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Catman's Analog Musings

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G'day mate, yes that's a good point!  Regards, Felix.    

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The Human Mind Aspect.

G'day all, this may end up being just another long ramble of mine, but of late I'm getting the impression that at least when it comes to matters audio, the human mind and its perceptions (accurate or not), have a much greater effect on general opinion than many would think.  Coming from a long term work technical background I would like to think that I am not subject to such things, but alas, significantly I am. 

 

Whilst my hearing acuity is good I know that 'little things' will affect my audio perceptions, things like physical appearance to the thoughts of others on given subjects and even my own pre-existing judgements and prejudices. 

 

Reading the 'reviews' of others on the many audio online forums can both be enlightening, and indeed the opposite.  Based on what I know and have personally experienced and observed I can see that quite a few reviews, although possibly heartfelt, are affected my a general lack of subject matter knowledge, misunderstandings, and indeed ignorance and the really sad thing is, in my opinion, such reviews can be quite influential!  The whole range of life experience can be similarly fraught!

 

Even my own audio perceptions have changed to a degree over time!  For example, the subject of 'op amp sound'.  For many years I regarded the OPA2134 highly for its perceived musical 'sound' as well as being a very well designed and 'hardy' high performance dual audio op amp....and it is, however in recent times I've found a renewed admiration/respect for the general sonic qualities and general performance of the 'good old' NE5532 as well.  It is still an excellent op amp for many high quality audio applications despite its age!  Speaking of component ‘sound’ and such, reading the pages of the various online forums I cannot fathom all the supposedly ‘expert’ commentary on all aspects of component ‘sound’, much of this written convincingly by audiophile people without much of a clue, in my humble opinion. 

 

Over the years I have dabbled in some of this sort of thing myself and whilst it is true that components do have measureable electrical differences between types, this does not mean ‘audible’ differences, but again such ill-informed commentary can 'influence'!  For what it is worth I do use polypropylene dielectric capacitors in some applications such as cartridge loading, in place of frequently used ceramic capacitors.  Ceramic capacitors do have their value and use in RF and some 'bypass' applications, but potential non linearity and microphony make their use in audio applications a little suspect!  Base your decisions on technical fact and reality!

 

In the end this whole discourse is all about the way that the human mind can be misled and there are many possibilities, and some of them are very sneaky and insidious!  Here’s to clear thinking without blurry/misleading influences!  Regards, Felix.         

Edited by catman
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'Aspects of break in'.

G'day all, one of the more contentious aspects of hi fi is the notion of 'break in'.  In my personal observation I think a lot of supposed break in is false. or the mind just simply 'getting used to something new', however I have personally witnessed one kind of break in that I think is real, that of 'mechanical' break in. 

 

All manner of mechanical devices exhibit this effect and not just things such as loudspeakers (which definitely do).  Parts of cars are also a good example.  I've probably mentioned this before that many years ago as a child, I watched my grandfather join two lengths of new garden hose with a short length of copper pipe. 

 

It leaked for a while before finally 'taking up' as my grandfather put it, and completely stopped leaking.  Mechanical 'break in' in action.  The mechanical properties of many pliable objects do subtly change from new.  This is a fact!  I have seen examples of this kind of thing with loudspeakers, cartridge stylus assemblies and even piezo transducers, believe it or not! 

 

So what about electrical break in?  Well possibly.  I think that if some kind of mechanical change exists, then this is feasible!  Over the years, I have seen much electronic audio gear that exhibited no apparent break in, (or performance change with passing time), however there have been one of two examples that did, and I hate to admit it but those pieces of gear did use capacitors (mainly electrolytic types) in coupling positions. 

 

Given the construction of your typical capacitor and especially electrolytic capacitor types, which does involve quasi mechanical aspects, then maybe yes!  In the cases that I'm thinking of, this break in was quite long term.  Interesting indeed.  Regards, Felix.        

Edited by catman

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Why is it so?!

G'day all, as much as I think that I have a reasonable grasp of most things re hi fi, occasionally I see something that defies rational logical explanation! 

 

I believe that I have previously posted that my NAD PP2e phono stage sounds really good patched into my main system, yet a little less so on the system in here. 

 

Well it happened again this afternoon.  I can plug in a number of phono stages on my main system, but opted to use my NAD PP2e after using another of my favourites for a while, and again I was impressed at how good the PP2e sounds on the main system and even the 'gain' difference, 34/41 db wasn't particularly noticeable.  Strange, but welcome I guess.  Maybe room acoustics are a factor in that room possibly.  It's a bit of a mystery!  Regards, Felix. 

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G'day all, a bit of a fun thread from me (unusual, I know).  Reading a few general phono preamp reviews, I notice lots of descriptive words/terms to describe the 'sound' of phono preamps.  Just a few that immediately come to mind....low noise, wideband, highly dynamic, detailed, warm, nice.  Any more?  Regards, Felix. 

Edited by catman
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Punchy ... etched (which I take to mean 'dry'?) ... organic ... liquid <-- these last 2 generally apply to tube phono stages ... high resolution (in place of 'detailed').

 

IMO all these terms apply to any piece of equipment - not just phono stages.

 

Andy

 

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G'day all, well tonight I did another of my phono stage comparisons but this time just some of my own DIY efforts!  I compared the ESP P06, Muffsy, Akitika PhonoZ and one of my breadboarded Bruce Heran simple dual op amp phono preamps. 

 

I was gratified to see (hear) that they are all very similar in sound quality and general performance, but I was particularly impressed with the Bruce Heran op amp design given the inherent simplicity of the design, being a basic simple full feedback op amp design, but it just sounds so good, and it's quiet too despite using an OPA2134 dual op amp.  Why that thing sounds so good is one of the worlds great mysteries, but oh well, whatever, nevermind! :)   Regards, Felix.   

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It's interesting isn't it Felix, sometimes the brain just loves simple and 'pure'.

 

We often get carried away with things being better because they are more complex, and more refined, but getting back to the basic functionality just clicks. It does take a certain mindset, or at least a state of mind, to get to that space, but it's comforting when you get there.

 

I think this is true for many things in life.

 

Cheers,

Jason.

 

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Wasn't this an entirely separate thread or have i smoked something quality


Sent from my iPad using Tapatalk

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G'day mate, yes this happens quite a bit.  Someone seems to like shifting my posts around.  Unfortunately I have no say in the matter!  Regards, Felix. 

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I appreciate the sneaky Nirvana reference. I'm forever sneaking a line from a song or classic film or pop culture art into conversation hoping some other geek might pick it up and give a grin of recognition but it never seems to happen. I guess I'm a geek unto my own...  :unsure:

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G'day all, I'm now the proud owner of a pre loved QED DS-1 'Discsaver' phono stage, and an intriguing 'little' phono stage it is.  Despite its unpretentious black plastic box it is actually not bad at all.  A simple full feedback phono stage design based around an NE5532 dual op amp and it sounds excellent.  The only real negative is slightly 'lowish' gain (31 db?), but that is of no real consequence. 

 

I've already done one or two possibly unnecessary mods like replace the supplied 150 picofarad ceramic loading capacitors with two of my own WIMA 100 picofarad capacitors, and I've pressed one of my 12 volt 7.2 AH gel batteries into service as the power source.  Does anybody know anything about the QED company?  I think that they still exist, but only seem to manufacture cables these days and no real electronics.  Curious.  Regards, Felix.   

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Guest gmdb
1 hour ago, catman said:

G'day all, I'm now the proud owner of a pre loved QED DS-1 'Discsaver' phono stage, and an intriguing 'little' phono stage it is.  Despite its unpretentious black plastic box it is actually not bad at all.  A simple full feedback phono stage design based around an NE5532 dual op amp and it sounds excellent.  The only real negative is slightly 'lowish' gain (31 db?), but that is of no real consequence. 

 

I've already done one or two possibly unnecessary mods like replace the supplied 150 picofarad ceramic loading capacitors with two of my own WIMA 100 picofarad capacitors, and I've pressed one of my 12 volt 7.2 AH gel batteries into service as the power source.  Does anybody know anything about the QED company?  I think that they still exist, but only seem to manufacture cables these days and no real electronics.  Curious.  Regards, Felix.   

Hi, Do you know the date of production of the QED DS-1?  I have a QED integrated amp from the late 1980s - before they became a cable company - and were doing great gear.  It's a lovely amp and has a built in phono stage, so I'm curious as to where the DS-1 fits in.

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G'day mate, I can't say although I'm guessing late 1980's or early 1990's.  I can't see any identifiable date stamp on this particular unit sadly.  Regards, Felix. 

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Guest gmdb
21 minutes ago, catman said:

G'day mate, I can't say although I'm guessing late 1980's or early 1990's.  I can't see any identifiable date stamp on this particular unit sadly.  Regards, Felix. 

Hi Felix

 

Thanks.  QED were doing great stuff back then, so I suspect you've got a bit of a gem there.  But I can't say for certain if it's the same phono stage in my integrated amp.  That was certainly good, but I now run the Graham Slee Reflex M which I find remarkable.

 

I should put the QED integrated amp into the system and give it a run.  It's always been a lovely piece of kit as they say in the UK and was the first amp I ever bought that could do reggae and bass heavy music correctly.

cheers

 

Geoff

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G'day mate, yes I agree!  Looking at the circuit board, it all looks fairly conventional but well assembled with metal film resistors and I think polystyrene capacitors in the RIAA network.  That is indeed a mark of high quality.  Regards, Felix.        

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Guest gmdb
10 minutes ago, catman said:

G'day mate, yes I agree!  Looking at the circuit board, it all looks fairly conventional but well assembled with metal film resistors and I think polystyrene capacitors in the RIAA network.  That is indeed a mark of high quality.  Regards, Felix.        

Hi Felix - would you be able to post a photo of the DS-1. I'm personally interested in  what QED were doing back then, including the designs they used.  The first one of their integrated amps I had was in charcoal grey with bright green silk screen printing for the selector inputs and volume control.  Sadly that one got stolen, and I bought the latest model with the insurance money. (This was in Sydney around 1990). It still had the "QED" sound but never, to my ears, sounded as good as the very first one they put out.

 

cheers

 

Geoff

 

 

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G'day mate, all noted.  I'll try although I'm not having a lot of success uploading pictures of late!  Regards, Felix.   

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 Here is a pic, not of my Discsaver but a pic I got off Lencoheaven:59afefa6587a7_QEDDiscsaverphono.jpg.beb89ca00a68ea94e34da3ed34baf8f3.jpg Very unpretentious looking but rather good!:thumb:

Edited by stevoz

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G'day all, extended listening with this little phono stage is quite engaging as 'musical' is a very apt description!  Listening to familiar material I an hearing a palpable sense of emotion on recordings that I've never really heard before, a slightly startling revelation. 

 

Listening to The Beatles 'Hey Jude' this morning was like hearing it for the first time in its emotional impact and dare I say it, the 'naughty word' at 2:58 was very obvious. 

 

Does anybody have a circuit for the QED DS-1?  Clearly capacitor coupling is used on both the inputs and outputs, maybe for the better!  Whilst I wouldn't call this phono stage particularly dynamic sounding, its 'musical' profile is both exceedingly rare and wonderful!  Regards, Felix. 

Edited by catman
Punctuation.

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Guest gmdb
19 hours ago, stevoz said:

 Here is a pic, not of my Discsaver but a pic I got off Lencoheaven:59afefa6587a7_QEDDiscsaverphono.jpg.beb89ca00a68ea94e34da3ed34baf8f3.jpg Very unpretentious looking but rather good!:thumb:

Thanks for posting the pic.  Very interesting.  It's more recent than what they were doing with integrated amps in the mid 1980s.  Maybe 10 years later. Still interesting to ask how it might compare to the phono boards they were putting into the integrated A230, the A240CD and the A240 SA.  Probably very few people around who've done a comparison, so I'm not actually expecting an answer.   

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Guest gmdb
9 hours ago, catman said:

G'day all, extended listening with this little phono stage is quite engaging as 'musical' is a very apt description!  Listening to familiar material I an hearing a palpable sense of emotion on recordings that I've never really heard before, a slightly startling revelation. 

 

Listening to The Beatles 'Hey Jude' this morning was like hearing it for the first time in its emotional impact and dare I say it, the 'naughty word' at 2:58 was very obvious. 

 

Does anybody have a circuit for the QED DS-1?  Clearly capacitor coupling is used on both the inputs and outputs, maybe for the better!  Whilst I wouldn't call this phono stage particularly dynamic sounding, its 'musical' profile is both exceedingly rare and wonderful!  Regards, Felix. 

HI Felix, how you do you think it stacks up to the NAD phono?

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G'day mate, do you mean my PP2e?  Well it's chalk and cheese!  I wish that the QED DS-1 has a bit more gain but apart from that the DS-1 just sounds so 'musical'.  Sorry to keep using that word!  The PP2e is ok, but has no musicality compared to the QED DS-1.  Regards, Felix.  

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Guest gmdb
5 minutes ago, catman said:

G'day mate, do you mean my PP2e?  Well it's chalk and cheese!  I wish that the QED DS-1 has a bit more gain but apart from that the DS-1 just sounds so 'musical'.  Sorry to keep using that word!  The PP2e is ok, but has no musicality compared to the QED DS-1.  Regards, Felix.  

Yes, the PP2e is the one.  That's good to know.  "musical" is a hard word to use, isn't it, but the integrated amps they did in the 1980s where also often describe with that term.  They did a lot right that just let the music flow.  A nice piece of audio history. I might see if I can pick up a DS-1 simply to have a listen to. They seem to go for a cheap price these days. 

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