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Is there a noticeably audible difference between two level matched solid state amps under controlled

  • Yes... I believe a notable difference can be heard.

    Votes: 137 48.8%
  • No... I do not believe there is any audibly significant difference.

    Votes: 144 51.2%

  • Total voters
    281
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Analogies are will get you so far, but eventually break... like cars.

So when driving around southern TN, can you tell what brand battery your car uses without looking? Do you find that the battery affects handling or sound more?

This is, after all, the source of electricity for all your car does... kinda like an amp.
No but there are other items in the electrical system that will cause sound problems in the car.
 

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I always just go back to the proof (see the first post) and that is the difference we are referencing for this thread. I think we can always come up with certain circumstances where one amp may outperform another in some way, but in a comparison like the first post, I think we don't have much choice but to come away with what that comparison proved... until someone proves otherwise with an acceptable testing method.
I dunno, to me this seems like a counter argument. If we cannot measure it, it cannot be real. That is a bit like happiness or sadness, hope or doubt, if we cannot measure those things how does one quantify them ? Can we measure how much soundstage an amp will produce ? How deep or wide will the sound be ? And no we are not changing anything else but amps in this thought process. How about dynamics, I understand that the Class D amps have tremendous power for the bottom end of a speaker system as there is so little power wasted in the transfer but the top end is not quite as nice. There are differences all over, to deny them because we cannot measure them...today anyway, is probably not correct.
 

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I dunno, to me this seems like a counter argument. If we cannot measure it, it cannot be real. That is a bit like happiness or sadness, hope or doubt, if we cannot measure those things how does one quantify them ? Can we measure how much soundstage an amp will produce ? How deep or wide will the sound be ? And no we are not changing anything else but amps in this thought process. How about dynamics, I understand that the Class D amps have tremendous power for the bottom end of a speaker system as there is so little power wasted in the transfer but the top end is not quite as nice. There are differences all over, to deny them because we cannot measure them...today anyway, is probably not correct.
Unless solid state amps are pushed beyond their design limits, the only difference in sound among them is a biased perception based on sight, moneys spent to purchase the upgrade, etc. These biases make us hear things that are not there.
 

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I am sorry but there is no bias here on my part. I really have never cared about cost vs performance.
I have heard some costly amps that just did not sound good. The Audio Research D100 being a very good example. There are a good number of quite expensive amps out there that just do not sound right, while at the same time there are a plethora of inexpensive amps that sound wonderful, remember the NAD3020, that thing got the soul of the music right.
The differences may be subtle and take time to show themselves, but they are there if one listens.

As one great mind said, Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
 

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Not sure how to respond in the poll.

I believe all amps sound the same but... I believe if you are comparing 2 dif amps that you can hear a dif due to capacitance, resistance of wires and also inputs and output not compatible.

Example... Years ago I had a Audible Illusions preamp and a Classe DR10 amp.. I could swap speaker wires, interconnects, dampening mats etc and hear a night and day dif. When I inserted a Classe 6 preamp into the mix none of the above made a dif at all. I had read and I am a firm believer of the output of the preamp and the input of the power amp being matched or you will be subject to audible dif in cables. When i look for a power amp I want a input impedance that is as low as possible to negate audible cable dif.
 

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Discussion Starter #206
I dunno, to me this seems like a counter argument. If we cannot measure it, it cannot be real. That is a bit like happiness or sadness, hope or doubt, if we cannot measure those things how does one quantify them ? Can we measure how much soundstage an amp will produce ? How deep or wide will the sound be ? And no we are not changing anything else but amps in this thought process. How about dynamics, I understand that the Class D amps have tremendous power for the bottom end of a speaker system as there is so little power wasted in the transfer but the top end is not quite as nice. There are differences all over, to deny them because we cannot measure them...today anyway, is probably not correct.
It is not an argument at all... it is merely a fact that had nothing to do with measurements. He could not "hear" a difference. Did you read the article at all? :whistling:
 

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I was fortunate to be able to participate in and setup some very interesting blind comparisons back in the late 80's, early 90's. It all began when I wanted to put my hard earned cash down on a certain Harman Kardon amplifier and was chastised for even suggesting this. Why would I want to waste my money when I had the ability to score custom hand built mono-blocks at cost? Well, the reason was simple, the H/K at cost was about $600. The custom mono's were still $5K apiece. We setup the test and not a single person in the group including the resident golden ears could do better than 50/50. Case closed and my stance has remained ever since.

Of course there were still several skeptics that participated in the experiment and came up with many reasons why the test was not valid. So, over the course of several weeks I took every opportunity to stealthily disguise my lowly amp by placing it another room and leaving the very pricey amplifiers in full view. It was amazing how many incredible compliments the H/K then received from these same skeptics. Velvety, finely textured, revealing of every last musical nuance......... We are after all human and we often hear what our brains tell us we are hearing.

Does it matter that you can hear a difference between amplifiers? Of course it does. That is one of the most entertaining parts of this hobby and the single largest reason we have so many options to choose from. I love this hobby. :)
 

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I am sorry but there is no bias here on my part. I really have never cared about cost vs performance.
I have heard some costly amps that just did not sound good. The Audio Research D100 being a very good example. There are a good number of quite expensive amps out there that just do not sound right, while at the same time there are a plethora of inexpensive amps that sound wonderful, remember the NAD3020, that thing got the soul of the music right.
The differences may be subtle and take time to show themselves, but they are there if one listens.

As one great mind said, Not everything that can be counted counts, and not everything that counts can be counted.
The biggest bias is not willing to accept the idea that a bias exists that you are not aware of and is beyond your control. :)
 

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Discussion Starter #209
So, over the course of several weeks I took every opportunity to stealthily disguise my lowly amp by placing it another room and leaving the very pricey amplifiers in full view. It was amazing how many incredible compliments the H/K then received from these same skeptics. Velvety, finely textured, revealing of every last musical nuance......... We are after all human and we often hear what our brains tell us we are hearing.
That ain't even right... but I got a great chuckle out of it (more than once). :D

Velvety? Seriously? Someone has really created this term to describe a sound and there are others who can actually hear it too? :rolleyesno: Don't get me wrong... there are terms I have heard numerous times that I can somewhat relate to, such as warm, laid back, harsh, etc... (more simplified I guess), but velvety, finely textured must be terribly unique to only the golden eared folk... and apparently fictitious according to your sneaky little test.
 

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Indeed I have read the article, have read much of Tom and Peter's writings over the years and and fully disagree with their findings. I do not think I have much of a bias, maybe I do, but having heard differences, I have to go with that....and yet to think that those two gents who reportedly cannot hear a difference between amplifiers are paid reviewers and both have megabuck amplification systems.
I find the information that they do not practice what they preach seems well odd.
Lets just say I am with the percentage of folks on here that can hear a difference.
 

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Velvety? Seriously? Someone has really created this term to describe a sound and there are others who can actually hear it too? :rolleyesno: Don't get me wrong... there are terms I have heard numerous times that I can somewhat relate to, such as warm, laid back, harsh, etc... (more simplified I guess), but velvety, finely textured must be terribly unique to only the golden eared folk... and apparently fictitious according to your sneaky little test.
This is good too, 45% of the folks that voted can hear the differences and yet they get the roll eyes.
Hmm. You win.
 

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Discussion Starter #212
Indeed I have read the article, have read much of Tom and Peter's writings over the years and and fully disagree with their findings.
So you fully disagree that those people could not hear a difference, even though they admitted they could not hear the difference? :scratch:


This is good too, 45% of the folks that voted can hear the differences and yet they get the roll eyes.
Hmm. You win.
The roll eyes are for those using the particular term mentioned (velvety). FOR THE RECORD... I have NOT rolled my eyes at the 45% who claim they can hear a difference and I NEVER indicated such. It is amazing how someone can twist around what someone has said to try to make it suggest something else. I should give that a roll eyes... but I'll give you a wink instead. ;)

I agree that 45% "think" they hear a difference... and some may have actually heard a difference at some point in time because of abnormal circumstances and it was NOT under the same type testing as in the first post. I suspect if these 45% setup the same test comparison as in the first post that the percentage would drop... probably to about 0%.

Did I still win? :R
 

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Velvety as an official term of audiophilia was retired sometime around 1995 in which it was replaced with silky. :)
 

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Of course you win Sonny, you have more posts and those with the most posts wins... :)

Although, I have seen Pink Floyd in person for the road shows of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, A Momentary Lapse of Reason not to mention Roger Waters on his own 3 times in addition to the above. Can I win something too ???

It is my sincere belief that I hear a difference, albeit I have not participated in a short term blind test. However 45% is a pretty big number and maybe one day we shall overcome, oh I hear a song in there.
I dont think that the posters are lying necessarily, however, those truths they espouse are also biases. Maybe they have a preconceived notion that there are no differences, so they hear none. I really hesitate to say anything bad, I just know I have heard the velvety, silky melt in your mouth chocolate covered mint sounds coming from some amps and ground peppered tapioca pudding from others. :innocent: Or not...Ok I never heard velvet but I have felt it once in a store...or was it in a Chrysler, not sure now.


I do draw the line at some claims in way of top secret nonsense names for cables, interconnects and some of the other stuff on the market that does seem to be snake oil. Having said that, I must confess that there is a bias in that statement mainly because I have not heard the end of the earth differences in some of these things being reviewed. I guess if I ever win a bazillion dollars in the lotto I will give them a try and maybe they will make a believer out of me...as soon as one of those super clocks gets all the bad juju from my room for only $19.95.
 

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That ain't even right... but I got a great chuckle out of it (more than once). :D

Velvety? Seriously? Someone has really created this term to describe a sound and there are others who can actually hear it too? :rolleyesno: Don't get me wrong... there are terms I have heard numerous times that I can somewhat relate to, such as warm, laid back, harsh, etc... (more simplified I guess), but velvety, finely textured must be terribly unique to only the golden eared folk... and apparently fictitious according to your sneaky little test.
I like to use the descriptive term "Velveeta" when I feel an amp sounds cheesy to me.....is that OK :huh: :bigsmile:
 

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Discussion Starter #217
Although, I have seen Pink Floyd in person for the road shows of Dark Side of the Moon, Wish You Were Here, Animals, A Momentary Lapse of Reason not to mention Roger Waters on his own 3 times in addition to the above. Can I win something too ???
You have already won if you have been all there and done all that. I definitely can't touch that... wish I could, but all I can muster up is one concert on the Pink Floyd Division Bell Tour.

I dont think that the posters are lying necessarily, however, those truths they espouse are also biases. Maybe they have a preconceived notion that there are no differences, so they hear none.
Keep in mind that Steve Zipser owned Sunshine Stereo, who sold very high end equipment. He had preconceived notions that he COULD hear a difference, until Tom came along and proved to him he could not. I can tell you that I would definitely want to hear a difference between a pair of $14,000 Class A monoblocks and a cheap $200 integrated amplifier, but he, his wife... nor any of his friends could hear a difference. Yet, we all know full well there was truly a difference in the amps... it was $13,800... and the Alephs looked prettier. :bigsmile:

I do draw the line at some claims in way of top secret nonsense names for cables, interconnects and some of the other stuff on the market that does seem to be snake oil. Having said that, I must confess that there is a bias in that statement mainly because I have not heard the end of the earth differences in some of these things being reviewed.
I am not going to say I will never be able to hear a difference in amps, cables or whatever, because I may get that opportunity to participate in a DBT one day and actually hear a difference. I think I have heard differences in the past between products, but those difference could be attributed to so many different variables and the differences were not determined under any type of organized testing setup. I do have a difficult time believing the differences some people claim, but that does not mean they are wrong or that it is not true, it just means I have a hard time believing it... to a point I occasionally poke fun at the thought. I think I am biased by what has been proven to me through tests that I have read about at this point, which I have zero problem admitting. It is what it is.

I guess if I ever win a bazillion dollars in the lotto I will give them a try and maybe they will make a believer out of me...as soon as one of those super clocks gets all the bad juju from my room for only $19.95.
I won't ever win a lottery because I won't be buying a ticket, but if I ever did come into a lot of money where I could spend it like there is no tomorrow :spend: ... I am sure I would search out the best looking amps around and pay whatever the price would be, but in searching for the absolute best sound I would be more concerned about what speakers to buy... which is what has made the most dramatic improvement for me.



I like to use the descriptive term "Velveeta" when I feel an amp sounds cheesy to me.....is that OK :huh: :bigsmile:
Absolutely, but you gotta tell us what cheesy sounds like. Does it sound like it has holes in it? :nerd:
 

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Yep I realize those guys have heard some of the biggest and best and that is what makes this all so difficult to rationalize. All these years I have listened intently and believed to the core I could hear differences. (Dont tell anyone but I thought I heard cable differences as well) If there are no audible difference this would cause a personal global re-think on my part. I no longer have access to a number of components so it may be awhile before I do any comparative listening again, but when I was in Savannah and Chicago, I brought home so many things and was very familiar with the listening systems qualities or lack thereof.

So for now I will stick to my beliefs until proven wrong to my satisfaction, which if done I will readily admit to. Jack is now open minded. Or maybe I do have holes in my head from the cheese factor, :blink:

Yes, I was a Floyd nut and did attend all of those concerts live. No other band even came close to the stunning performances and sound of that band and their members. I remember seeing Animals in Chicago at Soldier Field and when the band got quiet, you could hear a pin drop the audience was soooo hypnotized. Stunning.

I will spend the long weekend listening, and YES speakers make the biggest difference, and will try to determine if I can repeat changes in sound from swapping out other components. This should be enlightening

I do have zillions of cables, several Dacs, SS and Tube, SACD players music files so if you ever need a good Blind test no problems there. Most importantly I have a door on the room, keep the pets out.
Lastly...I dont buy Lotto either, guess that makes it a bit hard to win. I suppose if I knew the money actually went to some good, schools, poiice, libraries, music programs etc, I may buy a few. At this time I dont wish to fatten the political wallet anymore than it is, but that is another discussion.
 

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Some amps will definitely add an audible sound to your playback system. I've got a headphone amp that distorts on low impedance headphones, I've got my Emotiva that has an audible hum when all is silent(from my listening position, my tube amp has it's own unique character, and my t-amp has a treble boost with certain speakers and doesn't have deep bass(iow, it's an EQ as well lol).

So amps can make a difference if they are not as well designed--or designed to be inaccurate.
 

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There see, more positive proof, Dan knows that differences exist. Its a natural think, like gravy on taters or chicken gravy on a fried steak...whatever that is.

Anyway there are so many opinions for and against, some of us have to hold our ground. :T
 
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