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Discussion Starter #1
I know this question has been asked before but search yielded a goose egg.
So I ask
What are the differences between a monoblock amplifier and a 2 channel amplifier.
For example: better dynamics, lower distortion, larger sound stage etc. etc.
which would you recommend for 2 channel listening perferably tubes under $4k.
Melody Audio, Shangling, Mcintosh people as well as anyone else please post your thoughts any and all info is greatly appreciated. :bowing:

thanks
edward
 

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A pair of monoblocks will feature separate power supplies, two-channel amps normally share one large power supply (but not always).

Monoblocks will cost extra because....the manufacturer can, and because of extra costs for the case.

What speakers are you using? I don't mean to get offtopic or anything, but if your speakers aren't worldclass reference, I'd probably put the $4000 to better speakers before buying an expensive amp. I'm currently using a $300 receiver with $3,600 speakers and a custom dual OB servo sub....couldn't be happier. I have a $2,000 tube amp that sounds very nice just sitting around.

Back to what you actually asked for...the Dodd stuff is all pretty good, unfortunately, the tube power amp market isn't superb. There are some nice designs out there that use less than supreme parts which I believe take away from performance and the unanimously best sounding tube amps (OTL) cost a pretty penny. Mcalister makes a nice product, but the build quality is not upto par with Dodd...they're bulid sturdily...just not as nice looking as the pictures convey. Music Reference also offers a great quality product...they look wonderful, I'm told they're very well engineered and should last a long, long time.

Good luck with whatever you choose...
 

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a few things about Monoblocks that Jump out at me.

1. each amp has its own powersupply.... thus greater depth or grunt to draw from
2. Less cross talk...... better separation of channels

I am sure I am missing a few things since I just got home from the bar.... but well built MONO's regardless of tube or solid state.... in general will sound much better than most receivers. And monos will take it one step above good 2ch amps, although a smaller step up.

I dont buy into most crazy things in the audio industry, but every time I have heard speakers on good or better amplifiers they have always sounded better. I cant say that for speaker cables or interconnect changes in the same systems, but amps, YES
 

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Discussion Starter #6
A pair of monoblocks will feature separate power supplies, two-channel amps normally share one large power supply (but not always).

Monoblocks will cost extra because....the manufacturer can, and because of extra costs for the case.

What speakers are you using? I don't mean to get offtopic or anything, but if your speakers aren't worldclass reference, I'd probably put the $4000 to better speakers before buying an expensive amp. I'm currently using a $300 receiver with $3,600 speakers and a custom dual OB servo sub....couldn't be happier. I have a $2,000 tube amp that sounds very nice just sitting around.

Back to what you actually asked for...the Dodd stuff is all pretty good, unfortunately, the tube power amp market isn't superb. There are some nice designs out there that use less than supreme parts which I believe take away from performance and the unanimously best sounding tube amps (OTL) cost a pretty penny. Mcalister makes a nice product, but the build quality is not upto par with Dodd...they're bulid sturdily...just not as nice looking as the pictures convey. Music Reference also offers a great quality product...they look wonderful, I'm told they're very well engineered and should last a long, long time.

Good luck with whatever you choose...
currently the best speakers in the house are the Rocket 850's.
and i also have Klipsch running the HT, to me it sounds as if the Klipsch are not as bright when powered by tube amps.
anyway the speaker upgrade situation is a ongoing thing, and i see what you mean by powering $ dollar speakers with $$$$ dollar amps
i have looked at the Dodd web site but could not find but a couple of reviews for his amps.
i have come across some Shanling sp-80 monos the reviews are good.
I have looked at the Melody m880 they look well built also good reviews.
Suprisingly ascant amount of revews for the McIntosh 352.
and yep i have looked into the Emotiva XPA-1 also.
What i am trying to do is to buy the best amp that i can as it will be a good while before i will purchase another one.
Also the dollar limit set is for me the extreme limt if i dont have to spend it all i will not. I just figured this amount will include a good range of products
and manufacturers.

thanks for the info.
 

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I think other variables are:
- rack (or other space)
- power - often you can get more power from multiple monos (question is whether you really need it)
- cost
- some stereo amps have "dual mono" designs allowing benefits of mono with sharing the same case - ? decreased cost

The Emotiva XPA-1's are currently on sale now ($899 down from $999) - link.

In a very non-scientific (non-blinded) testing, I thought that adding the XPA-3 to my Denon 5308 setup with Rocket 1000Signatures resulted in better sound.
(I fully acknowledge that this could be placebo effect).

I don't know about all of the other amps mentioned.
Good luck.

Mike
 

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just personal opinion here, but I think that budget is way overkill for those speakers. I think you are going to have to move up the speaker ladder just a bit to really observe the benefits of an amp in that price range. Again, just imo.
 

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Discussion Starter #10
just personal opinion here, but I think that budget is way overkill for those speakers. I think you are going to have to move up the speaker ladder just a bit to really observe the benefits of an amp in that price range. Again, just imo.
i think i know what you mean sorta
dont power a Pinto with a Ferrari engine
i just elected to do the amps now speakers later
thanks
 

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The 850's are great speakers...don't get me wrong....I definitely wouldn't call them a 'pinto' but the analogy works.

For me, if I knew I were upgrading/changing speakers, I'd do that first and try to find an amp that tailor's to them vs the other way around. Again, my .02:sly:
 

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Discussion Starter #12
Thank you Mr. Evans- East Street Audio-:bowing:
for a most informative and not to mention one i can understand
explanation.
Good fortunes to you sir.
 

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Discussion Starter #13
The 850's are great speakers...don't get me wrong....I definitely wouldn't call them a 'pinto' but the analogy works.

For me, if I knew I were upgrading/changing speakers, I'd do that first and try to find an amp that tailor's to them vs the other way around. Again, my .02:sly:
i agree definitely not a Pinto. Sorry Mr. Schfiter no insult intended.
so if read this right you are saying the speakers being the most important
part of the audio reproduction chain should be delt with first
and all other components chosen to fit/complement the speakers?
 

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so if read this right you are saying the speakers being the most important
part of the audio reproduction chain should be delt with first
and all other components chosen to fit/complement the speakers?
Yes, speakers will have the most impact on how the system sounds. IMO, then next most influential will be the pre>dac/source>amp>cables. Power conditioning fits in there too, but it depends on how clean you are to start with...

I'm far from an expert, so there may be some others who disagree with my sequence there.

Edit:
forgot to add something in the sequence. Speakers>treatments>pre>dac/source>amp>cables.
 

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You could put together an entire two channel system for your high end price there and I think that is what people are trying to say, upgrade your weakest link first. When I was looking at Rockets the conclusion I came to was great for HT and good for music. I just had the GR Neo 2x demo units here and those speakers are flat out amazing. You could put together a two channel system with those (or any of the speakers in that line), a Virtue Audio amp, and GR servo sub for less than 2K and you would have to spend a lot of money to beat it.
 

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Discussion Starter #16
interesting thanks
let me see if i got this right while all of the components must be given equal consideration.
the curve of deminishing return or at least improvement in sound quality
must also be given a consideration when selecting components.
for example
A component that costs $$$$ as oppossed to one that costs $
may not bring to the table an increase in sound quality that justifies
the extra Green Backs.
:cool:
thanks gentelmen
 

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You should try to demo as much gear as possible, to get a good idea of how your current setup compares against what you could buy. Don't be afraid to spend some time listening outside your price range either, because it might reveal something to you that you'll find useful in your search.

If you just read online reviews or go by specs, you'll end up getting something and think it is really good but it won't be an informed thought because you won't have heard enough to know.

BTW - it might help to provide some examples of the type of sound you're looking for.
 

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Oh, it's definitely diminishing returns, as a person who has gone from $500 two channel amps up to $9k monos.

The more expensive 2 channel amps will have circuitry that will reduce the amount of crosstalk that a less expensive 2 channel, or for that matter 5 channel or receiver will have. And it won't even matter if the unit is a package of separate amps like the old Emotiva 5/7 channel amps was. While it did a better job of separation, it was not perfect.
 

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Discussion Starter #19
You should try to demo as much gear as possible, to get a good idea of how your current setup compares against what you could buy. Don't be afraid to spend some time listening outside your price range either, because it might reveal something to you that you'll find useful in your search.

If you just read online reviews or go by specs, you'll end up getting something and think it is really good but it won't be an informed thought because you won't have heard enough to know.

BTW - it might help to provide some examples of the type of sound you're looking for.
the part of reading online reviews... You are so right.
however, i would think it is a huge limiting factor unless one lives in a major city or close to one.
the online reviews/forum opinions(thats how i came to buy the Rockets, never saw one never heard one but the forum talk held these in high reguard.) make up a very large part of at least my decision.
Demoing is great when one has several B&M stores that carry a wide selection of product sure you buy it take it home, but if you dont like it all that will cost one to return it is the trip back to the B&M. Where you can exchange it or go to the next store down the road. Shipping cost alone will burn through the alotted budget real quick.
as i typed before, excellent point you have made, i am just trying to give a glimpse of how i have to buy audio gear usually much better and at time less expensive then the stuff at the local B&M stores here.
Now if I win the Lotto :rock::rock::rock:

thanks for the info and have a good weekend
edward
 

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Where are you located? It may also be possible to listen to something at individuals' homes.

I've found that even if you just listen to setups at the dealer, you can learn things. So it's not necessary to take it home to listen in your room/setup or with only one changed part.
 
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