Author Topic: Steve, great post!  (Read 634 times)

Offline dBe

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Offline steve

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #1 on: October 14, 2017, 08:29:14 PM »
http://www.audiocircle.com/index.php?topic=152696.msg1632139#msg1632139

Nice.

Thanks dBe. Much appreciated. It is always an up hill battle because individuals have been misled by advertising, marketer(s) or designer(s). Marketing always triumphs. But hopefully, my information will help some.

Look at all the upgrades, new models that come out year after year. Why, if they have optimized their designs long ago.

How many advertisers claim they artificially flavor their design(s) for listener's tastes? I have not seen one yet. They all sound different, so which one designs and tests properly and which does not?

Of course cosmetics is a consideration.

Cheers

Steve

ps. I am thinking about either selling my designs, or manufacturing a 10A line preamplifier again. Probably very limited production if it does occur.
« Last Edit: October 14, 2017, 08:42:11 PM by steve »
Pre/Amp/ICs are the only components that can be tested for accuracy/naturalness.

Steve Sammet (retired)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamplifier
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Speakers 20-20khz
SAS Audio ICs
10 parallel 18 gauge wires

Offline P.I.

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #2 on: October 18, 2017, 11:58:45 AM »
One of the myths of audio, especially audio is "the latest and greatest".  I learned long ago that the "this years new, great piece" was last years piece with a cheaper mode of manufacture sporting the whiz-bang trendy cosmetics that go along with a higher retail price.

I am a nuts and bolts kind of guy.  That is why I gravitate to tube gear or really smart, lees is more SS designs by people like Nelson Pass.    Not to mention that fewerr devices don't screw with the signal nearly as much.

Same goes for speaker design.  Years ago I got in a LOOOOOOONG discussion with one of the "gurus" on another site about design philosophy.  His idea was to get everything flat using conjugate networks needed to use pound a driver with passband peaks and spikes that were just stupid big in amplitude.  My approach was to use drivers with out of passband responses that were smooth a couple of octaves out of the passband, align acoustic centers and use something like a second order L/R crossover.  The only netweorks that I would use were zobels or purely resistive impedance compensation to make the speaker easy to drive.  Certainly my designs might not have been ruler flat from DC to light, but they don't sound constipated in the way only too many components can do.

I really do think that a good preamp opens the window to great sound.  Think hard and let us know.  There is always room for excellence.   :thumb:
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Offline steve

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #3 on: January 11, 2018, 04:27:07 PM »
One of the myths of audio, especially audio is "the latest and greatest".  I learned long ago that the "this years new, great piece" was last years piece with a cheaper mode of manufacture sporting the whiz-bang trendy cosmetics that go along with a higher retail price.

I am a nuts and bolts kind of guy.  That is why I gravitate to tube gear or really smart, lees is more SS designs by people like Nelson Pass.    Not to mention that fewerr devices don't screw with the signal nearly as much.

Same goes for speaker design.  Years ago I got in a LOOOOOOONG discussion with one of the "gurus" on another site about design philosophy.  His idea was to get everything flat using conjugate networks needed to use pound a driver with passband peaks and spikes that were just stupid big in amplitude.  My approach was to use drivers with out of passband responses that were smooth a couple of octaves out of the passband, align acoustic centers and use something like a second order L/R crossover.  The only netweorks that I would use were zobels or purely resistive impedance compensation to make the speaker easy to drive.  Certainly my designs might not have been ruler flat from DC to light, but they don't sound constipated in the way only too many components can do.

I really do think that a good preamp opens the window to great sound.  Think hard and let us know.  There is always room for excellence.   :thumb:

A couple of things that have really helped me; first was to design a perfect preamplifier that does not affect the signal in any way. The second wass to design an amplifier with the same perfection. Both via listening tests; requires special setups, and lots of time to get it right.

Once that is done, then I started on my 2 way test speaker. Been 4 years designing and tweaking the xover. One problem I have noticed is that crossing over two low with the full range driver, and the driver cannot handle the lows, even with 12db xover. So I had to raise the xover some. That has been basically finished, and the final tweaking is just done.

The woofer required an ~4.5 cubic foot box, large but I wanted to use an old fashioned driver with Qt of 0,7. The pressure on the cabinet walls is not so great, but it is 40 x 22 x 11. A couple of tweaks here and there and all finished, except for covering. Weighs ~80lbs.

cheers

steve
Pre/Amp/ICs are the only components that can be tested for accuracy/naturalness.

Steve Sammet (retired)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamplifier
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Speakers 20-20khz
SAS Audio ICs
10 parallel 18 gauge wires

Offline richidoo

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #4 on: January 11, 2018, 05:20:08 PM »
Glad to know you're still developing new audio toys, steve. I hope you'll share them with us when you're finished?  :drool:
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Online tmazz

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #5 on: January 12, 2018, 05:28:18 AM »
Glad to know you're still developing new audio toys, steve.

Of course he is. Once you have been infected, the sickness never leaves.  :lol:
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Offline dBe

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #6 on: January 13, 2018, 06:55:59 PM »
Cool.

I would be very interested to know which full range you are using.

Offline steve

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #7 on: February 08, 2018, 10:30:29 PM »
Several considerations. The first is how far off most audio components are in sound quality. It is amazing how good an "average speaker" sounds when matched to really accurate components. I think you guys have found the same thing. Second, got the room pretty flat.

Actually I have not liked any full range drivers over the years. However, ~4 yrs ago, Bill, a Rhode Island audiophile, who comes every fall to visit his parents grave site, brought a pair of 4.5" full range drivers (in small speaker boxes) with him and wanted me to audition them.

Well, I had Phast Jr. from Selah Audio (got good by on them), and they sounded better than most speakers individuals have brought over, and I could tweak them a little. Anyway, the Phast Jr. use a morel 2.5"? dome for the mids. Finally tried the FR drivers and darn if they didn't trounce the morels. Even subbed them for the Morels. Oh, I did do a little tweak to eliminate the beaming of highs.

There was some promise.

That got the ball rolling; started designing a test speaker. Something I wanted to try was to crossover at 200hz or less, 2 way. That substantially reduced the requirements of the woofer. I was sick of 45-50hz f3 response, wanted 30hz and reproduction to 20hz.

Forgot, it has been ~45 years since I designed a speaker, and I had no idea of how the project would turn out, so I didn't want to spend a lot of time. But then I have auditioned 28k speakers here and did not like them because they used an inaccurate audio system, and probably room to design them.

So I looked for a 12" woofer with a Qts of ~0.7. The woofer needed a 4.5 ft3 box; I reinforced it and installed the drivers. Internally dampened it with fiberglass.

The hardest part by far was the xover, and matching the woofer to the FR driver. That is what has taken over 4 years to get right. Besides adjustments of 1 part in some 300,000 (resistor tweak) making a sonic difference (change equivalent to frequency response change -105-110db down), even moving the speakers 1/32" rotating, sideways, height makes an amazing sonic difference. Of course temperature also a consideration.

Bought 500 watt inductors, matched to within one turn. Speakers only rated for 50 watts peak or so, using less than 20 watt peaks. Capacitors are matched (Tektronix meter) to read exactly the same capacitance in each channel.

Three controls in back of each speaker. One matches the woofer to FR driver, the second adjusts the Zobel, third is a switch that tweaks the woofer damping. Zobel caps are extremely critical in sonic quality, and uf size. I am using five foot length of 10 parallel 18 gauge solid wires from monoblocks to speakers. 8 or 12 in parallel do not sound as good.

I have auditioned the Harbeth L3/5a, a host of other speakers, heard about Fulton's, but I am finally happy with these albatross speakers. Can't even get them out of my apartment and down the stairs with a dolly though.

Frankly, they are a pain in the butt, so glad I am finished. But I sure do like hearing what I am hearing, all aspects.

The FR is -3db at 30hz and -13db at 19-20hz. Top measures to 20khz, but my hearing won't go that high anymore.

Got the flu now, gotta go.

cheers

steve
« Last Edit: February 08, 2018, 10:32:19 PM by steve »
Pre/Amp/ICs are the only components that can be tested for accuracy/naturalness.

Steve Sammet (retired)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamplifier
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Speakers 20-20khz
SAS Audio ICs
10 parallel 18 gauge wires

Offline dBe

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #8 on: February 10, 2018, 08:54:32 PM »
Steve,  your journey speaks to me in volumes.

In 1964 the lead guitar player in the band I was in and I started on a journey or two. His dad was a nuclear physicist at Sandia National Labs whose hobby was music appreciation.  We went to many live performances and spent time talking about all kinds of music.  He loved Mahler AND Chuck Berry.  Truly a renaissance man.  Built his own Klipschorn clones and the loudest guitar amp I ever heard for his son, my friend.  One of the takeaways from that journey were the 12" Norelco alnico twin cone fullranges used in Chuck's amp.  Blew up a bunch, but I got some to use with my Heathkit and later Dyna amps.  They were far from perfect with limited bass and somewhat ragged highs, but they imbued in me a magic that was lost in the years and speakers that came later. The coherency, the 'oneness' of the music was magical on vocals, acoustic instruments, jazz and in portraying the space in music.

Fast forward 50 years and here I am again in quest of that rightness that I remember. 

I've built 2-ways, 3-ways and even 4 ways trying to get that back. 

I'll say this:  the coherency that comes from a single, wide range driver bests (I almost said "Trumps") a lot of the temporary gratification of other alignments.  I can live with less than "perfectly flat" because every speaker that I have heard that got there was constipated in presentation (phase issues) or totally without the "emotional aspect" that comes with transient true and with proper ring out and release that comes with true point sources.

I'm past 115 dB listening sessions or the wowie zowie presentation that some speakers bring.
I do long for the effortless, musical immediacy that alnico drivers bring to the party.  With that, some of the new neodymium drivers do split the difference between the sweetness of alnico and the bigger than life presentation that ceramics give.

Hardest thing is getting the bottom end right.  So far either compound transmission lines or GR Research open baffle subs are the only things that do "it" for me.

YMMV, but good music is good music to the beholder, eh...

Offline steve

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #9 on: February 10, 2018, 10:51:52 PM »
I can appreciate your work dbe and sacrifice, both in efforts and time.

As you, I really want coherency and always found xovers in the midrange, even upper midrange to be detrimental. So I designed my xover for less than 200hz. Tweaking the xover in this area does not offend the midrange voices, maybe just slightly, while giving the coherency of all the harmonics I wanted, as the frequency increased. Crossing over where the ear is most sensitive is something I wanted to avoid. I personally would also not use a 12" FR or coaxial/tri driver. Much too ragged.

I found my woofer/room works nicely, and I use the woofer pointing inside, away from the wall, setup. (Sealed bass enclosure to allow for response at 20hz.) This allows me to adjust for a flatter in room bass response. The switch allows me to also adjust the damping at resonance. I can tweak the response from low up to the xover frequency. I can have nice taught deep bass or loosen it slightly at resonance for a little more umph.

The inside firing woofer also allows me to keep the front foot print down to 11" wide.

Frankly, I had no idea of how my finished project would sound when I started. What would be the limits? Another friend, Dan, has been up many times, was taught by a gent who retired from ARC, how to setup speakers. We did have times where we took a step or two back. So many variables, placement, xover tweaking. But we managed to keep going.

All I can say is, I am absolutely flabbergasted at how good my system sounds. Words cannot express my satisfaction. But then thousands and thousands of hours, over the decades to get each part of the system optimized/accurate. If I had a wish, more woofers to flatten the response to 20hz or below. But there would be no room for such. Oh, I can still tweak the controls to adjust if I feel the need.
But finally, basically, finished with no desire for anything else.

One other thing. I too, found how different magnet types affected the sound of drivers. Same drivers, same cones, supposively same gauss, but different magnet.  I also found the neo magnet version had a higher amplitude resonance that the ceramic magnet type. Interesting finding indeed. Maybe slightly different specs manufacturer didn't wish to publish.

Cheers

steve



« Last Edit: February 10, 2018, 10:58:46 PM by steve »
Pre/Amp/ICs are the only components that can be tested for accuracy/naturalness.

Steve Sammet (retired)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamplifier
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Speakers 20-20khz
SAS Audio ICs
10 parallel 18 gauge wires

Offline dBe

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #10 on: February 10, 2018, 11:09:41 PM »
Steve, there was never a sacrifice in loved in my quest.  It was all counted as joy as I learned so much along the way.  Uhm... Not quite true:  there was the occasional stupid injury along the way. Thank God I still have all my fingers, both eyes and most of my hearing.

I was very close to THE SYSTEM a few years ago, but I was talked into selling it.  What a dumbass moved for something as temporal as money.

I'm still on the ultimate quest where enjoyment surpasses every other aspect of audiophilia nervosa.  I'm getting there and will reveal all when and if that happens.

I envy you in a good way.

Keep on keepin' on... It is ALL about the music.

Offline steve

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #11 on: February 11, 2018, 07:06:29 PM »
Steve, there was never a sacrifice in loved in my quest.  It was all counted as joy as I learned so much along the way.  Uhm... Not quite true:  there was the occasional stupid injury along the way. Thank God I still have all my fingers, both eyes and most of my hearing.

I was very close to THE SYSTEM a few years ago, but I was talked into selling it.  What a dumbass moved for something as temporal as money.

I'm still on the ultimate quest where enjoyment surpasses every other aspect of audiophilia nervosa.  I'm getting there and will reveal all when and if that happens.

I envy you in a good way.

Keep on keepin' on... It is ALL about the music.

Thank you for the compliments Dave. I am really blessed in this field, but I keep in remembrance that everyone has their field(s) of expertise as well, just different "forums" is all.

I applaud you for your quest for your excelling system instead of just settling. Is it possible to obtain new components again, or were yours upgraded, or cost prohibitive?

Cheers

steve
« Last Edit: February 11, 2018, 07:13:22 PM by steve »
Pre/Amp/ICs are the only components that can be tested for accuracy/naturalness.

Steve Sammet (retired)

SAS Audio Labs Test Phono Stage
SAS Audio 11A Preamplifier
SAS Audio 25 W Triode Amp
Test Speakers 20-20khz
SAS Audio ICs
10 parallel 18 gauge wires

Offline dBe

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #12 on: February 11, 2018, 09:02:32 PM »
Steve, there was never a sacrifice in loved in my quest.  It was all counted as joy as I learned so much along the way.  Uhm... Not quite true:  there was the occasional stupid injury along the way. Thank God I still have all my fingers, both eyes and most of my hearing.

I was very close to THE SYSTEM a few years ago, but I was talked into selling it.  What a dumbass moved for something as temporal as money.

I'm still on the ultimate quest where enjoyment surpasses every other aspect of audiophilia nervosa.  I'm getting there and will reveal all when and if that happens.

I envy you in a good way.

Keep on keepin' on... It is ALL about the music.

Thank you for the compliments Dave. I am really blessed in this field, but I keep in remembrance that everyone has their field(s) of expertise as well, just different "forums" is all.

I applaud you for your quest for your excelling system instead of just settling. Is it possible to obtain new components again, or were yours upgraded, or cost prohibitive?

Cheers

steve
The main components in that system were Cary 572SE MkII mono locks along with a minimalist Cary preamp, theSLP50B.  They were all massively modified in the power supplies as well as some wise choices in tube selections.  Speakers were my own skullduggery.  I worked on that combo for a long time tweaking weaknesses in every thing into strengths.  My big deal is synergism.  It's like an embrace:all of the parts have to fit.

The 572 tubes had a reputation for self destruction, but we're really amazing when they were well treated by their surrounding components.  A small change in plate resistor made all of the difference in both reliability and sweetness.

I'm turning to higher sensitivity, lower power and tidier systems.  Must be the age thing  :thumb:

Online tmazz

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #13 on: February 11, 2018, 09:25:25 PM »


I'm turning to higher sensitivity, lower power and tidier systems.  Must be the age thing  :thumb:


.... and lighter.  8)   I don't know about you guys, but my days of humping around 168 lb Thieil speakers and 130 lb ARC amps are pretty much over. Those duties have now been relegated to my sons. (I knew they were good for something.  :lol:)
Remember, it's all about the music........

• Nola Boxers
• Sunfire True SW Super Jr (2)
• Quicksilver Mid Monos
• ARC SP-9
• VPI HW-19 Mk IV/SDS/SME IV/Sumiko Blue Pt. Special
• EE Minmax DAC/Bluesound Node/Denon 2910
• TWL Power Cords/MIT Cables

Offline Nick B

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Re: Steve, great post!
« Reply #14 on: February 12, 2018, 07:39:08 AM »


I'm turning to higher sensitivity, lower power and tidier systems.  Must be the age thing  :thumb:


.... and lighter.  8)   I don't know about you guys, but my days of humping around 168 lb Thieil speakers and 130 lb ARC amps are pretty much over. Those duties have now been relegated to my sons. (I knew they were good for something.  :lol:)

+1 on the lighter weights. Heck, I was griping about about 65 lb speakers and a 65 lb amp. Then there’s the 80 lb turntable.
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