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do all amps sound the same?

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lindsayt's picture
Joined: 8 Apr 2011
Posts: 974
RE: do all amps sound the same?

Overdose wrote:

oldric_naubhoff wrote:

 I really can't understand why so many around here herald actives to be the end game in hi-fi....

Not the end game for sure, but a step above passives.

The amplifiers in active speakers may seem compromised in isolation to you, but it is an academic point, as they are designed to work with only one driver in mind and that is the one they are attached to in the box, so if the drivers are the bottleneck, as you put it, they are not going to be better driven in a passive system than in an active one.

I think that you may be in danger of over analysing the situation.

If active speakers are a step above passive speakers, how come they don't sound better than passive speakers?

Ajani's picture
Joined: 9 Apr 2008
Posts: 779
RE: do all amps sound the same?

Here's an interview with Bob Carver, from the August 2008 issue of TAS, about The Carver Challenge:




TAS wrote:
Tell me about your ability to recreate the sound

in one amplifier of another amplifier of dissimilar

design using the transfer-function modification principle—

the so-called “Carver Challenge.”

I got myself in big trouble. In my youthful arrogance, I said,

“I can make my amplifier sound like anybody else’s amplifier

in the whole world, no matter what it’s made out of or how

it’s made.” I shouldn’t have said that. First of all, nobody

believed me, and everybody pooh-poohed me.

It did seem like an outrageous claim.

I know, I know. I wish I had been a little more circumspect. I

should have said “I can make my amplifier sound close . . . let

me show you and you be the judge.” And I think I wouldn’t

have upset people that way, but I didn’t do that because I

was young and arrogant. From my perspective, if two amplifiers

have the same output signal, and if you subtract the

two signals while they’re driving a load and there’s nothing

left, there’s no mechanism whereby they should sound different.

It’s the simple assertion that if A minus B equals

zero, then it follows that A equals B.

It was striking that you could do this in a matter of

hours, not weeks or months.

Well, I have a secret. I cheated. I practiced a lot before I

started! There’s a lot going on behind the curtain.


It leads you to question just how well he cloned the sound of the more expensive amps. 


Other things to consider: 


1) His cloned amps were notorious for being unreliable. So it's not as impressive to copy the sound of an expensive amp, if the clone won't last long.

2) What is Carver doing now? Selling expensive tube amps  http://www.underwoodhifi.com/search/label/Bob%20Carver




M-Audio USB Transit->Benchmark DAC1->Beyerdynamic DT880 (600 ohm) / AKG K701

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

Lol...... so ultimately what I said is more or less true - the amp Bob started out with was not the amp he ended with.

reinforcing the point that much that some cherry pick off the internet to down play alot of what we hear with our own ears is  rubbish and actually endorses the value of a publication like WHFS&V.

I can only guess the author of this piece had no clue whatsoever and has no concept of the meaning of budget when tagged to hifi. Funny thing is in the other thread 'How important is the PSU' - change that you may aswell change the amp seems to be the jist of what I'm getting.


do all amps sound the same.....lol.....no!