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michael green
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when "they say"

Sometimes it's good to step back and take a look at this hobby for what it really is, instead of what people have tried to make it into.

Do we as hobbyist, designers and industry makers think we are going to move ahead calling ourselves the people in the know when in fact we are just at the beginning of the understanding curve?

You've heard me say "every recording is different" and "every playback of that recording is different" yet up in arms goes the guy who has created his "one sound system" claiming it as a reference.

My question is this, a reference to what?

All over this industry the fingers point to needed flexible systems, still the high end part of this industry will not budge off of the idea of "one sound fits all". I hate to break the news but this is not going to happen and the closer you get to making your system "one sound" to judge by the less music you are going to be able to play.

Don't listen to me if you wish, how about others who I can randomly pick all over the web giving the reasons why. here's one

___________________________________

"Curve? We don't need no stinkin' curves." The simplest form of disk-cutter consists of an amplifier, similar to that used to drive a loudspeaker, connected to a cutting-head having a stylus connected to a coil, which is placed in the field from a strong magnet (or, more usually in later designs, a magnet within a coil). When the signal is applied to the coil, the stylus moves and engraves a groove in the blank disk. This is, of course, the simple explanation.

However, because the cutter head's movements translate the amplitude swings of the original signal into velocity - the rate at which the stylus moves during its swings - low-frequency signals would be recorded with a much larger swing than high-frequency signals of the same original amplitude. So, the low frequency grooves would be much wider than the grooves on an equalized disk. Wider grooves take up more room which reduces the available recording time. They are also much harder for the cartridge to track which increases distortion. The solution is to reduce the amplitude of low frequencies during disk cutting and then boost them with a reverse curve during playback.

Another problem is distortion and signal-to-noise ratios in the high frequencies. Early disc recording equipment did not have the extended high frequency capabilities of today's modern equipment. However, as disk cutters improved during the 1940's through the 1960's the need to address the high frequencies increased. The solution was to boost the high frequencies during cutting and then reduce them during playback. Now there was a high and low curve with a "knee" frequency.

Each 3 dB difference in the curve is double the volume. Some of the curves boosted or reduced certain frequencies by 18 dB or 64 times. The "knee" or "cutoff frequencies" ranged from 250 to 500 Hz in the lower end and 6KHz to 15KHz in the upper end. With that much difference in the volume and cutoff points, the curve could not be ignored during playback. Tone controls normally operate at the extremes and don't reach the knee frequency. So, you do need a playback decoding curve.

"Which curve is best?" Well, there's always Gena Davis's curves on Phil's 10ft. HDTV. Or Columbia, Decca, N.A.B., R.C.A., B.B.C., E.M.I., C.C.I.R., A.E.S., or maybe Orthacoustic to name but a few? The experts argued for decades about which curve to use. There were compromises with every option. Each curve traded and balanced signal-to-noise, distortion, trackability, rumble, disk space, and other sonic qualities against each other. The critics complained about "tracking", "muddiness", "smearing", "overmodulation by second & third harmonics of the soprano voice", "cymbals and brass instruments overload the system", and more. While each manufacturer adopted the curve that suited them, the individual disk mastering engineers altered the "company curve" to suit their own preferences. The equipment manufacturers tried to keep up with all the different equalization curves and build playback circuits with curves that would make their own equipment sound "good". Audio equipment in the 1950's had a separate knob for the playback curves. The user had anywhere from 3 to maybe 5 or more choices for the desired playback curve. This meant checking each album cover for the recommended curve or keeping a log nearby for quick reference. Users who stacked their records on automatic changers had to pick a single curve for the whole stack or run to the record changer at every change. Many 78 rpm acoustic recordings had no curve, so their tremendous sonic potential is absolutely ruined by any playback curve. Some record makers didn't give the recommended curve, so the user had to experiment. Others even lied about which curve they used. Imagine your stereo system is located in a busy airline terminal and everyone who passes turns the bass and treble tone controls to different extreme positions. Now imagine you are blind folded and trying to make your system sound "right". That was life before the RIAA standard. In a word, there was CHAOS!!!! "
_____________________________________________

The audiophile, designer or even reviewer who can not understand the need for variable systems is living in a world that doesn't exist. In every aspect of this industry I can show you why we need "tunable", and this can be done without my words, but using the words of people involved in every step along the audio pathway.

With Harry Pearson's passing it makes me think about his quest "the absolute sound". Maybe some of you haven't, but I always took this as meaning the absolute sound and not "the absolute one sound system". We keep reviewing all these systems presenting "their sound" and reviewers describing how well these one sound systems do one thing better than the others, but never reaching "the absolute sound" with every recording. So what do we do, keep pretending that recordings have this same magical code like with RIAA that we can use to regulate, forgetting why this EQ was needed? So what does this mean, are we to do the same with rooms, speakers, amps or all the many parts that make their own marks on sound? We'll stamp a rating on everything and the industry will instantly become vanilla. Is that what highenders think the audiophile world is, a one size fits all process from start to finish?

I have news for you. This industry is one of the most variable sports you will ever experience and those of you who are thinking you can put all these ingredients in a blender and have them come out the same are going to be in buying mode and trade-offs forever. Some may want this, but I would venture to say that most will tell you they would "rather be listening". How many more seasons of "bad sounding" or "my system will only play the best" does a hobby have to go through before realizing there is a better way? Go ahead do the research and take a good look at how many standards or non-standards you are listening to with the same "one sound" system. I promise you that if you don't figure out how to play all the music (I'm talking about audiophile vs audiophile as well) this will be the end of the high end part of this hobby. You can not sit there and play music judge with a one sound system and think that you are getting the true sound unless you are completely out of touch with reality or have an extremely narrow selection of music choices that you play for you and your audio club over and over, or introduce something new every month that happens to play well on someones system.

I do believe in the quest for the absolute sound, but I also know that getting there can not be building as many rooms and systems that it takes to play the absolutes, and that's what this hobby is trying to do. I'm not even sure if I can call highenders audiophiles anymore. Instead of learning and building for the many great pieces of music out there, it seems like the industry (this part of it) is more about building components that only play a few pieces of music extremely well and not able to play the rest at all. That to me seems to be the opposite of what the audiophile is. A bunch of guys claiming they know what good sound is and able to make judgement calls based on systems sitting in rooms fighting the sound and system components fighting each other. Making the odds against playing a wide range of great music recordings doesn't compute to me. Does it you? Do you really know recordings well enough to be able to judge them with a system that only plays one sound and very few pieces of music?

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

iosiP
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Michael, I now what my absolute sound is!

It is the sound of a system reproducing exactly what is on the CD. Yes, this is affected by the performance of the DAC but then, from the beginning of the analog realm I should get a perfect null when comparing the signal at the input of my preamp, then power amp, then the output of the power amp with what is captured by a calibrated mike placed where my head usually is during auditions.
Yes I may not like that sound, but this is the "correct" one as much as fidelity to the source is concerned. And while I might prefer another spacial presentation or tonal balance (and I will try to achieve those) these would not accurately represent whatever is recorded on the media - and I consider that the artistic vision includes the work of the recording and mastering engineers, no matter how good or bad these sound.

michael green
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RIAA & space

Hi Costin, good to see you!

So if you compared what was on the CD to the RIAA, would you consider the EQed RIAA incorrect?

I probably should include this for some who may not know. The mastering standards for vinyl, CD and tape are 3 different EQ settings, and a ton of different choices.

Thinking more about what you said though, why would someone make a recording that sounded bad? Don't you think that perhaps most recordings (personal taste aside) were made good sounding?

Here's what I have notced. When a recording reaches close to the "real space" "real size" the distortion (bad sound) goes away.

michael green
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iosiP
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Michael, I do not own an analog rig

So talking about RIAA EQ is irrelevant to my system.
However, I question the idea of manipulating the system/room to get the most of each and every record: a "perfect" system should give me exactly what's on the CD, warts included. If I don't like the taste of the medicine it's useless to add sweetener - I'll better change the pharmacy or the drug manufacturer.

N.B. I hate the fat, sweety sound of VTL recordings but I won't change my system to make something palatable out of them: I simply don't buy their records anymore (the music is nothing to "phone home", anyway).

michael green
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here's what I'm saying

Hi Costin

Here's what I'm saying. People are too tough on themselves about what is and what isn't absolute. Harry painted the picture of "live sound" yet we all know that this is not what a recording is. People say this source is better than that, yet they all have their own set of rules, and they all sound different.

I don't know if you have done test setups much, like you mentioned before. We have done quite a few when traveling with those who setup both home and studio and use setup test guides, and here's what we found. If you did the setup you described earlier or any other setup guide, in two different locations they may measure exactly the same but will not sound alike. I personally have never seen the same "perfect" system setup in two places sounding the same regardless of setup programs. I've never seen anyone else do it either, in the studio, mastering or playback.

If there was a perfect setup or perfect system, or even a perfect recording, why have we gone all this time not using it to listen to? I have never been to any reviewers and had them tell me they were playing the perfect system, nor studio, nor home. What I have done, is been in many studios listening to the recording and take those recordings to many places and have it sound completely different on each and every system. There is not one studio engineer in the world that has taken a recorded piece and played it back on a fixed system and found it to sound exactly like it did in the studio. I've never seen two mastering systems play the same piece of music the same. I've never been to a trade show and heard it and no one has ever introduced me to a fixed setup that has ever played even one piece of music exactly the same as it was in the recording room, not once not ever.

People saying they have accurate reference systems that play the music exactly like the recording in this hobby is a myth. Not trying to self promote, but take a read through this sometime http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/t57-roomtune-acoustical-treatment . See those mic patterns? The typical recording uses tons of these patterns combined to capture "space". If a system is playing back the music and isn't give back that same space it is not accurate, period. We can talk about how good our systems are all day long but what those microphones are picking up is the real recording before it goes through whatever shaping the engineer chooses. If it's an acoustical recording, all that space you see in the studio is being used and being picked up by those mics. Look at those patterns again and the mic setups and you will also see that the recordings are not done in a frontal position only. Again that's a myth, a preference in playback.

Listeners need to be in the studio and learn how recordings work, and then they will see how these soundstages that we are playing with, if not 360 all around us, is not what is on the recording unless one sets up their system to play that particular stage. But this has nothing to do with accurate. If the playback system is not playing the whole space in real size it is not playing the recording accurate. How can it be?

michael green
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What if "perfect"

sounds like shit?

The first knobs and buttons eliminated in the quest for perfect were, in this order, mono (for which most of mankinds recorded music was mastered), active bass and treble controls (even though the 12ax7's and 12au7's that often drove them are some of the most sonically transparent amplification devices ever devised and we now have op-amps that approach them). What if you know what a fender bass amplified with a tube amp sounds like, thank you, and you hear it in your "perfect" system and it sounds like shit? Wouldn't you like the ability to give it just a little midbass bump? Maybe play it in mono if you know it was mastered before say 1972, just to see if maybe phase issues from a bad re-mix are the root of the bad-bass-blues?

While I don't know them personally, I don't think J.G. Holt, Art Dudley, or Harry Pearson, or any advocates of their own versions of "absolute sound" is really THAT concerned with "perfect" from your standpoint. If they were, why have these magazines at all? Jut buy what measures good. If they were, they wouldn't ever had a negative thing to say about the compact disk, the moving coil cartridge, or the Teac/Tascam RtR tape deck, or (fill in the blank) anything else that ever moved the hobby closer to your version of "perfect". But if you read through their past writings, they all just kind of gave credit to the strengths and weeknesses of the subject matter at hand. "Perfect" is what sounds like real instruments in real space playing real music. If the disk, or transport, or amp or speakers need a little help, so be it. Have a little fun with it.

geoffkait
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Audiophile Membership cards

I think I can say without fear of contradiction that if any of the senior reviewers you mentioned were to hear one of these modded portables, mine or Michael's, they would undoubtedly be inclined to turn in their Audiophile Membership cards. Don't you find folks tend to stop looking for something better at some point and keep making the same old arguments based on where they got off the merry go round?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

michael green
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one of the best

jgossman just wrote one of the best post in the history of this hobby. The whole idea of the high end audiophile was not about listening to systems that can't play the music in an enjoyable meaningful way. The idea was getting the most out of the music and continually advancing in the playback arena. This doesn't mean making systems that play less and less, but instead more and more.

Being a well rounded audiophile also means being able to look back into the history of recordings and their technologies to see the why and hows. Trust me, the quest was not to make bad recordings or to make systems that were so uptight that they fail to play music. In my listening with Harry and J. Gordon, not once did they pull the distortion card when I went to tune, or at least not to me or did it ever come back to me that they thought so. Believe me, if they thought it was not valid I would have been chopped up in bite size pieces. Some who knew these two are probably snickering reading this. Nope, high end has develope an attitude that is not in line with the hobby itself. A sense of right and wrongs that are out of line with the idea of capturing an event, storing it, then bringing it back to life.

When was the last time we walked into a studio to make "bad sound"? I can cut slack for those who used over compression for radio and certain styles. What I'm talking about are the recordings that were made with the intent of art, revealing a picture to be told and told clearly. These thousands upon thousands of recordings were made with care all the way through to the storage of the material. Then comes the playback stage of the chain and all of a sudden these recordings are "bad"? Not only do I not buy it, but I have these recordings and can tell you that if you can't play the space "real space, real size" it is your system that is at fault of distorting and not the recording.

Hey, if people want to have systems that only play parts and pieces that's totally their right, I'm happy for them if they are, but when they start to point at other systems or methods as being wrong because they "can" play the music, that's where I'm off the boat. I'm off the boat when I see systems way to complicated to pass the signal or out of balance, not giving equal attention to electric, mechanics and acoustics. These people have systems that over process the audio signal, then turnaround a say the music sounds distorted. Of course it does, it's being over processed. Purity does not come though cutting away at the body of a recording. Purity comes through opening up the recording. It's not focusing on less, but exposing more. If you don't like the more you can always at that point start cutting away if you know how, but starting from the fixed, shrunken end of things is a lot harder going.

I recommend starting with the big picture then going after specifics, not starting with the microscope never seeing the whole. Also if you put on a recording that has bad sound, find out why and where along the chain it went bad. I promise you, if you take this approach you are going to find that most of these recordings went bad in the playback and not in the recording end.

michael green
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michael green
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Audiophile Membership cards

Hi Geoff

I've seen more guys fight with this than I care to count. High end audio holds one of the records for the most "EGO" driven industries on the planet. Something about complicated electronics that fires up the engineer type audiophile. These same guys will go to a concert packed with simply built vibrating instruments and express how marv it was, braging about their seating, yet can't grab on to the fact that the signal they are listening to with their system is exactly the same type of signal. There's this huge mental wall that goes up as soon as something has the word electrical thrown into the mix that short circuits the practical side of the engineer brain. They can't get their mind around, if it goes in as sound and is suppose to come out as sound, the best path is the simplist path.

Again I think high end audio was close at one time then completely turned away from common sense. The 80's gave us raw and simple, then went right out the window. As soon as the mixing and mixing without matching game started to happen, high end should have put on their brakes to figure out why. Instead when they smelled money they made up a whole new hobby called the high end ladder. The right egos were in place to create "guilt buying" and the thought of simple was given the worse possible term, "cheap". If you were a "card" holder and got anywhere near the words "inexpensive" "mass produced" or "mid-fi" your membership was revoked.

There are some reading this right now that are boiling over the thought that something simple could beatup on their boat anchors. You and I and many thousands of listeners have owned these boat anchors and said "I choose the sound of simple" and you would think these guys out to sea would be thrilled that an answer was found. Sadly though the brain washing was so deep that they will even go to the point of attacking music itself, before taking a look at why their system is not playing the recordings. They have made their hobby so complicated that no one wants it anymore. Why in the world would someone who just opened a piece of music up, want to shut it down? Instead of moving on, instead of moving forward, instead of listening to more of the music, and more music in general they stay in their corner saying "I have a reference", the new audiophile buzz word cop-out. Can these members not see that saying "my system is so revealing it won't play that piece of music" is crazy? That's as nuts as audio experts running around saying "soundwaves travel in straight lines". Or, "hey I want purity so let's add more inductors".

The memberships are going down cause of the old saying "fool me once...."

I don't think the music world has done anything but grown. The love & joy of music has always been and always will be. There will also always be the extreme listening hobby. The boat anchors have pretty much come and gone. The remains we can find on the used market to explore. High end audio, I do see as a merry-go-round, but I don't see high end audio and the audiophile as the same any more. One is trying to make something work that keeps breaking and the other has moved on to the next chapter, maybe even a rebirth.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

geoffkait
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Humpty Dumpty

Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall,
Humpty Dumpty had a great fall.
All the king's horses and all the king's men
Couldn't put Humpty together again.

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There are so many things wrong with the whole shebang it's surprising any sound comes out at all much less anything approaching the sound of music. Let's review what we know for a moment. The acoustic waves in the room produce echoes that interfere with the signal, they produce peaks in the room, especially in room corners, that interfere with the signal. And the acoustic waves also produce standing waves that also interfere with the signal. These same acoustic waves are also exciting every cable and chassis and everything in the chassis to vibrate according to their resonant frequencies. For those objects such as stereo cartridges and tonearms and turntable platters that have been cleverly designed to avoid interference by acoustic waves, even very low frequency waves, remain exposed to the Earth's crust motion with resonant frequencies circa 12 Hz. Clever but not clever enough. Since the signal in wire is electromagnetic in nature it's subject to the same external force of vibration as a magnet. The magnetic flux of a magnet can be made to move by simply moving the magnet by hand. The flux can even be made to fly off the magnet if enough force is applied. Transformers are one of the worst things ever perpetuated on naive unsuspecting audiophiles as the transformer magnetic fields extend outward to contaminate everything within reach. Furthermore the magnetic field produced by current flowing through the transformer contaminates those very same wires! Just as all wires that carry current produce magnetic fields. And there go dynamics, tone, pitch, rhythm, and air, merrily down the drain. We have seen how mu metal can greatly reduce the magnetic field produced by the transformers and consequently improve the SQ. But how do we reduce the magnetic fields in wires and cables? With just these few examples it's easy to see how the great plans of mice and men oft go awry. How the tricky subtle nuances and micro detail is left behind somewhere, the very things that define what music is. The popping, clicking, scraping, squealing noises, the tape hiss, for crying out loud? I hereby start a formal campaign to bring back tape hiss. It has been isolated, suppressed, covered up long enough. Humpty Dumpty sat on a wall. Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. We don't even have to explore the great many other problem areas such as scattered laser light interference and mind matter interaction, to name a couple esoteric issues, to get the idea that the whole thing is inherently flawed.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

michael green
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back to simple

Well, I'm not going to get quite so graphic, or say we chuck it all and go only to tape, but what I am going to say is, it's time to revisit simple.

michael green
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iosiP
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Yep, let's get back to tape

I mean, to a magnetic head trying to recover a tiny magnetic field in a world full of big bad magnetic interferences.
Call me when you get back to cylinder phonographs!

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Tape is still considered the reference

By many recording engineers. The best studios (at least as I understand from the outside reading in) offer producers the choice for recording and mastering. Most young producers use digital because they DON'T KNOW HOW to use tape. Which is sad. Tape, properly done exibits less distortion than even high bit-rate PCM. I don't know how it compares to DSD. It's intrensic to the PCM conversion, and can't be dealth with really. It's best to record to tape and master down to analog for LP/Cassette (yes there are still indi labels producting cassettes) or digital. I'm sure Mr. Green could school us both.

The fact that you even said that makes me wonder if you've ever heard, much less owned, an Onkyo, Teac, NAD, or Nakamichi cassette deck. They are as good as most digital you will hear at almost any price level. They are just a pain in the ass to keep running.

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all the young dudes

I think we did carry the news, but when you have an industry that moved as fast as recording and playback did on the component building end, and many of the designers had no idea about the mechanics involved in electronics, somethings naturally got screwed up. History is a good teacher and we have to remember that tubes, tape, mics, mixers, acoustics, effects and EQ's gave us a completely different set of rules vs the computer age. It's too early and I wouldn't want to call one better than the other, but I think we all can call when an engineer knows what he's doing as compared to others when we have our systems setup to cast a bigger soundstage. The mystery, if any for me, was the jump to vinyl as the audiophile choice instead of tape though. I can see jumping from tape to CD, but I still don't get the logic of starting with tape in the studio and transfering to vinyl instead of transfering to tape again. Turntables are cool, I get it, and having a vinyl collection with all the covers I get too. I had over 18,000 in my collection and 30 some tables. I confess though I got on the table bandwagon for the sake of this hobby and not for the sound. I never thought vinyl was better but this is what I was turned on to when I went from the studio to high end audio. I think, and I may be wrong that when cassetes came out there was somehow an ego separation that took place, turntables vs cassette players. Which is odd because back around the beginning of stereo it was tape leading the way and vinyl was the poormans storage of music. Every early reel to reel vs vinyl I ever heard back when some of the best tape mastering was being made was a blow out. Seriously, no one I knew use a table as reference and when I started going to high end shops back around the late 70's it was kinda cool but weird to see tables. Sorry, just saying how it was for me.

I spent all day with Studer, Ampex, Teac-Tascam and wasn't going to come home using TT's as my main reference. When I started my first Hi Fi shop CD's were already out and all I saw in the High End shops in town were CD's and vinyl. Cassettes were being called "mid-fi" and there were no reel to reel setups with any of my new clients. Culture shock to say the least. A strange time when you think about it. Seemed like everyone was pushing for new and was ready to move away from tape even though the best recordings of all time were being done on it. Don't understand, even though I can read the history of high end audio, how certain things came to be and why high end separated themselves from the rest of the world of music.

Like something that Geoff said too that I don't get. Rooms are great music amplifiers and I have only seen them as something positive when you figure out how to use them. I'm not sure why highenders paint the room out to be a bad guy? Hearing an instrument in a well tuned room is the cats meow, and same with playback rooms. I know alot of guys don't know jack about rooms that are in the biz but that's all the more reason to be excited about taking another step forward. The room to me is where high end audio happens. A simple system and an outstanding room is what keeps me diggin listening all these years. I don't want to knock headphones and think many should be using them instead of fighting with their system. But there's nothing that tops listening with all of you. Feeling the sound come up through the floor up into your chair, and your chest cavity vibrating to a double bass. Feeling the impact of the pressure, while your in the soundstage. That's why I loved being in the studio, doing live and being in playback.

Digital is very cool and the way it is. My collection is mostly CD's and I find them to be great storage. Players still need some help but some of the companies are getting the hang of it. I love my 2100, and 2300 players once modded. I think there's some fine tables out there, but I bore from 15 minutes at best. If I'm gonna listen I'm there for a while. Tape, unfortunately got a bad rap, but I'm not going to try to rebuild my music collection. Any and every music collection should be treasured and that's what counts. If you know what your doing CD, tape or vinyl can sound great. All depends on your passion to get there.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

michael green
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BTW

I also wanted to add, that I enjoy the sound of reel to reel over cassettes. I'm not crazy about the sound of the tape pads cassettes use.

michael green
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Huh?
iosiP wrote:

I mean, to a magnetic head trying to recover a tiny magnetic field in a world full of big bad magnetic interferences.
Call me when you get back to cylinder phonographs!

For cassette players in general and portable cassette players in particular that statement makes no sense, at least compared to more tradition modes of playback systems that comprise amps with large transformers and many feet of cabling, you know, things that actually produce big bad magnetic fields. The only thing that produces a magnetic field of any consequence in a portable cassette player is the tape head, which should obviously be degaussed every so often. One trusts you're not referring to the Earth's magnetic field as the offending "big bad magnetic field." Who, knows, maybe you're still confusing electromagnetic fields like RF for magnetic fields. If you like I can list the many (big) advantages of portable cassette players again. Would that be helpful? And the (big) advantages of listening to headphones, too, for that matter. This is not rocket science folks. All you have to know is the right hand rule.

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Geoff Kait
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Michael wrote,

Michael wrote,

"Like something that Geoff said too that I don't get. Rooms are great music amplifiers and I have only seen them as something positive when you figure out how to use them. I'm not sure why highenders paint the room out to be a bad guy? Hearing an instrument in a well tuned room is the cats meow, and same with playback rooms. I know alot of guys don't know jack about rooms that are in the biz but that's all the more reason to be excited about taking another step forward. The room to me is where high end audio happens. A simple system and an outstanding room is what keeps me diggin listening all these years. I don't want to knock headphones and think many should be using them instead of fighting with their system. But there's nothing that tops listening with all of you. Feeling the sound come up through the floor up into your chair, and your chest cavity vibrating to a double bass. Feeling the impact of the pressure, while your in the soundstage. That's why I loved being in the studio, doing live and being in playback."

Sounds good in theory, the listening with all of you part. The problem is the room has issues. And they are pretty big ones, you could say insurmountable one. You got the standing waves, you got the echo reflections, you got the first reflections off the side walls. And if you have first reflections, by golly, you've got secondary reflections, too! You got your energy build up in room corners, sometimes as great as 3 times greater than the average sound pressure in the room, greater than the sound the speakers are putting out! Hel-loo! Heck, many folks are probably sitting right smack dab in a sound pressure peak and don't even know it. The obvious big advantage right off the bat to listening to headphones is completely eliminating all of these room issues with one swell foop. Another big big advantage to headphones, you know, from the SQ perspective, is battery power, completely eliminating all the woos of house power, including voltage instability and RFI, in one swell foop. Geez, you even eliminate time domain speaker issues, too. What's not to like? Not to mention the real estate savings, now you can have space for something besides all that Hi Fi stuff. Lol. Did I mention cross-over-less transducers? In fact, headphones are what high end is all about! And it is easily obtainable, anyone can do it. And it doesn't take twenty years of room correction and electronics tuning, either.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Geoff, can you take NO for an answer?

As in NO, I don't listen to headphones (for a lot of reasons) and NO, I don't intend to switch to headphone listening.
So the big bad amplifier with big bad magnetic fields all around has to stay. But yes, I also have a R2R recorder (AKAI GX-635DB "Black Beauty") but I only use it to record selection off my CDs: a blank tape sells for the price of two or three "audiophile grade" CDs.

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LOL

Hi Costin

Geoff was doing pretty good there for a while don't you think? He was even being somewhat conversable. I enjoyed that Geoff while it lasted.

michael green
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I asked a question? Interetng
iosiP wrote:

As in NO, I don't listen to headphones (for a lot of reasons) and NO, I don't intend to switch to headphone listening.
So the big bad amplifier with big bad magnetic fields all around has to stay. But yes, I also have a R2R recorder (AKAI GX-635DB "Black Beauty") but I only use it to record selection off my CDs: a blank tape sells for the price of two or three "audiophile grade" CDs.

What was the question you are responding NO to? Yes, I ended that sentence with a preposition, I know. So sue me.

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I asked a question? Interesting.
iosiP wrote:

As in NO, I don't listen to headphones (for a lot of reasons) and NO, I don't intend to switch to headphone listening.
So the big bad amplifier with big bad magnetic fields all around has to stay. But yes, I also have a R2R recorder (AKAI GX-635DB "Black Beauty") but I only use it to record selection off my CDs: a blank tape sells for the price of two or three "audiophile grade" CDs.

What was the question you're answering? I'm not trying to change the world, just start a flame in a few hearts. I don't try to change anyone. What would be the point? No need to reply, it's rhetorical.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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of course you hear with the whole body

Hi Geoff, I hope we don't have to go back to this as this was brought up before and there was the nice video that showed how this works.

But by example here are deaf or extremely hard of hearing musicians who develope their trade through feeling and depending on more than their ears.

Mandy Harvey, American Jazz singer

Ludwig van Beethoven, German composer

Sean Forbes, American musician, song writer, and rapper

William Boyce, British composer

Rudi Carrell, Dutch popular singer

Gabriel Fauré, French composer

Johnnie Ray, American popular singer

Bedřich Smetana, Czech composer

Pete Townshend, British lead guitarist and songwriter

Evelyn Glennie, Scottish percussionist

Ayumi Hamasaki, Japanese popular singer and songwriter

Ryan Adams, American alternative country artist

George Martin, English bandleader and producer

Foxy Brown, American rap artist

Brian Wilson, American musician and songwriter

Danny Elfman, film score composer and former member of Oingo Boingo

Lars Ulrich, Danish drummer

Kyo, singer of Dir en grey

Mabel Hubbard Bell, wife of telephone inventor Alexander Graham Bell

TL Forsberg, American avant-garde rock singer

Bob Hiltermann, drummer for Beethoven's Nightmare, an all-deaf rock band

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looking at the whole

Hi Geoff

It's cool to see you bring portable tape playing to the attention of us again, and that you have made this your reference. There's a lot to be said about this but we should also look at things from a whole.

"The problem is the room has issues. And they are pretty big ones, you could say insurmountable one."

This statement is not really accurate, and you can't have people going around experiencing life through headphones and goggles. I do agree, if people can't learn their room they should go the headphone route, but the room does a heck of a lot more than headphones are able to do as a whole.

I think that this should be covered on the roomtuning forum though.

michael green
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Most people with asthma have better hearing

Because their lungs never become "empty": this the problem with asthma, it's not that you can't breathe in, it's that you cannot breathe out. So yes, we do listen with our whole body: I had an interesting talk with the technical manager of Dali and he explain these things in plain language: sound is vibration and our whole body vibrates, so part of our listening experience comes from our torso and bones. Sure, Geoff would like to plug some electrodes into our brain and make us "listen". Sorry Geoff, no can do!

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batteries

Hi Geoff

On to batteries. Is this something new for you, or have you been studying batteries for a while?

There are several issues with batteries that listeners deal with.

One is all batteries sound different from each other. Second, batteries change sound during their charge span. Third batteries change performance due to the conditions of the springs and or connectors.

Maybe before jumping so quickly from your home system to your portable one you should take a look at all the different technologies involved. As you said earlier "theory", well this to me seems like you are making a lot of jumps in theory, without taking the time to look at the wholes, or maybe holes.

All of these technologies we use have goods & not so goods, and each time we make a change to something new it feels like arriving, but when we do make changes we also need to look at the entire picture and not just disregard the old for the new. Electric storage and current delivery is an interesting study, but as far as turning this in to absolutes too quickly as you say "all the facts are not yet in". In the case of battery vs house current you might want to compare a little more. Pros and cons my friend.

As far as your direction in regards to simple, I'm with you on that one. And I think your fight against multiple transformers and inductors is very important from a sound, practicle and theory point of view.

I hope we can all stay on track here and I really appreciate the listening being done instead of talking without doing.

michael green
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impressive!

That was impressive Costin, that makes a ton of sense.

BTW, I don't know a ton about Dali now days, but when they were doing their early stuff in the US in the eighties I was one of the guys that was bringing them in as an attempt to make them a wholesale company rather than direct. Don't know if they remember but my buddy Mark introduced me to them in Atlanta and I thought those particular models were outstanding sound for the money. Very simple 2-way designs and beautiful looking cabinets. The models changed and I lost interest, but that production of them was really something special I thought.

Man as I keep saying and maybe some remember, there was a time in the hobby when certain designers were making both electronics and speakers that were outstanding performers. You could put a pair of Dali with a small Rotel integrated and a Multispec or Magnavox player together and make some serious music for almost nothin. And it would easily compete against the high dollar stuff.

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Dali still makes impressive and affordable speakers

I listened to some of them over the last few months and they still impressed me. Furthermore, they are one of a few companies that fully acknowledge that the sound is also influenced by the room (that's why they recommend a parallel setup, where the resonant field from the wall complete the wide dispersion of their speakers).
And about asthma: I have COLD (Chronic Obstructive Lung Disease) and I figured out I hear much better when I'm not taking my inhalers. Yes, it's not funny and I always keep my Ventolin (TM) handy, but then I call it as it is.

BTW, coffee is bad for listening as it increases intracranial pressure. OTOH, a glass of red wine or a shot of whisky is good (and no, it's not about inebriation).

Sure hope that Geoff, preopinent of the "mind-matter" interaction, can get these (LOL).

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Dali & coffee

Sorry to hear about the condition.

I'll have to look up Dali again to see what they're up to. I sure did like those models I carried in the past. Phil Decote' became my reference over them in that price range and then of course I went my own tunable way a couple of years after that.

Coffee is a big no no. I'm touchy with anything like that. I remember when I learned my lesson with Mick Ronson and Ian Hunter one night trying to stay alert. They thought I was on speed. That was it for me. Don't do soft drinks or any of that stuff anymore. Completely messes with you.

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Pull up a chair, sit on the floor and let your feet hang down
michael green wrote:

Hi Geoff

On to batteries. Is this something new for you, or have you been studying batteries for a while?

There are several issues with batteries that listeners deal with.

One is all batteries sound different from each other. Second, batteries change sound during their charge span. Third batteries change performance due to the conditions of the springs and or connectors.

Maybe before jumping so quickly from your home system to your portable one you should take a look at all the different technologies involved. As you said earlier "theory", well this to me seems like you are making a lot of jumps in theory, without taking the time to look at the wholes, or maybe holes.

All of these technologies we use have goods & not so goods, and each time we make a change to something new it feels like arriving, but when we do make changes we also need to look at the entire picture and not just disregard the old for the new. Electric storage and current delivery is an interesting study, but as far as turning this in to absolutes too quickly as you say "all the facts are not yet in". In the case of battery vs house current you might want to compare a little more. Pros and cons my friend.

As far as your direction in regards to simple, I'm with you on that one. And I think your fight against multiple transformers and inductors is very important from a sound, practicle and theory point of view.

I hope we can all stay on track here and I really appreciate the listening being done instead of talking without doing.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

Hey, what can I tell ya? I just go by the sound. Battery powered portables sound good, car stereos sound good. So I assume battery powered things do not sound bad, if you see my logic. In a similar vein I conclude transformerless things sound good, like, yup you guessed it, car stereos and portable cassette and CD players. And in case Costin is listening, things with big honking transformers sound bad. But everything is relative and I can certainly understand how folks get enamored of their own sound. And let's not forget the results with Mu Metal reported by the dudes from Pittsburgh. (How soon they forget.) My advice to Costin is throw all that stuff in the lake and get yourself some earphones and a portable cassette player. Think of it as direct access to reality. Imagine a world where you didn't have to continually pop up and down to tune the speakers and the room and the whole nine yards. Oh, my!

Geoff Kait
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It's a small point..
michael green wrote:

I also wanted to add, that I enjoy the sound of reel to reel over cassettes. I'm not crazy about the sound of the tape pads cassettes use.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

But the Nakamichi "standard" transport - 3 motor, 3 head, belt drive does not use a tape pad due to it's asymmetric capstan design. Because of this the most common noise issues with tape - scrape and flutter are basically eliminated in a properly performing and aligned transport. The older decks, like the 581 - which a remarkable, use discrete electronics, similar to what would be found in a late 70's RTR deck. They aren't cheap, but if you are a magnetic tape fan, and get the chance pick up an LX-5, 581, or 680 3 head machine.

Thank me later.

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Geez, talk about nit picking
jgossman wrote:
michael green wrote:

I also wanted to add, that I enjoy the sound of reel to reel over cassettes. I'm not crazy about the sound of the tape pads cassettes use.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

But the Nakamichi "standard" transport - 3 motor, 3 head, belt drive does not use a tape pad due to it's asymmetric capstan design. Because of this the most common noise issues with tape - scrape and flutter are basically eliminated in a properly performing and aligned transport. The older decks, like the 581 - which a remarkable, use discrete electronics, similar to what would be found in a late 70's RTR deck. They aren't cheap, but if you are a magnetic tape fan, and get the chance pick up an LX-5, 581, or 680 3 head machine.

Thank me later.

Of course, it should be pointed out that, yes, the cassette is not perfect, there are issues just like every other medium. But at the end of the day cassettes are just SO much more musical than CDs. Hel-loo! It's an EMOTIONAL RESPONSE. As opposed to the usual ENH? RESPONSE. Complaining about the cassette pads is a little akin to complaining about out of round CDs.

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Wow and Flutter

That's what matchbooks were for. Who hasn't wedged a matchbook between their 8-track and facia? Couldn't do that with the cassette. lol

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Nakamichi and other stuff

If tape would have continued Nakamichi for the home was way ahead of the game, and I bet would have covered the entire price range. Another one of those mass produced companies that contributed a ton to the hobby and pro!

That pressure on the head needed to be fixed though in order for cassettes to have really moved to audiophile standards. Great concept but as Catch is pointing out it has to work and work consistantly. Teac and Sony were two other companies who had some stuff going on, but when that disc came out it was pretty clear it was curtains.

Geoff, I think your being a little hard on CD's all of a sudden though. Digital is a brilliant discovery. As far as music collections go there is no clear winner to date between the three (CD tape vinyl). I'm sure collectors of all three can point to the best storage copy for particular production runs. With as many variables at work it would be very difficult for one source to have all the answers for playback. All three depend on production runs that change the sound during the copying process. Because of this digital without a doubt has the edge moving forward unless there would be a more stable way for tables and tape. Different story if High End would have made 1 or 2 inch tape mechines the way to go for home.

michael green
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Unfair to CDs

Michael wrote,

"Geoff, I think your being a little hard on CD's all of a sudden though. Digital is a brilliant discovery. As far as music collections go there is no clear winner to date between the three (CD tape vinyl). I'm sure collectors of all three can point to the best storage copy for particular production runs. With as many variables at work it would be very difficult for one source to have all the answers for playback. All three depend on production runs that change the sound during the copying process. Because of this digital without a doubt has the edge moving forward unless there would be a more stable way for tables and tape. Different story if High End would have made 1 or 2 inch tape mechines the way to go for home."

So, you think I'm being unfair to CDs? Like what did they ever do to me to deserve such a fate, right? Well, let's take an example and I'll show you what I mean. Let's take the CD, the RCA Living Stereo CD, of Brahms Violin Concerto in D with Heifetz, Reiner and Chicago. Recorded in 1955. I also have the same Brahms Concerto in D with Heifetz, Reiner and Chicago on cassette, an RCA Red Seal, nothin' fancy. Let's compare, shall we? I'm comparing the sound of a Sony Walkman Sport Cassette player with a Sony CD Sport Walkman. On CD the Heifetz violin sounds generic, has no meat on the bones, we all know it's a Guarneri, where is the famous sound? On the CD the tuttis are not bad but much better on tape, there is just more information on the tape, sorry, my po' little CD. Then there's the tone and pitch, which just sounds correct on tape, whereas on CD it's quite wrong, merely a synthetic version of the real thing. Threadbare and papier mâché like, relatively speaking, of course. There is more bite and rawness and sweetness on the cassette, that go right to the center of the brain. The CD actually is rather good, I am listening to it as I type, and if I had nothing to compare it to, I would be happy with it. But alas, I AM comparing it to something. The sweetness and drive and power of the Guarneri and the orchestra is much more engaging on tape. THAT is a freaking Guarneri! On tape Heifetz is playing a Guarneri, on CD he's playing a Generic. As for the bass, the cassette has more fullness and bloom and is more propulsive. I know not what course others might take but as for me give me tape.

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Geoff Kait
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comparing

Hi Geoff & gang

I think it's great that you are referencing, but I think we need to keep in mind you are not referencing digital vs magnetic recordings here alone. What you are referencing is your MD tweaked CD player plus the disc itself vs your tweaked tape player and tape.

Are you using the same headphones BTW in the comparison?

This may not be true today, I don't know, but in the past I have found that Sony Tape Players in general sound more smooth and dynamic over their CD Players. For this reason I have always leaned toward the Philips/Magnavox camp when it comes to CD players.

The Sony CD Player (sorry Sony) that I'm referencing now is being tore up by the Philips based player. If you look back in the history of these and if I am correct, there were basically two camps with the CD players, the Sony based and the Philips based. Someone correct me if my memory is screw up on this one. But whatever the camps were the philips side from the start in CD's was always the more full bodied player of the two. The Sony was smaller sounding and a little tilted to the top where as the Philips had the bigger bolder stage and bigger bodied dynamic ranges. It's interesting because the Sony tape is a full body tape (most of their brands) and their digital stuff (not their digital tape) leaned toward a more analytical maybe even to the point of squeezed sound. These are two types of sounds that over the years engineers have gone back and forth with. My version is this. If you create a bigger soundstage you can appreciate the Sony digital movement. If a smaller stage it tends toward an upper tilt which can at times border on right but also border on fatigue. I, being a big body stage guy, like the philips side of things to start with.

Here's the key though for all of this and I hope people start getting it. All of these worlds are different depending on manufacturing and design as well as use. We need to stop saying absolutes when there are none. Saying digital vs tape or vinyl is a much bigger doorway to walk through than we typically see in this hobby. People come up with things like tube vs solid state based on limited experience with few products tuned a certain way. Same is true with any part of this hobby, tape vs vinyl or CD etc... All these discoveries are great but we need to start referencing and developing methods of listening that make sense and are somewhat able to be applied with certain perameters as starting points to getting great sound.

For example if the public looked at how many different sounding blank disc there were and tape and vinyl before anything was put on them they would realize that blanket statements don't really work in this hobby. This is what I'm trying to bring here. More of the variables about this hobby and less of the statements that might be right in certain conditions and not so right in others. I'm hoping with my some what pro spin along with the audiophile we can see that everything truly does affect everything else.

Let me give one more example that might paint the picture more clear for those seeking the absolute sound. You guys are picturing somehow that there is this one sound that is coming down the pike and your catching a ride on the absolute train. You think you have systems that do it all once you reach a certain level. You think at that level you are able to make judgement calls and that there is some magical standard that says all recordings can be played from your view point of reference. What people are still not getting is the playback side is only 50% of the recording. On the other end is just as many, even more variables that are going into that recording that somehow needs to be matched (put in sync) with the playback. It's not automatic and I keep seeing this industry (on the playback side) try to treat it like it is.

Every recording is a code, and after that code is made the only way to play all of it is to match the playback system to that code. Every recording has a different code which makes it unique to that particular setting of variables. Audiophiles are going to go through good recording bad recording till they get to the point where they realize this is a mechanical thing, a physical signal that is meant to be dialed in to an original setting.

Lets say I'm in the studio and using a Studer setup a certain way on the drums. I play it back and I'm not quite getting what I want. My options are, play with the EQ, play with the mics, play with the acoustics, adjust my Studer physically, or maybe even switch it over to my Ampex or Tascam. But I can promise, I'm not sitting there doing nothing but playing, and saying that's the way it is.

This is where the extreme audiophile separates himself from the guy merely playing judge. What I don't get, it's why you guys keep trying to do one setting on a variable process? Is not a question of if you want to do it or not, it's a matter of doing it to get the source to be able to be played.

I look at mid-fi as someone who has one setting. That's cool have fun till you hear something you don't like. I see high end as being the guy who takes a recording and brings it to life, also someone who realizes there's more to a recording than high end audio plug and play brand names. Each recording has a different code and each recording will either play or it won't to it's full potential on your particular setting. That's why instruments have tuning keys, and studio gear is EQed, and home audio gear once had adjustments. Not all the adjustments but some of them or at least the beginning stages of them.

All the workings in the studio, placement, physical tuning, eq, equipment adjustments, acoustics etc... are the same things that will bring you closer to that recording on the playback end. Your never going to do it by plug, play and done. There are too many things that go into each and every recording for this to ever happen.

It's nice to start up the car in the garrage and listen to it purr, but it's even more fun to drive it.

michael green
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Sony gets an A++

Michael wrote,

"The Sony CD Player (sorry Sony) that I'm referencing now is being tore up by the Philips based player. If you look back in the history of these and if I am correct, there were basically two camps with the CD players, the Sony based and the Philips based. Someone correct me if my memory is screw up on this one. But whatever the camps were the philips side from the start in CD's was always the more full bodied player of the two. The Sony was smaller sounding and a little tilted to the top where as the Philips had the bigger bolder stage and bigger bodied dynamic ranges. It's interesting because the Sony tape is a full body tape (most of their brands) and their digital stuff (not their digital tape) leaned toward a more analytical maybe even to the point of squeezed sound. These are two types of sounds that over the years engineers have gone back and forth with. My version is this. If you create a bigger soundstage you can appreciate the Sony digital movement. If a smaller stage it tends toward an upper tilt which can at times border on right but also border on fatigue. I, being a big body stage guy, like the philips side of things to start with."

That's odd, because both my Sony Cassette Walkman and Sony CD Walkman are full bodied, very dynamic and non-fatiguing to a fault. I cherry picked the one I'm using, if you recall, the others I have here sound pretty generic with no bass. Maybe beginners luck and I have a bad feeling there aren't too many that sound so good. Maybe you were listening to the wrong Sonys, what can I tell you? Obviously, there's lots of variables. How many Sony Walkman models are there, do you suppose?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Obviously, there's lots of variables.

Obviously, there's lots of variables, Geoff says. And.....how do you deal with, choose or change the variables?

Does a listener sit there with 4000 players if he has 4000 Cd's, or tapes or LP's?

It's interesting to see you guys fight this tuning thing to the death, when in fact every thread anywhere in this hobby comes back to tuning the variables. Is it really this hard for the high end audio audiophile to understand that things on the playing end of music, whether in the beginning or the end involves tuning to have the two match?

It will also be interesting when variable tuning is the accepted way of the audiophile, to go back and see how so many tried their best to keep from budging. And this is what all this is about. The high end audio world is stuck on repeat. An answer is sitting right there and everyone who tries it evenually gets it, but so many come kicking and screaming all the way.

I have a question.

Have you had these players sitting on any certain objects while listening? In the past you said that products must be squeezed between these heavy marble slabs and "isolation" pads. But in the last month no mention of the marble or the pads or an isolation table. Your new reference for both CD and tape are two portable players, and I'm assuming sitting anywhere you care to put them. What's does this say about your isolation squeeze method? Your choosing a free resonant simple system over the high end one.

I'd be interested to get your feedback on

Find a piece of wood, can be a wood table if you like. Take 3 audio type cones, brass if you have them, and put either one of those players on that setup and describe the sound. Please understand I'm with you on this not against you. I just want to travel on the same page for a minute and see if we are getting the same things.

Thanks, trust me this will end good if we are honest. I'm not trying to up stage you at all, just want to see you keep going on the path you are.

michael green
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Permutations and combinations

Michael, of course I was referring to the variable of which model Sony Walkman you select for the comparison. There are a lot of mediocre sounding Sonys out there, judging from the sample of players I have here. You're not suggesting all Sony Walkmen sound the same, are you? And that all Philips players sound the same? There are many other brands of portables to condsider as well, you know, if one had the time, or are you suggesting we only look at Sony and Philips? I was listiening to some off brand yesterday just for grins and it sounded surprisingly good. I think the bottom line here is that for a ridiculously low price you get really good sound, right out of the box, even with no tweaking and no tuning.

Ah, the old isolation argument. You say squeezing the component, I say isolating the component and damping the transformer. The component is already being "squeezed" by the weight of the transformer, no? Even without the transformer the component is being squeezed by Gravity, no? F = MA. You probably don't remember but my Oppo and headphone amp were up on spring-mass systems, not just sitting on marble as you imply. Well, actually you jumped to the conclusion that the amp was sitting on the damping pads when you misinterpreted the photo I posted. Lol As I mentioned previously somewhere when you place a component on springs you actually reduce the force of gravity, i.e., REDUCE the squeezing, by exerting a force in the opposite direction. In addition, many if not most portables employ data buffering and or acceleration circuitry that make the players less susceptible to vibration. Have you tried running while holding a standard CD player? So, to recap, the Sony Walkman Cassette Player and the Sony Walkman CD Players, at least the ones that I am using here right now, make great music sources, and one need look no further - even using the flimsy original Sony Walkman earphones - if one is interested in really good sound. You know, without having to join the country club and subscribe to any particular philosophy. And without having to do anything else. See the beauty of that?

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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geoffkait wrote:
geoffkait wrote:

As I mentioned previously somewhere when you place a component on springs you actually reduce the force of gravity, i.e., REDUCE the squeezing, by exerting a force in the opposite direction.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life.

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An anti gravity machine
jgossman wrote:
geoffkait wrote:

As I mentioned previously somewhere when you place a component on springs you actually reduce the force of gravity, i.e., REDUCE the squeezing, by exerting a force in the opposite direction.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life.

Your threshold of ridiculousness is set a little to low, I suspect. If you were to measure an amplifier sitting on a spring based iso system you would find that the amp weighed less than without springs below it.

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
I recruit my army from the orphanages

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low mass and the variables

Hi Geoff

I apologize. I should have gone back and given more detail of your former reference setup. My intention was not to go back to isolation and the meaning of, which has been covered and out of it came two different views.

here's my agenda so it is clear

I want people to think about investigating low mass, removing extra field generating sources that are causing distortion and look at the variables in this hobby and how we can tune them.

I'm more than happy that you are finding success with low mass and the lack of fields. This was my point. Next I was interested if you have been playing with where and what the players have been sitting on.

If anyone wants to go look at the method of tuning http://tuneland.techno-zone.net/ it's about loosing the mass, or starting with low mass. Opening up the fields and other vibrations, and then tuning them in like instruments do. Very simple and very powerful.

On Stereophile I'm here to share some things that the hobby may not have known or at least isn't practicing. In the past there was volume and Eq's, then the industry went to discrete and volume, then discrete, volume and fixed tweaks (a fixed form of tuning giving one result). What I'm here to share and help with is there is a next step, variable tuning. Imagine taking all those different fixed tweaks that people do to change the sound, and instead have a system and method of making all of those choices that people come up with available from one system and one method? This is what we do and why I am here.

Tuning is audio and music check mate. Matching the signal from one stage to the next and from part to part is how to recreate what was done in the hall+studio and put on the storage. It's a little like watching people beat their head against the wall for us who are doing it and we were certainly there ourselves. There's probably almost every person in this hobby, who when they do serious listening is hearing that each recording sounds different from the next or that their system is making all the recordings put on, sound a certain way. If we jumped from house to house we would also hear that each system has their own select sound and plays some music great through poor. If we ramdomly took 25 recordings with us (I said randomly) to each home we would also find out that the recordings that sounded great to not so great would change from house to house. We've seen this done over and over and the results are usually surprising. Almost all of these systems do things better and worse than the next regardless of price or even setup many times. As I said earlier it's about matching up the codes, and not just the codes from part to part but each recordings codes.

Again lets look at the past. We got the recording, adjusted the source if needed, adjusted the volume, adjusted the EQ and listened. Almost every audiophile pre-80's did this. I'm not here to argue EQ's or not and I don't personally use one, but am also not afraid of them and have used some of the most advanced ones in the industry I would think and along side some masters at the EQ game.

Now lets look at todays audiophile. Volume, discrete, most digital guys not adjusting the source, some do a little acoustic tuning and that's it. When you bring up adjusting the hands raise in protest, as if the music is going to align itself. Ok, there's a magical step then that is now happening. Whereas before we were all about adjusting (tuning something in) we are now assuming the system somehow magically adjusts itself with every recording change. This my friends is the one major flaw that high end audio created when the discrete mix and match game started and not one reviewer or one designer has gone back to take a look at why all these different recordings and these different sounding systems are not playing as much music.

Why do audiophiles like turntables?

Audiophiles like turntables because they are adjustable machines.

Why do audiophiles like tubes?

Because they are adjustable machines.

We have become secure with the facts of changing sound from many angles of this hobby, and it is the key to getting the sound we want and getting to accuracy or at least a meaningful representation that satisfies. The fixed one sound matching game is and was fun, but that's really all it is. There's not one reviewer on the planet that will say every system they have reviewed will do everything with every recording. The best they or anyone can do is try to judge recordings based on the systems sound and not the recordings absolute info.

so where does high end audio go from here?

It keeps playing the fixed mix and match game and dies off as a fad, it goes to portables that can do a lot of what the high end systems can do sometimes better, or it can take a look at what was done before and move to a newer science, a more variable method. A method of tuning that uses the energy instead of trying to remove it.

It's time to take a closer look at instruments and find the commonalities between acoustical instruments and our stereos. How are instruments kept from distorting? It's time to make the connections of the dots and start viewing energy as a positive. Energy wants to be used not distorted, not stopped and certainly not segregated.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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I have really enjoyed reading

I have really enjoyed reading this thread- MG. Keep up the outstanding work!

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Low mass systems have precious little to do with mass

Let's review why these small portable CD players and cassette players sound so good. Nice to see you agree with the idea that transformers are bad news for the sound". No matter where they are located. Here are some other reasons why portable earphone systems outperform.

1. No fuse.

2. No internal or external cable except for the ultra thin earphone wire.

3. Ultra light transducer.

4. Crossover-less transducer.

5. Anti motion or anti acceleration algorithms. A = F/M

6. No semiconductor chips and the RFI generated by them.

7. No tuning or tweaking required. Well, maybe a little. All the obsessive compulsive prairie dog behavior can be replaced by a more relaxed, satisfied disposition.

8. No capacitors, inductors, resistors.

9. The elimination of many feet of directional cabling and wire that is installed backwards.

10. Eliminate house power and house ground issues in one fell swoop.

11. No more futzing with tube damping, tube bias, contact enhancers, special connectors,

12. Say goodbye to all those Tube Traps, Echo Tunes, sorry, Michael, Skyline diffusers, tiny bowl acoustic resonators, Shakti Hallographs, Room Lens and other Helmholtz resonators, SteinMusic Harmonizer, but the good news is you can keep your Schumann Frequency Generator.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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We'll be watching LOL

Hi Geoff

We'll be watching to see when you remove the acoustical products from your site, since you no longer believe in them. Also the removal of the other products on the site that as you are now saying aren't needed.

As for me, I think I'll stick with both in-room and headphone systems and help others get to the place where they discover ways to play more recordings as well as get closer to "the absolute sound".

As the relationships between instruments, rooms (on both the recording and playback ends), equipment and the human body become less of a mystery for the audiophile and we see that the audio signal is a lot bigger than we may have thought in the past, we will continue to head in the direction of improving and fine tuning this hobby and industry.

I no longer see things as IFs but WHENs. Everything in the past brings us to everything in the future. I think we can all see the trends of the times and enjoy them for what they are, if we choose to. Something we can count on is there will always be headphone and in-room systems. Which one chooses and for what reason isn't my concern. I'm here to bring the experience to the very best of extreme levels. I don't really bother with likes and don't likes as much as making the way for all likes, and making them happen with one system as opposed to 4000 choices and 4000 systems and 4000 individual recordings. The fixed mix and match game has been drawing to a close for some 15 years now, and it's not up to me to stop that ship.

As odd as you and others try to make tuning sound, I could imagine the response you and they would get if you walked into the practice halls all over the world and said "OK guys, this time we're going to do it without tuning". "further more, from now on we're going to do this using nothing but headphones". As much as headphones are fun and usful tools, the day we disregard the room will be the day music dies.

Let me ask you a question Geoff. As you sit there in your comfy chair and drift away in music land, what happens when you touch the wall beside you, make contact with that chair, set down those phones and walk around your dwelling? Nothing, absolutely nothing. When I touch my chair, wall, floor or walk around my dwelling the space is alive with the sound and feel of music. Beautiful live dynamic music that I can take in with every part of my body and soul. Music that intermingles with the rest of life. Music that makes certain movements and pulls me into the listening room to listen, and if I wish, through tuning explore.

I do believe in the simple headphone movement and think it's great! But I personally need to do more than hear within limits. I need to feel, I as an audiophile have the need to explore, uncover all those bits and pieces that are there, and for myself not from only one view. I want and need the freedom to go inside of a recording and study it like a well balanced meal. I'm no longer stuck in a hobby of one presentation. No longer "here it is do I like it". When we as a hobby go from what we were to what we can be the doors of exploration are going to feel like a hobby re-birth. Along the path of growth there are always those trying to get their minds around it and most of the time the negatives come fast and furious until one by one these changes become the norm, the next step. Harry and J. Gordon got us to the place of awareness. They got us to the place of thinking about the stereo adventure, but that's just the beginning. We've had the products that cover from here to heaven and hell and back. Now it's time to have a method. A method that goes beyond brand names and the distortion card being thrown. A method that takes us from a time of not understanding energy to a place of using it. A place where this hobby is more than talk, it's doing.

Me coming up here saying the word "tuning" shouldn't be a threat, but a gift. A gift away from distortion and taking guesses and people fighting each other to see who's ego will take out the others. People fight against tuning because they want to fight. It has nothing to do with tuning, it has nothing to do with music. It's pride, ego and the lack of trying.

How long will it take for this part of the audiophile world to be able to play the music depends on all of us. All of us big enough to learn. There comes a day with all things, when the pieces start to fit together. We have come part of this journey but we are far from done. All these guys standing on their soap box saying they have found it "the one sound" only to find that they have done nothing more than traded this for that. How long depends on the industry to finally come to the point where they understand that the audio signal is not this magical thing that just appears in a circuit. Music itself is energy and stays energy all the way through the chain. It doesn't come correct, it needs a human touch. That's why we're here. We're here to never stop, but to figure things out and make them a continuum. You think it will stop with multi-channel listening LOL. We're babes guys. The day will come where you will load your music and it will go to the exact setting of origin, and all around you will be the live event both sound & vison. There won't be any "what is right", you'll be there.

You guys can sit there and fight about the absolute sound you think that is, but I'm probably one that won't be there with you, cause I actually do want to be there, and be a part of the getting there. The chapter of high end audio that kept pointing to one sound, thousands of them for the same recording, is nothing more than a phase, a fad that was made popular through marketing. There's more guys, a lot more. You guys who are sitting there fighting and throwing around your own theories, don't you want to be there? Isn't it more important to be somewhere rather than talk about, or trying to convince others you've arrived? You say good and bad recording but you really don't know that for sure. Your looking at a soundstage box making judgements without even looking at the recording with the respect it and all recordings deserve. The truth is, your right you weren't there so stop judging like you know anything about making the recording. The only hope you have in judging is to blow that recording up to real size and taking a look at it. It's fun to play audio God, but that doesn't make it real or anywhere close to real. It's just a bunch of guys sitting around the audio nursing home saying they were in the war when many never made it past basic training.

Our audio components do not hold the answer. The answer is in the music itself. If you can't blow up the recording back to it's real size you have no idea what is on the recording, or how good or bad it is. Your looking at a tiny picture and telling others you've been to the mountain. I'd rather bring the mountain to me and then decide how I feel about a recording. I'd rather listen to a recording on it's terms and not always mine, but more, I need choice.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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thanks Allen

Thanks Allen, it's my pleasure to be on the Stereophile forum. It's a great thing that John and the others have done, providing us this forum to share.

all the best

Oh, and thanks for being on the music threads. My shopping list seems to never end.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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Memory fail?

Micahel wrote,

"We'll be watching to see when you remove the acoustical products from your site, since you no longer believe in them. Also the removal of the other products on the site that as you are now saying aren't needed."

I never said any such thing. You are putting words in my mouth again. As you know, I have a headphone system and as we all know acoustical products are kind of irrelevant for headphone systems. But customers have systems of all types so I will undoubtedly continue to sell acoustical products on my site. I also have customers with turntables, some with computer systems. My customers are not limited in what type of system they can have. Hey, these portable systems are nice, you know, not having to get up and tweak or tune something constantly. Lol

Michael also wrote,

"Let me ask you a question Geoff. As you sit there in your comfy chair and drift away in music land, what happens when you touch the wall beside you, make contact with that chair, set down those phones and walk around your dwelling? Nothing, absolutely nothing. When I touch my chair, wall, floor or walk around my dwelling the space is alive with the sound and feel of music. Beautiful live dynamic music that I can take in with every part of my body and soul. Music that intermingles with the rest of life. Music that makes certain movements and pulls me into the listening room to listen, and if I wish, through tuning explore."

As I just said, it's nice just to be able to sit still and listen and even do other things if I wish, like compose these posts without feeling like something's wrong and having to pop up and down every couple of minutes like a prairie dog on crack. I have succeeded in getting rid of the entire system! With my system you are not tied down, you can actually leave the house instead of being held prisoner. That's why they call them portable. You can take it with you. A moveable feast. You become like the vibration, free to go anywhere! :-)

You are enamored of tuning variables. I like eliminating variables. Variables like the ROOM.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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there your words and spins

Geoff, believe it or not, I'm really not here for your spins and own words. The words I use for you, come from you. If you wish to keep changing their meaning or the impressions you give that's totally within your rights. I ask you questions often to be sure you are making the statements you are and do, and when you confirm these on a public forum I would only assume that this is what you are saying.

I encourage people read this again and make their own judgements.

"Low mass systems have precious little to do with mass."

The statement above by you, pretty much sums up the way I view you most of the time. I would think that something with little mass, certainly is refering to mass. You come up and say that mass has nothing to do with mass, is typical of your spins. It's not you wanting to contribute, it's you wanting to spin. Of course mass has to do with mass. I know how much your wanting to make a statement to the community, and have by putting up goofy pictures when you have no answers or create spins where there are none, but I also enjoy when you do start to do listening because it shows truly where you and everyone who does is coming from.

You make a comment about mass as if there is no affect on sound, yet in the very next thread you point to NASA saying the exact opposite. You say your from NASA, and point to a thread that says things that completely discredit your statements. If I were from NASA I would have other NASA-ites up here in support of my statements or at least some experiments that I performed with NASA that showed my theories in action. On my visits to NASA I saw lab after lab that were used as proof centers that experts in any particular field could visit and ask questions which I did of course and enjoyed the feedback and demos. However you point to comments in articles as if you were reading the bible out of context to build a biblical case for Sunday's sermon.

Physics my friend is a big picture not a small window. The guys who sit outside on the steps trying to tie their shoes are not the same guys in the labs doing. Which one were and are you? When I have gone in science departments at any company or school I was taken to two places usually. One was a place listening to people talk about what they were trying to make true from words and another where there were labs of developing truths. Amazingly the guys in the talkies in many cases hadn't a clue what the guys in the labs were doing.

When I read the Geoff that is doing I develop one opinion of you, but the guy doing the theory talking is a completely different fella. One guy is here's what it is, and the other guy is trying to plant doubt or spin into what has already been done by someone else. Geoff just because your on your own journey of proof, doesn't mean that everything else is wrong till you get around to the doing yourself and come to the same conclusion.

Someone who jumps from in-room to high end headphone with tons of weight and dampening, to a Sony Walkman should consider slowing down and take a look at these jumps before they start throwing around statements based on limited findings. We reading you can only go off of what you yourself are saying. You keep telling us we put words in your mouth, but Geoff, there your words.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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geoffkait wrote:
geoffkait wrote:
jgossman wrote:
geoffkait wrote:

As I mentioned previously somewhere when you place a component on springs you actually reduce the force of gravity, i.e., REDUCE the squeezing, by exerting a force in the opposite direction.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

That is the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard in my life.

Your threshold of ridiculousness is set a little to low, I suspect. If you were to measure an amplifier sitting on a spring based iso system you would find that the amp weighed less than without springs below it.

Cheers,

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica
I recruit my army from the orphanages

Bullshit. Preservation of mass says that if it weighs 8 pounds on the floor it weighs 8 pounds on springs. Gravity isn't pulling any less hard on the case work, it's just being acted on in the opposite direction. A rocket isn't an anti-gravity machine. It's a God Damned rocket.

And the effect of the resonant modes of the materials that make up that mass are what effect the sonic signature of the casework. With that said, reduction in mass is about, generally, the frequency of the resonance and modes of resonance. "Tuning" of these resonances as MG calls it, is about making the combination of everything from the thickness and weight of the materials to the tightness of the screws work in a symbiotic nature with the physical resonances that (might) affect things like transformers and capacitors, which in SS electronics are the only thing that should really be affected my resonance. Sources, especially anything that has to spin, LP, CD, Harddrive, etc are another story because they not only are effected the most by resonance, they CREATE their own.

And by the way, the reason suspended tables SOMETIMES sound a little slow and frumpy is because SPRINGS are EXTREMELY resonant little mother-fuckers! And not only do they only keep CERTAIN resonances from making it to the transport, they KEEP table resonances from finding a path to stability (sometimes called a physical ground plane, which is also imprecise). Which, while it isn't so popular to say on Stereophile, is one reason the LP-12 is so, ehhh.

I thought you were a scientist? Geez. The reason I ask is you seem to be at lots of peoples throats on here who actually try things based, essentially in the physical sciences, while pushing your tweaks, which are often based on bullshit.

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You are enamored of tuning variables.

Geoff said "You are enamored of tuning variables."

Yep guilty. From the first time I heard my cousin (Doc Watson for you bluegrass guys) play his guitar I was hooked. Hearing the tones and structures send me to a place I don't think I can describe any better than needing to do music for a living, and for my hobby as well. My life so far has been one big concert.

I kinda laugh a little when some up here say "oh man I have to tune every recording". I think "well you don't have to I guess" lol. Followed by "why wouldn't you want to". Music is something to do casually sure, but when I think of the name audiophile I don't think of the guys trying to get out of work, but of the guys trying to get every last drop out of it. I think of guys thumbing through old and new collections anticipating the journey. I don't think of guys sitting there saying "man is that a bad recording", but of the guys who make that recording right and kick back for the ride, into the artist world. I'm not here for the guys that doubt, but for the guys who all their life have wanted to believe.

Yep, I'm enamored with it.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

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Thanks for the bitch slapping

For starters I suspect everybody and his brother knows that springs resonate. That's why it's customary to damp the springs in certain cases. Duh! That's why the program to detect gravity waves, to name one, uses damped springs in their VERY ADVANCED ISOLATION SYSTEM. It all depends on the circumstances and the spring and the application. There is a right way and a wrong way to do anything. Simply refusing to use springs at all is kind of, well, ignorant. One can damp the springs or damp the plate the springs support, I.e., the top plate. Michael seems to have thrown out the baby with the bath water when it comes to damping and isolation. As have you. Now, that's not very scientific of you chaps. Furthermore, there are many characteristics of springs that are important, not only resonance, for example dimensions especially height, material, spring rate relative to the load, how many springs are employed, and even color. Your understanding of springs seems to be well kind of superficial.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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Ok, I get it, speakers do soundstage.
michael green wrote:

Geoff said "You are enamored of tuning variables."

Yep guilty. From the first time I heard my cousin (Doc Watson for you bluegrass guys) play his guitar I was hooked. Hearing the tones and structures send me to a place I don't think I can describe any better than needing to do music for a living, and for my hobby as well. My life so far has been one big concert.

I kinda laugh a little when some up here say "oh man I have to tune every recording". I think "well you don't have to I guess" lol. Followed by "why wouldn't you want to". Music is something to do casually sure, but when I think of the name audiophile I don't think of the guys trying to get out of work, but of the guys trying to get every last drop out of it. I think of guys thumbing through old and new collections anticipating the journey. I don't think of guys sitting there saying "man is that a bad recording", but of the guys who make that recording right and kick back for the ride, into the artist world. I'm not here for the guys that doubt, but for the guys who all their life have wanted to believe.

Yep, I'm enamored with it.

michael green
MGA/RoomTune

You apparently haven't gotten the point. Why spend all that EFFORT and EXPENSE tuning the room, which we would both probably agree is critical to success, MISSION CRITICAL as they say at NASA, you know, with all those room nodes, echoes, standing waves and what not, when it would be much easier and much more to the point to eliminate the room entirely?! If thine eye offends there, pluck it out!! I'm all in favor of making life easier and making the SOUND QUALITY better in most ways that matter by eliminating all that speaker cabling, the speakers, the crossovers. I'll give you soundstage, but headphones have many advantages over speaker systems such as tonality, pitch control, detail, dynamics, and coherence. Why should an audiophile subject subject himself to a life of frustration and fruitless expense when he can achieve audiophile status in a blink of an eye? The next time you're sitting there admiring your soundstage or just staring off into space imagine you could sitting there with your headphones on reading a good book by NASA or someone on the subject of isolation or whatever. As Groucho Marx once commented when one of his guests mentioned she had seven children, I like my cigar too but I take it out sometimes.

Geoff Kait
Machina Dynamica

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