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When did you last here a distinct difference between amps?


chn68b
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Decades and decades ago heard a true AB/X comparison between  solid state power amps, 2 amps at a time, including Phase Linear, Marantz, McIntosh, and Crown. 

 

Before going into the auditioning room, I had heard, by the grapevine, that Crown was "harsh," Marantz was "sweet," Phase Linear was "O.K.," and McIntosh was, of all things, "stringy."

 

The salesperson and I listened to all combinations.  It took several hours.  They made me come in early enough on a weekday so that other customers would likely be at work.  At first I "heard" some differences, although I couldn't label any of them with the adjectives seen above.  Before long the salesclerk and I were mistaken quite often as to which amp was playing. 

 

I ended up buying nothing, but a store loaned me two McIntosh 40 watt mono power amps while I made up my mind.  They sounded just fine.  Eventually, I bought Luxman, which sounded fine, and "tube-like," and went well with my Khorns, and some JBLs.

 

During that time, the best I ever heard (with no amp comparisons) was a powerful Crown, with Khorns, in a huge room, at a distance of about 30 feet, or more. 

 

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I’ve run my Klipschorns for well over 40 years now and with many different combinations of amplification. I’ve used tube pre/SS power, all tube and all SS systems.  My new system is a tube preamp and an SS power amplifier. This is by far the best these speakers have sounded and by a rather large margin.

The amplifier design, construction and performance is absolutely amazing in so many unexpected ways. Nothing previously has come close and it was immediately apparent. 

The amplifier is not very well known as it’s made in Denmark out of the Vitas family. The Alluxity Power One Stereo Amplifier. 

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Posted (edited)

Its been a great read, some varying opinions, and from my own experience, finally swapping amps yesterday, I've heard a pretty significant improvement.

 

Not a fair comparison by any means, but having read about low powered valve amps and Klipsch speakers I purchased a 6 watt amp and some quality KT88s a few months ago. Whilst it sounded good, it never completely satisfied me. The issue I believe to be was headroom, and whilst it sounded great with acoustic music, anything remotely more difficult generated a little distortion and more complex music sounded very muddied. An old SS 80w receiver returned and the bass had a lot more depth and control, 70s and 80s heavy rock was listenable again. 

 

I'm listening at the same volume, but I believe it was too much for the flea watt amp. The room is 20x35ft and I listen 15ft away.

 

I'm still not sure that I would hear a difference between 2 amps of the same power output though, but in time I will try.

Edited by chn68b
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23 hours ago, chn68b said:

Its been a great read, some varying opinions, and from my own experience, finally swapping amps yesterday, I've heard a pretty significant improvement.

 

Not a fair comparison by any means, but having read about low powered valve amps and Klipsch speakers I purchased a 6 watt amp and some quality KT88s a few months ago. Whilst it sounded good, it never completely satisfied me. The issue I believe to be was headroom, and whilst it sounded great with acoustic music, anything remotely more difficult generated a little distortion and more complex music sounded very muddied. An old SS 80w receiver returned and the bass had a lot more depth and control, 70s and 80s heavy rock was listenable again. 

 

I'm listening at the same volume, but I believe it was too much for the flea watt amp. The room is 20x35ft and I listen 15ft away.

 

I'm still not sure that I would hear a difference between 2 amps of the same power output though, but in time I will try.

I think this gets to the heart of the issue with Klipsch speakers (imo) they all should be biamped with active crossovers.  A tube amp for uppers and SS for lowers.  The low powered tube amps just cant push enough on the lowers. OR get a high powered tube amp like the MC275 and problem solved.  The issue most of us run into is one of $$$ and time to tweak on equipment to get the best sound.  So we all end up making compromises....until you dont (ie actively crossed Jubilee with low watt tube upper and ss lowers) 😜

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This is a great thread as I recently discovered a difference myself. Some background first: I'm 54 years old and dabbled in HiFi in the early eighties, but nothing too serious or expensive.  Forward to 2018 and I decided to get back into the game, albeit slowly.  For reference, I played drums for many years and am well aware of the upgrade bug -- having owned 30+ new kits.  ....and don't even get me started on cymbals and snare drums.  So, I wanted to proceed cautiously when buying audio gear. Anyhow....back to 2018:  I purchased an Outlaw RR2160 because of its bang-for-the-buck price.  I soon added a Marantz CD6006 and then Klipsch RP280 speakers.  Once I heard the Klipsch I fell in love with the sound, but I wanted MORE.  So, I was getting ready to purchase a set of Forte IIIs when all of a sudden, the Forte IVs came out, so I bought those instead (thanks Paducah!)  I ran the Forte IV's with the RR2160 for quite some time, but I thought that perhaps I wasn't doing the speakers justice, so I demoed the Technics SU-G700 with them.   I didn't know much about the amp other than that it was digital, and I liked Technics back in the day, so why not. I proceeded to A/B the Technics against the Outlaw and could immediately hear a considerable difference.  Actually, it was almost a religious experience, lol.  I don't know all the audiophile terms, but I would describe the sound from the Technics as cleaner, fuller and much more massive -- and there was definitely a difference in the overall sound. I even let my 18-year-old daughter (and her boyfriend) listen, and they whole heartedly agreed.  Afterwards, I purchased the matching CD player and haven't looked back since (Yes, I even heard a difference between the CD players!).  Now don't get me wrong, I LOVED the Outlaw and highly recommend it, its just that I preferred the sound of the Technics. Well, that's it!

 

Oh wait, one more thing.  I feel funny even mentioning this because I'm aware that it's a volatile topic, but here it goes:  For the first three years of owning my new setup I used Crutchfield cables, because as most of you know, expensive cables are nothing but snake oil. Well....a few weeks ago I decide to change my cables, just for fun, so I purchased something a bit more expensive.  Not high end by any means, but a bit more costly than what I had.  ....and...I heard an immediate difference.  I know, I know, but I'm just telling you my experience.  They really did make a difference.  I still can't believe it, but it is what it is. lol

 

Oh, one last thing.  When I returned to audio in 2018 I was STUNNED to learn that tone controls were out of fashion.  I was like "really?"  Thank God that the Technics unit has bass, treble and MID adjustments, although I hardly use them now.  Go figure! (Their LAPC correction is the real deal!)

Edited by Signals
spell correction
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I currently use a vintage Technics receiver as a preamp, and I LOVE the tone controls:  Bass, Mid, Treble, plus 6 db Low and High Boost Switches.  Extremely flexible and very easy to quickly adjust.  Loudness seldom used though, maybe if listening at very low level.

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16 minutes ago, Racer X said:

I currently use a vintage Technics receiver as a preamp, and I LOVE the tone controls:  Bass, Mid, Treble, plus 6 db Low and High Boost Switches.  Extremely flexible and very easy to quickly adjust.  Loudness seldom used though, maybe if listening at very low level.

Interesting that the preamp has a mid control. How many times do you just run controls flat?

I do that with my integrated vintage mostly, as it for the most part is balanced I find.

Not to 3rd degree but, usually use loudness function as said.

Have used both loud and bass control at same time at volume yet, usually one or the other.

No need to answer but, yes alright.

Thanks!

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Happy to elaborate, so no one should fear the tone controls.

 

In my old rig, vinyl only, ARC SP3 (which I picked up cause it had tone controls) I never used the tone controls, everything sounded fine flat and pure.

 

My current rig, digital files via the Topping E30 to the vintage Technics receiver preamp feeding the esoteric OTL tube amps to my now highly modded Heresys (soon to unveiled to the world, or at least the forum), I am heavily reliant on the tone controls.  Whether to adjust for my preference for slightly rolled off treble, slight bass boost to compensate for the Heresy shy low bass, or source corrections, or now to compensate for the crazy mods to my Heresys, the tone controls are well employed all the time.  I find this a suitable analog alternative to the DSP mantra so often espoused by others on the forum.

 

No longer scared of the naysayers, believe we should all just find the path that best suits their ears in their room.

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Thanks again...think there is much, at the very least in your reply. Yes, unleash as time comes for the unveiling.

Thanks for your reply!

Some model Marantz vintage have mid control.

As you may or not know, Technics are releasing a new integrated.

Cool...

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3 minutes ago, billybob said:

Thanks again...think there is much, at the very least in your reply. Yes, unleash as time comes for the unveiling.

Thanks for your reply!

Some model Marantz vintage have mid control.

As you may or not know, Technics are releasing a new integrated.

Cool...

@Racer X

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4 minutes ago, rebuy said:

I remember someone here saying

as long as the amps are linear they will all be the same.

So just buy those types and You'll be happy.

 

As long as they have tone controls, or just a amps external in particular?

Thanks!

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3 minutes ago, billybob said:

As long as they have tone controls, or just a amps external in particular?

Thanks!

Well, I'm not an Expert.

I run all my amps through my Marantz AVR.

It has a Built in EQ and I'm Not Shy about using it.

 

I just remember some guy on here giving everyone hell

about Linear Amps and it doesn't make any difference what

you buy as long as it's Linear. It was Pretty Funny.

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Yes, think understood. Think principle is abit different as opposed to cb amps. Linearity can have different meaning.

A balanced full bandwidth audio amp should be sufficient, although, not always audible.

Bit of a believer in tone controls as afterall, even alive performance not alway linear.

Thanks!

 

 

 

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3 hours ago, Signals said:

 

This is a great thread as I recently discovered a difference myself. Some background first: I'm 54 years old and dabbled in HiFi in the early eighties, but nothing too serious or expensive.  Forward to 2018 and I decided to get back into the game, albeit slowly.  For reference, I played drums for many years and am well aware of the upgrade bug -- having owned 30+ new kits.  ....and don't even get me started on cymbals and snare drums.  So, I wanted to proceed cautiously when buying audio gear. Anyhow....back to 2018:  I purchased an Outlaw RR2160 because of its bang-for-the-buck price.  I soon added a Marantz CD6006 and then Klipsch RP280 speakers.  Once I heard the Klipsch I fell in love with the sound, but I wanted MORE.  So, I was getting ready to purchase a set of Forte IIIs when all of a sudden, the Forte IVs came out, so I bought those instead (thanks Paducah!)  I ran the Forte IV's with the RR2160 for quite some time, but I thought that perhaps I wasn't doing the speakers justice, so I demoed the Technics SU-G700 with them.   I didn't know much about the amp other than that it was digital, and I liked Technics back in the day, so why not. I proceeded to A/B the Technics against the Outlaw and could immediately hear a considerable difference.  Actually, it was almost a religious experience, lol.  I don't know all the audiophile terms, but I would describe the sound from the Technics as cleaner, fuller and much more massive -- and there was definitely a difference in the overall sound. I even let my 18-year-old daughter (and her boyfriend) listen, and they whole heartedly agreed.  Afterwards, I purchased the matching CD player and haven't looked back since (Yes, I even heard a difference between the CD players!).  Now don't get me wrong, I LOVED the Outlaw and highly recommend it, its just that I preferred the sound of the Technics. Well, that's it!

 

Oh wait, one more thing.  I feel funny even mentioning this because I'm aware that it's a volatile topic, but here it goes:  For the first three years of owning my new setup I used Crutchfield cables, because as most of you know, expensive cables are nothing but snake oil. Well....a few weeks ago I decide to change my cables, just for fun, so I purchased something a bit more expensive.  Not high end by any means, but a bit more costly than what I had.  ....and...I heard an immediate difference.  I know, I know, but I'm just telling you my experience.  They really did make a difference.  I still can't believe it, but it is what it is. lol

 

Oh, one last thing.  When I returned to audio in 2018 I was STUNNED to learn that tone controls were out of fashion.  I was like "really?"  Thank God that the Technics unit has bass, treble and MID adjustments, although I hardly use them now.  Go figure! (Their LAPC correction is the real deal!)

 

That Technics SU G700 is quite a remarkable amplifier. I'd say quite revolutionary inside, but 'understated' looks. I like it!

https://www.technics.com/us/products/grand-class/g700-series/su-g700.html#overview

 

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3 hours ago, billybob said:

Some model Marantz vintage have mid control.

 

 

My vintage Akai AM 2850 also has mid control.

On the other hand Kenwood C1 preamp does not, but its bass and treble controls are very usable so I do not have a need for mid control in that unit.

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