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In the Forum: Analog Playback
In the Thread: Low output MC?
Post Subject: The Absolute Tone Impotency and New Jersey SymphonyPosted by Romy the Cat on: 4/4/2007

 Stringreen wrote:
The New Jersey Symphony purchased a number of high priced instruments - Strads, Guanaris, etc. in what they called "The Golden Collection".  They paid way too much money for the collection, but thought that the better sound and the "Mystique" of all those multi-million dollar instruments would bring in ticket sales like never before.  The reality of it is that the orchestra sounded exactly the same as they did before.  No one I spoke to could tell the difference between the previous insruments played and the high priced spread. I say there is no such thing as "correctness"..just various levels of "betterness".  Clearly the Benz is better than the Grado to these ears, and anyone who has knowledge of my system before and after the Benz swapout.  You pays yo money and gets your pleasure.  For me, as I described the cartridge is at many levels, better in many ways than the Grado.  I also have the Dynavector DRT XV1S.  My tonearm is a JMW Memorial VPI Signature which has interchangeable arm wands.  I can easily swap arms into a perfect setup.  In some ways the Dynavector is better intellectually than the Ebony, but for some reason, I find myself listening to the Benz more.  Go figure...

I do not know why you say “Go figure” as the conclusions are very obvious and very much on surface.

Some active elements of playback have something that I usually call the “absolute tone”.  I covered this subject in very many posts on my site:

(For instance here: )

Here is juts a quote from the mentioned post:

“The “absolute tone” is the absolute maximum of tonal complexity that a playback is capable to reproduces. It is like a violin. If we take for instance Amatis, Stradivaris or Guarneris then they might indicate a quality of “absolute tone”. It does not necessary mean that they under all conditions have better tone than some other best violins but under good conditions they are capable to throw insultingly high (or interesting) tonal quality that might not be reached by “other” violins (particularly in ambient conditions). This absolute maximin amplitude of the “tonal sophistication” is not reachable by some "other" instruments, no mater what you do to them and how skillful players might be. The very same is with loudspeakers. They all have their “absolute tone” limitations. The audio people mostly do not consider them because the 99% of loudspeakers are “absolute tone” impotent. We do not really know where the “absolute tone capacity” derives from and audio engineers never cared to answer this question. Perhaps it is in materials or in design principles but I feel it rather in a sense of recognition and assessing of results – something that never was research seriously in audio.”

The key in there is the message: under special circumstances to produce tonal quality that might not be reached by others violins at the best circumstances. This is what I call “absolute tone” – or the amplitude of own maximum. Sure, each cartridge has own “absolute tone”, amplifiers do not have it – cartridges, drivers and orchestras do. Grado are good cartridges but their “absolute tone” is always was very simple. Evan at the best conditions Grado, doing wonderfully in hi-fi terms have that “absolute tone impotency” that sets all Grado efforts to the…. sound of the New Jersey Symphony. Grado is perfectly capable to convert tone of Prague Philharmonic into the tone of Cleveland Symphony and the sound of the old Budapest Quartet or the Hollywood Quartet into the Sound as a band for Berkley School of Music…..

Well, I do not know the New Jersey Symphony well, I heard a few recordings and it was quite bad, including “absolute tonally”. I generally very welcome a news that they got the "The Golden Collection" – it might not effect their sound as now (tone is not juts the quality of the instrument as you know) but in the long run, perhaps a generation from now it this collection of the better instruments might lead to better sound, or at least what we all hope…

Romy the Cat

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