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Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

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plastic penguin's picture
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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

John Duncan wrote:

They paved paradise and put up, well, a Tescos.

Yeah, but the Taxi is in for repairs.

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

David@FrankHarvey wrote:

busb wrote:
Everyone believes that they can pass ABX tests until they fail one. Although I suspect I'm banging my head needlessly - it's not your ears that fool you - it's your brain that does that. Just like everyone else that listens to music. If your brain didn't do such a good job at fooling you, music would sound incomprehensible! All our senses get "fooled" - they wouldn't work otherwise!

Maybe we should all buy a £50 system from Argos and be done with it, because it sounds like we're all letting ourselves be fooled and are too stupid to know.

I never used the term stupid nor implied it. If I had, it would apply to myself in equal measure. Instead of putting words into my mouth David, please try to understand differing points of view to your own - not asking for agreement but to not deliberately misread. The fact our brains are "fooled" is not down to our stupidity but how miraculous nature is.

Take sight as an example. we "see" it as being like a movie being played in out heads. Technically that is true but our brains do a lot of very clever processing or filtering of uneeded information quite automatically - if it didn't filter so much out - driving a car or riding a bike would be virtually impossible because we would be completely over-whelmedb- it would be too much imformation. Same with hearing. We are at a party talking to some guests - our phone rings so we answer it & carry out a conversation with the person on the other end, the other guests work out who it is & interject, we translate their ideas while we listen to both but manage to filter out the background conversations. Again, all this happens seamlessly without thinking about the process. Our brains are doing a huge amount of processing in near real-time. To me this is an amazing feat we do day-in, day-out so even the stupid amounst us are far from stupid.

As for music, we can quite naturally listen to a familar & much loved piece of music & "hear" different aspects or nuances on each listen. We may play another song to discover we are not in the mood for it. Our appreciation shifts according to our emotional state, mood & wakefulness even if we prefer to blame it poor mains quality.

David, if you read my initial post in this thread, you'd have read that I thought that better amplifiers do make a big difference & was agreeing with your point that expensive doesn't always mean better. So, to suggest I stated or imply spending so little when I splashed out £1400 on a 2nd hand power amp last Christmas does not add up.

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TrevC's picture
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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

lindsayt wrote:

davedotco wrote:

SETs are probably not the best examples to use in any amplifier comparison.

The biggest issue is the generally high output impedance that causes all but the simplest of loudspeakers to modify the amplifiers frequency response to degrees that would nomally be considered unacceptable in any other amplifier.

Probably more sensible to use push-pull, either triode or pentode. In the original quad challenge, Peter Walker set up the 8 watt II amplifier, the 30 watt 303 and the 100 watt 405, driving ELS57s at 'normal' levels and no one could tell the difference.

That is valve push-pull, class AB and the current dumper, all very different designs.

Yes the high output impedance and high damping factor may well alter the frequency response in certain areas by a db or two. With some speakers that might be a modification in the right direction. With others it will be a modification in the wrong direction.

 

 

I have a SET valve amp and a push pull valve amp. Both use 300b valves. I strongly prefer the SET. More detailed, better clarity, more transparent. I am confident that I could them apart in a blind ABX test with my source and my speakers. I don't see anything sensible about using my push pull amplifer when it sounds worse than my SET.

 

With a bit of eq you can make any amp sound similar to a SET. Not the same, because the SET produces a load of distortion.

TrevC's picture
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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

manicm wrote:

CnoEvil wrote:

John Duncan wrote:
Mellifluousness. Don't forget the mellifluousness.

....and euphoniousness, but certainly melliflousness.

Just you wait, they'll devise measurements for these things too rolling on the floor laughing

 

What are they? Smile

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

TrevC wrote:

With a bit of eq you can make any amp sound similar to a SET. Not the same, because the SET produces a load of distortion.

Are you Bob Carver and can I claim my £5....... shhh

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

Ha ha, nice one Davedotco.

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

floyd droid wrote:

Ha ha, nice one Davedotco.

Met Bob a few times back in the 70's, pre the Stereophile challenge, when he was selling a whole bunch of his Phase Linear 700 power amplifiers to, appropriately enough, Pink Floyd. 

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We do so many shows in a row,

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We just pass the time in our hotel room

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

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

.

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

David@FrankHarvey wrote:

busb wrote:
Everyone believes that they can pass ABX tests until they fail one. Although I suspect I'm banging my head needlessly - it's not your ears that fool you - it's your brain that does that. Just like everyone else that listens to music. If your brain didn't do such a good job at fooling you, music would sound incomprehensible! All our senses get "fooled" - they wouldn't work otherwise!

Maybe we should all buy a £50 system from Argos and be done with it, because it sounds like we're all letting ourselves be fooled and are too stupid to know.

Y'know David, I walk past Frank Harvey every day but it's usually late and you're closed. I feel like I owe it to you to walk past when you're open, come in, shake your hand a buy you a beer for this comment.

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phydeau's picture
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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

+1

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

busb has a point.

Really, pouring money into the electronics is a waste. Providing the amp is powerful suitable, in terms of the specifications, for the speakers, then spending more on high end amps isn't going to make a world of difference at all. Keeping an inexpensive amp and pouring money into the speakers will, however, make a massive difference.

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

altruistic.lemon wrote:

busb has a point.

Really, pouring money into the electronics is a waste. Providing the amp is powerful suitable, in terms of the specifications, for the speakers, then spending more on high end amps isn't going to make a world of difference at all. Keeping an inexpensive amp and pouring money into the speakers will, however, make a massive difference.

Yes, but the better, more expensive speakers are often more demanding in the power and current dept. So if you want your amplifier to control them properly, it must be up to it (Watts and amps). And high current amplifiers tend to be expensive.

Magnepan is one example of a speaker that asks for a relatively solid (and often expensive) amplifier.

Joined: 25 Jul 2011
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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

I agree they can be difficult loads, but something like a NAD C356BEE would be fine. The point is that any amp which matches speaker requirements will drive said speakers adequately, irrespective of price.

Covenanter's picture
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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

altruistic.lemon wrote:

busb has a point.

Really, pouring money into the electronics is a waste. Providing the amp is powerful suitable, in terms of the specifications, for the speakers, then spending more on high end amps isn't going to make a world of difference at all. Keeping an inexpensive amp and pouring money into the speakers will, however, make a massive difference.

+1 - If this thread was "Do more expensive peakers make a difference?" I don't think there would be much controversy!

Chris

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RE: Do more expensive amplifiers make a difference?

altruistic.lemon wrote:

busb has a point.

Really, pouring money into the electronics is a waste. Providing the amp is powerful suitable, in terms of the specifications, for the speakers, then spending more on high end amps isn't going to make a world of difference at all. Keeping an inexpensive amp and pouring money into the speakers will, however, make a massive difference.

I think there is a lot of truth in this, especially if the budget is limited and correct choices are made.

However, and quite illogically, there are a handful of amplification components that I have heard that bring a certain quality to a system that simply can not be obtained in any other way. They are pretty expensive but that is not really the point as many expensive amplifiers do not have this effect in the slightest.

Strange.

 

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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