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Cheapest amp to meet needs? In terms of performance and budget, yes. For aesthetics and pride-in-ownership, maybe not so much.
One of the main reasons the high end amps still sell so well IMO. [I'm not suggesting the main reason isn't sound quality]

I will add that I'm generally willing to spend more for something with better build quality and premium electronic components in the hopes that it will last much longer and perform more reliably than something cheaper, even if both sound the same to my ears.
 

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For aesthetics and pride-in-ownership, maybe not so much. There's something about those trademark McIntosh analog meters that turns many a mere mortal into Pavlov's dog ...drool... but I'll never be able to afford one. Do pride in ownership or pretty lights improve the sound? No, but they may emotionally influence a listener into thinking they hear an improvement.
Yup, buy the most expensive one so you have status, and it will sound so much better to you. :T
 

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A wise man said ..... "And we all know who we are, don't we? ...ponder, ponder... sip, sip "
That line forms behind me.

A second wise man said ..... "There's something about those trademark McIntosh analog meters that turns many a mere mortal into Pavlov's dog ...drool... but I'll never be able to afford one."
That is pretty much the only amp I want to own and just for the record it would sound better than my Pioneer even if it sounds exactly the same....

And a third wise man said ... My EVs are 96db efficient and at reference levels I am still running at at least half the amps output level as shown on the amps vu meters."
Are the VU meters linear scale or logarithmic scale ?

Interesting observations about the SPL various speakers sound good at, when I was shopping I tried to listen to all the speakers at the ~volume we typically listen at and picked based on that ~level.
It never occured to me to do anything else.

My wife plays the violin, we typically listen to music at a much lower level than the violin's SPL.
BTW a violin is surprisingly loud.

I envy/admire those with musical talent.... my musical talents pretty much end at operating the stereo (I am really good at that though).
 

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And a third wise man said ... My EVs are 96db efficient and at reference levels I am still running at at least half the amps output level as shown on the amps vu meters."
Are the VU meters linear scale or logarithmic scale ?
Here is the specifications on the Samson servo 600 that I use, no mention that I can see as to if its linear scale or logarithmic scale.
Attachment of the PDF below
 

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It says servo amp in the title, that is very interesting, why would an amplifier need a servo ? Or is this sort of a repurposed amp that could be used to control a speaker/driver that has servo feedback ?
I will look at the pdf when I get home.
 

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I agree about those McIntosh amps. They look so cool that they have to sound better. I almost purchased an MC352 for the event... came ever so close. That's a lotta smack for an amp though.
 

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One of the main reasons the high end amps still sell so well IMO. [I'm not suggesting the main reason isn't sound quality]

I will add that I'm generally willing to spend more for something with better build quality and premium electronic components in the hopes that it will last much longer and perform more reliably than something cheaper, even if both sound the same to my ears.
My Krell is 12yrs old next month. Does this qualify as build quality? The fact it still pushes without strain or would any old amp do this?
 

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My Krell is 12yrs old next month. Does this qualify as build quality? The fact it still pushes without strain or would any old amp do this?
:rofl2: OLD?

I'm using a Marantz SR8500 from 2004 as my main power source. This is my newest Amp. My old amp is a NAD 7175PE from 1980's and I'm currently using this one in the TV room. I think of my Marantz as New and the NAD as my old amp. I would be surprised if they broke down anytime soon. Well I guess my NAD was repaired when I got it 7 years ago.
 

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I have a Rotel RMB 1095 that's the same age, and can handle anything you throw at it. Its built like a tank, and it's so heavy it comes with wheels to help move it!
 

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:rofl2: OLD?

I'm using a Marantz SR8500 from 2004 as my main power source. This is my newest Amp. My old amp is a NAD 7175PE from 1980's and I'm currently using this one in the TV room. I think of my Marantz as New and the NAD as my old amp. I would be surprised if they broke down anytime soon. Well I guess my NAD was repaired when I got it 7 years ago.

My uncle uses two eagle 400w monoblocks to power his vandersteen 5a signatures as his 2 channel TV speakers. If I remember right his monoblocks are from the late 80s if not early 90s I think.

However, he did say after about 20yrs you want to get the unit re-capped. Even my krell. Something about a class "A" amp they run the caps at full power or something like that so they do benefit from replacement after a certain amount of time.
 

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My uncle uses two eagle 400w monoblocks to power his vandersteen 5a signatures as his 2 channel TV speakers. If I remember right his monoblocks are from the late 80s if not early 90s I think.

However, he did say after about 20yrs you want to get the unit re-capped. Even my krell. Something about a class "A" amp they run the caps at full power or something like that so they do benefit from replacement after a certain amount of time.
Agree :T
 

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It really depends. Caps can last a long time, but the heat is what causes them to break down. Heat, of course, is one of the characteristics of class A amps. I have seen caps that are 30-40 years old test fine and some just a few years old with issues. It has a lot to do with the initial quality and specs as well.
 

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I have a Rotel RMB 1095 that's the same age, and can handle anything you throw at it. Its built like a tank, and it's so heavy it comes with wheels to help move it!
Nice looking amp and the fact you can get them for under 700 makes them a steal!
 

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It really depends. Caps can last a long time, but the heat is what causes them to break down. Heat, of course, is one of the characteristics of class A amps. I have seen caps that are 30-40 years old test fine and some just a few years old with issues. It has a lot to do with the initial quality and specs as well.
Thank you and blacklightning both for confirming. Right now the amp doesn't sound weird or anything just no clue if I should send it in for a check.... knowing krell they would probably say "OH YA... it needs to be replaced" since what I've seen it's around 800 bucks to recap the showcase 7.
 

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Discussion Starter #115
This type of testing has been done many times, one well known test had $10,000 on the line for anyone that "passed" .... The $10k stayed in the challenger's pocket...... Probably a good thing for the promoter that tesseract was not around when that challenge was going on.....:D
Lots of ways to run a test. A challenge with $$$ involved will have the deck stacked against the listener. Might be done in a way that works against tesseract's "inner methods." Or not. Not taking anything away from his results. Just saying the conditions might be way different.
 

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Discussion Starter #116
I once owned pair of KEF 105/3 speakers that were very efficient and played crazy-loud as advertised, but didn't really seem to "sing" until a certain power threshold was passed. I've also read about other speakers "behaving" the same way, but have no first-hand experience. Do you believe such a phenomenon exists that requires higher amplifier power for speakers that don't play well quietly?
Could be. I am at a loss for an engineering explanation. The idea hints at non-linearities, subtle distortions that make up the "singing" phenomenon at higher volumes, a possible explanation.

Fascinating stuff, and I'm truly on the edge of my seat to read your findings. I've been struggling a long time on my 2ch system with one of my test tracks ("Hotel California" from the Eagles Hell Freezes Over album). The opening acoustic guitar from the right channel presents a couple of problems:
  1. The guitar body (all the notes) seems to stretch toward the left and back again
  2. The guitar body (individual notes) seems to split in two and notes become "tangled"
Problem-1 changes with toe-in and distance to side wall. Problem-2 happens during the fast part of the solo. It gets better when acoustically treating the side wall, but never really goes away. I think comb filtering may be the culprit. It's time for some REW and miniDSP to the rescue! I think I'm ready to toss an old audiophile reservation aside and take the plunge into adding an A/D-D/A conversion.

Incidentally, early crowd noise nicely reveals the recording venue by relaying height and depth when my speakers and room treatment are properly dialed-in!
Sounds like exactly what we were hearing. Room treatment was able to settle it down very nicely, will go into detail. I do not think DSP would help, other than to mask it by cutting out certain frequencies, with obvious downside.

Edit: What kind of speakers?
 

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Discussion Starter #117
My uncle uses two eagle 400w monoblocks to power his vandersteen 5a signatures as his 2 channel TV speakers. If I remember right his monoblocks are from the late 80s if not early 90s I think.

However, he did say after about 20yrs you want to get the unit re-capped. Even my krell. Something about a class "A" amp they run the caps at full power or something like that so they do benefit from replacement after a certain amount of time.
Depending on design particulars, a class A amp can have a lot of voltage across its output coupling caps, and a lot of AC current flowing through them. Unknown just what effect that will have on the cap's characteristics and the amp's sound over time, but it is conceivable. Interesting idea.

Edit: But then that is what a cap does, a well designed cap properly applied should not "wear" more than other component.

Edit: See lcaillo's response above, he has far more direct experience.
 

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Fascinating stuff, and I'm truly on the edge of my seat to read your findings. I've been struggling a long time on my 2ch system with one of my test tracks ("Hotel California" from the Eagles Hell Freezes Over album). The opening acoustic guitar from the right channel presents a couple of problems:
  1. The guitar body (all the notes) seems to stretch toward the left and back again
  2. The guitar body (individual notes) seems to split in two and notes become "tangled"
Problem-1 changes with toe-in and distance to side wall. Problem-2 happens during the fast part of the solo. It gets better when acoustically treating the side wall, but never really goes away. I think comb filtering may be the culprit. It's time for some REW and miniDSP to the rescue! I think I'm ready to toss an old audiophile reservation aside and take the plunge into adding an A/D-D/A conversion.

Incidentally, early crowd noise nicely reveals the recording venue by relaying height and depth when my speakers and room treatment are properly dialed-in!
Also, it might just be the recording. Remember it is a live recording and the boys will move about a bit. In the live video Walsh's guitar actually wanders to the wrong side of the stage, someone in the recording booth made a bit of a boo boo. None the less, for Hotel California, they do turn to each other and back several times and Joe's guitar sounds somewhat duller and less sparkling than Randys. I dont see Joe using his fingernails or a pick like Randy either.

I love this recording but the bass is always a booger for me. It comes on hard in the beginning of the song and gets turned down a bit as the song progresses. A good test for the bottom end of your speakers is the way the drum goes up in pitch during the intro, very well done,
 

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Sounds like exactly what we were hearing. Room treatment was able to settle it down very nicely, will go into detail. I do not think DSP would help, other than to mask it by cutting out certain frequencies, with obvious downside.

Edit: What kind of speakers?
Revel Ultima Salons (original version). They weren't spiked because at 250lbs the spikes tend to "bite" into the floor. Fine adjustments then become a new adventure in frustration when the spikes suddenly break loose from the carpeting and floor beneath! But I do plan to repeat the eval with spikes and a torpedo laser, which should greatly improve aiming and leveling. A second set of arms and legs wouldn't hurt either!

You may be interested in a little bit more detail in my reply to Savjac 's comment below.

Also, it might just be the recording. Remember it is a live recording and the boys will move about a bit. In the live video Walsh's guitar actually wanders to the wrong side of the stage, someone in the recording booth made a bit of a boo boo. None the less, for Hotel California, they do turn to each other and back several times and Joe's guitar sounds somewhat duller and less sparkling than Randys. I dont see Joe using his fingernails or a pick like Randy either.

I love this recording but the bass is always a booger for me. It comes on hard in the beginning of the song and gets turned down a bit as the song progresses. A good test for the bottom end of your speakers is the way the drum goes up in pitch during the intro, very well done,
Ya know, sometimes I wonder about myself. I have the DVD as well, but never made the connection. I will definitely check it out. It also never occurred to me that the recording itself may be at fault (for the stretching left to right). And yeah, I agree the quality leaves a lot to be desired, but it does lend itself well to certain setup parameters. For instance, pay very close attention during the opening guitar solo, and you'll hear the guitarist exhale right around the same time his fingers squeak slightly across the fretboard.

I'm not yet convinced the wandering/tangled notes are a recording fault. I've been able to get rid of most of the anomalies using speaker positioning and acoustic treatment. My panels are quite narrow at only a foot wide, so positioning is finicky. To make matters worse, there's really only about 6 inches of absorptive area with 3 inches of diffraction on either side. I'm thinking some wider GIK panels would do a better job at the first reflection point. If anything, it would widen the sweet spot a bit, and alleviate that head-in-a-vise-syndrome! :eek:

BTW, another good bass test on this track is being able to discern the difference between the bass drum and bass guitar (when it first joins in), but also being able to hear pitch changes during the next few seconds.

The take-away for this post is that demo/setup tracks should be carefully chosen. Familiarity is key, and I'm absolutely sure our amp shootout panel chose their listening material wisely. :yes:
 

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"Remember it is a live recording and the boys will move about a bit."

The performers may move around at a rock concert but the speakers you are hearing stay in the same place.
 
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