American Sound AS-2000 Installations- Far East (Tango)

May 30, 2010
15,508
716
113
Portugal
Here is the difference between two tt setups. The AF1P and AS2000. Variables are only on arm/cart combo. AF1P with MSL Plat/Axiom. AS2000 with Opus1/SME. I now listen to AS setup 95% of the time.

AF1P/MSL/Axiom


AS2000/Opus1/SME

Dear Tango,

Can you check the levels of these two recordings? Unfortunately it seems to me this is a very unfair comparison - as far as I see the levels are not the same, probably because one cartridge has higher output than the other or some settings or microphone position are different. It seems to me that the AS2000 is louder enough to sound fuller and compromise the value of any comparison. Curiously the specifications would suggest that the MSL plat has higher output than the Opus1, enough to prevent any direct comparison. BTW I checked levels with a sound-meter placed inside the phones - a software analyser would be preferable.

It is known that variations in level down to .2 dB are enough to bias comparisons. It is why I always take immediate comparisons made without proper measurements with tones of salt. The specified difference between the two cartridges is .9dB.
 
Feb 8, 2011
21,955
607
113
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
Thanks Tango. I hear one as slightly cooler and brighter and the other as slightly warmer and darker. Hard to say which is more representative of the original event. Four variables: turntable, arm, cartridge, and phono cable (assuming Axiom cable is captive and different from SME cable). Can't tell what is contributing to what. Long term, I might prefer the second video as it seems more saturated tonally, sounds richer, but the first captures a liveliness right from the beginning that reminds me of a live concert. It also seems that the first video might be outside in a larger venue, less personal, while the second video is more intimate, indoors and on a smaller stage. And I imagining these differences? Interesting contrast.

One is a beat to the windward mark during a big regatta on a sunny, hot afternoon. The other is a slower evening pleasure sail, calmer seas, wind at your back approaching the sunset. I like both, but prefer the latter.
I didn't know you were a poet Peter. :cool:
 

Tango

VIP/Donor
Mar 12, 2017
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Bangkok
Dear Tango,

Can you check the levels of these two recordings? Unfortunately it seems to me this is a very unfair comparison - as far as I see the levels are not the same, probably because one cartridge has higher output than the other or some settings or microphone position are different. It seems to me that the AS2000 is louder enough to sound fuller and compromise the value of any comparison. Curiously the specifications would suggest that the MSL plat has higher output than the Opus1, enough to prevent any direct comparison. BTW I checked levels with a sound-meter placed inside the phones - a software analyser would be preferable.

It is known that variations in level down to .2 dB are enough to bias comparisons. It is why I always take immediate comparisons made without proper measurements with tones of salt. The specified difference between the two cartridges is .9dB.
Hello Micro,

I believe MSL Platinum is rated 0.5 mV same as Opus1. I chose to put the same gain setting of EMT phono for both carts. The volume setting of my Lamm pre was also the same. Should I have time today I will increase the volume when record MSL and do it again. I actually thought the loudness of MSL was more due to more pronounced mid and bass though.

Tang :)
 
Feb 8, 2011
21,955
607
113
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
Hi Peter,

Here is how I describe it. Imagine you are in a park along the Boston side of Charles River. People are enjoying the sunny day chatting, playing talking, singing in vicinity around you. And you are microphone interviewing Ack there with a single professional mono microphone with fluffy fur cover. That microphone is so good at recording a direct sound that it is pointed at in this case Ack. You will hear Ack so well and hear less of what is going on around you. Now, if you were to use a two head microphone(the V shape kind with one head point 45 degree to the left and the other 45 degree to the right.), you will hear Ack less in focus while hearing what people around you as clearly relative to distance of sound sources. There are many youtube videos illustrating the effect of types of microphone I am talking about.

The sound of AF1P vs AS2000 is as the above analogy except not that much in exact degree. AS2000 being the two headed microphone, you hear more what is going on around the room. It is so good at picking up nuances, cues, tiny vibrating sound that when add up translate to dimensionality, layers and depth. AF1 P on the other hand is like a mono point shoot mic. You get this sound popping out of darkness. It is like mono microphone enhancing Ack voice while lower down the volume of other noises around. So the sound that AF1 P picks up is always more pronounced with enhanced dynamic while its darkness of back ground block out nuances and cues. Just listen to the first notes of guitar in the two videos you will hear more strings vibrating with the AS2000 but less dynamic on plug than AF1P. When Clapton says "See if you can spot this," you don't just hear him you hear his voice reflecting the hall. Yes, what I just wrote is exaggerated. Exaggeration gets point across easier imo. AF1P also gives excellent spatial cues and ambient. The AS2000 just does it a few notches better. The AF1P is always stronger in bass than the AS2000. What sounds more natural? That's for you to decide. Listening to records of different eras a lot will make you understand how they engineered sound these days too. And it is no different to audio gears.

Kind regards,
Tang
Very nice description Tang, I can totally relate from those two very simple music recording videos. And I too would pick the AS2000 as my main TT. ...Spatial cues over bass, and for a TT it's a very beneficial advantage. What's more natural is what each one of us prefer living with and listening from...and the music that soothes our soul and suits our senses and sensibilities.
 
May 30, 2010
15,508
716
113
Portugal
Hello Micro,

I believe MSL Platinum is rated 0.5 mV same as Opus1. I chose to put the same gain setting of EMT phono for both carts. The volume setting of my Lamm pre was also the same. Should I have time today I will increase the volume when record MSL and do it again. I actually thought the loudness of MSL was more due to more pronounced mid and bass though.

Tang :)
My point is that people who compare these videos should know that direct comparison is very misleading and that conclusions carried about the turntables risk to be compromised. My reaction was mainly because people were considering that conditions were identical, and IMHO they are not. Unless you have the technical capability to produce identical videos we should avoid direct comparison.

For example most mobile phones have AGC (automatic gain control) of microphone level. Can I ask if you defeat it in your phone before recording?

BTW, many cartridges have variations of level between samples of the same model above 2 dB!
 
Feb 8, 2011
21,955
607
113
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
It's almost like you are trying to hide "The AF1P is always stronger in bass than the AS2000. What sounds more natural? That's for you to decide. Listening to records of different eras a lot will make you understand how they engineered sound these days too. And it is no different to audio gears." under a mountain of irrelevant stuff
The language of audio writing comes in various flavors and colors ...
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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462
63
Added: The difference between MSL Platinum and Opus1 is only minor and not in the area of info retrieval. MSL Platinum is excellent and considerably less expensive than Opus1.
Some commentary on these two carts in R Harley's review of the Basis Transcendence in the current TAS (July/Aug 2019, issue 295): MSL Signature Platinum "had some remarkable qualities; it was extremely vivid, dynamic, and incisive, and probably more resolving overall than the Air Tight Opus. The Opus was gentler in the top end, warmer and richer in timbre." He preferred the Opus in his system for his taste.

Off Topic: Overall I found this a well done review, the description of AJ Conti's goals and how he met them in the 'technical' aspects of the Transcendence ($127k). (and I'm not always an RH fan.) Particularly Conti's thoughts on speed (perhaps because they agree with my own) per RH: ".. we hear ... speed instability not overtly as pitch fluctulation, but as a reduction in the instrumental realism, a less convincing soundstage and a degradation of low-level decay. ..."
 

Tango

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Mar 12, 2017
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Tang,

Thank you so much for making the two videos. Your room is so gorgeous and your system is to die for. I like both of the TT's sound, different, as if you played two other top tier TT's with your system, they all would sound different.

I enjoyed going back and forth and back and forth:)....thx again. (PS and now I see why you requested the Layla video, I switched back and forth with all three videos....fun.
Thank you Bob. We both seems to enjoy the luxury of having many different sounds in our room. The only chance I could hear your systems now is through these videos. You have many interesting systems and speakers. I asked you to do the video on Layla with Alysyvox because I want to hear how they present sound in near field and how a homemade near field recording present sound of that concert on video. I understand you sat and recorded no farther than 9 feet from the speakers. You also use Samsung. So I am familiar with how it records sound. All my recordings are done at least 5.2 meters away from my speakers. So they throw out different kind of presentation from yours.

Tang :)
 

PeterA

Well-Known Member
Dec 7, 2011
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North Shore of Boston
I didn't know you were a poet Peter. :cool:
Bob, Tango has that effect on me. And if I think you are following the words, I can't help but hear the birds singing, and the wind rustling through the trees.
 
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bonzo75

Member Sponsor
Feb 26, 2014
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Bob, Tango has that effect on me. And if I think you are following the words, I can't help but hear the birds singing, and the wind rustling through the trees.
Yes Thai boys like tango can get people to wax poetic about birds and the bees
 
Jan 16, 2013
552
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NYC
Thank you Bob. We both seems to enjoy the luxury of having many different sounds in our room. The only chance I could hear your systems now is through these videos. You have many interesting systems and speakers. I asked you to do the video on Layla with Alysyvox because I want to hear how they present sound in near field and how a homemade near field recording present sound of that concert on video. I understand you sat and recorded no farther than 9 feet from the speakers. You also use Samsung. So I am familiar with how it records sound. All my recordings are done at least 5.2 meters away from my speakers. So they throw out different kind of presentation from yours.

Tang :)
Thx Tang, and yes it's interesting for sure that although in a sense crude comparing our Samsungs to being in the room, we can get a sense for the different presentations.

Yes, I am about 3M from the speakers when recording and my speakers are WAY out into the room as well, about 2.5M from the back wall. My speaker placement is as such #1 because I like it:) and #2 there is a 200" drop down screen for video that comes down behind the speakers for viewing.
 
Feb 8, 2011
21,955
607
113
Vancouver Island, B.C. Canada
Bob, Tango has that effect on me. And if I think you are following the words, I can't help but hear the birds singing, and the wind rustling through the trees.
It's important for an audio writer/reviewer to have skills in poetry ... IMHO
It's important for anyone living on planet Earth to have skills in music and poetry ... IMHO
 

Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
6,676
1,068
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Beverly Hills, CA
Some commentary on these two carts in R Harley's review of the Basis Transcendence in the current TAS (July/Aug 2019, issue 295): MSL Signature Platinum "had some remarkable qualities; it was extremely vivid, dynamic, and incisive, and probably more resolving overall than the Air Tight Opus. The Opus was gentler in the top end, warmer and richer in timbre." He preferred the Opus in his system for his taste.

Off Topic: Overall I found this a well done review, the description of AJ Conti's goals and how he met them in the 'technical' aspects of the Transcendence ($127k). (and I'm not always an RH fan.) Particularly Conti's thoughts on speed (perhaps because they agree with my own) per RH: ".. we hear ... speed instability not overtly as pitch fluctulation, but as a reduction in the instrumental realism, a less convincing soundstage and a degradation of low-level decay. ..."
I agree with each of your points. I think RH did a very good job in this review.
 
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