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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
As the title suggests, I'm interested in knowing how you view certain amp brands on a scale from 1 to 5 with 1 ="brightest" and 5 ="warmest".


Amp brands I'm particularly intersted in are...


1. Parasound HCA series

2. Rotel RMB or RB series

3. Anthem MCA series

4. ATI

5. Sunfire

6. Your brand name here


For interested parties, I'm looking for an amp to pair with Paradigm Studio Reference 100v.3's and want the best possible warm, full yet highly detailed sound.


Thanks,

-P
 

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"warm" sound is considered by many people to be "colored".... as well as covering up many fine details in the recording....


"bright" sound is also considered "detailed".....


i have some strong opinions about some of the amps that you listed, but so many posters are so sensitive about their equipment and cannot handle any negative remarks about the amp they own.....


it's not worth wasting my time with these insecure people here.....


add gemstone to your list...


listen to the amps in your setup.....



cheers!


:)
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
Thanks tubeguy44!


I've got very thick skin if you'd prefer to speak your mind! :D


If not here, PM me.


Cheers,

-Paul
 

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Warm is not the opposite of bright and a good amp should be neither warm nor bright. It should have a dead flat frequency response in the audio band, and most good ones do. Any frequency contouring (tone controls) to give a more pleasing sound should be done by the preamp. Quoting the Stereophile glossary of audio terms:


"dark A warm, mellow, excessively rich quality in reproduced sound. The audible effect of a frequency response which is clockwise-tilted across the entire range, so that output diminishes with increasing frequency.


warm The same as dark, but less tilted. A certain amount of warmth is a normal part of musical sound.


bright, brilliant The most often misused terms in audio, these describe the degree to which reproduced sound has a hard, crisp edge to it. Brightness relates to the energy content in the 4kHz-8kHz band. It is not related to output in the extreme-high-frequency range. All live sound has brightness; it is a problem only when it is excessive."

http://www.stereophile.com//reference/50/
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by catapult
Warm is not the opposite of bright and a good amp should be neither warm nor bright. It should have a dead flat frequency response in the audio band, and most good ones do.
a slightly different way of asking the same question is this:


will two amps of identical frequency response sound the same?


I don't think frequency response is the only thing that has an impact on sound quality.
 

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I don't think frequency response is the only thing that has an impact on sound quality.
Of course not. But "warm" and "bright" are words to describe the frequency response so they are the wrong words to describe amp quality because most amps measure pretty flat. Sound quality is also affected by - off the top of my head, not a full list - power (headroom), distortion (in all its forms, not just those commonly measured), how it responds to being overdriven (clipping distortion) and background noise (signal/noise ratio).
 

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PaulG, teh only thing that matters here is how they sound to you. I'm sure there are many places you can audition most of those amps with those exact speakers or similar models. The paradigms are respectable speakers whereas they are considered a "bright" as something like Klipsh, but are very neutral. IMHO meaning you mate them with any respectable amp/recevier/pre/pro set you will be pleased.


Go forth and listen to everything you are interested in and let your ears choose.
 

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"Bright" and "warm" only matter when used with a particular speaker...which is why it is important to home audition each amp.


Case in point: For a few years I was using a Yamaha 5280 receiver---considered "bright" by some. It was powering Polk speakers. The combination sounded fine. I then bought a pair of Klipsch RF5's--considered "bright" speakers. The combination of the Yamaha with the Klipsch resulted in a highly detailed, almost photographic soundfield. It would be considered by some extremely "bright". For a while, I liked it.


I recently purchased a Denon 2805 receiver---considered by some a bit "warmer" than the Yamaha. Connected to the Klipsch, the high end is still present, yet much tamer.


The other factor which isn't often discussed is the interaction of the room with the equipment. A sparse room with little furiture and hard, reflective surfaces will often sound much "brighter" than one with thick carpeting, furniture and drapes. Yet, even in extreme situations, a good parametric equalizer can help smooth things out.
 

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Not going to get into the warm/bright thing, but I will suggest you add Bryston and Proceed to your list. I'm partial to Bryston, since I have one.


Martin.
 

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The sound of audio systems is so subjective I think we all wind up with our own definitions, which may or may not fit what others hear. To me a "warm" amp is one that is easier on the ears and does not produce a hard, edgy, artifiicial quality I associate with a "bright" amp. "Warm" is also more more commonly associated with tube amps/preamps rather than solid state, as tubes emphasize even-order harmonics that are more pleasing to the ears. So for me a "warm" solid state amp is a compliment to its musicality, as long as it is not excessive to the point of losing details. A "bright" amp on the other hand may sound (to me) more detailed, but that may be the result of exaggeration in the upper frequencies, or in odd-order harmonics. From my experience, "bright" amps can create listener fatigue, especially for those with sensitive ears (that includes me). The brightest amp, and maybe the most detailed also, that I have heard was the Citation 7.1, and that amp actually gave me a case of tinnitus that sent me to the doctor. My trusty H/K PA5800 on the other hand, was a warm and fuzzy amp that I could listen to for hours, but I always knew I was missing some musical details. My current amp, the Innersound ESL, MkII, is by far the best I have heard. While I would hesitate to put the ESL in either category because it is so transparent, it probably would come closer to "warm" than "bright" because it is completely without any edge or harshness, and I never suffer listener fatigue; yet at the same time it provides all the detail and subtlety I could want. The ESL does what the best amps do - it virtually disappears in the audio chain - it has no sound of its own.
 

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Most "bright" amps are simply underpowered. They are being driven into clipping on the peaks and the HF harmonics add an edgy sound to the music. Most "warm" amps have an ample current reserve so they don't clip on the transients. If you want a "warm" (I prefer "neutral") sound, buy an amp with lots of (real) power.
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by catapult
Most "bright" amps are simply underpowered. They are being driven into clipping on the peaks and the HF harmonics add an edgy sound to the music. Most "warm" amps have an ample current reserve so they don't clip on the transients. If you want a "warm" (I prefer "neutral") sound, buy an amp with lots of (real) power.
Maybe that explains why the Sunfire is described as "warm" more often than "bright" :D
 

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Quote:
The sound of audio systems is so subjective I think we all wind up with our own definitions, which may or may not fit what others hear. To me a "warm" amp is one that is easier on the ears and does not produce a hard, edgy, artifiicial quality I associate with a "bright" amp. "Warm" is also more more commonly associated with tube amps/preamps rather than solid state, as tubes emphasize even-order harmonics that are more pleasing to the ears. So for me a "warm" solid state amp is a compliment to its musicality, as long as it is not excessive to the point of losing details. A "bright" amp on the other hand may sound (to me) more detailed, but that may be the result of exaggeration in the upper frequencies, or in odd-order harmonics. From my experience, "bright" amps can create listener fatigue, especially for those with sensitive ears (that includes me). The brightest amp, and maybe the most detailed also, that I have heard was the Citation 7.1, and that amp actually gave me a case of tinnitus that sent me to the doctor. My trusty H/K PA5800 on the other hand, was a warm and fuzzy amp that I could listen to for hours, but I always knew I was missing some musical details. My current amp, the Innersound ESL, MkII, is by far the best I have heard. While I would hesitate to put the ESL in either category because it is so transparent, it probably would come closer to "warm" than "bright" because it is completely without any edge or harshness, and I never suffer listener fatigue; yet at the same time it provides all the detail and subtlety I could want. The ESL does what the best amps do - it virtually disappears in the audio chain - it has no sound of its own.
So what you're saying is that "bright" is bad, and "warm" is good? No offense, but some people prefer the detail that you criticize. All in all, most people would probably prefer movies/music on the bright side of things than the dull, uninspiring, lifeless, and dark sound that some call "warmth". Even the terms themselves (warm and bright) attract us to one, and repel us from the other. Personally, I prefer the terms "detailed" (bright) and "dull" (warm) :).

Quote:
Most "bright" amps are simply underpowered.
Not true. Some of the lowest powered amps are "warm" sounding tube designs w/ great sound.
 

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Aragon and Acurus are on the brighter side.


Proceed were the dark mellow ones..
 

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Quote:
Originally posted by tubeguy44



i have some strong opinions about some of the amps that you listed, but so many posters are so sensitive about their equipment and cannot handle any negative remarks about the amp they own....

:)
Shoot tubeguy, I like your hard core opinions, and was actually looking forward to your response!


Anyway, I would second the Gemstone to add to the list, *only* because I've been reading some favorable things about it lately.
 

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I would saw Warm: Nad, Rotel, Harman Kardon


Neutral: Pioneer Elite


Bright: Most Yamaha's until just recently (many say the Z9 is on the warm side of neutral but not quite Warm)
 

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Quote:
Some of the lowest powered amps are "warm" sounding tube designs w/ great sound.
Well, that's true but those amps have a very non-flat frequency response. They do okay into a pure resistive load but the pic below shows the response of a popular tube amp into a real speaker whose impedance varies with frequency. But all the modern solid state amps being discussed here have flat frequency response in the audio band (+/- a fraction of a dB) so something else is at play. Most likely it's distortion of one kind or another.

http://www.stereophile.com/images/ar...cad300fig4.jpg
 

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Discussion Starter · #20 ·
Quote:
Paul- I'm also looking for another amp when I get my Studio 100's next month....Have you heard any of the amp's you list?
I own Parasound HCA-2200 mk. ii (250w x 2) and HCA-2205A (220w x 5) These amps worked well with Paradigm Studio 100v.2's I had previously. I only recently had the chance to A/B the 2200 with a Rotel 300-something wpc 2ch. amp. Rotel was smoother and more laid back vs. Parasound, but this was on B&W Nautilus speakers, not Paradigm Studios. I've heard the Anthem PVA series with Paradigms (very nice), but not the HCA series (assume it only gets better).


I've dropped an email to the Gemstone guys, we'll see what I learn there. Anthems remain a strong consideration, as I could probably get one into my system for a trial from my dealer.
 
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