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Are amplifiers worth it - Page 2

post #31 of 429
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

those specs pretty much tell us you don't need an amp... wink.gif you already have as much power as they will handle on tap, at least in any "real world" scenario...

If the receiver specs say it can do 75 watts per channel (which I know it can't do that running 5 speakers at once) will the amp relieve the receiver and therefore all speakers at the same time will do 75 watts?
post #32 of 429
Thread Starter 
Pioneer Elite SC-65 has the D3 amplification that claims it can run all channels at the same time without running out of juice. Is this correct?
post #33 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

If the receiver specs say it can do 75 watts per channel (which I know it can't do that running 5 speakers at once) will the amp relieve the receiver and therefore all speakers at the same time will do 75 watts?

An amp might get closer to 75w driven across all channels but as others have suggested, that isn't likely to be meaningful in your situation.
post #34 of 429
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by bfreedma View Post

An amp might get closer to 75w driven across all channels but as others have suggested, that isn't likely to be meaningful in your situation.

So basically if speakers say were 125 watts (Which my center is and all other 75) then an amp would be a good thing?
post #35 of 429
^^^

no, not necessarily...

if you aren't using the additional power, there's no need for it...

simply because the "max wattage" of your speakers is a certain number does not mean you need an amplifier that will put out that "max wattage"... many of us use speakers that will handle far more power than we could give them...

you are worrying way too much about power, to be honest...
post #36 of 429
Member splicer010 is on point. It is sound QUALITY and not quantity (power output) that we should be after. Hi-end power amps, just as hi-end speakers, will improve sound quality by leaps and bounds. For those not interested in AQ or who lack the space or budget, then no worries. I have an amazing two channel stereo system (because that is my primary passion), but a much more down to earth HT 2.0 "system".
post #37 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by jh901 View Post

Member splicer010 is on point. It is sound QUALITY and not quantity (power output) that we should be after. Hi-end power amps, just as hi-end speakers, will improve sound quality by leaps and bounds. For those not interested in AQ or who lack the space or budget, then no worries. I have an amazing two channel stereo system (because that is my primary passion), but a much more down to earth HT 2.0 "system".

Actually, it appears that in double blind testing, people cannot distinguish a high end amp from a non-high end amp as long as both are operating within their linear ranges. Which is to say that the betrter sound I heard from my Bryston was placebo effect. Ah, well . . . .
post #38 of 429
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by jh901 View Post

Member splicer010 is on point. It is sound QUALITY and not quantity (power output) that we should be after. Hi-end power amps, just as hi-end speakers, will improve sound quality by leaps and bounds. For those not interested in AQ or who lack the space or budget, then no worries. I have an amazing two channel stereo system (because that is my primary passion), but a much more down to earth HT 2.0 "system".

Like I mentioned before I listen more at moderate levels. I am looking at better AQ. It sound real nice now. So why look for better? Maybe its just wanting more and more. I thought an amp would help or another avr. Getting speakers is out of the question because I currently have in ceiling and family room would be cluttered with floor standing speakers. My main interest is the Mult EQ XT32. I dont know how much more it would blend and better the sound especially the sub.
post #39 of 429
There is other benefits of a higher quality amp besides sound levels and SPL.

What about lower distortion, more headroom, and better sound quality ?

It's possible and likely that a higher quality amp can make a system sound better at the same volume level. That question is easy to answer.

The hard question is how much better will it be and at what cost?

If your running basic level speakers, adding a high end power amp won't make significant improvement given the cost.

If your running a high end speaker set your probably going to want an AMP that matches them better than an ordinary consumer level AVR.

I think the room, the speakers, the budget, the rest of the system come into play and it just gets cloudy to find a universal answer.

Short answer is for ordinary consumer level products- adding an AMP is generally not going to be worth it or make a significant difference. That's why your "normal" household does not have one.

Go check out a high end home theater and I am sure you'll find nothing less. Budget plays in. So does "seriousness" of the enthusiast. Most normal people are not serious enough about the sound to find value in the result for the cost.

Assuming you have a decent AVR receiver that matches well to your speakers your not going to notice much improvement.
post #40 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

Like I mentioned before I listen more at moderate levels. I am looking at better AQ. It sound real nice now. So why look for better? Maybe its just wanting more and more. I thought an amp would help or another avr. Getting speakers is out of the question because I currently have in ceiling and family room would be cluttered with floor standing speakers. My main interest is the Mult EQ XT32. I dont know how much more it would blend and better the sound especially the sub.

Is that sub also in the ceiling? Nah, just kidding! cool.giftongue.gif;)

OK, so if you're looking for better AQ then why not go for an AVR with MultEQ XT32, eh? But, aaaahh, those speakers in the ceiling! If you think floor standers will clutter the family room you may still have the option to look for bookshelf speakers. There are many excellent types on the market.
post #41 of 429
Thread Starter 
I was thinking of getting an Anthem receiver with ARC calibration.
post #42 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

I was thinking of getting an Anthem receiver with ARC calibration.

I'm sure you made a serious in-depth comparision between Audyssey MultEQ XT32 + DynEQ and ARC. Care to share your findings?
post #43 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mfusick View Post

There is other benefits of a higher quality amp besides sound levels and SPL.
What about lower distortion, more headroom, and better sound quality ?
It's possible and likely that a higher quality amp can make a system sound better at the same volume level. That question is easy to answer.
The hard question is how much better will it be and at what cost?
If your running basic level speakers, adding a high end power amp won't make significant improvement given the cost.
If your running a high end speaker set your probably going to want an AMP that matches them better than an ordinary consumer level AVR.
I think the room, the speakers, the budget, the rest of the system come into play and it just gets cloudy to find a universal answer.
Short answer is for ordinary consumer level products- adding an AMP is generally not going to be worth it or make a significant difference. That's why your "normal" household does not have one.
Go check out a high end home theater and I am sure you'll find nothing less. Budget plays in. So does "seriousness" of the enthusiast. Most normal people are not serious enough about the sound to find value in the result for the cost.
Assuming you have a decent AVR receiver that matches well to your speakers your not going to notice much improvement.
B
Longer answer is if your current amp keeps distortion inaudible unused headroom or "inaudibler" distortion will not be audible. Sad truth is even golden ears cannot reliably distinguish flat amps operating within their limits. We (me included) imagine huge differences. If they were huge folks would be able to tell the difference without seeing the faceplate.
post #44 of 429
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

I'm sure you made a serious in-depth comparision between Audyssey MultEQ XT32 + DynEQ and ARC. Care to share your findings?

Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

I'm sure you made a serious in-depth comparision between Audyssey MultEQ XT32 + DynEQ and ARC. Care to share your findings?

I have just multeq and I hear that xt32 is superior because it filters a lot more . I have read that ARC is different because you use a pc and can make custom changes like for music and movies the downside is ARC does not measure speaker distance. Of the two which is better or are they equal in results I don't know. I guess it all depends on the speakers and placement like in my case being in ceiling I cannot move them around. So why try Anthem? I hear they are very nice and while I haven't tried xt32 already owning an Audyssey avr why not give ARC a try.
post #45 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

I have a Denon 1611 receiver and wanted to know if I would benefit from having a 5 channel amplifier like Emotiva UPA 500? I am new to amps but I hear I need to connect it to my receiver.
What is the advantage of having an amp?

Sound quality,
Flexibility (you can upgrade/change out amps/add amps down the road
Output
Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

I have a Denon 1611 receiver and wanted to know if I would benefit from having a 5 channel amplifier like Emotiva UPA 500? I am new to amps but I hear I need to connect it to my receiver.
Will I be able to notice a difference in sound?

I can notice a dramatic difference in my system. I have no idea if you would.
Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

Are amps used mainly to listen at loud levels?

How loud a system gets is a combination of: Speaker efficiency, room size, amplifier output.

Even the most modest 5 channel dedicated amplifier will output much more power than a midgrade receiver.
post #46 of 429
I am another in the "seperates are always better" camp. Amps can be repaired, offer more headroom, less distortion etc...That said, I wouldn't say that you need a 500watt/channel amp for good results as I personally think it is better to have more efficient speakers. With normal listening levels most of us would probably be fine with 75 to 150 watts(depending on speaker efficiency) for movies/telivision.

Take a look at the First Watt F5 amp that you can build for a really reasonable price. The Turbo V2 only puts out about 72 watts but is more than enough than what you need with 90dB speakers and is very low in distortion and can drive any load.
post #47 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kimeran View Post

I am another in the "seperates are always better" camp..

You really don't see the opposite: "I went separates and it was a waste of money, I returned them"

;-)
post #48 of 429
I can definitely hear the difference between some amps. Double-blind, who knows? Do you know how hard it is to properly set up a double-blind test? But case in point, before I knew anything about the reputations for different companies, I went on Audiogon and bought a relatively inexpensive Rotel and thought it sounded warm, but grainy, compared to a Pioneer Elite receiver that I had at the time. An Odyssey amp I subsequently bought on good reputation I thought sounded incredibly bright. I will admit that most pieces I've bought in between have extremely subtle differences that may be explained away by placebo effect, but my point is perhaps some amps do have their own sound. When I first got into the audiophile game, I bought 2 receivers (with the intent to return 1): a Pioneer Elite and a Denon. I tried as hard as I could to like the Denon based on its superior reputation, but no matter how hard I tried, it sounded muffled -- warm, yes, but muffled -- compared to the Elite, like I couldn't make out some of the voices.

The philosophical approach to separates is that by having each component operate in its own function, it would be easier to switch out or upgrade those specific functions. However, reality is not so, since separates are a niche product. But that is what informs my purchases, and I have since learned not to obsess on little details -- we have to draw a line where returns diminish past value. I now have a Butler Audio amp, decent power, relatively neutral sound, not too heavy or wasteful on electricity (my previous Proceed was like a miniature heater), and not too expensive; and an Integra DHC-80.2 preamp for its modern functionality including Audyssey MultXT32 and almost everything I could ever need in a preamp (besides 3D... and a little LCD screen like those high-end Classe's would be swell, but I don't think I'm missing much...).

In my opinion, a good preamplifier is decided in its user interface; it should do what one would expect it to and nothing else (it shouldn't make noises, pops, crackles, it should switch, do room acoustics, digital conversion and processing for a variety of formats). The preamp is, after all, your access point to the rest of the system. That is to me the main advantage of divorcing the amplification stage from the preamp. For that reason, I wouldn't buy any receivers from those boutique brands; because to me the whole point of buying, say, an Anthem receiver is that you'd expect it to have better sound than the typical, mass produced, Denon, for instance. However, after a few years when new audio formats come out and you are faced with the decision to upgrade, the entire unit becomes obsolete. If I have a separate Anthem amp and preamp, I could say, if I am satisfied with how the amp sounded over the years, I keep the amp and trade up a new preamp. Or if you like the way your Anthem preamp works, you like the OSD and menus, but find that Anthem is too bright or whatever, then you could switch out the amp for another brand, and keep the preamp, so you wouldn't have to learn an entirely new system, and re-calibrate all your speakers. That's a slightly higher up-front cost, but more structured upgrade path over the years.

However, for the most part, the differences we are talking about are like splitting hairs when compared to differences between some speakers. I know you've said you won't change speakers, but how about a sub? For the same price, a quality sub easily yields the biggest difference. Even then, if you still want to mess with separates, you could test the waters first by buying another receiver of a different brand, or an inexpensive amp with a return policy, and see if you hear any difference between those. For example, in my opinion if you can't hear the difference between an Onkyo receiver and a Denon, then this exercise may be a waste of time.
post #49 of 429
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by rakuen.now View Post

I can definitely hear the difference between some amps. Double-blind, who knows? Do you know how hard it is to properly set up a double-blind test? But case in point, before I knew anything about the reputations for different companies, I went on Audiogon and bought a relatively inexpensive Rotel and thought it sounded warm, but grainy, compared to a Pioneer Elite receiver that I had at the time. An Odyssey amp I subsequently bought on good reputation I thought sounded incredibly bright. I will admit that most pieces I've bought in between have extremely subtle differences that may be explained away by placebo effect, but my point is perhaps some amps do have their own sound. When I first got into the audiophile game, I bought 2 receivers (with the intent to return 1): a Pioneer Elite and a Denon. I tried as hard as I could to like the Denon based on its superior reputation, but no matter how hard I tried, it sounded muffled -- warm, yes, but muffled -- compared to the Elite, like I couldn't make out some of the voices.
The philosophical approach to separates is that by having each component operate in its own function, it would be easier to switch out or upgrade those specific functions. However, reality is not so, since separates are a niche product. But that is what informs my purchases, and I have since learned not to obsess on little details -- we have to draw a line where returns diminish past value. I now have a Butler Audio amp, decent power, relatively neutral sound, not too heavy or wasteful on electricity (my previous Proceed was like a miniature heater), and not too expensive; and an Integra DHC-80.2 preamp for its modern functionality including Audyssey MultXT32 and almost everything I could ever need in a preamp (besides 3D... and a little LCD screen like those high-end Classe's would be swell, but I don't think I'm missing much...).
In my opinion, a good preamplifier is decided in its user interface; it should do what one would expect it to and nothing else (it shouldn't make noises, pops, crackles, it should switch, do room acoustics, digital conversion and processing for a variety of formats). The preamp is, after all, your access point to the rest of the system. That is to me the main advantage of divorcing the amplification stage from the preamp. For that reason, I wouldn't buy any receivers from those boutique brands; because to me the whole point of buying, say, an Anthem receiver is that you'd expect it to have better sound than the typical, mass produced, Denon, for instance. However, after a few years when new audio formats come out and you are faced with the decision to upgrade, the entire unit becomes obsolete. If I have a separate Anthem amp and preamp, I could say, if I am satisfied with how the amp sounded over the years, I keep the amp and trade up a new preamp. Or if you like the way your Anthem preamp works, you like the OSD and menus, but find that Anthem is too bright or whatever, then you could switch out the amp for another brand, and keep the preamp, so you wouldn't have to learn an entirely new system, and re-calibrate all your speakers. That's a slightly higher up-front cost, but more structured upgrade path over the years.
However, for the most part, the differences we are talking about are like splitting hairs when compared to differences between some speakers. I know you've said you won't change speakers, but how about a sub? For the same price, a quality sub easily yields the biggest difference. Even then, if you still want to mess with separates, you could test the waters first by buying another receiver of a different brand, or an inexpensive amp with a return policy, and see if you hear any difference between those. For example, in my opinion if you can't hear the difference between an Onkyo receiver and a Denon, then this exercise may be a waste of time.

I already own a Hsu sub
post #50 of 429
Hmmmmmm, Hsu...wink.gif
post #51 of 429
To answer your question on the Pioneer Elite SC 65, it will deliver it's rated power out for the most part. If you are not willing to change speakers, then room modification may give you a better sound. You said things sound good, so be happy. I purchase certaing gear in my system because it was something that I wanted. For me this is a hobby and I am not neccessarily going the cheapest route. For that, I could have gotten a Booom BOX. If you didn't care or like this hobby, you would not be on this forum. A Ford Escort can get you across town like a Cadillac CTS, but which one do you want? Lastly, the Preamp is just as, if not more important than the amp. That is the benefit of the Pioneer Elite avr's over the non-elite counterparts. A good preamp will have better room correction software, better DAC, DSP,.time alignment, phase contro, video capabilities and feature that will enhance you audio/video experience. I have a Pioneer SC 35 paired with some external amps. The SC 35 pulls all the pieces together, ie.. speakers, room, and source components.
post #52 of 429
Perhaps a reverse view.
Codecs, bandwidth requirements, numbers of channels, automagic room correction tools, DACs, etc. change more often than most people change their socks. What do ya mean my receiver won't handle the bandwidth needed for 4K. Wot? HDMI 1.5, 2.x is out? Wow, finally that stupid HDMI connector is out? All of this stuff, in a receiver, or let's say, in the pre-processing section of your receiver will change.

What about amps? How often do you find amplifier technology changing ... or just radically changing? Yes, there has been improvements over the years. Those improvements have been small and incremental by and large. When would you find a "real" need to swap out an amplifier? When (and if) it breaks. When, for some reason, you make a radical change in your speakers.

My leaning toward separates is simply based on the above. The real requirement for changing amps is very rare. The requirement (or desire) to change the pre-processing capabilities of a receiver are frequent and usually driven by factors I (as a consumer) have no control over. Further, my decoding needs are dictated by source. My amplifier needs are dictated by speakers (noting a good amplifier can drive a very large variety of speakers).

My vote is therefore on separates. Perhaps more of a budget hit on day one; but, less of a budget hit over time.

My two pence.
post #53 of 429
IMHO if your unhappy with your current AVR's performance look into upgrading to a higher tier model that has preouts before considering whether or not you need an external amp, in most cases higher end models output more power(ex the denon 3313 puts out 125w per channel and has preouts for future expansion) .
post #54 of 429
Thread Starter 
If the receiver has a good amp will you be able to notice the power regardless of the speaker specs?
post #55 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by asere View Post

If the receiver has a good amp will you be able to notice the power regardless of the speaker specs?

IMO and IME there's a sort of two part answer to this but it really depends on whether you are distorting or unable to reach your desired playback levels with your current amp.

Answer one is, if you double the actual available power, you increase the maximum clean loudness by three dB, which most folks, it is said, would consider "about one notch" louder. So to get significantly louder requires a lot more additional power than folks may realize.

Second, it took a good while and some experimentation with maeasurements included and all, but I'm convinced that if you do not use the extra power you will not hear it. Movie dialog, for example, runs around 85 dB or so, and with typical speakers even at a fairly far distance from the speakers you are not using 2 watts to reproduce that dialog. Assuming both are linear (including having sufficiently low outptu impedance to maintain the corect frequency response into the reactive load of whatver speaker you have) those 2 watts will sound absolutely identical whether deivered by a 10 watt amplifier, a 200 watt amplifier or a 1000 watt amplifier. The power potential that is not used is not used and does not affect the output in any way AFAIK. Despite the attractiveness of thoughts to the contrary.
post #56 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHAz View Post

Actually, it appears that in double blind testing, people cannot distinguish a high end amp from a non-high end amp as long as both are operating within their linear ranges. Which is to say that the betrter sound I heard from my Bryston was placebo effect. Ah, well . . . .

Yep, hit the proverbial nail on the head, along with your comment on Mr Ohm. Lots of people love to make all sorts of completely subjective self imagined claims about being able to hear large differences in sound by changing cables, changing interconnects, changing amps or changing from a receiver to a dedicated amp, etc. Objective blind testing has proven that when comparing two capable power systems for the speakers in question being driven these claims are simply nonsense and untrue.

Yes, it is true that if the receiver you are using is substantially underpowered for trying to drive the speakers you are using, moving to a bigger receiver or a receiver plus a separate more powerful amp could result in audible differences you could detect. However, for the system the original poster described, this simply is not the case as his receiver is perfectly cable of driving those speakers easily to his desired listening levels within his set up.

For all these "golden ears" who claim they can hear all these differences, I would suggest you offer them a simple challenge: go buy a new receiver, and a new separate amp and hook them up to your speakers. Then invite them over, sit them down in your primary listening position, blind fold them and conduct your own series of blind tests with equally weighted sound levels when playing the separate amp setup versus your current receiver. See if they can actually tell which is which so easily? Ill wager you the cost of your new amp and upgraded receiver they will not be able to accurately tell you which power set up is which any better than pure random guessing. Objective bling testing supports my assertion. Im not guessing here, Im simply regurgitating what has ALREADY been proven in a number of objective random tests on the subject. Remove the placebo effect, remove the nonsense and have someone, anyone PROVE to you they can actually hear all these huge diffrences in sound that are claimed by the "golden ears." If they prove me wrong Ill buy your new components. If they cant, they buy them for you. They had better bring a good load of cash with them when they venture over to your home, because they"ll be buying your new system, not me. :-)

Unfortunately the AV world, like so many other hobbies has become inundated with people who believe money always buys something perceptually better. Sometimes it is true, often you are buying marketing hype and little else that is actually relevant to your uses. Will a $10k Krell amp put out more clean power than your receiver? Absolutely! Does it mean a hill of beans if you put it in your dwcribed set up with your describe use and speakers? Flat out NO! Hook that Krell up to the speakers you described and listen to them using your described usage, and Ill tell you now, No One, No One, would be able to detect an audible difference between your speakers played through that amp versus your current receiver. Sorry they wont! The plain reality is your speakers, ANY speakers, even $100K speakers put out orders more distortion than even a basic plain jane $500 receiver does regarding distortion which effects the sound output from the speaker. Thats a physical, mechanical, electrical fact! It's reality. The power source simply is not anywhere near as important to your output sound as the speaker is unless the power source is truly incapable of comfortably driving the speakers involved and is clipping. That is fact despite the "golden ears" placebo, buyer rationalization, claims to the contrary.

Sorry for being so long winded, but I get sick listening to self professed golden ears telling newbies they need to spend silly , ridiculous, bordering on ciminal amounts of cash on amps, cables, interconnects, etc to get good sound. It simply isnt true! Most of this uber high end stuff is little more than fluff sold to individuals who you could convince a turd tasted great if you put a $200 price tag on it, and sold it through a Whole Foods store. It reminds me of the moronic cable claims. Inside those $10k speakers, the wires are basic copper wire with a simple plastic housing, little different than a simple Belden cable or any wire you could buy from a Lowes or Home Depot! But yet somehow by magic, once you get outside the speaker that simple copper wire is no longer acceptable to providing good sound according the the cable "golden ear" proponents. Now all of a sudden you need some $500/ foot Koolaid Shunyata or Nordost snake oil cable sprinkled with fairy dust which of course "magically transforms" your sound according to the self professed "golden ears." If you listen to their drivel, that nosebleed cable magically changes the output sound of your speakers even though the physical FACT is the signal from that magic cable ends up being routed through a simple plain jane copper wire once it is inside the speaker, and before it reaches the speakers driver! The claim does not make sense, does it? Just goes to show the amount of pure snake oil complete BS which has become common place in this hobby. Snake oil improvment claims sold as fact, when all one would have to do is simply peek inside their speaker, look at the wires it uses, and if you had even a modicum of logic in your head youd know the utter nonsense and pure 100 percent bullsheot being sold by firms like Nordost, Shunyata, Monster, etc.... My rant is now done. :-)
Edited by Breako - 11/3/12 at 8:52am
post #57 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dennis Erskine View Post

Perhaps a reverse view.
Codecs, bandwidth requirements, numbers of channels, automagic room correction tools, DACs, etc. change more often than most people change their socks. What do ya mean my receiver won't handle the bandwidth needed for 4K. Wot? HDMI 1.5, 2.x is out? Wow, finally that stupid HDMI connector is out? All of this stuff, in a receiver, or let's say, in the pre-processing section of your receiver will change.
What about amps? How often do you find amplifier technology changing ... or just radically changing? Yes, there has been improvements over the years. Those improvements have been small and incremental by and large. When would you find a "real" need to swap out an amplifier? When (and if) it breaks. When, for some reason, you make a radical change in your speakers.
My leaning toward separates is simply based on the above. The real requirement for changing amps is very rare. The requirement (or desire) to change the pre-processing capabilities of a receiver are frequent and usually driven by factors I (as a consumer) have no control over. Further, my decoding needs are dictated by source. My amplifier needs are dictated by speakers (noting a good amplifier can drive a very large variety of speakers).
My vote is therefore on separates. Perhaps more of a budget hit on day one; but, less of a budget hit over time.
My two pence.
I bought an over the top Emotiva XPR-5 recently, hence I am in the same camp. However, pre-pro's are not cheaper than AVR's with the same features so I am counting on better SQ. Will decide later between Marantz AV8801 or yet unconfirmed Emotiva RMC (pre-pro in XPR style). Have a UMC-1 ($500 on sale) to bridge the gap.
post #58 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHAz View Post

Actually, it appears that in double blind testing, people cannot distinguish a high end amp from a non-high end amp as long as both are operating within their linear ranges. Which is to say that the betrter sound I heard from my Bryston was placebo effect. Ah, well . . . .
Actually, I can assure you that, based on my personal experience, that many of us can actually hear the difference between high end amps and low end aps. I own Bryston 7BST mono blocks. A friend of mine, who is in the professional installation world said the same thing as you did. He challenged me and thereby set up a blind testing system. Same speakers but he set up a DPDT relay and he gave me the control for the relay. Right away, I pointed out the Bryston. The difference was minimal and without the relay, had there been even a few minutes different, I am not sure I could have pointed out that easily - may be - just being frank! And that was 14 years ago.. Since then, I lost a lot of my hearing of high frequencies above 8K and I am not so sure I could identify now. May be I can..

Having written the preceding, I would buy Crown amps today, rather than Brystons. Crowns offer much more cost effective solution. As do QSC amps.

Anyway, my opinion on the original question of the thread starter: if you have a speaker in the $500+ each price range - rated for say 100 watts - just as an example - you should consider an external amp with 250 watts or higher per channel. Its not just about voltage and current.. It is also about the "head room" of the amp and its ability to "control" the voice coil and the diaphram of the speaker with "authority". This argument is difficult for me to quantify.. It is based on personal experience and preferences - certainly, I could be wrong..

How ever, if you have $150 each speaker, stay with a $400 receiver and you will be well served. In fact, I happened to listen to one such system and it serves that room just fine. Frankly, I have listened to a few receivers in the $400 range and a couple in the $1500 range. The more expensive receivers were not always 4 times more superior. Sorry, for the generalized statement.. I am probably incorrect for several situations but I am writing this comment only to help those that have the $400 receivers, wondering if they are missing out major.. you are not! Enjoy the system!
post #59 of 429
um.

sometimes the distortion from the amplifier is enough to keep the distortion of the speaker set in place.
if the era of amplifiers improved a whole bunch, the distortion from the speaker could also go down.
the voice coil is designed to work with the distortion levels of the amplifiers sold for the era.

one could take a speaker and connect it to an amplifier with tremdous amounts of cleaner signal and watch the speaker literally change character.
at first, sometimes it might seem like the distortion is higher.. with a little bit of cleaner, but struggling obviously.
but the funny trick is taking the woofer and turning it into a midrange and watching it perform in a realm of new category (or area of frequency response) that the label on the box says it couldnt play at.

that is one way to get SPL tweeters.. or use large 12 inch woofers for midrange without going into the PA category.

not fair because the amplifier used to test the distortion of the speaker doesnt say it is 0.00006% distortion.
and not fair to use that amplifier if they had one because most people are limited to 0.05%

distortion in the voice coil is like weaving left and right as you drive down the road to avoid obstacles or debris.
change the distortion amount and the pattern of weaving down the road also changes.
(and that is how you place speakers into the category of 'worked' or 'didnt work' .. because some voice coils will and some wont)
post #60 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breako View Post

Yep, hit the proverbial nail on the head, along with your comment on Mr Ohm. Lots of people love to make all sorts of completely subjective self imagined claims about being able to hear large differences in sound by changing cables, changing interconnects, changing amps or changing from a receiver to a dedicated amp, etc. Objective blind testing has proven that when comparing two capable power systems for the speakers in question being driven these claims are simply nonsense and untrue.
Yes, it is true that if the receiver you are using is substantially underpowered for trying to drive the speakers you are using, moving to a bigger receiver or a receiver plus a separate more powerful amp could result in audible differences you could detect. However, for the system the original poster described, this simply is not the case as his receiver is perfectly cable of driving those speakers easily to his desired listening levels within his set up.
For all these "golden ears" who claim they can hear all these differences, I would suggest you offer them a simple challenge: go buy a new receiver, and a new separate amp and hook them up to your speakers. Then invite them over, sit them down in your primary listening position, blind fold them and conduct your own series of blind tests with equally weighted sound levels when playing the separate amp setup versus your current receiver. See if they can actually tell which is which so easily? Ill wager you the cost of your new amp and upgraded receiver they will not be able to accurately tell you which power set up is which any better than pure random guessing. Objective bling testing supports my assertion. Im not guessing here, Im simply regurgitating what has ALREADY been proven in a number of objective random tests on the subject. Remove the placebo effect, remove the nonsense and have someone, anyone PROVE to you they can actually hear all these huge diffrences in sound that are claimed by the "golden ears." If they prove me wrong Ill buy your new components. If they cant, they buy them for you. They had better bring a good load of cash with them when they venture over to your home, because they"ll be buying your new system, not me. :-)
Unfortunately the AV world, like so many other hobbies has become inundated with people who believe money always buys something perceptually better. Sometimes it is true, often you are buying marketing hype and little else that is actually relevant to your uses. Will a $10k Krell amp put out more clean power than your receiver? Absolutely! Does it mean a hill of beans if you put it in your dwcribed set up with your describe use and speakers? Flat out NO! Hook that Krell up to the speakers you described and listen to them using your described usage, and Ill tell you now, No One, No One, would be able to detect an audible difference between your speakers played through that amp versus your current receiver. Sorry they wont! The plain reality is your speakers, ANY speakers, even $100K speakers put out orders more distortion than even a basic plain jane $500 receiver does regarding distortion which effects the sound output from the speaker. Thats a physical, mechanical, electrical fact! It's reality. The power source simply is not anywhere near as important to your output sound as the speaker is unless the power source is truly incapable of comfortably driving the speakers involved and is clipping. That is fact despite the "golden ears" placebo, buyer rationalization, claims to the contrary.
Sorry for being so long winded, but I get sick listening to self professed golden ears telling newbies they need to spend silly , ridiculous, bordering on ciminal amounts of cash on amps, cables, interconnects, etc to get good sound. It simply isnt true! Most of this uber high end stuff is little more than fluff sold to individuals who you could convince a turd tasted great if you put a $200 price tag on it, and sold it through a Whole Foods store. It reminds me of the moronic cable claims. Inside those $10k speakers, the wires are basic copper wire with a simple plastic housing, little different than a simple Belden cable or any wire you could buy from a Lowes or Home Depot! But yet somehow by magic, once you get outside the speaker that simple copper wire is no longer acceptable to providing good sound according the the cable "golden ear" proponents. Now all of a sudden you need some $500/ foot Koolaid Shunyata or Nordost snake oil cable sprinkled with fairy dust which of course "magically transforms" your sound according to the self professed "golden ears." If you listen to their drivel, that nosebleed cable magically changes the output sound of your speakers even though the physical FACT is the signal from that magic cable ends up being routed through a simple plain jane copper wire once it is inside the speaker, and before it reaches the speakers driver! The claim does not make sense, does it? Just goes to show the amount of pure snake oil complete BS which has become common place in this hobby. Snake oil improvment claims sold as fact, when all one would have to do is simply peek inside their speaker, look at the wires it uses, and if you had even a modicum of logic in your head youd know the utter nonsense and pure 100 percent bullsheot being sold by firms like Nordost, Shunyata, Monster, etc.... My rant is now done. :-)
I agree with you.. Not a rant.. You hit multiple nails on their respective heads.. I am not as eloquent as you are but I agree with you, for the most part.. except for some parts.. as I wrote, I did take the blind test, with the switch in my hand and I had no way of knowing which amp was being swtiched in and I could tell the difference between a $500 crown and my $5000 Bryston 7bst - easily! Speakers were $900 Electrovoice two way.
But I would agree with you that if you do a blind test between a $500 receiver and a system with $500 receiver being used as the audio processor and external 5 channel amp, with $200 to $400 each speakers.. and make sure that they are matched for SPL levels, I doubt that there would be any audible difference.

By the way, I went to another blind test, set up by a local audio dealer. Some guy who was (I think) selling amps came in as a guest and we were invited for the party. The guy, while he was selling amps, kept talking about cables.. I forget which brand - some very high end brand.. Anyway, we each were invited to take the blind test for the interconnect cables.. I took the test once.. and the improvement was AMAZING, with the high end brand cables. I almost bought an entire set right there.. Then I asked for the test again.. and again, it was miraculous.. the cables were amazing! Fortunately, I didn't buy right then, because of time frame etc.. I am very experienced in such matters.. and I kept saying to myself "this is impossible"!.. The dummy I am! Only the next day, I realized what they were doing.. The guy who had the remote, was hitting the vol + button - just once - for his cables - just barely high enough to notice the "improvement".. I figured it out only because, I remember asking him for the remote, the 2nd time and he didn't give it to me.. He insisted on setting the volume..

Please don't get me going on SPDIF cables and special vibration resisting pads would help improve CD player play back quality..
Even now, I am surprised at the "high speed" "high price" HDMI cables by monster and others.. Frankly, they look so good that even I would believe that they would improve the quality! - if I didn't know any better.. I use $5 HDMI cables from monoprice!

Btw, sorry.. for off topic.. but if anyone is interested.. Here is a great cable that I made - but only if you have $500+ speakers and 250 watts/channel amps.. Take a 14 Guage cable - any cheap cable.. and in parallel, run a 16 guage solid electrical wire (30 cents/ft?).. You can use 12 guage electrical wire, if it makes you feel better! Idea being.. multi strand cable is ESSENTIAL for high frequency propogation but multi strand produces potential induction (and theoretically interferes) - you shunt the induction with the solid electrical wire, run in parallel and both are joined at each end.. Sorry.. for the rant.. just an experienced advice for newbies - don't spend huge amounts on that speaker cable! Frankly, I came up with this idea, even before I saw an ad from a "high end" speaker cable maker - who has a center solid core surrounded by multi strand design.. probably selling it for $25 to 100/ft? I don't recall their price!
Edited by audvid - 11/3/12 at 11:45am
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