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03-27-2005 Post mapped to 2 branches of Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,327
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 1
Post ID: 819
Reply to: 819
Melquiades: too early for a verdict?

One of the greatest and the most important things for me in power amplifiers is their ability to differentiate tones.  When you listen live music you practically never hear two identical tones. Even two identical pitches presented after the different preceding sequence or at different time always create the different tonal reactions within you.

With reproduced music this sense of tonal differences and tonal discrimination is severally minimized and all notes sound very much like a deviation of the same generic sound. The degree with which the tones and notes distinct in reproduced music is so small that practically all listeners do not even realized that we listen reproduced music in a very different ways then live music. Live music we listen “as it” but while we listen reproduced music we activate our real-time interpretive mechanisms and actively imagining how “it” might sound. There are extraordinary minute amount of people out there (properly no more then 100 around the world) who have thier listening techniques trained up to the point that they have an ability to listen reproduced music “as is”. Those people usually deeply dissatisfied with all that “audiophile wisdom” pitch as “excellent sound” and those people treated usually by audio community as “who the hell you think you are?!” In reality the reference points and the audio demands of those “real listeners” are so far form what an avenge zombie-audiophile could even imagine that any conversations or exchange of opinions between the “real listeners” and the rest audio-Morons are similar to the conversations between fish and kangaroo.

As far and I concern any know to me audio reproduction reduce an amplitude of the differences within the tones. I spent quite a few years to learn how to make loudspeakers with maximum possible amplitude of tonal contrast. The greatest revelation for me was Vitavox S2 compression driver and the entire Macondo Acoustic System was bult about the stunning S2’s tonal disseminative capacity. (In some ways the Lowther drivers if they locked in a very narrow midrange operation might remotely approach to what Vitavox S2 can do) However, with the amplifiers the story always was more complicated as all of them paint the world with a gray brash…

Most of SS amps that I heard convert all tones to some kind of common tonal denominator or inject into sound some none-existing in reality tones. All tubes amps might or might not differentiate the tone but all of them do it differently and in their own stupid way. Some OTLs break sound apart and scream about the tonal differences instead of play music.  They do it primary by screwing up the harmonic content of sound. Thier tonal differentiation is a differentiation for the sake of differentiation and the musical result is completely disastrous after them. Most of the rest amps, would they be PP or SE do not reproduce tones but rather ring in response of the tones of original music. Let me explain what “ring” means. None of the amplifiers that I heard (and I can assure you that I head quite few) reproduce the initial tonal event but juts a reflection of this even: they do not reproduce a note but the indication of the note, “in-reached” with residues of the tone’s electronic recreation affords. In photography a single dot located infinitely far from optical system never reproduced by optical system as a single dot but only as “dispersion radius”. The diameter of this “dispersion radius” is something that describes if image is “in focus” or not. So, all amplifiers that I know have such a high “dispersion radius” while then portray tones that the identity of a single tonal dot looses its uniqueness and instead of life-like “tonal range” an amplifiers projects those “dispersion radiuses” Those dispersion radiuses are so large that the near-located tones mask out each other each other and as a result, amps output the different shades of a generic tonal monophonism.

As I said, some amps do better form point of view of “presentation of tonal differences”: for instance the Tenor OTL or WAVAC 833 but they completely loosing in harmonic (Tenor) and accelerative (WAVAC) department. Of course there is, Lamm ML2. The Lamm ML2’s ability to discriminate tone is very-very high and although in the scale of absolute amplitude is less then Tenor or WAVAC but what Lamm’s SET dose it without even minute loosing of it’s dynamic or harmonic positions. In fact the ability of ML2 to maintain it’s dynamic or harmonic integrity is almost mystical.

Graphically the lineup of tonal discrimination between the amplifiers might be presented like this:

TonalDiscrimination.jpg

Then the Melquiades came…

Melquiades converted the ML2’s tonal discriminative capacity into a joke, furthermore this amp completely screws up everything that knew about amplifier's tonal discrimination because it juts does not fit in the above presenting scale. I can’t place it closer or farther on the scale of tonal discriminative capacity, and if you hear Melquiades then you instantaneously understand why. Interesting that if I come up within a similar hierarchy not only about the tonal discrimination but also about the dynamic, resolution and any other audio-quantifiable scale then Melquiades would not fit in any of them as well.

Well, some of the readies of my site would accept my comments as me worshiping and glorifying my own amplifier. Yes, most of the audio idiots do exactly this and they anticipate the same behavior from others. People who know me personally know that I completely liberated form this behavioral pattern. So, accept what I am telling you about Melquiades seriously  – Melquiades dose not operates nether in tonal nor in any other audio-quantifiable domain as any other amplifier out there. I’m not exactly know why it behaves as it behaves. I can talk for a long time how the “kinky” biasing of the first Melquíades’s stage did “it” but now the conversation is not about the Melquiades’ guts but about the benefits of the Melquíades’s performance.

Ok, here is the really weird part begins.

Melquiades actually does not “amplifier sound” but it instead reinstates Realty at larger level loudness.  If you A-B Melquiades against any amplifier out there then you instantaneously understand what I mean. Melquiades somehow dose not recognizes the input signal but it has own sense of “how it should in Reality”. It accepts the input signal and renders it into a Reality Reinstating Event. Interesting when you hear the Sound after Melquiades you do not even question anything that you know about sound because it has no evidence that the sound was an audio reproduction. This is something that was absolutely not accustomed in audio. The most important that the Melquiades Reinstates Sonic Event that elements a necessity to listen activating those real-time interpreters because we do not listen the Melquiades Sound as a Reproduction of even but rather as a Reinstating of the event.

It is very interesting because when you try audio-evaluate sound of any amplifier on the scale that I brought above you trying to place better amps further from left. The better amps dose the further it goes to right. This virtual perception between “left” (complete fake) and “right” (reality of live music) always sits in our awareness.  With Melquiades your mental perspective of existing of “left dimension” is absolutely does not exist. I’m not saying that Melquiades sounds like “live music” but rather it introduces a sense of Reality that is a Reality on it’s own and you would never question or wary how the Reality of Melquiades reproduction would related to the Reality of “live music”. I know that my explanations my sound enigmatic to most of people but “most of people” never heard audio when reproductive chain did not juts reproduced sound but recreated the Sonic Reality.

If what I said it not freaky enough for you then read on.

This week I discovered something that is completely extraordinary: Melquiades, while it recreates Sonic Realty, it dose not really care about the audio ingredients that it uses. Furthermore the Melquiades has an ability actually fix “bad audio”! It means: Melquiades recreates Reality in a way in which it “should be” and it somehow completely disregards that fact that it uses a “bad audio” as a source.

Hm…..

This week I played a lot of different music; all of them were great performances form the “better times” of musical history. Over the course of this week I played wartime Hans Hotter, I played Oswald Kabasta with his Munich orchestra who put Furtwangler into shame, I played begin of 40s Clemens Krause conducting Richard Strauss, I played Sergey Koussevitzky’s Tchaikovsky, I played Franz Schmidt’s Wagner from beginning of 30s, I played Walter Gieseking’s Rachmaninoff’s concertos, I played Joseph Lhevinne’s collection from 30s, I played Nina Koshetz’s songs and arias from 20s, I played Mengelberg’s Brahms cycle from 1930, I played young Karl Bohn with Dresden and Vienna, the Archduke Trio form the end of 20s, Joseph  Hoffman with young Barbirolli playing Chopin in the end of the 30s, Szigeti with Walter playing Beethoven form mid-30s… and many other wonderful peaces. All of them are superb accomplishments of performing art and rally magnificent music. Definitely all of them poorly recorded audio-wise or barbarically transferred to CDs. However, we still listen those and the similar recordings and the force of performances really let us disregard or minimize our desire for a “better audio”. I mean that the extrapolative perception of listening of older none-perfect audio is so catalyzed by the level of performance that we let ourselves do not be bothered that tonally-discriminative and dynamically those recoding are very pure. Furthermore, most of those recording, besides thier natural audio limitations, went over very barbarian noise sniping possessing, tonality devastating equalization and whatever the contemporary electricians-morons are capable to do with sound. In other words those recordings suppose to sound sonically as “bad audio”. (Pay attention, I did not use the better transfers from 78s that very rarely pop up here and there but I used juts regularly bad transfers)

When I head them then here was where Melquiades made me really-really think. Believe me or not but Melquiades somehow removed the entire layer of “bad audio presenting” and suddenly allow me to listen those performances audio-wise almost “as is”. I mean Melquiades took away all superstructure of reproductive efforts and left the sound very bare, very bold, very reach and completely free form the negative effects that bad transfer inflict to those recordings.  It kind of reverse engineered the process of recreating of the older sound!

If you hear 78s then you know that phenomenal speed, dynamic, stunning tonal discrimination and…. the quality of bass that 78s have. The CD and LP transfers that I played DO NOT have it. They sound quite bad and I know sound of all those “bad sounding” performances by hart after playing them for years on the best audio reproductive machines available. However, Melquiades took is further, way further! Melquiades somehow reinstated the initial sound of recording bypassing the entire coat of bad audio and bad transfers. It sounded like it knows how this Sound should sound. Whale it did it introduce so amassing rainbow-like tonal richness and so capable tonal inequity that I was sitting with my mouth opened for hours asking myself: “How the hell this happened and how this might be possible?” Evan more, the 78s, when they played, have some metallic and mechanic context. Melquiades somehow soften the matallo-mechanics and presented sound as it should be if 78s media would not screw it up Sound initially!!!

I know, it appear ridicules but is sound like Melquiades went through a conservatory and it familiar with all knowledge ever was accumulated about the theories of harmonies, orchestration, conducting and interpretation. How the hell Melquiades knows with witch acceleration climb a tone, how to stop it and with which decay to mix it with background noise if plying this moment with any other amplifiers the entire event sounds like a sonic “dispersion radius” and completely blurred into audio reproductive diffusion aura? How the hell Melquiades can do all of this and at the same time do not loose any single bit of acoustic-like harmonic integrity and do “it” at any dynamic level; including the dynamic levels where no other amps can reach?

!!!!!!

This all really-really amassing and I was kind of at state of disbelieve for quite a whale. I send to Dima an email a few days ago saying that I sincerely feel that what Melquiades dose to sound should open a totally different perspective to the methods of Audio and present a totally different way of thinking about sound reproduction. At least it keeps doing it for me…

Rgs,
Romy the Cat

PS: Today I pulled the recording of Vladimir Sofronitsky playing Scrabin in beginning of 50s. The damns Russkis recorded Sofronitsky quite horrible. A couple years ago I bought an original Russian first pressing of some of those preludes – you know those thick ugly pre-Melodia records with the leg of cockroaches sticking out of the disk. When I played it before they sounded (audio-wise) as ugly as it imaginably-possible but today I played it with Melquiades. Nope, it did not sound like a West-recorded piano in Carnegie Hall at 50s but it sound surprisingly audio-interesting with quite unexpected and not heard before tonal amplitude… surpassing all audio-misery the Russians exposed the Sofronitsky recordings to.




"I wish I could score everything for horns." - Richard Wagner. "Our writing equipment takes part in the forming of our thoughts." - Friedrich Nietzsche
04-06-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,327
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 2
Post ID: 864
Reply to: 819
It's absolutely amassing!

It is really amassing, how Melquiades takes recordings apart, literally and rebuild then in own manner! I never see anything like this, and I believe that I have seen something in audio.

Melquiades does something entirely unprecedented: it retrofits Sound with the dynamic nuances that never were possible to retrieve from recording via any known to me conventual methods. It would be imposable to explain to people who never heard Melquiades what Melquiades does with dynamic and the tonal contrasts. It is unexplainable, and primary it is unexplainable because it has no analogy in known audio: while Melquiades performs all his “dynamic audio anomalies” - it STARCHES the tonal and dynamic contrasts.

It is so funny to hear, even some monochromic performances, when Melquiades literally fights for each note and if it finds a minute tonal deviation, even burden into noise or masked out, then Melquiades very distinctively highlights it, but it dose it in very elegant way, tonally and dynamically connecting the highlighted phrase with everything else. This intelligent underscoring is so amassing and so unparalleled!!! It allows sonically recover the recordings that I always considered terminally killed by bad transfers or horrible recording techniques. What a wealth of possibilities!!!!

Actually, the most amassing to see what Melquiades does in context of Vitavox S2. The S2 has in some way an absolute uncontrolled contrast. Pretend a TV when you max out your contrast setting (Vitavox S2) and then you max out your color saturation (Melquiades). Dose it sound too Gipsy for you? Not so simple!

Here is where the genius of Melquiades comes to the table: the Melquiades somehow acts as a “real-time optimizer” (courtesy to the Melquiades’ driver stage), which takes a recording, search, finds and stimulates and necessary contrast and colors density and then Melquiades re-paint the picture, but…. it NEVER OVERUSES it’s tremendous illustrative, re-creative power.

It is really something out of this world! Well, I meant to say out of that damn audio world! Thanks God.

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
04-07-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
cv
Derby, United Kingdom
Posts 173
Joined on 09-15-2004

Post #: 3
Post ID: 865
Reply to: 864
Re: It's absolutely amassing!
Romy,
I'm enjoying this account of Melquiades upbringing. I must ask though: how are you sure that what you are hearing isn't on the recording? Not that I don't believe you, I just wonder if the stuff has been there all along and undiscovered until now. Then again, I understand that the driver valve does have some fairly unique distortion characteristics which in conjunction with the 6C33 are giving these results.

OK, you've convinced me: I'm going to build one... perhaps with an aircore toroid OPT for the S2.

Incidentally, I must agree with you regarding the S2: in its range, it is wonderful, it is just simply more alive and vibrant than any other driver I've heard. What I also like is its composure; at low levels, it has a very delicate touch and when it is called upon to raise its voice, it does so without strain. Unlike other drivers which sound like a teenager whose voice has just broken...

Best,
cv
04-07-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,327
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 4
Post ID: 867
Reply to: 865
How Melquiades milks sound?

 cv wrote:
I'm enjoying this account of Melquiades upbringing. I must ask though: how are you sure that what you are hearing isn't on the recording? Not that I don't believe you, I just wonder if the stuff has been there all along and undiscovered until now.

Well, I would not say that “it was not on the recording” but rather it was not retrievable by any know to me means. Those very minute fluctuations of dynamic assents are completely not handleable by any amplification that I have heard. Our amplifiers amplify everything EQUALLY. It is very much like a microphone that “hears” of the far-located sounds too prominently (our awareness filters them out). Melquiades does not amplify dynamically-linearly whatever it gets but it does it in a VERY different manner: It emphasizes the things that should be emphasize and subdue the things that should be subdued. So, when I tell that “Melquiades Sound” ™ is an absolutely unprecedented and unique event in audio consciousness then not juts my drooling about my new amplifier but my very sober recognition of the fact that “Melquiades Sound” is a quite revolutionary achievement in audio.

 cv wrote:
Then again, I understand that the driver valve does have some fairly unique distortion characteristics which in conjunction with the 6C33 are giving these results.

Chris, I can’t explain why it happens. I do not think that 6C33 in a picture in here at all. I would say that “Melquiades Sound” does not “use” the 6C33C. I think that hard of the “Melquiades Sound” derived form the “unique distortion characteristics” of the driver stage and from the unique biasing-decoupling topology of the first stage. Before the Melquiades was born in the way in which it exists now, there was multiple versions of the same basing topology tested and evaluated. All of them “operated” OK but the “Melquiades Sound” was born only after the “dual active basing” :-) was employed.

 cv wrote:
OK, you've convinced me: I'm going to build one... perhaps with an aircore toroid OPT for the S2.

In the “Super Melquiades” where the S2 will be driven by a desiccated channel I will be using an air coupling cap between the stages and OPT with reduced number of turns, low inductance of primary (~1.5H).

 cv wrote:
Incidentally, I must agree with you regarding the S2: in its range, it is wonderful, it is just simply more alive and vibrant than any other driver I've heard. What I also like is its composure; at low levels, it has a very delicate touch and when it is called upon to raise its voice, it does so without strain. Unlike other drivers which sound like a teenager whose voice has just broken...

No kidding? :-)

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
08-03-2005 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
morricab
Posts 51
Joined on 07-13-2005

Post #: 5
Post ID: 1260
Reply to: 819
Re: Melquiades: too early for a verdict?

Hi Romy,
Interesting scale you've come up with there.  I would like you to take a look at a preamplifier from Korea called Silvaweld.  I have found that with this preamp (model SWC 1000) in my system I can differentiate easily the individual tonal signature of two violins in a string quartet or two oboes playing solo pieces in an orechestra.  There is even some differentiation in groups of instruments (like a whole string section or horn section of an orchestra).  Other preamps in my system (numerous and several good ones) were not able to differentiate tone so easily.  It is another level of distinction from the merely spatial presentation (although it is very good in this regard also).  I have found that this distinction in tone continues throughout the spectrum (cymbals and cellos have extremely natural tone).   On your scale, given how you have rated several components I am familiar with, I would rate it around 50-60% (it is far superior in this regard to any BAT, CAT, or Cary I have heard).  Other Silvaweld models (including their phonostages) are also very good in this regard (as well as all around).

For amps (and preamps) another high level performing brand that I have heard is Einstein from Germany.  These amps also have a high level of tonal correctness and very good tonal discrimination.  Yet another is New Audio Frontiers (they have a very natural sounding 845 SET) and also Ayon (formerly Vaic) that uses the relatively new 52b tube. 

06-07-2006 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,327
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 6
Post ID: 2492
Reply to: 819
Another Melquiades? Never thought!

This is kind if funny as I never thought that I will go this way. I kind of have a need for an amplifier. For a normal full range amplifiers that would be able to drive conventional speakers. I really can’t use the Super Melquiades as it has the live-level filters built-in. I keep pulling from my storage some amps the I had ns keep borrowing the amps but they really useless as none of them does, even very-very remotely what the Super Melq does in it’s band pass. I have very well performing LF enclosure that I needed to drive recently ands I used a borrowed SS amps. I did not like the result and I connected it “juts for fun” the LF channels of the Milq. Holly cow! That quality of bass was come from 1 cub feet!?  The AB SS amp was deep in the undesirable place… In the long run I would need another amp to drive my “Fundamentals Channel”:

http://www.goodsoundclub.com/TreeItem.aspx?PostID=2433

The last year I had the original first Melquiades avalable. It was sitting for month in my storage, doing nothing. Eventually I, fool, decided to let it go and sold it; attacked by the guy you heard the amp.  I'was  glad that the first-born did find a good home but what the hell I need to do now? Well, after thinking for a while I begin contemplating to build another regular, single channel, full range Melquiades. I have all parts, chassis, magnetic and so on and it would be not difficult to do but I really hate to do it.

To build first was not juts building but rather a ceremony of the creation as we taught to the Melq to behave. Now, since the circuit and the know-how have developed the bulging is juts a miserable retune that I have no interest in. I would like to outsource it to somewhere and juts to pay for the labor. If anyone at East Cost, preferable in driving distance form Boston, would like to do the job then I’m wiling to talk, please contact me privately.

In addition to making some money you will have a change to listen the Melquiades and will have an opportunity and privilege to assemble an amplifier near which my Koshka was walking….

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
05-14-2007 Post does not mapped to Knowledge Tree
Romy the Cat


Boston, MA
Posts 9,327
Joined on 05-28-2004

Post #: 7
Post ID: 4399
Reply to: 819
Non-Melquiades amplification: not good anymore....

Frankly speaking I kind of thankfully drifting away from observing what is going on in the industry and particularly in amplifiers. Since 1998-99 I was using explicitly Lamm amplifiers that were heads and shoulder more interesting then anything else out there (particularly in SET word), and since 2005 I switched to Melquiades. From time to time I bring home some other amps but even the damn older Lamm’s ML2.0 taught me that usually juts waste of time…

Still, I had a change to recently to bring home a “reputed”, industry well-received SET (Cary single monoblock) around 211 tube and to play in on my “new” Macondo. The listening of that SET in my room was extremely gratifying. The gratifying in this listening was the ease and brutality with which the Melquiades Sound literally was destroying my interest in listening that Cary amp.

I played on CD: Dvorak’s Symphony No. 8 by Rafael Kubelik with Berlin (what a play!!!) and few Beethoven’s sonatas by the brilliant Erica Morini and Rudolph Furkusny. Then switched to analog: Vladimir Vlasov’s Cello concerto #1 by Rostropovich and Moscow Radio Orchestra under baton of Gennady Rozhdestvensky and a fist record of original "Tales of Hoffmann" by Beecham and Royal Philharmonic…

I do not know… perhaps I am too use to what Milq does but the Cary sound was beyond all acceptable norms. It did very stupid Sound. Cary literally did not know what to do with sound. Milq usually is intelligent, it sets the dynamic assents, it is articulate, communicative, pronounced and playful, it can play very soft and it knows when to be gentile and where to be vicious. Cary has no consciousness and it amplifies everything dreary, equally and assent-flat. The sound coming after Cary had way less distinctions between the shadows of tones and nuances of phonetics and as the result - the entire presentation was tedious like hell. Interesting that usually playing Milq there are always some thoughts in my head popping up regarding the music I play. With Cary I was sitting in front of my speakers, looking ad them, without knowing what the hell I was doing there…

Yes, defiantly my audio mind in some addiction to that Milq’s driver stage does and to the 6E5P’s dynamic intelligence. I am not in a market for amps but it was very nice from time to time to encourage own ego. It was very much not my intention to “compare” the amps, not my intention to bitch about the Cary’s211 or to glorify the Milq but it is what it is. So, the Melq’s 6E5P deserved to be kissed into each of its 9 pins…

Yep, sometimes dealing with audio people is it useful to learn what the hell they are listening in their listening rooms…

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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  »  New  A quest for a better SET...  Still, there is something in it....  Melquiades Amplifier  Forum     3  37978  02-05-2005
  »  New  The 6E5P tube data...  Bartola Valves: 6e5p beam tetrode SPICE model...  Melquiades Amplifier  Forum     44  250955  07-23-2007
  »  New  The “Melquíades” début...  Your builder shall know....  Melquiades Amplifier  Forum     10  53568  02-13-2005
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