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CECE
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So you keep comparing reproduced end

What about how it was recorded sounding one way or teh other? The mics change it all, and once that's waht was done, if you don't like the sound at the playback side, you need then to EQUALIZE it? Tone controls, cus' what if you think it doesn't sound good? Or if your speakers stink and change it again? Wall outlets and under cabinet magic feet, don't matter. http://www.record-producer.com/learn.cfm?a=4547

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

The sound of the microphone, where the microphones are placed, etc. all have a large impact on the sound captured by a recording.

Then there are all of the mixing choices. Even in classical recordings there are spot mics to bring out certain sections and individual instrumentalists as needed/desired, altering the balance of the original performance.

Close mics on instrumentalists and vocalists changes their sound tremendously. Diana Krall does not sound that way in real life.

Then there are all the studio tricks and techniques used on Rock, Blues and Pop recordings. Unreal, but a desired, deliberate alternative to "real."

Recordings that sound real are indeed comparatively rare. Yet there are lots of good recordings of unamplified instruments performing in a real space that are very real, especially classical chamber music. There are also excellent jazz and other genre recordings out there. You just have to find them. They all make excellent references.

Bottom line: even more than ever we need to have a playback system that replicates what's on the recording without adding its own coloration.

CECE
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Right..and since TUBES distort big time and are known to add it's own TUBE sound, they are the worst choice to REPRODUCE what's on teh recording, so why do tubes keep being pushed as teh way to go for audiophiles, when it's just not true...they are used to make teh soudns not to reproduce it. Guitars are over driven amplifiers, giving teh sound they want, I don't want more tube distortions later on. In HyBrid pre amps and amps, teh output MOSFETS are not seeing any loads, so they do not give they tube MUSH...they are used in front of teh output ckts never see the outside world....hybirds are not tube mush... But then why do these mic companys push mics with tubes in them too? All sounds anti truth in reproduction...it all adds more tone of it's own in the chain.

CharlyD
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
Diana Krall does not sound that way in real life.


As would anybody who has had the opportunity to see Diana perform from a stageside perspective, I've noticed she has the rather annoying habit of beating out the rhythm with her left foot. I don't know how they keep those thuds out of the recording.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
As would anybody who has had the opportunity to see Diana perform from a stageside perspective, I've noticed she has the rather annoying habit of beating out the rhythm with her left foot. I don't know how they keep those thuds out of the recording.


It's actually not that hard with close-miking. As you know, sound pressure halves with distance. If the sound source (like her singing) is at essentially zero distance (lips on mic) this mic doesn't pick up much else. (In the studio, they also put a physical object, like a foam board, between her head and the piano). The piano is similarly close miked.

It's the same reason you can have a rock singer singing into a microphone in front of the guitar amps and not get much of the amps in the mic feeds.

There will be issues yet (and one needs to worry a bit about phase cancellation and the like) but with careful setup things tend to work out OK.

Elk
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

There are plenty of tube amps and preamps that do not distort. In fact, many tubes have very flat frequency response and can even be better than transistors in this regard.

It's all in the design and execution. Even Frank makes hybrid amps and other tube equipment - do you think he believes that all the tubes he uses are adding distortion?

I'll leave it to you to tell him that. He's pretty irascible. Make it a personal visit and let us know how it goes. Maybes you will end up with tubes force-fit in your ears.

CECE
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

No, I have his HYBRID stuff in the pre amps and DAC and phase inverters. AVA tube amps are also HYBRID, I use his OmegaStar EX in the P500 Hafler chassis (1400+W RMS, running in mono_, they are MOSFET output, Exicons, latest and greatest, no tube mush. Hybird is not anything like an all tube much component. Guitar amps are driven to saturation to distort, to MAKE the sound the musican wants.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
Guitar amps are driven to saturation to distort, to MAKE the sound the musican wants.


Exactly my point. Tubes can be driven in many ways: they can be very linear, they can be employed to add sweetness, they can be driven into distortion.

Tubes are not inherently colored or inaccurate.

gkc
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Elk, I have to jump in here. I have owned tube amps (and preamps) over the course of 35 years. Consistently, tubes sound more like the memory of a live concert hall experience. There are, of course, exceptions -- certain software exaggerates tube "glare," and (as you suggest) users become abusers, via mismatches and overdriving. Yeah. Right. And transistors sound great when clipping, screeching, hacking up sonic hairballs when driven to the puking point?

Elk, only the tube lover knows. Transistors can be viable substitutes, IF they are perfectly designed and used -- hey! you can leave them on all day.

But, if you love the live concert experience, and you want to re-charge the memory of it in your living room, tubes and ONLY tubes can do the job. I have searched the world over, I have climbed the highest mountains...

Shit. Don't get me started. I have 50-watt monoblocks, modified by a guitar-amp junkie, that I wouldn't sell for a hundred large. Because they give me what money can't buy -- a step back in time, to last night's concert.

Duck Fup. HIS tubes are saturated. The ones that ought to be feeding his ears.

Anything bad you say, generally and generically, about tubes, can be said (and heard) WORSE about transistors. Get the best of both, and you are in audio heaven. Negate either one, and you're missing at least half the fun. If you negate the tubes, however, and you love live music, you're missing 90% of the fun.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

I ain't never over driven or saturated my MOSFET amplifers, kinda hard to do that with 4800W+ capacity, a 50W tube amp can be driven into overload so easy, why would you use a guitar amplifer for hi fi playback, BIZZARE. They are made to saturate distort and create their own sound, in 35 years you haven't learned anything about electronics have you...let's start at teh basics.....eeeessssshhhhhhhh. Mush, bloat these are a few of tubes magic? You gots to be hard of hearing, right.

CECE
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

I've seen and heard 30W guitar amplifiers that cost 3X what a high powered hi fi amp costs, it sounds great, when used for it's purpose, a full distorted, saturated sound, not for reproduciton of music. When used properly in a HYBRID componet they are completly different thing, tube output stage is horrible for hi fi

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
Diana Krall does not sound that way in real life.


The only way you are going to know how she sounds is to hear her without the microphone and come to think of it without the piano too.
As far as I am concerned I don't really care what she (or anyone else really sounds like) as I only care for what they sound like reproduced on my stereo system until I hear them sounding (even better to me) on another stereo system.
So who has heard a singer unamplified and compared it to a recording reproduced on their system? If you have then you really know how good your system is. Sometimes I wonder if we concern ourselves too much with the sound of music rather than the music itself.

ethanwiner
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
who has heard a singer unamplified and compared it to a recording reproduced on their system?


Indeed. When people talk about how it's impossible to reproduce the sound of a live (non-classical) concert in a living room, they seem to miss that non-classical concerts are already played through a stereo system! In this case it's just a really big one - the house PA system. So if the concert was recorded off the mixing board, then you're playing back the same mix through your own system.

--Ethan

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Clifton said:

"But, if you love the live concert experience, and you want to re-charge the memory of it in your living room, tubes and ONLY tubes can do the job. I have searched the world over, I have climbed the highest mountains..."

Lots of us disagree with you. Let's agree to disagree however. Plenty of us can cite our live music experience, but it's just a pissing contest where no one wins.

I felt compelled to say something because you said it with so much absolute pontificate certainty that it needed to come down.

Dave

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
So who has heard a singer unamplified and compared it to a recording reproduced on their system?


Many times. It's one of the advantages of being a classical music nerd, as well as a performer.

I have also made and played back recordings of singers, instrumentalists, groups of musicians - it is a great way to really listen to what music sounds like.

Clifton, I like tubes a lot. One of my big amps is a tube amp. I also like SS. My point is simply that tubes (like transistors) can be used to reproduce music wonderfully, or to deliberately cause distortion, or whatever else the designer desires.

(I hope DUP doesn't find out that most distortion boxes and the like for electric guitar are now transistorized - not tubes, he'll freak.)

Tubes are great. So are transistors. But in both cases they need to be properly employed.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Very enlightened idea. Most tube electronics manufacturers haven't gotten this memo and simply use them as euphoric devices.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
Very enlightened idea. Most tube electronics manufacturers haven't gotten this memo and simply use them as euphoric devices.


Absolute nonsense.

There is a great deal of wonderful highly accurate tube equipment.

mrlowry
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

We'll have to agree to disagree. There is SOME wonderful tube gear but most of it is hopelessly colored. But the stuff that is good is unbelievably good.

CECE
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Colored is colored, how could one being colored, be any better than the other colored thing. They all bloat, mush, let speakers flop around like it has no muscle control.....BOOOOOOM

Jim Tavegia
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

I would bet that those of you who still have your hearing intact could be given two piles of money, maybe a 100 LARGE, and told you to build two systems...one all tube amp, preamp, cd player; and one all solid state and then had you mate it with some great Class A speakers you could get the systems to sound more alike, or nothing alike depending upon your speakers choices.

I would bet that most of us made our gear choices one on dollars avaialble, then on what sounded best TO US...for that money.

I have heard some expensive tube gear and affordable tube gear on Triangles and Quads and was equally blown away. I will never forget my first listening experience on the older, larger Quads. Just when you think you are satisfied you step into a new world of "realism" that has you shaking your head. The Magellans would have you doing that along with the large Sonus Faber Stradivari, or even with Wilson Watt Puppy, and for some the B and W 802s.

You can and probably have created the sound that, to you, sounds like reality. If you attend live concerts regularly then you may have tried and succeeded, or like many are still frustrated. At times I think this is where JGH has fallen.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
There is SOME wonderful tube gear but most of it is hopelessly colored. But the stuff that is good is unbelievably good.


Interesting opinion.

What equipment falls into this category of wonderfully good and yet hopelessly colored?

What makes it wonderfully good that allows one to overlook the colorations? Or is it the colorations that make it wonderful?

(BTW, by colored I assume you mean frequency response.)

mrlowry
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

I believe that you've misunderstood me. In my opinion some tube gear is wonderfully neutral (lets call it category 1) and most of it is hopelessly colored (lets call it category 2). For example I find Audio Research to be really neutral and consistently impressive. While BAT is really colored and mushy, yet in the same price range. Just two examples.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Got it.

gkc
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

dcstep, I have no idea what you mean when you say citing live music is a "pissing contest where no one wins." Do you mean we are competing on the site, in words, to see who (somehow) "wins" when it comes to describing the live experience? Would you prefer to read (I would say, as opposed to listen to...) a winning argument?

You felt compelled. I believe you meant "pontification." Nothing came down.

As I review the thread, meandering around several unrelated topics, I note that I responded to Elk's statement that tube amplification can be as neutral as solid state. This one caught my eye. So I responded, since my 30+ years of listening to live and recorded music, of chasing the elusive goal of getting the memory of the live concert experience into my listening room as accurately as possible, invited a response.

As I read through parts of the thread that engage the debate over the superiority of tubes over transistors, and the converse, I am surprised at the misconceptions. Most of the anti-tube arguments center on tonality, or the presentation of timbre. Most of these comments pull out the old cliches about tubes being mushy, soft, blurred, and favoring the mid-band, as opposed to the frequency extremes.

How naive. I can't help but conclude that most of the replies that invoke these old cliches have never listened to a modern tube amplifier (or preamplifier). I can tell you all from personal experience that the best modern tube designs are indistinguishable from transistors, when it comes to timbre and bandwidth.

I could play you a tube amp that you would swear was solid state. I could play you a solid state amp, if you were in the "timbre" camp, that you would swear was tube.

As a concert-goer, I can tell you that the best tubed designs (AR, VTL, McIntosh, BAT, and the Audio Innovations monoblocks I have that Blackie has brought up to state-of-the-art) have NO deviations from neutral timbres. What tubes do best is capture the (for the want of a better term) the diffuse spread of the sound at a live concert. Solid state, no matter HOW its presentation of timbre may be voiced, FOCUSES the sound. Tubes spread it out. THIS is what I hear in the concert hall. Beautifully diffused sound, filling the hall. THIS is what I hear in my living room, with tubes -- a huge, diffuse soundstage, with no corner of the room left unfilled. And disappearing speakers. Solid state, no matter what the timbre or tonal balance, focuses. Things shrink. An oboe becomes restricted to its seat, rather than spreading out throughout the hall. This is not a bad thing. It just isn't concert hall realism. Which is what I am after.

I own about $30,000 in transistor amplification. I wouldn't have purchased it if I didn't enjoy it. But tubes come closer to reproducing the memory of the live experience. Tubes immerse you in the sound. Transistors distance you from it. This has NOTHING to do with "mushiness" or octave-to-octave tonal balance.

If you mis-match your speakers with tubes OR solid state, you will not like the results. Unfortunately, it would be impossible to generalize about such mis-matches. My 50-watt tubed monoblocks will play much louder (subjectively, which is all that counts) than my 250 to 350-watt transistors (either the Krells or the Levinsons). But I have sensitive speakers with simple crossovers. Anything over 20 watts or so is a waste of heat and electricity.

DUP's contributions do not count. I am so sorry. I have heard his amplifiers and his speakers. Besides, who knows why DUP even bothers to contribute to any discussions -- he hasn't said anything positive OR varied since he burned his first cochlea. What he REALLY needs is Legacy transistor amps. If YOU ALL do not own Legacy speakers, do not even think about it. I spent 2 days in their factory listening room, and, believe me, there is nothing there that you want to hear (assuming you love live acoustic music) with anything other than Legacy's own ear-burning electronics.

If you do not like tubes, that is fine. I have no problems with this bias. As long as I don't have to adhere to it.

CECE
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

When did you spend 2 days listening at the Legacy factory? Which location? They have moved a few years ago. Do they offer free room and shower? When did you hear my amps and speekers? You heard the AVA Ultra series or OmegaStar EX combination, in the P500 setup, since they have a larger power transformer than other AVA units, which matter, the difference is mega size, into 4 Ohm loads it makes a difference, which series have you heard with Legacy Whisper Since you mentioned mis matched speekers and amps, so if you didn't hear my combo than what you say don't count. There are certain properties of a tube amp, that can't change, it's poor speaekr control, low damping factor, loose mushy bass. They always add their color, which is a poor choice for REPRODUCTION, again, they are used in making the original sound, due to their coloration, and distortion characteristis. www.cranesong.com Even offer Digital units that can mimic the colorations and distortions to add to the recording or playback, and they specificially call out it's abiltys to add Analog and tube Distortions in it's literature.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
mentioned mis matched speekers and amps, so if you didn't hear my combo than what you say don't count.

indeed!

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

But I thought the Legacy guy was a genius.

How can he design a crappy amp or mismatch it to his own speakers?

On the plus side, we can now save this quote of DUP's when he makes claims about other people's listening experiences: "...if you didn't hear my combo than what you say don't count."

You heard it here first, folks, DUP has just said, "...if you didn't hear my combo than what you say don't count."

Exactly, DUP.

DUP must now live by those words. If Clifton says he prefers tubes, then DUP can't argue until he's heard Clifton's system.

No more anti-vinyl screeds until he has heard the person's truntable.

Paradise.

However, here in Vegas, we have the over/under on DUP heeding his own words at 90 minutes.

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Legacy guy is a genius, he designs speakers, he don't make amps, they are oem'd by others. Clifton didn't use Legacy amps, Clifton didn't her Whispers driven with plenty o' watts either....I've heard the Whispers on Legacy amp of like 400W channel, mine sound better, more watts and AVA electronics. I don't have Legacy amps. No Buddha, you cannot use that statement to mean that I cannot say tubes suck, are obsolete, cus they are, and using tiny wattage amps, are useless, cus' that's not an oppion, that's a fact. He also didn't have the Ultra hybrid ckts pre amp etc..all tube amps would have the tube issues, no control etc..it's just the way it is, and then the ones that use tube rectifiers and power supply control using tubes, right off the bat that is crap, the power supplies sag, no control, they are used on guitar amps to do just that distort. Cliffy specifically said, he heard mine, I was wondering when he was here, I didn't see him. And I was being sarcstic, you didn't catch the item. Since that is what all you listen gurus keep hounding on, I was just throwing it right back at ya's. Cus it's not true, just knowing what the stuff is, look at some specs, ya can get a real good idea of what it's gonna sound like. The AVA P500 Omegastar EX is a much better amplifer than the Legacy amplifier, that's why I have em...if the Legacy amp was better, I'd have them. AVA electronics are much better for much less. Legacy speakers are the best in that realm.......ya gotta know which product of which mfg to buy to buy, I don't just buy cus of the brand....get it now?

dcstep
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
dcstep, I have no idea what you mean when you say citing live music is a "pissing contest where no one wins." Do you mean we are competing on the site, in words, to see who (somehow) "wins" when it comes to describing the live experience? Would you prefer to read (I would say, as opposed to listen to...) a winning argument?

...
As I review the thread, meandering around several unrelated topics, I note that I responded to Elk's statement that tube amplification can be as neutral as solid state. This one caught my eye. So I responded, since my 30+ years of listening to live and recorded music, of chasing the elusive goal of getting the memory of the live concert experience into my listening room as accurately as possible, invited a response.

As I read through parts of the thread that engage the debate over the superiority of tubes over transistors, and the converse, I am surprised at the misconceptions. Most of the anti-tube arguments center on tonality, or the presentation of timbre. Most of these comments pull out the old cliches about tubes being mushy, soft, blurred, and favoring the mid-band, as opposed to the frequency extremes.

How naive. I can't help but conclude that most of the replies that invoke these old cliches have never listened to a modern tube amplifier (or preamplifier). I can tell you all from personal experience that the best modern tube designs are indistinguishable from transistors, when it comes to timbre and bandwidth.

I could play you a tube amp that you would swear was solid state. I could play you a solid state amp, if you were in the "timbre" camp, that you would swear was tube.

As a concert-goer, I can tell you that the best tubed designs (AR, VTL, McIntosh, BAT, and the Audio Innovations monoblocks I have that Blackie has brought up to state-of-the-art) have NO deviations from neutral timbres. What tubes do best is capture the (for the want of a better term) the diffuse spread of the sound at a live concert. Solid state, no matter HOW its presentation of timbre may be voiced, FOCUSES the sound. Tubes spread it out. THIS is what I hear in the concert hall. Beautifully diffused sound, filling the hall. THIS is what I hear in my living room, with tubes -- a huge, diffuse soundstage, with no corner of the room left unfilled. And disappearing speakers. Solid state, no matter what the timbre or tonal balance, focuses. Things shrink. An oboe becomes restricted to its seat, rather than spreading out throughout the hall. This is not a bad thing. It just isn't concert hall realism. Which is what I am after.

I own about $30,000 in transistor amplification. I wouldn't have purchased it if I didn't enjoy it. But tubes come closer to reproducing the memory of the live experience. Tubes immerse you in the sound. Transistors distance you from it. This has NOTHING to do with "mushiness" or octave-to-octave tonal balance.

...

Clifton, I wanted to agree to disagree because I suspected, rightly, that you'd continue to spout claims that just aren't true. You wear your concert attendance as if they're medals and some proof of heroric audiophile credentials. On this site and in this thread there are others with way more live music experience than you. You cite 30-years audiophile experience and once again you're trumped. Having $30000 of transister equipment is of no relevance.

I'm in Elk's camp, that both SS and tube can be excellent when properly coordinated. I use SS, mostly, because of my particular speakers and desire for a compact, efficient system. I enjoy my friend's ARC almost equally well. (If he'll add a Playback Designs CDP that might close the gap totally).

So, if you don't want to agree to disagree, just stop pissing into the wind and getting the floor wet around the rest of us.

Dave

gkc
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Okay, I "spout claims that are not true." Enlighten me, concerning what is true. True to what? True to your listening experience? True to mine? Tell us, O sage, what is truth? An oscilloscope? A line graph depicting impedance and frequency response? If you think this is so, paper your wall with 'em. Save the money and the trips downtown. My claim is that the best tube amplification I have been able to find, buy, and put into my systems has a slight edge (in terms of my memory of the live event) over the best solid state amplification I have been able to find, buy, and put into my systems.

"There are others with way (sic) more live listening experience than you." Good God, I hope so. That would mean I am not the oldest fart on the forum. Let's do a poll. This would be a great relief to me. I hope you are right on this one.

"Having $30,000 worth of transistor equipment is of no relevance." I agree. I think I got screwed. The tubes sound better...not by a hell of a lot, but better. You hit the ball outta the park on this one.

Further, the best transistor preamp I have is the $1200 Adcom, in passive mode. Still, I had a great 5 years (long gold and silver), I'm divorced, and I have no debts to pay off, so what better way to spend the swag than on high-fidelity, trout fishing, good booze, and starving whores who need the work? This year, I have been short the S&P 500 since January, and what else am I gonna do with 110 large? Eat your heart out (sorry if you were long). So I just guess I'll go waste some more dough on my untrue ears. Damn. I wish I could get some true ones.

Solid-state electronics can stay turned on 'til doomsday. You don't have to worry about wear and tear. I am grateful for that, and I will keep my transistorized radios for that reason. They comprise reliable back-up options. But, for serious listening, I'll take the tubes. If this is pissing into the wind, I'll wear a rubber smock.

I agree to disagree. Er, disagree to agree...disagree to disagree? Agree to agree? Never could figure out the differences. Awwww, to hell with it. I gotta go piss.

dcstep
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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end


Quote:
... This year, I have been short the S&P 500 since January, and what else am I gonna do with 110 large? Eat your heart out (sorry if you were long). ...

It does my heart good to see you so pleased with such a modest gain.

Dave

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Re: So you keep comparing reproduced end

Hey! It was the best I could do, with the risk/rewards parameters presented by the charts (you know, the chicken guts -- Bollinger bands, MACD Histograms, RSI divergences, last highest high/last lowest low, 60-minute Stochastics -- AND, let us never forget, public sentiment, as expressed by the zit-faced loons at CNBC, who were recommending buys on Citigroup at 32, Wackie-Bank at 38, and Lehman Bros. at 42).

Fade these guys, if you aren't sure of the trade. Just fade 'em. When they say, "BUY! It can't go much lower! In 5 years, you will be happy!", just close your eyes, hold your nose, and type in the "sell short" button, at the market. Screw the 5 years. You'll be happy in 5 days. With whatever amount you decided to risk.

Smilin' Bob, on Fox Financial, and the resident buffoon who haunts the pits at NYMEX (and, apparently, does little else...), say oil "HAS to come down." Buy the dips.

If I can just double my margin each year, I am a happy audiophile. So far, so good. Your mileage, as the cliche goes, may vary, if you're runnin' 6-7 figures, you're doin' better than I am. But, I am very happy, and I get to keep everything the Revenoooooers don't get first (since I trade only my own money). Buy the dips in the resource sectors, and sell the rallies in the financials and the broader market futures and ETF's. Looking for Mr. Goodbar to rescue the $USD is a bet in favor of the Tooth Fairy. It might work, but make sure you get long odds, and keep your stops tight.

dcstep
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Hey, don't trash my beloved financials. I just bought a few shares of IndyMac at 70-something-cents. I'm waiting on the others to get a little lower. I figure one or two will survive and result in a nice pop; hopefully, offsetting the losses on the ones that go on down the toilet.

I can't buy my clients, but US Bank and Trust Mark are well positioned and should pay off in '09.

Dave

gkc
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Unless there is no bid for their paper. Nothing gets booked as an asset until there is a bid. Everything else is faith. Faith applies to the supernatural, and that is personal. When your top Central Banker and your Secretary of the Treasury are pleading with you to have faith, be very afraid. Mere time does not heal all wounds.

Good luck.

dcstep
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Hmm, I think we've been here before. Didn't I already point out that gold is merely an icon with little intrinsic value. The difference between dollar bills and gold is very small when worse comes to worse. When the dollar is worth nothing then gold will be worth nothing and the only thing important will be the size of your army.

Dave

gkc
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But gold always catches a bid. And dollars don't. As we currently see. Dollars are debt, and debt (as we speak) is being repudiated by the borrowers and monetized by the lenders. There are reasons why gold went from 250 to over 1000. If gold has no intrinsic value, then the dollar, apparently, has less than that.

And, what would you mean by "intrinsic"? NOTHING has "intrinsic" value, unless it is consumed. Gold's value lies precisely in the fact that it is relatively useless. As measured against everything else but "paper" (you will forgive the metonymic trope -- even paper can be worth more than the ink that stains it...).

How Post-Structuralist. I do believe a fellow from Forbes wrote this same screed about 4 years ago. "What does it matter," he said, "since all money is merely relative"? Ahem. Gold, at the time of this writing, was about $450 (or, in other words, could have been purchased for about half as much paper as it could be now...). Why would anyone bid it up, if it were as useless as you say?

I believe you have been reading too much Derrida. There is an "outside narrative," a "hors du texte." And the people who write it have too much paper and are profoundly interested in unloading a lot of it.

Academics can afford relativity. Trillionaires need a basis. Gold is the basis. Aside from that function, as you note, it is worthless. Profoundly worthless. Like painting, music, or poetry. No intrinsic value. Which, in a world gone mad, may be its ultimate value.

If you question this, go to Stephan's blog. About the 6th entry down, the one about student loans. People don't want to pay them back. Hmmm.

Good luck.

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Quote:
Gold's value lies precisely in the fact that it is relatively useless.


This has always fascinated me, a delicious oddity.

bifcake
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My poop is fairly useless too. I wonder if that has intrinsic value....

gkc
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But hardly rare, Alex. There is an unlimited supply or not only your literal and unlimited excrement, but horseshit, bullshit, and all other manners of figurative dung being flung about these days.

Now, this is just a brilliant rebuttal. "My poop is fairly useless too." Yet, you "wonder" if it has intrinsic value. Check out the world economic scene. Your poop didn't rise from $250 to over $1000 ($US, but the rise has been just as spectacular in Euros, Pounds, and Yen) in 7 years, as world (in particular, our corner of it) debt went logarithmic. Let me ground your "wonder" in the real world. Not your poop, nor anyone else's, is desirable as a central bank reserve. Too tough to keep. It does, however, have one characteristic in common with ink and bytes -- it is very easy to use as collateral. Again, it is unlimited in supply. Apparently, it has a lot more in common with inked paper and electronically recorded debits than we might comfortably recognize -- it is overwhelmingly available.

Good job, Alex. Perhaps you could write a book on the subject and lecture at Harvard.

I suspect, sadly, that your comment epitomizes the knowledge of audiophiles everywhere of where the currently unlimited multiplying of debt is taking us.

Hey. Borrow it and spend it while you can. Happy tunes.

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Quote:

Quote:
Gold's value lies precisely in the fact that it is relatively useless.


This has always fascinated me, a delicious oddity.

Gold's purely an icon, no different from sea shells and beans used as currency in certain earlier cultures. (Beans actually have a value when measured in grams of protein). Anyway, the worth of an icon, like gold and the dollar, rest purely in peoples' faith that they'll be able to recover their investment should they decide to sell.

The supply of gold is vast vs. its known current demand for things like jewelry and plating trumpets and RCA plugs. Thus, it's faith that people will buy it that gives it value, not that it's needed for anything important. (It could suddenly become very important if say it became useful in catalysts needed run an energy exchanger to replace internal combustion engines).

Anyway, currencies get their value from faith in the government that issued them. Gold gets it value because people are willing to pay for it and it's got a reasonably quantifiable world volume giving it a collectible value. However, in the event of a world economic crash, you wouldn't want to hold gold, instead you'd want to hold rifles and bullets.

Dave

gkc
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Dave, after 6000 years of recorded history, if you seriously mean that gold is no different than beans or seashells, then you have some explaining to do, concerning why beans and seashells haven't quadrupled, in paper terms, over the past 7 years. Unless, of course, you refer to the hairy legume itself, the mighty soybean. Which has. I somehow doubt if this is what you meant, though...

"Gold's purely an icon." Yeah. Unfortunately, the $USD isn't. For once, we agree, at least we half agree. "Purely." "Icon." Then the brush-off.
Right. Leave it vague.

"The supply of gold is vast." Apparently, not vast enough, for those who do not trust the infinitely "vast" supply of electronic transfers. These folks (all of whom, no doubt, are dumber than you...) keep bidding it up.

"Currencies get their value from faith (sic) in the government that issued them (sic)." No comment. I don't do "faith," when it comes to trusting folks to repay what they owe. They usually don't, at least not lately, at either the macro or micro level.

Armageddon? An ultimate "world economic crash"? I already have bullets. They are not expensive. My tiny brain tells me (aside from discussing ultimate scenarios, which is another topic, entirely) that gold is appreciating against paper at a much faster rate than bullets are.

Anticipation of Armageddon is not the driver behind the current up-trend in gold. How naive. The markets are hedging their bets. Markets do not do "ultimates." They just allocate capital. And when capital becomes disconnected from any basis or bases (no matter how you define it or them), it runs to create its own basis. And Aristotle is not a bad place to start.

Eventually, true enough, the $USD will return to its intrinsic value. Zero. I doubt very much if I will live to see the day, and I neither invest or speculate on the basis that I shall. I just try to understand the trends and go with them. So far, the results have been spectacular. In paper terms. Since I still have more paper than gold, that makes me very, very nervous. I wonder how heads of state and central bankers feel...

Good luck, dcstep. I hope you have a plan "B," and I hope the banks you are buying get paid back their loans, as (snicker) "promised."

No reason to beat this dog any harder. You go your way, I'll go mine.

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