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Author Topic: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool  (Read 9131 times)

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RebelRebel

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Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« on: November 01, 2007, 11:25:00 PM »
http://www.musicalfidelity.com/products/supercharger/diagnostics.html

it is also available as a download-able ZIP Archive


The gentleman that is building my new speakers sent it to me perhaps to quiet down my barrage of questions, at any rate..I found it interesting. Perhaps I am alone in my asessment. :P


Offline Evil Taper

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #1 on: November 02, 2007, 01:10:53 AM »
What are you having built and why?
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RebelRebel

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #2 on: November 02, 2007, 02:57:15 AM »
What are you having built and why?

A Line-Array System comprised of 1 Bohlender Graebener Ribbon Driver(75") per channel to Cover High Frequencies, 6 {10") Peerless Drivers Per Channel for the Mid-Bass Frequencies, and 2 (15") SEAS woofers per channel to handle the low-bass . Each section will be driven by a seperate amp(or set of amps) / all will be routed through a crossover network (many options there as far as crossover units go)to get integrated/optimized into my  room.

Why?? Well, wife, daughter and I just built a new house, and my wife has given me a good amount of room to work with. :) It is my first "dedicated" audio-only(and Teddy only!) room, so I wanted something unique and really HQ. My friend Mike Morgan made me aware of the Mr. Perazella's  work, and suggested that I give him a call. I did, and well, thats that.I Look forward to getting them. I am going up to MD to talk shop with him again and take some more material to play(to determine if more subs / mid-bass or less of anything would work out better), so if anyone from the board is from MD and wants to go with me, id love to have the company.








« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 02:58:56 AM by Teddy »

Offline Evil Taper

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #3 on: November 02, 2007, 03:06:36 AM »
Those are some impressive bass traps there buddy. ;D  Sounds like a pretty sweet setup.  What is your amplification setup going to be for this crazy speaker array?
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RebelRebel

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #4 on: November 02, 2007, 03:19:00 AM »
YEah, those ribbons are huge..Mine will be a touch shorter than those, but still large. I am not really sure on the amp side of things, other than to say that unless tube technology gets a lot cheaper before now and the time that I get them...SS it is. I am keeping my mastersound Due Venti(tube integrated) but just cannot afford to spend a disproportionate amount of money to get the amount of juiice that I am going to need. (around 150-200w minimum per section) Right now, it is anyone's guess. know of any high power, musical solid state amps, I am all ears!(and those two words arent mutually exlusive, damnit!  :P )




Those are some impressive bass traps there buddy. ;D  Sounds like a pretty sweet setup.  What is your amplification setup going to be for this crazy speaker array?

Offline Evil Taper

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #5 on: November 02, 2007, 03:36:48 AM »
Bryston makes some sick ass solid state amps, high power too.  How flat are the frequency response graphs looking?  (I'm assuming the builder is using speaker design software like I used to make my sub box)
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Offline MattD

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #6 on: November 02, 2007, 06:34:07 AM »
Interesting? More like bullshit. Maximum level at listening position has absolutely nothing to do with quality.
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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #7 on: November 02, 2007, 07:27:08 AM »
Odyssey Stratos.
:)
LMA recordings and what-not


Live music: hauling around a Marshall stack whose output will get squeezed through a single SM57, then mangled by a Guinness-soaked mixer and shoved through suspicious-smelling power amps into a pair of grungy cabinets whose best days were before they left the factory, all of which are under the control of an engineer who would much rather be at home watching television.

Offline Frank in JC

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #8 on: November 02, 2007, 07:53:57 AM »
Interesting? More like bullshit. Maximum level at listening position has absolutely nothing to do with quality.

They're just talking about dynamic range, which indeed is an aspect of a system's "quality."  Of course dynamic range isn't everything, just look at vinyl.


As far as amplification suggestions: class-D.  Why fart around with push-pull, class-AB?



« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 08:00:29 AM by Frank in JC »
Favorite generic quote from Archive.org:
"This recording is SICK--it's almost as good as a soundboard!"

Offline Evil Taper

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #9 on: November 02, 2007, 04:44:47 PM »
Plus music sounds better louder, DUH.
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Offline BC

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #10 on: November 02, 2007, 06:59:18 PM »
Interesting? More like bullshit. Maximum level at listening position has absolutely nothing to do with quality.


I think the idea behind this extremely simplified graph is to show that reproducing realistic concert volumes at home with low distortion levels (i.e. high quality) using speakers of conventional sensitivity (not sure what sensitivity speaker they are assuming in this calculation) can require significant amounts of power.

(edited to mention speaker sensitivity)

(hence the reason for their new "supercharger" amp.)
http://www.musicalfidelity.com/products/supercharger

review and measurements here, looks like a very solid piece of gear:
http://stereophile.com/solidpoweramps/907mf/


« Last Edit: November 02, 2007, 07:16:30 PM by BC »
In: DPA4022>V3>Microtracker/D8

Out: Morrison ELAD>Adcom GFA555mkII>Martin Logan Aerius i

Offline Tim

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #11 on: November 02, 2007, 07:09:47 PM »
Not all power is created equal. You can get great volume with lower watts, it depends on the design.

What about super low power SET amps with high-efficiency speakers? I'm not sure how loud they can get but many swear by that combo.

paging Chris Evans
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Offline Evil Taper

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #12 on: November 03, 2007, 01:37:40 AM »
It's really basic:

Fletcher Munson curve states that with increase in volume frequency response flattens for human ears, IE better low end and mid.  Look it up if you don't believe me.

Speaker efficiency = the volume in dB of a speaker measured from 1 meter away when 1 watt of power is driving the speaker.  Higher efficiency speakers take less power to reach higher volumes, which means that less amplification gain is taking place to achieve the same volume as a less efficient speaker.  A 3dB increase in volume is equal to a doubling of volume, so for every 3dB increase twice as much amplification is taking place via the amplifier.

So why use an ultra high powered amp?  A high power amp is capable of outputing a very powerful signal with minimal effort which means the amplifier itself is running at near perfect efficiency aka SUPER CLEAN SIGNAL.  The more power you drive a speaker with the better it will sound, even at low volumes.  The speaker itself has to do less work to output a loud volume when driven with a super bad ass amp, plain and simple.

This is science, not voodoo.  There's a reason gear with incredible specs is so damn expensive, the reason is incredible sound quality.
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Offline guysonic

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #13 on: November 03, 2007, 08:38:05 AM »
The System Diagnostic tool seems quite accurate from my experience with using dynaudio speakers with 93-94 dB sensitivity.  I wish I had something like this 28 years ago when I built my V5 monitor system.  AND, it really can pay in pure pleasure to invest in very high clean power if you want 'most live realistic' sound, if your speakers can handle the peaks.

Here's my experience with power and speaker sensitivity.  Personally couldn't afford the high end stuff, so I designed and built my own bi-amped two way systems and later added subs in version 5 after 25 years of building different custom systems.

Description of version 5 system:

Stereo bi-amped speakers with dynaudio 8" and soft dome tweeters each capable of handling 1000 watt musical peaks.  These driven directly connected by amplifiers (bolted to back of 8" sealed type enclosures) of 450 watt RMS for each 8" and 250 watt RMS for each tweeter.  Amps were connected directly to electronic 18dB/octave 3 pole butterworth crossover frequency of 2500 Hz.  8" speakers mounted in ceramic sealed enclosures, and tweeter mounted in 15 pound cement block on top of 8" enclosure and time-aligned.

Sub woofers were 12" dynaudio types, used 4 of these each inside sealed ceramic enclosure weighing -125 pounds each; NOTE: ceramic is absolutely rigid as NOT to flex with intense internal pressure.  Subs were driven by stereo 2250 watt per channel custom amp (as were all the speaker amps were custom)

Sub amps were driven by special 100 Hz crossover, with variable bass equalizer so power increased EXACTLY as 12 dB/octave low frequency output of subs decreased resulting in 'flat to 15 cycle' system response. This really made the largest pipe organ recordings come alive; like you could feel the peddle pressure changes in some recordings. It also made these speaker's voice coils vulnerable to burning out, but that's another story

TOTAL SYSTEM POWER: 4500+2x450+2x250 = ~6000 RMS electrical watts = >125 dB SPL ACOUSTIC OUTPUT(measured at 6 feet).  System proved it could play all day at near this maximum level without failures, or causing deafness (read below)!

Output was so clean at 120+ dB SPL output that some listeners asked if it could be played any louder!  Only when they asked, they could NOT hear themselves speaking, or any reply because the music was VERY, VERY, VERY LOUD, but so very clean they couldn't hear ANY of the usual distortion indicating that a system was 'REALLY CRANKED UP TO BE VERY LOUD.'

Many have commented that after going to practically all the high-end audiophile shows and CES events for decades, they have NEVER experienced anything nearly so clean and powerful like this home built system

The point is, the System Diagnostic is a useful tool to better know that investing in power, and the speakers that can cleanly handle the musical energy peaks CAN BE WELL WORTH THE INVESTMENT for the return in pure listening audio fun in your own home-space that equals or exceeds the live music experience.

« Last Edit: November 03, 2007, 09:13:48 AM by guysonic »
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Offline Lil Kim Jong-Il

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #14 on: November 03, 2007, 10:12:16 AM »
know of any high power, musical solid state amps

conrad johnson MF2300A.



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RebelRebel

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #15 on: November 03, 2007, 11:29:33 AM »
My Mastersound Due Venti (20 w pc, Single Ended)really sings with the right loudspeakers. Unfortunately, I dont have the right ones yet. I have never heard a sound so euphonic and rich as I have heard from this amp.


Not all power is created equal. You can get great volume with lower watts, it depends on the design.

What about super low power SET amps with high-efficiency speakers? I'm not sure how loud they can get but many swear by that combo.

paging Chris Evans

RebelRebel

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #16 on: November 03, 2007, 11:32:23 AM »
Thanks much, Moke and Micheal. Bookmarked. Great to have help sorting through all the offerings.


know of any high power, musical solid state amps

http://www.pliniusaudio.com/products/sareference.asp






Offline som

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #17 on: November 04, 2007, 09:16:00 AM »
That slide doesn't go down to 4.8 watts, what good is it??? ;)


+T on the upcoming speakers and audio room! I remember you posting awhile back about having a listening room at your parent's house, and slipping off each evening for an hour or two. Good luck getting that much quality, uninterrupted listening time without leaving the house!

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #18 on: November 04, 2007, 11:36:39 AM »
That slide doesn't go down to 4.8 watts, what good is it??? ;)

Quoted For Truth

RebelRebel

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #19 on: November 04, 2007, 11:52:42 AM »
Thanks much. Not leaving my wife and daughter at home to go listen to a few albums will be very nice. 
That slide doesn't go down to 4.8 watts, what good is it??? ;)


+T on the upcoming speakers and audio room! I remember you posting awhile back about having a listening room at your parent's house, and slipping off each evening for an hour or two. Good luck getting that much quality, uninterrupted listening time without leaving the house!



Offline Tim

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #20 on: November 04, 2007, 01:33:04 PM »
It's really basic:

Fletcher Munson curve states that with increase in volume frequency response flattens for human ears, IE better low end and mid.  Look it up if you don't believe me.

Speaker efficiency = the volume in dB of a speaker measured from 1 meter away when 1 watt of power is driving the speaker.  Higher efficiency speakers take less power to reach higher volumes, which means that less amplification gain is taking place to achieve the same volume as a less efficient speaker.  A 3dB increase in volume is equal to a doubling of volume, so for every 3dB increase twice as much amplification is taking place via the amplifier.

So why use an ultra high powered amp?  A high power amp is capable of outputing a very powerful signal with minimal effort which means the amplifier itself is running at near perfect efficiency aka SUPER CLEAN SIGNAL.  The more power you drive a speaker with the better it will sound, even at low volumes.  The speaker itself has to do less work to output a loud volume when driven with a super bad ass amp, plain and simple.

This is science, not voodoo.  There's a reason gear with incredible specs is so damn expensive, the reason is incredible sound quality.

Who said anything about voodoo? I am well aware of all of the science. However sticking strictly to science and specs when it comes to audio gear is pretty silly imo. The key is, how does it sound? That is a highly subjective judgment of sound. Specs and science are great, but if it sounds like crap it sounds like crap.

The need to harp on knowledge of science and specs to prove that gear sounds good amuses me. I think we all understand the underlying theories, I just don't think we need to be trapped by those theories or specs on a sheet of paper.

As Doug Oade used to say, use your ears.
I’ve had a few weird experiences and a few close brushes with total weirdness of one sort or another, but nothing that’s really freaked me out or made me feel too awful about it. - Jerry Garcia

Offline Evil Taper

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #21 on: November 04, 2007, 03:54:57 PM »
Very true.  All the things that us rock n roll listeners love about gear, IE tube and transformers, cause distortions and imperfections in the signal in some way that sounds good to us.  I've been reading alot lately about amps and opamps vs transformers vs tubes and all this stuff and the end conclusion is always that the opamp based gear doesn't sound as pleasant as the old school designs.  The opamps have the ability to create near theoretically perfect performance but at the same time something gets lost in the translation.  It's wild how a low power tube amp can outperform a massive mosfet power amp just because of tonality and efficiency.  That's where the math just doesn't seem to add up.  Anyone have pictures of the guts of a super high power discrete power amp?

For the record I'm not attempting to talk down to anyone, I'm just trying to explain things in a way that someone who doesn't have a clue about the subject will be able to understand it.  No sword fighting.
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Offline guysonic

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #22 on: November 04, 2007, 04:04:25 PM »
Fletcher-Munson curve was created many, many years ago and was mostly accepted, and disputed by some.  I once built a preamp that operated the changing characteristics of this curve as the volume was turned up/down.  And this to my ears seemed to more or less work as predicted.

Very power amps are a benefit with uncompressed recordings, especially if used with speakers designed to cleanly handle dynamic musical peaks.  A solo grand piano's need for such power with usual speaker efficiency was once determined to be ~250 watts peak electrical energy from the amplifier if full fidelity of this instrument was to be delivered to the listener.

Even though the System Diagnostic Tool has somewhat limited range, from my Version 5 powered monitor system experience with using a 93 dB sensitivity tweeter directly driven by a 250 watt amp and total SPL output measurement with of all speakers operating seems to more or less correlate with SPL output predicted by the diagnostic tool.

It may be that total power output ability of an amplifier is most important spec to know in real terms.  Amp distortion of these amps measured into pure resistance, and not into complex speaker crossover networks is suspect to not tell much useful information other than ideal circumstance distortion characteristics. 

Different amps do have different complex load characteristic distortions, and the passive crossovers normally found in 2-3-4 way speakers present very complex drive conditions.  So many amps with high power and low distortion specs do not sound as good as others that may handle these varying speaker loads much better.  Maybe amplifier peak current output, phase response over frequency, and damping factor is more important to note under these real-world crossover network load conditions. 

For this reason, directly connecting the power amplifier to the speakers without any type of interfering crossover network, and using many amps in a system driven with electronic crossovers before the amps has great advantage for getting consistently clean very low distortion amp-speaker performance almost regardless of make of amp if having sufficient power/distortion ratings for the loudness desired.

As with all systems, the quality of the speaker drivers, how they are enclosed in a cabinet, and how those speakers are positioned in a room is the major contributor, and is mostly what will be heard in terms of audio quality.
"mics? I no got no mics!  Besides, I no have to show you no stink'n mics!" stxxlth taper's disclaimer

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Offline 108 Ohms

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #23 on: November 10, 2007, 10:13:11 AM »
I'm always amazed when I do a power calculation on the output side of an amp.
It isn't unusual for me to be listening with less than 5 watts average power per channel, often much less.
And this is at a room-filling level with "rock" program material.

It isn't so much a question of how much headroom that the PA has.
It seems to be more of what happens during transient peaks.
Having an amp that can "service" these peaks is fine, but what effect does having the amp rapidly increase its output current do to the entirety of the sound.
Transient response and shaping is a serious consideration.

And why even beyond that, why do very fast, very powerful amps sound different?
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Offline Tim

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #24 on: November 10, 2007, 12:18:03 PM »
Very true.  All the things that us rock n roll listeners love about gear, IE tube and transformers, cause distortions and imperfections in the signal in some way that sounds good to us.  I've been reading alot lately about amps and opamps vs transformers vs tubes and all this stuff and the end conclusion is always that the opamp based gear doesn't sound as pleasant as the old school designs.  The opamps have the ability to create near theoretically perfect performance but at the same time something gets lost in the translation.  It's wild how a low power tube amp can outperform a massive mosfet power amp just because of tonality and efficiency.  That's where the math just doesn't seem to add up.  Anyone have pictures of the guts of a super high power discrete power amp?

For the record I'm not attempting to talk down to anyone, I'm just trying to explain things in a way that someone who doesn't have a clue about the subject will be able to understand it.  No sword fighting.

+T

just saw this, sorry for getting fired up ;D
I’ve had a few weird experiences and a few close brushes with total weirdness of one sort or another, but nothing that’s really freaked me out or made me feel too awful about it. - Jerry Garcia

Offline Eigenklang

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Re: Musical Fidelity System Diagnostic Tool
« Reply #25 on: November 11, 2007, 08:19:15 AM »

Until now I was able to play around with a lot of hifi & highend stuff. Most of these high power amps combined with inefficient speakers just sounded like shit to my ears. The big deal is to find a good speaker with high effiency that can be driven by a simple 20...50 W amp.

 

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