What is a "hi fi" amp ? - AVS Forum
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post #1 of 25 Old 01-15-2014, 07:38 PM - Thread Starter
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Hi all,

I was told today that Emotivas are not "Hi Fi" amplifiers, please is there any kind of "official" definition for a what a "hi fi" amp is ?

Marantz ?
NAD ?
Rotel ?

Thanks,
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post #2 of 25 Old 01-15-2014, 08:01 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongao View Post

Hi all,

I was told today that Emotivas are not "Hi Fi" amplifiers, please is there any kind of "official" definition for a what a "hi fi" amp is ?

Marantz ?
NAD ?
Rotel ?

Thanks,

All of the above - including the Emotiva amp regardless of which one you might be referring to.

When all else fails - RTFM!

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GO SEAHAWKS!!!
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post #3 of 25 Old 01-15-2014, 08:54 PM
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The only thing not particularly Hi-Fi is Emotiva's (alleged) customer service compared to those other brands. Otherwise their products are are near or as good as the products of the other brands at a fraction of the price. Although their sense of aesthetics and bright blue LEDs might be an issue for some.
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post #4 of 25 Old 01-15-2014, 10:05 PM
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Originally Posted by astrallite View Post

The only thing not particularly Hi-Fi is Emotiva's (alleged) customer service compared to those other brands. Otherwise their products are are near or as good as the products of the other brands at a fraction of the price. Although their sense of aesthetics and bright blue LEDs might be an issue for some.
FWIW I've never had a problem with their customer service - and I've used it several times, but I have read others that did have problems. I agree with you about those damned blue lights and the hokey looking trim. Seems they are moving away from the cheap looking trim. Trim pieces can be easily removed - painted - or replaced with black trim.

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post #5 of 25 Old 01-15-2014, 10:49 PM
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If you have to use their customer service several times, it's not a "hi-fi" piece of gear. biggrin.gif

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post #6 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 05:03 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongao View Post

Hi all,

I was told today that Emotivas are not "Hi Fi" amplifiers,

People say the darnedest things, eh? ;-)

So what brand amp was being shoved down your throat with false claims? Just curious. Whoever said this should be given the attention he deserves in the future, which is very little.
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please is there any kind of "official" definition for a what a "hi fi" amp is ?


The official definitions are based on technical performance, and they accept a wide variety of things, the Emotiva line being far from the least of them.
Quote:

Marantz ?
NAD ?
Rotel ?

Alarm bells should be going off in your mind. Why would the list of acceptable amps be defined by such a short list of brands? Power amp technology has been pretty stable for at least 20 years and there are actually 100s if not 1,000s of brands and models with performance that is both highly acceptable and largely sonically indistinguishable from the rest.


I used to work for IBM and we were taught about "Customer Control" and how we could obtain it for IBM's profit and our profit. You are now getting a rough education in customer control as the target.

Sounds to me like you are being sold a bill of goods, and not being properly educated.
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post #7 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 05:33 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongao View Post

Hi all,

I was told today that Emotivas are not "Hi Fi" amplifiers, please is there any kind of "official" definition for a what a "hi fi" amp is ?

Marantz ?
NAD ?
Rotel ?

Thanks,

 

Whoever told you that seems like he doesn't much understand what makes an amplifier work. Amps are relatively easy things to design and their problems have been solved for decades now. This means that all decent (of the sort we'd consider using as AVS members) solid state amps, working within their design parameters and not driven into clipping, are sonically indistinguishable in properly conducted blind ABX tests.

 

In the days before I understood these things, when I was an 'audiofool', I let 'high end' dealers and magazine reviewers talk me into spending many tens of thousands of dollars, cumulatively, on various exotic amps. That I kept feeling the need to change these vastly expensive amps should have been a warning bell. And eventually it was and I decided to start using my education to research the subject instead of blindly following all the hooey I was being fed by retailers and magazine reviewers. 

 

The result, is that today I own 4 x Emotiva amplifiers and one Crown 'pro' amplifier and I am totally satisfied with them. A good amp takes a signal and reproduces it without changing anything except the loudness. Pretty much all of them do that these days.

 

If you want to read some of the results of some of the blind tests that have been done, this is a good page to start on - it has links to a lot of interesting tests.

 

Testing Audiophile Claims and Myths



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post #8 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 05:48 AM
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They are really saying there are amps that are MARKETED as hifi amps. There is nothing technically different between an amp marketed as hifi vs. non-hifi. That said there are a lot of great "hifi" amplifiers available that you should consider.


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post #9 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 05:51 AM
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Without knowing why you are looking at HiFi amplifiers I will toss AVRs into the HiFi arena too, especially if you are looking at adding an outboard amp to an AVR.
Unless you have an exceptional circumstance it is highly unlikely external amplification will result in improved sound quality.

I am definitely on the fence when it comes to Emotiva.
They are the price leader for separate components with rabid fanboy support.
There is significant negative feedback on the forums as well.
If you get an Emotiva amp that does not hiss then I think it will sound the same as any more expensive amp...which would make the Emo a great value.
If you get one that does have hiss the customer support for exchange ranges from stellar to deplorable.

What I find most interesting is the widespread belief among the Emotiva amp fans is...the amp improves the sound compared to using the AVR's internal amps, but amps that are more expensive are not worth it and the people who buy something like a Krell are often ridiculed for wasting money.

If you are new to HiFi I would recommend starting with an AVR.
Many people use an AVR with preamp outputs as a processor for external amps so if you think you are inclined to want separate amps get an AVR with preamp outputs.
Since this feature has moved to the higher end models it is unlikely you will need external amps, but HiFi and HT is not about need, it's about entertainment and personal satisfaction.

Regards,
Charlie

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post #10 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 05:58 AM
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I always thought it was a amp that weight 150 + pounds required a least a 20 amp circuit and I couldnt afford it!!
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post #11 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 06:08 AM
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Since I'm the one who has used the term on the forum, I guess i should explain. A Hi Fi amp is one with the ability to reproduce the audible spectrum and that has enough power to drive a full range speaker and has inaudible distortion, noise and variance from a flat frequency response. The amps in your AV receiver are hi fi amps. The amp in your cell phone is not. Nor is the amp in your clock radio or boom box. I use the term just shorthand to exclude those little amps to keep the internet police from correcting my posts. Sorry to have confused you.
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post #12 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 06:30 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post

Since I'm the one who has used the term on the forum, I guess i should explain. A Hi Fi amp is one with the ability to reproduce the audible spectrum and that has enough power to drive a full range speaker and has inaudible distortion, noise and variance from a flat frequency response. The amps in your AV receiver are hi fi amps.

Generally true unless we stray into the world of cheap "Rack systems", and perhaps even in a few cases over there.
Quote:
The amp in your cell phone is not.


These days cell phone means smart phone to at least half of everybody.

So then this becomes relevant:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7567/smartphone-audio-quality-testing

Test results are shown for:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7567/smartphone-audio-quality-testing/6

iPhone 5
Galaxy S4
Nexus 5
Note3

3 out of 4 looked pretty good!
Quote:
Nor is the amp in your clock radio or boom box.

There are some pretty sophisticated boomboxes, and a lot of junk.

Quote:
I use the term just shorthand to exclude those little amps to keep the internet police from correcting my posts. Sorry to have confused you.

Methinks that the problem started up when someone asked a hifi sales guy in a local shop. No such problems with AVS's JDSmoothie, thanks for that!
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post #13 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 06:31 AM
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There are plenty of amps out there that are great & wont break the bank,Onkyo,Outlaw,not listen to Emotiva,Marantz. My old Onkyo avr 805 has a great amp for a receiver,in my ht I use a ATI amp which Ive had for yrs,bought it direct from them no retailers in my area got a great deal.I guess it comes to the spks you have and how much you can afford.
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post #14 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 07:15 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Generally true unless we stray into the world of cheap "Rack systems", and perhaps even in a few cases over there.
These days cell phone means smart phone to at least half of everybody.

So then this becomes relevant:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7567/smartphone-audio-quality-testing

Test results are shown for:

http://www.anandtech.com/show/7567/smartphone-audio-quality-testing/6

iPhone 5
Galaxy S4
Nexus 5
Note3

3 out of 4 looked pretty good!
There are some pretty sophisticated boomboxes, and a lot of junk.
Methinks that the problem started up when someone asked a hifi sales guy in a local shop. No such problems with AVS's JDSmoothie, thanks for that!

I make an assumption that cell phone amplifiers can't drive full range speakers. I also assume that clock radios and boomboxes fail in the noise, distortion and frequency response categories. I also assume there are exceptions. For the OP, let's just say that HiFi amplifiers are the ones we discuss here on AVS forum.
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post #15 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 08:37 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chashint View Post

I am definitely on the fence when it comes to Emotiva.
They are the price leader for separate components with rabid fanboy support.
There is significant negative feedback on the forums as well.
 

 

Not so much for the amps. More for their unfortunate efforts with prepros. I'd say that if you go to the AVS Emo forums (not the rabid fanboy Emotiva's own forums which are mostly pointless) the general impression amongst users is that they are good, reliable amps at terrific prices. Mine are used every day, and have been for years, and I've never had a moment's problem with them.



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post #16 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 08:52 AM - Thread Starter
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Hi folks,

Thanks for replying, let me come up with more info;

I already have a pair of XPA-1's powering a pair of RTiA9's, bi-amp.

I have good ears and for me the sound quality is outstanding, this isn't the problem.

However, the two mid-range drives in one of the towers have gone bad, I have talked to Polk and (as expected) they blamed the Emo's for not being "hi-fi" amps, I tried to argue with them but they insisted that the Emo's "pollute" the signal or whatever, this has damaged the drives and "this time we'll honour our warranty, but next time we won't".

I haven't asked this on the Emo forum because they'll blame Polk.

I'd like to have opinions about who is the real culprit in this story,

Thanks,

Mongao
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post #17 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 08:54 AM
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Hi-Fi does not mean charging an outrageous price by an integrator whom uses off-the-shelf modules, though undoubtedly that's what the person the O.P. cited thinks. It's FMW's definition.
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post #18 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 09:01 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongao View Post

Hi folks,

Thanks for replying, let me come up with more info;

I already have a pair of XPA-1's powering a pair of RTiA9's, bi-amp.

I have good ears and for me the sound quality is outstanding, this isn't the problem.

However, the two mid-range drives in one of the towers have gone bad, I have talked to Polk and (as expected) they blamed the Emo's for not being "hi-fi" amps, I tried to argue with them but they insisted that the Emo's "pollute" the signal or whatever, this has damaged the drives and "this time we'll honour our warranty, but next time we won't".

I haven't asked this on the Emo forum because they'll blame Polk.

I'd like to have opinions about who is the real culprit in this story,

Thanks,

Mongao

 

I have never heard such a ludicrous argument. Emotiva must have sold many thousands of amps (I have 4) and yet only Polk speakers are affected by their "pollution of the signal"?  How likely do you think it is that of all the thousands of users of Emo amps, nobody has ever reported one, to my knowledge, as damaging their speakers (when used properly obviously) if this problem is widespread?  The forums would be full of "Emotiva blew up my speakers" posts!

 

You need a can of this before you speak to them again. 

 



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post #19 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 09:28 AM - Thread Starter
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Thank you, well, I believe there is no way not to "use properly" the amps + speakers set.

I have them bi-amped, wires are good and in the right position, I do like loud music but of course the speaker is supposed to stand the amp power;

Thanks again,
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post #20 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 10:08 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongao View Post

Hi folks,

However, the two mid-range drives in one of the towers have gone bad, I have talked to Polk and (as expected) they blamed the Emo's for not being "hi-fi" amps, I tried to argue with them but they insisted that the Emo's "pollute" the signal or whatever, this has damaged the drives and "this time we'll honour our warranty, but next time we won't".

That's an amazing response and, of course, it is ridiculous. It isn't even to their benefit since they don't manufacture amps. It is possible that you overdrove the system but I would be more apt to suspect a defective driver.
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post #21 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 10:14 AM
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From Wiki (and posted strictly for anecdotal amusements)

In the 1950s, audio manufacturers employed the phrase high fidelity as a marketing term to describe records and equipment intended to provide faithful sound reproduction. While some consumers simply interpreted high fidelity as fancy and expensive equipment, many found the difference in quality between "hi-fi" and the then standard AM radios and 78 rpm records readily apparent and bought 33⅓ LPs such as RCA's New Orthophonics and London's ffrrs; and high-fidelity phonographs. Audiophiles paid attention to technical characteristics and bought individual components, such as separate turntables, radio tuners, preamplifiers, power amplifiers and loudspeakers. Some enthusiasts assembled their own loudspeaker systems. In the 1950s, hi-fi became a generic term, to some extent displacing phonograph and record player.

In the late 1950s and early 1960s, the development of the Westrex single-groove stereophonic record cutterhead led to the next wave of home-audio improvement, and in common parlance, stereo displaced hi-fi. Records were now played on a stereo. In the world of the audiophile, however, high fidelity continued and continues to refer to the goal of highly accurate sound reproduction and to the technological resources available for approaching that goal. This period is most widely regarded as "The Golden Age of Hi-Fi", when tube equipment manufacturers of the time produced many models considered endearing by modern audiophiles, and just before solid state equipment was introduced to the market, subsequently replacing tube equipment as mainstream.

A popular type of system for reproducing music beginning in the 1970s was the integrated music centre—which combined phonograph, radio tuner, tape player, preamp, and power amplifier in one package, often sold with its own separate, detachable or integrated speakers. These systems advertised their simplicity. The consumer did not have to select and assemble individual components. Purists generally avoid referring to these systems as high fidelity, though some are capable of very good quality sound reproduction.
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post #22 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 10:32 AM
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Ah yes, I remember the good old days when Bob Barker was giving away "stereo consoles" half the size of a living room wall on The Price Is Right. Nobody ever called them Hi-Fi consoles.
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post #23 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 11:07 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by FMW View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mongao View Post

Hi folks,

However, the two mid-range drives in one of the towers have gone bad, I have talked to Polk and (as expected) they blamed the Emo's for not being "hi-fi" amps, I tried to argue with them but they insisted that the Emo's "pollute" the signal or whatever, this has damaged the drives and "this time we'll honour our warranty, but next time we won't".

That's an amazing response and, of course, it is ridiculous. It isn't even to their benefit since they don't manufacture amps. It is possible that you overdrove the system but I would be more apt to suspect a defective driver.

 

True, but they didn't suggest it had been overdriven - just that the Emo amp is not a "hi-fi" amp. I’d love to know what their definition of a "hi-fi" amp is. I’d also love to see their spec sheets for the speakers where they tell you what kind of 'hi-fi' amps they are supposed to work with. Whoever they have on their support line would have been dismissed by now if he worked for me. Ludicrous doesn't even begin to cover it.



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post #24 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 12:15 PM
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If it doesn't cost as much as a 2014 Honda Civic, it isn't hi-fi.
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post #25 of 25 Old 01-16-2014, 12:16 PM
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A lot of people give Emo amps grief I think because there priced where average people can afford them,I would like to hear one someday, there wernt around when I got my ATI amp.If you look at the specs on Emo amps, the weight & power they produce Id say they sound great,Im know expert but Ive been playing with HT equiment for 30 yrs,but the best sounding amp I ever heard was a Krell but it cost more than my first house.
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