Do Tubes Homogenize the Sound of Our Music?

BlueFox

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I am in the process of ordering an upgraded cable between my Lumin X1 and it’s power supply. I hope that one thing makes an audible improvement.
 

PeterA

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Dec 7, 2011
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So, who or what is doing the making?

Certainly not a piece of electronic gear or stereo component. Similarity and uniformity are products of cognition. We do not perceive homogeneity like we perceive a turntable or interconnect. It is not something existing apart from our judgement. A claim that 'tubes homogenize sound' or 'an emotional connection with music' homogenizes sound is really about homogenizing listeners! In effect claiming they all hear the same. Humans homogenize sound by listening to it. Can the discussion get any more ridiculous?

Tim, my comments about homogenized sound is in reference to individual instruments in an orchestra or big band or string Quartet sounding similar to each other in terms of tone and scale and emphasis rather than as distinct separate and different from each other.

This is why I do not think my SET amplifier homogenizes the sound, or more specifically, the individual instruments within a performance. And in no way am I generalizing about tube and solid-state amplifiers.
 

tima

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Tim, my comments about homogenized sound is in reference to individual instruments in an orchestra or big band or string Quartet sounding similar to each other in terms of tone and scale and emphasis rather than as distinct separate and different from each other.

This is why I do not think my SET amplifier homogenizes the sound, or more specifically, the individual instruments within a performance. And in no way am I generalizing about tube and solid-state amplifiers.

Yes, I understand - thank you for that. I was mostly playing off the verbiage "to make". My idea being that it is we who make claims about similarity or homogeneity and these are not objective or inherent attributes of tubes or tube sound.
 
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L3RD

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I believe that it depends upon the tube. A tube, generally speaking, imparts no more or less coloration than any other device is capable of doing, though IME, tubes and capacitors tend to be the greatest offenders. OTOH, good tubes and uncluttered tube circuits are capable of amazing transparency as well. So, they certainly are capable of homogenized sound, but so are they capable of disappearing. Tube circuits require less components and should, and generally speaking, do sound better than SS circuits, though great engineers can make complex SS circuits disappear as well, IME, but it would seem more difficult, therefore less likely. YMMV
 

tima

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Do you feel tubes impart a sonic sameness to the sound of music?

I read this thread again. It is a designed thread whose purpose is to generate posts by creating controversy and wrangling (which it did), but provided little insight. I thought @christensenleif@msn.com had the only response that tried to make sense of 'homogenize'.

to me homogenize is same as restricting harmonic differentiation

The failure of component X to provide something is similar to the failure of component Y to offer that thing. bonzo added soundstage as another attribute that could be restricted. You could probably use any sonic attribute - those components that lack the attribute are homogenized - which means they lack the attribute in common. I don't know if this is true, but it was effort to explain 'homogenize.' Tubes were thrown in because of something Mike Lavigne said about DACs and to capture interest playing off the tube/SS debate.

Ralph had a good answer to the somewhat silly question about emotional connection to music as homgenization.


But what I want to know is why do we get this advert on every page of the thread along with an expandable graphic?

Is it a test drive of a new forum feature - I have not seen it before and don't recall it being there when the thread started. Does everyone see this on every page?

Retzack advert.jpg

Is scrolling homgenizing WBF?
 
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PeterA

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Tim, I see the same Ron Resnick bio and opening post on every page. I have seen the opening post before repeated on every page at the top of some threads, but not Ron Resnick‘s biography. I think it’s kind of strange.

I agree with your thoughts on the thread topic. It would have been more interesting to simply ask: what does homogenization mean?
 

tima

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Tim, I see the same Ron Resnick bio and opening post on every page. I have seen the opening post before repeated on every page at the top of some threads, but not Ron Resnick‘s biography. I think it’s kind of strange.

I agree with your thoughts on the thread topic. It would have been more interesting to simply ask: what does homogenization mean?

I also thought it was odd. Thanks for looking, Peter. We'll see if any explanation is forthcoming.
 

Damon Von Schweikert

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Speaking as a designer, I would consider any tube product that did affect the sound in such a way to be a failure.

And speaking as a manufacturer that demonstrates my loudspeakers with what I believe to be (at least) among the finest in solid-state and tube amplification, I would say no. That is not a common characteristic today.

But are there products out there that do this? I guess so but as I said, I would quickly pass on by if that were the case because many if not most do not do that in my opinion.
 

Rt66indierock

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Speaking as a designer, I would consider any tube product that did affect the sound in such a way to be a failure.

And speaking as a manufacturer that demonstrates my loudspeakers with what I believe to be (at least) among the finest in solid-state and tube amplification, I would say no. That is not a common characteristic today.

But are there products out there that do this? I guess so but as I said, I would quickly pass on by if that were the case because many if not most do not do that in my opinion.

I would agree that properly designed equipment should not make music sound similar. But there is tendency for designers to voice their designs which can lead to music having a sense of sameness to it.

But we disagree on how much equipment these days is properly designed. Especially if you never listen to music at volumes that never exceed 100dB.
 

ICUToo

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It seems that the answer to the OP is "yes", if you read the Lampi tube-rolling threads / posts.
They change tubes (valves, please...) to change the sound so the tubes MUST be imparting a sound signature of their own.
 
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Rt66indierock

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It seems that the answer to the OP is "yes", if you read the Lampi tube-rolling threads / posts.
They change tubes (valves, please...) to change the sound so the tubes MUST be imparting a sound signature of their own.
That isn’t the way I read it. Generally homogenized equipment won’t play a banjo or an electric violin properly.
 
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Gregadd

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I have yet two to encounter a component without a sonic signature. The questions remains whether it is a sin of mission or comission. Euphonic or disconsonant.
 
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DaveC

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Just more semantic arguments imo. If we can't agree on what words mean this is what happens...
 

Atmasphere

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I don't get how music can be homogenized. Its not like you can dump it into a blender. Even really cheap audio products make different kinds of music sound completely different... even if they do sound tinny.

As long as your system is playing some depth and has palpable imaging, its hard to imagine 'homogenization' let along experience it, even with tubes.
 

cal3713

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I don't get how music can be homogenized. Its not like you can dump it into a blender. Even really cheap audio products make different kinds of music sound completely different... even if they do sound tinny.

As long as your system is playing some depth and has palpable imaging, its hard to imagine 'homogenization' let along experience it, even with tubes.
When I think of "homogenized" music, I think of satalite radio. A compressed signal that cuts frequency extremes and samples too slowly to fully reproduce the nuances of the recorded music.

I have never experienced that with tubes in my system.

In fact, the only component that did anything of the sort for me was the often highly reviewed PS Audio Directstream DAC. It obviously doesn't do the satellite radio treatment, but for whatever reason it just sounded like it put the music in a blender to me. I have no idea what's going on with my ears or brain, but it just sounds wrong and I can't relax when listening. It makes me tired and confused. And I say this as a former Perfectwave dac owner. I "upgraded" twice and both times sold and went back to the PWD. I must just hear different than the people who swear by it. When people say they like it, I discount every equipment recommendation they make because we clearly don't share music reproduction preferences.
 

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