Fake Balanced Leads

Many balanced leads available in the HI-FI World are not – one earth pin is either not connected internally or bridged in a pseudo-balanced way. Glue-up plug barrel – Hey Presto!

Reflecting back on Stereophile’s Croft Integrated review

I have had many Croft Series 7 hybrids through my hands over the years and they do not run hot. They run warm as owners will attest. Yet, when being technically measured by Stereophile, they managed to get the Croft Integrated amplifier to run very hot and then considered it a fair report.

My suspicion is that a music signal is less stressing to some amp topologies than the ‘steady-state one third power signal into a simulated load’ used by the technical reviewers.

So a topology of amp which tolerates this will have a technical advantage over one that does not. Of course, if you like to listen to a single note all the time….

This is one way in which you can get the contradictory situation where the reviewers rave about the amp, as occurred with the Croft Integrated, while the technician finds fault.
You can bet the Integrated did not run hot at the reviewer’s houses (before and after the measurements were taken) when sounding so musical.
As is often the case their testing is not what they think it is. If it ran hot on test bench they were overloading it in some way and inducing distortion.
The trouble with this kind of ‘science’ is that readers of such reviews tend to feel obliged to bow to the measurement ‘facts’ unquestioningly.
Many years ago Glenn Croft said, ‘When you know what you’re measuring, measure it!’
It seems the measurements were taken from the Tape Out rather than the speaker outputs which would have loaded-down the amplifier’s output and induced the 6db roll-off.
Let’s not forget that Total Harmonic Distortion is also overstated as many Jap amps had vanishingly low figures such as 0.01% distortion and sounded rather thin and unengaging in reviews. In the meantime most speakers distort by about 33%…
If you prefer a more objective perspective regarding magazine technical measurements, Steve Elford of Vertex AQ cites that:
“Fourier transform theorem or FFT software is the wrong way to measure because it’s in the frequency domain and is an iterative process over time so you only see the presence of constant sine waves. By analysing the signal in the time domain, only then can you see the tracking error.”

10/10/15 Further thoughts on Vertex.

As mentioned I have loaned out all my Vertex gear to a customer for a 1 week trial period.

A pair of large 3 way speakers with 12 inch bass drivers are out on demonstration to another customer who has concluded that they need to be played too loudly to be at their best in his set-up. In my room, with Vertex installed and the same Croft amplification, there is no such problem and they play excellently at low volumes – interesting…

Thoughts on Vertex equipment.

One of the first things that strikes you about the Vertex range is that it is fantastic at controlling boom levels * – my 10.5 ft wide demo room with suspended floor can now work with unfeasibly large speakers even with 15 inch bass drivers thanks to Vertex.

I have loaned out all my Vertex gear to a customer for a 1 week trial period and the boom is back and unbearable forcing me to change back to mini-monitors!

I remember this being a big issue before discovering this brand.

(* Actually, the first thing that strikes most people trying the Vertex gear is the better image placement/separation and lower noise floor. But each system is different and my main issue had been boom levels and the need to demonstrate various speakers of all sizes. )

New Gold Note PH-11 phono stage now available for demonstration.

EX-DEM IN VENDITA EURO 3000.

The new PH-11 is Gold Note’s flagship reference MM/MC phono preamplifier featuring a high current battery power supply with automatic temperature stabilizer to produce the best audio performance.

It is a fully-balanced three-chassis unit with four batteries and an intelligent charging power supply.

(A sophisticated system automatically recharges all four batteries exactly when needed without interrupting the unit’s operation.)

This massive power supply is able to release great dynamics with any kind of phono cartridge.

The extremely silent background, enabled partly by the use of batteries, allows the unit to amplify phono cartridges with outputs even lower than 0.1mV  with ease producing magnificent audio quality.

The PH-11 features Gold Note’s proprietary fully balanced four times dual-stabilized mono amp design stage.

The unit enables easy MC phono cartridge matching and can be supplied with two pairs of loading plugs to find the perfect match in any condition. All phono cartridges with an internal impedance below 10 ohms would normally need an external step-up transformer.

Compared to the best step-ups the PH-11 retains focus and definition at the frequency extremes rather than going slightly out of focus and is extremely detailed.

It works well with all MCs while a step-up can produce enormous variations in sound quality if output and loading are not spot-on for a given cartridge – completely choking the quality of a good MC.

More information here: http://www.goldnote.it/wordpress/ph-11/

Gold Note PH11

DEMONSTRATOR AVAILABLE FOR EX-DEM SALE PRICE – please ring or e-mail me for details.