While I was thinking "Tube versus SS" it should be "Analog versus Digital".
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What may surprise you, is the fact that I attribute these outstanding results from the COVID 19 "lock-down" which has given us the quietest "grid" ever in history.It’s not surprising that you attribute an improvement to something but it hardly makes it a fact. How do you know the grid is the quietest in history? Could it be in fact worse as everyone is inside all day?
That means those of us with lesser means have the same AC power as the richest who can afford expensive AC power "clean uppers".
This is not true. Instead of saying "the richest," assume those who are willing to spend more. A ’cleaner grid’ is not the same as redenerated AC. You cannot assume everyone is getting a quieter grid.
Could it be that the dominant factor when comparing tube and SS when they both are of comparable quality is "The quality of the AC"?
Clean AC is critical. All things being equal on the power end, it’s still likely that differences in the design and implementation of either topology is more responsible than the quality of the AC.
agree with @noromance
i have an Equi=tech 10WQ 10kva balanced whole system power regenerator.
so my power is not time of day or outside noise dependent. but it does not make solid state sound like tubes, or push digital to sound like vinyl. i know that Jacintha recording on vinyl and digital and agree that digital is very good, and that the digital is more like the vinyl, as is typical for Groove Note, but not sure the Diana Washington one you refer to.
OTOH individual system changes, such as making tubes or solid state (or digital or vinyl) better from time of day or power grid activity are real, but are anecdotal and cannot be applied generally. if you are seeking a general viewpoint, it’s more that lower noise power is better for sound. but where and to what degree it affects things would be dependent on lots of things. it is helpful to know which power supplies in your system are most impacted by power grid noise. and there is useful information in that discovery by you. it may allow you to treat that piece of gear specifically for your best ROI going forward.
so at minimal investment you can get as close to 'COVID-19' lower noise as possible, all the time.
What may surprise you, is the fact that I attribute these outstanding results from the "lock-down" which has given us the quietest "grid" ever in history. That means those of us with lesser means have the same AC power as the richest who can afford expensive AC power "clean uppers".Nothing here surprises me any more.
And no, it doesn’t work like that. You’re thinking power is like water, and we who have the better purifiers drink perfectly pure water- but now everyone’s water is pure the filters are of no benefit. Does not work like that.
But hey, don’t take my word for it. If you’re right then the power is clean and nothing now can make it any better. So power cords and conditioners can’t do anything. So get some and see. You will find they all work exactly as before, improve everything just as much as before, only now starting from a higher base.
Or try this one. If the power is so clean it can’t get any better then flip off your circuit breakers and listen again. The massive improvement you are hearing is telling you there is plenty of room for improvement even now.
Oh and the comparison that started this whole thing? What you said, you listened to one recording on CD, then you listened to another completely different recording on LP. Not even the same singer! Yet they sounded just the same.
If you really did listen to Jacintha and Dinah Washington and "couldn’t tell the two apart" we really do have to wonder: ear wax build up?
Millercarbon, it's primarily commercial activity that causes wild AC. I'm thinking AC being turned to DC for audio equipment, and I know exactly how it works. Since you're comparing it to purifying water, maybe you're the one who doesn't know how it works.
Since when do power cords purify AC?
As usual Millercarbon, you're getting totally ludicrous.
Millercarbon, it’s primarily commercial activity that causes wild AC.
What exactly is "wild AC"? Born Free wild? Into the Wild wild? Wild child wild? Please explain.
I’m thinking AC being turned to DC for audio equipment, and I know exactly how it works.
Really? Do tell. Seriously. Interested to hear. On the edge of my chair. Leaning forward.
Since you’re comparing it to purifying water, maybe you’re the one who doesn’t know how it works.
Actually I said that is the way you’re thinking of it. Which you are. Otherwise you’d understand.
Since when did I say that’s what they do?
As usual Millercarbon, you’re getting totally ludicrous.
I see. So you made the comparisons and heard something different? No. You’re just trying to deride an idea you don’t understand without taking even five minutes to try and see if its true. Now who’s being ludicrous?
Since audio equipment is dependent on AC that must be turned to DC in order to operate, the quality of the AC is a very important factor.
Many "observant" people have noticed that on holidays, and late night their rigs sounded better. They observed this without giving any qualifying reason. However, those of us who understand that AC has to be turned into DC for audio equipment, know that the only variable, if all else is constant, is the AC that you plug into.
At no time in the history of this country have so many commercial activities been shut down at one time. If anyone can think of another time this has occurred, please share it with me.
Personally, I think this "lock-down", plus recent news events have affected some of us very adversely, and we have become totally hostile, but I understand, it's OK to feel hostile during these trying times.
Some thoughts are that rhese are completely different recordings and its not a fair comparison.
Even on a perfect day digital and analogue should have some differences.
Is there any possibility that normally you have some DC enteting your system and Nowdays this has vanished so things are more clear?
Last one have you tried something else than Teles?
Propably silly thoughts but still.
On the serious side of this equation, I was listening to some recordings I had made on reel long before this COVID 19 thing, and compared them to some recent recording using the same identical records and equipment, and I noticed the recent recordings were more musical in every way.
This occurred with absolutely no change in anything else. Stop and think, all audio equipment has to change AC to DC, and if the AC is better today than it was before, "All" of your audio will be better. Quite possibly, the only people who can tell this difference is those of us who recorded music before this COVID 19 thing and know what before and after sound like.
@orpheus10 Improvements in air quality ( / a reduction in airborne particulates) and a reduction in seismic activity were also widely reported and studied.
I would expect transmission of radio frequencies (etc.) to have also dropped during the lockdown, especially due to the cessation of business based activity.
If you are under flight paths, then airborne resonances as well.
https://www.nature.com/articles/d41586-020-00965-x (this one re. seismic activity)
Quite possibly, the only people who can tell this difference is those of us who recorded music before this COVID 19 thing and know what before and after sound like.
You said you cannot hear the difference between Jacintha on CD and Dinah Washington on LP. I would want to change the subject as well. All the same, you did. Awful hard to take your word on how anything sounds until we clear that one up.
Why are many of the most expensive preamps 2 box units? Do they have two boxes just to impress you? Of course not, they have one box exclusively devoted to turning AC into DC for the signal section.
Why do those who understand these things pay so much for capacitors that are involved in turning AC into DC? Audiophiles who don't even know Ohms Law, have observed that their rigs sounded the very best at times like "New Years Eve" night.
While your rig is sounding better, there are a number of reasons you haven't noticed this. My neighborhood is not the only one on "lock-down"; this is fairly universal.
This occurred with absolutely no change in anything else.You are begging the question. You're assuming your conclusion from the posited variables in the hypothesis. Maybe the recordings are the same but you are getting more rest. Maybe the recordings are the same but an unknown variable is at play. Maybe they are different because the AC voltage was higher then. The point is that you are trying to make some sort of theory without enough evidence.
Why are many of the most expensive preamps 2 box units? Do they have two boxes just to impress you? Of course not, they have one box exclusively devoted to turning AC into DC for the signal section.i have 2 preamps.
my darTZeel pre has a main chassis, and a power unit; the power unit is really a charger since it's battery powered.
my CS Port phono is also battery powered.
so A/C power is bypassed for all my pre-amp functions.
turns out that battery power has advantages for low noise AND dynamics.
@orpheus10 The Nature article linked above points out this:
"A noise reduction of this magnitude is usually only experienced briefly around Christmas, says Thomas Lecocq, a seismologist the Royal Observatory of Belgium in Brussels,"
I’d expect other widely observed and region specific religious and secular holidays to track or exhibit similar patterns.
The "jivest" power supply is on the computer. I tried to figure out a way to improve that, but there just isn't enough room, can't be done.
That power supply has been improved by the improved incoming AC. I also down-load my LP's to hard drive. in this process, there is a "wall wart" to that device which has been improved by the cleaner AC.
I'm down-loading identical LP's with the same equipment I used before and getting big improvements on the new playback. When you think about all the industrial equipment; such as high voltage electric welders that can cause an instant drain on your grid, which would result in a blip on your AC line, that are now silent, you can begin to understand how your AC is better. It's only when all this noise is gone can you tell the difference.
When I referred to the Jacintha CD and the Dinah Washington LP, I was comparing the totally noiseless black background on both, and the "holographic" effect that's usually reserved for the upgraded analog and not the CD, but I had that on both CD and LP.
I could think of a lot better ways to spend my time than to down-load the same identical LP's with the same identical equipment, if I wasn't getting a remarkable improvement.
Think about it, those who can afford it got a low level power conditioner, a high level power conditioner, and another one specifically for the computer. Now that the AC from the wall is improved, you have them all from the wall.
Dear @orpheus10 : I live in México and I noted nothing about in these times. I own nothing at the level of @mikelavigne system power generator but a humble dedicated power line fully regulated with noise filters ( -100db. ) and my electronic designs are fully regulated input to output.
Anyway, the quality of AC makes a difference and exist different alternatives to deal with.
Btw, battery power supply for electronics is more marketing that true real advantage because battery power supply has its own problems and even needs capacitance and the like.
Problem is that electronics power supplys are not designed in the rigth and " perfect " way but when we have a good ( really good ) design is shows up its superiority to a battery one. It’s not an easy task to design a normal power supply as we can think.
A good example of a power supply was and is the one designed for the Levinson Reference 33 that even generates its own signal. No battery design can beats it and certainly no battery supply can gives us more dynamic than a good power supply design. One of the best electronic power supply designers I know is D.Reich founder of Classë Audio. Design and execution to that power supply is the name of the game and believe me there are only a few designers that are up to the task. State of the art power supply are only a few and are really state of the art and are so good that a battery can’t compete on noise levels.
The other issue is that transistors or tubes are not looking for battery power supply: marketing that's all.
We make those tests with our self designed and manufactured phonolinepreamp that even today competes with Dartzeel, CH or any other SS units.
Regards and enjoy the MUSIC NOT DISTORTIONS,
AC quality did not change with the Covid-19. Come on? More people would be drawing AC if that was the observation. If you build a component power supply that in effect cleans or lowers the noise from AC then that would be a plus (we do that) in our components which can be as simple as an AC filter choke to begin with. If you don't hear a difference between your SS & tube equipment all that probably means is that the design quality is similar (or something like that). Does your tube unit have tube regulation, tube rectification? Like Rauliruegas above, our DAC has a 30 pound power supply with filter chokes, copper plates just to get started to lower the noise floor. Happy Listening.
Even though I can't hear as well as some, (old age) I listen better than most. While I live in a quiet neighborhood, I can tell there must be commercial activities beyond my neighborhood that affect our "grid"; it could be a lot larger than I think it is.
I have no idea how large an area comprises a "grid", I only know what I hear and when I hear it. I recall one New Years Eve when it was 6 degrees below 0 and a foot of snow was on the ground. My bedroom rig, which is not expensive, was sounding extra special; as a matter of fact I stayed up all night listening to it, that's how good it was sounding; that was no delusion.
Since forever people have remarked how much better music sounded on Sunday. Like most people I attributed that to the quiet restful mood most people are in on Sunday. However, when you observe all the times "they say" music sounds better, it also corresponds with the time that commercial and industrial activity is closed.
Audiophiles know what makes expensive gear expensive is primarily the power supply; the capacitors alone can cost a small fortune. All that money goes into turning AC into quiet DC. The electric company even spends a small fortune trying to give you constant 60 cycles per second but this is also constantly varying slightly do to activity on your grid. Now if everything I have described is under normal circumstances, just imagine what a difference it's made under present circumstances with so many things shut down.
I will say I've found my system sounding better during lockdown because the overall noise floor is reduced. I don't mean power so much as outside noises, I'm in downtown DC, many fewer cars and trucks, fewer people talking on the street. I think that's helped and maybe the power has been cleaner who knows. What this has to do with tubes vs ss I have no idea but I am all tubes here.
Jond, this has nothing to do with tubes versus SS, that should have been tubes versus digital, but in regard to the essence of my post, it's primarily about the "grid" and the overall improvements I'm enjoying in everything. It's also about new 6922 Telefunken tubes in my phono pre.
I've been on a solo flight into audio bliss for so long that I just remembered that in order to communicate this to others, I will have to slow down and compose my thoughts.
To begin with, I down-load everything to external hard-drive and then settle back in my listening chair for a long time and focus on nothing but the music. While listening to some music I had just down-loaded, I noticed that it sounded appreciably better than what was already on hard-drive, that's when I began to try and find reasons for this sudden improvement.
While in both cases 6922 Telefunken tubes were used in the phono-pre, these were different tubes. (that could explain some improvement in vinyl, but not in a CD that was already on the hard-drive)
In the case of most people, if they turned their rigs on, and there was an improvement in the audio, although they did nothing to cause this improvement, they would attribute it to ear wax before, and continue on. But I know for certain the relationship between a "quiet grid" and better audio. There is one other factor that could make my improvements more pronounced, and that's my use of the computer; since they have the weakest power supplies, an improvement in the grid would show up more.
It's for certain people with power conditioners wouldn't notice any difference, because there would be none; how can you improve on perfection?
The bottom line is the fact that this grid thing is nothing new, it's just that not everyone has observed it.
I am not so often here.
But I am baffled how much some fellow audiophiles is trying to shoot you down by indirectly saying that what you hear and experience is something else.🙄
Nobody can be happy and share your good experience with you, in this wonderful hobby.🤔
So many experts that know so much more than you do appearently. They know your area and what factories there are. Or they go only on their own experience when they do not have that heavy industries in their own area.
Maybe they draw experience from lower resolution systems. Or systems that has a setup that are not as much Influenced by AC variation as yours.🎶
It is interesting that narrow audiophiles (with that I mean audiophiles that has ~ less than 20 years of experience and including with different extensive prolonged listening sessions over years at different areas/locations and gears) are the ones that are the best known it all experts. 🥰
It is great that you find that big of a difference. Is you considering any power "cleaner/regeneration" or go to DC somehow in the future?
@ orpheus10, I really glad that your enjoying your musical improvement from your NOS 6922 Telefunken tubes, audio enjoyment is what we’re all about. However, you seem to be drawing conclusions between apples and oranges.
You are comparing 2 different audio chains:
CD>Transport>DAC vs LP>Cartridge>PhonoPre
If you change a component (like a better or worse cartridge, or a different DAC), your sound will change. Just because it sounds similar to you, the logic doesn’t lead to the conclusion that it’s due to analog vs digital.
You are comparing 2 different recordings of 2 different artists mixed and recorded by different people on different equipment. Although your systems sound similar, how do you know that the recordings are of the same quality? As an example, couldn’t a subpar recording on a better system sound the same as an average system? Or a great recording on a subpar system?
Your in your statement ".... "quiet grid", which means power conditioner or no power conditioner, we are all presently getting the same results", lacks logic. Maybe it just semantics, but because we have to share the power grid, there is no "quiet grid", only periods of more of lesser noise. This logical conclusion doesn’t make sense: because of low noise power grid instance which you reasoned through your audio system’s performance, power conditioners have no benefit? All the online reviews and owners I’ve read over the years say otherwise.
When you do comparisons to draw conclusions best practices dictate that you change as few items and possible (usually only 1 item) while keeping the rest the same (constant) - A/B testing. For instance, if you only changed the old tube to a new tube and kept everything else the same, we would all follow the logic that the sonic changes was due to the tube change in your system and likely we can get the similar results if we did the same. But when you add more items (variables), things get exponentially more complicated and conclusions quickly loose their validity- too many alternate possibilities.
I apologize if I seem a bit critical, that was not my intent. Correcting inaccuracies is generally in the best interest of forum members - get them the truth so they can draw accurate conclusions especially for their own situations. However, this should be done with respect - life is challenging enough without getting additional grief. I believe that audio forum members should learn, teach, encourage, and support each other to achieve audio bliss.
We all have different financial means - some more than others. Also, high-end audio components can be "really" expensive by most counts. These are facts that we cannot change - therefore, it serves no purpose to dwell on this - it’s a fruitless endeavor that can only cause us pain, resentment, hate with zero benefit- terribly unhealthy for us (maybe like reading my run on sentences).
Fortunately, we ALL can enjoy sonic bliss, the kind that puts a smile on your face, send shivers up your spine, deeply touch your soul...like maybe your NOS 6922 Telefunken tubes?
@millercarbon no need to be rude to people and make stupid comments about ear wax to a poster @orpheus10. Everyone here is entitled to their own opinions and findings. I have read many of your posts and while you think you are an expert, will try to let you down gently and point out you clearly ain't, sorry! Sure, seen the photos of your system which you like to point people to at every opportunity and well... am i or anyone else here supposed to be impressed or think you know what you are doing, more so than others here. Simple answer, no!
Nothing gives you the right to insult people, try to knock them down or make them feel stupid when they express their view, opinions, findings or thoughts. So how about you cut that crap out please.
Years ago I built my speakers. They use the Accuton diamond tweeters, along with the Accuton C50 2" midrange. To say these speakers are revealing is an understatement.
There was 'something' I couldn't get rid of. Countless hours adjusting Azimuth, VTA, VTF etc. Massive money spent on different capacitors, wire, inductors. Still 'it' was there.
Then it started; 1st came the Balanced Power Technology (BPT) toroidal based conditioner. Beautiful. Let's say 50% of 'it' was gone. Next came a fluke. I had a pair of Plitron 1500V toroids in house. Looking over the schematics, I came to a realization: they can be wired for 'balanced' output. Common mode rejection is now my gospel. Fabulous. Final piece; Torus Power Conditioner is now at the front end.
What am I trying to say? Balanced power to your components is mandatory.
You do not lose dynamics. You lose noise. Some people perceive the loss as dynamics. Don't believe them.
It never is, both titles missed but stratospheric discussions are more catchy and have enough posts with accompanied insults. If somebody hears something different then it is. Authorative is how to present and explain it even if desired to reject it. We all understand how "wild Ac" can negatively influence the reproduction but taming it and sharing with others is more productive.
Kennyc, no need to apologize when you're right. I have been in a "lock-down" inner sanctum communicating only with self for so long, that initially I failed to communicate effectively with others.
Tube versus SS is a wrong statement, should have been versus digital, and I have been comparing many different things in my head, that I didn't communicate effectively, but now I will straighten out as much as I can, and that wont be easy.
Years ago when there was much controversy about PC playback, I took everything in that the PC guys had to say, as well as what "Stereophile" had to say about changing cards in your computer, and what equipment to use for "down-loading" effectively. Now I "down-load" and then listen. My playback is identical to whatever it is that I "down-loaded"; if it wasn't, I wouldn't do it this way.
Start with my comparison to Jacintha on CD and Dinah on new fantastic LP's (dead quiet LP, the best ever for me) This is from a new 5 LP collection from "Verve". I noted that the CD had many of the same sonic attributes as the LP; they both were outstanding.
I had "down-loaded" a lot of material using the 6922 tubes; they were the same kind of tubes, but not the same identical tubes. You are absolutely correct in saying the new tubes could have been better tubes? But I made more comparisons, and discovered that what I'm down-loading now, is far superior to what is already on hard- drive; consequently I'll be doing a lot of things over.
In late March I noted an improvement in overall audio, that was akin to a gigantic wax removal from my ear. This improvement is the result of our COVID 19 "lock-down", which has given us the "quiet-grid"; of that I am certain, it's equivalent to having obtained a whole house power regenerator. Someone understood me to say that power regenerators were useless, when I stated that if you were getting perfect AC they were useless because you can't improve on perfection.
You're not overly critical, just critically correct. Now I'm going to get back to my huge job of "down-loading" LP's. Happy listening!
Orpheus, if you’re in the digital domain, most likely the 6922s in your source equipment are only serving as a buffer stage, to reduce output impedance or in hopes of the designer to generate a more tube-like sound (I mean this in a good way). Buffer stage does not add any gain and therefore has very little sonic signature.
To whoever asked: 6FQ7 is electrically identical to 12AU7. With one important exception. Before you make such a swap, you need to know what filament voltage is provided by your circuit. 12AU7 can be configured to operate off either six or 12 V filament voltage. 6FQ7 requires 6 V, only. If your particular circuit provides 12 V to the filaments, then you need to use a 12FQ7. Such tubes exist, and they are usually cheaper than 6FQ7, because demand is lower. Once you get the filament voltage right, you can drop in either of those tubes in place of a 12AU7. The other tubes You listed cannot be used without rewiring your tube sockets. I have replaced 12AU7s with 6FQ7s several times, and the result is always an improvement. 6CG7 is another great option but a little easy re-wiring is required IIRC.
Does it matter where the power get cleaned as long as it get's cleaned?
@mikelavigne https://www.equitech.com/products/wall/wall.html is very cool "cleaning" the power in the room but would't an AudioQuest Niagara 3000/5000/7000, Son of Q or any high end cleaner do the same thing?
Power here (semi rural) is poor. Put in a whole hose surge protector and room where beloved stereo is from wall out has all the usual treatments.
Guys, you know those tin cans hanging from the telephone poles? Those are transformers that turn the several thousand kV (depends where you are. Ours is 8 kV) into the 220 V for your house. There may be 10 houses or so hooked to the same transformer. The Transformer isolates you from the high voltage lines. The only "trash" you get is from the other houses on your transformer. On my street the transformers are lawn warts, two houses to each wart except me. I have my very own wart because the power company thought my work shop would dim the other houses lights.
Power cleaning devises do absolutely nothing for me.
I had Telefunken 6922's The SLN tubes from RAM Labs absolutely swamped them and you know I am not prone to superlatives.
For low level devices like phono amps battery power supplies are king. The quietest phono amp made the Channel D Seta L20 runs on a huge battery supply.
Frankly, when you are talking about the best equipment I really do not think tubes or SS makes a whole lot of difference. Tubes certainly look a whole lot cooler and there is nothing like sitting by a big tube amp in the winter.
Raul you rascal. I didn't know you lived in Mexico! I've got jalapeno's in my garden this year. Come up to New England and I'll show you how a Jew makes Mexican food. Turn up the heat:)
Does it matter where the power get cleaned as long as it get’s cleaned?
there are a few issues with power. (1) low noise, (2) dynamics, (3) dynamics, (4) dynamics.......etc., etc. muscial connection comes from micro-dynamic flow and life. PRAT if you will.
this is where the 400 pound big boy Equi=tech wall panel system makes the stand alone boxes that plug into 120v outlets not ready for prime time in direct comparison. Equi=tech is not the only choice in those large scale regenerating transformer products.
i have a pair of 500 watt into 8 ohm mega watt amps that do like lots of power on peaks, 4 x 1000 watt class D amps on my bass towers that while efficient appreciate plenty of power. and lots of other gear that don’t like any sag in power.
10kva of regenerated power gives me lots of headroom. not every system needs the amount of power mine does, but some do. the smaller units might be entirely sufficient depending on the system.
headroom = ease, effortlessness and authority in the music. large scale music in a large room comes alive.
ease = suspension of disbelief.
Tube will always sound different from solid state as digital will always sound different from analog. They are inherently different in every way. Digital will never be able to produce the smoothness of an analog sine wave. So you choose what you like best and your tastes will probably change over time. There are positives and negatives in these types of audio playback and I guess it comes down to what am i willing to live with? The higher end systems generally do most things better but then it comes down to your room and component matching.
How much is lowering the noise floor worth? That’s a subjective question that only you can answer for yourself.
I’m a big fan of “more info is better” aka “another data point” (echos of MikeL), so I suggest you can try a power conditioner for free from a retailer that allows returns. On Amazon, there are a few power conditioners $100 and less with good ratings - I haven’t checked anywhere else so there’s more out there. If you like what it does in your system, you can also buy used to save some dough or move up to a better model.