I was trying to explain to them. They also hate me sometimes because they go home and listen to their low-budget systems and hear all the flaws and hate it. They end up going back and buying all kinds of stuff. :)

Recca
08-01-2003, 04:50 AM
Originally posted by luvdeftonz
I've heard a few tube amps myself, but only in home audio applications. This review seems somewhat fishy in that I've never, ever heard terms like articulate and analytical used to describe a tube amp. The tube amps I have heard were anything but articulate and analytical. In fact, I'm not sure an amp can be "warm" and "articulate/analytical". Those are terms usually thrown around when describing solid state. *But*...I haven't heard this Butler amp, so, maybe they've created something special.

I do agree with thylantyr in that many of these "marketing terms" do make me feel warm and fuzzy inside. I guess those guys do earn every penny of their salary.

:)

I think he described the JL 300/4 as analytical. I didn't read those words in his description of the Butler.

As far as word go I think one of the most useful things I read was an article in the old style Absolute Sound. It basically described what each of those words meant in terms of their reviews. I think they realized that the words take on different meanings in the context of an audio review took the time to describe what it meant to them.

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 05:01 AM
Z28SS;

You are an easy winner for the $10,000
Richard Clark amplifier challenge.

http://www.carsound.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum;f=1;DaysPrune=30

All you have to do is identify two
amplifiers to collect the prize money,
if you lose, nothing comes out of
your pocket except a broken ego.

/fun stuff

luvdeftonz
08-01-2003, 05:10 AM
Originally posted by Z28SS


I don't believe I described the Butler amp as 'analytical'. The amp is VERY warm and smooth. There is just alot more detail ('information') and speed or dynamics to it's sound. All of these characteristics add to it's very apealing sound quality.



Hehe..oops. I, too, got caught up in thylantyr's comedy routine;) I had the JL and Butler a little mixed up. *Bangs head against wall*


However, I do have to ask this about your review. When I've heard the few tube amps I've listened to, many of the "sonic characteristics" I heard were only slightly noticeable. Are these slight differences (there were a lot of "slight differences" in sound...all of which definitely added up to a very unique sound) noticeable when you're driving the car? IOW, are these differences over solid state audible over engine noise (heh, I assume you have a Z28 SS), road noise, air conditioner, and any other external noises? It's one thing to purchase an amp because it sounds great with the engine off and the car in the garage. It's quite another to hear the "tube sound" while cruising the freeway at 70 mph....just curious.

:)

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 05:18 AM
thylantyr's comedy routine

Encore I hear.

ok, one more joke.

If your speakers blew up all of a sudden
and you don't know what happened...

is it safe to say ....


"The Butler did it" ?


:p

Recca
08-01-2003, 05:21 AM
:D

luvdeftonz
08-01-2003, 05:21 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
thylantyr's comedy routine

Encore I hear.

ok, one more joke.

If your speakers blew up all of a sudden
and you don't know what happened...

is it safe to say ....


"The Butler did it" ?


:p


I sometimes wonder if you post for one purpose...to create the punchline. The posts are merely the setup...:D


thylantyr = Mad Scientist?

:bun: <---------because I know you like them.

Z28SS
08-01-2003, 05:22 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
Z28SS;

You are an easy winner for the $10,000
Richard Clark amplifier challenge.

http://www.carsound.com/cgi-bin/ubbcgi/ultimatebb.cgi?ubb=forum;f=1;DaysPrune=30

All you have to do is identify two
amplifiers to collect the prize money,
if you lose, nothing comes out of
your pocket except a broken ego.

/fun stuff

Have you ever heard a tube amp compared to a solid state, side by side? I could setup two systems, one solid state and the other tube based, calibrate them (db wise), and give you a quick lesson on what to listen for on a high quality recording. I like to use Joe Satriani's self titled CD. Once you know what to listen for, it becomes very clear - like night and day. You could take the challenge all day long. Now if it's between two solid states, then that's different and can be more of a challenge. The difference between a Pyramid and Arc Audio IS night and day. The difference between an Arc Audio and Sinfoni, Brax, Mcintosh, can be a little more difficult. The hardest thing for an amp to reproduce is treble, especially in crash cymbals. Most solid state amps compress these frequecies and create a 'SSSSHHHH' type of sound. Basically, the transistors over-saturate in a very 'analytical' way (on-off, jagged waveforms). This creates very nasty harmonics. Tubes are more 'forgiving' because they overload/saturate with a smoother analog waveform, rounded edges instead of sharp and angular. This smoothness, coupled with the harmonics, create the 'warmth' characteristic. Once you hear it, it's easy to pick out.

luvdeftonz
08-01-2003, 05:24 AM
Originally posted by Z28SS


Have you ever heard a tube amp compared to a solid state, side by side?

I'm sure he has...hehe...he makes amps...

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 05:32 AM
Originally posted by Z28SS


Have you ever heard a tube amp compared to a solid state, side by side? I could setup two systems, one solid state and the other tube based, calibrate them (db wise), and give you a quick lesson on what to listen for on a high quality recording. I like to use Joe Satriani's self titled CD. Once you know what to listen for, it becomes very clear - like night and day. You could take the challenge all day long. Now if it's between two solid states, then that's different and can be more of a challenge. The difference between a Pyramid and Arc Audio IS night and day. The difference between an Arc Audio and Sinfoni, Brax, Mcintosh, can be a little more difficult. The hardest thing for an amp to reproduce is treble, especially in crash cymbals. Most solid state amps compress these frequecies and create a 'SSSSHHHH' type of sound. Basically, the transistors over-saturate in a very 'analytical' way (on-off, jagged waveforms). This creates very nasty harmonics. Tubes are more 'forgiving' because they overload/saturate with a smoother analog waveform, rounded edges instead of sharp and angular. This smoothness, coupled with the harmonics, create the 'warmth' characteristic. Once you hear it, it's easy to pick out.

Richard Clark expanded the scope
of the challenge.

Any amp vs. any amp.

home amp vs. home amp

car amp vs. car amp

car amp vs. home amp

tube vs. solid stage

class A vs. class D

pyramid vs. krell

spy vs. spy

etc. vs. etc.

... as long as the amplifiers
are operating at the same power
levels....

I'm not joking on this one, RC is
serious about this and is willing
to write a check for $10k.....

edit: RC said that amplifier designers
of status refuse to take the challenge
because they would not be able
to distinguish between their own
amplifier from another -- which means
they amplifier is not special anymore..

Hobbes26
08-01-2003, 05:40 AM
I think the test extends to cables as well.

I'm planning to do test myself on several different amps.
Just to see for myself.

GSteg
08-01-2003, 06:04 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
thylantyr's comedy routine

Encore I hear.

ok, one more joke.

If your speakers blew up all of a sudden
and you don't know what happened...

is it safe to say ....


"The Butler did it" ?


:p



ahahahahahahaaha. u sir have too much time on your hand. thmbup

Fryguy
08-01-2003, 06:25 AM
The RC test is flawed, because he does MUCH more than just match the power level. He gets rid of ANY form of signal processing. His test is NOT to show that amplifiers sound different, his test is to show that power is power, and you can not tell the difference between an arc watt and a sinfoni watt.

Thus RC doesn't belong in this thread.

thylantyr
08-01-2003, 06:36 AM
He gets rid of ANY form of signal processing

Even funnier because the home
audio industry doesn't promote
amplifiers with signal processing,
the vast majority are just gain
stages with no bass/treble boost,
no active crossover, no subsonic
filter, etc. unlike car audio....

Even funnier is... He (RC) can configure
two vastly different amplifiers to perform
in such a manner that it's inaudible.

I'm not an RC fanboi, but I've read
all the posts and babble and there is
merit to his methods, but overall
most people do push their
amplifiers to their performance limits
and the effects start to become audible.

All I want is 'extra' high power, low distortion
and low noise amplifiers with the
ability to drive lower impedance than
I desire as a safety margin... Build
quality for the warm and fuzzy feeling
is good too.. This was and always
has been my belief long before I
read the RC challenge.

:cool:

Hobbes26
08-02-2003, 12:47 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
He gets rid of ANY form of signal processing

Even funnier because the home
audio industry doesn't promote
amplifiers with signal processing,
the vast majority are just gain
stages with no bass/treble boost,
no active crossover, no subsonic
filter, etc. unlike car audio....

Even funnier is... He (RC) can configure
two vastly different amplifiers to perform
in such a manner that it's inaudible.

I'm not an RC fanboi, but I've read
all the posts and babble and there is
merit to his methods, but overall
most people do push their
amplifiers to their performance limits
and the effects start to become audible.

All I want is 'extra' high power, low distortion
and low noise amplifiers with the
ability to drive lower impedance than
I desire as a safety margin... Build
quality for the warm and fuzzy feeling
is good too.. This was and always
has been my belief long before I
read the RC challenge.

:cool:

Considering the test method - I still don't see any problems with it - it looks like a standard scientific method test....

Also, if you're just testing the amplifier alone, why do you want extra processing? Ideally wouldn't you want all the processing performed before the amplifier?

thylantyr
08-02-2003, 02:34 AM
Ideally wouldn't you want all the processing performed before the amplifier?

processing in car amps is done before
the amp, it is just integrated on the
same chassis where on home audio,
they sell the processing as another
piece of gear -- to make money of course - heheh

Hobbes26
08-02-2003, 06:21 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
Ideally wouldn't you want all the processing performed before the amplifier?

processing in car amps is done before
the amp, it is just integrated on the
same chassis where on home audio,
they sell the processing as another
piece of gear -- to make money of course - heheh

yeah i know... so it's NOT unfair to "get rid of any signal
processing"

b/c if people wanna compare amps, they compare amps, not compare signal processors...

i dont see why people are so uptight about it....

jsujo
08-02-2003, 09:43 AM
Originally posted by Hobbes26

i dont see why people are so uptight about it....

Because people dont take the time to think for themselves....analytical and critical thinking is a skill that isnt very widespread....:mad:

Mr. Bentwrench
08-02-2003, 02:56 PM
From my experience, I found that some components and parts work better together than others. Sure, this synergy is giving me a specific sonic signiture but if one sounds better than another, guess which one I'll choose.

It's funny but I DO understand what all those adjectives mean. Once you have heard "that sound", they make perfect sense. To others, I'm sure it's like trying to discribe a painting to a blind man. :)

placenta
08-02-2003, 04:01 PM
Butler Amps... goooood..

systempimp_1500
08-02-2003, 04:15 PM
You lucky ****.........

The nicest I've ever heard would have to be my friends

Monitor mk4.70..........smooth as a baby's ***......but then

again, I haven't heard much other than that, in the high

end category........

I wanna design this stuff for a living......

I've recently registered to diyaudio.com........awesome forum

for indepth conversations......






Jeff

Maniac
08-03-2003, 02:23 AM
I bought a tube driver blue off someone (tbd 475). Should have it early next week. I've been listening to my Brax x2000 all this time. Now, we'll see which sounds better.........

npdang
08-03-2003, 07:58 PM
Nothing wrong with the audiophile language. When I say "detailed" or "clean" or "airy" I don't mean it literally. It's just another way of describing a physical response in the system I'm listening to.

thylantyr
08-03-2003, 09:05 PM
It's fine for speakers - cause every speaker system has a sonic characteristic
that can be identified with ease, but
amplifiers- bah - it's all power, distortion,
noise, drive capability... and even the
cheapest amp has low distortion
and low noise... leaving power and
drive capability... ?BOO?

300Z
08-05-2003, 07:17 PM
Originally posted by Z28SS

Monster HTS-5000 power conditioner
woot lol

300Z
08-05-2003, 08:20 PM
Just something to think about... :D :p

Richard Clark said he performed initial tests and reported
that people in his tests were able to distinuguish between amplifiers brands. Later, he wanted to find out why they
sounded different. It's the little nuances or gremlins from
each amplifier that was creating sonic differences.
Then he created the "test" by modding the signal being amplified so both amps became less distinguishable, this mod occurs on the test bench and it may take him 1/2 a day to setup,
then the "challenge" was born to prove some silly point
that amplifiers can be made to sound similar given the
right methodologies.

RC won't allow amplifiers with large
variance in s/n ratio to be included in the test because the user can
hear the noise which makes distinguishing the two amplifiers easy.

RC won't allow amplifiers to be included in the test if they are
not "impedance similar". In other
words, two amplifiers, one rated
at 2 ohms stable, the other rated
at 1 ohm stable, he will only test
at 2 ohms. If you were to test at
1 ohm, the non 1 ohm stable amplifier
could cause sonic gremlins which
would make it distinguishable.

RC won't allow amplifiers of different
power ratings to be tested. RC knows
that people can distungish between
amplifiers of different power ratings,
ie, a 50w x 2 amplifier may not
be please you sonically because it
can't drive the speakers you have,
but if you were to drive those speakers with 100w x 2, it has the
potential to be more sonically pleasing, thus indentifiable.

RC won't allow the amplifiers to
be tested if they have signal
processing circuits enabled.
Even the slightest misalignment
of potentiometers can cause
the frequency response to be
"non-flat" which is distinguishable.

"Sonic signatures" are;

1. variance in frequency response
which he adjusts via EQ in the
test bench if needed.

2. bass boost circuitry is bypassed.

3. treble boost circuitry is bypassed.

4. electronic crossover circuitry is bypassed.

5. Class AB vs. Class D; he stated that he will tests these only if
the Class AB is bandwidth limited
to equial the Class D amplifier.

6. Tube vs. Solid State amplifiers;
he will modifiy the solid state amplifier
output with passive components
to mimmick the tube amplifiers behavior under load.

Peace
Leo

delvryboy
08-05-2003, 08:53 PM
th1$ i5 4 vEry W4cKEd +Hre4D MY FRi3Nd....wH@tevR M4d3 J00 PO5+ +H15 n0N53n5E :D

zeroisnothing
08-05-2003, 09:28 PM
i had a td1500 i loved that amp....great great amp....glad ur happy with ur set up man!

Z28SS
08-05-2003, 09:57 PM
Originally posted by 300Z
woot lol

Ummm. Whatever...

Z28SS
08-05-2003, 09:59 PM
Originally posted by delvryboy
th1$ i5 4 vEry W4cKEd +Hre4D MY FRi3Nd....wH@tevR M4d3 J00 PO5+ +H15 n0N53n5E :D

wOW! l00k 4+ mE! i C4n +yPe L1K3 4 L33T h4CKeR! W3e33! :rolleyes:

Yeah, OK.

delvryboy
08-06-2003, 12:15 AM
Originally posted by Z28SS


wOW! l00k 4+ mE! i C4n +yPe L1K3 4 L33T h4CKeR! W3e33! :rolleyes:

Yeah, OK. PLEASE refrain from opening your bloated mouth on this congested board or i shall be forced to use my full bodied articulated kimber wire to show an in-depth presence on your ANALytical azz

Maniac
08-06-2003, 04:59 AM
Installed my tb 475 this evening. Umm. Don't quite know how to explain it. Listened to it for about 10-15 mins. Didn't like it at all. Compared to my brax it seemed to lack that oomph, though it was much smoother in the treble and lacked the harsh "hissing" on any word that contained the letter "s" when sang. The night went on and I dropped my friend off at home and it kinda hit me. I wound up driving around my neighborhood for about a half hour just to listen to every cd I had in the car. I don't know how to explain it. It just sounds amazing. When hearing certain instruments, it sounds as if they are there, right next to you, same thing goes for vocals. The amp was so lively sounding I didn't want to go home. I still don't know what tube sound is, but I'm trying to figure it out. The amp sounds even better the louder I turned the knob. I guess the type of distortion produced by tubes really prevents the fatiguing of the treble at really loud volumes. It just sounds really smooth. Its hard to swallow, but this amp sounds much nicer than the brax i paid more than double for. I don't think there is any going back for me now.....

Oh and I'm running this off a bose headunint (lol) in my 96 maxima.....with a vifa tweeter and some parts express 6.5 and passive crossover that I made....

placenta
08-06-2003, 05:04 AM
hmm... you started out saying you didnt like it...
now you love it?

thumperfbc
08-06-2003, 06:06 AM
NIce review Maniac... but I've got a question for you. Would you say that the difference in sound is because the tube amp doesnt reproduce the signal with sonic transparency? THats the main problem with me... I strive to get my reproduction as close to as inteded as possible, that means I want sonic transparency in my units...

That being said Ive never really heard a tube amp except for guitar cabs...

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 06:37 AM
So, the tube amp sounds good
when;

a. you drop your friend off at home.

b. drive around the neighborhood
in circles.

c. both a&b

d. not the first 15 minutes because
the tubes are cold.

e. none of the above, I took a few bong hits.



:cool: :p :cool:

Hobbes26
08-06-2003, 07:58 AM
Originally posted by 300Z
RC won't allow amplifiers with large
variance in s/n ratio to be included in the test because the user can
hear the noise which makes distinguishing the two amplifiers easy.


not much of a problem, since most decent amps are quite
good with s/n


RC won't allow amplifiers to be included in the test if they are
not "impedance similar". In other
words, two amplifiers, one rated
at 2 ohms stable, the other rated
at 1 ohm stable, he will only test
at 2 ohms. If you were to test at
1 ohm, the non 1 ohm stable amplifier
could cause sonic gremlins which
would make it distinguishable.


you dont normally run a 2ohm or greater stable amp at
less than 2ohms unless u wanna fry it...


RC won't allow amplifiers of different
power ratings to be tested. RC knows
that people can distungish between
amplifiers of different power ratings,
ie, a 50w x 2 amplifier may not
be please you sonically because it
can't drive the speakers you have,
but if you were to drive those speakers with 100w x 2, it has the
potential to be more sonically pleasing, thus indentifiable.


not true. the only thing is that you cant run the lower
powered amp into clipping. you're allowed to pick the volume
that you want to listen to stuff at, and both amps are set
to output that amount, provided neither amp clips.


RC won't allow the amplifiers to
be tested if they have signal
processing circuits enabled.
Even the slightest misalignment
of potentiometers can cause
the frequency response to be
"non-flat" which is distinguishable.

"Sonic signatures" are;
1. variance in frequency response
which he adjusts via EQ in the
test bench if needed.
2. bass boost circuitry is bypassed.
3. treble boost circuitry is bypassed.
4. electronic crossover circuitry is bypassed.
5. Class AB vs. Class D; he stated that he will tests these only if
the Class AB is bandwidth limited
to equial the Class D amplifier.
6. Tube vs. Solid State amplifiers;
he will modifiy the solid state amplifier
output with passive components
to mimmick the tube amplifiers behavior under load.

Peace
Leo

So tell me how would you scientifically test two
different amplifiers?

The thing is that you're testing the amplifier. Not the bass
boost. If I were to test the bass boost features, I would also
eliminate all other differences OTHER THAN the bass boost
in order to best test the bass boost 'sound quality'.
Likewise, if I were to test crossovers, i'd try to eliminate
every difference BUT the crossover. That's the only way
to truely test the differences between them.

Hobbes26
08-06-2003, 08:00 AM
Originally posted by thylantyr
So, the tube amp sounds good
when;
a. you drop your friend off at home.
b. drive around the neighborhood
in circles.
c. both a&b
d. not the first 15 minutes because
the tubes are cold.
e. none of the above, I took a few bong hits.
:cool: :p :cool:

I'll pick 'e', Alex...:D

Hazard269
08-06-2003, 08:22 AM
I thought the purpose of the test was to proove all amps sounded the same with all processing features disabled. Well if you have to EQ the amp even with all the features disabled, then wouldn't that mean all amps DON'T sound the same, thus defeating the whoel purpose of the test?

"then the "challenge" was born to prove some silly point
that amplifiers can be made to sound similar given the
right methodologies. " Well if thats the challange then yes what he does with the EQs makes sence and what not, but I have always understoof the challange to be something like 'all amps sound the same with processing features disabled (with all the limitations placed on them as stated in the current test).' So was I just looking at the challange the wrong way this whole time? Because on the boards thats how it gets thrown around...

-Chris

delvryboy
08-06-2003, 09:18 AM
Originally posted by Hazard269
I thought the purpose of the test was to proove all amps sounded the same with all processing features disabled. Well if you have to EQ the amp even with all the features disabled, then wouldn't that mean all amps DON'T sound the same, thus defeating the whoel purpose of the test?

"then the "challenge" was born to prove some silly point
that amplifiers can be made to sound similar given the
right methodologies. " Well if thats the challange then yes what he does with the EQs makes sence and what not, but I have always understoof the challange to be something like 'all amps sound the same with processing features disabled (with all the limitations placed on them as stated in the current test).' So was I just looking at the challange the wrong way this whole time? Because on the boards thats how it gets thrown around...

-Chris this how i am seeing it also...if the test is to prove that 2 amps can be MADE to sound the same...would'nt that be saying that in all reality..they sound different

300Z
08-06-2003, 01:06 PM
Originally posted by Hazard269
So was I just looking at the challange the wrong way this whole time? Because on the boards thats how it gets thrown around...

-Chris it happens because not many people know all the "rules" of RC test. and some peoples who know the "rules" seems to do not understand it very well...

peace
Leo

300Z
08-06-2003, 01:12 PM
Originally posted by delvryboy
this how i am seeing it also...if the test is to prove that 2 amps can be MADE to sound the same...would'nt that be saying that in all reality..they sound different in "all reality" the vastly majority of consumers arent going to buy an amp open it disable all the processing and O-scop match the gains and all that... :rolleyes:

like a friend said...

gotta love RC philosophy...

yes, lets all disable/handicap our superior amps to sound like inferior amps ... :D

the challenge is BS

peace
Leo

justcook
08-06-2003, 02:51 PM
Originally posted by thylantyr
So, the tube amp sounds good
when;

a. you drop your friend off at home.

b. drive around the neighborhood
in circles.

c. both a&b

d. not the first 15 minutes because
the tubes are cold.

e. none of the above, I took a few bong hits.



:cool: :p :cool:

thylantyr, you know you hit the nail on the head here? The answer is "D". Tubes have to warm up. Sometimes people running tube amplifiers at home leave them turned on 24/7 for just that reason. Other people let them warm up for an hour before serious listening. Obviously that's not practical in a car, but the Butler Tube Driver 475 is a "hybrid." It's part transistor-based and part tube-based so you can get decent sound immediately, even if it's not to your liking. The older models have a dial to tweak it to suit your personal preferences, say more tube for the mids and treble and more transistor for tighter base (if that's your preference). But no matter what you do, the Butler amps will most definitely get better the longer you play it in any one given session. 10 or 15 minutes is a good warm up time from my personal experience. Another Butler convert--I love it! I just can't believe this thread is still bumping around.

justcook
08-06-2003, 02:54 PM
Originally posted by Maniac
Installed my tb 475 this evening. Umm. Don't quite know how to explain it. Listened to it for about 10-15 mins. Didn't like it at all. Compared to my brax it seemed to lack that oomph, though it was much smoother in the treble and lacked the harsh "hissing" on any word that contained the letter "s" when sang. The night went on and I dropped my friend off at home and it kinda hit me. I wound up driving around my neighborhood for about a half hour just to listen to every cd I had in the car. I don't know how to explain it. It just sounds amazing. When hearing certain instruments, it sounds as if they are there, right next to you, same thing goes for vocals. The amp was so lively sounding I didn't want to go home. I still don't know what tube sound is, but I'm trying to figure it out. The amp sounds even better the louder I turned the knob. I guess the type of distortion produced by tubes really prevents the fatiguing of the treble at really loud volumes. It just sounds really smooth. Its hard to swallow, but this amp sounds much nicer than the brax i paid more than double for. I don't think there is any going back for me now.....

Oh and I'm running this off a bose headunint (lol) in my 96 maxima.....with a vifa tweeter and some parts express 6.5 and passive crossover that I made....

Great post. See my other post in response to thylantyr. 10 to 15 minutes is exactly what the 475 needs for a warm-up. It sucks for a quick run to the grocery store, but it's great for a long trip on the highway. I love my 475.

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 03:38 PM
I was reading on some website that the 300b tube found
in 300b tube amps has gained recent popularity in the internet
community, some companies stopped producing this particular
tube long ago...

So.. I wonder also why the sudden interest ? Could it be
the internet boom where people do the "monkey see, monkey
do" thing ? Some companies started to manufacturer this
tube again.

Many people are fascinated with tube amps.
http://www.welbornelabs.com/

Browsing through their FAQ, the first question
is..

Can you characterize the sonic differences between the Moondog, Laurel and Apollo Amplifiers?

Answer: This is a tough question

Then there is an explaination of speaker sensitivity and
power output. (hehe)

/laughs

They sell three tube amplifiers, but the sonic differences
are "tough"..

/laughs

They are phasing out two of those products, the
Moondog and Laurel in favor of the new DRD set amp..
I don't see Apollo anymore on their webpage so that
is the third tube amp gone.

What does this mean? Each type of amplifier uses a
particular tube, the 300b tube, the 2A3 tube, etc....
...and they apparently have sonic characters according
to audiophiles.

Different tube designs allows one to market different
tube amplifiers .... that apparently are "tough" to distinguish.

/laughs

The only real difference is power ratings.

The FAQ, is sorta like self incrimination.

ok, now what. Well their new product is the DRD set.
http://www.welbornelabs.com/drd.htm

*************
"Over the last 2 years I have been experimenting, prototyping, building and listening to many different amplifier topologies: Mu-Stages, Parafeeds, Direct Reactance Drives, Choke-Loaded Plates, Current-Source Loaded Plates, Choke-Loaded Grids, Interstage-Coupled, Direct Coupled and so on. "
*************

This is amazing. 2 years trying different topologies and
apparently, the sonic character must be hard to distinguish
otherwise it wouldn't take 2 years to find the "good" one.

/laughs more (same link)

2A3 versus 45 versus 300B.
"This debate is pretty much a badly beaten horse in my opinion."

If it was obvious, we'd have no dead horse.

DRD 300B versus the Laurels:
"This is tough one"

/laughs - another tough one...

At least this vendor isn't BS'ing you..

keefyboy
08-06-2003, 03:39 PM
Originally posted by 300Z

the challenge is BS

peace
Leo

No, you're the one who's full of BS.

The POINT is to demonstrate that signal processing on an AMP is useless. Amps have ONE function - SIGNAL GAIN. And they should do ONLY that.

RC's point is that he could EASILY make a Pyramid sound like a Butler using a few passive comonents, and the Butler markup is just marketing hype.

Amps that sound "warm" or whatever are just doing their job INCORRECTLY.

You people that won't sit back and think for a moment make me sick... You also probably waste $100 a foot on Kimber cable, claiming you can actually hear a difference... :rolleyes:
-keith

Z28SS
08-06-2003, 03:40 PM
Here's a couple pictures of my Butler TD750 amp:

http://www.erols.com/bdemeter/butler.jpg
http://www.erols.com/bdemeter/butler2.jpg

In the second picture you can see the 'tube enhance' control unique to the original models.

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 03:44 PM
RC's point is that he could EASILY make a Pyramid sound like a Butler using a few passive comonents

This is not needed, the Bulter is solid stage output stage (hehe)
and will clip just as a solid state output so no "resistor" is needed. (hehe)

Subliminal
08-06-2003, 03:44 PM
I don't quite buy the above statement...I know quite a few people who use the stock head units in their cars and rely on the processing power of the amp. In some of today's cars, its just easier to keep the head unit (in my car, my replacing my HU meant loosing onstar, steering wheel controls, and the head's up display hooked into the stocker. Now, if I had kept that stock deck, i'd need an amp to crossover the signals going to my interiors and my amps.

I get the point of the challenge, a watt is a watt is a watt, as long as it's accurately described, but processing in amps is definately not 'useless.'

d

*oops, this was in argument with a few posts up now...you damned fast typers!

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 03:48 PM
I think keef ment to say..

Two amplifier's on the RC test bench regardless of
amplifier topology minus signal processing operating
at the same power levels with identical frequency response
unclipped driving the same load is indistinguishable.

RC proved this already for the past years and years.

It's sorta like a Ford Escort vs. Ferrari test.

At 25 mph both cars are able to perform well,
well enough that they get you to your destination
(if you were blind folded and did not know which
car you were in).

Subliminal
08-06-2003, 03:50 PM
Yeah, that I believe...

Maybe I'm just arguing semantics.

Or maybe I'm just so bored at work that I want to poke my eyes out and put them on the end of pencils and create a stage out of books and paper which i will color with markers and provide a puppet show for the demons that live inside my head.

300Z
08-06-2003, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by thylantyr
I think keef ment to say..

Two amplifier's on the RC test bench regardless of
amplifier topology minus signal processing operating
at the same power levels with identical frequency response
unclipped driving the same load is indistinguishable.

RC proved this already for the past years and years.

It's sorta like a Ford Escort vs. Ferrari test.

At 25 mph both cars are able to perform well,
well enough that they get you to your destination
(if you were blind folded and did not know which
car you were in). yes, good post thy; its just that most of these blind people still like to be blind :eek: :rolleyes:
they just ignore all RC rules, and keep saying "its only disable the processing and match the gains blah blah..." :rolleyes:
even if that is done the difference can still be perceived; if you know/understand a bit more about amps, you should know that...

peace
Leo

Subliminal
08-06-2003, 04:04 PM
Actually, Leo, that post was in direct response to myself, and had nothing to do with being blind or understanding more about amps.

300Z
08-06-2003, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by keefyboy


The POINT is to demonstrate that signal processing on an AMP is useless. Amps have ONE function - SIGNAL GAIN. And they should do ONLY that.

-keith sir, the POINT isnt to demonstrate that signal processing on an AMP is useless. what if i pick a Pro Audio amp, with no processing at all, one of those which doesnt even have a gain control; just RAW power???

that argument (processing/gain) is probably the most common argument used by the "blind" Car Audio community, probably the less educated audio community.

Leo

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 04:13 PM
I would be more impressed with a RC "Baja 500" test
of amplifiers where you push the amplifiers to the
extreeeemes..

example.

An amplifier for a car environment should be tested
inside an industrial oven to simulate the hot environment
found in a car on a hot day and be driven continously for the
lowest load impedance - to verify that the amplifier can
operate in this 'normal' environment.

Additonally, a "under load" test would be nice, pushing
the amplifier below load impedance to note amplifier
behavior - is it under-rated or over-rated?

Amplifier *can* and *do* operate at lower impedances
driving non-woofers /hehe because midrange and tweeters
are not power hungry. Really good ones can operate
below ratings with woofers.

You can place the amplifier on a totem-pole like in the
Ace Ventura movie (pet detective - when nature calls)...

"Earth Quake test"....

/hehe

<that movie still busts me up...

300Z
08-06-2003, 04:14 PM
Originally posted by Subliminal
Actually, Leo, that post was in direct response to myself, and had nothing to do with being blind or understanding more about amps. sorry if my post looked like it was directly to you. it wasnt.

best regards
Leo

Hobbes26
08-06-2003, 04:59 PM
Originally posted by 300Z
in "all reality" the vastly majority of consumers arent going to buy an amp open it disable all the processing and O-scop match the gains and all that... :rolleyes:
like a friend said...
gotta love RC philosophy...
yes, lets all disable/handicap our superior amps to sound like inferior amps ... :D
the challenge is BS
peace
Leo

Challenge is not BS... It has some merit... Like I said
earlier, how would you test an amplifier? You'd likely
eliminate all outside variables other than the amplifier itself.
You're not testing bass boost. You're not testing EQing.

And as Thy said.....

It's fine for speakers - cause every speaker system has a sonic characteristic
that can be identified with ease, but
amplifiers- bah - it's all power, distortion,
noise, drive capability... and even the
cheapest amp has low distortion
and low noise... leaving power and
drive capability... ?BOO?


...it's ALL power, distortion, noise, drive capability.... and
NOT the sound from the amp.

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 05:30 PM
I think everyone wants to have an over-engineered product,
the reason they spend more $$$ on certain proven brands
if they can afford it....

but it doesn't mean the cheap stuff is bad either. It's a case
by case thing..

Silly example,

How many hits do you get when you search the archives
for ...


"Help, my Zapco amp blew up".

Hobbes26
08-06-2003, 05:53 PM
theres also the huge role that psychoacoustics plays.

300Z
08-06-2003, 06:18 PM
Originally posted by Hobbes26


Challenge is not BS... It has some merit... Like I said
earlier, how would you test an amplifier? You'd likely
eliminate all outside variables other than the amplifier itself.
You're not testing bass boost. You're not testing EQing.

And as Thy said.....


...it's ALL power, distortion, noise, drive capability.... and
NOT the sound from the amp.

Originally posted by 300Z
sir, the POINT isnt to demonstrate that signal processing on an AMP is useless. what if i pick a Pro Audio amp, with no processing at all, one of those which doesnt even have a gain control; just RAW power???

that argument (processing/gain) is probably the most common argument used by the "blind" Car Audio community; probably the less educated audio community.

Leo

placenta
08-06-2003, 06:20 PM
I'm glad I settled on a pair of PPI amps... now i have a lot to dream about and a lot higher to go in performance, when I want to upgrade again..

i want to hear a Butler 150x2 on my Focals....

Hobbes26
08-06-2003, 07:35 PM
Originally posted by 300Z

sir, the POINT isnt to demonstrate that signal processing on an AMP is useless. what if i pick a Pro Audio amp, with no processing at all, one of those which doesnt even have a gain control; just RAW power???

that argument (processing/gain) is probably the most common argument used by the "blind" Car Audio community; probably the less educated audio community.

Leo


I agree with your first point - signal processing IS useful and
it's not useless on an amp.

But the thing is that you're not testing signal processing;
you're testing the amplifier for any sonic characteristics
that are different for different amplifiers.

So assuming you already have no processing in those Pro Audio
amplifiers, adjust the two different amps to output at the same
level and test them in a blind test. I think you'd be hard-pressed
to be able to tell the difference in sound.

Note that the test was proven in home audio before
it was tried with car audio.

jsujo
08-06-2003, 07:59 PM
""So assuming you already have no processing in those Pro Audio
amplifiers, adjust the two different amps to output at the same
level and test them in a blind test. I think you'd be hard-pressed
to be able to tell the difference in sound. ""

regardless if you hear a diff or not,,,what is so hard to understand about the above statement...and the RC challenge,,,??

Why do people complain about disabling the processing parts, when they are not part of the issue,,,If the xovers, processors, etc, is what qualifies an amp as being better or not, well, then by default you are saying that you dont care about the pure and simple amplification process,,,and THAT is the issue.

Its like testing engines in one car weighing 300 lbs and another 500 lbs due to comfort features,,,well those will have to be removed to equal the weight,,so the only thing that will make a difference is the engine...

Stop *****ing about the removal of the processors,,,,its the scientifically right way to test two amps amplification sections.

300Z
08-06-2003, 08:33 PM
Originally posted by Hobbes26


you're testing the amplifier for any sonic characteristics
that are different for different amplifiers.

So assuming you already have no processing in those Pro Audio
amplifiers, adjust the two different amps to output at the same
level and test them in a blind test. I think you'd be hard-pressed
to be able to tell the difference in sound.

Sonic signatures are variance in frequency response
which he adjusts via EQ in the test bench if needed.

is it too hard to understand it or what?

RC only wants to prove that RAW AMPLIFIER TOPOLOGY of amplifiers of the SAME power ratings properly matched is difficult to distinguish.

Even RC has said, people are able
to hear differences between amplifiers as long as those two
amplifiers ARE NOT ON HIS TEST BENCH! :rolleyes:

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 08:36 PM
I see a product emerging from this.

The RC Test Bench[tm].. A piece of wood that mounts
in a car with some gadget to make your
pyramid into a zapco. :p

If that fails, he could always sell RC race cars. /hehe

300Z
08-06-2003, 08:37 PM
Originally posted by thylantyr
I see a product emerging from this.

The RC Test Bench[tm].. A piece of wood that mounts
in a car with some gadget to make your
pyramid into a zapco. :p lol

Hobbes26
08-06-2003, 09:12 PM
Originally posted by 300Z
Sonic signatures are variance in frequency response
which he adjusts via EQ in the test bench if needed.

is it too hard to understand it or what?

RC only wants to prove that RAW AMPLIFIER TOPOLOGY of amplifiers of the SAME power ratings properly matched is difficult to distinguish.

Even RC has said, people are able
to hear differences between amplifiers as long as those two
amplifiers ARE NOT ON HIS TEST BENCH! :rolleyes:

I read the rules. There's nothing that says he EQs the amps
in any way, unless they're done for BOTH AMPS in the same
way. And they DON'T have to have the same power rating -
like I said before, you are able to set the volume you want to
listen at, provided both amps are set to output AT THE SAME
VOLUME and neither amp clips.

There are definitely measurable differences, but you can't
hear them.

thylantyr
08-06-2003, 09:26 PM
Last time I checked, RC only allows both amplifiers
to operate at the same power level unclipped
meaning you can compare a 10 watt amplifier
with a 1000 watt amplifier but both must be
setup to output only 10 watts unclipped, otherwise
not a fair comparison said the :bun: bunny wabbit :bun:

peter_euro
08-06-2003, 09:39 PM
Originally posted by thumperfbc
BUt but but... amps have no sonic characteristics of their own....


;)


riiiiight. Ignorance is bliss, i guess.

Maybe not.



Cool stuff man!
:bun: :bun: :bun: I agree with you fully... if there is any coloration to the sound, then it is either a function of tonal or freq controls on the amp or just plain old distortion... Some amps may appear to sound "warmer" but this is like comparing vinyl records to CDs... there is always someone who will swear by vinyl.... LOL... some people just never fail to amaze me...:rolleyes:

peter_euro
08-06-2003, 09:45 PM
Originally posted by 300Z
lol dude, RC is actually right... or should be technically right since the only thing an amp is suppose to do is to amplify the voltage of existing signal... nothing else, nothing else... Unfortunately, not all amps are designed and/or constructed equal... Thus you do encounter tonal differences, not something that is an intention of amp designer but the reality of production line: inferiority of some or all components, lower grade materials, etc. So what you perceive as a tonal characteristic of an amp is in reality distortion introduced in the signal pathway and caused by the factors stated above plus a few others...;)

300Z
08-08-2003, 05:27 PM
Originally posted by peter_euro
Unfortunately, not all amps are designed and/or constructed equal... Thus you do encounter tonal differences, not something that is an intention of amp designer but the reality of production line: inferiority of some or all components, lower grade materials, etc.
So what you perceive as a tonal characteristic of an amp is in reality distortion introduced in the signal pathway and caused by the factors stated above plus a few others...;) + freq responce variation, yes it can happen. and can be enough to be heard. that's what i'm talking about.
about 7-8 yrs ago i heard a class AB amp that his owner could never get to sound good powering his main speakers, the Freq responce was pretty bad we had hard time with EQ. but ended using the beast to low freq and it sounded fantastic. not to mention it powered 16 8ohm 18" woofers per ch in parallel. :eek: that thing was crazy... :eek:

300Z
08-08-2003, 05:32 PM
Originally posted by Hobbes26


quote:
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally posted by 300Z
Sonic signatures are variance in frequency response
which he adjusts via EQ in the test bench if needed.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I read the rules. There's nothing that says he EQs the amps
in any way, unless they're done for BOTH AMPS in the same
way. what do you understand on the above text?
where do you think is the variance in the freq responce?

Hobbes26
08-08-2003, 07:08 PM
Originally posted by 300Z
what do you understand on the above text?
where do you think is the variance in the freq responce?

???

Everything in the experimental setup is the same, except for
the amplifiers. IF there is an equalizer, there is only ONE used and it's connected to BOTH amps.

What do you not understand about what I wrote earlier?
:confused:

300Z
08-08-2003, 09:16 PM
Originally posted by Hobbes26


???

Everything in the experimental setup is the same, except for
the amplifiers. IF there is an equalizer, there is only ONE used and it's connected to BOTH amps.

What do you not understand about what I wrote earlier?
:confused: buddy, you're the one who do not understand it.

IF one of the 2 amps being tested has a flat FR. it will not need to be EQ, and if the second one doesnt have a flat FR then it will be EQ to flat it's FR. NOT both amps. what happens if he does the same EQ on both amps??? your guess... got that?

Z28SS
08-08-2003, 09:23 PM
You know, one thing I find amazing about this whole 'all amps sound the same' theme is that NOBODY who posted messages about the 'great and mysterious' Richard Clark challenge ever posted their OWN comments and experiences when testing amps. ESPECIALLY NOT ABOUT WHAT THEY HEARD WHEN THEY DEMOED THE BUTLER! Why is that?

If you think an amp is an amp, how did you arrive at that conclusion? Is it because you have personally critically tested a Sinfoni, Brax, Tru, Butler against a Rockford, Kicker, Sony, or anything else? Or is it because you just BELIEVE that there is no difference? Sorta like believing in Santa Claus? If someone said the sky is falling, would you believe them?

I could personally care LESS what Richard Clark says about amplifiers or about his 'challenge'. I don't care about his 'qualifications' or so-called experience. It's not MY experience, it's HIS. It's not MY opion, it's HIS! I care about what *I* hear and what *I* experience when testing amplifiers that I *OWN*. Does anyone base their opinions on their own experience anymore? Somehow it seems people are getting lazy or just more and more ignorant these days. :mad:

This whole thread has opened my eyes to just how ignorant people can be. 'Well, Richard Clark says this' or 'Richard Clark says that'... WHO GIVES A DAMN!!!!!!!!!

Every part of the audio chain CAN and DOES interact with every other part of the chain. I'm sorry to break this to you, but it's true. Just like the FACT that the sky is blue and gravity pulls stuff to the ground. Here's a few more FACTS: All Head Unit's sound the same from brand to brand, even model to model! RCA cables, AMPS, speaker wires, and the speakers themselves each have an audible signature and character that either add or subtract to the final sound that the system creates.

Most of the time when I demonstrate this to skeptics, they first don't hear the difference right away. Then I play the same 10-20 seconds of a high quality recording on amp A then B a few times, telling them to listen to the cymbals or a violin. Then, they smile and admit that they CAN hear what I'm talking about. It happens every time. It even happened at a local 'high-end' audio store where a sales person was trying to get me to buy a $1999 preamp instead of the $3500 one. I played my OWN music through both and the $3500 preamp was ALOT better sounding (I won't BORE the ignorant on here with my audiophile speak). I did the same thing with playing the same section of a recording over and over, and he heard it too. He couldn't believe the difference was so big. He then asked what the artist/title of the CD and bought a copy for his store to use for demoing.

Try this: go find someone with a Butler amp and actually LISTEN TO IT. Use a high quality recording (NOT RAP or HIP HOP! Something that has a BAND playing REAL INSTRUMENTS!). Then compare it to something else like a Kicker or Rockford. Once you have actually experienced the two, then you can open your mouth and give a personal account as to what you heard.

keefyboy
08-08-2003, 09:26 PM
Yeah,
qualifications and experience don't count for anything, anyway.

Guess I'll go apply for that CEO job Monday.
-keith

thylantyr
08-08-2003, 09:29 PM
all amps sound the same

This was my first assumption when I heard about
the challenge, but upon further review, this is
not the claims being made and this where most
of the confusion lies.

Any amplifiers can be setup in such a manner
that the end user can't distunguish between the two.

The keyword is can, it doesn't mean a "out of the box"
amplifier will.

keefyboy
08-08-2003, 09:34 PM
I just can't believe someone is gullible enough to buy Kimber... :rolleyes:

It just does NOT make a difference at the frequencies that car audio runs at.

GigE over copper, yeah, you might worry about "skin effect" or some crap, but at 20KHz? 40KHz even?
-keith

Z28SS
08-08-2003, 09:37 PM
Originally posted by thylantyr
all amps sound the same

This was my first assumption when I heard about
the challenge, but upon further review, this is
not the claims being made and this where most
of the confusion lies.

Any amplifiers can be setup in such a manner
that the end user can't distunguish between the two.

The keyword is can, it doesn't mean a "out of the box"
amplifier will.

*Exactly!* Unless you TRY to make them sound the same, they WON'T! In other words, they DO sound different but can be MADE to perform simular on a test bench. I don't know about you, but I never TRIED to make one amp sound like another. I would rather base my decision on what amp *I* think sounds best in my system. Hence the whole REASON I posted this review in the first place - to try and describe the audible character of this amp as best as I could.

Z28SS
08-08-2003, 09:42 PM
Originally posted by keefyboy
I just can't believe someone is gullible enough to buy Kimber... :rolleyes:

It just does NOT make a difference at the frequencies that car audio runs at.

GigE over copper, yeah, you might worry about "skin effect" or some crap, but at 20KHz? 40KHz even?
-keith

What cables have you auditioned in your home and car? What made you decide on one brand or another? I sure hope you tested or listened to different cables before you made your decision. Otherwise, why would you make a comment like that? Unless you heard it yourself and are basing your opinion on experience, then your comment doesn't make sense. :confused:

I *HAVE* tested various cables in my home system, in high end stores, and in my car. To tell you the truth, I never heard the Kimber 4VS cable until I used it in my car. I actually DON'T LIKE the Kimber cable! I would actually rather use something from Monster or Silver Sonic. I admit it was a mistake to use the Kimber cable, but it was a gamble.

Hobbes26
08-08-2003, 09:43 PM
Originally posted by 300Z
buddy, you're the one who do not understand it.

IF one of the 2 amps being tested has a flat FR. it will not need to be EQ, and if the second one doesnt have a flat FR then it will be EQ to flat it's FR. NOT both amps. what happens if he does the same EQ on both amps??? your guess... got that?


Okay, here's the rule under question.


5. That all amplifiers with signal processors have those circuits bypassed. This includes bass boost circuits, filters, etc. If frequency tailoring circuits cannot be completely bypassed an equalizer will be inserted in the signal path of one (only one and the listener can decide which) of the amps to compensate for the difference. Compensation will also be made for input and output loading that affects frequency response. Since we are only listening for differences in the sonic signature of circuit topology, the addition of an EQ in one signal path only should make the test even easier.


The EQ is only placed in the loop IF there is extra signal
processing that cannot be taken out of the loop, not if one has flat FR or not..

So assuming there's no signal processing, why has no one passed the test still?

jsujo
08-08-2003, 09:46 PM
is it just me or, BK Butler's site removed the Demo units sale, and doesnt post the prices for the amps like they used to..

Hobbes26
08-08-2003, 09:51 PM
Originally posted by Z28SS


*Exactly!* Unless you TRY to make them sound the same, they WON'T! In other words, they DO sound different but can be MADE to perform simular on a test bench. I don't know about you, but I never TRIED to make one amp sound like another. I would rather base my decision on what amp *I* think sounds best in my system. Hence the whole REASON I posted this review in the first place - to try and describe the audible character of this amp as best as I could.

You dont TRY to make them the same... You're trying to
objectively, scientifically make the test conditions such that what
you're testing is ONLY the amplifier.

Is it fair to test amplifiers when they're outputting at different
volumes?

Has no one heard of the scientific method?

Hobbes26
08-08-2003, 10:21 PM
Originally posted by thylantyr
all amps sound the same

This was my first assumption when I heard about
the challenge, but upon further review, this is
not the claims being made and this where most
of the confusion lies.

Any amplifiers can be setup in such a manner
that the end user can't distunguish between the two.

The keyword is can, it doesn't mean a "out of the box"
amplifier will.


But do you think the test conditions are set up fairly for
a comparison of the 'sound' of an amplifier?

Z28SS
08-08-2003, 10:35 PM
Originally posted by Hobbes26


You dont TRY to make them the same... You're trying to
objectively, scientifically make the test conditions such that what
you're testing is ONLY the amplifier.

Is it fair to test amplifiers when they're outputting at different
volumes?

Has no one heard of the scientific method?


HUH? What are you talking about? Reviewers test amplifiers and other components EVERYDAY. Don't you remember seeing those charts and results of watts, THD, etc in the sidebar in a magazine? How about the manufacturer specs compared to the bench tests. I see them all the time. Are they not being scientific? What part of a review do you care MOST about? I don't know about you, but I care HOW IT SOUNDS!

Remember, the main job of an amp is to amplify an AC waveform THAT VARIES IN FREQUENCIES. This is harder than it sounds. The amp must be able to take a very low signal and boost it to many, many times it's strength. The signal is not kept inside some 'perfect vacuum' or protected by some sorta force field as it travels through the circuit. It is exposed to all sorts of noise and interference as it's amplitude is 'enlarged' (sorta like a xerox machine) and made stronger through the circuit. Remember, the signal gains it's strength only by what the circuit GIVES IT. That means the voltage and current the signal recieves must be clean and free of noise. First of all, this noise free condition is very hard, if not impossible to achieve. Just like a copy or enlargement from a zerox machine has small imperfections. This amplification process is what CAN and DOES introduce audible character to the final amplified signal.

What seperates the cheap amps from the expensive amps is how clean and pure the original signal structure is retained during this highly sensitive process. The design and parts selection plays a big role in how faithful the amp will do this under a typical load. The reason a Tube amp has an identifiable sound characteristic is because it operates in a more linear fashion than a transistor. This is actually a DESIRABLE characteristic. Tubes also add 'color' to the sound in the form of harmonics. The harmonics are added by the tube and enhance the percieved SQ because our brains like harmonics - ever hear of the word harmony? Harmonics come in two flavors - odd and even order. Odd order harmonics don't sound very good. Hey, guess what? Transistors tend to create/add/amplify odd order harmonics more than even. Oh yea - guess what tubes are good at? Even order harmonics - the ones we perceive as more pleasing to the ear. That's why they sound usually better.

All of these factors from the topology, design, and parts selection/placement all play a part in how the amp will sound. No GOOD amplifier designer justs whips out a design using a PCB CAD software and gives the design to the production department. The design is built using various brands of parts and tested by CRITICAL LISTENING. A designer/engineer may like what he hears, or he may suggest changing a components value (Cap, resistor, choke, etc.) and have a new prototype built. This testing process may take a while. They also do tons of bench testing under various loads. All of this is done to ensure the amp sounds good under the expected conditions in your car/home. Pyramid, Lanzar, Boss, Pyle, etc. may not go through the same rigorous testing that a company like Halcro or Krell does. But then again, all of this design/redesign, protyping, bench testing and listening takes time and money. Something Pyramid may not want to invest.

Hobbes26
08-08-2003, 10:46 PM
I know that there are differences in THD, power, quality,
tolerances, etc...

But the test is to determine the sound of the amp. Not the
power handling or impedance load that's allowed. Not anything
but the 'sound' of the amp.

Hobbes26
08-08-2003, 10:52 PM
Look, I'm not doubting that you heard differences. Nor that you
thought it sounded awesome or whatnot.
I'm saying that the 'amp challenge' has some merit, and can't
entirely be written off as being a bunk challenge that has no
meaning.

keefyboy
08-08-2003, 11:46 PM
Originally posted by Z28SS


What cables have you auditioned in your home and car? What made you decide on one brand or another? I sure hope you tested or listened to different cables before you made your decision. Otherwise, why would you make a comment like that? Unless you heard it yourself and are basing your opinion on experience, then your comment doesn't make sense. :confused:

I *HAVE* tested various cables in my home system, in high end stores, and in my car. To tell you the truth, I never heard the Kimber 4VS cable until I used it in my car. I actually DON'T LIKE the Kimber cable! I would actually rather use something from Monster or Silver Sonic. I admit it was a mistake to use the Kimber cable, but it was a gamble.

Auditioned?

Crackmonkey, you don't AUDITION wire. It works or it doesn't.

Lamp cord wire works as well as your beloved Kimber UNLESS you're talking GIGAHERTZ frequencies. And since we're discussing CAR AUDIO, you are WASTING money buying Kimber.

There is NO performace difference between Kimber and lamp cord. If you heard a difference, it's because you MADE yourself hear a difference. :rolleyes:
-keith

Z28SS
08-09-2003, 12:25 AM
Originally posted by keefyboy


Auditioned?

Crackmonkey, you don't AUDITION wire. It works or it doesn't.

Lamp cord wire works as well as your beloved Kimber UNLESS you're talking GIGAHERTZ frequencies. And since we're discussing CAR AUDIO, you are WASTING money buying Kimber.

There is NO performace difference between Kimber and lamp cord. If you heard a difference, it's because you MADE yourself hear a difference. :rolleyes:
-keith

Wow. Since you seem so sure your right, tell me all about how you came to this conclusion! I wanna know all the details! What equipment did you use when you tested Kimber cable against lamp cord? You did actually LISTEN to each cable, right? I mean you're so strong in your opinion that you must have did ALOT of testing to come to this conclusion, right? You're not just basing this on your hatred for people who can afford that stuff, right? You didn't just make up your mind without even hearing it for yourself, right?

I know it's a simple test - one that I do ALL THE TIME. I connect speakers using say Kimber 4TC, Radio Shack 'megacable' and maybe some Straightwire Maestro cables. I bring a skeptic in and let them hear the same song played though each cable. After hearing each cable, THEY can tell the difference. It may be a small difference, but it IS audible. With good electronics and speakers, it becomes CHILDSPLAY to pick one from the other.

:whine:

Hobbes26
08-09-2003, 01:26 AM
Ever tried testing it with a double blind method?

keefyboy
08-09-2003, 02:34 AM
Doubt it.
Psychoacoustics does wonders. Or did you use an osilliscope? No? Then I BET you heard the difference in your mind.

Just because either you earn alot or someone's bankrolling you, doesn't make others jealous. Nor does a high pricetag make something superior.

No, more likely your ability to waste money without worrying about finances clouds your ability to critically think about something, especially something that is affordable by the "little people".

Tell me, how does Kimber work better? There's nothing at all to support Kimber's claims. Skin effect? Not at kilohertz frequencies. Conductivity? Normal copper has such low resistance (lamp cord) that Kimber, even if it does have purer copper, you don't gain anything.

Plus, in a car audio environment, there is so much other noise that you are wasting money that could be better used elsewhere. And if you can afford all that AND Kimber, have fun with your "jewelry". Because that's all Kimber is.
-keith

Z28SS
08-09-2003, 03:30 AM
Originally posted by keefyboy
Doubt it.
Psychoacoustics does wonders. Or did you use an osilliscope? No? Then I BET you heard the difference in your mind.

Just because either you earn alot or someone's bankrolling you, doesn't make others jealous. Nor does a high pricetag make something superior.

No, more likely your ability to waste money without worrying about finances clouds your ability to critically think about something, especially something that is affordable by the "little people".

Tell me, how does Kimber work better? There's nothing at all to support Kimber's claims. Skin effect? Not at kilohertz frequencies. Conductivity? Normal copper has such low resistance (lamp cord) that Kimber, even if it does have purer copper, you don't gain anything.

Plus, in a car audio environment, there is so much other noise that you are wasting money that could be better used elsewhere. And if you can afford all that AND Kimber, have fun with your "jewelry". Because that's all Kimber is.
-keith

First off, you never answered my question. You never posted anything about HOW you came to your conclusion and WHY you have such strong beliefs on this subbject. You never list any examples of personal experience with ANY of the products I mentioned. Why should anyone take your advice or give your opinion any weight?

And NO, I don't earn alot of money. Also, nobody is 'bankrolling me', although at times I wish they would! Kimber 4VS cable is not TERRIBLY expensive as you would like others to believe ($2.50/ft is what I paid). And why, may I ask, are you stuck on bashing Kimber? I even admitted a few posts ago that I didn't LIKE the Kimber cable in my car. I wasn't touting it as some sorta tonik or miracle cure-all. There are alot of other brands that sound better, IMHO, like Wireworld, Straightwire, Silver Sonic, and yes, even some MONSTER cables.

How did the Kimber cable work better - quick answer - it DIDN'T. It ADDED to the cold and robotic sound of the JL Audio amp.

I'm curious - what does your car audio system consist of? What components do you have in your home audio system? I spilled the beans on what I have, how about you?

Oh yea, one more thing - I did go to a trade school 9 years ago for electronics and yes, I have used an osciliscope and wave generator. I learned about analog as well as digital circuits. I'm no expert, but I don't CLAIM to be. I do claim to be an audioholic and self proclaimed audiophile. :D

placenta
08-09-2003, 03:40 AM
"Oh yea, one more thing - I did go to a trade school 9 years ago for electronics and yes, I have used an osciliscope and wave generator. I learned about analog as well as digital circuits. I'm no expert, but I don't CLAIM to be. I do claim to be an audioholic and self proclaimed audiophile. "

hahahaha... dont tell me it was Heald? cuz i did the same thing about 6-7 years ago..

keefyboy
08-09-2003, 03:49 AM
Well,
thanks for answering intelligently at least. And I don't mean that sarcastically, some of these flamewars can get caustic, and I tend to be the battery acid! :o

As far as why I'm bashing Kimber so?

Well, the only Kimber I've ever seen was in Yamagiwa in the Akihabara electronics district in Japan. That was for home audio, and it was approximately a 3 meter cable, well over $150, may have been $250 (it was about 3 years ago, going from memory). And it irks me that someone who might read your comments might decide to not get into car audio because they assume that if you dont have a fat wallet, you won't get good sound.

No, I have never heard Kimber. With my assuption that it's $OMG / ft, I was *not* going to try it myself, and I'm the only car audio nut I know personally other than my brother, but he's poorer than me, and he lives 250 miles away. :(

I have such strong beliefs because I've seen too many times things that are hideously expensive that yield no benefit (Slick50, SCSI drives for home PCs, etc...).

I've heard a few types of wires, and I couldn't hear the difference between the best Monster / RF / whathaveyou and Road Gear from Wal-Mart. I am also NOT a golden-eared tweak, the cheap stuff saves me money as I can't hear the difference, in-car. But reading what the golden-eared tweaks DO have to say on the subject, I get the idea that I wasn't far wrong. I also know a bit from working with computers, and while I don't have your experience, I didn't see anything that would lead me to believe that cheap wire, as long as it's undamaged, would do anything different from high-end wire.

But if you want to talk in-home, I *still* won't agree about the wiring, but I get a woody from B&O. Enya sounds goooood at the B&O store. (I can't afford $7000 for two Beolabs!!!)
-keith

Name
08-09-2003, 03:52 AM
It's funny how, "All" amps sound the same except the likes of Pyramid, or Legacy, or Pyle. Excuse me!!! But, UUUH!!! Aren't they amps too? I'll no will bet that a stock Pyle amp will sound as good as a stock Brax amp. If so, then arguing with you about how there "is" a difference would make me just as dense as you...:D

Z28SS
08-09-2003, 04:02 AM
Originally posted by Hobbes26


You dont TRY to make them the same... You're trying to
objectively, scientifically make the test conditions such that what
you're testing is ONLY the amplifier.

Is it fair to test amplifiers when they're outputting at different
volumes?

Has no one heard of the scientific method?

But after all of that scientific testing and modifying, are you not TAINTING the result? He admits that modification beyond calibrating levels (gains) are needed to make the changes needed for the comparison, correct? That's like saying:

"To test one engine against another, you need to make the one with more power - less powerful and the smoother one run rougher. That way, you can really test the performance of the piston alone."

Why not take the amplifier apart and test ONLY the transistors? What will you gain buy using such test methologies? The only test that is valid is turning off or bypassing and sound contouring (bass/treble boost) and hi/lo pass filters and calibrating each amp using a volt meter. Then, sit down and critically LISTEN to each amp. Our ears should be the final judge because after all, that's what this whole thing is about - creating the best sonic experience as you can. If one amp sounds better than another, I have no problem admitting it.

Why do so many people have such a hard time understanding this? Amps are not 'digital' devices and are not perfectly linear in their output. They are not perfect copy machines. They are analog. They are reactive to speaker loads. They are prone to audio degredation and colorization. They are not some perfectly sterile link between your HU and speakers. Sorry.

Here's another thing to throw into the mix - each amp topology usually follows a design that is either high CURRENT or high VOLTAGE to create the 'watts' of power. Remember Ohms law - V * C = W? Voltage is like horsepower and current is like torque. Cheap amps create watts with horsepower, but with little torque. Expensive amps create their watts with alot of torque. You need current to move speakers.

A Pyramid amp is like a turbo 4 cylinder.
An Arc Audio or Brax is like a V12, normally aspirated.

The Pyramid may make 1600 watts, but only at it's 'redline'. The Arc Audio amp will make 1600 watts just above idle - straight through to redline.

That's about as simple as I can explain this.

Hobbes26
08-09-2003, 07:43 AM
It is admitted that amps are different. And that they have
differences that are measurable. That those differences
are not audible under certain conditions is the claim.

You're not testing something thats concrete, like a power
rating. And you're not using 'perfect' test equipment to test
it.

Hobbes26
08-09-2003, 08:03 AM
Here's the link to the amp challenge roolz

RC Amp Challenge (http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=18815)

Read it.

What do you not think is fair?

thylantyr
08-09-2003, 09:20 AM
The majority of amplifiers are voltage
amplifiers, either over-engineered or
under-engineered.

Cheap amps = poor build quailty,
no redundency, under-engineered,
over-rated power.

Good amps = good build quality,
redundency, over-engineered,
under-rated power.

The reasons why cheap amps
may not drive your speaker compared
to another good amplifier of the same
rating is because the cheap one
won't really do rated power and
you notice the lack of power....

So, a 100w cheap amp vs. 100w good
amp may sound different where the
cheap amp doesn't drive the woofers
clean... this is because it's not driving
100w in reality.

The 'high current' label is more of a
marketing identifier and everyone uses
the terminology. There is nothing wrong
with using the words 'high current', but
it doesn't mean anything without a
comparison.

It's like me saying "I have a fast car".
fast compared to what? with no comparison, saying high current
is meaningless.

Amplifiers that are designed to drive
low impedance loads, the marketing
people tend to place the label of
high current on these amplifiers
to identify this particular amplifier
from the regular one they sell....

Example;

regular amp = 100w @ 4 ohms.
high current amp = 100w @ 1/2 ohm.

Both amplifiers output 100w, but
into a different loads.

For this example, assume the
regular amp is not rated for less
than 4 ohms.

The high current amp would have a
12.5w @ 4 ohm rating.

/rough estimates
The regular amp would deliver
about 20 volts rms across 4 ohms
to provide 100w and deliver
5 amperes of current.

The high current amp would deliver
about 7 volts rms across 4 ohms
to provide 12.5w and deliver
1.75 amperes of current and
deliver 14 amperes at 1/2 ohm
to get 100w.

Is there any sonic different between
the regular amplifier driving a 4 ohm
woofer @ 100w vs. the high current
amp driving a 1/2 ohm woofer @ 100w ?

The million dollar question ... /hehe
Both woofers receive 100 watts,
will they both sound identical ? /hehe

You be the judge.

captain_video
08-27-2003, 03:30 PM
This forum reminds me of every other forum I've belonged to. Post a topic and see how quickly it goes in a different direction. But now back to the original discussion on Butler amps. I just recently got the bug to update my car system so I started looking about to see what the latest and greatest gear was that could be had. I started looking at some MB Quart speakers and then heard about the QSD's and the Focal Utopias. I'm sure there are lots of other high quality brands out there but none that became readily apparent at the time. I spent days searching for dealers within a reasonable driving distance to audition these speakers but none could be found. I finally said what the heck and found a dealer advertising the Focal Utopia 165's on ebay for a decent price brand new in the box. I ordered two sets to install in my 1999 VW Passat. I talked to a local Focal dealer that only had the PolyKevlars on display but he raved about the Utopias and somewhere during the conversation he started talking about these amazing amps called Butler Tube Drivers. They sounded like they'd be a perfect match for the Utopias.

I looked up every bit of info I could find but there's not much out there on these amps except a couple of scattered reviews. I used to be into high end home audio until it made me totally neurotic. I could literally hear changes in the way my Magneplanar Tympani 1D loudspeakers sounded with changes in the weather and it drove me nuts! I eventually got married and had kids (one's in college and another about to go in fall of 2004) so my days of high end gear came to an abrupt halt. My tastes eventually spilled over into home theater so all of my music listening was pretty much limited to what I had in my car.

My current system consists of a set of a/d/s 320i separates and a set of 325i separates. I've got an a/d/s/ PQ20.2 amp driving the mids and a PQ10 driving the highs. I have another PQ20.2 in bridged mode driving an a/d/s/ SB7 sub box. A Sony XEC-1000 crossover is used to channel all the frequencies to the right places. The head unit is an Eclipse ECD-415 with an ESD-430 12-disc changer. Every item was purchased on ebay for a fraction of its original list price.

I just bought a pair of Butler 750 amps that I saw advertised and another 475 that I picked up on ebay. This will give me a total of 8 channels of amplification to drive the Utopia components. I'm still waiting for the speakers and amps to arrive and at this point I had not listened to any of them. I have always had a thing for tube gear so I know I'm not going to be disappointed by the Butlers. The earlier posts in this thread (you know, back when you guys were actually talking about the original topic) reinforce what I expect to hear. I picked up a Precision Power FRX-456 crossover for more precise adjustment of the crossover frequencies since the Sony only has fixed crossover points.

Until today, I hadn't actually seen a picture of the 750 amps (thanks for the pics, Z28SS). I am assuming the 475 is similar in appearance but I'm hoping it's more in keeping with the size of the current 475 Blue model. I'm sure most of you are thinking "Is this guy totally bonkers? He spent big bucks on gear he's never heard!" My response would have to be a resounding yes. I probably am bonkers but I got frustrated by the fact that I can't find anyone locally that's got the gear to audition so I figured I'd take the plunge. Heck, if I don't like it there's always ebay, right? Based on everything I've read, it sounds like it's going to be a quantum leap from the gear I currently own.

As for the off-topic discussion, the high end industry has gotten totally insane. There was a time when I could sit down and listen to a system and actually detect differences in what I was hearing between components. It takes a trained ear and a lot of listening experience to do this. I have since forgotten everything I ever learned about critical listening in a home environment. Perhaps it was my brain shutting down as part of the healing process required during audio withdrawal. Most of the crap being foisted on the public these days is 99% hype coupled with a belief that component A will sound better than component B. Don't misunderstand me, I think high end audio is an amazing experience to behold. It's just that most of it is now so insanely overpriced that you have to make a minimum of six figures before you even walk into an audio salon these days.

I seriously doubt that most high end reviewers could identify most of the gear they listened to if everything was set up without them knowing what components were used in a system. I believe that there's a lot of preconceived notions about certain high-end brands that will sway even the most noteworthy reviewers out there. I'm sure there's a bit or irony in this statement because I just purchased gear based on preconceived notions myself so take it for what it's worth. My feeling is, if it sounds good to you then that's all that matters. If I decide I don't like the Focals or the Butlers then I'll sell them and try something else. I have a sneaking feeling that I won't be disappointed with my purchases, however.

platnum525
08-27-2003, 03:35 PM
i just purchased a butler 750 tube amp new for 260 on ebay i hooked it up and the sound was incredible i had the jlxr's biamped before on a jl300/4 and now they are just hooked up regular on the 750 on 2 channels and its amazing

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
This forum reminds me of every other forum I've belonged to. Post a topic and see how quickly it goes in a different direction. But now back to the original discussion on Butler amps. I just recently got the bug to update my car system so I started looking about to see what the latest and greatest gear was that could be had. I started looking at some MB Quart speakers and then heard about the QSD's and the Focal Utopias. I'm sure there are lots of other high quality brands out there but none that became readily apparent at the time. I spent days searching for dealers within a reasonable driving distance to audition these speakers but none could be found. I finally said what the heck and found a dealer advertising the Focal Utopia 165's on ebay for a decent price brand new in the box. I ordered two sets to install in my 1999 VW Passat. I talked to a local Focal dealer that only had the PolyKevlars on display but he raved about the Utopias and somewhere during the conversation he started talking about these amazing amps called Butler Tube Drivers. They sounded like they'd be a perfect match for the Utopias.

I looked up every bit of info I could find but there's not much out there on these amps except a couple of scattered reviews. I used to be into high end home audio until it made me totally neurotic. I could literally hear changes in the way my Magneplanar Tympani 1D loudspeakers sounded with changes in the weather and it drove me nuts! I eventually got married and had kids (one's in college and another about to go in fall of 2004) so my days of high end gear came to an abrupt halt. My tastes eventually spilled over into home theater so all of my music listening was pretty much limited to what I had in my car.

My current system consists of a set of a/d/s 320i separates and a set of 325i separates. I've got an a/d/s/ PQ20.2 amp driving the mids and a PQ10 driving the highs. I have another PQ20.2 in bridged mode driving an a/d/s/ SB7 sub box. A Sony XEC-1000 crossover is used to channel all the frequencies to the right places. The head unit is an Eclipse ECD-415 with an ESD-430 12-disc changer. Every item was purchased on ebay for a fraction of its original list price.

I just bought a pair of Butler 750 amps that I saw advertised and another 475 that I picked up on ebay. This will give me a total of 8 channels of amplification to drive the Utopia components. I'm still waiting for the speakers and amps to arrive and at this point I had not listened to any of them. I have always had a thing for tube gear so I know I'm not going to be disappointed by the Butlers. The earlier posts in this thread (you know, back when you guys were actually talking about the original topic) reinforce what I expect to hear. I picked up a Precision Power FRX-456 crossover for more precise adjustment of the crossover frequencies since the Sony only has fixed crossover points.

Until today, I hadn't actually seen a picture of the 750 amps (thanks for the pics, Z28SS). I am assuming the 475 is similar in appearance but I'm hoping it's more in keeping with the size of the current 475 Blue model. I'm sure most of you are thinking "Is this guy totally bonkers? He spent big bucks on gear he's never heard!" My response would have to be a resounding yes. I probably am bonkers but I got frustrated by the fact that I can't find anyone locally that's got the gear to audition so I figured I'd take the plunge. Heck, if I don't like it there's always ebay, right? Based on everything I've read, it sounds like it's going to be a quantum leap from the gear I currently own.

As for the off-topic discussion, the high end industry has gotten totally insane. There was a time when I could sit down and listen to a system and actually detect differences in what I was hearing between components. It takes a trained ear and a lot of listening experience to do this. I have since forgotten everything I ever learned about critical listening in a home environment. Perhaps it was my brain shutting down as part of the healing process required during audio withdrawal. Most of the crap being foisted on the public these days is 99% hype coupled with a belief that component A will sound better than component B. Don't misunderstand me, I think high end audio is an amazing experience to behold. It's just that most of it is now so insanely overpriced that you have to make a minimum of six figures before you even walk into an audio salon these days.

I seriously doubt that most high end reviewers could identify most of the gear they listened to if everything was set up without them knowing what components were used in a system. I believe that there's a lot of preconceived notions about certain high-end brands that will sway even the most noteworthy reviewers out there. I'm sure there's a bit or irony in this statement because I just purchased gear based on preconceived notions myself so take it for what it's worth. My feeling is, if it sounds good to you then that's all that matters. If I decide I don't like the Focals or the Butlers then I'll sell them and try something else. I have a sneaking feeling that I won't be disappointed with my purchases, however. agreed on both accounts: you have gone off the deep end and the audio industry has lost a sense of direction, replacing innovation and creativity with marketing hype and sales pitches (your choice of vacuum tube amps is the proof of their success...) ;) Your choice of vacuum tube technology is analogous to fitting a Model T with the newest design supercharger... Perhaps you should replace your all too modern CD head unit with a turntable (with a hand crank) since the vinyl recordings are oh so warm sounding too :mad::rolleyes:

placenta
08-27-2003, 04:02 PM
I enjoyed reading your long story. Thanks.

captain_video
08-27-2003, 04:07 PM
I disagree about the vacuum tube analogy. Just because something is newer doesn't make it better (i.e. solid state). The "state of the art" of solid state gear has improved dramatically over the years and some of the newer designs can almost duplicate the warmth and naturalness associated with tube designs. Not everyone shares the same affection for tube gear, mostly because they've never been exposed to it for extended periods and assume that because it's old that it's no good. Tubes have a definite sound all their own. They began a resurgence in popularity with the high end crowd mainly because they do tend to sound more natural and open than most solid state designs.

The marketing hype had nothing to do with my preference for tube designs. The first time I ever heard a tube preamp was back in the mid 70's when I walked into an audio store looking for a cassette deck for my car. I walked in the front door right at the same time someone put on a record of The Pointer Sisters. It was playing through an Audio Research SP-3 preamp, an Audio Research Dual 76 power amp (both used all-tube designs) and a set of Magneplanar Tympani 1C loudspeakers. I believe it was playing back on a Thorens turntable with a B&O SP-12 phone cartridge. The sound literally stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to look to see where the music was coming from. If I had closed my eyes I would have sworn that The Pointer Sisters were in the room right there with me. I had never heard anything so natural sounding in my life. I was hooked from that moment on. It was nothing short of a revelation.

My point was not to put down the high end audio industry. There's definitely a place for it but, as you said, it's gone off the deep end. It didn't take long for marketers to realize that there was a niche crowd to whom money was no object and that they would pay all costs to have the latest and greatest gear. The stuff is absolutely wonderful to listen to but it's not even in the same ballpark with my budget.

jujumantb
08-27-2003, 04:21 PM
Originally posted by Name
It's funny how, "All" amps sound the same except the likes of Pyramid, or Legacy, or Pyle. Excuse me!!! But, UUUH!!! Aren't they amps too? I'll no will bet that a stock Pyle amp will sound as good as a stock Brax amp. If so, then arguing with you about how there "is" a difference would make me just as dense as you...:D
Those amps do sound the same as a brax when all processing is removed and you are listening to raw amplifier. The point is that a brax is what? $600 more than a pyramid? But with a few cheap passive components, you can make a pyramid sound the same (minus the little extra power the brax may give you depending on the models of amps).

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 04:26 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
I disagree about the vacuum tube analogy. Just because something is newer doesn't make it better (i.e. solid state). The "state of the art" of solid state gear has improved dramatically over the years and some of the newer designs can almost duplicate the warmth and naturalness associated with tube designs. Not everyone shares the same affection for tube gear, mostly because they've never been exposed to it for extended periods and assume that because it's old that it's no good. Tubes have a definite sound all their own. They began a resurgence in popularity with the high end crowd mainly because they do tend to sound more natural and open than most solid state designs.

The marketing hype had nothing to do with my preference for tube designs. The first time I ever heard a tube preamp was back in the mid 70's when I walked into an audio store looking for a cassette deck for my car. I walked in the front door right at the same time someone put on a record of The Pointer Sisters. It was playing through an Audio Research SP-3 preamp, an Audio Research Dual 76 power amp (both used all-tube designs) and a set of Magneplanar Tympani 1C loudspeakers. I believe it was playing back on a Thorens turntable with a B&O SP-12 phone cartridge. The sound literally stopped me dead in my tracks. I had to look to see where the music was coming from. If I had closed my eyes I would have sworn that The Pointer Sisters were in the room right there with me. I had never heard anything so natural sounding in my life. I was hooked from that moment on. It was nothing short of a revelation.

My point was not to put down the high end audio industry. There's definitely a place for it but, as you said, it's gone off the deep end. It didn't take long for marketers to realize that there was a niche crowd to whom money was no object and that they would pay all costs to have the latest and greatest gear. The stuff is absolutely wonderful to listen to but it's not even in the same ballpark with my budget. an amp should not have "a sound to its own"... it should be transparent... get it? amplifier amplifies, nothing else... the more efficient it is the better... The tubes will never be nearly as efficient as transistors or IC's, this is the fact-this is why the tubes disappeared from TV's and home audio... Since there are suckers born every minute (second?), there are always unscrupulous people out there praying on others people's weaknesses and sentiments... The first computers were living room size contraptions full of vacuum tubes but that changed when the technology progressed... Idolizing old technology is ridicoulus but there is no point in convincing you otherwise since you obviously bought into it...:rolleyes:

jujumantb
08-27-2003, 04:31 PM
Originally posted by peter_euro
an amp should not have "a sound to its own"... it should be transparent... get it? amplifier amplifies, nothing else... the more efficient it is the better... The tubes will never be nearly as efficient as transistors or IC's, this is the fact-this is why the tubes disappeared from TV's and home audio... Since there are suckers born every minute (second?), there are always unscrupulous people out there praying on others people's weaknesses and sentiments... The first computers were living room size contraptions full of vacuum tubes but that changed when the technology progressed... Idolizing old technology is ridicoulus but there is no point in convincing you otherwise since you obviously bought into it...:rolleyes:
Very true but people DO like the sound of whatever distortion a tube amp gives em. It's like going back the the vinyl vs CD thing... some people like the crackling and distortion a vinyl gives em. Is that wrong? no. Strange? mmmmhmmm :)

placenta
08-27-2003, 04:32 PM
so some people like old school. who the hell cares. they aren't wrong for liking it.. i like a lot of old school things.

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 04:38 PM
Originally posted by jujumantb

Very true but people DO like the sound of whatever distortion a tube amp gives em. It's like going back the the vinyl vs CD thing... some people like the crackling and distortion a vinyl gives em. Is that wrong? no. Strange? mmmmhmmm :) yeah, now you are talking... time to face it, the warmth is not a sound quality but rather result of distortion and limited dynamic range of vacuum tube equipment... But, whatever... each to its own... This may be silly to me or you but other people would not have it any other way... After all, the business of bringing old things as new is booming... I am amazed how the old "muscle " cars are being updated to today's standards and how many people line up to buy them... Matter of personal taste I guess... Just try not to push it as superior to today's technology... This is what the progress is all about, making things better and easier to live with... :D

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 04:40 PM
Originally posted by placenta
so some people like old school. who the hell cares. they aren't wrong for liking it.. i like a lot of old school things. nobody is knocking them for liking it, each to its own... I am knocking them for saying how much warmer and musical these things are... This part is B.S., mistaking psychoacoustics for specs... Wake up dude...

placenta
08-27-2003, 04:41 PM
Hey I enjoy my Brax amp very much. But I also think I'd like a TDB. I don't like all old school things.. but muscle cars? you better beleive it.. i've had 2 '68 chargers, one with a 440.. and i will have one again someday.. when gas is free.

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 04:46 PM
Originally posted by placenta
Hey I enjoy my Brax amp very much. But I also think I'd like a TDB. I don't like all old school things.. but muscle cars? you better beleive it.. i've had 2 '68 chargers, one with a 440.. and i will have one again someday.. when gas is free. psychoacoustics... autoacoustics... LOL

captain_video
08-27-2003, 06:24 PM
an amp should not have "a sound to its own"... it should be transparent... get it? amplifier amplifies, nothing else... the more efficient it is the better... The tubes will never be nearly as efficient as transistors or IC's, this is the fact-this is why the tubes disappeared from TV's and home audio... Since there are suckers born every minute (second?), there are always unscrupulous people out there praying on others people's weaknesses and sentiments... The first computers were living room size contraptions full of vacuum tubes but that changed when the technology progressed... Idolizing old technology is ridicoulus but there is no point in convincing you otherwise since you obviously bought into it...

Aaahh, a closed mind is a terrible thing, what a waste! Why don't you tell us how you really feel? I can't argue about all the hype that's surrounded the high end industry. It's the reason I got out of it but certainly not the reason I "bought" into it. I got into the high end arena because I met a knowledgeable salesperson that was also a high-end enthusiast that taught me the basics of critical listening. It was the hype that made me crazy and forced me to get away from it. I have to admit that in those days I experienced more pleasure listening to music than I suspect you will ever have in your lifetime. Nowadays my musical listening is limited to whatever time I spend in my car or whatever soundtrack is playing in the background on my home theater system.

Discussions about high-end audio are like religion and politics. Everyone has an opinion about it and declare that theirs is the only right one. I don't really feel that way. If you don't think tubes improve the quality of the sound then that's your opinion and you're welcome to it. If you don't like the sound of tube gear then I suspect that you really haven't had much exposure to it or really have no clue what live music sounds like. I'm not talking about amplified or synthesized crap but live vocals and acoustical instruments. However, my philosophy is listen to whatever makes you happy. If you think that solid state is nirvanna then more power to you. Just don't dis the rest of us that think differently. I've spent over 40 years auditioning audio gear and listening to live music.

Most people don't have a clue how to listen to musical reproduction. It's not a failing but something that really needs to be taught. They keep trying to listen to the hardware and not the music itself but they don't have a reference for comparison. I agree wholeheartedly that an amp should not have a sound of it's own but rather should let the music pass through it unaffected. That's what attracted me to tube products in the first place. They allowed the music to sound more natural and musical than anything else I had heard before.

In case you're interested, a good number of audio engineer and music producers use tube gear for producing a lot of today's music. The reason for this is that they are trained professionals that know what music is supposed to sound like. Have you ever wondered why musicians don't use solid state amps for their guitars and other musical instruments? It's for musicality, plain and simple. This is one area where solid state flat out sucks and everyone in the industry knows it.

jsujo
08-27-2003, 06:35 PM
Well, the same can be said about modern designs not adding anything sometimes to a technology that is a few years old....sometimes progress is just a marketing term as well...all of this is subjective because all modern amps of quality dont sound better that older design amps,,especially keeping in mind the cost increase...

Its a bit like PC's....difference between a 1.3 Ghz and a 2.0.....i have used both and in everyday use, I dont see nor feel a difference,,,its just an improvement is spec,,,but marketing makes you feel as if the 1.3 Ghz is obsolete...

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 06:44 PM
Originally posted by captain_video


Aaahh, a closed mind is a terrible thing, what a waste! Why don't you tell us how you really feel? I can't argue about all the hype that's surrounded the high end industry. It's the reason I got out of it but certainly not the reason I "bought" into it. I got into the high end arena because I met a knowledgeable salesperson that was also a high-end enthusiast that taught me the basics of critical listening. It was the hype that made me crazy and forced me to get away from it. I have to admit that in those days I experienced more pleasure listening to music than I suspect you will ever have in your lifetime. Nowadays my musical listening is limited to whatever time I spend in my car or whatever soundtrack is playing in the background on my home theater system.

Discussions about high-end audio are like religion and politics. Everyone has an opinion about it and declare that theirs is the only right one. I don't really feel that way. If you don't think tubes improve the quality of the sound then that's your opinion and you're welcome to it. If you don't like the sound of tube gear then I suspect that you really haven't had much exposure to it or really have no clue what live music sounds like. I'm not talking about amplified or synthesized crap but live vocals and acoustical instruments. However, my philosophy is listen to whatever makes you happy. If you think that solid state is nirvanna then more power to you. Just don't dis the rest of us that think differently. I've spent over 40 years auditioning audio gear and listening to live music.

Most people don't have a clue how to listen to musical reproduction. It's not a failing but something that really needs to be taught. They keep trying to listen to the hardware and not the music itself but they don't have a reference for comparison. I agree wholeheartedly that an amp should not have a sound of it's own but rather should let the music pass through it unaffected. That's what attracted me to tube products in the first place. They allowed the music to sound more natural and musical than anything else I had heard before.

In case you're interested, a good number of audio engineer and music producers use tube gear for producing a lot of today's music. The reason for this is that they are trained professionals that know what music is supposed to sound like. Have you ever wondered why musicians don't use solid state amps for their guitars and other musical instruments? It's for musicality, plain and simple. This is one area where solid state flat out sucks and everyone in the industry knows it. LOL, another lecture about the correct way of listening (or reproducing?) music... Kinda ironic though the way you make the "live" music reproduction the holy grail of car audio... It ain't gonna happen, never did and never will... As I said before, vacuum tubes are thing of the past (along with the cassette and reel to reel decks and turntables...)... And BTW, the only place where your sound quality should come from is the pre-amp section.... are you running a tube preamp in your car? I understand that there are people out there that swear by the vacuum tubes and analog signal processing... This is fine when you drive an RV with plenty of room to store and cool your equipment and you listen mainly to Nat King Cole and/or Stones old mono records... But it ain't the case with the digitally designed and mastered music... The analog gear and tubes just ain't gonna cut it... what you perceive as tonal quality is actually a tonal limitation, you are just used to it... LOL, psychoacoustics again... And as a well aged audiophile, you should not even mention car as an environment to even remotely consider as a listening place, unless you drive your sonically balanced living room around... LOL, 2 funny...:D

For the record, you seem to identify tubes with high end car audio... Another funny thing: are you saying this because it is expensive to assemble and purchase or you are truly convinced of its sonic superiority? Laughable on first account, incorrect on the latter...;)

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 06:55 PM
Originally posted by jsujo
Well, the same can be said about modern designs not adding anything sometimes to a technology that is a few years old....sometimes progress is just a marketing term as well...all of this is subjective because all modern amps of quality dont sound better that older design amps,,especially keeping in mind the cost increase...

Its a bit like PC's....difference between a 1.3 Ghz and a 2.0.....i have used both and in everyday use, I dont see nor feel a difference,,,its just an improvement is spec,,,but marketing makes you feel as if the 1.3 Ghz is obsolete... huh? r u on dope or prescription medicine? LOL, I hope you are just kidding... right? There is a big difference between audible progress and improvements in technology... The basic designs have been around for years (including switchable D-class), hard to revolutionalize something that is working off the same concept (electrical transformer basically...) You optimize certain functions, make the function more efficient by improving and simplifying components and processing but you are still dealing with the same concept... And some differences/improvements you may never be aware of if you do not use your gear in a way that would expose the improvements or deficiencies of different designs... What are the chances of blasting old Stones record at 150 dB (they sound terrible to begin with if you want to get technical about it...)... So people with tubes are happy with their gear because it tends to match their musical material... LOL... I just love this high end B.S...

captain_video
08-27-2003, 07:37 PM
Actually, I wasn't trying to equate tube electronics to high end car audio at all. I apologize if that was a misconception perpetrated on my part. The discussion migrated towards high end home audio gear so that's what I was referring to. You'll never get a proper listening environment in an automobile. All you can do is attempt to make the sound suit your personal tastes. A car is an absolutely hostile environment for critical listening. There's nothing on the market that can even come close to approximating a home environment so it's really an apples vs. oranges discussion.

And BTW, the only place where your sound quality should come from is the pre-amp section

Every component in the chain affects sound quality. Just ask any audio professional and they can easily demonstrate this for you. If you spent less time laughing out loud and more time listening you might actually hear the difference. Again, I'm referring to home audio gear and not an auto environment. There was no intent to lecture, just express an opinion. Take it for what it's worth. I have my opinions on audio and you've obviously developed your own. Good for you. Everyone should take a stand on something. It's not my intent to try and change your opinions as it is clear that you've made up your mind on the issue.

I have no definite opinion as to the sonic superiority of the Tube Driver amps at this point since I have yet to actually hear them. The overwhelming concensus is that everyone that's heard them loves them, yourself excluded, of course (that's assuming that you've actually listened to them).

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 07:52 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
Actually, I wasn't trying to equate tube electronics to high end car audio at all. I apologize if that was a misconception perpetrated on my part. The discussion migrated towards high end home audio gear so that's what I was referring to. You'll never get a proper listening environment in an automobile. All you can do is attempt to make the sound suit your personal tastes. A car is an absolutely hostile environment for critical listening. There's nothing on the market that can even come close to approximating a home environment so it's really an apples vs. oranges discussion.



Every component in the chain affects sound quality. Just ask any audio professional and they can easily demonstrate this for you. If you spent less time laughing out loud and more time listening you might actually hear the difference. Again, I'm referring to home audio gear and not an auto environment. There was no intent to lecture, just express an opinion. Take it for what it's worth. I have my opinions on audio and you've obviously developed your own. Good for you. Everyone should take a stand on something. It's not my intent to try and change your opinions as it is clear that you've made up your mind on the issue.

I have no definite opinion as to the sonic superiority of the Tube Driver amps at this point since I have yet to actually hear them. The overwhelming concensus is that everyone that's heard them loves them, yourself excluded, of course (that's assuming that you've actually listened to them). yes I have listened to them (both home and car)... I am not narrow minded at all but promoting the past as something to look forward to in the future seems unacceptable...;) I did not say they sound bad either, they are just very limited in what they are capable of doing and if they are within your requirements and go along with the available install space and musical tastes, hey... have at it... ;)

I did not make myself clear on the preamp: I meant to say that the only point in the signal chain where you should be affecting the sound quality (and intentionally only) is the preamplifier section, if anything else affects the sound, it is very undesirable (IMO) but I understand that every piece leaves its own sonic/tonal archifact;)

One other thing: what you hear with your ears can and most of the time is very deceiving (kinda like trying to tune your car with a 30 band eq by ear-you may be very surprised how much off you can be)......

captain_video
08-27-2003, 09:16 PM
Just as a point of interest for anyone out there, here's a link to a review of the Butler Tuber Driver amp with a very informative sidebar about the sound of tubes vs. transistors and why tubes sound the way they do. It has nothing to do with psychoacoutsic phenomena. It's an actual fact.

http://www.ofsoundmind.com/osm/reviews/review2.html

It should be noted that the Butler amps are of a hybrid design and not purely tubes. They have a tube input stage with MOSFET output stages. This is so that the best attributes of tubes and transistors can be utilized to provide the best sound possible. Whether it actually performs as claimed I have yet to judge but I am looking forward to the opportunity.

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 09:52 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
Just as a point of interest for anyone out there, here's a link to a review of the Butler Tuber Driver amp with a very informative sidebar about the sound of tubes vs. transistors and why tubes sound the way they do. It has nothing to do with psychoacoutsic phenomena. It's an actual fact.

http://www.ofsoundmind.com/osm/reviews/review2.html

It should be noted that the Butler amps are of a hybrid design and not purely tubes. They have a tube input stage with MOSFET output stages. This is so that the best attributes of tubes and transistors can be utilized to provide the best sound possible. Whether it actually performs as claimed I have yet to judge but I am looking forward to the opportunity. hmmm... you could find a more objective review rather than a sales advertisement...:mad: Somehow this "review" forgets to mention the warm up time needed for the tubes to kick in, ignores the tube characteristic higher than average distortion and necessary cooling provisions... Nevertheless, as I said before, if you like it, knock yourself out... Personally, I do not want to haul around something that reminds me of old table top radios or TV's...;) But I do respect your choice to embrace this technology... Just do not use a sales pitch to promote your preference...:mad:

captain_video
08-27-2003, 09:56 PM
How does a review from a 3rd party constitute a sales pitch?

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 10:18 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
How does a review from a 3rd party constitute a sales pitch? I find that sales information on the bottom of the review more than peculiar...:rolleyes:

placenta
08-27-2003, 10:20 PM
its a guy thats been reviewing audio for 10 years. hes reviewed lot of things.

wake up dude.

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 10:29 PM
Originally posted by placenta
its a guy thats been reviewing audio for 10 years. hes reviewed lot of things.

wake up dude. no, you wake up... his review reads more like a poem to the TB than a technical review... where are the specs, where are the comparissons, where are the tests? Since when personal likings count as a technical review? I know plenty of people in car audio that are complete idiots even after doing it for 20 years... Yeah, I guess I need to wake up and start taking other people's word instead of facts...:mad:

placenta
08-27-2003, 10:34 PM
im rubber and you're glue. what ever you say bounces off me and sticks to you.

peter_euro
08-27-2003, 10:37 PM
Originally posted by placenta
im rubber and you're glue. what ever you say bounces off me and sticks to you. I am sure you are just faking it... you cannot be that dumb...:confused: but whatever...

captain_video
08-27-2003, 11:54 PM
I find that sales information on the bottom of the review more than peculiar...

Inserting the manufacturer's info at the end of a review is common practice. Every consumer magazine does it so the reader knows where to go for more info. Peter, do you actually have anything constructive to add to this thread? So far all I've read is negativity in favor of your preferences or lack thereof. I don't expect you to agree with my preferences or anyone else's since everyone has different tastes. You know, if you don't like tubes then that's your right and by God I'll defend you for it if need be. If you really think all amps sound the same then why don't you just go to the nearest Pep Boys and get yourself a nice Sparkomatic amp. It's solid state and should make you jump for joy with all of it's transistorized glory. "nvr enuff bass" pretty much says everything I need to know about your tastes in audio.

placenta
08-27-2003, 11:55 PM
dont forget to do the rubber and glue trick, so his sass will bounce off.

; )

captain_video
08-27-2003, 11:57 PM
Naah. That'll just prompt another witty retort.

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 12:17 AM
Originally posted by captain_video


Inserting the manufacturer's info at the end of a review is common practice. Every consumer magazine does it so the reader knows where to go for more info. Peter, do you actually have anything constructive to add to this thread? So far all I've read is negativity in favor of your preferences or lack thereof. I don't expect you to agree with my preferences or anyone else's since everyone has different tastes. You know, if you don't like tubes then that's your right and by God I'll defend you for it if need be. If you really think all amps sound the same then why don't you just go to the nearest Pep Boys and get yourself a nice Sparkomatic amp. It's solid state and should make you jump for joy with all of it's transistorized glory. "nvr enuff bass" pretty much says everything I need to know about your tastes in audio. my apologies for taking the time in this thread... I have nothing constructive to add mainly because I believe in reciprocity...;) Similarily, my musical tastes should be left out as well since I like what I like this is not the place (nor that there is such a place period...) You should never judge a book by its cover since just what I like does not describe the whole person (in case you could not tell from my posts ;) ) The only thing I pointed out was that you guys embrace a technology from the past and nothing else (I think my Boston Acoustics tower speakers sound awesome at home but I would never think of putting them in my car-same way of reasoning...) If the built quality and choice of parts would be on par with other amps, I would not hesitate to run Kraco or Sparcomatic in my cars... not because I expect a divine experience from more expensive amps: I just want them to work and deliver what they claim to deliver... Otherwise an amp is an amp is an amp.

BTW, how many systems are you running (this is a RHETORICAL question...)? I run 3 and they are all different in different types of vehicles and I change mine quite often because I like to experiment (instead of relying on other people's impressions)... Over and out (it's been fun but extremely fruitless):p

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 12:25 AM
Originally posted by placenta
dont forget to do the rubber and glue trick, so his sass will bounce off.

; ) are you a$$ oriented, placenta? not sure where in bay area you are but sounds like you must be awfully close to San Francisco... LOL... stay away from my a$$:rolleyes:

placenta
08-28-2003, 01:02 AM
you got me dude... wow, you nailed it. nice witty remarks as usual. i have no need to return the favor. it already bounced back to you.

captain_video
08-28-2003, 01:06 AM
BTW, how many systems are you running (this is a RHETORICAL question...)? I run 3 and they are all different in different types of vehicles and I change mine quite often because I like to experiment (instead of relying on other people's impressions)... Over and out (it's been fun but extremely fruitless)

I'm currently running four systems in various cars (mine, my wife's, my son's, and my daughter's). None of them are very esoteric other than using Eclipse head units and CD changers in all of them. I outlined the equipment I'm using in an earlier post so you can look there to see what I currently have in my personal system. I've accumulated most, if not all, of the gear on ebay.

I haven't been actively involved with the car audio scene for quite some time and I'm just starting to get back on board with the latest and greatest. There have been a LOT of changes since I started out in car audio many years ago. My first high-end car system consisted of an Alpine cassette head unit (I forget the model number but it was the very first one they offered that required an external amp). That was mated with an a/d/s/ PowerPlate 100 amp and a pair of a/d/s/ 300i 2-way plate speakers in a 1979 Mazda RX-7. In it's day it was probably one of the premiere systems on the road. Other than Alpine and a/d/s/, there weren't any manufacturers offering separate components at that time. Nobody felt there was a market for such things back in the late 70's. There were still a lot of 8-track players out there if I recall.

Car audio has seen a lot of changes over the past couple of decades and admittedly I've been out of the loop for a long time. I'm relying on other people's feedback at the moment to help me sort out the wheat from the chaff. Once I get oriented and see what's good and what's not I'll be back in full swing. One of the major stumbling blocks I'm running into is finding a dealer that's not 150 miles away that has the gear set up in a showroom that I can audition. The other downside is that I'm starting to see some of the same trends with car audio that are present in the home high-end arena. There's a lot of hype associated with car audio and listening to gear in a showroom doesn't do squat to really indicate how a unit can perform in a car environment.

This is where public forums and reviews come in handy. They're not the gospel but only a guideline as long as they're taken in the right context. The real test is how it sounds in your car's environment with your associated equipment. We couldn't be more far apart on how an amp sounds as an amp is not an amp, etc. This just ain't so no matter what you may believe. Still, I do respect that you have an opinion on the subject as do I and the twain shall not necessarily have to meet.

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 01:28 AM
Originally posted by placenta
you got me dude... wow, you nailed it. nice witty remarks as usual. i have no need to return the favor. it already bounced back to you. I am cool, I am hip, I am witty... I leave guys speechless after they read my remarks, I leave chicks speechless after dropping my pants...:D

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 01:35 AM
Originally posted by captain_video


I'm currently running four systems in various cars (mine, my wife's, my son's, and my daughter's). None of them are very esoteric other than using Eclipse head units and CD changers in all of them. I outlined the equipment I'm using in an earlier post so you can look there to see what I currently have in my personal system. I've accumulated most, if not all, of the gear on ebay.

I haven't been actively involved with the car audio scene for quite some time and I'm just starting to get back on board with the latest and greatest. There have been a LOT of changes since I started out in car audio many years ago. My first high-end car system consisted of an Alpine cassette head unit (I forget the model number but it was the very first one they offered that required an external amp). That was mated with an a/d/s/ PowerPlate 100 amp and a pair of a/d/s/ 300i 2-way plate speakers in a 1979 Mazda RX-7. In it's day it was probably one of the premiere systems on the road. Other than Alpine and a/d/s/, there weren't any manufacturers offering separate components at that time. Nobody felt there was a market for such things back in the late 70's. There were still a lot of 8-track players out there if I recall.

Car audio has seen a lot of changes over the past couple of decades and admittedly I've been out of the loop for a long time. I'm relying on other people's feedback at the moment to help me sort out the wheat from the chaff. Once I get oriented and see what's good and what's not I'll be back in full swing. One of the major stumbling blocks I'm running into is finding a dealer that's not 150 miles away that has the gear set up in a showroom that I can audition. The other downside is that I'm starting to see some of the same trends with car audio that are present in the home high-end arena. There's a lot of hype associated with car audio and listening to gear in a showroom doesn't do squat to really indicate how a unit can perform in a car environment.

This is where public forums and reviews come in handy. They're not the gospel but only a guideline as long as they're taken in the right context. The real test is how it sounds in your car's environment with your associated equipment. We couldn't be more far apart on how an amp sounds as an amp is not an amp, etc. This just ain't so no matter what you may believe. Still, I do respect that you have an opinion on the subject as do I and the twain shall not necessarily have to meet. keep in mind that a majority can consist of a number of fools in agreement (in no way I am referring to anyone on this forum...) I am not making my point clear again so let me rephrase it: I cannot distuinguish a sound from different amps amplifying the same signal unless there is a noise floor or other interference at play...

platnum525
08-28-2003, 02:01 AM
so my butler will sound the same as a power accoustic to you?

captain_video
08-28-2003, 02:15 AM
keep in mind that a majority can consist of a number of fools in agreement (in no way I am referring to anyone on this forum...) I am not making my point clear again so let me rephrase it: I cannot distuinguish a sound from different amps amplifying the same signal unless there is a noise floor or other interference at play...

This is true only if you rely on other's judgement 100%. I only rely on others to help point me in a direction where I am able to make up my own mind. Just because some other owners of a particular pice of gear think it's the 2nd coming doesn't mean I'll agree with their assessment. I've found that most reviews from individuals tend to be glowing since they generally believe that anything they buy is the best there is or they wouldn't have bought it. I'm more interested in hearing how a unit sounds with their associated equipment. It's funny because most people never describe how the music sounds but lean more towards the sound of the equipment itself. Any good audio component should be neutral and not impart any of its own personality to the overall sound in a system.

As I said earlier, a car audio showroom is not a good place to audition equipment. An automobile environment is also not a good place for critical listening as this there are too many outside variables involved. My inferrences involving differences in amplifier "sounds" were directed more towards the home audio environment although they still apply, to a more limited degree, to a car environment as well. It would seem that many other "fools" (as you would describe them) appear to be in agreement with me on this issue. To think that all amplifiers sound exactly the same is completely naive and unrealistic. Amplifiers of the same build quality compared under identical situations with the same equipment may sound similar, especially in a car, but there are differences in them, no matter how subtle. Differences in design and quality of components used guarantees this. If you truly believe there are no audible differences then you are only deluding yourself. Road noises and other factors tend to mask these differences during normal use but they can be acertained by a discerning ear under the right conditions. If you can't hear the differences then what does that say about your qualifications to judge them?

TO-3
08-28-2003, 02:28 AM
Originally posted by captain_video
Just as a point of interest for anyone out there, here's a link to a review of the Butler Tuber Driver amp with a very informative sidebar about the sound of tubes vs. transistors and why tubes sound the way they do. It has nothing to do with psychoacoutsic phenomena. It's an actual fact.

http://www.ofsoundmind.com/osm/reviews/review2.html

It should be noted that the Butler amps are of a hybrid design and not purely tubes. They have a tube input stage with MOSFET output stages. This is so that the best attributes of tubes and transistors can be utilized to provide the best sound possible. Whether it actually performs as claimed I have yet to judge but I am looking forward to the opportunity.

Tubes? Butler Amp? Input Stage? I can guarantee there are no tubes in the input stage. DO NOT say that there are. And the MosFET output are only in the original Tube Drivers and not the TDBlues.

The_spacemonkey
08-28-2003, 02:35 AM
If you truly believe there are no audible differences then you are only deluding yourself

well.... this all depends on what you are listening to. A scientist in the purest sence would break down where the differences in sound come from. Crossovers, boosts and other processing each leave their own audio "signature" and instead of looking at amplifier sound as a whole, I think its better to try to understand what affects amplifier sound.

As a parallel, imagine you want to know what aftermarket parts to put on your civic to make it a lean mean mustang eating machine(I said imagine, I know its a fairy tale ;) ). And you have a choice between driving a civic before and after each modification to see how the response of the vehical changes, or sitting in hundreds of different cars all with countless different combinations of aftermarket prts on it and trying to make an educated decision. Of course the first mthod would be much more benificial. The same goes with amplifier sonics. You can listen to a hundred different amps, but if your not sure which of all of the parts is making the induced sonics in each amp, what have you learned?


I have done EXTENSIVE ABX testing with amplifiers in a lab setting. I, along with many many mny others taking the same tests, have come to the conclusion tht as far as the amplification stage of an amplifier goes, there is no audible diference at all. I have yet to see a person prove there is a difference. Now of COURSE stuff like different crossovers will sound different.... that is inherant.

I guess what it comes down to is the question "what the hell are you guys arguing about?" Are you argueing that if I take amp X and amp Y and hook them up to the drivers in my car, there will be no audible difference? If thats your arguement, then your wrong. I have passed that test. With power regulated on each amp(so im not hearing power differences) I got 9 out of 10 on a double blind test.

If your arguement is that there is no audible difference in the way amplifiers amplify the sound(class differences and such) then there is no way to prove that YOU cant hear the difference(other than sending you to lab for a double blind test), but I have yet to meet a person that could hear a difference.





Edit to say that I have, however, been abl to distinguish differences in the way different amps clip. Under heavy clipping (12Db) I could easily distinguish differences in some amps showing that different amplifiers clip audio signl differently.

captain_video
08-28-2003, 02:55 AM
Tubes? Butler Amp? Input Stage? I can guarantee there are no tubes in the input stage. DO NOT say that there are. And the MosFET output are only in the original Tube Drivers and not the TDBlues.

Read the review I referenced. It refers to the original Tube Driver amps and not the TD Blues.

If your arguement is that there is no audible difference in the way amplifiers amplify the sound(class differences and such) then there is no way to prove that YOU cant hear the difference(other than sending you to lab for a double blind test), but I have yet to meet a person that could hear a difference.

Why do I bother arguing with children? If you truly believe that you can't hear any difference then fine, that's what you believe. Personally, I haven't listened to enough car audio gear to indicate that this is definitely true, at least as far as my ears are concerned. Given the right equipment (i.e. head unit and speakers), it is theoretically possible to discern differences in car amps through critical listening tests, lab tests be damned! I realize that comparing car stereo gear to high-end home audio equipment may be an exercise in futility since car stero equipment will never even come close to approaching the sophistication of current home audio components.

The trick is to find car audio equipment that is revealing enough to uncover those differences. The original topic of this thread was the Butler Tube Driver amps. They apparently have a sound all their own and many have indicated this by posting their findings in this forum and other sites that I'd be glad to point you to. As such, it pretty much blows a hole in the theory that all amps sound the same. Owners of these amps have indicated that their system took on a completely different personality after installing the Butler amps and nothing else. This sounds like the amps are doing something different to the sound after all.

I realize this thread has gone off on a tangent and I apologize to any members that may have take offense to the direction this thing has taken. As I indicated in an earlier post, high-end audio discussions are like religion and politics and can take on a life of their own. My refernce to amplifier sound differences stemmed from my experience with high-end home gear but I firmly believe it holds true for car stereo equipment as well. Anyone who thinks that there's absolutely no difference in the sound quality of car amplifiers will no doubt have no problem installing a no-name brand amp purchased from JC Whitney or some other obsure source in their IASCA competition system if this was the case. Not gonna happen, folks. Amps sound diffferent, period. Take it to the bank. Just 'cause you can't hear it doesn't make it so. It just means your ears aren't trained to pick out the subleties in reproduced music (something car audio is unlikely to ever disclose in a normal environment). End of discussion. I'm going to bed now.

russellburrows
08-28-2003, 03:44 AM
Originally posted by keefyboy
I just can't believe someone is gullible enough to buy Kimber... :rolleyes:

It just does NOT make a difference at the frequencies that car audio runs at.

GigE over copper, yeah, you might worry about "skin effect" or some crap, but at 20KHz? 40KHz even?
-keith

And these same fools that buy Kimber also say that speaker wires are direccional in other words they advocate hooking up the wires,listening,reversing the wires ,listening and then deciding what dirrection sounds best.
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 05:06 AM
Originally posted by platnum525
so my butler will sound the same as a power accoustic to you? if you are able to disconnect the crossover circuit, bass boost (if you have it) and feed the clean signal in and out, basically yes... however, the output chokers/filters vary in quality, elements of design will vary, efficiency will vary, these things will introduce their own archifacts, the S/N may vary and most likely THD (your noise floor will vary too)... thus they may reproduce results that may vary... but this has nothing to do with the type of the amplifier: tube, hybrid, D-class, T-class, A, B or whatever... I really do not know how to make this point...:confused:

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 05:07 AM
Originally posted by russellburrows


And these same fools that buy Kimber also say that speaker wires are direccional in other words they advocate hooking up the wires,listening,reversing the wires ,listening and then deciding what dirrection sounds best.
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes: amen...:cool:

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 05:33 AM
Originally posted by captain_video


This is true only if you rely on other's judgement 100%. I only rely on others to help point me in a direction where I am able to make up my own mind. Just because some other owners of a particular pice of gear think it's the 2nd coming doesn't mean I'll agree with their assessment. I've found that most reviews from individuals tend to be glowing since they generally believe that anything they buy is the best there is or they wouldn't have bought it. I'm more interested in hearing how a unit sounds with their associated equipment. It's funny because most people never describe how the music sounds but lean more towards the sound of the equipment itself. Any good audio component should be neutral and not impart any of its own personality to the overall sound in a system.

As I said earlier, a car audio showroom is not a good place to audition equipment. An automobile environment is also not a good place for critical listening as this there are too many outside variables involved. My inferrences involving differences in amplifier "sounds" were directed more towards the home audio environment although they still apply, to a more limited degree, to a car environment as well. It would seem that many other "fools" (as you would describe them) appear to be in agreement with me on this issue. To think that all amplifiers sound exactly the same is completely naive and unrealistic. Amplifiers of the same build quality compared under identical situations with the same equipment may sound similar, especially in a car, but there are differences in them, no matter how subtle. Differences in design and quality of components used guarantees this. If you truly believe there are no audible differences then you are only deluding yourself. Road noises and other factors tend to mask these differences during normal use but they can be acertained by a discerning ear under the right conditions. If you can't hear the differences then what does that say about your qualifications to judge them? let me clarify: I did not imply you were a fool, rather that you have a right to your own opinion... By having your own opinion you are not necessarily proving anybody wrong or right, it is your money and whatever pleases you, you should buy...

I agree the forums are not the way to pick your equipment based on sound quality-no replacement for your own ears and RTA...

However, you should acknowledge certain facts such as the function of the amplifier as a voltage increasing device (transformer). This is all what amp should do... And all amps do that... Now how they do that, it is something completely different... Kinda like both Timex and Rolex will show you the same time. Are you going to dispute that the time shown on Rolex is different in any way than the time on Timex? Now, when you buy Rolex, you can count on reliability and long time accuracy beyond the ability of Timex, that's the fact... but it is the design and quality of components and assembly that really matter. Technically, the digital Timex will be able to show you the time more precisely but does it have the appeal of Rolex or its longterm reliability? No... But do not kid yourself, you are not buying it because it shows the time in any special way... Same with your Butler TD...

Face it, it is archaic and totally inefficient or tough but you like it... You choose to mistake the tube specific sonic archifacts (mainly the higher distortion) as the warmth, feel free to do it... Just do not try to replace the technical truth with your own preference... FYI, the THD on BTD is about 0.14% and this is audible (my a/d/s has 0.1% THD and I can painfully tell the difference between it and other amps I have, like PPI or JL)... There are other things like the warm up time needed (betw. 10 and 15 mins) to bring the tube amp up to the full speed... There are issues of excessive heat and longevity of tubes (they will never last as long as IC's or transistors...

This is why I do not care for the tube amps but if you can live with it and like that extra distortion (how can you compare the tube THD to many solid states amps with THD of 0.01 or many times even lower?), then by all means enjoy the tube driver... Personally, I pick amps that are are dead silent, no hiss, no noise floor to speak of... These are the facts... ;) So no superiority of tubes over solid state please unless you can substantiate it with actual data...;)

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 05:37 AM
Originally posted by The_spacemonkey


well.... this all depends on what you are listening to. A scientist in the purest sence would break down where the differences in sound come from. Crossovers, boosts and other processing each leave their own audio "signature" and instead of looking at amplifier sound as a whole, I think its better to try to understand what affects amplifier sound.

As a parallel, imagine you want to know what aftermarket parts to put on your civic to make it a lean mean mustang eating machine(I said imagine, I know its a fairy tale ;) ). And you have a choice between driving a civic before and after each modification to see how the response of the vehical changes, or sitting in hundreds of different cars all with countless different combinations of aftermarket prts on it and trying to make an educated decision. Of course the first mthod would be much more benificial. The same goes with amplifier sonics. You can listen to a hundred different amps, but if your not sure which of all of the parts is making the induced sonics in each amp, what have you learned?


I have done EXTENSIVE ABX testing with amplifiers in a lab setting. I, along with many many mny others taking the same tests, have come to the conclusion tht as far as the amplification stage of an amplifier goes, there is no audible diference at all. I have yet to see a person prove there is a difference. Now of COURSE stuff like different crossovers will sound different.... that is inherant.

I guess what it comes down to is the question "what the hell are you guys arguing about?" Are you argueing that if I take amp X and amp Y and hook them up to the drivers in my car, there will be no audible difference? If thats your arguement, then your wrong. I have passed that test. With power regulated on each amp(so im not hearing power differences) I got 9 out of 10 on a double blind test.

If your arguement is that there is no audible difference in the way amplifiers amplify the sound(class differences and such) then there is no way to prove that YOU cant hear the difference(other than sending you to lab for a double blind test), but I have yet to meet a person that could hear a difference.





Edit to say that I have, however, been abl to distinguish differences in the way different amps clip. Under heavy clipping (12Db) I could easily distinguish differences in some amps showing that different amplifiers clip audio signl differently. finally a voice of reason thmbup

Hobbes26
08-28-2003, 07:02 AM
Originally posted by captain_video
Amps sound diffferent, period. Take it to the bank. Just 'cause you can't hear it doesn't make it so.

Don't a certain somebody have $10k riding on that?
I'd like to see someone take that money from him.
:D

Shagadelik
08-28-2003, 07:41 AM
Originally posted by peter_euro
However, you should acknowledge certain facts such as the function of the amplifier as a voltage increasing device (transformer).
FYI, the THD on BTD is about 0.14% and this is audible (my a/d/s has 0.1% THD


1st- voltage increasing device, BUT it still has its own sonic characteristics. Mainly, vacuum tube amps emphasize even harmonics (which gives it its "warm" sound). Transistor amps emphasize odd harmonics, which don't sound as good. Leading me to my second point:

2nd- Distortion- because transistor amps focus on odd harmonics, the distortion that comes from them sounds like sh!t. Even harmonic distortion is 2nd rate distortion - it is less noticeable and doesn't sound as bad.

3rd- 275v and vacuum tubes on the in for sound quality, and MOSFET on the out for power. Think it won't sound good? I'll tell you when my Butler 2150 comes in next week.:D

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 07:52 AM
Originally posted by Shagadelik


1st- voltage increasing device, BUT it still has its own sonic characteristics. Mainly, vacuum tube amps emphasize even harmonics (which gives it its "warm" sound). Transistor amps emphasize odd harmonics, which don't sound as good. Leading me to my second point:

2nd- Distortion- because transistor amps focus on odd harmonics, the distortion that comes from them sounds like sh!t. Even harmonic distortion is 2nd rate distortion - it is less noticeable and doesn't sound as bad.

3rd- 275v and vacuum tubes on the in for sound quality, and MOSFET on the out for power. Think it won't sound good? I'll tell you when my Butler 2150 comes in next week.:D 1. This sonic characteristic is called distortion...

2. are you familiar with the definition of THD? or am I learning something new (pleasant vs. unpleasant distortion...) LMAO and still learning... I guess 0.14 % of good distortion is way better than 0.01 of the "unpleasant" one...:confused:

Shagadelik
08-28-2003, 08:11 AM
THD what's that?:rolleyes:

In the end all the numbers and technical garble don't matter anyway, all that matters is what sounds good.

To prove my point, why don't you get a second opinion:

Second Order Distortion (http://www.stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?843:7)

The_spacemonkey
08-28-2003, 11:18 AM
Originally posted by peter_euro
1. This sonic characteristic is called distortion...

2. are you familiar with the definition of THD? or am I learning something new (pleasant vs. unpleasant distortion...) LMAO and still learning... I guess 0.14 % of good distortion is way better than 0.01 of the "unpleasant" one...:confused:

well I agree that there is bad distortion, and then there is kinda bad distortion. Tubes do create kinda bad distortion, Its not quite as evil sounding as "bad" distortion. But if its still under 3% no one can hear it. The lowest anyone hs ever proved was audible(and most cannot hear that low %) is 1.2% distortion last time I checked. Often tube amps still have below 1% distortion, so the "tube sound" really is their imagination. But there are amps out there with tubes and more than 2%.


No distortion is good in my opinion. A perfect reprodction of the given material is my goal.

captain_video
08-28-2003, 01:10 PM
Don't a certain somebody have $10k riding on that?

I don't know the particulars of the challenge but I believe that you're supposed to be able to name the amps you're listening to in a blind comparison test. I certainly couldn't do it and I doubt that most people could under those circumstances, especially if the speakers and source head units are all designed for a car system. Give me a high end preamp and set of speakers to compare them with and you'll be amazed at what you'll actually hear. Car systems pretty much suck when it comes to true sonic accuracy so the entire challenge is a complete joke.

1st- voltage increasing device, BUT it still has its own sonic characteristics. Mainly, vacuum tube amps emphasize even harmonics (which gives it its "warm" sound). Transistor amps emphasize odd harmonics, which don't sound as good. Leading me to my second point:

2nd- Distortion- because transistor amps focus on odd harmonics, the distortion that comes from them sounds like sh!t. Even harmonic distortion is 2nd rate distortion - it is less noticeable and doesn't sound as bad.

3rd- 275v and vacuum tubes on the in for sound quality, and MOSFET on the out for power. Think it won't sound good? I'll tell you when my Butler 2150 comes in next week.

I think this pretty much supports what I've been trying to say all along. Tubes have certain sonic characteristics that they impart to the sound quality of the amp's output. The same goes for transistors. Place a tube amp and a transistor design together in a blind test and I'd bet you can hear the difference. I'm not saying you have to like it as the "tube sound" isn't necessarily for everyone. As stated above, the distortions it produces are more pleasing to the ear than the ones produced by transistorized designs.

Call it distortion or sonic characteristics or whatever. The fact remains that tubes do sound different than transistors. Each type of device has its strength and weaknesses and neither are perfect devices for reproducing music. There will be flaws in reproduction of recorded music no matter what kind of design is used. No one has yet to design the perfect amp, although many have come pretty darn close in the realm of high end home audio(car audio designs definitely excluded).

You'll never find the "Holy Grail" of sound in a car stereo system. It's just not possible with the current technology and the environment you have to deal with. That doesn't mean you can't get a nice sounding system but it just won't approach realism in any sense of the word. The acoustical environment of an automobile simply won't allow for it. There are fixes and workarounds to help improve the sound but they're just bandaids that can introduce more problems than they fix. For example, you can use a parametric equalizer to tune out the dips and peaks in a car's response curve for near flat response but the equalizer circuitry will impart its own distortions to the signal in the process.

Whether you choose to believe it or not, every electronic component has a sonic characteristic all its own and, given the right equipment, can be detected through careful listening tests. Current speaker designs for an automobile do not have the ability to reveal these subtle differences like home audio gear can. I used to have a pretty high end home system and it was not all that difficult to discern when a different component was inserted into the system. My ears aren't what they used to be and neither is my home system so it's unlikely that I'd be able to do this today.

Can you hear the differences between amps in a car system, other than the tube vs. transistor example? The answer for most people is, probably not if you assume that you are comparing two amps of equal power and build quality. If you compare a high quality amp to an entry-level component, then I'd have to say you damn well better be able to hear the difference. Otherwise, the car audio industry wouldn't be able to thrive. Except for pretty packages and flashy lights and displays, why would anyone spend megabucks for an amp that wouldn't sound any better than an el cheapo model except to show off to their buddies that they have the coolest looking amp on the block? Of course I'm sure this doesn't apply to anyone here, does it (RLOL)?

dingaling
08-28-2003, 03:29 PM
Originally posted by Shagadelik


3rd- 275v and vacuum tubes on the in for sound quality, and MOSFET on the out for power. Think it won't sound good? I'll tell you when my Butler 2150 comes in next week.:D

i know the tube driver blue didn't measure 275v on the input tubes... hehehe

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 03:39 PM
Originally posted by captain_video


Can you hear the differences between amps in a car system, other than the tube vs. transistor example? The answer for most people is, probably not if you assume that you are comparing two amps of equal power and build quality. If you compare a high quality amp to an entry-level component, then I'd have to say you damn well better be able to hear the difference. Otherwise, the car audio industry wouldn't be able to thrive. Except for pretty packages and flashy lights and displays, why would anyone spend megabucks for an amp that wouldn't sound any better than an el cheapo model except to show off to their buddies that they have the coolest looking amp on the block? Of course I'm sure this doesn't apply to anyone here, does it (RLOL)?

Well, I can only speak of personal experience but yes... you can hear a difference in amps, regardless of their design... It is not the musical portion but the noise floor... This is why my a/d/s 860MX is out and 2 Planet Audio TT 4300 are in... A combination of high sensitivity range and relatively high distortion, makes the a/d/s sound like $hit unless you turn the gains all the way down... Planet Audio amps are dead silent... The dynamic range and S/N are higher on PA and this can be noticed too (every sounds very crispy and dynamic)... But this results from the amp design and specs and not from having tubes or not...

Now, can I distinguish a sonic difference betw. PA, JL, PPI and Concept (these are the brands I use currently...)? NO!!! There is no way I could tell them apart... ;)

TO-3
08-28-2003, 03:40 PM
Originally posted by captain_video


Read the review I referenced. It refers to the original Tube Driver amps and not the TD Blues.




I do NOT need to read that review because I worked on 99% of the original TDs. As I said before, I can guarantee that there are no tubes in the input stage or preamp. Do not spread false information. - Jon

TO-3
08-28-2003, 03:42 PM
Originally posted by peter_euro
let me clarify: I did not imply you were a fool, rather that you have a right to your own opinion... By having your own opinion you are not necessarily proving anybody wrong or right, it is your money and whatever pleases you, you should buy...

I agree the forums are not the way to pick your equipment based on sound quality-no replacement for your own ears and RTA...

However, you should acknowledge certain facts such as the function of the amplifier as a voltage increasing device (transformer). This is all what amp should do... And all amps do that... Now how they do that, it is something completely different... Kinda like both Timex and Rolex will show you the same time. Are you going to dispute that the time shown on Rolex is different in any way than the time on Timex? Now, when you buy Rolex, you can count on reliability and long time accuracy beyond the ability of Timex, that's the fact... but it is the design and quality of components and assembly that really matter. Technically, the digital Timex will be able to show you the time more precisely but does it have the appeal of Rolex or its longterm reliability? No... But do not kid yourself, you are not buying it because it shows the time in any special way... Same with your Butler TD...

Face it, it is archaic and totally inefficient or tough but you like it... You choose to mistake the tube specific sonic archifacts (mainly the higher distortion) as the warmth, feel free to do it... Just do not try to replace the technical truth with your own preference... FYI, the THD on BTD is about 0.14% and this is audible (my a/d/s has 0.1% THD and I can painfully tell the difference between it and other amps I have, like PPI or JL)... There are other things like the warm up time needed (betw. 10 and 15 mins) to bring the tube amp up to the full speed... There are issues of excessive heat and longevity of tubes (they will never last as long as IC's or transistors...

This is why I do not care for the tube amps but if you can live with it and like that extra distortion (how can you compare the tube THD to many solid states amps with THD of 0.01 or many times even lower?), then by all means enjoy the tube driver... Personally, I pick amps that are are dead silent, no hiss, no noise floor to speak of... These are the facts... ;) So no superiority of tubes over solid state please unless you can substantiate it with actual data...;)

I do not have hiss on my TDB.

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 03:43 PM
Originally posted by TO-3


I do NOT need to read that review because I worked on 99% of the original TDs. As I said before, I can guarantee that there are no tubes in the input stage or preamp. Do not spread false information. - Jon LOL... nothing better than hearing this from the horse's mouth... Beware of the power of psychoacoustics and majority opinion... thmbup

thylantyr
08-28-2003, 03:43 PM
I don't know the particulars of the challenge

RC's forum is here, inquiry within.
http://www.carsound.com/ubb/ultimatebb.php?ubb=forum;f=1

I doubt that most people could under those circumstances, especially if the speakers and source head units are all designed for a car system. Give me a high end preamp and set of speakers to compare them with and you'll be amazed at what you'll actually hear.

I read somewhere on that forum that RC uses high end
home speakers and I'm sure he allows you to bring
your own gear.

Car systems pretty much suck when it comes to true sonic accuracy so the entire challenge is a complete joke.

I haven't found a home stereo system that can beat
or even reach the car system I designed 15 years ago.
Everytime I go to the exotic home stereo store in search
of sonic haven, I leave the store in disapointment because
everything they have just doesn't cut it. I think I'm cursed
and have strange sonic needs - in which case, DIY is
the only thing that can tame my audio demons.

Tubes have certain sonic characteristics that they impart to the sound quality of the amp's output.

The mysterious 'tube sound' is something that I've wondered
too, going back 2 decades. From the data that I gathered,
the tube sound is distortion.

To get that unique tube sound, you operate the amplifier at or
beyond it's performace envelope - which is sorta counter-thinking,
"I need to overdrive my amplifier into distortion - to get that
cool distortion sonics" ..

So think about it. To distinguish the tube from solid state
you need to hear the distortion. Most people don't want
to hear distorted music except for the tube folks - because
distortion sounds // cool // and that distortion is the sonic
character.

As stated above, the distortions it produces are more pleasing to the ear than the ones produced by transistorized designs.

Since solid state amplification is cheap, a person should
never operate a solid state amplifier at it's performance
envelope otherwise the distortion is nasty. The best
thing to do is to buy more solid state power than you need
for some extra headroom.

The fact remains that tubes do sound different than transistors.

If you ask Nelson Pass who makes a living out of
designing amplifiers, he will tell you that certain
transistors add character to the sound. But it must have
taken him 30 years to train his ears and being intimate
with his designs for 30 years to notice the subtle difference.

Current speaker designs for an automobile do not have the ability to reveal these subtle differences like home audio gear can.

Last time I checked, there is no mystery drivers for home
audio vs. car audio.

Last time I checked, amplification stages in amplifiers
are the same for car audio and home audio where home
audio doesn't include signal processing integrated with
the amplifier, rather it's sold as seperate gear. The car
audio market integrates some signal processing because
there is a demand for it in a car environment to allow
tweaking.

I used to have a pretty high end home system and it was not all that difficult to discern when a different component was inserted into the system.

I bet if you 'zero out' the system after every change, it
may be inaudible. You can blindly swap gear and something
simple as a gain mismatch will reveal that something is
difference leading you to believe that it's a sonic character
but it's not really.

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 03:44 PM
Originally posted by TO-3


I do not have hiss on my TDB. how are your gains adjusted?

TO-3
08-28-2003, 03:46 PM
Originally posted by dingaling


i know the tube driver blue didn't measure 275v on the input tubes... hehehe

Definately not. BK uses lower voltages to enable the tube to operate in the ultra-linear region, thus extending the life of the tubes.

TO-3
08-28-2003, 03:47 PM
Originally posted by peter_euro
how are your gains adjusted?

Properly.

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 03:51 PM
Originally posted by thylantyr
Tubes have certain sonic characteristics that they impart to the sound quality of the amp's output.

The mysterious 'tube sound' is something that I've wondered
too, going back 2 decades. From the data that I gathered,
the tube sound is distortion.

To get that unique tube sound, you operate the amplifier at or
beyond it's performace envelope - which is sorta counter-thinking,
"I need to overdrive my amplifier into distortion - to get that
cool distortion sonics" ..

LOL, I see reinforcements are here (seems like I am not the only one saying this) ...:D that is oh so right... you have to heat the tubes up and run the crap out of the amp to hear that sonic heat... Distortion, distortion, distortion... LOL... :D

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 03:53 PM
Originally posted by TO-3


Properly. properly? you gotta be more specific... what is the voltage input, r u using line driver...:confused: are you set at or below clipping level?

TO-3
08-28-2003, 03:57 PM
Originally posted by peter_euro
properly? you gotta be more specific... what is the voltage input, r u using line driver...:confused: are you set at or below clipping level?

What is so confusing about "properly"? Maybe I could let you come and set it up so I can get the noise that you obviously believe is a trademark of tube amplification.

Yes I am using a line driver and a PPI DEQ. The DEQ is the only source of hiss in my system.

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 04:10 PM
Originally posted by TO-3


What is so confusing about "properly"? Maybe I could let you come and set it up so I can get the noise that you obviously believe is a trademark of tube amplification.

Yes I am using a line driver and a PPI DEQ. The DEQ is the only source of hiss in my system. no need to be a di@k about it... I asked you a legitimate question (there seems to be many ways to adjust the gains) and you have an attitude about it...:mad:

And I did not say that hiss was a trademark of tubes... a function of higher distortion and wider sensitivity/gain control... I just yanked my a/d/s for this reason... when you have a line driver, the gains can be turned down so the noise floor is not noticable.

TO-3
08-28-2003, 04:20 PM
Originally posted by peter_euro
no need to be a di@k about it... I asked you a legitimate question (there seems to be many ways to adjust the gains) and you have an attitude about it...:mad:

And I gave you a legitamate answer. So far you have done nothing but bash the product that paid my bills for a few years and you seem to think everyone on this board that has a tube amp is ignorant. The first tube amp I listened to was at age 13. Yes it was a guitar amp, and yes I heard a major difference between my 100W Carvin and the 100W solid state amps that my friends had. No going back from that.

captain_video
08-28-2003, 04:29 PM
Well, I can only speak of personal experience but yes... you can hear a difference in amps, regardless of their design...

Otherwise an amp is an amp is an amp.

As I figured. It was only a matter of time before he started to contradict himself.

I do NOT need to read that review because I worked on 99% of the original TDs. As I said before, I can guarantee that there are no tubes in the input stage or preamp. Do not spread false information. - Jon

How does all this come together in an amplifier? B.K. Butler has combined the best from old and new world technology. A large Mosfet Power supply and output stage, coupled to a vacuum tube based input stage.

Jon, This is from the article I referenced. If it's incorrect then blame the author. I'm just the messenger.

TO-3
08-28-2003, 04:36 PM
Originally posted by captain_video




As I figured. It was only a matter of time before he started to contradict himself.





Jon, This is from the article I referenced. If it's incorrect then blame the author. I'm just the messenger.

I mentioned this FYI. I don't know why everyone believes that all hybrid amps have tubes in the input stage. The author seems to be the distibutor of false information.

captain_video
08-28-2003, 04:50 PM
Just as a matter of personal interest, exactly where in the circuitry are the vacuum tubes placed? The only info I've found regarding the design is in the referenced article and on the Tube Driver website, but they only discuss the new Blue series and not the older designs.

TO-3
08-28-2003, 04:58 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
Just as a matter of personal interest, exactly where in the circuitry are the vacuum tubes placed? The only info I've found regarding the design is in the referenced article and on the Tube Driver website, but they only discuss the new Blue series and not the older sesigns.

The tubes in the originals directly-couple the main amp and the output stage.

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 05:31 PM
Originally posted by TO-3


And I gave you a legitamate answer. So far you have done nothing but bash the product that paid my bills for a few years and you seem to think everyone on this board that has a tube amp is ignorant. The first tube amp I listened to was at age 13. Yes it was a guitar amp, and yes I heard a major difference between my 100W Carvin and the 100W solid state amps that my friends had. No going back from that. I am not bashing anything if you take the time to read my posts... it is a fact that vacuum tubes are things of the past and there are neweer and more efficient technologies out there. Also, I have never even remotely implied that people with the tubes are ignorant... The only thing I pointed out that it is silly to claim a tube specific sonic quality while it is not much more than another form of distortion. I listened to tube amps when I was 7 y.o. because that was the only widely available technology at the time, same with table top radios and TVs... so what? If you prefere tubes, have at it... I will not criticise you for this... Just get the record straight about what these things can do...

And you did not give me a legitimate answer about your gain settings and on top of it are either arrogant or oblivious to my questions. But whatever... ;)

Hobbes26
08-28-2003, 05:37 PM
Originally posted by captain_video


I don't know the particulars of the challenge but I believe that you're supposed to be able to name the amps you're listening to in a blind comparison test. I certainly couldn't do it and I doubt that most people could under those circumstances, especially if the speakers and source head units are all designed for a car system. Give me a high end preamp and set of speakers to compare them with and you'll be amazed at what you'll actually hear. Car systems pretty much suck when it comes to true sonic accuracy so the entire challenge is a complete joke.


Don't diss the test, when you don't know anything about it.
It came out of home systems where there was traditionally
no processing on the amps...
Heres the link if ya wanna read up.
RC amp challenge (http://www.talkaudio.co.uk/vbb/showthread.php?s=&threadid=18815)


Whether you choose to believe it or not, every electronic component has a sonic characteristic all its own and, given the right equipment, can be detected through careful listening tests. Current speaker designs for an automobile do not have the ability to reveal these subtle differences like home audio gear can. I used to have a pretty high end home system and it was not all that difficult to discern when a different component was inserted into the system. My ears aren't what they used to be and neither is my home system so it's unlikely that I'd be able to do this today.


Would you be able to hear those differences in an ABX test?


Except for pretty packages and flashy lights and displays, why would anyone spend megabucks for an amp that wouldn't sound any better than an el cheapo model except to show off to their buddies that they have the coolest looking amp on the block? Of course I'm sure this doesn't apply to anyone here, does it (RLOL)?

Hmm... I really don't know...

streetrace_r
08-28-2003, 05:42 PM
WHOA WHOA WHOA!

hold up just a sec here, while i whip out my speaker wire spice rack, rotflmfao

anyone remember those? it was posted here a coupel of months ago








what a joke :rolleyes:

captain_video
08-28-2003, 06:20 PM
Don't diss the test, when you don't know anything about it.

I don't believe I said anything to diss the test and it wasn't my intention to do so. I have no opinion of the test one way or another. Someone else mentioned it in response to one of my earlier posts which is the only reason I ever posted anything about it.

Hobbes26
08-28-2003, 08:03 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
I don't believe I said anything to diss the test and it wasn't my intention to do so. I have no opinion of the test one way or another. Someone else mentioned it in response to one of my earlier posts which is the only reason I ever posted anything about it.


...so the entire challenge is a complete joke.


:D

captain_video
08-28-2003, 08:16 PM
I stand corrected. Consider it dissed without representation. My apologies to any that were offended.

Hobbes26
08-28-2003, 08:19 PM
but seriously... go check out the amp challenge...
try doing the test yourself...
i think you'll be surprised...

captain_video
08-28-2003, 09:09 PM
I'm reading through the RC amp test requirements and I see a couple of things that I don't like. First of all, it's limiting the listening to no more than a few hours. Differences between high end gear could take many weeks, if not months, of long-term listening to be able to pick out the subtleties that are not immediately apparent. We're talking about minute differences in sound quality that are not discernible in the short-term, and definitely not something you can pick out in an A/B comparison in a few hours.

While most car amps would not be considered high-end by home standards, their close similarity would still require a long-term listening environment to be able to pick out differences between them. You would have to use a multitude of source material to listen to that you're intimately familiar with for this purpose and not just a couple of your favorite CDs. Preferably a recording of something you actually experienced in a live performance so you'd have a reference of live vs. recorded sound. Recording methods and electronics used affect the outcome of the recording a much as the playback equipment, if not more. Poor miking and mixing will result in a recording that doesn't approach the original performance so it's crucial to use only the best source material. Live acoustical performances are the best for this, especially instruments like piano and strings (definitely nothing electronic like rock).

I know I'm going to get flamed for this but I would also listen to vinyl recordings or SACDs instead of regular CDs. CDs have never used a high enough sampling rate to truly reproduce the music as accurately as a good vinyl disc. I would also use a high quality moving coil cartridge with the best step-up device and tone arm I could get my hands on. Say what you want about "old technology" vinyl discs. Nothing else, except SACDs or DVD-Audio discs, even comes close for reproducing recorded music. High-end CD players are extremely good given the source material they're stuck with but, as I said, the sampling rate of 44.1kHz was never high enough to fully capture the realism inherent in the original recording. Recording in digital format from beginning to end to CD would probably yield the best results to work with if using CDs as your reference.

CDs are widely acceptable because they have no background noise. People mistake this for better sound quality because to them it sounds better than any vinyl disc they've ever heard before. This is because most people grew up with crappy record players that always sounded like s**t when compared to a CD. A high-end turntable, cartridge, and tonearm will blow away any CD player I've ever heard, even with the ticks and pops. If you cared for your records, ticks and pops would be held to a minimum. I've got albums that are over 30 years old that sound as good as the day I bought them because I do take care of them and clean them prior to every use.

Secondly, although it states that you may substitute the speakers to whatever home speakers you desire, it limits them to dynamic loudspeakers. It has been my experience that some of the most revealing louspeakers ever produced were of the non-dynamic variety (i.e. Magneplanars and electrostatics, just to name a couple; the Dayton-Wright plasma drivers were also supposed to be awesome but I never had a chance to hear them). There are numerous dynamic loudspeakers that are marketed as high end speakers but I've always had a taste for the more esoteric (but never the budget to acquire them). I've been out of the high-end home audio segment for many years so I'm not up to speed on the current crop of high-end gear.

The test requires that you guess 24 out of 24 correct amplifiers. This is virtually impossible even for the most well-trained of ears, especially in the limited time span allowed. Differences in amplifiers are not discernible under such conditions. No wonder they've put up $10,00 for the winner. It's a no-lose situation for the contest holders.

One of the requirements to even enter the contest is to be someone employed in the car audio industry or a subscriber to their magazine. Kind of a cheezy way to hawk magazine subs, if you ask me. You also have to pony up $100 to take the test ($300 if you're in the industry)! What a rip! This contest is rigged from the get-go because it's impossible to win under these circumstances.

I take back my apology. The challenge is a complete joke. You have a better chance of winning the Big Ball Lottery than winning this challenge.

The_spacemonkey
08-28-2003, 09:29 PM
hmmmm..... if two amplifiers sound different, the point where you will find the differences should be when you first listen to them, in a true AXBXAXBX fashion. After longer periods of listen the "gremlins"(as thylanter would call them) in your ears start to make you think you hear things that really you dont hear. So after listening for ten hours, your not suddenly going to hear something different and be able to distinguish the difference in a double blind.


I agree that some of the stipulations of RC's test are limiting. But if you ever come to detroit, I may be able to set up an ABX test at DLC audio for ya(thats where the ABX comparator was designed and implimented). Come on the second saturday of the month, and I can introduce you to Dave Clark and Tom Nouisane, and they will talk for YEARS with you about this topic if you want :p

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 09:40 PM
Originally posted by The_spacemonkey
hmmmm..... if two amplifiers sound different, the point where you will find the differences should be when you first listen to them, in a true AXBXAXBX fashion. After longer periods of listen the "gremlins"(as thylanter would call them) in your ears start to make you think you hear things that really you dont hear. So after listening for ten hours, your not suddenly going to hear something different and be able to distinguish the difference in a double blind.


I agree that some of the stipulations of RC's test are limiting. But if you ever come to detroit, I may be able to set up an ABX test at DLC audio for ya(thats where the ABX comparator was designed and implimented). Come on the second saturday of the month, and I can introduce you to Dave Clark and Tom Nouisane, and they will talk for YEARS with you about this topic if you want :p :mad: I wanna come... dammit, this is what you get for living in California...

captain_video
08-28-2003, 09:44 PM
If I ever make it to Detroit I'd love to take you up on your offer. As for differences in the way two amps sound, if they're closely matched it's unlikely that anyone would be able to pick out the differences right off the bat as you suggest. It's a mixed bag because, as you said, there is always the possibility of "gremlins" creeping into the mix in a long-term listening test and it would indeed be easy for someone to believe they're hearing something that isn't really there. Psychoacoustic phenomena is a reality and also an individual's perception of how an amp should sound both play a major role in what one would perceive when listening to any electronic component. An individual with highly trained hearing, like a professional musician that really knows the sound of live music (no rock stars, please), should have no trouble hearing subtleties between components.

I'm going to back off on an earlier premise I made but with one caveat. While I truly do believe that all amps have their own sonic characteristics, it is the individual components that make up the amp's circuitry that actually affect the overall sound. Certain components in combination with other components would then theoretically be able to be combined such that any negative influences cancel each other out with a proper design. Therefore, two amps of completely different designs could then theoretically sound identical based on different mixes of components in their internal makeup.

captain_video
08-28-2003, 09:51 PM
I just took another gander at the RC test requirements. You are limted to the use of CDs only! They should offer $100,000 and bump up the entrance fee. They could retire after a couple of weeks of testing. What a farce!

peter_euro
08-28-2003, 10:01 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by captain_video
While most car amps would not be considered high-end by home standards k... what do you consider a definition of high end? seems to me that the specs on home amps USUALLY fall below those on car gear plus we are talking 110 V vs. 12..... :confused:

CDs have never used a high enough sampling rate to truly reproduce the music as accurately as a good vinyl disc. I would also use a high quality moving coil cartridge with the best step-up device and tone arm I could get my hands on. Say what you want about "old technology" vinyl discs. Nothing else, except SACDs or DVD-Audio discs, even comes close for reproducing recorded music. High-end CD players are extremely good given the source material they're stuck with but, as I said, the sampling rate of 44.1kHz was never high enough to fully capture the realism inherent in the original recording. Recording in digital format from beginning to end to CD would probably yield the best results to work with if using CDs as your reference.

CDs are widely acceptable because they have no background noise. People mistake this for better sound quality because to them it sounds better than any vinyl disc they've ever heard before. This is because most people grew up with crappy record players that always sounded like s**t when compared to a CD. A high-end turntable, cartridge, and tonearm will blow away any CD player I've ever heard, even with the ticks and pops. If you cared for your records, ticks and pops would be held to a minimum. I've got albums that are over 30 years old that sound as good as the day I bought them because I do take care of them and clean them prior to every use.

k... you should not be smoking dope and typing this at the same time... :mad:

granted, a long ago there were a few turntables using laser for tracking and there were a few high definition vinyl records but even these do not come close to the lowest quality CDs... this is just as possible as the tube specific sound quality, LOL... Have you forgotten a few details such as wow and flutter, channel separation of about 60 dB, dynamic range of about 60 some and the S/N of 75 at the best (this is with diamond cartridge, quart locked linear arm and some other blasts from the past...)

I hope you just said these things to get whipped (you must be into S&M) and not because you really meant them... Wow... :rolleyes: Granted, the sampling rates appear to be low today, but you know what? the old DAT's with variable sampling rates did not play any better at higher sampling rate (at least to my ears and long time ago...)... And no way even the best needle compares to the laser... there is just no way... I used to do the vinyl thing and remember how frustrating it was trying to balance the arm and align the cartridge with the needle... OMG, do not even bring this out...:mad: :mad: :mad:

russellburrows
08-28-2003, 11:36 PM
Originally posted by peter_euro
let me clarify: I did not imply you were a fool, rather that you have a right to your own opinion... By having your own opinion you are not necessarily proving anybody wrong or right, it is your money and whatever pleases you, you should buy...

I agree the forums are not the way to pick your equipment based on sound quality-no replacement for your own ears and RTA...

However, you should acknowledge certain facts such as the function of the amplifier as a voltage increasing device (transformer). This is all what amp should do... And all amps do that... Now how they do that, it is something completely different... Kinda like both Timex and Rolex will show you the same time. Are you going to dispute that the time shown on Rolex is different in any way than the time on Timex? Now, when you buy Rolex, you can count on reliability and long time accuracy beyond the ability of Timex, that's the fact... but it is the design and quality of components and assembly that really matter. Technically, the digital Timex will be able to show you the time more precisely but does it have the appeal of Rolex or its longterm reliability? No... But do not kid yourself, you are not buying it because it shows the time in any special way... Same with your Butler TD...

Face it, it is archaic and totally inefficient or tough but you like it... You choose to mistake the tube specific sonic archifacts (mainly the higher distortion) as the warmth, feel free to do it... Just do not try to replace the technical truth with your own preference... FYI, the THD on BTD is about 0.14% and this is audible (my a/d/s has 0.1% THD and I can painfully tell the difference between it and other amps I have, like PPI or JL)... There are other things like the warm up time needed (betw. 10 and 15 mins) to bring the tube amp up to the full speed... There are issues of excessive heat and longevity of tubes (they will never last as long as IC's or transistors...

This is why I do not care for the tube amps but if you can live with it and like that extra distortion (how can you compare the tube THD to many solid states amps with THD of 0.01 or many times even lower?), then by all means enjoy the tube driver... Personally, I pick amps that are are dead silent, no hiss, no noise floor to speak of... These are the facts... ;) So no superiority of tubes over solid state please unless you can substantiate it with actual data...;)


The lunatic fringe is always present.
Today a tourist came to visit and was sad that I no longer run a free teaching install shop.
What did the 90 or was it 93 year old guy have?
A 78 RPM record collection.
He told me that the 78 RPM records sounded better to Him and that is what He collected:eek:


The same thing is being done by those that refuse to give up vinyl records or tubes:confused:
I guess the lunatic fringe is always there.

captain_video
08-29-2003, 12:51 AM
k... what do you consider a definition of high end? seems to me that the specs on home amps USUALLY fall below those on car gear plus we are talking 110 V vs. 12.....

But isn't an amp just an amp? It shouldn't matter what power source it uses based on your statement. I consider any audio equipment that reproduces recorded music so that it most closely represents the original live source to be in the "high end" of audio components. I'm talking about Audio Research (not Acoustic Research), Mark Levinson, Krell, Martin Logan, Magneplanar, Conrad Johnson, Linn Sondek, and way too many other brands to mention. I'm talking about the stuff you'll never see in a Best Buy or Circuit City. I'm talking about the kind of audio salons that take you by appointment only or maybe it's in some enthusiast's house that sells only certain elite brands of audio. I'm talking about the kind of gear that makes you wet your pants because it's so damn realistic it's scary. I'm talking about the kind of equipment you've probably never heard of or had a clue what you were hearing even if you did.

granted, a long ago there were a few turntables using laser for tracking and there were a few high definition vinyl records but even these do not come close to the lowest quality CDs...

Laser tracking turntables? I think you've seen too many episodes of Star Trek. The 2nd part of your statement is simply too sad to comment on if that's what you truly believe. It indicates your inability to know what true musical reproduction can sound like, and the vast majority of commercially produced CDs aren't even close. If you actually had a knowledge of accurate musical reproduction we probably, make that definitely, wouldn't even be having this discussion. Instead you prefer to keep your head in the sand and refuse to believe that perhaps some older technology actually might sound good, if not better, than some of the equipment being offered today. You'd prefer to foist your lack of musical knowledge on others and proclaim it as the whole truth and nothing but the truth and damn anyone else that thinks differently. Let's proclaim that **** is now caviar and make the rest of the world believe it!

There are some high-end CDs that have been remastered on high quality discs (I think it may have been Musical Fidelity or some other outfit) that were supposed to be quite good but I've never had the opportunity to audition them. I've never owned a high-end CD player for my home system as anything worth owning was way out of my price range (i.e. marriage, kids, Catholic school tuition, etc.). CDs are fine for listening in a car but not something I would even consider for serious listening. I'd love to check out some of the new SACD or DVD-Audio players and discs, however.

And no way even the best needle compares to the laser... there is just no way... I used to do the vinyl thing and remember how frustrating it was trying to balance the arm and align the cartridge with the needle...

They're called styli (that's plural for stylus, BTW). Needles are what you put in your kid's 45rpm record player so she can listen to the Barney theme song. So, because you were inept at properly setting up a tonearm and cartridge the rest of us are supposed to believe that CDs are better? Without proper adjustment for tracking and anti-skating as well as vertical and horizontal alignment, perpendicularity to the record grooves, etc., you'll never get the most out of your phono system. What sort of turntable and cartridge were you using? If you say it was a record changer I'm going to be ill (I'm getting the Pepto Bismal as we speak because I can see what's coming). Without a properly configured and aligned phono turntable, cartridge, and tonearm, your system could only sound as good as you made it (i.e. weakest link).

The lunatic fringe is always present.

One can only hope. Those that think of others as the "lunatic fringe" usually do so out of fear and misunderstanding. They don't want to believe that ideas outside their realm of understanding could possibly be true so they ridicule and throw stones. It's the "lunatic fringe" that usually generates the most innovative ideas and abstract ways of thinking. Without the "lunatic fringe" we wouldn't have the technological advances we enjoy today.

peter_euro
08-29-2003, 01:22 AM
Originally posted by captain_video


But isn't an amp just an amp? It shouldn't matter what power source it uses based on your statement. I consider any audio equipment that reproduces recorded music so that it most closely represents the original live source to be in the "high end" of audio components. I'm talking about Audio Research (not Acoustic Research), Mark Levinson, Krell, Martin Logan, Magneplanar, Conrad Johnson, Linn Sondek, and way too many other brands to mention. I'm talking about the stuff you'll never see in a Best Buy or Circuit City. I'm talking about the kind of audio salons that take you by appointment only or maybe it's in some enthusiast's house that sells only certain elite brands of audio. I'm talking about the kind of gear that makes you wet your pants because it's so damn realistic it's scary. I'm talking about the kind of equipment you've probably never heard of or had a clue what you were hearing even if you did.



Laser tracking turntables? I think you've seen too many episodes of Star Trek. The 2nd part of your statement is simply too sad to comment on if that's what you truly believe. It indicates your inability to know what true musical reproduction can sound like, and the vast majority of commercially produced CDs aren't even close. If you actually had a knowledge of accurate musical reproduction we probably, make that definitely, wouldn't even be having this discussion. Instead you prefer to keep your head in the sand and refuse to believe that perhaps some older technology actually might sound good, if not better, than some of the equipment being offered today. You'd prefer to foist your lack of musical knowledge on others and proclaim it as the whole truth and nothing but the truth and damn anyone else that thinks differently. Let's proclaim that **** is now caviar and make the rest of the world believe it!

There are some high-end CDs that have been remastered on high quality discs (I think it may have been Musical Fidelity or some other outfit) that were supposed to be quite good but I've never had the opportunity to audition them. I've never owned a high-end CD player for my home system as anything worth owning was way out of my price range (i.e. marriage, kids, Catholic school tuition, etc.). CDs are fine for listening in a car but not something I would even consider for serious listening. I'd love to check out some of the new SACD or DVD-Audio players and discs, however.



They're called styli (that's plural for stylus, BTW). Needles are what you put in your kid's 45rpm record player so she can listen to the Barney theme song. So, because you were inept at properly setting up a tonearm and cartridge the rest of us are supposed to believe that CDs are better? Without proper adjustment for tracking and anti-skating as well as vertical and horizontal alignment, perpendicularity to the record grooves, etc., you'll never get the most out of your phono system. What sort of turntable and cartridge were you using? If you say it was a record changer I'm going to be ill (I'm getting the Pepto Bismal as we speak because I can see what's coming). Without a properly configured and aligned phono turntable, cartridge, and tonearm, your system could only sound as good as you made it (i.e. weakest link).



One can only hope. Those that think of others as the "lunatic fringe" usually do so out of fear and misunderstanding. They don't want to believe that ideas outside their realm of understanding could possibly be true so they ridicule and throw stones. It's the "lunatic fringe" that usually generates the most innovative ideas and abstract ways of thinking. Without the "lunatic fringe" we wouldn't have the technological advances we enjoy today. LOL, I hope you do not mistake yourself for one of those great and thus misunderstood minds... I think you are riding high a horse but the horse is really a mule in disguise... You seem to be stuck in the past trying to rehash the good old days when things were better... LOL, the turntable was a Bang & Olufssen and I really do not recall the brand of the cartridge and stylus (pardon my ignorance but it has been so frigging long ago)... Back in early late 70s and early 80s I was really into the stereo world, anxiously waiting for the next edition of Stereo Review, reading up on the newest innovations and ideas people had and I was really into it... I spent all the money I had to buy what was the newest at the time and what I could afford (somehow the dbx compressor and expander come to mind...?)... I was spending my money on record cleaning stuff and funny looking cartridge attachments just to make sure that my records sounded the best they could... Then the laser discs came around (not CD) along with DAT (it really hurt to fork out 1k to buy the car deck along with the 2k DAT home deck...)... Then the CD and MD came about and nothing was the same ever since...

I have moved on... I recall things like tubes, first transistor radios (I used to love to buy the do it yourself kits) and vinyl as souvenirs and novelty from the past... You claim I have never had the right stuff to truly appreciate the sound quality from the past- I say you are full of it... I just moved on along with many others instead of getting stuck in a time warp and looking down at others... I would have to look deep into my junk but I am pretty certain I can find the stuff regarding the laser tracked turntable (along with the marble base, direct drive $5k turntable that I actually got to see but would not buy...:rolleyes: )

I really do not know what your problem is but you seem to be the one with a huge chip on his shoulder and with no ability to acknowledge other people's opinions... very very sad

FYI, the voltage makes a huge difference (it really surprised me you are ignorant on this issue....:rolleyes: ) Don't you know that the higher the input voltage, the smaller the output amp section has to be? There is no need for the large power supplies and the heat dissipation is not as much of an issue... You can make amps real small and way more powerful at the same time... This is why the car audio industry is so enthusiastic about the soon to come 42 (or is it 46 volt) auto electrical systems... This is just plain embarassing that you are so oblivious on this subject... LOL...

peter_euro
08-29-2003, 01:25 AM
Originally posted by russellburrows



The lunatic fringe is always present.
Today a tourist came to visit and was sad that I no longer run a free teaching install shop.
What did the 90 or was it 93 year old guy have?
A 78 RPM record collection.
He told me that the 78 RPM records sounded better to Him and that is what He collected:eek:


The same thing is being done by those that refuse to give up vinyl records or tubes:confused:
I guess the lunatic fringe is always there. this guy is like an audio terminator... cannot be reasoned with and cannot be made aware of other things taking place... He just seems to be stuck in his world lit up with the vacuum tubes and lined with vinyl records... LOL...:D

captain_video
08-29-2003, 03:06 AM
Back in early late 70s and early 80s I was really into the stereo world, anxiously waiting for the next edition of Stereo Review, reading up on the newest innovations and ideas people had and I was really into it... I spent all the money I had to buy what was the newest at the time and what I could afford (somehow the dbx compressor and expander come to mind...?).

The statement about Stereo Review says it all. Julian Hirsch wouldn't know a good sounding piece of audio equipment if it hit him in the a**. I seriously doubt that he ever listened to half the crap he reviewed since his modus operandi was to tell you how a component sounded by the measurements he made on his test bench. He only reviewed gear that was advertised in the magazine since they pretty much dictated what he was going to audition. He never wrote a bad review that was ever published in the magazine. Didn't you ever stop to think why he liked everything he reviewed? He was the laughing stock of the audio industry but, because there were a lot of people with your mindset and thought he was the 2nd coming, he helped sell a lot of magazines to the uninformed (and excelled in making them stay that way). You never saw any high end gear show up in the magazine until Julian himself disappeared from the pages of the magazine. Usually such reviews were met with lukewarm enthusiasm and the comments were generally that it was overpriced but it sounded nice.

I have to admit that my first serious audio purchase was based on reviews in Stereo Review. I bought a Marantz 1200 integrated amp (I think it was rated at about 125 watts per channel which was larger than most amps at that time), an Akai GX-365D reel-to-reel tape deck with glass heads, and a pair of Rectilinear III Lowboy speakers (I actually bought these based on hearing them at an audio show in Washington, D.C. back in the late 60's). I already had a Benjamin Miracord semi-automatic turntable with an Empire 999-VEX phono cartridge (I read about that one in Popular Science of all places) and a Dynaco FM-5 tuner I built from a kit. The bottom line was that the amp totally sucked but it took me a while to realize it. The amp was the only item I bought based on Stereo Review's advice. I never made another purchase based on their reviews again after that.

Now I know exactly where you are coming from. You are totally unaware of the real world of true audio reproduction. You grew up being brainwashed into believing that high end was not all that it was cracked up to be. Those that ridicule high end have never truly experienced it, mainly because they didn't know how to interpret what they were hearing. You were probably so comfortable listening to gear that colored the sound the way you liked it that when crystal clear uncolored sound entered your ears you interpreted it as being bad. This is not your fault. It's how you were raised. You just didn't know any different. My advice is to get down to your nearest high end audio dealer as soon as you can and beg him to show you the way to critical listening. Just be prepared to whip out your checkbook when you finally see the light because you'll want to spend, spend, spend when the truth finally hits you.

There is an entire universe out there light years beyond anything you'll ever read about in Stereo Review. That rag was so badly misguided it wasn't taken seriously by anyone in the High End Industry other than a good liner for your birdcage. I started out in high end audio with The Absolute Sound magazine (actually I discovered The Absolute Sound after being introduced to high end). It was among the first of the groundbreaking underground audio mags that delved into the the relatively unknown world of high end audio. Back then it wasn't available at newsstands and had a limited distribution other than direct subscription. Today it has devolved into a commercial mag containing dealer and manufacturer's advertisements (there were no ads in the first decade or so of issues so there was nothing to bias the reviews.) There were also a few British high end audio mags but the Brits have a completely different viewpoint about sound reproduction altogether. Stereophile Magazine was another underground U.S. mag but their idea of a state-of-the-art speaker was the Altec Lansing Voice of the Theaters. They could play at ungodly volumes due to their efficiency but they had those awful horn drivers.

BTW, do you realize that you don't have to quote an entire post to get your point across or is that you like my writing so much that you want to see it displayed in it's entirety twice?

The statement about voltage sources was meant to be sarcastic and not taken literally but I guess you missed the point entirely once again. My likes or dislikes of certain types of audio gear has nothing to do with past or present technology, just accurate sound reproduction. If the design also happens to include tubes then so be it. You seem to be the only one that can't get past that issue. Just because I happen to like some tube designs doesn't mean you have to in the same way that I don't have to agree with your tastes or lack thereof.

LOL, the turntable was a Bang & Olufssen and I really do not recall the brand of the cartridge and stylus (pardon my ignorance but it has been so frigging long ago)...

I knew it - a changer or at least a semi-automatic! Totally unacceptable for setting up a phono playback system for critical listening. The cartridge was most likely a B&O model since most of their tone arms were designed to accept only their brand of plug-in cartridges. It's ironic that you couldn't set up a tonearm that doesn't require any alignment other than tracking and anti-skating force adjustments. A mediocre mid-fi consumer model at best but pretty to look at. I'll bet you wowed your friends with that baby. I used to own a B&0 SP-12 magnetic cartridge for a while in a Thorens TD-160 manual turntable until I discovered moving coil cartridges.

Actually, I had a Decca Mark V in my Mayware formula 4 tonearm and a Sonus Blue prior to that before I got my Denon DL-103D moving coil. The Mayware arm was mounted on a Luxman PD-121 direct-drive manual turntable. The design was leased from the original Panasonic SP10 that was the rave for quite some time in the high end arena. I'm still kicking myself for not getting the Linn-Sondek when I had the chance. I believe I could probably rattle off every make and model of audio component I've ever owned if I really tried and I've owned enough to fill a showroom over the past 35-40 years. As for pardoning your ignorance, that seems to be a full time job these days.

Why don't we just end this and agree to disagree. Personally, I'd like this thread to revert back to the original topic before I was so rudely interrupted. If you actually have something constructive to add to the original discussion then by all means share it with us. If you just want to hang around and bash my preferences then you need to find something better to do with your time because I'm really not interested.

Hobbes26
08-29-2003, 04:45 AM
Originally posted by captain_video
First of all, it's limiting the listening to no more than a few hours. Differences between high end gear could take many weeks, if not months, of long-term listening to be able to pick out the subtleties that are not immediately apparent. We're talking about minute differences in sound quality that are not discernible in the short-term, and definitely not something you can pick out in an A/B comparison in a few hours.


First of all, you can bring in ANY amps you want - high end, low
end, WHATEVER amplifiers you want.


I know I'm going to get flamed for this but I would also listen to vinyl recordings or SACDs instead of regular CDs. CDs have never used a high enough sampling rate to truly reproduce the music as accurately as a good vinyl disc.


44.1kHz.... why did they use that in the first place?


If you cared for your records, ticks and pops would be held to a minimum. I've got albums that are over 30 years old that sound as good as the day I bought them because I do take care of them and clean them prior to every use.


but after every time you play them, they degrade a little...
you have the needle scraping against the bumps on the
record...


The test requires that you guess 24 out of 24 correct amplifiers. This is virtually impossible even for the most well-trained of ears, especially in the limited time span allowed. Differences in amplifiers are not discernible under such conditions. No wonder they've put up $10,00 for the winner. It's a no-lose situation for the contest holders.


but if it's so easy to tell the difference between a really high end
krell amp and a low end jensen amp, then there should be no
trouble.... It should be as easy as night and day for you.


One of the requirements to even enter the contest is to be someone employed in the car audio industry or a subscriber to their magazine. Kind of a cheezy way to hawk magazine subs, if you ask me. You also have to pony up $100 to take the test ($300 if you're in the industry)! What a rip! This contest is rigged from the get-go because it's impossible to win under these circumstances.


I really think he'll forego those requirements (not the $100 cause
ya gotta pay the guy for his time to set up the test for ya, and
it's a nominal fee anyways) for you if you really wanna prove him
wrong...
I really wanna see it done.

russellburrows
08-29-2003, 04:46 AM
Distortion sucks.
Period.
Tube amps have more distortion for a given price point versus solid state.

thechris
08-29-2003, 06:42 AM
"44.1kHz.... why did they use that in the first place? "
-it is about as low as you can go without aliasing.

"Distortion sucks.
Period. "
-listen to music much? there are many things people do to add distortion to get a different sound.

Shagadelik
08-29-2003, 06:43 AM
:D lol.... u guys r still going at it?

Guess I really can't blame you, its hard for me to keep my 2 cents out of this conversation.;)

In regards to the amp sound test, I talked to a guy on the U.K. Forum who did something simular. His findings were pretty interesting. Although tube amps do create 10x more distortion than solid state amps, most of the listners in a blind test preffered the sound of tube amps over that of solid state amps.
(this test was also free i might add, $100 for a listening test sounds more like a bet to me- kinda changes the rules a little)

I have never heard a tube amp myself (soon to change that :D ), but everyone I've talked to who has was very impressed. Granted this may just be psychological, but the blind test doesn't lie, and I also find it hard to believe so many people have this "psycoacoustic" thing you guys keep talking about.

Also, since you guys (mainly Mr. Euro, and "thechris") obviously didn't pay much attention to the link I left a couple pages back(second order distortion), I'll post it again and point out one very key thing I saw in this article. Second order distortion can be a good thing. The test showed that when coupled with the right set of speakers, a single-ended amplifier actually reduced overall system distortion. Pretty neat stuff if you ask me.:D ;)




Open Ended Amplifier Review Link (stereophile.com/showarchives.cgi?843:7)

Shagadelik
08-29-2003, 06:49 AM
Originally posted by thechris
"
"Distortion sucks.
Period. "
-listen to music much? there are many things people do to add distortion to get a different sound.

Ahhh, not a different sound, looks to me a better sound.;)

Who's the one hooked on old technology? You tell me.

The_spacemonkey
08-29-2003, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by Shagadelik

In regards to the amp sound test, I talked to a guy on the U.K. Forum who did something simular. His findings were pretty interesting. Although tube amps do create 10x more distortion than solid state amps, most of the listners in a blind test preffered the sound of tube amps over that of solid state amps.
(this test was also free i might add, $100 for a listening test sounds more like a bet to me- kinda changes the rules a little)
[/URL]


this has been proved many times in dopuble blind tests, many people like some distortion in their music. I do not.

captain_video
08-29-2003, 12:20 PM
I also find it hard to believe so many people have this "psycoacoustic" thing you guys keep talking about.

Psychoacoustics relates to a preconceived notion about how a certain piece of equipment, brand, or design should sound. As such, the listener will be more likely to pefer said equipment over anything it's being compared with for this reason. Even the most seasoned of reviewers can be somewhat tainted by this phenomena, although every one of them would be loathe to admit it. Blind tests and no prior knowledge of the equipment being used will ensure a fair and honest evaluation of the equipment being auditioned.

I am amazed at how many people keep hawking about the distortion thing with tube amps. They must have read about it somewhere and decided they don't like distortion of any kind. Get real, people! The music you listen to everyday contains distortion in spades or are you going to tell me that you've never listened to any form of rock music?

The info about odd vs. even order harmonics is dead on and the reason so many people prefer the "tube" sound over solid state. It's far less grating on the ears and provides a greater sense of musicality.

captain_video
08-29-2003, 03:09 PM
I saw a really interesting article in the latest issue of Car Audio and Electronics magazine the other day. I had seen the magazine on the newsstands for years but never picked up a copy before now. My recently renewed interest in car audio prompted me to pick up a few periodicals to see what was happening in the industry of late. Anyway, the article is in the Troubleshooting column of the magazine and I believe it applies perfectly to what's been going on in this thread. The article relates to misinfromation that is spread through opinion-based forums such as this one by self-proclaimed experts that do nothing but try to force their own personal opinions on others. These opinions are just that and are rarely based on anything factual but actually misinformation that the perpetrator has taken to believe as gospel. It's only a matter of time before they are revealed for what they truly are.

Individuals such as this do nothing to serve the greater good of the community. People come to forums to share information and learn from the experiences of others. Those that come here simply to claim that what they believe is the one true way are in danger of coloring what the truth is really all about and others end up believeing this as well, perpetuating the misinformation.

A perfect example of this is the individual that is offering no solid constructive arguments other than bashing me for being stuck in a world full of outdated technology. I find this to be extremely disturbing and interesting at the same time. It's interesting because there is an entire industry that seems to be thriving on this so-called outdated technology. I never claimed that tubes are the absolute answer to perfect sound reproduction but my words have been twisted to indicate otherwise. It's disturbing because this individual has closed his mind to the possibility that there could actually be something out there that is better than what he currently believes to be the high end in audio. Those that do not recognize high end audio for what it really is are doomed to a life of mid-fi quality and will never know what they're missing. It's sad because they're the ones that are losing out.

My experience with high end audio was both the most rewarding period of my listening years as well as the most frustrating. It was rewarding because it opened my eyes and ears to whole new possibilities in listening enjoyment that I would never have dreamed of otherwise. The frustrating part was that my system got to be so good as to be able to reveal the most minute flaws that were introduced into the signal path. This was not a psychoacoustic phenomenon as some would suggest because my roommates could also hear these flaws when they popped up. It usually turned out to be something simple like a dirty contact or misalignment in the cantilever of my phono cartridge but it made me crazy until I could track down the source of the sonic disturbance. The types of things I'm talking about would have easily been masked by a run of the mill mid-fi Technics receiver or other components of similar quality.

I am assuming that others claiming to have heard high end systems and could not hear any difference firmly believe what they say and I would have to agree that they probably did not hear anything different in their minds. High end audio requires a finely trained ear to be able to distinguish the subtle differences between what a musical passage sounds like in an audio system and what it should sound like in real life.

Most people prefer certain types of colorations in their music (i.e. deep bass or subdued highs). High end preamps rarely, if ever, have any sort of tone controls (i.e. bass and treble) to color the sound but rather are designed to pass the signal to the output with as little interaction as possible. This is know as the "straight-wire" concept and is what every designer of high end audio gear strives for. Mid-fi mainstream components from the major name brand manufacturers all add colorations to the sounds they amplify, but they're getting better all the time.

Car audio systems are no different. It is these colorations that allow you to detect differences between audio equipment. If an amplifier was designed perfectly, and none of them really are, especially with car audio gear, then they would add no colorations to the sound. If this were the case then it would indeed be impossible to detect differences between amplifiers since they would adhere to the "straight-wire" concept.

I would surmise that most people cannot hear differences between amplifiers because 1) they are not trained in the art of critical listening (it does not come naturally and must be learned), 2) the amp will only sound as good as the worst component in the system, and 3) car speakers are not designed to be anywhere near as revealing as a well-designed high-end transducer.

I've seen where someone posted that certain car manufacturers use the same drivers as those used in a home system. That may be true but what they fail to mention is that they are installed in a custom designed enclosure with a crossover network specifically designed for the drivers in that environment and optimized for best performance. They are also optimized for an open environment and not the claustrophobic space of a car's interior. Installing the exact same driver in a car is a crapshoot at best for achieving a sound that is anywhere near what is attained in a home system. The surrounding environment is completely alien to a home speaker when inserted in an automobile. Would you ever consider cramming your home audio system into a closet along with chairs stuffed with foam rubber and then use that for your listening environment? That's pretty much what you're trying to do in a car.

Z28SS
08-29-2003, 04:02 PM
Originally posted by Hobbes26



44.1kHz.... why did they use that in the first place?




They just took the frequency limit (20K), doubled it, and added a few more Khz for good measure. Some companies had complained to the CD standards consortium that 44.1K would be to low, but they agreed to use this rate anyway. I think Sony was one of the companies complaining that the rate was to low.

captain_video
08-29-2003, 04:17 PM
I think Sony was one of the companies complaining that the rate was to low.

That's interesting because Sony and Philips were the two of the main driving forces behind the development of the audio CD format.

P.S. I just went back and looked for a book that I had on CDs and their history but I couldn't locate it. Everything I have on it that I can find all deals with CD-ROM formats for the PC so I could be in error about the audio CD developers. I'm pretty sure that both Sony and Philips were among the major players along with Denon, Hitachi, and several others. I do know that Denon has been doing digital audio probably longer than any of the other Japanese companies. They were the first to issue direct to digital recordings on CD back in the mid 70's.

grillski2000
08-29-2003, 08:21 PM
I use to run a Pg Ti 600 and I thought that was the best sq amp out there. When I bought an original 750 Bk Butler amp I noticed that the sound sounded more open and real sounding (using the same speaker setup). Now I know people will say that an amplifier just makes power to amplify the music and not change the sound. They are right!But you would need a perfect amplifier that does not change the sound! All car audio amps distort and amplify the music in different areas of the music and changing the way the music was originally intended to sound. I think some amps somehow increase the Highs in the amplification making it have an over emphized Top end and some dont. Some amps seem more detailed with instruments and have better Stereo affects. SOme amps when driven hard make a distinct Clipping noise on the top end some harsher than others. Some amps dont put out much mid bass helping the midrange sounds. Its weird that after 20minutes in the Bk the sound would get more open sounding but the Pg ZX600 would have pretty sweet detail that the Butler didnt have. But the Butler would have a more natural sound and less electronic sounding.

captain_video
08-29-2003, 08:38 PM
Its weird that after 20minutes in the Bk the sound would get more open sounding

Actually it's not weird at all. Tubes take a while to warm up to where they are at optimum performance so listening for about 20 minutes sounds about right. I can't wait to get my Butler amps that I just bought. They're two of the old model 750's and a single model 475. I'd like to see if there's some way I could leave them turned on all the time to eliminate the warmup period without draining my battery. I'd probably need some way of muting the audio outputs to eliminate any potential turn-on thumps caused by other equipment but it could probably be done without too much difficulty. I'm thinking maybe I could just wire in a toggle switch to activate the remote turn-on to the amps 15-20 minutes prior to driving the car to get them warmed up for the drive to work. It would be really cool if I could tap into the remote receiver for the car's door lock system so I could activate it using the key remote.

grillski2000
08-29-2003, 09:08 PM
Captain,

Have you heard the new Tube driver Blues? How do you think the old one compare which ones are better?

placenta
08-29-2003, 09:25 PM
hey captain audio, what you think about this amp:

http://cgi.ebay.com/ws/eBayISAPI.dll?ViewItem&item=3043413431&category=4950

it would be sweet on my Dyns...

Shagadelik
08-29-2003, 10:41 PM
Originally posted by captain_video
3) car speakers are not designed to be anywhere near as revealing as a well-designed high-end transducer.



Could you recommend a good pair of speakers that would compliment the TDB 2150? I was looking at perhaps Phase, Infinity, or MB Quart comps (6.5"). Whatever you should recommend, I would be looking at spending @$300 max.

Any opinions would be appreciated.:)

captain_video
08-30-2003, 01:09 AM
I haven't had a chance to hear a Tube Driver amp at all. I bought mine on a wing and a prayer and lots of rave recommendations for the amps. The naysayers are actually a small minority when it comes to opinions about them from everything I've read so far, but they just seem like those that are negative just for the purpose of being negative. The more they dis the amps the more I realize that they have no real evaluation skills about the sound of audio gear so I've taken their opinions with a bag of salt. I figure if I don't like them I'll just put them on ebay. I have a feeling I won't be disappointed, though, but it still remains to be seen (or heard in this case).

placenta
08-30-2003, 01:11 AM
oh.. i thought you were the one that worked on them..

oh thats TO3.... wonder what he thinks of that ebay amp i posted..


i got a bid on it right now.. i never win the amps.. but when i see mcintosh, zapco, and tube drivers for $300 or so, i usually bid for fun.. and i always lose on the last day.

captain_video
08-30-2003, 01:40 AM
Could you recommend a good pair of speakers that would compliment the TDB 2150? I was looking at perhaps Phase, Infinity, or MB Quart comps (6.5"). Whatever you should recommend, I would be looking at spending @$300 max.

I am certainly not the one to ask about recommendations for specific car audio gear at this stage. I have only recently gotten back into the car audio hobby and am unfamiliar with most of the current brands of equipment being offered. I haven't had much opportunity to audition much of the available equipment but I'm working on it. I have been driving all over the Baltimore/Washington area to try and find local dealers that carry Focal and MB Quartz speakers to check them out. I've heard the Quartz Q series 218 6.5" separates but I'd really like to hear the QSD's. I've also heard the Focal Polykevlars but there again I'd like to audition the Utopias. Both of these brands are apparently considered in the high end based on a lot of opinions that I have read and most dealers in my area only get them by special order and definitely don't have them set up for auditions.

I remember reading a lot about Quartz speakers being used in winning IASCA project cars which is why I thought I'd check them out. I had the opportunity to hear some older Quartz separates many years ago and I do remember that they were among the best speakers I had heard up to that point but I have no idea what model they were.

I thought the Focal Polykevlars were decent sounding but it's so darn hard to guage what a speaker will sound like in your car vs. a showroom. The Quartz 218's were also pleasing but I didn't spend all that much time listening to either model. You really have to hear them in the proper environment to know what you're getting. The price for the Polykevlars would be in the range you want to spend but I'd recommend hearing them for yourself and not take my word for it. You might be able to find the Quartz Q series on ebay for around $300, especially in the 5-1/4" model.

There's a guy on ebay selling Focal speakers on-line that are all brand new in the box. I'm sure he's not an authorized dealer since Focal is ademant about not allowing any of their speakers for sale on-line but only through certified Focal dealerships. Just do a search for Focal Utopia and his auctions will pop up. It looks like he has one auction for each model in the Focal line from each of the different series including the Polykevlars and Utopias. The Focal dealer I spoke with says he sells more of them than any other model he carries. I'd check around in some of the other forums here and see what other recommendations you can find. Just remember to trust your own ears and don't go by the recommendations of someone you don't know. You're the one that's going to have to live with them in the long haul so let your ears be the judge.

Take some music that you're intimately familiar with to audition the speakers. I'd also recommend listening to some other speakers in the showroom that you're already familiar with to use as a reference. Try and keep the same electronics in the chain for all comparisons and set all of the tone controls for flat response so you're only hearing the speakers and not any colorations induced by other equipment. Make sure you're in charge of the volume control and not the salesperson. Try and keep all your evaluations at the same volume for a fair comparison.

After you've heard all that the dealer has to offer then start playing with the various settings to see how they sound. See if they sound brittle with the treble turned up or if they simply sound brighter but not harsh. Crank up the bass and see if it gets muddy or if it stays clean and solid. Turn up the volume and see if they start to distort at a low level. This may be an indication that they are not very efficient and are driving the amps into clipping at low volume levels. Make sure they don't sound strained or start breaking up at moderately high listening levels. Keep the volume at a sane level but check them out at whatever level you're likely to be setting them to in a real world situation. If you see people heading for the exits then your listening habits are a bit too extreme so keep it reasonable. Your dealer will appreciate it.

captain_video
08-30-2003, 01:48 AM
i got a bid on it right now.. i never win the amps.. but when i see mcintosh, zapco, and tube drivers for $300 or so, i usually bid for fun.. and i always lose on the last day.

A little tip about ebay. Never bid until the very last minute. The auctions are timed to the last second and anytime you bid early you're just running the price up because other bidders still have an opportunity to outbid you and apparently do it on a regular basis. I usually try to wait until the last 45 seconds or so to place my bid. That way any other bidders just don't have the time to react and enter a higher bid before the auction closes. It works most of the time but you'd also better be prepared to put inthe maximum amount you're willing to pay for the item because the current high bidder may have already placed a maximum bid higher than the next bid increment.

You don't want to take the chance that someone else will outbid you even at the last second. Placing a maximum bid will automatically increment you bid price if some else bids against you at a price lower than your maximum. You've also go to know when to walk away. I've seen so many bidders get caught up in the frenzy that they end up paying more than retail for the item just so they can win it.

Now keep in mind that when I place something for auction on ebay that none of these rules apply. Go ahead and bid to your heart's content. In fact, bid high and often and there might even be a cookie in it for you if you win.

placenta
08-30-2003, 02:03 AM
on the contrary. i always hope i dont win. im broke as it is. so i dont care if i bid early. i bid at a price i would gladly pay for the amp in question... if it goes up, then i dont want it.

Shagadelik
08-30-2003, 02:49 AM
Originally posted by captain_video


Turn up the volume and see if they start to distort at a low level. This may be an indication that they are not very efficient and are driving the amps into clipping at low volume levels.

In regards to clipping, what exactly is it? It is related to distortion, yes? Is it bad for the amp if the speakers do cause it to start clipping?

Also, thank you for your recommendations. :D I have also heard that those brands are the best to go with for comp. sets and are very popular, was just wondering what else might be out there that you know of. Very hard to find dealers in my area also!

immortalspl
08-30-2003, 03:13 AM
there is just too many posts on this thread:o

captain_video
08-30-2003, 03:34 AM
In regards to clipping, what exactly is it? It is related to distortion, yes? Is it bad for the amp if the speakers do cause it to start clipping?

Clipping is where the amplitude of the signal starts to exceed the threshold that the amp can provide a clean, undistorted signal. If the signal level is driven beyond this point, the tips of the waveforms are actually "clipped" when viewed on an oscilloscope and causes the amp to distort badly. This can be extremely damaging to speakers and also the amp itself. The speakers themselves have nothing to do with an amplifier clipping.

there is just too many posts on this thread

Naah. We're just gettin' started. You should see some of the threads in the other forums I hang out in. Try sorting through over 700 posts in a single thread! This is nothing.

Hobbes26
08-30-2003, 04:44 AM
Originally posted by captain_video


Clipping ... can be extremely damaging to speakers and also the amp itself.

True... but only if the power of the clipped signal is greater than
the power that the speaker can handle...


Naah. We're just gettin' started. You should see some of the threads in the other forums I hang out in. Try sorting through over 700 posts in a single thread! This is nothing.

what other forums are ya on?

johnybass
08-30-2003, 10:29 AM
Well i tried to read the entire post but i couldnt.

I think the z28 guy has been fooled by those magazines with there vocab and audio salesmans lying to him. Just caught up in the hype like the rest of the masses. $150 wire is a marketing scam. They have no real proof of being better for sonics. They do last longer than cheap wire and they look cooler because there not copper and silver colored. THATS IT.

RC's test is not bs at all.
You guys are basically saying that the only difference was the signal processing of the amp if his removing those features makes the amps sound the same. That means i could go buy a seperate crossover/eq/subsonic/whatever other features a expensive amp has and then couple that to a cheap amp and it will sound the same.

So according to your beliefs you pay all that extra money for butler tubes and other high end just so your crossovers and amps are all one unit.
Thats a waste of money im my oppinion.
Yup. Caught up in the marketing.

Just like lotion. It all has alcohol in it. WHY? Because after a day or so it drys your hands back out to make you need more lotion.
Which increases there profits a ton.
Or preservatives that are bad for you that are put in most foods just to have a shelf life of 5 years or something.
Or Hormones injected with needles into cows to make more milk and give girls tits at 10 years old and makes the cows less healthy so they need more antibiotics which is in the milk and is bad as well.
All marketing scams.

If you read those magazines about audio you will notice they always say something good about the products no matter what they are. They'll say, "These sonys really bump hard! For plenty of hard hitting bass buy these sony super hexagons!!!!

Then they will say "This jl sub offers incredible bass that will make your pant legs flap. If you want great bass buy this jl.

Whats the difference in whats said? Marketing crap.

The world is run by only 1 thing. Only 1.
Money.
Are food, clothes, homes, our government, everything.
The whole internet is ran by money. Adds and links that pay people if you click on something.
All marketing. Everything is run by money.
Its sad the world is run by something that doesnt care at all or even can think for itself. I thought people were supposed to control the world.

I gaurantee you if you were completely blindfolded you could not tell a difference between any suitable wire.
Or any similar 2 amps with all features turned off on both amps and both using a outboard crossover.
John

placenta
08-30-2003, 03:02 PM
i liked that post.


"This jl sub offers incredible bass that will make your pant legs flap. If you want great bass buy this jl. "

hahaha... i'd buy something that would make my pants flap....

captain_video
08-30-2003, 03:18 PM
I gaurantee you if you were completely blindfolded you could not tell a difference between any suitable wire.

I've got to agree about 99% with what you're saying about interconnects. That whole part of the industry is the ultimate in hype but there are those that swear they can hear the differences. I would agree that perhaps some sonic improvements can be had when comparing a set of OEM interconnects that you get with your VCR or cassette deck to a set of good quality interconnects. I believe that if the wire used in a set of interconnects is of high quality with only minor imperfections (i.e. not 100% pure copper or silver material) and it is properly shielded with a good set of connectors then 99.9% of the population will never hear the difference between them.

I think a good analogy would be a quote I heard from a representative of one of the major Golf club manufacturer's at one of the big annual conventions where they introduce their new product lines. When asked what people are buying when they choose one set of golf clubs over another, the rep's response was "Hope." I think that pretty much sums up the whole interconnect bailywick in a nutshell. Buying esoteric interconnects for a car is going off the deep end IMO but some may do it simply for peace of mind. I'm certainly not going to criticize someone for doing it if that's their choice. It's their money, afterall, so I have no right to say how they want to spend it.

I can't vouch for the "z28 guy" or anyone else in this forum but I never even picked up a car audio magazine until the other day. Actually, I did pick up a Car Stereo Review Buyer's Guide about 10 years ago but none of the equipment listed has been in production for at least 5 years.

There are basically two different ways of thinking about audio. The mainstream train of thought is purely scientific. If sonic differences can't be explained through quantitative measurements then therefore no differences exist between two pieces of similar audio gear that measure the same. This philosophy has been preached by several of the earlier posters in this thread. Listening to the equipment confirms this for them because they have already decided that the measurements tell the whole story so they can't possibly sound different. This is the other side of the psychoacoustic affect that everyone has failed to mention (it works both ways).

The other faction uses measurements only as a starting point and rely mostly on years of critical listening and their own ears and the rememberence of live music as a reference. As I have said repeatedly, critical listening is an acquired skill and one that must be constantly refreshed or you'll lose the ability to discern true sound quality in any given audio component. There are countless skeptics to this because they have never been trained in the art of listening and they think that simply because they can't hear a difference then it just isn't there. The bottom line is that the majority of the population has a total lack of critical listening skills. I once had them but I haven't heard a live performance in many years nor have I listened to music critically for well over a decade. As such I have fallen back into the ranks of the unenlightened and would need to be retrained once again.

I visited a high-end audio dealer about 15 years ago just for kicks. I hadn't been in one for many years after I got married once my hobby got put on the back shelf in favor of supporting a family and raising two kids. I walked in the door and saw all kinds of really cool new gear that wasn't available back in the day. I talked with the salesman for a while and he offered to demonstrate a system for me. Here's breakdown of the system as I recall it:

Krell preamp $6,000
Krell CD player $10,000 - An absolutely gorgeous unit with a huge sculpted Lucite block as the top cover.

Krell monoblock power amps $35,000 per pair - Each pair consisted of two separate chassis'. One had massive heat sinks and contained the amplifier section and the 2nd chassis contained the power supply and had a huge oval-shaped meter on the front panel about 10" across . Each chassis measured about 24" deep by 18" wide by 10" high for a total of four boxes.

Avalon loudspeakers $10,000 per pair

The prices of similarly offered components are undoubtedtly higher in today's market. The salesman put on a CD of The Smashing Pumpkins who I was completely unfamiliar with at the time. I sat there and listened but it didn't take long for me to realize that I was unable to hear any discernible difference between this megabucks system and the one I had at home (Counterpoint SA1000 hybrid tube preamp, Kenwood L-07M monoblock power amps, Vandersteen model 2 louspeakers and various other components). I knew at this point that I had been cured of the high-end bug that had so greatly overwhelmed me in the past (see previous posts for more info). I smiled and told him this fact and asked why anyone would ever need to spend this much money on a system. He just chuckled and said "Need has nothing to do with it."

So according to your beliefs you pay all that extra money for butler tubes and other high end just so your crossovers and amps are all one unit.
Thats a waste of money im my oppinion.

That's why I rarely buy new equipment or pay retail. I'm not sure I understand what you mean by the crossovers and amps being in one unit. The Butlers don't have integrated crossovers AFAIK. A lot of mainstream amps have built-in crossovers for a fraction of the price so I don't know what you're driving at here.


what other forums are ya on?

http://www.dealdatabase.com/forum/index.php?s=

We hack Tivos, especially DirecTivos. I'm also a mod at a DirecTV-related forum in the Tivo Hacking section but I'm not going to post the URL.


My apologies to all for being so long-winded in my posts. I am a technical writer by trade so I can type a lot in a short time and sometimes I get carried away. I've spent too many years of trying to be too detailed in my descriptions, so it's sometimes difficult to write anything in 25 words or less. You'll also notice that I edit just about every post. Again, this is from too many years in publications and I hate seeing typos in anything I write but some still sneak in from time to time.

Maniac
08-30-2003, 05:46 PM
i think those that have not heard a tube driver blue and criticize tube amp sound should shut the fk up. I own a brax and a tbd 475....brax wins in looks and power......but its my tbd that makes me sit in my car in the driveway at 2 am listening to another cd when i have to get up for work at 7.....go figure.....

The_spacemonkey
08-30-2003, 05:53 PM
Originally posted by Maniac
i think those that have not heard a tube driver blue and criticize tube amp sound should shut the fk up. I own a brax and a tbd 475....brax wins in looks and power......but its my tbd that makes me sit in my car in the driveway at 2 am listening to another cd when i have to get up for work at 7.....go figure.....

Ive never heard TDB, but I have heard hundreds of tube amps

Hobbes26
08-30-2003, 06:57 PM
Originally posted by captain_video

There are basically two different ways of thinking about audio. The mainstream train of thought is purely scientific. If sonic differences can't be explained through quantitative measurements then therefore no differences exist between two pieces of similar audio gear that measure the same. This philosophy has been preached by several of the earlier posters in this thread. Listening to the equipment confirms this for them because they have already decided that the measurements tell the whole story so they can't possibly sound different. This is the other side of the psychoacoustic affect that everyone has failed to mention (it works both ways).


On the contrary... Most of us know full well the differences that
we can measure in the amplifiers.

Name
08-30-2003, 07:22 PM
The RC believers need to face the music. All amps do not sound the same. Amps are not digital. They are analog. They use resistors and capacitors, all of which have different sonic signatures. To say all amps sound the same is to say that all amps amplify a signal exactly the same way, using the same grade components and engineering methodologies. This certainly is not true. The test is bogus! Here's an anology to the test: "If you take two glasses of water, one bottled water and the other regular tap water, there is no difference between the two. To prove this point We'll take a glass of tap water and a glass of bottled water and give anyone who can taste a difference $10,000. "BUT," either the tap water has to be filtered in the same way as the bottled water, or the bottled water has to have all of the impurities of the tap watter added to it."

Does this sound like a real test? Would you believe that there really is no difference in taste under these circumstances?

Hobbes26
08-30-2003, 07:26 PM
Originally posted by Name
The RC believers need to face the music. All amps do not sound the same. Amps are not digital. They are analog. They use resistors and capacitors, all of which have different sonic signatures. To say all amps sound the same is to say that all amps amplify a signal exactly the same way, using the same grade components and engineering methodologies. This certainly is not true. The test is bogus! Here's an anology to the test: "If you take two glasses of water, one bottled water and the other regular tap water, there is no difference between the two. To prove this point We'll take a glass of tap water and a glass of bottled water and give anyone who can taste a difference $10,000. "BUT," either the tap water has to be filtered in the same way as the bottled water, or the bottled water has to have all of the impurities of the tap watter added to it."

Does this sound like a real test? Would you believe that there really is no difference in taste under these circumstances?

how are we adding "impurities" to the amps?

captain_video
08-30-2003, 08:08 PM
On the contrary... Most of us know full well the differences that we can measure in the amplifiers.

I never disputed what you CAN measure. It's the subtleties that can't be explained through quantitative measurements. How do you measure the air and presence surrounding a musician in a concert hall during a live performance? This is not something that can be measured but it is one of the things that processed CDs rob from the original recordings. The life is sucked out when music is converted to CD format. Instead of sounding open and alive, it becomes cold and analytical. You'll never hear these differences in mid-fi equipment and most people won't hear it on high end gear either unless they know what to listen for.

Amps are not digital. They are analog.

That depends on what amps you're talking about. Meridian makes a system that's completely digital all the way through the processing chain until the signal reaches the speakers. It's only converted to analog right at the point where it gets to the speakers. I can't locate the article I had on it but I think the D/A conversion electronics are contained in the speaker cabinets themselves.

thylantyr
08-30-2003, 08:10 PM
The RC believers need to face the music. All amps do not sound the same.


You make the same mistake as I did,
not understanding what the RC challenge
is all about.

It's not claiming that all amplifiers sound
the same.

It's claiming that two amplifiers running
linear at the same power levels with
no variation in frequency response
driving the same impedance is hard
for the user to distinguish. In which
case, the test isn't bogus.

Most people by force of habit tend
to drive amplifiers to their limits and
they don't even realize it, then the gremlins manifest and you hear things.

But if you think about it, should you
drive an amplifier to it's limit ? This is
like buying a 4 cylinder engine truck
and expect it to haul a trailer, sure
you can do it, but you notice the engine
is hating life, but if you use a V8, then
you don't notice the struggle.

Hobbes26
08-30-2003, 08:27 PM
Originally posted by thylantyr
The RC believers need to face the music. All amps do not sound the same.


You make the same mistake as I did,
not understanding what the RC challenge
is all about.

It's not claiming that all amplifiers sound
the same.

It's claiming that two amplifiers running
linear at the same power levels with
no variation in frequency response
driving the same impedance is hard
for the user to distinguish. In which
case, the test isn't bogus.

Most people by force of habit tend
to drive amplifiers to their limits and
they don't even realize it, then the gremlins manifest and you hear things.

But if you think about it, should you
drive an amplifier to it's limit ? This is
like buying a 4 cylinder engine truck
and expect it to haul a trailer, sure
you can do it, but you notice the engine
is hating life, but if you use a V8, then
you don't notice the struggle.

ding ding ding!!!

rabbets for ya :bun: :bun: :bun:

Shagadelik
08-30-2003, 10:30 PM
Originally posted by Maniac
i think those that have not heard a tube driver blue and criticize tube amp sound should shut the fk up.

Couldn't have said it better myself.

russellburrows
08-31-2003, 12:00 AM
Originally posted by The_spacemonkey



this has been proved many times in dopuble blind tests, many people like some distortion in their music. I do not.


Well said The_spacemonkey.


I also hate distortion.


What I said before and say again is that for a given price point a solid state works better than a tube design.

Some will go but my six thousand dollar tube amp sounds better than that one thousand dollar solid state amp.
Jesus.
Captain Video and others.
I mean try comparing oranges to oranges.
I mean try comparing a twenty thousand dollar tube amp to a twenty thousand dollar solid state amp.

See what design has less distortion and has better sound
;)

And Captain Video:
Vinyl records do not repeat do not play thirty times with no wear.
Vinyl records,cassett tapes, VHS,BETAMAX and other formats that have a contact design to obtain either audio or video or both.
These ancient and obsolete designs show wear in the transfer media after the FIRST PLAY.

1967cutlass
08-31-2003, 12:20 AM
Vinyl records do not repeat do not play thirty times with no wear.

are you saying that every time i play a record in my car my system loses SQ? :eek:


:p


btw magnetic recordings also decay over time