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2 hours ago, captainbeefheart said:

For anyone interested sit down at a piano and play these musical intervals that relate to harmonic distortion. You will be able to hear the difference in what these different harmonies sound like which directly relates to how harmonious the type of distortion is.

 

So it's not just total harmonic distortion, but what TYPE of distortion it is made up as.

My wife can play the piano (I can’t even play dice) and is quite good at it although it is strictly for pleasure, not a pianist by trade (she is a commercial pilot). We have a piano and it is one of my pieces of “test equipment “. I know exactly what you mean Captain!

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54 minutes ago, Curious_George said:

My wife can play the piano (I can’t even play dice) and is quite good at it although it is strictly for pleasure, not a pianist by trade (she is a commercial pilot). We have a piano and it is one of my pieces of “test equipment “. I know exactly what you mean Captain!

 

The second harmonic, which I said is an interval of a musical octave, for anyone that doesn't know what an octave is it's where the same note in music is reached at a higher register. So play a middle A note which is 440Hz, the next octave up is the note A repeated except it's now double the frequency at 880Hz. Of course the same exact note being played together will be very harmonious. Now the third harmonic to that A (440Hz) is now 1320Hz or a musical 12th interval and is an E note. Although they are different notes, A and E they are still considered harmonious in musical terms as they make up two very important parts of the musical triad, the one and the five, the other is the third which would be C#. If you are confused why it's C# and not just C it's because you need to count up three notes in that key, A Major has 3 sharps, F#, C#, and G#. That interval of a fifth (same note as the 12th) just an octave lower, A and E notes are what is known as a 'power chord' and if you have ever listened to rock music most chords omit the third and just use the 1 and 5 notes because they sound very powerful, as in 'power chord'. So that's why third harmonic is considered more aggressive vs second harmonic. The higher you get into the harmonics past the 4th harmonic the added extra notes on top of the fundamental are no longer harmonious in musical terms. They end up being not a perfect fifth (12th) but a flat fifth, which is the blue note in music theory, it is very dissonant and sounds really bad or unnatural. That's why upper harmonics in the distortion spectrum is not wanted and why people will tout "second harmonic dominant" because that is the most harmonious and natural sounding to the fundamental.

 

Let's look at it in another view. Information into the amplifier and information out of the amplifier. It's not just the fact the waveform at the input has taken on a different form at it's output, there is now new information added to the output that was not there at the input. We'll look at an amplifier with 5% THD and let's just assume it's all second harmonic distortion. We will use the same middle A note at 440Hz. If the amplifier has an input signal of middle A 440Hz the output will not only have that note it will also contain another A note at 880Hz along with it -26db below it. So if the amplifier is an 8 watt amplifier, A 440Hz will be 8v and the other A note an octave above at 880Hz will be 400mV. So there is 400mV of 880Hz at the output that is not supposed to be there. Now consider all of these notes that are not supposed to be there start to interact with each other creating both harmonious and non-harmonious musical intervals with each other, this is what muddies up the sound and makes it no longer clean. With simple music it's less of a deal, but complex music with lots of harmonies and harmonics onto themselves making up the signal too much distortion will cause complex music to be mixed up into a concoction of notes that don't sound good together making the sound less clear and less transparent. This is where we come up with tests like 'intermodulation distortion' and 'Total intermodulation distortion' etc.. This is why people feel that 'IMD' or 'TIM' are more accurate test measurements to tell us how an amplifier will sound. An amp with only second harmonic distortion will have less IMD and TIM compared to one that is comprised of higher harmonics although there THD is exactly the same %.  Another reason THD needs to be looked into further as an FFT plot to see what type of distortion we are seeing and then take it further into measuring IMD or TIM.

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Let me digress for a moment… 

 

Three books from Bob Cordell, Doug Self and Randy Sloane should have tube equivalents, but they don’t. I found these books back in the day to clearly explain the mechanisms at work in amplifier design. If you design an amp and omit any of the distortion/linearity mechanisms, then you have intentionally designed the amp to be less the optimum and thus introduced your sonic signature to the design. 
 

If every amp manufacturer followed the text book, we would all be buying the same amp. Some designers think mechanism “A” has less effect than mechanism “B” and they design accordingly. 
 

My point is, is that is all about the circuit design, not so much the boutique parts. If you understand the mechanisms, you design your amp and choose adequate parts to supplement your final design. If one part changes the sound of your design significantly , your design is flawed. 

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  • 4 weeks later...
  • 8 months later...

I wanted to revive this thread after spending a few months with my Toolshed Transcendence 300b amp.    

 

I have it paired with Forte IVs and was originally using it with a Zesto Leto preamp.    The amp is equipped with the optional CTC vintage power transformer,  Hitachi Fine Met Amorphous OPT , Mundorf sio caps,  Jupiter caps,  Khozmo stepped attenuators and outfitted with new Western Electric 300b power tubes, Amperex 7788 input tubes and a Raytheon 274b rectifier.

 

The quality, fit , and finish of this amp is not fully appreciated until you see it first hand.    It is a work of art that sounds just as good as it looks, maybe better.    Pics do not do this amp justice !!!!   The inside is nicely laid out, very high quality hand made turret boards and clever use of mounting hardware and stand offs.  There is no plastic in this amp, no zip ties,  no double face tape everything is securely mounted with hardware.    

 

I was surprised how mechanically quiet and free of noise this amp is.  It is remarkably quiet ,   Zero hum or noise from the chassis and a black , quiet background free of noise or hum.   This for me is crucial.    I have sold a few pieces of gear that sounded good but had even the slightest hint of self noise.   

 

I have never had a SET amp,  my last few amps were all push pull pentode types, EL34, 6L6 , etc.    This amp has a purity and transparency that I have never experienced first hand.   

 

It is well balanced top to bottom.   Obviously it's midrange is amazing but it really surprised me in the bass region.  It is deep, tight , and never flabby like they are "supposed" to be.    I rarely turn my sub on since getting this amp,  it's low end is so good for most material, the sub muddies up the low end.  

 

I'm not going to try to sound like a reviewer,  I will say this was the best audio component  purchase I have ever made in 40 plus years of enjoying hi fi.    This amp is so good I am having Matt build me the companion DHT preamp.   

 

Www.toolshedamps.com 

 

https://i.postimg.cc/7YRx8SXQ/B25-B2495-3-AF4-4807-ACCF-DFA55-D0549-D6.jpg

B25-B2495-3-AF4-4807-ACCF-DFA55-D0549-D6.jpg

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Those amps are simply a work of art.   I would love to own one.   I will be replacing my 20yr old Chinese EL34 amp with something new after Christmas.  I have the Tool Shed, Ayon and Bob Carvers Crimson 275 on my list.  The Crimson looks like a bargain compared to these other 2.  The Ayon and 275 are rated at 75w/ch. The TS is 8w/ch i think.    I'm driving a pair of CornScala's using  B&C mid drivers.  Can 8w's drive these to 90db levels with plenty of low and mid bass punch?

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You get an heirloom piece when you have a Toolshed built for you.    I can't even count how many nights I have been up til midnight or 1 AM listening to this amp...    was absolutely worth the money and I don't part with that kind of money easily.     Amazing combo with Forte IV 

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Thanks Fido !   I can’t wait for it’s companion preamp to arrive.  It will be a DHT based on the 205d tube with a Khozmo remote control encoder volume control.  It is a relay / ladder that only places one resistor in the path with each volume increment. Should pair nicely with the amp 

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2 hours ago, Steve. said:

Thanks Fido !   I can’t wait for it’s companion preamp to arrive.  It will be a DHT based on the 205d tube with a Khozmo remote control encoder volume control.  It is a relay / ladder that only places one resistor in the path with each volume increment. Should pair nicely with the amp 

Sounds awesome Steve. Congrats on the new amp/preamp and Forte IVs.

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