"Official" All amps sound the same thread - Page 31 - AVS Forum
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post #901 of 2642 Old 04-24-2009, 12:17 PM
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I did peruse his website. Quite impressive, but I'm no DIY speaker builder. I read a book on speaker design many years ago, and apply what I gathered from it in my purchases.

The book was probably written in the '50s so there has been new ideas in the way speakers look since then, but I do believe the physics of sound hasn't changed.
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post #902 of 2642 Old 05-18-2009, 09:03 AM
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I was researching Sunfire amplifiers and stumbled upon somewhat old (1996) interview with Bob Carver at Audio Ideas Guide:
http://www.audio-ideas.com/interview/carver.html
Here is what he had to say on the topic of this thread:

GB: How audible are the differences between solid-state amplifiers?

BC: What I'm going to say will fly in the face of what most people believe. I believe that you can take two solid-state amplifiers, and provided neither one is overloaded in any fashion, they'll sound identical. That's a big if. Amplifiers are overloaded in three basic ways. They're overloaded in amplitude; they've overloaded in current; they're overloaded in speed. It's very easy to do this if you don't have a big juicy amplifier. Obviously a little Radio Shack amplifier is not going to be able to touch a big Jeff Rowland or a Mark Levinson or a Sunfire amplifier. Provided the amplifier has flat frequency response and sufficiently low distortion, both of which are trivial these days, and provided there are no interface problems, the differences will always be the subtle differences associated with overload, either momentarily, like slew-rate limiting or clipping, or just running out of drive current.

Personally, I think I believe Mr. Carver. Not just because of his reputation or track record, or legendary experiment on making his very inexpensive amplifier sound exactly like a much more expensive one. If what he said is true, it would explain why so many people are happy with pro amps, and so many other people with amplifiers based on IcePower 1000ASP modules, and myself with my new Sunfire
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post #903 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 11:31 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonhawk View Post

Are you sure that's what you meant to say?

That identically built amps sound the same?

Or am I missing something?

Example, everyone knows that ICE amp modules are the same in many different amps but some cost more then others (double) and people will post that one sounds different over another. Measurements never are posted to back up the claim and show the difference.


I have opened up several pro amps and I have found almost exact same builds in side but amazingly people think one sounds better then the other, measurements are never posted to back up the claim.

Sure, the response now will be...."Maybe we do not know how to measure the difference" or "The differences can not be measured"...

Anyways, the thread was exhausted before this. Im trying to figure out which measuring software to use on new speakers and in room measurements so I have to stop getting side track

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post #904 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 11:45 AM - Thread Starter
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I will try to find time to read the paper. I am a bit confused at the moment as to what it's measuring.

If it's saying that some amps have IM distortion and that it can make amps sound differently, Rodd Elliott points this out in the article I linked in the first post. Specifically, he mentions TIM.

Also, do they propose a solution? Feedback seems quite necessary to avoid high THD+N in class AB transistor amplifiers from everything I have read. Crossover distortion for example apparently needs feedback. Class A is an answer to that problem, but class A amps are impractical, IMO.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #905 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 12:11 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

Example, everyone knows that ICE amp modules are the same in many different amps but some cost more then others (double) and people will post that one sounds different over another. Measurements never are posted to back up the claim and show the difference.


I have opened up several pro amps and I have found almost exact same builds in side but amazingly people think one sounds better then the other, measurements are never posted to back up the claim.

Sure, the response now will be...."Maybe we do not know how to measure the difference" or "The differences can not be measured"...

Anyways, the thread was exhausted before this. Im trying to figure out which measuring software to use on new speakers and in room measurements so I have to stop getting side track

OK.

I guess I thought you were sort of stating the obvious, as in: "two identical amps sound the same".

As opposed to: "two completely different designed amps sound the same."

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post #906 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 12:25 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post


Anyways, the thread was exhausted before this. Im trying to figure out which measuring software to use on new speakers and in room measurements so I have to stop getting side track


Why do you need a "measurement" to know what sounds good to you?

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post #907 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 12:36 PM - Thread Starter
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post

Why do you need a "measurement" to know what sounds good to you?

Because there's some evidence that human psychoaccoustics are tricky. In other words, we can't always trust what we hear.

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #908 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 12:37 PM
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The synopsis of these 900+ posts:

Amplifiers sound the same except for the times when they sound different.

Oh yeah...and the above will shift depending if you are wearing double blindfolds or not
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post #909 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 12:51 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post


Anyways, the thread was exhausted before this. Im trying to figure out which measuring software to use on new speakers and in room measurements so I have to stop getting side track

Changing the subject slightly then.
You could do a setup where you take a feed of an instrument that is fed to two different environments; one is direct to measuring tools in the acoustic room, the other that goes through mic/preamp/amps/speakers and measured in another acoustic room.
The Caltech music lab is setup (or was at one point) to do that, to compare real instruments to an actual audio system that replicated it.

Cheers
DT
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post #910 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 12:55 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by eljr View Post

Why do you need a "measurement" to know what sounds good to you?

hehe, I havent heard from you in a couple of weeks, I hope all is good

It has little to do with what sounds good to me, I already know I love the "house" curve and rolled off HF

Im also building speakers so its kind of important to actually measure to findout where my best crosssovers should be set and what filters are needed.

It is not "open-minded" to reject knowledge - Bob Lee
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post #911 of 2642 Old 05-25-2009, 12:57 PM
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DT, I'm not entirely certain what has you so bent out of shape: I've read your posts on this thread and another thread, but your overall perspective is elusive.

This is the AV Science site and forums (if science was unimportant here the site could have been called AV Magic), yet you seem particularly peeved at people who wish to maintain a rigorous perspective on science and all that it entails. You lash out at "objectivists" -- that insult of last resort.

Claims of the audio paranormal and supernatural are regularly made at the majority of sites devoted to audio, but not here. I don't think you would describe yourself as someone disdains science, so what is it that you want
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post #912 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 03:51 AM - Thread Starter
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Y'all lost me somewhere. Are we still talking about audible amp differences?

"But this one goes up to 11"
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post #913 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 09:49 AM
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DT,

All he has done is written a paper in order to get a research grant. Nothing else.
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post #914 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 02:27 PM
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THREAD CLEANED....

PLEASE BE SO KIND TO NOT ATTACK EACH OTHER OR OTHERS WHO MAY NOT EVEN BE ON THE SITE.

TO DEBATE IS ONE THING, TO ATTACK IS ANOTHER.


Thank you.

(Further occurrences will case this thread to be closed. Sorry to those who posts were removed that took time to write.)

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DISCLAIMER: All spelling and grammatical errors done on purpose for the proofreadingly challenged...:)

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post #915 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 03:25 PM
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I wonder how Geddes work on distortion metrics would factor into THD/IM of amps? My very rough guess is that it would only do so under the conditions when the amp is driven past its rating such that the distortion products become meaningful. That is, assuming all else stays the same.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #916 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 03:45 PM
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I haven't actually heard any differences between poweramps even if I've participated in extented listening sessions. Well, doing those kind of listening tests in an unknown environment doesn't actully prove anything - but I've done similar tests in home with familiar speakers and acoustics and still the result is the same. However, I've had absolutely no difficulties distinguishing two different DACs or pre/pros from eachother (at least not in most cases). For me, the differences between poweramps don't exist - everything is fine so long as the amp delivers 100w RMS and doesn't buzz.

Still from time an obsessive idea arouses and forces me to test a couple of poweramps - ATM I'm looking to pick up a pair of Audiolabs 8000M's for a comprehensive listening test. I don't really know why, but it just might be the case of tomorrow being the day of enlightenment
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post #917 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 03:55 PM
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How do those of you who are called "objectivists" by some consider slew rate and damping specs? do they make a difference?

I am still on the fence because I just haven't heard enough different amps to be a credible judge, but if all these things sound the same, why are there so many different designs?

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post #918 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 04:05 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonhawk View Post

How do those of you who are called "objectivists" by some consider slew rate and damping specs? do they make a difference?

I am still on the fence because I just haven't heard enough different amps to be a credible judge, but if all these things sound the same, why are therer so many different designs?

As the output impedance becomes large (and I don't have a hard and fast number here, but let's say something like 2 ohms), hence the damping factor becomes small (the two are interrelated), the frequency response into an actual speaker load is no longer linear. It takes on the general shape of the speaker's impedance profile. Somewhere on Stereophile's site, you'll find a review of a Cayin integrated amp. Here we have an amp where one can defeat the feedback as well as different 'taps'. Examine the graphs there and you'll see what I mean.
As far as slew rates, it has to be sufficiently high enough in order that the amp be able to meet its specs. It's a metric that is often abused. For example, if you've got two amps, both which are 100 wpc, but one spec's it for 20-20K while the other for 20-50K, the latter by definition must have a higher slew rate. In the end, you can't reproduce a 20K signal faster than it's supposed to be reproduced otherwise it's no longer a 20K signal. You want a certain margin of excess and I imagine that varies a bit from manufacturer to manufacturer.

As to why there are so many different designs, well there just are. You take a bunch of skilled engineers, or chemists, or web designers, or people who make pots and pans, and give them the same task, you'll get just as many different designs. Then the marketing folk try to spin things to their advantage.

"I've found that when you want to know the truth about someone that someone is probably the last person you should ask." - Gregory House
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post #919 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 05:16 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by moonhawk View Post

I am still on the fence because I just haven't heard enough different amps to be a credible judge, but if all these things sound the same, why are therer so many different designs?

Because there are a wide varieties of ways to achieve the same goal that are not mutually exclusive and there are certain trade offs to every design, no matter what the price. So the question becomes within the parameters of your unit, where do you choose to make compromises and trade offs.

One of the most common areas where low cost amps make compromises is in their ability to drive low impedance loads. Driving a 2 ohm load well, takes a LOT more current than an 8 ohm load. That gets expensive and difficult very quickly.

Another example is using a shared power design for a multi-channel amp. If you cheap out, this lets you cover up weaknesses in power and current, by looking at the specs only for 1 or two channels. However, if it's well done, it also gives the potential for effective greater power than a mono-block design, since surrounds rarely need as much power as mains.

But there are trade offs even in that. Take a 5 x 100 wpc amp. In most cases the power output for 1 channel is not even close to 500 watts (or 5 times the power for a single channel with all five channels driven). That's because it takes components spec'ed for much higher performance or a different design all together, to get to that x5 output. While increasing that single channel driven to only 150 watts, is doable with the design/specs that get you 5 x 100 wpc.

There's no question and none of us "objectivists" argue that all amps are equally suited to all situations. I heard a noticeable difference going from my Pio Elite AVR to using an Emo XPA-5, but it wasn't "magic", it wasn't a question of being "tinny" or "wider soundstage". It was an amp capable of delivering x3 the power and well suited to driving 4 ohm loads vs an AVR that wasn't even spec'ed for driving a 4 ohm load.

Where I at least, start getting bent out of shape is when people start dragging out unjustifiable and undefinable adjectives, that seemingly only serve to give reviewers a chance to exercise their vocabulary.

You want to tell me that an amp gives you better bass. Fine. More power can do that. You want to complain about how one amp is "harsh" or "tinny", please back it up with something other than "This is what I feel".

It simply isn't that difficult a task these days to design a decent amp. Electronics have gotten a LOT more sophisticated and it just isn't that complicated.
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post #920 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 05:35 PM
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"Slew rate," by itself, is a useless spec. It's only useful (except in questionable marketing techniques) in a context with maximum voltage swing and maximum frequency.

That hasn't stopped some companies from making bad design decisions--i.e., making their circuits unduly sensitive to RF--in order to have huge numbers to print on paper.

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post #921 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 05:40 PM
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I'm not sure about the all amps sound the same theory.

What I do know is that I went to audition a Rotel RMB-1575 amp which no doubt is a nice amp. However, at the end of the day, I decided to stay with my pro-amps. The only negatives I see in using pro-amps is most are only 2-ch amps and you'll probably need a line converter (I use a Samson S-Convert for my mains and a Art Cleanbox for my center).

I'm using a Yamaha P3500S to power my mains and a Yamaha P2500S to power my center. I let my receiver power the sides and surrounds. I couldn't be happier.

IMO, it's the processor you use that makes the most significant difference in sound versus the amp. Take this with a grain of salt, as I am speaking from what my ears can hear and not some fancy analyzer tools.
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post #922 of 2642 Old 05-26-2009, 06:03 PM
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Thanks for all your answers.

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post #923 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 04:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Bott View Post

THREAD CLEANED....

PLEASE BE SO KIND TO NOT ATTACK EACH OTHER OR OTHERS WHO MAY NOT EVEN BE ON THE SITE.

TO DEBATE IS ONE THING, TO ATTACK IS ANOTHER.


Thank you.

(Further occurrences will case this thread to be closed. Sorry to those who posts were removed that took time to write.)

What was the reason to remove the Boyk paper and my other comments relating to Nelson Pass and Walt Jung?
At the moment this looks like it is editing of facts to be allowed and presented, apologies if that was not the purpose but at the moment those who attacked Boyk actually have won by having his paper removed along with any reference to two engineer papers.
Any information that had merit with regards to IM/TIM has now been deleted along with the attacks from others, sorry but this comes across that if you want your own way just attack vigorously with slander (as some did here) until even the original post that had useful information is deleted.

As you can tell I am annoyed as I spent a fair amount of time making sure that paper had relevance (ties in with Pass and Walt Jung) and then had to spend over 8 hours responding to incorrect facts from others, which now is totally wasted as even my original post that had no attacks is removed along with those where I comment about its merit along with Pass and Walt.

Michael, did you get the chance to actually compare Boyk to the papers of Walt Jung and Nelson Pass before it was removed?

Thanks
DT
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post #924 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 04:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by penngray View Post

hehe, I havent heard from you in a couple of weeks, I hope all is good

It has little to do with what sounds good to me, I already know I love the "house" curve and rolled off HF

Im also building speakers so its kind of important to actually measure to findout where my best crosssovers should be set and what filters are needed.

Thanks for asking, I have been a bit under the weather.
Seems like I missed all the festivities the last few days. Darn, I hate when that happens!
Enjoy your speaker project!
all the best
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post #925 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 07:44 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by biomed_eng_2000 View Post

The synopsis of these 900+ posts:

Amplifiers sound the same except for the times when they sound different.

...as determined by DBTs or deduced from measurements, sure.

Quote:


Oh yeah...and the above will shift depending if you are wearing double blindfolds or not



DBTs don't stop amps from 'sounding different' to listeners. DBT (and measurement) just informs us whether the reported difference is likely to be real or imaginary.
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post #926 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 07:50 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by djgcue View Post

I'm not sure about the all amps sound the same theory.

No need to wonder. There is no such 'theory'. No one is claiming that all amps sounds the same, under all circumstances. Please read TPnBobcat's excellent post #919 on this matter.
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post #927 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 10:56 AM
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I would think, from a technical standpoint, this would be easy enough to analyze. Run a signal though two different amps, and analyze/compare the output waveforms. If you want to take it to the next step, set up a system a room. and put a stereo microphone in the listening position attacted to an acoustic analyzer. Run tests changing only the amps, and compare the results.

This is not something a casual hobbiest would be in a position to do, but it's something the companies involved would easily be able to do, and probably do all the time.
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post #928 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 11:57 AM
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already been done many times. amps are measured all the time, and we know from decades of research on psychoacoustics what kind of measurement differences add up to audible differences. these measurements/research are backed up by DBT's which confirm the theory. just because some people on an internet thread are in denial doesn't mean that the fundamental research hasn't already taken place...

notice that the people who actually do the measurements (esp. people who design and build amps for a living, such as Bob Lee on this thread and in the quote from Bob Carver posted last week) aren't in disagreement about the basic premise that two competently built amps which are operating within their limits will sound identical.

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post #929 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 09:11 PM
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Quote from Bob Carver... "I believe that you can take two solid-state amplifiers, and provided neither one is overloaded in any fashion, they’ll sound identical. That’s a big if."
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post #930 of 2642 Old 05-27-2009, 09:12 PM
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That last part is the kicker...
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