Discussion in 'Audio Hardware' started by Steve Hoffman, Jul 22, 2017.
I'm going to have to wait until its closer to 500 bucks. Being poor sucks.
they were fitted by a guy who does all my work here in the US-Nick Gowan at True Sound
Melody Valve Audio advertises that they make the Ongaku for 5% of the price. It does use silver and it is a 211. That's basically where the comparison ends. Still a nice sounding amp though.
Kondo published the original Ongaku circuit in Sound Practices magazine back in the 1990s. We were invited to make one. All it took was a lot of silver wire.
Borrow a Sootto mains cable from Peter, it's a significant step up from the Sogon and very much worth the grief.
If Bob Carver was still doing his thing to dispel magic, it would be interesting to see the transfer function of this "holy grail" amp emulated perfectly (again), in solid state. Which was done 30 years ago (if you want to re-read the Stereophile article) and turned into the production Carver m1.0t - a Conrad Johnson Premier Four for the masses.
Thanks to Warren Jarrett. He is an interesting person and a nice guy. Steve, it was nice of you to tell me this.
No problem. He's a great guy, likes you.
Let's not go TOO far with this "like" thing; I do have a wife, you know. I don't even know Tullman's name. But we have had some audiophile PM communication that made it obvious we share the same enthusiasm for Jethro Tull, Thiel speakers, CAT electronics, and sound preferences in general. I have two CAT preamps, that I have used with my various "3-series" Thiels, but I have never heard big Thiels with Tullman's pair of CAT preamp and big CAT amplifier. So, next time I go to Boston (no forseeable plans to), I definitely want to hear his audio system.
If Tullman ever comes to Los Angeles, I would really like him to hear the Thiel/CAT system in my home, the Audio Note systems in my "Audio Home", and Steve's AN reference system. There is something special about "the designers' ears" reflected in every CAT and AN product, in my opinion, that defines "the magic of recorded instruments and voices coming alive in our listening rooms".
I use the words "designer's ears" and "magic" to describe Steve's AN system because you just have to hear it to believe it. Audiophile terms and technical explanations cannot touch the emotional experience of reproduced music sounding so vivid, and yet so smooth and natural. I suspect Tullman's Thiel/CAT system provides a similar "magic".
And what better album to start with, at the inevitable listening session with Tullman and me, than "Songs from the Wood", "War Child" or "A Passion Play"?
Don't forget Thick As A Brick
I get where you're coming from. One truly does have to hear great, even magical music reproduction to understand what's possible. But there are others on this forum who want...proof...
"Dude, that's all just like your subjective opinion man. And is your hearing perfect? Cause if it isn't, your opinion on sound is no good -- how could it be? I have to see some objective measures or evidence that indicate this over-priced amplifier is all that, otherwise it's all just opinion dude."
Proof is in the listening. And if you don't trust your ears or you are worried about being unduly biased by name brand, looks, price, design, etc then conduct a blind level matched audition and see (err hear) what happens.
I personally get why people want proof especially when they spend this kind of money. It's why I am not religious because they all ask me for money and none give me proof of the omnipotent dream watcher in the sky.
But proof is not reading about a test done 30 years ago between any two given items and saying - hey no one passed the test so everything since then sounds exactly the same.
Audio Note has been subjected to a lot of level matched blind auditions over the years. Speaking to Peter Qvortrup he has brought these tests up rather positively.
Addressing the Carver situation - can a very gifted designer make an amp sound like another more expensive amp - yes - BUT pay attention to this very important paragraph posted by harby:
Secondly, Bob had never before had a chance to listen critically to a "world-class" amplifier like the one we chose as our reference, and ended up admitting that there were things about its sound that he preferred to his own amp. He might, he averred, "do some things differently in future designs."
Read more at The Carver Challenge Page 4
Bob Carver can't emulate every amplifier and his admission and indeed the very test implies that many amplifiers sound very different. He emulated one amp but maybe he can't in fact emulate others.
Lastly, Bob must have felt himself that his device in fact was not the perfect emulator at all - Bob currently designs and manufactures - drum roll please....TUBE AMPLIFIERS!
And holy cow they approach Audio Note price points too.
Interestingly, audiophiles have discovered, and the article documents that Bob seems to have been open to and conceded, that an amp that perfectly reproduces its input signal as it is asked to do, and as an ideal amplifier should do, can sound less appealing than one that colors the sound with its own characteristics.
The caveat I see, is when you use the same "sounds better" criteria individually with your turntable cartridge, phono stage, preamp, speakers, you then start needing to come up with words like synergy, because your system is no longer guided on faithfully reproducing what the recording engineers heard (or if you are a mastering engineer, making a recording only a few can hear).
We do have to wonder, if it would somehow less pure and audiophile to use our technical ability to put a low level "magic box" in front of an amp, if it accomplishes the same goal. If I were able to make a vanilla amp that has an "Audio Note" button (along with "Rotel", "Dynaudio", "Krell" buttons...) , and neither you nor instrumentation can tell which is which, does it really matter how much real silver or glowing tubes are inside?
The handcrafted and esoteric fills a niche for the 1% (or 0.01%) with 1% equipment, and Bob's previous designs I've already recognized in Chinese-branded knock-offs, so he's probably going where he needs to go. The appreciation of Hi-Fi among the public is probably at an all-time low, with Beats headphones alone bringing in more revenue than many prominent audio companies, and architectural speakers outselling floorstanders and bookshelf speakers, so that small-scale and expensive is about the only place to expect great equipment these days.
More listening impressions, less ideology for me please. "Silver is the new gold," SH. That's a classic.
Too late, I've shaved my head and carved an AN on my scalp.
Any pictures of your scalp?
Only wearing my Gucci cap.
Peter of Symposium Acoustics is making a custom amp stand for the Ongaku:
The Symposium Acoustics Ultra Pro Ampstand Stealth edition.
Has a neat custom black top. Since crazy amp is made out of COPPER the black will look spiffy. Might help with the WAF a bit.. The thing is going to be 15" by 29" so maybe not...
Then there's the guy with the AN bedspread...
Sorry, did someone call me?
Separate names with a comma.