Michael Yee Audio


Tonal Imaging...

At the heart of Michael Yee Audio technology is the concept of Tonal Imaging.

"Tonal Imaging" is a concept that allows MYA to objectively listen to systems and components (as opposed to judgements based on vague subjective listening habits). When evaluating a component or system, Mike primarily listens for characteristics of the various images, which he calls location, size, focus, realism and stability. In this way, he listens to "tonality" indirectly because if these characteristics of the images are good, then tonality falls in place. In this new concept, tonality and imaging are not separate parameters but rather two intimately related parameters.

Tonal Imaging is based on the observation that the reproduction of the same tone at the same power but with a different image size yields a different perceived output. This addresses the old question of why two amplifiers with essentially identical measured frequency response can sound so tonally different. The best example of this concept is to consider tube and solid-state amplifier characteristics. A typical tube amplifier often has less apparent bass response than a transistor amp. Our understanding is that tube amplifiers actually give a larger, more diffused image in the bass relative to the image they give in the midrange and treble. This diffused bass image is why there is a perceived reduction in the bass response. What appears to the ear as a difference in frequency response is actually a difference in imaging. Similarly, a typical solid-state amplifier produces what sounds like elevated treble response compared to a tube amp. We feel solid-state amplifiers generally give a condensed image, with the image becoming even more condensed as the frequency increases. This condensed treble image yields a "hot" high end.

MYA has found phase distortions in both types of amplifiers that modulate the imaging and therefore the tonality. These do not affect tonality directly, but rather the relative image size through the frequency range that affects tonality. By isolating these distortion mechanisms we have been able to virtually eliminate them, resulting in not only a tonally correct sound, but an audio system that images like no other.

Getting tonality and imaging right are perhaps the biggest improvements our technology offers, but Michael Yee Audio systems also have an added degree of that crucially important "life" and "space" that's so often missing from even very expensive equipment. In a good recording there are myriad subtle timing components that need to reach you ears intact, and our electronics allow it to happen.