My history with treble.

I could write a dissertation. I’ll be brief. In the ‘70s one of the rules of thumb was to be carful when auditioning speakers not to mistake excess treble as greater detail and a positive attribute. While I did not buy any speakers that were too trebly… I realize in retrospect that for the first twenty years or more I continued to discover what real natural treble sounded like, and it was not what I thought. Part of it was that, getting treble right is about really good equipment… which I often could not afford… was sparsely available in the solid state arena… although it definitely was in the high end tube arena.

So, let’s cut to the epiphany. So, late 80’s. I had ~ $5K components… top of the line Pass preamp and amp. One of the things I noticed was that the treble energy was going down in my systems as I upgraded. I was doing a really deep dive into interconnects. The better ones were further attenuating the treble. But when it did it sounded better.

Slowly I came to realize that what was happening was the better equipment was removing high frequency hash and distortion that I thought was “treble”. I had been in concerts (like The Who, Jefferson Airplane (yeah, I am that old), Moody Blues… and dorm room parties. I thought distortion was treble.

I remember buying this incredibly well received power cord for digital. It further reduced the “treble”. I remember how it just took away the last of the tin in the treble. I remember my dismay. Then I played Enigma’s first album. On one of the cuts is the sound of a single strike to a big bell. I was just shocked… it was so real… so midrange instead of shhhh. Then I started listening to cymbals… of my god, they sound like brass! I have been listening to trashy treble for twenty years.

I think this was the moment I realized I didn’t actually know what real music sounded like. I started to go out and listen to real instruments. My systems took a big turn towards better in every way. There have been lots more epiphany’s along the way… but, this is how you learn.


The audiophiles journey is a long one of learning. I am sure some folks took shorter paths than I have. But these fundamental changes in my perception of what sound quality and reality have been the most rewarding and profound. On the other hand, you often can see me running out of some high end audio store with my hands clasped over my ears while some guys are slapping each other on the back congratulating themselves on how great some system is that has ear splitting detail and distortion being played at 90db. . 




Nelson Pass started Threshold in 1974 and was designer of their amps. They followed with preamps not designed by him.

@ghdprentice good thread...

i guess i have been lucky, even in my youth and in college i was often around naturally produced music -- live singing, piano, guitar (steel and nylon strings), woodwinds, with minimal or no amplification

so i have always heard the obvious forms of distortion that are usually present in many hifi systems, and the ones that do have low levels of it (coming from whatever sources, there are many) have greatly impressed me, and in my own system building over time, i have really strived for that kind of purity of sound

i have found sometimes achieving purity of timbre and tone as a result of keeping distortion at low levels requires some sacrifice of perceived slam and pace... reminds me of my early times with magnepans and quad esl’s -- their presentation was low distortion but they had their limitations in sheer volume and sense of slam with electronic music (bass, drums and the like)

it is also why though i have tried so many times over the years, i simply can’t live long with super high efficiency speakers, horn loaded ones etc etc... they do their own kind of distortion that my listening can’t tolerate

This sounds like a random circuit being thrown in to solve a random non-existent problem.

An absolutely false assumption. Each driver was carefully tested with a Dayton Audio Test System DATS-V3 and the components were determined to match the results.

You are entirely correct that average values would be totally inappropriate and achieve nothing.

I am disappointed you have assumed that I am an average deadhead yobbo, who makes ill-informed guesses.

My results are mighty impressive, but might need a slight fix as the required values of the components are not manufactured. Some in parallel and series can get close, but not close enough to achieve the best result.


Thanks for your comments. I think you were observant as well.

I listened to music, probably a lot more than most. I was a geologist and drove for over 8 hours a day, I had a very high end portable system in my motel room (think bad treble)… I had a high end system at home. But back then solid state just did not get treble right. I did not have musicians around me… so nothing to compare to.

I started the tread thinking, perhaps there are some folks that haven’t really thought about this and also haven’t had anything to compare… and it would be helpful. I find real learning can come in big jumps. This was one of mine.