My 2 channel experiment

RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#21
Can't say I blame you Roger. I'm babysitting a Soulshine8 here but I never took it out of the box. They shipped with Full Music 6sn7s I think. If ever, it will be my first time to hear Full Musics. Maybe I'll hook it up and compare them with the Soulshine. The Soulshine has that iron fisted thing going too since the second stage is built around 12bh7s. It should be interesting. Want me to snap some pics?
Hi Jack,

Some pics would be great. I would love to tube roll that preamp,I did that with my Ampex, I had some Mullards in there but took them out as they lacked extemsion. The Soulshine uses minatures compared to the soulsshine8 uses octals,is that right? I don't know if it's in the cards but I would like to see what preamp sounds better to your ear and why. That sounds like it could be fun if you have the patience and time. Thanks
 

JackD201

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Apr 21, 2010
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#22
No prob Roger. Just promise me a slice or two of your Pizzas if I ever find my way in your parts :) I am rather biased towards miniatures in preamps but mainly because there seems to be a wider range of choices. That said, I don't really care for as long as I like what I hear.

Yup the soulshine is 12au7 input and 12bh7 driver. The Soulshine 8 is 6sn7s. Since I've tube rolled the Soulshine, I've seen the innards. I'm curious to see the inside of the Soulshine8. Our own Rob (rblnr) wrote a review of the Soulshine in PFO and I pretty much agree with everything he wrote about it. I liked what I heard so much, I took on the entire product line. I've since become good friends with Valvet's designer Knut Cornils. He even built a custom phonostage for me. Wonderful guy. His circuits are classic minimalist designs and pays great attention to parts quality. Give me a week. :)
 

RogerD

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BiggestLittleCity
#23
No prob Roger. Just promise me a slice or two of your Pizzas if I ever find my way in your parts :) I am rather biased towards miniatures in preamps but mainly because there seems to be a wider range of choices. That said, I don't really care for as long as I like what I hear.

Yup the soulshine is 12au7 input and 12bh7 driver. The Soulshine 8 is 6sn7s. Since I've tube rolled the Soulshine, I've seen the innards. I'm curious to see the inside of the Soulshine8. Our own Rob (rblnr) wrote a review of the Soulshine in PFO and I pretty much agree with everything he wrote about it. I liked what I heard so much, I took on the entire product line. I've since become good friends with Valvet's designer Knut Cornils. He even built a custom phonostage for me. Wonderful guy. His circuits are classic minimalist designs and pays great attention to parts quality. Give me a week. :)
Plenty of Pizza and bread too! So your a dealer for Valvet, you must like the equipment. I'm a big fan of the minimalist design of the Ampex. Very nice of you Jack to do the listening and to share your thoughts.
 

JackD201

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Apr 21, 2010
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#24
I shall try my best to put all biases aside :) They cost exactly the same though so at least "price bias" is out the window. LOL.
 

RogerD

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BiggestLittleCity
#25
Here's how I rate my Ampex reel to reels on their sound quality. I rated them this way on their ability to convey ambiance which I have found is a excellent marker for low distortion. If the recorder is rated at 9 it has the ability to produce a holographic sound stage. Below 9 and the recorder is more 2 dimensional in it's sound signature. In other words it's a "magic" quality that draws you into the music. I will also say that the 350 is indeed fatter than the rest,but the other qualities it possesses far outweigh that step away from neutrality. The 440 doesn't produce as big a sound stage as the 350 or MR70,but it's other qualities again out weigh this. The MR70 combines every good thing between the 350 and AG440 Lundahl and then leapfrogs both with a magical quality that needs to be heard to be appreciated.

I'll add also where most recorders fall back is on the playback portion. The record electronics on the big machines all sound pretty good. It's when the playback side can boost that little strip of info and sound better than the record side is what all great decks should do.

Update: I have upgraded the 440 Lundahl to give the MR70 a edge now. The Lundahls have really come into their own over time and I would put these electronics up against any solid state playback system in the world.


Tape Preamp AG440B Ampex Lundahl Transformers / Teflon version record preamp side / final v2.1 9/16/2013

Sound stage 11

Transparency 12

Tonality 11

Clarity 11.5

Dynamics 11.5

Tape Preamp 350 Ampex Custom Mundorf Electronics

Sound stage 11.5

Transparency 10.5

Tonality 10

Clarity 10

Dynamics 10.5

Tape Preamp MR70 Ampex Nuvistor Electronics

Soundstage 12.5

Transparency 12.5

Tonality 13

Clarity 13

Dynamics 13

Update 09/19/2013 After initially sounding better than anything I have ever heard, 20 hours into listening this nuvistor preamp continues to amaze me. Playing Reference Recordings Stravinsky netted a low end in my system that the tympanies rippled through my room and that was at low volume. I even got a call from my next door neighbor saying the bass was too much and his wife was trying to sleep, no problem as I turned it down and cut off the sub. the sub was set at 30hz and the volume was at the lowest setting. Needless to say,the nuvistor makes the transistor and vacuum tube obsolete!



MR70 1/2 inch 2 Track Master Recorder "Jack Mullin Special"

 
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fas42

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Jan 8, 2011
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#26
Here's how I rate my Ampex reel to reels on their sound quality.


Tape Preamp AG440B Ampex Lundahl Transformers

Sound stage 9

Transparency 9

Tonality 9

Clarity 9

Dynamics 9

Tape Preamp 350 Ampex Custom Mundorf Electronics

Sound stage 9+

Transparency 9+

Tonality 9

Clarity 9+

Dynamics 9

Tape Preamp MR70 Ampex Nuvistor Electronics

Soundstage 10

Transparency 11

Tonality 11

Clarity 11


Dynamics 10
Careful, Roger, you know what people think of your gear when it's running at a level of 11 ... :D:D

Frank
 

RogerD

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BiggestLittleCity
#27
Careful, Roger, you know what people think of your gear when it's running at a level of 11 ... :D:D

Frank
Frank,

If I didn't have anything to compare to......Studer A820 MKII trafoless HQ Pro Master Recorder not to mention my Ampex stable. Maybe someday I'll find a Stellavox TD9.:)
 

RogerD

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BiggestLittleCity
#29
Of interest, does your new configuration make your "poorer" recordings sound worse or better than before? For example, Adele's '21'?

Frank
Like I said in another thread,all recordings now sound different to me. I guess you could say a strong tide lifts all boats,but some are just stinkers.
 

fas42

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#30
Like I said in another thread,all recordings now sound different to me. I guess you could say a strong tide lifts all boats,but some are just stinkers.
Fair enough, but in what way would you characterise them as being "bad": too much obvious distortion; or, heavily compressed, no dynamic range; or, too much obvious, studio manipulation, etc?

Some people want to know ... :b

Frank
 

RogerD

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BiggestLittleCity
#31
Fair enough, but in what way would you characterise them as being "bad": too much obvious distortion; or, heavily compressed, no dynamic range; or, too much obvious, studio manipulation, etc?

Some people want to know ... :b

Frank
Not all recordings are created equal. Some of the best recordings I have are film soundtracks. These recordings have tremendous ambient information and that quality is what sets them a part from others. Of course that's a era that will never be duplicated,sad.

You can't equal such a recording by piecing segments together. I don't care what they do,it's a lost art to be sure.
 

RogerD

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BiggestLittleCity
#32
With the addition of another MR70 I have come to appreciate the team of experts that designed such a unique and fine recorder. I have not heard a better preamp,very fast,dynamic,and a tonal balance that is without equal. Glen Scott expressed his thoughts on nuvistors with me and their excellent properties for critical sound and listening, I agree totally.

"I have played with many tubes and in recent years with FET's and the nuvistor is an incredible amplification device with a very long life expectancy.
It is believed their useful life can exceed 30,000 hours. While I can't verify this, I can say that no Nuvistor I have purchased that was good from the start has ever failed. These devices have an extremely fast transient response are, as you say, very linear and I love them.

I am both a classical and jazz fan and if I am listening to a few instruments or a large symphony, nuvistors keep up like nothing I have worked with.
In my lab, I have a huge assortment of HP, Tektronix and Fluke instrumentation. I have looked at the performance of nuvistors in both the frequency and time domains. Nothing yet, except for a few FET's from Japan keep up. I like those FET's too but the sound from nuvistors is cleaner and more dynamic.

It is a mystery to me that not more designers are working with nuvistors in the audio field. There are still plenty of them around and the cost is not bad. Back in the 90's Conrad Johnson had at least one nuvistor preamp but I never had one to play with. It was reviewed well but did not find favor with audiophiles for very long."
 

RogerD

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BiggestLittleCity
#33
I sent my little Fulton speakers out to get the surrounds redone and Orange County Speaker did a real nice job and they were reasonable too. When I got them back I remounted them and after adjusting and playing them I was reminded of how much info they add to the sound. I have had a Niles SVC-4 speaker switch for a while and figured one day I would find a use for it. Well I have two pairs of small Mission speakers that I don't use anymore and had a idea;What if I added them to my psycho acoustics circuit? I set it up and have spent the last few days re positioning all the speakers and I must say the quality of sound in my room has jumped to a new level. Now,my system is probably not at a level of the best possible but it has a very intimate quality to it and I think can sound amazing given the right recordings.

The middle psycho speakers can be adjusted for volume level with the Niles switch and the Fultons can be adjusted with the Accuphase P300 output levels on the amplifier. This enables me to tweak the system to a fine level.
I have the middle circuit at about 50 pct and the top circuit at 85 pct. The original circuit is designed to be at 100 pct. The circuit device is passive and corrects the time domain in the room,enabling any room treatments to be unnecessary except for bass traps. The circuit works exceptionally well for how simple it is.

The effect of adding the middle psychos has been to increase midrange focus and add nuance and detail that is very positive overall. I now have what sounds like a very balanced complete wall of sound,very open,natural,and intimate as well as very dynamic when called upon. The soundstage is and can be extremely layered and unlike some speakers systems portray a very good reproduction of the physical setting a long with,what I think is essential,the ambient information in the recording. It is not unusual to get a feeling of being there,especially in live recordings.

Last night I played a CD from the EMI Centenary edition. The disc was the 1968-1977 period and what a beautiful disc it is. Luciano Pavarotti,Izhak Perlman,and Victoria De Los Angeles never sounded better in my system.

Just thought I would share my latest adventure and hope that some find my experiment interesting.

"From the very beginning, Dolby technologies have been rooted in the science of*
psychoacoustics—that is, understanding how humans hear. As a result, we’ve been*
able to reduce background noise in analog media without introducing audible side*
effects (Dolby noise reduction), dramatically lessen the data rate necessary for highquality multichannel digital audio (Dolby Digital), and deliver convincing surround*
sound over just two speakers (Dolby Virtual Speaker), among other achievements.*
Dolby Volume takes advantage of all the lessons learned in more than 40 years of*
researching the science of human hearing and creating audio technologies that have*
been accepted as standards throughout the world." Dolby Sound Labs

http://www.dolby.com/uploadedFiles/Assets/US/Doc/Professional/dolby-volume-tv-techpaper.pdf

Why psychoacoustics have never really been pursued for home audio use I will never understand. For absolutely a pittance compared with what some spend for a small percentage of improvement in sound quality,double digit percentage increases can be had. IMHO

Update 09/16/2013: My Blackgate teflon 440B record cards that I use and listen to as my solid state preamp absolutely blows my 350 preamps out of the water............but I get the MR70 preamps on 09/18 so this should be very cool to hear the comparison.

9/22......The MR70 without a doubt in my mind is the greatest audio preamp ever made.

10/12....It's been 24 days and about 380 hours logged on the MR70...I hope to have a video posted with decent sound in the next 2 weeks. By then the system will have 500 hours and should be fully up with the gain stabalized. Then I'll see how a video sounds and if that will show what nuvistors and my version of a high resolution, low noise,psychoacoustic system can sound like. Of course this is my idea of what this level of sound can be heard and may not meet other's expectations,but it meets mine and that is all that matters.

10/13....The system has really opened up....2 channel enhanced stereo at it's best. After listening tonight,another 100 hours and things should be good. I have purchased a NBS Statement IC for the MR70 and I'm almost scared to use it,but I think it will really be exceptional,even more so.

10/14....I have to ask myself a few questions, how good is the nuvistor and how good is digital? I was listening to the redbook copy of "the voice that is Johnny Hartman" cut #9 which is "Joey" and in two spots I heard some kind of feedback. My brother heard it first and on replay i then clearly heard it. Now I doubt even the mastering engineer could hear it! So anyway the MR70 continues to improve and it is the only piece of electronics I can say...I wonder if this has any distortion and how good can it get....amazing piece of gear.

10/18....About 500 hours which is usually where everything becomes extremely coherent and it has. The gain looks to have stabilised and every note & chord is fleshed out....the best I personally have ever heard. This MR70 has tremendous headroom.

10/22.....With 520 hours this preamp for the most part is voiced and will not change anymore. With the increase of headroom and I'm guessing +6db....I have cut back the psycho mids to 50 pct and the outboards to 70 pct as the MR70 effects that part of the system a lot more then my other preamps both tube and SS. The sound signature that stands out is the increase in presence,dynamics,tonality and overall musicality. I have never heard anything close my self,but I know that there is better out there I am sure. For the funds invested though I am extremely content at where the system stands now. I will add a NBS Statement IC to the MR70 and will be anxious to hear it then.

10/30.......The Nuvistor is no doubt in my mind the best device ever made that I know of. I think it is up to solid state devices to close the gap here. With the nuvistor you get all the qualities of the vacuum tube and the speed and crispness of the transistor. To hear it noiseless is truly stunning.

http://www.soundfountain.com/mercury/trinaural.html


 
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mep

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Apr 21, 2010
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#34
Roger-I see you still have your main speakers sitting at different angles relative to each other. Your right speaker appears to be firing almost straight ahead while your left speaker is angled in to the right. It also looks like your left speaker is moved further into the room than the right speaker.
 

RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#35
Roger-I see you still have your main speakers sitting at different angles relative to each other. Your right speaker appears to be firing almost straight ahead while your left speaker is angled in to the right. It also looks like your left speaker is moved further into the room than the right speaker.
Lol! Mark your partially right. I redid the satellites,especially after adding the mid-psychos.....a really natural,big and powerful midrange. Both speakers were the same distance,but the left did have more toe-in. I guess I have been lazy...but all is symmetrical now.

Thanks eagle eye,

Roger
 

RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#36
After listening tonight and for the last few days,my 2 channel experiment is finished and is a resounding success. A ultra low noise and low distortion system is possible and doable. The noise is not from the wall,sure power cords help,as do IC's and good shielded speaker cables,but the real noise is generated inside the equipment and there is only one way to get rid of it and that is by sending it back to ground.

I'm going to start posting about my 2nd system from now on and the progress made. I hope to have it done by the beginning of 2015. Lot's to do,so that will keep me busy. The one nice thing is I have almost all the gear on hand,except for the Klipsch Jubilees,so I will find a dealer for those. Also I am excited about what I have learned and putting that to use with a 300B based system with the horn speakers. Should be fun.

p.s. I have four dedicated lines with 12 gauge wire with hubbell cryoed duplexes and everything is plugged directly into the wall,no conditioners just NBS PC's. In my system no power conditioning is needed. Most conditioning systems are star grounded and some use transformers and shields,there are tradeoffs and I have found it best to not have or use any of it.
 
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RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#38
Roger
Tape + tube gear + multi SE tube power amps + horn speakers should be the best combination for music repro
tony ma
Hi Tony,

Actually the amps are VAC 140's and a VAC 70/70, iirc they are push pull class A. I'll probably use them in a bi-amp config. 24 300B's should sound pretty good.
 
Feb 8, 2011
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#39
Roger
Tape + tube gear + multi SE tube power amps + horn speakers should be the best combination for music repro
tony ma
That's a positive and encouraging token Tony. :cool:

And there is also something like this:


* Hi Roger, you seem to be doing real good nowadays; your positive energy is infectious and I'm impregnated. :b
 

RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#40
* Hi Roger, you seem to be doing real good nowadays; your positive energy is infectious and I'm impregnated. :b
Hi Bob,

I enjoy putting the time in on my system(s) and when I get the results that I do,I'm happy. I'm glad you enjoy what I do...it's fun too. Thank you
 

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