Arpangel wrote:ef37a wrote:Arpangel wrote:ef37a wrote:"cheap generic IC's are used a lot these days."
You are in for a bad time then Arpangel because just about everything you have ever heard, hear now and ever likely to hear was amplified, buffered or processed through many dozens of those "cheap generic ICs" you seem to despise.
The NE5532 was/is the mainstay of the audio electronics industry. The distortion is so low that even the best analysers struggle to resolve it above noise. Their noise level is extremely low (and the LM4562 even better but more expensive) to the point that you will find it hard source a program nearly as good!
The most common FET input chip, the TL072 is not as good if you want to drive low loads (under 5k say) but is otherwise a perfectly acceptable device. Has a higher slew rate than the NEs but that is just tweaky bllx and matters not for audio applications.
The only area where discrete components are better is for noise critical applications like mic pre amps and (very posh!) summing amplifiers but that is just a noise issue, has nothing to do with subjective sound quality and if you can run to a decent input transformer the NE5534 will beat a transistor for noise. (RED pre amp!)
If a 20dB discrete amplifier sounds differently from a 5532 set for 20dB the discrete amp is faulty!
Interesting, I have an old Trio KA1500, I can't see any IC's in it at all. It's all, by the looks of it, discreet components and hand wired. Sounds very good though, and it was a budget amp at the time.
There was a time in the 80's lots of BADA shops, all had the same dogged philosophy, and I thought a lot of that Naim, Linn, Rotel stuff sounded pretty bad TBQH. It was sort of all down hill a bit from then.
The Trio would probably have "sounded" even better for the use of a couple of NEs! (I put sounded in " " because I doubt anyone could hear the difference in practice)
It is for example very difficult to make a really linear Baxandall tone control using the low loop gain of discrete transistors. Accurate RIAA equalisation and adequate headroom for phono preamps is also better done with op amps, the NE5534 for instance is hard to beat for noise. The only area where discretes score is the use of parallel devices in MC front ends.
Naim? Linn sound bad? Depends who you ask. These products were reckoned to be the dogs whatsits back in the day.
Thanks, my Trio is fairly noisy, I must admit, but, Noise hasn't ever been an issue for me, we all have different priorities, but I'd rather have a bit of noise and a good tonal balance than a completely quiet clinical sound.
That's the thing, Linn/Naim had great PR, their reputation was phenomenal, and they were very clever about dealer networking, demo evenings, and how they presented their stuff, but it just wasn't my cup of tea, it was all about the last ounce of detail at the expense of everything else, I much prefer a richer, slightly coloured sound, to the colder and more clinical sound of some of that 80's stuff.
And now prices for those things are quite frankly, stupid, £18,000 for a Linn Sondeck? No record deck is worth that no matter what it's made of or how it's designed.
Well of course, you are entitled to listen to what you want but if you KNOW it has limitations you cannot call it "Hi-Fi" !!