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All Amplifiers Equal?

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Benedict_Arnold

New member
Jan 16, 2013
661
1
0
In next week's edition we shall be discussing the differences in speaker cables.

Mr. "A" will be along to say that any old bit of wire will do, whether it be doorbell wire from B&Q, some old flat twin and earth he found in a skip, or, indeed, the wire 'im and 'is mate nicked off the side of the Metropolitan Line somewhere near Ruislip tube station last Friday night.

Mr. "B" will be along to say one needs to spend at least a thousand Pounds an inch on 3569-strand unobtainium alloy, sheathed in polyunsaturated "insulon", dipped in liquid nitrogen, tempered in boiling unicorn pee, and then treated to being wrapped around one of the sarcen stones at Stone Henge under a Solstice full moon.

Mr. "C" will be along to say only Brand "X" speaker wire sould be used with his brand of amplifiers and speakers, and that all other hi-fi is rubbish anyway.

Mr. "D" will be along to point out if you're playing old cassettes on a worn out 80s Amstrad tape deck or "Top of the Pops" LPs from the charity shop down the road on an old turntable your grandfather left you it really doesn't matter anyway.

And I will just take the opportunity to plug my patent-pending speaker oil treatments, a must for any hi-fi afficinado, any cable, regardless of budget. Now available in "classical" "adult orientated rock", "disco", "electronic /rave/ techno", "punk / heavy metal" and "Radio Snooze" blends.

Bottom line is not all amplifiers sound the same, produce the same power output, use the same circuit topology or quality (with a lower case "q" meaning Rolls-Royce vs. Lada) or Quality (with an upper case "Q" meaning all the resistors, capacitors, etc., fall within a much tighter performance standard than run of the mill stuff from Maplin or wherever).

A cheap amp from Argos will always sound like a cheap amp from Argos, no matter what speakers you hook it up to (and with what speaker cables). Expensive amps should offer better clarity, dynamics, power output, etc., be more sturdily built, have better pwer supplies and internal components, nicer-to-the-touch knobs and buttons, etc. But most importantly, high end amps tend to have a little of their manufacturer's own taste in sound. Cyrus, for example, offer amps with a very detailed, clinical sound thaty none of us would describe as "warm". As a esult they appear to be a little thin on the bass end (when they're really not), but need bass-friendly speakers to compensate. And if you're contemplating spending a huge amount of cash on such an amp, be sure to audtion them with your kind of music to make sure they match up to your likes and expectations and make sure the same is true of the speakers, and yes, the speaker cables, as well.

Just my 2 pence worth, naturally.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
598
67
18,970
TrevC said:
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.
I was thinking more AMS35i, which is a pure class a integrated.
 

Infiniteloop

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2010
48
4
18,545
Some musings:

I am fortunate enough to have two systems and yesterday, for the hell of it, I swapped the amps over. Both systems now sound different, both to each other and to how they sounded before the swap.

Do I care that the S8 probably distorts the sound (albeit in a pleasant way) because of its antiquated Valve technology and that the Devialet, according to the manufacturer, has the lowest measurable distortion of any amplifier on the market?

Absolutely not.

What I care about is that both devices play a significant role in the creation of music in my home that is, at times, emotional, thrilling, spine-tingling, thought-provoking and joyous.

- And both these Amps do it differently.

For example, Anthony Pay's basset clarinet on Christopher Hogwood's Mozart Clarinet Concerto recording sounds beautiful and crystal clear through the Devialet. Through the S8 the clarity remains, but there is something extra to the sound that can only be described as emotion.

I arrived at both Amps by listening, not by poring over spec sheets.

Gentlemen, this is a hobby, not some pseudo scientific exercise.

IMO even if all Amps sounded the same (they clearly don't), the perfect reproduction of recorded music in one's home is an impossible dream, given the variables of room acoustics, speaker distortions and the reliance on the ears of the guy who mastered the recording.

The best we can hope for is a system that maximises our enjoyment of music and quite clearly, and again IMO, choosing the right amplifier(s) is crucial.
 

ID.

New member
Feb 22, 2010
207
0
0
Benedict_Arnold said:
In next week's edition we shall be discussing the differences in speaker cables.

Mr. "A" will be along to say that any old bit of wire will do, whether it be doorbell wire from B&Q, some old flat twin and earth he found in a skip, or, indeed, the wire 'im and 'is mate nicked off the side of the Metropolitan Line somewhere near Ruislip tube station last Friday night.

Mr. "B" will be along to say one needs to spend at least a thousand Pounds an inch on 3569-strand unobtainium alloy, sheathed in polyunsaturated "insulon", dipped in liquid nitrogen, tempered in boiling unicorn pee, and then treated to being wrapped around one of the sarcen stones at Stone Henge under a Solstice full moon.

Mr. "C" will be along to say only Brand "X" speaker wire sould be used with his brand of amplifiers and speakers, and that all other hi-fi is rubbish anyway.

Mr. "D" will be along to point out if you're playing old cassettes on a worn out 80s Amstrad tape deck or "Top of the Pops" LPs from the charity shop down the road on an old turntable your grandfather left you it really doesn't matter anyway.

And I will just take the opportunity to plug my patent-pending speaker oil treatments, a must for any hi-fi afficinado, any cable, regardless of budget. Now available in "classical" "adult orientated rock", "disco", "electronic /rave/ techno", "punk / heavy metal" and "Radio Snooze" blends.

Bottom line is not all amplifiers sound the same, produce the same power output, use the same circuit topology or quality (with a lower case "q" meaning Rolls-Royce vs. Lada) or Quality (with an upper case "Q" meaning all the resistors, capacitors, etc., fall within a much tighter performance standard than run of the mill stuff from Maplin or wherever).

A cheap amp from Argos will always sound like a cheap amp from Argos, no matter what speakers you hook it up to (and with what speaker cables). Expensive amps should offer better clarity, dynamics, power output, etc., be more sturdily built, have better pwer supplies and internal components, nicer-to-the-touch knobs and buttons, etc. But most importantly, high end amps tend to have a little of their manufacturer's own taste in sound. Cyrus, for example, offer amps with a very detailed, clinical sound thaty none of us would describe as "warm". As a esult they appear to be a little thin on the bass end (when they're really not), but need bass-friendly speakers to compensate. And if you're contemplating spending a huge amount of cash on such an amp, be sure to audtion them with your kind of music to make sure they match up to your likes and expectations and make sure the same is true of the speakers, and yes, the speaker cables, as well.

Just my 2 pence worth, naturally.
you forgot the fence sitters like me who don't say there's no difference but that the differences are smaller than one thinks and may not even be noticeable when certain biases, etc. are removed from the equation.

same same but different.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
325
135
19,070
manicm said:
TrevC said:
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.
I was thinking more AMS35i, which is a pure class a integrated.
Pure class A is pointless. Just wasting electricity.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
598
67
18,970
TrevC said:
manicm said:
TrevC said:
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.
I was thinking more AMS35i, which is a pure class a integrated.
Pure class A is pointless. Just wasting electricity.
That may be true, just like a Ferrari wastes fuel.
 

MajorFubar

New member
Mar 3, 2010
690
3
0
ID. said:
you forgot the fence sitters like me who don't say there's no difference but that the differences are smaller than one thinks and may not even be noticeable when certain biases, etc. are removed from the equation.

same same but different.
He also forgot people like me who acknowledge the differences, and who point out that the differences can be explained by known and understood electrical theorems and principles, and who only complain about the various unscrupulous vendors who insist their £100+ p/m cable treated with fairy dust is going to sound different to cheaper ones with exactly the same electrical properties.
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Infiniteloop said:
Some musings:

I am fortunate enough to have two systems and yesterday, for the hell of it, I swapped the amps over. Both systems now sound different, both to each other and to how they sounded before the swap.

Do I care that the S8 probably distorts the sound (albeit in a pleasant way) because of its antiquated Valve technology and that the Devialet, according to the manufacturer, has the lowest measurable distortion of any amplifier on the market?

Absolutely not.

What I care about is that both devices play a significant role in the creation of music in my home that is, at times, emotional, thrilling, spine-tingling, thought-provoking and joyous.

- And both these Amps do it differently.

For example, Anthony Pay's basset clarinet on Christopher Hogwood's Mozart Clarinet Concerto recording sounds beautiful and crystal clear through the Devialet. Through the S8 the clarity remains, but there is something extra to the sound that can only be described as emotion.

I arrived at both Amps by listening, not by poring over spec sheets.

Gentlemen, this is a hobby, not some pseudo scientific exercise.

IMO even if all Amps sounded the same (they clearly don't), the perfect reproduction of recorded music in one's home is an impossible dream, given the variables of room acoustics, speaker distortions and the reliance on the ears of the guy who mastered the recording.

The best we can hope for is a system that maximises our enjoyment of music and quite clearly, and again IMO, choosing the right amplifier(s) is crucial.
You have spelled distortion incorrectly....*stop*

I know that is a flippant comment but it goes to the crux of these discussions.

You build a musical instrument to sound 'good', the construction manipulates the harmonic structure of the notes played to produce a 'pleasing' sound, that is the luthiers art.

The interesting thing is that hi-fi systems can do something similar, they can manipulate the sound, in this case by increased harmonic distortion, to make the instruments sound even more real than the real thing.

You may consider this as 'emotion' or 'realism', perhaps even as something that replaces that 'something' lost in the electronic recording process but at the end of the day it remains distortion.

We can all point at products where this process is so blatent that it makes a product really only suitable for certain types of music, but sometimes the manipulation is so subtle that it appears to make pretty much everything sound better.

This is not meant as a 'dig', because we all hear these things and in the most part enjoy the results, (I am a huge fan of 'classic' Sonus Faber, for example) but I see no reason not to understand how this kind of thing works as I still enjoy the results. There are many occasions I wish I could go back in time and rescue my Elector Amators, one of my favourite speakers ever.
 

Infiniteloop

Well-known member
Jul 23, 2010
48
4
18,545
davedotco said:
Infiniteloop said:
Some musings:

I am fortunate enough to have two systems and yesterday, for the hell of it, I swapped the amps over. Both systems now sound different, both to each other and to how they sounded before the swap.

Do I care that the S8 probably distorts the sound (albeit in a pleasant way) because of its antiquated Valve technology and that the Devialet, according to the manufacturer, has the lowest measurable distortion of any amplifier on the market?

Absolutely not.

What I care about is that both devices play a significant role in the creation of music in my home that is, at times, emotional, thrilling, spine-tingling, thought-provoking and joyous.

- And both these Amps do it differently.

For example, Anthony Pay's basset clarinet on Christopher Hogwood's Mozart Clarinet Concerto recording sounds beautiful and crystal clear through the Devialet. Through the S8 the clarity remains, but there is something extra to the sound that can only be described as emotion.

I arrived at both Amps by listening, not by poring over spec sheets.

Gentlemen, this is a hobby, not some pseudo scientific exercise.

IMO even if all Amps sounded the same (they clearly don't), the perfect reproduction of recorded music in one's home is an impossible dream, given the variables of room acoustics, speaker distortions and the reliance on the ears of the guy who mastered the recording.

The best we can hope for is a system that maximises our enjoyment of music and quite clearly, and again IMO, choosing the right amplifier(s) is crucial.
You have spelled distortion incorrectly....*stop*

I know that is a flippant comment but it goes to the crux of these discussions.

You build a musical instrument to sound 'good', the construction manipulates the harmonic structure of the notes played to produce a 'pleasing' sound, that is the luthiers art.

The interesting thing is that hi-fi systems can do something similar, they can manipulate the sound, in this case by increased harmonic distortion, to make the instruments sound even more real than the real thing.

You may consider this as 'emotion' or 'realism', perhaps even as something that replaces that 'something' lost in the electronic recording process but at the end of the day it remains distortion.

We can all point at products where this process is so blatent that it makes a product really only suitable for certain types of music, but sometimes the manipulation is so subtle that it appears to make pretty much everything sound better.

This is not meant as a 'dig', because we all hear these things and in the most part enjoy the results, (I am a huge fan of 'classic' Sonus Faber, for example) but I see no reason not to understand how this kind of thing works as I still enjoy the results. There are many occasions I wish I could go back in time and rescue my Elector Amators, one of my favourite speakers ever.
I have spelled nothing incorrectly and I stand by what I wrote.

All amplifiers, indeed all electronics, distort the signal to some degree and like I said, I really couldn't care less.

There are so many contradictions in your response that I am at a loss as to know where to start. If you're after true realism in the reproduction of music using electronics, you should be wise enough to understand that given the current state of technology, it's never going to happen. The best we can do is enjoy what we have, 'distortions' and all.
 
K

keeper of the quays

Guest
TrevC said:
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.  
I have in the attic a musical fidelity b1 and also a Sony 940 amp..think the b1 35 watts? And Sony 75 watts..like your a1 mine had issues..servisol sorted it..(sometimes! Lol) very meaty amp..would run nearly any speaker..think 35watts of mf is equal to 75 of Sony..but wasn't flash looking. The horrid on switch flickered..but it sounded brilliant..had a great phono stage..my Sony is a good amp, reliable..good remote.looks fab! But it doesn't seem authentic! If you know what I mean? Early musical fidelity stuff is quirky! Will it work today? Will switches crackle? Do have to fiddle with input switch to get sound to come out of both speakers! Lol..but when the amp was in a good mood? The sound was sublime..it had it's own character..infuriating sometimes..the Sony has no character just gets on with the job...does it very well..
 
K

keeper of the quays

Guest
Vladimir said:
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?
point of this thread is simple..the alternative is xfactor or worse (worse!!!lol) not sure up the mountains you have tv? It's a talent show that's rigged..if contestant looks right and they seem a good bet to sell records or downloads they win! No talent required...in my jaundiced opinion...not even sure if you have tv? If not..dont get a tv set..its a devils contraption! Stick with hifi..lol..hope this clears it up?
 

davedotco

New member
Apr 24, 2013
20
0
0
Infiniteloop said:
davedotco said:
Infiniteloop said:
Some musings:

I am fortunate enough to have two systems and yesterday, for the hell of it, I swapped the amps over. Both systems now sound different, both to each other and to how they sounded before the swap.

Do I care that the S8 probably distorts the sound (albeit in a pleasant way) because of its antiquated Valve technology and that the Devialet, according to the manufacturer, has the lowest measurable distortion of any amplifier on the market?

Absolutely not.

What I care about is that both devices play a significant role in the creation of music in my home that is, at times, emotional, thrilling, spine-tingling, thought-provoking and joyous.

- And both these Amps do it differently.

For example, Anthony Pay's basset clarinet on Christopher Hogwood's Mozart Clarinet Concerto recording sounds beautiful and crystal clear through the Devialet. Through the S8 the clarity remains, but there is something extra to the sound that can only be described as emotion.

I arrived at both Amps by listening, not by poring over spec sheets.

Gentlemen, this is a hobby, not some pseudo scientific exercise.

IMO even if all Amps sounded the same (they clearly don't), the perfect reproduction of recorded music in one's home is an impossible dream, given the variables of room acoustics, speaker distortions and the reliance on the ears of the guy who mastered the recording.

The best we can hope for is a system that maximises our enjoyment of music and quite clearly, and again IMO, choosing the right amplifier(s) is crucial.
You have spelled distortion incorrectly....*stop*

I know that is a flippant comment but it goes to the crux of these discussions.

You build a musical instrument to sound 'good', the construction manipulates the harmonic structure of the notes played to produce a 'pleasing' sound, that is the luthiers art.

The interesting thing is that hi-fi systems can do something similar, they can manipulate the sound, in this case by increased harmonic distortion, to make the instruments sound even more real than the real thing.

You may consider this as 'emotion' or 'realism', perhaps even as something that replaces that 'something' lost in the electronic recording process but at the end of the day it remains distortion.

We can all point at products where this process is so blatent that it makes a product really only suitable for certain types of music, but sometimes the manipulation is so subtle that it appears to make pretty much everything sound better.

This is not meant as a 'dig', because we all hear these things and in the most part enjoy the results, (I am a huge fan of 'classic' Sonus Faber, for example) but I see no reason not to understand how this kind of thing works as I still enjoy the results. There are many occasions I wish I could go back in time and rescue my Elector Amators, one of my favourite speakers ever.
I have spelled nothing incorrectly and I stand by what I wrote.

All amplifiers, indeed all electronics, distort the signal to some degree and like I said, I really couldn't care less.

There are so many contradictions in your response that I am at a loss as to know where to start. If you're after true realism in the reproduction of music using electronics, you should be wise enough to understand that given the current state of technology, it's never going to happen. The best we can do is enjoy what we have, 'distortions' and all.
The recording and replay of recorded music is fraught with issues that we casually group together as 'distortion', though some might say 'character'. These 'distortions' are interpreted by the mind in different ways and I see no reason why understanding how this happens in any way affects the enjoyment.

I even allude to the Elector Amator, one of my favourite speakers ever, but this small standmount lacks the bandwidth, dynamic range and loudness to be reproduce anything with 'true realism'. Yet it sounds wondeful, much of the time anyway.

However this is an example of how these 'distortions' alter the way the music sounds and what we percieve, I hear the Fabers as sounding like 'real' music, played with (yes I know) 'emotion' and I love them for that but others might interpret their 'sound' differently. ( I have heard them described as undynamic, lacking in punch and presence etc. )

My post was not in any way meant as a criticsm or a 'dig' at the perception of how a good setup can sound more 'real' than another, just simply to explain how and why it occurs.

BTW. If you think my explanation is full of contradictions, do try and explain, I am happy to have my theories in these matters tested or refuted, it is a subject I find very interesting.
 

TrevC

Well-known member
Jun 12, 2013
325
135
19,070
manicm said:
TrevC said:
manicm said:
TrevC said:
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.
I was thinking more AMS35i, which is a pure class a integrated.
Pure class A is pointless. Just wasting electricity.
That may be true, just like a Ferrari wastes fuel.
No, like pouring fuel down the drain wastes fuel. Once you forward bias the output stage beyond the point where crossover distortion is eliminated all you are doing is creating unnecessary heat. If you want to heat the room buy a heater.
 
K

keeper of the quays

Guest
This post and previous post regarding equality between amplifiers made me get my sonic impact amp out of attic..i wired it into my dac magic and then listened..t amp quite different to my quad amp..then I used iPod straight into t amp..hd song from you tube..i then went optical from tv to dac magic to t amp..same song on you tube..i then learnt a new thing..indeed the iPod dac is a giant killer as the t amp is..song was quite clearly better through iPod to t amp..so amps are massively different..its a green way to go too..13.8 volt transformer and battery on iPod..no brainer to me.
 

manicm

Well-known member
May 1, 2008
598
67
18,970
keeper of the quays said:
This post and previous post regarding equality between amplifiers made me get my sonic impact amp out of attic..i wired it into my dac magic and then listened..t amp quite different to my quad amp..then I used iPod straight into t amp..hd song from you tube..i then went optical from tv to dac magic to t amp..same song on you tube..i then learnt a new thing..indeed the iPod dac is a giant killer as the t amp is..song was quite clearly better through iPod to t amp..so amps are massively different..its a green way to go too..13.8 volt transformer and battery on iPod..no brainer to me.
Which iPod are you using?
 

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