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HUG - here for all audio enthusiasts

Since its inception ten years ago, the Harbeth User Group's ambition has been to create a lasting knowledge archive. Knowledge is based on facts and observations. Knowledge is timeless. Knowledge is human independent and replicatable. However, we live in new world where thanks to social media, 'facts' have become flexible and personal. HUG operates in that real world.

HUG has two approaches to contributor's Posts. If you have, like us, a scientific mind and are curious about how the ear works, how it can lead us to make the right - and wrong - decisions, and about the technical ins and outs of audio equipment, how it's designed and what choices the designer makes, then the factual area of HUG is for you. The objective methods of comparing audio equipment under controlled conditions has been thoroughly examined here on HUG and elsewhere and can be easily understood and tried with negligible technical knowledge.

Alternatively, if you just like chatting about audio and subjectivity rules for you, then the Subjective Soundings sub-forum is you. If upon examination we think that Posts are better suited to one sub-forum than than the other, they will be redirected during Moderation, which is applied throughout the site.

Questions and Posts about, for example, 'does amplifier A sounds better than amplifier B' or 'which speaker stands or cables are best' are suitable for the Subjective Soundings area.

The Moderators' decision is final in all matters regarding what appears here. That said, very few Posts are rejected. HUG Moderation individually spell and layout checks Posts for clarity but due to the workload, Posts in the Subjective Soundings area, from Oct. 2016 will not be. We regret that but we are unable to accept Posts that present what we consider to be free advertising for products that Harbeth does not make.

That's it! Enjoy!

{Updated Nov. 2016A}
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Anyone use a tube amplifier or integrated tube amp ?

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  • #31
    Originally posted by Pluto View Post

    So why does today’s audiophile so lust after technology that, even in the heyday of the thermionic tube, was considered passé by the premier exponents of the art? Probably the same reason some of us still listen to vinyl.

    Renowned worldwide for their accuracy combined with fatigue-free presentation, they are designed with modern solid state amplification in mind. Low impedance, low distortion and the assumption that there will be a more than adequate reserve of power are all high on the designer’s list of considerations. Are you speaking for the designer?
    See answers and questions above.

    Comment


    • #32
      Imo feel we shouldn’t equate the popularity of archaic technology and how good it is. They may be totally separate issues. Archaic technology has so many roles eg. consoling us in these fast changing times etc. How many of us have record players because someone left vinyl? Japan is an extreme example where the pace of change is so quick that people want to hang on or build in remnants of the old, in design of things etc. Pluto has brought up indisputable technical points of why solid state amps are better. Its hard if not impossible to argue against that. There are other reasons imo why ppl want to go for Lp’s and Tubes and they have nothing to do with being objective. If we try and be “objective” while relying on something as unreliable as our ears, there really is little point in having a debate, as the discussion really has to cross over into areas which not many really understand eg. Our upbringing and predispositions for sounds, culture, musical instruments, harmonics, mother tongue and songs sung to us when we were young, exposure to music etc.

      Comment


      • #33
        Originally posted by jdinco View Post
        Are you speaking for the designer?
        Tell me...are you implying that it would be good for a designer to assume that an amplifier with an output impedance of a few ohms was in use (instead of a few milliohms), and that the distortion figures thereof were in the order of several percent rather than hundredths of a percent?

        Comment


        • #34
          Six solid months of my life ......

          Originally posted by honmanm View Post
          ...With respect, one thing the Harbeth team may be missing is that a forum is generally understood by internet users as a place for open discussion...
          For that reason we did chose the name Harbeth User Group, not Harbeth Forum.

          Today I've slightly refined the page 'why does this group exist'. In my mind I started HUG over four years ago as a vehicle for me to get down in writing and out of my brain everything I know and believe about the 'BBC monitor concept' which underpins the Harbeth speakers. There was much to say, and I encouraged questions which would allow me to flesh-out new areas of the subject. I definitely did not conceive this group as anything other than an objective, rational knowledge sharing pool. There are dozens of forums which would welcome those sort of subjective postings, and it would be pointless to compete with them. And anyway, I'm not interested in waffle - life is too short and the BBC baby is too precious.

          So when we here drift off into 'my amp is better that yours' such contributions fail the acid test of this group 'is the comment I want to make reasonably objective and likely to be reproducible by other readers'. Since nobody here has ever said that they've constructed a proper controlled A-B test between amplifiers (which necessitates test equipment to equalise the loudness) those contributions, in my opinion as the group founder, don't pass the first test of credibility. So now we have the worst of all situations - good, solid, objective contributions buried amongst waffle.

          And that pains very much because it's not why I set this group and contributed so much time.
          ================================================== =======================

          Quick calculation of my input: 2000 posts I've made @ 30mins each = 60,000 mins. = 1000 hours. Assuming 8 hours working time per day = 125 days typing, assuming 5 day weeks = 25 weeks. So, in the past four years I have sat here typing for six months! That's a superhuman contribution I think you'll agree and I think I've earned the right to be a little picky about what subjects I want to be presented here under the umbrella of the Harbeth factory.
          Attached Files
          Alan A. Shaw
          Designer, owner
          Harbeth Audio UK

          Comment


          • #35
            Originally posted by jdinco View Post
            Probably the same reason some of us still listen to vinyl
            I'd be interested in knowing that reason.

            I remember the day I first attended a demonstration of the newly introduced Compact Disc, to a group of audio professionals. It was at Advision Studios in Goswell Street, London, ISTR, and the material was a newly released Bernstein recording of some Gershwin on DGG. They played a master tape, its child CD and gramophone record. Now bear in mind that this was very early days for digital audio and many of the converters were frightful compared to those we now enjoy. The gramophone record sounded OK but suffered from the usual vinyl malaises - clicks, thwomps, eggs frying...etc. The CD was a little 'harsher' than the master but other than that the two were essentially the same.

            After the DGG chap had given his corporate speech, he stated that he and his colleagues believed that this new technology would marginalise the gramophone record within a decade, a comment that entailed a round of applause from the assembled group…well, all except for three guys who ran a disc cutting business.

            Comment


            • #36
              I'm of the opinion, along with others, that Harbeth is being overly restrictive in what it deems appropriate content.. While most are appreciative of Alan's contribution to the HUG, I don't think many appreciate the overtly paternal stance he has taken. It's fine to treat the HUG as your baby, but please don't treat its members as though they were children. Unfortunately, some may be left with that impression given some of the more defensive comments that have recently been written.

              Now, that being said, I believe Harbeth has made a sufficient attempt at a reasonable compromise. The sub-thread for 'subjective topics' (or whatever it's called) sounds perfectly sensible and I encourage HUG members to take full advantage of it. So, just to be clear, although some (myself included) may not agree with the restrictive position Harbeth has taken, there is ample opportunity to discuss interesting topics elsewhere in the HUG.

              If I may make a suggestion, perhaps Harbeth should stop adding fuel to the fire. When controversial posts are made challenging Harbeth's moderation policy or unwillingness to entertain subjective topics, instead of repeatedly stating your position - thereby claiming that we're wasting your time - perhaps you should simply reply with a link to your officially stated position, then direct the user to the appropriate 'subjective topics' sub-forum. That, or don't reply at all.

              Can we please move forward?

              Comment


              • #37
                Sorry I have to post it under here because the original thread was closed by the time I finish typing this. Anyway, if this passes the moderation.....

                You amaze and delight me that you have the time to commit to expressing your feelings.
                My feelings amaze and delight you??? LOL..brought back long forgotten memories.

                We are what we are...... Member are merely asked to swing along with our ethos, culture and beliefs or to find another place, elsewhere, of expressing their deeply held fellings about audio equipment outside of our umberella.
                That is perfectly understood.

                Customers also are customers who will press on to ask similar questions. I know with record three consecutive months record production and 11 times more local sales such questions would tire and irritate any busy manufacturers but that's what we are who we are.

                So as a customer who wanted to know why his M40.1 sounds better with a 30W amplifier than a 150W amp, where should he be directing the question? A member did ask me this question to me and the only explanation I could come up with was a lower power amplifier attenuate the bass thus rendering the whole presentation with more clarity considering the 150W gives out too much bass for such a small room. Even though this appears to be a fairly reasonable question to Harbeth users but the member didn't post the question to the usergroup. Maybe, he thought it wouldn't pass the acid test.

                I am not sure about the answer but only made a wild guess with the very little knowledge I had. So is there a avenue for Harbeth users like these to ask questions in the usergroup? Will Harbeth clear our confusion?

                ST

                p.s No more moderation? Thank you on behalf of most HUG members. Hope, we can see the usergroup thrive again but with the objective of meeting Harbeth policy and aspiration.

                Comment


                • #38
                  Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
                  ....So as a customer who wanted to know why his M40.1 sounds better with a 30W amplifier than a 150W amp, where should he be directing the question? A member did ask me this question to me and the only explanation I could come up with was a lower power amplifier attenuate the bass thus rendering the whole presentation with more clarity considering the 150W gives out too much bass for such a small room. Even though this appears to be a fairly reasonable question to Harbeth users but the member didn't post the question to the usergroup. Maybe, he thought it wouldn't pass the acid test. I am not sure about the answer but only made a wild guess ...
                  This is not a question for Harbeth, for here. Without a proper A-B controlled test (to eliminate variables) we can only guess. Your speculation is as good as any we could dream up!

                  p.s No more moderation? Thank you on behalf of most HUG members. Hope, we can see the usergroup thrive again but with the objective of meeting Harbeth policy and aspiration
                  No, HUg is still Moderated except in the sandbox "discussion area".

                  P.S. Alan's opinion - 'not enough information to even begin to comment. No logical correlation between 30W and good sound and 150W and not good sound. 30W for such a speaker leaves little or no power reserve.'

                  Comment


                  • #39
                    Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
                    So as a customer who wanted to know why his M40.1 sounds better with a 30W amplifier than a 150W amp, where should he be directing the question?
                    I have already been beaten to the punch on this one but it bears repetition. Without a detailed inspection of the equipment in question including listening tests and bench analysis, it’s impossible to say. Perhaps a good start would be the amplifier manufacturers.

                    But this leads onto the very easy way that audiophiles have with words such as “better”. If I had heard an unexpected difference between two similar bits of kit, I would be wary of publicly describing one as “better” than the other until I had conducted extensive tests both in the workshop and listening room and had accumulated enough evidence to convince myself that the opinion was correct.

                    One man’s “clarity” is another man’s “harsh”.

                    One man’s “woolly” is another’s “warm”.

                    Once man’s “better” is another man’s “worse”.

                    Comment


                    • #40
                      Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                      I have already been beaten to the punch on this one but it bears repetition. Without a detailed inspection of the equipment in question including listening tests and bench analysis, it’s impossible to say. Perhaps a good start would be the amplifier manufacturers.
                      This is the dilemma 99% of the consumers face. They do not understand the specification requirement, nor they can do a level matching bench analysis. As I was thinking, 150W amplifier could always be matched to a 30W amplifier but not otherwise. So it makes no sense to me. And 30Watter amp does not meet the minimum requirement of 50W for the M40.1. Unless, the whole business of amplifiers specifications was inaccurate or misleading.

                      Recently, I discovered that a so called 40W amplifier actually can only output significantly lower power than the 40W without distortion or clipping. At 40W the distortion sets in and above (or below?) certain frequencies and the said amplifier could reach as high as 60W or 80W before clipping. So is this, a 80W or 40W or a 10 or 20W amplifier? Should it even be called a 40W amplifier? At least the manufacturer was honest enough to give full details.

                      ST

                      Comment


                      • #41
                        Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
                        This is the dilemma 99% of the consumers face. They do not understand the specification requirement, nor they can do a level matching bench analysis...
                        Then they should make a serious effort to understand how their ears can fool them. They should absolutely resist making purchase recommendations to other people in a public forum as that just compounds the misunderstanding and helps no-one except the maker of the eqpt.. He becomes richer.

                        Comment


                        • #42
                          There are sufficient standard approaches in presenting amplifier power specs, from reputable manufacturers anyway, to prevent ambiguity. There are slight variations between approaches but not so different to cause confusion. You only have to note if the max power is quoted at 1% or 10% THD. Some, (especially for their lower priced AV amps) don’t quote the full 20 Hz to 20 kHz power, but something like 20Hz to 15kHz. So if you do your homework you’ll be allright. I’d avoid the manufacturers who don’t do a sufficient disclosure in any case. The products are probably not sound.

                          Comment


                          • #43
                            Originally posted by <HAL> View Post
                            Then they should make a serious effort to understand how their ears can fool them. They should absolutely resist making purchase recommendations to other people in a public forum as that just compounds the misunderstanding and helps no-one except the maker of the eqpt.. He becomes richer.
                            That's the problem. They just can't resist talking about the intoxicating sound of Harbeth and the associated equipments. We all do that when we discover something so wonderful, don’t we?
                            Physiologically, having a great home stereo is much more a pride than owing a first class home theater. We have friends who would come over to listen to a particular number but never heard of anyone who would visit a place just to watch a movie again in his HT.

                            I have been alienated by so called "audiophile" community because I don't subscribe that only X, y or Z brand should be associated with Harbeth or certain cables would bring out the vocals. In fact, there a myth, at least over here, that Harbeth should be associated with a certain tube amplifier. When I told them that reading the designer's posts and listening to him, I doubt he would use a tube amplifier because the degrading nature of a tube over time, which contributes to inconsistency for measurement, but I was ridiculed.

                            The truth is a large number of HUG are on the other side of the fence. How do we bring them to our side without alienating them? ( Am I going to get admonished for suggesting this? Frankly, I don’t think I passed the HUG acid-test. Keeping my fingers crossed)

                            ST

                            Comment


                            • #44
                              Originally posted by STHLS5 View Post
                              ...I have been alienated by so called "audiophile" community because I don't subscribe that only X, y or Z brand should be associated with Harbeth or certain cables would bring out the vocals. In fact, there a myth, at least over here, that Harbeth should be associated with a certain tube amplifier...
                              What's wrong with insisting that those who espouse such opinions set up a proper test/demonstration to prove their views? On most occasions there will be shouting, squirming, wriggling and indeed ANY excuse to avoid an attempt at proof. Ask yourself why this should be. Obsessive audiophilism has many of the characteristics of a religion or similar belief system. Once you appreciate that fact, many of the strange and unexpected reactions you encounter start to fall into place. It's rather like attempting to argue atheism in a convent.

                              In the meantime, I suggest you read this.

                              p.s. whenever you encounter an unexpected and illogical promotion of a particular piece of equipment, check very carefully for the possibility of stealth commercial interests at work. By the way, I recommend that you only eat Cadbury's chocolate. All other chocolate will adversely affect your enjoyment of music.

                              Comment


                              • #45
                                Originally posted by Pluto View Post
                                What's wrong with insisting that those who espouse such opinions set up a proper test/demonstration to prove their views? On most occasions there will be shouting, squirming, wriggling and indeed ANY excuse to avoid an attempt at proof. Ask yourself why this should be. Obsessive audiophilism has many of the characteristics of a religion or similar belief system. Once you appreciate that fact, many of the strange and unexpected reactions you encounter start to fall into place. It's rather like attempting to argue atheism in a convent..
                                Agreed and that's how I get alienated. Last month I attended 2010 International AV show. One of the product displayed there was one stuff which by plugging into your mains the sound improves and another was a small piece of wooden block, which supposed to increase your sound stage height, etc., etc. Yeah..pure sorcery but it worked there. Immediately, after the show my two friends who spend a fortune buying the so called tweaks tried it at my place.

                                To their utter disappointment, none of them worked with my system. Later, in the middle of the night one of my friends called me to say it worked in two of other systems he tried. So what can we conclude here?

                                Is it my influence who doesn't believe in tweaks influence their perception? Is there some sort of hypnotism involved at the show which really worked there?

                                I have invited them over again to bring their expensive voodoo magic to try them at my place but somehow now they couldn't find the time. Isn't this is typical human behaviour? They paid for something and expect them to work and passionately believe it's working.

                                ST
                                p.s Working for Cadbury? )

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