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  • Share A Pearl of Wisdom

    What is one thing that you've learned over the years in building your system that you'd like to share with other audionirvana members? Something say that might save them money, improve the sound of their system, get them the biggest bang for buck, appropriation of money towards different equipment, etc?

    My pearl of wisdom is don't be dogmatic. One can get good sound from belt or direct drive tables. Planar or dynamic speakers. Tubes or solid-state. Digital or analog. All it takes is a good ear and having the patience and time to spend getting the system to hit on all cylinders.
    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
    sorry, i couldn't share just one...
    • writers/reviewers for the most part don't possess special hearing acuity, so trust your own ears.
    • there is no such thing as 'best' this or that, hopefully you learn this before you run out of money or patience.
    • music should be the primary driver, seems obvious but if you're listening to the same two dozen records/files then you're probably in the wrong hobby.
    • WAF never resulted in good sound, aesthetics always should to take a back seat to higher fidelity
    • first impressions are usually accurate (IMO) be intellectually honest with yourself and admit when you own something not because you like it but because a reviewer says you should.
    • don't take this hobby too seriously it should be fun.
    TechDAS | Graham Eng | ZYX | B.M.C. | Boulder | Magico

    "Listening to Analogue music is an act of rebellion in a digital gulag" - Simon Yorke

    Comment


    • #3
      I'll agree with Rob that many audio reviewers don't have special hearing acuity.

      Regardless how well you hear, what is important is the ability to describe what you hear in a way that translates what's in your head to other people and the outside world - or vice versa.

      Imo, first impressions are valuable but not always reliable for decision making. Experience breeds better first impressions.

      There is this myth (often perpetuated by those looking for an easy way out of a disagreement) that we all hear differently. We may have different experiences but most of us share a common hearing mechanism and its evolution over thousands of years. This ties to what Ralph Karsten describes as "the rules of human hearing; Vladimir Lamm (in his own way) adopts the same view. Audio equipment that violates the rules of human hearing - even if immediately appealing - will ultimately be rejected.

      Comment


      • #4
        All of you provide excellent advice. I would add searching for synergy between components takes time and effort. In the end it will be worth it.

        Comment


        • #5
          Reviewers don't possess special hearing acuity? Sorry Myles, there goes our credibility. Seriously though, what we do have from years of reviewing is a lot of training in critical listening.

          Everyone, reviewers included, have listening biases - the things that are most important musically when auditioning a component. First, you need to be aware of your own biases, and if you can identify a reviewer with similar biases, you will find his or her reviews more "accurate".

          Now to my pearl of wisdom - don't trust your first impressions; I don't usually trust mine. And don't trust A/B type comparisons. It takes long term listening, hours over days, to really evaluate a new component and to determine if it makes an improvement playing music rather than just a difference. Our ear/brain hearing is designed to identify differences; determining if a difference is an improvement takes longer.
          Thiel 7.2s, Manley NeoClassic 250s, Wadia 850, MIT Oracle V3 speaker cables, MIT MI-350 Oracle interconnects, Black Diamond Racing Shelves and Cones in a dedicated room with ASC Tube Traps, Room Tunes and 3 X 20 amp dedicated circuits.

          Comment


          • #6
            Don't sweat the small things, don't be overly critical, don't analyze too much. Listen to something as a whole and the emotion/feeling it brings you.
            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


            • #7
              That amplifier spec sheet? Have you ever seen a case where you could forecast the sound of the amp from the spec sheet? I haven't and don't know anyone who has. The simple fact is the spec sheet is set up to arbitrary specs most of which have nothing to do with how the human ear/brain system works. They are the Emperor's New Clothes as a result.

              For the spec sheet to have any relevance, the specs would have to reflect our understanding of how human ear/brain physiology works (how we perceive sound). But it doesn't and won't anytime soon, so the spec sheet is by no means the final arbiter.

              The ear is: I guarantee that if we did not have ears we would not play around with high end audio products.

              Further, everyone says they have the best; so if the reviewer's, dealer's, distributor's or manufacturers lips are moving, they are lying. The only way you can tell in audio if something is going to work for you is to take it home and try it.

              Put another way, the only reason to be a manufacturer in this sport is because you really have passion for it. IOW getting into it for the money is going to result in something mediocre. But the the guy that has passion and the guy that's in it for the money will both tell you their stuff is the 'best'. The word 'best' in English has a very specific meaning- they can't all be the best so it must be that we have an entire industry that is lying. Or uninformed. So you have to take it home and see for yourself. As audiophiles we've grown up with this situation so we think its perfectly normal and don't even notice the lying anymore.

              But, for all that- if you like smooth and relaxed go with tubes But if you do that, keep in mind that tube power is more expensive, so don't try to make a tube amplifier drive a really difficult or inefficient loudspeaker! That sort of thing is shooting yourself in the foot and won't bring out the best in the amp. However, FWIW, all and I do mean all amplifiers have lower distortion driving higher impedances so its not really to your benefit to get a really low impedance speaker even if you have monster solid state. It may not be a lot more distortion that you get going from 8 ohm to 4, but it manifests in the form of reduced detail (the human ear's masking rule coming into play) and harsher sound (the ear converting distortion into tonality, and the types of added distortion going to 4 ohms or less are the types to which the ear is really sensitive).

              Put another way, your amplifier investment dollar is best served by a loudspeaker that is 8 ohms or more (all other things being equal, which in the real world they never are) if highest fidelity is your goal (if louder sound is your goal and you have solid state, you have perhaps a 3db argument for the lower impedance). Put yet another way: if you could magically convert a 4 ohm speaker into 8, it would immediately sound more detailed and smoother than it did before regardless of the amplifier.

              Comment


              • MylesBAstor
                MylesBAstor commented
                Editing a comment
                If I read your post correctly Ralph, the real take home message from it all is:

                "So you have to take it home and see for yourself. "

                That's very wise advice.

            • #8
              Agreed that reviewers don't have "special" hearing. All we have is experience with a lot of gear, and a lack of having financial ties to the equipment we review. Makes it a lot easier to evaluate a piece when you're aren't also worried whether you spent your money wisely or not.

              For me, my biggest piece of advice is don't worry about the technology, just the results. I really don't care whether it's tube or solid state, LP or digital, planer or a box, or whatever way you might want to divide up the possibilities for how to design or make a piece of audio gear. I might tend to gravitate more towards some type over others, but again, it is the results not the method getting there that are important for me.

              Next bit of wisdom would be to always demo with music you really connect with and love, not demonstration tracks that exist just for their sound quality. Whatever you look to get better make your favorite music sound better, rather than sacrificing it for fewer and fewer audiophile pieces.
              Steve Lefkowicz
              Senior Associate Editor at Positive Feedback
              -
              Analog 1: Linn LP12 (MOSE/Hercules II), Ittok, Dynavector 10X5 MK.II Low, iPhono2/iPowerX; Analog 2: Pro-Ject RPM-1 Carbon, Talisman S, iFi iPhono.
              Digital: Samsung 300E5C notebook, JRiver Media Center 28, Tidal HiFi, Qobuz Studio), iFi NEO iDSD, iFi iUSB3, iPurifier2, Audioquest Jitterbug.
              Electronics: DIY passive line-stage, Antique Sound Labs MG-SI15DT-S, Burson Timekeeper Virtuoso
              Speakers: Tekton Lore, Magneplaner .7
              Interconnects: Morrow Audio MA1, Vermouth Audio Black Pearl, Audioquest Evergreen
              Speaker cables: Morrow Audio SP4, Vermouth Audio Red Velvet, Audioquest Type 5
              Digital cables: Aural Symphonics USB, iFi Gemini twin-head USB.
              Accessories: Sound Organization turntable shelf, Mondo racks, Pangea Audio Vulcan rack, Pi Audio Group Über BUSS, Monster HTS2000 power conditioner, Kinetronics anti-static brush, Pro-Ject VC-S record cleaner, Spin Clean record cleaner.
              Headphones: Schiit Valhalla amp, Burson Conductor Virtuoso Amp, Meze Audio 99 Classic and 99 Neo, Beyerdynamic DT770Pro 600 ohm, DT770 Studio 80 ohm, 1More Triple Driver Over Ear, 1More Triple Driver IEM

              Comment


              • #9
                Trust your ears if it sounds good to you then that's all that matters. Just because it's expensive doesn't mean it will sound or perform better, quality over quantity and sometimes less is more. Most of all enjoy the music...
                McIntosh, George Merrill Super 12, Jelco, Ortofon, B&W, Kimber Select, Sound Application, Oyaide, VPI

                Comment


                • #10
                  one pearl (that was the constraint): if you are happy with your system, stop. then invest in music and just listen.

                  Comment


                  • Garth
                    Garth commented
                    Editing a comment
                    thats a good one

                  • Gusf
                    Gusf commented
                    Editing a comment
                    +1

                • #11
                  Originally posted by mkuller View Post
                  Reviewers don't possess special hearing acuity? Sorry Myles, there goes our credibility. Seriously though, what we do have from years of reviewing is a lot of training in critical listening.

                  Everyone, reviewers included, have listening biases - the things that are most important musically when auditioning a component. First, you need to be aware of your own biases, and if you can identify a reviewer with similar biases, you will find his or her reviews more "accurate".

                  Now to my pearl of wisdom - don't trust your first impressions; I don't usually trust mine. And don't trust A/B type comparisons. It takes long term listening, hours over days, to really evaluate a new component and to determine if it makes an improvement playing music rather than just a difference. Our ear/brain hearing is designed to identify differences; determining if a difference is an improvement takes longer.
                  I would add that the better reviewers have more experience with a wide range of equipment. Then there's a few of us old timers.
                  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

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