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About shtf

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  1. IMO, one should never assume anything is built for accuracy (performance) even if "designed for studio use". For example. It's not that uncommon for "pros" to consider durability as highest prirorty performance-wise in a commercial application. Assuming your claims of both cables are relatively accurate, without hesitiation I'd venture the Vovox cables to be the superior performer. Primarily because you claimed instruments were bigger or produced larger images, brighter, and with bigger bass. Distortions make borders fuzzy and enlarged and in playback music distortions will make instruments sound larger than actual size. Some see this as a positive characteristic but it's not. A 6-inch triangle should sound like a 6-inch triangle, not a 12 or 18-inch triangle, and it should also sound pristine if not delicate. So based on your claims alone I'd definitely hedge my bet toward the Vovox. As more and more distortions are sufficiently addressed, you should hear music instruments sounding, among other things, more and more toward the actual-size while simultaneously the ambient information from the soundstage and soundstage should continue to grow larger and larger to also provide a more actual-size perspective.
  2. I find it rather interesting that so many who dabble in "high-end" audio always seem to bring up the human factor thing. I mean every industry is just as susceptible to the phenomena you call the human factor. Yet, it seems almost daily to rear its ugly head in high-end audio. The question is why? It's not always easy to comprehend another's potentially awkward mindset and/or motivations but I'll take a stab at it. My suspicion is that because so many spend so little time training their ears and/or working on their systems they have no other justification for lack of hearing things others claim to hear. For example. If I swap out all of the stock fuses in all of my gear at the same time with aftermarket cryo-treated fuses and hear a nice little but still distinct improvement and another hears no such difference, then perhaps the difference I heard was the result of a good bowel movement that morning. Or perhaps the other hearing no difference is because of their unpleasant bowel movement that morning. I also suspect that it's one's pride and arrogance preventing them from looking within so instead they look without. It's usually the science-minded or psuedo-science-minded types (not saying you specifically) that raise this subject matter. Dare I say it's usually those educated beyond their intelligence? But I suspect they love to inject this human factor thing presumably due to arrogance, ignorance, laziness, and/or immaturity. For example. If I was born with 2 good ears and passed a hearing test last year and profess my love for music and Joe over there hears things I cannot hear (think discern), then perhaps Joe is smokin' something or his "human factor" must be doing a real number on him. Because I cannot hear (think discern) what he hears and because I'm of such an objective mindset I know for a fact it can't be me so it must be him. So let's study him instead of me. So IMO this human factor thing that keeps raising its ugly head is really nothing but a cheap lame excuse or justification for remaining lazy and ignorant toward a hobby one claims to love. What's the solution? There are several suggestions but all of them are simply an off-chute of one primary solution which is, first and foremost, to realize that our ability to discern / interpret what we hear is not a skill inherited at birth and like anything else requires much training. Also to realize that a trained ability to discern / interpret what we hear is absolutely paramount to everything about this audio-only industry and without this realization we've already completely missed the boat. Those lacking this basic and essential skill are only fooling themselves and others like minds while making themselves and the industry look rather dumbed down and foolish. That's my short take anyway.
  3. You're right. We must always be mindful of this neural accommodation that you speak of, which is quite important and should never be discounted. So much so that it permeates every industry and every aspects of life and is so prevalent that it should go without saying. But as usual I appreciate your dilemma as it seems you would much prefer to state the mindless obvious so as to give yourself the perception that your many contributions add value to a given discussion. When in truth, I've yet to observe any of your lowest common denominator contributions add any value. But there's always tomorrow. For you I presume the proper word is not difficult but impossible. But again, thank you for sharing the seemingly obvious about matters that on their face should go without saying. Your admission here gives clear indication to me just how much thought you put into your posts, which doesn't appear to be much if any.
  4. Actually your example should fall under the mechanical break-in category because of the moving parts between the stylus and the vinyl spinning by the friction induced there. Hence, any noticeable improvements (or changes) here should be the result of the stylus and/or the grooves of the vinyl "maturing". Besides, mechanical settling-in is most always a rather lengthy process and where the process does not even become audibly noticeable for an initial period of time, hence there ought not be any noticeable gains (changes) after just a couple of playbacks resulting from its settling-in. In fact, mechanical settling-in has nothing to do with playback time, rather just time and lots of it. Which again, should confirm that the changes you hear in your example of just a couple of playbacks falls into the mechanical break-in category and not the settling-in category. But of course other parts of the cartridge e.g. connectors, mounting fasteners, conductors, etc, would all be simultaneously beginning their settling-in and/or burning-in process.
  5. In my experience the bad rap for SMPS is that even though a high-speed SMPS is not digital it will induce a bi-directional digital-like noise. Bi-directional implies the digital-like hash / noise travels back up the power cable into the outlet and then induce its digital-like noise into other components sharing the same circuit. Supposedly all digital products induce this bi-directional noise and some say will go all the way back to the service panel and induce its noise across other circuits. This bi-directional noise can easily be minimized or possibly eliminated with the use of a superior passive, dedicated, bi-directional filtering line conditioner. However, an external bi-directional filtering line conditioner can do nothing to stop the bi-directional noise from being shared between both channels of a Class D stereo amp because the 2 channels' SMPS most always share the same AC inlet in the chassis. And it's far worse in a Class D integrated amp because the active gainstage much borrow its AC power from one of the 2 channels which are already sharing the bi-directional noise. Then the noise from both channels is funneled to the active gainstage and then amplified. This makes for a very unpretty music presentation, especially if the amps are high-powered because the digital-like noise becomes ampified along with the music. For this reason I only use Class D amps in the monoblock configuration so each monoblock can have its own AC inlet and its own dedicated bi-directional filering line condtioner and hence no sharing of the bi-directional digital-like noise. BTW, superior line conditioners do far more than just filter bi-directional noise. In fact, only a few of the superior line conditioners I'm aware of offer bi-directional noise filtering and since I actually like the performance of some Class D amps and because I use a digital source, my superior line conditioners (Jena Labs Model TWO's) are even more superior since they are also filtering this bi-directional digital-like noise from inducing their distortive harm into other components.
  6. You neglected to mention the most important flavor of shall we say maturing a product and that's mechanical settling-in. So we have electrical burn-in, mechanical break-in, and mechanical settling-in where mechanical break-in is as you imply for moving mechanical objects such as motors, speaker drivers, etc. and mechanical settling-in which is for stationary mechanical objects e.g. a speaker, a rack, a component, a house, a foundation, etc. All objects that make up a playback system in one form or another go thru a mechanical settling-in process while many-to-most objects in the vineyard go thru an electrical burn-in process. Whereas only some objects go thru a mechanical break-in process.
  7. One minor correction. True objectivists (is there any other kind?) are unicorns. They don't exist. Based on your clip above, I'm guessing the author is really saying measurements will only get one so far - and it's not very. If he is saying that, then I think he's right on the money as measuring certain sounds and distortions is rather pointless without also having the ability to audibly (i.e. by ear) evaluate and sufficiently discern the performance of the overall playback presentation.
  8. Absolutely. Well, unless one has spent time developing trustworthy-enough ears. If for sake of argument we switch our sense from hearing to sight, might it be just a little bit of an oxymoron to be an aficionado of the fine arts while simultaneously lacking trustworthy eyes?
  9. Considering that every system, every installation, every enthusiast's listening discernment, every recording, and every room is unique, It should be obvious that without any agreed upon definitions you're points have very little meaning. For example. - You say well-performed music and I think well-engineered recordings (not the performance). You say good music but I don't think your rap music is good. - You say fully-optimized "audiophile" level playback environment and I think there was once a time when men removed the hubcaps from their family station wagon for improved aerodynamics when taking a romp down the quarter mile track. And I wouldn't doubt some thought their station wagons were "fully optimized". - You say bad room and I've not a clue what you mean. - You say good good and bad equipment and I've not a clue what you mean. - You say transported or moved by good music and I ask myself could not a 5-year old with no ability to discern what they hear also be "moved and transported by good music?" On the other hand, you say nothing about installation methods and fine-tuning a playback system and now I'm starting to get a good idea where you're coming from. That said and based on my limited experience, Frank is right on the money if he indeed said the room matters less. But he'd be more accurate if he said the room actually matters very little if at all. Your comment, "Saying "the room matters less when the playback chain is good" is like saying "the speakers matter less when the source component and amplifier are good" - it's a nonsense claim." is itself a nonsensical claim. Especially since you've yet to define your adjectives. But if you understood the sources of the greatest distortions that plague every last playback system to the point of inducing a universal performance-limiting governor on every last system, then you too might agree that your own claims here are nonsensical. So once again, Frank is correct if he indeed made those claims. I suppose I should add that in my limited experience, the rooms I've used, that some may label as bad, mean nothing and I do zero to treat them. But my limited experience also tells me that finding an optimal or hopefully THE optimal placement locations for a full-range speaker within a given room is absolutely paramount if one hopes to attain a truly musical, tight, deep, well-defined bass reproduction.
  10. I'm not saying you can't do a good job. I'm just sayiing given your references and self-proclamations, it could easily be interpreted that your self-proclamations are just as strong maybe strong than Frank's. Yet, you condemed Frank for his strong claims. For example. I could, as you suggest, start with Bell Labs and one feedback might be that you arrive at work on time every day and another may say he always washes his hands after doing his business in the restroom, or another may say John's a real math whiz, none of which truly qualify you for your line of work. Your name could even be on a plaque at AES and elsewhere and not mean a darn thing. For the simple reason you yourself said earlier regarding the most difficult thing is the ability to discern what we hear. Why would I need to know that? I already know that any playback system inside Dolby Labs labs would be hard-pressed if they're able to extract (make audible at the speaker) much more than 60 - 65% of the all the music info embedded in a given recording - regardless of format. Not to say that Dolby can't degrade or improve things by a few percentage points, but suddenly I'm becoming more and more convinced Dolby is where MQA hopes to be one day soon. Which is offering little more than a license to listen while potentially degrading the final output.
  11. My exprience with Dolby is very limited to the late 70's. But even then I never engaged the dolby noise reduction because I thought it stripped away much of the music as it attempted to cover or reduce tape hiss. In fact, I always considered Dolby Labs rather cheesy but obviously very good at marketing. Whether or not Dolby could be any more beneficial today (less destructive) than in the 70's to me is a huge reach. Almost on par with MQA. Given that, along with your questionable response above, as well as your routinely reaching out to others for assistance without potentially knowing their real qualifications, I suspect your statement that "I KNOW I can do a good job" could easily be interpreted as a rather strong claim. Which takes us back full circle to my earlier post to you that you ignored regarding your claims about those like Frank making strong claims.
  12. Really? At what point should "it" translate well from person to person? After all, we can't all be right and there still remains a few targets on the wall like striving toward the absolute sound, etc, right? IOW, at some point, subjectivity must give way to objectivity, doesn't it? Even for something as subjective as high-end audio playback music. Ummm. That sounds like a very nice response to a question I don't remember anybody asking but ok. But I'm curious. How is it that you KNOW you can do good work? By what measurement do you make this call? Interesting. I'm curious what level of objectivity is or should be required for your line of work? I'm not aware of anybody other than you talking about perfection. As for my own recording above, so much of the gestalt never makes it to the iPhone / Shure microphone anyway, but it still gives a somewhat reasonable perspective and as I fumble around with recording techniques and proximities and volumes (about 98db) in-room), there could even be a little distortion induced by the recording. But I think what you're saying is, with your knowledge and experience you could easily generate in-room recording of any of these 60's pieces and exhibit a more musical presentation than what I demonstrated - based on your personal taste that is. If that's what you're saying, I'd love to hear a demo or two. Again I ask, what level of objectivity is or should be required for your line of work? BTW, you completely overlooked my post responding to your comments. Oh, well.
  13. If there was any truth to the premise of your argument, then anybody here should easily be able to meet or exceed the levels of musicality of my rather humble 2-channel, 2-component playback system. Some of these songs come from one $5.99 greatest hits CD purchased at Walmart.
  14. Since so much is compromised throughout the playback chain for the vast majority of playback systems and participants, it's really a crapshoot between speakers and the rest of a given playback system. In fact, I attest it is the naive who lean toward the speakers. But ultimately, if one acknowledges there is an untapped huge bulk of distortions and where these bulk of distortions reside, which I (and perhaps Frank) purport is somewhere in the electronics from the AC outlet all the way to but not including the speakers, Frank's pretty much right on the money here. gmgraves claims of garbage in, garbage out and "you can't make a silk purse from a sow's ear" are most applicable here and actually substantiates Frank's claim rather well. What most don't know is that there's the equivalent of a mountain of yet-to-be-addressed distortions upstream from the speakers. Without that knowledge or experience, it becomes rather easy to arrive at incorrect conclusions and never realize it. Especially if 99% of all others agree with that same conclusion, in which case the majority always think they're right. To the best of my knowledge, every last one of us are compromising matters to one great extent or antoher and just because we may not realize a given compromise should never imply the compromise is nonexistent. Ludicrous indeed. But strong claims are made in virtually every audio forum thread and post by every last one of us. For example, you yourself just made the strong claim about labeling others (Frank) as ludicrous for their potential strong claims. Unless you know every inch of high-end audio (you don't), or at least if you do not know where the greatest deficiencies lie for all playback systems (you don't) and unless you know the knowledge and experiences of all others (you don't), it may not be wise to label another's strong claiims as ludicrous. For example. If per chance Frank has dabbled into areas of distortions unknown to you, then in some ways Frank's strong claims could be light years ahead of your own. Though many strong claims can and perhaps should be tossed into the fire, still every once in a while a strong claim is the result of unique insight and experiences including experiments, and deductions. But you're not leaving any room here for Frank's strong claim to be potentially true even if per chance the claimant is speculating.
  15. I think you may be overlooking the potential that everybody has varied hearing acuity and more importantly varied levels of discernment of what they hear. Sure you can. Just like a symphony conductor or even a 5-year old can "go there" listening on a transistor radio. I thought one of the primary goals of high-end audio was to strive to reach a level of musicality during playback where one need not over-exercise one's imagination to percieve how the presentation could or should sound. Out of all the recordings out there you could have chosen to illustrate "audio energy" or live energy, hard to believe you would choose this one.
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