AVS Forum Addicted Member
Join Date: Nov 2006
Location: Colorado Springs, CO
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There have been many tests done showing people could not tell amps apart (under various conditions.) If you look at bench tests of receivers, the THD+N levels when the receiver was not overdriven are quite low. Their frequency response is flat. These basic observations lead me to conclude I would be wasting my time to worry about the sound of amps and receivers unless they were poorly designed and executed.
Obviously if the amp/receiver distorts due to overdriving it, it will sound bad. That's true of all amps (though some feel tube amps distort more pleasantly, perhaps why guitar amps sometimes use them.)
As you can see if you read these posts, opinions differ on the audibility of the difference in amps. I have read countless articles and multiple books and I can say the evidence is on the side of amps sounding more alike than different unless they were not well designed. Most receivers seem to do an adequate job, at least the ones I have seen bench tested.
Speakers, on the other hand, are an exercise in compromises. Cost, size, frequency response, power handling, crossover design, etc. Estimates have been made that the audio distortion of speakers is sufficiently high to be audible (sort of a blanket statement, accept it as such.) It seems wiser to focus on the weakest link in the speaker-amp chain. And most experts seem to agree that's speakers. Perhaps, once you have a system you like with speakers you like, in the future you could consider different amps,
Also, room acoustics have an effect as well. You might be surprised to find out how much they effect the lower frequencies. I have seen 10 dB swings in SPL during a low frequency sweep. I think that's worse than speakers - there's ways to mitigate that for people serious about accurate sound.
"But this one goes up to 11"