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#394840 - 07/03/13 05:51 PM Journey into Analogue Darkness
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
I've been listening to a lot of music since i moved to 11 channel sound and my conclusion is that there is a lot of bad surround sound, building a collection of good music has been harder than i anticipated. The good stuff is very good but there isn't much.

What to do? I went to hi-rez multi-channel as i was disillusioned with the awful sound of many CD's so going back is not an option.

So i started thinking about analogue one day because when cleaning the basement i came across a heathkit amp and a pair of Dynaco A-25 speakers. My high school stereo (minus the Dual turntable). Hooked it up to a cd player and it sounded awful. Since it was designed before CD maybe it needed analog so i hooked it up to a original sony walkman cassette and 2 hours later i realized i was still listening. The sound could not be described as full range, accurate, pinpoint imaging etc but it was pleasant to listen to. My next stereo was a dynaco 'cage' amp with the original AR turntable and AR 16 speakers.

All long gone but i do have some AR 18s which were similar but smaller so i hooked them up. Same result, most CD's sounded harsh, you could hear the tweeter distort, but some CD's sounded good, and the sony walkman sounded very pleasant. Funny how you can hear distortion, my hearing above 12khz is basicaly null.

This got me thinking, the way to do 2 channel would be analog but there is no way i'm going back to a turntable. Why destroy your media with every play? I used to have a reel to reel that sounded excellent so i decided that tape might be the answer. If i convert those stored cd's to good tape on a decent deck then i would have analog sound to match the old speakers. Its not an accurate reproduction but it may be an enjoyable one.

So first step was to obtain a quality deck with dolby S, dual capstan, and 3 head/motor etc that was in proper condition. Looked at some Naks and settled on a sony that works well with my existing stock of Maxell tapes. You can get good sony metal tapes made in France off ebay at somewhat reasonable prices.

Next Steps

When the sony arrives test existing tapes, doing an A/B comparison with the walkman. Make some new tapes and compare.

i'll report back what i find out...can an old set of speakers and cassette tapes make a pleasing sound? Might also swap in some modern PSB speakers as a comparision.

Has anyone else gone this route?

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#394842 - 07/03/13 06:44 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
BlueJays1 Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/19/08
Posts: 4079
Loc: Porch,enjoying Bombay Sapphire
Some of my favorite sounding CD's were recorded using analog tape.
_________________________
I’m armed and I’m drinking. You don’t want to listen to advice from me, amigo.

-Max Payne

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#394843 - 07/03/13 06:47 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Ken.C Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 05/03/03
Posts: 17782
Loc: NoVA
<Bill Cosby, Noah sketch> Am I on candid camera? </Bill Cosby>
_________________________
I am the Doctor, and THIS... is my SPOON!

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#394847 - 07/03/13 08:37 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: Whitehorse YT
I have an oppo universal player and sacd's and I prefer to listen to my vinyl. I add to my collection quite often. How you find happiness with music is up to you. I love my analogue.

Richard
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

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#395782 - 08/04/13 03:20 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Update - have a very nice optonica turntable mounted on a 2 inch stone slab feeding a external phono stage to a 55watt per channel amp going to a psb sub/sat combo. Bookshelf monitors are mounted on heavy metal stands at ear height about 12-14ft away from listening position. Sent the Akai reel to reel for pro servicing so have been listening to LP records. This is an interim setup.

Conclusion = some records sound pretty good, in fact suprisingly good and listenable. Examples are Ozark Mountain Daredevils 1st, Willie Nelson's Red Haired Stranger, Eagles 1st, Linda Rhonstadt. Vocals, acoustic guitars and piano are realistic and well presented. Of course Paul Barton always seems to get the midrange right. I've mainly listening to albums i remember from 1969-1979 but i also listened to some classical recording. Small ensembles or solo instruments sounded good here but like in some rock records massed instruments sounded a bit 'muddied' and indistinct. This may be a limitation of the current setup so i'm adding to the experiment as initial results are encouraging. Note that i have listened exculusivly to digital audio for the last 25 years...

Next Steps

Ordered a Bryston pre/power combo to replace the current amp. Replacing the PSB B25's and sub with PSB Titanium T6 towers. Almost snagged a set of Axion M80's which i want to try, but someone beat me to them...

Will test this out with the turntable and when the built-in shelving is finished then the high end sony tapedeck and akai reel to reel can be added to the analog system.

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#395801 - 08/05/13 08:42 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Murph Offline
axiomite

Registered: 10/05/06
Posts: 6835
Loc: PEI, Canada
Interesting. Kepp giving us updates for sure.
_________________________
With great power comes Awesome irresponsibility.

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#395802 - 08/05/13 09:00 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
J. B. Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: Quebec, Canada
brings back old memories, nice!
_________________________
See:http://www.blu-ray.com/community/gallery.php?member=Gelli
or: Axiom Gallery

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#396023 - 08/11/13 08:21 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Brystons are hooked up and fed by an external phono pre-amp. The result is much better, a lot more ooomph and dynamic range to the sound. The question to answer is if the extra work and expense is worth it.

For $1,000 we have built a decent 2 channel system consisting of optonica turntable, psb B25 two way bookshelf speakers and bryston 2b amp and pre-amp. It sounds good for most records but records wear out and need maintenace as do turntables. Is this extra work and expense worth it? Only way is to listen to lots of records that i know well and do some lp to cd comparisions by switching between sources.

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#396101 - 08/15/13 03:18 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
After a week or so of listening to LP records i have concluded the sound is acceptable and can be just as pleasing as digital, however there is not enough of a difference to justify the extra work of cleaning and maintenance of the media and the equipment. I can see if you are heavily invested in analog to stay there but it doesn't seem to make sense to switch from digital to analog, the convenience of digital trumps analog and the LP record sound is not better enough to justify the extra work. So the turntable goes. You can get a good sound from LP tech but it is a lot of work, i'd rather just listen to music than play with gear..

The next step is tape - i've got a high end sony deck with dolby S so i am going to make some metal tape copies and compare the analog version to the digital version. The final step will be to try reels when the Akai comes back from its refurb.

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#396104 - 08/15/13 07:01 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1029
gn: I figured that out in the early 1980s when the first CD Players came to the marketplace.

I couldn't wait to retire my turntable along with all of its cleaning & anti-static paraphernalia. Just too much twiddling for me, especially if I'd been into the beer, ha! Furthermore, I'm still able to enjoy my CDs from that period that with minimal care in handling, are almost immune to damage. I always found LPs to be very fragile during normal use & it was difficult to keep them pristine & 'tic' free. Needle/groove noise was always present & an irritant as well.

Each to his own though....

TAM

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#396116 - 08/16/13 07:12 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
J. B. Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 01/19/11
Posts: 1271
Loc: Quebec, Canada
exlab, exactly what i feel too.
if someone was to offer me an analog system worth tens of thousands for free, i would not take it.
too frustrating for me.
i also have cd's from 1983-1984 which were caught in a burst pipe flood for days in winter, and they play like new.
_________________________
See:http://www.blu-ray.com/community/gallery.php?member=Gelli
or: Axiom Gallery

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#396119 - 08/16/13 12:44 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1029
jb:

I might take that gear just to display on nice shelf somewhere prominent in my house because high end turntables are so beautiful to look at...

TAM

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#396124 - 08/16/13 04:13 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: Whitehorse YT
Well boys, im half deaf and I can tell the difference between analogue and digital. When I have my quiet time I like to put on an old album and enjoy the goodness. I have records over 30 yrs old and with my current setup the only tick or pop I get is on the lead in groove. They will have to pry my TT out of my cold dead hands. grin The records released today are on some really good vinyl and so far all the records I have bought are dead quiet. The stylus research has continued as well. A TT from walmart aint goin to cut it though, you have to step up to some good TT and cartridges and phono pre amps.
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

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#396126 - 08/16/13 05:43 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Not so fast Pontiac

Before getting rid of the turntable i thought i should do one more test, an A/B comparison of the same album on CD and LP. So i set up a switchbox that allowed me to switch between the two inputs. Note that this is not a scientific test as the volume levels were not quite equal and it was not blind (i knew which was the CD and the LP). The CD was slightly louder than the LP but not significantly so. Synching the two sources took the most time.

The record used for comparision was Willie Nelson's Red Haired Stranger. Th LP is an excellent one as is the CD. I choose this because the vocals are up front and the instrumentation is sparse, usually just an acoustic guitar and brushes with the occassional bass and piano in the background. It sounds as if it is closely miked so the performance seems to be 'in the room'.

After listening for a while and making many switches between the two inputs i think i've hit on why LP sound is appealing - the vocals sound more 'realistic' on LP, more like someone actually singing. The acoustic guitar has a real 'energy' too it just like the sound wave of plucked strings. This dynamic is odd as CD have a broader bandwidth than LP's but a seemingly less accurate representation of the performance. Of course this is a sample of one, performed under rather loose conditions but it makes me think i should hold on listen to more records...

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#396131 - 08/16/13 08:00 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: Whitehorse YT
Also look into the CD Loudness war. Just do a google search. This will help explain why cd's just don't sound right.
Richard
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

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#396137 - 08/16/13 11:58 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: Socketman]
pmbuko Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 04/02/03
Posts: 16280
Loc: Leesburg, Virginia
Originally Posted By: Socketman
Also look into the CD Loudness war. Just do a google search. This will help explain why cd's just don't sound right.
Richard

You hit the nail on the head. If records were mastered with the same levels as many CDs are, the needle would probably jump out of the grooves. Since a laser has no trouble tracking the pits and lands of a CD, no matter how badly mastered, there's no disincentive to prevent bad engineers from killing the dynamic range of the material.
_________________________
"I wish I had documented more…" said nobody on their death bed, ever.

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#396161 - 08/17/13 01:29 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1029
Well I can't agree with a blanket statement that CDs 'just don't sound right'.

If CDs are mixed properly & do not utilize compression, they can & do sound fabulous. Take just about any TELARC label CDs/SACDs - I have a bunch from decades back. When those guys engineered an album, they knew what they were doing & I've rarely ever heard a disparaging remark about their work. They mixed the content properly using minimal micing techniques & never used compression. Unfortunately Concord bought them out & basically disbanded that crew but their stuff is still widely available.

Other examples include Eric Clapton's more recent CDs that are characterized by outstanding dynamic, crisp, full sound that are most enjoyable. Just contrast them to some of his older digital recordings - the differences are dramatic. Compressed & thin describes those offerings as is all too common.

Mediocrity throughout the music recording industry abounds & I don't know why the artists put up with this situation because it can make them sound like crap. It is not the fault of the digital medium but those who adversely manipulate it.

For me, the advantages of the CD/SACD format (when they are properly produced) far outweigh going back to vinyl. Furthermore, SACDs generally appear to me to be superior to CDs, not as much due to the medium, but because more care seems to be taken during the entire production process...

TAM

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#396170 - 08/17/13 03:48 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: Whitehorse YT
Sorry tam ,what I should have said was , not right to me. Furthermore, I really don't listen to anything other than classic rock era music and a bit of mainstream stuff. I have no doubt there are some great recordings on cd and I still listen to digital music ( records don't play well in the car).I have an SACD of Dire Straits Brothers in Arms which is very good recording , and I still prefer my analogue version better. You can go on youtube and find some great examples put together to show the condition known as the loudness war. Maybe its just in my head, but I find that digital just sounds very clinical, like it doesn't convey emotion. As always , to each his own as long as your enjoying the music I say.
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

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#396172 - 08/17/13 04:06 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Lampshade Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Holbrook, MA
Brothers in Arms side two is one of my most listened to works of art. I say side two because I had it on cassette in the 80's. I have the re release CD and it sounds pretty darn good. But off to the record store I go to look for the album.
_________________________
M3 and Manley Stingray
M80 and Pioneer SC 55

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#396173 - 08/17/13 04:19 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1029
I have the Bros in Arms CD & it remains one of my favourites. It is so good on my system that I've never felt the need to purchase the SACD version.

You are right however, each to his own. Listen to the music & not the gear I always say...

TAM

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#396174 - 08/17/13 04:39 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Lampshade Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Holbrook, MA
Brothers in Arms.....

The hits are at the beginning. That album was a monster for Dire Straits. If you are uninitiated with this album, work towards the middle, get comfortable and be prepared to be taken away to somewhere else.
_________________________
M3 and Manley Stingray
M80 and Pioneer SC 55

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#396175 - 08/17/13 05:52 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: Whitehorse YT
I don't have a lot of SACD's, just a few to sample them. I kept reading how great they were so I figured since I had a player I would at least give them a go. For me they are just too expensive and like anything there are good and bad examples. I have Stevie ray Vaughn which is really good and dire straits which is good but the sacd version of Meatloaf just doesn't cut it. Im a Analogue man living in a digital world.
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

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#396177 - 08/17/13 08:28 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Lampshade Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Holbrook, MA
ha ha! Got it. I just had a really weird experience at the record store. All of my records from junior high school were there (I switched to cassettes in high school). I looked around to see if my mom was there selling them.

Anyway. Brothers in Arms was there and is now at my house.

_________________________
M3 and Manley Stingray
M80 and Pioneer SC 55

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#396178 - 08/17/13 08:56 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: Whitehorse YT
So you have an actual record store near where you live? Cool.
Were they actually your old records or the same ones you listened to at the time. I saved all my albums from my party years, they are in great shape considering I usually wasn't grin

Is the album in good condition?
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

Top
#396182 - 08/17/13 10:37 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Lampshade Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 11/08/05
Posts: 1163
Loc: Holbrook, MA
They weren't really mine. But it was extremely weird. I wish I had written my name of them all those years ago so I would have known for sure. There were not that many records... and there were so many matches. Come to think of it, the only one I didn't see was Freeze Frame. Someone must have bought it.

I am blessed. That record store was eight minutes from my house. There are bigger and more cool ones if I drive a little further. If you ever visit Massachusetts I will take you to a record store with Bob. That is an experience. Bob takes cd's out of persons hands and puts them back on the shelf. "You don't want that, buy this one." If he sees me even reaching for something undesirable I get "the look". The fun part is that you get the history of every record and the musicians playing on it and the producers. Bob knows everything about rock and roll.

The record is in pretty good condition. It needs a little cleaning but there are no major scratches or skipping. The store has a condition guarantee so I can return it. I won't complain too much for the $11 bucks. I will grab a 180g version if I ever see one.
_________________________
M3 and Manley Stingray
M80 and Pioneer SC 55

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#396187 - 08/18/13 12:09 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
Socketman Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 07/12/09
Posts: 1194
Loc: Whitehorse YT
If I were ever to get to a real record shop I would have to rent a truck to get everything home . grin I cant ever see myself going to Massachusetts though if I did I would definitely be into going to that record shop. Its very difficult finding new music without having access to someone like this fellow bob you refer to.

I spent hours cleaning all my records with a rig I put together using my bissel green machine with a modified wand I made, some homemade cleaner and a couple spray bottles and an ultra soft paint brush.

I watched a documentary tonite called , Last Shop Standing. I found it very interesting , worth watching in my opinion.

richard
_________________________
DOG is GOD spelled backwards.
I blame my terseness on my keyboard. smile

Top
#396190 - 08/18/13 01:27 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
brwsaw Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 1050
Could a laser be used to read the surface of an LP?


Edited by brwsaw (08/18/13 01:28 AM)
_________________________




I spend a lot of time trying to find a way to save it.

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#396201 - 08/18/13 09:48 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: brwsaw]
ArthurC Offline
buff

Registered: 08/07/13
Posts: 47
Loc: Ottawa, Canada
_________________________
Semper ubi sub ubi.

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#396206 - 08/18/13 10:04 AM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10904
Loc: Central NH
"Bob takes cd's out of persons hands and puts them back on the shelf. "You don't want that, buy this one."

Jeeez, that got a good laugh out of me!
_________________________
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#396445 - 08/26/13 01:17 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
New Speakers

Been listening to the PSB Titantium T6's with both CD and LP. The only constant is that there is no constant, some LP's sound better than the CD and some CD's sound better than the LP. I find that i tend to prefer listening to vocals or single instruments or small combos on LP but CD's of similar material also sound very good. With the T6's and the brystons the performer sounds like they are in the room, ie John Lee Hookers's Live at the Cafe a Go go and Solodad Prison sounds like you are seated right there.

The hardest trick to pull off on an LP or CD is a mass of instruments, a 'wall of sound' without becoming blurred or distorted. So where does this leave us?

- Well recorded masters and well produced media will sound good not matter what. So invest in good recordings.
- Both analog and digital are capable of good sound, there are no absolutes. Analog seems to be a bit more realistic on voices but that comes with a penalty of media degradation thru playing, more fiddling, and higher cost
- 2 channel stereo can be quite good with proper positioning and the right sized room and it works with many recordings. Multi-channel sounds better BUT only if the recording is done right, there are too many 'ping-pong' recordings with instruments all over the room.

So there are many paths to audio heaven, don't listen to the audio elites who preach 'tubes & vinyl' only. Yes you can get good sound that way but it is expensive, fiddly, and maybe that is why they like it. As Vinnie says "It's all about the music, man" (not about the toys).

System #1 Cost = $250 Sound = Good for LP, bad for CD
Sphrex sub with 55 watt per channel amp
AR 18s speakers
Optonica RP 7505 Turntable and Sony CD
TCC Phono Pre-amp

System #2 Cost $250 Sound Good, CD better than system 1
Akai Integrated Amp
PSB B25 speakers
Optonica RP 7505 Turnable and Sony CD
TCC Phono Pre-amp

System #3 Cost = $1000 Sound = Amazing with LP and CD
Bryston 0.5 pre-amp
Bryston 2LP power amp
PSB B25 speakers
Optonica RP 7505 turntable and sony cd with TCC phono pre-amp

System #4 Cost = $3000 Sound = Astounding with LP/CD
Bryston 0.5 pre-amp and 2LP power amp
PSB Titanium T6 speakers
Optonica RP7505 turntable, sony CD and TCC phono pre-amp

There were two eye-openers in this process.

1. How good the PSB B25 speakers are. Incredible soundstage, spot on accurate mid-range. Not much bass. These were a trade so had no expectations. If you come across these GRAB THEM! Really good in a small room when mounted at the correct height and played at reasonable volume. A steal.

3. How good the Bryston combo sounded. They really drove the PSB B25's, audio writers like to talk about speed and slam - whatever that is...but with the grills off you could see the amp driving the woofers with an amazing excursion and recovery. This made the B25's sound very dynamic. The T6's less so as that is a larger, more complex load for an amp, smooth sound but less punch. Perhaps that is a trade off of a multi-driver speaker?

Next Steps

Do some multi-track recording the the 3/3 sony deck using mkv audio only masters onto sony metal type 4 tape with dolby S and then some a/b comparisions

When the akai reel deck comes back from refurbishing play some pre-recorded tapes and make some recordings like above for comparision...going to be a busy fall!

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#396458 - 08/26/13 05:13 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: MarkSJohnson]
BobKay Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 3163
Loc: Massachusetts Badlands
Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
"Bob takes cd's out of persons hands and puts them back on the shelf. "You don't want that, buy this one."

Jeeez, that got a good laugh out of me!


Chris almost got it right. It's more like, "You don't want that, but this one, AND this one, AND that one. Oh, look! This is a REALLY good one. You should buy THIS, too!

Peter, when Led Zep II was released, we all thought it was defective, because no one's cartridge could track it.
_________________________
"Ya rolls the dice and ya takes yer chanskes."
Popeye

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#396459 - 08/26/13 05:35 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
MarkSJohnson Offline
shareholder in the making

Registered: 09/27/04
Posts: 10904
Loc: Central NH
The stylus said to the groove “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”.

“Why?, asked the groove.

Because “You Shook Me”, and it left me “Dazed and Confused”.

Yeah? Said the groove. “Your Time is Gonna Come”! You’ve left me six times already! “How Many More Times”?

Look, there have been “Good Times….Bad Times….”

But, if you leave me, there will be a “Communications Breakdown”!

Well, alright. You know “I Can’t Quit You Baby”!

Hi Bob!

Edit: Crap. I read it as Led Zep I. Bob, did you edit that or did I mess up?


Edited by MarkSJohnson (08/26/13 05:36 PM)
_________________________
::::::: No disrespect to Axiom, but my favorite woofer is my yellow lab :::::::

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#396463 - 08/26/13 07:30 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
New Speakers

Been listening to the PSB Titantium T6's with both CD and LP. The only constant is that there is no constant, some LP's sound better than the CD and some CD's sound better than the LP. I find that i tend to prefer listening to vocals or single instruments or small combos on LP but CD's of similar material also sound very good. With the T6's and the brystons the performer sounds like they are in the room, ie John Lee Hookers's Live at the Cafe a Go go and Solodad Prison sounds like you are seated right there.

The hardest trick to pull off on an LP or CD is a mass of instruments, a 'wall of sound' without becoming blurred or distorted. So where does this leave us?

- Well recorded masters and well produced media will sound good not matter what. So invest in good recordings.
- Both analog and digital are capable of good sound, there are no absolutes. Analog seems to be a bit more realistic on voices but that comes with a penalty of media degradation thru playing, more fiddling, and higher cost
- 2 channel stereo can be quite good with proper positioning and the right sized room and it works with many recordings. Multi-channel sounds better BUT only if the recording is done right, there are too many 'ping-pong' recordings with instruments all over the room.

So there are many paths to audio heaven, don't listen to the audio elites who preach 'tubes & vinyl' only. Yes you can get good sound that way but it is expensive, fiddly, and maybe that is why they like it. As Vinnie says "It's all about the music, man" (not about the toys).

System #1 Cost = $250 Sound = Good for LP, bad for CD
Sphrex sub with 55 watt per channel amp
AR 18s speakers
Optonica RP 7505 Turntable and Sony CD
TCC Phono Pre-amp

System #2 Cost $250 Sound Good, CD better than system 1
Akai Integrated Amp
PSB B25 speakers
Optonica RP 7505 Turnable and Sony CD
TCC Phono Pre-amp

System #3 Cost = $1000 Sound = Amazing with LP and CD
Bryston 0.5 pre-amp
Bryston 2LP power amp
PSB B25 speakers
Optonica RP 7505 turntable and sony cd with TCC phono pre-amp

System #4 Cost = $4000 Sound = Astounding with LP/CD
Bryston 0.5 pre-amp and 2LP power amp
PSB Titanium T6 speakers
Optonica RP7505 turntable, sony CD and TCC phono pre-amp

There were two eye-openers in this process.

1. How good the PSB B25 speakers are. Incredible soundstage, spot on accurate mid-range. Not much bass. These were a trade so had no expectations. If you come across these GRAB THEM! Really good in a small room when mounted at the correct height and played at reasonable volume. A steal.

3. How good the Bryston combo sounded. They really drove the PSB B25's, audio writers like to talk about speed and slam - whatever that is...but with the grills off you could see the amp driving the woofers with an amazing excursion and recovery. This made the B25's sound very dynamic. The T6's less so as that is a larger, more complex load for an amp, smooth sound but less punch. Perhaps that is a trade off of a multi-driver speaker?

Next Steps

Do some multi-track recording the the 3/3 sony deck using mkv audio only masters onto sony metal type 4 tape with dolby S and then some a/b comparisions

When the akai reel deck comes back from refurbishing play some pre-recorded tapes and make some recordings like above for comparision...going to be a busy fall!

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#396502 - 08/27/13 12:06 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: MarkSJohnson]
BobKay Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 03/23/10
Posts: 3163
Loc: Massachusetts Badlands
Originally Posted By: MarkSJohnson
The stylus said to the groove “Babe I’m Gonna Leave You”.

“Why?, asked the groove.

Because “You Shook Me”, and it left me “Dazed and Confused”.

Yeah? Said the groove. “Your Time is Gonna Come”! You’ve left me six times already! “How Many More Times”?

Look, there have been “Good Times….Bad Times….”

But, if you leave me, there will be a “Communications Breakdown”!

Well, alright. You know “I Can’t Quit You Baby”!

Hi Bob!

Edit: Crap. I read it as Led Zep I. Bob, did you edit that or did I mess up?


Hey, Mark. I originally wrote Led Zep II. Their first didn't have any tracking problems. Hi to Joyce and the kids.
_________________________
"Ya rolls the dice and ya takes yer chanskes."
Popeye

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#396651 - 08/29/13 04:27 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Update

Replaced the optonica direct drive TT with a Micro Seiki belt drive. Much better. Was drooling over some 500 watt monoblocks but reality sets in - the bryston hasn't been as high as one quarter vol yet...I'm already over the $1000 budget for this experiment, no more major purchases this year!

My neighbour has some half speed lps and 180 gram audiophile disks so have to try them, so far i've managed quite well with $1 purchases from the goodwill...the old capitols are very nice as is the columbia's and new records seem very quiet...

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#396673 - 08/30/13 12:54 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
exlabdriver Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 09/07/11
Posts: 1029
I was perusing a flyer this morning over my morning coffee & came across a listing of a bunch of LPs. Prices ranged from $17 to $65 - that's more than most SACDs that I've bought lately.

The last time I bought an LP decades ago it was about 3 bucks, ha!

TAM

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#396770 - 09/01/13 06:23 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Wow! Just played the LP version of Joan Baez Diamonds and Rust. The song is on her Greatest Hits CD and when you listen you say 'that's nice, good voice' but the LP version blows you away, you can feel the emotion in her voice. Awesome. Also running thru all my Linda Ronstadt lp's from heart like a wheel, mad love, greatest hits and the big band ones with nelson riddle. Perfect voice but not as much raw emotion. Really loving the micro seiki table, such as lush sound with the psb's and bryston's. Swapped in a rotel cd player for the sony..sounds harsh. I think i should get another bryston and bridge them as mono amps. Was temped by some emotiva monoblocks but will lots of watts per channel really make much difference? I like the sound now so no fiddling till the new year. Besides i spent the budget for this project already...

the other question is are expensive 'audiophile' lp records so much better? Played my neighbours audiophile lp of boz sckaggs silk degrees along with my $1 regular copy and we couldn't hear any difference. Of course we had only 1 tt so no a/b comparisions were possible. Would be a good test but then we need matched turntables and carts, not much chance of that...I have a 45rpm lp that says digital on it and it sounds like crap...

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#397127 - 09/14/13 05:17 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Spent the last few weeks listening. The bryston 2Blp did very well on psb B25 two way bookshelfs but was having dofficulty with the T6's as their 6 driver array and 4ohm load was a bit much at higher volume. I continue to be impressed with the quality of off the shelf records, so far i have stayed away from the expensive audiophile re-issues.

Just swapped the bryston with an Adcom GFA 5500 which as 350 watts into 4ohms with a lot of headroom. Dynamics are definately improved. Time for more listening before the last change arrives, an emotiva xpa-2.

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#397227 - 09/20/13 07:26 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
gnickers Offline
frequent flier

Registered: 09/19/12
Posts: 17
Loc: London
Update

Replaced the Adcom amp with a new Emotia XPA-2. The difference is very noticeable, tons of bass and huge dynamic range and highs, highs, highs. Really makes the PSB T6's come alive. Albums are great but some CDs are painful. The SACD of Dylan's John Wesley Harding was unlistenable, the harmonica was piercing.

The room is very bright with hardwood floors, 4 windows and a large framed glass poster. The rolled off top end of the previous amps were ok, the emotiva was not. Tried some other CD's, not too many were pleasant. Was dissapointed in KD lang's 'constant craving', whoever mixed that was an idiot, the drums and guitar drown out the vocals.

Anyway we either needed to treat the room or give us cd playback. I thought about a tube pre-amp but the prices made me give up that idea. Who knew a 100 year old technology could be so expensive. Then i rememberer my yamaha 1/3 octave equalizer in the basement. whoops, sold it last year when i went to multi-channel...never sell anything!

But then i came across a Technics SH-8020, nice unit that with 12 bands that can be set in _+ 3db so hooked it up and edged down the top 2 bands starting at 16khz and tried old bob again

The results were listen-able, so i tried the Gram Parson live cd recorded during a live FM radio broadcast. Excellent - sounds like they are in the room complete with miscues. Then a 60's capitol pressing of Merle Haggard, very nice.

One final update to get, upgrade the sony cd player to a better universal, wish i had never sold my oppo dv980!

BTW - just came across 60 commercial cassettes in mint condition including led zep II, ELO, YES, Dylan, Hendrix, Rolling stones etc. Time to fire up the cassette deck and give them a whirl...

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#397228 - 09/20/13 11:28 PM Re: Journey into Analogue Darkness [Re: gnickers]
brwsaw Offline
connoisseur

Registered: 10/12/12
Posts: 1050
My kids had to ask what a tape was.
Don't think they've even seen a record...
and the VCR, that was an interesting explanation/conversation.
_________________________




I spend a lot of time trying to find a way to save it.

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