I have and you are in for a treat after about six weeks of settling in by the amp. I don't know if it is just the curing of the potting compound, the forming of capacitors, or even my getting accustomed to the sound, but at one point about three week with it here and not on other than when I wanted to listen, there was a major jump where the entire soundstage from extreme left to extreme right was well defined. The sound was very involving with ambience decay. I had never before heard this with a symphonic orchestra nor with a big band. One would have to have bought the very best seat in a very good hall to hear what I was hearing on virtually all such recordings.
This amp is a clear breakthrough.
Had upgraded both my H-Cat 10 MKIII Amp. & Pre-amp. and now with approximetely 200 hours my system has never sounded so organic.
I've been an audiophile for thirty eight
years have owned C.A.T., Audio Research, Velvet, Lectron, Levinson
and nothing comes close to this.
In listening to my LP's, I'm experiencing
that atmospheric quality they provide but like never before.
The H-Cat system give you the best of
both worlds (tube wise,dimensionality
solid state wise, quickness articulation
and base) but with neutrality like water
clear and transparent without any coloration your speakers are transformed and disappear providing you with a life like event.
I did replaced my Goldmund's with
two way monitor speakers and got the
same results, a rich organic non fatiguing sound.
In the digital format, the experience is
like listening to analog, that clinical sound that is present in CD's is much
eliminated. One tends to listen to the entire CD vs before I would subconsciously skip around.
In conclusion I have to say this breakthrough technology weather your playing your music soft or loud there is no degradation of detail (much like a
a good zoom lens effect) nothing is
compromised and gladly have to say I'm off the audio marry go round.
Well done Roger.
Thanks for the correction Roger, I had read your white paper and I guess I misconstrued because of terms that you use like
"adding a reference clock" and "error handler"
"Amazingly, the solution for correcting the problem is just as tiny but with a level of sophistication never attempted. I have had to develop new circuits with new functions and subroutines helping the main amplifier. I use a new technique that enables me to take advantage of "current fragmentation". It uses Quantum Physics to produce a tiny "piece" or "offshoot" of current from a larger sample. This tiny reference thread is extremely delicate and hyper sensitive to its environment. Its impedance is well above 90 Gig Ohms and it has very unique property. The tensile strength can be used as a high output, low noise velocity monitor to sense relative motion including the easy detection of Micro-Doppler changes along the Time Domain Axis"
Either way, I've never been accused of being a rocket scientist, sounds like a terrific amplifier. With people raving about your products like this, I'll try to seek out your stuff and give a good listen and I suspect many others will as well. Congrats,
Thank you Tim,
I know most audiophiles would not make the connection between an amp with low distortion (.005%) and one with no distortion. On the surface you would think it would just sound a little better. Like taking out a little residual distortion that nobody would consider "noticeable".
That is not the case because there are types of distortion that don't show up on the THD analyzers. When those are removed the difference is day and night.
If you take as an example a live person on a stage and next to him you have a high quality first surface mirror setup so that you see the real person and a reflection of that person at the same time. As long as the mirror was completely stable - you may have a hard time distinguishing the real from the reflection. However if you simply press on the center of the mirror so as to produce a tiny bend or warp, it would be instantly apparent which is which. The instability of the mirror structure would cause objects that are far away to be even more unstable as the distance from the mirror would "amplify" the problem. The point is that it does not take much for your brain to recognize fake. This is why background objects in a performance are harder to resolve in a system with even tiny amounts of non-linearity. The farther away from the microphone - the smaller the signal size and the apparent location has drifted more then objects in the foreground or close to the mirror. .
Remember the carnival mirrors that made your head small and your legs long? - that is a non-linear mirror. It can be seen that the "small head" end of the mirror actually has (optically) compressed the image and the "long legs" end of the mirror has (optically) stretched the image.
The correlation fits the description of the Doppler effect. That is to say that a train headed toward you has the whistle pitch as higher (compressing the sound waves) and as it passes you (moving away) the whistle pitch drops (stretching the sound waves.)
Over the years I have claimed that Doppler is the destructive force in amplifiers. It is possible that an amplifier can alter the pitch of a signal with no moving parts.Removing Doppler from an amplifier forces its "reflection" to be true and now you are back to having a hard time telling if what you see (hear) is the real image or a reflection. The brain accepts either image as real. Whatever comes in the power amp will exit as a scaled clone with perfect pitch.
Why do you talk about subroutines when all analog?I have been a computer programmer for years and what I have found is that if you see the functionality of a circuit as a task unto itself - I consider it a subroutine that can be accessed to generate the response needed by the calling circuit which is the core signal handler. It is important to keep in mind this is pure analog that can act so quickly it is "near" digital". This concept stems from the smallest trigger event being able to shift the velocity by parts per billion (nano-degrees).This matches the detection levels reported by the velocity detectors which use quantum physics to generate extremely high gains.
The support template surrounding the core circuit has many power supplies. Each subroutine has its own supply to maintain purity.
I have been a computer programmer for 30 years.
Talking about out subroutines and objects in the context of an analog electrical device may be a nice analogy but serves little purpose except to muddy the waters with tech talk IMHO.
Having read the white paper I also do do not understand what the speed of sound in air Mach 1 has to do with the speed of an electrical signal in a circuit or why it matters.
I have not heard the products so I have no idea how they sound but if truly as innovative as claimed it should not take long for word to get out I guess.
The Mach One speed is of course the velocity of the "wave" part of the sound wave.The details of each sound object is embedded in the instantaneous pressure which is seen on the vertical axis. The frequencies contained in the rich harmonic structure of each instrument is totally dependent on the delivery speed as being constant (seen on the horizontal axis as time domain). If the velocity slows down or speeds up then each and all instruments are shifted up or down the spectrum together by an amount of offset that stands out to the ear-brain system as "not real".
The entire performance has acoustic relativity - meaning if one instrument drifts in location, they are all drifting together.
It does by the way shift up and down the spectrum. This is how energy from the fundamental input signal appears (as distortion) a full octave away as the first harmonic.
My process does not have the problem of shifting anywhere because it is fully locked by the shift countermeasures implemented as nano-degrees of phase shift. It has a capture range of 0.07 nano volts max deviation.
It therefore has no mechanism in place to produce harmonic distortion.
That’s very unusual, to refer to the speed of sound waves in the room as Mach 1, since Mach number is a dimensionless quantity, whereas the speed of sound has dimensions ft/second. Ordinarily we see Mach number associated with aircraft or spacecraft traveling through air at certain altitudes and temperatures. The SR-71 was a Mach 2+ aircraft! for example. The sonic boom of a jet aircraft is produced when air flow collapses around the rear of the compressible fluid of air at Mach 1. Mach 1 is not a constant and depends largely on temperature.
rsf507, also judge ARC gear in 1990 as it must be today.
geoffkait, Mach 1 is simply the speed of sound through the air and yes it varies with temperature, but waves of sound in live performances get to the listener all at the same speed. With other amps, the waves of different frequencies imparted by the speaker drivers earlier and later and thus get to your ears at different times. I must say that I am assuming you are not departing your listening room at Mach 1 and you would hear nothing.
Many know I am a fan of Walsh driver technology, the innovation of Lincoln Walsh many years ago. its worth reading up on that.
Walsh drivers operate on a wave bending principle. Rainbows occur essentially due to wave bending.
So there is something to the concept of understanding how waves propagate in various medium and how it relates to sound.
So I understand the problem Roger’s stuff tries to solve to some extent, but cannot comment on how much of an issue this is in an amp or how effective or not Rogers approach is. Many aspects of design in an amp
affect the end results and performance. Not just any one.
Maybe I’ll get to hear this someday and maybe even get a peek inside at the magic sauce. It’s an interesting concept but the explanations are muddy as hell at best.
Claims of 0 distortion set off a clear red flag for me though.. Nothing is perfect. Nothing. Approaches zero....I might believe. Many can and do already make that claim. The consensus generally is that harmonic distortion specs alone tell you little meaningful about the resulting sound. Exaggerations not needed if a product is clearly superior sounding to all the rest.
Tbg, it’s an uh, affectation to refer to the speed of sound in one’s listening room as Mach 1. Give me a break. Actually Roger's whole manner of discourse is kind of an affectation, although I can live with that, so no big deal. Besides most speakers, unless they’re time aligned, provide the listener with the various frequencies of the drivers arriving at different times anyway, no? And are we supposed to just sweep room anomalies under the rug? Comb filter effects mess you up!
I thank this can be narrowed down to a basic concept.
What is the difference between listening at the venue and listening at home?
At the concert hall the medium is air.
At home (from your speakers) to you is air.
The electrical "version" of sound waves is put between you and the venue that is handled by your gear.
The only way to remove the effects of your gear is to have it "act" as if it is also air. The way to do this is to make sure the your gear delivers the (musical information) to you at the same speed as it traveled through the air at the time of the recording.
You listen to the sound (re) created by your speakers at constant velocity.
By locking the speed through the amplifier as constant you have done two things.
1) It no longer can create harmonic distortion - because air does not.
2) Your ear-brain system now accepts what it hears as a clear (air only) path from performer to you.
It cannot sound "live" without addressing the delivery speed.
This concept cannot be easier to grasp if you can see the damage caused by an unstable velocity in the mix.
If you treat the electronic section as a "bad" connection between the venue [air] and your listening room [air], It might make more sense.
Sound has two properties
Pressure - represented by the amplitude or magnitude (vertical axis)
Time - represented by the speed or velocity (horizontal axis)
Amplifiers get the [pressure] part of it down pretty well - but they don't get the [time] part of it due to distortion.
Slight errors in amplitude (pressure) are caused by slight errors in timing.
If you fix one - you have fixed both.
You need both to be correct if you want to feed your brain with the key attributes that make it "live".
The consensus generally is that harmonic distortion specs alone tell you little meaningful about the resulting sound.This could not be truer - the problem is that the THD specs have not been taken far enough. In other words amplifiers may have suppressed harmonic distortion but that is not good enough if you expect it to be perceived as "live". It cannot have even small amounts - it has to be removed entirely.
"The way to do this is to make sure the your gear delivers the (musical information) to you at the same speed as it traveled through the air at the time of the recording."
If its just the amp we are talking about, the speed of the electric signal/wave it delivers as has been discussed prior is NOT the same as air no matter what happens in the amp prior.
So this statement makes no sense.
If we are talking about the speed of the sound coming out of the speaker, then yes because now we are talking about sound waves traveling through air again. But the amp has nothing to do with the speed of sound in air. So again it does not compute.
I know how difficult it is to see what I'm talking about believe me - this is why it took years to figure out.
The electrical version of a sound wave has to include the complete phenomenon of the [wave] event. Other wise it can't possibly be expected to sound like (un-amplified) sound.
The electrical gear has to translate the sound wave (microphone) to another medium (amplifier) and transfer it back to air (from speakers) with no alterations.
Live is literally lost in translation.
roger_paul " I know how difficult it is to see what I'm talking about believe me - this is why it took years to figure out ..."
I think you are still trying to figure it out. That's why you haven't been able to explain it so that anyone here other than you has even the vaguest notion of what you're proclaiming. You sound terminally confused.
cleeds, you and Mapman are obtuse. Where Roger's new amp differs is that all frequencies reach the drivers at the same time and thus the sound passing through the air to your ears is as it would be were you at the recording.
Since, however, there are other stages of amplification that are not corrected, there must be effects of these that are not corrected, but perhaps they are nowhere near those of amplifiers.
At any rate, what I am hearing exceeds even the good sounds of the Zanden suite at CES.
Roger, please allow me to preface this post by admitting that the technical content of this post is a bit "over-my-head". That said, I did have a peak at your website products, but have not read your white-paper. While it is conceivable you are a "genius" and truly have developed something cutting-edge or beyond "normal human comprehension", it is also conceivable neither one are the case.
I have read numerous posts on this site from mapman, and frankly consider his input rather informative and in many respects on par with my way of thinking. It is because he has chosen to "engage you" that I have even more interest in this topic.
At face value, I would be inclined to think that the technology you have used in order to build a consumer grade product would be better suited for the scientific community. Moreover, you have priced your products at a point where there seemingly has been some kind of compromise (i.e. some sacrifice in sound and/or design quality in order to maintain a price point where you can still "sell" and have a "business".) So even if THD is zero, and assuming that is discernible to the human ear/brain, there are many other variables at work here that matter (theoretically or practically).
While I certainly would be interested in hearing, seeing and otherwise interacting with your products, this is likely not possible/practical for me at the moment, but I look forward to hearing/reading more in the future as your product/design etc. gains some presumably well deserved recognition. I sincerely wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
Mapman, from your speakers all sound waves travel the same speed. From your source and preamp to the amp each stage of amplification passes different speeds, except in Roger's X-10 MkIII amp.
Were you to have the opportunity to hear this amp, you would easily hear the difference. If you are ever going to be near College Station, TX do drop by for listening.
"Mapman, from your speakers all sound waves travel the same speed. From your source and preamp to the amp each stage of amplification passes different speeds, except in Roger’s X-10 MkIII amp."
How does the amp know what the correct relationship of velocities of frequencies within the signal is supposed to be? From what you just said it sounds like the damage has already been done by the time the signal gets to the amplifier. I.e., that the velocities of the frequencies within the signal are already out of synch. Thus, the amplifier - if it is maintaining the "correct velocity" of all frequencies within the signal will simply *keep the already out-of-synch relationship of velocities in tact* whilst amplifying the out-of-synch signal, no?
Obviously there should be no red or blue shift which would indicate some frequencies speeding or slowing up. This must be a monumental problem with other amplifiers as the X-10 Mk III sounds much better than others. I already said this.
But were this true at all amplification points, I'm sure the realistic sound stage would be further improved.
I have said all that I understand about this revolution. Listen for yourself.
I'm was honestly trying to be just a "fly-on-the-wall" here.
I had an opportunity just now to read the white paper. Among other things I could disagree with, one in particular is the assertion that "air medium has no obstacles". Perhaps I am misunderstanding the context or usage, but since we are already splitting hairs, what about the micro-climate (i.e. variable temperature change) that exists in air between the orchestra and listener? What about other sounds ( a person sneezing) that occur or physical "occupation of space" such as a person rising out of their seat? Is that distorting the wave object?
On to the electrical end, is the wave object really effected all that much in today's modern equipment? And if it can be successfully argued that yes, it is, will "correcting" it make any - even the slightest - difference? If yes to that, then what happens when the two speakers (assuming two channels) are not precisely (as in less than 1000th of an inch) aligned and distanced from the listeners ears? Is distortion re-introduced?
"I have said all that I understand about this revolution. Listen for yourself."
One more question: once the signal leaves the amplifier it still needs to get to the speakers. The speaker cables introduce additional velocity differences in the signal since the high frequencies travel closer to the surface of the conductor where the resistance is less, no?
It seems that the worst offender of the velocity errors is the power amp.
It may be because it has the task of converting the electrical wave into an acoustic wave via the transducers (speakers).
As you may know sometimes the IC connections can become "dirty" or poor and when you reconnect them or clean them up it restores the transparency and focus to your presentation.
That is the result of fixing a "poor" connection. The destructive nature of the poor connection represents a non-linear event in the chain. It does not take much of a non-linearity to scramble location information, etc.
By having a power amp that does not contain a non-linear path it keeps the purity of the chain much higher and allows the positive and negative wave-fronts to stay registered. (needed if you hope to hear live).
Let’s take a look for a moment at what kind of errors you’re actually talking about here. We know that the velocity of the audio signal in copper wire is some high percentage of the speed of light, 186,000 miles per second. Let’s say for argument’s sake the frequency with the highest velocity travels at 75% of the speed of light, or 139,500 miles per second. Now, suppose there are differences in velocities depending on frequency. How much different are the velocities? 5%? 10% 30%? Let’s take the largest number for the sake of argument. Thus, 70% of 3/4 of the speed of light is the velocity of the slowest frequency within the audio signal. That's our assumption. Which happens to be actually another big number. A huge number, in fact. 98,000 miles per second. Anyone care to take a guess how long it takes a signal traveling at 98,000 miles per second to traverse the circuits in an amplifier? Compared to say room anomalies and phase errors produced by speaker crossovers and differences in velocities inside the amp seem extremely inconsequential, if I can be so bold. Of course, you might be correct and your amp might be the biggest thing since Skippy Chunky Peanut Butter. It’s just not obvious why.
One more question: once the signal leaves the amplifier it still needs to get to the speakers. The speaker cables introduce additional velocity differences in the signal since the high frequencies travel closer to the surface of the conductor where the resistance is less, no?This is an excellent question that I'm glad you asked.
The difference is that one is a non-symmetrical phase error and the other is a symmetrical phase error.
Symmetrical phase errors are tolerable because they "screw up" the positive and negative wavefronts identically. while it is not ideal it won't modify the location of an object the way that a non-symmetrical phase error can.
A non-symmetrical phase error can alter the phase more on one of the pos/neg wavefronts which will introduce velocity errors (the positive wavefront may arrive faster (sooner) than the negative wavefront)
This puts a constant wrinkle in the time domain.
So in the case of your speaker wire.Indeed high frequencies travel closer to the surface (skin effect) but this happens equally to signals traveling in both directions .
In an active stage. The likelihood of a non-symmetrical phase error created by a non-linear event injects what looks like a poor connection into the chain.
The connection will lean towards a diode effect meaning it conducts better in one direction than the other. This phenomenon will always cause the location information to be scrambled or diffused and the holographic view to collapse.
The speed I'm talking about is not the speed of electricity traveling from the positive supply down through the tube/transistor and into the circuit ground.
That is the vertical axis which is responsible for providing an instantaneous voltage (potential) that represent the instantaneous air pressure.
One the other hand, the horizontal axis represents the time domain.
If for some reason the vertical motion of a rise in voltage (increase in pressure) fails to make it to the theoretical peak of the sine wave then we see this as compression. If you place the compressed image over the ideal image - it can be seen the somewhere (maybe 3/4 of the way up) the amplifier trace begins to fall behind the ideal trace. It's velocity has slowed down. This means that a portion of the sine wave has been altered, its shape is no longer ideal and now represents the shape of a lower frequency. Likewise if the amplifier trace is seen as reaching a higher than ideal voltage then its velocity has increased. This looks like expansion (or the opposite of compression). That portion of the amplifier's wave now appears to be a higher frequency. The pitch has changed.
This is classic Doppler.
By securing the velocity along the time domain - it forces the amplifier to put out a trace that would superimpose onto the ideal trace. The shape of the sine wave is not altered and will always represent the fundamental frequency. Harmonics of the locked sine wave are non existent.
Distortion and linearity are inversely proportional. The less the linearity the more distortion. Instead of trying to make a linear amplifier, I made one that does not distort. If you have zero distortion - you automatically have 100% linearity. (same as air).
In the absence of Doppler distortion, every instrument in a full orchestra can be heard separately as if you were at the original venue.
Yes electricity travels at roughly the speed of light.
The horizontal movement of a signal representing a sound wave through a circuit has a specific playback speed.
If you record sound at Mach One you must play it back at Mach One.
The consensus generally is that harmonic distortion specs alone tell you little meaningful about the resulting soundYou are making my point. The same way the SS amps with 0.005 % cannot match the warm full sound of a tube amp with 0.5 %
I knew years ago that the THD measurement gear seemed to ignore or miss something that should be relevant. It is microscopic variations in speed caused by the active amplifying process.It is Doppler on a very fine scale.
If you try to raise the pitch of a 1KHz tone so it becomes a 2KHz tone, what is the very first thing to happen? (picture analog gear with an old fashioned knob for frequency). The very instant that you put pressure on the knob to turn it towards a higher frequency, you start to alter the phase angle of the current 1KHZ tone and the instantaneous frequency has to pass through every frequency between 1KHz and 2 KHz. So not long after you try to raise the frequency it puts out 1001 Hz. 1002Hz and so on until you reach the desired frequency.
When amplifiers produce harmonic distortion the same action occurs. as the trace of a perfect sine wave hits a non-linear event - the result will be a harmonic at 2KHz. However if we go back and slow down the events we can see that the first thing to happen is the beginning of the fundamental to move up the spectrum towards 2KHz. If we can monitor the shape of the sine wave and notice as soon as it appears to deviate from ideal it would still be within less than a cycle of 1000 hz. Knowing that the direction is headed up the spectrum we can apply a phase countermeasure to force it down the spectrum by an equal amount. This essentially locks the fundamental in place at its own frequency never having the opportunity to shift or drift up or down the spectrum. It is phase locked with a control of the phase down to nano-degrees. The distortion is virtual zero. If you prefer a measurement - how about -250 db. (150 db below the noise floor)
I hesitate to release the other specs about this amplifying method because if you are having a hard time absorbing the accuracy achieved it will get even more incredible.
I love to read these discussions though I'm not a genius or in anyway a scientist. I am however someone who has lived with live music all my life,in my home from childhood , and through becoming a musician and marrying and excellent pianist. I have been in pursuit as a New York newspaper series on the "audiophile search of the. Holy Grail" included my comments many years ago with the great designers of those days. I have worked the shows, helping set up rooms to achieve the best results in difficult situations, and been fortunate to walk through the designs of many of the best designers. I love music and have longed for the equipment to get out of its way. The battles between tubes vs solid state . System matching, wire choices always to accommodate the weaknesses of the equipment. I remember when the absolute sound magazine gave Roger Paul a Golden ear award and one of the great reviewers made the comment that Roger was really headed in the right direction. Wish she could have been here to hear where that direction has lead. I've watched the journey. It's been rough due to many uncontrollable. I am enjoying my system more than ever before. My wife asked me to teach her to operate the system after 47 years of marriage. Thank you Roger that though life has thrown you many difficult challenges you never gave up on a vision of bringing music into our homes. I hope now we can get enough people to really listen to the amp and preamp and hear for themselves what I'm enjoying more and more each day and it's still breaking in.
what happens when the two speakers (assuming two channels) are not precisely (as in less than 1000th of an inch) aligned and distanced from the listeners ears? Is distortion re-introduced?Actually -The only thing that will happen is it will project the performance but with the center stage slightly to the left or right depending on which speaker is slightly closer. It is a shift in your viewpoint.
Thanks you for the response Roger. I suppose the center stage being off left-right does make sense. Given the level of information you have included in this thread, it probably would have been more efficient had you included all of this in your white paper. In any case, as I originally stated the technical content of this post is a bit "over-my-head". Perhaps that is my loss as I enjoy the hobby and love the music! Peace and best of luck gaining whatever traction you need/want to have your equipment/design principles be as ubiquitous as possible.
Hi to All, I have ordered a H-cat Mark III amp and preamp an I am trilled to get to hear it in my system. Probably be a month before I have it all set up but I will let you know what it is like.
Since I know Norm and his system very well, If he is this excited about a product, I know that I want one.
Thanks Roger- for attempting to explain you concepts.
You explanations are thorough, interesting, informative and helpful.
I am sure you are aware that there are those who blog just to see them- selves online so no amount of wisdom expelled will stop the questions.
Those people waste my time often and work at being annoying.
The Mark III is new and different, even different from Roger's earlier work. The past is history and the Mark III is the new world.
Thank you Xaviercg, Survant, Tbg, for sharing your experience with the Mark III H-cat's! Very Helpful! Very interesting!
Thank You Roger, For you decades of effort, for you amazing products,
For you patience, understanding and wisdom when dealing with...
some folks. You are much better at "child care" than I.
One topic I haven't heard is you wonderful upgrade policy! I am much more comfortable getting something I can upgrade rather than always buying the new version. Thank you for that.
To all of those that enjoy music .