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  Topic Review (Newest First)
02-27-17 11:36 AM
AudiocRaver
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

A fr'instance:

Channel Separation gets worse as frequencies increase and is more an issue with a power amp or integrated amp than with a preamp, because of the current levels involved. Most manufacturers do not even specify this (Yamaha does). Poorer channel separation will affect imaging at high frequencies. It is conceivable that a difference in imaging could be heard between two amps, one with good channel separation and another with poorer channel separation, and there would be no explanation because that particular spec is under-emphasized these days. Both amps could be operating in their linear range (no clipping), and still "sound" different.
02-26-17 01:29 PM
Savjac
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Quote:
AudiocRaver wrote: View Post
Going out even further on this limb that is already very fragile...

I wonder if many of the differences actually heard can be explained by:
  • amps operating in spec but...
  • attributes that are not specified, poorly specified, or spec is poorly understood
  • attributes that are more difficult to correlate directly to "listening experience" because of psychoacoustical interpretation factors involved
Fragile limb, I like that AC and may steal it at one time or another.

I am of the no all amps do not sound the same or maybe I should say that while different amps made by the same manufacturer might sound very similar amps made by a different manufacturer may sound significantly different. You may be right that amps may operate within its specs and yet not operate as one would hope may fall short.
If in the second post you mean amps that cheat on their specs, i.e., 100 wpc x 2 @6ohms vs 100 wpc x 2 @ 8 ohms or some dishonest variant thereof.
I am unsure what the third entry means, as such I look to your further enhancement of the statement.

I have three amplification systems in my main room, Denon, Emotiva and an integrated Tube amp from Dared. All three sound significantly different from each other when fed from the same dac to the same speakers using all of the same cabling. Denon is less powerful than the Emo but considerably more powerful than the Dared. The differences in sound between the two solid state amps is one of timbre and the integrated tube amp seems to have more solid bottom end and a much improved soundstage...I should add perceived.

Like anything, maybe its in the power supplies, or any of the internal components, but when properly volume matched, well as close as I can get, all three sound different enough from one another to allow my to pick preferences. This is also true with the four dacs I have in house presently...but that is another discussion.
02-26-17 12:48 PM
AudiocRaver
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Going out even further on this limb that is already very fragile...

I wonder if many of the differences actually heard can be explained by:
  • amps operating in spec but...
  • attributes that are not specified, poorly specified, or spec is poorly understood
  • attributes that are more difficult to correlate directly to "listening experience" because of psychoacoustical interpretation factors involved
02-24-17 06:50 PM
RTS100x5
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

I would have to say YES in general - but SO many factors in the chain affect the sound to a greater degree than the amps involved its almost a mute point > ie speakers-source-source recording etc etc

On that note - my new setup with BALANCED connections > Marantz 7702 > DDRC-88BM > Emotiva XPA7 has a much more discreet channel resolution than any unbalanced system Ive had .... The DDRC obviously has made a world of difference - especially in time alignment and phase response .. I am a true believer...
02-24-17 06:48 PM
Gregr
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Quote:
awood wrote: View Post
Well guys, I'm in the pro-audio since early 1990 and the only thing I have to say is that "there is a big difference" between amps and I will put an example from my personal experience : Back in 1999, I won a contract to upgrade an auditorium sound system that has an EV 2 way active system 4 tops+4 subs all with QSC MX 3000 & 4000 amplifiers. So before moving to a new speaker system , I switched all amplifiers and tested with Lab-Gruppen FP series and the sound changed absolutely , so big was the difference in sound quality that I did an A/B comparison test with the same system : L with the original QSC amps & R with the Lab Gruppen and that's it and the difference was immediately noticed.
This is my personal experience and there's a big difference between amps, at least in the pro-audio field.

Cheers.

Alan
..., always a sensitive and potentially highly controversial topic, please do not feel offended by any comment I make. I am no expert on any Amp class type and/or amplified sound qualities. I am only trying to understand how there can be differences in reproduced sound.

Alan I wonder..., if a third party had set-up the new amps to reproduce sound similar to the amps being replaced (before your first listening) would the sound you first heard be as starkly different.

But I wonder too did you replace an old Class A with a new Class AB and/or transistorized AB. I am learning that some of the newer transistor AB amps can get the cross-over distortions to nearly non-existent. Most amp designers and builders today are able to achieve and maintain low distortion levels in sound amplification for moderate dollar values etc etc

I could be wrong but I believe the original question is, "can you hear a difference between two amps of similar design when each is set up to reproduce their best sound or a similar sound...?" Seems to me there was a $10,000 challenge. If anyone can hear a difference between a $1000 amp and a $10,000 (approx) amp of similar Class Type in a "Double Blind Placebo Controlled Study" when each amp is set-up to reproduce its best sound, all other variables being equal...

You'll have to do the research on this if you want to reproduce the original experiment using newer equipment. But I'd love to watch and listen and contribute what I can.

Alan I believe your statement was in response to your experience and I believe you did hear a difference but I believe one long standing question on this is... "why?"

Thanks for your comment - i love this question
02-24-17 05:37 PM
tonyvdb
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

I agree, I recently had to pull my Samson Servo 600 out to get fixed (one flakey channel) and used my QSC MX1500 for a few weeks and the sound was very warm compared to the Samson. The highs were more laid back (actually did not like it) and was glad to get the Samson back in. The QSC is 4 times the power output so I had to run the gains really low at about 20% so not sure if that had any impact on the sound.
02-24-17 05:12 PM
AudiocRaver
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Treading carefully, I have to admit that I have heard some differences as well. One pair of speakers that I reviewed a couple of years ago sounded markedly different depending on the amp in use. tube vs solid state, both amp pairs monoblocks. Damping factor interaction with speaker impedance might have been involved. Channel separation is rarely specified vs freq any more, and that is another area which could affect imaging at HF, causing a perceptible difference in "sound."
02-24-17 04:11 PM
tonyvdb
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Its very possible looking at the specifications of the QSC MX 3000/4000 that they may have been loaded up to much. Without knowing what model of the Lab-Gruppen amps its hard to say. If the Lab-Gruppens were able to handle the load better without distortion that can be a big change in sound.
02-24-17 03:42 PM
awood
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Well guys, I'm in the pro-audio since early 1990 and the only thing I have to say is that "there is a big difference" between amps and I will put an example from my personal experience : Back in 1999, I won a contract to upgrade an auditorium sound system that has an EV 2 way active system 4 tops+4 subs all with QSC MX 3000 & 4000 amplifiers. So before moving to a new speaker system , I switched all amplifiers and tested with Lab-Gruppen FP series and the sound changed absolutely , so big was the difference in sound quality that I did an A/B comparison test with the same system : L with the original QSC amps & R with the Lab Gruppen and that's it and the difference was immediately noticed.
This is my personal experience and there's a big difference between amps, at least in the pro-audio field.

Cheers.

Alan
01-03-16 11:51 AM
Gregr
Re: Can we really hear a difference between amps?

Quote:
AudiocRaver wrote: View Post
Gregr:

Love your signature line:

"We believe everything we tell ourselves..., don't we??"

My answer (FWIW): Yes, until we start to question what we have been believing... "Do I really believe that? Am I really hearing that?"
Exactly - I used to say we stumble upon our best lessons in life..., then proceed after achieving a reasonable sense of equilibrium. In effect, convincing ourselves of our unique intellectual/expert (expert in the sense of our unique experience/not all-knowing) nature. Otherwise, personal schema breaks down and neurosis sets in..., or worse. Maybe a good reason why we defend our positions so adamantly - like life depended on it for some...
I like a bumper sticker I saw once "question authority" and I sort of re-purposed it for my benefit, "Question Reality" then I stumbled upon the question: We believe everything we tell ourselves... .

You know, as do I, electricity can be defined mathematically - but what is the energy that fills the void between and creates the 3D construct of pos/neg, where does that energy come from..., its just there and we define it from the position of observable phenomena, right? Science is still discovering dimensions of lightning that redefines the way science views the world e.g. sprites and ionic expansion etc. What of quantum science and the prediction of higher and lower in-phase, energy levels or dimensions existing within our reality/dimension..., no longer a hypothesis this is a working theorem in the quantum world.

I don't claim to have a golden ear and at 65yrs after listening to loud music most of my conscious life I've probably given up the opp to develop an educated ear, so I'm on the fence as to what the differences in sound in pre/pro/amp could be as described by others.

But try this simple experiment: take two lengths of speaker cable; one simple OFC lamp cord and another an MIT Shotgun or Kimber 8TC speaker cable (random selection). First, play music using your typical cables, then:

1. disconnect power source
2. disconnect a single speaker cable (disconnect from the amp first)
3. connect (the speaker end of the cable first) any purported "better cable" of equal length in place of
the removed cable.

..., and listen. I'll bet for the first few minutes your head will tilt sideways. However, in time, I'll bet somehow the cables sound more and more similar. Like when children are born cross-eyed and after corrective surgery may view the world upside-down in one or both eyes, but eventually (usually) the mind re-inverts to a more useful upright and uniform vision. Or, did the amp/pre/pro equalize in response to electro-stasis tension or... ?

I sense we listen to elec sound and video reproduction in hopes of suspending disbelief even for just a moment and hopefully longer. As far as the "can we hear..." question, I'm not sure what the answer is or if there is a definitive answer. I am sure if 12 people are listening to music in the same room at the same time you'll get 12 different descriptions of what they heard (except when each of the 12 are very familiar with the expectations of others in the group). Sometimes I wonder if the question is "can people be trained to listen and hear reproduced sound critically". But then the question is how? Free-divers can train their bodies for deep-dives but what considerations would you choose for adjusting/max psychophysiology, bio-physiology, belief structures/expectations, recency effect and other forms of bias etc etc...

I should write a book, but not here.

Sorry to go on like this...

Best Regards and Happy listening
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