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post #211 of 1443 Old 12-31-2009, 11:46 AM
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Originally Posted by mmiles View Post

Careful Charles or you will slip and give us your true cost

It's no secret that it costs us substantially less to buy the parts than the retail price of the final product. It's just the way that business is done. The only alternative would be to have a one-man "artisan" type of operation and buy directly from him. (Some "modification" outfits work this way.)

But the "artisan" could only build in very, very small batches (at best). There would be no economies of scale. The selling price would probably end up around the same as it is in the current model, where both the manufacturer and the dealer has to make a profit. But this way you have a chance to try out the equipment at a local dealer, and you also have a company that can provide support even after the original designer retires.

It's not a perfect system, but it's the best one we have...

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I hope to speak to Steve again at CES your firm always have a great sounding room and professionally represented.

Happy New Year to you sir!

Ayre will be in the Venetian Towers again, on one of the upper floors with just a handful of exhibits per floor. We will have the DX-5 as the only digital source. It will be connected to a 50" Pioneer Elite Kuro for the video, and the audio will be a KX-R / MX-R driving a pair of Vandersteen Model 7's. We will also have a computer playing music through the USB audio input of the DX-5.

For analog we will have the DPS turntable that we import, and it will have the world debut of the new DPS tonearm as well. Should be a fun show!

Happy New Year to all of you, too!
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post #212 of 1443 Old 01-02-2010, 03:24 PM
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Charles,

Any rough idea of a MSRP for the DX-5 and when it will be available?
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post #213 of 1443 Old 01-03-2010, 05:21 AM
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Originally Posted by Mike_WI View Post

What is the MSRP?
I may have missed it but I don't recall seeing it.

Thanks.

Mike

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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

We don't know yet. We only know when the design is completely finished and we get the quote from the PCB stuffing house. This happens about two weeks before we begin shipments.

Normally we wouldn't announce a product until it was closer to shipping, but there were some quirks in the clocking of the Oppo that delayed things. Then we decided to add a feature. And then another feature. Each of these features should have been simple to implement, but turned out to be a nightmare.

For example, the Audio Rate Control. It's not completely specified in the HDMI standard. So we bought a Pioneer with their "PQLS" system figuring we would fill in the few last missing pieces. But it turns out that the Pioneer doesn't follow the standard. So we spent about a week analyzing how it worked. We will probably include a mode so that it can work with the Pioneer receivers also, but it's just one of those things that makes everything take longer than it should.

But it actually turned out good that we announced it early. We didn't know that Oppo was talking to other companies besides us! So if we hadn't announced it when we did, we would have just looked like copy-cats.

Anyway, it pretty much falls into the "If you have to ask..." category. I'm sure that when all is said and done it is going to be close to ten grand. At that price, what's a few thousand, more or less? But whatever it is, it will be worth it.

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Originally Posted by Mark Hoepfl View Post

Charles,

Any rough idea of a MSRP for the DX-5 and when it will be available?

FYI...
(emphasis above added)

I may have missed something in the interim and hopefully they are closer to a price.

Mike


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post #214 of 1443 Old 01-03-2010, 10:29 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mark Hoepfl View Post

Any rough idea of a MSRP for the DX-5 and when it will be available?

Predicting the future is always a fuzzy thing at best. We've got a pretty good tally on the parts cost, but for now just have to estimate the labor costs. At this point it is looking like it will be between $9,000 and $10,000 for US retail. Overseas prices are always higher (due to shipping, duties, customs, exchange rates, et cetera).

As far as timing, our target is to send out the first batch of 25 in early February. We should be able to eventually build 50 per month, but will probably start at 25 per month and ramp up production as we get used to all of the ins and outs. We have about 100 units on order already, so it will take a couple of months to get caught up with the backlog. Some US dealers have as many as 10 on order as they know that many of their customers want one. If you are in that group, you could get a player sometime in February. If you're not in that group, you may want to twist your dealer's arm to get a unit on order. Thanks for your interest!
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post #215 of 1443 Old 01-04-2010, 04:50 AM
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Thank you for your elaborate response. I had noticed the SE-Oppo, but I assume that it will not be able to measure op to the DX-5 (although I would have to test this, of course).

Looks like I will have to look on for the "sheep with five legs" (if that's an expression in English as well...). However, I am still looking forward to auditioning the Ayre at my local dealer's just to see what it will be like.
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post #216 of 1443 Old 01-04-2010, 08:19 AM
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Originally Posted by dtjv View Post

Thank you for your elaborate response. I had noticed the SE-Oppo, but I assume that it will not be able to measure op to the DX-5 (although I would have to test this, of course).

Looks like I will have to look on for the "sheep with five legs" (if that's an expression in English as well...). However, I am still looking forward to auditioning the Ayre at my local dealer's just to see what it will be like.

The Oppo SE (Special Edition) uses a higher-performance DAC chip than the stock unit. In my experience designing digital audio products, the DAC chip is perhaps 20% of the overall performance at best, so I don't think there are major gains to be had here. It also has a few minor component changes to the audio path, but my understanding is that these are not things that materially improve the sound quality.

The most interesting thing is that they have made some unspecified changes to the power supply that improves the isolation between the audio section and the video section. I don't know what these changes are, but I have seen reports that suggest noticeable improvements to both the audio and the video over the stock unit. This is notable because the SE is specifically marketed as having improvement only to the analog audio outputs, and is not aimed at those customers using the HDMI connection for their audio.

The changes made to the Ayre unit are massive compared to the SE version. In fact, I don't think they can really be compared in any meaningful way. I haven't seen an SE unit, but we have compared the Ayre against the stock Oppo and we wouldn't release the unit unless the performance were commensurate with the price. Our reputation as a company is based upon our products. Many of the companies that are failing now are doing so because their product s do not provide the expected level of performance.

The Ayre DX-5 will have substantial improvements to the picture quality, the digital audio (HDMI and AES/EBU), and the analog audio (two-channel only). It will also have a USB audio input so that it can connect to your computer and be used as a music server. This means that it can be the sole digital source for audio and video for many systems.

Like any piece of equipment, it is not for everyone. I think that most customers will get incredible performance for the money from the stock Oppo. The SE will provide a noticeable improvement for a moderate price increase. The Ayre will provide a substantial improvement, as well as important additional features for a signfificant price increase. At any given price point, I think that these three players will be among the top choices for Blu-Ray players. The Theta could be interesting also at the revised price of $3,000. With its linear power supply, I would expect it to fit in nicely between the SE and the Ayre. I can't think of any other models of Blu-Ray players that offer as much as these four Oppo-based units.
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post #217 of 1443 Old 01-05-2010, 04:11 PM
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I am really looking foward to this product. I am sure it will be a benchmark product. It will be a great edition to my Pioneer PRO-101FD. I guess I need to head to Audio Advice to put my name in the hat.
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post #218 of 1443 Old 01-06-2010, 09:25 AM
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It will be a great addition to my Pioneer PRO-101FD.

Yes, that is what we are using at the factory for our reference display. Projectors are nice, but must be used in a light-controlled room. The problem is the technology of projectors is still changing so rapidly. We still have a (Japanese domestic model only) Mitsubishi 7" CRT with glass lenses that has a killer picture mounted on the ceiling of our sound room, but it maxes out at 720p and of course doesn't have HDMI. That was over $12,000 and I don't think we even have 1000 hours on it.

In contrast we were able to get the Kuro plasma on closeout for around $3000 and it is almost sort of portable. We are taking it to the CES, where it is as we speak. There we can give great demos in a room that is not pitch-dark. If we had a projector, we would need absolute light control which would mean having scheduled demonstrations when the door is locked and nobody can enter or exit.

If I had a dedicated theater in my house I might prefer a projector just for the larger screen size. But there's only four of us, so it's no hardship to snuggle up on the couch and just sit a little closer to the screen.

It's a shame that those displays are no longer made. Canon almost came out with their SED technology that might have even been better than the final generation of Kuro plasmas, but they realized where the market was headed. 99% of all buyers simply look at two numbers -- size and price. As in, "I can get a 50" TV at Costco for $799." They don't care about the technology or the picture quality or the performance or the reliability or the brand name. They just want the biggest screen for the cheapest price. Only 1% (or less) of the market cares about anything besides that. I wonder if we will ever see displays that are as good as those last-generation Kuros...
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post #219 of 1443 Old 01-06-2010, 04:54 PM
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Hello Charles:

First thank you for your participation in this thread, it has been most insightful. I am very interested in the DX-5 as it sounds like a great product and a terrific one box solution. I had a question regarding sacd playback. I know that the Oppo converts native sacd to 88.2 khz. Is this true for the DX-5 as well? Thanks in advance.

Robert
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post #220 of 1443 Old 01-06-2010, 07:25 PM
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I had a question regarding sacd playback. I know that the Oppo converts native sacd to 88.2 khz. Is this true for the DX-5 as well?

We are still using the same basic decoding "engine" as the Oppo, which is a large chip (a computer, really) designed by MediaTek. We can't change the functions of this chip.

The Oppo and all of its derivatives (including the Ayre) give two choices for SACD playback:

a) "Native" playback of the "DSD" signal.

b) Conversion to PCM at 88.2 kHz.

The former is recommended for situations where the "DSD" signal can be decoded, while the latter is for situations that cannot decode a "DSD" signal. Many people will use the DX-5 as a two-channel player using the built-in analog outputs.

In this case you would leave the menu setting under "Audio Format Setup" to "SACD Output = DSD" since we use a Burr-Brown DSD1792A DAC chip that decodes "DSD" signals. The same setting would be used if you connect the HDMI audio output to a surround-sound unit that accepts "DSD" signals.

If you are sending the HDMI audio signal to a surround-sound unit that does not accept "DSD" signals, then set the "SACD Output = PCM" and all channels will be converted to 88.2 kHz PCM.
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post #221 of 1443 Old 01-07-2010, 02:58 AM
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Thank you Charles the information you provided on this forum has been terrific. I am really looking forward to auditioning this piece.

Robert
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post #222 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 06:34 AM
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As the largest Ayre Acoustics dealer in the country I can tell you that we are excited for this product and can't wait to put it on display and into our discerning client's homes.

If Mr. Hansen's involvement and writings in this thread haven't illustrated the value, performance and step up experience that Ayre brings to all product categories they engage then you will never be convinced. But most importantly, make no mistake that just because you may not see the value in an Ayre BD player doesn't mean the discerning client won't.

Get a good deal on the Algorenet? Don't come crying to me when you need it fixed.
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post #223 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 05:58 PM
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Charles,

The latest Oppo firmware lets the player stream files from a networked DNLA server using the ethernet port. Though the supported formats are limited for now, some DNLA/UPnP server software such as Asset can transcode from, say, FLAC to PCM, so the Oppo can play most audio files from a networked PC or Server. Do you intend to provide this ability?

Steve Goff
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post #224 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 08:59 PM
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...In addition, the weak link in any surround-sound processor (or stereo preamp for that matter) is the volume control. 99% of all SSP's use a cheap little IC-based volume control chip that severely limits the available sound quality.

Not trying to question your knowledge, which surely exceeds mine. But I have to wonder about this severely limiting sound quality concept. I would think these volume control chips could be very cheap, yet use very good op amps given their high level of engineering ability and mass production ability.

Why do pre amp stages from run of the mill receivers measure THD+N levels less than .01% THD with extremely flat responses? Where is this degradation occurring? Non linearities in the op amps? Noise?

When you say severely, do you mean my 60 year old mom, who cares little about audio quality, could tell the difference in a blind listening test between the VC chip and a straight resistor with everything else being held the same? To me, that's what severely would mean.

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post #225 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 09:06 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

and here is the same product under the same conditions, but with the HDMI input:

http://www.milleraudioresearch.com/d...3305222154.png

Now the jitter is 5x higher at 2500 psec, with many discrete components visible and even worse spreading of the base of the central peak due to low-frequency jitter components.

That does not tell me what the jitter is as measured from the DSPs output pins. Any buffering taking place could change that value, right? Wouldn't the HDMI chip have to buffer as the audio data is sort of packetized and intermixed with the video data frames? I have read the spec, but I have not implemented a product, so I am guessing how it would work.

I don't know if the DSP buffers audio in any way.

I thought HDMI had it's own clock line based on the video side. Why can't the audio clock be derived from that and the audio data locked to that rate?

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post #226 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 09:14 PM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Why do pre amp stages from run of the mill receivers measure THD+N levels less than .01% THD with extremely flat responses? Where is this degradation occurring? Non linearities in the op amps? Noise?

Op-amps design is based on very high gain, poor open-loop performance and high feedback to correct said performance.

They measure well with sine signals, but the feedback associated with a significant propagation delay introduces time distortion smearing with transient signals.

I tried the new Classe processor which uses such volume control device recently, and it sounded harsh and tiring over time. I had to return it.

Robert
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post #227 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 09:18 PM
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Do you have any technical papers on this phenomena? I am aware of their gain etc. But I had not read anything about feedback causing issues. Most amps use SOME feedback.

You can't even make a class AB amp without it, far as I know, without lots of distortion due factors like crossover distortion. Not to mention inconsistent transistors (unmatched) or other hard to control factors.

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post #228 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 09:59 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Do you have any technical papers on this phenomena? I am aware of their gain etc. But I had not read anything about feedback causing issues. Most amps use SOME feedback.

I don't have anything specific at hand, but IM distortion due to feedback is a well known problem.

You can read in the last Absolute Sound issue an interview with the Soulution amp designer that explains it in detail.

Robert
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post #229 of 1443 Old 01-10-2010, 10:06 PM
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Michael ; though this is from a ce selling products I found it interesting on the subject of op amp volume and why the signal/noise ratio may be compromised The im distortion which robena mentioned equates to the crossover distortion cited in the article imo.

http://www.rothwellaudioproducts.co....tors_work.html
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post #230 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 03:17 AM
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I did find a place online that suggested that op amps work a bit like a push pull amp biased heavily into class A, which would avoid crossover distortion.

I have no idea how true that statement is.

I thought IM resulted from slew rate distortion, not crossover distortion. But crossover distortion is obviously not a good thing. I thought the feedback being used by the op amp, though it reduces open loop gain, would help reduce crossover distortion.

I am no engineer, and now that this whole topic has been brought to my attention, I will go read more about it, thanks.

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post #231 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 07:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Steve Goff View Post

The latest Oppo firmware lets the player stream files from a networked DNLA server using the ethernet port. Though the supported formats are limited for now, some DNLA/UPnP server software such as Asset can transcode from, say, FLAC to PCM, so the Oppo can play most audio files from a networked PC or Server. Do you intend to provide this ability?

All of the firmware is written by a team of engineers at MediaTek in Taiwan. They accept input from Oppo, as one of their bigger and more important customers. We are one step removed from that, as we are customers of Oppo.

If there is a "bug" where something is broken, Oppo will pass it on and help get it taken care of. If we have a feature request, it just gets put into the pile and they prioritize it according to their own internal decision-making process.

~~~~~~~~~

That said, if you are trying to play audio files from a computer, you are much better just using the USB audio port that we add to the unit. It transfers files in asynchronous USB mode, offering the lowest jitter of any computer-based audio system. It is essentially like having one of our QB-9 USB DACs built into the player. You can learn more about the QB-9's technology at:

http://www.ayre.com/pdf/Ayre_USB_DAC_White_Paper.pdf

and more about the QB-9 itself at:

http://www.ayre.com/products_detail....18&field=specs

Thanks for your interest in the DX-5!
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post #232 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 07:44 AM
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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

Do you have any technical papers on this phenomena?

No, this is one of the "uncharted" areas of audio performance. If there were papers telling you how to get the best sound performance out of a circuit, then everyone would build it that way and everything would sound the same. But (for better or worse) it's just not that simple.

It's more like making wine. There are lots of "secrets" handed down over the generations, and even a "feel" for what the weather does to the grapes, and so forth.

Or you can compare it to making cars. There is no US car that provides the driving experience of a BMW M5. Why not? Both companies have the same tools available to them. It is simply a matter of corporate culture and "smart" engineering. The US companies cut corners in places thinking, "That doesn't matter - it won't make any difference." But it does...

Just use your ears and listen for yourself. It's best to borrow a unit and listen in your own system with your own music.

If you can't tell the difference, then thank your lucky stars and spend the money on software. But if you can hear the difference, then you will be hooked and there is no going back.

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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

I am aware of their gain etc. But I had not read anything about feedback causing issues. Most amps use SOME feedback.

You can't even make a class AB amp without it, far as I know, without lots of distortion due factors like crossover distortion. Not to mention inconsistent transistors (unmatched) or other hard to control factors.

No, this is not true. We keep figuring out ways to make our circuits more and more linear, even without any feedback whatsoever. We are getting pretty darned good at it. Our MX-R power amp (class AB) puts out 300 watts per channel at around 0.01% distortion with a bandwidth approaching 300 kHz, all with no feedback. There is no need for feedback when the circuit is fundamentally linear.

http://stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/407ayre/

Even our DVD players had zero feedback video amps with 100 MHz bandwidth! (The DX-5 has no analog video output except for an "emergency only" composite output designed to save you when your HDMI connection isn't configured correctly.)
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post #233 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 10:34 AM
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All I can say is that the idea of using no feedback is not agreed on by all audio engineers. Not being an engineer, I will leave it up to them to debate with each other.

I would be curious to know how a class AB amp can get to .01% THD with no feedback though. I would think you could not get rid of the crossover distortion as that is intrinsic to class B operation. But as I say, I am not an egineer. I just like reading about amp design.

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post #234 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 11:09 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

I would be curious to know how a class AB amp can get to .01% THD with no feedback though. I would think you could not get rid of the crossover distortion as that is intrinsic to class B operation.

That's why it's AB instead of pure B. The class A mode is operative over the crossover region. And note that the handoff between A and B modes is an individual choice of the amp designer. In some amps, it may run more heavily in class A mode, thus covering most signals.

Roger

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post #235 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

I have to wonder about this severely limiting sound quality concept. I would think these volume control chips could be very cheap, yet use very good op amps given their high level of engineering ability and mass production ability.

Quote:
Originally Posted by robena View Post

Op-amps design is based on very high gain, poor open-loop performance and high feedback to correct said performance.

They measure well with sine signals, but the feedback associated with a significant propagation delay introduces time distortion smearing with transient signals.

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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

No, this is one of the "uncharted" areas of audio performance. If there were papers telling you how to get the best sound performance out of a circuit, then everyone would build it that way and everything would sound the same. But (for better or worse) it's just not that simple.

It's more like making wine. There are lots of "secrets" handed down over the generations, and even a "feel" for what the weather does to the grapes, and so forth.

Or you can compare it to making cars. There is no US car that provides the driving experience of a BMW M5. Why not? Both companies have the same tools available to them. It is simply a matter of corporate culture and "smart" engineering. The US companies cut corners in places thinking, "That doesn't matter - it won't make any difference." But it does...

If I may elaborate on what Charles eloquently explained, just as two winemakers can start with the same grapes and end up with distinctly different wines, one cannot deduce resulting sound quality just based on the parts list. It also matters how those parts are used.

We should all feel heartened that even a $40k power amp from Soulution uses an opamp front end and global feedback yet receives accolades from audio enthusiasts. How can that be? The components were apparently chosen and applied with care and intelligenceand a lot of listening.

Roger

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post #236 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 02:11 PM
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All I can say is that the idea of using no feedback is not agreed on by all audio engineers. Not being an engineer, I will leave it up to them to debate with each other.

That's OK. All you have to do is listen. Make friends with a good dealer. Then borrow some equipment and listen to it your own system. If it sounds the same to you, then you don't need to upgrade and you have save a bunch of money. If it sounds better to you, then you can decide whether the improvement is worth the price.

That is what it is all about -- not numbers or theories or circuit designs. That would be like wondering how the pipework in the winery is laid out -- important to the owner of the winery, but not to the drinker of the wine.
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post #237 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 02:46 PM
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Originally Posted by Roger Dressler View Post

If I may elaborate on what Charles eloquently explained, just as two winemakers can start with the same grapes and end up with distinctly different wines, one cannot deduce resulting sound quality just based on the parts list. It also matters how those parts are used.

We should all feel heartened that even a $40k power amp from Soulution uses an opamp front end and global feedback yet receives accolades from audio enthusiasts. How can that be? The components were apparently chosen and applied with care and intelligenceand a lot of listening.

I agree 100% with the first half of Roger's post.

I reserve judgment on the second half, as I have never heard the Soulution amplifiers. They may indeed be wonderful. But since the only reviewer that I know of that has showered them with accolades is not an honest human being, he will never hear the Ayre amplifiers and therefore can't really say which design approach is better (or if they are the same).

But to say that a power amp has an op-amp front end and costs $40,000 gives me pause. That's one reason that Levinson shut down for a year or two -- they were using basically the same op-amp-based circuits that $600 Adcom preamps used. People got tired of paying a lot of money for not so much engineering.

Which is what started this thread. The Lexicon Blu-Ray player is just the Oppo (with the RS-232 option) in a fancy case for 5x the price. Is the Soulution cut from the same cloth? I don't know. But I am happy to tell people what goes into our products and where they are made.

And I'll be blunt. If Sony made products identical to ours in every single aspect, they would sell for about half the price that ours do. A Sony has economies of scale for both manufacturing and distribution that no specialty manufacturer can match. But for whatever reason, the large companies seem to be unable to make great designs...
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post #238 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 03:04 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

I agree 100% with the first half of Roger's post.

I reserve judgment on the second half, as I have never heard the Soulution amplifiers. They may indeed be wonderful. But since the only reviewer that I know of that has showered them with accolades is not an honest human being, he will never hear the Ayre amplifiers and therefore can't really say which design approach is better (or if they are the same).

But to say that a power amp has an op-amp front end and costs $40,000 gives me pause. That's one reason that Levinson shut down for a year or two -- they were using basically the same op-amp-based circuits that $600 Adcom preamps used. People got tired of paying a lot of money for not so much engineering.

Which is what started this thread. The Lexicon Blu-Ray player is just the Oppo (with the RS-232 option) in a fancy case for 5x the price. Is the Soulution cut from the same cloth? I don't know. But I am happy to tell people what goes into our products and where they are made.

And I'll be blunt. If Sony made products identical to ours in every single aspect, they would sell for about half the price that ours do. A Sony has economies of scale for both manufacturing and distribution that no specialty manufacturer can match. But for whatever reason, the large companies seem to be unable to make great designs...

Much appreciation for cutting through the BS. Very hard to find candor these days. Crazy pricing has intimidated a lot of potential customers, alienated them from music in a way that is sad.

As an aside, I heard the Soulution stuff w/some expensive Kharma speakers -- an over 200K system including cables and so on. Can't break it down component-wise as everything was unfamiliar, but pretty good sound, really poor value IMO. Some of the superexpensive stuff relies on people not trusting their ears and being very impressionable.


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post #239 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 05:35 PM
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Originally Posted by Charles Hansen View Post

That's OK. All you have to do is listen. Make friends with a good dealer. Then borrow some equipment and listen to it your own system. If it sounds the same to you, then you don't need to upgrade and you have save a bunch of money. If it sounds better to you, then you can decide whether the improvement is worth the price.

That is what it is all about -- not numbers or theories or circuit designs. That would be like wondering how the pipework in the winery is laid out -- important to the owner of the winery, but not to the drinker of the wine.

I have nothing against listening. I was a bit perplexed that you used the term severely in determining the sonic impact of a volume chip.

Everything I have read involving carefully done tests in audio, shows people often can't tell gear apart in blind testing. To me, severely, would indicate they could. Along with other commonly used phrases like "night and day."

If for example, Richard Clarke bet people $10,000 people could not tell amps apart in blind testing. No one had gotten his money. Yet people keep saying, in reviews, how such and such an amp created a night and day difference in their listening experience. If the difference is that large, why don't they go win Clarke's $10,000 challange?

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #240 of 1443 Old 01-11-2010, 08:53 PM
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When you say severely, do you mean my 60 year old mom, who cares little about audio quality, could tell the difference in a blind listening test between the VC chip and a straight resistor with everything else being held the same? To me, that's what severely would mean.

Yes, I am sure that your mom could hear the difference between the volume control chip in a surround-sound receiver and the volume control circuit used in our KX-R two-channel preamplifier. I doubt that she would care, but she would hear it.

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I have nothing against listening. I was a bit perplexed that you used the term severely in determining the sonic impact of a volume chip.

If you can't hear the difference, then save your money and buy more music or movies or a new car or whatever turns you on. If you can hear a difference, you will have to decide if it is worth to you or not.

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Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman View Post

If for example, Richard Clarke bet people $10,000 people could not tell amps apart in blind testing. No one had gotten his money. Yet people keep saying, in reviews, how such and such an amp created a night and day difference in their listening experience. If the difference is that large, why don't they go win Clarke's $10,000 challange?

I have never heard of Richard Clarke. I have heard of the "Amazing Randi's" challenge. He changes the rules before you even get started. The game is rigged so that he can't lose. (In "Randi's case, it is $1 million.)

I don't have time for such nonsense. I have better things to do than waste my time.

I used to think all beers tasted the same. I know differently now. But I still often buy domestic beers for $2 instead of imports for $3, just because its not that important to me that night. Other nights I want a good beer and will pay extra. There's no right or wrong. Either way is fine. But to insist that all audio equipment sounds the same simply because some people can't hear the difference is foolish.

I could tell dozens of stories that can only be explained by unmeasurable, yet audible differences between components. But why bother? All you will do is argue with me. You'll assert that my evidence doesn't meet your criteria.

That's fine. Just buy the stock Oppo for $499 and be happy. There is another thread for Oppo owners. Maybe you should be reading that thread.
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