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"Fluidity"? >>> clipping & amp sonics

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timber715

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Been hearing Harbeths driven by Accuphase integrated amps with model e260, 360 and 460 and all of them display a sense of fluidity. They are very engaging and enjoyable. My question is, how is this measured, can it be? Or are they written in the spec sheet?

{Moderator's comment: you'll have to help us with your definition of 'fluidity'. Unfortunately, it's not in my lexicon.}
 
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timber715

Guest
Defining fluidity

Defining fluidity

Fluidity for me is the flow of music that makes you tap your toes non stop. I really do not know how to describe it, very smooth and engaging.

Hmmmm. Sorry but fluidity is what comes to mind. Still neutral and still detailed but smooth.... Oh boy.
 

TimVG

New member
"Fluidity"

"Fluidity"

That would be the end result of a well designed loudspeaker, placed correctly in a room with good acoustic properties, while playing a good recording.

There's no magic involved in any case.
 
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timber715

Guest
The all-important amp

The all-important amp

That would be the end result of a well designed loudspeaker, placed correctly in a room with good acoustic properties, while playing a good recording.

There's no magic involved in any case.
It doesn't happen with every amplifier... That is my question, another amplifier in the same system with the same well designed speaker, placed correctly in a room with acoustic properties, while playing good recording.
Have you even heard the Accuphase models I was refering to or you are just assuming?
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Correlation?

Correlation?

It doesn't happen with every amplifier... That is my question, another amplifier in the same system with the same well designed speaker, placed correctly in a room with acoustic properties, while playing good recording.
Have you even heard the Accuphase models I was referring to or you are just assuming?
How would you know that the (Accuphase) amplifier is the source of this 'fluidity'? Are you absolutely certain of a 100% correlation between the Accuphase (in fact, three different Accuphase amp, you say) and this 'fludity'?

Presumably you read this thread here before arriving at your position.
 

TimVG

New member
Never actually heard an Accuphase

Never actually heard an Accuphase

Have you even heard the Accuphase models I was referring to or you are just assuming?
I have not 'heard' any of the amplifiers you mentioned. But I will add I've never actually heard an amplifier do anything. How can an amplifier have a sound signature? It shouldn't have one as far as I know.

While there is no doubt that in your own perception the amplifier is the cause of this 'fluidity', it is highly unlikely (read: impossible) that this is the actual case. But if that amplifier makes you happy, by all means use it.

I have my Harbeths playing from a €500,- A/V receiver. I've also heard them playing through a very expensive pre-/poweramp combination costing ten times that amount. As long as the amplifier is suited (in terms of delivering the needed current) and is operating within factory specs there should not be any notable differences. Actually no, my A/V receiver has nicer features like per channel EQ, dB control, distance settings (you do need to own and know about basic frequency response measurements to fully use it) that make it sound better than the much more expensive one.
 
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timber715

Guest
Unmistakable synergy

Unmistakable synergy

How would you know that the (Accuphase) amplifier is the source of this 'fluidity'? Are you absolutely certain of a 100% correlation between the Accuphase (in fact, three different Accuphase amp, you say) and this 'fludity'?

Presumably you read this thread here before arriving at your position.
Thanks for taking the time to reply Mr. Shaw. 100% certainty, well I cannot say that. Two of the amps I mentioned drove an Shl5 and the other a Compact 7. All showed the fluidity characteristic, two of which I have heard prior to the amplifier replacement (change) and it is unmistakably due to the amplifier (or maybe the synergy). I have heard several Harbeth systems including mine and the accuphase - Harbeth combo is just so good. I don't have an accuphase but do long for one but in the model I only mentioned.

Going back to my inquiry, can these things be measure or seen in specifications of amplifiers? I often wonder since specs never say anything about its character... Or maybe I just don't know how to properly read them.
 
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timber715

Guest
I have not 'heard' any of the amplifiers you mentioned. But I will add I've never actually heard an amplifier do anything. How can an amplifier have a sound signature? It shouldn't have one as far as I know.

While there is no doubt that in your own perception the amplifier is the cause of this 'fluidity', it is highly unlikely (read: impossible) that this is the actual case. But if that amplifier makes you happy, by all means use it.

I have my Harbeths playing from a €500,- A/V receiver. I've also heard them playing through a very expensive pre-/poweramp combination costing ten times that amount. As long as the amplifier is suited (in terms of delivering the needed current) and is operating within factory specs there should not be any notable differences. Actually no, my A/V receiver has nicer features like per channel EQ, dB control, distance settings (you do need to own and know about basic frequency response measurements to fully use it) that make it sound better than the much more expensive one.
Thanks Tim for the reply, but since you know nothing about what I am saying....
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Thanks Tim for the reply, but since you know nothing about what I am saying....
I think that TimVG is expressing a wider view here, that you have excited us with this notion of 'fluidity', but that we're not a lot further forward in understanding what it is. We'd probably all like some of it, if we could establish where to find it. Is it the speaker, the amp or the combination?

A question from me: do you have any personal theory how the Accuphase people have been able to add this 'fluidity' (is 'add' the right word?) to (only some of) their amps when others have not? That brand has been around a long time. Surely by now, curious competitors would have studied the Accuphase designs to see what the source of 'fluidity' could be and built it into their own products.
 

TimVG

New member
The eyes plus the ears

The eyes plus the ears

Actually, I do believe I know what you mean, timber715. By no means am I saying that you aren't experiencing this special 'fluidity' , but I believe the source can be traced down in the psychological part, rather than the acoustical. Let's do a quick google search for Accuphase shall we?

Beautiful equipment, warm, champagne colouring. Streamlined both in- and outside. VU meters, details lit up through LED lighting. How can one not find this to be a 'fluid' piece of machinery?

As much as we would like to separate what we hear from what we see, we can't. That is not how our mind works. I believe this is what you are experiencing, nothing more or less. Enjoy your system, I'm sure it sounds and looks fantastic.
 
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timber715

Guest
Nothing obvious

Nothing obvious

I think that TimVG is expressing a wider view here, that you have excited us with this notion of 'fluidity', but that we're not a lot further forward in understanding what it is. We'd probably all like some of it, if we could establish where to find it. Is it the speaker, the amp or the combination?

A question from me: do you have any personal theory how the Accuphase people have been able to add this 'fluidity' (is 'add' the right word?) to (only some of) their amps when others have not? That brand has been around a long time. Surely by now, curious competitors would have studied the Accuphase designs to see what the source of 'fluidity' could be and built it into their own products.
Theory I have none, no idea whatsoever. Hence my question about this item in spec sheets. Our local dealer in the Philippines know this synergy well enough Mr. Shaw. Maybe he could shed light if this is indeed caused by the amplifier or something else.

I am aware that most amplifiers can make the Harbeths sing without a doubt, but I also know that some will make them sing better!
 
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timber715

Guest
Angry comment

Angry comment

Actually, I do believe I know what you mean, timber715. By no means am I saying that you aren't experiencing this special 'fluidity' , but I believe the source can be traced down in the psychological part, rather than the acoustical. Let's do a quick google search for Accuphase shall we?

Beautiful equipment, warm, champagne colouring. Streamlined both in- and outside. VU meters, details lit up through LED lighting. How can one not find this to be a 'fluid' piece of machinery?

As much as we would like to separate what we hear from what we see, we can't. That is not how our mind works. I believe this is what you are experiencing, nothing more or less. Enjoy your system, I'm sure it sounds and looks fantastic.
Wow, do you really think the beauty of the amplifier is what I want? I am in fact using a DIY amplifier which I think can sound so much better than your A/V receiver.... I don't like the price and I can live without the pretty facia, but I like the sound it brings.

You see not everybody thinks the same way you do. A pretty face does not always give a pretty sound. Get out of your hole and see the world. It is kinda insulting when you insinuate that people only see the outer beauty when you don't even know the person....
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
The observer, at arm's length.

The observer, at arm's length.

Wow, do you really think the beauty of the amplifier is what I want? I am in fact using a DIY amplifier which I think can sound so much better than your A/V receiver.... I don't like the price and I can live without the pretty facia, but I like the sound it brings.

You see not everybody thinks the same way you do. A pretty face does not always give a pretty sound. Get out of your hole and see the world. It is kinda insulting when you insinuate that people only see the outer beauty when you don't even know the person....
Ummm; that's a little unkind and a most uncharacteristic comment here on HUG.

We here, in our observation of general human behaviour, are very well aware that when the audiophile is deprived of being able to actually see or touch the amplifier, he has the greatest difficulty identifying what amp he is listening to. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone since all scientific testing (of anything, actually) takes precautions to remove the observer from the test.

So my next question would be: how confident, on a scale of 1-10, would you place your ability to correctly identify one of these amplifiers you have mentioned compared with other models in the Accuphase line-up which you have not. Or against a serviced Quad 34/405 perhaps?
 
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timber715

Guest
He deserved it ....

He deserved it ....

Ummm; that's a little unkind and a most uncharacteristic comment here on HUG.

We here, in our observation of general human behaviour, are very well aware that when the audiophile is deprived of being able to actually see or touch the amplifier, he has the greatest difficulty identifying what amp he is listening to. That shouldn't be a surprise to anyone since all scientific testing (of anything, actually) takes precautions to remove the observer from the test.

So my next question would be: how confident, on a scale of 1-10, would you place your ability to correctly identify one of these amplifiers you have mentioned compared with other models in the Accuphase line-up which you have not. Or against a serviced Quad 34/405 perhaps?
First of all, he deserved it! I wasn't rude nor remotely. For someone who uses an a/v receiver for amplification to tell me that I wanted an amplifier because of its facia is downright uncalled for.

Amplifiers can be so widely different and not only because some is louder than the other. So many parts can change the tone and sound quality... Do you agree? Or does all amplifiers sound the same in your opinion? Do you think the speakers you made sound best with an a/v receiver?

Mr. Shaw, I started the thread with a simple question. Can fluidity (smoothness in sound) of an amplifier be seen in the spec sheet? Can it even exist? No, I haven't heard a serviced quad 34/405 nor have I heard all the Accuphase line. I have heard several models before those I mentioned though. Is that really important to answer my question?
 

TimVG

New member
HUG challenges the status quo

HUG challenges the status quo

Wow, do you really think the beauty of the amplifier is what I want? I am in fact using a DIY amplifier which I think can sound so much better than your A/V receiver.... I don't like the price and I can live without the pretty facia, but I like the sound it brings.

You see not everybody thinks the same way you do. A pretty face does not always give a pretty sound. Get out of your hole and see the world. It is kinda insulting when you insinuate that people only see the outer beauty when you don't even know the person....
I'm sorry to hear you take my well-intended comments so harshly. But if it's merely reassurance of your own experience you are after, I don't believe the HUG is the place you ought to look for it.

I offered, what I thought was, a very plausible explanation to your experience. The 'seeing is hearing' scenario I pointed out is not something that we have any control over. So while visual appearance may not be what you believe to have any effect at all, it can (and most likely will) certainly influence your experience in one way or another.

Why ask a question if you're already convinced that the Accuphase amplifier is in a way different/superior to other models when combined with a Harbeth loudspeaker.

I'm confident my A/V receiver is more than capable enough to make my Harbeths sound wonderful, even this very website says so on more than one page; Harbeth speakers are designed to be an easy load and work with any credible amplifier operating within factory specs. That's all I need to know really.

How refreshing it was for me discovering a company that actually had the courage to say what I already discovered for myself, and cut away with all the rubbish marketing talk, and instead offer accurate technical information, real research results and above all a well performing product.
 
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timber715

Guest
Judging people?

Judging people?

You called my comment a little unkind and most uncharacteristic here.
Ummm; that's a little unkind and a most uncharacteristic comment here
Is this the type of comment you approve off?
Actually, I do believe I know what you mean, timber715. By no means am I saying that you aren't experiencing this special 'fluidity' , but I believe the source can be traced down in the psychological part, rather than the acoustical. Let's do a quick google search for Accuphase shall we?

Beautiful equipment, warm, champagne colouring. Streamlined both in- and outside. VU meters, details lit up through LED lighting. How can one not find this to be a 'fluid' piece of machinery?

As much as we would like to separate what we hear from what we see, we can't. That is not how our mind works. I believe this is what you are experiencing, nothing more or less. Enjoy your system, I'm sure it sounds and looks fantastic.
Do you think judging people is proper for your site?
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
Budget integrated amps

Budget integrated amps

You called my comment a little unkind and most uncharacteristic here.

Is this the type of comment you approve off?

Do you think judging people is proper for your site?
I fully approve of the comment you have quoted from TimVG. Given the prevailing views here that psychology is a dominant element in subjective audio (wherever you look on HUG, or in academia, you'll find that view), and given only an outline of your experiments and no information about the precautions you have taken to, as I said, 'remove yourself from the experiment', I think TimVGs caveat is appropriate.

As to whether a (mere) AV receiver is good enough to drive Harbeths, yes, I'd say that if it's from a reputed brand and in serviced condition, it certainly should be good enough. On what grounds can we be prejudiced against it? Price? Styling? Semantics? That the very word 'AVreceiver' just doesn't sound posh enough for the audiophile?.

I mentioned in another post that I took a donor speaker and budget amp to our holiday cottage to do some very important and critical listening, in mono. I threw into the car a $150 integrated amp I had handy (didn't bother with the remote control) and a portable CD player (sitting on top of amp). In fact, I didn't use the CD player because the headphone out from my Samsung laptop was much more practical, once I'd ripped the CD's I wanted. Don't believe me? Here is the setup, and I've pointed-out the amp. It worked a treat.

Now you do have to ask yourself, if a budget amp meeting all the basic specs for low hiss and distortion and plenty of power is good enough for me to bet the company's future on (which is, in effect what the listening was all about), shouldn't such an affordable solution be usable in all normal domestic listening situations?

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TimVG

New member
Is this the type of comment you approve off?
Do you think judging people is proper for your site?
Dear timber715, at which point exactly was I judging you? I only offered you possible explanation for a situation you yourself presented.

This on the other hand..

..For someone who uses an a/v receiver for amplification to tell me that I wanted an amplifier because of its facia is downright uncalled for...
You dismissing an opinion because the author uses less expensive equipment than yourself.. advising him earlier to 'get out of his hole'.. because his opinion differs from your own.. All of these statements say much more about you, than they do about me really.
 
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timber715

Guest
Driving experience

Driving experience

I fully approve of the comment you have quoted from TimVG. Given the prevailing views here that psychology is a dominant element in subjective audio (wherever you look on HUG, or in academia, you'll find that view), and given only an outline of your experiments and no information about the precautions you have taken to, as I said, 'remove yourself from the experiment', I think TimVGs caveat is appropriate.

As to whether a (mere) AV receiver is good enough to drive Harbeths, yes, I'd say that if it's from a well reputed brand and in serviced condition, it certainly should be good enough. On what grounds can we be prejudiced against it? Price? Styling? Semantics? Or that the very word 'av receiver' just doesn't sound posh enough for the audiophile.

I mentioned in another post that I took a donor speaker and budget amp to our holiday cottage to do some very important and critical listening, in mono. I threw into the car a $150 integrated amp I had handy (didn't bother with the remote control) and a portable CD player. In fact, I didn't use the CD player because the headphone out from my Samsung laptop was much more practical, once I'd ripped the CD's I wanted. Don't believe me? Here is the setup, and I've pointed-out the amp. It worked a treat.

Now you do have to ask yourself, if a budget amp meeting all the basic specs for low hiss and distortion and plenty of power is good enough for me to bet the company on (which is, in effect what the listening was all about), shouldn't it be usable in all normal listening situations?
Like i mentioned in the previous post, most amp can make your speaker sing, I have no doubt about it. Does it provide the best one is another thing.
Lets try it another way, would you feel the same way if you listened to another brand of speaker which is as easy to drive? You keep dismissing amps, cables and even peoples opinion. You know for a fact that speakers differ in many ways, why cant you accept amplifiers, cables and peoples opinion can differ as well?

In tim's comment, yes take me out of the picture and put yourself in, then comment? Did you design harbeths to look good and influence people with it with little consideration to sound? Then maybe then you would understand it is rude to judge people especially when you don't know them.

I am aware harbeths will sound good with a cheap amplifier or with an a/v receiver, but my question was " do you believe your speakers sound best with an a/v receiver?"

Do you know you have a showroom outside our country that is so underpowered that the sound coming out of the monitor 30.1 sounds lacking? Yes, the amplifier in that showroom drove the p3 and the c7 decently. But noone would probably get the m30.1 just bec they heard it there. They would probably buy them bec of the review or anothers comment but not by hearing it there. Why, could it be bec they are poorly driving it? Or does it sound that bad?
Forget the question Mr. Shaw, you probably will try to discredit me before you even try to answer the question. I use to look up to your insights. After this I just lost interest. I just hope you understand that a lot of people buy your products bec they want the best sound, if they wanted ordinary ones that hiss they can do away with cheaper ones. And not all people are psychologically challenged when choosing gears afterall they choose harbeths too.

Tim I'm happy you that are very happy and proud of your a/v reciever driving your harbeths... Congratulations...
 

A.S.

Administrator
Staff member
...Lets try it another way, would you feel the same way if you listened to another brand of speaker which is as easy to drive? You keep dismissing amps, cables and even peoples opinion. You know for a fact that speakers differ in many ways, why cant you accept amplifiers, cables and peoples opinion can differ as well? ...
Those who have invested time and effort into evaluating amplifiers under (obviously) blind and level controlled listening conditions have always (yes, I think always) concluded that they cannot be told apart. Not that they are different, but that they cannot be identified on any better than a 50/50 flip of the coin. Under my own controlled conditions where loudness was matched to about 0.2dB, and using the most cruel relay change-over arrangement, I could not tell that $150 integrated amp from a NA power amp costing twenty times as much. There was no preference. There simply was no difference at a fixed loudness. This is not a new observation: it has been well documented for a generation, such as we covered here.

As for your comments about the C7 v, M30.1, well that really just goes to show how the mind plays tricks. With an almost identical woofer and very similar crossover in a similar size box, the driving load presented by the original HL Compact, C7, C7ES, C7ES2 and C7ES3 and also the Monitor 30 and M30.1, and even the HL5, SHL5, is for all practical purposes, the same. Therefore, you are quoting anecdotal evidence of human unreliability of observation when emotion creeps in, which is what we try so hard here to understand and allow for.

And to answer your question, do I think that Harbeths would necesarily play better with a fancy amp that didn't have the ghastly 'AV' product name, I doubt it. They might or they might not. It all depends how much of the digital hash breaks through into the audio circuitry. My 5+ year old ARCAM AV amp has dominant audio hash above a modest volume, but I'm sure newer amps have solved that issue.

I am not concerned whether you are willing to accept what you read on HUG or not. You do not have to look far in academic research to see that wherever serious minds have studied psychocoustics, they have arrived at the same conclusions to a man: when you can see/smell/touch an audio product, it will influence your opinion of its sonics. You are welcome to carefully construct and publish your own tests which prove otherwise, and we will always make space available here for you.

There isn't much more we can add I'm afraid.
 
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