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

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

    Could You Tell a Tube Integrated from a Solid State Receiver (in a Video) If All Else Were Equal?


    https://www.audiokarma.org/forums/index.php?threads/could-you-tell-a-tube-integrated-from-a-solid-state-receiver-in-a-video-if-all-else-were-equal.983586/#post-15316997


    For those that doubt the efficacy of YouTube to demonstrate "subtle" differences, you are in for a real treat..., and you don't need uber-monitors to hear the differences.

    This will also provide insite into the development of the Mermans and the pairing of not only the room, but the amplification to the speakers. It may also explain why Rob finds the Mermans to be bright, which may not be the speakers at all.

    Enjoy!

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    That Youtube 256k compression sounds nice.

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    Well, there's certainly a clearly audible difference listening through my earbuds which is nice if you're trying to demonstrate a difference. I think/assume the complaint about "auditioning" speakers via YouTube is it doesn't give you a realistic sense of what you're going to hear in your room.(?) I couldn't tell you which I might prefer in person, or whether I think the system as a whole sounds good or bad. I assume the tube amplifier is the top video and the SS amplifier is the bottom video. There's an easily audible difference regardless.

    It's also necessary to voltage match 2 amplifiers when doing A/B/X tests not SPL match. We do it to +/- .003 volts with a 1khz test tone, though in this demonstration I assume the tonal shift is what you're demonstrating. When comparing similar amplifier types, even the tiniest difference in level will skew the results.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rusty jefferson View Post
    Well, there's certainly a clearly audible difference listening through my earbuds which is nice if you're trying to demonstrate a difference. I think/assume the complaint about "auditioning" speakers via YouTube is it doesn't give you a realistic sense of what you're going to hear in your room.(?) I couldn't tell you which I might prefer in person, or whether I think the system as a whole sounds good or bad. I assume the tube amplifier is the top video and the SS amplifier is the bottom video. There's an easily audible difference regardless.

    It's also necessary to voltage match 2 amplifiers when doing A/B/X tests not SPL match. We do it to +/- .003 volts with a 1khz test tone, though in this demonstration I assume the tonal shift is what you're demonstrating. When comparing similar amplifier types, even the tiniest difference in level will skew the results.

    Thanks,

    I don't subscribe to the 1kHz test tone, but rather prefer pink noise. The problem with using a 1 kHz tone is that if one speaker is "laid back" at 1kHz, and the other is "forward," you would turn up the laid back speaker and turn down the forward offering. This would then make the remainder of the band louder on the laid back speaker and quieter on the forward speaker and the laid back speaker would become louder overall making it sound preferable.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    Thanks,

    I don't subscribe to the 1kHz test tone, but rather prefer pink noise. The problem with using a 1 kHz tone is that if one speaker is "laid back" at 1kHz, and the other is "forward," you would turn up the laid back speaker and turn down the forward offering. This would then make the remainder of the band louder on the laid back speaker and quieter on the forward speaker and the laid back speaker would become louder overall making it sound preferable.
    Hello toddalin

    I think he means matching the output voltages measured on the amp terminals. Chances of the gain structures being the same is not good. I could hear the difference between the two easily so I would say the videos were useful for this comparison.

    Rob
    "I could be arguing in my spare time"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Robh3606 View Post
    Hello toddalin

    I think he means matching the output voltages measured on the amp terminals. Chances of the gain structures being the same is not good. I could hear the difference between the two easily so I would say the videos were useful for this comparison.

    Rob

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    The shootout continues. This may be the most comprehensive test of this type on the 'net.

    https://www.audiokarma.org/forums/in...ot-out.984391/

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    You sure won't hear that sound at Best Buy

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    Imo the ss amp is noticeably louder notwithstanding the rolloff of the tube amp. Even though the ss amp is obviously more forward sounding, the entire mid range is clearly louder with the ss. Not sure it's a fair test here not because of what I just said but because ss and tube character could be much more closely matched in which case it would probably be a much different outcome.

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    Quote Originally Posted by gasfan View Post
    Imo the ss amp is noticeably louder notwithstanding the rolloff of the tube amp. Even though the ss amp is obviously more forward sounding, the entire mid range is clearly louder with the ss. Not sure it's a fair test here not because of what I just said but because ss and tube character could be much more closely matched in which case it would probably be a much different outcome.
    But you are wrong. The Melton is ~0.1 dBA louder using the pink noise on the Stereophile disk and ~0.9A dB louder using the 1kHz tone on the same disk. I went to great lengths using professional equipment to match these volume-wise (and nothing was moved or changed between videos) giving the advantage (<0.1 dBA) to the Melton. All recorded measurements (19 sets of measurements with 133 parameters just in the set-up alone) were done in triplicate to ensure similarity and Leq levels never varied by more than 0.1 dBA, and were typically identical, in each set of triplicate readings.

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    Okay, I stand corrected. I suppose the flatter response makes it seem louder?

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    All recorded measurements (19 sets of measurements with 133 parameters just in the set-up alone) were done in triplicate to ensure similarity and Leq levels never varied by more than 0.1 dBA, and were typically identical, in each set of triplicate readings.
    Can't say you aren't dedicated!

    Did you take any high resolution FR measurements to see how the two systems diverge? Do you have impedance and phase response measurements? 1/3 octave RTA measurements don't tell you much.

    Based on everyone's comments it would seem that one amp isn't operating properly or the load presented by the speakers under test are causing one or both of the amps to behave poorly. Unlike our old friend Julian Hirsch, I do agree with your premise that different amps have their own sound, but two properly operating amplifiers shouldn't sound grossly different.


    Widget

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    1/6th octave RTA, not 1/3rd. That's a separate band for every two notes in the diatonic scale. BTW, the RTA (Behringer DEQ2496) was not used in any of the testing.

    The 1kHz and Pink Noise sources were taken from the Stereophile Test CD and monitoring was performed using a Quest Technologies Model 2900 Type 2 Integrating/logging Sound Level Meter. The unit meets the American National Standards Institute Standard S1.4-1983 for Type 2, International Electrotechnical Commission Standard 651-1979 for Type 2, and International Electro-technical Commission Standard 651-1979 for Type 2 sound level meters. I use this meter for the field measurements in my CEQA noise studies and have since I purchased it new ~25 years ago.

    Everything is operating properly and you are welcome to come by and listen anytime.

    I would urge you/people to do their own videos, even if you don't put it on the 'net, just to be able to instantaneously A/B two sounds. If you use good equipment in recording and playback, and make sure all other parameters are held the same, you may just be suprised how poor the ear's memory really is for changes in timbre over time.

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    I'm not sure what the debate is here. 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.

    Quote Originally Posted by Mr. Widget View Post
    ....Unlike our old friend Julian Hirsch, I do agree with your premise that different amps have their own sound, but two properly operating amplifiers shouldn't sound grossly different.


    Widget
    I believe his premise 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.

    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. Most inexpensive transformer coupled tube amplifiers lack in the low frequency and high frequency. Measuring sound levels with pink noise is apples and oranges.

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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    1/6th octave RTA, not 1/3rd. That's a separate band for every two notes in the diatonic scale. BTW, the RTA (Behringer DEQ2496) was not used in any of the testing.
    I am not a fan of RTA measurements in general. They were the SOTA in 1982, but today we have better tools.

    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    The 1kHz and Pink Noise sources were taken from the Stereophile Test CD and monitoring was performed using a Quest Technologies Model 2900 Type 2 Integrating/logging Sound Level Meter. The unit meets the American National Standards Institute Standard S1.4-1983 for Type 2, International Electrotechnical Commission Standard 651-1979 for Type 2, and International Electro-technical Commission Standard 651-1979 for Type 2 sound level meters. I use this meter for the field measurements in my CEQA noise studies and have since I purchased it new ~25 years ago.
    I assumed your noise measurements were using calibrated equipment from your work.

    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    ...you may just be surprised how poor the ear's memory really is for changes in timbre over time.
    No argument on the fallibility of our sonic memory and issues with perception in general. I am not sure recording the sounds helps over realtime comparisons though as a microphone doesn't "hear" in the same way as we do. A plot of a tight "cloud" of measurements is more representative than a single mic recording a test signal.


    Widget

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