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Amp confusion


dnanstad
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So, help me understand. I have a set of forte I’s. I had a mcintosh mc275 amp and c47 preamp. I’ve sold the amp and needed something for sound so I picked up an inexpensive marantz mm7025.  In my listening tonight, the sound stage is better, more depth, maybe not as warm, but overall everything sounds better. Is it because of the increase in WPC?  Big difference between a$4k tube amp and a $500 SS amp.

 

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Forte I's could be closer to 6 ohm in the real world, and then the MM7025 is 170 watt, which is quite powerful. Solid state is not necessarily 'inferior', there are great, reliable ss amps out there. But I'm not sure it is the wattage that makes all the difference here.  A friend of mine is a guitar player and he plays live gigs with a 15 watt tube amplifier. He often gets compliments from fellow guitar players about his amazing sound. He explained that most people will - mistakingly - opt for the most powerful amp they can afford. Instead, you should take into account the size of the gig, the other musicians, the room treatment , your accessories etc. A 15 watt amp allowed him to play guitar at the sweet spot volume, while a 50 watt amp would simply play too loud at its sweetspot. Isn't there a saying, that the first watts are the most important ones?

 

So many other factors are in play when it comes to sound quality, and especially the sound stage. The 'synergy', the way your setup now works together, may have hit the 'sweet spot': as Artistotle once said, the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. 

The MC275 has a reputation of being one of the best, powerful tube amps out there. But that doesn't exclude that something may have been wrong with yours: just a slight discrepancy in one of the tubes (or any other part of the audio path) may have resulted in slightly substandard staging, without triggering error messages.

 

 

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What we listen too is .5 watt or less

2 Watts is screaming

How an amp sounds at 100W is irrelevant for the high efficiency speakers

 

The SS amp may have tighter engineering tolerances and less drift, tubes do age as they are consumed.

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