Arguments - Bleeding edge technological advance or Audiophool snake oil ? Just for fun !

Baron Mole

Active Member
Thank you for your considered and detailed response. I completely respect your viewpoint because it based on the only thing that matters - your own experience of trying things out and assessing them based on the only measuring instrument that works for sound - YOUR ears.

What I take issue with is the people who 'believe' something because they've been told or read something and do not question what they now believe or try it for themselves to form an opinion.

And as to the magnetic RCA interconnects - words fail me - so when I stumbled across them I couldn't resist starting this thread. I am the OP. They tell the pesky electrons to behave themselves. No explanation of how this breakthrough technology works is required - it's patented - that's all you need to know !

Whilst I have over 50 years of hifi experience, I am relatively new to any forum. I joined after lurking for some time while I got a handle on what had changed since I last had an active interest decades ago.

I follow any one who looks interesting and understands how incredibly complex sound reproduction is in reality, in order to learn and develop a pool of trusted members to offer me their advice on, say a proposed purchase and help others when I can.

I shall be following you as of now. And the point about the differing issues with power supply is exactly the point - because every individual and their problems are unique and require different solutions, not the application of beliefs.

Sound reproduction - so many variables - so few (if any) certainties ! :rotfl:
 
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andycc72

Active Member
I recently saw a PSU for a Chord Dave Dac for Β£5400. I know very little about high end kit but how much of a difference would this make to what is already a hugely expensive DAC?

 

Baron Mole

Active Member
I recently saw a PSU for a Chord Dave Dac for Β£5400. I know very little about high end kit but how much of a difference would this make to what is already a hugely expensive DAC?
Hi Andy - good to see you :) - am thinking of renaming the thread as Baron Mole's Soapbox :rotfl: -'cos I seem to be on it all the time and although I said just for fun -in reality I'm taking the replies seriously.

Exactly. Competently designed DACs with components of appropriate quality - not just determined by trying to hit a lowly budget, should all sound near enough the same because it's electronic engineering and the science is known. For what I mean when I say competent- see post 39 Arguments - Bleeding edge technological advance or Audiophool snake oil ? Just for fun !

That's not to say I don't believe it is impossible or respect the views of anyone who has actually tried it for themselves. Sound reproduction is so complex that the synergy between components combined with the unique real issues in an individuals system may well lead to audible differences and improvements. See @SP00KY post just above.

DACs up to Β£200 are very highly thought of - I'm thinking Topping , iFi, Schiit. But if someone can hear the difference (or not but 'believe') and have the money, that's their choice.

I think I'll have the mantra "Trust your own ears" engraved on my tombstone. :laugh:
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
I believe up to certain price classes there are differences in sound, but only slightly.

That’s not to say I would buy something like FiiO. It might use the lasted DAC Chip, still the power supply might degrade the sound. I also believe using too many cables messes up the sound.

FiiO as an example: Two RCA cables, one optical, coaxial connected to the amplifier if it does not include onboard DAC. Then the FiiO to the power outlet.

The price class like Chord operates in, doubtful.

Up to the Node2i, Topping in the same price class. Yes, I know the Node is both streamer,DAC, Still the Node2i sounds awesome. There’s no need to spend silly money on the Topping D90.

Then you have the ancient debate as mentioned above, perhaps not in the same settings.

Should you buy an amplifier with build in streaming/DAC.? Or use separates?

The few things I believe in when it comes to hifi are spikes, damping feet’s.

Although there are snakes there too. Take the Gaia 3 as example.

How on earth could those be better then Soundcare Superspikes?

I even considered buying two sets, but when I saw the price-no!
Then you have the Gaia 1, Gaia 2. They even have titan spikes,

You can get an amplifier for the same price

The whole idea with spikes is to decouple the speakers to the floor, damping couples the speakers from the floor. I might be wrong about that, so please correct me if I do.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
So if should consider buying the Topping D90, it better produce subwoofer bass.

As mentioned don’t spend silly money on DAC’s. There are only slightly small differences over the Node2i price class.

Spend the money on speakers, amplifiers instead.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
The whole idea with spikes is to decouple the speakers to the floor, damping couples the speakers from the floor. I might be wrong about that, so please correct me if I do.
Hello, I might be misunderstanding what you've said and TBH I haven't explored the issue of coupling or decoupling speakers and the floor but in simple terms that's the wrong way round - spikes couple, suspended feet like Gaia decouple.

The simple answer, like everything in sound reproduction is that there is no simple answer. Everything depends on all the variables outlined in the contents list from Toole which I posted here.
Arguments - Bleeding edge technological advance or Audiophool snake oil ? Just for fun !
At the bottom of that post is a pdf file - OPEN it please.

I also suggest that you go back to the beginning of this thread and re-read it - ignoring the jokes and concentrating on what other members and I have said. I am not going to continue repeating what I've already said.

I am fairly sure that there will be an explanation somewhere in Toole and have looked in my newly arrived copy of the 2017 edition but so far haven't found it or remembered where it was in the old edition - if it was in it at all - my memory isn't quite what it used to be.

And haven't yet had a spare week totally free of anything to do to give me time to read the new copy. I'm a fast reader but there is so much to take in that it needs to be done slowly and understanding what's said before moving on.

I think the best advice I can give you is to do the research yourself - using reliable sources. I would start on the Audioholics site and try a search on here on AVF. Or start a thread here asking the question.

When you've done your research please tell me what you find with the source you used.
 
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Baron Mole

Active Member
Although there are snakes there too. Take the Gaia 3 as example.

How on earth could those be better then Soundcare Superspikes?
I've now looked at the Superspikes - no wonder you're confused - they have spikes in the name but they're not spikes - they're isolators ! :facepalm:
 

Khazul

Well-known Member
Should you buy an amplifier with build in streaming/DAC.? Or use separates?

My only consideration these days is about upgrading in the future. Digital technology changes/improves at a rapid pace and therefore I may want to upgrade the digital component quite soon for some tech and/or user experience related reason. OTOH, a good analog pre-amp+amp will remain good and useful for a much longer time. So, I am happy to spend money on the component that evolve slowly (ie analog pre-amp + power amp, turntable, speakers etc), but not so much on components that I may replace soon - especially streamers for eg.

An all in one means you are stuck with replacing the whole thing and as an all in one with a great pre-amp and amp in it tends to be really expensive, then I dont even consider all in ones. I refuse to spend much on AVRs too as their shelf life is also too short.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
My only consideration these days is about upgrading in the future.

I pretty much agree with what @Khazul has said above - but to put a different slant on it I also think in terms of the maturity of the items involved and the completeness of the technical knowledge in that area plus changes in source material.

For example - electronic engineering, the knowledge is quite advanced and amplifiers are mature technology - even the newer classes such D, G and H. So as Khazul says the pace of change is slow.

Contrast that with Streamers which are fairly new, the technical knowledge is very good and fairly mature but like AVRs they constantly have to change to incorporate new streaming services, like MQA or newer video encoding formats in AVRs so become outdated very quickly. In this case you have to decide whether any of this is important and matters to you.

So to answer your question (at last I you cry :laugh: ) I agree seperates are the way go as also in my experience, products which are designed to do one thing well are better than multi-function boxes. Having said that if you find say an amplifier in your budget that you think sounds the best and it includes other functiions like a DAC (slow pace of change) or a streamer (fast pace of change- although slowing because most Hi-Res services are now covered, but awaiting Apple and a few others to announce ) then just regard those as free extras.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
I bet it would make my kettle make a better cup of brew though.

You could employ someone to make your brews for you for three grand.
 

dannnielll

Well-known Member
My only consideration these days is about upgrading in the future. Digital technology changes/improves at a rapid pace and therefore I may want to upgrade the digital component quite soon for some tech and/or user experience related reason. OTOH, a good analog pre-amp+amp will remain good and useful for a much longer time. So, I am happy to spend money on the component that evolve slowly (ie analog pre-amp + power amp, turntable, speakers etc), but not so much on components that I may replace soon - especially streamers for eg.

An all in one means you are stuck with replacing the whole thing and as an all in one with a great pre-amp and amp in it tends to be really expensive, then I dont even consider all in ones. I refuse to spend much on AVRs too as their shelf life is also too short.
you therefore miss the corollary of the AVR. buying a second hand model of a premium brand is the best bank for buck available . The best value around are the top branded AVRs , from before the HDMI era. ... they are not wanted by the home cinema brigade, but they are extremely powerful in their own right. the truth is that despite all the hype, that Amplifiers have not really changed in 20 plus years. ...and that includes the amplifiers in CLASS AB power stages. For instance for 130 Stl. I have a Harmon Kardon 5 channel amplifier and Radio and DAC . capable of SUSTAINED 60 to 75Watts per channel with power supply capable of sustained 900WATTS!
Turntables and cartridges are simply an obsolete technology. Loudspeakers are subject to fashion ... the warm sound of yesteryear moves into the crisp sound of today...
 
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Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
. I have a Harmon Kardon 5 channel amplifier and Radio and DAC . capable of SUSTAINED 60 to 75Watts per channel with power supply capable of sustained 900WATTS!
I rembember Harman Kardon. Are they still in business? From my recollection they were/are quite popular in the hifi community.
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
The best value around are the top branded AVRs , from before the HDMI era. ..
Agreed. If you know what you're looking for there are astonishing bargains to be had. A cheaper new AVR with pre-outs plus say a Yamaha DSP-A1, Β£200 recently at Tysons. would be a seriously powerful and cheap combination.

I still have my Yamaha DSP-A1 which was their top of the range model in 1998, cost Β£2-3k IIRC, and weighs 51lbs or 23Kg. The weight alone indicates a Rolls-Royce standard of build. I bought it around 2002 on fleabay for about Β£400 as my first venture into 'surround sound'. I pensioned it off in 2015 for two reasons - the remote died and Yammy wanted Β£300 for a new one and I finally had need of HDMI. I bought the second tier model from Marantz but 2014 model year brand new for Β£500 (!) from my local dealer.

I am now planning to build a home cinema and only last week got it out of the attic and lugged 26.5Kg boxed weight down two flights of stairs and needed a bit of a sit down after :)

I recall that the SQ was very good and although the spec says minimum 110W RMS 8ohm 0.015% THD 20-20k only 2 channels driven, with 5 x 110W 2 x 35W, in my 100m3 room it had no problem filling the room with deafening SPL and no distortion. I now plan to use it as one of the power amps in the cinema system. Already had 13 years use for my Β£400 and about to get considerably more.

EDIT Have just found a review that measured 116W with ALL 5 channels driven. Good to have my impression confirmed by measurement.
Throwback Thursday: The Iconic Yamaha DSP-A1

EDIT I'd forgotten just what this beast is capable of - it may have many more uses in my cinema system than just a power amp.
Welcome Secrets of Home Theater and High Fidelity

EDIT And sophisticated sub management for a stereo pair of subs plus a mono sub
Yamaha DSP-A1 Audio/Video Amplifier Review price specs - Hi-Fi Classic

EDIT have now connected it up and tested it. Had to visit the cellar to find Svideo leads and other ancient cables. It of course functions perfectly after 6 years back in it's box. Just needs 30 seconds to warm up and stabilise.
 
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Daniel 70

Active Member
I rembember Harman Kardon. Are they still in business? From my recollection they were/are quite popular in the hifi community.
Since my acquisition, I have been keeping an eye open on them... They are now a subset of the Samsung universe, and part of their premium type domestic ranges. They do a large range of car audio and tablet and laptop sound systems consulting. Also relatively expensive smart speakers.. eg 2K per column. Up to very recently they would have been building the same old same old Class AB amplifier power stage , but now are moving into Class D. Their class AB is a formidable circuit with extremely low distortion, extremely fast slew rate and current capacity. They still make big AVRs
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
@Helix Hifi @Daniel 70 has answered.

This is off the top of my head and I'm very very tired - not slept much for two weeks. IIRC Harmon funded a lot of research papers in the 1960s ? IIRC. Much of which is still relevant today and forms much of the bedrock of knowledge built on since leading to where we are today in our ( still only partial ) understanding of sound reproduction.

EDIT at 1604hrs on 15.8.21 as Posted 41 minutes ago before I'd finished it :blush: and was gobbledegook
 
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Khazul

Well-known Member
you therefore miss the corollary of the AVR. buying a second hand model of a premium brand is the best bank for buck available

I think maybe you missed my point about separates vs all in ones/AVRs - the need to replace the whole thing in order to keep up with latest tech if the need/desire arises.

Ancient pre-HDMI AVRs are irrelevant in that context - they are most definitely not latest tech. I get you are thinking in terms of just using the pre-amp+amp part, but if someone is fussy enough to be looking in the price range where future upgrade costs are a factor, then I doubt they will be looking at any AVR for music purposes, let alone trawling ebay for ancient AVR bargains...
 

gava

Active Member
Since my acquisition, I have been keeping an eye open on them... They are now a subset of the Samsung universe, and part of their premium type domestic ranges. They do a large range of car audio and tablet and laptop sound systems consulting. Also relatively expensive smart speakers.. eg 2K per column. Up to very recently they would have been building the same old same old Class AB amplifier power stage , but now are moving into Class D. Their class AB is a formidable circuit with extremely low distortion, extremely fast slew rate and current capacity. They still make big AVRs
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Harman maintains major operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Harman markets its products under various brands, including AKG, AMX, Arcam,[6] Bang & Olufsen Automotive, Becker, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, DigiTech, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Martin, Revel, Soundcraft and Studer.
 

Helix Hifi

Well-known Member
Headquartered in Stamford, Connecticut, Harman maintains major operations in the Americas, Europe and Asia. Harman markets its products under various brands, including AKG, AMX, Arcam,[6] Bang & Olufsen Automotive, Becker, BSS Audio, Crown, dbx, DigiTech, Harman Kardon, Infinity, JBL, Lexicon, Mark Levinson, Martin, Revel, Soundcraft and Studer.
Sorry, are you saying they don’t produce any ordinary stereo amplifiers anymore?
The last one I remember was the HK190, something like that.

From my understanding they are divided under an umbrella, not good at all. If I am wrong, then I’m wrong.
 

gava

Active Member
Not sure but they are a huge company and share tech and research across the group. As far as I understood they bought Arcam and Mark Levinson for the brands in the hifi space, and of course Crown is probably the biggest Pro audio amplifier brand.

AKG for headphones, JBL & Revel in speakers.

JBL Pro does all sorts of studio equipment.
 

Daniel 70

Active Member
I think maybe you missed my point about separates vs all in ones/AVRs - the need to replace the whole thing in order to keep up with latest tech if the need/desire arises.

Ancient pre-HDMI AVRs are irrelevant in that context - they are most definitely not latest tech. I get you are thinking in terms of just using the pre-amp+amp part, but if someone is fussy enough to be looking in the price range where future upgrade costs are a factor, then I doubt they will be looking at any AVR for music purposes, let alone trawling ebay for ancient AVR bargains...
I suspect you are griping about those Naim Mu So..which is really the replacement for the Radiograms of the 1960s
Actually I don't think I am missing the point... . Taking my geriatric HK as an example ,..and I am sure there are similar in the Yamaha and Sony top range. While it is missing some of the very latest Digital processing methods, It covers all the fundamental modes amply. .. every single one of the 5 of 65watt power amplifiers are available to run in parallel, should one get a better digital processor. That is a total sustained 400 watt RMS . FM is still a better audio mode than DAB,and of course streaming via even the optical output of a Chromecast Audio, can be even better. Moreover there are plenty of very low cost DACs with MQA capabilities ..including Tablet driven ones. If that was ones fancy. The world has moved on and hyper realistic DAC performance is available at pittance prices. I had to buy one of those USB cable DACs to use headphones on a tablet, and for 15 quid got one with 32bit, 386k performance. ..not that I have ears, or headphones capable of resolving this.
The only function missing is a phono stage..which is really obsolete technology.
 
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Baron Mole

Active Member
From my understanding they are divided under an umbrella, not good at all. If I am wrong, then I’m wrong.
Why do you think this is not good ?
 

Baron Mole

Active Member
This is off the top of my head and I'm very very tired - not slept much for two weeks. IIRC Harmon funded a lot of research papers in the 1960s ? IIRC. Much of which is still relevant today and forms much of the bedrock of knowledge built on since leading to where we are today in our ( still only partial ) understanding of sound reproduction.
Harmon, Floyd Toole, AES - I've attached a paper to prove to myself I wasn't making this up :)

I'm always banging on about the bottom two octaves - attached is a pdf which illustrates why. I've also put it below.
I'd draw your attention to the Piano (? can someone tell me the range of an organ ) and the human voice harmonics. It was taken from Rod Elliott's website and is copyrighted to him.
Elliott Sound Products - The Audio Pages (Main Index)

Range of music.gif
 

Attachments

  • Harmon AES Toole F Science in the Service of Art.pdf
    1.2 MB · Views: 21
  • Range of music.pdf
    603.4 KB · Views: 34

Khazul

Well-known Member
I'd draw your attention to the Piano (? can someone tell me the range of an organ ) and the human voice harmonics. It was taken from Rod Elliott's website and is copyrighted to him.

A few church organs are apparently capable of below 10Hz, many are capable of below 20Hz.

For voice it is quite complex as there are many aspects to a voice - the resonant voice, hissy sibilant sounds (S, T etc), breathiness etc. All of these bands may be processed quite differently in modern vocal production. For the basic voice, then I tended to be concerned (when I used to do audio production) with frequencies upto around 5-6Khz with sibilance from around 6-7k and breathiness above that. The harmonics of transients go much higher and often I have had reason to tweak EQ up above 12Khz.

You may also find this of interest -
His book is quite interesting as well.
 
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Baron Mole

Active Member
For voice it is quite complex as there are many aspects to a voice - the resonant voice, hissy sibilant sounds (S, T etc), breathiness etc. All of these bands may be processed quite differently in modern vocal production.
Yes, that's why I drew attention the graph for voice, where the harmonics begin at 16kHz.

Thanks for the info for the organ.

@Khazul said His book is quite interesting as well.

You will see it in my signature. I have the book ! :)
 

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