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

  1. #31
    Administrator Mr. Widget's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by toddalin View Post
    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.
    Talking to the Yamaha engineers, there is no way to avoid the A to D step. I have no idea why they chose to design their equipment this way… Maybe the volume controller only works in the digital domain? I don’t know. In any event, because of this we always use their digital inputs if at all possible.


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  2. #32
    Senior Member grumpy's Avatar
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    In the simplified block diagram for the receiver, it certainly appears that there's both a direct PCM mode (bypassing) DSP and necessarily using the PCM1792 DAC, and also a "Pure Direct" analog path through the volume control chip (digitally controlled, but appears to be analog in nature). Does seem like both paths go through the same volume control chip.

    Whether the signal is typically less affected or 'sounds better' by bypassing a disc player's DAC and using the internal Yamaha DAC (Direct PCM mode), while it's within the confines of that Yamaha system is certainly up for debate, and I have no idea how 'simplified' the block diagram is. One would hope the Yamaha application engineers would have the best information available.

    Might make for another interesting comparison/experiment. I would try both and just enjoy whatever sounded 'best' by whatever definition you choose, or if the same, whichever was more convenient. Enjoy!

  3. #33
    Senior Member Ian Mackenzie's Avatar
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    Hi Todd,

    Your having fun.

    I think it’s reasonable to reason that differences can be detected on YouTube. Beyond that like everything in hifi, the subjectivity come down to the individual. It always has and always will.

    Statistically a particular tube amp versus a receiver needs to be compared with a range of loudspeakers

    Putting the tube amp aside, the receiver is not Lilly White. Under different load conditions what a multi channel receiver does as a 2 channel amplifier for hifi can vary just as a tube amplifier can. It all depends on the program material, the loudness and the particular loudspeaker load and efficiency presented to both amplifiers. It’s not rocket science. But what one Individual perceptions are compared with another will vary.

    If l was going to do an objective test l would do a sine wave sweep over the full audio frequency range with different voltages and plot the voltage drive across the loudspeaker load. I would also measure and compare thd with REW of the audio output of the loudspeaker of the tests.

    Without a doubt most tube amplifiers have a dominant 2nd order distortion content. Listeners perception vary but in general the 2nd order distortion will polarise the opinions of a group of listeners on perceived differences between SS and tube amplifiers. That is why there is a market for tube amplifiers. Not all tube amplifiers will exhibit a large 2nd order distortion but the majority do. Otherwise why manufacture a tube amplifier other thing the retro visual appearance which is very obvious on YouTube.

    Depending on the amplifier the perceptions can range from perceived loudness to tonal differences across the audio frequency range.

    This brings up another point. People listen with their eyes in an overwhelming bias towards how they make distinctions on sound differences. This is well founded statistically and is the reason for double blind tests. As YouTube is a visual media first and audible media you can draw all sorts of perceptions. No one is right or wrong ��. Amen.

    I have personally used a Manley Stingray tube integrated amplifier and compared it with a pro solid state amplifier. On simple entertainment terms l preferred the Stingray. It had a boogie factor which is hard not to like.

    Sometime later l used a Parasound hifi solid state power amplifier and my perceptions changed towards the Parasound by a clear margin.

    How so? Like everything in audio and hifi not everything is created equal.
    Would you detect the perceived differences on YouTube? As l said above that comes down to the individual. Enjoy.

  4. #34
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    Hi Ian. I'm interested in your answer to your own question. "otherwise why manufacture a tube amplifier?" This comparison is clearly an apples and oranges one. On the one hand you've got an amp attempting to fool you into a real event and on the other bloom you can drift off to Timbuktu in. As you stated, not all tube amps have the "tubey" dominant 2nd order character. Some ss amps are manufactured to compete with that very 2nd order tube distortion. Whether it's tubes or ss, it's designed into the circuit. Why manufacture a tube amp that easily competes with a ss amp in transparency? Because it's easier and cheaper to do so. Some of those old console EL84/7189 amps are superb and as transparent as it gets. Even some old Fisher stand alones like the SA-100 for example. It would be interesting to see how the Fisher and the Yamaha compare in this test.

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