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I have always had a multi channel amp since I made the jump from stereo to surround sound. My first 2 receivers had pre amp outs on them and then I finally bought a pre pro. 4 of 5 speakers are towers. I did try to run just the receiver, an Intrgra, without the amp once but the receiver just wouldn't push the towers properly. The receiver actually had a higher wattage rating than the amp I had at the time. Just my personal experience.

When others post questions like is it worth it to do this, the answer I see most is no because doubling the power only gives about a 3db increase in sound. From what I understand, the specs are usually tested with signal generators. The reason I think it is usually a good idea is because of the more power in reserve for demanding peaks. Closely matching the amp's power ratings to what the speakers can handle.

I base this idea from an experience I had at a high end stereo shop a few years back. They had set up a MacIntosh 2 channel stereo set up with an $83,000 price tag. The system included a stereo pre amp, tuner, single disc CD player, 2 monoblock amps rated at 1200 watts each and 2 large floor standing speakers that had 2 woofers in the bottom, 2 rows of midranges and 1 row of tweeters that were all just like voice coils all the way up to the top. I remember they were atleast 6' tall. They put on a demonstration of this system. It was just set up beside the sales counter and not in any kind of a treated room, just had a couple chairs about 10' away from it. The open area was about 30'X50'. The sound was incredible. The CD they played was a female vocalist with a piano accompaniment. They didn't crank it up too loud, just loud enough to sound good. It basically sounded like she was singing in your ear. The amps had watt meters on them. Sustained power level was only about 10 watts but the peaks hit between 300-400 watts. No drums or bass just piano.

I don't know what the specs on the speakers were such as impedence or sensitivity. Though this equipment was way out of my price range, how would this relate to the average mid fi system if at all? If it would differ, how? Just looking for some knowledgable opinions.
 

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What speakers are you using? In most cases, the speakers are 'pushed' just fine. If you have low impedence speakers or low sensitivity speakers then additional amplification will help. Of course, there are plenty of excellent speakers that aren't a PITA to amplify and that's the easier solution.

In terms of the fancy AV store, the room you were in would make most anything sound great. While you could see meters, that doesn't mean that what you saw would make any difference in sound. Had the store wanted to prove something to you they could have compared the spendy McIntosh against the cheapest amp they could find with the same power rating. Volume equalized, when those tests are done, the amplification all sounds the same. They won't do that though since it would hurt their sales.

When blind tests are done, under clipping, amplification all sounds the same. Typically what you're talking about doesn't relate well to mid-range equipment. Most speakers are 8 ohm highly sensitive speakers. They don't need big amplification. There are a lot of misconceptions in the AV industry and a lot of marketing and snake oil. The need for amplification and expensive amplification at that is usually one of them.
 

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It basically sounded like she was singing in your ear.
Bingo - IMHO you answered your question about how it relates - I don't doubt the 83k system/big room together provided an awesome sense of realism!

In contrast, from my experience a mid fi system generates pleasant sounds coming from the direction of the loudspeakers - your imagination has to take over from there. Or throw ever increasing amounts of speakers at it to try and compensate.

83k for Mac equipment sounds impressive however I think that 30x50 room would be by far the most expensive piece. Best of luck on your future choices!
 

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What you heard at the high end store was great speakers in a great room. The rest of the equipment wasn't all that important. You should also know that the speaker power rating is the maximum power above which you run the risk of damaging the speakers. It has nothing at all to do with how much power you need.


The sound quality is all in the speakers and room acoustics. That is where to spend your time and money. The amps are pretty trivial in almost every home audio application.
 

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I don't know what the specs on the speakers were such as impedence or sensitivity. Though this equipment was way out of my price range, how would this relate to the average mid fi system if at all? If it would differ, how? Just looking for some knowledgable opinions.
It took me a while to fully accept that people like FMW above are correct. At least the way I'm thinking of it, the implication of what he's saying is that the high end audio industry is essentially based on defrauding people with junk science. For awhile even after I basically accepted that viewpoint as correct, I still remember thinking, "Well, the speaker cables or amplifiers must matter some small amount. How could so many so called expects (at least of the Stereophile variety) convince themselves otherwise?" All I can say is the deeper I get into this the more I realize that it really is black and white. The vast majority of credible engineers who have seriously considered this issue agree on speaker cables, amplifiers, CD players, etc.

I would add that at least in my experience the amplifier can make a difference in that room correction and dynamic EQ (features found on most modern AVRs) can improve sound quality. Otherwise, much better to think about room acoustics, speaker placement, and loudspeaker quality.
 

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What you heard at the high end store was great speakers in a great room. The rest of the equipment wasn't all that important. You should also know that the speaker power rating is the maximum power above which you run the risk of damaging the speakers. It has nothing at all to do with how much power you need.


The sound quality is all in the speakers and room acoustics. That is where to spend your time and money. The amps are pretty trivial in almost every home audio application.

I don't understand what you are basing your conclusions on?

What you heard at the high end store was great speakers in a great room. How do you know this to be a true?

The rest of the equipment wasn't all that important. What are you basing this statement on?

You should also know that the speaker power rating is the maximum power above which you run the risk of damaging the speakers. Really - how so? Even for short durations?

It has nothing at all to do with how much power you need. How are you able to formulate such a conclusion without having all of the relevant details?


The sound quality is all in the speakers and room acoustics. Surely it's not ALL, in the just the speakers and room acoustics?

That is where to spend your time and money. Again, how are you coming to such a statements?

The amps are pretty trivial in almost every home audio application. On what science have you based this conclusion upon?
 

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1. The system included a stereo pre amp, tuner, single disc CD player, 2 monoblock amps rated at 1200 watts each and 2 large floor standing speakers

2. I remember they were atleast 6' tall. They put on a demonstration of this system. It was just set up beside the sales counter and not in any kind of a treated room, just had a couple chairs about 10' away from it.

3. The sound was incredible.

4. They didn't crank it up too loud, just loud enough to sound good. It basically sounded like she was singing in your ear. The amps had watt meters on them. Sustained power level was only about 10 watts but the peaks hit between 300-400 watts.

5. I don't know what the specs on the speakers were such as impedence or sensitivity.

6. Though this equipment was way out of my price range,

7. ...how would this relate to the average mid fi system if at all? If it would differ, how?

8. Just looking for some knowledgable opinions.
1. That's about where I'm at. CD source sending digits to a DAC, followed with a preamp and monoblocks, rated 350/700/1400W into 8/4/2ohms.

2. My speakers are 6 feet tall. I can demonstrate. There is no sales counter here. The room is untreated except a little furniture and some big chunks of raw rockwool in the corner behind the speakers and standing up behind the couch. I sit 10 feet away.

3. I find the sound very credible.

4. I don't crank it up too loud. Don't have to. It's very intimate with a recording that has a singer singing in your ear. I have power indications, but not watt meters. I can throw an oscilloscope on it to observe. Sustained power levels are probably a halfwatt or three. Not a lot. Peaks are whatever they are, add 10/20/30dB. The peak power levels escalate exponentially with increases in the base level volume.

5. I know my speaker specs. Claimed 91dB, 4Ohm nominal.

6. The equipment was "way out of my price range" but I went ahead and accumulated it anyway over a long period of time. I adjusted my budget.

7. It doesn't relate all that well to the "average mid-fi" system. It's better. It differs in the apparent timbral accuracy, spatial presentation, total elimination of listener fatigue, things like that. Think 'refinement'. My one-word description for the sound is 'unambiguous'.

8. That's my first-hand (knowledgeable? who knows. I think I've learned a thing or two) opinion, as requested.
 

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Get the amp you want and or need for your speakers and listening levels with the desired amount of headroom. I just took my power amps off my mains and switched them to sub duties and have used two different avrs since (having issues the new avr....hopefully have that resolved with the current unit) and left the power amps out of the equation for the last few weeks while I switched avrs in/out. Made no difference to my listening levels with my setup that I could determine (informally with just my little ol' ears). I've used power amps for quite a while and never noticed any magic improvement in sound just because a big amp is hooked up to the speaker. YMMV.
 

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I don't understand what you are basing your conclusions on?
Since the OP mentioned an $83k price tag, it's safe to assume that the speakers are great. Since someone presumably wanted to sell these speakers, I think it's safe to assume the listening room was equally great.

But there's another reason that system may have sounded so excellent: Psychological factors no one is immune to when looking as 6' speakers and beautiful mono-block amplifiers. It's not an insult to the OP or anyone else. Confirmation bias is a real thing that effects everyone in every area of life. There's evidence to think that what we hear is particularly influenced by what we see.

Here is an article on this I found convincing:

Can You Trust Your Ears? by Tom Nousaine
 

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Since the OP mentioned an $83k price tag, it's safe to assume that the speakers are great. Since someone presumably wanted to sell these speakers, I think it's safe to assume the listening room was equally great.

But there's another reason that system may have sounded so excellent: Psychological factors no one is immune to when looking as 6' speakers and beautiful mono-block amplifiers. It's not an insult to the OP or anyone else. Confirmation bias is a real thing that effects everyone in every area of life. There's evidence to think that what we hear is particularly influenced by what we see.

Here is an article on this I found convincing:

Can You Trust Your Ears? by Tom Nousaine
Interesting hypothesis, but I'm afraid it's based on pure supposition! Placing it far out from becoming a workable theory.
 

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