Is 2 channelAmp about the same as reciever? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 10:33 AM - Thread Starter
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I have really been think of getting the Marantz PM7001. Its a 70 watt 2 channel integrated amp that is suppose to be a good mid-fi amp. I also have a Marantz SR 5500 90 watt 7.1 reciever that does pretty good in 2 channel with pure direct mode. So heres my question.

Do you think the PM7001 would sound just like the SR 5500 does in 2 channel pure direct mode? Or would it be a good improvement over the SR 5500. I would like my dedicated 2 channel system to be above the SR 5500 in music quality...would I have to go up to a better integrated amp to get the sound I am looking for?

Thanks.

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post #2 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 10:56 AM
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No, they should sound about the same. If you are looking for better sound, the first place to look is the listening room acoustics. That is the key to good sound reproduction. Next would be speakers. The rest isn't so important. Since there probably isn't much you can do about the listening room, spend the effort and money on speakers.
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post #3 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 11:09 AM
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What FMW sys. The integrated amp might be better into very low loads. But that only matters if your main speakers are very low loads, which they probably aren't.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #4 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 12:14 PM - Thread Starter
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Yeah, thats what I was a fraid of. What if I got an amp that was not in the same class as the Marantz SR 5500. Something like an Exposure integraded or Arcam intergraded or even a Rotel integraded amp? Do you think it would be better to invest in a more high end amp to gain better quality sound? Would the Exposure, Arcam or even the Rotel be an improvement into a more distinguished highend sound?

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post #5 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 12:34 PM
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No, I don't think you'd get appreciably better sound from a different amp. The Marantz you have is quite a capable performer. Sorry to be repetitive here, but if you want better sound, save your money for better speakers. What speakers are you using now?

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post #6 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 12:35 PM
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Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post

Yeah, thats what I was a fraid of. What if I got an amp that was not in the same class as the Marantz SR 5500. Something like an Exposure integraded or Arcam intergraded or even a Rotel integraded amp? Do you think it would be better to invest in a more high end amp to gain better quality sound? Would the Exposure, Arcam or even the Rotel be an improvement into a more distinguished highend sound?

frenchmon

You wont get an appreciable amount of difference unless your current amp is clipping at the loads you are trying to drive. If you want an appreciable difference, fix up placement of listening position, speaker position within the room, room treatments, new speakers.
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post #7 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 01:07 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by mcnarus View Post

No, I don't think you'd get appreciably better sound from a different amp. The Marantz you have is quite a capable performer. Sorry to be repetitive here, but if you want better sound, save your money for better speakers. What speakers are you using now?

Oh don't get me wrong...The Marantz I have now (SR 5500) is in a 5.1 home theater using Paradigm Monitor 7's. I love it for what it can do. But I want a seperate 2 channel room and thought about the PM7001 in the 2 channel room. Now the SR 5500 is a good performer in two channel pure direct mode, but I was wondering if the PM7001 would out perform the SR 5500 in music quality. But I think they are in the same class and would perform and sound about the same, with no change in music quality.

So I think I would have to move up in class. Do you think Exposure , or even the Marantz Pm 15SI reference series would give me that better quality in sound?

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post #8 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 01:08 PM - Thread Starter
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No clipping and am satisfied with the SR 5500. Just wanted to know if I could get better sound from a dedicated 2 channel amp.

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post #9 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 01:24 PM
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Do you think Exposure , or even the Marantz Pm 15SI reference series would give me that better quality in sound?

OK, I read you now, but the message is the same: You would do better to put more of your money toward better speakers, or some room treatments, or add a sub (or two) to that room. What speakers do you have or are you planning to get for that 2-channel room?

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #10 of 139 Old 01-27-2008, 03:32 PM
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Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post

No clipping and am satisfied with the SR 5500. Just wanted to know if I could get better sound from a dedicated 2 channel amp.

frenchmon

The answer is not necessarily. As we have been saying, the way you setup the speakers, the speakers themselves, the room acoustics will factor in much more in terms of the apparent sound quality that reaches your ears. The differences in the amps will be so very minute compared to the gigantic differences in two different rooms and speaker brands (not to mention location of listening position and speaker positions w/ respect to each room) that we cannot say that even if you bought a 100k$ amp, you would hear an improvement.

Any minute improvement that could occur would be COMPLETELY masked by the difference in sound quality caused by the Room, Placements, and Speakers.

The only time where you might even be able to think about sq differences between amps is if you are using 1 room that is acoustically treated to professional standards, the listening position is optimal acoustically, the speaker positioning is optimal acoustically, the speakers are of sufficient quality. This is of course assuming that you do not have clipping or any distortions caused by insufficient amplifier.
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post #11 of 139 Old 01-28-2008, 09:04 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

The answer is not necessarily. As we have been saying, the way you setup the speakers, the speakers themselves, the room acoustics will factor in much more in terms of the apparent sound quality that reaches your ears. The differences in the amps will be so very minute compared to the gigantic differences in two different rooms and speaker brands (not to mention location of listening position and speaker positions w/ respect to each room) that we cannot say that even if you bought a 100k$ amp, you would hear an improvement.

Any minute improvement that could occur would be COMPLETELY masked by the difference in sound quality caused by the Room, Placements, and Speakers.

The only time where you might even be able to think about sq differences between amps is if you are using 1 room that is acoustically treated to professional standards, the listening position is optimal acoustically, the speaker positioning is optimal acoustically, the speakers are of sufficient quality. This is of course assuming that you do not have clipping or any distortions caused by insufficient amplifier.

Thanks for you responce. So are you saying that if a person had two different 2 channel rooms, with the exact same professionally treated standards and listening positions, but one room had an integraded amp costing $400.00 and the other costing $2000.00 there would be no difference in sound quality over the other?

If this is so why do others spend so much on amps rather than treatment?

If you are correct then I have had my eye on the wrong thing and need to focus on treatment rather than a high priced integraded amp.

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post #12 of 139 Old 01-28-2008, 09:53 AM
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Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post

Thanks for you responce. So are you saying that if a person had two different 2 channel rooms, with the exact same professionally treated standards and listening positions, but one room had an integraded amp costing $400.00 and the other costing $2000.00 there would be no difference in sound quality over the other?

If this is so why do others spend so much on amps rather than treatment?

If you are correct then I have had my eye on the wrong thing and need to focus on treatment rather than a high priced integraded amp.

frenchmon

It is possible that there would be no audible difference in sound quality if they are both solid state amps of reasonable build quality. People spend so much on amps because they:

a. are ignorant of room acoustic problems (extremely common)
b. like to spend money on electronics because it is more 'tangible'
c. like the added/different functions of different electronics

If at all possible, focus your efforts on room acoustics (talk to real traps, gik acoustics, for a better idea of what needs to be done) as this will improve everything associated with sound quality. A mediocre room will make great speakers sound mediocre.

Many people say things like "buy good electronics so that you can ensure that you get everything out of your speakers". That is true up to the point where you get electronics that are adequate for your room size and feature needs.

However, getting a good grasp on the acoustics of your room is the definition of maximizing your sq from your speakers. It is because the acoustics of the room really screw around with the sound before it gets from speaker to your ears.


Now, let me make one point. I have a 1200$ preamp and amp. I might be tempted to upgrade to a 3000$ integrated amp that has bass management. I wont be upgrading for sound quality purposes, but for the features like bass management and a more finely gradated volume knob. These features warrant spending money as well. As long as you have the 'correct' expectations, money is worth being spent. However, if you want to tackle sound quality specifically, the biggest "leak" is in the room acoustics and setup.
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post #13 of 139 Old 01-29-2008, 07:32 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

It is possible that there would be no audible difference in sound quality if they are both solid state amps of reasonable build quality. People spend so much on amps because they:

a. are ignorant of room acoustic problems (extremely common)
b. like to spend money on electronics because it is more 'tangible'
c. like the added/different functions of different electronics

If at all possible, focus your efforts on room acoustics (talk to real traps, gik acoustics, for a better idea of what needs to be done) as this will improve everything associated with sound quality. A mediocre room will make great speakers sound mediocre.

Many people say things like "buy good electronics so that you can ensure that you get everything out of your speakers". That is true up to the point where you get electronics that are adequate for your room size and feature needs.

However, getting a good grasp on the acoustics of your room is the definition of maximizing your sq from your speakers. It is because the acoustics of the room really screw around with the sound before it gets from speaker to your ears.


Now, let me make one point. I have a 1200$ preamp and amp. I might be tempted to upgrade to a 3000$ integrated amp that has bass management. I wont be upgrading for sound quality purposes, but for the features like bass management and a more finely gradated volume knob. These features warrant spending money as well. As long as you have the 'correct' expectations, money is worth being spent. However, if you want to tackle sound quality specifically, the biggest "leak" is in the room acoustics and setup.

Thanks for the info Jonomega. I now know what I have to do. I can get a good build amp for about 1000$ and spend for room improvements. Your info has set me in another direction. Once again thanks.

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post #14 of 139 Old 02-04-2008, 06:43 PM
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Great thread. I currently own an SR5500 and have been eye balling the PM7001 recently as well. I was preparing to ask the exact same question as the OP, and it's a good thing I searched the forum first! This thread has the exact feedback that I was looking for!
I think I'll agree with Jonomega because I've been using essentially the same system for over 3 years now, but through rearranging speakers and tweaking the listening area, I've been able to consistently improve the sound. I've also found that speakers themselves make a much more noticeable difference (good or bad) than amplifiers. In spite of what a salesperson at a local store that stocks McIntosh and Rotel would have me believe. While I'd love to own a McIntosh or Rotel amp or two at some point, I haven't felt it's worth the money to me yet and I don't want to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. I've been running a Marantz DV6600 for audio into the SR5500 in pure direct and it sounds just great to me.
I guess I will stay with the setup for now until I'm finally pushed full force into the land of HDMI upgrades. So, thanks for helping me to not spend my money! (for now)
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post #15 of 139 Old 02-04-2008, 08:16 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by jb01 View Post

Great thread. I currently own an SR5500 and have been eye balling the PM7001 recently as well. I was preparing to ask the exact same question as the OP, and it's a good thing I searched the forum first! This thread has the exact feedback that I was looking for!
I think I'll agree with Jonomega because I've been using essentially the same system for over 3 years now, but through rearranging speakers and tweaking the listening area, I've been able to consistently improve the sound. I've also found that speakers themselves make a much more noticeable difference (good or bad) than amplifiers. In spite of what a salesperson at a local store that stocks McIntosh and Rotel would have me believe. While I'd love to own a McIntosh or Rotel amp or two at some point, I haven't felt it's worth the money to me yet and I don't want to upgrade just for the sake of upgrading. I've been running a Marantz DV6600 for audio into the SR5500 in pure direct and it sounds just great to me.
I guess I will stay with the setup for now until I'm finally pushed full force into the land of HDMI upgrades. So, thanks for helping me to not spend my money! (for now)

My Marantz 5500 is in a 5.1 home theater set up in the family room. The family room is 15 x 17 and has only two walls in it as it is open to the kitchen, and breakfast nook at the back, and steps going up stairs is on the left. So you can see its hard to get room treatments for sound. But its still sounds wonderful. I am driving Paradigm Monitor 7 v3 up front, which by the way are very good monitors. They and the Marantz sound just wonderful in pure direct. But I would love to move it to one of the rooms with 4 walls that I may get better sound.

After my conversation with Jonomega I have decided to persue a dedicated 2 channel amp and preamp. I've been looking at the Parasound halo A23 and the matching preamp. I thought about the PM7001 but decided to not go with a int-amp. I thought about getting the Paradigm studio 100 or the 60 to match with the Halo, but I decided to look for speakers with just as good build quality and acurate and clear sound as the Paradigm with a smaller asking price. I think I have found a pair. I listened to the Jamo C809's and they are a very good sounding Reference speaker.

http://www.jamo.com/Default.aspx?ID=...roductID=17795

The Studio 100's would have cost around $2300. But the 809 where discounted to $1680 and the sales man said I could have them for $1600. This out fit will be in a dedicated 2 channel room.

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post #16 of 139 Old 02-07-2008, 06:12 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by frenchmon View Post

Thanks for you responce. So are you saying that if a person had two different 2 channel rooms, with the exact same professionally treated standards and listening positions, but one room had an integraded amp costing $400.00 and the other costing $2000.00 there would be no difference in sound quality over the other?

Perhaps he wouldn't but I would. As long as the amps are operating within their designed parameters, they will perform the same. Audible differences would only occur when one of the amps is working outside those parameters.

This statement applies to amplifiers that are competently designed. It is possible (but fortunately uncommon) for amplifiers to be designed to have a sound. We want them to increase the amplitude of the wave forms without changing their shape. The great majority of amps do that as long as they aren't clipping.

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If this is so why do others spend so much on amps rather than treatment?

Because they believe what magazine reviewers tell them or because they simply want them or because they simply can. People don't buy Rolex watches because they keep time better than other brands. People don't buy high end audio gear because it sounds better in objective listening tests. Logic and fact don't play a significant role in the high end audio business. I should know. I was involved in it for 30 years.

Quote:


If you are correct then I have had my eye on the wrong thing and need to focus on treatment rather than a high priced integraded amp.

frenchmon

Maybe, maybe not. In my experience good acoustics come primarily from the size and shape of the room. You can't do much about that. You can make some minor differences by changing the reflectivity of some areas of a room and you can adjust speaker placement but basic room acoustics are hard to change. Most of the audiophile treated rooms I've been in are way too dead from over treating. If a room is simply terrible acoustically, you can always listen near field. It isn't as satisfying but at least it is accurate.

For me room acoustics are the single most important aspect of system sound. I've demonstrated this in bias controlled listening tests in the past. Speakers for me are a distant second and everything else borders on the trivial to me. So if the room isn't good or isn't manageable, then work on the speakers.
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post #17 of 139 Old 02-08-2008, 08:55 AM
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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

Now, let me make one point. I have a 1200$ preamp and amp. I might be tempted to upgrade to a 3000$ integrated amp that has bass management. I wont be upgrading for sound quality purposes, but for the features like bass management and a more finely gradated volume knob. These features warrant spending money as well. As long as you have the 'correct' expectations, money is worth being spent. However, if you want to tackle sound quality specifically, the biggest "leak" is in the room acoustics and setup.

So...I don't need any feature. Which 400 dollar amp should I buy that would sound the same as 200,000 dollars one?

If what you said were true, then we don't need to audition for amp... all of them should sound the same except for different feature. correct?
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post #18 of 139 Old 02-08-2008, 09:22 AM
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Which 400 dollar amp should I buy that would sound the same as 200,000 dollars one?

You've misunderstood the point. How an amp "sounds" depends on whether it is capable of driving your speakers. If you have a pair of electrostatics whose impedance dips toward 1 ohm, it matters an awful lot which amp you use. But if you're driving a typical 8-ohm box speaker at reasonable volumes in a typical room, the choice of amp may be far less critical.

So, the right way to frame your question is, what am I trying to drive, and how much of an amp do I need to drive them? You may or may not need a large amp, depending on circumstances.

(BTW, a $200,000 amp is a sonic joke. There's nothing worth putting in an amp that would cost that much. That's jewelry, not electronics.)

Quote:


If what you said were true, then we don't need to audition for amp... all of them should sound the same except for different feature. correct?

Well, I bought my amp without "auditioning" it, because I knew it was capable of driving my current speakers, and any speakers I was likely to buy in the near future. But if I didn't know that, I would want to try it out with my speakers (listening to an amp in a shop is totally useless) to make sure it could handle them. But what I'd be listening for isn't "liquidity" or "PRAT" or any of that audiophile bulls**t. I'd be listening for evidence of clipping or other obvious signs of distortion. Because that's where an amp can go wrong.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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post #19 of 139 Old 02-08-2008, 12:56 PM - Thread Starter
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I think I can't believe all what you guys are telling me. Today I took a ride over to the local Marantz dealer here in Cary NC and listened to a Marantz Sr 8002 in two channel pure direct mode. It was paired with the Marantz SA8001 CD player and they where driving Revel Concerta M12's. I was like wow! The Marantz was doing what it does best...sound like nothing else does. And the Concerta M12's sounded like a full range speaker. The whole outfit made the Elaine Elias CD sound just wonder. So I asked the sales guy if more expensive gear would sound about the same as the gear we where lsitening to if we had the same sound treatments in the same room. His answer was no, the more expensive gear would sound different that what we where listening to. So he took me into another room that had no room treatments at all. The gear was Marants reference seperates. It was the SM-11S1 Reference Stereo Power Amplifier price $3,999,00 and the SA-7S1 Reference SA-CD/CD Player price $6,500,00. They where driving the Revel Performa F52. And the room had no sound treatments. I could hear the music bouncing all over the place, but I could hear the difference in sound quality. I mean the first set-up with the mid-fi gear was unbelievable, but the hi-fi gear was even better than that...it was more transparent than the other gear. Now if I had the first set up, the mid-fi gear at my house, I would be satisfied and very happy with it...it sounded awsome, but in a a-b test like I did today, there is a difference in good quality gear.

I also had a chance to listen to the Marantz integraded amp PM7001 paired with the Revel Concerta F12 and then NHT Classic four's. That system sounded good as well, but better with the Revel Concerta F12's.

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post #20 of 139 Old 02-08-2008, 01:17 PM
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Frenchmon,

Note that what you liked was the dealer's system in the dealer's listening room. It won't sound like your system and, if you moved the same equipment to your listening room it wouldn't sound the same either. Also note that there many aspects to an audio system, not just an amplifier. Because you liked the sound of a system with a particular amplifier doesn't mean the system would sound noticeably different with another amplifier.

I'll give you some honest advice. Don't waste your time listening to things in dealer's listening rooms. It has no bearing on how it will sound in your listening room. It is room acoustics, after all, that represent the major factor of how an audio system sounds. If you can listen to equipment in your listening room before buying it, then that would be excellent. If you can't, then buy based on specifications or recommendations or whatever suits your fancy. You are fooling yourself listening to demo systems in dealer showrooms. Honestly, it doesn't mean a thing. Been there done that over and over.
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post #21 of 139 Old 02-08-2008, 01:30 PM
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Originally Posted by kyotousa View Post

So...I don't need any feature. Which 400 dollar amp should I buy that would sound the same as 200,000 dollars one?

If what you said were true, then we don't need to audition for amp... all of them should sound the same except for different feature. correct?

It is important to audition amps because different amps may have different abilities to drive certain speakers, and it is important to make sure the features work the way you want. Most 200,000$ amplifiers I have seen are SET amps. These have the potential to sound different that solid state amps, and they probably do. I won't go into the details of why they may sound different as there are plenty of materials out there that explain the distortion characters, amongst other things, of tube vs. solid state.

Nevertheless, If you have 4ohm or 2ohm speakers, the amplifier selection process becomes much more important. You don't want an amplifier that can only drive 8 and 4 ohm loads with good current. You would want an amplifier that could deliver appropriate amounts of current down through 1 ohm. In order to do that, the amplifier would require a large amount of heat dissipation and that requires money, especially if you want the dissipation to be passive heatsinks (without fan).

But, in the context of what I was talking about in the post you quoted, when you have speakers that are not known to be difficult to drive, room acoustics (from no treatments to having appropriate bass treatments and first reflections) will have a much more dramatic effect on sound quality than a 400$ amp to a more expensive amp. Even if the more expensive one has electronics that eq the FR, these typically make the it good for one location and much worse for others. Room treatments help to balance out the FR across the room while also helping out with reverb times. Of course, as with all things, you have to treat the room in an educated manner, not just throwing treatments randomly.

At the same volume (75dB) (level matched by voltmeter at speaker terminals to 0.1mV) in a small-medium sealed room (16x11x9), the RB-1050 amplifier by rotel sounded the same as a RB-1090 amplifier for 90db sensitive speakers with nominal 8ohm impedence with dips into the 4ohm range. Thats roughly $500 compared to $2000. Now, if I were auditioning 4ohm speakers that dip to 2ohm for a large portion of its FR, and had a larger room (open living arrangement 26x18x11), then I would get the RB-1090 or more depending on what I felt was required in that room (necessitating an in-room audition). This "upgrade" is due to needs as dictated by the room and speakers, not because of sound quality adjustments.

An extension of that session: That test was done with all the ASC treatments removed from the room. We took FR measurements with swept sine waves and the response was a terrible +/-26dB across the 100hz-20khz range that was tested. We did not do decay time testing. When the ASC treatments were replaced, the difference was astounding. In addition, objectively, the room measured +/-11dB across the 100hz-20khz range. Changing the amplifiers resulted in no difference to the FR, for example. For sound quality, I will take the room treatments over the electronics (considering my 90db 8ohm nominal speakers, small-medium room) any day. You really just need to experiment like this to find out how much you have been missing due to terrible room FR. It is an astounding result. It makes any other upgrade seem so minuscule - only change of speakers has a reasonable amount of change in sound quality.

I hope I have made myself more clear. You cannot buy an amplifier without thinking about the needs as dictated by your speaker choice and room situation. Additionally, if you want a good sounding SYSTEM, make sure your room acoustics are professionally fixed. Select speakers that you like, then select electronics that fit the needs of the speakers, the room, and your desired features.

Frenchmon, if your A/B was done sighted and not level-matched, you cannot say you heard a clear advantage from one electronics to another specifically due to listening (since your sight, and the experiment were not controlled). In order to make a scientific conclusion, you need 1 experimental (ears) with the rest controls. People's brains take visual cues immediately and unconsciously. If you know which electronics is playing, you immediately are biased unconsciously. Also, even a small disparity in levels will cause the test to be broken. A level as small as 0.1dB difference can lead to bias rather than true controlled experimentation. Just food for thought.


Furthermore, why spend 2k$ (for example) on small differences that you might get from electronics when you still have a +/- 20dB FR in your room at your listening position with uneven decay times when the same amount of money could go into carefully planed out room treatments that would improve your sound quality with definitive results? Yes, it is important to match your gear to the room requirements and speaker requirements, but going more than that represents a worse "return on investment" if you will. Unless you have very demanding speakers with a huge room, you do not need to spend large amounts of money on the amplification.
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Frenchmon,

Note that what you liked was the dealer's system in the dealer's listening room. It won't sound like your system and, if you moved the same equipment to your listening room it wouldn't sound the same either.

I never said it would sound the same in my listening room. But both of the system was what it was and they both sounded good. Thats not to say it would sound horribly bad in my listening room, I'm sure they would not, I would be happy with the mid-fi and possibly even happier with the hi-fi.


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Also note that there many aspects to an audio system, not just an amplifier. Because you liked the sound of a system with a particular amplifier doesn't mean the system would sound noticeably different with another amplifier.

It does not mean they would sound alike either....but what I heard today was two different systems, one mid-fi and another hi-fi. Mid-fi in a treated room, hi-fi in an untreated room. Both sounded good, but the hi-fi in the untreated room sounded better.

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I'll give you some honest advice. Don't waste your time listening to things in dealer's listening rooms. It has no bearing on how it will sound in your listening room. It is room acoustics, after all, that represent the major factor of how an audio system sounds.

Well, I've been around the block a time or two and have purchased audio gear before and I would not agree with you 100%. My gear was listened to before I bought it, and yes the dealers room acoustics where good, but I did have a general idea of how it would sound in my place with-out the treatment and you know what...when I got it home, the gear sounded like I thought it would, like it did at the dealers, only without room treatment.


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If you can listen to equipment in your listening room before buying it, then that would be excellent. If you can't, then buy based on specifications or recommendations or whatever suits your fancy.

Thanks

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You are fooling yourself listening to demo systems in dealer showrooms. Honestly, it doesn't mean a thing. Been there done that over and over.

And so have I...I disagree with you here. I visit dealer rooms all the time, and I do get a feel for the gear...Its not rocket science...a general idea can be acheived. But thanks for your opinions.


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I think I can't believe all what you guys are telling me.

I think you don't understand what we're telling you. Look, you went to a dealer and heard two different systems, in two different rooms, and they sounded different. Duh. Of course they did. They were in two different rooms, and we've been telling you that rooms are really important. And they used two different speakers, and we've been telling you that speakers are really important, too. Those are the factors that made a difference. The effect of the electronics on sound quality is trivial by comparison.

A basic principle of logic says that if you want to compare two things, you have to keep everything else constant. You didn't. You changed both room and speakers, and then declared that it was the electronics that made a difference. That doesn't make sense.

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It is important to audition amps because different amps may have different abilities to drive certain speakers, and it is important to make sure the features work the way you want. Most 200,000$ amplifiers I have seen are SET amps. These have the potential to sound different that solid state amps, and they probably do. I won't go into the details of why they may sound different as there are plenty of materials out there that explain the distortion characters, amongst other things, of tube vs. solid state.

Nevertheless, If you have 4ohm or 2ohm speakers, the amplifier selection process becomes much more important. You don't want an amplifier that can only drive 8 and 4 ohm loads with good current. You would want an amplifier that could deliver appropriate amounts of current down through 1 ohm. In order to do that, the amplifier would require a large amount of heat dissipation and that requires money, especially if you want the dissipation to be passive heatsinks (without fan).

But, in the context of what I was talking about in the post you quoted, when you have speakers that are not known to be difficult to drive, room acoustics (from no treatments to having appropriate bass treatments and first reflections) will have a much more dramatic effect on sound quality than a 400$ amp to a more expensive amp. Even if the more expensive one has electronics that eq the FR, these typically make the it good for one location and much worse for others. Room treatments help to balance out the FR across the room while also helping out with reverb times. Of course, as with all things, you have to treat the room in an educated manner, not just throwing treatments randomly.

At the same volume (75dB) (level matched by voltmeter at speaker terminals to 0.1mV) in a small-medium sealed room (16x11x9), the RB-1050 amplifier by rotel sounded the same as a RB-1090 amplifier for 90db sensitive speakers with nominal 8ohm impedence with dips into the 4ohm range. Thats roughly $500 compared to $2000. Now, if I were auditioning 4ohm speakers that dip to 2ohm for a large portion of its FR, and had a larger room (open living arrangement 26x18x11), then I would get the RB-1090 or more depending on what I felt was required in that room (necessitating an in-room audition). This "upgrade" is due to needs as dictated by the room and speakers, not because of sound quality adjustments.

An extension of that session: That test was done with all the ASC treatments removed from the room. We took FR measurements with swept sine waves and the response was a terrible +/-26dB across the 100hz-20khz range that was tested. We did not do decay time testing. When the ASC treatments were replaced, the difference was astounding. In addition, objectively, the room measured +/-11dB across the 100hz-20khz range. Changing the amplifiers resulted in no difference to the FR, for example. For sound quality, I will take the room treatments over the electronics (considering my 90db 8ohm nominal speakers, small-medium room) any day. You really just need to experiment like this to find out how much you have been missing due to terrible room FR. It is an astounding result. It makes any other upgrade seem so minuscule - only change of speakers has a reasonable amount of change in sound quality.

I hope I have made myself more clear. You cannot buy an amplifier without thinking about the needs as dictated by your speaker choice and room situation. Additionally, if you want a good sounding SYSTEM, make sure your room acoustics are professionally fixed. Select speakers that you like, then select electronics that fit the needs of the speakers, the room, and your desired features.

Frenchmon, if your A/B was done sighted and not level-matched, you cannot say you heard a clear advantage from one electronics to another specifically due to listening (since your sight, and the experiment were not controlled). In order to make a scientific conclusion, you need 1 experimental (ears) with the rest controls. People's brains take visual cues immediately and unconsciously. If you know which electronics is playing, you immediately are biased unconsciously. Also, even a small disparity in levels will cause the test to be broken. A level as small as 0.1dB difference can lead to bias rather than true controlled experimentation. Just food for thought.


Furthermore, why spend 2k$ (for example) on small differences that you might get from electronics when you still have a +/- 20dB FR in your room at your listening position with uneven decay times when the same amount of money could go into carefully planed out room treatments that would improve your sound quality with definitive results? Yes, it is important to match your gear to the room requirements and speaker requirements, but going more than that represents a worse "return on investment" if you will. Unless you have very demanding speakers with a huge room, you do not need to spend large amounts of money on the amplification.

The two systems where in two different rooms. One room was treated and the other was not and yet, the reference system in the untreated room was noticably more transparent and fluid than the mid fi system in the treated room. I respect you scientific approach and I'm sure that approach has its place, but their was a diffrence. I only wish you would have been there. The mid fi system in the treated room sounded awfully good. I can't see spending tens of thousands of coin on high-end gear when one can have mid fi gear that sounds that good...at least not on what I make a year. The mid-fi still had a level of transparency and a fluid notion to it, and it was still detailed, and when you closed your eyes you could pretend you where there at a live concert, but not at the same level as the reference high-fi system.

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I think you don't understand what we're telling you. Look, you went to a dealer and heard two different systems, in two different rooms, and they sounded different. Duh. Of course they did. They were in two different rooms, and we've been telling you that rooms are really important. And they used two different speakers, and we've been telling you that speakers are really important, too. Those are the factors that made a difference. The effect of the electronics on sound quality is trivial by comparison.

A basic principle of logic says that if you want to compare two things, you have to keep everything else constant. You didn't. You changed both room and speakers, and then declared that it was the electronics that made a difference. That doesn't make sense.

Again I have to dis-agree here. The argument is two different classes of gear. One mid-fi and the other high-fi or high end. These where two diffent classes of gear, and there was a difference. the high end gear with the untreated room sounded even better than the mid fi with the treated room. I understand what you are saying, but I dis-agree.

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Again I have to dis-agree here. The argument is two different classes of gear. One mid-fi and the other high-fi or high end. These where two diffent classes of gear, and there was a difference. the high end gear with the untreated room sounded even better than the mid fi with the treated room. I understand what you are saying, but I dis-agree.

frenchmon

I understand what you are saying and have not said anything contrary to that either. My comparisons have been for same level of equipment. Going from mid-level speakers (whatever that means ) to high-end speakers (whatever that means ) represents a huge difference. As I mentioned, short of room treatment, speakers make the most difference. It is almost obvious that you would prefer the better speakers, well thats because they were better and those differences are actually measurable and audible!

Do realize, that if you put those high end speakers into a high end, professionally calibrated/acoustically treated room, they would sound EVEN better!! The idea of acoustic treatments (in an educated manner) is to maximize the quality that your speakers have inherent in them -- so that their quality reaches your ears as unscathed as possible!

A B&W Nautilus will sound better than my 804s no doubt in an experiment like you had. However, the Nautilus will not sound at its best unless the room is taken care of. It is possible that the 804s with 10k$ room treatment will sound at its best, but not as good as the Nautilus in a non-treated but decently setup room (setup to minimize room reflections and effects). 10K$ is a lot of room treatment! However, the Nautilus costs 40-70k$ depending on which one you get! I sure hope that it sounds better!

Seems like you are having fun. That's all thats important. But do try to keep a reality check going and keep your gear in line with what you have. If you have a really bad room acoustically, you will hit a wall in sound quality very early on (in terms of budgeting for equipment) and it might improve a little with better equipment, but its just going to have that lacking all the time. If your room is "ok" (not much treatment, but good dimensions, and good layout) then definitely get equipment that is at least "ok" and you will enjoy even equipment that is "mid-high" end to high end. Etc.
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Again I have to dis-agree here. The argument is two different classes of gear. One mid-fi and the other high-fi or high end. These where two diffent classes of gear, and there was a difference. the high end gear with the untreated room sounded even better than the mid fi with the treated room. I understand what you are saying, but I dis-agree.

No, you clearly don't understand, because you went right past my point. I'm going to stop wasting my breath on you now.

If you can't explain how it works, you can't say it doesn't.—The High-End Creed

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How about Tube amp?....do we need to audition for tube amp?
Interesting read...sure save alotta time.

would Jolida 302b be sufficient for Vandersteen 2ce? 4ohm, 7ohm nominal.

Evem though I don't agree on not auditioning for speaker....haha
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Originally Posted by Jonomega View Post

I understand what you are saying and have not said anything contrary to that either. My comparisons have been for same level of equipment. Going from mid-level speakers (whatever that means ) to high-end speakers (whatever that means ) represents a huge difference. As I mentioned, short of room treatment, speakers make the most difference. It is almost obvious that you would prefer the better speakers, well thats because they were better and those differences are actually measurable and audible!

Do realize, that if you put those high end speakers into a high end, professionally calibrated/acoustically treated room, they would sound EVEN better!! The idea of acoustic treatments (in an educated manner) is to maximize the quality that your speakers have inherent in them -- so that their quality reaches your ears as unscathed as possible!

A B&W Nautilus will sound better than my 804s no doubt in an experiment like you had. However, the Nautilus will not sound at its best unless the room is taken care of. It is possible that the 804s with 10k$ room treatment will sound at its best, but not as good as the Nautilus in a non-treated but decently setup room (setup to minimize room reflections and effects). 10K$ is a lot of room treatment! However, the Nautilus costs 40-70k$ depending on which one you get! I sure hope that it sounds better!

Seems like you are having fun. That's all thats important. But do try to keep a reality check going and keep your gear in line with what you have. If you have a really bad room acoustically, you will hit a wall in sound quality very early on (in terms of budgeting for equipment) and it might improve a little with better equipment, but its just going to have that lacking all the time. If your room is "ok" (not much treatment, but good dimensions, and good layout) then definitely get equipment that is at least "ok" and you will enjoy even equipment that is "mid-high" end to high end. Etc.

Is my room a really bad room? Un treated...right side has 3 windows.


FYI most people are not going to go Home Improvement because of their speakers...So maybe you guys should ease up on that point.
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post #30 of 139 Old 02-08-2008, 09:14 PM
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How about Tube amp?....do we need to audition for tube amp?
Interesting read...sure save alotta time.

would Jolida 302b be sufficient for Vandersteen 2ce? 4ohm, 7ohm nominal.

Evem though I don't agree on not auditioning for speaker....haha

Tube amps are not straight forward as they have different amount of distortion. I don't happen to like tube amplifiers so I cannot offer you any advice. Do know that they are very picky about the speaker loads. With that said, you really have to do a lot of research on the speaker you have and how reactive it is -- how its impedance swings with FR along with Phase angle. Tube amps require intensive auditioning in your listening room especially in the absence of data or information on the reactivity of your speakers.

I would say your room is not ideal. Your room also is small which will make the midbass more problematic than in a larger space. I am not sure what you are talking about Home Depot for??

Buying speakers and then trying to patch up a crappy room with electronics is akin throwing a corvette engine into a yugo. The yogo chassis just cannot handle the corvette engine and will not yield the best results of the corvette engine, even if you improve the intake and exhaust while equipping better tires and carbon fiber exterior. Sure, it is a fast engine, but not as fast as it should be if placed in the appropriate car...
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