Can we really hear a difference between amps? - Page 4 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com

View Poll Results: Is there a noticeably audible difference between two level matched solid state amps under controlled
Yes... I believe a notable difference can be heard. 135 48.39%
No... I do not believe there is any audibly significant difference. 144 51.61%
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post #31 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 09:16 AM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

What an interesting subject, and debate!

Over the years Ive found it pretty much impossible to distinguish the difference between 2 similarly spec'd amps, and not been all that sure about the differences between quite differently priced amps. Maybe its just my listening levels, not sure, but I'm quite happy to settle on that result personally. I'm fairly happy with my Onkyo and its amps do a perfectly fine job for my speakers. I would upgrade it once I have speakers that might benefit, but I would go silly.

I certainly think money is better pushed on speakers you like, then simply put n amp with it that will drive them well. As recruit has pointed out, I think the more important area is the processing etc, especially in HT setups, and more so in HT setups that need to double a the main music system as well.
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post #32 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 09:52 AM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

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lcaillo wrote: View Post
We know a lot about reproducing sound, a lot about how amps work, and a lot about the psychological and physiological aspects of perception. What we have not done is addressed in a systematic manner the reasons that people hear what they do.
Actually: We've concretely established that people hear exactly the same thing because two properly built and not-overdriven amps are identical in output to a specificity higher than human hearing.

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While the vast majority of differences of many types can be explained by placebo, expectation bias, and other "soft" variables, there are also some clear possibilities for differences to exist in the hardware.
Which, on properly built amps not driven to clipping have been clearly eliminated time and time again by blind comparisons.

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Read more: Can we really hear a difference between amps? - Page 3 - Home Theater Forum and Systems - HomeTheaterShack.com
No. We cannot. Unless at least one amp is being over-driven or is improperly built (adds coloration). That's been proven time and time again by testing.
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post #33 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 10:06 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Do you know of specific tests that have been done that are recorded on the web... maybe links to them or maybe we can copy and paste a few of them here for added discussion.

It seems evident that there are indeed tests that have proven there is no difference, but I have never seen any tests that show there is a difference... and I suspect there are none, but more tests would be interesting to read.
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post #34 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 10:17 AM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

http://www.roger-russell.com/truth/t...goodamplifiers

In addition to his own expereinces testing, he references testing by Ian Masters in the January 1987 issue of Stereo Review, as well as a test conducted at the 2006 Rocky Mountain Audio Fest and written up in the February 2007 issue of audioXpress magazine.

Also High Power Amplifiers by Julian Hirsch Stereo Review November 1992.
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post #35 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 11:14 AM Thread Starter
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Thanks... there is a lot of good reading on that link.
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post #36 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 02:00 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

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Thanks... there is a lot of good reading on that link.
Seconded
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post #37 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 05:27 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

I am not sure if we are talking about just home audio and pro amps? I have definitely noticed a difference in amps before when speaking of car audio (I have had a slew of car audio amps). The only difference that was clearly audible was when I was running Linear Power brand amps. The sounds was (without sounding like a fan-boy) all those cliche attributes. The bass esp. was extremely articulate. I have used and currently do amps that are way more powerful, but dont have the same quality of bass at any volume level. I never believed there was honestly a real world difference before, nor have I experienced one since. LP amps use TO-3's, and have a relatively high damping factor, is this the difference...I dont know. I still have one of the LP amps in a closet for a rainy day (2502 IQ).

Viewsonic PRO8100 on a 101" screen
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post #38 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 05:48 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

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bassman_soundking wrote: View Post
I am not sure if we are talking about just home audio and pro amps? I have definitely noticed a difference in amps before when speaking of car audio (I have had a slew of car audio amps). The only difference that was clearly audible was when I was running Linear Power brand amps. The sounds was (without sounding like a fan-boy) all those cliche attributes. The bass esp. was extremely articulate.
There are several options.
1) It's imagined. Let's just assume it's not imagined because we'd need a DBT to determine if it was.
2) The other amps are underpowered (please remember that blatant lies regarding power are rife in the audio amp world). Realistically, a very good car amp might be 25WPC.
3) There's EQ occuring in the amp you like.
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post #39 of 825 Old 10-14-10, 06:02 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

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There are several options.
1) It's imagined. Let's just assume it's not imagined because we'd need a DBT to determine if it was.
2) The other amps are underpowered (please remember that blatant lies regarding power are rife in the audio amp world). Realistically, a very good car amp might be 25WPC.
3) There's EQ occuring in the amp you like.

((The other amps are underpowered))

((There's EQ occuring in the amp you like))

These are possibilities....and I know Rockford Fosgate for sure adds like 2-3 db boost in their amps, or at least did in the past (so other companies might as well).

I run an amp in my car now that is wayyyyyyy more powerful than the LP though and while is gets extremely loud it doesnt have the best sq. 600 rms rated LP...and 4k rms measured and ratedfor the Autotek MM4000.1

I honestly did run different sub(s) on the Autotek as I dont own the subs That were played on the LP amp anymore. I mention the Autotek because this is the most powerful amp I have ever owned and can say for sure now that the LP didnt sound better as a result of more power. I did run those subs on several amps although and sounded the same with the one exception.
Other amps run...Alpine, Autotek, Rockford Fosgate, Sound Stream, Infinity, Clairion, Zapco, Polk Audio, The Hott Setup, Jensen, Optimus, Sony, Pioneer, MMats, Precision Power.....and others as well. Other than one is louder than another never really a memorable difference in sound. Some were very very reliable some not some run cool some hot...But same basic sound.

Viewsonic PRO8100 on a 101" screen
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post #40 of 825 Old 10-17-10, 10:21 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

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Is it not the desire of the audiophile to have electronic equipment which does not alter the sound?

Your thoughts and comments will be interesting.
LOL Sonnie, the Zipser test is my fave example of the DBT working correctly. I also agree that the gear ideally will impart no signature at all on the signal passing through it, unless it is meant to, eg EQ.

My current position, based upon many years of designing, building, modifying and servicing a lot of amplifiers of probably every type is that there should be no audible differences between well made units, operating within their specifications. If there is, the unit was not designed well or the perceived colouration intentional on the part of the designer.

As I am not much of a fetishist over brands, I simply want to know if it will perform as I need it to reliably. Many years ago however, I spent a lot of time even testing parts in the amps I designed; would brand A resistor/cap sound better than brand B in this position or that and I tried many permutations of parts as well as topologies. It was not unusual to have as many as a dozen stereo amplifiers on my floor at one time. Because I changed them in/out so often I made a standard connector arrangement for them all so it was one step to change between them. One night after many hours I'd done the last bit of testing and thought I'd made the best amp so far, left it on to soak and went to bed. Next day I listened to some music over breakfast, then went to turn off the 'best' amp to permanently solder in some parts; the music kept playing. I had mistakenly connected in my old mule amp a modest SS Rotel, not the great tube amp I thought I had been listening to for the last couple of hours before bed.

After that I did a lot of testing by close level matching and switching to test myself. Amazingly obvious differences were suddenly not something I'd bet a dollar on. To be sure it wasn't my hearing, I tested others who were sure they could tell differences between just about everything. No one picked such things as a 30yo SS Marantz integrated over a Fisher tube amp for example (I had very efficient speakers with an even Z curve so no real issues there). There were many others too, so it reinforced to me how much our visual perception and preconceived ideas play in what we think we hear.
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