Idea: The ultimate CD/DVD auditing tool

Tyler Durden camera_lumina at
Wed Jul 9 11:26:18 PDT 2003

Tim May wrote...

>Most so-called high end tube amps do in fact sound different, perhaps 
>"better," perhaps not. This is of course because tubes are usually rich in 
>odd-order harmonics. That $4000 Krell tube amp is actually _coloring_ the 
>sound. So much for 20-bit DACs in the signal source: the amp is altering 
>the sound at about the 6th or 8th or whatever most significant bit.

A couple of corrections, then the comment. First is that tubes boost the 
even order harmonics, making the sound much richer and fuller sounding. 
Also, the Krell is digital, not tube.

But your point is correct, but also well-known within audiophile circles. In 
fact, single-end triode style tube amps (which hit the market about 10 years 
ago) have really rotten measureables, but they have continued to grow in 
popularity because of the the allegedly "live/lush" sound. (Another odd 
thing about them is that they have extremely low output powers--12W, 8W and 
6W are common!) Everyone knows they are basically nearly random tone-control 
gizmos, but no one cares at this point.

As for 24/96 (or 24/192), like I said there are real engineering reasons for 
doing this, but in the end there's not much reason to argue if you haven't 
heard. Go listen to a standard CD played on an upsampling machine and you 
will know in no uncertain terms that the sound is considerably 
better/fuller/realler. (A hint as to why can be seen when you look a square 
wave reproduced in 16/22 vs 24/96.)

As for audiophile voodoo there's a lot out there, but there's a pretty easy 
way to differentiate voodoo from real (though 'inexplicable') high-end 
stuff. The voodoo dissappears within a year or two, but the real stuff keeps 


A PS about double-blind: There's been lots of them done, some confirming 
audiophile expectations some contradicting. Some of the disparity is due to 
who the blindees are: high-end listening is a skill that is basically 
self-taught. Some of the high-end tweeks have differences that are not 
discernable to nonGolden ears (and some tweaks are obviously pure snakeoil).

Add photos to your messages with MSN 8. Get 2 months FREE*.

More information about the cypherpunks-legacy mailing list