SAT Direct Drive Turntable!

spiritofmusic

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Peter, I thought the whole thrust of your system direction/SQ evolution/lexicon wrangling, was to move away from terms like "blacker background"?
 

PeterA

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Peter, I thought the whole thrust of your system direction/SQ evolution/lexicon wrangling, was to move away from terms like "blacker background"?

Yes Marc, but that is just me. Others use the term and seem to find it useful. This thread is about the SAT turntable and MF's recent review. He used the term in the review and I am simply wish I understood what he means when using it: is it good or bad, what causes it, and how does it relate to what we actually hear in a concert hall.

I am increasingly interested in the language we use to describe what we hear from audio systems and from live music.
 
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spiritofmusic

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My guess Peter is that if you hyper resolve detail as this SAT review seems to suggest, you may over emphasise aspects like blackness. That almost sounds like a digital approach to music making. Certainly I hear greater delineation in absolute black levels in the great digitally-based systems I've auditioned, especially Blue58's Extreme/Aqua Formula XHD rig.
For me, black levels seem like a digital archetype, mids tonal saturation seems more an analog archetype.
 

XV-1

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Looks interesting, if not on the pricey side. Having what he'd the video I can see how it works. But will VTA be different with each LP, i.e. inconsistent.

Pricey - really? what do you think of the 38K for the SAT vacuum?

BTW - this video seems to be a bit better

 
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microstrip

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(...)

I would like to better understand what MF means by "blacker backgrounds" and why they are either desirable or not. What causes them, do they come at the expense of something else which may go missing, and how they relate to what we hear when listening to actual music. (...)
(...)
What does the "blacker background" of one turntable compared to another really tell us about how a component brings a system closer to the sound of the real thing? (...)
The audience waits to applaud as the conductor very slowly lowers his arms at the end of the final movement. I have often thought that this is because the conductor is waiting for the last remnants of energy to dissipate and turn to silence marking the end of the piece. This takes time. I almost never hear that silence anywhere during the music, not even between movements when there is shifting and motions from the musicians and audience. Total silence in a concert hall is rare.
(...)
Peter,

IMHO black background is not silence. You only notice it when there is something being played. Do not expect someone to write a perfect definition of it that suits your comparison with real music or use of the too general concept of energy. Google the analogplanet site for "black background" - Michael Fremer used it several times before, making very clear what he means by it.

I am not a fan of the particular words "black background" - we risk that many people simply associate it with signal to noise ratio. But it is my interest to understand what people mean with it if I valuate the opinions of people who use it. For me a "black background" means a lot more perceived information. Connection with types of media, such as tape or digital will on make it more confusing.

BTW, the perfect example of black background is John Cage 4'33'' - just as controversial as the "black background" concept! ;)
 

PeterA

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Peter,

IMHO black background is not silence. You only notice it when there is something being played. Do not expect someone to write a perfect definition of it that suits your comparison with real music or use of the too general concept of energy. Google the analogplanet site for "black background" - Michael Fremer used it several times before, making very clear what he means by it.

I am not a fan of the particular words "black background" - we risk that many people simply associate it with signal to noise ratio. But it is my interest to understand what people mean with it if I valuate the opinions of people who use it. For me a "black background" means a lot more perceived information. Connection with types of media, such as tape or digital will on make it more confusing.

BTW, the perfect example of black background is John Cage 4'33'' - just as controversial as the "black background" concept! ;)

Francisco, if you understand what MF means by “blacker backgrounds”, could you just paraphrase it for us here and now? It is not clear to me and I’m not sure I want to go and read all of the references to try to decipher its meaning. If you think it means “A lot more perceived information”, why not just write that instead?

In the end, I don’t perceive anything resembling a “black background” when listening to live music in a concert hall, so it has no meaning to me when used to describe the sound of an audio component. My guess is that people use it to describe “lower noise“ but I am not really sure. You could also mean simply a stark or contrast of images and sounds. I got something like this effect with the use of tube traps and my pneumatic isolation platforms. It was the sound I liked for many years but I ultimately decided to move away from it.
 
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Hi-FiGuy

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Smarkiness has now infested a once 100% civil group. That’s sad. So let’s straighten out some misconceptions: first there is no advertising for the SAT turntable so I clearly did not use it to write the review. Yes, I sat down with the designer, who remember has graduate degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science unlike the “snarky geniuses” posting here, and learned about what he’s done and I described it. Then I wrote about it and I measured the speed performance using the platter speed app which bettered the SP-10R. And I described the sound. Someone posted that somehow I should have done something else. Perhaps a metallurgy test? What is the job other than what I did. Just curious. BTW: I’ve reviewed the NVS, the Monaco Grand Prix, the SP10R in the OMA plinth, the SL-1000R, two VPIs and a few Brinkmann DDs, so claims notwithstanding I do have DD reviewing experience. If you don’t like the SAT vacuum system, which avoids drawing vacuum through the bearing and so avoids many issues, you needn’t buy it if you choose this TT. And it holds vacuum for an entire side no problem, which is what I wrote. Those speculating didn’t read what I wrote. The comments about it like what happens if you lose the TORX driver are the kind of infantile drivel I expect on Audiophiles- North America not here. Sad to see this. BTW: anyone who thinks that butt ugly OMA prototype is what OMA will market to its esthetically sophisticated consumers is butt foolish. The finished product looks spectacular. Finally, I’ll shortly have the SAT, OMA and AF Zero here to compare. Let the faux outrage commence! (For whatever ridiculous reasons). My favorite snark comment by far was one from someone who concisely laid out what the job is, (though substituting ad copy for tech explanation) and then criticized me for doing it. If that individual had a serious criticism of that process he’d have laid out his version of the job, but he didn’t. As for me positively reviewing the SAT for my accommodation price, how TRITE! Everyone knows I did it for advertising dollars and a free dinner.
Thank you
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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Peter,

IMHO black background is not silence. You only notice it when there is something being played. Do not expect someone to write a perfect definition of it that suits your comparison with real music or use of the too general concept of energy. Google the analogplanet site for "black background" - Michael Fremer used it several times before, making very clear what he means by it.

I am not a fan of the particular words "black background" - we risk that many people simply associate it with signal to noise ratio. But it is my interest to understand what people mean with it if I valuate the opinions of people who use it. For me a "black background" means a lot more perceived information. Connection with types of media, such as tape or digital will on make it more confusing.

BTW, the perfect example of black background is John Cage 4'33'' - just as controversial as the "black background" concept! ;)
If the background is that obvious and generally present to notice and assign it a quality or color then it's a coloration! You're right Francisco black doesn't mean quiet or silent, it's simply a faux coloration.

david
 
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marty

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Apr 20, 2010
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How do you know how often Michael attends live music performances?
I don't think anybody has attended live music for the past 9 months! (I don't think my granddaughter playing the kazoo counts).
For now, the NY Phil and Carnegie Hall are going to remain closed for the entire 20-21 season which began last month.
 

Ron Resnick

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Jan 25, 2015
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What is the problem with the reference being other equipment?

I find it odd that people think the reference should be live music or the sound of instruments, as you're not comparing it to listening to the live music or the sound of instruments. You're listening to a recording of those things. The reference should be other equipment, as that would be the only "known". Almost anything else is just guessing and not as useful.

I prefer to know how one amp, table, dac, etc, sounds in comparison to similar equipment I may be interested in, versus how it sounds compared to what I think a trumpet in an unfamiliar space should sound like.

Did you mean to address these questions to Tima?
 

XV-1

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May 24, 2010
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Smarkiness has now infested a once 100% civil group. That’s sad. So let’s straighten out some misconceptions: first there is no advertising for the SAT turntable so I clearly did not use it to write the review. Yes, I sat down with the designer, who remember has graduate degrees in mechanical engineering and materials science unlike the “snarky geniuses” posting here, and learned about what he’s done and I described it. Then I wrote about it and I measured the speed performance using the platter speed app which bettered the SP-10R. And I described the sound. Someone posted that somehow I should have done something else. Perhaps a metallurgy test? What is the job other than what I did. Just curious. BTW: I’ve reviewed the NVS, the Monaco Grand Prix, the SP10R in the OMA plinth, the SL-1000R, two VPIs and a few Brinkmann DDs, so claims notwithstanding I do have DD reviewing experience. If you don’t like the SAT vacuum system, which avoids drawing vacuum through the bearing and so avoids many issues, you needn’t buy it if you choose this TT. And it holds vacuum for an entire side no problem, which is what I wrote. Those speculating didn’t read what I wrote. The comments about it like what happens if you lose the TORX driver are the kind of infantile drivel I expect on Audiophiles- North America not here. Sad to see this. BTW: anyone who thinks that butt ugly OMA prototype is what OMA will market to its esthetically sophisticated consumers is butt foolish. The finished product looks spectacular. Finally, I’ll shortly have the SAT, OMA and AF Zero here to compare. Let the faux outrage commence! (For whatever ridiculous reasons). My favorite snark comment by far was one from someone who concisely laid out what the job is, (though substituting ad copy for tech explanation) and then criticized me for doing it. If that individual had a serious criticism of that process he’d have laid out his version of the job, but he didn’t. As for me positively reviewing the SAT for my accommodation price, how TRITE! Everyone knows I did it for advertising dollars and a free dinner.

Michael.

What is the difference in sound between sans vacuum and using the vacuum. This, you did not cover in the review.

Cheers
 

tima

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Hi Tim,

Why do you think this? How do you know how often Michael attends live music performances?

What is your basis for this assertion?

Lot's of questions, Ron - you sound like a lawyer.

Here's my answer to your first: because I find little evidence to the contrary.

What's amusing is you seem to imply my observation is a criticism. Is it?
 

ddk

Industry Expert
May 19, 2013
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What is the problem with the reference being other equipment?

I find it odd that people think the reference should be live music or the sound of instruments, as you're not comparing it to listening to the live music or the sound of instruments. You're listening to a recording of those things. The reference should be other equipment, as that would be the only "known". Almost anything else is just guessing and not as useful.

I prefer to know how one amp, table, dac, etc, sounds in comparison to similar equipment I may be interested in, versus how it sounds compared to what I think a trumpet in an unfamiliar space should sound like.
Comparing equipment is fine if you want to understand the difference among gear but you need an actual Reference to understand the equipment's actual performance and that Reference is real music and real instruments. Flawed and unverified sounds of other equipment doesn't constitute a Reference.

david
 

the sound of Tao

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Comparing equipment is fine if you want to understand the difference among gear but you need an actual Reference to understand the equipment's actual performance and that Reference is real music and real instruments. Flawed and unverified sounds of other equipment doesn't constitute a Reference.

david
The most realistic experience of music is the alpha and the omega. In the middle we compare gears.
 

tima

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Mar 4, 2014
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And the reader has been conditioned to understand the sound of components and systems by these attributes and the glossary of terms.

I think this is part of it. Expectations of vocabulary set over many years tend to lead to expectations about what a system should sound like. Describing sound (sonics) is difficult - or so I find.

I think there is a real opportunity here, with some effort, to reexamine how reviews are approached and what they should communicate. It is a real challenge and I am skeptical that such a shift will take place, but it is possible,

I've tried engaging about this and the importance of vocabulary for a while now. We hear and describe various stereo systems and different components within them. We hear and describe the sound of live acoustic music. That some of us look at the similarities and differences in these descriptions, then go on to talk about them seems inevitable. Some ask the question: what should a stereo sound like - or what do I want my stereo to sound like. Apparently those are controversial questions.

Reviews are what they are. I don't expect a shift in what they say or reexamination of what they should say. I don't have a clue if there is a kind of group-think among writers. It doesn't feel like there is, but it's obvious to me that a certain leading vocabulary has developed over time and that vocabulary has been very influential in what reviewers say and what readers expect. I agree that people want to read comparisons between different components, whether people are interested in comparisons between a component and live music I don't know. At least some think that is not useful as per lordcloud's comments in #234.

We all share the reference to live music, and audio reviews should help us to understand whether or not the reviewer thinks the product under review brings us closer to the sound of real music.

I'm not sure about the first part - would certainly like to think that, but I don't know that it's true. I agree about the second part but it goes against the grain of a lot of what one reads nowadays. Simply saying "product X brings me closer to the sound of real music" is one thing, spelling that out further is difficult, or so I find. Imo the effort is worth it.
 
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Direct Drive

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Pricey - really? what do you think of the 38K for the SAT vacuum?
Apologies....my sarcasm didn't come through (I have amended). Compared to £38k, it is very reasonable.
 

tima

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Comparing equipment is fine if you want to understand the difference among gear but you need an actual Reference to understand the equipment's actual performance and that Reference is real music and real instruments. Flawed and unverified sounds of other equipment doesn't constitute a Reference.

david

Daivd, you and I agree on this, however I'm coming to think some people don't find value in having that reference (real music, real instruments) and have another or a different reference. It's that fundamental basis of preference that distlinguishes the synthecist from the naturalist. And I don't know if it is an intentional choice or unthinking choice.
 
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tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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What is the problem with the reference being other equipment?

I find it odd that people think the reference should be live music or the sound of instruments, as you're not comparing it to listening to the live music or the sound of instruments. You're listening to a recording of those things. The reference should be other equipment, as that would be the only "known". Almost anything else is just guessing and not as useful.

I prefer to know how one amp, table, dac, etc, sounds in comparison to similar equipment I may be interested in, versus how it sounds compared to what I think a trumpet in an unfamiliar space should sound like.

I really just wanted a copy of this because it is an interesting point of view.

But I will ask a question: do you think a violinist knows what a violin sounds like?
 

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