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06-13-2008 Post mapped to one branch of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,337
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 7569
Reply to: 7569
The Tenor amplifier and the writing waves.

I was pointed out today to 6Moons review of Canadian Tenor amp:

http://6moons.com/audioreviews/tenor/m350.html

written by Mike Malinowski -I do not know who the guy is. I have to admit that I treat anything that come from 6Moons with certain grain of unfortunate incongruity. Srajan is in a business to brainlessly spin audio gismos and his slogan is “do not piss anyone” (This is the actual quote from him email). All those people are capable only for product-centric audio thinking and frankly speaking in terms of truly audio interests they are boring like hell.

Anyhow, in one of the “West Wing” episode there was a conversation between C. J. Cregg and Charlie Young where C.J suggested “Everyone's stupid in an election year, Charlie.” To witch Charlie replayed: “No, everyone gets treated stupid in an election year”. Reading Mike Malinowski’s article I felt exactly like I am being treated that I juts was born list night. I did not read more then 2 pages from the review as what I got from the first 3 pages was not credible enough for me. For whatever reason Mr. Malinowski so viciously willing to convince me, the reader, that Tenor amp and the Tenor company shell be worth my attention that the stupid selling underlings of this wring crap are truly put me off. Perhaps those Morons who are trying to write reviews should read in childhood less Robb Reports and more O’Henry but to ask those writers to bring audio wring to the leaver of self-respected literature would be to ask a Chinatown Whore from our Boston battle district to demonstrate some professional courtesy.

I like the Mike Malinowski’s spin that conversion the old Tenor 300M from the IGBT transistors and 6H30 driver to 350M‘s MOSFET and 6N6P drivers “took two years and $1,000,000 in R&D”. The 6N6P tubes are 10 times less expansive then 6H30 and the temperature way more stable MOSFETs are much-much less costly to keep stable than IGBT or bipolar. So, where Tenor spent $1,000,000 in R&D is beyond me. What is also beyond me is how the company made such a claim if a few there are a small army of manufactures and vendors to whom the Tenor owns large amount of money. Perhaps I was brought up in a different environment but isn’t it the rule the pay fucking debts first is the only rule acceptable for a man?

Then Mike Malinowski is trying to bold credibility around himself prosing that his familiarity with 75i OTL Tenor moonoblocks making him able to look into the new Tenor products deeper. If so then let to be very honest about the subject – the 75iOTL amplifiers was in a way a disaster amplifier. It has a LOT of sonic problems and it was nightmare to use. My primary concern is about out the 75iOTL’s sonic problems. The 75iOTL was placed in the map by Lars Fredell (not with Lamm’s help), Lars the reviewer who at that time was the Tenor’s distributor and dealer. I know very well the 75iOTL, I have them in my own room and there were a lot of events at that time about those OTL amps. The only comments from old 75iOTL user about the Tenor’s new amp I would accept as credible would be the comments from a person who clearly, honesty and publicly identify the sonic problems of the 75iOTL model. To open the writing about the Tenor’s new hybrid with the comments like this:

“My first contact with Tenor was in 2004. I was already the proud owner of the 75i OTL Tenor monoblocks - beautiful, transparent, with a wonderful 3D sound.”

means to me that the person is rather a fool or juts clueless about sound.

Anyhow, behind all of it there is an interning detail: I am non-deeply familiar with the sound of the Tenor 300M amp, the one that Tenors had before they “went to dark”. It was very nice, much different and better then the 75iOTL’s crap. Would the new Tenor 350M model be as good as presumably the Tenor 300M was? I do not know and I do not feel that the Mike Malinowski has any sincerity and seriousness to answer this question, so I did not read his brainless comment beyond the second page. It would be interning sometimes to have Dima’s 6E5P-bipolar Zarathustra II, Lamm M1.1 and the Tenor 300M driven the same low sensitively speaker in the same room to see how the amps behave. They all hybrids with Zarathustra II having 200W in class A and Lamm 100W in class A. My particular interest is the if the unique Zarathustra bias of it’s output stage would offer to Zarathustra any advantage because if it does then it opens a Pandora Box for a lot of derivative thinking….Unfortunately I am way out of the range of those speakers that would need those types of amps but it might be an educational for others. Perhaps sometime I would do some shoot out of that type of I found a worthy environment to test it.

Hm, I started with Tenor and ended up with Zarathustra II. Well, frankly speaking what Mr. Malinowski has written did not encourage me for anything else then just to take a good shower after rereading his commentary.

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-13-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Antonio J.
Madrid, Spain
Posts 269
Joined on 08-16-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 7570
Reply to: 7569
Mike

I think this Mike is the same guy that is/was an Audio Asylum member that years ago had the Tenor amps driving some of those terrible sounding Kharma speakers, then traded them for some Magico or whatever and now seems to have the Alexandrias... I believe you had some "opinion exchanges" with him at AA some years ago while he was building his listening room. If he's that Mike, the one selling used cars, he should be one more of those AA morons who has had the chance to become a reviewer.... phew, what a honour! hehehehe Not much ago I read somewhere that some people consider him one of the most discerning ears with one of the best systems... No comments.

Having read his posts at AA I wouldn't give a damn for his opinion about whatever he dared to express it. It still puzzles my mind how you keep reading reviews Romy, that must be some masochistic vein in yours, or that you have too much leisure time in your hands ;-)

Rgrds

06-13-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,337
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 7571
Reply to: 7570
The pulp-fiction of thinking.
Antonio, you might refer to Mike Lavigne from Seattle, I have mentioned him somewhere at my site. I do not know if it is the same guy but it is not the point. The too much worthless leisure time in my hands is not the point as well. The point is that behind all of it there are well-defined efforts by Tenor to make a hybrid amp, the amp that might be having some interesting performance or design characteristics. The problem is that behind those writing idiots of the Lavigne level and the epistolary garbage that has no other objectives then to push a stupid consumer to run and to brainlessly buy the product there is an amplifiers/effort with own capacity and own potency. Unfortunately behind the Srajan-level of journalism the products and efforts born and die without actually publicly exposure of their own values and their true identity. I know a number of manufactures (not naming them) who have very successful and extremely well received by audio propaganda products. Despite that those successful product are for years out there and have tone of pulp-fiction written about them by the industry media the manufactures however still feel that there was no truth ever told to public about the true value and true capacity of those products. So, reading those guys is not masochistic but disappointing. Masochism, properly applied, is very powerful and very sophisticated feeling. A disappointment is a dissatisfaction triggered by a failure of accomplishments. That “Mike-dude” just failed to make any since, but here is why he writes for 6Moons to begin with….

The Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-14-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,337
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 7579
Reply to: 7569
I read more about Tenor amp.

I read one more page from the Tenor description, before the author begun to talk about sound. A correction need to be made, from the first pages I understood that the amp use 6N6P driver but on the next pages it was not the case. Perhaps I confused something. Also, I found strange that the writing dude so much stressed the absence of feedback in the new Tenor amp. If the amp has 12AX7 at input then it automatically means a feedback to cathode. What the hell this tuber will do at line-level input if it has 1V of bias?

Generally from the description (living aside some bogus statement was made in the article) I like what Tenor was trying to do and it might be interesting to listen the thing. Though I very much do not like the pressure the glorious memory of the former Tenor amp – the 75i OTL. That amp was crap and if the new Tenor amp is intellectually based upon the 75i OTL sound then it is very much not good, though I am sure that the Morons out there with EMM Lab microwave DACs and Kharma/Magico ear piercing loudspeakers will like exactly that. Also I am very much not pleased with their dynamic biasing of output stage - stabilize temperature and do not screw with bias, bias = Sound, do not touch it. I have no idea why they need to have so sensible temperature control on output transistors – if they do not have temperature buffer and yank bias with rise of class AB temperature then it most likely would be crappy sounding amp. Still, I have no idea what they do and they are just my speculations.

Anyhow my major concern about this amp is that Tenor when very cheap with this amp. Tenor trying to push this amps for $90K, it is a lot of money but they offers a call AB amp for $90K? Are they kidding? If the amp has so allegaedly good driver stage for amp then let person to have 150W-200W of pure class “A”. If a person is willing to pay $90K for amp then he or she can certainly afford electric bill and certainly would like to go for better sound instead to conserve power. However, Tenor presumably not willing to invest anything, juts repackaged the old amp (and the author of the article make significant attempt to make readers to believe that it was not the case) without designing a new amp for class “A” biasing. With contemporary cooling method it would not be difficult but I presume that 1.000.000 that Tenor supposedly spent for new 350M was not enough. I understand: the lawyers for that bankrupts filing were so expensive…

The cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-15-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,337
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 5
Post ID: 7587
Reply to: 7579
I read even more about Tenor amp – become interesting

I made afford to read more of Mike Malinowski article – another two pages. I reached the place where Mike said the following:

“The Tenors bring a remarkable top-to-bottom continuity, which I've often called the Kharma effect (the speaker, not the moral law of cause and effect) in tribute to what I believe is the most coherent, disappearing, seamless loudspeaker ever made.”

I did not read anything further as after that comment in my mind Mike Malinowski has settled down in my awareness as stupid idiot whose own views and  judgment should be discarded. However, before I read that Kharma comment I read something that I was actually semi-looking:

“I've spoken in the past of a transparent sound field that balloons out into the room, immersing the listener into the music and yes, the Tenors have this in spades. However, with the Tenors you get the ability to hear the inner structure and delicate overtones not present in the initial attack but buried far more deeply. Subtle layers within the soundstage float effortlessly and naturally in reverberant space. Ask François about this or almost any question concerning their design goals -- transparency, dynamics or the tonal purity -- and his answer always comes back to HSI (Harmonic Structural Integrity). It is their fundamental building block. It is the uniqueness of the Tenor sound and the result of Michel Vanden Broeck's lifelong research and development. It is also clouded in a cloak of proprietary secrecy, hence you're stuck with my layman's explanation.

Every note from every instrument contains both a primary note and secondary harmonics that in essence define the characteristic sound and timbre of that instrument. Why do reed instruments sound differently from each other? It's these fundamental, secondary and tertiary harmonics interweaving in a complex tapestry that define real music in real space and separate the tone, color and timbre of one instrument from another. Harmonics are a series of related simultaneous notes produced by a musical instrument. The nature of the initial vibration and the type of enclosure among other things determine the nature of the harmonics. The human hearing apparatus internally sums the initial attack along with the multiple harmonics into the single color or timbre recognized as the instrument or voice. The sum of the harmonics in some instruments produce a purer sound like a flute while others produce more complex sounds, such as a saxophone.

According to Tenor, typical manufacturers tend to measure their components statically - a specific music snapshot with the corresponding harmonics and distortions measured and analyzed. This is where Tenor differs. They claim that one secret to their sonic success is the ability to reproduce the dynamic nature of the instrument and its harmonic structure. Imagine a specific instrument reproducing a specific frequency and visualize a graph of the fundamental note and its various harmonics. It's an instant in time but not real music. As the music changes, the volume changes, the frequency changes, the tempo changes, the fundamental note and harmonics change dynamically to the next state and the process continues seamlessly. How well the component can track the dynamic changes from one note and instant to the next is key. The ability of the amp to react to a continuously changing set of harmonic structures is what Tenor believes to be the holy grail of amplification. The key to this dynamic behavior is locked in the brilliance of Michel Vanden Broeck's mind who combines theoretical analysis, unique circuit designs and specific measurements using Fast Fourier Transform Spectral Analysis. I asked François if he would share the underlying nature of the design and measurements relative to HSI. The answer was a polite but firm "No." Michel did say, "It is not possible to directly measure this [HSI] because you must measure it in real time and no equipment exists that can actually do this."

At first I wondered whether HSI was just another marketing catchphrase - one of those feel-good sets of buzzwords to get audiophiles excited and nodding with approval. Yet after meeting the owners and employees of Tenor and listening to their internal discussions, Harmonic Structural Integrity is not a buzzword for an advertising brochure; it is the fundamental premise of their design work. They profoundly believe that if you nail the purity of the original note with its harmonics, then dynamically and instantaneously track the changes and do it over a wide band, you've achieved greatness. They contend that in the real world the true sonic measure of an amplifier is not a static reading occurring at point 'A' or point 'B' but the combination of these two readings plus the amplifier's ability to move from point 'A' to point 'B'.”

This is already quite serious and incredibly interesting. I have seen 3 manufactures why made the same, virtually identical claim – good for them and it is very good that somebody have guts to look at the issue. I do not know how much in Tenor’s claim truth is. It is possible that it is juts marketing BS. It is possible that Tenor’s people get grip on something “interesting”, something that they not completely get (and to get it is VERY complex) and then they decided to wrap that “interesting something” into the marketable theory. It is possible that Tenor’s people get grip of some harmonics algorithms but filed to implement them as they should be. It is also possible that Tenor’s people get all that necessary understanding and implemented everything as it should be. The truth most likely will not be known. Tenor people are not divulging what they do and Tenors users will not decipherer what is going on as they mostly will be idiots.  In a few years, if Tenor still be in business, Tenor people will learn that their cretin-customers do not need dynamic harmonic integrity  and they remove the amp-compliance to their HSI  and … not one will notice any difference….

Anyhow, the HSI is just a marketing phrase but the idea behind it, if there is anything behind it on the Tenor side is very fruitful direction to look. If the Tenor does do anything with HSI then if will be a Tenor near me I would not mind to hear it. Only who the hell need 350W of A/B? I wonder when Tenor will look at the 5-15W single-ended hybrids operating is pure class A?

Rgs, Romy the Cat


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
06-23-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Gregm
Greece
Posts 91
Joined on 02-16-2005

Post #: 6
Post ID: 7654
Reply to: 7587
Intriguing, plain BS or somewhere in between?
“The Tenors bring a remarkable top-to-bottom continuity, which I've often called the Kharma effect (the speaker, not the moral law of cause and effect)...
This is intriguing. All of the Kharmas I've listened to have displayed continuity from bat to soprano frequencies -- certainly not "bottom" frequencies. (Romy calls this "ear-piercing").

Indeed, I thought that one of the elements behind the Kharma products' "clarity", much touted by audiophiles, was just that: the relative absence of lower register (& what there is is slightly out of sync with the rest) -- indeed, I thought it was a deliberate choice in crossover & driver used...

Quoting the article:
At first I wondered whether HSI was just another marketing catchphrase
Just a thought: sound reproduction, which includes main & harmonics, is what... sound reproduction is all about. The idea of performing  reproduction in a consistent or with "structural integrity" manner is welcome -- but, no offense to Tenor -- hardly earth-shattering.

Admittedly, the phrase "structural integrity" is much, much better than saying "reproduces music very nicely, you can appreciate main & harmonics for most of the spectrum"

Or I am missing something>
06-23-2008 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,337
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 7656
Reply to: 7654
What Tenor got in reality?

 Gregm wrote:
Just a thought: sound reproduction, which includes main & harmonics, is what... sound reproduction is all about. The idea of performing  reproduction in a consistent or with "structural integrity" manner is welcome -- but, no offense to Tenor -- hardly earth-shattering.

Admittedly, the phrase "structural integrity" is much, much better than saying "reproduces music very nicely, you can appreciate main & harmonics for most of the spectrum"

Yes, you are right but everyone makes empty claims about structural and harmonic integrity no one actually delivers it. The only amps that I ever heard that made any significant attempt on this direction was vintage Lamm ML2.0 - the sound of that amp from a perspective of harmonic integrity need to be studied.  Now Tenor begins to talk about it. Do not forget that Tenor old OTL-75 was as harmonic stupid as it theoretically could be. Who knows, Tenor might review what they did and went to right direction with right innovations.  I do extend some possibly that there is some thinking in Tenor – or course it is difficult to say anything more certainly behind a mask of a typical marketing stupidity

We need clearly understand that Mike Malinowski did not right his review but rather he reflects what Tenor made him to see. So, reading the Mr. Malinowski articles is like listening me singing Caruso’s arias. The truth would be to have Tenor amps sitting in a room connected to speakers and to listen what they got.

The caT


"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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