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  • The Chicken or The Egg?

    "Garbage in, garbage out."

    Whether or not they agree with this adage, there's no self-respecting audiophile who hasn't come across this line at one time or another. Ivor Tiefenbrun probably made it famous but sure he wasn't the first to ever express this sentiment.

    So I got to thinking while listening to Nick Doshi's new tape stage and the new Technics 1506 with its John French modded headblock last night. Do we really know or appreciate just how good our electronics and speakers really are? Are the flaws we hear and attribute to the components in the signal path really traceable to and a reflection of issues in the front-end? And whatever else we are doing is just compensating for the front-end. (conversely, if we don't hear much of an improvement after changing out front-end components, have we reached the ceiling of something else downstream?)

    Part of the reason for this exercise is that I'm hearing among other things with the new tape setup, upper octaves on my system like I've never heard before. Not on analog, certainly not even close on digital. And a sense of openness and space like never before on the best tapes out there. And just a resolution and lack of smearing like never before. Take something like Jonathan Horwich's Jason Roebke recording. Now when you listen to the vibes, the striking of each bar (s) is clearly separated as well as their decay. Before, things were just slightly smeared together and fuzzy. There wasn't nearly as much of that sense of ringing. There was more of a heaviness rather than lightness to the sound.
    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
    Myles maybe the equipment just complemented that type of music you were listening to. . I guess you could have tried another tape stage or tried different tapes, or even another RR to really know. I'm still in the camp, that a poorly recorded and mastered LP, Tape, Digital file or CD will sound poor on any device. And the level of quality in the device will provide a sound to the listener that can be much worst. Its got to start somewhere, without recorded music the equipment is just that equipment doing nothing,.
    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


    • #3
      99% of all audio recordings are audibly inferior to the very best, even on modest playback gear. Playback gear is rarely pushed to its limits.
      Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by cpp View Post
        Myles maybe the equipment just complemented that type of music you were listening to. . I guess you could have tried another tape stage or tried different tapes, or even another RR to really know. I'm still in the camp, that a poorly recorded and mastered LP, Tape, Digital file or CD will sound poor on any device. And the level of quality in the device will provide a sound to the listener that can be much worst. Its got to start somewhere, without recorded music the equipment is just that equipment doing nothing,.
        I've actually had three other tape stages in here and two machines so far (and a couple of heads). The one thing that I've noticed is that one gets far more rewards in improving the tape front-end compared to the other two front-end sources. I take that as meaning tape has far more of ceiling than the other two mediums. But that also the system is up to the task too.
        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


        • #5
          Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post

          I've actually had three other tape stages in here and two machines so far (and a couple of heads). The one thing that I've noticed is that one gets far more rewards in improving the tape front-end compared to the other two front-end sources. I take that as meaning tape has far more of ceiling than the other two mediums. But that also the system is up to the task too.
          tape has more of a ceiling or a higher ceiling?
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • MylesBAstor
            MylesBAstor commented
            Editing a comment
            The same to me.

        • #6
          compared to Lp and tape front end improvements, digital front end improvements are like turd polishing.
          Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

          Comment


          • #7
            I've done freq. sweeps of a few tape machines and have seen signals as high as 50-60k. You'll have to remember that bias freq. of some tape machines are as high as 350k!

            Comment


            • #8
              Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
              compared to Lp and tape front end improvements, digital front end improvements are like turd polishing.
              It's comments like that
              that starts arguments how can one be so sure of anything in this , spec wise digital wipes the floor with any analog period but I do get it's about sound not spec
              may I ask what great digital have you heard at length to make a claim like that please reply.
              I really try to be kind in analog forums even help here.
              Gteat is great in any format I have tape transfers and vinyl transfers of same albums I would think hands down tape would win but in some clearly it's vinyl
              maybe it's the eq used that pushes out better sound
              a great recording is first be it analog or digital.
              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


              • #9
                Originally posted by MylesBAstor View Post
                "Garbage in, garbage out."

                Whether or not they agree with this adage, there's no self-respecting audiophile who hasn't come across this line at one time or another. Ivor Tiefenbrun probably made it famous but sure he wasn't the first to ever express this sentiment.

                So I got to thinking while listening to Nick Doshi's new tape stage and the new Technics 1506 with its John French modded headblock last night. Do we really know or appreciate just how good our electronics and speakers really are? Are the flaws we hear and attribute to the components in the signal path really traceable to and a reflection of issues in the front-end? And whatever else we are doing is just compensating for the front-end. (conversely, if we don't hear much of an improvement after changing out front-end components, have we reached the ceiling of something else downstream?)

                Part of the reason for this exercise is that I'm hearing among other things with the new tape setup, upper octaves on my system like I've never heard before. Not on analog, certainly not even close on digital. And a sense of openness and space like never before on the best tapes out there. And just a resolution and lack of smearing like never before. Take something like Jonathan Horwich's Jason Roebke recording. Now when you listen to the vibes, the striking of each bar (s) is clearly separated as well as their decay. Before, things were just slightly smeared together and fuzzy. There wasn't nearly as much of that sense of ringing. There was more of a heaviness rather than lightness to the sound.
                Everything in a system matters. But you can't have ultimate sound quality if you don't have a source with ultimate sound quality. So far tape is the best sound I have heard but, it is unlikely that I will ever have enough tapes in my collection where tapes will be my primary music source. So tapes are just my reference where I am trying to close the gap from my primary digital and vinyl sources.

                Vinyl is my current best music source and I have a decent collection of LP's to make me happy. Up till now, I play digital because I have a lot of music that is only available digitally and for the convenience. Digital doesn't suck, but it has not excited me as much as great vinyl. So, I had not really loved digital. But this last Saturday, I heard the Sound Galleries server and Aqua Formula DAC at Mike Lavine's place and I have to say I was impressed, it was the most analog sounding digital I have heard so far. I thought the Sound Galleries server/Aqua Formula DAC combo had really closed the gap between digital and vinyl. Everything from Red Book to high rez PCM and DSD was amazing. I thought that digital "system" was far better than his previous server and Lampizatior combo.

                The thing about digital is that it continues to advance every day. When I was at Mike's place, the designer of the Sound Galleries server, Edward Hsu from Monaco, was there to explain in great detail how the server was designed and manufactured. I have considerable experience building servers and can tell you that they have gone further in the design of their server than anyone else on the planet that I know of, and explains to me why the server is helping close the gap in performance between digital and analog. The Sound Galleries web site does not come close to describing what they have done.

                Getting back to your thought about "Garbage in, garbage out.", Myles, I think these are exciting times in high end audio history where great advances are occurring in digital, vinyl and tape. All we need to do is pick one or all areas and enjoy!
                Speakers/Amps: Genesis G2.2 Jr with Powered Servo-Sub Bass, Genesis GR1440 Mono Amps, 5,000 watts total power
                Preamp: SMc Audio VRE-1C Preamp (fully balanced inputs and output)
                Phono 1: VPI Signature 21 Belt-Drive Turntable with 10” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Windfeld Ti Phono Cartridge driving Lehmann Decade Phono Preamp
                Phono 2: VPI HW-40 Direct-Drive Turntable with 12” 3D Printed Fatboy Gimbal Arm and Ortofon MC Anna Diamond Phono Cartridge driving Genesis Gold Phono Preamp
                R2R Tape: Studer A810 with Bridge Console
                Digital: Lumin Network Player with Lumin NAS
                Cables: Genesis Advanced Technologies/Absolute Fidelity Interface Interconnects, Speaker, Phono and Power
                Power: Audio-Ultra Power System, IsoTek Super Titan Passive Power Conditioning for Amplifiers
                Accessories: Custom Acrylic Equipment Stands, Klaudio Ultrasonic RCM

                Comment


                • #10
                  So that server was good glad you liked it. It's my point a server or source is a must unless it's a combo like msb does
                  the new select 2 must be marvel to Listen too.
                  Whike I am sure his server is beyond any of mine and I missed an opertunity to have it at my place in my system
                  what I don't get in all of this and it's nit just here is some take a dac feed it garbage and say it stinks it's very unfair

                  the xenon chip
                  is a really hi end type he needs the hiurse power as he upsamples up to dsd at a very hi rate dsd 512 I think and it's software is optimized for dsd 512 it runs very hot and needs to lol. A really really well made product
                  but lesser servers in the right setup sound very good to
                  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


                  • MylesBAstor
                    MylesBAstor commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes I think that's a little extreme in 2017. 😄 Some of the issues with early CDs was the production. If one heard the original recording vs the final production CD, you wanted to throw up. So much of the original recording was lost. I think that's why people are rediscovering some of these 16/44 recordings. There was more on the original disc than people knew.

                  • Rust
                    Rust commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Early CD player never conformed to Redbook spec because RAM was so very expensive. Data is read from the disc and stored in memory to be clocked out to the converter. With limited RAM the write to memory operation occurred much more frequently than may have been optimal. Ideally the entire disc should be written into memory and clocked out from there.

                    IMO the same applies to DACs, they should have sufficient memory to write the entire of a cut or album into memory prior to playback/conversion. This would also make the storage device/server less critical, all it would have to do is pass on the entire file without error and leave clocking from memory to the DAC.

                    The conversion/filtering algorithms and process are still a work in progress as indicated by the continual introduction of new equipment on nearly a weekly basis.

                • #11
                  Originally posted by JCOConnell View Post
                  99% of all audio recordings are audibly inferior to the very best, even on modest playback gear. Playback gear is rarely pushed to its limits.
                  Can you explain this """ Playback gear is rarely pushed to its limits",
                  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


                  • #12
                    Originally posted by cpp View Post

                    Can you explain this """ Playback gear is rarely pushed to its limits",
                    what I meant is you rarely if ever hear the full potential of your playback system due to limitations in the recordings.
                    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                    Comment


                    • cpp
                      cpp commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Understand I thought that is what you meant but wanted to be sure.

                  • #13
                    Originally posted by Alrainbow View Post

                    It's comments like that
                    that starts arguments how can one be so sure of anything in this , spec wise digital wipes the floor with any analog period but I do get it's about sound not spec
                    may I ask what great digital have you heard at length to make a claim like that please reply.
                    I really try to be kind in analog forums even help here.
                    Gteat is great in any format I have tape transfers and vinyl transfers of same albums I would think hands down tape would win but in some clearly it's vinyl
                    maybe it's the eq used that pushes out better sound
                    a great recording is first be it analog or digital.
                    all I meant was the differences between entry level and ultimate level digital are not as great as they are with analog vinyl.
                    Magnepan 1.6 QR Loudspeakers, Amherst A-2000 MOSFET 150 WPC Amp, Conrad Johnson PV-10A Modded Tube Line & Phono Stage, Electrocompaniet MC II Class A Head Amp, Audio Technica AT-OC9XML Cart (Stereo) , Graham Engineering 2.2 Tonearm (Stereo) , VPI Aries-1 Turntable (Stereo) , VPI Clamp, Denon DL-102 Cart, (Mono) , Luxman Tonearm (Mono) , Kenwood KD-500 Turntable (Mpmp) , Michell Clamp, Marantz 20B Analog FM Tuner, Pioneer SACD, Onkyo DX-6800 CD Transport, DIY 24B/192K DAC, Sennheiser HD-650 Headphones, Headroom Max Balanced Headphone Amp, DIY Silver Interconnects

                    Comment


                    • #14
                      Not to argue but they are immense . The one thing I have learned in this is
                      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


                      • #15
                        Is rarly do people know well both groups meaning analog and digital . While some do its nkt many . Your a nce man who always posts honestly so please as I am phasing out my tenure never feel.I mean anyone any harm . Digital.is perhaps more complex then analog in that the partS don't move and the setting alone are staGering .
                        Besides a cartridge on a turn table.the rest is not many many settings but equipment sourcing
                        Didgtial once setup.is easy but knkwnijg how to achieve greatness is a steep clime
                        I spent about 40 k on my msb stack just not to have a computer or caps or server in it
                        After how good it sounded I then went after how to with a cpu alone now called caps . Of for anyone who wants a simple.setup by a aurender or rendu then pick any dac and ypu close at maybe 60 of 100 .
                        For who can afford a msb or other top end one button solutron that you 80 . Pitting a whole system.is how you get to 100 .
                        I
                        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

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