Amplifier Sound Quality: Do Brands & Watts Matter - Page 3 - AVS Forum | Home Theater Discussions And Reviews
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post #61 of 72 Old 01-04-2020, 04:37 PM
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Originally Posted by Fjodor2000 View Post
Sell your amps and get cheaper ones for $50-100, assuming all sound the same, and then you'll save some money.
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Originally Posted by Fjodor2000 View Post
The opposite, didn't you read my post? I'm proposing getting an amp for $50-100, assuming all amps sound the same as some say. That's 10-20x less than the Emotiva.

Sounds like you are proposing spending a lot of your money by recommending the expensive Emotiva over a $50-100 amp? Why, assuming they sound the same?
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Well, why don't you simply answer the question? If all amps sound the same as some say, why spend 10-20x the amount of money on an expensive Emotiva instead of getting an amp for $50-100? Are you saying all amps do not sound the same after all, or what's the logic here? Just trying to understand the reasoning.

Are you still dwelling on this topic, from that other thread?

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post #62 of 72 Old 01-04-2020, 06:05 PM
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Its funny that in my thread asking whether I should buy a Rotel or cheap PA Amp everybody said to buy the Rotel.
I did end up buying the Rotel but it was because of reliability, build quality, looks and ego more than sound quality.
I can't comment on sound quality yet because I am not at home for another 4 weeks to try it out
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post #63 of 72 Old 01-04-2020, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by niterida View Post
Its funny that in my thread asking whether I should buy a Rotel or cheap PA Amp everybody said to buy the Rotel.
I did end up buying the Rotel but it was because of reliability, build quality, looks and ego more than sound quality.
I can't comment on sound quality yet because I am not at home for another 4 weeks to try it out [IMG class=inlineimg]/forum/images/smilies/frown.gif[/IMG]
Oh don't get me wrong. Among price difference, especially if we are talking a $100 amp vs a $1000 amp, physical quality, reliability, and definitely appearance will come into play. Even comparing a $100 amp to a $500 amp has these differences.

But as you mentioned, and as has been discussed, the sound quality of those two amps, if all variables are equal and both are performing as intended, will come down to a subjective opinion and cannot be objectively measured per the OPs original question.
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post #64 of 72 Old 01-04-2020, 07:40 PM
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The answer to the question in your thread title is no.

The answer to question 1 is no.

The answer to question 2 is no.

The answer to the question in the final sentence of your first post is "maybe." Happiness is a personal thing and a response to any of a number of factors. If owning expensive well crafted pieces of technology makes you happy, it might. If owning expensive stuff just to brag to friends makes you happy, it might. If you ignore any scientific information on the subject and let cognitive bias control your perceptions, it might. But if you are looking for demonstrably better sound, because that is what will make you happy, then the answer to that question is also no.
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post #65 of 72 Old 01-04-2020, 08:03 PM
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Q1: IMO Yes. Better quality parts, design, engineering and build will result in lower noise, distortion, etc. resulting in better sound...and longer life too. But there is a line, again IMO, where quality has reached its' limit and to go beyond doesn't provide practical benefits.

Q2: If you push an amp close to its' limits the more likely noise, distortion, etc. becomes apparent and can be damaging to the speaker as well as the amp. I prefer more head room and do believe an amp can open up a speaker but an AVR amp can do that too as long as it's not pushed to its' limits.

I learned a long time ago to buy quality.
Quality costs but is worth it in the long run.
But expensive doesn't mean quality and research needs to be done to buy quality and not just expensive.
I don't mind spending extra to get better quality that will last a long time.
When I read the forums I do tend to see more lower cost amps have problems than higher costing amps and generally the higher costing amps get better comments for sounding better than lower cost competitor models. Perhaps one reason is there are far more "modest cost" amps being sold than more expensive models but I could be wrong.

This is true of all things.

I've been able to hear audio differences between kit but I'm willing to bet what I'm hearing are the differences or similarities between what I'm hearing, used to hearing and preferences which are based on the human condition...your hearing, etc. just as much as the "sound" the manufacturer may be going for.

I prefer a "warmer" sound and base my purchases on that.
Unfortunately I also base my purchases on what I can listen to and sometimes trial purchases which get returned.

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post #66 of 72 Old 01-04-2020, 08:44 PM
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Originally Posted by VisionxOrb View Post
According to the impedance chart, that 8ohm speakers drops to 3ohm from 100-800hz, id call that tricky to drive.
And I would not.

There is nothing unusual about an 8Ω nominal speaker dropping below 4Ω's in that range during peaks. Many/most speakers do it. If the 803 D3 was charting lower impedance through the full range, it would spec as a lower impedance nominal unit.

B&W spec's it as an 8Ω nominal unit. Again, I see nothing "tricky to drive" about it.

Attached is an impedance graph from a Klipsch RF-7, another multi-driver floor standing unit. The RF-7 has a sensitivity of 100dB @1m 2.83volts/8Ω's nominal. It's generally considered to have high efficiency and easy to drive. If you look at the graph you will see a similar dip and drop in impedance in the same general frequency range as the B&W 803 D3.

Again, I don't see anything unusual or "tricky" about the B&W 803 D3. I would be surprised to see an 8Ω nominal speaker that did not have an impedance drop in the same range.
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post #67 of 72 Old 01-05-2020, 12:42 AM
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Last edited by arcspin; 01-06-2020 at 11:41 AM. Reason: Not a relevant post to the discussion
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post #68 of 72 Old 01-06-2020, 07:36 AM
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Originally Posted by bjaurelio View Post
Question 1: If both amplifiers are properly designed with a flat frequency response and low distortion, you will not hear a difference.

Question 2: Aside from clipping, amplifiers usually have increased distortion when pushed at higher output. In reality, for home use, you're probably rarely using more than a few watts. Just because your new speakers say they are rated for 300+ watts does not mean you need that much to power them. Those B&W speakers are rated at 90 db at 2.83V. With a nominal impedance of 8 ohms and minimum of 3 ohms, you're looking at 1-2 watts giving you 90 db, presumably at the standard 1 meter for sensitivity measurements. Just to make sure you understand, to get 90 db at 3 feet away from the speaker, you only need 1-2 watts of power for those speakers. Even if you want to hit 100 db peaks, that's only requiring 10-20 watts of power. This is all assuming accurate manufacturer specifications. TLDR, a 200 WPC amp is more than sufficient for the B&W speakers you are auditioning.

I haven't read everything to the end, so this may have been talked about already.
Amps usually produce the cleanest signal just before clipping, as in say 99% output (very close to the rail voltage). This is because the noise floor basically stays the same, but the output increases, which lowers your THD+N (since it's seen in relation to the output signal). Tubes behave differently, they distort more, the harder you drive them.
Just yesterday I did a small test with my 10KW PA amp. I sent a 1khz sine wave to the amp, and back through a voltage divider net into my audio interface. THD was around 0.01% just before clipping (output of a single channel at 106V). When overdriving by ~0.1db, THD jumped to 0.2%. The difference was audible at higher volumes with only this single clean sine wave being played. It became audible at lower levels when reaching about 0.5% THD iirc. I haven't noted anything down because I actually did these tests to determine limiter settings.

Anyways, when working with high sensitivity speakers, noise floor is an important thing to pay attention to. When working with low sensitivity speakers, you basically just need more power to get to a certain level. The low sensitivity will mask many imperfections of an amp (which may produce a (audible) high noise floor).
But those points have been adressed before, just giving my opinion here to back it up. I think either @asarose247 or @Archaea did some ABX amp tests where they found all DUTs to be indistinguishable. If it wasn't one you, please forgive me!

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post #69 of 72 Old 01-06-2020, 07:57 AM
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I realize this topic is a bit of a troll. But I'll respond in good faith.

One can create a situation where it is possible to hear a difference between some amps based on unusual speaker impedance curves, some of the different amplified technologies (class a, ab, switching), and outlier speaker sensitivity, etc. Those differences do not correspond to price in a consistent way. And only when mismatched does one sound worse than another except for the occasional design that was an experiment that failed (some early switching amps fall into this bucket).

But most of the time, above a certain level (and Emotiva certainly qualifies) it would be unusual to hear an improvement in quality with more expensive amplification, other than possibly with highly sensitive speakers exposing a slightly higher noise floor with some amps (but you can see where we just created an edge case by invoking highly sensitive speakers).

HOWEVER, the best proof is not going to be opinions of strangers on the internet. Pick up the amps you are interested in. Listen to them. Keep the one you like the best. Even if there is no audio science to support your choice, you want to make sure you like what you hear and haven't overlooked some choices and that you have satisfied your psychological needs/desires.

Even if I couldn't hear an improved sound from a Mark Levinson amp versus my Marantz receiver, that doesn't mean you won't be more happy with the ML. Maybe you will hear a difference or enjoy it more for some other reason.

At the same time, you won't convince me I made the wrong choice in selling my ML amp! Because I'll tell you what: Selling the ML gave me money for professional room treatment, and that made tons of audible improvement to my listening room (far more than anything I ever heard from spending thousands on amplification).
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post #70 of 72 Old 01-06-2020, 09:57 AM
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Bickering posts removed. If you two want to debate this again, please take it to PM.

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post #71 of 72 Old 01-06-2020, 01:04 PM
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Posted this in another thread and thought it might be relevant here:

Amps have different characteristics as a result of many factors such as noise and distortion. This is perhaps why one amp is preferred to another. All amps with identical characteristics (frequency response, phase output, distortion etc.) will obviously sound identical. The reality is most amps from different manufacturer's are not "perfect" or identical and thus have different sonic signatures, which cater to different tastes and may in fact be purposefully engineered to cater to those preferences. Saying all amps sound the same, subject to power output is simply wrong in the real world of audio as it exists today. Theoretically if all amps were "perfect" as per a specific definition then proponents that claim they all sound the same may be correct but we don't live in a perfect audio world. The "perfect" amp to one person may sound awful to another. Audio, as we all know, is very subjective.
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post #72 of 72 Old 01-06-2020, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Knuck View Post
Posted this in another thread and thought it might be relevant here:

Amps have different characteristics as a result of many factors such as noise and distortion. This is perhaps why one amp is preferred to another. All amps with identical characteristics (frequency response, phase output, distortion etc.) will obviously sound identical. The reality is most amps from different manufacturer's are not "perfect" or identical and thus have different sonic signatures, which cater to different tastes and may in fact be purposefully engineered to cater to those preferences. Saying all amps sound the same, subject to power output is simply wrong in the real world of audio as it exists today. Theoretically if all amps were "perfect" as per a specific definition then proponents that claim they all sound the same may be correct but we don't live in a perfect audio world. The "perfect" amp to one person may sound awful to another. Audio, as we all know, is very subjective.
No two amplifiers have identical measured outputs.

Amplifiers can be proven to be sonically indistinguishable with measured output variances higher than you might expect.

Many people believe there are unmeasured or even unmeasurable qualities of an amplifier that despite looking identical or nearly identical in conventional measurements are easily distinguished audibly.
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