The Much Coveted Jump Factor - Friend or Foe

Jul 5, 2014
670
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18
Salem, OR
#1
As demonstrated in several recent threads, historically high-end audio has perceived the “jump factor” as a much coveted characteristic and one to pursue and I’d like to offer an alternate view and potential correction. Which is to say that the jump factor, as exciting as it may be seemingly add life to the presentation, really is nothing more than the effects of amplified electronics-induced distortions caused elsewhere the system.

I think it also worth noting that when a given playback system exhibits a jump factor, it pretty much goes without saying that the system will also exhibit over-emphasized (exaggerated) dynamics because it seems the two are inseparable. IOW, both are the effects of amplified electronics-induced distortions.

Like a blurred photograph, distortions raise a playback system’s noise floor so that its presentation becomes less well-defined more blurred. A raised noise floor always seems to include a combination of both audible and inaudible distortions and in the process will render some of the processed music info inaudible (below the much raised noise floor) while other parts remain audible (above the much raised noise floor) but still distorted. Obviously, the higher the noise floor the less musical the presentation.

Besides other effects, these distortions fuzzy a musical note’s borders as well as all the details within the borders making instruments seem larger than life (sometimes much larger), closer than they should be (in extreme cases smack dab in your face) and in the process severely compromise a note’s pristine and/or delicate characteristics. Amplified electronics-induced distortions even more so. Over-amplified electronics-induced distortions still even more so.

Hopefully there’s little disagreement with the following statements:
  • There exists various distortions induced to one degree or another against every last playback system.
  • Distortions (including colorations), whether small or great, will never bring us closer to the live performance.
  • A more revealing speaker / component is indiscriminate about what it reveals, whether it’s more music info, more distortions, or some combination of the two.
  • Some speaker / component designs will induce more distortions than others.
Since historically the jump factor has been seen as a very positive characteristic, I don’t expect anybody here to just take my word for it. But even without a real world demonstration, it would seem common sense alone should be enough to dictate the jump factor has little/nothing to do with live music. For example.
  • To those who frequent live performances where there is a reasonable distance between the audience and the soundstage, when was the last time anybody experienced the jump factor at a concert, even if it was a 125+db Ted Nugent concert?
  • A .45 caliber pistol shot outdoors 5ft or even 10ft from your ear will induce a rather significant jump factor. Yet, at 40 or 75 ft away the same .45 caliber shot should induce little or even no jump factor. And hopefully most/all would agree there are few if any musical instruments that can match the explosive dynamics of a .45 caliber weapon.
In one recent jump factor post somebody said over-amplification should never be a bad thing. That is a true statement, unless of course there still remains significant unaddressed distortions. In my case, when I happened upon this phenomena, I was auditioning a new high-output amp with 3 x’s the WPC of my previous amp but which I eventually determined also contained a serious design flaw / shortcoming that generated an abundance of amplified electronics-induced distortions which caused grossly over-exaggerated dynamics and an extreme version of the jump factor. I’ve always prided myself in having a very dynamic playback system. But with the new high-powered 3 x’s WPC amp combined with its abundance of amplified electronics-induced distortions, the jump factor was so extreme it seemed I was at the very least startled by what seemed like the initial attack of every instrument’s note. So the cause and effect of over-amplified electronics-induced distortions in my case was quite overwhelming and unmusical.

But just as overwhelming and musical was the rather simple remedy that among other things, not only eliminated the unnatural over-exaggerated dynamics and extreme jump factor entirely, but also did an about-face moving the presentation much closer toward that of a live performance. I was able to keep the 3 x’s WPC amp even though I had to replace that first model for another model I knew was incapable of inducing distortions caused by the first amp’s design flaws/shortcomings. Only now all the music including the dynamics occurred back on the soundstage at a good distance from my ears which were now planted firmly in the audience for every musical note. Dare I say very lifelike. Moreover, dynamics minus the over-exaggeration were better than ever and were now much more natural and believable. IOW, for the first time ever all the music including dynamics (minus any signs of a jump factor) was now up on the soundstage where it belonged. Luck of the draw for sure as I never set out to endeavor into any of this.

In one of these threads praising the jump factor, somebody said they thought that the higher output of high output cartridges yields more in dynamics and jump factor than they sacrifice in delicacy or nuance.

Though I’ve nothing to do with vinyl, at least fundamentally the thought about a higher output cartridge yielding more dynamics and jump factor seems to coincide well with my own findings regarding amplified electronics-induced distortions and what I’ve tried to share here. But I now see these characteristics as negatives or at the very least as not natural and certainly not closer to the live performance.
 

RogerD

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#2
I remember when I stood about 30 feet directly in front of a kick drum at a live concert....guess what I jumped.
There is no substitute for lot’s of clean power that moves lot’s of air. Needless to say I like the “Jump”
Distortion is what prevents dynamics or jump factor. There are other variables like how far your speakers are placed a part ect.
Listen to Simon and Garfunkel at Carnegie hall...there’s a instance when I always jump. Another is the Red Violin soundtrack. Some recordings just have a tension to them...Chinatown is another one.
 
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Al M.

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Sep 10, 2013
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#3
I remember when I stood about 30 feet directly in front of a kick drum at a live concert....guess what I jumped.
There is no substitute for lot’s of clean power that moves lot’s of air. Needless to say I like the “Jump”
Distortion is what prevents dynamics or jump factor. There are other variables like how far your speakers are placed a part ect.
Listen to Simon and Garfunkel at Carnegie hall...there’s a instance when I always jump. Another is the Red Violin soundtrack. Some recordings just have a tension to them...Chinatown is another one.
I think both is true. Distortion can suppress dynamics. On the other hand, distortion, such as exaggerated hardness on dynamic peaks, can also generate a false sense of dynamics. So I find myself in agreement with Stehno as well.
 
Likes: DaveC

RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#4
I think both is true. Distortion can suppress dynamics. On the other hand, distortion, such as exaggerated hardness on dynamic peaks, can also generate a false sense of dynamics. So I find myself in agreement with Stehno as well.
Why in today’s high end do we have any distortion? It’s a long journey.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
3,376
473
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Switzerland
#5
As demonstrated in several recent threads, historically high-end audio has perceived the “jump factor” as a much coveted characteristic and one to pursue and I’d like to offer an alternate view and potential correction. Which is to say that the jump factor, as exciting as it may be seemingly add life to the presentation, really is nothing more than the effects of amplified electronics-induced distortions caused elsewhere the system.

I think it also worth noting that when a given playback system exhibits a jump factor, it pretty much goes without saying that the system will also exhibit over-emphasized (exaggerated) dynamics because it seems the two are inseparable. IOW, both are the effects of amplified electronics-induced distortions.

Like a blurred photograph, distortions raise a playback system’s noise floor so that its presentation becomes less well-defined more blurred. A raised noise floor always seems to include a combination of both audible and inaudible distortions and in the process will render some of the processed music info inaudible (below the much raised noise floor) while other parts remain audible (above the much raised noise floor) but still distorted. Obviously, the higher the noise floor the less musical the presentation.

Besides other effects, these distortions fuzzy a musical note’s borders as well as all the details within the borders making instruments seem larger than life (sometimes much larger), closer than they should be (in extreme cases smack dab in your face) and in the process severely compromise a note’s pristine and/or delicate characteristics. Amplified electronics-induced distortions even more so. Over-amplified electronics-induced distortions still even more so.

Hopefully there’s little disagreement with the following statements:
  • There exists various distortions induced to one degree or another against every last playback system.
  • Distortions (including colorations), whether small or great, will never bring us closer to the live performance.
  • A more revealing speaker / component is indiscriminate about what it reveals, whether it’s more music info, more distortions, or some combination of the two.
  • Some speaker / component designs will induce more distortions than others.
Since historically the jump factor has been seen as a very positive characteristic, I don’t expect anybody here to just take my word for it. But even without a real world demonstration, it would seem common sense alone should be enough to dictate the jump factor has little/nothing to do with live music. For example.
  • To those who frequent live performances where there is a reasonable distance between the audience and the soundstage, when was the last time anybody experienced the jump factor at a concert, even if it was a 125+db Ted Nugent concert?
  • A .45 caliber pistol shot outdoors 5ft or even 10ft from your ear will induce a rather significant jump factor. Yet, at 40 or 75 ft away the same .45 caliber shot should induce little or even no jump factor. And hopefully most/all would agree there are few if any musical instruments that can match the explosive dynamics of a .45 caliber weapon.
In one recent jump factor post somebody said over-amplification should never be a bad thing. That is a true statement, unless of course there still remains significant unaddressed distortions. In my case, when I happened upon this phenomena, I was auditioning a new high-output amp with 3 x’s the WPC of my previous amp but which I eventually determined also contained a serious design flaw / shortcoming that generated an abundance of amplified electronics-induced distortions which caused grossly over-exaggerated dynamics and an extreme version of the jump factor. I’ve always prided myself in having a very dynamic playback system. But with the new high-powered 3 x’s WPC amp combined with its abundance of amplified electronics-induced distortions, the jump factor was so extreme it seemed I was at the very least startled by what seemed like the initial attack of every instrument’s note. So the cause and effect of over-amplified electronics-induced distortions in my case was quite overwhelming and unmusical.

But just as overwhelming and musical was the rather simple remedy that among other things, not only eliminated the unnatural over-exaggerated dynamics and extreme jump factor entirely, but also did an about-face moving the presentation much closer toward that of a live performance. I was able to keep the 3 x’s WPC amp even though I had to replace that first model for another model I knew was incapable of inducing distortions caused by the first amp’s design flaws/shortcomings. Only now all the music including the dynamics occurred back on the soundstage at a good distance from my ears which were now planted firmly in the audience for every musical note. Dare I say very lifelike. Moreover, dynamics minus the over-exaggeration were better than ever and were now much more natural and believable. IOW, for the first time ever all the music including dynamics (minus any signs of a jump factor) was now up on the soundstage where it belonged. Luck of the draw for sure as I never set out to endeavor into any of this.

In one of these threads praising the jump factor, somebody said they thought that the higher output of high output cartridges yields more in dynamics and jump factor than they sacrifice in delicacy or nuance.

Though I’ve nothing to do with vinyl, at least fundamentally the thought about a higher output cartridge yielding more dynamics and jump factor seems to coincide well with my own findings regarding amplified electronics-induced distortions and what I’ve tried to share here. But I now see these characteristics as negatives or at the very least as not natural and certainly not closer to the live performance.
Your analysis is interesting but flawed, IMO. I will come back with a more detailed answer later as it demands quite some time to discuss this interesting topic.
 

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
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#6
I struggle with these broad generalisations... jump factor is just too broad and possibly abstract. I’m just not sure how you can attribute the notion of jump factor to just any one attribute.

If we are talking dynamics then this can be a very natural and very real part of great music.

If we are talking slam then this is something else again.

So before we write off jump factor and jump to identifying a generic jump factor culprit then it might be useful to first define what this abstract jump factor quality actually is before just simply assigning it to being just some distortion of anything... respectfully.

Music can have much jump, and that’s certainly no distortion.
 

Audiophile Bill

Well-Known Member
Mar 23, 2015
2,403
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UK
#7
I struggle with these broad generalisations... jump factor is just too broad and possibly abstract. I’m just not sure how you can attribute the notion of jump factor to just any one attribute.

If we are talking dynamics then this can be a very natural and very real part of great music.

If we are talking slam then this is something else again.

So before we write off jump factor and jump to identifying a generic jump factor culprit then it might be useful to first define what this abstract jump factor quality actually is before just simply assigning it to being just some distortion of anything... respectfully.

Music can have much jump, and that’s certainly no distortion.
Totally agree.
 
#8
I would say to my ears, 'jump factor' could be seen as a separation of the instruments in the dynamic envelope. So you can separate what is actually going on. And as something new appears in the mix, that creates a jump as such. Sheer power or volume is no use if it is a mass or wall of blurred information.

Taking this to it's extreme at lower level, I can here jump factor in a SET amplifier due to it's incredible resolution and separation. And that can continue at higher levels if the amp is well designed. I have heard many SS amplifiers of high wattage that have almost no 'jump factor' to my ears. They have me heading for the door.

At shows, you often hear simply mic'ed music with small amounts of instruments, to display a kind of jump factor.
This is a kind of cheat IMO. Getting that same factor in more complex music, that is the big challenge...
 
Likes: RogerD
Jul 5, 2014
670
19
18
Salem, OR
#9
Since we may not be on the same page regarding our definitions of dynamics and amplified electronics-induced distortions causing over-emphasized dynamics and jump factor, maybe this will better explain my conviction of the jump factor being nothing more than the effects of amplified electronics-induced distortions.

I don’t wanna’ seem too dogmatic about my findings as my experience is limited. But what I encountered 5 years ago was an extreme version of this over-exaggerated dynamics and jump factor that overwhelmingly convinced me the jump factor could be nothing more than the effects caused by amplified electronics-induced distortions. Had it not been so extreme, I might very well have interpreted it as something musical and positive. Especially since I love dynamics and have prided myself for years of having one of the most dynamic systems I’ve encountered.

I owned a 180wpc BMC C-2 int. amp since 2011and in 2014 decided to audition a 600wpc Class D int. amp that retailed for maybe 1/3rd the price of the BMC (I’m intentionally omitting the new amp mfg’er’s name).

As the new 600wpc int. amp was burning in and settling in, I was rather overwhelmed with the additional dynamics and jump factor. In fact, the more I listened the more I could not comprehend how it seemed that my ears were running up to the sound stage for the initial attack of what seemed every note and then my ears would race back to the audience for the ensuring decay.

Even after 4 weeks of settling in with the music becoming much more refined with each passing day, the over-emphasized dynamics and jump factor did not change. And all this time I kept wanting to go back to the BMC just to get some musical relief.

With my 30-day trial period quickly approaching I tried to analyze what might be causing this extreme form of over-emphasized dynamics and extreme jump factor that would not go away.

Then it dawned on me from my prior experience with Class D amps. Though not digital, Class D amps, because of their high-speed switching modules, will induce a bi-directional digital-like noise. To the best of my knowledge all digital sources e.g. computers, CDP’s, DAC’s, etc. induce a bi-directional digital noise meaning that noise will go back up the AC power cable, back into the wall, and induce it’s digital noise onto other components not employing superior line conditioning. Some say this digital noise will go all the way back to the service panel and induce its distortions onto every other circuit as well.

Based on an experiment I did years earlier with a couple of Class D mono-block amps when I had some of my line conditioners out on loan, I rigged a single line conditioner plugged into a power strip so the Class D mono-block amps shared the same line conditioner. From this shared config I was able to audibly discern additional distortions from those Class D amps as they were now sharing their bi-directional digital-like noise with one another at the common power strip.

What dawned on me with the new 600wpc Class D int. amp was that the int. amp only had a single AC inlet to which was attached one of my passive, dedicated, bi-directional filtering line conditioners. With stereo Class D amps, each channel has its own board and switching module which is essentially the same as 2 amps sharing a single chassis and one AC inlet so just as years earlier the new int. amp was sharing its bi-directional digital-like noise between L and R channels at the chassis’ single AC inlet.

To make matters worse, any integrated amp must borrow AC power from one of the 2 channels to power the active pre-amp section. This config implies that besides both Class D channels sharing their digital-like noise with one another, the active pre-amp section is also being bombarded with the digital-like noise from both channels. All because they are sharing the same internal unfiltered AC.

But it gets worse since the new int. amp includes an active gain stage, the pre-amp section is amplifying the input signal as well as amplifying the digital-like noise received from both channels.

All of this internal sharing of bi-directional digital-like noise is what I meant by design flaw in my OP, which is to say any Class D stereo or integrated amp that shares a single common AC inlet will also share its bi-directional noise between channels.

And still worse, all of the digital-like noise bombarding the signal is being amplified by 600wpc. I’m telling you, the over-emphasized electronics-induced dynamics and jump factor were off-the-chart extreme and there was nothing musical about it.

Anyway, that’s what I concluded had to be the culprit. And aside from this amplified electronics-induced distortions causing over-emphasized dynamics and jump factor, I found the new int. amp rather impressive. So with only a day or 2 remaining before my 30-day trial period expired, I opted to return the 600wpc int. amp in exchange for a pair of their Class D 600wpc mono-block amps.

When the 600wpc mono-blocks arrived I installed them each having their own dedicated line conditioner and since I no longer had a preamp readily available chose to temporarily use my source’s internal passive volume attenuator.

This was by far the single best component upgrade I’ve ever encountered. Electronics-induced jump factor and over-emphasized dynamics seemingly completely gone. Presumably because there was no longer an amplified gain stage with any digital-like distortions now minimized, all of the music was now up on the soundstage with a good lifelike distance between my ears which were now firmly planted in the audience. Notes were now pristine and even delicate unlike anything I’d experienced before.

And because of the new 600wpc or 3 x’s wpc, the presentation was as dynamic as ever, but now in a much more natural sense occurring behind the speakers up on the soundstage and again, with my ears planted firmly in the audience. IOW, a far more believable music presentation as though I was seated in a concert hall rather my listening room.

FWIW, because of my love for dynamics I vowed years ago to never switch to a passive pre-amp. Now I don’t ever see myself going back to an amplified gain stage – at least so long as the passive pre- is driving high-output amps. And it’s been nearly 5 years.

Anyway, hope that offers a little better perspective.
 
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Ron Resnick

Site Co-Owner, Administrator
Jan 25, 2015
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#10
Thank you for this very thoughtful, detailed and thought-provoking opening post!

I sometimes use the term “jump factor,” and my intention when I use it is simply to express the ability of a system to demonstrate a realistic-sounding “rise time,” in contrast to a slow or lethargic or sluggish sounding system which invariably also manifests what I perceive to be inadequate dynamic capability. So I suppose I use the term in a casual, non-technical way.

I definitely think of “jump factor” as a good attribute of a system, and I do not equate it with over-exaggerated dynamics.

I look forward to reading about other members’ opinions on this matter.
 

RogerD

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May 23, 2010
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BiggestLittleCity
#11
I don't think I have ever experienced over exaggerated dynamics. Strident highs, a sibilant midrange, or bloated bass....yes . Maybe if the system suffers from a combination of traits,which must be minor, I can't imagine dynamics defined in such a way. The only way I know to produce fast powerful dynamics is to have close to zero distortion which covers many types and speaker placement plays a part too. It all comes down to the audio signal and system design. I would keep it as basic as possible, because you can easily be drawn to things that are less important...but do play a part.
 

tima

Industry Expert
Mar 4, 2014
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#12
I'm always interested in words, phrases and concepts used to describe the sound we hear from our systems.

I think what I'm reading here is the use of a term to describe a sonic 'experience' and an electonic or component explanation of why that experience happens or does not happen.

It would be really helpful if one adopting the terminology could offer two or three examples of music that can be used to experience "jump factor" when a system would be capable of demonstrating it, or should be able to demonstrate it.

Is "jump factor" a system characteristic such that any music it reproduces exhibits jump factor?

"...historically high-end audio has perceived the “jump factor” as a much coveted characteristic and one to pursue " - If that is the case then it's something I'd like to know more about but at this point I don't know what "jump factor" is.
 

the sound of Tao

Well-Known Member
Jul 18, 2014
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#13
...Strident highs, a sibilant midrange, or bloated bass....yes
Sounds like someone I used to go out with... and the jump factor in that relationship was also very high!!! I jumped as quick as I could.
 

Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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#14
Like a blurred photograph, distortions raise a playback system’s noise floor so that its presentation becomes less well-defined more blurred. This is not true. Distortion and noise floor are not the same. A raised noise floor always seems to include a combination of both audible and inaudible distortions and in the process will render some of the processed music info inaudible (below the much raised noise floor) while other parts remain audible (above the much raised noise floor) but still distorted. Obviously, the higher the noise floor the less musical the presentation.

Besides other effects, these distortions fuzzy a musical note’s borders as well as all the details within the borders making instruments seem larger than life (sometimes much larger) (Now this is actually something that does occur, like from grounding boxes, a byproduct of RF getting in, not really related jump factor though), closer than they should be (in extreme cases smack dab in your face) and in the process severely compromise a note’s pristine and/or delicate characteristics. Amplified electronics-induced distortions even more so. Over-amplified electronics-induced distortions still even more so. Memory distortion isn't really readibly as giving way to smear/fuzz/etc, because it's a linear distortion (over-amplified). They aren't related, and bad memory distortion can still sound very clear.

Hopefully there’s little disagreement with the following statements:
  • There exists various distortions induced to one degree or another against every last playback system. Ok, not that this is very meaningful, it's kinda like the word distortion is a catch-all.
  • Distortions (including colorations), whether small or great, will never bring us closer to the live performance. No, not true at all. It's been shown repeatidly that people don't like super low distortion all the time because it sounds too much like pro-tools or whatever, and not like a live event. People pick and choose with distortion types.
  • A more revealing speaker / component is indiscriminate about what it reveals, whether it’s more music info, more distortions, or some combination of the two. Again, kind of a catch-all, but yes revealing speakers will show you good and bad. That is not to say they are good sounding speakers, but close to accurate say like the LS1, M2, or Kii.... Maybe not your cup of tea, but no-contest for accuracy.
  • Some speaker / component designs will induce more distortions than others. Absolutely. It's very clear that many manufactures like diffraction, crossover distortion, etc. They all do different things to seperate themselves.
Since historically the jump factor has been seen as a very positive characteristic, I don’t expect anybody here to just take my word for it. But even without a real world demonstration, it would seem common sense alone should be enough to dictate the jump factor has little/nothing to do with live music. For example.
  • To those who frequent live performances where there is a reasonable distance between the audience and the soundstage, when was the last time anybody experienced the jump factor at a concert, even if it was a 125+db Ted Nugent concert? Sure, I feel you there. But I have heard kick bass pound at a live event through some horn speakers. What I'd really say is something like the bass in the 45rpm Rumors, it has "jump factor" but it sounds frickin stupid and overdone. I'm not one who likes seeing subwoofers fly back and forth several inches and being told "now that's 800 watts at work". However, I believe jump factor isn't specific to simply just loud things. I have some classical albums with gun shots and they are startling. I mean they are terrifying. But that's the kind of shock you get from being near gun fire in real life if you're not ready/wearing hearing protection. So I do think there are times when a stereo can display some pretty darn intense passages.
  • A .45 caliber pistol shot outdoors 5ft or even 10ft from your ear will induce a rather significant jump factor. Yet, at 40 or 75 ft away the same .45 caliber shot should induce little or even no jump factor. And hopefully most/all would agree there are few if any musical instruments that can match the explosive dynamics of a .45 caliber weapon. Yea... plus I don't want that kind of loud.
In one recent jump factor post somebody said over-amplification should never be a bad thing. That is a true statement, unless of course there still remains significant unaddressed distortions. In my case, when I happened upon this phenomena, I was auditioning a new high-output amp with 3 x’s the WPC of my previous amp but which I eventually determined also contained a serious design flaw / shortcoming that generated an abundance of amplified electronics-induced distortions which caused grossly over-exaggerated dynamics and an extreme version of the jump factor. I’ve always prided myself in having a very dynamic playback system. But with the new high-powered 3 x’s WPC amp combined with its abundance of amplified electronics-induced distortions (What amp are you using thats so full of distortion? "Distortions" as in multiple? That makes no sense. That isn't how anything works. Perhaps it sounds strange at times, but that doesn't mean distortion (linear/phase) explicitly (and in fact very very rarely)), the jump factor was so extreme it seemed I was at the very least startled by what seemed like the initial attack of every instrument’s note. So the cause and effect of over-amplified electronics-induced distortions in my case was quite overwhelming and unmusical. Sounds like an awful amplifier. I'm curious what it was... but I will reserve full judgement because I know nothing about the rest of your stereo, really. It wouldn't be very scientific to draw such a focused conclusion so early, as I know too well there can many sources of problems within any stereo, and how one deals with them can vary among real fixes and continual mistakes to offset the first (nearly indefinitely).

But just as overwhelming and musical was the rather simple remedy that among other things, not only eliminated the unnatural over-exaggerated dynamics and extreme jump factor entirely (So what's the difference between dynamics and jump factor for you? I think most feel they're somewhat intertwined), but also did an about-face moving the presentation much closer toward that of a live performance (Likely some positive phase 2nd harmonic, perhaps?). I was able to keep the 3 x’s WPC amp even though I had to replace that first model for another model I knew was incapable of inducing distortions caused by the first amp’s design flaws/shortcomings (this doesn't mean anytihng to us, we don't know the amps, and your definitions are catch-all and off to start). Only now all the music including the dynamics occurred back on the soundstage at a good distance from my ears which were now planted firmly in the audience for every musical note. Dare I say very lifelike. Moreover, dynamics minus the over-exaggeration were better than ever and were now much more natural and believable. IOW, for the first time ever all the music including dynamics (minus any signs of a jump factor) was now up on the soundstage where it belonged. Luck of the draw for sure as I never set out to endeavor into any of this.

In one of these threads praising the jump factor, somebody said they thought that the higher output of high output cartridges yields more in dynamics and jump factor than they sacrifice in delicacy or nuance.

Though I’ve nothing to do with vinyl, at least fundamentally the thought about a higher output cartridge yielding more dynamics and jump factor seems to coincide well with my own findings regarding amplified electronics-induced distortions and what I’ve tried to share here. But I now see these characteristics as negatives or at the very least as not natural and certainly not closer to the live performance.
Most replies are in the quote ^

It's not secret that a lot of cartridges have goofy wiring on purpose. They're meant to sound unique, interesting, different. I once had a pathetically poorly inserted diamond tip, and the azimuth that worked was so cock-eyed on it that it gave the stereo one hell of an interesting sound. It probably had a lot more "jump factor" with many instruments being very life-sized, and in person power. But then other stuff just sounded weird, and it lacked nuance by miles. I didn't keep it... fun at times, but so far off... I'm sure some manufacturers do stuff that mimics that oddball.

To me it seems important for a speaker to put out "jump factor" when the recording demands it. The problem is more likely that people are seeking "jump factor" from recordings that simply don't have it in them. I can't only guess at all the strangeness people endure to try and milk a bit more. Listening to MoFi could lead someone astray this way, as they'd do what Al is talking about, and end up with harsh sounding gear to offset the mush albums.
 

Folsom

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Oct 26, 2015
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#15
Why in today’s high end do we have any distortion? It’s a long journey.
Because low distortion doesn't sell. You can buy lots of gear with extremely low distortion, but generally people don't like it much. And it isn't from them adopting just smart grounding. You need to actually know something to keep the amplifier's VAS clean.

I would say to my ears, 'jump factor' could be seen as a separation of the instruments in the dynamic envelope. So you can separate what is actually going on. And as something new appears in the mix, that creates a jump as such. Sheer power or volume is no use if it is a mass or wall of blurred information.

Taking this to it's extreme at lower level, I can here jump factor in a SET amplifier due to it's incredible resolution and separation. And that can continue at higher levels if the amp is well designed. I have heard many SS amplifiers of high wattage that have almost no 'jump factor' to my ears. They have me heading for the door.

At shows, you often hear simply mic'ed music with small amounts of instruments, to display a kind of jump factor.
This is a kind of cheat IMO. Getting that same factor in more complex music, that is the big challenge...
Now see, I don't think you're describing jump factor here, not really. SET's do indeed tend to make different sounds evidently separate from others. They also tend to exaggerate the signal some on the output transformers at least, but have lower memory distortion because tubes run hot. That makes it rather easy to hear things as the small changes in volume are extra readable. SS amps are flatter, a little more accurate, well if they are low distortion. But then you have that clinical sound people avoid, so they won't compare them to an SET. SS usually don't have great memory distortion, and there is no exaggeration, so they fall pretty shy in tracking volume, which tends to make them less textured, and less able to startle you even if they're loud AF.

Shouldn't jump factor be the ability for the attack of the instrument to be surprising, essentially? And ya, it has to sound pretty defined and separated to do that... Pretty much what I'm reading here

I sometimes use the term “jump factor,” and my intention when I use it is simply to express the ability of a system to demonstrate a realistic-sounding “rise time,” in contrast to a slow or lethargic or sluggish sounding system which invariably also manifests what I perceive to be inadequate dynamic capability. So I suppose I use the term in a casual, non-technical way.
^ Worded a bit nicer, same thought.
 

Folsom

VIP/Donor
Oct 26, 2015
3,716
318
83
Eastern WA
#16
Since we may not be on the same page regarding our definitions of dynamics and amplified electronics-induced distortions causing over-emphasized dynamics and jump factor, maybe this will better explain my conviction of the jump factor being nothing more than the effects of amplified electronics-induced distortions.

I don’t wanna’ seem too dogmatic about my findings as my experience is limited. But what I encountered 5 years ago was an extreme version of this over-exaggerated dynamics and jump factor that overwhelmingly convinced me the jump factor could be nothing more than the effects caused by amplified electronics-induced distortions. Had it not been so extreme, I might very well have interpreted it as something musical and positive. Especially since I love dynamics and have prided myself for years of having one of the most dynamic systems I’ve encountered.

I owned a 180wpc BMC C-2 int. amp since 2011and in 2014 decided to audition a 600wpc Class D int. amp that retailed for maybe 1/3rd the price of the BMC (I’m intentionally omitting the new amp mfg’er’s name).

As the new 600wpc int. amp was burning in and settling in, I was rather overwhelmed with the additional dynamics and jump factor. In fact, the more I listened the more I could not comprehend how it seemed that my ears were running up to the sound stage for the initial attack of what seemed every note and then my ears would race back to the audience for the ensuring decay.

Even after 4 weeks of settling in with the music becoming much more refined with each passing day, the over-emphasized dynamics and jump factor did not change. And all this time I kept wanting to go back to the BMC just to get some musical relief.

With my 30-day trial period quickly approaching I tried to analyze what might be causing this extreme form of over-emphasized dynamics and extreme jump factor that would not go away.

Then it dawned on me from my prior experience with Class D amps. Though not digital, Class D amps, because of their high-speed switching modules, will induce a bi-directional digital-like noise. To the best of my knowledge all digital sources e.g. computers, CDP’s, DAC’s, etc. induce a bi-directional digital noise meaning that noise will go back up the AC power cable, back into the wall, and induce it’s digital noise onto other components not employing superior line conditioning. Some say this digital noise will go all the way back to the service panel and induce its distortions onto every other circuit as well.

Based on an experiment I did years earlier with a couple of Class D mono-block amps when I had some of my line conditioners out on loan, I rigged a single line conditioner plugged into a power strip so the Class D mono-block amps shared the same line conditioner. From this shared config I was able to audibly discern additional distortions from those Class D amps as they were now sharing their bi-directional digital-like noise with one another at the common power strip.

What dawned on me with the new 600wpc Class D int. amp was that the int. amp only had a single AC inlet to which was attached one of my passive, dedicated, bi-directional filtering line conditioners. With stereo Class D amps, each channel has its own board and switching module which is essentially the same as 2 amps sharing a single chassis and one AC inlet so just as years earlier the new int. amp was sharing its bi-directional digital-like noise between L and R channels at the chassis’ single AC inlet.

To make matters worse, any integrated amp must borrow AC power from one of the 2 channels to power the active pre-amp section. This config implies that besides both Class D channels sharing their digital-like noise with one another, the active pre-amp section is also being bombarded with the digital-like noise from both channels. All because they are sharing the same internal unfiltered AC.

But it gets worse since the new int. amp includes an active gain stage, the pre-amp section is amplifying the input signal as well as amplifying the digital-like noise received from both channels.

All of this internal sharing of bi-directional digital-like noise is what I meant by design flaw in my OP, which is to say any Class D stereo or integrated amp that shares a single common AC inlet will also share its bi-directional noise between channels.

And still worse, all of the digital-like noise bombarding the signal is being amplified by 600wpc. I’m telling you, the over-emphasized electronics-induced dynamics and jump factor were off-the-chart extreme and there was nothing musical about it.

Anyway, that’s what I concluded had to be the culprit. And aside from this amplified electronics-induced distortions causing over-emphasized dynamics and jump factor, I found the new int. amp rather impressive. So with only a day or 2 remaining before my 30-day trial period expired, I opted to return the 600wpc int. amp in exchange for a pair of their Class D 600wpc mono-block amps.

When the 600wpc mono-blocks arrived I installed them each having their own dedicated line conditioner and since I no longer had a preamp readily available chose to temporarily use my source’s internal passive volume attenuator.

This was by far the single best component upgrade I’ve ever encountered. Electronics-induced jump factor and over-emphasized dynamics seemingly completely gone. Presumably because there was no longer an amplified gain stage with any digital-like distortions now minimized, all of the music was now up on the soundstage with a good lifelike distance between my ears which were now firmly planted in the audience. Notes were now pristine and even delicate unlike anything I’d experienced before.

And because of the new 600wpc or 3 x’s wpc, the presentation was as dynamic as ever, but now in a much more natural sense occurring behind the speakers up on the soundstage and again, with my ears planted firmly in the audience. IOW, a far more believable music presentation as though I was seated in a concert hall rather my listening room.

FWIW, because of my love for dynamics I vowed years ago to never switch to a passive pre-amp. Now I don’t ever see myself going back to an amplified gain stage – at least so long as the passive pre- is driving high-output amps. And it’s been nearly 5 years.

Anyway, hope that offers a little better perspective.
I gave up on this post. Nothing in it makes any sense.

Class D exaggerates signal some because of the output inductors. It can make it sound kinda artificial and clinical because everything is so easy to hear that it's weird.

Also Class D's power supplies often mix rather poorly with power conditioners. It's a two factor deal where the Class D supplies are designed marginally for being in an AC environment not by themselves, and that there's nearly nothing on the market for conditioners that is fully compatible with class D power supplies. It can often be best if they don't have conditioning, or are only for subs where you won't notice so much. All of your stuff about "internal sharing of bi-directional digital-like noise" doesn't mean anything. If you want some help and guidance to make sense of this stuff, you have only but to ask. I'll do what I can to give you a clearer picture not of what you're hearing, but what the relationship is to the empirical world (measurements, parts, electricity, that stuff, etc)
 

spiritofmusic

Well-Known Member
Jun 13, 2013
8,845
975
113
E. England
#17
At a demo some years back, 15W/ch Bakoon Class A SS had greater jump factor than 600W/ch Mola Mola Class D SS on 115dB eff Cessaro Liszts horns.
 

morricab

Well-Known Member
Apr 25, 2014
3,376
473
83
Switzerland
#18
It has not been my experience that any of the effects you are describing increase what most would consider "jump" factor. Exaggerating leading edge detail and creating a forwardness or harshness to the sound is not what is meant by "jump" factor. Jump factor is the ability to startle because the dynamic envelope is greater than anticipated by the listener. This can indeed happen live with large dynamic swings and particularly when close to the action. As you likely know, most recordings are not made with a mid-hall perspective and even most classical recordings have a quite front row perspective. I agree i have rarely been startled in a live concert at mid-hall distance but I have for sure been given a jolt when sitting close to the orchestra or even a piano.

Most playback equipment is hinderd in its ability to track the full dynamic envelope of a musical peak...even relatively small shifts can be blunted or masked. When a system tracks this well you feel that the system is more lively and "alive", this is just as important on the low level end as the high level end, although the low level end will not startle you it might surprise when a small woodwind blat or burp comes up suddenly. The blunting on the high end has a lot to do with speaker's dynamic envelope and not just how loud they will play if you put enough power into them. It is more about instantaneous heating of voice coils and thermal compression (or in some cases dynamic compression from reaching mechanical limits). The lower the sensitivity of the driver, the earlier the onset of a thermal effect. This is why, generally speaking, horns and other high sensitivity designs will track dynamics more accurately. I have found ribbons and e-stats will track faithfully as well but up to a much lesser level...however, this is more mechanical limits rather than thermal ones so the effect is not quite the same in practice. They can have very good jump up to middle volume levels and then sort of just hit a wall, so to speak. Low sensitivity cones just kind of flatten out and the peaks are blunted rather than scaling properly.

The low level dynamic shifts have to do with responsiveness of the drivers to small input signals, their inherent noise floor (including box, driver breakup, losses in the crossover etc.). If a small signal goes into the speaker and the speaker goes "what was that??" then it is likely that small but important dynamic shifts are probably getting lost and a loss of realism and "jump" will be gone.

As for the electronics, well the things you describe are exaggerations of detail likely enhanced by high order harmonic distortion and noise related IMD. This has the effect of exaggerating the leading edge of notes and bringing things forward and flattening images and soundstage dimensionality. I find this to be often the killer of dynamics and especially low level resolution and information (often spatially relevant). I have also found that amplifiers that use significant amounts of negative feedback are lacking in "jump" like a heavy hand sits on the sound not letting it come free. I have also found that Jump has virtually nothing to do with power. My 25 watt SET has far more explosiveness and jump than, for example, a 200+ watt Devialet on the same speaker...even low sensitivity ones (we had this comparison with the 83db Boenicke W5 and it was no contest...people were ho hum with the Devialet and with the SET it was jaws on the floor time).

So, jump factor is the ability of a component and a system to swing the full dynamic envelope without blunting on the high end of the range and without obscurring the low end of the range. It is also the ability to resolve small dynamic shifts (like an flute flutter)in the middle of an orchestral temptest. This unrestricted feeling that comes live but is rarely really there in reproduction.

Not all recordings will allow this either. We become conditioned to what the envelope of our system can do and this is why when you hear a new system that can track the dynamic envelope better than your own you may be startled by some peak even in a familiar piece of music that is particularly but unexpectedly dynamic.

Exaggeration of leading edges and forward "in-your-face" presentation does not fit my definition of "jump" factor.
 

RogerD

Well-Known Member
May 23, 2010
3,442
101
63
BiggestLittleCity
#19
Because low distortion doesn't sell. You can buy lots of gear with extremely low distortion, but generally people don't like it much. And it isn't from them adopting just smart grounding. You need to actually know something to keep the amplifier's VAS clean.



Now see, I don't think you're describing jump factor here, not really. SET's do indeed tend to make different sounds evidently separate from others. They also tend to exaggerate the signal some on the output transformers at least, but have lower memory distortion because tubes run hot. That makes it rather easy to hear things as the small changes in volume are extra readable. SS amps are flatter, a little more accurate, well if they are low distortion. But then you have that clinical sound people avoid, so they won't compare them to an SET. SS usually don't have great memory distortion, and there is no exaggeration, so they fall pretty shy in tracking volume, which tends to make them less textured, and less able to startle you even if they're loud AF.

Shouldn't jump factor be the ability for the attack of the instrument to be surprising, essentially? And ya, it has to sound pretty defined and separated to do that... Pretty much what I'm reading here



^ Worded a bit nicer, same thought.
Folsom....in todays high end I really doubt there's that many amplifiers that have a distortion level that can effect total SQ negatively. There are thousands of posts on anti vibration, cables, and grounding that hundreds of listeners insist that their system SQ has taken quantum leaps in many metrics of performance. I run five different brands of amplifiers in my system ,including a Class D and they span 40 years of manufacture. All produce clean dynamic ,powerful, articulate,and emotional music. Why? Has it to do with bringing impedance into equilibrium....removing common mode noise from the electronics? I would guess yes. But my conclusion stands rock solid. Most high end equipment is capable of dynamics. It's the implementation of the system by the user that is most important.

p.s. For the past 8 years I have not added anything as far as equipment or cables. I have just focused on removing corruptive influences on the audio signal.....I'm blown away on how well that strategy has worked at least for me.
 
Last edited:

FBHIFI

New Member
Dec 21, 2013
27
4
3
#20
Jump Factor, for me, centers around dynamic range. The greater the dynamic range, the greater the Jump Factor.
 

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