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In a digital system how important it an analogue preamp?


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1 hour ago, Bigman80 said:

Like the Flash, you have also just confirmed that TVCs sound different, and that is the only point I am interested in making. If they all sound different, they must be having an effect on what you are hearing. Hence they are not just a wire with gain.

Me saying that different TVCs sound different is a world away from saying what you are trying to imply, ie that all TVCs have an affect on the sound quality. My claim is that the very best TVCs are as near as makes no difference the same as a wire but with gain control.

You have not disproved that. 

Instead you seem to suggest that all active pre amps are better than TVCs. Whilst the very best active preamps might indeed be better in measurement terms (and how they sound) compared to the worst examples of TVCs you have in no way shown that the best TVCs are inferior to the best active preamps.

I am really picking you up on what I perceive to be you tarring all TVCs with the same brush.

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2 hours ago, Lawrence001 said:

Mainly perceived dynamics. I believe the thread is mainly referring to that rather than the dynamic range of the signal..

Having said that I made a point about digital attenuation reducing the bit rate which would impact the dynamic range of the signal, not in terms of peak to trough but the nuances of the micro dynamics within the signal.

Actually, maybe it depends exactly what dynamic range means, simple peak to trough of a passage of music would be the same if measured direct and then attenuated and amplified by even cheap components.

Whereas if you look at the local peaks and troughs deep within the signal I suspect passing it through these circuits would change the waves from the original. Then the micro dynamics of those peaks and troughs within that signal may no longer have the same dynamic range, impacting the sound the listener hears.

Digital volume control can be "transparent", it really depends on how it's implemented.

For example, HQPlayer performs its DSP at 64/80-bit floating point, you can easily attenuate 60dB without loss.

Here's an interesting piece on Roon's software-based volume control:

"DSP Volume Control in Roon and XMOS" - Carl-Werner Oehlrich

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10 hours ago, moo-fi said:

Mixing and mastering speakers are very different beasts. Most of the really big pro stuff is aimed at mastering, these tend to sound amazing and cost a small fortune. For mixing it is all about detail retrieval and it does not have to sound good (if often helps if it doesn't).

Surprisingly, for classical music most labels, studios and orchestras use B&W.

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Me saying that TVCs sound different is a world away from saying what you are trying to imply, ie that all TVCs have an affect on the sound quality. My claim is that the very best TVCs are as near as makes no difference the same as a wire but with gain control.
You have not disproved that. 
Instead you seem to suggest that active pre amps are better than TVCs. Whilst the very best active preamps might indeed be better in measurement terms (and how they sound) compared to the worst examples of TVCs you have in no way shown that the best TVCs are inferior to the best active preamps.
I am really picking you up on what I perceive to be you tarring all TVCs with the same brush.
A TVC is a winding of a particular metal wire. Due to the fact that it is a winding, it has levels of capacitance, resistance and inductance. Depending on how much wire is used, the gauge of the wire and the quality of the wire, those capacitance, resistance and inductance number will vary greatly. Also, Impedance varies when you attenuate the signal via a TVC too. That will also have an effect.

Therefore, your winding (TVC) will have measurable and audible differences to other windings.

The same is true of cables, cartridges, SUTs and TVCs. It is a fact, and I'm afraid it's a fact that doesn't change just because you spent a shit ton of money on one.

You may have a better quality winding in your MFA, than one found in say a £30 AliExpress one, but you still have Capacitance, Resistance, Inductance and variable impedance, and that will cause differences in how they perform sonically. They are not immune from these influences, which my "fuzzy photo" clearly enough demonstrated.

It's not a case of tarring every TVC with the same brush, it's about understanding them and why they sound different to each other.

You cannot escape it, and it will have some effect on what you hear. Hence the veil on the Chord Dave.

Also you do realize that by using the Dave straight into the amplifier that you used it's inbuilt volume control?....a silicone chip.

You have also stated the MFA was veiled (to a degree) in comparison......to a silicone chip. A £10 digital volume control chip.

My original, and somewhat now lost point was that this idea that TVCs are flawless, "signal in, signal out" or "wire with gain" is not correct. It's measurably and evidentially not true.

As I have previously stated, I am not running SUTs or TVCs down, and I do understand their appeal from a sonic perspective.









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Anyway, it's my first Saturday off work in about 12 weeks, so I'm off to build some HiFi!








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Transparency cannot be added to a signal. There was very slightly less with the MFA in. The way of describing the effect in visual terms would be to say that it was as if an almost invisible net curtain was being held over the image. But I do mean almost invisible. The change with the MFA Baby Ref V2 in the circuit was pretty much not detectable sonically.
Transparency can't be added to a signal but adding a component might help preserve it. Eg due to impedance mismatches.
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13 hours ago, Bigman80 said:

I have a preamp that I can change the gain with. Nothing else changes, except for one resistor being added to the circuit.


 

There's no circuit in the world afaik where you can change gain without altering any other parameter. If you know of one please publish!

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There's no circuit in the world afaik where you can change gain without altering any other parameter. If you know of one please publish!
By "nothing else changes"

I was referring to the physical addition of a single resistor only, nothing else physically is required to change the gain.


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13 hours ago, tuga said:

How can a system which distorts the signal be more "transparent" to the recording (I presume you mean the signal and not the performance)?

The signal is all we have and thus the only accuracy possible is to the signal. Not only that but stereo through speakers is unable to reconstruct the original soundfield as it was captured by the mics. And you can only capture the original soundfield with a pair of mics, which rules out most recordings anyway.

So what we get is a representation of reality, an illusion, like a photograph is an illusion, one which requires a degree of abstraction from the viewer in order to "make sense". And it's a flawed illusion, which I presume is why you call it "bland".

What I find interesting is that for some people the "bland" illusion is enough to convey emotion and make the connection whilst for others it is manifestly insuficent.

There are so many misunderstandings and misconceptions buried in your response to my post that it is clear we are not in any way communicating effectively. 

I'll just leave it at that. 

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1 hour ago, tuga said:

Surprisingly, for classical music most labels, studios and orchestras use B&W.

That may have been true 10 years ago but things have moved on, many studios have already or in the process of moving to multi channel formats, with classical leading the way. Speakers used vary greatly, and depend on the country, with lots of Pmc and ATC in the UK. 

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25 minutes ago, Lawrence001 said:
2 hours ago, Fourlegs said:
Transparency cannot be added to a signal. There was very slightly less with the MFA in. The way of describing the effect in visual terms would be to say that it was as if an almost invisible net curtain was being held over the image. But I do mean almost invisible. The change with the MFA Baby Ref V2 in the circuit was pretty much not detectable sonically.

Transparency can't be added to a signal but adding a component might help preserve it. Eg due to impedance mismatches.

Can't it? What about if you remove things that are there?

Some people have found better power supplies improve the sound.

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Can't it? What about if you remove things that are there?
Some people have found better power supplies improve the sound.
No, you will then be removing the limitations of your equipment. The transparency is improved/revealed by improving equipment and removing the things that are preventing transparency.

The recording is the recording. It cannot be anything else.

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1 hour ago, Bigman80 said:

Also you do realize that by using the Dave straight into the amplifier that you used it's inbuilt volume control?....a silicone chip.

Is it a “silicon chip” or math/DSP?

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Is it a “silicon chip” or math/DSP?
Dunno, but you get a whole DAC with it for £6k

Same price as the MFA



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16 minutes ago, moo-fi said:

That may have been true 10 years ago but things have moved on, many studios have already or in the process of moving to multi channel formats, with classical leading the way. Speakers used vary greatly, and depend on the country, with lots of Pmc and ATC in the UK. 

I’ve compiled a short list here.

B&W is used in multi-channel systems too

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