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When did you last here a distinct difference between amps?


chn68b
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@Racer X, no need to be confused. If you'd ditch the Technics receiver for a good two channel preamp and buy some speakers with decent bass extension (or add subs), you would probably walk away from tone controls. You are using a band aid to correct deficiencies elsewhere in your system.

 

If you like it, that's all that matters. I get that. Just so you understand there's a better way.

 

Shakey

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Hey don't shoot the messenger. But I bet if you've ever heard a really good system (at a trade show, dealer demo, etc.) that made your socks leave your feet, you heard one with NO tone controls or equalization. There's a reason why the high dollar systems don't employ such things. You get the front end and amplification right, treat the room as needed, pick the right speakers, and you are done.

 

I understand it's not the popular opinion around these parts. So I am fully prepared for what comes next.

 

 

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What one hears is subjective and for this reason there is no one amplifier for all. Horns are very revealing and this being a horn forum there are some amplifiers that are very revealing will not sound good on some of the medium offered for sale being they are recorded for the average Joe riding in his car listening to music. Very few, there are some here, have the luxury of comparing 2 or 3 high end amplifiers in their home at the same time. Most do research on quality amplifiers put down their hard earned money and make themselves like what they have bought. Been there done that. There are subtle differences in every amplifier I have heard. I honestly do not know how many amplifiers I have at the present time. Take for instance Firstwatt owned by Nelson Pass. There is not a bad one in his lineup but having built most all of them as clones there are a couple that I do not like with my setup. My latest build is the SE (single ended) V-fet (static induction transistor that have curves like triode tubes) one that only a few were able to get in a lottery that was held this year. I can assume it sounds much like the Firstwatt SIT amplifiers that are so popular. How does it sound? Like a good SET tube amplifier. For me and many others tubes rule when it comes to sound. Push Pull tube amplifiers sound much more like a SS amplifier. Ones choice in music also dictates which amplifier one will enjoy more. Rock and modern pop music lovers will probably be better off with one of the better class D offerings as well as a good class A/B amplifer. They will be quicker with better bass. I have a number of them I enjoy listening with for a change. I swap out amplifiers on a steady basis. 

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On 10/3/2021 at 11:01 AM, ClaudeJ1 said:

If you take as much TIME as you need to do AB/X testing, you will find the truth.

Discovering "the TRUTH" is expensive and time consuming. For that reason alone, it is also rare. So we just listen to equipment along with the opinion of other listeners. It's much safer that way.

 

From the movie, A Few Good Men:

 

Lieutenant Daniel Kaffee: "I want the TRUTH!!"

Colonel Nathan R. Jessep: "You can't HANDLE the TRUTH!!!!

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On 9/28/2021 at 3:31 PM, chn68b said:

There is strong belief that any half decent amp will sound pretty much identical to any other amplifier played within limits.

from the OP, quoting Julian Hirsch from Stereo Review, who put forth that "mostly true at the time" popular PROPOSITION.

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11 hours ago, MeloManiac said:

 

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

 

 

It sure is, and don't let the low power ratungs fool you, there's plenty of muscle. For what it's worth, I understand that a new "M" version of this amplifier will be avaialble soon.  I'd like to compare it to the original.

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5 hours ago, Shakeydeal said:

Hey don't shoot the messenger. But I bet if you've ever heard a really good system (at a trade show, dealer demo, etc.) that made your socks leave your feet, you heard one with NO tone controls or equalization. There's a reason why the high dollar systems don't employ such things. You get the front end and amplification right, treat the room as needed, pick the right speakers, and you are done.

 

I understand it's not the popular opinion around these parts. So I am fully prepared for what comes next.

 

 

 

I'm a tone control advocate, HOWEVER, I must say that since I purchased the Technics Amp I barely use the controls anymore.  I'm not sure if it's because I just like the overall sound, or something else altogether.  But, yeah, I could see your point, especially since my amp isn't even in the same ball park of the really great ones. 

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Most of my listening over many years has been done using class A/B SS amps.

It has only been within the last four years or so that I started using low power SE tube amps and at that time I noticed a significant difference.
I won't rehash the adjectives used to describe the "tube sound" you all know what they are and I really enjoyed that difference.

Now enter class D. My only experience with class D was small powered speakers and subwoofers and I never paid much attention to that stuff.
Well I started to fool around with some of the new stuff coming from China using TI and Infineon chips and I've  got to tell you I can really hear a difference now.

As much as I like tubes, those amps are now sitting in my closet for a little break and I'll revisit them in a few months. Until then I'm enjoying the new found clarity and detail. 

 

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Beauty of this hobby is that one can choose whether you want to be a purist and stay away from anything changing the signal like Shakey mentioned, Or have fun and listen to the music how you want even if it changes it. 
 

I am a believer in a pure signal and have not used tone controls for some time. But I do understand and appreciate those who want that control. 
 

One of the reasons I went with the Cornwall’s is the emotion they give me. That was coming from very accurate speakers AND after auditioning $8k Monitor Audio towers. I just preferred the sound. Maybe they aren’t SUPER accurate to the source sound (low end) but they are fun and that’s what counts for me.   

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One of my college roommates was a serious audiophile, his amp had tone controls, he would not allow them to be set anywhere but "flat." On the other hand he rearranged the living room maybe every two weeks, raising and lowering speakers, changing their angle, moving furniture around, in an endless quest to find the optimum.

 

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Posted (edited)
21 hours ago, Pondoro said:

One of my college roommates was a serious audiophile, his amp had tone controls, he would not allow them to be set anywhere but "flat." On the other hand he rearranged the living room maybe every two weeks, raising and lowering speakers, changing their angle, moving furniture around, in an endless quest to find the optimum.

 

This leads on to another question. Are we all a little crazy? 

 

Just a few weeks ago I spent 20 minutes playing my wife the same piece of music over and over again to show her the distortion in my right speaker. Each time it happened, I'd say "there, hear it?", and each time she looked at me as if I was mad. She finally heard it, or at least, she pretended too. 20 minutes later she walked back into the lounge to ask me if I was coming to bed to find me with the parts of the Heresy arranged on the carpet...

 

All bar one of my friends have basic systems, and they'd be as happy listening to an amazon echo as they would anything else. 

 

Sometimes I wish I could be that way, sometimes I feel cursed, almost like I have an illness  😄

Edited by chn68b
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For purist tone controls are a no no. For one thing they throw more electronics manipulating the sound introducing their sound signature into the mix. But if one likes what they hear using such I will not throw stones. The point is if one can get everything right without having tone controls the sound is supposedly better. With the right equipment this is possible. I have not used controls in years. I consider less is best. I mainly use an input buffer linestage (some call it a preamplifier) for volume control and the amplifier. I understand the sound is manipulated before the sound inters the linestage via DAC, phono pre, etc but where the rubber meets the road is a more contributing factor. 

 

 

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16 hours ago, wetowne said:

Most of my listening over many years has been done using class A/B SS amps.

It has only been within the last four years or so that I started using low power SE tube amps and at that time I noticed a significant difference.
I won't rehash the adjectives used to describe the "tube sound" you all know what they are and I really enjoyed that difference.

Now enter class D. My only experience with class D was small powered speakers and subwoofers and I never payed much attention to that stuff.
Well I started to fool around with some of the new stuff coming from China using TI and Infineon chips and I've  got to tell you I can really hear a difference now.

As much as I like tubes, those amps are now sitting in my closet for a little break and I'll revisit them in a few months. Until then I'm enjoying the new found clarity and detail. 

 

Class D has come a long way the last since it was first made public. I have a number of them and I consider the TPA3255 the best I own. Quick with the best bass I have ever heard in an amplifier. I like using them, I have two of them one using the original Texas Instruments board and the other one of the Chinese clones, for a change but one of my SET amplifiers is what I used most of the time. By the way I cannot tell any difference in the sound between the Chinese clone and the original TI board. 

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Every amp I’ve owned sounded different.


I currently have 5 hi-fi systems, involving 28 amps.   I currently own hi-fi amps from every decade from the 1950s to now.   (Over the years I’ve owned approximately 10 other amps that I’ve sold.)  I currently own solid state and tube (push/pull and single ended), including receivers, integrated amps, and separates.


I listen mostly to classical music.    My goal for the sound quality of recorded classical music played via my home hi-fi systems is to experience the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall or opera house where classical music was performed live, with no electronics involved (i.e., no sound reinforcement system), and for inevitable deviations to sound pleasant vs. unpleasant – to my ears.     I believe that I have a clear benchmark for how the music that I love “should” sound.  (I don’t rely on a technical definition of “accuracy”, or room correction software indicating “flat response”.)


I mostly listen to modern hi-res classical recordings, and I greatly prefer multi-channel (i.e., Blu-ray’s DTS-HD MA 5.1, or SACD).   These excellent quality classical recordings make it apparent which recording/amp/speaker combination is doing the best job of reproducing the natural timbre of orchestral instruments.


IME/IMO, tube amps generally do a better job of creating the illusion that I’m in the symphony hall.   For me, tube amps generally sound more pleasant, and cause less listener fatigue.  With that said, the solid-state amps that I’ve kept (including several Class A/B amps, and two NAD Class D amps) sound pretty good.    I use the solid-state amps for movies, and sometimes during summertime for music.

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If you think something sounds better it doesn’t matter if it IS actually better or even worse as long as you think it sounds better. How does anyone really know what someone else hears and how they hear it? And why does it matter? 
 

I had an NAD amp and preamp for years and then had numerous AVRs from Sony, pioneer and yamaha. When I went back to separates I bought a McIntosh hybrid integrated and to me that sounded better to my ears then any of the other amps I had ever owned to that point. Wondering about Klipsch and tubes I went to a store and listened to a Primaluna 100% tube integrated and I was hooked on the sound. I just liked it. Is it the greatest amp ever? Who knows if it really sounds good at all. The only thing I know is I like the way it sounds in my room with my gear and the music I love.

 

Many people prefer ss for the power and some people think that valves are warmer and present the music like the artist is actually in your listening room. For me I hear music thru my tube amp with great bass and warm midrange. Could a pure class A amp sound better? Could a class d sound better? Could an ss amp sound better?

 

I don’t care. I like the music in my room. I’d probably like many amps in my setup regardless of architecture.

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On 9/29/2021 at 11:29 AM, Max2 said:

I think it would be difficult for me to just sit down with my system and distinguish two (new to me) SS amps that are very comparable build and spec. wise. However, I do think once you get some hours under your belt, its easier to pick out the differences in a fully treated listening area.  Most people don't have any treatments, they have poor walls, bad corners, strange room shape and opening floor plans, bad speaker placement, etc.  Getting the most from what you have is cheaper and brings more to the table than a quick and expensive  component  change. Treatment is everything and it took me 20 years to finally be convinced by it. Now, I can tell you its everything to my ears.

Truer words have never been spoken. I'd like to ad ALL HORN speakers, to the mix. They are the most revealing of good and bad recordings, just like Red Book CD's.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Regarding the original post, in my opinion I think it's important NOT to switch too many things at once. Just take your time with a particular component and listen or write down some notes while you are listening to determine what you hear with a particular genre of music you like. Make notes of the soundstage, balance, spatial separation, bass, treble or whatever, etc, etc. After a while, switch out the component and re-write the notes over to determine if you are able to discern any desirable or undesirable differences. If not, then great. If so, that's great too. It takes time to learn what you like or dislike through "experience" IMHO.

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On 10/9/2021 at 4:00 AM, henry4841 said:

For purist tone controls are a no no. For one thing they throw more electronics manipulating the sound introducing their sound signature into the mix. But if one likes what they hear using such I will not throw stones. The point is if one can get everything right without having tone controls the sound is supposedly better. With the right equipment this is possible. I have not used controls in years. I consider less is best. I mainly use an input buffer linestage (some call it a preamplifier) for volume control and the amplifier. I understand the sound is manipulated before the sound inters the linestage via DAC, phono pre, etc but where the rubber meets the road is a more contributing factor. 

 

 

 

When one listens to Albert King like I do, tell me what is pure. Do you think a live band rocking out with static sounds pure? Klipsch speakers are not meant to sound ultra refined or pure. If people want ultra hi fidelity sound then they can go buy some ultra hi fidelity recordings that sound amazing with just about anything. Drums & Bells is probably the greatest recording in history  https://elusivedisc.com/drums-bells-comparing-sticks-cd/ if you just wanna hear a world class recording but is this the kind of recording or music you actually listen to? Some of this purist stuff gets a bit absurd. You gotta work around the music you like and consider how it's recorded. If you like Journey, what's the point of purity? 

 

 

 

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