Page 4 of 8

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Mon May 03, 2021 11:56 pm
by sq225917
OK, if I'm being honest.

Phonostage, it's all tweaked every component is hand selected apart from a few resistors.

Dac, hand built mains cable, nothing tweakey just thick cable and tight plugs. Low pass filter and iv opamps all swapped out, bluetooth disabled.

Preamp, all hand-built with external psu that's direct dc bypassing inboard rectifiers, nonestandard switch gear, socketry, vol pot.

TT, nonstandard motor and optical tacho, modified bearing, swapped platter, subplatter and belt. Modified motor mount and housing and aforementioned inner tube.

Power amps, hand-built, doubled up on traffo, psu boards and bridged the original design.

Speakers, reveneered cabs, all new drivers fitted before I purchased them, original tweeters replaced with raal ribbons, external xo for tweeters and all new caps on mid and bass xo.

Don't even get me started on the Ian Canada dac. Ssd storage, 5 rails of battery power, 3 linear rails of additional psu, custom transformer output stage, new clocks, separate rpi, reclock, rfi shield and dual ess dac boards. I don't even use it these days.

And heavyweight double lined theatre curtains and 30 18" acoustic wall tiles.

My stax headphones and amp are the only stock things I own.

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 1:18 am
by YNWaN
Nothing in my system is 100% stock - not a single part. :oops:

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 6:53 am
by Joe...
sq225917 wrote: Mon May 03, 2021 11:56 pm OK, if I'm being honest.

Phonostage, it's all tweaked every component is hand selected apart from a few resistors.

Dac, hand built mains cable, nothing tweakey just thick cable and tight plugs. Low pass filter and iv opamps all swapped out, bluetooth disabled.

Preamp, all hand-built with external psu that's direct dc bypassing inboard rectifiers, nonestandard switch gear, socketry, vol pot.

TT, nonstandard motor and optical tacho, modified bearing, swapped platter, subplatter and belt. Modified motor mount and housing and aforementioned inner tube.

Power amps, hand-built, doubled up on traffo, psu boards and bridged the original design.

Speakers, reveneered cabs, all new drivers fitted before I purchased them, original tweeters replaced with raal ribbons, external xo for tweeters and all new caps on mid and bass xo.

Don't even get me started on the Ian Canada dac. Ssd storage, 5 rails of battery power, 3 linear rails of additional psu, custom transformer output stage, new clocks, separate rpi, reclock, rfi shield and dual ess dac boards. I don't even use it these days.

And heavyweight double lined theatre curtains and 30 18" acoustic wall tiles.

My stax headphones and amp are the only stock things I own.

You left out your speaker cables. :D

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 7:35 am
by misterdog
Does cat litter count as an audio tweak?
I've just filled the steel box sections of my Quad ESL's with it.

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 8:34 am
by YNWaN
Yes it does ;).

Your system is heavily custom and modified too :).

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 8:37 am
by YNWaN
Joe... wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 6:53 amYou left out your speaker cables. :D
Ah, Si uses Linn K20 these days - which isn’t very tweaky IMO.

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 10:27 am
by misterdog
YNWaN wrote: Tue May 04, 2021 8:34 am
Your system is heavily custom and modified too :).
Less so than previously though, I have replaced the pre and power amp with off the shelf units and the DAC with one that requires no attention..

Having purchased and tweaked the Quad ESL's aiming for the lowest distortion possible, I though it only right to try similar source products.
I went down the ASR route and bought a Benchmark AHB2 amplifier, Topping Pre 90 and SMSL M400 DAC.
All the best that Amir has measured - so far. All with measured distortion of -135 dB or better.

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 11:30 am
by reffc
The thread seems to have drifted off, I am afraid, by my own insertion of the tweakery bit which seems to have been taken the wrong way.

I wasn't referring to sensible, design related tweaks or changes aimed at technically improving performance using real physics, proper knowledge, or even just Mk1 ears to improve subjective sound. I was suggesting that there are "tweaks" with absolutely no scientific basis sold on the mere fact that they make money or win subjective plaudits on pseudo science but in almost all cases, are easily disproven. Fuses do have some bearing in terms of their rating and resistive build-up until they eventually melt, but as stated, replacing with new every few years if needed for some peculiar reason power supplies in some bits of kit are that sensitive to small current drops, then easily remedied for peace of mind.

What interests me though is the way the thread is drifting. It's worth a new thread in it's own right for system development but probably sensible just to keep going on this one.

The one thing that is often completely forgotten or relegated to "it isn't practical" is the speaker/room interaction and treatment. The modern convenience solution to this is ultimately dsp controlled speakers which alter measured distortion and room power response make-up at the listening position. Whilst I admire some designs such as the Dutch and Dutch, they really are not the panacea some paint them out to be as most benefit is achieved only on listening axis.

All designs have their compromises.....ALL designs, since there is no one fits all solution that can or does address every area. The trade off in dsp and narrow axis esls, is usually that they have a narrower sweet spot, and in the case of esls, are compromised in extension and spl compared with pistonic driver designs, which by the way also have examples of ultra low distortion.

There is little merit in carefully assembling a system by reducing measured distortion of each components to an absolute minimum if the compromises cannot be viewed more holistically in terms of the listening environment and choice of music. You could technically reproduce a recording at the speaker plane with less than a cumulative 1% but as soon as it couples with the room, you are subject to the same room resonances, reflections, bass modes, direct and indirect in/out of phase sound as with any other system and could raise that less than 1% to more than 5 or even 10% THD!

I am guilty as much as most other enthusiasts in not paying enough attention to the room response as a whole and despite a penchant for DIYing everything, it's one area where a few thousand if affordable, is money well spent by commissioning an acoustics treatment company to testing and improving the listening environment, and this needn't have to look like a recording studio these days. Decorative, themed or family photos can be enlarged, posterised and printed on acoustically transparent material and used to cover absorption panels; Diffraction panels can be hung like modern pieces of art at strategic points
etc.

Talking of loudspeaker THD, that's also a point where few, if anyone I speak with, have paid much attention when selecting and buying passive speakers. There can be an enormous gulf between the best and worst out there, even amongst modern designs and certainly including more expensive options. Typically, a really good drive unit will have a maximum THD value quoted at maximum power handling in the bass (maximum excursion) of 1% or less. For most sensible listening levels, it will be closer to a third of that value and at less than -45 to -50dB below program. The numbers are less important than how it behaves in other areas such as linearity, the load it presents, how well damped it is etc. Light, ceramic coated or metallised drivers if undamped tend to have the highest break-up spikes ands these are typically 3rd order, objectionable and have very high peaks. This is where crossover design is vitally important and using them well within their linear operating envelops critical to the end result.

I use Tannoy DC's a lot in my designs and those, surprisingly, were achieving less than 1% 50 or more years ago, thanks to short excursion and high efficiency, marred only in many DIY circles by ballsing up the crossover designs or cabinet builds. The larger the cabinet, the harder it is to control resonances, so using modern CAD tools in design (finite element analysis for one) is a no brainer to optimise panel design.

Point is, any or all of the more minor tweaks and upgrading viewed in this light have only two real things in their favour: Firstly they may be good practice in bettering each component (Simon's resistor matching and tolerance control) where improvements in a revealing system are clearly audible yet we are undoubtedly still listening to colourations brought about by speaker/room interaction, and secondly, because we enjoy fiddling!

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 11:41 am
by misterdog
My next tweak is building a new room for it.
After which I will no longer be able to afford audiophile fuses. :D

As for ESL's being compromised in extension, you might be surprised by what can be achieved.

Re: Proof that ‘audiophile’ fuses are worth the cost…?

Posted: Tue May 04, 2021 12:26 pm
by reffc
Don't get me wrong, I happen to like ESLs but none of them extend much under 40Hz and are prone to damage if driven hard in the lower registers. For all of that, they are convincing and do a lot right.