Accuracy is a man made term that has nothing to do with how the brain listens to music. In fact, being a term conceived in the right brain, accuracy can have little influence other than to cloud the perception of music. Why? Because experiencing music is a function of the Left brain. Trying to use the left brain and right brain at the same time is often to use either with less results. (more…)
A classic example of why auditioning hi-fi gear can’t tell you how it really sounds…
I had a customer drive in from out of state the other day to listen to our DM944 bookshelf speakers and the MG944 tower speakers. He arrived around 4:00 P.M. and after a brief chat I set up a pair of the MG944’s and explained how they were designed. I made a point of drawing his attention to the transmission lines characteristically tight and deep base response. I planned to use my DAC and the computer hard drive for the demo unless he wanted to hear his own CD’s. Since he wanted to hear his own CD’s I decided to use a CD player we were currently testing on the bench as a source.
He positioned himself on the couch and handed me the first CD, commenting that he knew it to have plenty of bass. (more…)
When you’re ready to adventure into the mystery of lower power amplifiers and their appeal, you hope your research quenches your biggest fear - that less power will be less stimulating.
The first concern is; will it get loud enough followed by what type of bass performance will it have. After all it’s a bit much to think a 50 to 250 watt system could ever be completely replaced by a 5 watt amplifier…
Assuming you don’t feel like taking someone’s word for it, the best thing you can do is arm yourself with a better understanding of what real power and dynamics are.
We need to start with understanding the volume control. In any given system you will slowly raise the volume control to a certain point and stop. That becomes your desired listening level. So, what made you stop rotating at that exact point? Why not a click or two before that spot, or perhaps a few notches past that spot?
The answer is largely about frequency balance and detail. If you don’t turn the volume up high enough, the music lacks body and weight - it sounds a bit thin, perhaps dry. Inner detail is also harder to distinguish as the volume is not high enough to properly project it. On the other hand if you turn the volume up too high, the sound starts getting worse, not better. This is due to distortions in the amplifier, speakers, and or room acoustics, usually a little of each.
Written over 10 years ago, the book remains pertinent as ever and just proves that car audio has not advanced in any way shape or form since the early 90’s despite what manufacturers would like you to believe!
Offered as an online book, it has been read over 90,000 times. Recently another car audio enthusiast discovered our web site and has this to say:
When ones finds himself in the middle of the hi-fi pond the obvious question never changes; “From this huge selection, what is the best sounding piece that I can afford?”
They all claim greatness, many look like audio jewelry, and you can usually find reviews of some sort that say it’s good so how does one weed out all the imposter’s?
We live in a world of mass production. The overwhelming majority of audio gear in this world is mass produced.
It’s a lot like the fast food franchise known as McDonnalds. They hire food engineers and tasters as well as some top chefs to design their food. However, when you walk away from McDonnalds there is nothing more than fast food in your bag, and it’s certainly nothing to get excited about. When you actually want a satisfying meal you don’t purchase fast food. When you want to experience a meal to remember you find a chef who hand selects fresh ingredients and hand prepares the meal for you.
Can anyone explain to me how hi-fi is any different? Fast food is like mass produced mid fi gear. Fancy and more expensive fast food is like mass produced hi-fi gear. Real food is like hand made gear prepared to order by a seasoned chef with years of experience and a well placed reputation.
People just don’t realize how rare it is to still be able to purchase hand made audio gear that is not mass produced and or sub contracted from China. There are really only a hand full of good restaurants left! Who’s hungry?
I’ve been asked more than once what I think are the some of the best recordings on CD available by my customers and frankly one of the first that always comes to mind is MA Recordings. One of the closest to analogue sounding labels I know of anyway. Why am I plugging MA recordings - A) they fully deserve it and B) the recordings make a wonderful demo of our gear.
Always a sucker for the sincere but broke audiophile who likes to solder, Steve has come up with a way to own a real SE84C Zen Triode amplifier for under 300 bucks! Using the same circuit, components and proprietary transformers make it’s sound almost identical to our production models! Here’s the link to the new kit! SE84CDIY
If you’re thinking about purchasing your first tube amp and understandably tempted by the huge selection of Chinese built amps showing up on ebay I should tell you that they are heavy well built amplifiers. The one pictured was purchased for around $600 plus shipping of from China. It’s claim to fame is the super heavy transformers.
This one ended up in my shop for repair when one of the resistors on the circuit board blew up and cooked the board. This incident was believed to be tied to a bad tube. The owner had a new replacement tube ready to go for when it got fixed. Assuming the repair would be no problem the owner was interested in tweaking the amp because he was never that thrilled with sound. I replaced the bad resistor that I assumed failed from a shorted tube and fired it up only to watch different resistors located all over the board heat up and start smoking just before the fuse blew again.
It’s a shame too, because the although the appearance and weight of a $4000 amp is here - the actual circuit design and sound is not.
Many of our customers have purchased amplifiers from us AFTER experiencing similar disappointments. I don’t know what this gentleman is going to do because I’m not going to fix it. With no schematic I’d have to reverse engineer it and even then a repair would only leave us right back at square one with an amplifier that is what it is… ready to break.
So save yourself the cost of a too good to be true amplifier from China and the aggravation and apply it towards something that IS good. It always saves you money in the end.
Want to improve the sound of your audio system? Can it ever really be good enough? Being in the business of manufacturing audio gear I see the audiophile frenzy to upgrade components from a rather inside perspective. For some it is an never ending quest, for others it stops when the pocket book runs dry.
The weakest link game is about spending as little money as possible while getting the highest fidelity you can. And it starts with the fundamental understanding that a chain is never stronger than it’s weakest link. The audio chain is no different. You absolutely will NOT hear anything sound better than the poorest sounding component in your chain.
The motivation for writing this paper comes from seeing people handicap their audio system on a daily basis. (( MORE ))
Over the past 30 years in this country, there has been a trend in audio to go for convenience first and high fidelity second. This has resulted in the DOWN SIZING of speaker cabinets to increase the marketability. While this generated a garden of cute little speakers (little being the key word) it has done little for efficiency or fidelity. What suffers the most when you down size a speaker– bass response.