Author Topic: Importance of high frequencies  (Read 559 times)

TC Chris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
    • View Profile
Importance of high frequencies
« on: September 12, 2016, 07:12:28 PM »
Several people have posted about component speakers (i.e., not built into consoles), most of which are or were higher-end models.  Most component high-fidelity systems have greater high-frequency extension than typical consoles.  Magnavox, for example, built a high-frequency cutoff into its consoles by using ceramic cartridges.

I'm an old guy and I'm pretty sure my high-frequency hearing has largely been lost, as is generally true for older people and males in particular.  But I've seen articles that suggest that high-frequency extension affects our experience of sound, even when we can't actually hear the higher sounds.  The suggestion was that including higher-than-audible frequencies made the experience more real.  That's the goal of high fidelity, after all.  Another suggestion is that electronics that are capable of handling frequencies beyond the audible range are typically more accurate within the audible range.  Harman-Kardon took that approach.

Magnavox seems to have taken the position that frequencies beyond the audible range are simply not significant and that more attention should be devoted to what we can hear.

I'm wondering what others think about that choice.

Chris Campbell

AlexanderMartin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Importance of high frequencies
« Reply #1 on: September 12, 2016, 07:46:47 PM »
Good luck making an output transformer go above 20khz. Very few of them can go flat to 20khz let alone above it
Personally, I think the maggy drivers have a bit more problems then simply the issue of frequency extension

Consoleman

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 704
  • Southeastern PA
    • View Profile
Re: Importance of high frequencies
« Reply #2 on: September 14, 2016, 10:02:42 AM »
HF extension obviously got progressively better through the 40s, 50s, and into the solid state era. The head of Magnavox for whatever reason resisted using magnetic cartridges up into the 1970s, which was pretty limiting sound quality wise. Getting frequencies not only up to 20k but beyond 20k is an audiophile concept, and while many classic Maggies sound very good they are not for the audiophiles of today.

Putting a good source in front of a Maggie (digital source or magnetic cartridge/phono preamp) certainly helps with sound quality and shows more of what the amps/speakers are capable of.

Also playing records from the appropriate era makes a better match to the capability of the components. Hitting 15k on a record used to be considered full frequency. Most music happens in the middle anyway.

Enough random thoughts....
Mark

TC Chris

  • Hero Member
  • *****
  • Posts: 898
    • View Profile
Re: Importance of high frequencies
« Reply #3 on: September 14, 2016, 08:27:24 PM »
Consoleman wrote "Most music happens in the middle anyway."  True.  The latest issue of Stereophile magazine was in my mailbox today.  Art Dudley wrote a column on the great virtues of vintage equipment.  He praises the Altec 755 driver with a range between 70 and 13,000 Hz.  Within its range, he finds it peerless.  It's an interesting article about the best of vintage equipment, designed to do the best possible job, not satisfy a marketing-department need for newer and different.  I've never had a chance to hear most of the equipment he describes, but it's an interesting article.

I've always been fascinated by how my most intense listening experiences seem to be while driving in the Ranger pickup, listening to the Ford-supplied radio and CD player.  There's some psychological phenomenon going on, something about driving occupying the parts of the mind that tend to distract us from listening, freeing the rest of the brain to absorb the music.  The Ford's radio and speakers don't qualify as "high end" by any means but they are really quite good (especially in RF performance).  But what they lack in frequency extension they seem to make up somehow in other qualities.  And I'll add that at least in terms of bass extension it's surprisingly good.  The standard truck cab is a small space and fairly easy to excite in the bass range.  I keep a CD of Herbert Tachezi playing Bach organ works, and when the truck isn't moving so as to mask the bass with road noise, the lows are palpable.

Chris Campbell

AlexanderMartin

  • Sr. Member
  • ****
  • Posts: 341
    • View Profile
Re: Importance of high frequencies
« Reply #4 on: September 15, 2016, 12:01:56 AM »
There are even to this day very few tube amps that can go above 20khz, while Class A SS amplifiers boast 5hz-30khz+ due to their ultra linear nature. The output transformers are the primary fault in terms of extension, let's not forget that getting 20hz as well is very, very difficult to perform.

To me, most of the stuff I listen to rarely goes above 15khz. I use magnepan MG-I's as my mains and they have a range of 50hz-15khz +/- 4db. Not exactly flat, though the Tympanis I have measure quite better. Point being, I don't mind the lack of upper extension. Rather not have it then ice pick tier highs that make me want to get out of the room.