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Thread: The Harbeth integrated amplifier

  1. #41
    yeecn Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Labarum View Post
    Yes, amps make a difference, but I guess once a certain level of competence is reached the differences disappear.
    The USD80 mini-combo that I retired recently would not even drive P3ES2! I have to disconnect one channel for it to make some wimpy sound. Not too long ago I was using a Rotel integrated that has not been serviced for over 20 years, driving an equally old KEF bookshelf speakers. It sounded as dry as the capacitors inside (but still sounded better than my CRT TV). I may juice up again if I refurbish it. But then new amplifiers are so cheap....

    The point where amplifiers will begin to sound the same - I believe is quite low (in price). I believe that a reputable Japanese maker is incapable of making something obviously bad with 30 years old technology.

  2. #42
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    Quote Originally Posted by EricW View Post
    You know, I have to say I dispute this idea that people "refuse" to participate in double-blind tests.
    The guys who refuse are basically cowards and would/ could loose all credibility in public. they wouldnt dare (and probably magazine hire guidelines say they shouldnt participate, publicly anyway). they'd rather go into a dark room, draw the curtains, turn the key, huddle and pray. stereophile has reviewers who have publicly refused. Its too risky, its large advertising revenue. Im starting to notice that a local rag basically refuses to even do direct comparisons now, eg amp vs. amp. recommending one sidelines the other, both advertisers. if ever thats a rock and hard place.

    ha ha, talking about rock and hard place. our opposition leader lost all credibility last night. the tv interviewer (Kerry OBrien) basically got him into admitting that he basically changes his stance/ opinions aka lie.

  3. #43
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    Quote Originally Posted by Labarum View Post
    Detailed chemical analysis of each wine would show the differences. How the chemical composition would correlate to the descriptions given by experts I cannot say. It would be an interesting experiment.
    Looks like I still need to offer more thoughts here although I would like to stop here as it is. Yes, agreed that the chemical composition of wines can be determined with analysis, but question is how can the results relate to taste. The same applies to sound. What are the unit measurements in measuring characteristics of sound. Frequency response and volume levels etc. can be measured by units(Hz, dB), but can soul and emotion in music be measured. Some will argue they don't exist. I don't know about others but similarly to Kathylim if my music does not connect to me then it doesn't sound good. In this respect my experience coincides with his in that some amps do better than others when it comes to presentation/delivery of music.

    Now, that brings the next question on double blind test. There may be a lot of hocus-pocus in the audio industry, no doubt about that. Question is how many tests have been carried out so far and what are the objectives behind those tests? I wager it is the skeptics that will attempt to carry out these tests to prove that sound differences between equipment are negligible to the point of non-existent. To us there is nothing to prove as we know what we hear. However, there are some, actually one who keeps pontificating the same point relentlessly and expressing his strong cynicism by relying on experiences of others and articles from the web without exposing himself to the experience, which I find rather peculiar. Maybe another form of self-appease.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    I wager it is the skeptics that will attempt to carry out these tests to prove that sound differences between equipment are negligible to the point of non-existent.
    Umm, yes and no… but i probably wouldnt push it to the extent that its non existent.

    When someone says they can’t connect to their music, the first alarm bell is something capacitative in the system. Checked this with the said fellow member and a “special” cable is indeed running between amp and speaker. Replacing with normal cable changes the sound positively. Amps which need special cables are not good amps. Sorry if I offend anyone. You want to mess with esoteric gear which has special requirements; you are going to get significant changes and a very perceivable difference in sound. You have opted for the path of pain in setting up a system . Good music just comes out from plug and play equipment and there are plenty of them around. This is what is leading some to feel that amps are so much more different than they really are. They are not.

    If we compare an aged amp (which hasn’t been serviced) and a relatively new decent one in good condition, or one which has a high capacitance cable attached and one which doesn’t, there will be differences. Any decent well maintained mainstream amp (which measures well) with sufficient power connected with simple cables at moderate levels will sound quite similar, not the same, and there shouldn’t be a reason why one should have the magic the other doesn’t.

    Amps like Naim, NVA. Roksan. need tetanus shots every 2 weeks.

    Decent amps (some great ones among them) which will sound quite similar between them at living room levels…..

    Bryston BP6, 2B pre power
    Marantz SM11S SC11S pre power
    Yamahas AS 2000
    Parasounds P3 and A23 pre power
    Brystons B100
    Marantz PM 11
    XIndax XA8520 XA 8800MNE pre power
    Avondale S200 power (you might want to wait for their preamp)
    Dussun V8
    Anthem I225
    Rotel 1520
    Denon PMA 1500
    Marantz PM 15
    Yamahas AS 1000
    Marantz PM8003
    Brystons B60
    Marantz PM6003
    Yamaha AS 700
    Pioneer A9 or even A6
    Marantz PM 5003
    Dussun T6
    Denon PMA 500/510
    Rotel RA 04
    NAD 315 BEE

    Blind test these amps, not ones hiding behind the “esoteric” banner.

  5. #45
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    Guess this debate is not getting us anywhere...may i suggest that we stick to our beliefs or opinions, sit back, relax & enjoy music on our wonderful Harbeth loudspeakers while anticipating for the arrival of the Harbeth integrated amplifier.

  6. #46
    honmanm Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by kittykat View Post
    You want to mess with esoteric gear which has special requirements; you are going to get significant changes and a very perceivable difference in sound. You have opted for the path of pain in setting up a system .
    Very well said!

    And as our mood changes (or we find ourselves listening for different things) that same system can sound sublime, or ghastly... this is the real problem with the subjective aproach to assembling a system... if you or I base our purchasing decisions on psychoacoustics, where does the "accoustic" perception end and the "psycho" start?

    However it would be helpful for equipment manufacturers to provide measurements that assist in system matching. For example, what would be good to see from an amplifier manufacturer is some idea of how the response, THD+noise, and IM distortion vary with reactive speaker loads - and from the speaker manufacturer frequency response (probably 1/3 octave averaged), distortion, and impedance + phase. But I suppose this is wishful thinkng as 95% of customers would not use those measurements.

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    ....but can soul and emotion in music be measured.....
    Soul and emotion in music can be measured by the way people react. You can use MRI scan. In short, the differences one hears between two level matched amplifiers is just in the head.

    ST

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    Soul and emotion in music can be measured by the way people react. You can use MRI scan.

    ST
    I can't tell if you're joking or serious. If the latter, surely this is objectivist madness to rival any subjectivist madness one could come up with.

    If you're joking, OTOH, good on you.

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    Quote Originally Posted by STHLS5 View Post
    Soul and emotion in music can be measured by the way people react. You can use MRI scan. In short, the differences one hears between two level matched amplifiers is just in the head.

    ST
    MRI(magnetic resonance imaging) is primarily a medical imaging technique commonly used in radiology to visualize detailed internal structure and limited function of the body and is used in clinical practice to distinguish pathologic tissues, such as a brain tumor from normal tissue and. I am puzzled this was brought up here as this got nothing to do with the measurement of “reaction” towards soul and emotion in music. Am I missing anything here? Someone in the medical industry would probably be able to clarify.

    Since you thought the differences between two level matched amplifiers are in the head, I presume you are in the “all-amplifiers-sound-the-same” camp.

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    EricW, I nearly thought it was a joke.

  11. #51
    yeecn Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by honmanm View Post
    However it would be helpful for equipment manufacturers to provide measurements that assist in system matching. For example, what would be good to see from an amplifier manufacturer is some idea of how the response, THD+noise, and IM distortion vary with reactive speaker loads - and from the speaker manufacturer frequency response (probably 1/3 octave averaged), distortion, and impedance + phase. But I suppose this is wishful thinkng as 95% of customers would not use those measurements.
    It is more like 99.9% of the sales persons will not use these measurements. The sales persons are the worst offenders in propagating lies for some quick profits. Then there are those who brought (literally) the whole falsehood lock, stock and barrel - and became instruments in spreading the falsehood.

    A whole system of falsehood is created that way.

    Ryder - my main objective is in understanding the sound engineering. That was my interest since I built my equalizer back in 1978. I worked as a researcher at Monash university for some 8 years and have written quite a few peered reviewed articles, so my approach tends to be more methodical and critical (i.e. characterized by careful, exact evaluation and judgment). If you take the totality of what I posted in HUG you will see the full range of subjects that I am interested in. When I came across things that are really ridiculous I will write about them also. The critical articles that I posted are mostly from known industry players and audio researchers with solid research background - not just critics who have some axes to grid. My sense in reading some of the reports is that even industry players are getting despair of how ridiculous the industry has became.

  12. #52
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    MRI(magnetic resonance imaging) is primarily a medical imaging technique commonly used in radiology......
    You are almost there continue reading till functional MRI.

    Of course all amp cannot sound the same. Tube Amps do not sound like most SS. If I may, let me quote what Alan said earlier
    Quote Originally Posted by A.S. View Post
    ....
    No user, no matter how well intentioned, can make a rational comparison of amplifiers, CD players or the like without test equipment to be sure that the basic parameters of loudness and response are taken into account in the comparison. That is a fact. It's so obviously a fact that I shouldn't have to mention it amongst rational people.
    You made your point and let it rest there. If you have new "proof" please do share it with us. We are all in the same camp ' Music lovers'.

    ST

  13. #53
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    Quote Originally Posted by yeecn View Post
    Ryder - my main objective is in understanding the sound engineering. That was my interest since I built my equalizer back in 1978. I worked as a researcher at Monash university for some 8 years and have written quite a few peered reviewed articles, so my approach tends to be more methodical and critical (i.e. characterized by careful, exact evaluation and judgment). If you take the totality of what I posted in HUG you will see the full range of subjects that I am interested in. When I came across things that are really ridiculous I will write about them also. The critical articles that I posted are mostly from known industry players and audio researchers with solid research background - not just critics who have some axes to grid. My sense in reading some of the reports is that even industry players are getting despair of how ridiculous the industry has became.
    You are entitled to your opinion but what you believe is ridiculous is based on your own perception and beliefs which does not guarantee absolute truth. You can express your thoughts in the forums freely but the manner you present them here and elsewhere shows that you have a point to prove. We don't. You are taking bits and pieces off reports published everywhere but have shut down your door in experiencing the real thing yourself. Maybe circumstances are not permitting, or you don't have the capacity to do so, or you don't want to, I don't know.

    What type of research did you do in Monash for 8 years, and what articles have you written about?

  14. #54
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    Ill like to use MRI on some of the brains of you guys and find out what drives 'love of self torture' for "cables", "amps", "stands", "cd players" and see if it is different from brains of other folk. hee hee hee.

  15. #55
    yeecn Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by ryder View Post
    What type of research did you do in Monash for 8 years, and what articles have you written about?
    One sample: When is a String Like a String?

    Another: A Platform for Restriction Site Mapping

    Application of Shannon's Information Theory in the modeling(computer) analysis of DNA evolution. It's the same Shannon that is famous in the field of DSP, and the same theoretical framework underneath. It's so long ago. I have almost forgotten about these subjects. Truly research is a frame of mind and the associated approach and methodology. Subject matter is strictly secondary.

  16. #56
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    Am impressed with the caliber of research that you have performed Mr. Yee, numerous references and citations to your work have been published. Your modest manner drew my attention.

  17. #57
    yeecn Guest

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    Quote Originally Posted by Supersnake View Post
    Am impressed with the caliber of research that you have performed Mr. Yee, numerous references and citations to your work have been published. Your modest manner drew my attention.
    There are a lot of Yee if you search the web, but I can assure you that the Yee that you found is not me. I have not done any research in the field of audio engineering at all. My active interest in audio engineering did not begin till less than a year ago!

    I do have some keen interest in human psychology and neuro-sciences (the MRI stuff), but that will have to be limited to the level of reading and armchair philosophizing.

  18. #58
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    Default We are a chemical soup

    My goodness, I slip out into the jungle for a few hours and so many posts in this thread!

    Three things I'd like to contribute here:

    1. We rely entirely on our senses to detect the environment in which we live. The sense organs communicate with the brain and the brain (somehow) combines those sensory input together into a picture of the world.
    2. Sensing itself, the transmission of the signal to the brain and the processing within the brain, and the 'picture' painted in the brain of the world are all electro-chemical events.
    3. It follows then that "emotion" is another electro-chemical event. That may be a hostile idea but that has to be the case.

    Recent research by MRI scientists has illustrated that we may not be as free-thinking as we'd like to believe. Specifically, there is now uncertainty as to whether a thought comes before or after the electro-chemical impulse is detected by MRI scanning of the brain. In other words, we cannot even be sure of the chicken-and-egg relationship between brain activity and thought - we cannot say for sure which comes first. Does the chemical reaction within the brain produce the sensation of thought or the thought reveal itself as a chemical reaction?

    Given this latest insight into how we are built, I stress again that to give our very limited senses the best possible chance of making objective sense of our environment (and that included auditioning audio equipment) we need to construct comparative tests that work with the limitations of our sensory system. In other words, we have to eliminate sensory input that detracts, such as looking at amplifiers or cables when listening to them.

    If anyone has seen me listening to loudspeakers critically, I focus on the middle distance on the floor between me and the speakers and never look at the speakers themselves.

    Alan /Out East but back in UK soon ....
    Alan A. Shaw
    Designer, owner
    Harbeth Audio UK

  19. #59
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    Questions:

    Is there any indication of how the amp will be described from a marketing point of view, probably not "the world's most natural sounding amplifier" (even if it were possible to identify such a thing) presumably dealers will get asked what it sounds like and simply saying that it sounds just like every other competent amp won't be quite enough.

    Do we understand that some blind testing of amps is going on/has gone on at Harbeth HQ and if so, amongst the very small differences that may exist are there any that we can actually talk about in the sense that they are readily identifiable by being both measurable and audible?

    Thanks

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    Quote Originally Posted by weaver View Post
    Is there any indication of how the amp will be described from a marketing point of view
    A gainful straight wire.

    And since I have a degree in Theology and Philosophy, I will remain silent on he side issues!

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