Have your say & ask the experts!

do all amps sound the same?

93 replies [Last post]
CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11415
RE: do all amps sound the same? RE: do all amps sound the same?

Covenanter wrote:

But how does it happen CNo?  I respect your opinion because you obviously have studied the subject.  However over the years whenever I've auditioned systems I've never heard much difference between amps and I've heard oodles of difference between speakers.  Obviously you have to have an amp that can drive the speakers but putting that to one side I seriously don't get it!

What's this "timing" thing?  What does that mean?

Chris

Chris, here is probably the best explanation of PRaT that I've come across: http://www.tnt-audio.com/edcorner/prat_e.html

There are much better people on here than me to explain this, but I have a rudimentary understanding.

The first thing I look for in an amp is the robustness of the power supply.....so that it can provide the current a speaker needs. An amp that can double it's output as impedance halves is ideal. Expensive speakers often need very competent amps to keep them under control.....Damping Factor plays its part here.

Different Classes of amps (A, B AB, D etc) often have identifiable traits......eg. because of the way Class A works, it's inclined to have terrific transient response, which can make it sound lightening fast and punchy.

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

Electro's picture
Online
Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 989
RE: do all amps sound the same? RE: do all amps sound the same?

CnoEvil wrote:

Covenanter wrote:

But how does it happen CNo?  I respect your opinion because you obviously have studied the subject.  However over the years whenever I've auditioned systems I've never heard much difference between amps and I've heard oodles of difference between speakers.  Obviously you have to have an amp that can drive the speakers but putting that to one side I seriously don't get it!

What's this "timing" thing?  What does that mean?

Chris

Chris, here is probably the best explanation of PRaT that I've come across: http://www.tnt-audio.com/edcorner/prat_e.html

There are much better people on here than me to explain this, but I have a rudimentary understanding.

The first thing I look for in an amp is the robustness of the power supply.....so that it can provide the current a speaker needs. An amp that can double it's output as impedance halves is ideal. Expensive speakers often need very competent amps to keep them under control.....Damping Factor plays its part here.

Different Classes of amps (A, B AB, D etc) often have identifiable traits......eg. because of the way Class A works, it's inclined to have terrific transient response, which can make it sound lightening fast and punchy.

I agree Cno Smile

One of the most important thing an amplifier can do is to preserve the transients  and reduce  TIM      ( transient intermodulation distortion )  in the reproduced music if it is to sound natural and lifelike  IMO .

http://www.zoominfo.com/p/Matti-Otala/483011832

http://www.electrocompaniet.com/about/history.html

 

__________________

Electrocompaniet EMC1UP Cd player , EC 4.8 preamp , AW180 monoblock power amps , PMC PB1i speakers .

Linn LP12 Lingo , Ittok lv3 , Lyra Lydian , EAR834P .

"Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler."     Albert Einstein .

the record spot's picture
Offline
Joined: 13 Oct 2007
Posts: 9010
RE: do all amps sound the same? RE: do all amps sound the same?

pauln wrote:

Naim are supposedly known for their Pace, Rhythm and Timing - the acronym for which could not be more apt in this instance.

 

I've always thought that PRaT was a joke in any case.  Never yet heard any hifi component - and there's been a few now - that affected any of that.  

__________________

 

Onkyo TX-NR818 / Tannoy DC4 speakers / Marantz UD-7007

AVI Lab Series & Marantz CD63 MkII KI CD players / various cables 

JMacMan's picture
Offline
Joined: 9 Nov 2012
Posts: 237
RE: do all amps sound the same? RE: do all amps sound the same?

CnoEvil]</p> <p>[quote=Covenanter wrote:

I don't understand how any amplifier can "inject" any of these things!  I think people greatly overestimate the effect of an amplifier.  In my opinion you just need something neutral.  I think speakers are about 1000% more important.

Chris

The more amps I hear, the more important I believe them to be with the regard to the effect they have on the system. Speakers can only shine if matched to the appropriate amp (imo).

[/quote

 

"Speakers can only shine if matched to the appropriate amp (imo)."

LOL... you do realise you just made an irrefutably accurate pitch for active speakers?  excellent!

I agree entirely, but feel both on technical grounds, and from personal practical experience over many years, that the task should be left to a highly qualified design or acoustic engineer, and not an amateur mixing and matching separates at a retail level - hence one of the many very much real world advantages of active speakers.  And no, I'm not pushing AVI!...lol  Shock

 

JB   Cool

Singslinger's picture
Offline
Joined: 31 Jul 2010
Posts: 657
RE: do all amps sound the same?

Moving up the Naim amp chain where the amps have progressively better internal circuitry and better power supplies, the improvements in sound quality were quite obvious to my unwashed and untrained ears. However switching to a pure class A amp and finding that it matched my speakers perfectly meant I had to abandon Naim.

cheeseboy's picture
Offline
Joined: 17 Jul 2012
Posts: 864
RE: do all amps sound the same?

oldric_naubhoff wrote:

another forum thread (the one about nonexistence of a perfect amp) inspired me to start this thread. the answer to the question is yes. why is it so? the explanation can be found in the article I linked to below. quite lengthy but very educative IMO. please read if you haven't come across this article yet.

the Carver challenge

I don't want to spoil the fun of finding out what the article is about but it'll suffice to say I decided I'll never buy a piece of audio equipment judging only by my ears. if I don't see the graphs I'll remain unconvinced (I know this statement for most around here is simply unheard of! Tongue).

 

EDIT: just spotted an error in my post. maybe it was too late when I wrote it. that highlighted sentence should read "the answer to the question is no". however, they can be made to sound the same... read on.

 

excellent little article - thanks for sharing.

 

I have wondered myself why nobody is making inroads with regards to moddling amps/speakers within hifi.  It's almost de-rigur for guitarists now, and there is a fantstic piece here http://www.emusician.com/techniques/0768/showdown-at-the-clubhouse--amp-software-vs-amps/141292 which gets some studio pros to see if they can tell the difference between a moddled system and the real thing.

Electro's picture
Online
Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 989
RE: do all amps sound the same?

the Carver challenge

 

Surely this article is absolute proof that all amplifiers do not sound the same .   puzzled      excellent!  

 

Or is it just me shifty

__________________

Electrocompaniet EMC1UP Cd player , EC 4.8 preamp , AW180 monoblock power amps , PMC PB1i speakers .

Linn LP12 Lingo , Ittok lv3 , Lyra Lydian , EAR834P .

"Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler."     Albert Einstein .

Thompsonuxb's picture
Offline
Joined: 19 Feb 2012
Posts: 794
RE: do all amps sound the same?

the Carver challenge

 

Sorry I just read this article and honestly what a load of crud.

 

You mean to tell me that Bob took the two amps, stripped them more or less rebuilt their inards and then suggested they sound the same. I mean they even changed the sound on the reference amp to drag it down to the cheaper amp. This is pure and utter nonesense and has no place in real world listening. Were do you guys go to dig this stuff up?

I got to page 4 of the article and wondered why the author had not said...."hold on bob, what the hell you doing - did you understand the challenge, who in the real world is going to buy a £200 Rotel, take it home stripe it and then rebuild it to turn it into a Krell?"

or am I missing something? ( and I bet Bob does not work cheap ether)

I read the title and took it to mean do amps sound the same? i.e off the shelf plug in and play

To which the answer is no...... rolling on the floor laughing

davedotco's picture
Offline
Joined: 24 Apr 2013
Posts: 2335
RE: do all amps sound the same?

Thompsonuxb wrote:

the Carver challenge

 

Sorry I just read this article and honestly what a load of crud.

 

You mean to tell me that Bob took the two amps, stripped them more or less rebuilt their inards and then suggested they sound the same. I mean they even changed the sound on the reference amp to drag it down to the cheaper amp. This is pure and utter nonesense and has no place in real world listening. Were do you guys go to dig this stuff up?

I got to page 4 of the article and wondered why the author had not said...."hold on bob, what the hell you doing - did you understand the challenge, who in the real world is going to buy a £200 Rotel, take it home stripe it and then rebuild it to turn it into a Krell?"

or am I missing something? ( and I bet Bob does not work cheap ether)

I read the title and took it to mean do amps sound the same? i.e off the shelf plug in and play

To which the answer is no...... rolling on the floor laughing

No, you miss-read, the reference amplifier was untouched.

A long time ago I worked with Bob Carver to supply some of his Phase Linear 750 amplifiers to Brittania Row, Pink Floyds live sound production company. 

Somehow I came out of the job with one of his smaller PL 400 amplifiers that Bob modded for my by removing the protection circuit that was believed to compromise the sound significantly. On the basic test rig that we had, my amplifier measured 273 watts per channel on a 1khz sine wave, one channel driven. (we only had one dummy load of sufficient power)

I used this amp to drive my Spendor BC1 speakers, frightening the life out of my hifi buddies with the incredible dynamics and volume levels these normally low sensitivity, hard to drive speakers could produce.

 

Back on topic, The Carver article is really an excercise in amplifier voicing. The reference amplifier came from a company that had a very distinctive 'house' sound, primarily to distance it's product from that of Audio Research, it's big competitor.

That Bob could replicate the exact sound of the Premier 4 just shows what can be done, amplifiers can be made to sound pretty much however the designer wishes and producing a sound that somehow sounds 'more real than real' may be one of the the aim of some designers.

__________________

We do so many shows in a row,

And these towns all look the same,

We just pass the time in our hotel room

And wander 'round backstage,

Till the lights come up, and we hear that crowd,

And we remember why we came.

Jackson Browne

cheeseboy's picture
Offline
Joined: 17 Jul 2012
Posts: 864
RE: do all amps sound the same?

Thompsonuxb wrote:

or am I missing something? ( and I bet Bob does not work cheap ether)

 

yep, you missed the entire article it would seem.  Try again....

Overdose's picture
Offline
Joined: 8 Feb 2008
Posts: 3135
RE: do all amps sound the same?

cheeseboy wrote:

Thompsonuxb wrote:

or am I missing something? ( and I bet Bob does not work cheap ether)

 

yep, you missed the entire article it would seem.  Try again....

LOL. Now that was funny. excellent!

__________________

Mac mini > AVI ADM9Ts

BenLaw's picture
Online
Joined: 21 Nov 2010
Posts: 5900
RE: do all amps sound the same?

cheeseboy wrote:

Thompsonuxb wrote:

or am I missing something? ( and I bet Bob does not work cheap ether)

 

yep, you missed the entire article it would seem.  Try again....

 

It's probably down to all that expensive ether he's been breathing. 

__________________

HiFi   /   A/V   /   Bedroom

CnoEvil's picture
Offline
Joined: 21 Aug 2009
Posts: 11415
RE: do all amps sound the same? RE: do all amps sound the same?

JMacMan wrote:

"Speakers can only shine if matched to the appropriate amp (imo)."

LOL... you do realise you just made an irrefutably accurate pitch for active speakers?  excellent!

I agree entirely, but feel both on technical grounds, and from personal practical experience over many years, that the task should be left to a highly qualified design or acoustic engineer, and not an amateur mixing and matching separates at a retail level - hence one of the many very much real world advantages of active speakers.  And no, I'm not pushing AVI!...lol  Shock

JB   Cool

Yup.....but that's somebody else's idea of a good "tonal match".

When they make Actives with full Class A amps, count me in.  shifty

__________________

"Everything has been said before, but since nobody listens we have to keep going back and beginning all over again."  André Gide

chebby's picture
Online
Joined: 2 Jun 2008
Posts: 15333
RE: do all amps sound the same? RE: do all amps sound the same?

CnoEvil wrote:

Yup.....but that's somebody else's idea of a good "tonal match".

The point was that "somebody else" would be someone qualified to do it better. Like a ... "highly qualified design or acoustic engineer, and not an amateur mixing and matching separates at a retail level".

__________________

Marantz M-CR603 • Rega R3 loudspeakers • AirPlay • Apple iPad Mini • Apple iPhone 5 • Apple iMac • Apple AirPort Extreme 802.11N • Humax HDR-Fox T2 • Panasonic TX-L32D25B • Sony BDP-S390

Electro's picture
Online
Joined: 30 Mar 2011
Posts: 989
RE: do all amps sound the same?

I think there may be a few technical problems to overcome when designing a compact class A active speaker shifty

 

Class A active speaker

__________________

Electrocompaniet EMC1UP Cd player , EC 4.8 preamp , AW180 monoblock power amps , PMC PB1i speakers .

Linn LP12 Lingo , Ittok lv3 , Lyra Lydian , EAR834P .

"Everything should be as simple as possible, but no simpler."     Albert Einstein .