Sonic differences between amplifiers

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twitch54

Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #20 on: 22 May 2020, 07:34 pm »
I've been on Pass Labs amps for a while.

My current best setup is using an active crossover bi-amped setup (with no passive crossover at all, just naked drivers), crossed over at 1270 Hz, using a Pass XA30.8 for the tweeter and an X150.5 for the mid-woofers.

I suspect I would find using either one of the X.5 or X.8 series amps satisfactory for the mid-woofers, but the highs really do seem to like the sweeter XA.8 series.

I too am a Nelson Pass fan, back in the eighties (Threshold days) had a S500 up against my Maggies (IIIa's), pure heaven. As for the XA series performing better on the top end, totally system dependent IMO and I'm not just talking speakers but the room as well. My current pair of X260.8's driving a pair of Revel Studio2's provides plenty of high freq bliss ! For the record the 260.8's have the highest amount of initial Class A bias (34 watts) in the X series, save the mighty '650' (100 watts)

usery

Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #21 on: 22 May 2020, 08:05 pm »
Unless one has measurements showing otherwise, I'm guessing changing 'external things' outside the amp => speakers signal path are more likely altering one's perception of the 'sound', rather than actually changing the sound waves reaching one's ears.

mr_bill

Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #22 on: 22 May 2020, 08:07 pm »
27+ amps in 13 years. I've only loved a few of them. Most went in and out in a week or so. You've got to achieve system synergy and having the amp in you home in your system is pretty much the only way to know.


That's a lot of amps and experience!

RDavidson

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Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #23 on: 22 May 2020, 09:35 pm »
Unless one has measurements showing otherwise, I'm guessing changing 'external things' outside the amp => speakers signal path are more likely altering one's perception of the 'sound', rather than actually changing the sound waves reaching one's ears.

Yes. The environment will always have an influence on the "presentation" from the time the sound waves exit the speakers to the time they reach your ears. This is a whole other topic that goes far beyond just the comparison between audible differences in SS amps. I would bet the farm that taking the room out of the equation and using headphones in a comparison, one would still hear differences in SS amps from different manufacturers (or even different models from the same manufacturer)...including amps with very similar measured performance.

usery

Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #24 on: 22 May 2020, 10:21 pm »
Yes. The environment will always have an influence on the "presentation"...

I should have been clearer: absolutely the physical attributes of the listening room will affect the objective phenomena.  By 'external things' I meant things like power cables, conditioners, stands, footings and all other manner of mumbo jumbo on which lots of $$$ is spent believing it will objectively affect what reaches our ears.  There's similar argument to be made against mega-bank interconnects and speaker cables, which are actually _in_ the signal chain.

Freo-1

Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #25 on: 22 May 2020, 10:36 pm »
I should have been clearer: absolutely the physical attributes of the listening room will affect the objective phenomena.  By 'external things' I meant things like power cables, conditioners, stands, footings and all other manner of mumbo jumbo on which lots of $$$ is spent believing it will objectively affect what reaches our ears.  There's similar argument to be made against mega-bank interconnects and speaker cables, which are actually _in_ the signal chain.


The above points is one of the primary reasons that I haven't changed out amps after obtaining Devialet amps.  The specs are among the best industrywide,  features such as speaker active matching can bring out the best of a supported speakers performance. 


I also have owned a high number of amps over the years (around 28 or so).  The Devialet performance is easily the best I've come across.

Big Red Machine

Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #26 on: 22 May 2020, 11:46 pm »

That's a lot of amps and experience!

One of these days I'm going to graph out and rank all the cables I have had and probably piss off a whole bunch of people in how I rank the popular brands often bantered about on audio sites as "good cables". Now when it comes to amps, I have not purchased mega buck amps until the last few years. So many were just like the others - boring or really bad. I'm not an expert in either, but my experience should help others. Unfortunately, you do have to spend money to get good sound. Most here don't want to believe that. Not that anyone wants to overpay for some bling wrapped around a mediocre product and "think" themselves into it is sounding great cuz I overpaid :duh:. That's a trap we are all afraid of falling into. Me, number one.

My opinion means nothing because you have to try and find system synergy. I wish there was a decoder ring for all of us. I recommend you buy the best amp, preamp, and speakers you can afford. And then squeeze out the sound you prefer with the cabling. I have been tweaking my sound from hot to mild and back by changing silver to gold to carbon to hybrids, etc. If you have mediocre gear it won't be worth the cable monies to try and make average electronics sound better. Can't happen. You have to extract the premiere sound from good gear.

All my opinion and worth bupkis. I have been fortunate enough to have a decent budget the last few years now so I can play in a little higher atmosphere than 15 years ago. When I look back at how mediocre my sound was for years I am embarrassed. Now I am excited to squeeze out more and more via cabling because my electronics and speakers are top notch.



I agree with the guys here. Solid amps can be had from Pass, Electrocompaniet, Wells, Plinius, Ayre, Boulder, devaliet. I'm using Luxman now and it's built and runs like a superbly designed tank. Look under the hood and see what's different in the amps and in the cables. Look for the engineering and the technology and break from traditional "science".

It's a journey and thank goodness it's not a full time job!

usery

Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #27 on: 23 May 2020, 01:29 am »
I have a $200 RaspberryPi-based DAC as source into a $400 Yamaha AVR as amp into a $300 pair of Paradigm Mini Monitor series 7.  ~ $50 for Emotiva interconnects and sensible speaker cable.  The sound is good.

One doesn't have to spend much more than $1,000 to get good sound.

I have better sound in my main listening room but total cost is still under 10x the $1000 room.  For sake of the original topic the SS amp in main room is a Micromega M-100, an upgrade from a Creek 5350se SS amp.
« Last Edit: 23 May 2020, 03:09 am by usery »

RDavidson

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Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #28 on: 23 May 2020, 06:14 am »
Right. No one is saying you have to spend a lot of $$$ for very enjoyable sound, but sometimes the "journey" can cost a lot over time. As you're perhaps pointing to, synergy is key even when putting together a budget system. Best way to find the synergy is research and try stuff.

Back to the topic, we're talking about the audible differences inherent in different SS amps (even those from the same manufacturer). Sometimes the difference is profound. Other times it is subtle, even when keeping all other system factors the same (same cables, speakers, mumbo jumbo, source, room, etc. etc.)

JLM

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Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #29 on: 23 May 2020, 12:43 pm »
I'm a speaker/room guy because they make the biggest differences.  Although years ago heard a demonstration of an expensive SET amp connected to a cheap car speaker and it sounded incredibly decent, so there are always exceptions.  There's so many synergy factors between amps and speakers, it's mind boggling: how reactive are the individual driver loads or overall complex speaker loads; how much damping is ideal; what different crossover designs are like; how is bass handled (cabinet design); etc.  Generic (off the shelf) amp designs can't possibly be optimized for all speakers.  The Devaliet Active Speaker Matching is an attempt to address many of these issues.

That's why I'm also a fan of quality active speakers.  They'll make way more difference than any amp, even the Devaliet system.  Synergistic amp/driver pairing is much easier when the amp "sees" the driver load way more clearly versus trying to find a theoretical ideal match between generic amps and passive speaker crude high voltage crossover/driver systems with all the possible factors involved.  And let the manufacturer make that ideal pairing between amps and drivers/cabinets while using a much more sophisticated low voltage crossover. 

Being a follower of acousticians like Toole, Geddes, and LeJeune agree with the un-importance of power/conditioners, footers, racks, and wires.  According to them addressing inherent in-room bass peaks/dips (via use of multiple subs) is vastly more important to address than one amp versus another.  In fact talk of subjective attributes makes the audiophile hair on the back of my neck stand up.  As an active speaker fan, I'm following the path of studio professionals who need accurate objectivity of what the music really sounds like versus being entertained with various colorations. 

So my advice is to major in majors.  Start out with optimizing the big factors (room shape/size/insulation/treatment, in-room bass peaks/dips, and using active speaker design) versus getting caught up in distractions fraught with limitations (like hopelessly trying to match passive speakers with off the shelf amps).

rollo

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Re: Sonic differences between amplifiers
« Reply #30 on: 23 May 2020, 03:23 pm »
  Yes there are. The key in choosing an Amp to audition is the character of Amp with relationship to character and power requirement of Speaker. Ya got a dark speaker try a brighter amp and visa versa.


charles