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pre-computer audio/head-fi explosions…

 

conversations with electrical/audio engineers were be pretty laid back, with regard to sex, politics, death and Indian curry. however, upon mention of ‘audio’, and the non-ingenieur audiophile should listen and learn that:

 

1) cables do not make a difference. ‘cables' in disc players and amplifiers are merely humble ‘wires'. similarly, ‘cables’ within speaker cabinets are not as thick as a child’s arm... nor usually made of silver or adamantium.

 

2) CD players and DACs are not as important as speakers… bits being bits.

 

3) a good amplifier = straight wire with gain. and note, a 100W amplifier goes only slightly ‘louder’ than a 50W amplifier. more power is always good (albeit expen$ive) because ‘over-driving’ is a good recipe for frying tweeters.

 

4) speakers are most important:

 

a) and, yes, size does matter for drivers + enclosures… but over-sizing (as in using speakers that are too big for a small room) is also not cool.

 

b) 6 to 8 ohm speakers are for homes. 4 ohm or less, for cars.

 

c) sensitivity/efficiency should ideally be 84dB or more, then. one would need, say, 100W of amp power to drive an 84dB speaker to deliver max bursts of 100dB when listening 3m away. orchestral climaxes may venture into 100db+ territory, and rock concerts are deafening because SPL hits 120dB (or more).

 

d) 20Hz – 20kHz = v. nice… but do pay attention if such stats are +/- 3dB/6dB. *also, do those big boys suit the room size? **is one ‘audiophile enough’ to invest that much? ***what kind of offering does one need to placate spouse(s)/partner(s)?

 

5) sub-woofers are ‘friends, not foes’, if you want to go really low. sidenote = a 30Hz sound wave measures 11.5m. and, a 20Hz wave is 17.2m. so, unless one lives in a sizable mansion/castle, it is good to believe in ½ wave or ¼ wave theory.

 

6) decent equalisers + subs, when used the right knowledge + measurements, are also ‘friends, not foes’ = cheaper, more WAF… but, hold on, one might need to be an engineer to do this right.

 

7) to remove a large measure of guesswork out of speaker/amp matching, go active. with a pair of decent active loudspeakers (and subs as necessary) from a trusted brand. but refer to *, ** and *** as above before taking that (deep) plunge.

 

8) speakers designed for ‘accurate reproduction’ are not ships, and as such, do not require ports.

 

9) bi-wiring is the stuff of legend.

 

Q:

iyo, which of these ‘audio facts’ (still) sound 'true' to the computer audiophile today?

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All these goals have sense for certain conditions.

 

As example, cables can as give as don't give effect. First need ask what is the cables/amplifier/speaker's features?

 

Why subwoofer can be foe? It is incorrect tuned?

 

Bi-wiring: what cable's square, length? What amplifier, speakers?

 

Also all these parameters need consider for full frequency range.

 

Etc.

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hi audiventory,

 

1) cables in general:

a) interconnects: source > amplifier

b) speaker cables: amplifier > speakers

 

5) sub-woofers:

yes, some purist audiophiles prefer non-subwoofer, ‘full range’ speaker systems due to tuning/integration limitations/compromises. however, true ‘full range’ systems tend to be rather costly.

 

9) bi-wiring in general:

a speaker may be equipped with bi-wiring terminals. but unless one is bi-amping, would there be any benefit in running separate cables to its tweeter and mid-bass/bass units (which are internally connected to one passive crossover) from a single amplifier?

 

btw, points 1 – 9 as stated are bits/bytes that have stuck to mind after conversations with engineers in the 1990s.

 

not sure what was/is still (generally) ‘factual/sensible’ and relevant today, and what is not.

 

was/am not an engineer. was probably an audiophile, now a ‘computer audiophile’ (one hopes).

 

always good to hear viewpoints, and perhaps update knowledge.

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Hi Livelistenlearn,

 

In my opinion, ‘full range’ mean subwoofer inside speakers :)

 

I know that very hard adjust subwoofer. Need auto panoramic SPL (sound pressure) measurements.

 

‘full range’ tuned in factory.

 

May be it is reason of preference ‘full range’. I think, it really can sound better for some cases.

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In my opinion, ‘full range’ mean subwoofer inside speakers :) ‘full range’ tuned in factory.

May be it is reason of preference ‘full range’. I think, it really can sound better for some cases.

 

good point. and, in ⤴︎ case, it usually should.

 

anyway,

 

with CA, am pretty sure 2 is not that 'right/true' anymore.

 

as for 6, EQ seems to have been replaced by DSP.

 

is there anything else one should reconsider?

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DSP have huge possibilities. Also EQ can be released different methods: Furie, filters IIR/FIR.

 

For realtime operative changing preffered IIR filter (shortest time delay). negative side - non-linearity of phase.

 

For fixed EQ response can be used Furie and FIR with longer delay. There linear phase (except min. phase realization).

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DSP have huge possibilities. Also EQ can be released different methods: Furie, filters IIR/FIR.

 

now understand a bit more about FFT (fast fourier transform) algorithms, FIR (finite impulse response) vs IIR (infinite impulse response) filters in DSP.

 

FIR being advantageous = more suited to multi-rate applications, does not distort phase and can be adjusted at output. downsides being, more resource-intensive and not practical for certain responses.

 

IIR (with feedback) = less memory + calculation intensive.

 

interesting, will try to find out and learn more, thanks for pointing out the way…

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pre-computer audio/head-fi explosions…

 

conversations with electrical/audio engineers were be pretty laid back, with regard to sex, politics, death and Indian curry. however, upon mention of ‘audio’, and the non-ingenieur audiophile should listen and learn that:

 

1) cables do not make a difference. ‘cables' in disc players and amplifiers are merely humble ‘wires'. similarly, ‘cables’ within speaker cabinets are not as thick as a child’s arm... nor usually made of silver or adamantium.

 

Speaker cables and cartridge cables can. Nothing exotic about fixing that. Digital cables IMO won't matter if they meet spec which isn't expensive. Analog interconnects pretty much a non-issue. Buy about one step above bottom of the barrel for better construction quality and don't worry about it.

 

2) CD players and DACs are not as important as speakers… bits being bits.

 

Close enough for the most part. At a minimum speaker differences are about 100 times larger.

 

3) a good amplifier = straight wire with gain. and note, a 100W amplifier goes only slightly ‘louder’ than a 50W amplifier. more power is always good (albeit expen$ive) because ‘over-driving’ is a good recipe for frying tweeters.

 

Well, yes amplifier power in one extent is over-rated. But amps are not interchangeable. Speakers present very variable loads and two identically spec'd amps may not perform the same when connected to your speaker. Again though you don't have to go very high up the food chain to make it a minor issue at best.

 

4) speakers are most important:

 

100% total agreement.

 

a) and, yes, size does matter for drivers + enclosures… but over-sizing (as in using speakers that are too big for a small room) is also not cool.

 

Seems true enough.

 

b) 6 to 8 ohm speakers are for homes. 4 ohm or less, for cars.

 

This is a curious one here and makes little sense. Plenty of good amps can handle 4 ohm speakers. Plus calling a speaker 8 ohm or 4 ohm is a gross over-simplication of what load a speaker will present to the amplifier. My speakers are over 20 ohms in the low end and not a full ohm in the treble and highly reactive. What load is it?

 

c) sensitivity/efficiency should ideally be 84dB or more, then. one would need, say, 100W of amp power to drive an 84dB speaker to deliver max bursts of 100dB when listening 3m away. orchestral climaxes may venture into 100db+ territory, and rock concerts are deafening because SPL hits 120dB (or more).

 

Okay, but so what. You need what your chosen speaker needs, and that is influenced by how large a room it is in. My speakers are ostenibly 86 db, but in practice I think they are more like 77 db. I do consider it asking a lot more than is desirable. Ideally I would like for all speakers to be 90 db or better.

 

d) 20Hz – 20kHz = v. nice… but do pay attention if such stats are +/- 3dB/6dB. *also, do those big boys suit the room size? **is one ‘audiophile enough’ to invest that much? ***what kind of offering does one need to placate spouse(s)/partner(s)?

 

Not really. I remember reading Audio magazine equipment issues each year. Lots of speakers quoted 20-20khz or 30-20khz. Then you see something like an expensive Magnepan quoting 55-15 khz and wondered why it cost so much and did so little. The difference was Maggie was telling the truth and others basically lying as a marketing tool by not including specifics.

 

There is the issue of room size and how low the room will really support. And another is while there are exceptions, probably the average music collection has less than 10% of the recordings that hold anything on them below 50 hz.

 

5) sub-woofers are ‘friends, not foes’, if you want to go really low. sidenote = a 30Hz sound wave measures 11.5m. and, a 20Hz wave is 17.2m. so, unless one lives in a sizable mansion/castle, it is good to believe in ½ wave or ¼ wave theory.

 

Maybe. Sub woofers have improved tremendously the last 20 years. At one time they caused about as many problems as they solved. With current designs and especially the use of DSP that isn't true anymore.

 

6) decent equalisers + subs, when used the right knowledge + measurements, are also ‘friends, not foes’ = cheaper, more WAF… but, hold on, one might need to be an engineer to do this right.

 

 

7) to remove a large measure of guesswork out of speaker/amp matching, go active. with a pair of decent active loudspeakers (and subs as necessary) from a trusted brand. but refer to *, ** and *** as above before taking that (deep) plunge.

 

I think currently active speakers are a good idea. My main complaint would be a lack of choice. Active speakers with low level crossovers and amps linked directly to drivers has always been a good idea.

 

8) speakers designed for ‘accurate reproduction’ are not ships, and as such, do not require ports.

 

Baloney. Ports are more complex to do well. They have benefits however. For a long time my opinion was box speakers were like coffins. They hold death inside. Open boxless panels were the only way to go for lively uncolored sound. People make excellent sounding speakers with many approaches and quite a few contain ports.

 

9) bi-wiring is the stuff of legend.

 

Yes.

And always keep in mind: Cognitive biases, like seeing optical illusions are a sign of a normally functioning brain. We all have them, it’s nothing to be ashamed about, but it is something that affects our objective evaluation of reality. 

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A lot (most?) of this is and has alwas been about "diminishing returns."

 

A properly constructed speaker wire with good, not broken or corroded connections can only deliver so much current over so much distance. Beyond that, higher specs are superfluous.

 

Same for digital cables. Either they transmit a correct signal or they don't.

 

With components, bang for the buck happens at the low end when stepping up. A $100 bluetooth speaker sounds 10x better than a $10 portable radio. A $1000 amp/speaker setup sounds 10x better than a $100 bluetooth speaker. And so on until you get to high end audio and each improvement is incrementally smaller and smaller and exponentially more expensive.

 

As so on.

 

It's up to each individual and their means to decide how far to go and when good enough is good enough.

 

That's my opinion. I could be wrong.

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thanks to everyone who have chimed in. please continue to correct/guide as you will. willing to learn, am ready to ‘listen'.

some background:

am not an engineer. respect engineering as a profession.

when meeting people who have studied, and were/are active, in the field of ‘audio engineering’, one tended to accord a certain level of credence. when engineers state certain things on their fields of expertise, be these ‘facts’, ‘assertions’, ‘povs’ or just plain ‘statements’, one listened. carefully. and tried to absorb*.

when one was younger, less experienced, more limited in terms of resources, it was easier/more convenient to regard some things as ‘facts'.

please allow one to qualify:

recollection is by no means not perfect. context may have been misinterpreted. things may have changed somewhat. 'oversimplified generalisations'? cool, perfectly willing to accept as positive critique, this being a www forum thread.

and, please regard any error in re-presenting these ‘facts’ here as being mine, and mine alone.

for right or wrong:

these 9 basic ‘points’, if you will, have stuck to one’s mind* for many years. maybe even to the level of 'sub-conscious conditioning', when thinking/buying audio.

tbh, am no longer sure any are written in stone.

hence, this thread… seeking fresh viewpoints, discussion and exchange of ideas/opinions. perhaps, ‘we’ may (re)learn/(re)explore some things old/new together.

cheers.

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Speaker cables and cartridge cables can. Nothing exotic about fixing that. Digital cables IMO won't matter if they meet spec which isn't expensive. Analog interconnects pretty much a non-issue. Buy about one step above bottom of the barrel for better construction quality and don't worry about it.

 

 

 

Close enough for the most part. At a minimum speaker differences are about 100 times larger.

 

 

 

Well, yes amplifier power in one extent is over-rated. But amps are not interchangeable. Speakers present very variable loads and two identically spec'd amps may not perform the same when connected to your speaker. Again though you don't have to go very high up the food chain to make it a minor issue at best.

 

 

 

100% total agreement.

 

 

 

Seems true enough.

 

 

 

This is a curious one here and makes little sense. Plenty of good amps can handle 4 ohm speakers. Plus calling a speaker 8 ohm or 4 ohm is a gross over-simplication of what load a speaker will present to the amplifier. My speakers are over 20 ohms in the low end and not a full ohm in the treble and highly reactive. What load is it?

 

 

 

Okay, but so what. You need what your chosen speaker needs, and that is influenced by how large a room it is in. My speakers are ostenibly 86 db, but in practice I think they are more like 77 db. I do consider it asking a lot more than is desirable. Ideally I would like for all speakers to be 90 db or better.

 

 

 

Not really. I remember reading Audio magazine equipment issues each year. Lots of speakers quoted 20-20khz or 30-20khz. Then you see something like an expensive Magnepan quoting 55-15 khz and wondered why it cost so much and did so little. The difference was Maggie was telling the truth and others basically lying as a marketing tool by not including specifics.

 

There is the issue of room size and how low the room will really support. And another is while there are exceptions, probably the average music collection has less than 10% of the recordings that hold anything on them below 50 hz.

 

 

 

Maybe. Sub woofers have improved tremendously the last 20 years. At one time they caused about as many problems as they solved. With current designs and especially the use of DSP that isn't true anymore.

 

6) decent equalisers + subs, when used the right knowledge + measurements, are also ‘friends, not foes’ = cheaper, more WAF… but, hold on, one might need to be an engineer to do this right.

 

 

 

 

I think currently active speakers are a good idea. My main complaint would be a lack of choice. Active speakers with low level crossovers and amps linked directly to drivers has always been a good idea.

 

 

 

Baloney. Ports are more complex to do well. They have benefits however. For a long time my opinion was box speakers were like coffins. They hold death inside. Open boxless panels were the only way to go for lively uncolored sound. People make excellent sounding speakers with many approaches and quite a few contain ports.

 

 

 

Yes.

Close enough just to say "me too".

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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pre-computer audio/head-fi explosions…

 

conversations with electrical/audio engineers were be pretty laid back, with regard to sex, politics, death and Indian curry. however, upon mention of ‘audio’, and the non-ingenieur audiophile should listen and learn that:

 

1) cables do not make a difference. ‘cables' in disc players and amplifiers are merely humble ‘wires'. similarly, ‘cables’ within speaker cabinets are not as thick as a child’s arm... nor usually made of silver or adamantium.

 

2) CD players and DACs are not as important as speakers… bits being bits.

 

3) a good amplifier = straight wire with gain. and note, a 100W amplifier goes only slightly ‘louder’ than a 50W amplifier. more power is always good (albeit expen$ive) because ‘over-driving’ is a good recipe for frying tweeters.

 

4) speakers are most important:

 

a) and, yes, size does matter for drivers + enclosures… but over-sizing (as in using speakers that are too big for a small room) is also not cool.

 

b) 6 to 8 ohm speakers are for homes. 4 ohm or less, for cars.

 

c) sensitivity/efficiency should ideally be 84dB or more, then. one would need, say, 100W of amp power to drive an 84dB speaker to deliver max bursts of 100dB when listening 3m away. orchestral climaxes may venture into 100db+ territory, and rock concerts are deafening because SPL hits 120dB (or more).

 

d) 20Hz – 20kHz = v. nice… but do pay attention if such stats are +/- 3dB/6dB. *also, do those big boys suit the room size? **is one ‘audiophile enough’ to invest that much? ***what kind of offering does one need to placate spouse(s)/partner(s)?

 

5) sub-woofers are ‘friends, not foes’, if you want to go really low. sidenote = a 30Hz sound wave measures 11.5m. and, a 20Hz wave is 17.2m. so, unless one lives in a sizable mansion/castle, it is good to believe in ½ wave or ¼ wave theory.

 

6) decent equalisers + subs, when used the right knowledge + measurements, are also ‘friends, not foes’ = cheaper, more WAF… but, hold on, one might need to be an engineer to do this right.

 

7) to remove a large measure of guesswork out of speaker/amp matching, go active. with a pair of decent active loudspeakers (and subs as necessary) from a trusted brand. but refer to *, ** and *** as above before taking that (deep) plunge.

 

8) speakers designed for ‘accurate reproduction’ are not ships, and as such, do not require ports.

 

9) bi-wiring is the stuff of legend.

 

Q:

iyo, which of these ‘audio facts’ (still) sound 'true' to the computer audiophile today?

 

1) Generally true. However with SOME speakers the cable is important, and speaker cabling within speaker rcabinets is not as impressive looking as the high-end cables that carry the signal to the speakers :)

 

2) Bits might be bits, but power supplies and analog circuit topologies and filters ain't bits!

 

3) Rule of thumb: it takes roughly 10X the amp power to play twice as loud. Too little power is more dangerous to speakers (especially tweeters) than too much power. Clipping amplifiers send signals to the speaker's that can far exceed the safe duty cycle of a voice coil (that is to say how long the voice coil can stay continuously energized without overheating and either becoming physically distorted or burning out).

 

4) Speakers are what we actually listen to. Of course, they're "most important". Big speakers move more air than little ones and provide deeper bass. Big speakers in small room can overload the room, but that's not really harmful in any way, and I'd say it shouldn't be a concern in choosing one's speaker of choice. Frequency response limits are important. Reason? A cheap transistor radio speaker has a frequency "response" of 20 to 20 KHz. That's not the question. The question is does the transistor radio speaker actually produce any SOUND at the frequency extremes? The limits (+/- 3, 6, 12 dB) tell us that. 20-20 KHz +/- 40db says no, it probably doesn't produce any sound at either 20 Hz or 20 KHz.

 

5) Subwoofers are good, but don't let anybody tell you that you can get by with just ONE for both channels. In spite of all the books that will tell you that bass below 200 or so is non-directional and you can't tell where it is coming from, Stereo subs always sound better than a single, combined sub.

 

6) Equalizers are best left to the professionals. They can do more harm than good.

 

7) Generally neither true nor nor necessarily desirable. Large, self powered speakers are far and few between, Good ones have the speaker driver in the on-board amp's feedback loop which lowers low-frequency distortion, but most don't. Also, they limit user choice.

 

8) Ports are necessary for bass reflex designs. Good and bad speakers have been designed with infinite baffles, folded horns, Helmholtz resonator designs, aperiodic vents, di-polar designs and bass reflex designs. Which of these approaches is used in a given design is no indicator of quality.

 

9) Absolutely true. I don't know where this started, but from an electrical standpoint bi-wiring is merely doubling-up on the wire size. The signal is the same at either end. Doesn't matter whether you split the lows and highs at the amp end of the cables or at the speaker end of the cable. With your speakers bi-wired, take an ohm-meter and with the amp OFF, check continuity between the + terminal of the tweeter connection and the + terminal of the woofer connection. You will get continuity. Now remove both bi-wire connections from the speaker and re-attach the shorting straps between the woofer and the tweeter and check continuity again. You will still get continuity. All Bi-wiring does is make the shorting straps longer!

 

Now, bi-amping is another matter. It can make a very big difference and there are legitimate reasons for doing so. (like using a solid state amp on the woofer, and perhaps a sweeter sounding, less powerful tube amp on the midrange/tweeter).

George

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Yes. Need sub for each channel. It's real need, in my opinion.

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Yes. Need sub for each channel. It's real need, in my opinion.

Running 5.1 arrangement here so stereo sub not easily done but I do run dual subs cross room positioned for smoother room response.

"The gullibility of audiophiles is what astonishes me the most, even after all these years. How is it possible, how did it ever happen, that they trust fairy-tale purveyors and mystic gurus more than reliable sources of scientific information?"

Peter Aczel - The Audio Critic

no-mqa-sm.jpg

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Generalizations are always imprecise.

 

In my experience anything that's used in the signal path affects performance but the impact varies in different degrees of magnitude that can go from huge to negligible.

Brand names don't provide guarantee of "good" performance, each equipment model should be analysed autonomously and irrespectively of manufacturer.

Mains "quality" and the listening room acoustics also affect performance.

Measurements provide valuable information.

 

Audio cables make a difference, ICs more than speaker wire.

Topology which affects LRC characteristics, dielectic and shielding affect the signal.

Shielding for low level signals only (phono).

Bi-wiring doubles the cost or the profit, depending on which side of the fence you sit.

I don't give any importance to power cables.

Haven't have time or patience to evaluate digital cables.

 

Bits are bits (which contain encoded audio signal) but they need to be retrieved and moved around; the encoded signal needs to be up- or over-sampled, filtered and converted to analogue; resulting analogue signal then needs to be pre-amplified.

Accurate reproduction starts at the source and ends in the speakers.

"High" performance in vinyl playback is very hard to achieve and requires a huge investment.

"High" performance digital is comparatively cheap.

 

A good amplifier uses mains current to amplify the audio signal, great care should be given to filtering and power supply; grounding is crucial.

It's driving ability should match the current needs of the load presented by the partnering speakers.

KISS.

 

Speakers affect the signal more than any other equipment (though pickup cartridges and phono stages also produce a strong influence in performance).

There is no question that one should aim at being able to reproduce the full audible spectrum and a wide dynamic range within our possibilities (domestic, financial, practical).

All loudspeaker topologies have specific shortcomings, one should choose that which is better suited to our own listening taste and needs.

KISS amplification is a discriminating factor in loudspeaker selection.

No ports for better "clarity" and transient response.

Three or more ways with cones in boxes; size matters.

 

Two subs.

 

EQ'ing and room correction requires measurements.

Analogue EQ or DSP?

 

R

"Science draws the wave, poetry fills it with water" Teixeira de Pascoaes

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"9) Absolutely true. I don't know where this started, but from an electrical standpoint bi-wiring is merely doubling-up on the wire size. The signal is the same at either end. Doesn't matter whether you split the lows and highs at the amp end of the cables or at the speaker end of the cable. With your speakers bi-wired, take an ohm-meter and with the amp OFF, check continuity between the + terminal of the tweeter connection and the + terminal of the woofer connection. You will get continuity. Now remove both bi-wire connections from the speaker and re-attach the shorting straps between the woofer and the tweeter and check continuity again. You will still get continuity. All Bi-wiring does is make the shorting straps longer!"

 

You just haven't the right setup. Sometimes you don't here a difference, and sometimes the difference can be as big as a component upgrade.

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hmmm.

 

afraid you’ll have to forgive one’s nodding, in a politely ‘yes’ way.

(because, tbh, this is kind of above one’s level of understanding.)

 

agreed, DSP has huge possibilities.

(and, yes, will go read up on those things mentioned.)

 

Phase helps produce the imaging, soundstage and localization effects you hear. Also, filters with non-linear phase have what's called "group delay," meaning how long it takes a signal to get through the filter depends on frequency.

 

So now take a system like mine, where the speakers have time-aligned drivers and linear phase crossovers (the filters that determine which frequencies go to which drivers). If you use DSP with minimum phase filters, the most popular choice, there goes your linear phase, your time alignment, and thus some part of your imaging, soundstage and localization goodness.

 

Generalizations like "DSP has tremendous potential" are always subject to such niggling detailed exceptions.

One never knows, do one? - Fats Waller

The fairest thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion which stands at the cradle of true art and true science. - Einstein

Computer, Audirvana -> optical to EtherREGEN -> microRendu -> ISO Regen -> Pro-Ject Pre Box S2 DAC -> Spectral DMC-12 & DMA-150 -> Vandersteen 3A Signature.

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Hi Jud,

 

DSP is not ideal, of course. Only next development spiral turn.

 

Tomorrow appear new analog computers. And we will work with analog/digital signal again.

 

What is analog signal? It is digital signal with infinite sample rate and bit depth precision.

AuI ConverteR 48x44 - HD audio converter/optimizer for DAC of high resolution files

ISO, DSF, DFF (1-bit/D64/128/256/512/1024), wav, flac, aiff, alac,  safe CD ripper to PCM/DSF,

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