Can we really hear a difference between amps? - Page 6 - 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%
Voters: 279. You may not vote on this poll

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post #51 of 825 Old 10-19-10, 10:57 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

I believe some of the confusion in this area is in partly due to people thinking "system" when others are speaking of a discrete component called a power amplifier. Jerry is correct saying that two amps that have the ability to produce a similar amount of output power are going to sound the same. And if there is distortion then the amp/system is undersized or set up wrong.

The caveats within the power amp are, as mentioned by others, is there enough capacitive storage in the power supply to cover low end demands. But that gets right back to Jerry's comment that if it is not underpowered then it will not distort.

So based upon designing amps, using amps, listening to untold number of amps I can conclude that equally powered amps are going to sound equal assuming that there is no distortion due to the amp design. That means that the THD or measureable distortion is within acceptable limits. One way to think of it is that a power amp takes a signal, sine wave or music, and simply takes it from a one volt wave to one that is much larger in size. The amp simply multiplies what comes in and sends out an "exact" match but much taller. If both amps do this without coloring (adding unwanted EQ) or clipping then they will sound the same. As one person said, the amp is a commodity. Some are built with better components and last longer. A pure power amp is such a basic simple design that there is not much difference between them. There are different "types" of circuits used to make power amps but they really are a commodity now meaning that all decent amps do the same thing.

So in an A/B situation swapping only the amp there would not be any audible difference as demonstrated by all the examples given in this thread.

If one is to start thinking of systems and EQ and impedance and matching then there is not enough time or forum space to compare them.
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post #52 of 825 Old 10-19-10, 11:12 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Quote:
recruit wrote: View Post
I have had Lexicon / Parasound / Meridian / Chord & Rotel power amps in my set ups and tbh it was only when they were pushed hard did you get to notice any changes in sound and that was distortion in some cases when pushed too hard, even some AVR amps will only differ in volume output from my experiences with them, it is more to do with the processing / preamp and DAC stages that will make the sound differ.

So I feel money is better spent elsewhere in your system ie source components and also pre-amp and processors rather than thousands on a more costlier power amp.
I agree with you recruit that pre-pro's make a much bigger difference in SQ than a well designed amp.

Any amp that Does Not Harm the signal should sound the same.
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post #53 of 825 Old 10-20-10, 08:28 AM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

The trouble is, all amps harm the signal. I think this is why there is a difference between so many amps. The difference may not be huge or it may be pronounced, but I think amps sound different.
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post #54 of 825 Old 10-20-10, 08:40 AM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Quote:
rosco968 wrote: View Post
The trouble is, all amps harm the signal. I think this is why there is a difference between so many amps. The difference may not be huge or it may be pronounced, but I think amps sound different.
This is true. All amps distort soun and the distortion efffect is not likely to be uniform. Amps have a published spec regarding how much distortion they create. For most any amp worth discussing, it is less than .1%. That is far below human hearing.
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post #55 of 825 Old 10-20-10, 10:08 AM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Quote:
rosco968 wrote: View Post
The trouble is, all amps harm the signal. I think this is why there is a difference between so many amps. The difference may not be huge or it may be pronounced, but I think amps sound different.
That's true, I should have said Does the Least Harm
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post #56 of 825 Old 10-25-10, 01:18 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Thanks for the replies to my post about amplifier overload. Overloading an amplifier is not a simple matter. The load is a complex electromechanical device, the source material can contain pathological signals, and amplifiers almost all have self-protection circuits that distort the signal when they are tripped.

I have a number of speaker impedance curves, and at least one premium brand 8-Ohm speaker has a dip to less than 3 Ohms at the crossover between woofer and midrange, at about 400 Hz. Connect that speaker to an amplifier not rated below 6-Ohms, and send a signal with a strong 400 Hz component, and the system will suddenly distort. This can be heard, but one will have a hard time pinning it down, because the amplifier has to be hit with the bad combination. Nevertheless, if and when this sort of thing happens, the careful listener will hear "A difference in the amplifier". It's not that simple, but it is also true that an amplifier change may break up the bad combination and the new amplifier will "sound different". I know a lot about this incident because it happened to me, and I tracked down the sources of the problems. I would say that the speakers were more to blame than the amp, but everyone knows that if you change the speakers your system will sound different, and they are probably right. With the amplifier it's not so straightforward, and gives rise to threads like this.
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post #57 of 825 Old 10-25-10, 01:33 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Do you also think that all DACs sound alike as well? I just wonder where the line is drawn in this question??
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post #58 of 825 Old 10-25-10, 06:43 PM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

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rosco968 wrote: View Post
Do you also think that all DACs sound alike as well? I just wonder where the line is drawn in this question??
Perhaps you should start a thread on that question rather than ask it on this one.
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post #59 of 825 Old 10-25-10, 07:10 PM Thread Starter
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Agree...
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post #60 of 825 Old 10-26-10, 05:31 AM
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Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Quote:
rosco968 wrote: View Post
Do you also think that all DACs sound alike as well? I just wonder where the line is drawn in this question??
I think there is a lot more feeling that processor make a fair bit of difference in a setup, and I for one lean that way. I agree, starting a thread on that subject would be very interesting.
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