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About gmgraves

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  1. The YBA A100 is just a typical Chinese solid-state 100 Wpc Integrated amplifier. I've never heard one, but I've seen them listed before. I think they are a lot of money for what they are. A better Chinese buy would, in my estimation, be the Yaqin MC-100B. It's a tube Integrated amp and is a true dual Mono Design from it's two independent power transformers (one for each channel) on. I've a friend who has one and it sounds superb driving his Quad ESL speakers (newer ones not the old ESL57s). There are several outlets in Canada who buy these in bulk from China and go over each with a fine tooth comb before shipping them to customers in the US and Canada. These dealers offer a warranty, which direct-from-China most sources on E-Bay do not. I just noticed that Amazon sells these too for $999. I would certainly buy a device like this from Amazon rather than risk buying it from overseas. You know Amazon stands behind everything they sell, But these amps are gorgeously built and very impressive looking as well as being impressive sounding. These amps seem to average around US$800 (a low of $699 to a high or $999) and put out 100 Wpc. Also keep in mind the lower priced units do not include shipping from China and that makes the "bargains" not such bargains when you factor-in the shipping cost! I hope this is of some help.
  2. I have found that it is more a question of the quality of the two optical couplers than it is the cable itself. Some TOSLINK transducers have enough bandwidth to successfully and reliably transfer 24/192, many will only do 24/96 and the very cheapest are only good for 16/44.1. Often, when people complain about optical cable performance, it's not the cable at fault, it's one or both of the optical couplers.
  3. I wouldn't doubt it one bit. Of course Chris says he doesn't know what the "reputation score" means!!??
  4. You should probably delete it, especially if you don't know what it means. Without context, it's prejudicial (and it's really prejudicial ANYWAY! It makes other responders think that people with low numbers are somehow not worthy to respond to or to even take heed of.). It doesn't seem to have anything to do with the number of posts one has made. Is it the number of "likes" or "arrow-ups" at the bottom of each post? do they average out between up-arrows and down arrows? Is it an arbitrary number? Who knows? I think it is inappropriate to this forum.
  5. Chris. What is this "Reputation" number mean and more importantly, what is the criteria for assigning a number to a member and who decides?
  6. Pretty elitist attitude if you ask me. What this really proves is that the debate over cables serves a useful purpose. That is to say, reading these debates will give newcomers a heightened awareness of Caveat Emptor when it comes to taking someone else's (especially a salesperson's) recommendation about cables. In this case, the salesman's interest was most assuredly to increase his commission by selling my friend expensive cables (with huge markups), without regard to his actual needs. Even if the salesperson actually thought that the stuff he was selling to my friend was good value in terms of what it did for the sound of that system, the fact that my friend had no baseline from which to make such a decision for himself should have caused the salesman to back-off. What I told my friend to buy were good quality interconnects and speaker cables, but are pretty generic. Now, if, after listening to this system with the cables that I had him buy, he decides that he'd like to dabble in the world of exotic cables and interconnects, he will have an idea of what he is looking for and can walk into an audio salon and arrange to try different cables in his system on a trial basis. If, after trying a number of them, he decides for himself that $10,000 worth of MIT speaker cables, and/or $6000 worth of interconnects float his sonic boat, then I have no problem with him spending HIS money for what he believes gives him an improved audio experience. My beliefs and experience notwithstanding.
  7. Agreed but there is another side of this issue to consider. Neophytes to the pursuit of good sound, are often told by audio salesmen that they absolutely NEED to buy certain cables or their new multi-thousand dollar system won't sound good at all. Case in point. I have a friend who's a doctor of psychology and a really smart guy. But he is technically all thumbs. He wouldn't know a volt from an Ohm! He saved up for a couple of years and went to his local dealer in Seattle WA where he lived. He bought VTL's most expensive preamp, and their 85W/pc power amplifier and a pair of Martin Logan Vantage Loudspeakers. I suspect that he paid around $12000 for that gear. Anyway, not knowing any better, he let the salesman talk him into some MIT speaker cables, and a set of Nordost interconnects. The cables cost him more than THE EQUIPMENT. This salesman also explained to him that he lacked the expertise to install this equipment himself and further sold him on paying the technician a further $2000 to hook the equipment up (delivery, of course, was free from this dealer. Isn't that nice?), Luckily, he called me when he got home from the dealer to tell me what he had bought. I just about blew a gasket. I told him to get on the phone before they delivered his equipment and cancel all of those cables. I also told him to inform them that he appreciated the free delivery, but would not be needing the services of their technician. I then sent him to MyCableMart.Com for his interconnects, and to SewellDirect.Com for his speaker cable while I was on the phone with him, and we both went to those sites simultaneously so I could show him what to buy. Total bill from those two sites? about $40! On Skype I walked him through putting his system together (he had a CD Deck and an FM tuner, and that was all he needed at the time). By doing this I saved him $15,000! Money that he DID NOT have to spend, and wouldn't have known the difference if he had spent it because he had nothing with which to compare it. So, even if one believes in boutique cables affecting the sound of a system, That dealer ripped him off big-time. This is why I think these debates are not just useful on this forum, they're essential. And if these neophytes listened to a bunch of different cables and made the decision to buy the high-priced spread THEMSELVES, then of course, that is their decision and they have only themselves to blame if it turns out that there were cheaper alternatives that were just as good. My motto here is forewarned is forearmed. At least here, the neophyte gets a balanced picture of both sides of the argument. He can go listen to cables knowing that: 1) Many CA members have electrical degrees and say that cable sound is imaginary and if one thinks he hears a difference, it's all in his (or her) head. 2) Price is no basis for selecting cables. Even those who are True Believers agree that the cable that sounds the best to your ears is the one you should buy irrespective of price. 3) Even Believers will tell you that no matter how much your cables cost, the end result will be subtle compared to things like speakers, cartridges, DACs, disc players, amps and preamps and the result is only going to be as good as the weakest link in the system. I.E. If you connect a $40 CD player off the internet to a pair of $2,000 Nordost Valhalla II interconnects, it's still going to sound like a $40 CD player. Or, as they say in India: "you can put a pair of gold and diamond earrings on a goat. But it's still only a goat!"
  8. Well, the testimony is usually unreliable in my estimation because only scrupulously set-up tests with very tightly controlled parameters and unbiased oversight and a number of participants with a preponderance of those participants agreeing with both the methodology and the results. Otherwise it's just someone's opinion. That's the reason why science designed test equipment and a scientific method for using it. There is an axiom in engineering which states "extraordinary claims require extraordinary proof". And whether you believe it or not, claiming that something which, by all the rules of science, cannot make a sonic difference, is making a sonic difference, most assuredly is an extraordinary claim. But we have yet to see this extraordinary proof! Heck we haven't even seen any ordinary or even credible theories, much less proof. Just saying'.
  9. In my experience, "B" is the answer. If you find a CD that is bettered by the vinyl version, it is almost certainly because of something done in the transfer of the original recording to digital or the mastering of the CD that is sub-par. There is a lot of room for engineers to think that they know better than the engineer/producer team that captured the original performance in the first place. It just takes one functionary in the chain to make a bad decision and a great recording has been turned to ka-ka.
  10. The reality is that most people, even audiophiles, don't really want 96 dB of dynamic range and can't use it even if they had it. Now, I'm talking about classical music here, not pop. Pop listeners don't really have a lot of problem,s here because most pop stuff hasn't got very much DR and the "loudness wars" have insured the pop-buying public certainly won't get any even if there was much in the original performance, which is unlikely. If you give someone a full 96 dB or greater of the dynamic range available on Red Book CD (much less 24-bit stuff!) they are going to be turning their systems up for the quietest passages (ppp), and turning them down for those crescendos (FFF)! Most listeners would far rather the recording engineer ride gain for them. I certainly do not enjoy riding gain when I am listening to music. I suspect that no one else does either. People are used to the 55-57 dB of DR that they had for years with LP, and it sounds to me (comparing an LP with it's CD "clone") that analog recordings remastered for CD have any more DR than does the LP that is maybe 60 years old. To perhaps answer your question, CDs are generally mastered using automated gain-riding in the form of computer algorithms providing the guide for volume compression while in vinyl days, the recording engineers had to ride the gain manually. I suspect that a human being riding gain on a recording is a lot better at making spot decisions about record level* than is any general purpose computer algorithm. I can't say for sure that this is what is going on, but from my own experience, I would say that this could be at least part of the answer. *He has to keep in mind both the DR restrictions of the master tape, as well as the final destination of the recording which is an LP. Also, there are several opportunities to "tweak" the DR when the master is edited and again when the cutting master is made.
  11. My solution depends on whether or not you already have the XLR connected microphone in your possession. If you don't already own a mike, I suggest that you buy a condenser "USB" mike. This type of mike is made by several manufacturers such as Berhinger and these are designed for A/V bloggers. You don't need a mixer, or a Microphone preamplifier, or a phantom power supply. The mike has a USB jack on the bottom. You merely connect a USB cable from the mike to your computer. The Behringer model is attractive because it is cheap and my experience is that Behringer mikes are excellent values for the money and their USB condenser mike is just $60!
  12. Not in the same way. Analog magnetic recording is inherently non-linear. When wire recording was tried in the 1930's, they didn't understand why the recordings were so terribly distorted. During WWII, Allied listening stations in England monitoring German Radio stations were puzzled that they would hear a broadcast by German radio of, say, the Dresden State Radio Orchestra giving a concert on nights when they KNEW that Dresden was under heavy and relentless bomber attack. Yet, the background was perfectly silent (this was AM/Short Wave) with no accompanying bomb blasts. Blasts that surely must be there, because the RAF was at that same time, targeting the city center where the concert hall was. It wasn't until the waning days of the war, when advanced teams of U.S. and British technicians, looking for German technology stumbled across German radio studios and found the the huge Magnetophons (tape recorders) and discovered how these concerts were accomplished. Jack Mullin of the U.S. Army, figured out what the Germans had done. They had added a high-frequency, out of band signal to the magnetic recordings on reels of paper tape, and this signal had linearized the magnetic tape recording process giving high quality, low distortion, low noise recordings and those concerts given without interruption on nights when air raids were occurring were pre-recorded. Other than tape lack of proper tape biasing, the only coloration is when tape is over-modulated. IOW, when the recordist pushes the record level to a point where the playback distortion exceeded 3%. BTW, American Tech teams consisting of people like Richard Orr, Jack Mullin and Alexander M. Poniatoff dismantled many German Magnetophons and shipped them, piece-by-piece back to the USA, and after the war, Orr started a company called Orradio and made "Irish" brand recording tape, substituting acetate film for paper and another entrepreneur, Poniatoff started Ampex (Poniatoff's initials A.M.P. with EX for excellence added to the end because a company named AMP already existed!).
  13. Vinyl mastering introduces a lot of distortion. Obviously, some (or maybe all) of it is a euphonic coloration that people think sounds good. I mean what else could it be?
  14. I too have the record set (bought it when the set included Culshaw's Book The Ring Resounding). But recently I received a recent Naxos Blu-Ray disc of Die Walkure with Matthias Goerne, Michelle DeYoung and the Hong Kong Philharmonic under Jaap van Zweden. It's 24/96 and (for FitzCaraldo) it's also 5.1 DTS surround. I have only listened to the 2.0 stereo version (I don't particularly value surround-sound, even for movies, If it's there, OK, but I wouldn't go out of my way for it), But it sounds so much better than the Solti on Decca (London Records) that it's pretty much a revelation, technically [the performance isn't as good though, but who can beat Wolfgang Windgassen and Brigit Nilsson conducted by Solti?]) I also agree with you that there is simply no reason to go back to electro-mechanical recording and reproduction. If the music you WANT is only available on Vinyl, or tape, or even 78s, then obviously, you have to have those playback formats to access it. For instance, I've a friend who is crazy about the conducting style of the "old Nazi" Wilhelm Furtwangler. He has dozens of 78 sets of Furtwangler conducting Bruckner, and all the LPs That Furtwangler recorded as well. Even though it's not true any more, for a about 20 years there was no Furtwangler available on CD. He had to buy the LPs and the used 78's. He did transfer the 78's to tape for convenience, but other than that, those were his only choices. But other than as a collector, if you have ever heard well recorded digital, you never want to go back to electro-mechanical recordings. Now, I will grant you that with regard to commercial recordings, vinyl does, more often than not, sound much better than the digital equivalent. But that's not digital's fault. It's the fault of modern recording engineers and producers who have a studio full electronic gadgets at their disposal, and want to use them to screw-with the sound. Mostly, it in the guise of dynamic range compression or the "loudness wars" as they're sometimes called. Sure, Red Book CD is capable of 96-dB of dynamic range. But buyers of CD NEVER GET THAT! Almost all CDs, irrespective of music genre get CDs with little more dynamic range than an LP and often a good deal less. The record industry believes that most people don't want a great deal of dynamic range because it makes them constantly play with the volume control to turn-up the soft passages and turn down the loud ones. There is no such thing as an audio compressor that doesn't play havoc with the sound it's processing. They introduce distortion, they audibly "pump" to various degrees depending on how fast they capture and release the sound they're compressing and many have peak limiters associated with them. No wonder many people prefer vinyl to digital. Even though it's a flawed premise that analogue sounds better than digital, most people are totally unaware of what modern electronic "gadgets" used in recording do to the sound of what's being recorded, and that lack of familiarity with the process they are hearing, makes them blame digital in general rather than the engineers and producers that are making the decisions that produce what they are hearing!