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All Amplifiers Equal?

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nopiano

Well-known member
Feb 15, 2009
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TrevC said:
keeper of the quays said:
Amplifiers aren't equal..if the people on here believe this twaddle..why haven't they got the cheapest amp in their kit?
I am currently using a Sony budget amp. £120. 70 watts per channel into 4 ohms, so quite powerful. The equal of every other 70 watt per channel amplifier on the market.
. I wonder if it is more equal than a Naim NAP 100, give or take 5 watts?
 

TrevC

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Jun 12, 2013
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nopiano said:
TrevC said:
keeper of the quays said:
Amplifiers aren't equal..if the people on here believe this twaddle..why haven't they got the cheapest amp in their kit?
I am currently using a Sony budget amp. £120. 70 watts per channel into 4 ohms, so quite powerful. The equal of every other 70 watt per channel amplifier on the market.
. I wonder if it is more equal than a Naim NAP 100, give or take 5 watts?
It's better than the MF A1 I was using before. No crackling pot, a remote with motorised pot to boot, and much more powerful.

Naim amps are a little quirky. I know of one that burned out due to someone connecting speakers using that woven multi coloured enamelled stuff in a clear sleeve. Luckily it was covered by a guarantee. As you can tell, I can't remember the brand of the wanky wire, or see the point of using it in the first place.
 

Infiniteloop

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2010
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davedotco said:
David@FrankHarvey said:
ID. said:
Really? Was the third amp rated at a fraction of a watt or a few milliwats? Considering the fact that most amps only operate withing their first few watts most of the time and that it takes a hell of a lot more watts to achieve significantly more volume...
But then if they're playing anything over a few watts, the opposition chimes in with the amp clipping excuse, and that is the difference you're hearing. There is no way to win.

I understand the need for blind tests, but you don't need them to find out if you enjoy listening to a product/system.
Now all you need to do is apply a little common sense and logical thought.

The differences that you hear when auditioning in the normal way are a consequence of the system and the way the components integrate into that system. Volume settings (some amplifiers 'encourage' higher settings than others), input sensitivity and load 'tolerance' all make a difference and these are real differences that show up consistently in demonstrations.

However you can not take that to mean that one amplifier is 'better' than another, just that they better suit the system and the user in this instance.
If true, why should 'blind listening' make any difference?
 

Frank Harvey

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Jun 27, 2008
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I wonder how many people who would agree to choosing their products via blind testing? And how many would actually buy the products they have blindly chosen? What I mean is, would someone who doesn't like silver finishes buy their chosen amp if it was only available in silver? Or buy a curved speaker when they only like conventional box type cabinets?

Even if we chose our products on blind listening tests, I think many people (maybe more than half) may change their decision for the second best product if they much preferred the looks of it. If this was the case, then blind listening is pointless at the purchasing stage. Would I buy that monstrosity of a D'Agostino amplifier if it was my chosen amplifier based on blind listening tests, and I thought it was the best thing in the world? Hell no! It looks like some sort of steam punk weighing scales.
 

Vladimir

New member
Dec 26, 2013
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No one disputes that all amplifiers don't sound the same. What is the point of this thread? *scratch_one-s_head*

IMO a more constructive discussion would be if the ideal amplifier is a wire with a volume knob. Should an amplifier have an embedded sonic character asside from the basic function of amplifying a signal? If yes, why? If no, why?
 

Gazzip

New member
Jan 15, 2011
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TrevC said:
keeper of the quays said:
Amplifiers aren't equal..if the people on here believe this twaddle..why haven't they got the cheapest amp in their kit?
I am currently using a Sony budget amp. £120. 70 watts per channel into 4 ohms, so quite powerful. The equal of every other 70 watt per channel amplifier on the market.
What loudspeakers do you use Trev? Not a leading question, I am genuinely interested in hearing whether or not you are using that amplifier to drive anything exotic.
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Vladimir said:
No one disputes that all amplifiers don't sound the same. What is the point of this thread? *scratch_one-s_head*
TrevC got quite close to it with his comment that, "I am currently using a Sony budget amp. £120. 70 watts per channel into 4 ohms, so quite powerful. The equal of every other 70 watt per channel amplifier on the market."
Vladimir said:
IMO a more constructive discussion would be if the ideal amplifier is a wire with a volume knob. Should an amplifier have an embedded sonic character asside from the basic function of amplifying a signal? If yes, why? If no, why?
There's the perfect theoretical world....and then there's reality. The fact is, that different designs, topologies, components and budgets produce different sound signatures (IMO).
It's the way it is and is never going to change; but there is enough variety out there to suit (almost) everybody.
 

Vladimir

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Dec 26, 2013
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CnoEvil said:
Vladimir said:
No one disputes that all amplifiers don't sound the same. What is the point of this thread? *scratch_one-s_head*
TrevC got quite close to it with his comment that, "I am currently using a Sony budget amp. £120. 70 watts per channel into 4 ohms, so quite powerful. The equal of every other 70 watt per channel amplifier on the market."
Vladimir said:
IMO a more constructive discussion would be if the ideal amplifier is a wire with a volume knob. Should an amplifier have an embedded sonic character asside from the basic function of amplifying a signal? If yes, why? If no, why?
There's the perfect theoretical world....and then there's reality. The fact is, that different designs, topologies, components and budgets produce different sound signatures (IMO). It's the way it is and is never going to change; but there is enough variety out there to suit (almost) everybody.
How does Class A, B or D sound like?
 

CnoEvil

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Aug 21, 2009
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Vladimir said:
How does Class A, B or D sound like?

 
Given the subjective nature of how we hear sound, let alone the problem of describing it, this is something that everyone should discover for themselves....it's all too easy to make sweeping generalisations.

Let me turn the question back on you....do you think an amp's topology infuences the way it sounds?
 

Vladimir

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Dec 26, 2013
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CnoEvil said:
Vladimir said:
How does Class A, B or D sound like?
Given the subjective nature of how we hear sound, let alone the problem of describing it, this is something that everyone should discover for themselves....it's all too easy to make sweeping generalisations.

Let me turn the question back on you....do you think an amp's topology infuences the way it sounds?
From experience I can't say I've heard any significant differences. I had two amplifiers with a Class A mode switch and there was no noticable difference I could hear with either. The default switch for the tone controls did more than the Class A switch, probably because they needed some good cleaning.

I heard Vincent monoblocks (full Class A) driving a pair of B&W 801s and it sounded nice, nothing to make you gasp in awe, but a sound I could really live with for a long time and forget I'm hearing equipment and focus on the music. But I didn't hear the same speakers with a different amp, so I have no clue how much to the sound came from which component.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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Most switchable so-called Class A amplifiers only remained so at low power levels, above that they switch to AB, regardless of the button.

Go all the way or go home.
 

Vladimir

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Dec 26, 2013
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manicm said:
Most switchable so-called Class A amplifiers only remained so at low power levels, above that they switch to AB, regardless of the button.

Go all the way or go home.
I am home, and I was only using low power. Also do read the part of my post where I mention Class A monoblocks (Vincent SP991).
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
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When I said 'go all the way' I meant the manufacturers, wasn't aimed at you.

Also, one should read the same magazine's reviews of straight Class a amps like Music Fidelity's, who alas have given up on them.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
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manicm said:
Most switchable so-called Class A amplifiers only remained so at low power levels, above that they switch to AB, regardless of the button.

Go all the way or go home.
The MF A1 is actually class AB with high bias. It would be greatly improved in terms of reliability if it had lower quiescent current and the silly volume control circuit design was changed to the conventional way of doing things. No point in full class A because crossover distortion is only an issue at very low volume. It's inaudible otherwise.
 

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