Fidelity to source analog guys


WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
Metro DC
so true. and i'm the poster boy for how difficult it is to get the room right. i spent a fortune building a dedicated room, and it still took me 10 years to figure it out.

another point about the room set-up is that it helps us to make the best possible gear choices.....since we then hear what the gear can actually do.

i think sometimes, people choose tubes to solve room listen-ability issues. taming a room to allow the music to sound natural might be much more daunting than simply choosing tubes. not saying that is typical, but i think it happens more than we think.

it was an epiphany for me. it changed my view on what was important in my system building. a sense of what is true progress.

and this hobby is all about whatever your reference is. my reference changed as to where i was going. there have been a few times i've lost my reference to a sense of exactly what i was trying to achieve. i think that's ok and bound to happen over a multi-decade hobby. but then you hear something that grabs you and you are off to find it in your own system.
OK Ethan. I mean Mike.


WBF Founding Member
Apr 20, 2010
Metro DC
Seriously if tubes compensate for room anomalies what's going on when we prefer them for headphones? I assume the room is not part of that equation.
May 30, 2010
Seriously if tubes compensate for room anomalies what's going on when we prefer them for headphones? I assume the room is not part of that equation.
Some people will tell you we have to tame the room to compensate for the solid state anomalies ... :)

IMHO room and system are an whole and they are complementary.


Active Member
Nov 1, 2018
I have rarely heard regardless of cost, a system thats sounds like a real un amplified concert. Old Quad Esl's are a speaker that with the right power can sound pretty darn good but quads do have their limitations as well. I really think the room is the big deal, more so than the gear itself to achieving fantastic music reproduction.


Well-Known Member
Jun 7, 2017
Yes, I know of their problems. Heard them several times with AP Calderas. I don't know if they were colorless but definitely appealing with a purity of sound that kinda reminded me of the Quicksilver 8417s. Excellent top end.

Aren't all transformers colored?
And caps.and resistors. And circuits


New Member
Feb 16, 2019
Guys with good recordings, who believe in listening to the recordings and not having a consistent color, i.e those who consciously set up for this an objective, rather than saying "my gear is transparent"... During your journey, what changes led to more of this difference, and what made the recordings sound more consistent across labels and pressings?
I think the realization that my phono system was “there” was when different albums made it seem like I was playing them through different systems. This was the effect when one album made me think my speakers had a tipped up sound and others made me feel my bass was boomy. In other words I was hearing the record and not my hifi.
What got me there was a multi year tryout of different carts with preamps and different tone arms with carts and ever different tables until the sound was “right.” It’s a bit unfair to ask what thing made the difference as I am a believer in synergy and if I changed one part maybe it all would fall apart so hard to find one attribute. I can say that the Simply Black Cantus style tonearm has delivered the best sound with my Miyajima Kansui cart but the setup of the tonearm was such a misery that I would never recommend it to anyone.
Likes: lordcloud


May 23, 2010
By far in my system it was the star circuit ground. Should every source sound different, every recording..even every cut sometimes.? Yes. But not in a way that is not natural or not involving. What was the biggest difference in the my system with all 39 drivers and using digital, FM ,and Tape. On 90 plus pct of the recordings all the sound comes from behind the speaker plane, yet there is plenty of power and projection. But no room treatment. My only explanation for this is ,as the audio signal improves with out distortion the speaker dispersion level increases. Is the system transparent...extremely so...with exceptional dimensionality and clarity. The system reproduces how the recording was mic'd and engineered naturally or not.


WBF Founding Member
Apr 21, 2010
Manila, Philippines
This is a tricky question because when faced with neutrality or in the case of analog, low noise, THAT in itself becomes a characteristic.

I ended up with my analog rig because I consider myself a student of the recording arts. II want to be able to hear into a recording. Be able to somewhat tell that yes Harry was using a ribbon mic in Carnegie Hall just like the album photo shows. Get the nostalgia of Billy Holiday using a carbon. Production values are important to me for the simple reason that content production is our main livelihood. That makes the search for best practices part and parcel of any form of entertainment I engage in. It is just the natural way and isn't intrusive in the sense that I have been able to develop the ability to allow myself to be immersed first and then break the experience down afterwards. In other words the feedback loop is a much longer one LOL So for me, I wanted a platform that was first and foremost quiet. To achieve this the system must itself be quiet, it must be able to deal with environmental noise pollution, and given the way channels are encoded onto the vinyl, the record MUST be flat. in the words of Peter Lieberman, I paraphrase loosely, "it's a miracle analog works at all". Originally the way the forebears decided to do stereo was to have onnee track on the vertical axis and the other on the horizontal. However because they wanted the LPs to be compatible with mono systems in the field the decision was to use an X type pattern. You can imagine how much channel error one gets on a record that isn't running flat. These errors eat up the already miniscule voltage potential within the carts and ultimately rob us of headroom. It's a double whammy. The noise floor is up, the power down. This is exactly what a compressor does except here, the noise is system generated.

Ok this sounds great. In practice however this does not guarantee pleasure at all times. We all have music we love that bluntly, was butchered in the recording process. Many times we need the proverbial rose colored glasses. In my case, I want less variables to deal with so the table stays but I have arms and carts that are still accurate but are more forgiving having their own characters pushed to the fore. Obviously this can only serve to make the bad recordings marginally more listenable but hey, not all is lost. For thee truly terrible there's always thee kitchen radio LOL

Now if the person is like me in that thee desire to hear all that is ingrained then yes go for the ultra quiet chain. Collecting rare first pressings only NM/NM? Go to town bro, you only live once. The bad will be worse but the best will have the potential to be glorious. Ultimately however the decision can't be made in a vacuum. These low noise, wide bandwidth front ends are demanding of electronics and loudspeakers. They can also be dangerous because the teemptation to play louder and louder is ever present. It can be damaging to health and also to theee equipment. I've had a bad pop regiister over 2kW on my amp's display. It is jarring and terrifying and serves as a reminder that if you intend to go nuts, prepare for it properly by cleaning the records thoroughly.

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