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Author Topic: M49: Does it look authentic? Does it Matter?  (Read 25961 times)

Uwe

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #30 on: December 02, 2013, 12:33:21 PM »

... I was hoping to look beyond the marketing hype for multicap components ...
Considering the signal and power levels encountered in most condenser microphones I still question applicability of the cited effects. I yet have to find mainstream manufacturers' coupling or bypass capacitors with measurable (or truly audible) influence on low level audio signals. Aware of opening a likely Pandora's Box, I propose that any such influence is more probably due to questionable component values rather than improper specific types in the first place. Conceding possible affects on reliability, stability and longevity, this may be a justification for custom modifications and 'improvements' on the original circuits. Otherwise allow me to file this topic along the the audibility of certain interconnect cable materials, connectors and mains cables in audio systems...
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J.J. Blair

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #31 on: December 02, 2013, 02:59:05 PM »

Uwe, the only thing I am qualified to give in this discussion is my ears.  In trying many transformer coupling caps in mics, I have never heard an electrolytic that I thought sounded as good as a quality film cap, or even a good PIO.  They feel harsh to me, and lack the type of harmonic character I find pleasing.  I am trying to avoid using the type of esoteric terms such as "warm" or what not. 

As usually happens, I talk to technically qualified folks about my observations, and they explain to me why I am hearing a difference. 
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klaus

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #32 on: December 02, 2013, 05:47:10 PM »

Discussing subjective impressions of sound can quickly lead to trench warfare and loss of respect for differing positions (my experience).

Let's not do that here, but let's assume that positions we disagree with were honestly, thoroughly, and intelligently formed. The scientific process demands nothing less.
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Klaus Heyne
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soapfoot

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #33 on: December 02, 2013, 09:28:47 PM »

Mr. Sattler--

Did you read Cyril Bateman's complete paper and experiments, linked above?

If so, I'd love to hear about any flaws you perceive with the methodology.
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Jim Williams

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #34 on: December 03, 2013, 01:31:01 PM »

Doug Self and Richard Marsh have done a bit of research into the audible effects of different capacitor formulations, there are AES articles about it as well.

Where measurble differences show up they are far beyond the 20 hz~20k hz audio bandwidth. In the audio band, even the best test gear (Audio Precision) will not show measurable differences, you will need a network analyzer for that.

However, most do and will hear differences between mylar and polyprop/polystyrene film caps. I found it best to compare them in a circuit that will allow direct coupling, no caps. Then you can listen for cap differences and the losses against no capacitor. Most find the no cap option to offer the best fidelity.
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soapfoot

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #35 on: December 03, 2013, 03:15:25 PM »

Jim,

have you been unable to measure harmonic distortion in the audio band in coupling applications? Or are you talking more about "frequency response" as opposed to distortion products?
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Jim Williams

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #36 on: December 04, 2013, 11:46:24 AM »

I can measure THD and IMD several ways, but none show the effects of a passive capacitor unless it has a filtration effect in the audio band. The active component errors (transistors, opamps, valves) all wash out any passive component measurements.

That's not to say you won't hear differences, most do. That just tells you the human ear is capable of detecting some small differences the best audio test rigs cannot.

This is why test gear is best for finding errors, not for telling you when it sounds best.
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klaus

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #37 on: December 04, 2013, 01:47:23 PM »

The human ear is capable of detecting some small differences the best audio test rigs cannot.
This is why test gear is best for finding errors, not for telling you when it sounds best.
AMEN!
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Klaus Heyne
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soapfoot

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #38 on: December 04, 2013, 04:23:44 PM »

I think that way about measurements in audio in general.  They help us understand and explain that which we perceive, and we're best off when we do not rely on them to tell us what we are and aren't allowed to perceive.
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J.J. Blair

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #39 on: December 04, 2013, 07:27:16 PM »

For instance, metal film resistors measure better than carbon.  However, even as bad as carbon comp resistors measure in terms of noise and distortion, I find they are such an essential part of the sound of some circuits, which just don't sound as nice with metal film.  Moog synths are a huge example of this. 
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soapfoot

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Re: M49-does it look OK? Or: How to verify authenticity.
« Reply #40 on: December 05, 2013, 08:25:06 AM »

For instance, metal film resistors measure better than carbon.  However, even as bad as carbon comp resistors measure in terms of noise and distortion, I find they are such an essential part of the sound of some circuits, which just don't sound as nice with metal film.  Moog synths are a huge example of this.

Fender guitar amps are another.
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Jim Williams

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Re: M49: Does it look authentic? Does it Matter?
« Reply #41 on: December 05, 2013, 11:25:05 AM »

That's one reason old moog stuff drifts so much. The carbon composition resistor values change with heat. Same in Fender amps where the heat is more extreme.

Also consider when 1960's guitar amps were built, carbon composition resistors were the norm as metal film resistors were very expensive back then. Now only a couple of companies still make the carbons, Allen Bradley stopped some years ago and they made the best.

It also comes down to personal choice: I have replaced all my resistors in my 1960's era Fender amps with Dale CMF metal film resistors. I get a smoother overdrive and clearer tops. Carbon composition resistors have a built in "aural exciter" function, they spit in the top end. I found that to sound harsh in recording gear.
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klaus

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Re: M49: Does it look authentic? Does it Matter?
« Reply #42 on: December 05, 2013, 12:26:13 PM »

You final point also brings up another philosophical issue: Are different tonalities of differing component materials closer to, or further away from, audio fidelity, and does that matter?

I believe only fools will "upgrade" musical instrument components in the belief that more of the essence of the instrument will come out- say, put a film & foil tone cap in a '59 Les Paul- But we all know (do we?) that the essence of any musical instrument is the totality of its contributing sound-shaping components. And that essence is inviolate and 100% subjective- anyone can do what their acoustic taste buds dictate, and with impunity.

But... microphones? Isn't there a widely-held belief that a microphone's function shall be to stay "neutral" so that what it picks up and transmits stays intact?

Which brings me to my oft-repeated position on this: a microphone is a terribly primitive approximation to our hearing. It lacks many of the complex, interactive parameters that contribute to our oral impression of the world. Therefore, a microphone at its best creates the (artificial) approximation to human hearing with features an electrical engineer might find appalling: highly non-liner frequency response, attraction to certain kinds of compression and harmonic distortion, while being repulsed by other kinds…

In the end, the best microphone (me thinks) is the one that best retains the connection to the musical event or emotional attraction to the voice. This can be, and often is, a microphone with inferior measurements (U47, ELA M251…) and, to the contrary, it rarely is a microphone with superior measurements (B&K, some Neumann TLM and Digital models).
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Klaus Heyne
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Uwe

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Re: M49: Does it look authentic? Does it Matter?
« Reply #43 on: December 05, 2013, 01:20:24 PM »

Audio is objective, psycho-acoustics are subjective. Measurements can certainly verify how well any given piece of equipment will perform. However, it can not predict whether you will like it or not. Individual preferences and dislikes can not be quantified and manipulated in some mathematical equations. For listening tests alone, don't underestimate the power of suggestion and wishful thinking (auto-suggestion).
With the capabilities of contemporary test equipment, I'll go as far as turning around the prevailing opinion, and postulate that we can measure and quantify everything we hear, but we can not hear everything we are able to measure...
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Jim Williams

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Re: M49: Does it look authentic? Does it Matter?
« Reply #44 on: December 06, 2013, 10:52:06 AM »

Count me in as one of the fools that has redone the electronics of his Les Paul to hear more of the essence of the instrument. It has a custom preamp/buffer and a switch to cut out the tone circuits entirely. The tops are more open and clear with the cabling and it's passive low pass filter effect running 20 feet to an amplifier.

I don't use Bumble Bee wax impregnated tone caps, a pure waste of money, any WIMA polyprop will do just fine for a treble cut.

I spent several years testing everything I could with the Audio Precision rig I have. I found out quickly that stuff we hear is not measured. I also found out some stuff we hear is measured. Then you find out stuff you don't hear is measured.

Dirty Harry said it best: "you got to know your limitations". Ears and test gear both have limitations, I found using both to work through stuff is the best overall solution to audio niceness.
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