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catman

Catman's Analog Musings

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15 hours ago, catman said:

A hypothetical question?

 

G'day all, firstly Happy New Year 2020 everybody!  Of late, I've wondered about this, how long (I presume through using and listening), how long it takes before you 'know' a given piece of gear?  Increasingly whilst one may get an impression reasonably quickly, it takes a 'lot' longer before you really 'know' it intimately.  Perhaps it is like so many things in life and eventually one might completely change opinion, in one direction of the other!  Any comments on this?  Regards, Felix.   

Yes Felix....

Marriage and HiFi have same this trait ... tis' the only one they share in common.....believe me Iv'e been messing around with both for nearly 30 years....:P:P:P..

 

All the best for 2020....All the best to everyone...:thumb:

 

Tase.

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Posted (edited)

Damned audio patch leads!

 

G'day all, an interesting sort of day with general cleaning up and doing things around the house, including fixing a few things including some restoration work of some DIY  electronics including a small DIY audio system. 

 

 The system amplifier input RCA connectors had some issues that I eventually resolved, but I found another issue (a loss of the right channel), which was eventually traced to bad patch cords. 

 

Almost every bit of audio equipment you can buy comes with free patch cords/ interconnects, which I avoid using in high quality applications but are useful for non critical audio applications, and I have accumulated hundreds of these, however I'm starting to really hate these things owing to many failures. 

 

As they invariably utilise thin shielded cable with moulded end connectors, any cable 'flexing' tends to result in intermittent open circuit failures, and such was the case today (on two separate occasions....Grrrrr).  Thankfully thicker cable failures seem to be much less common but still happen on rare occasions.  Yes these interconnects are best reserved for non critical uses, but even then they can be a real PITA to fault find when they fail (intermittently)  !  Regards, Felix. 

Edited by catman
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A new appreciation for the hifisonix phono preamp design.

 

G'day all, it was an interesting night last night with a bit of record playing and even more reading.  I recommend everybody into vinyl records read the very interesting and educational articles on the hifisonix website and especially the article 'On RIAA Networks'.... potentially heavy reading, but ever so interesting. 

 

Reading it makes one realize how complex and potentially involved this record playing business really is, especially if one wants to do it right!  Sadly it seems that a lot of manufacturers only do it half right, and I have to admit that maybe active RIAA equalisation is the way to do....if done right, and that is a rather big if! 

 

I'm glad to say that I've learned quite a bit about aspects of phono preamp that I never really understood before and have a better understanding of terms like 'overload margin'.  What some technical reading can do!  Regards, Felix. 

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On 05/01/2020 at 6:37 PM, catman said:

Damned audio patch leads!  ... Almost every bit of audio equipment you can buy comes with free patch cords/ interconnects, which ... are useful for non critical audio applications, ... however I'm starting to really hate these things owing to many failures. 

 

As they invariably utilise thin shielded cable with moulded end connectors, any cable 'flexing' tends to result in intermittent open circuit failures, and such was the case today (on two separate occasions....Grrrrr)... 

I needed an RCA cable in a hurry last year for a non-critical application (actually RCA one end and bare wire at the other).  I found one of those $2 thin 3xRCA video cables to use.  Was shocked at what I found under the insulation.  The signal wires comprised of about three or four extremely fine threads of wire, and they were not even shielded!  No wonder why they break so easily!  I had an enormous mains hum when I used them in my temporary application.  The hum disappeared when these cheap+very nasties were replaced a cheap - but shielded - audio RCA cable.  After that I threw out all the cheap video RCA cables I'd accumulated. 

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35 minutes ago, audiofeline said:

This is the link to HiFiSonix's document downloads:

https://hifisonix.com/category/audio-design-topics/

 

Thanks, af - great work!  :thumb:

 

I had tried to find the article from the info given in Felix's post ... but didn't have any luck.  :(

 

Andy

 

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I'm sick of DIY and I'm sick of phono stages!

 

G'day all, yes I've had a bad week and two of my favourite DIY phono stages have suddenly developed bad faults.  That is it!  I give up!  Regards, Felix. 

Edited by catman
Grammar.

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33 minutes ago, catman said:

I'm sick of DIY and I'm sick of phono stages!

 

G'day all, yes I've had a bad week and two of my favourite DIY phono stages have suddenly developed bad faults.  That is it!  I give up!  Regards, Felix. 

 

A man who is sick of phono stages ... is sick of life, Felix!  (to paraphrase Dr Johnson.)  :lol:

 

You need to tell us what the problems have been, with these two.

 

Andy

 

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2 hours ago, catman said:

I'm sick of DIY and I'm sick of phono stages!

 

G'day all, yes I've had a bad week and two of my favourite DIY phono stages have suddenly developed bad faults.  That is it!  I give up!  Regards, Felix. 

step back and don't look at audio for a few days...serious question, are you OK ?...look after yourself...

...tell us about your bad week - what happened?

 

hear to listen

cheers,

Mike 

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G'day mate, yeah I'm alright.  It has been a real s#it of a week and things have kind of got to me a bit.  I'll get back to this electronics crap tomorrow, if I can get it together!  Regards, Felix.       

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G'day all, well the two phono stages are once again operational and both DIY phono stages had several circuit board hairline cracks to repair,  Very painful, but never again please!  No more....please!  Regards, Felix. 

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2 hours ago, catman said:

G'day all, well the two phono stages are once again operational and both DIY phono stages had several circuit board hairline cracks to repair,  Very painful, but never again please!  No more....please!  Regards, Felix. 

 

Hairline cracks (in the copper traces?) - yes, a nightmare, Felix!  :(

 

What do you think caused these cracks appear?  (It's not something I've ever experienced.)

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr

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17 hours ago, catman said:

G'day all, well the two phono stages are once again operational

nice work 👍

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Schiit Mani gain settings confusion. 

 

G'day all, a question for anyone who has a Schiit Mani phono stage?  I have one and I have always been slightly confused about the gain setting switches, and now I'm even more confused!  For MM use I have seen recommendations for both SW 1 (L) and SW2 (H), and the opposite too!  Schiits own recommendation is SW 1 (L) and SW2 (H), and yet on the highly regarded Audio Science review website they recommend the opposite! 

 

Confusion indeed!  I have tried both scenarios and in honesty there is not a lot of difference but I think Schiits own recommendation is actually 'slightly less' hissy.  Any comments?  Regards, Felix. 

  

Edited by catman
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Could the Audio Science Review website have made a transposition error?

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G'day mate, I haven't seen any correction anywhere on that website, so I suspect not.  I have just received an email from Schiitt confirming that their recommendation is indeed the correct one, and my ears seem to confirm that.  I might try contacting the Audio Science Review about this.  Regards, Felix. 

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Guest Muon N'

Highly regarded, err....umm....

I'd pay attention to the manufacture on this one.

 

Although this will be variable depending on the gain of the given cart/s.

 

Edit: and the system itself, especially the component the phono is outputting to.

Edited by Muon N'

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Phono stages and room acoustics.

 

G'day all, a new thread but it actually does involve the Schiit Mani!  I normally use it in here but this afternoon I plugged it into my main (lounge room) system and was quite startled at how good and totally different it sounded, in a different acoustic environment!  Even the 'hiss' that is normally quite audible is here was not readily detectable on my main system.  All this is starting to make me think that good stereo headphones are best for serious system evaluation.  Regards, Felix.

Edited by catman
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36 minutes ago, catman said:

Phono stages and room acoustics.

 

G'day all, a new thread but it actually does involve the Schiit Mani!  I normally use it in here but this afternoon I plugged it into my main (lounge room) system and was quite startled at how good and totally different it sounded, in a different acoustic environment!  Even the 'hiss' that is normally quite audible is here was not readily detectable on my main system.  All this is starting to make me think that good stereo headphones are best for serious system evaluation.  Regards, Felix.

Hi Felix,

I'm not surprised - the room has by far the most impact on room sound by a large margin, followed by the speakers (are they different in this comparison?), then everything else.

 

As @Zaphod Beeblebrox has said many times, the things that make the biggest impact on room sound are (in priority order):

  1. the room
  2. the room
  3. the room
  4. the speakers
  5. everything else
45 minutes ago, catman said:

All this is starting to make me think that good stereo headphones are best for serious system evaluation.

Siegfried Linkwitz used headphones a lot for system evaluation of electronics in the chain prior to the speakers, and also to compare his speakers with the sound of the headphones...but he also took the time to choose his headphones carefully and add appropriate EQ compensation to his headphones. 

I bought my Etymotic 4P "in ear" headphones based on his recommendation 20 years ago - I'm still using them.

 

Given you like to analyse different phono stages, I would agree good headphones would help with this evaluation...you'll definitely be able to hear the nuances between different phonos more easily with a good set of cans.

 

cheers

Mike

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G'day all, just continuing this general thread, I have indeed been doing heaps of stereo headphone listening using my best DIY  headphone amplifier and headphones, and although I dislike wearing headphones, for sound quality and general resolution, I don't think that they can be beaten and in fact I now have a definite problem. 

 

My best phono stages and their ranking (on speakers) are not the same as when listening on headphones!  All my DIY and other op amp based phono stages sound great on headphones, however my beloved discrete phono stage the Rothwell Simplex, which sounds superb through speakers, is ok, but no where as impressive on headphones! 

 

On headphones it sounds clean and pleasant, but not particularly low noise....strange!  Yet all my op amp based units sound superbly balanced, clean, and very low noise and little details in the musical background are so easy to hear! 

 

Interestingly enough my speakers are fine....I think that very bad room acoustics are the problem in here.  Yet why the phono stages sound so different on headphones, is an utter mystery!  Regards, Felix.    

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Unconventional phono stages.

 

G'day all, now that I am doing a lot more headphone listening I am slowly checking out my collection of phono stages subject to the interesting things that I have already noted.  Last night I plugged in my ANT Kora 3T SE FET, a phono stage that I have highly regarded for years and it sounds great on headphones too. 

 

It is a curious design based on industrial FET's but never designed for audio uses but it sounds so good!  Very pleasant sounding indeed.  I have heard of FET's used in other phono stages, but never these kinds of devices!  I have to admit that unconventionality does appeal to me. :)  Regards, Felix.   

Edited by catman
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Good headphones that aren't too expensive!

 

G'day all, now that I'm getting into headphones and although I have some good ones already I wonder if anyone can recommend good headphones that aren't 'too' expensive?  I have acquired a few sets of headphones over the years one of which is basically rubbish yet another of the same brand is actually surprisingly good.  That one is a Sennheiser HD239.  I bought it some years ago so I don't know if they are still on the market, but reading around the internet there seem to be lots of headphones out there for sale.  Any comments or recommendations?  Regards, Felix. 

Edited by catman
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Try a pair of Hifiman Planar headphones. Loving the Massdrop HiFiman 4xx at the moment.

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Words to describe the 'sound' of phono preamps.     

 

G'day all, I guess that the main task of any phono stage is to provide accurate RIAA equalisation with of course low noise and low distortion, but apart from the obvious, it is apparent that most phono stage have a 'sound', that can make any given phono stage, a 'favourite' or otherwise! 

 

From my extensive collection they mostly do, and these of mine sound accordingly.  My DIY ESP P06....'dynamic' and none of my others really come close.  My Rothwell Simplex....open and musical with a hint of brightness.  My ANT Kora 3T SE.... organic, in the nicest possible way.  My DIY Akitiika Phono Z....  very hi fi and incredibly quiet.  My Schiit Mani, crisp, tight and quasi compressed.  How do others sound?  Regards, Felix. 

Edited by catman
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A very worthwhile 'tweak'. 

 

G'day all, every now and then in my seemingly endless messing around with phono stuff I do something that is actually quite worthwhile!  Maybe this shouldn't be considered a 'tweak' but if anyone is like me (perish the thought), chances are that this tweak might be worthwhile.  I have myself a small bottle of that miracle contact cleaner called Deoxit and last night I decided to give the headshell wiring and clips and cartridge pins a  good clean with a coating of Deoxit.  Having used Deoxit elsewhere in electronics I've seen what it can do on contacts and such although my headshell connections looked clean enough, I did the clean up and managed not to break any of the fragile headshell wires and clips which is always a 'possibility' with me so be careful!  Anyway after reassembly I had a test listen and was quite stunned as everything sounded better and even slightly 'louder'.  Was I imagining the improvement?  The experimenter/expectation effect possibility is always there, but I don't think so.  It 'does' sound better!  Regards, Felix. 

Edited by catman
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