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Are amplifiers worth it - Page 3

post #61 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by audvid View Post

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!

well the easiest way to get in there and look is to see if the receiver is giving you all the power to meet the RMS level without any distortion.
you could say you dont need it that loud, and then you would need to go back and look at what i said about how and why a seperate amplifier could show an electrical improvement.
because yes, just because your speakers can handle 100 watts RMS .. that doesnt mean you have found a reason to give the speaker that much power.
one is going to be how loud it gets.
but there are other reasons why you might need to pour on the power.. some of those reasons are when you've got the speaker polarity clamped down with a second amplifier in opposite polarity to get more control from the coil.

or maybe you are doing some equalizer work and you really need to boost a frequency a large amount because of the situation the speaker is in.. and that boost might come up to 100 watts RMS while the rest of the frequency range is getting only 40-60 watts RMS.
post #62 of 429
Voltage but no amperage, amperage but no volts?? What are you talking about, man? This is the equivalent of trying to explain what would happen if your space ship was traveling faster than light speed through a vacuum--it makes no sense. You have to have amperage (measure of current flow) and voltage (potential difference between to points in an electrical circuit). Voltage is analogous to water pressure. Amperage would be the equivalent of how fast the water flows past a given point over time. Wattage (Power) is Current * Voltage (P = I*E). I think you are confusing the guy more than you are contributing to the thread, no matter how good your intentions may be. And as far as how much power his system is truly putting out, has anyone even mentioned RMS wattage vs Peak/Max wattage? When an amp claims 75 watts per channel, whether it's all channels driven or stereo mode, whether it's at 8 ohm, 4 ohms, or even 2 ohms, the distinction must be made. For all practical intents and purposes, you must refer to the RMS power handling, not Peak, which is only usable in very brief intermittent bursts, and typically comes at the price of added distortion, such as during huge thunderous explosions, etc. Mogorf pretty much covered the essentials anyways. Does he need his system to be any louder/how loud does he listen. To that point, I don't think adding more amplified power to Asere's setup is giong to benefit him. If you are considering buying something and you're not sure if you even need it, then you probably don't. We're not providing a solution to a problem because he doesn't seem to be sure he even has one. If he does, I haven't heard an actual problem needing a solution yet, just that maybe he is wanting to learn a bit more. If he had said his speakers aren't playing loud enough, or they distort and clip horribly at loud levels, then yes, we should be talking about him upgrading his speakers and/or receiver, or adding discrete amps if his receiver had pre-amp outputs, which it does not.
post #63 of 429
You can get higher quality amplifiers with separates.

You can also update specific components, without replacing an entire receiver.

Receivers have always been economical alternatives to separates, with a corresponding degradation in quality.

Michael
post #64 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

I just think it's not worth adding a lot of upgrades when you have ceiling speakers.

Yes.

You have a large room, you can get sound in it with your receiver and in-ceiling speakers, but if you want to fill it, I think you will be looking to upgrade both. That is a lot of volume to fill.
post #65 of 429
Thread Starter 
Dark Matter is correct, I don't think I have a problem. I don't hear distortion even at reference level. The thought of an amp or receiver upgrade seems nice to me it's a new toy. Since I'm not looking at filling a room I might as well keep what I already have. Thanks to everyone here for all their help in my learning process.
post #66 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dark Matter View Post

I think you are confusing the guy more than you are contributing to the thread, no matter how good your intentions may be.

from the person that wasnt decent enough to organize a post in a structured layout that is easy on the mind, body, spirit.
..i dont think you are young enough to budge what i said about how and why seperate amps are better.

and if you really want to look back at the amplifier making its way into the preamp to decompress some distortion .. also think about the digital comb filtering they do with the sampled rate of the output .. because the seperate amp might be just the thing that tightens the gaps in the air for them to keep a solid pace.

you can test this yourself with any plastic bag that makes noise.
(or any long solid noise)
the difference is huge.
post #67 of 429
Quote:
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
Amps are not tone controls. If two amps sound different, one or both are broken or being driven outside their operable range.
post #68 of 429
So to all the amp experts here. I have Boston Acoustics VS line. I have VS260s and 325C across the front with 4,VS240s as surrounds. Currently I am using an Onkyo 709 as a pre amp and an Outlaw audio 7125 amp. I was thinking of adding 3 M2200 Outlaws for the front sound stage to give the speakers more watts. Would I gain any benefit. The room is 21x12.5x9.

Thanks
post #69 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by anwaypasible View Post

from the person that wasnt decent enough to organize a post in a structured layout that is easy on the mind, body, spirit.
..i dont think you are young enough to budge what i said about how and why seperate amps are better.
and if you really want to look back at the amplifier making its way into the preamp to decompress some distortion .. also think about the digital comb filtering they do with the sampled rate of the output .. because the seperate amp might be just the thing that tightens the gaps in the air for them to keep a solid pace.
you can test this yourself with any plastic bag that makes noise.
(or any long solid noise)
the difference is huge.

I am on this poster's ignore list, and post just to try to add some balance in case foks are somehow drawn into the highly indivdualized logic that underlies this thinking.

uh, no. The amp never goes 'into" the preamp. the preamp feeds tha amp. The amp cannot change the distortion that might come from the pre. the amp can ad dits own distortion, of course. But if one's current amp is linear and is not adding audible distortion at one's preferred listening levels, a different amp's different sound will be placebo, according tto the double blind studies. The speakers move the air and nothing about the amps can change how the speaker interacts with the air and miraculously change what happens in the air in your room. Of course if an amp rolls off the highs that will change the speaker's output but that's not, as nearly as I can tell, anywhere close to what this post seems to assume is occurring.
Edited by JHAz - 11/4/12 at 7:50am
post #70 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by JHAz View Post

highly indivdualized logic

You are being very kind.

Willie
post #71 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellG View Post

So to all the amp experts here. I have Boston Acoustics VS line. I have VS260s and 325C across the front with 4,VS240s as surrounds. Currently I am using an Onkyo 709 as a pre amp and an Outlaw audio 7125 amp. I was thinking of adding 3 M2200 Outlaws for the front sound stage to give the speakers more watts. Would I gain any benefit. The room is 21x12.5x9.
Thanks
I am no audio expert.. really, I am not.. but my educated guess is - no, it won't be much of an improvement, if any, when you add 3 external amps - unless you are running your speakers at high spl levels constantly. Some one else wrote else where on this forum and I am paraphrasing his comment "speakers cause more distortions than amps".. I agree with him. Save your money.. enjoy your set up.. The subwoofer, if passive, would usually benefit from a monoblock or high power amp.
post #72 of 429
Quote:
Amps are not tone controls. If two amps sound different, one or both are broken or being driven outside their operable range.

This school of thought on amps is very common and usually pretty accurate, but I've experienced something that changed my mind on the matter.

I have an Emotiva XPA-3 that has sibilance with my Paradigm Signature S6 speakers. At volume peaks of 80db+ vocalists, when pronouncing an "s" have a hard overpronounced "sss". It's repeatable and easy to hear, but not on all recordings. I have a Parasound Halo A21 that swapped into the exact same system with the exact same tracks has no such hard "sss", and the vocal frequencies are not harsh as can be with the Emotiva. But for the price, the Emotiva is pretty decent, it's just not as refined sounding in these areas.

With other more laid back speakers the Emotiva amps apparently have no such issue. I also have 2 Onkyo AVRs, a 504 and a 876. Swapped in the 504 to my main system one night for giggles, and was impressed at how well it did. But it had a graininess to the sound when compared to the smoother sounding 876. I never knew what graininess was or what it sounded like before this, I'd read about some describing this only. Wasn't expecting to hear it, but it suggested to me that all amps do not sound the same. Forgive me for being obtuse, but this is what I've found in my limited experience.
post #73 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

It's repeatable and easy to hear, but not on all recordings.

The question has been answered!! Amps/speakers will never cause such phenomena once they are driven within their linear range. Using the keyword "sibilance" in Google will bring up zillions of explanations, as well as myths, of course! wink.gifbiggrin.gif

BTW, care to expand on:

- what are "laid back" speakers?
- what is "graininess"?
Edited by mogorf - 11/4/12 at 1:55pm
post #74 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by audvid View Post

I am no audio expert.. really, I am not.. but my educated guess is - no, it won't be much of an improvement, if any, when you add 3 external amps - unless you are running your speakers at high spl levels constantly. Some one else wrote else where on this forum and I am paraphrasing his comment "speakers cause more distortions than amps".. I agree with him. Save your money.. enjoy your set up.. The subwoofer, if passive, would usually benefit from a monoblock or high power amp.

After reading through here that's what I was beginning to think. Now I will back up one step and will ask if getting a better per amp would improve anything. Other than giving me a 12V trigger.
post #75 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by LowellG View Post

After reading through here that's what I was beginning to think. Now I will back up one step and will ask if getting a better per amp would improve anything. Other than giving me a 12V trigger.

What is to be understood by a "better preamp"? Better for what? Care to expand on you desire? smile.gif
post #76 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

The question has been answered!! Amps/speakers will never cause such phenomena once they are driven within their linear range.

I am of the mindset that separate amps are only necessary if the power demands require them.

That said, your above comment isn't entirely true. I am not sure whether you were being literal or sarcastic, so I am not sure if I am disagreeing or agreeing here, but: Speakers do not perfectly respond to the input signal, and amps do not perfectly amplify pre-amp outputs either. Capacitors and resistors do not perform to their idealized states, and the composition of the speaker medium determines how fast it can respond and what its resonances are.

Of course, the higher in price you go, the better the raw components become, to a point. After that, the differences in signal output wouldn't be perceptible unless a combination of distortions amplified each other.
post #77 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

What is to be understood by a "better preamp"? Better for what? Care to expand on you desire? smile.gif

Obviously having an Onkyo 709 I have about the cheapest pre amps possible for 7.1. One of the frustrating things when your run through Audessey for set up it does front wide and front high sounds from the surround back speakers since Onkyo uses the same posts for all 3. So you have to listen to 11 speakers blasts per round. Then I wonder if it really does the calculations correctly. The other is it does not have a 12V trigger. Other than that, I hear you will get a cleaner sound through a pure pre amp.

However, I just watched Underworld Evolution again after recalibrating yesterday and said, can it really get much better than this? It was a great movie for sound. I would guess it would be an incremental quality gain for an exponential cost.
wink.gif
post #78 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by Breako View Post


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?

Why speak in theoreticals?

I've conducted exactly this experiment in my own listening room with the following:

B&K Reference 20 Processor
B&K AV 5000 II amp
Onkyo 803 THX receiver
(3) Sonance Stereo amps

All properly calibrated within 1db with SPL meter, all playing the same content. There's significant sonic differences between components.

Don't take my word for it. Run the test yourself.
post #79 of 429
I have a question about the "sweet spot" of the voice coil comment. Does that mean that on a 3 way speaker, all of the voice coils of that speaker (hi, mid, low) are identical and you need to find an amp that feeds lets say, voltage for all three or do i need to bypass the crossover and find one amp for my mids and tweeter and one for my woofer?

I would just like to say, that in my experience, what helped me understand amps was when i heard the b&w cm9 through two different receivers. First time i heard them, i loved the sweet forward mids but was afraid that the forward and sweetness of the mids would make all music sound the same, like they were being ran through a filter of some sort. That was just the characteristics of the speaker that i got out of both receivers. The difference i notice between the receivers was in the bass. On the Yamaha, the midbass would not extend out as far as the mids would. The volume levels of the midbass might have been the same between the two receivers but midbass punch just did not seem to extend out to my chest like it did when i had the marantz receiver hooked up.

I have found that a lot of speakers, in my price range, are not as analytical about being as true to the source and detailed as the uber high end stuff and they usually do something or a few things to give a distinct sound to them. This can be more pleasurable for most, like, super thick mids and overly sparkly highs. For me, a speaker can be crossed off right off the bat if it doesn't image well. Amps won't change these characteristics in speakers. Amps will only make sure that your speaker is fed enough gas in all the departments when needed. If that speaker is given what it needs, then the characteristics of the speaker are more easily heard. A complicated midrange passage with not enough power might not show how large the soundstage is. I personally don't need a huge soundstage. A large soundstage is neat but for me, a soundstage can be to big and doesn't seem to be as musical to me because i feel i am analyzing the audio more because i have to try and extend my hearing instead of it being comfortably in front of me.
post #80 of 429
Man i always feel like i'm trying hard to write a good post and am very critical with what i think i'm saying. I read over it and this or that might need changed. There done. POST. re-read....ah fuuuuudge. why is it always after i hit the post button i feel like i sound like an idiot
post #81 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

I have a question about the "sweet spot" of the voice coil comment. Does that mean that on a 3 way speaker, all of the voice coils of that speaker (hi, mid, low) are identical and you need to find an amp that feeds lets say, voltage for all three or do i need to bypass the crossover and find one amp for my mids and tweeter and one for my woofer?

critical is in the eye of the relationship between the speaker and the amplifier .. as well as what the crossover does to the signal inbetween.

i doubt the voice coils are identical, but it could happen if the crossover is doing enough filtering to get different character from the voice coil three different times.
but that would probably be a joke or accomplishment from physics engineers .. compared to rational need, it is more of a toy and accomplishment.

but think about the person at home designing an amplifier.
they could very well design an amplifier for the treble, more-so than for the woofer.
it is all about the electrons needed, why, when, how.
change those why when and hows.. then the amplifier could be made specific for woofer midrange and tweeter.

that is critical thinking & critical effort.

it might make the speakers sound new, and it could be for better or worse.
the crossover being bypassed might have a lot to do with it.
and using only some of the crossover might change the character of the crossover because the other two side circuits are not connected.

i think people will stay there and view the critical as if there is some more clarity to be had.
because it could happen .. a speaker system all built together and it is perfect and cant be touched, or there is hidden talent inside if you go the distance to be critical.

each need would be a per situation basis.
it isnt impossible to view something critical and get more from something.
post #82 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

Why speak in theoreticals?
I've conducted exactly this experiment in my own listening room with the following:
B&K Reference 20 Processor
B&K AV 5000 II amp
Onkyo 803 THX receiver
(3) Sonance Stereo amps
All properly calibrated within 1db with SPL meter, all playing the same content. There's significant sonic differences between components.
Don't take my word for it. Run the test yourself.

Did you use both amps with the B&K and the Onkyo. If not then you likely noticed a difference in the processors and not the amps.
post #83 of 429
i was told in a forum that there are no differences between digital to analog conversion devices. Would a processer in a receiver be the same thing as long as it was the same codec like dts?
post #84 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

i was told in a forum that there are no differences between digital to analog conversion devices. Would a processer in a receiver be the same thing as long as it was the same codec like dts?

well teh DAC works on PCM after an intermediate step has converted teh DTS or DOlby into PCM. BUt generally, yes, I think it's fair to say the consensus around here is that modern DACS, assuming they're used in a competent design, have no audible difference, at least not audible in double blind testing.

Since most of us here are human, when we conduct our own tests without running them double blinded, we are subject to all kinds of subconscious biases that make our results highly questionable. AFAIK, there aren't humans without subconsciouses, and nobody's able to free themselves through application of will from the placebo effect, alas.
post #85 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 don't care if some people (those without experience) can't hear differences in any given component. Power amps have a huge impact on a system's overall sound quality under the assumption that the speakers and other gear are capable. Not many would argue about tube v. solid state differences, right? So how about 70/80s solid state where, for example, negative feedback was used to reduce THD? Well, these amps sounded like crap regardless of the measurements. Today's hi-end SS amp designs do no target for .000001% THD by using negative feedback. And the better power amps today are amazing. I'd challenge anyone to install a full-blown Cary Audio HT system versus low or mid-fi gear and hear the difference. It won't be subtle.
post #86 of 429
^^^

yet in any properly controlled test, those "huge differences" disappear...

hint: more than a few here have significant experience....
post #87 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

Did you use both amps with the B&K and the Onkyo. If not then you likely noticed a difference in the processors and not the amps.

Here's the combinations I tried...

B&K Ref 20 processor + B&K Amp
Onkyo 803 as a processor + B&K amp
Onkyo 803 as a receiver, by itself
Onkyo 803 as a processor + Sonance Amp

My current setup is Xmeridian PC sound card analog output directly to Sonance Amp.
post #88 of 429
Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

i was told in a forum that there are no differences between digital to analog conversion devices.

Okay, that's complete BS.

Digital to Analog conversion devices vary WILDLY. The digital domain is all very similar. A 1 is a 1, a 0 is a 0. But the ability to take that digital 1/0 and convert it to a analog signal is the very thing that separates components that sound good and those that do not.
Quote:
Originally Posted by bthrb4u View Post

i was told in a forum that there are no differences between digital to analog conversion devices. Would a processor in a receiver be the same thing as long as it was the same codec like dts?

A receiver is really 3 boxes in 1. It's a preamp, processor, and amplifier. Apples to apples, how receivers decode and direct signals in the digital domain (processor) very similarly. It's the other components (and feature set) that differentiate a $200 panasonic from a $2000 Denon.
post #89 of 429
I think this entire discussion can be summed up by this:

People who have owned Receivers and Seperates, who have heard a difference.

VS

People who have only owned Receivers and imagine there is no difference.

wink.gif
post #90 of 429
^^^

ummm.... no... wink.gif

your dac theory is well off base as well...
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