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In the Forum: Audio Discussions
In the Thread: The Sakuma's Show
Post Subject: Souls of tubes, Tone Control and midrange forwardness.Posted by Romy the Cat on: 8/3/2007
 dazzdax wrote:
Sakuma's idiosyncratic and esoteric way of thinking (he believes for example that tubes have a "soul") is not to everyone's liking. He is projecting his mind into a sort of tone control. At least for him this tone control brings him nearer to the essence of music (which doesn't have much to do with accuracy in music reproduction). There are certain aspects though in Sakuma's sound that are quite appealing. One of those aspects is the midrange forwardness and presence that gives Barbara Lea's voice fullness and warmth. But will this midrange forwardness also work with Mahler III? Or Sibelius II? Or Mozart's C-major quintet (KV 515)? 

Chris, before I visited Sakuma I read all his writings and was also under the spell of those conversations about “souls of tubes”. In fact some people with whom I socialized at that time took it much further into very extremes of exotericisms about witch Sakuma even did not dream. So, I was very comfortable to accept the idea of cables that absorb the spirits and the moods of people who solder them, the existential nature of currents propagation and necessity to make 15 meditations before punching a whole in chassis. Unfortunately what I have seen in Sakuma’s example did not illustrate the concept. Ironically I do not disagree with some things that Sakuma’s say, but I do feel that at the level of the Sakuma presentation his thoughts are not renderable.  In what I have seen there was a great discontinuity between the spiritual objective and the elemental technical rendering of those objectives into Sound.

You see, no one would argue that tone control is superbly important in audio but also no one said that Sakuma views and Tone Control are the same things. In fact I personally believe that Tone is 90% is a property of acoustic system not amplification. Sakuma feels that his transformers are responsible for some kind of special Tone, might be correct in his views, but they his amps are responsible for 10% of tonal capacity and 90% of tone come from very deferent sources. What whatever it worth the Denons 102 cartridge, which Sakuma explicitly uses, and Altec MF drivers are completely Tone-dead. That all does not eliminate the fact that the Sakuma amps might have some special Tonal qualities but would they be just winners in Special Olympics for handicap people?
Also, Chris, I think that the “midrange forwardness” beneficial for Mahler III is not the midrange forwardness that comes from amplifier that disabled to play full range. Midrange forwardness might be an expressive tool but I do not feel that specific and clearly objective shortcoming of playback might be presented as beneficial midrange forwardness…

In the end I vision it differently and I insist that a system should be able to play midrange forward but it should not be midrange-forwarded. It is not a job of playback to balance sound but a job of a conductor…

Rgs, Romy the cat

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