Originally Posted by thedankone
I disagree about the "all amps sound alike" my Onkyo 875 is much more forward then my old Marantz 5001.
I believe that you can hear a difference between the two. But A/B'ing amps is really hard to do fairly (something dealers typically know). There are a few aspects to this:
First, even very small differences in volume impact your perception of what you hear. For most people, louder sounds better, others may hear louder as more forward or harsh. The problem is that this true even when the volume levels are so close that you don't directly notice the difference in loudness. Making sure the two are driving the speakers to the exact same volume level -close enough to avoid the perception problem - is difficult without measurement equipment.
Second, most people have very short-lived hearing memory, and physically rewiring and releveling the volume levels takes time. So it's physically hard to do quickly enough to be able to rely on your memory. If you have to relevel the volume level (if you're using a preamp), its difficult to do this without wiping your memory. HT stores generally have equipment to quickly swich amps, but in my experience, they never hook up the expensive stuff this way.
So, I think it would be hard to compare the Onkyo and Marantz - the Onkyo has a lot more power, and it would be difficult to level the volumes without impacting the result. I wouldn't be surprised if you did believe the Onkyo was more forward.
I'm not claiming that all amps sound the same. But my experience in comparing amps is that if you have two good quality amps which both have enough power to properly drive the speakers you're using at the volume levels you need, you're not going to hear a difference due to the amp.
BTW, I agree with Big L's comments above.
-Reid (not trying to piss off buyers of esoteric amps)