AVS Forum banner
1 - 20 of 43 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
I'm looking to get a dedicated multichannel amp to drive my B&W XT8/XTC/XT2 speakers. I'm currently using a Denon AVR-3808CI and am ready to move to separates (I'll be using the Denon AVR as a Pre-pro for now). The room is 15ft X 8ft. My price point is ~$2000 and I've demoed a few amps and have narrowed down the choices to the Rotel RMB-15XX and the Anthem PVA/MCA.


My dealer had B&W XT8s available to use for a demo, but only had the RMB-1575 and Anthem MCA-50. I really liked how the Anthem sounded with the B&W XT8s, but I don't think I'll need the MCA since the room is not that large. Is it safe to assume the sonic character of the PVA series is close to the MCA series? Any thoughts or experience with PVA to MCA comparisons would be greatly appreciated!
 

·
The Village Idiot
Joined
·
9,748 Posts
My experiences closely parallel this DBT . Many others here on AVS have had very similar experiences. Its tough to pick out one amp/AVR over another in a DBT .


In other words - get an Emotiva amp and save some money. You don't have a concert hall to light up with sound - even a decent AVR (you already have that) will play pretty much the same. Want different sonics? Change the speakers.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
726 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle13 /forum/post/20880236


I'm looking to get a dedicated multichannel amp to drive my B&W XT8/XTC/XT2 speakers. I'm currently using a Denon AVR-3808CI and am ready to move to separates (I'll be using the Denon AVR as a Pre-pro for now). The room is 15ft X 8ft. My price point is ~$2000 and I've demoed a few amps and have narrowed down the choices to the Rotel RMB-15XX and the Anthem PVA/MCA.


My dealer had B&W XT8s available to use for a demo, but only had the RMB-1575 and Anthem MCA-50. I really liked how the Anthem sounded with the B&W XT8s, but I don't think I'll need the MCA since the room is not that large. Is it safe to assume the sonic character of the PVA series is close to the MCA series? Any thoughts or experience with PVA to MCA comparisons would be greatly appreciated!

I'll bet the PVA and MCA are extremely similar in tonality. If I was going separates, I would sure want balanced inputs in an amp though! I realized the MCA is significantly more expensive than the PVA. Anthem amps are known for being dead quite. Another amp to consider is the highly regarded Parasound A52. This falls roughly between the other 2 amps in price.


Rotel is often (always? lol) pushed by B&W dealers. These are a class D/ICE amp design. If I was going that route, I would take a long look at the Wyred 4 Sound offerings also.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
532 Posts

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 /forum/post/0


My experiences closely parallel this DBT . Many others here on AVS have had very similar experiences. Its tough to pick out one amp/AVR over another in a DBT .


In other words - get an Emotiva amp and save some money. You don't have a concert hall to light up with sound - even a decent AVR (you already have that) will play pretty much the same. Want different sonics? Change the speakers.

I take a completely different approach. Unlike processors, video components, and even speakers to a certain extent... Amplifiers are a long term investment. Invest in the biggest and best you can afford, you are going to be using it for a while.

Between the PVA and MCA, I would definitely try and justify the MCA. The extra power and current will be much appreciated!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #5 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90 /forum/post/20880358


My experiences closely parallel this DBT . Many others here on AVS have had very similar experiences. Its tough to pick out one amp/AVR over another in a DBT .


In other words - get an Emotiva amp and save some money. You don't have a concert hall to light up with sound - even a decent AVR (you already have that) will play pretty much the same. Want different sonics? Change the speakers.

Thanks for the feedback. I've seen that post and I find it very interesting. I know there are two schools of thought on this, but I did hear a difference in the sound of the same 5 songs I played between the two amps. Vocals on the Rotel sounded more recessed and pianos sounded "muddled." The Anthem sound-stage was more clearly defined, as were vocals. It sounded more "musical" to me. Since my listening is 50/50 movies to music, that was very important. Also, I'm aware that there is a chance of some psycho-acoustic influence by the salesman, but to his credit, he said that in both instances the pre-pro was set to "Direct PCM" from the CD player, cued up the songs, said nothing and simply walked out of the room after hitting play.


I haven't heard Emotiva amps (and I'm aware they are highly regarded), but call me old-fashioned, I guess- I still like to hear audio equipment before I buy it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #7 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by DigsMovies /forum/post/20880389


I'll bet the PVA and MCA are extremely similar in tonality. If I was going separates, I would sure want balanced inputs in an amp though! I realized the MCA is significantly more expensive than the PVA. Anthem amps are known for being dead quite. Another amp to consider is the highly regarded Parasound A52. This falls roughly between the other 2 amps in price.


Rotel is often (always? lol) pushed by B&W dealers. These are a class D/ICE amp design. If I was going that route, I would take a long look at the Wyred 4 Sound offerings also.


Thanks!

I suspect the difference I heard in the amps is, possibly, due to the Class D/ICE of the Rotel vs Class AB of the Anthem...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #8 ·

Quote:
Originally Posted by glennQNYC /forum/post/20880391


I take a completely different approach. Unlike processors, video components, and even speakers to a certain extent... Amplifiers are a long term investment. Invest in the biggest and best you can afford, you are going to be using it for a while.

Between the PVA and MCA, I would definitely try and justify the MCA. The extra power and current will be much appreciated!

Thanks for your input!


I agree, I'd like to think this amp would last me quite some time. As much as I'd like to think I can upgrade audio equipment every few years, it ends up being a slippery slope... I try to look at these purchases as an investment. I would definitely prefer the MCA 50 (Bigger! Stronger!!)
but I'm thinking it might be too much for the space. Maybe the dealer will let me try the PVA at home for a few days with the option to return it and upgrade to the MCA 50...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
26 Posts
Discussion Starter · #9 ·
Just wanted to update people who responded (Thanks again!) and to anyone else who might be interested. The dealer was willing to let me upgrade from the Anthem PVA 5 to the MCA 50 if I was unsatisfied (I'd have to get the 6 month old demo model, but I'd still have the full 5 year warranty). So I took the plunge and bought the Anthem PVA 5.


Before connecting the PVA 5 at home, I listened to two songs and then listened to them with the PVA 5 driving the speakers. Wow! It was a marked difference- imaging, definition and separation were much better! The flabby mid-range tightened up considerably! - I wish that'd be all it took to tighten up MY midrange!!
Even my wife noticed and she immediately asked if she could listen to some of her favorite songs!
Very, very pleased with the Anthem PVA 5!! Although the Denon AVR-3808CI is rated at 130W Per Channel, it sounds like it's output is half (and a wobbly half in comparison!) that of the Anthem PVA 5.


I can't recommend going the separates route enough!! Now... how can I justify to the wife why we need the Anthem AVM 50v...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Knucklehead90
My experiences closely parallel this DBT . Many others here on AVS have had very similar experiences. Its tough to pick out one amp/AVR over another in a DBT
I wish that particular test didn't get referenced so often, because the guys did it all wrong. They asked people to decide which system was "best sounding," which tells us nothing and incorrectly implies that about 2/3 of the listeners could hear differences, which wasn't actually demonstrated.


What they needed to do was a true "ABX" test to see if the listeners could actually tell one system from another to begin with. It works like this: You blindly audition System A, System B and System X (with X being a random repeat of A or B), then try to match X to A or B. You repeat this test in search of statistical significance. (That would mean a very high percentage of correct matches; keep in mind that a deaf guy would be right 50 percent of the time.)


Unless and until you've passed a properly conducted "ABX" test (and no one, to my knowledge, ever has), then a statement as to which system "sounds better" is meangingless. Interestingly, the guys who conducted that test use the term "ABX," but, as best I can tell, they didn't understand what it meant.


If we can glean anything from that test, the fact that the data fell in rounghly even thirds among System A, System B and "Don't Know" suggests random guessing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
18,923 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Brownstone322
I wish that particular test didn't get referenced so often, because the guys did it all wrong. They asked people to decide which system was "best sounding," which tells us nothing and incorrectly implies that about 2/3 of the listeners could hear differences, which wasn't actually demonstrated.
Agreed to some extent. But if a system which is supposed to sound "better", and had every advantage, and does not sound better, I think we can come to some conclusions.


For example, posts by people who changed an amp who, and insist on a "night and day difference". How is that possible when so many blind tests show people struggling to hear differences? And the Stereo Review test where people could not tell apart a cheapo Pioneer receiver from an expensive tube amp? If it's hard to tell those two apart, where are all these large differences people claim to hear coming from?



My pet peeve being that I strongly feel people overstate differences. That muddies the water and confuses people new to the hobby.


Whether or not there are amp differences, the evidence suggests differences are small when they do exist.


If we could get people to at least try to honestly evaluate their systems (not easy IMO,) we could maybe come closer to being able to understand what differences may exist. If people simply come to these forums, and type out poetic language about how some amp changed their life, forget...we have learning nothing.

 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,694 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by Eagle13
So I took the plunge and bought the Anthem PVA 5
Congrats, good choice. I loved the PVA5 I had a while back, extremely quiet noise floor and a real sleeper for music.

I'm sort of a tweener on the amp issue. I think the truth about how different they sound is both under and over stated, but more often than not it's over.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
6,694 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman
If we could get people to at least try to honestly evaluate their systems (not easy IMO,) we could maybe come closer to being able to understand what differences may exist. If people simply come to these forums, and type out poetic language about how some amp changed their life, forget...we have learning nothing.
The most comon theme IMO is people without knowing it have a tendancy to self validate their purchases. I think it's human nature, you spend your money.. you want to hear a difference.


The mind is a powerful thing.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
249 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman
Agreed to some extent. But if a system which is supposed to sound "better", and had every advantage, and does not sound better, I think we can come to some conclusions.
Well, that test certainly didn't support the idea that a "premium" system "sounds better," but there's no definition of what "better" even means. It's possible, for instance, that a particular user could first prove that he could hear a difference between systems then state that he actually preferred the shoddy one. There's no accounting for taste, and it really doesn't matter which system a user thinks "sounds better" -- that's his choice. What does matter is whether he can hear differences at all, and, anecdotal statements aside, there's little to no evidence that listeners can distinguish among electronics like preamps, power amps or disk players. They can makes such claims all they want, and they can use phrases like "I listen with my ears; I don't pay attention to specs," but without any supporting data, it's idle chatter. It's more like religion, really.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman
For example, posts by people who changed an amp who, and insist on a "night and day difference". How is that possible when so many blind tests show people struggling to hear differences? And the Stereo Review test where people could not tell apart a cheapo Pioneer receiver from an expensive tube amp? If it's hard to tell those two apart, where are all these large differences people claim to hear coming from?


My pet peeve being that I strongly feel people overstate differences. That muddies the water and confuses people new to the hobby.


Whether or not there are amp differences, the evidence suggests differences are small when they do exist.
Without question, whatever differences that may exist among modern electronics are certain to be very small. (And let's not even consider cables.) Anyone who claims the "vast differences" you describe (and I've seen this a lot) immediately have zero credibility with me -- that's just too far beyond what we know to be true.


Here's what's ironic. One would think the "vast difference" crowd (think the culture of Stereophile and The Absolute Sound) would gleefully embrace blind testing. These folks should be able to knock out these tests close to 100 percent of the time and put the matter to rest. But what do you get instead? They'll pontificate at length as to why test procedures invalidate the results or that blind testing in general is somehow invalid. But what they won't do is participate in blind tests, let alone pass them.


Go figure.

Quote:
Originally Posted by MichaelJHuman
If we could get people to at least try to honestly evaluate their systems (not easy IMO,) we could maybe come closer to being able to understand what differences may exist. If people simply come to these forums, and type out poetic language about how some amp changed their life, forget...we have learning nothing.
Yeah, I know. The only things I can say for my preamp/processor combination, sound-wise, is that its quiet, exhibits low distortion and is very powerful. Those attributes matter, although sometimes more than others. As for my speakers and the room they reside in, well, that's another matter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne
The most comon theme IMO is people without knowing it have a tendancy to self validate their purchases. I think it's human nature, you spend your money.. you want to hear a difference.


The mind is a powerful thing.
Without doubt that's a major factor. A couple years ago I went from a moderately powerful Class AB amp to a high-powered Class D amp. I love the new amp (powerful, light, cool running), but, no, I don't hear any difference.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,971 Posts
Is anything more entertaining than listening to someone describe the sonic "differences" between two solid-state amplifiers not driven into clipping?


Well, speaker wire I guess.


crap.


James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,971 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by rnrgagne
The most comon theme IMO is people without knowing it have a tendancy to self validate their purchases. I think it's human nature, you spend your money.. you want to hear a difference.


The mind is a powerful thing.
+ 1 and the zeros required for a billion.


I've always thought HI end audio is about as elitist as it gets...somehow worse than wine and automobiles, if that's possible.



Seeing that neither I, you, the user, nor little to no scientific research seems to sonically validate these "upgrades", how else do you begin to substantiate them?


Yeah, I know there are better performing loudspeakers. I think we all have a ballpark idea what I'm referring to.


In a breath of fresh air (and sanity) I did recently read a stereophile review where an "expert" found that a $1300 CD transport (you know, the thing that spins the discs 99.5% of people don't use anymore) didn't attribute to a perceived change in the sound. Although he WAS open to others opinions, as he "wasn't the last word on the subject"...a seemingly unicornian-like moment of humility amongst those of his ilk, I would say. No offense Kal.



Perhaps there's hope yet?



James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe
Seeing that neither I, you, the user, nor little to no scientific research seems to sonically validate these "upgrades", how else do you begin to substantiate them?
Respectfully, I think the burden is on you to provide evidence that these upgrades don't alter the sound quality. My hunch is your search will not come up with many studies, and they will be extremely limited in application.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,971 Posts
^ Ummmm no. The burden is upon those who insist that there are (AUDIBLE, perceptible, alterations to the sound quality) but are consistently unable to prove their assertion true with their own ears and mind.


I suppose I'm quite happy to live in denial, thanks...just as they do.


And no, I cannot prove God does not exist either.


James
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
319 Posts
Quote:
Originally Posted by mastermaybe
^ Ummmm no. The burden is upon those who insist that there are (AUDIBLE, perceptible, alterations to the sound quality) but are consistently unable to prove their assertion true with their own ears and mind.


I suppose I'm quite happy to live in denial, thanks...just as they do.
Interesting, since you brought the issue up, the burden is not on you?
 
1 - 20 of 43 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top