Originally Posted by audio4life
On the voicing, a couple of years ago a vintage Sansui receiver came into my hands. It was from about 1970, rated at 35 watts per channel. I connected it to the main fronts in my theater(Paradigm Monitor 7) to see what it sounded like. It was quite jaw dropping, it was different than my flagship Onkyo, and in a good way. I compared back and forth using an Emotiva CD player and music I was quite familiar with. The tweeters weren't harsh at high volumes like they were with the Onkyo, yet the Sansui had just as much, if not more detail. I was quite surprised, to say the least, as I thought today's modern gear would trounce oldster stuff from way back. This led to an adventure by me of acquiring used amps/integrated amps, auditioning them for a while, then reselling them. Same with speakers, I really wanted to get to the bottom of this idea of "voicing", as I'd come across it from the era.
Bottom line, each brand sounded unique. It's short sited to think it was a frequency response thing, on paper any decent design will measure flat through the audio spectrum. But I think that the dynamic and changing load that a speaker presents to an amp, and the synergy or lack thereof are what has a greater influence on what we hear, and the characteristics that make us think something is"warmer" or "brighter".
Around here this idea will upset some, but it's worth keeping in mind. Of course, the greatest influence on the sound is the speakers. I don't think today's brands have as much uniqueness to them. That said, your question on Emotiva gear would depend. The UPA amps are quite small, and don't really offer any more power than a mid level receiver unless you have 4 ohm speakers. But the size of your room and model of your speakers would help determine what you might need. Emotiva is a good entry level brand, there are better, but you have to spend more.
Have to agree wholeheartedly with this post. I was using an NAD amp from the 70s with my Yamaha AVR and it sounded great - rich, detailed, kind of full-bodied I guess is the way to say it.
Unfortunately the amp developed a hum and then died (might just need a recap, I'm hoping) and to replace it I thought I would try an Emotiva since I had heard so much about them. I got the UPA-200, and to say I was disappointed is an understatement. It sounded thin, hollow, lacking in any life or depth or richness whatsoever. Bass was nearly non-existent, and the entire presentation had a kind of 'hollow' echoey sound to it - basically just unlistenable. The AVR on its own actually sounds better, just slightly less powerful.
I hooked my speakers (Ascend CMT-340s) up to my Marantz receiver to make sure it wasn't a speaker issue, and lo and behold, that rich, full sound was back again. The modern gear - whether it's an AVR receiver, Emo amps, or whatever - just doesn't seem to have that. There definitely seems to be a modern voicing, and it seems to be "sterile." This stuff sure doesn't sound like the tube amps that all the vintage gear emulates. So which is the real voicing and which isn't? I'd say the modern stuff is not the real voicing, no matter how supposedly "neutral" it is, because it doesn't really sound like real life music. It sounds lifeless, flat and unengaging. Not my idea of hi-fi!