Bob Burwen imparts his knowledge


I wish I would post this in multiple topics, but I doubt that will be well received.

http://burwenbobcat.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2011/01/SOUND-IMPROVEMENT-REAL-IMAGINED-OR-FRAU...

Your thoughts?
cdwallace3
It's Richard Burwen, not Bob. And no, I'm not going to ditch my vacuum tube electronics for high-feedback solid state units as he instructs.

I've always held Burwen in high regard, but some of what he claims here is just mistaken. And if he has proof of the fraud he alleges, I challenge him as I've challenged others: Prove it in court.
@cleeds Well, its actually Dick, but I can't bring myself to calling another man that name, unless he deserves it.

I would venture to say he's done just fine proving it outside of court...in the actual industry. But yes, to each their own.
A very interesting listen.
@giantsalami Inded!
simplified, all you need is tone controls or an EQ.? I'm pretty new at this, but, I think some of his points are wrong. I have read many posts and gathered information to build my systgem in the last 3 years from AGon and believe using quality from the outlet up helps all the way around. I do not have a high end system by any means, but every point of my build has been adressed and improved until this point...and i am sure it will continue. love this little hobby!
I'm not sure to congratulate you or express my condolences. This hobby is quite the adventure!! :-)

IMO you have to be open to perspective from those who've proven themselves technically or can back up their opinions with provable fact, not more opinion. Audiogon is often time lacking that perspective. I'd recommend taking in as much info as you can and applying it to your situation...see what works for you. But at the same time, don't be dismissive, particularly when it comes to the technical aspects of this hobby. Many hear have developed the philosophy that "If I don't agree with it, I'll never admit if I don't understand it, so its false."

Applied perspective is what makes this hobby so fun. What works for you, may or may not work for me, but I'm willing to try it and see. Then, pass on what you've learned to someone else.

All the best to you @giantsalami 


Did anyone understand what he meant by "Frequency Response"?

Is it simply having a FR from 20-20k? (or greater)

Or does it also include the the actual "shape" of the waveform? Which I consider another aspect of frequency "response"

What do I mean? - if you take a perfect sine-wave and feed it into different amps the actual shape of the output waveform will vary slightly, dependent on the circuitry and parts used in the amp

- if the circuit has a "fast" response, the output waveform will be closer to the original.
-whereas if the circuit has a "slower" response the waveform will not be as accurately reproduced, resulting in a tonal variation,

One "metric" often talked about in audio circles that demonstrates this aspect is PRAT. The term I prefer to use is "Dynamic Performance".

e.g.- the ability to reproduce the "crack of a rim shot requires extremely fast dynamic performance in an amp - which means the waveform has been reproduced more faithfully. Some amps do not sound as "crisp" as others.

I have also observed this type of tonal variation when using different cables of all types - i.e. IC’s, speaker and power cables. But he believes cables do not add any value? (Hmmm.)

Then there were his rather generalized observations pertaining to speakers - where he did not mention anything about the tonal variations from one speaker to the next that are dependent on so many factors, such as driver choice, cross over design, cabinet design and materials used.
- so if I hear him correctly, an equalizer will make all speakers sound alike?
- I don’t think he thought this one out too clearly either

I do believe that this hobby if far more complex than the rather simplified observations Mr. Burwen has talked about - but if they work for him, so be it.

But he does sound a bit like Donald Trump - "It’s all fake!!!"

For the rest of us - the truth is out there :-)

BTW - this is just another opinion.
@williewonka your response seems fitting...

At its simplest, the frequency response is MEASURED output. Unless you’re willing to MEASURE and quantify your findings as fact, everything use is mute.

Sine-waves are essentially frequency shapes.

Different materials have different conductive properties and can color the signal.

Equalization is used to tailor signal coloration.

I’ll repeat my initial point...unless your willing to MEASURE and quantify those findings as fact...good luck finding the truth. Then again, perception is perceived reality.
Cdwallace3,...

Equalization is used to tailor signal coloration

My understanding of equalizers - they allow you to  augment or boost one or more of  a defined set of frequency ranges. Whereas coloration can be a far more complex and intricate scenario.

Or am I missing something 😞


High level, its one in the same. Coloration is a deviation from a desired response. Equalization "corrects" it, or brings the frequency back to the desired response. Yes, it has its complexities and intentionally oversimplifying it,  but it ultimately is a just that. A deviation from a desired response.

The less ambiguous the explanation, the less subjectivity you have....which will quickly over-complicate the conversation.
" Coloration is a deviation from a desired response. "

This is a very simplistic view because coloration can be caused by many things other than just a simple deviation from FR. For example we have THD which can be perceived in a music reproduction system as coloration but it is something other than just a FR deviation or anomaly. In an analog-based system we can have minor speed errors that may not detectable as such but which are interpreted by the ear/brain interface as "coloration" in the music reproduction system. So to Mr. Burwen's claim that we just need an equalizer to insure proper performance - that's simplistic to the point of being just wrong.
@clearthink Having not spoken to Burwen directly, I would...assume...his thought process was beyond the point of system building. We know to select equipment with ultra-low harmonic distortion (in theory). I agree with your point regarding speed error. However, you'll probably encounter these situations in 1 out of 40-50 system configurations...very rough estimate. The vast majority of systems - correlating to his claim - could yield improved performance with equalization. I would argue equalization won't be the end all be all for every system...equalization isn't wrong because it's not a one size fits all solution for every system configuration....but it IS far too often overlooked - most times intentionally for a number of "audiophile purist" reasons - that will make a big difference in overall performance.
clearthink...

" Coloration is a deviation from a desired response. "

I would go even further...

" Coloration is a deviation from what was recorded." 

So how does one know exactly what the original track "should" sound like - since the sound engineer can "adjust" the final product to their will.

My approach - I have played several instruments over the years, to the point where their sound has become "ingrained" in my brain.

What if you have never played a musical instrument?
- seek out some live performances
- try to listen to a soloist
- Orchestral performances in small venues are good if not amplified

Has my system ever reproduced what was recorded - I would never be so bold as to make that claim, but it seems close enough to allow me to appreciate the more subtle nuances of the music and the venue.

WRT...
So to Mr. Burwen's claim that we just need an equalizer to insure proper performance - that's simplistic to the point of being just wrong
I have to agree in this case - he's dumb'd it down to make a point

As fore the statement from cdwallace3
.but it IS far too often overlooked - most times intentionally for a number of "audiophile purist" reasons
I guess I can see this point to some extent...you've read it right here on this forum - a person that is looking  for
-  a warmer sounding speaker 
- a speaker with a more dominant mid or high end
- a cable that will improve a specific frequency range

They may spend $$$ to replace a component, cable or speakers when an EQ might just do the job.

Having said that, I believe all electronic components colour the sound  - so introducing yet another component into the audio path, simply to augment a frequency range is not something I'd consider to be the best approach.

Not to mention the cost of all the additional cables.

Regards...









@williewonka In this example, you wouldn’t use a music track to testing purposes. You’d use 20-20KHz white noise. Essentially, you’d have to. Every recording is going to carry some sort of "signature" or coloration, if you will. That is you’re going to measure your system with the intent of the flattest response you can get. That’s kind of the fork in the road: You build your system to reproduce the flattest response it can and the tweak to your liking, or build your system to give you what you want with no regard to measured accuracy. Its like salt on your food. Some like it a lot, other are very sensitive to it and don’t want any.

I agree with you. The more components in the signal, the higher the chance of coloration. Component matching can be critical once you reach a certain performance level.
cdwallace3 - OK now I see where YOU are going with this. I assume you would use an SPL meter to determine output levels at the various frequency ranges.

I agree though that a "methodize’d approach" as you describe, should get you a pretty flat response. 

However - Mr Burwen seems to use his ears - from his web site...
Using 12 of the sliders above, on the screen of a notebook PC, you balance to your taste the tone and ambiance of
any 1 to 8 channel program source played through all your speakers .

Depending on what location you conduct the setup (e.g. at the speaker of at the listening position) you may still suffer standing waves, which I am not sure that an EQ will solve because they tend to be at a very narrow frequency range.

Perhaps this thread will inspire the owners of an EQ to test YOUR approach and let us know if they preferred the sound they had compared to the sound as adjusted, by their ears.

I think there will always be a "divide" as to what people believe makes a difference. Do companies commit a "fraud" or can they scientifically prove their products make a difference?

It really is up to the individual to perform their own "Due Diligence" and the assess the perceived value of any product.

However - I still consider much of what Mr’ Burmen’s states in his sound bite to be more like -  "mis-information".

EXAMPLE - His ridicule of the difference cables can make is one area where I have observed significant improvements in sound quality - so for me - many of his comments seem to be based more on conjecture than fact.

But again - Different strokes for different folks :-)

Thanks for the enlightenment.