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Thread: Could You Tell a Tube Integrated from a Solid State Receiver???

  1. #16
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    I'm not sure what the debate is here.
    I'm not sure there is a debate here.

    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    Transformer coupled tube amplifiers with high output impedance, and solid state amplifiers with low output impedance will almost always sound different in an A/B/X test for a variety of reasons. That's no surprise.
    Yes, but if the tube amp has top quality output transformers the impedance shouldn't be an issue. In my experience with high quality tube amps the differences between SS and tube are quite subtle. Vintage Macs and others tend to have rolled off tops and fat and lose bottom ends due to their design and possibly their transformers. OTL designs definitely sound "different".

    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    I believe his premise [Julian Hirsch] is that 2 amplifiers of similar type and that measure similarly (similar input impedance, similar output impedance) will generally speaking, sound the same if neither is driven into clipping during the test. I don't think Julian or anyone would expect a transformer coupled tube amp with 500k ohms of input impedance and 7 ohms of output impedance, and a solid state amp with 10k ohms of input impedance and 0.007 ohms of output impedance will sound the same on a typical speaker load. I have tried such A/B/X tests under controlled conditions. It surprised me just how easy/difficult it is to distinguish between 2 amplifiers based on these variables.
    Perhaps, but since both were designed to work with low impedance loudspeakers, I believe Mr. Hirsch was of the belief that the operating principle of the amplifier was not relevant to the sound quality as long as both measured reasonably well. While he did measure 0.000000000000X IM, THD, TIM etc., he also said that these numbers were not really relevant past a certain point.

    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    As far as matching 2 amplifiers in level, there's only 1 way to do it properly. That's using a high quality volt meter and matching the voltage on both amplifiers @ 1khz to a tight tolerance. We use +/- 0.003 volts. Measuring volume level is useless... Measuring sound levels with pink noise is apples and oranges.
    "Useless" may be a bit strong, but I agree.

    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    Most inexpensive transformer coupled tube amplifiers lack in the low frequency and high frequency.
    Cheap transformers will certainly have that effect. I am not familiar with the devices under test here, but if the tube amp is using economy or some vintage transformers that would certainly alter the sound in a manner described by the listeners. I had assumed the comparison was using top flight amps operating to a spec of +/- 0.25dB 20Hz to 20KHz or thereabouts.


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  2. #17
    Administrator Robh3606's Avatar
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    Without looking at the speaker impedance curve you really don't have a complete picture. With a transformer coupled amp the more varied the impedance curve the more chance you have of FR deviations depending on the magnitude changes and where they are WRT frequencies effected.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

  3. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post

    Cheap transformers will certainly have that effect. I am not familiar with the devices under test here, but if the tube amp is using economy or some vintage transformers that would certainly alter the sound in a manner described by the listeners. I had assumed the comparison was using top flight amps operating to a spec of +/- 0.25dB 20Hz to 20KHz or thereabouts.


    Widget
    Certainly the Yamaha far exceeds this but no idea on the Melton:


    http://meltonaudio.com/cart/amplifie...er-mkt88p-80w/



    Even here through the JBLs, it seems that the top of the Melton is rolled off, though this recording leaves much to be desired.

  4. #19
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    And here.

    Sorry about two posts but the JBL format only allows one video per post.


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    Actually, rather than pink noise or a warbled 1kHz, maybe we should be using M-noise.

    https://meyersound.com/news/m-noise-test-signal/

  6. #21
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Hi Todd,

    To get to the chase, what are you trying to demonstrate?


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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    .... I had assumed the comparison was using top flight amps operating to a spec of +/- 0.25dB 20Hz to 20KHz or thereabouts.
    Widget
    So, we're saying the same thing. If he can hear an obvious difference in pink noise between these 2 amplifiers, one (at least) doesn't meet that standard. Only the very best and most expensive transformer coupled tube amplifiers will come close to (and not real close ) those qualities and be hard to distinguish from SS in a double blind A/B/X test. I don't know anyone who has bothered to try it because it's generally not necessary if looking for differences. I've only done them with similar types of amplifiers to see if people can distinguish the difference between say a Crown and a Parasound, which have similar input/output impedance, frequency response, etc. but different topologies.

    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606 View Post
    Without looking at the speaker impedance curve you really don't have a complete picture. With a transformer coupled amp the more varied the impedance curve the more chance you have of FR deviations depending on the magnitude changes and where they are WRT frequencies effected.

    Rob
    Absolutely.

    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    Actually, rather than pink noise or a warbled 1kHz,.....
    If you've been trying to do it with a warbled 1khz signal that's not going to work. You need a 1khz sine wave like from a signal generator.

  8. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    And here.

    Sorry about two posts but the JBL format only allows one video per post.

    Yikes, this Audiophile should lose his/her membership card for playing music in that room. YouTube is good enough to show how bad that room sounds. There is no way one could judge that equipment.

  9. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post

    If you've been trying to do it with a warbled 1khz signal that's not going to work. You need a 1khz sine wave like from a signal generator.
    1kHz sine wave from the Stereophile test disk. But ultimately, I used the pink noise and not the sine wave to set the volumes the same

    HAD TO BE THIS WAY! The Oppo feeds the Yamaha through the two HQ RCA outputs while the Melton comes from the two HQ XLR -> RCA outputs, so the Oppo player's different output levels (if they exist) had to be considered in the difference in volume levels. An external piece of equipment would not accomplish this.

  10. #25
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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    Hi Todd,

    To get to the chase, what are you trying to demonstrate?


    Widget
    Many/most of the local members from AudioKarma who get together are into tube equipment and had been saying that I should try it so I bought the Melton. It's made overseas, but the distributor is local to me and I was able to pick it up and, if need be, have it serviced locally (2 year warrentee which is nice if you don't have to send something back to China to use it).

    One of the AK members is on the fence and specifically asked that I play that Vanessa track on both pieces of equipment knowing that I had the ability to do it in a relatively fair manner.

    I simply thought that others here may also be interested in the results as well as a demonstration as to the YouTube capability to distinguish sounds when everything else is held the same.

    And, I thought it could generate some interest/hits and isn't that what hosting/having a website platform all about?

    BTW, I calculate that the difference in voltage between the Yamaha and Melton was on the order of 0.02 volt and this equated to ~0.1 dBA differential. There is no way in Heil that one could set the Yamaha to a specific level and "twiddle" the analog Alps pot on the Melton to within 0.003 volt. Just the slightest touch of the Alps pot would be several tenths of a dB and it took me over an hour "just touching" the pot then checking the levels just to get them this close.

  11. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    Many/most of the local members from AudioKarma who get together are into tube equipment and had been saying that I should try it so I bought the Melton....

    ....I simply thought that others here may also be interested in the results as well as a demonstration as to the YouTube capability to distinguish sounds when everything else is held the same....
    I appreciate that and the demonstration. I just wasn't sure what you were demonstrating as there's so many variables.

    As far as the capability of YouTube to distinguish differences in a demo like that, here's one I found interesting. Same source, amplification, speakers (2 pairs), cables, etc. but one pair of speakers have a high end footer added. Much like all the other YouTube videos, there's no way anyone could possibly tell if this system sounds good or not, but there's a clearly audible difference when they switch. Demonstration starts at the 1:00 mark.

    https://youtu.be/wst_XwbwTqk

  12. #27
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    Many/most of the local members from AudioKarma who get together are into tube equipment and had been saying that I should try it so I bought the Melton. It's made overseas, but the distributor is local to me and I was able to pick it up and, if need be, have it serviced locally (2 year warrentee which is nice if you don't have to send something back to China to use it).

    One of the AK members is on the fence and specifically asked that I play that Vanessa track on both pieces of equipment knowing that I had the ability to do it in a relatively fair manner.
    Thanks Todd for this detailed "backgrounder". Now I get it.

    From my perspective I would put this amp in the same category as Lowther full range loudspeakers. There are many out there who get excited by certain sound qualities. Some want a pronounced midrange, others exaggerated bass, and others with rather unique choices. It would be interesting to audition this amp with a wide range ribbon speaker or any reasonably accurate design with very benign impedance/phase characteristics. Most home brew speakers can present a pretty difficult load and will generate unpredictable results with an amp like this. (This is what Rusty has been driving at and I hinted at in an earlier post.)

    Based on this added info, I wouldn't want to deal with the unpredictable nature of this particular amp. FWIW: I find Yamahas to be a slightly on the hard side (not to be confused with the extreme frequency abborations demonstrated in your comparisons above) and their YPAO often sounds worse than no "correction". I have used CLIO and Studio Six Digital's LARSA to verify what YPAO is doing, and in many cases it wasn't beneficial. That said, we sell Yamahas every day. They are reliable well built units that will do the job as well or better than any other AVR.

    In the case of this demo, I would agree with your choice of the Yamaha as your "laboratory standard" as it will provide a solid baseline for comparison purposes though it will digitize the signal, process it, and covert it back to analog... probably why I feel they sound hard.


    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    And, I thought it could generate some interest/hits and isn't that what hosting/having a website platform all about?
    Interesting notion. I think you are right for many.
    Personally, if I can learn something new, or help someone avoid buying the "Emperors's new clothes", I think it is a good day.


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  13. #28
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    Thanks for the response.

    Yes, there are many who consider the Yamahas to be bright and detailed as part of their "in-house signature."

    But, in this case, the Oppo was fed to the "Pure Direct" input and all digital processing and lighting is turned off. The Oppo essentually goes from its analog outputs to the volume control, then the power amps. If the signal must be digitized to go through the volume control, I am not aware of it.

    BTW, the YPAO does wonders for the L200/300s and I can't get nearly as good results by trying to use the onboard eq functions. It takes out the veil/depressions from the 2235 and crossover region and intelligability goes way up.

    https://usa.yamaha.com/files/downloa...9/RXZ9_man.pdf

    Would you like to hear the difference on a YouTube video? I can demonstate.

  14. #29
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    Would you like to hear the difference on a YouTube video? I can demonstate.
    Thanks for the generous offer... but I'll take a rain check.


    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    But, in this case, the Oppo was fed to the "Pure Direct" input and all digital processing and lighting is turned off. The Oppo essentually goes from its analog outputs to the volume control, then the power amps. If the signal must be digitized to go through the volume control, I am not aware of it.
    If you used a digital output from the Oppo, then you have eliminated one level of conversion, but if you go into the Yamaha on any of its analog inputs the AVR will convert it to digital (using Pure Direct bypasses the DSP and surround processing) before converting it back to analog.


    Widget

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    but if you go into the Yamaha on any of its analog inputs the AVR will convert it to digital (using Pure Direct bypasses the DSP and surround processing) before converting it back to analog.


    Widget
    In Pure Direct the analog input goes directly to the YAC520 chip volume control with 256 steps, then to the power amps. Everything else is turned off. The data sheets show the YAC520 takes analog input. Is there an internal digital conversion or is the digital portion just controlling the analog? From the descriptions, it would seem the latter.

    https://datasheetspdf.com/pdf-file/6...ATION/YAC520/1


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