Do amps matter???? Kansas City blind amp comparison GTG. - Page 4 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #91 of 186 Old 06-01-2013, 06:31 AM
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Uh oh......you guys are going to need some very strict protocols in place to ensure no two amps are turned on simultaneously. I think there are professional speaker-switchers out there that might be a bit safer....but I'm sure you guys can handle it. Maybe, at all times, keep a red cup on top of the active amp so there's no confusion.

I'm still looking forward to the results!
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post #92 of 186 Old 06-01-2013, 10:07 PM
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post #93 of 186 Old 06-01-2013, 10:23 PM
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Awwwwwww, yeah!

Talking to Jon earlier today, I'm really looking forward to hearing all of the impressions and finalized testing methodology. This is going to be awesome.

You guys going to make a "results" thread, or just post them up here?
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post #94 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 12:40 AM
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https://www.avsforum.com/t/1475389/results-from-kansas-city-blind-amp-comparison

results thread - - please refrain from posting until tomorrow evening to allow all the attendees a chance to get their post in the top of the thread.

I had a great time today - Carp's a fantastic host...

The results are going to turn some heads --- for sure. Not one person thought the amps sounded identical that I know of... NONE of the amps sounded identical, and some sounded downright bad in comparison to the next when immediately toggeled back and forth. Nearly all of us agreed that it would be much much more difficult to do such a test without the ability to instantly switch/toggle the amps. The top two amps from the bracket had a showdown and 8 votes of 8 blind possible votes favored the victor. It doesn't get any statistically clearer than that folks --- even if the voters themselves though the differences were minor. head turner for sure --- enough teaser - full details tomorrow.

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post #95 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 03:40 AM
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These results don't surprise me too much... I already tried a non-blind test on my own, of all my stuff and posted the results here:

In summary I stated that the Lab clone was in the top 3 amps I had ever purchased or heard as far as sound-quality goes... besting the XTI 4k, EP4k, iTech 8k, Rotel RMB-1075 and matching or exceeding the Rotel RB-1091's.
[and the clone is also in the top 2 for output power as well]
Just for comparison: the RB-1091 is like $3000 a pair. The Lab clone being far cheaper.

https://www.avsforum.com/t/1431492/woah-its-official-the-fp10000q-has-audiophile-quality-top-end-this-is-a-big-deal/0_100


At the time I didn't have the Oppo 105 to do a good quality RCA to XLR conversion (or in the case of the 105, a direct XLR output off the DAC), so I intend to revisit this idea soon-ish; the results could only become even that much MORE noticeable...
It's too bad you guys didn't have an Oppo 105 on hand for this test though, it probably would have been a notch better than the USP-1/Titanium rig; which is no slouch either (good enough to tell 8 out of 8 blindly I see biggrin.gif).

This just confirms to me that:
a) that it is possible to hear a difference.
b) that you don't need "golden ears" to hear a difference of electronics.
c) that I wasn't insane or delusional or biased (spade is a spade!) LOL wink.gif
d) [???even when level matched, unclipped and having low THD and a flat response???] eek.gif

Can't wait to hear everyone's detailed response, as you had a wide variety of amps and listeners.
...It would have been nice to see some real heavy-hitters thrown in the mix though, such as: the Bryston 7B SST^2, Emo XPA-1 \ XPR-1, Lab clone and CV5000/XLS5000 to name a few. All of which are know to produce crazy amounts of power and/or ultra low-distortion. I can foresee a re-test coming! biggrin.gif
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post #96 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 05:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

https://www.avsforum.com/t/1475389/results-from-kansas-city-blind-amp-comparison

results thread - - please refrain from posting until tomorrow evening to allow all the attendees a chance to get their post in the top of the thread.

I had a great time today - Carp's a fantastic host...

The results are going to turn some heads --- for sure. Not one person thought the amps sounded identical that I know of... NONE of the amps sounded identical, and some sounded downright bad in comparison to the next when immediately toggeled back and forth. Nearly all of us agreed that it would be much much more difficult to do such a test without the ability to instantly switch/toggle the amps. The top two amps from the bracket had a showdown and 8 votes of 8 blind possible votes favored the victor. It doesn't get any statistically clearer than that folks --- even if the voters themselves though the differences were minor. head turner for sure --- enough teaser - full details tomorrow.

Wow, I'm surprised as well. Can't wait to read more later on today. Very curious to your track selections as well.

BassthatHz - I'm in the process of gathering some nice switching gear now. Looking to do something similar our way sometime soon hopefully. I can include the lab clone and xls5000 in our experiment as well as my Acurus. I know at least one local guy with a high end Bryston too.
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post #97 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 06:18 AM
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Looking forward to the details. Nice job pulling this together. Expect a lot of questions about as these these results would be different than any test I have ever seen published to date. So expect lots of questions and the test to be scrutinized. Hopefully the conversation remains civil.
Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

https://www.avsforum.com/t/1475389/results-from-kansas-city-blind-amp-comparison

results thread - - please refrain from posting until tomorrow evening to allow all the attendees a chance to get their post in the top of the thread.

I had a great time today - Carp's a fantastic host...

The results are going to turn some heads --- for sure. Not one person thought the amps sounded identical that I know of... NONE of the amps sounded identical, and some sounded downright bad in comparison to the next when immediately toggeled back and forth. Nearly all of us agreed that it would be much much more difficult to do such a test without the ability to instantly switch/toggle the amps. The top two amps from the bracket had a showdown and 8 votes of 8 blind possible votes favored the victor. It doesn't get any statistically clearer than that folks --- even if the voters themselves though the differences were minor. head turner for sure --- enough teaser - full details tomorrow.
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post #98 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 08:37 AM
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Primetimeguy, what other test has ever used instantaneous switching? 20 seconds into a clip I'd get accustomed to the sound and think this sounds fine. we'd switch and I'd say wow this sounds different.3 The fast switching was the only way I think this could have been anything other than muddied hazy guessing.

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post #99 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 08:45 AM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

Primetimeguy, what other test has ever used instantaneous switching? 20 seconds into a clip I'd get accustomed to the sound and think this sounds fine. we'd switch and I'd say wow this sounds different.3 The fast switching was the only way I think this could have been anything other than muddied hazy guessing.

I agree fast switching is needed.  But did you know each time it was switched that it switched to a different amp?  Or were there instances where a "fake switch" was done?  If not, expectation bias ruined the test unfortunately.

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post #100 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 10:21 AM
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switching was in order for the first four switches of each test on each song - after that out of order and random. Finally in each song test switching requests were taken by the group to allow switching back and forth between amps. Results and preferences were consistent within a song, though occasionally varied between songs - - - -

That said - our core team just discovered a grave mistake in our process and all of our results are being evaluated. We will likely have to repeat the testing for the braackets - which may change the final results of who is in the finale. Audyssey apparently automatically engaged at the power off of the Onkyo TX-NR 3009 we were using as a pre-amp at some point during the night (we definitely ensured it was off to start and even tested each and every pre out's frequency response on the same amp channel to make sure they were identical). When Audyssey engaged --- as you can imagine --- the pre-outs were no longer identical (except the pre-outs for which Audyssey did not have speakers to calibrate for in Kevin's room (Kevin being the owner of the 3009). All this means We are a frustrated group. frown.gif We have a few valid tests to show everyone - but the majority of the testing needs to be repeated. We may pass the torch to the East Coast group before meet up again. We are all disappointed as you might expect.

Sheldon is going to delete the official results thread and we will still talk about our testing process, lessons learned, the valid tests, and the next test's intentions here instead. Hopefully our experiences can help the East coast group or future attempts avoid pitfalls we encountered. I do think we do have some valid test data - some from Friday night using the Emotiva as the pre-amp with four different amps, the first round t-amp vs. Home Theater in Box Onkyo, and the finale between the XPA-2 and the EP4000, are what we think at this time are definitely valid results. (which is interesting in itself because 8 out of 8 preferred one amp over the other in the finale) -- which had measurements taken to verify it's accuracy. More to come.

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post #101 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 10:24 AM - Thread Starter
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Sucks guys, what can I say....

However, that's just how it goes sometimes and I still had a great time. I'll post more later, but I'm already over my anger/frustration stage and have moved on to acceptance. smile.gif
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post #102 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 10:45 AM
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Carp-

Thx for hosting. Appreciate the beer, etc. Sorry, I had to leave early but my son and daughter-in-law are off to Copenhagen this week and wanted to see them before they left.

Randy
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post #103 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 01:26 PM
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I have been waiting all day to settle in and read this thread. Damn Audyssey.
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post #104 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 01:55 PM
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crap and I missed the results thread before you deleted it! I still would have enjoyed what you had posted regarding the non-tainted results. I will stay tuned here I guess tho biggrin.gif

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post #105 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 03:24 PM
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crap and I missed the results thread before you deleted it! I still would have enjoyed what you had posted regarding the non-tainted results. I will stay tuned here I guess tho biggrin.gif

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post #106 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 03:33 PM
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Here's a video. Give you a feel for the day even if the results are mangled at the moment. :-)

It defaults to 480p but goes up to 1080p on the settings bar.

carp likes this.
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post #107 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 03:34 PM
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crap and I missed the results thread before you deleted it! I still would have enjoyed what you had posted regarding the non-tainted results. I will stay tuned here I guess tho biggrin.gif
I don't think there was anything written. All I seen were reserved spaces.
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post #108 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 03:43 PM
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I don't think there was anything written. All I seen were reserved spaces.

Yup. Hadn't gotten very far at that point. :-)
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post #109 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:26 PM
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First switching components have arrived! biggrin.gif hopefully we can pull something off soon. Have been pushing the wife to do something in July but she has been pushing back just as hard, haha. May have to find an alternate location. tongue.gif

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post #110 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:35 PM
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Looks like a good time and I am looking forward to reading the results soon!

Thanks for sharing that video and after that advisory about switching the amps, I would not be touching anything!
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post #111 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:38 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Archaea View Post

switching was in order for the first four switches of each test on each song - after that out of order and random. Finally in each song test switching requests were taken by the group to allow switching back and forth between amps. Results and preferences were consistent within a song, though occasionally varied between songs - - - -

That said - our core team just discovered a grave mistake in our process and all of our results are being evaluated. We will likely have to repeat the testing for the braackets - which may change the final results of who is in the finale. Audyssey apparently automatically engaged at the power off of the Onkyo TX-NR 3009 we were using as a pre-amp at some point during the night (we definitely ensured it was off to start and even tested each and every pre out's frequency response on the same amp channel to make sure they were identical). When Audyssey engaged --- as you can imagine --- the pre-outs were no longer identical (except the pre-outs for which Audyssey did not have speakers to calibrate for in Kevin's room (Kevin being the owner of the 3009). All this means We are a frustrated group. frown.gif We have a few valid tests to show everyone - but the majority of the testing needs to be repeated. We may pass the torch to the East Coast group before meet up again. We are all disappointed as you might expect.

Sheldon is going to delete the official results thread and we will still talk about our testing process, lessons learned, the valid tests, and the next test's intentions here instead. Hopefully our experiences can help the East coast group or future attempts avoid pitfalls we encountered. I do think we do have some valid test data - some from Friday night using the Emotiva as the pre-amp with four different amps, the first round t-amp vs. Home Theater in Box Onkyo, and the finale between the XPA-2 and the EP4000, are what we think at this time are definitely valid results. (which is interesting in itself because 8 out of 8 preferred one amp over the other in the finale) -- which had measurements taken to verify it's accuracy. More to come.

Thanks for the info.  Sucks about the results, but that is why these tests are so difficult.  Nice detective work on finding the issue and reporting it though.

 

From what you've written the only meaningful data in my mind is the random portion where people didn't know which amp was one.  You mention a bracket, does that mean two amps went head to head and people knew which one was switched on and picked the one they thought was better?  That would be preference rather than trying to detect a difference.

 

Not bashing anything you guys did, it is great, but from the sounds of it, it was more of a preference test than anything which still leaves open the question of whether or not there really was any difference at all.

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post #112 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:43 PM - Thread Starter
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Here's a video. Give you a feel for the day even if the results are mangled at the moment. :-)

It defaults to 480p but goes up to 1080p on the settings bar.



Chirpie, that was great man!! Thanks for doing that, I was very entertained watching that.

My laptop speakers were distorting to all hell when the bass would hit, it will be interesting to watch the video on my system - or is the distortion on the recording mic itself?


So cool man, I'm going to put this video on my "what's your room configuration" thread if I ever get around to cleaning it up. smile.gif
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post #113 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:46 PM - Thread Starter
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Carp-

Thx for hosting. Appreciate the beer, etc. Sorry, I had to leave early but my son and daughter-in-law are off to Copenhagen this week and wanted to see them before they left.

Randy


No problem at all Randy, thanks so much for coming and letting me borrow the speakers for awhile.
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post #114 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:47 PM
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Gorilla83,

I just setup a small demo at my place today very carefully level matching, and doing all the presetup work. Scrappydue, his wife, and carp came by and just left. I've pretty much full circle to my original position that the minor variations between amps are ever so slight and still feel in most cases almost entirely impossible to tell outside of instantaneous switching (assuming a minimum level of quality amp).

Believe it or don't between the T-amp, the Inuke DSP, the Pioneer Elite, and the Onkyo HTIB in today's retest - the only one that we could reliably tell a difference about was the Onkyo HTIB. I wasn't really voting and wasn't in the sweet spot but carp, scrappydue, and his wife were listening intently. The HTIB AVR had a different sound. Like some sort of DSP was applied even though it was all off. The sound was warmer - fuller - and a bit more distorted --- just like it was during the initial face off at carps. My biggest surprise was that the $20 t-amp kept pace (pretty much identical to our ears with the Pioneer Elite, and the Inuke DSP 3000, and the Emotiva XPA-3 until quite loud (pretty much uncomfortably loud) where it started to loose a bit of clarity. That $20 t-amp has no right to sound identical to much higher cost/performance amps -- but it does. (I didn't even think it was losing dynamics along the way - just a bit of clarity as the volume really went skyward). All said at 85db levels the T-amp was indistinguishable. It wasn't until we hit mid 90 dB levels that the ever so slight clarity issue began to arise. The Inuke DSP 3000, the Emotiva XPA-3, and Pioneer Elite receiver were pretty much indistinguishable.

I still plan to post up our procedures from yesterday and misteps --- there are some goodies in there.

Things like:
In all channel stereo - both my Onkyo TX-NR1007, and MrSmithers TX-NR3009 boost L/C/R outputs by exactly 3dB.
You can't split analog signal from an Emotiva preamp four ways and avoid excessive noise in the signal (at least not with the connectors we had)
Don't power cycle an AVR and trust everything stays the same.
ACV on different class amps is not reliable as a measurement for spl.
People may seem to be able to detect smaller dB increases than we might expect
Onkyo's have EXCELLENT/IDENTICAL pre-out output frequencies - when Audyssey or other EQ is not engaged.


Gorilla if you plan to throw a big g2g for amp comparisons - I'd throw a small one first or have a plan B in case they all sound pretty similar. After today's retesting results I fear a g2g on amp comparison probably won't be nearly as exciting as we all thought we were yesterday.

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post #115 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:47 PM - Thread Starter
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Originally Posted by beastaudio View Post

crap and I missed the results thread before you deleted it! I still would have enjoyed what you had posted regarding the non-tainted results. I will stay tuned here I guess tho biggrin.gif

No one had posted anything other than reserving posts. I was in the middle of a long post stating how amazingly different different amps sound when Jonathan called and told me what happened with Audyssey.
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post #116 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:56 PM
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Chirpie, that was great man!! Thanks for doing that, I was very entertained watching that.

My laptop speakers were distorting to all hell when the bass would hit, it will be interesting to watch the video on my system - or is the distortion on the recording mic itself?


So cool man, I'm going to put this video on my "what's your room configuration" thread if I ever get around to cleaning it up. smile.gif

The distortion is on the mic itself.

I brought a separate mic and handheld recorder that had the dynamic range to handle the recording, but forgot to bring the fricken USB power adapter so I couldn't use it. Darn it all. Next time... next time... ^_^
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post #117 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 04:59 PM - Thread Starter
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Just got home from Jonathan's, yep all amps sound the same...

The HTIB receiver did sound more congested, not as clear, less soundstage, etc. and was very obviously different. The others which included my Pioneer Elite all sounded the same. Like Jonathan said even the T amp sounded like the others. We cranked up music to 90-92 db (which is quite loud without subs) and I could just barely detect a difference between the T amp and the others, but I wasn't even able to tell blind so even then it could have been placebo.

Why am I bummed? I would think I would be happy that I don't have to buy amps to power all my speakers... but I'm not. confused.gif


In the last 2 days I have gone from thinking all amps sound the same unless clipping - to thinking amps sound different, some drastically - and then back to all amps sound the same unless clipping.
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post #118 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 05:00 PM
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Originally Posted by chirpie View Post

Here's a video. Give you a feel for the day even if the results are mangled at the moment. :-)

It defaults to 480p but goes up to 1080p on the settings bar.


Ryan,

I LOVE THIS

Fantastic job with the video!!! A+ Best meet video ever!

Archaea's 9.12.4 Home Theater Room
(13) JBL CBT 70j-1 | (8) Ultimax UM18-22 sealed subwoofers | (4) MB Quart 12" subwoofers mounted directly to Berkline theater chairs BOSS style | Denon x7200wa AVR | Epson 5040UB Projector | Jamestown 144", 2.35:1 AT screen w/ Seymour XD fabric
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post #119 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 05:02 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by carp View Post

Just got home from Jonathan's, yep all amps sound the same...

In the last 2 days I have gone from thinking all amps sound the same unless clipping - to thinking amps sound different, some drastically - and then back to all amps sound the same unless clipping.


What an emotional roller coaster eh? rolleyes.giftongue.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gifbiggrin.gifeek.gifmad.giffrown.gifredface.gif

Archaea's 9.12.4 Home Theater Room
(13) JBL CBT 70j-1 | (8) Ultimax UM18-22 sealed subwoofers | (4) MB Quart 12" subwoofers mounted directly to Berkline theater chairs BOSS style | Denon x7200wa AVR | Epson 5040UB Projector | Jamestown 144", 2.35:1 AT screen w/ Seymour XD fabric
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post #120 of 186 Old 06-02-2013, 05:18 PM
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Thanks guys!

I didn't stick around to take pictures of all the amps from the front (only got pics of the cheap ones mostly) since I wussed out and left after 7 1/2 hours. (In my defense, I was up until 4am the night before. :-P) But again, here's the supplemental photo package for the day. Tell your wife awesome brownies. I'll need to try the top secret smoothie recipes some day. ^_^

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