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In the Forum: Melquiades Amplifier
In the Thread: “Melquiades” amplifier: a year later.
Post Subject: Several issues (long and probably boring to many of you, my advanced excuses):Posted by Antonio J. on: 10/7/2006
1.- Finding specific solutions to specific problems

 drdna wrote:
.... I have high-sensitivity horn loudspeakers and use some 2A3 SET amplifiers, which make very good sounds but I am looking to get closer to the Sound, which to me is feeling as if the musicians are in the room making decisions about the way they are playing and you have insight into the whole thing in a real and palpable way...


As I see it, one needs to know how his brain works and how it does with content-full music to know what's wrong with the results of his system. When we are not knowledgeable and experienced, and we've spent too much time focusing on "sounds" and all that jargon that reviewers, manufacturers and "basic listeners" use, we tend to identify as improvements slight (or huge) changes we can hear at swapping gear. This leads to a segmentary approach trying to get more whatever. But this doesn't help to develope an intuitive-result-oriented listening technique which allows us to understand what do we want, why do we want or even need it, and how we could get it.
Audio is all about creating an illusion. The believability of that illusion depends on: the kind of music you listen to (mainly its complexity), the ability of your brains to "swallow" that what you're listening is "the real thing", and how well some sonic cues are presented. When you, as myself, are in a very rudimentary level, it's possible to match a system that can create some credible illusion of reality with some "easy" music, that's a girl with a double bass or a guitar. At using more complex music, problems arise, but we still believe that some "pret-a-porter" solution can do the trick. The true is that changing a component, may solve some issues and get you closer to a more believable result (if that's your goal), but certainly is introducing other problems, which can be worse than the initial one.
One needs to know how "sounds" correlate with the result into his brain, and also how shaping those sounds changes the whole picture. I mean that we usually have very imprecise and multifactorial goals that need to be perfectly dissected to get one result. Only when you know what to change, are in the condition to diagnose where is the problem. Sometimes the problem is into our mind.

2.- Knowing if the problem we perceive has a solution and deciding whether the solution is available.
This is to me the most difficult problem to solve. For example, you may decide that your problem is a lack of spaciousness, which may be due to a lack of correct delay, wrong bass response, poor detail retrieval or whatever. Some issues can be corrected just by a good speaker positioning into the room, but others may come from speakers' limitations, amplifier's shortcomings or source flaws. The questions are: How you get to the conclussion that the "problem" is the lack of spaciousness?, do you have a reference (in audio) that shows clearly that the spaciousness you "need" is attainable? even supposing that the specific issue is solvable, can it be corrected into your room and circumstances? And what's worse, once you get that spaciousness, was this the problem which needed to be corrected? have you introduced new problems?
As I see it, this kind of approach is what makes most audiophiles unhappy all along their lives, always seeking for improvements that are far from being the solution to specific problems that really need to be solved. And this is what feeds the industry. I believe that there are true problems that need a solution, but there are audio shortcomings that are non-solvable because are limitations of the own audio recordings or the whole technological approach. Deciding what's a reallistic change and goal that can be done, and what's an audio limitation, or our perception's limitation, is one of the most difficult things to do.

3.- Knowing ourselves
This is another issue that must be carefully explored. It's well known that our brain is a powerful processor that can fill the blanks of what's missing in a given sensory event (any kind of visual, auditory, tactile... perception). You just need the armonics (well done, of course) of a sound to have the illusion that the fundamental of that sound is present. You can recognize your relatives by phone in spite of its limited bandwidth, and if you keep your hearing in a good shape between 250-2000 Hz you can understand most of the language you hear.
Most music lovers who aren't involved in audio, can enjoy inmensely their pocket radios and most of us have experience how "engaging" an old 78rpm can be. The brain can delete spurious information like vinyl noise, distortion, tape hiss.... Once you get into this hobby, you teach your brain not to fill the blanks and you try hardly to detect wrong things, what's missing in the sounds, and also to detect unwanted information which shouldn't be there, thus you get into a wrong listening technique. The brain also gets tired both of this attentive wrong listening, but also of deleting extra information. Filling blanks is a more natural activity which is less fatiguing. But this doesn't work the same for all us, starting for the fact that we all don't hear the same, and our hearing sensivity is not the same as years pass.
We may share an objective regarding music, but the specific sounds and sound-shaping required to meet those goals, aren't the same for every one of us. Furthermore some convivence with a given system is needed to "understand" it and once a certain performance level is achieved, things that might look wrong at first listening, show to be beneficial on the long term.

So to keep things into this thread's theme, I believe that the Melquiades can be the solution to many problems that Romy detected and which once solved, helped him to get closer to his desired results. We don't know which were those problems, and it's difficult to really understand his goals, since in spite of his explanation elsewhere in this site, translate his inner language into my inner language is a tricky process.
To have Milq working as intended, we should have speakers that match Milq electrical performance the same way it does at Romy's. We should have sources that can offer similar results (I don't think Melquiades can correct most of the garbage that SACD o upsampling DACs introduce into the music) as his, and also we should have his very same "musical sensivity" which I believe is at other perceptive, intellectual, emmotional and probably even social levels than mine and of many of us, I guess.
That's why I decided not to build the Melquiades but if I had it built, I wouldn't look at it as a "solution" but as an educational tool to learn what could be wrong before in my system, why does Romy look at it as "the best amplifier available for his purposes", and also to know a bit more about myself. Finding someone whose goals and procedures are like our owns, can be a lot of time and effort saving to reach the desired results.

If you got to this point, thanks for your attention spam. Rgrds,


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