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andyr

'Decay' as a measure of system improvement?

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I believe that, when one has replaced a component, you can judge whether the result is an improvement (or not! :P ) by how the decay of sounds is treated by the new component.

I have one LP (Argo ZRG505, recorded in 1966 - ie. pre any thought of digital! :hiccup ) which has a lovely decay of the voices in the recording space. The recording is Vivaldi's "Gloria" & Pergolesi's "Magnificat" by SMitF, led by Neville Marriner and directed by David Willcocks ... and featuring the incomparable Janet Baker. ;)

I use this as a test, when I replace something ... I listen to see how this decay is treated. My theory is ... in the real-time space (if you were present when it was recorded), you would've heard these voices & instruments decay (in the SMitF nave). So anything that gives you a more extensive decay off the LP is better.

Comments anyone - ie. do you agree this is a valid test of "betterness"?

Regards,

Andy

Edited by andyr

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Andy , I guess improved decay is one aspect of improvement but I would also be listening to how the new component handles the leading edge of notes and how it handles timbre , the harmonics surrounding the fundemental :hiccup

Well! , you did ask :P

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Andy

Put some good tubes in your system and you will have better decay, tone, soundstaging, harmonics

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Andy, I guess improved decay is one aspect of improvement but I would also be listening to how the new component handles the leading edge of notes and how it handles timbre, the harmonics surrounding the fundamental :hiccup

Well! , you did ask :P

Very true, ozcal. I will (from now on) listen for how the leading edge is handled ... but timbre IMO is a much more difficult thing to judge? ;)

Regards,

Andy

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Andy

Put some good tubes in your system and you will have better decay, tone, soundstaging, harmonics

Hehe, TT - you may well be right. :hiccup

But I do have some toobs in my system ... my AKSA GK-1 has a unity-gain tube output stage - and definitely, this is more pleasant to listen to than the purely ss output from 'Sub out' (which bypasses the tube stage). You can argue with Hugh as to whether these are "good tubes" or not! :P

However, the penalty of the tube output is that it slightly softens bass transients ... so, in my active system, I use the ss 'Sub out' feed for my bass LP filter and the tube feed for mids & ribbons.

Regards,

Andy

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Don't mean to noob up the thread..but what on earth is 'decay' in this context? :hiccup

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Andy - reckon your theory has some substance. Not that i've replaced anything lately (about a month), but recently gave the motor pulleys on my Blackbird TT a good clean and removed a fair amount of accuimilated grunge from the belt - and WOW what an improvement especially in 'DECAY'. I used to do this on a VPI TT, but not with quite such a dramatic effect is with the Blackbird.

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He-man Andy is referring to the sound of the orchestra fading after the note is played. In essence it's the liveliness of the space the recording was made in. I too use it as a benchmark for evaluating changes particularly small details that are revealed to help give you a picture of the space.it should not be confused with the electronic effect.

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Yeah..............cymbal decay is what I listen for.

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He-man Andy is referring to the sound of the orchestra fading after the note is played. In essence it's the liveliness of the space the recording was made in. I too use it as a benchmark for evaluating changes particularly small details that are revealed to help give you a picture of the space.it should not be confused with the electronic effect.

"He-man Andy is ..." or "He-man, Andy is ..." :P

Seriously, Craig ... not only the orchestra but also the singer(s).

And I'm glad that at least one other person says he uses this ... so I can't be too far off the mark! :hiccup

Regards,

Andy

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Andy , I guess improved decay is one aspect of improvement but I would also be listening to how the new component handles the leading edge of notes and how it handles timbre , the harmonics surrounding the fundemental :hiccup

Well! , you did ask :P

I agree with this, I've certainly experienced components that had great decay but blunted the leading edge of notes - particularly plucked strings, piano notes etc.

This can sound pleasing for a while, but ultimately it sounds less real and leads to dissatisfaction.

IME, the passive components themselves (eg capacitors) can greatly effect the balance of these qualities and harmonic development etc.

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Seriously, Craig ... not only the orchestra but also the singer(s).

Folk singer is a great LP for vocal decay in the room.

Tobes, what aural cues identify the leading edge has been blunted?

Edited by CJCC67

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Tobes, what aural cues identify the leading edge has been blunted?

There will be a softness to the initial pluck or striking of an instrument - be that cymbal, string, piano hammer even finger snaps - it plain sounds less real. Listen to solo piano, harpsichord, vibraphone, well recorded percussion, flamenco guitar, pizzicato violin etc. Of course most of these are great for assessing decay as well.

Its less obvious on human voice which can sound beguiling and perhaps smoother with components having this 'issue'.

I found that the oil capacitor in the PS of my Cary phono amp was mainly responsible for a softness of initial transients. Changing this to a film/foil cap provided a vast improvement IMO.

Of course what you don't want is over emphasis of the initial transient - this sounds awful. Maybe over-emphasis is the wrong term, some components may sound that way because they don't reproduce the proper body and decay of sounds.

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Sometimes the poor reverb decay can be a result of them using a poor reverb during recording/mixing.

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