[QUOTE=tpro8;57999066]OK – I’m a new “audiophile”. What am I missing or doing wrong here:
Hi Tpro8...I have notice similar responses you did about amps, but I have heard some differences in pre-amps.
About 10-12 years ago, just for fun, my wife, a neighbor and I compared some Outlaw amps we owned (7-channel, 200w/ch and 200w monos), with a 125w Rotel amp and a 150w Bel Canto (class D), which we also owned. We tried all four amps in our home theater using two different pre-pros (Outlaw and Rotel) and a pair of Thiel Powerpoint speakers. We did the same thing in our media room, except the speakers were Magnepans 1.6s. The audio level we listened to was around 65-70 dBs avg SPL. It was casual listening, nothing scientific, because we already owned the equipment and were wondering if we could tweak something around for improvement with what we had.
Bottomline, there was an audible difference between the pre-pros, and it did not matter what configuration we used (e.g., speakers and/or pre-pros) or what room we used them in.
However...the amps' comparison was a different story.
We went in expecting to hear something modestly different between the amps, particularly since the Rotel and the Bel Canto were significantly more expensive...but, we did not. This was surprising to us. Ultimately, the consensus was no easily audible difference between the amps when playing the Thiel powerpoint speakers (we guessed wrong as much as we did right). With the Magnepans, there was a slight "airy" sound that could be heard with the Bel Cantos, but only noticeable when doing A/B comparisons...otherwise, no difference. Certainly, nothing even close to the audible difference the pre-pros had.
Since that time, as long as it was a good quality amp (which I defined as a min increase of 50% in power at 4 ohms, all channels driven, when compared to 8 ohms), then I looked at other features for making a decision for which amp to buy (e.g., weight of amp, maintenance reliability concerns, etc.).
EDIT: Whoops! Forgot to mention: Not too long ago, also just for fun, I also compared a Yamaha RX-A3040 I had in one room to a Marantz AV8801 pre-pro I had in our media room. Used Wyred 4 Sound amps to power the Magnepans 3.7i's we had in the media room. Bottomline: we did not notice much difference in sound when listening to movies, maybe a tiny bit of difference on a closely listened to A/B, but not anywhere near the level in difference we heard between the Rotel and Outlaw pre-pros. In fact, at one point in a movie we forgot we had the Yamaha in the system
. However, for music there was an audible difference that was easily heard, more along the lines we expected for pre-pros with a large difference in cost.