Jump to content
The Klipsch Audio Community
tube fanatic

Does designing an amplifier by ear really work?

Recommended Posts

 A friend saw this on AA and sent it over.

 

This treatment raises some thoughtful points about why amps which measure extremely poorly often sound phenomenal, and why some amps which measure well can sound like crap:

 

http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.497.2126&rep=rep1&type=pdf

 

It is well worth reading.

 

 

Maynard

  • Like 2
  • Thanks 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I think this idea transcends just Amplification... Practical trumps Theoretical every time no mater what the discipline. 

Another thing is... a designer may  NOT be the best judge of the design in the same way that a race car designer is not the fastest driver/pilot.

  • Like 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Schu said:

I think this idea transcends just Amplification... Practical trumps Theoretical every time no mater what the discipline. 

Another thing is... a designer may  NOT be the best judge of the design in the same way that a race car designer is not the fastest driver/pilot.

And an amp designer creating something that sounds good to him may sound like crap to me.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

And an amp designer creating something that sounds good to him may sound like crap to me.

Everything is like that. I am not sure that I understand the point you are making. A chef makes a desert that tastes good to the chef but to you, who knows what you like.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Maynard,

 

Thanks for posting that !!  I know the answer. 

 

I am fully under the impression that an amp that sounds really really good, ................will measure really really good !!! 

 

I say this, from about a decade ago, when an audio friend of mine took his amps to the local University's EE department, and they told him, after one week of testing, the amps measured better than ANY amps they had ever measured !!  It was designed by HIS ear and experience,  and only about 1% o-scope.

 

There was a huge fire which destroyed his amps, home, etc., all of this, and my audio friend never chose to divulge openly such information to the public.  Fine!

 

He did, however,  as a friend, share it with me.   There was absolutely no reason to think he was not being straight with me, and me with you !! 

 

Jeffrey

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 minute ago, moray james said:

Everything is like that. I am not sure that I understand the point you are making. A chef makes a desert that tastes good to the chef but to you, who knows what you like.

Just pointing out that in the greater scheme of things you need to listen to different amps to see what you like.  Going off of reviews or what amp designers create, whether it was designed by ear or specs really doesn't matter.  Granted it might be slightly off Maynard's point.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
39 minutes ago, CECAA850 said:

And an amp designer creating something that sounds good to him may sound like crap to me.

 

Absolutely, it all DEPENDS upon the amp designer, and the designer-person's TOTAL audio experience !!! 

 

You have to KNOW who you are dealing with, and their audio / music background !!

 

The road to Hell is paved with good intentions.

 

Jeffrey.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 hours ago, Schu said:

I think this idea transcends just Amplification... Practical trumps Theoretical every time no mater what the discipline. 

Another thing is... a designer may  NOT be the best judge of the design in the same way that a race car designer is not the fastest driver/pilot.

 

 

You write :

 

' Practical trumps Theoretical every time no mater what the discipline. "

 

AMEN !!!!!!............................ from me.  Great POST from you.

 

Jeff 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Very interesting read. Although most of it is way to technical for me, I get the gist of what the author is saying. It has always been my belief that the music you hear far outweighs the specs printed on paper!

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Nice thread Maynard and yes I started the read and will finish it.

 

First thoughts seeing, or trying to "see," all the aspects this forum has to offer is truly mind boggling to me.  I've always been a "plug n play" kinda guy and will most prolly remain that way.  

 

Second thought was you guys are TOTALLY out to lunch even though I find all of it interesting.  So yea. a lot of pieces of the pie in here.  Maybe someday I'll get it all figured out.  Never happen but ya start somewhere I guess and gleen what you can.  It'll sort itself even though I leave the tech/mod/building to other people I find it all very interesting.

 

Almost "lunch" time!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

image.png.5325e9f85887f5c7fef417c06229b496.png

 

Ok I am trying to quote the sentence the starts with "On all the elements........and sound quality".

So we are all agreed? That everything except the power amp is well defined and the sound quality standardized? Huh? Is this a Klipsch speaker forum?

 

 

 

 

 

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
37 minutes ago, babadono said:

image.png.5325e9f85887f5c7fef417c06229b496.png

 

Ok I am trying to quote the sentence the starts with "On all the elements........and sound quality".

So we are all agreed? That everything except the power amp is well defined and the sound quality standardized? Huh? Is this a Klipsch speaker forum?

 

 

 

 

 

Yes, of course its a Klipsch Forum, but you are in " Talkin' Tubes" section. 

 

In my personal experience, and my feeling for the last 40 years, is that the speakers are WAY WAY better than the amps, and the power amps (a) make the biggest difference , and (b) are most in need of improvements. 

 

Thats why I build my own, to TRY to get the overall system better. I feel 99% of existing amps I hear flunk-out in various ways.  You may have a different view....thats fine too, and 100% OK with me !! 

 

Jeffrey 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

But on the Introduction page of a Doctoral Thesis an unproven generalization that there is general agreement that the standard fidelity objective as pertains to the resulting sound quality of everything in the reproduction chain except the Power Amplifier is already understood? If I were one of the reviewing Profs I would have brought out the :pwk_bs: button.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
18 minutes ago, babadono said:

But on the Introduction page of a Doctoral Thesis an unproven generalization that there is general agreement that the standard fidelity objective as pertains to the resulting sound quality of everything in the reproduction chain except the Power Amplifier is already understood? If I were one of the reviewing Profs I would have brought out the :pwk_bs: button.

What is it that you think isn't understood?

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Yea sorry everything is understood except power amps. My bad.

Just not by me I guess.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, Jeffrey D. Medwin said:

I am fully under the impression that an amp that sounds really really good, ................will measure really really good !!! 

 

Jeffrey

 

I don't agree with this.  There are many amps out there which measure poorly but sound wonderful to particular individuals.  I always come back to the example of the original Darling SET which has around 15% 2nd harmonic distortion at full output (if I recall correctly)- there are guys who will not listen to any other amp after hearing one.  And, Jeff, didn't you agree that the ripple of your LSES filter is fairly high and can result in some audible hum (please correct me if I'm mistaken)?  Wouldn't the former be an example of poor measurement?  

 

As to using neg. fb, I'm one of those who does not consider it to be problematic at all.  After all, it does extend bandwidth and lower output impedance.  Personally, I don't like or use a global loop.  Yet, when one looks at all of the renowned vintage amps which use the latter and sound outstanding it's difficult to reject the methodology out of hand.  

 

What I found most interesting about the guy's thesis is the discussion of the response of our own auditory systems to harmonic distortion and our built in cancellation effects.  That's a subject which I'll have to research more when time permits.  It's something which I haven't thought about previously. 

 

I understand Cheever's point about the amp being the determining factor in what we hear.  As the last element before the speakers, its influence will be significant based on its output impedance and how it interacts with the speakers' impedance variations.  I've always felt that preamps don't do all that much to alter the sound of a system. 

 

 

Maynard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
6 hours ago, tube fanatic said:

What I found most interesting about the guy's thesis is the discussion of the response of our own auditory systems to harmonic distortion and our built in cancellation effects. 

 

That's the part that caught my interest, although I'm only half through the article.

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Jeffrey, I did not make any statement about the sound of your or Dennis' amp.  As you astutely observed, I have not heard either.  I simply questioned your statement that an amp which sounds good measures good.  So, I must ask you what constitutes good measurements? 

 

I am a bit confused here as I had the impression that you and Dennis (since you have included him in this discussion) design totally by ear and eschew measurements since they will not influence any design changes.    

 

I look forward to your clarification when you have a free moment.

 

 

Maynard

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

It all depends on what gage wire is used for the amp build.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.


×
×
  • Create New...