I want to start this paper again with my favourite quote, since it reflects our company philosophy:
“As no cable can improve any signal which it is passing (unless it is filtering out some other problem that should not be there) it must be concluded that the best cable is no cable. Moreover, as no amplifier can improve the accuracy of the signal which it is passing, the only conclusion which can be drawn is that the combination of amplifier and cable can only degrade the signal. However, as we must use an amplifier and a cable, art and science are both employed in order to minimise the inevitable degradation.”
“Loudspeakers”, Philip Newell and Keith Holland
Let us consider music, which is written for instruments. We know each instrument creates a different sound, even if the same note is played. A saxophone sounds like a saxophone and a flute sounds like a flute.
Why this is so and what interactions there are between harmonic content of a music instrument and the harmonic distortions in the play-back electronic, is explained in the following paper.
We have analysed a single tone played by different instruments.
The results of the FFT (Fast Fourier Analysis) show the spectral contents of these tones.
The first picture shows the spectral content of a Bb soprano saxophone played using fingering for the note A4. The fundamental for an A4 is 440Hz (the cursor). We can see we have not just a single tone at a frequency of 440 Hz, but a fundamental with countless harmonics at different levels (440Hz is the fundamental, 880Hz is the 2nd harmonic, 1320Hz is the 3rd harmonic….) Harmonics are integer multiple of the fundamental tone.
The next picture shows the spectrum of a modern flute with a B foot played using conventional fingering for same note A4. The fundamental for an A4 is again 440Hz (the cursor), but the harmonic content looks different.
The only identical between both instruments are the fundamental tone at 440Hz.
It is obviously that the harmonic content is very important to the final sound of the instrument.
We can discover that the sound differences came mainly from the harmonic contents, since the fundamental is in both cases exactly the same. The count of the harmonics and the level of the harmonics are determined by the instrument itself (Stradivari or a cheap violin) and of course by the skill of the musician. Gifted musicians can create different spectral contents on the same instrument.
This is known for centuries.
“Trumpets … sounding the 3rd and 5th … were more vibrant and … gave a wonderful echoic effect.”
Samuel Pepys, 1633-1703
In a live concert we hear the true instrument.
At home we have to use a recorded media and a play-back chain, which contains a chain of electronic devices and the loudspeaker.
What does it mean “to minimise the inevitable degradation” caused by the electronic devices.
First I want to explain how some of these graphs are to read.
Here a picture of a spectral content of a power amplifier of a well know “high-end” brand.
The power amp gets a 50Hz input signal and the output signal is analysed. In this case the amp was driven at 100W into 4Ohms.
An ideal amp would only show the amplified 50Hz input signal at the output.
The yellow part is added by the power amp and was not part of the input signal. Therefore we call the yellow spectral content distortions and since they are integer multiples of the 50Hz fundamental we call it harmonic distortions.
Now we have to remember the characteristic sound of an instrument is determined by the harmonic content generated by the instrument.
If this recorded signal of an instrument passes such a power amplifier the output signal will be the sum of the original harmonic content of the instrument plus or minus the “artificial” harmonic distortions of the power amplifier.
Even if the reviewer of the above power amp says: “This is an amplifier that is as well-engineered”,
He is absolutely wrong, since this amplifier maximise the degradation of the music.
Such a power amplifier will change the sound of the instrument significant, since all of the above visible distortions are well above the listening threshold of a human being.
Here the results of the TRINITY Power Amp of the Reference Line.
Please note that here the Y-Scale goes down to -160dB instead of -140dB, since the noise level of the TRINITY Power Amp is extreme low.
If we compare now the highest distortion of the above mentioned “high-end” amplifier, which are in the range of -60dB and the distortions of the TRINITY Power Amp, which are in the range of -120dB, we see a difference of giant 60dB or in other words an improvement of a factor of 1.000!!!!! Each 20dB is a factor of 10.
“The inevitable degradation” of the music in the play-back chain comes mainly from the inevitable harmonic distortions in the electronic, which are also odd or even multiples of the fundamental.
The valve electronic creates more even harmonic distortions and the transistor electronic creates more odd harmonic distortions.
These harmonic distortions are generated by the electronic itself and they are not part of the input signal.
These unwanted harmonic distortions generated by the non-linearity of the used electronic superimpose the natural harmonics of the instrument and change therefore the original sound of the instrument.
The conclusion is that the ideal electronic should not change these harmonic contents of the instruments or the levels of these harmonics.
In other words the ideal electronic should have NO harmonic distortions, NO Intermodulation distortions, NO noise, NO hum and so on.
It means for the above pictures the yellow part should be as small as possible and in the best case it shows only the noise floor.
We hope you get now a better understanding why we precise measurements are essential in the design of really high-end electronic. Publishing of a few typical values are complete useless to describe a product.
Every TRINITY devices comes with a complete measurement protocol.
The TRINITY Reference Line is the electronic with the lowest degradation of the music in the high-end audio market, nevertheless there is a very small degradation measurable around -120dB. That was the reason why we lunched the development of the Golden Reference Edition.
THE TRINITY Golden Reference Edition
We designed the Golden Reference Edition “to minimise the inevitable degradation” to zero.
The devices of the TRINITY Golden Reference Edition are the first and only devices in the high-end audio market, which have no harmonic distortions at all and therefore they are the only devices in the market, which really do not degrade the music content in the play-back chain.
That is the reason why we can say for sure our TRINITY electronic has no own sound.