Author Topic: Listening and learning  (Read 2849 times)

Offline audiophool

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Listening and learning
« on: February 15, 2011, 01:02:27 AM »
I bought my amp almost exactly 5 years ago.
It was my first valve amp and I knew little about them, I do not know a lot more now but have learned a little.
Yes, I know, this is the cables section, bear with my rambling a little and I will come to the point.
After about 12 months the volume pot (a fairly basic carbon track pot) started behaving badly and I decided to change it for a stepped attenuator using Dale resistors.
This surprised me by giving a marked increase in resolution and clarity.
Some 12 months later I bought my current speakers and at the time was using DNM solid core copper speaker cables.
These speakers are quite sensitive and very revealing, over time I noted various things that did not please me about the sound and found that silver I/Cs did rather nice things, seemingly smoother with blacker background etc, etc.
An opportunity arose to purchase a set of silver speaker cables at half the RRP and I took it.
They were lovely at the time and covered over a lot of the cracks.
Moving along now, over time I became less enthused with the Dale attenuator (at least I blamed it) finding it often harsh and with a tendency to screech on occasion and there were some tracks that I played very rarely as they had problems that made them unpleasant to listen to.
Looking around I decided to try the Takman Metal film unit.
I fitted this around a month ago and was immediately taken by the improvement over the Dale - I wrote this up on SNA in wire,cable & mods - might as well have saved my time  :P
Emboldened, I decided to change a few resistors in the signal path in my amp for some that might offer improvement.
Mario had already mentioned to me that he now no longer used silver and during my visit with Steven he enlarged upon the subject in a manner to which I could relate in describing the sonic attributes of silver but also its downside and saying that if there seemed to be a problem using copper then the problem was elsewhere in the system.
Following that visit I operated upon my amp and replaced 4 critical resistors in each channel and one length of connecting wire.
Firing it up again without letting out the magic smoke, I heard improved resolution and tonality reduced noise and hash/grain and proceeded to run through many of my favourite tracks and all the ones I had found problematic.
While generally very pleased with the improvements, I began noticing a metallic edginess and ringing, most particularly noticeable on one track but having heard it it was easier to hear in the background on other pieces.
While initially thinking to blame the metal films in the attenuator, I recalled Steven's remarks and having my DNM cables still, I dug them out and disconnected my beloved silver cables.
Hey mama, these is the business.
24 hours later and I have been almost unable to sleep for wanting to listen to track after track, there is still a trace of metal edge to the track I initially picked it on, but that sounds the same on both headphone rigs and is only the one track on that particular album.
For the rest, more texture and tonality, different violins sound different, individual voices are more distinctive and individual singers easier to identify, no screeching but crystal clear highs (at least as far as I can hear  ;) ), deep full textured bass, nearly all the problematic tracks are now listenable if not perfect, in all more truthful and natural sound all round, at least to my ears.
Why bore all of you with this ?
Well you deserve it, I was given good info here, so here it is back with another vote of confidence.(and a big thank you for pushing me in the right direction with your experience freely shared.)

Offline kajak12

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Re: Listening and learning
« Reply #1 on: February 15, 2011, 01:35:24 AM »
top post and i am glad that this site has helped you with your journey  ;)
still discovering the link between electronics and audio reproduction.so much to learn and so little time

Offline flemo

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Re: Listening and learning
« Reply #2 on: February 15, 2011, 01:40:30 AM »
Hi Audiophool,

A well written account of your experiences and how the correct advice with tweaks can change your whole listening experience.  

It does amaze me that so many people in this hobby are willing to spend thousands on upgraditis, and we've all been there, and can be so limited by their narrow mindness and sheep mentality.  Some of us on this forum cop a bagging and are the brunt of many smart arse comments on other forums.  

It seems hi-fi has become a competition, a pissing contest, and nobody can win it.  All hi-fi is subjective and comes down to personal taste, personal bias, and ones ability to hear the differences.  

The thing I like about this forum is we're here to genuinely help each other with no agenda and to pass on experiences, advice, and make some friends along the way.  

I like that we can post our experiences here without somebody demanding data, proof or stat's (well most of us anyway).  We either choose to accept or disregard the information without treating each other like arseholes.  And why is it so many people don't trust their ears??

The hi-fi journey is a lot more fun when you can enjoy the processes with helpful, open minded, friendly people.  It seems the more you learn the less you know!!

Cheers, flemo.

Offline Jehuty

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Re: Listening and learning
« Reply #3 on: February 15, 2011, 02:03:35 AM »
I bought my amp almost exactly 5 years ago.
It was my first valve amp and I knew little about them, I do not know a lot more now but have learned a little.
Yes, I know, this is the cables section, bear with my rambling a little and I will come to the point.
After about 12 months the volume pot (a fairly basic carbon track pot) started behaving badly and I decided to change it for a stepped attenuator using Dale resistors.
This surprised me by giving a marked increase in resolution and clarity.
Some 12 months later I bought my current speakers and at the time was using DNM solid core copper speaker cables.
These speakers are quite sensitive and very revealing, over time I noted various things that did not please me about the sound and found that silver I/Cs did rather nice things, seemingly smoother with blacker background etc, etc.
An opportunity arose to purchase a set of silver speaker cables at half the RRP and I took it.
They were lovely at the time and covered over a lot of the cracks.
Moving along now, over time I became less enthused with the Dale attenuator (at least I blamed it) finding it often harsh and with a tendency to screech on occasion and there were some tracks that I played very rarely as they had problems that made them unpleasant to listen to.
Looking around I decided to try the Takman Metal film unit.
I fitted this around a month ago and was immediately taken by the improvement over the Dale - I wrote this up on SNA in wire,cable & mods - might as well have saved my time  :P
Emboldened, I decided to change a few resistors in the signal path in my amp for some that might offer improvement.
Mario had already mentioned to me that he now no longer used silver and during my visit with Steven he enlarged upon the subject in a manner to which I could relate in describing the sonic attributes of silver but also its downside and saying that if there seemed to be a problem using copper then the problem was elsewhere in the system.
Following that visit I operated upon my amp and replaced 4 critical resistors in each channel and one length of connecting wire.
Firing it up again without letting out the magic smoke, I heard improved resolution and tonality reduced noise and hash/grain and proceeded to run through many of my favourite tracks and all the ones I had found problematic.
While generally very pleased with the improvements, I began noticing a metallic edginess and ringing, most particularly noticeable on one track but having heard it it was easier to hear in the background on other pieces.
While initially thinking to blame the metal films in the attenuator, I recalled Steven's remarks and having my DNM cables still, I dug them out and disconnected my beloved silver cables.
Hey mama, these is the business.
24 hours later and I have been almost unable to sleep for wanting to listen to track after track, there is still a trace of metal edge to the track I initially picked it on, but that sounds the same on both headphone rigs and is only the one track on that particular album.
For the rest, more texture and tonality, different violins sound different, individual voices are more distinctive and individual singers easier to identify, no screeching but crystal clear highs (at least as far as I can hear  ;) ), deep full textured bass, nearly all the problematic tracks are now listenable if not perfect, in all more truthful and natural sound all round, at least to my ears.
Why bore all of you with this ?
Well you deserve it, I was given good info here, so here it is back with another vote of confidence.(and a big thank you for pushing me in the right direction with your experience freely shared.)


Fantastic post! People can learn a lot here  :)
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: Listening and learning
« Reply #4 on: February 15, 2011, 02:26:09 AM »
Silver is a cable that makes manufactures lots of money, but silver cable is very very poor sounding. It has a whiteness, lack of body, not much warmth, It homogenises timbers of instruments, puts, a sameness on the timber of different sounds, sounds weak without substance, without chest, there is a type of white artificial colouration over everything, a white sheen if you like, shifts the frequency up, and takes it from the best lower range that copper provides,  it is a cardboard cutout of real music, the high frequency's are so artificial and weak. Bottom line is if silver makes your system sound better then it is telling you something. and that is, the system is poorly tuned. Silver does have its strengths, but too many downsides to use in a truly brilliant system.

Offline audiophool

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Re: Listening and learning
« Reply #5 on: February 26, 2011, 07:13:53 PM »
Thanks for the feedback guys.
Steven,
I recall you recommending the Goertz cable and a particular one of those, but I do not now recall which it was.
I found an MI 1 and an MI 2 which seemed to be different sizes (width).
Could you refresh me on that ?
thank you,
Tony G

Offline stevenvalve

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Re: Listening and learning
« Reply #6 on: February 26, 2011, 09:36:17 PM »
Thanks for the feedback guys.
Steven,
I recall you recommending the Goertz cable and a particular one of those, but I do not now recall which it was.
I found an MI 1 and an MI 2 which seemed to be different sizes (width).
Could you refresh me on that ?
thank you,
Tony G

Tony M1 T2 version. Get it from here. Dawn Langston l DLangston@bridgeportmagnetics.com    
Sales/H.R. Manager  
"Goertz division of Bridgeport Magnetics Group, Inc." <sales@bridgeportmagnetics.com                                                                                                                25 ft spool of MI-1 T series is $158.50+$56 postage=$214.50. Tony they are a pain in the ass to get stuff.  Goertz M1 T2 Version, it has a white teflon Dialectric in the middle, between the two runs of copper, and NO Varnish on the copper.  
« Last Edit: February 26, 2011, 09:39:10 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline audiophool

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Re: Listening and learning
« Reply #7 on: February 26, 2011, 11:02:50 PM »
Thanks for that Steven,
thought I remembered something about a white interlayer and a T in the name.