AUDIO FORUMS >> General Discussion and Support >> God is in the Nuances

Message started by beowulf on 08/29/13 at 07:21:11

Title: God is in the Nuances
Post by beowulf on 08/29/13 at 07:21:11

I was on iFi Audio's website checking out their new iTube (which seems similar to Decware's ZBox with a few extra doo-dads) and part of the copy add stated the following ...

Many audiophiles wax lyrical about the ‘magic of tubes.’ Why? Because the scientific fact is that adding tubes to a HiFi system increases our intrinsic enjoyment of music. The harmonic characteristic of tubes eases tension and gives us a greater sense of well-being.

The Frankfurt University of Music and Performing Arts conducted an extensive scientific study(1) where participants reported a ~60% decrease of tension, nervousness and a 120% increased sense of well-being with a HiFi system including tubes, when compared to a solid-state system.

(1) Jürgen Ackermann - PhD Thesis at the Frankfurt Hochschule für Musik und Darstellende Kunst (Music and Performing Arts University)

A lot of us already know whether on a conscious or even a subconscious level that there is something special is going on when we listen to Decware and/or other high quality tube based designer audio gear, but now I have some scientific studies to reference.

After reading that copy add from iFi, I googled "Jürgen Ackermann" and found a really great article from Stereophile called "God is in the Nuances" in which the author Markus Sauer references the studies of Ackermann in pretty good depth.  In the same article Sauer talks about his attraction to tubes and high efficiency speakers and how they go against the grain as far as the engineering numbers go, but defy logic on how they draw us into a deeper emotional level over solid state gear.

What else I found interesting on Ackermann's study is that the setups he used in his experiment were not all analog, but even the combination of a CD transport and Tubes made big differences in the way people enjoyed and perceived the music.

Although the test group was not aware of what equipment they were listening to, the study was not some double blind deal where they were a/b'ing setups either, but more of a behavioral study that goes beyond the subjective/objective argument so many get dragged into and instead focuses on how the groups were reacting to tubes vs solid state at any given time.

Anyways if you have a few minutes it's an interesting article that backs up what we Decware guys already know! ;)

Title: Re: God is in the Nuances
Post by Rivieraranch on 08/29/13 at 12:02:26

That's heavy, man. You know that this research is legit. There is no huge tube industry to back it up or anything like that.

Title: Re: God is in the Nuances
Post by stone_of_tone on 08/29/13 at 15:06:08

Cool good read. I was just on the Merry-go-round again with: Zu, Primaluna & PS Audio...and now off it. The involvement I get from my SE84CS has prompted me to put my Svetlana SV83 Tubes in a Safety Deposit Box!  Yea, it is that important to sense of well being and lower blood pressure too.  -Stone

Title: Re: God is in the Nuances
Post by stone_of_tone on 08/29/13 at 15:35:20

I forgot to add/mention my SuperZen CKC, that is in my bedroom system with the wonderful Zen Styx. This Amp continues to surprise me as it continues to season in.  

Title: Re: God is in the Nuances
Post by Lon on 08/29/13 at 15:44:44

Stone, hope your PS Audio Duo is sounding better. Mine is, seems to have turned a new corner the last few days. Really surprised me this morning as I was getting ready to come over to my parents'. . . .

Title: Re: God is in the Nuances
Post by beowulf on 08/30/13 at 00:54:01

stone said,
my sense of well being and lower blood pressure too.  -Stone

No doubt ... so now not only do we know that tubes sound awesome, but they are good for your health as well ... forget the blood pressure meds, get me some Decware! ;D

Interesting that ... even though the evidence was presented and valid - there were still people writing into Stereophile telling the editor that articles like this were dangerous to the progression of amplifier engineering and could keep listeners in the dark ages by them not wanting to accept solid state.  Talk about mixed priorities ... who cares if people enjoy it more and it even has health benefits ... articles like this could cause the progress of solid state designs to come to a halt or stagnate! (sic)

It reminds me of the other Decware post "How Much power Is Enough" wherein PS Audio's Paul McGowan went on a tube bashing set of articles claiming what a poor choice the designs are for amplification and why his new Class D was going to be the next best thing since sliced bread, then he brings it to an amplifier shootout and his Class D gets bested by a 10 year old tube amp.  And while he at least admitted that it sounded better on almost all levels, he would still not admit that maybe there's something that the numbers can't tell him and he could be wrong about tube amplification.  But instead he goes back for a redesign on his class d amp ::) ... he may eventually make a decent Cass D amp, but it's never going to replace or compete with Decware type stuff.

Title: Re: God is in the Nuances
Post by mark58 on 08/30/13 at 04:34:16

Sooo, can I deduct all my Decware gear as a Medical expense?

Title: Re: God is in the Nuances
Post by beowulf on 08/30/13 at 05:20:52

You do have scientific study to back it up ... just bring your reciepts to your tax accountant with the Ackermann thesis and study results ;D

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