@Makmeksam's good measuring vs. good sounding thread

Discussion in 'Audio Science' started by makmeksam, Dec 5, 2019.

  1. makmeksam

    makmeksam Rando

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    Maybe this is also already there. But, I could not find an answer easily.

    Let's say a very good amp designer is designing an amp. If he is after measurements, I guess it will be easier for him to tune the prototypes. Measure the prototype, trace back for the issues and make necessary changes until you get the desired measurements.

    Now lets say a very good designer is designing an amp by considering both measurements and subjective feedback. Now the people who give the feedback will be telling things like "this lacks body" or "sound is too thin" or "weight is not there" or a combination of things like this. Now, how can the designer change that feedback to something like, "this resister should have a different value" or "this component should be changed" or "the bias here should be changed"? Is there an elaborate answer than "experience" for this question?
     
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  2. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Excellence in audio component design is the result of the successful marriage of Science, Art and Experience. No substitutes.
     
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  3. Aelms

    Aelms Acquaintance

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    I think this is a question this forum contributes to answering, but there hasn’t been a clear answer yet because it’s so damn complicated. If you just want to have a sense of how such designers tend to talk about these things, there’re these few places:

    https://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/shortest-way-51-technical-measurements.8387/

    @Zampotech brings up old BBC design goals that aren’t considered by current measurements.

    https://superbestaudiofriends.org/i...4-headphone-amplifier.6720/page-3#post-231633

    @dsavitsk (ECP audio) discusses how certain parts selection creates other circuit requirements. There’s a few other gems in the woefully incomplete ECP/Beezar history thread. Also the old diy pages in the ECP website.

    There’re the chapters on engineering/Continuity/Nexus in the Schiit Happened headfi thread.

    If you have the engineering knowledge, you can also sample through tubecad.com to see an amp designer think about the trades offs of most topographies you can think of (he’s been doing it weekly since 2003).

    AMB Ti Kan has very detailed design notes in his projects.

    Once you’re at the point of looking into DIY, there’s a ton more of websites/books.

    In the end though, reality is that there probably is no comprehensive answer. The best (whatever this means) amp manufacturers likely want to keep their best secrets (each their own) to themselves, so there’s no public forum where you can find it all neatly lined up. You could try picking up DIY (as in not just buying a kit), in which case you’d eventually spend a heck lot of time and money to achieve anything of quality. Or you can just buy the thing first and listen to it, and see if anything anyone writes here matters to you.
     
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  4. makmeksam

    makmeksam Rando

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    Thank you for the resources. I am gonna read them in full when I get more time.

    If someone can give a concrete example of tuning an amp with both measurements and listening, may be from an open DIY amp or something, it will be a great addition. I mean an example that looks like this:
    Consider amp X that we were designing. People who listen to the first prototype complained that the sound is too thin. We decided to change the bias of Q1 to k1 to add more weight. Changing the bias of Q1 to k2 compromises resolution. Another option was to change R1 to k3 but it could have added unwanted amount of 2nd harmonic etc etc.
     
  5. JustAnotherRando

    JustAnotherRando My other bike is a Ferrari

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    For something simple, look at the Seas A26 speaker thread where @murphythecat and possibly @zerodeefex(?) post at length about tweaking sound via adjusting the crossover circuit. It's a crazy simple crossover, off memory it's just a single resistor.

    DIYaudio is full of similar examples with crossover modifications.

    Amps examples are much rarer, probably because people designing amps from scratch, or modding amps are less common.

    Thank you for the resources. I am gonna read them in full when I get more time.

    Edit: dislike added for just posing another 'feed me' question instead of reading and digesting Aelm's very good links first
     
    Last edited: Dec 7, 2019
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  6. makmeksam

    makmeksam Rando

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    Appreciate that you gave a feedback without just disliking. But, Oh god, please don't be that strict. 15 dislikes and counting for this reason so far. Unfortunately my schedule does not allow me to spend a lot of time immediately on audio! I skim through the external resources and ask questions to fill the gaps and collect more resources to read in full when I get a good time.
     
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  7. trung225

    trung225 Almost "Made"

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    There is no shortcut. You must build different iterations, hear them side-by-side and decide for your own. The more time you spend to hearing, the more experience you get. I remember Nelson Pass, John Curl, Charles Hansen (Ayre) have joked about the 10000-hour threshold, meaning they spend 10000 hour for hearing their designs and after that become a successful audio designer. And hearing yourself is not enough, the newly developed amplifier needs to be sent to their trusted customer/friends, many of them have better ears than the designer, to check the synthesis to different speakers/ sources, compare with amplifiers from another companies, and get feedback from that. Total time for a new product line of amplifiers will be 3-5 years.
     
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  8. Cspirou

    Cspirou They call me Sparky

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    Speaking of Tom's Hardware rating GPUs, they didn't do any favors with their DAC comparisons and proclaiming they all sound the same. The just plugged the HD800 directly to the soundcard output, which leads me to just think it sounded equally crappy on every device.

    This is a big issue I have with people claiming to be on the side of science and definitively ruling something can't be true "because there is NO EVIDENCE!"

    A lot of the times no evidence just means it just hasn't been found yet. Gravitational waves didn't just start existing a couple years ago, they were always there. I'm not like some people on this site who think we'll never measure everything we can hear. But I do think that there's stuff people are hearing that is beyond placebo.

    Shit, someone on this site had a Modi 2 and noticed a difference with his previous Modi. He opened up the DAC and saw a AK4490 chip that wasn't even advertised.

    Oh Schiiiiiit
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
  9. allegro

    allegro Friend

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    @makmeksam read though the rules for new members again. This forum values a high S/N ratio. It is not Head-Fi or social media and dislikes unnecessary or irrelevant posts. Don't post your feelings or ask a question that has already been answered other times on the site. Lurk more post less.

    Suggest next time you write out a post before you hit enter wait an hour and think: does this post really add value to this thread? I think you are taking the hazing well, don't take dislikes personally. Just realize this forum is different and it is up to you to adapt. Hope this helps.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
  10. purr1n

    purr1n Finding his inner redneck

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    Much of this correlation of measured data to observed phenomena is implicitly understood by members here, especially where the errors are gross, i.e. with headphones. Actually, maybe it's better to say: only when the errors are gross.

    However, is some cases we have attempted to describe the subjective from measurements:

    http://www.superbestaudiofriends.org/index.php?threads/csds-and-what-they-tell-us.65/

    --

    Note that SINAD has no or little correlation to what we hear once is past 70db give or take 10db.

    The Schiit Heresy sounds different from the Drop THX789. The Drop amp has a more expansive stage, the Heresy is tonally warmer. The Drop amp is has slightly zippier transients, and the Heresy more stately in it's approach. None of this is explained by SINAD or even their distortion characteristics. The one thing they share is that they are both emotionally unengaging. They both sound on the flat and boring side.

    Measurements are useless if they don't tell us anything that we can relate to.
     
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  11. Armaegis

    Armaegis Friend

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    My PC's always stutter out when I have more than one interface attached. Is there anything in particular you have on yours (like a second usb card?) or is it simply because I have an old machine?
     
  12. Hands

    Hands Overzealous Auto Flusher - Measurbator

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    Sounds like an issue with your PC.
     
  13. atomicbob

    atomicbob dScope Yoda

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    Intent of the diagram was to show signal flow. There is only one RME ADI-2 Pro connected to my laptop, which is a Dell Latitude E7470 using a docking station port replicator. USB is routed through a Vaunix Lab Brick EMI screen room approved USB hub. RME has exceptionally robust drivers and interface. The system is DAW configured as noted in FAQs on many of the DAW websites. Additionally I use AlacrityPC to shut down all unnecessary services when running DAW or measurement mode.

    Browsers WILL cause dropouts. Don't surf the internet while doing anything you value when using USB audio interfaces such as recording or measurements.
     
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  14. dasman66

    dasman66 Self proclaimed lazy ass - friend

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    Can the mods please split out the @makmeksam portion to a separate thread? While I find much of the information/links offered up valuable, I think it has completely muddied up the thread
     
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  15. ultrabike

    ultrabike Measurbator - Admin

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    Moved things from the Magni's Measurements thread.

    Don't worry about the dislikes. Really, who cares.

    Most folks have busy schedules. If you give at least a crap about audio, you can make time to listen to stuff (doesn't need to be much). That will help you to better understand where people are coming from.

    Thought experiments are great. But they are no substitute for reality.

    There are things that software cannot do, or do fine. In general though, I do tend to like relatively good measuring equipment. But I also know through experience that many things don't necessarily sound optimal through them, even from my view point. Note different people have different definitions of optimal.

    Spend some time (not much) with real music and equipment and perhaps you will get a better feel for it.
     
    Last edited: Dec 8, 2019
  16. Mithrandir41

    Mithrandir41 Friend

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    you've been a member since 2017, that's surely enough time to do some lurking, reading (particularly for new members), and figure out the tone of this joint, eh?
    seriously though, just buy something "ASR because 'science' approved" + something recommended by trusted ears here, and figure it out for yourself. Just buy, listen and build your own impressions/opinions of what you think sounds good.
     
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  17. makmeksam

    makmeksam Rando

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    I am gonna spend the holidays on this.

    I was trying to find a switcher like this. Seems like this is the same thing.
     
  18. Thad E Ginathom

    Thad E Ginathom Friend

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    Did you ever put up a shelf without measurements? Did you need tools to tell you if the china looks pretty on it?

    It's one of the weird things in the audio world: the supposed divide between actual engineering (maths and electronics and theory and stuff) and subjective creation.

    Only unicorns sprinkle angel dust into a CNC-milled case and produce a wonder amplifier. Humans don't.

    Only robots do some sums, and throw the deduced components into their box, and produce a wonderful amplifier... that they didn't even need to listen to.

    In the real world, there are no such unicorns and no such robots. They only exist in the objective/subjective mania that draws people to some audio forums and discussions.
     
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  19. Bill-P

    Bill-P Level 42 Mad Wizard

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    So... this is my experience going from "broke as fudge college kid who thinks Koss Porta Pro is a waste of money at $50 a pair" to "oh, that amp is $3000? That's cheap!" kind of mentality:

    1. You have to set the expectation for yourself early on: what kind of sound do you like?

    2. Correlate from your own experience (do not draw from anyone else's): what components (speakers/headphones, amp, DAC, etc...) you have tried that have come the closest to that kind of sound?

    3. Then pursue those components in objective data (measurements done by yourself or someone else): what can you see in these measurements that may correlate to what you hear?

    4. Now compare the objective data of your own gears to objective data of other components you have not heard: can you see anything in there that you can "understand"? Is this other component you have not heard a potential fit for yourself based on the data?

    Those 4 steps are basically what have helped me navigate the sea of components on the market. And I have found that there is a certain kind of measurement that is consistent with what I like (hell, even when I try to modify headphones/components to match my liking, eventually, I find similar traits in measurements). Once you have found the correlation, it's much easier at that point.

    Obviously, it's not like everything has objective data, but that's also where "friends" come in. I can "infer" what I may or may not like about a certain component based on my friends' input on that component. This is another data point that is a bit less "visual" to navigate, but is also a very effective yard stick.

    This system to me is far better than looking at random measurements that I do not understand, and reading the words of someone whose taste in sound I do not get.

    And if anything, I have learned very well that:

    1. A well-measured piece of gear is really just that: it measures well. If something measures well but subjective impressions of it turn out to be "meh" then that's usually a bad sign.

    2. Making a piece of gear that measures well is not that hard. It's like putting bandaids on an injured person to make him look like he's perfectly healthy. Well, he may "look" healthy, but he certainly is not. You can only tell if he's healthy by gauging his performance over time, and that is what the subjective data is for. Don't just look at one type of data.

    3. I know very well my personal taste in audio is not towards things that measure well. In fact, I do like a certain kind of "bad" measurement.

    4. If money is a problem, don't look upwards at the fancy tube gears or HD800 or R2R DACs anymore. You'll be perfectly happy EQing a pair of earpods that came FREE with your iPhone. I know I can be when I'm on an airplane.

    5. As mentioned ad nauseam: if you get the chance to, go out and listen to things more. Your own hearing is the best yard stick in this hobby.
     
  20. Biodegraded

    Biodegraded Friend

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    The measuring-vs-listening (supposedly) = science-vs-not analogy I like is continental drift/plate tectonics. In the early 20th century, Alfred Wegener synthesized the evidence for continental drift by compiling observations on matching geology & fossils (yes, and coastlines, but that bit was minor) across oceans. It was pooh-poohed by a lot of geophysicists because they couldn't imagine a mechanism that would allow the relatively soft and weak continents to plow through or across what was then assumed to be the old, strong crust of the ocean basins.

    In the second half of the century, geophysical evidence using new techniques from paleomagnetism and seismology started to show consistency with relative continental movements, and deep-sea drilling and fossil, radiometric, and paleomagnetic dating showed that the ocean floors were actually young, thereby overturning the assumption on which the mechanical objections had been based. Today, GPS can demonstrate that the process is ongoing.

    None (or at least, very few) of the data Wegener compiled were quantitative - they were detailed observations made by experienced observers and communicated using a shared, specific terminology. It was only when new measurement techniques became available, and measurements of what seemed in many cases to be unrelated phenomena were made, that those observations could be quantitatively 'verified'.

    Although some geoscientists look down their noses at non-quantitative evidence and pronounce it inferior to anything quantitative, none would seriously claim that Wegener's work was not science. Although non-quantitative, the observations he synthesized are nonetheless scientific data. To dismiss all reports of audible differences regardless of the experience and aptitude of the listener - subjective differences, if you must, although I dislike the term and the subjective/objective juxtaposition in this context - while accepting any and all measurements as disproving audible differences is deeply unscientific. Yet that's exactly where the 'audio science' people seem to be.
     

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