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  • Linearity

    Linearity is another very important term used by reviewers and audiophiles alike to evaluate the sound of a component or system that can have several meanings. J. Gordon Holt defined linearity as, "the accuracy with which the output from any system follows changes in the amplitude of its input signal." (Note how many people out there online when tossing terms around confuse transparency with linearity!)

    The first thing that comes to mind when discussing linearity is any aspect of the musical spectrum emphasized (or say sucked out) relative to the other? Does a component sound the same from the top to the bottom of the music spectrum? For instance does a component favor one frequency range, say the midrange area, over the rest of the frequency spectrum?

    But linearity can be used to describe other factors. For instance, does a speaker's performance change (or even an amplifier) as a function of listening level? Does the speaker sound the same playing at 90 dB as it does playing at 110 dB? Or even 120 dB? An electrostatic speaker may sound better at low listening levels than a dynamic speaker and vice versa. For a speaker, these changes may be traceable to driver compression. Or a power supply issue in an amplifier or preamplifier. Components are generally built to a price point and the designer must balance out the difference design areas to reach the final product. And in some cases, the power supply may be one area where cost savings occur.

    Linearity can also be applied to dynamics. Does the device under test (DUT) maintain its dynamics as a function of volume. Is there dynamic compression as the playing volume increases? Does the low end have the same dynamics as the rest of the frequency spectrum?

    What say ya all?
    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
    ________________________________________

    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
    -Doshi V3.0 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, 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. 5, 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 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

  • #2
    This is one of the basic fundamentals I use in mastering. The first time I audition a piece of music, I look for frequencies or anomalies that stick out. Sometimes it's a night/day experience that you can immediately tell the song was mixed in a poor environment and the engineer tried to compensate for the room/equipment.

    Comment


    • #3
      Originally posted by Bruce B View Post
      This is one of the basic fundamentals I use in mastering. The first time I audition a piece of music, I look for frequencies or anomalies that stick out. Sometimes it's a night/day experience that you can immediately tell the song was mixed in a poor environment and the engineer tried to compensate for the room/equipment.

      That's fascinating Bruce. Never quite thought about mastering in that sense. Should have!
      Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
      Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
      ________________________________________

      -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
      -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
      -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
      -Doshi V3.0 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, 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. 5, 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 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

      Comment


      • #4
        Excellent topic! I agree with both of you
        Analog: VPI Aries 3, custom suspension/Magnetically stabilized JMW 10.5i/Ortofon A90/Modded & shielded Pass XP-25 Digital: Spectral 3000SL/Heavily modded Alpha DAC & Yggy2 Amplification: Spectral DMC-30SV/DMA-500AR Speakers: Heavily modded MartinLogan (custom Mundorf xover, cabling, woofers; structural mods)/Modded REL Cabling: Shielded MIT Oracle 50ic,MA-X/Oracle 90.1 Power: MIT Z-Strips, Magnum Z-Traps; Shunyata Black Mamba CX HC cords, Typhon

        Comment


        • #5
          I think linearity is one area that's improved in equipment over the years. Yesteryear's gear always seemed to one or more readily identifiable deviations from linearity. Nowadays, one has to focus much more closely on the component's sound to identify the same errors.
          Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
          Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
          ________________________________________

          -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
          -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
          -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
          -Doshi V3.0 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, 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. 5, 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 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

          Comment


          • #6
            No system is perfectly linear - so what we must consider are "the non- linearities". The word is too broad and can often be meaningless, unless it is specified extensively or by context - just what Bruce did. Almost all manufacturer marketing departments will tell us their systems are more linear than the competition - linearity sells.

            IMHO no one has shown that electrostatic speakers sound better at low volumes than box ones because they are more linear, it is just a rumor and perhaps an interesting debate. And Myles, I do not care if a speaker plays better at 110 dB than at 100 dB.
            My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by microstrip View Post
              No system is perfectly linear - so what we must consider are "the non- linearities". The word is too broad and can often be meaningless, unless it is specified extensively or by context - just what Bruce did. Almost all manufacturer marketing departments will tell us their systems are more linear than the competition - linearity sells.

              IMHO no one has shown that electrostatic speakers sound better at low volumes than box ones because they are more linear, it is just a rumor and perhaps an interesting debate. And Myles, I do not care if a speaker plays better at 110 dB than at 100 dB.
              I think what I was trying to say is do the speaker's have the same resolution at all listening volume levels? If not, that to mean was a deviation from linearity. And I understand that oversimplification comes back and bites you in the behind and becomes like Parkinson's disease. The same symptoms caused by many different things.
              Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
              Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
              ________________________________________

              -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
              -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
              -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
              -Doshi V3.0 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, 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. 5, 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 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                I think what I was trying to say is do the speaker's have the same resolution at all listening volume levels? If not, that to mean was a deviation from linearity. And I understand that oversimplification comes back and bites you in the behind and becomes like Parkinson's disease. The same symptoms caused by many different things.
                Yes, the loudness level at which speakers play better differs from speaker to speaker - my old Magneplanar 3.3 stayed for a short time because they did not manage to sound good at lower levels. However I have read from people - I think it was Ki - solving this problem with a proper choice of electronics. So perhaps it was not a linearity problem at all ...

                Poor linearity results in distortion, but I think we are addressing it mainly in the subjective sense of perceived dynamic compression. It is interesting you refer to resolution - yes, we feel it that way, but I can not figure how a very small amount of compression results in such large perceived change of resolution. But it is a real fact.

                My opinions rely on listening mainly to acoustical, non amplified music. I do not care about electronic music or listening to rock at stadium levels, but I enjoy Mahler and Shostakovitch.

                Comment


                • #9
                  Guys one really important fact is that we all hear a little different also!!! The word/term Better is subjective depending on who is listening...

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Originally posted by jcmusic View Post
                    Guys one really important fact is that we all hear a little different also!!! The word/term Better is subjective depending on who is listening...

                    Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                    Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                    ________________________________________

                    -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                    -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                    -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                    -Doshi V3.0 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, 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. 5, 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 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      One thing I have noticed over the recent years is that the better your system is overall, the better it will sound at low levels compared to systems you used to have. And I do think it's a system thing more than just a speaker thing.
                      Micro Seiki SX-8000 table with flywheel, SME 3012R arm, SME 312S arm, Lyra Etna SL and Dynavector XV-1S cartridges, ARC Ref 3 phono stage, Otari MX-55 tape deck, Ampex 350 repros, Roon Nucleus Plus server, PS Audio DSJ DAC, ARC Ref 6 pre, ARC Ref 75 amp, JBL 4345 speakers, and Def Tech Ref subs.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        Originally posted by mep View Post
                        One thing I have noticed over the recent years is that the better your system is overall, the better it will sound at low levels compared to systems you used to have. And I do think it's a system thing more than just a speaker thing.
                        I think equipment and systems have markedly improved in that regard but many still have a ''sweet spot." Whether that's the system or room is a question. And of course, it's also medium/front-end dependent. That information has to be there to hear too.

                        But I still feel electrostatic speakers do reveal more at low listening levels than most dynamic speakers. I think it was Francisco that brought up the Maggies and that's one reason I modded mine.
                        Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                        Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                        ________________________________________

                        -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                        -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                        -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                        -Doshi V3.0 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, 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. 5, 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 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          In context of subjective analysis, I always thought that "linear" had a somewhat negative connotation mainly because I never heard of linear music !
                          Last edited by david k; 02-25-2016, 10:06 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


                          • #14
                            Originally posted by david k View Post
                            In context of of subjective analysis, I always thought that "linear" had a somewhat negative connotation mainly because I never heard of linear music !
                            I think that over the years many terms that initially had positive meanings became associated with negative connotations. For instance accurate became associated with solid-state and hyperdetailed. And musical became associated with tubes and technicoloring. Or even like the old Koetsus. Or like the early SE tube amps. And so on.
                            Myles B. Astor, PhD, Administrator
                            Senior Editor, Positive-Feedback.com
                            ________________________________________

                            -Magico S5 Mk.2 speakers with SPod feet
                            -Goldmund Telos 280 stereo amp
                            -Goldmund Mimesis 37S Nextgen preamplifier
                            -Doshi V3.0 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, 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. 5, 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 racks, Audiodharma Cable Cooker, Symposium Ultra and assorted SRA platforms.

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

                              I think that over the years many terms that initially had positive meanings became associated with negative connotations. For instance accurate became associated with solid-state and hyperdetailed. And musical became associated with tubes and technicoloring. Or even like the old Koetsus. Or like the early SE tube amps. And so on.
                              My favorite meaningless term these days is "professional", used at nauseam these for any old thing.
                              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

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