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Can YOU hear the difference between amplifiers?? - Page 3  

Poll Results: Can you hear the difference between amplifiers?

 
  • 22% (35)
    1 - Absolutely
  • 30% (47)
    2 - Generally Yes
  • 9% (15)
    3 - Undecided...
  • 19% (30)
    4 - Doubtful but perhaps
  • 17% (27)
    5 - Absolutely Not
154 Total Votes  
post #61 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by mankite View Post

No idea, never tried it. I'm not trying to prove anything, you are. smile.gif

 

Ah right. So when you said "Just because I can't pick out which amp is which in a blind test 100% of the time doesn't mean they don't sound different." it was meaningless then? What you meant was "I've never done a blind test of amplifiers, so I have no idea if they actually sound different or not". OK, that's fair enough, but you'll forgive me for not taking your posts very seriously...

 

BTW, you didn't answer any of the questions I asked you in post 44...

post #62 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by NorCalJason View Post

Thank you, this proves my point.
24 of 38 people were able to hear a difference.
The title of this thread is "can you hear the difference between amplifiers"
My response was: "I can. Maybe you can, or maybe you can't."
wink.gif

Ha Ha. This wasn't a randomized ABX test that tested people's ability to tell which was which. It was a test that asked people which they liked better.

14 out of the 24 chose a $700 system over a $12,000 system.
post #63 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by kbarnes701 View Post

Ah right. So when you said "Just because I can't pick out which amp is which in a blind test 100% of the time doesn't mean they don't sound different." it was meaningless then? What you meant was "I've never done a blind test of amplifiers, so I have no idea if they actually sound different or not". OK, that's fair enough, but you'll forgive me for not taking your posts very seriously...

BTW, you didn't answer any of the questions I asked you in post 44...

Why would I take the time to do a blind test if I'm not trying to prove anything? I know they sound different and even if isn't enough to pick out which is which every time does not mean they don't sound different. It's amazing to me that you think that every amp sounds exactly the same just because you can say if they don't then one is defective. I'm not asking nor do I care if you take me seriously. A blind test on even riding in two different cars like a Corvette and a Mustang wouldn't even be conclusive and they are different cars! A blind test with allot of things that aren't night and day would be inconclusive. I never said it was a night and day difference and I don't maintain it is. There are many things that could be contributing to me liking the BAT better. Maybe it's that each channel has it's on power transformer. Maybe it's the fact that its designed to sound warmer and that's my listening preference. Maybe my speakers are really neutral and realistic and that makes recordings that aren't done at a high standard sound more fatiguing and irritates me more and the warmer amp balances that out. I really don't know what the reason is nor do I care as when I bought the amp I was hoping it didn't make a positive difference as I was hoping to just have had the experience with it and move on while saving some coin. I'll be the first to admit that the difference I'm noticing isn't worth the premium I paid in terms of value. But at the same time I'm not wanting to change a thing unless finances dictate which I couldn't say before the BAT as that's the reason I bought it to try it in the first place.
post #64 of 433
Now I'm convinced that a normal amp's job is to play the source loudly without adding anything extra to it, i.e warmth, brightness ..etc, unless of course you exceeded its limits which will introduce distortion.

But what about Tube amps? Are they designed to alter the signal somehow?

I have 0 experience with tube amps and I'm not even sure how common are those as speaker amps, I mostly hear about how they produce different types of sounds for headphones, but then on those headphone forums people say a DAC will make a night & day difference so it's really difficult to know what's true or false.
post #65 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicaband View Post

Now I'm convinced that a normal amp's job is to play the source loudly without adding anything extra to it, i.e warmth, brightness ..etc, unless of course you exceeded its limits which will introduce distortion.
But what about Tube amps? Are they designed to alter the signal somehow?
I have 0 experience with tube amps and I'm not even sure how common are those as speaker amps, I mostly hear about how they produce different types of sounds for headphones, but then on those headphone forums people say a DAC will make a night & day difference so it's really difficult to know what's true or false.

The best way to find out what's true and what's false is to try things for yourself. I never take others opinions and pass them on unless I have experience with something personally.
post #66 of 433
Until someone can prove to me that each of us hears everything the same way (yeah, go measure that).. amps sound different. the same amp/speaker/dac/preamp/receiver/roomcorrectionsoftware/room in the same setup will sound different to two different people. The key word here is "sound" and it is relative.

Those of you in the "they all sound the same when..." camp have sound (no pun intended, I promise) reasoning, but it's all based on measurements - of the wrong thing. Sound is an experience and with music (especially music) it can even be an emotional experience, that can't be measured. Most of us can't actually properly convey the experience to another, but somehow you can measure what the amp does and tell me what my experience is or should be. Sorry, no.
post #67 of 433
Different people can definitely be hearing stuff differently , but when the Same person fails a proper blind test to differentiate between 2 amps, what does that tell you?


@mankite
I agree it's best to try stuff yourself, but not everyone has the luxury of having access to many different types of gears let alone try them properly.
post #68 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by MUDCAT45 View Post

When did ALL amplifiers become digital? If speakers A and B measure the same in an anechoic then the same room characteristic should effect both A and B speakers. Or is the frequency distributed differently because the room can distinguish which speakers are playing?

I doubt this statement, because anechoic speaker measurements (usually) only cover a subset of the inherent design parameters and specifications of a speaker concept. Minute timing differences between drivers, production tolerances, different dispersion characteristics, different resonance and absorptions characteristics of the speaker housing, diverging crossover designs may not show up (completely) in anechoic measurements, but might influence the relevant sound characteristics in a specific room due to given speaker and listener (microphone) positioning. There is no "complete" set of parameters for a given set of speakers available, which will cover all and every aspect of a speaker design. Not to speak about the psychoacoustic elements of human hearing, which (unexpectedly) influence the individual listening experience by its own. If there where, speaker design would not be partial art but just applied craftsmanship and design rules, easily handled by an automated algorithm. Unfortunately, as we all (should) know, this is not the case, or there wouldn't be a multitude of speakers available on the market with diverging opinions about them by consumers and experts.

Thus two speaker sets A and B, measuring the same within an anechoic chamber, may still not "sound" the same in a "real" listening environment with its given (mostly uncontrollable) properties due inherent design properties, furniture, decorations, room and positioning asymmetries, clothing of people present etc.
They may even sound completely different to the better or worse in another environment, as we all (probably) have experienced already.
post #69 of 433
Thread Starter 
Well, I can add this. I purchased an Exposure 2010S2 and a Bryston B60 last month with the purpose of keeping one for my Harbeths. I listened to both and came away with a strong opinion that I liked the Exposure much more with the Harbeths. The Bryston sounded thin and clean. The exposure was warmer. I did not do any ABX testing but it is pretty strange that I would come away with such a distinct impression if it is all placebo. I do trust my ears to a certain extent.
post #70 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by mogorf View Post

Hi Lepus, which components are you referring to exactly? Capacitors, resistors, transformers, ICs? Care to expand a bit on this issue? Thanks in advance.

Any of your components whether it is a capacitor, resistor, transformer, transistor, IC, or how they are laid out can effect the electrical throughput of the signal. Even though the AMPs can be labelled to have a certain wattage per channel, or have components which are rated the same, does not mean they will produce the same signal/sound as what was originally input, they may sound very similar but won't sound the exact same. When your components are built they are not built with 100% the same quality of material as another manufacturer, nor are they built with the same design. If they used the same design, and the same components, you would have patent infringement cases from multiple companies, and everyone would be purchasing the same AMP, why do you think some people prefer one AMP over another, even though the specs are the same? They produce a different sound.

Now since all humans are not 100% the same, but we all have the same design (not including gender), we perceive things differently. Some people have great hearing and can hear some frequencies which other people do not, and some have the ability to hear minor subtleties when it comes to different equipment.
post #71 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by metallicaband View Post

Different people can definitely be hearing stuff differently , but when the Same person fails a proper blind test to differentiate between 2 amps, what does that tell you?

Fails to differentiate between the two or fails to accurately "guess" which was which... hearing a difference is the point here, not the ability to blindly and accurately pick which is which 24 out of 24 times (or any number) in a test. It's funny to me how the argument is given about how short our auditory memory can be, but yet people should be expected to be able to repeatedly and accurately pick out amps being switched and switched and switched...
post #72 of 433
How about we play the same track over and over and expect the listener to tell when he heard a difference, without naming which amp is which.

e.g same short clip would be played on both amp A & B in this order

A B A B A A A B A A B B B


If the listener said he heard a difference when the same amp is being played back to back, I think it'll be fairly safe to say he's delusional.
post #73 of 433
In the OP, it stated that this was a poll, not a debate. Everyone should state their opinion and that is all!
post #74 of 433
Here's a nice little test you can do at home or next time your at a bar. Get 3 shot glasses and put bud light, coors light, and miller light in them. And not knowing which is which I'd bet you can't tell me which is which. Funny thing is I like miller light and don't like bud light and I couldn't get it right.
post #75 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by mankite View Post

Your far from hurting my feelings. Like I asked before and you didn't want to answer. If two speakers measure the same do they sound the same if both are in the same room with the same electronics? Enlighten me with your vast wisdom I beg of you. smile.gif

What do you mean by measure the same? Please be specific. Because as far as I am aware, it is very difficult for two speakers to measure the same in every way. Have you ever looked at the measurements people take for speakers? Then multiply that by the numerous listening positions and the effects they have on a room. There is a whole lot more to how a speaker does it's job compared to an amplifier which is in a nutshell a multiplier of incoming signals.

For a simple example, lets take subwoofers for instance. You can take two subwoofers that have a very similar frequency response and yet sound different. That is because frequency response does not tell the whole story, unlike an amplifier where if it is functioning correctly, has a very simple job to do.

It's like buying a calculator and saying, the way that my calculator multiples numbers by 10 is nicer/better/warmer/deeper etc. than the way the other calculator multiplies by 10.
post #76 of 433
Nooooooooo, it's nothing like that. Your talking about a circumstance where your just looking for a result. Listening to music is an emotional experience. Give me the equation for love and I'll start to listen to your argument. smile.gif Like I said in the previous comment, try the beer blind taste test. It's the same concept, you may like one beer over the other but you can't tell them apart yet they are obviously not the same.
post #77 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by Lepus View Post

Any of your components whether it is a capacitor, resistor, transformer, transistor, IC, or how they are laid out can effect the electrical throughput of the signal. Even though the AMPs can be labelled to have a certain wattage per channel, or have components which are rated the same, does not mean they will produce the same signal/sound as what was originally input, they may sound very similar but won't sound the exact same. When your components are built they are not built with 100% the same quality of material as another manufacturer, nor are they built with the same design. If they used the same design, and the same components, you would have patent infringement cases from multiple companies, and everyone would be purchasing the same AMP, why do you think some people prefer one AMP over another, even though the specs are the same? They produce a different sound.
Now since all humans are not 100% the same, but we all have the same design (not including gender), we perceive things differently. Some people have great hearing and can hear some frequencies which other people do not, and some have the ability to hear minor subtleties when it comes to different equipment.

But if the end result as measured shows that the output is linear to a reasonable tolerance (+/- some db) then for the purpose that the amp was designed, it is able to do it's job. If the quality of the components resulted in large noticeable differences, then these differences should be measurable given that measurement equipment is far more sensitive to changes in amplitude vs. our ears. e.g. nobody argues that tube amps sound different, they measure differently as well.

As for why people buy different amps... most people buy AVR's and they are not purely amplification devices, they have all sorts of processing going on (DAC/ADC, equalisation, volume control - digital/analog, room correction, surround decoding etc.etc.). All this processing happens first and changes the incoming signal before it gets to the amplification stage. If you use the same processor (be it a standalone pre/pro, DAC or AVR) and connect it to numerous ss amps that have similar specs, level match them and then compare them double blind whilst not pushing either into distortion... then in most cases you won't be able to perceive differences if you keep everything else constant.
post #78 of 433
Thread Starter 
Well, that was the idea but as these threads turn out, people are very passionate about their thoughts. My purpose for creating this poll was to get a general consensus of AVS people on what they thought. The poll shows it; it's all over the map. For me, I hear some differences but not anything that would be a major factor. I have four amps and five sets of speakers. The speakers could not sound more different and the amps sound very similar.
post #79 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by rokbyter View Post

Fails to differentiate between the two or fails to accurately "guess" which was which... hearing a difference is the point here, not the ability to blindly and accurately pick which is which 24 out of 24 times (or any number) in a test. 

 

 

You're confusing me here... if someone can hear a difference, then he will hear it 24 times out of 24 or 1000 times out of 1000 won't he?  Either he can hear a difference or he can't. What was your point?

 

Quote:
 It's funny to me how the argument is given about how short our auditory memory can be, but yet people should be expected to be able to repeatedly and accurately pick out amps being switched and switched and switched...

 

 

confused.gif  Auditory memory is a few seconds. That is why auditory comparisons made several minutes apart, or several days in some cases brought up on AVS, are valueless. The entire point of switching instantly between amp A and amp B is that it eliminates the problems caused by short auditory memory capability in human beings. 

post #80 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by mankite View Post

Nooooooooo, it's nothing like that. Your talking about a circumstance where your just looking for a result. Listening to music is an emotional experience. Give me the equation for love and I'll start to listen to your argument. smile.gif

Listening to music is indeed an emotional experience. But the way that music is reproduced, amplified and played in your room is all thanks to science and emotion doesn't even come into it. Electrical engineering and acoustics are branches of science, and as such can be fully explained by science. How a signal is amplified is not a mystery, or magical or not understood.

post #81 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdkhang View Post

If you use the same processor (be it a standalone pre/pro, DAC or AVR) and connect it to numerous ss amps that have similar specs, level match them and then compare them double blind whilst not pushing either into distortion... then in most cases you won't be able to perceive differences if you keep everything else constant.

 

+1.

 

It's strange isn't it, why people want to hear differences between amps even where audible differences don't exist and it can be readily proven that audible differences cannot be discerned?

 

You'd think people would be pleased to learn that a $700 Emotiva amp sounds just the same (usual caveats re working within design parameters apply) as a similarly specced $10,000 [insert audiofool brand of choice here] amp. After all, once this simple fact has been grasped, the difference in price can be spent where there really is an audible difference to be obtained - speakers and room treatments.

 

The other aspect of these endless debates which always give me pause for thought is that, usually, the people who are swearing they can hear differences beween amp A and amp B - differences in 'warmth', 'depth', 'imaging', 'the darkness between spaces' and all the other audiofoolery - are also listening in a totally untreated room, with reflections everywhere, comb filtering, massive peaks and nulls, slap echo etc etc etc. Yet despite all of the former causing massive, massive distortion to the sound, they can still hear that amp A is 'imaging better' than amp B.

post #82 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by hdkhang View Post

But if the end result as measured shows that the output is linear to a reasonable tolerance (+/- some db) then for the purpose that the amp was designed, it is able to do it's job. If the quality of the components resulted in large noticeable differences, then these differences should be measurable given that measurement equipment is far more sensitive to changes in amplitude vs. our ears. e.g. nobody argues that tube amps sound different, they measure differently as well.
As for why people buy different amps... most people buy AVR's and they are not purely amplification devices, they have all sorts of processing going on (DAC/ADC, equalisation, volume control - digital/analog, room correction, surround decoding etc.etc.). All this processing happens first and changes the incoming signal before it gets to the amplification stage. If you use the same processor (be it a standalone pre/pro, DAC or AVR) and connect it to numerous ss amps that have similar specs, level match them and then compare them double blind whilst not pushing either into distortion... then in most cases you won't be able to perceive differences if you keep everything else constant.

Some people are quite capable of picking out the subtle differences from one amp to another. Now part of the problem is that the poster of the poll did not strictly state that this did not include AVRs. Now not every standalone pre/pro, DAC or AVR uses the exact same processor or components within it, they may have similar components within it, with the same specs. It maybe they have the same specifications as another, but it does not mean they will sound the exact same all the time to the same person. The OP was asking if people could hear the difference between amplifiers? So far 36% of the people has said yes to hearing a difference.
Quote:
Originally Posted by michaelkingdom View Post

Given they are competently designed, functioning and properly matched to a speaker's requirements.

He also did not state that the speakers would be the same, just as long as it matched properly with a speakers requirements.

Now whether this is a placebo effect or not, I couldn't tell you, all I know is that I hear a difference between different AMPs even though they have similar specs and properly matching speakers. And the one thing that is different between AMPs is that they have different components within them, maybe similarly spec'd and all. Now I'm not saying A sounds better then B as that would be my opinion.
post #83 of 433
^^^^

People believe that they can hear the differences between ss amps run within spce. That belief disappears when the test is done in a properly controlled manner.
post #84 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by runnin' View Post

I recently have been commenting in a thread about this topic which has basically formed two camps in the audio world. This one I will sit out, but am offerring popcorn sales! I've got butter, Becel, or plain, with or without salt. All done the old school way over a hot stove with real oil, those with discerning palates can taste the difference!rolleyes.gif



Hey, thanks. I'd like a neutral bag of chocolatey, midrange popcorn with a little transparent butter, please.
You are so right...two audio camps. One adhers mostly to science and the other to....mostly non-science. biggrin.gif
post #85 of 433
^^^

mmm.... chocolate popcorn... biggrin.gif

@lepus... in a controlled test, that "ability" to pick out those subtle differences disappears...
post #86 of 433
I think the Meyers-Briggs personality test would show that the two camps have different personality traits. One, suited more for objective science, the other more feeling and intuitive. One is not better than the other, they are each good at different things.
post #87 of 433
Maybe one day they'll discover better ways to measure things we don't yet know exist that are creating subtle differences. Maybe there's something to the design of these things that matters in ways we just don't understand. Here's a really stupid anology (brace yourself). If you eat a delicious sandwich like everyone else you'll enjoy it but if you put it in a blender and drink it it'll be a different experience even though all of it's measurements are identical for it's physical makeup...right.....RIGHT GUYS? redface.gif
post #88 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by brannigan View Post

Maybe one day they'll discover better ways to measure things we don't yet know exist that are creating subtle differences. Maybe there's something to the design of these things that matters in ways we just don't understand. Here's a really stupid anology (brace yourself). If you eat a delicious sandwich like everyone else you'll enjoy it but if you put it in a blender and drink it it'll be a different experience even though all of it's measurements are identical for it's physical makeup...right.....RIGHT GUYS? redface.gif

Now that's just disgusting. I'll never be able to enjoy a bologna sandwich again. tongue.gif

Your analogy only works if you put an amplifier in a blender, taking it's measurements before and after blending. wink.gif
post #89 of 433
Quote:
I think the Meyers-Briggs personality test would show that the two camps have different personality traits. One, suited more for objective science, the other more feeling and intuitive. One is not better than the other, they are each good at different things.ReplyQuote Multi 0


Perhaps your left brained in one camp the right brained in the other, or something like that Theresa. The belittling and insults though, I wonder what your test would say about those? This little chesnut, from post 72, for example, and this attitude is coming from one side only.
Quote:
If the listener said he heard a difference when the same amp is being played back to back, I think it'll be fairly safe to say he's delusional.
post #90 of 433
Quote:
Originally Posted by ccotenj View Post

^^^
mmm.... chocolate popcorn... biggrin.gif
@lepus... in a controlled test, that "ability" to pick out those subtle differences disappears...

Not sure I would like chocolate popcorn... Most people don't get to experience a controlled test for amps. Some do it in a store, others do it at home.

@Brannigan, I don't think I would want to eat a blended sandwich that way...
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