It looks like the "straight wire with gain" theory is being questioned

Discussion in 'General Audio Discussion' started by the skipper, Dec 30, 2017.

  1. the skipper

    the skipper Amateur Curmudgeon Subscriber

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    After years of audiosnobs looking down their noses at those who like/use tone controls, this little gem just made it's presence known. Now, this is not a fly by night company so there must be some need and demand in the audio community for something like this.

    loki.jpg

    http://www.schiit.com/products/loki
     
    Last edited: Dec 30, 2017
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  2. SaSi

    SaSi Seriously Illogical Subscriber

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    That's pretty useful in cases where you have a digital source, a plain DAC and power amp.
    But - while I'm no proponent of "eliminate tone controls" and admit to have pressed the dreaded "Loudness" button more than once or twice, I feel the "straight wire with gain" dogma is still alive and kicking and should not be questioned. For an amplifier, first achieve this - straight gain, no alterations - and then add tone controls, parametric equalizers to your heart's content. If and when you need them.
     
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  3. HTWillie

    HTWillie Well-Known Member

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    It's hard to imagine anyone taking the "straight wire with gain" thing literally. Nobody ever mentions how long it has to be or what it's made of. It's more like a Platonic solid - a tetrahedron or a cube - that has a perfect mathematical representation but can't actually exist in perfect form.

    The Schiit stuff looks really cool. Surprisingly affordable too.

    Edited to change Pythagorean to Platonic. I mix them up all the time.
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
  4. WaynerN

    WaynerN AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Didn't Julian Hirsh of Stereo Review days coin the term? Well, one of them guys did, and he used the term to describe what he thought was a marvelous machine that simply increased the signal it was fed, without any alterations to the signal, except for gain. This probably is a goal that all manufacturers seek, but seldom attain.

    For myself, I like tone controls and loudness buttons, even tape monitors.
     
  5. sqlsavior

    sqlsavior AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    That looks like a nice unit to compensate for poor recording balance. I don't doubt that it sounds better than most 'graphic equalizers'.

    As for a 'straight wire with gain', I always thought that was fancy talk, but agreed with the principle. But, nowadays there is added worry about the wire, like 'Does it cost enough to sound good?' :(
     
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  6. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I agree. In my ideal world I would have "straight wire with gain" preamp and amps but I would still probably need tone controls to compensate for less-than-perfect room acoustics. Best of both worlds.
     
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  7. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Someone posted another thread about these. The more I read about it the more I want to try one. If only it came in black with silver knobs.
     
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  8. c.coyle

    c.coyle AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    It's just an ideal. Something to aspire to.
     
  9. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    The whole less is more argument. Ive kind of gone down that path with good results so far.
     
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  10. arts

    arts Super Member

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    I listen predominantly to vinyl,across many different genres and from many different eras.Lots of FM,usually as daily background,and occasionally (but rarely!) a CD.

    Lots of my vinyl is phenomenally good,most of it is ''average ok'' or just so-so,but some of it is just plain horrible.Quite simply,some of my albums are in piss-poor shape,but are either very difficult to find replacements for,or the original recording was less than stellar to begin with.I love the music,but sometimes the sound quality drives me batshit!

    While I have always subscribed to the ''straight wire with gain'' philosophy in principle,and in fact practiced it for many years,I just can't justify not being able to enjoy or relax to a piece of music any longer due to recording issues or wear-related factors.

    On any less than pleasant recording,I have decided screw it,I'm using tone controls,hi-filters,low-filters,contour controls or even the dreaded loudness button whenever I feel the need to either just ''tweak'' something to make it nicer (in MY ears) or to totally re-write a recordings eq in order to make it bearable.I should be sonically unhappy for the sake of ''principle''? I think not!

    Mind you,on the great recordings,nothing touches the signal,as nothing should need to.In my system,all options are available,but can be completely bypassed/removed from the chain.

    I my mind,anyone who is of the ''no tone controls,ever!'' persuasion has never been part of the recording process:)
     
    Last edited: Dec 31, 2017
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  11. Lavane

    Lavane AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have my cassette deck connected to an integrated SS amplifier. Tone controls and filters come in handy when listening to my tapes.
     

     

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  12. theophile

    theophile Pheasant Plucker. Subscriber

    The saying was coined by Peter Walker the owner/designer for QUAD brand in an ad for QUAD brand amplifiers. So essentially it is a marketing spiel.

    Most dissatisfaction with the sound of a system derives from a dissatisfying Source component. Get an excellent Source and suddenly one won't care for tone controls etc.
     
  13. arts

    arts Super Member

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    Well,unless you are able to travel back in time to re-record the artists,or you are a practitioner of the art of resurrection,in many cases we're stuck with the material that exists.The quality of the source component is completely immaterial when the original recording was poor or the medium it was recorded on is not well preserved.
     
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  14. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    Wire with gain is by definition objectively accurate reproduction. No coloration added, no defects added, just signal amplified and sent down the line. Wire with gain has always been in question in the sense that objective accuracy is simply another personal preference choice. While I prefer objective accuracy, a lot of listeners prefer coloration originating from tone controls or amplifier design because of speakers, recording quality, condition of ears, or simply personal expectation. Nothing new here with the Shiit except a different marketing spin.
     
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  15. SoCal Sam

    SoCal Sam Lunatic Member

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    It gets worse. Radio favorites are mixed to sound good on cruddy clock radios and car speakers. Wire with gain systems expose them for what they and forces me to play them on slow and ropey receivers.
     
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  16. arts

    arts Super Member

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    You aren't kidding.Several albums I have purchased recently,while sounding great on FM (car system or the big shop boombox) have been really disappointing on my home system. Between the studio mix and the transmitting trickery,what was good sounding before was really bad on a good quality (well,what I consider good:)) system.

    It was one of those ''man,if it sounds this good in the car,I can't wait to hear it at home!!'' situations that ended in a reality check:( (and me initially wondering wtf has gone wrong with my system!?!?)
     
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  17. Bodyblue

    Bodyblue AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    I have bought a few CDs lately after listening to them on Spotify Premium and a couple of them have sounded terrible.......waaaaay too much signal. Then some sound really nice (Glen Frey After Hours being one that sounds superb) so it is hit or miss. I also have pulled out CDs that have been in storage for years and years and some sound great and some sound like crap....same with LPs as well.
     
  18. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    Sounds good on the radio but like crap on CD on the good system: you all are Bad Religion fans aren't you?

    Opposite experience - someone posted on a FB group that this was a magnificent album so I decided to give it a listen (poster had on vinyl), but on Spotify it was so bad I cut it off after two tracks: The National / Sleep Well Beast (released this year)

    Edit: I should specify that I do have Spotify Premium, and also had been listening to Rush earlier without noticeable offense.
     
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  19. Alobar

    Alobar Pulling out of the Last Chance Texaco.. Subscriber

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    Perhaps we need a straight wire to our brains, bypassing our less than perfect hearing.
     
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  20. N8Nagel

    N8Nagel AK Subscriber Subscriber

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    If you could sort that out, you'd be a hero. Would be great for people with compromised hearing. Cochlear implants do exist, but apparently the "sound" produced is pretty weird compared to natural hearing, an adjustment period is required to understand speech and i don't know if music would even be pleasant anymore.

    https://www.npr.org/sections/health...experiencing-music-through-a-cochlear-implant

    sorry to get all serious like and stuff, but for various reasons I've been reading up on a lot of medical stuff lately and as a result am finding interesting a lot of stuff unrelated to my specific searches
     

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