Articles You Feel Should be Shared

I’ll kick off with a recent posting by the remarkably clear-sighted and even handed Archimago.

Once again cutting through layers of mostly deliberate confusion, obfuscation and denial.

Production, Reproduction and Perception - the 3 pillars upon which everything in our audiophile world stands, is my new mantra.

So simple it’s surprising that no one else pointed it out earlier.

Be sure to also check out his follow up blog from Wednesday, 11 March 2020.

Showing 15 responses by cd318


Err... just when I had accepted that the BBC (Gundry) presence dip had been discredited.

"I've heard mention of 'the BBC dip' or 'the Gundry dip'. What does that mean?"

"There is much myth, folklore and misunderstanding about the 'Gundry presence dip'.

The 'BBC dip' was a shallow shelf-down in the acoustic output of some BBC-designed speaker system of the 1960s-1980s in the 1kHz to 4kHz region. The LS3/5a does not have this effect, neither in the 15 ohm nor 11 ohm, both of which are in fact slightly lifted in that region.

According to Harbeth's founder, Dudley Harwood, who ran the BBC's design department during the time that this psychoacoustic effect was being explored, it was introduced initially to mask coloration in the vacuum formed cones available at the time. Whilst reducing speaker output in this audio band achieved this, it subjectively pushed the listener away from the speakers as the stereo-listener's sound stage subjectively receded behind the speakers, which is unobjectional for acoustic music, but takes the life out of non-classical music. An alternative strategy employed or in combination with the Gundry dip is the application of heavy glue (dope), usually by hand brushing, to the surface of the cone to ameriorate latent coloration. The Harbeth RADIAL™ cone has no coloration issues so does not need to use the BBC dip, nor cone doping, to disguise latent mechanical problems.

You can explore the sonic effect of depressing the presence band for yourselves by routing your audio signal through a graphic equaliser and applying a shelf-down in the 1kHz to 4kHz region."

Still worse, this from the REG tribute article.

"This is something important. My personal view is that it accounts for a large percentage of why musicians and other people who listen hard to live music but not so much to audio think that audio does not sound right compared to live music. I recall Lincoln Mayorga telling me that his goal in co-founding Sheffield Lab was to try to make recordings that sounded as much like a real piano as the recordings Artur Schnabel made in the 1930s, compared to which, and to reality, modern recordings were too “bangy.” This simple EQ change would do a lot to rectify the difference between recorded and live in many cases.

A second point to note is that Linkwitz suggests the idea of making the matter adjustable. The idea that one particular non-adjustable speaker could be ideal for playback of all recordings is not on the table here."

Did Siegfried Linkwitz really suggest that some form of equalisation is more or less compulsory? 

Even in his own designs?

Why is high quality audio playback so complicated?

It's that word 'quality' isn't it?


Yes, it is unfortunately complicated. I can easily imagine the dip being used to mask crossover issues in some designs but also to correct recording anomalies where the need arises. Can’t boil it down any further than that.

Anyway, here’s an article by Hugh Robjohns that I thought got closer to unravelling the secrets of analogue warmth than most. Despite his pro digital bias he is able to understand the appeal of analogue.

"In short, enjoyment of an artistic product (be it a sound recording, a photograph, a film or whatever) isn’t necessarily about precision and accuracy: more often, it’s about mood, character and subtle enhancements that make the end result more vivid and interesting than real life."

Perhaps, in short, some might feel that analogue recording allows an chance to restore something of the essence that the very act of recording itself inevitably must lose.

Others will call it distortion.
For sure dynamics matter, for sure timing matters, for sure imagery matters, but without vivid life-like tone they are nothing, or next to nothing for me.

I've also heard some very highly regarded (and high priced) systems which couldn't reproduce the varied colours of sound.

Harvey Rosenberg was a man who also shared these sensibilities.

Here's a book review (Optimal Audio and Video Reproduction at Home (Vincent Verdult, 2019) from the redoubtable Archimago which may be of interest.

Often these types of books can seem a little too dry for general audiophile tastes - this one may not be.

Markus Sauer - God is in the Nuances. Stereophile Jan 19 2000.

Here’s an article, quite lengthy (if you plan to read it give yourself a good 20 -30 minutes) but symptomatic of an approach that somewhat disturbed me back in the days I sought to climb the ladder to audio Nirvana.

My attention was hooked almost immediately upon reading what Markus had written.

"In the July 1994 Stereophile (p.19), I "outed" myself as a triode-and-high-sensitivity-loudspeakers man."

I was puzzled, I mean why do people who had been far further up this mythical ladder often suddenly disembark and decide to find solace in equipment which seemed positively antiquated by the standards of the day?

Markus Sauer was not alone in this approach. Far from it.

I’m sure some on here will already be familiar with this wide ranging article (which focuses on the analogue/digital and objective/subjective debates amongst other topics) but for those who aren’t it’s certainly well worth a look.


Agreed. I bet more than a few designers have had a good look there too.

I especially like the Basics Section featuring Loudspeakers and Issues in Speaker Design. Just a quick glance reveals just how closely Siegfried Linkwitz examined all the minute details. Everything from the magical speaker disappearing trick to the way drive units are mounted to the baffle is covered here.

The link given above seems to be blocked by my ISP but this one works, at least in the UK.

A Tannoy 15’’ Enclosure for the Enthusiast – by Volker Heinz

Volker is a real enthusiast of vintage Tannoys. His adventures and findings are well documented on his wonderfully candid blog. In particular you will find the details of the various challenges and disappointments our hero encounters along the way to eventual success.

There’s also plenty of interesting opinion concerning the rights and wrongs of audio.

I would consider this necessary, maybe even essential reading for anyone contemplating rebuilding a cabinet for Tannoy 15 DCs - and even possibly any other vintage design.

You could read the whole saga from here. Part 1 starts from Thursday, 29 August 2013.

or jump to his first listening session (The Realisation) upon completion dated Wednesday, 29 January 2014.

Good stuff.

Music as Medicine

I guess we Audiophiles know this stuff already, but just in case anyone missed it.

The full report - available as a pdf file by following the link in the article - is worth checking out too.

Definitely belongs here. I can't think of anyone left in audio whose opinions matter more than Floyd Toole's.

It's funny but I had been recently thinking about giving this another listen. Sometimes I like to fall asleep to this kind of stuff, or if I'm waiting in the car. The watch later button is so valuable.

So much good stuff on YouTube - so little time. Absolutely essential to spotlight the good stuff.

Thanks again.

Yes, I agree the best way forward would be to have loudspeakers that are reasonably neutral - both in the recording studio and the home.

I’ve no doubt that many users of brands such as ATC, B&W, Genelec, JBL, Neumann, etc will feel some assurance that similar speakers are being used today in the production of the music they listen to.

On the other hand when it comes to music recorded 60/70 years ago there seems to have been a huge variance in the monitors used back then for playback as illustrated in this Wikipedia Studio monitor article.

What are you supposed to make of the following statement?

"The Altec 604 had a notoriously ragged frequency response but almost all U.S studios continued to use it because virtually every producer and engineer knew its sound intimately and were practiced at listening through its sonic limitations."

Or this one referring to the 50s?

"As a result, pretty well every U.S studio had a set of 604’s and every European studio a Tannoy Dual Concentric or two."

No wonder these classic designs/brands still have a loyal following. To get close to what the artists, producers and technicians heard back in the day you’re going to need similar playback speakers or settle for a more modern take.

No wonder that the remastering of vintage recordings is such a tricky business. Especially if you want to retain that important ’authentic’ period feel many of us do whenever we want the occasional trip to travel back to those apparently more simpler times. Ah, those priceless memories!

Anyway here’s another article, one featuring some of the recording studios where most of this music was recorded.

Here’s two video presentations from the redoubtable Ethan Winer.

I’ve spent years trying to ignore or refute Ethan’s ’pissing on my fireworks’ attitude.

In the end I had to admit that I couldn’t. I now feel that I owe Mr Winer an apology.

Audio Myths Workshop

AES Damn Lies Workshop

Sound Reproduction: Psychoacoustics of Loudspeakers and Rooms

Good article touching on the measuring of loudspeaker behaviour in typical rooms and the dreaded Circle of Confusion which continues to this day because of the lack of industry standards from microphone to final cut. 

In fact so bad is the Circle of Confusion that it casts great doubt on ALL subjective evaluations of audio equipment. 

In the meantime fans of 60s music might want to check out a pair of vintage Tannoys or JBLs.

If not, there's always the possibility of experimenting with some EQ correction for those who can be motivated.
Inside Track: The Second Coming Of The Technics Sl-1200

David Price talks to Tetsuya Itani, to get the full story of how Technics brought its iconic SL-1200 turntable back…

If you go on measurements and data the Technics is one hugely impressive feat of engineering.

But as the designer himself says,

“Measurement is only a rough guide,” he says. “For example, the wow and flutter figure doesn't tell us about a deck's performance under load, playing a record groove with music, but only with a test tone. It's like a two-dimensional photograph when you're working in three dimensions. Our engineers have been on a learning curve. For example, when we developed the new flagship SP-10R, we found that when we get more sophisticated in our approach, the sound quality becomes much better…”
The dreaded Fletcher-Munson Curve.

For something that has huge implications for those audiophiles looking for accurate playback, this information was surprisingly difficult, at least for me, to assimilate.

Many, many points covered here, including the history and motivation behind the research, and some surprising findings too.

Perhaps the main one being that there might be only one correct volume level to listen at if we want to hear all the bass, midrange and treble frequencies that exist in a recording equally as well.

Plenty of other great points in there too.

Anyway, this excellent presentation by AVGenius was the closest one that came to making sense to me.
The Cable Null Test  by Ethan Winer

WARNING : those with expensive cables may find the subject matter disturbing.

For the rest of those interested, if you're pushed for time you can skip to the last 3 minutes.