Truth and Tonality: can they co-exist?

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
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You're hoot Tim! :)

Frank,

I know I may have come across as contrarian in posts past. It's not that I'm out to debunk your distortion theory, I'm sure elimination of distortion helps to some degree in creating an illusion. I guess all I'm saying is that if a 3-D walk in stage is your ultimate goal removal of distractions may count a lot but isn't enough. In my mind, there's no way doing away with distortion can counteract fundamental deficiencies like channel balance for example. Fundamentals have to be in place from the get go. As an analogy you can try and remove all friction in a VW Beetles drivetrain and maybe manage a few Kph more in top speed but it still won't go as fast as an Audi R8 5.2 unless you drop the former from a plane.
 

fas42

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Jan 8, 2011
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I'm sure elimination of distortion helps to some degree in creating an illusion. I guess all I'm saying is that if a 3-D walk in stage is your ultimate goal removal of distractions may count a lot but isn't enough. In my mind, there's no way doing away with distortion can counteract fundamental deficiencies
I guess we're back to tasting that good red wine then again ...:)

Fundamentals have to be in place from the get go.
Yes, they should be, and IMO they are, with essentially all systems. Remember, I believe that the illusion results from a subtractive process, not additive. That is, not that you have to add better and better components to get there, but you take away the bits, the sometimes tiny bits that degrade the setup, that stop the illusion happening. Also remember I have achieved this effect with a variety of CD players, amplifiers and speakers, in a range from pretty reasonable quality to downright mediocre. This is definitely telling me something ...:)

Frank
 

fas42

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Jack, I've had a thought since my last post. Would you be interested in going through a set of steps with your setup, none of which involves dismantling or fiddling with the insides of your gear, which may hopefully demonstrate what I am talking about here, for you? These are the sort of steps I have gone through many times when I was trying to track down, isolate the effect on my setups. No guarantees of a significant result, because you have very high end gear, and other factors may come into play. At the very least I will have learnt something, but perhaps you and others will gain something from it ...

Would you be interested in such an exercise?

Frank
 
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JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
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Sure Frank but first I have to be crystal clear on three points. The first that I do not think my system (room included) is "the best", second that while I have had glimpses of what you are shooting for I do not get it consistently when listening critically (there's that state of mind thing again). Lastly I do not think my way is the only way to go. Give me a few hours to put things in order mentally. ;)
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
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Ok Frank. Lay it on me. The kids have been tucked in and I've pretty much lined up my own procedure for cross reference. I had to do that first since mine is subtractive as well, I just start from fundamentals of wide bandwidth (below 20Hz to above 40kHz), a very low acoustic and electrical (except with analog as I am still hunting some hum down) noise floor and lots of headroom. I'm fussy to the point of taking into account ambient temperature to avoid thermal distortion. My mind is open. Like you said, I've got nothing to lose. If I recall correctly you do a lot of work around the treble region. Let's go try your way.
 

JackD201

[WBF Founding Member]
Apr 21, 2010
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Well, it's free, it's reversible, I won't be voiding any warranties and I've got no agenda. Seems safe enough not to require any bravery at all ;) ;) ;)
 
Jul 1, 2010
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That's what I thought when I agreed to do the analog/digital thing with the PNWAS and was fool (brave?) enough to start a thread here about it. :D :D :D
You conducted your tests and the subsequent thread with courage and balance, Gary. And you came to the only conclusion that matters: That in the face of beautiful music, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't get any more subjective/objective/high-end/musical/transparent than that. I'd guess that a man who thinks and judges that clearly probably makes great speakers. I'd love to hear them some day.

Tim
 
Jul 8, 2010
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the measurements that are typically made IMO don't actually address the area that I believe is the problem.
I agree that manufacturer specs are usually incomplete, and often show the gear in the best light possible. Then again, most gear these days is very clean. Even cheap gear like my $150 Pioneer receiver.

where are the tests that demonstrate that there are no changes in levels of treble distortion, particularly of the IMD variety, where the treble signals are low to very low in level, while there are high levels of lower frequencies also in the mix?
Well, you could do this yourself with free / cheap software. Usually, distortion decreases at lower levels, but not always. For example, crossover distortion in a Class AB power amp. But the real question is why do you believe the specific conditions you mentioned are a problem? What evidence do you have? Or what experiences led you to that conclusion?

Would you be willing to swear that first, there would be no difference in the two test instances of that IMD result, and second, the IMD result in the second would be invariant, irrespective of the music type and from moment to moment?
I honestly don't know. But I have no reason to believe those conditions will reveal distortion levels higher than the usual SMPTE twin-tone IMD tests. Again, why do you think they would?

--Ethan
 
Jul 8, 2010
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the numbers you get can not be correlated with the perception of sound qualities.
Yes and No. I agree that perception of 10 percent distortion varies from one person to the next, and also depends on the nature of the distortion. But if the sum of all distortion artifacts is at least 80 dB below the music, then nobody will hear it regardless. I'm certain I have explained this many times already. If you believe the makeup of the distortion matters when it's 80+ dB below the music, please show some evidence in the form of Wave files. I've asked for that repeatedly too, and nobody has ever once posted a file. Yet, amazingly, they continue to hold those beliefs anyway.

--Ethan
 
Jul 8, 2010
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What measurement will tell me that I'm hearing a six foot tall person playing his guitar and singing? What if he sounds like he is four foot tall and sitting down when I play it back?
That has nothing to do with measuring gear because the gear is not responsible for reproducing the "height" of a singer. That quality is due to the microphones and where they're placed in the room the recording was made.

--Ethan
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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www.genesisloudspeakers.com
What evidence do you have? Or what experiences led you to that conclusion?
*rant on*

Ethan, I'm very sorry if this comes across as insulting but this is a dialectic and rhetoric has no place. You cannot come and ask what experiences led you to that conclusion, and then someone says "I listened" and then you say that without evidence that satisfies you, that experience has no merit.

You cannot ask me why I believe in God, and I tell you that is because of the rapture and faith I feel, and then you tell me that God does not exist until I can prove Him to you to your satisfaction.

*rant off*

But getting back to manufacturer's specs, I agree with you that the specs are not complete - sometimes not because they just want to show gear in the best light, but because those are the specs that are usually published and publishing a spec that no other manufacturer publishes is useless.

I, for one, wish that manufacturers of loudspeakers will publish impedance curves at various power levels. We would all learn a lot about how amplifiers behave, and why some amplifiers sound "hard" to some listeners, and the same amplifier sounds "mellow" to other listeners.

If amplifier manufacturers would publish curves of current delivery against time against frequency, then we will all learn why some loudspeakers "snappy" and others sound "slow".

I applaud your effort at bringing objective measurements to this subjective topic (truth vs tonality), but the FR, THD, IMD rhetoric is not bringing us anything new.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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Deal Gary. I guess I see this stuff as one long meandering thread spread across a few dozen different audio forums over a period of many years. :D

--Ethan
Thanks, Ethan. I'm glad you understand. The very fact that this las been a long meandering thread spread over many years show that neither side will budge. However, if we can find look at both sides with a different eye, we may learn something new.

Try this out of Asian philosophy - you argue the subjectivists side, and have one of the subjectivists argue the objectivists side. We might all learn something.

For example, one of the measurements I did when I designed my amplifier was to plot current (which is also a function of a loudspeaker) vs frequency vs time. Just taking the measurements was extremely laborious because I didn't have software that could do that easily. But I found where "effortless" could actually be measured.
 

garylkoh

WBF Technical Expert (Speakers & Audio Equipment)
Sep 6, 2010
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www.genesisloudspeakers.com
You conducted your tests and the subsequent thread with courage and balance, Gary. And you came to the only conclusion that matters: That in the face of beautiful music, it doesn't matter. It really doesn't get any more subjective/objective/high-end/musical/transparent than that. I'd guess that a man who thinks and judges that clearly probably makes great speakers. I'd love to hear them some day.

Tim
Thank you, Tim. Coming from you that is high praise indeed. I am humbled and honored.
 

fas42

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Jan 8, 2011
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Lay it on me. The kids have been tucked in and I've pretty much lined up my own procedure for cross reference.
Thanks for the opportunity, Jack. Trouble is, you posted this at quarter to 3 in the morning, and contrary to Gary's vision of me, I do actually sleep ...:)

while I have had glimpses of what you are shooting for I do not get it consistently
That's the key phrase I was looking for. Just about everybody at some time has had some exposure to the experience even if it was only transitory, on their own system, or on someone else's. The big headache is that the very nature of what's happening means that it typically will only last a short period of time.

So our goal first is to capture it, that is, to be able to make it pop out on command, or know the sequence of procedures to follow for it to appear; and secondly to make it stable, have it persist for as long as we want to listen to the music. Making it stable, unfortunately, can be the really hard bit, but we can worry about that later! :D

Okay, to start, what we are aiming for is to get the system in the state equivalent to having a car do a quarter mile timing run. In other words, don't just drive it out of the garage and plonk it on the starting line! Absolutely everything you do to get the best sound out of the system has to be totally coordinated to come together at one point in time, ready to do the run!

For a start you appear to have a bewildering array of gear in your place. I am sure you know a particular combination of that kit that gives you the "best" sound for, say, particular recordings. To get things happening, and you're right, I'll be focusing on treble, what combo gives you the cleanest, sweetest treble sound, that makes it easiest to listen to "difficult" recordings without dumbing them down? Along with that, would you have a recording that you would really love to have sound better, but which has a treble content which bugs you normally?

Frank
 

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