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What are the two most different sounding amplifiers?

steve_1979

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Jul 14, 2010
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What would be the best amplifiers to use for the Harbeth ABX amplifier challenge?

What are the two most different sounding amplifiers around?

I'm genuinely tempted to having a go at the challenge because in sighted tests I think that I might have been able to hear a very very small difference between some AV recievers and some budget amps. They say that Cyrus is bright and Arcam is warm. Would these two be a good choice for the challenge?

http://www.stereophile.com/content/alan-shaw-throws-down-gauntletharbeth-golden-eared-audiophiles-filibuster-fearing-their-myth
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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steve_1979 said:
What would be the best amplifiers to use for the Harbeth ABX amplifier challenge?

What are the two most different sounding amplifiers around?

I'm genuinely tempted to having a go at the challenge because in sighted tests I think that I might have been able to hear a very very small difference between some AV recievers and some budget amps. They say that Cyrus is bright and Arcam is warm. Would these two be a good choice for the challenge?

http://www.stereophile.com/content/alan-shaw-throws-down-gauntletharbeth-golden-eared-audiophiles-filibuster-fearing-their-myth
Well, I'd say that given the divisions between the types of amps on offer, a valve vs solid state shootout would be the obvious choice.

Take your pick really as the differences would appear to be so obvious, that you'd need to be deaf not to hear the 'night and day' split.

As replied to in that 'other' thread.

In all seriousness, I'd try something on the low power, valve side of things and high power high quality SS front. That's a fairly diametrically opposite choice. Maybe try a Class D car audio amp, running off of a converter for comparison too?

*Edit: Doh, jinx on the Class D
 

steve_1979

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Jul 14, 2010
231
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I've got a couple of weeks off work over christmas so I'll be doing a bit of amplifier auditioning then.

Any amplifiers that I use will have to be cheap ones (£500 maximum budget for both) and preferably second hand as I'll want to sell them afterwards without losing too much money.

All suggestions are welcome. :)
 

Overdose

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Feb 8, 2008
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Nothing specific, but go for used well regarded brands, probably from somewhere like online auction sites, but also try freeads.

Class D car amps can be had for peanuts. A cheap DIY tube amp might also be a good bet. NAD C370 integrated perhaps?

Get something that has good resale factor and you will have a no cost investment, you may even make a few quid if you're careful/lucky. :)
 

gregvet

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Dec 24, 2008
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steve_1979 said:
I've got a couple of weeks off work over christmas so I'll be doing a bit of amplifier auditioning then.

Any amplifiers that I use will have to be cheap ones (£500 maximum budget for both) and preferably second hand as I'll want to sell them afterwards without losing too much money.

All suggestions are welcome. :)
What will you do with the speakers when you win them? :)
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
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gregvet said:
What will you do with the speakers when you win them? :)
Probably stick them on eBay. :type:

I'll be doing plenty of auditioning first though and won't spend any money unless I'm certain that I'll be able to win the challenge. I'm only going to bother if I can find two amplifiers that sound very obviously different.
 

Thompsonuxb

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Feb 19, 2012
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Whats the challenge?

Is the challengee saying all amps sound the same through his speakers (the Harbeths).

Wow, thats a bold challenge.

'

"Here is a challenge then.

If, in a controlled experiment with all variables accounted for (incl. differences in frequency reponse and within the power range appropriate to the amps) under instantaneous A-B relay switchover, driving any Harbeth speakers, if you can positively identify an amplifier by sound alone, I will give you, FOC, a pair of brand new Harbeth speakers, up to and including a pair of M40.1 in any veneer you fancy"

So the only thing that'll be changed is the amp in a set up and you only have to name correctly which amp is playing, wounder if he'll allow the challenger their music of choice. Thats a good test, but those speakers are too big for me, not to keen on the industrial stands etheir.......

A rotel ra- 1520 and an Audiolab 8200a......
 

AlmaataKZ

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Jan 7, 2009
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Steve, if you are serious about taking the challenge can I (or any other willing forumites here) support with something?
 
T

the record spot

Guest
Stick an old valve amp on - bound to have a certain sound, especially if it's not been serviced for years! :shifty:
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
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AlmaataKZ said:
Steve, if you are serious about taking the challenge can I (or any other willing forumites here) support with something?
Thanks for the offer of help Alma. :)

If (and that's a pretty big if) I do take the challenge then I'll need help building the A/B switchbox. Hopefully someone with the necessary expertise would be able to do it for me and I could pay them for the parts and labour.
 

Craig M.

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Mar 20, 2008
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I think he wants a relay comparator box to be used. Somewhere in this (I think, I haven't looked through it) are the details of how to build one (I think about £20). Best check the thread on his forum.
 

steve_1979

Well-known member
Jul 14, 2010
231
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AlmaataKZ said:
Steve, if you are serious about taking the challenge can I (or any other willing forumites here) support with something?
Also, how can I make sure that both amplifiers are accurately level matched and not clipping?
 

AlmaataKZ

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Jan 7, 2009
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steve_1979 said:
AlmaataKZ said:
Steve, if you are serious about taking the challenge can I (or any other willing forumites here) support with something?
Also, how can I make sure that both amplifiers are accurately level matched and not clipping?
clipping can be measured. http://www.diymobileaudio.com/forum/technical-advanced-car-audio-discussion/59650-what-can-i-use-measure-amp-clipping.html

set gains on both amps equal (i.e. at certain spl) and below the clipping level of the one that clips lower.

I think this also means that with a given speaker sensitivity the spl achieved needs to be of a level practical for the test.
 
A

Anonymous

Guest
I think an oldish Arcam and Cyrus of similar power would fit the bill and shouldn't cost too much.
 

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