Why don't you share about your experience?
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It’s like this. I used to sell audio equipment. With the plethora of A/B switching of amps to speakers to players, etc, etc we did for customers, I don’t think I ever stopped or tried to "center" on just this aspect alone.
There were just too many variables beyond the obvious when a person would bring in their Onkyo receiver to match up to an ARC combo.
Sure obvious things like dynamics, timbre, overall resolution, openess, warm, bright etc. were duly noted, I cannot recall singling out this particular aspect. The myriad of "variables" were just too great.
People around here have some "good stuff" to say the least. I think I’m trying to ascertain that say when a person went from, I dunno, say a Pass or Luxman something or other to something like a Line Magnetic or Triangle Art, etc, if that did anything in the regard I’m mentioning.
Here’s another thing, I "left" the stores in 2001 after 30 years of being in the business hands on. I remained a financial "partner" until 2008 or until they all finally closed.
Things have vastly altered in that time frame.
Just trying to further my wonderment.
I would think solid-state has the edge over tubes in the vocal range (slightly crisper, faster, dryer cast). One thing that comes to mind: I gave my mother some Sony HT speakers for Christmas. For some reason (can't remember), I swapped out the Sonys for some KEF "egg" speakers. Mother said the dialog coming out was far easier to understand (FWIW).
I have experienced improvements in lyrics/dialogue clarity from switching amplifiers as well as from DACs and also preamps. In particular every time I switch equipment in our theater, I will play back Moulin Rouge since it has such complex music and singing. I have also noted improvements to clarity in 2-channel setups.
Great explanation and background, thanks!
My answer would be, based on extensive experience of many amps of different genres, yes, as an amp can improve all the other parameters of sound quality, the lyrics would become more intelligible. I would not agree that it would happen in isolation from other characteristics that change along with switching an amp, but it is a part of the outcome of an amp having greater/lesser resolution, headroom, etc. :)
Yes, I have. I used high quality equipment before making my own, and the way I kept on track DIY-wise was to play indistinct vinyl record tracks, esp dialect. When I heard obscure passages a little less obscurely, I did more of the same, and my system kept improving.
Worked for amps, pre-amp, phono, turntable, tonearm mods, and speaker mods. And for cartridge setup.
One of my tests is using the piece, Carverna Magica which has male and female voices murmuring in the back of a cave with other sounds in the foreground. That is what you hear on poorer equipment. As equipment, amps and room improve you can detect that they are speaking French, as it improves further you can understand the French words quite clearly, at its best you can hear the subtle inflections within the voices.
Most difference? Overall it was the room - purpose made to Salford specs. For voice, turntable, I think. Went to full 3D air bearing with a massive platter. Then tonearm, then phono stage/pre, then amps, then cartridge and alignment of same. Cleaning records with 80KHz ultrasonics was in there somewhere. Since I began with Quad ESL’s there wasn’t that far to go, but the Reference voltage bias ladder from Electrostatic Solutions made a notable improvement, as did improving the LC delay line. A few tweaks helped too: damping the tonearm with Moongel, a sticky gel used for drum kit tuning.
Also helpful was close attention to power supplies, including massive inductors and power isolation transformers. And parts. Can’t say enough about quality parts, like nude Vishay resistors and air gap capacitors. Since changing to Canare microphone cable, haven’t heard anything significantly better, certainly nothing worth the price. Maybe try again after another good cartridge. Maybe.
For what it’s worth. YMMV.
I think there are three factors that help a listener understand lyrics better, or more specifically, how a singer intends to convey those lyrics.
As others have mentioned, transparency or clarity of the sound is one of those factors.
Another factor that I hear is the ability of an amplifier to convey tonal colors. For lack of a better description, some amplifiers sound more "gray" or flat. For me, the lack of tonal differences or gradations takes away an aspect of what parts of song lyrics an artist might trying to emphasize or the meaning they are trying to overlay on the lyrics.
The last factor to which I seem particularly sensitive is the ability of an amplifier to reproduce timing accurately. Specifically, some amplifiers sound slow and lead-footed to me. When the timing of an amplifier's sound output sounds right, music sounds more lyrical and flowing to me. The same lyrics that sound engaging on one amplifier can sound like they are lacking in life on another amplifier. One example in which this might be more audible are duets in which one singer's lines react to and dovetail with what their partner is singing. Amplifiers that sound slow can fail to convey the nuance of how the two singers intended their individual lyrics to fit together. My impression is that I've heard more than a few higher powered amplifiers that sound like they lack timing and sound a bit flat-footed. My layperson's guess is that complicated circuitry or electrical components that don't react fast enough might affect timing to an extent that is sonically audible. I feel that the ability of an amplifier to convey the musicality of lyrics has a lot to do with its ability to reproduce timing.
I'm now using the Purifi Audio (from Denmark) EVAL1 (two power amp modules and a front end) with an outboard power supply. [Two NAD units now use their power amp modules. So does an outfit called LKV (Veros PWR+ power amp).] Outstanding clarity and "naturalness" of sound. You can have one in your home for about $1000 if you are willing to build a power supply for it. If you can't understand the lyrics with this amp, it's because the recording engineer didn't want you to. Keep smiling.
Yes, when I switched from Bryston ( 3B ) to two bridged Classé Audio DR-3 VHC ... ( and also using a DR-6 preamp instead of a Bryston 0,5 preamp )
To get the full potential you must have acoustic room treatment and isolation and dedicated power outlets and breakers ...
Not only you understand lyrics better but you also perceive much better the singer’s artistic intention through his performance ...
I believe that pure class A topology has something to do with this.
The DR-3 VHC were feeding Tympani IVa ...
+1 to Wolf Garcia . I went with low power tubes and high efficiency speakers . The result I achieved, is an extremely clear sound . At low to moderate volume with either DAC or TT, it is amazing . I suffer with hearing that makes it difficult to understand lyrics . My system has enabled me to enjoy music and especially lyrics on a whole new level . I find it more revealing than my Audeeze headphones . But be aware, poor material will be less tolerable. Happy hunting , Mike .