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  • System Synergy

    Additive 1 + 1 = 2

    Synergistic 1 + 1 = 3

    Examples of synergy abound, for example in drug interactions, in science.

    Reason I am bringing it up, my audiobuddy Rahul was in town and over this weekend and raving about how good the system sounded and asking me what component was responsible. In all truthfulness, I couldn't say it was due to one component. No, simply it was the sum total of all the components put together. The system is only as good as the weakest link in the chain. If the cables weren't transparent...if the speakers weren't transparent...if the cartridge wasn't transparent ... and so on...it would all be for naught. The best systems, no matter the price, are all about that magic that all the components can bring and that takes a lot of work, dedication and experimentation either on the audiophile's behalf or the audio dealer.

    Yet, my mind is blown when I come across post like this from AES and other flat earth types such as, "I see "system synergy" mentioned often, and I don't think there really is such a thing." Really? How much gear have you listened to? What are you listening to? What are you listening for? How can that statement even be made? And then it's all about frequency response as if nothing else in the world exist. The mind just boggles at such flat earthers and how much they are missing. File that under holocaust deniers.

    What are some of the most crucial factors you've found in putting together your systems as well as optimizing the sound of all the components in your systems?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
    -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
    -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
    -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
    -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
    -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
    -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
    -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

  • #2
    So my question is, how can the audio shows' listening rooms do prospective customers any good? If we want to hear a specific speaker, we really aren't hearing the speaker (or any other component), but the entire system. This is what makes buying virtually impossible unless you can do a home audition which is very very rare outside a some accessories or maybe a cartridge. Maybe we should rethink the purpose of auditioning gear at shows or even at stores? What are your thoughts, since it is a system we are hearing which cannot single out any component more than another?

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Analog21 View Post
      So my question is, how can the audio shows' listening rooms do prospective customers any good? If we want to hear a specific speaker, we really aren't hearing the speaker (or any other component), but the entire system. This is what makes buying virtually impossible unless you can do a home audition which is very very rare outside a some accessories or maybe a cartridge. Maybe we should rethink the purpose of auditioning gear at shows or even at stores? What are your thoughts, since it is a system we are hearing which cannot single out any component more than another?
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
      -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
      -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
      -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
      -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
      -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
      -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
      -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        IMO the concept of greater than the sum of its parts is false. I don't think any system can sound better than the weakest link in the chain and even that only if the system matching is good enough to extract as close as possible the maximum performance of every component in the chain.

        1+1=2 only in a perfect world. In a less than perfect world 1+1=<2 to and the closer one tries to approach that magical 2 the more difficult the task.

        Comment


        • Guest's Avatar
          Guest commented
          Editing a comment
          I can see it on a resume: asymptotically approaching 2.

      • #5
        I'm not sure I'd use "synergy" for what you're describing, it goes way beyond that. It takes experience to put a proper high end system together but then you have to know how to set it up properly, often the weakest link is the owner!

        david
        Last edited by david k; 07-15-2016, 08:11 AM.
        Manufacturer: American Sound Turntables and The Nothing Rack
        Distribution: NEODIO

        Special Sales: van den Hul
        Industry Representation: Lamm, Kharma OLS Speakers, Ortofon, ZYX, Keith Monks, Audio Desk, Jensen Transformer, Venta Airwasher

        Unique Items: Vintage Horn Speakers
        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...stening-room-1
        http://www.audionirvana.org/forum/ti...earfield-setup

        Comment


        • Garth
          Garth commented
          Editing a comment
          amen not only am I the weak link also the missing link

      • #6
        A lot of gear is better than we think it is if its not in the right context.

        Comment


        • #7
          As I am selling my msb stack and I use it as a preamp I now will be forced to start this journey again. And it ends with synergy or what ever it's called. I do think david k makes sense as I feel I am the week link pros real pros perhaps like him know how it should sound. For me I know how I I like it to sound that is intil
          it gets better. For this reason Dave is right.
          Now getting there is task at large. For me I wonder till I find it or near it.
          analog stuff.
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 made new by soren
          otari mtr 10 2 track 1/4 1/2 combo made new by soren
          sota sapphire used eminent tech ver 2 arm
          new sota nova table has magnetic levitation platter and full speed control and latest motor same arm as above
          thorens td124 sme ver 2 arm
          thorens td125 sme ver 2 arm
          kenwood direct drive sme ver 2 arm
          phono preamp Ml no 25 all re capped
          speakers cust infinity IRS V , new caps and LPS , magnets etc.
          mark levivson pre no 26 amps no 33
          digital three cust servers , win ser 2016 , AO
          Dacs lampi various

          Comment


          • #8
            Lets not forget one crucial factor, the room. You can go out and spend a small fortune on audio gear only to have the end result sounding lifeless. You have to add the room into the mix to ensure synergy exist.
            Chris
            ----------------------------------------------------------------
            Kef 201/2, Pass xa30.5, W4S STP-SE, Manley Chinook, VPI Classic, Dynavector DV20x2L, ExaSound e32, Acoustic Zen cables. (Office): Vincent SP331 Mkll, Quicksilver Pre, Lumin D1, (Ken Lau Signiture Edition PSU), Bryston BCD-1, Vapor Audio Breeze, WooAudio W6se,Questyle Audio CMA800R LCD-3,HD800s, HD600, Mr Speaker Ether C Flow,

            Comment


          • #9
            If we have attained synergy why are we constantly changing gear? Shouldn't we leave well enough alone?
            Dynavector DV20x2L MC cartridge - Genesis G7.1f speakers - Marantz Reference PM-KI-Pearl Int. Amp. - Oracle Audio Paris MkV turntable - Various Morrow & Valab/King cables

            Comment


            • cpp
              cpp commented
              Editing a comment
              I think you have a few sides of the equation.
              You have the - Look At Me type, looking to impress someone.
              You have the - Because its brand new type. Always thinking the latest and greatest is the best.
              You have the - It Looks Cool type, thinking that good looks means good sound.
              You have the - Why Not Change type, I got the cash, its a hobby and who knows it just might take it to another level

              All in fun of course
              Last edited by cpp; 07-15-2016, 11:55 AM.

          • #10
            Originally posted by Johnny Vinyl View Post
            If we have attained synergy why are we constantly changing gear? Shouldn't we leave well enough alone?
            Synergy is a means not an end in itself.

            Synergy among a set of components or within a system indicates the components work well together or the system is actualizing its potential. Synergy could obtain for a $1000 system and for a $10000 system. Even if your system is operating synergistically it doesn't follow that a different synergistic system (possibly higher priced) may not sound much much better than yours. (not meant to refer to you personally)

            When components are switched or upgraded you still want a synergistic system. This is part of the trick to upgrading. If you add a new preamp that offers much higher resolution, greatly superior dynamics, etc. it may cause your system to sound better but it may also reveal up- or down-stream inadequacies relative to its abilities. Although it is an improvement, that preamp cannot actualize its full potential because the rest of the gear is holding it back and you won't get the full benefit from it that you're paying for.

            Changing gear puts synergy at risk but many of us believe we're still making progress. Imo, the level of satisfaction attained that leads us to step off the upgrade train is a personal thing. I've got one foot on the platform and another foot on the train. :-)

            Comment


            • Johnny Vinyl
              Johnny Vinyl commented
              Editing a comment
              I hear ya. Excellent post. Mine was kinda tongue-in-cheek.

          • #11
            Originally posted by Analog21 View Post
            So my question is, how can the audio shows' listening rooms do prospective customers any good? If we want to hear a specific speaker, we really aren't hearing the speaker (or any other component), but the entire system. This is what makes buying virtually impossible unless you can do a home audition which is very very rare outside a some accessories or maybe a cartridge. Maybe we should rethink the purpose of auditioning gear at shows or even at stores? What are your thoughts, since it is a system we are hearing which cannot single out any component more than another?
            This is the main reason I don't go to audio shows plain and simple!!! You are not hearing any of this gear in your system with the gear you already have!!!

            Comment


            • #12
              Originally posted by Rust View Post
              IMO the concept of greater than the sum of its parts is false. I don't think any system can sound better than the weakest link in the chain and even that only if the system matching is good enough to extract as close as possible the maximum performance of every component in the chain.

              1+1=2 only in a perfect world. In a less than perfect world 1+1=<2 to and the closer one tries to approach that magical 2 the more difficult the task.
              Synergy in drug research occurs when Drug A enhances the effectiveness of Drug B plus adding it's own mechanism of action to the final outcome. That can certainly also happen in audio.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
              -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
              -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
              -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
              -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
              -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
              -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
              -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

              Comment


              • #13
                You know a lot about drugs is this how you are paying for your audio Habit

                Comment


                • #14
                  Originally posted by Garth View Post
                  You know a lot about drugs is this how you are paying for your audio Habit
                  20+ years in the business, not hobby.
                  Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                  Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                  ________________________________________

                  -Zellaton Plural Evo speakers
                  -Goldmund Telos 300 stereo amp
                  -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                  -Doshi EVO and Goldmund PH3.8 phonostage
                  -VPI Vanquish direct-drive turntable
                  -VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy dual pivot tonearm, VPI 12-inch 3D Fat Boy gimballed and SAT LM-12 arm
                  -Lyra Atlas SL Lambda, Fuuga Mk. 2, vdh Colibri Master Signature, MutechHayabusa, MOFI Master Tracker, Sumiko Songbird cartridges
                  -Technics RS1506 with Flux Magnetic heads, Doshi V3.0 tape stage (balanced)
                  -Assorted cables including Transparent XL Gen. 6, Skogrand, Viero, Kubala-Sosna, Audience Au24SX, Genesis Advanced Technologies and Ensemble Power Cords
                  -Accessories including Stillpoint Aperture panels, Cathedral Sound panels, Furutech NCF Nano AC receptacles; Silver Circle Tchaik 6 PLC, Symposium ISIS and SRA Craz 3 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA OHIO Class 2.1+ platforms.

                  Comment


                  • Garth
                    Garth commented
                    Editing a comment
                    20 years so your a new guy EH

                • #15
                  LP, cartridge, cartridge clips, tonearm wire, solder, turntable female connectors, male connectors, solder, wire, solder, male connector, female connector, solder, phono-preamplifier circuitry.......loudspeaker. Too lazy to list the entire signal chain but you get the idea. Everything matters.

                  The oft voiced idea is that the best system passes the signal through the entire chain without editorializing. And yet components are "voiced" for optimal interaction with another component either from the same manufacturer (for instance preamplifier to amplifier) or with a preferred component from another manufacturer (amplifier to loudspeaker). Sometimes a component creates the need for a new design (Apogee and Levinson or Krell). In any case, building a system involves seeking a combination based on optimized and/or beneficial interactions between components. I refer to optimized as zero sum, nothing added or subtracted, and beneficial as a pleasing addition or subtraction.

                  I have no problem admitting to editorializing playback, the beneficial manipulation of the signal to make listening to less than pristine recordings more pleasant. This is gross manipulation by way of tone controls, loudness controls, equalization and maybe a kitchen sink. System matching tends to the much more subtle side of things done with what are commonly accepted as the best of recordings..

                  And this is where I have a problem the concept of synergism. What is actually achieved, true zero sum pass through or perhaps a very subtle beneficial coloration, a better than reality effect. The oft described "midrange magic" perhaps? Admittedly, splitting very fine hairs. Most good (expensive?) systems tend to be neutral although on occasion I have hidden the wincing and politely departed as soon as politely able to do so.

                  And like drug trials, what might be attributed to the placebo effect.

                  Comment

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