The Internet Audio Dilemma



 that forums are for bullshitters and those that are so arrogant the smoke comes out of their ears, and yes, many times the not so arrogant, the academic and experienced driving force behind the web. WTF, how about an entire forum dedicated to loudspeaker cable?  I did not know it was such a touchy subject. I recently read about this mad American whom had spent upwards of 100 000 U$D for the ultimate sound system and was still not happy. Hey guy, why don’t you hire the band for one night to get the feeling/sensation/orgasm that you are seeking – I bet you Nickleback wouldn’t cost that much for a night out (well at least on their night off). Getting back to loudspeaker cable…

Years ago in the Audiophile magazine the audio police did some tests on cable and discovered that single core telephone cable was the best on test. On the forums I read that CAT5 cable was good. I find it interesting that the conclusion was the same. Audiophile mag ran a comparison test. I think that article was in the late 80’s. So what we have here is actually single core cable hasn’t been reinvented. Down the road there’s a company selling ‘special’speaker’cable for about 5$D per meter which I believe is a bargain price. Again, if Audiophile is correct I can steal this cable (I live in South Africa) and either sell it on to ‘real’ audiophiles at a profit (profit = 100%) or use it myself. (I think I would sell it – 500m @ U$5 = 2500U$. That should get me a better sound system than I’m currently using. Nowadays you can even take your sound system to jail, not that you’d end up in jail stealing cable. The monkeys here even steal 3KV cable from the overhead railway feeders and live to tell the tale. Some of them ).

Anyhow after juggling around between forums, fact or fiction I came across what I thought was a brilliant bit of work by Bob Carver, none other than Dr. Phase Linear himself. Do read about this genius, an inspiration to all wannabe audio amplifier gurus. Good old Dr. Bob was challenged by Stereophile magazine to build an amplifier with same accoustic properties of a very expensive amplifier at the time, the Conrad-Johnson Premier 5. And, yes he won the challenge and the funny thing is that his amplifier was a fraction of the price. He also did a duplication of the Mark Levinson ML2 amplifier which apparently also outperformed it price wise and yes, sound wise as well.  I stand under correction but I think Mark Levinson has bought out by Harman/Kardon group a few years back. I write this article because I am in a dilemma – do real amplifiers have to cost a lot of money?  I have personally heard expensive amplifiers knock the socks off cheaper amplifiers because the cheaper amplifiers weren’t matched to the expensive speakers. (that happened to me by the way Embarassed – I was the owner of the cheaper system). I have also heard a cheaper system matched to the speakers knock the socks off an expensive system (that happened to me by the way Wink, the expensive system was a Grundig. No telling what mine was, I built it myself. It could only play well into home made boxes with Fane drivers). Before I digress let me tell you the plot….

Nowadays one can buy audio ICs which in bridge mode can output easily 150 to 200W RMS into an 8 ohm load. The components will cost you 30 U$ (x 2 for bridge), less PSU.  Are these functional or dysfunctional?  I thought “cheap and nasty””, let me not waste my time with this crap. Well a few weeks back I built a bridge mode amp using the tried and trusted TDA7294. (remember the word ‘çheap’). Well hammer me sideways, this amplifier rocked – I tested it into a set of B&W speakers (vintage units, so old I don’t even know what they are) and they took my head off. I am not a guru that parks in front of an array of different speakers to fine tune crap out of my head, I get enough of that in my real work from my staff – if I like what I hear that’s what I buy or steal (remember I live in das neue Südafrika). Maybe designed for car amplifiers though a MOS switching PSU but it really great sound.  The only ‘scope’, frequency analyser, tone generator I needed were my ears – this amplifier sounded as good as any expensive mono unit I have tested.  You can see a lot of these IC amplifiers been tested and shown on You Tube. It’s a joke to see this massive transformer and this little chip getting it’s act together.  Bob, what do you think of this?

Now for the big test.  What do the audiophiles think of this chip driving 100W or even 150W RMS as the manufacturers claim into 8 Ohm loads in bridge mode continuously. Are they really upto the same task as those mammoth TO3 transistors, huge heatsinks and blowers of yesteryear. The question is: Would Peavey use this circuitry albeit with proper cooling and power supplies. Me, I don’t think so! But who knows.

Let us know – write in a comment, preferably when you’re not ganja or spirit wired. I’m sure the manufacturers would love to hear from you..

Me, I’m from the old school – only 30 seconds from Mars and wired up to Hitachi 2SK and 2SJ – cheaper at ten times the price…

Bon Jour
PM#1

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