are amplifiers needlessly complicated?

admin_exported

New member
Aug 10, 2019
2,556
4
0
Hopefully i can explain myself without losing you...
lately i have been wondering about amplifiers (particularly intergrated) and asking myself why they have so many features that they dont really need. I wonder whether there is room in the market place for an amp that puts sound quality ahead of convenience. In my view an amp that really only needs one set of inputs, a volume control, one pair of speaker terminals and an on/off button. My thinking is that, in reducing the features/components and shortening the signal path of the amp, the remaining components and signal path can be produced using the highest quality of materials to acheive the best possible sound.
for me at least i would be more than happy to have to get up and change the IC's over to listen to a different source if it meant i was receiving the best possible sound quality for the money. what are your thoughts...?
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This idea has been addressed in the past and the solution was very simple. Just buy a power amp and an ALPS volume control. QED used to make one exactly for this purpose although I think its obsolete now. Most would agree that the fewer electronic components in the signal chain the better. I wonder if anyone currently makes a unit like the QED one.

This would give you exactly what you require and I can tell you that it works well.
 

Thaiman

New member
Jul 28, 2007
360
0
0
[quote user="ifitsoundsgoodlistentoit"]I wonder whether there is room in the market place for an amp that puts sound
quality ahead of convenience.[/quote]

Plenty out there if you look beyond the obvious places. My thought is amplifier should just let signal through and have ability to drive a pair of speakers correctly at resonable level.

You mention "features that they dont really need" but someone else may need that features, I found the bypass function for AV connection is rather useful, it's a shame that not many of company do make them that way.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="Thaiman"]

You mention "features that they dont really need" but someone else may need that features, I found the bypass function for AV connection is rather useful, it's a shame that not many of company do make them that way.[/quote]

you are right Thaiman. however, what i meant was in the strictest sense of the word. ie. an amplifier should be just that - something to amplify the signal it is being fed. therefore it only "really" needs one pair of inputs, one pair of speaker terminals, a volume control and a power button. (and obviously all the technical stuff inbetween to make it all work)

this simplicity obviously doesnt appeal to everyone otherwise the market would be flooded with amps like these. however, im sure i cant be the only person after such a product...?

you mention that there are plenty of amps out there like this if i like beyond the obvious places... perhaps you could point me in the right direction please.
 

gpi

New member
Mar 29, 2008
23
0
0
The wonderful small T-amp springs to my mind. The original model has an amazing performance with spring clips for the speaker terminals and one 3.5 mm input. Battery power an option too.

On a larger, more involved scale (ss not digital), my Audio Innovations Alto integrated amp has a volume and source selector switch and an on/off button, a few line-level inputs and one set of speaker inputs. No balance, tone controls, source direct, etc. It would be difficult to make a solid-state amp more complicated. Having more than one input doesn't affect its performance btw.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
13
19,695
Look for "passive pre-amps". Creek do them for starters (and that principle is carried over to the Classic amp, which has a passive pre-amp stage). NVA do them - and actually, that particular supplier (who sells exclusively on eBay now I think) may be the nearest you will get to the ethos you're looking for, since he makes amps that work in only one particular way, rather than trying to suit all speaker impedances, cable resistance, etc etc - look at his web site and see whether his approach is what you're looking for.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
[quote user="JohnDuncan"]Look for "passive pre-amps". Creek do them for starters (and that principle is carried over to the Classic amp, which has a passive pre-amp stage). NVA do them - and actually, that particular supplier (who sells exclusively on eBay now I think) may be the nearest you will get to the ethos you're looking for, since he makes amps that work in only one particular way, rather than trying to suit all speaker impedances, cable resistance, etc etc - look at his web site and see whether his approach is what you're looking for.[/quote]

Do you know if those NVA amps are any good John? (generally)
 

Clare Newsome

New member
Jun 4, 2007
1,657
0
0
Eclipse's TD A502 certainly fits into the simple (and different!) amp category - a version of our review is hosted here on sister mag Stuff's website.
 

gpi

New member
Mar 29, 2008
23
0
0
Very interesting that but from what Ashley (AVI) and MF are saying, 30 watts per channel isn't enough. I'm confused what to believe now as I haven't had any problems in the past with bad under-powered amps.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
thanks for the feedback so far guys. i will look into the NVA stuff for sure. Clare, thank you for the link but i think that styling is bit too unusual for me and a little more than 30watts would also be required.
 

Clare Newsome

New member
Jun 4, 2007
1,657
0
0
[quote user="gpi"]Very interesting that but from what Ashley (AVI) and MF are saying, 30 watts per channel isn't enough. I'm confused what to believe now as I haven't had any problems in the past with bad under-powered amps.[/quote]

An interesting dilemma: do you listen to what manufacturers trying to sell high-wattage products say about your need for, er, higher-wattage, or trust your own experience?


But seriously... Every system and listener has different needs. Not saying the Eclipse is going to suit many people, but in the right system it could be just the ticket - and it certainly fulfills the OP's stated criteria.
 

gpi

New member
Mar 29, 2008
23
0
0
I can manage without a balance control, although listening to early Beatles albums is always fun because of the way George Martin completely separated the vocals and instruments between the channels. Hearing some tracks on either the right or left channel only gives you a whole new version to enjoy.

I don't have one on either of my amps but having a loudness button feature is useful for late night listening. A source direct feature seems a tad pointless to me as surely setting both tone controls to zero amounts to the same thing? I cannot detect any difference anyway.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
This seems to be a school of though more closely followed in Japan. Manufacturers like Eclipse, Flying Mole and 47 Labs have all produced limited input, ultra simple amps. Some of them are very, very good indeed- I have in the past considered 47 Laboratory and may yet again. Thing is though, I don't consider these amps to be good because they are simple, they're good because they are well designed. Some of the Audio Research valve amps from the states have huge user adjustability- they still sound bloody good though.
 

John Duncan

Well-known member
Jan 8, 2008
2,027
13
19,695
[quote user="simonkee"]Do you know if those NVA amps are any good John? (generally)[/quote]

Just to bring it back to civility.....no, I can only go on the reviews that his website has (and some users on here), which suggests they're pretty good value for money - their upgrade deal and money-back policy for one is pretty amazing. You have to buy into the philosophy though, no willy-nilly cable-swapping here, unless you want to invalidate the warranty.

Am sometimes tempted to splash on one of his ex-dem ones just to see what the fuss is about.
 

Thaiman

New member
Jul 28, 2007
360
0
0
The best Passive I have heard was Music First silver version (close 2nd was Dijango).
The NVA I heard was OK, not bad at all, I personally prefer my (not passive) pre amp though.
 

ASK THE COMMUNITY

TRENDING THREADS