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Doesnt anyone ever talk about music anymore?


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ARco did indeed. And I respect Arco here. I dont know how his EICO is working nor how he really listens to gear or music. BAsed on his comments, I found them not in line with what I find to be true. But I have a hunch that he listens differently than I do. I dont know... I put a probe his direction and never got a response in that post about listening to gear vs music. There are NO simple answers here. And if looking for the ulitmate resolution, you will stumble down another path, not always a path that takes you into the ultimate of musical satisfaction. But I think some have to go ALL THE WAY to the bitter end to find out. And some dont return, either.

The MORE YOU UNCOVER, the more you realize that the answers and QUESTIONS need to be looked into from different angles. Your post here in this thread is a GREAT start and one that many audiophiles, including a contingent of the Greek Audio Club, have not addressed (nor will likely address unless coming full circle).

Be on the lookout for some interesting posts coming from this end concerning vintage vs SET gear via the music.

NOTE: I still want to make the point that I am not picking vintage over SET per say, just that there is a certain place you can stop in the search while still bringing all the enjoyment of the music retaining the soul and musicality and that certain amps, despite the topology (ie Williamson, Triode, PP, SET, etc) can convery this essence. As stated above, I dont think I will EVER be without a SET amp again. I love the presentation too much.


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I think the ACA has contingents from both sides of the fence when it comes to music vs. system.

It was enlightening to see those that attended the meeting at my house. They ranged from those that could only hear what they see in $ terms to those that heard only the music and many stages in between.

I suppose in some ways the reviewers comments were a riot to me and truely put into prespective how personal audio is. I found his critism's of the system aimed at those elements of the sound I love and his praise heaped in areas I think weak.

Others that expressed opinions were so varying in what they liked and/or disliked that my conclusion was simply I have to continue to trust me own ears (big surprise!!).

As it happens I am trying real hard to get back to listening to music and away from listening to the system. This approach seems to be working, at least with classical music and I am finally recapturing the magic of Rossini, Mozart, Beethoven et al.

Anyway as an aside I sold the Accuphase this morning (phew!!) so I am now able to spend if I choose. Time to go MC? Maybe a Denon 103 as an interim with a new phono stage? I wonder if a better arm fits on my TT (the Rega 250?)

Decisions decisions...

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Take a few more moments to continue listening to your system. You have just changed your speakers. Shouldn't you take more time to better determine their strenghts and weakness's. Get a better idea of what you feel is missing. Is it depth of soundstage, presentation, instrument intonation, what? How do you best address the shortcomings and in what order? I say start with the least expensive. Since you do play a lot of vinyl, a cartridge change may be the easiest. HOMC may start you down a slope of spending without sure benefits. I'm not usually one to make recs, but the Clearaudio Aurum Beta(MM) could be a way to add some finese to your system at little cost. I've been amazed with the smooth sound of the Alpha I have and it's really changed the thoughts that I would need a HOMC to be statisfied with presentation of music from vinyl.

Just a few thoughts. Now it's time to go VOTE!

Klipsch out.

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The problem is not that there is anything missing with the sound. If anything I have been concerned that the sound is too good and leaves me examining the sound rather than listening to the music.

I am now coming to the opinion that the solution is not a downgrade but rather to tweak away any various items in the system until the music overwhelms the sound.

Funnily enough I may have just found that very tweak. As you may or may not know houses in Greece almost invaribly have solid floors, often marble. In summer we live without carpets and in winter we put them down again. Each year I forget what a dramatic difference this makes to my sound.

Yesterday the carpets were put down again, all newly cleaned and with a very high WAF for a sonic upgrade!! Oh what a difference. I was transfixed to my chair.

I played the sound track from Philadelphia which contains at least 3 tracks that just melt me. The first is the Boss - Streets of Philadelphia, the second is the aria featuring Maria Callas (the name escapes me at time of typing) and the third is for me the big hitter. Philadelphia - City of Brotherly love.

In the film this is played during the after funeral get together with a video of the children playing together running on a TV in the room. It always brought a lump to my throat but yesterday I am not ashamed to say I had tears running down my face. The music went right through me and it must have taken me 5 minutes to recover enough to get up and replace the record when it finished.

That is what I have been searching for! All that analysis of sound just gets in the way of the emotional bond with the music. For now, at least, such analysis is in abayance.

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This is problematic to me. What you might be decribing is something more akin to a system that is erring on the side of thy Audiophile Syndrome over one of simple musicality. This is something I have been discussing with my friend in Quebec. He has built a number of very high resolution SET amps in the last few years from scratch that latest featuring MagneQuest Parafeed Cobalt output transformers, easily costing more than many entire amplifiers. HE has built V52, 2A3, 300B, etc SETs all with very high parts quality and amazing workmanship. I can attest to both. Yet I just convinced him to get an EICO HF-81 as a standby while he is changing the topology and front end of his latest 300b SET monoblocks. HE just wanted to plug something in while the other amps were on the table (he has sold all his other designs for money to roll over into new projects).

Well, needless to say, he wrote back the following day almost beside himself! He was so shocked, he actually called over another audio cohort late at night to come listen himself. HE was simply BLOWN AWAY by the musicality and naturalness of the HF-81 via his Lamhorns! What was the difference? His latest SET creations had crossed the resolution barrier and were amazing (I heard them this summer and can attest to the almost magnifying glass resolving character). But unfortunately, somewhere in the mix, the MUSICAL ABILITY TO DRAW YOU IN had been lost, being replaced with a pulling apart and ubber detail that sounded amazing on first listen but was essentially a TOOL. This is a quagmire that many Audiophile fall into as well, especailly when LISTENING TO THE GEAR where these "TOOLS" become the goal. The realization of this aspect was shocking to my Quebecian friend...so much so, he peppered me with about 10 email on the subject. This is a lot of what I have been hinting at with my posts concerning the balance of gear and that very important balance/musical quality.

I think a good many Audio types are locked into this quagmire without even realizing it. I am all for resolution and detail...as long as it is also located within a piece of gear that still exhibits a coherency and ability to stir the soul and make you forget the equipment exhists in the first place. While this might also point to a state of mind, I think the gear has something to do with it as well.

On another note, I think you can only fully appreciate how troubling this is after going all the way down the resolution/detail/audiophile tunnel and back out the other side, letting yourself be "hit by the train" and surviving the gaffe, if you can call it that.


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Kelly, great post ... That is a perfect summary of how the HF-81 gets to me ... although I don't have many iterations of amps to generate an experience base to work from.

I was always impressed (with bad tubes nonetheless) at how MUSICAL the amp was ... marginal interconnects, marginal cabling ... It just makes music that sounds RIGHT and NATURAL ... and as Max says, the emotion just comes right through you.

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Well, there you go! I have a good freind with a Krell/Watt Puppy system that is VERY impressive. You know what he plays to show it off? Formula One race-car noises. Then he moves into the typical audiophile crap like "Jazz at the Pawnshop." He doesn't even own a turntable. He is ALL ABOUT THE GEAR and that's FINE! But if you own a hi-fi system to listen to MUSIC, then all the detail in the world won't make up for a horn not sounding like a horn.

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You guys ever hear of (THE ART OF NOISE)

And also i have a guitarscapes cd here, you can special order from Denver, here is the # 303-931-5469

The guys name is Michael Reese. hes the guitar player on the Disc, ive told him about my freinds here on the BB, and hes been waiting to take orders, this is the most intense guitar compossed CD ive ever heard!

Regards Jim

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"This is problematic to me. What you might be decribing is something more akin to a system that is erring on the side of thy Audiophile Syndrome over one of simple musicality"

That is exactly my fear. My system is almost heading to the Quad 989 / Accuphase levels of resolution that Tony has and this is most definitely not what I want.

It is interesting that you point to the amps as your sample culprits. In my case these are the same as they have been for some time and it is the speakers that have changed.

There is no doubt in my mind that the current setup plays more of the music on offer. There was, seemingly, a paucity to the sound from the Heresy's that resulted in only a proportion of the available sound coming through. Some parts of the music were simply totally absent and these now appear in abundance.

The result of all this is something of a shock to the ear. There is so much more going on musically that it distracts the mind. For example, on my copy of DSOTM I had gotten used to the way the Heresies played. With the Sansui's the background effects are now much more obvious (voices, typewriters, cash machines and the rest). I find myself listening out for these rather than taking in the whole.

Further, not only are the effects more obvious, but the handling of the effects is also much more defined. There are bassy wooshes that move across the soundstage with the Sansui's in a way they never did with the Heresys. In fact wherever an effect on the Heresys was observed it was generally fairly static in the soundstage whilst with the Sansui's it almost never is.

This is further exacerbated by the added sense of depth that the Sansui's bring. The Heresies always presented a fairly flat soundstage with little sense, or at least only a subtle sense, of the relative distances of the various sources of sound in the whole. On the Sansui's conversely there is relatively massive depth, especially on orchestral works. It is at the same time amazing and distracting.

The fact that the voices and instruments do remain static on the Sansui's leads me to believe that they are the ones that are performing closer to the "design spec" but it is simply not something that I am used to and currently distracts if not detracts from the music.

I am therefore debating the following:

1. Should I stick with the Sansui's and expect to get used to this development? Or,

2. Should I go back to the Heresy's and therefore back to the sound I am familiar with?

This obviously begs other questions like will I be able to go back? Has my ear now become so accustomed to the new features that I will not be able to enjoy what previously was manna from heaven on the ear?

In other words - have I screwed myself here and put myself in limbo?

It is interesting to note that for simpler works (things like Tracy Chapman, Bob Marley, Charlie Mingus, Dave Bruebeck and such which have voice and/or relatively few instruments) I prefer the Sansui sound as the added complexity of what is going on is minimal whilst the superior rendition of things like voice come to the fore.

This is why the Neil Young - Philadelphia is so moving whilst the Rossini - barber of Seville is simply too busy.

Frankly it is all becoming a bit depressing. The night before last I had an emotional connection with the former piece that was magnificent. Last night I felt bombarded by the latter and was irritated by the fact that the orchestra in the performance is so obviously at a lower level, physically, than the performers.

This resulted in the music coming out as a support to the voices as opposed to wrapping around them.

To illustrate this imagine you are at the performance. If you are in the first row of seats you will get the definite impression of the height differential between orchestra and staged voicing, if you are in row 16 you won't as both the relative difference in heights is reduced due to distance and the accoustics of the auditorium come into play.

Right now I would say the Sansui's are in rows 1 to 4 and the Heresys in rows 16 to 30.

Maybe I should be looking for a row 8 speaker...

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