"No it doesn't sound any better even
with those %@#&%^ inter-connects that cost me $1600." Sometimes
when listening I want a portal to the performer; an uncolored,
dynamic sonic view of the fingers on the frets, the breaths
between vocal effort. I'm forgiving of the portal - the
view might have a little dirt on it and yes, maybe the
flatnessof the pane I look through begs a bit of forgiveness,
but the music's the thing.
Although there are times I wonder just
how much grundge I'm looking through, humans are creative
listeners and will perform an amazing amount ofsonic
backfill. Witness the single-ended amplifier craze. We
are talking about 5-8% harmonic distortion. One can SEE
that on a cheap o-scope! Granted the 8% distortion is
at rated power and not neccessarily at 1 or 1/2 watt
levels - at those levels it's more like 1% - and the
higher order and odd harmonic distortion components are
substantially lower.One is driving a loudspeaker with
a smokin' 31/2 -5 watts, however, and the little amps
On the positive side the tube amp circuits
are SIMPLE. The schematic could be drawn on a cocktail
napkin. Fewer parts fewer out-of-spec parts and less
opportunity for SOMETHING BAD to happen. One has to realize
one dirty pot can have a negative impact on the signal,
but simplicity provides a possibility of elegance.
Much has been said of the finer details
of'soundstaging, imaging, tonality, resolution,etc.,
etc.' What about the BIG things?
For example, at times I want to be THERE,
at the performance; not just a sonic window but immersed
and indistinguishable from the event. This seems to me
to require a level of dynamics and sonic realism that
just ain't there.
Nor is this present
in most of the recordings I have heard. One recording "Songs of the Auvergne" Vanguard
1972 provides an exceptionally clear view of the performance.
This was sung in the original dialect, minimally miked
and mixed, definitely an example of the"simpler
is better" approach. There is a surprising (or not
so surprising) lack of noise. Not that it would matter,
humans have an unsurpassed ear-brain listening system
- we can filter out the sound of a vacuum cleaner chasing
a cat. But even with this recording I am not fooled.
It is a wonderful portal but I'm still in the listening
What we need is complete control over
the acoustic energy radiated in the room. The control
stops when the pressure wave sails away from the loudspeaker.
Oh, one can spend lots on room tuners,
dampers, tubes, anti-diffraction coatings, to affect
the acoustic energy, but that is not control over the
acoustic radiation pattern.
For the air molecules it's a Quentin Tarantino
movie. The listener hears the aftermath. At least5 of
the surfaces in one's listening room need to radiate/absorb
according to an algorithm to define a particular acoustic
As far as I know these surface radiators
do not exist. They need to have very well controlled
self-resonance, very low mass, high force/current ratio
(damping) and be able to absorb or cancel as well as
radiate. To drive the panels lots of signal processing
would have to occur. Then room acoustic problems are
One is presented with a reproduced acoustic
event independant of the room. Close your eyes and you
are outside listening to someone play a harp- literally.
Well, until then I'll hook up this portable radio to
an old Klipschorn and listen towhat 500 milliwatts can