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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: 136 48.6%
  • No... I do not believe there is any audibly significant difference.

    Votes: 144 51.4%

  • Total voters
    280
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re: ddgtr, Danny, above

I'd be very interested to know if the 160 class A amp was the one preferred vis-a-vis the 100 watter. That has been my experience in the past with two Yamaha amps.
 

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re: ddgtr, Danny, above

I'd be very interested to know if the 160 class A amp was the one preferred vis-a-vis the 100 watter. That has been my experience in the past with two Yamaha amps.
Yes, in my case this is correct, the 160 was my favorite. My friend preferred the 100. It just goes to show that personal taste beats everything else!!

The amps we auditioned are Pass Labs. Overall, I liked the 160 watt monos because of the perfect blend of detail and warmth.

The 100 watt monos were my friend's favorites by far.

I ended up getting the x350.5 stereo, which also puts out the first 30watts in class A. The reason was that it sounded very, very close to the xa160.5 monos while the cost was half.

Even though both the 100 and 160's shared similar technology, the 160's sounded closer to the stereo class AB than to the 100's.

But again, I was surprised at the differences and at the fact that we could identify them. I honestly expected them to sound similar at low - moderate volume and only separate when played really loud.

Regards
 

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Hi All,

This is a great question..., one that is asked again and again and always peaks the interest of many people regardless of experience. I find all of the answers useful and interesting.

Very quickly, my background is essentially a lifetime amateur of sorts although I have been paid for electrical work many times past.

My Dad had a local Tv and stereo sales and service for 25 ++ years. I used to help Id problems and change out modules 60's after HS classes. I used to sing and play harmonica in 60's garage bands. Sound quality was always the question, "Dyna-kit's rule"! My claim to fame..., building an external FM antenna using an old tv antenna and cutting the elements exactly to BCN (Boston) radio frequency I then mounted on a wooden broom stick handle on the New England Farm house 3rd story roof peak in Waterville Maine.

OK enough. In response to your 1khz premise I will say this. My neighbor during HS was a drummer in several of the bands I did some singing with. I will never forget the day he taught me to "tune his drums".
Striking the drum head near the edge near each tightening nut elicits a tone and not only does the tone need to match at each nut but the overall drum tone is set to a specific tone (frequency). So in this case you can clearly see a 1khz drum tone is much different then a 1khz electric guitar tone. This brings me to a simple principal I keep in the back of my mind these days whenever buying new equipment or setting to listen to reproduced Audio which is music and movies, lectures etc..

I have many thoughts today on "Sound Reproduction". But again very quickly, this one thought supported by my drummer friends drum tuning is simply that "A huge consideration when I buy equipment is the "Material Used" in the equipment and the signal path. Which is why I agree with the original writer the speaker is the least expensive (relatively speaking) place to invest in building a quality system that returns the biggest bang for the buck.

You will never appreciate the incredible music of a "Boutique Designed System" on a "stamped basket $6 speaker (driver) in a cardboard box". But a well made driver with musical characteristics will certainly make some of the of the shelf low budget receivers old equipment sound very good. But now looking at this flip-side this musical speaker/driver will allow you now appreciate better electronics. Which leads to another question and another point for consideration. The 1khz signal from a guitar and reproduced thru electronic equipment can sound different if attention to combining equipment that create a synergy when used together first and the compromises are not addressed second.

I heard somebody say/write somewhere once that the more money spent on equipment shares an inverse relationship with the amount of compromise expected in an audio system (unfortunately not always true but a good rule to consider I believe)

Thanks for reading I am anxious for a response..., I gotta go.......:heehee:

Greg
 

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Isn't there STILL $10,000 waiting for someone who can come in and accurately and reliably do this under controlled double blind listening sessions? I believe that challenge has been going for some 10 years now and no one has claimed the money yet. :whistling:

Placebo effects and uncontrolled, unmatched variables are powerful things.
 

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Discussion Starter #86
I do wonder myself if it still stands... and if it does, why no one has accepted it. VERY good question!
 

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Discussion Starter #88
Thanks for the link... I like this part:

Twelve correct responses in a row is certainly a lot of correct listening but $10,000 is also a lot of money for a few hours of easy listening. The way people describe the differences is that they are like night and day. I would certainly not have any trouble choosing between an apple and an orange 12 times in a row. When compared fairly I believe the differences in amps are much too small to audibly detect and certainly too small to pay large sums of extra money for. If I am wrong someone should be able to carefully take this test and win my money.
 

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I am not sure who moderates this site but I am asking PLEASE next time one of these long threads gets going to quickly insert the link to the $10,000 test challenge. Just when you think that logic and reason has prevailed someone posts another "such and such amp sounds warmer..."

There are real world physical limitations at play in electronics of all types. The power amp test challenge shows that any decent power amp is designed to faithfully reproduce whatever is input to it to the point that it is not possible to tell the difference between power amps. This also applies to power cords and possibly other components. So let's set this aside and help people understand it so they can invest in things that are actually going to improve their system.

In my experience the single biggest variable is the speaker system. It is costly to manufacture tweeters that will accurately produce high frequencies at volume. It is also costly to manufacture woofers that are accurate, can be played at high volume, dissipate heat, not distort when hot, and be long lasting. Speaker enclosures and boxes are no longer any big deal since a computer can crunch the numbers. The drivers are the key.

All said and done, assuming a decent amp and speakers, if you don't EQ your room it makes no difference anyway.

So let's try to educate the people at this forum of what is possible and what is not. We can agree to disagree and all that business but fact is fact. If no one has taken up the $10,000 challenge and won then let's put our energy and instruction toward actual real world issues that can make a difference. And as far as the psychological tricks our minds play on us, it is OK to tell people that they are being tricked. If you don't want to know the truth then don't come to forums where smart people can explain away dazzling sales strategies.
 

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Discussion Starter #91
Good idea... I will go back and add one and notify all who have posted in the thread. :T
 

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Thanks for the link... I like this part:

Twelve correct responses in a row is certainly a lot of correct listening but $10,000 is also a lot of money for a few hours of easy listening. The way people describe the differences is that they are like night and day. I would certainly not have any trouble choosing between an apple and an orange 12 times in a row. When compared fairly I believe the differences in amps are much too small to audibly detect and certainly too small to pay large sums of extra money for. If I am wrong someone should be able to carefully take this test and win my money.
I offered to take the test, and he wouldn't accept MY conditions- that we turn up the volume until the amps were in overload. I have long maintained that the differences in the amplifiers that people can really hear are caused by overload responses between the amplifiers and the connected speakers. Now this gets complicated quickly, because the testing depends entirely on the amplifier, speaker, and source material in question. The right combination can be heard; other combinations cannot. The challenge is much more stringent, the host chooses the operating conditions, and they don't include overloading any amplifiers.

I won't be voting, because the poll is asking the wrong question.
 

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I offered to take the test, and he wouldn't accept MY conditions- that we turn up the volume until the amps were in overload. I have long maintained that the differences in the amplifiers that people can really hear are caused by overload responses between the amplifiers and the connected speakers. Now this gets complicated quickly, because the testing depends entirely on the amplifier, speaker, and source material in question. The right combination can be heard; other combinations cannot. The challenge is much more stringent, the host chooses the operating conditions, and they don't include overloading any amplifiers.

I won't be voting, because the poll is asking the wrong question.
I would argue that pushing amps into overload is cheating. Its like asking which car is best, the one with the blown engine, or the other one also with a blown engine. Overloading an amp is not within its intended design application. The general consensus is that you cant tell the different between 2 normally operating amps. I would perhaps suggest your indication that its difficult even between stressed amps, supports such conclusions rather than proves otherwise.

You dont have to vote, but I believe the question is perfect. If you dont keep the question simple, then there will be contest to the answer to infinity. A simple question requiring a simple answer IMO best serves the purpose. If you cant answer, its my view you dont have a definitive conclusion on the matter.
 

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Discussion Starter #96
It is asking the question we want to ask... no reason to get any more technical... most will understand it. The first post also clarifies the question further. :T

From the descriptions I have read of how people describe the differences they hear, it is not from overloading the amps and many are quick to explain they hear the differences at moderate levels. I don't think there are many who will disagree that there can be differences when clipping occurs or when seriously demanding speakers are driving beyond an amps limits... that is not in question here.
 

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gsmollin wrote: View Post
I offered to take the test, and he wouldn't accept MY conditions- that we turn up the volume until the amps were in overload.
Most people who offer a challenge are doing so to prove a particular point. Take the challenge or don't. You are allowed to offer your own challenge if you would like to do so.

Product testing has to be scientifically sound and reasonable. Most auto testing is done under normal driving conditions and some evasive or emergency maneuvers are included. You don't often see an auto test that says "let's over rev the engine and see which one throws a rod first." It is a pointless test since no one buys a vehicle with that issue as part of their buying criteria.
 

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You don't often see an auto test that says "let's over rev the engine and see which one throws a rod first." It is a pointless test since no one buys a vehicle with that issue as part of their buying criteria.
I'd like to introduce you to every 16-year old in my neighborhood.:bigsmile:
 

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The automotive analogies are stretched, but what you are proposing is that we race, say, a Ferrari Italia 458 and a Porsche 911S, but limit the top speed to 150 mph. Which one is the faster car?

I contend that overload performance is what separates the good power amps from the bad, and most people have no idea what levels they are listening to. Witness the repeated, controlled tests, where every amp is kept in its linear range, that is to say derate the Porshe by 3 dB, from its top speed of 209 MPH to 150 MPH, and we find out that every amp sounds the same, i.e. the Ferrari can do 150 MPH too. These are not real world conditions. Power amps get driven into overload every day in normal use. The way they respond to this colors the sound, and that's what people are hearing.
 

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...You don't often see an auto test that says "let's over rev the engine and see which one throws a rod first."...
Check out auto racing. Every drive-train gets pushed to the limit. Many don't finish.

You won't see Consumer Reports do this on your typical mini-van test. Nobody cares, and nobody cares about the ultimate capabilities of a table radio either. If that's your point, then OK, we're not talking about the same thing.

In a home theater, the sound track is supposed to be able to hit 113 dB SPL. You do the math on a typical speaker than has sensitivity of 87 dB at one watt, and you will see that a 90 W/channel amplifier will be in its overload region long before 113 dB gets reached. Besides the obvious fact the speakers are the real issue in how well a HT will perform, the power amplifiers "grace under stress" is what separates good amps from great ones.
 
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