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post #91 of 144 Old 04-13-2014, 12:21 PM
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Originally Posted by fatbottom View Post

So you're saying a Ferrari accelerating from 70 to 100mph is the same as a ford focus?

No, I'm saying that whether you've noticed or not, cars aren't audio amplifiers and vice versa.
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post #92 of 144 Old 04-13-2014, 12:23 PM
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What's yours? You bought a crap sounding Pioneer and wanting it to the sound the same as high end amps? lol

If it didn't sound better I wouldn't have bothered.

Why is it that bias controlled listening tests fail to find audible differences between AVRs and high end audio amps? Have you ever done a bias controlled listening test?
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post #93 of 144 Old 04-13-2014, 01:24 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
 

 

You need the power required to make the speakers deliver the SPL you require at the distance you sit from the speakers. That is it. Any power over and above that has  zero impact on the sound because unused power can’t impact anything at all. There are very few domestic situations that require more than 200 watts per channel (and usually way less).

 

This idea that somehow speakers benefit if the amp has loads of surplus power is nonsense. You need the headroom you need and no more. Imagine the literal headroom of a bridge over a highway. If the tallest vehicle that will ever pass under the bridge is 20 feet, and you make the bridge 23 feet high, then you have 3 feet of headroom. What purpose will it serve to build a bridge 50 feet high? Yeah, it will have 30 feet of headroom - and how exactly does that differ from the other bridge that is 23 feet high?  Well, it's the same with amps and speakers.


I understand what you're saying, and it makes perfect sense.  Here's my question though which is related to your comment "You need the headroom you need and no more..."  What is the headroom I need? 

 

I know there is the online calculator that will basically tell you the Watts you'll use however I don't believe it takes everything into account.  It seems to calculate what the continuous power requirement is, but not the peaks.  I have read a number of forums where the actual power requirements to avoid clipping (and it may be clipping that isn't immediately recognised as clipping, but observed as just less "clean" sound) is a lot higher than what people think.  There was even a practical experiment done by Carver (I think he designed the Sunfire amps) where he tried to determine the power requirements from a recording of scissors cutting hair (a weird sample if you ask me, but hey...).  He had amps rated at 2,000W and still observed some clipping.  The transient requirements were a lot higher than what anyone would have expected.  That was one of the reasons why his amps are produced with a fair amount more power than the norm e.g. TGA-7401 (7x 400W). 

 

Roger Sanders (Sanders Sound Systems) who designs the ESL and Magtech amps, which are absolutely amazing pieces of gear, and by all accounts is a very practical minded engineer will happy dispute most audio myths even if it costs him sales e.g. he will say that all amps sound the same if they are "well designed" and have enough power.  But, even he will say the power requirements are a lot larger than people think, commonly several 100's of Watts even for standard magnetic cone speakers (not just ESL's).

 

While I totally get what you are saying, if you aren't using the power reserves there's no point having them.  The big question is how much power do I actually really need?  I think it is higher than what most people believe.  Of course, I may well be wrong but it may well explain why people do hear differences between amps; not because the amps really sound different but because one is able to deliver more current/volts/power for the given music being played to avoid transient clipping. 

 

I say this when I'm considering buying smaller sized amps when I actually think I'd get better sound from a more powerful option (price being the overriding factor), so I'm not trying to justify my impending purchase or anything.

 

By the way, I really appreciate your thoughts and opinion on this.  I like these sensible debates as I helps to understand the various aspects of this interesting hobby...

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post #94 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 02:30 AM
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I don't know how much you need. I know how much I need and that is 18 watts per channel (subwoofer excepted) to handle volume peaks. That includes 10 db of overhead. The calculators in fact are overly conservative because they do not figure in room gain which is huge. In my view most people need less power than they think they need. It becomes a matter of perspective and debate. You can go with your speaker designers opinion. I'll go with my measurements.
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post #95 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 02:35 AM
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Says I need 55W-90W of power.

Krell Evolution 900e x 7

Bose Jewel speakers.

 

Jealous of my speakers?

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post #96 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 04:32 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chev265 View Post

Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

 

You need the power required to make the speakers deliver the SPL you require at the distance you sit from the speakers. That is it. Any power over and above that has  zero impact on the sound because unused power can’t impact anything at all. There are very few domestic situations that require more than 200 watts per channel (and usually way less).

This idea that somehow speakers benefit if the amp has loads of surplus power is nonsense. You need the headroom you need and no more. Imagine the literal headroom of a bridge over a highway. If the tallest vehicle that will ever pass under the bridge is 20 feet, and you make the bridge 23 feet high, then you have 3 feet of headroom. What purpose will it serve to build a bridge 50 feet high? Yeah, it will have 30 feet of headroom - and how exactly does that differ from the other bridge that is 23 feet high?  Well, it's the same with amps and speakers.


I understand what you're saying, and it makes perfect sense.  Here's my question though which is related to your comment "You need the headroom you need and no more..."  What is the headroom I need? 

The generally accepted number is that you need 20 dB headroom. IOW if your need for average power is 10 watts, you need a thousand watts for a reasonable worst case peak.

You see this ratio in various places such as giving the requirement for average SPL as 85 dB SPL, and the requirement for peak SPL as 105 dB. There's a 20 dB difference. No conincidence!

Quote:
I know there is the online calculator that will basically tell you the Watts you'll use however I don't believe it takes everything into account.  It seems to calculate what the continuous power requirement is, but not the peaks.

It calculates dB SPL. Its up to you to figure out what you need because that is highly subjective. For example, my preferred peak listening level is 95 dB SPL C weighted, fast response, peak holding. My system can produce about 107 dB SPL without amplifire clipping which is a little bit more than the online peak SPL calculators predict but they don't give credit for having subwoofers, and they assume a room that is free of secondary reflections.

Quote:
I have read a number of forums where the actual power requirements to avoid clipping (and it may be clipping that isn't immediately recognised as clipping, but observed as just less "clean" sound) is a lot higher than what people think. 

There are papers out there that are all over the map. I say that measurements of my preferences in my listening room trump those papers.
Quote:
There was even a practical experiment done by Carver (I think he designed the Sunfire amps) where he tried to determine the power requirements from a recording of scissors cutting hair (a weird sample if you ask me, but hey...).  He had amps rated at 2,000W and still observed some clipping.  The transient requirements were a lot higher than what anyone would have expected.  That was one of the reasons why his amps are produced with a fair amount more power than the norm e.g. TGA-7401 (7x 400W). 

The spectral and amplitude of certain natural sounds can be pretty incredible. Another tricky natural sound is a regular keychain jangling. Thing is, I listen to commercial recordings and broadcasts, not scissors cutting or keys jangling.

Quote:
Roger Sanders (Sanders Sound Systems) who designs the ESL and Magtech amps, which are absolutely amazing pieces of gear, and by all accounts is a very practical minded engineer will happy dispute most audio myths even if it costs him sales e.g. he will say that all amps sound the same if they are "well designed" and have enough power.  But, even he will say the power requirements are a lot larger than people think, commonly several 100's of Watts even for standard magnetic cone speakers (not just ESL's).

As if he has no financial dog in this fight. He does a pretty good job of engineering the power packs for spot welders disguised as audio power amps, but when it comes to the actual needs of the application overdesign on that level would have gotten me thrown out of engineering school! ;-)
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While I totally get what you are saying, if you aren't using the power reserves there's no point having them.  The big question is how much power do I actually really need? 

I'll bet that there is no SPL meter in your house to do even rough measurements of SPL. That would slow things down when there is preference for making statements like this:
Quote:
I think it is higher than what most people believe.

Of course, I may well be wrong but it may well explain why people do hear differences between amps; not because the amps really sound different but because one is able to deliver more current/volts/power for the given music being played to avoid transient clipping. 

The most valid explanation for most of the perceived differences among good amps is bad listening evaluations. This is well-supported by evidence related to what true believers in the universal audibliity of difference among power amps get introduced to good (IOW bias-controlled) listening tests. Differences? Poof!

(1) People hear differences because they don't match levels.

(2) People hear differences because they switch over between the amps too slowly.

(3) People hear differences because they want to hear differences and there is no lie detector in the plan.

(4) People hear differences because they don't listen to the amps allegedly being compared in the same room.

(5) People hear differences because they don't listen to the amps allegedly being compared with the the same speakers.

(6) People hear differences because don't listen to the amps allegedly being compared with the identically same music down to the second.

Dumb eh? ;-)
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post #97 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 04:40 AM
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If I enter in 105dB then it says I need 450W-900W (depending on which speakers, my most efficient to last efficient )

bit confusing do I enter in amp values into 8ohm, or amp into that speaker impedance.

One amp has 180W into 8ohm (ht speakers) another 60W and 100W into 8ohm (hifi) both systems have 4 ohm speakers so if I double amp power

Krell Evolution 900e x 7

Bose Jewel speakers.

 

Jealous of my speakers?

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post #98 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 06:01 AM
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If I enter in 105dB then it says I need 450W-900W (depending on which speakers, my most efficient to last efficient )

Are you putting the speakers in the middle of the room, or in the next zip code? ;-)
Quote:
bit confusing do I enter in amp values into 8ohm, or amp into that speaker impedance.

One amp has 180W into 8ohm (ht speakers) another 60W and 100W into 8ohm (hifi) both systems have 4 ohm speakers so if I double amp power

Most speakers have average impedances that are about 1.3 to 1.5 x rated impedance, more or less. Music has frequencies at a wide variety of frequencies so your best estimate of amplifier load is probably the average impedance. Because of the crest factor situation with music, it is probably better to use power ratings based on things like "music power" as opposed to sine wave based ratings.

Also, this is an estimation situation, not an exact calculation situation. The best we can hope for is a "bigger than a bread box but smaller than a house" estimate. Excessive deep thought about the numbers going into the estimate will not necessarily be rewarded! ;-)
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post #99 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 06:27 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chev265 View Post
 
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post
 

 

You need the power required to make the speakers deliver the SPL you require at the distance you sit from the speakers. That is it. Any power over and above that has  zero impact on the sound because unused power can’t impact anything at all. There are very few domestic situations that require more than 200 watts per channel (and usually way less).

 

This idea that somehow speakers benefit if the amp has loads of surplus power is nonsense. You need the headroom you need and no more. Imagine the literal headroom of a bridge over a highway. If the tallest vehicle that will ever pass under the bridge is 20 feet, and you make the bridge 23 feet high, then you have 3 feet of headroom. What purpose will it serve to build a bridge 50 feet high? Yeah, it will have 30 feet of headroom - and how exactly does that differ from the other bridge that is 23 feet high?  Well, it's the same with amps and speakers.


I understand what you're saying, and it makes perfect sense.  Here's my question though which is related to your comment "You need the headroom you need and no more..."  What is the headroom I need? 

 

 

You have already had good answers. Only you can decide how much you need. I listen to movies in my HT and I want to use what I call 'home reference' which is -5dB from true reference. (Movie Reference is 85dB average, 105dB peak, 115dB peak LFE channel). So I have an average of maybe 80-85dB and a peak requirement of 100dB. So I have shot for 105dB overall which will give me 5dB of headroom over my maximum peaks and a good 20dB over my average level. These levels are louder than most people use. The calculators are a guide only - this one is the one I normally use as it allows for various parameters:

 

http://myhometheater.homestead.com/splcalculator.html

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post #100 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 06:43 AM
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Here's my experience with the amps mentioned...

At the old house, with 6 ohm 92 db speakers, no sub or crossover:
Yamaha 80 wpc receiver to Parasound JC1s, no room EQ: huge improvement, obvious differences when switching back and forth
Comparing JC1s to A51: subtle differences, preferred JC1s

Added sub, Parasound Preamp, crossed at 80hz:
Comparing JC1s to A51: very subtle differences, preferred JC1s

At the new house, with 4 ohm 94.5 db speakers, 4 subs, crossed at 80hz:
Comparing JC1s to A51:very subtle differences, preferred A51s
With Onkyo preamp and XT32 Pro room EQ: no audible differences! sold JC1s (I switched measurements when switching amps. They did sound slightly different using the same set of measurements.)

This makes me think that these two amps had slightly different voicing that the room EQ cancelled out.
Most of the blind listening tests that people refer to apply EQ to correct for differences like that.

I am sometimes tempted to upgrade to XPA-1s for the front 3 speakers, but I haven't given in to that, yet, but after selling my mono blocks, I sometimes wonder if I'm leaving something on the table.

One really nice thing about all the Parasound amps is that the noise floor is so low. I've heard that was a problem with some of the g1 Emotivas, but I understand they improved that with the g2s.
I've never had the chance to listen to any Emotivas, but I suspect that the overall principle said here is true. As long as you have plenty of power, use good EQ, and don't have a noise problem, you are probably in good shape. Enough power is hard to define.

I wouldn't consider using built-in amps in receivers, except perhaps for surround channels. Some may disagree.
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post #101 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 08:00 AM
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Originally Posted by rcohen View Post

Here's my experience with the amps mentioned...

At the old house, with 6 ohm 92 db speakers, no sub or crossover:
Yamaha 80 wpc receiver to Parasound JC1s, no room EQ: huge improvement, obvious differences when switching back and forth
Comparing JC1s to A51: subtle differences, preferred JC1s

Added sub, Parasound Preamp, crossed at 80hz:
Comparing JC1s to A51: very subtle differences, preferred JC1s

At the new house, with 4 ohm 94.5 db speakers, 4 subs, crossed at 80hz:
Comparing JC1s to A51:very subtle differences, preferred A51s
With Onkyo preamp and XT32 Pro room EQ: no audible differences! sold JC1s (I switched measurements when switching amps. They did sound slightly different using the same set of measurements.)

This makes me think that these two amps had slightly different voicing that the room EQ cancelled out.
Most of the blind listening tests that people refer to apply EQ to correct for differences like that.

I am sometimes tempted to upgrade to XPA-1s for the front 3 speakers, but I haven't given in to that, yet, but after selling my mono blocks, I sometimes wonder if I'm leaving something on the table.

One really nice thing about all the Parasound amps is that the noise floor is so low. I've heard that was a problem with some of the g1 Emotivas, but I understand they improved that with the g2s.
I've never had the chance to listen to any Emotivas, but I suspect that the overall principle said here is true. As long as you have plenty of power, use good EQ, and don't have a noise problem, you are probably in good shape. Enough power is hard to define.

I wouldn't consider using built-in amps in receivers, except perhaps for surround channels. Some may disagree.

Two words: sighted evaluations. You wanted to hear an improvement and that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Most audiophile testimonials are embarrassingly self-congratulatory...
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post #102 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 08:30 AM
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Originally Posted by rcohen View Post

Here's my experience with the amps mentioned...

Comparing JC1s to A51: subtle differences, preferred JC1s
 

Interesting comparison

Parasound JC-1 mono amplifier $4,499.99 each

Parasound Halo A51 five channel amplifier $4,795.00

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post #103 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 08:33 AM
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Two words: sighted evaluations. You wanted to hear an improvement and that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Most audiophile testimonials are embarrassingly self-congratulatory...

While I would like to agree with you I don't. Sighted or not, if you expect to hear the same but you don't then what does that mean? If you expect that one will be worse than the other but you end up hearing the opposite what does that mean? How about when you have three people in the room and one likes the more expensive and the other likes the less expensive? Or what about using different tabs on a McIntosh amp? They should all sound the same but they don't. Because of the level? Hardly.

I don't understand how people can say two completely different products are identical when they are built using completely different components and designs just because they are designed to the same specification. To me this is like saying two 225/40-17 tires are identical just because they were designed to stop a BMW 325i from 60-0 in 112 ft. despite the fact that they use completely different rubber compounds and completely different thread patterns. Are they going to be similar - sure. But the same. No way.

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post #104 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 09:14 AM
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While I would like to agree with you I don't. Sighted or not, if you expect to hear the same but you don't then what does that mean? If you expect that one will be worse than the other but you end up hearing the opposite what does that mean? How about when you have three people in the room and one likes the more expensive and the other likes the less expensive? Or what about using different tabs on a McIntosh amp? They should all sound the same but they don't. Because of the level? Hardly.

I don't understand how people can say two completely different products are identical when they are built using completely different components and designs just because they are designed to the same specification. To me this is like saying two 225/40-17 tires are identical just because they were designed to stop a BMW 325i from 60-0 in 112 ft. despite the fact that they use completely different rubber compounds and completely different thread patterns. Are they going to be similar - sure. But the same. No way.

I can understand different designs performing identically- AMD and Intel processors are a great examples.
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post #105 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 09:19 AM
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I can understand different designs performing identically- AMD and Intel processors are a great examples.

Really? They didn't used to be identical. There was always a performance difference... but I haven't kept up in the last 3 or so years. after core i7 I pretty much stopped following them because that gave me all the performance I ever needed...

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post #106 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 09:31 AM
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Really? They didn't used to be identical. There was always a performance difference... but I haven't kept up in the last 3 or so years. after core i7 I pretty much stopped following them because that gave me all the performance I ever needed...

They run the same software, some may be faster etc. but in terms of performing extremely complex tasks, they are both able to run windows and other software.

We have three kitchen knives that we use extensively. All have different handles, grades of steel and are made by different companies but all three of them slice an onion.
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post #107 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 09:31 AM
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Two words: sighted evaluations. You wanted to hear an improvement and that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Most audiophile testimonials are embarrassingly self-congratulatory...
I agree with you in concept, and I understand that studies prove that to be the case.
However, my results didn't line up with what I wanted, and I could hear a difference prior to EQ.

Why do you suppose that EQ is necessary in blind listening tests for amps?
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post #108 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 10:06 AM
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They run the same software, some may be faster etc. but in terms of performing extremely complex tasks, they are both able to run windows and other software.

We have three kitchen knives that we use extensively. All have different handles, grades of steel and are made by different companies but all three of them slice an onion.

I am sorry but the examples you listed above are in no shape or form proving that the products are identical.

Look at the performance benchmarks for different processors designed to do the "same" thing: http://www.cpubenchmark.net/high_end_cpus.html. Do you really believe they are all the same and that marketing is what drives the $ differences?

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post #109 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 10:16 AM
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Originally Posted by BVLDARI View Post

While I would like to agree with you I don't. Sighted or not, if you expect to hear the same but you don't then what does that mean?

It means there is no audible difference.
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If you expect that one will be worse than the other but you end up hearing the opposite what does that mean?

It means either that there is an audible difference or that the listener is confused about expectations.
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How about when you have three people in the room and one likes the more expensive and the other likes the less expensive?

Sighted evaluations affect people whether one person is listening or three. There may be audible differences but such a test doesn't prove that.
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Or what about using different tabs on a McIntosh amp? They should all sound the same but they don't. Because of the level? Hardly.

I don't know what a tab on an amplifier is.
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I don't understand how people can say two completely different products are identical when they are built using completely different components and designs just because they are designed to the same specification.

Because you confuse differences in measurements with differences in audibility. Not all measurable differences are audible.
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To me this is like saying two 225/40-17 tires are identical just because they were designed to stop a BMW 325i from 60-0 in 112 ft. despite the fact that they use completely different rubber compounds and completely different thread patterns. Are they going to be similar - sure. But the same. No way.

We don't consider audibility in tires. We do that with audio equipment. Straw man.
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post #110 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 10:19 AM
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I have to agree that different CPU models have different performance characteristics that are easily measurable and quite perceptible. No point in arguing over that. Whether you care is up to you.

Not much point in arguing over whether I can or can't hear different FR curves, prior to EQ correction.

After EQ correction, I said I couldn't hear the difference, so I guess I'm not really sure what is supposed to be psychological about that.
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post #111 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 10:22 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by rcohen View Post

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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Two words: sighted evaluations. You wanted to hear an improvement and that became a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Most audiophile testimonials are embarrassingly self-congratulatory...
I agree with you in concept, and I understand that studies prove that to be the case.
However, my results didn't line up with what I wanted, and I could hear a difference prior to EQ.

The procedures used and those that were not used speak for themselves.

One of the outcomes of an uncontrolled listening evaluation is you get a result that is for all intents and purposes random. Thus getting a result that lines up with what you want is predictable.
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Why do you suppose that EQ is necessary in blind listening tests for amps?

Generally, there is no need to eq amps in listening tests - most modern amps are plenty flat right out of the box. The biggest source of FR differences in the old days were analog tone controls, and they are long gone!
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post #112 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 10:23 AM
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So I presume for those of you who believe in no audible difference between amplifiers you own the cheapest ones available on the market?

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post #113 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

Generally, there is no need to eq amps in listening tests - most modern amps are plenty flat right out of the box. The biggest source of FR differences in the old days were analog tone controls, and they are long gone!
I wonder whether they keep measuring that flat against a real load, instead of a resister.

Interestingly, I could hear a slight difference when I stood right next to the speaker, but not really from the couch. A little more bass with the JC1s and a little more treble with A51. Post-EQ, they sounded identical standing right next to the speaker, as well.

For the sake of science (!), it would have been interesting to get measurements, but it was good enough for me to sell the JC1s. Too late now.
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post #114 of 144 Old 04-14-2014, 10:34 AM
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Originally Posted by arnyk View Post

One of the outcomes of an uncontrolled listening evaluation is you get a result that is for all intents and purposes random.
It was awfully repeatable to be random. It wasn't convenient to have a Controlled Listening Evaluation. I don't expect you to trust my results, but it was good enough to me.
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post #115 of 144 Old 04-27-2014, 10:53 PM
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I'm also in the same boat and would like to know what did the OP ended up buying.
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post #116 of 144 Old 04-28-2014, 12:35 AM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by malikarshad View Post

I'm also in the same boat and would like to know what did the OP ended up buying.

A couple of days ago I ordered 2x XPA-1 and 1x XPA-5 Emotive amps at 2/3 the price of the Parasound option  I believe it offered a nice compromise between the want/desire for mono blocks and value for money.  I don't think I would have heard any noticeable difference between the two, and in fact at the moment while I await the arrival of the amps I am quite enjoying the sound and spl I'm getting from my Anthem receiver.  If I were to make the decision again I would go for 2x XPA-1L which are on sale at the moment and an XPA-5 which would have been less than half the price of the Parasound option. I think the XPA-1s are going to be overkill, but hey, I'm still pretty happy and cross fingers they are everything I hope them to be when they turn up...

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post #117 of 144 Old 04-28-2014, 06:17 AM
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When they arrive, it would be very interesting to hear your thoughts on how the receiver, XPA-5, and XPA-1 compare.
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post #118 of 144 Old 04-28-2014, 04:31 PM
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If nothing else, maybe it will be a good thing for the next speakers or the next house. smile.gif
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post #119 of 144 Old 04-28-2014, 07:17 PM
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What is the retail of the parasound A21 in the us? I read differences pricing. Just want to make sure I get a right deal from the dealer.
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post #120 of 144 Old 05-06-2014, 02:13 PM
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Originally Posted by tractng View Post

What is the retail of the parasound A21 in the us? I read differences pricing. Just want to make sure I get a right deal from the dealer.
A21 retails for $2,495 in US. Prices went up April 1st 2014 before that it was retailing for $2,300.
http://www.parasound.com/pdfs/us-price-increases.pdf
Most of the dealers that I talked where willing to give a discount over retail.
I ended up ordering A21 last week from a local dealer at a great discount that i could not resist.
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