Pray tell how does one "voice" an amplifier?
Frank Van Alstine
My ignorance of audio and audio terminology is apparent, but I wish to attempt to answer the question about the term "voice" since I used the term in this thread. Even though Nuance's post and my post weren't in reference to AVA, I would still like to refer to some of your previous comments in an attempt to explain my use of the term. I hadn't previously read your post from September 2006, or I wouldn't have used the term in any context.
I will paraphrase in an attempt to avoid having to look up previous posts and directly quote the contents.
You described the HT3 as the windows that you used, in your treated listening room, to evaluate the effectiveness of your designs. I assume that there were times, but perhaps incorrectly, that you modified the design because the result was not satisfactory to you after listening to music. When you announced the B+ wiring upgrade for the U70, you stated, I believe, that the sonic improvement was not visible on test equipment and there were many unknown factors of tube technology. When you announced the 6CG7 tube upgrade and the opamp upgrades, these also resulted in sonic improvements, even if that improvement was further sonic removal of the electronic components from the signal, although the function of the electronic components is amplify or convert the signal. Dennis recently commented that you have the ability to make a tube amp sound
almost as good as a solid state amp, although AVA owners and others know that your goal is to completely remove any component "sound" with the result of "no sound". While I understand that you attempt to produce amplification that removes every components' contribution/detraction from the music, you also know how the music is supposed to sound. You listen to music through your reference speakers in a treated room. In the thread about replacing your old speakers, you wrote that you can judge whether a speaker is worthwhile in the first three notes. If you could design a component using only test equipment, I assume that you wouldn't need speakers to evaluate the quality of your designs, i.e.; the sonic characteristics or the lack thereof. I don't know if "rolling" tubes or opamps necessarily results in distortion, but maybe distortion is the result of different tubes, opamps, and other electronic devices that modify the sound that eventually emanates from the speakers. I had previously considered, albeit incorrectly, that changing tubes or opamps to achieve a desired result was "voicing".
Perhaps what I referred to as voice might have more accurately be described as sonic characteristics (or lack thereof in AVA gear) or sound quality (or lack of any sound imparted in AVA gear) or design and/or engineering features.
Notwithstanding, I have read other posts about amplification where the designer/builder changed electronic components, such as a resistor, after to listening to music through an amplifier because the music had too much treble (not linear, so a design flaw?), was missing something, and/or the component didn't otherwise perform as the designer/builder intended.
There are also devices such as tube buffers which, to the best of my knowledge, impart some additional distortion or other sonic characteristic to the music in an attempt to achieve the perceived effect of removing a detracting feature from the amplified sound.
If using the term "voice" were not inaccurate, I would also say that speaker designers voice their speakers. They use specific electronic components to determine the characteristics of the sound that will reproduced by the speakers. To the best of my very limited knowledge, I think that a speaker designer wants the speakers to behave in a specific way, and he or she uses electronic devices, i.e.; the capacitors, resistors, chokes, and/or whatever in the crossovers, to contribute to that result.
Notwithstanding, I have several different AVA components, and the music that comes out of my speakers sounds different, to a certain degree, depending on which AVA components are in the amplification/conversion chain. The similarities are far greater than the differences, however, which is a characteristic/quality of the AVA components with which I am very pleased.
Hopefully, my misunderstanding is the result of semantics. I didn't intend to use "voice" as a synonym for "flavor". I know that AVA gear doesn't come in flavors. I don't know anything about electronic design. I just love listening to music, and I strive to have an audio system that is faithful to the music, the best that I can with a small listening room. I am delighted in my choices in selecting my equipment.