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post #1 of 56 Old 09-20-2012, 07:13 PM - Thread Starter
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I'm thinking getting the KEF R300, and need advice for amps. The KEF dealer here only carries Parasound, Marantz, and Anthem. There's another store that carries NAD, Arcam, and Moon, but that's not a KEF dealer so I can't really compare them together connected to the R300. I wonder if one can bring their own speakers to a store to try different amps. Anyway, I come up with a list to start with. By the way I'm looking for either integrated, or pre+power amp, with a total <$2k.
1. parasound 2100 + 2125 (this is I believe the KEF dealer carries)
2. parasound P3 + A23 (haven't found them in a store yet; read from an article that the halo series is good with the R300)
3. moon i1 250i
4. NAD 356BEE DAC
5. NAD 375BEE DAC
6. Arcam MFJ A28
7. Rotel (will try to find a dealer first)
I don't want Anthem or Marantz. Will try #5 and #6 soon, in the store that does not carry KEF, 30 miles away.

So far I've only listened to a Linn Majik 109 with the NAD 356BEE, Moon i1, and Anthem. I think NAD and Moon are both okay, though they have only 80W and 50W, seems not much. One sales person told me the power is very important, not just for volumn sake. Another told me as long as it is a "good" 60W (referring to the Moon i1, though Moon's website says 50W), it's enough. Some what confusing. Has anyone compared between parasound and any of the NAD/Moon/Arcam with the r300?
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post #2 of 56 Old 09-21-2012, 04:58 AM
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Originally Posted by tt7tt View Post

I'm thinking getting the KEF R300, and need advice for amps. The KEF dealer here only carries Parasound, Marantz, and Anthem. There's another store that carries NAD, Arcam, and Moon, but that's not a KEF dealer so I can't really compare them together connected to the R300. I wonder if one can bring their own speakers to a store to try different amps. Anyway, I come up with a list to start with. By the way I'm looking for either integrated, or pre+power amp, with a total <$2k.
1. parasound 2100 + 2125 (this is I believe the KEF dealer carries)
2. parasound P3 + A23 (haven't found them in a store yet; read from an article that the halo series is good with the R300)
3. moon i1 250i
4. NAD 356BEE DAC
5. NAD 375BEE DAC
6. Arcam MFJ A28
7. Rotel (will try to find a dealer first)
I don't want Anthem or Marantz. Will try #5 and #6 soon, in the store that does not carry KEF, 30 miles away.
So far I've only listened to a Linn Majik 109 with the NAD 356BEE, Moon i1, and Anthem. I think NAD and Moon are both okay, though they have only 80W and 50W, seems not much. One sales person told me the power is very important, not just for volumn sake. Another told me as long as it is a "good" 60W (referring to the Moon i1, though Moon's website says 50W), it's enough. Some what confusing. Has anyone compared between parasound and any of the NAD/Moon/Arcam with the r300?

You obviously totally buy into the widespread audiophile myth that every amplifier sounds different and adds its own sonic signature. Just a friendly reminder that this is BS that blows away in the wind if you actually do some proper listening tests. I'll put a $250 Yamaha AVR up against any of the vastly overpriced electronics that you've mentioned, invest the difference in a good sub and room treatments, and still laugh all the way to the bank thinking about the great sound I've got at home.
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post #3 of 56 Old 09-21-2012, 05:17 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post


You obviously totally buy into the widespread audiophile myth that every amplifier sounds different and adds its own sonic signature. Just a friendly reminder that this is BS that blows away in the wind if you actually do some proper listening tests. I'll put a $250 Yamaha AVR up against any of the vastly overpriced electronics that you've mentioned, invest the difference in a good sub and room treatments, and still laugh all the way to the bank thinking about the great sound I've got at home.

I have heard this before, and generally believe it to be true.  However, if it is true, then why does not everyone have Pyle and Pyramid Amps.  They have the best WPC for some of the lowest prices?
 

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post #4 of 56 Old 09-21-2012, 05:59 AM
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Originally Posted by underminded999 View Post

I have heard this before, and generally believe it to be true.  However, if it is true, then why does not everyone have Pyle and Pyramid Amps.  They have the best WPC for some of the lowest prices?

Actually IME they don't have any outstanding technical advantage, even just on paper. I did a study of exactly this issue right before I bought my new Yamaha AVR. First off, there is the problem of their inflated power rating systems. PMPO under a different name, anybody? IME "Pyramid watts" are an industry joke. Then there are the problems with their build quality. Finally, compared to the competitive products from first tier manufacturers like Pioneer, Onkyo, Yamaha, etc., their stuff ranges from a little crude to a lot crude.

I'm picking my battles more carefully than that. ;-)
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post #5 of 56 Old 09-21-2012, 12:32 PM
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I have R300s powered by a HK3490, sound amazing.
Pretty sure you dont need more expensive amp to make the excelents R do their best.
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post #6 of 56 Old 09-22-2012, 09:32 AM
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First of all, Arny's right that those speakers don't need to be matched up with any particular amplifier. Unless a speaker has particularly challenging impedance or sensitivity characteristics, any moderately powered amp will drive them just fine. I generally recommend getting as much power as you can afford (extra power won't be a bad thing), but unless you have a large room or listen at very high levels, you're still gonna be fine. That said, I do have my personal (not necessarily defensible) preferences, so please read on ...

1. I like the Parasound NewClassic series. The 2100 preamp and 2125 power amp are well within your budget, and the preamp has some cool features for a two-channel piece, such as passthrough for a home-theater system and analog bass management with a line-level subwoofer output.

2. I like the NAD integrated amps with the optional DAC module. You may want to adopt a computer-based, uncompressed music library (I do), and with an NAD amp, all you'd need would be a USB cable.

3. I like Rotel separates too. You'd have the choice of a tiny, cool-running Class D amp with 250 watts of power! Don't let anyone BS you into believing that Class D doesn't "sound right"; you'll never know the difference, not unless you can hear things that test gear cannot (and you can't). And you might like the size/weight/heat advantages. Hell, the amps are stackable! (Disclosure: I have a five-channel 15-series Rotel amp with the same 250W modules; it's a nice piece.)

4. Consider Adcom. They make a stereo preamp and a full line of industrial-strength power amps. I owned a GFA-555 for 13 years, and it was an indestructible brute. You could unplug it from the wall, and it'd keep playing for about a minute! (See earlier reference to overkill.) Adcom has brought it back as the GFA-555se, and it's as good as any 200-watt amp made by anyone at any price.

5. I'm not really an Emotiva fan (the look and feel don't register with me), but they're great values, and I'm sure their two-channel gear is pretty good (that is, not marked up based on audiophile mythology).

Bottom line: Just don't get caught up in the idea that your speakers will sound different ("warmer," "brighter," "leaner," "more open," what-the-hell-ever) based on your choice of amplifier. There's not a shred of objective evidence that supports those ideas. (In other words, all that is made up.)
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post #7 of 56 Old 10-03-2012, 09:25 PM
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ahahahhhahahahhahhahhahhahahhah
sorry.
Sound signatures...tube amps. have fun. they are.
you get a detail retrieving beast like any of the KEF r series and send anything to it less than super clean, low distortion and high current signal through it and you might as well have just bought something cheaper that still gives a lot of bang for you buck like the monitor audio line. If you get better amplification, those bad boys will open up beyond your dreams and you will need to change your undies. Brownstone322 is right on the money. Agree on the Parasound too.

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post #8 of 56 Old 10-06-2012, 08:40 AM
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I would suggest that you consider either the Musical Fidelity M3i amplifier which goes for $1500, or the Music Hall A 70.2, also $1500.

Those are the two amplifiers that sound the best to me in that price range.

The Moon is also supposed to be very good, but my experience with it is too limited for me to recommend it.

As for anyone who says that all amplifiers sound the same...I can only say that clear differences are certainly there for MY ears to hear.

Those who cannot or will not hear the difference are to be pitied, not scorned.
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post #9 of 56 Old 10-06-2012, 08:51 AM
 
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I can only say that clear differences are certainly there for MY ears to hear.
From no precise level matching and no bias controlled comparison.
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Those who cannot or will not hear the difference are to be pitied, not scorned.
Says the one who has never sat through a proper double blind test of amps. rolleyes.gif
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post #10 of 56 Old 10-06-2012, 12:34 PM
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Originally Posted by commsysman View Post

I can only say that clear differences are certainly there for MY ears to hear.
Of course there are differences for your ears to hear. You apparently don't do level matching, and you apparently don't do close comparisons.

It is hardly news that different music played at different levels cause clear differences that are certainly there for anybody to hear.

Of course, spending money based on such loosely done comparisons is something that many of us don't want to do.

BTW, I'd be willing to run a free demo of a proper comparison between power amps if anybody is running a well-publicized audio show that is within reasonable driving distance of Detroit, or willing to pay my transportation costs for longer distances. People need to know the truth about these things, based on their own personal experiences!
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post #11 of 56 Old 10-06-2012, 01:37 PM
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Off-topic: I'm looking for a picture of an ostrich with its head in the sand. Any help?

OK, I lied. That wasn't off topic. tongue.gif

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post #12 of 56 Old 10-17-2012, 09:47 PM
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HI there! I am looking to buy a mini stereo which may turn into home theatre in the future.It's primary function will be for the use of my iPod, with movies secondary.I do not use CD's or records.I like to listen to hard rock/grunge and also accoustic. The room is 10-12 square metres with hard floors and a 2.5 metre high ceiling.I am looking at getting the Marantz NR 1603 and pair it with B+W 685's.Is this a suitable combination? I am also looking at the Monitor Audio BR-2s,and the KEF Q300's . If not what other amp /speaker combination do you recommend? I have a budget of around $1000 .It's primary function will be for the use of my iPod, with movies secondary.I do not use CD's or records.I like to listen to hard rock/grunge and also accoustic. I am in China so my options are limited to what I can see in the few HiFi stores here or on taobao.com (Chinese ebay).Any suggestions and help is greatly appreciated.
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post #13 of 56 Old 10-18-2012, 05:11 AM
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Originally Posted by DubbleBubble View Post

HI there! I am looking to buy a mini stereo which may turn into home theatre in the future.It's primary function will be for the use of my iPod, with movies secondary.I do not use CD's or records.I like to listen to hard rock/grunge and also accoustic. The room is 10-12 square metres with hard floors and a 2.5 metre high ceiling.I am looking at getting the Marantz NR 1603 and pair it with B+W 685's.Is this a suitable combination? I am also looking at the Monitor Audio BR-2s,and the KEF Q300's .

From what I've read and heard from other people, all of your choices are potential winners. I don't know how to recommend one over another.

There's nothing special about the iPod as a music source. Your satisfaction with its sound quality will depend on the quality of the music files you load onto it. There's also nothing wrong with a basic analog connection from the iPod to a good stereo receiver like the one you are thinking about. That means that as soon as you have it operating stably, be sure to give its Audessy feature a spin. Beyond that, listen carefully to determine if your room doesn't need some acoustic treatments or repositioning of speakers to sound its best.

The usual caveat - system configuration and room acoustics are important, if not the most important variables in your system.
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post #14 of 56 Old 10-18-2012, 09:09 AM
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Glad I'm not the only one who feels the differences between amps/receivers is totally blown out of proportion.

Get quality speakers, a quality DAC, any entry level amp, and it'll result in fantastic sound quality.

Also, anyone who actually spends upwards of $1,000 or so on the amp is going to find all sorts of ways to convince themselves it was worth it. wink.gif
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post #15 of 56 Old 10-20-2012, 02:09 PM
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Glad I'm not the only one who feels the differences between amps/receivers is totally blown out of proportion.

Get quality speakers, a quality DAC, any entry level amp, and it'll result in fantastic sound quality.

Also, anyone who actually spends upwards of $1,000 or so on the amp is going to find all sorts of ways to convince themselves it was worth it. wink.gif

The "differences" between DACs are even more blown out of proportion than the "differences" between amps.
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post #16 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 08:53 AM
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It's easier to find a Dac that works for you than it is to find an amp that fits your needs. Some speakers are very hard to drive and you need a good high current amp to open them up. A Dac on the other hand will not change how much a speaker sounds as much as it does the music. I have found that is the best way to tell the differences in DACS. But i have also found where that hurts. Some speakers such as the Martin Logan Ethos that i demoed the other day are detail machines. There was a marantz cd8004 hooked up to them and i immediately noticed something i didn't like about them in the mids. I knew instantly that i had to plug my Peachtree Audio DAC*IT in. EVERYONE at the store was amazed at how much different the speakers sounded. I immediately noticed what i didn't like about the speakers and to me, they are the perfect speaker except for ONE thing. They are tooo good at detail retrieval. I say this because voices, especially female, seemed to be missing body. I don't need a lot of body in my mids, infact the B&W cm9's, to me, are a beautiful speaker but not for me. I LOVE how sweet and rich and full female vocals sound on them. Unfortunately, it is to full bodied for me even though Norah Jones makes my arm hairs raise up on them. This type of midrange to me makes all types of music sound the same. What i was getting at is that the Ethos was so clean and precise that the mids weren't enough for me even though, the highs are absolutely amazing, the bass was almost exactly what i want as they were quite punchy and able to fill the room with lots of low frequencies. While i don't like the way the mids sounded the presence of them it crazy perfect. They imaging from the mids it crazy huge, so large in fact it that pretty much no bass could ever shut them out. So, i believe that a tube pre-amp would help these out a lot,or even a tube amp. The DAC*IT already helped fill a lot of the void of the mids not having body by adding more detail.

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post #17 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 10:44 AM
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Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

It's easier to find a Dac that works for you than it is to find an amp that fits your needs.

Based on what?
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Some speakers are very hard to drive and you need a good high current amp to open them up.

Reality is that almost all major manufacturers run the other way and live in fear of mistakenly developing a speaker that is hard to drive because they are afraid of dealing with the people who get bad sound and return them to the dealer.

There have been some hard-to-drive speakers, but most of them come from decades back.
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A Dac on the other hand will not change how much a speaker sounds as much as it does the music. I have found that is the best way to tell the differences in DACS. But i have also found where that hurts.

Here's a link to download files from and learn:

http://www.ethanwiner.com/aes/

I'm talking about the files labelled "SoundBlaster Generations"

Trust me, grungy old SoundBlaster cards, particularly when used concurrently to play and record, are far from being SOTA. Based on what I've seen, measured and heard any $100 Blue Ray player or $200 AVR contains far better converters. I think that even iPods are better made.

Yet here's Ethan running music in and out of a cheap old Soundblaster card again and again 5, 10, and even 20 times. If you do a proper double blind listening test, using say the ABX comparator in the freebie Foobar 2000 digital player software, you will be amazed at what you (don't) hear!

Listen up and learn! ;-)
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post #18 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 11:52 AM
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I understand what you mean about speaker manufactures being scared. I didn't say all.
The reason i say it's easier to find a Dac is because speakers all have certain characteristics to them like the B&W CM9's have really rich sweet forward mids. Some amplifiers might dry these mids out and change the characteristics of the mids. Some might make them more rich. A DAC on the other hand will probably do nothing more than wider soundstage and more detail throughout the whole spectrum but they won't change the sound characteristics of the speaker. It only helps brings out the potential of them.

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post #19 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 01:01 PM
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Some amplifiers might dry these mids out and change the characteristics of the mids. Some might make them more rich.
Nope.
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A DAC on the other hand will probably do nothing more than wider soundstage and more detail throughout the whole spectrum
Wrong again.

Arny's correct point was that neither amps nor DACs—and especially DACs—have nearly the magnitude of effects on sound that you are describing. Match your levels, compare things blind, and you will discover how much of what you think you hear is not really there.

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post #20 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 01:53 PM
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I didn't read Arny's anything. and you are offending me by telling me that i don't know what i hear. I know EXACTLY what i hear. You can't do any tests that show that the cm9's have sweet mids. You can't do any tests that show imaging. I'm completely dumbfounded on how you think that amps and dac's don't change things. To my ears and EVERYONES ears, there are major differences. Amps can change the voicing of a speaker to an extent and it can help give more all around body to all frequencies. You can't measure body, only how loud different frequencies are compared to others.

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post #21 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 01:54 PM
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Please don't be persistant on this as i will not argue with you any more about it. I guess just let me believe what i want to believe and you can go have fun trolling everywhere that dac's and amps don't make differences in speakers

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post #22 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 04:14 PM
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Yes, please, no trolling! Especially with actual science and engineering! This is not the place!

Oh, wait, it is. eek.gif

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post #23 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 04:39 PM
 
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Please don't be persistant on this as i will not argue with you any more about it. I guess just let me believe what i want to believe and you can go have fun trolling everywhere that dac's and amps don't make differences in speakers
What do you think about the concept of matching volume levels between components when comparing?
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Match your levels, compare things blind,
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post #24 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 07:14 PM
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If you're basing this question off of me saying that some speakers need better amplification to open up then no, i have not done any actual testing as i don't need to. A speaker with a higher sensitivity obviously need better amplification to make it play louder. In terms of amps making a speaker sound different, it may not be much for some but more than others and is not something that can be read. A class A/B amp will not make the bass louder unless you turn the volume up but it will give more body and make it much more punchy.

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post #25 of 56 Old 10-21-2012, 08:51 PM
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What measurements can an engineer do on an amp to capture the "body" and "punchy"-ness of bass?

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post #26 of 56 Old 10-22-2012, 02:26 AM
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What measurements can an engineer do on an amp to capture the "body" and "punchy"-ness of bass?

Damping factor. Although I don't believe its as important as some claim. Anything over 100 perhaps even 50 should be fine.
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post #27 of 56 Old 10-22-2012, 04:36 AM
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What measurements can an engineer do on an amp to capture the "body" and "punchy"-ness of bass?

Frequency response into an actual speaker load. Closely related to damping factor and source impedance. Most SS power amps do these things in a near-ideal way. Tubed amps can do this but at considerable expense and only temporarily. Tubes degrade in use, especially output tubes in power amps.

The above is not the whole story about system SQ.

Here's the basics -

The probability that a speaker simply set down in some listening room by an audiophile has optimal bass response is close to zero. When you add the personal preferences of the audiophile, the probability that the speaker's bass response as positioned and oriented would be less than zero if such a thing even made mathematical sense.

The reasons for this are all of the hidden variables - the way the speaker works, the way it interfaces to the room, the way the room interfaces the speaker to the listener, etc.

Let's say that we have an amplifier whose performance is exactly ideal. It has totally flat frequency response into any conceivable load. An ideal amplifier will not do the job that needs to be done all by itself. It's like asking a window air conditioner to purify and cool the air in your entire neighborhood.

The above should answer any questions you may have about why it is possible to say that modern amplifiers are very close to ideal, but in fact systems containing them don't always sound very good. You can only ask for so much from an amplifier!

This is why every question about amplifier sound quality can quickly transform itself into a discussion about speaker positioning and orientation, room acoustics, equalization, and acoustic treatments. You can't judge a meal by the flavor of the just main entree!
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post #28 of 56 Old 10-22-2012, 08:07 AM
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Thank you Arny

who do i talk to around here about changing my title from "advanced member" to "specialED member"
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post #29 of 56 Old 10-22-2012, 01:33 PM
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Don't worry about being finicky with amplification and DACs. ArnyK and mcnarus have enough experience to confidently tell you that they're all the same. And the ones that claim to be "different" or "better" are only out to take your money. Oh, and the government is trying to turn you into a robot, too. smile.gif
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post #30 of 56 Old 10-22-2012, 02:14 PM
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rolleyes.gif C'mon on guys, I meant that as a rhetorical question to the bthrb4u. Wasn't that apparent?

For every new thing I learn, I forget two things I used to know.
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