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  • #46
    Originally posted by andy19191 View Post

    To clarify, you are referring to sound created by tube amplifiers but not transistor amplifiers that we can hear but cannot measure?
    No. I’m not referring to any sound created by tube amplifiers. A good tube amp should not add sound, any more than a good transistor amp.
    What I’m thinking about - is the sound that many people like to measure and then call distortion - which also contains part of the music we hear. When some of that distortion is filtered out and eliminated - so is some of our music. It seems that most consumers, audiophiles included, believe that we shouldn’t be hearing anything but silent background, for example. Unfortunately, in order to have that perfectly silent background, you need to compromise. I think that a good amp or any other link in your audio chain, shouldn’t be adding its own sound - but shouldn’t be filtering source sound out, either.

    “Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones - you are invited!”

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    • #47
      Originally posted by MisterD View Post
      What I’m thinking about - is the sound that many people like to measure and then call distortion - which also contains part of the music we hear. When some of that distortion is filtered out and eliminated - so is some of our music. It seems that most consumers, audiophiles included, believe that we shouldn’t be hearing anything but silent background, for example. Unfortunately, in order to have that perfectly silent background, you need to compromise. I think that a good amp or any other link in your audio chain, shouldn’t be adding its own sound - but shouldn’t be filtering source sound out, either.
      Distortion is the part of the output signal that isn't the input signal amplified. This can be measured for both tube and solid state amplifiers. Where does filtering out and eliminating distortion come into it? Is this elimination in some way different for tube amplifiers compared to solid state ones?

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      • #48
        Originally posted by andy19191 View Post

        Distortion is the part of the output signal that isn't the input signal amplified. This can be measured for both tube and solid state amplifiers. Where does filtering out and eliminating distortion come into it? Is this elimination in some way different for tube amplifiers compared to solid state ones?
        I don’t know. I think that what some call distortion though, is what may sound desirable in tube amps - and actually contains some of the music.
        What do you think about over eliminating “distortion”? Do you think if every component sounds as quiet as possible, you still have all of your music intact?

        “Hear angel trumpets and devil trombones - you are invited!”

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        • #49
          Originally posted by andy19191 View Post
          Tube amplifiers audibly distort hence "tube sound" whereas competent solid-state amplifiers are high fidelity and don't audibly distort hence there is no characteristic sound. It is possible to use tubes to create amplifiers that are linear enough not to audibly distort in use but it is largely pointless given all the issues with tubes that lead to them becoming obsolete for anything other than boutique uses.

          How on earth can you associate purity with something that distorts grossly? SETs might be associated with rich and colourful perhaps but pure? It looks like the old marketing trick of taking the biggest negative and turning it on it's head like adverts for airlines showing passengers blissfully relaxing in their seats.

          In order to get high efficiency the laws of physics dictate that cones need to be large and light. This means they will resonate audibly in the manner of PA speakers. In order to get high fidelity the resonances need to be reduced which is achieved by making the cones thicker, stiffer and damped. This makes them heavier reducing efficiency. The increased power available with solid state was a major factor in allowing speakers to be less resonant and increase sound quality. Technical/studio sound quality that is rather than "subjective"/audiophile attractive distorting sound quality.
          Some people embrace all aspects of the audio hobby, others have distinct opinions and condemn certain categories of equipment. You seem to fall in the latter group, as evidenced by your declarations that all tube amps have audible and gross distortion, and that high efficiency speakers cannot be hifi. One can only imagine how you would review Cornwall IV's...

          As for me, my personal listening satisfaction takes precedence over all else. This is not to say I don't respect science, nor that I don't actively practice it. I am adept with REW, I use a DAT V3 and employ various programs for speaker design. I tinker extensively with EQ, DPS, cabinet volumes, port sizes, and speaker placement, but my goal is always listening satisfaction. If my ears disagree with "ideal parameters", I ignore the parameters and enjoy the music. My enjoyment is not bound by "science".

          By your appraisal, I'm listening to grossly distorted music played through lo-fi speakers. Your appraisal doesn't diminish my satisfaction at all, but it does prompt me to caution others: Don't let "science" spoil your enjoyment. Only you know what you like, and graphs on a paper are never music in human ears.









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          • #50
            Originally posted by andy19191 View Post

            Engineering is broadly the application of science and maths to solve problems. This can be a bit disconcerting for some when they go to university to study engineering and find out just how much applied maths is involved. Many decades ago on my undergraduate engineering course 50% of the students dropped out in the first year with applied maths being the main reason. People that use technology are perhaps more likely to be technicians though it does rather depend on what one means by use technology and how it is being used. One can recognise an engineer in a particular field by their knowledge of the relevant science and maths and their ability to use it to reason about what is going on and solve problems directly using it. Technicians tend to lack this knowledge which takes years of study to acquire and instead rely on experience, documented procedures, experiments and similar to pull together information to make decisions and solve problems.

            I have recently registered a github account to discuss loudspeaker engineering but am still dithering about whether to write for engineers or to try to write for (some) speaker DIY folk. The latter is more challenging because it requires not only getting across the engineering but also the relevant scientific principles (not too bad) and maths (more difficult) on which it is based. My chat with Harpo is not unrelated to trying to assess who may or may not be in the audience for such a site.
            On this topic I would offer that where engineers focus on "why", technicians bring the "what" to consumers with emphasis on actual use of a product. Consumers may be (rightly or wrongly) influenced by "maths", but practical application overshadows all for the discerning listener. I likes what I likes, lol.

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            • #51
              Originally posted by MisterD View Post

              What do you think about over eliminating “distortion”? Do you think if every component sounds as quiet as possible, you still have all of your music intact?
              If distortion is eliminated then we can hear what was recorded without distortion. This is what I and a fair few others want from their hi-fis but it clearly isn't what everyone wants which is fair enough. Obviously the signal that was recorded is intact but how that relates to music will depend on the quality of the recording.

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              • #52


                Originally posted by Harpo View Post
                You seem to fall in the latter group, as evidenced by your declarations that all tube amps have audible and gross distortion,
                Despite my stating the exact opposite "It is possible to use tubes to create amplifiers that are linear enough not to audibly distort in use" in a reply to you a few posts above. I guess when things like this appear it is time to knock the discussion on the head which is a shame because your association of purity with SETs, which appears to make no sense given their nonlinearity and the Heath Robinson-esque complexity of tubes in comparison with PN junctions, may well be pointing towards what I really don't get about the attraction of tubes for some. Oh well the earlier posts were interesting and so thanks for those.

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                • #53
                  Originally posted by andy19191
                  Despite my stating the exact opposite "It is possible to use tubes to create amplifiers that are linear enough not to audibly distort in use" in a reply to you a few posts above.
                  Not to belabor a point, but below find your entire quote, emphasis mine:

                  Originally posted by andy19191 View Post
                  It is possible to use tubes to create amplifiers that are linear enough not to audibly distort in use but it is largely pointless given all the issues with tubes that lead to them becoming obsolete for anything other than boutique uses.
                  Certainly my Chinese EL34 amp is not sophisticated enough to meet your boutique standards, but I would be interested to see a list of those you feel qualify. Your blanket statement that "tube amplifiers audibly distort", regardless of what qualifiers you add, is sure to repel any tube enthusiasts and prevent you from getting the input you claim to want.

                  Concerning your github account, my recommendation would be that you confine it to engineers who meet your standards and agree with your conclusions. DIY'ers tend to be more inexact in their "sciences" and "maths", and are usually open to constructive discussion across widely divergent views.

                  Going back to high sensitivity speakers, what is your opinion on commercially available models such as the Klipsch Cornwall IV?



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                  • #54
                    Originally posted by administrator View Post
                    Hello TechTalk!
                             To keep our products a balance of what the consumer needs but also what they feel has been missing, we would like to ask your opinion on tube amplifiers. What are some of the things you enjoy about a tube amp? Also, what is missing from most tube amps on the market? Feel free to get as detailed as needed so we can fine tune upcoming products to fill the voids that have been left by other companies. Some things to think about while gathering your answers: Inputs/outputs, streaming options, phono preamp, preamp tubes vs power amp tubes, e.q. options, and so on...​
                    In an effort to get back on topic, I'd like to address these points directly. This is one man's opinion; I'm 68, a lifelong music lover and a DIY speaker builder/stereo enthusiast since the late 60's.

                    My first experiences with tube amps were of necessity (they were the only thing available to me), I went SS as soon as I could since that was the "thing". I recently reentered the tube crowd with an Oldchen EL34 2x10w. I tried it out with my then-current speakers, DIY 2-ways with 10" low and horn high, app 99db sens. First listen was disappointing; mids predominate, lows weak. Taking the advice of many, I decided to put a few hundred hours on the tubes, and was pleasantly surprised but not really satisfied.

                    I ordered and installed Electroharmix EL34's to replace the stock Psvanes, and saw an immediate improvement in high and lows. 200+ more hours gave more improvement, and having caught the bug I made plans for my first DIY speakers since the 90's. I decided on 3-ways since I had never done them before (died-in-the-wool 2-way purist lol), and selected components on PE that I deemed suitable for room filling sound at higher levels, 15" low, 10" mid, horn high, crossed at 400/1800, all drivers and crossover by PRV Audio. Full build thread is here.

                    Along the way I added various components. My current setup is now completely separate from my home theater system, and consists of the EL34 amp, the speakers described above, Cambridge Dacmagic 100, Bellari PA555 tube preamp. Source is a PC running Jriver, flac files ripped from CD's, optical output to the DAC.

                    Am I rambling? Well, you said feel free to get detailed, so there you go. I'm absolutely thrilled with the performance of this system, and that's all that matters to me. Knowledgeable friends are equally impressed, and these friends are not afraid to tell me the truth.

                    As you can see a number of components were not from PE, particularly the amp itself. I see PE as a driver source, and yes, I know that's not accurate. But the current offerings in the tube department are not just less than complete, they are somewhat disheartening to me as a tube enthusiast. Personally, I don't have any interest in hybrid amps that could easily be mistaken for actual tube amps by the uninformed, nor do I respect any product that feels the need to simulate tube glow with led's.

                    Unlike many, I'm also not interested in bluetooth, remote control, built-in DAC, or even multiple inputs. I realize I'm not the norm here, I do see the attraction and necessity of such features. But the main attraction of tubes to me is simplicity (yes, I find point-to-point wiring simple compared to pc boards), unparalleled sound, and a touch of nostalgia.

                    I might add that I'm also a guitarist, and have used tube amps almost exclusively for decades. And no, NOT for distortion or effects. Nothing can give a more pure amplified sound to a Gibson J45 than a good tube amp on the clean channel.

                    You mention preamp tubes vs power amp tubes, obviously I would prefer both. I'll take it one step further, I prefer tube rectification too! But if PE offered an amp similar to the Oldchen EL34, I would have bought it from you even with SS rectifier.

                    I also see a good opportunity for cross-merchandising here too. Make it easier to search by sensitivity, and offer some cabinet/driver kits with tube amps in mind. It would also be nice to see more explanation and less delineation between "hifi" and "pro" drivers, since there is a lot of overlap and confusion there.

                    I hope you find this helpful, and I appreciate your organization greatly!









                    Comment


                    • MisterD
                      MisterD commented
                      Editing a comment
                      My Oldchen amp is tube rectified and has a terminal strip “turret board” construction. It’s in the slightly bigger chassis than the small Oldchen EL34 amps which do have a PCB and SS rectification. They used to be dirt cheap - but prices have been creeping up since Dandy Don and Covid.

                  • #55
                    Originally posted by andy19191 View Post

                    Tube amplifiers audibly distort hence "tube sound" whereas competent solid-state amplifiers are high fidelity and don't audibly distort hence there is no characteristic sound. It is possible to use tubes to create amplifiers that are linear enough not to audibly distort in use but it is largely pointless given all the issues with tubes that lead to them becoming obsolete for anything other than boutique uses.



                    How on earth can you associate purity with something that distorts grossly? SETs might be associated with rich and colourful perhaps but pure? It looks like the old marketing trick of taking the biggest negative and turning it on it's head like adverts for airlines showing passengers blissfully relaxing in their seats.



                    In order to get high efficiency the laws of physics dictate that cones need to be large and light. This means they will resonate audibly in the manner of PA speakers. In order to get high fidelity the resonances need to be reduced which is achieved by making the cones thicker, stiffer and damped. This makes them heavier reducing efficiency. The increased power available with solid state was a major factor in allowing speakers to be less resonant and increase sound quality. Technical/studio sound quality that is rather than "subjective"/audiophile attractive distorting sound quality.
                    Any amp will distort if you push it beyond its limits. Clipping is one example.

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