Author Topic: What is the ultimite amplifier  (Read 8954 times)

Offline Tuyen

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #20 on: March 25, 2014, 01:01:15 AM »
Nice!! That would of been one expensive build just buy looking at the rare tubes and tango iron.

 It actually managed to improve the sound on Steve's system??   Never would of thought that would be possible. The 'less is more' not always the case?
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 01:06:43 AM by Tuyen »

Offline Jehuty

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #21 on: March 25, 2014, 01:03:25 AM »
Nah, we didn't have to. Steve's system doesn't use any volume control. So, it's a BIG task for any preamp to sound like nothing  ;D
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline Jehuty

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #22 on: March 25, 2014, 01:23:24 AM »
It actually managed to improve the sound on Steve's system??   Never would of thought that would be possible. The 'less is more' not always the case?

Hi Tuyen, I have my own preferences so I'll let the others comment on it this time  :)
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline hedalfa

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #23 on: March 25, 2014, 07:07:16 AM »
WRT batteries for filaments, we did a lot of listening tests years ago on battery filaments versus various other heater supplies.

The results were as follows:

The DC regulated with 317 sounded the worst of all. Clean but grainy and unmusical and less involving.
The plain vanilla AC heaters sounded the most musical and vivid good timbers etc but they were a bit dirty and 'loose' sounding.
The batteries were somewhere between, they were much cleaner than AC but not harsh and sterile like the 317 regulated heaters.
It took a bit of doing but I worked out a non battery circuit that sounded as good as the batteries, maybe better.

This matches what I have read elsewhere. So why are batteries needed??







Z
I was very surprised how important the heater supplies were.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 12:16:10 PM by stevenvalve »

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #24 on: March 25, 2014, 07:27:13 AM »
Nice!! That would of been one expensive build just buy looking at the rare tubes and tango iron.

 It actually managed to improve the sound on Steve's system??   Never would of thought that would be possible. The 'less is more' not always the case?
I didnt think the preamp sounded like 'nothing',   it was definitely bringing something additional to the mix.

Hard to describe exactly what.   When it was properly warmed up, with the 205D's,  it was like I could hear deeper into the music.   The beauty, texture,  was quite intoxicating.
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline Jehuty

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #25 on: March 25, 2014, 08:16:35 AM »
Just to clarify, I didn't mean that it sounded like nothing. In my experience with Steve's system, preamp usually hurts his system and only that special preamp built by Paul Baker that did not hurt the system. Whether I prefer to run the system with or without a preamp, that's another story  ;)
Not all that matters can be measured, not all that can be measured matters.

Offline hedalfa

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #26 on: March 25, 2014, 08:17:48 AM »
There are other qualities the preamp has that werent as fully evident at stevens, because his speaker compliment and mine are vastly different. 

The resolution is outstanding, I prefer that term than the traditional word detail, because thats often associated with sound thats analytical and timbrally threadbare, theres no way the sound from this pre is like that!! 

I keep saying to Paul Baker as he hasnt heard it since the valves have fully broken in, and my system wasnt optimally voiced when I first got the pre, that he has built a world class item here.............

« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 08:21:07 AM by hedalfa »

Offline zenelectro

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #27 on: March 25, 2014, 08:47:30 AM »
I gave the vote (by a nose) to Stevens system without the pre amp, although it did sound very nice with it in. 

It's very subjective and depends how you like to listen to things. The Pre amp certainly added a flavour to the sound that to me was quite evident.

As with all pre amps, there are plusses and minuses.

On the plus side, the pre amp unloads the DAC and provide more OP drive.
On the minus side, it's got a gain stage, transformer etc so that always adds a signature.

Horses for courses I guess.  ;) ;)

Z

 

Offline Tuyen

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #28 on: March 25, 2014, 10:00:59 AM »
Makes sense with most things hi-fi hey!

so many horses, so many courses!     :)

has anyone of you guys heard a 26 DHT preamp before?    Seems to be quite popular choice in the DIY tube world.

Offline hedalfa

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #29 on: March 25, 2014, 10:11:56 AM »
Zenelectro

The same approach could be applied to other audio gear. Everything has a signature. Having heard quite a few killer dacs, compared to brads micro seiki theres minus as well as plus with killer dac. More resolution yes, yet in some ways the mico seiki could be considered superior its more analog and less digital sounding. With the micro seiki  I wouldnít bother with the killer dac unless I was searching for more resolution.  Also if you donít have speakers and rest of system capable of dealing with the resolution then you wont be getting all of the benefits either.

As I said Steves system isnít able to reveal all the capabilities of the preamp. Like the killer dac concept, that not everyone will agree with, some of the signatures thatís you may take as positive are those that help restore whats lost through the process of recording and reproducing the original musical event. 

Where I disagree with your assessment is the human voice. This is the weak point of almost all hi fi systems and the standard of recording of the human voice in many respects seems to have gone backwards in most contemporary recordings, some are frankly tragic.  I do accept that many people are not exposed to hearing good vocal reproduction (nor always recognise and even appreciate it when they hear it). Stevens with pre or not is special in its ability to convey the human voice. Though I do think his original valves may have been 45 globes and were even better for the human voice than ones he has used in recent years. 

One aspect I didnít think was close at all was vocals with pre and without the pre. 205d valve, not the Chinese junk, have to my ears a very natural signature on the vocals, without the pre, vocals to my ears went backwards significantly, and the 205d valves were still breaking in.  The Johhny Cash numbers were particularly telling, the difference was startling  The 205D added real special qualities to the vocal performance. Now a 205D amp, thats going to be real interesting.
« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 12:12:21 PM by hedalfa »

Offline fallsaudio

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #30 on: March 25, 2014, 11:29:52 AM »
 :D now I have your attention :- I only wanted to let you know some of the dangers with batteries at high voltage and high currents.
   As we all know mains power supplies are dangerous too but there is a lot more current floating around with batteries.

  Regulators for tube filament has always been a problem . My experience with these is most do not sound right . There is a fellow in the UK making regulators for all sorts of tube , they come in a kit but he will not give you the circuit , I used a pair of these in the 205D preamp for my friend in Canberra . As we all know this has sparked now the 205D battery power amp challenge.

I am exploring to see which batteries are good value and good sounding .There may be a few proto battery packs made and tested before I come with an answer
But I will keep you informed as to my progress
                                                                              Paul ;D

Offline Tuyen

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #31 on: March 25, 2014, 12:23:27 PM »
Hi Paul,

Able to disclose specifically what reg kit you are talking about?  Or secret sauce?

May be interested to try some against the rod coleman ones if possible.  :)

Cheers!

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #32 on: March 25, 2014, 08:18:03 PM »
As I said Steves system isnít able to reveal all the capabilities of the preamp.
Interested to hear more re this.  What are you hearing on your system, that can't be heard on Stevens?

It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline hedalfa

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #33 on: March 25, 2014, 08:48:09 PM »
Interested to hear more re this.  What are you hearing on your system, that can't be heard on Stevens?

Are you sure you want to know. It should come with an audio warning, careful you entering audio madness territory, your on the edge............ :o :o :o :o :o

Where do I start, clean musical bass, extended high frequencies, revelation of layers of music that's in the mix, that's let free, sudden impacts, ball tearing transient response if its in the recording, vocal acceleration, starting and stopping with a wallop.  That should give you an idea. And also subtle details.

It an abnormal system, I have been fighting compromises for years, I don't want the usual tradeoffs. The pre does subtle, it also has bags of timbre and it also does wallop because the speakers and rest of system are not much of a bottleneck. If its there it will come out..............BIG Time. Theres no way single cone driver as good as a pair of axiom 80s are can do this alone.........................

Some of what it reveals stevens system couldn't be expected to, its not that MAD ;D

Theres still more to come as I don't have all my end stage amps in place. I know now 45 valves are unbeatable for what they do well.  The trick is in using them. If Paul Baker adds them to his open baffles watch out, the results could be jaw dropping :o :o :o :o :o :o I am serious, jaw dropping as he has the implementation to take full advantage the valves signature.



 

« Last Edit: March 25, 2014, 10:47:12 PM by hedalfa »

Offline ozmillsy

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #34 on: March 25, 2014, 09:15:03 PM »
I need to hear this.   8)
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.

Offline zenelectro

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #35 on: March 25, 2014, 11:34:56 PM »
Zenelectro

Where I disagree with your assessment is the human voice. This is the weak point of almost all hi fi systems and the standard of recording of the human voice in many respects seems to have gone backwards in most contemporary recordings, some are frankly tragic.  I do accept that many people are not exposed to hearing good vocal reproduction (nor always recognise and even appreciate it when they hear it). Stevens with pre or not is special in its ability to convey the human voice. Though I do think his original valves may have been 45 globes and were even better for the human voice than ones he has used in recent years. 

A lot of this going backward is actually going forward to lower distortion microphone preamps and mics. They have a different sonic signature which is less coloured more
transparent and this often doesn't produce that classic rich vocal sound of older recordings.

This sound you are hearing is something like a Telefunken U47 (see pic 1) into a Telefunken V72 mic pre (transformers and tubes). Add a tube tape recorder and it's
heavenly. Classic Sinatra and many others.

The dilemma is that if you use a super low distortion microphone and microphone pre amp, the sound is more 'modern' and quite different. It is actually more accurate
to the way peoples voice sounds in real life, but it doesn't have that magic quality that gives you the illusion of the voice floating with richness.

This is just the way it is, and if you take that same U47 / pre and use it for something like an acoustic guitar it may have the opposite effect - too bloated.

Unfortunately this illusion that is recording -> playback with 2 speakers is a big black art and somethings work well with super flat, low distortion, others lend
themselves to quite an amount of further 'enhancement'.

Quote

One aspect I didnít think was close at all was vocals with pre and without the pre. 205d valve, not the Chinese junk, have to my ears a very natural signature on the vocals, without the pre, vocals to my ears went backwards significantly, and the 205d valves were still breaking in.  The Johhny Cash numbers were particularly telling, the difference was startling  The 205D added real special qualities to the vocal performance. Now a 205D amp, thats going to be real interesting.

Yep, it's a combination of the 205 and all the transformers etc etc that adds the vocal richness - however you will find on complex material it can go the other way.
In the end it's all subjective and my preference is usually more towards a slightly cleaner rendition.

I guess I don't like too much sauce on my pudding!   ;) ;)   


Offline zenelectro

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #36 on: March 25, 2014, 11:46:34 PM »
Hi Paul,

Able to disclose specifically what reg kit you are talking about?  Or secret sauce?

May be interested to try some against the rod coleman ones if possible.  :)

Cheers!

There are quite a few and everyone seems to have their take on the perfect heater supply.

Tentlabs also does one that is a constant current supply but with some kind of servo control to keep the voltage at the right value.

http://www.tentlabs.com/Products/Tubeamp/Tubefilament/index.html

No idea how they sound.

Z

Offline hedalfa

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #37 on: March 26, 2014, 09:06:32 AM »
Zenelectro

Your wrote:
The dilemma is that if you use a super low distortion microphone and microphone pre amp, the sound is more 'modern' and quite different. It is actually more accurate to the way peoples voice sounds in real life, but it doesn't have that magic quality that gives you the illusion of the voice floating with richness.

If I heard this done right, or more specifically I heard this reproduced, I might agree, usually what I hear its dried out, thin analytical voices with no wetness and also a very poor ability to in conveying the unique characteristics of each singers voice, though thatís the speaker and the rest of the chain also contributing to that result.  Sure early recordings you mention are likely too far the other way, yet most systems need so much help itís a positive rather than a negative. And we havent even touched the black art of emotional conveyance. And you also didnít mention the ability to real hear the change in the vocal delivery, when the singer really lets fly, though maybe its compression thatís the culprit here.  We seem to have become accustomed to thin weedy vocals, even worse when they have a metallic sheen as well.

Why is it I could spend 8 hours in front of a system which is like the trend of making lps sound like CD, what Id call the clean school and thereís no emotional conveyance period. Sure I can hear whatís going on well, but I am not moved one bit, frankly what ever good points such systems have and they are boring, and are not joyful. You can keep all of them, there not my cup of tea at all.  We have seen in recent years some of the audio reviwers realise they had been going down the wrong path as well, listening to systems that had been sucking the life out of the music.

You wroteĒ
Yep, it's a combination of the 205 and all the transformers etc etc that adds the vocal richness - however you will find on complex material it can go the other way.

Theoretically fine, just like the expert that told me with my car project I couldnít put supercharger boost through individual throttle bodies it will never idle and be almost impossible to drive smoothly. As it turned out the expert was totally wrong. It took courage to ignore the feedback.  No problem with complex material what so ever, on the contrary itís a strength and I have heard few if any systems with greater capability to handle complex material.
   
The other point here is the synergy of the overall equipment, some sauce can be a good thing if some other parts of the chain are lacking.  The problem is where people seize on a simple formula and implement it blindly, everything thing, every cable, part must be supper clean and detailed, the system ends up just as unbalanced as a system which is soo rich it gives you a stomache, ache its bloated, so syrupply everythings golden when its not. 
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 09:11:16 AM by hedalfa »

Offline Tuyen

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Offline ozmillsy

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Re: What is the ultimite amplifier
« Reply #39 on: March 26, 2014, 10:46:25 AM »
The other point here is the synergy of the overall equipment, some sauce can be a good thing if some other parts of the chain are lacking.  The problem is where people seize on a simple formula and implement it blindly, everything thing, every cable, part must be supper clean and detailed, the system ends up just as unbalanced as a system which is soo rich it gives you a stomache, ache its bloated, so syrupply everythings golden when its not.
A good word you used earlier was resolution.   I was careful not to use detail aswell,  preferring to describe the KillerPre allowing us to see deeper into the music.   Like it's amplifying everything it's being fed, without relying on volume.    What I heard, was all of the goodness of the front end shining through.

Now,  I can certainly steer my Dac to the clean and detailed side,  or I can steer it towards being syrupy.   I've done it, with the choice of output tubes, dac chip and chokes.  I have settled on a combination that doesnt stray too far either way.   The overall system is now just ever so slightly leaning towards "clean",  which is no mean feat,  when we are working with Tannoys, vintage Radford, and Killer front end.   There is no silver anywhere.    The M3 pre is starting to work in nicely now, with the combination of cables at my disposal.   Is it perfect,  no,  but I reckon I'm further down the road than I have ever been.   :)       But to get deeper into the music, I need to crank it,  and if I go too far,  things start coming undone.
« Last Edit: March 26, 2014, 10:54:25 AM by ozmillsy »
It's all about the music,, not the equipment.