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Thread: The ask Tin about audio thread

  1. #31
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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin View Post
    The HD280s are very good too. Very easy to listen to, and not analytical like the MDR-V6. You will literally hear everything with the MDR-V6, but sometimes, it can be a curse. They have a cold sound to them, as their intended purpose is for monitoring. They shine with rock and electronica, but if you listen to acoustic music, they can literally suck the life out of it. The HD280s are definitely the warmer sounding of the two, with somewhat rolled off highs compared to the MDR-V6. The HD280 definitely has a more colored sound on the warm side, but that isnt a bad thing. Its about the type of sound you prefer. A warmer sound is a jack of all trades, master of none. An analytical sound is great for some things, but not so much for others.
    Late to the party, but I went from the 280Pros which I really liked to a set of AudioTechnica M50s (I paid right around $100 new) and I wouldn't go back. The only complaint I have is with the pads. I think that my problem with the 280s were that I was driving them straight from an older iPod; they'd probably sound better from a receiver or an amp. What source are you listening from? If you want to try a set of 280Pros (or the M50s), let me know. I'd sell the 280Pros as well, the head band is starting to crack on them. I used to have a set of V6s but warrantied them and ended up with a set of V600s that I then just sold.
    -Jerry
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  2. #32
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    I listened to the HD280s driven by a Marantz PM5004 amp over at The Gramophone back a few years ago. They did sound pretty good, but I think would benefit more from a dedicated headphone amp. The headphone out of a modern or vintage receiver is nice, but not as nice as a true headphone amp. If you can follow a schematic, there are plenty of nice tubed headphone amps out there that can be built for relatively cheap. Especially if you run them OTL (output transformerless) with some cheap Soviet military tubes.
    '16 Fiesta ST

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    Quote Originally Posted by slideways View Post
    Not so worried about the neighbors in the garage, woods on one side, field on the other lol. Any particular modal I should look for in the house, Browsing CL and there seems to be a bunch of everything on there.
    If your ever near Canton I have paradigm monitor 7's you can listen too.

  4. #34
    Club Member Tin's Avatar
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    I figured its time to revisit this. One question I get from alot of people is tube equipment vs solid state. The truth is, one isnt better than the other. Most people think automatically that tube equipment should sound better than solid state. There are many fine examples of both out there, but there are many differences between them. I'll try and not be biased, as Im a tube guy myself. The biggest selling point of a solid state amplifier is the amount of power it puts out. Its relatively easy to make big power on solid state, which is why you see many amps out there for little money, but boasting gobs of power. Your average solid state amplifier can power most speakers out there properly, without breaking a sweat or clipping. The clean sound of a transistor amp comes from the large amounts of negative feedback injected into the signal, because without it, the distortion would be high enough to send your speakers to the big landfill in the sky...or call me over to replace the shit thats fried . Many transistor amps are also stable into lower resistance loads...some of them even being 2 ohm stable, which is very good to have on a speaker thats harder to drive, as it keeps those woofers under control when you get to the deepest of bass notes. With the amount of negative feedback, a good transistor amp will have a black background, even if you have the knob cranked up all the way...generally, no hiss would be heard unless you put your ear to the speaker. Modern transistor amps are highly reliable...with the grade of components used today, a good one will last decades easily. One thing many people like is how light they are on the power bill...transistors are low voltage devices, and dont need much to get them going. A moderate power (50W or so) transistor amp may only draw 80W from the wall at full tilt, which is nothing compared to tubes.

    Now...to the cons. Transistors have a very cold, edgy sound. Some people will run a tube preamp with a transistor power amp, just to calm down the edginess. Most solid state amps have a "slow" sound to them as well, and arent very good at reproducing the depth and width of the sound stage. Because of all of this, transistors dont have the same musicality (how enjoyable it sounds) of a tube amplifier. There are exceptions, but in general, this is what you would find in a solid state amp. A little advice for you people about amp/receiver buying. Pay attention to the output power vs THD (total harmonic distortion) while shopping. Many manufacturers always measure THD at 1W output power with a 1KHz signal. A good manufacturer will measure it at full output at 1KHz. For an amp thats measured at 1W and rated at 0.01% THD, how lovely do you think it will sound when you wanna add more juice to that already anemic 1W? The THD will creep up pretty quick! Most manufacturers will list in the specs of their equipment if it was measured at 1W or full tilt.

    Now, on to the tubes. Those glowy things your dad told you not to touch, or youd get burned. Its kind of a catch 22. If you want big power, itll cost you dearly, and if you want flea power (under 10W), it can cost you dearly too. Most tube amplifiers are rated somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 to 25W. Most would ask, why would somebody want a lower powered amp? Well, 99% of the musical information is carried in the first watt going to your speakers...each additional one adds distortion, as well as make the signal louder. My motto is, if the first watt sucks, why add more to it? Tubes have a much higher dynamic range than sold state amplifiers...as they can produce peaks of +10dB when the action gets going. To the human ear, every +5dB increase is perceived twice as loud. A good transistor amp may only be able to hit +3dB peaks. This is why those not in the know think tube watts are louder than transistor watts. Watts is watts...its all in the power supply, not the output components of the amp . The fact of the matter is, the power supply in a tube circuit is much better able to cope with those peaks than a transistor amp...it can feed the beast when the need arises. Tubes also have a much wider and deeper sound stage than their transistorized cousins. A good soundstage describes the ability of the music system to reproduce the acoustic information about the shape, size, space and acoustic characteristics of the venue in which the recording was made. A good soundstage can place the location of the performers or instruments in front of the listener and often extends beyond the boundaries of the speakers in the system. If you want to have the closest thing to a live band in your house, tubes are the way to fly. As an added bonus, the output transformers will save your speakers from rogue DC current should it happen to make its way through the amp. With a transistor amp...either A) your speakers are toast, or B) the manufacturer was smart enough to include protection fuses.

    Now...the bad stuff. Tubes have very high distortion. This isnt totally a bad thing, its actually good with some topologies such as the one I built a couple of years ago. The THD of my amp is ~5%...is your jaw off the floor yet? To make it even more jaw dropping, thats at a full output of 3.5W. The key here, is that its all 2nd order harmonic distortion. 2nd order harmonics are good when kept to reasonable levels. The triode SE (single-ended) gain stage produces a stereotypical monotonically decaying harmonic distortion spectrum that is dominated by significant 2nd order harmonics making the sound seem "rich" or even "fat". In laymans terms, the 2nd order harmonics are pleasing to the ear...they dont offend like higher odd order harmonics found in solid state amps. Too much 2nd order harmonic content indeed does sound bad, but you wont find it until youre over 10% THD...as the sound will become "fuzzy" sounding...too warm with a winter coat on in a desert type of warm. One thing with tubes, as that the speakers be carefully matched to the amp. Ideally, speakers for a tube amp should be rated atleast 8 ohms and 90dB 1W/m...thats if youre going to run the typical 10W+ type of amp. If you want to play with flea power, look at something over 95dB 1W/m. My Electro Voices are rated at 101dB...much needed since my amp only puts out 3.5W at full tilt. Tubes like difficult to drive loads...a speaker rated at 16 ohms will play much better on a tube amp than it will with a solid state amp. Constant loads are preferred as well...something rather benign that doesnt deviate much from its listed impedance. A speaker that has large impedance dips (dips below 4 ohms when the bass hits) can cause oscillation (instability). Tubes are also very expensive. This is why some choose to build their own, as its much more cost effective. The amp that was built by me cost me ~$700 in parts alone....the equivalent amp off the shelf would run somebody ~$1500 or more. The tubes themselves are also very expensive...your run of the mill early 1960s tube receiver will cost ~$200 just to completely re-tube it...whereas a transistor will cost you a few dollars. While the components in a tube amp are very reliable and will last many years, expect to be replacing tubes every few years.

    All in all, the best way to judge is to listen for yourself. Me, or anybody else can make recommendations all day long, but listen with your own ears and judge for yourself. There is no right or wrong way to do it...its all about the sound you prefer. Some like the edgier sound of transistors, and some like the warmer sound of tubes. Never buy a piece of equipment without listening to it first...its easy to throw money away doing so. Many good sellers will have a 30 day in home trial...and will gladly take back the piece if you dont like it. Lastly, pay the smaller guys a visit and spend your money there. For as tempting as it is to walk into Best Buy or any other big box store, and have a pimply faced teenager stack loads of China-shit in your basket...the smaller shops will lead you the right way, and sell you better quality gear for not a whole lot more than the big box places.
    Last edited by Tin; 12-07-2011 at 08:52 PM.
    '16 Fiesta ST

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  6. #36
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    Looks like a nice unit. The tubes alone in that are easily worth the asking price...and then some. Ive been on the market for a new digital to analog converter lately. Trying to find a Benchmark DAC1 used...dont feel like coughing up $1200 for a new one. Usually they go for 3/4 to 1/2 price on the used market.



    Last edited by Tin; 12-10-2011 at 10:17 AM.
    '16 Fiesta ST

  7. #37
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    Bingo...found one on Audiogon for $650 OBO. Must be my lucky day .
    '16 Fiesta ST

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    Quote Originally Posted by Tin View Post
    Bingo...found one on Audiogon for $650 OBO. Must be my lucky day .
    Must have something to do with that call you got today!
    Mike





  9. #39
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    Quote Originally Posted by BigWheelinBubba View Post
    Must have something to do with that call you got today!
    Gotta celebrate somehow . Youre getting my Peachtree Decco for Christmas...find some damn speakers already . It has an amp on it, so just add speakers.

    '16 Fiesta ST

  10. #40
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    Default Good sound for your computer

    There are plenty of smaller desktop amps out there that are perfect for computer sound. Myself, I run a t-amp. A t-amp is a very power efficient chip, that sounds as close to tubes as you can get without having a space heater sitting on your desk. They dont cost much at all, I bought a 15W Muse EX2 t-amp for $50, and drive a $50 pair of bookshelf speakers with it, perfect for the desktop. T-amps are very common, youll usually find them in flat panel televisions, but you wont notice much in the way of sound quality, as TV speakers usually arent very good. When hooked up to a more worthy speaker, theres lots of good sound to be had...and its cheap. Most t-amps out there run for under $100, and arent any larger than a couple packs of cigarettes. The Dayton DTA-100a is a fine example, pushing 50W of clean power from a small package: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=300-383 It can power a wide range of speakers. Hell, you could even use it as a more minimalist system if you dont want to have a large clumsy receiver in the way. If you need something with better fidelity, the Topping TP30 seen here: http://www.parts-express.com/pe/show...number=310-312 is a very nice alternative. Its perfect for the computer, as it has a USB DAC (digital to analog converter), keeping all sound processing outside of the computer environment. The Topping also has a better headphone amp, so if you have a nice pair of cans, theyll jam pretty good. As a bonus, the Topping has user-swappable opamps (operational amplifiers, used to buffer the signal at the output) so you can tailor the sound to your taste. The Topping is only 15WPC, but in a nearfield environment, wattage shouldnt be too much of a concern. Something rated over 87dB 1W/m should suit it nicely. You can read many reviews of t-amps on the web, some are extraordinary performers for the price of a tank full of gas. Many people have even abandoned tubes for them...they really do sound that good. If youre after some good computer audio, look no further. Youve found it here.

    Heres a pic of mine sitting right under my monitor. Small, and out of the way

    Last edited by Tin; 12-20-2011 at 04:43 PM.
    '16 Fiesta ST

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