Is it me or is it j...
 

Is it me or is it just Semantics?  

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TVOR-Ceasar
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01/08/2019 10:08 pm  

I usually don't get upset, miffed, angry, (insert your favorite adjective here) over misuse / mix-up of  words, I know that there are many out there that don't quite know the difference. Then there's what I saw today that raised my ire.

To be fair, I'm not picking on the business where I saw it as they only use the "copy" that comes with the product. So my apologies to Parts Express  for the words you were given for these products. This page here and what these products call themselves: Passive Preamplifiers.

In audio (specifically home audio reproduction for personal enjoyment, whether it be mono, stereo or multichannel), a preamplifier's main job is to take low level (sometimes extremely low level) signals and raise them to some standard level that can then be used by the power amplifier to then drive the speakers. That is it. Anything else is superfluous, except in the case of Phono Preamps, where the filter to apply the RIAA curve is required to accurately reproduce the signal on the vinyl.

Turning to the 2 examples in the provided link.

1. The bare board. I can almost forgive this as it is obviously meant to take part in a build, rather than be a stand-alone unit meant to be displayed.  Almost. If it didn't have the word preamp in it's name. All it is is a tone control and output level attenuator. And the nature of the tone control is that it is all cut, no boost. All resistor / capacitor construction can only be cut unless they are set to max, at which point it is the full signal coming through with a dip in the mids in order to appear to accentuate the bass and treble. There is no boost since there is no active device.

2. The Bellari. This is what boiled my blood. This is nothing more than a source selector with a stereo attenuator. Just read the spiel. The word PreAmplifier should not be on there at all. It has Zero, nada, nothing, bupkis to do with preamplification. Now, I have no clue as to the quality of the unit, but I can envision it's design: The RCA inputs go to the selector switch  and then to the dual ganged potentiometer, then to the output. There may be a pair of DC blocking capacitors at the input, but I doubt it. Sure, it has "gold plated RCA jacks". Big whoop. Not much more than standard RCA jacks. My guess is that the 2 most expensive things are the 4 position switch and the case itself. Most likely it is made over in Shenzhen for at most $5 a unit. But throw some keywords in the description and some sucker will happily pay 20 times that for something that doesn't even do what it's named.

Sorry guys and gals (if there are any ladies out there, join in the convo. We need to diversify to grow. That's my opinion), rant's over. 

So really, is it just me? Or???

 

-Charlie


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123Toid
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01/08/2019 11:34 pm  

Interesting that you say that.  I have bought that tone control board before and thought the same thing.  I am a little mpre empathetic as I sometimes mix up my words in front of the camera and am like...whoops.  I think one time I called an inductor a capacitor.  Oh jeez, just who you want to get help from, lol.  It happens.  It is weird seeing it on a website for sale though.  I don't have a big issue with this, but there are times, especially with individual sellers, that I can cringe when words aren't used correctly.  Like when someone calls a passive radiator a bass module or someone claims I put a port in, so it'll have better bass.  When in reality some of these folks just don't understand what they are saying and prey on those who also don't know.  I think it is often just a misunderstanding of what is going on.  Which, no harm there, if it is fixed.  But in some cases it is deliberate.  In those cases, is when I get upset.  Having said all this, I think  we all have those things that bother us.  This just doesn't happen to be mine 😉 


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Douglas Blake
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02/08/2019 12:41 am  

LOL... you should see some of the terms used with mini-amps "High Fever Capacitor" and the like. I know it's mechanical Chinglish but still they could at least find someone who actually speaks English... But it's always good for a laugh.

Sometimes it's a language problem.

The thing I got a laugh out of is that they were promoting a "stereo preamp board with tone controls" but right next to it is an "Stereo audiopile passive preamp" ... with no tone controls.  Now that's rich!

 

 


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TVOR-Ceasar
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02/08/2019 2:41 am  

Like I said, the $7 board is just about forgiveable, but the $100 "passive preamp" is specifically being pushed to the audiophile community using what looks to me like deceptive descriptions. It goes against my analytical side.

-Charlie


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Douglas Blake
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02/08/2019 11:28 am  

@tvor-ceasar

Think of it as a direct assualt on frugality ... just like most stuff they tag as "Audiophile". That label is known to triple the price of just about anything.

A lesson in marketing from my early days as a service manager...

The company I worked for brought in several skids of small, solar powered, calculators they intended to sell for $19.95. Now this was in the early days of light powered devices, so they were met with some pretty interesting scepticism not the least of which was "can I use it on a cloudy day" or "will it work at night".  

Almost a year later 90% of them were still sitting in the warehouse and nobody was even trying to sell them anymore.

I had one on my workbench and over the time it had picked up a gold sheen to the back of it from bits of foil used for fixing the decorations on a line of safes we sold. One day the company's VP was in the service area and spotted it... You could see the lights go on... he had an idea.

He sent a couple of the skids out to a local company who were hired to paint the backs of these little calculators with high gloss gold. A cost to unpack, plate, repack of about $3.00 each.

A couple of weeks later the skids were back but with different packaging... now it read "Executive Pocket Computer" and sold for $99.95.

And wouldn't you know they sold so well we couldn't keep them in stock... 


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TVOR-Ceasar
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02/08/2019 11:38 am  

I wonder what Paul @ PSAudio would have to say about that? 😉 😆

-Charlie


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Douglas Blake
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02/08/2019 11:48 am  

@tvor-ceasar

Check this out ...

... I don't know if Nick knew he was doing this, when he did it, but that is essentially a duplicate of the PS Audio Stellar amps... using the same ICE modules.

Regarding these challenges, including Ethan Winer's public challenge to debate the value of audiophile cables, Paul is on the record repeatedly saying: "I don't care".

 


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TVOR-Ceasar
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06/09/2019 2:45 pm  

Haha! Paul at PS Audio is doing a Q&A at RMAF (2019) and he just answered my question via the "interwebs" - even said he remembers me (maybe he does?):

Question: How can a manufacturer call a device a "pre-amp" when it doesn't amplify and is only a source switch and a volume pot, such as the Bellari PP532 Stereo Passive Audiophile Preamp.

after much hemming and hawing, and saying that what is described is a "Pot in a a box", he said that because he is old and there are so many terms out here, he'd probably call it a pre-amp, but that it really isn't at all.

Figured I'd stand a better chance to get a question answered this way rather than his YouTube channel.

-Charlie


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Douglas Blake
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06/09/2019 5:23 pm  

@tvor-ceasar

You are correct that it's not a pre-amp ... it is at best an attenuator.

Plus... Somebody seriously needs to put out a tutorial on setting sound levels for You Tube recordings... -24db ... what a joke.

 


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123Toid
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06/09/2019 10:31 pm  

@tvor-ceasar

Haha!  I love how he reacted to you!


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TVOR-Ceasar
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07/09/2019 8:13 pm  

Yeah, I've given him grief over some of his "explanations" and/or unfounded beliefs, but I've also agreed with him on some of his points and even bolstered his view from time to time.

I think' I've been relatively fair to him. In this case, I think he's been relatively honest too.

Don't know if anyone else caught what he said earlier in the panel about "different sounding" DACs. If you haven't, I suggest you rewind and listen for it. What he ends up admitting is what I have been saying for a long long time. 

But I digress. Back to the video. In the live chat I did thank him for his honest answer, but, for some reason, I can't see the chat playback. I'm not above giving acknowledgement, kudos, or grief, whichever is most appropriate. 😉 Above all, I want to encourage people in whatever it is they are pursuing (within reason). I'd rather see people grow and come together. That's my nature. And this is the end of my sermon. Lol

-Charlie


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Douglas Blake
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08/09/2019 12:48 pm  

@tvor-ceasar

Don't know if anyone else caught what he said earlier in the panel about "different sounding" DACs. If you haven't, I suggest you rewind and listen for it. What he ends up admitting is what I have been saying for a long long time. 

Ok, I'll bite ... What have you been saying for a long time?

 


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TVOR-Ceasar
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08/09/2019 1:51 pm  

To point to what he finally said about DACs, again, paraphrasing:

The digital information is all the same. It's when you get to the analog portion that it sounds different. 

BINGO!

The real problems encountered with digital audio happen, for the most part, after conversion back to analog. The digital is relatively immune, much moreso than the audiophile community says.

-Charlie


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Douglas Blake
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08/09/2019 5:45 pm  

@tvor-ceasar

Ahhh, of course, that just stands to reason. The second meaning of "analog" is "an approximation"... people seem to forget that.

Plus, if the designers of these devices are following the general guidelines they are producing devices where a specific 8, 16 or 24 bit number translates through the device to a specific voltage at it's output. In all truth DACs should all sound the same, unless they are messing with the analog frequency response or otherwise designing poorly.

 


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TVOR-Ceasar
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08/09/2019 7:27 pm  

@douglas-blake

Exactly.

-Charlie


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