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Bruno Putzeys - Darko interview


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I’m a regular reader/YouTube viewer/podcast listener of John Darko of Darko.Audio.  This is his most recent interview with Bruno Putzeys who doesn’t really need any introduction in this forum.  Be forewarned, this interview goes for 80 minutes, but it covers a lot of ground.

 

Some interesting points I learned in this interview:

1. RCA interconnects are a poor connection method between audio gear.  This is in the context of discussing SPDIF digital transmission, but was discussed in a way that leaves it open to broader interpretation.

2. The digital audio twin demons of jitter and noise are real and very hard to completely control.  Designing a DAC to be completely insensitive to these demons Is no simple task.

3. Everything is connected in hifi.  Effects of noise from a streamer may not affect a DAC directly, but can potentially affect any downstream component.

4. USB reclockers may not generate any benefit through reclocking... but “may“ be beneficial through attention to signal transmission.

5. SPDIF and Toslink are jitter prone connections, but can be mitigated by sending the clock signal on a separate connection (at least that’s how I interpreted it).
6. Purifi amps sound better than Hypex amps (over-simplified on my part), and interesting in so far as Bruno was on record as previously saying any improvement on Hypex amps would be unlikely to be audible.

 

Theres more gems in there, very interesting listen in my opinion.
 

 

 

 

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I’m a regular reader/YouTube viewer/podcast listener of John Darko of Darko.Audio.  This is his most recent interview with Bruno Putzeys who doesn’t really need any introduction in this forum.  Be for

https://phys.org/news/2013-02-human-fourier-uncertainty-principle.html

😂   No. Shall we get started on what analogue media and playback suffer from (not least of all, analogue media and playback fans)? 🤣

2 hours ago, Stereophilus said:

6. Purifi amps sound better than Hypex amps (over-simplified on my part), and interesting in so far as Bruno was on record as previously saying any improvement on Hypex amps would be unlikely to be audible.

I’m about a quarter way through. It’s an interesting chat

 

Regarding the above, it helps to keep in mind that, although he’s an engineer, he’s selling his designs and he’ll get far more attention saying no amp will ever be audibly better than he will get by saying this is really great but I’m already designing a better one to replace it! He had no trouble saying the Benchmark and Boulder amps were the only serious competitors to the Purifi. Are those three the best three amps in the world? Some might think so, some might disagree ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

It reminds me of a friend of mine who was working in the Mission marketing department in the late 90s and he had to come up with a way to say that their cheapest, worst speaker will be the greatest speaker you ever hear and then find a way to say the next model up will be all that and better and so on up the line. It’s why sales people make good money but they’re insufferable at parties (I say this as a salesperson who is insufferable at parties) 🥳

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7 minutes ago, RankStranger said:

Regarding the above, it helps to keep in mind that, although he’s an engineer, he’s selling his designs and he’ll get far more attention saying no amp will ever be audibly better than he will get by saying this is really great but I’m already designing a better one to replace it! He had no trouble saying the Benchmark and Boulder amps were the only serious competitors to the Purifi. Are those three the best three amps in the world? Some might think so, some might disagree ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

For sure.  He is invested in what he designs and therefore biased.  I do like his openness in sharing his knowledge though.

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8 minutes ago, RankStranger said:

I’m about a quarter way through. It’s an interesting chat

 

Regarding the above, it helps to keep in mind that, although he’s an engineer, he’s selling his designs and he’ll get far more attention saying no amp will ever be audibly better than he will get by saying this is really great but I’m already designing a better one to replace it! He had no trouble saying the Benchmark and Boulder amps were the only serious competitors to the Purifi. Are those three the best three amps in the world? Some might think so, some might disagree ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

It reminds me of a friend of mine who was working in the Mission marketing department in the late 90s and he had to come up with a way to say that their cheapest, worst speaker will be the greatest speaker you ever hear and then find a way to say the next model up will be all that and better and so on up the line. It’s why sales people make good money but they’re insufferable at parties (I say this as a salesperson who is insufferable at parties) 🥳

There is a special place reserved for marketers and copy writers in the afterlife and I don't think its pleasant.

Completely tongue in cheek.

By the way analogue media and playback don't suffer from digital noise and jitter.😃

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Just now, Stereophilus said:

For sure.  He is invested in what he designs and therefore biased.  I do like his openness in sharing his knowledge though.

Oh, absolutely. It’s so great when designers are generous with their time and knowledge. In Darko’s interview with Vinnie Rossi I learned more about how amplifiers work in 23 minutes than I did in 10 years working in a hifi shop

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1 minute ago, Colin Rutter said:

There is a special place reserved for marketers and copy writers in the afterlife and I don't think its pleasant.

Completely tongue in cheek.

By the way analogue media and playback don't suffer from digital noise and jitter.😃

😂

 

No. Shall we get started on what analogue media and playback suffer from (not least of all, analogue media and playback fans)? 🤣

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The sound quality of this interview is terrible. How ironic...

 

Interesting to see him go completely from one end of insanely hard science to the other extreme... I wonder what the ASR community would think about that.

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6 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

Interesting to see him go completely from one end of insanely hard science to the other extreme... I wonder what the ASR community would think about that.

Let’s not go there... 

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19 minutes ago, Colin Rutter said:

By the way analogue media and playback don't suffer from digital noise and jitter.😃

Just wondering how that relates to the discussion points in the pod cast?  I mean, sure, Analog vs Digital is debated ad-nauseam, but the discussion points are in relation to optimising digital replay and class-D amplification.  

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2 hours ago, Stereophilus said:

Just wondering how that relates to the discussion points in the pod cast?  I mean, sure, Analog vs Digital is debated ad-nauseam, but the discussion points are in relation to optimising digital replay and class-D amplification.  

Just making a pitch for analogue nothing more.

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Bruno heard the Kii Three two weeks before the public did, that is some astounding confidence! (without prototyping).

 

I agree computer audio is a huge black box, there is so much going on and you can't turn individual portions of the system off. I had an rare noise issue and it turns out the culprit was the PC -> monitor USB extension cable which only picked up noise when I moved my wireless mouse despite not being connected to the DAC.

 

 

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If only he stuttered less, the interview would be half as long :( Like many geniuses I think his mind runs too fast for his mouth.

 

One thing I did like was that he said there were plenty of valve amps that sound good.

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14 hours ago, Colin Rutter said:

Just making a pitch for analogue nothing more.

Bruno agrees with you.  ;) 

 

 

All amplifiers are analogue, but some amplifiers are more analogue than others

https://www.hypex.nl/img/upload/doc/an_wp/WP_All_amps_are_analogue.pdf

 

 

6. CONCLUSION A device delivering power to a loudspeaker is by definition analogue. The non-idealities of class D amplifiers are analogue in nature as well, and must be solved using analogue means ...<SNIP>.... All amplifiers are analogue, and the appreciation of this fact can only lead to more and better analogue amplifiers.

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8 hours ago, Ittaku said:

If only he stuttered less, the interview would be half as long :( Like many geniuses I think his mind runs too fast for his mouth.

 

One thing I did like was that he said there were plenty of valve amps that sound good.

I was a bit surprised when he said that... Being a class D exponent as such.  And when he said the "other" 2 best amplifiers in the world were the Benchmark HBA2 and the Boulder 2150.

 

I think the pauses / stutters are also the result of being multi-lingual and having to explain complexities in a language that is not his native language.

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2 hours ago, Stereophilus said:

I was a bit surprised when he said that... Being a class D exponent as such.  And when he said the "other" 2 best amplifiers in the world were the Benchmark HBA2 and the Boulder 2150.

He was quite specific about that being amps that he's sure will be perfectly neutral, but then went on to talk about valve amps almost from a completely different angle, recognising (if not openly acknowledging) that measurements don't necessarily need to be good for components to sound good. It was also interesting as I said by the end of the interview how he found himself admitting that his long-held belief that things measured too good to possibly ever sound better was shattered by the fact that changes did sound better. In a way I found that gave me even more respect for him (and I do hold him in great esteem, owning a pair of his amps.)

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14 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

He was quite specific about that being amps that he's sure will be perfectly neutral, but then went on to talk about valve amps almost from a completely different angle, recognising (if not openly acknowledging) that measurements don't necessarily need to be good for components to sound good. It was also interesting as I said by the end of the interview how he found himself admitting that his long-held belief that things measured too good to possibly ever sound better was shattered by the fact that changes did sound better. In a way I found that gave me even more respect for him (and I do hold him in great esteem, owning a pair of his amps.)

I’m still not all the way through but I thought the idea that the closer something measures to his version of ideal, the more predictably good it will be and the more it deviates from that ideal, the less predictable it is. Not necessarily that it will be bad - it may in fact be wonderful - but unpredictably so. Not sure if I’m articulating that well or if I completely got what he was saying but that makes some sort of sense to me. 

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2 minutes ago, RankStranger said:

I’m still not all the way through but I thought the idea that the closer something measures to his version of ideal, the more predictably good it will be and the more it deviates from that ideal, the less predictable it is. Not necessarily that it will be bad - it may in fact be wonderful - but unpredictably so. Not sure if I’m articulating that well or if I completely got what he was saying but that makes some sort of sense to me. 

No, you're clear. I agree with your interpretation of what he said.

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8 minutes ago, Ittaku said:

No, you're clear. I agree with your interpretation of what he said.

It’s a useful stance to take. It lets you stand firmly behind your own method whilst allowing that others may have “happy accidents" resulting in other fabulous kit. It’s very democratic :D 

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https://www.audiosciencereview.com/forum/index.php?threads/review-and-measurements-of-purifi-1et400a-amplifier.7984/

 

Regards Cazzesman

 

 The amp and driver are available to DIYers: at Purifi’s online shop, the 1ET400A sells for 2018 Danish kroner (currently about $300; all prices exclusive of VAT), the PTT6.5W04 for 2329 DKK (about $345).

 

USA $

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https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/opinion/1420-purifi-audios-pint-sized-powerhouses

 

“The Purifi amp is so good, you no longer have to talk about quality!” he declared. “There is no harmonic distortion, no intermodulation distortion, no frequency-response aberration, regardless of frequency or load. It’s better than any other amplifier!”

 

Regards Cazzesman

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  • 1 month later...
On 29/07/2020 at 6:57 PM, RankStranger said:

I’m about a quarter way through. It’s an interesting chat

 

Regarding the above, it helps to keep in mind that, although he’s an engineer, he’s selling his designs and he’ll get far more attention saying no amp will ever be audibly better than he will get by saying this is really great but I’m already designing a better one to replace it! He had no trouble saying the Benchmark and Boulder amps were the only serious competitors to the Purifi. Are those three the best three amps in the world? Some might think so, some might disagree ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ 

 

It reminds me of a friend of mine who was working in the Mission marketing department in the late 90s and he had to come up with a way to say that their cheapest, worst speaker will be the greatest speaker you ever hear and then find a way to say the next model up will be all that and better and so on up the line. It’s why sales people make good money but they’re insufferable at parties (I say this as a salesperson who is insufferable at parties) 🥳

 

Parties .... sigh

 

 

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On 05/08/2020 at 5:43 PM, cazzesman said:

“The Purifi amp is so good, you no longer have to talk about quality!” he declared. “There is no harmonic distortion, no intermodulation distortion, no frequency-response aberration, regardless of frequency or load. It’s better than any other amplifier!”

Really?

 

How do people like this sleep at night.:no:

 

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On 05/08/2020 at 6:13 PM, cazzesman said:

https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/opinion/1420-purifi-audios-pint-sized-powerhouses

 

“The Purifi amp is so good, you no longer have to talk about quality!” he declared. “There is no harmonic distortion, no intermodulation distortion, no frequency-response aberration, regardless of frequency or load. It’s better than any other amplifier!”

 

Regards Cazzesman

Even better than ME....?

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On 05/08/2020 at 6:13 PM, cazzesman said:

https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/opinion/1420-purifi-audios-pint-sized-powerhouses

 

“The Purifi amp is so good, you no longer have to talk about quality!” he declared. “There is no harmonic distortion, no intermodulation distortion, no frequency-response aberration, regardless of frequency or load. It’s better than any other amplifier!”

 

Regards Cazzesman

 

I think, to be fair, this quote needs to be attributed to Peter Lyngdorf of Purifi.  More specifically, the marketing arm of Purifi.

 

6 hours ago, rantan said:

Really?

 

How do people like this sleep at night.:no:

 

 

52 minutes ago, Steffen said:

Not everybody is weighed down by a conscience. 

 

This thread is for discussion about Bruno Putzey’s designs and theories.  There are other threads for throwing shade at marketeering.

Edited by Stereophilus
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On 05/08/2020 at 6:13 PM, cazzesman said:

https://www.soundstagehifi.com/index.php/opinion/1420-purifi-audios-pint-sized-powerhouses

 

“The Purifi amp is so good, you no longer have to talk about quality!” he declared. “There is no harmonic distortion, no intermodulation distortion, no frequency-response aberration, regardless of frequency or load. It’s better than any other amplifier!”

 

Regards Cazzesman

"No Harmonic Distortion"? Funny world we live in... Nelson Pass adds it in deliberately... It's the 'Secret Sauce'.. Without 2nd Harmonics, it's like eating a burger 'Without Sauce' Clean, but bland as marble. 

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15 minutes ago, bryansamui said:

Nelson Pass adds it in deliberately

I think that's a subtle misreprentation of what he does.

 

Sure.  He doesn't seek to minimise it.... and he is concerned about the harmonic profile.

 

The thing is that you can't hear these amounts of harmonic distortion ....  so then?!.... we would he do that?   Why does it seem to matter.

 

My view is that it is not the harmonic distoriton itself that you can hear (and enjoy).   It is the things which the harmonic distortion is a symptom of..... which is the thing you are hearing (or not hearing).     ie. it is the clipping, recovery, and intermodulation, performance of the amplifier.... which makes it "sound good".

 

All amplifiers would (should) sound the same .....as long as they don't have any "tells" which make them sound different.

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1 hour ago, davewantsmoore said:

I think that's a subtle misreprentation of what he does.

 

Sure.  He doesn't seek to minimise it.... and he is concerned about the harmonic profile.

 

The thing is that you can't hear these amounts of harmonic distortion ....  so then?!.... we would he do that?   Why does it seem to matter.

 

My view is that it is not the harmonic distoriton itself that you can hear (and enjoy).   It is the things which the harmonic distortion is a symptom of..... which is the thing you are hearing (or not hearing).     ie. it is the clipping, recovery, and intermodulation, performance of the amplifier.... which makes it "sound good".

 

All amplifiers would (should) sound the same .....as long as they don't have any "tells" which make them sound different.

 Nelson Pass builds and sells the "H2" .     The unit sits between the Pre and Power amp.. It's a 2nd Harmonic distortion generator .. The idea is to make your amp sound like a SET amplifier. I've never heard one but  some people swear by them...  It puts back the  those harmonics that of course naturally occur  in a 'real live musical instrument' that get lost in  the imperfect recording process. He builds this unit into his First Watt SIT 1  as a rotary control on the front (Add Salt & Pepper to taste)

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16 minutes ago, bryansamui said:

It puts back the  those harmonics that of course naturally occur  in a 'real live musical instrument' that get lost in  the imperfect recording process. 

LOL x many

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25 minutes ago, bryansamui said:

It puts back the  those harmonics that of course naturally occur  in a 'real live musical instrument' that get lost in  the imperfect recording process.

This has me puzzled. Are harmonics really lost in the recording process? And how does the H2 know which ones to put back?

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41 minutes ago, sir sanders zingmore said:

This has me puzzled. Are harmonics really lost in the recording process? And how does the H2 know which ones to put back?

Yes harmonics  are lost in the process, speaking from 1st hand experience as a professional musician.  Even Vintage U47 Tefefunken Mics at $30,000 as good as they are won't make my guitar sound like the real thing . Regarding how the H2 avoids the nasty Odd  Order harmonics,... I don't know the answer. Good question.

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1 hour ago, bryansamui said:

 Nelson Pass builds and sells the "H2" .     The unit sits between the Pre and Power amp.. It's a 2nd Harmonic distortion generator .. The idea is to make your amp sound like a SET amplifier. I've never heard one but  some people swear by them...  It puts back the  those harmonics that of course naturally occur  in a 'real live musical instrument' that get lost in  the imperfect recording process. He builds this unit into his First Watt SIT 1  as a rotary control on the front (Add Salt & Pepper to taste)

 

I suggest it's not just that 'these harmonics ' get lost in the recording process, Bryan.  They may be lost by the amplifier circuit itself.

 

I'm talking about the harmonic profile which any amplifier presents.  AIUI, a tube amp will often have a high level of H2 ... and appreciable levels of other even-order harmonics.  Whereas a nasty-sounding ss amp will probably (if it's nasty-sounding) have high levels of odd-order harmonics ... and not much in the way of even order harmonics

 

In the latter case, the 'H2' adds the missing even-order harmonics to the ss amp's odd-order-heavy harmonic profile ... bringing it nearer to a tube amp's harmonic profile.

 

Andy

 

Edited by andyr
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  • 3 months later...

NP definitely plays with the harmonic profile, to provide great sound. 

To me, it seems he is concerned about the relationship/balance of harmonic distortion, and the performance of the 1st watt of amplification (the most important listening window). 
 

NP intimately understands the impact of an amplifiers distortion profile on imaging, tonal presentation, perceived detail, and the listening experience. 
 

As a Firstwatt F7 owner, all I can say, is he knows what he is doing. It’s a glorious sounding amp.

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Like Nelson Pass, everything Bruno Putzeys says is pure genius, right up to, and not including, the moment he turns to the subject of audibility. That is the precise moment when they both step outside their zones of competence and don’t know it.

 

cheers

Grant

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22 minutes ago, Grant Slack said:

Like Nelson Pass, everything Bruno Putzeys says is pure genius, right up to, and not including, the moment he turns to the subject of audibility. That is the precise moment when they both step outside their zones of competence and don’t know it.

 

cheers

Grant

Massive statement there Grant... To suggest that 2 of the most recognisable names in amplifier design today have no competence in what is audible is frankly preposterous.  How can you ignore their combined decades of experience in listening and tweaking and measuring what they design?.  Honestly, your statement leaves me dumbfounded.  

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It’s not preposterous, Stereophilus, it is simple: they have spent decades tweaking and measuring and listening, without controlling the listening to account for non-sonic factors. This is a fatal mistake. A routine, common and understandable mistake, but completely in violation of the science of human perception. Human perception is a science, too, and one that we audiophiles, not to mention product developers, are well advised to become more familiar with. 

 

The notion that being an electronic circuit genius makes one automatically a human perception guru, or above the laws of human perception — now, that’s preposterous.

 

Bottom line: techie gurus who want to expand the frontiers of DAC and amp performance, are really doing it for those customers who want to pay for improvements in the inaudible part of the output of these products, just for its own sake. And I have no issue with that. I just wish these techie gurus showed a proper understanding of the science of human perception before writing or saying, “it sounded better”. Then they wouldn’t say it, and they could have a misdirection-free dialog with those customers who want bleeding-edge, next-level technical performance for its own sake. I, for one, greatly respect (and can admit to some lust for) the amazing technical results they can achieve.

 

Ohhhh, I just saw your gear list, and it includes Mola Mola. Now I understand your reply, and I suspect the above-written comments, however factual, may encounter some resistance. 

 

cheers

Grant

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Pass is on record as using blind tests in amp development, Would be very surprised if Putzeys does not.

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46 minutes ago, Grant Slack said:

It’s not preposterous, Stereophilus, it is simple: they have spent decades tweaking and measuring and listening, without controlling the listening to account for non-sonic factors. This is a fatal mistake. A routine, common and understandable mistake, but completely in violation of the science of human perception. Human perception is a science, too, and one that we audiophiles, not to mention product developers, are well advised to become more familiar with. 

 

The notion that being an electronic circuit genius makes one automatically a human perception guru, or above the laws of human perception — now, that’s preposterous.

 

Bottom line: techie gurus who want to expand the frontiers of DAC and amp performance, are really doing it for those customers who want to pay for improvements in the inaudible part of the output of these products, just for its own sake. And I have no issue with that. I just wish these techie gurus showed a proper understanding of the science of human perception before writing or saying, “it sounded better”. Then they wouldn’t say it, and they could have a misdirection-free dialog with those customers who want bleeding-edge, next-level technical performance for its own sake. I, for one, greatly respect (and can admit to some lust for) the amazing technical results they can achieve.

 

Ohhhh, I just saw your gear list, and it includes Mola Mola. Now I understand your reply, and I suspect the above-written comments, however factual, may encounter some resistance. 

 

cheers

Grant

We will continue to disagree regardless of my gear list.  Why? Because I trust people who listen to their designs, and I trust my own ears as well.

 

I do understand your contention - that all subjective experience must be controlled for to reach any valid conclusions.  I just disagree in the same way that a sommelier with years of experience in selecting wines will sometimes disagree with a double blind-folded crowd of people about wine.

 

We will not solve our differences here and now unfortunately.  Suffice to say that this argument is beyond the scope of this thread.

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We need  Grant Slack's internationally renowned amplifier designs :sarc:

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