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Leonard Smalls

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Everything posted by Leonard Smalls

  1. [quote name='steve-soar' timestamp='1356199991' post='1907933'] Love it. I'm thinking of getting a new/old turntable and have been looking at decks fitted with SME 3009's. What cartrige, phono stage (if any etc are you using? Is that a Clearaudio? [/quote] It's a Clearaudio Reference (doesn't work well as a boomerang), with Audio Origami-ed SME 3009/2 tonearm and stainless Clearaudio Aurum Beta S cartidge (MM), all sitting on a wall shelf and going into an EAR 834P deluxe phono stage, Bow Warlock pre and Bryston 14bsst power amp. Plays record's () very well! If you're looking at about the £1k price point, as well as the Clearaudio Emotion check out the [url=http://www.bd-audio.co.uk/acoustic-solid-solid-111.html]Acoustic Solid[/url], though many (not me!) swear by the Michell Gyrodeck or at a higher price (and definitely not the best IMMHO), the Orbe...
  2. As you can see it's a dual-purpose device; it functions as both a record player [i]and [/i]a boomerang! And it's a Clearaudio, made out of real Germans!
  3. [quote name='rushbo' timestamp='1356181011' post='1907676'] I was right! Apart from the Deep Purple.... [/quote] Almost:
  4. [quote name='rushbo' timestamp='1356170644' post='1907543'] I have absolutely no idea what any of that means, but it sounds weirdly thrilling. I'm imagining a kind of 'Dr Phibes' style lab with an ancient, steampunk turntable in the middle, connected to a massive generator. And on the turntable is a Japanese, audiophile copy of 'Deep Purple In Rock'... [/quote] Japanese audiophile pressing of James Blood Ulmer, perhaps! They looked a bit like this - can't actually find a pic of the Lumleys, but similar except the body was chrome, and the transformers and smoothing capacitors were also chrome covered. And being monoblocks, there were 2 of them:
  5. I used to have a pair of Lumley Reference 120W valve monoblocks. Sounded excellent! But you had to wait 20 minutes before use for them to warm up, and 20 minutes after use to warm down before switching off. And I'd have to send them to Tunbridge Wells once a year for servicing... My Bryston has a 20 year guarantee. I still use a valve phono stage though - much more reliable due to less stress on the valves. However, many strange and bloody-minded audiophiles swear by flea-powered 5W single ended triode amps; weirdos, only sounds any good with twee, breathy girly singer-songwriter nonsense played quietly
  6. [quote name='leroydiamond' timestamp='1356076737' post='1906415'] Thats that. Science dictates. [b]My linn sondek is in the bin [/b]and my local acoustician is coming around tomorrow to treat my normal living room for xmas. A few bass traps here and there will surely be to the Mrs. liking and that leather three piece never sounded right. Might have to re-plaster (Unevenly of course) the walls with the hair of a camel , and mount my house on spikes for isolation purposes, but so be it. After all, its what any decent Hi Fi buff living in the real world should do. Now I am chucking away the entire Zeppelin and Beatles catalogue on vinyl (original pressings of course) so if there are any takers, just call around to my place you can have the lot. [/quote] Very wise You'll also need at least [url=http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/machinadynamica2/ib.html]One Of These[/url] - it's Quantum!
  7. [quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1356027622' post='1906025'] Yes, but as you well know being lucky enough to have a room with all non-parallel walls etc etc is very equivalent to the design of many decent control rooms, you are a big jump ahead of the crowd there, and arent in a 'normal living room' at all then. Makes a lot of sense now. Especially if by sheer luck you also happen to have a room that doesnt have dimensions that work together to create nasty peaks and nulls. By sheer fluke - lucky git! [/quote] Sheer fluke? We spent ages looking for the right house - the Mrs didn't quite understand what I was doing in certain rooms with a tape measure and calculator! Not sad at all, me!
  8. [quote name='flyfisher' timestamp='1356026145' post='1906006'] Yeah, but car reviews ARE about as crappy as Hifi reviews aren't they? [/quote] [url=http://www.6moons.com/audioreviews/3tweaks/1.html]Possibly not![/url]
  9. [quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1356025507' post='1905987'] It wasnt even aimed specifically at [i]you[/i]! I didnt describe [i]you [/i]delusional, I described anyone spending that much money on a system in an untreated room as delusional. [/quote] That would be me, as my system was quite a bit more than that However, just because a room is largely untreated doesn't necessarily mean it's acoustically poor. My system sounds quite a bit better than a lot of studio control rooms I've worked in, despite them being treated. All those large hard surfaces most certainly don't help. My room has no parallel walls (even the ceiling isn't parallel to the floor!), they're horsehair and lime plastered - which is quite sound absorbing - plus judicious use of soft furnishings in the right places can work wonders.
  10. [quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1356023908' post='1905953'] You dont drive a 4x4 as well do you - Range Rover Sport by any chance .... [/quote] I've got a Land Rover Defender and a Skoda Octavia 4x4... But then we are in the middle of nowhere, 1000ft up an almost-mountain!
  11. [quote name='51m0n' timestamp='1356022629' post='1905913'] There has subsequently been some interesting stuff about how the bones in our head may be affected by beating of frequencies above the threshold of hearing, which I reckon is a bit tenous to be honest, but I will look into it to see if I can find corroboration from other sources (I said I was fascinated by this stuff - I wasn't lying), since thats the first even remotely compelling argument I have heard for higher sampling rates other than the improved size of the transition band filter. [/quote] It may be a bit tenous, but then again, who knows until a full peer-reviewed scientific study is undertaken! Still, I've got some Jamaaladeen Tacuma upsampling away on the cd player and it sounds excellent.
  12. [quote name='Skol303' timestamp='1356012328' post='1905681'] My favourite colour might be red. Somebody else's favourite might be blue. I can't prove why red is better than blue. That's a matter of opinion. [b]But I can scientifically explain the frequencies of light that make up each colour and compare them that way. That's fact.[/b] [/quote] But can you explain why what I see as a shade of blue, my Mrs sees as a shade of green? And what looks like a very light pink to me looks like pale lilac to her? Colour perception is just as fraught with difficulties as sound perception is! And scientifically speaking, red is better than blue so long as it's a proper red, like blood or Will Scarlett. If it's girly pink it's obviously rubbish and blue is definitely better. HTH!
  13. [quote name='flyfisher' timestamp='1356011686' post='1905668'] I The issue seems to kick off when it's claimed that vinyl is a better reproduction system than CD. Since no-one can (reasonably) argue against personal preference, it's left to the science to get at some real facts. But I entirely agree that even if all the test equipment in the world can prove that digital reproduction is scientifically better than analogue but it has no bearing on someone's personal preference. [/quote] I don't think anyone's said that vinyl is scientifically better than cd, though I gave a couple of hints that the measurements used to show that cd is technically better aren't necessarily the only measurements that should be taken into account! And as I said earlier, good music played on a rubbish system is preferable to rubbish music on a good system. Though the argument then would be "what constitutes good music?"
  14. [quote name='Big_Stu' timestamp='1356010096' post='1905630'] Yeah, but mine's a 12 incher ................. still on the subject of vinyl of course! [/quote] That's nothing... At t'Beeb we used to have 16"ers! Transcription records, that is...
  15. Best sounds I've ever heard, live, were Kraftwerk - wherever they play - and at the Jazz Cafe. Kraftwerk brought their own PA and sound mixer, Jazz Cafe have a decent quality PA and a sound man who balances the sound at a lower level then brings it up if necessary. I've complained to mixers before that the level at a sound check is too high, and the response is usually "when it's full of people it'll sound a lot quieter". Then they turn it up some more, which means their amps are clipping making it sound even louder and more distorted.
  16. [quote name='Big_Stu' timestamp='1356009021' post='1905599'] You can bang on until you've made it 111 pages of facts & figures, you will not change the personal preference of the media folk choose to prefer for their own reasons. [/quote] You're absolutely right... But it can be quite fun for certain folks (myself included I'm afraid to say!) who are:[list] [*]incredibly stubborn [*]like to play "mine's bigger than yours" [/list] And I think you'll find mine is bigger. Not saying what though
  17. [quote name='flyfisher' timestamp='1356003116' post='1905475'] But what is the upper frequency response of a fully-analogue recording chain ending in a vinyl recording and replayed on a decent hi-fi system? 20kHz? 22kHz? If that theory holds true then surely analogue/vinyl systems would also need a much higher frequency response? As previously pointed out, most adults struggle to hear 10kHz, so a music reproduction system capable of twice this sounds like a reasonable compromise. I wonder what the response would be to an 'improved' television system that worked into the ultra-violet spectrum? Would we expect this to give us higher quality pictures? [/quote] The theoretical limit for vinyl frequency response is 45kHz. However, you need a good piece of vinyl and excellent playback/equalisation devices to get anywhere near that! As for adult hearing limits, these may or may not be relevant if beating or intermodulation effects occur below these frequencies... So while cd at 44.1kHz/16 bit is technically superior to vinyl in some ways, it isn't necessarily in all. It depends on what, and more importantly, where, you measure. After all, the output of a loudspeaker as measured through a microphone may not be the same as you would hear it; I mean why does your own voice sound so different when you speak, and when you hear it played back off tape? TV picture-wise, I don't think it would be a good idea to have full spectrum TVs. First of all, you'd have the heating effects of I.R, plus the skin cancer problems of UV A and B. And it would add an enormous amount to the cost of production (both programmes and tellies), and electricity bills! And talking of high definition TV, many years ago I was on a BBC panel researching hi-def formats relative to film. Needless to say the standard we recommended (1250 lines) was not used...
  18. I didn't read the article to say: a) that beating frequencies are "magically" lost vinyl has no noise What I understood it to say is that some beating frequencies are as a result of resonance within our skulls, i.e. bones etc, so while it may not be an actual recorded sound, our perception shows it to be there, or not there. So if frequencies above the Nyquist limit cause this, they won't appear on a digital recording unless the sampling frequency is increased to accommodate it. As for thermal or any other noise in vinyl, he doesn't mention it as such; he puts forward a hypothetical analogue source with 100dB SNR - Studer 24 track at 30ips perhaps - and contrasts it with the theoretical cd red book SNR of 96dB via high resolution amplification. My amps, frinstance, have an SNR of 113dB... So he's not arguing for or against vinyl, just for higher sample rates! At the end of the day it's all academic, as most folks are happy with MP3, and see Bose as high end hifi...
  19. Just discovered this long but quite interesting article, which may shed a small amount of light on why vinyl can sound better than cd, especially with amplifiers with high signal:noise: [font=georgia,serif]High Resolution: Is It Really Necessary? A white paper by Marco Manunta – M2Tech Srl, Italy * We’re facing a seemingly unstoppable run towards very high resolution in digital audio: from CD to 96/24, to 192/24 up to 352.8/24 and even 352.8/32, not to mention DSD (2.8MHz/1bit or 5.6MHz/1bit). Considering how good some 44.1/16 systems (CD players or DAC) sound, the question is: do we really need very high resolution, and how high should “high resolution” be? * Bit depth This parameter is maybe the easiest one to evaluate and justify. First, it’s useful remind readers that bit depth defines the signal-to-noise ratio of a digital playback or recording system, through a simple formula: * SNR(dB) = 1.76+6.02*N, * Where N is the number of bits per sample or bit depth. In a CD-standard system (N=16), SNR is 98.08dB, a 24bit device will allow for 146.24dB. Literature often forgets the 1.76dB constant, so you may find 144.5dB instead of 146.24 and so on. We can also define a “virtual” bit depth for analog devices and systems, through *the ENOB parameter (Equivalent Number of Bits): * ENOB (bits) = (SNRmeasured-1.76)/6.02 * The ENOB of an amplifier with 105dB measured SNR is 17.15 bits (note that .15 bit has no real meaning). It’s easy to realize that a digital source delivering true 24 bits resolution connected to a system in which the overall ENOB is, say, 18 bits, is not guaranteed to fully exploit its performance. On the other hand, one may apply the law of balance and say that a digital source with 18 bits resolution (110dB) is sufficient to obtain the best overall performance from that system. Things are not that easy. First of all, let’s consider the nature of noise in digital systems. Noise is the sum of two contributes: quantization noise and thermal noise. The first one is related to bit depth and is very disturbing for humans ear-brain due to its correlation to the signal (in fact, it is sometimes called “quantization distortion”, rather than quantization noise). The second one is related to the analog circuitry used in the analog-digital and digital-analog boundaries and is generally much more tolerated by human ear-brain due to its total non-correlation with the signal. Devices, and even systems, in which thermal noise buries quantization noise are generally well-sounding setups. This explains why we cannot define a specific bit depth as a limit value to judge digital devices and systems: a 14-bit source will probably behave very well in a system in which the amplifier has only 70dB SNR, while it will sound awful in another system in which the amplifier has 100dB SNR. Also, this may explain why CD players with tube output have generally a pleasant sound: tubes are noisier than opamps and even than solid-state, discrete components buffers, thus their thermal noise buries the quantization noise from the conversion IC (I won’t enter the mined field of harmonic composition of tubes’ distortion or biasing issues as it’s beyond our scope). Conversely, an analog source with an outstanding 125dB SNR driving a 16bit ADC is a waste of money, as the quantization noise of the ADC will be easily heard over the source’s thermal noise, giving a typical “digital” sound. On the contrary, an analog source with 100dB SNR driving a 24bit ADC will give very good results to listening, as the thermal noise of the source will act a dithering with regards to the quantization process, transforming the signal-correlated quantization distortion in a “quasi-thermal” noise which is much more tolerated by our brain. Things are even more complicated when we have a more complex digital signal chain than a single-step unit. Let’s consider, for example, a CD player with digital volume control. We all know that dithering and noise shaping are necessary to avoid distortion increase when we approach low levels (high attenuation factors). This is due to the fact that the processing engine which does the attenuation (multiply for a number less than one) has generally the same resolution as the incoming signal: to the usual errors due to the finite-resolution mathematic (errors = noise), the final truncation adds a lot of damage, leading to the raise of distortion products. If we measure the effective resolution of a signal passed through a digital volume control, it is generally lower than that of the incoming signal. It’s easy that the quantization noise after the attenuation raises over the system thermal noise. What was a good sounding digital signal before attenuation has become a “digital” sounding one. Things improve as resolution increases: computational and truncation noise can remain below thermal noise, so that no dithering nor noise shaping are necessary. This is already true with 24-bit systems, and even better with 32-bit systems: even if we use 4, 8 or even 16 bit only to sample noise, that noise helps us to keep the sound good while it travels through our system to the loudspeakers. Summarizing, I dare to say that bit depth is very important for sound quality, even more than sampling frequency. To test the above “on the field”, take a good 96/24 recording and get a 96/16 version and a 48/24 version using some editing software. Chances are that you will hear little differences between the 96/24 and the 48/24 versions, while you’ll hear a bigger difference between the 96/24 and the 96/16 versions. * Sampling frequency It’s widely known that the ear of a young boy from the countryside (grown far from discos) can easily hear 20kHz, while a mature music lover hardly catches 16kHz. Thus, a digital audio system with an upper frequency limit of 20kHz should be enough to enjoy the real high fidelity. As usual, things are more complicated. Complex signals contain multiple frequencies which interact to produce intermodulation in all systems in which they travel. Our ear, together with our skull bones, is one of these systems. High frequencies intermodulate to the lower frequency range (for example, a 21kHz and a 22kHz tones can modulate down to 1kHz, well into our audible range). If we record and/or play a recording through a system with 20kHz limit, we miss those tones which should intermodulate into our ear and head, losing some of the original information content (that 1kHz tone which is part of the original signal, even if is produced into our body). Recording professionals may say that no microphone can capture frequencies higher than 40kHz, so this may state the real useful high frequency limit in the recording-playback chain. Even so, this means a minimum sampling frequency of 80kHz (according to Nyquist, the minimum sampling rate to accommodate a certain bandwidth is twice the bandwidth). Standards indicate 88.2 or 96kHz, with a usable bandwidth of 44.1 or 48kHz, respectively. But there is something more. It’s known by signal processing experts, and absolutely not popularized amongst music lovers, that converting an analog signal into a discrete-time one (as it happens when converting from analog to digital) destroys the phase information in the two top octaves of the resulting spectrum. In a CD-standard digital recording, all phase information are lost from 5.5kHz up to 22kHz, which is the highest frequency present in that recording. This affects mainly harmonics (very few fundamentals are available over 5kHz), disrupting the notes’s envelope. This may explain why different instrument of the same kind recorded on CD’s often sound very similar. To raise the lower limit of the affected range to 20kHz, we need to record with a bandwidth at least 80kHz, so we need a sampling frequency at least 160kHz. Standards indicate 176.4 or 192kHz, for a usable band of 88.2kHz and 96kHz, respectively. Then aliasing comes in. Aliasing is a phenomena due to sampling process which must be avoided in order to keep the original sound quality. The only way to do it is low-pass filtering the original analog signal before converting it into digital. This can be problematic when the signal’s upper frequency limit is very close to half the sampling frequency. In this case, a very steep filter (commonly called “brickwall”) is necessary, which is affected by a sever phase rotation down to audible frequencies. This is the case of the CD, in which the upper frequency limit (20kHz) is very close to half the sampling frequency (22.050kHz). In CD-like systems, at least 90dB attenuation must be obtained with a transition band of just 2kHz! Using higher sampling frequencies means having a larger transition band, thus less steep filters and more gentle phase behaviour, affecting higher frequencies. A 24-bit, 192kHz system handling an audio signal with 20kHz bandwidth can use a transition band of *76kHz to attenuate at least 120dB. This means that a simple 10-pole filter is sufficient. Much better and easier to implement than a 200-poles filter used in CD-like systems! Even better, a 32-bit, 384kHz system may use a 7-pole filter, something which is very similar to the natural band limiting in analog systems. * Conclusions High resolution is not marketing hype. It can help to make a digital system of device sound more similar to an analog one, provided users and experts keep in mind the real meaning and usefulness of having large bit depths and high sampling frequencies.[/font]
  20. [quote name='ScreencastTutor' timestamp='1355766886' post='1902477'] Right now... probably Good Times by Chic. If I could play them 100% it would be: Parliament - Give Up The Funk The Allman Brothers - Jessica [b]Brothers Johnson - Get The Funk Outta My Face[/b] [/quote] We used to do a thrash funk version of that!
  21. The only ones that get played voluntarily at our house are the mighty Tap's "Christmas with the Devil", and of course Bootsy's "Christmas is 4 ever", which has the funkiest "Silent Night" - it's the way it should be played!
  22. I enjoy playing both covers we do - one's "P-Funk (wants to get funked up)". The other's this: [media]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=w2G_MwJSmWg[/media]
  23. Aye, obviously RIAA implementation is in the eye of the product designer! I tried a number by the likes of Tom Evans, Whest, Sutherland, Lehmann, Brinkmann and EAR. The EAR valve one won for me...
  24. [quote name='bigjohn' timestamp='1355493516' post='1899180'] Comparing vinyl to cd on the same HiFi isn't really playing fair. The signal chains are different. The vinyl chain has a phono-preamp. It's like plugging a passive bass into a nice pre-amp and saying "wow, listen to this, it's alive with these sounds and dynamics", then comparing it with an active bass plugged straight into a poweramp and saying it sounds dull and crap. Have a listen to a decent HiFi with a decent DAC and compare that with vinyl. The digital stuff sounds fine then. [/quote] The output from a phono stage is line level (give or take, depending on the phono stage). All the phonostage does is take a low level signal from a cartridge, boost it to line level and apply (hopefully) accurate RIAA equalisation. Some phono stages have variable input impedance to better match cart types, but otherwise it gives out an analogue signal at about the same level as the analogue output of a DAC. It's not like a graphic equaliser with variable frequency adjustments - though you can buy phono stages with variable (fixed) RIAA equalisation to match older standards. An active bass has boost and cut available, whereas a passive one only has cut... And talking of decent DACs, mine's an Advantage; they don't exist any more, but check out Bladelius hifi to find out what it's like - same designer. It sounds better than a Wadia 861 if that means owt! Even though it sounds excellent there's still a tiny bit (subjectively!) missing compared to vinyl - at least to my jaded and no doubt deafened ears.
  25. Funnily enough my phono stage has no rumble filters, or attentuation at any higher frequency, and it still sounds subjectively more pleasing! CD sounds pretty good as well, but after all, I'd prefer to hear badly recorded, poorly reproduced good music than extreme hifi music (like you'd hear on the Linn and Naim labels) on the world's most expensive stereo... It's the music I'm listening to, not the hifi!
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