How To Find and Fix Hum Extended

September 4, 2016
 by Paul McGowan

This is the extended version. There is a shorter 3-step version available here.

Very few audio or video systems are dead quiet. There are usually always a few hum related problems. If your system has a bit of hum , is it the transformer or a ground loop? How do you determine the source of hum and what can you do about it?

Sometimes hums and buzzes are quite obvious, sometimes not. The ‘hum noise’ usually comes in two flavors, a low non-irritating drone (50 or 60 Hz) or a slightly higher pitched buzz or raspy/irritating ‘angry insect’ sound (100 or 120 Hz). Video hum is usually seen as diagonal bars across the TV or screen of a projector.

The low non-irritating drone hum is usually internal to the equipment and is mechanical in nature. The higher pitched and more irritating ‘buzz’ is typically found emanating from the loudspeakers and is usually caused by a ground loop. The most common cause of hum is the ground loop – fortunately it is also the easiest to solve.

First, you should determine the type of hum you are dealing with. There are two basic types: 120Hz buzz, typically caused by ground loops, and 60Hz hum, typically a result of poor shielding, cable problems, or close proximity to strong magnetic fields.

To determine which of these you have, listen to the two examples.

60Hz hum caused by close proximity to other equipment or cables problems:

The specified audio id does not exist.

120Hz hum/buzz typical of ground loop problems.

Find out what’s making the noise

We first need to divide our search into two categories; mechanical or electrical induced hum.

A mechanically induced hum or buzz is equally easy to determine. Place your ear very near to each piece of your electrical equipment and again, listen for hum and buzz. If you hear a hum emanating from within your equipment, we would refer to this as mechanically induced noise (as opposed to an electrically induced noise).

To see if it is an electrical problem, make sure your system has been on and warmed up for at least 10 minutes, then simply place your ear near the loudspeaker (with no music playing) and listen to determine if the hum or buzz is coming from your speaker. If it is, then at least one component of your problem is electrical. This is the most common and usually caused from a ground loop.

Ground loop hum

Ground loops hums are perhaps the most tedious to track down – yet they are by far the most common.

You typically have a ground loop when the hum or buzz comes out of your loudspeakers.

Ground loops are a result of differing ground potentials. This means that the ground of one AC source or equipment source is at a different level than the ground of another AC source or equipment. This difference is usually amplified in the form of audible or visible hum. Visible hum is usually seen as diagonal bars across the video screen.

Tracking these types of hums down is more difficult and below we have assembled some helpful tips. It is critically important you follow these steps one at a time and don’t miss any.

Tracking down ground loop problems

The easiest way to figure out where ground loop problems lie is by the process of elimination. You need to determine where the hum or buzz is coming from within your system. If it’s a video hum problem, use a known good source like a DVD player rather than cable or satellite. In video, it’s best to always assume that it’s either a connection problem or, more likely, a cable problem. Our experience has shown that poorly shielded video cables cause more hum problems than just about anything else.

In an audio situation, the first suspect in our hunt would be the power amp or the receiver that is driving the loudspeaker. To see if the power amp or the receiver is the culprit, turn them off, disconnect its inputs and turn it back on again. Go back to the speaker and place your ear in close proximity to see if the hum is still there. If it is, then you have a problem with your power amp or receiver and you should seek help from its manufacturer.

If the hum/buzz goes away when you remove the inputs to the power amp, your next step will be to reconnect the amp and move further down the chain. If you were working with a receiver or an integrated amplifier, you will need to jump to step 4. If you have a preamp, or processor that is feeding the power amp, your next step would be to disconnect all inputs to the preamplifier or processor. Once these are disconnected, and the preamp or processor is connected only to the power amplifier, turn the system on and again, listen for hum. Should the hum now appear, it is a problem with your preamp or processor or their interaction with the power amp. Before returning the preamp or processor to the manufacturer, try a cheater plug to break a ground loop. Cheater plugs are simple devices that convert a three prong AC plug into a two prong AC plug and in the act of converting three prongs, to two prongs, they disconnect the ground from the wall socket. Try one of these on the preamp, or the power amp, or both.

If an AC cheater plug work, replace it with a HUM X. Using a cheater plug may not be the safest alternative.

HUM X

If you determine that there is still no hum present when the preamp, processor or receiver is connected with no inputs, then selectively begin plugging in your various inputs one at a time. After each connection, check for hum until you discover the humming culprit.

VCR’s, surround processors, streaming audio, and any device that is connected to a television cable can cause a loud buzz and should always be suspect. If, by the process of elimination described above, you determine it is a component like a modem or television connected via a cable connection (CATV) that is causing the hum, use a product like PS Audio’s HumZero. This will eliminate the hum and ground loop.

 

Just remember, take the system down to its simplest level of connection. Find a way to hook the system up with as many pieces of the system missing or not connected. Keep it simple and get it to the point where the hum’s gone. Then start adding back components one at a time until the hum returns.

Mechanical hum

If it’s mechanically induced hum/buzz it is usually heard coming from inside the equipment. The causes for this are poorly designed power transformers and/or DC on the AC line. The PS Audio Power Plant series can remove DC from the AC line if that is the problem.

Mechanically induced hum is caused, almost entirely, by the transformer. If you suffer from this noise problem, you’ve probably also noticed that it’s intensity varies depending on the time of day, sometimes even the time of month. The reason it varies is due, in large part, to the quality of the AC line voltage, the construction of the transformer and how much DC is on it.

Why do transformers hum?

We could use the tired saying ‘because they don’t know the words,’ but that might get us sidetracked.

The short and simple answer is that transformers hum because of an effect known as ‘lamination rattle’ caused by DC voltage on the line or poor construction or both. ‘Lam’ rattle occurs in all transformers to some degree, that degree being related to the quality of the transformer and the quality of the line voltage.

Finding the problem is 9/10th of the work in finding a solution.

419 comments on “How To Find and Fix Hum Extended”

  1. Hi 🙂

    I am trying to get set up to capture high-quality audio from various sources (tapes, records, etc.) onto computer. To this end, I have bought a Behringer UMC404-HD, which seems like a really nice toy. Unfortunately, I am struggling with a powerline hum of a sort which sounds to me like your example of a ground loop.

    If I capture audio with nothing plugged into the interface, it is, as expected, absolutely silent.

    If I connect the interface to my turntable (a Thorens TD 318 I inherited from my dad), then it ‘works”, capturing good-quality audio, but with a harsh 120hz buzz sitting beneath the audio. It is usually a pretty quiet buzz.

    I originally had a separate preamp (an AMX AP-25) in between the turntable and the interface. The hum was significantly worse with this. The AP-25 is powered by DC from a switch mode transformer, so I don’t see how it could be exposing it to the AC frequency.

    In trying to diagnose the problem, I also tried unhooking the cable from the turntable, so that the interface just has the two cables dangling from it loose, unattached at the other end. In this arrangement, the 120hz signal gets MUCH louder, but loses its harsh quality — I’d call it a 60hz hum instead of a 120hz buzz. The interface is also powered by a switch mode power supply, so again, I don’t see where the 60hz signal is coming from.

    Moving the cables around, whether connected or not, doesn’t seem to have any effect. I don’t see a way for this to be stray interference the cables are picking up from passing next to a power cable.

    To summarize:

    * Turntable -> preamp -> interface: bad buzz
    * Turntable -> interface: less bad buzz
    * Just the cable -> interface: very loud hum
    * Only the interface, no cable: blissful silence (but perhaps the interface has a sensor and knows nothing is attached to the channel and thus isn’t trying to ADC it at all?)
    * Last I tried (which was a while ago), turntable -> audio receiver unit: Just sound, no buzz or hum

    Nothing is hooked up to ground as both the turntable and the interface are powered by DC.

    I am stumped as to how to eliminate the hum/buzz. What do I need to learn here? 🙂

    1. Clearly you have a ground loop or a missing ground wire. The telling scenario is that the interface alone is quiet. Good detective work. The cables dangling on their own should hum like that so that’s no help.

      Try connecting everything back up and then get a length of wire. Connect the one end of the wire to the ground post on your preamp or AD converter. With the other start poking around the turntable, arm, etc. to see if it helps.

      1. Thanks for your reply 🙂 I’m still confused as to how ground noise is getting into this at all, since neither the turntable nor the interface unit are actually connected to mains. They’re both receiving DC voltage converted with a switch mode power supply, and thus neither one has any link to AC power operating at 60Hz, whether directly or through a ground circuit.

        There is a separate wire, though, dangling from the back of the turntable. It has a little fork connector at the end that is clearly intended to be fastened beneath a screw somewhere. The manual for the Thorens TD 318 says that it should be attached to the common ground of the amplifier, but in this case, the only amplifier is the pre-amp built into the USB audio interface, and that unit does not have a ground (as far as I know)!

        How do you hook up a ground when nothing in the circuit is grounded?

        1. I made a little diagramme to clarify what I’m trying to explain, since words aren’t always as clear as we’d hope 🙂

          https://svgshare.com/s/5Xu

          Note that apart from the ground wire emanating from the turntable, none of the components actually _have_ a ground of any sort, as far as I can tell.

          1. You can always attach that ground wire to earth ground to see if that helps. The easiest way to get earth ground is through a three prong to two prong AC adapter called a cheater plug. These adapters typically have a wire or screw allowing use of a wire tying to ground. Not sure if this will help but worth a try.

            BTW, your SMPS is creating its own ground.

            1. I’m not an expert, but my understanding is that the ground on the output of a wall wart is completely isolated from any ground on the input, right? For starters, wall warts don’t even typically _have_ a ground pin on the input. The ground for the DC output wouldn’t have any association with a 60Hz signal on the AC line, would it?

              I will try connecting the ground line from the turntable to the house’s earth ground and let you know what happens. 🙂 Thanks!

  2. Hello, I’m hoping you can help me with a perplexing problem

    I have a new hum introduced into my home theater system. The addition of an Nvidia Shield TV media server and an Amazon Fire Stick each individually cause a hum through my speakers. It sounds like a 60hz hum. The hum is the same loudness regardless of the volume setting. The hum is there over 90% of the time, but can be intermittent. It has gone away for a few minutes to a few hours, but always returns.

    I have a Sherbourn PT 7020 Pre/Pro connected to an Outlaw 7700 7 channel power amp with balanced XLR cables. They are both plugged into a Furman power conditioner. The Nvidia and Fire Stick each cause a hum when feeding the amp. There is no hum when they feed the TV directly. Every other source, including several different blue ray players, never caused any hum in 10 years, only with the Nvidia Shield and the Amazon Fire Stick.

    I did quite a bit of troubleshooting. At the simplest setup, I had the power amp, the pre/pro and Nvidia Shield all plugged into the same outlet. Nothing else connected. I even unplugged the TV and disconnected it from the pre/pro. I used “cheater” plugs to remove the ground. I turned off every other breaker in the entire house. The hum remained. I swapped out the Nvidia Shield and plugged in the Amazon Fire Stick instead. The hum was reduced but still remained. I also tried removing the power conditioner, no change.

    The next thing I did was swap out the 7 channel Outlaw amp for a Nakamichi stereo amp. The hum was gone. I would think that indicates a problem with the Outlaw power amp.

    So any ideas, does this point strongly to a problem with my power amp? Should I take it to a shop? Anything else I should try?

    Thanks very much!
    Ed Gannon

    1. I wouldn’t be so quick to blame the power amp if it is the connection of the two sources that cause it. If I am understanding correctly, when the Amazone Fire stick is added or the media server there’s hum and without them there’s not?

      That sounds to me more like a ground loop the the Nakamichi is not prone to and the Outlaw is.

      1. Thanks for the quick response, much appreciated!

        If I do have a ground loop, what else could I try to deal with it? I’ve already had all 3 items plugged into the same outlet, with the pre/pro and power amp connected with cheater plugs (and directly connected). The Nvidia Shield and the Fire Stick both use 2-prong power cords, so no ground connection at all on the only 3 components I had connected.

        Should I try something like the “Ebtech Hum X Ground Loop Hum Exterminator” (link):
        https://www.sweetwater.com/store/detail/HumX–ebtech-hum-by-ground-loop-hum-exterminator?adpos=1o3&creative=54989263441&device=c&matchtype=&network=g&gclid=CjwKEAiA9uaxBRDYr4_hrtC3tW8SJAD6UU8G4cfbtRxIbjxd3K9OD8zXISXh8rzCzh-DYEd6B4k6hhoCm_vw_wcB

        If I did try that, would it go on my power amp, pre/pro or the Nvidia Shield? Would I need more than one to be really sure?

        Would a UPS eliminate any possible ground loops?

        Thanks again for your help!
        Ed Gannon

        1. A UPS will provide nothing for you. It’s hard to know if the HumX will help but it might be worth a try and return it if not.

          The trick with hum is to find out through the process of elimination as detailed in the above article which is making the hum. It can be tedious.

  3. Hello, I have an onkyo tx 8050 and a project debut carbon record player. I get a buzz noise when on the phono inup only, all other input are quiet. We just recently moved into this new house and buzz started then, didn’t buzz at old house. Record player is the only thing hooked up to the receiver. I have the ground hooked up from the receiver to record player.
    I ran a ground from the back of the receiver to the ground on the power strip and that eliminated about 50% of the buzz but there is still some left. Sounds to me like a grounding issue or dirty power. Wonder what I can do to get rid of the remaining buzz. Think that humx would help? Or a certain type of surge protector would help?
    Thank you for your help

  4. Hello,
    I have 2.1 system and the right speaker keeps buzzing.No audio just buzzing.The other one and the bass are fine.No matter how i connect them the problem remains.(Speaker 1–>right: buzzes,speaker 2–>left:fine OR Speaker 2–>right buzzes,speaker 1 left fine).So speakers are fine and i think there is something wrong with my amplifier..The buzz is the same and constant no matter the volume on my source or my amplifier and it doesnt stop if i unplug the input.What could possibly be wrong here?
    Thank you for your time

      1. Yes i think it is the amplifier since one speaker is always working good.I dont have other amplifier thats why i want to fix this one.Any idea what could be the problem?Any capacitor or something like that?But the thing is that i opened the amplifier and everything seems good

  5. Hello Paul,
    here it is an advanced hum noise hunt 😀
    We’re talking about guitar setup, pedalboard and amp. Everything has been doublechecked and standard things are not involved, so no ground loop no bad power line, this noise is already audible with guitar just plugged directly into my amp.
    I’ve 3 guitars and 2 amps, in every outlet with every permutation is present and is absent with noise cancelling or humbucker pickups, so it’ something “outside” my instruments or effect chain, present far or near from them.
    Using a spectrum analyzer the root frequency seems around 2402Hz, with harmonics at 1802Hz, 2100Hz and 2701Hz.
    It’s present in all part of the day, so no public lights involved, no elevator engine or else.
    What could be? Does that frequency range is related to some public utility, generating that noise footprint?
    Thanks in advance.

  6. I have a TA-D505 Sony Stereo Amplifier and a PS-D705 Sony turntable.
    I get a quite loud 120 buzzing coming from the speakers when i select the turntable input. While the CD and the tape inputs are far less noisy.
    I think it’s a ground loop. But I really don’t know where to connect the ground cables or what to do to reduce the buzzing. The turntable doesn’t have ground cables (as far as i know).
    I would really appreciate your help.

  7. My 60 Hz hum is evident when the receiver is off and the powered subwoofer is left in standby mode.

    When the receiver is on, or when the subwoofer if off, no hum is detected.

    I have tried plugging the receiver and the subwoofer many ways. Right now, they are on separate power strips and separate outlets.

    Both pieces are in the same room and I am sure are on the same circuit. Any suggestions would be appreciated.

    Brad

  8. Hi there, cracking article, but I was wondering if you can help? I’m over the pond in the UK.
    I have a Technics SL1200, with 50hz and a 100hz hum, the 50hz being much louder. The earth wire is connected but if I put my hand on the turntable chassis or on the preamp chassis the hum lessens quite a bit. I think the 100hz hum is Dirty mains from our fish tank pump. But I’m really tattered at the 50hz hum. I’ve checked it’s all on the same earth. I have a big isolation phono transformer which makes no difference. I’m stumped with this one
    Any help would be great
    Cheers
    Glen

  9. 50Hz mains hum would not be a ground loop but rather something likely induced or a ground not connected.

    It’s likely not from dirty mains.

    Does it only hum on phono? If so, what happens when you unplug the turntable? Hum go away? If so, likely some wiring in the table is at fault or you need to run a separate ground wire from the chassis of the table to your system.

    1. Appreciate thank thank you. I did think I might need to run a separate Earth from the TT but it’s where to pick it up from. The Weird thing is that if you put your finger on the chassis you get a flight reduction, if you place your hand on it you get loads more? So I’ll have to find another earth pick up point on the TT,
      Thanks once again
      Cheers
      Glen

  10. Hi Paul,
    This forum is amazing. Thank you. Recently I’d noticed a buzz using my turntable at louder volumes (Marantz TT15-s, ZPhonoUSB phono stage, Denon AVR6200W receiver. multiple speakers, unshielded speaker cable) and the cheater plug on the phono stage all but eliminated the issue. My larger issue has always been a neighbor’s HAM radio playing through my speakers. The volume is constant no matter what input or volume the receiver is set to. I bought a HumX intending to exchange the cheater plug on the phono stage..but decided to try it on my bedroom Denon receiver (AVR2300) first to see if it helped with the HAM. Haven’t heard anything for two days. However it could be coincidence as I’m never certain when he’ll be active on the HAM. Possible that helped with this issue too?

    Cheers!
    Richard

  11. "There’s certainly nothing wrong with seeking approval"
    " I worry when perfectionism is focused on what will others think? "

    I’ve posted before that some of the best con men I ever met told me that my most vulnerable spot was my ego. It allows other people to manipulate me by inflating it or puncturing it. If you have an ego, the best thing you can do for yourself is to get rid of it. Replace what others think of you with your own internal standards. Have you pleased yourself? The only exception is business whether you are employed and have to please a boss or selling something to a market and have to please customers. There you have to please others. You can try to please friends and family but it doesn’t always work. One funny thing I’ve notices about women is that they are never wrong. Whatever happens that’s bad it’s someone else’s fault. They invariably remember every slight real or imagined through their entire lives and don’t let go of it ever.

    I can think of only two things that are perfect, the universe whether we understand it or not. This assumes that the universe is rational and the same laws whatever they are apply always and everywhere. The only perfect thing humans ever created is mathematics. That’s because it’s a closed system of abstract logic that is coherent within itself. Unfortunately mathematics cannot be used to accurately and perfectly describe the universe. But it is the best tool we have.

    How about hi fi sound systems? No matter how proud and pleased you are with what you have designed, built, or bought it is not perfect if your goal is to hear what something might have sounded like live by playing a recording. In fact at the current state of the art it’s still no more than canned music. Much better sound systems are possible but not the way this industry is going about it. It builds and sells endless variants of the same ideas expressed a million different ways but all of them have similarities from the cheapest boombox to the most expensive audiophile high end sound system they all operate on the same ideas. To make a real improvement you have to look at that idea, look at the goal, and figure out why the idea can never come close to achieving the goal. While we can’t achieve perfection, we can gain better understanding of a problem that will allow for different approaches to solving it. Those approaches may not work but at least they get you thinking outside the mental rut you have trapped yourself into. Does it take skill in science, engineering, and mathematics? Yes, you won’t stumble on it by accident. It requires powerful analytical tools. This is what a STEM education is supposed to deliver that other educations don’t. A STEM education has as its goal to teach you how to think, not what to think. This is why it has a huge advantage in solving problems. Here’s what a non stem education offers you and why it’s a waste of time and money.
    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c00GPvns31U

  12. Thanks for sharing a bit of your personal guiding Philosophy Paul. Words of wisdom about "need for approval" I’ll share with my sons. Life IS less stressful when humor "runs through it" and if we
    can avoid defining ourselves by worrying about what others (may) think of us.

  13. Perfection is a moving target. It can be achieved, but not sustained. Those nights (or days) where the system clicks and everything is just right are fleeting. That is what lets me know that I am on the right path. But it is a journey without a specific destination that I am on. That is to say that as things change, so does where I am headed. So I can enjoy those moments of perfection, as long as I realize that they are not permanent. That’s what keeps me on this quest, the next bit of perfection to be had.

  14. Hi Paul,
    I have a MacBook hum/buzz problem but I’m hoping you can help me since you know so much about this issue. I’m running a MacBook Pro 2018 with an external monitor connected via HDMI to USB-C adaptor. I also have powered speakers connected via XLR to mini stereo into the computer’s headphone jack. 1) When everything is connected, I get a static sound in the speakers (like your ground loop noise but without the tone, just pure hissy static). 2) When I disconnect the power adaptor (usb-c), the static goes down a lot ( but not completely). 3) When I have a projector connected via the same HMDI adapter instead of the monitor, no static. Also, when I connect an older monitor via miniDisplay Port, no static either. So my guess is that it’s a weird interaction between power plug and monitor OR powered speakers and monitor. Should I try the hum x? Or a ground loop isolator? Any recommendations on brands? Thanks so much for any suggestions!

  15. Paul,
    Power cable shielded correctly: connected at the male end, so how about shielded
    interconnects? Connected at the pre-amp or source end, and at the amp or pre-amp ? The latter of both?
    thx

  16. Hi Paul,
    I have a MacBook hum/buzz problem but I’m hoping you can help me since you know so much about this issue. I’m running a MacBook Pro 2018 with an external monitor connected via HDMI to USB-C adaptor. I also have powered speakers connected via XLR to mini stereo into the computer’s headphone jack. 1) When everything is connected, I get a static sound in the speakers (like your ground loop noise but without the tone, just pure hissy static). 2) When I disconnect the power adaptor (usb-c), the static goes down a lot ( but not completely). 3) When I have a projector connected via the same HMDI adapter instead of the monitor, no static. Also, when I connect an older monitor via miniDisplay Port, no static either. So my guess is that it’s a weird interaction between power plug and monitor OR powered speakers and monitor. Should I try the hum x? Or a ground loop isolator? Any recommendations on brands? Thanks so much for any suggestions!

  17. Paul,
    Power cable shielded correctly: connected at the male end, so how about shielded
    interconnects? Connected at the pre-amp or source end, and at the amp or pre-amp ? The latter of both?
    thx

  18. I think experience with other than the own setup helps with validation.

    Someone might enjoy his planar speaker and be completely happy with it for good reason, even … or because … he in parallel has heard a horn speaker in a good setup and its individual strengths and weaknesses.

    In my experience it’s worth (to serve the music in the best way) to look out for compromises combining the best of the worlds instead of deciding for one of the extremes with quite singular strengths and also singular strong weaknesses.

    But regarding dynamic performance, he should know from then, how limited his planar speaker is.

    So if validation worked and appropriate experience with other gear than the own is available, each one of us should have a clear view on which compromises and why he accepted.

    Just liking and knowing the own setup (or in terms of a manufacturer…products) is perfectly fine, but would lack validation.

  19. I have only two friends with the slightest interest in audio equipment, although I can’t remember the last time it was discussed. My audio system is for my use and latterly the use of my children, now that it works automatically with Spotify and Airplay. I must admit it gives me quite a lot of pleasure. When the world went streaming 10 years ago I had no idea what it was about, so went online. I’d not thought about audio equipment for at least 10 years to that point, when the world was pre-internet. So for me the internet has been very helpful in getting to a good point. Streaming was new then and now that it is very mature, had I been looking now it would have been a quick process. So I have lived through streaming’s gestation. I’ve learned to favour popular, successful products and simplicity. That’s my natural inclination, whereas others may be toward complexity and the esoteric. I share images of the layout as the internet provides a melting pot of ideas, but I can remember only one occasion in 10 years when I sat down with a friend at home to listen to music. It was a bit of an experiment, we wanted to see the reaction of his 6 year old daughter to Court of the Crimson King. For me change is driven mostly by new technology and formats, but when there are no such drivers I’m delighted to leave it alone and, as they say, just sit back and enjoy the music.

  20. Validation was more important to me when I was very much younger.
    But these days I am arrogantly & unashamedly self-validating & it works really well because as we get older we become surer of what works for us as individuals & we don’t need to ‘prove’ anything to anyone anymore….FREEDOM 🙂

  21. It’s always nice to get someone’s opinion, but are they hearing as you do? I’m sure we have all tried cupping our palms behind our ears whilst listening and noticing how very different things sound. At its simplest, each of us has slightly different sized and shaped ears, that perhaps stick out more or less than others! So it follows that we all hear somewhat differently depending on how we are built. It’s always interesting to get other opinions, but in the end the only validation that matters is what sounds right to you.

  22. It seems to me the only validation one should really need is self validation. Unless you can get a ‘validation’ for parking. 🙂

    It also seems the purpose of marketing is to get someone to question their valid choices for something new or different.

    I have no vested stake in someone else’s opinion of my sound system. The question is…do they have a stake in convincing me that the approach I took is wrong?

  23. Validation is a double edged sword. When you are involved and have a vested financial interest you become protective like a parent. The human ear brain is trainable to some degree. When you constantly are listening and tweaking a system of yours it becomes the benchmark which all others are compared, and many do just that!

    Audio shows are great examples. How many actually can afford those 100k Plus speakers yet the rooms are packed with people waiting to listen to validate their own systems and re assure their egos they are indeed correct in their hearing.

    The real validation comes when you are sitting for 11 hrs and still flipping LP or streaming music. We as audiophiles are very opinionated and our systems are like our children. When we have a friend who comes over and gives a negative opinion.,We go to why he cant hear what your hearing and why he is wrong. Remember his benchmark is different than yours.

    Something i have started doing while visiting my audio friends homes is listening to their opinions of what they are hearing and then do my own listening and try to discus what I hear. What I will not do as it causes hurt egos, (you are after all insulting them and their kids ,remember their systems are like their kids to them), is blindly listen and then be put on the hot seat with the famous ,"WHAT DO YOU THINK?’ .. Honesty gets you cold beer or black eyes! Its ok to not hear what someone else hears. You just have to be able to accept it and say, What works for you is all that matters as your the one sitting here at the end of the day ! Grab me a cold beer and Im sure I will start to hear it !

  24. Paul it’s a good thing you tried to validate the Hypex amplifier. After an 80 mile drive to Arnie Nudell’s house full of enthusiasm Arnie played his sonic frontiers amplifier. They Hypex model never made it out of the car. How fortunate. Without that experience there might never have been a BHK amplifier.

    When I built my first prototype of my new idea I decided to get it validated too. But since this was an entirely different kind of sound than people were accustomed to hearing from hi fi equipment I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just another tweak that only golden eared audiophiles could hear. So my subjects for validation were people who had little or no experience or interest in live or recorded music. That was my first validation that I really had something entirely new. Since I built it for myself only the only one who needs to validate what I hear anymore is me. I trust my own ears more than anyone else’s. Those ears are the only pair I have to please.

  25. I don’t know if Beck’s memory is faulty, but his 2018 Showtime documentary, still available on demand, has Beck recounting the story about Wonder building Superstition around Jeff’s drum pattern. Beck did use a proto metal version of Superstition on Beck, Bogert and Appice of course https://youtu.be/xyyhm1D7zlI

  26. Validation is not always necessary. In fact as one gets closer to one’s preferred sound less and less validation is needed. Once the goal is achieved one would not want to change things barring minor improvements so there is no need for validation. People will like what one has anyway. Since tastes vary suggestions may result in a sound which is far removed from what one had. Validation is required by people who are for some reason not sure of themselves. It feels great if one discovers some change which sounds better but there is no guarantee that others will be equally impressed or even that the discovery is really an improvement. Validation may be necessary for product manufactures but for an audiophile it’s best to follow one’s own path. To many cooks can spoil the broth. Agreed, for those that are not sure of themselves( early stages of audiophillia ) validation will act as an impetus. Too many variables. Regards.

  27. Niel Young,
    I like his live recordings. The Fillmore, Massey Hall, the Cellar Door. Much more intimate. If I spent my time listening for imperfections, I’d missed the song.

  28. I think experience with other than the own setup helps with validation.

    Someone might enjoy his planar speaker and be completely happy with it for good reason, even … or because … he in parallel has heard a horn speaker in a good setup and its individual strengths and weaknesses.

    In my experience it’s worth (to serve the music in the best way) to look out for compromises combining the best of the worlds instead of deciding for one of the extremes with quite singular strengths and also singular strong weaknesses.

    But regarding dynamic performance, he should know from then, how limited his planar speaker is.

    So if validation worked and appropriate experience with other gear than the own is available, each one of us should have a clear view on which compromises and why he accepted.

    Just liking and knowing the own setup (or in terms of a manufacturer…products) is perfectly fine, but would lack validation.

  29. I have only two friends with the slightest interest in audio equipment, although I can’t remember the last time it was discussed. My audio system is for my use and latterly the use of my children, now that it works automatically with Spotify and Airplay. I must admit it gives me quite a lot of pleasure. When the world went streaming 10 years ago I had no idea what it was about, so went online. I’d not thought about audio equipment for at least 10 years to that point, when the world was pre-internet. So for me the internet has been very helpful in getting to a good point. Streaming was new then and now that it is very mature, had I been looking now it would have been a quick process. So I have lived through streaming’s gestation. I’ve learned to favour popular, successful products and simplicity. That’s my natural inclination, whereas others may be toward complexity and the esoteric. I share images of the layout as the internet provides a melting pot of ideas, but I can remember only one occasion in 10 years when I sat down with a friend at home to listen to music. It was a bit of an experiment, we wanted to see the reaction of his 6 year old daughter to Court of the Crimson King. For me change is driven mostly by new technology and formats, but when there are no such drivers I’m delighted to leave it alone and, as they say, just sit back and enjoy the music.

  30. Validation was more important to me when I was very much younger.
    But these days I am arrogantly & unashamedly self-validating & it works really well because as we get older we become surer of what works for us as individuals & we don’t need to ‘prove’ anything to anyone anymore….FREEDOM 🙂

  31. It’s always nice to get someone’s opinion, but are they hearing as you do? I’m sure we have all tried cupping our palms behind our ears whilst listening and noticing how very different things sound. At its simplest, each of us has slightly different sized and shaped ears, that perhaps stick out more or less than others! So it follows that we all hear somewhat differently depending on how we are built. It’s always interesting to get other opinions, but in the end the only validation that matters is what sounds right to you.

  32. It seems to me the only validation one should really need is self validation. Unless you can get a ‘validation’ for parking. 🙂

    It also seems the purpose of marketing is to get someone to question their valid choices for something new or different.

    I have no vested stake in someone else’s opinion of my sound system. The question is…do they have a stake in convincing me that the approach I took is wrong?

  33. Validation is a double edged sword. When you are involved and have a vested financial interest you become protective like a parent. The human ear brain is trainable to some degree. When you constantly are listening and tweaking a system of yours it becomes the benchmark which all others are compared, and many do just that!

    Audio shows are great examples. How many actually can afford those 100k Plus speakers yet the rooms are packed with people waiting to listen to validate their own systems and re assure their egos they are indeed correct in their hearing.

    The real validation comes when you are sitting for 11 hrs and still flipping LP or streaming music. We as audiophiles are very opinionated and our systems are like our children. When we have a friend who comes over and gives a negative opinion.,We go to why he cant hear what your hearing and why he is wrong. Remember his benchmark is different than yours.

    Something i have started doing while visiting my audio friends homes is listening to their opinions of what they are hearing and then do my own listening and try to discus what I hear. What I will not do as it causes hurt egos, (you are after all insulting them and their kids ,remember their systems are like their kids to them), is blindly listen and then be put on the hot seat with the famous ,"WHAT DO YOU THINK?’ .. Honesty gets you cold beer or black eyes! Its ok to not hear what someone else hears. You just have to be able to accept it and say, What works for you is all that matters as your the one sitting here at the end of the day ! Grab me a cold beer and Im sure I will start to hear it !

  34. Paul it’s a good thing you tried to validate the Hypex amplifier. After an 80 mile drive to Arnie Nudell’s house full of enthusiasm Arnie played his sonic frontiers amplifier. They Hypex model never made it out of the car. How fortunate. Without that experience there might never have been a BHK amplifier.

    When I built my first prototype of my new idea I decided to get it validated too. But since this was an entirely different kind of sound than people were accustomed to hearing from hi fi equipment I wanted to make sure it wasn’t just another tweak that only golden eared audiophiles could hear. So my subjects for validation were people who had little or no experience or interest in live or recorded music. That was my first validation that I really had something entirely new. Since I built it for myself only the only one who needs to validate what I hear anymore is me. I trust my own ears more than anyone else’s. Those ears are the only pair I have to please.

  35. I believe in the saying: if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. That’s my bit of advice.

    P. S. Having got a 7am tube this morning, I read the header as The Search for Pancreas, which is how I feel, sitting on the 8:02 from St Pancras.

  36. The "wow" effect appears also if you use an external USB DAC (a.k.a. sound card) in the 20-30 EUR range, not to mention the 200-300 EUR one.
    This is definitely no Hi-Fi but gives us a glimpse on the sub-optimal internal sound card output quality.

    Combined with an acceptable stereo system or headphone it can be the first step into a whole new world.

    This is also how I got into HiFi (a low cost ES9018K2M Audiophonics DAC).
    And Paul’s videos are the reason I want to go into High End or at least "proper musicality".

    Regards,
    Adrian

  37. I have a simple question, Paul say “… Miracles are the result of getting the right building blocks together..”. Do these “blocks” need to be $$$? In my case, I am thinking about follow Paul’s advice to add Sub to my lovely LINN KEILIDH. Since it is Sub, will expensive Sub sound better then those $500 sub? Thanks.

  38. Hahaha Ed I don’t think there is anything wrong with Jeff’s memory and there’s nothing wrong with his ego either. Stories abound about disagreements between Jeff and various band members about who wrote what when, especially him and Page. Like I said in the beginning it’s always hard to sort through the egos and find out what really happened. But listen to Superstition. Classic Stevie Wonder and he needed no help, especially from a guitarist noodling on the drums. I believe Max Middleton’s version.

  39. Ooh where of where has my pancreas gone?
    Ooh where oh where can it be?
    With my A1C and my glucose high
    Ooh were oh where can it be.

    In this biz there are 3 magic bullets needed to kill this werewolf or at least keep it from howling like a dying chicken.
    Bullet 1; a thorough scientific understanding of sound and certain critical aspects of human hearing.
    Bullet 2; the engineering ability to use knowledge of scientific principles of sound to engineer ways to get sound to do what you want it to.
    Bullet 3; A specific goal that is expressed in terms that can be translated into engineered device requirement specifications using scientific knowledge.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRp1LZOk05o

    I just thought I’d throw that in to remind those old enough to remember and inform those too young to know what pop music was like when it actually was music and not noise.

    So what did I learn? The math and science leads to the inescapable conclusion that; YOU’RE ALL GOING ABOUT IT ALL WRONG. YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE, AT LEAST NOT GOING DOWN THAT SAME OLD ROAD. IT LEADS TO A DEAD END.
    To get it right I had to think way outside of the box. Engineering something invisible just makes the challenge harder and my determination to do it greater.

  40. It says this is a duplicate posting. Did I compose and post this in my sleep and forgot about it?
    Ooh where of where has my pancreas gone?
    Ooh where oh where can it be?
    With my A1C and my glucose high
    Ooh were oh where can it be.

    In this biz there are 3 magic bullets needed to kill this werewolf or at least keep it from howling like a dying chicken.
    Bullet 1; a thorough scientific understanding of sound and certain critical aspects of human hearing.
    Bullet 2; the engineering ability to use knowledge of scientific principles of sound to engineer ways to get sound to do what you want it to.
    Bullet 3; A specific goal that is expressed in terms that can be translated into engineered device requirement specifications using scientific knowledge.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JRp1LZOk05o

    I just thought I’d throw that in to remind those old enough to remember and inform those too young to know what pop music was like when it actually was music and not noise.

    So what did I learn? The math and science leads to the inescapable conclusion that; YOU’RE ALL GOING ABOUT IT ALL WRONG. YOU CAN’T GET THERE FROM HERE, AT LEAST NOT GOING DOWN THAT SAME OLD ROAD. IT LEADS TO A DEAD END.
    To get it right I had to think way outside of the box. Engineering something invisible just makes the challenge harder and my determination to do it greater.

  41. I have heard it said that the sense of smell triggers more emotion and memories than any of our other senses. So something cooking, baking, brewing etc will likely evoke an emotional response much more quickly than music. 🙂

  42. Every thing makes a difference. It all depends on whether one can hear it or not. Some people cannot and some have convinced themselves that they don’t exist therefore they cannot hear them. Interesting you named fuses in your post. I thought fuses were just a fad many years ago till I tried a well known brand. Expensive but a big difference without any break in. The sound only improved with time. The regular fuses sounded dull and lifeless in comparison.
    Recently I tried a much talked about brand and it has turned out to be even better much better in many respects. I think it is the cost that is one of the reasons that people are hesitant to try them another reason being the resolving power of the systems involved. In a system with low resolution the difference may be too small to justify the price or there may be no difference at all. The equipment need not be expensive at all just have good resolution. To each his own. In the final analysis yes it takes some time and effort to get things just right but once achieved what satisfaction. Regards.

  43. *sniff*

    Gonna miss you here, Bill! I couldn’t contribute here as much as I’ve wanted to, but it’s been great to contribute nonetheless. I enjoyed scouting for some worthwhile tidbits at AXPONA each year, and I am forever seeking out new views through my A77’s lenses.

    Best wishes on your new journey, and as I remarked privately, that next lunch is on me. ;o)

  44. Copper is a class act, thanks to your input and dedication. And "cynical" as it seemed on the surface, I agree with others in that this was one of the first pages I turned to when cracking open a new issue of Copper. I’m somewhat jaded and cynical myself in certain areas of life (based on where I live, who wouldn’t be??), so there was something oddly satisfying about a fellow cynic freely venting to a willing audience every two weeks. All I get at home for my cynicism is, "Can you pass the pepper?" or, "The car’s making that funny noise again." Not as satisfying!

    Best of luck in your travels, my friend!

  45. Again Paul, if it is not logical is not right. It is your logic is missing something, some knowledge to be accurate.

    I know what you are implying above, but, to say that logic is not always 1:1 is not true. To say that ultra-sonic may cause the system to be bright is ok. To admit you do not know why is ok also. 🙂

  46. When listening at low volume could it be not enough to drive the larger magnets of the woofer and maybe even the mid? So the high frequencies dominate. I noticed that when I was listening at home alone at volumes I wanted to my system sounded great. When I was playing later in the evening with some in bed the sound became bright/harsh.

  47. Hello Paul! I am huge fan of your YouTube channel, which is what brought me here. I recently moved from an MM to an HOMC cartridge (Dynavector 10×5) on my Sansui SR-838 turntable. I am running that through a phono pre that has both MM/MC but I am running it in MM since the HOMC runs in MM. When I first turn on the system (phono pre > turntable > amplifier), it emits a high pitched whine from both speakers and the sound overpowers the music once the needle drops. I found that by taking the toggle switch on the phono pre from MM to MC then back to MM, it eliminates this high pitched whine. I did not do this at all when I had the MM cartridge installed but only after switching the HOMC cartridge. I am at a loss other than to think that this new HOMC cartridge is just not compatible with my phono pre….

  48. One of those rare instances where one can have his cake and eat it too. Exceptional. It’s like dealing with a good friend rather than a dealer. Wonderful way of doing things. Really like the customer’s interests are put first. Exemplary. One question. Does the trade in programme apply to PS Audio products only ? Just curious. Regards.

  49. Perhaps another reason for preferring the reproduced over the live sound may be that standing in someone’s living room with a grand piano played forte is an overwhelmingly loud experience. Yes, it’s real; but it’s also too much. Listening to the same piano recorded allows the listener to tame the sound to his preference.

  50. Very interesting question for me, because I seldom visit live concerts nowadays because I prefer the sound of my own home system!
    I used to go to concerts more often, but the sound of most concerts (live) is getting louder and louder, with "blown up" base tones and then there is the often noisy audience 🙁
    At home you hear the real thing, without all these annoying side effects and you do’nt have to wear ear protection (which is more and more "normal" at live concerts).
    Most sound engineers must be rather deaf, when I hear how they pump up the volumes…
    I’m a musician myself and my hearing is still good; I would like to keep it that way 🙂

  51. I think PSA’s policy is fair and the lines they draw (e.g. 1/3 cost of original purchase) are understandable and ok.
    Nevertheless, IMO some people get carried away.
    Is it always a good thing for a customer to trade in his/her "old" amp if he/she wants to buy a (new) BHK amp ?
    I think it depends on how old the device is.
    If you wanna buy a 10k PSA amp and trade in a 6k, one year old amp, then PSA "pays" me $3,333 max. (correct me if I’m wrong).
    Well, looking at the used market in my country, I could certainly get a few dollars more. I don’t wanna (and don’t have to) lose 45% in one year.
    For older devices the trade in works better I guess. So it depends on the situation.
    And of course, if you trade in there’s the advantage that you don’t have to advertise yourself.

  52. Its not always a matter of, out with the old and in with the new "and better."

    Sometimes… Its out with what does not satisfy with something only different. Something different, which requires us to spend al lot of time with trying to find ways to make it work to your satisfaction… only to find it too will end up not satisfying. Then, onto another new thing and hopefully better. A good product should be replaced because it finally wore out. Not because it was not really that good to begin with.

    Will it ever end? One can already have a super fantastic sounding system, but never know it is, because of just one thing not right in the system. Could be just one cable. The fantastic sound is never realized because what gets replaced is not what needed replacing…

    Yes… science can offer so much for the better. But, that "better" may not be something we need. Some of us still realize it really takes divine providence to find what we need. Others love constant change that acts as a distraction. A distraction that keeps them preoccupied with the hunt. But, when do we finally get to eat what is good for us?

  53. As a violinist and violist for the last 40 years I can assure you that while playing as a soloist or with an ensemble such as a quarter or orchestra, the music sounds much better live than any reproduced sound, and I have an extremely good audiophile sound system.

  54. I am a scientist by profession and an amateur (and semi-pro – I am on several records) musician. Like many of my friends who are full time musicians, I play the classical repertoire but love to improvise (e.g., jazz). Many of venues where we play have poorer acoustics compared to my homemade listening room. Piano may be a difficult challenge for sound reproduction, but usually sound great live. In contrast, strings have a range of subtle timbral dynamics that are often not captured well in either environment. I often read the internet’s audiophile forums, and am amazed to see comments such as "musicians do not listen to reproduced music at home because they are tired of playing their instruments, or prefer only to play live." Nothing could be farther from the truth – read what Pat Metheny (guitar), Rachel Podger (violin) or Steve Gadd (drums) have written about their home audio systems. I do like Paul McGowan’s YouTube channel, although I do not own anything from PS Audio. As a musician, I tend to like sound reproduced as if the listener is "right there" in the mix (often referred to as "bright", "harsh", "analytical"), not seated 1, 2, or 10 rows back.

  55. I have purchased the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC, the M700 monoblock amps and the Power Plant 3 through this program.

    A great, older ROTEL preamp, ROTEL amp and an NAD integrated amp (yet to be shipped to PS Audio) have found new homes and I have an amazing new audio system. Go ahead: check the actual resale value of your trade-in equipment and you will be surprised at how generous the PS Audio program is. Paul, kudos and thanks!

    One caveat: the damn ROTEL 200-watt amp was VERY heavy and cost me $83.00 to ship UPS to Boulder! Ouch!

  56. Hello Paul! I am huge fan of your YouTube channel, which is what brought me here. I recently moved from an MM to an HOMC cartridge (Dynavector 10×5) on my Sansui SR-838 turntable. I am running that through a phono pre that has both MM/MC but I am running it in MM since the HOMC runs in MM. When I first turn on the system (phono pre > turntable > amplifier), it emits a high pitched whine from both speakers and the sound overpowers the music once the needle drops. I found that by taking the toggle switch on the phono pre from MM to MC then back to MM, it eliminates this high pitched whine. I did not do this at all when I had the MM cartridge installed but only after switching the HOMC cartridge. I am at a loss other than to think that this new HOMC cartridge is just not compatible with my phono pre….

  57. One of those rare instances where one can have his cake and eat it too. Exceptional. It’s like dealing with a good friend rather than a dealer. Wonderful way of doing things. Really like the customer’s interests are put first. Exemplary. One question. Does the trade in programme apply to PS Audio products only ? Just curious. Regards.

  58. Perhaps another reason for preferring the reproduced over the live sound may be that standing in someone’s living room with a grand piano played forte is an overwhelmingly loud experience. Yes, it’s real; but it’s also too much. Listening to the same piano recorded allows the listener to tame the sound to his preference.

  59. Very interesting question for me, because I seldom visit live concerts nowadays because I prefer the sound of my own home system!
    I used to go to concerts more often, but the sound of most concerts (live) is getting louder and louder, with "blown up" base tones and then there is the often noisy audience 🙁
    At home you hear the real thing, without all these annoying side effects and you do’nt have to wear ear protection (which is more and more "normal" at live concerts).
    Most sound engineers must be rather deaf, when I hear how they pump up the volumes…
    I’m a musician myself and my hearing is still good; I would like to keep it that way 🙂

  60. I think PSA’s policy is fair and the lines they draw (e.g. 1/3 cost of original purchase) are understandable and ok.
    Nevertheless, IMO some people get carried away.
    Is it always a good thing for a customer to trade in his/her "old" amp if he/she wants to buy a (new) BHK amp ?
    I think it depends on how old the device is.
    If you wanna buy a 10k PSA amp and trade in a 6k, one year old amp, then PSA "pays" me $3,333 max. (correct me if I’m wrong).
    Well, looking at the used market in my country, I could certainly get a few dollars more. I don’t wanna (and don’t have to) lose 45% in one year.
    For older devices the trade in works better I guess. So it depends on the situation.
    And of course, if you trade in there’s the advantage that you don’t have to advertise yourself.

  61. Its not always a matter of, out with the old and in with the new "and better."

    Sometimes… Its out with what does not satisfy with something only different. Something different, which requires us to spend al lot of time with trying to find ways to make it work to your satisfaction… only to find it too will end up not satisfying. Then, onto another new thing and hopefully better. A good product should be replaced because it finally wore out. Not because it was not really that good to begin with.

    Will it ever end? One can already have a super fantastic sounding system, but never know it is, because of just one thing not right in the system. Could be just one cable. The fantastic sound is never realized because what gets replaced is not what needed replacing…

    Yes… science can offer so much for the better. But, that "better" may not be something we need. Some of us still realize it really takes divine providence to find what we need. Others love constant change that acts as a distraction. A distraction that keeps them preoccupied with the hunt. But, when do we finally get to eat what is good for us?

  62. As a violinist and violist for the last 40 years I can assure you that while playing as a soloist or with an ensemble such as a quarter or orchestra, the music sounds much better live than any reproduced sound, and I have an extremely good audiophile sound system.

  63. I am a scientist by profession and an amateur (and semi-pro – I am on several records) musician. Like many of my friends who are full time musicians, I play the classical repertoire but love to improvise (e.g., jazz). Many of venues where we play have poorer acoustics compared to my homemade listening room. Piano may be a difficult challenge for sound reproduction, but usually sound great live. In contrast, strings have a range of subtle timbral dynamics that are often not captured well in either environment. I often read the internet’s audiophile forums, and am amazed to see comments such as "musicians do not listen to reproduced music at home because they are tired of playing their instruments, or prefer only to play live." Nothing could be farther from the truth – read what Pat Metheny (guitar), Rachel Podger (violin) or Steve Gadd (drums) have written about their home audio systems. I do like Paul McGowan’s YouTube channel, although I do not own anything from PS Audio. As a musician, I tend to like sound reproduced as if the listener is "right there" in the mix (often referred to as "bright", "harsh", "analytical"), not seated 1, 2, or 10 rows back.

  64. I have purchased the PS Audio Stellar Gain Cell DAC, the M700 monoblock amps and the Power Plant 3 through this program.

    A great, older ROTEL preamp, ROTEL amp and an NAD integrated amp (yet to be shipped to PS Audio) have found new homes and I have an amazing new audio system. Go ahead: check the actual resale value of your trade-in equipment and you will be surprised at how generous the PS Audio program is. Paul, kudos and thanks!

    One caveat: the damn ROTEL 200-watt amp was VERY heavy and cost me $83.00 to ship UPS to Boulder! Ouch!

  65. I do not have a "super audiophile system" I have very good equipment but not the edge of the art stuff including old JBL large horn style studio monitors. I have taped my daughter (an experienced Operatic singer with many years of work and roughly described as light lyric soprano) in my living room standing between my speakers. I have used top of the line Nakamichi decks as well as DAT recorders. When played back versus her actually singing, the sound is indistinguishable. Recorded music is mixed and manipulated by the recording engineer to give the best sound he can produce for a different environment than he is actually listening in when he does the mix. Most of my live amateur recordings, including some of local symphony orchestras for their archives, were miked using only two microphones about 20 feet back from the orchestra and about 10 ft higher than the orchestra. They are directional microphones to help cut down room noise. I have a very good pair of headphones that I use to try to set my recording equipment to provide what I am hearing live while I record (I take them off and compare to with them on). As such they are "noisier" than you would get from a multiple closed mike setup and mixing to minimize sound, but I actually prefer it. One thing that is very apparent to me is that when played back in my home, I, and others, tend to set the sound level higher than the actual event. This is readily heard in the increased "room roar" when you crank up the stereo volume. Super close miking and mixing allows a great reduction of room noise actually present during the live recording and a higher volume during at playback in the home than you would have had at the live performance.

  66. Good news is currently in short supply on this side of the pond, political bickering abounds, but hey ho, nothing new for you guys in the US. Thanks Paul for the early Noel, Trading old for new. Much appreciated.
    David

  67. The beauty of TAS was that it wasn’t beholden to advertisers. I always wished that there were a professional audio equivalent. The whole ABX obsession with oversimplification was about defending advertisers. Audio is about systems which by definition are very complex. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a group of live sound people about power supplies. They told me about needing to modify almost all audio gear so that it couldn’t shock users. Forget about just sounding better! On top of that they needed to run their own AC wiring from the service entrance because they found that they couldn’t trust building wiring. My point is that people make huge assumptions about both the gear and the AC system that are simply not justified. Adding a need to not offend advertisers creates an incentive to not educate.

  68. Just installed the Windom. I wanted to watch the video but I had to wait because the upgrade made my system sound so good I had to listen to some music. I’ve had a lot of audio gear over the years and I have to say the Direct Stream just keeps giving as these upgrades come. Nice work Ted, I love it!!

  69. Being a long time reader of The Absolute Sound Mr. Frank Doris’ name is very familiar. Very good decision. Audio, indeed, is an exception where good, positive news abounds. There is a lot more good news in the world but the traditional news media is interested mostly in sensationalism because evil sells better than good. Sad but true. Quite a commentary on humankind. Keep up the good work. Regards.

  70. Paul’s recent post about extending the US Trade In program to the rest of the world would be great. (I’m in the UK).
    It would speed up my dream of going from my P10, (still giving me great service), to a P20.
    If I sold my P10 now I’d expect to only get about 60% of the retail value, so a full value trade in to a P20 would go a long way to assist in purchasing a P20.

  71. I am not an engineer, but I have been driving a car since I was 16, and I can tell you that the car does perform better when it reaches optimal working temperture; that said in internal combustion engines. My question to Paul will be, in class D amplifiers, where all components work at much lower temperature, do they choose the componets also taking into acount optimal working temperature?
    Regards!

  72. As a non-USA person but former PSA customer and possibly future customer, I’ve never heard of you, never read any of the magazines you’ve written for and – if it could get any worse – have never heard of the blue oyster cult. But I do like your attitude from your introduction and hope Copper stays pretty much as it is, there is always something interesting in it about music of one type or another, but my feeling is a shortage on jazz. Anyhow, my son has a guitar that looks like yours, so that’s a good start.

  73. So, Paul
    Are you saying ‘what’s the use in tryin’?’ to change someone’s mind…
    but hey,
    ‘I’m a believer,
    not a trace of doubt in my mind…’

    some cables are better than others, so go Monkee around

    (sorry, really sorry, but it was a long day)

  74. I do not have a "super audiophile system" I have very good equipment but not the edge of the art stuff including old JBL large horn style studio monitors. I have taped my daughter (an experienced Operatic singer with many years of work and roughly described as light lyric soprano) in my living room standing between my speakers. I have used top of the line Nakamichi decks as well as DAT recorders. When played back versus her actually singing, the sound is indistinguishable. Recorded music is mixed and manipulated by the recording engineer to give the best sound he can produce for a different environment than he is actually listening in when he does the mix. Most of my live amateur recordings, including some of local symphony orchestras for their archives, were miked using only two microphones about 20 feet back from the orchestra and about 10 ft higher than the orchestra. They are directional microphones to help cut down room noise. I have a very good pair of headphones that I use to try to set my recording equipment to provide what I am hearing live while I record (I take them off and compare to with them on). As such they are "noisier" than you would get from a multiple closed mike setup and mixing to minimize sound, but I actually prefer it. One thing that is very apparent to me is that when played back in my home, I, and others, tend to set the sound level higher than the actual event. This is readily heard in the increased "room roar" when you crank up the stereo volume. Super close miking and mixing allows a great reduction of room noise actually present during the live recording and a higher volume during at playback in the home than you would have had at the live performance.

  75. Good news is currently in short supply on this side of the pond, political bickering abounds, but hey ho, nothing new for you guys in the US. Thanks Paul for the early Noel, Trading old for new. Much appreciated.
    David

  76. The beauty of TAS was that it wasn’t beholden to advertisers. I always wished that there were a professional audio equivalent. The whole ABX obsession with oversimplification was about defending advertisers. Audio is about systems which by definition are very complex. I’ll never forget a conversation I had with a group of live sound people about power supplies. They told me about needing to modify almost all audio gear so that it couldn’t shock users. Forget about just sounding better! On top of that they needed to run their own AC wiring from the service entrance because they found that they couldn’t trust building wiring. My point is that people make huge assumptions about both the gear and the AC system that are simply not justified. Adding a need to not offend advertisers creates an incentive to not educate.

  77. Over here we call then Eureka moments or, as Professor Higgins said, "By George she’s got it!". I suppose the moral is that Pygmalion, GB Shaw’s most famous play, was not meant to have a happy romantic ending, rather ruining his political statement, but was changed by the actors who knew more about box office success. So sometimes the things we do can be successful contrary to our best intentions.
    Against his wishes, the owner/boss/designer of my speakers was obliged against his will to produce a 40th Anniversary product, so he conceded with the smallest possible budget for a very limited edition involving a few component tweaks and no design time on his part. The resulting product resulted in a product line within 2 years making up 40% of their sales.
    I suspect many tipping points are more by accident rather than by design.

  78. As far as audio is concerned, in relation to your question, I’m waiting for me to stop being impressed with my set-up (sitting & listening & thinking, "Wow that sounds great for what I actually spent to put all that gear together; I’m still impressed!")
    Once that tipping point is reached, I’ll get my lazy butt out of my listening chair & go audition a new DAC or loudspeaker(s) until the ‘Wow’ factor returns.
    This possible new purchase (because I’ve tweaked everything to the max, so there’s no headroom left there) will of course be carefully balanced against all my other financial expenditures that allow me the relaxed & mostly carefree lifestyle that I currently enjoy these days…you know…before all the ice melts, we’re completely surrounded by our plastic waste, the air is mostly unbreathable & then & only then…armageddon outta here 🙂

  79. My main struggling ahead, after reading about many of the tipping points available for this matter, will be the decision of streaming device.

    I see the technical limitations of Bridge II, I see the development that streaming device manufacturers tend to drop upnp/DLNA and provide the OpenHome and Roon connection or their own proprietary solution (I just experienced this from Auralic and its Server SW is worlds more limited than something like Jriver..rather a bad joke), I see that internal solutions might not be as good as externals while externals mean a big expense in the unit itself and add. cabling, I see that choosing the best combination of streaming components, tweaks and cabling can mean noticeably more hassle than setting up a turntable. It is a pure mess imo, as aside of all the sound quality implications of the HW, the server/app SW plays the biggest role … and so far I don’t have many hopes in the direction of a similarly featured product. All this will probably keep me from ending the wait for quite a time I guess.

  80. "…move from one long-held belief that held back what was possible in your home audio setup, to something new and better…"
    I’v got the perfect example.
    One of my audio buddies has a Wadia cd player, which he bought a long time ago, in the 1990’s.
    IMO indeed one of the best players back then and to him the sound was divine, glorious, sacred etc. etc.
    Nothing would ever come close, let alone be better.
    Then came streaming…
    The first years he didn’t like it at all (well, it probably was not as good as it is now).
    He was absolutely convinced that services like Tidal and co wouldn’t last very long and streaming was a dead end street.
    But recently he tested for some weeks in his own house 2 server/streamers from Innuos.
    Last week he bought the Innuos Zenith and is planning to sell the Wadia.
    If that’s not a tipping point…
    BTW., Innuos really makes very good-sounding stuff.
    I’m curious to see what PSA comes up with, the long-awaited Octave.

  81. Or as this Professor Higgins says – "Malcolm Gladwell is an intellectual midget that peddles false information for mass consumption. I hope that PS Audio does not do the same."

    I am sorry Paul that you like Gladwell, whose popular notions have been discredited by experts. Let’s list a few:
    (1) "Sorry, Malcolm Gladwell: NYC’s drop in crime was not due to broken windows policing" – The Smithsonian Museum, Washington, DC:https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smart-news/sorry-malcolm-gladwell-nycs-drop-in-crime-not-due-to-broken-window-theory-12636297
    (2) "Scientists debunk the myth that 10,000 hours of training can make anyone expert at anything." – Hambrick, D. Z., Altmann, E. M., Oswald, F. L., Meinz, E. J., Gobet, F., & Campitelli, G. (2014). Accounting for expert performance: The devil is in the details. Intelligence, 45, 112-114. This is especially troubling in the context of an expert who knows about sound reproduction, since when I attended Berklee College of Music in Boston in the 1970s, there were classmates and professors who were clearly genetically gifted – these included Pat Metheny (guitar), Norihiko Hibino (saxophone) and Larry Klug (keyboardist).
    (3) "Malcom Gladwell Reaches his Tipping Point" -https://www.theatlantic.com/ideas/archive/2019/09/when-malcolm-gladwell-says-nothing-at-all/597697

    Paul – as I a scientist, engineer and physician I will no longer believe half of what you say, but I will still listen until you reach Trumpian levels of deceit – Gerry

  82. As far as audio goes i suppose I have just had a Tipping point. Just upgraded 9 power cables from non sheilded 10 awg economy brand that got me by for a couple of years to 7.5 awg NRGcustomcables.com . I suspected but didn’t really know how much a difference I would hear until I did it. Not so much on the TT playback as the Digital playback. It was more of an improvement than was Windom firmware upgrade which was also substantial for me. Load % on P10 and P5 dropped on both units, about 3-5% on the P5 (running at 19%) and minimum 10% on the P10 (now average running at 30%} that powers the hungry BHK 250 and Subs. However this has clearly put my digital play back in the lead over the TT…I don’t know if it will be possible to bring them close to par again without a monstrous amount of upgrade…..first step is to trade in the NW phono converter for a Stellar Phono pre….

  83. I seem to have a 60hz hum that is coming from my preamp (ADCOM GTP-400). I am wondering if you agree; all that I know about this topic is what I have read on this website.
    If my speakers (JBL 4312b) are attached to the amplifier (ADCOM GFA-545 II), and the amplifier is not attached to anything else, there is no hum. If I attach the preamp to the amp there is a hum if I power up the preamp, even with nothing else attached to the preamp. The hum does not get louder as I increase the volume.
    Is there any way to get rid of this hum?

  84. I seem to have a 60hz hum that is coming from my preamp (ADCOM GTP-400). I am wondering if you agree; all that I know about this topic is what I have read on this website.
    If my speakers (JBL 4312b) are attached to the amplifier (ADCOM GFA-545 II), and the amplifier is not attached to anything else, there is no hum. If I attach the preamp to the amp there is a hum if I power up the preamp, even with nothing else attached to the preamp. The hum does not get louder as I increase the volume.
    Is there any way to get rid of this hum?

  85. I seem to have a 60hz hum that is coming from my preamp (ADCOM GTP-400). I am wondering if you agree; all that I know about this topic is what I have read on this website.
    If my speakers (JBL 4312b) are attached to the amplifier (ADCOM GFA-545 II), and the amplifier is not attached to anything else, there is no hum. If I attach the preamp to the amp there is a hum if I power up the preamp, even with nothing else attached to the preamp. The hum does not get louder as I increase the volume.
    Is there any way to get rid of this hum?

  86. Right. The amount of preamplfier gain can get your amplifier to it’s maximum power output quicker but it cannot magically add more output wattage then the amplifier is capable of delivering cleanly. You might clip your amplifier with more preamplifier gain but that’s not a good thing.

  87. I also choose to celebrate what brings us together, but because I’m also a curious SOB I also like to discuss our differences in the hope that it will give me a better insight into the others who contribute here & also a better insight into myself.
    Discussing what brings us together can only go so far before we are nodding in agreement, whereas it’s the differences that are far more interesting & effortful to wade into.
    Differences too can be celebrated, if we chose not to allow them to drive us apart.
    Back to respect, honesty & an understanding of the ‘human condition’

  88. I too agree that it is our differences that allows us to learn. When one believes so strongly that their beliefs are the only "right" way, truth becomes the first casualty for decision-making. As well, without communication (active listening) humanity becomes loss. I am not a believer in "the flat earth theory" and yet I don’t think the folks who support that theory are heretics. Actually, I recently had a conversation with someone who told me that they saw a movie that convinced them that a plane did not crash into the Pentagon on 9/11. Hey, all you can do is try to have a rational discussion – put the facts of your belief to the test through active listening. In the audio world there are some who are hardcore "analog" and "digital" supporters. In that case it is all about opinions and personal tastes so that becomes fun difference discussions. Interestingly enough my audio system went from solid-state to mixed (tube pre and solid-state amp, to tube (pre and amp) based on my active listening. In retrospect, it was the change in speakers that drove my power choices…audio is an interesting hobby!

  89. Paul, You are absolutely right – we all love audio, but we don’t nessecarily love the same sound or the same equipment. It is the same with fine wine – the worlds best wine is the one YOU love. The important thing here is to go after the sound You like and at the same time respect other peoples choises and tastes.
    Keep on doing Your great videos and posts!

  90. Agreed and appreciated.

    For some reason the, to me noble ideal, “I disagree with what you say but I will defend unto death your right to say it” has been lost. It’s been replaced with “I disagree with what you say and I wish you and those who agree with you were dead.”

    Much of 2020 culture, maybe it’s the nature of man, celebrates conflict and proving the other guy is wrong.

    I have come to loathe the proliferation of YouTube videos titled “John Doe DESTROYS (insert political foe here).”

    I refuse to reward their clickbait title with a view even if I’m in fervent agreement.

    Show me a title anywhere that says “John Doe and (political foe) Work for the Common Good” and I’ll watch or read.

  91. Agree 1000%! My 50+ years in this hobby is such a wonderful experience. This, and other forums all things audio, brighten my day….every day of the week!❤️

  92. The same am I and different is you

    All we need to have the most hurtful contempt is sameness and difference unfortunately placed.
    We are disposed to think less of others because they are not ourselves; and that’s enough.
    We are disposed to think more of ourselves because we are ourselves; and that’s enough.
    And from these two likelihoods of difference and equivalence, the most frightening and painful things can ensue.
    “You are not me,” the unconscious says, “and so I have the right to think less of you and to place you as I want to.”

    Ironic yes ?

  93. There is a loose group here in Knoxville TN, we call it the Knoxville Audio Society. Mainly because we don’t have that much imagination.

    It is mostly the dregs of the old Dixie Bottleheads group that included people from 5 different states.

    I have cobbled a system together that makes the speakers disappear to the point some listeners ask, "Where are the speakers?"

    Ted has highly modified Klipsch La Scalas. The first, and meaningful, modification was turning them upside down and getting the woofers higher, thus elimination a lot of mud.

    Scott, you do know him, has a quad amplified four way system mostly homemade. Hardly 2 components from the same Mfg.

    Lawrence loves old JBL/Altec drivers and uses an old pair of woofers from the ’60s. I heard it Friday and it is amazing. He also designs power amps. All must be LCLC power supplies with class A circuits and zero feedback. None are high powered.

    Mark has homemade open baffle speakers and some vintage, very high quality, components.

    And there are outliers.

    That is a lot of text to say we are all different and respect each other. There are strong disagreements but we all stay close.

    East Tennessee is a great, friendly, laid back place to live.

  94. I come here with a different and unique point of view. That seems to make some people angry. In a way I feel sorry for them. They not only have it all figured out but can’t imagine how anyone could disagree with them.

  95. I’m getting a buzz (120Hz-like sound) from my speakers when my integrated amp is set to a Phono input (either the integrated Phono input or an unbalanced RCA input with an external phono stage plugged in, it doesn’t matter: the buzz is there with either one of em).
    The kicker: The buzz is only present when OTHER devices are connected to the integrated amp’s other unbalanced RCA inputs (e.g. an external DAC). So if I want to play a record with dead silent background, I have to unplug all other inputs from the integrated amp. Any idea what’s going on and how I can fix this?

    (Rega Elicit-R amp, Rega DAC, Rega Fono MM, Rega RP3, KEF Ref 1 speakers)

    PS- That particular external DAC is not the source of the problem (I wish!), I’ve tried 2 other external DACs with the same result. It really seems to be ANYTHING I plug into the integrated amp creates the buzz when I’m listening on a Phono input (integrated phono or external phono).

    The buzz gets louder as I turn up the volume knob. I can hear it when playing quiet records at high volume, and I can hear it when I’m not playing a record at all, even with the turntable turned off (as long as I have the amp set to a Phono input).

  96. Right. The amount of preamplfier gain can get your amplifier to it’s maximum power output quicker but it cannot magically add more output wattage then the amplifier is capable of delivering cleanly. You might clip your amplifier with more preamplifier gain but that’s not a good thing.

  97. I also choose to celebrate what brings us together, but because I’m also a curious SOB I also like to discuss our differences in the hope that it will give me a better insight into the others who contribute here & also a better insight into myself.
    Discussing what brings us together can only go so far before we are nodding in agreement, whereas it’s the differences that are far more interesting & effortful to wade into.
    Differences too can be celebrated, if we chose not to allow them to drive us apart.
    Back to respect, honesty & an understanding of the ‘human condition’

  98. I too agree that it is our differences that allows us to learn. When one believes so strongly that their beliefs are the only "right" way, truth becomes the first casualty for decision-making. As well, without communication (active listening) humanity becomes loss. I am not a believer in "the flat earth theory" and yet I don’t think the folks who support that theory are heretics. Actually, I recently had a conversation with someone who told me that they saw a movie that convinced them that a plane did not crash into the Pentagon on 9/11. Hey, all you can do is try to have a rational discussion – put the facts of your belief to the test through active listening. In the audio world there are some who are hardcore "analog" and "digital" supporters. In that case it is all about opinions and personal tastes so that becomes fun difference discussions. Interestingly enough my audio system went from solid-state to mixed (tube pre and solid-state amp, to tube (pre and amp) based on my active listening. In retrospect, it was the change in speakers that drove my power choices…audio is an interesting hobby!

  99. Paul, You are absolutely right – we all love audio, but we don’t nessecarily love the same sound or the same equipment. It is the same with fine wine – the worlds best wine is the one YOU love. The important thing here is to go after the sound You like and at the same time respect other peoples choises and tastes.
    Keep on doing Your great videos and posts!

  100. Agreed and appreciated.

    For some reason the, to me noble ideal, “I disagree with what you say but I will defend unto death your right to say it” has been lost. It’s been replaced with “I disagree with what you say and I wish you and those who agree with you were dead.”

    Much of 2020 culture, maybe it’s the nature of man, celebrates conflict and proving the other guy is wrong.

    I have come to loathe the proliferation of YouTube videos titled “John Doe DESTROYS (insert political foe here).”

    I refuse to reward their clickbait title with a view even if I’m in fervent agreement.

    Show me a title anywhere that says “John Doe and (political foe) Work for the Common Good” and I’ll watch or read.

  101. Agree 1000%! My 50+ years in this hobby is such a wonderful experience. This, and other forums all things audio, brighten my day….every day of the week!❤️

  102. The same am I and different is you

    All we need to have the most hurtful contempt is sameness and difference unfortunately placed.
    We are disposed to think less of others because they are not ourselves; and that’s enough.
    We are disposed to think more of ourselves because we are ourselves; and that’s enough.
    And from these two likelihoods of difference and equivalence, the most frightening and painful things can ensue.
    “You are not me,” the unconscious says, “and so I have the right to think less of you and to place you as I want to.”

    Ironic yes ?

  103. There is a loose group here in Knoxville TN, we call it the Knoxville Audio Society. Mainly because we don’t have that much imagination.

    It is mostly the dregs of the old Dixie Bottleheads group that included people from 5 different states.

    I have cobbled a system together that makes the speakers disappear to the point some listeners ask, "Where are the speakers?"

    Ted has highly modified Klipsch La Scalas. The first, and meaningful, modification was turning them upside down and getting the woofers higher, thus elimination a lot of mud.

    Scott, you do know him, has a quad amplified four way system mostly homemade. Hardly 2 components from the same Mfg.

    Lawrence loves old JBL/Altec drivers and uses an old pair of woofers from the ’60s. I heard it Friday and it is amazing. He also designs power amps. All must be LCLC power supplies with class A circuits and zero feedback. None are high powered.

    Mark has homemade open baffle speakers and some vintage, very high quality, components.

    And there are outliers.

    That is a lot of text to say we are all different and respect each other. There are strong disagreements but we all stay close.

    East Tennessee is a great, friendly, laid back place to live.

  104. I come here with a different and unique point of view. That seems to make some people angry. In a way I feel sorry for them. They not only have it all figured out but can’t imagine how anyone could disagree with them.

  105. I’m getting a buzz (120Hz-like sound) from my speakers when my integrated amp is set to a Phono input (either the integrated Phono input or an unbalanced RCA input with an external phono stage plugged in, it doesn’t matter: the buzz is there with either one of em).
    The kicker: The buzz is only present when OTHER devices are connected to the integrated amp’s other unbalanced RCA inputs (e.g. an external DAC). So if I want to play a record with dead silent background, I have to unplug all other inputs from the integrated amp. Any idea what’s going on and how I can fix this?

    (Rega Elicit-R amp, Rega DAC, Rega Fono MM, Rega RP3, KEF Ref 1 speakers)

    PS- That particular external DAC is not the source of the problem (I wish!), I’ve tried 2 other external DACs with the same result. It really seems to be ANYTHING I plug into the integrated amp creates the buzz when I’m listening on a Phono input (integrated phono or external phono).

    The buzz gets louder as I turn up the volume knob. I can hear it when playing quiet records at high volume, and I can hear it when I’m not playing a record at all, even with the turntable turned off (as long as I have the amp set to a Phono input).

  106. Right. The amount of preamplfier gain can get your amplifier to it’s maximum power output quicker but it cannot magically add more output wattage then the amplifier is capable of delivering cleanly. You might clip your amplifier with more preamplifier gain but that’s not a good thing.

  107. I also choose to celebrate what brings us together, but because I’m also a curious SOB I also like to discuss our differences in the hope that it will give me a better insight into the others who contribute here & also a better insight into myself.
    Discussing what brings us together can only go so far before we are nodding in agreement, whereas it’s the differences that are far more interesting & effortful to wade into.
    Differences too can be celebrated, if we chose not to allow them to drive us apart.
    Back to respect, honesty & an understanding of the ‘human condition’

  108. I too agree that it is our differences that allows us to learn. When one believes so strongly that their beliefs are the only "right" way, truth becomes the first casualty for decision-making. As well, without communication (active listening) humanity becomes loss. I am not a believer in "the flat earth theory" and yet I don’t think the folks who support that theory are heretics. Actually, I recently had a conversation with someone who told me that they saw a movie that convinced them that a plane did not crash into the Pentagon on 9/11. Hey, all you can do is try to have a rational discussion – put the facts of your belief to the test through active listening. In the audio world there are some who are hardcore "analog" and "digital" supporters. In that case it is all about opinions and personal tastes so that becomes fun difference discussions. Interestingly enough my audio system went from solid-state to mixed (tube pre and solid-state amp, to tube (pre and amp) based on my active listening. In retrospect, it was the change in speakers that drove my power choices…audio is an interesting hobby!

  109. Paul, You are absolutely right – we all love audio, but we don’t nessecarily love the same sound or the same equipment. It is the same with fine wine – the worlds best wine is the one YOU love. The important thing here is to go after the sound You like and at the same time respect other peoples choises and tastes.
    Keep on doing Your great videos and posts!

  110. Agreed and appreciated.

    For some reason the, to me noble ideal, “I disagree with what you say but I will defend unto death your right to say it” has been lost. It’s been replaced with “I disagree with what you say and I wish you and those who agree with you were dead.”

    Much of 2020 culture, maybe it’s the nature of man, celebrates conflict and proving the other guy is wrong.

    I have come to loathe the proliferation of YouTube videos titled “John Doe DESTROYS (insert political foe here).”

    I refuse to reward their clickbait title with a view even if I’m in fervent agreement.

    Show me a title anywhere that says “John Doe and (political foe) Work for the Common Good” and I’ll watch or read.

  111. Agree 1000%! My 50+ years in this hobby is such a wonderful experience. This, and other forums all things audio, brighten my day….every day of the week!❤️

  112. The same am I and different is you

    All we need to have the most hurtful contempt is sameness and difference unfortunately placed.
    We are disposed to think less of others because they are not ourselves; and that’s enough.
    We are disposed to think more of ourselves because we are ourselves; and that’s enough.
    And from these two likelihoods of difference and equivalence, the most frightening and painful things can ensue.
    “You are not me,” the unconscious says, “and so I have the right to think less of you and to place you as I want to.”

    Ironic yes ?

  113. There is a loose group here in Knoxville TN, we call it the Knoxville Audio Society. Mainly because we don’t have that much imagination.

    It is mostly the dregs of the old Dixie Bottleheads group that included people from 5 different states.

    I have cobbled a system together that makes the speakers disappear to the point some listeners ask, "Where are the speakers?"

    Ted has highly modified Klipsch La Scalas. The first, and meaningful, modification was turning them upside down and getting the woofers higher, thus elimination a lot of mud.

    Scott, you do know him, has a quad amplified four way system mostly homemade. Hardly 2 components from the same Mfg.

    Lawrence loves old JBL/Altec drivers and uses an old pair of woofers from the ’60s. I heard it Friday and it is amazing. He also designs power amps. All must be LCLC power supplies with class A circuits and zero feedback. None are high powered.

    Mark has homemade open baffle speakers and some vintage, very high quality, components.

    And there are outliers.

    That is a lot of text to say we are all different and respect each other. There are strong disagreements but we all stay close.

    East Tennessee is a great, friendly, laid back place to live.

  114. I come here with a different and unique point of view. That seems to make some people angry. In a way I feel sorry for them. They not only have it all figured out but can’t imagine how anyone could disagree with them.

  115. I’m getting a buzz (120Hz-like sound) from my speakers when my integrated amp is set to a Phono input (either the integrated Phono input or an unbalanced RCA input with an external phono stage plugged in, it doesn’t matter: the buzz is there with either one of em).
    The kicker: The buzz is only present when OTHER devices are connected to the integrated amp’s other unbalanced RCA inputs (e.g. an external DAC). So if I want to play a record with dead silent background, I have to unplug all other inputs from the integrated amp. Any idea what’s going on and how I can fix this?

    (Rega Elicit-R amp, Rega DAC, Rega Fono MM, Rega RP3, KEF Ref 1 speakers)

    PS- That particular external DAC is not the source of the problem (I wish!), I’ve tried 2 other external DACs with the same result. It really seems to be ANYTHING I plug into the integrated amp creates the buzz when I’m listening on a Phono input (integrated phono or external phono).

    The buzz gets louder as I turn up the volume knob. I can hear it when playing quiet records at high volume, and I can hear it when I’m not playing a record at all, even with the turntable turned off (as long as I have the amp set to a Phono input).

  116. It is very rare that I actually stop listening to some thing for the sound quality. Notable cases were one of Adele’s mega-albums and Royal Blood. The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was, I seem to remember, recorded in a garage with a temporary rig, but is still a great album. I have a jazz live set (Art Blakey) that was recorded with a microphone from the audience, that is still very listenable. These days I think it is very rarely an issue.
    p.s. How do you know if the musical content is great if the recording quality was so poor you didn’t listen to it?

  117. I can relate to today’s topic. I feel exactly the same.
    I threw away cd’s (which I bought years ago) because of bad soundquality.
    And although the main reason that I hardly have any cd’s from the 1960’s , 1970’s and 1980’s is the fact that I don’t like most of the music from that period anymore, it’s also because of the poor soundquality.
    I never understood people with an audio setup to die for, who mainly (only) buy cd’s from the aforementioned period (because they’re so damn nostalgic). That’s a lot of cd’s with a soundquality so bad, I just couldn’t enjoy listening to that.
    And since there’s so much music I like with good/very good soundqualty, why listen to crap ? Life’s too short for that.

  118. Most of my listening is done via streaming, via the shuffle mode. But, if I’m in a particular mood, then I listen to whatever will satisfy that mood. I will try to pick the highest SQ I can from those choicesthat will satisfy, but if I’m in the mood for Al Bowlly, I’m stuck with less that average quality sound. Now, if PSA can only bring out a unit that makes crap sound great, then ……………….

  119. I have three recordings of Furtwangler conducting Beethoven’s 9th (’51, ’53 and ’54), acquired after reading rhapsodic descriptions of his masterful rendering.

    All are unlistenable, largely because of the odd tonal balance or too much hiss. If I could steel myself to ignore these I would no doubt find something quite enjoyable. I’ve never bothered, largely because there are so many very fine recordings of this piece, but I know that my pickiness is ultimately depriving me of something.

  120. I live for my nostalgic old Rock ‘n Roll CD’s (regardless of what certain people from The Netherlands think) & until PSA or anyone else brings out an audio component that makes old recordings sound like they were recorded by Octave Records or Stockfish Records, I’ll continue to be as happy as a pig in mud with my Marantz CD player, Onkyo integrated amp & System Audio standmount loudspeakers; all tweaked to the max.
    Of course my set-up sounds amazing for what it consists of when I’m playing a premium CD; I mean who’s system doesn’t?
    But most of the time I’m back in the 70’s where possibly even a ‘Stellar Stack’ would be wasted with me because it will probably bring out the recording ‘flaws’ in my old recordings.
    The important thing is, is that I’m quite happy with I currently listen through, given the sources in y collection.

  121. Personally my biggest issue with bad recordings has had more to do with the switchover from vinyl to CD. Before streaming in the CD era I wanted to replace some of my favorite LPs but found some of the CD issues to be horrible. One (by a band named Charlie) appeared to be a dub from a cassette version of the album it was so flat and lifeless! With some of my albums I ended up ripping the vinyl to digital file to get the fidelity back!!

    Lots of bootlegs suffer from poor quality but as Steven said, some of those can be quite engaging even if not state-of-the-art.

  122. I like a good recording. More importantly I Enjoy music that has the content I really like, as long as the recording has some fidelity. I was just listening to the Hollies last night. Not the best recording or remaster, but a huge plus for enjoyment and to bring back memories. Some of the best recordings I own have been remastered from the late 50’s and early 60’s to double DSD. There was something about that era and the techniques / equipment that were used back then that can really bring out Great orchestral and jazz recordings. The fact that today’s digital technology is permanently saving some of these old masters is a plus.

    I don’t get to listen to the home system as much as I would like, since I travel up to 200 nights a year. One of my New Year resolutions this year is to sit back and enjoy the music and not critique the playback system or for that matter the recording. I just want musical bliss for me. Selfish I know… but also realistic.

  123. I agree with Paul as there is only so much listening time and the better my system has gotten the more irritating poor quality recordings become. Yesterday ,I put on a recording of the J. Geils Band Live in Germany. At the time of the recording they were one of the best live rock n roll acts but the SQ was so poor I played two songs and moved on.

  124. So, we hear about all the bad recordings. SO where do we find a good quality recording?

    I have some cantorial recordings (J. Rosenblatt) that are pre-1939 LPs that sound terrific; also, from the same artist , I have recordings that are not listenable. I have CDs that sound great and again, some that sound terrible. I have one CD of Miles Davis’s, Sketches of Spain, that sounds great and I will never part with it.

    So I am wondering if the recording, mastering, and finally the production of the music, whether it be LP,CD, etc etc determines
    the sound quality. Many times I will be listening to internet radio via Calm Radio, etc. and the music is delicious. Shortly, thereafter, the music venue changes and it could sound terrible.

    It all sounds like a shell game to me at this time-unless we can manufacture a device that will perform analysis on the music and prior to play, "homogenizing" it so it sounds decent. Interestingly, I have sat in many music halls on this planet, some of which are just terrible and some are very good. Maybe, the explanation of the many people sleeping during the live performance is the awful acoustics.
    That’s an expensive nap!

    Ya can’t win!

    I think I’ll venture down to the Salvation Army store and buy back all the CDs and LPs I donated.

    Larry

    Perhaps, if I had a less revealing sound system, the bad recordings would sound better!

  125. Paul:

    In very simple terms I think that most people don’t have a reference to compare. To coin a phrase “ you don’t know – what you don’t know “. Like your UPS drivers, they didn’t know what higher quality sound, sounded like. Now that they do, they might develop some interest in pursuing equipment better than the mass marketed price point electronics.

  126. I’m in it for the music although when listening to the main system I tend to play impressive pieces. But it’s also good to listen to things you know if the system has been changed. Sometimes this means playing recordings that are somewhat poor just because we know how they sound in our systems. This is one of the best modern recordings I’ve heard for sound and content. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CG1QNTV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  127. Paul, my friend… You say, "I don’t listen to many bad recordings, even if the musical content’s great."

    I also hear that as, "I neglect great music because of its sound quality." The argument that there’s so much great music out there seems like a dodge, as if sound quality and musical beauty were equals. If the only great recordings of jazz vocals were Jacintha’s records, would we skip the early Ella and Billie Holiday records? I wouldn’t.

    It’s admittedly a false dichotomy, but I’d find it hard to come up with a better demonstration of the difference between an audiophile and a music lover. We ALL say we’re music lovers first, but our actions sometimes seem contrary to that contention.

    At any rate, I hope the new year is treating you well!

  128. Long ago when I conducted research in acoustics, we would solicit students from the university campus to become subjects in our
    experiments. We did consistently notice that students from the music department always provided data that differed significantly from those students from other academic persuasions.

    Does this mean musicians hear differently due to a biologic difference or is it due to training????

    And the merry-go-round keeps spinning!

    larry

  129. I have recordings that show the bass capability of my system and recordings to show off it’s capability but no way I listen strictly to the best recordings. It’s about the music, not the system. I want my system to be able to get the best sound out of whatever music that I listen to. The Beatles were recorded in the 60’s and sound great on my system. So does Led Zeppelin The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd’s old recordings and many other recordings from the 60’s and 70’s. If the song is great I want to hear it.

    There are some average CD’s or Albums I can live without that are poorly recorded and I don’t bother playing them, also some average Albums or CD’s that are recorded great that I will listen to, I get that. The great bands usually don’t suffer from poor recording equipment except their really early stuff from the 50’s and early 60’s.

    I love the Rolling Stones and most of their music has been well recorded and got better as technology improved. Some of their really early stuff and I mean really early wasn’t recorded that great and since they have so many great songs I can listen to I wouldn’t waste my time on the poorly recorded ones either. But there’s many more good recorded older recordings then poorly recorded.

    Some of the early Elvis Presley recordings really sucked as did much music recorded in the 50’s and earlier and they are not worth listening to on a good system. Those songs are better off listened to by modern artists who rerecorded them. Example is the Kinks you really got me which was terribly recorded but redone by Van Halen and sounds great.

    I didn’t shell out big bucks to not hear the potential of my system. When listening to a greatest hits Record or CD there’s a mix of modern good quality recordings and older garbage recordings, but typically I let the garbage play through if I like the song instead of skipping it. But there are times I do skip to the better recorded songs. A song can have great lyrics and music but is it a great song if it makes your ears bleed?

  130. When it comes to sound quality I prefer HiRes (normally 24/96). I can tell the difference when it drops to CD quality, and again to high bit rate mp3. The reduced SQ is something I can overlook until it drops below 190kbps. After that the sound starts detracting from the music. A 128kbps mp3 grates constantly, Internet radio stations tend to use 128kbps AAC encoding. This is better than the mp3 equivalent, but it still sounds deficient.

    The quality of a recording, rather than just its sonic character, is another matter and makes a big difference to how much one enjoys an album. I am sensitive to the complex variations, but I am a tolerant listener and I only have a handful of recordings that I feel are so bad that they are not worth listening to.

  131. Maybe shallow or unaware here, but with the limited time I have to listen to my dedicated 2-channel system (there are 4 various others) unless it at least 4 star rated, for both sonics AND performance in the reviews in Stereophile, I just don’t take the time to check it out. (I’m listening mostly to TIDAL these days. So convenient) What’s your method of "culling"?
    Good Listening!

  132. I am just now leaving a comment on a weeks-old article. I’m always behind because it takes me so much time to appreciate your work. I wind up seeking out the whole piece that gave rise to the fragments you include and listening to these in higher-density streams and then to more of that composer’s work. I have the entire Dorati Haydn Symphonies on vinyl and echo your "discovery" that there is more "there" there on that medium. Thanks for taking the time to make these essays so great!

  133. I find that most recordings made in the late 1950s and later have very good sound. There are some wonderful performances made earlier and they are certainly worth listening to for me. I use an equalizer to adjust for all my recordings and I find it helps a lot. Remastering of older recordings made in recent years using advanced software can make remarkable improvements.

  134. All of this brings back memories of selling audio gear in the mid ’70s. We HAD to demonstrate with Lincoln Mayorga on Sheffield albums.

    Great recordings of music that would send me next door these days.

    It doesn’t matter if it is well recorded, if the music stinks it is unlistenable.

  135. Even if you could achieve that goal would it be wise? I can imagine that listening to your system at concert levels regularly could eventually result in you going deaf.

  136. It is very rare that I actually stop listening to some thing for the sound quality. Notable cases were one of Adele’s mega-albums and Royal Blood. The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was, I seem to remember, recorded in a garage with a temporary rig, but is still a great album. I have a jazz live set (Art Blakey) that was recorded with a microphone from the audience, that is still very listenable. These days I think it is very rarely an issue.
    p.s. How do you know if the musical content is great if the recording quality was so poor you didn’t listen to it?

  137. I can relate to today’s topic. I feel exactly the same.
    I threw away cd’s (which I bought years ago) because of bad soundquality.
    And although the main reason that I hardly have any cd’s from the 1960’s , 1970’s and 1980’s is the fact that I don’t like most of the music from that period anymore, it’s also because of the poor soundquality.
    I never understood people with an audio setup to die for, who mainly (only) buy cd’s from the aforementioned period (because they’re so damn nostalgic). That’s a lot of cd’s with a soundquality so bad, I just couldn’t enjoy listening to that.
    And since there’s so much music I like with good/very good soundqualty, why listen to crap ? Life’s too short for that.

  138. Most of my listening is done via streaming, via the shuffle mode. But, if I’m in a particular mood, then I listen to whatever will satisfy that mood. I will try to pick the highest SQ I can from those choicesthat will satisfy, but if I’m in the mood for Al Bowlly, I’m stuck with less that average quality sound. Now, if PSA can only bring out a unit that makes crap sound great, then ……………….

  139. I have three recordings of Furtwangler conducting Beethoven’s 9th (’51, ’53 and ’54), acquired after reading rhapsodic descriptions of his masterful rendering.

    All are unlistenable, largely because of the odd tonal balance or too much hiss. If I could steel myself to ignore these I would no doubt find something quite enjoyable. I’ve never bothered, largely because there are so many very fine recordings of this piece, but I know that my pickiness is ultimately depriving me of something.

  140. I live for my nostalgic old Rock ‘n Roll CD’s (regardless of what certain people from The Netherlands think) & until PSA or anyone else brings out an audio component that makes old recordings sound like they were recorded by Octave Records or Stockfish Records, I’ll continue to be as happy as a pig in mud with my Marantz CD player, Onkyo integrated amp & System Audio standmount loudspeakers; all tweaked to the max.
    Of course my set-up sounds amazing for what it consists of when I’m playing a premium CD; I mean who’s system doesn’t?
    But most of the time I’m back in the 70’s where possibly even a ‘Stellar Stack’ would be wasted with me because it will probably bring out the recording ‘flaws’ in my old recordings.
    The important thing is, is that I’m quite happy with I currently listen through, given the sources in y collection.

  141. Personally my biggest issue with bad recordings has had more to do with the switchover from vinyl to CD. Before streaming in the CD era I wanted to replace some of my favorite LPs but found some of the CD issues to be horrible. One (by a band named Charlie) appeared to be a dub from a cassette version of the album it was so flat and lifeless! With some of my albums I ended up ripping the vinyl to digital file to get the fidelity back!!

    Lots of bootlegs suffer from poor quality but as Steven said, some of those can be quite engaging even if not state-of-the-art.

  142. I like a good recording. More importantly I Enjoy music that has the content I really like, as long as the recording has some fidelity. I was just listening to the Hollies last night. Not the best recording or remaster, but a huge plus for enjoyment and to bring back memories. Some of the best recordings I own have been remastered from the late 50’s and early 60’s to double DSD. There was something about that era and the techniques / equipment that were used back then that can really bring out Great orchestral and jazz recordings. The fact that today’s digital technology is permanently saving some of these old masters is a plus.

    I don’t get to listen to the home system as much as I would like, since I travel up to 200 nights a year. One of my New Year resolutions this year is to sit back and enjoy the music and not critique the playback system or for that matter the recording. I just want musical bliss for me. Selfish I know… but also realistic.

  143. I agree with Paul as there is only so much listening time and the better my system has gotten the more irritating poor quality recordings become. Yesterday ,I put on a recording of the J. Geils Band Live in Germany. At the time of the recording they were one of the best live rock n roll acts but the SQ was so poor I played two songs and moved on.

  144. So, we hear about all the bad recordings. SO where do we find a good quality recording?

    I have some cantorial recordings (J. Rosenblatt) that are pre-1939 LPs that sound terrific; also, from the same artist , I have recordings that are not listenable. I have CDs that sound great and again, some that sound terrible. I have one CD of Miles Davis’s, Sketches of Spain, that sounds great and I will never part with it.

    So I am wondering if the recording, mastering, and finally the production of the music, whether it be LP,CD, etc etc determines
    the sound quality. Many times I will be listening to internet radio via Calm Radio, etc. and the music is delicious. Shortly, thereafter, the music venue changes and it could sound terrible.

    It all sounds like a shell game to me at this time-unless we can manufacture a device that will perform analysis on the music and prior to play, "homogenizing" it so it sounds decent. Interestingly, I have sat in many music halls on this planet, some of which are just terrible and some are very good. Maybe, the explanation of the many people sleeping during the live performance is the awful acoustics.
    That’s an expensive nap!

    Ya can’t win!

    I think I’ll venture down to the Salvation Army store and buy back all the CDs and LPs I donated.

    Larry

    Perhaps, if I had a less revealing sound system, the bad recordings would sound better!

  145. Paul:

    In very simple terms I think that most people don’t have a reference to compare. To coin a phrase “ you don’t know – what you don’t know “. Like your UPS drivers, they didn’t know what higher quality sound, sounded like. Now that they do, they might develop some interest in pursuing equipment better than the mass marketed price point electronics.

  146. I’m in it for the music although when listening to the main system I tend to play impressive pieces. But it’s also good to listen to things you know if the system has been changed. Sometimes this means playing recordings that are somewhat poor just because we know how they sound in our systems. This is one of the best modern recordings I’ve heard for sound and content. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CG1QNTV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  147. Paul, my friend… You say, "I don’t listen to many bad recordings, even if the musical content’s great."

    I also hear that as, "I neglect great music because of its sound quality." The argument that there’s so much great music out there seems like a dodge, as if sound quality and musical beauty were equals. If the only great recordings of jazz vocals were Jacintha’s records, would we skip the early Ella and Billie Holiday records? I wouldn’t.

    It’s admittedly a false dichotomy, but I’d find it hard to come up with a better demonstration of the difference between an audiophile and a music lover. We ALL say we’re music lovers first, but our actions sometimes seem contrary to that contention.

    At any rate, I hope the new year is treating you well!

  148. Long ago when I conducted research in acoustics, we would solicit students from the university campus to become subjects in our
    experiments. We did consistently notice that students from the music department always provided data that differed significantly from those students from other academic persuasions.

    Does this mean musicians hear differently due to a biologic difference or is it due to training????

    And the merry-go-round keeps spinning!

    larry

  149. I have recordings that show the bass capability of my system and recordings to show off it’s capability but no way I listen strictly to the best recordings. It’s about the music, not the system. I want my system to be able to get the best sound out of whatever music that I listen to. The Beatles were recorded in the 60’s and sound great on my system. So does Led Zeppelin The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd’s old recordings and many other recordings from the 60’s and 70’s. If the song is great I want to hear it.

    There are some average CD’s or Albums I can live without that are poorly recorded and I don’t bother playing them, also some average Albums or CD’s that are recorded great that I will listen to, I get that. The great bands usually don’t suffer from poor recording equipment except their really early stuff from the 50’s and early 60’s.

    I love the Rolling Stones and most of their music has been well recorded and got better as technology improved. Some of their really early stuff and I mean really early wasn’t recorded that great and since they have so many great songs I can listen to I wouldn’t waste my time on the poorly recorded ones either. But there’s many more good recorded older recordings then poorly recorded.

    Some of the early Elvis Presley recordings really sucked as did much music recorded in the 50’s and earlier and they are not worth listening to on a good system. Those songs are better off listened to by modern artists who rerecorded them. Example is the Kinks you really got me which was terribly recorded but redone by Van Halen and sounds great.

    I didn’t shell out big bucks to not hear the potential of my system. When listening to a greatest hits Record or CD there’s a mix of modern good quality recordings and older garbage recordings, but typically I let the garbage play through if I like the song instead of skipping it. But there are times I do skip to the better recorded songs. A song can have great lyrics and music but is it a great song if it makes your ears bleed?

  150. When it comes to sound quality I prefer HiRes (normally 24/96). I can tell the difference when it drops to CD quality, and again to high bit rate mp3. The reduced SQ is something I can overlook until it drops below 190kbps. After that the sound starts detracting from the music. A 128kbps mp3 grates constantly, Internet radio stations tend to use 128kbps AAC encoding. This is better than the mp3 equivalent, but it still sounds deficient.

    The quality of a recording, rather than just its sonic character, is another matter and makes a big difference to how much one enjoys an album. I am sensitive to the complex variations, but I am a tolerant listener and I only have a handful of recordings that I feel are so bad that they are not worth listening to.

  151. Maybe shallow or unaware here, but with the limited time I have to listen to my dedicated 2-channel system (there are 4 various others) unless it at least 4 star rated, for both sonics AND performance in the reviews in Stereophile, I just don’t take the time to check it out. (I’m listening mostly to TIDAL these days. So convenient) What’s your method of "culling"?
    Good Listening!

  152. I am just now leaving a comment on a weeks-old article. I’m always behind because it takes me so much time to appreciate your work. I wind up seeking out the whole piece that gave rise to the fragments you include and listening to these in higher-density streams and then to more of that composer’s work. I have the entire Dorati Haydn Symphonies on vinyl and echo your "discovery" that there is more "there" there on that medium. Thanks for taking the time to make these essays so great!

  153. I find that most recordings made in the late 1950s and later have very good sound. There are some wonderful performances made earlier and they are certainly worth listening to for me. I use an equalizer to adjust for all my recordings and I find it helps a lot. Remastering of older recordings made in recent years using advanced software can make remarkable improvements.

  154. All of this brings back memories of selling audio gear in the mid ’70s. We HAD to demonstrate with Lincoln Mayorga on Sheffield albums.

    Great recordings of music that would send me next door these days.

    It doesn’t matter if it is well recorded, if the music stinks it is unlistenable.

  155. Even if you could achieve that goal would it be wise? I can imagine that listening to your system at concert levels regularly could eventually result in you going deaf.

  156. It is very rare that I actually stop listening to some thing for the sound quality. Notable cases were one of Adele’s mega-albums and Royal Blood. The Bluesbreakers with Eric Clapton was, I seem to remember, recorded in a garage with a temporary rig, but is still a great album. I have a jazz live set (Art Blakey) that was recorded with a microphone from the audience, that is still very listenable. These days I think it is very rarely an issue.
    p.s. How do you know if the musical content is great if the recording quality was so poor you didn’t listen to it?

  157. I can relate to today’s topic. I feel exactly the same.
    I threw away cd’s (which I bought years ago) because of bad soundquality.
    And although the main reason that I hardly have any cd’s from the 1960’s , 1970’s and 1980’s is the fact that I don’t like most of the music from that period anymore, it’s also because of the poor soundquality.
    I never understood people with an audio setup to die for, who mainly (only) buy cd’s from the aforementioned period (because they’re so damn nostalgic). That’s a lot of cd’s with a soundquality so bad, I just couldn’t enjoy listening to that.
    And since there’s so much music I like with good/very good soundqualty, why listen to crap ? Life’s too short for that.

  158. Most of my listening is done via streaming, via the shuffle mode. But, if I’m in a particular mood, then I listen to whatever will satisfy that mood. I will try to pick the highest SQ I can from those choicesthat will satisfy, but if I’m in the mood for Al Bowlly, I’m stuck with less that average quality sound. Now, if PSA can only bring out a unit that makes crap sound great, then ……………….

  159. I have three recordings of Furtwangler conducting Beethoven’s 9th (’51, ’53 and ’54), acquired after reading rhapsodic descriptions of his masterful rendering.

    All are unlistenable, largely because of the odd tonal balance or too much hiss. If I could steel myself to ignore these I would no doubt find something quite enjoyable. I’ve never bothered, largely because there are so many very fine recordings of this piece, but I know that my pickiness is ultimately depriving me of something.

  160. I live for my nostalgic old Rock ‘n Roll CD’s (regardless of what certain people from The Netherlands think) & until PSA or anyone else brings out an audio component that makes old recordings sound like they were recorded by Octave Records or Stockfish Records, I’ll continue to be as happy as a pig in mud with my Marantz CD player, Onkyo integrated amp & System Audio standmount loudspeakers; all tweaked to the max.
    Of course my set-up sounds amazing for what it consists of when I’m playing a premium CD; I mean who’s system doesn’t?
    But most of the time I’m back in the 70’s where possibly even a ‘Stellar Stack’ would be wasted with me because it will probably bring out the recording ‘flaws’ in my old recordings.
    The important thing is, is that I’m quite happy with I currently listen through, given the sources in y collection.

  161. Personally my biggest issue with bad recordings has had more to do with the switchover from vinyl to CD. Before streaming in the CD era I wanted to replace some of my favorite LPs but found some of the CD issues to be horrible. One (by a band named Charlie) appeared to be a dub from a cassette version of the album it was so flat and lifeless! With some of my albums I ended up ripping the vinyl to digital file to get the fidelity back!!

    Lots of bootlegs suffer from poor quality but as Steven said, some of those can be quite engaging even if not state-of-the-art.

  162. I like a good recording. More importantly I Enjoy music that has the content I really like, as long as the recording has some fidelity. I was just listening to the Hollies last night. Not the best recording or remaster, but a huge plus for enjoyment and to bring back memories. Some of the best recordings I own have been remastered from the late 50’s and early 60’s to double DSD. There was something about that era and the techniques / equipment that were used back then that can really bring out Great orchestral and jazz recordings. The fact that today’s digital technology is permanently saving some of these old masters is a plus.

    I don’t get to listen to the home system as much as I would like, since I travel up to 200 nights a year. One of my New Year resolutions this year is to sit back and enjoy the music and not critique the playback system or for that matter the recording. I just want musical bliss for me. Selfish I know… but also realistic.

  163. I agree with Paul as there is only so much listening time and the better my system has gotten the more irritating poor quality recordings become. Yesterday ,I put on a recording of the J. Geils Band Live in Germany. At the time of the recording they were one of the best live rock n roll acts but the SQ was so poor I played two songs and moved on.

  164. So, we hear about all the bad recordings. SO where do we find a good quality recording?

    I have some cantorial recordings (J. Rosenblatt) that are pre-1939 LPs that sound terrific; also, from the same artist , I have recordings that are not listenable. I have CDs that sound great and again, some that sound terrible. I have one CD of Miles Davis’s, Sketches of Spain, that sounds great and I will never part with it.

    So I am wondering if the recording, mastering, and finally the production of the music, whether it be LP,CD, etc etc determines
    the sound quality. Many times I will be listening to internet radio via Calm Radio, etc. and the music is delicious. Shortly, thereafter, the music venue changes and it could sound terrible.

    It all sounds like a shell game to me at this time-unless we can manufacture a device that will perform analysis on the music and prior to play, "homogenizing" it so it sounds decent. Interestingly, I have sat in many music halls on this planet, some of which are just terrible and some are very good. Maybe, the explanation of the many people sleeping during the live performance is the awful acoustics.
    That’s an expensive nap!

    Ya can’t win!

    I think I’ll venture down to the Salvation Army store and buy back all the CDs and LPs I donated.

    Larry

    Perhaps, if I had a less revealing sound system, the bad recordings would sound better!

  165. Paul:

    In very simple terms I think that most people don’t have a reference to compare. To coin a phrase “ you don’t know – what you don’t know “. Like your UPS drivers, they didn’t know what higher quality sound, sounded like. Now that they do, they might develop some interest in pursuing equipment better than the mass marketed price point electronics.

  166. I’m in it for the music although when listening to the main system I tend to play impressive pieces. But it’s also good to listen to things you know if the system has been changed. Sometimes this means playing recordings that are somewhat poor just because we know how they sound in our systems. This is one of the best modern recordings I’ve heard for sound and content. https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07CG1QNTV/ref=ppx_yo_dt_b_asin_title_o04_s00?ie=UTF8&psc=1

  167. Paul, my friend… You say, "I don’t listen to many bad recordings, even if the musical content’s great."

    I also hear that as, "I neglect great music because of its sound quality." The argument that there’s so much great music out there seems like a dodge, as if sound quality and musical beauty were equals. If the only great recordings of jazz vocals were Jacintha’s records, would we skip the early Ella and Billie Holiday records? I wouldn’t.

    It’s admittedly a false dichotomy, but I’d find it hard to come up with a better demonstration of the difference between an audiophile and a music lover. We ALL say we’re music lovers first, but our actions sometimes seem contrary to that contention.

    At any rate, I hope the new year is treating you well!

  168. Long ago when I conducted research in acoustics, we would solicit students from the university campus to become subjects in our
    experiments. We did consistently notice that students from the music department always provided data that differed significantly from those students from other academic persuasions.

    Does this mean musicians hear differently due to a biologic difference or is it due to training????

    And the merry-go-round keeps spinning!

    larry

  169. I have recordings that show the bass capability of my system and recordings to show off it’s capability but no way I listen strictly to the best recordings. It’s about the music, not the system. I want my system to be able to get the best sound out of whatever music that I listen to. The Beatles were recorded in the 60’s and sound great on my system. So does Led Zeppelin The Rolling Stones and Pink Floyd’s old recordings and many other recordings from the 60’s and 70’s. If the song is great I want to hear it.

    There are some average CD’s or Albums I can live without that are poorly recorded and I don’t bother playing them, also some average Albums or CD’s that are recorded great that I will listen to, I get that. The great bands usually don’t suffer from poor recording equipment except their really early stuff from the 50’s and early 60’s.

    I love the Rolling Stones and most of their music has been well recorded and got better as technology improved. Some of their really early stuff and I mean really early wasn’t recorded that great and since they have so many great songs I can listen to I wouldn’t waste my time on the poorly recorded ones either. But there’s many more good recorded older recordings then poorly recorded.

    Some of the early Elvis Presley recordings really sucked as did much music recorded in the 50’s and earlier and they are not worth listening to on a good system. Those songs are better off listened to by modern artists who rerecorded them. Example is the Kinks you really got me which was terribly recorded but redone by Van Halen and sounds great.

    I didn’t shell out big bucks to not hear the potential of my system. When listening to a greatest hits Record or CD there’s a mix of modern good quality recordings and older garbage recordings, but typically I let the garbage play through if I like the song instead of skipping it. But there are times I do skip to the better recorded songs. A song can have great lyrics and music but is it a great song if it makes your ears bleed?

  170. When it comes to sound quality I prefer HiRes (normally 24/96). I can tell the difference when it drops to CD quality, and again to high bit rate mp3. The reduced SQ is something I can overlook until it drops below 190kbps. After that the sound starts detracting from the music. A 128kbps mp3 grates constantly, Internet radio stations tend to use 128kbps AAC encoding. This is better than the mp3 equivalent, but it still sounds deficient.

    The quality of a recording, rather than just its sonic character, is another matter and makes a big difference to how much one enjoys an album. I am sensitive to the complex variations, but I am a tolerant listener and I only have a handful of recordings that I feel are so bad that they are not worth listening to.

  171. Maybe shallow or unaware here, but with the limited time I have to listen to my dedicated 2-channel system (there are 4 various others) unless it at least 4 star rated, for both sonics AND performance in the reviews in Stereophile, I just don’t take the time to check it out. (I’m listening mostly to TIDAL these days. So convenient) What’s your method of "culling"?
    Good Listening!

  172. I am just now leaving a comment on a weeks-old article. I’m always behind because it takes me so much time to appreciate your work. I wind up seeking out the whole piece that gave rise to the fragments you include and listening to these in higher-density streams and then to more of that composer’s work. I have the entire Dorati Haydn Symphonies on vinyl and echo your "discovery" that there is more "there" there on that medium. Thanks for taking the time to make these essays so great!

  173. I find that most recordings made in the late 1950s and later have very good sound. There are some wonderful performances made earlier and they are certainly worth listening to for me. I use an equalizer to adjust for all my recordings and I find it helps a lot. Remastering of older recordings made in recent years using advanced software can make remarkable improvements.

  174. All of this brings back memories of selling audio gear in the mid ’70s. We HAD to demonstrate with Lincoln Mayorga on Sheffield albums.

    Great recordings of music that would send me next door these days.

    It doesn’t matter if it is well recorded, if the music stinks it is unlistenable.

  175. Even if you could achieve that goal would it be wise? I can imagine that listening to your system at concert levels regularly could eventually result in you going deaf.

  176. Hi Paul, I am hearing a buzz/humming sound from my speakers.

    I have a ProSound 1480BT 480 Watts amplifier, 4 x 50Watts ProSound Wall Speakers connected on Zone A on 70V @ 8 Ohms and 6 x 30Watts Show Ceiling Speakers connected on Zone B on 70V @ 8 Ohms.

    5 x Sennheiser Wireless & 1 x ProSound Wired Microphones are connected to a Behringer X1222USB Mixer which the Main Output is connected to the AUX input of the ProSound Amplifier.

    I unplugged all other components from their power sources, leaving the ProSound Amplifier only powered on.

    And when I turnup the volume on the Amplifier above 40 I can hear the buzzing/humming sound from all speakers the wall speakers and the ceiling speakers.

    I switched off each zone and the hum is still on the speakers from the zone that is on.

    Higher the volume higher the sound.

    If I keep the volume on the amplifier below 40 I cannot hear the buzzing/humming sound from the speakers.

    What could be the problem? Please help as this is driving me crazy.

    Thanks a ton in advance.

    – Ramesh

  177. For the troubleshootiung techniques to work you need to do more than simply remove the power from components, you need to actually remove the physical connection between components so that you are down to nothing more than an empty amplifier feeding speakers. Nothing physically connected to that amplifier.

    Once you do that, where the power amplifier feeding the speakers is alone and without anything connected to its inputs, then you can decide. If there is still hum at that point you have a defective amplifier. If not, continue adding one input at a time to narrow down the hum source.

  178. Hi,
    I have a small passive speaker system with 2 100w 4ohm speakers and a 2x30w amp 4ohm. The amp plug has a plastic ground pin, so the system is not grounded. This amp is also plugged into a laptop, when I turn on the system it hums like mad. So I installed a ground loop isolator (which helped, but still not enough). When I tried to plug the laptop into its power supply in order to ground it, the hum got worse. How can I solve this problem?

    Thanks, Zach

  179. Hi Paul, how do I get rid of transformer hum from within the audio equipment? Is getting the Power Plant the only solution for eliminating DC from the AC line? If the Power Plant is not within one’s budget, is there another solution, perhaps something similar to the PS Audio HumBuster that was sadly discontinued? It is a faint hum at 50 or 60Hz (low drone); I can’t hear it from my listening position, only if I put my ear close to the component or come close to it – should one be perturbed by that or brush it off as one of those things? Also, the hum does fluctuate slightly depending on the time of day and there is an initial more pronounced hum when I switch on the component, which within a couple of seconds dissipates. I would appreciate your advice, thank you. By the way, this is a high-end CD transport, that has been highly recommended by Steve Guttenberg. Unfortunately I have OCD, and I’m very sensitive to a hum from audiophile equipment.

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