Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Performance above 20kHz matters

Fact or fiction?

Does amplifier performance above 20kHz matter?

This question came first in our list of Fact or Fiction because it’s a fairly easy one to answer but the answer’s going to piss off a whole bunch of objectivists. Let’s try and fix that so everyone wins.

To an objectivist, 20kHz and above does not matter for one plain and simple reason: humans cannot hear above 20kHz. Ergo, if we cannot hear something then it doesn’t matter. Case closed.

While the base statement is accurate, it ignores the consequences of implementation.

If we instead look towards the practical application of high bandwidth amplifiers we see that we could ask a very different question and get a very different answer. The right question to be asking is this:

Does phase accuracy matter within the pass band of human hearing?

Now we have a proper question that circumvents all the narrow focus arguments that plague us.

The answer to question 2 is an unequivocal yes! Human hearing is very sensitive to phase differences within the audio pass band.

Circling back to the first question, we can now answer it with another unequivocal yes! because there are no practical means of bandwidth limiting an analog amplifier to 20kHz without affecting the phase. It’s typically important to have a bandwidth approaching 100kHz to get phase accurate performance in the audio pass band.

See? That wasn’t so hard.

 

Asheville, Walnut Cove, Biltmore Forrest and Western North Carolina’s Audio and Home Theater specialists present Cane Creek AV and Paul McGowan – PS Audio, Intl.

Fact or fiction?

I thought it might be fun to start a mini-series called Fact or Fiction: dispelling or accepting audiophile beliefs. Not to get political, but when it has somehow become acceptable to separate facts into categories of believably I thought it’s time to put some of these concepts to the test.

What I will attempt to do is offer up the audiophile belief and then follow that with what facts we know and how they may or may not relate to real life.

Here’s the list we’ll tackle and, if you have others to suggest, certainly feel welcome to offer your suggestions in the comments section.

  1. Performance above 20kHz matters
  2. Expensive audio equipment always sounds better
  3. Vinyl is more musical than digital
  4. Amplifier headroom matters
  5. Power supplies are equal in importance to amplifier circuits
  6. Sub-woofers are an unnecessary luxury
  7. Parts quality affects performance
  8. Single driver speakers are better than multi-driver designs
  9. Speaker size should match the room
  10. Cables matter
  11. Vibration isolation products are snake oil

That’s quite a list and we start with item number one in tomorrow’s post.

Stay tuned.