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Author Topic: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes  (Read 3129 times)

antenna

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Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« on: January 20, 2021, 09:41:01 pm »

One of these days (not channeling Pink Floyd) I may put together a playlist for Cloudplay called "Headphones and Vacuum Tubes."

But not today, or this week...

:)
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larryrup

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #1 on: February 20, 2021, 11:12:52 pm »

That'd be right up my alley!  What incentive can provoke you to get cracking?  :)

Larry
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Larry
HTPC, , JRiver.  Music Source:Network share drive.  Speakers:B&W P6, AMP:Yaqin 100b, DAC:BiFrost Uber, Headphones:Audeze LCD2, Sens HD600, AT W5000, Headphone Amps:XCAN v8, Woo Fireflies, Original EarMax.

antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2021, 10:23:19 am »


Just to be clear...

I was referring to the background pictures of headphones and vacuum tube that Theater View seems to use when it cannot find any other background pictures online.  I've been running into that a lot of late as I digitize some older vinyl...

Apologies for getting your hopes up for a playlist that sounds great using headphones and vacuum tubes.
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Shellac: Shure M91, Shure N75-3 stylus,  Dual 1218 turntable

Apt Holman preamp (updated), Benchmark Media ADC-1, Benchmark Media DAC-1, Carver TFM-45 power amp (updated), Original Acoustic Research AR-9 speakers (LF surrounds replaced), Sennheiser HD590 headphones

larryrup

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #3 on: February 27, 2021, 02:31:58 pm »

Oh darn!

If guilt works (whatever works!) I am devastative.  Crushed!  I was almost willing to look the other way on pandemic.....alright I jest.

On a more realistic note, giving it the slightest bit of thought, making a playlist around Headphone listening powered by vacuum tubes would be challenging and would require quite a bit of focused listening for those qualities a good pair of headphone and a good tube amp bring out of a recording.

When I got my last amp, during early listening there were a few tracks that jumped right out and met what such a playlist could deliver.  There was a Chet Baker track that sounded three dimensional.  The old Blind Faith track, Do What you Like, which I bet I've listened to a hundred times (I likely bought this album right around the time it was released), now came through with far more fidelity.  As did the Taj Mahal track, your going to Need Somebody.  While every thing sounded good, only certain tracks had a substantially different listening experience. 

I do understand the population of headphone+tube amp listeners is small, but anyone who fits this category and comes across such tracks that fundamentally gives a different listening experience, post them.  I'll start throwing them into a list. 

Listening with this combo of gear to me is sinfull.  I hope I escape hell.

LR
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Larry
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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #4 on: February 27, 2021, 10:03:26 pm »

Quote
...On a more realistic note, giving it the slightest bit of thought, making a playlist around Headphone listening powered by vacuum tubes would be challenging and would require quite a bit of focused listening for those qualities a good pair of headphone and a good tube amp bring out of a recording....

It would also require a tube amp and appropriate headphones.  Neither of which I possess.  :(

While I do enjoy my Sennheiser HD-590 headphones, they are used mostly are used to keep the neighbors happy. 

The AR-9's tend to put out appropriate and significant low frequency energy, which tends unfortunately to, ummmm, travel beyond property boundaries..  :(

But to your mention of Blind Faith... there was a high quality "go back to the original vinyl master and put it on high quality vinyl" release of it.  My recollection is that it was quite good.  I'll have to dig it out and include some songs in an appropriate playlist.

I do understand the population of headphone+tube amp listeners is small,

Agreed.  But some songs do sound better in headphones.  While most seem to be mixed/produced for the usual stereo speaker setup, I have noticed the, "wow" moments when listening in headphones to keep the neighbors happy.  Maybe I need to start noting those moments. 

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Vinyl: Shure V15VxMR, Shure VN5MR stylus, VPI Scout turntable
Shellac: Shure M91, Shure N75-3 stylus,  Dual 1218 turntable

Apt Holman preamp (updated), Benchmark Media ADC-1, Benchmark Media DAC-1, Carver TFM-45 power amp (updated), Original Acoustic Research AR-9 speakers (LF surrounds replaced), Sennheiser HD590 headphones

MikeO3

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #5 on: February 27, 2021, 10:15:29 pm »

Here are a few tracks which have various sound stages, depth and front to back that give my stuff a pretty good workout.
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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #6 on: February 27, 2021, 10:58:55 pm »


Cowboy Junkies - Sweet jane

Yes.  I agree. 

The spatial aspect of the song is attention-getting.



 
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Vinyl: Shure V15VxMR, Shure VN5MR stylus, VPI Scout turntable
Shellac: Shure M91, Shure N75-3 stylus,  Dual 1218 turntable

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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2021, 12:53:02 am »

... (I likely bought this album right around the time it was released)...

Back in a prior career I was told that the first pressing of an album is usually done using virgin vinyl, and that the subsequent pressings are usually done with recycled vinyl (i.e., bits of shredded paper labels (or worse) may be present in the vinyl).

But you may have a good copy of that great album. :)

YMMV and all that.

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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #8 on: February 28, 2021, 01:58:08 am »

...Yes.  I agree.  The spatial aspect of the song is attention-getting.

If I may elaborate a bit...

Listening to rock music via headphones is, can be, a new experience.

For example, with a typical production, you'll hear instrument in your left ear, or your right ear, or some odd space over the top of your head.

But occasionally, a song comes along where it sounds different, and not in a subtle way.

The aforementioned Cowboy Junkies song, well it is not about hearing a left/right/above thing. It is about being enveloped in the sound.  It is like being wrapped in a warm blanket of comfortable music.  It is difficult to describe.  But I will say, when you are listening with headphones and an appropriate headphone song comes along, you will know.

New Order's True Faith (The Morning Sun extended mix)  has a bit of that enveloping aspect to it.


 


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Vinyl: Shure V15VxMR, Shure VN5MR stylus, VPI Scout turntable
Shellac: Shure M91, Shure N75-3 stylus,  Dual 1218 turntable

Apt Holman preamp (updated), Benchmark Media ADC-1, Benchmark Media DAC-1, Carver TFM-45 power amp (updated), Original Acoustic Research AR-9 speakers (LF surrounds replaced), Sennheiser HD590 headphones

MikeO3

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #9 on: February 28, 2021, 07:00:15 am »

The spatial aspect of the song is attention-getting.
You would like Sting's Brand New Day as well for this type of sound experience.
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MikeO3

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #10 on: February 28, 2021, 09:09:42 pm »

Since on the subject of the Cowboy Junkies... This was just posted today:
https://www.soundstagexperience.com/index.php/encore/1010-the-trinity-session-recorded-to-r-dat
Quote
While itís true that The Trinity Session was made using a single Calrec Ambisonic microphone, was it really captured using an R-DAT recorder? In this video, Peter J. Moore, the albumís producer and engineer, tells the truth about the technology of the time and what really went on during the recording. The answer might surprise you.
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larryrup

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #11 on: March 01, 2021, 12:23:57 am »

Thanks Mike for the list.  I'm looking and sources several.

A while ago I uploaded a CJ concert that was recorded with the Chesky (like?) mannequin head and mics.  The recording used just four mics, and I assume two were for the audience.  The notes for the recording are attached.  Scoot down to the last paragraph.  Binaural and different experience.


LR

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Larry
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MikeO3

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #12 on: March 01, 2021, 06:24:06 am »

Thanks for the notes! I have this recording actually so will have to take an attentive listen and try and spot the change at the time mark indicated. I think it's pretty cool they have so many recordings in the public domain.

Caught them a few times in my younger says in an around Toronto. Great to hear Margo's voice live in some of the smaller venues.
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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #13 on: March 08, 2021, 06:53:52 pm »

...spatial aspect of the song...

If I may get  little techie here...

At one time, I used to watch music in additional to listening to music.  This was way before music videos came upon the scene.

As a good electrical engineer, I had an oscilloscope.

I used to connect the oscilloscope (in x-y mode) to the secondary preamp outputs (left channel to the vertical, right channel to the horizontal), and watch the Lissajous figures produced by the music. (primer on Lissajous figures... https://www.testandmeasurementtips.com/using-scope-display-lissajous-patterns/ )

"spatial" resulted in a circle on the oscilloscope screen.

"not spatial" resulted in a line on the oscilloscope screen.

OK, with that in mind.  Something that I noticed when playing a silent track (i.e., no music, just quiet) from a vinyl album and a CD...

The CD's Lissajous figure was minimal.  Not much going on.  A small circle in the center of the screen.

The vinyl's Lissajous figure was much larger.  Not surprising, given the inherently louder background noise of the vinyl. 

But the interesting aspect was that the vinyl's Lissajous was circular.  Indicating that there was a lot of out-of-phase information in the background noise of a vinyl album.  And a significant majority of that out-of-phase background noise was very low frequency (i.e., less than 15Hz.)

That led me to wonder, was some of the "spaciousness" sound that has been attributed to vinyl a result of that out-of-phase low frequency background noise that seems to be inherent in vinyl?

Oscilloscopes are cool.  :)

 


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JimH

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #14 on: March 08, 2021, 08:18:23 pm »

Great post, antenna!
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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #15 on: November 19, 2021, 07:44:58 pm »


btw, here's another vacuum tube and headphones song in a playlist of mine...

Bonzo Dog Doo Dah Band "I'm the Urban Spaceman"
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xVr2hbE6aW0


Fun tune.     :)

 
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Shellac: Shure M91, Shure N75-3 stylus,  Dual 1218 turntable

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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #16 on: June 25, 2022, 09:04:57 pm »


Kind of surprised that there are Theater View images for Tangerine Dream, but not for King Crimson.

(note: I do block google images in Theater View because of some of the, let's just say, unwanted images that google proffered)

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Scobie

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #17 on: June 28, 2022, 12:07:19 am »

Great post Antenna. But would a circular Lissajous figure indicate the signals are cancelling each other out?
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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #18 on: June 29, 2022, 11:02:23 am »

But would a circular Lissajous figure indicate the signals are cancelling each other out?

A 45 degree diagonal line from bottom left to top right indicates that the left and right channels are the same and in phase. (a.k.a. monaural)

A 45 degree diagonal line from bottom right to top left indicates that the left and right channels are the same and out of phase.

The more circular figure indicates the interesting area in between.
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Scobie

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #19 on: June 29, 2022, 07:02:17 pm »

Ah yes got it thank you.

Circle indicates 90 or 270 deg out of phase, ensuring there will always be a signal of some sort even when 1 input is at zero.

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antenna

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #20 on: June 30, 2022, 11:16:50 am »

It is a lot more complicated when you start adding in varying signal amplitudes and frequencies, with differing frequencies at differing phase relations.

But that is why it sounds "spacious."  The human hearing uses phase differentials in the sounds the ears receive to help determine the location of the source of the sounds.  Those phase differentials are why instruments sometimes sound like they are coming from an area outside of the two stereo speakers.  Your ears have been tricked by an audio engineer.

I haven't played with this in decades and, to be honest, nowadays my brain hurts when I try to visualize it.  :D

 


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AGAWA

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Re: Headphones and Vacuum Tubes
« Reply #21 on: June 30, 2022, 01:35:28 pm »

"goniometer" - used in recording studios
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